All of the Gang...

All of the Gang...

Friday, December 3, 2010


All Of Us Christmas 5x7 folded card
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Birthday Party on a Budget

With six kids we host a birthday party on average of every two to three months.  I don't want to short change any of our kiddos in the celebration department, but it can really add up.  Our oldest son, Sutton, recently turned seven.  During the couple of weeks that lead up to his birthday, he and I brainstormed to come up with a fun idea of something different to do to celebrate.  In the past we have done the big parties such as bowling or going to a kids fitness center but typically we have parties at our house and grill out with close friends and family.  I wanted to do something special for him, but keep it well within our tiny budget.   

Sutton made the list of who he wanted to invite.  There were four friends and I thought, even if we went to a movie and had lunch, by the time we bought the movie tickets, the popcorn, drinks, etc. we were still going to shell out quite a bit, and he still wanted to include his brothers in the celebration as well.  So we came up with the idea of a Drive Inn Movie night at our house.  

I made the invitations on our computer and made them look like pillows and invited the kids to wear their p.j.'s, (this alone was nice because after the party was over, the transition for our kids to go to bed was already half done!).  There was one concern I had though, this was going to be the first time that I hosted a party where there were no other adults other than my husband and I.   I was trying to figure out, "How do I keep nine kids busy for three hours?"  I have to admit, it was a lot easier than I had first thought.  Each child had their own cardboard box that they could decorate to look like a car (I got the idea from Family Fun Magazine).  After gluing and coloring, their vehicles were complete and we moved on to the next project while my husband went to pick up the pizza.  

For the second activity, each child had their own white pillow case to decorate.  I wanted to keep it as simple as possible because we did have smaller kiddos that were participating so I bought a package of fabric markers for them to use instead of paint (less mess and less dry time).  I also had bought little plastic bowls for each child for fifty cents each and wrote their names on them with a sharpie.  The pillow case and bowl were part of their goodie bags that they got to take home with them.   After we ate pizza, sang "Happy Birthday" and had homemade cupcakes, it was show time!  While the kids "parked" their cars in front of the television I popped some popcorn and filled their bowls, ( I didn't realize this at the time, but with them sitting in their "cars" while they ate and watched the movie, it cut down on kernels on the floor tremendously).  I didn't even need to  rent a movie.  Sutton wanted to show his favorite movie, "Shorts", so that was easy enough as well!
All in all, I think the evening went rather well.  Sutton had the party he had imagined, there were smiles all around and laughter filled the house.  And we managed to only spend roughly $45, so averaging $5 per kid.  Now the next question is, "Will I be able to do it again next month?"

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mac n' Cheese SCORE!

So... I have become a coupon / bargain FREAK.  I think you have to be with a family as big as ours with only one income.  I usually have to mentally prepare for my trip to the grocery store two, sometimes three days in advance.  Unfortunately, we were running short on the three staples:  bread, milk and eggs.  So this morning while our older sons were at Sunday School I made a quick trip and couldn't believe what I came upon....Kraft Mac n' Cheese......CHEAP!  There was a display case with their new Cheesey Extreme and with coupons attached to the display case for 55 cents off the purchase of two.  They were also on sale so that if you bought 10 of them they were 49 cents each.  No....could this be FREE CRAFT MAC N' CHEESE? (King Soopers doubles coupons up to $1 so it would've been $1 off 2 boxes that are 49 cents each!)  My heart was racing...could this be???  I stopped an employee walking by and she couldn't grasp the idea of me using more than one coupon.   "Um, it's 55 cents off two, not ten."  She clearly was not coupon I ripped off 5 of the coupons from the display case and headed to the register.  To my dismay they would only allow three of the coupons to be used in one transaction but in order to get the 49 cents per box price I had to purchase 10 in one transaction....BUT they were still only 20 cents a box!  So...needless to say, on the way home from picking the boys up from Sunday School we made one more stop at King Soopers and I bought 10 more boxes using three coupons and then Sutton bought 10 boxes using three coupons.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


