Angry Birds Birthday Party

One of the gifts we received at David’s baby shower was a classic red sock monkey. When David was born I thought it was pretty cute that he and the sock monkey were roughly the same size, so I snapped this photo of him with his little monkey friend when David was 1 week old:

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From there, I just couldn’t stop. Every month during his first year of life we took a photo of David with the sock monkey until, after one whole year, the friends looked like this. Oh, the difference a year can make!

1-year-old_Sock_Monkey_0015And, now, a tradition has been born. Every year on David’s birthday we have him pose with his sock monkey. Here he is at age two:

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Then, last week, he turned 3. THREE! I can hardly believe it. My little baby is now a big boy with his own personality and interests and quirks and thoughts and sense of humor. I love him to pieces.

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Three is certainly a special birthday–probably the first birthday he’ll actually remember when he’s older–so we had to have a very special birthday party. David is a bit obsessed with the computer game “Angry Birds” right now, so we decided to have an Angry Birds-themed party.

Since I’ve never actually played Angry Birds myself, the internet became my party-planning partner. I found this great website called angrybirds365 that had tons of great party ideas and free downloads. I found this invitation on their website, printed it off on cardstock, and filled in all of the party details for our little guests. Free, simple, and a bit more personal than a Facebook invite :)

While I was on the site, I also printed off some Angry Bird faces that we attached to balloons for decoration, some small angry bird pictures that I attached to toothpicks for cupcake toppers, and a slingshot that we used for one of the party games.

This is the first birthday that Aunt Stefanie hasn’t been able to make David’s birthday cake–and I’m no baking brainchild (as in, I’m not patient enough to make those beautiful detailed cakes that I oggle on Pinterest). As a consolation, I told David we could make whatever kind of cupcake he wanted.  David wanted red, blue and yellow cupcakes (because those are the colors of his favorite Angry Birds). Done. We took one box of white cake mix, divided the batter into 3 bowls, added a different color of food coloring to each bowl, and baked the cupcakes. After licking out all 3 bowls of cupcake batter it was time for David’s next job: decorating. I frosted all of the cupcakes, set out bowls of sprinkles, and invited David  to unleash his artistic side. I can’t remember the last time I saw him this concentrated on a single task.

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After the cupcakes were decorated we inserted some homemade cake toppers and–TA-DA!–red, yellow and blue Angry Bird cupcakes.

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I had a lot of fun planning the menu for the party. The party was at 4:30, so we had snacks and “light dinner” fare.  Our menu included:

- “Angry Bird BBQ” (Pulled BBQ chicken sandwiches)
- “Angry Eggs” (Deviled eggs)
- “Smashed Piggies” (fruit salad made with green grapes, strawberries and raspberries)
- “Broken Towers” (veggie sticks and dip)
- “Twigs” (pretzel sticks)
- “Nests” (chips)
- “Bird Nectar” (juice)

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After dinner we brought out the cupcakes for a little “Happy Birthday” time. David stared blankly at us while we sang but he still performed expertly in the candle-blowing-out department:

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And, before he got too covered in frosting, we managed to snap a family photo (thank you to Rachel for stopping everyone and insisting we do this. Somehow I always forget stuff like this!). We were so blessed to have my parents visiting us all the way from Seattle this week to share in David’s special day!

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After we all filled our tummies, it was time for some fun and games. I found a book that had about a dozen make-your-own Angry Bird masks in it, so before the party David and I put them all together for the kids to wear. Everyone looks relatively happy in this photo, but that’s only because you can’t actually see their faces. The kids were TERRIFIED of the masks. As soon as we started putting them on, the babies started crying and kids were hiding behind their moms. Note to self: the preschool crowd is NOT entertained by face-hiding, person-shifting deception devices like masks. Moving on.

