Monday, September 19, 2011

I'm Human

 Scary picture, huh? That's 2 laundry baskets of clean clothes, 1 bag of giveaway clothes, 1 bin of clothes to store, and a drawer of clothes over flowing. Does your house look like this? If not, how do you do it??

 I HATE putting clothes away. I do okay with throwing them in the washer and dryer, but putting them away beats me every time. As this picture is proof. Maybe we have too many clothes for 3 kids? A lot of those clothes were hand me downs and bought from relatives.

 Does anyone have tips for organizing clothes?? By the time I put 9 month clothes in for Kora, its time to take those out and put in the 12 month clothes. She grows so fast! With 3 kids doing this, I'm constantly taking down bins and sorting. I do label the bins by months so I can find them which help.

 We would like to try for one more kid, so I keep all the clothes cause I don't want to have to buy more! What do you do with all your kids clothes? Do you hold onto them for the next kid, give them away and buy more?

 Ready for another scary picture?

 These are mostly kids clothes and towels! The sheets and diapers are in the washer and dryer!

 So you might be asking yourself, "Jamie, why are we seeing your dirty clothes?" Well I'm glad you asked! I want to show you that I don't have it all together. I want to show you me, want you to feel like you can identify. There are tons of blogs that show you clean homes. I pin all the great rooms that I would love for my house to look like. So in a way this is reality for you and I. To let you know that you are not alone. Who knows, maybe all you readers do not have this problem, are grossed out by all the clothes and wondering why I don't have my act together! I guess this is me taking a chance.

 I'm not Super Mom. I try to be at times. I need to stop that. When I fail, it brings me down. So I'm working hard on being okay with failing. To be okay with me, flaws and all. I'm not a perfect mom. I yell at my kids, my house isn't clean, I sit my kids in front of the TV so I can take a break, we eat eggs for dinner cause I don't want to cook, sometimes we don't brush our teeth every morning, the list goes on. I'm human.

 Are you okay with you when you fail? When you don't "measure up?" What do you do with that? Most days I get really down, some days I get back up and try again. Apologies, forgiveness and grace are being taught in our household due to a lot of mistakes. Most important, life is being lived at our household. Lessons are being taught through our failures and accomplishments.

PS Don't tell my husband I posted those photos! =)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Indoor Activities

 Have you been on Pinterest? I think it's taking more of my time then Facebook! So the cool thing about Pinterest is you get to bookmark pages, ideas, photos that you would like to revisit. Of course, I get a lot of ideas of crafts for kids. So here are a couple that I came across and how they worked for us. Great ideas for those wet and cold days coming up! 

 I actually saw this activity in  Family Fun magazine that I get. So you grab some contact paper, tape it to a window and have the kiddos place cut up tissue paper on the contact paper! Pretty easy peasy and it seems to be all over blog land now. 

 It was really fun at first. I think I picked to large of a window to do it on. It was great for using those motor development skills and talking about the colors. Kaden made a rainbow on it. We didn't fill up the window. I started grabbing hand fulls of paper and putting it on the contact paper.

Well the kiddos dumped out the cut up paper and started throwing it up in the air. This was a morning where it already started off rough. So when Kaden first threw all the paper everywhere, I almost freaked out. But then i was like, ah whatever, this will be a great oppurtunity for him to use a broom!

My kids had more fun throwing the paper up. Kora got into the action as well. And really it wasn't all that messy. It was a great learning moment for me as well. I don't have to freak out at all the messes. No one was dying or crying so I just relished in their happiness. They got to clean it up and surprisingly they really enjoyed using the broom! That's when the screaming started happening, because I didn't have enough big brooms!

 Someone pinned some cool pics from Play At Home Mom so I had to check out the site. I found these really cool water beads!! So I went looking for them and I found them at the Dollar Zone store in Anchorage for 50 cents!! I grabbed a couple of colors.

 I didn't take the greatest of photos, sorry. You put the beads in A LOT of water and they grow in several hours. I just threw the beads into a container that I grabbed at the Dollar Zone with the beads. They LOVED playing with them! It freaked out all the adults that touched them cause they look like glass.

Brooke loved picking them up and putting them in her cup. I was glad to see this cause her right hand is weaker and I know she was playing AND working on her motor development. You can put the water beads on a light source and it looks really cool. Be sure to check out the website to see more cool pictures and how they used them. They are non toxic but be sure to watch little ones at all times while playing with these.

