Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines 2012: Love those free printables!

This year for Valentine's Day, the kiddos decided to do something a little different. In the past they've always made molded chocolates (or crayons!) for their friends. This year, we went in search of free printables on the Web.

Mugger decided to give his classmates pencils after we saw this great download at Sweet Muffin Suite. Arrows are sufficiently boyish enough for valentines, don't you think?
Bug decided to use 2 ideas we found on the web. First, she wanted to use this awfully cute valentine download from Secret Agent Josephine that I've had bookmarked for 3 years now. But then when she saw this sticker matchbook valentine idea on Alpha Mom, we knew we had to combine the two:
There were even enough designs that every classmate got a different valentine:
Then it was my turn to use free printables for valentines. Back at Christmas, I had saved this idea from Let's Explore for a Year of Dates with your child. Her printables were great, but not for me since the kiddos call us Mama and Papa, not Mom and Dad. When I saw this download at Life As Mom for free printable valentine coupons, I knew I was set.
We wanted to give the kiddos each 3 dates with Papa and 3 dates with Mama. Our outings will be:
  • a breakfast out with Papa
  • a lunch out with Mama
  • a trip to bowling (for Mugger) or to the bounce house (for Bug) with Papa
  • a trip to the bookstore with Mama
  • an outing outside with Papa
  • an outing to an inside destination with Mama

And then, since I had extra coupons left, I made up a few more for one-on-one time with Papa or Mama in the form of a project:

  • baking cookies with Mama
  • cooking a meal with Papa
  • a craft project with Mama
  • a wood project with Papa

So that's the list! It could take us until next Valentine's Day to get through them all, but I'm hoping that they'll enjoy them enough that they'll want a repeat next year anyways.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Perfect Summer Evening

Sight: Small fire in the pit and 4 happy campers chowing down
Sound: Crackle, pop, mmmm and "This is the best dinner I've ever had!" (Mugger)
Taste: Grilled dogs & brats, s'mores, and in between, their new favorite fruit: grilled peaches. Warm, juicy perfection and liquid sugar pouring down our throats, my new favorite summer taste.
Feel: warmth from the fire, the sun on our backs, smoke-stung eyes, and warm bites of bliss
Smell: woodsmoke, lots of it

The kiddos visited Camp Lutherwood today and are all pumped up for 2 nights of Mini Camp in August, so we had our own mini camp when we got home. Can't wait for another evening like tonight...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

Our Christmas preparations this year have been a little haphazard: our nightly devotions never really happened, the kiddos had to decorate the tree themselves, and I never finished their new Advent calendar. At least the kiddos had my Advent calendar, their countdown chain, and their 2 Nativity playsets. And the sugar cookies and gingerbread cut-outs are done, so there's been no complaining!
Given how different the rest of our Advent had been, we weren't too worried about changing up Christmas Eve. We don't usually give extravagant gifts to our children -- we've always told them "If 3 presents is just right for Baby Jesus, then it's just right for you" -- but this happened to be the year that we had a big one for each of them. So they'll do stockings and some little things tomorrow like books and jammies, but for tonight, we set up a treasure hunt after church. I figured I'd better record it here for posterity, in case this is the one Christmas they remember.

After church, they put on their jammies and received Clue #1: "If you wanted to play Wii, you'd probably find me." This sent them to the Wii drawer in the living room where Bug found a little suitcase I made out of a lunch box and Mugger found a water bottle.

In Bug's bag was Clue #2: "Number 2 really rocks, so look by your blocks." This had them off to the basement and searching in the box of Legos where Mugger found some bike gloves and Bug found some doll clothes and accessories -- which at this point she thought were for her dolls upstairs.

This time Clue #3 was in Mugger's bag" "If it was time for your bedtime drink, you'd find Number 3, I think." This sent them back upstairs, where Bug figured out that 2 gift bags could really only fit under the sink. In their bags, Mugger found a bottle cage for his water bottle and Bug found more doll clothes, a set of jammies (complete with bunny slippers) and a fairy outfit (complete with wings.)

Clue #4, the final clue, was in Bug's bag: "It may be cold, but in Papa's ride Is where big presents like to hide." After getting on coats and boots, we all traipsed out to Papa's Jeep to find their presents in the dark. Mugger spotted his new bike almost right away, and we took Bug into the light to meet her new doll. While Mugger was busy trying to pedal around in his jammies, Bug was exclaiming over her doll: "She's just the doll I asked Santa for!" She also promptly named her new sweetie Emily Sarah and made a special place for her in her bed.
So Christmas this year may not have been all that I envisioned, but judging by the happy kiddos snug in their beds, it's certainly one of our best ones. Mugger can't wait to bike ride with Papa and Bug can't wait to make lots of happy memories with her new doll.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bug's Riddle

You can kick it and run,
You can kick it and fall.
Guess what it is,
It's a fun soccer _____

Our Bug is having great fun making up riddles lately! This one not only had rhythm, it rhymed!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

So What Have We Been Up To?