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One of the kids’ favorite party games is called “Pass the Parcel”. To play, you just wrap a small gift (packets of candy in our case) with wrapping paper, then you wrap that package and another small gift inside another layer of paper, and then that package along with another small gift inside another layer, and so on. At the party, the kids pass the parcel around a circle while music is playing (kind of like musical chairs)–then, when the music stops, whoever has the parcel gets to open it and keep the gift that’s inside. The game continues until all of the layers of the parcel has been unwrapped (and, if your planning is good, every child walks away with a treat).

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We also played “Pin the Angry Bird on the Slingshot”. I just printed off a picture of the Angry Birds slingshot and several angry bird pictures, cut them out, and put tape balls on the back of the Angry Birds. Each child got a different Angry Bird and had a turn to try to get their bird in the center of the slingshot (the older kids were blindfolded, but we let the babies cheat a bit).

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By the time games were over, it was already starting to get late and we moved on to presents. David received so many generous gifts from his friends and family! Toys and games and clothes and movies–incredible. And he really did appreciate them–it was awesome to see David go up to each friend and thank them for their gift after it was opened.

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It was a truly memorable birthday. I am so grateful we could celebrate this milestone with so many loved ones, near and far.

David: you are my sunshine and, no matter how big you get, you will always be my baby. Happy 3rd birthday, little David!

Posted in Crafts and DIY, Holidays and Traditions, Kids and Parenting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Allison And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

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David’s most recent obsession is this book called Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It’s about this poor boy, Alexander, who is just having the worst day ever. I enjoyed reading this book as a child and now my son is obsessed, too–I guess that misery really does love company.

As I’ve been reading this book over and over and OVER to my son, I couldn’t help but put myself in Alexander’s place a time or two. Sure, Alexander, you got gum stuck in your hair and your mom forgot to pack you a dessert in your lunchbox and you fell in a mud puddle–it really is terrible being a kid. But I think I’ve got you beat. You think it’s so hard being a kid, but just try being a mom. Just try it. I dare you. If you did, your day might go something like this:

Allison And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

By: Allison

Last night I only got 4 hours of sleep last night because Jacob is teething and David had a nightmare about the shadows on his ceiling and just as I was finally starting to drift off to sleep our dog barked at the neighbor’s cat. This morning as I was walking down the stairs to make breakfast I tripped on a rogue Lego and now my foot has a tiny brick-shaped bruise on the bottom of it. I can already tell that it is going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very-bad day.

When I started to make breakfast there was no milk left in the jug. Who drinks all of the milk and puts the empty container back in the fridge? Oh well, I didn’t have time to eat anyway. I had to get both kids dressed, fed, cleaned up, lunches packed and off to school before it was time to drive Daddy to work. I decided that I should get dressed, too, but none of my clothes looked cute this morning. I just put on yoga pants and a dirty t-shirt and called it good. I think I need to live in a place where it’s acceptable to wear grungy clothes and flip flops every day.

I think I’ll move to Hawaii.

After I got everyone else where they needed to be, I had exactly 2 hours before I needed to be back at the preschool to pick David up. I ran (literally, ran. This is the only exercise I got today) to the grocery store to get more milk. Then I ran back home do a few loads of laundry, iron Jon’s work shirts, vacuum the carpets, sweep the floors, feed Jacob a snack, put away the breakfast dishes, clean the bathrooms, take out the garbage and mow the lawn. In the rain. Ugh.

I think I need to move to Hawaii.

When I picked up David from preschool I noticed that he was wearing the “pants of shame”: he’d had a potty accident at school. David was the last pupil dismissed because the teacher wanted to talk to me about The Accident. Apparently it was pretty bad and they had to cut his pants off of him. Great, I actually liked those pants. It’s definitely a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

On our walk home from preschool Jacob was screaming because he was hungry for lunch and David was whining because I wouldn’t let him play Angry Birds on my iPhone and I stepped in a pile of dog poop on the sidewalk and I walked right through a fresh spider web and got the nasty web strands stuck all over my face. It’s been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

I knew that it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day because after lunch I tried to do an art project with the boys but David colored all over the kitchen table and Jacob ate all of the crayons. David put glue in his hair and Jacob smeared paint all over his body like he was some sort of native warrior. After the art fiasco I tried to give them a bath but we didn’t have any hot water so I had to heat kettles of water in the kitchen (downstairs) to fill the bathtub (upstairs) and then when I finally got the tub full and warm enough for their fragile little bodies David decided to pull the drain-stopper and all of the water vanished before I could stop it.

