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August 30, 2017

Toddlers in the kitchen?....It can and should be done! WIP Wednesday!

Toddlers in the kitchen.

I really feel this is so important.
I'm a strong believer that toddlers are the most impressionable creatures and we need to use it to our advantage!
If we push them away or don't allow them to engage, they will quickly lose interest. They will learn that the kitchen is a "bad" place or that they aren't wanted there.( or anywhere, but today, it's the kitchen)
I know from experience, this can cause them to yell repeatedly from another room until you leave the kitchen to find them and what they want!
(Mom, mom...Come here! Come to me!... Just, come here mom!!!)

I know, I'm guilty myself. We get tired, in a hurry, try to just get one meal finished without interruption, chaos and multi-tasking! And that is totally okay!!
I'm not saying they have to be attached to your hip for every single meal prep or underfoot  for every detail of the meal.
Find a time, meal and area that works for everyone. Prep work is a GREAT place to start with the littles!

If we really think about all that we put into each meal we fix for our families, we can find tons of little ways to get our kids involved. 
Teach them from the beginning how we decide,find a recipe, grocery list, shop, prepare or store the food, gather ingredients, pots, pans, etc. 
Think about it!...All this before we even get cooking!
These are great ways to teach our kids soooo many lessons.
Learning Plants, Veggies, Meats, etc
Reading a Recipe(for older kids)
Using Utensils properly
 Kitchen Hygiene
Kitchen Safety

Okay, sorry, I've gotten a bit off topic. I wanted to share a few ways I have introduced my toddler to the kitchen and how I let her help out.

1. Making decisions: 
What veggies will we have tonight?
How many potatoes will we need for 5 people?
Kids love being included in the decision making. They feel like their opinions matter(as they should). They like to feel important, just like you!
2. Gather Items:
Do you have a garden? Let them be a part of it!
Can you bring me a big spoon, whisk, bowl...?
They want to be and feel helpful.
Can you find the green peppers?
Let them show off what they know! Identifying is huge for toddlers!
3. Wash and Rinse:
This is important for you, them and the produce they will be handling!
Show them the proper way to wash their hands and any food they are helping prepare.
Get them their own scrubby brush. They will feel this is "their job" and be more willing if it is something you have entrusted them to do.
4:Cut and Peel
Obviously with supervision and caution!
I'm NOT saying turn your three year old loose with a meat cleaver!
My daughter actually uses her play/tea set "silverware" to help cut soft foods.(mushrooms, as seen in pic, grapes, cheese, tomatoes, etc)
Also, this could be a great way to teach smell, texture, taste
Why is the potato "bumpy"?
Can you smell the onion?
What does the carrot taste like raw?
Peeling oranges by herself  is HUGE in this house! She knows she can do it...and she DOES!
5: Putting items in a bowl, blender, pan
This is the part where they start seeing what this is going to be or what they are making.
Explain why we put A with B or why we need to "dump" everything together.
With veggies, let them see the different colors going into the dish. 
Can you name all the veggies we've used?
What colors do you see in our food?
6. Shake, Sprinkle, and Roll
This is should be the easy and funnest part!
What kid doesn't want to shake things up? Sprinkle a little LOT of cheese in the mix!
How many spices did we use?
How much cheese does it need?
Does it go on top of the dish or mixed in?
7. Stirring
They love to be hopped up on the counter top and given a wooden spoon or whisk!
I don't know why every kid I have ever met thinks this is the best part EVER of cooking or baking!
Just go with it Momma!
Unless it is eggs...
Let them stir, stir, stir their little hearts out!
p.s. D #3 wasn't quite sure about the mushrooms at first

What are you WIPping up today?
What is your Work in Progress?

Here is a great list of kid friendly recipes I found on Pinterest:

August 27, 2017

Momma Loves PBS Kids!

Are you tired of those annoying "kid" shows?