One of the earliest memories that I have when I met my husband was the two of us driving in his dads car.  It was a Chrysler I think, grey, late 80's.  When you turned the key to start it up, the first thing you heard after the engine was the sound of a man's voice coming from the speakers.  It wasn't your typical radio announcer.  This was something that I would eventually come accustomed to, as my father-in-law didn't listen to music on the radio of his car, he listened to AM Talk Radio.  
For some reason this habit seems to have been passed down a generation to my husband.  Some of the best broadcasts of the Husker games are on AM radio.  You can almost feel like you are there just from listening the the excitement in the announcers voice.  I remember the drive so many times on our way home from a Big Red game, my husband, almost before totally seated behind the wheel, jumping into the car, quickly turning the radio to the post-game talks with comments from Coach Osborne.  Even now, if you visit my in-laws on a Saturday during football season, chances are that all of the t.v.'s are turned to the game and my father-in-law has his little black radio sitting next to him with the game on.  He watches it on t.v., with the volume down, and then listens to the broadcast on the radio.
At first I thought AM radio was just a football thing.  I didn't realize that it was ALL THE TIME.  Over the years I have gotten used to it.  If my husband borrows my car, when I get in and start it up I instantly hear the sound of a talk show. On the other hand, when going somewhere together,   I am often finding myself telling my husband not to change the station because I wanted to hear the end of the story that is being told or problem that is being solved.  
AM radio can also be a great conversation starter.  There is "Pet Talk Radio" and of course "Car Talk" with brothers Tom and Ray Magliozzi, a.k.a.  "Click and Clack".  I don't know much about cars, and honestly don't care to, but I sure do enjoy listening to two brothers go back and forth with a Jersey accent about car mishaps, laughing at themselves and having a good time.
To put a different spin on the subject of AM radio, I was quickly reminded the other day just how much kids listen even though we don't think they do.  So many times I think that my kids just don't listen or aren't aware of all that is going on around them. Silly Mandy!  You know that one of the things kids love to do best is to prove their parents wrong.  My boys, well, most of them, love listening to the radio whenever we go somewhere.  There is always that one that wants it "turned down" when everyone else wants it turned up.  The other day while we were out running errands my three years old quickly escalated into a full blown screaming temper tantrum and the only thing I could understand that he was saying was, "Daddy Radio!"  Apparently his brothers understood him perfectly because the next thing I know, Peter and Pearson are chanting "Car Talk!  Car Talk!".  I was flustered with all the chaos in the car and for some reason I felt the urge to turn on AM radio.  There was instantaneous silence from the seats behind me.  It occurred to me, all those times that my husband has taken the boys on special outings, it is almost guaranteed they were listening to AM radio, and now have developed an ear for it, even though they may not always understand what is being discussed.
  From the number of sacs a player makes to the solution for a broken water hose, they don't care.  I'm sure that with the start of the season just a few days away, we'll be digging out our radio so the boys can enjoy it just like Daddy and Grandpa.  And perhaps one day, one of my boys will have a girlfriend that when they are out on a date,  will wonder just why on earth she is  being coaxed into listening to this thing called AM radio.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Going Home to the Good Life