When I move to Hawaii at least the ocean is warm and I can just give my kids a bath at the beach.

During nap time Jacob bit his tongue trying to jump out of his crib and David snuck out of his bedroom and emptied the contents of the bathroom garbage can all over my bed. Neither child slept so now they are both exhausted and cranky. This is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

I got a calendar reminder to file our taxes next week.

Next week, I said, I’m moving to Hawaii.

While I was trying to make dinner David threw a temper tantrum because his orange ball had dirt on it and the dog looked at him funny. Jacob slammed his fingers in a drawer and he wouldn’t stop howling like a wounded wolf pup unless I held him. I burned the chicken and the pasta pot boiled over and I overcooked the broccoli so it got all soggy. I hate soggy broccoli.  David spilled a full jug of milk all over the kitchen floor (the same jug of milk, mind you, that I already had to replace this morning) and Jacob threw his entire plate of dinner on top of the dog. I had to microwave my dinner 3 times before I ever got one single bite in. It has been a terrible, horrible, no good very bad day.

At bedtime David refused to put on his pajamas, he bit my finger when I was helping him brush his teeth, and it took over an hour to convince him to stay in his bed after lights-out. When we finally got both boys in their bedrooms I went downstairs to try and relax for an hour before my bedtime but there were no good shows to watch on Hulu and the book that I’m reading has somehow disappeared. I couldn’t find my cozy slippers and the dog didn’t want to snuggle with me. I told Jon I’ve had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

He said some days are like that.

Even in Hawaii.

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*Disclaimer* Although all of the events in this story have actually happened to me, they have never all happened simultaneously in one single day. This is God’s grace to mothers! I love my children and I would take all the bad days in the world if it meas that I got to keep loving on my boys each and every day, through the good AND the bad. That being said, I still wouldn’t mind a trip to Hawaii. Without the children.

Posted in Humor, Kids and Parenting, Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Color Swirl Milk Experiment

David loves “projects” so I’m always looking for fun, simple activities we can do together. I recently came across this idea for a preschool science experiment involving milk and food coloring. Sold!

To do this “color swirl” experiment you only need a few household materials: a pan or wide-rimmed plate (I used an 8×8 baking dish and it was perfect), dish soap, milk (high-fat or whole milk work best), liquid food coloring, Q-tips and/or toothpicks, and *optional* paper (watercolor paper or construction paper, not computer printer paper)

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Once you’ve gathered your materials, the fun begins! Start by pouring milk into the pan until it just covers the bottom of the dish. Drop 4 or 5 drops of each color of food coloring near the center of the pan so the colors are close together. Tell your preschooler to resist the beautiful colors and keep his hands to himself for 2 more seconds.

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Dip the end of a Q-tip into the center of the colors and watch what happens (nothing, except maybe you push a bit of milk around). Now ask your child what you think will happen if you dip the same Q-tip into soap before dipping it into the center of the milk (“What is your prediction, child? Will anything be different? What do you think will happen?”). Now, generously coat the end of the Q-tip or toothpick with dish soap. Dip the Q-tip into the center of the colors and hold the Q-tip still (I know, holding still is a difficult concept for a preschooler, but trust me–it’s worth it!). Now watch the colors explode as they dance away from the Q-tip!

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Now dip the other end of your Q-tip in the dish soap and poke it down somewhere else in the dish. It’s like magical little fireworks repelling away from the Q-tip!

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I was curious about the science behind the color swirls so I did a quick internet search and found this great website with a thorough explanation. Turns out that dish soap is bipolar–not in the manic-depressive sense, but in the hydrophilic polar (water-loving) and hydrophobic non-polar (water-fearing) sense. When the water-fearing part of the dish soap connects with the fat in the milk, the magic happens. As all of the little soap molecules start racing around trying to find the milk-fat molecules to connect with they push the food coloring out of the way, creating those wonderful swirls.

