Thursday, July 24, 2014

Celebrate Your Kid

It has been a fun but challenging summer. The kids have really been pushing my buttons these past few weeks. I've needed reminding of some basic truths about parenting and love.

I just love these "Kathyisms"!! Little nuggets of truth and encouragement to help me be a better mom! Thanks Kathy Koch!

 Kathyism #27- "Raise the Children You Were Given" from Dr. Kathy Koch on Vimeo.

I love my children SO much. But its not always easy to not wish they were different in this way or that way. The challenges they bring to the table for me as a mom are infinitely more than anything I imagined I would have to deal with when I dreamed of being a mom. I am so thankful that my kids are quick to forgive because I have not been my best self lately. Hoping the routine of the school year will help bring about some better habits for me.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

A Very Harry Potter Birthday

A couple weeks ago was my oldest's 9th birthday! AH! I can't believe I am mom to a soon-to-be 4th grader!
Well, this boy loves Harry Potter so we put together a pretty Pintastic, magical Harry Potter party for him.
My awesome friend who runs a before and after school program let us borrow a Sorting Hat to sort the boys into the different houses at the beginning of the party.
Each boy had a lightning bold drawn on their forehead, Harry Potter style glasses (really just these that we cut up to be like Harry's), a Hogwarts robe and house tie.

Each of the boys got a Harry Potter goodie bag with some fun treats including: Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, a pair of Chinese handcuffs, a box of sparklers, a Hogwarts notebook, and a Hogwarts certificate/scroll.

Our local library had a Harry Potter party on the same night as I had planned the party so we decided to incorporate it into the plan. So, after the boys were sorted we all loaded into the van and headed to the library.
They had Potter themed snacks including: pretzel wands, butter beer, wizard hats (Bugles) and magic color changing potion drinks.
There were craft stations where the boys were able to decorate their own wands, color pictures, get house badges, and make Monster Book of Monsters.

After the fun at the library we came home for dinner and movie.  We had some Potter themed drinks, Wizard Chex Mix, fruit and of course a party staple... PIZZA!  ;-)
Because I wasn't sure which kids had seen which movies I chose for us to show the first Harry Potter movie (The Sorcerer's Stone)
** Because the Harry Potter books and movies get progressively darker Nate is permitted to read a book each year around his birthday and then we follow it with a family movie night to watch the corresponding movie. Shortly after the party he and I finished listening to the audio book of The Goblet of Fire and watched that movie as a family.
I am wondering how much longer Nate will be into themed parties and such.  As much work as they are I love being able to make his birthdays special and unique every year.  He is an incredibly special kid and I am proud to be his mama!  Love him!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pinterest Science

I'll admit this year has been a little lacking in creativity. I have had very little energy for crafts and science projects for/with Nate. So on the last official day of school Nate had a friend over and we tackled a couple of fun science experiments that I found on Pinterest ages ago but hadn't gotten around to actually doing.  Here is what we did:

This was pretty successful. Though some of the marshmallows were a little on the soft side and had a hard time holding the skewers. But they did have a good time catapulting the mini marshmallows across the room.  ;-)

Each boy drew two pictures that went on opposite sides of a pencil. They would spin it between their hands and (ideally) they would be able to see both images together. Originally they drew with colored pencils and we found that it was too light to see when spinning. So, they went over their pictures with crayons to darken it and that made a big difference.

This involved making food coloring move around in the milk. The boys loved this one so much that in the end their bowls were a murky mess of colors!

We kept having premature chain reactions... but it was still pretty cool. 

The boys had a great time with all of the experiments but I will say that they didn't take up near as much time as I thought they would. Because we had just the two of them, we kind of breezed through them quickly and eventually they ended up playing games on the Kindle.  

Thankful for good friends!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Home Movies

This first video is a little taste of a typical dinner-time at our house. For some reason its the witching hour and Joe and Christine both end up melting down together... whats that they say about the importance of family dinners? 
The next vid is of Christine pulling up on the recliner. I know its hard to believe but this is a big deal. She is very busy lately and pulling up all over the place. Its a big step for our little girl!

And this last video is of Nate reading two of his nonfiction stories in his writing class a couple of months ago. He has more creative writing pieces but forgot to bring them to class that day.  ;-)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mom's Night Out

I was fortunate enough to see a screening a couple months ago and have been raving about it ever since.  I can't think of another movie that is so relatable and really values the importance of our jobs as moms. 

