Thursday, April 19, 2012

How I Roll.. or Crawl..

I brought the kids to gymnastics today and in getting out of the car one of the kids kicked out a soccer ball and it rolled under the car. Apparently this is the worst thing that can possibly happen in a child's life because my children were very distressed about it and actually cried! 

Being the mom that I am, I reassured the children and had them stand on the side of the van while I got down on all fours to find the ball. Sure enough it was under the car. It was in the middle front of the car and i was on the back side of the car so I couldn't reach it from my vantage point. 

Now if I were thinking clearly and had known that the earlier gymnastics class had just let out and all of the parents were streaming out into the parking lot, I would have done the proper thing and stand up, walk around my van, and reach for the ball. 

As it was, I stayed on my hands and knees and crawled around the car. I had no idea that a crowd had gathered as I shimmied myself under the car with only my legs sticking out to retrieve the ball. I can only imagine what the other parents were thinking and wondering as they watched me crawl around the parking lot and under the car! 

When I emerged with the ball, one of the dads began to clap and say, "You got it!" I was startled so I jumped up, gave a little cheer for everyone, flashed everyone a smile, and threw the ball in the car! Just another way I add entertainment to the world... ( and a great lesson in thinking before you start doing because you never know who may be watching!!) 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Desparate Times call for Desparate Measures...

This morning I brought the two little ones with me to get the oil changed on our mini-van.  I have learned that the best thing to do is to turn it into a fun and special event by getting donuts for them to enjoy while waiting.  This starts the wait off on the right foot with happy kids!

My experience hasn't always been sugary nice while getting the oil changed, however.  I had completely forgotten about one of my most glorious moments as a mother that happened to occur while I was waiting for the car at the dealer!!

Tyce was just a tiny guy, wobbling around on his stocky legs in his diaper.  I was waiting for something on the car to be fixed.  Of course Tyce decided to fill his diaper while we were there.  I took him to the bathroom with the rest of my crew in tow only to discover that I wasn't prepared for the situation!

My diaper bag had wipes and all other kinds of goodies in it, but not one diaper!  How in the world could I be out of the house without a diaper?  I know you get a little more relaxed by the time you have your third child, but no diapers??? Ridiculous!!  If his diaper had only been wet we could have gotten away with waiting until we got home, but at this point the diaper was off, the bottom was clean and bare, and there was nothing in my bag of tricks to soak up the inevitable!

Time to look for some options!  Toilet paper was plentiful, but not all that absorbent.  I opened up the supply closet in the restroom and scanned my other choices.  I found the only alternative available, asked my small son to forgive me, and fashioned a feminine napkin in my baby's pants to try to cover what a diaper would have!

Do you know how hard it is to make a curious toddler sit on your lap and not run around a new place!?  I held my breath waiting for the pad to fall out of my child's pant leg!

What kind of mom am I? 
The horror of it all still comes back to haunt me!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Tuning Out and Tuning In

Endless amounts of time spent with your children can give you odd abilities.

Today I was forced to notice my ability to tune out everything around me.

I was sitting in the car driving by myself when I heard myself humming the tune of He-Man!  The video was playing in the van.  So I had been driving with no passengers with the movie playing and I hadn't even realized it!

During Spring Break I noticed my fantastic ability of ignoring the cries of my children.  They could be screaming while I was on the phone and the person on the other end would ask if I needed to go, but I hadn't even noticed the screams!  When I stopped to listen to them I could tell they weren't serious cries and screams.  "No worries.  They'll work it out." 

I'm sure the person on the other end thought I was nuts, but moms know what those cries mean and seem to only tune into the ones that are serious.  It must be a survival technique God gave us.  If I paid attention to every cry, yell, scream, and shriek I would go insane in a hurry!! (that or have no hair or be an alcoholic!)

Thank goodness I have the ability to tune out and in when it is needed.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Day in the Kitchen Part II - the sweeter side..

With the little deviled eggs completed it was time to move on to the next project.  I still had some eggs and strawberry cake mix so our next project was to make little rabbit cakes and cup cakes.  The most fun is decorating them, or on second thought, the most fun is probably licking the beaters and the bowls!  I tend to be a messy baker so there is a lot of utensils the kids have to choose from!  I think the dog even was licking my leg because some frosting or something flew on me!

Nothing too fancy about these.  We just used the strawberry cake mix and premade frosting.  The trick with the frosting is to scoop it out of the container and take your mixer and mix it on high for a bit.  It makes it much fluffier, it is easer to spread, and because it gets air in it, it goes farther!

Our last creation was my spring take on the chocolate marshmallow cookies I made during Christmas time.  (any excuse to make those is a good one!)

Betty Crocker Double Chocolate Chunk Cookie Mix
1/4 cup of oil
2 tbsp of water
1 egg
- Mix the above together and put on a greased cookie sheet (I spray foil with cooking spray and put the cookies on there) The smaller the scoop of cookie you put on the sheet the more guaranteed you are to get gooey marshmallow in each bite!
- Bake at 350 for 6 to 7 minutes
Instead of using a half of a marshmallow on the cookie I put a Peep on it instead!  I skipped the chocolate frosting on the top this time.  There was already enough chocolately and sugary gooey goodness going around!

