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Saturday, April 30, 2011

15 in 30- Day 9

Today was a beautiful day in Lexington and perfect for being outside.  The activity for today was a golf clinic at Man o War Golf.  Every Saturday morning at 8:30am, 3-6 year olds can have a group golf lesson for $10.  Most of their lessons have previously started at age seven and we were patiently waiting for Rooster to be old enough.  Needless to say, we were so excited when we saw this.  Our little Bear had a chip on her shoulder so we opted to give Rooster and Daddy some one on one time.  Our little man has refused every sport we have tried with him so we were delighted when he loved this.  I highly recommnd this for your little golfer!

Of course he took a little break to check out a bug, gotta love boys!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Declutter update

So a few months ago we began a declutter journey together and I'm happy to say we are coming to an end soon.  I promise to have some pictures at the end.  Our play room is almost complete.  I have a wonderful crew of ladies from my playgroup coming in a few weeks to give it a fresh coat of paint.  The transformation has literally been life saving.  I started by pulling out every single toy and slowly returning some of them.  I was so happy that nobody whined or cried for any specific toy.  I will give more details on our specific storage solutions when we are finished.

Now we are doing a final declutter sweep of the whole house in preparation for a Mother's Day weekend garage sale.  This sale will be huge so if your in the area, please come by.  We are talking everything from toys, clothes, tools, household items, golf clubs, books, you name it, it is in there.  I'm finding that preparing for a garage sale is quite overwhelming as there is no where to put the stuff!  Anyway, I'm hoping that after all this decluttering is done, our household will be much more simple and orderly!  How is the decluttering going in your home?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

15 in 30- Day 8

Lexington, like many other areas, has been hit with continuous rain this month resulting in a great deal of flooding.  After being stuck inside all winter, my kiddos are in desperate need of outside time.  Last night my husband declared enough is enough!  Rain or shine, outside they go.  Well, indeed it was really raining and they loved every minute of it.  They headed to our park to investigate the flooding of a large drainage area.

I think they enjoyed the umbrella's most! 
So don't be afraid to embrace the rain, get the kids a little wet and have some fun!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

15 in 30- Day 7

Things are finally back to normal after our trip to Michigan. I can now tell you last weeks outside activity that I highly recommend. 

We made a simple bird feeder and the kids had a blast.  We started with an old water table we had laying in the backyard.  We filled half of it with water and half with bird seed. 

then we waited...

we baked some chocolate chip cookies to past the time

we spotted a bunny nearby

the kids decided the birds needed better food and they started digging for worms, adding bread crumbs and anything else they could find

Eventually, a bird came and we were so excited we scared it away before I could get a picture!  I did however find a squirrel enjoying the food...

Monday, April 25, 2011

7 years in the making!

On April 24, 2004 (yes, I love the date too), I married a wonderful man during a picture perfect wedding.  We exchanged our vows in a very small church in Rothbury, Michigan.  We then toured the small town of Whitehall/Montague with our very large bridal party which was certainly talked about for days by the locals.  Our reception topped it all though.  This occurred at a lovely lodge located on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. 

This past weekend, we returned to this lovely spot to celebrate our seven years.  The Michillenda Lodge is a simplistic yet romantic getaway secluded from the hussle and bussle of daily life.  This large piece of land was purchased a long time ago by three men.  One from Michigan, one from Indiana, and one from Illinois.  Part of their contract was that they had to build something worth more than $600 (alot of money back then), within four years.  So they each built a small cottage on this land and called it Michillenda because it contained Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois in it. 

When you arrive at the lodge, you travel down this romantic road.

Then you arrive to find this very large lodge surrounded by numerous small cabins.  Our reception occurred in the lodge and most, if not all, of our guests stayed in the surrounding buildings.  Of course we escaped to a nearby hotel!

The dance floor overlooked gorgeous Lake Michigan not far from this spot

Yes, the Beaner had to join us as there is no substitute for mamma these days.

