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Sugar For My Love

By August 7, 2017 Family Life

This little sugar bowl has sat on my counter for four years. Its the sweetest reason why. 

My husband loves sugar in his coffee. The fact that he drinks coffee is comical , because four years ago he didn’t. However, four years ago, we wed. I then corrupted him and got him drinking coffee with sugar in it. Over the last couple years, I have tried to upgrade this little jar, but he just will not have it.

You see, my husband, he hates change. On top of that he is sentimental. A quality I love about him. We met in first grade, and I think somehow I am a memento from childhood. When he decides that something has value, he won’t come right out and say it. I found this out the hard way with our sugar jar.

This little jar came from the very first ever gift basket he got as a married man from his boss. It contained huckleberry jelly. Now as we know, I love huckleberry, so he beaming gave me this from his basket. Being a grateful and dutiful wife, I devoured that jelly. Also being a crazy hording crafter, I cleaned the jar and held on to it just in case.

Soon, I corrupted him into getting up and having a cozy cup of coffee with a wee bit of sweetener for him. He had to be difficult ( insert a wicked grin here.) and have a particular kind of sweetener. So of course I had to have somewhere to put it. Enter adorable jelly jar. I fill this little sugar jar up every few days, and I have for several years. I sell Tupperware, and when I have tried to swap out old jelly jar to new Tupperware, I get grumbles and complaints about the convenience of the jar vs the new whatever.

It took me a while, but then it dawned on me. He had assigned this amazing sweet memory to this little jar. We were newly married, we had little money, and I kept this little jar full for him so we could enjoy a cup of coffee together each morning. It was simple, it was a time when it was just us.

I decided that the jar will not be replaced. I will refill the sugar every few days, and I will get up each morning and make his coffee for him so we can have a cup amongst the craziness of our day. Its a small thing, but its such a sweet one.

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A Shark Holiday for the month

By August 7, 2017 Crafty Us!, Family Life

July , oh the beauty of July. Its hot, and sunny, and its time once again for the week I wait all year for. Shark Week!!  

I absolutely love the ocean as you may have read in an earlier post. I love everything about it, the smell, the sight, the creatures within. As terrifying as they are portrayed, I adore sharks. They are fascinating to me. They are so sleek and mysterious. That’s why Discovery Channel was kind enough to create a holiday that is a week long just for me. At least that’s what I tell myself about Shark Week.

The problem with Shark Week, is its only a week long. My sister and I decided all of July should be a celebration of the salty deep and we plan a month of crazy that revolves around the ocean and sharks. We decorate the house, line up crafts, and come up with crazy treats.

One of my favorite ideas for us to make this year is the Shark I-spy bottle. My little T-Rex is in a program called Parents as Teachers. It is an amazing program that allows kids to get a leg up and be prepared for kindergarten by focusing on emotional, social, and educational development. A couple weeks ago, we made I-spy bottles with bugs. I decided this would be cool for shark week as well.

When you are making a I-spy bottle, make sure you choose a good bottle. I personally love Gatorade bottles. They are strong, and have a nice wide mouth so you can slide fun items in. Plus they are big enough that little hands are able to grasp them while shaking and moving it to find the treasures within.

When you are filling up an I-spy bottle you need to consider the actual filling material. I prefer to use rice. I shifts easy and the objects move easily through it. It can be done with beans, lentils, popcorn kernels, its really up to you. I used rice, and in this case, I am dying the rice blue with food coloring. To do this, decide what it is that you want to put in the bottles. I am doing a little sea creature variety pack that I bought from the local party store. I am also using little pony beads, gems, and a few other small little fun things to find. Since my items vary from bg to small, I use the rice,

To dye the rice, I put a few cupfuls in a gallon Ziplock bag and then I add a few drops of blue. Zip up the bag ans shake like your life depends on it. The kids love this part. I sing songs and we dance all while shaking the bag. A few favorites of mine, Mack the knife, Jaws theme, Slippery Fish, and well, Twist and shout ( I love the Beatles.) Once you have the shade of blue you desire, open the bag and let it dry for just a bit. You don;t want your octopus having blue smears on his face.

