Thursday, September 30, 2010


Well, we didn't make it to the park yesterday.  Miss M actually absolutely had to have a long nap after school, and Miss E rushed off to the neighbor's house to play the second she found her shoes, so I stayed home an finished a few of those jobs that are still getting put off day after day.  It was quite nice actually, but today I'm determined to get out of the house and play in the sunshine!  Mr. A got one of those little preschooler basketball hoops for his birthday but he never gets to play with it.  We have to keep the ball inside so the dogs don't eat it but that means we have to intentionally take the ball outside when we go out, which we never do.  Today, we will!  Miss M could use some practice throwing and catching in general, too, so we'll just take the whole bucket of balls out and have a ball! Sounds pretty FUN to me!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

We'll be earning our FUN today.

This morning, as I was getting Miss E's clothes ready for her, I couldn't find not one, but TWO pairs of shoes.  Nothing makes me crazier than lost shoes so I've made a rash decision.  We'll be earning our FUN trip to a park.  I'm making a list of jobs that need to be done, and if we finish them before three o'clock we can go to the park.  Of course Miss E will be organizing her closet and searching for her lost shoes, Miss M will be helping organize the art supplies and Mr. A will help put all his puzzle pieces back in their frames.  I'm certain I'll find many more little chores to add to their lists, in fact, I'm pretty sure I'll have to rein myself in so earning a trip to the park is actually achievable.  Now, I'd better get going on my own list! 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tuesday - Now With Added FUN!

So our scheduled FUN plans today are pretty mellow.  I printed this fun game last week and Miss M has been very curious about it ever since.  We were going to break out the scissors and practice our cutting skills then make some silly monsters with Mr. A before I sent them outside to enjoy more Fall sunshine.  However, some friends invited us over to play on their water slide after lunch and I see no reason we can't do both!  We'll play on the water slide, then, because Miss E has a play date after school, Miss M, Mr.  A and I can play the monster game before dinner to distract Miss M from the fact that Miss E is at a friend's house with out her.  Now, I just have to get my Morning Basics and Daily Chore finished so I can relax and enjoy all our FUN!  Have a great Tuesday all!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Today might be too gorgeous not to change our plans.

Yesterday, while I was filling in my Week at a Glance page with all of this week's plans, I was just trying to think of activities we haven't done for a while.  We have a stack of card games the girls love to play but I rarely sit down and play with them so I thought that would be a good thing to do today.  But as I sit here typing, the birds are chirping merrily outside and my weather widget says today is going to be another incredible day.  Soooo....  I think we'll set up a picnic blanket on the grass and play our games out there!  I'm sure one thing will lead to another and we'll end up in the sandbox or drawing with chalk or some other outdoorsy thing, but that's not a bad thing.  The card games will still be around when the weather is lousy, but we need to soak up some sun today!

Also today, our city has been building walking trails all over the city for the past few years.  They wind through neighborhoods and up canyons and are really great places to get some exercise.  Mr. A and I are going to meet some friends and go check out a trail that will be new to us.  I love finding the trails and getting familiar with them.  They're definitely more fun than a treadmill!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


This is the FUN we found today!  (They're cereal treats made with Trix!)

Great New Links!

Hi all, quick post to share three great new links!

First, I found a new recipe site that has a meal planning calendar as part of their site.  It's VERY user friendly.  The recipes are user submitted, which sometimes gives me pause, but they are reviewed so it's easier to know what you're getting in to.  This may be my new go-to cooking site!  Check out Group Recipes then come tell me what you think!

I also thought I'd share some fun Halloween ideas.  I know we're still more than a few days from Halloween, but my kids are already excited for it, so I guess it's time to have a few themed activities.  Family Fun has WAY more activities than any one family could do, but the variety is so fun.  I love even looking at all their great ideas.  DLTK-Kids
  also has some really fun ideas.  They aren't all Halloween related, so it's kind of a good one stop place for general Fall fun.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Phew! I'm tired just thinking about it!

