Posts tagged “kids

Tuesday’s Top Ten…What to do on a snow day?

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!

Mr. Laidback...The Horizontal Snowman

#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!!

This is a pic from our last major snow storm.

***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!!

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Extra-curricular or Farmopoly?

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.

Look at how serious he is...at age 6 he won a radio interview, family tickets and opportunity to throw the first pitch out during a minor league baseball game. All because he said he wanted to be Albert Pujols when he grows up.

They LOVED swim lessons...too bad we didn't have enough time to take a second session.

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?

This was one of the best Christmas gifts ever! We've spent more quality time together and the kids are learning to watch their money...otherwise, Big Daddy's gonna take it and your farm too!

Yes, I choose to be the cow, what else would I choose, the pig?  I'm stuck in the drought (instead of jail).  Such a fun game!


Forget-me-not Flower Arranging at 4-H

So last night was Pickle’s monthly 4-H meeting and I left the evening yearning to be a young 4-H’er again.  Pickle choose his club because it was his daddy’s…which I think is pretty sweet.  The club meets in a nearby town, out of our school district, where my hubby grew up.  I lived there for 2 years but have lost touch with many friends.  We are both meeting new people and I’m re-connecting with old acquaintances.  Last night, while riding in the fanciest semi-tractor he’s even seen, he finally got to know his first two ‘friends.’   Yay!

The meeting was called to order, treasurer’s report, minutes, etc…then came the demonstrations.  The boys went first since they were headed out to see the semi.  The first little guy made electricity from a potato…way neat!  The next demonstration was the ice breaker to one of Pickle’s new friendships.  A demonstration about firearms.  I’ve never seen the boy so focused and attentive.  (At the last meeting his other new friend did a demonstration about trapping…a rapport was immediately built.)  Then the guys took off and the girls stayed behind to hear one more demonstration from a little gal who was making brownies.  My mind began wandering and reminiscing.  The club to which I belonged was all girls.  Lots of demonstrations on baking, quilting, sewing, knitting, arts and crafts, etc…  One of the best ever that I think about often as I bake, giggling as I go, was a how NOT to do a demonstration on baking cookies.

Two girls worked together…one demonstrating the proper way to bake – hair tied back, hands washed, ingredients prepared, recipe in hand, correct measuring utensils, etc…  The next demonstrator had dirty hands, hair dangling in the batter, chomping on some gum which was then accidentally dropped it in the batter.  The gum was picked up followed by digging a dirty finger into the batter for a taste test.  Yum-no!  The final scene had the audience rolling when she ‘borrowed’ (without asking) baking soda from the other gal.   As they fought over the box, it opened sending soda flying everywhere, some landing in the bowl, a puff in the air and an unrehearsed covering of the ‘not-so-proper’ baker’s face.  I was hilarious!  (If I don’t say so myself.)   We had a blast doing that demonstration!  I had a blast in 4-H and credit those years for the person I am today.

Now, back to reality…the brownie demonstration came to a close and it was announced that a local florist would be teaching the girls about flower arranging…my heart went pitter-patter.  I had forgotten how much I love to arrange flowers.  A little known fact you probably don’t know about me is that in college I took a semester course on flower arranging.  It came in very handy for our wedding.  I did the arrangements for the reception.  If only I could master growing the flowers.

I’m no green thumb…in fact, I’m more of your purple, black and pink thumb variety that’s been hit by a hammer.  I pretend to be a gardener who designs beautiful landscaping around my matching wrap around porch and home.  If you’ve talked to my neighbors, you’ll understand why I should just stick to arranging the flowers and not growing them.

So many choices of colors and textures.

After watching the florist make up a couple different arrangements, each girl made their own.  As I watched the girls go crazy over the flowers it made REALLY want to have a little girl.  It was so much fun to see them squealing with delight.  Unfortunately, the meeting did need to come to an end.  What better way to conclude the workshop with the throwing of a wedding bouquet!  What fun we had!  The girls left with smiles on their faces and an arrangement in their hands.

I left running for the truck so I could get home and look online for open floral assistant positions.  You, know, in my free time.

