Thursday, July 30, 2009

With His help I can help

In Proverbs 31:9b, God tells us to "defend the rights of the afflicted and needy".

I have taken a break from my volunteer job with Child Advocates while my children are out of school for the summer, but as the school year approaches I will take on a new case. I have begun praying that God will equip, guide, and use me in whatever I am assigned. I have felt and do feel so helpless when faced with the thought of children suffering. But, during my last 7 years of doing this volunteer work as a court appointed special advocate for kids who have been removed from their homes for abuse, God has shown me how even I can help by:

1. Visiting children in the home of their relatives, where they were sent by the state after their mother neglected them, and discovering one of the children was being physically abused in that placement and being able to request and make sure that the children be moved out of the abusive placement.

2. Staging a birthday celebration for a little girl turning 6 who had never had a birthday party before!

3. Spending 3 nights in the hospital with a 6 month old baby girl who would have otherwise been alone in her ordeal.

4. Sitting in their home and listening as grandparents anguished over their child's mistakes and came to grips with the reality that they are the only suitable caregivers for their grandchild.

5. Helping ease the financial burden on foster parents by delivering Christmas gifts to the children.

6. Counseling a teenage mother on steps she needs to take to get her life in order and be able to parent her children.

7. Testifying in court to be sure that the best interests of the children are heard.

I have blogged before about the amazing young woman named Katie Davis, and, she says on her blog:

"It is easy to look to God and ask, 'Why is there so much poverty in the world? Why is there so much hurt, so much inequality and unfairness, so much destitution?' I bet He would ask us the same thing."

I find that thought so convicting it hurts!

Find more Finer Things Friday at The Finer Things in Life, Hooked on Fridays at Hooked on Houses, 7 Quick Takes Friday at Conversion Diary,

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

His Favorite Chore!

13 Explanations for this picture:

1. Anyone remember this post of mine about making the punishment fit the crime?

2. A consequence I came up with for my son and daughter gleefully using the phrase "poopy diapers" for fun several times per day just to be gross was that since they were so interested in poopy diapers, they would help me change their little brother's next dirty diaper.

3. When the time to change the diaper came, my 6 year old son whom I love very much, but who is as stubborn as a mule, said, "I'm not doing it."

4. He challenges me daily and has since, well, infancy, but this time I didn't miss a beat. I replied with, "If you will not help your sister and me change this diaper then you can empty the entire Diaper Genie trash by yourself."

5. My logic was if he refused the consequence of changing the one dirty diaper, then a bigger consequence would be to deal with a lot of dirty diapers, some even having the benefit of a few days to really earn their stench!

6. My son happily agreed to do the diaper trash changing! I talked him through how to do it and went off to complete the diaper change with my nearly 4 year old daughter's help. She used approximately 26 wipes to clean up her brother, but didn't mind the process at all. It was perhaps a bigger punishment for my toddler as the diaper change took 3 times longer than if I did it!

7. My 6 year old took the diaper trash all the way to the outside trash can and then declared he wanted the diaper trash to be his regular chore!

8. I agreed that was a super idea!

9. And then wondered if he truly enjoyed the chore or if his excitement about it was all just to spite me, since it was intended as a punishment.

10. He has enthusiastically changed the diaper trash every time it has needed it (roughly 4 times) since!

11. In fact, he complains more about setting the table than the diaper trash!

12. And the "poopy diaper" phrase has lost its luster and appeal as a randomly squealed kid phrase around the house!

13. For that and passing on the diaper trash chore to my son, I am abundantly thankful!

Check out Thankful Thursday, Thousand Words Thursday, Thursday Thirteen, Things I love Thursday.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How to Choose a Preschool

I blogged yesterday about how much I like the preschool I've found for my kids, but it was not an easy search. I live in a large metro-area and there are many choices, but all vastly different and many have crazy waiting lists.

From my experience as a real-life mom, here are some tips on how to choose/find a good preschool.

The first step in finding a good preschool is to poll all your fellow mommy friends and even moms you see pushing kids on the swings at the park! Word of mouth is the best way to find out about a great preschool.

