I’m sure we all have visions of green, lush grass, the sweet songs of robins, laying on the front porch glider reading a book, sipping lemonade and sweet tea, the smell of freshly cut hay, watching the kids chase fireflies and building forts…oh, I could go on and on and on. I have the worst case of Cabin Fever. Judging by the amount of arguing, tv watching that’s been going on I would say I’ve spread my *fever* to the kids.
Time for some Cabin Fever tips! Some of these are tried and true, some I have in a folder I keep from magazines and some are just activities I’ve been wanting to try.
#1 Brown Sugar Sand Castles: My boys LOVE playing with brown sugar in place of sand. All you need is extra brown sugar, containers (think *outside the sandbox on this one…could be Tupperware, plastic milk jugs cut in two, empty and clean cans who are waiting to be recycled or reused, measuring cups, cleaned OJ boxes…the sky is the limit!) Instead of sticks use spoons, straws or paintbrushes for flags and decorations. I’ve tried doing this on our activity table-cloth or on cookie pans. I would recommend using both and line the cookie pan with foil which can replicate water for the moat. WARNING: This is not a good activity if you are a high maintainance mom who does not like big messes. It’s similar to Moon Sand whereas it can get everywhere with an added bonus of stickiness. With that said, the kids LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this activity!
#2 Mini-Me Scrapbook: Gather up any group of photos per child – at least 35…alphabetized based on the activity. Using typical scrapbooking supplies mount the pictures on a piece of acid free, lignin free cardstock or heavy scrapbook paper. Using a patterned pieces of scrap book paper have your child draw or trace the letters of the alphabet (make sure they will fit on the scrap book page). Then if age appropriate have them cut the letters out (adult supervision advised). Pair up an activity which begins with the letter “A” and place the cut-out A on the page, then decorate. Stickers, acid-free pens and other embellishments will finish the page up nicely. Continue until you have a page for each letter. There are a few options for assembling the book. Using a 3-hole puncher, you could prepare the pages and place in a binder. Or, you could only punch one hole in each paper and attach with yarn, ribbon or string. If you’re needing a day out of the house, run to Staples, FedEx/Kinkos or your nearest office store and have it professionally bound…this can increase the cost of this project. You can also use my favorite method and place each page in a scrap book, covered in plastic…you have a homemade book to help your child learn the alphabet and a family treasure.
#3 Ice Skating in your kitchen (this idea comes from “The FlyLady” website under the Camp Gonna Wanna Fly section) – We use this in conjunction with our weekly cleaning chores. Begin by digging out the swimming suits! And, maybe turning up the heat a degree or two. Next, make sure everyone keeps or puts socks on. On the Flylady’s website they suggest using a tub for the kids to get their socks soapy and wet. We save a dish and just spray down the floor (and sometimes the kids) with the kitchen sink sprayer. Using your regular dish soap draw the kids’ initials in the floor or pictures, lines, whatever makes them giggle. Begin skating!! Once I can tell they are starting to become bored I bring out six towels. I spray the floor again and give each child a towel. Sitting on their knees, they pull themselves around in their “boats.” This is the rinse and dry cycle. Finally, once the floor has had a good scrub down provide each child with their own towel and presto, you have exhausted, exercised, giggly children and a sparkling floor. All you have to do is remember to take pics!
#4 Trip to Barnes & Noble…One of our favorite winter and summer outings is taking a trip to Barnes & Noble. Our nearest store has a table for the older kids to sit and read. The real highlight is the Thomas the Train table that’s complete with all of the engines. Most of the time I can quickly grab a book of my choice, stop at the Starbucks counter for a coffee and then go relax in the children’s section while the kids play Thomas the Train. For this reason only (besides the fact we live in a little old farm house), I have never thought twice about not buying a set. Some days we even tie this in with a McDonald’s lunch date.