When you are ready to start the bottle, I always put in a good handful of rice for the base. Then layer a variety of things, add a few beads and a shark, then rice, a gem and a diver, then rice, etc. Do not fill the bottle the entire way, You want room to move and shake and see what the little one can bring to the surface, I’d leave half the bottle to at least 2 inches from the top. T-Rex likes half the bottle because he has success shaking and seeing things come to he surface much faster.

I love this activity, it helps shark week carry on from just our official last week in July. If you want to catch the fever, you can head over to Discovery Channel and check out a preview for shark week, and the other cool sneak peeks. If it doesn’t get you excited for my favorite shark holiday, I don’t know what will!

 

 

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A Sign Everywhere.

By July 24, 2017 Crafty Us!, Family Life
My light switch sign

As a former teacher, literacy is super important to me. That’s why my house is covered in signs labeling everything.

It sometimes looks like you’ve walked into a classroom. Who labels their door with a sign that says door unless they are right? I do! I have a bunch of label all over my house. At first, my poor hubby was less than thrilled over the labels. Our home began to look lovely to me, lavender cards appearing all over. When people would ask me why they were out, I stated simply my poor hubby had no idea what things were in the house.

Honestly, the signs are for the T-Rex ( and when the hubby gets lost in the house.) When children are young they learn through so many senses. They shove everything in their mouth to see the texture, temperature, shape, etc. To show them that you are the person named mommy or daddy, you point to yourself. Its a visual cue. Hence, where the signs come in. If I wanted little T to see that I was talking about the door, not only did I point to the door, but the word. and I would say it several times. Repetition is the key!

So, now my house is getting covered slowly by more and more signs. Every time I think, ” Oh! He should know what that looks like!”, a new label goes up. Each door, appliance and piece of furniture almost, has its proper sign. Its so easy to do. Run to the dollar and grab some sharpies, and a package of index cards. You can pick up so double sided tape, or use like I do the painters tape and after you write up your sign stick on there!!

In case you were                     unaware…Stairs. —>

Now, it is not just awesome to have the signs up and available for seeing when having normal conversations, but we play games with ours, too. I sit in the middle of the floor and say, ” Can you find me the word for wall?” then he runs around trying to figure out the word for wall. Now he realizes that the words are on purple cards. Hence he is going to find one of those, but he then remembers I said wall, so he looks for signs there. It is a fun way to engage him and also make him learn! I love listening to him giggle and say, ” I found it mommy, I found wall.” It’s just all around fun to do, and just so simple to help them increase their learning and understanding of the world around them!

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My top 5 things to do in Newport Oregon

By July 13, 2017 Family Life

I love Newport Oregon. It is my favorite spot to vacation by far. I thought I’d share my favorite places to go with you in case you make the trek to see this gorgeous little town. 

This weekend my cousin is getting married. She is exchanging vows on the beautiful coast of Oregon. While she is closer to the California border, I love a different part of Oregon. I love Newport! I saw the ocean for the first time there, and where I honey mooned. Oh my soul is tethered to the ocean there.

Newport is a great town nestled against the coast. It has an amazing historic boardwalk which houses some of my favorite things to do. I thought I’d share my top 5 things I love to do in Newport with you.

  1. The Sea Lion Pier– When walking through the historic boardwalk, you will hear this lovely bellowing sound. It gets louder the closer to to this wonderful restaurant that allows you to sit out and actually watch these crazy sea lions as they bask below. You can also walk down to the pier and watch them as they swim and argue and bask at any point during the day. I love it, my nephew loved it. I am hoping when I finally get to take my son, he will love it!
  2. The Newport Candy Company- This tiny little candy shop is amazing. I will swear that they have the best salt water taffy in Newport. I happen to be a Salt Water taffy junkie, but I love them above all others.. They have sea foam candy and chocolates too, and a host of other fun things, but the bins and bins of taffy. Oh my sugar levels are rising thinking of it!
  3. Yaquina Head Lighthouse-This is awesome. Nestled on the coast line, you actually leave Newport and venture through Depot Bay. You can buy a sweet day pass and it gets you 3 days of fun here. Now, I am easily entertained. They have tide pools, and wildlife viewing. My favorite is going up to the top of the lighthouse. It is a gorgeous view and a great workout, given you aren’t afraid of heights. Its  one of the tallest lighthouses on the coast.
  4.  The Newport Aquarium- I don’t care how many times I have been here, I love it. The sea life you get to encounter, the passages of the deep tunnel, I absolutely love it. They have changing exhibits and exhibits that are permanently there. It is not the most giant of aquariums, but I have never spent under 3 hours there. I get lost in watching otters frolic, or caressing a sea anemone in the tide pools, I adore this place.

