Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Best Laid Plans!

By the time we actually go to Disneyland I think I might even be tired of hearing myself talk about it. know that saying, "It's all in the prepwork!" That's my motto right now. I know that taking a 1 week 4 day trip through 3 states with 4 kids ages 7, 6, 4 & 2 is pretty much certifiable! But I really believe that things will go better if I plan. Plus I'm super OCD about planning things anyway so in my mind it's a win-win! 

We have planned for this trip for well over a year. I've said it before we were supposed to go in September 2013, but decided we should save a bit more and it would also be nice if our youngest was walking. Even though we've saved we are still traveling on a budget. You might remember Michael and I completed Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University in May 2013...hence the reason we postponed to save more money. We do not have credit cards...NONE! We are going to only use money we actually already have. It's crazy and totally unamerican...I know! ;) 

As for our budget we already have all the hotels booked so I know what the cost for those will be. I've already paid off the Disney portion of the trip so that's taken care of. What we have to estimate is our gas and our food expenses. I have used the handy dandy fuel estimator thing on so I have an idea of how much we will spend. 

As for food this is the hard part. Thankfully every hotel we are staying at except the one in Disneyland has continental breakfast...score!!! We have already decided that we will eat dinner out and by out I mean not at a fast food restaurant if we can help it. Even if it's Panera Bread or Chipotle it's so much better than greasy fast food. I know on previous vacations we've taken by the time we get home I'm just dying for a good home cooked meal and I'm sure this will be no different, but I think our standards are a bit higher than in the past so that will help. 

So here's my minor dilemma...we are planning on making ourselves lunch everyday. Whether it's in the car, at a rest stop or a park. Here's how were' hoping the days will go. Wake up, eat breakfast and check out. Drive to a Wal-Mart, Fred Meyers or whatever the equivalent is in Oregon and California...I will go in and shop for our food and snacks for that day while Michael and the kids go to the gas station to fill up the van, clean the windshield and vacuum the van. Yes, I bought a small vacuum for the van exclusively for this trip....I told you OCD!!! 

We will have our collapsible cooler with us and I am going to pack Ziploc bags to put ice in from the hotel. I'm also planning on bring at least one good slicing knife, paper plates and plastic utensils....sorry dad! Here's where your help comes in....I need good on the go lunch ideas. I'm not talking PB&J or ham sandwiches. I'm talking thinking outside the box a little ideas. I have a couple days already covered, but we are gone for a week. For the 4 days in Disneyland we will be eating inside the park since we want to get the most out of our time. So here's what I have....

Peanut Butter & (Jelly, Nutella or Honey) Sandwiches, Grapes, and Chips. 
Pepperoni, Cheese and Ritz Crackers, Apples and Chips 
Tortilla Chips and Hummus (I doubt the kids will eat this so I'll make them another sandwich since we should have leftover bread) and Strawberries

I am thinking that one day we'll find a Costco and swing over to pick up a pizza and eat it at a park. The kids love Costco pizza!! 

Of course we will also have lots and lots of snacks as well. I even bought some things on clearance at my Fred Meyer's today that is specifically for the trip. Yogurt covered raisins, dried cherries and dried currants. Fun stuff that we don't normal buy, but the kids love! Other things we are going to have will be Beef Jerky, Chex Mix, Trail Mix, Drinkable Apple Sauces, Chocolate Chips, Snap Peas, Baby Carrots, Teddy Grahams, Poppycock and Chips Ahoy Cookies...those are my favorite and it is vacation right!  

I even saw an idea of making edible necklaces for the kids using cereal. I think that will be fun and entertaining for will also be a mess so I will be really thankful for that vacuum I bought! 

I also recently bought a drink cooler. It holds 2 gallons and we are planning on buy jugs of water at the store and using those cold brew tea bags to brew iced tea. We do add about 1/4 of a cup of sugar to 1 gallon, but it will still be way better than chugging down a bunch of soda! 

As for lunch in the park I think we are going to shy away from the kids meals. I've heard they are a bit of a rip off so we'll probably just order two adult meals and split them between the 6 of us....our kids aren't big eaters normally so I'm sure that in Disneyland there will be way more important things to do than sit down and eat. We of course will be partaking in snacks such as Corn Dogs and Ice Cream from the Gibson Girls so they won't starve I promise! I have heard that Flo's V8 Cafe has a super cute kids meal with a McQueen basket sort of thing so we will buy those for the kids....especially Zeke. He's gonna flip out!!! 

Wow...this turned into a much longer post than I meant it to be. All of that to just say I need help with lunch ideas! If you also have some insider tips on lunch at Disneyland let me know as well. Thanks!!!!! 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Car Seat Pillows!

Another project I had been wanting to do for our Disneyland trip was to make the kids pillows for the car. I spent quite a bit of time looking for just the right design on Pinterest and I finally came across one that I liked...not to complicated!  

I used one fat quarter and cut it into 6 pieces. Two long and 4 small. The long pieces are 22" x 6" and the small pieces are 5" x 5". See that small strip on the left...that's the only part that wasn't used....pretty awesome! 

