Simply 10 Things that Made me Smile Today!

Why am I posting things that made me smile today?

Well, I have a cold and it is making me grumpy and miserable. I noticed my grump was on first thing this morning so added “Take pictures of 10 things that make me smile” to my to do list. I was quite intentional with this… my other goal of being gentle with my words to my children didn’t pan out as well as I had hoped – a bit too much nagging, a few exasperated sighs and a full fledged yell of “WHAT IN THE WORLD DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING” to Little Why as I spotted him destroying a well loved book of Monkey Girl’s.

But… tomorrow is a new day and hopefully a hug and an apology makes all well again.

1. Enjoying a quiet afternoon with Monkey Girl while the bigger kids were playing with friends in various areas of the house and the other two littles were still napping. I was typing on my laptop, she was watching Chuck the Dump Truck and Friends but the comfortable companionship was lovely.

2. I loved seeing my kids exercise their imaginations this morning!
Mr. Hockey and Electric Lady played “Zombie Aplocalypse” all morning and built a fort in Monkey Girl and Angel Eyes bedroom where they staked out and fired “Zombie Killing Guns” (AKA Nerf Guns) at the enemy.
Monkey Girl, Angel Eyes and Little Why refrained from fighting (WOW) for 1 whole hour and lined up empty recycling, storage and toy bins in our entray way. They went on adventures all around the ocean in their little “boats.” They were even joined by a baby doll and a teddy bear for part of their journey!
 

3. Adorable fall paintings made by Monkey Girl and Mr. Hockey in their sixth grade classroom.

4. The fact that Elastoboy has a “Jesus Changed My Life” hat on his shelf of favourites.

5. My big tree and my younger three’s little tree both standing with lights proudly gleaming on our new living room floor as the sun was getting ready to set. I love all parts of this!

6. The late afternoon sun shining through my living room… giving a lovely glow.

7. The Santa pictures we got this afternoon as I decided to brave the mall while having a cold to go and see the Jolly Old Elf!

8. These reddish blond, crazy and all over the place curls on the back of Monkey Girl’s head. I always wanted a curly haired red headed daughter!

9. This Moose that hangs proudly at the top of my Christmas Tree. I got this ornament when I was 6 or 8 and while it is missing an arm, the scarf is tattered and there are scuff marks on the white paint, it still takes me to memories of decorating the tree every year with my mom.

10. Okay… I am a dork… but the fact that the expiring date on this yummy treat from Wal-Mart is December. It means Christmas is coming and all of it’s joy, colours and goodwill.

And with smiles in my heart and yawns on my face, I am off to bed!

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Totschool catch up – Letters E and F

Tot School
My tots are between 2 and 4 years old!

It’s been a while since I did one of these posts but I figured I needed to catch up! Over the past month we’ve done a Thanksgiving Theme, a Halloween Theme and some various Letter of the Week themes.

I’ll show some of our activities for letters E and F in this post! We had some fun with circle time – Going through our various activities on our Calendar Board, geussing what “e” word would be on our various flash cards from the letter basket,  talking about our animals of the week and playing sleeping elephants.

 
 

We had show and tell! That was a big hit with the kiddos!
 

We made our letter Ee is for Elephant craft from 1+1+1=1′s Animal ABC printables. We used puffy paint (glue and shaving cream mixture) for this one!
  

And then made the letter Ff is for Frog Animal ABC printables the next week! This time we got out the chalk pastels and coloured and shaded away.
 

We also used the printables from Animal ABC’s in our letter binders. Only pictures of the letter Ee below as I couldn’t find my camera on the day we did the letter Ff=)
 

The kids enjoyed an array of fun fall activities outside in the fresh air. We also discussed signs of fall everyday at circle, making a running list of everything we could think of.
  

As usual, we stuck with doing tot trays and fine motor activities. Pictured below you have patterning with frogs and butterflies, drawing on the chalk board side of the easel, playdough (of course), stepping stones game that I created, counting pennies as these kids have a fascination with coins, a Halloween cheerio book, the rice and treasure bin, a bin of blue macaroni and safari animals and plenty of learning puzzles.
  
  
  

Lot’s of sensory activities – both inside and out! Two favourites were water play with funnels, different sized containers and coloured water and exploring ice that had frozen in our water table overnight.
 

We spent some time talking about Remembrance Day during our letter Ff week. We made poppies, passed around real poppies in circle time, talked about what the day means and said thank you out loud for the brave soldiers.
  

We also did a few other crafts such as a paper piecing elephant and coffee filter art. The coffee filter craft was one of Monkey Girls all time favourites and she has asked to do it a few times since! It is very simple if you have never done it before – first have your child colour a coffee filter with washable markers then spray it with water form a spray bottle (we just cleaned an old fantastic bottle VERY well and used that). The colours end up spreading and mixing, making beautiful artwork. We later cut ours into leaves to put on the window.
 

