Sunday, January 31, 2010

He teaches mommy to pray

I had often longed to hear words of prayer and praise on the lips of my sweet boy, Sean, before he could talk (as I also anticipate the same from Luke!).  Now that he is almost 5- with lots and lots and lots of words- he is praying more on his own without my leading him.  And it melts my heart every time.  Every prayer starts with "Thank you God for..." 
For example:
"Thank you God for Mr. Zach to feel better."
"Thank you God for me to take care of my toys."
"Thank you God for mommy to have patience."  (I ,um... taught him this because Lord knows I need it and the more prayers the better!)
The point is- every prayer starts the same- he is already thanking God for what he is asking.  I could stand to pray with the same expectation of God's hand in my life, too!

photo credit

When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Mark 10:14

Friday, January 29, 2010

Feed Me Books!

I am excited to link up to a book party at The Adventures of Motherhood.

We have checked this out from the library MANY times! I really need to get a copy for our home; probably could have done it already with all the late fees... *ahem* moving right along...

Old MacDonald Drives a Tractor by Don Carter
Sean loves tractors and farm equipment. He knows more about the implements (fancy word for stuff that the tractor pulls!) than the average mom- that would be me. This book features all the jobs a tractor does on the farm using the different tools. It uses a cute rhyming pattern that is easily enhanced by your own little flair (i.e. all the singing and voice interpreatation you hope are never recorded for public appreciation!). The pictures are bold & colorful and not at all distracting.

I am looking forward to seeing other mommy & kid approved books.
We may get a chance to go to the library before this snow hits!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Boy & His Dough Ball

I get to lead a Bible study with some of our wonderful college girls every week.  I like to bring a treat as much as possible.  This week I made cinnamon rolls.  Luke was down for a morning nap and Sean was my cooking buddy.  I gave him a little ball of dough to play with and he quickly ran to get some of his construction vehicles.  Because apparently you need those when a dough ball is involved.  Then I gave him a little hanful of flour to roll the trucks through and push and load.  He had a blast and I got my work done!

Oh- and here are the yummy cinnamon rolls!

Add icing:

Sooooo good.  But, seriously, I need to find a healthier way to make these! 

Today I need to make bread.  I see some more dough play in the near future.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Recycling fun!

I was inspired (again) from this blog to use some of the recycleables I have been hoarding saving.  They are getting a bit out of control so I need to re-vamp the organiztion of them all.  However, the boys have really loved pulling them out and playing.  I have a stash in the kitchen for them to get into while I cook.

I got that kitchen for $4 at a thrift store!  :-) 
I also have a drawer with more stuff tucked away.

Then there is the rest of it- hiding out in the hallway.

I actually put these to good storage use.  The fruit of our peanut butter addiction... perfect storage for little craft supplies!  Those are cans holding paint brushes and some plastic containers from food leftovers holding Legos.

We have made a space craft from an oatmeal container and toilet paper tubes.  Sometimes I just pull some stuff out and see what Sean comes up with.

Other uses:
  • Plastic containers can be stacked (and knocked over again and again...).
  • Clear containers are good for "I spy" games.  Fill them with all sorts of little treasures, seal it with tape and see if the kids can locate them.  Luke (1 yeard old) likes when I put a little toy in one- he shakes it and tries to get it out.
  • Lots of pretend play in the kitchen while you try to cook.
  • The plastic or more durable cardboard are good for outside play.  If they get torn up or too dirty, just recycle (for real) or throw out.
  • Bath tub play- forget those tub toys that get all filmy and mildew-y.  Use the waterproof containers- dressing, lotion or sauce bottles make good squirters. 
  • Toy or craft storage (as in pic above).
  • Play store- make your own labels and let them practice shopping, paying, loading and un-loading "groceries."
There are so many more ideas.  These are all I can think of right now.  Just goes to show how much fun you can have without spending money!

