Saturday, March 27, 2010

5 kids under 4+ Two Parents-Husband+overnight stay=A really fun night!

Yes, you read that right. I'm watching 3 extra children, all under the age of four. Some would say I'm crazy...others would say that I must enjoy hurting myself...I say...I happen to love each and everyone of these kids...and they are actually easier to watch as a "herd" than as individual toddlers/preschoolers!

(Kaelyn was sneezing, but it's impossible to get all three to look cute!)
The big girls watched a movie in lieu of nap (so that they'd go to sleep at a reasonable hour...I'm sneaky) while the little ones slept.

Then we played with some playdough (it's the cool-aid playdough from months back! Still kicking! Amazing!)

I think I might need a bigger table!

Then some chalk drawings...because I'm not stupid, just slightly deranged...I was not about to let ten little hands have markers or crayons!

Then playtime in the basement while I cooked a "healthy" dinner of pizza, string cheese sticks, orange slices and rasins...while Ryan and I had a fresh grilled veggie pasta with shrimp!
Then bedtime!
The girls watching/playing during movies....
and I would have a picture of my little ones...
but Ryan got tired of Anna opening and closing the door
screaming "LIGHT, More LIGHT, LIGHT, MAMA, DADA" over and over again...
and did this...

yep...that's what my bonafied rocket scientist came up with out of desperation for sleep...
But don't worry, as soon as I'm sure the wee ones are FAST'll come off...
it is a fire hazard after all.

See you guys on the flipside...probably with a thermos of the "real" coffee...none of that decaf stuff tomorrow!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Preschool Corner Review

I am so excited to report that we managed to do THREE whole days of school in addition to

That's all five of our kids (Link is still too young to sit at the kids table)...waiting patiently to eat! Shocking!

Thursday- School/Ultrasound
Friday-Breakfast with Dad, Swim Lessons/School

Thankfully, NEXT WEEK IS EMPTY other than Dance and Swim and I can't be more relieved or excited!

Kaelyn learned about Jesus feeding the masses while Anna and I spent the morning at MOPS singing and playing with other children. It was a great chance for me to catch up with friend who was also working my room! Kaelyn is really starting to grasp the concept of a budget, and that REALLY excites me!

We have been playing in our sensory box  A LOT! The girls are still enthralled with the idea of having one and aren't really task oriented yet. But, this sucker buys me an hour to cook/clean/sit/sleep/etc and only costs me five minutes of sweeping! Maybe we'll be able to make it more "educational" as the new wears off!

The girls decided to play the "go fish" game. Which they picked and started as I was getting them ready for "school time". I observed, and not only did Anna work on her fine motor skills (getting the fish cards to sit in the boat), Kaelyn was able to recognize all the numbers and sort the fish cards by color.

See her sorting by color and saying the numbers outloud. This is GREAT because Anna was observing and repeating her sister! She can say pink and orange now!

Anna working on her "worksheet", she demands them when Kaelyn is working on hers.

Speaking of worksheets, I am so glad that we've been working "through" a book because it's shown where Kaelyn is weak and strong. For example, Kaelyn is GREAT at manipulating numbers and counting/adding, puzzles, writing letters, recognizing phonics sounds, and grasping some basic science concepts as well as opposites. She is weak in certain phrasings of position words (understand when you ask what is "in between" two objects, but doesn't understand when you ask her to point out the one between the others), writing her numbers, counting the numbers 13,14,15, but can count past twenty no problem, reading or blending her phonics. The book has really helped point out areas where I have been lacking, or where we have thought she knew more than she did.

A counting page, see how her numbers are not recognizable at all! If I didn't hear her as she started to write them down, I would have assumed she had no clue how to do the sheet. The knowledge is there, the ability to write isn't. (Although she did write a perfect 4 later on.)

Doing her number chart! I recorded her completeing it. She needs prompting as she moves from the new teen placement (thirty, fourty, fifty, etc), but recognizes when her hand gets ahead of her mouth...and corrects herself. The biggest achievement came during our calander time when she said "Today is the 24th, my birthday is on the 26th so it's not today! That's sad."

