Monday, January 18, 2021

Marvelous Monday

A daycare day without school. We haven't had one of these kind of days since August! It was a much needed play day for everyone, including me. I was reminded of why I do what I do each day. While each day is busy and filled with activities, we haven't do a ton of "super fun" activities. You know, those high value activities (literally, because I spend more money than I should on some of those things!) that are messy, may ruin a thing or two, and that the kids will talk about for weeks afterwards. I've been missing those things probably more than the kids!

On Sunday afternoon, the minis and I cleaned the daycare room and did a toy rotation. We decided to put away some of the smaller toys (Little People, figurines, building blocks, etc.) and bring up the Barbie's. The only problem with this is the dog, who will happily grab a Barbie or clothes and chew away. Plus, I didn't want to have to worry about any Barbie shoes being swallowed or misplaced. I had the minis pick out several dolls and changes of clothes, along with all of the furniture for the house. There's a lot less to keep track of this way.

The kids had a special morning snack of mug cakes. I have a few simple recipes to whip them up, but I decided on these for an extra special treat. No one disliked them.

The kids spent most of the day playing with Legos, Barbies, refreshed Cra Z Snow, building with the giant Waffle Blocks, and playing "house" in the tent. I separated stuffed animals into 10 groups. Stuffed animals are a no-no at the moment with Covid, but I after organizing, I have enough to wash and rotate in new stuffed animals twice a day for the next week. I'm not sure if I'm impressed we can do this or baffled by how many stuffed animals we actually have.

All kids are in this picture: in the blocks, in the tent, or in a box. No children were harmed in the taking of this photo, all adults were slightly alarmed just before this photo when she walked into the room from peeing only to NOT see any children. They thought they were hilarious.

The one thing the kids miss is doing our fun art projects. So, each kid got a canvas and free reign of the paint supplies. For an hour they mixed to get the paint color they wished, made designs, and perfected their pictures. 

The big fun for the day was shaving cream ice skating. I had imagined them "skating" on rolled out paper, but the paper was quickly crumpled and instead they used the kitchen floor for their skating designs. It took a hot minute to clean, but it wasn't as big of a mess as I had imagined it to be!

Only one kid required a nap and proclaimed, "no, don't make me!" when it was suggested he sleep by himself. So, one sleeping kid in a room of kids using "quiet voices, " who don't really understand that meaning. I guess it was a win for all because the sleeper slept and the kids played.

More than anything, the kids were happy to just have a day together. I realized how mentally exhausting school at daycare is and was reminded how physically exhausting daycare is! I lucked out and didn't have to cook because the oldest mini made Moroccan couscous for dinner (backstory: the oldest is learning about Africa in social studies and had to do a research project on a country in Africa. He chose Morocco, so he wanted to make the national dish. It also fits in with his goal of eating more international foods this year).

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Local Foods Saturday

We've been conscienctious about where we spend our money these days. Sadly, most of our groceries and daycare supplies come from Walmart because it's a one stop shop for everything plus I can opt for pick-up. This takes our local grocery stores out of the running, so when I have a chance to spend my money locally, I go for it. While we've been cooking more at home, we go to local restaurants for carry out.

Now that it's winter, we haven't spent a lot of time going places since we won't go anywhere there's potential for crowds or indoor spaces. To get out of the house a bit Saturday morning, we stopped at places for coffee, breakfast, dessert (for later), lunch, and errands. Sure, errands were fine, but let's talk about this delicious food we got!

Our breakfast included coffee from Twisted Bean (our go-to orders include: a strawberry smooth, Jitterbugs, mochas, and a pup cup of whipped cream) and a variety of yummies from Scornovacca's Bakery. We tried two types of breakfast pizza, a capicola breakfast sandwich, lemon poppyseed loaf squares, love drops, and pepperoni bread (for later). The capicola sandwich was one of my favorite breakfast foods I've ever had!

New Pokemon cards to go with the Jitterbug before lunch.

Pho was on our mind on a chilly day. All Pho You is one of our favorites. We got chicken pho, a bowl, beef pepper steak, beef fried rice, pot stickers, and a bubble tea. We wound up splitting most of the food, since all of us wanted to try a few different things!

This kid LOVES pho!

The minis talked us into eating cupcakes from Scatch for "an afternoon snack." Hubs and I haven't touched ours from being so full!

We were all still full from our earlier in the day foods, so we dug into the pepperoni bread for dinner. The dog was jealous.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

There's Still Homeschool on Snow Days


The youngest is working on multiplication. She's doing a great job! Now, she's trying to complete her ice cream sundae so she can have an ice cream party for knowing all of her multiplication in a minute. This is something third graders do at their elementary school and she was bummed to miss out this year. The oldest mini drew her sundae and what she needed to do/learn in order to complete it.

One of the, if not the biggest, benefits of homeschooling is that it can be done at any time, any place, and in any way. I got a surprise day off from daycaring on Friday due to a snowstorm that blew through, but the minis didn't get a day off from learning. They weren't thrilled, but we switched our schedule up so they got to do some fun projects along with their math and reading. 

A blank board for our day. I completely failed to write the daily schedule on the boards for the first time since last March! It worked out because our day was completely switched around!

The oldest began our joint art project. He was meticulous is how he wanted it laid out.

Just as they were finishing up their short school day, their new Harry Potter Legos arrived! They put them all together and played with them for the rest of the day. They chose to play with Legos over sledding late in the afternoon.

The youngest baby, begging for hot chocolate and wanting to be held while I lounged on the couch. I should add he's 80 lbs. and isn't held easily!

