Before and After Playhouse

We have had this playhouse for years and it took a beating under some trees. It was overtaken by spiders and very dirty. No one would play in it. We are re-doing our backyard and so I decided it was time to do something with it, or trash it.

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So I decided to make it nice, of course!

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Here it is in progress. First I built a base for it. The brown floor was my creation and I was very proud of it. With a floor off the ground we will be able to keep it clean and spider free.

Then I made it prettier. It was the best I could do. I’m not a good painter, but I made a window and added flowers. That made a big difference. Next year it should be in the garden with flowers all around.

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Best of all, we like it and we use it!

 

Focusing on the Beautiful in the Mess

 

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It is so easy to get down on my house. When I just look around the house and see all the projects I haven’t gotten to or the stuff sitting on counter tops and floors I get frustrated, and beat down and sometimes even angry.  It’s easy to stay there, irritated and madly picking up like some crazed housewife. But it’s like that again the next day, so the crazed housewife thing doesn’t seem to be fixing anything. I bet you feel the same way some days.

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So I started wondering what would happen if I focused on the beautiful in the mess. The things in each room that bring me joy not all the things that I need to still get to.

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I went around the house taking pictures of my favorite things in each room. The room’s jewelry. The piece de resistance. Almost every room has one. And on the days when my house was under siege by trash mongers I focused on these pieces. I found that I was able to rest amongst the chaos when I focused on the beautiful.

It’s the same way with our soul. When we are not restful, if we focus on what God says about us it brings us rest in the middle of the crazy.

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The truth is my house isn’t all junk, there are projects that are completed, and there are beautiful things in it. Just as I am not a total looser in life, God says I am beautifully and wonderfully made no matter what someone else does to me or says about me.

It’s what you focus on. If you focus on the negative and undone in your home, your home will be a tangled mess in your mind, but if you focus on the beautiful your home, it will be a restful and peaceful place, even amongst the mess.

If we focus on what others say about us, or do to us, we may feel bad about ourselves, but if we focus on what God says about us, who God says we are, we will be peaceful and joyful.

Today, I challenge you to focus on the beautiful in your home and in your life.

The End of An Era (and I need your opinion)

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Well, that’s it, our house is officially un-baby-fied. That means everyone is a “big” kid now.

We sleep in big kid beds.

We use the big potties.

We drink out of big kid cups.

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The changing table was the last thing to go because I was still using it as a dresser. Then the other day I found this beautiful piece at a second hand furniture shop. It was just what I was looking for. It’s an old buffet that I am going to repurpose as a dresser.

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The only question I have is, “should I paint it or not” I can’t decide. I don’t want to mess it up, but their room is totally white and bright, so maybe this doesn’t go. Or maybe it does. I was thinking about doing a creamy paint all over and distressing it a bit. I’m just not sure. What do you think?

So the changing table is going. The last of the baby things we had.

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I’m a little sad, but only a little. Mostly, I’m excited (very excited) for this stage of life. Ten years of little babies was good, but it was enough for me. I loved the baby holding and snuggling years. The sweet firsts and nurturing that went on every day. I loved those years and I’m ready for them to be over.

I’m excited that we can travel with just a bag full of clothes for each of them, we don’t need tons of extra gear. We can walk on our own so I don’t have to carry someone all the time. We can do big kid activities like riding bikes, zip lining, and kayaking. And we can sit still for more than 5 minutes if mommy needs to go in somewhere.

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My shoulders relax just thinking about it. It’s good.

No more spilled milk in my home

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Why, oh why, do they make big kid plastic cups with skinny bottoms that flare out at the top? Do they want my kids to spill their milk at every meal? The design is totally flawed, it’s designed to tip over.

Oh the humanity!

Hey, why not make a kids cup with a wider bottom? Does anyone want to get on that? Seriously, it doesn’t take a genius. I think “they” are in cahoots with the dairy farmers!

Wide bottom cups may not stack well, but they won’t spill easily either. What is more important with kids? I say NO SPILLING is more important. What do you think?

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One day I realized glass cups aren’t made like this. Their bottoms are a wide as the tops and they aren’t so light a soft breeze could tip them over either.

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So I switched. Yep, I let my little kids use glass cups. Oh my, what if they fall and break and they get shards of glass in them?

What are the chances? What are the odds?

So, I switched months ago and I have had maybe 2 spilled glasses of milk in that time and neither of the glasses broke in the spill. No one got shards of glass in their bodies. They just tipped over.