When I think of all the things happening today, I want to send everyone back to bed for more rest.  In addition to all the usual Friday stuff, Miss E has a field trip, we're having friends over after school, and both girls get to cheer for their future High School football team tonight.  In light of all this extra activity, I think I'm going to encourage as much down time as possible for Mr. A and Miss M.  They're both going to have their dinner schedules disrupted, be up past their bedtimes and subjected to much more action than usual most of the afternoon and evening.  Even though our scheduled FUN is only card games, I think it would be wiser to do something even more low key, like enjoying the large stack of library books we brought home yesterday.  Hopefully, this slow, quiet time will give them enough energy to really enjoy the other great stuff today will bring. 

Oh, and speaking of the library, yesterday's day out was such a rousing success I can't believe most of it was spontaneous!  First, a group of girls dressed as Disney Princesses led a very cute story time at the library.  Then, both Miss M and Mr. A immediately found the perfect books - Miss M found one called Rainbow Fairies: Katie the Kitten Fairy which, if you know Miss M you know it covers pretty much everything she loves in the title alone.  Mr. A found Can You See What I See: Trucks and Cars and plopped down on the floor  oohing and ahing over it the whole time we were there.  It was pretty great.  Then we got to go to to the park with our friends, who invited more friends who had cute little girls just right for Miss M to play tag with.  It was a really great day out.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Change of Plans

My Week at a Glance says we are playing games with balls for FUN Time today, but our trip to the library on Tuesday never happened.  Miss M was have a rotten day, so we just stayed home and played Wii instead.  That means we're still due for a trip to the library.  We're meeting some friends there so we can catch up with them and storytime, too.  Yay!  We love the library and getting there for story time makes the trip even better!  Now, I just have to round up the dozen or so books we checked out last time...

Photo Update: Bookmarks, Job Charts and Quiet FUN

Yesterday's FUN Time was a major success.  Giving Miss M a nice, quiet activity was the perfect way to prepare her for Jr. Cheer Camp.  She loved making her own bookmark, thinks it's too cool that we can keep her job chart forever and she was able to handle the noisy chaos of Cheer Camp much better than the day before.  Miss E also had fun making her own bookmark and loves that we can use dry erase markers on her job chart.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Some Days are Like That...

Today, I'm glad our plans are quiet coloring activities.  Poor Miss M is not loving Jr. Cheerleader Camp.  Yesterday she spent a lot of her time crying on my lap.  It is too loud and crowded for her.  She's just overwhelmed.  I told her she didn't have to participate today if she didn't want to, but we'll be there for Miss E anyway so I'm hoping Miss M will change her mind.  In the mean time, we'll have a quiet afternoon where Miss M can color and relax.  Maybe we'll even watch Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue since we have it from NetFlix already.  Hopefully with a little extra rest and TLC Miss M will be able to take on the noisy crowd later in the day.  Miss E will be home early from school, so she gets to have FUN with us, too.  Yay!  Here's to a quiet afternoon and a happy Cheer Camp!

FUN Plans: Create, Print, Color, Laminate Job Charts
                    Make/Laminate Bookmarks
Materials: Job Chart Template  
                 Bookmark Template  Or, these are incredibly easy to make w/o a template.  I simply cut paper strips about 2" X 5.5" and have the kids draw on them.  I laminate them, punch a hole at the top and string ribbon or yarn or whatever we have on hand through the hole.
                  Crayons, Markers etc...
                  Laminating Sheets or Clear Contact Paper, which ever is easier to find
                  Yarn, Ribbon etc...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Library! Library! Yay!

Today's FUN plan is one of my favorite things to do - visit the library!  I love it that my kids love libraries, too.  They always jump up and down when I tell them that's where we're going. There's nothing like coming home with a stack of new books after an hour or so browsing the shelves.  M and A love doing the puzzles in the kids area and often meeting new friends.  Hopefully, some of our friends can meet us there, despite out late invitation.  (I emailed this morning.  Should be plenty of notice, right?)  Miss M has discovered the  Rainbow Fairies, a chapter book series she's excited about.  I'm sure we'll head straight for those.  I'm also looking for more books she can read on her own.  I have early, early reader books but she's mastered those and we don't have any that are just right for her now.  Thank goodness for libraries! 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Blog Hop!

