Hello 2014!

I hope you all got a chance to check out the New Years printable I posted yesterday! If not it’s not too late, you can always fill it out today! 🙂 Everyone in our house filled one out last night (okay, technically I filled them out for everyone as I asked the questions).  Here’s mine:

sarahs-2014-goals-worksheet2013 was a decent year, though a trying year.

Goal #1
Take more pictures! I take a LOT of pictures, but I want to make more of an effort to get out of the house, and out of our yard and explore more of our “backyard” and get lots and lots of pictures of the area! Plus, I would not complain if more people wanted to give me money to take their picture. (see goal #4)

Goal #2
I miss blogging! I miss interacting with my bloggy friends! Sadly part of that problem is that my bloggy friends are no longer blogging. Whuck?! Why is that? I know part of the reason I fell of the bandwagon originally was due to both time and privacy worries. I am working on solutions and compromises that might help with both those issues.

Goal #3
In 2013 I lost almost 40 pounds. YEAH BABY! It was reeeaaally close to 40 pounds, like 39.5! And then Christmas hit and I gave myself permission to do whatever … and I haven’t yet been brave enough to check out the damage but my guess is that my final loss was closer to 35 pounds (hopefully not worse than that!)… I will let you know, eventually. 😉 That’s pretty great still! And I am working my way back to eating healthier again. Though I have had some candy today. Shh! Baby steps. And did I mention that my husband lost approximately EIGHTY pounds this year?! And still going. He has taken up running, and started lifting weights again. So besides his awesome weight loss he is also building muscle.

Goal #4
Financially we need to make some big changes, somehow. I lost my job in 2012 and spent a year looking for jobs. Hundreds of applications, and a handful of interviews later I started babysitting for a family friend. It’s not a bad gig, the little girl is adorable and our kids adore her. Can’t beat the commute! But it’s not a particularly profitable gig either. I need to either add another child to watch this year, or figure something else out. I have high hopes for 2014 in that respect!

Goal #5
My husband gave me this goal. When he suggested it I couldn’t deny that it was a good one for me, so I went ahead and added it. I am going to try to figure out how to become more patient. With him, with the kids, with myself, and with the rest of the world.

A few things I learned about the kids doing this:

  • The boy picked black for his favorite color. The girl picked red. I’m not sure she understands the concept of “favorite” or not, but she picked a color and that’s awesome.
  • The boy’s favorite movie or show is Ariel Mermaid, and it really truly is. He is beyond obsessed with sea animals, and therefore with mermaids. We watch Ariel a couple times a week, and he is currently in his room for “quiet time” (what big kids take instead of naps) singing the part of the movie where Ursula steals Ariels voice. The best way I can describe that with text is: “ah-ah-ah, Ah-Ah-Ah, AH-AH-AH!” The girl picked Caillou.
  • The boy’s favorite food is apparently fruit snacks, while the girl chose ice cream.
  • They both said their favorite outing was the zoo.
  • The boy would like to learn about camping, and he wants to try fishing. So, it sounds like we’ll be camping and fishing this year. That’s a pretty reasonable request from a year. The girl lost interest in the questions before we got to these and said she’d like to go “ABC’s” and wants to learn “ABC, 123”. One of those answers accidentally made sense! (She was impressed that I was writing ABC’s at the time.)

And both kids got some goals for the year:
1) Use the potty
2) Pick up toys
3) Share with friends
4) Be nice to others
and they each have a different last goal.
Boy 5) Start school this year (pre-K)
Girl 5) Big Girl Bed!

Share your answers in the comments! And if you want to be my bloggy friend, be sure to leave your link.

Hello 2014!

New Years Worksheet for kids – free printable!

Happy New Year everyone! I have not been nearly as bloggy as I’d like to be this year. That’s one of my goals for 2014, to step it up! I’m shooting for at least a weekly post. That should be do-able, right?! 🙂 I made this worksheet up for the boy and girl to fill out tonight, and thought I’d share. Hope you enjoy! Click here to open and print.

Besides that we don’t have any real plans for tonight, besides MILKSHAKES! Yeah! We hope your 2013 was fabulous and that your 2014 is even better!

New Years Worksheet for kids – free printable!

Ni-night Time

I just wanted to share a little series of photos I’ve taken the past three mornings of the girl. She starts out the night fine, in her own crib. Then anywhere from 1-6 am she wakes up and I’m generally so tired I just grab her and put her in bed with me.

