As a mom and a mouth guard wearer...

...the first 30 seconds of this trailer had me laughing so hard I was crying!

Oh, and we saw this trailer on our first date night of 2010 too!

Valentine's Day Shaker

So last weekend our friends had a night out and we hung out with their kiddos for the evening. They came over right after dinner (in jammies of course), so I wanted to do something with all the kids before we settled into a movie. Big surprise here...we did a craft!

I had seen a Valentine's Craft Shaker idea here in the morning and thought it was the perfect thing. I had all the materials, it was simple & easy, and it could be used for the next month or more. Perfect! So all you need to get started is two paper plates (per shaker), pom pom balls, a jingle bell, sandwich or quart-sized Ziploc bags, scotch tape and packing tape.

First step is one for the adult...trace a heart-shape on the inside of one of the two plates, then cut it out with scissors. Give both plates (plain & heart-shape cut out) to the kids and let them decorate the bottom sides of demonstrated by Owen below.

The boys used paint pens (thanks Auntie Julie)...

and the girls used pink & red tempera paint (which became one color on their plates within seconds). In hindsight, I should have had them use something else as their paint was so thick it took overnight to dry (which is why there is no photo of Abbie's finished shaker)!

Once the plates are dry, take one half of the Ziploc bag (I just cut around all the edges so I had two plain pieces from them sides) and tape it to the inside of the plate with the cutout. Make sure to tape all along the edges so the insides don't escape later.

Fill the inside with the pom poms chosen by the kiddo (we used red & white) and a jingle bell, and seal the edges of the two plates together with packing tape.

Owen's finished product (the other side featured a lightsaber fight, of course)...

EJ and hers...she discovered that shaking it for your baby sister gets a lot of laughs too!

And the reason this post took so long to do, Jack...who just finished his design Thursday evening at 6pm! Lots of talk of patterns, opposites and other general type A behavior! But it turned out really nice I think and he loves it, so...

My girlies got a new ride

We got the girls' new ride (a craigslist special) outfitted with new tires and cold weather/wind gear just in time for this cold snap. Take that negative temps! Yep, only Momma is freezing her butt off now.

Sending out an SOS...

If anyone spots red, heart-shaped, gum drop candies, PLEASE buy them for me and I will owe you forever! I mean whatever happened to these guys? I've looked everywhere and nothing...and of course I am craving them badly! Help please!

P.S. Please do not buy them if they are cinnamon, spice drops or jellies (no sugar coating)...I'm looking for the original here (and given that they are very seasonal, my time is limited)!

Scarf Progress

Olivia height...

And now, EJ height!

Errands, school conferences, & dinner out slowed my progress today, but tomorrow I hope to reach Jack height and beyond. Mom fixed the knitting again too, so maybe I can attempt to remember what she taught me on that one also!

And yes, my children wear seasonal clothing way beyond the acceptable time frame (in my defense we were just chilling at home on a day off of school & I didn't know we'd be snapping any pics!).

A little help here...

I have a problem...I LOVE to read! But I'll fully admit that I'm a huge book snob and I don't want to read something I think is dumb (I have high expectations when I actually get the chance to read). So...usually when I run into a book I like, I then proceed to read everything from that author and then think...well now what?

I've gotten a couple great recommendations, but like I said, I'm kind of picky about what I read, so I usually don't ask people so I don't hold it against them when I hate the book they recommended! Seriously, I know I have issues, you don't have to tell me!

So anyway, today I bumped into this one next (via Rare Bird Finds) and I think I am in love. You just enter a book you loved and it will spit out about 10 book titles you might like too based on users' suggestions. You can easily register to get a more detailed recommendation list based on a list of your favorites too.

And guess what? Yep, there is a search option for CDs and DVDs too. I did a couple test searches and the results actually had a couple things in them that I've already liked (and of course some things I'm not too sure). Bottom may not be the answer to my troubles, but it might lead me in the direction of a fun read or listen from time to time. Thought you might want to check it out too.

Lowe's Build & Grow Clinics

I am ALWAYS on the lookout for inexpensive outings with the kids, so I can't believe I didn't know about the FREE Build & Grow Saturday morning kid clinics at Lowe's...seriously, how did I miss this one?

{photo courtesy of Lowe's}
About Build & Grow from Lowe's web site:
From project basics to giving your child the opportunity to say "I built it," our Build and Grow kid's clinics are a great way to help build confidence. Bring the kids into any Lowe's store and build a FREE wooden project. Each participant also receives a free apron, goggles, a project themed patch and a merit certification upon completion of their project.

Sounds amazing right? So I registered Jack right away and this past Saturday, he and I headed out for our first clinic. I am going to say up was not quite what I expected but it was still a great experience.

We went and checked in and were given the following...a loaner hammer, loaner goggles, and this packet with the pieces needed & instructions.

Next store to the check-in desk were a few makeshift kid's height tables (plywood on buckets) and we were set loose to get to work. I guess I had thought it would be "led" by someone and everyone would work together, but this was fine too. I was glad it was just me & Jack though, as it was nice to work as a team with the instructions, etc. The pieces were already cut and set to go, so basically it was a lot of nailing and a little sanding, but Jack still really felt like he "built" something.

When we finished, we played a game...Jack was red of course (thank you Uncle Dan & Dad for teaching Jack tic-tac-toe strategies).

