Thursday, November 3, 2011

I'm not even Irish! (A Trinity Review)

Over 11 years ago, my husband and I made it a tradition to attend the St. Patrick's Day Parade each year.  We would dress in green, with shamrocks, flags and Aran wool sweaters and fight our way on the "el" to get Downtown to a local spot where all of his family met.  We would bring cookies and sandwiches and hot cocoa of course, Chicago IS the Windy City.  And we had a great time year after year watching the floats pass us by.  But my favorite had to be the Irish Dancers, and I am not even Irish!  The steps that we would see from the tiny girls to the oldest dancers were just amazing.  How their feet could move so fast, and their perfect curls, just beautiful!  I looked forward to seeing them each year. 

As the years went on and we started bringing our children to the parade, my eldest daughter, now 7, said to us at the age of 2, "I want to do that when I am 5" (meaning Irish dance).  And even though we gave her the option to start when she was four, she said, "No, I will wait until I am 5!"  She is now on her 3rd year of Irish dance with the Trinity Irish Dancers and has already been performing with TPT (Trinity Performance Troupe) for 2 years.  Her sister is following in her footsteps and started dancing just before she turned 4 and is in her 2nd year of classes and also has 1 year of performances under her belt.

Taste of Trinity - Field Museum Performance (age 5)
It is amazing what Trinity has brought to our daughter's and to our family.  Not only are they learning about their culture, they are learning confidence and teamwork in an environment which they look forward to going to each week.  My oldest daughter has started competing and she is learning how to win and lose with grace as well as growing into a confident young lady who has a goal.
Our Girls prior to a Performance (age 7 & 4)
I have never felt more a part of a community than I do with Trinity, I call them family.  Not only are our kids benefiting from this organization but my husband and I are benefiting as well.  Not only have our girls' made lifelong friends, but we have met many friends that will remain our friends for a lifetime as well.  We look forward to seeing each other while our children are in class as well as outside of the studio, and with the many family activities that Trinity brings to us, we always have the opportunity to make more.

The final thing I would like to share about Trinity is the camaraderie that you find amongst the dancers both big and small.  The younger dancers look up to the older dancers and see them as mentors, they are the big brothers and big sisters of Trinity.  They all are part of one big family and I would trust any one of them with my children.  The older dancers are mature beyond their years, and deserve praise for their commitment and love of Irish dance.
My daughter's big sisters, Trinity II dancers!
If you are looking for a way to honor your Irish Heritage and would like to enroll your child in classes that will inspire them or to book a show and have the Trinity Irish Dancers perform for your next event check out their website: 

That's Right, "I'm not even Irish", but I love what Trinity has to give to my family!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The best Presents are Homemade!

(All credit goes to Twinkle Toes Boutique for sharing this idea on her Blog:

I love to hand make presents for family and friends.  It started out with baby blankets for baby showers and it has grown into tutus and now these fun embellished t-shirts for birthday presents for my daughters' friends.  I feel they are more appreciated then anything you can buy at the store, and you put your time and love into the project so it makes me feel good to give as well.  It is also an economical gift, especially if you plan on making more than one.

Here is what I started with to create the above shirt!

Velveteen fabric paint, silver fabric paint, glue stick cap, pencil with eraser
and a marker with thicker cap then  pencil eraser.
I started with a solid color shirt - this one is from Target for $6.99 regular price.
I have a shirt painting board underneath which is coated on one side to prevent sticking.

My first row of beads was done using the white velveteen paint
with the pencil eraser to create the perfect circles.

The 2nd set of beads were done the same way.

I then used the stick glue cap to make the chain using the silver fabric paint.
Once you let dry overnight, set your iron to high with steam and hold about 1-2" above the white circles, the velveteen paint will pucker when the steam hits it, which results in a bumpy pearl/bead-like effect.

I then added one of my handmade vintage flowers for the finishing touch.
I will be pairing this with a pink and purple tutu for the perfect birthday present for a 7 year old!
 Here are some other shirts I have done:
Baby pink onesie with white tulle attached instead of vintage flower.
You can see that this shows up great on pastel colors.
My first shirt with white tulle for my 4 year old.

