Friday, September 21, 2012

What a week we had. . .all I can say is T.G.I.F. Here's a very short blog post mostly comprised of pictures because I don't have the energy to add captions to all of these pictures.

A quick recap. . . Sol took a tumble down the bottom three steps of our staircase.  Thank GOD it was only 3.  If it had been anymore he would have looked like E.T. . .ha!  That's why he has a huge knot on his head in one of the pictures.  He visited his Dr., and he's just fine.  5 minutes after the fall down the stairs, I had to begin reminding him {like I do all day long} not to jump off of things or run full speed into the furniture!  On Tuesday his teacher told him, "You didn't have to do that for our special dress up day."  His class learned about Florence Nightingale so we just covered him in band-aids!  Christian has on goggles because his class learned about the Wright Brothers.  He thought he was pretty cool in his leather jacket!

I had an awesome lunch date with two handsome guys, and we did lots of fun projects this week. . .I wish I could tell you so much more, but it's just been one of those weeks!  By the way, happy fall y'all!  I have included a few "fall" cards below.  Today the boys colored them and we passed out candy at Mr. Perry's office.  His co-workers don't spend much time with kids {they're engineers and most of them have kids who are grown up now or have no kids at all}, and they are pretty much amused by everything the boys do!

This is how I feel!  

Happy Fall y'All

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Picnic Week

 We have had such a great week!  I wanted to share a few things that we did at home and some cute ideas that the boys worked on at school.  We've been having picnic week.  I decided that was the perfect theme for this week because we've been talking about the different seasons and how fall is coming soon. We're taking this week and next week to say "goodbye to summer" and "hello to fall." Also my boys have a huge fascination with ants.  Not only do they get as close as possible to ants that are crawling along cracks in the sidewalk, they also think it's fun to observe them in ant piles.  I gave them each a magnifying glass earlier this summer, and they have loved using it in the backyard to "explore."  We treated our yard so that there would be any ant piles back there, but there are still plenty of bugs and insects to "spy" as they call it.  Here are a few of my favorite projects. . .

We started the week off with a "cookies and milk" picnic.   We talked about what you can do on a picnic, what you eat, and fun places to have a picnic.  I showed the boys this giant ant (from Dollar Tree) which grows when its placed in water.  We observed the parts, legs, and features of it.  This was fascinating to the boys.  They could not stop touching it.  I should have gotten two of them because it seemed impossible for them to take turns with it.                                

Inside a little picnic basket, I placed some books about picnics, ants, and cooking!  The boys enjoyed browsing through these during the week. We read most of them together. They were a mixture of fiction and non-fiction.  I am amazed how many questions they asked about ants.  Do they sleep?  What do they eat?  Do they drink water?  They were coming up with some great questions.  We used books and the internet to find out lots of information about ants.

These are some of the projects that we worked on.  My little Sol is working on naming the sounds of each letter of the alphabet so the letter a with the ants and apple were perfect for him!  We also talked about the beginning part of "ant" which has the word "an" in it.  The boys loved making the picnic blanket, watermelon, cookie, and ant. Tomorrow we will add a picnic basket craft to hold all of their "picnic goodies."

I am so proud of the progress that my big guy has made with scissors. At the beginning of the summer he had only used scissors a few times and struggled with using those muscles.  Now he is doing a great job, and his fingers are so much stronger!  I am a huge fan of directional art, torn paper projects, and painting.  All of those activities help little fingers get strong!

Tomorrow we're having a picnic with some friends to finish off the week.  Picnic week has made saying "goodbye" to summer a little bit easier.  Next week will be island/Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Week and we have lots to do!

At school this week the boys had a great time with construction on Tuesday.  The book of the day was "Jack's House."  I loved the house that Christian made.  The picture doesn't really do it justice because it has a backyard with a cute little tree in it and about a thousand windows!

Today was "Sloppy Joe" day at school so the boys got to dress in sloppy clothes and get messy!  The book of the day was "Sloppy Joe" by Dave Keane. Solomon made a masterpiece with fingerpaint, and Christian's class headed in the opposite direction as they made their own "feather duster!"

