Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fall fun: mama's project #1

So I took to heart my own post about fall and embracing and making it fun!  Sometimes lately I get so lost in the stuff that needs to be done and trust me that list never ends.  It is never ALL done.  There will always be something more to do and I need to learn to find a balance between that and having a little fun.  I worked on that this weekend.

I decided I wanted to make this pin from pinterest: Fall leaf banner and that I wanted to decorate a little half wall that we have here in the house between the living room and dining room.  Our computer sits in front of the wall so we see it a lot in our peripheral view when we're at the computer.  Normally it just collects clutter and dust.  But I hate that and so I changed it.

I cleared off the shelf of everything but our router and modem which are kinda important and dusted it down.  Then I did this to it:
We painted the pumpkins as a family on Friday night just before bed to let them dry, then added the faces on Saturday morning.  I have a pumpkin for baby girl but I left it plain until she can paint it herself next year.  I grabbed the fun gourds at the farmer's market Saturday morning.  I got the mini pumpkins at the AppleFest our town put on a week ago.  The silver buckets are from Princess' birthday party and the fall ribbon I bought on clearance so many years ago I'm pretty sure we still lived in Rhode Island.  I had the felt on hand and bought the yarn to sew it together last night.  It took less than an hour to stitch the leave pieces together into the banner you see before you.

I totally LOVE the whole look of it.  It looks really nice in person too.

So I balanced:
practical/need: clean off the shelf
Fun: make a fun fall scene and the leaf banner from pinterest

I CAN do it!  hehehe, soon I'll share some of the fun fall stuff I've got going on with/for the boys.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday - Letter L for ladybug

So this muffin tin happened a while back but it's the last one we've done this school year and I haven't managed to post about it yet.  So here it is.  We did a Letter L for ladybug muffin tin.
I put the fixings for english muffin pizzas into a tin.  We used mozzarella cheese, ragu sauce, olives, and mushrooms.
Spider monkey made his first.

I had them put the cheese on first then top it with mushrooms, then the red sauce and olives for the black dots on the ladybug's wings.

They each took their turn making their own and putting them on the baking pan.  I made Princess' and my own (I used bagels for myself and didn't go for the ladybug look, lol).

Then I baked them up for about 15 min to heat them through and melt the cheese.  The tin with the ingredients looked like this when we finished:

And the kids chowed them right down:

I'm linking up this fine morning with the other muffin tin mom's over at the Muffin Tin Mom.  Click on the button and check out all the other great muffin tin meal ideas!

Muffin Tin Monday at Muffintinmom.com

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fall Fun(k)

I'm sorry I've been neglecting my blog so much lately. 

As you might have imagined life with four small children gets busy and hectic and the housework never ends so there is ALWAYS something to do.  Something that takes importance over writing a blog post usually.

But I have a few quiet moments (in which I SHOULD be doing something else but am not) where no children are screaming at or around me.

I've heard that it is fall.  I look out my window and see that it is fall as we are blessed to live in a region where leaves change colors and fall from the trees.  The weather channel app on my desk top tells me that the weather is incredibly fall like.  And posts on FB and mom boards I read abound with well wishes for the first official day of the fall season.

And I am excited and thrilled and in a funk.  I love this season.  I love these temps.  I love hot chocolate and coffee.  I LOVE pumpkin goodies.  I love to start watching nostalgic and corny Christmas movies at this point in the season ( I don't know why but fall has ALWAYS inspired this in me).  The problem is that instead of vegging on the couch with endless hours of movies and yummy fresh baked pumpkin goodies from our kitchen I have these things called responsibilities (ya know, laundry, dishes, four children who need to be fed three meals and a couple of snacks a day and put for naps and a baby girl who still needs diaper changes and help getting dressed and out of and back into bed, and school - don't forget school it's the big one).

So instead of wallowing further (because I have spent a large portion of this week wallowing) I thought "gee maybe I should think outside of the box I've attempted to put my life into (which is pointless anyway because I assure you if you even THINK the word schedule or routine the baby will KNOW and do everything in their tiny little powers to completely screw with it) and figure out how to embrace my love for fall in a way that can also school the children keep the house picked up.  Now I can do the first but eh about the 2nd.  I just have to stay at terms with the reality that the laundry and dishes just need done and really aren't going to give me anything in return. lol

So I am on a mission now.  A mission to make school for the next few weeks all about fall.  We're going to FINALLY do our apple unit (took a little longer to finish our FIAR book Lentil after our vacation) and then move steadily on to pumpkins.  And who said that baking couldn't be involved in school??  Not me.  That's for sure.  So I'll make sure Squirrel gets his spelling and math and grammar done but mostly we're going to have some fun.  FALL fun!  Ready?  Set?  GO!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

another update on 100.00 holiday

What our holiday looks like gift wise so far:

Green are items I've bought, purple are items I'm making, black are items I still need to get.