After our very bumpy trip to the dentist (she was fine after I had to bribe her to open her mouth), the girls shared a popsicle on the back porch and was quite a sweet little moment!

Kaelyn wrote her E page...check out that Easter Egg she drew! She is really loving her book and "reads" it often...which is great because each page has it's own sight word...and she's remembering them without drills or flashcards! I wish I had taken a picture of the end results, because she also drew a pretty amazing Easter Bunny.

Working on her sight words (after she sat the dinner plates out, it's one of her chores). This is great because she's learning how to spell them, read them, and reinforces the letters!

Anna decided to skip working on her matching magnets (animal fronts to backs) and play us some music while we worked.

This AMAZING! It's the Job Chart from OrganizeItMom that I won a few weeks back. Kaelyn TOTALLY gets the point concept this chart puts forth! The top half has things that need to be done "Do It" and then spots for you to put them when you "Did It". Each job is worth whatever point you decide to give it, we do 1pt/chore and are using it to help with our adding skills! After showing Kaelyn that it worked much like a board game and that you could "earn" points for prizes (10 pt=Movie and a Snack, 20=Ice Cream, 30=Toy from Dollar Tree) she counted the number of chores available (6) and proclaimed, "Mom,
I can't get ten." I told her that you had to earn them over a period of time, and she quickly got to work doing as much as possible! Then she started coming up with her own chores that she could do for points...and I did allow her to make up her own chores, because what kind of mom says no to that! So, in two days time, she earned 10 points and got her movie...which I now have to go turn off! This was our week in review at Preschool Corner!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Need an hour?

Seriously, who doesn't need an hour? Want to find a way to entertian your kids for an hour while you shower, clean, watch a show, or *gasp* go to the bathroom without company?

Try this...
a box of cheerios
old plastic spoons/forks/servings spoons
measuring cups
brightly colored clean toys
a large contianer

Mix it all together and you have a sensory box for younger kids and a game for older ones. Have the older ones use tongs or spoons to dig the toys out and put them into a different container (we used a recycled egg carton). They can sort the toys by color, shape, or into numbered groups.

Or they could be like my the cherrios and dig around the toys....all while playing quietly together, eating a healthy snack (these are the non flavored whole wheat cheerios a friend passed along), and I get to shower, eat, read, watch TV, make phone calls and DO FINANCES!!!

Warning though, this can cause a bit of a mess, but it's totally worth the 3 minute sweep that it costs for your free hours (use what you have in the house, don't have cheerios, try beans, no beans, try those crafty pom pom things)

My floor after five minutes of play!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Can we say underbudget! And not only that I managed to get a large "sub pack" of deli meat for $5 and split it so that we can have deli meat for the next three weeks! But my favorite deal BY FAR was the fact that the Comissary (military grocery store) had packs of 4 cans of  Green Giant veggies for $1.96 AND a coupon for the purchase of twelve you get $2.50 off! I did the math, and I got each can of veggies for LESS than THREE PENNIES!

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this "extra" cash that we are "saving" at the end of the month. Part of me wants to start tucking it away for Baby needs...another part of me thinks I should put it back into our account,  and then there is Easter and Birthdays FAST approaching...decisions!

I'm also VERY EXCITED because my prize package from OrganizeItMom came in the mail...

See- EXCITED! And dorky! I'll post more on these GREAT products and how they are doing after I give them all a good go. What I can tell you though, is that when I went shopping with my new grocery list and menu (which come together), I recieved many comments about how ladies wanted one or would use it!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Meal Plan Monday-Crazy Week #2/Budget week 2

So, this week is just as CRAZY as last week! Which means, tomorrow night, the girls will be fed by Dad...sooo can we all say hello Mac and Cheese?

