Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fixing Those Obnoxious Noisy Toys

Did your kids get toys that make a bunch of noise?  I know I know, silly question!  Some noisy toys are less noisy than others, some are downright obnoxious.  Little Man got a bunch of construction trucks for Christmas which he LOVES, and some of those are really loud.  So I fixed them.  And I'm going to show you the trick I learned years ago!

 Here's one of the more obnoxious sounding toys that we got for Christmas.  Don't get me wrong, he loves it and I'm glad he got it!  But I'd be less glad if I couldn't do what I'm showing you next.  And you should get some note paper because it's complicated.

Look around for the speaker holes, and cover them with a layer of clear tape.  That's it!  Usually one layer is enough to turn down the volume without taking the fun of the sounds it makes away.  If you looked around our house at noise-making toys, you'll find a lot of them with tape on them.  Some are quiet enough on the low setting to not need any tape, but many do.

So if you're kids toys are driving you crazy because of the sound, tape them up!

"Warrior", and Putting It Off Till Tomorrow

Since last fall, all my kids during the day are toddlers except Izzy, and she's not the one making most of the mess.  Toddlers are messy little punkin-heads, with their 1 minute attention spans and rare ability to stop and think about putting a toy away when it gets boring.  Add to that the fact that one of them sleeps in our main living space and is a light sleeper, meaning I can't clean anything up during nap time.  All of this adds up to a pretty substantial mess by the end of the day.  A mess that needs to get cleaned up at night or my next day is ruined, because if the day starts off particularly messy then my mood isn't right and we all have a bad day.  So I've been cleaning up in the evening.

Last night though we had a Christmas dinner with Spencer's dad's relatives about an hour away, which we left for immediately after work and didn't get home until 8:30.  We got our sleepy children to bed and collapsed into an exhausted heap on the couch to watch a movie that Spencer had really liked and knew I'd like to.  The movie was Warrior (click the link to get to the imdb site and click Watch Trailer) which I figured I'd like but had no idea just how much!  Warrior unexpectedly jumped to my favorites list!  It's thrilling, powerful, has some phenomenal fights, and still manages to tug on the old heart-strings. Tom Hardy's not bad to look at either. You might think because it involves MMA fighters there would be a lot of blood, but if blood makes you a little woozy don't worry, there's not much of it at all.
Warrior Poster

Anyways, after the movie was over it was so late and I was so depleted by the movie that I didn't have anything left to put into cleaning the house.  Spence helped me get it a little bit presentable, I got the dishes taken care of, and I went to bed.

Of course things were a bit cluttered with toys when my first kiddo arrived at 7:15 but once my kids woke up and after I gave them a few minutes to relax and have breakfast, I put them to work.  I told them they needed to have the upstairs picked up all the way and their room cleaned before they could go to the movie they had planned with Nana.  That worked great!  I was able to feed and change the baby and keep an eye on the 1-yr-olds while they did in 5 minutes what would have taken me 15 (actually more since while I would have been picking up, the toddlers would have been right behind me dumping more toys out.).

Moral of the story: See the movie Warrior because it is better than you might think, please and thank you.  Also, sometimes it works to your advantage to put off till tomorrow what could be done today... just as long as you've got good little helpers with plans they don't want to miss out on later!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Our First Christmas Dinner

Alternate title "It's About Dang Time!"

Since Sweet Pea was a baby, 10 Christmas's ago, Spencer and I have been trying to fit in our family's Christmas celebration on Christmas morning.  But there has never been enough time.  We would come downstairs to the tree and our stockings and open our Santa presents.  Then we would open our presents to each other.  After that we would eat a quick breakfast (though one or two years I made a special breakfast, but it was rushed) and spend the next couple hours getting everyone ready, food for 3 locations ready to go, presents for 3 locations ready to go, and hope we don't forget anything.  Then we'd head over to my mom and dad's, second we'd go to my dad's side of the family, and finally spending the evening with Spencer's relatives.  It was a long day and very very rushed.

Finally this year I gave up on trying to celebrate on Christmas day and planned a special Christmas with my family for the evening before Christmas eve!

I wanted to make a big special dinner, have plenty of time to open and enjoy presents with the kids, and have dessert, followed by more family time.

The morning of the 23rd the kids went with my mom and mother-in-law to Macy's 8th floor display of "A Day in the Life of an Elf" and have lunch at McDonalds, while Spence was out working.  That time alone in the house was a life-savor because I wanted to have the house clean for the weekend and it's harder to do that with kids around!
 I made Pioneer Woman's "Perfect Potroast" and "Creamy Mashed Potatoes", salad, homemade hot chocolate, and a thaw-and-serve cookies & cream pie for dessert!
 People listen!  This is the best pot roast you will ever eat in your life!  Combined with the creamy mashed potatoes (which I put too much butter on but it was extra awesome that way!) it is perfection on a fork!
 When the girls saw the table all set pretty they were so excited, they could tell it was something special and that just made me feel so good!  Everyone loved the dinner, even Little Man who didn't really eat any of the other Christmas dinners we went to all weekend (he's a stinker like that).
 After dinner we opened presents.  Spence and I didn't have the cash-o-lah to buy for eachother so we had just planned on watching the kids open their gifts, but the girls had gone to the dollar store with Spencer's mom to shop for eachother, their brother, and Spence and me!
 I think we got a bigger kick out of watching them open the gifts they got eachother than the gifts we got them!  They were very thought out presents!  They got me bright pink nail polish because they know I like that color on my toe nails, nail clippers (constantly clipping my and the kids' nails) pretty ornaments, cd holder for the car (needed) and some other goodies!

Just Dance Kids

After all the presents were opened and enjoyed at a leisurely pace we had our dessert, and more playtime before heading to bed.  It was truly my favorite Christmas!  I cherished that relaxed quality family time together and can't wait to do it again next year!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sensory Play is Important and Fun!

