Monday, February 24, 2014

Winter Bucket List Link-Up

Camping In

We are still making progress on our Winter Bucket List, slow progress but progress just the same. After splitting up Jacob's birthday celebration on Thursday and Friday we spent most of Saturday catching up on some reading, homework, and housework. Actually I was so wrapped up in a book that I was reading that I spent most of Saturday reading and finished the book within one day. Sunday was the Blue and Gold Banquet for the younger two through scouts when they officially earned their wolf and bear badges. With such a busy weekend, I'm glad we ended Jacob's birthday with a bucket list activity (otherwise we would have had nothing to report this week).

Last weekend while visiting with the grandparents we borrowed their camping tent. All week it drove the boys crazy knowing we would be setting it up over the weekend. I have a rather large but odd shaped living room, it's more like a carpeted bowling lane. I had hoped by turning the tent to just the right angle that it would hopefully fit. Our backup plan was to haul in the kitchen chairs and multiple blankets and create a tent somehow.

After cleaning up from Jacob's party, we pulled the tent out. Indoors the tent was much larger than it looks set up outside at the campsite. After moving a couple pieces of small furniture we were able to get the tent to fit. After some maneuvering, the poles were in place and the tent was upright, mostly. We were fine as long as Jordan stood at one end holding the poles and Joey stood at the other side holding the poles. We had to get creative to support the tent as I was not anchoring the tent down into my carpeted floor. The Lego cart worked out well for one side of the tent and the other was a combination of the "kitty condo" and the computer desk. It was up and didn't seem like it would collapse on us. The tent ended up leaving us less than a foot between the back of it and our couch and about two and a half feet between the tent entrance and the entertainment center. There was no way to get around the tent without having to walk around the hallway through the kitchen.

With the tent in place the boys started filling it the essentials for sleep. For Jordan and I that meant a pillow and a blanket or two. The younger guys apparently need much more than that. Joey came into the tent with his arms loaded up with a sheet, two blankets, a pillow, and a stuffed animal. Then came back with another armful of stuffed animals, not all that he has just the ones he has to sleep with (that would be 8 stuffed animals), also his collection of baseball card (your guess is as good as mine as to why he needed them to sleep). Jacob brought down a little less than Joey. Jacob's essentials were 2 pillows, a pillow pet, a blanket, 5 stuffed animals, and his binder of Pokémon card (he was still in the process of organizing his cards from earlier). After finally figuring out how we were going to all fit into the tent with all the other goodies in there we settled down for popcorn and to watch Jungle Book.

Getting the tent set up and filled with our belongings took a bit of time and we ended up starting the movie later than we would have otherwise, so at 10:00 the movie ended. I had expected some chit chat from the boys as they settled down to sleep but figured it would die down quickly as Joey and Jacob tend to do this every night before bed and Jordan is no-nonsense when it comes to getting his sleep. After settling who has how much room as "their spot", hunting down many stuff animals that tried escaping the campout, and find a suitable compromise for "I can't sleep in the total dark" and "Well, I can't sleep with a light on" around 11:00 they were all finally asleep.

Sleeping on the ground inside our house was as comfortable as sleeping on the ground outside. I'm not actually sure how much sleep any one of us really got. I did notice that my kids don't hold still, even when they are sleeping. Being in a tent you could hear the crinkling every time they tossed and turned. I'm sure part of their restless sleep was due to the fact they were trying to get comfortable on the very uncomfortable floor. Sometime around 4 am my spine declared that it had enough of this and woke me with a searing pain, I was "forced" to sleep on the couch for the remainder of the night.

Much like camping my boys were up before the sun asking for breakfast. I could have sworn that I had just relocated myself to the couch when they woke me. I questioned the time, "Ummm, it's 5:30 mom.". They were sent back to the tent as breakfast wasn't going to be prepared until seven at the earliest. That's when I noticed that Jordan had also snuck off to find a softer place to sleep for a few hours.

After a few hours of hanging out in the tent playing (and sorting their cards) we were ready to take the tent down and reclaim our living space. I had expected the boys to protest about giving up the tent after only one night, but it was interfering with the Lego space and they had even helped pack it away.

