Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Finishing off our Winter Bucket List (and Link-up)

We didn't quite mark off everything from our list, but we came close, and most importantly we had fun doing the activities together. We worked right up until the very last day and managed another three from the list.

The boys wrote a winter themed story together, one sentence per person at a time. I love doing these with the boys because while you may have a great story in your head the next sentence someone else gives can send the story in a totally different direction. The pat summer the boys had written another story and they all tried to turn the story back to their version, this time they worked together and played off each other to make the story flow. The sentence rotation for the whole story is Jacob, Joey, then Jordan. I did not help with the ideas, I only wrote what they chose to add and to stop them after saying just one sentence. I am very proud of their story and their teamwork to create it.

Here is the story they came up with

Bill and the Snowman
Once upon a time there was a man med Bill. He was lonely and had no friends. So one day he decided to go sledding. Then he realized he didn't have a sled. He goes to the store and spends $50 on sleds. Once he bought the sleds, he found a person and said "will you be my friend?" the man says "Buzz Off!". So feeling bad Bill decided since he got some sleds to go sledding and make friends. While Bill was sledding, at the bottom of the hill he met someone; not a man, not a lady, but a snowman. The snowman started to move and spoke. "I've come because I've seen you are lonely, I was sent by God". "God sent you down to be my friend?" asked Bill. "God has a message for you "No matter what people say, you should never give up" said the snowman. Bill looked at the snowman like "Huh?". Then the snowman said "take all of them there sleds up to the top of the hill". Bill feeling encouraged trudged through the snow. Once Bill and the snowman finally made it to the top o the snow hill, Bill asked "What's your name?". The snowman said "My name is Ace". So the snowman tells Bill "I want you to make so more snowmen". Bill starts making snowmen and snowladies. Then Bill said "this is too much work" and sledded down the hill. Once he was at the bottom, the snowman appeared next to him and said "remember the message, "Never give up". Bill goes back to the top of the hill and builds more snowmen. Another man finds him and says "I'm lonely will you be my friend?'. Bill says "Yes! You want to help me build these snowmen?". So Bill and the man go build snowmen. The man said this is too much work, and went down the hill. The man said we need more help. Suddenly everyone in town comes to build snowmen. Then a little pipsqueak yells "Let's go sledding!". So they all use Bill's sleds and go sledding. Bill is no longer sad and lonely and wonders were the heck is Ace my snowman friend.
The End

We also marked off put on a puppet show. They boys used the story they wrote to act out. I made copies of the story and the speaking parts were spilt up amongst the boys. While I was copying and highlighting everyone's parts the boys started working on the background and characters. They used a mix of paper on popsicle sticks and toilet tissue rolls. After rehearsing a couple times they preformed their story while I taped them, there were a couple mix up in lines and some of the characters were later for their roles, but the boys had a blast. We saved our puppets and "scripts" so they can preform their play for their grandparents when we go visit them.

I was a afraid that we wouldn't get to mark off pillow fight (that the boys were really looking forward to) due to too much testosterone and little patience among the boys. I knew when we added this one to our list that it had the possibility of ending in tears. With the boys word that they would not wail on each other, we proceeded with caution. My thinking was a time limit would be a good idea, so for five minutes they went at it. The boys kept to their word and we extended the time. I was pleased to watch them all laughing and giggling after snapping at each other for majority of the day.

While we made a great strides in our coloring book, we just couldn't pull it off. When they were younger they loved coloring and occasionally will dig out the crayons. As they are getting older they have other interest they would prefer doing (like anything with a screen).

Monday, March 17, 2014

Winter Bucket List-

Winter is almost over, well at least according to the calendar. I don't know about you but I'm ready for it to come to an end. We had a taste of nicer weather this past week with temps in the 40's and are so ready to enjoy more sunny warmer days. We didn't really mark anything off out list this past week, I could resist letting the boys run and burn their energy OUTSIDE. We also had to finish up their pinewood derby cars which have to be turned in tomorrow, so we spend our colder days working on those.

While we didn't accomplish much from our list this week other than work on completing our coloring book, some things did get marked off. More accurately crossed off a couple things. We were going to make out sock snowmen but our directions for making them could not be fond. I posted them both on my personal Facebook page and on my Pinterest board so we could refer back to them and I just couldn't locate them, maybe they'll reappear next winter.

Reverse meals didn't make the cut this time around and we opted to take it off our list. While it was a ton of fun the last time it was on our list, just not so much the second time.

We decided to go ahead and mark off Boys cook dinner as they have all been responsible for preparing at least dinner a week for a couple weeks now. They all cook like I do and prefer to be the sole person in the kitchen while cooking. Jordan says that it still counts because I didn't specify if they all had t prepare a dinner together or just each of them prepare dinner.

We have struggled to make our candy icicles just about every week since January 18th. We started another batch this week, I'm determined to make this work. While we still trying to actually make them we're going to go ahead and mark it off our list based on effort alone.

