Thursday, July 28, 2011

tips for toddler chores: laundry

Hey y’all!!! Are you ready for the weekend yet? Whew! I am!!!!!
The hubsters was gone all last week so this week I’ve been catching up on some chores, and while doing some yesterday I remembered I’m supposed to show you some tricks on how I get my little big guy to help me out with them. Well, it’s laundry day ‘round here so there’s no better time than now to show you how I make it work.
Most of the things on his list of chores are pretty self explanatory- like wiping down the table. If you don’t know what the list is, you can find it here.

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The one chore that makes my life simpler when my three year old helps me, and actually took less time to teach, is putting away laundry. After I fold and put it on hangers he is off and running doing his job.

First thing I did was save a couple of empty shoe boxes I had left from the major closet clean out I did in the Spring. They are perfect for free and convenient drawer dividers/organizers.

I wrote what I want in each box on an index card and drew a picture of it too. Pictures are the first stages in learning to read. I used to be a  first grade teacher so I’m not just a Rambling Jessie on this one- which I often do if you haven’t noticed. HA!

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I taped each label in the bottom of each box. Then I put the boxes in a drawer that is easy access for my kiddo to reach.

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When I get through folding his undies and socks I tell him to go put them away, and he knows exactly where to put them.

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We’ve been doing this for about three of four months, and he’s doing an awesome job.

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He puts his pajamas and, while it’s hot, swimming trunks in the bottom drawer. I didn’t use dividers for that drawer mostly because I didn’t have any more boxes, plus it will become all jammies when it gets cooler. Sometimes it looks messy, but right now the process is more important than the results. At least that’s what I tell myself when the Fairy Perfectionist Mother wants to take over.

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Then for the clothes that go in the closet my great hubby helped me with that a bit.

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After I did the big closet clean up for the kids, I know, me and closets!, he added a lower rod that’s easy for kids to reach. Thank you Simple Mom for that idea!!! Along with that he put an extra shelf above the rod. So actually the little guy can put his shoes away in his closet himself too.

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There you have it. Simple and fast. All these things have made laundry so. much. easier for me, and it gives my gofer son such a great sense of accomplishment.  It’s also a big help during the morning routine when he gets dressed. Most mornings he comes out of his room already dressed because he can open drawers and knows where to find things and reach for his own clothes out of the closet.

Now, how I motivate my big helper will come later. Right now. We’ve got laundry to wash!!!! and put away- or at least he does.

* Be sure to become a facebook fan of Santa Beso. I’m making some changes after this week, and you don’t want to miss a post.*

I'm linking this up to: Amanda @ Serenity Now , Fingerprints on the Fridge
and Tatertots and Jello

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Time of My Life

Everyone has a summer memory that they hold dear. Mine is the summer between my junior and senior year in college. I came back home from school that summer plain exhausted. I had hit rock bottom my junior year in every area of life it seemed. I had my first college boyfriend, and then my first break-up. I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia, and then later ulcerative colitis. My people pleasing habits began to rise up more than ever, and so I was constantly saying yes more than no. When that year was over I was overwhelmed.

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I had met a retired missionary couple the summer before who returned to the states to help with a church plant in my home town. They asked me if I’d like to work with them the next summer as an intern. It turned out to be the best summer of my life.

They mentored me, invited me to any family get-together they had, took me to places I’d never been, told me stories of Africa and through it all I saw a heart of service like I’d never seen before.

One afternoon while working at the church, the husband called me into his office. I was expecting for him to give me the next assignment on the list. But instead, I was about to hear the most amazing thing I would the entire summer, and I’m certain my life. He told me to take a seat. In a tone of wisdom and a look of joy he said, “God is more concerned about your being than he is your doing.” Let’s just say it took him a while to go on with the conversation due to me having a bit of a meltdown.

To hear those words from a man who pioneered a work in Africa not by anything short of hard work was shocking. Our conversation opened doors of healing that I’d needed from the damage I had the year before, and a horrible habit of being a “yes” person. And today they are ringing in my ears louder than ever.

As a mother I get caught up in the lists, meetings, and sometimes the lack of not doing anything that seems important because babies are napping. And when they nap- your feet are planted at home. I’m learning as a mother of little ones, there are a lot of moments where doing is harder than not doing. Right now it is more important to be, than to constantly do.

I should be love. I should be present. I should be comfort. I should be available. I should be security. I should be mommy.

So today, if you’re struggling with whether what your doing is important, maybe the question should turn into- am I being anything for anyone? Do something different today.

Just be.

