Tuesday, May 31, 2011

moms command center

i had one last wall in the mud room that i had big plans for but not much time to accomplish. since school has been out we are trying to get into a routine and also remember some house rules :) so this wall is what i like to call "moms command center".
there are two parts to this chart. the "color change" area (which results in a bad consequence) and the "doing our best" part.

color change:
each kid has their name on a cloths pin. they all start out the day on green. then if they misbehave they get their color changed. yellow means slow down and think about your choices, red means they receive a consequence like a time out, and if they get moved to black they are not allowed to play wii, watch tv, or play on the computer in the afternoon. (usually right before dinner i let them choose one of those things to do for a short time. ) the good news is, if they stay on green all day they get ice cream with sprinkles after dinner. we do not have dessert on a regular basis so this is fun for them.

"doing our best":
this chart consists of pockets that hold "point sticks". through out the day when i catch them being good they can go add sticks their own pocket. they get points for Obeying the first time, doing something without being asked, bring polite, treating each other with love, and a bonus pocket called "being and awesome wid kid". at the end of the week they get to add up their points and choose a reward.

i always felt like i shouldnt have to reward good behavior, it should just be expected, but then i was listening to a Beth Moore study and she shared how it was very much appropriate to reward good behavior with our children, even if the reward is the only reason they are doing it for starters. she shared how God is a God of sweet rewards. he loves his children very much, although there are consequences for us when we dont obey, he also LOVES to lavish his children with sweet rewards, rewards beyond our wildest dreams.
the next frame holds their CHORE CHARTS: below
we have tried different kinds of chore charts in the past and i wanted to try something a little different. it is always more fun for the kids when there is a little new twist to how we do things.

so we spent some time together coming up with their chores, i got some poster board and scrap book paper and this is what we came up with. again we are using clothes pins. as they do their chores through out the day they can move their clothes pin down the row. at the end of the row it says, "receive allowance". this is good for me as well b/c i was always so bad to follow through with that.

since i am asking the kids to be diligent with their chores, i am also working on following through with checking to make sure they do them and they are done well. it has been really good so far. they seem to enjoy their little jobs and like watching their clothes pin move across during the day. this is also the first time any of them have really received and allowance, so that is fun for them too.
( i drew little pictures for brennas chores)

i also have a frame for the calendar. it is a great calendar. it has a line for each member of our family. really helpful in keeping everyone organized.

and last but not least, my favorite part of this wall consists of a blue platter that was a gift from a great friend and an old bicycle basket i found at an antique store with some dried flowers in it. i still have one more little project for this wall but other than that i love it. now hopefully we can all keep working together to make it stay working and stay fun.
thankful for:
riding with the windows down
sprinklers watering my flowers
spending a few minutes with a friend while the kids played nicely together
sharing my maternity clothes
going out to camp for dinner tonight
did i mention that it is baked ziti
a quick stop at the local bakery for m&m chocolate chip cookies and donut holes

Monday, May 30, 2011

summer begins

last week was our first week of summer break. we spent most of the week learning how to all be in the same house all day together. we had to relearn how to treat each other and how to clean up after ourselves. we worked on chore charts and good behavior charts ( i hope to post more on these soon).

we also played in the hose, rode bikes, had picnics, played with our baby animals, painted and built a city for our toys to drive through.
garret started out by drawing a cool track and it sparked some great ideas. so we worked together and used sticks, and rocks, and bricks, and grass, and seed pods and came up with a really cool little town. complete with a country road by the mountains and farm fields and the big high way that went around the outside.
it was fun to work on it with garret. it made me think back to when i was a kid. i loved doing that kind of stuff. garret thought i had some pretty cool ideas too so that made me smile. he kept saying "how do you know about this kind of stuff?" ha ha
this week we will spend packing and getting ready for a trip to florida. we are not going all the way down to mom and dads this time. we will be up in the clearwater area. we are going to visit great grandma joan in Ocala, scott and nicole in tampa and then meet up with some friends at their beach front condo. we might even try to squeeze in a trip to Disney half way through the week. we are SO excited. we have never gone on a week long summer vacation and are really looking forward to it.

