Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Last of Sunny Days

Oh man. Winter is about here and I'm not ready for it! :)  I will miss days in the mud and river.  

This is a child in his element.  Boys were not made to be confined!  They sure need lots of space.  So, I will have to get real creative this winter and we'll have to just bundle up and get out.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Husband Project: 7 Days to Spice Up Your Marriage

After meeting the continual demands and needs of your little people, you likely feel exhausted by the end of the day!  Or some of us work part or full time and we all easily have a slew of distractions or worries that can consume us.  We all share a deep need to re-connect with our spouses over and over again - and to find the energy and time to do that!  It really is the little day-to -day interactions that create the atmospheres of our marriages.
So here's 7 days to SPICE UP YOUR MARRIAGE.  These fun ideas were inspired by this great girl, and I asked her permission to share.

1.    SWEET TREAT SUNDAY:Surprise him with his favorite treat. 

2. MASSAGE MONDAY:Ask him where he would like a massage or just surprise him with a back rub!

3. TOUCH TUESDAY:Each time you talk to, walk by, or sit next to your hubby intentionally touch him.  

4. WOO HIM WEDNESDAY:Do whatever is romantic to your spouse.

5. THANK HIM THURSDAY:Be aware of all the little things he does, and show sincere appreciation.

6. FUN ACTIVITY FRIDAY:Enjoy a date night!  It can be super simple and perhaps even at home when the kids are in bed - but just plan it!  Click here for some date night ideas.

7. SWEET NOTHINGS SATURDAY:Tell him "sweet nothings" all day.  You can whisper them, email/text him, write on the bathroom mirror, leave notes around the house... Tell him all the things you love about him - his personality, looks, actions, quirks, strengths, etc.

And here's "50 WAYS TO SHOW YOUR HUSBAND YOU LOVE HIM" post and also the "TOP 5 NEEDS MARITAL NEEDS OF MEN VS. WOMEN."  Hope this helps!!


Here's some fun ideas for date nights with your husband!  Feel free to comment with your own favorite dates...

BOOKSTORE DATE:  Go to the bookstore and pick some of these options:  an interesting magazine to browse, a cookbook recipe to make, a favorite picture book from your childhood, a travel book for a country you'd love to visit someday, some funny jokes in a joke book...

MOVIE NIGHT: Surprise your hubby with some sparkling cider, popcorn, and a movie.  Or blow up an air mattress in your front room or cuddle on the couch as you watch a Redbox rental and eat popcorn.  You could even check out a movie for free from the library.  Keep a running list of movies you want to watch together.

Recreate Your First Date: What were you wearing?  Where did you go?  What did you do or talk about?  You could even try to recreate in your very home.

PICK OUT A BOOK:  Find a book that you would both enjoy and start reading it together.  On nights you feel like it, you can continue reading!

Git Fit: Exercise to a workout video together. Then enjoy a protein shake or fruit smoothie afterwards!  One time while doing a P90X workout, Steve caught me dunking oreos during a "water break" :).  Haha, he likes to tease me about that.  Me and my oreos...

PLAN FOR A RUN: I pretty much hate running, but maybe some of you love it!  Find a 5k, 10k, or ½ marathon to sign up for together.  Decide on your training plan.  You can even go on to find out how many miles are certain nearby runs.   Then you can make a healthy green smoothie by blending up a bunch of fruits and spinach. 

START A LOVE JOURNAL: Create a journal just for the two of you.  This is where you can write notes to each other, paste in pictures, memorabilia, latest thoughts, marriage quotes, etc.  You can even pull it out as you are brainstorming your goals together or your future plans. Click here to see some examples.

DOLLAR DATE: Grab food at a fast food restaurant’s dollar menu and go to the dollar store to pick something out for each other with a certain money limit.  You could even go to the dollar movies.

INDOOR CAMPOUT: Cook tin foil dinners in the oven, make smores with your broiler, read a book by flashlight, and sleep out in your front room!

PLAY GAMES: Buy a new game and play or enjoy one you already have!  Have treats to go with it and maybe even make a bet for what the winner gets.

STRAWBERRIES & STORIES: Find a book that you would both enjoy.  Make chocolate dipped strawberries and then snuggle up and take turns reading. On nights you feel like it, you can continue reading!

Take an ONLINE PERSONALITY TEST: Click Here to take a free personality test to get your four-letter personality type. It even tells you famous people that share your type along with where you thrive and where you struggle.  Once you have both of your types, you can even click on “Jung Marriage Test” to read about your compatibility as a couple just for fun.  This is very fascinating and insightful!

TEST YOUR LOVE LANGUAGE: Click Here to test your top love languages.  Afterwards, take turns doing something in each other’s love language! 

