Monday, December 31, 2012

Do you suffer from Perfection Infection? Yeah, me too....

I have long been a fan of Jill Savage, Author & Founder of Hearts at Home, so you can imagine my excitement when I found out that I was selected to be a part of the launch team for her new book "No More Perfect Moms" scheduled to release February 4, 2013.

Perfectionism exists at my very core. I have struggled through life unable to relax & enjoy much because of my need for it to all be "just so". I am being brutally honest when I say this book scares me....I'm not sure I want to venture down the road of imperfection. BUT, I know that I need too for the sake of my children. The crazy expectations I have put on myself, my marriage, my children, my home...well, it's just that...CRAZY! No one could ever live up to those standards. So, for the sake of all of our sanity...I'm going to give it a go & try to cure my Perfection Infection!

One of the neat things about being on the launch team is getting to read the book before it's release. I just finished Chapter 3, and I can say the book is awesome! Jill really "exposes" so many of our fears as Moms and assures us that it is OK...we are not the only ones. We are not the only one that yells, or punishes out of embarrassment or anger. We are not the only one that walks into church on Sunday smiling...knowing we spent the 20 minute car ride screaming at each other. We are not the only Mom that feels like a failure because one too many nights this week the family had pizza rather than a healthy meal for dinner. We are not the only ones. And the sooner we take off the perfection masks we wear and show each other it's OK to be real....the sooner we stop suffering from these feelings!

In the coming days I will be posting more about the book & my experience on this journey. In mid-February I plan to host an online book study, and would love to have you join us!

In the meantime, I've listed a few ways that you can begin this journey yourself now, before the book even hits the stores :)

1.  Sign Up for Jill Savage's "No More Perfect Moms" 31-Day Email Challenge. I'm sure it'll be a fantastic way to start the new year. You don't have to have the book {which doesn't release until February anyway} to be part of this.Click here so you can start receiving real-life encouragement in your inbox on Jan. 1.

2.  Don't buy the book yet, but get ready to do so Feb. 4-9. Along with the release of "No More Perfect Moms," Hearts at Home and Moody Publishers will offer additional bonus resources worth more than $100 if you order/buy the book anytime Feb. 4-9. Click here to learn more about this and sign up to receive the email reminder.

3.  Visit "No More Perfect Moms" WebsiteThis is where you can share stories, learn more about the book, and view motherhood resources.

Happy New Year, Friends!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Dinner time battles :(

Have you ever secretly wished for your child to lie?? I know this sounds completely horrible. Let me explain....

I am fairly sure I have the pickiest eater on the planet. I'm certain if there was a world title - Cole would get it. (don't try to argue with me, my therapist says over exaggerating & venting will certainly make me feel better. no, you can't have his name or number.)

At {almost} 7 years old, I'm exhausted trying to get anything other than fast food fare into his tiny little stomach. If you ask him what he likes, the list consist of the following....
  1. Hamburgers (no cheese, ketchup & mustard only)
  2. Hot Dogs
  3. Pizza (no "green stuff", and stick with the idea what pizza cheese isn't the same as regular cheese)
  4. Red Chips (ie..Doritos, name brand - nothing generic)
  5. Cheese Chips (ie..Ruffles Sour Cream & Cheddar)
  6. Cheetos
  7. Green Chips (ie..Sour cream & onion) 
  8. Brownies
  9. Chicken Nuggets
  10. And Mustard. Lots & lots of mustard.
Looking at that list you would think we lived in our car & ate every meal out of the drive through or the convenience store. Truth time...Cole NEVER had jar, store bought baby food. Nope, I made homemade, from scratch from the get-go. My baby was eating spinach, asparagus, avocado all at 5 months. By the time he could eat meat finger foods - I'd have to cook him an entire pork chop to fill him up. He loved salad, would eat cucumbers like a banana, and had no issue finishing my whole plate too. Until he turned 3, then something changed practically overnight.

Everyone told us he would try new things once he got to school. Nope. He would be the only 3,4, & 5 year old sitting at the table content to never try that {insert practically anything served NOT on the top 10 list}. Kindergarten came & he never drank milk at snack, not even once. Refused to eat cafeteria food. So I packed a lunch, same thing every day...4 cold chicken nuggets, apple slices, frozen gogurt (this was a huge success this year, even getting him to try it), pretzels, and a handful of M&M's for a treat. He would only drink apple juice mixed with water, so we invested in lots of thermoses. By the end of the year I could get him to eat a ham sandwich (with mustard, of course) instead of the nuggets...but not much else variation there.

