January 30, 2013

Alayna Turns Four

I was reading Alayna's birthday post from last year and thought to myself, "Self, you really out did yourself on that post! How in the world are you going to write one better?"

Then I realized I couldn't. So I'm not even going to try.

This blog can only handle so much greatness. 

I wouldn't want to overwhelm it.

But whether I like it or not, little miss sassy-pants Alayna turned four years old last week.

And if you know her well, you'll know that "sassy-pants" is an understatement of enormous proportions.

For breakfast, I thought it would be fun to make her some cute pancakes using cookie cutters!

Then I realized the only ones I had were made out of plastic.

Now, I consider myself a woman of some intelligence (no snarky remarks allowed at that one) and I knew I couldn't very well set plastic cookie cutters down on a hot griddle.

But did I let that little insignificant detail stop me? Pish... of course not!

And I must say, it worked rather well.

Although I don't know if they'll be sharp enough to cut cookies with in the future... eh hem.

When I first asked Alayna what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday, her initial response was a "Baaaaatmaaaaan caaaaaaaake."

Go figure.

Then the day before her birthday, I made the mistake of having her look over my "Awesome Cake Ideas" Pinterest board to see if there was anything she liked.

That's when she saw this.

I'm fairly certain I heard a chorus of angels singing as she gazed upon it. In that moment I knew Batman had lost to a swirly pop.

Poor Batman.

So the afternoon of her birthday, we got started on her cake.

Jacob was home from kindergarten by then and boy oh boy, was he ever sucking up to Alayna in order to get one of those chocolate cake covered beaters.

And she fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

Even little Claira enjoyed the spoils from my cake-making efforts.

Aannnnnnnd...... Wa-La!

Hey! Did. You. Just. LAUGH. At. It!?

Okay okay, fine. You can laugh. My cakes never do turn out how I imagine they will.

My one comfort is that Alayna exclaimed, "Oh mom, it's beautiful!"

Haha, hopefully she'll feel the same way in ten years when I'm still making botched birthday cakes.

We had to go through extra efforts to keep Claira away from the swirly pops.

 I didn't get it finished until the other kids were home from school, which worked out perfectly. Because then they could get started on decorating Alayna's birthday "tablecloth"... tablepaper... tablecovering?

Well, obviously it wasn't cloth.



Claira went above and beyond in her decorating efforts.

We had promised Alayna earlier on in the week that we could go to Orange Leaf for her birthday. It's a self-serve frozen yogurt place here in town that they kids just L.O.V.E.

But by the time daddy got home from work and we had dinner, we knew there wasn't time for both frozen yogurt AND cake before bedtime.

And yes, being the meany mom that I am, I made them go to bed at their usual school-night bedtime.

Anyway, the kids opted for frozen yogurt that night and cake for the next.

 Alayna was beyond happy with that arrangement.

And so were all the other kids.

My little brown-eyed girl.

And so, the next night our cousins come over to join in the great cake-eating ceremony.

Can I just say how much I love the kids version of "Happy Birthday"?

And I'm sure the kids loved the cake and all, but let's face it.

It was all about the swirly pops.

January 28, 2013

Just Another Evening At My House

It's almost dinner time and Hubby will be home soon.

Somehow in that last hour or so before dinner, all craziness breaks loose.

Like letting a dog into a chicken coop.

Or a bull into a china closet.

My children seem to believe that if they all congregate into the kitchen while I'm trying to make dinner, it will magically make dinner cook faster.

And when it comes to entertaining themselves, kitchen utensils are a usual favorite.

Spatulas become swords, whisks become wands, spoons become chew toys.

And it's all fun and games until someone pulls out the rolling pin. As soon as that kitchen utensil surfaces, it usually doesn't end well.

At this point I step in and encourage another form of entertainment. Singing and dancing ensues.

Which usually goes well until they start getting mad at each other  because they can't hear themselves sing over all the other "noise".


While the activity going on in this video may be a bit dramatic since they knew they were being filmed, I can promise you, it's not far from what they were already doing.

Welcome to a typical evening at my house.

P.S. Sorry about my bloggy neglect. It's been a long, busy week. Lots of hard things happening to friends and lots of "life revamping" going on around here. I will do my best to catch up this week though!

Hey! You in front of the computer screen! I saw that look! Don't look so pained, jeesh! My blog isn't THAT bad.

January 22, 2013

Toddler Tantrum Distractor


I had an absolutely fan-tabulous three-day weekend!
A few last minute plans and *poof*! My parents drove in from Montana and two of my siblings and their families drove up from Utah to hang out with their favorite daughter/sibling for the weekend.
I know I'm their favorite. If you don't believe me, just ask me.
It was So Much Fun.
As always.
Pictures coming soon!
Anyhow... I'm sure many of you have seen these "time out timers/toddler relaxers" floating around the web. I believe the original pin comes from My Crazy Blessed Life.
And while I pin a whoooole-lotta stuff to my Pinterest boards that are just sitting there collecting electronic dust, sometimes I actually make the effort to create something I pin.
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In my limited experience as a mother, I have come to understand how true it is that you simply can't logically reason with a little toddler ages three and under. They just don't understand and that's what makes their tantrums so hard and frustrating.
I read in a book once that a wise mother understands when toddlers are in this "age of no reason" the key to dissolving a tantrum is not discussion (or yelling) but distraction.
So when I saw these, I really wanted to make them as a "distraction" method of calming down my younger upset children. (and even my older ones if they'll let it)