Inside this quaint lodge, the sign really says it all

During our reception, there was an unexpected guest that was the life of the party. I was happy to locate this guest once again so my little Beaner could meet him.  It was love at first site

As you leave the lodge, there is a very odd tree.  I'll let you use your imagination to decide what it looks like

Although it wasn't the most romantic anniversary celebration, it was wonderful to walk back down memory lane at this beautiful lodge.  Having our little girl with us made us realize how much we have changed in these seven years and makes us look forward to each year to come.  Farewell Michillenda!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

15 in 30-Day 7

Well, Day 7 was actually an activity that occurred yesterday.  I have some wonderful pictures of it but you will have to patiently wait as we are heading out of town on a family trip.  I'm fairly certain my husband packed every possible cord in the house including the one to download my pictures.  At least that is my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

So the Murphy clan is heading on an Easter weekend adventure.  Tonight we leave warm Lexington and head to Indianapolis to spend the night at the Hyatt downtown.  No, we didn't strike it rich, we struck it on!   We bid $50 and they said ok.  Of course now I wish I had bid $40.  Any who, we are going to take the kids on a swimming adventure there before finishing the long drive to my in-laws.  They live on Lake Michigan.  Yes, it is absolutely beautiful with sleep inducing fresh air.  The price to pay is Michigan's unpredictable weather.  My little Peanut prepared herself with 6 bags including 5 pairs of shoes.  Needless to say, I had to scale that down for her.  I will be out of touch as technology doesn't happen at the lake.  I wanted to make sure you knew I wasn't forgetting you out there!  Happy Easter.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The silent killer!

Ok, my blog title is a bit dramatic but if it got you to read this then it worked! Now don't go away, I promise this is short but important.  Today my little Beaner reminded me of something very important that we all know but possibly often forget.  I was sitting next to her glancing at a magazine.  Ok, I was totally absorbed in an article.  Anyway, she was eating pears chopped up which she does on a weekly basis.  I glance over at her and she was choking.  No sound, no warning but visably choking.  Now I'm not going to get all dramatic and say I flung her out of her chair and saved her life because I didn't have a chance to.  She cleared it herself and then I heard the choking sound.  This reminded me though that actual choking is usually completely silent.  So even though I was sitting next to her, I didn't hear her choking.  Now most of the time our children clear it themselves and we freak out as they do thinking they will turn blue.  I just wanted to remind you that choking to the point of cutting off your air supply is often completely silent.  How many times have you passed your little one a cracker in the car to keep them happy?  I sure have.  Do you run to throw the clothes in the dryer while your little one happily snacks?  I have.  Whether your child is 1 or 16, anyone can choke so just remember to check on your little ones while they continue to explore the world of eating.  Bon Appetite!

15 in 30 outside activities- Day 6

Today looks beautiful with the threat of a storm so our plan is to go on one of our jungle walks.  My kids absolutely love this whereas I think it is a bit silly.  Of course who am I to decide what is fun for a 4 and 6 year old?  Anyway, it is Monday and this activity is all my sleep deprived brain can muster up.  All you do is go for a walk in your subdivision and create jungle creatures out of everything.  Car are usually bears and if they drive by too fast, you need to run to avoid getting eaten.  The trees can be anything from an Ostrich to giraffes.  You get the idea!  Try it and let me know what your kiddos think

Thursday, April 14, 2011

15 in 30 outside activities- Day 5

Our outside activity today was planting some vegetables for our square foot gardening.  I have to admit my kiddos were less than excited until they saw dirt.  This activity is so easy to do with kids and has so many lessons in it.  Start with some good soil. I use organic because I figure it is so cheap to grow my own I might as well.

I bought these at Meijer for a few dollars.  Seeds of change sent me 20 packs of seeds for shipping only.

I then summoned my troups but my plans were ambushed by worms.  Since when are they more interesting then mom?  They were camping out under the soil bag outside

I talked them into placing most of the worms in compost.  If you are grossed out by the compost bin, send a six year old.  They love that stuff

Have the kids fill your cups while you label sticks.  Trust me, you want to label.  We had mystery produce last summer

Tried to entertain the Beaner without using food because bribing with food will certainly lead to an eating disorder in her teen age years.  I quickly caved for food and figured I'll deal with the eating disorder later, I need produce now

Back to labeling.  If your anal like me, use a labeler

Have the kids poke a hole with their finger and drop a few seeds. You can always pluck some if too many grow

 Have kiddos pour a little water on each square. Or if they are ready to play with worms again, do it yourself

Then take a picture of their hard work and hope they grow! The produce that is, kids never stop growing!

Try not to forget the baby while you help them or she might find the worms. GROSS!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

15 in 30 outside activities- Day 4

Ok, today started as a completely miserable rainy and cold day with no power in our house for two hours.  I was bummed that we couldn't do anything outside so I decided we would have to cheat and go to the library.  I know, I know, you were looking for outside activities but the library is such an important place for my kids that I felt it worthy of a cheat. 

We love our local branch-Beaumont

Of course it stopped raining and the sun started to shine as soon as we got there...

Rooster can't walk past the insect books without picking one.  Today it was spiders because he knows I'm irrationally afraid of them and he is six.  When your six, your day is full of ways to either outwit your mom or scare her.

