Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My Work is Never Done

This is what I suddenly today remembered about my school-is-in schedule.  My work is never done!  Summer was busy.  Very busy, in fact.  But I didn't worry so much about the work, I was just trying to keep up with the kids.  Now that school is back in, and they are gone all day, I am remembering how tiring it is! 

School-Time work: Things to be done while they are gone.  Includes all shopping (98% grocery, 2% stuff the kids need), all errands, doctor appointments, cleaning, baking, exercise, and all of my millions of projects. 

After School Work:  Includes sorting backpacks, helping with homework, making dinner, and general house clean up.

After Bed Work:  Work to be done after the kids are down, usually laundry or emails or craft projects. 

I remember thinking last year that my day never ends!  I get bits of down time throughout the day, but there is never a "stop" time or a specific change time.  Does any one else experience this?  What do you do to not feel overwhelmed by it all?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Going off the High Dive

Most of our summer was spent at the pool, and most of the time when we were at the pool, the kids were jumping off the diving boards. 

As a special treat, one day I took them to a nearby pool that has a 12-ft diving board.  They absolutely loved it!  A tiny bit of butterfly stomach, but no fear.  They spent the whole time we were there just standing in line to have another chance to jump off again!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Homemade Snacks

I mentioned in an earlier post that I will be sending all home made snacks this year- trying to completely eliminate all the processed junk that I sent last year (things like goldfish, animal crackers, peanut butter crackers, etc).

I feel like I need to give a disclaimer, because all the things on my list are not super-healthy.  There are several items that have more sugar than I would like, there is a high use of butter, etc.  However, I feel like anything I make at home is going to be better than things I buy, and I'm also trying to ease the kids in slowly- if I make things that they enjoy eating, they won't miss the other stuff.

I'm also restricting the really sugary things (like pudding or cookies) to one day a week.

Here is my list of snack ideas, along with any tried and true recipes/links:

  • Home made granola bar (haven't tried any recipes yet, but if I find a good one, I'll post it)
  • Cheese Quesadilla (my kids favorite snack)- sent at room temp
  • Banana bread
  • Pumpkin bread (recipe here)
  • Carrots (or other veggies) with ranch dipping sauce
  • Pretzels with peanut butter (the pretzels are store bought, but pretty healthy)
  • Applesauce (again, not homemade, but eventually it will be)
  • Fruit (apple, banana, peach, kiwi, etc)
  • Pizza rolls (recipe here)
  • Chocolate chip cookies (or other variety)
  • Muffins
  • String cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Hummus with veggies (I make my own hummus)
  • Pudding
  • English Muffin (recipe here- much tastier when made at home)
  • Chex Mix (home made)
  • Peanut Butter Balls (recipe here- I find they taste great as long as I keep the balls pretty small - about the size of a quarter- and cover them in chocolate.  Otherwise they are too dense to eat much of.)
  • Popcorn (air-popped, not the micro variety)
  • Soft pretzels (recipe here- I made these once already, and they got eaten so fast, we only had them for snack for one day!  I need to get another batch going, next time I will double it).
  • Peanut butter bar cookies (recipe here- ignore the bad picture, they are yummy!)
  • Fruit and Oatmeal bars
  • Granola bites (recipe here- I followed the advice in the first comment and switched the corn syrup for honey and added wheat germ.  I also switched the raisins for choco chips.)
There you have it.  My not-so-healthy-but-at-least-home-made list of snacks!  Any other ideas for me?

First Day of School!

Yesterday was back-to-school day for my 3 cute kids!  Even though they drive me crazy at times, I was really not ready to send them back- there was so much we hadn't done over the summer!  I wasn't finished with them! 

Nevertheless, school was starting, and so back we went! 
 They were so excited this first morning- jumped right out of bed, got ready super quick and easy- I'm sure that won't last long!
 Abigail is starting 2nd grade.  Wow- that seems so big!  She is ready for it, but I don't know if I am!
 Thank goodness we have the absolute best school!  I keep having thoughts of doing homeschool, but their school is so great- I just can't take them out of it!
 Jack is in the 1st grade.  He is more than ready!  He has one of his best friends from last year in his class, so that will be really fun for him.
 Our school started a dress code (aka uniforms) this year.  I was totally excited, and Abigail was all for it.  Jack and Aidan were quite sad that they could no longer wear their "soft clothes" any more.  They were not looking forward to waistbands and buttons and collars!
 Aidan is also in 1st grade.  He does surprisingly well at school.  He delights his teachers, and his teacher this year has a grandmother or something who is a civil war historian.  Talk about a good match!
 I had a VERY productive day- it is amazing what you can get done when they are all gone!  But of course I missed them like crazy, and I was very glad to see this sight- the day had felt very long!
 I'm happy to report they each had a great day and all came home on "green" (good behavior)!  Whew!  :)
 Although I was a little surprised that they each had homework the very first day- no mercy!  (Told you I liked this school)!  It was easy, and once I told them no tv until it was done, it got finished very quickly!
 It went well enough that they are all happy to go back tomorrow!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Major Summer Trip

Our big trip for the summer was to Idaho- we spent time in Boise, Sun Valley, and Twin Falls. 

We arrived at midnight, so we decided for the first night to get a hotel with a swimming pool- that way we could let the kids go swimming in the morning before heading to the family reunion in Sun Valley.