Nope, I can't take a good old roll of frozen dough and make chocolate cookies!  I have to try to make creations with multiple steps and massive messes!  My brother in law (who is an amazing chef by the way) always says that women don't make good chefs because they don't allow their kitchens to get really dirty as the bake or cook.  I must be one amazing chef as the entire family is covered in what I am working on! (even the dog!)

Day in the Kitchen Part I - the devilish side...

With small children in the house I seem to spend most of my time in the kitchen.  Some days I can't wait to step out of that area and others I catch some sort of manic virus that compels me to create more work for myself and spend every moment of the day there!

This was one of those days!

Ry has a bit of a cold so I decided to make him homemade chicken soup with lots of good stuff like garlic in it to shock his cold away! That meant we had to go to the store for some of the fresh ingredients. While we were there I picked up a few other things which was a big mistake! 

We started by decorating Easter Eggs which compelled me to take the remaining eggs and make deviled eggs that looked like little chicks!

I saw this on the Today show and although they didn't turn out exactly as Martha Stewart's did, I think they look great for my first try!
I boiled the eggs, peeled, and then cut them so they opened like a plastic Easter Egg.  I scooped the yolks out and then added: (this is for 6 eggs and you can really use any recipe you want)

1/4 cup mayo
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp freeze dried chives
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 dashes of hot sauce (I added much more then the three dashes - after all these are "deviled" eggs)

I just mashed it all up with a fork and mixed it until it was pretty smooth.  From there I put the filling in a baggie and cut the end off so I could use it to pipe in the hard boiled egg whites.  I used capers for eyes and carrots for a beak and put the top back on so the little chick had a hat!  The kids thought they were great!  They wanted to show me how they could bite the face off!  (nice...)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cowgirls and Cowboys

I love horses!  I have always loved riding them.  They are gorgeous animals! I was always lucky because my cousin loved horses as well and actually had one!  She used to show me how to put on his saddle, groom him, and ride him.  I remember being thrilled when I had a turn to trot around in circles and then get the horse to canter!

Now my children are very fortunate that my aunt and uncle have turned a hobby that their daughter loved into a life style.  They have the most amazing barn and indoor arena for horses!  Their stalls are filled with horses from all over the world and some that have won prestigious awards.  My children are lucky because my aunt and uncle are always willing to let us come and hang out and ride their pony!

The kids absolutely LOVE it! My aunt leads the pony around the arena. Tyce can't stop smiling, Jackson can't stop listening to the details about the horses and pony, and Lola can't stop talking and asking questions! What a wonderful time we all had and what wonderful blessings we have!

Tyce wanted to go fast and was loving every second!!

Lola and her cousin (they are twin sisters..according to them) :)

Getting warm and having snacks while watching the riders

My niece, Audrey

Lola couldn't believe how big the pony was!

Jackson didn't want to ride a first, but decided he wouldn't regret riding, but he might regret not riding.  He loved it!  His legs are now long enough to fit into the normal stirrups!

Ashley, my niece

Giving the pony a brushing after their rides

Of course this one had to kick up the mud and sand everywhere he walked!  He looked like Pig Pen!  Good thing Mom thought ahead and put boots on him!

No visit is complete without seeing the big tractors!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Our Weekend Trip to the "Show Me" State

The main purpose of our trip was to visit and celebrate my friend of 35 years' birthday.  Our parents built homes next to one another when we were two and we were lucky enough that we loved to spend time together.  As elementary kids we went to different schools and didn't see each other very much during the winter months, but as the snow thawed I was at her house every day.  I can remember her mom saying she didn't have to look outside to know warm weather was on the way.  She only had to see that I was at the door!
Us now
Us during high school

Us when we were teeny tinys!
When we reached junior high we finally went to the same school.  I was so blessed to have such a great friend lead me through the scary halls of the public school!  She introduced me to all of her friends and was my saving grace!  In high school, her family moved to Missouri.  I was devastate, but thankfully we stayed in touch through the years and even if I don't show up on her doorstep every day like I did in the past, when we are together it feels no time has passed!

As we approached the Mississippi River we kept pointing out of the window to show the children where the arch was.  Jackson saw it right away, but the other two were baffled.  It wasn't until Lola said that she saw a rainbow (which was the arch) that they both knew what us crazy adults were babbling about!

Tyce was more concerned about crossing over such a big river then the big rainbow.  We parked close to the arch and then walked through the area park.  We wanted to take a ride to the top, but the next trip was sold out so we wandered through the gift shop and the museum.  The kids loved the stuffed buffalo, ox, and other creatures displayed.  Our stop was brief as everyone was tired from the drive (apparently not tired enough to sleep), but educational for Jackson. 

Our time in Missouri was brief, but it was fun for all of us!

