Road Trip Essentials

Today we are embarking into the unknown.  Well, not really.  It’s actually all too well-known in our family.  The 12-hour trip from Southern California to Northern Utah is one we both love and hate to take.  To be fair, our kids were awesome on our last trip.  Ty was only 6-weeks old and it was our best drive yet.

We just don’t want to risk it this time.  So we’re trying to drive overnight.  I’m sure we’ll get tired and sleep off and on, so there will be some daytime driving.  We need to be prepared for the times when the kids are awake so that they are fully occupied and we don’t hear “are we there yet?” or “this is taking a long time!”.  Both favorites of our kids even on a 5-minute trip to Target.

I get gallon ziplock bags and fill it with snacks for the kids.  They get one snack at a designated time until their snacks are done (a trick learned from my parents) and an etch-a-sketch each.  Then we have the DVD players for when it really gets out of control and little hands aren’t kept to themselves.

Something we found at Marshall’s this year and I am really excited to use is this book:

Amazon.com description: Product Description: Fill long car rides with games to entertain the whole family! Featuring group activities, games and puzzles for all ages, this fun and interactive book is an ideal way to pass the time while traveling. With spotting, guessing, action, imagination and word games, this book makes the perfect antidote to a long drive.

I’ve looked through the book and there is A LOT for even toddlers to do. The kids are excited and I think this book will become a family treasure.

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Felt Color/Shape Dominos

We were playing Dominos on Monday and I thought that it would be cool to create some out of felt (because I have somewhat of an unhealthy relationship with the material).  I imagined something vibrant and, luckily for me, I happened to have enough felt in my stash to whip up some color/shape dominos.

They were pretty easy to make, although a tad bit time consuming.  It didn’t take me more than an hour altogether, however, which isn’t too shabby!

Materials Needed

(Makes 48 Dominos)

2 sheets of black felt

1/2 Sheet of white felt

About 1/4 sheet of 8 different colors of felt (I used Red, Yellow, Orange, Green, Light Blue, Dark Blue, Light Purple, and Dark Purple)

Liquid Stitch

Instructions

(I wasn’t very precise in my measurements, I just eye-balled everything.  This is why I was able to make these so quickly.  If you are obsessive compulsive and have a need for exact precision, then you’ll have to measure everything and make your own patterns for the shapes.)

Using the black felt, cut out the base of the Dominos.  Mine are approximately 1 x 2 inches.

Using the white felt, cut out long skinny strips for the dividing line on the Dominos.

Using the colored felt, cut out 12 of each (you can either do one shape, or you can do different shapes.  I cut out 4 circles, 4 triangles, and 4 squares of each color).

Using the liquid stitch, glue the pieces together to resemble Dominos!

I allowed my pieces to dry overnight and they were ready by morning!

To play, match the colors.  I thought that it would be cool to be able to match the shapes too, but we haven’t played that way yet.  If anything, the kids can simply use the pieces to make a really colorful design…it looks awesome!

Have fun! 🙂

Heaven Is Here

(Heaven Is Here)

This week has been hard on me.  My husband got an earful of how I’d failed as a mother because Riley spends his days talking back, spitting on me, defying me, or ignoring me.  When it’s time for bed, it takes hours to get them asleep.  We’re seriously considering turning our office into a bedroom just to separate them.  But…that’s not the point of this post.

I was feeling really down on myself and wondering how I could not freak out on him and try to make a difference.  I’m sure other mothers have experienced the feelings that if their kid is doing something wrong, it is their fault.  I went through this with Mikey’s terrible threes and it’s just running it’s course again.

It seems that Life seems to know when I think I have it hard, and It wants to remind me just how wrong I am.

I’ve been following the NieNie Dialogues for a while now.  When she wrote her book, I couldn’t wait to read it.  It’s a massive understatement to say that she is an inspiration.

To be able to read in detail just what goes into recovering from an airplane crash where 80% of your body is burned was heart wrenching and addictive.  I already knew where she was today, but I just had to keep reading to see how she made it through.