The second step was tremendously helpful to me! It is the resource, The National Association for the Education of Young Children, abbreviated NAEYC. On their website (click the name for the link) you can search for preschools that they have accredited as being high quality. Schools can voluntarily submit themselves to go through the process to apply to be accredited. Accreditation depends on things like number of students per teacher, degrees of the teachers & administrators, curriculum, environment, communication with parents, etc.

The third step is to tour the school. Call and ask when they offer tours (you need to see the school when it is in session and children are actually there for a normal day). When you go to the tour, do not be bashful about staring into classroom windows or stepping inside to observe if they allow you to, because what you see will tell you a bunch. Are the kids working happily? Is the classroom orderly? What & how do they teach (young children need lots of learning through play rather than sitting and being lectured to)? Do the teachers seem interested in the kids or annoyed by them? What is the playground like (kids need outside play)?

If you tour a school and like it and it is accredited by the NAEYC then you can rest easy that it is very likely a great program. If the preschool is not accredited, but you like it or were recommended by a friend, it is worth asking why they are not accredited.

Your last steps are to make sure the days/times they offer for your age of child fit with what you want and the price is one your family can afford. If all that fits, then concern yourself with their admissions process. Is there a waitlist? If so, how long? Do they operate on a lottery system? Is it first come, first served on a certain sign-up date? If so, do families "camp out" the night before for spots in line (don't laugh my friends did this for a preschool across town from me!)? How likely is it that your child would be accepted?

Now if you are not utterly stressed out yet, I will add that most schools hold registration in Jan., Feb., or March for the following school year, so you gotta plan early! That's why I'm posting this now. Do your research in the fall and apply after Christmas.

The good news though if you have multiple kids, like I do, is that once you go through this for your first kid you just send the younger siblings -- no research, no waiting lists -- you're in!!

Find more Works for me Wednesday at We are THAT Family.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Even I don't have that much to say about my child!

This is my 4th year to fill out the info. forms for this particular preschool, but I still can't help laughing!

One form (there are 3 total forms per child) has literally 64 questions. Everything from address to pet's name to bedtime routine to whether or not your son or daughter had a difficult birth to comfort items to what causes a show of temper in the child. It seems that every aspect of the child is covered in great detail. And then you get to the last question. Do you know what it is?

"Now take it from there and tell us about your child." Attach another sheet if needed.

What more is there to say that hasn't already been covered by the previous 63 questions?

Attempting to write that description feels a lot like a college application essay!

Kidding, completely kidding! My kids are already accepted into this school, this is just an info. sheet for the teachers to know about the child. And besides, hopefully most college essays do not disclose a fear of life-size characters, as my daughter's preschool description will!

In all seriousness I cannot say enough good things about my kids' preschool. The teachers, the atmosphere, their method of teaching young children are all wonderful, and my kids have learned to love going to school as a result of this preschool providing such a positive start! I am so grateful to have found it! And so I will happily fill out the forms, in duplicate, since I have 2 children attending this coming year. And I'll count it as a blessing that they care so much!

My post tomorrow will include some hints on finding a great preschool, for those of you that may have young babies or be looking to switch schools. Did you know the fall is the time to look for the next school year because most schools have application deadlines of Jan, Feb. or March to be considered for the following school year?!

Now I'm going to go tackle the rest of those forms. They are due on Aug. 21st and I usually wait until the last minute, but this year I'm trying to get them done a few weeks early! Most of you reading probably know my kids pretty well by now, so if anyone would like to compose a one pager on each of my younger 2 kids and send it my way, that sure would expedite things! Thanks!

Find more Gratituesday at
Heavenly Homemakers & Tackle It Tuesday at 5 Minutes for Mom

Trapped in the McDonald's Playland!

We nearly never go to McDonald's, but we traveled to visit family this past weekend, and stopped to eat at what my kids call "Old McDonald's" on the car trip there. I most certainly did NOT laugh so hard at the following incident!

It was NOT my 2 year old who climbed to the top of the playland and began loudly calling, "Mommy, come here! Come here Mommy!"
Did you see his little face and hands in the center of that last picture? Here's the zoomed out pic. so you can see how stuck he is right in the middle of this biggest-McDonald's-playland-I've-ever-seen! Seriously, there was no easy way up there and no easy way out!

