Sunday, August 30, 2015

Lots Of Projects!

Ever since getting back from Wyoming I've been working on lots of little projects to get us more organized. I figured I would just lump them together in one post. 

This first one isn't really an organization thing, but it was fun to make. Last year I made my friend Kim and my mom both covers for their Kitchen Aid Mixers. Now that I have my Grandma's I knew I wanted to make one for myself. I found this super cute fabric on sale at Joann's. I love sunflowers! Since this one has a harvest theme I think I'm actually going to make one for each season so I can switch them out. They really aren't that difficult to make and it's a fun project that can be finished in an afternoon. 


While at my Aunt Linda's house we all got to look at my Grandma's jewelry and go shopping through my aunt's jewelry that she didn't want. It was so much fun! My aunt's jewelry is stored so nicely in her top dresser drawer. All these cute little dividers that are specifically for rings and bracelets and necklaces. So organized!!! Anyways...I knew I wanted to do something like that so I cleared out one of my drawers and got to work. My mom was going to sell these black plastic dividers at the garage sale this summer, but I snagged them from her first. I had no idea what I was going to use them for at the time, but I'm so glad I hung onto to them. Now all my jewelry has a place and I can easily see it and figure out exactly what I want to put on every morning. Love it! 

You may remember that earlier this year we did a major overall of the kids the rooms. Ella's room actually became the playroom and she moved into Owen's old room and all 3 boys moved in together. Wow that was a lot of work! A few days ago it struck me that her hutch...the one Papa Martin made from old barn wood...just wasn't being used to it's potential. Sure it held her pretties on top, but inside it was barely used. The only things we put in there were her leggings and jeans. There was tons of empty space. So we moved it out! 

And for the time being we've moved the old bench from the entryway...remember I redid that earlier this year as well. Yes...I know I'm nuts! I thought Ella might be really upset with me taking it out of her room...I mean it's gorgeous...but she was fine! She even said that she didn't really like it in her room anyway. It's been in her room since before she was born so we never did ask her if she liked it and she never told us...who knew! She actually loves having the bench in her room. Her dress up shoes have a place underneath and that for some reason makes her super happy! Also Michael had to hang the black shelf up so her pretty statues could go up there. You'd think hanging a simple shelf would be easy right? Nope....this thing gave Michael such grief and then when he did get it hung up it look totally crooked when it actually wasn't because her heating controls were crooked. We didn't actually notice that it was crooked before though since it was behind the hutch. Once Michael fixed the heating controls everything was all good. 

The lid lifts up and there was enough storage to put all her leggings and her jeans. I am going to be on the lookout for a nice dresser this fall at the Mill Creek garage sales, but I'm not in any rush since she's super happy with it. 

We did have to move a few of her pretties to her vanity and I'm crossing my fingers that they don't get broken, but we'll see! 

As for the hutch...we moved the kitchen island out to the deck to make room for it. The island will be a great place for Michael to have room to set all the stuff he's going to grill. In the past he's been just setting things on the deck railing. Also the storage underneath is great for all the BBQ tools. 

This is the hutches new home! To me it looks like it should have always been here. In fact Ella was so sweet when she first saw it she said, "It looks SO much better in here Mommy!" I have to say I agree! 

My kitchen has kind of a farm theme with sunflowers and chickens so it really does fit right in. 

All my cookbooks used to be stored in my pantry taking up lots of shelf space. Plus have the time I would forget to even look at them. now they are all displayed and ready to be used. I also decided to display my Grandma's rolling pin. It's so beautiful I didn't want it shoved in a drawer anymore! As for the glass cutting board that is there so the kids have a place to put their drinks and the condensation won't get on the wood and ruin it. 

Other than having a place to store my cookbooks my main motivation for moving the hutch down here was to make a lunch station for the kids. With 3 kids in school and my absolute hatred for packing lunches I'm hoping this will help streamline things. On the top shelf are all their lunchboxes and then the containers with their lunch choices. On the bottom shelf is there water bottles, soup thermoses, a basket full of accessories and a basket full of lunch containers. 