DH: Something I am making for him that he will like.
DS1: Little Bear book , a shirt or outfit (need), hot wheels dynamite blaster and hot wheels triple launch jump, Postcards from Buster season 1 dvd, a hot wheels car pocket holder to hang on the wall , and a decorate your own bank kit
DS2: Little Bear book, All About dvd, Cars 2 duplo blocks set, bank kit, hot wheels car holder (making), and shirt or outfit (need)
DS3: Sunflower Parable book (have), DC superhero and friends trio sets: Mr Freeze and batwing (have), all about dvd (have), bank kit, hot wheels car holder, shirt or outfit (need)
DD: Parable of the Lily book, an outfit (need), a super hero cape (the boys got theirs a couple of Christmas' ago), little tikes doll high chair, winter coat and hat , toddler purse (need)

The hotwheels holders I'll make will be like this:
I got the idea from A girl and a glue gun blog and instead of using pattern fabric for the pockets I plan to use clear vinyl fabric so they can SEE their little cars.  Click the link to the blog to see the tutorial for it.  I also plan to use flannel that I already have in my closet for the back piece of the holder.  Over all the cost of this is going to be super low.

Mom: (have gc for)
Dad: (have gc for)
FIL: (have gc for)
SIL: (have gc for)

Sis1 and fam: fun family gift
Sis2 and fam: fun family gift
Sis3 (4yrs): same as sis1

I've abandoned the group gift of the doll house type thing for this:

I got this at another blog on the interwebz and I LOVE that she used the already colored set of Melissa and Doug wooden blocks for these.  Check out her tutorial here at Crafty Erin.

Brother (18): no idea!

I'll do some baked goods for friends at church and my grandma etc.

I'm going to use my amazon gc from swagbucks to buy DD's purse and the items for the sister gifts.

So far I have spent 70.10 and I will use 27.07 on amazon for the purse and sister gifts.  I currently have 35.00 in amazon gc's earned and am working to trade one or two for an outfit for Princess.  I will easily earn two or three more in the next month and a half.

So I have 29.90 in cash left, and an unspent 8.00 in amazon gc so far.  I am also still working on the 30.00 inbox payout but I'm still at 23 and change for earned there so I don't think I'll have it in time for holiday spending.

That 70.00 includes some stocking stuffers for all four kids too.

I'm trying to keep my holiday spending under 100.00 cash and whatever amazon cards I've saved up from swagbucks. So far so good. I might go over in materials for the cape and car holders but as long as I stay pretty close I'm happy. I will also need to spend cash on stickers for the sister gifts and buy the boys each a new shirt.  It will be close and I might go a little over but still if I'm able to keep it under 150.00 all together - gifts and stockings etc. then I'm going to be very happy.

I'm linking up over at The Saved Quarter's 100.00 holiday link up.  Go see how others are doing the holidays for less this year too!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Busy busy busy and content

EVERY time I sit to write a post because I think I have a few minutes something happens with the kids that I have to step away and then I get permanently side tracked.  When I started this blogging adventure I thought that surely it wouldn't be hard to type out a post every day.  Now I laugh hysterically at the thought.  We are halfway through the month of September and this is my first September post!  GAH!

So over here in the life of the jungle monkeys life has just been busy.  Juggling schooling three boys and the naps and the errands and the STUFF of life has been busy.  But it has been fulfilling.

I have never felt more peace and contentment before in my life.  When I spend most of my morning between household tasks and teaching my children I feel as though I've done something worth while with my day and it makes me feel content.

Sometimes when you are in the role that I am in - the stay at home mom, wife, and home school teacher - it is easy to get bogged down with the idea that what we do is insignificant.  It is easy to forget that we are shaping the next generation.  It is easy to forget that the past is past.

I have always had a hard time with housekeeping as I've posted about before.  I've had a hard time with eating right and being healthy.  I've had a hard time with looking in the mirror and being nothing but disgusted with myself.  I felt like a lazy failure of a slob a lot of the time and it made me feel depressed.

I don't know for sure what changed or when.  I just know that it did.  Much of my time was spent seeking validation from other people.  From other internet moms, from my husband, from my relatives.  This was a HUGE waste of time because even if all of these people praised me constantly it wouldn't have changed how I felt about myself.  Only God could change how I feel about myself.  At some point I prayed a silent prayer that I could see me how God sees me.  God answers prayer.  I still probably don't even see me even half the way that God sees me BUT I see that there is hope.  I see that just because I failed yesterday or an hour ago doesn't mean I can't stand up and succeed now.  Just because I didn't have the laundry going by 9am doesn't mean I can't go put a load in once it is noon.  Just because I've been terrible at following a routine all of my life doesn't mean I can't learn to thrive on one now with the children and their schooling.  Just because I've had terrible and unhealthy eating and exercise habits for all of my life does NOT mean that I cannot change. 

But I cannot do it alone.  I simply can't.  That's where I have been going wrong all of these years.  Trying to do it alone.  Surely God doesn't care what I eat.  Surely God doesn't care about helping me feel motivated to get my laundry done.  Surely.  But He does.  It isn't me or my inner strength that has allowed me to feel free from the self loathing I was once entangled in.  It is God in me.  Period.  End of story.

I had God but I felt no hope because I had Him in a box.  It is amazing what can happen when you let God out of the box.  When you pray a small and simple prayer out of pure desperation to see things in a different light than you ever have before.

Be encouraged.  God cares.  He cares the whole world over.  Peace and contentment ARE possible.  But only if you give it all to God and lean on HIM even for the every day things.  Especially for the every day things.

May you be blessed today!