That be all for now! Next up? Halloween… just a little late haha.

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Where have I been? GISHWHES would be the answer!

Hubbers, Pirate Red and I entered GISHWHES this year.

It was a tremendously fun, terribly stressful and ultimately rewarding experience! It was only a week long but I have been off my game at home since that point. Building trebiches, dirtying all the dishes in the house in an attempt to create medieval armour out of cookware, and sugar high, halloween excited kids in the mix made for a pretty disorganized home. We are all back together now, so expect a bunch of posts from me real soon.

In the meantime – here are a few of our adventures! Many are videos, etc so not posting them here=)
Eating Lot’s of Kale, being coloured by toddlers!
 

Kissing through 11 items of food, a Flea Strip Club on a cat, A cake made and decorated totally by toddlers.
  

The cake making process, a Dinosaur made of Sanitary Napkins.
 

And last but not least… Worst Christmas Card Photo EVER! Haha… isn’t it lovely? angel Eyes is screaming BTW, you just can’t tell with her face blanked out=)

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Giving yourself Grace

friday favorite things | finding joy

This has not been one of my better weeks… I have felt grumpy, high, low and all over the place from one moment to the next. I am not usually like this but I do get terribly thrown off when the house is out of sorts. You know how little kids need rhythm and routine? Well… apparently I do too or I am just not at my best.

I have yelled at my toddlers, snapped at my middles and rolled my eyes galore at my teenager. I have mopped the floor begrudgingly, avoided laundry like the plague and forgotten important things like my cell phone. I have argued with my husband and grumbled at my church (I need to get that darned Criminal Record Check done for Sunday School volunteerism). In essence, I haven’t been the most fun person to be around the past week.

Accompanied with my “no fun” personality, a heavy layer of guilt has covered me. Carrying around a heavy dose os guilt for a grumpy week doesn’t make you feel less grumpy.

A blog I started to read a few weeks ago (Finding Joy) recently mentioned giving yourself grace when you mess up. As I was reading it, I felt some of that heavy burden of guilt lift off my shoulders. I am not a bad mom. I am a mom who makes mistakes and has bad days (or weeks) but I am not bad. My kids will be fine… some apologies, chocolate and playing with them will help heal wounds. There are times when we, as moms and dads, need to imply give ourselves grace and move on.

As for me and my grumpy self? Well, I am going to start with being thankful. Isn’t there a Veggie Tales song about a thankful heart being a happy heart?

My thankfulness list today:
1. My beautiful kids.
They make my life so much more fullfilled. Give me smiles, give me hugs and make my heart grow fonder everyday.
2. A wonderful husband who may not see some things the same as I do, and gets annoyed at my forgetfulness but loves me just the same. He works hard for our family and our home and I have a brand new floor and freshly painted walls in my living room to show for it. I am certainly a blessed woman.
3. Netflix back to help keep my squirmy 3 year old quiet while the other littles are sleeping. Sure, too much TV is bad. But a bit to give your mommy some sanity? Not so bad, especially when you are learning about Jelly Fish and Sea Turtles.
4. Fall… I love this season. I love the trees, the crispness in the air and bright orange pumpkins.
5. God’s Grace because without it, I would be surely destined to a miserable life.

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Totschool: Thanksgiving Fun

Tot School

My tots are between 2 and 4 years old.

I’m a bit behind, so I am posting about our Thanksgiving week now. We had a lot of fun working up to the big day!

On Monday, we started with counting fruit. I put half peices of paper with numbers and the names of fruit on the table and added in bowls of fruit. Each bowl had a different number of fruit in it – 10 carrots, 3 bananas, etc.) The kids had so much fun! I invited them each individually but all the others chose to hang around and watch their friends sort the fruit.
  

Then we made a yummy fruit salad! (after washing the fruit really well, of course)

The enjoyed the above activity so much that we didn’t do anything more than go outside and do some colouring but they had a fun morning.
 

On Tuesday we made handprint turkeys. First, we talked about the colours and how they all related to fall. Next I painted their hands and stamped them on the papers. After we finished the turkeys, I interviewed them about Thanksgiving. I always love interviews with little kids! Once the turkeys were dry, I drew features on them. Easy and cute!
 
 

For our tot trays, we shined rocks, jumped frogs from one lily pad to the next, built a fruit puzzle, played playdough and traced letters. They enjoyed the playdough so much that I pulled it out after our outside time in the afternoon too.
 
 
 

Wednesday started with calendar. We did all our normal activities then played with the letter basket. I had the kiddos pass me a picture from the basket and everybody else had to guess what it was.
 

