Friday, November 30, 2012

Craft of the Month -- December

Well, my friends, the craft of the month club is coming to an end--thanks for crafting along with us :)

For December, enjoy these three snowy crafts:

Triangle Trees Snowy Scene


Bubby made this at school, and I thought it was so cute and easy that I should share it with y'all.
  1. Cut 3 large isosceles (two sides the same length) triangles from green paper. 
  2. Glue to a large sheet (18 x 9") of blue construction paper.
  3. Cut small squares or rectangles from brown paper.  Glue to form trunks.
  4. Using the end of a spool of thread and white paint, make snowflakes.

Cotton Ball Snowman
  1. Gather your supplies.  You will need: background paper (we used blue construction paper), cotton balls, something for arms (we used pipe cleaners but you could also use sticks), something for a hat and scarf (I cut them out of felt, but you could use paper), something for a nose (we used pipe cleaner), something for eyes, mouth, and buttons (we used plastic gems and buttons).
  2. Trace around 3 round objects of different sizes to make a snowman head, abdomen and body, on your background paper, or you can freehand a snowman outline. It’s better for the kids to have a guideline to fill in.
  3. Pull the cotton balls so that they’re flat and are 3-4 times bigger, and glue inside the outline.
  4. Add the stick arms and nose (pipe cleaners), coal eyes, mouth and buttons, scarf, hat, and pipe.

This is a fun activity to do while reading There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow by Lucille Colandro.
Just borrow the book from the library (or purchase on amazon) and gather your supplies, but keep them hidden.  As the cold lady swallows each item, place the craft supply that represents that item on the table.  So when she swallows some snow, put the cotton balls on the table.  Then, when all the supplies are on the table, but before the big reveal in the book, ask the kids what they could make with those supplies.  Then, finish reading the story to reveal that the Cold Lady coughed up a snowman!
 
 
 Borax Crystal Ornaments
ka99703_hol02_snowflake.jpg
{Source}
Follow the instructions here to make your own borax crystal ornaments using pipe cleaners and borax (which can be found in the laundry aisle).

Use your imagination to come up with shapes--try snowflakes, stars, Christmas trees, hearts--anything you can think of.  You can add a few drops of food coloring to the borax solution to make colored ornaments.

Borax Ornament
{Source}
Happy crafting :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The 12 Treats of Christmas

If you read my blog regularly, you know that we don't have any family near us. Because of this I'm always a little sad when I hear about other people getting together with family to do Christmas baking.  In fact, this morning in church, our new minister to families with children was saying that in her family, they have a tradition of getting together with all of the women on her mom's side of the family on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and doing...something Christmas-y...together. This year they had 25(!) women there.  If I got together with all the women on my mom's side of the family, there would be 4 of us.  And one of us doesn't like to cook.  And we all live in different places. 

Anyway, it's a little sad that I have no one with whom to make Christmas treats*, and it's too much for our little family to do a bunch of holiday baking all by ourselves in one day.  Here's how that would go.  AKD would be sitting on the couch reading, Hubby would be working in the garage, and Bubby and MC would be sitting at the counter fighting over who gets to add the next ingredient and who gets to stir.  We would make it through one recipe at the most, and then they'd be off wrestling on the living room floor, and little ol' me would be in the kitchen all by my lonesome, running out to the living room every now and then when I hear a particularly ominous thump.  Or screaming.  Not fun.

So around here, we do things a little differently.  I asked everyone to name their one or two (or in my case six (but the truffles and buckeyes can all count as one, 'cause they're all just balls of stuff dipped in chocolate.  So that's only 3, right?)) favorite Christmas treats, and we'll make one or two each week, freezing them in packages of dozens or half-dozens until we want to eat them.

Want to know what made the list?  Here you go:
  • Santa's Snicker's Surprises
  • Rolo Cookies**
  • Oreo Truffles
  • Peppermint Oreo Truffles**
  • Turtle Cheesecake Truffles**
  • Buckeyes**
  • Little Cookies
  • Marshmallow Star Cookies
  • Snickerdoodles
  • Chocolate dipped pretzel rods
  • Christmas tree cake pops
  • Sugar cookies--specifically trees
Sound good?  Want to make them yourself?  Not to worry--I'll be sharing the recipes throughout December :)  To get a jump on your preparations, you can check out my Christmas Treats pinboard for most of the recipes.

