Thursday, July 10, 2014

The dorm room

When we first moved into this house we wanted all three boys to share a room. We were going to do bunk beds and a twin bed, but then I had scary images of boys jumping off the top bunk and trying to swing from the ceiling fan. So Dave just put their beds down and I loved it. I thought it looked like a dorm room. For a short time Trevor had his own room, but after sleeping on the floor almost every night in his old room we just moved him back. I love that they all share, but lately I have been wanting to make some changes to their bedroom. It's always a mess with crap everywhere and even when they clean their room they can only keep it that way for about a day. I knew I needed to get rid of the junk and that we needed more storage or something. I searched Pinterest yesterday and came across images like these:

If only my boys' room looked like a magazine page. But it doesn't. And I didn't want to go spend money on shelves or storage/organization stuff. So I used what I had, rearranged the room a little, threw away a bunch
of junk and ended up with a neat and tidy room. 
We don't have any shelves up for their stuff, so under the beds each boy has plastic storage bins for toys. I also used dresser drawers from a broken dresser under Colin and Logan's beds to store their pajamas since we don't have big dressers for clothes
I love these little storage cubes we got from Target years ago. They have held up so well and served many purposes. Logan's holds his clothes and Colin's is for all of his drawing notebooks and has a shelf for books
At night the boys get to sit in bed and read. Now we have some storage for books. I can switch out the books every month so they have new choices
A while ago we added a shelf/rack to their closet. After cleaning out all the junk I realize my boys really have hardly any clothes. No wonder Logan wears the same three shirts over and over again
Colin's side. The extra shelf/hanger space will be good as they get older and get more clothes. I wonder if they will still want to all share when they are teenagers...I hope so
I love how the beds are arranged now. There is still space to play and it's nice that everything can be stored under the bed or in the closet
And since their room was finally clean they all wanted to play in it together. We'll see how long that lasts.


Friday, July 4, 2014

Favorite 4th memories

Some of my favorite childhood memories are from 4th of July at my Grandma's house. I don't remember everything but the thing that stood out the most was me as a little girl, looking around at all the people there and thinking how lucky I was to have such a big family. There were always lots of aunts and uncles around, cousins to play with, my grandparents and friends and neighbors. You could never be bored because there was always someone there to be with or play with. Even when I got scared of the fireworks and ran in the house to watch form the front window, my cousin was there right with me. Last night my family and I all gathered at my grandma's house to watch the fireworks. There were aunts (just one uncle) lots of cousins to play with, grandparents, and a great-grandma. All night I watched my kids with their cousins. It didn't matter how old they were or if they were a boy or a girl or if they saw that cousin last month or last year, they all just got along. They all played and talked and joked and laughed. I love that my kids have their cousins to grow up with. I love that they are all friends. I love that, like me, they will look back and their favorite memories will be of the times they got to spend with their family. I'm so grateful to live where I live. To have my family close. To be able to have the religion I want, for my husband to have the freedom choose his job, for my kids to go to good schools with good teachers who love them. I'm so grateful we can sit outside at night and play and watch fireworks and celebrate the birth of our nation. Happy 4th of July!! (And Mom, I like Macy's idea - "We should have a cousin sleep over.")

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Summer Home Tour

Before we got rid of our cable TV, one of my favorite channels to watch was HGTV. I loved seeing how people decorated their homes. Since I can't watch those shows anymore, I love that lots of blogs do Home Tours. Picture after picture of immaculate homes, fun decorating ideas and me dreaming about what my house would look like if I was crafty and talented in the area of home DIY. This past week, as I was getting ready to have my kids home for the summer I checked out this Summer Home Tour on one of my favorite blogs. There is also a link to even more homes to look at. After looking at all the beautiful homes I was inspired to take pictures of my house and share how we decorate for summer. Enjoy my own Summer Home Tour!
In our family room we usually have some kind of fort or tent set up during the warm summer months. The kids love to play in their special hide-a-way and it's also great when entertaining their friends.
We recently moved all of our toys in the TV room and made it the "fun room". In the summer we like the "tornado of toys" look. Since it's often too dang hot to play outside the kids will fight play in the TV room while they watch movie after movie after movie.

TV/Play/reading/let's make the biggest mess we can room

In the summer we like to decorate our kitchen table with paper, colored pencils, tape, glue, crayons, scissors and all other kinds of art supplies. 

Random paper crafts placed around the house for those fun pops of color

We like the "unmade bed" look in our home over the summer. It makes the house feel more casual and gives our home that "lived in" feel

Every now and then you can find a shirtless boy in pajama pants reading in his unmade bed. 

Towels are often found on bedroom and bathroom floors in the summer since we love to swim and no one seems to know how to hang them back up.

