Saturday, March 27, 2010

Back In Business

As many of you know over the last seven years of marriage I have thrown a paper out off and on. I choose to do a paperout because it is a good supplement to our income, but more importantly because it allows me to be home during the day with my girls. If I have to work, I would rather just work a few hours a night and be home by the time the girls wake up. As of this month the paper out thing is back on. So here our the big positives for me. 1.) less financial stress for Foote 2.) Major Audiobook time which is great since my goal this year is 52 books read or listened to by the end of the year. 3.) COUPONS! It is like a secret bonus to have an unlimited supply of coupons. On an average visit to the grocery store it cuts my bill from about $60.00 to about $35.00. But the best is when you get that really good FREE deal that happens a couple times a month. This week it is SNICKERS candy bars. This is good and bad while I love anything for free I definitely don't need the calories of 20 SNICKERS bars.....Oh well I can't pass up a free deal. So as of now I am back in business with the coupon shopping and loving it. It was killing me to pay full price.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Soccer Mom

It's official, I am now a soccer mom. Aly decided that she would like to play soccer, so I signed her up. Of course a few days later I get a call from the Parks and Recreation department asking for parents to help coach. I said that I would be happy to co-coach, but that I also had Brooklyn to watch, so that was all I could do. BIG MISTAKE! a few days later I get a call back to let me know that no one else is willing to coach, so either I step up and be coach or they will have to move kids around and make bigger teams. I am now coaching eight, four year old kids a couple times a week.

Let me give you a glimpse of how my first practice went...We get to the park and Aly informs me as we get out of the car. "Mom you go play soccer. I am going to play at the park." This is not a good sign of how practice is going to go. I have a team of eight, six boys and two girls. Chloe Andersen is the other girl on the team, she is also in Aly's preschool class. Her mom Valerie and I decided to have the girls join together.

I have to bring Brooklyn along because I don't have anyone to watch her. Every time I am not looking she'll pick up a ball and go throw it in the street to watch it roll down to the drainage ditch, then she'll run out into the street to catch it. All the other parents are trying to help watch Brooklyn, but she doesn't make it easy.

When I try to get Aly to dribble the ball she informs me "I don't really want to do anything with the ball so I am just going to practice running." (Just what a soccer coach wants to hear) I finally just have to ignore Aly completely because she refuses to do anything I ask. The other kids are doing pretty well. At one point we play a game called Treasure Island where all the kids have to go get all the balls and dribble them back to the island. It does not matter what ball they get as long as they get all the balls to the island. This game tends to be a problem for the kids that are really possessive of their own ball. Really, the two that are the most possessive are the two girls and by the end of the game they are both in tears, crying and crying and I can not comfort them no matter how hard I try. All the boys are looking at them like "what is the problem? Why do they keep crying?"......Then a few players on the team keep coming up to me every two minutes to ask if practice is over yet because they want to go play at the park......SIGH......Only two and a half months left.

Second practice was so much better minimal tears and the only child I wanted to strangle was my own. She spent the first thirty minutes of practice crying because she wanted to have my whistle because she is a "coach"...There was no reasoning with her. She even trailed along after me passing out orders to some of the other players. So we will see if I can survive being a soccer mom.

Monday, March 22, 2010

St. Patricks Day

The St. Patricks day race has been my traditional first race of the year and this year I set a new personal record. I'm not a fast runner, so I won't say what my time was, but it was a lot of fun. Aly even got in on the fun and completed her race, (this was Aly's third race).  She ran the whole race and despite all the kids crying and walking around her, she was determined to run all the way to the end of the race. I was so proud. After our races we were all able to relax and enjoy the St Patricks day parade. This was the girls first parade and they had a great time.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Google Ads

I am sure that many of you have noticed that I recently added some Google adds to my blog. Just bear with me and don't get annoyed. Google pays to advertise on a blog and I am currently experimenting to see if it is worth it. I figure even if I only make enough in a month to go out to dinner I am completely ok with that. Dinner on Google would be nice. I will keep you posted to let you know if it is worth it. Feel free to click on an occasional ad if you want to throw a little contribution into the date night fund.:) What changes will this mean to my blog? Not many. I will still use my blog primarily as a family journal, but there might be a few more review type blogs somewhere in between.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Celebrating Aly's Fourth Birthday

