Wednesday, April 27, 2016

To Pin or Not To Pin

So, several months ago, I decided to cut way back on my Facebook usage. And by "way back," I mean quit completely.

It wasn't difficult to do, and I do not miss it, but I do miss keeping up with a few friends and family members who live a good distance away from me. 

However, the break has been good for me. Less negativity to read and less of the green-eyed-monster lurking, means more contentment in my heart. 

I have, though, found myself scrolling through my Pinterest feed more often than is probably heathy. ;)

But the benefits have been wonderful! 

I've started gardening. Good afternoon, my gorgeous, growing, nearly-three-week-old plants!

I've compiled TONS of neat activities for the kids, both indoors and outdoors

The creativity out there for toddler-approved arts and crafts lessons is endless! 

My list of home helps (i.e. cheap and chemical-free) is growing :). 
So far this week, I've cleaned my bathroom (hello and thank-you to the bubbly, fizzing goodness of baking soda and vinegar in my toilet and sink!), polished my furniture with a mixture of olive oil and some apple cider vinegar, and cleaned the bottom of my nasty sink faucet (seriously, where DOES that gunk come from?!) with baking soda, vinegar, and a few drops of blue Dawn dish detergent. 

I've found super useful tips on dealing with toddlers and tantrums and tempers

My favorites are the funnies, the beautiful thoughts, and the ideas for a new me that I'll never try but will daydream about endlessly ;)

Feel free to follow any of these boards and see what I find next in the late hours of the evening when I should be sleeping

What do you look at on Pinterest? I'd love to follow you on there and see what we have in common!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Two Things Tuesday (4/26)

1.  Jack has been, on his own, attempting to count the last week or two, so I decided our learning times this week would be geared toward numbers and counting. I selected nearly 20 books from the library, and we've been enjoying those.

Yesterday, he painted the circled numbers at the top to match the ones I'd painted at the bottom.  

Today's activity was super fun! I took out ten number flash cards and added star stickers to the sides. Then, I pulled out our clothespin container and had him clip the pins on the stars. Then, we'd count. We made it to the seventh card before he got tired, but I'd say 20 minutes of counting and clipping was pretty good for his age :) He pretended like the pins were alligators, so that made it even more fun :) 

You might not be able to hear him, but he's counting, and I'm super proud of him!

2.  Also, a day or so ago, Jack asked me for tea. He's never had tea before, but they have a toy teapot, and there's one episode of Backyardigans where the kids pretend to make tea, so I guess that's where he got it from. He was persistent. So I gave in, and I made a cup of tea. I poured some in a tiny cup, and he LOVED it. He requested more. Ella also wanted to try some.  She wasn't too excited by it, but she didn't seem to hate it :) Every day since, he's requested some. My 2 1/2 year old enjoys warm Raspberry Zinger Herbal Tea. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Five Facts Friday (4/22)

1. For those of you doing some grocery shopping this weekend or this coming week (all you smart people who don't have to fight the weekend shoppers!), there are TONS of coupons and rebates here and here! I saved over $14 at the grocery store today between the two on things I already had on my list :) LOVE when things work out like that! Our bank account was appreciative, as well, haha!

2. Insect week is going well over here. He loves the flour-filled balloon bumblebee and to have me sing the song--you know the one ("I'm bringing home a baby bumblebee. Won't my momma be so proud of me?...")--while he acts out the motions. Ella just likes squeezing and tossing it and squealing with glee :)

This insect search was a real hit, too! He found and buried them all several times :)

3. My dad sent over a few mint plants (that I haven't planted yet but that the kids really enjoy sniffing, haha!) and some tomato cages for my cucumber plants. 

I spent yesterday afternoon weeding this tiny flower bed in the front, and I'm thinking of putting a lavender plant there. 

4. Anyone have any sure-fire remedies for keeping cats from doing their business in your garden? I came across this idea on Pinterest, and I will try just about anything to dissuade our local feral cats from visiting that spot in the yard. 

