Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fun with Egg Cartons

I have been asking people to collect egg cartons and other various household items for me (bottle caps is another we are trying to get a ton of) and some family members donated some empty cartons to us at Christmas time so we have spend the morning working on some egg carton creations. I got most of the ideas from (my new favorite blog!) It was Liams first time painting! Up until now I had been worried about him eating the brush or something. He did really well! He was a little more interested in painting the table after about 2 minutes on the project but all in all, not bad for a 14 month old. :-)

A few recommendations for you:: For the caterpillars (affectionately named Charlie and Kaity after one of our favorite books "Charlie the Caterpillar") I would leave the carton together while painting for the ease of the little ones and cut it afterwards. I would make sure you have nice sharp scissors. Also, I wished I would have cut the holes for the ant legs before painting. My cartons seemed a little soggy and I wished they'd have been firmer for easier cutting. I want to still get some string or something to hang the birds. I have also seen the bird eyes used on an old oatmeal carton to make monster looking faces and may do that when we finish off our oatmeal.

Tot School

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Too much work

We decided to make a handprint wreath this week. Yikes! That was a lot of cutting for Mommy! While its cute, I don't think I'd make it again. Sophia got bored after I traced her hands even though she was helping glue on the paper plate. With all the crafts we do, some are bound to fail! I much preferred the tearing paper wreath we made a few weeks ago!

TP Octupus'

This was a quick and easy craft we saw on the site. We cut a tp tube in half. Covered it in construction paper and cut the legs. Then we added googly eyes and a smile. Sophia did the gluing and the cutting (great fine motor!) We talked about tentacles and where octupus' live.


I have always been one who thinks some dogs are cute, but not really wanting one in my home. I am very picky about what I think is cute. Kevin and I have pretty different taste in dogs as well.

I knew Kev and the kids both were really wanting a dog. Then I got my hairs cut on Friday from a friend. I knew she had bought a dog this summer and asked how it was going. Not so well, she said. The dog is 6 months old and she lives in a little apartment. She also works long hours and was feeling bad that she wasn't home often enough for him. She asked if we knew anyone interested in finding Bear a good home. He is a Pomeranian and chihuahua mix. Kevin LOVES Pomeranian. So I called him. Sunday we went to meet Bear and ended up driving home with him.

He is a great fit for our family. Almost NEVER barks (I've heard him bark 2 times in the few days he has been here) He is playful and crazy and snuggly and sweet all at once. He sleeps well in his own bed in his own room without crying (he had been crying for her lots, so he ended up sleeping with her) He is getting better about pottying outside.

He is kind to the kids and they really like him!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Win Rosetta Stone!

Other Such Happenings is giving away a whole Level 1 Language Program! What an awesome deal. Head on over and check out the deal!! :-)

Now is the perfect time to give your child the gift of possibilities for the holidays with Rosetta Stone Homeschool — and you can WIN a Level 1 Homeschool program, language of your choice (valued at $249)!

Right now Rosetta Stone is having a special Holiday promotion on our Homeschool Edition program and we’d like you to help spread the word! Everyone can save up to $150 on Rosetta Stone Homeschool by visiting our website at

By helping us spread the word you can win a Rosetta Stone Homeschool Edition Level 1 program, language of your choice, valued at $249.

This is a computer based curriculum and Rosetta Stone will also include a headset with microphone, and a supplementary “Audio Companion” CD so you can practice lessons in the car, on the go, or where-ever!

Students participate in life-like conversations and actually produce language to advance through the program. Rosetta Stone incorporates listening, reading, grammar, vocabulary and writing along with speaking and pronunciation lessons. For parents, the new Parent Administrative Tools are integrated into the program to allow parents to easily enroll up to ten students in any of 12 predetermined lesson plans, monitor student progress, grade completed work (the program grades the work automatically as the students progress), and you can view and print reports for transcripts. Homeschooling a lot of kids at your house? This program is designed to enroll and track up to ten students (five users on two computers) and will work for nearly all ages — from beginning readers up to college students.

