Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Affordable Easter Baskets for Big Kids Who Aren't Quite Tweens

This Sunday is Easter Sunday. In years past, I would have had the kids' Easter baskets ready eons ago. And while I've had the items for forever, working full-time + downtime from surgery has placed a few projects on the back burner. But, now they're ready and in need of a hiding spot for a few days.

Here's what I had to work with:


My goals for the kids' Easter baskets are:

  • Lots of whimsy
  • They include toys that will engage their minds, keep their interest longer than 5 minutes, and last longer than a day
  • Candy-free...OK, OK, minimum candy
  • That each basket cost $20 or less
Read more about the method behind my madness here.


Thrillers:
The big-ticket item this year was a fidget cube. Apparently no one is interested in fidget spinners anymore. Who would have thought! The DH scored these at a conference last year for $10/each.

Fillers:
Stinky and Blinky never tire of excavation kids. What can I say, demolition comes naturally to them. These came from Target. I believe these were $1/each. Ceramic bunny ornaments from Dollar Tree made the cut again this year. Fun fact: After the kids paint these and play with them for a bit, I tuck them away with my Christmas decorations and hang them on the tree year after year. We've amassed quite the collection. Next are Lowe's Build and Grow Kits. Stinky has an Avenger and Blinky has a furry monster. Various kits can often be found on clearance, starting at $5/each.

Spillers:
Because Stinky and Blinky would never forgive me if I totally omitted candy from their baskets, I included these hollow Lindt milk chocolate bunnies from CVS, just $4/each. Because of the size, the kids feel like they're gotten one over on me. Because they're hollow, I don't have to worry about cavities. Double score!! Finally paddle balls from Dollar Tree complete the grouping. Typically Stinky and Blinky use these in unconventional ways which is why they've been banned. However, I decided to live dangerously this year. 😖

Cost:
I'm slightly over budget at $22/each. But I firmly believe these beat any pre-made $20 basket on the market.

Here's the finished product:


Not bad, eh? I re-sued last year's bows and one of my floral baskets from storage for Stinky and voila!

Do you make your kids' Easter baskets? Attach your photos in the comments below!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Acolytes

As members of the United Methodist Church, I've looked forward to the day when Stinky and Blinky would serve as acolytes in the service.

Although there was an all-out fit some resistance when we turned off the tv so that they could get ready for training, they did a great job. Even Stinky, who was determined he was not going to participate, was excited to carry the antique, brass taper to light and snuff the candles.

The training included background information on the role of acolytes, acolyte tools, and the meaning behind symbols / traditions in the church and service. Eyes may have rolled back a few times, but overall, Stinky and Blinky retained most of what they were taught and are excited to serve for the first time on April 8th.

Grandpa will miss this as he leaves Easter Sunday, but don't worry, he'll copious amounts of photographs.



Friday, March 23, 2018

#WakandaForever

Black Panther Poster



We finally took the kids and Grandpa to see Black Panther. What a thrill...I literally spent half the movie on the edge of my seat or face buried in the DH's shoulder!! The five of us give it a firm two thumbs up!

There's a little crude humor, and a few times Blinky was overwhelmed with the lengthy fighting scenes. Still, this is a great action-packed family movie for anyone.

If you've been living under a rock like us and haven't seen it yet, be sure to stay through the credits. You can thank me later. ;)

Monday, March 19, 2018

Life Lately and New Orleans

I don't know about you guys but 2018 is zooming by. So much has happened / is happening, I hardly know where to start.

This year I'll turn 40, and I guess that means its time for a little maintenance. I've had two minor surgeries in as many months but am now on the road to recovery. To help out, my Dad came to spend the month of March with us. While he's no Mrs. Doubtfire {or Grammy for that matter}, he's done a great job taking care of us and even busting through the honey-do-list. More on that later.

His first week here, we spent a few days in New Orleans. In all the years we've visited New Orleans, this was the first time we drove over the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Bridge. Until 2011, it was the longest bridge over water. How cool is that?!?





We marvelled at the architecture in the Garden District, lunched in the French Market, took to ferry to Algiers Point - the cutest little suberb with darling homes, quaint restaurants, and neighborhood playgrounds, did a little shopping at the Riverwalk, and explored the French Quarter.








 










On our last day, we planned to visit the Jean Lafitte National Park to get the kids' national park passports stamped. However a severe thunderstorm derailed our plans. The weather was so bad and predicted to last so long that we decided to pack up and headed home. Womp! Womp!

In other news, both Stinky and Blinky maintained all As for the third quarter at school! Stinky even got a decent behavior report from his teacher. {Prayer hands!!!} In any event, I'm looking forward to the end of the school year. I'm sure Stinky and his teacher are too. Sigh!