Oh, and the boys had a great time too.  :0)


A Day In the Life – Realizing Self-Worth

****I did it!! My DITL is finished…finally!! Yay!  I’ve even had time to proof and make corrections. :0) ****

When I saw the DITL exercise Lacy at Tatum Tales proposed, I was a bit hesitant.  Is my life really busy or exciting enough to journal and capture on film from minute to minute?  Will anyone really read it?  Forcing past my skepticism I decided to go for it…what did I have to lose?  So here it goes…

Tuesday, November 16th

6:15am:  I look at my alarm clock and realize Pickle is standing at the bed.  I jump up “Wake-up! We’re late!”.  In general, it’s unusual for the boys to ride the bus everyday at 6:50am.  As hard as we try it’s almost impossible to get to bed on time at 7:30 pm.  So I give in and allow them to sleep for as long as possible.  In the long run it saves me grief.  Unfortunately, on this morning, driving to school isn’t an option.  Our crew cab truck broke down yesterday while my hubby was returning from a trip to Iowa.  My brother is unable to look at it until later this week.  So my only mode of transportation is our bench seat 1994 Ford which will only seat Pudder and one of the older boys.

6:25am: Willis FINALLY gets up and out of bed.  Pickle has eaten, brushed his teeth and is working on feeding the dogs.

6:40am: Willis FINALLY (are you seeing a trend?) has a portion of his clothes on and brushed his teeth (I think).   Still hasn’t made it down the stairs.  Pudder is awake and adding to the madness.  Pickle has finished feeding the dogs but realizes he is missing part of his homework.

6:45am: Time to go down to the end of our lane and meet the bus.  Willis has yet to eat.  At this point I’m dressing him – something I strongly encourage he takes ownership and do himself.  While I’m helping him get his pants on followed by socks (which he’s not doing willingly) and then his shoes; he’s eating his yogurt. Pickle is helping Pudder get his coat and shoes on.  In the end, the shoes never really make it on his feet.  Oh, well…pick your battles.

6:48am:  We must go down or we will miss the bus because our driver will not see us heading down.

6:50am:  A call to 911 comes in about some crazy woman who’s wearing her house coat and slippers with a scarf wrapped around her waist and neck.  She’s running in circles, yelling and screaming and running around some more, yelling at her oldest son “run down to the bus…no wait jump in the truck…no, stop, go…run boy, run!” (he followed those directions to a T, poor kid).  In the same breath she’s telling her middle son to get in the truck while carrying her toddler by his bibs.  Luckily, the 911 call didn’t really happen but the rest is pretty darn close to being true.

6:51am:  The bus is here.  Pickle is walking across the highway to get on the bus.  Willis and I are turning in circles trying to get his backpack on the right arm while he frantically eats his toast and puts on his gloves.  By now, the bus driver is rolling out of the door she’s laughing so hard.  Ok, so she stayed in her seat but from what I could see,  she was near tears.  I really think we would have had a strong chance at winning America’s Funniest Videos.

6:52am:   There goes the bus…the boys are on their way to school.  And, no I have ZERO pictures from this part of our morning.

6:55am:  I collapse from exhaustion.  Then Pudder asks for milk.  Which reminds me that we’re almost out and it’s grocery day! And, I haven’t finished my list yet.  I check the reusable refrigerator list.

Hmmm, not much on the list...1/2 of the items are things I buy online. Ugh! Shopping is seriously a task I dread!

After the shopping list I bath, put on my face, dress to shoes and make our bed.

Yes, that's a lump in my bed and yes, it's alive. You know it's cold out when the dogs stay under the covers even as the bed is made. It'll be a mess before 8am. BUT, let it be known that I tried!!

In the meantime, Pudder eats his breakfast.  Need, coffee, now!!

Kind of funny that I couldn’t get WordPress to edit this photo and flip it correctly because this is what life looks like until I drink my coffee! LOL!

7:30am:  Reboot laundry and dishwasher.  Pudder decides to start becoming fussy and won’t let go of my leg.

I decide to give him a little pain reliever…he seems to be chewing on a lot of things and still hasn’t had his 2 yr molars peek through.

7:45am:  He’s calmed down a bit so I continue with my planned routine.  Over the weekend, I vacuumed upstairs in preparation for  carpet cleaning today.   Our room isn’t that bad.  The boys ‘ room is BAD.

