Category Archives: Fun Stuff

My Kids, My Inspiration

Here they are, my kids, my inspiration!  Of course, if it wasn’t for that cute little one, I wouldn’t be doing any of this.  She’s the reason I was able to become a stay at home mom.  I’m not complaining.  I mean, I kinda wanted a boy and the Chinese Calendar failed me but hey, it’s all good!  And granted there are days where I beg my husband to let me go back to work after a rotten day with the kids but I get over it and thank God they are healthy and happy!

Olive is my little beauty queen.  She’s all smiles and giggles.  All eyes and chubby cheeks.  She just observes these wild siblings of hers.  We haven’t quite figured out what she’s going to be like.  All I know is she hates a wet diaper, demands to eat, and sleeps the best in my arms.

Amaya is definitely our little “throw back”.  She’s the darkest of the kids and I swear if the Indian woman and Kevin Costner in Dances With Wolves would have needed a child actor, she could have played their kid.  She hates being in clothes, has a mind of her own, screams, yells, hollers, demands, wants, needs, and cries for attention half the day.  She loves singing and performing.  Her favorite artist hands down is Katy Perry.  We jam out everywhere in the minvan to her music.  As long as you have a mango sucker and refrain from brushing her snarly hair, you’ll have a best friend for life!

Julien is my gentle, quiet soul.  He didn’t talk until he was 3 and is a pretty reserved child.  He is all about the love of life and the love of the game baseball.  He wears his heart on his sleeve and will cry at the drop of a hat.  He’s my little emotional guy but I love that about him.  Julien’s got the biggest imagination ever, drawing pictures and comics of whatever interests him.  He’s your typical boy in the sense that if it is an electronic and can be played, he plays it and can easily get distracted but I love him.  He’s my only boy and he’s in for a world of pain once these sister’s of him get a little older.  Heck what am I saying, he’s already feeling the heat from them!

Morgan isn’t my blood daughter but she’s my daughter just the same.  Coming to live with us at the age of 6, she’s definitely one of us.  She’s OCD about cleaning like me and making sure things are just right.  A very avid reader and drawer as well.  She probably reads about 5 books a month, at least.  She’s kind of a wanderer.  Always gazing into some fantasy world that doesn’t exist to parents.  We’ve gotta snap her back to reality from time to time but other than that, she’s a good kid and a hard worker.  She’s the biggest help of them all with the little girls.  I just fear the age 13.  It’s creeping up on us!

No honey, you can’t marry daddy.

My not-so-little Amaya and I had the sweetest talk today while watching The Phantom of the Opera.  The scene where Christine is singing in a beautiful white gown, Amaya had an epiphany.  She very seriously turned to me and said, “Mommy, when I grow up, I’m gonna marry daddy.”

This is by far one of the sweetest things that has ever come out of her mouth.  Normally she’s all attitude, hollering at dad for stinking up the house.   But it took everything in my willpower to not start bawling right then and there.  She loves her daddy so much that she would want to marry him.  But when I gently told her she couldn’t marry daddy because he’s married to me, she then declared that she would marry the next best person.

“Then I’m gonna marry Du-wee-n (Julien)!”

This one surprised me.  Those two can be the most darling little creatures on earth.  But as soon as I comment on how well they are getting along, 30 seconds later I’m snapped back in to reality with the sounds of yelling, screaming, and crying.  You know, that typical sibling rivalry.

Today made me realize that one day my girls will grow up, start dating, and eventually get married.  Morgan is going to be 13 this year.  She’s closer to it than my little girls.  And pretty soon my little girls will be big and I’ll quickly wish to rewind time.

I live for moments like these.  These special talks I get to have during the middle of a lazy day, over a buttery bowl of popcorn, that I think to myself how lucky I am to be a stay at home mom.  How lucky I am to lay in bed with Amaya, greasy fingers and wild hair, and create these memories.

Lunches Around the World with Little Passports!

