Oh My Gosh

My 7 year old daughter, Iris, was a dream child. Starting at a very early age she would sit very quietly and flip through her books. She never once colored on a book or tore them. She would play toys all by herself and when she was done she would put them away. She never threw a fit about taking naps or going to bed. When we moved her to the “big girl” bed at 2 years old she never once tried to get out of it. She ate healthy food without bribes and has always been eager to learn.

As she got older, she became the voice of reason in our house. Last year, I made green colored popcorn for her to bring to school for St. Patrick’s Day. I told her to tell her class it was “Leprechaun Poop.” She told me, “Mom, that really isn’t appropriate to tell children.” Don’t try to say the word “stupid” in our house, even if it’s in reference to the coffee pot because it is brewing to slow. You will get a tongue lashing from her. My husband has been on the receiving end of her scolding several times when he says unkind things to drivers on the road or to the television when his football game is not going the way he likes it.

The craziest thing she has ever done was go through a period in Kindergarten where she would write her name with 2 s’s. She said her Spanish name was pronounced “I-REES” and was spelled, “Iriss.” I have no idea where she came up with this and there was no convincing her that she had to write her name with only one “s.”

Yesterday, I found a TRUE sign of rebellion.

When Iris was little I found an old school desk on the side of the road in bad shape. I brought it home, painted it and gave it to her for her 3rd birthday.

Iris sits at her desk almost every night writing stories, poems and lists. She dreams, plays and plans at this desk. I personally think she is getting too big for it but she refuses to let it go. She loves her desk. It has been well used and is showing its years of love.

I’ve been throwing around the idea of repainting it for her until I noticed something written on it yesterday.

The defacing of the desk with “Oh my gosh”

Oh my gosh!

This is truly a sign of rebellion if I ever saw one. Not only did she deface her desk but the words themselves speak volumes that she is ready to kick that “good girl” image!! I just know tomorrow she will be asking me to buy her black hair dye and black lipstick. Perhaps she’ll want a tattoo also. I’m sure a nose piercing and skipping school is right around the corner from that. Of course, I’m anticipating the request of spray paint so she can go deface store fronts with “Anarchy Rules!”

When Iris got home from school, I asked her why she had wrote, “Oh my gosh” on her desk. She froze and her eyes got huge and full of worry. She shook her head and was certain she had no idea what I was talking about. She slithered off to her room very quietly.

I stood back and smiled. Perhaps we’re okay. I don’t think she’ll be asking for that hair dye any time soon and as for “Oh my gosh”….I kind of like it. I’m not going to repaint her desk. It’s been loved and shares some secrets with my daughter. It’s at her desk that she dreams, plays and plans!

Iris’s beloved desk

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Guest Blogger: 2 Year Old Cesar

Hi my name is Cesar! I’m two years old today! My mom normally does the writing on here but today I thought I would give the world a little insight into what it’s like to be the youngest kid in this family.

This is me writing this blog

First of all, I have an older sister, Iris, age 7 and an older brother, Bency age 5. They can be real pains in the butt sometimes. They rarely let me play with them. Something about I’m not old enough to play board games and that I always knock down or mess up the creations they build. Yet, for my birthday I got some really cool toys that they are dying to get their hands on. If they even look at my toys with any hint of enthusiasm I make a loud screech and mom comes and tells the big kids to get away from MY toys!

Me with my sister and brother

Being the youngest kid I get to experience things at a much younger age than my brother and sister did. For example when my siblings were 2 years old they could only use crayons to color with. Let me tell you….CRAYONS ARE FOR BABIES!!  I found these markers in my brother’s room and these are much better to color with. I now have located them in various other places in the house too and let me tell you….MARKERS ARE THE BOMB! You can color all over your body with them….try doing that with a crayon!

me having to color with crayons….blah

Thanks to an older sister I have been introduced to all kinds of great musical talent. Justin Bieber is my favorite. My mother is slightly irritated with me that I have no interest in learning Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. I guess this is what she tortured my older brother and sister with when they were 2 years old.

My older brother and sister are now both in school. It’s nice to have lots of time to myself with mom but the terrible thing is all the chores have fallen on me now. What my sister and brother did all summer is all up to me. Mom has me dusting, swiffering, cooking and vacuuming all the time now. It’s total crap. I actually wouldn’t mind the vacuuming so much if she gave me a REAL vacuum… but no….she has me using a toy vacuum. Who does she think she’s kidding?? I know I’m not actually picking up dirt. I’m just her pet monkey pushing around a little toy.