This last weekend I went to pick up Sutton from his three week visit to his grandparents.  I have to admit, I was looking forward to the drive to Nebraska.  I was only going to North Platte where I was meeting my son along with my mother-in-law, so I wasn't exactly going "home".  I spent the four hour drive, by myself, without any of the other children, a definite rarity.  I had a lot of time to myself to think, and I've noticed before that my mind tends to wonder, maybe that's what having six kids does to you, and maybe that's why I never quite seem to finish anything.
During the drive I thought of all the things I wanted to do with my family.  All of the little things that there never quite seems enough time to do.  As I drove down Highway 14, I told myself (which I do every time I take that route) that one day Jeff and I will take the road less traveled and take the kids to see the Pawnee Bluffs that I can't help but stare at every time I drive by them.  From the highway they just look like little humps, but I know they really are so much more. 
As I continued to drive and as I reached the state line I looked over to the sign that read, "Nebraska, The Good Life."  Just the same as with other trips back, once I drove across this invisible line, I got this calming feeling, I'm home, I thought.  This time though, the thought of being "home" wasn't the actual place, it was the fact that I was on my way to pick up my son.  That feeling of "home" was me knowing that those who were most important to me would all be back together again after a summer of back-and-forth visits to grandparents.  That was me going home.
During our trek back to Colorado, Sutton and I talked about the neat things we saw, from the sunflower fields to the smell of the cattle farms.   It was a series of conversations that I'm sure I will forever remember.  The sun was starting to set and the colors in the sky ranged from a vibrant orange to a deep, cool lavender.  "How do people know that people who are invisible are really there?", Sutton asked.  I wasn't sure what he meant exactly, so of course, I asked.  He elaborated, "How do people know that God is really there.  I know he's there all the time.  But do all the people know that he is with all of them all of the time?"
I was impressed that my six year old was actually taking the time to think about this.  I also felt that God was providing the perfect means for me to attempt to explain this in the best way I could.  I looked up at the colorful sky and said "Do you see all those colors in the sky?  God made those.  He makes things like sunsets so that he can show people he is there."  I wasn't quite sure if he understood what it was I was trying to explain.  "So Grandma can see the sunset when I see it even though she is far away and God is with both of us, right?"  
This revelation of his made my heart swell.  I don't remember having thoughts like that when I was a child, perhaps I did and it wasn't significant to me like it is when you listen to your own child explain how he sees the world.  God has blessed Jeff and I in so many ways.  One of the best (or should I say, the six best) gifts He has given us are our children.  I can take that trip back to Nebraska a hundred more times, but no matter what, I am not really "home" unless I am with the seven loves of my life.  Seven!  Oh, how I am blessed!  With the everyday rituals of fixing meal, cleaning up spills and breaking up fights, I do have to remind myself how fortunate I am.  And though there are moments where I find myself asking, "Seriously, was this His plan for me?", I do have these amazing moments when I remember how lucky I am that He chose me to be their mom.  God is with all of us, all of the time.  He's there during the sunsets in life, and each day when the sun rises again.  I may not be in Nebraska, but I am loving living the Good Life that God has given me.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Cozy Cows and Questions...

The thought of going out in public with all of the kiddos is, to be honest, intimidating.  I have only done it a few times and with, if I may toot my own horn for a moment, rather good success.   Crap, I probably just jinxed myself.  Today was a golden opportunity for me to prove to myself that I will not let these three foot tall, loves of my life, angels that often seem hoped up on sugar, get the best of me.  
A couple of women from the MOPS group that I belong to organized a tour for us at the local Cozy Cow Dairy.  Now, I had always wanted to go there, but then, had let myself become intimidated at the thought of taking all of our children.  I thought today was a great opportunity because I would be around people that knew that I was not simply some crazy mom with "too many children" as I often get that look, but today, I would be amongst my peers.  
Again, my boys exceeded my expectations!  There was no fighting, no pushing, no kicking...until it was about time to leave, but that I was able to overlook.  They had made it through a 45 minute tour where we learned the ins and outs of a dairy farm!  I felt my heart swell a little when Pete immediately raised his hand when the tour guide asked us if we had any questions.  "I love cows and I love meeelk." he proudly announced.  (Jeff and I have always loved the way he says the word "milk".)
Following the video we had the opportunity to actually see the cows get milked.  I hadn't ever seen this before so I was excited to have the chance as well.  I was interested in so many of the facts such as that it only takes about five minutes to milk a cow and that the oldest cow ever milked on their farm was 16 years old (in people years that is, in cow years, she was ancient!)  Of course, Pearson did not miss a beat.  One of the cows did her 'business' and Pearson being Pearson had to ask, "Why did that cow poop?"  "Just because", I said.  That answer is never good enough for Pearson.  With me knowing that, one might think that I would have a better answer on hand.  Nope.  You can never tell Pearson, "Just because."  "BUT WHY!?!?!", he continued.  Luckily, right at that moment the milking process began and his attention shifted. 
After leaving the cows behind to finish up their milking we were able to feed some of the other animals on the farm.  We then headed inside to have our own taste of the dairy in the form of ice cream.  I do have to say that it was some of the best ice cream I have ever had.  I don't know if it was the heat of the morning that made it taste so good, the fact that I knew it was fresh or that I was just simply starving, but that was some dang good ice cream.  
With that said, I have to say that the people at Cozy Cow did a wonderful job in welcoming us to their dairy and showing us all that goes into being able to enjoy a simple, cold glass of "meeelk".  I'm sure we'll be going again real soon, even if it's just for a quick scoop of ice cream.

