Saturday, June 16, 2012

Urban Wildlife

When we were looking for a new house 5+ years ago, we stumbled upon the perfect place to build.  A corner lot, in town, but surrounded by trees, wild grasses, and lots of wildlife signs.  Perfect for a young, growing family who really wanted to live outside of town, but couldn't quite afford it yet.  Plus, there was only one other lot touching ours, which cuts down on the potential to close (physically) neighbors.  (But thank God for our close (in relationship) neighbors!)

We have been blessed with all of the wildlife that we get to observe.  A few weeks ago, these interesting creatures were hanging out right in our yard!

Look out turkeys!  This little guy is ready to hunt you!

Too bad these guys can't just hunt in our backyard!

We also see a LOT of deer!  They are currently not my favorite animals because they have been eating my new apple trees.  Grrr.  Here is a young buck that we saw during lunch today:

He looks like he's thinking about jumping my fence to get my apple trees.  STAY AWAY!

Otherwise, the wildlife is why we built here, and I guess they can stay. :)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Rainy Day with Children

My first thought when I saw the rain coming down this morning was, "Ugh.  What am I gonna do with the kids all day?"  There's the usual, unoriginal, sit them in front of a movie.  They were done with that by 9:30.


So, I flipped on the creative switch in my head and came up with some great ideas.  I'm sure after reading this you will wish that you had known these ideas this morning, when it was raining, but now you can store them away in your brain for future rainy days!

Our first project was: COOKIES!  But not just ANY cookies. . .extremely colorful cookies.  I bought the cookie dough from a fifth grader at my school who was raising money for her dance troupe and have kept it in the freezer (and the idea in my back pocket) for a day just like this one.  Here are some pictures from our cookie-baking spree!

This is the cookie dough we used.  VERY colorful!  Sure glad I don't have to change diapers anymore!  LOL
Here are some of the items I let the kids use.  Lots of sprinkles, cookie cutters, rolling pins, etc.

Lauren's creations.

Braden working hard.

Braden's creations.

The cookies are ready to bake!

Once the kids were done, they decided on their own that they wanted to share their cookies with the neighbors.  They put some on plates and ran up and down the neighborhood delivering them. :)

The bakers!

While the cookies were baking, Lauren went off to do something in her room, but Braden chose to hang out with me and make: BANANA MUFFINS!

My little helper. Awwww!
Oh the smells coming out of my kitchen today!  Mmmmmmmmm!

All of the finished bakery items.
"Now what?" the kids wanted to know.  Hmmmm....ART PROJECTS!

First we painted designs onto coffee filters and let them dry.  This usually takes awhile, so I used a hairdryer to speed up the process!

Then we cut the coffee filters into flower shapes.  I had used some plain white paper to cut out some stencils of flowers.  The kids traced the flowers onto the back sides of the coffee filters and then cut them out.

Then we taped the flowers to the windows and started painting a scene.

Now I know what you are thinking:  YOU LET YOUR KIDS PAINT ON YOUR WINDOWS?!!

Yes.  :)

Simply mix a little bit of soap with acrylic paint and you are good to go.  It will wash off your windows, I promise. :)  Enjoy some pictures of the progress:

Finished front door!

Finished back door!

From start to finish, all of these projects took us roughly 6 hours...including clean up time.  Right now you're thinking that I managed to make a whole lot of cleaning work for myself today!

My sink FULL of dishes, paint brushes, cookie cutters, etc.
 And you would be correct.  I did a LOT of cleaning up today.  But was it worth it you ask?

Yes, THEY are. :)

My angels. :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Guilty Pleasures

Mom guilt.

Ever had it?  C'mon....raise your hand...we've all been there.  And for those of you that know me well, Mom Guilt is my middle name. is.  I have Mom Guilt in every little situation where I put myself first for even one moment in time.  Where does it come from you ask?  Because I have chosen to work.

Now, let's define "work."  I mean that I have chosen to work outside of the home.  I am clarifying this because, as I have said before, I totally support, adore, and put on pedestals, stay-at-home-moms.  Could I do what you do?  Sure! But should I?  Ohhhhh no!  Not in a million years!  You might be asking yourself, why?  Two words:

Day-time Television.  (Or should that be three words?)