I love the handprint "signature" at the bottom.
We'll probably frame this one.  His teachers said he really really enjoyed getting messy and exploring the texture of the paint!                                            

                                                                                          I'm not sure how much dusting this will do, but I know Christian will want to try it out the next time he sees me dusting!  We make a lot of projects and crafts each week, and I'm sure I'll continue to get lots of cute things from school.  This year I had a great idea for all of these wonderful art projects. I want the boys to know that their work is priceless and so valuable.  I also want their  hard work and their creativity to be recognized so this year we are opening up an "art gallery."  On their birthdays, we will gather all of their art projects and invite family and friends to make a "purchase."  Half of the proceeds will go to a charity of their choice and the other half to their college fund.  I have a copy of all of the projects in digital format so I can always keep them close!  If I really really love something that I want to keep forever, I'll make a big deal out of it and purchase it from their gallery.  Ofcourse their cards, letters, and gifts for me and Mr. Perry will be treasured and will not be in the art gallery.  I love the idea of passing their work on to friends and family members! 
This is what Christian wrote in his journal today. . .isn't it sad?  We started with 5 fish about three weeks ago, and now we have one!  Bobby is the one we originally started with, and he has outlived the rest of his friends.  Christian looked in the tank today and asked, "WHERE are the REST of the fish?"  He knew that one of two of them didn't make it, but he didn't know that only Bobby was remaining.  Tomorrow we're heading back to PetCo to get a few more.  I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.  Maybe we're just not meant to have any pets right now!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Organization 101

I had a hard time finding things.  Things were known to fall out of here.  The boys thought it was o.k. to rummage through to find a little snack. I am embarrassed to show this picture. . .it was time for a much needed change!

much more efficient, user friendly, and organized!

Today I'd like to share a few tips about organization.  I do not claim to be an organizational expert nor am I Martha Stewart, however, in the short three and a half months that I've been a mother of three very active little boys, my organization skills have gone to a whole new level.  I am by no means perfect, but I have learned that if I don't stay on top of things our home, our family, and our lives will be a mess!  I'd like to share a few tips that might help you or encourage you to keep up the great work {if you're already and organizational guru}.

Philipians 3:14 says. . .
"I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus," and trust me organization is a DAILY "press" for my family!  Earlier this summer I adopted a simple motto. . ."If not me. . .who?  If not now. . .when?"  With that motto in mind, there were MANY times time I wanted to just leave something undone or wait until later to complete a task, but I ended up going ahead and taking time to just get the job done [99% of the time]!  I'm not saying that everything in my house is always put away, cleaned, organized, and neat ALL of the time. . .however if I have learned that if I take just a few minutes each day to re-organize and clean things are much more manageable throughout the week.  

Here are 3 simple things that you can do each day to help your home run more efficiently and be a little more organized:

1.  Everything has a "specific space or place".  In my house, we are still working on this, but everything does have a place.  I have even noticed that Mr. Perry has been holding me accountable for my items when they're not in place.  This has been a great rule for us because the boys know where their shoes belong, where their toys belong, and even where to put their dirty clothes and their dirty dishes.   Knowing where my keys are, where the vacuum cleaner is, and where food items are located in the pantry saves me time and allows me to get things done much faster.  It doesn't take long for a few things to gather here and there. . .then over a few days or even a week you have huge piles of stuff that has accumulated.  Instead of allowing it to build up, I have learned to put it back where it belongs. . .if not right away-at least by the end of the day.

2. De-clutter.  I cannot tell you how much cleaner and more organized our home has become since I have begun de-cluttering every room and every space.  Start small.  You can work on one room at a time.  Get rid of things that are just taking up space.  Donate items.  Have a garage sale.  Re-use the items.  There are many ways to de-clutter then environment.  While some people say that they work better in a slightly cluttered environment, I think most people are much more efficient and effective when they have a neat, tidy environment with limited distractions.  My productivity shoots way up when I'm in the right environment.  I like to think of it like a classroom.  If a student has a desk, backpack, or  locker with papers crammed into it, broken pencils and crayons, leftovers from lunch, and all sorts of random items. . .they are not likely to find their homework, permission slip for an upcoming field trip, or library book.  The "teacher" and "mom" in me wants my kids to be organized, so I have to set the example.  They are paying more attention to "what I do" than "what I say."  They are watching to see if "what I say" matches with "what I do."  

