Monday, February 22, 2010

A Day in Our Life

Feel free to skip this post if details bore you. I am posting this for posterity… kind of like I did in this post from 2008. I’m focusing on a typical school day this time.

I start my day at 6:45. I get dressed in workout clothes, insert contacts in my eyes, and head to Katie’s room. I lay with her until about 7:15, then we start the day by praying, “Dear Jesus, please come into my heart today. Thank you for loving me. Amen.” We also say, “Good morning. I love you. We’re going to have a great day!” to each other. It helps set the tone for the day.

Katie gets up and makes her bed and gets dressed. I put sunscreen on her face, even though she whines about hating it every day. (Katie, if you’re reading this and you’re past the age of 30, I’m hoping that you are grateful to me for protecting your skin from sun damage and wrinkles!) We also clean her pierced ear holes with that stuff they give you when you get your ears pierced. She cried so hard the first time I took her earrings out that I won’t let her take them out anymore. Now we just clean them with Q-Tips.

Katie heads downstairs to start her breakfast while I head to Jackson’s room. He’s usually awake by 7:20, and has started fussing in his crib. I change his diaper and dress him on his changing table, then we say the same prayer and mantra that I already said with Katie.

Jackson and I join Katie for breakfast. Every morning, they ask for “Daddy’s blueberry muffins.” These are the mini kind that are four to a package and are so not great for a kids’ breakfast. I got tired of hearing them beg for muffins each morning, so I started buying individually packaged muffins at Wal-Mart. They are pretty small and there’s only one to a package. It gives them the muffin they crave and still leaves room for a good breakfast. Katie usually packs her muffin to take to school as a breakfast snack (the classroom gets a snack in the morning). Jackson wolfs his muffin down first thing, then asks for whatever cereal Katie is eating. I eat cereal and/or a banana and/or a Clementine (oh, how I hate when these go out of season!). Katie finishes her breakfast, checks the school lunch menu, and usually packs her lunch (I let her buy 2 days a week). She has a checklist on the wall that tells her what to pack: a pb&j*, a yogurt tube, a juice box, a fruit cup, and a vegetable (carrots or grape tomatoes that I pre-pack in a container for her at the start of the week). She brushes her hair and sometimes I put it up for her.

At 7:40, Katie gets her shoes and coat on and heads outside to the bus stop. We are blessed to have a neighbor who lets the kids stand in his garage or on his driveway, and keeps an eye on the kids. When it’s cold outside, I don’t go to the bus stop because I lose circulation in my extremities too quickly. (When it gets warmer, I’ll walk out with Katie and Jackson.) When Katie leaves for the bus, Jackson is usually done with his breakfast so we go to the window and watch Katie walk to our neighbor’s driveway.

As a birthday present to me, Dan and I joined a gym. The past three weeks, Jackson and I have been heading to the gym almost every morning. So when Katie’s bus has come and gone, Jackson and I load up and head out to the gym. I exercise for an hour or so while he plays – and it’s the first time in my life that exercise has ever seemed like a vacation to me. I also try to shower before I leave the gym, which is a doubly good pleasure. (Showering! By myself!) If we have an activity with my mom’s group, Jackson and I leave the gym and go meet our friends. If we don’t have an activity, usually Jackson screams and cries about leaving the gym because he doesn’t want to go home, and we end up sitting in the parking lot for about ten minutes while I wait for him to stop screaming. (I refuse to drive while he’s screaming at me.)

When we meet our friends, it’s usually an activity and then we have lunch together. I usually pack our lunch earlier in the morning. We leave our friends around noon, and head home to unwind before Jackson’s nap. Jackson plays while I unpack the lunch bag, then we sit in the LoveSac and read books together. Jackson’s nap starts at 1:00, and that’s when I can exhale!

I spend naptime catching up on email, folding laundry, maybe starting dinner, making calls, blogging, and sometimes I might even craft. (!!!!) On rare occasions, I might watch TV while I’m doing another chore (unloading the dishwasher or folding laundry).

Katie’s bus brings her home around 3:30 or 3:40, and she knows there is a list of things she has to do when she walks in the door. First, she gives me a hug. Then she hangs up her bag and coat and takes off her shoes and washes her hands. I am adamant about all of us washing our hands when we come home so we kill any germs before they enter the house. Katie puts her school folder on the counter for me to check and sign, and then unpacks her lunch bag and puts the containers in the dishwasher. She usually starts on homework or reading or does some project in the craft room. (At this exact moment, she’s filling out the Dr. Seuss book My Book About Me.)

Jackson usually wakes around this time – mostly no later than 4:00 – and we have a snack together. On Mondays, we load up the car and head to gymnastics class for Katie. Dan meets us there at 5:00 and takes Jackson home while I stay and watch Katie. She and I get home around 6:00 on those days.

