Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chores

Happy Leap Day! In honor of that weirdness...

I love to clean and organize, but, often, you wouldn't know it by looking at my house. When I was pregnant with Miss V, nesting like a maniac, all the closets got cleaned out, drawers were organized, everything was in its own place, preparing for Hurricane Baby (which ended up being more like Gentle Rainstorm Baby - Miss V was a super easy newborn). I sorted and purged and packaged and donated. It was fantastic. I've noticed though, that over time, all the "stuff" starts to accumulate again. Storage spaces get used as dumping grounds until they are full, and then the clutter starts to encroach on living spaces, and I can't stand that. Not that I want to be pregnant again, but I do wish for some of that nesting motivation sometimes. I also want to instill a love of order in my children, which means I have to look to myself and the example I set. Do I want the J bird to keep his room tidy? Then I need to do the same with my own room. Do I want Miss V to pick up the toys she so industriously scattered all over the floor? Then I need to model that behavior. And I do, most of the time. But I get lazy and unmotivated sometimes, or the whole family gets sick for a week or two, or I have to focus on something else (like some project I'm obsessing over) or whatever, and instead of me ruling the house, the house rules me.

One day, as I was browsing Pinterest instead of folding laundry, I came across a list that a woman had compiled. She'd sorted her household tasks and assigned them days of the week, with jobs like vacuuming and general tidying up getting more than one day and things like dishes and sweeping up the Cheerios under the table for the 4000th time going unsaid, because one assumes you just DO that stuff. One assumes. (Oh, hey - are those Cheerios over there?). Normally, I'd scoff - my mom's house is constantly showroom-ready, and she never needed no stinkin' list, but I looked around and thought to myself, "Just who do you think you are, Geneva? Give it a whirl, tweak it to fit your own house, and enjoy the benefits of a little more organization." So I printed off the list and have been dutifully following it (most days), and wouldn't you know it? Cleaner house. No Laundry Mountain. Happier Me. Score another one for Pinterest, right?

Add to this the fact that, since early January, I've been getting up at the crack of doom every morning to exercise before the kids get up (instead of waiting until nap time, which gives me the whole day to come up with a really great excuse to get me out of exercising at all that day), which somehow gives me way more energy all day long, AND the lower carb, lower sugar thing I'm trying, and I'm like a new woman.

Before you know it, James is going to feel like he's married to a stranger - a tidy, energetic stranger, who actually fixes her hair and doesn't wear sweatpants all day, every day.

Weird.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Chocolate Adolescence

This may be the single weirdest picture ever taken of my son.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Homesquirrels

 While the J-bird works on writing the short words I just taught him, Miss V and I read books, talk numbers and color. Well, she colors. I usually clean up the breakfast dishes. On this day, anyhow. :)



Friday, February 24, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fun With Felt

(For a friend, who is having a baby - eeeeeeeeeeee!!!)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pajama President's Day

I'd like to tell you that we did something productive with our President's Day on Monday, but, unless you consider hanging out at home in our jammies, reading, working on addition, playing with LEGO blocks, taking naps, and only leaving the house to get terrible drive-through food to be "productive", then, well...we did nothing productive. And I'm not sorry. ;)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Valentine's Day

 So, I realize this is a week late, but we had a fun Valentine's Day this year. We like holidays in our house, and we like to celebrate and give each other gifts. James brought home flowers and candy the evening before Valentine's Day, which was a sweet surprise. I had picked up some sweetly packaged animal crackers and some candy for the kids and had made them little valentines, which I left at their spots at the table, so they'd get them first thing in the morning.

 The kids and I had a fun day together, the shining moment being this one: the kids had finished their breakfasts, and the J-bird was be-bopping happily up the stairs to get something, when he stopped in his tracks and turned around. "Mommy? Did you get any valentines today?", he asked. "Nope, not yet.", I answered. He thought for a moment, then said, "Well, maybe I could share MY valentines with you. Because I love you, Mama."

