Saturday, July 13, 2013

Summertime Carnival

Today we celebrated with Miss M - Beads and Ballerina's (might as well be) cousin - for her 3rd birthday and we had a blast! Her mama put together the cutest carnival themed party. And with Aunt C being nearly 9 months pregnant, this was no small feat! There was a bouncy house, great games, lots of fun food (think popcorn and cotton candy machines), balloon animals, a dress-up area, and all kinds of adorable decorations. Three years ago we lived just a couple streets over from Aunt C and Uncle S. Now we live about an hour away so when we get a chance to see one another, it's the best!
Ballerina could have stayed and lived in that bouncy house if we had let her and Beads was all about the ball pit, balloons, and hugs from his Aunt C and Uncle S. He got a little anxious with all of the commotion going on but settled into a pretty good routine of rocking on Daddy's lap and playing with a balloon after a while. Whatever works! Another favorite at the party was the temporary tattoo station. Ballerina was already all tatted up before we got there but totally needed more ink when she discovered that table. Such a fun day! Feel free to share your birthday party posts with me. I'd love to see the fun ways you've celebrated with the littles in your life!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Warthogs in the Kitchen

I really have no idea what I'm doing.
When it comes to blogging, that is., too. But hey, who does?
I still have high hopes that this will one day revolve around our homeschool adventures but honestly, we haven't been doing much in the way of school lately. My kids have been demanding...bossy...defiant...stubborn...and really just not interested in any sit-down-and-focus-for-more-than-three-seconds kind of work. 
Today the hubby and I were working with them - playing with play-dough (fun, right?) and trying to help them make letters and spell out their names with it. Beads was super pissed that he had to sit for more than a few minutes so he was all, "Whatever, I'll just tear this dough into bits, Dad. Make a letter out of THOSE micro pieces!" and Ballerina all of a sudden forgot what letters look like. It was a real barrel of monkeys, I tell ya. Beads has taken up this attitude most days during therapy as well. I used to hear all about how hard he worked and what a good day he had. Now, for the most part, when he gets done his therapists tell me that he was flinging things, not listening, and not wanting to pay attention. WHERE HAVE MY SWEET BABIES GONE?
Okay, so they're still super sweet most of the time but man, 4 and 5 year olds can be rough! 

B & B have really been into baking with me recently, though. We count eggs and cups and learn about measuring so it's not like I'm totally failing at teaching them things. Not surprisingly, their favorite book this week is Warthogs in the Kitchen - A Sloppy Counting Book. It's so cute, even I like it. Plus it reinforces numbers and that's never a bad thing. There are two recipes in the back - one for regular, human cupcakes and one for sloppy Warthog cupcakes. We plan on making the treats for Warthogs soon. Basically you just let your kids go insane with ingredients and make a big mess. My nightmare (I'll do it anyway); their dream. My mom used to let me mix up whatever weird things I chose from the pantry/fridge in a big bowl for funsies when I was little and it was one of my favorite things to do.

Let's see...Daddy Jam turned 30 last week! Isn't that weird? Thirty. And I'll be 25 in a few days. Growing up is strange. Especially when you still feel awkward and 17 (and look it) but you're actually an adult who's been a parent for nearly 6 years. Wouldn't go back to being a teenager even if I could though! Blech. 

Anyone else have the desire to purge half the crap in your house here lately? I think we'll be having a yard sale in a few weeks, with everything marked super cheap so we are sure to get rid of it. Things just keep getting so cluttered and while part of it is because I hate to clean (but love having a clean house, go figure) the majority of it is because we have so much stuff we don't even need. I need a day that the kiddos are gone for a few hours so that I can go through their things and actually lighten their room load. They're getting better about passing toys on but even still, any box marked "give away" seems to hold magical powers that make every piece of kids meal plastic the absolute best toy in the whole. universe. 
I get it, though. Mama also has a hard time letting go of toys.  There are some things that you really should hold onto, especially educational whatnots - but every single piece of scribbled-on paper or stuffed animal? Nope. Watch an episode of Hoarders and move it along. 

Anyway, here's our past week in pictures.
We had the best time at Nana and Papa's for the 4th of July. Beads and Ballerina got to see their aunts, uncles, and cutie-pie baby cousin, M!

