Thursday, March 31, 2011

David at the Dentist

I forgot to add this to our February wrap-up. When Will was in South Africa, I took all three kids to the dentist. (Luke just went along for moral support.)

Claire was such a big girl and went back by herself and even had x-rays done for the first time. Yeah for no cavaties!

David, on the other hand, was not a fan. Here he is all happy with his new tootbrush while waiting for the hygeinist to come in and clean his teeth.

Getting our teeth cleaned.

Look at that face. Remember Claire first trip to the dentist? Unfortunately, I couldn't get David's picture with the dentist because I was holding him down so he could look at his teeth.

I fed Luke a bottle and he fell asleep in his carseat/carrier while all of this was going on.

So now we have another 6 months to get David pumped up for another visit to the dentist. I can't wait!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring Break 2011

The kids were out for Spring Break last week and the first part of the week was almost like summer. Beautiful sunshiney and warm weather. The end of the weak was cold and yucky.

Glad we got to spend all day Tuesday outside before the cold front came on Wednesday.

We made bird feeders with pinecones (all the way from Will's parents' yard in Alabama), peanut butter and birdseed. I believe that David ate more peanut butter than he actually spread on the pinecone. We hung these along the tree line in our backyard and to be honest, I have not seen one single bird eating there. Oh well. We tried.

This little guy hung out with us outside too (when he wasn't inside napping).

We also painted spring trees with watercolor paints and q-tips, ate a picnic lunch outside, and took a nature walk around our neighborhood.

What a mess!

And Luke got a little bit closer to crawling. He is now up on all fours. Yikes!

"Watch out world. Here I come. And if you mess with me, I might just spit up on you."

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kid birthday gift ideas

Claire and David both have birthdays in April, which means all of the kids in both of their preschool classes have birthdays from February to May. That is a lot of birthday parties in a short amount of time.

I have a few standby gift ideas that I use to keep from breaking the bank buying birthday gifts, but still give what I consider "nice" gifts.

(1) Beach towel and pool toys: Cost = $10

This beach towel was $6.99 at Target. I embroidered a name on it and added and set of pool toys. What a fun gift for a 3-year-old boy with summer coming up! Of course, this gift would cost more if you didn't have an embroidery machine of your own to use. You could also do a towel and cute flip-flops for a girl or do a bath towel and bubble bath for a fall or winter birthday.

(2) Large coloring pad and fun crayon = $8-10

I bought these pads on sale at Amazon for $5 each. The crayon is from Learning Express and it is $3. Claire got one of these crayons for her birthday last year and she literally played with it until it broke. She loved it! These pads are great too because the paper is thick enough to paint on. Oh, they have girl pads too.

(3) Lapdesk and paper pad/markers = $8-10

Here are a couple I have made. (I don't recommend doing something as complicated as the Spiderman. I usually try to keep it more simple.)

I buy these on sale at Michael's (or any other craft store) for $3-4. Then, I find a cute clip art picture on the computer, trace it on the lap desk and color with paint pens. Add a pad of drawing paper and pack of markers or colored pencils and you have a super-nice, personalized gift.

I recommend buying paint pens at Wal-Mart or with a 40% coupon at Michael's (or any other craft stores). I have a primary pack (in fine tip and medium tip) and a pastel pack (in medium tip). I use them all pretty equally.

(4) Games ... always check Target for sale or clearance games. One year, I bought four little boys in Claire's class Toy Story Yahtzee that was on sale for $7.

(5) Cookbook and personalized apron = $25-30 (depending on where you purchase).

I have not personally done this one before but my friend Colleen did this for Claire's 4th birthday and it was one of her favorite gifts. For girls, you can buy the Pink Princess Cookbook by Barbara Beery, or for girls or boys, the Sesame Street "C is for Cooking" cookbook and Paula Deen's "My First Cookbook" are both good options. You can find relatively inexpensive personalized kids aprons on Etsy ... I found some here, here, and here. OR if you have your own embroidery machine, you can buy child's apron from this website for less than $4 and personalize it yourself.