When we were finished, Jack got a certificate of completion and a patch. He is SO proud of the patch! I'm kind of bummed because we did not get an apron and that would be a great way to show off the patch (and future patches)...maybe next time! Jack says, "It was pretty fun and pretty easy to build. Other kids should definitely do it!"

We're already planning our next outing on February 27th for the Lowebot clinic!

{photo courtesy of Lowe's}

Because I think in tweets...

Things I might have said on Twitter if I had internet access during our vacation (although they may be more than 140 characters):

-My kids are awesome travelers...Liv waited forever to eat, bigs only had crackers until 8:30pm & yet no major meltdowns through all the delays.

-i'll take a cold, winter day in Mexico over one in the Midwest any day of the week!

-pale, chubby babies garner a lot of attention in Mexico...

-2 year old Guatemalans don't do too badly for themselves either...

-daddy is in trouble!

-i'd like to hate the drink Miami Vice due to its name, but there is just so much to love.

-despite walking 5 miles a day (literally, it's a huge resort) & swimming, I still have a HUGE frozen drink potbelly!

-easy-going baby is an understatement when it comes to Livie.

-if you're kids are singing a song they've never actually heard before, it has definitely been stuck in your head too long!

-true friends will email, tweet and offer to Google lyrics to help you get past the 1st two lines of the song stuck in your head.

-i may (or maybe not...jury is still out) have a problem with buying matching clothes for my girls.

(some outfits were not documented to protect the innocent)

-"no restrictions" means an obscene amount of apple juice, smoothies, watermelon & ice cream are being consumed by the big kids.

-consuming all of the above in mass quantities causes accidents of all kinds at all hours

-all accidents have occurred in pjs & cold weather clothes, not one of the 10 swimsuits I have packed for each kid.

-we cannot tip housekeeping enough to deal with this family's mess.

-post-vacation detox is going to be a bitch!

-it's fun to watch your kids become best friends...

-i could write a whole post on "Travel Matt" but let's just say "Mattspanol" cracks me up!

-Olivia is a blast & has a blast wherever she goes!

-my daughter is growing up and wants to be a big kid VERY badly.

-in related news, EJ is beginning to crack our grown-up code...Matt & I need to up our game a bit.

-my kids will watch ANY kids show...even those in Spanish (the Fantastic Four movie for example?).

-in related news, everything & anything is a fun when you are on vacation.

(giant connect 4, bingo, pretending to be a ballerina, more connect 4, dancing with our new friend Elaine, exploring Mayan ruins, closet peek-a-boo, giant chess...and yes, jack is playing air guitar with the knight, baby cabana peek-a-boo, riding the tram, dvd before dinner)

-playing Yahtzee is like riding a roller coaster...lots of ups and downs!

-a jacuzzi tub can save a rainy day!

-I've got very cute, but very squirmy kids. Finished trying in vain to get all 3 kids to look at the camera at the same time and EJ says "I give up!"...hadn't even realized I was saying that!

(some of my favorite "outtakes")

-my kids are total water bugs!

-well, maybe not all of them...

-If Target is out of Little Swimmers I should keep looking until I find some...Pampers version does not get the job done!

-tooshies are cute!

-people from the Midwest are super friendly & genuine...and a lot go to Mexico in January too!

-just met people who live 3 miles from our house...they stopped us because they spotted Jack's t-ball shirt.

-dance parties rock!

-only the best daddy in the world would allow his kids & others to stuff his pants with balloons!

(matt's team beat Ben from Canada...23 to 16!)

-if you take photos of your kids feet, you take the risk of them saying you are "So Weird!"

-the Baby Club here is for 2-4 year olds (see Tracie, Hunter IS a baby!) :-)

-someone mentioned a zoo our first day & now EJ asks every day if we're going...thank goodness for all the random wildlife here!

(that monkey is literally on someone's hotel room balcony, they said those raccoon-looking things were harmless, but they totally freaked me out & yes, I totally took a pic of the kids with the iguana over the photographer's shoulder when I wasn't supposed to)

-getting to be in the evening Disney show may just be the highlight of a 6 year-old's trip! (i have really bad video too if you're interested)

(opening number with all the kids in Lion King, curtain call-he was never a mouse but somehow ended up in that costume, the big Hercules scene-he's the kid on the left)

-i heart Coca-Cola Light...the all-inclusive resort only has Pepsi. On Day 6, I found my forbidden love...

-just passed a couple women speaking in Spanish...yadda, yadda, yadda WHATEVER yadda, yadda...apparently Whatever (with attitude) does not translate!

-hotel laundry service to save a beloved bedtime buddy is worth every peso.

-we should have brought helmets for evening 6/day 7...

-a lot of triage can be done with a mini first aid kit...we just saved Matt's toe!

-unlike Bumbles, babies do not bounce!

-a bout of food poisoning can really take off the vacation pounds quickly.

-it can also make you feel like crap through the one day of perfect weather...blagh!

-i owe my hubby big time for letting me rest and for this laugh..."poor mommy! all of the hangover and none of the fun of being drunk!"

-tub bath/room service in jammies/movie night is an awesome way to wrap up a great trip!

-matt just bought me the best "1st post-sickness meal" ever for the ride to the airport

-this is not what you want to see while waiting for your flight home...

-this either!