Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Where did Becca go?

So the other day I was doing something and turned around and realized Becca was nowhere to be found. Upon further searching I found this:

I still have not figured out how she gets up there, but she loves to eat Michael's toothpaste and brush her teeth. Apparently she can turn the water on too.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Jon's Easy Peasy 20

Jon has been into stacking a LOT recently. He has gotten some 22s and 23s recently which is very fast for him. He completely frustrates Tim and Michael, though, because he usually stacks like this:
Hands on timer, fast up, up, up, STOP to push up shirt sleeves, down stack, down stack, chat a bit about the sound of the cups, finish fast, stop the timer.
Tim keeps saying how much faster Jon could be if he could get through a stack without getting distracted by something.

So the other day we got this: (Make sure to listen to his commentary at the beginning it's super cute.)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Teacher gifts

We decided to create some small gifts to the teachers and staff at Michael's school. I love the way they turned out:

Credits: Merry and Bright by geniaBeana Scraps, font is Segoe Print

We made the cup inserts with my digital scrapbooking supplies. Michael picked out the kit and told me where to put things in the design.

I carefully took the cup and rolled it on it's side around a sheet of colored paper and tried to draw a line along the edge. Then I cut it out and scanned it and used that as the template. Then we decorated.

I printed and cut them out and rolled them into the cups. I used a piece of 2 sided tape at each end to keep it secure. Then we filled baggies with the drink mix and tied them closed.

In case you are interested, here is the drink mix recipe:

1 (18oz) jar orange breakfast beverage crystals

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup red cinnamon candies

1/3 cup instant tea mix

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground cloves

Combine all ingredients; store in an airtight container. To serve, stir 1 1/2 tablespoons of mix into 1 cup hot water.

I added this to a project I was doing about how we can use digital scrapbooking supplies for Christmas presents. Check out my Scrapbooking Christmas gifts Pinterest board!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Vacuuming Couches

I'm not a big fan of this chore, but with little kids in the house our couches do fill up with things like half eaten cheerios so it must be done on a regular basis. This week I asked the boys to be in charge of getting all the pillows, blankets, and cushions off the couch so I could vacuum. They had a blast!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Michael on TV again

We were contacted a couple of days ago by Good Morning America asking if they could use one of our videos from YouTube. Here is the clip from the show. Unfortunately they got most of their facts incorrect, but we loved having the video featured!
You can check it out here:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Funny things I found around the house recently

Stacking cups?!

Jon has been into sorting recently.

And the other day I heard, "thump, thump, thump, ... " But it was followed by laughter so I didn't worry. Then I heard it again and again and again. When I went investigating this is what I found:

Monday, December 12, 2011


It seems that a lot of people around the country and even around Michigan already got snow, and we finally caught up last Friday. We awoke to about 1 or 1 1/2 inches on the ground and the kids were super excited to go out in it and play. I timed it for us and it took 14 minutes to get all 4 of us in snow pants, boots, coats, hats, and mittens. I will be so thrilled when Jon and finally when Becca can do these things mostly on their own, but for now I had to do just about all of it for both of them. Then we stayed outside for 20 minutes before I was overwhelmed with requests to go in and get warm. Then there were 5 minutes to get everything off everyone and laid out to dry. So 20 minutes of play and 19 minutes of getting things off and on. I'd consider that a success - more minutes playing that getting ready to play! :)

Here are some pictures from the 20 minutes. I lined them up at the garage door and then 1, 2, 3 they were off:

Jon wasn't sure at first, but Becca dove right in.

Here is Michael with what he says is his snow angel.

We couldn't really make a snow man with so little snow, but I did start a snow ball fight.

Even Becca tried to make some snowballs.

Becca copying Michael

Look what Jon found!

For the most part the kids had a blast. Becca kept falling down, though, which wasn't a problem, but then she couldn't get back up with all the snow gear on.

So after the 20 minutes, she had had enough.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

Tim and I both love potatoes and I've always loved eating scalloped potatoes, but I've only ever made them myself from a box. Recently I went to look for a more homemade version and found this yummy crock pot version. Here is the recipe with (my notes).