Hey, I'm trying something new here...  It looks fun, but I'm not exactly sure how it works, so bear with me please... The idea is to discover new blogs and help others discover mine.  If something catches your eye, click on it!  If you have a Mom-centric blog, join the hop!  If you're just looking for today's TWO great posts, please scroll down.  They are below the blog hop.  Thanks, and Happy Monday!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sorting is a Skill

Our toys have a way of oozing all over the house.  I swear, we just get everything back in it's place and the next day we're stepping on Play Doh Super Tools and avoiding Hot Wheels Color Shifters Mega-Duty Truck on the stairs.  We really do have homes for all of (okay, most of) our stuff, but keeping it where it belongs is a Sisyphean task.  Today our "FUN Time" will be spent putting as many toys in their homes as possible.  M loves sorting her things.  I think she likes reviewing her belongings, so I plan to start with some simple sorting games for her, hopefully making huge piles.  A loves putting things in containers, so that's what I'll concentrate on with him.  A little peppy music will liven things up, and with any luck we'll have the kids' rooms and playroom ship shape in no time!

Thinking Ahead is Good for You!

Autumn is time for high school football, and mini-cheerleader camps.  Last week E brought a flyer home inviting all girls to a mini-cheer camp.  She sweetly asked if she could go.  She said "I think I'd like to take cheer", like it was an elective class at school.  So, our afternoons will include this extra dose of fun for both girls all week.  Cheer camp happens during the time I'd normally try to start dinner prep, and a few years ago I would have just planned on take out all week. Not any more!  This week I have planned a whole week's worth of slow cooker meals so dinner will be ready when we get home.  And to make it even better, I'm using what's already in my pantry or freezer so I don't even have to make a special shopping trip for any of these healthier meals!  I feel like a meal planning pro.  I'm so proud of myself!  I'm sure our collective cholesterol levels will thank me for all this fore thought.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fun with Pets!

Wow, that week went by FAST!  I can't believe it's already Friday!  But, here we are so I guess it's time to get started on today.  I actually have a pretty big day outside of FUN Time.  In addition to getting both girls off to school, which is more or less a two hour project by the time I get home from preschool drop off, I am running my errands today.  I decided to skip my Bountiful Basket this week, so I'd like to have all my errands done so I can stay home and enjoy all of my Saturday. Errands will possibly take me the whole time M is at school, then I'll still have all my Morning Basics and Daily Chore, which will take me to when E gets home from school.  Thankfully, I have a slow cooker meal planned so I can have a little FUN Time before dinner.

Today's FUN is going to be something very simple we can do any time, or even a few minutes here and there.  We're going to give all our pets some extra love and fun.  M loves "training" the dogs, probably because she loves feeding them treats.  I'd love to see if she can get them to listen to her well enough to do real tricks, beyond the finding scattered cat food M throws for them, which is her idea of a trick.  Both dogs to do basic things like sit, shake and turn for E so I'd like to see if she can come up with something new for them.  We also have three cats who are pretty playful.  Watching them chase their balls or a laser pointer all around always gets us laughing.  That's what FUN is all about! 

FUN Pictures!

Just a few quick pics of yesterday's FUN Time. M had a great time learning to fly her kite, then we opened a new box of sidewalk chalk and that totally monopolized the rest of our afternoon. We had a great time, and definitely have the most artistic house on the street!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Great Reminder of the Value of Time

I found this article on one of my favorite blogs today.  I thought this would be a good place to share it since this blog is about spending time enjoying my kids.  There is always a way to find time just for your kids, even if you think you have no time.  
(Click on the title below if you'd like to go to the blog of origin.)
August 23rd, 2010 in Featured, Lifestyle