This is the first time we have removed items from our lists, but it's also the first time since starting the bucket lists that we have had really busy schedules. We're okay with that (we'll, I'm working on being okay with it). The whole reason we accepted the bucket list challenge was to bring us closer as a family and make some really cool memories. We have done that even with removing a couple items.

Don't count us a done yet, we work well under pressure and plan to complete the remaining four items. We still have 3 days :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Winter Bucket List Update

Things around here have been a bit crazy, but we were able to check a couple more items from our bucket list. Due to everything been so chaotic we chose a couple simple ones to do.

We finally made our candles, we had planned to do them a couple of times and something always came up and they got pushed to the back burner. Originally we were going to use soy wax, as it super easy to clean up. However the opportunity to actually sit and make the candles presented itself when we didn't have the wax. We are getting really good at improvising so we improvised our candles. We have a coffee can full of extra crayons, you know the ones no one will color with because they're not new and are worn down. I set the boys about peeling the paper off the colors they wanted to use for there candles, while I boiled some water and made tinfoil "boats". After de-papering 9 crayons a piece they thought they had enough for their candles. We broke up the crayons into smaller pieces and tossed them into the tinfoil boats and waited for them to melt down, it only took a couple of minutes. For our candle shape we used paper bathroom cups, and pouter the melted wax into them; along with adding a wick. So tour candles weren't plain layers of different colors the boys tilted their cups. Once one layer had cooled, we started the process again with the other crayons. With the addition of each color they tipped their cups the opposite direction, but allowing the finally layer to lay flat. After all the wax was set (which in our case wasn't much wax) they peeled away the paper cup. Ta-Da! Homemade candles! Nine crayons a piece wasn't nearly enough, we probably should have used nine of each color. We still have left over wicks and will probably try making these again but with using the soy wax. The only catch to making candles from crayons is crayons melt really easily (ever have a crayon left laying in a sunny spot), so  be mindful of where you place the finished product.

Our cherry pie was added to our list mainly as a Valentine activity, but we were busy with other things on Valentine's Day and didn't get around to it. This weekend was the best timing for a cherry pie, as we have had almost no "junk food" to snack for about a month and we were all craving extra sugar and carbs. We took the easy way on this one too, as cherries aren't in season so we using canned cherry filling. Seems we were already cheating using the filling we grabbed premade crusts also. The boys divided the minimal steps up and each helped with constructing our pie. What is pie without some ice cream? So we just had to go buy some vanilla ice :)

Mom vs. Kids on video games has happened a couple time this past winter, this past week be decided it was time to officially mark it off our list. I was beaten by all three boys of multiple rounds of Skylander Giants. I was told that I needed to practice playing video games more :)

There was also more slow progress made towards finishing the coloring book. We have been brainstorming alterative ways to get candy icicles to workout for us.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Monday Plan Monday- Week of March 2, 2014

Linking up again with I'm an Organizing Junkie again this week for Menu Plan Monday. With the Lenten season beginning this week there are few changes I need to make to our regular weekly menus as we already aim for two meatless meals anyways. This week Wednesday and Friday will both be meatless.

Due to lack of panning on my part last week one of last weeks spinach lasagna got switched with the chicken fajitas that were suppose to be on this weeks menu. The plan for this week looks like this...

Sunday: Waffles, fruit, turkey sausage, and beef bacon

Monday: Meatloaf, acorn squash, and applesauce

Tuesday: Marinated chicken, creamy garlic shells, and peas

Wednesday: Spinach lasagna, garlic twists, and broccoli

Thursday: Chili dogs, homemade fries, green beans

Friday:  Bean and cheese quesadillas, refried beans, and corn

Saturday:  Left over buffet

Weaving Through Our Bucket List

There are only a couple more weeks until Spring officially starts, yet we only checked one item from our list this week.

We had started our winter themed family story, we started off strong but were getting goofier wit every addition to the story. We decided to put it off until we could focus on it better. We have a good start on it and should be able to finish it this week.

The only thing we managed to finish beginning to end we actually switched it up for a more purposeful result. On list item was shoebox weaving, a nice easy fun activity; however we couldn't think of anything to use the finished product for. Joey bought me a round loom set for Christmas and we used that instead. It's close to weaving and the end results were hats the created by themselves. After a quick visit to the craft store for yarn colors of their choice, Jordan started his hat. They had to take turns on this project as they all needed the same size loom. Jordan finished his rather quickly, but complained half way through he became bored with it. Joey absolutely loved making his hat. While we were at the store he just couldn't decide which colors we wanted to use. Being such a resourceful child he dug through my extra yarn and created his own "bulky" yarn. The colors he chose were too thin for the hat to look right and he doubled up each color twisting them together. Realizing tat doubling them up he would not have enough to make a full hat he grabbed another color to mix up the pattern some. Jacob had a difficult time with his and required some help from mom. He looped the yarn and mom pulled the loops over. Joey had so much fun making his hat (he's my crafty kid) he made a mini one for his favorite stuffed animal. They are so proud of the hats they made for themselves by themselves, that they actually put their hats on when they were outside (Hallelujah!! Now just get them to zip their coats).