Ya know, the ones that are broadcast to entertain our youngsters. The ones that teach them nothing(good) and come with those catchy little intro theme songs that have your kids...and you hooked from the first 15 seconds.
Sure they are animated, loud, fast paced to keep kids watching, but are they learning anything from them. 
I mean other than, 
5 ways to annoy your sisters,
how to make a huge mess in the kitchen or any other place it isn't wanted,
How about the teasing, bullying, laughs at other's expense.
Or even down right gross, disgusting and quite disturbing(Sponge Bob comes to mind!).
 I've seen it all on "kids" shows. As, I'm sure most of us Mommas have.
It gets old quickly and very discouraging. We just want good, clean shows that will actual teach our littles and take some of the anxiety off of us to not have to constantly screen and re-screen every 30 minute program they watch.
I know I am a big stickler on what my kids watch. We have a list of "banned shows" in my house!
It's a real thing people!
 I'm not ashamed to admit, I need a break! I need 30 minutes of uninterrupted... Me time!
I need a HOT coffee that hasn't been reheated 4 times!
So, Yes, I use the TV as a babysitter!
I'm waiting on the knock from CPS now......
*crickets chirping*
But, I do want my little to actually be learning something while being entertained!

I can honestly say that I have only positive things to say about PBS Kids! Any and all things about them are exactly what I am looking for.
They have soooo much to offer.
Here is a list of my Top 5 PBS KIDS "momma approved" TV programs!

1.Daniel Tiger Neighborhood~ love he teaches manners, caring for others, friendship and story time
2.Super Why~ story time and letter/word recognition, find the missing letter, etc
3.Word World~ So cute that each character is actually build/shaped out of the letters to spell it.(super cool)
4. Wild Kratts~ teaches about animals and nature, great adventures
5. Curious George~ I have to add George. He's super cute and I love the scientist/Doctor parts. They are very good at teaching about making things, baking and using your imagination.

PBS has so many ways to enjoy. Today anyone can use and share. They have TV shows, web games, apps, and even free PBS printables 
It is a great tool to keep kids learning and engaged in a fun, safe way!
I hope others will enjoy and help keep this oh so wonderful program alive for many more years to come!
Happy Teaching and Learning!

August 23, 2017

MY Preschool/Homeschool 101 (WIP) Learning together

Have you ever thought about Homeschooling?
Did you entertain the idea long before your little one was even old enough?

I have considered the idea for quite awhile. I have 3 daughters. They are quite spread out in age. 
19 years, 14 years and my littlest will be 4 next week!
Wow! 4 years old...NEXT WEEK!
I've been a stay at home momma and have always tried to do the basics, as most parents do. A,B,Cs..1,2,3s, write their name, know the colors and shapes, etc but I always feared they would be behind every other 5/6year old starting out in Kindergarten.
Can she count as high as Susie?
Does she read as well as Hailey?

Sure, I'll get daily or weekly reports from teachers and hopefully will be notified of any concerns throughout but, I'm not there to monitor their every lesson progress. Do we really know what they are being taught??? Or how they average out. I know here in Ohio there are crazy tests and requirements. Dates and data. Black and white score sheets to tell you and your government just how your child is fairing in the oh so wonderful public school systems.
I mean everything is based off of these scores. Teachers salaries, grant money, school supplies, etc.
Every day, every year this world gets crazier...scarier!
I honestly worry about whether my child will be taught based off of how much money and help her school receives! How sad is that?
And so many more concerns...
peer pressure, exposure, bullying..
Not that they live under a rock or won't have to live in the "real world" but I would like a good chance to explain and really teach them...My way? I don't know, just maybe give them a fighting chance before we throw them to the wolves!
I'm am an admitted control freak so maybe this is a somewhat selfish choice(I know I will hear it anyway). I do plan on educating myself before I jump in with both feet, but while I do still have almost 2 years(before Kindergarten) to figure this out; I am dipping my foot in the puddle to see how we do.

So, here is my pre-journey...
I am trying to find, research, save, pin, print and read anything and everything I can to get a good idea of what will be required of me, as a preschool/homeschool teacher!
There are so many wonderful resources out there today. This is one of the great uses of the internet!
Before, I jump into that, here is my super enthusiastic three year old, ready to learn!
Isn't she the cutest?

And she already has her own desk!!
My wonderful Mamaw has given us an antique desk. It is in wonderful condition!
I'm talking Laura Ingalls looking(ink well holder included) and it is amazing! She loves it!

I am trying to get started with a few free and basic printables and there are TONS on the web!
You can find whole lesson plans, themed plans(Christmas, Fall, Animals, etc), even personaliz-able worksheets to practice writing their name.
I'm telling you the free resources are endless!
Here are a few of my favorites that I have found.