Thankfully he has older siblings because I was wearing a dress and I'm a bit claustrophobic. I've done the whole rescuing-a-kid-from-a-playland thing before with my older two and I get a little trapped and panicked feeling up there! My husband played the "I'm 6 feet tall; I can't get in there." card. So we sent our 6 year old up there to rescue his brother. His first attempt was unsuccessful. Next we sent our nearly 4 year old daughter up. Success!! She was able to gently talk him up to the top of a slide and then he rode down on big brother's lap!

Why is it that my kids as 2 year olds seem to have no trouble scurrying to the top of those things, in fact they do it so fast before we can stop them, but then need help getting down?!!

***Please pray for MckMama's baby Stellan; he is back in the hospital and really not doing well. They are in urgent need of prayers!***
MckLinky Blog Hop

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Blog Interrupted

This blog was temporarily interrupted by the rising temperatures in my refrigerator!

I hope you will excuse me for skipping a day I usually blog, as I was otherwise occupied:

  • Holding a flashlight while my husband dissected our fridge, trying to figure out what was wrong with it.
  • Researching refrigerators overheating on the Internet and coming to the conclusion that our refrigerator did not have an easy fix and would likely cost more to repair than our old-fashioned, white, side-by-side fridge was worth.
  • Lamenting the fact that appliances are not built to last anymore! Our fridge was only 8.5 years old before its demise yesterday, and had quit working 2 times previously and the ice dispenser has not worked in over a year! Didn't our parents' avocado green and harvest gold refrigerators last our entire childhoods?
  • Wondering if the fact that I actually cleaned my fridge coils a few days ago somehow caused it to die and vowing to never, ever clean the coils on another fridge again!
  • Combing through the contents of the refrigerator deciding what was worth trying to save and tossing the rest. Piling milk, cheese, etc. into coolers in my kitchen and reminiscing with my husband about the last time we'd done this exercise, after Hurricane Ike -- good times!
  • Scouring the Consumer Reports for the perfect new refrigerator for the It Feels Like Chaos household -- "Must be able to hold 6 gallons of milk at once, fit in the spot where our old one lived, clean itself, create healthy balanced meals for my family of 5, regenerate its own contents never letting the milk or squeeze-yogurt run out, look fabulous, and be cheap" -- and then readjusting my expectations to "must stay cold". Anyone else hooked on cold milk? I thought so. It is a finer thing! One of those things that you don't appreciate until its gone!
  • Giggling over the term "bottom freezer" and then realizing I have spent entirely too much time around my 6 year old son and his friends this summer!
So you can see, it was time well spent, my friends, time well spent.

Find more Finer Things Friday at The Finer Things in Life, Hooked on Fridays at Hooked on Houses, A Beautiful Life at The Inspired Room, 7 Quick Takes Friday at Conversion Diary,

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Less Mess!

To protect clothes, I put my husband's old undershirts on my kids over their clothes before they eat popsicles. For smaller kids you can use a clothespin to clip the neck closed in the back, so no drips get through. And to protect the house, they eat the popsicles outside!

Less mess, works for me!

Find more tips at We are THAT Family.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Who knew homemade flour tortillas were this easy to make?

I made homemade flour tortillas today using this recipe and they came out great! I had no idea they were so simple to make, a little time consuming, but easy. They were so much yummier than the prepackaged store-bought kind! I'm so grateful I figured out I can make ones like the restaurants! And the best part was I got to purchase lard for the first time in my life!

Find more Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers & Tackle It Tuesday at 5 Minutes for Mom.

MckLinky Blog Hop

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Not Guilty!

Today MckMama is hosting "Not my child" Monday as a twist on the usual "Not me!" theme. You can head over to her blog to read what she and other people's kids have not been doing.

For mine:

That is NOT
my child coloring wildly on the side of a shelf!

And it certainly was NOT me who took this picture
before stopping the little offender and redirecting him to paper!

A year ago my toddler did NOT go through a phase of wildly scribbling on the floor, walls, and furniture as quickly as he could (which was very fast)
every time he got his little hands on crayons, markers, pencils, etc.. Of course if he was a 1st child I could just keep the colors up high, but he is a 3rd child and his older brother and sister love to do crafts, color, work on workbooks, practice their writing, etc., so it was inevitable that crayons would be out or a stray one hiding under the table for a gleeful toddler to find!