Seriously.  If being a stay-at-home-mom meant sitting on my butt in front of the T.V all day long, eating when I want, what I want, and showering (maybe). . .I'm in. 

My name is Jocelyn, and I am a televisionaholic.  (Hi Jocelyn.)

Most of you know that last week my children were gone.  (Cheering!)  They spent the whole week at my wonderful in-laws' farm where they had loads of fun.  I blogged about all the cleaning I got done during their absence.  But what I failed to mention was what else I did during that week.  (Dramatic pause. . .)

(Little known fact about me.)

I have a secret guilty pleasure.  It drives my husband nuts.  Eye-rolling nuts!

I LOVE teeny-bopper shows.  ANY show geared towards teens to early 20's, count me in!  Some of my current guilty pleasures that I watch EVERY time they are on (or DVR to watch later):
*Secret Life of the American Teenager
*Pretty Little Liars
*Bunheads (new show that just started)

So, last week I discovered that the channel SoapNet shows reruns of Beverly Hills 90210!  (Squeal!)  I know!  Awesome right?!  Right?!  No?  Well, I like it.  And I sat on my butt and watched it every single day of my kid less week.  And enjoyed every minute of it!

So THIS week, my kids are back and my guilty pleasure has to wait.  Or does it?  I have discovered that I can watch some of it if I am doing something else while the kids are playing.  I can get them started on something and go clean the kitchen while watching Brandon and Kelli ALMOST get married.  Then I can fold some laundry while Donna helps Noah get through ANOTHER crisis.  But ultimately a child will come into the room and I have to quickly click the off button before he or she gets an eye-full, and sweetly ask said child what they need.

Yesterday was a time where I felt especially guilty with Mom Guilt.  I was caught by my son with the kitchen spotless, sitting at the table with my coffee, and watching while the whole crew threw Brandon a going away party.  My youngest looked at me with the sweetest of faces and asked: "Mommy?  Will you read me one of my library books?"  Oh no....what do I do now?  My show was at a very pivotal moment!  I was about to see if Brandon actually leaves Beverly Hills to go to Washington, D.C. to work at their prestigious paper! And Donna and Noah were on the verge of breaking up....again!  And Valerie. . .well, don't even get me started on that one!

I would never get this moment back!

Best library book I ever read. :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


This post is for those of you that read my blog to feel better about your own parenting skills and children.  Yesterday I blogged about my kids not listening to me or following my rules.  Well, today the chaos continues.

We live on a pretty quiet street.  There is not much traffic, and we live on a corner that has a stop sign.  So, yes, I am one of those mother's who lets their kids play outside in the front yard without too much supervision.  But, we have rules.  If I am not out there, they are not allowed to cross the street, or ride their bikes in the street.

Lauren "forgot" these rules today.  So, I gently reminded her of them.  She came inside a little while later and asked if she could go to the neighbor's house across the street to our corner and see if their granddaughter could come over to play.  I said sure, but that she needed to walk over there, NOT ride her bike.

And then I stood at the window and watched her RIDE HER BIKE to the neighbor's house! 

Can you see the steam that came out of my ears?

I waited patiently until she came back and called her inside.  Taking the advice of my sister, I handed her a box of Clorox wipes and told her to make her bathroom spotless.  She, of course, asked why.  When I told her that I had been watching her break two rules (riding in the street, and riding her bike to the neighbor's when I had explicitly told her not to), she made no excuses, didn't whine, she just grabbed the wipes and headed to the bathroom.

She came out a few minutes later and said she was done.  I half-smiled and said, "The toilet too."

She shares a bathroom with her 5 year old brother who has terrible aim.  She will learn a good lesson today! LOL

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Real Kids vs Robots

Why is it that kids won't listen?!  I mean, really.  How hard is it to listen to what their parents are telling them, and then to (gasp) do it?!  This is what I am currently struggling with.

I am a teacher.  All day long I get paid to tell kids what to do, and they listen to me.  I can command a whole gymnasium full of elementary school aged kids, but my own children act like they don't hear me.

Now, we may not have this whole parenting thing figured out, but we are at least consistent.  If we say we are going to do something, we do it.  If we talk about a consequence that will happen, it gets enforced.  So why is it that my children continually defy me?

