Wednesday, June 8, 2016

He's Mine! He's Nine!

Today my mid kid turns 9! He's the one who taught me how to be a boy mom. There's a lot to learn and I'm still working on it. He's passionate and hot-headed, but he's sweet and sensitive too. He gets mad about injustice and notices all the little things about people. He always knows when I need a hug and his favorite time of day is "tickle time." He plays hard, he loves fiercely, and he prays sincerely. I am honored to be his mom and to celebrate his nine years on the planet today.

We had his science-themed birthday party last weekend. My family joined us as well as Julie's. It was a nice day to spend together. We had his birthday dinner last night, since Ken works tonight. When I asked him what he wanted for his dinner, he said he didn't care. Some people might take that the wrong way, but my boy just loves to eat! He loves all different kinds of foods and is always eager to try new things. I decided that Wood Grill would fit that bill (and get me out of cooking)!

As is tradition, we conducted a birthday interview this morning. Here are his answers:

1. What is your favorite color? blue
2. What is your favorite toy? Snap Circuits
3. What is your favorite fruit? oranges
4. What is your favorite tv show? Pokemon
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Swiss cheese
6. What is your favorite outfit? His "9" shirt (of course!)
7. What is your favorite game? Pokemon
8. What is your favorite snack? anything!
9. What is your favorite animal? tigers
10. What is your favorite song? anything by Taylor Swift
11. What is your favorite book? Pokemon dictionary
12. Who is your best friend? Aiden
13. What is your favorite cereal? Honey Nut Cheerios
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? play adventure games
15. What is your favorite drink? Orange Fanta
16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Baby Tiger
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? grits and/or scrapple
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? don't care
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? a scientist mechanic

Here are his previous answers to compare:
Five (not an interview, but cute pictures)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Summer 2016 Bucket List

The last day of school is this Friday! It's only a half day, but we still have to get up and get moving. Actually, we have to get up and get moving every morning. Who am I kidding?! I work full time. We do still plan on having some family fun this summer. I like kicking off June with a Summer Bucket List. We haven't been 100% in year's past, but it's good to have goals, right? Here's where you can see my 2015 list and my 2014 list if you're interested.

1. Reunions! I've got a  family reunion as well as a high school reunion this summer. I'm looking forward to both. My kids are excited to see their cousins (second cousins, actually, but who cares?) and play with them. I won't be able to make all of my high school reunion because of a wedding, but I am eager to see some of my old former classmates and catch up.

2. Weddings! Henry's Big Sister is getting married this summer and Henry and I have been invited. He's thrilled to get dressed up and go see her again. She's also made him promise to dance with her. That'll be a sight to see! Ken's dad is getting married this summer as well. I'm happy to see that he's happy.

3. Camps! I don't get to go to camp, but the kids do and they can't stop talking about them.Summer camps are a necessity for us since Ken and I both work full time. I've considered a nanny, but then I wouldn't have any money left over for activities for them! They would get tired of each other rather quickly. Instead I sign them up for a variety of camps they can attend for enrichment, entertainment, and fun.

4. Vacations! Well, we really don't have much planned in the vacation area, but I am still taking some time off from work. I'll be helping with Vacation Bible School again this year, and then take the afternoons off. We also enjoy taking a week off when the fair is in town. I actually a fan of time off with no major plans. We don't often get the chance to do nothing.

5. Moving! This is still up in the air, but we are in the early stages of packing and staging. After that comes listing, selling, and buying. I've got my fingers crossed we can get through all those steps in the next three months. The market is turning over pretty quickly these days. I'm not sure if that's good news for us.

6. Relaxing! There's no homework to worry about. We don't have to pack school lunches. We still have to pack camp lunches, but those are more fun, right?!?! Please agree with me! Bedtimes can be a little more lax. The laundry piles are smaller because shorts take up less room than pants and coats. I may be reaching a bit, summer is still more relaxing than the school year.

7. Outside! I love hot weather. I love being able to sit outside. I love having the time to soak up some sunshine. The kids play in the yard, climb trees, soak in the baby pool, run through the sprinklers and all those other fun summer activities. It's also a great time for hiking and camping: two things I hope do more of this summer.

8. Summer Food! Frances asked me just the other day when I was going to make yogurt soup again. She's as hungry for summer cuisine as I am! Pasta salads, cold soups, and cookouts, here we come!

9. Books! This could go with relaxing, but I'm making it a separate category because I love them so much. And this summer, all my kids can read. I know it probably won't happen often, but I'm banking on at least a few rainy Sundays where we can all lay around the house reading books at the same time.

10. Surprises! I don't like having everything all planned out. I look forward to things popping up at the last minute and us being able to take part. That's what summer is for, in my opinion!

What's on your list for the summer? What's on your list of anything? Got a list to link up? Add it below!

This post is part of the monthly Tuesday Ten Linkup! 
Want to participate? Link up your own post and join our Facebook group.

Your Tuesday Ten hostesses are:


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The Golden Spoons

Monday, June 6, 2016

Manly Wind Chimes

We've had a rough month. We lost a baby mid May and it's been hard getting back into the swing of things emotionally as well as physically. Around this same time, Ken bought a bird feeder. And then another and another. Now I think we have 6 bird feeders in our yard! He enjoys sitting outside with a book or a beer (or both) and just watching the birds. He even has a bird book and has begun quizzing the kids on the names of each one.

