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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mommy's little helper

After I read Amy's post last week about chores for children and teaching responsibility, I've been trying to get back to having Eli help with housework right alongside me. From blog hopping I got to this great link that lists age-appropriate chores. Some things we had been doing with Eli, but now we've added a few more. So here's the master list of things Eli does around the house:

1. Dishwasher.
how Eli helps: He unloads dishes and hands them to me to put away. (of course, I take sharp knives and other dangers out first) The silverware, however, he puts away himself. I put him up on a chair and he sorts them into the silverware tray in the drawer. It's just like shape sorting which he's awesome at so he does well with this too!
2. Wipe dinner table.
how Eli helps: I spray, he wipes. He loves the tiny bubbles in the Windex. (in the picture he's helping with my spring cleaning)3. Laundry.
how Eli helps: He takes the clothes out of the dryer and puts them into the laundry bag.
4. Vacuum.
how Eli helps: He helps pick up everything off the carpet first.
5. Dust.
how Eli helps: I give him the duster and he wipes over the areas I tell him to.6. Swiffer.
how Eli helps: He doesn't really. But when I'm done I let him push it around.7. Sweep.
how Eli helps: Again, he doesn't really. But when I'm done he pretend sweeps with the broom and dust pan.8. Set table.
how Eli helps: I'm daring, I know. But he carries plates, silverware, napkins, and hot pads to the table.
9. Trash.
how Eli helps: He throws away dirty diapers and small papers.
10. Pick-up.
how Eli helps: In general, he always puts away books and toys when he's done. He (sometimes) takes his sippy cup to the kitchen when it's empty. And he puts his clothes in the hamper after he changes.

Yesterday I put together a chore chart for 5 everyday chores Eli can help do: dishwasher, laundry, vacuum, wipe table, sweep. Since he can't read yet (obviously), I use pictures instead. And since he's into stickers now, he puts a sticker on the chart any time he does one of the tasks. It definitely helps me keep on top of things!

I just have to say, Eli enjoys doing most of these things and being mommy's little helper. And now he's especially loving the stickers that help us keep track of what we've already done. I'm not a slave driver. A lot of the day he still gets to just be a kid and play. But he's not even 2 yet and he's establishing some great habits already!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - April 28

Wow, I'm not really feeling like anything this week. So I guess I'll go for fairly lite meals:

Monday - French dip sandwiches, carrots, apple
Tuesday - Lisa's chicken (see comment on last week's menu), seasoned zucchini
Wednesday - chicken-veggie foil wraps, oranges (didn't get to this last week)
Thursday - breakfast night- raspberry streusel muffins, eggs, sausage
Friday - loaded salads, peaches
Saturday - egg drop soup, egg rolls
Sunday - pork chops, cheesy broccoli rice, oranges

Dessert of the week: blackberry cheese pie (our favorite!!)

Need some meal ideas or new recipes to try?? Visit Laura at Organizing Junkie!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Big Boy

UPDATED: The video should work now...

We got Eli's new bed and mattress Thursday afternoon and let him play on the mattress in the living room for awhile. He had a blast, like it was a trampoline!
Don't worry, once his bed was put together he didn't try to do this...

Eli loved playing with the styrofoam packaging. It would crumble apart and then he'd throw it in the air, saying, "Snow!... Snow!...Snow!"

About this point, maybe earlier, he knew right away it was a bed and started saying, "Nap? Nap?" with excitement.

All put together, complete with the quilt mommy made!

New room look.

Listening to the rules.

Loving the new bed!

He slept well during the night. The only problem so far was that he fell out of it this morning at 5:55am. Kevin went in and snuggled him in his little bed, but since it was getting bright out already he never really went back to sleep. So we haven't yet dealt with him getting out of his bed. But so far, so good! He's a big boy now! In a month or so we'll move his little sissy into his room with him, but for now we'll just enjoy this step into boyhood!

