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!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Farmer's Market

Enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables picked at your local farmer's market can be a real treat for the kids!

It is amazing how fresh the produce is, and how excited the kids get when they get to choose their own fruits and vegetables.
Tom's Market in Bartlett, IL

Well, we had plans on going to the farm for our fresh produce, but decided that our local farmer's market would be just as good for what we were looking to purchase.  On our drive there, I started asking the kids what type of things would they like to try and what things should we make for dinner.  Corn and mashed potatoes were high on the list of likes.

Fresh produce straight from the farm.  Also, check out their homemade pies!

The kids were excited as we pulled up to the farmer's stand that sits off of Lake Street in Bartlett.  There was so much to choose from I had to keep telling the kids to wait just a minute as I was filling bags left and right.  Between cantaloupe, corn, green beans, lettuce, potatoes, grapes, cucumbers and strawberries, I had to enlist my kids to help me carry it all.

No, we didn't pick our own corn today!

My youngest kept chanting, "salad, salad, salad", so he got to pick out the lettuce.  We picked out 2 cucumbers to go with the lettuce, and each of my kids got to grab a handful of green beans while I picked out the corn.  Do I think they will eat the green beans?  Probably not, but I feel that if they are touching it and choosing it, they may be more likely to try it.

My oldest daughter's eyes lit up when she saw the basket of strawberries.  "Oh mom, they smell so fresh!"  I tried one when I got home, and they are not just fresh they are sweet too!  She also picked out the cantaloupe which I can tell is ready to eat, YUM!

We didn't leave without a bag of grapes from the USA.  They were so tempting, my kids could barely wait to get back to the car to eat some.
Grapes!  Too good to wait!

I really wish, I would have thought about the farmers market earlier in the summer, I feel that I got a great value for the variety of produce I purchased and the staff at Tom's Market were as nice as can be.  I do hope that next time I will make it to their farm. 

Tonight we will be enjoying burgers with cheese and lettuce on kaiser rolls, corn on the cob and cantaloupe.  Tomorrow Swedish Meatballs, egg noodles and green beans.  Then I have this green pepper I am not sure what to do with, but it looked so good I had to buy it.

I feel good that I bought fresh food for my family, just one step closer making a healthy change!

No I haven't given up...I am just catching up!

The funny thing with kids is, although you make plans they don't always go the way you planned.  I have learned to not push too much on the kids, otherwise they get tired or worse yet...Crabby!  Believe it or not my kids are quite happy relaxing once in a while. 
My son fell asleep mid-sentence!
We are still counting down the days until school starts (14) but I am doing it a little different.  I am using today to catch up and fill you in on our past few days, since I am a few days behind!

I had plans to relax on Sunday after church, but instead we had a girl's day with a Bridal shower to attend.  We had a nice time although we were late.  I just couldn't decide on a gift!  So we went a little out of the ordinary and picked out a nice large basket and filled it with the following:  Pizza pan, pizza cutter, pizza making kit, spaghetti noodles, spaghetti sauce, ladle for spaghetti noodles, and Parmesan cheese.  We also included a kitchen towel, whisk, cake mix, frosting and brownie mix.  You can never have too much dessert!  I hope it was a hit!
This is my quick shot of the gift sitting on my front seat before we brought it inside.

On Monday, I had it in my head that I would clean the basement, which meant mostly organizing my husbands tools.  We have, for a full year now, been trying to finish it after we flooded, so decluttering was high on my list.  I just figure it may be more inviting to work down there if there isn't such a mess.  Do you agree?

Tuesday, again I had the cleaning bug.  When I generally only clean our 2 bathrooms, I found it more like a ripple effect that kept pushing me to do just one more thing.  It helped that our son wanted to clean too!  He did toilets, and all the glass tables and doors.  He even mopped the bathroom floor and the living room.
My son cleaning!