Kids around the world are preparing to go back to school—that means homework, new friends and … lunch? Yes, that’s right! Let’s visit different countries and see what yummy food the school kids eat every day!

France– French children enjoy a 3 or 4-course meal that is made from high-quality ingredients, and are mostly made from scratch. The children all sit in the same eating area, the cafeteria. An interesting fact is that there are no vending machines in schools, because they’re banned due to the high sugar and fat content of the treats they carry. Typical school lunches here can have a variety of dishes and ingredients, such as grilled fish, salad, red beans, seasonal vegetables, garlic sausage, fruit salads and chocolate flan (just to name a few). Another perk is that the food is served on plates and eaten with real silverware!

Japan– In Japan, the school lunch ingredients are locally sourced and almost never frozen; in addition, the schools employ nutrition experts that work with kids and teach them the importance of good eating habits. Like the children in France, Japanese kids also eat in a community-like setting with their peers, and even their teachers! The children also wear white hats and robes to serve their classmates, which teaches them teamwork and respect. You can expect to find lots of rice, vegetables, fish, soup, and meat on the plate.

South Africa– South African school meals have natural ingredients such as corn, squash, sweet potatoes, and yams. There’s also rice, soft porridge, and meat that is sprinkled in with the vegetables. A special stew is made called potjiekos (named after a potjie, a three-legged pot), which originated from Dutch settlers. The cook puts vegetables, meat, potatoes, and spices into the pot, which is heated by small amounts of wood and twigs. After cooking, the result is a delectable stew!

Colombia– Colombian school lunch ingredients usually vary from region to region, but can contain rice, potatoes, fruit, beans, meatballs, and vegetables such as corn and avocados. There’s a special vegetarian menu also available, and children from 2 to 5 years old have their food cut and portioned into smaller sizes.

We hope you enjoyed our lunch trip around the world, and perhaps found inspiration to try new foods at your own dinner table!

Church Camp!

My big kids, Morgan and Julien, would like to go to Church Camp this summer.  In order to go, I explained to them that they needed to help raise money for part of the expense.  Now I’m not expecting them to pay for much but I’d like them to understand the importance of hard work and helping to contribute.  Plus I think it’s a great introduction to missions work for them.  Currently Morgan has a dog walking job 3-4 times a week.  Julien helps her on occasion and they split what she makes.  All money they raise by doing odd jobs for people around our local village and at church will go toward camp.

Julien is interested in attending Treehouse Adventures.  ”Hang out at camp – rustic style – living in a treehouse! Help counselors make a fire to cook meals, hang out at night stargazing, and learn some wilderness skills from shelter building to reading a map and compass. Challenge yourself at the archery range, in a canoe or sailboat! Bring a friend and make some new ones and see what new things God is doing in your life!”

Morgan is interested in attending The Power of Art.  ”Throw paint, dabble in clay, and create art in a whole new way! Discover all kinds of new artistic expressions! Design masterpieces! Explore and express what new things God is doing in your life. There will be plenty of time to relax, play games with new friends and old or enjoy splashing around at the lake. Bring your creative side, get inspired and dive into the power of art!”

Any commission I make during the month of April from my Kitsy Lane Boutique and y Just Simply Baby affiliate code will go towards helping send my children to church camp!  Thank you for helping our mission!

Olive Bean Boutique (Kitsy Lane Jewelry) – coupons available, just ask!

Just Simply Baby – 10% refund on all purchases using code JSBAR57

Pierced Ears!

Yep, I did it.  I got my almost 5 month old’s ears pierced today.

I know there is a lot of controversy that surrounds ear piercing for girls and circumcision for boys.  You are subjecting your child to unnecessary pain for a cosmetic reason rather than a medical purpose.  Quite honestly, I totally understand another person’s choice to wait.  I’ve heard plenty of horror stories over botched circumcisions or crooked piercings.

