Monday, February 27, 2012

Games, games, games

We are a game loving family! I remember playing Candy Land on the coffee table with Logan when he was 3 and Melina was a baby and now Melina plays too and Meeka is also starting to take interest and actually take a turn and follow the rules as well! We played Trouble the other night and it was challenge though to keep Carson off the board and to keep Meeka's attention and patience for the entire game and I kept thinking that I can't wait until everyone can play games. It will be so much FUN! For now we play while the little ones are napping or after they are in bed, but one day
Family Game Night will be BIG in our house.

Some of our favorites right now are:
(They change frequently…as you can see we have A Lot of Games!)

Melina: Zingo, Sequence for Kids, Candy Land, Scavenger Hunt, Silly Faces, Cootie, Scooby Doo Match

Logan: Monopoly, Chess, Trouble, Connect 4, Battleship, Quirkle, Sorry!

We have also had some game fails.
Some failures in my opinion have been: Jump O Frogio (although the little ones think it is hilarious when the frog "jumps"), Honey Bee Tree, Pinkalicious, Ned's Head (But the kids do like this one.)

We have also been enjoying the WII we got as family for Christmas. We really only play WII Resort Sports since their are so many options for games and they all are physical so it keeps the kids loving in the winter! We have had some rousing games of bowling and jousting and basketball!

Melina went through a phase where her puppy Mirabelle
had to play everything with her. And by that I mean Mirabelle
had her own turn even!

We have to take pictures of the monopoly game because we can
not get 1 game in during a nap time since they are epic games.

The kids love the new scavenger hunt game they got for Christmas.
I like that the final round is Captain Cleanup!

Friday, February 24, 2012

What do you do….

When you have a day at home with nothing to do? 

We don't often have this, but today we were forced to because my car was in the shop and we don't have another car that will fit our crew. It was nice to have a low key day. We made cookies for my basketball team since tomorrow is the last game. We played doctor, sword fought a lot (we even had a history lesson from Logan while we played Revolutionary War), did some puzzles, and played a little Wii bowling. Carson took a half hour bath by himself, so he got full rein of all the bath toys, which he loved because he usually has to share a bath with someone. 

And the girls got to do something EXTRA FUN! I had been saving this for a snow day bit since i don't think that is in the cards for this winter I decided today would be a GREAT day for this. I pulled out the shaving cream I had been stashing away and game then each a can and said "Have at it!" And they did!!

And of course the girls had swing time!! We LOVE our swings!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dinner Woes

I mentioned before that dinner can be one of the most frusterating times for me. I love cooking and I love the IDEA of family dinner time and catching up on one's day and having a nice civil conversation while everyone actually eats their dinner. BUT, this combination is only possible with 1 child, Logan. But it is possible with 1, so I see the light at the end the tunnel…yes, it is far off in the distance right now, but we will get there I know we will…eventually. 

Carson can not carry on a conversation nor can he eat civilly, so that rules him out completely. Meeka eats pretty well, although she now wants to eat on someone's lap. Not sure what this is about, but defiantly trying NOT to encourage this. Melina can carry on a conversation (mostly…she is my space cadet at times) but she can not eat civilly. She is just not a dinner eater. She can eat breakfast like a champ. Does pretty well at lunch. Does not really snack and still could give or take dinner. So then she sits in her chair and takes 15 minutes to chew one bite (I do NOT exaggerate!!) and plays with her food with her FINGERS and it gets in her hair and she looks around and rolls her head as she crews and chews…..grrrrrr….need I go on?

So last night I came up with what I think is a genius idea (yes, I am probably giving myself more credit than deserved, but it worked…mostly!) I made her wear fleece fuzzy gloves to eat. That way she was forced to use her utensils and not her fingers. And if she used her fingers her gloves would get dirty and her food would get fuzzy. Not fun! So it worked….for the 5 bites and 50 minutes she sat at the table!! 

In the meantime we will keep trying. As piggie would say (from the Piggie and Elephant books), "We will try again. We will try again."

