Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Taba's Gallery: SCRAP for a CURE Flyer

Taba's Gallery: SCRAP for a CURE Flyer

Friday, April 9, 2010

Candy Sushi Time!

For one of our family activities this week we took some leftover Easter candy and decided we would make Candy Sushi as our snack for the day. Very simple and super fun…this activity makes time for family interaction, introduces aspects of different cultures, and encourages creativity and trying new things….all while having FUN!

This is super easy to do and you can do many varieties. We use rice crispy treats (warm for about 5 seconds and it will be easier to work with) but simply roll it out, add a filling and roll it in only one full roll. We used Bunnies and peeps, gummy bears, nerds and mini fruit roll ups or fruit by the foot tends to be the perfect width. You could also use Swedish fish and candied dried fruits! The skies the limit…simply let the imaginations roll (hey if the pun fits, right!) !!!

The kids had so much fun. They broke out there chopsticks and each one had there “favorite” roll. Emma exclaimed: “I love Shushi”. So very cute!!!

Have FUN and ENOY!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter!!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Obligatory Taco by Murry Smith

There it sits; the obligatory taco, staring me in the face with its literally cheesy grin and lettuce drooling out the ends. It is not the first obligatory taco I’ve met these last few years, but this one seemed rather more pathetic than the others. I’ve heard tales of children eating on occasion and of their own accord no less, but I have yet to see this with my own eyes. I am beginning to wonder if it is truth or, as I fear more likely, fable (not unlike the loch ness monster or jeans that I can convince my wife flatters her figure). I frankly believe that my three year old daughter has not eaten in over two years. It was then when she was first introduced to solid foods, and I think the best phrasing for what happened is that the solid food “just didn’t take.”
Much like a liver transplant that has been rejected by the host, food will without fail be rejected by my daughter. We have tried every measure to implanted food into her mouth over the years with no less skill than a surgeon and more cunning than a politician up for re-election. But we have only succeeded in finding the ingenuity with which my daughter can expel food from her face. There is the “garbage truck” where her jaw drops and her tongue slowly pushes the food out of her mouth and lets the food fall where it may, the “ooze” where her lips are pursed and she forces the food out to dribble down her chin and off to Neverland for all she cared (although onto my shoe was the more likely result), the “ooze: variation” which is exactly like the regular “ooze” except done through clenched teeth making it much more likely to have rogue sprays of who-knows-what fly out due to the high pressure, the “sprinkler” which is rather self explanatory (just imagine warm summer days with the sprinkler going in the back yard spraying the water in a slow arcing motion only instead of water it is chunks of meatloaf and gravy), the “huff” where she appears to be angry at the food in her mouth and with her arms crossed (a necessary requirement) she makes a huffing expulsion of the food out of her mouth, the variation “huff with accidental nose ejection” where it is exactly like the regular “huff” except that she forgets to open her mouth when she makes her huffing noise and the only exit is out the nose, the “magical bite” (my personal favorite) which is where she makes the glob of chewed food appear in any number of places without even the appearance of opening her mouth (her favorite places being anywhere you will sit or step while it is still warm), and of course there is the “llama spit” where she has taken such personal umbrage at the food that letting it fall out of her mouth would not be sufficient to show her disdain so it must be put out with force to achieve the proper distance between it and herself. All of these are without a doubt done with a stoic, expressionless face like she had just seen a kitten mauled by a groundhog.
At one time we did not even bother ordering food for her at restaurants because we knew that she simply did not eat and we feared what astonishing things she would do to the other patrons in the restaurant if she ended up by some accident getting food into her mouth (without her conscious knowledge I am certain). We knew that we could not simply say to the waiter “Oh, she doesn’t eat” because it would be exactly translated as “we do not feed her so please call the authorities immediately.” So when the waiter would ask what we wanted to order for her, my wife and I would always give each other a quick glance and with an acknowledging nod to each other put up the united defense of, “we’ll just let her eat off of our plates.” This wasn’t exactly true. In fact it was a down right lie. The things that this girl can do to your food to make it absolutely inedible boggles the mind, so we would, in fact, not let her anywhere near our plates. I guess it was just our polite way of saying, “We don’t want to pay for a plate of food at your establishment for our daughter because she will not eat it and will very likely slather it on a neighboring diner’s silk skirt.”
But we began to suspect that the wait staff was on to our trickery, so we started to order an extra plate to throw them off of our trail. We would even put various articles of food on the plate to give deeper cover for our charade (we cleverly put items on the plate that would make the least mess possible if ejected from the mouth if by some miracle she decided to pretend to want to eat something). But finally we have arrived at the point where we suppose we should provide her with her own food whatever the consequences may be for us or the nicely pressed trousers of the gentleman behind us. We order her a plate wherever we go with full knowledge that it will definitely not be eaten, will be packed up (untouched), and taken home to be stared at by all interested parties. It will then be shuttled off to be eaten by the raccoons and other such vermin at the local landfill (all with nary a touch by human hand).
Even when we go through the drive thru we will order the obligatory food to take home and set out on the table like a bowl of wax fruit (but with less of a chance of being eaten) to sit there and be looked at but not to be eaten. So there the obligatory taco still sits and sits and sits.
I did happen to see a picture the other day of my daughter eating at a Chinese restaurant. Much like the pictures of sasquatch that pop up from time to time it was doubtlessly blurry and left me wondering if it was all a hoax. You can clearly make out a half eaten bowl of egg drop soup (that I hear rumors she likes).