Before the switch we averaged at least one spill a day.

The glasses are heavier, making them harder to knock over and the bottoms are nice and wide so it’s harder for them to tip.

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Why didn’t I do this a long time ago?

Back To School

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If summer was a baseball game, we just slid into home with the winning run.

This summer was the first summer I wasn’t ready to send my kids back in mid July. Usually I hit the wall just after the 4th of July (which is way to early by anyones standards). But this time, I was still having fun the day before school started.

We had some vacations pretty well spaced out to mix things up, which helped. But I also think the kids were at a better age, and it was fun. We have had babies for so long, now everyone walks, talks, and potties in the potty. No more diapers, no more sippy cups. Ahhhh.

We did a lot this summer, but the day before school started the kids wanted to throw a party for the little girl across the street who was going home after spending the summer with her grandparents. And I said, yes.

So the night before school started, I had a house full of kids eating pizza and playing games.

We slid into school the next morning, house destroyed, tired and smiling.

We had shoes on our feet (even if they weren’t appropriate for gym), clothes on our bodies (even if it was what they wore the day before) and food in our lunch boxes that I scraped together since I hadn’t gone to the grocery lately.

And I realized it is JUST FINE. We had fun, went out with a bang and slid into school with our sun kissed faces beaming.

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Happy back to school!

 

School lunches

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I know I should pack the kids lunch boxes the night before, because everyone says I should. But I don’t want their food to get even more soggy than it’s already going to be. So I pack them in the mornings.

This makes for a hectic morning, but I guess I have decided it’s worth, which means I make 5 healthy lunches on the days the preschoolers stay for lunch.

Some days I try to get fancy, but since I have chosen to make the lunches in the morning I often have to resort to some quick things I can just throw in and since the preschool doesn’t allow peanuts anywhere in the facility, I’m having to get creative. I thought I would share some of my go to’s with you for quick fix meals. I will do another post on some great recipes I have for “fancy” lunches at another time.

carrots & hummus

Meal #1
Hummus with carrot, celery and cucumber sticks, crackers or pita slices and a side of fruit.

 

string-cheese

Meal #2
Cheese sticks with sweet pepper slices, fruit and homemade granola bars.

 

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Meal #3
Cream cheese bagels with fruit.

 

Here are a few good resources for lunch box lunches:

http://thelivelykitchen.com/category/school-lunches/

http://wendolonia.com/blog/2012/08/03/the-week-in-bentos-july-30-august-3-2012/

www.thefresh20.com

 

Laser Tag Birthday Party

We are in the thick of birthday season at our house right now. So here’s our latest creation!

Theme: Messy Laser Tag Party for a 7-year-old boy

Invitations: I printed these myself at home on vellum paper. The vellum made them seem cooler somehow!

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Decorations: I hardly did anything. Those boys didn’t care…

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Activities: Now, this is where we went crazy! We started with Lazer Tag Capture the Flag, then we moved into silly string, water balloons and sponge balls and concluded with a laser maze. Fun, active and messy!

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This picture was after the fact so some of the “lasers” had fallen down

Food: Pizza, fruit kabobs and ice cream cake that I bought at the store, so sue me!

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Goodie Bag: Inside we put an airplane, foam air darts and, or course, some candy.

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It was an active, messy, seriously fun boy party. All in all, it was a blast!

 

Kids Currency

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Number 4 is a sweet and loving little thing. She is kind and pretty, and funny, and sensitive too. She takes excellent care of herself and her things. She is friendly and outgoing and fun to be around. Of all the things she has to play with her favorite, and possibly only choice, is dress up. It used to be that she would dress up in play clothes, but now she has graduated to putting real outfits together in her closet. Every outfit is complete with belt, scarf, necklace and high heals (taken from my closet).

But her listening skills aren’t as fine tuned as her fashion sense.

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She is very fond of animals and enjoys getting to see the dog next door and take her out for little walks around the yard. However, she asks me a lot if she can go get the dog and I have spoken to her about the right timing and frequency of this outing. I told her she was not to go over without me.

This weekend we learned she has been going over to the neighbors when I have said no. Many days, many many rings led up to the neighbor opening the door and telling number 4 that she was sick and she couldn’t continue ringing the bell like this and she was going to have to talk to her mommy (me) about it.

