Thursday, May 29, 2008

Summer Camp at Home Links

Here are some links to kid's crafts to get you started.

This looks like the coolest paint, ever. If you have a microwave, that is... *sigh*
Puffy Paint

I especially like the crafts on this blog. Check out the kite at the bottom - it would be great for outside days as well.
Crafty Cow

The ultimate kid's craft site. If you've ever read the magazine, you already know what I mean. You can even search by age - perfect for preschoolers.
Family Fun

And 2 GA Boys left me a link to this site (Thanks!). It has some interesting ideas for free things to do at home. Maybe dads could even get in on the fun with these ideas! The farmer's market bonanza sounds interesting...
Fun at Home

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Not Normal - Right?

So, a couple days ago I fell down at Meijer. Apparently, their frozen Coke machine was leaking water, and the mat in front of it collected all that water. Despite the 5 "wet floor" signs and the "caution" tape, I was assured by the cashier that it was safe to get a regular vanilla root beer. I got the drink without incident, but as I stepped off the wet mat and onto the waxed floor, I fell onto my knees. I squeezed both the vanilla root beer and the shopping cart handle, so I didn't fall any further. Then I stepped again and fell again. Again, root beer flies everywhere, and my cup gets smashed. My fault for wearing flip-flops, right? No one should grocery shop without non-slip steel toed boots.

Well, since the "incident", my knees hurt terribly, and when I get on my knees for any reason, they make a silent popping noise. Like if I had bubbles on my knees, or a bag of ultra-sound gel (or it is jelly?) or better yet, sound-proof bubble wrap. I don't know if it's bad or not - it just really grosses me out, and I thought you all should be in on this.

Wordless Wednesday - First Train Ride

(The zoo train, that is)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Free and Cheap Family Movies

If any of you are interested in the 50 cent movies I've been talking about, you can go here to find out all the details.

Thanks, Money Saving Methods!

Summer Camp at Home Plan

I finally decided (in general) what we'll do each day of our Summer Camp at Home. I've decided to have 6 days of activities, which will rotate Monday thru Friday. This way we're not always doing crafts on Monday - it changes each week. The only exception will be Wednesday, because that's the only day the library does the reading program, and the only day the theater has 50 cent movies.

1st Day (Monday, June 2): Arts & Crafts Day
2nd Day (Tuesday, June 3): Out of the House Day (parks, yard, play dates)
3rd Day (Wednesday, June 4): Movie & Library Day
4th Day (Thursday, June 5): Science Day
5th Day (Friday, June 6): Field Trip Day (zoo, museum, etc)
6th Day (Monday, June 9): Cooking Day
Then everything starts over again.

I'm really enjoying your ideas. It's so hard to take 3 kids under 5 years old anywhere fun. Especially by myself. Keep giving me ideas! I have 13 days of field trips to plan!

By the way, we have a membership to the zoo, so I count it as a free thing to do (other than gas). It's also not that scary for me to take the 3 kids to the zoo by myself that way. If they act up the second we get there, we'll just leave . No extra money spent, no big deal. If we decide its too hot to do anything other than go see the manatees and ride the tram once, no big deal. We also get into a local children's museum half price with the zoo membership, so its about $11 for me and the kids. This museum also has science days, so we can do the science days away from home if we want. I highly recommend a membership to some kind of zoo, kid's museum, or whatever you have nearby.

Gel vs. Jelly

Gel versus jelly, according to Abby:

What do you put in your hair to keep it from getting frizzy? Jelly.
What do you mix with water, place in the fridge, and eat after it sets? Gel.
What do you put on peanut butter sandwiches? Jello.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Summer Camp at Home

Since this summer is actually Abby's first ever summer vacation, and since she is sad about leaving preschool, and since she wants to start Kindergarten right now, and since I will have to entertain all three kids all day, every day, I've decided to make this summer "Summer Camp at Home Summer".