So that's it our one on only item completed this past week. We had tried our candy icicles for the second time and this time I think the solution was under-saturated and the crystals never climbed the skewer. I think we may attempt to grow an icicle one last time before throwing in the towel, third times the charm.

Last Week Of February-Menu Plan Monday

Liking up once again with The Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Mondays. I tend to do better sticking with the plan when I actually link it up. So this week's menu as follows

Sunday: Cornflake chicken, chicken flavored noodles, and peas

Monday: Taco Salad, Spanish rice, and corn (Thinking warmer thoughts with his one, it's a summertime favorite)

Tuesday: Soup, salad, and sandwiches

Wednesday: Meatballs & gravy over noodles (for the kids) over rice (for mom), and broccoli

Thursday: Apple chicken sausage, applesauce, broccoli & rice, and green beans

Friday: Spinach lasagna, garlic bread, and corn

Saturday: Left overs

I have mentioned our cornflake chicken a times. This is one of my kids' favorites because there are so many ways they get to help out with preparing it. We started making this as a gluten free variation of our breaded chicken. It is so simple to make. We use cereal for ours, but I have seen corn flake crumbs used also. We toss a couple cups of the cereal into our chopper, 2-3 cups for 4 chicken steaks (we leave the pieces somewhat on the bigger side as that's they way my kiddos like it). There are many ways to "chop" the corn flakes, to get the kids involved we have tossed them in a bag and let them mash 'em to pieces. When we first started making this I use to coat the chicken in melted butter, but no longer bother with it. It cooks and tastes the same to us. Toss the chopped/smashed/crunched corn flake pieces and a chicken steak into a bag and shake. Once coated place on a greased baking sheet. Cook at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Jake Turned 8!

Yesterday, my Jacob turned 8!!! Every year we celebrate a bit differently depending on what the boys want to do. Some years we end up having two "parties" one at home on the actual birthdate and one on the weekend with the grandparents. February it seems harder to get everyone together for just on celebration especially when the weather tends to be unpredictable. Usually when one of their birthdays falls on a Friday it makes things easier to schedule, but Jacob wanted to go to Chuck E Cheese as his birthday activity. Have you been to a Chuck E Cheese or the like on the weekend, it's pure craziness. I try to avoid such places on the weekends. I have mentioned to the boys maybe we would play hooky on Friday from school and spend a couple hours celebrating instead, seems they would be missing school that morning anyways for doctor appointments. They were all for missing another day of school. We had a busy weekend planned and I wanted to find a way to make sure Jacob was able to get the birthday attention he deserved. Thankfully scouts was canceled on Thursday, which gave us a chance to celebrate a day early and still have the boys in school part of the day Friday. They have missed so much school already due to snow/cold days and preferred they be in school. Plus Jacob could still celebrate with his classmates and bring in his birthday treat. With a new plan in place right after school Thursday we headed down to Chuck E Cheese. There were more people there than I thought there would be but it was far from being crowed. We now have a spending time there to a science, while I order the pizza and find a table the boys head to play in the "tubes", once the pizza arrives and I round up the boys and we eat, then finally the get their tokens. Once the token are gone we cash in our tickets and head home. It seems to be the easiest way to get them out the door with minimal arguing. We discovered awhile back that if you bring in "good" report card that the kids receive a bonus 15 tokens per report card. So all the boys were granted their tokens from mom, bonus report card tokens, and Jacob receive some extra birthday tokens from the cashier.
Looks like A LOT more, but honest, there's only 8 candles

Friday, Jacob's actually birthday ended up being another snow/cold day and there was no school. (Of course it was! We had already managed to figure out a way to celebrate at a less crowded Chuck E Cheese) The down side to having no school on your birthday is you still have to wait until your party to open your presents. At ten in the morning Jacob started with the "When are they going to be here?". Joey had just learned to tie balloons so he helped me set up the party decorations. We had a small party just us and the grandparents for presents, cake and ice cream. Grandma and Papa were barely through the door when Jacob announce that it was time for presents. Amongst his presents he received a skateboard, an album to organize his massif collection of Pokémon cards, and of course more Pokémon cards. Seems it was just the six of us, we enjoyed a homemade cake decorated with Jacob's choice of rice paper (Pokémon).

After Papa and Grandma left we set up for one of bucket list activities and stayed up late watching a movie of Jacob's choice, The Jungle Book.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Mom, Can I Read A Book?!

