Family · Preschool Fun · Summer activities

Preschool students back home!

Have I told you before….I’m not a good stay at home mom? I love my kids. I love time off of school and work during the school year. I don’t like long 3 months. This year, I’m changing my mindset.  I’m getting ready early!  I have created a few different lists, along with a packet that I’m hoping my preschooler (going to kindergarten next year!) will do one page a day!

The first list I made was the Reading Log. I wanted to give my kids a visual to what they are reading.

                                                        Get yours for FREE here! -> reading log

The second list I made was the “Screen time rules”. I for one know that my kids are screen junkies. I take blame, as well as my hubby does. This summer cannot be full of tv/movie watching. So I made up some rules of what they have to do before any screens are played on. I’m kind of excited! I am visioning having this sheet laminated or in a plastic sleeve, after both kids have written their name on their own list, and decorated it to their liking.

Want a copy for your kids? Get yours here -> screen time rules 2

When you click into my screen time rules, you’ll see that there is a line that  states “Summer learning packet – one page”.  I want my kids to do something educational this summer! lol! Says I, the teacher!  Who doesn’t?  However, have your kids done the eye roll and said “but mommmmmm, it’s summmmmer!!!”?  Yeah…that’s why I stated “1 page”.  I have made the summer learning packet for preschoolers.  You can find a copy right here ->ONE PAGE A DAY WORK   If your kiddo is a little older than preschooler, you may want to search a little for that age group.  I haven’t created those yet!

 

Needing a few more ideas of what to do to keep your summer enjoyable?  Check out my blog post at the Duluth Mom’s Blog   https://duluth.citymomsblog.com/family/kids-driving-you-crazy-ive-got-ideas/

Hope this helps!  Have a great summer!  I’ll be back to share with you some things we’re doing!

Mom on!

 

Budget friendly · Family · Pampered Chef Awesomeness! · Recipes · Uncategorized

How to plan a dinner party

I’m coming to you from Pampered Chef World inside my home! It is a wonderful place filled with children who know what a Mix ‘n Chop is. It is a place where simplicity is enabled in every dish made, every design, every event. My PC home is always looking for a new and easy (and cheap!) way to host a dinner party.

Here it is. In it’s most simplest form.

 

Continue reading “How to plan a dinner party”

Family · Just MOM!

Kid shows, every single day 

You know what I find interesting? When I turn Netflix on, go to my tab,  hoping to find some amazing new show to get addicted to,  I find Zootopia. The movie all about animals that wear clothes,  have real people jobs,  and solve crimes.  To be honest,  I’m not ashamed to say I kind of like it.  “What do you call a three humped camel? …… pregnant!”

I keep on flipping,  and come to the row.  Top picks for Becky.  I am excited now.  This will be good.  Nope.  What do I see? Bunked.  Fuller house.  Sing.  Again,  not ashamed to say these aren’t that bad.  Bunked is about a group of super rich kids being thrown into a summer camp,  and learning to fit in,  all while crazy things happen. Fuller house is a great “bring me back to the old days” show! I laugh at references of Stephanie saying “How rude!” Even though she’s grown and is a DJ now 🙂  And of course,  Sing.  “Piggy power!” Gets me every time! Or when the mom turns into a hot momma! You’ve  gotta love that! A show where songs from across the genre board are sung,  danced to and completely crushed,  all by animals in costume…. amazing!

Ok,  let’s try regular tv. Pbs. Enough said.

Turn off the tv.  Let’s play a game.  Frozen…. something.  The board pieces flip over,  you move pieces…. we start singing “let it go, let it go,  can’t hold it back any more” in our best Elsa impersonation.  Still kid movie related.

Let’s play Chinese checkers.  No characters.  Perfect.  Turn on the radio to listen to some tunes.  The song comes on,  my girls yell “It’s Jonny! Turn it up!” I was excited they knew who was singing on the radio,  until I realized….. it was the song from Sing…… but sung by the original artist, Elton John!!! Not the character Jonny, the gorilla!

Do any of you out there find that as a mom,  most of the things you read or watch or listen to, are kid things? It must be a rule.  Or maybe common sense.  Play things appropriate for children around children.  Maybe that’s why,  when I asked  my own mom what her favorite 80’s song is,  she says “Raffy”.  When you have little kids during the entire 80’s decade, Raffy it is.  Come on,  “Baby Ballooga in the deep blue sea”,  gets me every time.  Is your momma home?