#5 Family Film Making: I’ve always wanted to try making a large puppet show theater, complemented by sock puppets. I keep the old socks and then we never get around to doing the activity. I recently found a new type of puppet which will allow you to reuse those mix/matched gloves. Sit down and go through magazines or photos with your kids. Have each child pick out the face they would like to be. Paste the picture or photo onto card stock and cut around the face. Grab those gloves which are missing their partners and cut the fingers off. Using craft glue or a glue gun (adult supervision recommended), glue the face to the front of each finger. You could also put a little dazzle into each character by using some sparkly, puffy paint. Draw dots or lines or whatever your kids dream up. The large set that I’ve always dream of ends up being overwhelming to build. So I found an idea using cardboard or a shoe box. Cut-out a large rectangle in the lid of the box. Cover with inexpensive felt from Walmart or your local craft store. Add ribbon or other embellishments for decorations. Set up the box, pop some popcorn and you have your own home theater!
***School has already been canceled for tomorrow and mostly likely Wed. due to the impending Blizzard. I think we might give this a try and then I’ll have pics to share!***
#6 Horizontal snowman: As long as the temps are too low and you have snow on the ground…make use of it! Of course you can stick with the traditional snowman where you roll the three balls but last year we ended up with quite a few cold snows where the snow just would not pack. Instead we would make three hills of snow, one small, one medium, and the bottom would be the largest. It sure did help turn some frustrated frowns upside down!
#7 Snow Fort: If you live out in the country and have access to a tractor or Bobcat you’ve got the beginnings of a fun, filled fort. Now, even if you live in town or do not have access to a tractor look for nearby ditches where the snowplows will sometimes live a nice mound of snow. Even if these aren’t options, you are not out of luck! As long as the snow packs you can roll three or four enormous snowballs. Set them each next to each other and find a sheet of plywood for the roof. My kids love to use their hills of snow for sledding and when they grow tired of that they begin to dig tunnels. Our hills can get so big that tunnel digging is only allow with an adult nearby, just case something would cave. My favorite is when they build slides that go down into their fort!!
***My hubby is stoked about tomorrow’s snow storm. He is already planning where he’ll place the pile.***
#8 Fort building without snow: When there isn’t snow on the ground (which hasn’t been very common this year) the kids will head down to our storage shed for a ‘roll’ in the hay. Willis must be adequately medicated prior to doing this but they are never disappointed with the fun. So you don’t have a hay shed or barn? That’s alright! Grab as many blankets as you can and get ready to move some furniture. Your family room can quickly be transformed into the coolest fort on the block!
#9 Search and Find/Name Game Decorating: Long name, tons of fun! A really neat way to decorate your home is by creating a unique picture frame which contains every letter in your last name. The letters are found around town, in the country, house or where ever. As you find each letter, stop and take a picture. Edit using your favorite software (Photoshop Elements is inexpensive compared to the full version, or go to piknic.com for free software.) Print the pics and frame each individual letter. Display on the wall and wade through all of the compliments you’ll receive! I might work on this one tomorrow!
#10 Library Day, with a twist: Going to the library is another great way to spend quality time with your kids. Many offer wonderful children programs, story time, etc… If you are like us and only have a small library to your disposal you can play library at home. Don’t get me wrong, I love going to our one room library that’s about the size of my dining room and kitchen combined. It reiderates the fact that we live near one of America’s all-time true Mayberry’s. And, I LOVE it! However, there aren’t the programs you find at larger libraries.
At home you can play library, killing three birds with one stone…it can be done! Pretend you are librarians going through all of the on-hand books. As you go through them keep your favorites but make a stack for a local child care center or crisis pregnancy center. Make sure you give the kids a little fun by “checking” out a couple of their books! Entertainment, organization and giving. I like it.
I had originally planned to post this last week but wasn’t ready. Boy am I glad it wasn’t! I hope these tips help those of us who will be stuck a home with three little boys…two of which want to wrestle, constantly.
Happy Snow Day to those receiving all of this wonderful snow!!
I’ve always said I wouldn’t be that parent who pushes my kids into too many extra-curricular activities. “They will only have the option to be in 2 or maybe 3 activities,” said The Magic Mama, 10 years ago.