I just realized I missed including one of our list activities on last Monday's link-up. I was so focused on Jacob's birthday and the fun we had camping that I forgot to include when we walked a nature trail earlier in the week. We have a few favorite trials we walk, but switched it up and tried one at a nearby beach. They boys really liked this trail, it was rather short and there were no hills to climb. The flat ground was nice seems we were trudging through a few inches of snow. While searching for the owl nest that was to be in the trees near the path Joey spotted something flying in the sky like a parasail. Once we finished the trail we drove over to the beach to figure out what was flying around. Jordan and Jacob chose to stay back at the nature center where it was warm while Joey and I ventured out.

There were huge mounds of snow to maneuver around to even get close to the beach, I walked around them Joey climb up and over most of them. We weren't actually where the beach began because everything was covered in inches and inches of snow. We walked where we were sure there wouldn't be any ice under us. From where we were it did look like people were parasailing, and we worked our way across the beach Joey was fascinated by the new to us sport. We watched two guys let the wind pull them around and making jumps off snow ramps. There was sail lying on the ground and someone was having a hard time getting the wind to catch it. It didn't look like the were going to be flying away anytime soon so we made our way over to figure out what exactly they were doing. It's a sport called Kiteboarding.  You strap a snow board to your feet and us a giant sail to send you sliding across the ground. They were moving pretty fast too. After a half hour of watching memorized Joey shouted "I GOTTA TRY THAT!" (Right Buddy, you weigh nothing and would float away!! I didn't tell him that of course.) Being out in the open you can really feel the chill in the air and we went back to warm up and scoop up the other two from the nature center.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

New Year Resolution Progress- February

We have made progress on our resolutions, more so in some areas than others. The boys have been working on their personal goals.

Jacob is slowly getting better with sharing belongings and seems to share mostly with Joey.Which is wonderful for me to watch as the bond is becoming stronger.

Joey again made another new friend thanks to new students entering his class. He is working on maintaining his older friendship while establishing a connection with his new friend. Jordan had really struggled this month.

Jordan started off well this month mainly because he had not received the privilege of electronics back yet. Once that little electronic box was placed in his hands he hid away for days in his room catching up on all the games and videos he had missed. I had hoped that once the novelty of having his electronics back he would manage his use of them better. There were days that he had so engrossed in his games/ videos that he missed lunch or family time. Having the electronics back also effected this sleep as he stayed awake most of the weekend nights until the early hours playing. The last couple days he has done better because I took the IPod one evening and forgot where I put it. I would swear it is almost like an addition for him. He'll continue to work on balancing his screen time, looks like I'm going to be helping him for a couple months to get it under control.

I am still slowly working on being healthier. I'm up to 3 eight-ounce glasses of water and have eliminated 2 cups of coffee a day. I'm looking forward to warmer days ahead so I can get back outside and walk. I'm actually getting almost eight hours of sleep a night, only occasionally have I stayed up to one in the morning.

I still haven't set up my classes at the school I hope to do it this month. I have been working on my sign language using a website I found about a year ago. It is amazing how quickly most of to came back to me, and how much I missed doing it. Jordan as also stated using the site to brush up on his signing.

I am getting more comfortable with taking time for myself, mostly this past month I spent my time reading but will need to pull out my scrapbooking stuff again soon.

Our family goals have been moving right along. We are more than half way through our Winter Bucket List and will be finishing that up this month. The boys have been enjoying many books this month of their choice. Joey did better this month than last, I think we may have found a way to spark his interest in book. Joey has almost caught up to Jordan book wise, as Jordan's progress had slowed some this month. Jacob is still flying through books at an awesome rate. Our total books per person- Jacob:13, Joey:5, Jordan:6, and Mom18. Year-to date total : 43.

Our Books Completed for February are:

Jacob- The Chocolate Touch by Patric Skene Catling, Snow Valentines by Karen Gray Ruelle, Ghosts Do Splash in Puddles by Marcia Thorton Jones, Ricky Ricottas Mighty Robots: Voodoo Vultures by Dav Pilkey, Sideway Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar, Happy Birthday, Bad Kitty! by Nick Bruel, and Berenstain Bears at the Teen Rock CafĂ© by Stan & Jan Berenstain.

Joey-  The Absent Author, The Bald Bandit, The Canary Caper all of which are by Ron Roy

Jordan- Wimpy Kid Dairy Had Luck by Jeff Kenny, The Serpents Shadow by Rick Riordan, and The Always War by Margret Peterson Haddix

Mine- The Wish House by Celia Rees, Super-Parenting for ADD by Edward M. Hallowell M.D., Chasing Yesterday #1 Awaking by Robin Wasserman, Full Ride by Margret  Peterson Haddix, Between the Shades of Gray by Ruth Sepetys, Chasing Yesterday #2 Betrayal by Robin Wasserman, Maybe You Know My Kid by Mary Fowler, The eye of Minds by James Dashner, Susanne's Dairy for Nicholas by James Patterson, Fallen by Lauren Kate, Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer, Chasing Yesterday #3 Truth by Robin Wasserman, Cut by Patricia McCormick, and The silent Boy by Lois Lowry.