When you read about somebody who truly has struggles in their life and who has pure gratitude to be alive and be a mother, wife, daughter, sister and woman, you try to emulate that attitude in your own life, without having to go through the hard part to get there.

If you are like me and need constant reminders about how good you have it, or you just want to read a true story of hope, please read this book.  It was a quick read that is sure to inspire.

“I have accepted myself in a world that does not accept me, because I have learned – and more than any of the lessons of my accident, this is the one I wish I could teach everybody – that our hearts matter most.  Your heart matters most, so be gentler and more patient with yourself, and their hearts matter most, too, so be kinder and more compassionate to others.  It’s a beautiful heart, not a perfect body, that leads to a beautiful life.”  ―    Stephanie Nielson,    Heaven Is Here: An Incredible Story of Hope, Triumph, and Everyday Joy

You Know You’re Tired When…

You know you’re tired when you wet the bed as a mature 30-year-old woman.

No, I’m not lying.

My timeline for last week went as follows:

On Tuesday night, Lizzie wet her bed and both of the boys had leaked majorly through their diapers.  I was slightly annoyed that Lizzie had wet the bed.  I was forced to wash all three of their sheets and mattress covers.  I know that I don’t wash their sheets as much as I need to.  I seriously have to bribe myself to do it on a regular basis.  On Tuesday night, however,  they were completely drenched in urine which left me no choice in the matter.  But don’t worry, I survived.

I turned 30 on Wednesday.

I’m still in complete denial.

I don’t feel old, yet my age is causing me to realize that I’m not a spring chicken! 🙂  I’m going to be wearing hearing aids and using diapers before I know it.  In fact, I should probably start wearing diapers (at least at night) sooner rather than later.

On Thursday night, only my second night of being officially old, I woke up in the middle of the night to the surprising feeling of wet underwear, pajamas, and sheets.  I was quite confused.  I was 99% positive that I wasn’t pregnant and I really had no clue why my water had broken.  It took me a few moments to come to terms with the fact that there was no fluid-filled amniotic sac in my uterus and that I had clearly wet the bed.  Exactly like my almost 5-year-old daughter had just done two nights previously.

I was in shock.  I don’t know how that could have happened!  I wasn’t even dreaming about having to go to the bathroom, which is usually the case when I have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  What makes this story even more embarrassing is that the fluid on my underwear, pajamas, and sheets was cold.  I was so exhausted that I didn’t even wake up immediately after I had urinated!

That’s it.  I’m clearly too old to be a Mother of young children!  These sleepless nights are getting to me.

I have forgotten what it feels like to sleep continuously for longer than a few hours.  I seriously dread going to bed at night.  I am very much alone in the middle of the night because my husband has been blessed with the talent to be able to sleep peacefully through anything.  I have literally been sitting up right next to him in bed holding a screaming baby and he keeps right on snoring.  I’ll be honest, I’m more than a tad bit jealous of his ability!

Although Mason currently spends his nights in his crib (in a separate room) rather than right next to me in our bed, he continues to sleep very inconsistently and he wakes up often.  At least two or three times a night, sometimes more.  Between feeding Mason and attending to Lizzie’s needs (yes, she is almost five but she continues to keep me up at night) I often feel as if my head rarely hits the pillow!  On top of not being able to sleep well, Bryce has been waking up at 5:30 in the morning.  He wakes up and starts banging on his door repeating,  “Mommy, I’m stuck!  Mommy, I’m stuck!”.  I have no choice to but to go and get him before he wakes up his siblings which are sleeping in the adjacent bedrooms.

Anyway, I’m done complaining.  🙂

The irony of all of this is that I know I’m going to miss waking up all through the night when my kids are older.  When Lizzie and Bryce were babies and finally started to sleep through the night, I actually missed those quiet, special bonding moments in the darkness of the night in which I could hold them close, gaze at their beautiful chubby faces, and appreciate the opportunity and blessing that I have to be a mother.  My heart truly aches for those woman who don’t have such an opportunity, particularly through no choice of their own.