But here we are juggling two activities which could each be considered 3 activities on their own – Cub Scouts and 4-H. Additionally, Pickle’s baseball practice begins in mid-March (the older kids started practicing a week ago – it’s JANUARY and a summer league.) In the summer will be juggling Pickle’s baseball games, Willis’ t-ball games, getting animals broke to lead, 4-H projects ready for the 4-H fair, swim lessons and let’s not forget Cub Scout camp. That’s not to mention baling hay and all of the other tasks that come with farming. The summer will come to an end with showing at fairs and football practice. Then school starts, a new year of Cub Scouts begins along with football games and a new year of 4-H. And, we made Pickle give up playing basketball and Willis playing soccer this winter. Let’s not forget there’s a third child being shuffled in the middle of all of this.
Recently, I’ve been feeling burnt out. It might be that I’m anemic again or the continuous loss of friends and family members. In the last two years we’ve lost three of our own grandparents, my step-dad, both of my sister-in-law’s moms (both from cancer and at young ages), my mom’s neighbor who watched me grow up, a friend from high school and a friend who lost her 4 month old baby. Between Dec. 23rd and Jan. 2nd of this past year, my younger sister-in-law’s mom lost her battle to pancreatic cancer, our next door neighbor lost his mom and a friend who was just married on Dec. 11th, lost his 47 yr old mother-in-law to a massive heart attack. Then three days ago an old friend/acquaintance was killed in an accident. After all of that you start you realize you’re getting old and time is precious. You start to question, is this REALLY suppose to be happening at age 33?
We spend so much time running around, fighting because we’re late and can’t find this or that. I’m questioning if it’s worth it and what is the point? It’s kind of like my favorite line in the Cars movie…”instead of driving for a good time, we drive to make good time.” Where’s the enjoyment and family time?
The irony behind it all is we can only be faulted for saying no. Not for pushing, persuading or even offering these activities. So I wonder are our children in these activities because they really want to be involved? Or, is there a new-age version of peer pressure among kids these days? In which case we really can’t complain.
While reading a blog the other day I was enlightened. It was another mom who had recently made the choice to home school. She had all of these dreamy expectations which I’ve had myself. Those expectations were quickly thrown out the door and replaced with meeting new children. She began to learn things about them that she never knew existed….she was able to spend more quality time with them as a teacher and they had more time for traditional play.
So besides their extra-curricular schedule, what do I truly know about my children? As I try to answer that question I will continue to reassess how we spend our individual time and more importantly, how we should be spending our family time….in extra-curricular activities or at home playing Farmopoly?
I have numerous other topics I’d like to write about but this is still making me giggle so I have to share…
I was talking with my MIL about various things and she mentioned Willis was a little upset the last time he was there. He shared the following with her:
“Granny, they’re [the school] are making us do things that they do in Pickle’s class and he’s in second grade. You know Granny, I’m only in Pre-K, Pre-K! I just can’t believe it. **Huff** **SIGH** ”
He would not elaborate on the “things” which they are apparently were being forced to do. Otherwise they’d be sure to hang the kids by their toe tails…she said he gave quite a performance. Yesterday I decided I’d do a little fishin’ to see what these “things” might be. He was hilarious and said “Yep, they’re making us do all kinds of things that Pickle has too *huff, huff, sigh*.” So I asked if he could provide some examples. “Nope, can’t reymemer.”
My MIL also shared this with her cousin who returned with a whopper. It’s so funny I was crying. At the beginning of this school year her cousin’s granddaughter entered the first grade. One the first full-day of school, just before lunch, the little granddaughter got up from her desk, grabbed her backpack and proceeded towards the door. The teacher asked where she was going and the little girl said “home.” That had been her normal routine during half-day Kindergarten. The teacher explained that in first grade you have to stay all day. The little girl replied…
“What? WHO signed me up for this crap??”
What a title, huh? These are my current pet peeves. Let me elaborate…
This evening we arrived home from Cub Scouts to find a stray dog running around outside. It was dark so we couldn’t tell who it might belong to or what it looked like. My hubby quickly got our three dogs out for a potty break. Nicki began to bark and the stray responded with its own dog-like bark. A little later I let Nicki out again and staying in the front yard I felt she did real well. About an hour later, I leaving to run an errand and she escaped, running right past me, around the house and into one of our fields. We could hear barking from two dogs and at times could see movement. Finally, she relented and ran back to the house. This stray was becoming more and more of a mystery dog.
