This blog is for all moms of young children who want to keep things fresh in your home . . . new ways to spend time with your kids, recipes, books, helpful websites, etc. Being a mom is fun but sometimes it's hard! Whether you are a mother working outside the home or inside the home my hope is this blog makes your role as a mother easier and helps keep you and your children engaged!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Some weeks are better than others!

Sometimes the best laid plans just aren't gonna happen.  This has been a challenging week and so some of our plans didn't pan out.  One child was throwing up on Tuesday, and another one was throwing up this morning.  In between Tuesday and Friday I was really not feeling well.  Hopefully we have gotten it out of our system.  I am writing this to encourage you in case you've had a challenging week too!  Make sure you are making time for yourself so that you are equipped to deal with the days that are a bit harder.  As my sweet friend Jamey put it, bein a momma aint for sissies!  That is sooooo true and I hear that advice in my head constantly.   

However, we did explode sandwich bags (it is a very fast experiement but they loved it), make lava lamps (they loved that one too), visit the library for a magic show, get Father's Day stuff ready (each child got to pick a place to get a $5 gift card to go spend a date with dad), have a play date, and go to football camp.  So the week wasn't half bad with all of its challenges.  We were planning on going on the Grapevine Friday Fun Train today but we will save that for another day.  :) 

Finally, set your kids up to entertain themselves well for the days when you are just exhausted or not feeling well.  We have lots of books at the ready, many workbooks for them to go through (they love workbooks), a few computer games that we all like to play together, sports equipment galore outside, and a table with all kinds of paper, markers, and crayons for them to create beautiful pieces of work :).  Between all of those things, the kids have gotten pretty good at entertaining themselves when we are having a slower day. 

Have a Fantastic weekend!!!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Candy Strawberries and Lava Lamps

This morning my oldest is at a flag football camp at our local community center, and while he is away the rest of us will be going grocery shopping.  Exciting!  We will be getting a few things for fun activities this afternoon.  It is going to be 100 today, so I've got a few indoor activities up my sleeve. 

Before I go into the details of the afternoon, can I just encourage you to get up early and exercise this summer?  It makes such a difference in my attitude, and my guess is it's the same for most.  I decided about a month ago that I was going to commit to continuing my exercise routine (I have a 3.8 mile route that I adore and that I walk/run) during these hot summer months by getting up at 6 and getting it done.  It is still soooo nice in the mornings (70ish), there is a cool breeze, and no one is out so it is incredibly peaceful.  If that's the only time of day I get to myself I am definitely going to take it!  I have to share the early mornings with my hubs (he likes to exercise early as well) and today was my day to get out of the house.  So, I feel especially ready to take on the day! 

This morning in addition to grocery shopping I will be putting together a meatloaf for dinner tonight.  I can stick it in the fridge and when we are about an hour away from dinner I can just stick it in the oven and I don't have to worry about it.  I also make 2 at a time so that next week (or in 2 weeks) I have a dinner already made.  You can find the recipe here if you are interested:  http://www.momma-smith.blogspot.com/search/label/Recipes

This afternoon while the little one is napping, we will be making candy strawberries and lava lamps.  Here is the link for making the lava lamps (so easy - we will be getting the water bottles - since we are out - and alka seltzer antacid tablets today at the store):  http://www.momma-smith.blogspot.com/2012/05/summer-arts-and-crafts.html.  Here is the link for the candy strawberries:  http://www.theworldwidegourmet.com/recipes/dried-strawberries-ruscalleda/.  I'll let you know if they are a success!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Flying Monsters & Magic School Bus

Dad left at 5:30 this morning for an all day disc golf tourney and so this morning I was scrambling trying to figure out how I was going to entertain the crew for the day.  My initial plan was nixed by my 7 year old, which included a visit to the Museum of Nature and Science in dallas to see an IMAX movie and go to a temporary exhibit there called the Magic School Bus.  His request was to stay home all day and be lazy.  I was pretty certain that was going to result in a lot of fighting and yelling, and so I asked him to figure out a plan with his brother (who liked my proposed plan) and my only request was that the plan included getting out of the house.  They decided they wanted to go to the museum and see the movie, but not go to the exhibit.  That's a long drive for a 40 minute movie, but I accepted this plan for 2 reasons:  1.  when the kids are in the car they are quiet.  That's 80 minutes of silence and happiness for all.  Yes, please.  2.  I kinda wanted to see flying monsters too, so off we went.  We brought a lunch to eat afterward outside.  The movie was great, and was primarily about the Terasaurus (spelling?), and a proposed explanation for how they became extinct.  They are basically flying lizards of sorts.  The boys of course loved it.  Clara wasn't too certain whether she was going to like it so I got snuggles from her the whole time.  Turns out there was live music outside, so we got to eat our picnic lunch in the shade and listen to great music.  Great outing and highly recommend it.  Later this summer we will be heading back to check out the magic school bus exhibit and I will keep you posted about it!

