Thursday, February 2, 2012

Groundhog Day

As a stay-at-home-mom, I feel like some weeks are filled with five Groundhog Days: wake up (more specifically, get woken up earlier than I wish), drink coffee, put dishes away, take the dog out, fix breakfast, shower, more coffee, spend a few minutes with Matt and the kids, Matt heads to work, play time, Daria's am nap, focused time with Neven, morning activity (this IS usually different every day, but still feels the same in that its our "out-and-about" time), play time, lunch, play time, Daria's pm nap, juggle time with Neven while starting dinner, cook dinner, eat dinner, wash dishes, bathtime, PJs, story time, nurse Daria to sleep, {this is where I get 1-2 hours of "Me-Time"!... although more often than not I spend it hanging or folding laundry, or washing and folding diapers}, take the dog out, get ready for bed, go to sleep... 

The hardest part for me: At the end of the day, I'm right back where I started that morning, and sometimes wonder, what exactly did I accomplish today? Some days I find myself waiting for time to pass or for the end of the day, and at the same time wondering what exactly is it I'm waiting for? I do my best to slow down and just enjoy the present, but some days are harder than others. 

The highlight of this year's Groundhog Day is that it also happens to be Daria's first birthday. We figure the fact that she waited 12 days past when we were expecting her and for Groundhog Day to be born must prove that Matt and I still have some Pennsylvania left in us. (For those of you who don't know, Groundhog Day in Pennsylvania is a HUGE deal...) We have a pretty low-key day planned for her: a few gifts from us wrapped by Neven in newspaper, a playdate at a friend's house, and "cake" (blueberry-zucchini bread, maybe with some icing...). 
She likes to "smile" for the camera now...
Daria's cake (blueberry-zucchini bread) and Neven's decorated valentines (see how-to below!).

On another note, some activities: 

SALT DOUGH VALENTINES (found the idea here)
Supplied Needed: 1/2 c flour, 1/4 c salt, 1/4 c water, optional: food coloring; decorating supplies such as acrylic paint, markers, glitter... 
Mix flour, salt, water, and food coloring together in a bowl (you'll have to use your hands!). Roll out on a flat surface using a rolling pin, and use a cookie cutter or bowl/glass to cut out shapes. If you want to be able to hang the finished valentines, use a straw to make a small hole. Bake at 250 degrees for about 2 hours, or until thoroughly dry. Cool, then decorate! 
We used the leftover dough to make an ornament to hang in Neven's room - we added a drop of food coloring, then he stuck a few beads and buttons in it for decorations. 

ACTIVITY CALENDARS (from Preschool Express)
These ideas are great, particularly because they tend to only take a few minutes of time, and virtually no setup! Some examples: go outside and look for shadows, learn how to say "I love you" in another language, look for the number 9 in grocery store ads. I'm thinking of giving myself a personal challenge - seeing how many activities can I accomplish in February. Anyone with me?