Saturday, April 28, 2012

Pictures

Beyond excited to finally have our pictures from last Spring we took down at Purdue!  Can't believe the boys are a whole year older...whoa that was fast!!  I will update this post later with more including some from fall and the photographer information.  
Just wanted to share before the day got too crazy.  

Happy Saturday friends!!
{michelle}

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Label Love via The Social Home


When we started this mudroom-pantry-laundry room update
on that same limited budget, I was drooling over all of the 
awesome pantry inspiration found on Pinterest.

One thing I really wanted to do was pretty up my containers.
OK, I had zero, zilch, nada on the container front.  

My shelves were lined with ziploc bags full of ingredients.
I knew while I love the OXO containers, would nevah, evah, 
be able to shell out upwards of ten dollars for one container.  
Not even upwards of five.  Nope.

I seriously have no doubt as to the awesomeness of how they store food, 
but the container would cost more than its contents.  

I was also getting super tired of things being past their expiration date, 
like way past not safely past, or getting lost in the mess, 
especially baking ingredients.  I don't like how I feel when I waste food,
knowing some of the tough spots we and so many others have been in.   

Our pantry is usually not overflowing because I cannot...
1. afford to keep it stocked to the rim
and 
2. I try to buy more fresh food having boys with medical histories 
{cancer survivor, coronary heart anomaly}

I would love to extreme coupon, and I know we aren't in a position to be picky, 
but I like when my pantry is stocked with the healthy staples we need, 
the things my guys like, including some treats.  

Seriously I just feel good when there is enough on the shelves for us. 

So what could I do on a very limited budget to pretty up my pantry?
Well take a look at one of the inspiration photos from my new friend
  

  This is her Pantry Pretty: Dollar Store Pantry Makeover!  

Gorgeous right?  


And yes, her containers came from the dollar store, seriously!
So I headed to our Dollar Tree {Jen is in Canada, they  admittedly have some better options,
but do not despair} between there and IKEA I did find some containers that would work well
and more importantly, I bought ten containers for TEN bucks and change not fifty!!  


I also wanted to organize and label them nicely like in Jen's makeover,
especially as our pantry is large and open in our mudroom.  


Well I was in luck because Jen also has an ETSY shop
The Paper Society full of label awesome-ness!!


I adore the Custom Kraft Pantry Labels in both designs.
Here, I used the flourish to define a little breakfast area in our kitchen....




{looks like it's time to get to Trader Joe's for some more cereal
for the big guy, I wish my boys would eat it...nope pancakes, eggs,
they want the good stuff!}


and the chevron looks great on the dollar store containers in the pantry....








I have to admit too that getting so many of our staples into 
containers makes it much easier for me to see what we need.
While when I bring the groceries home there is a little more work,
it is so worth it to be able to plan better, visualize what we have,
what we need, and just feel like I now have a pantry plan,
which really is necessary for us.


It's so purty now {smile}.


I will be sharing more soon, we are about 90% done to our midway plan. 
Someday we will have the budget and time to finish up the master plan.
For now, I am thrilled with my containers and labels and no more wire shelves
thanks to the hubs and I putting our heads together to come up with 
an inexpensive solution. Doesn't take much for me!


In case you missed it, here is the 
Kids Chem Lab {How-To}
my real favorite part of the mudroom!  

You just have to stop by Jen's lovely blog, 
take a look at some more of her amazing ideas...


A Nine Dollar spice cupboard...so clever and neat...


Dollar Store Spice Cupboard

Free printable mini-labels...just to get you started...


Free Printable Mini Labels

I promise you'll love her carrara marble backsplash too...
she has fantastic taste and finds the bargain to match in this one!


Carrara Marble Backsplash and Kitchen Tour

Until soon!
{michelle}




Friday, April 20, 2012

Drinking the Hatorade....

Okay, so usually I would not even blink to devote a post to negative comments,
but,
my oldest was bullied last week, yep on the playground, and we have been talking
to him about sticking up for himself, so I am going to walk the talk.

Today I found some traffic coming from a site that I am not about to give
any attention to other than to say, women especially moms
need to stop drinking the hatorade, seriously.