The littles had fun making cornucopias. It was pretty simple with not a lot of creativity but they all were pretty impressed with their final result. We had talked about cornucopias during circle so the simple paper piecing craft solidified it for them. Love Monkey Girl’s tongue stuck out!
 

I pulled out puzzles for our tot toys this day. They kept their interest for a good, long time!
 

Thursday had a slow start. My little daycare friends came a bit later – our normal 7:30 fellow didn’t show up until 9:30, same with our 8:30 little girl. One little boy doesn’t come until 9 anyway, so it was a quiet morning here. Babies have been a favourite of Monkey Girl, Angel Eyes and Little Why for the past little bit and that was what they occupied their time with while lounging in their jammies.
  

Once everyone had arrived, we started out on a field trip to the Library. It is not a far walk, but with 6 little ones in tow, it took quite a while to get there – having to pick up every leaf, stray dandelion and rock along the way, of course.
 
 

We made a pit stop at the park for a picnic and a little energy burn off after our quiet time at the library. Love my little straggler on the walk home=)
  

On Friday, we had a bit low key of a day. We began with circle and sang the song “Corner Grocery Store.” I had made some felt food and other items to go along with it and the kids were pretty impressed.
 

Later, I set up some table toys which the kids were quite engaged with. Our pumpkin transferring tray, the felt “Grocery Store,” cutting paper and dobbing Thanksgiving Hello Kitty pages.
 
 

And that be all for now, folks!

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Totschool: Cc is for Caterpillar

Tot School

My tots are between 2 and 4 years old.

For any new people popping over from totschool, I do an inhome daycare, have 2 little forster children and my biological daughter – 6 kiddos in all – and these are our adventures this week! The letter Cc was on the menu and we had lots of fun with it!

On Monday we painted with our homemade liquid watercolours. First we just painted pictures, then moved onto painting our C’s! Once they dried, the littles added caterpillars to the letter. (Letter craft from the Animal ABC from 1+1+1=1.)
  

We later decorated cookies and pretended to be caterpillars munching, entering a chrysalis and then turning into a lovely butterfly to fly around the house.
 

On Tuesday, we started with colouring pages in our alphabet notebooks. The printables came from 1+1+1=1.
 

For our tot trays on this day, we had a butterfly puzzle, a crayon rubbing station, the Water Doodler, matching cards and a magnetic vehicles toy.
 

We painted with carrots on Wednesday. This was a big hit and the kids thought it was SO funny!
  

They also had some fun in the backyard. Mud pies and Tonka Trucks are definitely two of the favourite activities.
  

The older girls had fun playing veterinarian to our toy cat collection (and then every other animal they could find too).

We counted and sorted cats by colour on Wednesday then went outside to sit on the steps and play Eye Spy colours before going for a little walk.
 

We did a “Cat School” training class on the grass in front of the house after our walk. The children all pretended to be cats and I instructed them in different activities. They were pretty excited by this game!
 

We spent most of Friday outside. We used the swings and sandbox in the backyard and then took a trip to the park in the afternoon.
 
 

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A Medieval Thanksgiving Feast

Our family did Thanksgiving in a slightly different way – we dressed up in Medieval costumes, played Medieval characters and at Medieval food. It was a blast (from the past?) and was enjoyed by all!

First, the preparation!
Costume Making, Bread Baking…
Recipe Checking, Room Decorating…
Salad Preparing, Story Telling!
 
 
 

The theme behind our Medieval feast was a group of rebels getting together to overthrow an EVIL King and replacing him with a good King, of our choosing. Each member of the dinner had a background story and reasoning why they were at our dinner!
Meet the Cast!… and hear the story behind them!

Battlebeard (AKA, Big Guy)
A man from a land far away, who was charged with the protection of Lady Gwenevere. He has not done such a great job at this task, considering she was turned into a cat by the Evil King. He has sworn revenge and wishes to join the rebellion in hopes that he may be the one to take the head of the King!


Princess Monkey Girl
A lovely young princess who likes to play with her Mommy. Her mommy was kidnapped by the Evil King and she is here because she is a princess and needs to save her!


William (AKA Elastoboy)
But a poor peasant who is very hungry due to the Evil King’s reign over the community. He has confiscated much of the food and will only give it out once people have done horrible jobs for him. William broke into the feast in hopes that he could steal some food. once he realized what the feast was for, he decided to join the cause and came prepared to fight!


Rianna (AKA Electric Lady)
She cares for babies who have been orphaned by the Evil King. She is an ordinary peasant woman who happens to be blessed with a large house with many rooms to care for these babies. She is also offering her large home so that the rebels can plan their attack against the King!