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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Potty Training: Three Down, Three To Go...

    Potty training has been non-stop at our house.  With the exception of July to December of last year, we have had three children in diapers at all times for the last 4 years.  First it was Sutton with Pearson and Peter, then Pearson and Peter with Cyrus and now Cyrus with Hadley and Sophia.  If anyone needs to own stock in Pampers, it should be us.  I am anticipating one more short break for about a year before taking it on with Hadley and Sophia.  I am by no means a pro, and each boy has proven to be a challenge, in their own way. 
    With Sutton, I didn't want to pressure him into potty training because we had just had Peter and Pearson and I had heard that rushing it when there is a new baby (or in our case, babies) could cause regression in the child that was potty training.  With that said, we still haphazardly began his toilet training. It began the day that his diaper became unfastened and slid out the pant-leg of his shorts during my first trip to the grocery with him and his brothers....alone.  In a panic I quickly grabbed the diaper and shoved it into my purse (thanking God that it was still dry and not full of a so called "surprise".  I quickly finished my shopping and headed on our way to his daycare, diaper-free.  I was ecstatic that we had made the three mile trip accident free.  After that, he actually got the hang of it rather quickly and within 3 months was even sleeping without a diaper at night. 
    Peter and Pearson proved to present different challenges, even just between the two of them.  With Pete, it was just a matter of being patient.  When he decided he was ready, he was serious.  It took him only a matter of three weeks to be virtually accident free.  Now Pearson, he was going potty on the toilet for almost two whole months before Pete even acknowledged that there was this strange thing in the bathroom called a toilet.  
    The issue with Pearson was the actual sitting to do his "business".  We tried books, songs, games, stickers, you name it, we tried it.   Then I remembered the scene from the movie "Look Who's Talking" where the little boy was afraid of the toilet because he thought it was a monster.  So....after weeks of Pearson going potty in the toilet and then having temper tantrums so he could have a diaper for his "other business" I decided enough was enough and told him that he had to go poo in the toilet to scare the toilet monster away.  I called it the "Scare The Poo Out of Him" tactic.  I was at the end of my rope.  I was changing I don't know how many diapers a day (at that point it included little Cyrus) and I knew Pearson was capable!  Low and behold, IT WORKED!  Sutton would even cheer for Pearson as he sat on the toilet, "Poop on the monster!  Poop on the monster!"
    Now we come to Cyrus.  Like with Sutton, we didn't want to rush him because Sophia and Hadley just joined us and we didn't want to make things harder on him than need be.  So we thought, we'll just let him determine when he's ready.  Winter ended, spring came and went and next thing we knew, it was summer and  one month shy of his third birthday.  Cyrus was going to have his first trip to grandmas, all by himself.  Again, I didn't want to pressure him...then my mom called us one evening while he was staying with her.  Cyrus had been doing all his "business" just like a "big kid" and had been diaper free.
    That was easy, I thought...just send him to Grandma's!  Ya, right!  It's been almost a month and a half since his return from Grandma and Grandpas, and we have our good days and our not-so-good days.  There are the days that I am hopeful and let him romp around in his camo unders only to have at the end of the day an entire load of just little boy unders.  We'll get there though.  Monster in the toilet or not, one day, and one day soon I am sure, I will do the little 'potty dance' in excitement of having all of my boys potty trained.  I have heard that girls are easier, all I can do is cross my fingers.  Now if I can only get them to clean the bathrooms....

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Summer Smoothies!

