Tuesday, July 31, 2012

This July

In July,

we've planted a tree ...

moved our swingset to the new house ...

and practiced using Mommy's camera ...

(still have some practicing to do).

We've gotten creative ...

REALLY creative ...

and we've built a few things too.

We've (well, the girls) started wearing headbands ...

ridden a horse ...

been babysat by the lawn service ...

and lost almost all of our baby fat.

Oh, and we met a new friend down the street.

August is here! We can't believe school will be back in session in a month! Now what can we still fit in to our last month of summer?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Busy Bags

I always say I want to do something educational for the kids around the house (especially in the summer), but my follow-through isn't always, ahem, followed through on. But this time, I was a winner! I mean, the kids were winners because they got to play with something that their mom made herself. Why does that always make it better? They will always think that games or toys that Matt and I make up are far more fun than anything that comes out of a box. So, of course, I was willing to oblige.

What I made for them were busy bags. I know they are not a novel concept. A search on Pinterest is sure to bring up thousands upon thousands of busy bag ideas. The concept is usually to create small bags of activities that can be taken with you to keep a child busy when they need to sit still. You know, doctor's office, dentist's office, car repair shop, etc. I really didn't make them with that purpose in mind (can you imagine me taking all four of them with me to get my car serviced? I shudder ...). My intention was more to give them something educational to do when they were winding down in the afternoons or if we were faced with a rainy day.

They were all super-easy to make and I only had to make 2-3 (or 7) trips to the Dollar Store and Michael's to get everything I needed. Lots of stuff we already had around the house.

I focused a lot on games involving their upper and lowercase letters, counting, color sorting, and patterns. I also threw a few in there that worked on fine motor skills like cutting, threading, using tongs, and sorting small objects like beads and coins. I think I ended up with something like 14-15 different games/bags.

The kids LOVED them. They really could not get enough. Seriously, if you want a mommy confidence booster, make some of these for your kids. I'm so glad that they enjoy educational games and they get so excited when they figure something out and complete one of the tasks. I made the games so that they were easily adjustable for Luke (larger beads to thread, easier shapes to cut, etc.), but he can do most of the same activities that the triplets can.

Overall, it was a great use of time and resources. Inexpensive entertainment that just took a little time to plan and put together. The kids ask to play with the bags everyday, so I'm going to have to come up with some new bag ideas soon!

Anyone else create any busy bags or similar activities for your preschooler? I'd love to get some additional ideas or activities that you though were big hits.

Happy Weekending!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Share It Maybe

My kids love to listen to songs. In the car, at home, while they play, they'd listen to music 24-7 if they could. And we've exposed them to different types of music. They've heard some classical (though, admittedly, we need to listen to more of it), country, top 40 and Christian songs in addition to the requisite kiddie songs that all parents must endure. Truthfully, I can only stand so much of the Wiggles or Rafi, so we've had to branch out.

As with everyone else on the planet, my kids have been roped in to the Carly Rae Jepson phenomenon of "Call Me Maybe." Yes, I am that mom that puts the windows down and lets my kids rock out to Justin Bieber's protege's music. Heck, I even taught them the Harvard baseball team's arm dance and I still crack up every time they do it in the car. They have no clue what they're doing, but they like that it makes me laugh!

So, as you can imagine, I was beyond excited when I happened upon this little gem that one of my friend's posted a link to. My kids love it, I love it. Win. It combines two of the PALS's favorite things - teeny bopper one-hit wonders and a certain blue monster. Consider me hooked.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Picture of the Week - July 22

They still aren't fighting me on dressing them alike some of the time. How long will that last?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pony Express

This week we had the opportunity to head out to Cash Lovell Stables to have a little one on one time with their horses. The kids have never been around horses or ridden one (except for a teeny tiny pony at some festival years ago), so they were beyond excited. We got to have a short little tour of the stables and then they all got a chance to ride Freckles!

Waiting patiently for their turn ...

Seriously, is it my turn yet?

