Monday, January 30, 2012

Puffy Paint, Movie Night, and other Randomness...

Ah, Monday night... how I look forward to thee! I'm snuggled up at the library with my decaf coffee, laptop in my lap, feet on the table... it is quiet, calm... refreshing.  We had a busy week... I am realizing all our weeks are busy.  Lots happened! So let's get to getting... here are the pics and highlights!
I would like to start off with an amazing art project that we discovered this week.  It is home made puffy paint!  I am not sure where I found it (SORRY)... somewhere on the internet moments before the library closed.  In fact I only wrote down 1/2 the directions ... so I used logical reasoning to fill in the blanks!
This project is a perfect excuse for using lots of paint... 
the more paint the BIGGER the puff in the end!  
Ethan did such delicate painting I had to convince him to GLOB on the paint!
Here is the fabulous EASY recipe:
(It makes PLENTY... I only made 3 colors, but easily could have done more with a single recipe!)
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
(food coloring)

Mix water with the above ingredients until it is a smooth paste.  Divide up into containers (I saw some people used muffin tins (genius)) and then drip in a few drops of food coloring - mix.  Paint on thick cardboard... when they are done painting (before it dries) pop the painting in the microwave for 30-40 seconds.  It puffs... it is fabulous!
What a fun, CHEAP project!  I think I was more excited about this than the kids...
But they got into it too!  You should try it!  I loved how the colors looked swirled together!
Isn't this a cool project? (The painting on the left is Ethan's... it is exploding geysers and a guy riding a skate board... and Eden's is on the right.... what happens to the ceiling if you leave the lid off the blender!)
We made an apple pie for daddy... Ethan and Eden love to help and thankfully they are good helpers....
While we are working there is a hum of talking... constant talking... Ethan has created more words of his own then some people say in a life time.  He designs intricate plans for his next project and then describes every single line and circle with words I have no idea what they mean... his own little designer language.  Eden still thinks the best way to communicate is a shrill scream or cry... I think I will take the strange language to that noise... any day!
Quiet moments are rare... the calm after they go to bed is deafening compared to the chatter that fills the walls of our home on a daily basis.  One day I will probably miss this noise, but at this exact moment I am almost floating in the quietness!  Ahhhhhhhh....
Saturday is our official family day... this week we had a movie night... Micah and the kids created the "movie theater" while I cooked dinner... their pillows and piles cracked me up... it was super cozy!
For dinner I stole inspiration from my sister in law. She posted a recipe for calzone rolls... AMAZING.... (here is her blog and the link to the recipe! -- check out how cute her kiddos are!!!)  I should have used a bigger pan... oh well -- they still tasted good.... the cinnamon roll of pizza!
The goofball... "Momma, take a picture of me!!!"  This Sunday afternoon while Micah and Eden slept Ethan and I slipped away to the public library for a special presentation on Stuntology...  The guy (Sam Bartlett) did all sorts of tricks with simple household items.. like straws, nails, ping pong balls.... Each time he did a trick he explained how he did it.  Ethan was enthralled.  He kept looking at me with giant eyes exclaiming, "COOOOOL, Momma!  Did you see that!!!?" Let me tell you... once we got home we tried all the straw stunts... thankfully... thankfully... some are too hard for him to perfect... just quite yet!
We are started on another week... more to learn, more to do, more to grow.... I will leave you with these pictures... they crack me up.... A. Eden doesn't use a pacifier  AND B. Where did she learn to work out... I lock the door when I work out!!!!?
Lift um higher....
Feel the burn!
I wonder if she will have sore muscles in the morning?  

Have a great last few days of January!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Fun Stage...