Me doing all of the housework

Listen up fellow 2 year olds; I have some great advice for you! Apparently there’s a rumor going around that once kids hit 2 years old, we start having tantrums and other irritating behaviors. I am not going to succumb to this stereotype. Tantrums and whining get you nowhere. I’ve seen my siblings whine. My mom is super tough. She just ignores them. If they continue, she sends them to their room. My brother and sister are such idiots.

Cookies are my life!

Here’s a secret for you. I have an ADDICTION. It’s to cookies. I don’t just want them….I NEED COOKIES! I have learned that whining and tantrums do not work. What you have to do is look really cute, smile and say, “Cookie Pweese!” More often than not this works. If you ask for more than one in an hour though; this tactic may not work. My mom becomes a total liar and says, “the cookies are all gone honey.” Seriously, who does she think she’s dealing with? I know she’s lying! Unfortunately calling her out on lying is not a good choice either, so I go with Plan B. This plan requires you to feign a headache. To feign a headache you simply put your hands up to your forehead and say “cooooookieeee” in a low moaning voice. Do NOT confuse this with whining. Whining has a high pitch to it. Keep your voice low and pathetic…almost like you’re dying. My mom falls for this every time! I think she can sympathize with headaches…she gets them all of the time when my brother and sister whine.

This is how to fake a headache

Well, I guess that’s all for today. Mom says I have to go take a “birthday” nap. Naps are so dumb. I have better things to do. I’ve been trying for the last year to figure out how to open up all of the doors. I’ve almost got it. I just need a little more time and I’ll be able to break FREE!!!

Someone stay on the look out for Mom….I’ve almost got it!!

I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about me in the future when my mom writes more on here. If she mentions anything about me having tantrums or bad behavior….Don’t believe it!!! Remember she’s a complete liar. I know we have a fully stocked cupboard of cookies! On that note, also give me the heads up if my mom mentions anything about taking me to “cookie rehab.” I think I’m skating on thin ice with this addiction. Every time she says we’re going to the grocery store, I get a sick feeling in my stomach that “grocery store” might actually be code for rehab facility. I think I better get this addiction thing under control before she does something drastic.

Happy 2nd Birthday to ME!!!!

Bye!!! See Ya!!! I Lub You!!!

Cesar

Good Bye!!

Tissue Paper Party Decorations

Here is a strange and NOT so interesting fact about myself….I have never bought tissue paper in my life! I bet I got your attention now! I bet you’re just dying to know where this is going!!!

Every present my family has ever received that has tissue paper surrounding it; I have immediately taken the tissue paper out and carefully folded it back up nicely and added it to my stash of “used” tissue paper.

I actually have no idea how much tissue paper is going for nowadays but I’m sure I have saved my family a few dollars by doing this!!

Tissue paper is not only good for using on presents but is a great way to wrap breakables when temporarily putting them away.

I have also begun making tissue paper decorations for parties! This past weekend we celebrated my youngest son’s 2nd birthday party and I made a few for the party we held at our house!

They are very simple to make, only take about 10 minutes per decoration and best of all they are FREE (if you are a tissue paper hoarder like me)!!!

This is not a new concept. My mom remembers making these for her high school prom! Though in the era that we live in where you can find everything readily made we tend to forget that we can make so many things on our own and save a few dollars doing it!

Directions on how to make Tissue Paper Party Decorations

  • Layer 9-10 sheets of tissue paper on top of each other. If they are all not the same size, it’s no big deal but does make things a little easier for the next step.
  • Begin to fold your stack of tissue paper accordion style in about 2 inch strips. Fold 2 inches one way and then turn to back side and fold 2 inches the other way. Do this all the way across until you have it all folded.
  • Pinch the middle with your fingers and secure with a twisty tie or some kind of bendable wire.
  • Now very carefully you start fanning out your pieces of tissue paper. Tissue paper is very fragile so gently do this step but if it rips a little, it’s not a big deal. You won’t notice it when it is all poofed out!!
  • The final step is just tying a string around the middle and hanging from your ceiling or desired location!

Tissue Paper Ball at Cesar’s birthday party

tissue paper decorations at Iris’s birthday party earlier this year

 

Birthday Cake Extravaganza!!!

This past weekend we celebrated Cesar’s 2nd birthday!

I have always made my kid’s birthday cakes. The only time I didn’t was on my daughter’s 1st birthday. This was my first time throwing a birthday party and I was nervous. I hadn’t made a birthday cake in years and I wasn’t sure I could do it. In my quest to have the “perfect” birthday for her I bought the cake. Since then I have realized that it’s not about being “perfect” and it’s just about celebrating their life and showing them you love them.