In spite of our deliberate efforts not to put too much on the calendar, we've had a rather whirlwind summer. Mugger finished Kindergarten and celebrated his 6th birthday fishing with much of his family as Nonnie & Gramps, Uncle Bryan, Aunt Jen, Great-Grandma (Harriet), and Aunt Susie were all able to come to Corvallis to celebrate Nonnie and Gramps' 40th anniversary.

Then Mugger was off to a Skyhawks multi-sport camp and had chess camp the week before VBS this last week. In between, he lost tooth #2 and he and his sister entertained Grandma & Grandpa and Great-Grandma (Inga) for the 4th of July. We also managed to squeeze in a family camping trip to our new favorite spot on earth, a riverside campground in old-growth forests less than 2 hours away.

Bug enjoyed her second year of VBS this last week-- she was much more willing to tackle the climbing wall each day. She's also been a great blueberry picker, as I've had her and Mugger out to pick blueberries at least 3 times and marionberries once.

Bug's big news is that she's off to Pre-K this fall. We had intended to keep her home next year, but it looks like she may start Kindergarten in one year, so we wanted her to have some classroom exposure before being at school all day, 5 days a week. Pre-K this fall will just be 3 mornings a week for her, but she's as excited as can be and is waiting for her pink backpack to arrive on the package truck.

As for Mama and Papa, we are currently moving like chickens sans heads as tomorrow marks the beginning of our 3000-mile roadtrip as we attempt to visit both sets of grandparents in one vacation. If you are in OC, our current plan is to picnic at Melinda Park (corner of Melinda and Santa Margarita Parkway in Mission Viejo) on Sunday, Aug. 23 at noon-- hope you can bring a picnic lunch and join us!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Mugger our Reader

I believe we've let you know that Mugger is now reading independently, so I guess we should let you know just how much he is reading...

Mugger started tracking his daily reading minutes for the Scholastic Summer Challenge on May 17. (Yeah, I didn't realize until after I had told him about it that he's technically too young, but you try talking him out of a project once he's excited about it!)

So today, three weeks after starting the challenge, Mugger broke the 1000 minute mark and is officially at 1102 and counting. If you do the math you'll see he's become quite serious about this.

I see many days at the library this summer...

Edited to add: Apparently Mugger is just as intense when it comes to math. Mugger has been doing quite a bit of 2nd grade math with the 1st grade teacher this year (since he tested into 1st grade math in the fall), however, Papa just told me that the 1st grade teacher stopped him on Friday to let him know that she gave him the end of the year test for 2nd grade math and he got a 98. Apparently he's the only kiddo who consistently gets carrying and borrowing...

Backyard Campout

Well, the kiddos spent last Saturday playing in their tent, so when evening came, Papa just couldn't say no when they wanted to sleep outside.
Couldn't leave them alone out there with the... deer. So Papa and Mugger set up another tent.
Such happy little campers!
Unfortunately, we couldn't repeat the experience this weekend: our weather has gone back to springtime in Oregon (rain!) and Mugger woke me this morning with, "Mama, I think I'm gonna throw up." Oh well, I'm sure there will be plenty more backyard campouts this summer...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mugger, meet Rube Goldberg...

Well, Mugger officially has a new obsession: Rube Goldberg contraptions. It all started with this month's edition of The Book of Days in which the Imagine section included a poem called The Goodnight Machine-- see it in the excerpt here. That was all he needed! One look at that and we spent the rest of the day on YouTube watching contraption videos...

And of course, knowing Mugger, you didn't think he'd be content to just watch contraptions, did you? No, he became a boy obsessed and would not relent until he and Papa built one in the playroom. So, without further ado, Contraption #1, who's sole purpose was to turn on the CD player:

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Another first...

Did you guess? The hint is in his smile-- or the lump in the pocket of the pillow: Mugger lost his first tooth today! Looks like Nonnie got his favorite shirt converted into a tooth fairy pillow just in time!

Bug is ready for Spring!

One advantage of having a captive Nonnie and Gramps last week was that Bug got 2 new skirts sewn by Nonnie, one from a pillowcase (below) and the other from cute fabric Mama found. Bug would like to wear them daily, but I refuse to do that much laundry! At least she can see them daily here:

In 6 weeks, he'll be 6!

Well, the end of kindergarten is rapidly approaching-- seems like 5 Year Old Mugger has been a blur. He's grown so much in the past year, and not just physically. His thirst for knowledge astounds us daily.