I saw this idea on Facebook a few weeks ago and knew I needed to run with it. We just happen to have some extra containers lying around so I put them to good use. Going from L to R....the empty container is actually going to be the one I put in the frig. It will be filled with things like string cheese, yogurt, ham chunks, carrots & ranch, summer sausage. The next one over has fruit snacks and baggies filled with craisins in it right now, but after I go shopping it will also have fruit strips, fruit cups and applesauce cups in it. The next one has goldfish crackers, graham crackers and individual cups of peanut butter. I will also stock it with ritz crackers or teddy grahams. The fourth one over has bars in it...fig bars, granola bars, nutri-gran bars, Z-bars...whatever bar is on sale at Costco basically. The last container is the treat container...right now it has a bucket of candy and also rice krispie treats and pudding cups. All of the containers have tape on the front telling the kids how many they can take from that particular container. They all say 1 except the frig container that one says 2. 

Here's a closer look at the basket in the hutch. It has compartments so the kids can grab a napkin and a spoon if they need one. Also I put all the fun cookie cutters in there if they want to use them to cut shapes into their cheese, meat or sandwiches. That was a lot of work, but it was actually very fun. Lunch to me is the worst meal of the day. I truly truly hate it...even making lunch for myself. So hopefully this helps make packing lunches fun for everyone involved. 

The last little project has to do with paying the kids for their jobs. Normally we would pay them for a job, make a tally mark on their sheet and then when it was time to go to church we'd have them bring down their money and we'd add up how much money they needed for tithe. As you can see from the tally chart we forgot to add it up...a lot! Then the kids would spend their money and end up owing God money they had already spent. So to solve that problem I used a container I had and we wrote God's Money on it and now when I pay them I always make sure I used the correct change so they can immediately take out 10% of their pay and put it right into God's piggy bank. Now they know that all the money in their piggy banks is truly theirs. It's also the start of teaching them about percentages. They already know if they make .50 they owe God .5 and if they make a dollar they owe him .10. It's been good for them to see that even though God has asked us to trust him by giving some of our money he doesn't ask for very much at all. They are getting to physically see that when they put in one little nickle and they still have .45 more cents left. It's the start of them realizing that God is the reason we have money in the first place. It's really all His and it's not ours....He actually is trust us with it and we need to be good stewards of it. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Last Hurrah Of Summer!

The last full week of summer vacation didn't quite go as well as I'd like. We had plans to go to IKEA on Tuesday for Kids Eat Free day and then I was going to take the kids to Coulon Beach...we'd only been once all summer! Then I came downstairs to have the kids help me pack up for our day and I noticed Jack didn't look too good. Within 5 minutes he was puking! Well there goes those plans! With it also went the plan for me to workout the next day with my neighbor and for us to have Kendra and Lilyann spend the night at our house! Best laid plans right! 

By Thursday Jack was feeling better...he said his tummy was bothering him a little bit so I gave him some anti-nausea meds and he felt better. I had been checking the weather and Thursday was going to be our last chance to go to the beach before school started the next week. So it was now or never!  

Even though the weather was nice it wasn't 80 degrees out so the beach wasn't nearly as crowded as it was the first time I took the kids. I also think that in the beginning of summer we are so sun deprived that everyone just flocks to the beach and then as summer is coming to an end it gets to be old news! I for one and definitely looking forward to cooler weather and rain! We so desperately need rain!  

Ella found some acorn tops in the sand! 

We offered to bring the neighbor boys with us again, but they weren't able to come. We were bummed! They have so much fun playing in the lake with Owen and Jack and they are also such great helpers when it comes to getting all the stuff to and from the beach. My kiddos did a great job helping this time! 

They played in the water and made moats and rivers with the sand. 

We got ice cream and Popsicle from the Snack Shack too! 

Unfortunately our time was cut a bit short. Zeke had been coughing that morning and as the day went on it just got worse and worse. Poor boy was hacking! I knew he was going to have a major meltdown and there was going to be no way I could carrying him around, try to pack up everything and then pull the wagon to the van. We packed up after only 2 1/2 hours...I know that sounds like a long time, but we usually stay at least 4! When we got home Ella was starting to cough so I put both of them down for a nap. I'm sad to see summer go, but at the same time I'm excited for school to start and to get back to routine! 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Jefferson Park!

Last weekend we actually had nothing on the calendar on Saturday....that hasn't happened in months! The kids were dying to go to a park, but Michael was totally wiped....later we found out he had a sinus infection and that's why he was so fatigued. While Owen and I sat in the recliner together searching for a fun park to go to. We didn't really have too much luck. The boys...Jack joined us were quite certain that the park had to meet their requirements. After a good half hour of searching I finally dawned on me that my friend Jen just posted pictures of her kids at an awesome park in Seattle. We hadn't been looking north we'd only been looking south of our house. I found on the park on my phone, brought up the pictures for the boys and it was settled...we were heading to Jefferson Park! 

