Friday, 28 June 2013

Friday Fundays

Happy Friday!! This is an extra special Fun Friday because 2 very important things are happening today in the our family. (Therefore, this blog post will be huge)

#1 - It's Grading Day! The last official day of school for Madison and Jessee. Madison is switching schools for next year, so this grading day will be a special one, and emotional one. However, this means It's officially summer now!
I love this time of year. As much as I love sending my kids to school, and the importance of education, I'm so excited to let my kids sleep in (seriously, Madison is a grizzly bear in the morning) wear their pjs all day, and lay around and watch cartoons until lunch. They worked hard all year too, and they deserve to be a kid for 2 months.
#2 - It's Noah's first day at a real, live preschool. He'll be attending 1 day a week.
I've done the preschool thing so many times, for so many years, yet it never gets old. This is my 4th child heading off to preschool, and I'm still a wreck! Also, it's only 1 day a week, I'll see him in just a few hours. Yet I'm still holding back tears watching him walk out the front door, with his best Levis on and his Cars backpack strapped on tight. Will he cry for me? Does he understand I'm leaving him there? What if he throws dinkies at everyone? Being a childcare provider I'm the one the tear filled parents drop their children with, so I see the other side of the situation. It comforts me, because every child is always fine. Just fine. So I know he will be, this whole event just reminds me that my son is officially growing up, and he's not a little baby anymore. I vividly remember taking Lily's picture last year as she walked out the door to preschool thinking I'd have so much time until it was Noah's turn. But here I am, and where did that time go?

It's also that time of year for teacher gifts! My girls had amazing teachers this year, and they deserve a new car, or a pony for their job well done. But for now, some simple crafts from the heart will have to do. I like to personalize gifts, and create something that the girls can pass out to all the helpers at their school.

For their homeroom teachers we picked up some pretty plants and made cards to stick in the pot that read "thanks for helping me grow". We stuck them on pencils just to be creative!

We made up some treat bags with chocolate goodies in them for the other teachers and helpers around the school. They made cards that read " have a sweet summer". Each one of them had a hand in making the girl's year a memorable one. Their gym teacher, music teacher, secretary, lunchroom helper, etc. The list goes on! And a little special gift for another favourite teacher! We painted a mug with chalkboard paint and they wrote " #1 teacher " and we filled it with assorted teas and hot chocolate.

It's an emotional day for this mom! Thank goodness it's a long weekend!

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Noah's Bedroom - Part II

I'm still working on Noah's bedroom. You can see my previous project here. I ordered some oh so cute prints from my very talented friend, Jessica who does photography and design. I had given the same prints to a friend for her son's birthday last year, and always thought they were so cute! Recently Noah has been into "roaring" and dinosaurs. So I thought these would be fitting for his room as well.

Before, this wall had a wall art stick-on of a tree, and wooded animals scene. It was adorable, but a bit juvenile for him now. Plus, during the move from Noah's nursery I ripped and ruined it quite a bit. Unfortunately I don't have a before picture (I know, I can't believe it either) but the finished product goes a little something like this.

My boy loves them! He roars goodnight to them every night before bed.

If you like what you see, you can view Jessica's work via her Facebook page.

Monday, 24 June 2013

One kid at a time

Recently Jessee (my 7 year old) and I took a road trip to visit some family. It could've been a family trip, but work and school schedules just didn't work out, so instead of going by myself, I took the opportunity to incorporate some quality time with one of the kids. Since I have 4, one on one time is very limited with the kids. I know they need it, and I can tell when they're craving it, but sometimes it's hard to try to schedule more than just a snuggle session or storytime together.
She was thrilled to go! She got to leave school early, pack a backpack of activities, and a pillow and blanket for the drive. Camping out in the van really excites children, I don't know why. We had a lovely visit and once we left, I made sure the drive home was all about her. I told her we could stop wherever she wanted for a snack. She chose Dairy Queen for a banana split! She tells me it was her very first, how can that be?