Turquoise shirt with black and white vintage flower for my 7 year old.
I am thinking of adding another row of silver chain.
Remember the design is up to you and I will keep working to perfect this technique, but I once again thank Twinkle Toes Boutique for sharing this idea.

Happy crafting!

A Family of 5 Having Fun!

Although I am a stay at home mom, I treasure the weekends with my family.  I feel that I can really concentrate on having fun.  On occasion of course my obsessive compulsive side says, "I must clean!" but even if I do, there is ALWAYS time to play!

We like to have fun as a family and free events are sometimes the best events out there.

The DuPage County Safety Fair held in September was one of the best events I have attended, and it was FREE!  As a family, we had the opportunity to tour the DuPage County Jail, watch a helicopter land and view it up close, view and climb into many rescue vehicles, military vehicles, and buses.  We also, had the chance to receive many free items that taught us about safety.

The girls favorite freebie was the Teddy Bears offered from Central DuPage Hospital.  Each Bear had a Boo-boo and got a bandage before they got to come home with their new family.

Our son was excited that he could try on the Fireman's Gear and tour the inside of the truck.  
He could have stayed on the truck all day!

We spent over 4 hours at this event and not one child complained of being hungry or tired!  This was a #1 family event and would definitely do it again and recommend it to anyone who loves family fun.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Just Hanging Around Being Supermom!

Each day I wake up and find myself on a new journey.  Whether I am having a Rockstar day or fueling myself with caffeine just to keep up with my kids, I do not stop until my kids are in bed.

Being a stay at home mom of 3, I find that the only way I can stay organized is with calendars and lists.
Between having 1 child in school full-time, 1 child in school 3 days a week, and my 3rd with me all day is just the start of how my days really go.

With school, activities and a part-time a babysitting job, I rarely find time to sit down, unless I am driving somewhere of course. 

Once the kids have been tended to, then I work on all of the events that I have volunteered for.  I love being involved and doing it at my own will, unlike a job that you have to attend when they tell you to.  Volunteering, I feel a sense of being in control of my schedule and participating when I can.  So when you see me on the PTS/PTA Board, Teaching Religious Ed classes, or Running Large Church or School events, don't be surprised. 

I am filled with many ideas that I love to share, and my husband just rolls his eyes when I attempt to add something else to my already busy schedule.  He begs me to say "NO!" but although I try to, I get suckered in and it comes out "Yes!"  I am someone who loves a challenge.

I just finished running our Church picnic this past weekend, and it really kept me going.  When our Picnic Committees all seemed to bow out with 2 weeks to the picnic, my running went into overdrive and I had to step up even more to make this event a success.  It always works out when you put your mind to something and follow through.  I am proud of my efforts and delighted that the picnic WAS a success!

We borrowed the Popcorn Machine from our Local Bank.

We sold Ice Cream Sundaes and Sno Cones

We even offered Hot Dog Meals for those who didn't bring a picnic lunch.

Our Cake Walk is always our most popular game.
C won a huge tray of Double Chocolate Chip Cookies.

The Bartlett Fire Department (Station 2) came to celebrate with us, allowed us to tour the truck, try on gear,
 and joined us for a prayer in remembering those affected by 9/11.

We all sent our Prayers to Heaven (tucked inside of a balloon).

We watched them until they floated into the clouds!

Higher and Higher!

At the end of the picnic, after clean up, I got home and just dropped.  I know what exhaustion feels like, and a nap was in order along with an early bedtime.  The next day I took a mental health day, and didn't work on anything, but the next day, I woke up ready to start working on the next thing that I have involved myself in.  My husband is supportive in everything I do, and although he hates to see me in Go GO GO Mode, in other words "stressed"!  He just goes along with it and tries to talk me out of doing it again next year!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Jonamac Orchard - Because Everyone Needs to go Apple Picking

There is nothing like Apple Picking with your family.  Yummy fresh apples! 
It is even more fun when you add friends to an already fun day!!!

