Saturday, July 30, 2011

Summer bucket list review and update

So I just copied and pasted in the original list and I've crossed out the things we've done.  I'm also adding pics of some of the things we've done this summer.

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 - this is not going to happen because it's past and we were camping that weekend.  I'm ok with that.
go camping with my dad and sisters and all of our kids
My dad with the two smallest Granddaughters

Visit Nana Sue's farm
Go to Shipshewanna flea market (I have NO idea if I spelled that right. lol) Have this scheduled to do with my mom and sisters and grandma in September.
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 Would you believe that we didn't take pics of ourselves on our date?  We had a great time though and were super blessed to only have to pick up and bring home Princess that night.  The boys stayed overnight in two other places.
Make home made ice cream with the boys
have a water balloon fight with the kids - I'm probably not going to do this.  It no longer sounds appealing to me to be honest.
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

See I'm glad I came back here to check this out because while we've done plenty this summer we've missed some very key things on our list.  Of course the county fair hasn't even happened yet and we will be attending when it does.  But now I can review and get some of these things done!  How are you doing on your list of Summer fun stuff??

Other things we've done this summer: attend lots of little league and Christian church league ball games, go to the library weekly, visit other various parks in our town, and played out in our yard lots.  The ice cream truck hasn't been by pretty much at all and the once or twice it has we didn't have any cash in the house.  But at the next opportunity we will be all over it like white on rice!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Socialize, socialize, socialize

Mmhmm... it's a key phrase, it's the most asked question when people find out you're homeschooling, and it's something my pediatrician has brought up at the last several appointments since hearing we're homeschooling (because clearly my very friendly, talkative children are lacking in socialization! @@)

So this is aimed at our dear pediatrician.

Dear Sir,
I've heard that you are concerned that my four children, since they are being homeschooled, might not have proper opportunities to socialize with children... other than their siblings (yes he really said that they needed to socialize with kids their own age other than their siblings), but I want to assure you that my children have plenty of opportunity to socialize.  Let me list these opportunities for you to put your mind at ease.

1 - they attend church every Sunday (as long as they aren't sick) and are in classes with similar aged peers.
2 - through the school year they attend our Awana program at church on Wed nights where again they are in class with similar aged peers.

3 - in the summer we attend our church's week-long VBS program where once more they are in class with similar aged peers.
4 - As they age into it and show desire they are registered for t-ball with similar aged peers.
mine is number 11
 5 - We make an honest attempt to spend time at the library weekly throughout the whole year - sometimes for story time and sometimes just to be there.  There is often socializing with peers of similar ages and would you believe it they socialize with the adult librarians too!  It's amazing!
6 - every time we walk into the grocery store all together they have opportunity to socialize as people comment on how good they are being or how cute they are.  Some adults even start conversations with my children and then (gasp) my children once again go socializing outside their age bracket.
7 - my children are blessed to be four of almost 12 cousins all 7 and under and so they are similar aged peers.  Regular playdates and family gatherings definitely qualify as socializing.
this is an older pic and it's missing a couple of cousins who weren't born yet.

from Easter this year.  Missing Tristan who lives in FL and the belly bean my sister hasn't had yet. lol

8 - it CANNOT be ignored here people - while we are home, together, during the day, my children socialize with one another.  I cannot for the life of me imagine WHY being siblings makes this socializing any less valid.  They learn sharing and problem solving together, they learn to play cooperatively.  They share ideas back and forth and they teach one another.  My oldest is happy to read aloud to his younger brothers.  My younger boys are happy to show their baby sister how things work.

It's also necessary to mention that most of a teacher's time at school is spent telling the children to STOP talking (ie socializing) and listen to learn.  So really the whole homeschoolers lack socialization thing is a HUGE unfounded myth.  Yes there are some families that are super sheltering, we are not one of those families.  I LOVE for my children to get together with their friends and their cousins.... so that *I* can socialize!