To win this program, copy these paragraphs and post them in (or as) your next blog post, and/OR post about this contest on your facebook page. Then go to the original page at
and leave a comment saying that you’ve posted about, or have linked to, the contest. Please make sure the link works to get back to the original contest page when you post, and good luck!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Random crafts

We recently made an Advent chain::countdown to Jesus' birthday after seeing our great friends Amanda and Addie over at @walkbyfaith post their pictures. Thanks for the idea, friends!

Also made some fun and easy stick people that we love (we will add more, but our printer ran out of ink)

You can see a reindeer near our stick people. We used Sophias hands to make antlers and glued it onto a brown felt triangle and then added googly eyes and a red nose. Fun, easy and quick!

One project we tried was a flop! Well, mostly. I let S paint snow. I heard it was fun and cool to watch it melt into colorful puddles (on a pizza/cookie pan) Mostly it was tricky, cold and then Liam got into it when I forgot to put it away and after S alerting me I found green speckles EVERYWHERE in the kids room. Yikes. Luckily most of them came out. I should have taken a picture. But I was frantic when I saw it so I didn't stop. :-)

Bachmanns Idea house

I went to Bachmanns Idea house with some of the ladies in my family this past weekend. The junk Moms have helped them out so everything is re purposed antique/ vintage/ thrift. I LOVED it! Got lots of good ideas.

A few things I loved::

I think I actually will attempt the calendar made with scrap booking paper and plexiglass and the bent spoon/fork/knife apron holders.

I highly recommend you take a walk through their idea house, its $5 and a lot of fun!

Blowing your budget

I got to go out grocery shopping by myself last night! Sophia was going to join me but decided she would "Miss the boys tooooo much!" so she stayed back with them. Funny the things we get excited about as parents. Time alone!!?? At the grocery store?! So much fun. :-)

However, at the end of EVERY grocery trip lately I come home feeling like a failure of a Wife. I have gone over budget the last five times I have gone out. I try so hard to stick to my budget. I don't buy frivalous snacks. I make a LOT from scratch. I didn't buy the grass fed beef last night because of the incredible price difference and wanting to honor my husbands wishes to stay under a certain amount. I put back a few things that only I could eat (filled with gluten) And yet, I went over. By $34. I even had coupons. I never have coupons. Maybe I thought the coupons would add up to more savings? This just isn't a skill area for me. Kevin is a GREAT shopper. At any point in our shopping trip he can tell you, almost to the penny, what your total is. Its amazing, really. But, by the time he comes home from work the last thing he wants to do is go back out again. So, I end up being the primary grocery shopper in our house. Also, since I am doing the brunt of the cooking (although, again, Kevin is the better chef) it helps for me to know what to get. I have done the most research on gluten free options and so that is another reason I go.

I asked on facebook for suggestions from people on not blowing your budget. Got lots of good responses and helpful hints. When I went to look at some of the blog sites I realized that we actually spend WAY less than a lot of families with 4. There was a site that claimed to help people by providing a weekly menu and shopping list with sale items from certain stores. Great idea! Great site. Backed by Dave Ramsey. But when I looked at their regular options and gluten free plans I realized I spend WAY less than their schedules so pay $5/month to get the plan really isn't worth it for us.

So, how do you keep your grocery costs down? Do you coupon? How do you do that without it eating up a bunch of time? Where do you shop? What is your budget? Do you stick firmly to it?

Letter Jumping

This morning we made duct tape squares with letters in each and played some fun learning games with Sophia. First I just asked Sophia to quickly find a letter and jump on it. That was fun. Then I asked her to try and think of some things that started with those letters while jumping on them. Then we did some fun silly spelling of her name. Quick the 'A' 'N' and then quick back to the 'A'!

