***Linky Party Buttons have moved! After some tidying up, I've created a separate page for the Linky Parties I like to participate in. Click on the Linky Party tab to check them out! Thanks!***

Monday, June 30, 2014

Mid-year check: Resolutions

Why, yes, I did disappear for 3 1/2 weeks.  I guess that's what happens when you have 2 sets of out-of-town house guests, Father's Day, and VBS squashed into such a short time frame!

mmmm.  I was doing so good!  On the positive, I am playing almost no games on my phone.  I will play the occasional words with friends (and I must be the most annoying opponent because I will go days without playing a word).  I have not been reading as much, especially with school out.  Hopefully with a quiet couple of weeks with no house guests, I will find some time to enjoy a book or two!

Yes and no.  With my house guests, I missed several days in a row of jazzercise classes.  However, we've been playing family games of kickball, I've gone on some big walks and we've been swimming.  So I haven't exactly been sitting around but my class attendance has been down a bit.

Oh man, I am totally dropping the ball on this one!  Must work harder to put the soda down and reach for water.  Too bad water is so boring!

For sure.  With Girls Nights Out, fun house guests, and time spent with the kiddos there has been A LOT of laughing going on. 

Yes and no.  Creating things and finishing projects tends to happen in spurts.  I'll be super-motivated and get lots of things done, but then I go a couple of weeks without doing anything.

Work in progress.  As soon as school let out, the boys started bickering and that has really been testing my patience.  Overall, I think I'm doing okay here.

We've been going to the pool a lot, hitting parks, playing kickball and taking the puppies for walks so I'd say I'm doing pretty good here.

Eh. Sometimes worry creeps in, but it's fleeting and short-lived so I'm counting that as continual progress.

Oh. Lord do I need to get back on the wagon here!  Back-to-back house guests (who each brought 2 kids), 2 puppies and school letting out has been kind of a perfect storm.  That means, my house is kind of a mess and I am just trying to keep my head above water.

I feel like I'm doing okay here.  Trying to live in the moment and enjoy summer--- this weather (even though it has not been too spectacular--- we still have days of highs in the 60s which, to me, does NOT feel like summer) is only going to last so long so we MUST get out and enjoy it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

I'm becoming one of "those" people...

you know, the type of person who talks to their dog(s)... the type of person who talks about their dog(s) so much that others are sick of hearing about their cuteness... the type who creates a facebook page for their pet (haven't gone there... yet).

I can tell, after only 1 week of the puppies being at home, that I am turning into a crazy dog person.  It became obvious when I started crafting things for the dogs.... crafts... for... dogs.  Yep.

This treat canister was a joint-effort.  My daughter painted it and I added the lettering and paw print.  I think the puppies already know where their treats come from.  They are the smartest little doggies!

We needed a food storage system.  I got this trash can at Wal Mart.  I picked it because of the snapping lid.  Once I got it home, I used my Cricut (Chore Chart and Be Young cartridges) to cut out the letters and the puppies.  A little Mod Podge to adhere them and a layer over the top to seal them, and that project was finished.

Little puppies have to go out A LOT.  The leashes have been ending up all over the place.  From the kitchen counter to the back of the couch to the floor.  I can't exactly say, "Wait a minute, puppies.  Don't piddle on the floor.  I have to find your leashes and then we can go outside" (and, yes, I do use the word piddle).  I had this scrap wood in my garage and picked up some hooks at Wal Mart.  The letters were cut out on the Cricut (once again, the Be Young cartridge).  White paint over the whole thing.  Slap the letters on.  Gray paint over the top.  Peel the letters off after the paint dried.  Touch up the letters with more white paint.  Now (hopefully) the leashes will always be hanging on their hooks by the front door.

Next up?  A dog bed!

I'll be linking this up to some linky parties-- check out my linky party tab to see where the cool kids are. :)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Cooking with Kids: Sushi

Awhile back, I had the kids pick a night during the week that they wanted to take charge of dinner.  The range of enthusiasm was pretty funny... One kid (the teenager) wanted to get McDonald's and call it good.  The younger two boys wanted their favorite, easy foods.  Then my oldest son decided he wanted to try making sushi.  Part of me wanted to say "No Way!".  I pushed my fear of failure to the side and instead said, "We can try it".