Hubs surprised us with cupcakes from Molly's at the end of the day. We did a sampler of all because we couldn't decide on one!

Bed time after a family dinner and viewing of WandaVision. The minis claimed this to be "the best Friday ever." 

We made a deal that we would do Spanish, science, and social studies on Saturday. I took advantage of my day off to relax and catch up on a few must do's. This is the first snow day in recent months that we haven't spent a day outside, enjoying the freshly fallen snow! 

Friday, January 15, 2021

Friday Faves

A new wooden figurine made for daycare. We're benefitting from Hub's Christmas present!

So, we haven't been anywhere other than hiking (in the cold) at State Parks in Iowa or at our house, so I don't have any "you should totally try place out!" However, I do have some ideas and things that are keeping us busy as we (slowly) await spring's arrival, so we can spend more time outdoors without freezing our fingers off.

  •  The minis favorite Valentine candy is back! We bought several bags of Cherry Sours in anticipation that they'll go quick!
  • We've been making two new recipes a week in an attempt to order take out less. This stuffed pepper casserole was a hit with nearly every family member. Damn Delicious has some amazing recipes. We're looking forward to try her nacho beef skillet this weekend!
  • The youngest mini so kindly shared her Cra Z Snow from Christmas with daycare and it's been a favorite this week. There was an issue with the kids making the "snow fall" and someone got it in their eyeball, but mostly, it's been a fun sensory activity.
  • Hub's Christmas gift was a Wen Band Saw and well, it's benefitting me just as much as he loves it. While I'm busy drawing up plans for building projects, he decided to make daycare wooden animal figurines. Not only will they make fun toys, but the kids will also get a chance to paint/decorate them. Big points for both a project (for numerous humans) and a new toy.
  • I'm ready to focus on sunny days and warmer weather. That's why I'm already planning our garden. After last summer's garden getting trampled by a new puppy, I've decided raised garden beds are the way to go. The minis will be able to help build them, plant the veggies, and care for them. There are so many plans for raised beds, but I'm digging (pun intended) these plans because of the simplicity.
  • We're super excited for the debut of WandaVision. We're planning Family Friday Nights with a new episode and dinner. 
  • An unexpected day off because of a snow storm. The minis still have homeschool (they're not thrilled with me), but I'm doing it in pajamas and with season 1 of The Crown on the TV.
An empty schedule for our Friday

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Thursday Thoughts


Getting ready for a meeting; December 2020. Yes, that's a seltzer sitting on the keyboard.

I had a meeting Tuesday night. A virtual meeting, but any kind of meeting has been few and far between for me the last 10 months. Life has slowed down considerably for me/us. At first, I wasn't a fan. Then I began to enjoy our commitment free life. So, when that meeting popped up, I had a taste of what nearly every single weeknight was for us pre-Covid. I was beginning to forget.

I threw a quick dinner of burrito bowls together as daycare closed. I gave the minis instructions about feeding themselves, feeding the dog, and then I showered and hopped on my meeting. It was a quick meeting, but my 9 p.m. I was tired for my long day. I sat on the couch and watched a mindless episode of something or other. It made me realize that I'll need to have a heart to heart with myself in the coming weeks and months.

Do I want the busy schedule we once had? Or do I want the slow(er) life? I feel more accomplished when I'm doing things, but not living life out of our calendar for fear of forgetting something important, is not something I'm ready to commit to again. It's been more freeing than I imgained.

Thoughts on post-Covid life makes me uncertain. I knew for sure how I wanted life to look pre-Covid, but the last 10 months have changed that. I can't be alone in those thoughts. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

A Winter Weekend


Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge in Prairie City, Iowa.

We're trying to find our balance in our winter weekends. We've lucked out and haven't had extremely cold weather as of yet. Of course, I no longer consider 25 degrees to be "too cold" to be outside, which is why we hiked over two miles on Saturday, in the fog, on a wildlife refuge. There isn't much else to do right now other than be outside or stay home! Other than hiking in the cold, we've mostly been at home. Since we did quite a few puzzles over break, we had a "free" weekend. The minis played with their Lego sets, I wrote, Hubs did some wood working with his new bandsaw (a Christmas present that was finally delivered last week). Nothing special, but I am enjoying my time writing and letting my mind wander.

One of the oldest mini's goals for 2021 was to eat more international foods. We started with Mediterranean food from Opa! Our feast included Greek lasagna, Souvlaki platters, lamb and chicken gyros, and raspberry tiramisu. All of it was wonderful! To be completely honest, I don't eat lamb so I skipped out on trying the dishes with lamb, but everything else was wonderful!

Watching Disney+ on her giant pillow. Just another Saturday morning.

2.2 mile hike on the snowy trail on the prairie. My cheeks were wind burned by the time we were done! We had the trail to ourselves and were reminded, yet again, that hiking in the snow is much more difficult that regular hiking! We love the Tallgrass Loop at the Wildlife Refuge because we often get great views of the bison and elk. The trails are animal friendly as long as they're leashed. 

We felt everyone deserved hot chocolate after that cold hike! We stopped by Smokey Row on our way home, ate dinner, and then I switched to wine while I wrote. It's how most Saturday nights go these days.

Cat snuggles and Lego playin on Sunday. It was a very relaxing, lazy day!

I'm sure next weekend's adventure won't look much different. We're still not going many places or seeing people at the moment. Hopefully the weather continues to be decent because our outside adventures is keeping us going at this point!