Genuis Playroom Labels

I thought I’d share an easy idea for labels in the playroom, or anywhere really…closets, pantries, etc.

In the boys’ playroom we have these plastic bins. I love them! They’re a good size, durable and look nice. I wanted an easy way to change out the labels since the contents of the bins change as their interests change.

playroom_labels

It’s super easy and I like having the labels in place so the boys know where what toys go. Don’t get me wrong, picking up the toys can still be a battle at times, but it does help and reinforces that every toy has a specific home.

Playroom Label Supplies

Playroom Label Supplies

The Supplies:

  1. Horizontal ID Badge Holder – I ordered mine from Amazon in a pack of 25. It’s nice to have them on hand. I learned that reinforcing the loop part with clear packing tape keeps destructive boys from ripping them off :/
  2. Zip Ties – I found a whole package of small, thin ones at the Dollar Tree for a $1. They work perfect for this application. I just loop it through the badge holder onto the bin…done!
  3. Labels – I made mine in Photoshop. I just found images of the toys doing a Google search. You can easily make labels in Word as well.

The best part about this label system is that once it’s in place, you can just switch out the labels as needed. Before I was making labels, then laminating them and placing them on the bin. Creating one or two new labels and then laminating them and cutting them out was too time-consuming. This new system works much better and is super easy!

playroom_labels_upclose

Playroom Labels

 

Isaac is 10 Months Old

10 months, Isaac! In just two short months you’ll be 1! It’s really going by way too fast and I’d rather just keep you my little baby forever.

isaac_standing_10mths

Funny this motherhood gig…it’s exhausting and so time-consuming to nurse in those first early months and now that you’re almost 1, I cherish every nursing session as I know our time is numbered and I’ll miss these quiet, one-on-one moments together. You always grasp for my finger and your little chubby hand holds on tight. I love it!

You’ve been a handful this month, that’s for sure. Cruising along furniture, walking as you push chairs or anything with wheels. And there’s those sleepless nights. I think you’re teething, but it’s been ongoing for weeks now. I’m predicting some massive front teeth are coming soon. 

isaac_10mth_collage

You’re quite the mama’s boy these days, but I’ll take it :) No need to grow out of that too fast! You get super excited when I enter the room or you hear my voice. If you’re sitting you’ll just move your legs back and forth super fast and when I pick you up you’ll wrap your little arms tightly around my neck.

isaac_hugging_linda_10mths

Michael captured this photo of me and Isaac. So glad he did, it’s a favorite.

You’re still getting into everything. Now it’s every drawer, cabinet and the dishwasher. Oh, how you love the dishwasher. As soon as you hear me open it, you crawl over super fast. Pretty much everything around you is a choking hazard. You take the biggest toy or random object and shove it in your mouth. Yes, you’re keeping it exciting around here!

The brothers love making you laugh, you laugh so hard you topple over most times!

You still love being out and about; you’re usually a quiet observer and will end up falling asleep in your stroller. You’d rather nap in your carseat or stroller over your pen any day.

Milestones:

  • Waving
  • Drinking from a straw
  • Cruising

Likes:

  • Having Noah carry you around
  • Pushing toy cars around on the floor
  • Eating watermelon 

Dislikes:

  • Taking naps
  • When mama leaves

Happy 10 months, Isaac!

Happy 10 months, Isaac!

I’m going to cherish and enjoy every moment of these last 2 months before you turn the big O-N-E! Let the party planning commence!

Happy Divine Mercy

For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Jesus, I trust in you!

Jesus, I trust in you!

We weren’t able to get an Easter family photo due to Isaac being sick, but we managed one on Divine Mercy!

Jesus said to St. Faustina, “I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy…”

“Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy.”

St. Faustina, pray for us!