I'm NOT so thankful for the Mr.Clean eraser and NOT AT ALL thankful that phase has passed!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Kid Fashion - Summer Sales!

I haven't done a Kid Fashion post in a while, because it is summer and for once my kids were set for clothes for a while with nobody really needing anything new. But, the school year is rapidly approaching and right now there are some great deals out there on summer clothes and if you live in the South like we do, your kids will wear those shorts through November! It is a finer thing because you can get cheap back to school clothes, buying what is on sale now! Also, you can buy shorts and swimsuits in a size bigger to be ready for next summer.

Here are 7 quick takes on the deals I've found for my kids in the last few days:

1. Athletic shorts like these and these; they will be great for soccer or basketball practices! Children's Place is offering and additional 10% off with webcode

2. I have blogged about these pull-on cargo shorts from Children's Place before. They are great shorts! We are totally hooked! Easy on and off and they hold-up well over time. And they are currently on sale for $6.99! I'm buying some for my oldest son to start school in and some in a bigger size for next summer!

3. For my daughter I got one of these knit skorts for next summer. We had a similar one this summer that has been worn a ton because it is so comfy and you cannot beat that sale price of $3.99!

4. J Crew's Crewcuts is offering free shipping for a limited time and they are having a great sale. I haven't ever bought my kids clothes from there because they are too expensive, but the sale stuff I can actually consider. I'm thinking of getting these shorts for my boys to wear next summer. So cute!

5. I love this dress from Crewcuts for my daughter and just need to decide if I should get it in navy for her to wear this fall or the light purple for next spring and summer. I'm also loving this khaki skirt!

6. These shoes from Target look really cute and remind me of some I paid over $30 for last fall. We will have to get to Target to try them on.

7. And I would like to get these Target shoes for my toddler, but his foot is a wide and they don't come in wide. I'll have to keep looking for some fall shoes for him!

Find more Finer Things Friday at The Finer Things in Life, Hooked on Fridays at Hooked on Houses, 7 Quick Takes Friday at Conversion Diary

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Naptime for the 3rd Child

13 Words I have to say about naptime for a 3rd child:

They learn to nap anywhere and are just thankful for the backpack pillow!

Check out Thankful Thursday, Thousand Words Thursday, Thursday Thirteen.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sanity Saving Spares

Why are there 6 toothbrushes in our kids' bathroom? Do we have 6 kids?

No, we have 3 kids, but each kid has one toothbrush plus a spare!

Before we implemented the spares, we'd always be looking for someone
's toothbrush. I guess this reveals a little more about the chaos around here, but seriously some days it is a feat to just get all 60 kid teeth brushed twice each day (and we're trying to floss some, too), much less make sure all 3 toothbrushes are returned to the proper spot!

Someone would be brushing their teeth in a bedroom while listening to the bedtime story, and simply put down the toothbrush when they were finished. The next morning in the mad rush to get kids dressed and out of the house there would have to be a toothbrush hunt. The M.I.A. toothbrush would finally be found mixed in with the rumpled bed sheets, but not before crucial minutes were lost along with precious bits of Mom's sanity!

Having spares definitely works for us because missing toothbrushes are much easier to find when you are not actually looking for them!

Find more Works for Me Wednesday tips at We are THAT Family.

Monday, July 13, 2009

3 Things You Didn't Know About Me

1st Thing: I once lived in a dining room.

For 6 months while in college. I was graduating early, in December, and our college town apartment complex would let you sign either 9 month or 12 month leases, so when my roommate and I were facing the end of our lease in May, we couldn't get another 2 bedroom apartment just until December when I'd leave, so we did a 1 bedroom that she'd live in for the full year until she graduated the following May and I'd live in the dining room until December.

It worked out well, actually! We both saved money. There was just enough room for my twin bed (positioned right under the cheap-brass-apartment-issued chandelier) and desk. We got a room divider to section the dining room off from the living room. We had never really used our dining room in apartments past because we mostly ate our macaroni and cheese on the couch in front of the TV watching Friends (ahhh, the college life!).

2nd Thing: I have 10,119 emails in my Inbox, 4,343 of them unread!

The sad thing is, this is 1 of 3 email accounts I have. This is my main personal email I'm talking about. I also have a junk email account I use whenever I buy anything online and give out to places like the zoo to send newsletters. I also have another account devoted to my blog email. How did these crazy numbers happen, you say?

