Sunday, September 30, 2012

My week review

My crazy week in review.
(we also have family in town so I will post some of that later this week.)
I found Landon and Tayton hanging out in Landon's bed eating a bucket full of grapes.

MEGA Marshmallow shooter, I found the marshmallows all over the house for days after this little adventure.

Tayton "helped" me put together 2 Ikea book shelves. 

The boys room had a tornado hit it and the clean up was a huge mission. Some relief aid by the name of mom had to be called in to help because it was a bit out of control. Go here to read about how we manage room clean up.

Landon started drawing pretty amazing stick people. He brings most of his papers home from school with pictures of his friends drawn on them.

Every test that Landon brought home was 100%. I am so happy that he is doing so well and loves school so much.

This is what it looks like in our house most mornings after we get out of bed and are getting ready for school and at night time when we are getting ready for bed.

I get such a big kick out of Landon's school papers that he brings home. It so fun to watch his progression even just over the few weeks he has been in school already. This is a "map" about him. His name is Landon, his favorite color is green, his favorite food is pizza and he is 6 years old.

This little man got caught red handed pulling all of the wipes out of the container. Such a naughty little boy, but so stinking cute as well.

Aowyn ate her first hot dog. She watched Tayton eat his for a bit before she tried hers, the second it hit her mouth she started spitting like crazy and any time I tried to feed her one she made a funny face and turned her head away. Im guessing she does not like them.

In true girl fashion Aowyn has a love of shoes. Except instead of wearing them she eats them. She finds shoes all over the house and gets into them. If I take them away she cries so hard and then when she is done throwing her fit she takes off with her zombie drag/crawl in search of more shoes to eat. As soon as I see her with them I take them away but she always seems to find more, we call her the shoe wrangler. 
I love my crazy, super blessed weeks. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Wreath love

I love making wreaths. 
I think its one of the easiest and cheapest ways to bring in fun colors and decor to a place. I also love using them when changing out the holiday cheer.
I am going to show you how awesomely easy it is to create your own unique wreaths in no time flat. Plus its cheap, can't get much better then that in my book.

I first took a wreath from Micheals, it was $4.95, and I spray painted it a beautiful turquoise color.

I took two Hydranga steams from Micheal's that I got on sale for $2.50, and cut off most of the stem. 

Then I poked the steams through my wreath. 

Folded the steam back into the wreath in a new area and hot glued the stem in place.

I did this with both of the bushes. 
Then I took some of the leaves off of the stems that I had cut off.

I took the leaves and strategically placed (with some help of my favorite tool, a hot glue gun) the leaves around the flowers to give it more of a bushy look. 

Then I tied on a ribbon and BAM! I did my happy dance, because I was done. Yes I do a happy dance every time I complete a craft, because its nice to celebrate my victory and well, because I LOVE to dance, but that's for a whole different time....

Then I took my little beauty and I added it to the mirror in our Master bedroom. It's probably the only decoration in there right now, but hey, its still a work in progress. One project down, 5 million more to go.

I added another nail just below the frame of the mirror on the wall and wrapped the ribbon around that then I rehung the mirror.

Isn't it a beauty?! 
I love it!
And it took me about 10 minutes. (not including the ridiculously necessary task of waiting for the paint to dry.)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

How to make a halloween frame and insert

This is seriously so easy. You will thank me when you are done.
Really! You might even want to kiss me, I tell yah.

First take you frame, WITH a mat. I used a Ribba one from IKEA.

Remove you mat, because this is what you will be working with.

Next, find some fun, "spooky" Halloween paper and cut it into small strips. I wanted mine in separate sizes, so I cut some wider then others. Make sure you cut them long enough so that you have some hangings over the edge of your frame on both sides.

Take your strips and start gluing them onto your mat, making sure you leave them hanging off the side, you will need that extra piece so you can wrap it around the mat and glue it to the back.

You will want to make it hang over on each side and just keep gluing it till you have reached the end. When you are done with each side take your extra edges and wrap them around the back and glue them down.

Keep this going until you are done. I did not go all the way over on each side. You will want to do 3/4 on each side, so that you have even amounts on each side. 