Storm troopers and Darth Vadar add to the playful atmosphere of our summer home!
Thanks for stopping by and taking a peek into our home! How do you like to decorate for summer?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Summer School

I know lots of my friends are just like me and anticipating the beginning of summer. And with summer vacation comes Summer School! I love planning a schedule for my kids to follow over the summer and incorporating some fun educational games and activities. Here are some of my favorite Summer School websites:
  • Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool I LOVE this website. I used it a lot when I homeschooled Trevor. You can find things for all grade levels and all subject areas. You can find videos, games, stories, projects and more. There are lots of fun science activities, music to listen to and links to other great websites. 
  • Xtra Math - This program is awesome! My kids all did this last summer and they will do it again. The best things about this program is it teaches kids to memorize simple math facts so they can do math in their head faster. The program takes only about 10 minutes a day and you will be sent weekly e-mails to see your child's progress. Kids can do it all on their own and I like to make it one of their daily tasks to do over the summer.
  • FunBrain - This is one of my "summer school" websites for my kids. Over the summer my kids have a few days a week where their computer time has to be one of my approved summer school sites. I love it because all of the games are educational and my kids don't complain about playing it.
  • Cool Math Games - My boys love these games. They play this website at school and over the summer it's one of their favorites.
  • Blast Off To Reading - This is a workbook I purchased for Colin. He really struggles in reading (we think he has a mild form of dyslexia) and we are going to be using this over the summer to help with his reading. I have a friend using this book for her son and she loves it. If you have a struggling reader, this would be a great tool to use over the summer. (There are different books for all ages/grade levels).
What are some of your favorite Summer School activities?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

DIY - Decorative pillows

I am not a crafty person, nor am I good at home decorating. But one of my New Year's resolutions was to learn more about interior design/home decorating, so I've been determined to make/buy something for my house. For the longest time I've wanted some cute, decorative pillows for my living room couches. These couches were our first ever new furniture purchase when we were newlyweds. We bought them when we bought our first house and they have been the best couches ever. They were inexpensive and they are 12 years old and still in the best condition. But they needed updating. I tried a slipcover but it looked horrible. Dave told me to go find some cute pillows, but they are so expensive. I could not bring myself to spend that much money on a few pillows. And then I saw THIS post on one of my favorite blogs and decided I could do the same thing with place mats. I ran to Target, found some place mats on sale for $2.48 each and made my own decorative pillows. So cute, super cheap and easy (especially if you have an awesome mom who can sew!). I love how they turned out and the splash of color they add to the living room. Go buy a place mat! Make a pillow!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Why I love being a working mom

I don't want to offend anyone, but this has been on my mind lately. I keep wondering if there are other moms out there who feel the same way I do. I love my kids. I love being a mom. But I am not the best baby/toddler mom. Before I got married, before I even graduated from college, I knew I wanted to stay home with my kids when they were little, but I also knew that I wanted to work or do something other then just being a mom. I hope that phrase isn't offensive. "Just being a mom." I have heard women say that before when they introduce themselves: "I'm just a mom." And I know that is the most important thing I can do and will ever do, but I wanted to be able to do more because I knew that one day my kids would all be at school and I would be left home alone. I always had a plan that once my kids were in school all day I would substitute teach. And now I do. And I love it. And I noticed something when I started working again. I was happy. I felt smart and like I was contributing to my community. I like eating lunch in the teachers' lounge and having other grown ups to talk to. I got all giddy and excited when I got my first paycheck in the mail. I felt like I was doing something good for myself and my family. I have always known that I am not the best baby/toddler/little-kid-under-the-age-of-4-Mom. The older my kids get, the more I like being a mom. I didn't NOT like being home with my kids when they were little, but it's not something I would want to go back and do again. It was not my favorite stage in life. I knew I wanted kids and I knew I wanted to be a mom, but I also knew that my personality and my talents were better for older kids. And now that my kids are older and now that I can work because they are all in school I am a happier person and a happier mom. I am a better mom because I get to work. I get to do something for me and not just do for everyone else. I get to go out and be with lots of other people for the day and not just be confined to my little house. I know there are lots of women out there who love having babies and little ones home with them. That is awesome for them. That is so great that they love that stage of motherhood. But I didn't necessarily love it. There were definitely great moments during those stages of my kids' lives. I have very fond memories of my kids when they were little and I did enjoy them when they were babies and toddlers. But I am so glad for new stages and new opportunities. Yes, I made the choice to be a stay-home mom and I am grateful I was able to do that. I think it was important. But I am also grateful that I now have the opportunity to work. I look at my friends who worked while their kids were young (and the ones who are doing it now) and I applaud them. They are awesome. They do an amazing job balancing everything and they are amazing mothers. And my friends who don't want to work and who love being homemakers - you're awesome too! I sometimes wish I could be more like that. I love how we're all different, how we all mother in different ways and have different strengths when it comes to raising our kids. No one is right and no one is wrong. We all do what is best for us and our families. And on the days I get to work and see my kids in the halls at school (or better yet, be their teacher for the day) I feel so lucky. I feel like I have the best of both worlds.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Oatmeal Wheat Pancakes

We are a cereal family. I have about a hundred boxes of cereal in the pantry and we will eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But sometimes I get tired of cereal and I want a real breakfast. Saturdays are usually the time I make something for breakfast and today I wanted to try a new pancake recipe. Dave and I have been trying to eat healthier so I found 2 recipes in my Cooking Light Cookbook and combined them to make this recipe for Oatmeal Wheat Pancakes:
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 egg
1 1/4 cups White Wheat Flour (yes, this is whole wheat flour - just made from white wheat and not red wheat)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a medium bowl whisk together the milk and yogurt. Add the oats and stir. let sit for 10 minutes. Add the oil and egg and whisk until combined. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until combined. It should be a thick batter, but if it's too thick add a little milk. Cook like regular pancakes.
Trevor wanted chocolate chips in his - the rest of the family had already eaten so no one else got to try them. The verdict: Trevor said, "These are healthy? They taste so good!" I loved them. They came out really thick and hearty. The serving size is 2 pancakes (I usually eat 3 or 4) but 2 was just enough. And they keep you full all morning long. This made enough batter for 10 pancakes so I froze the extras to have for busy mornings when I don't want cereal. Try em! You'll like em!