Your turn: What's on your must-make Christmas treat list?

*No one with whom to bake, except my mustache-y friends--thanks for being my baking family, girls :)
**These are recipes that are new to us.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hunting Season

It was the day after Thanksgiving when we started seeing the first of the carcasses riding home on top of cars and in pick-up beds--a sure sign that hunting season had begun.  Oh, I'm not talking about deer hunting season, although that was going on, too.  I'm talking about tree hunting season.  It's kind of a lame joke, but since the two hunting seasons happen around the same time, Hubby and I will always say, "they bagged one--it's a thousand pointer!" or similar nonsense when we see trees strapped to vehicle roofs.  You have to admit, tree hunting is a whole lot easier than the other kind of hunting.

So, since everyone was doing it (and because it's our tradition), we packed up the boys to hunt for our own tree.  And this is what happened.

We found one!  Not only is tree hunting easier, but you never get this kind of before shot with the "victim" while deer hunting...

Felled!

The boys brought some friends, and a football, along.  We had so much fun hunting and playing among the hundreds of perfect Christmas trees.


When we exited the trailer after our hay ride, the tractor driver joked that we had half a football team.  Can you imagine if they were all ours?  I do consider them family, these friends of my boys.  Number 1, we'd need a much bigger house, but after that, I think we'd have a great time :) 
The End

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bubby's new loft

We spent a good portion of our long Thanksgiving weekend rearranging kids' bedrooms.  You may have been under the impression that this had already been accomplished, given my posts of the past few weeks (here and here).  But the rearranging we had already done was emergency rearranging: just getting those kids into new bedrooms now, because they needed to be separated.  This past weekend was spent setting up the rooms.  There is still work to be done, but I thought today I would show you Bubby's new loft. 

It's actually not new at all.  Here's a picture of the loft, me, my pregnant belly, and AKD back when it was his first big boy bed in 2002!  Since then, this bed has cradled all three of our slumbering children at one time or another.

And here it is today:
 I did take some pictures of it with Bubby in it and with the blankets and sheets all neatly tucked, but when I looked at the pictures this morning I realized I didn't have any of the whole thing.  Oops.  And Bubby lost his racecar during the night so he had to tear the bed apart looking for it this morning.  Oh well...it's more realistic this way.

See?  Neatly tucked sheets.  We set up a cozy reading area under the loft.  Not sure if the glider will be staying--it's been temporarily relocated from the living room while the Christmas tree has taken up residence there.  We will be adding a small bookshelf under the loft, just as soon as we get a few other things sorted out.  And that's a toybox behind the loft, built in under the window.

 Having the loft means that Bubby has room to set up his geotrax in his very small and poorly laid out bedroom (the window and doors are far from optimally placed, which is why the loft is actually in front of the window).  Yes, it's small, but at least it's his!

So far, he's loving it!
Bubby and friends :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

10 Things: Spiritual Things

A couple of weeks ago, our pastor preached a very timely message with regards to my personal mission to find space in my life by releasing at least 10 things every day until the end of the year.  The scripture was from Genesis 32, Jacob wrestling with God.

The pastor started out talking about change, and how hard it is to change.  He challenged us with the question, if you were told that you needed to change or you would die, beyond the shadow of a doubt, would you change?  I think most of the folks there were kind of nodding to themselves, saying, of course I would!  But I was like, nope.  I mean, I've been told over and over, and I believe it, that by being overweight, by not exercising regularly, and by gorging on sugar I'm shortening my life, but have I changed?  Nope.  I have good intentions, a good start, but then something or another gets in the way, and its back to sitting around feeling sorry for myself and engaging in emotional eating, trying to fill the God-shaped hole in my life with food.  It is just so hard to change, even to save my own life.

Dan went on to tell us that studies have shown that less than 10% of people actually will make a change when faced with that situation.  I totally believe that number.

