Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bullet Points

Fly by post - this week has been totally crazy!!!!

*No meal plan for this week.  We had a snow day on Monday and then I'm leaving tonight and while I had a basic plan in my head, it never made it to paper (or blog for that matter!)  Plus, I'm pretty sure that Mr. CrazyLife will ditch the meal plan when he's home alone with four children in favor of KFC and pizza delivery!  =)

*Having a great time at work this week - we're playing games!!!  I love playing music games with my kids.  They learn and retain so much more.  Plus - well, it's fun!

*Tonight I hop on a plane and head to Florida!!!!  I cannot wait!!!!!  Both for the trip and for meeting my long-time online friend Meredith!

*I'm nervous about the Princess Half this weekend.  I know I can do it and I'm excited, but still a bit nervous!!!

*I've never flown by myself before, so I'm a wee bit nervous about that too.  I know it will go well, but still . . .

*When I kissed the kids goodbye this morning before leaving for work, Thing #1 asked me to bring her something back from Disney.  I sighed, expecting the worst.  Her request?  A picture of the castle all lit up at night!

*Still having school issues with Thing #2.  He's a challenge for sure, but we're feeling like his teacher is just looking for trouble from him now.  Mr. CrazyLife is calling the school this morning to head things off.  *sigh*  The challenges of having gifted children.

*Last night the little kids were asking for homework again.  So we did addition flash cards with Thing #3.  Color/Shape flash cards with Thing #4.  Then I had some valentine sweethearts left over.  We did an estimating sheet and then a color graph with them.  I have some pics that I'll post on a later preschooling post.  The big kids did them too.

*I almost forgot to pack my swimming suit for the trip!!!  Tragedy!!  Thankfully, I saw this morning as I was leaving the house and it made it into the bag.

*Working on party planning for Things #1 and #4.  The Dora post above is still going, although we may have to make some time changes as my SIL is planning on coming in for the party.  Thing #1 wants a slumber party - is it insane to have a bunch of 8 year old girls in for a slumber party?

*Gotta run. . . . my 5th graders are waiting!!!  See you on the flip side with a complete Disney and Race recap!!!!!
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Planning a Dora Birthday Party

Thing #4 is obsessed with Dora.  I mean obsessed with Dora!  So it's only natural that we plan a Dora-themed birthday party for her.  She will be three.  (I can hardly believe my BABY is almost three - where does the time go??)

Now, we are not planning anything big as far as the party goes.  It will be only family and perhaps a family friend or two.  So probably dinner, something fun for the kiddos and cake.  I will decorate though - I love parties!!

Here is the cake I am going to attempt

Directions, etc can be found here

By the way, if you haven't ever checked out this website, you really should....there are some amazing (and not-so-amazing) birthday cakes there.  I've gotten tons of ideas from there!!!

Another great website for birthday party planning is Birthday Party  I use it all the time.  There are ideas for other types of parties as well, which is really handy. 

Either a "Map" complete with face and such giving directions on how to get to the party (First you have to go through the bubble forest, then you need to cross the Ditch of Deep Water, Then you go up the Big Hill and then you get to the party!)


Dora and Boots on the front saying, "It's a Fiesta!' and on the inside the pertinent information with a title of "Where are we going?"


Orange, pink, purple and yellow balloons and streamers. 
A Dora pinata
Stars in rainbow colors
Dora plates and napkins
plastic cups in coordinating colors

Pin the tail on Boots
Outside play (if it's nice)
Cake and ice cream

Gift Bags
Dora/Diego bandaids
small Dora gift

Finger foods - snacky foods
Possibly tacos for dinner if party goes that long

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

While on the subject . . . .

Since I'm on the subject of make-your-own cleaning supplies, here's a few others we've been using and having great successes with!!!  As mentioned before, it is a bit time consuming to set up, but once you see the results and compare the monetary savings, you'll totally be into it!

My homemade dishwasher detergent:

Equal parts borax and washing soda ( I used about 3/4 C each)
1/4 C baking soda
about a 1/4 cup citric acid
Use about 2 TBS per load

I've also used unsweetend lemonaide KoolAid (2 packets) if I'm out of citric acid.  Same difference, plus a nice lemony smell.  I always use white vinegar in the rinse cycle as well.

Also, you want to make sure you rinse well . . . borax left on dishes isn't healthy.  Although I'm sure it the's same with commercial detergents.  I will sometimes run a second rinse.

And I've read some conflicting things about combining washing soda with baking soda, but I've never had an issue with it.  Research.  Experiement.  Find what works for you!
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A Laundry Detox

As most of you know, we have been taking steps to "green" up and detoxify our home and lives.  Baby steps, for sure, but steps.  When the kids were babies, we used mostly cloth diapers.  I've already written about my choices for Mama Cloth.  We try to recycle almost everything and thankfully our waste management takes it all.  I now have a second grade recycling ninja, so we're recycling even more things.  =)  We use a lot of cloth napkins instead of paper.  We use mostly cloth dusting cloths and floor mops.  I just picked up a steam mop to clean the floor with so we would not have to use any chemicals.  We always garden and compost.  We eat only grass-fed meat and raise our own cows and chickens and pigs.

Little things, but they all add up.

My most recent step was taking a look at the cleaning products I use in the house and trying to "green" them.  Now, I mostly had been using store-bought "green" cleaners such as Greenworks or the store natural brands.  But I still wasn't happy with the chemical smell or the ingredients, not to mention the fact that they really didn't do the job.

