Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dancing in the Rain

This picture is from Friday night at Camp Thue. Our plans were to rent the pool and have a family swimming party. Some of the kids put their swimsuits on hours before the party.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature had different plans. A thunderstorm came through and they cancelled the party. This didn't stop the kids from getting wet. They went out and played in the rain. They jumped in mud puddles and twirled in the rain. They had a blast.

Instead of whining and complaining about the cancelled party, they embraced the rain. In the pool they would have all went separate ways. In the rain, no matter their age, they played in it together. I think they will remember dancing in the rain. . .a lot more than splashing in the pool.

Today I am linking up to Emily at Chatting at the Sky for Tuesdays Unwrapped. To read more about finding joy in the mess of ordinary life, check it out.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Messy Art Party - Camp Thue Part 1

Here is the first activity we did at Camp Thue. I had visions of setting up a great tablescape for lunch pre-party. For some reason with this family it just never works. Half of the adults decided to sit inside. Nobody seems to all sit down and eat at the same time, etc. So, I just set up the food and plates and let them dig in.

After lunch I set up the art stations. I had eight stations for the kids to explore.
1. Feet Sponge Painting
2. Wall Mural Painting
3. Paint a Koozie
4. Bubbles
5. Sidewalk Chalk
6. Playdough
7. Finger Painting
8. Beading

At the end we tie-dyed t-shirts. I decided this shouldn't be a station because it was easier to do it all together.

Most of these kids do not get to do "Messy Art" at home so it was fun to let them get dirty. Here are some pictures of the fun.

Feet Sponge Painting. They started with sponges on their feet. That didn't last long. They took off the sponges and just used their feet to paint.

Wall Mural Painting. The kids kept wandering back over to the fence to add more to this masterpiece.

Paint a Koozie. These were the only non-washable paints that were used. The kids loved doing this and after they dried they used them the rest of the weekend. We didn't let the kids drink pop, but their little water bottles fit snug so they still were able to use them.

The kids had the most fun cleaning up the paint that they got on the sidewalk.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Afternoons in the Summer

We survived Camp Thue, barely, we are all exhausted. I will blog this week on the Messy Art Party, Horseback Riding, etc. It was a blast. The cousins went home tired, fed and a little bit dirtier than when they came, but I think they will all come back next year.

Of course today after the last of the family left, I wanted to sit in a comatose state in the chair and relax, maybe take a little nap. . .but that was not going to fly with the girls. They are just coming off of being entertained for three days so they want the fun to continue. It was either find them something to do or they would sit in front of the TV for the rest of the day.

We had already been to the swimming pool so I decided to dig out the Tempra Paints, pencils, drawing books and big white paper. I think it is important to put away the coloring books and give them blank paper so they use their imaginations. Of course I had to sit down with them and participate. They don't like it when I set out the supplies and leave them to craft alone.

Hopefully they are satisfied for a little while. I think their dad will be home from work soon, maybe he can entertain them this evening.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

If Only I had a Magic Wand

If only I had a magic wand, I would wave it and my house would be clean. It is a beautiful day out, (well besides the wonderful South Dakota wind), but I am cleaning like mad. I did decide to take a little break to blog a bit. I did promise an after picture of my closet project, but I cannot get blogger to cooperate with me and it will only upload upside down. I will have to try again later.

So today, I move on to another room, another project. I do have a deadline. Thursday night my husband's family starts to arrive so I am under the gun to get going. I didn't get my Spring Cleaning done that I needed to, so I am focusing on Summer Cleaning.

This is going to be our Annual Camp Thue. I wish my house was clean so I could focus on the fun stuff. I am planning a big Messy Art Party for my nieces and nephews and I would much rather be getting the supplies ready for that.

Hopefully by tomorrow, my house will be clean and I will be figuring out all of the activities that are going to make my house messy again.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Closet

I should be embarased to post a picture of this closet. But, I am not. It is reality in this Stay-at-home mom's house. This is my entry closet (that isn't in a separate entryway. It is in my dining room). It is one of the many tasks on my plate for this Monday. My husband's family is coming this weekend. Most of them come once a year. I am a little stressed over the tasks ahead of me this week.

I decided that I am going to take it one room at a time. You see, I am domestically challenged. I told my husband yesterday, "It isn't that I don't want a clean house, I love a clean house. The problem is, I am not sure how to get there." So I go to tackle the closet. I will post an after picture. . .that will be motivation to do a good job. First task: put away the winter coats, gloves and hats. Except for Nadia's one pair. She needs those for her freezies.

Second task: Trying to keep my kids from going to the pool today so I can get my work done at home. I might have to hire a babysitter. You see, I can never say, the pool isn't open today. In the below picture, the gray house behind my daughter, just beyond the fence. . .that is my house. My girls know exactly when the pool opens and when it closes. Now you can see why we spend so much time at the pool.

