Chore Charts-Check!

Keeping track of the boys chores is tough for me for some reason. They don’t always remember (in fact they rarely ever remember) and I can’t seem to stay on top of it either. While on Pinterest I saw THIS idea! Now let me be honest-I didn’t want ours to be that difficult to make. I just waunnamed-1nted something simple, easy to see and most of all fun (in hopes it’ll be easier for us all to remember). SO I started my hunt for what I needed!

Thanks to the Memorial Day sales at the thrift stores I was able to fiunnamednd
a couple of old serving trays for very inexpensive ($1 for the set). They were pretty beaten up but they were EXACTLY the style and shape I was looking for. I set to work spray painting them different colors. That part was easy…the tricky part was how to make the chore pieces themselves more appealing to the eye. I prefer using pictures. That way instead of having to read the chore you can see the fun picture! I found all of my pictures online just doing image searches. After finding the pictures I wanted to make them durabunnamed-3le and “chunky” since they were going to be moved around a lot and I also wanted them to last. Each picture is easy to see and some what cartoonish for funsies. There’s vacuuming, dusting, items in the bathroom etc. I found the magnets in the craft aisle at Walmart for about $2. I cut out the pictures, laminated them, then glued them to a thick cardboard foam.
After they were dry and cut out, I glued on the magnets. I drew the boys names at the top of the trays, drew a line in the center (when the chores are completed the object is moved to the bottom half) and voila- colorful, fun, magnetic chore charts! The whole project took about 3 hours including dry time!unnamed-2


But First … Coffee!

Projects are so fun-especially when I am making one that’s for the house! 🙂

I was taking this SURVEY the other day about signs you know you’re addicted to coffee…and #13 hit a little bit too close to home! I saw this PIN on Pinterest and thought how fun it would be to have something cute like that to hang the coffee mugs on…plus it would free up some space in our cabinet! I saw the picture on the pin and wanted to do something more “coffee house-ish” like when you’re looking at it you feel like you’re on the show FRIENDS, drinking and chatting with Monica or Chandler!

I set out on my mission to find just the right pieces: board color, hooks, letters, statement, which verse to include but most of all just the right decals to use. It took me maybe a mili-second to envision what I wanted…it took about two weeks to find the right decals! As always Amazon came through for me with THESE! The board paint and hooks came from my HomeawayfromHome Depot and the letters I found at Michaels. Those were tricky too because I really wanted to find something fun and chunky but still clean and clear. Once I had gathered all of my materials the project itself took about 30 min. The saying I chose for the top was going to be “but first…coffee” but I then wanted to shorten it for fun to just “but first…” Then it came down to just the right verse. For me, when I’m enjoying my special time alone with my coffee…I’m just starting out my day at about 5 am. What better way to start the day than with Psalms 118:24, “This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” That way everyday I look at it to get my mug I can think ‘appreciate and rejoice because no matter what, it is the day the Lord made’! So here’s the finished project, with and without mugs! It holds 6 mugs total (one was in use during the photo) and now the mission is to find fun and colorfully patterned mugs to use…



Can’t Wait to Grow Stuff

This past weekend I realized I can’t wait to get gardening! I also realized after so much manual labor I’m not in my 20’s anymore! Last year our garden was about 6ft x 4ft. That was a good start for my first garden. I was able to plant a few key things and really get a feel for gardenindsc03475g and what goes into it.

unnamedDuring the winter we realized that we want to grow much more and add some new items into the mix! As we looked at our space in the yard for our gardening plots we just started digging. We knew it was going to be in same spot just MUCH bigger. Plus we are building our own compost bin as well. We also had to build the new box, put our existing compost (which is basically various peels/rinds, egg shells and coffee grounds) in the dirt, sprinkle the epsom salt in, till it and rake it. We were lucky enough to get a beautiful Saturday this past weekend and it was on! So this year our new garden is 8ft x 10ft, 5 in ground herb pots (this is something new we are trying so weeding the herbs is easier) and a second box (which is our box from last year) for smaller items as well as Easton’s garden since he’s been bit by the bug as well!

unnamed-1After we finished all of that I realize I don’t like the look of the exterior dirt and I don’t want to deal with crab grass and weeds growing around the garden boxes so thankfully we had another gorgeous day the next day! We have a lot of red wood chips around our house and I figured hey why not fill in the areas around the boxes and garden to make it look nice!

unnamed-3Now I just can’t wait to get things in and growing so we can start having fresh fruits and veggies plus all of the fun that comes with canning everything for later!



