Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hello 30. . .

So today's my 30th birthday. . .my twenties were great, but I think I'll love my 30's even more!  I feel great, and I'm excited to see what the future has in store.
[don't know why I love this crazy picture. . .it's a fun one]!

Today all of my stuff on TPT  will be 20% off. . . most items are around $3.00 or even less. . .you can check it out here!

On a totally different note. . .the past two weeks have been the absolute busiest of my entire life!  Hanging out with a newborn, two year old, and four year old will keep you on your toes!  I thought I was an excellent multi-tasker, but I've learned a few new tricks!

First of all we follow a daily schedule that is pretty consistent [I know. . .with a newborn it sounds almost impossible-but Jax is a great baby]!

Every day I have been completing a special snack and project with my big guys [Christian and Solomon] so they know they still [and always will] have a place in mommy's heart too!  Last week we had celebrate summer week, and this week we've had a lot of fun with ice cream!  Here are a few of my favorite things. . .

We just need to add the handprints [red] to make a heart above "Happy Father's Day."

We talked about how pigs stay cool in the summer by wallowing in the mud.  We made "mud" [chocolate pudding] that same day for snack!

LOVED these cute little beach buddies!

Christian worked on patterns with his ice cream, and Sol worked on identifying colors. . .perfect review for both of them!

handprint ice cream cones!

A fun little project with help from Home Depot

Paint samples. . .free!

Wood glue and a small brush. . .about 4 bucks

white wood blocks [for crown molding]. . .$1.50 each

I added the colors to the wood and let them dry for 24 hours. . .

Then I added the letters [printed on scrapbook paper]. . .

I made one for all of the boys because this was such a fun project!

Sorry all of these are so blurry. . .
[I use my iphone to snap pics really fast, but my camera lens is scratched, and I haven't gotten it replaced yet!]

The new playroom. . .this is a kids' dreamworld. . .now it has my reading loft, blocks, a computer, playdough, legos, paint, cars/trucks, and so much more!  More pics to come-this used to be my office, but I traded with the boys so they could have a little more space!

 Probably the hardest thing for me right now is trying to find any kind of balance. . .between being a mommy and wife, I often forget about someone else who's important {ME}!  So one of my goals for this year has been to work on carving out time for myself too. . .just curling up with a great book, searching pinterest, or listening to some great jazz are the simple little things that I enjoy!  

O.K.  one last thing before I go [I have been asked about breakfast and snacks about 10 times while completing this post. . .which must be done before Jax gets up in about 10 minutes [timing is everything these days]!

Here's something that Christian is working on, and it has been great for him.  If you have a four/five year old who needs to work on building independence I highly recommend it.  It's a morning checklist which allows Christian to get himself ready and start an activity. . .independently!

This is kept in Christian's room near his bed.  It reminds him to get up and start getting ready!

Christian is a strong reader already so that's why there aren't any picture cues, but when I make one for Solomon, his will be mostly pictures.  He saw Christian using the marker and the easel and wanted one immediately!  On days when Christian completes his checklist independently, quietly, and without disturbing anyone else he earns a "star."  I'll tell you more about that later.

Eight years ago when I started teaching, I thought I'd teach for 25+ years straight, but this year God placed on my heart to spend more time with my boys. . . and I have a crazy kind of peace that passes all understanding!  With most of my posts from here on out, I'll be featuring an article that pertains to parenting or early childhood.  Today's article is by Heather Smith [see her bio below], and it's about a very important topic.  I hope it will give you a few ideas about ways that you can help your child build independence. 

Chores That Teach Valuable Lessons

Most of us grew up with a daily chore list that unbeknownst to us, actually taught us responsibility early. Chores are a great way to give your child chances to learn and experience accountability within their lives and your family. Here are a few ideas for chores and the lessons they can teach:

Pet duty or doody: Whether your family has a pet fish or 2 dogs and a cat, having your child on ‘pet duty’ will teach them valuable lessons on caring for living things. Teaching your child the basics like feeding, bathing, walking and cleaning up after the family pet will not only build a loving connection with the pet but will teach them about nurturing. Depending on your child’s age start small with having them feed the family pet once a day. Then once they get older and need more responsibility upgrade to bathing and cleaning up after the pet. In most cases, this is a chore that most children don’t mind doing.