Encourage and lift each other up and if someone does something
you aren't doing, instead of anger, envy, whatever, just try this
be happy for them,
novel idea right?

The comments were in regards to our playrooms, 
hey I can hang with sarcasm, 
but not only was it uncool, it was unsolicited.

I will continue to put out good in the world,
that's just me and spend time creating special spaces for my children,
it's what I do, and I know a lot of other moms do too,
and if it's not your thing, no big deal either.
You'll never see or hear me judge.

For the record though...

No my little boys do not have access to paint, markers, etc. that's all stored,
they can get at chalk and they use it appropriately for the most part..
If you come visit you'll see some marks on the wall, last time I checked it didn't kill anyone.
Actually a valuable lesson was learned.

Second, yes my oldest has a separate playroom upstairs because four of our boys 
share a room right now, eventually that will change.
If you had quadruplet younger brothers
 {no matter how much you love them as he does} 
you'd need some time and space to yourself too.

Third, thanks to lovely Chicago weather we spend A LOT of time indoors,
I have FIVE boys six and under to keep busy, you bet I am going to take a lot of time
figuring out how to best do that to meet all of our needs,
and to keep my little men learning and growing
and yes I put a lot of energy into it A LOT and 
a lot of time is spent teaching.

Fourth, my oldest is six and reads + comprehends as if he were a fourth grader, 
no not bragging, just a pure and simple fact, so he needs a space that challenges him.  

Finally, I do believe the time and effort put into children directly correlates to many things like attention span, creativity, love of learning, listening to instructions, etc. 
and no you don't need a fancy place to do that.  

So no, you don't need perfect playrooms {sorry, sarcasm}, 
just a positive attitude really, that's the best thing to pass along to your child
anytime, anywhere.

Thanks for listening,
Happy Friday,
{michelle}

Monday, April 16, 2012

Kids Chem Lab {How-To}

I have a boy who loves science.
There I admit it {grin}.
No, it's not so surprising,
he also loves books, sports, and lots more.
He really is curious about so much.

I like fostering the passions my children have.

When we built this house, we were allowed to change very little
from the set plans and we chose to do a lot of things ourselves,
including leaving the mudroom sink plumbing roughed in.
We were finally able to put in a sink, and while we would have loved
a much more elaborate sink, the most inexpensive does the trick.


Then I had this idea, after purchasing a couple
BYGEL Rails from IKEA for $1.99. 
It had this awesome basket  as an option for $1.99 as well.
You know me, always looking for a bargain.
For $3.99 each I got these very cool recycling bins  that 
also hook onto the rail.  I am just in love with this system
and thinking of other spots in our home to put it!


{sorry, tangent}
The lightbulb then went off, 
to make a little corner of the mudroom into
my little scientists' very own for his experiments. 


A Kids Chem Lab!


We were always hauling his kits out and all the ingredients and then
trying to put things away before dinnertime, keep them away from the little
crew, and now he has a designated space, an Easter gift from us
that we worked on together, spurred on by that IKEA trip, which was really fun.  


I am good as long as he doesn't blow up the house. {smile}


So...here is what we came up with...pretty cool right?!!
















Most of the goods came from American Science and Surplus
which I have mentioned before and is an amazing store we are fortunate
to have near us.  On the day we visited everything was on sale 10-30% off, 
score!!  The best part you can buy everything separate from plastic test tubes and beakers
to goggles, even yes, the coveted drinking bird and you can shop online, nice!



{No I am not compensated at all, they don't even know about my little blog,
we just think it's a groovy place!}



E was in heaven picking everything out, especially the little periodic table and the goggles because they just make everything official {sweet}.  




We added a couple really great books...
Janice Van Cleave's Chemistry for Every Kid
Usborne's Big Book of Science Things to Make and Do
that use most items you'd find in your kitchen or pantry
and filled up and labelled the little jars.  


The kits that were gifts and started him out on this whole path,
are stored underneath the little laundry skirt, for easy access.  


These are great for a first foray into Chemistry.
ScienceWiz Chemistry
{which was purchased for E by an aunt and uncle that are actually Chemists, so cool!}
The Magic Schoolbus: A Journey into the Human Body
Scientific Explorer's Magic Science

I added 2 corkboards also from IKEA and painted some graphics
onto them in the color scheme of our mudroom for E to add all of his
notes and ideas, the project was about $12.00.