I let her direct me then to find the letter my name started with or whatever letter she wanted. I find that anytime she starts to get tired of a game or activity if I get more involved at the level she is and let her direct me a bit she gets much more into it and I can keep her interested much longer.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Letters Index

Two of the things we are working on is scissor use and letter recognition so I started a box of index cards for this purpose. We pick our letter of the day and I have Sophia look through a magazine with me and we try to find the letters themselves or things that start with said letters. Today was our first day and so, of course, we started with A! It was pretty easy for her to find the A's (first letter of her first name so we work on it lots!) but she needed some encouragement with finding things that start with that letter. I give options like "Do you thing that girls Nose starts with A? Lets sound it out, how bout' her arms?" She could usually pick out which matched the correct sound. I let her cut and use a glue stick to stick them on. Can't decide if I want to move onto B tomorrow or do another A card, we will see if she can remember why we put the pictures on and the sound A makes tomorrow and go from there! :-)

Texture play

We did a few different texture play activities today. First we emptied a noodle box (see I spy post to see what we did with the box then) and we put the noodles into a bowl. I gave both of the kids different sized measuring spoons and we practiced moving them from one bowl to the other, feeling and sorting by color (we used tri-colored noodles)

Then, thanks to the recommendation of my friend Marieke from church, we took out a cookie sheet and filled it with flour. I let Sophia practice writing her letters into the flour. We only worked on 5-10 but that was plenty for today. She had fun but started getting a little frustrated by the end of the newer letters and went back to "just doing O, Mommy" Liam kept trying to get his grubby little fingers in too, so I gave him a paintbrush and let him swoosh some flour around the table with that. It was messy but we have some mats under the kids table so that helped for cleanup.

I Spy

Here is an idea for fun and easy way that we practiced letter recognition today. We took a pasta box that had a clear front in it and cut it out. Then we glued that onto a Popsicle stick.

I walked around the room with Sophia and got my cheesiest voice out so we could pretend we were spies on a letter hunt. She ended up calling it her "Super letter spying tool" I let her either find the letter we were searching for itself or something that started with that letter. Even Little Man got giggly and enjoyed himself with us. He was walking around copying big sister and saying 'Ba, ba, Ballll!" or whatever letter sounds she was making.

Blonde Moments

Its cold today. Really cold. Like -4 wind chill.

Wind chill. Just learned thats what it was called last year, at the age of 27. Thats right, for 27 years I thought it was called Wind Shield. Yup. Wow.

Still call it that in my head....:-)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Advent/ Devotionals

How does your family do devotions together? We wondered for a long time what family devotions looked like. How do you start? What do you do with little ones? How do we best teach our kids the word alongside us and keep their attention....I had picked up the book Word Filled Familes while visiting some friends in California and visiting the awesome church and library at Grace Community Church this fall. It gave Kevin and I good starting place for the two of us and we also started the devotional "Tying the Knot Tighter" together as well.

In mid November we finally just went for it with the kids! :-) We bring the kids little chairs and have them sit with their guitars and bibles. From mid November until Thanksgiving we read Psalms 23 and then did some worship songs with Kev leading on guitar. Then starting after Thanksgiving we bought a Nativity set (the Fischer price one has been on sale for $13.99 @ Target) and started reading the Christmas story out of Luke before worship. We sing away in a Manager, one hymn, and then whatever other Christmas or worship songs the kids are asking for.

I know that kids are sponges but it still shocks me how much of the Luke passage Sophia already has memorized. She asks immediately after dinner now for the bible and singing which is really nice. Liam will stay in the chair for half of the time on a good night. I try to keep him on my lap if he will let me, but sometimes we just let him wander in their room while we do this.

I thought about printing out something for Advent, I know there was a free Jessee tree advent reading people were talking about, I looked at it, and thought it didn't meet our families needs this year so we are sticking with our schedule. After Christmas I am going to be on the lookout for a discounted Advent calendar.

I have no idea what passage we will move to after Christmas....

So, what does your family do? We'd love to hear your ideas?

Photobooth Friday

I just love my family. Sophia just said, "Mommy we are really blessed to have a warm house, a good Mommy and a good Daddy AND Liam! " It melted my heart to hear her say that. And she is right, we are blessed. Here are some recent photos, the pj photos are today, I declared a pj/cocoa/snowday here. A day to just be lazy and cozy and do laundry and be ok with it. Back to school stuff/cleaning ect on Monday. :-)

Another thing I love about the photos is it shows what pals Liam and Sophia are.