*8 potatoes, thinly sliced. (OK, I always laugh when I see something like 8 potatoes. Depending on the kind and even on the specific bag I buy 8 small potatoes are like half the amount of potatoes as 8 large potatoes. The first time I made this I used 8 potatoes on the larger side and they cooked well and there was plenty of sauce, so I'd say think 6-10 potatoes depending on size.)
*1 onion, chopped
*1 lb fully cooked ham, cubed
*1-oz pkg dry country-style gravy mix (The only "country-style" gravy mix I could find was in a 2.75 oz package. So I used half of it the first time we made this and saved the other half for the second time. I'm always up for a little extra creamy flavor.)
*1 can (10 3/4 oz) cream of mushroom soup. I used cream of celery since a certain member of my household if very against mushrooms.
*2 cups water
*2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (Yum)

1. Combine potatoes, onion, and ham in lightly greased slow cooker. (It was super yummy with the ham, but this week I made it without and just served the potatoes with chicken. That was good too.)
2. Comvine gravy mix, soup, and water. Whisk until combined. Pour over potatoes.
3. Cover. Cook on low 7-9 hours or high 3-4. (I've tried both and they both worked out great!
4. Top with cheese during last 30 minutes of cooking. (Yum, Yum)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Shape Sorter Genius

Becca and I had so much fun the other day with the shape sorter. She would purposefully hold the shape over the wrong hole, and then shake her head, saying "noooo." Then when it went in the right hole she'd get so excited. She lasted at it long enough that I even got a video:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Family Picture Time

While we were all dressed on the nicer side Sunday morning I decided it was time for a family picture. The ones around our house are still pre-Becca days so we were long over due. I set up the camera on timer and here is what we got.

Poor Becca looks a little lost, but everyone else is smiling, so I will call it a success.

I scrapped a page with it too:

Credits: Papers and Word Art from Bothers and Sisters, Element from Fall Speldor, and alpha for ranson all by WM[squared] Designs; Templateby Brandy Designs; font is Mish by Darcy Baldwin

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


OK, so there are many times when I think that my kids area a lot alike, especially when it comes to how they look, but there are times too, when I notice how unique they are. This was one of those times.

Becca has been in love with mittens. We got them out the other day when it was pretty cold out and we were going to walk to the bus stop to pick up Michael. Jon and Becca really needed to get out and run around, so we bundled up and left earlier enough that they could both walk/run and not take the stroller.

Since then, Becca has wanted to put the mittens on again and again. Here are some pictures from one of her "photo shoots" as I'm calling the way she loves to pose for the camera and then check herself out.

Now, the boys hated mittens. I have no idea if this difference is their personalities, a boy/girl thing, or the fact that these season related things are happening at a different age for Becca. She is hitting this winter just before and after 2 years old. The boys did winter at 18 months and 2 1/2.

Here is Michael at 18 months. He looks alright about it in this picture, but he HATED snow on his mittens because he couldn't get it off.

And here is Jon last winter at 2 1/2 - He did not like mittens or anything to do with the snow.

Now of course, Becca hasn't actually been out in the snow with her mittens, but I'm betting the snow won't really bug her. :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Jon writes his name

Jon loves to practice writing his name. We have done it together many times and he has scribbled away on his own some too. The other day he was working by himself and told me he wrote his name. As I was busy with some other things, I responded with something, "Great job Jon," but never actually looked at what he had done. The next day I happened to glance at the desk where the paper still sat. Wow! He had done a fabulous job. Jon has been pretty good at the O for a bit now, but I've never seen anything I recognize as a J or n before when he writes on his own - I usually only can tell it is Jon because there is an O between a couple scribbles.

Check it out:

Oh, and while we are on the subject of Jon, I have to share another thing. At home I often make spaghetti with rotini pasta since it is easier for the kids to pick up and we call it Pasta. At the restaurant we ate at this weekend Jon got spaghetti and without being use to the new name he kept calling it "PaTeddy" - so adorable!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Getting back into stacking

OK, side note: You see it in this second video. Stacking for Jon is mostly about talking about it and less about actually doing it. Right now, this is how he is with everything: at dinner, when playing, when trying to get ready to go out.... He just talks and talks and does almost nothing.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Oh, please help my ears

Jon has developed a love for the drum set.

Friday, December 2, 2011

We finally got a Christmas tree

Last weekend we got everyone all bundled up and headed out the door to get a Christmas tree, only to find out that it was raining. We had no desire to stand outside looking at trees with three kids in the rain, let alone bring a wet tree into our house, so we headed back in and put the adventure on hold.