Friday, April 25, 2008

In the groove

Hannah's 2 months old now and I'm happy to say that I finally have a grip on things and we've settled into a good routine! It helps that the weather finally turned warm last week! Ever since we've been getting outside every day, Eli's been in such a better mood, making it easier on all of us! He's been so pleasant and obeying most of the time. It's wonderful! Hannah started sleeping through the night last week too, so it's really awesome! Now our day looks something like this:

6:15 I get up--read Bible then check email (thanks, Amy, for that idea)
7:00 Eli wakes up, gets milk and Hannah wakes up soon after, feed Hannah and then she's back to sleep
7:30/8:00 breakfast
8:30 room time with Eli-- I play with Eli in his room and we read books or whatever, and we enjoy that quality time
9:15 Eli has blanket time and juice, I get some down time to get dressed/do chores/check email
9:55 Eli puts toys away
10:00 Eli watches Sesame Street, I feed Hannah
11:00 M-W-F we have stroller group, otherwise we run errands or just play at home, Hannah sleeps again
12:00 lunchtime
12:45 Eli naps
1:00 feed Hannah
1:30 Hannah naps again
3:00 Eli wakes up, then gets juice
4:00 feed Hannah
4:30 go outside to play or to trail for a walk, Hannah sleeps again
6:00 dinner time (this fluctuates a lot now that it's been nice out! sometimes we'll eat as early as 5 so we can go out afterwards, or as late as 7 if we wanted to go out earlier)
7:30 Eli's bedtime, feed Hannah
8:00 Hannah sleeps
9:30 feed Hannah and then put her to bed so she can... SLEEP! And yes, after all the sleeping during the day, she still sleeps from 10-7am!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for my wonderful husband....

... for working so hard so that I can stay home with our beautiful children. So we have a warm place to sleep and a house to call a home. So we can live comfortably and do things we enjoy.

... for being such an awesome help around the house and with the kids.

... for killing the bugs and critters I am afraid of.

... for loving me and understanding my needs.

... for being my best friend I can talk to at the end of the day.

... for being a Godly leader of our family. I trust him and appreciate all he does to protect and provide, making decisions daily according to the will God has for us.

Visit Iris for more Thankful Thursday!
Have a great week!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Wear not once...

Not sure how this happened, but Eli's been wearing the same pair of gray jogging pants since he was 5 MONTHS old, and he's now 21 MONTHS old! And they say kids outgrow their clothes before wearing them much??
comfy travel pants

now pajamas

Monday, April 21, 2008

Spring Cleaning: Already at work!

Kevin came to me yesterday and said he wanted a treat so he was going to clean the fridge and floor. The top fridge shelf was pretty bad. Let me just say the jars were completely stuck on and I didn't have strength to get them pried off! And the floor under the fridge... you can only imagine. So already we've completed #1 and #2 off our Spring Cleaning To-Do List, and it feels awesome all freshly sparkling and organized! And here we are enjoying a Dunkin Donuts treat!

Menu Plan Monday - April 21

Monday - grilled taco nachos, apples

Tuesday - breakfast nite- omelets, fruit cocktail

Wednesday - hamburgers, potato salad, peaches

Thursday - chicken piccata, grilled veggies, oranges

Friday - appetizer nite- spinach and artichoke dip, pigs n a blanket

Saturday - chicken veggie foil wraps, apples

Sunday - calzones

Dessert of the week: this new recipe for Key Lime Pie

Visit Laura for more great menu ideas. Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 16

Keep me safe, O God,
for in you I take refuge.

I said to the Lord, "You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing."
As for the saints who are in the land,
they are the glorious ones in whom is
all my delight.
The sorrows of those will increase
who run after other gods.
I will not pour out their liberations of blood
or take up their names on my lips.

Lord, you have assigned me my portion
and my cup;
you have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in
pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and
my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me
to the grave,
nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasure at your right hand.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Spring Cleaning

I've never done anything officially called "Spring Cleaning". But this year I need extra motivation so I made up a to-do list and a cute graphic. And I may even come up with a reward for whenever we complete a task. So anyway, here's what we'll be working on in the next few weeks:
  1. Clean under and around fridge.
  2. Wipe fridge shelves.
  3. Clean garage.
  4. Sift out old clothes.
  5. Organize coat closet.
  6. Clean under couches.
  7. Tidy up bookshelves.
  8. Scrub kitchen floors.
  9. Vacuum out van.
  10. Clean windows on back doors.
  11. Seriously scrub down high chair.
There are a TON of things on my regular to-do list, but these are just the big cleaning projects for the season. More may be added as I think of them.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I am so thankful this week for SPRING!! We finally have nice weather--sunny and in the high 60s. We've been able to take Eli out every day, as well as getting out for exercise. I've been in a good mood and feeling motivated around the house too. I've had a couple great days of quality time with Eli and reading books together. And Hannah is just still so sweet. It's been a good week, and for that I am thankful!
Some park pics...