Tada! This is the beauty when its all done!

Now you can decorate it however you choose. 
I added some fun owl stickers, because well I LAHUV owls. 
I also added  spider web paper to the back and a fun broom sticker, but you can add a picture if you like.

So pretty!

 I am excited to do this for future holidays as well.
(sorry about the horrible glare on all the pictures, I live in a dungeon called military housing and the light never seems to be my friend.)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

10 books to read to your older little ones

Now that Landon is in school full day I feel like I don't get to spend a ton of time with him.
Our solution to this is to read together every night.
My two oldest cuddle up on my lap and get swept away into a world of Adventure.
We read a chapter a night, and sometimes more, if we really are living in the adventure.
At the beginning of the school year we chose our list of books for this school year.
I did a lot of research on what types of books would be best for the older, little ones age group.
These books are great for kids ages 4-110.
The target age group is about 4-7 but of course anyone can read these and LOVE them.
Most of these are books I read as a child and loved and wanted to share with my kids.
Some of them (like The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) are books I have never read and look forward to reading very much.

So here is your list of recommended books for ages 4-7.
(not all of the books are pictured)

Charlotte's Web: E. B. White

Charlotte's Web is the story of a little girl named Fern who loved a little pig named Wilbur—and of Wilbur's dear friend Charlotte A. Cavatica, a beautiful large grey spider who lived with Wilbur in the barn.
With the help of Templeton, the rat who never did anything for anybody unless there was something in it for him, and by a wonderfully clever plan of her own, Charlotte saved the life of Wilbur, who by this time had grown up to quite a pig.
How all this comes about is Mr. White's story. It is a story of the magic of childhood on the farm. The thousands of children who loved Stuart Little, the heroic little city mouse, will be entranced with Charlotte the spider, Wilbur the pig, and Fern, the little girl who understood their language. Amazon

(Don't gasp when I tell you this but I have never read this book. I absolutely loved the movie and would watch it all the time as a kid but for some reason I never read this book.)

Matilda:  Roald Dahl

For most kids, The Trunchbull is pure terror, but for Matilda, she's a sitting duck.

Who put superglue in Dad's hat? Was it really a ghost that made Mom tear out of the house? Matilda is a genius with idiot parents—and she's having a great time driving them crazy. But at school things are different. At school there's Miss Trunchbull, two hundred menacing pounds of kid-hating headmistress. Get rid of The Trunchbull and Matilda would be a hero. But that would take a superhuman genius, wouldn't it? Amazon

(I love this book. I read it every few months as a kid and once a year as a teenager. I have held onto my copy of the book all these years and am so excited to be reading it to my kids.)

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: L. Frank Baum 
Five stars.  An awesome classic for kids of all ages.  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a children's story written by L. Frank Baum.  It was originally published in 1900, and has since been reprinted countless times, sometimes under the name The Wizard of Oz.  The story chronicles the adventures of a girl named Dorothy in the Land of Oz.  Thanks in part to the 1939 MGM movie The Wizard of Oz, it is one of the best-known stories in American popular culture and has been widely translated.  Its initial success, and the success of the popular 1903 Broadway musical Baum adapted from his story, led to Baum's writing and having published thirteen more Oz books.Amazon

(I have never read this book. I love the movie and had since I was kid. Something about the Wizard of Oz just speaks to my heart. My boys LOVE the movie and will watch it over and over again so I am excited to read the book to them.)

Stuart Little: E. B. White 

Stuart Little is no ordinary mouse. Born to a family of humans, he lives in New York City with his parents, his older brother George, and Snowbell the cat. Though he's shy and thoughtful, he's also a true lover of adventure.
Stuart's greatest adventure comes when his best friend, a beautiful little bird named Margalo, disappears from her nest. Determined to track her down, Stuart ventures away from home for the very first time in his life. He finds adventure aplenty. But will he find his friend?Amazon

