Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pinning it Down ~ Baptism of Jesus

Our Catholic homeschool group meets once a month for Blue Knights and Little Flowers. My friend and I lead a small group of younger siblings during this time. (I'm planning to share more of what we do with them soon!) While brainstorming for our January session (baptism and the Baptism of Jesus), I saw this fantastic sea shell ornament! It was originally pinned by Lacy of Catholic Icing from Crafolic.

We made a few changes to it...

First, I asked my husband to drill a small hole in the shells for the string/yarn/twine to make the hangar more sturdy.

Second, we used Mod Podge, and mixed the glitter right in!

This is not the easiest project for young kids, but they are a determined bunch and had fun! I ended up gluing the image of the dove and stringing the yarn ahead of time. The kids glued with image of Jesus with a liberal amount of glitter.

I did end up trying another recipe this week as well. We were suffering from the 4 PM doldrums yesterday, so I quickly mixed up some Orange Dreamsicle Smoothies. Yum!

I halved the sugar, but next time I'd skip it all together. Orange juice is sweet enough that you do not need added sugar!

More Pinning it Down here and follow me on Pinterest here!

Friday, January 20, 2012

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Of Rice and Boys

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter!


Finally, more than just an inch or two! Real snow!

The effort to pull Little Brother is just too much. Big Brother is worn out.


Believe it or not, this is the second time in a week twenty or pounds of rice has been spread aroudn the upstairs!

During a playgroup late last week, the boys and a friend had very a involved sensory experience with our bins of rice in the schoolroom. What started out as scooping and pouring ended in a barefoot, ice skating rink of rice that spread into the hall and Baby Brother's room. Totally worth it! Just wish I'd gotten pictures.

Over the weekend, there was an "accident" and the rice spilled again. It's gone to live in the basement for a bit while I recover!

I originally wrote this post Tuesday to be published yesterday (Thursday), but here's what happened between then and now...

This week has been full of "real" moments, especially yesterday. Baby Brother proved again just how different he is from his brothers while we were at story hour. I was exhausted trying to keep him corralled and quiet!

In the afternoon, Big Brother accidentally destroyed one of the crafts I was prepping for our Blue Knights/Little Flowers meeting today, and then Little Brother was splashed by boiling water!

Some days you can't win for losing, as they say!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pinning it Down ~ Food, food, food!

I think the majority of what I pin on Pinterest is FOOD! My pinboard devoted to recipes that catch my eye is spiraling out of control. I think I'll have to divide it into several categories!
This week I chose several recipes to try out!

First up were Sugar Cookie Bars. I thought this was a brilliant idea, and I wish I'd thought of it myself. We love sugar cookies, but I find the hassle too much for everyday use. I do occasionally make roll-out cookies "drop" cookies instead, but this is a much better (and prettier!) idea.

Press your dough into a cookie sheet, bake, cut with a pizza cutter, and voila!

The recipe called for a 13x18 pan, but I used 11x17. A smaller size would work too, the dough just might not fit all at once.

I had some leftover frosting in the fridge, so I frosted a few and added organic sprinkles. They were fantastic! I did end up cutting the bars into smaller squares, though, before serving. They are rich!

A few days later we tried a new breakfast idea: eggs in bell pepper slices!

This was an easy way to add some veggies to breakfast, but I did not perfect the "prettiness" of the dish. I think the trick is thin slices that lie flat in the skillet.

The boys loved them, though, and I'm thinking we'll make them with green pepper for St. Patrick's Day!

Find more Pinning it Down ideas here, and follow me on Pinterest here!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Boys' Bedrooms

Earlier in the week, a friend of mine and I were talking about our children's bedrooms. She just moved into a new house and is enjoying painting, setting up, and planning furniture for her kids' rooms. As we were talking and I shared our current solutions, it occurred to me that I never posted about the boys' rooms. I had planned a post since over the summer, Big Brother and Little Brother got a bunk bed and they love it!

(Duplo creation out of reach of a grabby baby!)

They only have one window in their room and although it faces east, it's not the brightest room. The walls are actually a very pretty pale green, although I probably wouldn't have chosen it myself. One day, we'll paint!

Baby Brother sleeps across the hall. We recently moved the play kitchen upstairs to give him and Little Brother more options during school.

Both rooms are a nice size, and I love the hardwood floors in our house! It's hard to believe in four days we'll celebrate one year in our "new" home

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

All About Baby Brother

Because I missed Baby Brother's birthday here on my blog (he is 14 months this week!), and because he has absolutely no semblance of a baby book and I don't want to forget this stuff, here's some of what he's up to lately!

*He spends approximately 25% of his time on the dining room table. He tries to sample the boys' food (exactly what he gets, by the way), runs laps up and down the length (not my favorite thing), or just sits. Since he's such an adept climber, and will shout the house down if he wants me, "Ma! Ma! Maaaa!" I usually leave him to do his thing. (Except for the laps, those we redirect...)

*He runs sprints from the powder room door to the sliders in the playroom. Up and down, up and down, making a point to slam his hands into the door on either side of this route. This week he also added a loop from kitchen through dining room, living room, and up the hallway back to the kitchen to his daily regimen.

*He dances by bobbing his head while turning in circles. I have it on video, and it's the most adorable thing we've even seen. The older boys didn't dance so early, and we all love to watch him.

*A close second is the way he carefully blows on his food before sampling. Now you know we're not giving a one-year old piping hot soup but evidently he's not so sure. Better safe than sorry!

*A few weeks ago he worked out how to use a spray bottle. It takes two hands: one to hold the neck of the bottle and one to press down on the lever, but it works. He has pretty good aim.

