Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Very Buggy Birthday!

Birthday time has finally arrived at our house. We started with Ava turning 3 on May 14th, Mia turning 3 on May 15th, and Lamar will be 5 on the 24th. We held our bug themed party at the park today with some family and friends. We now have 5 very tired children who had a fun day! First I have to say a BIG thanks to all the people who helped us set up, clean up, and keep track of all the kids as they ran around the playground! Thank you, also, to all the people who came out to celebrate with us! Here are a few snapshots from out day!

One of the three birthday kids! I can't post pictures of the other two, but they were also wearing  bug shirts that I made special for the day. The girls each had bug head bands as well. They were all so excited for their party!

Here is our bug infested cake! This super easy cake design idea came from

We couldn't have a bug party without a bug hunt! Each child got a "bug mat" with 5 pieces of Velcro on it. Hidden around the park were bug cards (the pictures on the cards came from a free online bug bingo board). When a bug was found, they had to Velcro it to their mat. Once they found 5 bugs, they were able to trade their bugs for a prize! 

Our bee hive pinata was a hit! The idea and directions on how we should make it came from 
Ava taking her turn at trying to break the bee hive!
W. taking the final swing before it broke! One thing I dislike about pinatas is everyone darting when the surprise falls out. I know that is part of the fun. But, I always feel bad for the littlest ones who barely have a chance to get in on the fun of finding the treats! We put together individual bags of treats for each child so everyone got the same thing. The pinata almost made it through 14 kids' worth of whacks! 
One of the activities we had set up was build your own bug! I cut Styrofoam balls in half for the body. I glued pipe cleaners to the googly eyes so there wasn't any glue involved for the kids and they could easily poke them into the balls. There were various sizes and colors of pipe cleaners, markers, and pieces of drinking straws. Everything could be easily stuck in the Styrofoam. The kids got really creative! 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It's Bug Season and the Kids Love it!

These pictures of Ava pretty much sum up how you would find her if you stopped in for a visit while we are in the backyard. Bugs and worms have become a fascination for her. She loves to watch them crawl, creep, and fly. Since we spend a lot of time in the backyard these days, I have been trying to figure out toys we can add to our collection. We have enough balls and more ride on toys than kids. So, I wasn't really sure what I should do to make outside time different. Ava's bug interest and fascination with observing them prompted me to start creating outside activity kits. So far I have only put together two- a water play kit and an insect kit. Put together of entirely dollar store finds, the insect kit contains bug houses (3 so there isn't arguing!), magnify glasses, nets, and tweezers. Since the bug houses came with the tweezers and the nets, the kit cost 6 dollars. Really a small price for the hours of fun it has brought to the backyard. The kids are often bent over in the grass or garden digging and lifting any rock they can find (which really is just two in our yard, but they never go unchecked). It has been cool to watch the kids get really excited when a bug or worm is found. They have to call each other over so everyone can see. Even Dominic likes to hold worms. However he only has supervised worm holding time. He seems to think its a good idea to attempt to eat the worm. A little extra protein won't hurt... right? The "big" kids think its pretty funny. Ava likes to use her new vocabulary word. ".Mommy, I am just observing the worm." I too have had fun looking at worms under the magnify glass. The kids have learned about a worm's habitat, that they don't have any eyes, they eat dirt, and love wet soil. They love to remind me after it has rained that the garden is just right for finding worms. Sometimes it feels like a science class is happening right in the backyard.  Can't wait to take our activity kit on the road! A little hike in the woods and bug hunt would be fun!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tuesday is Mama Day

Tuesdays are a special day in our house. Our three foster children get to spend a couple hours with their mom. While they are visiting Ava, Dominic and I have some special time together. I treasure this each week. Once in a while we come home to play, but mostly we try and do something fun. Ava likes trying out new playgrounds and once in a while we share a strawberry smoothie! Today we headed over to a park to feed the ducks. It was so much fun watching the kids. I was slightly nervous the whole time because Dominic has no fear and loves water. I kept envisioning me having to rescue him out of the duck pond, but thankfully we all stayed on land. He really got into throwing bread for the ducks. While we were there, Ava decided that it would be a good idea to build a pond at our house so we could have ducks. Somehow I don't think our tiny backyard or city rules would allow it, but I promised we could keep visiting these ducks. The part I enjoyed most today was just watching my kids smile and enjoy something so simple.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Adventures Through the Aisles

This week's grocery list
Grocery shopping. It's a necessary weekly task that sometimes seems overwhelming simply because it involves planning around 5 kiddos. I have worked it into the week in a few ways. I have gone late at night after everyone is in bed, I have taken two of the five with me, I have even braved the grocery store with 4 children in tow (thanks to Kroger having carts that have seats for four children!) Well, today the groceries needed to be done, and we made the mundane task a family event.

We created a picture grocery list for our three oldest. Each child left the house with a clipboard, their personalized list, stickers (which they used to mark off when they found an item on their list), and each their own reusable grocery bag. Yes, today in our house the kids did the groceries and they loved it! Kyle started at one end of the store with Lamar and little brother, Jay. I started at the other end with Ava, Mia, and Dominic. The task was taken very seriously and met with excitement. Finding a loaf of bread has never been more fun! Ava was most excited that I didn't make her ride in the cart and she was allowed to take things off the shelf herself. Mia's first item on her list was frozen chicken. She proceeded down the isle saying in a sing songy voice, "Chicken, where are you!?" The girls were slightly concerned that I wanted them to help me find ice cream because it wasn't on their list. I think they forgave me when they got to enjoy some after their dinner! Lamar had fun selecting all the flavors of yogurt himself.

We can check grocery shopping off the list for the week. I am pretty sure we were the only family whose children were walking around with clipboard searching for groceries, but we had a fun time getting the job done as a family!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Seeing the World with Excitement

Watching my kids grow has been one of the most amazing experiences. My kids remind me of how special the little things in life are. It seems there is not an ant that goes unnoticed. One of Dominic's favorite things to do is find birds outside, and Ava could sit for an hour watching a worm creep around her bug box. Dandelions have become another exciting thing to find outside (especially the ones going to seed!) Mia and Ava race to pick them and love to have me watch as they blow the seeds around. Things that I find my self walking by everyday and giving no attention to are fascinating and new to these little minds. How often do we take time to really enjoy and appreciate the little things in life?For me, not often enough. I feel so blessed that this is something my kids can remind me of. Stopping to appreciate the gifts God has put in our lives makes a day that can very easily become bogged down with tasks even better.