That being said, I am grateful for the opportunity that I had last week to wet my bed.  The experience has  helped me to contemplate and truly appreciate the reasons for my lack of sleep – my children.

Yes, I love my children and will willingly wet my bed for them.

Now if I can only develop a passion for changing bed sheets…

Ranch and Bacon New Potato Salad

Summer cooking can sometimes put me in a rut.  Well, let’s be honest, most of the time.  I don’t feel like cooking because I don’t want to add more heat into our desert house.  The other night I was taking a break from cooking and we were having some Tyson chicken pattie sandwiches and some cut up watermelon.  I wanted something else to round out the meal and knew this potato salad would really hit the spot.

My husband calls it the potato salad for those who don’t like potato salad.  Because he doesn’t.  He’s not a big fan of mayonnaise.  So if you don’t like potato salad, you’ll like this one.  And if you do like potato salad, you’ll love this one.  Really tasty, easy and quick.  And you can eat it warm or cold.  Perfect side dish.

Ranch and Bacon New Potato Salad

6-10 Red/New Potatoes (depending on size, needs to be about 4 cups of one inch pieces)

1/2 cup baco bits/bacon crumbles

1/2 cup – 1 cup Ranch (depending on taste)

1/2 cup chopped green onions

Cut up the potatoes and boil them until fork tender, don’t over cook, it will just end up being ranch mashed potatoes.  Drain and rinse and place in serving bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir.  Even if I’m serving it hot, I like to chill it in the fridge for a couple of hours for the flavors to combine.  Then you can serve immediately or heat up.  Delicious!

Zuchinni Parmesan

Someone gave us a GIGANTIC zucchini from their garden this week.  I love zucchini.  My favorite way to prepare it is to sauté it in olive oil and sprinkle lemon pepper on top.  Absolutely divine.  However, since this zucchini was so huge, Jon and I wanted to try to make Zucchini Parmesan with it.  I had never made it before, but it ended up being soooooo delicious.  And yes, it was fried, which isn’t the healthiest way to eat a vegetable.  But frying something at home tastes better and seems healthier than buying fried fast food. 🙂

I prepared the zucchini just as I prepare fried chicken.

Here’s how you do it:

Place three bowls on the counter.  Put flour in the first bowl, beaten raw eggs (3) in the second bowl, and bread crumbs in the third bowl (for these I used the Italian Seasoned variety).

Cut the zucchini into 1/4 – 1/2 inch slices.

Dip each slice into the flour, followed by the egg, and then the bread crumbs.  After coating, place on a cookie sheet.

Warm up some oil in a frying pan (about 1/4 inch deep).  Make sure that the oil doesn’t get too hot.  Keep it on the medium heat setting.

When the oil is warm, place the zucchini slices in the oil.  Leave it on one side until it is crispy and brown (about 3 minutes, depending on the heat of your oil).  Using tongs (because you obviously wouldn’t use your fingers, right?) flip the zucchini over and cook the other side.

Place the cooked zucchini on a foil-lined cookie sheet.

Cover with a spoonful of spaghetti sauce.  Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top of the sauce.

Broil the zucchini until the cheese is nice and bubbly.

We served out zucchini with angel hair pasta and a side salad.

I also left some of the zucchini plain and my husband dipped them in ranch.  I didn’t try it that way, but he sure liked it! 🙂

Although we used a GIGANTIC zucchini to prepare this meal, I’m sure that this could also be done using normal-sized zucchini.  Which is probably what we are going to have to resort to in the future because we don’t have gigantic zucchinis handed out to us on a regular basis. 🙂

The 480 Workout

Want another workout?

Try this one out!

It’s called The 480 Workout because you end up doing 480 total reps, although you only end up doing 60 reps of each exercise.  I won’t lie, it’s tough.  Personally, I don’t find it as challenging as The 1000 Workout, but I’m still drenched in sweat when I’m finished!