For more Thankful Thursday, visit Iris!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday: Lime Press

I realized the other day when making Hubby a key lime pie that I actually have a tip to share this week: to squeeze the juice of key limes I use a garlic press! And just because I never have anything to share like this, I'll add a ton of pictures....

cut the key limes in half
place sideways in garlic press
...and squeeze!
here are the squashed limes
and here is the juice
Once I have all the juice I need (1/2 c), I pour it back through the press to catch any pulp or seeds that might have been pushed through.
the collection

Now all the juice is done and ready for the rest of the ingredients!

Go to Shannon's for more great tips!

I've been tagged!

Here are the rules for this game:
A. Post the rules at the beginning.
B. Answer the questions about yourself.
C. Tag 5 people to do the same.

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?
I was 15 and in my sophomore year of high school. I started dating this great guy who is now my husband. I was in speech, band, and choir, ran track, and played volleyball.

2. Snacks I enjoy:
Sweets. anything chocolate, ice cream, breads.

3. Five Things on my To-Do List:
1. Go to the library to pick a fun read.
2. Go to the grocery store.
3. Catch up on Bible reading plan.
4. Do laundry.
5. Finish thank you notes for birthday gifts.

4. Things I would do if I became a billionaire:
-Donate to our missionary friends and other great charities.
-Set money aside for my kids' college.
-Pay off cars and my parent's mortgage and house remodel.
-Travel to some really exciting places.
-Pay for our church's new building.

5. Three habits, good or bad:
1. I pick my nails.
2. I check my email every hour about.
3. I can't function without a clock.

6. Five places I’ve lived:
1. Manning, IA
2. Waverly, IA
3. Denver, CO
4. Virginia Beach, VA
5. This town, CT

7. Places I’ve worked at:
- paper route
- grocery store clerk
- painting
- music ministry intern
- nanny
- home

8. Things people don’t know about me:
I hate mushrooms and fish.

I tag: Sharon, Amy, Julie, Eunie and Angie

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fun Party Idea

In an email I just got from a friend she mentioned about a party she was going to that night, and it was such a fun idea I just had to share it here on my blog... an "Iron Chef" party. Based off the TV show, everyone is told 24 (or 48) hours before the party what the featured ingredient is, and then you bring at least one dish with that ingredient. There is judging in three categories--appetizer, main dish, and dessert--and also a prize for best presentation. Sounds fun and creative, and I hope I can try this some day!

Menu Plan Monday - April 14

Looks like nice weather this week, so I'm going to try to stick with quick/prepare-ahead meals, so we can enjoy much of the afternoon outside. By the time Eli's up from his nap and Hannah's fed, there's not much time left before dinner prep time. And I'm trying to keep it cheap too, since last week, for whatever reason, was way over my weekly goal price.

Monday - spinach cheese enchiladas, pears

Tuesday - hamburgers, coleslaw, apples

Wednesday - loaded baked potatoes, broccoli, oranges

Thursday - broccoli sausage breakfast bake, fruit salad

Friday - steak, oven roasted veggies, peaches

Saturday -Mediterranean Pasta w. Zucchini (recipe below), garlic bread, oranges

Sunday - TBD, something using remaining sausage. ANY IDEAS???

dessert of the week: fluffy key lime pie (this one's for Hubby since it's his favorite)


RECIPE: Mediterranean Pasta w. Zucchini

8 oz penne pasta, uncooked
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes w. basic, garlic, and oregano
*1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained [I don't like these so I leave them out]
1 medium zucchini, sliced
2 Tbl sliced ripe olives

Cook pasta according to directions on package. While pasta cooks, combine tomatoes and remaining three ingredients in a large skillet, bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 5 minutes. Spoon tomato mixture over drained pasta.