When asked what my hobbies are…. I sit dumbfounded.  I mean,  I’m a mom and a teacher.  I like to go to the bathroom and not have fingers under the door.  I like to eat breakfast and drink hot coffee for longer than 5 minutes.  Ooh,  and I love coloring a picture with my kids, and not have to share my page with unwanted scribbles and lines.  Ooh, I’ll miss these moments you  say.  I bet I will.  But I still can have my hobbies can’t I?

Well,  to all the mom’s rocking it,  or are really good at faking it,  keep it up! Cuddle up with the kiddos. Watch “Sing” for the 1344th time,  and be sure to use your vibrato when belting out every word!

And remember,  even though you may have your own little square with your name on it when you turn on Netflix….. it will belong to your little people in your life for a while (yes they may have their own square…I don’t know what happens!).  One day you’ll be able you watch reruns of Friends without worrying about the context of the episode.

Share your favorite kid’s show in the comments….. we’ve got to stick together,  so let’s get some new ideas!

Mom on!  — Becky

*** This post includes affiliate links.  Any purchases you make off a link, I will get a small percentage, with nothing added on your end.

Family · July 2017

August… The swear word!

If you are a teacher, you’ll understand my title! You’ll understand how I do not want to turn the page on my calendar! Yesterday, someone said “school is starting soon!” I yelled at them to stop saying swear words! Bahaha!!  Even though I’m getting refreshed, taking time to drink my coffee, going to the bathroom whenever I please, it is hard to think it’s time to go back to work. But in the same thought, I can’t wait to get back! I do love seeing all the kids. I love creating a room inviting and ready for kids to learn.

AUGUST!!

August, a swear word. The word some parents are excited to hear, knowing their children will be going back to class. The word some parents cry hearing, knowing their first or their last baby will be going off to school. The word when stores go crazy filling every aisle with stuff they think all kids need (hint… They don’t need fidget spinners!).

AUGUST!!

August, a swear word. The word that gets all teachers’ fingers cramping from Pinterest searching or TPT searching. The word that spouses cringe at, knowing their bank accounts will be dwindling with every pack of crayons brought into the house (or sometimes hidden in the backs of cars!) The word that gets all kids jumping and excited to play more games and sports, then thinking about all the NEW Stuff they get, and their friends they will soon see!

AUGUST!!

August, a swear word. When trying to school supply shop, and the realization sets in that it is too late. All the folders in the required colors are gone. The suggested pencils are gone.  Your child’s tears start, because their beloved character is no longer available on a lunch box. It’s also not available on the backpack either. Worst parent award is coming in the mail soon, nominated by your child!

AUGUST!!!

August, a swear word. Are there enough lunches and dinners planned? Have the dinners been prepped and frozen? Are the bus schedules correct? Are the supplies correctly labeled? Are the uniforms or school clothes ready? Or if not, have you at least done the style show to see if last year’s clothes still fit?

AUGUST!!

 

Try not to swear too much this year, especially in front of teachers!

PS… Never tell a teacher they didn’t work all summer. The teacher brain never turns off. They never stop thinking of ideas for next year.  Many get second, or third jobs, since many teaching jobs don’t pay the big bucks.  If you’re able, find a classroom and make a donation. Speaking for all teachers, they will be so appreciative!!

Happy August!! Ahhh, I just swore!!!!

-Becky

Gift cards for the teacher are also a great idea to start the year right! LOL!  Here is an affiliate link that will give me a little extra, but not be any extra on your end!

Family · July 2017

Our Strabismus Surgery Story

Last week, my daughter had Strabismus Surgery.  Her eyes were not tracking together.

Since she was 2 months old, I noticed her tracking was not where it should be.  We began going to eye doctors to get suggestions of what to do to help her.  We tried exercises, looking at black and white images, like all parents do in the early months.  We tried patches, which we found would not work with her type.  We tried glasses, which were not for her site, but only for her muscles around the eyes.  Over the last year or so, we were told surgery was inevitable, we just had to make sure everyone was ready, everyone meaning the doctors who needed to make sure the measurements were staying consistent.

In February, our doctor suggested we come back in June, which is only 4 months apart instead of the normal 6 month apart appointments.  She wanted us to see the surgeon as a second opinion early in the summer, to allow for time to have the surgery and not be in the school year.