      5. Sea Lion Caves- Ok, this one is not actually in Newport, but it is about 40 miles away, the drive is                                   AWESOME! You go through Waldport , Yachats , and a pretty mountain road. It is amazing. I love not only the             drive there, but the caves themselves are amazing. You have the opportunity to view the sea lions out on the                   shores below and playing in the water, and if you are keen eyed you can spot whales playing out in the waves.               You make your way to the elevator and go down 240 ft. An immense sea cave is filled with sea lions and                            information galore. You walk up the stair case inside and get a breath taking view of the Heceta Head                              Lighthouse. Highly recommend!  You can check out their webcam here.

I adore the coast, and I am so jealous of my cousin, but I will make it there soon enough. The waves are beckoning!! Do you have a place you just love and calls to you?

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Can A T-Rex Tinkle in the Potty?

By June 19, 2017 Family Life

I was seriously beginning to question my ability as a mother. I had bought all the treasures, candy, the celebration decor. We talked about it daily, and I mean DAILY. My darling little T-Rex just refused to go on the big boy potty. He would want to try, but then he would hold it until he got a new diaper on. I was beginning to think I would be sending diapers with him to school. That was until this weekend.

We were home and enjoying a rare lazy day. We curled up and watched movies. We ate together, we had “coffee” together. His was cocoa. It was a spur of the moment thing I decided to strip him down and said, ” OK,  if you have to go potty, you go on your car potty OK.” He just grinned and said no he wanted his diaper. I stood my ground. I was compassionate and said ” No way! You are going naked and you are gonna try today.” I am so kind some days.

As I got up to make lunch, I hear the sweetest giggle drift to me followed by , ” Mommy, I went potty!” I won’t lie, my first feeling was not joy. My T-Rex has refused to potty train for months now. He has peed on the floor in protest. I knew he had done it again. I carefully made my way to the den and peeked in. His little head was bent over the potty chair examining the contents inside. I seriously though he put goldfish crackers in there, but I asked if he had truly gone.

I have rarely seen my son peacock, but in this moment he did. He stood up as straight as could be, put his hands on his hips and said, I did mommy.”  I’ll be darned if he hadn’t. I squealed and jumped up and down, clapping and signing, and telling him how big he was, and then the topper to it all. He got a cup of M&Ms. We were both grinning like a couple of fools, but for different reasons at that moment. He had been eyeing that container of candy for a while now, and I was thrilled to not be scrubbing the floor.

To my sheer delight and joy, he went 3 more times that night. Each time being rewarded with candy and praise and singing. He thinks it is the greatest thing on the planet when I make up silly songs for him. I am hoping that my bullheaded little angel on’t have this be a single day thing. However, as a fore mentioned, he is a bull headed little twerp if I ever met one. He gets it from his fath…. me , he totally gets it from me. I am just as strong willed as he is. God help us when he gets to be a teen.  Its taken months to persuade him to potty train, lord knows how it will go with me asking for him to clean his room, or put clothes in the hamper.  Actually, he really is a polite boy, I can’t complain. He is bull headed though.

Do your kids , or spouse, or fur babies eve just have that ornery streak? I love it and I have trouble with it! How do you deal?