I found sushi tips here.  They were instrumental in our success!

Believe it or not, I found all of the ingredients we needed at Wal Mart (sticky rice was in the freezer section and seaweed paper was on the bottom shelf of the ethnic foods).

I let my son do some of the chopping (he took on the cucumbers and avocado, while I prepped the carrots and crab) and we took turns rolling.

They turned out alright.

While we're not going to be working at a Japanese Steakhouse anytime soon, it was a fun learning experience for both of us and something we'll try again.

What do you like to cook with your kids? Have you ever made sushi?

I will be linking this post up at some linky parties--- click the Linky Parties tab to see where all the fun happens! :)

Friday, May 30, 2014

For the Love of Pinterest: Brownie Ice Cream Cake

My oldest son has entered the double digits.  For his birthday, he requested an ice cream cake.  Pinterest had no shortage of ideas.  I found this recipe and hoped it would work well.

My husband liked it so much that he's requested one for Father's Day!  One thing I like about this ice cream cake is that the recipe is so adaptable.  You can choose any flavor of ice cream, you can use cookie instead of brownie and the cool whip can be flavored with extracts.  This was a definite winner!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Puppy Fun Times 2

A couple of months ago, I posted about our family picking a puppy from my friend's dog's litter.  Well, we chose Napoleon right away, but over the course of the 8 weeks, we grew to love his sister Pearl too!

So, now we're having twice the puppy fun!

This is Napoleon...

And this is his sister Pearl...

They are Shihtzu/Poodle/Terrier mix puppies and they are VERY sweet.

My friend and her family took great care of them for the first 2 months and the transition has gone much smoother than I anticipated.  They are already used to sleeping in a crate at night and we've only had 2 accidents which I take full responsibility for (once I was in the shower and the other time I was on the phone).

I'm betting these puppies will provide lots of snuggles, laughs and entertainment this Summer!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Planning Ahead for Summer Fun

The other day, I was at my local thrift shop and this gem of a book called out to me...

For the bargain price of 78 cents, it was MINE.  A Mother's Manual for Summer Survival by Kathy Peel and Joy Mahaffey was published in 1989.  A little dated? Yes.  But also, very spot-on even 25 years later.  It really brought home the idea that we, as moms, are NOT re-inventing the wheel here.  We are NOT dealing with problems and issues that have never been dealt with before.  We are NOT alone (and maybe our moms were right... there, I said it).  In fact, the list of 300 things to tell your kids when they say their bored, is essentially the 1989 version of Pinterest.  Think Kool Aid play dough is new?  Think again.  Think making glitter out of food coloring and salt is your brainchild? Sorry, but no.  Another part of the book that was interesting to me is that they mention a new epidemic known as "Couch Potato Syndrome".  I had to stop and think.  I was 10 in 1989... was my mom worried about me being a couch potato in the summer?  We had 5 channels on the TV (no cable because we didn't live "in town") and that was only when the weather was good.  Cartoons stopped at mid-morning, Price Is Right and then news and soap operas.  I can assure you, I was not spending my summers in front of the TV.

Anyway, I guess all of that to say I was surprised how useful this book can be 25 years post-publication and it made me realize that the basics of parenting really haven't changed all that much.

If YOU would like your own copy of this book, I have found it on Amazon ranging from one penny to $3.99.  You can check that out.here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Rainy Day Fun: Sock Puppets

We've had a wet, cool Spring here.  That's made for a lot of indoor play.  On one particularly gloomy day, the little guys and I sat down and made some sock puppets and a puppet theater.

We decided that pipe cleaners made really good hair.  They could be poked through the fabric of the sock without too much trouble and shaping them into spirals and curls was a lot of fun.  Hot glue helped add googly eyes, pom poms, and other decoration.The theater was made from a box and foam core.