Tuesday afternoon we had our last night of Irish dance until the Fall.  It is always fun to attend the last class to see the progress the kids have made from day one.  Looking forward to a new year of the girls dancing and performing together.  I think it will create a nice bond between them.
My 2 girls with one of their Trinity Instructors!

With 3 kids no 2 days are the same, and we do get tired, but love to do so much!  Although I plan our days ahead, we never know where the day will take us.  Behavior plays a big role on our daily activities, not to mention my attitude too, but my favorite thing is being fortunate to stay home with my 3 kids so we can share our daily adventures together!  Keep following me as we venture off to our Local Farmer's Market!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Fun day for Dad!

Saturday was Brian's Birthday!  It was an exhausting day because we were out late for the fireworks the night before, but we took in as much activity that we could handle and had a fabulous time!

Homemade cards and wrapping paper for Daddy's Birthday!
We started out the First Saturday of the Month at Home Depot (Bartlett, IL) for the Kids Free Workshop!  We go so often they know us by name.  The kids are getting old enough now to complete the projects with very little assistance, and what a proud moment for them when they can say, "Look what I made!" and mean it!
Pencil boxes made by the girls at Home Depot!

My Son's Pencil Box!

My husband suggested Mini Golf at Putting Edge (Schaumburg).  So we surprised the kids by not telling them where we were going until we got there.  I unfortunately left my camera at home for this excursion, but the photos I took with my phone didn't turn out well due to the lighting anyway.  It was the first time we went glow golfing at this location.  It was nice that we were there just as they opened so we could take our time on the course.  3 excited kids can be a handful when they are holding golf clubs and balls!

Since we were in Schaumburg we had to take Brian to his favorite pizza place, Barnaby's  Family Inn!  Known for their super thin and crispy pizza.  They offer a Family deal for just under $20, that includes 1 Large pizza (one topping), 1 appetizer, and a pitcher or soda.  It is enough to feed our family of 5 with some extras to take home.

Oh, and you know you can't be in Schaumburg without stopping in IKEA.  Plus, the kids got FREE frozen yogurt, for strolling around the store looking for stamps to spell IKEA.

By the time we got home, we needed a little time to relax, and make the cake. 

My husband agreed on a Vanilla Pound cake! Served with Ice Cream!

We then had a simple dinner and Birthday Cake and ice cream.

Yes, that is Magic Shell on the ice cream (at my hubby's request)!

It was a long day, but very eventful!  I hope my husband had a great day, I know the kids and I did!

Happy Birthday, Brian!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Friends, Fun & Fireworks

What is better than a day spent with friends?  A day spent with Best Friends!  Who knew that 2 newborn babies would create a bond of friendship that would last a lifetime.
Best friends at 18 months!

Best friends at 7 years old! (only 3 weeks apart)

Friends are forever and sharing a tradition, such as a parade filled with lights and sirens of emergency vehicles, a festival and fireworks, is a day to remember. 
(Especially, when it is in your old neighborhood where you and your best friend met.)
The kids have been waiting all week for the Lights and Sirens Parade we try to attend each year. There is something about flashing lights and loud blaring sirens that get the kids hyped up, not to mention staying up past their bedtime and seeing fireworks.
2 Adults + 2 Kids + 2 Adults + 3 Kids = A PERFECT FRIENDSHIP!
The parade kicked off on time, and all the kids were excitedly awaiting the first vehicle.  Unfortunately, the parade ended abruptly when the vehicles started backing up with no where to go.

It didn't stop the kids from having fun, there was a Festival on the other side of the road.  Games and face painting was high on the kids list, next to the rides which we somehow were able to avoid.  Six kids at $4 per pony ride and $2 to ride everything else was not going to fair well with us adults.
I purposely gave my child the blue ring pop!  It eventually washed off!
4 out of 5 kids wanted their face painted!