The little pieces I folded in half right side facing each other, ironed them and stitched up the small sides. 

After that I turned them so the right sides were facing out and then ironed them again. 

Now for the piecing together. I placed one long piece right side facing up...put two of the smaller pieces together lining up the unsewn edges with the longer piece. I placed the smaller pieces in the closer to the middle, but still apart by about 4 inches. There was no method to it...just eyeball it.

Then take the other long piece with the right side facing down and place it on top. Pin it around leaving one edge open so you can turn it right side out and stuff it. 

Here it is sewed up. 

Then stitch Velcro onto the small straps....remember to do this BEFORE stuffing. I forgot to do it twice and it's such a pain to sew the Velcro on with this huge stuffed pillow getting in your way! 

Stuff....I really stuffed mine and made them quite firm....I want to make the kids have good support for their heads. Pin and stitch! 

I will not confirm nor deny that a certain horse from Ella's cowgirl party paid the ultimate price so I didn't have to go buy more stuffing! 

Here we are...Ella's, Jack's Owen's and Zeke's. Ella's fabric was some Stampin' Up fabric I had lying around. Jack picked out his puppy fabric with me at Joann's. Owen asked for Army fabric and I actually found some...I was shocked! I picked Zeke's puppy fabric out for him. I just love fabric! All the choices and colors! And fat quarters are so cheap. I used a 50% off coupon on Zeke's fabric so it cost $1.08! 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Fire Pit & First Carrot!

Owen is always hounding us for a fire in the backyard! During this particular week it was scorching hot out....a fire really! Michael made him wait one more day and thankfully the next night wasn't so hot. 

We got out camp chairs for the kids and found roasting sticks for marshmallows. 

Mama's cute baby boy! Or as I like to call Bowbee! Who knows where nicknames come from, but that is his! 

The boys kept adding wood to the fire trying to stretch the experience as long as they could. 

Big boy in his firetruck jammies! 

He is so stinking cute! 

While we were sitting out there I went over to the garden to check on the carrots. I could see the orange tops on a couple so I decided to pick one for Ella. They still need a bit more time to get sweeter, but she was super happy to eat the first carrot of the season. She literally ate it all the way to the green! 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Race Track!

Years ago we bought Owen a car racetrack on Craigslist. It was a little too old for him at the time, but now he and Jack can both handle it. The most annoying part was putting it up and having it be in the way so then we had to take it down. It was a big hassle since the boys would play with it for less time than it took to put it up! 

Enter Michael's awesome idea! 

He decided to use a piece of pile wood that we had laying around to make a retractable race track table. 

He hooked it up with a pulley to our second garage door opener that we don't use. In fact we can't use it since it doesn't have any springs, but for this it works! It's awesome to just over and push a button and see it come down! 

Kind of hard to see in this pictures, but it's halfway down. You can also see the car table under it. That's just to give it some stability. Michael is in the process of figuring out how he wasn't to mount something to the table that can be pulled down as legs. 

Taking a picture of his masterpiece! 

Now the race track can be set up all the time and also be put away when the boys are finished with it. Perfect solution! 

Now the only thing we need to do is buy a new car. The grey car works great, but the red car just flies off the track! The boys have been enjoying it though! 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Rearranging - Owen's Room AKA The Old Playroom!

This room has been Owen's room before, but then he got lonely and wanted to move back in with Jack and Zeke. Now that he is getting older and needs to stay up later we thought it was a good time to move him back. It also coincided with me not watching Logan anymore so she wouldn't be needing it for nap time. 

The first time Owen was in here he had to have his bed on the opposite basically would walk into the bed once you entered the room. I always thought it made the room feel really small though. This time around I was able to convince him that it should go on the wall by the window. It feels more open to me this way. 

At first the kitchen was still in his room, but then we got this awesome bookshelf from my friend Renee...thank we moved the kitchen to Jack and Zeke's room. I still left the table in his room though so he can play with his blocks and LEGOS. I'm thinking I might need to spray paint those chairs a different color though! 

After moving him in he informed me that he needed to tall dresser so he could put stuff up high on. At first I wasn't going to move one in and I was just going to leave all his clothes in Jack and Zeke's room, but then it just made sense to move everything over. Now all his clothes are in his dresser, nightstand and closet. 

Speaking of nightstand this is one of the nightstands I moved up from the dining room. As you can see my underwear clad boy is quite happy with his room! 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Park, Play, Pals & Pinatas!

About a week and a half ago we went to Les Gove park in Auburn. There was a bunch going on since it was a Wednesday - Music in the Park - Arts & Crafts - Free Lunch. 

After letting the kids play on the playground for a bit we went over and claimed our spot so we'd have a nice view of Recess Monkey....they were fun! 

Then we wandered over to a tent where the kids could decorate pinatas. 

They had markers and those foam stickers. 

The kids had fun being creative! 

Jack was sure that they had candy in them, but I let him know we would go to the store and get some. What's a pinata without candy!!! 

This slide was by far the  most popular place to be. 