Happy Thursday!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Hitting Milestones and Baking Bread


Check this out! Beads has been giving himself drinks completely on his own for a few weeks now and it's super exciting. He can walk around the house while downing his water, juice, and Pediasure like a boss whenever he wants, no matter what Daddy and I are up to. We love that he finally has this independence!

He's also been working on learning numbers. Sometimes he will identify a few but it's been harder for him than learning shapes/colors/letters. He wasn't thrilled that I wanted him to sit at a table; hence the melancholy look he gave me at first. We used these awesome bean bag numbers and I asked him to find the 1 (or 2, 3, 4, you get the idea) and put it in the bucket. He did try his best and worked with me for a good 20 minutes while Daddy and Sister practiced following directions in the living room (playing Once Upon A Monster with the Kinect). 
After Beads had enough of the numbers, he and I snuggled into bed and read together for a good long while....until I fell asleep. 


The rest of our last couple of weeks included Ballerina's Fairy Princess Day-Camp that she absolutely loved, the kiddos helping me make banana bread, playing outside in the rain with a wheelbarrow full of sand, gardening and dinner with friends, and a dentist appointment.

Reunited with ballet friends from last season's class!


Friends helping us with our first little garden

Dentist in Training...

Ballerina has wanted to be a dentist since she first starting talking and could tell us these things. So when appointment time rolls around every 6 months, she's ecstatic! Never cries, whines, or has a hard time with x-rays or cleanings. She even asks to go to the dentist just about every week and when I tell her it's not time yet, she gets upset. I wish I had her enthusiasm when I go and get my teeth worked on! Beads, on the other hand, hates anyone messing with his mouth, even Daddy, me, and his therapists. Granted, he did have cleft-palate repair surgery at nearly a year old so I know some of those memories are still in there. Mix that with the other experiences of not-so-fun doctor visits (ever had your ears deep-cleaned? Well, Beads will tell you - it's not pleasant), and possibly not understanding why we're even touching his teeth/mouth and he's bound to have some anxiety. 

He is growing up so much, though! For years now, they haven't been able to x-ray him because he would freak out about that plastic thing in his mouth while they took pictures. This time he sat on my lap and worked his way through the 4 photos, fussing just a bit between each one. He lost it after the last one was taken but that was just fine because he made it all the way through and we were DONE! Hopping out of the chair and getting a good hug made things much better. Such a big kid! He and Ballerina both got good reports and the dentist even sent Ballerina home with a mask and pair of gloves to practice with. As soon as we got home, that's exactly what she did. All of her dolls got check-ups with the scrubber, water, and air tools (3 straws), the explorer (bobby pin), and a Diego toothbrush. And Brother makes the best supervisor!

Oh! We hit up Goodwill this week, too. Thrift shopping has always been one of my favorite things to do. I love going to find books! If you're paying for it, you can't beat 50 cents or below for a book. Plus they always have at least a couple great teaching/student workbooks and so many fun vintage-y children's storybooks. I scored this one on pocket chart poems this time, along with a couple Science, Math, and a few Language workbooks, all for PreK-2nd grade. Beads doesn't do worksheets much but Ballerina likes when I work on them with her so I snatch them up when I find good ones. And of course I love the teaching guides, like this phonics poem  book.

I've had 2 big wall pocket charts for 6 months or so now that we've used on and off but here lately I've wanted to include them on a daily basis. These poems are perfect for that, and are super fun. It's always good for Beads to hear letter sounds even if he can't say them yet and Ballerina still has some issues with pronunciation. (Don't we all?) I get all stupid-Southern and drop endings to words I normally wouldn't when I'm nervously talking to people I don't know well. So we're all loving these. 

Something else we're loving?
Foil pack dinners! These are so incredibly easy and taste really yummy. Here's one version I made the other day:
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken strips per foil pack
Chopped red potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots
Diced red bell pepper
A few rings of onion
2-3 slices of butter on top
Salt, pepper, Nature's Seasoning as desired

Wrap each one up and put them on cookie sheets to bake.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, or until the chicken's temp reads 180. 
Top with Colby/Jack shredded cheese.
Eat up!