I would love to link-up for What has been working for us on another blog, but we just started trying something new with Joey. I'm so excited about it that I couldn't wait to share it with all of you. As you may have figured out from our January book tally towards our 400 books this year that Joey is my reluctant reader. We had originally planned on everyone having a goal of 100 books read by the end of 2014, Joey was really struggling to keep up with his brothers. To Joey reading is a form of torture and tries to avoid it at all costs. As a mother and a lover of books it broke my heart that he didn't enjoy reading like the rest of the family. I understand many children with ADHD have a difficult time when it comes to wanting to read, but really wanted to encourage Joey to read. He loves telling stories and listening to stories but avoid writing his stories or reading any form of book. Much like their mother Jordan and Jacob love reading and tend to read anything they can get their hands on, so reaching 100 books would be all too easy for them. Our goal of 100 books to Joey seemed like an unrealistic goal and one he wanted no part of. While his brothers have been adding numerous books to our list of books read Joey became more resentful of "that darn list". I had hoped to play off the boys natural desire to one up each other, but Joey was starting to feel stressed by not being able to keep up. The end of January we switched our goal to where as a family we would each 400 books collectively.

I have tried different ways to get Joey interested in reading. We have tried fiction, non-fiction, poetry, comic books, shortened chapter books, books with pictures every couple of pages, books that had no pictures (he less distracted when he couldn't keep looking back at pictures provided). I've tried having him keep his place using his finger, an index card (we tried different colored cards), we tried having me guide him using my finger to keep his place. We tried silent reading, reading out loud, reading to mom, reading to his brothers. We tried changing the duration of reading time, read a short non-chapter book, read "x"  number chapters, read for "x" amount of time, reading with taking multiple breaks. Nothing we have tried help him to want to read.

The other day someone presented us with an idea I had not thought of, use books on tape/CD. At first I thought well that might get him to hear a few more stories, but I would much rather he practice his reading skills than just listen to a story. Then we came up with a compromise, Joey could listen to the story on tape as long as he was following along in the book. So today when Jordan and I went to the library to exchange a stack of books and gather another stack to bring home for the week, I grabbed a couple books on CD as well as the books so he could follow along.

Joey being Joey (and a kid) went digging through my backpack to see what I grabbed for everyone (and to see if we were also borrowing a movie). He was very excited to find the books on CD and requested that I play one while we were in the van. I explained how I would like the CDs to be used with the books and for him to wait until we got home. We had a bit of a wait as we were heading to start Jacob's birthday celebration early. Once home, he ran and found my portable CD player (yes,  I know no one uses them anymore and its probably considered and antique by now) and climbed into my comfy reading spot (the corner seat on the couch, "Mom's Spot") and grabbed the book that corresponded with the first CD. He did follow along in the book and sat there listening and "reading" for six chapter before asking for a break. He says he'll finish this book tonight that there are only two more chapters and it's a good book. He was actually really excited about "reading" this book and our new system. After just a ten minute break he asked to finish the last chapters of his book. YAY!!

While he is being allowed to listen to the story as he reads it to help get him more excited about wanting to read, he is also expected to read a minimum of 2 books to mom without using the tapes/CDs. He has agreed to this, so we'll see how this goes. I'm hoping this will be the key to helping him break through some of his reading difficulties, but it is still in the novelty stage. I'll give it a couple weeks before I'll update if this really will work for him. For now I'm going to enjoy that he is reading a book, and am going to work on my book while the other boys are also reading.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Winter Bucket List- Valentine's Weekend