We thought that the colors were so pretty that we decided to try capturing them on paper. I just cut a few pieces of artist paper down to a size that would easily fit in our pan and we laid each piece straight on top of the color swirls before gently lifting it back up. The color swirl paper looks really beautiful (and, just in case you’re wondering, a few days later they still smell fine!).

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After playing with four batches of milk in the pan, it was time for another experiment. I came up with this one all on my own. What will happen if we replace the milk with water, take away the food coloring, add a bit of dish soap and switch out the Q-tips for scrub brushes? David couldn’t wait to find out!

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Ta-da! Prest-o, clean-o! Now that’s one science experiment that can keep all of us happy.

Posted in Crafts and DIY, Educational Activities and Learning Games, Kids and Parenting | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

DIY Edible Fingerpaint

Fall is officially upon us, which means three things:

1. Leaves are gathering on the ground.
2. I’m craving all things pumpkin.
3. We have rainy days. Lots and lots of rainy days.

Number 3 is the one I least look forward to. After the long, warm days of summer it’s a bit of a rude slap in the face to suddenly be forced back indoors against my will. But, since I can’t get rid of the rain (and probably won’t for the next 10 months or so…) I will choose to make the best of our long days indoors.

David loves doing art projects but poor little Jacob rarely gets to join in on the action. He’s still at the if-I-can-touch-it-then-I’m-putting-it-in-my-mouth stage, which works well with Cheerios and bananas but no well with glue sticks and glitter. After a brief search on Pinterest, however, I found a number of recipes for edible finger paint (have I mentioned how much I love Pinterest?). I just had to try it. The recipe is really simple: only 3 ingredients and it took about 5 minutes to make:

What You Need:

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  • 1/2 cup corn starch (corn flour)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • liquid food coloring

What You Do:

  • Pour the water and corn starch into a pan and stir constantly over low heat until the mixture begins to thicken to the consistency of Elmer’s glue (a wire whisk works best to minimize clumps)
  • Pour the mixture into cups or bowls (1 container per color you want to make)
  • Add food coloring to each container and stir
  • Let the fingerpaint cool from magma-hot to safe-to-touch before handing it to your baby

IMG_3875 I happened to have an empty plastic egg carton in my recycling bin and it seemed like the perfect receptacle for David’s paints (I didn’t want to give him all of the full cups of paint because I actually wanted to preserve some of those beautiful colors for future use. Something I’ve learned about paint and little boys: it only takes them about 3 seconds to smoosh a rainbow of colors together into one giant brown blob). The egg carton worked brilliantly. IMG_3879 For Jacob, I just scooped little bits of paint directly onto his paper. It took him less than 2 seconds to get that first bit of paint in his mouth (yay for edible paint!).  I also found that it worked better to tape his paper down with a bit of painter’s tape so he wouldn’t keep trying to eat his paper. IMG_3887 Both boys had a fine time painting and the paints actually worked really well. The color was rich and vibrant and the consistency was very smooth. Jacob lasted for about 5 minutes with his art project (not bad for a 1-year old) and I had to cut David off after a few pictures so I could complete the last, essential step of this project: a bath. IMG_3888 See, rainy days aren’t so bad after all.