And, the reaction on my little guy's face?  Well, priceless.
Worth all of the effort and such a fun little area to show to his friends.


It all started with baking soda volcanoes and turning pennies green,
who knows where it will take him?!!


Enjoy the day friends!!
Just don't blow anything up {grin}.
{michelle}





Linking up to....

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Celebrating Easter!


While it is true that I absolutely love and adore Christmas,
Easter is just as special, of course in meaning,
and in the feeling of new life beginning with 
Spring underway.

This year we were a little more scattered before Easter,
wrapping up sickness, coming off of Spring Break and
trying to get back on track.  We had started redoing our
Laundry/Mudroom {more to come on that!}
so there were lots of projects we were working on late at night.

I felt like I had not really done much to sacrifice during Lent.
This year though I felt like I needed to work on some personal things more,
patience, listening, less sarcasm, becoming less frustrated, prioritizing appropriately 
to avoid disappointment in myself which leads to the frustration, agitation, 
all those words ending in -tion {grin}.  

Coming out of Easter I started meeting with friends to reread
the beautiful One Thousand Gifts, and I will continue my work on me,
so Lent continues and Easter was thoroughly celebrated.

The boys had a beautiful day, they did amazing during mass, 
E leaned over to kiss his brothers a few times, 
my ninety-three and ninety-four year old amazing grandparents were here,
nieces, nephews, family and our sweet "adopted" family,
our hearts were happy.

We continued Easter traditions of previous years, which the little crew
were so much more into this year...


I think p-jams are the way to go when coloring eggs.

Each chose their favorite color for their first egg, 
{not really the one picture, eh well!}
and I am so lucky not one is the same!  
Ethan {green}
Aiden {orange}
Beckham {pink}
Griffin {purple}
Liam {yellow}

They did this for their Easter bow ties too, made it easy on mom!
Aiden was a good sport about wearing the blue gingham {smile}.

We were glad Tia Irene could join in on the fun.

We painted with shaving cream, crazy, messy fun.
Just shaving cream, paint, swirl it all together, put your paper right-side down
on it, push down some evenly, turn over, wipe off shaving cream, and voila!!

E wanted to help with the shaving cream part, brave big bro!


{this is really good to do in p-jams too}

The day before Easter I was cooking, cleaning, Matt was mowing the lawn and clearing up outside, E was down playing basketball at a neighbor's house, the little crew was napping, it just felt like a rhythm was settling in,
crazy, frantic rhythm {maybe} but really it felt good.

E woke up first Easter morning and the hunt for the baskets began!


We had a silly Easter bunny this year who left goofy gifts {smile}.
The boys ate donut muffins and chocolate chip banana bundt cake for breakfast
their favorites.  I rolled out the dough and made cinnamon rolls to get them rising
while at church and off we went to mass and they did so fantastic!
{the boys not the cinnamon rolls}

Aren't my little dudes handsome?!!!!!


Ethan
he looks way too old and those teeth are killing me!

Aiden
lovin' the bubble gun

Beckham
real men wear pink!


Liam
happy, dapper little guy

Griffin

learning the tricks of the egg hunt


Beck had some cuddle time with Grandma Marion while Liam and 
Ethan kept Grandpa Jack from stealing the jelly beans!

  

Griffin did not want to give up baby Evan...his words, "I keep the baby!"



Griffin channeled his inner Easter bunny with 

And loving their bubble guns again {thanks Auntie Cole}...
what do you think?  hmmm Charlie's Angels?!  


and some more Easter goodness 
{yes a swordfight is included, wouldn't be Easter without it!}


We ended the night exhausted all cuddled up on the sofa after all the cleaning, getting the little crew to bed and then E and I read our favorite Easter story, 

The night before we watched the animated, Jesus, He Lived Among Us.
which we also love.  We aren't quite ready for the Jesus of Nazareth DVD,
but next year possibly.  The sweetest part is that E wanted to watch it.  

Well friends, that's a lot of Easter memories,
I hope yours was wonderful too!!!
{michelle}



Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I Love You So Much {icky version}


We have TONS of books that are very sweet and treasured by me
and my boys, books beautifully counting all the ways they are loved.