I made it half way down our lane when I realized I had forgotten my purse. I went back and tried to exit again. That was when I heard a coyote…coming from the back of the house. Near the same area we had just retrieve Nicki. So my hubby had me shine the truck lights back there but we didn’t see anything. He thought I was hearing things.
Fast forward an hour or so…I’m returning home from my errand and decide to drive around to the back of the house just for the heck of it. Then I saw movement. It was a coyote making a run for it. Then I realize, he was standing a little too near our pasture fencing. The race was on. I chased it into our neighbors soybean field, then we reached a corn field. I wasn’t able to go quite as fast and he gained some freedom. Serpentine! Serpentine! (Taken from the Cars movie…And, he really did serpentine!) Then he headed back into the soybean field and then to another corn field which had been chisel plowed. That’s where I drew the line. We were almost a mile from our property. Then it turned and started coming towards me. It seemed to have some audacity and lack of fear normally seen in coyotes. We began our second cat and mouse chase. This time he circled around and headed east away from our ground. I had enough and turned back home. The whole thing is so bizarre. Normally, coyotes run like mad to get away from humans. This little guy had some balls to stop and challenge me. It makes me nervous that we had one so close to the pasture fence. I hope to find some free time tomorrow where I’ll have an opportunity to check the fence for breaches. I’ll keep you posted on any other coyote activity. It’s just bizarro!
I mentioned in the title “Boys and Toilets.” Is there anyone else out there with three boys?? Can I hear an Amen? No, girl drama!! At least that’s what parents of girls think. I’d like to video tape our 5 year old during a tantrum and put it up on youtube.com. Then you’ll see drama ladies! And, gents! Back to the toilets. I’m not sure what’s worse a childhood drama performance or four boys who can’t see to make all of their stream into the bowl. I mean, come on! How hard can it be? I’m sick of sitting in someone else’s pee! I’m on strike! Give me a day or two and I’ll figure out a way to get back at them. Besides the baptism of pee, what is the deal with the smell?!?! Impossible. Just impossible.
Got any tips for keeping coyotes away or keeping a clean, fresh smelling toilet? Please share…actually, I require you to share…do it now!
Have a great Friday!! It’s Friday, it’s Friday, it’s Friday! Yippeee, Yahoooo!
You might have read on our Fall To-do list that one of our projects is running water and electricity down to our sheds. Although we had hoped to do it two weekends ago the trencher we needed wasn’t available until last weekend. It was like having a very expensive babysitter. With the soft dirt and deep trenches, there were some great adventures to be had. As you can see below, the boys had a blast with the dirt…
Happy Diggin’ Boys!! And, I’m NOT frying any worms!! LOL!
How many of you have ever had your child arrive home with homework from their physical education class? It was a first at The MagicFarmHouse. I also didn’t know they gave out homework to Pre-K students but last year Willis did have homework on a regular basis. At first I was stunned but I believe the intentions were well served. It provided a solid foundation for continuing education in the home, away from school.
So when I picked Pickle up from school following Art Club, I was confused because he was carrying a new bag. My first reaction was that he traded his beloved and expensive Cardinals Baseball bag with another child. I was relieved to find that the new bag was related to his homework.
Here’s how it works. Each week the PE teacher selects a student who will take home a bag of PE equipment and a camera. I know, Right? A camera! For a rural school I was impressed but not too surprised knowing how much our PTO supports the school and how each of the teachers are wonderful! The assignment: Use the camera and a writing log to journal about using the equipment at home with your family. Sort of like, PE but at home.
We didn’t do a lot with the jump ropes but the scoop thingies that you use to toss a ball from person to person were super fun! My favorite though was the soccer ball. Using the two trucks as one goal…I know, I know an insurance accident waiting to happen but I’m not responsible for choosing the goal posts…I just went with it. And then the trees were used as our other goal. It was Pickle & I (and sometimes Pudder) against daddy. I played soccer for a couple of years as a child so I knew a few moves that through the opposing team for a loop. In the end, the score was 6 to 4, with the Giant Oger bragging as the champion. :0( That’s alright, we’ll get him next time!! Wait ’till it’s three boys against him…
It initiated some great family time and memories!! Now all of the pictures we took are being printed out and put on a poster in the gym for all to see.