 It started out pretty great- as long as we can go swimming, the kids are pretty happy!
 Unfortunately, the happiness quickly dissolved into this:
 And we didn't last long at the pool.  Hmmmm... I guess the day before was just too much!
 Luckily we made it to Sun Valley without any incident, even managing to pack 10 bags, a cooler, a watermelon and $200 worth of groceries into the trunk of our Ford Focus. 
 The best part was seeing the family!  There were cousins we had never met, and the last time all the kids were together was when the boys were 1, so they didn't remember them.  I loved how quickly they all just meshed and became instant friends!
 Abigail has been interested in ice skating and took a class recently.  Sun valley has a year-round outdoor ice skating rink, so we had to take advantage of it.
 Jack, Abigail and I loved it.  Erik and Preston also hung in for quite a while. 
 Aidan made me pay for him to do, but he was done after 2.3 minutes.
 But it was worth it for Abigail, who loved it the whole time and only stopped when her leg had a huge raw spot where the boot was rubbing on it.
 Aidan enjoyed watching from the side,
 Then he and a few cousins got to get ice cream. 
 Preston, Bryce and Makayla shared our cabin, which was perfect for the kids.  They totally enjoyed each other and staying up late and sleeping all piled up in the same room.
Fun times with cousins are the best!  I'll post more about our trip later!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Swim like Fish

Still trying to catch up all the summer posts before the kids go back to school (in just 1.5 days! Yikes)! 

I would say the thing we did more than absolutely anything else is swim.  We bought passes to the city pool, and went along with my sister to her pool as well.  The first two weeks of summer, we were in the water every single day. 
Here we are with some cousins at my sisters pool.  The kids just loved the water, loved being wet and cool, and loved playing all the diving games, races, and "sharks and minnows".
 They all spend most of the time at the pool going off the diving board.  Abigail's favorite jump is to do a flip.  She also likes to dive.
 Jack loves to flip, do a can opener, or cannonball.  Aidan loves the pencil, or one he made up called the sitter (he jumps then sits criss-cross to go in).
 At the end of summer, Jack and Aidan actually went to a springboard diving class where they got to learn all kinds of new twists and turns and jumps.  They weren't the most technically accurate in the class, but they sure had fun trying!
 We all loved the pools this summer- the perfect way to beat the heat!

Friday, August 12, 2011

I tried to let it grow

I have been trying to get Abigail to grow her hair out.  I'm not trying for the super long look, but at least a little past her shoulders- mostly just to try something different and see if it would actually grow that long!

She prefers it short, and had asked several times to cut it.  I resisted, and was determined to let it grow.

However, there was one small problem that was driving me crazy.
 She developed the "hair in the mouth" habit.  Everywhere we went, every time I looked at her, that darn hair was stuck in that mouth. 
Finally, one day she was begging me to cut her hair short and I looked at her chewing on it, and agreed right then and there to chop it off.  I ran up and got my scissors, and started cutting.

I made her pull all different pieces to her mouth, and any that reached got cut again!  I'm hoping by the time it grows out again that she will be out of the habit and we can have a little length again!  At the last second, she begged for bangs, and I gave in... sort of regret that now, especially since I cut them way too short and made them look a little funky.  But when she looked in the mirror, she gave some shouts of joy, and said it was perfect, so at least one of us is happy! 

After she saw how cute it is, she started doing all these funny poses: 

This girl cracks me up!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Back to School Prep


Did you hear me?  MONDAY!

That is 1.5 normal days and 2 weekend days, and then it starts.

I am so not ready to send my kids away and not see them for 6 hours every single day.  On the other hand, I am SO ready to send them away!  :)  I wish they had half day 1st and 2nd grade.  Does anyone do that??? 

Today I am cleaning out their drawers- out with all the soft, comfortable, easy clothing and in with the "dress code":  all khakis and polos.  [poor boys]

I'm also prepping snacks... my goal is to send all homemade snacks this year- NO MORE goldfish/ cheese crackers/ overly processed junk.  I've been experimenting with recipes, and so far it is looking rather great! 

I think the kids are ready (except for dress code)- you know it has been a long summer when you offer to take them swimming and they say "no thanks"! 

4th of July at Lake Lanier

We decided at the last minute to take a little trip over the fourth of July holiday.   After a lot of trying to figure out where to go and what to do, we ended up at a resort/water park just a little bit north of us.  I had heard of it for years and years, but I'd never been there before.
We had so much fun.  The resort was fabulous, the water park was fun without being overwhelming.  The kids were big enough to ride all the slides they wanted to.  The resort was beautiful and had walking trails, a swimming pool and on Friday night they did a "dive in movie". 
It was so much fun to just get away with our little family and enjoy ourselves.  The kids were all amazingly behaved, and so was I.  :)
Q:  What is the only thing better than sitting on a fountain and pretending to pee?
A:  Having a twin brother to sit across from you and spray each other with fake pee!
The highlight of the trip was a dinner we had one night.  We asked around and got a recommendation for a place right next to a marina.  It was a few minutes drive from where we were, but we decided to go for it.  The restaurant was right on the water, so we got to see the lake and boats driving all around.  The restaurant had some live music, and best of all, a gigantic sandbox. 
The kids were occupied the whole time we were waiting, and then we made them come to the table and eat, then they ran right back into the sand and were busy and happy the whole time we were there.  It was a wonderful dinner for Kydon and I to sit and listen to the music and watch the water and eat delicious food. 
I'm going to remember the fun of that evening for a long time! 
The kids had a total blast on the water slides and rides.  They are all so brave!!  I was never that brave as a kid- actually, I'm still not that brave!  Those things make me nervous!  :)
I was happy to stand at the bottom and cheer them on, and Kydon was happy to join them on the rides!
We had such a great time, and everyone enjoyed themselves so much. 
I love these pictures of the kids all tired and wet and a little cold wrapped up in their special blankets from my mom! 

Nothing is as soft and warm as Grandma's blanket!