In conclusion, I hope that this plethora of socialization opportunities, my children have, puts your mind at rest and we are able to move on from this serious misconception of yours.  Because really if you're going to be concerned with my home schooling shouldn't you care more about whether my children are learning the fundamentals of reading and math that they will need to succeed in the future in higher education and career paths than whether or not they have enough time to chit chat with other children the same age as them???

the somewhat annoyed mom of the super socialized monkey boys and princess girl

PS. The princess if given a mirror will even socialize with herself! Now THAT is socialization at it's best!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The summer reading program

The summer reading program has been such a blessing to our family this summer in so many ways.

1 - it's been a free activity and the kids love going each week to get their next prize for listening to/reading books.

2 - it's kinda pushed us into more quality time together as I read books to the younger two boys.  Princess was too young for the program this year but she often listens along as well.

and sometimes she takes matters into her own little hands and reads alone.

3 - it's shown Squirrel monkey that he can read.... by himself... for fun or to his brothers.  It's stretched him as a reader and he's really gotten into it.  I LOVE it.  He was about 5 mo younger than the age category called for but he's been reading independently for more than a year so I kinda pushed to have him put in the read alone category to stretch him and it's been great. 

4 - the prizes have been great - free snacks at McD's (our local McD's sponsors our reading program), and tickets to the county fair - one "ticket" includes a free parking pass, one free ride ticket, and one free amphitheater ticket.  This is huge for us.  It will allow us to go to the fair together as a family this year for super low cost - just the cost of KOJ and I getting in the gate, since we've got the parking pass.  I'm so blessed by this because I know that the kids are going to LOVE the fair.  It will also allow KOJ to take the boys to the demolition derby with a bunch of their church friends and their fathers.

So if you didn't check out your library's summer reading program this year make sure you do so next year for sure.  You might be surprised at the great things this free summer activity can bring into your life.

Later this week er... wait it's already Thursday isn't it?  Ummm... then maybe tomorrow but maybe not until next week I'll be reviewing our summer bucket list and see where we stand with that and the chances of meeting the goals on it.  I'm also feeling a post about how we socialize our monkeys coming on.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

To the library

Today we went to the library.  Some of my readers also have a passel or more of children (for the purposes of this post a passel = 4).  Some of my readers don't.  So let me tell you all what walking to the library is like.  First you start off with wonderful mommy intentions of taking your precious children to the library - whether for a story time or just for something to do to get out of the house.  We are fortunate enough to live about a 15 min walk from the library (.5 mile - yes it really takes us fifteen minutes one way).

Step 1 - tell the children to get dressed.  This will cause all sorts of questions from the monkeys "Where we go?" "Why?"  "I'm out of shorts mom!"

Step 2 - tell the children to get on their shoes which is followed by "I can't find my shoes!" "I don't want to wear those sandals that are sitting in plain sight I want to wear my tennis shoes that are hiding under the curtain by the back door" "I don't have my water bottle"  "NO don't leave me!" and generally includes a sobbing baby who just wishes I'd go lay her down for her nap.

Step 3 - collect the library books - this part is probably the least painful part of the process, they know they'll come home with "new" loot so they aren't bad usually about taking back the books we've already read.

Step 4 - Tell the children to go outside and wait on the sidewalk.  Run around like a chicken with your head cut off ensuring that you have diapers for the baby, your wallet with the library cards, the sheets with the kids' reading list for the summer reading program so they can get their next prize, and a water cup for the still crying baby and you say a prayer under your breath that the tired baby will just give in and fall asleep on the walk.

Step 5 - THE WALK - this involves children darting about on the sidewalk in front of and behind me.  They're super good about waiting at the corners for everyone to cross together.  We do not employ the holding hand method of street crossing.  I make sure it's clear and I shout at them to cross NOW!  It works for us.  So far.   This step usually involves the three boys and myself spread out the whole length of the current block we're on at any given time.  Often there is one or more child so far ahead that if they wanted to run away from me they totally could and often there is one or more child so far behind I think I could read a whole book to the other children before they catch back up.  I often wonder what the people driving past us think of the whole thing.  I can tell by the way some people turn a corner extra slow that they don't trust my children not to dart out into the road.  Which is fine, I'd rather they be cautious but the boys pretty well know the danger of doing so and it has never been a problem on any of our walks.