3.  Make a plan.  I used to come home every single Thursday from school-exhausted from the week and ready for Friday!  Thursday was my designated cleaning day to get the job done!  Even though I was SO worn out, I spent about an hour and a half to two hours cleaning-everything. Laundry. Dusting. Vacuuming. Sweeping. Mopping. Cleaning the fridge...and my absolute favorite good 'ole Bathrooms!  I no longer have two hours to spend on Thursday afternoon for cleaning because if I wait until Thursday I have too much cleaning to do and I'm more likely to make excuses.  Being home during the day with my kids gives me a chance to break up the cleaning schedule over the course of the week.  You can make your own schedule that fits your needs.  Maybe you want to work on cleaning and organizational tasks two or three days a week.  Maybe you want to commit to doing a small task every day of the week. . .whatever you do, just be consistent.  Here is my little plan for each week. . .

  • Mop it up Monday-This is the day that I sweep and mop in all of the tiled/wet areas.  If we have a spill on another day during the week [which happens quite often] I just take a few minutes to mop that specific area when the spill occurs.  On Monday's I also do a "deep clean" of the kitchen-counter tops. refrigerator. pantry.  
  • Tidy up Tuesday-I just take a quick peek in every room to see if things are in their "space."  Things that aren't in the correct place are removed and rearranged so that they're back in order.  This is a day where I am very intentional about reminding the family to "claim" their items that are out of place.
  • Wash clothes Wednesday-This is a day where I get most of the laundry done.  I have an infant and a little one who's still navigating through the potty training process [most days there are no accidents-but we have them a few times per week] so there's no way I can feasibly do laundry on one day alone. . .I just make adjustments as necessary.  I designate this day to wash sheets, towels, and miscellaneous items.  There are times when I can get all of the laundry done on one day alone, but for now this is pretty flexible.  
  • Thorough Thursday-This is the day that I spend time dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning bathrooms.  Instead of spending an hour and a half to two hours on this day, I can now complete these three tasks in about 45 minutes.  I like to do these jobs on Thursday because it allows me to have the cleaning wrapped up and ready for any guests who might arrive on Friday.  Also I can go into the weekend relaxed!
  • Finally Friday-I do pretty much nothing!  The work has already been done, and all I have to do is maintain what's in place.  I continue to put things back where they belong and stay on top of the little stuff.  
I hope this is helpful to you in some way. . .I'll be posting some tips for teachers as well as more tips for moms in the upcoming weeks-stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

10 Things You Never Knew About Me

I wanted to share a few things about myself.  Feel free to ask me any additional questions. 
 I love comments and questions!

1.  I love fudge bomb pops. . . occasionally the CVS that's near my house has them on sale for 50 cents, and  I am SO happy to grab one from the freezer {after the boys are fast asleep} and enjoy one.  I have also been known to grab one on the weekend in the middle of the day and hide in the laundry room while the boys are asking Mr. Perry, "Where is mommy?  Do you know where she is?  Mommy?  Mommy?!?"  I wanted to post a picture with each of these tidbits about myself, and I couldn't find one that I liked. . .if Jax wasn't napping right now I might just might have to drop by CVS!

2.  I love QT drinks. . .I am also a fan of Sonic drinks as well, but here lately "Quick Trip" has been way more economical and flavorful.  I love mixing in vanilla or cherry with the Dr. Pepper.  I also have been addicted to a new flavor of green tea called "Pineapple Papaya."  They also have the delicious crushed ice that melts in your mouth.  This summer I have been making all kinds of excuses to stop by there. . .I am not too happy when I have to pump my gas at the station {because Mr. Perry does this 99% of the time}, but I have been making all kinds of trips up there!  I especially love when I wake up from a nap on Sunday afternoon and there's a fresh drink sitting on my dresser. . .it's so refreshing!