Posted in Crafts and DIY, Kids and Parenting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My 100th Post: 100 Reasons I Love Being A Mom

Jacob week 1 - 0459 Today I am posting my 100th entry to this little blog of mine. Over the course of my last 99 entries I’ve written about many subjects, but the overarching theme has definitely been “mommy life”. I’ve written about hot topics such as what it takes to be a mom, how to prepare yourself for parenthood (Good luck with that one!),  how I attempt to get things done with my kids around (Again, best of luck), how we discipline, how we travel with our kids, what I feed my kids, and the ridiculous things that I do as a mom.  Lots of…mom stuff. So, for my 100th post I thought it would be appropriate to write about my favorite mom-topic: how much I love being a mom. I could probably share with you a million reasons why motherhood is the best “job” in the world, but I’ll practice a bit of self control and stick to 100 (100th post, remember?).  And now, here are the top 100 reasons why I love being a mom:

  1. Snuggles
  2. Hearing my baby say “Mama!” all day long
  3. Getting to see God answer my prayers for my children
  4. Ugga Muggas
  5. Seeing that first ultrasound pictures of the life growing inside me
  6. Parenting with my husband
  7. Having my family be my full-time “job”
  8. Waking up to children’s voices instead of a buzzing alarm (I just wish those sweet little voices would learn how to sleep past 7 AM…)
  9. Going to children’s museums and kiddie playgrounds
  10. Teaching them new things
  11. Seeing the light in their eyes when they learn something new and have that “Aha!” moment
  12. Growing in the virtue of “patience”
  13. Singing lullabies
  14. Tiny naked bottoms running to the bathtub
  15. Bubble baths
  16. The smell of a baby
  17. Kissing boo-boos
  18. Watching my older son teach his little brother (mostly it’s just him teaching the baby how to get into mischief, but I’m sure it will come in handy some day)
  19. My new-found appreciation for all things “balls” (if you know David, you know exactly what I mean)
  20. Hearing a small voice say, “I love you”, and knowing that he really means it
  21. Watching first steps (and first everythings!)
  22. Having an excuse to eat chicken nuggets and Mac ‘n Cheese
  23. Witnessing innocence
  24. Playing!
  25. Watching my children grow and change
  26. Hearing David say the phrase, “So, I was thinking today we could…”. He sounds just like his Mommy.
  27. Splashing in mud puddles
  28. Nursing my baby until he falls asleep in my arms
  29. Re-watching classic movies like “The Lion King” and “Cars”
  30. Exploring new places with my kids
  31. Stroking feathery-soft baby hair
  32. Learning in a whole new way how to trust God each day
  33. Celebrating holidays through the eyes of a child–it’s magical
  34. The hilarious things they say
  35. Wrestling (even though Daddy definitely has me beat in this area!)
  36. Seeing bits of me and my husband in our children
  37. Kissing their sweet, soft, pudgy little cheeks
  38. Teaching my kids God’s Word
  39. Comforting my kids when they are upset
  40. Painting with our fingers
  41. Baby laughs–there’s no problem in this world that a baby laugh can’t cure
  42. Reading with my children
  43. Oggling their teeny-tiny clothes
  44. Being the one they run to when they are scared
  45. Priority boarding on airplanes
  46. Helping them
  47. Praying with them
  48. Sharing in their joys and sorrows
  49. Learning from them
  50. My son’s excitement to see me when I pick him up from school
  51. Trying new things
  52. Wiping away crocodile tears
  53. Listening to David talking to and playing with other children
  54. Seeing how excited they get over the little things in life
  55. Knowing that I helped create something AMAZING
  56. Sharing in my kids’ curiosity
  57. Nourishing and sustaining another life with my own body
  58. Being appreciated
  59. Watching David DEVOUR his broccoli and turn up his nose at a cookie (he may not be my child after all…)
  60. Feeling Acting younger than I am
  61. All the cute baby gear
  62. Planning their birthday parties
  63. Because my kids rock!
  64. Helping to shape a young life that will influence the world long after I’m gone
  65. Doing the mundane…but having it feel purposeful
  66. Watching my kids sleep
  67. Lazing around together in our jammies
  68. Watching David dance and sing
  69. Mimi and Gigi
  70. Taking the boys swimming
  71. Buying bunch after bunch after bunch of bananas
  72. Doling out M&M’s for potty successes (and always sneaking a few for myself…)
  73. Having picnics together
  74. Baby kisses (they feel more like baby licks, but I know that he means them lovingly)
  75. Blowing raspberries on their tummies and watching them squirm
  76. Swinging on the swings and sliding on the slides with them
  77. Watching them spend hours on a “meaningless” task like putting balls in a basket or throwing rocks into water
  78. Playing Peek-a-boo and Pat-a-cake
  79. Encouraging them
  80. Witnessing David’s unique sense of style (which usually includes 3 layers of basketball t-shirts and nothing else)
  81. Brushing their teeth and seeing new teeth appear in their mouths seemingly every day
  82. Being humbled by my children
  83. Tickling my baby during diaper changes
  84. Bedtime. ‘Nuf said.
  85. Counting tiny fingers and tiny toes
  86. Holding their hands
  87. Seeing David’s “cheese face” when we’re taking his photo
  88. Unconditional love
  89. Watching Jacob crawl at lightning speed when he sees something he wants across the room
  90. Challenging them and being challenged by them
  91. Sharing in their dreams
  92. Hearing my baby clap when he’s excited
  93. Helping them see their potential
  94. Cuddling when they don’t feel well
  95. Meeting new friends with my kids
  96. Watching David DOMINATE at Angry Birds
  97. Experiencing old things from a new perspective
  98. Finding toys in random places to remind me that my children have been here
  99. Laughing uncontrollably when David rolls down a hill and then (dizzily) tries to run back up to the top
  100. Loving them. I just love loving them.

