Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, to Home Depot we go!

the loading of the car

Ok, so I would not define our trip to Home Depot as an exciting undertaking or experience, but an adventure nonetheless. Hindsight I wondered why we decided to all go, knowing that we would have to bring a fair amount of lumber back with us (Dad's workbench). Not to mention, the fun (not) of dragging all the little people back and forth thru the store, as we went by our list and not by what is in the section that we needed off the list, which meant we went from one side to the other about 5 times (don't forget bathroom breaks!). Plus, every time Daddy went ahead of the rest of the group Aidan got very upset (loudly). Still, amidst the chaos we got all that we needed to get, and it only took my hunny about 20 minutes to get all the lumber and kids in the car; with just one piece sticking out. With help from Kathy, the check-out associate, we got the string we needed to keep the wood and stroller from bouncing out down the road. Thanks to Papa for teaching knots, I got it tied down enough to get us home. It did, however, bruise my hunny's man feelings that I tied the knots, which he admitted with a grin as we were heading home (the man should do that, haha). I recently read Jim Bob and Michelle Dugger's book; The Duggers: 20 and Counting, and he had written about when there were only 8 children, but all were very young (8 and under). They were driving somewhere and Jim Bob looks back and sees the van full of car seats and little faces. He turns to Michelle and tells her "that these are the best years of our lives and we don't even know it." As I walked back to the van from the store and viewed the bobbing heads in their seats and my hunny meticulously fitting the wood into the trunk, I totally understood what he meant:)

Aidan is a big helper!
Bryce says " I can do it all by myself!"
Garry of course, is always there to help Dad:)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sick Kiddies

The thought had just come to mind that the kids hadn't really been sick in a while, when low and behold, we were hit. First it was sniffle y noses, and last week Shelby started another round when a trip to the toy store went horribly wrong.
Here's how it went: We head into the store, and as usual, the older three are all talking to me at once about what they want to see while we are in there. The 4th (littlest) is screaming because he does NOT want to go into the shopping cart, and I am trying to make him and I happy (does that happen?) with the least amount of noise, but I am determined to put him in the cart because I do not want to carry or corral him in store. At that point, I send the oldest 2 down the next aisle so they can look at Lego's; Bryce is now bouncing around the cart antagonizing Aidan (still screaming) and I realize I possibly forgotten something that I needed and am searching my small on the outside but cavernous on the inside purse. I had a fleeting moment to just pack all up and call it a day, but I had been putting off this particular store about 2 weeks and did not want to come back (kids had money to spend).Quietly (threatening) trying to calm the 2 smaller boys, Garry and Shelby came running up and STOP in front of me. Trying to comprehend what Garry is trying to tell me over the noise of the other two, Shelby demonstrates by throwing up all over the floor. So here I am, telling Garry to take Shelby outside and he just looks at me. Finally he starts moving and I tell Bryce to follow behind, he whines and says he wants to stay with me. I give him the "mommy look" and he reluctantly heads outside. I look around and it seems to be everywhere (thank goodness she missed all the toys!). The clerk sees what happens and heads over with paper towels and Clorox clean up. Another employee heads to the back to get the mop and gloves (she didn't find any gloves), so I grab the towels and get down and start cleaning up--Aidan still screaming. Garry heads back in with Shelby in tow, and I (growl)ask him to take all the kids out to the car. As always, Garry dutifully does what I ask and drags all out to the van while I finish cleaning up the mess. And I was dressed so nice that day, pink heels and all:)

Meet the latest and greatest...

for the creative chaos we call school. At least for me. Let's face it, I am not the most organized person on the block. I like the idea of organization, but for whatever reason (me not being diligent?) not much is organized here. The only thing that keeps me from looking like one of those houses that are stuffed to the gills piled high with stuff is that I have no problem sending off to Goodwill when I am thru with it, or at least, tired of looking at it! This year is the first I've had more than one kid schooling to deal with, and the first part of the school year, well, um, we didn't get much done. October and November left me with a lot of time to think and pray about several problem issues around the house (ha, I have more than one!). I love it when exactly what I need just seems to fall in my lap. I really have no idea how I came across this, message board perhaps, but it is for me! May I introduce: Sue Patrick's Workbox System.
Here's what is said each day:
Garry- "Mom, how much school do I have to do?"
Shelby- "Mom, how much school do I get to do?"
To both of them, I would answer, I dunno. Why? Organization issues, of course. I didn't know what I wanted to teach them, and by the time I got my act together, the day was shot. So here how it goes. Garry's boxes have a blue number, Shelby's green. The boxes are put in numerical number and each box holds a worksheet, subject, craft, etc. The object is to go in order thru the workboxes, remove them from the shelf and work whatever is in box. From there, they empty box in the pink crate to right, and so on and so on. When they run out of boxes, their day is finished. I have a master list that shows me what subject goes in each box each day (each day is different, I generally load them before I go to bed), and overall we have been able to study more and have actually get to some of the fun things I wanted to get to but couldn't because we were struggling just to get the basics in. Now, in just a couple of hrs we get it all done, much of it can be done without me standing over them, and more importantly, it's not a huge hassle or big mess (everything has it's place). We've been using this for the past 2 months, and it is definitely a life saver in this house! And even though we have to keep the boxes in the dining room ( I tried the garage but it's just been too flipping cold to go back and forth), because it's so self contained, it doesn't get in the way. Thank you, Sue! For those who read her book, she can be a little daunting, as she feels there is only one way to use the system (her background is a challenged student). However, with a little tweaking, I found the basic information very sound. A lifesaver in this house:)