  With having six children we are always trying to find something different, healthy and of course easy to fix that the kids will love.  With the exception of Thursdays, which are designated for muffins, I usually let the boys choose what they want for breakfast and every morning tends to be the same:  Cheerios.  I felt the need to mix things up a little today so this morning when I opened the fridge, I just started grabbing things.  Our boys love blueberries.  We will go through a 5lb. box in less than five days.  I also looked at the over-ripe bananas that I had.  I had one too many for a loaf of banana bread, so I snatched up one of those.  Again, with a family as large as ours, we often buy things in larger containers than that of the typical family.  I grabbed the large tub of yogurt that had just enough left in it for one person, but not worth starting a riot over because there wasn't enough for everyone.  The end product, a drinkable breakfast that everyone loved!

1/2 c. blueberries
1/2 c. strawberies
1 ripe banana
1/2 c. vanilla yogurt
1 tsp. honey
2 c. milk
Add all ingredients to blender and blend until banana is well chopped up. (about 30-45 seconds)

Good Night Moon, Good Night Stars, Good Night Mom with a Big Head.

     I'm always amused at Pearson's thought process.  Jeff and I have recently found ourselves talking about how Pearson manages to rationalize things in his own special way and how often times he comes out being right.   There was no exception tonight.
     As the boys took turns hoping in and out of the shower Pearson asked me, as he dried off, to wrap the towel around his head the way I do when I step out.  I tried and after a few failed attempts and his frustration growing he asked why it stays on my head that way and not on his.  I tried to come up with the simplest explanation possible.  I told him it was because I had so much more hair.  This answer was not good enough.  He asked, "Daddy doesn't have lots of hair, so why does it stay on his head?"  My next best explanation was because Jeff and I were bigger and our heads were bigger.   "So when I am bigger the towel will stay on my head?", he asked.  "Yes."  I replied, which seemed to finally be an adequate answer for him.
    Jump ahead about 45 minutes.  The boys are all lying in their beds and each are taking their turns for our bedtime prayers and saying what they are thankful to God for.  "Thank you for laughs, God.", Peter prayed.  Cyrus added his prayers of thanks for his new friend he made at the park today.  Finally, Pearson chimed in.
"Mom, when we go see God I pray that he will let you ride in the back seat because your head is big.  Goodnight.", and with that he rolled over to go to sleep.
    I sat there for a couple minutes wondering about what he just said.  Our family talks about Heaven quite a bit, especially since the passing of our dog, Patches at the end of last year.  So I thought, does he think we take a car to heaven?  And then of course, why does he think my head is so big it requires me to ride in the back of the car?   I'm sure there is some simple explanation that he has.  As for now, I will just have to focus on just how big my melon is and be thankful that I will at least be in the car that takes us to Heaven and not tied to the roof.

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Monday, July 26, 2010


Poop-tas-tro-phe (noun) [poop-tas-truh-fee]
*taken from the Toms Personal Family Dictionary

Derived from the English words poop and catastrophe.

1. A sudden and often violent explosion of poo from a small child's diaper where the poo is no longer contained in said diaper or clothing.

How to use it in a sentence:
"Sophia's pooptastrophe was so severe that her daddy laid out newspaper on the floor to change her, as there was shit everywhere!"

When does this usually occur?
Pooptastrophes often, but not always, occur when a parent is in a hurry for an appointment that they are already late for. They go to lift the child out of their bouncy seat, Bumbo or other said play seat only to find poop up to the child's shoulder blades and down to his or her knees. Such an occurrence typically results in the child becoming covered in poop on other areas of the body due to parents attempt to remove clothes when they should just be cut off and thrown in the trash, while after all, in the end they will end up in the trash anyways.
The end result is a cleanly bathed child, a parent with the poo smell in their nose for the remainder of the day (or until they, themselves have the time to take a shower, which for some may be more than one day) and a re-scheduled appointment for another day, leaving the possibility for this to occur again.
1. Montezuma's Revenge, shit-splosion

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Change of Plans

This morning I woke up thinking to myself, "Yeah! I'm going to have a laid back, do nothing day." I had managed to get all the laundry and dishes done yesterday so that I could finally have a Saturday not filled with that "stuff". My first plan was to make the boys pancakes and have a nice sit down breakfast. Ha Ha! Right.... they fortunately settled for cheerios and bananas since their sister Hadley was exercising her right as a baby to be fed immediately. No problem, cheerios it is.