Can I see your I.D.?

As I’m writing this, the song “Who Are You?” by The Who is going on in my head…

I’ve been sitting and thinking about this a lot lately so prepare yourself for all of it at once. At the risk of sounding outrageous I’ve been trying to figure out where I am, what’s going on, and most importantly who am I. It’s easy to be defined by labels: Christian, daughter, friend, wife, dog owner, mother (and all of the OTHER labels that fall under that one). As a wife I have to keep myself somewhere between following his lead as well as taking the lead. As a friend I try very hard to stay in touch but not be intrusive. It’s also easy to be defined by material items: the car you drive, the clothes you wear, the friends you have. Or times in your life: your past, your present even your future. Needless to say in all of that…I’ve been feeling lost.

Sometimes I’d like to pose the question of “what do you see when you look at me?” to others because unfortunately as we all know the opinion of others is what seems to determine who we are. But that’s not going to help me. I have to see it in myself. But how can I do that when I’m always only thinking about everyone else. I look at other moms that seem to have it all put together and know who they are…and I make the major mistake of comparing myself to them. That’s a bad move because not only do I not know who I am, I start to try to be someone else.

Any mother will tell you, from the second you see those two blue lines or that plus sign or hear those words “you’re pregnant” your identity changes. What I’m stuck on is how do I get back a shred of who I was before I heard those words or saw those lines. I constantly feel like I’m struggling to find where I fit in. Now… as a mom I’m always feeling like I have NO clue what I’m doing. I feel somewhat swallowed up in the lives of those around me. Every move I make has to be based on what others have going on or where others will be…it’s hard not to feel invisible in that mix up.

My point in all of this is: I think it’s a matter of being IN those roles happily vs trying to figure them out. Why is it so hard for me to see who I am when I’ve just named all of my roles.  Instead of looking at what isn’t, why am I not looking at what is? I think to a certain extent we all are guilty of trying to figure it all out. I know that to be true by watching our boys evolve and how they struggle to “fit in” or try even harder to go unnoticed. As adults we do the very same thing only on a much larger scale. Which I have noticed is extremely dangerous. Everyone is trying to keep up with the someone else and not truly being who they really are.

How on earth do we teach our kids to be themselves if we aren’t being ourselves?

Don’t Just Stand There

We all know bullying is a hot topic right now. Everyone has mixed feelings on the subject and how it should be handled. I have always maintained my stance on bullying: it needs to be stopped. In our house we have always taught our kids to be kind to others and that bullying is wrong.  Now-we have also taught our kids you don’t stand by and watch others be bullied. Well…I get a call from Rayden’s school yesterday morning. The dean tells me he has Rayden next to him and then he proceeds to tell me why:

“I was watching the whole incident from beginning to end. There was an incident in the hall this morning involving a Rayden, friend of his and another child (we’ll call him X). X was repeatedly slapping Rayden’s friend in the back of the head because of a haircut. After several times of it happening, Rayden shoved his body into X with such force he knocked him to the ground. After asking Rayden why he did this his response was, ‘this kid is a jerk all of the time to everyone.’ I then told him that there was a process to handle this situation that didn’t involve pummeling the other child.”

Now….I take issue with a few things in this situation. First of all-why was this dean watching this whole situation without stepping in? If he’s watching this happen why was it allowed to go on long enough to where Rayden felt the need to step in? Second-I know the “process” he’s talking about and quite frankly it’s a joke. These bullies could care less about being reported or having a sit down to talk things out. Clearly this kid bothers others and he is quite literally physically assaulting Rayden’s friend. I’m thinking something a little more serious than a warning is in order…apparently Rayden was thinking the same. That same “process” involves this dean that stood by watching this happen…

Now let me say this- Rayden is not a violent child, he’s quite the opposite in fact. I tell people these stories and they are shocked I’m talking about him. This is the second time Rayden has felt the need to protect the underdog. There was an incident with him in 3rd grade (3 yrs ago) involving a child that is very small in stature being relentlessly harassed by a GROUP of kids. Rayden didn’t know him but one day he got tired of it and long story short he confronted the group, TOLD them to stop, they didn’t and started pushing Rayden. He then took on said group (there were 4 boys) and Rayden was the last one standing. He didn’t hurt them as much as made sure they realized pushing him wasn’t the best choice. I have to finish that story with those kids never bothered the smaller boy again and Rayden is really good friends with this kid to this day.