 

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Raising the Next Universal Champion

By June 13, 2017 Family Life

My house is huge into the WWE. My husband can tell you all sorts of crazy trivia about all kinds of different wrestlers. Yes we are very aware that it is choreographed. Yes we know that they are all story lines and some of those sworn enemies are truly best friends. However, there is something magical about having friends come over and watch matches and root on your favorite guy and eat and laugh and enjoy the awesome that is WWE

Now with this in mind, it was hilarious to me when my child became aware f himself as an entity. He initially said things like me and I, and then one day he started only referring to himself in the third person. The first time he did it, I roared. I was sure it was a subtle silly quirk he’d outgrow and I ignored it. As time has gone by , he does it increasingly so. To the point that I think Vince himself may have subtly planted the next champion in my home.

I tried to correct it and make sure he was using the correct verbiage, but somehow he sucked me into it. I will parrot back to him the exact way he says things. Then I am shocked by how quickly I forget that I am supposed to be teaching him to be a non arrogant functioning member of society!

” The T-Rex is mad at you, T-Rex is so mad at you!” echoes through my house more often than not anymore. It just cracks me up. Now we just start poking the bear and ask random goofy questions to get him to respond in third person. I realize this is a form of torment, but it’s a harmless torment. Questions like, Is that my motorcycle? Is that my shoe? quickly get replied to with NO! It’s T-Rex’s …whatever it may be. It has yet to make me not laugh. Even in his most defiant and trying moments, when he decides to use it, I have to remember I am being a disciplinary figure and not his audience. Then I walk to another room and roll.

To top the whole thing off, he is becoming a huge wrestling fan himself. He sees their logo and begins jumping up and down and yelling, ” Dubya E!!!” He has a wrestling buddy that he grapples with during the show. Yes, he commentates and T-Rex always wins, he’s the good guy. Ha!

Do your kids ever do anything that just makes it hard to get through the moment without bursting into laughter!

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Fear is a four letter word, usually followed by other four letter words.

By June 9, 2017 Family Life

Everyone has fears. You can be tough and say you don’t have one, but everyone has a fear. It can be something as tiny as germs, or something as massive as clowns. I have two major fears. One being Spiders. I hate them, oh I hate the thought, sight, sound , YES spiders make a sound. Its an evil chortle as they descend to get in your hair!

My deep loathing of the arachnid nation has been an ongoing battle since I was tiny. Now at almost 6 foot, and enough years under my belt to know that I’m bigger than they are and so it shouldn’t be a big deal. No matter how many times I tell my brain that, it revolts and tells me it is most definitely a big deal and that it is possible we need to carry a blow torch at times for our protection. When T-Rex was born I vowed to myself I would do all I could to keep from transferring my fears to him. Especially since my husband loves those eight legged freaks. He had two tarantulas for a while, and living in the same space as those tiny terrors was a lot to handle.

Fast forward almost three years. My precious toddler spots a delightful treat, Satan’s little pet. I of course do what I do best in that situation, I scream for my hubby and burst into tears as I grab my child to flee this horrendous situation. My husband decides this is a great opportunity to teach our son about his passion. So sitting in tears I relinquish my favorite little person in the world. He toddles over to his dad and watches as my crazy husband picks up the stupid thing. I am now borderline falling apart into a million pieces. Trying desperately to be a supportive and non-fear transferring mother, I squeak and nod happily as he giggles watching the acrobatics of this demon as it tries to crawl all over to escape.  I try calmly to remind them both that handling spiders is not a game and can be dangerous if we do not know the spider.

A week later as I am swinging in the backyard watching my little boy play, I notice him stoop down and start talking to something. He then stands up and is very clearly holding something, and makes his way to the tree. I call out and ask my dear little angel what h is doing. Without skipping a beat he turns, grins, and holds up his tiny clenched fingers and shouts out, ” Mommy , I have a spider! I put him on the tree.” Now it was my turn to not skip, and I yelped and ran screaming drop it drop it drop it.

