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I had originally planned something different for today. But alas, Monday has gotten the best of us and here we are. 

I really hold very little animosity toward Monday. I think that the day of the week comes with a bad rap. Let's hope I don't sound like an inspirational cat poster, but I think a lot of how your day is comes from what you make of it. Intentionally.

Our mornings start before the sun comes up. Pirate has to get up at 5AM to get ready for school! I usually make us both coffee. Then showers and breakfast. Packing her lunch. Putting her shoes on. Making sure she hasn't forgotten anything, and out the door we go. And a big fat yes, my 6 year old drinks coffee. Did I mention how early she gets up?

Usually, this is when I get to snuggle up with Tootsie Roll and go back to bed. However, this morning she had an appointment with her pediatrician. Wake the baby. Feed the baby. Dress the baby. Find my wallet. Rush through the gas station. Sign in at the doctor's office. And...... wait.

By the way, whoever invented these toys (below) for the little ones was a G E N I U S! Tootsie Roll thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Then again, she only discovered sliced bread a few days ago!
My Busy Town Wooden Activity Cube
Click HERE to see it on Amazon!

Her fun was cut short, though. Shots! Tears! Bandaids! This girl was having none of it. Her healthy little lungs made her point clear. It was barely after 9am, and Monday had been a beast!

Why did it have to stay that way? There's no rule saying that just because there are sticks in the road that you have to run off into the ditch? Life happens.

That's what this was. A stick. But we were going to make the best of the day we had been given. We were going to enjoy things we loved; not wallow. A happy bucket list for our Monday emerged.

I was in desperate need of caffeine. Desperate. Need. I ran through McDonald's and got myself a chocolate chip frappe. With an exaggerated ten pounds of sugar per ounce, I no longer worried that I'd fall asleep driving. Also, because chocolate. Chocolate. Chocolate. Chocolate.

We got home and binge watched the Wiggles. Kicking and screaming turn to bouncing and laughing. Say what you will about The Wiggles; they bring Tootsie Roll immense joy. And joy was what we were seizing!

You know you need to check the Wiggles out! 
Click here to find this on Amazon.
Tootsie Roll devoured some cereal and snacks, I had some lox and bagels. Because yum. And all was right about our Monday.

We had to regroup. We had to find the good. We had to be grateful. We had to make more coffee. And suddenly, our Monday was actually something to write home about.

Leave a comment below, what's your morale booster when the day goes awry? 

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It's Family Friday! Here is a list of five things you can do with your family today! Many of them are free, or at least inexpensive. But all of them have the potential to create some fun memories. 

1. Go to the park.

Grab a picnic blanket, pack a lunch & go to the park. It sounds like a cliché, but just getting outside and changing your environment is half the fun. Eat on the ground, play a game of I-spy, make an obstacle course and have the kids beat their best times, lay back and discover pictures in the clouds. The sky is the limit! Literally, if you're cloud watching!

2. Go bowling.

There’s nothing like the look on a kid's face the first time they knock a bunch of pins down!

3. Go rock hounding. 

This is a favorite in our home. Mr. Incredible and Pirate try and find unusual and special rocks, they bring their rocks home and identify them through books and online. Pirate loves to collect rocks in general. Mr. Incredible loves the science behind different rocks. They collect rocks from all over the place: along creeks, in the woods, Pirate even found a rock today from digging in the dirt alongside our driveway. Youtube has countless videos on the subject. Who knows, you may even stumble upon gold or kryptonite.

4. Go fishing.

It’s one of the great and quiet past times. A great way to enjoy being out in nature. Unless of course you’re scared of fish, like me. But that’s a whole different blog post! Be sure to check your local area for the rules. You may need a fishing license. In our area, anyone under 16 can fish without a fishing license.

5. A Sunday drive.

This may sound like a thing of the past, but it doesn’t have to be. Clear your day; load up in the car, and drive. No destination necessary, no rush. Just enjoy each other’s company and see where the road takes you. You may end up at a historical battlefield like we did. 

