Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day!

It only comes along once every four years. So of course I had to send a treat to Jonathan's class! Little frog jumpers seemed just right, and affordable.
In four more years, when he is nearing 10 and in 4th grade, no way will he let me do this!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Life = Busy

It's been really crazy around here since Valentine's Day! I can't believe almost two weeks have passed with no post! Some of what has been going on, in pictures.
Karate awards ceremony, advanced to orange belt. He also earned the coveted "shiny stripe" for excellence in testing. He was so proud!
Classes at the college, which he is loving. He can't wait until Saturday mornings.

Another library party: Jungle Safari.

Karate classes. The orange belt form is a little more challenging.

Two birthday parties (I forgot my camera for one). Here they are enjoying a puppet show.
Doing homework (reading on Mommy's bed). Outside enjoying some nice weather.

In addition, my washing machine is down for the count. Two repair appointments so far, another tomorrow. My handy man has been here to take care of a few things around the house.
I am ready for things to calm down a bit!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentine's Day

This has been a busy week, and Valentine's Day was no exception! It was lots of fun! I started the day with a special breakfast for Jonathan. I didn't know if this would work, but I tried to make him heart shaped bacon. I put two slices together and then cooked them in the microwave.
It worked pretty well, it turned into this:
I cut toast with a heart shaped cookie cutter and cut his strawberries into heart shaped slices.
It was served on a heart shaped plate ( a yard sale find). I had a big balloon tied to his chair and a small box of candy for him.
Next we were off to school. Our school's MAPS tests scores are much improved over last year's first semester, so the PTA asked us to bring for snacks & desserts for the teachers' lounge. I decided to bring veggies & dip. I thought they would gets lots of sweet things since it was Valentine's day. I made a little tent card to tell them they are appreciated.
We delivered little treats to the office staff and Jonathan's specials teachers while we were there.
Then it was back home for lunch before Jonathan boarded the bus to head to school for his afternoon kindergarten. Lunch was his favorite shrimp and fresh veggies. Jonathan won't eat lettuce, so I call this his "lettuce-free salad". Apple slices were cut in heart shapes. I served his lunch on a heart shaped plate he made at Color Me Mine last year.

Next up was his Valentine party at school. I had already delivered most of the things needed to school, so I only needed to bring the drinks and ice cream at party time. The kids really loved these exploding balloons! I found these last year and his preschool class loved them so much I got them for the kindergarten class (with his teacher's permission). The kids had a great time playing games and sharing snacks.

Packing up and getting ready to come home, with his friend Elise. She lives just down the street, and her mom & I were the room moms for the Valentine party.

Our day is still not over! There was a "Buddy Party" at the karate school and his friend Ryan came to class. Classes were just for fun, really, some basic moves and then fun games and prizes.

As I said, the day was busy but lots of fun! And here you have the reason for all the little extra things I do:

Jonathan insisted I stay in bed until he brought this to me. He said he made it right after Christmas and hid it under his bed until now. As he was getting ready for bed on Valentine's Day evening, he told me he "would always remember this wonderful day he had". Making memories for our children is what it's all about!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Off To College!

 Yesterday we took a drive to the campus of Northern Kentucky University. I don't know much about the sprawling campus, so I needed to find Founders Hall before next Saturday, because that is when Jonathan will begin a 5 week class at NKU.
For the next five Saturdays, from 9-11:30 AM, he will be in a class called "Creepy Crawly Creatures", where he will learn all about insects and bugs from around the world. The class promised "hands-on, getting dirty, collecting and studying" a variety of insects. Jonathan was able to choose the class he preferred from a total of five offered.
A couple of weeks ago, Jonathan came home from school with a letter inviting him to attend ExploreMore! classes at the college. This was based (at his age level) on his test scores and the recommendation of his school. I decided to enroll him, even though there is a huge time commitment and a fair amount of money involved. So I filled out my part of the form and returned it to school for their recommendation.
I mailed it in with a check, and received back his acceptance and a university parking pass! I admit, I am a little nervous leaving him for the class, and he's a tad nervous, too, because he won't know any kids there. I have assured him he will make some new friends.
So, on Saturday I will take him to this building:
...and probably wait in the car in the parking lot (with a good book, of course!) until the class is over. I have promised him lunch afterward at Smash Burger, his favorite burger joint.
I am very proud of him, and I think he will truly enjoy the class and learn a lot. I just didn't expect to pay college tuition quite this soon!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Do You Make Comparisons?

