Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011!

Goodbye 2011, we are so glad that you are almost over! You were not very nice this year!
I couldn't bring myself to send Christmas cards or letters this year. It was such a stressful year for our family. Even typing up this blog post is hard.

January - Jayden was working on 1st grade work through Georgia Cyber Academy and doing great. Julianna turned 4! My sister Josie came to visit for a week with her adorable princess Marcella! We ended the end of the month with Julianna becoming extremely ill.

February- Yeah, I would rather not talk about it!

March - Finally checked Julianna out of the hospital and started her on the road to recovery! Jayden turned 6 and had a party at the house, dinosaur themed of course!

April - Enjoyed a few museums and worked on getting Julianna as healthy as we could. Not much happened.

May - Justin and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary! We also started the process of looking at wheel chairs for Julianna. Jayden finished off his Kindergarten school year with 1/2 of 1st grade complete!

June - Julianna attended a few days of ballet camp and seemed to have fun when she was feeling well. Jayden had a blast at Vacation Bible School where they had bounce houses, petting zoos and more. Julianna also attended a few days when she was feeling well.

July - Another hard month! Finally felt that Julianna was feeling well enough to take the 2 day drive to go see my Grandfather who wasn't doing well and losing a battle to cancer. He passed 2 days before we got there. The day we arrived we ended up rushing Julianna to the hospital and stayed in the ICU for a week with Pneumonia again. Juli was out for about 3 days that we got to visit with family in the area when my sister Zena's father-in-law passed suddenly. Wow, can we get a break yet? Thankfully when we got to Pittsburgh Justin flew up to drive us back home to Atlanta. We ended the visit with my mom coming up for a week!

August - Jayden's schooling started back up and his teacher assessed him showing he was above 1st grade. He loves reading and does so well with his school work! We ended the month by inviting a new member to our family! We adopted a 9 week old puppy! Her name is Tiana and she is a Boxer, Staffordshire mix. We are all in love with this bundle of energy!

September - Jayden started back up with Timothy Ministries School. Every Friday he takes Chemistry, Spanish, Animal Science and PE. He loved everything but Science. In the spring he plans to take Chemistry and PE only which were his favorite classes! Julianna was very disappointed that she couldn't attend. Since shes been so sick this past year we have to be careful of germs.

October - Enjoyed some great puppet shows at the center for puppetry arts. The kids had a blast trick or treating. Jayden was a dragon/dinosaur and Julianna was a puppy!

November - Another low key month, played at the park, visited some museums saw some puppet shows.

December - Jayden completed 1st grade and started his 2nd grade work! He is doing so great with school. Julianna is also spending some time at the table with us now working on some stuff in preperation of next year when she starts Kindergarten! Wow, time flies! I took my first trip ever without Julianna who will be 5 next month!!! Justin goes to Vegas every year for work so since the hotel was already taken care of for him and he had enough miles to get me a ticket I took a much needed mommy break! I enjoyed 3 nights of good food, long baths, sleeping through the night and adult time!!! I even read 3 books while I was away! I love my kids and we involve them in practically everything we do so this was amazing for me to get away. It's hard to get away with Julianna's medical issues. We were very lucky that Justin's mom was able to come and stay with the kids for me. Kids had a great Christmas this year! Got some great gifts and fun crafts and science kits this year too. With Julianna's medical issues we spent quite a bit of time at home so fun stuff to keep everyone happy is a must!

Well that's our year! We enjoyed visiting family and friends and all those that came to visit us. The kids had tons of fun visiting museums and puppet shows this past year. I hope we get to do lots of the same in 2012.

Welcome 2012, you better be amazing because i can't handle another 2011!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Homemade marshmallows!

These were so easy to make! The kids loved eating them too. I dusted them with powdered sugar instead of corn starch. Here is the link to make your own!

Christmas Videos!

Julianna opening an easy bake oven mix!

Christmas gift from Aunt Josie, Uncle Marc and cousin Marcella.

