Thursday, June 30, 2011

If there were only one

If there were only one child in my home things would run more smoothly.

I would be able to have that child help with cleaning tasks because having only one child following me around is MUCH easier to keep track of.  I would have only one child to even be cleaning up after.  Only one child who produced dirty laundry.  Only one child to plan school stuff for.  Only one child worth of clothes and supplies to be kept.  There would be no arguments over what show to watch in the morning while mama makes breakfast.  I would be right on top of discipline because with only one child there wouldn't be anyone else in the house to distract me from properly teaching and training my child in the way he/she should go.

With only one child in our home my child wouldn't have to learn to share on a daily basis.  They wouldn't have to learn how to prefer their sibling and wait patiently for their turn for mama's attention.  My one child wouldn't have to worry about a brother keeping him awake at night.

My children are blessed.  They are blessed that they are not just one child in our family.  They get to learn how to share right from the start.  They get to see love lived out daily and sometimes be the ones living it out as they give their prized toy to a brother or baby sister to stop the tears from flowing.  They get to have best friends sleep over EVERY night!  They get to learn to wait patiently so it won't be such a hard task to learn as they get older.

Yes, it's definitely much harder for me to be on top of every minor little thing that happens when there are four kids sometimes running/toddling in four very different directions.  Sometimes what others might see as a HUGE discipline issue gets barely any notice but I do the best I can.  I have to trust that God put these four babies in our family all together for a reason.  I have to trust that He will equip me to teach and train them to the best of my ability and that He will step in where I, as a human, fall short.  And I do trust that.  I trust that if I teach my children to respect other people that God will be faithful to show them how obedience is a sign of respect.  I trust that if I teach my children to prefer one another and share their toys that God will show them the great rewards in living a more selfless life.  I trust.

And mostly I remember that if there were only one.... my life would be incredibly mundane and boring.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What's for dinner Wednesday... Camping edition

So we're going camping this weekend.  With my dad and second mom and little sister, and my other little sisters and all of our children and a couple of our husbands.  It's going to be mass chaos.... of course that's a given with 11 kids 7 and under.  But it's going to be a blast.  At least in my estimation.  Now I haven't really chatted with my extended family about meals yet.  But here are a few thoughts I'm having on the subject.

We will be camping Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday night.

baked goods - muffins, banana bread (I bought bananas just for this), and I'll probably bring some hard boiled eggs for my kiddos as I know they'll eat them and they should keep ok in the cooler.

I might also try my hand at home made granola bars and graham crackers and cereal bars for snacks.

I plan to bring lots of fruit and veggies as this is something my kids eat pretty regularly anyhow.

For suppers we'll probably do burgers, hot dogs, ??  I got a great tip from an online friend about making chicken and veggie packets in foil and just cooking them right in the fire pit for supper the first night and I'm definitely going to be making that suggestion as it sounds super good.

For lunches we'll probably do sandwiches - PB&J keeps well regardless of weather.  KOJ and I might bring some lunchmeat sandwich staples too for ourselves.

And if all else fails we're not going to be in the middle of nowhere.  There's a McD's about ten minutes from the campground.  Talk about roughing it! lol

What do you eat when you go camping??

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Movie going the thrifty way

So I'm sure ya'll heard that Cars 2 hit theaters this past Friday.  I know even though I don't have cable I heard about it everywhere I turned on the internet.  Store ads weren't too helpful either.  Now I live in a fairly small, old Americana town, much like the one in the original Cars movie.  And we happen to have a drive in.  The drive in used to charge a flat fee per car regardless of the number of people.  They switched to per person prices a while ago though.  It is still however by FAR the cheapest way to see a new movie in the summer.

Now I didn't particularly have my heart set on watching this movie in the theater but I heard reviews of the movie.  Ironically the people were not happy with the movie and upon further inquiry I KNEW that my boys and I were going to LOVE this movie.  We watch tons of spy spoof type movies here and I love to watch old detective shows from the 70's and 80's.  So I knew that it would be right up our alley.  Then the fates came together and both Squirrel AND Howler fell asleep at "quiet time" yesterday.  I knew that meant it was THE day.  So I took my boys on a date to the movies.  I spent less than 20.00 for all three boys and myself to go to the movies AND have some yummy munchies.