On any other day (when there is no other evening activity planned), the kids play after snack and I get dinner started. Dan is home around 5:30 (on Tuesdays and Thursdays he goes to work early in the morning so he can leave in time to work out at the gym before coming home), and we eat dinner at 6:00. We’re usually done by 6:30, and one of us will bathe the kids while the other one cleans up the dinner dishes. We start a show for the kids by 7:15, and they pick Dinosaur Train or Word World or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or Martha Speaks. At 7:45, we brush teeth (and Jackson cries about it every night) and then take each of them to their separate bedrooms to read a story and listen to one song before bedtime. The kids are in bed by 8:00, and we do whatever else needs to be done for the evening. We might finish cleaning up, fold laundry, pay bills, email, or catch up on TV on the DVR. If it’s a Tuesday night, we will ALWAYS be watching Lost.

We try to head up to bed at 10:00 and read a little before turning the lights out. Some nights we are up until 11:00, but we have every intention of being asleep earlier than that.

So… there’s a little peek at our daily routine. I hope I didn’t bore my three faithful blog readers, but I wanted to give my kids’ insight into their lives at ages 6 and 2. Thanks for humoring me, y’all!

*No, I do not make a fresh pb&j sandwich every morning for Katie’s lunch. Every other weekend or so, Dan or I will make a big batch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches out of an entire loaf of bread. We make an assembly line, then cut the sandwiches with the handy dandy Pampered Chef Cut-N-Seal tool. It’s a tool that makes the sandwiches into round sealed pockets, kind of like Uncrustables. I reuse plastic containers – like the kind you get for hummus or sour cream – and each sandwich goes into one of those then into the freezer. When Katie packs her lunch, she grabs one and it thaws in her bag before lunch time. It has been a great timesaver for us, it saves money (as opposed to buying the actual Uncrustables), plus we use whole wheat bread and natural peanut butter and reduced sugar jelly. It’s a healthy choice for her!

My Little Buttercup

On school days, it’s my job to go in and wake Katie in time for breakfast and the bus. I used to walk in, wake her and expect her to hop out of bed and start her day.

That didn’t go so well.

I have found that I need to quietly enter her room about 15 minutes before her you-must-be-dressed-and-headed-downstairs deadline. I open a window shade just enough to let some light into the room, and then I crawl in to bed beside her and say, “Good morning.” Slowly, she wakes and we start to whisper about nothing and everything. Sometimes we talk about her dreams. Sometimes we discuss the plans for our day. Sometimes we just hold each other and doze back to sleep. It’s a lovely morning pillow talk ritual and I love how it guarantees us dedicated time alone to touch and listen to each other.

This morning, Katie asked me to sing to her. The first song to pop into my head was “My Little Buttercup,” so I sang it to her. When we were dating, Dan used to sing it to me. I was so entranced by his voice singing gently to me about how wonderful I am. The words go like this: My little Buttercup has the sweetest smile./Dear little Buttercup won’t you stay a while?/Come with me where moonbeams pave the sky/And you and I might linger in the sweet by and by, oh!/Dear little Buttercup, with your eyes so blue,/Oh, little Buttercup, you’re a dream come true!/You and I will settle down in a cottage built for two - oooo…/Dear little Buttercup, I love you!

Now, wasn’t that the sweetest thing ever? Dan made up such an adorable little song, just for me. And now I can sing it to our adorable little girl in the mornings.

Uh, what’s that you say? Dan didn’t make it up?!! WHAT?!!

Yeah, that was my reaction the first time I saw The Three Amigos on video. Yup. I had NO clue. All those times Dan was singing to me, and I thought it was his original song. Good thing I was already in love with him by the time I found this out.

That memory came to mind this morning as I was singing to Katie. It still makes me chuckle. If you are like me and are one of the last living people who hasn’t seen this clip from the movie, here it is. Note: You'll need to pause the music player on my blog sidebar before you watch this video.

Retro Barrettes

In this post on February 10, I wrote that I’d be making some ‘80s style barrettes for Katie as a Valentine gift. I worked on a few different sets, and gave them to her and she LOVED them. I even found some old photos of me and my cousin Catherine wearing some back in the day, and showed the photos to her. She was so excited to wear barrettes like the ones I used to have.

It was such an easy project. It helps that I remember making them years ago, but I think it would be an easy craft for any beginner too. I even worked on some in the car on the way to a Girl Scout activity, and another troop mom saw me making them and decided to make some for her daughter too.

Here’s a photo of the two-tone pink ones Katie wore this past Saturday to a reptile birthday party. (Yes, that’s her with a crocodile!)IMGP3882

One tip: if your daughter has fine hair, buy some adhesive Velcro and put a small strip inside the barrettes to keep them in her hair. It help the barrettes stay in place! The next set I make will also have some Super Glue under the final ribbon knot. I am hoping that will help keep the ribbons from slipping along the barrette.

