Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hangin' with the boys

I was reading the blog at and I got some fun
ideas for activities. We tried the snow in a box. That was great fun!
I laid down some towels in the kitchen, then went outside to fill a
plastic bin with snow. The boys played together for about an hour,
making snowballs and letting their little fingers get chilled. They
had fun, and I got a bit of peace.
Going with the idea of play stations (no, not the gaming console), I
thought I'd share what we have in our house. There are toys all over
the house, but every activity has it's place.
In the living room we keep the large sets, including the trains, the
legos, and the Pixar Cars collection. The rule for this area is only
one set out at a time. This means that often the entire living room
floor is completely overrun with toys, but it's always a quick
cleanup. We don't have to do any sorting, just dump the entire set
into it's designated holding spot. The trains go in the trunk, the
legos in a bin, and the Cars in a case.
The kitchen is the next sometimes play area. This is reserved only for
the truely messy activities. Again, only one at a time. The standard
choices are playdough or paint. Additionally, I avoid allowing them to
paint together. I can't think of one good reason why they both should
have paintbrushes at the same time.
Downstairs in the playroom there is a kitchen set and the bulk of the
toys. Here they are allowed free play, and I generally don't bother
tidying their space for a good two weeks at a time. I feel this helps
them learn to care for their own space, and helps them understand the
consequences when they don't: namely, there's no room to play. Also in
the playroom is a table with paper, coloring books, and crayons.
Jackson loves to draw. Every day he produces a stack of pictures,
each with it's own story.
Their bedroom is reserved for soft playthings, tents, and forts. Often
I'll enter their room to discover a "Nick nest" of blankets on the
floor, or a fort under Jackson's bed.
Sometimes I think I'm not spontaneous enough when it comes to playing
with my boys. I'm learning to let their ideas and plans draw me in
until I can't help but join them.

Andrea Toman

Sent from my iPod

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I look in the mirror and what do I see?

Two revelations for me today: I never, EVER have a "no drive" day. Between work and visiting relatives, we pretty much NEVER stay home all day. I may give myself a gold star as spring comes for days I walk to an event or errand - say, the post office, the grocery store, or the library. They all are about 10 blocks from here, so it's a nice walk when it's nice out. It can't be done with three kids in tow in 3 feet of snow, however.
My second revelation is that I'm obsessed with the % that I save on groceries. I average a savings of 20-40%. My ultimate goal is to consistantly see 50% savings on those receipts. That means I can only buy sale items, and only good sales, too. I can buy in quantity, but the value has to be there. Coupons are a must for most purchases.
I put up a shoe shelf in the boys' closet yesterday and organized all their shoes by size and type (dress, play, sandal). I felt so good when I finished that I was inspired to re-organize the play room, blow through three loads of laundry, and put together my new spinning wheel. I had a fantastic day yesterday!