Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Snow fun!

It actually snowed here last week!  
I live in Virginia Beach and we rarely see snow, especially not snow that you can actually go play in for two days in a row!  Needless to say, my son was thrilled.  

He sat at the window the day before and watched the flurries come down.  The next morning he woke up to look out the window and no snow yet.  He went to school and came home and still no snow!  He was starting to lose hope when it started snowing exactly at 3pm when they said it would (surprised they were actually right!).  

By 4:30 there was enough snow to play was coming down.  I bundled the boys up the best I could without really owning any 'snow' clothes and we went outside.  

It was the baby's first snow, so even though he had a runny nose, we ventured out.  It could be 2 years before he sees snow again so I had to take it while I had it!  He was definitely confused about it and couldn't understand why it was sticking to him, but I think he liked it.  

My older son absolutely loved it and had a blast playing in it long after me and the baby came back in.  I am lucky to be able to see my backyard while I am cooking dinner so I can keep an eye on him and still work in the kitchen.  

He shoveled snow, he filled up buckets, he jumped in it, and did everything a 3 year old likes to do in the snow and he loved every minute of it.  He finally relented and came inside saying he was cold.  We finished off our fun with some hot chocolate and delicious brownies.  

What do you do when it snows?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

January Meal Planning Complete

If you have been following my 12 Months of Getting it Done plan, you know that my goal for January was to establish and implement meal planning in my home.

I have been planning my meals for 4 weeks now and feel confident that I can keep it up.  

I have seen a small difference in my grocery bill as long as I stick to my list and I have less stress when planning my day.  I just pick a meal from my list of 7 meals the night before to make sure the meat for the meal is thawed.  

I also realized that just because I am doing meal planning, it doesn't mean that I have to be super strict with it.  In the past when I have tried to do it, if one day didn't work out how I planned, I figured I wasn't doing it right.  

It is all about what works best for you and your family.  You never know when something will change your day and flexibility in your meal planning helps deal with that.  

All in all, I think my first month went well and I am excited to pursue my other goals in the upcoming months!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Let's Bake- Baking with Kids

My son loves to cook. It might be because his daddy is a Chef or it might be because I try to include him in everything I do.

Baking is a big thing that we did a lot of in Minnesota and I am working on getting back into baking with Zackary because we both miss doing it. Last week we made some muffins and they were ok.

This week we tried out a brownie recipe from The Happier Homemaker. You can get the recipe here.

I'm trying to watch what I eat so baking is hard because I want to eat it all!

The brownies turned out pretty good and we topped it off with some hot chocolate that we enjoyed after playing in the snow.

From now on I am going to try to bake with the kids at least once a week.

It gives us a chance to spend some good time together and it teaches him patience, how to cook, and measurements.  I will keep you posted on what we bake!  

What is your favorite thing to bake with the kids?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Tunnels and Tents

Who doesn’t love playing in tunnels and tents?  

My two boys had a great time the other day playing in a tent that we just uncovered going through the garage. 

I like tents because they can play together in them.  Sometimes it is hard to find things that an almost 4 year old and a 10 month old can do together and both have fun.  

We build tents out of sheets, but the baby tends to pull those down!  This tent won’t stay up for long because it is way too big, but for a rainy day or indoor winter play, it is great.  

The boys played an extensive game of peek-a-boo and we rolled a ball through the tunnel.  All in all, it was a lot of fun for everybody. 

Everybody should have tunnels and tents!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Rise and Shine

Do you ever wake up and are irritable and stressed out from the start?
Yeah? Me too!
It happens, but I have been practicing ways to turn my day around from the start. I have come across a few of these ideas in different articles but most are things that I've noticed stress me out first thing in the morning.

Prepare the night before:

       1.            Program your coffee maker the night  
One thing that I forget to do is to program my coffee maker.  If you have a Keurig, program it to come on so that it is all ready to brew.  I have noticed that I enjoy my day more if I have my coffee ready and waiting for me.  If you don't drink coffee, prepare whatever it is that you like to drink so that it is waiting for you.  Also, make your significant other a cup of coffee or their drink of choice too.  It makes me feel good in the morning to do something little for my husband, but it also starts his day good.

2.           Clean the kitchen.  
I too often decide not to clean the kitchen after the kids are in bed.  
Yes, ideally I should clean it right after dinner, but I can only do that when my husband is home because after dinner is bath and play time for the kids.  By the time I get my oldest son in bed at 8, I have homework to do among other things.  And I just want to relax for a little bit, so I just leave the dishes for the next morning.  Waking up to a clean kitchen is a much better way to start the day.  An extra 20 minutes of work at night can make the morning that much better.

3.           Pick up the toys!  
I don't know about you, but it always looks like a tornado went through the house spewing toys everywhere and it is never fun to step on a sharp toy in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning.  That can definitely start your day out wrong!  It is also nice for the kids to start with a clean slate and play with something different.  Have your kids help before they go to bed too to lessen your load. 

For the Morning  

1.        Wake up early
This is one that I have a really hard time with because I like to sleep and I am not a morning person. Every time that I happen to wake up before the kids, it is really nice.  Even if it is only for 10 minutes because it gives me time to greet the day how I want to without hearing Mommy 15 times before I even take my first sip of coffee!  In this 'spare' time, I like to read something or just sit there in the silence.  Don't do chores or start breakfast unless that is what you want to do.  Spare time is few and far between for me, so if I have 10 minutes to myself first thing in the morning, I am going to enjoy whatever I chose to do.

2.        Eat Something
I know that I get grumpy when I am hungry, and I am normally hungry first thing in the morning.  I try to grab something little to eat with my coffee.  It can be a banana, a muffin, a granola bar, anything to hold you over and keep the grump away.

3.        Greet everybody with a smile and a hug  
I found that my kids and myself are much happier in the morning if they are greeted nice.  Instead of saying "go get dressed, brush your teeth, sit down for breakfast", say "good morning, did you sleep good?" and give them a big hug.  Everybody should start their day out with a smile.

4.        Think positive
My sister told me that thinking positive makes you feel better.  I have been trying it for about a week now and it really does help.  Put a positive thing on anything you think is bad.  For example, if your kids are up half the night, think how lucky you are to be able to be there for them.
5.        Open your blinds
One thing that I have started to do is open my blinds right before bed so that even if it is before my time to wake up, I wake up to natural light which is much better than going blind when the light is turned on!

What do you do to start your day out right?