I’m linking this up to: Raising Homemakers and Teach me Tuesday Homemaking Link-up

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It’s Too Hot

It’s hot here. I mean really hot. My husband and I jokingly, but somewhat seriously, say it’s Africa hot. We went to the hottest country in Africa, some even say the world, in May of ‘05 for a humanitarian aid trip. Right now the heat here feels comparable to how it felt there. Even in that country most of the people leave for “holiday” during the summer to a cooler country nearby, or they literally flee to the mountains because their summers are unbearable.

Well, we aren’t fleeing to a mountain anytime soon. But I have made frequent trips to the thermostat, and with every step I chant, “thank you Lord for air conditioning!”. Can I get an Amen!?!

Any other time of year the kitchen is the place you’d go for comfort, but lately- NO WAY!!! It seems like the way I’m enjoying it is when I fill my cup up with ICE cold tea. The kitchen combined with the oven is absolute misery right now. So I’m constantly thinking of ways to minimize time in the kitchen, and keep from using the “furnace of torture”. That’s not the easiest thing to do, but I’ve got a dessert recipe that’s helping with both.

This recipe comes from my amazing mother-in-law. It’s Peanut Butter Pie folks, and it is gooo oooooo oood.

Here’s what you’ll need:
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
small container cool whip
1/2 cup peanut butter (more or less depending on your taste)
1 graham cracker crust
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Mix the first three ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
Add the peanut butter.
Mix all ingredients until smooth.
After thoroughly blended together, add the mixture to a Graham Cracker crust.
Let it set in fridge for an hour or so.
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If you want, you can add some whipped light cream as a topping. Be sure not to add it until it’s ready to serve.
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And tadaaaah!!!! It’s easy as……. pie.
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Enjoy!!!! Let me know if you try this. I’d love to know what you think, and my MIL will be tickled.

I’m linking this recipe to House of Hepworths, Tip Junkie's Tip Me Tuesday,

Friday, July 15, 2011

Yeah Right

Blogging can be intimidating. There's always someone or something that seems to have it all together. A better blog design. A better home makeover. Richer content. More followers. Comments galore. It can be overwhelming and if not careful, I lose sight of why I'm doing this in the first place. But I've never done that. Yeah. Right.

About six months into blogging I realized that I didn't put as much effort and time into writing as I've seen others do. And that's okay. We're all at different stages in life. We all blog for different purposes. And depending on how many children you have, and how old they are, they nap at all different times of the day. And not all at once. That alone can cut into the time needed to make a blog thrive and grow.

So I've slowly let go of the idea of being an everyday poster, and  I've given myself some slack concerning other matters. After I came to terms with the logistics of it all, I laid out realistic goals for my blog rather than ones that can kill the joy of writing.

My first goal was to have 25 facebook fans for my blog. I know. Not very big, but it has kept me from giving up on writing. And really. That's the biggest accomplishment. This small goal has helped me tremendously. I began to focus on content and less on numbers. Then one day while looking over some design stuff to fix on my blog, please don't get me started on how that's going, I saw two numbers on my facebook fan link. 25. Yep- I finally have 25 fans!!! Woop! Woop!!

Now that goal no. 1 is reached, I'm movin' on to the next one. For all you 25 fans out there, and hopefully a couple silent ones too, I'm going to start linking my posts strictly to my Santa Beso facebook page starting in August. It's served its purpose being on my personal page, and it's time to move on.

If you get to my posts through my personal facebook page you either need to become a public fan of SB,  follow me or subscribe via email or RSS feed. If you'll look to the right of my postings you'll find all the needed info to do any of these options.

Good-bye Santa Beso posts on my personal facebook page. Hello personal statuses that let everyone know what's for dinner and what I'm wearing that day. I know you're eagerly awaiting to know that info. Yeah. Right.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Our Garden: A Little Late but Never Update

It's been a while since I've given an update on the vegetable garden. Before I could snap a pic of anything in progress seeds turned to sprouts. Sprouts were moved to containers.  Then the contained plants were  moved into the ground.


My husband said he wanted to be in charge of the seeds this year because he had this plan. He made a map, a time chart and a grid. He's a mathematician, so it was a bit beyond my thought process. He was having fun with it, so I just let him go and do his man thing out in the garden while I soaked in the tub while reading magazines about having a better home and garden.

Unfortunately, the strategic planning didn't pan out exactly how the "map" promised. A rain storm drowned a few of the sprouts. On the other hand, it nourished some buried seeds that were in the ground left from last years garden. I guess it wasn't a loss after all.