Then he said that studies have shown that in the U.S., charitable giving, as a percentage of income, decreases as income increases.  In other words, people who have less money are more generous.  And here's where he started talking about clutter.  When our incomes rise, we come to believe that we are responsible for our own success or failure.  We come to believe that our security depends on holding on to as much as we can: money, possessions, even time, rather than depending on God's provenance and grace.  We begin to hoard what we have rather than trusting that God will provide everything that we need.

So what does that all have to do with Jacob wrestling with God?  Change is hard.  If you remember the story, Jacob would not stop wrestling until God blessed him, and in the process, God changed Jacob's name and the course of his life.  God wants each of us to live a transformed life, he wants to change each of us, but we need to be willing to wrestle until God blesses us.  We can change, if we only trust less in our power and more in God.

My friends, are you trusting in your possessions to secure your future?  Are you holding on to things you don't really want or even need because you might need it someday?  Or are you trusting in the One who cares for the birds who do not sew or reap, but are fed, and the flowers of the field, who do not labor but are clothed in splendor?  God cares for you so much more than the birds or the flowers and God will provide for your needs. 

With what do you need to wrestle?  With what are you trying to fill the God-shaped hole in your soul?

Click here to see all of the 10 Things posts.


22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.

28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.

30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”

31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip.
Genesis 32:22-31

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thankful

A couple of my Facebook friends have been posting one thing they're thankful for each day in November and it's been fun reading their posts every day.  The other day, one of my friends posted something that made me think:
Day 21 thankful for my TEETH!!
As most of you know I've always made jokes about my big "horse" teeth...well after today I will never ever complain again again[sic]! I will be minus one as of 9:15 this am! YOU NEVER KNOW HOW MUCH THEY MEAN TO YOU TILL THEY TELL YOU IT HAS TO GO!! YUCK!!


It's so true, isn't it?  You never know how much something means to you until you don't have it anymore. 

We all have things about ourselves, our lives, that we don't like.  Maybe you think your ears are too big, or your legs are too scrawny (not a problem around here, let me assure you), or your nose is lopsided (I swear it is, especially if I stare at it in the mirror for a really, really long time).  But at least you have ears, legs, and a nose.  Maybe you hate the stains in your carpet that seem to materialize overnight, or the fact that you don't have carpet, or the way the doors are set up in your house so they bang into each other all the time, but at least you have a home.  Maybe you hate the way your kids fight with each other, or delay their chores hoping that you'll forget, or whine, or expect you to buy them the latest everything, but at least you have kids and they're healthy.

And maybe...maybe you have none of these things.  You still have reason to be thankful.

We are so blessed.  We are blessed, even when our blessings seem ordinary--let's not take those blessings for granted.  We just celebrated Thanksgiving in the U.S.  Let's continue to be thankful, friends.  Every day.  Let's not become complacent in our gratitude, but remember to be thankful in every circumstance: the good, the bad, and the ordinary.

16 Rejoice always,
17 pray continually,
18 give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Peace

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Just thought I'd give an update on how we're doing with all the boys in separate bedrooms.  The short answer?  Fabulous. 

Bubby has adapted so well to being in his own room and has quickly learned to stay in his room until 7 a.m., or at least to cheerfully return when his parents tell him to (this morning he woke up before 6 to use the bathroom, and around 6:30, he came in and told me, "mom, my clock should say 7 by now, but it doesn't!"  That hour was an exceptionally long time to wait!)  He has become so much more independent just in the past week, getting dressed completely on his own (before I was picking out and laying the clothes out for him), showering and drying himself on his own, putting toys away on his own.  The key for him is that he no longer has to go into the basement to do these things; it's no big deal to just walk down the hall instead.  And his confidence has grown as well.

I was worried about MC, I'm not going to lie.  He's afraid of the dark, afraid to sleep alone.  He has never, in his 9 plus years of life, had his own bedroom.  But I have not heard one peep from him this week complaining of being afraid.  And I know that he loves having his own space, one where brothers may invade only when invited.  MC has long needed a place of refuge and retreat--he, like his mama, just cannot bear being with people all the time--and finally he has one.  MC is eagerly anticipating the building of a loft bed so that Bubby can have the bunk beds.  Hubby has already started cutting lumber, and I think it's totally realistic to believe it will be done by the end of the year.