I’m personally not afraid to make the choice to put little studs in my daughter’s ears.  I understand it’s her body and her choice but realistically speaking, I cried like a baby when I had my 2nd holes done at the age of 14.  I was happy that my mother had my first holes done when I was young.

I think it’s far easier to clean and care for a baby’s ears than a rambunctious toddler.

Could I have waited until my girls asked to have their ears pierced?  Yes, I very well could have but there’s just something about a little baby with earrings that I just adore.

So with that being said, I made the decision and had these darling little studs put in Olive’s ears.  I love them and I hope she thanks me when she’s older for piercing her ears as a baby.  And you know what?  If she decides she doesn’t want her ears pierced anymore, all she has to do is take them out and they’ll close right back up.  No harm, no foul.

Learning During Dinner

Do you sit down every night with your family for dinner?  What are some things you talk about at the dinner table?  Dinner, for us, is a way to get caught up on what happened in everyone’s day.  We share funny stories, jokes, ideas, and memories.  But today, I thought I’d introduce something different to our dinner time routine.

Today I decided, let’s learn while we have dinner together!  My big kids are at the age where I can start introducing creative ideas to our dinner routine.  So after our prayer and sharing about our day, I suggested we each pick a state and share whatever we wanted about our selection.

Each of us, minus the little kids, picked our own state we wanted to research.  Eddie picked Maine, I picked North Dakota, Morgan picked Nevada, and Julien picked New York.  There are no requirements involved.  Whatever you find interesting about your state is what you’ll report back to the family.

We all have one week to collect our findings.  The sooner you share, the sooner you can move on and pick a new state.  I’m excited to see what each person finds interesting to share.  Julien already sounds like he wants to share about paranormal activities that occur in his state.  I’m still debating on if I want to stick to the facts or focus on something completely different.

Regardless, this fun idea excites me!  I love sitting at the dinner table with my family but this makes me anxious for our next dinner together.  We are limiting ourselves to learning about one state each night so we can discuss it together.  This way we don’t get overwhelmed.  I’m going to print up a state map so we can keep track of what states we’ve learned about and what states we still need to learn about.

Once we are finished with states, Morgan suggested we pick a person to research on.  The ideas are endless!  We could pick a plant, animal, country, or creature.  I’m excited my kids are excited about this new idea!  I hope this sparks an idea for you too spice up your dinner time routine!

Fun Activities on Snow Days!

There is no school today due to a snowstorm that is expected to drop 5 to 7 inches on us.  We received our “wake up call” at 6:00 am on the dot informing us of the dreaded news.  But with snowstorms comes some fresh snow for the kids to play in, or what I like to refer to as, free babysitting!  I send the kids out at least once on a snow day to burn off some energy (twice if necessary).  If I don’t do this, all hell will break loose!  Here’s a list of some fun snow day activities to keep your kids from driving you nuts!

  • Plan an indoor picnic.
  • Build a fort in the living room or under the dining room table.
  • Paint the snow using food coloring.  Use spray bottles or squirt bottles filled with water and food coloring.
  • Assign an art project with a theme.
  • Bake goodies together.
  • Create musical instruments out of household items.  (Only for the very tolerant parent)
  • Make snow ice cream.
  • Make snow cones.
  • Look through photo albums and share stories about the pictures.
  • Go through clothes and toys to find items that can be donated.
  • Makeover with your girls – facials, manicures, pedicures, massages!
  • Video game competition with your boys!
  • Teach kids how to sew.
  • Go sledding or ice skating.
  • Look for “frozen fossils” around the yard such as pine cones and icicles.
  • Look for animal tracks in the yard.
  • Put on some music and have a dance party.
  • Turn the heat up and have a beach party.
  • Play board games.
  • Nap time or quiet time.  (My favorite!)
  • Make paper snowflakes and hang them up around the house or in the windows.
  • Shut all the curtains, make popcorn, and watch a movie.

Have any other ideas to keep the kids entertained?  Comment below!