Sunday, November 27, 2011

Giving thanks

We give thanks for our food before each meal, and in the past few months the kids have started jumping in and thanking Jesus for all sorts of other stuff before I can say "amen." Last week on Thanksgiving, I explained to them that, although we offer thanks to Jesus every day, this is a special day when the entire country comes together to express thanksgiving. Then I asked them, "What are you thankful for today?" Here is what they said:

blueberries! cat!

Abuelita, Abuelito, babies, "jammie socks" [footie pajamas], diapers, and wipes

a lot of church, a lot of clocks, a lot of dump trucks, a lot of diggers, a lot of race cars, and rocks

lemons, Abuelita, Abuelito, and neighbors

As for me, I am thankful for a husband who is in the trenches with me, works hard to provide for our family, and lets me know that he appreciates what I do. And both of us are incredibly grateful for the gift of these four healthy, feisty, almost-3-year-old children:

Did I mention that I'm also thankful to still be (relatively) sane?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Keeping busy

Cold weather is upon us, and I've been keeping busy trying to, well, keep the kids busy! Thank goodness for Pinterest (my new best friend), where I've found a ton of ideas for fun and ridiculously easy ways to keep little ones occupied indoors. Best of all, the materials cost next to nothing! Here's what we've tried out so far:

Isaac with the Letter Box

The Letter Box: You can't get much easier than this. Just cut out letters from food boxes before you throw them out! I pull these out at restaurants when we're waiting for the bill, and the kids (especially Mr. Alphabet) love trying to find all the letters in the alphabet or putting random letters together and asking me what they spell. I keep the letters in a clear zipper pouch and sweep them all back in when we're done. And if the kids drop some on the restaurant floor, no biggie ... I'll always have more boxes to dissect!

Jude with Pom Pom Stuff-It-In

Pom Pom Stuff-It-In: Cut a hole in the lid of a disposable storage container, supply the kids with enough pom poms to fill it up, and—voilà! This simple (and, as it turns out, very popular) activity holds my kids' attention for a surprisingly long time as they push in all the pom poms, one by one, and then dump them all out to start over again. We also like to count the pom poms or sort them by color (and it gives the kids great practice at taking turns, too).

Lucy with Popsicle Puzzle

Popsicle Puzzle: Glue a picture to a row of popsicle sticks, and then use an exacto knife to separate the sticks—instant puzzle! Since my kids are obsessed with the royal wedding, I chose a lovely photo of William and Kate for them to assemble. Lucy is an especially big fan of this activity, and she's pretty good at it, too!

Dahlia with Ribbon Snake

Ribbon Snake: For a great fine-motor activity, sew buttons to each end of a ribbon to make the "snake," and cut slits in square pieces of felt to thread the ribbon through. Now I'm no seamstress, but I was pretty sure I could handle making this. When I asked my friend Lindsay (of Craft Buds) for materials, though, she surprised me by creating—and presenting the kids with—the cutest version I've ever seen. The girls especially love the colorful flowers and often ask to play with them.

Can you tell I've been having fun with Pinterest? I'm just so happy to have my creative juices flowing again!


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