Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Swimming in the BIG pool

We are SO thankful for cousins with an incredible pool in town! It has really helped us beat the heat this summer. It's fun to see the kids have so much fun in the water, too--Oliver is slowly gaining confidence, and it's all we can do to keep Lily in a life jacket! Gotta keep our eyes on that girl!

Lily's favorite thing is to J-U-M-P into the pool and "go underwater". (She gets upset if she DOESN'T go under.) It's hilarious how she jumps a HUGE jump and jams her feet out to get more distance. She's now started adding a spin so that she enters the water backwards or partially laying down. She calls it a 'belly flop'.

(*Oh, and YES she's wearing her swimsuit backwards. She dressed herself and refused to turn it around.)

Oliver is getting really good at going underwater and 'swimming'. He still really keeps to the shallow end where he can hold on...but is SO much better in the water than he was last year!

And here's a video of Lily jumping off the diving board. She'd jump, then swim (in her life jacket) to the ladder and get out. Wow, that girl is fearless!

Oh, just a few refreshing pictures I found...

I realized last week that 6 months prior to this month, I had been in Canada in sub-freezing temperatures. It's amazing that the human body can withstand temperatures of -25 degrees (plus arctic wind) AND temperatures of well over 100 degrees.

Anywho--these pictures brought me cool refreshment today...and I thought I'd share them with you.

Here's to cooler temperatures next week. (I saw a 97 in the forecast!)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Resurrecting "Theme Days"

Usually about mid-July I get some motivation to plan some theme days for my kids. It breaks up the monotony of the week and is a fun way to have friends over, too!

Today we had "Rainbow Day".

We started with a rainbow scavenger hunt (but I didn't take my camera out). We tried searching outside for things from each color of the rainbow...but given the state of our poor Kansas earth right now...we mainly got different hues of brown. Thank goodness for leftover fireworks littering the streets!!!

Next, we ate a rainbow snack. My friend Jill came up with a very colorful way to celebrate--rainbow-colored fruit! And the kids LOVED it.

After that, we made a rainbow craft using stiff felt and cut fabric pieces. The kids did really well with this and it was so fun to see their different personalities emerge.
Sophie's was very colorful and haphazard...

Oliver and Hannah's were EXACTLY like a rainbow should look...
And Lily liked glue. But all of them turned out to be SO colorful and pretty!

We included a science experiment (making a rainbow using water, a mirror and white paper) that didn't work REALLY well...but it was a good chance to talk about what might have worked better.

Finally--a dip in the pool and a yummy lunch! Theme days are SO fun and a great way to pass the summer days with a friend!

Friday, July 22, 2011

See anything different? {It's FINALLY here!!!}



(and a sneak-peek of our cupboards in progress: still need the doors to be put on, but we're waiting on getting hardware for the entire kitchen. What a BRIGHT change it is! I LOVE it!)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Nine Years

Nine years ago, Joel and I tied the knot. And since Joel is such a 'numbers' is "Our Marriage In Numbers":

In 9 short years, we've...

*run into 0 deer with our car
*had only 1 major fight that was started by corn
*birthed 2 (almost 3!) beautiful children
*lived in 3 houses/apartments
*remodeled 3 (almost 4) bathrooms
*driven 5 cars
*visited 6 countries, 3 provinces, and 22 states
*visited 7 baseball fields together
(although in my defense, my rapt attention during those games totals just under 1 hour.)
*watched "Dumb and Dumber" 9 times (probably)
*eaten 42 pounds of chicken wings
*washed 972 sinkloads of dishes

...which brings me to some very exciting news...we are installing a dishwasher tomorrow! Hip hip hooray! It's our 9-year anniversary present.

I'm very thankful for our years together--and hope for a large NUMBER more!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Re-thinking Food

No, I'm not giving it up. (what reason would I have to wake up in the morning?)

I'm rethinking how to cook for two kids who eat like there's no tomorrow. I can hardly keep up with these kids anymore!!! (I should pause and say that I am EXTREMELY grateful for two healthy kids who have bodies that work and have big non-picky appetites. REALLY.)

But what I WAS doing just isn't working anymore.

Let's start with a few observations:

1. Thank goodness for coupons! I am saving BIG money on cereal using coupons and finding sales. BUT, we still go through BOXES every week. (My kids eat 2-3 bowls a morning...I kid you not.)