So last month I decided I had officially had it. I was sick & tired of preparing 2 meals every day in this house and I did not want Jacob to pick up his brothers crappy eating habits. New rule...he would eat what I put on his plate. (if you saw the portions I dished out, you would think we live in Ethiopia). After 4 weeks, we are still battling every single meal. He will eat nothing without mustard, and, 99% of the time I have to actually feed him to get him to eat it. Seriously ridiculous. And exhausting. He admits to liking nothing new than what he did before. {sigh}

So Wednesday night as I'm wearing down from the fierce dinner time battle, Jacob has a massive blow out. A bath was most definitely in order. I leave Cole sitting at the table with a bowl that had no more than 2tbsp of mac & cheese (homemade none the less, I'm a darn good cook!), covered in mustard, and, instructions that he must finish these bites before he comes upstairs to join us. Every 2 minutes he would round the corner & ask me if he could be excused from the table and join us upstairs. Everytime my reply was the same "When you finish those two bites, put your bowl in the sink & come upstairs". Pretty open ended for a little guy huh?! Yep, no Mom around, he could so easily have dumped the mac & cheese and walked upstairs with victory on his face.

Did he? No.
Was I secretly wishing he would have to end the ridiculous battle? You bet.

Monday, June 11, 2012

It's the little things...

One of my favorite thing to do as a child was color. I would sit for hours with a coloring book a new box of crayons, meticulously outlining each image before I filled in the color. Priding myself in the gradient color from the outter edge to the center. I felt like such an artist. 

For 6 years I have waited for Cole to want to color.  Around the age of 4 I kind of gave up that he would ever enjoy this hobby. Even at school he refused to do much of anything with coloring or writing. The OT's told me that it truly hurt his hands and that's why he didn't enjoy the activity. We worked & worked & worked...still no interest :( When he was forced to color, he would do everything in green, very sloppy (and purposely sloppy)...almost as if to prove a point. {stinker}

So, you can image how THRILLED I was when Cole started showing interest in coloring over the past couple of months! I would never have guessed that at almost 7 years old he would decide this is something he could enjoy. Jason & I have bought multiple coloring books & new boxes of crayons to the point that he has access to them in the house (upstairs & down), in the car, even when we play outside. If the urge hits..he can color anywhere he wants!

Our little lefty, working hard on his grip!

Trying hard to stay in the lines, and, using a rainbow of colors!

Hey Mom, PICTURE THIS! ha!
While we don't want to burn him out, we do want to encourage coloring, painting, finger painting, etc as much as we can. All these activities will continue to strengthen Cole's fine motor skills & help in handwriting (which continues to be a challenge for him).

I'm so proud to see him working hard, and, enjoying what he's doing!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Week

We have been blessed with such an amazing team of professionals that work with Cole everyday, and we certainly wanted to recognize them during Teacher Appreciation week!

I really wanted to find a gift for Cole's Kindergarten teacher that the whole class could give her together. I thought about gift cards, purchased gifts, then I found a similar idea to this on Etsy. I was in love! My Sister (the super-duper, fantastic graphic designer) and I designed a piece that was exactly what I wanted! This is the picture I did for Mrs. Lister. Each leaf is a child's thumbprint :)

It was such a blessing that the day I went in to get the thumbprints (a day that Mrs. L was out of the classroom) every child was t school!
Are these not the most adorable "leaves" ever?? I love that each one is just a little imperfect :)

These are what I decided on for the therapists & aides who Cole see's everyday. I thought they were super cute, and, a nice little treat for their day. (beware...these are WAY more time consuming than I expected...but, very worth it!)

And, part way through Cole & I decided to make one for every teacher in Cole's school. Because it's a small school we see them all so often, we thought it would be a nice way to show our appreciation. I think we ended up with about 40 by the time we were done. I was able to sneak in & put them in mailboxes when teachers were in class. The Principal shared with me later that it was neat to see the teachers surprised to find something other than just papers in their box :)

I already have ideas for next years projects too (thanks to Pinterest!). Which is good, because they will take much more time than these did ;)

I think next year someone needs to have a Teacher Appreciation Linky party - any takers?!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

WWARNING! Blogging while emotional is dangerous. Yes, it's been one of those days. I'm operating on very little sleep. The babies were very needy today, and I didn't have a minute to myself. My to-do list got longer. My feelings got hurt. My kids feelings got hurt. I got mad. Dinner sucked. I'm hungry. {and hormonal} I still have a boulder hanging out in my left kidney. I need time with Cole. I need time with Jacob. I need a date with my husband. {I NEED to shave my legs}

Sunday, April 22, 2012

2 years...and counting!

Wow. The last 2 years have gone by so fast. I can hardly believe it's been that long since I have worked outside the home.

It truly feels like just yesterday I was running out the door, late to yet another meeting. I went from savoring my drive-thru lattes to downing a cup of folgers before the bus arrives. I gave up my leisurely hour long lunch, for munching the crusts of my toddlers PB&J.

Days like today make me feel overwhelmed with gratitude that I can be home with my boys everyday. Today was one of those awesome, snugly, wonderful days where all was right within our home.

Of course everyday isn't like this. More often than not we have messes everywhere, kids fighting and an exhausted, stressed out Mama that has no opportunity to refuel for at least 4 more days. But, even in those moments I'm reminded that THIS is where God has called me to be, for this time in my life. This is where He had been gently nudging me to go for so long. (and for those of you who don't know the story, I didn't listen so well, so God gave me a good, hard shove finally! ha!)