I feel like being in the yard and enjoying nature is helping to bring healing to his heart, so I knew that his Father's Day gift would have to be something he could enjoy outside. I came up with this wind chime that was fairly easy to put together and can be adapted many different ways. You decide what the man in your life would enjoy and make it personal for you.

Here's what I did:

I ended up not using those colorful sockets because I couldn't figure out how to attach them. :(
First I bought some wrenches. Make sure your materials are stainless steel, or otherwise non-rustable materials. I also found some chain. Then I confused the heck out a few good guys at a number of hardware stores. Just try telling them you don't know what you want, but it has to be round with holes in it!! I finally settled on a drain cover. I knew it would hold up to being wet and it has enough holes to allow me to customize it in lots of different ways.

Am I the only one who makes this face while working?

I cut three pieces of chain to about the same length. I threaded each one through the outside holes of the drain cover and let them hang at different lengths. Using s-hooks and a pair of pliers, I attached a wrench to each end of the pieces of chain. Then I collected the chain together at the top with a larger s-hook for hanging.

The wind chime is ideal for Ken because it doesn't make a lot of noise, but there is definitely a sound when the wind blows. The tools are obviously a bit more manly than butterflies or flowers might be, so it's perfect for Father's Day.

I cheated because I was very excited to give Ken his gift, so I didn't save it for Father's Day. It can hang nicely in a tree for now and we'll find a more permanent mount for it after we move (TBD). I hope that it's just one more piece of enjoyment for him outside now.

Need some other ideas to celebrate your favorite man? Check these out!

Karen at Baking in a Tornado has some yummy pretzel sandwich snacks.

Dawn at Spatulas on Parade created this amazing Amaretto Coke Chocolate Cake.

Lydia of Cluttered Genius has some cute ideas for gifts from the preschoolers in dad's life.

Sarah (but Not that Sarah Michelle!) is joining in with a tribute to her husband.

And Melissa from Home of Deranged has some ideas to help dad take a time out.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Birthday Party Planning

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 12 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts. 

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado                            
Southern Belle Charm                       
Not That Sarah Michelle                                     
Spatulas on Parade                     
The Bergham Chronicles            
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy                                     
My Brain on Kids                           
The Angrivated Mom                       

My subject is "At work, they've asked you to plan a party for a big client.  You have 2 weeks and a small budget ($1.000.00).  You pull it off and it's amazing.  How did you do it?"   It was submitted by Southern Belle Charm.  Here goes: 

Sometimes I get an idea or a prompt and all kinds of ideas flood into my brain. Sometimes I draw a complete blank, but then ideas slowly creep their way into my conscience. Then there are those times when I am at  complete loss as to what to write. Those are the times that I bend the rules. Because it's my blog and YOU can't stop me! LOL

Henry's birthday party is this weekend. The poor kid's birthday is right at the end of the school year. In fact, it's usually after the end, but because of the calendar this year, he'll actually be in school for his birthday. He's excited about that! He keeps asking if I'm going to bring him cupcakes and have lunch with him. It makes me a little sad that he keeps seeing his brother and sister get those things, but he misses out. But this year, I'm going to make sure he gets a fun school experience!

I've still got work to do with his home party. He asked for a science theme. This is turning out to be harder than the spy theme he wanted a few years ago. He always seems to pick difficult themes for me. Or maybe I'm just brain-fried at this point in the year.

I'd like to take a moment to point out that we really only do family parties. We've had a few friend ones over the year, but the vast majority of our birthday parties are a nice excuse to gather family together. So I'm trying to create a party that will excite the birthday kid without going over the top and confusing the adults!

Even if I had unlimited budget for a party, I'd still drive myself crazy pulling it together. I don't buy my kids birthday presents. They get their birthday shirts, a party, and a cake from me. That's enough in my opinion! However, if I did have a little bit extra budgeted for the party, there are a few things I would do:

  • Book a local park with cover in case of bad weather and comfortable seating for all involved. We have these options available, but I'm never organized enough to book early, and I'm always worried about the weather for an outdoor party. If the budget allowed, I could even rent some stuff to make our yard more appealing for an outdoor party. That would give us lots more space and save me a lot of cleaning! ;)
  • Stop fretting over the shipping charges. Again, I'm always feeling late when it comes time to gather materials for a party. I always seem to put off looking for supplies until the free shipping window has passed. I hate paying for shipping, but I will when I have to.
  • Buy the pre-cut fruit and veggies. I almost always buy my own fruits and veggies to prepare and arrange myself. I'm frugal like that. But if you forced me to spend extra money on a party, I'd buy the trays and call it done!
  • Pre- and Post-cleaning services. My house really isn't that bad this time around, but I've still got some things that need to be done. And there's always stuff to clean up after a party. I'd love to go ahead and out-source that.
I'm not sure this was the direction I was supposed to take with my prompt, but it is what it is. The jury is still out as to whether my client (Henry) will be pleased with his party. I'll let you know next week!
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