2. Oliver now eats a full sandwich and a half for lunch. Every day. That's 3 pieces of bread JUST for him. Plus fruit, chips, yogurt/cottage cheese, and whatever else I can find. Yesterday I had to make 2 eggs for Oliver and Lily EACH because they were still hungry after the other food was gone.

3. Food is not getting cheaper.

So here's some things I've decided:
*I am going to (thanks to advice from a friend) start making breakfast 4 mornings a week. 3 mornings a week the kids can have their cereal and eat to their heart's content--but the other mornings I'll MAKE something--oatmeal (actually, we make this almost every day once it's cold outside), eggs, pancakes, waffles, omelets, etc. Because really--that stuff is pretty cheap compared to cereal.

*I need to start making a loaf of bread (or more!) each week in the bread machine. It's so easy and cheap--and that way, once it's a little less soft (after the first day), I can use it for french toast or something like that.

*Joel and I will be eating meals every other day. That should do the trick. :-)

Do you have any great ideas for how to make food go further? Or how to save MORE money at the store? Please do share...we're always open to ideas!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Before and After

Progress is happening at the Smith house.

We are moved in, settled, and finally finding time and energy to tackle those not-absolutely-crucial projects like renovating bathrooms, painting kitchen cupboards, and starting to think about decor. The heat is a good excuse to stay indoors and work, too!

Here are some before and after's of rooms in our house--some are at a later stage of 'done-ness' than others....but hey, it's something!

Living Room
This is one of my favorite rooms! The only thing we still really need to do is to make some nice heavy blinds to pull in front during hot sun (early morning/early evening) and move that darn stereo on top of the mantle downstairs...we've been saying we need to do that for months.

Dining Room
This room needs some decor work on the mantle, as those pictures will eventually join lots of black and white pics on the red wall of our stairway...but for now--it works! I'm also going to eventually add one of those nice big framed magnetic 'task boards' so we can hang calendars, job charts, pictures, etc. It will go on the wall when you first come in (but you can't see that wall here...)

This room is a work-in-progress. I've starting painting the cabinets this last week which brightens things up in a HUGE way! But the lighting needs work, and the trim needs another coat of paint. Along with new paint, we'll also replace all the hardware and hinges which should update things nicely.

Main-Floor Bathroom
After: (AND before!)
This bathroom is gross. We just couldn't get all that pesky wallpaper off, and had to dig into the wall to fix some plumbing issues upstairs--so the easiest way to fix it all is to just start over! That was Joel's project this weekend: to tear all the sheetrock out. Now, we'll re-sheetrock, tile, paint the vanity, and paint the vintage mirror that was in here. I'm thinking red. I'll post pictures of this one later!

Kids Bathroom
Thanks to my dad and Joel--this room is finished! New floor, toilet, sink, countertop, and a coat of new paint sure made it bright! We love it--and so do the kids!

Master Bathroom
(don't strain your eyes--this room is basically 'untouched')

Master Bedroom
After:We had to hang up a giant thick blanket over those beautiful new doors to the deck because the sun was so HOT in this room! It's helped tremendously--and now we can get dressed in our room! (I'll be adding blinds here, too!)

Office/Guest Room
In this room, we added carpet and raised that light way up (you can't see it here). We'll be replacing that, along with many other 'trendy' light fixtures in the house. We closed in a wall so that there's only one opening, and we plan to add french doors in the future.

Kid's Room
This was Oliver's room, and then, as of last week, became "their" room. We figured now was as good a time as any to transition Lily to a big-girl bed, and back into Oliver's room. So they share a space...and eventually, baby boy will sleep in the nursery.

Not much going on in here decor-wise. I have plans to add a white tree (below) above the crib, and make a curtain for the closet. I don't want to make it too boy-ish, because in a year or two, this will once again be Lily's room. Anything I do nursery-wise will be fairly neutral.
(I want to paint a white version of this tree above the crib--eventually, I can add pretty pink blossoms or something when Lily is in the room!)

Flooring made a HUGE difference here, as did the new banister. We need to replace the horribly outdated light fixture...but that will happen someday.

We are thrilled with our new home and are enjoying having projects to work on. The kids love the house, too--and we especially love our neighbors!!!