You can be a rebel and pick any day of the week. Of course, just make sure you have enough gas in the tank to get back home!

And with enough fun and excitement, the little ones might nap the entire way home. That's my list, what's on yours? Comment below with your favorite family activity or something on your family is excited to try!

** Note: Please, always be mindful where you go and what you do. Use good judgment regarding safety, local laws, and any other thing I haven't yet thought of.

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What a crazy title. 
I mean – what on Earth?! Am I right?

 We just spent a few days snowed in, but with the temperature now in the fifties and the rain we had yesterday, the snow is gone! Today the children went back to school for the first time since Thursday. Snowed in over the long weekend, we had an amazing amount of quality time as a family. Time we don’t usually get. So as much animosity as I bare toward the icy evils of snow itself, this winter weather has felt like more of a blessing than anything.  

As I have said before, Pirate loves few things more than a good craft and quality time. To her, quality time fills her little heart up and she feels loved. So while she was in school I made a mental list of a couple of her favorite things that we could do together while Tootsie Roll napped.

We started with crafts! Her face simply lights up when art is involved. She gets that from her daddy. I thought it would be fun, since our snow had melted, to make pictures with melted snowmen. She told me that her snowman traveled to Florida. He melted under a palm tree with coconuts. A happy way to go.

When I tell you that art is not my forte, I mean that with every fiber in my body … and then some. I am not an artist. I got an F- in art in 7th grade. I can provide references upon request.  I’m a writer. 

However, it’s not about perfection. Motherhood is never about being perfect, don’t ever think it is. This was about Pirate and spending time with her on her level, meeting her where she is and letting her enjoy being a kid.  A kid who likes things that I don’t. And that’s perfectly okay. So when she asked me why I wasn’t also making a snowman, I had to take a step back and pick up a crayon.

Pirate's snowman melting under a palm tree. It was a sunny day.
My snowman melted on a beach.
Our next adventure sent us to the kitchen. Hot Dog Pie was on the dinner menu. Over the summer, we created what soon became one of Pirate’s favorite meals. It is basically Jiffy cornbread mix with cut hot dogs mixed in. It sounds crazy, but it’s actually pretty good. Even Mr. Incredible has enjoyed it once or twice. Pirate adores it, and if you asked her to describe it she couldn’t… because she’d be too busy devouring it!

It’s a recipe so simple that Pirate made a cooking tutorial. If you are interested in seeing her teach you how to make it be sure to comment below and tell us!

We took it out of the oven and it smelled delicious. It looked delicious!

I started to transfer it onto a pretty plate to take a picture and it broke into pieces. It was a sad mess.

But again, none of this is about being perfect. Life is a mess. Motherhood is a mess. It’s supposed to be. When we’re obsessed with being perfect, we’re going to fail every time. And that's exhausting. 

Did the crumbly meal did bother Pirate? Ha! No. To her it was a delicious mess. In fact, our six year old girl ate 3/4 of this Hot Dog Pie with a two glasses of milk!

We finished our night playing with Tootsie Roll, she woke up in time to have some dinner (minus the hot dogs), an obstacle course in the living room, homework, stories and bed. Pirate told me that she was glad that was a good day with her favorite things! And that makes my heart full.

I hope you enjoyed our crazy adventure today. What do you do to spend time with the little people in your life? What crazy food does your family adore? 

Comment below, I’d love to hear from you. Remember to tell us if you want to see Pirate’s cooking tutorial!
I'm super psyched about this post! It's been in the works for about a week now, and has been a labor of love.  

Mr. Incredible works long hours, so family time has to be found and seized! Hopefully, this will be the first in a weekly series called Family Friday. True, I'm not posting this one on a Friday. But as it turns out, the timing turned out to be perfect as we are SNOWED IN!!

Without further ado, I give you: 
The Game of Clue: DIY STYLE!