Here's the before (with the bag of a kajillion and one plastic take-out forks my mom had acquired over the years--thanks Mom!) and after in our garden (and y'all I know. I know those are winter boots. But I tried going out in my flip flops, and both feet got soaked by the amount of water still standing in our yard. I'm going to have to find some cute rain boots to work out there in!). 

5.  I sure hope the rain has said its hellos and goodbyes for a while. No one in this part of the state needs any more. :/ So many people have lost vehicles and homes and property. Many lost their lives. It's scary how something as commonplace as rain can do so much damage. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

(Non-)Wordless Wednesday with Some Words for the Bestie (4/20)

Happy birthday, Bestie!

You're fantastic, and I'm so glad our friendship has survived 20+ years of ups and downs and husbands and kids and jobs and life. 

May your day be filled with more love and laughter than you can stand!

(I know you feel SUPER special because this is the first song he's sung!!!)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Two Things Tuesday (4/19)

1.  We're learning about insects and spiders this week, but maybe I should have checked out weather books and found weather activities instead. 

Our part of the state (especially where my in-laws live) got hammered by torrential rains, and a lot of people had significant damage to their homes.  My in-laws had to take up most of their flooring and will have to redo the lower sections of walls soon. 
Here are our frontyard and backyard after just a few hours of rain . I can't imagine what it would have looked like had we gotten what they got :/

2. Ella is doing a really good job of telling me when she needs to go to the bathroom and of keeping her undies dry. We're very pleased :)

Friday, April 15, 2016

Five Facts Friday (4/15)

1. My garden is really thriving with all of the rain we've gotten lately :)

2. Jack has been enjoying our free learning times this week by exploring in rice and beans. He played with the beans and little farm animals for nearly an hour yesterday morning. 

3.  The homemade weed killer I used last week seems to be working! Yay for cheap and non-toxic!

4. Ella has entered the stage of life known as the I-want-nothing-to-do-with-anyone-else-but-mommy stage. It's painful. And it makes me happy that I can make her happy. But it's also exhausting. And frustrating. She's also climbing. On everything. 

5.  I got a pedicure. I needed the pampering and the break. I'm thankful for both. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Thankful Thursday (4/14)

Today, I'm thankful for the giant stack of hand-me-down undies The Bestie gave us for Ella. 

We're on day 4 of our potty training adventure, and we've used probably half of them. This is what's left. *side note -- little girl undies are the cutest thing!

When she has accidents, I just throw them in the diaper pail, and they get washed when the pail is full of nap and nighttime diapers. Handy :)

I'm thankful for having TONS of extra undies to help us out as she learns to do her business in the toilet and not on my floor. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Two Things Tuesday (4/12)

1. This kid got a haircut from his Pop-pop and The Husband earlier this week. I LOVE it, and we think it makes him look like such a little man :)

And, this girl has started potty training for reals! Two days and a few accidents later, she's also had a few successes!

2. I decided to take a break from lesson plans this week. I chose some books by one of my favorite children's authors and some books by my most favorite children's illustrators. We'll read and enjoy those, and our learning times will be a free time to paint or color or mold or lace as the day calls for it.
Jack gets a kick out of me saying, "and this book was written by the same author/illustrated by the same man as this one!" 
(I seriously ADORE David Catrow's illustrations and have for years and years. So funky and adorable.)

Friday, April 8, 2016

Five Facts Friday (4/8)

1. We've spent a lot of time out in the backyard this week soaking up this gorgeous weather we've been having. They have loved every minute and beg to go out several times a day. 

2.  Learning time has centered on farm life this week. We checked out 17 books, and we've enjoyed them so far! 
Here are a few things Jack has worked on :)

3.  The Husband decided to cut a hole in the garage wall this morning. 

4.  The weeds in our backyard are OUT OF CONTROL. I found a recipe for natural weed killer on Pinterest and mixed it up. 

5.  Speaking of backyards...
I put together a pallet garden  :) 
(Another nifty idea I found on Pinterest!)