Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Letter to Logan

ALWAYS DO YOUR OWN WORK. 
                   ALWAYS TRY YOUR BEST. 
                                  AND YOU CAN BE PROUD! 


Dear Logan,
Logan and his Pinewood Derby Car.
He took pride and designed his own car.
He placed 5th out of 7 and he was
thrilled! As he should be!! I am so PROUD!
I want you to know how proud I am that you are so driven to succeed! You always want to try things and you always want to be GREAT at them. I want you to know that you will not always be the best, but as long as you tried and gave it your all, then you have everything to be proud of!


When I ask if you want to try something new, you are always the first to say YES, weather it be a new food or a sport or a game or project or schoolwork. You jump right in and give it your best shot at first. Sometimes, well a lot of times, you can get frustrated very easy when at first you don't succeed. But as you mature, you are learning that it takes patients and practice to get better at anything! And you are learning that encouragement is not criticism. This has been a large learning curve for both you and us, but we are learning and growing together and I am so happy with the young man you are growing into and I know that your drive and passion will lead you far in life. Always remember to think for yourself and try things yourself. Never let others take away your creativity or dull your passion. 


We LOVE You and will always be here to support you and encourage you!








video

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Always on the Hunt

Like I mentioned in my last post, I am very organized, or so I like to think I am. BUT I am ALWAYS on the hint to find better and more effective ways to organize our life, my house, my wallet, my car, etc. I said to my sister in law a while back that I would really like a place to hang the kids artwork, but I didn't know where to do it in our house and I was not sure exactly what I wanted to do anyway. (For those of you that know my kiddos, all 4 LOVE artwork, so we have TONS between school and home!) Well, for my birthday she got me these. They are picture frames that open and you can change out the artwork. You can layer and just keep older pieces behind or they have the ability to display 3D artwork too! Pretty Neat. I found the perfect spot in the kitchen/ sunroom where I can see the artwork all the time, but it doesn't look like a kids gallery has exploded all over my walls. It looks sophisticated!

Artwork frames



BUT I needed space to hang up more…I do have 4 kids! And I was still having a hard time deciding what I wanted to do. But then while at Art Class this week I noticed pictures hanging on the wall with clothespins. And a lightbulb went off in my head. I thought, "I can so that!" So I did. I crazy glued thumbtacks onto clothespins and then just put them up on the wall. They make a minuscule hole and are easily movable deepening on what I am trying to hang up. I did this downstairs in the playroom near the art area; where I don't mind it looking like a Kids Art Gallery Exploded…in fact, it adds to the character. This is also where we hung our Crayon Art from a couple of weeks ago.

Melina's painting of a rainbow, butterflies and
her and Jesus eating chocolate!














Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Living with a perfectionist over-organized neurotic mom

Michael and I both like things to be organized and we are very driven for success. This is a good quality in some ways, but it may eventually lead to my downfall though as I think, "It will just be easier if I do it." Such as coach a Sports Team, Boy Scouts, Playgroup, you get the picture.  I do very much enjoy doing these things (and the time they give me with my kiddos) and they tend to feed my craving for creating order in the world, BUT when is it to much? Right now I feel like I have the best of both worlds and my balance is in check. But just the other day I said to Michael, "If they need a Boy Scout leader for next year I might do it, because I am not happy with the way things are going right now. It is to unorganized and there is so much more the boys can be getting out of this." He reminded me that there is more involved though. I know, I know….

Right now my kids LOVE to say, "Mommy is my coach/leader." And I love that at this age they still take pride in that. They are also getting to the age where they say "thank you" unprompted after a fun outing or playing a game, etc. GOSH THAT MAKES ME FEEL GREAT!! And they know that we do these things and spend our time for them!

As the kids get older, life only gets crazier. We have multiple things on the same day in different locations. I really can not imagine what life will be like in 3 more years…. When I said this to Michael this morning his response was, "That's encouraging" (said very sarcastically!). So I feel like I need to come to terms with how much is enough and to let some things go…as hard as that will be. I will still be coach or leader etc. but I can not do it for EVERYTHING!!

I am so happy with the time I get to sound with my kids and today Logan brought home this letter, which brought tears to my eyes. This is why I do it!!!