The main character Allyson (played by Sarah Drew) is true to life. She has wanted to be a mom since she was a little girl. She is living the life she dreamed of for so long. But she finds herself stressed and stretched to the point of exhaustion. Her husband lovingly reminds her that she needs to "put on her own oxygen mask first" and encourages her to do something for herself. So, she plans a Mom's Night Out with a couple of friends to unwind. Well, in true Hollywood fashion, everything that can go wrong, does. Who knew a Mom's Night Out could involve a car chase, a tattoo parlor and a trip to jail!?!  ;-)  In the end Allyson is reminded that her job is not only hard, but very important. Which is something that all moms need reminded of sometimes.

Check out the trailer for the Mom's Night Out movie below:

I am so passionate about supporting this movie (and my fellow moms) that a friend and I put together a whole Mom's Night Out evening of our own!

We met at a friend's house early in the evening to start the night off with appetizers and makeovers!!  One of our girlfriends is really into makeup so she got creative with some fun techniques that most of us would not normally be brave enough to try!  And I did most of the girls' hair up all fancy.  ;-)  I am the oldest of four girls... I have a lot of practice.

After we got all fancied up, we all invaded our local theater for Mom's Night Out the movie!!  Everyone enjoyed the movie so much! I loved hearing the theater erupt in laughter at the many funny parts... and get quiet during the meaningful moments. I know I can't take any credit for how great the movie is, but I was a little proud being able to share such an encouraging film with my friends.

We all struggle as moms. We all feel like we are failing, like no matter what we do its not enough. But those thoughts and feelings of failure are FALSE.  God loves each and every one of us and He knows how hard our jobs are as moms. He is proud of us for every breakfast that we serve, even if its stale cereal for the third day in a row. He is proud of us for all the dirty diapers that we change. And the carpools, and doctors appointments, and classes we've taught, the crafts we've done... God knows how hard we work to care for and love our children and He is PROUD.

Please consider taking your friend, or mother, or sister, or whoever to see Mom's Night Out.  You won't be sorry you did.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Little Mermaid 4th Birthday Party

As usual Pinterest was my go-to place to get party ideas. I kept pinning and pinning... way more ideas than I could ever actually do.  And I was kind of feeling partied out so I wasn't very motivated to do a whole lot.  Thanks to my friend Lehi for loaning me a bunch of beachy/luau stuff that kind of went with our Little Mermaid theme. 

 We did a surf board craft and had the kids "go fishing". They loved it!
  Thanks to Jess for doing all the printables! Not pictured are coloring pages and paper dolls that were in the family goodie bags - which were sand buckets with fun treats in them.
 Cut out sandwiches for the kids...
 Chicken Salad Crabs from Lehi! So good!
 Clam shell cookies...
and who needs cake when you can have Jello?  ;-)
Our birthday girl was sweet and smiling the whole time!  
She enjoyed every minute of her Little Mermaid party!


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Love Your Local Library

In honor of National Library Week I wanted to share about how we use our local libraries.

Here are links to our most used library resources:
PLAC card - our Public Library Access Card allows us to get a library card at any library in the state. There is a fee for this card but since we homeschool I feel that it helps me have to buy less books and is very worthwhile.

Hoopla - Borrow free video, music, and audiobooks with your library card.
Enjoy on your PC, tablet, or phone. This was particularly helpful when we had a road trip last fall. We loaded several great audiobooks onto my husband's smart phone and we listened to a couple of classics on our long drive.

Evergreen - Is an open source integrated library system that includes more than a hundred libraries in Indiana. It has been a great resource to me in the past school year since we started using it. I can go on the website and search for books, videos, etc related to the topic that we are studying in school and it will allow me to put a hold on books from any library in the system and they will bring them to my local library and then notify me when the books are ready.

Throughout the school year local libraries often have programs on a variety of topics and subjects for all ages. Library summer reading programs are a great way to encourage kids to keep reading through the summer months.

It has been our experience that most library staff is very helpful and Nate has gotten pretty comfortable asking the librarians to help him find this or that. At times I have gotten great suggestions on new books for Nate to read. Different series of books that I hadn't heard of that are similar to ones he has already read.

Simple Homeschool shares how she used their local library early in their homeschooling years.

At Your Library featured an article sharing 60 Ways to Use Your Library Card.

Our Journey Westward has a printable scavenger hunt to help your kids get to know your local library.

How do you use your local library?