The most drastic change is the peace that marks our mornings now.  I no longer wake to hear yelling and door slamming at 6 a.m.  It is such a relief to know that, at least between 8:30 p.m. and 7 a.m., we will have peace in our household.

There is still a lot of work to be done to complete the transition, mostly relocating stuff, but it has been so, so worth the effort.  Peace. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Another chance to not take over

OK y'all, so remember how I told you the other day that I was ashamed at how I had taken over AKD's cooking project for his Spanish class?  And how I hoped to do better next time?  Well, next time came sooner than I had anticipated.  AKD made the Polvorones de Canele on Monday, and on Thursday he decided he wanted to make egg-less cookie dough.  Egg-less so it can be eaten raw without fear of contracting salmonella from contaminated eggs.

My friends, you would be so proud of me.  I didn't take over, not even once.  Even when he spilled flour all over.  And then spilled brown sugar all over.  And then spilled milk.  It was a very spilly day for him, apparently.  I told him I was available to help, and then I just sat and read off the ingredients to him, because that's how he wanted me to help.

Enjoying raw cookie dough--not sure why my husband looks so angry about it.

Shew!  All is well with the world again.

The recipe--it really did taste just like cookie dough (not that I have ever eaten raw cookie dough or anything).  I would encourage AKD to use a little less brown sugar next time:

Cookie Dough without Eggs (from WikiHow)

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt (not needed if you're using salted butter)
  • 3/4 cup of melted butter (if you don't have butter, you can also use margarine)
  • 1 cup of packed brown sugar (if you don't have brown sugar, then just use a cup of white sugar and a tablespoon of molasses, maple syrup, or honey.
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract (or any other flavor you want)
  • 4 tablespoon milk (this is substituted for eggs)
  • *OPTIONAL* Any amount of preferred mix-ins. (chocolate chips, nuts, fruits, or anything!)

  • Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. That's it!  Enjoy!

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

    Taking Over

    I messed up the other night.  You know, when we were making the Polvorones de Canele?

    Not even a month ago, I told y'all about this book I read that was totally inspiring, and how every time we do something for our children that they can do themselves, we are sending them the unintentional message that they are not good enough--that we can do it more efficiently, faster, better.

    And I believe that, friends!  I so want my kids to learn to do for themselves, because I am not planning on being around to pick up after them, cook their meals, run their errands, and drive them places forever.  I want them to know that they are good enough.

    But I couldn't help myself.  I was annoyed that AKD hadn't been more proactive in making sure he had what he needed for the fiesta, and I wanted those cookies done before Dancing with the Stars began. 

    {That's right.  I watch Dancing with the Stars, and I will be sorely disappointed when it's over for the season.  It's the only child-friendly, and even remotely interesting (to me) show that's on Monday evenings.  And I must watch TV on Monday evenings so that the laundry will get folded and put away--we're gonna be in bad shape as far as clean clothes go after the finale.}

    I literally took the spoon and bowl out of AKD's hands to stir the dough.  I kept telling him to get to this step or that step and to hurry up gosh darn it.  Never mind that he didn't really need my help at all.  He is perfectly capable of reading and preparing a recipe, especially one so simple, on his own.  So what if it takes him longer?  If his cookies still hadn't been done by bedtime, I could have taken over at that point. 

    Ugh!  I was like a crazy woman, knowing that what I was doing was wrong, but unable to take a step back from the situation.

    I just hope, now that it's done, that I can undo the damage.  Lord, help me.

    I've linked this post up to the Parent 'Hood.  Come on over and join us.

    Monday, November 19, 2012

    10 Things--How To Declutter--Matters of the Heart

    By now you know that I've set a goal for myself to remove 10 things from my home every week day until the end of the year (click here to read all of my 10 Things posts).  I'm still going strong, but I am amazed at how little things seem to have changed around here.  I'm going on my 4th week, which means I've released more than 150 things, big and small, but you can't really tell by looking around.  Rather than being discouraged by this, it's made me realize how little I miss those things, and it makes me wonder why I held on to them for so long.

    As you probably know, emotional attachments and feelings of obligation are one of the biggest stumbling blocks to releasing superfluous stuff from you life.  We come to associate objects with emotions and people and relationships, and it feels treasonous to toss those things away.