King Henry the 4th of New Brunswick (AKA Grampie Brad)
King Henry has come to help salvage this poor distressed kingdom. He has heard of all the children being in dire need of new leadership due to the Evil King’s Reign. He plans to overthrow the current King and put in place a happier, more peaceful community for his followers.


Sir Francis the Furry (AKA Hubbers)
He is the Hedge Knight of Sir Gavin. He is on a mission to kill the King as he had killed his liege Lord Gavin the Galliant. He had pledged his life to this cause and once it is complete, he wishes to serve within the Rainbow Knighthood if given the Honour.


Unknown Executioner (AKA Mr. Hockey)
This mysterious character is a member of the King of New Brunswick’s own family. He enjoys keeping things to himself and always remains in the darkness. He serves as the King’s protector and has vowed to execute all people who would try and attack good King Henry!


Princess Angel Eyes
This little princess comes from another land where the Evil King has already destroyed the land and oppressed the people.  She was smuggled in during the night time by the royal Jester’s apprentice. She very much enjoys “cutting bananas” in her spare time!


Little Jester (AKA Little Why)
This colourful fellow loves to be funny and has taken a special interest in Princess Angel Eyes. He smuggled her in during the night and wishes to help her gain back her kingdom from the Evil King and will cut as many bananas as he possibly can in the process!


Marwin (AKA Grandpa Ray)
As the brother of Merlin, Marwin has experienced many strange occurances. One of these landed him in a time warp which trapped him in the year 2012 for a thousand years. He managed to come home through a worm hole. He is now back and wishes to join the rebellion.


Lady Elvira (AKA Grandma June)
As a Lady of the court, she is very proper. She was invited  to join the fight and agreed. She is not entirely sure how she got to the house but managed to find her way through the front door.


Olivia (AKA Me!)
Widowed when the Evil King killed her husband, she was left to lead a poor peasants life. She has raised her children to adulthood and now helps her daughter, Rianna, care for the orphans of the village. While Rianna cares for them as babies, Olivia teaches them right from wrong and to be literate as they grow older. She believes that if the children are educated, they will be able to live in a better world than her children grew up in. She carries around much anger towards the Evil King and wishes to bring revenge upon him and his court.


Quinn (AKA Pirate Red)
Quinn was the former Jester of the Evil King’s court. She escaped because the king was going to execute her for being late to a feast that she did not know about. Her predecessor was killed for similar reasons and before he died, he gave her his Jester’s mask and was told to escape. She was not quick enough and was sentenced to a life of servitude to the Evil King.
How did she escape? Well, read this lovely story and find out for yourself! (By Pirate Red, of course.)
I was exploring the castle one day and I found a lamp. Having heard of genies who supposedly live inside them, I rubbed the map and immediately a genie appeared. He granted me three wishes! Being quite a silly joker, I’ll admit, I impulsively wished for a yellow umbrella. It was completely useless because it rarely rained in that land where I used to live. Thinking I should probably wait and actually think about my other two wishes, I tucked the lamp into the scarf tied around my waste.

I made my way back to the main chambers and saw the King was having another gluttonous fest with his vulgar guests. I heard the King shout “Arrest that fool!” and to guards grabbed me and shackled me in irons. I was dragged to the gallows and all the way, I was hoping that I could just get the lamp in my grasp. Finally, as they threw the noose around my neck, I had the lamp in my grasp and I shouted “I wish to be saved!” At that moment, an angel swooped down from heaven and cut the noose around my neck and carried me away from the vile, screaming vermin on the ground.

The angel carried me far away to a grassy dale where he set me down. Along the way, I noticed him flying lower and lower, until it seemed he could not fly anymore.
“I’m losing my wings!” He said. “I left heaven to save your life, and now I can’t return.”
“Yes, you can!” I said, giving him the lamp. “There’s one wish left!”
“But I do wish to stay here.” Said the angel and with that, the final wish was made and the lamp fell to the ground, powerless.

The angel took my hands and we were supposed to live happily ever after, but the Evil King is a vengeful, rageful, and all around horrible person and he would not let the matter rest. He hunted us down with his best huntsmen, sorcerers and bloodhounds. He found us. We were no match for his power and they killed my angel. He gave up immortality for me and he died way too soon. He sacrificed himself for me, once again. He held them off and bid me flee to find other rebels to take down the Evil King, so our world would not forever be shadowed by his wicked powers. Not wanting him to have died in vain, I escaped and now have gathered together, here with all of you, so we can take the Evil King down and restore the true monarchy.

After introducing our characters (and telling stories about them), we enjoyed the feast!

We finished the evening off with some lovely entertainment from our Jester. Her juggling and flute playing were simply amazing!
 

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