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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Getting in the mood for

Valentines! That's right, I'm trying to stick to my goals and get ahead of things and that means getting a jump on Valentines Day. I actually have all the Valentines for the kids' classmates ready to go out - but that's another blog post. Today I wanted to show off the crafty cuteness from yesterday's little get together with a couple of my friends. Actually it was our second attempt for the month. Life being as it is, our first craft day last week was kind of a no-go and our reschedule only worked for half of the ladies that were originally in on the plans. No worries, I'm learning to take whatever life gives me (and use the no shows as excuses to have fun one on one with them later) and roll with it. And we all know that crafty with buddies, be it one or ten, is always a lot of fun. Yesterday was no exception. I really enjoyed myself and the crafts turned out super cute.
I did 2x4 pumpkins for October, and trees for Christmas, so when a friend asked if we could do Valentines crafts this month my first thought was "what can we make with a 2x4?" :) This is what I came up with.
I always regret not taking out the camera before everyone goes home because each one has it's own special look. This time in particular I really loved how the other sets turned out too. Remind me to take photos next time, someone, please!
I like my set so much I'm pretty sure I need to list some on etsy and share the love, doncha think?
And for our second craft, a Valentines themed shadow box. I'm really in love with this concept. Don't be surprised if you see a green version in a couple of months...

Linking to:

DIY projects and crafts

Made by You Monday at Skip to My Lou
Sumo's Sweet Stuff

Monday, January 23, 2012

Picky Eating Chronicles

I'm on a quest. A quest to get my kids to eat a wider variety of foods, so they can lead healthier lives, and possibly turn dinner time into something fun again. That's not too much to ask, right?

I have to admit that in the area of picky eating, we were doomed. I'm a picky eater. My husband is a picky eater too, only about different things. Where I won't eat ground meat or anything resembling eggs and would be happy to eat vegetarian more than half the time, he loves hamburger and steak but won't touch squash or strawberries and apples. Yes, I said STRAWBERRIES. He's the only person I know that doesn't like strawberries. Other than my son, of course. So as I said. We were probably doomed to have picky children, both through genetics and the fact that because we know how it feels to be on the other end of it, we don't pull the "eat what is put in front of you or you don't eat at all" card.

We do, however, realize that life could be much easier if the kids are willing to expand their horizons. You know, so we could go out to eat and actually have everyone find something on the menu that they like. So the littlest one doesn't rely quite so heavily on "dinner cereal" (our solution to not being a short order cook - if the kids don't want the meal we have fixed for dinner they eat the one (super healthy) cereal we have designated as the dinner cereal). And because they are both getting old enough that trying to reason with them actually works once in a while.

After much discussion and research we have now set out on our quest. Our first plan of attack is a series of rewards and a sticker chart. We want to go really heavy on the rewards here at the first, while they are really enthusiastic and willing. Later we'll switch techniques. I have a few up my sleeve and I'm sure I can find more as needed. For now, this is the sticker chart, which we have taped to the inside of a cupboard door in the kitchen. The kids add a sticker on the calendar each day that they try something new. We track which foods they have tried and whether they liked the food or not. Any food that doesn't go on the Like column will be tried at another time (see I've done my research and I know that sometimes it takes many exposures to a new item before a child is willing to try it or like it). We make a point of offering them something new to try every night at dinner (sometimes more than one) and sometimes at other points during the day. Sometimes we decide what will be the new item, sometimes they get to choose one.
The rewards are:
-Trying a new food 3 days in a row = they get to pick a dessert
-Trying a 5 new foods (doesn't have to be in a row) = fun activity
-Liking 5 new foods = $
And once both kids have tried 30 new foods each we get to take a family vacation to Great Wolf Lodge (indoor water park - it looks really cool and they'd better earn it soon because what's the point of going to an indoor water park in the summer?!)