I realize you don’t have to make a cake to show them you love them but it’s something I really have grown to like doing and it’s really not that hard and it doesn’t have to be PERFECT for them to love it!!!

This year I made Cesar a Cookie Monster cake. He actually doesn’t care for Cookie Monster as much as he does actual COOKIES!!! He’s obsessed with them so we are always calling him Cookie Monster!

Cesar’s 2nd birthday cake….Cookie Monster

I thought as a special tribute to birthdays I would share my past birthday cakes that I have made. You will notice my kids have made some strange requests and though I tried my best they weren’t always the best!! None the less my kids LOVED them and still reminisce about all their past cakes!

Iris’s 2nd birthday cake and my first attempt at a homemade birthday cake in years….Elmo!!!

Iris’s 3rd birthday cake. It’s a strawberry cake decorated with strawberries!

Iris’s 4th birthday cake. Iris was obsessed with Betty Boop and insisted on this cake!

Iris’s 5th birthday cake. She began her obsession with unicorns this year!!!

Iris’s 6th birthday cake. This was a real simple one as I also had to make princess and pirate cupcakes for a birthday party she had with her classmates!

Iris’s 7th birthday cake. She found this Barbie candle and wanted it on her cake. This was also a very simple cake because I had both of my little boys helping me with it!!!!

Bency’s 1st birthday cake. A layer cake decorated with M&M’s and animal crackers!

Bency’s 2nd birthday cake! He had just learned how to roar like a lion!!!

Bency’s 3rd birthday cake. The year he began his love and curiosity of dinosaurs!

Bency’s 4th birthday cake. This is the year he began his obsession with zebras! Notice I spelled birthday wrong!!!! Doh!!!

Bency’s 5th birthday cake. Bency loves rainbows due to his love of art and all colors!!

The inside of Bency’s 5th birthday cake!

Cesar’s 1st birthday cupcakes!!! He was drawn to monkeys at an early age!!

I hope you enjoyed seeing the history of our birthday cakes!!! It is always fun to see what the kids are going to request and what I can come up with!!!

Birthday Decoration Head Shots

On Saturday we celebrated our youngest son, Cesar’s 2nd birthday! His actual birthday is this coming Thursday!

We had a great party at our house filled with our family and friends. Cesar doesn’t grasp the concept of birthdays yet but he had a blast and was in his element being surrounded by tons of people!

I think birthdays at this age are more for the parents than the kids anyway. It’s a time for us to reflect on the glorious memories that have been made this year and also a time to wipe our brow and say a blessing that we made it through another year of keeping this child safe!

Even though our family loves celebrating birthdays and throwing parties we don’t go “all out.” We keep things simple and keep to a low budget. We don’t do themes we just make things “festive.”

Here is one of the decorations I made for Cesar’s birthday that was simple to make and brought smiles to everyone’s face!

Our dining room wall filled with pictures of Cesar at various stages from the past two years!

To make this I picked some of my favorite photos and cropped and enlarged them to get only his face. I then cut out around his head. Next I took some scrapbook paper and drew and cut out triangles. Lastly I took a strip of tissue paper, scrunched it up and glued it to the bottom of the party hat triangle and then a little piece to the top of the triangle.

That’s it! All twelve heads took me about an hour to make!

A close up of one Cesar’s “heads”

Stay tuned this week for more glimpses into Cesar’s 2nd birthday bash!!!

What They Will Remember

As a small child I began my love of art and drawing.

My favorite and earliest memories were drawing with my mom each night at the kitchen table.

She would provide me with brown grocery store bags to color on.

Our medium of choice was chalk but crayons were fine too.

I remember sitting for hours each night just coloring with my mom. I don’t remember what she colored but I know my favorite was Strawberry Shortcake.

I know this because my mom kept all of my artwork. I have a huge container of my artwork ranging from ages of around 3 up to my teenage years.

When I look through it clouds of dust swirl from all of the chalk drawings.

Those were some of my happiest times as a child. Just sitting with my mom doing my favorite activity.

I try to keep this in mind when dealing with my own children.

It does not take expensive toys to make them love us or keep them entertained. It doesn’t require doing elaborate crafts or expensive outings.

They just want us to be with them; spending time and enjoying who they are. That is what they will remember.

pictures I did when I was around 4 years old

 

picture I did when I was around 4 years old. Strawberry Shortcake and Orange Blossom

Nose Hair

The other day, I was in the bathroom flossing my 5 year old, Bency’s teeth when he told me, “You know Mom, I have hair in my nose. I’ve seen it. I tipped my head back and there was hair in MY nose!”