I’m thinking of making these as birthday presents for Katie’s friends. They are so inexpensive. You can get a roll of 1/8” ribbon for about fifty cents at Michael’s or Wal-Mart. The barrettes were four for $1.00 at Wal-Mart too. String some beads on the end to finish the look, and you can make a set for just pennies!

Let me know if you make any. I’d like to see the results!

Project instructions can be found in Family Fun magazine’s February issue or online here.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cutie Patooties

Oh, my kids. They act like little devils and yet they are so incredibly cute. God does that for a reason, you know. Otherwise I might ship them off to North Carolina – my sister has offered to take them in the past. Oh, it’s tempting… until I see these photos.




Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hugs & Kisses Coins

I finished up the Valentine crafts for the kids, which I wrote about here. Jackson’s party was today, and he took the recycled crayons and Hugs & Kisses Coins that I made. Here’s what the final product looked like:IMGP3376

I saw this idea from my Stampin’ Up consultant, Carrie. I used a permanent ink stamp pad (Staz On) and stamped a flourish on little zipper baggies. Then I printed out papers with Jackson’s name and “Have a colorful Valentine’s Day” (I got that idea here) on one side and an original poem on the other. The poem reads: “Flip the coin,/See what appears./Give a hug or kiss/To someone who’s near!” I stuck the wooden coins onto the paper, bagged it with the crayons and zipped ‘em up for the party. I love how it all turned out.

Katie’s tissue cozies are also finished and ready for her party on Friday. Here’s a sample:IMGP3616

The photos I printed with the “ah-choose you” saying arrived in the mail, and we trimmed them to wallet size and Katie wrote her name on the back. Then we punched them and tied them onto the tissue cozies.

My last project is to weave some ‘80s style ribbon barrettes to give to Katie for Valentine’s Day, like these here. I’ll post photos of those once I make them, if you’re not too tired of seeing all these Valentine crafts on my blog!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Date Night

Dan and I had a nice date on Saturday. It was a mixture of a Christmas present, my birthday, and Valentine’s Day. For Christmas, Dan gave us three tickets to see the musical The Color Purple at the Fabulous Fox in downtown St. Louis. The plan was to take Katie with us for her first show at the Fox. But Friday night, we found out online that the show is not recommended for kids under age 10. We got a refund for her ticket, then dropped the kids off at Grandma and Poppy’s.

Dan and I drove downtown and had a nice, leisurely lunch at the Schlafly Brewery’s Tap Room. Our appetizer was warm beer bread with a creamed blue cheese spread and a tasty garlic butter. Oh, yum! We both had a refreshing beer, then our meals arrived. Mine was a Turkey Monte Cristo, but it was an odd spin on your regular Monte Cristo. It had cranberry chutney, brie, and turkey on brioche (French bread). And THEN it was deep-fried. And then? It had powdered sugar sprinkled on top. Yes, really. I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but it was actually pretty tasty (and not at ALL low-fat!). I could only eat half of it because it was so big. Dan had their Cuban, which was large and yummy too. We sat for more than an hour and ate, and discussed our futures and some of the weight on Dan’s shoulders. I really enjoyed myself.IMGP3382

After lunch, we went to the show at the Fox Theater. I liked it, although it was very different from the movie. I read the book a few years back and don’t remember enough details to compare the musical to the book. But Dan’s opinion of the musical wasn’t very good at all. He rated it a four out of ten. I think that’s because The Color Purple is his very favorite movie of all time (and I’ve mentioned before), and it would be very hard for anything to live up to that for him. I will agree with him on one aspect, though: it was disappointing that not even one song from the movie was in the musical. No Miss Celie’s Blues, and not even Speak to Me/Maybe God’s Trying to Tell You Something. Nope! And I think that lost song is pretty pivotal (at least in the movie) to show the character development for Shug Avery. I was disappointed that it wasn’t in the musical.

After the show, my sweet husband humored me by standing around while I took photos of the Fox Theater (you can see him in the first photo below). I had written Michelle Sidles in advance and asked her for tips on shooting in dark places, and got some decent results. Here are my favorite shots:



IMGP3412 IMGP3417

The staff at the Fox Theater was not amused by my lingering to take photos, and they quickly shooed us out the door. Actually, “shoo” is a nice word. They weren’t that nice.

We left the theater and went to a local favorite, Crown Candy. We stood in a line that was almost out the door, then decided to get our treats to go. I got a delicious hot fudge pecan sundae, and Dan got a milkshake. It was fantastic.IMGP3438

Our bellies were still full from lunch and dessert, so we headed to the International Tap House for some beverages. It’s owned by a college friend, and this weekend was the first birthday of the bar. We ran into some friends there and stayed for the rest of the night talking and listening to live music.