ugg and i have been forgetting to name the things i have been thankful for at the end of my posts: so i'll try again...
cool mornings
the birds singing
warm evenings
a fresh cut lawn
girls with cute summer hair cuts
playing like a kid again
anticipation of our vacation
gold fish in the pond
fried egg sandwiches made with our own eggs
barefoot kids

Saturday, May 28, 2011

our family grows

last weekend we became foster parents to two baby robins, one momma cat, and four kittens! a little overwhelming for me but the kids sure have loved having all these babies around.

we saw a robins nest up in the tree right above their tree fort. the kids could see the nest but not reach it. one day they went up there and the next thing they knew there was a baby bird laying at their feet. the crazy little thing must have thought the kids were momma bird and jumped right out of the nest. we tried putting the bird back in the nest but he just kept jumping out. he was very young still with hardly any feathers. after trying to put the bird back a few times we decided we would put it in a box and wait til dad came home. FYI.... it is a myth that the momma bird will not take care of its baby after a human touches it. if the bird seems healthy, it is best to get it back in the nest for the mother to care for it.

baby birds are very hard to keep alive so we were not very hopeful for this little guy. the next morning i am woken up by the girls, who have gotten themselves up and dressed before 6:30 and headed outside to see how the other baby was doing. (let me just say here, they are not allowed to come out of their rooms til 7am, and got themselves in trouble for being outside without telling anyone!) raelyn found a rake and nocked the other little bird and nest out the the tree! my nature loving daughter. we had a lot of explaining to do that even though baby birds are cute and fun to hold, humans have a really hard job of taking care of them. so now we have two baby birds.

we started feeding the birds wet cat food. they seemed to love it and ate it right up. baby birds get fed every 20 minutes in the wild so they are a pretty demanding group. we still were very skeptical if the birds were even going to make it....well now 10 days later and they are just THRIVING.
it has been really fun to watch the grow and change daily. they can now even fly short distances.
we have started feeding them some strawberries and worms too. they still open their mouths to be fed and do not pick up the food themselves.
we let them out in the yard to watch and learn from the other robins. our yard is full of robins. we are hoping that they will be able to live strong and free in the wild again soon.
right after i got off the phone with dave about the birds, one of the kids walked past the front door and said "mom, there is a kitten on our porch!"

a few weeks ago i noticed a white cat sitting on our porch. i saw that it had a pink collar around its neck to i tried to just shoo it away so dakota would calm down. i never really noticed it again.

i probably never noticed her again because she was under our house given birth to kittens!

i went out to see what was going on and saw that there was a little tiny crack under the house and 4 kittens coming in and out of it. momma was super friendly, or maybe just super hungry. she let me pet her and she was just bones so i went in the house and found a can of tuna (remember the baby birds were eating the cat food :)) i put a little tuna on a plate and she ate it up so fast. i put the rest of the can out for her and she ate it all. poor girl was so hungry.
momma is so cool looking! she has one green eye and one blue! the kids have named her "half and half".
there are two all white kittens with blue eyes. the kids have named these two, Mary and Chip Chip. there is a black and white one they have named Foxy and a gray and white one they named David. his name is david because he is so brave. he would be brave enough to fight goliath.
david is by far the most friendly and is still the only one we can hold. all the other kittens are very scared. he is also the runt i think. he seems way smaller.
so right now the cats are still living on the porch and under the house. im not sure what we are going to choose to do with them all but the kids sure have enjoyed watching them and getting to hold little david. hopefully soon we can get our hands on the other ones too.