Step 6 - enjoy some time at the library, return books, tell the children to be quieter, we're in the library, etc.  Then we do steps 1-5 in reverse order - well except I don't generally tell them to undress when we get home and they just naturally kick off their own shoes (they are my children after all!).

At any rate a decent bit of exercise for mama, worn out kids make for great naps, and new books so we can finish our last ten books for our summer reading program by Saturday when we will load up in the van and go back a 2nd time this week to get our final prize.

Sometimes I think I could join the circus with my show.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

a new adventure

Sometimes there are people in our lives that we perhaps take for granted.  But we shouldn't.  We esp shouldn't take for granted the things that we can learn from these people.  One of these people in my life is my grandma.  She makes amazing quilts, her knitted Christmas stockings are family heirlooms in my opinion.  I'm sure there's a TON more that she knows that I don't but those two things come to mind.

Now I don't currently have an interest in quilting because I don't have the time or space at this season of life (but someday I totally will).  I am however DYING to learn how to knit.  So I called my grandma up today and asked her if she'd teach me how to knit.  "Sure!" she said and then told me not to buy any needles as she has plenty. 

I'll probably start with something simple like these pot holders only in solid colors.

Then I'll move on to other fun things like

and this
and this

Oh yes, I've wanted to learn how to knit for a VERY long time but having a daughter has gotten me off my procrastinating rump and onward I'll go.  Maybe I can make her one of these beauties for her birthday next year.

Learning to knit is also on my "bucket list" of sorts.  And so I'm going to embark on a new adventure and take some wisdom from a grandma who has it and the time to impart it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

the blessing of adoption

Adoption is so fantastic.  I hope to one day adopt.  When our children are older I hope to foster to adopt pre-teen and teenage kids who thinks that the world has left them behind.

Adoption is such a HUGE undertaking and right now where I am in life I just cannot fathom it.  It would take a HUGE step of faith for me to even consider adoption with four littles already demanding so much of my time and attention.

But my friend Rachel has chosen with her husband and her three small children to follow God's direction for their family on their journey to adoption.  So please go check out her adoption blog and give if the Lord leads but at the very least I know your prayers and encouragement would be much appreciated.  Help bring "Wallace" home.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

God's provision in the little things

I've been working hard as you've seen on de-cluttering and re-organizing our home, especially our school stuff.  We're planning to start school in about three weeks and I want to be all organized for the year before that happens.  I've got the curriculum bought.  I've got the children.  I've got a table and a few seats.  But if I can't find the curriculum it's not going to do much good.  Also finding a way to organize each week/days stuff where Princess can't get into and destroy it presents a challenge too with our limited space.

I've looked into workboxes and I LOVE the idea but the space thing presents an issue.  So I looked around online in the blogosphere to see other workbox "translations".  I found a few that I thought were great.  I bought a couple dozen ice cube bins intending to use those as our workboxes (I have NO idea what I was thinking, I don't have the shelfspace for that).  So as of late I've been thinking and the other day one of the kids was playing with a small plastic file box I have that I kept our papers organized in - bills and such.  They were lifting this clear lid on the top that opened to a tray space for things like pens, paperclips etc.  It hit me then that this would be perfect!  One box per boy.  Their pencils, scissors, crayons, glue sticks, etc. will fit in the top tray and I can file in the whole week's worth of school work inside the box.  LOVE! 

I had another dilemma.  We're using Confessions of a Homeschooler's letter of the week curriculum and well the storage solution I thought I had didn't work for this because accordion files only open out so much and these activities became quite thick.  So I realized I would need two more file boxes to store the LOTW activities.  Well the file boxes are 10.00 each and as previously mentioned I prefer to be frugal.  So I checked the price on amazon and I could get a 4pack for 36.00.  Woot a 4.00 savings!  But we went out yard saling and thrift store shopping yesterday.  I was hoping to find a few of these file boxes that other people had decided they no longer needed.

