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Favorite Disneyland Moment

May 21, 2013

We went on vacation to see Legoland and Disneyland last week. It was a wonderful trip! I didn’t even struggle as much as I thought I would  with not being able to ride everything I like (which is ALL the exciting stuff).

It was on our very first day of Disneyland that my dear, sweet, head-in-the-clouds Bruiser gave me my best vacation moment.

We were walking down the main street entering the park when it opened and he noticed these horse posts every so many feet along the brick sidewalk.

“Hey, mom! Are those like what the Roman roads were like?” he asked.

I was so taken back by his comment, because that boy does NOT listen. At first I thought he was referring to the bricks on the sidewalk and he remembered how we talked about the Romans using paver stones to make their roads. Nope. He noticed the columns and the horse heads and how they were evenly spaced along the sidewalk.

“No, not the bricks. Are those the mile-markers that the Romans used?” he corrected.

He DID listen when I taught him! He DID! And here I thought Monkey was really the only one actually paying attention.

That Bruiser is a very trying student, but I tell ya, when I see these little glimmers of learning from him, it really does make all the struggle worth it.

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The “mile markers” were actually only every 20 feet or so and used to hold up the crowd-control parade ropes.

No Fooling!

April 1, 2013

Like the new header?

Me too! =)

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Yes, we found out this past week that baby#4 is a GIRL!!!

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boy

boy

GIRL!!!

Spring Cleaning Done Before Spring

March 9, 2013

When Spring comes I like to be outside. Four months of being cooped up inside thanks to the cold weather always has me itching to get out. The last thing I want to be doing when the weather turns nice is to be stuck inside cleaning. I happened upon this nifty little post on Pinterest. It gave me the inspiration to do just a little bit each day for about three weeks instead of spending two solid weekends going nuts with cleaning. It always seems so overwhelming that I never do a very thorough job. My house REALLY needs a good deep clean, so I’m tackling one thing a day. I used Marissa’s blog post as a starting spot for my list. I tweaked her suggestions a little bit for my house and started today. If only I had started in the very begining of March, I would really be done by the first day of spring! I’m putting it on the calendar for next year: March 1st, start spring cleaning.  These aren’t listed in any particular order. I’ll just be picking and choosing as time in my day allows, saving the big jobs for the weekends and the quick jobs for my busy days. If you’ve got kiddos, have them do the chore right along with you!

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1. Take down all curtains & wash them. While they are laundering, dust all the hardware. Iron curtains and hang them back up. If you have blinds, this would be a good time to tackle those too.

2. Dust the ceiling lines around the house (especially the corners). Get the neglected horizontal surfaces like tops of door jambs, picture frames, doorbells, corner speakers etc.

3. Clean blades of ceiling fans & light fixtures. Get the air vents while you’re up there! If you gripe about not having central air in the summer, now is the time to give thanks for not having to clean out those vents!

4. Wipe down all baseboards with a magic eraser. This is a great one for the kids to do. They’re the ones who likely put all those marks on them anyhow! Take that same magic eraser and wipe down your stair railings.

5. Doors. It’s more magic eraser time! Scrub each door and door jamb, especially around the knob area. If you’ve got little kids, you know how dirty this part of the door can get!

6. Wash windows inside and out. Scrub out the window tracks. Take out the storm windows & put in the screens.

7. Vacuum upholstered furniture. Remove cushions, put money in your pocket, and suck up the rest with your vacuum hose! Give your leather furniture a nice massage with its favorite potion.

8. Take your area rugs outside for a good beating.

9. Spot-clean the carpet.

10. Put on that nifty narrow-vacuum hose attachment and vacuum all the dust that accumulates around the edges of the baseboards and carpet. Don’t forget the stairs. The upholstery attachment works well for your heating grates on the floor.

11. Strip down all the beds. Wash the mattress pads, pillow protectors, blankets, duvets etc…If your throw pillows have removable covers, do them too. Take pillows outside and beat them like you did with your rugs. Let them get some nice fresh air while everything else is washing. Sprinkle some baking soda on your mattress and let it sit for an hour-or-so then vacuum it up with your upholstery attachment. Trade in you r electric blanket for a lighter spring one and switch over your duvet cover if you’re the kind of person that has more than one. =)

12. Change over winter clothes for summer ones. Now is a great time to donate rarely used items and toss the grubby ones. Wash the kids snow gear while you’re going through bins.