As I was feeding Hadley and Jeff was getting ready to leave for an appointment I tried to think of something that I could do with the kids. Hmmm... a quick trip to the park. I could manage that by myself while we waited for Jeff to return.

Now, Jeff and I have learned that it is NEVER a good idea to announce plans until just shortly before we are to implement them. We do this because we have had too many incidents of a "change of plans" that are then followed by wailing meltdowns of disappointment and frustration. I felt safe though, this morning things were going good. The boys were fed, the girls were fed. All we had to do were slip on some shoes and head out. So, I made the announcement. The room was filled with screams of excitement and little bodies jumping up and down in anticipation.

Just as I had finished cleaning up the girls and helping Cyrus with his sandals, Jeff headed upstairs to grab his shoes and I headed to the garage to get the girls stroller. Suddenly I heard Jeff, with a sense of urgency in his voice, calling me upstairs. As a mom, when I hear someone scream the way he did, it seems as if a thousand horrific thoughts race through my mind within a millisecond.

As I ran from the kitchen to the stairs I looked to my left, all kids are accounted for, they're okay.
"Oh God. Something is horribly wrong with Jeff!", I thought to myself.
"Is he having a heart attack?" He's a little young, but it's not unheard of.
"Did he cut himself?" Why I thought that, I don't know. He was getting his shoes, they weren't glass slippers.
As I raced to the top of the stairs I saw him standing in the hall that leads to the boys rooms.

"I was just getting my shoes!", he yells. "What?!?!" I repeated. Next thing I know, I am yelling "What is it? WHAT IS IT?!?!" over and over and crying, my heart is now in my throat. Then he starts a nervous laugh. By now I was getting mad because he wouldn't answer me.
"There's a mouse." he calmly says with a smile, "I gotta go, but there's a mouse in the bathroom".
"How convenient.", I thought. I didn't know what to be mad about first. The fact that he was skipping off to his "massage" (aka chiropractor) and leaving me to deal with our fuzzy guest, or that for once I thought I was going to actually get to do what I had promised the kids, when I promised it and now I would have to disappoint them.

So, to make a long story short, after barricading the bathroom door and setting traps with peanut butter, we ended up waiting around for two hours for the Terminix guy to come, only for him to tell me, "Well, I can't catch it. Have you ever seen how fast those things move?". Yes, I have. That's why I called him. Isn't that his job? Apparently not so much.

No pancakes and now, no park. Fortunately, in all the excitement of having a furry "visitor", the boys forgot about the park and settled for a few runs and jumps through the sprinkler before lunch. There was no disappointment and no whining from the boys. I, however, am disappointed only in the fact that I have yet to hear a "snap", signaling that I can safely enter the barricaded bathroom with out running into Stuart Little.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Windsor Family Camp Out

It was another wonderful night for a family camp out at Windsor Lake! No thunderstorms this year though! This was our 3rd year attending this fun event and the first time that Sutton brought along a sibling. However, Cyrus I don't think was quite up to the entire event of staying the night in a tent so we cut out a little early to sleep comfortably in our own cozy beds. The feature presentation was "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs", a much improvement over last years "R.V." with Robin Williams, which though it was funny, I don't really think the kids enjoyed it as much. We arrived shortly after they started the BBQ so we quickly found our spot with chairs in tow to where we would be hanging out most of the evening. After grabbing some dinner we went over to the docks while some friends gave their first try to canoeing. I would've been more apt for us to take on a paddle boat, but did not trust Cyrus in a canoe. I'm certainly not the fastest duck on the water should he decide to stand or rock the boat. So while our friends were enjoying the scenery from the water we trekked over to the 5th Street Malt shop which has become another one of our traditions that we partake in during this special event. By the time we returned from the malt shop the movie was just getting underway. I have to say the city of Windsor has done a wonderful job once again in organizing this event! I only hope that there are more families that attend it in the future so they don't have to miss out on some good 'ole family time, outside, away from t.v.'s, computers and video games!

