Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Expected, Not Apprecaited

Recently while browsing on Pinterest, I noticed that one of my friends had pinned this quote:
"You need to stop doing things for someone when you find out it's expected instead of appreciated."
Interesting. This isn't a very Christian sentiment. Plus, if that quote were true, Moms wouldn't exist. That's what a Mom does! All day every day she performs small tasks for her loved ones. These small tasks sometimes go completely unnoticed,  and are often not appreciated. So should she stop doing them? NO! But a little education, or shall we say "Stay-At-Home Moms Awareness" training should be conducted for the general health and enlightenment of the other family members.

I conducted one such training session today at my house. On top of my regular to-do list and grocery list I had going, I also kept a list of tasks I completed. When I did something, big or small, I wrote it on my list. (The only thing I didn't record was playing with Bird - this happens before, after, and during each and every activity on the list.) Want to see today's list? I figured you did! It all started at 7am sharp this morning.
- Fix breakfast for the Bird
- Clean up Bird's bfast mess
- Make & eat my own bfast
- Attempt to have a quiet time
- Cuddle with Bird on the couch
- Start a load of laundry
- Fold & put away yesterday's laundry
- Write 2 thank-you notes
- Take Bird on an expedition to put the notes in the mailbox
- Switch loads of laundry
- Get Bird dressed, then get myself dressed
- Make our weekly meal menu & grocery list
- Cut & organize coupons
- Go to grocery
- Unload & put away groceries
- Unload clean dishes from dishwasher
- Fix Bird lunch
- Clean up his lunch mess & make my own (lunch and mess)
- Wash bfast & lunch dishes
- Change sheets on bed
- Start a new load of laundry in washer
- Fold & put away laundry from dryer
- Fix Bird a snack
- Clean up snack mess and toys from den floor
- Fix dinner
- Wash dinner dishes
- Put Bird to bed
- Take a shower.

I put my list in a prominent, hard-to-miss place so Jacin would see it when he got home. I imagined him walking in, seeing my list, and saying something like, "Wow! You did so much today! Thanks honey! You're the BEST!" or something like that. Well, he did see the list. His comment was more like, "Why did you write all this down?"

Looks like tomorrow's awareness training will deal with expressing appreciation for the things you expect to be done. LOL!! :)

Special thanks to my friend Kim Witt for the list idea, and to my Mom who modeled the love of Christ in doing for others, whether it was appreciated or not. Love ya, Mom!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Just a Quick Project

We have had the same, plain, unadorned grapevine wreath hanging on our front door since January. I liked the look for the winter months, but since spring I've been wanting to update it and add some color. I got the idea (from Pintrest, of course) to cut out a cardboard letter and wrap it in colored yarn.  
This should be a cheap, easy, and quick project, I thought to myself. Stupid me.

First of all, the cardboard/yarn-covered letter shown on Pintrest was an L. Wow. A letter composed of two straight lines. My letter, of course, was a B. Couple the curves of the B with the fact that I am incredibly dangerous with a glue gun and what do you get? A 3 hour project that yielded several burnt fingers, a hot-glued cordless phone, and a "special" looking B. Oh well. So much for my "quick project."

Here's how it turned out. I added a few silk flowers on the side, too. It looks ok from a distance, but if you get close, you might think a drunkard glued the yarn on the B.  Oh well.
Cheap - yes.  Quick and easy - no. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Forget Me Not

Bird is growing so quickly, and there are so many cute things he does that I don't want to forget. This is the easiest place to record them... so here it goes:

1. Jackson is becoming more and more independent each day. We often hear the phrases "I dude it!" (meaning "I do it!") and "I twying" ( I'm trying!).

2. No matter where he is, Bird always wants to know who is doing what where. During the day if I slip away to go to the bathroom, it's not long before I hear his little feet coming to find me accompanied by the cutest little sing-song voice saying, "Momma, where ARE you?" He also likes asking "What's Daddy donin?" (doing).

3. Wednesday of this week was Bird's last night with the paci. He only used it for naps & bed time, but I was still dreading taking it away. On Thursday Jacin explained to Bird that the pacis had been put away to save for Baby Levi. Jackson just took it all in stride like he totally understood. Just ask him and he'll tell you that his paci is "away" for "Baby Vi."

4. Since the paci is gone, Bird talks incessantly before falling asleep. Before I put him to bed each night, we read a story, sing a song, and pray. With no paci, his mouth is now free to chat throughout story time, sing with me during our song ("Mommy, sing ahh Jesus!"), and copy-cat my words during prayer time. At nap time when I put him in his crib, you can hear him talking to "Cifford" for about 10 to 15 minutes before falling asleep. 

5. For some reason, Bird is a bit slow with his prepositions. Instead of saying words like to, from, or with, he substitutes "ahh." For example, in the mornings he tells me, "I sit ahh Mommy ahh couch."

6. Bird likes to grab my iPhone when it's within reach and carry it around the house talking into it. He tilts his head, jabbers, and motions with his hands like he's carrying on a real conversation. If you try to get his attention, he emphatically responds, "Mommy! I tawkin!"
And today, while out running errands, I called home to check on Jacin and Jackson. Bird got on the phone to talk to me.
I said, "Hi Bird! What are you doing?"
His typical-boy response: "Nuffin, Mommy."