*He makes very accurate motoring noises, roars, waves, nods yes and no, and has between 4-6 recognizable words. While it's our VERY unbiased opinion (hah!) Baby Brother is extraordinary in terms of motor ability, I sometimes marvel more at his language. It's not "early" or "more" than you'd expect from this age, after two boys you were on the later side for expressive language, I love this!

*For this brief shining moment in time, he'll (usually) follow directions. "Baby Brother, go give this to Big Brother." "Can you throw this away?" How do we bottle this?

*He has the most lovable "squinchy" face. He hams it up for the camera, and makes this face when he wants to be extra cute. He knows exactly what he's doing!

*He can go downstairs lightning fast. He started crawling upstairs at about the same age as the boys (a little earlier maybe), but they didn't go downstairs on their own until they could walk holding the railing safely. I was never able to teach them to slide down feet first on their bellies or scoot down seated. Baby Brother didn't need any coaching. One day well before his birthday, he just opened the gate at the top of the stairs and was downstairs before we noticed he was gone.

*He loves to eat whole, unpeeled apples, but tends to abandon them mid-course. We find half-eaten apples everywhere.

*For all his abilities, there are still moments of minor disaster. He's pulled his heavy, wood highchair over on himself trying to climb into it. Twice. In one day. He's rolled down part of the stairway. He's walked into the corner of the open refrigerator door. Yesterday he bumped his head slipping out of a chair in the school room.

*He loves to play outside. He cries and cries if the boys are outside and he can't go or just isn't ready yet. He's easy-going otherwise and can be distracted, but not with this. He'll sob and refuse all comfort until he gets out there too.

*Rody Ponies are the best! He'll need his own soon.

*Over the summer, he learned to climb the ladder on the swing set. He always slides on his tummy, head first. He does the same thing at the playground.

*He loves to rip the dust jackets of books. We have to remove them now. This is a new one for me, as the older boys weren't rippers (though they both enjoyed chewing board books).

*He loves the water: pool or bath. If you ask him if he wants a bath or tell him it's bath time he's up the stairs and trying to get undressed (he can almost do it!) before you've had time to stand up. Yes, he can climb in and out of the tub on his own, but watching him still makes me cringe. I'm so afraid he's going to slip sometime! Swim lessons can't start soon enough for this boy!

*A love of water also means he's dipped his hands in the toilet once or twice. Also a new one for me! All bathroom doors stay CLOSED now.

*He's been trying very hard for a few months to put on his own socks and shoes. He places his sock on top of his foot then tries to stand up. So adorable!

Every day is an adventure with our littlest guy! Best of all, though, is watching the relationship grow with his brothers. He is a merry addition to their games and adventures.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pinning it Down ~ Me on the Map

Sarah and Pam are hosting a new Tuesday link-up, Pinning it Down, both to encourage Pinterest users to make their pinboards come to life, and as a way to share all the neat stuff we've all found over the past few months.

I love this idea and truth be told, it's probably part of what motivated to get back to this blog!

Here's our project this week. I originally pinned this months ago as an idea for summer geography studies, but we're starting an overview of early American history this week, and I thought it was the perfect way to help place us on the map. Big Brother has been a little fuzzy about the difference between a state, country, and continent.

He cut out seven circles representing our home, street, city, state, country, continent, and planet.

Then he drew or pasted an image on each circle and labeled them.

We hole-punched (the best part!) then added a ring. Easy-peasy, and he's an expert now!

Although the best part has been showing off his knowledge to Dad and Meema!

Follow me on Pinterest here and for more Pinning it Down go here.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Snowy Day

Almost a month later than normal, we finally had snow this week!

Baby Brother is quite the outdoors-boy, so he was in his element.

The big boys flying south. (For the winter? Several weeks ago, Big Brother confided a plan to move to Africa when he's grown. "Sorry Mom, that's the way it goes.")

After we came in, we tried a new recipe in our Babycakes Cupcake Maker.

A dear friend sent this to me for Christmas, and it is so much fun!

Five to seven minutes and cupcakes! Or muffins! Or pie!

We've only tried sweet recipes so far, but I have plans to try mini-quiches and other quick meals soon!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} The Twelve Days of Christmas

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter!


Little Brother chose this picture, and really, is there anything prettier than perfect snowballs in a row?


Big Brother and his new keyboard on Christmas Day.


A not-quite-so-perfect gingerbread house after decorating (and sampling!). No parent involvement here!


The school room after several weeks of no school and using the space as a catch-all. Restoring it to normal use is today's project!

Kiwi Crate

For Christmas, my sister gave the older boys a three-month subscription to Kiwi Crate. Kiwi Crate is a fairly new service; each month subscribers receive a box with all the materials needed for several projects that center around a theme. While these crates are designed for use by one child, we are finding that sharing between two is no problem.

The first crate came in time for the boys to open it on Christmas, and they were immediately ready to jump right in!

The December theme was space-- Big Brother's passion!

First up: a mobile!

It took the better part of a day: working on and off and waiting for paint to dry, but by bedtime the mobile was in place!

The older boys have a space themed room, and so our new "system" is right at home!

The other project in the box was making a rocket-- also perfect for these two. We can't wait for the January crate to arrive!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Belated Birthday Post

Back on November 9, Baby Brother turned 1!

He continues to keep us on our toes and I marvel everyday at what he's learned. Fortunately, it hasn't been anything as potentially dangerous as past exploits!

It's certainly true in our case that the third child is the one who turns things upside down, but his adorable smile and sunny disposition make it all worthwhile!

Catching Up in 2012!

Happy New Year!

I certainly didn't intend to abandon this blog for three months, but it's easy to be swept away with everyday life!

Not much particularly blog-worthy has been happening in our home lately, but we are enjoying days with friends, homeschool activities, and playing outside.

Winter has finally arrived with the new year, and I have lots of plans for our learning adventures in the New Year, and many goals as far as the house is concerned. I hope to share soon!