The Witches:  Roald Dahl
This is not a fairy tale. This is about real witches." So begins one of Roald Dahl's best books ever, and, ironically, it is such a great story because the premise is perfectly plausible from the outset. When the narrator's parents die in a car crash on page two (contrast this terribly real demise with that of James's parents who are devoured by an escaped rhinoceros in James and the Giant Peach), he is taken in by his cigar-smoking Norwegian grandmother, who has learned a storyteller's respect for witches and is wise to their ways.
The bond between the boy and his grandmother becomes the centerpiece of the tale--a partnership of love and understanding that survives even the boy's unfortunate transformation into a mouse. And once the two have teamed up to outwitch the witches, the boy's declaration that he's glad he's a mouse because he will now live only as long as his grandmother is far more poignant than eerie. Amazon

(This book is one of my all time favorites. I love it! I loved the movie and I loved the book. When I told hubby that I was going to read this book to the boys he cringed and said, "GAH! That book freaked me out." Opps, I thought it was awesome, I guess we will see where our kids stand on that one.)

James and the Giant Peach:  Roald Dahl

James Trotter loses his parents in a horrible accident and is forced to live-miserably-with his two wicked aunts. Then James is given some magic crystals that give him hope. But when he accidentally spills these crystals on an old peach tree, strange things begin to happen. A peach starts to grow and grow until James is able to climb inside and escape his awful aunts! And through this adventure, he makes some interesting friends, including Grasshopper, Earthworm, Miss Spider, and Centipede, and finally finds a place where he belongs. Amazon 

(I loved this book as a kid. I did not like the movie, but very much enjoyed the book.)

Mr. Poppers Penguins: Richard Atwater 
A classic of American humor, the adventures of a house painter and his brood of high-stepping penguins have delighted children for generations. "Here is a book to read aloud in groups of all ages. There is not an extra or misplaced word in the whole story."--The Horn Book. Newbery Honor Book. Amazon

(I have never read the book, or seen the movie but it has gotten great reviews.)

The Mouse and the Motorcycle: Beverly Cleary

"Boy!" said Ralph to himself, his whiskers quivering with excitement. "Boy, oh boy!" Feeling that this was an important moment in his life, he took hold of the handgrips. They felt good and solid beneath his paws. Yes, this motorcycle was a good machine all right.
Ralph the mouse ventures out from behind the piney knothole in the wall of his hotel-room home, scrambles up the telephone wire to the end table, and climbs aboard the toy motorcycle left there by a young guest. His thrill ride does not last long. The ringing telephone startles Ralph, and he and the motorcycle take a terrible fall - right to the bottom of a metal wastebasket. Luckily, Keith, the owner of the motorcycle, returns to find his toy. Keith rescues Ralph and teaches him how to ride the bike. Thus begins a great friendship and many awesome adventures. Once a mouse can ride a motorcyle ... almost anything can happen! Amazon

(This book made me laugh so much. I adore Ralph and his motorcycle and I was in heaven when they made the books into movies. Beverly Cleary is one of my favorite authors so I am thrilled to share this with my kids.)

The Indian in the Cupboard: Lynn Reid Banks 
What could be better than a magic cupboard that turns small toys into living creatures? Omri's big brother has no birthday present for him, so he gives Omri an old medicine cabinet he's found. Although their mother supplies a key, the cabinet still doesn't seem like much of a present. But when an exhausted Omri dumps a plastic toy Indian into the cabinet just before falling asleep, the magic begins. Turn the key (and the toy comes alive; turn it a second time and it's an action figure again.
The Indian in the Cupboard is one of those rare books that is equally appealing to children and adults. The story of Omri and the Indian, Little Bear, is replete with subtle reminders of the responsibilities that accompany friendship and love. For kids, it's a great yarn; for most parents, it's also a reminder that Omri's wrenching decision to send his toy back to its own world is not so different from the recognition of their children's emerging independence. Amazon

(I loved this story so much as a kid that I wrote a report about it in Junior High School. I look back on it now and think about how even then I understood so much more then most kids were probably meant too. I am excited to read it again and share the journey and message with my kids.)