Sam was very worried about being skipped in line.

Finally, it's our turn! All smiles from here on out.

Adah meets Freckles before taking the saddle.

And she's off! Poor Freckles, he must have had vertigo by the time our group was finished due to how many times he had to go round and round that circle.

The kids were thrilled to finally have ridden a horse. I just hope we didn't entice any of them into wanting a pony for Christmas ....

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hot Now Heaven

There's nothing Matt and I the kids like more than a sweet treat. Ice cream, cookies, lollipops, you name it and they want it. Although we don't eat them very often, we also love doughnuts. And wouldn't you know that when we moved to North Carolina, we moved right into the birthplace of THE most iconic doughnut ever, the Krisy Kreme glazed doughnut.

When we found out recently that Krisy Kreme would be celebrating their 75th anniversary with a big blowout birthday party that included free (what else?) doughnuts, you know that we made plans to attend. Ok, so I've been planning it for several months once I first saw the ad in the paper, but this is free doughnuts people! You have not tasted heaven until you have let a "Hot Now" Krisy Kreme glazed touch your lips. It's euphoria contained within the confines of a sugar-glazed pastry, my friend. Seeing as I didn't want to miss out on a little piece of heaven, we woke up Saturday morning, donned our party hats, and loaded up the van to head to the par-tay.

Obviously, we weren't the only ones with this brilliant idea. Apparently other people covet free deliciousness, go figure. Finding a parking place was challenging, but once we found one we hightailed it to the party site as fast as our legs could carry us. There may or may not have been some prodding of the kids to walk there a little faster (mush, mush!), but their legs were soon strengthened when they could smell the aroma of warm sugar in the air. Ahhhhh, is there any better fuel for the four-year-old's soul than the smell of sugar-coated hyperactivity in a pastry? I think not.

We finally made it to the party and all four kiddos were outfitted with their Krisy Kreme party hats. Once they were adequately costumed, they started drifting in the direction of the bounce houses. No way I was letting that take precedence over getting my free doughnuts, and luckily it wasn't hard to convince them that waiting five minutes to get a fresh doughnut was a better deal than waiting thirty minutes to bounce in the house that Happy Hoppers LLC built. Those five minutes were painfully long, but we were finally rewarded in the end.

After we were nice and full of sugar, we let the kids loose to have fun at the rest of the party's activities.

Overall, totally worth it. I managed not to eat an entire dozen doughnuts on my own and the kids had a fun time. In fact, they've started asking when it is going to be Dunkin' Donuts birthday!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Vidalia Onions, Sunflowers, and Barbeque

I feel like I've been MIA for about a month and I guess that's because I have been. Between moving, not having any internet or TV for a while, and going on a getaway to the mountains, I feel like the last few weeks have been a big jumbled mess. Not a bad mess, but we've just been operating on the fly for a little while. I still feel like I'm living in a 75% finished house, and that last 25% is always the hardest past to finish. So what am I going to do? Procrastinate by sharing pictures, of course.

We just spent the better past of the week up in our normal vacation spot of Cashiers, NC. It was warm for the mountains (mid to upper 80's), but it was a welcome change compared with the 100 degree days we'd been having here lately. We spent the week doing pretty much nothing, which is just the way I like it. A few trips to the pool, the local market, and Highlands filled out our days and we loved having the time to relax, spend time with family, and eat some really good meals.

 My cutie 8 month old nephew, Graham.

We also spent one day picking blueberries. When you can carry home four pounds of berries for $7, it's been a good day ... even if we all did have some "berry bellyaches" later that afternoon from all of the taste testing.

 I love our trips to the local market. You know it's a good spot when they sell vidalia onions, barbeque, and sunflowers all in the same store.

And did I mention that they also sold homemade fruit pies there? Oh. My. Word. Straight out of the oven too ... I touched it to make sure it was still warm.

We had such a great time, as always. We've only been home a day and there are already four loads of laundry to be done and a million other things I can think of. Where is the summer going? I blinked and it's already halfway over!