Here's how.

1 Adult ticket 8.00
1 child ticket 2.00 (children under 5 are free)
1 bag of chex mix for the boys to split - free with coupon
1 bag of pretzel m&m's 1.00 after coupons
1 bag of bbq potato chips we ate about half 2.00 on sale
2 candy bars that mommy may have snuck .09 each after coupons

Total: 13.18

Wow, that's a great deal.  And I was right.  We LOVED the movie.  Though for those wondering I would advise against taking a 2.5yr old to the drive in. lol  He was fidgety through the whole movie trying to keep himself awake.  It would have been slightly more enjoyable if he had been more able to sit still.  But the older two and I LOVED the movie.

Also in regards to the drive in - ours (and I'm sure most out there) shows two movies in a row.  We left after the first last night for two reasons.  1. the next movie on was the Green Lantern and I have no desire to see it and it's not IMO age appropriate for the kids.  2. Spider monkey super needed to go home to bed as did the other two monkeys and the mama.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday: breakfast... again

So I managed to get our breakfast around into our muffin tins again.  YAY!  Nothing spectacular and it's food we would regularly eat for breakfast too.  Go figure.

Raisins, toast with jelly, and scrambled eggs

They enjoyed it.  And another muffin tin meal was met with great success.

Check out the other Muffin tin Meals today!  And check back next week to see our Red, white, and Blue muffin tin in honor of the fourth of July!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

31 days to clean update

So I totally missed out on updating about the 31 days to clean last weekend.  Sorry ya'll.  My family was sick.  Got the kids to the peds on Tuesday morning and all four had pink eye, nasty colds, and two had double ear infections.  I didn't feel so hot most of the week myself.

Needless to say sticking with the 31 days to clean schedule hasn't really happened this week.  I've still been trying my best but until Friday morning my living room was completely trashed.  Then I completely abandoned the 31 days to clean list and tackled the living room with my children because my dad and second mom and little sister were coming into town for two weeks and I wanted the living room clean if they came over to see us.  So we got the living room clean.

Now with the day to day set of challenges that I'm working with we start in the kitchen each morning cleaning up after breakfast.  I like this.  It works great for me when I stick with it.  Having my kitchen clean makes it easier for me to make fun foods or even crafts with my kids because I tend to clear the dining room table as part of my kitchen cleaning efforts.  It makes it easier for me to make dinner because I have clean counters to work with.  It's truly inspired and I wish I had thought of it sooner... or even at all really. 

I could share pictures here but really ya'll don't want/need to see the piles of dishes, soda cans (sore throats), and toys and clothes that currently lay about my house.

Another thing that I REALLY like about the 31 days to clean schedule is that we are told to take Sunday's off.  Now I will still have to make supper tonight because I didn't plan ahead well enough yesterday to avoid that altogether but for the most part I've been able to have a relaxing Sunday without the guilt because I know that first thing tomorrow I'll tackle the kitchen.  And soon after the kitchen I'll pick the living room back up.  One clean room inspires another.  I'm certainly not perfect and my house is still very much lived in, but most of the time I don't feel like I'm going to kill myself tripping over a shoe or a toy or a fill in the blank.... that someone left laying about on the floors.  My husband is just as guilty as the children and I have also been just as guilty as the lot of them myself.

Another thing not really 31 days related but something that I've been trying to do as a habit is to put away all the groceries right away when I get home instead of just lugging the bags into the middle of the kitchen floor and dropping them.  It's easier to do too when I have clean counters because then I tend to sit the bags on the counters and they are at eye level making it easier for me to put away faster. 