5 Ways to Spend Time with Your Kids When You Have No Time

It was Dr. Anthony P. Witham who once said “children spell love…T-I-M-E.” He was definitely onto something. Unfortunately, if you are like most parents, time is a precious commodity that often eludes us. Whether we have a new job, a new baby, or we just need to make the coffee or strip the beds, we always seem to be wishing for more time. We need more. We want more. But we feel we just don’t have it. Does that mean we don’t love them? Of course not.
Spending quality time with our children is extremely important for their development and happiness. I have interviewed thousands of children around the world and they told me that time spent with them doesn’t need to be elaborate or long, but it must be “quality”. We must find ways then to slow down and slip in some memorable time that will let our children know that we love and care for them.
Many children will let you know in their own “subtle” ways if they feel that you are not giving them the attention that they need. Some will withdraw while others will “act out.” You might see it when a child gives “lip” to a teacher, fights with another classmate or resorts back to behaviors that once got your attention like increased crying, throwing tantrums or even bed-wetting. This is a way to capture your attention, albeit often negative, so that they can enjoy “focused” time with you. Essentially the thought process is, “if I can’t get her attention by doing something good, I’ll get her attention by doing something bad.” Nobody wants that!
So how can you find time when you feel you don’t have any to spend?
1. One-on-one time: Alone time with your child is best when you are doing something you both enjoy. With one family it may be the time when Dad takes the baby so Mom can spend time with the older child. This could mean going to a movie, going to the local theater to see Cinderella, or just sitting at the park on a bench and talking. The frequency of one-on-one time is up to you, but the children I interviewed said at least once a month is the minimum. If you are a single mother with more than one child you could arrange it so that each Saturday you spend quality time with one of your children and the last Saturday of the month you spend quality time as a family.
Marking your dates down on a calendar is a great idea and shows your children you make this time a priority.
2. Integrate Together Time into Your Daily Schedule: Children love to help. Do you have a mailing to do? Have them put the stamps on the envelopes. Need to go shopping? Make grocery shopping “fun time” with you. Need to make dinner? Let them help you by contributing to the preparation process. While it might be messier and it may time more time in the beginning, you will see that the children will become your greatest helpers and they will look back and remember that “before dinner” was always special time with you.
3. Phantom Time: Don’t have a moment to spare until about 3 a.m.? You can still let your children know that you care. Write notes and drop them into their lunch boxes. This was one of the top ten things children told me made them feel loved and cared for by their parent. Other ideas would be to record a short video for them using a camera and leaving it for them at the breakfast table. Be creative here!
4. Break time: Everyone is busy. Some parents are busier than others. Slide in a “break time” so that you and your children can spend 15 minutes or a half hour together. Set a timer if you need to so that everyone knows when “break time” starts and finishes. Give warnings to your children when 2 minutes are left so that it doesn’t come as a surprise. Don’t even have break time available? Wake your child up 15 minutes early so that you can spend a little extra time doing something fun in the morning. You might not think that 15 minutes is any significant time at all, but to a child, it is 15 extra minutes with you.
Spending time with your children provides them with opportunities to learn and to be heard. Most of all, it provides you and your children with time to connect. It’s these connections that make your children feel loved. So leave the beds unstripped for another few minutes and put the coffee on an automatic timer. Take those extra moments to spend with your children. When you look back, you will be thankful for the memories.

Who doesn't love a kite?

One of the mixed blessings of living where we do is the wind.  Of course having almost constant wind is almost unbearable sometimes, but we never have to wait for a windy day to fly kites.  It's ALWAYS a windy day!  (Watch - now that I've said that, today will be as still and calm as glass.)  Like most kids, mine love flying kites so they'll be happy when I break out some new ones to help us enjoy our day.  I'm going to take M out by herself while A is napping and E is at school and try to teach her at least the basics of kite flying.  Poor thing always has has well intentioned but bossy big sister doing all the flying for her and never gets the chance to even hold her own kite.  I think she'll really like not having anyone out there trying to take over, and I know she'll feel awesome about learning to fly one by herself. Then, when E is home and A is awake we can go back out and they can all enjoy the kites together.

Activity: fly kites
               specifically, teach M to fly her own

Materials: 3 kites + string
                 camera to capture all the fun

Time: at least 30 min. X 2

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It's A's Day!

As my oldest, E had three years of undivided attention.  We took hundreds of trips to a park when no one else wanted me to push them on the swing or catch them on the slide.  M also had her share of days like this, although far fewer than she deserved.  A has never been to the park with out at least one of his sisters.  He has always had a divided Mom.  That changes today!  We have three very nice playgrounds in our neighborhood and we're going to spend our morning at one.  M and E will both be at school, so this is the perfect time to give A some undivided Mom time.

Activity: Trip to playground for A.