5 years of not properly filing and deleting emails.

Now that Yahoo! Mail has an incredibly large storage limit, there is no urgency in getting this cleaned up and the problem is too huge to ever solve unless I just deleted everything and then I worry I'd need to reference an email and not be able to find it. And believe it or not I can find things now, eventually anyway! My email is all there by date and I just roughly remember when the email I'm trying to find went out, like Fall of 2008 and then I can just page through until I get to that period of time and I'm golden. My organizational skills? Are superb, you see?!!

So my tackle for the extreme disaster that is my email Inbox -- Let it go!! I read the newest ones, who cares what mountain of trash they are sitting on!

3rd Thing: One of my strangest answered prayers came in the Sam's Club.

Back in the days when we had only 2 children, my husband and I would occasionally wonder/discuss whether we should have a 3rd child. One morning I had been thinking about the pros and cons of adding another child to our family and was frustrated with the lack of a clear answer. There were good, compelling reasons on both sides of the equation.

I prayed a short prayer asking God to show me what we should do, and then I took my 2 kids ages 3 years and almost 1 year to Sam's for some shopping. I had let my 3 year old son dress himself that morning and he looked hideous, but we were only going to the warehouse grocery store, so I let it slide. Then they were giving away free chocolate chip cookies, so each of my kids got one and proceeded to completely coat themselves in crumbs and chocolate from head to toe.

As I pushed that big cart with them sitting next to each other in the side-by-side baby seats I've only seen in Sam's carts (but they are super!), I passed a middle-aged man who was doing typical man shopping, meaning he had no basket and he was walking quickly in the likely direction of the one and only item he'd buy in his shopping expedition.

I didn't see it coming at all because I was used to women commenting on my kids in public, but not men and my kids were looking really rag-a-muffin and pathetic at this point, but this man stopped me and said something to the extend of, "Your kids are adorable, but you have to have a 3rd!"

My jaw dropped open as it was so eerily obvious this man was serving as God's message to me in response to my prayer less than an hour earlier! The man went on to say things about how much kids learn growing up with more than one sibling, negotiation skills, etc. I asked if he had kids and he shared about his 4 grown kids and the wonder of raising them.

Can God answer prayers in this way, in the Sam's Club? I believe absolutely yes. I am grateful and sure that God is present and working in our world in this day and age, even among the mundane aspects of life. I know others will disagree, maybe throw around the "coincidence" word.
But what do you think?

Find more Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers, Tackle It Tuesday at 5 Minutes for Mom,Talk About Tuesday at The Lazy Organizer.

MckLinky Blog Hop

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Probably NOT the best way to "Remember the Alamo!"

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! In this blog carnival created by MckMama everyone has fun telling all the things they DID NOT do (but really did). You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Here's what has NOT been going on aro
und here:

I did NOT feed my family cereal for dinne
r one night this past week.

I am NOT currently sharing the couch w
ith a very large pile of unfolded laundry. I am NOT choosing to blog instead of folding it. NOPE, NOT ME!

When we were checking in at our hotel on Friday night, my daughter DID NOT loudly ask for all the lobby of people to hear, "Does this hotel have pillows?!!!" leading everyone to wonder just what
kind of hotel we've been taking that child to that she seems so incredulous that a hotel would have pillows!

We did NOT spend 8 super fun, jam-packed-
with-activity hours at Sea World, complete with several hours at the waterpark and no naptime on Friday and put our 3 kids to bed near 10PM, 2 hours past their usual bedtime. After all that, there is NO WAY 2 of those same kids woke up at 6:45 AM the next morning!

Especially after my post last Wednesday, when we visited the Alamo on Saturday we absolutely DID NOT visit the gift shop and
somehow leave with a gun like this for both of my boys, including my 2 year old, when the gun is clearly labeled "ages 5 and up". NO, did NOT happen! Remember I do not go in gift shops with my children!

My husband and boys are NOT so grateful for the "Free to Be a Godly Mother" class I took at our church a couple years ago where the teacher encouraged moms to allow their boys to have toy guns because a desire to "fight the bad guys" is God-wired into our boys and is a healthy aspect to their imaginative play! Before that class I was anti-toy guns!