Friday morning

Saturday morning

Sunday morning

She’s lucky she’s cute, because that’s a king size bed she’s hogging! I don’t mind the snuggles but sometimes I just want to stretch out, and sleep for REAL – not that half-sleep-worried that she’s going to roll off the bed or get down and escape somehow.

Note: the flash on my phone added the eerie ghost-like quality to these pictures, we don’t live in a haunted house, or in a fog machine.

Ni-night Time

Three Things Thursday

I’m on a diet. Who isn’t, right? It’s only day… 9 I think. But I’m down 3.8lbs according to my fancy weight watchers scale – and a fabulous website (and app!) called caloriecount.com! This app helps me figure out the appropriate amount of time it should take to meet my goal weight, gives me the number of calories I should shoot for in a day, allows me to enter the foods I consume (and look up the nutrition info right in the app/on the site – a SUPER great feature!), allows me to enter my calories burned (you choose your lifestyle for a baseline, then add extra activities such as walks), tracks your calorie deficit for the day, gives me a letter grade based on my nutritional values that day (I suck and am striving to get better than a B+, it’s hard!), tells me which aspects of my diet are too low/good/too high (I need more iron!), and even has the option to share your daily synopsis with other users, or on Facebook if you choose. You can support other users, chat in the forums, or just track your own info and keep to yourself. I think it’s great and has really helped me see my progress and what I should work on. Highly recommend!

In addition to using calorie counter and working on improving my diet (believe it or not I wasn’t eating frequently enough, and it’s hard to correct that!) I have also started doing “hip hop abs”. Which is kind of hilarious if you know me… I have no coordination, or rhythm. But I do it! And the more I do it the slightly betterish I get. It’s not “hard” per se, I am fully capable of doing the whole workout (so far, once I finish this post I am moving onto today’s workout – which is the first night doing both the fat burning cardio AND the ab sculpt – *gulp*) but I have trouble combining a specific leg movement (or step) with a specific arm movement – PLUS remembering to “tuck, tilt, and tighten” my abs along the way. Eep! But I’m sticking with it. I just posted about it on the Internet, so now I HAVE to!

This last thing is not about me but follows along the health theme of my post. The boy had a checkup this week, all is well and he’s growing like a weed as he should. But. We’ve been keeping an eye on some swelling in his private area (hell, it’s his testicle). It comes and it goes but it’s been coming and going for at least a year and is pronounced enough that we’ve got a referral to see a specialist. They will check it out and determine whether he needs surgery to have the fluid drained. :/ It is called hydrocele testis, and we know two adults (or two close enough to have heard about it) that have had the procedure, so I guess it’s fairly common – but painful (the procedure, he’s in no pain right now). I’m not really worrying about it yet, but I’m not looking forward to it exactly either. I do very much realize that of all the things we could be sent to a specialist to check out – this is by far preferred to many things! But there is a small chance it’s a tumor, so keep your fingers crossed for us.

Three Things Thursday

Preface: Math Not Included

My stepfather (otherwise known as “Grandpa”) is planning to build the kids a play set this summer, and soon I think. He was asking me questions about what we want and asking me to look up slides for prices. How exciting! Not surprisingly I have been doing some web searching on the subject and have a few shares for you all. Firstly, a couple quick links to free plans:

  1. 25 Free Backyard Playground Plans for Kids
  2. Free Swingset Plans (includes wood and metal sets) – on this page scroll down and click the “Specs & Downloads” tab to load a list of downloadable PDFs

As far as slide pricing I’m finding they range from about $89 – $399. We will likely be leaning toward the $89 wavy slide (though I originally wanted a non-wavy slide, it just seems like the bumps would slow you down!) – it’s the same wavy green slide you see on most peoples play sets (and that is surely because it is the most reasonably priced). It also comes in yellow, and I think I would lean toward the yellow. I get wanting it to blend in but I don’t mind bright kid colors… I actually like them a lot. And the swings we already have (and will be using) are pretty bright, so we might as well stick with a color scheme!


But the purpose of this whole post is to show you the beautiful drawing I made of what I would like for our play set! Monkey bars! A double-decker fort (using the enclosed bottom level for toy storage)! Climbing wall! Three Swings! Oh my! It is a bit wishful, we may not end up with all the extra items (ultimately this is going to be builder/financier/grandpa’s decision), but I think if we do it right we could probably build the basic frame and add extras (like the monkey bars) later when the kids are bigger. The boy LOVES the monkey bars at the playground, but he’s not actually big enough to do them himself yet anyway.