And one other dinner woe. Don't ya hate it when you make a pretty awesome looking dinner and it does not taste as flavorful as you think it is going to?? 

I know I do….

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pantry Overhaul

I got a overwhelming urge to organize my pantry better last week. So I spent a couple of days thinking what would be the best way to go about it and got to work yesterday. The actual process took less than 2 nap times (granted my kids take 3 hour naps most days); but really overall I think it was a pretty manageable task. Now to live with the way it is organized for a bit and see if it works for us. 

I was in such a hurry to start taking everything out and get started after the kiddos went down yesterday that I forgot to take a before picture. 
But basically it was everything in cans and box stacked on shelves.

Here is the final outcome. 
I think I am pretty happy with it!

The final outcome…full view.

Top Half

Bottom Half

I printed the signs for the baskets on my computer and then laminated them with contact paper, punched holes and tied them with ribbon. I ran out of the same color ribbon so it is a miss mash of ribbon for now, but I REALLY wanted to finish (and NOT go to the store)!

For the bins of things like flour & sugar I just wrote with Dry Erase Marker. That way if I want to change whats in them I can…no big deal!

Hmmmm…what to do next???

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Part 2

Here are our 
Valentine's treats 
we made for today. 

I took a couple of ideas from Pinterest and combined them  with some of my own for the cupcakes.

To make hearts I put a marble in each hole to make in indent.

Then I made cupcake batter and added RED food coloring and SPRINKLES to make them festive!

 Then as they were baking I took a HUG and after 5 minutes put it in the center of each cupcake. They cooked right into the middle for a little SURPRISE! The preschoolers LOVED finding them in the middle today. 

It was pretty cute to watch!!

Melina helped me ice them yesterday.  

And they turned out like this!

Our only problem was when we left school with the 5 that were left the lid was not on tight and they went SPLAT face down on the floor. So the rest of us didn't get to try one! :(

Yesterday we also made 
for Melina's class Valentine's and for all 3 kiddos teachers.

We started with large marshmallows and put them on a lollypop stick. Then we melted RED and PINK chocolate candies. The kids dipped the marshmallows in the chocolate and then dipped 
them in a variety of sprinkles.

Here's how they turned out! 

And here are Melina's Valentine's all finished and ready to give to her classmates! She wrote everyone's name and her own name on all of them! I was very proud of her! (And glad we started early!!)

And Logan wanted Lego Valentine's. So for him we made chocolate Lego Men. 

We melted the chocolate in baggies in the microwave and then cut a small tip and squeezed it into the ice cube tray. Then we out them in the fridge for 7 minutes and out popped the Lego Men!!

The back was not pretty, but check out the front! They turned out great!!

We then out them on his Valentine's that he made with another dab of chocolate!

Logan was worried at first that the other kids would not get the  We leGO Together since the letters were not the same size in the word leGO. But then he decided that his class was pretty smart!

Here are his Valentine's all wrapped up and ready to go to school.

Hope you have a 

Monday, February 13, 2012


I am on an organizing kick.

I really want to tackle the pantry, but I am not sure what I want to do yet, so I decided to start with something simple and manageable to do in half an hour.

Our "junk drawer" was  OUT OF CONTROL!!

But I reined it in.

1 project down…many more to go….



Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentine's Part 1

Today was the Dayton Mamas Valentine's Party. I was so busy talking and running after kids that I didn't really get many pictures of the party….. Any friends out there who have cute pictures, feel free to share!

We made necklaces, decorated cookies and made cards that we donated to a local nursing home. And of course ate lots of yummy food. I think it turned out to be a success. I know my kids and I had a GREAT time! 

I did however get a photo of each of the kids. 

I think they are 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Chores for Change

There are two things I always tell my kids 
(besides sit down and be quiet!).
1. Your Brothers and Sisters are the ones who will always be there for you no matter what.
2. With a family this big we all have to pitch in to make it work. (meaning chores)

My kids do not get paid for chores on a regular basis. They are expected to do certain things, like make their bed and put their clothes in the laundry, etc. If they have an accident they automatically strip their bed and bring the sheets down. When it is their laundry day they bring their basket to the laundry room and then they put away their own folded clothes. We have a "system" for a lot of things, and for us that works. They put their shoes in the basket in the laundry room and hang their coats up on the coat rack before walking into the house. Even Carson knows what to do and does it himself…as much as he can at least.

