Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Fragments

Mommy's Idea

Friday is here and I need to make this fast, but I miss my Fridays with you all so much that I had to post!!  Join Mrs. 4444’s Friday Fragments and Danifred’s Friday Night Leftovers to get all that clutter out for the weekend!!

  • Arrrgh!! I have been working hard to clean up this house, and 4 kids always come along behind me and undo it.  I’m sure you moms know exactly what I’m talking about and I shouldn’t be surprised.  My only frustration is that my hubby has been gone this whole month and I expect him back TOMORROW NIGHT (eee!) and I was hoping the house would at least look a little better than when he left.  Of course there have been some major improvements including the whole downstairs (see HERE) and JC’s room (see here) as well as the area in front of his room.  But I still think its a disaster around here!!!
  • AM’s Destination Imagination tournament is tomorrow and I still need to find someone to watch the 3 younger kids so I can go.  I’m one of the coaches… I kinda have to be there!  My dilemma is that I don’t want to invite some poor high school girl to be at my disaster of a house all day.  bananas, we had no cucumbersI already asked grandma and another friend who regularly watches them.  Busy.  Can I just leave them in the van all 7 hours with a DVD player??
  • Did I mention my hubby’s been gone all month.  We seriously need a date night.   I want to talk to adults again!!
  • Parent teacher conferences went well.  I expected they would.  {brag} My kids are pretty smart ;)  I was disappointed that there was no Maxalicious story this time.  What I was surprised by was that the boy’s grades actually all looked great.  Despite his extreme lack of focus sometimes, he knows his stuff.
  • I’ve been back to my cloth diapers the last few weeks.  Honestly, I’ve missed them.  While we were out of the house it would have just been too much to deal with cloth, so we were buying disposables.  I forgot how much money we would spend on those things!!!  I’ll probably be writing an update soon on how they’ve stood the test of time.
  • I bought “Lego: The Adventures of Clutch Powers” movie from iTunes this week.  Excuse me, (snicker), I'd like to order..We LOVE it!  It’s computer animated Lego minifigs (you know, Lego guys) who move and talk, but are still constrained by Lego issues like “C” shaped hands and having their legs stay stuck in their vehicle when they leap out.   It was a cute movie and I highly recommend it!
  • I need a new book series to get hooked on.  Did Harry Potter, did Twilight.  My friends suggested Sookie Stackhouse.  Any more suggestions??
  • Flood waters are already receding, so I may not loose my husband to the flood fight as soon as he gets home.  Here’s a few shots from near our house (you southerners can get an idea of how thick ice can get on a lake or river).  Don’t worry, the kids are not as close as it looks.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

ATWT – Go Fly A Kite

AM saved her money (including a recent tooth fairy visit, which needs to happen more often) and purchased her very first kite from the local hardware store.  She was thrilled to learn how to fly, even though it was still pretty cold out.


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IMG_9127a IMG_9133a 

Have some pictures worth a thousand words? Join TheMomJen at Cheaper Than Therapy to show off!!

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Popsicle Stick Dog Sled

AM’s class has been studying the Iditarod, which just wrapped up last week.  “Our” musher DeeDee Jonrowe came in 22nd out of 55 finishers (16 more dropped out during the race)!  DeeDee was featured on an Alaskan themed US Postage stamp crossing Alaska with her team in 2008.  We found the image to use to create AM’s school project, an Alaska diorama.  She has been dying to do this project since she saw the display in Kindergarten.  Now, finally in second grade, she gets to make one!!  AM has honestly been thinking about this project forever, saving toy Husky dogs just to pull her tiny sled.  The teacher sent home a baggie with popsicle sticks to make our dog sled.  I helped with this project, since it required a hot glue gun.  I’m sure one could use regular school glue, too, but I think it would take much longer.

IMG_8925 Five whole sticks make up the bottom of the sled.  A sixth stick was cut in half to hold the bottom together.  We added another half on top of those to put some space between the bottom and the runners.  Two full sticks make up the runners, placed back from the front of the sled (your musher needs somewhere to stand!)

IMG_8923 Another 5 sticks were cut (about 1/3 up) to create the back of the sled.  Two sides were added, then the toothpicks make up the side supports.  (My hot glue work looks like spider webs!)

IMG_8924 Lastly, we added the pipe cleaner handhold and front to attach the dogs.  Once the sled was finished, we used some fabric to cover it and added our dog team (harnessed by Bend-A-Roos – finally a good use for them! In these shots they’re still in the pipe cleaner).  Polly Pocket got dressed for the outdoors to be our version of DeeDee!


The diorama itself is a mailing box we cut open.  AM chose the pictures for scenery and she glued white fleece down for snow.  We added cotton balls for drifts.