End of June came and the appointment happened.  The surgeon did suggest surgery.  Sharing the comment that this was inevitable.   Surgery was set for July.  We began talking about what was going to be happening.  As it got closer, we began watching videos about kids going into surgery.  We were even given a video of the hospital we were going to, so that she would be familiar with the look of the rooms, procedures, and materials.

The day before, we were called to be given our presurgery info.  This info included that we would be starting our surgery about 4 hours earlier than originally scheduled.  A little bit of a shock to me.  We were not able to go down (3 hours south) until that morning, so we got up at 3:30 AM to dress, do hair, and pack up the truck.

 

Getting into our prep room, we had the family specialist come in to help Miss A know what was going to be happening. Unfortunately, the nurse had just come into the room to give her meds that would help with anxiety and remembering all that was happening. So, that meant that Miss A was a bit goofy already.

She was giggling, saying funny nonsense words, telling us her finger was stuck to her lip, and her leg kept falling off the bed! We ended up putting up the second railing on her bed to help with safety!! Here is a picture of us together being silly! She said she was pinching her cheek! At this point, all of us in the room were crying from laughter!!

The doctor came in to check in with us, and to see how we were doing. He also had heard she had a loose tooth, and he had to check it out. He told us that since it was so loose, it probably would have to come out prior to the surgery, to make sure it didn’t get knocked out and swallowed. Fast forwarding a bit, as soon as the surgery started, we were given the treasure box with her tooth.

I’m going back to the point after the doc came in. When it was time for us to go to surgery, I was nervous. I wanted to go back to make sure she was ok going under anesthesia, but the doctor said we should see how she was doing first. Her dad and I walked her down the hall, as she was riding on the “bed with wheels”. When we got to a corner, the nurses said “we’re at the kissing corner, time to give kisses and to say see you later!” We did as we were told, and they went through the door, leaving us behind. My tears started then.

I luckily had a village behind me, so when I went to the waiting room, my parents, grandparents and my mother in law were waiting for us. They kept me talking, laughing and eating. I am so grateful for all of them! I also had my village back at home and on Facebook praying for us and giving me words of encouragement. LOVE my family and friends sooooo much!

When the tv said she had been in surgery for over 1 hour and 20 minutes, the doctor came out to say everything went great. They only had to fix one muscle on one eye. Originally, they wanted to do both eyes. They also talked about doing the surgery to fix the DVD, which is the up and down deviation. Through more examination, they did not feel that one was not necessary at this time. They think that this one muscle surgery will fix the other issues. I learned that eyes are not like arms and legs. Arms and legs can be told by your brain to do different things at the same time. Eyes, on the other hand, work and do the same thing at the same time. So by fixing the one muscle, the other muscles will correct themselves.

I did not take any pictures of her in the recovery room. One reason is that this mommy was crying silently too hard to control the phone. Another reason was that I was holding Miss A. She was not a happy camper when I first got there. I even asked my hubby if we had done the right thing. He said of course, she needed this to be successful. Some morphine was added to her IV, and her pain subsided. She relaxed in my arms. We covered her eyes with a cold wash cloth to help with the pain and itch. They told us her eye would feel like there was a bunch of sand in it, resulting in her wanting to itch it. We had to keep her hands out of her eyes. At this point, I’m wondering how in the world can I do that!? The nurse sitting with us, looked at Miss A and said “do you want some apple juice?” I was thinking, are you crazy? She is sleeping! But sure enough, she answered “YES”. The nurse laughed and said, see she is awake! Her vitals were looking great. The anesthesiologist thought everything looked great, and signed off on his part. Before we knew it, they were saying we could get her dressed and get ready to go home.

When we got in the truck, she started to cry, she said she hurt, and she felt sick. I was almost going to jump out and ask my mom to go in and get a nurse!! I was a little over reacting. I see this in hindsight! But look at this face. This face is one I don’t like to see in my baby. I do love the people in the background! I love this family of mine! They were so happy to be done with the surgery!

Within a few minutes, she was sleeping! She continued to sleep till we got to grandma’s house, and we put her in bed, covered her up, and she slept for another hour until we needed to give her more Tylenol. Then she slept for another 3 hours! I was so happy she slept so well! She woke up, we called her sister on Facetime, so she could see her and talk to her. That was so great for both of them! After her phone call, she said she was hungry. Doctor’s orders were to eat bland stuff, so her belly could handle it better. We offered her toast, apple sauce, and apple juice! She ate it all!