I found this workout here.  If you are unfamiliar with any of the exercises, check out the website and it has video examples of each exercise.

I like this workout because it starts out with 2 reps of each exercise and then gradually increases to 10 reps, and then decreases again.  Also, I always jog in place (or do jumping jacks) for 30 seconds in between sets, mostly because each set begins and ends with push-up exercises and my arms need a break! 🙂

***Make sure you are properly warmed up prior to jumping right into this workout.

Warm up-Repeat 3x through

  • 20 jumping jacks
  • 20 seconds jog in place
  • 20 (total) mountain climbers
  • 10 bodyweight squats
  • Stretch!!

THE 480 WORKOUT

(By the way, I have tried to format this differently but wordpress isn’t allowing me to do what I want!  Sorry!  Just copy and paste the workout in Word and then change the spacing.)

2 push ups
2 squats
2 squat jumps
2 burpees
2 floor jacks
2 high plank shoulder taps
2 jump lunges
2 shoulder push ups

4 push ups
4 squats
4 squat jumps
4 burpees
4 floor jacks
4 high plank shoulder taps
4 jump lunges
4 shoulder push ups
6 push ups
6 squats
6 squat jumps
6 burpees
6 floor jacks
6 high plank shoulder taps
6 jump lunges
6 shoulder push ups
8 push ups
8 squats
8 squat jumps
8 burpees
8 floor jacks
8 high plank shoulder taps
8 jump lunges
8 shoulder push ups
10 push ups
10 squats
10 squat jumps
10 burpees
10 floor jacks
10 high plank shoulder taps
10 jump lunges
10 shoulder push ups
10 push ups
10 squats
10 squat jumps
10 burpees
10 floor jacks
10 high plank shoulder taps
10 jump lunges
10 shoulder push ups
8 push ups
8 squats
8 squat jumps
8 burpees
8 floor jacks
8 high plank shoulder taps
8 jump lunges
8 shoulder push ups
6 push ups
6 squats
6 squat jumps
6 burpees
6 floor jacks
6 high plank shoulder taps
6 jump lunges
6 shoulder push ups
4 push ups
4 squats
4 squat jumps
4 burpees
4 floor jacks
4 high plank shoulder taps
4 jump lunges
4 shoulder push ups
2 push ups
2 squats
2 squat jumps
2 burpees
2 floor jacks
2 high plank shoulder taps
2 jump lunges
2 shoulder push ups
DONE. What was your time?

Do It Together Book

This year for Father’s Day I had some help from a great website called Paper Coterie.  We made a book for Michael called a Do It Together book.  It is spiral bound and was a big hit with the boys and with their daddy.  The book is called All About My Dad.

These are just a few of my favorite pages to give you examples of what the books are like.  The boys had fun answering the questions and Michael will always remember the funny, honest answers that only a little child can give.

(Don’t know why this one keeps turning sideways…it’s not like that on my computer, sorry!)

This would be a good idea for a birthday coming up or as a belated or next year Father’s Day gift.  I’m sure it will be a hit in your house too!

Highway Letters, Shapes, and Numbers

As I have mentioned previously, Bryce loves anything to do with cars!  I found this absolutely amazing website last year with tons of ideas for so many different topics, one of them being cars.  You seriously have to check out this website!

I printed out Highway ABC Cards, Highway Number Cards (only numbers 1 – 10), and Highway Shape Cards.  Bryce loves them!

I printed the Shape Cards on black construction paper, cut them out, and then glued them on white card stock.  I also labeled each shape.  I also put each page in a sheet protector.

I ran out of black construction paper.  I ended up printing the Numbers and ABC cards on normal white paper and coloring it to look like a road.  It took a while.  I finished the number cards before Mason was born and I’m still working on coloring the rest of the ABC cards!  🙂  The things you do to save a little ink in your printer…

Make some of these for your kids!  They will love them! 🙂