Overall I've been feeling much more at peace with myself over my cleaning habits.  Again, I'm not perfect, I still have a random folding table in my living room completely covered in stuff, and an entire couch covered in stuff.  My laundry room is still very difficult to walk through to the basement/back door.  But my kids have clean sheets, and we've hardly eaten out impulsively because I don't feel like cooking since I started this challenge.  I'm thrilled and thankful.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

100.00 holiday update

And here it is the middle of June and another month has past since the last post about the 100.00 holiday challenge.  Not a lot has changed in the month but I do have a few things to add.  I am also thinking about adding another gift to each child's list.  Something they want/or for fun.  Mostly because I found something for Princess at a yard sale and it doesn't fit in any of the other categories.

I buy for:
Something to read:
Something to wear: I spy quilt - I'm making these, already have most of the supplies and they are more than half done.
Something you need:
Something to share: doll and people house - this will be a group gift.  I hope to find a used bookshelf at a yard sale this summer and decorate it with different colors of paint and wall paper samples to look like different rooms in a house.  The boys love to play with the little people toys we have so this will be great for them and Princess will grow into it over time. UPDATE: I found a bookshelf at a yard sale last weekend for 2.00.  I will switch it out for one we already have that is made of real wood.  I will remake the one we already have into the "doll and people house".
Something you want/for fun:
santa: All about Dvd 2.00


Something to read:
Something to wear: I spy quilt
Something you need:
Something to share: doll and people house
Something you want/for fun:
Santa: All About dvd 2.00


Something to read:
Something to wear: I spy quilt
Something you need:
Something to share: doll and people house
Something you want/for fun:

Something to read:
Something to wear: a dress and matching bow - I will make the dress, might try my hand at the bow too.
Something you need:
Something to share: doll and people house
Something you want/for fun: Little tykes doll high chair. Like this only the tray is a much brighter (and cooler IMO) pink -1.00


KOJ: Not a CLUE!  Open to ideas and suggestions.

SIL: groupon deal*

Sis 1 and BIL: Have a plan here

Sis 2 and BIL: Have a plan here

Mom: groupon deal*

Dad and Mom2: groupon deal*

FIL: groupon deal*

*groupon deal 35.00 for 100.00 at a certain website.  Great deal.

-4.00 (All About dvd's)
-35.00 groupon deal
-2.00 (bookshelf)
-1.00 (doll high chair)
58.00 left as of June 21, 2011

And I will want to make/have assorted gifts on hand for friends at church and what have you.

Now for extra income I had 25.00 in amazon gift cards saved up but I'm going to use them for Princess' birthday gift this coming month.  I will have one 5.00 card still saved up after that and should be able to save up another five 5.00 giftcards before crunch time in November.  Which should still give me another 30.00 in giftcards.  So my outside income looks like this:

Amazon gift cards: estimated 30.00
Inboxdollars: currently 17.82 - I need a 30.00 earned balance in order to cash out so that's what I'm aiming for.
Mturks on amazon - a new thing I'm trying.  We'll see where it goes and I'll update more about it next month. 

Edit: I completely forgot to re-link to the site where I first got the idea for the 100.00 holidays so let me do that now.  The Saved Quarter she has tons of other fantastic posts on her blog too.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Our Summer Bucket list

So I asked the boys to name me some things they want to do this summer.  I added in a few things that I want to do this summer.  I even consulted KOJ.  And we came up with this list.  I'll try to post weekly and cross of the things we've done on the list.  I'm super excited that the kids are getting older and Princess is super flexible about where/when she sleeps if the need for such flexibility arises.

Go swimming
Go to the park - East Pointe Park
Go Aunty Rachel's house
Go and go shopping at the dollar store
Go to the Kid's place (the children's museum)

Play soccer ball
Play baseball
Get ice cream
Get ice cream from the ice cream truck
Go to the beach
Go camping

Spider monkey was asleep at the time of inquiry.  I will be sure to post back an edit if he has anything to add to the list. lol

Work, eat, sleep, play games.  I'm a boring person and you just need to come to terms with that. lol
See Harry Potter
Practice baseball with Squirrel (and maybe Howler too)
Take the boys to a real baseball game - minor league