*sob*


 When James got home from work, we exchanged gifts. No, we didn't collaborate on these. Yes, we are gigantic, gigantic nerds. I bought him a Dr. Who cookie jar, and he got me the coffee mug. We belong together.


Because we are old and crafty, and because going out on a date now requires planning and a babysitter, we didn't go anywhere until this weekend. We decided to start with dessert at Moonstruck Chocolate.
 This is drinking chocolate. A few sips of this is more than enough, just so you know. Most of it got left in the cup, sadly.

And about a third of the brownie went home in a bag.



After dessert, we went to a new restaurant/pub that had a great sampler thingy of their best beers. We enjoyed that, along with a little supper, then went on home to stock the 'fridge with all our leftovers.
 And to give the kids the little chocolate bunnies we bought for them at Moonstruck.



Miss V gave the chocolate two out of two.


As I was writing this post, almost a week after Valentine's Day, I realized that I've had a box of candy and a handmade card for James from the kids hidden in a drawer for two weeks. Whoops! Valentine party foul. Better go deliver that...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Heckuva Time

 This little lady has had a rough couple of weeks. First, she fell and hit her head - well, her eyebrow, necessitating a trip to the ER, to make sure she hadn't LITERALLY BROKEN HER FACE. Then, probably because of said ER trip, she got a cold, which she passed to her brother. Her cold turned into croup and a double ear infection. That's less fun than it could be, for all parties involved.

Now, my mother says we get sick all the time (I believe she says this to underline how untenable a situation it is that her grandchildren live in Oregon, while she resides in Kansas. She may disagree ;) ), but we're actually below average on illness, as far as households with small children go. However, my case of "No really, I try to keep them healthy!" is not helped by the fact that Miss V's colds nearly always turn to ear infections, because seriously, how awful is that? Very awful.

Anyway, she seems fairly cheerful about it, even when she's miserable.

 And how 'bout that eye?


 I told her to show me her fist and look tough. She had no idea what I was talking about.


And then, she laughed at me and ran away.

Story of my life with this one, man. Story of my life.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Lettuce Flowers

 The boys were upstairs, playing with LEGO, so Miss V and I decided to do this quick, easy craft.

 I'd made salad for supper, so we dipped the end of the head of romaine in paint and stamped with it.





 It makes a pretty, flower-like pattern. You can do just one (I'm going to use this sheet to write a letter)


Or you can do like Miss V, and make a whole garden.

(If I could remember where I  saw this idea online, I'd reference it, but it's been awhile, and my brain is a sieve. Suffice it to say, Miss V and I aren't the first to come up with this. We sure had fun with it though! :) )

Friday, February 17, 2012

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Rolled Paper Flowers

 These are all over the internets in various forms, using various materials - paper, felt, fabric, metal, etc... and I wanted to try my hand at them.

To make mine, I glued two pieces of identical scrapbook paper together (I didn't have any two-sided paper close to hand). Then, I cut spirals out of the paper. I cut out several, in several different sizes. To get the flower shape, I started at the inside of the spiral and just...rolled. There are lots of online tutorials, but that's the basic deal. I made some polka dotted flowers and some white ones. Then, I slid them onto this foil heart centerpiece thingy. The whole thing took maybe half an hour.

Kinda funky, but I like it!


Monday, February 13, 2012

Miss V and the Amazing Technicolor Eyelid

 Don't be sad, Mom.



I just like to match my eye to my pajamas!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Footprint Step Stool

Were you aware that children are short? I KNOW. Shocking. They also touch everything and then put their hands in their mouths, which necessitates a large amount of hand washing. Unless you want to break your back, hossing their ever-increasing weight up in front of you and then holding them in an awkward position (for you) until they decide they're done washing their hands (by which time, your muscles are trembling, and you may or may not be in a full sweat) four trillion times each day, you're going to need a step stool.