3.  I grew up as a 4-H kid. . .so I grew up in a fairly small town, and I learned how to cook, sew, use consumer decision making skills, give speeches, keep records. . . all of that stuff I despised while I was doing it has been so helpful as an adult.  Not to mention after 14 years of being a 4-Her I got some pretty nice scholarships for college!  I even raised pigs and chickens for a couple of years.  I know it's crazy right?!?

4.  I am slightly addicted to pinterest. . .but the thing about pinterest is we have a love-hate relationship.  I LOVE all of the ideas and fabulous things but I HATE it because I cannot do all of them!  Despite this relationship, I just keep on pinning and pinning and pinning!  It can be overwhelming at times, but I am grateful for the pinterest inspired stuff that I do start and finish!
5.  Almost half of the furniture in my home is from Craig's List. . .We are bargain shoppers!  Yes, we do splurge on some things and we don't get every single thing from Craig's List, but we have gotten some really nice deals.  You do have to be careful and use discernment when you're buying things from C List, but if you're a smart shopper you can get some amazing deals. This is a shabby chic roll top desk. . .fell in love with it and convinced Mr. Perry that I needed a desk in our room!

Also we recently got some little student desks for the boys. . . they now think they have their own "office" now. . .ha!  These were just $10 each!

6.  I love cooking and baking and I use my crock pot as often as I can. . . I think cooking is therapeutic.  I love the aromas that fill our home.  I love to see things simmer.  In college I took a nutrition class called "The Chemistry of Foods."  It was one of the hardest classes I have ever taken.  We learned about the chemical make up of butter and sugar and flour. . . why/how things melt. . .how various foods and chemicals react to each other.  It kicked my butt.  Anyway, I just love to cook.  Our kitchen is the largest one that our home builder has out of all of the floor plans/designs that are available, and I absolutely love that place.  I better love it. . .in 10 years I'll be cooking for 3 very active boys ages 11, 13, and 15 {yikes. . .grocery bill!!!}.  Here lately my favorite sweet treat to cook has been "Neiman Marcus Bars.
So easy to make yet so delicious!

1 box of yellow cake mix
1 container of cream cheese
about 1/2 bag of powdered sugar
1 stick of butter (slightly soft)
3 eggs

Combine the cake mix, 1 egg, and stick of butter.  Add to the bottom of a glass pan.  The mixture will be slightly stiff.  Mix the cream cheese, 2 eggs, and powdered sugar.  Pour this mixture on top of the cake batter part.  Bake at 350 until golden brown on top (about 20-25 minutes).  Share them with family and friends because they are addictive!  I have also made them with pecan crumbles and mini chocolate chip morsels on top, but my family prefers them plain so that's how I make them most of the time.

  7.  Speaking of groceries and cooking-I am a couponer. . .so I am the person who walks around the grocery store with a notebook full of coupons and sales ads.  I used to feel really nerdy about it, but I have gotten much more comfortable, especially when I get all those groceries unpacked at home and realize how much $$ I have saved.  My coupons are very organized so I really really try not to hold up everyone else in the entire store.  I am still learning how to get great deals, and we're on our way to cutting our monthly grocery bill in half!  I usually buy 2 Sunday papers on Sunday morning after church from Dollar Tree. . .for $2 I get SO many wonderful coupons.  Then I file them in my handy coupon binder.

8.  I drive a silver Honda Odyssey. . . I said I would NEVER EVER EVER drive a mini-van.  I was adamant.  I was the one who laughed at my friends who drove mini-vans. . .then I had 3 kids under the age of 5. . .unloading, unbuckling, squeezing, pulling, pushing, and snapping was extremely problematic and tiresome.  I remember the first time I took all three boys out. .  .in "Olivia" {my Honda Civic-who's just a bit sad about the new driving arrangements} I spent longer getting everyone in and out than we did in the store.  So next I tried driving our Honda CR-V. . . still the same thing, slightly better, but everyone just looked so smushed and cranky!  So then I had to humble myself and tell Mr. Perry that it was time for the van.  Never thought I'd say that, but today I don't know what I would do without the van.  We have named her "Silvia."  Probably wouldn't be going anywhere with the boys during the day if it weren't for her. . .and me being inside the house all day, every day is not a good thing!