Monday, January 25, 2010

My "Ta Da!" list

Yes, "Ta Da!" instead of to-do.  Because when I actually get stuff done I feel like throwing my hands up and celebrating!
Some goals for this week:

1.  Mail out Sean's b-day invites to family/ hand out to friends
2.  Work on booklet for children's ministry at church
3.  Get a back on track with chores (been sick for a couple days!)
4.  Work on basement

We have a couple leaks to fix in a closet before I can get it all the way done, but I will do as much before!

There are oh-so many more things I could put on this list.  But since I am trying to simplify how I spend my time I will only concentrate on a few things.  There is always next week!

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."  
Proverbs 16: 9 

Friday, January 22, 2010

Just too pretty not to post

If I get a little discouraged about the all the stuff that we can't afford to fix on our house right now (did I mention there are shingles falling off our roof???), I am easily reminded of the blessings.  Just look out the front door at sunset...

It was even prettier than this in person.

Thank you, Father, for every good and perfect gift!  (James 1:17)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Urge to Purge

I am caught up in the after Christmas urge to purge.  I figure the less stuff there is, the less chaos.  But most days (all days, really!) my living room looks like this:

The pattern of scattered toys may vary, but this is pretty accurate.  I just went quickly through the room and stuck things back where they should go.  Since it was mostly toys, this did not take too long (good cardio, too!)  And- ahhhhhhh!  The carpet makes a rare appearance:

There are several random pieces of little furniture tucked here and there.  That is much thanks to Luke the Climber who gets into places he should not (i.e. near fireplace or exercise machine!). 

And Sean's room- even scarier:

The thing is, he plays with everything- if he can get to it.  And most of the toys are pretty good quality.  I usually purge the junk we acquire regulary.  I just did a quick pick up and clean out this time.  I went through and pulled out a few things that might be duplicate in function and/or junk. 

The labled bins really do work for us.  Sean is usually good about putting things up (with some parental encouragement).  The problem is, he likes to mix and match what he plays with so it all ususally ends up getting pulled out!  At least his imagination is getting a good work out!

I am still working on getting a lot of the toys organized in the basement.  I envision a toy library set up.  They will be able to "check out" some of the lesser used toys and bring them upstairs.  I might go full on with a check out system if I can figure one out that would actually be educational value.  Otherwise, they will just pick out a toy and bring it up for a while.  I am itching to get in the basement and work on this project- maybe this weekend!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

10 Things to Make (my) Life Easier

I am on a list kick. And since it is rattling around in my brain I want to write it down before I forget!
Here are some things I try to do to make every day stuff a little easier:

1. Start a load of laundry first thing in the morning. Something about hearing the washer going that early helps me get motivated!
2. Also with laundry, I (almost) always make sure there are no clean clothes sitting in a basket before I go to bed. I got in to a BAD habit of just sticking baskets of clean clothes in my room and it was just chaos! Now, I take the extra 5 minutes to fold them and put them away. During the day I also know that if I do not just do it real quick I will have to do it at bed time.
3. Use the same sippy cups for both boys throughout the day. Once they finish a drink I just rinse the cup in hot water and it is ready for the next snack or meal. Now I do not have a gazillion cups with pieces all over the place. And this keeps the cups from getting all that gunk lodged in the little parts because it is cleaned out after each use.
4. After I wash the sippy cups at night I go ahead and fill them for breakfast. I do not know why, but something about having this done in the morning when I am trying to get breakfast fixed makes me happy!
5. Do a regular purge. Every couple weeks (or more) I go through the toys and quickly pull out broken or super cheap ones to toss or put in the yard sale pile. Likewise with the rest of the house. I do a QUICK look through a drawer, cabinet, closet or whatever and try to find 3 things that I do not need, use or want.
6.  I set up a "shoe center" at our kitchen door.  This is the door we used the most and it is easy to come in and take shoes and coats off right away.  This helps me from chasing down shoes when we need to get out the door. 
7.  Toys!  We are blessed with so many, but the boys did not really know what they had.  I just kept on tub of toddler toys for the living room and put the rest in the basement.  Likewise, with the big boys toys, only a few sets of toys will stay in the bedroom- the rest will also go to the basement.  I plan on getting a system down there where they can see what they have and then play with them on a rotational type basis.  This is still a work in progress.  For now, though, toys are not ALL over the place.
8.  Cancelled cable.  Wowser.  Neither Jeff or I watch a lot of cable TV (I have come a long way since my quasi addiction to HGTV!).  But we did watch a lot of PBS and Disney.  Not only is this move saving us money, Sean hardly asks about his shows and he is playing even more than before.  This also frees up our evenings to do other more productive things.
9.  I made a list of the 5 most important chores I need to keep up with in order for my home to feel clean and organized (or "company ready").  I scheduled how these could get done regulary and stick to it.  All other things that have to be done are fit in as time allows.  More to come on this because I have some details to work out.  It just really freed me from my expectations of always having a perfect home.
10.  Early time with God.  Boy, this one is tough because I love my sleep!  I have found my day to be so much more purposeful and focused on God's plan when I do this.  My kids need some time, as well, even if it is a short prayer and Bible reading.  I'd like to write out some more on this one, as well.