Julianna's gift from Aunt Zena, Uncle Matt, cousin Luke and cousin Miranda.
the video I took of Jayden opening their gift didn't turn out. But I will post some pictures of him doing the science experiments as we do them!

Soda Geyser

Turn your volume down before watching it! I didn't realize how good the mic on my new phone is!

Jayden got a soda and mentos geyser kit for Christmas! Lots of fun but it only lasted 5 seconds! I was surprised by how high it shot up. Jayden said he wants to get a bunch of them and have them all set up for his birthday party in March. He said each kid should get to pull a pin all at the same time. Sounds messy to me!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Day 2011!

We had a great Christmas this year! I tried hard to keep the gifts to a minimum and both kids were very happy with what they got, not one item was tossed aside this year nor was there anything that they wished they had gotten. Justin also picked out a family game as he usually does and got Wits and Wages family game. Lots of fun, Juli did better than Jayden did!

My attempt at getting a picture of the three of them Christmas morning.
Tiana got a pile of toys too. She loves to tear stuff apart! Here she is with her favorite toy!
Julianna gave Jayden homemade angry bird rocks for Christmas! He thought they were very cool. From us Jayden got battleship game, pokemon walkie talkies, an e-reader, charger kit for his DS, a pile of books, pj's and and some stocking stuffers.
Jayden gave Julianna homemade puffy paints for Christmas. She has painted a few pictures already. From us Julianna got littlest pet shop characters, food kits for her easy bake oven, a princess kitchen set that makes noise, dora domino's, a pile of books, pjs and stocking stuffers.
She is so small that she fits anywhere! I scored this awesome princess kitchen set at a consignment sale for only $12! It looks brand new and I didn't have to put it together!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Popcorn Rocks

Popcorn rocks were neat to watch but took a few weeks to grow. We got a bag of these special rocks at a Science/History museum. It took about 3 weeks in a bowl of vinegar to grow "popcorn". It was neat to watch the rocks fizz and bubble the first few days. The package said that the popcorn would harden with time but it was to soft after sitting for almost 5 weeks for the kids to keep.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Julianna spoils the dog!

There is so much love between Julianna and our puppy, Tiana. Julianna spoils her and has started feeding her by hand! There were a few days that the dog wouldn't even eat out of her bowl and would instead wait for Julianna to feed her! Whenever the dog is resting Juli feels the need to cuddle up to her. We have a very hyper dog, but thankfully she is very loving and has definitely settled into being part of the family.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bath bombs/fizz tablets

I found a simple recipe for fizzing bath soaps. I plan to put them in the kids stockings, they love LUSH bath bombs but they cost $7 a piece (per bath)!!!! These don't fizz as nicely but the kids will still have fun with them.

1/4 cup of finely crushed Epsom salt mixed with 1 cup of baking soda mixed together well, then spray with 1 tsp lemon juice, 1/4 cup water and any scent you like till it looks like damp sand that will stick together. A scent is not required, I added a little bit of vanilla. Then I let them dry over night. I had to let the molds dry for 2 days and still most of them fell apart. The cookie cutter ones turned out best.

I need to search for some other soaps and bath fizz products for the kids.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Angry bird rocks

Thanks to the Brassy Apple, I found a neat way to make an angry birds game for Jayden.

Julianna helped pick out all the supplies and painted the rocks, I finished off with extra coats of paint and their faces. Today she will wrap them for him. Still need to find a sling shot for them....

Julianna will be giving it to Jayden for Christmas.

It was surprisingly easy to make!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Homemade Rock Candy

Julianna and I mixed up some rock candy syrup this week. There is always some type of experiment or creation sitting on our kitchen counters!

It's 2-3 parts sugar to 1 part water. So 5 cups of water to 10-15 cups of sugar!
Julianna dipped the sticks in water and then rolled them in sugar which is supposed to be a starter for the rocks to form easier around the stick. I mixed the water and sugar in a pot on the stove just till completely dissolved. It was just about to boil but didn't. I let it cool for 10-15 minutes on the counter before pouring into the jars. Then Julianna put her favorite colors into the jars and mixed them in. Afterward we secured the sticks in the center of the jars with clothes pins.