7. After washing his hands, taking a bath, or even getting his diaper changed, Bird waves his hands in the air and declares, "Awwwl cwean!!" (All clean).

Well, that's enough for now. Bird is asleep, and I need to go to bed too so that I can handle all of his cuteness tomorrow!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

DIY Laundry Detergent

I have to admit that buying laundry detergent is one of my least favorite things to do (aside from actually doing laundry). I just hate spending the money, and it seems like we're always out of it (detergent - well, maybe money, too).

I've seen several blogs about DIY laundry detergent, and here are my observations:
- the majority of blogs use the same basic recipe
- the ingredients are common and the instructions pretty basic
- the DIY powder gets rave reviews! People say it cleans extremely well.
- it's safe for an HE frontload washer
- it makes a TON of detergent and therefore lasts quite a while
- it doesn't require much per load (1 to 2 tbsp)
- it costs less.

So... I dove in. I made my own batch last week. We will run out of our usual laundry detergent this weekend, and then we'll start using the powder I made. Jacin, however, has already jumped the gun and tried it. He was so excited last week that he had to do a load of clothes just to test it out. The verdict? He said it seemed to clean the clothes really well but it didn't have a distinct smell to it - just clean. That's ok with me if it saves me money.

Here's the recipe I used - http://beingcreativetokeepmysanity.blogspot.com/2010/11/homemade-laundry-soap.html#comments. The hardest part (which really wasn't very difficult) was grating the Fels- Naptha bar soap. I made my huge batch (about 2 gallons) of DIY laundry detergent during nap time. It was super quick and easy. I added one small container of Purex Laundry Crystals to see if I could obtain a yummy smell. Unfortunately, I should have used the large container. The detergent doesn't small bad at all - it just smells like soap. But if you're used to a yummy smelling detergent (like one of Gain's flavors), you'll want to add the crystals.

 If the powder works as well for us as it seems to for others, I'll definitely be making it again. Here are some pics of my batch:

Grated Fels-Naptha. If you use Zote, it may be pink, not yellow.

All the dry ingredients mixed together. I used a 5-gallon bucket to mix it.

Ready to use! Bought the jar at WalMart.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Hilton Head 2012

Last week we went to Hilton Head Island for our annual vacation with the Stovall clan (except Zack & Audrey couldn't make it this year with new Baby Tensley). We had a great time. It was by far the easiest beach trip we've had since Bird made his debut.

The 6-hour car trip, which I was dreading, wasn't bad at all. Bird had one melt-down towards the end of the trip, but holding my Biggie-sized Sprite cup offered an instant attitude adjustment. ???? Who knows. Sometimes it's just the little things in life that make us smile.

Our time at the beach was great. I highly recommend beachin' it in May or September when the crowds are smaller and the temps are lower. It's much more enjoyable! And Bird had a great time. He spent most of his beach time running around in circles, digging holes with his shovel, or playing with his trucks in the tide pools. He was one happy camper!

And to top it all off, Bird behaved exceptionally well and slept like a log the entire week! (The two are probably connected.) He slept from 9pm to 8am nightly and also took a 2-hour-nap every day!! If he could just play outside all day every day like he did at the beach, he would be winning awards for his stellar toddler behavior! He loved having the space & time to just run and burn all that energy. I didn't mind it, either.

We had a great time with Meme, RayRay, Aunt Laney & Uncle Rich. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful family and to have the opportunity to get away.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Road Trip!

We have some road trips coming up, and I've been trying to brainstorm ways to keep my very busy Bird occupied in his carseat. Here are a few of the things I've made to go into his "Busy Bag":
Playdough, Color Wheel, and Matching Game

I got the "Busy Bag" idea from this blog: http://therigneys.wordpress.com/2011/08/26/toddler-busy-bag-swap/. There are lots more ideas there that I want to eventually try. So far though, I've made a color-matching wheel, homemade playdough, and animal matching cards.

I just took cardboard from an old box, cut it in a circle, painted it, and then painted clothes pins to match. Jacin and Bird tried it out tonight. Bird is just learning his colors, and matching is a new concept, so it's not a quick and easy activity. Maybe it'll eat up some time and mileage in the car!!

I found this recipe on pintrest - here's the website:  http://www.kristanlynn.com/2011/09/best-play-dough-recipe.html. Quick and easy!! I made two batches (red & blue) in one quick session. And the playdough is GREAT!! Bird doesn't know what to call it yet, so when he wants to play with it, he grabs my hand, pulls me in the kitchen, points to the playdough, and says, "Momma, I show you. I play THAT!!"Not sure yet how we'll handle it in the car, but we're packing it!

One of Bird's favorite books to read at naptime (and he has quite a few favorites!) is "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?" I found this matching activity on a website that has a whole booklet of activities to go with that children's book. Pretty cute! Check it out here: http://www.1plus1plus1equals1.com/BrownBear.html. I just downloaded the matching cards, printed them, and took them to Office Depot to be laminated. Quick and easy!

We also have a portable DVD player and MobiGo (thanks to both sets of grandparents), so I'm hoping that with these "Busy Bag" ideas, a few matchbox cars, a stash of books, and a favorite tractor or two, we might survive our summer road trips. I'll keep ya posted. :)