Attend strawberry fest
Go to the county fair
go see the balloons at the balloon festival
go camping with my dad and sisters and all of our kids
Visit Nana Sue's farm
Go to Shipshewanna flea market (I have NO idea if I spelled that right. lol)
stargaze with the kids one night
catch lightning bugs with the boys
go to the fountains again
meetup with friends from CMF
Go on a date with KOJ to see the last Harry Potter movie
Make home made ice cream with the boys
have a water balloon fight with the kids
make a fort in the dining room on a rainy day
have a wii bowling family night
have a matchbox car race with all the cousins
have a cookout with church friends

That is it for now.  But don't be surprised if we all add a few more things throughout the summer.  Most of these should be pretty easy to accomplish and should help foster a fantastic sense of fun this summer.  And most of them fit into our budget of FREE. lol

Now I contemplated making an activity jar for me and the kids for during the days.  I chose not to this year.  I did sit down and jot out things we could do each day for the months of June, July, and first two weeks of August before we start school again.  Mostly simple things like going to the park, the library, the fountains, the pool, etc.  Some crafts and yummy treat making was also included.  I will revisit the jar idea next year.

Monday, June 13, 2011

31 days update and today's Muffin Tin Monday

Ok I'll start with the Muffin Tin Monday since I know most of today's traffic will likely come from linking up to that.  Today I did breakfast again.  It's easier for me to put something together for breakfast and then I'm not rushing trying to get something cute together for lunch.  Since the kids tend to leave me be while I prep breakfast but not so much when I'm prepping lunch.  So here's the scoop on our MTM breakfast.

plain oatmeal in the bowl, banana slices, brown sugar and raisins for the oatmeal, and blueberries.

Even Princess got in on the muffin tin action today.  She got a few blueberries and some banana slices.

Squirrel monkey mixed his sugar and raisins right into his oatmeal.  He ate every bite.

Not sure what Spider is doing here but I think he put the wrong thing in his oatmeal. lol 

And alas I did NOT get a pic of Howler with his meal as he was away from the table when I was snapping the pics.

So remember I'm linking up here at Muffin Tin Monday so go check out the other great muffin tin meals today.

Moving on.  31 days to clean challenge.  So, we have completely week one.  I'm having a hard time getting the cleaning challenges done at the "right" time of day according to my perception of the way this is supposed to work but I'm working hard and getting them done as I can throughout each day.  Last week I started out with the kitchen as the challenge says.  This is what my kitchen looked like before:
So then I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned.  I spent a while cleaning probably two or so hours but that included washing all the larger pots and pans and whatever didn't fit into the dishwasher.  And I got this:

Not too shabby right?  Yeah I didn't think so either.  I was very pleased with my clean kitchen.  I really went at it.  Cleaning things up that I'd ignored for too long.  Things behind the sink, on the windowsill etc.

The next challenge was to clean a hot spot in the kitchen.  I chose this shelf:
And after spending probably 20-30 minutes on it I came out with this:
No I moved the storage bins down onto the wire shelf on the bottom so I could more easily reach them and moved the raisins and snacky stuff up to the top shelf.  So far it is staying in nice condition.

So we're supposed to be getting into the routine of picking up the kitchen each morning after breakfast and tidying our main spaces.  I don't have pics of tidying the main spaces.  Sorry ya'll, cause that was a dramatic change and it took me and the boys about an hour to accomplish the other day for the initial clean up.  And on Friday's we add cleaning the bathroom to the routine.  Right now I'm very glad we only have one bathroom.  On Saturdays we add preparing our meals for Sunday to our schedule so that we can have a complete day of rest.  What does that look like?  The day of rest?  Well I'm so glad you asked let me show you:

Now keep in mind we were super busy this weekend so we didn't have much time for keeping up after ourselves on Sat so this is actually the accumulation of two days of not cleaning in the kitchen not just the one.  So I started out with 20 min on the timer this morning.  Then I got distracted and did some switching over of the laundry and such during that time so after probably 10 -15 min this is what the kitchen looked like:

After a walk to the library and returning home and resting for a few minutes I got to work finishing up the kitchen and it turned out like this:

Took me maybe another 30-40 min including washing by hand the accumulation of larger bowls and pans and what wouldn't fit into the dishwasher again.  Not too shabby.  And it feels so nice to look into my nice clean kitchen.