Room: The dreaded, ‘go clean your room’ statement. Let’s face it, even as adults it is difficult for us to want to keep our rooms clean. Cleaning their room means your child is to make their bed and pick up their toys and put away clothes. It’s simple but always a real hassle when you ask. Having them do this once a day will not only keep the room tidy but will form a valuable habit. Taking care of their room will teach them the importance and value of their own personal items.

Yard Work: Having your child work in the yard with you or with an older sibling will teach them team work and to follow direction. Obviously your elementary age child may be too small to work any heavy machinery, but sweeping up yard clippings and leaves is a good chore. This is also a great way to get your child outdoors to burn some energy!

Meals: Dinner is a great meal to have your child help with. The chore includes setting the table, helping with the food and then clearing the table. Setting and clearing the dishes, then rinsing them is the most tasking activity in the chore, but it teaches teamwork, responsibility, cleanliness and household skills. Now cooking the meal with your child isn’t as much as a chore but a great learning experience. They will learn kitchen safety and the fun in cooking. If you have a picky eater, this is a great way for them to learn about the food being made and then eventually wanting to ‘try it’.

To get the best lessons out of chores, make a daily chore list and keep it simple. Overwhelming them will only turn them off to chores all together. Don’t forget to thank them for doing their chores and depending on your parenting style, it’s up to you to give them an allowance or not.

Author Bio

Heather Smith is an ex-nanny. Passionate about thought leadership and writing, Heather regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting blogs/websites. She also provides value to nanny service by giving advice on site design as well as the features and functionality to provide more and more value to nannies and families across the U.S. and Canada. She can be available at H.smith7295 [at]


  1. You are a great mom!!! I don't have any children yet, and I know that when I come home from a day of teaching my kinders I am exhausted. I just hope and pray that when I do have children I will find the energy and creativity that you do to go above and beyond for my children!

  2. So awesome that you do all those educational activities with your kids!! I hope I will be that great of a mom someday (if I decided to have kids)!

    Mrs. Wheeler’s First Grade
    Mrs. Wheeler TpT

  3. I love everything you are doing with your kids! Those beach buddies are so cute. :) Jax is such a cutie pie. It sounds like you are a wonderful mommy! Happy Birthday!!

    Learning Is Something to Treasure

  4. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Hope you get a bit of time to relax and enjoy your wonderful day!
    -Lovely Nina

    Lovely Little Learners

  5. Happy Birthday! I love your playroom! I am going to make our toy room into a Mickey Mouse themed school/playroom for my 6 and soon to be 3 year old. Jax is such a sweetie!

    The Busy Busy Hive

  6. Happy 30th!!! I just love your blog!! You always share such awesome ideas!! I wish I was half as creative as you. You family is very lucky to have a mommy like you. Enjoy your summer:)

  7. Happy Birthday and Hook'em Horns!! :) You are an awesome Mom...and I bet you were a fabulous teacher....did you ever have Dr. Guszak as a professor at UT? I love the longhorns.....and love teaching, too!

  8. Happy Birthday! Great job on the playroom. It looks awesome!


  9. Happy Birthday, sweet friend!!!!!!!

    How cute are all of those activities you did!!!! LOVE IT!! Your boys are so lucky to have you as their momma!

  10. Happy Birthday! You are an amazing mama! When my kids were that little I didn't even do half of that. I have no idea how you do it all!!

    Think, Wonder, & Teach

  11. Your beach buddies with the surf boards are so stinking cute!! Cute, cute, cute!
    Ideas like that almost make me wish there was school today... almost.
    First Grade Found Me

  12. You have the same birthday as my daughter! A wonderful day! She turned 13 this year! :)
    Happy Belated birthday! Your beach buddies are adorable! And your boys are super cute! :)
    Crayons and Curls

  13. Happy belated birthday! LOVE those beach buddies!!!
    Sounds like you are raising some happy, smart and independent boys. What a great mom!
    ❤Dragonflies in First ❤


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