Monday evening we tried for the second time - this time with success. We wandered around the lot looking at trees. We found one we liked a lot, but Michael insisted that we stay for a while and look at ALL the trees. So we wandered around some more. At one point I put Becca down and asked her if she wanted to run with the boys. She grinned at me, turned and ran, giggling, right out of the tree lot and into the parking lot. So after catching her, we settled on the initial tree we liked and brought it home.

Tuesday while Tim was at work we decorated it. I must say it would have gone a lot smoother if we didn't have an almost 2 year old her thought it her mission to undecorate as quickly as we could decorate, but we had fun. I thought we had done so well finding one that wasn't very prickly, but now I wonder if a couple good pokes would help keep Becca off of the tree. :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

You know you are a love and logic mom when...

Yesterday I realized that our toy bins were a bit scarce on toys and innocently thought, maybe some of them had gotten lost under the couch. So I knelt down and lifted the couch flap - AAHHHHHH. The entire area under both couches was filled to the brim with toys, books, old socks, you name it. I was instantly aware that Michael had not been correctly completing his evening chore of cleaning up the living room for quite some time. I must admit that initially I was furious! He has done this in the past and I thought we were over it. Luckily, Michael was at school so I was able to calm down and realize in true love and logic fashion that this was a perfect opportunity to teach him responsibility.

So when I got home from picking him up from school I calmly told him what I had found. He gave me a sheepish grin.

Then I let him know that instead of video games this afternoon, he could use that half hour to clean out under the couches and put everything in the it's proper place. His face turned to a frown and he said, "And then I can play video games?"

I told him, no that this would be instead of video games. That is when the wailing started. At first it was about how unfair it was and how he couldn't clean it ALL up by HIMSELF! To his credit, though, he started right in on cleaning while crying and yelling. Soon, though, the wailing turned to "Why do I always do this? I need to remember...."


So, you know you are a love and logic mom when after all this, your only regret is that you couldn't tell him about cleaning up during video games in the morning before school so he would be able to think about it all day at school and really burn it into his memory. :) I love my job as mom and I love my son dearly!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Jon/Michael compromise

So what do sports loving Michael and cars loving Jon play together?

Let me introduce you to matchbox football:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My dilemma

This week I am going to work on the following:

So I have three kids which among other things (like lots of laughter, hugs, smiles, fun) means that I hear squabbling ALL THE TIME! When I think about it logically I know that there are times I need to step in and help them practice how to work out their problems and there are times when I need to stay back and let them practice working out their problems. In reality, I think that I step in too much. OK, I know I do, because I step in just about every time.

Experiment 1: Jon is playing with cars and Becca wants to join. Now let me fill you in that this happens one hundred and one times a day, so I have stepped in to "solve" this problem some forty thousand times in the last year - exhausting! So this time I stayed in the other room and listened. I don't think it went well because there was a lot of yelling and Becca came to me crying and holding her teeth. I think she probably got hit in the mouth. And this is usually why I step in - the younger one in the squabble tends to get the raw end of the deal. But while I'm comforting Becca, Jon runs upstairs and brings down a teddy bear for Becca "because she is cwy-ing" (crying in Jon speak). So maybe it didn't end so bad.

Experiment 2: Jon is playing with cars and Becca wants to join (3 minutes after Experiment 1's half failure), so you see I may not have been joking about the 101 times a day! I hear Jon saying something about his "faborite" car and Becca crying and then Jon proceeds to tell Becca that she can have some other cars and gives her some. Becca comes around the corner with car in hand and a big smile and I shed a tear (ok maybe just a big sigh) at how sweet big brother Jon can be.

Monday, November 28, 2011

My favorite puzzle

We have this puzzle that I absolutely adore for beginner puzzle users - aka Becca right now. All of the pieces are the same size and shape so you can practice just putting them in the puzzle without having to also figure out which piece goes where. Becca has been playing with it for a couple of weeks now and I was just thinking the other day that I should probably introduce her to the concept that each piece also has a correct spot and see if she can start matching up some of the animals.

She came to me the other day with one of the pieces in her hand, babbling on about something and trying to get me to follow her. I asked her if she needed help and she said she did, so I followed her to find this:

She had matched up all the animals (OK, their heads were all upside down but still) and was stumped by the last two - I assume because they are both brown. So either I simply have a very brilliant girl or she has been tutored in the "right" way to do the puzzle by her brothers. Probably both.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Our Stuffing

Here is the recipe I made - I need to get in writing because we will want to use it again sometime. This is mainly based off a recipe from Pioneer Woman.