 Another cool idea was to grab some balloons and fill them with rice and water! It's the simple things! SO I grabbed a bag of balloons while I was at the Dollar Zone. I put some rice in 2 balloons and then a little water in ANOTHER 2. I used two so my kids wouldn't fight over them. =) They loved shaking them and trying to figure out what was in them. It's cool because it adds some weight to the balloon so they fall a little faster. Kaden and I had a balloon fight because you can actually throw them at each other and it doesn't hurt.

 I have more ideas pinned on the boards so come back to see what we are up too! Be sure to get out and enjoy this weather cause you know what is coming!!! I don't want to say the word just yet. =)

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Music Canvas

 I know a couple of you are looking for something to do with your little ones since school started. Have you heard of The Music Canvas? It's a great music program for babies to kindergartners! Oh and adults as well! Classes start this week so go register!

 Last spring the kids and I enrolled. I just want to set this up for you, Kaden was 3, Brooke was 20 months and not walking and I was 5 months preggers. That being said, we LOVED the class! The class was small enough where Mrs Brooks knew all the kids names. She invited us in and said "don't worry if the kids get up and walk around or even sit and not participate." You can tell she knew kids! Trying to control my kids in a class setting is sometimes like herding cats, impossible! I thought she was very inviting for the kids and me.

 So there is a welcome song that you sing every class. Can I just tell you that I use that baby, a year later, to grab the attention of my kids!! Yeah, I use songs when my kids are not paying attention and it just draws them in. I don't know what it is cause it sure isn't my voice! So yes, the songs are very catchy. I didn't know them at first but we caught on fast. It's so much more then just sitting down and singing. There is dancing, movement, and instruments that my kids loved.

 When the instruments were first brought out my first thought was, "oh I'm NEVER going to get that egg shaker from Brooke and there will be lots of screaming." But guess what, Mrs. Brooks had this little song and Brooke actually listened! Not only did she put the shaker back but did it without tears and high octave screaming! So I still use that little trick today. Singing puts kids in a trance I'm telling you!

 Okay so singing isn't your thing? No worries, Mrs. Brooks does MOST of the work for you! All you have to do is bring the kids and be excited about it! Remember they feed off of you. You get a CD so you can listen to it at home or in the car. The kiddos can learn all the words as well as you. The songs are catchy, I was singing or humming them at 2am diaper changes.

 These classes are also great for kids with special needs. I was curious to see how Brooke would do in the setting. She loved it! It was another therapy session for her but one that Kaden and I got to be involved. She got to work on motor development with clapping, dancing and holding instruments. There is also a social aspect because Mrs. Brooks was engaging her and the kids. I loved watching Brooke move to the music. It helped me forget about all her limitations and watch her delight in being a kid. To this day, Brooke is always dancing and singing.

 The kids saw it as a fun time to sing and dance with other kids. I know it was a fun time but also knew the importance of the stimulation that was going on in their brains. There is a lot of research out there on the importance of music to kids when they are young. This is a great article on the importance of music at a young age.

 I definitely recommend this class! They are 45 minute classes and last 10 weeks. There are several locations and times so it can fit into your schedule. Visit here to see the class schedule. Mrs. Brooks also does private lessons. If you sign up, be sure to let her know Alaska Kids sent you!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

OakiWear Giveaway (Closed)

Okay, so I'm REALLY excited about this giveaway! I think it's SO COOL that you will have a WEEK to enter!

 OakiWear sent me a rain suit to try out and one lucky reader will win one as well! How cool is that! Not only does OakiWear have rain suits, but they have kid waders, rain boots and more! Perfect for the Alaskan kid!

 So I wanted to show you all the cool pictures of Brooke trying out her suit in the rain.....Well, it hasn't rained in a while so we haven't tried it out in the rain! Which is okay with me! BUT I wanted to get this in someones hands before the rain comes AGAIN! So here is what I found so far. I will do another write up when I actually get to try it in the rain.

 First off, the rain suit came in 2 days! I was sooooo impressed! I never get anything in 2 days up here unless I pay an arm and a leg! Their shipping is $5 flat rate and will take 2-6 days! These suits are usually $49.99 but on sale for $28.99! So if you don't win, you might want to order one quickly!

