Category Archives: Keeping Busy

Take them OUTSIDE.

What I remember most about my days with two babies was how long those days were. I was the sole source of…everything, for both of them, and it was beyond exhausting.
One of my solutions was to take them for very long walks.
I would put 5 month old Abbie in the Baby Bjorn, and grab 2 year old Elena by the hand, and we would be off.
We would walk for hours.
It gave them a chance to breathe fresh air and me a chance to talk to other adults. It would make their little legs tired and give me some exercise.
We would get home dusty, sweaty, but hey! It was dinner time, bath time and then bedtime! Another day finished: Woohoo!
Now, I feel like the days fly by, there’s so much to do and yet, not much of it is getting done. So what happens is we all start snipping at each other. What’s better? A clean kitchen and picky people or a sink full of dishes and happy people?
I try to choose the latter (but oh, how I love a clean kitchen!) and so many times, when I find that everyone is getting a bit clingy, grumbly, and droopy, we head outside.
For hours.
We drink terere with neighbors, we make new friends, we see a new bug, and we come home tired and happy.
I know it doesn’t always really make sense, to leave the long to do lists behind, but it’s so much better.
Seriously, grab some shoes and go outside.

Messy girls!

Things I love about this picture.
1. Crocs. My girls each own two pairs of shoes. Flip flops and crocs. That’s it. There’s not a lot of dressing up around here and I feel that we’re still sorting and cleaning lots of shoes as it is.
2. Lexi is covered in water. She’s a big girl and wanted to drink out of a regular cup, which resulted in being soaked.
3. Scabby knees, bruised legs, and dirt smears. Playing outside is so good for them!
4. Color. I love all the colors they are wearing.
Two more weeks till we move into our house!! I feel like I’ve been waiting for this move for two years (oh wait…I have been!) I wonder what I will do with my life once it’s done? 🙂

Where is their mother?

Child A: Covered in head to toe with dirtChild B: Dirty feet hanging off of bench while playing with Fisher Price Little People.
Child C: Bored, bored, bored. Playing with Slinkie.

Our Routines

God has given us the wonderful opportunity of living in a country where flexibility is key. There are not many rigid schedules here, everything is “tranquilo”, and I really do like this. The culture I grew up in is very similar, it is not an unfamiliar concept.

Small children however, do need some sort of structure. At least mine do! We have found that routines work way better than schedules in our household. Schedules require hour by hour commitments… for example, at 3 p.m we will have reading time! But what if at 3 pm the fruit vendor knocks on the door? Or your neighbor wants to know if you can drink terere with him?
We find that routines work best for us, they allow us to be more flexible and fit others into our lifestyle. So we don’t know when exactly reading will happen…but we know it will be after naps.

Our bedtime routine really works for us. I have three great sleepers, and they have been since they were 6 months. Training babies to sleep through the night definitely works for me (I. Need. Sleep. Period.)
We send them to the potty.
They get a drink of water.
Jammies get put on.
A Bible story is read.
We ask them to tell us one thing they are thankful for.
We pray.
Nightlight is turned on along with some soft classical music.
They are tucked in, each with her own special blankie….
and that’s that.
Bedtime usually happens around 7 p.m…but on really long days it could even be as early as 6. Weekends are much later.
So, no matter what time the clock says, the routine is the same, and this really works for us. We are not tied to the hands on the clock, in keeping the with our flexible routines we are more open and available to adapt to the needs of others.

Hangy Thingies…?

It’s Tuesday.
Which means I blog about the latest simple craft the girls and I have made. Hopefully these fairly simple ideas will help your days be a little easier, simpler, more fun and memorable. It’s so important to keep those littler fingers busy, isn’t it?
We took paper plates and cut them in half. We each got two halves to paint with watercolors. Then we took long strips of tissue paper (we had yellow and pink on hand), glued them between the two paper plates, and then hung them from the ceiling on our patio.
A little splotch of color and we like watching the ribbons flutter on breezy days.
Making these was better than spending the afternoon watching cartoons.
(Which is what my girls are doing right now while I type this. Ha!)

Making Crowns

What is there to do in that one hour between supper and bedtime? That hour is usually pretty awful around here what with a tired mommy, hyper kids, messy kitchen, blah blah blah.
Sometimes I read aloud to them but lately our very active ten month old has not allowed for that.
So…crafting came to the rescue this day.
A simple crown made out of aluminum foil.
We decorated them with crayons to keep messiness to a minimum.


Tell me: What do you do during the last (and maybe hardest/longest) hours of the day?
Any ideas that will hopefully not make the messy house any messier, the tired mommy any more tired, the hyper children any more hyper, would be greatly appreciated.
Or maybe I’m just dreaming?

Chrsitmas…Paraguay style!

(And Venezuelan style, and American style, and English style!)

Because that is how we roll around these parts!
Notice how the girls cram our three nativity sets together. One is from Israel, one is from Argentina, and one is from Fisher-Price.

Homemade ornaments…another tradition?


Colorful snowflakes because white is boring! (And because baby was sleeping in the room where white paper is kept.)






Christmas was beautiful, relaxing and slow, which is just the way I like it. We didn’t have to go anywhere, just batten down the hatches with family and a few close friends. Perfect!

Christmas craft…a little late.

I realize we’re past Christmas and some of you mommies out there wish I had posted this, you know, before Christmas.
I have three kids.
(I use that excuse a lot these days. For laundry, for late meals, for skipping out on things…)
Anyway, it’s the Eve of Christmas Eve and I didn’t know what to do so we decided to craft. I would like plan on doing one every year, a tradition! I am the matriarch of traditions and that’s feeling good right now.
On to the craft…I took three empty artist canvas’ that I had laying around and we used them to make christmas trees out of handprints.

Lexi’s hands are tiny, chubby, cute, and hard to keep still.

Then we took small circles made out scrapbook paper and glued them on, like ornaments.
Walah! Cuteness that can be pulled out ever Christmas season.
And before you congratulate me on my great crafting creativity…head over Meg’s blog and see where I got the idea from. (love her blog!!)

Our curriculum

Pretty soon, after the holidays most likely, we will being our very casual homeschooling year. The girls are all still very young so I see no need to put a strict regimented schedule on them when most of their learning takes place doing ordinary, daily things.

Since some people have asked, here is the curriculum we will be using for Kindergarten and Preschool.

Simple and easy with lots of reading in between. We have quite a large collection of childrens books (the good stuff, not the fluffy stuff) and we read a lot during our days.
With construction of the house coming up, I wanted to make sure not to overload ourselves with too much stuff. Stress is not something we need to add right now (we have plenty, thank you) especially when the girls are so young.
To finish off this short little post, an interesting read:

So much food!

A few days ago, when it was an oh-so-hot day, we headed over to our English friend’s house. An English family, two American families, one Costa Rican, one Paraguayan….what to eat?
We started off with Paraguayan Bori-Bori


Then taste-tested English Marmite against Australian Vegemite. (I think Marmite wins hands down.)

For dessert a pre-Christmas English mincemeat pie topped with cream. Delicious.

We couldn’t let all those calories just sit there so we burned them off with a game of badminton and a dip in the pool.
Ah! The perfect end to a multi-cultural afternoon.