After dinner, we alternated watching movies, covering her eyes with a cold cloth, and playing with babies. It was great to see her doing so well right away!

That night, I woke her up every 3 hours to piggy back the Tylenol and IB profin, just so she wasn’t in much pain. The only time she was up longer than it took me to rinse out the cup, was at 2:30AM when she just wanted to chat, fix blankets, give me kisses and be silly! That luckily only lasted 45 minutes.

At 2:50PM the next day, we had our Post Op appointment to check everything over. They said she looked great! Just as she should look! Her eye will be red. It is the bruising that occurs. In the eye it looks red, when under your skin it would look blue/purple. But that is all perfectly normal.

Now, almost a week later, we are days into saying “how do I keep her calm? How do I keep her laying low?” Because she is doing so well, she thinks she can play like normal. Unfortunately for her, the doctor said “normal activities” may resume in a week. As of right now, she has 2 days left of laying low! And 2 more days of eye drops!! She is very excited about that! One drop 4 times a day is not a fun thing to do.

Miss A is doing well. Her eyes are tracking so well together! Glasses are not needed anymore! She feels great!

I’m so happy everything is going as planned!! I have to call the doctor on Tuesday to tell him the drops have been completed, everything is good, and then I’ll see him again in October!! I pray that no more surgeries will need to be done, but it is always a 1:3 chance one will be needed.

Thankful for family. Thankful for amazing doctors.

— Becky

Family Fun · July 2017

Strawberry Pickin’ Time

Beautiful day to pick strawberries!

It’s strawberry pickin’ time here in Minnesota!  How about where you are?  Has your season come and gone?  I know my sister, who lives in Nebraska, said her season was done weeks ago!  It’s amazing how different the weather and planting seasons are from state to state.

Our goal today was to fill 6 ice cream buckets full of delicious strawberries, and we succeeded!  It took us 2 hours to do this with 4 people picking.  Ok, really I’ll say 2.5 people, since 2 of us were children, and they were more interested in eating them!  The sun was so hot at 8am, the girls were wanting to be done after one bucket, but we convinced them we’d have more jam if we filled the rest of the buckets.

We made a friend!

Not only did we get  buckets of  berries, we got to see some other “wildlife” hopping around!  That was sure exciting!

Once we took the berries home, we took some time to enjoy a bowl full.  Then, we hulled and cleaned all of them.  That’s the boring part if I do say so myself! Make sure to stand on a comfy rug or have good shoes on, because you’ll be standing there for a while!

Now it’s time to separate your berries.  One bowl for your keepers, the ones you’ll freeze for eating later, putting on top of shortcake or ice cream, or making a strawberry crisp.  One bowl for the jam berries.

The berries you picked for making jam now get to be squished.  Put a layer of strawberries in a shallow dish, and start mashing with a potato masher.  Mash it up good, so that most, but not all, chunks are all gone.  Pour this mash into a measuring cup, until it equals 5 cups.

Now, pour the 5 cups into your pot, add in one box of “Sure-jell”, and 1 teaspoon of butter, then stir.  Bring this mixture to a rolling boil and add in 7 cups of sugar.  My mom said not to change this amount, because it won’t work.  There’s a science behind it, and we don’t want to screw this up!  Feel free to search for a less sugar or sugar substitute recipe and share with me in the comments!  But be sure to make this recipe first!  It is amazing!

Once this sweetness comes to a boil, stir continuously for 1 minute.  Get your jars ready.  I forgot to get a picture of the jars boiling, but here is a picture of the rings getting sterilized!  Once you are at the 1 minute stage, turn off this pot, and add in your lids to the rings.  Let sit in the hot water until you are ready!

Are you ready for the messy part?  With your jars sitting on your newspaper covered counter, add in a funnel to a jar and ladle your strawberry jam mixture to each jar.  Leave about 1/2 centimeter of space to the top of each jar.  Now, this is important, wipe each top of the jar with a hot water rag.  Make sure there is no residue on the top or side where the ring and lid will go.  This will ensure a good seal!  Immediately cover with lid and ring, tighten, and flip upside down for 5 minutes.  Once your five minutes is up, turn right side up, and listen for the “pops”!  that will mean they are ready for your pantry!