Nothing says family time like sitting around the table, accusing each other of murder! Clue is a game that is older than tablets and apps. It comes from my childhood, but Mr. Incredible and Pirate had never played before.

Pirate loves few things more than a good craft, so I wanted to see if we could use the wonders of Google (and our printer) to make our own. Originally, I had planned on personalizing it by making family and friends into the suspects. But I thought I’d better keep it simple this time. As soon as Pirate heard that I had a project to do, she was all in!

After everything was printed, it took Pirate and me about thirty minutes to make. I’ll show you how we did it!

I do not own this game or any of these printable files, nor do I offer them on this site. I will, however, point you to where I found mine: Google.

I started this project by searching Google for a few things:
a)    Rules for Clue

Time to start!

#1. You will need:
     1)  Print outs of:
a.     Clue Rules
b.    Clue Board game (enlarged to fit on 4 pages)
c.     Suspect/weapon/room cards
d.    Miniature version of suspect/weapon cards to be used as token (not pictured)
e.     Detective notebook pages 
         2)    Two manila folders
         3)    Tape or glue (we used tape)
         4)    Scissors / paper cutter (if you just happen to have it!)
         5)    A six sided die to play.

#2. Tape the two manila folders together to make a large square. This will be what you assemble the board on.

#3 and #4. Cut off the excess white border from around of the play area. It will make assembly easier.

#5.  Assemble!  Put the board together. Line the edges of the paper with the seams of the manila folders. This will make it easier to fold up and put away. Tape, tape, tape! We used a lot of tape to attach the board to the folders. Check to make sure it folds up easily.

#6. Cut out the clue cards, tokens and detective notebook pages.

And… THAT’S IT!!! Let the fun begin!

Playing was a blast! The point of the game is pretty simple, collect clues and find who murdered the host. Pirate, six years old, caught on quickly and needed very little help. Playing against Mr. Incredible, though, was not so simple! As it turns out, he’s a tricky super sleuth!

Pirate can’t get enough of our game of Clue!  In fact, she’s asking to play it right now. I imagine we’ll be playing this until the snow subsides and school reopens.

I hope you enjoyed this as much as we have. 
Comment below, what is your favorite family game? 
What you do when it snows?

*Note: I let my child use the paper cutter because she has a lot of practice and adult supervision with it.  It’s sharp and potentially dangerous, make sure to use good judgment when deciding what supplies you use. Especially when kids are involved!

Pirate playing in the first sprinkling of snow.

At about 5:45 this morning, we got the call telling us school would be canceled due to inclement weather. Hooray! Hooray! Snow day! 

Morning came and morning went. Snow hadn't arrived yet. I decided that I needed to run to the store while I could. While there was still bread left on the aisle. Before milk was impossible to find. I needed to go before the apocalypse. Zombies. Snow. Whatever. I needed to go get the essentials. 

Fruit, milk, sugar and coffee creamer. I had what our house needed to survive the winter weather. Truth be told, I expected very little. My main reason for going to the store was to beat the rush. I made it outside to see the beginning of snow. 

Two things crossed my mind. First, "I want to take a picture, but the camera won't pick it up." And secondly, I remembered Loralei Gilmore and her love for winter's fluffy present. "I smell snow," she would say every year when it snowed. I wanted to post that as my status. I however don't share Loralei's love for the snow. Not at all. Mr. Incredible had to listen to me rant about it a few minutes ago! 

I do however, love the fun it offers to my children. 

We live in the south, and in our area snow happens a couple times per year and maybe an inch or few at a time. It's just enough to cancel school and plaster smiles on some little faces. So, that's enough for me to be excited about this snow day.

I got home to find that Pirate had already started collecting snow in a cup. "I need something to make it a slushy," she said. So I offered her some coffee. It came with a mixed review. "It's disgusting, but good. Mostly disgusting."
Pirate and her coffee snow slushy.

Tootsie Roll got her first taste of snow. Literally. She wasn't sure what exactly to make of it but she had no objections!