…more about how my "disorder" has effected my kids later…that is another whole conversation!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Pumpkin Scones

These are super easy, 
fast and most of all DELICIOUS!!!


PUMPKIN SCONES

INGREDIENTS
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon 6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons half-and-half **

1 large egg
Icing (optional)
** I never have half and half on hand, so I just melt about 1/2 T butter and add milk to equal the whole amount called for.
DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or flour your sheet; set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with fit the paddle attachment, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and pie spice. Add the butter and mix on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with the butter pieces no larger than small peas.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, half-and-half and egg. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mix until dough  forms into a ball. Pat out dough onto baking sheet and make about a 12" circle. Use a large knife to slice the dough making equal portions.  Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until light brown. 
If you want to ice them do it when they are hot so the icing melts into a glaze. You won't need much icing to gaze them.



ENJOY!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

3 Things...

There are 3 things in my parenting adventures so far that I have found 
equally as 
REWARDING as they are FRUSTRATING!

They are in no particular order...
  1. Potty Training…do we really need to talk about this? 
  2. Teaching your child to Read - There is nothing better than listening to your child read you a story, that is except maybe seeing them cuddled up reading a story to a younger sibling. Melts my heart… BUT they only get there if you don't strangle them first when they are stuck on the same word they just read the sentence before. Or if you make it out of the conversation that goes like this, "No, try again, that's not the word." "It has to be xxxx." "No, that's not it." "YES, it is xxxx…really, there is NO OTHER OPTIONS!!!" "NO, THAT IS NOT THE WORD!!!!" "YES IT IS!!!!!!!!" Ahhhhhhhh…….. Sometimes you have to call it quits for the day and try again tomorrow! But after all the frustration it does click…eventually!! For those of you who have not gotten here yet, just trust me! Try to keep your patients, but if you can't or they can't STOP and come back to it later!
  3. Family Dinner Time - We try to eat dinner as a family every night. And I usually cook a full meal 6 nights a week. It is GREAT to all sit down and talk about our day. I love asking the kids, "What was your favorite thing at school today?" And they LOVE answering that question and it leads to good conversation. All fine and dandy and GREAT! That is until someone decided to share a funny dance they did at school and stands up to show everyone and then everyone else wants to stand up and then someone says a potty word and then everyone is saying potty words, which leads to fake burping…well you get the picture. Things can go from calm and nice to hysterics and you don't even know what hit you! And then there is the "Eat your dinner…" "Please, eat your dinner." "No more drinking." "Pick up your FORK, don't use your fingers." My blood pressure is rising just writing this. My boys are GREAT eaters…my girls, another story…. 
So there you have it. My TOP 3. 

Someday they will all sit and eat like civilized adults, not pee in there pants, and be able to read the newspaper…RIGHT???

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A little of this and that

This morning we decided to try a new recipe for granola bars. We have been making the Playgroup Granola Bars from Allrecipes for quiet some time. They are delicious!! But I thought I would try something new…mix it up a bit. So we made these Pumpkin Granola Bars.
Meeka loves to cook even more than watch Mickey
Mouse…which is saying a lot!
    1.                           
    1.                                They turned out moist and delicious according to the kids.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Yield: 10-12 granola bars
Cook Time: 30-35 minutes

ingredients:

3 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup applesauce
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 by 8 baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk oats, spices, and salt together. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, honey, and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour over oats and stir well, until all of the oats are moist. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. Evenly press oat mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. The pumpkin keeps the bars moist, so make sure they are golden and set-you don't want them to be under baked. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
5. Using a sharp knife, cut into bars. Remove from pan and let cool completely.


Craft Time

Yesterday after Roller Skating, I was in a crafty mood for some reason. I should have been reading my book club book or cleaning the house or organizing closets or something on my mile long To-Do List…but something inside me was calling me to let it go and just be crafty? Who knows….

We started by making a Crayon Art Picture. This is all over Pintrest and one of the first things I pinned way back when, and I finally got around to try it. 


All the crayons glued on before we started
melting them.
Logan laid out the color scheme and we hot glued then together.


And then we took it to the garage and used the hair dryer to melt the crayons. It only took about 5 minutes and our final project came out great!






Logan decided that he really wants to make one for his teacher. So after school we are having Arts and Crafts time again.
The final product.