I really hope that they turn out! It should take about a week to grow the rocks.

I'll let you know how it goes! Wish us luck.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My Grandfathers wallet

This year has been long and exhausting. So much has happened, most of it wasn't so good.

In July the kids and I drove up to Pennsylvania to visit my Grandparents. My Grandfather was losing to melanoma (skin cancer) and it didn't seem like their was much time left to see him. With Julianna's medical problems though it was tough to get up there. Our plan was to drive up on Saturday, July 9th with a stop half way which would get me to Pennsylvania on the evening of the 10th. Things were not good from the start. My Grandfather, Frank Jareski passed on Friday, July 8th, right before we left. I still feel bad that I didn't get there in time for one last hug and I love you!
Saturday night at the hotel Jayden spiked a fever, then when we got to my sister Zena's house Julianna was struggling to breathe. She ended up in ICU that night and stayed for the week. Poor Jayden was thrown into a family that he barely knew, but thankfully loved him. So my 6 year old son went to his first funereal to say good bye to a Grandpa with a family that he only met a handful of times but at least it was one that I spoke of regularly. While Jayden was with my sister and her family they stayed at our Grandparents house in North Jersey for the funereal. My Grandparents lived in that house all of my life so it is full of memories for me! To keep Jayden busy his older cousin Luke had him search for treasures. Some of the things that Jayden came home with seemed silly but as I cleaned his room last night I was flooded with emotions. Jayden took one of my Grandpa's old wallets that had pictures of me and my sisters from when we were little and the best part is that it still smells like him! I couldn't help holding it to my nose and thinking of all the wonderful times that I had with him. I really had amazing Grandparents.
As things settle down after the holidays I think I would like to make some type of memory book for each amazing and wonderful person that has been taken from our lives. I hope that my children will someday love these memories that I share with them as much as I loved creating them. Not a day passes that I don't think of the loved ones that are no longer here with us. I am thankful to have pieces in my home that make me think of many of them regularly.

If anyone has any great suggestions on making a nice book with memories and thoughts of my father, father-in-law, Grandfathers, Grandmothers... I'd love to hear them!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

For the Love of DOGS!

We spent some time dog sitting this fall. Woody was an older dog and took a beating from my kids that loved crawling on him and chasing him around. Julianna kicks the dogs out of their kennels and climbs in her self to play. ;) The kids now think that we need another dog! We are hoping that we just survive the holidays with this puppy!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Found a local butcher shop!

I've been looking around for something locally and haven't had much luck. I saw an advertisement in a local magazine and gave this place a try.
I only got ground beef to start and it was very good quality! They e-mail coupons out regularly with deals. I took advantage of one, $15 for 5 pounds of lean ground beef. It was 90%+ and less than half of the price that I pay at whole foods! I was impressed with the store and plan to start buying more of our meat here! Check it out if you get a chance, they also have a deli and have a small area to eat lunch. When I was there on a Saturday they were cooking all kinds of yummy meats outside! They are on Highway 92 between Trickum and Sandy Plains Roads.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Love at 6?

Jayden is completely head over heals for the girl next door. Shes in 4th grade and is very sweet. Jayden will stand at the foot of the driveway and call to her from 2 houses away and beg to see her every chance that he gets. He's informed us that they are going to get married some day.
So recently we've been talking about marriage in our home because Jayden insists that he is going to marry the neighbor girl. When he mentioned this the first time I told him that we don't always marry the first person that we fall in love with and that she may decide to go to a different college than him. Jayden started crying hysterically and telling me that I don't know what I am talking about and that he is going to marry her when they grow up. The only benefit of all this love talk is that she is a smart girl and enjoys school, so now I remind him that he has to do his best with his school work if he wants her to marry him! It's helped a bit!
I never even thought about love or marriage till I was beyond 5th grade! Any one else dealing with a love struck child at such a young age?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Yummy Caramel Apple dip

I found a tasty recipe for homemade caramel dip. We had too many apples in the house and I am hoping this will help them disappear quickly!

