Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A View From Powder Creek

Here is my wordless Wednesday post.  We went fishing at Powder Creek over Mother's Day weekend and I took the opportunity to take a few pictures.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Letter Yy Preschool Activity

I try to use an alphabet letter each week in my lessons with the younger children.  As the end of the year approaches and summer beckons us outside with promises of sunshine, I need easy and low stress activities.  This past week I crammed a quick "Yy" lesson in with the kids.

Here is what I used:
  • yellow yarn (but I let the children choose their colors)
  • a cardboard "Y" cut from a box

Here is what I did:
  • I started the yarn for the children.  I simply tied a knot around the base of the Y and showed them how to wrap.
  • I let the children go and enjoy this activity.  It is low stress and introduces the children to some fine motor movements that is great for coordination and developing skills.
  • I tied the ends of the yarn as the children neared the end of their string.
  • Voila!  Easy Peasy!
Do you have any fun activities for the letter "Yy"?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

My Dandelion Runneth Over...

It's finally Spring here in Nebraska!  I am so thankful to see green grass and vegetation growing this year that I don't mind mowing or pulling weeds.  My yard and the neighbor's yard, at least what is left of them, are in bloom.  Full bloom!  The children took the opportunity to pick as many yellow bursts as possible. 

I literally had bowls upon bowls of their sweet offerings lining my kitchen table. 


We won't even mention the loaded ice cream buckets they had waiting on the porch!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Letters From The Tooth Fairy- Mission Fail

I woke up yesterday to wails of disappointment escaping from my youngest son's room.  It took me a minute to realize that I dropped the ball last night.  Not a real ball, but I forgot to play the role of the "tooth fairy".  I broke the parent and tooth fairy clause in the parent handbook. 

He was upset that the tooth he tried so hard to wiggle loose for weeks remained in his cup-  forgotten.  He was worried that the tooth had a cavity or it wasn't good enough because of the hole in the bottom.  It took a few minutes, but eventually I rationalized that something important probably had kept her away.  Things happen...

Last night, in a last ditch effort to redeem myself, I wrote up a small apology and added 4 extra quarters to his haul.  This morning he was so excited!  I think he enjoyed getting the letter more than the money.

Have you ever botched a tooth fairy mission?  What did you do?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Pioneer Lunch 2013 Style

The school year is almost over and that means programs, fun days, and extra activities.  My middle son and I had a lot of fun this evening preparing for "pioneer school".  They are supposed to dress the part and bring an authentic lunch in a pail to school in the morning.   

Here is what we came up with:

A biscuit filled with a slice of ham neatly wrapped in a blue bandanna

Two boiled eggs

1 juicy apple

I can't wait for tomorrow!  He gets to wear plaid and suspenders... 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Be A Gracious Mother

The arrowhead necklace and blue heart are presents from my middle son.  During his much anticipated class trip to Lincoln, he lovingly spent all of his souvenir money on me.  Yes, me! 

Needless to say, I was a little bewildered when he offered up his heartfelt treasures the minute he bounced off the bus.  His eyes were twinkling and he was so excited to give me something "real".  Something that he purchased with his money.  Something that Dad or his brothers didn't help choose.  Something to surprise his mother with.

It shocked me. 

I was expecting him to collect odds and ends, little cheap trinkets from all the tourist shops they wandered through.  I thought he would buy chewing gum and magnets.  Not sentimental items for me. 

"Thank you," I uttered. 

A perfectly fine response.  Then I HAD to open my big mouth.  Looking back, I regret my response and wish I handled it better.

"I gave you money to buy things for yourself, not me," I lectured.

Luckily, it was dark in the van and I couldn't see the disappointment darken his hazel eyes. I hadn't considered how terrible my response was until my husband pointed out a startling concept.  As much as I hate to admit it, he was right. 

Here is his mind blowing statement:

"Why can't we do nice things for you?  You always go out of your way to make our days special and he wanted to do something for you.  Just let it go and let the boy treat you the way you treat us."

