Thursday, November 20, 2014

One Week of Winter Was More Than Enough!

Well, winter came and went here for us in the South.  It was rough week of temps dipping into the mid 30s which is super cold for us in November!  Of course it's nothing like many of you have experienced around the country from this cold snap.  But, keep in mind that we Southerners who live at sea level just are not made for the cold, not to mention we do not own proper coats or gloves or really even know what winter gear is.  So, there was a lot of whining during our week of cold.  And also 2 different outside school field trips that I chaperoned on 30 & 40 degree days.  For the 2nd grade field trip to the Arboretum I had 11 kids in my group and I can say that at the end of the day I loaded 11 kids back on the bus, but I cannot say the same for the gloves of all those 11 kids, we definitely lost some along the way!

The only way my kids and I got through the cold snap was this:

Every day!


I'll have you know that is HOMEMADE whipped cream on that hot chocolate.  Not because I am such a chef, but out of pure desperation because we ran out of the canned spray kind!  I had a half-used carton of whipping cream in the fridge and was able to demonstrate to the kids that it does in fact turn into whipped cream with enough beating!

Now we are back to 70 degrees so all is right in my world again!  Really, I'm doing well to get my 4 kids out the door on time for school each day, throw in 4 pairs of gloves and hats and y'all I need a serious nap by 8am!

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In other news, one Saturday morning recently (after swim practice, hence the 11 year old sporting the swimsuit and sweatshirt look) my husband and oldest son realized we'd never taught Little Girl how to play baseball, so they set to the task:


She learned quickly as she seems to learn everything involving physical ability

My husband and son soon announced that she was "really pretty good" and wouldreally do well on a softball team.  To which I asked, "So who has time to get her to and from practice?"  Nobody, that's who.  So, for now she'll just have to show off her stuff in the backyard!

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The girls made this book together with some really cute illustrations:


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And then there was a costume contest.  The boys were the judges, like literally scored their sister's costume creations for several different criteria, including creativity!  Here my younger daughter is a cupcake and my older daughter is a marshmallow!

I'm not sure what this was; it was in the "fantasy" category, but I think her serious pout face makes the outfit!


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I'm feeling a bit proud of myself that I've already bought some Christmas gifts, but really still in denial that next week is Thanksgiving already!!!

Happy Friday, Everyone!


Half-Past Kissin' Time


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Best Christmas Gift To Buy for Kids

I've posted exactly 4 times in November (not counting today).  FOUR times, that's it!  So obviously November is eating me alive and flying by!  Christmas will be here before we know it! So, I want to get this out there in the hopes that it makes someone's Christmas shopping just a bit easier.

Do you have a child or children on your to-buy-for list?

Then I have 2 words for you.





Hands down, THE BEST, MOST PLAYED WITH toy we have owned!

Boys, girls, preschoolers, preteens -- all will love Kapla Blocks!

Do you know how some things you give your kids for Christmas they are excited about for about 3 days and then don't ever play with it again?  Well, not so with the Kapla Blocks!  Since buying these for my kids, currently ages 11, 9, 7, and 6 last Christmas, all of them have enjoyed the Kapla Blocks and played with them over and over again.  So much so that we've added to our set with 2 different kid birthdays and now have THREE BOXES of the Kapla Blocks for triple the building fun!

The simplicity is really the beautiful thing about these blocks.  No loud, bright colors!  No need for batteries!  Not even various block sizes to choose from!  Just a big box of all the same blocks!  Yet the building possibilities are endless!



The most recent creation (even the 6th grader joining in on the fun):


Lately my kids like mixing the Legos with the Kapla blocks.  It does make for double the mess but oh the creativity and hours of screen-free entertainment!  Plus, they can and do clean it up on their own when I tell them to.  Okay, the reality is they clean it up when I tell them they can only have or do something they want AFTER they've cleaned up the playroom!



***I am an Amazon.com affiliate and will earn a tiny portion of the sale should you use a link from this blog, but I am truly recommending this product because it has been such a hit in my home!***

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Banquette Seating In Our Breakfast Room!

Our breakfast room now seats our entire family of 6!

Y'all, for years we've had just a 4-top square table in our breakfast room.  It was our old dining room table from when my husband and I were first married.