In light of Valentine's Day being last Friday we did some of our bucket list things themed around it.  To make sure that our friend's received their Valentines on Valentine's Day we marked off Secret Valentine on Wednesday. This was another great idea I found on Pinterest and it was another Pinterest thing that lied. According to the page I found it on a box of candy weighs the correct amount to use only one postage stamp to mail. With that in mind we chose to do this as our secret valentine gift. Knowing that the recipients of our gifts are also dye-free or dye limited we bought Snocaps and Junior Mints to mail out. Joey wrapped each box with such care using blue paper because we forgot to buy red. Jordan wrote out the return address which was 123 Love Street, Heartland USA, 98765 (which I thought was very creative of him). Jacob wrote Happy Valentine's Day on the front of each one. We managed to get them all wrapped, addressed and get to the post off just minutes before they closed for the day. I held off on placing our cool Disney stamps on them until I was sure it would actually only cost one stamp. Good thing that I did, if I would have stamped them our Valentines would have owed the Postal Service about $2.00 for each of the gifts they received. While it was the correct weight the boxes are not bendable and count as parcels. So after all the boys hard work of preparing the packages and contacting the parents of our recipients to ensure they knew where the candy came from and that it was safe for their kiddos I couldn't just not mail them. So this simple activity ended up costing me just over $15 instead of just under $3. I think for now on I'll stick getting general ideas from Pinterest and tweaking them to better suit our needs (like I did with the ice candles). We had heard from the mothers of our Valentines that they were very surprise to receive the treats and still have no clue who their secret valentines are, so it was worth it in the end.

The kids' winter break started on Friday so we had Valentine's Day to spend together. Jordan and I had set up appointments early in the week that took pace on valentine's Day. Our first stop was a visit to the fire department. Our local fire department is run on a volunteer basis which makes it difficult to arrange a tour, we chose a neighboring city's firehouse for our tour. We were allowed to climb around on the fire trucks and the boys opened every compartment and asked questions about every piece of equipment. The Captain was there and allowed us to try on almost their full gear (even mom wore the coat and hat) and a couple of my kids tried on an air mask. We recently have done a couple fire drills in our house and review fire safety; I try to do this a couple times a year to keep it fresh in their minds. The Captain talked about not hiding during a fire and explained that if a firefighter had to get them during a fire that they would like and sound like Darth Vader and not to hide. I loved the analogy he gave.

My boys are very comfortable being in the fire station and with the equipment they use. When Joey was younger his dream job was to be a fire fighter and we had visited many stations frequently. Also we never pass up the chance to check out fire trucks whenever they are at an event we are attending. Jordan made a point of asking what to do in case of a grease fire as he has been getting more comfortable cooking and has be expanding different cooking styles and meals.

We had a short break between the fire department and  our next stop and grabbed a special Valentine treat of fast food for lunch (we rarely eat fast food). After lunch we set out to share our love with others by volunteering at the Assisted Living Center during their Valentine's party. When we set up the appointment to help out Jordan had asked if he could bring a treat and was told chocolate chip cookies were a favorite around there.  Our original bucket list idea was to make cards to take or bring a craft to do with the residents. We didn't know how many cards to make and finding a craft that the residents could do without it being childish proved to be challenging, so helping with their party was a great alternative. The party was real basic and straight forward just pass out cake and ice cream and make sure everyone had something to drink. I was surprised to see Jordan being more reserved and mainly hanging out in the kitchen preparing the dishes. Jacob jumped right in and started taking orders of who wanted cake, ice cream, or both. The residents were getting a kick out of Jacob, while taking orders he was only asking one person at a time instead of getting a total for the whole table. I was so proud of Joey, there was on gentleman sitting at a large table all by himself (we were told that he was a man of few words) and Joey pulled up a chair next to him and just sat there with the older guy. While he didn't talk to Joey, Joey smiled frequently and just sat there until the guy finished his cake. The guy thanked Joey for sitting with him before he went back to his room. Jordan wrapped up the cookies he made and Jacob and Joey passed them out for the residents to have later for an after dinner snack. After cleaning up we were offered to help "on the other side" but didn't have to, he "other side" is where the dementia residents were. We were more than happy to help over there and while the party goes were gathered up I had a quick talk with the boys about what to expect and that we could leave if they were uncomfortable. The boys were perfect gentleman and helped out the same as they did for the first party. The ignored the weird mumbling yelled out and made small talk with those who spoke to them. By the time we left the boys all had their favorites from both parties and had asked to go back and help out again soon. I was very impressed with how well the boys presented themselves and their eagerness to help in the future. I couldn't have asked for a better opportunity to show love and understanding than spending our day at the center.
*Due to privacy I didn't take any pictures of the boys interacting with the residents.