From Pinterest:

I also love these:

So, here we go on our homeschool journey.
I hope we can learn and thrive together. I will likely try to do a weekly update and continue to share any new resources that I find. 
Share any and all that you know of or come across. Mommas need all the help we can get!
I hope we can support and encourage each other!
Keep the coffee hot and the minds open!
This is my Work In Progress...Homeschooling
Happy Wednesday

August 20, 2017

I am "Vacation" cursed!

I'm not even kidding.

It happens every time without fail!

I'm to the point that I don't know if I need a Re-Vacation, like a do over or if I should just give up any traveling over a two hour drive because that seems to be our "trigger point"! Two freakin' hours and after that it is doomed!

Under the circumstances of our living arrangements, you would think a two hour away trip would be like going to Disneyland! Well, so did I!

Before I get into this last weekend get away let me re-cap the South Point, Ohio softball tournament trip at the end of July.
Originally, we(ME) were planning a weekend stay-cation to a little lake resort guessed it, two hours away in Lathem, Ohio.
We were trying to plan dates, save money, make sure EVERYONE had those days off, etc.
Well, then our Dynasty girls kept winning, and won all the way to a place at state...the SAME weekend we had pre-planned our trip.
So, re arrange to a trip to a different spot...two hours away!
Now, one kid doesn't want to go because that is boyfriend's birthday weekend.
So, down 1 kid + boyfriend...
We head out to State tournament...
Nightmare from the beginning!
Our hotel SUCKED!!!
I'm talking middle of demo/rehab, no pool, no continental breakfast, no clean towels...I could go on and on.
Then due to a huge lack of communication and us being at a different hotel as the rest of the team(another story), we didn't know D #2 had to be to the field 3 hours before her game, so when we do find out, and we are already late! Sean decides to get us there...faster, going 83 in a 55mph zone!
So, that cost us $216!!!!! Obviously, we(ME) hadn't put THAT in the budget! So, everyone is stressed, tired, aggravated. The rest of the trip was spent either giving each other the silent treatment or just being snarky at each other and hating everything! Not to mention I had had the WORST toothache in history all weekend and lived off of liquids, Orajel and ibuprofen.

Now, on to this weekend!
I thought finally! FINALLY!
We are going to Kentucky! Oh my glorious Kentucky!
My little cousin turned 3 years old and I ALWAYS try to make it this ONE weekend out of the year!

So, we ALL get to go. All 3 of my kiddies with us!! Super YEA!
I've got the plan, I've got the budget, I've got it all packed, loaded. Car gassed up, hotel ready!
On the road!!!
Sweet Bliss...or as blissful as it gets with Sean driving and me navigating.
Friday we head out!
Traffic wasn't horrible, everyone is rested, fed and content!
Hotel was great(other than pool down for maintenance).
Saturday we head out early enough to run by the store , head over to cousin house. Visit awhile before party, see/play with chickens, etc. then follow everyone to the party...
Go to leave hotel...
Our car won't start...OUR CAR WON'T START!
Nope, just a click...
Get a jump, good to go...
Get to store, run in and spend $24 on nonsense!
Come out...
Click, click....
Car won't start
So, Sis to the rescue, new battery...
We're out $120
$120  for a battery to our 2008 Dodge mini van...
This ain't no joke y'all

So, no visit with family, no family lunch, no quality extra time/money to do much of anything.
Except!! LOL, of course!
Check out early and rush back home for....
A double header today! Yup, 2 games, back to back! Lovely! #softballislife


Expectation..I could've stayed here all day! Heck, I could live here.


I'm not saying we didn't have some good times. And I'm always blessed. No matter how crazy and unexpected this life gets. I wouldn't trade time with my family for anything.
But, seriously?!?!!?
What's a girl gotta do to get a decent VACATION??? If I don't laugh, I'd just curl up and cry!
Lol, Love and blessings always!
Too blessed to stay stressed.

August 17, 2017

Thursday. This, That, and the other...

Where did Wednesday go???

 I guess I should be totally bummed that I missed my weekly Wednesday(WIP) post and I do apologize. I hate missing anything planned or scheduled. I'm sure you all are devastated there wasn't anything new to read on here. Again, I apologize. 
Yesterday kind of started out lazy and relaxing(which was super nice) but then as usual, got crazy busy and time just flew. I finally decided, no post was better than a crappy one written in my exhausted state with a three year old who didn't settle down until around 1 am...Which technically means I would have missed Wednesday anyway.