The kids enjoyed playing with new toys, meeting new friends, jumping on a trampoline, rollerskating, playing arcade games, having three babysitters at once, and going on a huge Easter Egg hunt!
Getting to know each other

All of the kids before the big hunt!

Sorting through the eggs

Taking a ride on the wild side!

Roller Skating

Daddy had fun at the place place too!
Mommy and Daddy enjoyed hanging out with great life long friends, looking through crazy old photos of when we were all teenagers together, reminiscing about old times, watching our kids play together, dancing, singing, having an adult - kid-free meal, and meeting new friends!

Apparently that is what I look like when I am singing passionately! LOL!!

Happy Birthday Stacey!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Messier, the More Fun?

Does mess equal fun?
My children seem to think that is the case. 
Messy rooms, messy projects, messy foods...
While I am cleaning in a different room there is a pretty good chance they are making a mess of themselves or something else.
This is what I found today...
A child covered in ink from head to toe and splatters of mud from toe to head on his clothes and under his clothes!  He is definitely all smiles!!  Maybe mess does equal fun! (just maybe not for Mom)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Are We There Yet??

This past weekend we went on a huge adventure!  We traveled to visit one of my oldest and dearest friends 4 states away - with the kids by car!
This was our longest road trip by far!  We drove from South West Michigan to St. Louis Missouri!  I wasn't sure how the kids would do sitting for such a long time.  We do have a DVD in the car, but each child has a certain taste and they get bored watching after awhile so I had to be prepared with an arsenal of tricks and treats!

It took a little bit of preparation, but it was so worth it!  I think the kids enjoyed the road trip as much as they did when we reached our destination!
I put two containers in the middle of the van filled with activities to keep the kids busy.  We had books, coloring books, maze books, crosswords, sudoku, construction paper, blank paper, crayons, colored pencils, and some doodle boards.  I also packed in a couple of cookie sheets with letter magnets and other magnets we had.  I also had magnets that could be built into creations.  The kids loved making up words and stories with the different magnets on the cookie sheets and I was saved from retrieving things all of the time because they stuck to the cookie sheets!

I also printed out a scavenger hunt that included pictures.  Each child had a clip board with the scavenger hunt on it and Jackson had an extra sheet with license plates and a map of the US.  This kept them busy for the entire trip down!  It was fun having them be so excited spotting things along the way to mark off on their sheets!  The little ones could participate because of the pictures.

Up front by me I had a list of game ideas to play and ways to pass the time when the natives became restless.
My list included:
  • I spy
  • I'm thinking of an animal or a person (can only answer yes or no questions)
  • Call out a color and everyone has to name off things they see that is that color
  • Hide and seek - think of a spot in the house -any size - to hide and people ask yes or no questions to find where you are hiding (like the silverware drawer)
  • play rock paper scissors
  • Fortunately, Unfortunately  Mom starts by saying something like: "Unfortunately, there is a lion in the car!"  Dad adds on: "Fortunately, he has no teeth!"  Jackson adds on: "Unfortunately, he has terrible breath!"  and on and on to create a silly story
  • Read a book out loud to the kids
  • Give each child a roll of tape - It doesn't matter if they have nothing to tape - they will find something to do with it and it will keep them busy!
  • Give them some foil to play with.  They can create animals and things.  Jackson made a frame for a picture he drew.
  • Pipe cleaners would be fun to bend together as well.
  • Read a joke book.
  • Alphabet game:  Start with A and find something that begins with that letter and move on to the next or have each child find something with that letter before moving to the next.
  • Sing songs

We didn't even do half of the list, but I wanted to be prepared!  Our most popular part of the car ride was getting tickets!  (not speeding tickets) I packed little brown lunch bags with a small toy from the dollar store or a special treat.  On the outside of the bags I wrote each child's name, if it was a toy or treat, and a number.  The number was how many tickets they needed to get the bag.  They went from the number 3 to 6.  For example a bag with a piece of gum was 3 tickets.  (My kids never get gum so this was a huge treat!)  Every half hour I gave each child a ticket.  This really helped pass the time as they weren't waiting to get to the destination as much as they were to get the next ticket!  I explained to them that they had to be doing a good job to get the ticket too!  They could choose to cash in their tickets or to save them and cash them in later.  I also used tickets if they wanted an extra snack so they weren't begging for food the entire ride down.  I gave everyone snacks, but if they wanted something extra like Gushers or chips they could turn in tickets for it.  A few times I chose to give them a sucker instead of a ticket at the half hour.  These tickets were the best thing ever!!!!  The kids loved it and it made the ride go faster and made it more exciting!!

One of the silly prizes!

I was surprised about how well the trip to and from went.  Eight hours in the car is a long time, but the kids did great!  I was a little disappointed that I entertained the kids so well that the only ones that slept in the car were the two adults!  Oh well!  No major melt downs = total success and that was just the ride down and home!!  I'll tell you about the days we spent in Missouri tomorrow!!