Please, learn from my mistake. 

Allow the husband and children to lather their love on you.  If they pick dandelions or buy you a bouquet of roses- let them.   If they bring you breakfast in bed-  eat it.  I could go on and on, but I know you get the gist of what I am saying.  Allow them the joy of  helping.  Let them show their appreciation and develop empathy for others. 

As mothers, we are accustomed to putting everyone else first or their needs ahead of ours.  Some of us have had years of practicing this martyrdom and it's become second nature.  We may not even recognize it!  We give the children our dessert or we scrimp pennies so they can go to summer camp.  Isn't that what mother's are supposed to do?

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying we need to become the alpha mother and expect everything to be served to us on fine china.  However, we can take these moments and enjoy them.  Give the experience of loving to your children.  Let them own it and cherish their appreciation. 

So, here is an idea to ponder this Mother's Day: 

Be a gracious mother.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Rustic Colored Jars- Perfect Mother's Day Gifts


Mother's Day is approaching and I was on the lookout for easy gifts the children could make for their special ladies.  I wanted something that the children could make themselves and be useful for their parent.  I finally decided to try a new technique that I saw on facebook awhile ago.

I wish I would have pinned or bookmarked the idea.  I just remembered they showcased painted colored Mason jars with glue and paint to tint the glass.  I took this idea and simplified it by using school glue, food coloring, and a little water to create softer hues.  We rummaged through the recycle bin and came up with enough empty pickle and salsa jars. 

I gave the children a choice of making candles or vases and handed them the paint brush.  Voila!  Beautiful gifts and happy crafting children made for a productive afternoon.  Now, we just need to keep our "secret" for a few more days to surprise Mom.

To make these recycled jars, all you need is:

*  School Glue
*  Food Coloring
*  Water
*  Mason Jar or Recycled Jar
*  Paint brush

Here is how to create beautiful candles and vases for your Mothers:

Mix a small amount of glue, food coloring, and water.

Paint the outside of your jar.  It may take several coats and a little retouching as the glue dries.  THIS part can get a bit messy if you have very energetic artists!

Allow them to dry. 

We added ribbons and stickers to our jars, but I want to make some wire hangers to use outside this summer.  Could you imagine these lit up hanging above an outdoor dinner party?  Gorgeous!

What did you make for your Mother?

Monday, May 6, 2013

5 Ways To Brighten Your Day!

For the past few weeks it's been foggy and dreary in this part of Nebraska.  If it isn't snowing, it's cold and damp.  I will gladly take the moisture, but it is May!  I need to let a little sunshine in, if you know what I mean. 

So what is a girl supposed to do? 

Sit and wallow in the shadows?

Absolutely not! 

The weather may be dumpy, but I need to kick Spring into gear-  even if it is only inside the house.  I made a short list of frugal and easy ways I plan to brighten up my day.

1.  Open The Curtains. 

Pull back those drapes or blackout curtains and let the natural light filter in.  Sunlight is important to our natural body rhythms, vitamin D levels, and frame of mind.  Even if it is cloudy, opening the curtains allows you to glimpse outside.  This is the simplest and easiest way to brighten your day!

2.  Clean The Windows. 

Housework?  Yes, because those windows are dirtier than you think.  The glisten a wiped window provides will instantly freshen up any dull day.  It's cheap and takes little effort.  Little finger prints and sloppy dog noses will quickly cover up the sheen in my house, but for the few minutes and little bit of vinegar, it was worth it.  It's surprising how much grime collects on a plate of glass.

3.  Make A Pitcher Of Lemonade or Raspberry Cordial.

I chose to make a food that reminds me of summer so I whipped up a batch of bubbly lemonade.  I haven't decided if it's the pucker of the sour juice, the vibrant color of the yellow rind, or the ginger ale that washes away the blues.  This drink instantly puts a little pep in my step and a smile on my face.  You can easily choose another drink or treat, but choose something that you associate with summer.