I plan to make each day of the week a different type of camp day, for the entire summer. For instance, Mondays might be arts & crafts day. We'll make arts and crafts all day long, make playdough & play with it, etc. Tuesdays might be cooking day, on which the kids will make their own breakfast, lunch, and dinner (gee, they'd better be careful with the stove...), and some nice cookies or something. Wednesdays might be movie day, since the local theaters have 50 cent movie days every Wednesday. Thursdays could be outside the house days - which can include zoo trips, playing at the park, swimming, etc.

I'm still working on the fifth camp day. I'll post my final itinerary when I get it all figured out, in case anyone is interested in copying or suggesting ideas. Until then, I have a challenge for everyone reading this (yup, all two of you):

Give me your best free/ nearly free ideas for keeping kids under 5 entertained this summer. There are tons of ideas online and in magazines, books, etc. for school age kids. What on earth do you do if you have wee little kids? Preschoolers are one of the most under-recognized group of kids that really, really need to be entertained, in my opinion. So give me your best ideas! Local ideas are welcome as well, since they may give others ideas of places to search for in their own towns.

I will post ideas as I find them, as well as links to things like cheap movie days. Keep checking back all summer for ideas on what to do with those little rugrats of yours. Trust me, you'll thank me as the summer drags on.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

She Did It! (Sort Of)

Well, today Abby graduated from preschool. She was there at the graduation, but she didn't really participate. I'm not sure why, but I expected her to do better than she did. I mean, for her Christmas play she was all clingy and whiny and refused to participate. She was the saddest angel ever. For graduation today, she was exactly the same with one exception - today she was the saddest Statue of Liberty ever. She wasn't really the Statue of Liberty - but she sure looked like her to me.

So how do other parents deal with this? Sometimes I feel sad because she acts like this, sometimes I feel annoyed at her, and sometimes I just think it's funny. I don't even know why I'm so surprised each time she does it, either. Is there anything that I can do to make her act like this less? Is this "just a phase"?

Whatever it is, I've decided that Abby cannot go to full-day kindergarten this year. I'm going to send her to private school, which will only be 3 hours a day. Now I just have to find a way to pay for the school...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Random Things

I haven't posted anything in quite a while. MommyFest just wore me out! Just kidding - Daniel is actually doing something big to our house this week and everything is... everywhere. Poor Avery doesn't have a bedroom right now. His room is now a kitchen/ master bedroom/ sewing room/ office/ utility room/ laundry room/ pantry. He's sleeping in Abby's room for the week. They keep each other up a little while at bedtime, and wake each other up early in the morning. This is why one kid per bedroom is so popular.

Also, since we're now eating in the living room, and only have 3 bowls out, we've learned to be more creative at mealtimes. Thank goodness it's warm out and we can grill! Daniel had waffles this morning on a princess frisbee, and we have a picnic on the living room floor every night. We have no oven or stove, and the toaster oven lives in Abby's room right now. I've also learned just how big of a mess 3 kids can make on a small Ikea rug with just a half dozen cookies with yellow frosting and sprinkles on them.

We're watching a lot more TV this week, too. Its too dangerous to go outside when there is a miter saw right in the middle of the driveway. And, again, Avery's toys are buried under the stuff we've placed in his room.

By the way, tomorrow Abby graduates from preschool. When I started this blog, she had just entered preschool. Wow. After tomorrow, Abby will officially be a school-ager. The problem is, the kindergarten here is becoming full-day starting with Abby's class. I don't think she's ready for that, and I know I'm not ready for that. I still want to be the one feeding her lunch. I want to have her with me when I run errands in the afternoon. If she's in school from 9 to 3, and sleeping from 8 to 8, then she's only here with me for 5 hours a day. That means she spends more time away from me than with me. I'm currently trying to find a way to send her to private school, since it's only half-day.

Well, I've got to go - Abby's demanding my attention. I'd better give it to her now, while she's still here all day...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

And the Winner is....

Shelly, from Shelly's Bookshelf!