This morning I felt like Cinderella getting ready to go to the ball... it is amazing how special an evening off is when you are a mom of young kiddos.  I wrestle with feelings that I am being "selfish" when I just want few minutes to read a book or a few seconds alone in my room (or bathroom for that matter) BY MYSELF...  It is amazing how full a day can be... busy fingers, busy feet, and BUSY mouths... the touching, chatter, mess, chaos and clutter day after day become reality... the norm -- but there is a "remembrance" of what it was like BEFORE... It never crosses my mind to GO BACK before kids, but there is a longing for personal space, making it a day without finger painted clothes (most days the "paint" differs... food, paint, play dough... other unmentionables!)... OR being able to take a shower without being scared to death by an uninvited little peeper... Wouldn't trade Mommahood for anything, but evenings off sure make it easy to handle the day ins and outs!
A few months back I found a fun blog that had an AWESOME idea for making fun (changeable) puppets (here).  I printed off the patterns and tucked them in my "later" file... this week was the week.  Ethan wanted to put on a puppet show for his Daddy.  I remembered these patterns and we got busy!  
It took us a whole morning to cut out all the pieces to our puppets -- but the kids were fully engaged the whole time.  Really this was a super easy project!!!
 After all the pieces were cut out we went to town decorating them!  
 Ethan loved changing the faces... he would just giggle at the super goofy faces.
 So... after nap time we took some boxes and made a puppet stage.  Ethan wanted to make a space theme so I cut out space ships, rockets, stars and planets for him to glue on.  I sewed the stage curtain and it looked great. 
 We brainstormed about a "plot" for his skit... but we didn't get very detailed... here is the actual skit he preformed for his Dad....
"Once upon a time there was a girl named "PeePee"... (a brief pause)  We shall call her Eden.  She blasted off into space and then came down to Earth again.  She then drove her car side-ways. The End" Micah and I were trying not to laugh... He is sooo funny to us!
This past week I talked with a lady from our Sunday School class who home schools her kids.  I asked her how she did it... and as we were talking she shared that they start by setting goals... and then figure out the best way to reach those goals (which curriculums to use, what activities to do... etc).  I loved that thought.  It made me start thinking about what are our goals?  I am good at keeping the kiddos busy... trying to present them as many opportunities to be creative... but I have often wondered how I can be more intentional...?
 This past weekend I bought a little Kindergarten workbook for Ethan.  It has simple worksheets ... like tracing letters (learning to write), simple phonics, numbers, shapes... etc.  He no longer takes a nap and so we have been spending time one on one every afternoon.  Most of the time it is fun teaching him things... although I would have to admit there is a whole lot of silliness mixed in that "learning" time...
 I have found that I haven't taught Eden as many things, but she seems to KNOW them.  I will hear Ethan teaching her the colors and letter sounds (and LOTS of other things... let me tell you -- he is a TALKER!).  Today as we were playing with our magnetic letters she held up the "K" and told me its sound.  She was right.  I started pointing to different letters and was AMAZED that she knew most all of the sounds.  
 I think Ethan has an astounding desire for knowledge.  I have a hard time keeping up with him -- especially HIS PROJECTS.  He would build things ALL DAY LONG if I let him.  He brought me a magazine and showed me the pattern for making "funoculars"... He was so excited to make these....
 Although I find that once we complete a project he is off to find another one...  I seriously think I am creating a CRAFT MONSTER.... I just pray all the time we spend cutting, talking, and creating is exactly what he needs in this stage of life!
 I see so many changes in both kids... we spend so much time "talking" about things.  The chatter is constant in our place... 
 (I just love soap beards)
 And clean kiddos... nothing is better than snuggling up with a clean, fresh smelling kiddo... not gonna lie... I give my kids baths every night... it is such a fun rhythm of our day!
Ethan's new picture look... I guess he is thinks his tongue needs to be seen in every single picture!
 To afford Ethan's craft hobby... I took a box and designated it his "art box".  I save lids, caps off of everything, plastic containers, small boxes... etc.  He can do whatever with the items in his "art box"... I never knew trash could be soooo much fun.  He spends hours arranging the lids, boxes... he is constantly begging to use the hot glue gun and is trying to convince me that he could use it by himself... I draw the line and he doesn't think that is cool! He designs submarines, planes, helicopters... 
 I found a book in the library that was making craft projects from recycled things... Ethan hasn't put the book down for days.  He found this car-clip project and begged until I finally gave in.  
 We sorted through his car suitcase and found cars with missing wheels or broken pieces.  Then the kids painted them, glittered them, and then glued "gems" on them.  I hot glued them to magnets and a clothes pin. 
They are perfect picture holders for the fridge.  I really like them... A LOT!
Eden's first crush... Jonathan...

 This week we spent a lot of time with friends.  We served several meals this week and had several meals in friend's homes.  I loved all the "people" time I got this week.  Eden has a new crush, Jonathan.  She is HILARIOUS ... She can say his name PERFECTLY... On Saturday we were running errands and as we were coming out of a store I could see Jonathan and HIS WIFE coming towards us.  I pointed them out to Eden and she TORE across the street and THREW herself in his arms.  When we told her than he had to go she stuck out her lip and drooped her WHOLE body... it was comical.  She thinks he is pretty special... it is cute. 
 This up coming week... we don't have too many plans...
 But I am sure I will see a lot of this....
 and this... This is definitely the "fun" stage.  See why I look forward to a few moments to myself on Monday night...? I can't keep up with them... I just can't...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Internet Detox...

I have read that AA says that the first step in recovery is admitting you are an alcoholic... For some reason it is so easy to justify addictions... or things we give too much attention, focus, or value (aka idols).  For me the internet has been so important in my life the past 4 years.  It has provided friends, support, community... a creative outlet, endless supply of ideas, recipes... the list could go on and on!  I never realized how much I was dependent on the internet until we have been "without" the internet for the past week and a half. Monday night is my night off -- so it is going to be my internet night... and that is just how it is going to be.  I have soooo much time (now)!  I've gotten back in my studying mood -- researching some specific "Ethan" issues, I taking a counseling class at church (with serious homework!), and of course I still have all my personal counseling homework... I will forever be a student...  Here are some pictures from our week -- and some random thoughts!
My cute puzzle destroyer...