Travel from your Home:  This fun date night can be done multiple times with different countries you are interested in.  All dates could include eating food from that country, learning interesting facts about the country, watching a movie based there or about it, printing off some pictures, watching a short youtube tour of that country or famous city, and maybe even dancing to their music! For examples:
*France: Put out cheeses, fruits, French bread, and juice for “wine.”  Dance to French accordian music.  Google beforehand about “interesting facts about France.” 
*Italy: Make homemade pizzas together, play Andre Bocelli music, and enjoy painting!
*New Zealand: Eat Kiwis, learn about cool facts on Wikipedia, watch Lord of the Rings…

DINNER & JAR OF QUESTIONS: Beforehand, print out interesting, fun questions and place in a jar. Make a fun dinner recipe together.  While you eat, pull out questions that both of you have to answer.  Some examples are: What are some of your fears? Describe your relationship with your parents.  What are 5 passions that you have? What is the hardest thing you have ever experienced?   What are the 5 things that make you most happy right now?  What are 10 things you would tell your 16 year-old self, if you could?  List 3 people have have influenced you and describe how.  What are some of your pet peeves?  What do you think are some of your greatest strengths/weaknesses?  How do you want to be a better spouse?  If you were an animal, what would you be and why?  What is the thing you most wish you were great at?  Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood.  If you could have one superpower, what would it be?  List your top 5 hobbies and why you love them.  If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be?  What is your favorite part of your body and why?  What do you think people misunderstand most about you?  List some things you would hope to be remembered for…

VIDEOTAPE EACH OTHER: Pull out of the video camera and record asking each other various questions.  You and your posterity will love seeing this someday!  Some example questions are: What was your hometown like?  How well did you get a long with your siblings, parents, teachers? If you could re-do anything from the past what would it be?  What were you like in elementary, junior high, and high school?  What are some of your happiest memories from your childhood?  What are 2 of your favorite breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, and desserts?  Name some of your hobbies.  How did you meet each other?  Name 3 of your favorite traits of your spouse.  List some of your favorite traits of each child.  What is your favorite color, animal, book, movie?  What was college like?  What is the craziest thing you have ever done?  What are some of your dreams for your family?  List 3 pieces of advice. 

PAINT SOMETHING OLD: Pick out a cheap piece of furniture at the Restore or DI or KSL and re-paint it together.  Or paint something you already have and fix it up!

CREATE A VISION: Brainstorm your current goals and some of your longer-term visions for the future.  Use materials you already have to create some kind of  display to put on your refrigerator or in your bedroom.  Or, each of you work of writing a personal statement where you describe who you want to be as if you already were that person.  Print out, place in sheet protectors, and tape them up to the shower wall to read often! 

FUTURE DREAM HOUSE: Walk/drive around a fun neighborhood and dream about what you do/don’t like for your future home.  Or, draw out your ideal floor plan and talk about each room.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fun Things to Do this Fall

Each of the kids got to paint their own pumpkins ... and, Hailey painted herself :)

mmmm... look at those yummy grimy walls :).  Actually just look at Brayden and how cute he is!!

Then we later glued googly eyes on them and sang this finger play song over and over again. You put your hands up in a circle over your head (as the pumpkin)

This is Jack O Happy (make a smily face)
This is Jack O Sad (frown)
This is Jack O Spooky (make a long "O" shape with your mouth)
And this is Jack O Mad (mad face)
This is Jack in pieces small (cup your hands out in front of you)
But in a PIE he's best of all (round your hands out in front of you in a pie shape)

Later we made a pumpkin pie and they demanded that we sing that pumpkin song a zillion times.  Here they are doing their "spooky" face :)

Perfect Pumpkin Pie

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 large eggs
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 t. salt
1 (9 in.) unbaked pie crust (I got the frozen all ready made ones)

Mix all ingredients and pour into crust.  Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then reduce to 350 and bake another 35-40 minutes.  I needed to add foil towards the end so the crust wouldn't get over done.

Another day we just needed to get OUT of the house and do something different, so we headed for the mountains and stopped at the first park we could find.  It wasn't until we headed back to the car when I saw the humongous "NO TRESPASSING.  VIOLATORS WILL BE PROSECUTED" sign.  Trying to somehow get 3 kids out of the car and all heading in the same direction is the only way someone could miss a sign that big.  whoops!  I'm tempted to trespass again though because that was the BEST PARK I have ever been too :)  We collected leaves and made a "tree"

When I ask them to "smile," this is what I get.

I LOVE the look on his face.  This is a boy in his element.  He couldn't be happier...

And here's the BEST TOY... a pile of leaves.