Fill one cookie sheet with bread cubes - half homemade white bread, half corn bread. Set this aside to dry out for at least 24 hours.

In a frying ban melt 3/4 stick of butter. Add 1 small onion and some celery and heat them for about 5 minutes. Then add 2.5 cups of chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add 1/2 tsp basil, 1/2 tsp thyme, and 1 tsp rosemary. (I was suppose to add some fresh parsley too but I didn't have any so I just skipped it.) Cut up 1 apple and add it and about 1 cup of dried cranberries to the mixture. Let simmer for a couple of minutes.

Put the bread crumbs in a bowl and pour the broth mixture over it. Mix it up and add some more broth if necessary.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cover for the first half of the baking time.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

We had our first Thanksgiving at home this year. Each year previously we have taken turns going to our parent's homes for Thanksgiving. This year we were scheduled to be with the Haigs in Boston, but we simply couldn't get there. Tim and Michael had school Wed and Tim had practice afterwards, so our Thanksgiving break was simply not long enough for the long trip to Boston. So we had to satisfy ourselves with a couple of Skype calls with them.

This meant that we were home for Thanksgiving, and since we wanted it to be special and because we LOVE Thanksgiving meals, we decided to cook ourselves up a feast. Here is a recap:

The decorations:
*Throughout the week we made a mobile showing the things we were thankful for. It was inspired by this Thankful Tree:

However, for those who have seen our table you know that it is not very big, so I was pretty sure with all the food on the table, there simply would not be room for a center piece. So instead we made it into a mobile from kitchen light.

*I was inspired by another Thanksgiving decoration I found online too:

Thanksgiving morning I started attempting to make some with the boys and Becca quickly joined us too. After quite a bit of frustration with the little ones, we continued the project just Michael and me. Here is our finished product:

OK, so they are not nearly as perfect as the ones from the inspiration picture, but I think they turned out super cute! And the kids could barely wait until after the meal to dig in and eat them.

The table setting:
We got our some fancy napkins and cups that really spiced up the table and were so much fun for the kiddos.

The menu:
*Turkey - I cheated a bit and cooked it the day before because this is something I've never made before and I wasn't sure how it would go. I believe it turned out very good!
*Green beans with almonds - the way we always do at Thanksgiving with the Haigs.
*Cranberry sauce - easy because Tim prefers the one from the can.
*Gravy - also a first for me since I made it from the turkey drippings.
*Mashed Potatoes - Tim style
*Stuffing - This was my great achievement for the meal I think. It turned out fabulous. Not only was it the first time I've made it from scratch, but I actually combined two recipes to try something brand new.

Dinner time!
We were so excited that the dinner could be even more special because Uncle Nate could come and join us so we could still spent Thanksgiving with family.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What a girl can learn from older brothers

First you line them up.

Then you admire your work for a brief second before

Crashing them all into each other.

Oh, and please excuse her crazy hair do - I try but she loves to pull and mush it up.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Jon - a boy on HIS OWN schedule

Well, Jon is 3 and in the height of "I do things my way on my time!" Lately that has been really causing Tim and I to go crazy at dinner time. Jon just sits at the table telling us about everything and anything, taking hours (literally) to eat.

Here is him from the other night.

We sat down to eat at a little after 6:00. By 7:00 we had given up sitting with him and left him alone. It was actually rice for dinner which was his favorite. At 7:30 I went back and sat with him to help him get a couple of bites, but he didn't eat enough to be allowed to get down (about half his serving) until 7:45. Ahhhhhhhh!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Becca giggles

Becca loves, loves, loves, pointing at parts of the face and having us exclaim what they are. This weekend she added a twist to the game with Daddy.


Forehead (a new favorite)

Grab Daddy's glasses - I totally missed getting a picture of the actual grab, but here is the after.

And showing off her cleverness

Saturday, November 19, 2011

My kids' favorite web sites

You have probably already read that my kids can earn computer/video game time by doing chores. We also used computer time as an incentive for Jon to use the potty and to get him to go down for a nap without crying. (I know, I know, that's bribing him, but well, Jon has always set out to make me rethink all I use to think about the right way to parent.) So when the get on the computer, what are they doing?