Although I did get a few things accomplished yesterday.

First off, I wanted to share in my excitement! I received my very first international mail!!
I didn't actually receive it yesterday, but I did manage to grab a few pics, get them loaded, edited and reread my letter and enjoy my "fun mail". 
As, I've told y'all before one of my dear friends lives over in England and we have decided to also rekindle the lost art of pen palling! It is so wonderful to get real letters! Sure, we chat online, do video chats and IM but it isn't the same. I love having a letter I can cherish and look back on years from now. And her penmanship is AMAZING! It is quite an inspiration. We definitely need to bring back real handwriting classes here folks. This girl is putting our school system to shame in one 4 page letter!

I also managed a trip to the store to add to my "stash". I admit, I am addicted to yarn/wool! I have become the "one more skein" girl every time I go out. Although I am actually using it and learning a lot of new tricks and "patterns". I have a craft fair that I will be participating in coming up in November at a local church so I do actually need things to sell! 
That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

These are my newest project. They are super cute and so easy to make!(And, they actually work!) Even I got the whole pattern figured out, start to finish and have about 6 of them made up!
Here is where I found this quick and free pattern! >>Bath Scrubby Pattern

And as usual... You know I have been reading something!
This is book #1 in a trilogy and so far I'm liking it, not love but it is a nice easy read.with a good bit of history(my fave).
Hope y'all have a blessed weekend. Happy blogging and happy reading!

August 13, 2017

Sunday Funday....Last day of Summer

Summer isn't officially over....

There are technically 39 whole days of Summer left!

I will never agree with the kids going back to school so early in the summer. It's too nice outside. Too many glorious days of sunshine left. There are things we haven't done yet!

You know all the projects and adventures you had planned in your head. All the neat things you had "pinned" on Pinterest and determined to do.
(What am I going to do with all those toilet paper rolls we've been saving???)

 All the fun places you read about and swore you were going this year!

But, alas...
The days have come and gone. Along with it the excuses, priorities, responsibilities, and of course the crazy, hectic, ridiculous schedules!

Tire blowouts...Speeding tickets...(*sarcastic cough...Sean*)
The yard work needed done. The softball games had to be played. The bills had to be paid. The weather didn't cooperate....

We've had some mini-adventures.
Driving through the country, seeing new places.
Just enjoying God's natural beauty and feeling the breeze and sunshine.
Quick impromptu ice cream dates
Days spent at the park. Either watching the game or playing on the playground
Endless trips to McDonald's and eating in the van... before, between or after the game
Lots of unforgettable cookouts, parties and stop in visits with family and friends
Splashing around in the kiddie pool
Going to the Strawberry farm...that didn't have ANY strawberries. LOL(That's another story!)
Sitting on the porch with a good book and coffee in hand
Sunsets, summer storms(not enough)...
Working in the garden
Bonfires and marshmallows...
Movie/game nights with popcorn
Young's Dairy and seeing GOATS!
Card games, Wii games and playing Legos...Endless hours of Legos

As I sit writing this...

I realize our summer may not be fancy or extravagant. No lavish cruise or trip to Disney.
Sure there are TONS of things I wish we could have done. As I'm sure any of my children would have a list of things "To Do" but I see how truly blessed I am. We are.
Everyday, we are together. We have each other and are surrounded by others who love us, enjoy us, and want to be a part of "our summer".
Every year I get a little crazy thinking...
Thinking how fast they are growing up.
How many years do they really have to be TOGETHER?
D #1 is already 19. She has her own agenda, her own responsibilities. I am blessed beyond words that she still wants to spend as much time as she can with us.
D#2 is in her last year of junior high. She has sports, church, all these friends and things she wants to do...without mom and dad.
D#3 is only 3 years old but I already know all too well how fast the years will go.
I treasure each of my girls so so much and try to never take a second for granted.

I joke that God loves me more because I always wanted all girls and that is what I have been so blessed with.
I have always taught them they are each others best friends. No matter what and to treasure each other.
If God and I have taught them anything...
That is it!

I can honestly say that they have such a bond.
Sure they tease and aggravate each other to no end some days. They bicker and fight. The stomp and scream. They throw hairbrushes and kick.
Have I mentioned I have 3 girls???