4.  Plant Something.

Damp dirt is one of my favorite smells that I have yet to find a scented candle for.  The aroma after a rainstorm or the musk of tilled soil is iconic with renewal.  So if you are like me, with no garden to plant until the temperature rises, what are we supposed to do?  There are several ideas on pinterest for small planters or you can start a few herbs indoors.  I concocted an old pallet I found laying in our basement into a planter for our lettuce and spinach.  I even transplanted some thyme and rosemary for in the kitchen.

5.  Shave Your Legs.

This probably is my craziest way to brighten the day, but the feel of freshly shaved legs makes me think of Summer.  After all that cleaning and planting you will want to take a shower or soak in a hot bath.  If it's warm enough, you can even wear capri's or shorts!  Lather up and wash that dreary day down the drain.

What tips do you have to brighten up a rainy or bleak day?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

May 2013 Blogging Challenge

I am the first to admit that I falter when it comes to consistent, regular posting on the blog.  Life gets in the way or the occassional television show, book, shopping trip, etc.  See, I am great at making excuses.  I decided to sign on for a blogging challenge for the month of May.  Let's cross our fingers that I keep up with this, because it is a wonderful concept.  Feel free to join up!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Beautiful Strawberry Pie

It's almost strawberry season and I am starting to find great deals on the succulent fruit.  I had several helpers this morning and we decided to concoct a couple of pies.  I am a huge fan of this strawberry pie recipe-  the filling is a cinch to put together and the chunks of fruit make this treat amazing.  No complaints were heard from the children and almost everyone finished their piece.    

I cheated and used pre-made pie crusts from the store.  Honestly, I could have rolled out my own, but our Spring schedules are so hectic that I cut a few corners when I can.  The children were too busy licking the bowls that no one seemed to notice we skipped a step. 

This pie is easy and quick-  we timed it at about 15 minutes of prep.  Perfect for a busy day!  Take advantage of the local produce or the sales at the supermarket and try this recipe.  I think you will agree that it is definetly worth the hassle of a few dirty dishes. 

For the strawberry pie, you will need:

* one baked single pie crust
* 4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 cup water
* 4 Tablespoons cornstarch
* 3 Tablespoons strawberry gelatin ( I just used a whole 3 oz. package)
* Cool Whip

Here is how you prepare this berry dessert:

Prepare your single crust pie shell.  You can get elbow deep in the flour or cheat and buy pre-made.  I won't tell if you won't...

Clean and slice your strawberries.  I prefer a thicker slice and the children really enjoy it.  Set aside.

In a saucepan, combine your water, sugar, and cornstarch.  Bring to a boil.

Add the strawberry gelatin and mix.


Mix in the strawberries and pour into your baked pie crust.

Refrigerate and let set up for a few hours. 

Top with cool whip or softened ice cream for a cool treat.

What do you like to make with strawberries?

Birds In Pane

On our morning walk we spied a couple of sparrows enjoying the sunlight streaming in an old carriage house.  We heard them chirping and noticed them in this glass free window.  We were lucky to have the camera along and snapped a few pics of the birds for prosperity.  This carriage house is currently being torn down and salvaged, but it allowed us a nice view of the pair hidden inside.  


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Nutella Croissants

These are delicious!  The chocolate hazelnut spread and warm flaky croissants melt together and create a tasty treat.  They are made from two ingredients and you can pull them together fast.

I saw these on Budget Savvy Diva's blog and just had to make them.  Her recipe is a lot more detailed and exact.  You might want to read her post for a better recipe.  I just winged it. 

Here is what I used:

1 can croissant dough

Here is how I put them together:

Unroll the croissants.

Use a spoon and spread Nutella on the triangles.

Roll them like a traditional croissant.

Bake according to their directions.

Serve warm with a tall glass of milk.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Happy May Day!


It's definitely a Wordless Wednesday in this part of Nebraska.  This is what we woke up to on May 1st!