And guess what?! It's actually WORKING! Tyler surprised us by jumping on board right away and trying more foods than Kaitlyn in the beginning. His enthusiasm has fizzled a little and she is now ahead of him in the new food count. But despite a little more nudging than I would like to have to use at times, and having a hard time sometimes handling our own disappointment when they won't try something we know they will like, I'm pretty happy with their progress. As of last night Kaitlyn had 16 things on her list (and only 1 or 2 she didn't like) and Tyler was up to 12. That seems pretty good considering we are only 23 days into the month.

I'll update with our progress and new ideas as we go. And if anyone has any additional suggestions of ways to make it fun, foods that I may not have thought of as kid friendly, or anything else along those lines - please share!

Monday, January 9, 2012

The List 2012

I have one more piece of "housekeeping" I need to do before I can fully start 2012. Update my Projects List! Do you see it over there on the sidebar with all those things crossed off?! Yep, I did TONS in 2011 (mostly on the house) and I'm so happy with how productive I've been. I want to continue that trend, (though a bit more slowly than before) and finish up a few more projects and rooms in the house this year.

Projects List 2012:
-Master Bedroom
-find new nightstands (brand new or refinish)
-new bedding: sheets, duvet, duvet cover, shams (Euro and King), throw pillows
-console table (new or refinish?)
-wall decor
-frame mirrors in all bathrooms
-wall decor in Craft Room
-shadow boxes for Sam's car collection (sun room)
-Living Room:
-console table
-wall decor
-when nightstands are replaced, move old nightstand into guest room
-something on wall above guest bed
-when we have console table in bedroom, move dresser into playroom for TV and storage (DVDs, Wii games, etc)
-give kids' table/chairs to Megan
-refinish nightstand from playroom (currently used as TV stand) for Ty's room
-Tyler's monogram wall
-new blinds for living room and craft room
-baby items/shadow boxes
-need to make more cards/tags for stash (esp bday and baby)
-sort/purge all toys
-kids arts/crafts supplies
-bookshelf in play room (sort books, display scrapbooks, storage solutions for kids magazines and supplies)
-go through all boxes in storage closets, purge/sort/put away
-figure out better storage solution for seasonal wreaths
-Spring Cleaning (detailed list later)
-new gate
-extend planter/flower bed on front side all the way back to the fence
-get grass to fill in in back yard (regular weed treatments, fertilizer, additional seed)
-add a few more bushes/flowers

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Word of the Year (2012)

(image credit)

Well it's a good thing one of my resolutions for this year wasn't keeping up with the blog or getting ahead of things (though maybe it should be) as I would have already blown that one :) I picked my Word for the Year a couple weeks ago but didn't blog about it yet. And you know it isn't real until I blog about it! (and put it out there where everyone can see and hold me accountable).

For those of you that have known me for a while (in person or online), you know that every year I follow Ali Edwards' example and select a word to use as my touchstone for the year. I spend some time thinking about where my life is, what I see happening in the next year, and where I could use the most help in focusing mentally/emotionally. This isn't a goal-setting activity, it's more about guiding my state of mind. As Ali says about her One Little Word:

"You live with it. You invite it into your life. You let it speak to you. You might even follow where it leads. There are so many possibilities." (you can read her entire blog post about it here)

So what did I see for myself in the coming year? I see it as a year of transition. My youngest will be finishing up preschool and moving on to Kindergarten. And as a Stay-At-Home-Mom that is something more than just a sign of a child growing up. It means a major shift in my every-day life. I actually see it as quite freeing, though bittersweet. There are just so many things lately that remind me of how quickly children grow up. But in between now and then is a lot of learning and growing for everyone.

So the word I selected for this year is:


Live in the moment. Appreciate the moment. My kids aren't getting younger - remember the moment. Take advantage of the moment. Capture the moment (photos). Quit procrastinating and get stuff done so I can better enjoy the other moments. :)...

Do you do a Word of the Year? Please share. Ran across a great quote that uses the word moment? Please share that too!