And I can be thankful that at least it wasn’t the wonton soup.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Party Time!

Well I am back in action and loving every minute of it! We have rounded out our year of parties ending with Emma's 3rd Birthday and I was determined to have a blast designing a fantastically fun and whimsical party for my little girl!

First I'll discuss preparation and designing on a budget. First I asked Emma what type of party she wanted and her first response was: Olivia! Although this is such a cute theme I had to figure out how best to make it happen since there aren't any pre-made olivia party product on market right now and themed pre-made party supplies are really pricey these days. So here are the elements that helped make her party a smashing hit!

* Customized cards and announcements- I love my photoshop elements program! Using this along with Internet clips, fonts, and Emma's photo I was able to create stunning cards for only 15 cents a print! If you are not able to do this can purchase things like this online, through etsy..and I am always glad to help!!!
* Utilize online printables- Nick Jr. online and other kid friendly sites offer many varieties of kids printables that are great for use at parties! I was able to print Olivia straw toppers and coloring story books for all the guests. This takes a little effort on your part but is really very economical and super cute!!!
* A little creativity and ingenuity goes a long way! It just happened that Olivia's color scheme fell right in line with Valentines day. I utilized red, pink, and white shades in everything from clothes, decor and food!!!.

1. I made a balloon chandelier with red balloons that I blew up and with pink streamers and taped them to the ceiling. This adds a super great effect and wow... again you save on the cost of helium filled balloons but still get the same look ($2.00 was all it cost)
2. Plastic roses from the dollar tree were scattered...since Olivia loves roses, classical music and the opera. ($1.00 for the bush then cut apart!)
3. Food! I purchased heart cookie cutters ($3) and made little tea sandwiches (peanut butter, cheese, chicken salad etc) such a cute fun finger food. Candy in the shades of the party. And I waited a little late to custom order a cake and I have yet to delve into the world of baking and cake decoration myself...but never say never! So... I found valentine cookies and cupcakes for a great price and a simple red velvet cake. I used PSE to design my own cake topper added streamer and---- the perfect theme cake!
4. I used cute patterned 12x12 papers for placemats and plates, utensils, and table cloth from the dollar store ($4.00) A paid a little extra for the red and white striped napkins at Target ($2.50) but had to since they were perfect match to olivia's lucky tights!
5. The goodie buckets were about ($2.00 each!!!! yes and the bucket was half the cost). Included were: hand crafted Olivia necklaces, heart sucker, personalized hershey bar (created on PSE) or you can find some online to purchase but again it will cost more. Bubbles 6pack from $1.00 store in wedding section. Buckets $1.00 each from Target. Again I personalized everything with Internet clip art and photoshop elements. They also got the coloring books that I printed out and used cute red bow in the corner to decorate.

ACTIVITIES: The girls decorated wands, blew bubbles, made candy necklaces and decorated t-shirt dresses

Now...for what actually happened come party time. Emma was actually excited to get all dressed up in her red dress and red striped tights....lookin all Olivia stylish and was excited to arrive and find that her friend Stella wore a matching dress. As people arrived you could see that Emma was getting a little nervous...refused to eat and after Daddy and the boys left began crying. Yes Crying! Emma is clearly a believer that it is her party and she will cry if she wants too! She was even so upset that she refused to partake in the candle ceremony. Stella stepped in and blew out the candles as we sang!

And then just when I thought the mood was lost...... presents made everything better! Emma became more engaged and her mood was much improved! She received some great stuff and loved it all! Thanks everyone who came for making Emma's party so much fun. Emma's Aunt LeAnne and Bridgee literally put blood sweat and tears into making her an Olivia blanket and pillow. And I would like to personally thank Stella and Kaitlyn for inspiring Emma to go potty...yeah! So that's pretty much our birthday adventure....enjoy the pics!!!!
Click to play this Smilebox photobook: Emmas 3rd Birtday!
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Monday, January 25, 2010

Girls got Sassitude!