Today-Lunch at ChicFila Playdate -$8
           Dinner at Taco Bell (our financial meeting went from 5-7)
Tuesday-Lunch (PBJ and followed by $1 sundaes at McDonalds if the weather is pretty for more playing)
            Dinner Mac N Cheese
Wednesday-Lunch-Hotdogs, leftover Mac N Cheese and fruit
            Dinner- Fried Chicken with Corn on the Cob and Turnip Greens
Thursday-Lunch- Leftover fried chicken for Dad/Cheesesticks wrapped in Deli Meat with yogurt and fruit
            Dinner-Salad topped with left over Fried Chicken and Corn
Friday-Lunch-Sandwiches for all!
           Dinner- Shrimp Pasta
Saturday- Lunch- Veggie pasta
                Dinner-Breakfast for dinner (huge hit last week, and bacon was on sale buy one get one for we have eggs bacon and biscuits in the fridge!)
Sunday- Lunch-Leftovers
              Dinner-Shrimp Scampi, Green Beans and Salad or leftover grilled veggies from pasta!

I'm hoping that I will be able to stay well under budget despite our need for Shampoo for the girls/Dishwashing packets for the Dishwasher/few other cleaning supplies or household goods. Our amount for this week's groceries is right at $99...luckily, I have most of the items!

Go here to see other GREAT menus!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing

(This was from Kaelyn's Delivery, Ryan wanted a picture of me in pain while he was eating McDonalds....even though he tends to find humor in situations where he shouldn't, I still want him there)
Great news...Ryan should (there are no garuntees in the military) be here when I deliver baby three. This has been a HUGE concern of mine, but since his waiver is still sitting on some desk somewhere, his commander has decided to keep him in his new position until the jobs done, send him to some additional training school for a month, send him on local/short missions for another month, and then keep him sort of close to home until I deliver, with a deployment scheduled ASAP afterwards (maybe we'll have 4 weeks, if I get my wish). Even though he'll be stateside, he'll be gone a lot, but I am SO NOT complaining! We are also still wishing and hoping that his waiver gets pushed through and he comes off his current status!

In other news...

Anna's vocabulary is GROWING! She's starting to use two word sentences more regularly, recognizing colors and FINALLY enjoying swim lessons! She kicks and "scoops", jumps in the pool, goes under the water with eyes and mouth closed, and can blow bubbles! This is HUGE compared to the fact that the first two sessions were spent with me having to pry little nails out of my skin or fight to keep my swimsuit on due to her CLAWING.

Kaelyn's doing great with school work. Can write, recognize, and make the sounds of all her letters. She shows interest in learning how to read, but the desire to put forth the work isn't there yet, so I'm not pushing. She LOVES doing school work, and her favorite things involve math, cutting and drawing/writing. She's also very excited about the new baby.

I'm offically 1/2 done cooking the next Baby! Ryan finds out on Thursday what we are having, but I'd like for it to remain a surprise. The baby is the size of a cantalope!

This is the point where I started having SERIOUS problems with Anna...problems that resulted in me landing in the hospital for a week or more, having some intense drugs put into my system, and Ryan getting to leave his TDY (it's like a mini deployment) about 2 weeks earlier than planned (would have been sooner, but these things never are easy to make happen). So far, I have frequent contractions, but nothing that is regular or bothersome. Some days are worse than others, but I've managed to take it easy when needed and prevent any hospital stay or continual's hoping that the next couple of weeks are just as good!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Preschool Corner--Lots of Real Life Learning

First, we are a very Irish family, with a very Irish last name...and I didn't manage the FIRST St. Patty's Day craft. BUT, we did manage to go visit a friend, wear very irish-green garb, eat lots of green foods and spend time playing!

Second, not much schooling has happened around here...atleast not in the way I would like for it to happen. This week, and the rest of this month and April will be crazy! Between doctors, meetings, Ryan's crazy work, and errands....I'm not sure how much we'll manage but to help make our days more productive...I'm giving up my 7 am rule (which I swear by, my girls aren't allowed out of their rooms until 7) and moving to a 6 am wake up for me. Hopefully, I'll be able to clear away normal morning routines in lieu for school. How do you guys manage it all?