Today I'm supposed to clean a bedroom and wash the laundry from that room.  I'll do the boys room because their sheets need washed anyway. Then tomorrow it will be adding our room to the rotation.  I'm also supposed to be aiming to do a load of laundry each day.  I have already done that today and will add a load of sheets to today's tasks.  After reviewing the calendar and aside from Monday's when I'll need extra time to catch back up from taking Sunday's off I really don't think this "routine" should take me more than an hour of maintenance cleaning each morning and then just picking up after ourselves throughout the rest of the day.  I will also be adding a children's chore system to the foray as called for by the "Next Thing" on Thursday.  I've already started it but I'll get it finished and star using it this week.

Anyway, so far I like the challenge.  More than the prescribed tasks though it's knowing that others are out there working hard keeping their homes tidy too.  Check out the facebook page and join one of more of the challenge groups to feel more connected to others that are on this same journey with us.  I do highly recommend this as a jump start to getting your home in order and finding a way to keep it that way.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Food time Friday!

So I've been working on a new way of eating here in our home.  Trust me I have not attained any sort of perfection.  I promise!  But I am working diligently to serve more fresh foods and fewer processed foods.  I'm trying to cut out completely high fructose corn syrup and artificial colorings.  I thought this would be majorly tricky.  But it turns out it's only minorly tricky.  There are only a few things that I feel like we strongly want that I haven't found high fructose or color free substitutes for.  Such as strawberry syrup for the kids' milk.  I was further spurred on to change up our breakfast habits by an article I read about cereal.  No more cold cereal in our house.  I'm not sure that ALL cereal was made the way this article described but really, warm oatmeal with fresh/frozen pureed fruits and honey mixed in are nutritionally better anyway right?  So what do we eat, you may be wondering.  I'll tell you.  This is a rough idea of our general meal plan the past few weeks.

a piece of fruit (usually a banana) +
oatmeal with fresh fruit and honey or oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins
plain yogurt with fresh fruit and honey
eggs and toast

Sometimes I will make pancakes but given the other options it's not the most nutritionally sound.  I've also been trying to have breads/muffins made up so the kids can have something to munch on before KOJ leaves for work.  My boys are usually all up by 7am and I get up with sis around 7:30 these days.  A muffin or slice of zucchini bread tides them over and keeps them from scavenging until I serve breakfast somewhere between 8 and 9am.

a fruit - depending on what's on sale - this week we've had fresh pineapple, cantaloupe, blueberries, and strawberries.  I also keep apples on hand all year round because all of my kids love them and will eat them if nothing else is on a better sale.  In the winter they eat a lot of clementines.  Except Squirrel who doesn't care for the outer casing of the clementine.  So much like his mama!  Anyway enough about fruit here.
a veggie - this doesn't happen EVERY day but I try to get a veggie in at lunch time - cucumber slices, carrot sticks, broccoli florets are the most common.

Tuna sandwich
Tyson brand chicken nuggets
turkey hot dogs or Hebrew Nationals
Cottage cheese
hard boiled eggs

This week we've had PB&J four times already. lol  They don't seem to mind.  But I prefer to switch it up and only do the PB&j two or three times in a week.  It's just what we had that fit in our days this week.  I think that may be the case as summer continues to progress because I plan to be very active out of the house with them this summer and PB&J is the go to meal for out of the house for me.

Well I create a new meal plan for supper each week based on what's on sale, what meats I already have in the freezer, what staples I have in my cabinets etc.  This week we've had:

Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and lightly glazed carrots
chicken alfredo with fresh broccoli florets
hot dogs with baked beans and cucumber and carrot sticks
chicken with salsa and fiesta nacho cheese condensed soup in the crock pot - I added corn and black beans and shredded the chicken and served it over rice.  It was pretty yummy. Even Princess liked it.
Tonight we were going to have sandwiches because of Squirrel's t-ball game.  It's storming though so his game might be cancelled.  Not sure yet.
Saturday night we're scheduled to make home made pizza - including the crust.