Isaac is 9 Months Old

Isaac you’re 9 months old today!  Crazy to think it’s been 9 months; officially the same number of months that you were in my womb. You’ve definitely added a new dimension of busy to our lives. You’re literally into EVERYTHING! Babbling up a storm, crawling and grabbing onto anything to stand. You love to stand, so I’m sure you’ll be walking in no time. I kind of miss when you would just sit there with toys all around you and not go anywhere. That was kind of peaceful :) Oh and you LOVE to eat…ANYTHING!

isaac_9mth_collage1

You’re still waking up 1-2 times a night. Usually around midnight or 1 and then again about 5…sigh! But I’ll take that over every 2-3 hours. Overall, you’re still our happy papoose; most smiley and chewing on something :) Even with a miserable cold, which I think you’re almost over…finally!

Isaac at his first hockey game. He enjoyed the lights, sounds and excitement!

Isaac at his first hockey game. He enjoyed the lights, sounds and excitement!

isaac_9mth_collage2

Milestones:

  • Weight: 19 lbs, 7 oz
  • Height: 27¾
  • Crawling like a pro
  • Pulling yourself up to stand
  • Loving table foods still – YoBaby yogurt, spaghetti, grapefruit

Likes:

  • Any and all paper
  • Music and dancing
  • Being out and about
  • Strolling in the stroller
  • Playing cheetah cub with your brothers – a wild game where your brothers pretend you’re their little cheetah cub and they go to great lengths to protect you from the predator aka big, bad daddy!
  • Loving up on your daddy
  • Favorite book is Llama Llama Hoppity-Hop
  • Favorite toy…a water bottle! You love chewing on them!
  • Mirrors
  • Being under tables, chairs, whatever you can find

Dislikes:

  • Baby food
  • Taking naps
  • When mama leaves
Happy 9 Months, Isaac!

Happy 9 Months, Isaac!

Easter 2015

Happy Easter! So much to celebrate for the Lord is risen!

Holy Week started off well enough. In my effort to have more fun, I decided on an impromptu trip with the boys mini golfing. It was a perfect Spring day and I didn’t tell the boys about any of the fun about to be had because as soon as they know these things, they’re bouncing off the walls like crazy people and I just want to crawl into a hole and never come out. So Mission Fun was underway. I had free tickets to mini golf + perfect spring weather. The boys had no idea until we parked and they exclaimed in utmost excitement, “MINI GOLF!!!” We got our clubs and each boy got their favorite colored golf ball, until the second hole and Noah lost his coveted green ball over the fence. He was upset and I thought he was going to melt down because, like his mom, he’s a little OCD about these things. I told him he could have a yellow golf ball or just not play, luckily he decided on the yellow. The boys were loving it and having a great time. I was on sensory overload, as this stuff just stresses me out a bit. Luckily it wasn’t too busy, but trying to get 3 overly excited boys to play mini golf in a somewhat orderly fashion is a lot to take on and yes I had my mom and sister with me. I know, I need to relax! But honestly, they had a great time and were well behaved, so I can’t complain.

minigolf_2015

Our cute scorekeepers!

Our cute scorekeepers!

minigolf_2015_2

After our round of golf we headed back inside where they force you to walk through the arcade. So of course the boys were sucked into the sounds and flashing lights of Arcadiam. I don’t like arcades! Again, I go crazy trying to make sure I can see all the boys, I don’t want to even think about all the germs on the machines and what sickness they’re going to have to endure and thus torture me with. So in all the excitement, I let them play a few games and earn a total of 27 tickets. The excitement of getting to pick from the most random pieces of junk encased in a glass cabinet is humorous, especially when 27 tickets have to get divided by 3. They walked away with some plastic fish and lizards and LOVED it. And by then I was dealing with a headache :)

Boys taking Grandma on with a game of air hockey!

Boys taking Grandma on with a game of air hockey!

It was also my sister’s birthday so we ended the evening having dinner at our favorite Japanese steakhouse. The boys had fun seeing some big fire and catching shrimp in their mouths.

Happy Birthday, Kim!

Happy Birthday, Kim!