Eden Eve has officially entered the terrific twos... actually Ethan had more terrific threes than twos... so I am thinking that Eden will probably follow suit?  Who knows really right?  She has this new attitude -- she wrinkles her nose and answers with a nasty voice... I don't think so little one.  We have had MANY talks about true beauty... and how it comes from a beautiful heart.  What I really love about this season is her voice... she is talking so much and I'm discovering her little being and personality fascinating...  It is such an adventure watching Eden Eve bloom!
The puzzle WHIZZ in Action!
 My oldest is always in a new stage of development.  I often sit back in wonder and think to myself, "How am I going to deal with this????"  I think he is going to out smart me in a matter of years (in fact he knows more about a car engine than I do... I asked him how he knew all that stuff -- he exclaimed, "Popular Mechanics for Kids, duh, Mom!".  I told him this week he wasn't allowed to grow anymore!  He wrinkled his brow and in a confident voice he said, "Momma, God makes me grow!  I can't help it!"  I know!  I know!!!  Just stop growing!  I pray I will be a good steward of his little brain.... I am constantly evaluating how to teach him, challenge him... all while enjoying every second with him.  (He read his first sentence not too long ago... "The pig sat in the mud.")

 This week I am really gonna set aside time every day to write.  I look at these pictures and am trying to remember what we did, but com'on it is my night off... my brain has gone into sleep mode!
We have been on a puppet kick... I will write more about this next week... (I can barely contain myself from sharing... it has been TOO MUCH FUN!)
 (I love how Ethan draped his blue blanket on the stage for water...)
 I noticed this week that the kids are entering a new stage of development... it is called the fun stage!  We built a HUGE fort and they actually played in it... before it would just get torn down and destroyed in a matter of moments... I remember building forts back in the day -- my brothers and I were serious fort pros!  I can't help but brag... I still got mad fort making skills!!!
I love how Eden catches the afternoon light... She is just beautiful!
 Most of our time is spent on crafts... it is truly amazing all that you can do with paper, card board boxes, and selected items saved from the trash... If I give them a glue stick, scissors, something to write with and paper... they are good to go for the afternoon!
The craft pro... (the little bottle contraption is his new submarine)
 Ethan wants to do "crafts" alllllllllllll day long.  I pulled out the glue gun this week.  He was in awe!  It seems like we have glued something every single DAY! He constantly says, "Momma, we can just use the hot glue gun!"  I am creating a MONSTER! 
My crafters....
 There are moments when they get in the zone... and I catch them absorbed in their "projects" and it just warms my heart -- I honestly love this so much!  It is just fun!
Our NEW 50 cent thrift store find...
  We had a FABULOUS family weekend!  We found a new game at the thrift store -- I couldn't resist it is an old school "Discovery Toy" peg puzzle... I remember drooling over their catalogs as a kid.  I find different games from time to time at the thrift store and it is just delightful.  Ethan and I played this one for a LONG time Friday night. He had to make every single picture... I was down with that!
A Typical Evening Activity.
 This weekend I was thinking about how much I love family time.  It feels like we have SO MUCH time with each other. It took awhile to get used to not seeing Micah through out the day, but I realize we may have seen him through out the day the past few years, but we NEVER had this much time together... it is a delight!  We spent Saturday re-arranging furniture.  Eden is no longer in her crib.  She is in a big girl bed.  It kills me... I almost can't handle it... 
 Saturday night we went to a friends house for a little get-to-gether party... I made cream puffs...  I had SERIOUS help....
 I had SERIOUS snitchers on my hand... I wouldn't have it any other way!
I love cream puffs... 
these were sugar-free except for the powdered sugar I sprinkled on top... 
gotta remember that added plus!
 Micah and Ethan were goofing around with his camera... Ethan thinks it is fun making "ghost" pictures... I really liked this one!

On Sunday I was making dinner and I looked over and saw Eden working on a drawing.  I just loved how she was sitting... I loved her in her dress... I just wanted to remember it forever...

A friend's status on facebook (a few weeks ago) said, 
"Love this quote from The Well-Trained Mind: Every time you use the computer or turn on the TV, ask yourself: What am I giving up?  What will my child do if I don't turn on the computer or pop in this video?  Ahem.... does facebook count?"  (Thanks, Lisa!)  
I read this the day before I lost internet... I am thankful it was running through my head -- I don't want to give up these special moments... each one is precious -- and I don't want to miss a single one!  
Catch up with you all NEXT Monday!