Managing Screen Time

We are almost halfway through the Summer and I find myself needing to get back on track with the kids. Oliver is now almost seven months old and the survival mode I was in when he was two months old is no longer necessary. Sitting in front of the TV for so long each day is certainly not necessary. Here is my new plan.

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Each morning the girls get their TV ticket and can cash it in whenever they like before supper. It entitles each of them to one episode on Netflix usually lasting 20 minutes. Once they’ve cashed in their tickets, they are gone for the day and the television stays off. If they like they can combine their tickets to watch something longer like Barney or the Meerkats documentary (I know, right?)  I also made a Family Movie ticket thinking that once a week when Ben is off we can choose a movie to watch together with a treat.

I’m just done listening to them whine all day long about when they can watch TV. This way it puts the onus on them to decide when they will use their tickets and hopefully teach them a little responsibility in the process. I’m also hoping it will teach them to savor things a little and not rush to do things all by 8:30 am!  The other bonus of this is that it keeps me accountable for the amount of screen time I have as well. When they watch cartoons it’s easy for me to be on the laptop and let them carry on with another show if I am not done what I am doing. Now I will have to just shut the computer and get on with the day. Genius.

What are some ways you manage the screen times in your home? or do you at all? Ain’t no shame, mama.. Let’s hear it!

A Kiwi Adventure

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Spring is finally here! The weather is starting to fine up and when we woke up this morning we thought it was the perfect day to get out of dodge and do something fun. With a house full of littles who often decide to all break down at the same time, it is good to break from our daily routine from time to time and go on an adventure.

We had heard about the Kiwi Cafe from one of our midwives a few months ago and thought we would go check it out since it’s only about 40 minutes away. It was great fun! We enjoyed the drive listening to music while Ben and I were able to have a conversation the whole way there and back. We each had a nice flat white while the girls drank their babyccino’s and we shared a plate full of treats. There was a playground nearby for burning off all that sugar and a little walk down to the ocean. There is nothing like a good deep breath of salt water breeze to put things right again. Every time we visit little towns like Chester I love how my heart rate slows, the stress shakes off of me and I am able to be in the moment without the distractions of the computer, the phone and the chaos of carting the kids here, there and everywhere. Ah, to live  by the sea!

I am happy and blessed to have such a great bunch of kids and a hubby who loves us! Happy weekend here..I am ready for the week now.

Handsome McGee

A few weeks ago I won a great giveaway over at Small Things. The prize was a gorgeous Easter basket filled with lovely, Eco-friendly kids art supplies from Stubby Pencil Studio. The basket didn’t arrive in time for Easter unfortunately but it did come in on Tuesday and has made for a fun Easter week of little surprises for the girls. Included in the basket was a handful of Easter cards for the kids to color. It made for a nice pocket of quiet time while their baby brother had a nap the other morning. Stubby Pencil Studio products are really, really good quality and the colors come out quite bright which is important to me. There’s nothing worse than coloring with a red crayon that comes out pale pink on  the paper, ya know? Now that I’ve tried their stuff and like it so much I will probably order through their website when I’m looking for something special!

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On a totally unrelated note, I am not going to sugar coat it by showing you a bunch of lovely, colorful pictures and have you thinking all of our days are awesome surprises in the mail and rainbows. These days in the tail end of winter have been long and dull and I have found myself lonely and grumpy a lot. There’s just something really irritating about having to microwave your cup of coffee three times and still only getting about 2/3 of the way through it. I am extra thankful these days for a super helpful husband, a sister to call and cry with on the phone and a night out with a dear girlfriend. Life will not always be so intense, I know, but man..three under five? Buckle up, mamas. It is one wild ride! Luckily, the pay is GREAT! Check out this Handsome McGee (Abigail’s nickname for Oliver) who just turned 3 months old…

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Lenten Things

We had a very blessed Lent and I wanted to post some pictures of our time so that I can look back and remember that it was not all struggle. Lent is difficult for me. I suspect that it’s mostly because it is always at the tail end of Winter, which I already loathe. I assumed last year that I was struggling through Winter because Abigail was finishing nursing and I felt like an emotional wreck. I’m now seeing that I probably have some seasonal depression that I need to speak to my doctor about. It’s a dreadful feeling when you feel low and exhausted and like the sun might never shine again and you just wish you could shake it but you just can’t.  No amount of just trying to be happier seems to work for me and I expect that I may need to actually exercise to help fight the winter blahs next year.

Ben worked quite a lot throughout Lent and so the girls and I took to having our own adventures and had great fun. I would say their favorite thing we did together was when we baked Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday. We used The Pioneer Woman recipe and had great success. On Holy Saturday we spent a good chunk of the morning coloring black and white Stations of the Cross and hanging them up in our little Easter tree.

I was reminded this Lent how small I am, and how important it is that I remain that way. God is good!

Lent is Here

We began our Ash Wednesday with the sweet gift of being able to attend mass together. Ben starting work later in the morning does have its perks!

After lunch we all had a rest and then got up and began discussing (as much as you can discuss anything with toddlers) what we would be doing as a family for Lent. I offered a few suggestions of things we could do and Lucy was very pleased with the ideas. We got ourselves an empty bin and made up a sign that read, “Food for the poor people”..at least that is what Lucy told me her sign said. Her fascination with the poor began on the feast of St. Brigid when we read a story about her life and the ways she helped care for the poor in her community, often by way of her parents pantry. We are keeping things simple and trying to lead by example rather than talking their little ears off.