I told Bency that everyone has hair in their nose. I explained that it is a precaution against germs and that the hair catches the germs on them so they can’t get in our body (keep in mind Bency has a cold right now, so we’ve been talking a lot about germs). I also told him that since the hair in our nose is covered with germs we must continually blow our nose into a tissue to get the germs out. We should never stick our finger up our nose and wipe it on something (i.e. the kitchen table) or eat it because we are spreading germs to everyone else and our self.

Bency asked, “What happens if all the hair falls out of your nose?”

I told him that would not happen and then my mind began to wander….

“Why do men get MORE and LONGER nose hair as they get older?? Do they have more germs to fight off? Do they have lower immune systems? This is seriously something I need to google.”

In the midst of my pondering Bency began tugging on my shirt and saying, “But Mom!!!! What if all of our nose hair falls out??? Just what if it does????

I told him that would not happen and then my mind began to wander again….

“I think I am really brilliant! Bency is taking this information really seriously! He’s still at the stage in his cold where his nose is still running but it will soon turn to the booger stage. I have been worried about this stage. I don’t want him to be the kid picking his nose in Kindergarten. I’ve told him nose picking is gross but…. “gross” does not turn boys off; this only fuels them more. I think this “germs in your nose thing” is really going to work and deter him from being the nose picker in class.”

Again, there’s a tug on my shirt and Bency asks once again, “Okay, maybe it doesn’t usually happen but what if one time…just ONE time…it happens…and all the hair falls out of my nose and ALL of the germs get sucked into my body???”

I replied with, “Well, I would get some glue and glue all your nose hair back in for you!” (Bency has a lot of strange fears and dwells on everything… so this was the best I could come up with to squelch his new nightmare.)

Bency was satisfied with this answer.

Bency at age 2 1/2 picking his nose…sorry for the poor photo quality…it’s probably better that way!

Is That An Elephant Crossing the Road?

One of the most valuable lessons I have learned from being a parent is that children have slow reaction times.

With this knowledge I never point anything out when we are driving in the car. I can scream hysterically, wave my hand in the proper direction of the exciting discovery I’ve just laid my eyes on and yet my kids never look quick enough.

We pass it or it is gone. This turns into begging to please turn around and with that usually not being a possibility, heartbreak.

Someone definitely forgot to pass this helpful tip along to me. Nowhere in that Motherhood Handbook that we all receive did it say anything about “suppressing our excitement about seeing animals crossing the road because your children will never see it”. Not only will they not see it but they will demand you stop the car and trudge through the woods in search of them. When you refuse to do this they will be emotionally hurt and be left with a scar caused from you withholding this wondrous sight.

Sometimes I forget my own wisdom on this matter. I see a deer crossing the road and though this is a common sight in Wisconsin….I still have to state the fact. I think this is mainly due to the fact that deer mean trouble. If you hit one of these you will more than likely be visiting a body shop or mechanic. So sometimes I think I blurt it out almost as a reminder to myself to slow down and be on the lookout. If there’s one, there is usually more. The other day I saw a mother deer and three babies crossing the road. I was in shock. Did she have triplets? Is that possible? Even though there was 4 deer to witness… the children missed them ALL.

Most little boys, including my son are fascinated with airplanes. As a nice gesture I would point them out to him whenever I saw one flying in the sky. He’s on his own now to spot them himself.

We’ve passed flocks of geese feeding in a field that covered a good 100 yards. I’ve slowed down and considering the massiveness of this sight, it should give the kids a good 20 seconds to capture this feast for the eyes. They miss it every time. Therefore forcing me to seal my lips and throw away the key to this vision I’ve just partaken in on all future sightings.

I love clouds. I fancy myself a professional cloud depicter. Within two seconds I can visibly make out a tiger with a fish in its mouth. It is SO apparent. Nobody could miss it or mistake it for anything else. By the time my kids even locate the cloud I am pointing to it turns into an ice cream cone. Then I have to start describing all over again that the rectangle on the bottom is the cone and the fluffy mound on top is the ice cream resting on the cone. It isn’t as cool…. and they wish they would have seen the tiger.

Now I realize the probability of an elephant crossing the road in Wisconsin is highly unlikely. But you can bet your bottom dollar that if I were to spot one, there is no way I’m pointing it out. The kids will never see it.

This is Iris when she was 2 years old…there’s an elephant right behind her….she has no clue!

Thank You

Today I am filled with delight and gratitude.

This blog that I started a little over 2 month ago has reached 10,000 views. I want to extend my sincere gratitude to everyone who has read my posts, commented and shared with their friends and family.

When I started this blog I thought I might connect with a few parents who I could laugh with, commiserate with and share tips together.