My daughter most certainly did NOT get this as
her Alamo souvenir
Because nothing says Alamo or Texas history quite like a kitty in a leopard-print purse!

Clearly my resolve against buying my kids things when we are out and about was hampered by a) the sweltering 104 degree heat b) the hordes of people inside the gift shop c) my toddler's shrieks of, "Want gun!" "Where's my gun!" d) my desire to just get out of the Alamo alive e) my husband purchasing the gifts or f) all of the above

It was f.

But, I am happy to report there really were no
souvenirs bought at Sea World, even though you are conveniently routed through the gift shop on your way out of the park!

We DID NOT wrap up our quick trip to San Antonio with a lovely lunch along the River Walk. My kids were NOT completely entertained with the ducks in the river next to our table. "Hi Duck!" they said over and over as ducks swam by! I do NOT wish there was a river full of ducks and boats to entertain the kids every time we eat out with them!

Except I DID NOT spend the e
ntire meal a little petrified that somehow one of the kids would end up in the water. We DID NOT at all tempt fate by selecting a table that was mere inches from the water! Praise God nobody went in, although there were a couple close calls!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

7 Random Thoughts From my Tired Mind!

We are headed for a quick overnight trip to San Antonio in the morning to visit Sea World (mostly the waterpark part since it is going to be 104 degrees!), the Riverwalk, and the Alamo.

My 6 year old is getting very interested in history, he's especially hooked on history that involves fighting and wars! One day this week he and I read an entire book we checked out from the library on the Alamo and the Texas fight for independence from Mexico. I had forgotten a lot of the info. since my 8th grade Texas history class! My son was fascinated and kept insisting I keep reading. It was a fun afternoon sharing that book and that time in our history with him!

Speaking of the library, I finally took in the Dinosaur book my toddler ripped up (see picture here). I put it off until the very last day it was due, made my way to the counter and paid for the book. That $19 will be coming out of the toddler's allowance, except wait, he doesn't get an allowance!

I loved reading all your comments on my "Please don't let it be a library book" post and found them so encouraging. There is just nothing better than hearing, it has happened to me! I'm still laughing at this little gem shared by sweet Kat from Art's Chili, "As for your torn library book… I've seen worse than that. One time my parents...yes, my PARENTS, set a library book on fire! Mom spilled coffee on it. And it was due back that day. So dad says, "Put it in the microwave to dry it up." It dried it up all right. They left it in too caught fire! Not knowing what to do with it at that point… they put it in a paper lunch sack and just took it to the librarian and explained what they'd done!!! I still crack up imagining my almost 70 year old parents standing there and handing that bag to the librarian like a couple of kids. I kind of imagine Wally and Beaver Cleaver…but my parents faces." Her comment allowed me to convince myself the librarians had probably seen worse than my toddler's book ripping!

Dropped the dog off at the vet for boarding today and as usual my kids all had to weigh themselves on the dog scale. It completely cracks me up! To add to the fun, my daughter calls it "wave" not "weigh". So she's yelling to her little brother, "Come see how much you wave!" Thankfully I've found most people that like animals, like kids too, so the vet staff totally loves that my kids do that rather than frowning about it!

I'm in the process of doing my 100th pantry reorg. since we moved into this house 2 years ago. I really hate to say it's too small; I just know with the right food layout/container management I can make it work! Each time I organize it, it gets a little better, so maybe if we live here 20 years I'll finally have it fully optimized!

We have VBS next week at our church. I'll be teaching in a 6 year old room. It will be a busy week getting all 3 of my kids + a neighbor's daughter up to the church by 8:30 AM every day. I'll need a nap by the time I get there, but I think hanging out with the 6 year olds for the morning may be easier than my usual gig. It is always a very fun week and a fine thing to see kids learning about and excited about Jesus! I pray God will do a mighty work in those little hearts!

Find more Finer Things Friday at The Finer Things in Life, Hooked on Fridays at Hooked on Houses, 7 Quick Takes Friday at Conversion Diary

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Messy Fun!

Recently I set up a "Water Day" for my kids in the backyard. We totally stole this idea from the "Water Day" our preschool has for the kids at the end of each school year! I am thankful for a fun, free way to entertain the kids on a hot summer day!

