Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I thought I would share the cute Valentines that my girls are taking for their classmates on Monday. I got the idea (and pretty much copied it) from Cheri at I Am Momma - Hear Me Roar. Anyway, here is what the top portion of the Valentine looks like:

I made them using which is a really cool (FREE) photo editor. If you'd like Cheri's tutorial on how to make something like this in Picnik, go here.

As far as the rest of the Valentine goes, we will be putting Hershey's Hugs and Kisses in little baggies and stapling the pictures on top. The girls have each signed their names on the backs of each Valentine.

So easy, and SO cute!! You could easily crank something like this out by Monday.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What Is Their Currency?!

DSCN1123 Doesn’t this face just say….TROUBLE!

Whether it is face painting with diaper rash cream & tooth paste, sneaking the Cheetos with cousin before dinner, or quietly hiding in the suit pant racks at Kohl’s scaring me half to death that she has been taken (though they might just bring her back with the way she has been acting lately!)…This girl is always in trouble.

What do you do?!

When my oldest was this age I remember having family night lessons about obedience and a lot of solitary moments in time out, which seemed to work for her. She is great now and the “teacher tricks” I have up my sleeve from 8 years of teaching Special Education work great for her.

But this 2 year old is giving me a run for my money! Time out seems to be no big deal, she won’t sit long enough to listen at a family night lesson & she’s not quite old enough to understand the token economy systems. Praise works sometimes, but not consistently enough to make Mamma happy! My SIL told me once, that you just have to figure out what their “currency” is. This girl loves her “nubby blanket” and silky “jammie dresses”. I guess if she keeps it up she’ll be sleeping cold and naked!

I would love to hear your ideas out there..

What is working (or has worked) for your toddlers in the areas of discipline and obedience?

Thanks for listening!



I found a cute sticker chart at "Executive Homemaker" that I may give a try!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Summer Stuff

Hooray! School's out and it's time for some summer fun (mixed in with some summer learning and structure). I'm going to let you in on a little secret about me. I love schedules and I love making lists! This trait also has its own vice. I am not very good at spontaneous fun. Since I am aware of this downfall in myself, I have tried to come up with a summer schedule that mixes in a little bit of everything. So, here we go, my summer schedule (in list form):

1. Summer School -- I am a big believer in keeping kids minds engaged during the months away from school. So, each morning I will be holding summer school, and I am Teacher Mommy. I did this last year and my girls loved it. They have been begging me to be Teacher Mommy because they have "really missed her." So, I bought a couple of workbooks from Wal-Mart, tore out the pages, 3-hole punched them and put them in a binder--one for each of my girls. So, 4 mornings out of the week, we will be working in the books as well as doing a few other school things like Show & Tell, Free play (or recess), Snack Time, and an occasional activity that corresponds with the letter(s) we are working on that week.

2. Afternoon Activities -- Each day in the afternoon I have planned a small outing or activity.

On Monday, I will give each of my girls a piano lesson. I am not an accomplished pianist, but I will be teaching them the basics using the Pre-Reading Lesson book of the Faber method. Then I will have them practice for 10 minutes before Summer School each day of the week.

Tuesday is Park Day. We have a few parks in our small town (including the playset in our backyard), so each Tuesday, I will have my kids choose one park to go to and we will rotate through them all summer; and who knows, maybe we will even have an occasional picnic lunch there as well.

Wednesday is Library Day and Reading Afternoon. Our local library has story time on Wednesdays, so I plan to take my kids to that, let them pick out a few books, then spend some time in the afternoon reading books.

Thursday will be Computer Day. On this day my kids can play games on the computer (check out the sidebar for some links). My oldest also has a Didj, so she can play on that if she chooses.

Finally, Friday is Friend Day. I'm not saying that my kids can't play with friends on other days of the week, but Friday is devoted to inviting a friend over to play in the afternoon. I am hoping to have my oldest daughter invite some of the friends who will be in her class this coming fall.

3. Boredom Busters -- I have seen this idea in several places out in blogland. HERE is one from The Idea Room. HERE is another from A girl and a glue gun. I am not very crafty so, mine will just be in a little jar without anything on it. (I'll be lucky if I even put something on it that reminds me what it is.) My list of boredom busters is a good mixture of fun things to do with just enough work thrown in there to make my girls think twice before they tell me they are bored. (I plan to do a post with a more complete list very soon.)

4. Cleaning Time -- I'm thinking that this will not be my kids favorite thing, but I think it is time for my girls to learn how to do some more advanced cleaning jobs around the house. So, I have a jar with popsicle sticks in them. On each stick, there is a job for them to do. So, each morning, they will choose a job, then we will follow this routine: If it is the first time they have drawn that job, I will show them how to do it. On the 2nd time, I will help them do it. The 3rd time, I will watch them complete the task. And the 4th time and each time after that, they are on their own. (I will make dots on the sticks so I'll know how many times they have done it. This job also needs to be completed before Summer School.

4. Trips -- What about family vacations, you ask? Well, we are planning on taking one vacation to spend time with some family we don't see often. I am also hoping to take my kids to visit my parents will my husband stays home to do some projects around the house and yard. (He may go to his "real" work during that time, too.)