And I will spend time tonight or tomorrow meal planning for the coming week.  I already know we're going to have a roasted chicken cooked in the crock pot one night because I found one in the back of the freezer this week.  I'll probably roast some carrots and potatoes and sweet potatoes to go with it.  We'll see.

So what do you eat for meals?  Are you trying to meet any particular guidelines in what you choose to eat?  Please feel free to ask any questions I didn't manage to answer about our new way of eating and I'll be happy to answer them.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful that God steps in even before we know that we need Him to.  There was a situation here yesterday involving a nephew and my Howler monkey that required calling 911.  Earlier in the morning my darling husband had called me to chat about something I e-mailed him about that I was upset about.  Prior to him calling our cell phone was in the diaper bag, in a pocket, in the living room.  It took easily several minutes for me to walk from the kitchen to the living room to prod the phone from the pocket of the bag and answer it.  When our call was complete I laid the phone on the kitchen counter.  Exactly where it needed to be when I was standing in the middle of my kitchen with my poor bleeding nephew needing to call 911 in a time efficient manner.  I regret the events that happened yesterday more than I can find words to say but I am so thankful that God knew ahead of time that I would need that phone and caused events to line up in a way that the phone was exactly WHERE I needed it WHEN I needed it.  Because truly, only God could have lined that up.  I rarely get phone calls and KOJ and I mostly e-mail back and forth during the days, esp that early in the morning.  So I just praise God that He's there in the little things.  He is faithful.

For the record my nephew is ok.  He got his first stitches and has to be seen for a potential sprained shoulder this morning but he is otherwise ok.  And I'm thankful for that too. 

And I'm thankful for my Squirrel monkey.  He helped hold pressure to one of nephews cuts so I could use my hand to call my sister and let her know what was going on.  He didn't even bat an eye and he just steps right up.  I'm so thankful that God gave me such an amazing first born son.

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A lesson about whining and dragging my feet and the story of the curls

Hello Tuesday!  Sorry I'm late. lol  I was busy this morning, taking the monkeys (and princess too of course) to the library and then the fountains in front of City Hall for some water play.  They of course enjoyed both activities.

I recently had a revelation that I don't think I've ever had before (though it's possible I have and it has simply completely escaped my mind at this point in time).  I wrote before about how housekeeping has always been a challenge for me.  I think I've figured out partly why.  Woot!  The thing is that I don't wanna.  I don't wanna clear the table for the millionth time, I don't wanna wash and dry and fold the laundry for the billionth time, I don't wanna wash the pots and pans I used to make supper cause my feet hurt and I'm tired and I'd rather sit and sulk and moan and whine about the work to be done.  But I've found a new attitude and I completely attribute that to God because truly it's not of my own selfish, lazy, human self.  Why waste time moaning and dragging my feet?  If I just do the task I'm dreading it takes a few minutes at most and then I can spend time reading my favorite blogs, taking the kids for a walk, watching a movie, reading with the monkeys, or WHATEVER, guilt free, because my work is already done.  Not only that but I can do these things with a peaceful home that is clean.  My laziness hasn't made me a very happy person.  It also hasn't caused me to be content in any way.  Maybe, just maybe, I can find some contentment in the hum drum routine of being the mama of three monkeys and a princess if I just stop acting like one of the monkeys when I ask them to help empty the dishwasher or dryer.  And that is my lesson for the day.  Get on in there and get some stuff done.  Truly, you will find peace.