13 Activities we did for "Water Day":
  1. Ran through the sprinkler
  2. Painted with shaving cream
  3. Added food coloring to the shaving cream
  4. Mixed colors to see what new colors we could make
  5. Coated themselves in the shaving cream
  6. Sprayed each other with the hose
  7. Washed their outdoor vehicles
  8. Washed waterproof baby dolls
  9. Colored with chalk on the driveway
  10. Washed themselves
  11. Converted our swing set slide to a water slide by running the hose down it
  12. Went down the super fast slide
When the hose was finally turned off the kids discovered more fun. Mud was left behind!

13. Played in the mud!

I was so busy taking pictures of my boys in the mud that I hadn't noticed my daughter was missing; she had played in the mud for about 20 seconds, whined about being dirty, and then left. I found her sitting on the patio bathing herself in this red bucket!

Over and over again she washed her legs in that bucket. Much happier with the water than the mud!

Anyone still think there is no difference between boys and girls?

Check out Thankful Thursday, Thousand Words Thursday, Thursday Thirteen, and Thursday {Thirteen}

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Don't Ever Start

As I'm out and about places like the zoo, children's museum, grocery store, etc. more this summer with all 3 of my kids, I'm so glad I never started the precedent of getting them stuff everywhere we go. It is a rare treat that my kids get so much as a lemonade bought for them when we are out, much less a prize from the gift shop or candy aisle. I nearly always pack snacks, lunch and drinks from home.

And the great thing is because I never started the practice, my kids don't know what they're missing, so they don't even ask!

I didn't realize how different it could be until recently another mom was complaining about how expensive Children's Museum trips were because they always have to go by the gift shop. It has never occurred to me to even go in that gift shop. I think the treat for my kids is the fun day at the museum. But now that my friend would like to visit the museum without buying something, her child is old enough to ask and beg for the gift shop treat. It is going to be a hard habit to break!

Visit We Are THAT Family for more WFMW tips.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Spray Paint Mania!

I discovered Rust-Oleum Hammered Spray Paint and my house will never be the same!

Here's how it all began . . .

We have these ugly, scratched up brass-colored door handles and knobs around our house and they've bugged us for the 2 years we've lived here.

Recently my husband talked about buying new door hardware, but I knew that they are not cheap, and we'd need a lot of them. Boo Mama wrote about using Rust-Oleum on her cabinet knobs, so in my infinite frugalness, I asked my husband if I could try it on the handles we already had, knowing that if I ruined them we'd have to replace them.

He agreed and even bought me some of the paint the next time he was in the Home Depot. We started out with the Silver color, but I wasn't sure it would be right, so I tried it out on a metal candlestick that I'd never really like the color of (too brown for me). I loved the finish provided by the spray paint (the "hammered" aspect allows for error because it hides any areas that are not perfectly smooth), but definitely thought it was too light for our door hardware. In the quest to use the remainder of that paint color, I found various frames and baskets to paint. I sprayed several outdated looking frames that were stashed away in boxes. I think it's cool that they all match now so I can do a coordinating display somewhere in the house!

(Before is frame on the left - Too bad I didn't get a picture
of the worst looking before frames)

(ignore the blue peg rack, that's my son's Home Depot craft that
I painted with some different paint)

The next day I hauled the 3 kids to Lowe's in search of a Rust-Oleum spray paint in a color that would work better for my hardware and made the mistake of telling the kids we were looking for spray paint. They immediately began calling out, "Spray Paint, where are you?" loudly, over and over again!

I didn't have long to deliberate due to the kids so I quickly settled on the Dark Bronze, came home and for the next couple days, whenever I got free from the kids I was removing door parts. I am not handy or crafty, so removing a door knob was an adventure and a learning experience. There is this secret side slit you have to push in to pull off one side of the knob to even expose screws! Man was I excited when I got the 1st one off!

I headed outside to paint (picture represents just a fraction of the knobs I actually did!), a couple coats on every side with hours of drying in between.

When they were dry it was time for the fun of putting them back on the doors!

Now I suppose some people would have carefully recorded how the knobs came off, where each piece came from, so they'd be able to reinstall them. Not me! I was just intent on getting them off and then used the trial-and-error method for getting them back on! It worked . . . eventually! I did have to consult my good friend The Internet on putting a deadbolt lock back together, but now I know more about locks than even my husband!