So, there you have it. That is our summer. I'm hoping for the best, and hoping that my scheduling self doesn't get in the way when an opportunity for some spontaneous fun rears its head.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bird Watching

It seems that despite the weather of late, SPRING truly is here in Utah.  We have had a mama and daddy bird diligently building and watching over their nest that they have built over the down spout on the back of our house.  Here are a few pictures from our bird watching adventures.

(Keep in mind I am taking these pics through a very dirty kitchen window with as much zoom as my little COOLPIX camera can handle!)


birds labeled

The kids are loving that we have our “own” birds.   Miss AJ has named the baby birds Fuzzy, Tweety Bird, Chirpy and Twudily. 

It’s been fun to take pictures and to show the kids the difference in the Mama bird from before the eggs and after the eggs.  We have also had the chance to do some research on robins and their eggs.  We have learned that their eggs are blue and that it takes about 2 weeks for the eggs to hatch.  We have had what we think are the Mama and Daddy birds hanging around.  They are very protective of their little home and babies.  Daddy Bird even tried to lure our Daddy away by sitting on the fence and pretending to be hurt!  We are now watching to see all the things that Mama Bird brings back for her babies to eat and how long it will take before the little ones can fly off on their own.

There are so many things to learn about in nature!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cake Time

I have a new love--making fun birthday cakes for my kids. Before last year, my cake-making skills consisted of either baking a plain sheet cake with frosting, cupcakes, or an occasional store-bought cake. But, last year, my oldest daughter asked me to make her a castle birthday cake for her 5th birthday. I immediately began looking at castle cake pictures on the internet and I figured out how to make one all by myself. (I will, however, give my husband some consulting credit.)

My second attempt came when child #2 asked to have a Treasure Hunt party for her 4th birthday. I, again, began looking at pictures and quickly decided to make a treasure box cake. It was a lot trickier than the castle, but I have to admit that it turned out better than I could have imagined. And it was a big hit at the party.

A year has past since the castle cake and I told my now 6 year-old that I would make her another cake, but that it had to be a little simpler because we were not doing a friend party. So, we decided that I would make her a My Little Pony cake because I had seen a picture of a cake that a friend had posted on their blog. It looked really easy, but really cute. It turned out even better than I had hoped.

Now, my baby will be turning one in a month and the wheels are turning in my brain to try and figure out what kind of cake to make for my little man. Any ideas?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Question of the Day

I'll admit it, I am very protective of my kids. Not only that, but I am a worrier. When my kids are closeby and under my watch, I don't worry so much. For this reason, I encourage my kids to invite friends to play at our house. I have a fenced backyard so they can play to their hearts content in the backyard where I can frequently glance outside and check on them. However, it is playing in the front yard that raises the question I have today. Before I delve in farther, here is the question:

At what age are kids able to play outside with limited supervision?

My kids are 6 (next week), 4, and 11 months. In my opinion none of them are old enough to play in the front yard and around the neighborhood if I am not out there watching. However, I am starting to feel better about my two oldest playing with chalk in the driveway while I am in the house, but I still go out and check on them often. I am also allowing them to ride to the end of the street without me, as long as I am watching them the whole time.

Now, I know that things have changed a lot since I was a kid, but I remember being quite young playing outside with friends without my mom sitting on the porch. Granted, I am the youngest of four and my older siblings were usually keeping an eye on me. Today, I live in a small town on a fairly quiet street; but, as I said before, I am a worrier. I worry about my kids being kidnapped. I worry about them crossing the street without looking both ways. I worry about them getting hurt without me being right there to help them. I worry about them riding their bikes on the sidewalk, and someone not looking behind their car before they back out of their driveways. I worry. I worry. So, I guess I just either need reassurance that my worries are normal and justified, or I need someone to tell me that I need to cut a few apron strings and let my kids be kids, or do I just need to find a happy medium.

So, vast readership, what are your thoughts on this question. I'd love some feedback.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Puppets & Stuffed Animals…Free, Washer Box…Free, Hours of Fun for a 5 year old…PRICELESS!

Our 5 year old Miss AJ has recently found the joy of puppets and performing for the family.  It started out with 2 puppets that Grandma and Grandpa gave to little Miss C. for her birthday (a pig and a chicken), and a kitchen chair as a stage.  She would gather us to the living room and oink and cheap at us for many, many LONG minutes.

Saturday, I decided she needed some guidance and a place to perform.  After a few calls to the local appliance stores, we found a washer box that was still in tact and free.

With a razor blade, some scrap fabric turned curtains and some paper flowers to add a girly touch, Miss AJ now had a new venue for her puppet shows.  She just kept screaming, “This is totally awesome!”  I was the best Mom ever all day long.

DSCN1298 DSCN1301


Now we are finding signs posted all over the house telling us that the show is “OPENE” (ya gotta love the kindergarten spelling!).  She now performs The 3 Little Bears, Little Red Riding Hood and Five Little Ducks went out to Play with Barbie dolls, stuffed animals, and a card table in front for added scenery made from building blocks.  With the cousins and her friends she spent several hours this weekend planning and practicing to perform for her adoring fans…Mom and Dad, & Grammie and Papa of course!

The girl loves the stage in any form she can get it!