We ate all our meals in the dining room because the breakfast room table wasn't big enough for all of us but the breakfast room table was used a ton.  It was ground zero for homework, after school snacks, every project, pumpkin carving, cookie decorating, lego building, and countless crafts.



That table endured a lot but, it was still too small to really be best.  I had an extra folding chair off to the side that I'd set up to sit with my 4 kids while they had afternoon snacks and to look through their school folders with them.  But, we couldn't figure out how to make a bigger table fit in the space.  I certainly wasn't sacrificing the locker shelves we use for shoes/backpacks/jackets that also shares that breakfast room! 


Then, I started seeing all these pictures in catalogs of banquette seating (you know like a booth in a restaurant?).  And I thought how awesome that is for small spaces because you don't need to allow room to pull out a chair!  Also, often banquet benches offer extra storage underneath, which we could certainly use to stash kid sports gear. We debated trying to get something built-in, and then I found this sectional that seemed to be just the right size!  I choose an indoor/outdoor upholstery option, hoping to repel stains, and paired it with this table.




The long bench top flips up for storage underneath (it is not organized but hey, that's the beauty of hidden storage, right?):

We've been using the new set-up for a month now and we love it!  It is so cozy to sit on the couch and do work at the table!  It has become a prime gathering spot in our home.


And as you can see, it fits perfectly with the shelves still in the room!
(Madeline, the ever helpful dog that she is, was barking at me in that picture.)

***I am not compensated in any way through the links included in this post, they are just there in case this solution would help anyone else, you know where I found the furniture.***

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Broken Teeth, Rainy Day Fun, and Reading Books to Dogs

Well, I don't know about how the time change is playing out in your house, but my kids have been up a full 45 minutes earlier than usual each morning and yet not able to fall asleep early which has contributed to some melt downs and general crankiness this week.

The positive is that I've recruited them to help pack their lunches with all the extra morning time!

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I've said before, if there is one thing I have learned in this season of life we are in right now with 4 kids ages 11, 9, 7, and 6 years old, it is that TEETH WILL FALL OUT.

That fact I was used to.  Rummaging through my purse to find my lip gloss and instead finding a plastic baggie containing someone else's tooth is no longer even strange, but you know what is?  When your kid only loses half of a tooth!

My husband and our 11 year old son went to our professional football team game last Sunday afternoon and when they came home after the initial update on the game experience, my husband told me I needed to look in the 11 year old's mouth because he lost a tooth at the game, but only part of it came out.

"What'chu talkin' 'bout, Willis? (my childhood of watching Different Strokes still haunts me!)

I looked in my son's mouth and sure enough, he had lost just part of his first molar.  I then consulted the medical expertise that is Google to figure out if this was an emergency situation or something not to worry about.  I really didn't find a satisfying answer, so I was forced to use my own common sense.  The tooth was a baby tooth, the boy was not in pain, and he was able to eat normally = not an emergency and I would call the dentist Monday morning.  And in the mean time try not to look at the tooth because man did it look gross!

When I called the dentist office, they assured me that it was quite common, but that the other half of the tooth did need to come out so the permanent tooth could grow in properly.  She said we could try to work it out ourselves but if we couldn't get it, we'd need to come in to have it pulled.

My husband and I both put in our best efforts that evening, but as it turns out, it is hard to get a good grip on half a molar!  So, the dentist used a little numbing cream and pulled it out.

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In other news, it rained this week:



Little Girl is happy there, but remember the melt-downs I mentioned at the beginning?  Well, there was an umbrella fit on the walk to the car after school when Little Girl didn't want to use the umbrella she had but wanted the one her sister had instead.  "It's not FAIR!!  But I want THAT one!!!  She ALWAYS gets that one!!!"  My suggestion of "How about being happy you have an umbrella at all?" went over about as well as you'd expect in that situation!
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And the only other picture on my camera from the week is this one of my 9 year old daughter reading to the dog.  If Madeline the dog's face looks as if she's being held hostage against her will, it's because she was.  The 9 year old was determined that the dog should hear this book that was about a dog and she kept making Madeline lay "down" and listen to the story.  At least Madeline got a treat for her listening efforts!