The kids are also expected to do other chores like feed the cat, take out the recycling and collect the trash to name a few on a as needed basis. They also clean up their own rooms and the playroom.

Both big kids have been collecting change at school. Melina for St. Jude and Logan for Pennies for Patients (kids with Cancer). So instead of giving them money I am having them earn it to give it. And ya know what…they LOVE it!!

Here are some chores that my kids do! I sometimes struggle for more chores to give them, so I would love to hear what chores your kids do. Please share!

  • Put their laundry away (yes you may have to go back and yank open the drawer and put things in a little neater later on, but it is GOOD practice!)
  • Pick out their clothes for the week before they go in their cubbies (I always check them and most of the time have to make some adjustments, but I try to let them wear what they want within reason)
  • Collect the garage from around the house
  • Take the recycling out to the garage
  • Take the recycling bins to the curb
  • Put outgoing mail in the box
  • Go get the mail / newspaper
  • Put away the silverwear from the dishwasher
  • set the table
  • clear the table
  • help cook
  • vacuum (another one where you may have to redo some, but worth the experience)
  • dust
  • clean windows
  • wipe down the bathroom sink
  • pledge baseboards
  • weed
  • water flowers
  • pick ripe veggies (my kids love picking cherry tomatoes in the summer and every day there are always new ripe ones!)
  • feed the pet

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

He will always be my baby!

My baby is 18 months old. 
Where did the time go?

20 inches to 32 inches.

7 pounds to 25 pounds.

I guess he is no longer a baby!

But he sure is CUTE!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Mardi Gras

Today someone said, "You should out your life out there." "I do!" was my response. 

Today we hosted a Mardi Gras Playdate! What a GREAT time!! The kiddos all played soooo well together and even had an impromptu craft session with gitter glue after lunch. And I enjoyed some much needed Mommy time with friends!
Look at all the Creative Kiddos!

We made Masks!

And Mardi Gras Beads. 

I made these "beads" last night from penne pasta. It is so easy!

Put a handful into a baggie and add 1 T vinegar and some food coloring. Shake it up and let it dry for about 30 minutes.

Really…it is that easy!! 

And the nice things about the pasta is that the younger kids can string it because it is bigger!

I made some easy recipes today for our lunch playdate and 2 people asked if I would post them. So here they are. 
Nothing fancy, just good!!

I took this picture before I put the
tomatoes and cheese on this morning.

Veggie Pizza
2 8 oz refrigerated crescent rolls
2 8 oz packages cream cheese (you can use low fat)
1 cup miracle whip (loe-fat here too if you wish)
1 package dry ranch dressing mix
1 cup of each of your favorite Veggies, such as broccoli, pepper, carrots, tomatoes
1 cup cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Roll crescent dough out onto 13 x 9 baking sheet and pinch together. Bake for 12 minutes and remove from oven and let cool for at least 15 min. Do not remove from pan.

In a small mixing bowl, mix together cream cheese, miracle whip and ranch dressing mix. Spread over cooled crust and top with veggies and cheese. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

I took this picture after I got a request to post
this recipe. I guess everyone liked it!

Mac N Cheese
  • 3 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
10 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 4 ounces processed cheese food (eg. Velveeta), cubed
  • 3/4 cup Ritz Crackers

  • Cook macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, melt 8 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat. Add the cheeses, stirring until cheese is melted. Drain macaroni.

  • Transfer macaroni to a greased 1-1/2-qt. baking dish. Pour cheese sauce over macaroni; mix well. Melt the remaining butter; add the bread crumbs. Sprinkle over top. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes or until heated through and topping is golden brown.

  • I made this the last night and then added the crackers and butter this morning and baked for appox 50 min.

  • I may actually make this again this weekend and out some truffles in it to make it more "grown up."