So there you have it, 100 reasons I’m one of the luckiest people in the world. Thank you for letting me be your mommy, boys! IMG_3644

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Pinterest V. Reality

About a year ago–when I was spending about 8 hours a day sitting in a chair nursing my newborn–I discovered the addictive internet time-suck called Pinterest. For those of you who have managed to evade the world of Pinterest and pins and pinners and all that is “pinteresting”, let me fill you in.

Pinterest is a website where you basically create virtual bulletin boards of images from the internet. Each “board” is a collection of ideas and inspirations that you create and share with others on the website. You might have one board full of cooking ideas, another with birthday party ideas, another with fashion tips, and so on.

When I last checked, I had over 20 different boards chock-full of amazing ideas. Ideas that, last time I checked, have pretty much all remained at the “I should try that some time” stage. Because, you see, Pinterest is not reality.

I like the idea of beautiful organization and creative DIY projects and over-the-top parties. But I can’t do that stuff. Pinterest is beautiful and clean and well-planned–real life, though, tends to be more chaotic and dirty and thrown-together. Here are a few examples of how my real life compares to the magical world of Pinterest.

Pinterest: Cute little bins for each day of the week to entertain your child during quiet time. Each bin is full of interesting activities that will captivate even the most restless of preschoolers. 6bc6827a1ce63bc452626ccfe913ef39 Reality: About two weeks ago David gave up his naps. Cold turkey. He’d always taken a 2-3 hour snooze in the afternoon and then, out of the blue, he just quit taking naps one day–and he hasn’t looked back. So now we have “quiet time”–time where he is supposed to retreat to his room and rest or play quietly for half an hour so I can prep dinner or watch YouTube videos in peace. I have discovered, however, that the quieter he is during his quiet time, the more trouble he’s getting in to. Case in point: IMG_2862 Moral of the story: the only thing worse than a noisy 3-year old boy is a quiet 3-year old boy.

Pinterest: Cute, hip, trendy, fashionable. This is how I should look. f7e92c834559481edbeb1a1aec3aa0f5 Reality: My baby would smash bananas on the cute shirt, my 3-year old would break the shiny glasses, I’d trip in the ooh-la-la shoes, and the bag would be full of diapers and spit-up rags. My mommy uniform of choice consists of black yoga pants, a technical shirt and my fuzzy Ugg-inspired slippers. If you ever see me looking even remotely cute or hip or fashionable, you know I’m just putting on a show for you. photo

Pinterest: An immaculately organized closet for baby. Everything is sorted by size and color and adorableness.d418b4dee37c29c8dab3b20c4ec6b922

Reality: We recently moved into a smaller space (and, by smaller, I mean that Jacob literally sleeps in a closet now). We have to make the space work for us. And, by work for us, I mean we have stuff crammed into every nook and cranny we can find. Jacob’s closet consists of his jackets, boxes for the too-big/too-small baby clothes, a laundry basket full of diapers and wipes, more diapers piled up the sides of the closet, a Pac-N-Play on the floor, and luggage piled up to the ceiling. Hey, it works.