I had no clue this park even existed and it's HUGE!! Like SUPER HUGE!!! It's actually built over the top of a water reservoir. It seriously has everything. Skate park, tennis courts, driving range, golf course across the street, huge open fields to set up volleyball nets or an easy up to have a BBQ, play structures, two ziplines, two big slides that end at a sprinkler area, covered pavilion you can reserve and you have an amazing view of the city. 

One of the kids prerequisites is that the park had sidewalks for them to go around and around on with their scooters. Of course this ended up being the thing they did the least! 

I asked Zeke if he wanted to take his helmet off, but he said nope. He certainly was the safest kid there! 

There were so many different fun challenging things to do at the play structure area. 

Climbing the rainbow ladder! 

My cute boys are still so light they couldn't really move the seesaw very well so I ended up standing in the middle and moving it for that's a workout! 

This thing was hilarious....I was trying to show Owen how to hold onto the chain rope and step on the foot holds and then pull himself up to the next level. He did fine on the first and second ones and then he freaked out. I told him that he was closer to the top than the bottom and then I helped give him a shove. When he got all the way up he didn't want to us these monkey bar type things to come down so what did he do.....he just jumped! Seriously child!! 

Taking a rest from all the playing! 

Ella was so excited there was a climbing wall that she could do! 

Cute cheeser! 

These kids really did have so much fun...climbing....






and balancing on all sorts of fun contraptions! 

This is Ella's go to outfit! She loves this black tank top of hers. The funny thing was later on at the park we saw a girl that was maybe 5 years older than Ella in the exact same outfit! I almost asked her to pose for a picture with Ella, but then figured she'd probably think I was a weirdo!

This thing is the craziest thing ever. It's one of those buckets you sit in and then from the weight of your body and the way it's positioned it just keeps spinning and spinning. When we first got there this was Ella's first choice of what to play with. Michael and I were sitting on a bench a little bit away from her so we could keep an eye on Zeke riding his scooter and see the whole play area. We were watching her going around and around and around and around. Poor thing could not stop herself! She didn't even cry out! Michael ran over there and stopped her and her head kept leaning to one side...she was so dizzy! She's had issues in the past with spinning or flipping over due to her Hydrocephalus, but over than being dizzy she got over it fairly quickly. I did ask her why she didn't cry out and she said, "I was too scared!" 

Cute red face from playing so hard! 

The next thing we went to explore were the ziplines. 

Each of the older boys went 3 times and had lots of fun, but the big slides were right next to the ziplines and they wanted to give those a try. 

One of the slides is a tunnel and the other is open. Of course the kids favor the tunnel slide! 

For added exercise you can just climb up the hill instead of taking the stairs. 

Here's the whole view of the slide/sprinkler park area. There were some older kids there and they were coming down on their bikes from the top of the area where the tunnel slide is. 

Of course I didn't bring the kids swim clothes! 

I told the kids to only get their feet wet and for the older kids that's possible because you know their legs are longer, but for this cute shrimpo that has barely any legs it was impossible for him to only get his toes wet without getting his shorts wet. 

Of course he was soaked! 

Owen really wanted to ride his bike up the hill that was next to us and then come back down so he was doing that while the other kids were playing in the water. 

They even started riding their scooters through the water. We stayed for a couple of hours and had so much fun! One of the things I noticed that stood out to me was the fact that we were in Seattle, but I never once heard a bad word, I never saw any street people, I never heard any fighting and I never saw any sort of questionable behavior. There were just lots of families with their kids enjoying a beautiful day at the park. Loved it!!!! This is definitely a park we will be coming to again and again! 

Thursday, August 27, 2015


Jackson has been working so hard this summer on mastering the swings. This has been one of those activities that has been hard for him due to his spacial awareness and the lack of core muscles. He's really been working that core of his this summer as well...the monkey bars are great for that and he loves though!  

He's quite proud of himself and he loves to have you watch him and see how high he can get and that he can jump off. 

Sometimes when he does "jump" he gets off the swing too early and he just ends up walking on the grass. It's actually pretty cool looking! 

Another person that's been improving is Owen and his big brother status. He's getting so much better at being willing to help out his younger siblings. This is not something that comes easily for him...he is quite the self-centered boy. We have been talking about how we need to think of others and also about trying not to cause strive in our family. My true hope is that my kids will grow up and have a strong servant heart. I love love love to serve! That's why it's hard for me to say no....I have gotten better at it over the years though. I want them to truly enjoy helping others and find the joy in it!