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As I said #4 is sensitive, very sensitive. Without a word to the neighbor, she turned and ran home sobbing. By the time she reached me in the kitchen she couldn’t talk through the heaving sobs. I was trying to calm her down so I could understand if she was hurt, scared or what. As I held her and she began to relax, the sobs became further apart and I could begin to make out the situation. She was honest and clearly explained what had happened. She was so honest, I truly believe she had no idea why it was a bad idea to ring someone’s bell 30 times in a row (in case they didn’t hear you.)

The honesty and obvious remorse (now that she knew 30 was too many) was sweet. But she had disobeyed me by going over there in the first place and there had to be consequences for it.

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So I did what I had to do. I took away her fancy. All the necklaces, bracelets, belts and scarves. Into my closet.

When I told her I was taking these away from her for a few days she was devastated. Crying, kicking, screaming. That settled into, “what am I going to do?” “What will I wear?” “When can I have them back?”

It seems funny to me, I wouldn’t care less if someone took my belts and necklaces from me, but not this one. She loves her fancy! Fancy is her currency. I dare not tell the neighbor that this was the punishment given for such a crime. She just wouldn’t understand. But to number four this was the ultimate punishment and I knew it would make the impact I needed it to make.

And I believe it did.

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Number 4 is now fancy again and only goes over to the neighbors when I go with her. She still longs for her good old door-bell-ringing days, I know, but she loves her fancy more. And I love that about her.

She asked me the other day if it was OK that she liked to be fancy. I told her it was more than ok, it was the way God made her and that is perfect.

Fancy on #4!

Resting

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I have been inundated with the message of resting lately. And I agree that we have become a society of constant movement, constant “connection”, achievement, accumulation of knowledge and things. It is very true that our calendars are way too full and we don’t see the value of taking a day off. We have lost the sabbath rest that god instructs us to take. We have thrown that out the window for the pursuit of excellence, perfection, knowledge, dare I say power. God knew that we needed a consistent day of rest where we could re center our focus on him. A time to remember what our purpose here really is and clear our minds of the worlds messages.

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But everywhere I turn someone else is giving me the 10 step process to a more restful life. I’m reading, talking, land learning about rest but that’s not resting. We all know how to rest.

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Sit down, put your feet up, enjoy the ones around you and the creation God has given you. It’s really easy to do, we are just are out of the habit. It may be difficult and awkward at first, but it’s simple.

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So this week I’m resting. Just resting, not convincing myself that I need rest, or feeling guilty that I don’t take more rest, or figuring out how to rest or why we as a society don’t rest more consistently. I’m just going to rest. It’s really easy.

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This week I am doing rest.

Thank you, Thank you!

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I am truly honored and excited to be nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award and the Sunshine Award! I decided to start this blog as a tool for me to process my life and thoughts and maybe build a community of other moms trying to do the same. It is a bonus that people read it and actually get something from it on occasion.

I was awarded both awards by a wonderful blogger afternoonofsundries! Thank you so much for your nominations and for thinking of me. It is a true honor.

As you may know, these awards have rules and these rules are the following:

  • Answer Ten Questions
  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Nominate at least 10 deserving bloggers
  • Place the award somewhere in your blog.

The Questions:

  1. Favorite Food: chocolate chip cookies!!!!!
  2. Favorite Actor: I can’t think of a one
  3. Favorite TV Show: The Biggest Loser – so inspiring
  4. Favorite Tear-Jerker: Sabrina or Never Been Kissed or Notting Hill or While You Were Sleeping  (You may not consider these movies tear-jerkers, but I cried somewhere in all of them)
  5. Favorite Sport: I tolerate football OK, or maybe golf because it’s long and it gives me plenty of time to read a book while others are watching the game.
  6. Lucky Number: 5
  7. Tea or Coffee: A wonder mug of freshly steeped hot tea, for sure!
  8. Favorite Holiday: 4th of July (it just sits there in the middle of summer all relaxed and fun)
  9. Twitter or Facebook: Facebook when I look at it, I really love Instagram though
  10. Favorite Christmas Movie: Christmas Vacation, hands down.

My Nominations (in no particular order) are:

i love 2 sweat  (remodel in process here, fun to watch and great ideas)

family to the 5 power  (great encouragement for moms on here)

along came ollie  (I love her honesty and creativity!)

mommy cook for me (good realistic recipes for us moms)

Home for Now  (creative and real!)

Wifommy (honest and real)

did i say that out loud? (funny mom, wife and family stuff)

Cast Light (encouraging)

Defeat Dispair (refreshing)

A Really full Life (inspiring)

Thank you once again for the opportunity to be recognized and honored!