Dan and I both needed some time away to relax and unwind. This day helped our mental outlook tremendously. Thank God for grandparents who will watch our kids so we can have adult time together!


I wanted to share these photos that I took yesterday. There was a flock of robins that was swarming the crab apple tree in our backyard. Snow on the ground made it difficult for the birds to find other food, so they were picking crab apples off the tree. I stood in the window on the couch, with the kids bouncing beside me, and took some of these shots. I hope you like them!




Malachi 3:3

Some time ago, a few ladies met in a certain city to read the scriptures, and make them the subject of conversation. While reading the third chapter of Malachi they came upon a remarkable expression in the third verse: “And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.”

One lady’s opinion was that is was intended to convey the view of the sanctifying influence of the grace of Christ. Then she proposed to visit a silversmith and report to them what he said on the subject. She went accordingly and, without telling the object of her errand, begged to know the process of refining silver, which he fully described to her. “But sir,” she said, “do you sit while the work of refining is going on?” “Oh, yes, madam,” replied the silversmith; “I must sit with my eye steadily fixed on the furnace, for if the time necessary for refining be exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver will be injured.”

The lady at once saw the beauty, and comfort too, of the expression, “He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.” Christ sees it needful to put His children into a furnace; His eye is steadily intent on the work of purifying, and His wisdom and love are both engaged in the best manner for them. Their trials do not come at random, and they are only as intense and last only as long as is necessary for the refining process.

As the lady was preparing to leave the shop, the silversmith concluded by saying that he knows the process of purifying is complete when he can see his own image reflected in the silver. What a beautiful example! When Christ sees His own image in His people, His work of purifying is accomplished.

This was something I received by email a few years back, and it still comes to mind when I think of the trials and tragedies that I and others have experienced. Jesus "knows the process of purifying is complete when he can see his own image reflected" in us. He doesn't keep us in the fire one moment longer than is necessary because He knows our hearts and knows how much fire is too much. He protects us, loves us, and makes us shine with His reflection!

How blessed are we to have someone on our side who loves us that deeply? God is so good.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


I just read this article online about germ havens. I had to share it because it's grossed me out a bit. I wasn't surprised by some of the items on the list, but didn't realize bath towels (and hand towels) and washing machines are that incredibly dirty. And how about salt and pepper shakers? Ewww. Time to break out the bleach!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Getting Our Valentine's Craftiness On!

We had a fun craft session this afternoon when Katie got home from school. It started with a craft we were making for our friend who just had a baby. Katie got bored quickly and moved on to making her Valentine Party, uh Friendship Party mailbox to hold her Valentines. I gave her a bag of lace bits and she went to town taping and gluing pieces to an empty Kleenex box. It turned out pretty darn cute.

I made the lace pipe cleaner heart on the front, but she did everything else - including writing her name on wooden circles to glue to the top plus her stamped photo on the sides of the box.

Before Jackson's nap time today, we made a quick stop at Leftovers and got some crafting supplies. At the last minute, I dug into the box of broken crayons there and brought them home to try out this craft, which I made while Jackson napped. (This link also has a great idea for other shapes.)

I tried this once a few years ago with a silicone IKEA ice cube mold, but it didn't work well. This time, I used nonstick spray and it worked like a charm. I will make one suggestion, though: you might want to use Crayola brand crayons. I made a batch of circle ones with off-brand crayons, and the Crayola ones were more pure. The no-names worked okay, but it seems the colors sank to the bottom of the muffin cup and the paraffin wax settled on top. Can you see the separation in this photo?

I am pretty sure it won't affect performance, but it's an odd little effect. I made enough little hearts for Jackson to give to the kids in his class.

Almost as an afterthought, I came up with another item for Jackson to give to his classmates: Hug and Kiss Coins. I had blank wooden discs that I got at Leftovers a while back, and decided to stamp one side with an "X" and one side with an "O." The idea is that you flip the coin and do whichever side lands up: a hug or a kiss. Fun, huh? You can also find these circles new at craft stores, so you might want to make a batch yourself.

Last week, I finally sewed up the Tissue Cozies that I wrote about here. I made 26 of them - enough for Katie's class, and I'm hoping there are enough for Jackson's class too. They really turned out so cute and were amazingly easy. I ordered wallet size photos from Shutterfly with the "ah-choose you" saying printed on them, and I'm waiting for those to arrive so I can finish up the cozies.

My final project is one I read about on Color Me Katie's blog. It's a kiss flip book that my Katie and I might make for our #1 Valentine! Here's the photo she posed for, and I used Microsoft Paint to add a heart. I'll have to print a bunch of them without the heart so she can draw her own!


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