Yet somehow and don't ask me how {grin}
I know they love to hear me tell it to them like this.
Channeling a little Shel Silverstein maybe?
E and I have been reading...


I Love You So Much
{the icky version}

I would let a giant fart on my head.
Or eat a worm all gross and dead.

I'd fight all of the pirates in the deep blue seas
and sit in a vat of creepy, crawly spiders up to my knees.

To the crocodile I would flash a big ol' smile
{and if that surely was not the end of me}
I would walk on my blistered hands for more than a mile.

Still I would kiss a warty frog all covered in slime
or burp the alphabet for the fiftieth time.

Nothing too gross, nothing too scary,
except maybe a gazillion little fairies.
{what? you love Tinkerbell!}

Point is I would throw myself into shark infested water
or cast every spell in the books of Harry Potter.

To show you how much...
Gross, Yes! Scary, Absolutely! but True.
I love you.

*~*~*~*~*~*

I know disgusting and yes, totally boy.
An original and all mine {smile}.

Have a gross day friends!
{michelle}




Mommy Mojo


Do you ever feel like you lost a little of your mommy mojo?
No get that picture of Austin Powers himself out of your noggin {yeah baby}.
I mean that thing you feel when you can accept the shattered plate that you couldn't keep
spinning, the interruption {to the fifth power} that prevents you from finishing. anything.
The go-with-the-flow, mom-I-want-to-be MOJO.

It's some good stuff.  
Being in that zone is blissful.

Problem is I lost some of mine and I want it back.
The hardest part?  It's right there.  I can feel it.  

How did I lose it you ask?

By assuming responsibility for everything that happens in my life,
and in the lives of my children.
More importantly for assuming that I am the one in control.
{God, did you get that memo?}

By trying to live in the moment so badly because I am reminded how precious this
time is quite often by others, only to feel guilty if the moment was not somehow monumental.
And by being hurt, lately it seems like kind of being a punching bag sometimes,
and no not by my little family of seven.

By expectations, I don't have BABIES anymore so I should be able to do more
{geesh, what IS my problem?}.
By helping someone a ton and being crapped on by their spouse.
{no, I am not a servant girl thank you}.
By not being able to stop my dear, sweet friend from going through a double mastectomy. 
{my heart hurts, I hate you cancer!}.

Today felt like a fail. 
I lost my patience.  again.  again.  
I seriously cleaned out one cabinet when I had set my mind to clean out the kitchen.
I missed something that set us back some financially {ouch}.
I could not keep my insanely bright and sensitive oldest child from his intense feelings.

I.  I.  I.  I.  I. 

Man I stink and I am not trying to humor you.
I really felt like I did all of this.

How does this one sound?

Yes I am supposed to give my children, my husband, my family, and myself, my best.
Thing is, I have defined what is best WRONG.
A woman who holds it all together, all the time, with insane amounts of patience,
self-discipline, self-control, and the ability to do it all.

Yeah, I don't know how I could have thought that was going to work.
Some people say I am a dreamer, well I'm not the only one.

So here is how I want to rewrite the day and reclaim my Mommy Mojo.

I recognized that I lost my patience {even during an intense knock down with PMS},
and I corrected myself and kept correcting myself until I literally thought I would crumble to the ground.
{patience may not be my strong suit but determined and stubborn..oh yeah}

Instead of taking my overly patient and supportive husband for granted,
I thanked him for being him.
After the aforementioned crapped-on experience,
man I am just really lucky to have someone who would not only never treat me that way,
but would not dream of doing that to my friends either.

I sat with my oldest across his bowl of coveted mac n' cheese, out together, just us,
and explained how it stinks sometimes to walk around like your skin is removed and all of your nerves are exposed {my boy loves him some science!}

We talked about how others don't always understand how it is to FEEL everything
because they aren't made by God in the same way we were.  How to save our tears
for the things that really matter because losing jelly beans {him at six} and pencils {me at six} really just don't deserve all of that effort from us.  And more than anything how great it is to have someone who understands.

Tonight, tonight, I will go to bed and forgive myself
and thank God for his grace.

Sleep tight friends,
{michelle}




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