Now, do I do ALL of these ALL the time?  Nope... sometimes life happens and I am not ready for it or am just plain lazy.  But with an idea of what works for me, I can jump back in and not feel too behind.

Monday, January 11, 2010

10 Things I Love about my House

Because it seems the one year "honeymoon" is over and several problems have reared their ugly little heads in our home (actually some came well before a year!), I wanted to think about the good stuff.  So, here are some things I love about our home:
1.  It has the most beautiful view.

After a good snow before Christmas '09

2.  We are really close to Jeff's office.
3.  We have plenty of parking for students and church get-togethers (several homes we looked at had barely enough parking for our 2 vehicles).
4.  Our spacious, cozy living room.
5.  My kitchen- good storage and space.
6.  Pretty, rolling front yard.

Lots of room to play!

7.  Basement- which is really our 3rd bedroom, but it is a nice place for company to sleep, keep extra toys and all the other stuff that ends up in piles down there!
8.  The patio off the kitchen- needs work, but it is a great place for the boys to play.
9.  Our laundry room is now located right next to our bedroom and the bathroom.  Makes keeping up with laundry a little easier.
10.  This is the home where my boys will grow, explore and learn.  I love making memories here with my family.

Friday, January 1, 2010

What on earth are these things?

So, January 1, 2010 starts our year of eating a meatless diet.  Along with that we are transitioning to a whole food diet... baby steps, of course.  Here are some new things I am learning about:

1.  Kefir-  I have seen this weird name here and there and finally decided to check into it.  We actually bought a bottle of the plain Kefir at the grocery store.  Let me just say, it is tangy!  It really does taste like plain yogurt, though.  Jeff mixed some in a protein shake this morning and it was great.  By itself.. that will be an aquired taste!  There are several fruity varieties or you could mix in your own.  And you can even make it on your own by getting kefir grain.  I might try that soon- when I find out where to get the grains.

2.  Chia Seeds- Yes.. as in ch-ch-ch-chia!  Apparently these are pretty good for you.  They are one of the new super foods.  With lots of Omega 3 and 6 oils it provides great fatty acids.  Plus, it absorbs water so after you eat it you feel fuller.  Lots of other cool stuff about it are online.  You just sprinkle it on whatever you want- very easy addition to meals!

3.  Rooibos Tea- I am loving some tea and have to say I am getting excited as I learn about this one.  Lots of parents give this drink to the kids.  It is caffeine free and naturally sweet.  And it has lots of antioxidants.  I also read somewhere (lacking reference right now!) that it aids in digestion and can help colicky tummies.  Worth looking into!

Ah... the ever-growing grocery list.