when we were little and acting crazy or being messy, mom would ask us if we were raised in a barn. well if i asked our kids that right now, they might say yes! 1 dog, 5 chickens, 2 birds, and 5 cats! thats a lot of mouths to feed. :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

jori 10 months

oh my goodness.... i know i am biased but she is just the cutest! i could eat her up. when she smiles really big she gets a little dimple in her right cheek. her eyes are the deepest blue and she gets compliments on them all the time.
her arms arent quite as chubby any more. she seems to be slimming down more like raelyn was.
one more tooth popped through this month. the kids get so excited when she breaks another tooth. it is one of her "fangs" though. not the front top ones. it is the only one she has on the top. it is so funny. makes me smile a big smile when i see it.
she is also now standing on her own. she is getting more and more stable and has better balance every day. she is cruzing along the furniture and has a nightly walking lesson with daddy. i beg him not to teacher her that, but it is a special time for them :)
another thing i noticed this month is that her hair is really starting to fill in.
cutie tooshie. love this girl! ahhh its going way to fast. i know i say it each month, but it really it. and i dont really like it at all. i love the baby stage.


may 19th was garrets last day of school.... he had many fun days leading up to his final day of second grade. his class trip was to Ripleys Aquarium. Dave and I both got to go with garret and we had a really fun day together. we also had jori with us, but there have not been many days were dave and i both get to just be with garret. he had a great time at the aquarium. it is a really fun place.

then on may 14th he had his cub scout graduation. the pack came out to long view for their ceremony and celebration. garret was promoted from a wolf to a bear. we have been so proud of his commitment to scouts this past year.
after the ceremony and lunch all the scouts came down to the Long View fishing pond. it was so fun to see all the people around the fishing hole. many fish were caught. many smiles on kids faces.

may 17th was garrets awards ceremony at school. garrets class voted on superlatives for each of the kids and garret was voted "the friendliest"! what a special award. he also received a second award for Outstanding Achievement in Music. i think he has a gift for music. we really need to get him some lessons, not sure what yet, but i think he would really enjoy it all.
the above pic is of the amazing Mrs. Marshall. she will always have a special place in my heart. that is for sure!!

may 19th was their last day of school so we celebrated by getting some ice cream from TCBY. it has become a tradition for us to go there on their first and last days of school.
so now summer break has begun. we have had a rough start to be honest. i feel like we have been hit with one kind of sickness after the other. hopefully we will get it all out of our systems now and be healthy all the rest of summer.

Monday, May 23, 2011

fill me up

i just finished reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. AMAZING book! such an encouragement about how to live life fully and fully of the JOY that is from the LORD. we can achieve this by always praising! ALWAYS GIVING THANKS. no matter the situation. thank him in all things, for all things are from God. both good and bad. she was challenged by a friend to "name" 1000 things to be thankful for. she noticed a huge difference in her life and continues now today. naming things she is thankful for.
in naming things, the simple things, by writing them down, she received all of Gods blessing. especially joy. how i long to be a joyful mother. i want to find joy in this amazing job i have been given. so often i feel TIRED, and just miss it.
so trying to look beyond myself and at the life full of joy and peace that the lord promises, i am diving into my bible. i am naming things i am thankful for. i am praying for the lord to shape me and mold me into who he wants to me to be. a momma my kids can say is full of the love and grace and joy of the lord.
the author talks about how much of a transformation has taken place in her life. I WANT THAT. but i know i have to work for it. i pray i can be diligent and faithful in my pursuit of the lords joy.
i want to be so hungry for his promises that it takes all of me, my scrawny little body and tiny little legs to reach up and get fed by my LORD. he has it there waiting for me. wanting to feed me but i have to open up my mouth wide and take it in. i have to reach up high and take it in. i have to swallow it down and let it fill me up.

lord, please dont let this be just another high part in the roller coaster....

1. baby birds that give me a great visual of how hungry i need to be for the lord
2. the book One Thousand Gifts
3. my 4 gifts
4. rain storms last night that perked up my sunflowers
5. strawberries growing
6. baby girl standing on her own
7. birth of a new baby girl, addison
8. garrets good report card in the mail today
9. one kid napping, 2 kids reading/quite time, one baby happily playing on floor while i write this all out
10. sleep overs with little girls

im going to try to add on a few things im thankful for at the end of each post. lets see where this takes us....more to come on the baby bird soon.