So I branched out.  I decided to start making my own cleaners, for the most part.  I joined Shaklee and began using their products.  And now I'm addicted to making my own laundry soap, dishwasher detergent and shower cleaners.  Among others . . . .

Here is my laundry detergent recipe. It's quite simple to make, although a bit time-consuming.  I enlist the help of the above-mentioned second grade recycle ninja to help with the shredding of the soap.  =)  And the little ones help to make sure all the little pieces of shredded soap make it into the container.  A family affair!

1 C borax
1C washing soda (NOT baking soda!)
2 C Fels Naptha or other unscented soap
Use 2 TBS per laundry load

I find that this recipe gets me through one week of laundry - about 12-15 loads.  You could probably add some essential oil if you prefer a scented soap.  I've found that our clothes are so soft and just clean-smelling.  No real scent.  Just clean.  I can't wait to try this with hanging the clothes on our laundry line!

You can also make liquid laundry soap.  There are TONS of recipes out there on the good 'ole WWW.  Here is a page with lots of them to try: Tipnut - Homemade Laundry Soap

The lowdown on the cost of making this laundry soap.  The Fels Naptha soap was $1.25 for a 5.5 oz bar.  I used about half a bar in the recipe.  The washing soda was $2.75 for 55 oz.  The borax was $2.99 for a 75 oz box.  Doing the math, I figured a cup of washing soda to be about 4 ounces and a cup of borax to be about 3.2 oz.  So the washing soda is about 20 cents/batch.  The borax is about 15 cents/batch.  And the soap is 63 cents/batch.   Grand total of 98 cents/batch.  Divide this by the 15 loads I got done and it turns out to 6 cents per load!  SIX cents!

My regular laundry detergent was $8.79 and it lasted for about 35 loads = 25cents per load.  That's a difference I can deal with!

Now if I could only find a way to magically have all the clean, folded laundry weave it's way to dressers and closets without my taking it there . . . .
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Meal Plan Monday

*I had this all typed out and then never posted it yesterday!  See, even when I try to plan ahead, I fall behind!  =) *

Meals - week of February 14th

Monday - school/daycare/packed lunches
                mac n' cheese w/chips, apple slices & broccoli
                popscle treat

Tuesday - school/daycare/packed lunches
                Sloppy Joes w/corn, peaches & chips

Wednesday - school/daycare/packed lunches
                     hot dogs for kids w/carrot and celery sticks, PB dip
                    adult Valentine's Dinner - steaks, baked potato, broccoli, salad, wine

Thursday - school/daycare/packed lunches
                  taco dinner

Friday - schoo/daycare/packed lunches
             homemade pizza w/breadsticks and salad

Saturday -  Bologna/PBJ sandwiches w/apple slices
                  kids - ramen noodles w/grilled cheese sandwiches
                  adults - date night!  Dinner out

Sunday  - do-agains for lunch
                pot roast in crockpot, potatos, carrots, garlic bread
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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Meal Plan Monday - on Tuesday!

A day late and a dollar short - that's about right for me!  We've had a crazy week with me having to take a couple days off work due to bussing issues and then we had 3 snow days in a row with 13ish inches of snow on the ground.  Then the weekend and yesterday a PD day and now it's Tuesday again all ready!  Where does time go??

So here's this week's meal plan:

Monday - lunch at daycare
                Speghetti w/corn and bread/butter dinner

Tuesday - school/daycare lunch
                BBQ Pulled Pork (Lloyd's quick cook type) with chips and beans dinner

Wednesday - school/daycare lunch
                     Breakfast dinner - pancakes, hash browns, toast, bacon

Thursday - school/daycare lunch
                  Pizza for dinner

Friday - school/daycare lunch
             Steaks on the grill, green beans, baked potatos (probably hot dogs for kids!)

Saturday - PBJ sandwiches for lunch w/chips & fruit
                 do-agains for dinner

Sunday - Soup (probably bean bacon or white bean chicken chili) for lunch
               pork chops w/stuffing & broccoli for dinner

As always, I'm linking to OrgJunkie's Meal Plan Monday!
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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snow Day Science

Yesterday, in light of the Great Groundhog Blizzard of 2011, all members of the CrazyLife Family had snow days from school!! 

Snow days as a kid were the best. 
As an adult and a teacher . . . well, they are even better! 

Tuesday night the kids came home from school all excited about doing the "Snow Day Dance" and wearing their pajamas inside-outside, putting a spoon under their pillows, and placing ice cubes in the toilet.  Nevermind that school had already been called off for the next day - we did it with gusto!!!

And snow day it was!!!

But what to do with our snowday?  It was too cold to go outside, not to mention blowing and snowing like crazy!  So Mr. CrazyLife and Thing #1 decided to work on a project for her class at school.  She has been studying water in science class.  Mr. CrazyLife decided that they should make "super sand" for her to take into class and explain why it floats in water or clumps into blocks at the bottom.

So we did our own science experient!

And made our own "Moon Sand" in the process.  Ours was very simple, but you could add food coloring to it if you wanted.  Then put it in a tub and let the kids go to town playing!!!  We left quite a bit in the tub as a sensory plaything for yesterday, but also pulled some out to experiment putting it in water and some for Thing #1 to take to school when it resumes.

What you need:
1 can of Scotch Guard

Pour the sand into a tub.  Spray it with Scotch Guard.  Let dry. 
Repeat a few times.  Let dry. 
Play and enjoy!

(pictures coming soon - having connection issues with uploading!)
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