We also stopped at Walmart and she picked out some funky, new nail polish and lipstick for her and her sisters. We chatted alot and I was amazed at how many stories she had for me about school, friends, life in general. Where have I been? Have I really missed so much? I find it so hard to pay attention to them all, at the same time, all the time. Give them more than 5 minutes of my undivided attention? pffft. Although I felt awful about how neglectful I'd been, she was having the time of her life and spent the whole trip home with a smile, which quickly made up for my heartache. 

I feel it's important to make our kids feel loved and valued and create a positive connection between us. It's important for me, as a parent as well. Each of my children are different in personalities, ages, and interests. I love reconnecting with them on such a personal level as it gives me a little reminder of who they are, and why I love them so much. I find that extra effort of attention really helps in their behaviour. I'd love to be able to do this kind of thing on a regular basis, but it can be challenging.

If you're struggling with trying to schedule in some quality time, here are some ideas to help squeeze in your kids:
A quick trip to the grocery store can include a helper. They can get a free cookie while they're there, help pack the cart, and load the groceries on the checkout conveyor belt (that's always a hit!). Kids love to know that they're helping and are always so proud of themselves. Add that to the extra attention they're getting from you and they're happy!
Any household chore, whether it be folding laundry, or emptying the dishwasher. If it's just the two of you completing the job they still have your undivided attention and you're both working together to complete something.
My girls love to get their nails done. It's easy for me to explain why I have to do one child at a time, "the smell is too strong", or "I need to concentrate so I don't ruin the nails". I can have the others wait in another room and squeeze in a few minutes of "us time" While I'm doing their nails, it's just the two of us and we can have a quick chat and talk about how pretty their nails are. Kids + praise = happy!

Enjoy and Happy Parenting :)

Friday, 21 June 2013

Friday Fundays

I can't believe it's Friday already. It feels like yesterday that I wrote last week's Friday Funday. Today is our last Friday playgroup for the year. We have a big morning planned and I can't wait to see how much fun my kids will have! A Bouncy house, pizza, cake, and lots of fun snacks! Did I mention cake? I wonder if adults are allowed in the bouncy house? Mike will be the first to find out I'm sure.

Since it's officially the first day of summer, I'm hoping for a sunny weekend, there are some fun family events happening around town as that we plan to partake in. If I'm going to lug and chase my kids around town, It's more worth it if I'm getting tanned at the same time. I'm also hoping I can get some outdoor things done. I've got a small project on the go to spruce up my garden shed. It's an ugly shade of grey, so I'm planning on tossing around some planters, garden stones and adding a fake wooden window frame and a flower box. Similar to this shed below.

One of the blogs I follow is East Coast Mommy and she recently posted a Family Movie Night idea. She inspired me to set one up for tonight. I'm a huge fan of family movie nights, and it's been a while since we had one. It's just the youngest two kids and I tonight, so I'm thinking tonight might be the night! There's nothing like pjs, popcorn and a good movie to complete a long and busy week.

Any movie suggestions?

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Class Trips

It's that time of year again. School is almost over and class trips are upon us! I remember how much fun I had as a kid on class trips. The bus ride, exploring a new place, and having a special lunch packed in a brown paper bag with my name written on it. Everytime I see those bags I fondly remember those fun times.

Both Madison and Jessee had class trips yesterday, which made it easier because I could help the girls pack everything at the same time, make the same kind of lunches (no glass bottles, or microwavable food) and sunscreen them both up before they left.
The night before was busy and we didn't get to packing until well after our bedtime curfew. I should know by now not to leave things until the last minute. So many things went wrong.
They needed a long sleeved shirt. Surprise, there were no clean long sleeved shirts. Begin laundry, and remind myself not to forget to dry them and put them in their backpack.
Bring a towel. No clean towels?! C'mon!
Pack sunscreen. I had already bought a bottle of sunscreen and labelled them for each girl. Why can't I find Jessee's? I can't be the mom who sends her without sunscreen. Can I remember to buy some before school tomorrow? Probably not.
Label everything.
Madison's trip was a rain or shine event, so she needed everything packed - pants, shorts, boots, sweater, jacket. She only wanted leggings. Where are all the leggings at?!
Where's my husband at?!