With a band playing the kids were entertained, and we avoided all rides!  Hurray!!
We headed back to the car for drinks and snacks. The adults chatted while the kids watched a movie in the car, awaiting the fireworks and avoiding the mosquitoes.  I lucked out with only 2 bites and all 3 of my kids were bite-free!  Hurray again!!!
The other 2 best friends (only 3 months apart) watching Curious George!
As the Fireworks began, so did the clapping.  I wondered, what happen to the
"OOOhhhh's and AAAhhhh's" when I used to see fireworks as a kid? 
But as long as we all had a great time that was all that mattered to me.
Surprised the kids made it until 9:30pm for the Fireworks!

I love my family, and treasure our friends, so I know this will be an ongoing tradition.  I can't wait to post pictures when our babies turn 18!!!!  Then again, I am fine with them staying little!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sometimes you just want to stay home...and clean (?)!!

The day started quick with all 3 kids up before I was.  Originally, I thought we would go swimming, something we haven't done much of this Summer.  Then the weather seemed better for a morning zoo visit, but my oldest complained of a headache and was moping on the couch, when my 4 year old said, "I just want to stay home today!"  So that we did.

The kids just relaxed a lot today, between TV and Computer games, but for one day that was okay by me.  I got the general daily chores done, then headed to the basement for a little decluttering.  Quite honestly, I didn't know where to start, so I started organizing clothes into piles, stuff we will wear in the future, and stuff to share or donate.  We have been trying to clear out the basement for a while so we can get it finished and start using it as a family room.

The day went on and for some reason the kids were extremely well behaved today, we had lunch, then all 3 of my kids took a nap!  I mowed the lawn. 

After the kids got up, I promised them time in the sprinkler while I made dinner.  We all ate, had ice cream for dessert, then played Candyland.  Since they took a nap they got to stay up and finish their movie from earlier "Marmaduke". 

I can't believe the day went by so nicely.  There are not many days that my kids DON'T fight with one another and drive me crazy!  So today was a blessing, and I wouldn't change it for anything!  See, I guess staying home can be a good thing.

So do you ever wonder, how to get things done during your busy day?  Or do you feel guilty when you are cleaning the house and the kids are asking for you to play with them?  Well, here is something that I decided to do after my first child was born:  I set a daily chore schedule!  One thing a day that I feel needs to be done!  (I am a little obsessive compulsive when it comes to cleaning!)

This is my schedule that I have followed for the past 7 years.

Monday:  Laundry
Tuesday: Bathrooms (we have 2)
Wednesday: Kitchen
Thursday: Pick up odd and ends around the house and Vacuum
Friday: Wash Floors and put throw rugs into washer.
Saturday: kids wipe down bathrooms with a Lysol wipe and collect garbage.  We also change bedding on this day.
Sunday: Break, or any chores that didn't get done during the week.

Everyday: Dishes need to be done, and sweeping of the floor.

Here are a couple of cleaning tips that I have learned along the way:

Cleaning your kitchen drain:  vinegar ice cubes, will help freshen the drain and get the debris off of the disposal blades.  I also toss in slices of oranges and lemons when I have them on hand.

Keep your bathroom sinks and tile clean longer:  Use car wax on your sink and tile after you have thoroughly cleaned them.  This helps them stay clean longer by allowing the water to bead off, just like waxing your car.

Hope the tips were helpful, and look for more here and there throughout my future blogs.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Back to School Countdown (Day #22)

Pizza and Cupcakes!

Playdates are fun, but sometime you need an organized activity to keep the kids in order, so I started today by baking some cupcakes for the kids to decorate.

I almost always make my own frosting, chocolate is my favorite, but today I was out of cocoa, so vanilla buttercream it was. (Straight out of my Betty Crocker Cookbook!)

I put the frosting in zip baggies and cut the tips when it was time for the kids to decorate!
This way they could do it all on their own.

When our guests arrived, we had some free play, and the Mommy's got to chat a little, before it was time to make our pizzas for lunch.  It is always fun yet chaotic when you have a house full of kids, excited and running in many directions.  We also have a lot of play things to choose from.  Not to mention, my son was overly excited to have a BOY to play with, although he WAS my 4 year old daughter's playdate for today!