Are you ready to see the goods? Let's grab a cup of lemonade and stroll through the garden, and I'll show you around.

First, we got cucumber.  I think I would love to can some of these to make pickles. But I kinda feel an ulcer forming when I think about it for too long. We'll see what happens. My grandma is the queen of canning. Too bad she lives so far away or I would run over there for an afternoon canning session.


And then here's some green beans. I have two plants, and only one seems to give off any pods. I suspect some visitors are making themselves at home with the the other. We have a family of rabbits in the neighborhood. Those "wascowy wabbits"!!!

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But the surprise of all surprises is what came back from last year's growth. A truck load of tomato plants came back up from last year. I'm talking 16 to 17 plants. My hubby had to send a mass email at work to see who wanted some. We were so glad ALL of them were claimed in a matter of 5 minutes. Hopefully his coworkers will have the same success we did. Look how tall they are compared to my 3 yr. old.


The next big surprise is our basil and dill came back! I'm super excited about that too. I found an AMAZING recipe for tomato basil soup that I am itching to try it out. I cannot wait to let you know if it's a good one. I'm sure it is because it's the recipe from my favorite restaurant in my husband's hometown.


I can't take credit at all for any good you see in the garden. My hubby's inherited his mother's love and knowledge for gardening. One thing he has taught me is it's vital to prepare your soil before planting anything. It's probably a little too late to share this now that it's already smoldering hot, and doing extensive work in the yard is next to torture, BUT mushroom compost has been the best help for our soil. We haven't had to use fertilizer at all, and even though its already reached triple digit degrees here- the soil stays relatively moist.

Stay tuned for updates, and an explanation as to WHY we are growing a vegetable garden. I know you'll want to read this story. Hopefully it'll inspire you in more than one way.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Progress with Chores and an OTS Update

I made a "Summer To-Do List" and it's posted in wide view for me to see every day. It reminds me to have fun. It keeps me grounded. It makes the house feel like a home, rather than boot-camp. Most of all, it serves as a reminder to not stress over peanut butter fingerprints on the fridge when I really need to soak up the sun and the very short time I have with my kids while they're this age.


Still, that doesn't mean I abandon the impulse to pick a toy up here and there or all of us walk around with kool-aid stained clothes. After all, I am a planner at heart and I feel like we function better as a family when the house is tidy. I can thank my mom for that, and I can thank her for her inspiring me to come up with the "Hidden Agenda Summer To-Do List".

It isn't posted anywhere in the house, but it's something that I realize as a parent needs to be done. I also woke up one morning this past month and all the sudden realized child no. 1 is getting older. Not only that- he's big enough to bring the plate from the table to the sink himself. Genius.

So what is the hidden agenda? You got it! We are doing chores!! Yea. Isn't that fun?

I'll admit, it's much easier and sometimes less time consuming for me to do things myself. Less explaining. Less correcting. Sometimes less redoing.

On the other hand, I forfeit the opportunity to teach lessons on character, responsibility, motivation, accomplishment and discipline that I feel are vital parts to raising a child in the admonition of the Lord. It also partly defeats the purpose of why I'm here at home. There's also the missed opportunity to say, "you did a good job, I'm proud of you, you're a big boy, when you work hard- you get a reward for it, God loves it when you help" and so many other words needed to build confidence in a child. The tasks are simple, but nonetheless helpful.

Here are a few responsibilities that my three year old has around here:

  • putting away his folded clothes in drawers
  • hanging up clothes in the closet- after I've put them on the hanger
  • taking wet clothes out of the washer and into dryer
  • bringing all eating utensils to the sink when finished eating a meal or snack
  • getting snacks out of pantry
  • placing an unfinished drink into the fridge- especially if it's milk left over from a meal
  • making his bed
  • throwing away napkins in the trash, if we use paper napkins
  • picking up toys at the end of the day 

Of course, the list will progressively get longer as each task in mastered, and get a bit harder as the years come. But I know in the end, it will be well worth the work.

I'll give you some ideas and tips on how I've been able to get my "big boy" to help out with these tasks later. It's time to accomplish something on the "fun" list. Swimming Lessons!

Do you have some tasks that you have your little one help with? What are some ways you motivate them? I'd love to hear about it.

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*On another note- if you are one of the wonderful people who've lovingly participated in Project One Twenty-six, I want to tell you a big and sincere, "thank you".

My mom has received enough cards to last her this entire week, and it has been an amazing encouragement to her and motivator to keep fighting and believing she is an overcomer during this time.