Salvation Army didn't have any but they had some AWESOME children's books and a book sale going on for .29 a book and buy 1 get 1 free so basically 2 books for .29.  I got an oversized Jack and the Beanstalk that came with flashcards and a cd of the story.

I think this though was my favorite book find:  A copy of the classic Peter Pan
But I was also tickled by finding this copy of a McGraw Hill reader book:

I also got a few other fun books, easy readers for Howler to work with through the year, a few Golden Books, and we also got a few board games.

Anyway back to the story, alas no file boxes.  So we headed over to Goodwill.  I found a copy of Madeline here though it wasn't AS good of a deal I picked it up anyway because it's one of our FIAR books for the coming school year (we may just go ahead and start with it lol).  I searched around but no file boxes.  But back in the furniture section I found a slightly dented black two drawer file cabinet.  In the bottom drawer it had a whole bunch of hanging files in great condition.  For 3.99 we bought it and it fits not only my LOTW stuff but I was able to move our family files into the bottom drawer of it freeing up the file box we already owned.  So for this year we only need one more file box.  At 10.00 plus the 3.99 for the filing cabinet we saved a little more than 30.00.  Sometimes I marvel at the small ways that God provides for us.  I'm so thrilled and happy and thankful.

Have a blessed Sunday everyone!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A New Day!

I'm so thankful to God for a new day.  This blog covers a lot of things.  A lot of times I talk about my children and things we've been doing as a family.  Sometimes I talk about our schooling, baking, things I'm thankful for, what we're going to eat for dinner, and a few times I've mentioned how I'm cleaning challenged.

Today is going to fall into the cleaning challenged category of posts. 

I have often felt that I must be the only truly incompetent cleaner on the planet.  People say they're homes need to be picked up and cleaned up and they'd be embarrassed to have company stop by but in the back of my mind I'm always thinking "Yeah right, you probably have a few dirty dishes in the sink and toys from the kids actively playing strewn about." 

I haven't found the answers yet.  My house is a total mess right now.  A lot of it is toys.  A lot of it is dishes.  Some of it is dirty laundry.  I strive to keep a clean home.

But not yesterday.  Yesterday I washed two loads of laundry and diapers.  I dried two loads of laundry (one load still sits in the dryer as I type) and folded three or four loads of laundry (it had built up).  I also managed to unload the dishwasher (finally, from three days before) and re-load and ran it before bed.

Otherwise I did pretty much nothing all day.  Not because there weren't things to do but because I didn't feel like it.  Yesterday was an off day for me.  My mood was off kilter and the motivation was seriously lacking.  Today though is a new day.  Today I can start my day right.  I can go take my shower, unload and re-load the dishwasher and set it to run while we go to the program at the library.  I can dry my diapers and toss another load in.  When we come home I can start in the kitchen and clean off my counters, wash the big pots and pans and bowls and PUT THEM AWAY!  I can remember to put dinner in the crock pot before we head out this morning so it's one less thing I have to think about tonight.  Because today is a new day.  Each hour is a new hour.  It's never too late to make the right choice in things like this.

And I am thankful for new days, new mercies, and the never ending grace of God.  I'm also thankful that I'm not alone.  That I'm not the only who is challenged by house work.  Check out this blog that a reader shared with me earlier this week:  A slob comes clean  It has been a real encouragement to me this week.  I am NOT alone!  And for the record I do not personally know this person but I do know that if housework is a challenge to you and you find yourself ignoring giant sticky spots on your floor until you can't walk because you're stuck in place before mopping then this blog will probably be an encouragement to you too!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

100.00 holiday updates

It's time for another update on my 100.00 holiday.  I can't believe it's been another month already.  Wow.

So this month I bought the books for the children.  I got all four books for 9.00 shipped from another mama.  I'm very excited about it.  They are great books and it's one less thing I have to think about.  I need to find two more decent DVD sales for the Santa gifts still.