That being said here is the link to his birthday wishlist on Amazon for any of you far-flung family members who might want it (since Nonnie has asked.) You'll notice there are no toys on it-- he doesn't play with them! When he's inside due to the weather (pretty much the only time he is inside) he plays games, makes things, or we spend a lot of time with books as a family-- often 10 to 20 checked out per week at the library. Hence his list is games, story books, some art books, and some CDs. You don't have to shop through Amazon, though if you buy someting on the list elsewhere, give me a heads up so I can remove it and avoid duplicates (like last year.)

When our boy is outside, he's playing any sport he can (usually basketball, soccer, baseball, tracball, or biking) or playing in the dirt or the garden. There isn't really much wishlist fodder in those activities, so it's pretty much all inside stuff on the list. However, the one thing not on his list that he would love would be a gift card to Home Depot-- he really wants to build a fort with Papa this summer and he'd get a kick, too, out of picking out more tools for his tool box or gardening things.

So that's our boy in a nutshell: he doesn't seem to have much need for things and he'd rather be out "doing". I jokingly told him his 6th birthday present from us would be a pile of dirt, but you can bet the party will be outside! If you just made him a card, he'd be thrilled-- he's quite the paper hoarder and still has his classmates' valentines up in his room...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Pajama Ride!

Tonight, in honor of the Jeep being in running condition, we continued a little family tradition we started while we still lived in sunny southern California-- the pajama ride. I don't take credit for this little idea as I first heard about it from Sheri Torelli, a MOPS speaker, whom I've heard speak (twice) on "the importance of mommy." The one thing that I still remember from those talks is her telling about taking her kids on PJ Rides: she and her husband, every once in awhile, would get the kids out of bed, right after tucking them in, yelling, "PJ ride! PJ ride!" and whisk them off for some mystery treat or experience.

Well, in our family, the Jeep plays a very important part of the Pajama Ride, for the very first time we did a Pajama Ride with the kiddos, we piled them in the Jeep and pretended we didn't know where it was taking us! Papa had great fun driving all over the condo complex and the Henry's parking lot until we finally stopped in front of the frozen yogurt place.

So tonight, it seemed as if the stars aligned for a Pajama Ride: the Jeep was running, the kiddos had a great day (and went to bed without fussing), and it was warm enough that I didn't have to worry about them freezing to death if I took them out in their PJs-- I have to think about these things now that we live in Oregon, you know.

As soon as we got into the Jeep, Mugger (rubbing sleep out of his eyes!) asked, "So where is the Jeep taking us?" We, of course, had to continue the game and pretend that we were as surprised as they were when we ended up downtown for gelato.

Yes, it was a busy day, but a good one. The kiddos both couldn't stop at 3 when we asked them to list the 3 good things of their day during their bedtime snuggles...

Painting Eggs

Mugger and I decided we needed a spring craft project, so we were thrilled to find wooden eggs at the craft store, especially once I told him that we could keep them from year to year and not have to throw them out like dyed ones. I had painted them all white to give them a base to paint on, so today we were finally ready to paint. Here's our progress so far-- I think I'll wait to post the finished masterpieces until Easter...

Spring Soccer Week 1

Well, the day Mugger has been waiting for has finally arrived: Day 1 of the spring soccer season! He was Mr. Go-Getter as you can see above, but did some great defending, too. We were so glad to finally see the sun today, especially since he wanted to be outside practicing all morning before his 12:00 game.But it was Bug who had the best day of all, I think: she made a new friend. Ava is the younger sister of the new player on Mugger's team-- their family just moved here from Chicago a week and a half ago. Bug had a great time with Ava on the playground and even shared her snack with her. She bawled her eyes out when it was time to go, even with the promises of 6 more weeks of soccer.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Anka Spada

So, Bug has her own language. And her favorite phrase in Bugspeak is "anka spada." So what does "anka spada" mean? Anything she wants! Yesterday it meant "I love you" and today it meant "Good morning!" She likes to randomly say it throughout the day and is even more tickled to keep you guessing at what it means. Silly Bug!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mugger's Quote of the Day

"I have a loose tooth, Mr. Bathroom!"
Yes, Mugger is a bit excited this morning that he can wiggle one of his teeth (bottom left middle). They grow up so fast...

Monday, March 30, 2009


Well, Papa and I finally joined Facebook after much badgering from many of you. Don't know if we'll be better Facebookers than bloggers, but at least we're there!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mugger's Reading!

Normally Papa or I do the before-bed-reading, but last night after tubby time, Mugger got to do the honors. He read all of "Are You My Mother?" by P.D. Eastman and was so proud that he asked, "Are you going to put this on the blog, Mama?" What could I say but yes?

We hadn't read this in awhile, so long that Bug forgot about the machine that Baby Bird called a Snort. She thought that was hysterical and kept running around saying, "Snort!" all evening.

You know, our typical quiet evening as we settle down for bed...