A journey to Jonamac Orchard in Malta, IL left smiles on the faces of everyone!

Supermom's family of 5!

Tasting the Apples is the best part of getting to pick your own!

Mr. C and his Apple (he ate it all the way to the core)!

We didn't only pick Apples we also got to play!

And Feed the Animals!
Before my little princess freaked out!

It is always safe to feed the smallest goat!

Straight to the donkey!

We Bounced!
And attempted to find some shade!

From Apples to Animals, Bouncing to Bales of Hay,
Playing in Corn, on Bikes and Slides the kids had a Great Day! 

Once a year we journey with our friends to Jonamac Orchard for some fun and most of all APPLES.  They have a fabulous country store with Apple donuts, Taffy Apples, Fudge, Gifts and more!  They are reasonably priced for a full day of fun.  There is plenty to do for kids of all ages and I would recommend checking it out!

Where to next?  In October The Pumpkin Farm! 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

When the KIDS are Driving YOU Nuts....Be CREATIVE!!!

I always wake up thinking I WILL get something done today!  My kids generally have another idea.  Once getting my oldest off to school, the little ones can usually find something to entertain themselves, but today, this wasn't the case.

So, I took a breath and gave them a box of crayons and told them to sort all of the broken ones into a bowl.  While they were doing this I was able to finish what I had started.
Miscellaneous Crayons
Next, we all started to remove the papers from the crayons, this took us a while but my 3 and 4 year old were still excited, so we continued.

Some crayons were easier than others to remove the wrappers.
The kids found it quite fun to break the crayons.  However, they were surprised at how hard it was to break some of them.  I had to use a cutting mat and knife to cut them into smaller pieces to fit into our Gingerbread Man Mold.

Filling the mold with broken crayons.
We filled the mold to the top and put them into the oven at 200 degrees.

They were in the oven for a good half hour, and still not all of the crayons melted completely.

I took them out to cool and when they were done.....

New crayon friend!

Circle of Crayon Friends!

I will make these again, it was a fun project to do with the kids and it kept them entertained for quite some time.  They would even be great for goodie bags for birthday's or school parties.

So, the next time the kids are driving you nuts, what are you going to do?

Next time....Homemade ice cream in a baggie!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Where is my cape?

I so often forget, why I am called Supermom!  The past few days have gone by so fast, I swear I am wearing a cape and flying.  I have been on the go from one activity to the next, unable to sit down and gather my thoughts!  By the evening, when I usually update my blog, I have been too exhausted. 

First, I want to make it clear that we as mom's get tired, feel like giving up, and wonder if we are doing the best for our family, while the one thing we usually forget about is our self. 

When we don't have an opportunity to enjoy some of the things we did before we were married or had kids, I believe that we loose our identity and become "just a mom". I get involved in so many activities to help others, I have often forgot about myself.  Yes, I love my family, and volunteering, but I also enjoy some time just for me, I just didn't know it until recently.

When I became a SAHM 7 years ago, I gave up all of the activities that I loved, for a new love...My Daughter!  It was all about her, and I would do anything to make her feel like a princess, through colic and all.  2 1/2 years later her sister was born, and now I had 2 beautiful little girls to care for.  Which meant I was twice as busy taking care of them.  But when my son was born in 2008, 3 kids did something to me to flip a switch.  I no longer needed to be their ONLY caregiver, quite honestly, I NEEDED a Break!  I needed something that was "Me".  So when my son was just 8 weeks old, I had a calling to run our church picnic, because it is just something I love to do.  I love to organize and plan and decorate and it made me feel important in a different way then being "just a mom".  This is where Supermom really began.

I started taking on one thing after the other, and as I would tell people what I had planned for the day, they would ask me, "What do you think you are Supermom?"  Well, I hadn't thought of it that way, but if people really thought that, I better be the best damn mom out there.  That's when I started doing it all!