(6) Matchbox car case and cars = $10-$20

One of my personal favorites of any gift David has gotten (also from my friend Colleen) was a personalized matchbox car case. I believe she got it here. This vendor does beautiful work ... she made Claire's hand painted step stool in her bedroom.
You could also do something more portable, like this car caddy or this car wallet and road to go.

Now, if your kids are friends with my kids (and my kids' friends), don't go stealing my gift ideas.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sew What: March 2011

This is David's shirt for his birthday party. He will have shorts to match in the black/red/white tri-check. Hopefully the weather will cooperate! I made this shirt on Friday to give my mom and sister a little lesson on machine applique (on my mom's machine). You can't see it well, but there is a "3" in the circle on the car since David's will be 3-years-old. As you can probably guess, he is having a "Cars" theme birthday party.

I also managed to make these two pairs of ruffle capri pants for Claire to match some tees I had purchased for her here. I think they turned out so cute and the owner of the shop even let me mail her a swatch of the fabrics to match the colors on the tees.

I made a third pair of ruffle capris for Claire for this cut top to match.

These capris are my favorite ruffle pants pattern from Portabello Pixie. The top came from an Etsy shop and I have to say, it was not the best pattern in the world. The top turned out okay cute, but it was not a well written pattern. I'm glad I only paid $5 for the pattern. Oh, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to shorten these straps for Claire.

I got all these three pair or pants done in about 2 hours and made the butterfly top in another 2 hours. A big THANK YOU to my hubby for some uninterrupted sewing time on Saturday!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I did not stick to last week's menu plan at all. In fact, I don't think I cooked at all last week except for the night I made turkey burgers. Here's to doing better this week. I have already been to the grocery store so that is a good first step in the right direction ... actually, my sweet hubby went for me after church today with coupons and all. (That is way better than flowers ... maybe grocery shopping is my love language.)

On to the menu plan ...

Sunday night: Cheesy burgers, broccoli and strawberries.

Monday: pizza roll for the kids. Will and I are eating out for my birthday.

Tuesday: Chicken broccoli bake, brown rice, cantaloupe.

Have I mentioned that my husband doesn't like broccoli? He eats a little just so the kids will too. Too bad it is on sale this week. I just realized the menu plan is a little broccoli heavy.

Wednesday: Leftover cheesy burgers, chips

Thursday: I have book club. Will and the kids will eat leftover pizza roll.

Friday: Pecan chicken, green beans, whole wheat bread machine rolls

Saturday breakfast: Southwest Egg Casserole. (I love to make this 9x12 casserole to eat on for breakfast all week.)

Saturday dinner: Parent's night out with friends at a local winery. I am taking black bean, corn & feta dip and chips.

Sunday lunch: Eat out.

Sunday dinner: Crispy panko chicken, green veggie, mashed potatoes, tangerines.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, March 25, 2011

Chore charts

I bought these simple little chore charts in the dollar bin at Target ages ago. Claire has been begging me to get going on them and I finally put them up, oh, back in January.

I came up with what I thought were some age appropriate chores ... some things they should just do anyway as a member of our household, like brush their teeth and pick up their toys ... and other things that they could do to earn money, like unload silverware and cups from the dishwasher, set and clear the table and help sort laundry.

Claire was very excited about the money chores ... and Claire was very diligent to do her chores the first couple of weeks.

See the kids below hard at work putting away things from the dishwasher.

Unfortunately, Will and I never really sat down and worked out the whole allowance plan, and the chore charts filled up quickly and it was hard to change out the stickers every week. So, the chore charts kind of fell by the wayside.

Claire still asks about them though. Go here to see the plan we would really like to implement. I think her allowance rates are good too.

Now we just need to keep some cash around the house! We've got to get back on the ball with this before summer since my kids will be home every. single. day.

What chores do your little kids do? How do you handle allowance?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, March 21, 2011

It's not easy being GREEN!

The last of our St. Patrick's Day crafts. We finished them up on St. Patrick's Day (at the least the painting part of the projects).

(1) Hand-rocks.

Get it? Shamrocks made with hands. Will came up with that name so blame him if you think it is corny. (Claire turned her shamrock horizontal. Stem and all.)