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Pinterest: Dazzle your child with this rainbow-layered sprinkle cake. 2013-06-20-6341922529_877ef3437e_o Reality: I made a sprinkle cake, too: chocolate cake mix from a box, topped with sprinkles. IMG_3060 …and within about 2 seconds, it looked like this: IMG_3066 I bet mine was just as yummy, though!

Pinterest: Look at this cute way to organize all of your child’s art and craft supplies. Cute, cute, cute. Perfect little jars arranged on a shelf. Notice how each jar contains exactly one type of supply. Notice also how all of the crayons are in one piece with their wrappers on, the markers all have lids, and the chalk is unused. 85a85f7d2bf5d923ae05494459b02fb1 Reality: We have a large Rubbermaid bin that I stash under a bench in our kitchen. Into this bin we stuff all of our crayons, paint, markers, Play-doh and stickers and we pull it out any time we feel like getting crafty. And, just so you know, half of the markers are lid-less and all of the crayons are in tiny, broken shards. photo (3)

Pinterest: A DIY family rules sign. Charming. All you have to do is go out to the woods, chop down a tree, plane the wood until you have a smooth working surface, prime the wood, paint the wood, apply a second coat of paint, create text stencils on your Cricut, adhere the text with a glossy varnish, “weather” the wood with sandpaper, and drink a glass of wine to reward your hard work.24x48_wood_house-rules-2

Reality: I bought this sign on Etsy. It took me less than two minutes to select the product, enter my credit card info, and hit “submit order”. I still drank a glass of wine to celebrate a job well done.

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So, Pinterest: I love you. I hate you. You inspire me, you guilt-ify me. In the end, though, you really just entertain me. I know that I can never live up to your unrealistic expectations, and that’s fine by me. I’m just gonna keep on going the best way I know how–and it’s gonna be messy, and unorganized, and frumpy. It’s gonna be real.

Posted in Humor, Kids and Parenting, Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Angry Birds Learning Activities

The other day I woke up and, like most mornings, the first thing I did was to roll over, rub my eyes, and check my phone for whatever items of crucial importance might have popped up while I was sleeping. Unlike most mornings, however, my phone was flashing a message from my Angry Birds App:

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Seems that someone had the audacity to beat my high score and claim my top spot in the weekly tournament. The only thing is, I’ve never actually played Angry Birds. David is only one who has ever played the game on my phone–which means my 2-year old is somehow an Angry Birds record holder. An Angry Birds prodigy, if you will. I am one proud mother.

And, while I’m sure he’s learning tons about the trajectory and velocity needed to catapult those birds into towers, there is still a part of me that thinks his love of Angry Birds could be redirected into more noble endeavors. I was thrilled, then, to discover that Homeschool Creations has actually created loads of free printable Angry Birds learning activities (yessssss!).

I printed off all 24 pages of the Preschool Angry Birds Activity Pack (there are also a Kindergarten activity pack and vocabulary cards available to print on the site). There were a few activities that required (minimal) prep work like cutting and gluing pieces together, but after only a few minutes I had everything ready for our Angry Birds fun and learning time.

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There are several different age-appropriate activities in the learning packet: line tracing, color words, patterning, sorting, counting, sound-matching, and even puppets for creative play.

David was so excited to see all of the Angry Birds mumbo-jumbo that I don’t think he even realized he was practicing school skills.

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After a good hour of intense concentration, David was ready to put down his “Angry Birds games” for awhile.

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We will definitely be returning to this packet-o-fun again sometime soon. In the meantime, I’d better get busy. It’s only a matter of time before David passes me up in more than just gaming.

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