Our little Aly just turned four this week. Since coming home from one of her friends parties over four months ago she has told me on a daily basis about what she wanted to do at her birthday party. Aly told me that she wanted a cat and fox party. Cats and Foxes are her current favorite animals so I guess instead of choosing between them she figured that she would just have both. I decided a cat party was enough. My goal for this party was to keep it as cheap as possible, but still fun. So here is a sum up of Aly's fourth birthday party.
For the invitation I found some instructions online for an origami cat so I made some origami cats out of some colored paper we had on hand. I put the details for the party in the body of the cat. I have to admit I didn't use origami paper which is different colors on each side so my cat didn't turn out near as cute as the one pictured online. In fact mine were so ugly that I had to explain to everyone what they were. ...Oh well, that's how art projects usually go for me so no big surprise.
I decided we would have a small snack table with things that cats love and than cake and ice cream. I made some cute little strawberry mice, and I got down an old gold fish bowl and filled it with gold fish because cats and every little kid loves gold fish. I also made some jello jigglers and cut some of them in the shape of a fish skeletons.
For the decorations I decided to build on the cat theme and assign each child a color and famous cat for our games. There were actually a lot of cats to choose from here are the ones I chose to use: Mittens from disney's Bolt; Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland; Jerry from Tom and Jerry; Sylvester, Felix the cat, Hello Kitty, the Cat in the Hat, and Garfield. I have no artistic abilities so I went online and printed out a bunch of famous cats, then I cut them up and got them all to fit on about three sheets of paper. I went to kinkos and copied them onto transparencies and then spent some time at the church using the overhead projector and some butcher paper to trace the cats,and used markers and paints at home to color and paint the famous cats.
For our first game I bought some yarn from the craft store for a dollar a piece in every color. I unrolled the yarn all over the house and the idea was for the kids to follow their own color until it ended at a black paper bag and some mini M&Ms. This game went ok, the only problem was that I probably unrolled a little to much yarn, and with our limited space some of the yarn had overlapped and so when the kids tried to follow it they got all tangled up. I think the game would have gone a lot better if the yarn pieces had been smaller and I had tried to keep them all in seperate areas so they did not overlap and get tangled, but it still worked out ok and all the kids were excited to find their little treasure at the end.
I had them bring their little black sacks back to the little birthday table, and we made these little cat bags for them to use for the "mouse hunt". Actually the bags would not only be for the mouse hunt, but they were also their little gift bags to take home at the end of the day. I cut out the eyes, nose, and ear triangles ahead of time so that we just had to help the kids cut the top of their bags and then they could just glue the face on their bags and be done. So simple.
For the next game, we had a mouse hunt. I used s bunch of old easter eggs that my mom had on hand and picked out five of each color and made them into little mice. Each child would have the chance to find five mice the same color as the yarn they chased earlier. I used some of the yarn for tails, and cut the ears from some old felt scraps and had the little eyes left over from a preschool project earlier this year, so no cost... just time. I then stuffed each mouse with some candy. We hid the mice outside and even though it was a little cold the kids still had a good time finding them.
The kids than came in and took a few minutes to take stock of their hunting spoils and have some snacks from the snack table. we broke the homemade pinata that the kids made at preschool a few weeks ago when I taught about Mexico. All I did was keep the pinata they started add a few layers of papermache and than decorate it with crate paper, felt eyes, ears and nose and pipe cleaner whiskers.
For the cake I just used two rounds and found a pattern for making a cat online. I then handed it off to my sister-in-law Shanda to frost because she does it so much better than I do. It was so cute and Aly loved it.We had cake and ice cream and I let the kids lick their ice cream out of their bowl like little kitties if they wanted to. I have to admit I was grateful that most of them chose to use a spoon so we did not have too many sticky faces.Then it was time for Aly to open her gifts and let the kids have some time to just play together before parents came. Overall it was a lot of fun and Aly was completely satisfied with her birthday party except she kept asking where are the foxes?
To celebrate with Foote's family it has become tradition to go swimming and then go back to Grandma's house for pizza, cake and ice cream. Aly is a little fish and loves to swim. This year she even braved the diving board and jumped off a few times.
To celebrate with my family my mom put together a special red dinner for Aly since red is her favorite color. Aly was so excited to have her cousins come and celebrate with her.