Happy Friday, everyone!
Half-Past Kissin' Time

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Our 4th time to do the Turkey Disguise Project

I have to admit that I was less than enthusiastic when the info. sheet came home from school with my kindergarten daughter about the "Family Turkey Disguise Project" where you are given a cardstock turkey and are to work with your kindergarten child to disguise the turkey.  Then the projects will be displayed in the halls outside the classrooms (you know, so the overachieving parents can show off their elaborate displays -- sorry, that was tacky of me).

This is my 4th child to go through kindergarten at this school and thus my 4th time to be assigned the Turkey Disguise Project.  I pasted on a happy face and forced a "Oh, how fun, the Turkey Disguise Project!" reaction for my kindergartener's benefit but inside I groaning, "Not this again!  It was kinda fun the first 2 times, but by the 3rd time I was over it and now a 4th time!"

It was a lovely attitude as I'm sure you can tell.

But, then I remembered that while having 4 children does require me to be assigned the Turkey Disguise 4 different times, having 4 children also means, I have 3 other children who can help/do this project instead of me!!

I wheeled out my cart o' craft supplies.  It really is on wheels, I should take a picture of it some time!

The 11 year old did not need much encouragement to fire up the glue gun.

He struggled a bit, though on just how to make the 6 year old's idea to disguise the turkey as a teacher into a reality.

But, then we got the idea to disguise the turkey as Queen Elsa from the movie Frozen.

Then the whole thing came together!  I had some shiny blue fabric.  We had some discussion on exactly what color Elsa's hair was but in the end we used what we had, which was grey yarn for her hair.  Add a gold pipe cleaner crown and some snowflake stickers and voila!  We had ourselves a Queen Elsa Turkey!


And even I had to admit it was kinda fun, the family Turkey Disguise Project!  Gosh, maybe we should even have a 5th kid so we can do this project again!!  Ha!




Tuesday, November 4, 2014

So, it's only a FEW days past Halloween

I know, I know, Halloween is long over, but I'm just now getting around to posting these and because my blog is the only scrapbook my kids will likely ever have, I have to get Halloween 2014 in here.

Princess Elsa, Jango Fett,  Hermione, and an alien:




The candy loot!


And probably the most fun of the night for the kids -- passing out candy to other kids!  We set up a chair in the front yard for the oldest to pass out candy, but of course it wasn't long before all the kids wanted in on the action.  Would you take candy from them?
 

Lots of kids did!

Okay, moving on now to November!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Ultimate 1st World Problem -- My Dog Groomer is Booked Until January!

The week has flown by, and Saturday is November, which is all kinds of crazy!

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One evening this week while working at my volunteer job as a court appointed special advocate for children in state protective custody, I sat next to a 13 year old girl on the couch in her foster home and she told me in a tone of voice I don't think I'll ever forget, "I just want to be adopted."

It broke my heart into a million pieces!  I am now working to change the situation for this sweet girl and her younger brother, to find them a home where they will be loved, treasured, a place where they can heal from the pain of their past.
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I drove home sadly reflecting on how much children need a family and how the foster home where these two children are placed was meeting their basic needs, but not loving them as a family would. Then I walked into my house to the scene of my husband carving a pumpkin with our 4 pajama-clad children.



There was mess and pumpkin guts and squealing and one brother wiping pumpkin goo on a sister's arm and arguing over the name for the newly created jack-o-lantern, but it was FAMILY!  We were all known and loved and messy and loud, and that's what I want for these 2 children on my case.

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In happier news than children without parents, Madeline the dog got a much needed grooming this week.  You can thank me for forgetting to snap a photo before she went in and thus sparing you the vision of the "before" and allowing just the "after":


Because we let the grooming wait too long this time, when I picked up the dog I took the proactive step of scheduling her next grooming appointment and was surprised to find that even on October 29th, they are booked all the way through the first of the new year!  So we have an appointment the 2nd week in January.  Here's a truth that likely reveals something rather pathetic about the state of my life: I can call my hairstylist and get an appointment within a week, yet my dog's hair stylist books up over 2 months in advance!!  

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I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  Just imagine all the possibilities of what you can do with that extra hour "Fall Back" provides!!  My plan for that hour is lofty, indeed -- sleep!  


Half-Past Kissin' Time