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At school the kids made igloos from a styrofoam cup and mini marshmallows, so I’ll have to get one more picture of the final final project.  Here is our penultimate project picture, I guess…


This was a really fun project!  I recommend any family to try these out, even if they don’t make them for school.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I Heart Faces – Focusing on Angles


At first I thought this challenge said “Angels”.  Either way, here’s JC (you’ll laugh at that if you knew how often we referred to him as the Evil Baby – all in fun, all in fun).  Last summer as he learned how to walk while holding my hand, this was probably the angle I saw him from the most often.

Please visit more entries at  I Heart Faces.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cleaning the House (Mad Libs Style)

Today ________(person in room) spent the day ________(verb ending in –ing), even though the ________(plural noun) were underfoot.  The ________(pet) was tied up outside all day.  The ________(plural noun) did not want to help, but were told that if they ever wanted to see their ________(favorite toy) again they’d better.  After many utterings of “________(exclaimation)!” we began  ________(verb ending in -ing).  Starting in the ________(room in house), the ________(noun) was scrubbed with a ________(adjective) brush.  Then all the ________(plural noun) were ________(adverb) collected and put in the ________(household appliance).  Even the ________(adjective) ________(plural noun) were taken down and ________(verb ending in –ed), which hasn’t been done in almost  ________(period of time)!  Next the ________(plural noun) were dusted and all the ________(adjective) carpet was vacuumed.  Finally, we ________(verb ending in –ed) the dishes.  At last we could ________(verb)!!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Beginning Bentos

I decided to start packing the kids Bento boxes for lunch at school.  I had seen them a few years ago, thought they looked neat, and never gave them a second thought.  Lately they showed up again on a few blogs I started reading and I thought that I’d like to give bento boxes a try.  The appeal for me is that small, colorful kid-sized portions would induce my 3-year-old to eat more. 

Bento boxes are Japanese lunch boxes.  The size for a child or adult is measured in mL.  Biggie from Lunch In A Box has a great little chart and explanation on how to choose the right size.  She has tons of tips and recipes as well!

I decided to get enough gear to start us out, then collect more as we go.  I bought my first group of items from e-Bay. bento boxes AM and MD each got a similar Urara 2-tier bento that is 610mL total.  According to the chart, they each only need about 500 mL, so I don’t pack them as tightly.  PM’s cute pink oval bento is 2-tiered and holds 525 mL (350 mL bottom plus 175 top).  PM only needs 400 mL so I also pack hers fairly loose. 

bento gear open

What you also see for gear are silicone muffin cups for separating food in the box (these were from Bed, Bath and Beyond), as well as mini silicone cups.  Animal-shaped food picks in the middle, then in the middle top is a pink sandwich cutter that leaves 4 cute shapes and trims the crust (lets face it, they’re throwing the crust away at school anyway).  Under that is a rice ball, or onigiri maker that does hearts, stars or bears.  The little bottles (square and pig-shaped) are for soy or other sauces with a yellow dropper for filling them.  On the very right are three bags I got with kids’ meals at subway.  They are just the right size for a bento!!

mini cookie cutters

Recently I picked up these mini cookie cutters at a fabric store, they’re great for cheese and veggies!

PM is a notoriously picky and small eater.  My main goal was to pack things she liked, as well as things the other kids liked, that were healthy.  I also wanted to make eating “cold lunch” more fun for the big kids.  Here is my very first attempt at a bento lunch (pardon the cell phone camera):

bento 2-06-10

PB&J sandwiches on whole wheat, banana slices, cheese cubes, carrot sticks, black olives and onigiri (shaped white rice) with soy sauce.  They ate everything.  I was hooked.

I now need to practice the art of real bento box design.  Sure, you can pack them functionally, add the essentials, make sure to have all 5 colors (check this article out).  But there is some real design going on by some moms!  Take a look at the cookbooks Biggie posted about, or Salsa In China’s Flickr set with cute toddler bentos.  I have a ways to go!  Here’s a few of my cute, yet very basic bentos so far (clicking on the image will take you to my Flickr set where there’s a description):

bento 2-11-10bento 3-11-10bento 3-9-10

I’m still working on my creativity (which may surprise anyone who knows me), but that creativity conflicts with my desire to sleep in and not get up earlier to build lunches (which will NOT surprise anyone who knows me).  Biggie (my new guru of bento) has posted several tips for speedier prep in the morning.  I’ll be posting more as I get better!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I Heart Faces – Bundled Up


Here’s my last minute entry for I Heart Face’s “Bundled Up” – my 8-year-old in purple!! Ready to dog sled!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Fragments

Welcome to Friday, time to purge your mind of all those little thoughts cluttering up your mind.  Mrs. 4444’s remedy is Friday Fragments , a chance to post all that stuff rather than, you know, have your brain explode or something! And new to me “Friday Night Leftovers” at Sippy Cups are Not for Starbucks.