    Let me tell you how this whole 10 Things thing got started for me.


    I have a collection.  It's a collection of beautiful things that I love to look at.  It's a collection of things that people I love have given to me over the years.  But.  But, I had nowhere to display them--there were so many of them that they didn't each have a place in our home.  And so, I placed them here or there, kind of haphazardly.  And it made me unhappy to see them that way, just so much clutter on a shelf.

    My brain told me I should release some of them so that I could display the ones I had left in a pleasing, attractive, non-cluttered-looking way.  But my heart told me that I couldn't just callously discard these gifts from people who love me.  I know how much thought and effort and love I put into giving gifts, and I couldn't just toss out all that thought and effort and love that someone put into a gift for me.  And so, I felt stuck.  This collection, which is beautiful, which I love, came to be a symbol for everything that I don't like about myself, my life.

    I really was stuck.  I knew something had to change, I just didn't know how to get over the hurdle of emotional attachment.  Until one day, I had a conversation with some friends.  It wasn't a real conversation--it was all in my head.  In fact, I think some of my facebook friends got a chuckle out of my post from that day: "Totally just resolved an issue that's been nagging at me by having an imaginary conversation with (real) friends..."

    But I imagined talking about my collection with a couple of friends, and imagined what they would say.  I imagined what I would say if someone asked me.  Amazing how it's so much easier to see the truth in someone else's situation, isn't it?

    So I imagined my one friend told me that the object is not the person.  The object is not the relationship.  The object is not the emotion I associate with it.  I will still love and have a relationship with the person who gave me the object, even if I release the object.  This is true, by the way, even if the object is something given to you by a beloved relative or friend who has passed away--you will still have your memories and emotions and relationship even if you release the object.  I can totally see her saying that to me.  Maybe I should ask her if she really would.

    I imagined my other friend, who, by the way, gave me some of this collection, told me that the givers of these gifts intended them to bring me pleasure.  That they would be appalled to learn that they were instead bringing me grief, and they would insist that I release the things that were causing me harm.  I can totally see her saying that, too.


    So I knew what I should do.  One day, a couple of weeks ago, I sat down with my collection, and I pared it down to my very favorite pieces.  It wasn't easy.  But I know that I wasn't discarding relationships--I was making more space in my life for real relationships with real people by letting go of these things.  And with each piece chosen to leave my collection, my soul felt lighter and brighter.

    I don't really miss those things.  In fact, the next day I decided to release a few more pieces.  I feel peaceful now when I look at my collection that is smaller, but beautiful--just my very favorites.

    I know it isn't easy, and for some of us, it's definitely harder than others.  But I want you to know, friends, that it is so worth it, to really examine your feelings surrounding your stuff, and to shine the light of truth on it.  It's just...stuff.  And stuff can imprison, if you let it.  You can do this.

    Friday, November 16, 2012

    One Day

    One Day at Hollywood Housewife
     
    I heard about The Hollywood Housewife's One Day challenge through Vita Familiae and thought it would be fun to participate. The idea was to document one day, this past Wednesday, November 14, of my life in pictures. Since I know that next year, with no preschool children at home, my days will look quite a bit different than they do today, I was excited to create this digital scrapbook of the ordinary details of one day. 

    I discovered that while most of my days are ordinary, there is no "typical" day for me.  And you know, I kind of like it that way :)

    6 a.m. I hear singing coming from our preschooler Bubby's new bedroom, right down the hall from ours.  He makes it until 6:17 a.m. before bursting out to announce, "there's a 7 on my clock!"  Poor Bubby.  There was a 7, just not in the right place.

    6:20 a.m. Our 7th grader, AKD, and Hubby are out the door to the bus stop, and I'm out of bed into the shower.  It's hard to leave my warm fuzzy flannel sheeted bed, but the children will be up soon, so I'd best get started.

    6:35 a.m. The phone rings.  It's AKD calling from the bus to let us know he left his swim stuff at home.  Could we bring it to him?  Good thing those other parents let their kids bring cell phones on the bus.  And good thing Hubby answered the phone instead of mean mommy, who might have told him to go without.