In the original post, the gal said she had read lots of methods for making these using glass jars. Not wanting to use glass, she found these plastic water bottles at the store and thought they'd be the perfect shape and size for little hands. Plus they were plastic so you won't have to worry about broken glass.
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After having these around for a couple of days, I'd also like to say, be careful about leaving these out. I can just see one of my kids cracking the plastic and spilling glittery glue water all over the carpet.
I'm pretty sure I had a nightmare about it last night. *shudder*
  • After peeling off the label, there is sticky glue residue left on the bottle. You can use goo gone, (I used sol-u-mel) or some of the commenters said they just rubbed peanut butter or vegetable oil on the glue and let it sit for a few minutes then scrubbed it off.
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  • I went to Walmart and got two bottles of glitter glue. They also have ultra-fine glitter but I already had a ton of it in my craft supplies.
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  • With the blue glitter glue I added about a quarter bottle of green glitter, and to the silver glitter glue I added light pink, then decided I wanted a bit more color so added just a little bit of bright pink.
  • Be really careful not to use dark colors or it doesn't work very well. It just looks muddy.
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  • Empty the water bottles into another container and fill the bottles about 3/4 full of hot tap water. NOT boiling water and NOT lukewarm or cold or it won't melt the glue. So be sure to use HOT tap water.
  • Pour in the whole bottle of glitter glue and as much of the ultra-fine glitter as you think you need.
After I shook it up real good this is what it looked like.
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Then I made the pink one.
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  • The bubbles that appear at the top of the bottle didn't seem to want to go away, so I finally just had to squeeze out the bubbles so I could finish filling the water bottles with water.
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And wal-la!
  • I made the mistake of super-gluing the lids on before the water in the bottles completely cooled. So the bottles are a bit "dented" from the pressure. So be sure to wait until the water is cool before you super glue the lids on.
 photo DSC_0632_zps593a8d64.jpg  photo DSC_0636_zps2ca9ea7c.jpg

The kids were fascinated! They kept wanting to play with them all day!
I actually think this will work really well as a tantrum distractor.
I'm excited.

January 18, 2013

Indoor Reflecting Pool - Part Two

You know what they say about history repeating itself?

Well, I'm here to let you know, it's all true.

Alayna was the first one to create a custom indoor reflecting pool for our house.


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Now I'm not saying I'm anti-indoor reflecting pool, and I'm sure she was only trying to do something creative and nice.

Which in parental language interprets into: destructive and messy.

But she taught her protege well.


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It was all part of the plan.

First, Claira had a diaper blow-out, then cleverly smeared it all over the baseboards.

After I placed her in the tub I went to go clean up her mess, not realizing it was all just a distraction.

That's when she made her move.

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She doesn't even have the decency to look the least bit sorry.

Kids these days....

January 15, 2013

I Love My Bright Orange Industrial Ear Muffs

I know this may come as quite a shock to you, but it does get rather noisy around here on rare occasion.

Like 8,634,986 times a day.

Not bad really.


And on very, very, very rare occasions, it gets nerve-crushing, ear-splitting, brain-exploding loud.

Only about 592,378 times a day.

Hardly worth mentioning.


I suppose some people may wonder how moms survive such things without going stark-raving mad.

Well, I guess I can't speak for all the other lunatics out there, but I learned a little something from my dad.


My dad use to work construction in his pre-professor of economics days.

I have many a memory of when we eight children got a little noisy or out of hand (Not that I would ever do such a thing, it was all my siblings. If you don't believe me, just ask me!) he'd whip out these bright orange babies, place them over his ears, and no amount of screaming bloody murder or pot and pan banging would phase him.

He gave them to me a few years ago.

So, on that ever so rare occasion when the kids get just a teeny bit loud, I whip out my trusty industrial ear muffs, and I'm as calm as a summer's day.

Bang away kiddos, I care not!

Just in case I haven't mentioned it lately... thanks dad!


Just a tip for all you other moms out there, tell your hubby you're ordering your own pair today.

They encourage nothing but love and happiness in the family.

I'm not kidding.

Go get a pair.

They are awesome.

January 14, 2013

Monday Monday Go Away, Come Again Another Day

Hubby went out of town last night, so I stayed up waaaaay too late working on projects.


But I managed to flop out of bed in the most unladylike manner to get the kids up at 6:50am for school.

At 7:40am my phone rings. School is cancelled due to the  -14 degree weather.

I managed not to throw my phone or crush it with my impressively powerful arm muscles.

I could have slept in.


Don't worry, this is an old photo from summer, back when I pruned my raspberries.

I just wanted to show off my bulging muscles.

And now, son has plugged the toilet.

We're out of toilet paper.

Now we need to make a trip to the store in said freezing weather. All six of us.



Kids want to exercise with me, and all the while I keep hearing, "this is so easy" as I hyperventilate in the corner.

Jacob encourages me by saying, "You're doing good mom, just follow my lead!"



Now I'm taking a few minutes to write this because I don't think my legs will carry me up the stairs.

I think they hate me at the moment.

This is what happens when you deviate from your life's motto.


Guess I had better grab a few chocolate chips on the way to the shower.

You should all come check out this super fun "Made by Moms" auction! Lots of stuff on clearance!
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