1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups of packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 stick of butter
pinch of salt

Throw everything in a pot, bring to boil and stir frequently so everything mixes well and it doesn't burn. Serve! It makes a large batch so I put the leftovers in the fridge. Not sure how well it will reheat but I will let you know tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Rudolph at the Center for Puppetry Arts! 11/2/11

The kids had a blast today watching another amazing performance at the Center for Puppetry Arts. Every show we've seen their has been fantastic. The kids had fun making a Rudolph shadow puppet afterward and got to play with them on a screen too. The girls in the picture with Juli behind the screen are all 4 years old, just spaced over 3 months. Also Julianna has been happy to use her new chair finally! It's been easier on both of us so far. We haven't gotten as many stares or questions about her appearance lately but then she's only been in it a few times. It's hard to decide exactly what to say to people when they comment on her appearance. I've really been trying to encourage her to speak loud and clear so people don't brush off as younger than she really is! St her to he informed me today that I need to let her make her chair move on her own instead of me using the handle to steer her. I guess we will have to find somewhere to practice. Our house is carpeted and full of steps anyway. We might have to visit the mall early one morning when it's not to busy to practice! I'll update more on her caringbridge page about her chair as soon as I have some free time that I'm not using for sleeping!

Trick or Treat!

The kids had a blast at our annual HOA's Halloween festival. They played games, ate some yummy food, went on a hayride, roasted marshmallows and then did some trunk or treating. The kids also went to a few houses on Halloween night. Juli enjoyed pretending to be a dog and Jayden was happy to be a dinosaur/dragon this year. It's getting harder to find the cute costumes for him in bigger sizes, He's officially hit the 4 foot mark! Not long before he's towering over me. Sad to see him growing up so fast! Glad he has such an amazing imagination still.

Puppy update! 10/18/11

This puppy just keeps growing! She has more than tripled her weight and we expect her to do that again over the winter months! We all love her even though she drives us crazy! As you can see in the picture with Julianna laying down, the Tiana likes to chew on everything! Especially wood, including the base boards throughout the house. We have the tummy troubles under control for now and she seems house broken with the exception of new visitors that love on her, then her bladder doesn't work so well! Hopefully the change in her food will make her tummy troubles disappear completely but we won't know for sure till we take her off of her meds.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Homemade Bath paints

I love finding awesome ideas on Pinterest! Today I made bath paint for the kids. It was so quick and easy, plus it used ingredients I already had in the house! I found the recipe on Meet the Dubiens blog.

4 tablespoons of corn starch
1 cup of clear bubble bath, kids body wash or shampoo. (I used Suave sensitive shampoo since it was what I had on hand)
food coloring
containers to store them in

After I had the colors made I used a Styrofoam (water proof) egg carton to give them each. This way we didn't use all of it at once and each got their own set of paints.

I only made one batch and divided it into 3 different containers the first time before adding the food coloring. The kids enjoyed it so much that I plan to make full cups of each color as soon as I get to the store to buy more soap!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Centennial Olympic Park and Imagine It Children's Museum 10/05/11

Met some friends downtown for a fun afternoon with the kids. We had lunch at CNN, walked through Centennial Olympic Park and then spent a few hours at Imagine It Children's Museum. The kids enjoyed the new exhibit about old fairy tales. The girls, Sydney, Aereal and Julianna (all 4 years old!) rode in Cinderellas Carriage, Jayden had fun hammering in the nails in the Shoemakers and the Elves area, Juli played in the castle from Beauty and the Beast, Jayden was surprised when he sat in the kings chair from Anasi and the Talking Melon and so many more cool fairy tales to explore.
Jayden's favorite area is the still the balls and Juli still loves the grocery cart and kitchen though!