Thursday, February 27, 2014

Being Grateful

What are you grateful for?
Oh the question seems so simple and the answer seems even more simple: good health, family and friends......

But until I was asked this question quite recently, I would answer with the same answers as up above.  Yes, in the post, I will mention good health, family, and friends, but here are some of the more overlooked things I am most grateful for.

1. I am grateful for the power of forgiveness.  Boy, I do not know where my relationship would be if Mike wasn't such a forgiving person.  Use the power of forgiveness in all of your relationships!  It's never okay to be walked all over, but sometimes you'll find that a weight is lifted off your shoulders if you forgive.

2. I am grateful for opportunities that come our way when we feel we are least deserving or when we least expect it. These types of moments make you realize how great and surprising life really is. 

3.  I am grateful for food on our table and a roof over our heads - living is expensive!  Especially when you only have one paycheck to take into consideration but we are safe and sheltered and fed and there are many who can't say the same..

4. I am grateful for our good health.  We have many medical bills that have put a strain on us financially, but a few months ago, instead of getting mad over them I realized am just so grateful that we are paying for them and we are healthy- instead of having to pay for them in different circumstances.

On a lighter note, I can't leave out that I am grateful for a supportive family, Daddy coming home, Doritos and Chocolate Milk  ;) ( I am kid at heart!), and one word: Naptime.

There is so much I take for granted and I'm trying to work on that!!
What are you grateful for?

Have a great day :)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Learning Colors with a Toddler

 
Keegan is not one for listening and learning, so I have to make learning fun for him through songs, puzzles and books, etc.  Even though that’s the case, I figured I would give this activity a try since Keegan breezes through his Melissa and Doug Fish Colors Mix ‘n Match Peg Puzzle and is obsessed with his Brown Bear Brown Bear book by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle.  I can honestly say this book has done most of the learning magic here when it comes to colors.  Everything seemed to click once we read it (on repeat). ;)

As for the activity, what I decided to do was start out with four colors: red, yellow, blue and green.  Early last week, we started the activity by painting paper plates.  I let Keegan paint them (I fixed it later) and as he was painting, I would talk to him about the paint, what color it was, what other objects were those colors, too - like green grass, the yellow sun and school bus, etc.  
 
(Those are his “painting” clothes! LOL! Why ruin more than one pair?!)

After they dried, I cut a huge circle out of each plate and gathered a few other objects of those same colors, just things around the house like mega blocks, cups, things of that nature.  I put them all in a bucket, lined his colored chairs up (you can use bins, bags, anything you want to, really) and asked him to match the object to the correct color chair.  He did awesome with the circles that we painted; he put them all on the correct colored chair no problem!!
Then he was a little confused as to why the mega blocks and puzzle pieces weren’t where they normally belong (which is ironic, because he never wants to clean up or put things in their proper place any other time!!) and I could tell he was soon going to become frustrated, so we stopped, took a little breather, had a snack and came back.  This time worked much better, but he was still kind of confused. 
I definitely didn’t want to confuse him and I wanted this to be a fun learning time, so I quick forgot about the objects, placed the painted circles on the floor and made up a little song we could sing! You can make up whatever you want, but here’s a start:

We stood on the color green and sang “Green circle, Green circle how do you do? Watch me jump to the color blue!” and then we would find the blue circle and jump to that…  etc.  I believe he liked that way much better. 

Later on in the day, we worked with the circles and placed them on a colored squares poster board that we have been using for a few weeks and that seemed to work just fine, too. No confusion there! We also use this board to match other printed-out objects like the pictured red apple and green grass. (Nothing fancy, people, but you work with what you got!!) :)

Also, each day gets better with placing the random objects on the correct color chair; it was just something he had to get used to.  So don’t give up!

**My suggestions are to do what you think your child can handle, do what is best for them!  If they aren’t interested, take a break and try again later – it may take them awhile to adapt to or take interest in something new or unfamiliar.

Every child is different, but even when you think they aren’t listening, learning, or paying attention -  They are!!!! They are little sponges! It might take time, but that is fine. Keegan’s motto from day one was to do his own thing at his own time. 
Support that!!!!! You are their first teacher :) Make it count!

Did you have any tricks or fun activities to help your child learn colors?
I’d love to hear them!
Have an awesome day!!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Mr. Bossypants

Ummm, really weird day today so far.  Keegan decided he wanted 3 bowls of cereal -and he feeds himself, so breakfast was a good 45 minutes. When we were getting dressed, he decided he wanted to learn to put pants on – all by himself.  I could not help or there would be tears (and there were tears, I learned quickly he wanted to be Mr. Independent).  Twenty minutes and a pair of stretched-out pants later, we went downstairs to start playing.   I decided to put on some music to sing and dance and what not and let’s just say our dog Bear and I ended up being Keegan’s entertainment. 