And so curls.  You all may have noticed in the past pictures I've posted that Howler monkey had a head full of the most gorgeous blond curls EVER.  I LOVED his curls.  Here's a refresher picture:

So this past weekend KOJ asked me to cut his hair.  We invested in our own set of electric clippers because hair cuts are expensive for 5 people!  So anyway, I had gone and gotten my hair cut on Friday night so hair cuts were on the mind Saturday morning I suppose.  So I trimmed KOJ's hair up all nice.  Then it was Squirrel moneky's turn.  His hair is super thick and was pretty shaggy long.  So I trimmed it right up and it looks great (hold yer horses I'll post pics in a minute).  Next thing I know Spider monkey's yelling "My turn, my turn!" I've never done his hair with the clippers before, I've always done it by hand with the scissors but I decided to go ahead and use the clippers and it turned out great.  Now back to Howler and the curls.  I LOVED his curls and when they are just the right length and with a special curl spray in them they look amazing and healthy and cute.  But Howler was resembling a shaggy dog more than a monkey and so I knew it was time for a cut.  Now I stopped cutting his hair myself the last time I did hair cuts because it never looked right when I did it.  So I took him to the salon.  It turned out great.  I took him back again this time.  I guess I didn't express well enough that I LIKE the curls.  That I wanted the curls to still exist.  Because next thing I know I walk out with this handsome kid:

But I was kinda sad - ok no, I was super sad.  I missed this adorable kid:
It's hardly the same child.  Only as the days have gone on it is the same child.  Same personality, same tantrums, same loveable, hugable, snuggly boy.  And now a pic of all three handsome monkeys with their haircuts:
Spider and Howler
Spider, Howler, and Squirrel monkey - they adore each other truly.
Also I will be WAY more clear the next time I take Howler in for a hair cut.  After his curls grow back.  WAY more clear.  And for good measure so that she's not left out of the hair discussion, Princess with a pony tail:
And my fave pic of her from this weekend's fun family time:

Monday, June 6, 2011

Give away WINNERS, Muffin tin Monday, and a give away on another blog

I'm so excited to announce the winners of my first ever give away!  Ok so I did it super scientific like.  I wrote each entrant on a slip of paper and put them in a bowl.  Then I had each monkey pick a winner.  Worked out great.  And without further ado our winners today are: Melanie, Frenchie, and Twila!  Congratulations ladies and thanks to everyone for entering.  Please contact me with an e-mail where I can reach you to give you the code for your free e-book.

Now, I know I said I wasn't going to do Muffin tin Monday in yesterday's post.  But I was thinking about it and realized that it didn't have to be lunch!  I realized I could do any meal.  Even breakfast!  So I did.

I served: zucchini bread, banana slices, plain yogurt with honey and a few sprinkles, pureed strawberries to mix with the yogurt, and applesauce with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.  Yum.

Be sure to check out the other yummy Muffin Tin Meals today.

And last but not least I wanted to let my readers know about this fantastic home school planner give away going on at one of my favorite blogs Confessions of a homeschooler.  Check it out, leave a comment or two following the guidelines to be entered to win.  I'm telling you, if I don't win it, I'm going to buy it, it is exactly what I've been looking for in a planner for the coming year.

I hope you all have a blessed Monday and one more congrats to our winners!  If you won please leave a comment with an e-mail address to contact you at.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

31 Days to Clean - give away within

First let me mention Muffin Tin Mondays.  I LOVE them.  I enjoy doing them and will come back to doing them in the fall when we start school back up.  Our days are so crazy right now that I just haven't had the concentration to plan for them and I'm going on a MTM hiatus for summer break.  Instead on Monday I will be posting about a new project I'm embarking on.

31 Days to Clean was written by Sara Mae another blogging mommy.  You can get more info here at 31 days to clean.  It is meant to help women get inspired and get a handle on their cleaning.  Having a Martha house the Mary way is the tagline.  This appeals to me.  I lean toward the Mary side of life.  But when I get into a Martha mood I'm extremely Martha.  Maybe I should explain who Mary and Martha are.  They are two sisters in the bible.  Jesus came to visit with them and their brother Lazarus.  Mary sat at Jesus' feet and soaked in his presence and words of instruction while Martha was trying to be a hostess who had a clean home, perfect food, etc.  This book tries to help us home makers have a Mary heart - seeking out how we can glorify and even worship God with having a clean home.