Instead I have found so much more. Motherhood touches almost every single person in the world either because they have a mother, are a mother, are watching their daughters be mothers or have taken care of a child.

Through this community of bloggers I have been connected to so many amazing people that inspire me, make me laugh, sympathize with me and make me think. I am in awe of so much talent!

At the age of 15 I began working as a telemarketer. I soon moved on to working at a car dealership answering phones, then to bookkeeping and finally a car salesperson. After that I helped run a retirement community for senior citizens. My last job was working for a large trucking company hiring semi-truck drivers. These were all very different jobs and I took them all very seriously and submersed myself in the different industries learning everything about them.

My current position as a mother is by far the hardest, most labor intensive and scariest! It does not come with a paycheck but is by far the most rewarding. I have put my all into being the best mom I can possibly be for my children. They deserve it and they are worth it. All children are valuable and by far the most fun people I’ve ever hung out with. I’m very thankful I have three to spend my days with.

Again, thank you for everyone who has stopped by to read my posts. I hope I have made you laugh, cry, think and create!

Motherhood is an art.

Sincerely,

Melissa

My deepest appreciation!

Packing the Lunches With Carrot Cake

A common task this time of year for many mothers is packing lunches for their school age children.

For me, this is one of those jobs that take constant creativity.

I’m not a fan of hot lunch for my kids due to that fact my kids aren’t HUGE eaters and the cost isn’t justifiable due to the amount they eat. Also, even though our school lunch system serves a variety of fruit and vegetables there are still plenty of non-healthy food items being served. When my kid’s small appetites are given the choice they will go for the non-healthy foods first and leave no room for the vegetables.

Therefore I pack my kid’s lunch every day and let them take hot lunch once a month on the day of their choice as a treat!

I really love my son…he LOVES peanut butter! My daughter HATES it! She has caused me to continuously scratch my head to come up with different meals for her that travel and keep well.

I will share some of the things I put in my kid’s lunches that they eat, love and travel well plus a recipe for a healthy treat!

  • Cheese Quesadillas (We have a quesadilla maker. The kids love these even at room temperature.)
  • Leftovers of chili, spaghetti and soup (I put these in their thermos and the kids say they are still warm by lunch time)
  • Oatmeal (I make this in the morning just using quick oats and microwaving for 1 minute. I then add a little brown sugar and craisins. This is a favorite!)
  • Crackers with cream cheese
  • Peanut butter  and Nutella (for my daughter) sandwiches. To switch this up a bit I put it on tortillas, buns and English muffins.
  • Plain yogurt mixed with the strawberry jam I made this spring (I only used apple juice for sweetener in making this jam)
  • Homemade granola…click here for my recipe
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables whenever on hand but I also keep frozen fruit and vegetables that are easily defrosted.
  • This last one might come as a surprise but…. my kid’s LOVE PRUNES so these are usually their dessert!

Last week, my mom brought me a recipe for a HEALTHY CARROT CAKE. The funny thing about this recipe is that it is on a recipe card in MY HANDWRITING! I’m guessing I was about 15 years old and went on a crusade to organize my mom’s recipes. She kept magazine cut-outs and slips of paper with recipes stuck in cookbooks so I went through and wrote them all on cards for her. Today, I still love organizing recipes and on the first day the kids went back to school this year I gathered all of my magazine cut-outs and slips of paper and wrote them all up in my recipe binder!

The great thing about this particular carrot cake is that it is so moist that it is actually like a bar so does not crumble and make a big mess plus it is so good that it does NOT need frosting! My kids will be getting this in their lunch this week as a special treat! Actually, I should say, I hope to put this in their lunch this week as my husband keeps getting little helpings! This is a true testament to this cake because I usually screw up homemade cakes and we end up serving them to the birds (who refuse to eat them as well!)

Healthy Carrot Cake

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Ingredients:

  • ¾ C. sugar
  • 1 C. grated carrot (I think we actually used closer to 2 cups because the kids got a little carried away…I think it might be better with the 2 cups!)
  • 1 C. raisins
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. cardamom (optional)
  • 1 ½ C. water
  • 3 Tbsp. butter

In small saucepan, combine the above to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour into mixing bowl and cool to lukewarm.

Next ingredients:

  • 2 C. flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 C. nuts (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp flax seed (optional)

Add the above ingredients to lukewarm mixture. Mix well.

Add mixture to 13×9 greased pan.

Bake for 25 minutes.

The kids busy peeling the carrots for their carrot cake

Bency busy grating the carrots!

Iris taking her turn at grating (I don’t own a food processor….we do everything the old-fashioned way…the kids love it!!!)

Carrot cake fresh out of the oven!