Keegan made me do Ring Around the Rosie with our 50lb dog like 8294 times.  Just me and the dog.  Not me and Keegan.  Not me, Keegan, and the dog.   Just me and the dog.  Funny thing is, I think Bear is kind of getting the hang of it...
Now he's tired
 
Keegan's becoming quite the demanding bossypants....
This was all before 9am, folks!!!! Have you had any odd days lately, like we did this morning?

Can’t wait to see what the rest of the day has in store for us!!!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

"You Are the One and Only Ever You"


If you are already a mother or are a mother-to-be, these books I’m about to talk about are the two most beautiful books in the world! They are both by Nancy Tillman and I kid you not, tears still flow from time to time when I read them to Keegan.  If you are having a rough day with your kids or you just can’t seem to catch a break, read these books to your children and take in all the warmth and love they have to show.   (All opinions are my own).

On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman

We bought this book when Keegan was around four months old to use with his (then) bedtime routine: The Four B’s bath, book, boob, bed.  From the moment I picked this book up in the store, I knew it was special! It tells your child, in such a beautiful way, how they are “the one and only ever you”.  It explains how extraordinary and special they are from the moment they were born, to this very moment in time, and to all the other moments moving forward.  It explains how happy we were on the night they were born and how happy we are that they are with us.  On the Night You Were Born captures the thoughts and feelings right out of all the Mama and Daddy’s souls and puts it into words in ways that we might not have been able to express. 

Excellent book!  Keegan also learned where his eyes nose and toes were very early on since we read this book to him everyday and every night before bed. We have been reading ours for the past 18 months, multiple times a day.  Can’t you tell?!  (picture below) We have another copy on back-up duty once this one bites the dust.


Where Ever You Are My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman

I don’t know why it took me so long to purchase another one of her books, but Keegan received Where Ever You Are My Love Will Find You this past Christmas. 

This book tells of a parent’s love for a child, how big that love is, and how it will never ever go away no matter what!  A parent’s love can travel great distances and it will never fade - this book exemplifies that in such a beautiful way.  Sometimes children get in trouble, they may feel lost or unsure, but this book tells them how their parent(s) will love them unconditionally.   

These are the books I want Keegan to grow up using to his advantage.  I want him to feel more than anything in the world that he is loved, that he is important, and that he is his own person and to not let anything get in the way of that. I will continue to read these books to him everyday until he no longer lets me! I love them and I love him!!!!!

My love will follow him where ever he goes.

Friday, February 14, 2014

LOVE

Happy Valentines Day, everyone!

We have actually been celebrating here all week!  We handed out most of our Valentines on Wednesday since they were calling for a huge snowstorm on Thursday (They were right! So much snow!)  Daddy was home from work yesterday (and today) bye-bye paycheck ;) so we decided to have our Red Velvet Pancakes for breakfast on Thursday.  Warning: I am not a food artist :) I got my recipe from Little Baby Garvin's blog.


So good.. Daddy and kid approved! Instead of using cream cheese or syrup, I just made two mixtures of powdered sugar and milk and added a drop of red food coloring to one. 

I'm not exaggerating when I say we spent the day playing with balloons and eating treats - lots and lots of sugar - M&M's, Whoopie Pies and Cupcakes.  I'll thank myself later when Keegan doesn't go to bed. 

Hope you have a great day filled with so much LOVE!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Valentines and a Toddler Who Could Care Less

Daddy's home sick from work so today has been a lounge day... well, sorta.  Keegan is on a kick where he begs to have a movie put in but won't even sit down to watch it.  I'm lucky enough to have a child who could care less about TV so we could focus more on development through puzzles, books and toys, but there are just some days when I wish we could relax on the couch for a couple minutes and watch TV [The Chew, preferably, but I can settle for Mickey Mouse ;)]

Anyway, I had Keegan begin to make his Valentines a few days ago.  I decided to fold up little cards and have him "draw" on it, and have myself write "Happy Valentines Day" yada yada yada.  Long story short, this kid doesn't like to color anymore.  I have the crayons stored in an old baby wipes container, so now the heck with coloring.  He's just worried about dumping them out and putting them back in through the pop-up top.  