So here was our week!
Monday- Dance, Playdate, Groceries on a budget (which Kaelyn is now learning ALL about, I'm thinking about going garage sale-ing with friends and allowing Kaelyn to have two dollars to spend the entire day)

Tuesday-Toyota Maintenece at 8 am! And I can't praise those guys enough! They combined my appointments (which freed up our afternoon for outdoors play with friends), and had the maintence, car washed, and recall issues addressed in LESS THAN 2 hours! While there... we sorted all their toys, and then started to play.

Anna stacked blocks, watched me sort them and help name some colors. She also learned how to put the blocks through the hole. Kaelyn helped build and play with a magnet table.

Kaelyn and I played tea party, mommy and baby bear, and then she started using these TINY spoons to carry cereal from the plate to her mouth....fine motor skills!

Wednesday-St Patty's Day...the girls got to wear their home-made goodies, Anna went to daycare where she did FABULOUS, Kaelyn went to work with Daddy and helped count things, and sort things, and work on check lists, while I went to a meeting with the Commander. Afterwards, we had lunch and played outdoors with friends...and then had a great St patty's day dinner with Angie!

Thurday- FINALLY some schoolwork in the more traditional sense!
The girls asked to play playdough while I finished cleaning...they worked together to get the dough out, divy it up and seperate toys.

We read the fable "How the Turtle got it's Shell"...which is about a turtle who has a shell, but it's shell isn't cracked (I really think the title needs to be edited, because I found this to be confusing and I'm an adult!) and how the turtle wanted to migrate (we discussed this word) south with the birds. The birds told the turtle that he could come if he held onto a stick with his mouth and they would fly him down, but not to let go. The turtle became impatient and started to talk which made him fall and crack his shell. He was ashamed and wanted to run away from the sky and hid all winter under the pond water.

After discussing migration, we discussed the seasons. Kaelyn surprisingly knew which season I had "forgot"...which amazed me since I've never formally addressed seasons. I had her decorate the trees according to the season

And I had Anna color hers as well

Whlie the girls colored, I cut out the shapes for a turtle, two large half circles, two small circles, eight rectangles and two triangles. The girls each assembled their turtles!

(yes, that's Anna trying to sneak some glue in her mouth)

Then they decorated them accordingly. Kaelyn noticed her shell needed cracks,

and then she insisted that we recreate the story, so I pulled out some more paper, and hurriedly came up with this!

I used a hole punch and made the turtle bite the "stick" between the two blue birds.
The girls then went outside to play and Anna came inside to stack blocks (something she is getting REALLY good at, and has helped her recognize colors...but not say them. She's also very intentional in the placement of her blocks...she'll remove one, only to try another and make a more stable tower)

When Dad got home, Kaelyn insisted that she show him the deer poop as well as how good she could throw a frisby! Thankfully, our neighbor and his daughter played outside with the girls while I finished dinner...he also taught Kaelyn to throw the frisbee!

Wanna see what the other ladies are up too? Check out Preschool Corner (which now includes K5....which means I'll be able to stick around next semester when I plan on focusing on more preK-K work with an actual curriculm with Kaelyn.)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pillow Case Dress DIY

So a friend from colorguard...yes I was a band geek, go ahead and joke all you want, but it was AWESOME, has a sweet darling baby girl that she would love to cloth in adorable pillowcase dresses without the "boutique" price. So, here goes my second DIY tutorial...I know you are all anxiously waiting the diaper bag tutorial...but alas, my local walmart and I had issues with finding people to cut fabric that I wanted for the bag until just recently! Hopefully, you'll get that post soon, and since it's a beach bag made'll be seasonally appropriate!