Here it is in all it’s math-less glory! (Not only is this not to scale, but I also did not have a straight edge handy, and I chose to ignore basic perspective rules (the monkey bars would come straight forward off the fort, not at an angle as shown). Don’t judge.)


Preface: Math Not Included

Three Things Thursday

It’s Thursday again, already! Time for three more things.

Last week I mentioned we had water coming through a wall. It’s all fixed and was not a big deal! Yay! We had a window replaced in my sons room about a year ago and it is above the spot where we were having the water issues. Turns out my step-father simply forgot to caulk underneath the window. No major damage was done, and it has now been caulked so we should be all set!

Thanks to the water issue being an easy fix we were able to finish up the room we were working on. It’s all painted and looks so much nicer! The imperfections in the old-house-walls are still obvious (some maybe slightly more so) but there are no more holes in the walls, no more peeling wallpaper or half removed wallpaper, and it’s all one solid and pretty color! Since we have a birthday party this weekend I’ll wait and share a picture after that.

… We have a farm birthday party this weekend! Sunday is the big party. Everything is falling into place. I have a few decorating/cleaning up chores to finish, grocery shopping, cooking and baking to do. That’s not too bad really considering all the work we’ve already finished up! I’ll be sure to share pictures after the party. 🙂 I can’t wait for cake. And neither can the boy! Everytime I mention anything about a birthday to him he says “… Cake?!” Soon, buddy!

Three Things Thursday

When I Grow Up

I have been trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up. I have the opportunity now to change paths, or create my own destiny if I choose. I’d love to create a business of my own, but I have no funding and am scared as hell to try and fail. Some things I’d love to do: open a play place (with bouncy houses etc), get a fancy camera and learn it real well – then set up a studio in our house to do portraits (I have the space but it would need renovating), become a muralist, concentrate on my etsy shop and hope it really takes off (graphic design and some paintings)… Other things I think I would enjoy doing if the right position came up: working in a library – particularly arranging activities, actually any position involving extra activities sounds appealing: senior center, kids, craft store?, I’d love an arts/crafts store of my own, and could plan activities there for all age groups.

The small town I live in is a concern with many of these being viable options, would I be able to pay the bills? Will my kids have food on the table?

What would you choose to do with your life if you could start over now? What’s holding you back, or where would you turn for help?

When I Grow Up

How to Clean Polyurethane From Your Hands

If you are ever in the un-awesome predicament of having your hands coated in polyurethane – go straight to the vegetable oil! I just put a quick coat of poly on a height measuring board we have been putting together for the kids and as soon as I opened the can I slopped it all over myself. After that kind of start there was no point being careful (I was working outside) and the end result was some super sticky hands! I tried dawn first, then rubbing alcohol, then nail polish remover (all with different kinds of soap in between tries at varying water temperatures). Finally I pulled out everyone’s secret weapon: google. It told me to try vegetable or canola oil. SO I DID. And it works! Just coat your hands and rub, rub, rub then wash with soap and water! Not only does it remove the gunk but it moisturizes pretty well too.

How to Clean Polyurethane From Your Hands

Keeping the Awesomeness Contained

I have two small kids. The boy is 2, and the girl is 8 months. She’s pretty easy to keep contained (for now) but the boy? He’s a climber. And a runner. We have a pretty decent sized back yard but it’s long and narrow, with a creek/stream running across the back end, middle-aged or elderly neighbors on each side, and a fairly busy road out front. I think we need a fence.

We can’t really afford an awesome fence though, so occasionally I search craigslist for anything that might pop up. Right now I am talking back and forth between a seller of chain link fence material and my father (who owns the truck I’d need to borrow to pick up said fence materials, and would also (hopefully) help install it).

If this doesn’t pan out I am totally considering wire garden fence. This. Which may be a little cheesy, but it would keep the child safely contained so that I might, I don’t know, take my eyes off him for three seconds. Possibly even sit down on my butt. Dare I consider paying attention to the girl? And it would be a temporary solution until he’s a few years older and more trustworthy. And hopefully less of a flight risk.

Keeping the Awesomeness Contained