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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Literal Little strikes again:)

Since we've changed our budget around to better accommodate our lifestyle (so far, budget's better but I have less play money!), it always encourages me to be a little more frugal and creative--for the moment. So this past weekend, we were in the garage with my hunny while he wired in some new plugs for his new workbench him and Garry will be building next weekend. A while back there was a puppet theater in the Family Fun magazine. Scrounging around, we found most everything needed except for knobs and hinges. And so our theater began. Began 2 wks ago, it's still not in it's finished stage, it is completely usable for fun and games. I found some cardboard props that a friend had given me for the kids to play with that were great for placing on the theater, but we didn't know exactly how we could stick them up and take them down without damaging anything. Well, good ole Google came up with the answer with magnetic paint ($20 a qt, so much for frugality!).
Today was a fairly nice day, the first we've been able to enjoy outside for the past couple of weeks. So I got out my supplies (spilled half the can before I even got the project started!) and began to paint. Note to self, READ ALL DIRECTIONS! As you can imagine, I did not read all the directions. Only the box that the can of paint came in. So after 3 coats, and still not much magnet capabilities, I finally read the can also, and it said if I didn't get it shaken at the paint store, to shake for 10 min (10 min?!?) Apparently, all the little metal pieces sink to the bottom, which is what happened with me. The 4th layer worked much better (shaken for 10 LONG min), and hopefully one more will finish it off. I said all that for this: as I am checking the paint to see if it was magnet friendly, the kids came up to see what was going on. Shelby asked why it wasn't working and I explained that it (the paint) needed shaken more for it to work. The Literal Little?? --- Bryce promptly comes up and shakes the theater...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Cookin' Day

So in an effort to reduce food spending (the weekends when hubby is home is the worse!) around here, I pulled out my menu planner and pencil for some serious planning. Our current budget is $440 a month for groceries and since I usually don't go shopping until the weekends he is home, it's chaos and daily (aka expensive) shopping which blows budget big time. So yesterday I got the bright idea to do my shopping on the weekends he works. Oh, my gosh! What a difference! (Did I mention I didn't have to bring anybody with me??) I spent a little over 200 this week (I went over by $18). Although I had cash, I swiped that old debit card when I went over. There were some things I could have done without until next shopping day, so next time I won't bring card.
Here's my dinners for the next two weeks:
Mini burgers/ potatoes / baked beans
baked spinach mostocolli/salad
pork loin/spinach marie/carrots
beans and cornbread (2)
chicken and rice/salad
lasagna/mixed veggies
bbq/sweet potatoes/green beans
taco salad / yellow rice
sloppy joes / sweet potatoes
creamy chicken and broccoli
Shepard's pie

Most meals will make enough for leftovers for lunch, so that helped quite a bit toward the other meals. About $4o of it went to diapers, paper towels, etc.
Then came the fun part--I think:)
Today I made chili, sloppy joes, cooked up the hamburger and chicken for the other meals, made chicken broth, tomato soup for Shepard's pie ( I was out, it came out ok!) In all it took about 4 1/2 hrs....and I had extra hamburger and chicken for future meal or two. I felt like they must have with the loaves and fishies! I have to admit I found myself fretting over what seemed to be a small amount of food after shopping. The verse that says not to worry about what you will eat or wear came to mind. So I quickly found the thankful side of it and as always, I'm taken care of:)
BTW--my feet hurt!!

Shelbyism #210

As we were sitting at the breakfast table, Shelby was repeating to me some memories of last year. "Wow, Mom", she said. "I must have a big brain to have so many memories!"