It was that small moment after admonishing repeatedly how there was not to be picking up spiders unless daddy was there that was a turning point for my son. He now is afraid of spiders and they are everywhere and to be blamed for everything. He stubbed his little toe and when I asked him how it happened he told me a spider made him do it. I try really hard to not just roll laughing at that point. I realize two things very clearly now. 1) I failed in an epic way at not transferring my fears. and 2) the spiders that live around my house are very organized and are responsible for a lot of mischief. My darling boy now has the best cop out ever when asked what happened. Those darn ol spiders did it.

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When your husband compares you to a knock off Monet, you still can’t kill him

By May 15, 2017 Family Life

My darling Apatosaurus hubby is sometimes the most over the top romantic man in the world. After knowing how much I deeply loved the movie The Notebook,  he wrote me a letter a day when I went on a trip and then wrapped them in a blue ribbon. When he proposed he spent an entire day recreating all kinds of things we did as children and then purposed to me on the very school playground we played on together as children.

Ok, let’s admit it, that was pretty awesome right. Now fast forward  a few years into marriage.  As a mom, a self employed gal, and wife. Sometimes I have days were the weight of the world is a terrible feeling. I look to my romantic husband to tell me I am still as breath taking and mind blowingly beautiful as the day he married me. However, on such a day a few days ago, my beloved spouse looked at me and told me, and I quote, ” Babe you are very aesthetically pleasing.” I won’t lie, my jaw dropped and I gaped at him for a whole moment. 

Somewhere in his mind he actually thought this was a compliment. In my mind I felt like I had been slapped and hung upon a dentist’s lobby wall. Aesthetically pleasing! I think what he said sank in as he turned and looked at my appalled expression, and then it really sank in when I then told him what a butt he was for comparing me to a knock off Monet painting. He laughed at me. He brushed my hair back and smiled, pulled me into a nice hug and here, here is where I thought he was about to remedy the situation, NOPE! He tells me not only am I aesthetically pleasing, but I have a tolerable personality. Then planting a small kiss upon my cheek he asked me what we were having for dinner.

Let me give you a heads up gentlemen, when women have days were they are drowning in life and they need you to be their knight and their cloud of happiness, do not look at them and tell them they are as pleasing as a houseplant.  It will not give the results that you are looking for. It will result in a wife who wants to clobber you for a good few days. Instead trying telling her things like, she’s as marvelous as a sunset, as breath taking as waves on the ocean. Compare her to flowers or something lovely, anything but a houseplant in the corner of the room or a solemn painting on a wall in the doctors office.

My husband did manage to survive the rest of the night, he has since made it a point to tell me weekly how absolutely aesthetically pleasing I am. He does so with a wicked smile, but has managed to tell me he thinks I am lovely , at least more so than a houseplant.

 

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Feel a little lift.

By May 2, 2017 Crafty Us!, Family Life

There are days where we all need a little lift. We need something to just make us grin if even for just a bit. When you have kids, if that lift also helps them to develop their gross motor skills, and some social skills, it makes it that much better.

My son is super fortunate to be part of a program called Parents as Teachers. We get to meet with a specialist once every two weeks and we do activities and learning activities that promote growth, exploration, and developing. I love it. He loves it. He always looks forward to the visit and whatever fun new thing we will be making and doing. Mostly because mom then keeps that activity going for a very long.

On of our long standing favorites is the balloons from the door way activity. I think it has a much more fanciful name, something witty and cute. I call like like I see it, and right now I see three balloons hanging from my door ways. It is a great activity because it truly does make them work on their gross motor skills. A big part of the activity is being able to navigate a hand eye coordination. Being able to bounce the balloon off one hand or paddle, and hit it consistently is a big deal, and we have lots of cheering and ” I did it!” happening when we are playing.

Socially we all practice taking turns or helping each other without pushing shoving, being ornery to each other in general. They have to say please, thank you, excuse me. It is adorable to no end to hear these teeny little guys use such sweet manners. It also helps them to learn to be supportive. One of my older kiddos looked at the little ones and while patting him on the back said , ” It’s ok, you can do it.” and cheered him on to try again. Empathy! They are learning empathy!!