In the morning I did remember to dry the towels and long sleeved shirts. Game point. Madison was convinced we were late and she was going to miss her bus. We were actually early. She actually told me to run a stop sign to get to the school on time. It's a 5 minute drive and I swear I grew 2 grey hairs on the way.
I wanted to pack a special treat in their lunch, something they don't usually have. Of course, I ran out of time the night before turning my house upside down looking for leggings. So I had to stop at the grocery store on the way to school (insert Madison's hulk transformation here) I ended up grabbing some yogurt drinks and pineapple = happy kids!

I love to see my kids happy and excited for things, they actually skipped into school today! I can't wait to hear all their stories when they get home and I hope they make amazing memories like I did.

Oh, but guess what. Jessee's trip was cancelled due to rain until today. Thankfully the sun is out in full force today!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

My honest toddler

Fellow blogger Karen over at The Sort of Crunchy Hall-Smith Family introduced me to a hilarious parenting blog, The Honest Toddler  and I've been following weekly. Many of you might have already heard of it, but to me, its new. Either way it's worth the share!

 I can't praise this woman enough. She writes about her toddler, from the view of her toddler. From dissing Super Nanny to letters for Santa, this blog has everything! It's so refreshing to read that there is another mother out there dealing with the same things I am and instead of pulling her hair out, she's laughing about it all. After so many years of hard-parenting advice books from so many "experts" it's fantastic to read about someone who, I feel, really understands. She's inspired me to find humour in my own parenting problems. Spending every day with a houseful of toddlers and raising my last toddler of the family (Noah is 2), I can relate to many of the stories she's shared.

Like her toddler, Noah enjoys breaking crackers....and lamps, and toys, and dishes (the list goes on). He too loves to hug and trap our cats (he may have inherited that trait from a certain parent) and he thinks that everything is edible. Argh.
I don't remember any of the girls acting like this when they were toddlers. There were lots of outbursts, tears, and drama of course (they're girls!) But they were never this destructive and nutty. Is it because he's a boy? I thought being surrounded by girls he might be more tame. I was so wrong. Noah sees nothing wrong with tossing dinkies across the room at your head, or opening the front door and escaping to the woods in bare feet. To him, mornings mean rising with the sun, screaming until you deliver a cup of juice and the tv remote and being content only after jumping on my head 3 times while I'm still half asleep. I know this phase won't last. I went through the same sleep schedule with all my kids and one by one they began to sleep all night, sleep in past 7am and even nap voluntarily. So I know there is hope, I just have to stick it out until then!

I have to admit, it's a fascinating age. Noah is learning to talk, and it's so cute! It's fun to watch him play and think up new activities on his own. He's still little enough to rock and snuggle and I'll never get sick of that! I know I should cherish these moments, because time will fly by. But how does one do that when they're so tired? Haha! I'll admit, I'm looking forward to sleeping, but since he's the last baby I have, I'm secretly hoping he'll stay one a little bit longer.

Enjoy and Happy Parenting!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Father's Day

Happy Monday! It's hard to believe the weekend is over already, it's never long enough. Of course, Sunday was Father's Day and we celebrated in true Talbot-MacLean fashion. Busy, eventful and full of fun!

Jessee made a frisbee craft at school that Mike loved! It was so cute, and very easy.


The kids and I made up another cute and easy craft instead of signing a card. I love to hear the honest truth from kids! I'm going to frame this as part of his present, and he'll always have this to look at.

We're a family that likes to eat out as a treat, especially on a special occasion. So we took Mike and my father out to supper at a new restaurant downtown and strolled the waterfront with ice creams for dessert. The girls dressed up, put on makeup and wore fancy shoes. They love to make a big deal out of any occasion. I even put on a skirt and a necklace (my goodness!) Of course, it wasn't the relaxing, enjoyable supper he may have dreamed of (they normally aren't). But the food was good and the company irreplaceable.