This morning I read this thought-provoking post by Amy at The Finer Things In Life. I realized that I do make comparisons, and that most of the time, it does not work in my favor.
I'm older--heavier--not as smart as--insert most anyone's name. I don't keep house as well as ______. I don't cook as well as ______. I don't manage my money as well as________. I wish I could do ______ like ________ can.
It goes on and on. Comparisons such as these can only bring you down and they take a lot of mental energy. They are not upbuilding and they aren't good for anyone. For me, when I compare myself to others I always come up short. I feel I am lacking. Not a pleasant feeling.
Everyone has a different reality. We really can't compare ourselves and our situation to another's. If we aren't careful, we can become smug in our comparisons. I would never do that! I'd handle that differently! Too much of that is just as harmful as feeling you aren't up to par with others.
We each have a responsibility to be our best self. Comparing our progress from yesterday to today is challenge enough. can look around and see others who have or do more than you as well as those who have and do less than you.  None of that matters. We need to be true to ourselves, challenge ourselves to improve, be kind to ourselves and others. Accept help when we need to, give help when we can. Learn from others, but stop the needless comparisons.
Easier said than done, but I plan to work on it!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cleaning and Organizing

One of the reasons I haven't been posting very much lately is because I am continuing to get some cleaning and organizing done around here. I am making some progress, although much remains to be done. The spring-like weather we have had lately makes me feel like spring cleaning, so I am getting a little head start!
My linen closet in the upstairs hall houses towels, sheets, toiletries, medicines and more.This is before cleaning and organizing:
After, much better:

I forgot to take a "before" picture of the laundry room. It was a real mess, I have been "hiding" things in there all during the holiday season. Here's a picture of cleaning in progress:

The laundry room also houses the furnace and water heater, and there is a deep area behind the furnace that can get cluttered quickly. It was also cleaned and organized. It's hidden by the curtain.
Here is my favorite sampler, just because I wanted to show it to you.
The coat closet was emptied and cleaned. I forget the before picture of it, too, but here's the "after".
I am currently working on my closet, which is taking awhile. I am trying on clothing and getting rid of things that do not fit or I know I will never wear again. After closets are done, I will move on to kitchen cabinets.
I feel like I am getting some things accomplished, little by little!

A Good Decision

About this time last year, I was struggling with trying to decide which school Jonathan should be enrolled in for kindergarten. I submitted the open enrollment form to the newer school, but after much thoughtful consideration, I decided to send him to our assigned school.We have completed almost 3/4 of a school year at our little school, and I must say, I am happy with everything so far. I feel Jonathan is certainly on track with his education. I am also pleased with all of the extracurricular activities provided by his school, such as the student art fair , and the community involvement, such as the shoe drive, food drive and more.
Today parents received an email that the student's overall MAPS test scores have significantly improved since last year. I was very happy about that!
And speaking of MAPS scores, it seems Jonathan scored very well on his (a little Mom bragging going on here). Based on these, he has been given the opportunity to attend a class at Northern Kentucky University, starting Feb. 18. More about that in a future post!
I feel confident I made the right decision by choosing this school for Jonathan, and I don't have the worry as to whether or not he will be accepted for the following year. I hope the school continues to improve and to provide a well-rounded education for our kids.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Penguin Palooza!

Sunday afternoon we attended another fun party at our library. This one was all about penguins and once again, it was very creative. There are some great ideas here if you would like to "party with penguins", too!
Another great cardboard game, feed the penguin

Cute Oreo penguin, made with a regular & mini cookie

Making a cute penguin craft with an Easter egg spray painted black

Pin the bow tie on the penguin

Penguin bowling
Next up: a Jungle Safari party!