So, before we begin this tutorial, I will go ahead and say, that I talk sweet nothings to my sewing machine, offer it lots of praise (and would probably bring it offerings of oil for it's lovely little innard parts) and hope that it decides to play nice. I am a firm believer that sewing machines have personalities...feelings...and can make your life MISERABLE if they so I treat mine nicely and hope that it likes me. The night before St. Patty's liked me  A LOT! See that cute lil dress up there.


 I laid my fabric out and cut in such a manner that the slevage (that nice finished edge that won't fray) would be my bottom hem when covered by some sweet ribbon, and I folded my fabric so that my daughter's dress would only have one side seam.

 See how it's folded.

 Some would call it cheating...I call it being smart! Please note that this was cheap fabric ($2.77 for a yard which made a dress a skirt and has plenty should I decide to do something else with the scraps), so I didn't mind the waste.

I eyeballed all my measurements. Meaning that I laid my fabric out, thought about my sweet Anna and cut what I thought would be a little larger than her width (because the girls find my sewing measuring tape amuzing...I can never find it!).

Making your arm holes
 Then about four inches down from the top of the fabric (the non-slevage end) I cut tiny little dashes to serve as guides for making my armpit holes.

Then, using a circular guide...also known as Kaelyn and Anna's airplane flying book, I marked off a perfect curve for the armpits. You can also use a salad plate, or anything round...they do make special sewing tools for this, but why waste your money?

And Repeat on the other side!

Here is what your dress should look like. See how my finger is showing you that the fabric is indeed folded over!

Now you are almost done cutting, you just need to cut one or two long strips about 2 inches wide for your bias tape. What's that you ask? Well, I never used it before but it sure does make your dress look purty!
Making Bias Tape for finishing your arm holes
Take your two long strips about two inches wide and lay them out on your ironing board with a very hot iron.
Fold each strip in half (don't worry about cutting in straight lines, in the end, it'll all work out) and iron down.

Open up your fold, and use the center crease as a guide to fold the ugly ends of your fabric in. Iron those down.
Repeat on the other side...then fold in half with the ugly ends tucked in and iron down for good measure.

This is what your finished bias tape will look like.
 You will use this to finish the ugly arm pit holes...Open up the bias tape fold and place it over the armpit hole and sew a simple seam all the way down. I cut my bias tape AFTER sewing it to the armpit hole to make sure I have PLENTY of tape.
This is me attaching the bias tape to the unfolded armpit holes.

This is what the fabric looks like prior to adding bias tape after you open the fold! Now, this is how you add the bias tape for a better understanding.
See how you tuck the dress into the fold...then just sew it closed and viola you have finished edges!

If you want the inside of your dress to be pretty, do this! If you don't care...skip!
Now, this is the point that I make all my remained edges of fabric pretty by folding the unfinished edges in, ironing them down, and then folding them once again and ironing them down. Once they are ironed neatly, I sew a simple straight stitch all the way down.

To finsh your hem with ribbon

Once again, I don't cut my ribbon until after it's completely attached to my dress to insure that it's long enough! So, start on one end, cover the slevage edge and leave some ribbon hanging slightly over the edge....and you'll get this nice adorable ribbon hem without all the folding/ironing/sewing involved in making your own hem...

Do you see the pretty edge that will be the inside seam of my dress in my hand? Also look how I let a little of the ribbon lay over the fabric...just some extra that will be trimmed off in the end.
To close your dress
Make the two open sides meet with the pretty fabric folded ontop of each other. Sew, starting at the ribbon bottom up...this way your hem is always even!
To make the neckline and ribbon sleeves
Fold the top of the fabric over so that there is enough room to allow your ribbon to slide into the hole easily.
Iron it down and then sew with very little seam allowance (which means as closely to the end of the fabric as possible).
See how my finger can easily slide into the slot. Repeat on the other neckline. Then place a safety pin on the end of your ribbon and thread through both openings!
Cut to desired length! And now you have a lovely dress! I'll share my favorite skirt as soon as I catch my kids who decided to run around naked outside of towels...Please feel free to ask any questions