We had a step stool. A really nice, serviceable little guy. And then, I stepped on it when I was eight months pregnant with Miss V, and it broke. Yeeeeeaaaaahhhhh.....how's THAT feel on the ol' ego, eh?

Not fantastic, that's how.

I set it out in the garage (aka: Project Purgatory) in disgust and attempted to forget about it.

Then, on a sunny day last week, I was tidying up in the garage and decided to fix this baby. I cut a board to size, along with a support for underneath (the original had splintered under my Monstro-the-Whale physique. Perhaps I mentioned that particular humiliation.) I screwed in the support, then screwed the board in on top. I painted it green, and then added one of each of the kids' footprints.

What a cute little back saver you are!



Saturday, February 11, 2012

Kid Art

 Kids generate a lot of crayon drawings, paintings and other art projects, and I'll be honest - I don't keep it all. I usually display my kids' art on the 'fridge for a while, then take a photo of it and pitch it. Of course, there are some that I save for their baby books, but....I only have so much room up in here. Cruising around on the internet, I found some ideas for displaying the fun stuff my hooligans churn out, and I decided to give this one a whirl.


 I picked up four clipboards at Walmart for around $2 each



 I painted them each a different color



 and hung them in my downstairs hallway.


How fun is that? These could be used for chore charts or grocery lists or any other thing, once my kiddos are past the art-on-the-'fridge stage.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Bench Seat

 I've been in a project-type mood lately. I don't know if it's the nice weather we've sporadically had, or what, but I'm just going with it.

A while back, I blogged about this shoe shelf that I turned into a bench for the kids.

 It started out like this.

 And I changed it to this.

However.

It was too aqua, and I'm not a bench builder, so it needed more structural support than I had given it. I stuck it out in the garage to think about it for a bit, and last week, I pulled it back out and changed it up again.


 Now it looks like this. I put a back on it, sprayed it red, then distressed it with my sander, which lets a little bit of the aqua peek through. At first, I tried it in my entryway, with my little half-round table.



It was ok, but then I tried it by my back door.
And I love it! I have a project in mind for coats and bags by the front door. Once I get that done, I'll hang the little coat hooks that currently occupy that space over here by the bench, so the kids have a place to hang jackets when they come in from the back yard and a place to sit and put on their shoes before they go out. It's a regular kid world, up in here :)


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pinspiration

Yeah, so I've mentioned my love for Pinterest a few times. If you haven't checked it out yet, it's wonderful. You need an "invitation" to join, so you can hit up a friend who is already on, or you can go to the site and ask for one (or send me your email, and I'll invite you!). It's essentially an online inspiration board, where you can pin things you are interested or inspired by, and you can look at the boards of others. It's really wonderful.

Anyway.

I have a board that is completely dedicated to craft ideas. Since we do a craft once a week with the neighborhood kids, I'm always looking for fun, age appropriate ideas, and Pinterest does not disappoint. Here are two we've done recently:

1. Puff Paint Polar Bears. Did you know that you can mix equal parts white glue and shaving cream to make your own puffy paint? We did this one with our craft group, and it was super fun. I gave each child a cup and a spoon to mix up their "paint", and then had them spread it out on a paper plate. They used the spoons to mess around with it and make it look like fur. Then, they added googly eyes, makeup puffs for ears and puff balls for noses to make polar bears. Polar bears do, I realize, have black noses, and the one I found on Pinterest suggested a black puff ball or an Oreo cookie. I didn't have either of those things though, so we went with colorful noses, and the kids were quite happy! The glue makes the shaving cream stay foamy as it dries. It ends up dry, but kind of squishy. A cool little experiment and craft.


2. Hand Print Roses. SO easy. I painted one of each of my kids' hands with red, acrylic paint and pressed them down onto heavy card stock. While it dried, I painted stems and leaves on. I wrote each child's name in gold pen, beside a leaf on their flower stem and the year at the bottom. I love it!