Materials: stroller for walking to playground
                 water bottles
Time: 1.5 hours

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

More Fun with Frederick

With all my fixation on Leo Lionni's Frederick, I've given in and done a little lesson plan.  I'm not one of those people who thinks my kids need to be "learning" constantly, and I don't carefully plan every teachable moments.  It strikes me as a staged, inauthentic way to go through our days, so I don't do it.  I did think M could have a lot of fun talking about Leo Lionni's art since she is such a creative little thing.  I have always talked with the kids about illustrators and their unique techniques and styles simply because I love few things more than a beautiful picture book.  Frederick is a particularly good book to use as a spring board for a discussion about Lionni's work because it is about a mouse who uses words to paint pictures.  The art work is beautiful but simple, and so it is accessible to even the earliest learners.  I found a simple little lesson plan using Frederick to teach about collage - a technique M uses naturally.  I plan to par it down and focus on creating our own collage using a template   that is closer to the shapes Lionni uses, instead of the ones linked in the plan.  I'll show her how to create scenery by thinking of the shapes of what she'd like to make, then cutting those shapes out of colored paper.  With any luck we'll end up with such a cute picture E will want to make on of her own after school!  Again, A is too little to really participate in this one.  He is also completely disinterested in drawing or coloring in anyway.  I have printed some mouse coloring pages for everyone, and I'll consider it good if I get him to even make one little mark on his mouse.  He'll have fun checking in to see what M is doing though, and I know that sooner or later he'll want to do what she does.  Every kid learns to color eventually.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Giving in to my Frederick Obsession

Here we are, mid-September.  The days are undeniably gorgeous, but the nights are cooling down.  The sun spends less time in the sky, and I'm having trouble looking forward to fall - a season I genuinely love - much less winter.  I said last week that I seem to be clinging to summer.  I'm fixated on one of my favorite Leo Lionni books, Frederick, about a little mouse who gathers the colors and feelings of summer, then helps his family through a long winter with his memories. Yes, I know this is the third time this book has come up here and even I am wondering when my brain will move on.  I have decided to give in to this obsession and include beloved Frederick in our FUN Time plans.  Today we're going to take some favorite books out to the back yard where we can soak in the sun while we read.  I'll read Frederick last, and see if I can tempt M into talking about what Frederick does in the summer time, and how he uses that work in the winter.  Best case scenario, I can get her to do a little of the same work and we'll have a great conversation about summer.  A is too little for this part, but he'll love reading the books.  E will be at school, but it's a simple activity I can do with her as part of her bedtime story, too.  Ahhhh...  Literature extension activities...  I feel like a teacher again.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Fun in the Sun!

Yesterday's play date at the park was moved indoors (to the library) due to dusty winds.  That's all fine and good because we have been needing a trip to the library anyway, but I'm really trying to focus on taking advantage of every warm, sunny days we have before the snow flies.  Here in the high desert that could honestly be any day now.   It seems like I'm constantly thinking of Frederick the mouse, and his ability to save the warmth and color of summer to sustain his family through the winter.  Today's fun plans will revolve around anything we can do outdoors.  I have some yard work to do, and I plan to go running with A while M is at school.  It's amazing how much easier a single stroller is to run with versus a double and I'm going to take advantage of that!  This afternoon we'll head outside to swing and pick flowers and play ball games and whatever strikes our fancy.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Plans for a Playdate!

We have a play date planned for today!  The weather is cooling quickly, but I think today will be perfect for a day at the park.  M is very excited to go see her little friend, and I'm excited to hang out with his mom!  Making plans for fun is fun!

After our fun times this morning, I'm going to do lots of laundry.  E has picture day tomorrow and the budding fashionista has narrowed her clothing choices to four outfits, but of course none of them are already clean and wrinkle free.  I've figured out a way to make laundry less of a chore - besides finishing a load every day. I've carved that time out as my chance to watch my own TV shows.  I tell the kids that it's Mom's turn for the TiVo, and surprisingly, they've barely whined at all!  I'm still careful about what I watch, since they often join me and sometimes even help fold clothes, but it's nice to watch the news or Good Eats Search for good eats during the day.  I also kind of look forward to laundry!

Oh, and I have to post a couple pictures of some good times M and I had yesterday.  We finally picked the rest of our grapes and decided to make raisins with them.  We didn't have a ton of grapes, but two trays full of our own raisins will be a fun treat today.  M was all excited to get up this morning and check on the dehydrator.  She can't wait until they're done!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Very late today...