The following day we marked off board game day. This was a difficult activity in the sense that it was the first one we did that Jordan had opted not to participate in. Jordan has expressed that some of our activities he feels he's "too old" to do. I try to encourage that we do our list as a family but try to be understanding that he is 13 and expressing his independence. While he normally enjoys playing games with us, be had receive the privilege of his IPod and was totally consumed with catching up on YouTube videos. We started our game day with the hopes that Jordan would soon join us, which he did not. The younger two had learned to play chess that morning which sparked the board game day. We continue a few games of chess throughout the day along with Scrabble Junior, Disney Sorry, Skylander Trouble, ending with a two hour game of Monopoly. While trying to determine which games to play Jacob realized we have many games that aren't technically board games and has requested that a non-board game day take place soon or be added to our
next bucket list.

We are slightly a little more than half way through our chosen activities, with 12 1/2 left to complete. Feeling very confident that we will be able to complete our whole bucket list on time, despite the weeks we did little or nothing from our list.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Is It A Full Moon?!

Today had been a day of ups and downs starting from the moment we woke up. Joey has not been staying asleep well lately was awake before the rest of us. He was entertaining himself so quietly that I didn't even know he was up until Jordan started yelling at him. Jordan likes to have his "me time" in the mornings before school starts. I'm all for this as I get to sleep in a little bit extra. The days that that Joey is awake first throws Jordan instantly into a bad mood. It doesn't matter that Joey respects Jordan's time alone or not, it's the fact that Joey is awake and doing something somewhere in the house. On these mornings there usually a couple bad moods going around before seven in the morning. Jordan is upset that his routine is now thrown off. Joey is not happy about getting screamed at just for playing quietly and basically just being awake. I'm less than please by getting woken up 15 minutes earlier to the sounds of my kids screaming at each other. This morning was one of those mornings and Jordan was being especially rude and disrespectful towards his brother. Poor Jordan, this morning we got stopped by a train on the way to school and it was a very long train. I took the added 10 minutes to lecture him on the way he treats other people, as well as the whole way to school (I was rally upset. I however did not raise my voice; I'm still an orange rhino).

Once everyone was at school I started tackling cleaning the boys' rooms, because we tend to be happier when everything is nice and tidy. I normally don't clean their rooms, it's their space and they can keep it however they wish to. If it gets to messy for me to safely walk in to tuck them in they can either meet me at their doorway for hugs and kisses or tidy up their space. Today the younger boys' room was the worst I have seen their room, it was getting close to being a hazard and I was worried that in case of a fire they wouldn't be able to claw their way out. I also took the time to sort through and organize their toy boxes seems I was in there. I really wish I had taken a before picture, after just over two hours I'm almost done with it. When the boys got home and  told them I was almost finished cleaning their room the tore up the stairs to see if they could figure out which toys the hadn't played with had been tossed in the dumpster. They couldn't pinpoint any so I'm in the clear (this time), I did manage to get rid of 5 shopping bags of toys that were broken, missing pieces or just weren't good quality toys.

After school went better than the morning had. Jordan and I did some running around and set up two appointments for Friday that correspond with our Winter Bucket List. The later of he two Jordan is really excited about, he had been there years earlier with his cub scout den and had loved spending time there. (There will more about those Monday on our Winter Bucket List Link-Up). After getting the younger two from school we hung out for a bit going class to class to see if any of the teachers could use some of the books my kids had outgrown. I do this from time to time as our book collection starts taking over our bookshelf. The boys were very helpful, except Joey was willing to part with any of the books even though he refused to read some of them. Joey conceded to keeping one book from the stack and the others were being donated. Most of the teacher we visited were in the younger grades and Joey was having a hard time not playing with the toys in every room. On our way out of the school Joey notices he doesn't have the book he had rescued and the school doors were already locked. Fingers crossed that he can find it in the lost and found in the morning.

We had a roast for dinner that I had tossed in the slower cooker before school. I was pleased with myself that two days in a row not only was dinner completely done by 5:15, but that we were sitting down to eat before 6:00. Then the kids burst my bubble a bit and reminded me that I "cheated" with a slow cooker roast just a few days ago. See what happens when I don't link up with I'm a Organizing Junkie for Menu plan Mondays. Well we can't have plain old roast again so soon, so we smothered it with BBQ sauce and made BBQ beef sandwiches instead.