Bear patiently waits as she wants to head straight for the DVDs to see which one can she can obsess over for the next week

Rooster picks a bug DVD after informing me that the reptile one is boring because he already knows about reptiles. They think they know everything at six

Beaner can barely contain herself at this point and just wants to ruin some boys train tracks and wonder why they always cry when she joins the table

So 5 DVDs and 11 books later, it's off to gymnastics class! That's our fun spot for the day.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Peace- A mother's moment

Mother's around the world make numerous sacrifices every day for their children.  I am no exception.  Some do it better than others and some do it to a fault.  When I had my baby Beaner, I made the decision to "do it to a fault".  I think it goes hand in hand with attachment parenting.  I have what I consider a high need baby.  She wants to be cuddled and nursed to sleep by her mother and will accept no other.  She will wake up if I set her down.  This means no peace and quiet for mama!  So tonight, I'm a thief.  I'm stealing a moment.

Beaner was overtired from a short nap and fell asleep around 6:30.  I kindly excused myself from the noise of family time so she could "sleep in quiet".  So here I sat, in our bedroom, on our memory foam bed, propped up on pillows nursing my sleeping baby.  I grabbed my current book entitled "The Sweet Relief of Missing Children" by Sarah Braunstein.  I can't quite say I recommend it.  It's one of those books that constantly changes story lines and time but is still hard to put down at times.  Anyway, back to my peaceful moments.  Here I sat in my quiet room, child nursing in lala land and lost myself to the story.  Readers, you know what I mean.  Meanwhile, the sound outside was heavenly with the pitter patter of a light rainfall.  The occasional rumble of thunder.

It may not sound like much but quiet moments with just one child truly can be medicine for the soul.  How do you find peaceful moments during the chaos of raising children?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

15 in 30- Day 3

We took yesterday off from doing anything, because it was raining and we remodeled our pantry (future post).  So today, my kids were full of energy and it was a beautiful day here in Lexington.  After dinner, I announced that I had a small surprise and for them to follow me.  They followed me to a large field off our park.  I then produced a mini kite for each of them.  This thing can literally fit in your pocket.  Both of them loved just running with this mini kite trailing behind them.  So that was our event for the day.  Head over to Meijer and pick one up for just $1 (no, they didn't pay me to say that).  After a short while, our neighbors joined us with their two little girls who also took to flying the little kites.  The best part is my kiddos went to bed much easier!

Friday, April 8, 2011

15 things in 30 days to do outside

I decided to create a challenge for myself because I'm a competitive person.  I found myself feeling lazy through the winter and now with allergy season in full bloom.  I am challenging myself to find 15 things to do outside with my kiddos in 30 days.  I started this challenge yesterday and will continue to post our activities here.  Maybe this will give you some ideas when trying to find activities to keep your kids busy.  After all, busy kids are happy kids!

So yesterday we started our challenge with a visit to Harrods Hill park.  This is a fabulous park with two play structures.  One caters to older children and one to younger.  There is a long paved trail to walk on and several picnic areas with shelter.  My kids never get bored here and there seems to always be a nice group of people to socialize with.  I forgot the camera so you'll have to visit the park to see it for yourself.

Today, we walked down to our neighborhood park, Waverly with a mission in mind.  Mud play!  This park has so much to offer and one of my kids favorite areas is down a paved walk into a little valley type area.  Down there, they have discovered a very small stream that is currently full of mud.  I figured why not?  They covered themselves in mud, running and splashing.  Afterward, we returned home and I filled a baby pool outside so they could splash off the mud.  All together, a great  day for them and me!  
Stay tuned as we continue to explore Lexington in 30 days!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Beautiful Day!

After several days of cold weather, there is nothing more refreshing then a beautiful sunny day with a warm breeze.  We are lucky to live on a park and the park was full of neighbors today.  I just love seeing the kids play on the playground.

You'll notice a group of ladies just leisurely chatting at the table.

I love sister's swinging together.

A father and son chatting about worms.

and this random guy playing his guitar in the park.  We don't know who he is but his music is so pleasant as he strums along.

There are kids stepping onto their new bikes.

and my personal favorite is the delight on a baby's face as she discovers how wonderful life outdoors really is...

As Earth day approaches, I plan to enjoy our wonderful planet and do my part to make it even better.  My tip for you is try using a designated "snot" rag for your child's next cold rather than tissues.  They will feel special to have their own rag (we use old burp clothes) and you will save a few trees.  I'd love to hear your tips as well.