I buy for:

Something to read:  Little Bear book
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:  Little Bear book
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: The Sunflower parable
Something to wear: I spy quilt
Something you need:
Something to share: doll and people house
Something you want/for fun:

Something to read:  The parable of the Lily
Something to wear: a dress and matching bow - I will make the dress, might try my hand at the bow too.
Something you need: winter coat and hat - bought on clearance at the end of last winter
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. I have a plan here but on the off chance that KOJ comes and reads this I'm not posting what it is. lol

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
-9.00 (books for all four kids)
49.00 left as of July 20, 2011

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.  I did not end up using my gift cards for Sierra's gift.  I made her a dress and bought her a few flower clips from a wahm friend.  So I still currently have 25.00 in amazon cards.  I'm a few days away from another gift card and plan to get there before August first.  I haven't been going at it quite as hard as I was because the kids and I have been out and about more.  So I'm going to estimate 3 more gift cards earned before the holiday shopping crunch.

So my outside income looks like this:

Amazon gift cards: estimated 45.00
Inboxdollars: currently 19.16 - 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. I did a few tasks on this and it took several days at least to see the credits and I kinda forgot to keep checking back.  I looked just now and I got the credits and made .15.  Woot. lol  I might try to give this another go now that I know I'll earn the money.  I can't find anywhere on the site that lists a minimum amount before "cashing out" and I can have the money transferred to either an amazon gift card or to my bank account.  LOVE that option.

Now go check out the site that this challenge originated on and see all of her great ideas!  The Saved Quarter She has some other great posts too about being frugal and what not.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Re-organizing things

The weekend before Princess' party and a week long VBS at our church I just HAD to declutter my dining room and playroom and reorganize them.  I'm happy I did though.  It was a lot of work and the house looked worse before it looked better but now it looks great.  Wanna see?

It looked like that.  See that corner in the left?  School stuff.  LOTS and LOTS of it.  In no particular order.  It just kept multiplying.  I'd had enough.  It gave me a headache to see it there.  So I posted on one of the forums I frequent and the super great organizer girls threw out all sorts of ideas at me.  Once I settled on something I thought would work for us I went with it.  Part of the debate was whether to even keep school in the dining room.  I decided to have separate "Centers"  the dining room is now our "Art class" all of our crafts supplies are still there.  The three R school is in the playroom now.  And after our yard sale next month we'll have a nature center in the laundry room for the kids to collect rocks and other nature things (no bugs or animals though).

So without further ado this was the end result of the dining room:
Soo much better right?  I can breath.  There aren't things all over the place.  It's so nice.  I also put up a bulletin board to the right there.  I haven't started really using it yet but I'm gonna.

Now for our main school area in the playroom.
Don't mind the mess.  This was on a day that the kids played.  hahahahaha  I totally crack myself up.  It looks like this nearly every day.  It's a mess.  It doesn't look like this in the after pictures though.  And I'm telling you that EVERY stinking toy in that room has a place that it belongs.  So we moved the kids' bookshelf into the living room next to the couch.  Because that is where we read so our reading center is in the living room.  That truly leaves this room for circle time and math, writing, phonics work.  Which is GREAT!  Oh and that table in the top before picture wasn't always there.  I moved it in here in prep to move school in here before I snapped the pics.

And after (Ignore the things on the table - I haven't quite gotten all the kinks worked out in here).
I'm weighing the idea of using workboxes this year.  I haven't made a decision about that yet.  If I decided to I'd get two more shelf units like the one in the first picture (in the corner there, see?) and put them one on each side of the table but like I said I haven't decided yet.  I don't think I need them but I can always re-evaluate as the school year progresses.

So what do you think?  I personally love it.  I'm very happy with it and I'm glad I took the plunge.  I LOVE having my dining room look like a dining room with some kid stuff in it instead of a kid room that we're intruding on to eat. lol   And I think it's worth mentioning that I did this re-do on a budget of no money.  I did end up purchasing the stools that are under the table in the school room.  I got them for 5.00 each at goodwill.  I would have had to purchase seating one way or another.  I need one more seat for the little guy but I'm keeping my eyes open for two more stools.  I guess I can't expect the kids to stand and do school. We already had everything else I used on hand and I just moved things around and re-purposed.