You've won yourself some chocolate!

Thank you to everyone who entered & stopped by - what a great party!


MommyFest is now over. I will be drawing a winner for the Chocolate Bliss Gift Pack later today, using a random number generator. Check back this evening to see who won (and to see who you might want to bum some chocolate off of).

Thanks for stopping by, everyone!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Costume Party!

Today, Abby's class had a "Pirates & Princesses Day". They were allowed to dress up as either a pirate or a princess. Guess which one Abby chose? Princess, of course. Guess which princess costume she chose to wear?

Yup. She's a vampire princess.

Perfect for a Christian preschool, right?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Thank Goodness for Storm Doors

A bird just flew into my open storm door. What am I thinking? Poor birdy? No... I'm thinking about what I would have done if that door had not been there and the stupid bird flew into my house! Thank goodness I keep the door *ahem* a little dirty so this won't happen all the time. This bird was maybe just a bit slower than the typical bird...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Day-Late Monday Meet & Greet

I'm participating in The Natural Mommy's Tuesday-as-Monday Meet & Greet! Meet my kids:

This is actually the best picture I've ever gotten of the 3 of them together. Family photos usually look something like this:

Give or take a butt or two.

A Tiring Day

Today I went with Abby on her second ever field trip to the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery. We saw turtles and snakes, did science experiments, played grocery store, touched real starfish, and looked at some decapitated birds. It was fun, but now I'm exhausted.

I picked Avery & Ethan up from Grandma's house afterwards, and Avery said "Let's go to the zoo, and then to the museum!" Can sleeping mothers accompany their children to the zoo and the museum? What about passed-out-from-exhaustion mothers?


Here it is - a picture of what, exactly, I'm giving away. Remember, post every day of the Mommyfest and get an entry each day. Link me from your blog & get three additional entries.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Gift To You!

Since we're right in the middle of MommyFest, I thought I'd offer everyone reading this a gift! The gift is actually a tip - but it's a good one! It's how to save a bundle on diapers or Pullups this week, if you have a Kroger nearby.

Huggies diapers are on sale at Kroger this week (through May 18) for $9.49 for a jumbo pack, plus you get another $4 off for every $20 in Huggies you buy. You can do this deal 2 times each visit, so here's my scenario for the best deal I've found:

1. Go to Shortcuts and sign up for coupons. They place these coupons right on your Kroger Plus Card. Go to the baby coupon section and add the $2 off Pullups coupon, the $1 off Huggies Supreme, and the $1 off Huggies to your card.

2. Go to and print out the $2 off Pullups coupon. After it prints, press the "backspace" key on your keyboard and print it again. Repeat until it says you've printed the maximum amount of coupons (or up to 4). If you have Pullups coupons already, you can skip this step. Pullups coupons can be used on any Huggies diapers.

3. Go to and print out the rebate form to get $5 back when you buy 3 packs at a time.

4. Go to Kroger and buy 3 jumbo packs of Huggies for $9.49 each. Buy one mega pack for $14.99. Total for 4 packs = $43.46.

5. Checkout. Use the coupons you printed/ already had.

6. Look at your receipt. You should have saved $20 total! That's $8 in paper coupons, $4 in Shortcuts coupons, and $8 from the Kroger Huggies sale.

7. Go home & fill out that rebate form. You'll get another $5 back in a few weeks!

8. Repeat as many times as you'd like, or until you run out of coupons. The Huggies rebate doesn't specify one per household or any other limit on the paper copy I picked up at Kroger.

Total savings = $25. You'll spend $18.46 for about 182 diapers! Is anyone else as excited about this as I am??

Lucky Me! I've Got Two Men...

One to cook, and one to wash the dishes.

Brownie Pudding Cake

This is probably my all-time favorite cake recipe, courtesy of The Pampered Chef.