 

Pudder dumped a glass of Willis’ Gatorade all over the floor.  He also go a hold of a marker last week and while giving Willis his nighttime allergy medicine we dumped the spoon, leaving a large portion on the floor.  Nice and sticky, just the way I like it!

****UPDATE!!****

I forgot to add that during this time I also swished and swiped the upstairs bathroom and played a game of peek-a-boo behind the shower curtain.  See below…

 

A little swish and swipe. Excuse the painters tape...still renovating!

Peek-a-boo!

8:30am:  With the carpet finished, we pack the truck with our re-usable grocery sacks, plastic sacks which need to be taken to recycling and empty water jugs to be filled at my in-laws.

8:45:  We leave and head for the farm to fill up on water.  On our way we see this enormous cloud of black smoke.

9am: We arrive at the farm to fill the water jugs and catch up on what’s been going on…who’s calved, not calved, family Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc… I picked up some nuts that fell off their Walnut tree.  We’ll take them to my grandpa so he can feed his squirrels.

9:30am:  We’ve spent too much time chatting away and there isn’t enough time for shopping and driving back and forth to town.  Curiosity gets the best of me and I decide to locate the fire which continues to bellow black smoke into the eastern sky.  At the same time Pudder takes his morning nap.

10:00am: I finally find the fire.  The source is/was a beautiful horse barn/stables.  I was told all of the horses escaped but that at first the fire was so hot they couldn’t get close to it.   They anticipated a total loss.  I later spoke to my mom and she had been there before.  She said it was a beautiful, one-of-a-kind facility with an air-conditioned and heater arena.  So sad!

Before the fire, the barn had been visible from this viewpoint.

10:20am:  Time to head home and pick up Willis from the bus.

10:35am: Picked-up the mail and unload the Cub Scout popcorn we loaded the day before.  It needs to be sorted and delivered.  Checked on the livestock, let the dogs out, grabbed some snacks, drinks and pottytime.

10:56: The bus arrives and drops Willis off & away we go on our shopping trip.  A mile down the road we see this…

We stayed and watched this doe and buck for a few minutes then moved on…very nice rack.

11:40am:  Arrive at Aldi’s for the first half of our shopping.  I had two fantastic little helpers!

12:05pm:  We drive thru Mickey D’s and grab some lunch.

Willis shows off his new Happy Meal toy!

12:15pm:  Arrive at Wally World for some quick mega-shopping.  I threw the boys into a cart with their food and away we went.

While at Walmart…

I'm going bananas!! My kid is obsessed with them. Even though we had just purchased a bunch at Aldi's he had to have more. They each are given the change to pick one small item. Pudder chose a "banabala."

Look mama! Opples! Can I have one? Oopps, I dropped it!

Your welcome brother! Good thing Willis was there to play 'catcher.' I was beginning to see images of apples everywhere.

They just HAD to have their picture taken in front of the tree.

Willis' item was chap stick...I was glad he made that choice...his lips have been so dry lately.

Tough lesson, not yet learned. We keep telling Willis that these machines are designed to NOT pick up an animal and that it's a scam. He just keeps on trying and trying and trying. At least this machine is only 50 cents and its HIS money.

The boys have three envelopes for their money. Spend, save and give. Willis chose to give to the Salvation Army this week. I'm a proud mama!!

And finally,

See ya next week! Such good helpers!!

1:45pm:  Time to head home…I’m exhausted.  Might have to stop by McD’s again for a hot Mocha coffee.

2: 30pm:  We arrive home, unload the groceries, get ready for snack time and the arrival of Pickle who gets off the bus around 3pm.  We also try on Laci’s new coat.

"Does it make my butt look too big mama?"

3:15pm: Time for Pickle to do homework.

He is working on using more emotion as he tells the story.

With a 50 min. bus ride home he usually is able to complete his math. Then it's my job to check for corrections.

Once his homework was done Pickle turned in 10 buttons to play on the Wii.

Then it was time to sort the Cub Scout popcorn.

Everything is accounted for, now we need to label and organize by town.