You only need 3 things to do it to. If you have kids I am almost positive you have these in the house or are super close to having them there. And if you want to get super fancy, you need just 2 more.

  • Yarn- for hanging your lovely balloons
  • Tape- they gotta stick up there somehow right! I use both painters tape and duct tape depending on where you are hanging them and how active your kiddo is with the balloons.
  • BALLOONS!! yes we get that excited over balloons at my house.

Now if you want to get super fancy you grab a paper plate and a paint stick. You tape the two of those together and you have a paddle to help your little one learn hand eye coordination to hit the balloon. Having the balloon in the doorway also helps your house not be beaten into oblivion with a homemade paddle as well. Its contained fun! Once they get really good at bouncing the balloon in place, then you can feel brave and remove the yarn and have a whole new adventure.

It is amazing how the kids love this activity. I leave the balloons up for a while and they will naturally go and start creating their own games, and having to take turns. I have different colors of balloons so we can work on the names of the colors as well. I love how versatile this is in teaching the little ones so many different things. I also love that when the kids are not paying attention, every adult in my house plays with them too. Especially since one hangs in the bathroom doorway. The exit from the restroom has never been more entertaining.

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When Momma turns to Grandma rules go out the door!

By April 20, 2017 Family Life

I love my mother more than anything in the world. I adore her strength, her endurance, her humor, and her determination. We think alike, love similar music, clothing, etc. I could go on for days about how awesome she is. She has a heart that is bigger than anyone I know. That is where she gets into trouble.

I firmly believe kids are too spoiled today. Now you can be furious with that statement and stop reading right now, or pause and realize this following point. Kids today have no idea what it means to work for anything. They have no clue how  use their imagination like we used to. You tell most kids to go play they cozy up with a tablet, smart phone or video game. It breaks my heart. So it was when I found out I was having my little T-Rex, I said I didn’t want to have my little man bombarded with a million toys. I wanted him to have books, bang pots and pans, run around pretending to be a knight.

My mom is a doting grandma. She lives to make these little monsters of her’s smile. If she hears they have developed a love for something, she is all over it. T-Rex has dinosaurs galore! He has dino books, action figures, posters, pillows, and stuffed animals. Every time she brings him something I have to remind her that he really doesn’t need these toys.  She just grins and tells me how much it thrills her to make him happy.

It was when my son developed his near crack addiction to Mickey Mouse, that my mom started down a path that we all know. The collectibles path. Disney already had the little ones hooked with Mickey Mouse Club. There are few of us who can claim to have no idea what the Hot Dog song is or when we sing it. Then there are a vast majority of us who not only know the song, but when they sing it, and who does what dance. Disney then decided to kick it up a notch. Mickey Mouse Roadsters made its way to TV. If your kids are like mine, it was instantly an addiction.

To top it off, they made little Mickey Mouse action figures to go along with the show. My mom then decided to change life for me as we knew it. She brought over Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. My son was over the moon. He drove them all over the house, tub, cat.

Seeing my little man’s reaction then fueled her. She had to go back and get the other 3, I was  told her this wasn’t necessary. Her famous line, well one of her many famous lines , then came forth. Well , he needs to have them all. Does he? Does he need them all? I already have like 3 McQueen cars I am trying to keep track of before bedtime. Now I had Mickey, Donald and the prospect of a few more. I told her again, I think he is good with what he has, but it fell to pieces when those big blue eyes came over, an tilted his head, and said, ” VaVa, more Mickey.”  Within a week I had three more cars in my house. Two weeks after that, maybe a bit more, She arrived with a track for these said cars.  After looking at the package I mistakenly said allowed, Oh gosh they have more characters now! Boom, we now own them.

After thinking finally all that was left to get to complete this collection was one more track, my husband graciously sent me a text message. It contained a picture of yet another new Roadster Racer. Needless to say, my sanity when it comes to these racers has left. However, he is giddy every time he can show my mom a new trick he has them do, or has her drive them with him. I know that when it comes to her, my rule of ” He doesn’t need that,” is falling on deaf ears. I actually love her for it. She is such an amazing VaVa.

 

 

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