They are typical, yes.
But, at the end of the day, they still want to snuggle and be together. They still say their prayers together and always want sung a lullaby or some song I have sung thousands of times before. They pretty much fall asleep simultaneously.
They are sisters no matter what. No matter what life throws at them or what one may be going through individually. They will always have each other.

Even on those boring Summer days. The days when we did....Nothing!

August 9, 2017

WIP Wednesday... Granny Square Fiasco

Welcome to WIP Wednesday!

I can't believe it is Wednesday already! This week has flown by...or maybe it has been drug out and I'm just still in a daze.

So, I've been trying to expand my crochet knowledge and really learn this great art. As I have said before I cannot read a pattern. I seem to be more of a visual person, as in what the final product looks like. I can try to figure it out by how large the stitch is or by visually counting rows across.

I understand a few of the "symbols". Not nearly enough to finish any project exactly like it was written.

So as I have Googled, Pinterest, and a few patterns I have saved from skein labels, I decided to really try and figure this out. 
I read that the "Granny Square" is supposed to be like the most basic, simple, pattern to learn and follow as it is just repeating a few common stitches.

Lies, Lies, Lies, I tell you!!!

There is not one thing about these little geriatric blocks that is simple or easy!!
I have spent hours...hours trying to work a magic circle into a block of four corners, double crochets and chaining around to the next "block"!

And, it isn't just me! My bestie across the pond, Sarah has also been trying to master the wonderful UK version of this maddening "Granny Square".
We have text and sent pictures back and forth and neither of us blondes can figure this out.
I know your thinking...We are way too young to be bothered learning such a thing called a Granny Square. ;)
But I am determined to get it right.

Here are a few pics throughout my work in progress(WIP)...

Here we go with a good looking start(an actual square)...

With 4 actual corners...

Sooo, the second time around it turns into a circle?? Did I miss a stitch? Add too many?

Take it out and we're back to the first "square"

Woo Hoo! I made it around to a bigger square...

Annnnd, round three, we have a....wobbly circle!
I actually did and re did this about 10 times.

In the nicer version of my besties words...
"Screw the bloody Granny Square!"

Here is where I found the "easy" tutorial....Granny Square

I'm still considering this my WIP for now, although I think Granny is getting put back in the bag for awhile.
Has anyone had any success with these? Any tips, pointers, tricks??? What am I doing wrong?
I've done the 
ch 4, sl st(make a ring), ch 5, 3 DC(in ring), ch 2, 3DC, ch2, 2DC.....and on and on. around and around....
Help us newbies out!!!

August 2, 2017

WIP Wednesday...My garden...where I find peace.

It's not a secret. I am truly a country girl at heart. I am simple, humble, grateful. I love being a child of God, a wife, a momma. These things give me my greatest joys. These things define who I am.
Throughout our days, life will give use so much. Heartache, trials, doubt, worry and questions so much about our selves, our lives.
But these three things, for me will always be true. My Truth. I am a Christian. I am someone's wife and I am a mother. Those won't change.

When life gets confusing and chaotic....

I need to find the rest of me. I need to pray, refresh and find my own calm.
I'm not a total outdoorsy person. I have no desire to climb Mt. Everest or hike around with my backpack. I don't want to live off grid solely on berries and fish.

But, I love my garden.
Well, our garden.
Secretly, it's just mine.

It is my "place". Where I go to clear my head, breath in the fresh air. Where I can take pride in the knowledge, the skill, the patience and the able body God has given me to learn, grow, teach and provide something for my family.
I go there to pray, to thank God for so many blessing I will never be deserving of.

So many possibilities...

fruits of our labor

I am amazed at all the things we have at. The choices, the variety. 
I can pick and choose what I will plant. How can/will I use it. 
I'm not saying our garden is big enough to feed us all year or that I don't wish for more land but it is enough to get me through. Every little bit helps.

Gardens are always a work in progress(WIP).
I'm no scientist. I don't test the soil or water.
I'm no botanist. I don't know exactly which plants grow best or where.
I'm not an engineer. I didn't spend months or years designing the perfect spot or layout of my garden.

I am a country girl learning and growing. I do what I know and pray it keeps getting better!

What is your WORK IN PROGRESS today?

P.S.....My little helper...