I do have a few tips at taking your exceptionally large family out to eat:

1. Bring activities for the kids. Anything will do. Luckily this restaurant had a tablecloth you could colour all over. Genius. This kind of set-up is perfect for tic tac toe. If you want a happy kid at dinner, always let them  win more than you.
2. Sit at a table that is away from the rest of the restaurant, in a corner, or to the side of the dinning area. Not in the middle of the restaurant, by the front door, or near the counter where all the waitresses will be travelling by and tripping over your 2 year old as he tries to escape through the front door. (which is too close to your table)
3. Be prepared to eat in shifts. While one parent chases/entertains kids, the other can enjoy their supper at a regular pace. It prevents the risk of choking.

The kids did surprise me at how well they behaved, and we even got a group photo with Mike. Seriously, this is huge for us.

By the end of the day, all of us were beat. It was all worth it for the 8pm bedtime! How did you spend your Father`s Day? 

Friday, 14 June 2013

Friday Fundays

Hooray for another Friday! And hooray for only 1 full week of school left! Last night was the end of the year dance at Madison and Jessee's elementary school and of course, they went in full "Madison and Jessee" style. This means dressed in their most fanciest dress, hair styled and makeup sparkles on!
We all went, had so much fun, and created another family tradition with a dance photo op. We proved for the second year in a row, there's no such thing as a perfect photo.

Here's last years photo..what a difference a year makes!

and such thing as a perfect photo.

My Friday started well before my alarm went off. Noah must've been excited about Friday too and wanted to start celebrating before the sun came up. How can I be mad when I walk into his room to a smile and a toddler version of "morning mama"? My heart was too busy melting to stay mad. 
Today the kids and I are heading to our Friday morning playgroup and then I'm off to attend the Volunteer Tea at the school. It's a lovely tradition that I've taken part of for 3 years now, and I look forward to this every spring. I get to leave the house on my own, eat a free lunch, drink tea, and I even get a present! I don't even remember what I volunteered for, but I'm sure I did it so I could be invited to this event. Or because I wanted to help and make a difference in my girl's school. Yes, that's what I meant, obviously. It's a great way to kick-start my weekend and I'm really looking forward to it.

I'm counting on a fun weekend of soccer and birthday parties, and getting ready for Sunday's Father's Day celebrations :)

In lieu of Father's Day, here's some ideas for Father's Day that inspired me to celebrate our own Man of the house :

Hope everyone has a great weekend and Happy Father's Day to all!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Noah's Bedroom - Part I

Before Noah's room was, well, Noah's room, it was mine and Mike's room. And before that, it was Madison and Jessee's room. So it's had it's fair share of inhabitants. It was blue when we first moved into the house and when we made it our bedroom we painted it a "Honey" shade to match our dark wood furniture. Since we changed rooms, Noah was kind of "thrown" in there and I've never really done anything with the room to personalize it or give it a little boy look. I've got a to-do list for his room and over the weekend I finally accomplished one!

This wall was just plain, and ugly. I didn't have anything big enough to hang on it, and I didn't want to put up shelves for fear they'd end up falling on top of him. Seriously, somehow, this would happen.

I did some searching on Pinterest and came across an idea to paint stripes! I had leftover paint from our entryway project so I thought why not? I prefer most of my DIY projects to be cheap, so this was a win for me!
Unfortunately this wasn't a project I could do while Noah was napping so he had a ball ripping paint tape off the wall and sticking his fingers in fresh paint. It took me a little longer than I expected but in the end I'm more than pleased with it!

I measured out where I wanted the stripes and drew lines with a light pencil. I used paint tape to make the lines and a long meter stick to make sure they were straight. (most of them weren't and some still aren't but I stopped caring)

...ta da!

I love it!

Stay tuned for more updates!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Gardening 101

One of the best things about summer is finally being able to get out and tidy up our gardens, and plant some new flowers to brighten up our lawn. We had some lovely, sunny days last week which gave us the chance to do just that. Mike is the real gardener in the family, and before I met him I basically knew nothing and actually stuck plastic dollar store plants in the dirt and thought it looked pretty. I've come a long way and learned a lot!
We bought some assorted seeds and lily bulbs from Vessey's as part of a fundraiser my sister-in-law was canvassing for. Sunflowers (my favourite!) Lupins, Hollyhocks and forget-me-nots.