Now the early dinner time was key today as it is one of our scout night and have to get homework finished also before heading out the door. Scouts turned into an adventure. Tonight Joey was the scout and the other boys had brought things along to occupy themselves. Jordan had homework to finish, but kept asking for assistance. Jacob was working on some math flashcards with me until Jordan grabbed my attention than he ducked over to another table to play Pokémon (we never did make it through the flashcards). Joey was in rare form (I guess it isn't really all that rare for Joey, but he was being "more Joey" than usual). Every adult tonight had tried getting Joey to focus on the task the den was working on, he just couldn't get it together tonight. I almost made him leave his meeting early because of him being disruptive, the only reason I didn't is because the other scouts were beyond goofy and easily distracted tonight too.

On the way home from scouts one of the boys during their stream of nonstop talking mentioned how cool the full moon looked. Well, that's explains the roller coaster of a day we had.

Monday, February 10, 2014



Winter Bucket List Update

Winter Bucket List Link-up day!!! While I would love to tell you that we marked a ton of stuff from our lists, we only have two to report this week. Saturdays are great days for us to mark off some of our items, but this past Saturday we spent the day helping a friend mark off some of their items instead.

The weather is taking it's sweet time to warm up we have been trying to stay active indoors. Joey received a much wanted "disco ball" from Santa and our dance party seemed like a good time to use it. Sadly once it was set up we discovered the light bulb was burnt out, so no disco ball this time. Between Jordan and I we set up a playlist using the computer, IPod, and our phone, so when one song ended we could switch devices and continue the music nonstop. There was an interesting mix of music from 80's music, country, hip hop, rap, line dances, heavy metal (no "head banging" allowed), and YMCA, The Hokey Pokey, and The Chicken Dance. We chose to dance in our pajamas so we could be extra comfortable. When we have a dance party it ends up being quiet a workout. After about an hour and a half of nonstop bopping around, our neighbors came home and we had to turn down our music and decided that we had had enough dancing anyways. I usually don't tape us goofing around, but decided to tape some of our dance moves as the boys are pretty inventive with theirs. While we were cooling down after dancing we watched the tape of our wonderful performance, I have some real characters on my hands. Somehow during dancing the boys had found opportunities to get their faces right in the camera and give pointers on their dance moves :) I also took tons of pictures in hopes of getting a handful that were not blurry.

They were watching YouTube and trying to copy the steps.

I'm not actually sure what moves they were doing here.
But look to be totally in their dancing zones.

We also restarted our candy icicles yesterday. Fingers crossed that the crystals climb the skewers instead of setting on the bottom of the jars again. I honesty don't remember it being this difficult to grow crystal when I was younger. If the project flops again, I may have to do some more digging for a different recipe.

We have been working on completing our whole coloring book, just about half way through it. This is an activity that is way more time consuming then I though it would be. The boys have actually done better about sitting down to color this time around (our summer book only had a handful of pages colored). When some one needs time to sit down and chill out I try to encourage them to work on a page or two from our book. I don't know about you, but I think it can be relaxing to color.

That's it for this week. This week we will be starting our official winter break and have a few activities planned to do during our time off.  Valentine's Day is this week also and we have a couple items that kind of theme around it.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Getting Invovled At The School

I finally found a way to help out at the younger boys' school. I have been trying since the beginning of the year. Every time there was a class party I would volunteer and was shot down because "we already have it covered". I'm use to being in both of their classes helping with parties or anything else the teacher's needed. I often brought things home to work on like tracing or cutting out items for crafts for the class, counting box tops. I even helped out in classes I didn't have any kids in. I was everywhere, helping everyone and loving every minute of it (mostly).

Much like the boys being new and having to make new connections with people and getting involved in activities, I needed to do the same. I hadn't been included, but not from lack of effort on my end. Finally yesterday I spoke with the secretary (they always know what's going on in the school) and she managed to me set up with the PTG (Parent Teacher Group) who could use a hand with another book fair, that just so happened to be going on this week. I spent 7 hours in the school library getting to know some of the other parent helpers and how things run at the school. (Some of the things really confused me, but it seems to work for them). I also was able to interact with many students including putting some more faces to names of the kids the boys talk about. I was there all week, everyday, the whole day helping out for the whole week. I've gotta tell you it feels great getting back in the habit of helping out and meeting new people.

