Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Wonderful Weekend Away

We had a wonderful weekend away as a family -- camping at a state park about an hour from home -- campfires with s'mores, fishing, time on a boat, hiking, beautiful scenery and lots of family time.  So thankful for special time together as a family.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Transitions Ahead

Fall is Coming...

I'm in denial that summer's end is just around the corner.  This was our truly last "laid back" week.  Next week we have something scheduled several evenings, a meeting, a picnic, and maybe even company coming over Labor Day weekend.

Our fall schedule will look similar to last spring, with one exception:  my ever-growing boy will be attending one morning of church preschool each week.  Add that to MOPS, an ECFE class and Friday gym times, our weeks will be full.  This momma is looking forward to a child-free morning each week and all the new adventures my little boy will have making new friends and learning at preschool.  Prayers for transitions, better morning routines, and a good "first day" experience for my little boy would be appreciated.

I have a bunch of posts in draft mode or in my head that I'd like to write about -- especially adoption related thoughts -- but I've been trying to focus on enjoying summer fun, playing outside and getting a few other projects done. Hopefully more posts will be coming soon.

Until then, we are enjoying life on the gravelly road!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Letters on the Mirror

Daddy left me a message on the mirror.  It brought a smile to my face.

When my son walked by the bathroom this morning after I took a shower, he said "Mom! Why is there an O and an E on the mirror?"  I read him the whole message from Daddy  -- "Love U Mom". 

So I helped him onto the counter so he could try.  He wrote a few letters, left a few handprints, and was all smiles.  

Then we left a message for Daddy "We Love Daddy!".

I'm so thankful for simple fun at home together.  Celebrating our family and our love for each other.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Joy of Rediscovered Toys

"New Toy" days were always a favorite at the home daycare my son attended before our move -- when the toys were rotated and there were all new things to play with.  In the past, I've done an ok job packing up toys that my son has outgrown (I did some extra sorting before the move last fall and probably due for another round soon) but I haven't done much for rotating toys to keep them "fresh". 

Last week, we had a little friend staying with us for a few days -- a sweet one year old girl whose parents were out of town.  So we packed up the big boy toys in the lower living room where most of our indoor playtime happens (think small cars, small metal farm toys, etc) to make room for some toddler toys for our little friend.  It was so fun to watch my son rediscover his old toddler toys -- his little people train, Noah's ark set, and the plastic squeaky blocks.  We also got out his set of mega blocks (which hadn't been packed away but we hadn't played with them much this summer).  The toys kept his attention longer and he so was excited to play with them. 
Showing how to build carefully

I think I need a way to rotate toys this fall and winter -- both to help control the amount of toys that come out at a time and to help keep them fresh and interesting when we are spending more time indoors.  I'm going to have to give it some thought to have a plan that doesn't take up lots of storage space but also easy to do so that we can rotate often enough.  I have plenty of extra plastic tubs, maybe just setting aside two tubs for toy rotation and keeping them together in the storage area.  A set schedule for sorting toys to remove what's not being played with also might be good, likely late winter after Christmas and his birthday.

Do you rotate your kids' toys?  Or only pack up what is not played with or "too young" for them?  How often do you go through their collection toys?

Linking up with this week's "Mama Loves" over at Pontifications of a Twin Mom

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Fun with the Letter "P"

Last winter while at Grandpa and Grandma's, they celebrated "I" day in honor of my son's first initial.  There was an "I" related craft, an "I" road made of masking tape for his cars, an experiment having to do with ice and a trip to get ice cream.  Months later he still takes about that day (and Blue Day and Zoo Day that also happened at Grandma's).

So, the other day when he said he wanted to do a "project", we decided to celebrate "P" day for his middle initial.  Of course, I hadn't planned ahead but it still was tons of fun!

We read books about pigs (it was the easiest "P" related theme from the books on his bookshelf):

 Ate Pig Sandwiches at Lunch
(This would also be fun at breakfast using pancakes too)

Painted with Purple and Pink Paint
We used mostly sponges, including one in the shape of the letter "P", and eventually a bouncy ball as well.  (I'd also planned to use some pig shaped stencils and to get his toy pig out to join the painting.  He wasn't interested in the stencils and apparently his toy pig can play in the sandbox but not the paint. That's ok.)

We had lots of fun!  I think we should have more letter themed days here on the Gravelly Road.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Garden Goodness

Garden goodness is one of the reasons I haven't been posting much this week!  Its so fun to be able to start harvesting fresh veggies from the garden.  Tomatoes are ripening fast, the first green pepper is ready with more coming soon, the first of many cucumbers, more zucchini and the list goes on.

Then of course you have to do something with all the goodness.  I made black bean and corn salsa earlier this week.  Tonight we had a wonderful basil pasta dish with cheesy broiled tomatoes.  I also see a few more BLT meals in our future :)  I used up the first two zucchini making bread last weekend (and gave a loaf to my neighbor for all her green bean generosity). 

On Monday she brought another batch of green beans (think plastic grocery bag filled to overflowing).  So I'd been working on freezing those.  Then yesterday morning she stopped by with a bag of already husked sweet corn.  Apparently a friend brought her way too much and so of course she shared with us.  We had sweet corn for lunch and I froze the rest that afternoon.

I'll likely be making another batch of zucchini bread soon, maybe salsa too.  Then I need to figure out how to used up some cucumbers...

I love that our freezer is starting to fill up and we've had so many fresh foods to eat.  What a blessing!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

We Enjoy Our Dry Erase Crayons

One of the blogs I read (see link at bottom) routinely posts about products, kids gear or other things that makes life just a little easier... basically favorites in the current season of mothering you are in.  Her posts have got me thinking about some of the little things that are our favorites :)

After an activity recently that included the kids drawing on white boards with dry erase markers, I was reminded why we get so much use out of our dry erase crayons. 

We've had them since back to school season last fall -- I found them on sale plus a coupon to make them very affordable.  I'd replace our set at full price if need be though, I like them that much.  They make so much less mess than dry erase markers!  No marks all over hands and clothes.  They are a little harder to wipe off the board -- usually need a wet paper towel -- but not a big deal.

Whether we are working on letters or just drawing for fun, they are a nice change of pace from paper and regular crayons, especially for a little boy that enjoys "starting over" and otherwise uses as much paper as I let him.

The other day we brought them outside to draw and ended up tracing leaves and other found objects.

This post is being shared as part of this week's "Mama Loves" over at Pontifications of a Twin Mom.  She is also running a giveaway with a favorite kids book so go check it out!

(I was not compensated in any way for this post.  Its just a product I enjoy, my opinion is my own.
This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Waiting and Psalms

Another month of waiting has flown by.   July was a month of visiting it seems.   Besides trips to see family over Fourth of July and our trip to the cabin with my side of the family, we also had my parents visit, my grandparents, two girlfriends from college with their kids came for a day, and a quick visit from a former co-worker with her family.  Being busy sure helps me not think about the waiting as much...

This scripture from Psalms was part of my devotional reading when we first started our wait.  I hung it on the fridge and I read it several times a day.  It encourages me daily so I thought I'd share.

20 We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
22 May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
even as we put our hope in you.
Psalm 33:20-22  (NIV)

 20-22 We're depending on God;
he's everything we need.
What's more, our hearts brim with joy
since we've taken for our own his holy name.
Love us, God, with all you've got—
that's what we're depending on.

Psalm 33:20-22 -- The Message (MSG) 
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