I let the kids finger paint on the paper in blue and green. After the paint dried, I traced their hands with a pencil and cut out the 4 hands. Claire got in some good cutting practice as she cut 3 of her 4 hands out all by herself.

David supervised ... and grabbed my scissors to do his own cutting when I laid them down to help Claire. Glue 4 hands to the page.

Add a stem and ... voila. A 4-leaf clover. It would probably look better if I had only used 3 hands. Oh well. The kids colored the stem and added grass to the paper.

(2) A bouquet of clovers.

These were cute, but I didn't have a very good vase to put them in. Apparently, I threw away all my cheap florist vases when we moved into this house in 2005. And apparently, I haven't gotten any more flowers since them. Ahem!

Just kidding. I'm not a big flower girl and Will knows that. Plus, when we get flowers, they usually come from Sam's or Costco and we use our own vase when we get home.

Claire enjoyed painting the toilet paper rolls for this craft, but I ended up cutting and shaping them and actually putting together the flowers while the kids were outside playing one day. She probably could have done most of that herself though (with my supervision).

Both of these crafts came from this site.

(3) Tissue paper rainbows.

This craft was a little over David's head. (1) It took a long time. (2) He had a hard time scrunching up the tissue paper squares. He makes a lot of crafts at school with tissue paper so I thought this would be right up his alley. But, at school, they mostly just lay the tissue paper flat on the glue. He did make a tree at church last Wednesday night after we had done this craft on Tuesday and did a pretty good job of scrunching up the tissue paper squares to make flowers/leaves on the tree.

Claire didn't like this craft because (1) it took too long and (2) it was too similar to the other rainbow we had made earlier in the week.

Both of the kids really seemed to enjoy adding the cotton ball clouds at the end though. Glue + cotton balls = fun!

David really enjoyed the rainbow books that we read from the library, which were "A Rainbow of My Very Own" by Don Freeman and "Planting a Rainbow" by Lois Ehlert. The rainbow activities have really helped him with his color recognition.

Our "art board" with all of our March crafts. (David made a few of these things at school.)

David wearing his St. Patty's Day green ... another cute Honey Bee tee.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Menu Plan Monday

I finally managed to get back to posting Menu Plan Monday after a 6-month plus vacation. Yikes!

I have been cooking a lot and menu planning during this time despite my lack of hosting. We had meals from our awesome Sunday School class for several weeks after Luke was born, then we hit the holidays and Will and I have been dieting since the first of the year.

After a weekend visiting the in-laws in Alabama, I am ready to jump back on the diet band wagon, so this meal plan is South Beach Diet friendly.

Speaking of SBD, my friend Holly told me about this AWESOME website that has great lo/no carb recipes. I have tried several recipes from this site already and they have all been delicious.

(Sorry for the lack of recipe links ... if a meal is really good, I will link up the recipe later.)

Monday: Turkey burgers (wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun), asian slaw

Tuesday: Baked pork chops, vegetables

Wednesday: Leftover turkey burgers, asian slaw

Thursday: Honey Pecan Chicken, vegetables

Friday: My birthday dinner at my parents' house

Saturday: Southwestern Egg casserole (breakfast), dinner out with friends (adults-only)

Sunday: Penne Florentine, salad (lunch), dijon tilapia, brown rice and asparagus (dinner)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Luke: 6 months old

Sunday, we celebrated Luke's half-birthday by staying home from church because all of us (except him) had a horrible allergy attack. Oh Tennessee, why do you do this to me every Spring and every Fall?

But, back to this cutie-pie ... I cannot believe he is 6 months old. Where has the time gone?

So what is going on this month?

-Luke is all about grabbing things ... any toy within reach, earrings, necklaces, hair. And once he gets it in his sweet little hands, it is going straight in his mouth.

-He is wearing 6-9 months clothing and size 3 diapers.

-He is eating 6 ounces of formula every 3-4 hours, a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast and a fruit or veggie (maybe mixed with oatmeal) for dinner.

-He is sleeping from 7:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. (That's 12 hours y'all!)