It does feel kind of weird to be the one learning the ropes instead of teaching the ropes. I have been welcomed with open arms (as far as I can tell), hopefully I can get into the "inner circle" of the parent volunteers, where I'm use to being.

Having been the "new parent" and trying to show that I was willing to be involved in the events that happen at my kids school and being greeted with fake smiles of "we'll call you when we have something for you", I have been reflecting on how a treated the "new parents" when I was over involved at our old school. I was just like the moms at our school, I had a group of other parents that I preferred to work beside and we unintentionally rejected the new recruits. Understandably after you have worked every class party with the same handful of parents, you ban together and at the being of the year stake your claim as a group for all class parties. After all you know each other and know how to work together, why have to "teach" someone new the way we do things when we can just handle it ourselves.

I am guilty of being the parent that signed up for every party, fieldtrip, "teacher's helper", after school opportunity there was. I was running myself ragged trying to be part of everything, but early in the year "we" (the group of use that helped with everything together) had chased away new parents who could have lightened our loads. Between working at the school and volunteering for everything (also being volunteered for everything; the teachers know those of us who never say no) I was so stressed and trying to juggle too many things while having my hands full with four boys at home. Eventually I had to step down and pass the reins of the "Friday Popcorn Popper". That sure was hard, there was one parent who was not going to let us push her out of helping. I had been "stuck" working beside her a couple times and she drove me bonkers!!! We'd show her what to do and this lady just could not do it the way we always had done things. Really our way had worked for years. I was not happy when I stepped down from doing popcorn that this lady had stepped up. To tell you the truth for how angry I was about having someone new volunteering it took a weight off my shoulders and I was able to give more attention to the numerous other things I have signed up for. I'm sure she ran the popcorn her own way, honestly I couldn't tell you how she ran it I was so busy with other things I was just grateful that someone (anyone really) was taking care of Popcorn Fridays.

The point is while I was great at all I did (if I do say so myself) and different people stepped up and did things a different way or I missed out the class Halloween party so another parent could be there. That things did get done and the kids were able to enjoy whatever function the school was putting on.

It's hard to be the new parent and getting use to the school, the rules, and trying to get involved with the different events the school offers. Being met with resistance, many parents buckle and end up missing out on these special events. We volunteer because we care and want to have the memories and for our children to have the memories of our being involved. Yes we may have a certain way we do things and people we prefer to work beside, but with new parents may come new ideas (and can left some of the burden you placed upon yourself). New to the school parents also want to have to special memories and also care. Parent volunteers are awesome at what we do, but we have to remember to give other the opportunity to be awesome too.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Too Busy Having Fun

It's Monday!! A day I look forward all week, not only are my two favorite shows on tonight and the kiddos head back to school, but it's Bucket List Link-up day. I enjoy seeing what everyone one else has done from their list as much as I love sharing what has and has not worked from our list.

I'm sadden to report that this week we have nothing to really share. While we did have a dance party, I versed the boys on video games, and we played board games, we did them just for the sheer fun of it. With all the snow/cold days home from school we had to find ways to keep ourselves entertained. Plus we won't count them because we love having pictures to document our journey as we work through our seasonal lists. I was having too much fun just being in the moment spending time with my boys that it never crossed my mind to snap a coupe pictures. So in the future there will be pictures as we do these activities again with our list in mind.

Last week I had mentioned that we would be restarting our "candy icicles", I had even intension of doing so until I spent about an hour chipping the sugar that crystalized on the bottom of our glasses.

The boys seemed to have discovered our coloring book we are working on completing and have colored quite a few pages this week.

While the link-up is posted every week so that everyone an share their progress that week, does not mean that you have to do something every week from your list. Life gets busy and with everything else as moms we have to thing about and to plan, there are weeks that we just can't squeeze in a bucket list activity.. THAT'S OKAY. I'm co-hosting the link-up and have nothing to report, it happens and we all understand. Please still stop by and see what everyone else may have marked off. You never know what might spark a creative craft or meal to try in your house.

Hopefully we'll have more to share next week :) Have a great week, everyone!

Winter Bucket List Link-Up

Saturday, February 1, 2014

New Year's Resolution Progress- January

I thought I would give a monthly update on how we are doing working towards our New Year's resolutions.  We have had some success mainly with our family goals.