Brownie Pudding Cake

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, divided
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 3/4 cups boiling water
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine flour, 3/4 cup of the granulated sugar, 1/4 cup of the cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add milk, melted butter and 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla; stir until smooth. Stir in chocolate morsels. Spread evenly in 9x12 pan.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa; gradually stir in boiling water and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla. Carefully pour mixture evenly over batter in pan.

3. Bake 30-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. Spoon into dessert dishes and serve with ice cream.

MommyFest Blog Party!

The MommyFest Blog Party officially starts today! I'll be posting something special for each day of the event (May 12-16), so keep checking back. You'll find recipes, games, funny things, special links, and a giveaway. Click on the link above to visit other mommy blogs that are participating.

As promised, I'm also giving away a Hershey's Bliss Chocolate Gift Pack! The gift pack includes 2 full-sized bags of Hershey's Bliss chocolate (1 light & 1 dark chocolate), plus extra chocolate goodies! Each person who leaves a comment here gets an entry in the drawing.

Want more chances to win the gift pack? Leave a comment on my blog each day of the MommyFest, and get one entry for each day. Have your own blog? If you post about my giveaway on your blog, and include a link back to my blog, you'll get 3 more entries!! Just e-mail me & let me know you linked back to me - don't forget to include your blog address.

Now, let's have some cake!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Crazy Drivers

Road Rage

Overly Happy Drivers

Sleepy Drivers

Backseat Drivers

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

What Doesn't Work for Me Wednesday - Homeschooling

Rocks in My Dryer has a good themed "What Works for Me Wednesday" today - What Doesn't Work for Me. So, here's my contribution:


Some people have to homeschool their children. I have to not homeschool my children.

Don't get me wrong - homeschooling is a great thing to do. I was homeschooled myself for 8 years, and I am very smart. :o) But it's not the only option, and it doesn't make people bad parents if they send their kids to school.

The reasons we don't homeschool are many, so here are a few of them:

1. Daniel doesn't want to. He is not the type that is disciplined enough to learn on his own, so he assumes that no one else is, either.

2. I'm still in college and very near graduating. When would I teach my kids - in between class periods?

3. I feel called to a ministry or counseling career. If God gave me this desire, I feel that He wants me to pursue it. Homeschooling my kids would definitely limit the time I could devote to ministry. In fact, sending my kids to school frees up a few hours for me to work on this. I'm not the type that concentrates well with lots of people around me - probably because I was hometaught...

4. I have 3 kids and I feel that homeschooling them would not be fair. I think homeschooling is very, very hard, and nearly impossible if you have more than two kids. I as one person just cannot devote enough time to each kid, that I would feel I am sufficiently teaching all 3. Of course, I believe that there are lots of parents that can do this, no problem. You all have my respect.

5. We live in the best school district in our town. Not that this makes the school district good or anything...

6. Private school is always an option, so I won't have to worry as much about what my kids are learning at their school.

7. Our kids absolutely love going to school (regular or Sunday School). I couldn't take that from them.

8. Homeschool is not a word, according to spellcheck. Hmm... neither is spellcheck. :o)

So, even though lots of people are supposed to homeschool, I fell that we are not. At least not right now. I'm glad some parents do homeschool, and I'm glad that we have the option. But for now, I'll send Abby off to school with tears in my eyes as I think about how big she is.

**Feel free to agree or disagree with me in the comments section. I love to know what you think as you read my blog.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

And the Hairs Had to Come Off!

Ethan needed a haircut. I couldn't stand the idea of my baby losing all his baby hair, so I cut it myself. We took Avery to Cookie Cutters Salon for his first haircut, asked for them to keep his hair long and bowl-ish, and they chopped it all off. It grew back, of course, but it was no longer baby hair after that - it was coarser and thicker. So with Ethan, I couldn't take that risk.

Man I cut it short, didn't I?? *wink wink*

Yup. Still looks like a baby. Mission Accomplished!

