Tuesday, January 29, 2013

2nd Grade Resolutions = Mommy Resolutions?

Judging from the numbers written and crossed out at the top of the page pictured, as well as the writing style (or lack thereof), it seems the goal for this assignment was to write 10 resolutions.

As I read all of these, I was so proud of the things my sweet girl wants to aim for this year.

But then...I got to the last one:

"This year I am not going to bother my mom when she is doing crafts."


  1. I'd just like to say that Jillian is not my child that tends to "bother" me when I'm doing crafts.  
  2. In my defense, I really and truly aim to just do "crafts" on my own time, either when the kids are at school, or after they've gone to bed.  Or when they're hanging out with my husband, as he is truly an amazing husband that understands my need to do stuff in my craft room.  It keeps me sane.  But moving on...
  3. I used quotes around "crafts" because it's actually rare that I do what I would consider "crafts."  I think what Jillian is actually referencing is "work," as I am lucky enough to stay pretty darn busy with Silly Jillybeans orders.  And again, she's typically not the child in the family that thinks they can wander freely into and out of my craft room, either to tell me something, explore, and/or pick up something...
Still, regardless of my defense, it's clear my daughter has, at one time or another, got the impression that she has bothered me while working.  Apparently enough to warrant a resolution.

OR - maybe...maaaaaaaybe, she knows that it's not something that' really an issue - even a moot point - and so, therefore, it would be a good resolution, and easily achievable!

Or maybe I'm reaching a bit.

In any case, this doesn't do me any favors in terms of the "Mommy Guilt" that is basically a way of life at this point.  It's there.  All the time.  In a variety of ways.  Y'all know what I'm talking about, right?

BUT!  The good news?  This resolution was LAST on a list of (a required?) 10 items.

I don't know about y'all, but in my experience, something that is written last on an assignment like this is often a struggle to have thought of...right?  RIGHT???

Nevertheless, I was called out by my sweet 2nd grader in her resolutions.  But this is good.  It's good that I know all of the goals she is striving for, as I want to make sure I do my best to facilitate and encourage those goals.  It's just that in terms of this one, particular resolution, the work will need to done more on my part:  to talk with her about whether she remember certain instances of when she felt she was "bothering" me; and, to be more cognizant of the time I spend "doing crafts" - both in terms of the amount of time and my choice of timing, as well as the attitude I put forth during those times, in an effort to minimize the possibility of inaccurate perceptions of Jillian being a bother.

So there ya go.  I just realized that what I have written above could have easily been titled:

"How to over-analyze your child's classroom writing assignment, and, subsequently, add to an already abundant amount of 'Mommy Guilt.'"

I'm going to consider this my cleansing of the guilt, move on, and focus on my daughter's awesome writing.  :)  
The End.
(well, the end of this particular instance of the mommy guilt cycle)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Dinnertime as a Family: Maybe not so hard to swallow...

Confession:  we have a hard time eating dinner as a family.  Pretty much because our kids (7 yo and almost 4 yo) have a terribly difficult time focusing on eating.  Instead, there are random moments of getting up from the table, being silly, complaining about whatever was made (this warrants an entirely separate post, addressing the fact that I have little incentive to cook the awesome meals I used to - and that I'd like to cook), etc.  Pretty much the usual, that most other families deal with (or at least, that's what I tell myself, so let's just go along with that assumption, k?).

So after dealing with these same type of things throughout the day, the last thing I want to do is eat my dinner while reffing or trying to keep kiddos focused.  As a result, my husband and I usually eat later, and at least one of us stays with them at dinner to keep them company, talk with them, keep them focused, break up the fights, and whatever else...

BUT, when I saw this idea from No Time for Flash Cards, inspired by the upcoming holiday of alllll things love, I thought, "Hey!  This could actually make dinner pleasant!!!"  What do y'all think?  Any other conversation questions that might be good to include that aren't shared in this post?

conversation hearts dinner time activity for families

What other types of things do y'all do to make dinner bearable, and - dare I say it - enjoyable???

Bring it on!

And, because I'm assuming I'm not the only one faced with this dilemma, I'm creating a new board on the Silly Jillybeans Pinterest page titled, "Dinnertime Techniques."

So if you've blogged about your technique or have found some helpful posts somewhere, please share in the comments section and I'll add it to the board with a link to your blog and/or tag you via a comment!!!  Let's get dinnertime more doable!!!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mermaid: Water : : Jillian: Books

A few weeks ago, we checked out a bunch of new books from the library.  And, it just so happens that the library we've gone to for so many years is also home to the 2012 recipient of Texas Librarian of the Year.

Ofilia has been a godsend over the years, as Jillian has always had a love for learning and an intense love of reading.  Having a librarian that can immediately address the needs of a child like this is a gift.  Jillian would often walk into the library and Ofilia and Dia (another FANTASTIC librarian) would ask what she wanted to learn about that day.  There were horses, the weather, rocks, birds, LOTS of things...however, Jillian's "Dinosaur Phase" lasted for over a year and a half.  I think we checked out close to every dino book...