If you want to be a part of this wonderful project, it's never too late. Contact me, and I'll give you all the needed information.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Making the Most of It

I don't know about you, but summer has put on running sneakers and it's taking off without me. I'm not a fast runner, so I'm feeling a bit left behind in the wind. At the end of this week it will be officially mid-July, and the summer to-do list is slowly getting checked off.

I don't feel too terribly bad about though. For starters, I have two kiddos that are JUST now getting their naps in sync with one another. And believe me. I'm not going to mess that up for anything. Secondly, it's just way too hot to do much of anything that requires being outside without water. Sometimes, that's not even enough to keep ourselves cool.

Still, I was feeling a bit scattered about how to make the most of this summer. So I decided to take advantage of my new chalk board door and make a "Summer To-Do List". I'm keeping it condensed with one word in mind- FUN!!!! After all, when this summer is over- I really think I'm going to regret that homemade ice cream wasn't made over my pantry being rearranged.

Here's what we have on the list so far:



And this is what it looks like in the process of checking them off: 







Hope you're having as much fun as we are this summer!!!! Keep a look out as we check off more things!!!!!!



Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Let Freedom Ring

From our family to yours..................................






Happy Independence Day!!!!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Operation One Twenty-six

A few weeks ago I told you about a project I wanted to do for my mom. If you haven't had a chance to read up on some of the latest news concerning my mom, I'll give you a brief run down.

About a month ago we found out she has non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. She starts her chemo treatments next  week, and will have six sessions every third week. So over the next eighteen weeks, or one hundred twenty-six days, she will go in for a treatment and the days in between will be a chance for her to recover and rejuvenate.

My family is standing firm believing God for her complete healing, but we understand that she will need medicinal intervention as a part of that healing for now. We're also standing strong on God's Word regarding strength, wisdom, health and encouragement. Along with God's Word comes God's people. Friends, family, loved ones that surround my mom are another source of strength that will help during this time. That's where you come in.



I wanted to do something for my mom during the time of her chemo sessions that will constantly remind her that people are thinking of her, and that she's not forgotten. When you're facing a trial there is no worse feeling than being alone. There are lots of people who care for my mom, but she's limited to who can be with her while getting chemo. When she's laying in a bed resting, she may not have the strength to talk. Depending on how she's feeling she may not be able to have a friend hold her hand. One thing she can have is someone read to her or when she's feeling good- she can herself. Yes, my mom is a talented sort. She can read. So why not have her read something encouraging? Why not her read something encouraging from you? That's what Operation One Twenty-six is about.

I am asking for friends, family and fellow believers to participate in Operation One Twenty-six by writing a small- or big note of encouragement during her one hundred twenty six days of chemotherapy. My goal is for her to have at least one letter, note, or card each day for her to read or have read to her during this time. That would mean by the end of her sessions, she would have a collection of one hundred twenty-six uplifting words, and as she marks off the days during this journey, she'll have more letters collected to refer back to.

How amazing would it be on the days she didn't feel like rolling out of bed she could open a letter from a friend who says- you can do this, and suddenly she does feel like getting out of bed? I am believing for all these letters to be one of many things that help her on down days, and keeps her going on up days.  

Are you in? Do you have a special memory of my mom, or maybe you have a favorite scripture, song or quote that has gotten you through a tough time in your life?

If you do, I would LOVE for you to share it with her. It can be funny, heart warming, a brief note or whatever. Just don't remind her of the time you remembered she showed up and showed up to church with blue hair. Hair is a touchy subject these days. I'm kidding.

Every Saturday I plan to send them to her in bulk so she can have a package in the mail every week. Each envelope will be filled with letters that are reserved for that week only. If more letters come in, that just means more for her to read toward the end. Either way it'll be a blessing.

There are two ways you can do this: 

First: if you know my mom's address- go ahead and send it to her.

Second: if you don't and you want me to send it to her or you need her address, contact me. Click here for my email address, and I'll send you the needed info. If you're a facebook friend you can message me too, and I'll send a valid address. I plan on sending these out soon. You are not limited to a number, so send how ever many you'd like. The more, the merrier. The deadline is the end of October. That's how long her sessions are stretching out to, so you can send them until then.

I've already said something to my mom about this, so she knows not to rip into each letter like it's Christmas morning. Although I'm sure she'd like to- I know I would.

Let's see what we come up with! I can't wait to take pictures and keep everyone posted about the turn out. Thank you for all who want to help with this, and please pass this along for anyone who is wanting to be an extra blessing.