Impressive concept!! So that’s my cool idea for the day…share with your PE teacher and I guarantee it’ll get the kids off the couch and the Wii turned off.
Stay tuned by subscribing to my email list…the rest of the week will be a bit of a food theme…Dutch oven cooking recipes for chili and breakfast casserole. Finally, a review of The Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls, with a little twist using a bread maker. Hey, I’ve been busy alright? It’s ok to take a short cut here and there. And, close your mouth…saliva tends to be a little tricky to clean up off the keyboard. Not that I would know or anything.
I keep saying this but here it is again…last week was one of the busiest weeks we’ve had this year. We finished the renovation to the downstairs bedroom. Pickle has ‘unofficially’ moved in and Willis has decided he’d rather stay & share a room with Pudder. Until his 6 then he’ll move. We hosted Pickle’s Cub Scout Pack cookout/campout, we attended the dedication of the garden Memorial built for my mom’s boyfriend who was killed on Christmas day and my sister-in-law, my new nephew and I attended a bridal shower.
For the most part I’ll be covering the Cub Scout Pack Cookout/Campout, so pay attention!! At times it was pure craziness! It was sooo much fun though!! Overall I think everyone had a great time. My personal favorite event was The Treasure Hunt Maze. We had agreed to host the cookout back in March or April. In anticipation for the event we allowed a portion of our ground to grow into mostly foxtail. As it grew we mowed a maze into the grass. I would sometimes get lost but always find my way home again. Seriously. To add an extra ‘bling, bling’ to the maze and to help our Wolf Den accomplish an achievement we added the treasure hunt element. The scouts and their siblings were divided into groups of 3-4.
***We pause this program to add a SIDE NOTE: One of the greatest part of our Pack is how family oriented we are as we organize things to include all of the siblings of each scout. Back to our regular programming….***
At the beginning of the maze there was a sign with a question & three answers. Each answer took the group a different direction…if the the question was answered correctly they found the next sign. At each sign they were also rewarded with a prize. The last prize was really brilliant on my part. **Pat, pat** I purchased glow sticks & bracelets. We knew where they were once night fell. Of course, they spent most of the time in the maze.
We also did some pumpkin decorating, played a little flag football and of course, S’mores and campfire songs!! I have LOTS of favorites in this post…I was a die-hard 4-H Camper growing up. I even volunteered as a part-time counselor and later took a position as a lifeguard & full-time counselor. My absolute FAVORITE song is ‘The Skitters & the Bedbugs.’ I was having some senior moments and could not remember all of the words. I jumped on the wonderful Google search engine and found that there were many, many, many versions to the song. I never did find the version I learned – but something fairly close. This morning as he was getting ready, Pickle had found the version I printed out & edited. So as he got dressed, ate his breakfast, put on his shoes, I listened to him singing the song. All of a sudden I had an out of body experience & I remembered more of the version I was taught!! I’m so excited! So I’m going to share a mixed up version of it with you! You should feel very, very special.
Tomorrow’s post will be about one of the skits several of the parents performed. It was hilarious! I might even include a couple more campfire songs…stay tuned!
Here is the song…enjoy!
I woke up Sunday morning and looked there upon the wall, the Skeeters & the bedbugs were playing a game of ball.
The score was 19-20, the skeeters were ahead, the bedbugs hit a homerun & knocked me out of bed!
Chorus: Singing, eenie-meenie, minie, mynie moe, catch a bedbug, bedbug, by his toe & if he hollers, hollers, hollers, let him go, singing eany-meany, minie, moe!
***This is where I forget the next verse…something about “I see London, I see France, someone has lace on their ___________ I don’t think they say underpants but can’t remember.*** Here is the verse I found online…
I went downstairs to breakfast, I ordered ham & eggs, I ate so many eggs, the ham rolled down my legs!