13. Find a really good coupon & take a trip to the dry cleaners. Clean your wool coats, suits, skirts, linens & whatevers. Yes, it gets costly. But it’s once a year. Budget now, to remind yourself for next year. ;)

14. Deep clean kitchen appliances. Stovetop (drip pans too), oven (don’t forget the warming drawer), toaster (how many crumbs can this thing hold anyhow?)& microwave (cut a lemon. Squeeze the juice into a microwave safe bowl add a little water. Throw the lemon rind into the juice. Microwave on high for a minute or longer until the inside gets steamy. Wipe out inside of microwave immediately with a dry paper towel. All that guck will come off so easily thanks to the lemon steam. And it smells nice too!) If you have a garbage disposal, use your microwaved lemon to clean that too. Cut the lemon rind into smaller pieces. Sprinkle baking soda down your disposal, pour leftover lemon juice and rind down the drain & grind it up. Done.

15. Clean out the refrigerator. Yep, this one gets its own day. The best day is the day right before you go grocery shopping. This is even better if you can time it to be the day before trash pick-up too! I didn’t lump it in with the other appliances because that just makes for a REALLY big job. Theme for clean out the fridge? WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT! Then wipe everything down, and put it all back together neat and organized. Check up on your freezer too. It probably needs defrosting. And I’m sure there are some really-old-now-freezer-burned leftovers in there as well. Chuck it!

16. Go through your kitchen cupboards one shelf at a time. Wipe it down. Throw out some of those bazillion plastic kid cups you have. Toss Tupperware that is missing its lid. If there is a small appliance you haven’t used in a year, sell it! Craigslist is your friend.

17. Wipe down the outsides of the kitchen cabinets and your dining chairs. Aren’t those spindles a pain? If it’s a nice day and you have a plastic highchair, I recommend taking it outside to meet the hose and a scrub brush.

18. Organize the bathroom linen closet, medicine cabinet, under sink area & drawers. Bring a trash can in with you and, say it with me, “THROW STUFF OUT!” Toss the old medicines, the lotions from three Christmases ago, the 20 different half-used travel sized toiletries, and the three different cleaners shoved in the back that you never use, but maybe you will when another one runs out. Oh, and the blue eye shadow. Throw that one out too.  Wipe out the insides of the cabinets & drawers.This may be the time to take a trip to the store and stock up on some nice bins to keep it nicer until next year.

19. Deep clean the bathroom. Ick. Yea, it’s toothbrush-scrubbing-behind-the-toilet-time. Wipe down the walls. Remove your kids toothpaste spit from the counters, cabinets, walls, doors, light switch…please tell me I’m not the only one with kids who manage to get spit splatter everywhere. After all the usual cleaning, strip down and scrub out the shower. After cleaning  the grout around the toilet you’re going to want to be scrubbed down too! You might want to give this a try for the soap scum in your shower: blue dawn & hot vinegar. (I haven’t actually tried this yet, but I’ve had it pinned forever…looks promising.)

20. Give your wooden furniture a really good dusting & polish. Here is a diy furniture polish that has worked well for me: evoo & vinegar & lemon juice.

21. Pull out the car, bikes, scooters, boxes, etc. from the garage and at the very least give it a good sweep, so you don’t keep tracking dirt & stray leaves into your newly cleaned house!

Hey, Sidney! Wanna come over and play?

March 4, 2013

Hey, Sidney! Wanna come over and play?

Both Monkey and Bruiser have been on a hockey kick ever since we took them to a minor league game over Christmas. We’ve checked out all sorts of books about hockey, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and every Juvenile biography on Sidney Crosby. Bruiser wants to see him play for his birthday in April. Due to the price of tickets, it’s most likely not going to happen, So he came up with the idea to invite him over to our house. “He’s gotta eat, right?” Bruiser told me. So here is the letter we are sending off to Mr. Crosby as dictated to me by my 4-yr old Bruiser.

Mr. Men & The Secret Sauce

February 16, 2013

What happens when you have a weirdo mama who likes the Mr. Men books? She comes up with crazy ideas like this one!