Things went as planned and we started the pizzas by giving each child his/her dough on a plate.  They flattened out their dough and added the toppings they wanted, which consisted of just cheese. 
Today, none of the kids were in the mood for sauce or pepperoni.

While we were waiting the 10 minutes it took the pizzas to bake, we used this time to clean up some of the toys on the floor.  When the timer went off, I removed the pizzas from the oven, sliced them and returned them to their rightful owner. 

Making Pizza is one of my kids favorite things to do and eat for lunch.
Everyone enjoyed their pizza but left plenty of room for their dessert!

As promised the Pizza dough recipe is as follows:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 package of active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 TBS vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
1 TBS white sugar
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

Mix all dry ingredients, add water and oil, mix with a wooden spoon.  I knead gently just to incorporate all of the flour.  I shape it into a ball and cut 4 equal portions for my kids to make their own pizza, or I will roll it out myself for 1 family pizza.

Another fun and yummy idea with this recipe is to roll the dough out to 1/4" and use your pizza cutter to cut 1"x 2" rectangles from the dough (size is just approximate since I don't have a picture to share), and deep fry them.  It only takes about 2 1/2-3 minutes to deep fry the dough into pillows/nuggets.  Make sure to drain them onto a paper towel before eating.  You can dip them into pizza sauce as an appetizer or brush them with melted butter and sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar for dessert!  I do both and they are a hit either way!

I hope you enjoyed our playdate!  Join us tomorrow to see what other fun stuff we find to do during our back to school countdown!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Back to School Countdown! (Day #23)

Spending the day with Great-Grandma!

Anytime that the kids have to spend with their 87 year old Great-Grandma is Special time.  They really enjoy visiting one another.  Our general routine with Grandma is picking her up to go to Oak Mill Bakery.  She picks out some dessert and we get a treat too!

We go out for lunch, usually McDonald's (because the have a Playplace), but today she had a lunch date so we took her grocery shopping instead.  It's always fun to see what other people buy at the grocery store. 

The kids love dancing in her living room, and look for candy she usually leaves out.  Oh, and Great-Grandma always gives them $1.00, just like she gave me when I was little.

Since Great-Grandma already had lunch plans, our plans changed a little and we had lunch with my husband, we went to the mall so we could ALL pick out what WE wanted to eat.  My 7 year old chose Subway, while my 4 year old picked a hot dog and fries, and my son had nuggets at McDonald's. 

My son started to reach meltdown mode shortly after lunch, so back to work my husband went and we moved on to let my son take a short nap on our way to Irish Dance.

We had a nice day out visiting Great-Grandma, but tomorrow we will be staying home...we have a playdate!  Check out my blog tomorrow, to see what we are making for a lunch-time playdate!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Back to School Countdown! (Day #24)

Join me as we count down the days until school starts for my very soon to be 2nd grader.  With 3 kids, the days go by very quickly, which means I don't have much time left to fill the rest of the summer with playdates, crafts, and outings.

I needed a fun way for the kids to countdown the days until school starts and schedule things we still want to do during Summer break.  So I have had this pretzel box lying around just waiting to be used until today!

So we made a Back to School Bus!

It has numbers counting down from 24-13 on one side.

And numbers 12-1 on the other.
 Each day we will pull off a number starting at 24 and work our way down to 1.  Along with the bus, we made a list of 24 activities that will keep us busy until the first day of school.  I originally was going to just decorate the bus and put slips of paper inside for us to pull each day, but I like to see all of our choices, so we can plan accordingly if weather does not cooperate or playdates get cancelled.

I am not going to show you the list because it may change, but some of the things we will be doing this month could be anything from visiting a local farm to pick out fresh fruits and vegetables, making crayons, visiting our Great Grandma, and hosting a back to school craft party.  Keep in touch to find out what we will be doing tomorrow!  As a mom of 3, it is always a journey, with a big reward at the end!  3 Happy Kids and 1 Tired Mom!