-He does not like bananas at all. And who can blame him? Baby food bananas are pretty gross.

-He is rolling all over the place (both directions).

-No teeth yet, but I expect one to pop thru any day now.

-He recognizes his name.

-He smiles when he sees a familiar face.

-He is almost sitting up unassisted.

-He is started to put his knees underneath him in the crawling position. Crawling will definitely change life as we know it!

-Favorite toy is definitely the jumper (the kind that hangs in a doorway). He will play in that thing for a long time. At least he is getting good exercise.

Some of my favorite photos of the month.

Sweet smile!

Sitting up ...

... then falling over. Are you trying to crawl??

Look at those thighs! Keep on jumping baby!

Loving the jumper.

Hanging out with the big kids.

Open mouth, insert toy. That's my mantra.

Even better ... open mouth, insert foot.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Honey Bee Tees

Look at these silly kiddos. Look at their cute tees.

This is David's new picture smile. Not sure why he insists on squinting his eyes.

These tees are so soft and comfy ... and super cute with hand-drawn pictures printed on front. Go purchase your own here.

Note: this is not a paid advertisement ... I simply love these tees. I might even get one or two for myself.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, March 14, 2011

St. Patrick's Day crafts

We have been very crafty over the weekend and the kids have loved it. Here are some fun, quick and easy St. Patrick's Day crafts and treats.

(1) Mosiac rainbows.
This is a good way for me to get rid of all of my scrapbook paper scraps that I save and rarely ever use. I drew a rainbow pattern on a piece of cardstock, put some glue on each row and let the kids get busy.

So proud of her finished product. David (age almost 3) needed just a little help on this project, but Claire (age almost 5) did it all by herself.

(2) Shamrock garland.
My kids love to paint and I hardly ever let them because it is so messy, but this time I caved. These are made from coffee filters painted with shades of green watercolors. After the paint dried, we added some glitter glue and then I traced and cut out shamrocks from the painted filters. I stapled them to a string and ... voila. A lovely garland to go on the window over my kitchen sink.

(3) Mosiac shamrocks.

Another good paper scrap-buster project. I found a shamrock coloring page online, printed it out and let the kids get busy with green paper scraps and glue. After the glue dried, I cut out the shamrock and glued it to a sold piece of paper.

(4) Sponge-painted shamrocks.

I know. The green crafts are getting a little out of control. But I promise this is my last one.

David needed a little help with this one, but Claire did it no problem once I showed her how it was done. I cut a heart shape out of a sponge, squirted some green glue on a paper plate and stamped three hearts together to make the shamrock. I drew them stem with a green marker.

We also sang a little song that I found here to help the kids learn about the Holy Trinity. (Did you know that St. Patrick used the shamrock to teach people about the trinity ... God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, three in one.) The kids loved it and I actually felt like I taught them something.

(5) Rainbow rice crispy treats.

This was my favorite activity ... and we made it out with only a few minor burns where the kids touched the hot pan. Oops! Nothing some cold water and a band-aid won't fix.

Here are the instructions. Separate bag of colored marshmallows into four separate bowls. (I took this picture after I had already used the orange marshmallows.) The marshmallow sorting kept the kids busy for about 10-15 minutes while I unloaded the dishwasher ... and it helped them work on color matching ... something we are really working on with David right now.

For each color layer, used 1T. butter, 1 bowl of marshmallows (a little over 1 cup) and 1-1/2c. rice krispies. Melt butter and marshmallows over low heat and stir in cereal. Layer in greased 8x8 baking dish (pack firmly). Repeat for remaining three colors.

The kids hard at work (before the burned fingers). I'm not real sure what David is doing other than being silly!

The finished product.

You can see the layers better here ...

... and here.

Yummy! Claire ate about 3 bites of this and decided that she didn't like how the green ones tasted. (These marshmallows are fruit flavored.) I was happy to finish it off for her!

I really want to make these rainbow cupcakes, but I am just not sure I have the energy! I'll be sure to take pictures if I do.
Oh yeah ... most of my craft ideas came from this great website (with a little modification).

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad