The little things

I can’t believe that I have neglected this blog for an entire year.  There were many days that I thought about writing a post.  I planned several of them in my head actually but never typed them.  I don’t really have an excuse nor do I feel like I need to make one up.  The truth is life got busy.  It is always busy with four children but I guess I didn’t anticipate all the extra things that would come up with more children in school.  I found myself volunteering in the classrooms.  There was more homework to proofread.  There was more lunches to pack and a new schedule to learn.  I hope I don’t sound like I am complaining because honestly I enjoyed the new routine but something had to give while I figured out how to juggle all the new stuff.

I realize most people what until the New Year to make resolutions but I am making one now.  It’s time for me to get back on track.  I believe I have worked out all the kinks on our routine and I armed with a plan to stay organized.  So I am ready to blog again.  I have so many things to share with you.

Today, I am keeping it simple.  As we prepare for our Thanksgiving Holiday I just want to say that I am thankful for the little things.  I am thankful that we are celebrating with a quiet day just our family of 6 and my Mom.  There have been plenty of big extended family gatherings lately and as much as I enjoy those it will be nice to have a relaxing day with my family.  I am thankful that although it is cold outside that the sun is shining bright.  I am thankful that we are all healthy.  I am thankful that I have learned to enjoy cooking  so I will prepare the Thanksgiving meal  for the 1st time ever.    I plan to sit back and really cherish every moment as we watch football, eat turkey, and just be together.  Those little things really do make great big memories.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Organized for school

The kids started school this week.  Yippee! Of course I will miss the boys while they are in class but I am so happy the arguing will stop and they will no longer complain about being bored.   Truth is my kids love being on a schedule.  They love riding the bus and meeting new friends.  They love to learn new things.  But most of all they love responsibility and going to school makes them feel grown up.

My oldest son started 3rd grade and then my 5 yr old started Kindergarten.  Both boys are attending a new school since we moved over the summer.  I have double the backpacks, lunches, and papers with two kids in school this year.  I knew I had to figure out a way to be organized in order to save my sanity.  Thankfully there are a lot of great ideas out there.  I read several blogs and also looked at pinterest for some inspiration.  We now have a backpack station, a homework board, and a menu board to keep things running smoothly.

I ordered a wall shelf with hooks to be my backpack station.  I needed something big enough for all 4 kids.  The younger kids love to carry a backpack like their older siblings.  Not to mention everyone needs a place to put their jackets.

Next on my list was a place for all the papers.  Between homework assignments, school info, karate info, and art work my refrigerator was covered.  Of course the papers would fall off each time someone wanted something to eat.  I took an old frame and removed the glass.  Then I bought corkboard and covered it with burlap.  Add some ribbon and letters for colorful decorations.  Last but not least I added 4 bulldog clips to hold the papers.   The first letter of my kids names spells home.  They put their papers on the clip under their initial.

My kids love to eat!  The moment they wake up they start asking what is for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I shop for groceries on a weekly basis.  I always have the menu in my head.  But I had a wall in the kitchen that needed something to add some color.  Then I saw this menu planner at Mom Colored Glasses.  I couldn’t make my recipe cards fast enough.  The kids can flip thru the binder to help me decide what to cook.   Then I arrange them in the order I want on the board.  But the best part is I no longer have to answer the question “What’s for dinner?” a million times during the day.

We are still adjusting to a new school campus.  We haven’t figured out the perfect time to arrive at the bus stop yet.  But I can honestly say we had a great first week!  I feel organized and ready to tackle the school year.  Do they look ready?

Extreme Makeover Lego Edition

I have a love hate relationship with Legos.  I appreciate the fact that they keep my kids entertained for hours.  I love that they use their imagination to build all kinds of things.   But I hate the mess when they are scattered all over the place and I really dislike finding them with my feet.  Some days I feel like my house has been taken over by  Legos.  After we moved into our new house it was obvious that we needed a new Lego station. The boys were using an air hockey table.  It was too big for their new room and with all the Legos spread out no one could play air hockey so it was wasted space.  I am not about to show you the madness underneath the table.

Thankfully one of my friends loves pinterest and she is always finding great ideas.  I was inspired by this post by I am Momma Hear me Roar.  Before I had a chance to change my mind I got all the kids to help me sort out the legos.  I am not going to lie. This process took  several hours and tested my patience.  I tried to look on the bright side so I reminded myself that my 20 month old and 3 year old were practicing their colors.  Once we got the legos sorted I still had to find the right dresser. As luck would have it  my husband found someone that was throwing away this cube.

This would fit so much better in the boys room.  I knew it was meant to be since this cube had 9 openings and we had 9 different colors of Legos.   After researching online I found some bins on Amazon that would fit  the 7 X 7 openings perfectly.  To make this find even better there was a used set of the bins for 10 dollars cheaper.

Last but not least the boys needed the perfect place to build.  They are constantly fighting over space.  Once again my friend found the perfect solution at That’s my Letter…a portable Lego tray.  My wonderful husband agreed to make trays for each of the boys.    We used Lego boards that we already had at home so the trays were inexpensive to make.

I am happy to report that the boys love their new Lego station.  They spend hours in their room playing.  There is no fighting since everyone has their own workspace with the Lego tray.  Now that everything is organized I think all those colorful bricks are pretty cool.

Wonder what the kids will build next?

Mom, Where’s your car?

I had no idea that almost 11 years ago when I got married that I would lose the garage.   I thought it would have lots of tools but silly me thought I would still be able to park my car.   Over the years my husband inherited an old Willys Jeep, and a corvette.  Later he purchased a quad.  Then after the kids were born there were bikes and scooters.  At that point I had given up all hope of ever parking in the garage.  It didn’t seem like a big deal to me when we were in Arizona.  I could live with the heat.  But once we moved to Oregon, I didn’t like scraping the ice off my windshield or getting soaked while buckling 4 kids into their car seats on the rainy days. 

When we purchased our new house my husband assured me that I would once again be able to park in the garage.  I will be completely honest, I didn’t believe him.  Happy to say that he proved me wrong. 

 Funny thing is when my youngest boy woke up this morning he was very confused to see the driveway empty.  He knew dad drove the truck to work but he then asked me in a worried voice “Mom, where’s your car?”  After I stopped laughing I took him to the garage so he could see.  Poor child had no idea that the garage was where a car should be parked.  Needless to say I am one happy girl.

Creating Memories during the Moving Madness

We got the keys to our new house almost 4 weeks ago but I still have boxes to unpack.  I can not park in the garage.  I have no photos on the walls.  Many people of asked me if we are all settled in.  I usually respond with the house is functional but not organized yet. Believe it or not I am okay with that.  Of course I would love for everything to be put away and for my house to look decorated but I also have 4 young children that need my attention.  During all of the moving madness my husband and I wanted to make the kids feel like they were part of the moving process and to make it fun for them.

We had a few minor repairs to do before we moved in furniture and lots of painting.  The kids couldn’t really help us paint so they were forced to stay downstairs in the playroom which only had half of their toys.  They did a really good job of playing together with only a few arguments.  Although I could have continued painting for hours, I knew it was time to stop for the kids sake.  Instead of finishing the master bedroom we spent the rest of the evening enjoying the pool.  The kids were beyond excited.  It was a great way to relax after working on the house.

The next weekend we had more painting to do.  My in-laws were very generous and watched the kids for us.  As we were driving to pick up the children my husbands suggests we sleep at the new house and take the kids swimming again.  I looked at him like he was crazy since we had not moved any furniture yet.  My husband explained that we would all camp out in the living room.  At that point I realized the kids would love it!  So we gathered all the sleeping bags and pillows along with their swimsuits before we picked them up.  When we told the kids of our plans they couldn’t stop screaming.  They thought it was the coolest idea.  I will admit it was not exactly a peaceful nights sleep for me but it was worth all the laughter and smiles from my children.

Maybe I will be able  to park in the garage this weekend after I unpack those last few boxes.  I probably won’t hang any photos on the wall until my Mother comes for a visit to help me in a few weeks.  But we have already created wonderful memories that I will cherish forever.  Those memories are what makes this feel like home sweet home even if my house is still unorganized.

The Next Adventure

Four years ago we made the decision to move to Oregon.  We have been renting the same house for those 4 years.  About 6 weeks ago we found a house that we wanted to buy.  Everything fell into place quickly.  Today is our last full day in our rented home.  Tomorrow the next adventure begins as we officially move into our new home.  This is a cool house with lots of yard for the kids to play,  a pool to enjoy during the summer, and an amazing view of the city.  This is a house we will enjoy for many years.  At the end of a busy day you will find me sitting on the back patio staring at this…

Kicking Karate Party

Interesting fact: 1 out of 900 people that start martial arts actually reach their black belt.

My son passed his test on May 12th, 2012 at the age of 8.  I thought that was a good reason to throw a party!  I love finding the perfect decorations and creating cool treats.  Of course I am an amateur when it comes to baking.   I certainly don’t have all the latest kitchen utensils and gadgets. I just sort of wing it.  Below are a few pictures of what I what I put together.

I found all the paper products(plates, napkins, cups, and tablecloth) online at Party City.  They were on sale for $1 per pack.  I could not have done better at the dollar store with plain solid colors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With shipping a karate gi cookie cutter cost $20.  I couldn’t bring myself to pay that price so I did them free hand instead.  My cookie decorating skills need some work.  I figured out I don’t have much patience for it, nor do I have any decorating tools.  But they are still cute and the kids said they tasted good which is all that  matters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used the lollipops as a party favor for everyone to take home with them.  This was my first attempt with chocolate molds.  It was pretty easy but more time consuming than I imagined.  I did the black belt first and let that set.  Then I did the rest of it in white.  I wasn’t brave enough to do different colors for the hands, face, or hair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The road to black belt took 4 years.  It was fun to look back and see how much my son had grown with this collage my Mom and I put together.  After the party my son asked if we could frame it.  The collage now hangs on the wall in his room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am so proud of my son for reaching his goal.  It was an amazing day!  This is him trying to steal some of the treats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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