Ok, at this point this is something of a recap rather than a plan.  Today was my day to walk the neighborhood kids to the bus stop and it was M's first day back at preschool, so our morning was busy, busy, busy.  After dropping M at school, A and I took a nice walk with a friend, and we're going play with his toys while it's just the two of us.  We'll pick up some McDonald's as a fun lunch to celebrate preschool with M, and E is out of school early today, too.  Since real fall weather is on it's way, I think this sunny afternoon will be the perfect time to hang out in the yard.  I'm sure we'll ride bikes and pick flowers and draw chalk pictures.  All the things we love to do but soon won't be able as the weather gets colder. 

Just for kicks, here's a little video that has A laughing his head off right now. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Snuggles, Bicycles and Laundry

Yup, that title sums up my plans for today.  Poor A is either teething or sick.  He's all congested and wants lots of Mommy time.  I'm pretty sure I can give that to him.  He is a pretty snuggley little guy after all.  Also, since E learned to ride her bike M has a new interest in hers, too.  Santa brought M a little pink balance bike almost two years ago and she's had zero desire to ride it, until now.  I'm going to try to capitalize on that and get her outside to ride when she doesn't have to compete for space and attention.  I'd love it if she actually spent enough time on that bike to justify owning it.  It's a tiny little thing, and she's quickly outgrowing it.  When all our Fun Time is said and done, I have a some extra laundry to fold.  Go Tuesday!

Monday, September 6, 2010

We're headin' to the County Fair!

Once again, I'm in the mood to laze around the house. Fortunately, today brings something I've been looking forward to for weeks! Our fun plans today involve our county fair, specifically the tractor show! When I was a kid, the county fair was pretty much the only show in town in the summer time. I used to try to enter at least a few exhibits - I still remember how pleasantly surprised I was when I won second prize for a drawing of cats when I was seven. I was sure that when I had a family of my own we'd enjoy the fair every year. I'm ashamed to say I've never taken my own kids to our fair, even though E has been asking about it for the last two years. Her school always sends home a flyer about it, and she thinks it sounds great, but I've never made the effort. This year will be different. I'm motivated by the happiness I'll gain seeing A freak out over the tractor show. The kid is a bonafide tractor addict. He thinks about tractors from the second he wakes up till he goes to sleep at night. I'm guessing we'll find something to make every one happy though. Fairs are good that way. Yes, this is going to be a good day.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Banana Muffin Pictures

Just a couple of pictures of yesterday's muffin experience. M fell asleep before we made the muffins, and it's better to let sleeping M's lie so we didn't wake her. A and E were good helpers though! E mashed all the bananas, and enjoyed it so much she mashed some for A. They had a good time eating them. A loved having E's attention all to himself. After, we all enjoyed a variety of banana muffins. We did end up making some plain, some with chocolate, some with raisins and some with chocolate and raisins.

You Don't Always Get What You Want

I would LOVE to take today off, like I did last weekend. I'd like to just mosey around the house, doing whatever catches my attention. Unfortunately, that's not to be today. Some friends in a nearby town are blessing their baby, so we need to go to that, or at least the luncheon they're having afterward. After that the spouse wants to go to another cool little town near Zion National Park, where we like to hang out. So, we'll be getting ready to do those things this morning, then doing them this afternoon. I've been volunteered to take some sort of food to the luncheon, and that is really not something I'm good at. I have no idea what to take. I guess I'll start by figuring out what to make... Sigh...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Today, we cook!

Maybe I've watched Ratattouille too many times, but for some reason I've started cooking. A lot. I mean, I actually cook a variety of food in my kitchen. Sometimes twice a day! I know that's nothing to most people, but before I had a family I considered my pantry full if I had Cheerios AND Campbell's soup at the same time. I'm just not a food person. Kids love cooking though, so I've always baked cookies and muffins and what not with them. When I can, I find ways for them to help with dinner. It's a nice way to do something with them that is productive and educational in a real world sense. Thanks to Bountiful Baskets, I have a surplus of plums again, so I'm going to round up the girls and enlist their help making more delicious plum jam. Then, if we're feeling really ambitious, we're also going to try these banana muffins I thought they looked yummy and the recipe is a little simpler than the one I usually use. Of course E, otherwise known as Picky the Great, doesn't like chocolate so we'll make half the muffins sans chocolate. Or, maybe we'll double the recipe and make some plain, some with raisins, some with chocolate, and some with raisins and chocolate! Wow, we're really getting crazy now!