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Home Again Home Again

Well, we survived our trip to Hobby Lobby yesterday. . .barely. Our trip did not start out very well at all, it went from bad to worse. I ran around trying to get out of town so we could get home at a decent hour.

We had just left our house and my middle daughter said to me, "mom, why are you in such a hurry?"

Of course, just as the words came out of her mouth I saw the police officer. Sitting in his car just waiting for someone like me to drive down the street. I was going 30 in a 20 (not sure why that road is only 20 mph). So my goal was to be really careful about how much money I spent yesterday. . .well I spent $70 on a speeding ticket before I even got out of town.

We finally got out of town, no road construction on the bridge, this trip was going to be just fine.

Then I hear those dreaded words from my middle child, "Mom I think I am going to throw up."

I had her move to the front seat and I blew cold air at her. I told her to close her eyes. I tried everything I could think of. I should have just pulled over to the side of the road. Unfortunately on this drive through Nowhereland, there is not really any shoulders along the road. In fact, there is a lot of really tall grass. And with really tall grass in the Dakotas, by the river, is also, rattlesnakes. Especially this year with our high water levels. So, I didn't want to pull over. I should have pulled over. I looked over to her and she threw up. All over herself. Yuck. No extra clothes, no wet ones. Just a few napkins. Yikes.

We found an approach and I got her cleaned up as best I could. The seat and her hands got a majority of the throw up so her clothes were not as bad as they could have been.

We were getting close to town now and I thought we were going to get to the store, I would run in and get a new outfit for her and then we could start our shopping trip.

Then I hear the second most dreaded words in the car from my youngest, "Mommy, I have to go potty."

Are you kidding me. We still have this tall grass/rattlesnake issue. Only now we are about 15 miles from town. I plead with her to hold it and I will take her to the first gas station I see. We got about 5 miles from town and she said, "I'm going."

Crap. So now I have puke and pee soaked clothes, no extra outfits, no wet ones and I wanted to cry.

The only thing I could do is drive as fast as I could to the nearest Kohl's and find some new outfits. Of course, as soon as we got to the store my littlest said, "I have to go potty again." Well, I could not take her into the store with her wet pants so I made my middle child give her shorts to the littlest. Before we got out of the car my middle child said, "Get me something cute, you know I am picky."

We ran into the store as fast as we could. She was holding the shorts on because they were three sizes too big.We got everyone outfitted in cute clothes and I decided we were eating lunch at my favorite spot. No McDonalds today, I deserved a big bowl of pasta.

We did get back home safely. We did salvage the trip and have fun after all. Next time I head out of town, I am going on a Saturday and leaving the kids home with their dad!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Give Me Your Best Shot


Linking over to Lolli at Better In Bulk for Give Me Your Best Shot. I was trying to get a shot of the two of us by holding out the camera in front of us. This captures her personality perfectly.

Hobby Lobby Here We Come

Well, I am getting ready to load up my 3 and 6 year old girls for a trip to Hobby Lobby. Unfortunately, the nearest Hobby Lobby is 1 1/2 hours away. (And this 1 1/2 hours is through the middle of what my girls have labeled as "nowhere land". It isn't just slow traffic through a big metropolis. My cell phone doesn't have service and the towns are few.) But, this is a much needed trip. . .

I am excited to get out of my little town for the day, but shopping with my girls in tow always makes me a little nervous. Some trips are great. Everyone gets along and I don't end up with tons of extra packages. Some trips it seems that we are all almost in tears before we head home.

I am excited to get some supplies for the Outdoor Art Party and Nature Observation Stations that I will be hosting next week for my nieces and nephews. Plus I have seen some amazing Father's Day Ideas in blogworld that I need to get done before Sunday. (Last minute is when I seem to acomplish my best work).

Here is a shout out for some great Fathers day Ideas from Roots and Wings Co. I love this blog and they have a couple of ideas that I just have to try. Scroll down through the week, they have a lot of ideas.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Party planning

I am busy trying to make my plans for the second annual Camp Thue. All of my husband's family will be here for a weekend of entertaining. And I will be the one doing the entertaining. I am trying to figure out all of the activities, menus, etc. We have kids ages 2 weeks old to an 11 year old.

I know there are a lot of awesome bloggers that focus on kids activities and party planning. I need your help. If you have a blog or an ideas, post in the comments so I can head over to your blog and check it out.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Kids in the Kitchen

Yesterday I asked the girls to help me decide the menu for supper. They sat and flipped through the New Junior Cookbook from Better Homes and Gardens. Their decision was Chicken Fajitas and Gimme S'more (Please) Dessert.