Mission Fun was a success and I’m hoping to have more fun excursions with them. I’m forcing myself to do more fun things with them. I want to have fun and make these memories, but it is a lot of work. It’s not easy loading up four boys into carseats and going places, but I realize to have fun it doesn’t need to be overly complicated. We’re hoping to go to our local farmer’s market more often and stop by a nearby park and eat some of the fresh fruit we just picked up. Feeding ducks. Just changing up the scenery a bit. We’ll see how this plan goes.

Wednesday arrived with Eli having a cold, probably from the arcade :/ or maybe Bible school. And then on Thursday, Noah got it and then by Friday, Levi and Isaac had it. And Saturday, the cold was in full force with all 4 of them. Joy! Bubble, I want to live in a bubble! That is all!

On Holy Thursday, Michael attended Mass alone at St. Patrick’s while I tended to the sick children. He said there was so much to take in and see, that the boys would’ve really enjoyed it…so maybe next year! On Good Friday, Michael and I went to St. Patrick’s, while my parents and sister were brave enough to take on 4 sick children…they’re awesome like that. It was a beautiful Liturgy; how they unveiled the crucifix and had all the parishioners venerate the crucifix was stunning and so reverent. Wish I had pictures.

Saturday our subdivision had it’s annual Easter egg hunt. Even though they were all snot-nosed, they had a great time hunting eggs, hitting the piñata and eating cookies.

egg_hunt_2015

egg_hunt2_2015

egg_hunt_3_2015

Noah also lost his other front tooth. Eli had accidentally punched it out during a bout of wrestling…boys :) It was much needed, as his tooth was just dangling there for the past week.

We colored Easter eggs.

coloring_easter_eggs_2015

The boys were so excited for Easter. We’ve talked for weeks how it’s the biggest celebration in the Church. How Jesus came back from death and opened the gates of Heaven for us poor sinners. They had done a great job on their Lenten sacrifice of giving up chips and all sweets and desserts. I was surprised how well they did. They never complained or whined about it. Even during Bible school, Noah’s teacher had given out small donuts and Noah refused to eat it because of his Lenten sacrifice. I was shocked! They totally deserved a chocolate feast on Easter. So I made Chocolate Mint Puppy Chow and chocolate chip cookies, plus all the chocolate eggs and candy I knew that was coming their way.

Easter morning, Levi and Isaac were still really sick. We decided my mom would stay home them. I was disappointed, as this would be the first Easter we didn’t all go to Mass as a family. It was Isaac’s first Easter after all and he was miserable with a cold.

We decided a couple weeks ago that we’d attend the 11:30 Mass, instead of our normal 9:30 one. The one at 9:30 gets so busy and crowded that it just becomes overwhelming. 11:30 ended up being a good choice; much better to handle and we were easily able to find a parking spot. Plus, we didn’t have the mad rush of getting ready and out the door so early. So we enjoyed chocolate chip pancakes and the boys ate some large chocolate eggs. As we were getting ready, Levi got upset that he wasn’t going, so we made the decision to take him with us. Warmed my heart that he was so upset not to be able to go to Mass.

We settled into our pew taking in the gold and white fabric beautifully decorating the sanctuary and Easter lilies. I was having an internal debate with myself on whether to wear my veil as I did bring it with me and the boys oh so wanted me to put it on, but I decided not to…unfortunately. Mainly because I was worried about what others would think. Shame on me for caring what others would think. In hindsight, I know I should’ve worn it. As everywhere I looked, girls were dressed as if they were going out to the night clubs on a Saturday night versus attending Mass on the greatest day of our liturgical year!!! These women apparently didn’t care about offending others in their immodest attire or causing scandal for the men around them, yet I was too worried about wearing my veil! I could ramble on and on about this, as it still just infuriates me. It’s just unfortunate and sad and I pray that modesty becomes a part of society again. My mood was instantly sour, when I was supposed to be full of so much joy for,

Christus Surrexit, Alleluia! Vere Surrexit, Alleluia!
[Christ is risen , Alleluia! Truly risen, Alleluia!]