Take today, for example.  We were shopping at Target for a birthday present for one of my daughter's friends, and some Father's Day cards.  The kids were being pretty well behaved.  My son wanted to sit in the cart.  Then he wanted out of the cart.  Then he wanted in the cart again.  I told him that if he got inside the cart, he wasn't getting back out.  So what happens?  Of course, he wants out again.  And now he's whining, and trying to embarrass me into letting him out. Nothing doing.  Then I turn my back to read a card, and his sneaky sister helps him get out!  Grrrr.  Then she says that she is getting in the cart.  I said, no, you are too old to be riding in a shopping cart and you'll smoosh the items in the back.  Once again, I'm distracted by something, and in the cart she climbs.  So now she has earned herself a time out for not listening to me.

Now she's mad, so she's going to make my life miserable in the checkout lane.  She opens up the pop cooler and takes out a bottled water.  I say, no, put it back and close the cooler.  Immediately her little brother puts his hand on the cooler door to open it.  I say, "B, if you open that you will have a time out too.  I just told your sister not to touch it."  So, he opens it when he thinks I'm not looking and then tries to deny it.  So now HE also has earned a time out.  And he proceeds to throw a fit about it.  In the middle of Target.  Lovely.
Right about now I'm starting to think that military school sounds pretty good.

On the ride home all I keep hearing from the peanut gallery is "Why do we have to sit in time out?"  I'm thinking DUH!  But I calmly explain that they made the choice to not listen to what I told them to do, or not to do.  It was their choice to have a consequence, not mine.  I explained that when I ask them to do something, or not to do something, I am merely trying to keep them safe and healthy and that by defying me they are putting themselves in danger.  The whining continues, because of course they are not really listening to me.  I go into "ignore mode."

This is the point at which I start to wish that I had more obedient children.  But then again, I'm torn.  Do I really want to raise robots?  Robots that do what I say when I say it and don't question anything?  At times, yes! But I also want my children to learn to question things and to make up their own minds about things.   But we don't get to pick and choose when our kids get to question and when they don't.  I guess the best we can hope for is that when it really matters they will listen.  And until then we will wear out the kitchen timer with our time outs.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Party Time!

Each summer since my youngest was about 15 months old, my wonderful in-laws have taken the kids for a week.  I absolutely live for this week each year.  It gives me a chance to relax, read, and ready myself for a summer being a stay at home mom.  However...I have never really learned how to relax during this week off.  I always seem to have projects in mind that I want to get done.  This summer's project was cleaning and organizing the kids' rooms.  And getting rid of about half of their "stuff." 

Now, I'm not saying that ALL I did was clean and organize!  I also mowed the lawn, went to the gym, did some things for next school year, and rearranged the furniture.  I know, I know.  I really know how to party right?  LOL

I did manage to sleep in, stay in my PJ's until about noon each day, and get my hubby to take me out to eat each night.  See?  I DO know how to relax!

For your viewing pleasure, here are some before and after pictures of the kids' closets:
Lauren's closet "after."
Lauren's closet "before."

Braden's closet "before."
Braden's closet "after."

Yes, their rooms were a PIT!  As was the play room.  I didn't take any pictures of the play room, before or after, because, well, I forgot.  But, I DO have pictures of all the "stuff" I am getting rid of!

This is the "stuff" that I am giving to the church rummage sale.  No, NOT the wine....THAT is for me thankyouverymuch!!

This is the "stuff" that we are taking to our niece.  I am sure that she is going to love every bit of it.  I'm just not so sure that her mom and dad will ever forgive me!!!

Not only did I get rid of the kids' things, I am also taking about 7 garbage bags full of MY "stuff" to the Good Will.  It's mostly clothes I don't wear and old towels that we don't use.  Nothing too exciting, but I am so thrilled to get rid of it all!

It's very therapeutic to get rid of clutter.  And I get positively giddy about closet organizers!  Silly right?  Ah well, whatever makes you happy, right?  I have found a lot of organization ideas on Pinterest .  I also read a lot of other mom's blogs.  One of my favorites, besides my sister's wonderful blog, is this one written by another mom who is fabulous with organization.  She has become my inspiration, mostly because she seems to have it all together.  Although, being a mom, I know that this is not true and that makes me happy because I know that I can also appear to have it all together!

Well, it is now almost 12:30 and I am still in my lounge wear.  Time to get dressed and do something with my life on my last day sans kids.  Maybe I'll go clean something else?! LOL