Next we did chores. Our female duck laid 15 eggs however, some are turning black and are more than likely are rotten. Since this is our first experience with hatching ducklings, we took one egg out to the middle of the pasture and broke it open. It was the worst thing I've ever smelled. We ended up with 6 eggs left after throwing out the black ones.

Cracking open one of the black/grey eggs...Yuck!! DO NOT do this at home!

Next, we fed the steers, chickens, ducks and goats, then it was time to collect eggs. Only 7 tonight. Then we gave a couple hay cakes to the steers. With the cold weather here they are relying more and more on the hay.

4:40pm:  We had a little downtime.  I did a little work on a website and logo while the boys played and my hubby browsed through his cookbooks.

6pm:   Mama/Son night for Pickle and I!!  We started the evening by attending a fund raiser called Community Claus.  It’s a spaghetti supper held at a local church…homemade spaghetti sauce and garlic bread…yum, yum, yum!!  The monies raised are given to members of our communities, who are in need this holiday season.  Following the supper we went across the street to the grade school for our annual Family Reading Night program.

I forgot to take pics while at the Spaghetti Supper so before we ran to the school I had him “pose” in front of the Christmas tree. He ended up winning one of the door prizes!!

6:45pm:  Family Reading Night begins! It was an interesting an entertaining program which began with a unique Laser Show promoting literacy.  Here are a couple of pictures I was able to snap…

Pickle was picked from the audience to help explain what the word laser means. Who know, LASER is actual an acronym! You learn something new everyday!

Promoting AVID readers through asking questions, visualizing, interpreting and deciding. Throughout the presentation there were laser shows choreographed to popular songs. Our neighbor girl who sat behind us was really rockin' it out...especially to the Taylor Swift song! Too cute! Too bad it was dark and I couldn't get her pic. She was adorable!

This is Sponge Bob!!

7:30pm:  I LOVE our school because all of the teachers and staff are so dedicated.  This year our PTO teamed up with the village library and everyone received a free book and goodie bag as they left.  It was a nice touch to a great evening!

8:10pm:  Arrive home…Can I pretty please change into my jammies and relax??  The other two boys weren’t asleep yet so there was some tucking in that was warranted before I could change.  We did “Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite,” said our ‘love yous’ and to sleep my precious boys went.  Pickle in his new room, Willis back in his old bed which leaves Pudder in….our bed!  Something I swore I’d never let happen again.  Pickle slept with us for his first 3  1/4 years.  It’s so hard to move him back to his own bed…you never want them to grow up, but grow up they do.

9pm:  Time to change and go to sleep…NOT!  Actually 8pm on is usually my work time.  So I’m late for work!  Hope the boss isn’t too hard on me. LOL!  I’m working with two new clients and one of my longtime clients.  She sells retail so this is the busiest time of the year.  There is much preparation to do before Black Friday.  At the same time I try to get a little laundry done so we aren’t running around in our birthday suits tomorrow!  I’m not sure if I have enough energy to climb Mount Washmore but I’ll give it my best!

Midnight:  I’ve had enough and can’t keep my eyes open…off to dreamland!

I LOVED doing this activity!  I only wish I would have had enough time to write all in one sitting, work comes first.  I’m blessed to have work at this time of year, especially when it is slowing down for my hubby.  So I can’t complain, and I appreciate everyone for being patient.  I hope there was something during that famous November day that has helped you or enlightened or made you giggle!

The most important lesson I learned is that I’m important…very, very IMPORTANT.  It cracks me up that I thought I wouldn’t have enough to write about and with the exception of our night out, it was actually a slow day in comparison to most.  I also learned that I’m not doing enough playing with my kids.  I’m thankful for Lacy who forced me upon my will, kicking and screaming (no, not really) to participate.  It truly has forced me to realize my self-worth.  If you didn’t have a chance to participate I encourage you to post your own DITL…oh, and be sure to leave a comment if you do…then I can come take a peak into your world!

Happy Monday!


Spooky Spider Cake…overcoming my fear of spiders?

All three of our boys have birthdays near one another.  This has it’s pros and cons.  Do you have two friend parties?  Two family parties?  Do you do it all together?  Separate?  Last year for Pickle & Willis’ we decided to have a joint family birthday party.  Willis had yet to establish a group of friends so that wasn’t an issue.  Pickle had a friend party and then shared a joint family party with Willis.  Since the birthdays are in the fall we decided to throw a Halloween themed party.