Monday, July 18, 2011

31 days to clean Day 1

I'm beginning the original book of challenges today.  I'm very excited about it.  Now that VBS and Sierra's party have been done and over I can get back into keeping my home and having more relaxed fun with the kids.

Today's Mary challenge is to create a Mission Statement for myself.  WHY?  Why do I want to have a clean home?  What are my priorities in doing so?

I want to have a clean home:

so that the kids and I can have a peaceful place to play and learn
so that projects with the kids - whether art or baking or board games - can be done on a whim because the tables and counters are cleaned off regularly
so that I don't have to feel guilty about taking an impromptu trip out to the park or the fountains or the library
having a clean house - esp kitchen makes it easier for me to get home cooked meals on the table every night
so that I can more freely invite friends over for fellowship
so that the kids (as they are getting older now) can invite friends over for playing
so that I can feel at peace in my heart that I worked hard and did my job each day
so that I can teach my children HOW to keep a home themselves one day
so that my family will feel loved.  

If I only clean because company is coming over WHAT does that tell my family?????  GAH!  No more of that.  

I really enjoyed the routine challenges.  Getting into a routine really helped me feel less overwhelmed and more in control.  I will continue with that basic routine.  The Martha challenges in the original book are more of a deep cleaning/decluttering set of challenges.  So each morning I will start with my routines.  Then sometime during the day (probably late afternoon most days) I will do the Martha challenge of the day.  I will read and do the Mary challenge of the day in the mornings.  I hope to update each Monday on my progress in both the Mary and the Martha challenges.

The Martha challenge today is to create a list of supplies I will need to complete all of the Martha challenges.  I will just look ahead at this weeks challenges and see what I need for the week and do that each week.  I will NOT be doing a challenge on Sunday.  Sunday is my day off.  

I'm pleased that the challenges are of a simple nature today because Princess and Howler have well checks this afternoon at the peds.  I'm praying that the ped will be able to tell me why my daughter hasn't been sleeping the past few nights (I suspect an ear infection or her 1yr molars or maybe both - whatever it is I hope it stops soon because I'm a zombie over here.)

Sunday, July 17, 2011


We were blessed to have friends and family celebrate our princess' 1st birthday with us yesterday.
Blessed that the cakes and favors turned out how I had hoped.

 And blessed to be the mama of
the fairest of them all.
Thanks to all the friends and family who celebrated our little darling Princess with us.  We really appreciate the love and support we have here.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Frugal Friday birthday week

So Princess turned one yesterday and her party is tomorrow.  Being a family of six and me staying home with the kids means that frugality MUST be queen in our jungle.  You saw on Wednesday that I was able to make a few colorful party decorations that will hang around the pavilion from the rafters.

Secondly we chose a pavilion that doesn't have a registration fee/rental fee - I just have to be the first one there to claim it for the day.  I plan to do that. 

Third - more decor and party favors.  Someone suggested I make cookies on a stick for party favors so I'm going to.  Each one will be decorated with a pink crown outline in the middle and have a printed thank you tag.  Those are going to double as part of the center pieces during the party.  See?

First I found these cute silver pails on sale for 50% off a few months ago.

I bought ten.  They were 1.47 at regular price so for ten of them I paid $7.37  What's great is that I'll keep and re-purpose these (I'll probably post about it later) so the cost is super minimal for that factor.  Then I went and got one package of this:
That one package cost 2.00 at the local walmart.  I cut each block into quarters and had two pieces left over.

Then I put the pink easter grass that I also got at the 50% off Easter clearance at walmart in on top of the green and jabbed the cookie sticks in to create a fun little arrangement.  I bought three bags of the Easter grass for a total of 2.00 for the Easter grass. 

I am 100% sure that they will look great with cookies baked on them. hahaha  I love how the pink grass ties it into the whole pink princess theme.  So in review these center pieces/party favors/future school supply holders cost: just penies under 20.00.  So each center piece is 2.00 or each favor is .50.  Not too shabby.  Totally cute and frugal too.  The queen of the jungle is rocking this party.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The day the baby came

This week is the Princess' birthday.  She is one year old today!  It's amazing to me even still.  I typed out her birth story shortly after she was born but it's fun to think about it in retrospect now a year later.