Hands down the favorite is They can watch mini episodes of Mickey, Handy Manny, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Cars, and on and on. There are also tons of fun games to play.

A recent favorite has also been Chuck E Cheese skeeball. It turns out that they can earn tickets online, print them out, and bring them to Chuck E Cheese to add to their tickets there. Luckily I have convinced them that they can play for fun too without actually printing and turning them in.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The gym

OK, I've never been a fan of going to the gym, but...

We are members at our local MVP gym. (We got an amazing discount through Tim's work so thank you to HC.) We used our membership mostly this summer to use there fun outdoor pool that the kids loved. They did swimming lessons, went down the slide, splashed, and splashed, and splashed. But I digress - now it is getting cold. I can no longer go for long walks around the neighborhood pushing the stroller for exercise very often because the kids cry about how cold they are getting. So I've started heading to the gym a bit more.

We were there yesterday. The kids love the play area so it is easy to check them in, because they just run off and start playing. I exercised for about 45minutes and then took a shower. Now I know that some people are a little grossed out by public showers, but I must say it is really nice to take a shower without the kids banging on the shower door to have me solve their latest quarrel. And so it was that this realization hit me yesterday - my motivation for getting to the gym more. I love my kids but being a stay at home mom I am on call 24 hours a day. I get up with them at night, I have them hanging on me throughout the morning. I tiptoe around the house at nap time for fear that one creak will wake them, etc, etc, etc. At the gym I do take a pager with me so technically I'm on call, but I can listen to a book on tape for 45 minutes without interruption and then I can shower in peace. So ,y motivation: I think that all the sweating and feeling like I might collapse from tired muscles and exhaustion, is a worth wile price to pay for a little over an hour of me.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I'm officially

certified to teach in the State of Michigan again.

I know it's not a very good scan of it, but that is my certificate that came in the mail a couple of days ago.

Back story: We had always planned for me to go back to work at some point, but the Lord has put things in motion that are leading me to get ready for this sooner than I anticipated. I don't know if it means there is a job waiting for me in the next couple of years, but it does mean that I will probably be doing my student teaching hours this spring. The wonderful people at Calvin were very understanding and helpful for my last minute change of plans and they have almost worked everything out to make it happen.

I will be student teaching with students with learning disabilities to work towards my LD endorsement. Since this will be my second special education endorsement I only need to do 1/2 the hours. This is why I went through getting my certificate back current to make sure there was no trouble recognizing that this will be my second special education endorsement.

I will keep everyone posted about the details of this spring as they begin to unfold. Right now I just ask that you keep Tim and I in prayer as we try to get ready for what it means for our family for me to be out of the house so much this spring. I'm a bit nervous about the headaches it might bring and the whole finding good child care for our kids. I do wish I had my mom to talk to for wisdom about going back to work even though this is only a temporary student teaching time. However, I do know that this is from the Lord's leading so he will provide - it can just be hard sometimes to wait and trust.

Overall, though, I'm am very excited for this opportunity. I love that I will get this time to immerse myself in teaching again and fan the passion I have for this part of who I am.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Trampoline Video

As promised here is a video of the kids on the trampoline. Pardon the shaking camera, but I was holding Becca until it was her turn. On our first try we let Becca go first but then she wouldn't get off the trampoline. :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I know that today is the 11th but it was last week. Michael and I both found this date amusing so we set out to take 11 pictures of the things we did on 11/11/11. Here you go:

Morning Chores - here are the boys unloading the dishwasher.

We took a trip to the library - forgot to get a picture at the library with Becca running wild trying to pull books off the shelf, but here we are with the books and movies when we got home.

We also got Michael boots since it snowed the other day and we can't cram his feet into his boots from last year.

Lunch was left over chicken nuggets, home made bread with honey and grapes.

Then it was nap/rest time!

After rest time came some football.

And of course, a day could not go by without Jon playing with his cars.

Tim came home right after school for the first time this week so the kids we so excited to have some Daddy time.

We all got to eat dinner together. I just love our family dinner times.

After dinner there was a dance party to David Crowder Band.

And now let out a big sigh with me because we made it to the kids' bedtime.

And I actually got around to scrapping a page with it so here it is:

Credits: Letting Go by Amy Stoffel, Freebie Template from Digital Scrapbooking Classes Facebook page, fonts are Cinda by Darcy Baldwin and Massey