Well Jacob so far has no signs of a mustache, he really thought after a month there would be some progress. He is still working on sharing more. He did great the first week and a half and kind of backslid. We still have 11 more months to work on this.

Joey actually made a new friend in his class. The teacher had changed the seating arrangement and he buddied up with the kids who was sitting next to him. I say WAS because the two boys became fast friends and were distracting each other, after about a week the teacher had to separate them. They still play together at recess. Joey is so wonderfully quirky, but that doesn't always work in his favor. I had to talk to the teacher and make her aware that other students were teasing Joey's new friend for hanging out with Joey. It broke my heart when Joey told me that his friend was getting picked on. Joey was afraid he would lose his friend, because of what the other children thought of him.

Jordan has been doing much better about not being on electronic. In part because he has lost the privilege of them from his attitude. That aside he had been making an effort to log off more, before losing them.

I have been doing just okay with getting healthier. I have cut back on my coffee intake, but still not drinking more than 8 ounces of water. I have done anything exercise wise either, it has been too cold to be outside. Okay that's an excuse, honestly I have been lazy. I still end up with coffee for breakfast but have been making a point to actually sit down and eat lunch. With the snow days I knew we all would be sleeping in and had allowed myself to get back in the habit of staying up later, however I was still in bed by 12:30.

I have set in place a cleaning schedule I guess you would call it, so I don't find myself trying to get everything done late into the night. I focus on full blown cleaning of only a room or two a day. I started packing snacks and preparing lunches during the day so in the evening I van just toss them in lunchboxes or backpacks. When I have things that still need to get done and hadn't finished I tack them up on our "Work for Hire" (you can read more about that Here ).

 I have made a point to spend at least an hour a day doing something I enjoy, even with all the snow/cold days. If the boys are home and I can't pull out my scrapbooking supplies, I send some time alone in my room either reading or crocheting. Last weekend I got some new yarn and almost have another blanket finished (it would have been done, but I ran out of yarn).

I missed signing up for classes for this term towards my degree. It's still on my mind to make sure I can get in for the next one. Not wanting to miss the opportunity to get a jump start on furthering my education, I have started working through a fabulous sign language site I had used a year ago. I starting Monday I have a two hour block set aside to focus on nothing but  brushing up my sign skills. I still need major work on my finger spelling. So heads up to my friend who know how to sign, I will most likely getting a hold of you to watch me sign and fix my errors.

As for a family goals, these have been the easiest to report progress on. As you can see every Monday we have been working on our Bucket list and marking a couple items off each week. We have decided to tweak our 100 books per person and have a goal of 400 books total for the family. My reluctant reader has been having a much more difficult time flying through books than the rest of us, and I don't want this to feel like an added pressure for him. We have revised his goal to four books a month, but he is welcome to read more if he choses to.

Our books completed for January are:

Jacob-  The Hat by Jan Bret, The Case of the Fidgety Fox by Cynthia Rylant, Dairy of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck by Jeff Kenny, Dairy f a Wimpy Kid: Third Wheel by Jeff Kenny, Dairy of a Wimpy kid: Rodrick Rules by Jeff Kenney, Freckle Juice by Judy Blume.

Joey-  The Treehouse Mystery and The Boxcar Children both by Gertrude Chandler Warner.

Jordan- The House of Hades, The Red Pyramid, The Throne of Fire all of which are by Rick Riordan.

Mine- Wild Card by Lora Leigh, The Birth Order Book by Dr. Kevin Leman, Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (I love this book, I've read it over 20 times since I bought it), The Four Doors by Richard Paul Evans.

Jacob is more than pleased with himself for reading the most books this month. Jordan told him to watch out that now he had more time to read he'll have the most for February...LOL Whatever it takes to get them reading. As you can tell we seem to find an author we like and grab every book we can by them. Joey has been struggling to find books that holds his excitement. For awhile it was The Boxcar Children series, but he has become tired of them. We'll keep looking once we can figure out which genre he enjoys most the easier it will be to get him books he'll enjoy (hopefully).  I tend to re-read books I have enjoyed in the past, I'm trying to branch out and find new books that I might not have chose before. My last rip to the library I just grabbed any 8 books without reading anything about them. I'm sure I'm in for some interesting reading. Although I know throughout the year my favorites will work themselves into my reading somewhere :)