Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New Kitchen Appliances!

We've had a string of tough days lately.  Nothing dramatic, just the convergence of two two-year-olds fully embracing the Terrible Terrific Twos, a three-year-old learning about honesty, and a baby who's cutting teeth and climbing stairs.  And some days it just amazes me how much of my day involves poop.  Seriously, people.  It's the stuff of nightmares.

Anyway, despite the fact that I had two three-foot high piles of laundry to fold and probably needed to mop the floor or something,  I spent one day last week making this:

It used to be a giant cardboard box and now it's a kitchen set! It's only temporary until I can get Billy to make one out of wood when he has time.  (I've seen several online made out of old nightstands and entertainment centers.)  It's far, far from perfect (curtains aren't hemmed, doors don't always stay closed, etc.) but it didn't cost me one penny to make and the kids love it.  And that's what works for us!
The sink is a bucket, the stove burners are CDs, the stove knobs are baby food jar lids, and the "glass" door on the oven is a sheet protector.  I attempted to paint a design on the cabinet door and let's just say it's a good thing you can't see it in the pictures.  I still need to add a faucet and "hot" and "cold" labels to the sink. 
So far Joe's favorite is baking cupcakes, Mikea loves washing dishes in the sink, and Daniel likes crawling into the oven.  As much as the kids love it, the best part was how much fun I had making it.  I've got a big jumble of boxes in the garage and am waiting to be inspired to make something else...I'll let you know when it happens!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Brain is on Hiatus

Some days I can't seem to put together a coherent thought to save my life.  Today is one of those days.  So please enjoy a few snapshots of Spring Break and look for the return of my brain in the near future.  (We hope.)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Today's Activity is Brought to You by . . . Dad!

I adore my husband for many, many reasons.  Yesterday I added one more.

Without any prompting from me, he planned, prepared, and implemented an activity with the toddlers.  The kids had so much fun!  I could hear it in their voices as they happily chattered away with him while gluing down the various letters, words, and pictures he had painstakingly cut out for them.
He's a teacher so it's not surprising the activity was centered around literacy.  As a matter of fact, he has a degree in Early Childhood Education which is why sometimes I wonder why am I the one staying home with all these toddlers?
He did such a great job that I think this summer I'm going to hand over all of the kids' project planning to him.  What do you think?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Hair-a-Thon

On Monday I had the opportunity to attend a training on ethnic hair care for foster parents.  Children were invited to attend to have their hair styled by professionals.  Even though Mikea's not a foster child anymore, my caseworker said we could still go.

When we arrived we learned there was to be a class on styling hair in ponytail twists. Guess who got to be the model for the class?  Mikea!!! 

First she had her hair washed.

She did very well following directions and keeping her head down.  The stylist said she did better than most adults.  I think she enjoyed it, as well she should!
Then it was off to the chair where the real work began.
Again, she did surprisingly well.  She was getting a bit uncomfortable, though, and so the secret weapon was brought out:  a giant cookie!

Here is the end result:

She was very proud of herself and so was I!
Here's one more picture for good measure:
Sure, I'm biased - but isn't she a cutie???

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What's Your Favorite Knife?

Project 52: Date Nights logo

After 9 hours of wall-to-wall toddlers, by the end of the day I crave adult conversation.  So for our weekly date I printed out sample questions from Table Topics. (You can print 5 or 6 questions from most of the Table Topics versions - Family, Couples, Food, etc.) My husband and I then cozied up on the couch, took turns choosing questions for each other, and enjoyed an evening of great discussion.

Below is a reenactment staged purely for my own personal entertainment purposes.

"Which is more important: intelligence or common sense?"
"What possession of your partner's would you like to throw away?"
"What's your favorite knife?"
For the fifth date it was Billy's turn to plan! We had it on a Wednesday because he was traveling out of town for the next four days.  The main activity was feasting on cinnamon rolls creating "lists" of some of our favorite things (color, song, word, game, place, Bible verse) and decorating them with markers and crayons.  I told you my husband was creative, didn't I?  It was fun discussing our choices and guesssing what we thought the other person would choose for their favorites.  He also had the great idea of putting together a scrapbook of our dates, including photos and artifacts of the dates such as the Monkey Poems and this week's lists. We then played Smart Mouth, a favorite game from our dating days.
Both of these dates gave us an opportunity to have conversations about something other than kids and work and allowed us to learn a little more about each other in the process!

Busy Boy

Baby A. has been busy doin' his baby thing, hitting several major milestones in the past couple of weeks:
1. He now sleeps through the night.  (Cue the Hallelujuah Chorus)
2. He's cutting his first tooth.
3. He crawls on all fours.
4. He moves into a sitting position independently.
5. He pulls up to stand.

He also climbs all the way up onto the first step and leans on the second step.  We have a baby gate, but I don't want to limit stairs access to the other kids.  I'm hoping to find a gate with a door...

A. also attacked me last night and now I have an inch-long gash on my forehead.  Ok, so it's more of a scratch.  But it's still not pretty.  The hair-pulling has started, too.  He's just like his siblings!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Anatomy of Another Mess

Here we go again!  Today's mess is brought to you by RICE!

This time around I finally took some good advice and put down a shower curtain before getting started with the activity.  Here we have Baby A. doing a quality-control check:

Once the shower curtain was arranged according to Baby A.'s standards, I brought in the toddlers and gave each one a tub of colored rice.
I'm somewhat embarrassed to point out that once again, it appears I dressed the kids in the family uniform: stripes.  They really do have other shirts, I promise!
At first the kids had fun just using their hands to play in the rice.
But before long, they were asking for the "tools": an assortment of scoops, spoons,  measuring cups, and funnels.  They were most excited by the funnels, because the only other time we've used them was with beans which are too big to fall through the funnel, which defeats the whole purpose of using a funnel, right?
But of course, soon enough the funnels were put to other uses:
I did my best to stay out of the way and not be too controlling, but I couldn't help but bark, "You're being too wild!"  "Keep the rice in the tub!"  "No eating the rice!" and "No throwing tools!" every now and then.
As you can see, there was a lot of spillage. But 90% of the mess was contained to the shower curtain. Nice!
Finally, in the interest of full disclosure and lest anyone thinks I'm mother of the year for letting my kids play with rice, you should know they watched cartoons for two hours while I got everything ready.  So now you know the truth!