Planting Lilies in our garden now has become a ritual since Lily was born. She always helps plant them and loves to point out the flowers that are named after her. (Not the other way around of course). We planted them in our front garden since it had some space to spare and not many coloured plants. They've already started to sprout up as I'm writing this blog. Whenever Mike asks what we should plant, I reply "big and colourful!" I think that's what gardens are supposed to be!

It's fun to involve the kids. They love to dig in the dirt, and fill up their watering cans to water the plants. It teaches them to how to care for something, makes them feel a part of a fun activity and they can see the end result of all their hard work. I love when adult tools are shrunk to accommodate kids. Tool belts, cooking utensils, gardening sets. It's adorable and oh so fun! How cute is this watering can? And kid?

I also got to hang up our new Summer flag! Sticking to the sunflower theme we have throughout the garden (and our kitchen) it fits in perfectly!

I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend :) Beat those Monday blahs by reading my post about Monday Mornings. Hopefully there will be lots of people having sex, spending money and maxing out their visas planning future vacations.

Enjoy, and happy parenting !

Friday, 7 June 2013

Friday Fundays

I think I like posting on Fridays, it's a great way to end my week and an even greater way to begin my weekend. I've already stated how much I love Fridays, and weekends. Unfortunately Mike works, so it's just me take on the kids! It's supposed to be raining all weekend which means a case of shack wacky kids! I've already planned out some activities for us so we can still enjoy our weekend. I have some DIY disasters to tackle in Noah's bedroom that the kids can help with (stay tuned for that result!) and of course some house cleaning that I've let slip during the week. Most importantly, as part of our family traditions, rainy days mean baking and movies!
I've got the baking cupboard stocked with ingredients, and some High School Musical and Muppets on the DVR so we are more than ready. My friend Deelle over at Mother and Fitness posted a delicious looking recipe for Black Bean Brownies which I've been dying to try for weeks now. I'm always looking for healthier food alternatives and we all love brownies in this house so it's worth giving it a try! All I have to do is say "bake" and the kids are cheering. They get excited just putting their aprons on. It's such a great family activity where everyone can help, practice taking turns, and then see the end result of all their hard work (and eating the end result can be pretty fun too!)
I came across some great indoor craft ideas we can work on. With Father's Day approaching and daddy working all weekend, this is a great opportunity to make up some home-made cards! Since he reads this blog (faithfully Im sure haha) I can't give away any ideas, but here is a little inspiration!

Plain and simple. Love it!

I love anything with handprints. You can look back and be amazed at how tiny they actually were.

Nothing beats honest feelings straight from the heart of a kid. It's funny to see what they really think of you.

I hope everyone has a great weekend, rain or shine! Happy Parenting !

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

DIY Personalized shoe bins

My kids have a lot of shoes. It really is true what they say about girls and shoes. 3 girls and at least 5 pairs each. They have more than I do! I hate clutter (unless it's concealed) and this entryway disaster was just driving me nuts! I had an extra can of chalkboard paint left over from a previous project and thought I'd finally put it to good use.

My friend Amelia @ House Pretty had posted a project similar to this to organize her hats and mittens in her hall closet. I loved the thought of the chalkboard and what a unique way to label things! So I thought Id give it a try!

I bought 4 plastic bins from Dollarama @ $2 each. ( I love that place!) I used Dynamic Chalkboard Paint that I purchased from Home Hardware for less than $10, and just a medium sized sponge brush (another Dollarama purchase). I taped off a square section for the paint and got started! FYI this stuff smells awful when it's wet, make sure to open up some windows or try painting outside or in the basement.