Now I was the mama of three little monkeys and when we got pregnant with baby number four I totally expected another baby monkey.  But soon after getting the positive pregnancy test I knew in my gut she was a girl.  I've only known with two of the kids which gender they are and with the other two I wanted a specific gender so badly that it clouded any kind of mama instinct I might have even had.  I knew one hundred percent that Howler was a boy.  100% positive.  Never wavered in that belief my whole pregnancy and there wasn't a twinge of shock when he was born a boy.  And with Princess I knew she was a girl.  I was afraid to believe the instinct and feel disappointed but I knew it in my heart.  Funny enough these two are so much alike it kills me.  They have very similar personalities.  They are my good nappers.  They both suck two of their fingers on their left hands.  And they look almost identical at 1yr of age.

Aunty Lynn and Howler

Howler and Squirrel

And they are both equally adorable in my Dad's arms:

I so totally got off on a tangent here.  Sorry.  The day Princess came was very hot and I was miserable and I just wanted to have this kid out but my scheduled section was still a few days away.  The night before she came I had some twinges that were the same as twinges I experienced during Spider monkey's and it worried me because when I finally had my c-section with Spider the Dr. told me I had a partial rupture and I felt that's what this twinge was.  Then I went hours without feeling the baby move and I spent a lot of time worried and praying.  So then I was having some contractions and I thought my water broke so KOJ and I headed up to the hospital in the early afternoon of Wed, July 14th.  My water hadn't broken but I was having regular contractions.  So they decided to go ahead and bring my baby into the world.  I still remember very vividly having to make myself go to sleep about an hour before the scheduled time because I was internally freaking out.  My other c-sections had gone fine but I still felt super anxious about going in and having the spinal and the whole nine yards.  So we got into the OR and they had a really hard time getting the spinal in.  We tried this and that position and finally I heard them say that if they didn't get it in this last try that we'd have to go general and I was crying and praying.  If they had to use general they wouldn't allow KOJ into the OR and then we'd BOTH miss her birth.  But God had an angel in that OR with us that night.  His name was Hector.  He made a suggestion for a position we hadn't tried.  It worked!  I was so thankful that a year later I still tear up in thankfulness.  He was one of the BEST nurses ever.  A short time later my baby girl came into this world crying up a storm.  A giant 10lbs 6oz and lots of dark dark hair with her bright blue eyes.

 We could not have been happier.  She was amazing.  And she was the spitting image of me when I was a baby.  It was like I gave birth to my clone and it was kinda creepy but that mama love was totally taking over.

Howler with Princess

Even from the very start they have been buddies.  She has been adored by her brothers the entirety of her little life and I get so much pleasure watching them all together each day.

Happy Birthday sweet Princess girl!  I adore you still!  Who wouldn't?  Look at her!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Party decorations.... a tutorial

How to mess up er make party decorations.

First buy lots of extra pink tissue paper in the half off after Easter sales.  Making each package (which makes one pom pom) .50.

Second find the online tutorial for the tissue paper pom poms that looked cute and easy.

Third half glance at the tutorial directions and then sit down to get started.  You need 8-9 sheets of tissue paper.  And the tutorial I looked at called for a boning tool but I don't have one so I used a tongue depressor instead.

For this project you also need floral wire to wrap around the middle.  See?  You wrap it around tightly once you've finished the accordion folding.

Fourth forget a step, mess up another by not pulling gently enough.

Fifth - use it anyway, heh, she's only one she'll never notice the mistakes. lol

Six try again and this time follow all of the directions as closely as humanly possible and hope for better results.

 This was the step I missed the first time.  Trim the ends to a rounded shape (or you could make them pointed I suppose).  I like the HUGE difference it makes.  Also I did not use the boning tool on each fold either with the first one and that really made a difference with the new ones.

These ones turned out very nicely and I can't wait to hang them in the pavilion to add some color on Saturday.  This entire project for three pom poms cost less than 2.50.  Amazing!  Check back Friday for a glimpse at our thrifty center pieces that double as the party favors.