For more yummy meal ideas, visit Laura at Organizing Junkie.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Weekly Memory Verse

Sorry I haven't been very consistent about putting verses up every week. Life is very busy! But I'm trying. Still doing review perhaps for a long time. So here's this week's choice verse:

Colossians 3:16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymn, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts toward God.

If you'd like to join me this week in memorizing Colossians 3:16, sign your name below. May it be a blessing to your life!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Simply Beautiful...

There's something so adorably sweet about each of these photos, I couldn't pick just one!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - April 7

Notes from last week's menu: the turkey pita tacos were yummy and fun change to normal tacos. I used chicken instead and we did scrounge up picante sauce and taco sauce from the fridge to add more flavor. But it's definitely getting added to my recipe box. And the recipe I tried for beef stew was quite delicious too. Since I halved the recipe and had beef broth and tomato sauce left, I ended up adding it in at the end for more sauce. We'll be keeping this recipe too.

Monday - ham and cheese quiche, fruit cocktail (didn't get to this last week)
Tuesday - slow cooker BBQ ribs, potatoes, oranges
Wednesday - chili dogs, fries, peaches
Thursday - cola chicken, cooked carrots, apples
Friday - best-ever meatloaf, corn, mashed potatoes
Saturday - pork chops, applesauce, green beans, rolls
Sunday - hamburgers, coleslaw, apples

For more menu ideas visit Laura at Organizing Junkie. Have a great week!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Ah, here we are again, sitting in the quiet of the morning with my cup of coffee while the family is still sleeping. And I am thankful...

It's been a whirlwind of a week. Just a week since Eli's febrile seizure. I still look at him at times and picture what happened and feel scared. But at least a week later I'm finally able to sleep through the night without constantly watching him on the video monitor. He can nap really long naps (3.5 hours!) without me panicking whether he's still breathing. And I'm not giving him Motrin every day just because I'm afraid he might get a fever. We're getting back to life and out of the "there's just been an incident" paranoia. Since the night we brought him home from the hospital he's been just fine. He never really continued to be sick, except for the effects of the meds (nasty poops that almost always leaked into his pants). So I am very thankful for his quick recovery and the peace that God's put in our hearts regarding the whole situation!

It's been a super busy, quite stressful week for me. One reason being about a bridesmaid dress that I realized just before ordering that it's really not going to work for me (it's strapless and I'm a large-chested nursing mom who needs to wear regular bras with supportive straps). So as the matron-of-honor not wanting to cause last minute stress to the bride I decided (with permission from bride) to go dress shopping on my own to find something that would work for me. For a September wedding NOW is the time to order, so I didn't have much time! And with two kids at home and husband with a busy work schedule right now, I really didn't know how this was going to happen. But a lovely and dear friend emailed me last week saying her husband was out of town and would love to get together with me. Perfect timing! So I invited her on my shopping adventure since I really needed someone to help watch Hannah while I tried on dresses. We had a great day together, but after seeing what was available locally, I decided to just try for this dress I had found on the Internet. It's a great price and I'm confident that with the help of a seamstress to measure me, we could order the right size and it would fit me nicely. I know it seems like it's no a big deal, but things like this don't "just happen". I truly believe it's the hand of God working these situations as He cares for His children.

I'm also thankful for my good friend Amy. She lives just 3 minutes from me and quite often I have to call her at the last minute to watch Eli so I can go to appointments that come up. Her 3-yr-old daughter Emily and Eli play so nicely together, and I so appreciate her having an open home to us! Thanks, Amy!

I am thankful that Hannah's throw-ups are getting less frequent, though I still don't know the cause and get frustrated when it does happen. She's also sleeping until 5:30am now instead of 3:30am, so I don't think it'll be long 'til she makes it all the way through the night! Yay! I'm sooo glad she has much better sleep habits than Eli had as a baby!

I am thankful that spring is almost here! Still quite cold (40s) but it's getting there, and Eli is always asking to go outside. The sunshine is definitely refreshing, and we're excited to get back to strolling again!

I am thankful that week by week I'm getting life back in order and more settled with Hannah's addition to the family. This week I'm trying to get the laundry back on schedule and working to get up before the kids again. It's tough but every week gets a little easier!

And with that I am out of time, so I will close. Have a great week! For more thankful posts, visit Iris at Sting My Heart!