As they came around sprinkling the parishioners with holy water, Noah got upset as he apparently didn’t get any. My 6 year old literally started melting down in the pew. I tried telling him it was okay, we could get some after Mass…no go. I had to carry him out, dealing with a weeping child over holy water!!! I found an empty room to take him to and he just cried and cried. Finally, he settled down and we made it back just in time for Communion.

I honestly don’t know what to think of my Easter Mass experience. I still am not sure what God was trying to tell me, except that I should’ve worn my veil. Hindsight is everything.

So due to the bad behavior at church, the boys lost all their chocolate goodness. It was sad. We did enjoy a delicious Easter ham dinner with all the trimmings, however.

easter_desserts_2015

This photo pretty much sums up our Easter:

Easter Family Photo with Grandpa and Aunt Kim

Family Easter Photo with Grandpa and Aunt Kim

It’s the best we could get.

Isaac's First Easter - He loved playing with the plastic eggs. Not sure how we got so many smiley pics of him; he truly has been miserable with a cold :(

Isaac’s First Easter – He loved playing with the plastic eggs. Not sure how we got so many smiley pics of him; he truly has been miserable with a cold :(

The boys are still suffering from this cold that won’t die, especially Levi and Isaac; grateful that Michael and I have been spared so far.

Hoping everyone had a blessed Easter and continue blessings for the Easter Octave! Alleluia!

Chocolate Mint Puppy Chow

Chocolate Mint Puppy Chow

Chocolate Mint Puppy Chow

Chocolate Mint Puppy Chow
Ingredients:

  • 6 C. Rice Chex Cereal
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1½ C. chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips)
  • 7 pieces Andes Mint
  • 1½ C. powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • Additional Andes Mints to mix in, optional

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Pour cereal into a large bowl, preferably one with a lid.
  2. Unwrap and melt Andes Mints, chocolate chips and coconut oil over stove in a double boiler. Tip: I use a small saucepan filled with some water and place a glass bowl on top. I place the chocolates and oil in the bowl until melted. The coconut oil keeps the chocolate from clumping and gives it the perfect melty consistency for recipes like this and for dipping strawberries, etc.
  3. In a separate bowl combine powdered sugar and cocoa.
  4. Pour melted chocolate over cereal and gently fold until covered.
  5. If your bowl has a lid, add the powdered sugar/cocoa mix to the chocolatey cereal and shake it up. Otherwise, plus the chocolatey cereal into a large plastic bag add the powdered sugar/cocoa mix and shake until coated!
  6. Let cool and add additional chopped up Andes Mints to the puppy chow.
  7. Enjoy!

You could easily not add the Andes Mints if you’re not a mint fan. My boys love chocolate mint, so it was a hit with them.

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

Gluten-free Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

Gluten-free Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

This is one of our favorite snacks in our household. This makes a great snack or even an easy dessert, especially if it’s right out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream :)

We make ours with gluten-free flour. While we don’t have an allergy to gluten, we do try our best to eat healthy and cut down on our gluten intake. I do like finding recipes where I can easily substitute flour for gluten-free flour and it still have it taste delicious.

I found this recipe from The Pioneer Woman.


Strawberry Oatmeal Bars
Ingredients:

  • 1-3/4 stick Cold Butter, Cut Into Pieces
  • 1-1/2 cup All-purpose Flour, or gluten-free flour
  • 1-1/2 cup Oats (quick Or Regular)
  • 1 cup Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 jar (10 To 12 Ounce) Strawberry Preserves, or any other preserves you prefer

Preparation Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13 or 8 x 10 baking dish.

Mix together the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle half the mixture into the pan and pat lightly to pack it a little tight. Spoon preserves evenly over the surface, then use a dinner knife to carefully spread it around. Sprinkle the other half of the oat mixture over the top and pat lightly again.

Bake until light golden brown on top, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool in pan.

When cool, cut into squares and serve.