I am loving the warmer days. Can't wait to be released from doctor's orders and get cracking in my garden again. Just three more days.

I think that covers it. Hope you guys have a great week!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Binge-Worthy Shows

So what have we been watching lately? The kids have discovered another classic and Blinky adores the modern take on Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

For school-ages kids:
  •  Full House - Hulu
  • Goldie & Bear - Netflix

Its apparent that the DH and I have a thing for dystopian fiction. We're wrapped up a few more shows that I've been dying to share with you.

  • Travellers - Netflix; So this was the DH's pick but it grew on me once I was able to separate Will Truman from Grant MacLaren. Good stuff. Fingers crossed there will be a season 3.
  • Altered Carbon - Netflix; I LOVE anything starring Joel Kinnamon!!! I read that Joel may not return for Season 2 as he's working on a new series for Amazon with The Killing co-star Mireille Enos. Count me in!!!
  • Midsomer Murders - Netflix; While not everyone's cup of tea, the DH and I love British dramas. It's an oldie, but goodie. Best yet, there are 19 seasons available. This one will keep us busy for a while!
***Update 3/22/18***

So I typically fall asleep watching tv. Height of romance over here!!! I kept having these really disturbing nightmares. During a really suspenseful episode of Midsomer Murders, I finally realized the eerie music was the root cause. We stopped watching the show for a few nights and poof...nightmares gone. Alas, as much as we enjoy this series, I'm afraid I'm too much of a wimp to continue on. Sigh!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Mornings

School mornings at our house are rough. Excruciatingly so! No matter how hard we try, we cannot seem to get everyone out of the door on time. Thankfully we live less than 5 minutes away from school. Otherwise Stinky and Blinky would have tardies every. single. day.

So I know you're thinking that getting up earlier is the obvious solution. I beg to differ. The DH and I wake up at 6. I head in the shower while he makes breakfast. Then at 6:30 sharp, I begin the process of dragging Stinky and Blinky out of bed. On a good day, by 6:45 they're at the breakfast bar, groggy and grumpy. I pack lunches, the DH scarfs down his breakfast, and we both beg the kids to eat their breakfast. At 7, the DH goes in the shower, I break up fights while eating my own breakfast, stop Blinky from feeding the dog, and start chanting, "Get dressed! Brush Teeth! Comb Hair!" By 7:15 I'm issuing threats in a raised voice before heading back into the bedroom to dress. At 7:30 both the DH and I emerge from the bedroom to discover that absolutely nothing has been done and start barking orders. Big time! Around 7:45 we're literally kicking Stinky and Blinky out of the door, tossing shoes, jackets, and backpacks to them while they head in the car. We usually pull up right at 7:50 just in time for them to get inside the building before the doors are locked. Ugh! My little angels have sufficient time to eat and get dressed. The problem is they require too much supervision and have zero incentive to do anything on their own which puts major stress on the DH and me.

But we have a plan! The DH came across an article that recommended using a playlist as a timer. Blinky and I worked on a collection of upbeat, positive, and inspirational songs that we enjoy. The idea is that Stinky and Blinky will become familiar with the order of songs, using that as a guide to realizing how much time they have left before we head in the car...at 7:30. Yup! When they can achieve this goal for a week straight, we'll treat them to ice cream or dinner at their favorite restaurant. Whichever the budget allows.

I'm really pumped about our playlist. 1 hour and 2 minutes of hopes and dreams. Here it is:




Fingers crossed, this will be a raging success. I'll be sure to post updates!

BTW, in case any of you are wondering...on weekends and holidays, Stinky and Blinky rise with the sun with all of the energy and excitement they can muster. Go figure!

***Update 2/26/18***

So I don't want to jinx anything but I think the playlist is working. The four of us know what we should be doing when a particular song plays and are trying really hard to stick to the schedule. Most days we are out the door by 7:35, which is a tremendous improvement. Once in a while we have a setback but those seem to be outliers.The ultimate goal is to walk out of the door at 7:30 in a peaceful manner. And for the first time in forever, I think we'll get there.

Here's to small accomplishments and parenting wins everywhere!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Snow Day!!

Two snow days in less than a month. And nearly 1 3/4" last night. That's a double record for SE Alabama I'm sure! We enjoyed a mid-week break from school and work to sled, throw snowballs and spent way too much time outside in 18 degrees.

 

Those of you also snowed in, I hope you took some time to enjoy the beauty outdoors. And for those of you enjoying warmth and sunshine today, all I have to say is #jealous.