Remember the brass handle picture from the beginning of this post? Here's the after:

Door push plate and knob before:
and after:

I'm hooked! I've done just about all our downstairs and have my sights on the upstairs hardware, now!

Mostly I'm grateful for accomplishing something that won't just have to be done again tomorrow! You know most of my stay-at-home mom work you never really see results because you turn around and it just needs to be done again! But this? Is something where I can really enjoy a job completed!

Find more Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers, Tackle It Tuesday at 5 Minutes for Mom,Talk About Tuesday at The Lazy Organizer.

Water Fountain Girl!

If you lead my girl to water, she's gonna go in!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Sunday, July 5, 2009

It's NOT Monday, is it?

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! In this blog carnival created by MckMama everyone has fun telling all the things they DID NOT do (but really did). You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Here's what has NOT been going on around here:

I DID NOT fall in love with Rust-Oleum Hammered Spray Paint and go completely crazy spray-painting picture frames, candlesticks, cabinet knobs, doorknobs, and locks last week. I DID NOT actually find myself rummaging through our under-the-stairs closet looking for more things I could spray paint! NO, NOT ME! Don't worry I DO NOT plan to post before and after pictures of the spray-paint mania tomorrow.

We DID NOT head for a day trip to the beach on Friday and have a super beach day! The whining was minimal, my husband and I have the beach packing down so even getting ready to go was not too hard, and there were no poopy swim diapers! I made brownies the night before and had them in the cooler for our beach dessert and oh my goodness were those cold, chocolatey brownies yummy after the sandwiches mixed with real sand!

The toddler was NOT in heaven with all the dirt, I mean sand (it's a Texas beach so they are really the same thing), to play in!

We DID NOT march with my son's swim team in our little town's parade on Saturday and DID NOT learn that watching a parade is actually way more fun than being in the parade, at least when it is 200 degrees outside! The sno-cones were the highlight of the morning!

I DID NOT sit next to my toddler on a bench at our church picnic on Saturday wearing a white skirt while he ate a hot dog with mustard and ketchup and a side of Cheetos. He DID NOT touch me about 45 times while eating (in between each bite)! Let's just say my skirt is no longer white and I probably didn't seem very church-like saying to my 2 year old, "Stop touching me!" and "Please don't touch me!" over and over again as he ate!

I am NOT AT ALL obnoxious with the patriot clothing on the 4th of July!

We DID NOT discover the best way to watch fireworks with little kids -- from the car! No mosquitoes, no lugging chairs and kids from a mile away, and no screaming and crying because the kids felt safe in the car! My husband DID NOT roll down the window for half a second and unleash a little bit of the screaming and crying, but that quieted once he learned his lesson and rolled that window back up!

Can't wait to hear what you've NOT been up to!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ways We Celebrate Independence Day

Did you know that Congress actually voted to declare independence from Great Britain on July 2, 1776, but we celebrate Independence Day on the day the wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved on July 4, 1776?

13 Ways we Celebrate the Fourth:

1. Watching and/or marching in our little town's parade

2. Exercising our freedom by feeding leaves to a goat just because we want to (and he looked hungry)!

3. Petting a goose because really what is more festive than that?!!

4. Singing "Happy Birthday" to America

5. Putting the kids in a cage!

6. Seeing how strong we are

7. Eating tons of watermelon and hot dogs.

8. Dressing the whole family in red, white, and blue (even the dog has a bandana)!

9. Attending our church's patriotic service complete with all the great songs -- My Country Tis of Thee, America the Beautiful, God Bless America, This Land is Your Land, Your a Grand Old Flag, The Star Spangled Banner!

10. Consoling our kids as they scream and cry through the fireworks display over the football field outside our church.

11. Being thankful for those strong, wise men who wrote these words on the first Independence Day, "
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness".

12. Praising God for America, for the privilege to call this country our home, the freedom and prosperity we have as a nation.

13. Praying that our country will remember, "from everyone who has been given much shall much be required," (Luke 12:48) and that we will "Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God." 1 Peter 2:16.

Happy 4th of July!

Check out Thankful Thursday,
Thousand Words Thursday, Thursday Thirteen, and Thursday {Thirteen}