Our Pretty Penny...

Oh the things parents do to make their kids happy :)

Fun Outings... before the cold comes!

We got this little kid's climbing harness when Brayden was first born and we finally are able to use it... kind of!!  He's almost big enough for it so we tried to take the kids rockclimbing, haha.  But it was fun to just do something out-of-the-norm.  Sometimes you've just got to switch things up and do something new.

We went to our local aviary to check out the owls and flamingos.  Oh I adore these little people!!!!!

And our favorite way to view the changing leaves... riding in the back of Grandpa's truck!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Presidential Debate TRADITION

For last Tuesday's Presidential Debate, we had "America Day" where we carried on our tradition (see post back here) of spray painting our hair blue & red and making an American flag :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Preschool Ideas: "E" is for Elephant

Some of these ideas were inspired from this friend's cute website.  We've had so much fun doing "E" this week so I thought I'd share:

"E" is for ELEPHANT

Use the kids' handprints to make "Elephants"!  

Color these pages:

Did you know you can request library books online and then just go quickly pick up the whole stack already collected for you?!  No more attempting to run around shelves madly while trying to make sure kids aren't breaking something or pulling out whole rows of movies at once :).  Absolutely brilliant.
Check out library books like these:  

Do these fun finger plays:

Up the Hill (fingerplay) 
*put arm out for the “hill” and use your other hand to as the “animal” crawling up
Here goes a turtle up the hill-
Creep, creep, creep, creep.
Here goes a bunny up the hill-
Boing, boing, boing, boing!
Here goes a snake up the hill-
Slither, slither, slither, slither.
Here goes an elephant up the hill-
Tromp, tromp, tromp, tromp.
Here comes a rock down the hill-
Boom, boom, boom, boom, (bounce, then fall over on crash!)

Circus Elephant (finger play)
A Circus elephant I went to see (Hold hand over eyes like binoculars)
Had four legs and was bigger than me. (Hold up four fingers and then point to self)
He had two ears big and round (Show two fingers and make a circle with hands)
And one long nose that made a sound errrrr (Make elephant trunk with arm)

The Elephant (with actions)
The elephant goes like this and that, this and that, this and that.
(Walk heavily and stomp feet loudly) 
The elephant goes like this and that, cause he's so big and fat! 
(Puff up cheeks and stretch out arms) 

He has no fingers and has no toes, He has no fingers and has no toes. 
(Wiggle fingers; wiggle toes) 
He has no fingers and has no toes, But goodness, gracious, what a nose! 
(Stick arms out like a long trunk.) 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Mom...

Life for me right now feels a lot like Bill Murray's Groundhog's Day... every day is the same.  Lots of this...  (whew, it's actually sorted here!)
and this...

and pouts... lots of pouts

Cleaning out the ETERNAL GRIME ... I will not post a picture of this.

and cleaning up this cute adorable face... :)

and handling melt downs...

and wiping this...

and trying to get them to eat things...

and reading the same cute book for the umpteenth time :)...

and needing more of this... that is actually having time to shower and get ready :) haha

and EVERYONE needing a whole ton more of GOOD SLEEP...  oh what am I ever going to do about that?!  And yes that is chocolate frosties all over them.

and oh the WORRY of a mother... I'm often stressed about something - how am I going to help a child through a certain issue, how are we going to get through the day...

 and I wish more of this... :) This happens to be a cute happy hug even though it looks like a death grip.

 So I'm thinking the answer is just I should never have to sleep!  Wouldn't that be such a gift to mothers?!  Anywho, here's some more confessions of HOW I COPE:

1. We CAN'T "STAY AT HOME" :)  Right now, havoc breaks out when we're home for too long.  My kids do SO much better OUT OF THE HOUSE... at a park, anywhere outside, exciting museums, a fun kid's place...  They don't usually fight as much or have nearly as many tantrums when we're OUT doing "kids" stuff.  It's a mother's therapy - and kids' therapy.

2. Sometimes just FORGET IT ALL, and LIVE IN THE MOMENT.  For me right now, I don't think having a continually clean home is anywhere near realistic.  I've tried :).  I think there's hope in just dropping it all for a while (when we can't fix or control it then anyways) and focusing on being happy and making your kids happy.  Last night, it was 9pm and the kids were still awake.  And... the house was a complete mess.  And... I was about it tears a few times yesterday with being completely overwhelmed as a mother.  And... I really needed to shower.  BUT... I found myself sitting on our messy kitchen floor and just laughing hysterically with my kids.  Hailey was randomly stuffing bread in my mouth :)  My tired self relished in the giddy happiness in their faces, and I guarantee we'll all remember that...