Humungasaur by Dante

I have no idea how to spell that, but this is an alien from Ben 10 and Dante drew quite the scene around him! I love that he?s started to use eyebrows on his people, though arms are still optional.

Pinterest Love: Calm Down Jar

I?m officially in love with Pinterest. I know it can be a total time suck, BUT, if used correctly, it?s also really awesome for homeschooling and finding cool ideas to keep kids busy. Around the internet, I?ve noticed people saying that everyone pins, but no one actually DOES the stuff they pin. Around our house, however, we do a lot from Pinterest, so I thought I?d start blogging about some of the good ideas. This calm down jar is one of the things we?ve done.

The calm down jar is pretty simple in concept, but there are quite a few recipes that people have done. The most basic recipe is water and glitter, with some food coloring. Lots of people have mentioned that the glitter calms down too fast, so some recipes call for glycerin, others say to use glitter glue. I didn?t have any of that on hand, sooooo . . .

I used sugar water. I mixed sugar into warm water to dissolve it and thicken the water a bit. Then I dumped in blue food coloring and silver glitter, put the lid on and Presto! Glittery calm down jar.

Now the big question, does it work?

Yes, yes it does.

See, when someone gets all upset about something or has to have a time out, you just shake that jar up and they watch it until it calms down. As do they.

We tested it on Dorian the other day when he had a bit of a freak out at his brother and hit him. He got a time out, which is a HUGE challenge with Dorian because he will cry for hours sometimes. So I put the jar in his room with him and told him that when it was calm and so was he, he could come out.

Well. He didn?t come out. But he wasn?t crying, either. When I went in after about 10 minutes, he was sitting calmly on his bed and I asked, ?How is the jar doing??

?I had to shake it again because I wasn?t calmed down,? he told me. And that was that. He came out, we went on with our day.

A couple of times, he started to get wound up about something and I?d say, ?Oh, do you need the calm down jar again?? and he would laugh and tell me no.

Since then, we?ve used the jar a few times and it really does work. I love Pinterest.

How to Make Your Own Baby Rice Cereal

I?ve been playing around with my grain mill lately and the other day I made some brown rice flour. I used it in some muffins, which were ok, and then made some lemon garlic rice chips which were a huge hit with the kids. Then it occurred to me that baby cereal has to be pretty much the same thing, no?

The problem I have with baby cereal is that A) it costs a LOT for a little bit and B) around here, it only comes with sugar added. Um, no thanks! Not to mention, I?m 99% sure it?s just white rice. So I played around with it a little and came up with the perfect combination for Dominic to enjoy. And enjoy it he did!

First, I take two tablespoons of brown rice flour and add about 3/4 cup of boiling water and let it sit for a few minutes. Then I microwave it for 30 second increments until it thickens up quite a bit and let it sit again until creamy. At this point, it tastes a little, well, bland. It?s not very exciting. So I add some fruit puree. So far, Dominic has enjoyed it with both mashed banana and with a cooked strawberry and spinach puree that I made for the boys to use as jam. He loved both versions!

It?s a little bit more complicated than using the pricey stuff from the store, but WAY healthier and I know exactly what is going into my little guy?s tummy because I ground the rice and mashed the fruit myself!

I know I said no more pics, but just one more to illustrate this post.

6 Months

I?m not happy with how fast Dominic is growing. Half a year already!!

This month, Dominic is:

- Talking! He says, ?Mum,? ?Hey, you!? ?Mmmmm!? ?I love you,? and ?Iwin? (Irving).
- Eating! He loves bananas, peas, yogurt, and zucchini muffins.
- Thinking he can walk. He squirms off your lap, then gets mad because he?s on the floor.
- Not sleeping. He is really grumpy these days and is up and down all night, since he?s sick and teething.
- Popping teeth. He has one and the other is coming in fast. I will be happy to have a reprieve after this!
- Outgrowing everything. He?s now in 12 month clothing (but long, not fat) and he is too big for his Bumbo, climbing out of his bouncy seat and just generally getting too big and active for everything.
- Hanging out with his brothers. Dominic spends lots of time sitting on a blanket on the floor playing with toys with his brothers or wrestling with them. It?s not uncommon to find a dogpile of three little boys on the floor these days!
- Kissing! We love his big drooly kisses. Especially when he grabs your face first, stares you in the eyes and says, ?I love you!? then covers you in slobber. My heart melts every time.

Sadly, since Dominic is pretty recognizable now, this is the last photo post with his cute little mug. If you want to see my password posts where I do put pics of the boys, email me and give me proof you?re a person and not a stalker (well, the bad kind anyway!). freelanceprowriter @

Kids Say the Darndest Things: Episode 48

Dante: ?This house has a lot of spiders.?

Me: ?Yes, it does.?

Dante: ?I really don?t love this house. I think it?s time to build your house, Mama.?


Dorian: ?Man, I have to work harder at reading. Dominic just asked me to read a story and it was too hard for me.?


Me: ?I need to eat something, my stomach hurts!?

Dorian: ?Well . . . do you have another baby in there??

Dante: ?Here?s a picture for you.?
Me: ?Thanks! Why does this guy have stripes??
Dante: ?Oh, that?s me. I?m dressed up real nice, so I?m wearing a striped shirt with buttons.?


I had a vampire movie loaded on my computer to watch once the kids went to bed and Dante saw it.

Dante: ?Are you watching something violent??

Me: ?Uh, yes  . . . ?

Dante: ?DORIAN! Mama is watching a violent movie! Come see this! This man has blood on his chin.?