But anyway, Ofilia has always done a great job gauging what might be a good selection for Jillian.  And it has gotten more difficult the last couple of years because Jillian's ability far exceeds what would be appropriate for her age.  

This last trip to the library, we checked out a few selections that Ofilia and Debbie worked together to select...their suggestions were a big hit, as evidenced below.  

The reason I'm putting dates on these books is simply so that I can look back (and so that Jillian can look back, too!) to know that she's always loved reading...so much so, that she breezes through books ranging from 200-300 pages.  Just effortlessly.  I've blogged about it before, on our family page (in fact, my constant amazement of Jillian's reading seems to be one of few things I actually sit down to document/write about.  I don't know why I'm still blown away by it - I mean, I guess I really shouldn't be surprised anymore, but I am.  I've NEVER been able to get through a couple pages of anything without nodding off...doesn't matter how much I enjoy it.  It's just weird.  And Jillian just doesn't stop.  I'm over the moon about it.  Even envious - but more in a way where I'm ecstatic about the fact that she is essentially opening up limitless possibilities in so many ways.  The true joy she has for reading is unreal.  

So here we go...

Jillian finished this book around Friday, January 3rd:

She loved it.  She talked about it and made me want to read it.  I started to read it.  Really enjoyed the first chapter and got a little into the second chapter...at which point, Jillian had asked me how much I had read.  I told her I finished the 1st chapter and was a little into the second.  Her response?  "Ummmm, Mommy?  The chapters aren't very long."  Ouch.  It wasn't that I didn't want to read it, or that I didn't find it super fun...I seriously start to fall asleep when I read.  Weird.  But anyway, this post isn't about me...

A day or two later, Jillian moved on to The Tail of Emily Windsnap.  School started back up on Tuesday.  She finished Emily Windsnap, as well as Philippa Fisher's Fairy Godsister by Saturday, January 12th:

At this point, I thought I'd see if our local library was set up for us to download books.  It is.  So I downloaded the next 3 books in the Emily Windsnap series...Jillian started the 2nd book in the series,
Emily Windsnap and the Monster from the Deep, on the way to school Monday morning, January 14th.

That night, the Nook said she was 79.8% done.  She finished it the next afternoon on the way home from school, and without my knowing, started reading the 3rd book in the series, Emily Windsnap and the Castle in the Mist.

Now it is Wednesday night.  She finished Castle in the Mist tonight and started the 4th book in the series, Emily Windsnap and the Siren's Secret, but shortly thereafter, it was "lights out" and "go to bed." :)

So if the pattern continues, I'm guessing she finishes Book 4 at least by the end of Friday.  Though really, NO RUSH.  Book 5 isn't released until a month from now (GASP!)!!!  I think that after reading these four substantial books over the last 11 days, I would welcome a little break, simply to digest everything.  But I'm betting we'll be making another trip to the library, or at the very least, downloading some new, fun reads...

Suffice it to say, though, this Emily Windsnap series is GOOD.  Not that I would know...but surely, a 7 year old that can't put the books down would be a good indicator, right?  Annnyway, stay tuned for more "can't-put-it-down" book suggestions for your young one! :))  I'm guessing that for us, it will be the next book in the Phillipa Fisher series ;)

One, last thing:  BIG shout out to author, Liz Kessler!!!!  Thank you for sharing your imagination and your love of a good story with my sweet girl.  You've addressed quite an insatiable appetite for reading, and in doing so, you've also given my daughter a different kind of pride - one in which she feels she has accomplished something "bigger" than other books and series have.  I'm sure there was a sense of pride in having finished other books and other series as well, but I sincerely appreciate the fact that your books have been able to keep Jillian engaged, while also quietly reassuring her that no book is too big!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Whooo Loves You?

I've decided that I might "borrow" a few posts from our family blog that is rarely updated, simply in an effort to make this one a bit more exciting as I continue the nonstop juggling act of being a Mommy, keeping the house remotely presentable, and working on Silly Jillybeans orders.

I have to say, I'm really, really happy about having blogged what I did (way back when)...it melts my heart to see my sweet girl so much younger and squeezable and just....oh.  It really does go by fast...

Anyway, since my "Not for the Dull..." blog has heavy emphasis on crafty things, I thought this Valentine's post from 2010 would be a good one to share, as we approach the big V-Day :)  Plus, I just love this card I made.  It's not one of my most complex, involved ones, but I love the colors and the whimsy.

Enjoy!!!  Make sure you read the RIDICULOUSLY EASY description of how I threw this card together.  Seriously.  Way.  Easy.  3 words:  Target Dollar Spot.
Jillian has been SUPER excited about Valentine's Day for a while now.  Every morning has been just one day closer...well tonight, Jillian got to open a little something from us...

Ugh.  If we could only break her of this habit.  Jillian puts her hands on her ears in response to the following things:  "loud" noises; Mommy and/or Daddy sternly explaining something (not all the time, though); Mommy and/or Daddy singing (also not all the time).  In the picture below, I was singing a Fresh Beats song...