Friday, May 20, 2011

oh so easy sugar scrub

first i want to say that i have enjoyed reading comments from readers i didnt know i even had. that was a nice treat. :) thanks so much for your comments. its a little exciting....
(i wish i had used a better pen to write on the tag, this doesnt look very nice, oh well, instant gratification took over.)
we made this super easy sugar scrub at our last MOPS meeting at the beginning of May. i looked on line and found MANY blogs sharing their sugar scrub recipes, some very simple and some more elaborate. for me it was all about cost as well as simplicity.

what you need:
-small mason jars (you can use whatever size you want but the amounts listed are for the small jars.)
-1/2 cup of sugar per jar
- 10 to 12 pumps of hand soap (choose whatever scent you like best. i got a few different ones and we all choose the one we liked best) i am not sure how this would turn out with antibacterial hand soap? i just used regular hand soap.
- fabric square for top of jar
- ribbon or twine to tie around jar
- gift tag ( i got mine at the Dollar Tree, 20 for $1)

how to:
- mix sugar and soap in a separate cup until well mixed. add more soap if needed.
- pour into jar
- pretty up your jar

THAT'S IT!!! so easy. you could crank out a bunch of these if you wanted to do them as party favors too. the kids and i enjoyed making them for their teachers and the MOPS gals loved it too. i have gotten many comments on how much they enjoyed this craft.

to use the sugar scrub:
- stir first
- rub a small amount of the scrub onto hands or feet. rub to exfoliate dry skin.
- rinse clean with cool water

this is great for ladies that love to garden. a cute gift idea would be to fill a little basket full of gardening tools, flower pots and seeds and some yummy hand scrub.

....i also wanted to add that you can experiment and try out what you like best. i tried making this mix with hand lotion instead of soap and body wash instead of soap. they all worked great, just a preference on what consistency you want to end up with.

i hope you enjoy.

links to other hand scrub recipes:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

we love our teachers

our kids sure have been blessed with some amazing teachers this year. we feel so blessed. each of them have enjoyed school and thrived in their classes. we owe this to teachers who love the lord first and for most and then love our children. i enjoy giving gifts so this was a perfect time to show my appreciation for all they have done.

these first two photos (were taken at night, so the lighting is bad) are for garrets teacher, Mrs. Marshall and the office staff at his school, Doak Elementary. i found this idea for the A&W root beer thank you on a blog that i cant find again right now. i will still keep looking for it and let you know later.
i also found these cute canvas totes at the DOLLAR STORE! love that place and painted each of the teachers initials on the bag.

the kids helped me make a jar of SUGAR SCRUB for each of their teachers. it was SUPER easy to make. i will give you directions in an upcoming post.

the bags needed a little dressing up so i made these fabric rosettes and hot glued them to the bags.
it was all really fun to make. this is the kind of stuff that gets me through the week. doing little projects, especially ones that are for amazing ladies.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

so proud

thats what i feel right now.... so proud!
my oldest niece Meghan is leaving today for boot camp. she signed with the army just a few months ago. meghan is an amazing gal and will be a great asset to our military. she has been a student at ETSU and is planning on finishing school when she returns from boot camp. then she says she is interested in doing military police work. like border patrol stuff.
meghan will be turning 21 while she is at boot camp so we had a family celebration on friday honoring meghan. i snapped a few family photos while we were all together as well. the picture above also includes two foster children that debbie has loved and cared for for almost a year now. these boys have certainly become part of the family.

we even got meghan to put her uniform on for a few photos. we are all so proud of meghan and her decisions. we pray for safety and stamina while she is gone. she will do great! i cant wait to hear all about it when she gets home. she did inform us to NOT send her any cookies however. i guess you have to do 20 push ups for every cookie you receive in the mail! she is way braver than i!

WE LOVE YOU MEGHAN. will be praying for you daily.