My mother was a German, my father was a spy & me the little taddle tail I told the FBI!!
We didn’t feel the last verse was appropriate so we DID NOT use it but here it is…
I fell into the sewer, and that is where I’ll die, they didn’t call it murder they called it SEWER-CIDE!!
Happy camping!! Wow, I think I’ve had too much coffee this mornin’!
P.S. For those of you who are keeping track, there have not been any additional deer harvested. :0( I did get a lottery either-sex shotgun tag!! Woohoo!
The weather has turned cool, the leaves are changing into beautiful colors, the combines are spinning their wheels and spiders are plentiful. (Ugh!) I realize the first official day of fall came & passed a couple of weeks ago but until today I just wasn’t ready or in the mood. I LOVE the fall but it reminds me that winter comes next.
We took a drive up to my hubby’s grandma’s farm which is currently getting a face-lift. As we drove I admired the new colors and a funny story from last year came to mind. Willis & I were discussing the change of summer to fall. I told him that there were four seasons and proceeded to list off Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Immediately *with a capital E! LOL!* he exclaimed “No, no, no, Mama! You forgot deer season!!!” It was another one of those moments when I thought my tongue really would fall off from biting it so hard. I tried my best not to giggle and said that he was correct there is a deer season. I couldn’t resist emailing his teacher and sharing the story. Apparently, I had again forgotten another season. The class had also been discussing the change in seasons and when they listed our four traditional seasons he insisted they were wrong and proceeded to correct the teacher by saying…
“No, no, no!! You forgot deer season & combine season!!” So in our home we celebrate six seasons during the year! You can’t fault him for being wrong. The eyes of a child sure can simplify life and put things in perspective.
Speaking of deer season…it started at sun-up on Friday morning. At 7:15am, my brother harvested his first doe of this year’s ‘Deer season.’ He closed the day by harvesting a button buck. I called him yesterday evening and just moments before he had two walk under his stand. Don’t worry, I asked that he leave a few for the rest of us!
Have a great sunny, fun week!!
I LOVE Kenny Chesney’s new song “The Boys of Fall.” It reminds me of times gone by at high school football games and now Pickle’s first year of JFL. Football is one of many signatures of fall. The title of Kenny’s song reminds me of other boys of fall. Last year, I had a lovely time taking some of my most favorite & special pictures of ‘my boys of fall.’ I’ll include one of each…
And, it doesn’t stop there…Bow Season starts in 5 days & we’ve been watching for some other boys of fall lurking around the Magic FarmHouse. As luck would have it we’ve been able to spot several of these ‘boys,’ as they chow on our beans & corn. Which is nice to watch, however, not so good for our feed next year. Do you know what kind of ‘boys’ I’m talking about yet? Let’s see…
He’s not my favorite one or the biggest but I’d defenetly settle for him as my first kill. This year will be my second or third time hunting deer. Once Willis & Pudder lit up our lives, I decided to stay out of the stand and just be mama in the camper. This year has been an epiphany for Willis who is suddenly addicted to going hunting and staying in our ‘sky cabin.’ Prior to this year he was too afraid to crawl up the 14 foot ladder – he’s been there once last month and wants to go back just as soon as possible.
And, this will hopefully be Pickle’s first year hunting. For his birthday & early Christmas present he received his first 20 gauge. Between my work load and school volunteer responsibilities, football, Cub Scouts, housework, the house renovation and outside work, I’ve had a shortage of time to get both of us enrolled into a hunter safety course. Ok, simply put, I’ve not stop to take the time. In my defense it’s been hard to schedule around football practice & games.
***Side note: How do some of these women have time to maintain successful blogs, home school, be business women and mamas all at the same time?***
Anyway, this time I may have blew it & we might not make our hunter safety coursework. Tomorrow, I hope to know for sure. Pickle has decided he’ll miss his last game to go through the course this coming Sat. From what I understand the state doesn’t require the class but it’s always been my rule that the boys complete hunter safety prior to hunting. And, I’m not budging on the rule.
So there you have it….all of **MY** Boys of Fall!!