Okay, so this weekend has been an incredible challenge. Probably due to the fact that neither Emma nor I have felt very well. And, although I hate to admit it, she is almost as stubborn and determined as I am. The girl truly has some sassitude and I have found myself wondering who overdid the spice in her sugar. I have felt like I was playing tug of war with a semi-truck.

But, I do love her strong sense of self and determination. These are qualities that in other venues we often appreciate. So why not so much when it comes to our kids? Well honestly, As a parent it is easy to see only the negative side of children’s behaviors. At times we are so close to our children or tired and fatigued that we lose our objectivity and our sense of proportion goes out the window. When they fail to meet our expectations it is often hard to look for a positive side.

My challenge as a parent is to channel her behaviors rather than change her or snuff out her determination to get what she wants. My daughter will learn in time that she cannot always treat every situation head-on and that to get her own way sometimes it is essential to give a little ground.

My job is to teach my kids where limits exist in relationships. So, I will continue to provide them with the consistent and persistent guidelines and limits they need and will hold them to the consequences of breaking them. But I will also make sure they are loved and cherished for who they are… I love my daughter and her spunk (although I am okay with admitting it can be very frustrating at times)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Necessary Changes:

In March, I found myself very sick and had to stay home from work but felt better the next day concluding that my virus must have passed. Later that day I started to feel sick again and the nausea felt familiar-- so much so that, even though it was improbable, I felt the need to take not one pregnancy test but 4. I was PREGNANT! I was instantly flooded with so many thoughts and mixed emotions. I was shocked, unprepared, this was not in our plans. Our family was complete, right? WRONG.

Although I had accepted my new reality and was beginning to get excited I was still very concerned and overwhelmed. I had always been tripped up by a perfectionist mindset, caught up in what I expected from myself which was never less than 100%. I was accustom to nothing but fast-paced office life, and my personality demanded precision as I tackled projects. How was I going to accomplish everything I had placed on myself with a new baby. I was already having enormous difficulties scaling the cliffs of Super Mom Summit while juggling the demands of the workplace. Both jobs were incredibly demanding but I found my workplace consuming. Work got me when I was fresh and ready to go; my family got what was left of me which was not much. I was exhausted with nothing left to give.. And now a baby. I realized I was loosing who I was along with the priority of what means the most to me…My family. Long story short I had to let go of having it “all”, all at the same time.

My current job as a stay at home mom is not for everyone, I have to admit and have even thought in the past that it wasn‘t for me either. But this whole experience has really taught me so much. My kids and family have always been my top priority but my job was taking that away from me. I saw a quote about being a SAHM that really says a lot about the job: "The days are long, but the years are short." How true! My children are young for such a short time and I want to dedicate as much time as I can to raising them. This job has it’s moments. Some days my goal is just to take a shower or use the bathroom with the door shut. There are early hours, late hours and middle of the night hours. MANY days my laundry stack is taller than I am. And other days I am trying to figure out how to get squished unknowns out of a little blonde head of hair (Emma is truly a messy girl!). But I love my job. I would not trade it for anything.

This was not our plan initially. But through it all, Murry and I have found it encouraging to know God has a plan for the Smith’s too. In Jeremiah 29:11 the Lord said: "for I know the thoughts that I think towards you saith the lord thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you an expected end.'" He knows what our future holds and has and will continue to provide us with so many blessings. We simply open our eyes and hearts to recognize and appreciate them.

Pierce is a beautiful addition to our family and another added blessing. I benefit from being with the kids as much as they benefit from having me at home. I am determined to make sure that I am counting and acknowledging my blessings continually and hope that this blog will help (although I do not find producing written word to be one of my strengths)

I love being a stay at home mom because...I have learned to enjoy simple things all over again. Things like dolls, games, and silly TV shows like Yo Gabba Gabba, Dora, and Olivia . I never thought these shows would be riveting television for me. But, when I see my two-year-old's eyes light up at the sight of one of her favorite characters or hear her sing and respond to the characters, I enjoy it more than any "grown up" show.

I love being a stay at home mom because... I get to see all of my children's "firsts." I feel like I don’t have to miss a thing!

I love being a stay at home mom because... I don't have to deal with office politics. Around our house I mostly find inspiration in the kids. I have found more patience and joy in what I do…once again.

I am THANKFUL for this unplanned blessing.