Checking out the Mommy-made card:

A little Blueberry Muffin doll!  Fun!!!

She was pretty excited that this doll was "just like Lemon Meringue and Strawberry Shortcake...because you can take off their shirts (and switch them out)."

The card I made for Jillian :)  She instantly said (in reference to the inside of the card), "It's a PATTERN!  Red, purple, red, purple!"

Happy Valentine's Day, Jillian!  We LOVE you!!!!


1.  Buy the following supplies:  Cheap set of card-making supplies at Target Dollar Spot.  My set included 2 (maybe 4?) cards, some animal cutouts, buttons with adhesives on the backs, ribbon, a few stickers, and envelopes.  Also, one of those cheap packages of 2 to 4 small clear stamps and small ink pad.

Warning/Disclaimer:  Normally, I put my blinders on as I approach the general vicinity of The Dollar Spot in Target, pretty much in an effort to avoid spending absurd amounts of money (ironically enough).  Sometimes, it's because I have a child or two in tow, but either way, it's monetarily risky.  However, it seems I came out of the process relatively unscathed this time.  I'm giving you permission to go to this section for the purposes of Valentine card making ONLY.  But that's as far as my responsibility goes, people.  You're on your own after that.  Tell yourself you need to book it to the Starbucks across the store and get the helloutta the Dollar Spot AS SOON as you get the supplies!!!!

2.  Assuming you found a card kit in which the card is textured, use a little sander (something like this if you're fancy; you can also use a big ol' nail file or some sanding paper) to sand away the top layer of color from the card (I wanted to do that to this one because it started out just looking way shiny and one-dimensional...despite the raised dot texture).

3.  Use funky handwriting to write on the back of any small scrap of paper you have within a foot radius of where you're sitting.  Fold and tear carefully to give a rugged/torn look; use scissors if you're going for a clean look.

4.  Use tape runner or glue dots to stick one of the packaged cutouts (in my case, an owl) to the card; then your little paper with text, then the button with adhesive.

5.  Stamp a fun shape on the inside of the card.  I did hearts.  Raid your kids' crayon/colored pencil supply. Do a cute-messy coloring of the inside of the stamps.  Write something fun in your funky handwriting.

6.  You're done!  Put it in the envelope (maybe include some of the stickers that came with your card pack, too - my personal experience is that stickers are an instant WIN!), use the funky handwriting to write their name on it, and YOU'RE DONE!!!!!  Easy.Peasy.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Sooooo, it's kinda been a while since I last posted on my blog.  Yeah..."a while" seems a bit of an understatement.  But, 2012 was an "ohmygodwhatarewedoingthisiscrazystressful" kind of year.

We put our house on the market in May (or June?), sold in August, closed on it a couple days after the kids started at NEW schools.  Yep, there's a lot of change goin' on in the last sentence.  Throw in the fact that Richard's work was busier than ever, we had to find a home to rent (because we didn't know exactly) where we wanted to be in this new area; just that we wanted to be somewhere different; and then move, adjust to new surroundings, realize that our thought of wanting something smaller may have been a mistake, help the kids adjust to new surroundings, and deal with our own emotional issues regarding this move.  And about this last point:  I don't think that Richard or I really understood how emotionally attached we were to our previous home.  It would make sense, though - we built that house, moved in when Jillian was a year and a half, had Everett when we were living there, etc.  True, it's just a house, but it became a home to our family.

Don't get me wrong - we don't regret moving - BUT, it wasn't easy.  At all.  I had a craft room with french doors, for God's sake!  We're constantly challenging ourselves in this new house with almost daily "Tim Gunn 'Make It Work' Moments."  Case in point:  the new craft room is theoretically a dining room.  Hubby found some awesome window panels to create a more walled-off effect to the room and that has really helped.  And, it's right off the teeny-tiny kitchen, so that's kinda nice.  

Annnnnnyway.  Perhaps I'll supply more, random detail on the new living space if I keep up with the blog as well as I hope to...

But, suffice it to say, I've labeled this recent period in our lives as having been marked with a BIG "STOMP."  

In light of that, I created this birthday card for Richard, last week.  I may or may not have also been heavily influenced by my children's constant noise, etc. when I was trying to think of what I might want to make him...if you're a follower of my Facebook page, you'll remember me mentioning this.  ;)

So there ya have it.  Who knows if all of what I wrote makes sense, but I actually worked on the content, phrasing, and formatting for a verrrrrry long time, much longer than the actual card-making part of it.  He got his birthday card 2 days after the actual event.  Ooops.  

What d'y'all think?  What types of things would you like to read about on my blog?  I'm probably going to do my best to document my various creations, and I'm certain this will inevitably include tales from my unique version of Mommyhood...now also known as "stomps."  

So bring on the STOMPS and bring on the feedback, y'all!  I love it!

With hugs and creative vibes sent your way,
me ;)