The kids loved challenging themselves to climb up or run down. 

Zeke was pretty content to sit back and watch the older kids go crazy. We did try to go over and play at the sprinkler park, but it was way too busy! The kids were too intimidated by all the other kids. It was a bit overwhelming! So that's when I invited my friend Christina to come back to my house and hang out. She lives about 45 minutes south of us and she was already so close to our house I thought it might be fun. 

It was a great time! Her girls....Anna & Addison had so much fun with Ella. These girls were little fishes in the pool. There was the occasional complaint about splashing, but after a while even that simmered down and they just had a blast! 

The boys had fun playing games together for some of the time. Caleb loves our playroom so he was having fun playing with all the toys in there as well. It was so nice to get to be with my friend and it was a joy to see our kids playing together. Win - Win! 

The next day the kids and I went to Costco and we ended up getting a big bag of candy to fill the pinatas. We were going to go to Winco and get candy from the bulk section, but we were already Costco and the kids gave me $6 to go towards the candy so I just made up the difference and we didn't have to make another stop! 

When Daddy got home he hung up their pinatas and they got to smash them open! They ended up with quite a stash of candy. We let them have free rain on how and when they got to eat it. Of course Owen ate his pretty much right away, Ella ate most, but saved a few and Jack had candy for the longest amount of time. It's fun seeing the differences in their personalities! 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Night Owl!

 Since basically the beginning of summer we have let our kids bedtime fall back an hour. I'm not gonna lie at first I fought it. I was being selfish with my time. I love those 3 hours from 8 - 11pm. It's actually been nice though! Now we let the kids play until 8:15 or so and then we start Bible/Praise/Pray time. After that the kids get to play in their rooms until 9pm and then it's lights out. Now the kids actually go to sleep and we don't have to run upstairs a half dozen times getting more and more frustrated each time. 

This boy is such a night owl! He loves to play in his room and we let him longer than the others. He's usually asleep by 10pm. The other night he came down to show us his new creation. Let me just start be saying my kids do not play with LEGOS...they don't follow instructions and they don't create things using their imagination. Sorry kids you got that from Mom! 

After seeing The LEGO Movie on Tuesday Owen decided he needed to make a spaceship. If you've seen the movie you know the scene with the astronaut. It was Owen's favorite part and he laughed hysterically! It was fun to see him decide to make something...who knows maybe one day he'll be a Master Builder! ;)  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Animal Habitat!

I love how precious my Jackson's heart is...he loves so many things! While Owen and him were flipping over rocks he came across this little tiny snail and he just had to make a home for it. He named his snail Turbo...of course! He gathered all these twigs and leaves and then he found this perfect one for me to tape a leaf to it to make his snail a hammock. Turbo is still on our back deck....think he's been dead a while if not before Jack got him, but it was just so sweet of him! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Independence Day!

On the Fourth of July we drove down to my parents house to spend the weekend with them. It was a very quite fourth since my brother and SIL were at the ocean and our family friends that usually join us were out of town as well. 

My parents street is crazy awesome! They spend thousands of dollars on fireworks. So we set up a table and chairs and had a great time hanging out in the front yard playing cards, shooting off our own fireworks and watching theirs. 

Michael's birthday is on July 14th, but my parents weren't going to be able to celebrate with us so they let Michael open his birthday presents early. He got the Seahawks sign that's in his office area and this awesome Russell Wilson jersey! 

Mom and Dad had the house decorated so nice! 

We didn't buy the kids any fireworks at first, but then seeing everyone else having fun we thought they needed a little something. My Dad and I ran up to the Safeway parking lot and picked up Pop It's, Ground Blooms, Sparklers and Jumping Jacks. 

Even Zeke had fun throwing the Pop It's....he was really good at it too! 

Owen and Jack did great with the Sparklers, but they FREAKED Ella out! She wouldn't go near them and she just kept covering her eyes! 

After fireworks it was time to move to the backyard to enjoy smores! Ga-Ga actually had her very first smores...EVER! She didn't see what all the fuss was about. I agree.....I made mine with a normal chocolate bar when I normally spread Nutella on the graham crackers. It's way better that way! 

Marshmallow face! 

After smores we went to the front yard and watched over an hour of fireworks....I'm talking amazing, as good as the professional fireworks. I love Orting! 

The next day we spent lots of time outside. Zeke Man just LOVES this Huggle Pod that Ga-Ga bought. He could swing in there for quite a long time. 

Happy little boy! 

The slip and slide got put to good use! 

This was the first time I've seen Ella get really into playing on it. She's got much more into the water this summer. 

Both the boys are good at sliding on the inflatable belly boards. This time around they were trying to perfect using them as surf boards....didn't work so well though! 

When I got on the slip and slide Zeke finally came over to investigate. 

Then as he was walking around he learned why they called it a SLIP and slide! Thankfully he wasn't too upset about it. We were only going to stay one night, but then we ended up staying over on Saturday as well. It's hard to say no to the kids when they want to stay at Ga-Ga & Pa's. I hope they always feel that way!