Monday, March 10, 2014

Having an Adventure

My children have media limits.  We do our best to enforce them, allowing for an hour of screen time a day.  We also know we aren't perfect and have slipped from time to time.  Recently we re-doubled our efforts to make the hour stick.  Here's what we have noticed as a result.  Our kids have been so creative!  They have been playing together better, getting along more and sharing.  Here are some of the activities I've seen them take part in recently:
-making orange juice from oranges as an experiment
-packing a backpack, taking a walkie talkie and going for an adventure in the back yard
-Lego creations
-car races (hot wheels)
-reading to each other
-learning to cook/assisting in the kitchen
-pirate swashbuckling
-stuffed animal vet clinic
-snowman building
-fort building
-paper airplane building
These were all self started activities that they thought of when I wouldn't give in to extend the family timer on the X-Box.  I love it!

Family From Away

I'm from away. Anyone who lives in the Maritimes will know what 'from away' means. If you aren't from here, you're from away.  I've been here more than 10 years but I'm still from away.  Our family lives out west.  Another great Maritimism that could mean anywhere Ontario and west, usually they mean Alberta or BC.  The 4 hour time difference and insane amount of money it costs to travel coast to coast makes family get togethers tricky, but not impossible.  At Christmas this year we saved my parents' gifts until later in the day and then my kids opened them with their grandparents via FaceTime.  It was fantastic!
Christmas gift opening via FaceTime
Recently, our nephew became stationed at the military base that's about an hour away from here.  While he doesn't get a lot of leave time and doesn't yet have a car we were able to have a good visit with him one weekend and hope to do so again soon.
It was so good to see him and have family around.  You don't realize how much you miss it. 
My boys with their cousin
The kids loved having him over.  Although he's 21 he is really good with kids (his little sister is the same age as our middle child).  Really, how could he not be a hit?  He's their big cousin who is in the military that will still play Lego with them.  My oldest was so excited to have him be the one pick him up from a friend's birthday party so that he could show him off to his friends. 
The funny thing for me was getting to know him more as an adult.  He's a really great kid (my sister-in-law raised him well).  When I first met him he was about 7.  The year after my husband and I married and moved east we had him come and visit (I think he was 11 at the time).  That's the kid I really remember.  That's who I think about when I think about him.  Even though we've had lots of visits in between he's still this enthusiastic kid who could chat your ear off (in a good way).
During a trip to England in 2004.  Our oldest is in the stroller, our nephew was 12.
I do treasure our time with family.   We're spread all over the place but it is nice to see them, the family from away.

Friday, March 7, 2014

A Penguin Party

These cupcakes were a hit!
My dear daughter turned 4 in January and we had a penguin party to celebrate!  Here's how the party played out!
1st the Decor:
This banner was really easy!  It's a long black plastic tablecloth from the dollar store gathered in the middle.  The bow is a long white plastic table cloth tied into a bow.  I just draped it and pinned it up over the living room window.

These penguins were made out of black poster paper, white poster paper, orange (for the noses) and marker drawn eyes.  I just drew the shape of it and cut them out.  (Layer two papers on top of each other to get two identical penguins).  The triangles in between are also white poster paper, cut and pinned.  I drew the zig zags on top with the happy birthday message.

The food table.  The Happy Birthday in the window is from the dollar store. The penguins are my daughter's.  The goodie boxes were a super-cute find from Michael's.  Inside were Hello Kitty pencils and stampers, some bracelets, a couple of chocolates and a few other treats.

This penguin is a black piece of poster paper with the white shape cut out and taped on top.  Same with the orange beak and eyes.  This little guy would be the basis for feed the penguin game later on.

Let's get this party started!
We had a little craft to colour while everyone was arriving.  These frame kits I found at Michaels.

This is the "Eat the Doughnut off the String Game".  My daughter apparently just wanted to play by her own rules and used her hands.  We had another string of doughnuts set up in between our kitchen and dining area. 

My favorite moment from the party.  O's friend J tried and tried and just couldn't get the doughnut so she held the string and said, "I'll help you J".  So Sweet!
Penguins eat fish, so here's another food game with no hands.  Each child had a plate of Sweedish Fish to eat.  My daughter once again used her hands, but the rest played along and thought it was fun.

This blur is a take on musical chairs that we called Musical Icebergs.

Pin the Fishie on the Penguin - trying to get it to the beak.

No penguin theme here, just another fun food game.  Toss the mini-marshmallows into the mouth.

Cupcakes are ready!
Happy Birthday sweet girl!