Thursday, November 4, 2010

Crafty October

Before I share my crafty pictures, let me just say that I'm really liking our new staggered bedtimes.  Last year at this time, all three of our boys were supposed to be getting into bed at the same time, which was actually fine when we had two parents around--two bedrooms, two parents--but was not so much doable when I was parenting solo.  Now, we put the youngest to bed, then put the next youngest to bed 15 minutes later (a little strange, as they're sharing a room, but it works), and then the third youngest goes to bed 15 minutes after that.  It's so nice to be able to get everyone read to, and everyone into bed "on time," while also being able to keep the distracted ones on track, even when my partner in parenting isn't around.  In fact, sometimes, even when we do have two parents around, one parent (Sawblock) does all of the bed-putting-in, giving the other parent (me) a much appreciated break.  Ahhh.  It is so refreshing to find a routine that works.
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And speaking of routines that work, I am also loving my Five Dinners in One Hour free trial week.  I don't want it to end.  Michelle, the author of 5 Dinners in One Hour, has developed menus that allow her to prepare 5 dinners in 1 hour.  She sent me a free trial menu that includes recipes for things like turkey bacon swiss croissants, slow cooked Asian pork chops, and black bean and corn quesadillas, a grocery shopping list, and instructions for how to put together 5 meals in just one hour.  And it's not just the main course--each meal is nutritionally balanced, with protein, starches, veggies, and fruits--yum!  I put together 4 of the meals yesterday in less than an hour, including the time spent getting all of my supplies out AND cleaning up.  Each day, there's minimal additional work to be done to get the meal on the table, but I've got all of my meals just waiting for me in the fridge.  Talk about's nice to have all of these meals waiting for me at the end of a long day, but what's even better, from my distracted, full-brain perspective, is someone else telling me what we're going to have, and someone else making my grocery list.
If you want to try it, you can get the free trial week menu here.
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And now, the moment you've all be waiting for...
OK, maybe not.

A wonderful thing has happened in my life.  The integration of Pal into our daily lives has spurred me on to more creativity.  You see, I love making stuff.  Making stuff, I think, is what I like the very best in the whole world.  But making stuff, when you have small children, is...difficult.  If you try to make stuff without them, well, you have to figure out somewhere else for them to be.  I have such small chunks of time in my life that are child-free, that, by the time I would be able to get my supplies out and get started, it would be time to put it all away again because the children would be back. 

Making stuff with children, is even more of an issue, because the grown-up spends so much time setting up the craft, cleaning up from doing the craft, and policing the children during the craft to make sure that paint doesn't end up on the ceiling, or popsicle sticks don't end up glued permanently to the table, or pompoms don't get lodges in nostrils, that it just isn't fun, and it's soooo not worth it.  For instance, the other day, I spent 20 minutes setting up an art project, then about 20 minutes cleaning up the art project when it was over.  The next day, I spent another 30 minutes putting the finishing touches on the art project.  All of that, for about 20 minutes of kids being creative.

But Pal...Pal makes it worthwhile.  Now I'm setting up and cleaning up for the same amount of time, but it's for two children, so I can divide my effort by two.  The other day, Bubby's friend Car came over, too, so I was able to divide my effort by three.  For instance, in my above-mentioned art project, sure, I spent over an hour on it, for only 20 minutes of kid activity, but it was 3 kids, so it was really an  hour of kid activity.  Much more worth-while (or so I tell myself).

Have I expounded on that enough?  Explained it into the ground?  Basically, having Pal around has given me a mental excuse to get creative with my kid.  Yay, Pal!

I'm not going to acknowledge each project, so let me just say that my inspiration this month came from:
Patrice, Erin, Tiffany, and Jessica at Lemon Tree Creations
and Maya at Maya*Made

Owl playset--yes, Hubby, I *am* saving the toilet paper tubes for something...

Bubby & Pal wore these pumpkin bracelets to a Halloween concert

Making fruit of the spirit apples
I love how the sun shines through these in the morning

Fingerpainting (isn't she cute?!)--I'm not sure Pal had ever fingerpainted before--
she wasn't quite sure what to do, at first.  As you can see, she figured it out :-)
Thanks to Aunt Chip and Uncle Bubub for the fingerpaints
I love this one!  First we painted with watercolors on coffee filters (might as well, since we don't use 'em for coffee), then cut the filters into leaf shapes.  Next, Bubby and Pal cut paper bags into branch shapes (I got them started with the trunks) and glued them to a piece of paper in the shape of a tree, and finally, they glued the leaves onto their trees.
Here's the aforementioned time-intensive tree trunks kind of look like hands, don't they? 
Next time, I'll trace the kids' hands for the tree trunks. 
What am I saying?  Next time?!  Am I nuts? 
These are for tomorrow's project. 
Can you guess what we're going to do with them?
And that's not all...but it is all for now.  Gotta get some sleep so I'll have energy to guide those children as we transform our gourds tomorrow.

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