They really didn't care about the entree. In fact, they let me do all of the work for the actual meal. They were only interested in dessert. It isn't easy for me to let them help in the kitchen, but I took a deep breath and we had a lot of fun. My middle child had a blast crushing the graham crackers with a meat mallet.

My youngest wasn't a lot of help, but she managed to sneak a few chocolate chips and marshmallows.

My oldest was the most help. She read the recipe, helped measure out ingredients and made sure everyone got an equal amount of tasks in the preparation.

The result: Thumbs up from everyone except the youngest. She just wanted more plain marshmallows and chocolate chips.

Here is the recipe for dessert, it was really easy to make and it tasted really good.

1/3 cup butter
18 graham cracker squares
1/3 cup sugar
1 12 oz jar fudge ice cream topping
2 cups tiny marshmallows
1 1/2 cups cold milk
1 6 oz serving size pkg instant chocolate pudding mix
1 8 oz container frozen whipped dessert topping, thawed
1/4 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chip pieces
8X8X2 inch baking pan (just a note. . .we used a 9X13 pan, we missed that direction, oops)

1. Put butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover bowl with waxed paper. Place in microwave and cook 40 seconds or until melted. Cover with waxed paper before starting the microwave.
2. Put graham crackers in a plastic bag and crush into fine crumbs. Pour into baking pan. Add the sugar and melted butter. Stir with a wooden spoon until mixed. (Save out 1/3 of mixture to crumble on top) Put into freezer for 10 minutes.
3. Remove lid from fudge topping. Microwave 45 seconds (we found this wasn't quite enough to have it really easy to pour. Pour over cooled crust. Sprinkle with 1 cup of marshmallows.
4. Pour milk into the large mixing bowl. Add pudding mix. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Use a rubber scraper to gently stir in half of the whipped topping. (save the rest for a future use). Pour onto marshmallows. Spread evenly on pan.
5. Sprinkle with remaining marshmallows, the saved cracker mixture and the chocolate chips. Cover with foil and freeze for at least 1 hour.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Surprise Visit

Yesterday my husband's dad made a quick trip out to see the girls play softball. The weather was not the greatest, but he did get to see them play a little bit. After the games he took everybody out for ice cream. Bonus.

Today he went outside and played catch with the girls. The girls were so excited to have him here. With their grandparents in different towns 3 1/2 hours away they miss out on a lot of the day to day activities they are involved in.

I am linking to Tuesdays Unwrapped over at Chatting at the Sky. This surprise visit from Grandpa was a wonderful gift for all of us.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Left Behind

It amazes me that my two older girls are 8 & 6 and already I am not cool to be around. Their friends trump me every time. . . So yesterday they both had opportunities to spend the day with their friends. They took the opportunity and were gone before I could object.

I love it that they both have so many friends. . .but we always have one problem. The little sister that gets left behind. She is 3 and she does not like it when her sissies leave her. She starts to ask five minutes after they leave, "Can we go pick my sissies up now?" It breaks my heart. She was stuck with me all day so I tried to entertain her the best I could while still trying to get done a few things around the house.

I have to share a few pictures from our day.

At least she wasn't shooting me with the water. She told me she was drawing pictures on the sidewalk.

Isn't it amazing that you try and try to teach them how to pedal and they don't get it. Then one day they just get on the bike and ride it????

After all of our fun she wanted a freeze pop. I wondered why she asked me for her Dora gloves. . .

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Trying to Get Organized

I would love to blog about how organized I am as a mother. . .but I can't. I have millions of ideas running crazy in my head, but there is not a lot of organization up there to get all of those ideas accomplished.

This summer when I was looking for idea books for our summer of fun I came across a book called, The Family Manager's Guide to Summer Survival by Kathy Peel. I decided I needed to add it to my cart at Amazon and see how I am going to survive this summer.

I am so pleased that I got this book. There are tons of really great ideas. That is a bonus. The best part of the book for me was the section with the Summertime Development Chart. She encourages you and your spouse to come up with some goals for each child. She bases these goals on Luke 2:52. She says, "Luke 2:52 says that when Jesus was a young boy, he grew in wisdom (intellectually), stature (physically), favor with God (spiritually), and favor with man (socially). So you set four goals for each of your children based on these four concepts.

I think this is a great idea. I do not want to over organize my kids' free time, but they do need a little guidance. For example, my middle daughter is learning how to read and we really need to keep working with her this summer. Her intellectual goal will be to improve her reading skills.

I am so excited to sit down and make some plans, but I wanted to share this awesome find. I will share more after I have some time to develop my charts.

Have a great Thursday!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Daisy Flower Power

I am headed with my Girl Scout Troop to Day Camp today. My troop is Daisies so we don't go overnight, we just have a little four hour camp. Last night my 6 year old and I had to make some S.W.A.P.S. to exchange with the other girls. We had never done an event before so we did not realize that S.W.A.P.S were part of the deal until last minute.