I know we all sit around talking about stepping up to the plate and stepping in when we see something wrong happening. But truthfully, most of us are much quicker to turn away and say, “someone else will do something. I better not get involved.” What are we teaching our children about not only standing up for themselves but to also stand up for others? I in NO way advocate for violence, or vigilante justice…but I will say if a situation calls for a level of self defense or preventing a situation that can get out of control (let’s say a massive shooting at a school because a child gets tired of being bullied and feeling like no one has their back) I think you do enough to resolve the situation. I know there are the nonviolent ways of telling a grown up…but I have also seen how that can either create a bigger problem if handled wrong or the grown ups involved ultimatley telling the child to sort it out on their own leading the child being bullied to not say anything. Effective? Nope.

Now put yourself in Rayden’s shoes, no matter what age. If a situation like this was happening and you were standing there…would you intervene?


Duplo Table Fun!

Ok so sometimes I have these really random thoughts. One of which happened as I looked at an old dark brown Ikea table we no longer needed. I’m not a big fan of getting rid of things which always gives me ample time to think of ways to transform something. So as I looked at the table, the slow head tilt to the left (what has become a signature reaction to a realization of my next project…a
lightbulb moment if you will) happened: Duplo table. It was the perfect height, it’s the perfect size to fit the green Duplo plate

Unknownand leave enough room for the street to go around for Duplo cars…it’s perfect! Then it came down to construction. Making sure that it can stand up to a 2 yr old was tricky. I decided to use a professional strength tub adhesive in the center of the plate as well as super glue around the edges. After sanding down the top of the table and gluing the plate down I used heavy objects to press it down and keep in place for 24 hours. Needless to say, that plate isn’t moving! Now it was time for the fun part: appearance! I had to consult with our resident art director Easton. His thought was painting the table yellow. I didn’t know this at the time but priming the table was a necessary step! Going from dark brown to bright yellow…that’s just painting 101! About 5 coats later we had a yellow table ready for the street to be painted on top. I used regular black paint but the fun part is the white lines on the street are actually glow in the dark tape (found at Walmart)! Added fun! The final step was a couple of coats of Polyurethane on the street for longevity and this is what we had!!

10153709_10203439916619625_2079694756819307501_nTo say he loves it is an understatement! Not only has he been playing with it non stop, his father, grandma and brothers love playing on it with him! Score!!!



Missed Blessings…

There have been many (MANY) times I have missed a blessing/opportunity because it was presented to me the way I thought it would or should be. Blessings come in so many forms but we don’t always notice them because they don’t ‘appeal’ to us…I know for me, I have all these expectations for how my blessings will appear. More often than not, I’m way off or have missed it completely.

My mom sent me this story; A really good read.

A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he’d admired a beautiful sports car in a dealers showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted. 
As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car. Finally, on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his private study, told him how proud he was to have such a
fine son, and how much he loved him. He handed him a beautifully wrapped
gift box. 
Curious, but somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and found
a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with his name embossed in gold. Angrily, he
raised his voice to his father and said, “With all your money you give me a
Bible?” He stormed out of the house, leaving the Bible behind. 
Many years passed and the young man was very successful in business. He
had a beautiful home and wonderful family, but realized his father was very
old. He thought perhaps he should go to him. He had not seen him since that
graduation day. But before he could make arrangements, he received a
telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his
possessions to him. He needed to come home immediately and take care of
things. When he arrived at his father’s house, sadness and regret filled his heart. He began to search through his father’s important documents and saw the Bible, new, just as he had left it years ago. With tears, he opened the Bible and began 
to turn the pages. His father had carefully underlined a verse, 
Matthew 7:11, “And if ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your
children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father which is in Heaven, give
to those who ask Him?” As he read those words, a car key dropped from the
back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealers name, the same dealer who
had the sports car he had desired.
On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words…PAID IN FULL.

How many times do we miss God’s blessings because they are not packaged as
 we expected?