I love to pretend I can decorate cakes…I’m horrible.  My hubby has done an amazing Dinosaur cake and an outstanding John Deere tractor.  This time I wanted to give it another try.  One of the magazines I subscribe to is Disney’s Family Fun magazine.  They have great ideas!  When I received the Oct. issue I was immediately drawn to a white frosting cake with a black spider.

Ok, so spiders are one of those fears I’m attempting to conquer but the cake looked really cool.  The coolest part was the shiny sprinkles which are used to ‘draw’ the spider.  After our shopping trip to find these special sprinkles, we referred to the magazine which sent us to Family Fun’s website for a downloaded template of the spider.  Willis & I began by using a box cake mix to create the cake & allowed it to cool overnight.  Then frosted with white frosting, placed the template we printed from Family Fun and went to work as fast as possible before the frosting set up.

Willis helping make the Spooky Spider Cake

Although it was challenging to keep the sprinkles within the template Pickle & I had a great time decorating.  For a final touch we mixed Wilton’s black paste with some leftover frosting & lined the top and bottom edges with a Pampered Chef star applicator.

I’m still no where near the gourmet cake decorator I wish I could be but the final product wasn’t too shabby.  Don’t tell, but from time to time I sneak in a pat on the back to keep my confidence up.  And, who can deny the big step I took in decorating a cake with a SPIDER!?!  Which by the way are everywhere I turn.  Probably my least favorite part of fall.

If you get a chance, take a look at Family Fun’s website.  They offer so much!


Two out of Three Kids Agree!!

I’m so proud right now!!  For years and years and years I’ve tried growing green beans and peas.   Every year they would undoubtedly fail but try, try again I did!  This year my green beans took off & I have a crop!  At first I thought I’d only get a few and that was enough of a victory for me.  Then they kept on budding and growing.  We picked the first time about two weeks ago and I had enough for one meal.  After eating canned, store bought green beans these were honey to our taste buds.  Even two out of three kids agreed, mom’s beans were much better than those ugly, gross green things she shoves down our throats! Willis has been a picky eater since he was two…the doctor said it’d be a phase he’d grow out of…I guess I forgot to ask when!

On Friday, little Pudder and I headed out to the 93 degree/113 heat index weather and picked again – before you judge, at the time I had no idea it was really that hot.  I’m starting to wonder if my iron counts are depleting again or maybe the Magic FarmHouse has given me a delightful power to endure heat.   Pudder didn’t seem to mind and wasn’t hurt in anyway and the little trip to the garden resulted in some cherished memories.

It was a rewarding experience as we began to pick.  The moments quickly turned entertaining as Pudder, asserted himself and decided he would be mama’s helper.  I was picking beans from one side of the row and he started picking leaves.  To change position and reach beans on each side, I straddled the row.  All of a sudden I was stopped in my path as he ran in front of me, lifted his leg and attempted to walk with the row between his legs.  The plants are about half his height so this was amusing to say the least.

Noticing the process wasn’t very effective I began picking the beans and making him a pile next to the row – my subtle way of giving him something to do.  To my surprise he left his position which looked similar to a cowboy riding an over-sized bull and began picking up the beans, taking them to the bucket and dumping them in.  Score!!

These are fun times!  We finished the row and took our loot inside.  I’m estimating a total of 3 quarts give or take a few.  I LOVE to eat raw green beans…I know I’m a weirdo!  It’s times like this that I should be called a Backwards Mama! LOL!

It’s sad to see how fast the summer is coming to an end.  Even so, I love this time of year.  It’s a time when you can harvest the seeds you’ve sowed and worked so hard to nurture throughout the spring and summer.  Or, fall, I just planted my pumpkins, zucchini and cucumbers about two weeks ago but that’s another story for another day.

Now, where did my salsa recipe go??  The tomatoes are going to be next….


Reality Strikes

For the benefit of my kids I try to keep track of the day and date.  Usually the day of the week more than the date.  The weekend is when Daddy is home so the days of the week are important.