 While Logan and I were doing are crayon art, Melina was doing some mosaic art that she got for Christmas from Aunt Shendy.Since the package came with 2 canvases and we have no patients at our house we had to use it RIGHT AWAY to create something else. So we got some painters tape and Logan "taped out" this pattern.
All ready for paint.

Then we were off to the garage again and we spray painted the canvas gold. After 30 minutes we took of the tape and we got this! 

The Final product.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Roller Skating

I took the kiddos Roller Skating today since they were out of school. We had our ups and downs (literally!) and learned a lot from our first visit to this skate rink. Like NEVER EVER let the skate helpers that you rented for $5.00 leave your eyesight. Both of ours got stolen. Talk about 1 frustrated mama!! And I didn't know that I could walk on the skate rink in shoes and help them. So I paid admission for myself and skate rental, so there is $10 that I didn't need to spend. But oh well, you live and learn. 
Seriously…Have you ever seen anything cuter? 
This is where it started and stopped for Meeka though. She was not so sure about skating. She was very content to watch the disco balls and dance to the music though.

On the other hand Logan and Melina did GREAT! 
Check out these short clips of them skating.

video video

I think we will be back. This was fun! 
When we left Melina said she wants to have a Roller Skating Birthday Party…we'll see about that….

Friday, January 13, 2012

 




ART CLASS was a smashing success all around!!



Can you tell they liked to paint?
    

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My girls LOVE to take pictures, Meeka especially. I feel like I am always downloading 2 "real" pictures and 20 pictures of someone's foot or some other random thing. Maybe I should enroll them in a photography class now and they will become rich and famous and support their mama!

Here are some of Meeka's recent masterpieces. 





Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Surprise!

Melina has waited and waited and waited to bring home the Surprise Box from school and she finally got it yesterday…she was the very last person to bring it home. The idea is you have to put something in the box (preferably NOT a toy) and then think of 3 clues and take it to school. Then you tell the class your clues and see if they can guess.

Melina loves butterflies, so she wanted to do something with butterflies and since she is my craft girl, we got craft yesterday afternoon. We filled her Surprise Box with Butterflies for the class. It was a lot of fun!!

Making her butterflies


Cheese Ball Butterflies!

Her clues. I helped her come up with the flower one and she came up with the other two on her own.

Her class did guess what was inside, but I don't think they guessed that they would each get one!

Monday, January 2, 2012

A year in review

Thinking back on 2011 we had ups and downs and a lot changes... And boy have we grown! I was thinking back about this time last year and really what a difference a year makes. Last year I was living by myself in Athens with all 4 kids (which I did for almost 9 months), while Michael was in Dayton living in a small box of a hotel room. We saw each other every other weekend. Life was a blur…when people ask me how I did it, I can honestly say, I have no idea…I just did because I had to. I took all 4 to the grocery store or hired a sitter….you do what you gotta do. But I was starting to get to the end of my ropes. I was worn out physically and emotionally. All I wanted for the new year was to sell our house and be together as a family again. I wanted a fresh start in a new city.

Some of his 2010 Christmas legos he built last January.


Last year I had a enthusiastic and fun boy who loved to draw and build legos and was learning to read. He loved kindergarten and was excelling academically, but was struggling socially. He left for school every day saying he was going to try his best; and I sat on pins and needles all day long wondering how his day would be. It was no fun for either of us!!         
 






Melina's favorite princess is Snow White!
My little Melina wanted to go to school so bad last year, but since I knew we were going to be moving I did not send her to preschool. She spent her days doing art projects and playing games and learning to be her own person while her big brother was off to school all day every day!













She found the shaving cream….

And then there was Meeka….last year at this time she was only 20 months. That is hard to believe!! She loved her little brother and mischief!! She got into EVERYTHING and still does!!! She was not saying much of anything last year besides mama and dada and this and that. She babbled, but nothing that was understandable. She missed her daddy. A LOT. Meeka was daddy's girl!













Carson loved the jumparoo!
Carson was a smiley happy go lucky baby of 5 months last January. He loved to hang out and watch his brother and sister. He was not yet sleeping through the night though, so either was mommy! I miss the baby stage…a stage which I will never experience again…but I don't miss not sleeping through the night!