 Let's just talk about the cool features of this one piece suit. LOVE the cool colors you can pick; red, yellow, and blue. There is neoprene around the leg and arm cuffs to keep water out. Brooke has tiny wrists and ankles so I loved that I could actually get a snug fit on her. Yet they are large enough that you can get the cuffs over boots and gloves. There is reflective tape around the arm and chest, which I think is so cool. ( I really need to learn better descriptive words then cool.)
 One of my favorite features is the bungee around the midsection that you can tighten. Like I said, Brooke is so tiny so I love when clothing has this type of feature. You can see it tightened in the photo above and she doesnt look like a ballon. Brooke also has jeans, a shirt and a fleece under the rain suit.  She still has plenty of room and it's not so bulky. I LOVE this suit!

 This is a quality piece of gear that every Alaskan kid should have in their closet! But does it keep out rain?! So just because I didn't get to see it in action in rain, I still tried it out. I ran water from the kitchen sink over the outfit. COMPLETELY WATERPROOF! The water beaded up and it did not soak through at all! I'm SOOO looking forward to using this during break up!! Ha, already thinking of next summer!

 Here is the description of the suit from the site:

  • Tough rip-stop nylon construction

  • Fully taped seams

  • Hood attached

  • Reflective tape on arms and chest

  • Neoprene collar and wrists for comfort

  • 100% waterPROOF, breathable

      This is the best built rain and boating suit available! It is designed to perform like a kayaking shell, and works great on the boat, in the rain, or anywhere. Dirt and mud wash off easily. Sizes run a little big. A 3T, for example,is meant to fit all the way through their 3rd year. OakiWear brand gear for kids is specially manufactured to be top quality, and comes with a 1 year warranty to guarantee performance and durability. Of course, it's going to last A LOT longer than that!

  •  So you wanna win one!! All you need to do is leave a comment with a way to contact you AND you have to live in Alaska!  The sizes run from 2T -7. I will pick a winner next Friday, good luck!! Oh and be sure to become one of their fans on Facebook!

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Alaskan Wedding

    My husband and I went tp a friend's wedding this Labor Day weekend. It was great because it was like a date! All the kiddos stayed with my mother in law and we drove out to Girdwood. We actually got to talk about other things besides the kiddos. I believe this is so important to do with my husband and so thankful for the 45 minute drive.

    I always enjoy the drive to Girdwood. Waterfalls, crystal clear ponds, and gorgeous mountains. We actually got to see beluga whales surfacing. We also saw a man getting out of his dry suit, probably from finishing wind surfing in Turnagain Arm.

    The wedding was taking place in Historic Crow Creek Mine in Girdwood. It was raining and we passed many trailhead signs. We passed a trailhead that leads to part of the historic Iditarod Trail .

     For you Alaskans, do you notice that we don't carry umbrellas?? I think there were 3 umbrellas at the wedding and only ONE was being used!Porbably because she didn't have a jacket. Everyone else just used their rain coat, as you see here with the kiddos running around.

     The wedding was beautiful and the rain hitting the tents made a great sound to the marriage vows. Took me back 6 years ago when I was getting married. It rained on my wedding day as well, but we moved it inside. If I were to do it again, I think I would of gotten married in Hawaii and told everyone to meet us there!

     We got to eat fresh Alaskan salmon and shrimp after the ceremony. Even though it was raining, we could still see a glacier off the mountains. Of course with all the rain, kiddos were running around getting soaking wet. I loved watching the kiddos stand underneath the falling water. What was even better is I didn't have to worry about cleaning kids up! Makes for a GREAT date night!

     Along with raincoats, there were rainboots galore! Loved seeing the Xxtratuffs and Boggs with the dresses! I was thinking of wearing sandals! I need to get a pair of Boggs for this winter. Where did everyone get theirs and which print do they have?
     It was great to spend time together and celebrate a friend's wedding. Loved seeing my husband dressed up as well. I didn't get to take my coat off cause it was in the lower 50's and show off my cute shirt though. I did enjoy getting dolled up and not have a kid hanging from me. I have to remind myself that I need a break and to care for myself, that makes for a happy familly.

     I hope you all had a relaxing Labor Day weekend and found some time to indulge in something just for yourself!