One last sidenote - there is another IMAX movie about Whales, and if you go to the Museum website and click on the exhibit, there is curriculum and activities that you can do with the kids after they see the movie.  I checked it out and I think the kids would have loved it, but they wanted to see Flying Dinosaurs instead. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Park Exploration

We have this great feature in our navigation system where you can search for parks nearest you, and so the other morning while the oldest child was in a morning camp, I took the other two park exploring (meaning search for the closest park and find one we haven't been to before).  We stumbled across a great low key park in Flower Mound called Colony Park (http://www.mapquest.com/places/colony-park-flower-mound-tx-265840879/).  They had a playground for both the little ones and big ones, swings, a huge soccer field, and tons of shade.  Sometimes I just want to go to one where I can easily keep an eye on all 3 at the same time (rather than somewhere like Kids Kastle).  Here are some pics:

We also visited Highlands Park (http://local.yahoo.com/info-24454721-highlands-park-lewisville), which is super dooper low key, but was fun for them (ages 2 and 5) for about 20 - 25 minutes before we moved on to the next park.  :)  This one was really great for the 2 year old.  And just an FYI - there is really no shade so you will need a cooler morning.  Here are some pics:

Monday, June 4, 2012

Free Splash Park Alert!

I LOVE finding new places to explore and it's even better when it's free.  A friend of mine visited WJ Thomas Splash Park in Carrollton this morning and said it was great, so you can bet we will be visiting there very soon!  Great for the little ones.  Here is the link!


Here is a pic! (from the link)
click on photo for larger view

This morning we paid a visit to Chick Fil A to hang out with friends (mom and kids both), and this afternoon we are going geocaching.  Should be fun! 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Summer Arts and Crafts

Once again I have relied on pinterest for some ideas in the arts
and crafts arena.  Here are some of the things that we will be tackling this summer:

1.  Photo Bookmarks: (since they will be doing more reading this
summer . . . thought this would be a great idea!


2.  Make lava lamps:

Supplies:  cooking oil, water, food coloring, an empty water bottle,
and alka seltzer antacid tablets

Fill bottle 2/3 of the way with oil, then fill the rest with water,
leaving an inch free at top

Add several drops of food coloring,

Take an alka seltzer tab and break it into several pieces and then
drop a piece in and watch the magic

As soon as the tablet hits the water it will start to fizz and the
colored water will erupt!

The bubbles will stop once the tablet dissipates but it will start
again when you add a tablet

3.  Make tealight lightning bugs:

Pop an LED battery powered tealight inside an easter egg and decorate.

4.  Make playdough:

1 1/3 C Flour
2 packets unsweetened KoolAid powder
1/4 C Salt
1/2 t cream of tartar

Mix ingredients in a bowl.  Have an adult help you boil one cup of water
and 1 1/2 T of oil.  Carefully pour the boiling water and oil into the powder. 
Did the color and scent magically appear?  Stir the mixture with a large spoon
until it's mixed and cool enough to handle.  Remove it from the bowl and knead
until completely combined.  If too wet and sticky add some flour.  Have fun playing
with it and store in ziplock bag or container until you want to play with it again.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Summer Outings

What would summer be without a few fun outings?  Here is a summary of where we plan on venturing out to . . . we would love for you to join us!  Let me know if you're interested and we can coordinate dates!

1.  Grapevine Friday Fun Train.  I had my kids make goals for 2012 and one of theirs was to ride a train.  So . .  off we go!  I don't think the Friday fun train actually goes anywhere.  It's just for the experience of riding the train.  I'll keep you posted on how it goes!

2.  Dallas Museum of Nature and Science.  We have season passes, so it goes without saying that we will be finding air conditioning at the free places.  \

3.  Bob Jones Nature Center - we recently discovered geocaching, and this place in Southlake says they have lots of geocaching so it should be fun!

4.  Adventure Landing in Dallas - looked fun and it's something we wouldn't normally do - will keep us in the air conditioning so I'm all for trying it once!  My kids love play places so it seems it like it would be hard to go wrong here.

5.  Scitek Discovery Center in Frisco - someone told me it was great so we plan on trying it out!  My kids are way in to science so seemed like a good idea!

6.  Bowling - In Lewisville AMF kids 15 and under gets 2 free games a week.  Um - yes?  Can you say air conditioning?

7.  Dollar Movies - this is a winner all around.  Yes.

8.  Western Currency Facility in Fort Worth.  They make money here and I'm certain my kids would be fascinated.  Maybe we will try and wrap in a money lesson the week before. 

Of course these are the PLANS - what actually happens is a totally different ballgame.  If the 2 year old is screaming all morning all plans are a no go.  Momma can't deal with the noise when I can't contain it!  (i.e. naptime).  If any of these sound interesting to you let me know!

Are you new to the mothering world?

I have a particular passion for women who have just entered the world of mothering, especially when it comes to getting your baby on a schedule and sleeping. Please send me a message if you have any questions! I would love to help!