The Battle of Everyday

Everyday - everyday - I have to participate in a battle. I fight with Abby about her cleaning her own room. I send her in there to simply make her bed and pick up the Polly Pockets. 20 minutes later, I go to check on her progress, and see baby dolls and dress-up clothes all over the room. I get angry at her, tell her to clean the mess right now, and suggest she doesn't get out any more toys until she's cleaned up what she's done playing with. 20 more minutes pass, and I check on her once again. This time there are little bits of paper all over the room, and water drops everywhere. The bed is not made, the Pollys are still out, the dolls are out, the clothes are out. What else can I do but enter into yet another war with Abby, during which I vow to throw away all her toys, sent Abby to a farm for messy kids, and leave her home for the day while the boys and I have tons of fun without her.

The thing is, I can't do any of those things. There is no farm for messy kids. I can't leave my 4 year old home alone all day (nor would I). And I also can't throw away all her toys. I'm too frugal. I couldn't just throw them away and simultaneously throw away all the money we spent on them. It would take too long for me to get rid of them, because I would have to list them all on Ebay. So, what threats can I really make that I'll follow through on?

So, right now she's being "punished" and she's supposed to be in her room cleaning. The problem is, she's actually in the living room playing trucks with Avery and fighting over a coloring book. I guess she's lost interest in all her own toys now that they're all out and in the middle of her floor.

We literally spend the entire morning fighting this battle, everyday. Why can't I just fight an easy (or easier) battle like The Battle of Gettysburg? At least that one eventually ended.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Scary Things to Do to Your Kids

Scary thing #1:

Let them play on train tracks.

I've always been afraid of trains, but I don't know why. I used to shudder every time I would drive under a train track overpass, and when I heard the whistle of a train. I got over the whistle thing once my mom moved near a train track and I heard it all the time. Maybe it's because my mom's best childhood friend's sister got ran over and killed by a train.

Well, tonight as I was driving to get my kids a pie baby, I saw 3 kids playing on a train track. This is a well-used track, and the kids looked like they were maybe 3, 6, and 8. I didn't think much of it as I passed by on the way to get that pie baby, but when they were still there on the way back I got a little worried. There is a small church right on the tracks, and in the parking lot I saw a jeep with one door wide open. There were no people in the parking lot. The boys looked like they were dressed for church.

What would you have done in this situation? I mean, what's appropriate? Do you go home & call the police? Do you jump out of your car right there & pull the kids off the tracks? What if your own kids are in the car with you?

I ended up calling the police when I got home, but I was watching and listening for a train the entire time, worried to death for those kids. At the end of the conversation with the dispatcher I was asked a weird question - "are they all white kids?" But that's a whole 'nother blog post altogether...

Pie Babies

I found out tonight that a Strawberry Pie Baby from Big Boy will feed Abby, Avery, and Ethan, with a piece left over for Daniel (although he says he doesn't like pie babies). On the other hand, a Hot Fudge Cake feeds just me. They are the same size, in case anyone was wondering...

Now how can you not want to eat something called a "pie baby"??? It's too cute not to eat. It's like when I say to Ethan, "you're such a cutie pie, I just want to eat you up!" Strawberry Pie Babies = Eating a cute child. It just makes sense.


Sorry I haven't said much lately. I'm right in the middle of the last week of school and finals week, which means no spare time right now. Of course, it doesn't help that my Microsoft Word trial ran out after I wrote 9 pages of a final paper and I couldn't edit it....

So, maybe I'll blog a little more once I finally graduate. Or maybe after finals - we'll see.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Okay, spread the word - I'm actually doing a giveaway. Come back May 12 - 16 & sign up during the "Mommy Fest".

Hint: The giveaway involves chocolate.

A PG-13 Rated Post

This post is about weiners and butts - be warned. For those of you without sons, you might not understand.

In our house we have a cute phrase for the ends of loaves of bread - "bread butts". I know, it's a little improper. Well, the other night I made a loaf of bread (homemade, yes!) and Abby requested the "butt". Avery replied, "I want the weiner!"

Apparently, he's trying to make up for the woman episode.

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