I let the kids write their names on the bins themselves. It was a fun activity for them and helped them feel apart of the project. Lily (my 3 year old) kept saying "I just can't believe it, our own shoe baskets, can you believe this Madison?" How cute is that! They all had fun finding their own shoes and organizing them all in their own bins. Now they're always putting their shoes back in their bins. One less chore for mom!

How much better does this look now?

I've still got some chalkboard paint left, any ideas?

Monday, 3 June 2013

The Tooth Fairy

Parental rule of thumb - if anything says "Tooth-fairy, Santa Clause, or The Easter Bunny" don't let your children read it, or read silently to yourself.

Guaranteed I'm not the only mom who has blogged about the Tooth-fairy. I'm sure someone has even wrote a book about her. I've been kickin' it with the Tooth-fairy for 4 years now and I've learned a thing or two along the way.

Recently we watched the movie "Rise of the Guardians", a fun, animated story of heroes. Most importantly staring the accent of Jude Law ( two words - The Holiday ) If you haven't seen Rise of the Guardians, The Tooth-fairy is portrayed as part hummingbird who collects teeth and replaces them with money with the help of an army of mini fairies. She is one of The Guardians of all the children of the world and must make sure they all still "believe"
After seeing this movie, ironically Madison lost a tooth (no joke - things like that just happen to her) she was convinced The Tooth-fairy was just like the one on the movie. She even wrote a 2 page note (front and back) asking if she was the Tooth-fairy from the movie, and declaring her belief in her and her fairies. So cute! Or so I thought.

Thus begins the preparation for the Tooth-fairy's arrival. It's almost as intense as Santa's. When I was a kid, I put my tooth under my pillow, and when I woke up, I had a quarter in it's place. Event over. Now, my kids fill a glass of water and drop the tooth in and leave it beside their bed. That way the Tooth-fairy has to reach in the glass to fetch the tooth and the water will turn the colour of the fairy. They leave her a note, and expect a reply or at least an autograph. There will be a little trail of "sparkle dust" left about from her visit and not a quarter, but a loonie, toonie or even a $5 bill under your pillow. Say whaat? Times sure have changed, and apparently the value of teeth these days. I don't know who came up with these new, fan-dangled ideas but thanks a lot! Like I don't have enough to do, or the brain power to remember all these steps. What if I'm out of food colouring, sparkles or $5 bills? I can't screw this up you know! My children are sensitive and if they think the Tooth-fairy forgot about them, they'd be crushed. I prefer to keep my parental let-downs to a minimum.

Based on my own experience. Here's some Tooth-fairy 911.

1. Teeth can fall out anywhere. Be prepared. The baseball field, the pool, or in a sandwich. You must recover the tooth and guard it with your life until you get it home. Securing it in a ziploc bag is the best way to transport it. Keep one in your purse, baby bag or glove compartment.

2. Always keep a stash of loonies and toonies. I refuse to give out anything more than that. If you're completely out of change, Tim Horton's drivethru is open 24 hours. Buy a timbit, it'll cost you less than 50 cents. Don't be embarrassed to tell them you need change for the Tooth-fairy. You'll be a drive-thru legend.

3. If you're out of food colouring:
- Coloured chalk                            - squeezed strawberry
- Marker                                        - makeup
- Powdered Juice

4. If you're out of glitter:
- Lots of toys or Barbie that has sparkles or glitter on them, you just really have to look.
- Check your kids clothes, or your own. There must be something with cheap, rub-off glitter pasted on.
- Christmas decorations. Everything you have should have glitter on it.

5. If the Tooth-fairy does forget, don't panic. It happens. Tooth-fairies get sick, encounter blizzards or tornadoes. Just don't screw it up the second night though. I have no advice for that.

I'll be honest, I love that my kids are still kids, and believe in everything. That makes parenting fun and enjoyable. I think I secretly enjoy running around at midnight trying to find colours and glitter and re-writing a Tooth-fairy autograph 6 times until it's perfect. It's part of creating their childhood memories, and we all know how important that is :)

Madison's 1st loose tooth!

I love to include pictures, of course. So here's some lost teeth we've experienced along the way!

Jess lost her tooth at a baseball game!

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