I take pride in being a woman who can multi-task effectively, but often I barely finish one thing and I am onto the next.  I really have to find time to put my calendar on my phone so it can send me reminders throughout the day.  You know 3 kids screaming doesn't help when you are trying to remember where you were going and what time you needed to be there. 

I find myself involved in quite a few projects.  I love the feeling of urgency.  The need to get something together quickly yet perfectly gives me a rush and a sense of accomplishment.

Being this year's VP of our school's PTA, Chairperson for our church picnic, Class Chair for my daughters' Irish dance class, a mom of 3 and wife of one supportive husband, I still find time to do things that I love.  I never said I am perfect, and I never said my kids are perfect, but some days I CAN DO IT ALL!  And it is the day's that I can't that make me a stronger woman and a Supermom!

Take time to think about what you used to love before you got married or had kids. Is it something that you could reintroduce into your life to give yourself a little pick me up once in a while? Everyone knows you love your kids, but you will love them more when you find some time for you.

If you love my blog, tell me!  If you want more interaction on a daily basis request an invitation to my Supermom? That's Me! Facebook Group.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Girls Just Wanna have FUN!

Every Girl's Dream!

Once a year we take a trip to the American Girl Store located in Water Tower Place in Chicago.  We like to make it a memorable experience, so going with friends is a must.

I suggest going online or viewing the catalog prior to your visit.  Knowing ahead of time what your daughter is interested in can save your sanity.  Two full levels of American Girl merchandise, can be quite overwhelming for young girls.  Mine are 7 & 4!
My 7 year old with Nicki!
My 4 year old with Ruthie!
We first headed to the second floor to get all of our doll's hair appointments, something that can and should be done in advance.  The styles range from Basic ($10) to Advanced ($20), but I will be sharing tips we learned about how to brush and style your American Girl doll's hair.
We arrived at 10:30am and the first available appointment was at 12:45pm.

That left us plenty of time to shop, eat lunch in the mall, and head back for our doll's hair appointments.  We found ourselves up and down the escalator numerous times.  Limiting all of the girls to 2 outfits each made them really think about what they really wanted!

When we returned from lunch, our dolls' were all ready to have their hair styled.  Fun and exciting!
Ruthie is having her hair done, all the girls are waiting patiently.
Nicki getting the final touches!  A brown and turquoise bow to match her outfit.

As the dolls are being styled the stylist quickly go through how to and how not to care for your doll's hair.  The first key point was to always wet the hair down with a spray bottle before you brush it, keeping clear of the eyes (it is possible that they can rust if they get wet).  Second, always use a wire wig hair brush, sold for $8 at American Girl.  (Money saving tip:  You can purchase a similar brush in the pet aisle of your local Walgreen's for $1.99.)  The stylists really pulled on the dolls hair to get the tangles out.  Whenever I styled their hair, it took me about 2 hours to gently get the tangles out while I watched TV.  The stylist were completely done in 15 minutes.  Also, they said more for tangles use more water, but never use a blow dryer or curling iron on your doll's hair.  After the hair was brushed out, they styled Nicki's and Ruthie's hair into a 1/2 ponytail and bow (this was a Basic style which cost $10 per doll), and used the tail of a ratting comb to put the curls back into each of the dolls naturally curly hair.

Let me just tell you, then when you pay for a style they will give you all of the tips and tricks to keep your doll looking great until the next time you come, but if you ask for advice without making an appointment for your doll, they will tell you to purchase the hair care kit below for $20.
We purchased this the last time thinking I would save money by doing myself.  Now that we learned some tips and tricks, I will be doing it myself, and sharing with you!

Note: The curls that they put in Ruthie's hair were done with the tail of a ratting comb.  Twisting the hair around.  However, Ruthie already has curly hair to start with.  This will not work with straight hair.
The girl's were all pleased with their doll's new hair styles and we were ready to head home!

I love taking the girls out for a girl's day and as long as I budget ahead of time what they can spend and what I am willing to add to their Christmas/Birthday money, everyone leaves happy!
 Hope you enjoyed a few tips that I learned over the years of visiting American Girl.  I will be sharing styles and photos with you soon!