Doriancomes running in. ?Oh my goodness! Well, I guess if you can watch violent if I can play a violent video game.?


Dorian: ?Hey, Mama, Dante did a magic trick! I was playing Need for Speed and there was a police car and Dante put a paper on the TV and when he took it away, the car was gone! He disappeared it!?

Making It Work

Whew, it?s been a busy month around here! I?m nearly done my 30 Days, 30 Lenses challenge over on Squidoo and am halfway through the NaNoWriMo August writing camp (24,000 words on a new book, ack!). We?ve all been insanely sick, so those challenges were being done while we were all laying around feeling cruddy. The baby popped a tooth while he was sick, so there was teething going on, as well! Most of the sickness was colds, but Dorian picked up a nice bacterial infection, too, so he was vomiting on top of coughing. Yay!

So, now that one challenge is winding down, I?m thinking I might as well keep up the harried pace with something new. Since I did a bunch of Christmas lenses, it got me thinking about Christmas. It?s not too far away, you know. And as any regular reader knows, I kinda suck at being on time for Christmas and end up in a big panic.

Then, today, I realized that I have THREE kids to get ready for this year! And Dominic doesn?t even have a stocking yet. I want to make him one that is similar to his brothers? stockings or he?ll feel all left out later. So that needs to be done.

A bunch of Christmas ornaments were ruined by mice and mold, so more of those ought to be made. And then I want to get a bunch of gifts for the kids made by hand this year, too. And maybe, just maybe, some gifts for friends. Hmm.

So, all this is buzzing in my head and I need to make a list of what I want to accomplish before the holidays roll around. Now is the time to get started. Maybe I?ll even finish up before midnight on Christmas Eve this year!

Terms of Endearment

Dante loves his baby brother and this is so obvious in the way he talks to him. Here are a few things I?ve heard him say to Dominic over the past few days.

?Where?s my precious? Hi, precious boy!?

?Oh, my darling little baby!?

?Who?s my big boy??

?You?re my favorite baby ever, Domini-que!?

?Such a little sweetheart!?

?Dominic, you?re the cutest baby in the world. Yes, you?re such a cutie!?

I hope this is an indication of A) how well they get along later in life and B) how Dante is going to treat his own children someday.

First Words?

Dominic loves to chatter away and he?s really discovered his voice lately. That means he yells a LOT. He?s been repeating ?ooooooooooo? after we say ?I love you!? quite a bit, but recently he?s come up with some things that might just be words. Yeah, I?m his mom so I might be jumping ahead here, but humor me.

First, we were doing school the other day and Dominic was in his exersaucer. I was working with Dante on reading and Dominic started fussing, so as a joke, I said, ?Dominic, say ?aaaaaaaaah.?? The boys thought that was hilarious and pretty soon everyone was telling him to say ?aaaaaaah.? And then he did, and thought he was so darn clever. That?s the favorite schooltime distraction now, getting the baby to say reading sounds from the book. He also says ?ooooooo? and ?mmmmmm? when he feels like copying us. He still won?t put them together to say ?mama? though, no matter how hard I try!

We also noticed that when Irving was nearby, but not holding Dominic, the baby would say, ?Ewin.? Sometimes repeatedly. Is he calling his papa? Who knows! But he does do it a lot and only when his papa is around. The older boys call their papa Irving, so he hears it a lot (again, why not MAMA?!).

The next word was even sweeter, but it?s only happened once, so it was likely a fluke. But we?ll remember it anyway.

The boys were playing with Dominic as I held him and we were doing kissing. ?Kiss for Dante?? and he would lean in and give Dante a kiss. ?Kiss for Mama?? the same. Later, Dorian was showing him a board book and I was reading to Dante while Dominic sat on my lap.

Suddenly, Dominic said, ?Giss!? and leaned in and planted a big wet one right on Dorian?s cheek. It was adorable and of course, there?s no way to convince the proud big brother that the baby didn?t say ?kiss? to him!

Dorian started talking extremely early, so it?s not impossible that Dominic is starting to try out speech. Time will tell! In the meantime, I?m recording this cuteness to share with him when he?s older.

The First Toy Fight

Dominic is growing fast and nothing is more evidence of that than what happened yesterday.

We went to the market to get fresh veggies and fruit and since the boys behaved extremely well, we let them choose a cheap toy from a vendor. They instantly bent over a box of superhero action figures (we?re very big on superheroes these days, thanks to Super Hero Squad and the Avengers) and began debating whether Spiderman or Superman was cooler. Dominic was leaning down and grabbing at the toys, too.

I said to Irving that we might have to buy three action figures this time, but he laughed and we didn?t. The boys chose matching Spidermen figures and off we went, figuring Dominic wouldn?t really care.

We were wrong!

No sooner were the kids all packed into the car than Dominic grabbed Dante?s Spiderman, still in the bag. Dante took it back and Dominic screamed at him, so we gave him his toy, some brightly colored keys in animal shapes that a blog reader brought him. Dominic wanted nothing to do with this, he only had eyes for Spiderman!

As we headed home, a ruckus erupted in the backseat, with all three kids yelling. I so didn?t expect this so early! Turns out, Dominic managed to get his hot little hands on Dante?s Spiderman, grabbing the arm and he would NOT let go. Dante was yelling at his brother, pulling on the toy, Dominic was yelling back and pulling, too and Dorian was yelling for Dominic to let go, too. Oh, my.

In the end, things settled down and the kids had their respective toys, but it seems like it?s about time to start buying stuff in threes!