“Ok, everyone, we’re doing something silly! Everyone get in the car.”

The kids had no clue what in the world was going on when we piled in the van after dinner one evening with camera in hand, headed for the grocery store.

I’m still not sure they got it while we were there!

But anyhow, here are the results of our little adventure. Introducing our family of Saucy Mr. Men & Little Miss:

Mr. Traditional

Mr. Traditional

Mr. Meaty

Mr. Meaty

Mr. Spicy

Mr. Spicy

Mr. Cheesy

Mr. Cheesy

and…

Little Miss Preggo

Little Miss Preggo

The newest Mr. or Miss is due to arrive mid-August.

Little Brown Men

December 18, 2012

Last year we gave Gingerbread Police Officers to our police department as a little Christmas thank you gift. The boys wanted to do that again this year, so we decided to make some for our volunteer fire department. We have 56 volunteers that serve our town. One of our two fire stations is right down the block from us. We hear them often enough and visit the station to check out the trucks more than a couple times each year.

Making firefighter cookies was a lot harder than the police officers. I didn’t want them to be red and end up looking like Santas. But my generic gingerbread cut-out is quite fat and pudgy and just not so good for a firefighter shape. I thought I’d outline them in yellow for their reflective stripe and fill them in with grey, just like their real gear.

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Yea, they don’t look so much like firefighters. I tried some with buckles on their jackets, and some with suspenders. They just look like yellow & grey gingerbread men. Eh. The kids think they look great, and they do taste amazing!

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We started out with 57 men and are down to 54. I’m going to have to eat another one after lunch. Three hours of decorating warrants at least two cookies in my belly!

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Plus, what are the chances that ALL 56 volunteers will be at tonight’s meeting? At least a few of them won’t even like gingerbread, right?

Our “Truth in the Tinsel” Advent Calendar

December 4, 2012

I mentioned to my sister that I couldn’t text for long because I wanted to “finish sewing these toilet paper tubes” before I went to bed.

“Umm…sewing toilet paper tubes?”

“Yep…I’ll send you a picture when I’m done.”

I finished cutting out and hand laminating all the numbers and pictures at 11:45 pm, November 30th. JUST in time. =)

The colors are a little off…the tubes are painted a dark forest green, the numbers are black printed on cream, and the bows are burgundy. I found the idea from this blog via Pinterest.

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We are teaching the children about the Christmas Story through the Truth in the Tinsel book. Inside each tube is a small picture of what the story will be about that day.

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In the morning, one of the boys gets to take the velcro number off and trade it for the picture of the day.

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After dinner, the Chief reads the selected Bible passage and then once the dishes are taken care of, we do a craft to remind us of what we’ve learned.

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After the glue is dried, the boys get to hang them up on our branch from the Jesse Tree. (For the last 2 years we used Ann Voskamp’s “Jesse Tree Journey,” but found it just a little too over our young kids heads. I really love how she did the book and will most likely bring it out again once the kiddos are upper elementary age.)

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Just on the other side of our mute Zachariah, crowns, and light, is a scrappy little chunk of posterboard that I salvaged into a collection of “Names of God.”

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The poster has been on the wall for about a month and a half now and has slowly collected names of our Lord as we have studied Him. Each time one of the boys (or the Chief or I) hear a new name of God, we write it on the poster.

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Monday morning, Monkey crawled into bed with me and excitedly told me,

“Mama! I’ve got a new name of God!” he paused with a knowing smirk on his face waiting for me to ask the question:

“Oh yea? Which one is it?”

“Messiah! I heard it in a song we sang in Junior Church and then Pastor said it when he was preaching too.”

He was very proud to have remembered it on his own. I was so proud of my little man for waking up the next morning with those thoughts in his head. I was also pleased to know he was actually listening to Pastor’s message!

I despise what the Christmas season in our country has become during just my lifetime. I have purposefully kept the children out of the stores as much as possible this year. They get so greedy so quickly. They get caught up in the shiny sparkly things they see and lose the real light of Christmas. This year, we are doing everything we can to show our children the real meaning of Christmas. The real Light, the real Gift, the real Love that is the Christmas Season.

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