What We Can Handle...

As I meet people periodically and they learn about our family of "multiple multiples", I am often asked "How do you do it"? or am told "You must be one busy lady.", and of course my two favorites: " You must be crazy" and "You do know how that happens.....don't you?".
Yes, I know how that happens. Yes, some days I do feel like I may be a little crazy and yes, I am one busy lady, but what mom isn't? And as for "How do I do it?", well, again, how does any other mom do it? It's all about appreciating what God has given us and doing the best that we can with what He has given us. There is that saying "God only gives us what he knows we can handle." This came up last week when I had a wonderful visit from my childhood friend and her nine year old son who happens to be a special needs child.

I remember telling her with nonchalant-ness, before I was even a mother myself, that famous phrase "God only gives you what he knows you can handle". At the time I was grasping for something comforting to say to my best friend shortly after she found out that her child may have developmental disabilities. Humph....Easy for me to say....flash forward nine years later and her and I are sitting in my kitchen while I am getting lunch ready for the gang. I thought about that comment I made to her years ago. As we sat in the kitchen chatting there was a moment where I was sure her thoughts were the same as mine when we looked at each other, "How does she do it"? The truth is, God only knows. No, seriously.....I think only He knows. I sure as heck don't know where I get the energy to get up at 6 in the morning every day because one of my boys thinks that because the sun is shining means that "It's not sleep time anymore!" Just as sure as I think my friend finds herself wondering, "Just how do I keep my patience with people that don't understand?"

God doesn't only give us just enough for us that we can handle, but He also gives us what we can handle. My friend has the patience and understanding to tolerate people who don't understand and the little children who ask questions as to why her son is different. I don't think God gave me that kind of patience and understanding. He gave this mom, who happens to be an only child, the patience, at least on most days, to meet the needs of six amazingly beautiful children.... often times all at the same moment!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Teacher Appreciation Clipboard

So with Teacher Appreciation Week being, well, this week, I tried to come up with something special for my sons teacher that she could use but was also personalized an unique in itself. Though the idea has been around for years, this was my first attempt at making a personalized clipboard. It was actually rather simple and only took a total of about two hours. It's relatively cheap (about $5 in supplies in all).



Mod Podge

tooth pick

sponge brush

clear acrylic spray (I used glossy)

coordinating scrapbook paper

embellishments (ribbon, flowers, photos)

fine grade sand paper

The style of clipboard I used has the older style lip on it so I first unscrewed that to make it easier to apply the paper. (Be careful, it does have springs on it so it will pop out at you!) I then started out by deciding what I wanted on the back of the clipboard. Personalization came to mind and what better way than to put his teachers name on it.
I used the clipboard as the template and traced the shape of it onto the paper and cut out, deciding what paper went where along the way and cutting accordingly.
I then used my sponge brush and applied a very thin coat of Mod Podge to the clip board and gently placed the paper on it. The paper will bubble - just be patient and gently smooth out the bubbles. Work on only one side at a time. If you rub the bubbles too hard it can tear the paper. If you aren't sure it's best to be patient and just let it dry. You can always go back to the bubble after it dries and put a small slit in it with an exacto knife and place a little more Mod Podge on it to smooth it out.
After you have decorated the front and back with paper I then do a heavier coat of Mod Podge on top of all the paper, stickers or photos I have placed on it, to make sure the edges of the paper are sealed. Once that is dried, gently sand around the edges of the clipboard to smooth out any paper that may be hanging off the edge. You can use an exacto knife, but the sanding gives it a nice extra effect.
Next it is time to spray a thin layer of Acrylic Sealant on to it, I used glossy and it gave it a nice extra shine. At this point after the spray has dried I gently take a tooth pick and poke the holes through the paper where the screws had been to attach the clip. I then re-attached the clip and added some ribbon to it as well. You can paint the clip itself to coordinate with the clip but I thought that it would perhaps rub off too easily. I apologize that I don't have any photos showing the steps. Will have to remember that for next time!