Happy Saturday!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Budgetting My Time - Dave Ramsey says I should!

Dave Ramsey posted an article today that nails what I'm trying to accomplish with this blog. It is an excerpt from a book about setting boundaries with your time. The article focuses on not allowing your work life to overtake your personal life. I didn't exactly have that problem, but I was allowing goof off time to overtake virtually every other part of my life. I wasn't really doing anything. It was sad, and I was letting this brief time with my children slip away. As I mentioned in one of my first blog posts, it's been a long road back to where I'd like to be. What you see now didn't happen over night – the progress toward my goals is on going. A few people have asked if I really do all the things I've written about. The truth is, most days at least some part of the Daily Basics, or Weekly Chore goes undone. My house is much cleaner than it was three years ago, but it's far, far from perfect. One thing I haven't missed yet though, is a Fun Time activity. After all, I'm not a Stay At Home Housekeeper, I'm a Mom. I have these little people, whom I brought into this world by choice, and they aren't going to live with me or be so little and fun forever. They are my priority, and enjoying my time with them makes the housekeeping stuff feel less like drudgery. I am really proud of, and pleased with, the success I've had in prioritizing time for them. We are all happier for it.

Now, on to today's Fun plans! If I can figure out how to change the tire on my double jogging stroller, I like to take the kids for a run around the neighborhood for my workout. Then, on our way home, stop and collect some nice pine cones we spotted on our last walk. M is really crazy about pine cones. She has bags full, of all different shapes and sizes. She comes up with all sorts of new ways to glue them on papers or sticks or each other. I found a craft idea that she'll really love, but we'll have to collect pine cones specifically for this craft or no one else will be able to do it because M doesn't share her pine cones. If the tire is too daunting, or if we find ourselves a little bored this afternoon, we have some card games gathering dust. M loves to get the cards out and sort them and generally admire them, but she usually can't get anyone to play with her. I think today might be her lucky day! Also, A would like to look at the cards with M, but her highness usually won't let him. I think this might be a good time to practice sharing and enjoying her little brother.

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

E Rides!

Quick update to show off E's mad bicycle skills! She came right home from school and practiced. She was so proud of herself!

Couch potato kids, fit mom?

Yesterday, a friend sent me an email giving me a hard time for scheduling the kids TV/computer time while I'm working out. She thought it was funny that I was getting exercise while encouraging them to be couch potatoes. I knew someone would eventually pick up on that. I think my reasoning is pretty reasonable though. Part of what was getting me down and keeping me in my rut was the fact that I didn't look forward to anything. I really enjoy working out. Working out is “me” time that I don't feel too selfish about, because I'm a firm believer that part of being a good parent is teaching your kids to be healthy. I was making sure they spent time out playing actively, but I wasn't always a good example of my own fitness, which is sad because example is the best way to teach anything. Plus, my spouse always like it when I am in an exercise groove. Wink, wink. My lackadaisical attitude allowed my work out time to slip away more days than not. That's not okay. However, I also need to know where my kids are and that they aren't out climbing our somewhat dangerous rock wall while I'm not watching or can't hear them cry over the sound of my treadmill. If they are parked in front of the TV watching A's favorite John Deere movie

or playing on Zoodles, I know they aren't falling down the stairs or getting their heads caught in a railing. They get to veg and I get to focus on working out. It gives us all something to look forward to, and frankly, they wake up and watch TV anyway, so it's really the perfect time for me to fit in a good workout. Sometimes the girls do poke their heads in, and if I'm working out with the Wii, they'll often join me. M even likes doing yoga with me. It's not like I'm totally shutting them out, they do see what I'm doing, and know that I enjoy it. But I know they're safe and generally occupied. Win/win!

For today's fun time, we're meeting up with friends at a playground. I love friends and playgrounds. They can make the whole day better.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

She will learn to ride a bike. Eventually.

E's school lets out early today, so our fun plans get to include her! The poor kid is almost 8 and still hasn't learned to ride a bike. I intended to take her to a flat parking lot all summer long where we could safely practice until she mastered it, but the Master Procrastinator in me never actually did it. Today, I'm doing it! We'll take M's scooter so she's having fun and A's stroller to keep him contained while I'm busy with E. With any luck we'll have a real bike rider by dinner time!