I placed their little table against a wall in our living room and covered it with a purple play silk and gathered up a little basket of Lent/Easter related books and also a few small crosses and rosaries. They visit this little table often throughout the day and it makes me smile to see them take such interest in the stories about Christ’s life. Their favorite book right now is a french Children’s Bible that my grandmother gave to Lucy when she was just a baby. They are loving hearing the old testament stories and ask me about a million questions about them. It is reminding me how important it is for me to be reading scripture and continually growing in my relationship with Christ if I have any hope of helping my children see Him.

In other news, Abigail will be two years old this Saturday and we are having a very small family get together for the occasion. If the snow holds off we are thinking about barbecuing for the first time since the fall. The weather has been so mild, we thought, why not! Also, Ben’s birthday is coming up the first week in March. I confess, I really enjoy birthdays celebrated during Lent. It somehow gets me through those final weeks of winter blahs. I am feeling more myself now, but to be honest..these last few weeks found me really tired and really down on myself and my parenting. Having toddlers is a joy in so many ways but man, the emotional rollercoaster of it all is sometimes enough to almost take my breath away. We seem to be coming to the other side of it for now, thankfully.

Finally, I am working on some new hats for the girls and after ripping them out twice I finally figured out how to make the right stitch! Yay! I can’t wait to show them once they are finished.

I’ve now got a Lent and Easter board on Pinterest if you’re interested. I find Pinterest so useful for gathering ideas that I can easily go back to and find.

Sorry for the lack of depth here today. It has been a long day and I am knackered.  I hope to be back here soon with something a little more lent related.

Well…Happy Lent! ( Is that a thing? Can I even say that?)

 

Odds and Ends

The night before last I realized that if I didn’t quickly make the choice to do a bit of baking despite being tired from work that it just wasn’t going to happen before Christmas came. I finished work at 10pm and hit the grocery store to pick up a few odds and ends to do some baking. The girls were really excited to make some treats for our friends. We made peppermint bark and then a batch of cranberry-orange sauce. We also did laundry…very productive day! I did finish Abigail’s legwarmers but I don’t have a photo of them yet and they are hidden away in my room somewhere so I will show them after Christmas has come. Now all that is left is some gift wrapping and probably a batch of sugar cookies. It is snowing really lovely, big, fat, romantic snowflakes here so I think I will go and enjoy that with some knitting and a cuppa while the girls are down for their nap. A very merry Christmas to you and your families! We will be starting out our day by singing Happy Birthday to baby Jesus as we did last year..funny little tradition, it is. Peace!

These Days

The longer I am gone from here, the harder I find it to come back. Not because my desire to blog has run dry, but because I don’t know where to start. I usually take blogging breaks because I feel like I have nothing to say, but by the time I’m ready to sit down and write, there is too much to say! I’ll just dive right in..

I started a new job about three weeks ago. I am working part time 3-4 nights a week at Starbucks. This has been wonderful for me. Anyone who knows me knows I like to be with people, have a need to get out of the house from time to time, and I love a good latte. I was a little nervous about going back to work, not having been in over 3 years but it’s turning out to be exactly what I need right now. I cried my fair share of insecure tears when leaving the house the first few nights but it has gotten easier. The beauty of it is that I don’t start until 6pm. This gives Ben time to get home from work, supper is on the table when he arrives, we get about 15-20 minutes together at the table and then I leave. I am thankful that he is such a great dad and I can trust that all is well with the girls when I go.

Speaking of leaving the girls with Ben for bath/bedtime, he has started doing something with them that my siblings and I did when we were little and I am so excited I just have to share. When we were kids my mom would get the bath ready, bring us into the bathroom, strip us down, and let us draw ALL over ourselves with markers. We thought this was the funniest thing ever! Then we would get into the tub and it would all just bead off and change the colour of the water. We use Crayola markers which are all washable I think. Try it sometime! The girls love it!

Halloween is quickly coming and we are excited to be giving out treats this year in our new neighborhood. We’ve also been invited to an All Saints party which I am really looking forward to. We never celebrated All Saints day when I was growing up, so it will help me to see what we can do each year to make it just as and more special than Halloween. Abigail is going to be a bumblebee and Lucy is going to be a princess if I can get her to leave her dress on for more than a minute. She really takes issue with any clothing with tags, or anything the slightest bit itchy. I am hoping that over time she won’t mind so much, because someone from Ben’s work just gave us four Princess dresses in really good nick.

We are in full Autumn mode in our kitchen these days. The meal plan was very successful for an entire month! We saved money, groceries were faster and so much less food went to waste. We kind of half stuck to it in October but my plan is to get back on our menu plan for the month of November since everyone (the girls especially) liked it. It will be helpful since we have two lovelies coming from the NET Infuse team to stay with us for a month. We are so excited to have them in our home and share our faith with them and vice versa.

Well, the girls are waking up so i’ve got to run but I will be back to post some pictures of my recent knitting adventures! I don’t know if anyone even comes here anymore, but either way, I will be back. Bless your day~