That being said, he gave me very little to work with! The creative gears were running and I realized I could cut little hearts out of the scribbles he gave me and go from there.  Here's one of the finished products!
 Cute, but nothing fancy!  (To be honest, that's a lot more fancy then my original plan). I just took some craft scissors to red construction paper, glued the scribbled heart and painted on conversation heart sayings.  I also added a bow to some, just use some hot glue.
Who wouldn't appreciate a good ol' homemade valentine with a toddler touch to it?!
 We will be delivering these by hand on Valentines Day along with his Heartbreaker pictures and Red Velvet Whoopie Pies.  Keegan is so loved, so it's going to be awesome to show some of our love back to his favorite gals (and guys, too) who mean the most <3 

Have the BEST day!

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Ramblings of a Stay-at-Home Mom


Sometimes, being a stay-at-home mom can put a huge financial strain on a family’s lifestyle.  Grocery trips get shorter, little things like haircuts and sports games are out of the question, PB&J’s become a usual lunch and ‘new’ clothes are from consignment stores.  Only the necessities are thought of and that’s okay with me.  That’s what’s okay with my family at this time. 

Lately I feel as if I’ve needed to explain myself to people for my reasons of being a SAHM.  Sometimes when the checkbook gets low and we can’t go out to eat with friends or take a day trip with people to the mall, I find myself having to answer people's question of “Well, why don’t you get a job?”  Believe me, I’ve wrestled with the question many times, myself.  But for right now, being a SAHM is my job and you’ve heard it before: it’s the hardest, yet most rewarding job in the world.  I do this because I can.  I do this because I love too.  To have someone question myself, my family, and our choices can be a slap in the face. We all have our own beliefs, and we all have our own lifestyles.  I would never think to ask a mother why she chooses to work instead of staying at home.  I believe most parents who work wish they could be with their children. If you can work and find the perfect balance for your family, I applaud you.  Respect each-other and respect each-other's choices. 

Easier said than done, I guess.

But here’s a question for all of us: What’s the point of living if you only focus on the negatives? I know all too well, it’s so easy to do.  I'm choosing not to focus on the "things" we could "enjoy" if I were to provide an income.  I realize life is not all about the "things" we have.  There are many, many families who would love to have what I do - the kind of things we sometimes take for granted: A life full of happiness, good health, and encouraging friends and family.

I remind myself daily that it’s important to embrace life, keep your faith, and make the most of what you have whether that is a little or a lot! I get to stay at home with my son, which to me, is a lot.  I wouldn’t want to trade that for the nicest hairstyle or most extravagant lunch in the world.

Love life!
-Tessa

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

The snow days are making us stir crazy and I thought I would mix something up to help pass the time.  It's Valentine's Day- themed and super delicious!  
Red Velvet Whoopie Pies. 
Need I say more?! I found the recipe in an All You magazine and decided to do a trial run before we hand them out with Keegan's Valentines.  They were exactly what you would expect - so festive and delicious! Recipe below. (I know it seems lengthy, but trust me, it's worth it!)

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies:
Cookies:
 2/3 C sour cream
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp white vinegar
2 C flour
1 C packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa 
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter - room temperature
1 1-oz bottle red food coloring (reserve few drops for filling)

Filling:
5 Tbsp unsalted butter - room temperature
1/2 C confectioners sugar
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 C marshmallow fluff
2-3 drops red food coloring
Valentine's Day themed sprinkles

-Preheat to 375.  Line baking sheets w/ parchment (I just lightly greased).  In a separate bowl, whisk sour cream, egg, vanilla and vinegar.  Lightly mix together flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  Add butter and beat on low until butter pieces are very small.  Stir in sour cream mixture and mix on low until moistened.  Add food coloring and beat on medium until well combined. 
-Drop batter onto baking sheets, 2 1/2 inches apart & bake 1 sheet at a time until tops are cracked 8-9 minutes.  Remove and let stand for a few minutes.  
-For the filling: Beat butter and sugar on low until combinded.  Add corn syrup vanilla and salt.  Stir in fluff and food coloring.  Beat on high until light, about 2 minutes.  Refrigerate for 20 mins (I just let it sit for a little)
-Spread on cookies once they're cool, sprinkle some sparkles ;) and make a "pie"!

Mmmmm! Enjoy!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Snow Day


Our first experience with taking K out in the snow to sleigh ride was anything but fun for him.  It was 7:00 at night, dark and windy so obviously he wasn’t going to enjoy, right?! But I couldn’t wait to see for myself.  Fail, fail, fail.  Fail before we even got outside!! 
We tried again the next day and there were a little less tears, but someone still wasn’t feeling it. At least we got to make this corny snowman family of the Kreiser’s.

Today, I feel, will be different!  Hopefully! It's probably snowed about 6+ inches so far and I'm ready to get out and play!
If anything, the dog will have fun ;) Wish us luck!