With hot soapy water, wash the outside of each of these jars, and place in your pantry, ready to eat!

Enjoy your jam!  Comment below with any of your on favorite flavors!!

— Becky

Here are some affiliate links to Amazon that will help you get the important things you need to make your own jam at home!

 

 

Family Fun · July 2017

Lake Time

 

 

Being by a lake is an experience that is one of a kind. A feeling of calm. The smell of fresh water. The sound of kids splashing and giggling. The realization that we will never, ever, ever get to leave the water, as long as it’s not storming! How can I as a mom take away this fun when nothing else is going on? This is the time to enjoy!

Lakes are a place my kids love to go! My oldest is a fish. I hear stories of years ago, when I was just like her. Always wanting to have a part of me in the water. Feeling the water rush over me as a wave from a fishing boat comes crashing by. The sights of bonfires still smoking to remind us of the fun that was had the night before.

This lake, this weekend, has a slide and a dock. Both allowing creativity, daring behaviors, and fun! The kids, and the kids at heart, challenge themselves to jumping and diving contests, who can slide with most finesse, and who can rock the raft the best. The laughter, the screams of joy and the fun is something we crave every year and are blessed with the ability to come year after year.

When we were packing to come, we reminisce of all the years before. Thinking of what we needed, what we didn’t. How many towels are necessary this year? What kind of clothes should we have on hand? Food… Food always goes with camping! My family is kind of a “foodie” family, in a casual, creative and delicious way! Example A: my family is in charge of day one’s meals. What should we have? Breakfast: 2 different egg bakes, fruit, caramel rolls, muffins, juice and coffee. Dinner: lasagna in a Crock-Pot, sides of bread, Cole slaw, fruit and cake.  Oh did I forget snacks in between? Chips, crackers, cheese, meat, nuts, candy, beer, pop, juice boxes, and more! What else could we need?!

Company. Great company. That is what it comes down to. Who is around? Who do we chat with, eat with, play with? Who do we remember a week later when talking about the weekend?  Yes, location is wonderful, but company is most important. Who will love you for you? Find it. Embrace it. Enjoy it!

— Becky

Family · Family Fun

Supper Club with the Family

Something I cherish is time with my family.  I love seeing my siblings, my nieces and nephews, my cousins and their children, my aunts and uncles, and my grandparents and parents!  With a section of my family, we started years ago a supper club.

How does it work?

With 5 families in our supper club, we all take turns hosting.  The host of the month chooses the theme for the meal.  This is the fun part!  We can pick anything we love to eat…. and everyone rolls with it!  Here are some suggestions:

  • Mexican
  • Italian
  • Grilling– Burgers and hotdogs
  • Chinese
  • Greek
  • Picnic
  • BBQ ribs and sides
  • Turkey

After the theme has been picked, the rest of the crew starts throwing out what they will bring.  The host provides most of the plates and silverware needed, and also provides the main part.  Sometimes the meal requires the main part to be spread out among everyone, that works too.

Things to bring– have your families sign up!

  • Side dish 1
  • Side dish 2
  • Side dish 3
  • Dessert
  • Main dish
  • Drinks
  • Appetizers
  • Add to fill your groups!

Once all this has been designated, all there is left is to show up and have fun!  But how do you get all the food planned?  Oh there are many ways….  My fam uses a group we created on Facebook to chat all about what we’re bringing.  But you can make a sign up genius sign up!  If you haven’t tried that, go to signupgenius.com and check it out!  I’m not hired by them to say that…don’t worry!  I just use them a lot in my classroom for fun events coming up and it works great!  Other ways could include using a google doc or spreadsheet, and have your peeps fill in all the goodies they are bringing!  You can also just assign a thing to bring to each family.  We did do that at one point, switching it up each month….made it fun to see what everyone did for different parts of the meals!

Don’t forget the pictures!

This is important! Get a group shot!  Get a group shot of all the kiddos alone and then one with the adults.  It is amazing how much they grow and the pictures help show that off!  Do it, figure it out, prop those cameras, laugh.  Trust me, there will be laughter!  And there will be lots of great food!

Your job now?

Get your family groups together and create your own Family Supper Club!!

Comment below with your own pictures of your family supper clubs!  What themes do you use?  I love being creative and making new dishes to show off!  I hope you do too!

—Becky

Affiliate link to Amazon 🙂