Although it can be really messy, sensory tables or bins are great for preschoolers and toddlers, and fun for older kids too!  Infants and young children learn by using all of their senses.  You put something in front of a baby and what will the baby do? They will put it in their mouth, see how it tastes, how it feels in their mouth and hands, smell it, shake it and see if it makes noise!

This is why most preschools and day cares will employ some sort of sensory table/bin/box or other forms of sensory play.  Sensory play can be found in sandboxes, pools and water buckets, walking barefoot in the grass, picking up snow with bare hands, crafts with ribbons, sand paper, pom poms, scented markers, cotton balls scented with essential oils or baking extracts, dry rice, bird seeds, pebbles or aquarium rocks, cooking, and when babies are involved - mouthing everything they can find!  Obviously keep your child's age in mind when you plan what you will use so your little one doesn't eat something or choke.  For little ones who still put everything in their mouth you can use edible things like finger painting with pudding, or playing with jello.  There are tons of other things to use as well, google Sensory Play or Sensory Table Ideas.
 I recently filled our small sensory bin with red and white beans.  It was a huge hit!  I provided measuring cups, small cups to scoop with and into, spoons, kitchen set toys, and little ladles.
 They were able to practice scooping, pouring and transfer skills.  They learned what happened when they filled a larger dish with beans and then tried to pour the contents into a smaller dish, and why that happened.
 They made patterns and pictures with the beans, they counted beans, they made hand prints in the bin with the beans, and ran them through their hands and fingers.  On day two of the bean bin we put the whole bin in the fridge for a couple hours and played with them cold for a new experience!

Sure I spent a lot of my time scooping beans back into the play area and bin, but the extra clean up is well worth the learning experience they had!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I Remember...

Care to join me while I reminisce?

Did I spell reminisce right? I must have because spell check didn't say anything.   Moving on...

I remember:

When I'd be excited to get back to my college campus so I could have high speed internet instead of dial-up.  Remember dial-up internet?

When the only way to access the internet was with America On Line and your minutes came on a CD.

When the cool thing was to have pagers in high school.  Now middle-schoolers have cell phones. So weird.

When DVDs started getting popular and a friend of mine had to explain to me what made them so much better than a VHS.

Same with CD's, but I didn't need explaining on that one.  I think it was my Aunt Debbie S. that got my my first CD.  If I remember right it was a Mariah Carey one.  I could be totally wrong there though.

When I heard they were making a new TV show about a show-choir, and being the choir geek that I am was excited and hoped hoped hoped that enough people would watch it so it wouldn't get canceled in the first season.... that was Glee.

When we only had one child and it seemed difficult to leave the house with her.  Now we have three and when we only have one it feels almost like none.

When my little sister was really little and she would pronounce the word "remember" as "renember".  My cousin and I made a bet with her that we could get her to say "renember" by the end of the day.  I won that bet during a "spontaneous" dinner time game of "I Remember..." where we all went around the table saying what we remember.  I felt like quite the clever little thing that day ;o)

When Christmas involved going to one place on Christmas Eve and one place on Christmas Day.  Oh how simple those holidays were!

When we had to haul pack 'n plays with us everywhere for big holidays so that whoever our youngest child at the time could nap.  Now they all sleep in beds.

When I last saw my half brother, it was Christmas day, 15 years ago.

Getting pulled over when I was 18 for speeding.  I was on my way to my college choir and I was so engrossed in my Christmas music ("The Christmas Song" in case you're wondering) that I wasn't paying much attention to my speed.  Oops!

When I was only ever expected to bring bread or juice to Christmas's because of a combination of multiple parties to go to in one day, having young children, and not really knowing how to make stuff.  Although people don't ask me to bring hard stuff (thank you family!) I have slowly branched out in my Christmas food!  This year I am bringing Cinnamon French Toast Bake, along with some simple things like a frozen pie, cinnamon rolls, and yes... buns!

How every year Spencer and I would try to cram our family Christmas with the kids into Christmas morning, only to wind up stressed out by the time we got to our first location.  This year I'm excited because we are having our family's Christmas on the 23rd!  I'm making Pioneer Woman's perfect pot roast, creamy mashed potatoes, a salad, and a thaw-and-serve cookies and cream pie!  Then we'll open presents and maybe sip some hot cocoa!  Can't wait!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cookie Baking MY Way

Last week I made sugar cookie cutouts for the kids and I to frost, because Christmas is coming soon, and if you know anything about me it's that I love cookies!

Because my Christmas tree and snowman cookie cutters were dirty, I decided to make candy canes and snow flakes!

 But, even with an excessisve amount of flour they were kind of sticking and getting messed up... so I changed it up a bit... because I can.

Yes those look like Pumpkins, yes they are supposed to be pumpkin cookie cutters, but because it is a highly dependable cookie cutter I used them anyway and called them "bulb ornaments".  Works right?

Then the girls and I frosted them!  Little Man didn't want to decorate, he's not into that artsy fartsy stuff that we are.  I made the frosting with powdered sugar and milk.  I like to start with it a little runny and then add more powdered sugar until it thickens up.  It's still a bit runny, but that's what the paper towels are for!

And because I'm kind of a freak, and because it's delicious, I threw some chocolate chips on a ball of sugar cookie dough and popped the whole thing in my mouth.  YUM!

And yes... they are all gone, and have been for a few days now.  But we made a bunch more (different kinds) last weekend so I'm all good!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Mini Photog

Little Man got my camera again...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Little Man Hams it Up

Hamming it up after bath time!

He was getting his hair cut soon after that bath, so I wanted some pics of those curls before they were chopped!  Don't worry though, they keep growing back :o)
Related Posts with Thumbnails