Today reality hit like a lightening bolt.  This is the last week at home with my kids before school starts.  My mom called and asked if they could spend the night during the week before school starts.  I said “Sure!”  And, as any mom would, I brought out my calendar that I briefly look at once or twice a week (sorry FlyLady!)  That’s when it hit.  We leave for State Fair a week from tomorrow.  It’s our annual workcation at the Illinois State Fair where we show our beautiful Jerseys! The choices for a sleepover with Grandma were bleak but we’ve managed to set a date.

And, now I’m sitting here in shock, reviewing all of the goals I had set for our summer.  Where did the time go?  I wanted to paint the shed, finish painting the porch, paint the bathroom, sand and paint our welcome fence, sanding and re-staining a new/re-used dining room table, sew curtains for the kitchen, canning, taking the kids to the pool on a regular basis – I BOMBED on that one.

I managed to get the kids to swim lessons every morning for two weeks, we took a day trip to the St. Louis Zoo, Pickle went to Cub Scout camp & several weeks of baseball, Willis went to VBS.  But none of my other goals were accomplished.  I wonder why??  Oh, that’s right, I have three kids who are boys and Mount Washmore waiting at the steps of my mudroom.  That’s Life!

I need to plan something special for this week…off to look for ideas.

Happy Tuesday!


Our First Heat Related Fatality

Like much of the country, we’ve been under a heat advisory off and on for several weeks.  Yesterday, the heat index topped out at 108.    Around noon I drove the mower down to the sheds to check on water levels.  The chickens are panting and walking around with their wings open but everyone was alive and well.  I went around the fence checking for weeds that might be grounding out the electric fence.  I stopped once and pulled a few then headed to the house.  Just in that short amount of time, without any physical exertion, my clothes could have be wrung out and the sweat poured into a tall glass.

When I went down in the evening I started as usual by first feeding the steers their milk buckets.  While they slurp their supper I walk fast to get their feed ready.  As I started to get the feed out I noticed one of the chickens laying in front of the nesting boxes. When it’s hot they tend to dig themselves a little hole in the ground and sit with their breasts in the dirt in an effort to to cool off – although in front of the boxes was an unusual place.  Without a clear view I was uncertain of what was going on and had a bad feeling about things.  At that point, with all the milk devoured,  the calves were attacking me.  I got them under control so I could enter the chicken side of the shed.  Instead of laying breast down the chicken was on it’s side and dead.  I picked it up and managed to get myself out of the pen before being mugged.  It was one of my hubby’s grandma’s birds so it was probably fairly old.  I’m just glad it wasn’t a young one!

I brought it out of the shed and started to walk out of the pen when Willis saw it.  Here was the conversation…

Willis: What are you doing with that chicken mom?

Me: Well, honey, it died so I need to get it out of the shed.

Willis exclaims with joy:  Oh, good, can we eat it now??

Such a sensitive child…NOT.

Try to stay cool where ever you all are located & drink plenty of water!


Country Kids + Duct Tape = Redneck Water Slide

It’s been so hot and humid around here staying cool has been difficult to say the least.  Our electric bill jumped substantially last month so we’ve increased the thermostat to 82.  The slip ‘n slide was helpful but the kids kept begging for a pool.  During last week’s shopping trip I gave in and purchased a blow-up alligator shaped pool.

Each morning following chores, we try to empty, clean out and refill the pool early.  If we get it done early the water is usually a great temp by the afternoon.  One thing that always stays cool is the well water!  Well, on this particular day we didn’t get out early enough for the water to warm up.

Born creative and ‘redneckish’, the kid’s created a way to stay cool without submerging themselves in the cold pool.  What’s the next best thing to a cold pool?  Creating a Water Slide by duct taping the hose to the swing set slide, of course!

What will they think of next?  Maybe I should start a list uses for duct tape?!?


The Saga Continues – There are hardly words

Do you know what this is?  This is my birdbath converted for safety purposes.  With a 20 month old boy I felt that taking the bath portion of the birdbath down off the pedestal would be the safe thing to do.  It was working just fine.  You’ll notice there isn’t just water in there though.

Apparently the raccoons don’t find the humor in having some crazy lady running after them with a hotdog roasting fork.  My friends, this additional mass of mush laying in the birdbath is ‘coon poop!!!!!!

There will be revenge….