9.  I love dark chocolate {really all kinds of chocolate}. . . but the fact that dark chocolate has some great health benefits is an added bonus!  I really like the dark chocolate m&m's as well as the dark chocolate reese's peanut butter cups.  They're pretty amazing.


10.  I love writing, note taking, and planning. Y'all I cannot tell you how much time I spend making lists, jotting down new ideas, and writing!  I have a zillion notepads and journals but this Erin Condren planner is my absolute favorite.  It keeps me focused and helps me think ahead!

On a completely different note:  The guys are loving school!  Here's a picture from our first day. . .

Today was construction day. . .and they were SO excited to get dressed and out the door!

and Jax is doing fabulous as well. . .a jolly little fella who's just growing up too fast!

Happy Tuesday!  I hope you're having a great week so far!  This week is "picnic" week for us at home.  We're saying goodbye to summer and hello to fall. . .since fall officially begins in a couple of weeks!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Twas the night before school. . .

Twas the night before school, when all through the house
Not a pre-schooler was stirring, it was quiet as a mouse.

The backpacks were hung by the door with care,
In hopes that recess time soon would be there.


The children were snoring all tucked in their beds,
While visions of playdough danced in their heads.

And I in my p.j.'s, and dad at his desk,
Had packed lunches, picked clothes, and planned to rest.

When in my inbox there were messages galore,
I checked over our schedule three times more.

Away to my closet I flew like a flash,
I rummaged and rummaged to pick something with class.

The heat from the sun was just giving way,
even though it was September it was hotter than May.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a basket of laundry and a hamper so full.

[seriously.  I think I do laundry every other day.]

With all of those clothes I had to act quick,
I thought in a moment I just might be sick.

More rapid than lightning I sorted them out,
And started a load after spraying some "SHOUT"!

"Now Christian! Now, Solomon! now, Jaxon and Porter!
My, boys! My, men! My messy food eaters!

To the top of the stairs! To the top of the hall!
I finally finished and I thought, "Is that all?"

As I returned to my room to settle down for a rest,  
I knew that this mama was truly blessed.

So I closed my eyes after saying a prayer,
knowing full well that God does more than his share.

And then, in a twinkling, I was dreaming so deep,
hoping for at least seven hours of interrupted sleep.

As I laid in my bed, I was dreaming so well,
but I woke up just thinking about how this year would be swell.

Mr. Perry was still up finishing some work downstairs,
He was organizing or cleaning, that was my prayer.

A stack of paperwork for school I had placed in the bag that was mine,
And I felt like a celebrity with so many places to sign.

I tiptoed to their room to see them once more,
I was careful and quiet as I cracked open the door.

Christian's eyes-how they twinkled! Solomon's face so merry!
Their cheeks were like roses, and their cute little noses like a cherry!

They were both so excited to go to school,
and were still at the age where learning was cool.

Solomon had a slight grin on his face,
though he was unsure of what went on at that place.   

Christian had a joyful face and a little round belly,
That shook when I tickled him, like a bowlful of jelly!

Solomon had little round cheeks and plump little lips,
And I laughed when I saw him, thinking of his baby pics!

A light in their eyes and one last kiss on the cheek,
Soon gave me reason to know I had nothing to dread.

I spoke not a word, but went straight back to bed,
And filled my mind of a terrific day that was ahead.

I got comfy again and had sniffles in my nose,
because I  knew that this time was a sweet as a rose.

I yawned a great yawn, and dozed off once more,
with great anticipation to see was in store.

But before I was completely asleep again, I said to myself,
"Happy First Day to all, and to all a good-night!"

Tomorrow is the boy's first day.  We wrapped up "Back to School Week" last Friday with pizza, family time, and a special gift. . . 

Tomorrow at school the theme is "I am a Promise."  Based on this book. . .

So the boys get to dress up as "what they want to be when they grow up."  Even though they don't particularly like grocery shopping, they love cooking and eating!  Here are their costumes for the first day.

We took these pictures early since we'll probably be rushing around here like crazy people tomorrow morning!

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