    Mommy's Idea

  • Longing for more “chick flicks” in my library, I bought and downloaded the BBC version of “Pride and Prejudice” in iTunes.  I have since watched all 6 hours 3 times (6 x 3 = a LOT of watching) and I’ve started on it again this morning.  I’ve watched it on the big living room TV, on my iPod (while doing housework) and on my laptop in bed.  I’ve been dying to buy it for ages, so I guess I’m just catching up.  It’s already paid for itself.
  • My Hubby is still on active duty and probably will be for a while (hence the chick flicks).  There are days I just want to pull my hair out with the kids underfoot constantly.  I’ve realized bed time is SO much easier with two parents to work on it.  I have no idea how I did all this for 18 months last time. (I think it was the fact that there were half as many kids then).  A few months this time doesn’t seem nearly as bad.
  • I GOT TICKETS, I GOT TICKETS.  I’m going to see Simon & Garfunkel with my BFF in May – eeee!!
  • My oldest lost a tooth at school Wednesday.  I packed her bento box with Nutella and animal crackers.  She bit too hard on the animal crackers and popped it out.  YAY! One less the dentist will eventually have to pull out.  She has several others that are very overdue in falling out, with new teeth behind them already!!  She looks like a shark with rows of teeth.
  • TMI update… I have not had a razor anywhere near my body in well over a month.  Just saying.
  • Still working my way through the house, trying to clean up.  My big projects so far are the downstairs kitchen and JC’s room – you can click on those to see the major chore they were!!!! 
  • Our plumbing is still not fully functional yet, I really miss the bathroom off or our bedroom.  I have to go either up or down stairs if I want to use it in the middle of the night.  I’ll be happy when I can go back to being lazy again.
  • I’ve been trying to find fun ideas for the kids’ bento boxes still.  I’ve started a photo set HERE on Flickr.  It’s been fun packing them, but I need to get more creative.  I’ve seen some downright works of art!!  Here’s a few of mine:
bento 2-11-10 bento 2-24-09

Not quite works of art, but healthier than the school lunch most days I think.  And they usually eat everything.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

ATWT – 5 Layers

 No, really, 5 layers of…well…clothes left at school.  He told me this was the best way to carry them all home.  Wear them.  I wonder how long he had them all on that day. (oh, and guess who definitely needs a haircut?)


A Thousand Words Thursday is hosted by TheMomJen at Cheaper Than Therapy – please stop by to see even more!!!

Cheaper Than Therapy

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tackle it Tuesday – JC’s room

 Tackle It Tuesday Meme

My house is still a disaster, I figured the only way to stay on task was to blog about it, and 5 Minutes for Mom happens to have the remedy: “Tackle It Tuesday”.  Now, I have to admit that this week’s room of choice has been a long standing sore spot around the house.  We just had major water damage and work to do on the main floor, but this room is on the third floor.  (Yes, we have three full floors – no wonder I get behind!)  The shape of this room is embarrassing, but at least we’re not on “Hoarders” quite yet.  JC’s room, formerly the “toy room” or as we used it, the dump-it-in-there-if-you-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-it room began it’s life as an extra room where we stored boxes we hadn’t gone through after we moved.  That was now 5 years ago.  I am standing firm on the new pledge:  If we haven’t needed it in 5 year, we probably never will.  Time to purge!!!  With that in mind, here’s the room:

JCroom2          JCroom3

JCroom4Anyone who’s been to our house recognizes this garbage dump as the “toy room”.  The black hole of toys.  I decided to just start at the door and tie a rope around my waist and make my way to the back.  On one side of me a garbage bag, the other side a tote for actual “keeper” toys.  When the kids would come to see what was going on, I swear they thought it was Christmas.  Long lost toys reappeared.  Some we parted with and donated, others we decided were trash.  This was much more than a one-day project.  I am proud to say we made it out alive!!JCroom2a

We bagged up two large bags of broken toys and empty boxes.  I found two disgusting sippy cups that also got trashed.  JC has a cute crib bedding set that I was finally able to use, complete with a matching valance.  Now all this room needs is a good color to be painted…. any suggestions?



Thursday, March 4, 2010

ATWT – Red River Sled Dog Derby

Of course we’ll not make it to Alaska by Sunday to see the Iditarod mushers start, so I thought the next best thing would be to take the kids to see a local dog sled race.  The Red River Sled Dog Derby start is about an hour and a half from us.  I’ve resolved to try to get the kids out and do unique things that they might not otherwise be able to experience.  I want to let them see or do things that encourage their interest in learning and having fun at the same time.  AM really wants to be a dog sledder some day!

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A Thousand Words Thursday is hosted by theMomJen at Cheaper Than Therapy!! Please stop by!!

Cheaper Than Therapy

PS: We’re rooting for DeeDee Jonrowe in the Iditarod – you can see her at