We played in the snow until I could no longer feel my toes. Until Pirate remembered that she is a warm blooded creature and not a snowman. Until Tootsie Roll had eaten her fill of snow. 

Now remember, snow is not my thing. But loving my family is. Pirate feels loved when she has our full attention. Quality time is so important to her. It's her love language and she will outright ask for time together. 

Right before Christmas, I came across a blog on Pinterest that had words I needed to read. While its focus was on marriage, the application goes so much further. It was about how to love somebody when you aren't necessarily feeling the love. As a parent, as a human being in any relationship, there are times when it's not easy to feel the love; just like there are times when you are so smothered by love it's crazy. It's life!

A quote from a book suddenly became an intentional goal for me. A resolution that I don't annually make this time of year.
“When an action doesn’t come naturally to you, it is a greater expression of love. Ultimately, comfort is not the issue. We are talking about love, and love is something you do for someone else, not something you do for yourself. Love is a choice.” — Gary Chapman (The 5 Love Languages)
Snowballs. Snow angels. Snow coffee slushies. Frozen toes. Chattering teeth. Time with my children and filling their little love tanks. That was just the beginning to our snow day!

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Cloth Diapers

As soon as we were expecting our oldest, I started obsessively looking into everything baby.
Of all the things I researched, cloth diapers were one of the few things I was most passionate about. And as soon as I started to tell people my intentions to wash and re-use my child's poop collector, I discovered that everybody had an opinion!

"You'll change your mind."
"I'm going to buy you some regular diapers anyway."
"Oh no, she's not going to use cloth diapers!"
"Let me tell you about my experience..."
"Good for you!" 
"Us, too! What kind do you use? Aren't they great?"

Now let me start by saying that I wasn't always on board with cloth diapers. My first thought was like so many others, I cringed and then thanked God for Pampers. Then one night I Googled cloth diapers, really I was looking for a train wreck. I was fully expecting that my search would only re-enforce my loyalty to modern convenience and further alienate me from the "cloth diapering freaks" of the world. I thought I was going to see children crying from being poked with dull safety pins.

Wow, cloth diapers were not what I expected! For starters, where were the safety pins? The plastic pants? What about the huge flat white pieces of cloth? Today's cloth diapers are almost as easy as disposables, you can snap them, velcro them, if you really want to you can pin them. You can get all different sizes, or one-size diapers and adjust them to fit your baby as they grow. And can we talk about the adorable patterns?! MIND. BLOWN.

I obsessed over cloth diapers. I lived on YouTube and learned everything I could. By the time we ordered our baby's fancy poop catchers, I felt like an expert. Cloth diapering felt very doable.

Our diapering journey officially began because we were some broke, young, soon-to-be parents and the cost of disposables adds up and never ends. I had read somewhere that, on average, it costs in the neighborhood of $2,000+ to diaper a child for the first 2-1/2 years. Or something crazy like that. And did I mention that we were young and broke? We ordered 25 diapers and spent a grand total of $217. We spent $15 on a kitchen-sized trash can to use as a diaper pail, and we were off and running! Well under $300 and we had diapered our daughterSuddenly, poopy diapers weren't so scary to wash!

There are, of course, other very good reasons to consider cloth. Maybe you love the environment. It is guessed that it can take a disposable diaper anywhere from 250-500 years to decompose in a landfill. Really think about that. The very first disposable diaper ever used, and oh so many more after that, are still stinkin' up the place. I got that fun fact here, thanks Google search.

 Assuredly as life happens, so do really massive poopies. I'd be amiss if I didn't add that we don't face anywhere near the amount of blowouts (aka - explosive poop! aka - poop up the baby's back! aka - time for a bath!) as we do with disposables.

Now every so often we use disposables. Life happens and, as much as I adore the cloth diapers, I'll be the first to remind myself that they're just really fancy poop catchers. It's all good. I'm a firm believer in doing what works for your situation and your family!

If you have any questions, comments, or would like to know about our diapering/wash routine, let me know!