So here comes the fun.  The book was initially written with the Martha challenges being more of a deep cleaning throughout the house (which I haven't done yet, I'll admit).  But the author has released a new set of Martha Challenges to be done that are more about creating a routine for daily upkeep of the house.  More exciting is that she needed a focus group to test these out and give her the ins and outs of how they worked for us and I get to be in the focus group!  Now blogging about the journey or the book even isn't required but since I have a blog and as a gift to me for being in the focus group I get to give a special code to THREE people to download their own copy of this e-book.  So leave a comment and I'll choose three random people to receive a code for a free copy of this book.  You can earn an extra entry by sharing this give away on facebook and commenting here that you did.  Give away ends Monday, June 6th at noon EST so that the winners still have the opportunity to start the challenge this week.

I will be beginning the new challenges for the focus group TOMORROW!  The challenges run from Monday through Saturday taking Sunday off as a day of rest.  I will blog for the next few Mondays about the previous weeks progress.  It is my understanding that along with the new Martha Challenges I'm supposed to go through the book reading and completing the initial Mary challenges and so that is what I plan to do.  If you're joining the June 31 days to Clean challenge please feel free to link up in my comments on any Monday post in June.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Shoes to fill

Sometimes my kids do something that is both hilarious and so tear inspiring and heart melting all at the same time.  Spider monkey did something just like this last Saturday.  I looked up to see this:

Those are KOJ's baseball pants.  They were clean and had been folded and left on the arm of the couch because someone in the house is TERRIBLE at actually putting the clean laundry away (not me! Said with an air of innocence we all know is a lie. hahaha)  I cracked up because as he turned and walked away his bare bum was showing through the zipper in the back.  But he managed to cover it up before I was ready to snap a pic.

I laughed and told him that I just LOVE him.  He wandered off.  He wandered back.  I looked down and saw:
Ok it's kinda dark but maybe if you look closely you'll see that he went and put on KOJ's cleats.  Have I mentioned how much this child wants to play baseball?  How much he wants to be JUST like daddy?  To fill Daddy's super sized shoes?  Well he does.  All of that.  I share this last picture in hopes that ya'll can ignore the mess around him and focus on the precious child who just wants to fill his daddy's shoes (and baseball pants)
It must be that his daddy is an awesome guy for him to so badly want to step into his shoes.  I hope you all have a great Saturday - do something as a family.  I know I plan to let KOJ further inspire the children while I do something cool - like take a nap or something.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Our Memorial Day

This post is going to have a TON of pictures.  Just so you know.  In case you hate pictures.  Then you can leave now.  Otherwise let's move on.  So on Memorial Day we mostly relaxed, did a bit of cleaning, I did some grocery shopping, KOJ and the two youngest boys did some napping, I did some potato salad making (it turned out great by the way) and Squirrel did some pool filling in the back yard.  But I wanted to do something more fun and memorable for the holiday.  So when the boys woke up from their naps we got them into their swim trunks and when the Veggie Tales movie they turned on was over we got Princess up and put her in her totally adorable swim suit.  And we loaded them up in the van:

I will now take a moment to mention that Spider is still rear facing at 2.5 because it is safest and he still has room in that seat.

Then we went and used some coupons to get them special drinks from McD's (the frozen strawberry lemonade):

Then we had them take off their shirts and sandals so they could go run around in the fountains!  The older two boys had NO problems with this. 

Spider though was quite tentative.  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves and you can clearly see his slow progress into the fountains.
Princess wasn't sure what to think.  She looked at the water.

Then she looked at us:
Spider is getting closer:
Princess stands up to get a better look:
Then she sees the camera and decides to be an adorable ham:
She was dancing and jabbering in that picture there.  Hard to tell I'm sure.  Oh now look and see here.
He came running up to me while I was videoing Princess and shouts "mama I got wet!"  "Great job baby!" hahaha, he's hilarious.  This next picture is my favorite of the boys from the day:

Proof that princess did in fact get into the water (and that her brothers adore her!)

And we all went home mostly happy (spider objected to leaving but it was well past 6pm and we hadn't eaten dinner yet).  The kids had a ton of fun and from what I hear it was a LOT less crowded than the public pool that had 950 people flood through it from 1pm-8pm.  Glad we went to the fountains instead.