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Saturday, October 3, 2015

DIY Bath Art

I have shared with you before my citrus colored bathroom and when we moved in here 6 years ago, I purchased three frames that I felt would be perfect to use in there someday. That someday has finally happened.

It realized I had three frames, three kids, and plenty of pictures of them in the bathtub. I simply found a photo of each at roughly the same age, edited it to be B&W, Photoshopped their name onto it and had them printed off (8x10s) at Walgreens.

They might resemble the opening credits for MTV's the Real World, but that is fine because they are just as entertaining and a hot mess of drama themselves.  The kids got the biggest kick out of them and baby girl loves to point out the "babies" in the bathroom.

I used my newest BFF in hardware 3M Command picture hanging strips to attach them to the wall. These things work like Velcro and are ahh-mazing.  My teacher self loves them even more since they don't damage my school walls and are way better than putty.  They make hanging a frame a snap, don't damage the walls, and you don't need the hammer and nails.  Bonus- this way I didn't accidentally drive a nail through a pipe!

**I was in no way compensated to endorse 3M for this post, but they can send me freebies if they'd like.

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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Summer of Sanity 2015 - The Recap

So, a little over 3 months ago I posted my hopes for Summer of Sanity 2015.  Let's see where we ended up:

June was a crazy fast month with family visits, tee ball, a week of camp for each of the boys and our family vacation to NC/SC.  We were able to sit back and relax the rest of July until school started the 2nd week of August, too soon!

We did the charts only for about 2 weeks and then it was like "screw it".  Mostly because the boys knew what the system was and well, it's summer, and I'm me, so following through with things is often a toughie for me.  I know, I know, bad trait to model for my kids. Whatever.

I again found myself only really able to handle one big outing a day, but we had some good ones.  The weather was mild and our backyard became our go-to destination.  With the boys being 4 and 7, can I just tell you the elation of saying “Go outside” and they can all by themselves!  Heaven!  It gives me time to get Cora around and complete a chore or two in the house.

We didn’t venture to any public pools this summer because I need like 8 arms and 15 eyes.  The kids are all at different swim levels, and Miss Cora is fearless so she monopolizes a lot of my attention near water. We did go to friend’s who had pools and the local sprinkler park, but really were just as happy home with our water toys.  I see swimming lessons in our future…

The boys were great this summer and only drove me batty with screen time requests first thing in the morning but I caved usually because I need my beauty sleep.  They were then done with for the day, but man it was still a day of constant requests.  This will be a continuing battle I think.

Cora went through the terrible pre-2 phase.  Ugh, she was miserable for most of July & August with what I can only assume was a hormonal imbalance prepping me for her tween years. She managed to ooze pure adorable cuteness just as frequently which saved me from going crazy.  Thankfully she eventually stopped grabbing my jugular (literally) at any given notice when the wind changed in a direction she didn’t care for. 

It was a great summer and felt easy and the kids enjoyed themselves as well as us. That is what it is all about and helps keeps me sane. Fall is off to a nice slow pace which I’m very much looking forward too.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Pro Tip: When Not To Get A Massage

Ah yes, an hour of someone's hands rubbing me with no expectations from me to reciprocate anything back to them.  Add that it's in the an upscale salon downtown and I'm a suburbanite mom transformed into a trendy hipster in the city sipping on fresh flavor infused water. 

In my lottery winning dreams I'd be getting massages 2x a week or so. 

But no more massages for me. 

You see, I'm not a fan of this...

And that's exactly what I did today. 

I enjoyed the 60 minutes of bliss, but as my seat belt clicked I was back in mom mode. Chauffeur, chef, maid, and police. All of that occurred in the 60 minutes following my massage. As I took a deep breath to keep from losing my cool with the kids, I realized my relaxed, essentially oiled, loving mood was gone. 

Pro tip: Don't get a massage without a buffer before reality comes right back at you. 

I felt like I might have just set my money on fire.  A handful of M&Ms would've been cheaper and given me the same short lived relaxation. I'll still get a massage but probably when I am on vacation and perhaps taking an F-it day from work. or when the kids are way less needy.  But my next one will definitely be hours before I go back to the conditions that caused me to need a massage in the first place.
Thursday, June 4, 2015

Summer of Sanity - 2015

I had the luxury of preparing for last summer while on maternity leave last spring and now I find myself scrambling to get things around for this summer.  There are some things I want to keep and some things I want to change.  The boys are older now so their needs have changed, and well so have mine with 3 kids and no more newborn stage for Cora.

I definitely am planning on keeping the Screen Time criteria.  The problem with allotting them 30 minutes last summer was at about 7:45 every morning, they were begging for it.  This time I'm going to require specific tasks to be done before they even approach me on the topic.

We're still busy with sports and scouts during the week at least through June.  July seems to be mostly free and August barely counts since we'll be back to school before the 2nd week. Wah. Wah,.