    6:45 a.m.  Reading 1 Corinthians 12, and wondering what my part is.  Am I a foot? A mouth? A stomach?  Looking forward to chapter 13 tomorrow.

    6:55 a.m. My customary breakfast of oatmeal with skim milk and chopped walnuts and a big glass of cold water.  As per usual, it will get cold before I can finish it due to various demands from my offspring.

    7:35 a.m. Three of my favorite boys.  I L O V E the view from our dining room windows, especially as the sun rises.

     9:40ish a.m. Leaving school after a meeting at which a bunch of professionals informed us that our 4th grader, MC, meets the criteria for an educational diagnosis of autism.  Mixed feelings.  Sad to have slapped a label on my child, happy that he is eligible for additional educational support, hopeful for a brighter future for my baby, fearful that his challenges will overtake him, frustrated that it's taken this long.

    9:45ish a.m. 10,000 Reasons is playing on the way home.  I am blessed in so many ways.  "Let me be singing when the evening comes..."

    10:15 a.m. Bubby's watching Mighty Machines while I knock out a quick blog post.

    10:30 a.m. Picking toys to bring upstairs to Bubby's new bedroom.  What with this move and purging a ton of toys last week, we might be able to repurpose this treasure chest to hold the linens and pillows displaced by Bubby's move.  Finding new places for everything we had stored in what was previously the guest bedroom is providing me with hours of mental gymnastics, as well as some great exercise as I'm carting the downstairs stuff up and the upstairs stuff down.  Fun.

    11:00 a.m. Excavating.  The machine says, "let's move some rocks." We choose to believe it's saying, "let's move some blocks."

     11:35 a.m. Outside to blow bubbles, but first, some bowling with a pumpkin we've discovered has gone mushy.

    11:53 a.m. A surprise by our front door--I wonder how long that's been there.  We don't use that door very often... We get another surprise a few minutes later when the mailman arrives with a package too large for our mailbox.

    11:55 a.m. Bubby's typical lunch of an open-faced peanut butter sandwich, banana, and milk--outside of course, even though the temp is 40 degrees and the sun has gone behind a cloud.  I have soup.  I make a silent bet with myself that I will still be having soup for lunch just about every day next year at this time.

    12:30 p.m. Finally getting around to writing thank you notes for birthday gifts.

    1 p.m. I am so tired.  Hoping and praying that Bubby will actually sleep during "rest" time this afternoon, and wondering if I can move its start time up half an hour or so.  I quick hop online while Bubby plays by himself for a bit.

     2 p.m. Time to read a book.  Dinosaur Train, of course.

    2:09 p.m. It's finally rest time.  I'll read in bed and maybe end up taking a nap.  On my nightstand currently: The NIV Study Bible, The Meryl Streep Movie Club by Mia March, Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John McArthur, and Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa Terkeurst.

     3:06 p.m. AKD is home and rest time is over.  Time to clean the bathrooms and find 10 things to get rid of.  The pile's getting pretty big.  Maybe I should revise the size of my donation on the gooddonor website.

     4:09 p.m. I'm attempting to get as much prep work for supper done as I can before MC comes home from school, so I can concentrate on helping him transition from school to home when he gets here,

     while AKD is doing this and Bubby is doing this.  Oh yeah, this is mother of the month stuff going on right here--one's rotting his brain with screen time and the other is doing potentially crippling stunts involving the couch and a balance ball, unsupervised.

    4:25 p.m. MC is home and doesn't have homework (yay for a day off from homework).  As I continue to prepare supper I glance out the window and see these deer.

    4:37 p.m. Outside playing trac-ball 500 with the boys--it's getting dark already.

     6:15 p.m. How does this even happen? Supper's done and Hubby has swooped in, grabbed AKD to take him to FROG and I'm left with this.  And two children who can't seem to get along.  There's even more on the other counters--dirty dishes, not children, thank God. 

    9:00 p.m. The kitchen is (sort of) clean, all the boys are in bed, and I start in on the third item on my to-do list for today: vacuuming.  The other two were finding 10 things to get rid of and writing thank you notes. (I did it!)

    10:30 p.m. After conking out on the couch for half an hour watching the news, I head to bed, exhausted.  Ready to rest and get up to do it all again tomorrow.

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