Cheaper by the Dozen: Frank B. Gilbreth and Ernestine Glibreth Carey
No growing pains have ever been more hilarious than those suffered loudly by the riotous Gilbreth clan. First there are a dozen red-haired, freckle-faced kids to contend with. Then there's Dad, a famous efficiency expert who believes a family can be run just like a factory. Finally there's Mother, his partner in everything except discipline. How they all survive such escapades as forgetting Frank Jr. in a roadside restaurant or going on a first date with Dad in the backseat or having their tonsils removed en masse will keep you in stitches. You can be sure they're not only cheaper, they're funnier by the dozen. Amazon

(This book changed my whole outlook on parenthood. When I read this book I really wanted to have 12 kids. I still felt that way when I got married and I told my husband about it, he laughed! Well having a kid changed my whole "I want 12 kids." mindset, but not my love for the book.)

Some other books that we want to read, but will save for next year:
The Time Machine- H.G. Wells (the childrens classic edition)
Swiss Family Robinson- Johan Wyss
A Wrinkle in Time- Madeliene L'Engle
Because of Winn Dixie- Kate DiCamillo 
Fudge-A-Mania- Judy Blume
The Boxcar children- Gertrude Chandler Warner and L. Kate Deal 
Three Tales of My Fathers Dragon- Ruth Stiles Gannett
The Story of Dr. Doolittle- Hugh Lofting

Its up to us, as parents, to foster a love of reading in our children.
Reading can take us places that we would never be able to go otherwise.
Reading creates feelings, passions, dreams, hopes and desires.
There are few things besides reading that we, as parents, can give to our child will shape them in so many ways. 

Go! Find books! Read!
And embark on the journey (s) of a life time.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Halloween/Fall Bucket List

I love the holidays.
One of my favorite thing about the holidays is all the fun family activities that are available.
Most of our family traditions are centered around the holidays.
Something about this time of year just makes my heart pitter patter.
I love the smells. I love the sights. I love the weather. I love the activities. But most of all I love all the Family time.
The organized side of me likes to plan ahead and make sure that we have all of the activities planned and prepared ahead of time.
I start by creating a list and then I look at our calender and start the schedule the things in. I learned  a few years ago that I don't fit these things into our schedule but I schedule stuff around these things. I think that its important to spend time as a family and to create long lasting memories. 
Sometimes our activities are small and sometimes we can fit multiple into one day. 
Its important to look at the list, decided that you want to combine and how much time you will need for each activity. The planning out and scheduling also helps with the preparation. 
If I know that in 4 days we are going to make a witches brew then I will be able to buy the things ahead of time to make sure we have them when needed. 
Planning ahead of time will ensure that your family has a blast this holiday season and that you are able to fit everything you want into your schedule. There is nothing fun about a holiday season passing you by and you realizing that you did not do everything that you wanted to do.

Here is a list of fun Halloween/Fall activities that we try to do every year.
Take this list, copy it, or use it to create your own.

  •  Pick pumpkins

  • Dress up in old Halloween Costumes and be silly

  •   Make Halloween crafts like: witches hats, ghost feet, pumpkin hands, witch brooms, etc.

  • Carve pumpkins
  • Go on a "spooky" Halloween scavenger hunt
  • Watch "Hocus Pocus"
  • Paint Pumpkins

  •   Have a Halloween Party

  • Build a Scarecrow 
  • Go on a hayride 
  • Make a giant pile of leaves and jump in them
  • Drink hot cocoa or apple cider while sitting under a blanket on the porch
  • Make pumpkin bread and pumpkin cookies
  • Gut a pumpkin and cook the seeds
  • Go on a fall walk
  • Make fun Halloween treats: ghost cookies, witches hats, pumpkin shaped cookies, candy corn pudding, zombie fingers, graveyard cupcakes and so many more

  •   Go trick or treating

  • Make a witches brew
  • Make Halloween cookies
  • Decorate spooky houses

  • Go to a corn maze

  • Drive around and look at Halloween decorations
  • Have a bonfire and make smores
  • Collect leaves and make art with them
  • Make caramel apples
  • Take pictures with lots of pumpkins
  • Bake apples in the crock pot
Have a happy, family fun filled, Holiday season.