We're about 5 days into summer and the boys are once again loving their charts and are busy looking for how to fill their own free time without me having to plan and dictate every minute of the day for them. Here's what the charts looked like for this summer:

June 1st

Screen Time



Followed Directions

Enrichment means they must do something that enriches them such as crafts, coloring, practicing schoolwork, math, science, critical thinking, etc.  This doesn't mean ABC mouse or anything involving a screen.  We haven't ever done chores before, but they are enjoying trying to find ways to help around the house.  They are both excited about the reading program at the public library, so that task has been easy to fill.

This summer is also a welcomed relief because the boys are finally old enough (or are they?) to play outside by themselves without me being mother hen to them.

They have yet to choose a reward yet, but I'm not pressing them for one.  I kinda want to see if they just enjoy this all for the sake of being organized and encouraging their own decision making and self-discipline.  I sound like a Nazi parent, but I swear I'm not.  Truly, we enjoy the summer days and they are not rigid at all.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Paw Patrol Party

Turning 4 means 4 parties right?

My middle love has gotten the shaft the past 2 years on his birthday since it's over MLK weekend and we usually are out of town visiting distant family. Well, this year I decided little man needed his own themed party at the house, especially since his birthday is squeezed between his older brother and younger sister's.  I am after all trying to avoid "Middle Child Syndrome" at all costs.

Now, I love to joke about my birthday being a Jubilee and letting the celebration last all week.  Cameron got the same royal treatment this year stretching his out for 3 weeks.  It wasn't all full of fun though due to a nasty stomach flu that plagued all 3 of my kids at once. Ah, so this is what they mean when they tell you you're outnumbered once you have 3. 

Celebration #1 was with our extended family and was low key with one very special highlight...a visit from a local police officer arranged by Uncle B.  Cameron was so cute and immediately went into a silent shock, which for him is unheard of.  His favorite was getting to play with real "handcuffses" as he calls them.  Let's hope this is his only party where the cops show up ;)

And I have to thank my father who bought Cameron and cake and left us with a very memorable story to tell him when he's older about how he had a pink birthday cake for his 4th birthday.  It is so my classic father to not pay attention to the details.  I just loved it.

Celebration #2 was on his actual birthday in the middle of the week and we went to Chuck E. Cheese for dinner (his choice). Well, this was a short lived trip since the stomach bug reared it's ugly head before we even got our pizza.  I'll spare you the details but we had 2 of the 3 kids get sick there and then Cameron right when we got home.  Yes, we were that family at Chuck E. Cheese.  Somehow the kids were all asleep and in bed by 8 but we felt like we'd been run over by a truck in a matter of 3 hours.  Hence, there are no pictures from this day.

Celebration #3 was his original party day and I was all set to go.  The kids had been healthy for 48 hours so we decided to forge ahead.  Well, poor Cameron because about 1 hour before party time, my oldest and youngest got sick again.  It was heartbreaking to have everything set up and tell Cameron we had to cancel his party, especially because he was the only one not sick.  I had to be a good neighborhood mommy and not expose the other kids to icky germs though.  We still ate his cake (#2) and he got to open his presents from his grandpa and us.

So now we are at Celebration #4. Here's where you'll want to start paying attention if you're looking for Paw Patrol Planning tips, thanks for making it this long.

Anyways, his Paw Patrol finally happened and here are the details:

I used Photoshop to customize his invitation, and gasp, this was the first e-vite I have ever done.  I printed out one for his scrapbook, but since all the guests were friends of ours on Facebook, creating an event on there was way easier - not to mention it helped spread the word when we had to reschedule.

Between Nick Jr. and Mom's Tot School blog, I got all the ideas I needed for his party.  A huge thank you to those two. I reused some of the items left over from the Lego party such as table runners, plates, etc. Nick Jr. is amazing and provides so many printouts making planning super easy.  Some last minute favors included valentines day sticker kits I found at Wal-mart and these goofy straws that make you look like you have a dog's face.

Food:  I arranged some of the food in large food bowls (new and clean of course) that included puppy chow, chex mix (kibbles and bits) , and pirate booty. I had macaroni and cheese and little corn dogs too. 

Cake #3 (cake #2 not pictured)
I picked up some headbands at the Dollar store and taped on the ears I printed from Nick jr.  The goody bags were filled with paw patrol stickers and Scooby snacks. We also did adopt/color a dog.  I ordered the dogs (a dozen) from oriental trading company and printed out the adoption certificates from Chickabug, but there are lots of templates out there.  The kids just colored them with sharpies which cleaned up nicely with baby wipes.  The poster in the background was also from Nick. Jr.

So there you have it.  My little man definitely got a drawn out birthday this year but it was all fun and rather low key.  If you are planning a paw patrol party now, you are in great luck as there are things everywhere for it, including the $1 spot at Target.  If only we'd had the party 6 months later.

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