She made bee pins out of pipe cleaners and craft foam. They really did turn out cute and they were pretty easy to make. I did all of the hot glue gun work so she couldn't do them all by herself. Below are the instructions for the project. Now hopefully the rain will stay away today for this outside event. . .

Cut a black and yellow pipe cleaner in half.

Wrap the pipe cleaners around a pencil side by side.

Cut out wings from white craft foam paper.

Hot glue the wings and eyes to the pipe cleaners.

Hot glue the pin to the back of the wings.

Bees are ready for the SWAP.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Girls are Mean

Yesterday I had my first experience of being the mom of a kid that was bullied. I sent my little (8 year old) to softball practice. She is old enough this year that she practices with 8-12 year old girls. My oldest is a little athlete, but she is only 8. This is her first year out of t-ball into the "bigger" kids league.

She had her first practice of the summer and it was horrible. The softball field is across the street from my house so she went over on her bike. There was about 15 minutes left when she walked in the door. I could tell something was wrong. She burst into tears and said that a couple of girls were being mean to her.

She said she missed catching a couple of balls and they started saying stuff to her, and they wouldn't drop it. Oh, my mama bear instinct came out. I kept myself from marching over there to give the girls and coaches a little piece of my mind. She calmed down and was fine, but I was still so mad.

I am a parent that believes that sports can really teach my children some valuable life lessons, if they are done correctly. Sports can give children the opportunity to build confidence and be healthy. I believe that some competition as children is good for them. However, I also believe that if they have bad experiences as young children with sports, it can ruin their experience with sports for life.

My hubby and I love going over to the ball field with our girls to throw the ball around and help them learn the game. I wanted to share a few pictures of our last trip over to the field.

The oldest gets a little bored waiting for her sisters to actually hit the ball. . .

The baby was mad because we were giving her older sisters a little too much attention. Oh well, she was still having fun.

Our middle girl is learning to hit the ball without the tee.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Kick Off to Summer Party

Well! We all survived the Party. Every year I let the girls celebrate a Kick Off to Summer Party. This year I did the party for both girls together. So. . .there were 22 girls in my backyard. (I don't have a very big backyard). It was crazy, but it was a blast. We decided to do a camping theme this year. We didn't get real fancy with the invites since we were having so many girls attend.

The girls wanted to help get ready for the party, but that lasted about 15 minutes and they were over it. Their contribution was the "No Boys Allowed (Except Dad)" Sign, that they insisted they needed. . .

We started out the party with painting ceramic bugs. (note to self: next time make sure I tell the moms to have their girls wear old clothes or have a lot of paint shirts).

Next we played Rainbow Tag. They had tons of fun with this game. I found the idea for this game in my Family Fun Magazine. We changed the game a little bit. In our version, nobody was "it", the winner was the one that found all six colors first.

Next up, we split them into four teams for a Scavenger Hunt. This activity did not take nearly as long as I thought it would, but they had fun with it. They found the items really fast.

Now it was back to the art table for Bagel Bird Feeders. My aunt gave me the idea and it was a hit. I found the instructions on Hearts and Trees Blog. Each girl got one half of a bagel. They spread the flat side with peanut butter. Next, they dipped the peanut butter side in a pie plate filled with Bird Seed. The final step was tying a string through the center of the bagel. I realized (a little late), that I should have tied them with the string before they put peanut butter on them.

Finally it was time for the Fire Pit. I got one of my friend's son to play his guitar and the girls sang along. After they screamed "No boys Allowed" a few hundred times, they did let him sing. It was great.

We finished the night with Smores. It did get a little crazy with sticks and marshmallows and fire. Thankfully some parents stepped in and helped us get it accomplished.

Here are a few pictures of the menu. We didn't do a lot of food because we started right after supper. We did Jello Jigglers, Butterfly Fruit-n-Cheese Mix, and Dirt Cups. I found all of my recipe ideas on the Kraft Foods Website.

I usually try to do cool goody bags, but I told the girls the guest list was a little bit too big for anything fancy. So I found a Journal Idea in Family Fun Magazine that I tweeked into a nature journal. I gave all the girls glow sticks, too. Then they had their painted bugs and bird feeders to finish off their treats from the party.

Another Summer Kick Off Party done. . .now I can relax until the Fall Birthday Party Season hits.

Good thing today I have a Girlfriends Day Shopping Trip Planned with no kids. . .I need it!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Party Day!

The big party day is here! 22 little girls running around in my backyard. (Well, hopefully. . .I am praying for no rain and warm weather).

Time to get moving. . .there is a lot to do before 7:00 pm. Can't wait to show pictures tomorrow of the party! Wish me luck.