I have no idea what the next year will hold for our family, but I'm so excited to see where God leads us :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

One minute thirty-seconds....

Yes, this ALL happened in one minute & thirty seconds tonight...

Children sitting in respective seats at table, eating dinner
Mom plating up Dad's dinner
Jacob gets off chair & returns with a full bottle of popcorn oil, proceeds to dump it on himself & all over my floor
Mom takes Jacob to utility sink to hose him off
Returns to Kitchen to begin mopping up the quart of oil that is now floating on my floor, only to find the dog on all fours on the kitchen table enjoying hamburgers, fries & homemade cheese sauce

I'm convinced a reality show following my life would be a huge hit. You just can't make this crap up.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The lesson in the Fruit Roll-Up

Last night I was cleaning out Cole's lunch box & found a fruit roll-up. {the memories of my own obsessive love of these tiny treats all came rushing back! I'm fairly sure as a child I was addicted to these! ha!} Because I hadn't packed a fruit roll up in his lunch, I knew he had gotten it from someone else. I asked him & he said "Yep, my buddy Jake, he gives me one everyday!". Well, being a Mom, the first thing I say is "Oh, Cole - let Jake have his lunch, you don't need to take it, you have plenty in your lunch". He told me "I know, but he likes bringing something for me". In that moment I remember thinking "wow, he already understands that Jake gets joy in giving to him. That's kinda cool."

Later that night I decided to text Jake's Mom to let her know about the fruit roll-up (I was assuming that she didn't know), so she could assure Jake he didn't need to give away his lunch, he could eat & enjoy his treat himself :) When I told her, she responded that yes, she does know, they pack 2 everyday purposely so Jake can share with Cole. Well...of course my response was that they did not need to do that! But she shared with me that Jake enjoyed this, he wanted to give to Cole, and, they were happy to support it. Ah...the simplest of lessons. As Dave Ramsey says "Don't tell them to give more, Teach them how to give".

Yes, it was just a fruit roll-up, but for a 6 year old - that's a pretty big deal. Those sweet sugary treats are pretty irresistible - and, he's choosing to share, everyday, with his buddy. I'm reminded of Jesus's words "He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor" Proverbs 22:9 (now, obviously I don't consider us poor - but the meaning is the same :)

At the age of 6, this little boy truly understands "It is more blessed to give than to receive" Acts 20:35. Now is that to say he will always want to share & give away his things? Of course not, but knowing he has great parents who are supporting him giving, will assure him a much better chance at beating the "all about me" culture we live in.

Another cool Cole asked if he could take an extra pack of cookies to share with Jake :) Hopefully the teachers & lunchroom staff will have mercy on these precious boys breaking the rules.

And now, I am craving fruit roll-ups....

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Reorganizing the Cabinets

I constantly feel like my kitchen is a disorganized mess, even though the kitchen I have now is three times as big as what I had before. So, I decided I needed to start looking at the way I'm utilizing my cabinets & see if there are changes that need to be made.

This is the cabinet I stored my spices in (I had already pulled a ton of stuff out before I had the "aha moment" to photograph the before & after)...

This is all the stuff I pulled out of that cabinet before the picture was taken!

This is the cabinet right next to it, and, immediately right of the stove. I had just put baking dishes & measuring cups in it before. It looked fine, right?
Yeah, but it wasn't the best use of the space.

After thinking about it awhile, I decided to move all the spices over to the cabinet closer to the stove, and, WOW - it works much better. I picked up a stair stepped shelf to help organize the spices, and, some $1 plastic containers to place my spice packets in. Doesn't this look MUCH better?!

In the corner, lazy susan cabinet I placed my measuring cups, mixer attachments & some mixing bowls - since that is the area I bake in.
It's still not perfect, this cabinet is a terrible waste of space the way they did it - but, it's better than it was!

I have many, many more cabinets to move on too. My goal is to get this all completed before I start refinishing the cabinets in May. Stay tuned :)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lego Instruction Book Organization

If you have a child that loves LEGO's, chances are you have a million instruction booklets. We were constantly digging through piles, books, shoeboxes to find the one we needed - I knew I had to devise some type of system. The hopes of keeping each set in it's own box, long went away - so I needed a universal system for the instruction booklets.

I started by laying everything out on the table. This is what I was left with...

After I thought about it (for awhile) I realized that the only real solution for now was to put them in a binder. To simplify things, I bought several packages of sheet protectors at Dollar General, and, put a booklet in each packet. As much as I would love to divide the booklets up & put a page on each side to make it easy to flip through them to build...I would have needed a 12 inch binder for that! This was the easiest solution for now.

I have visions of laminating each booklet - but, that will take a ton of time, patience & laminating sheets. Maybe someday :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Home Managment Binder

This may be my proudest project yet. I HATE being unorganized, and, I was finding that the paperwork was taking over my life. This is step one in curing that!

I had seen ideas for several binders on the internet, but nothing that really worked for me - so, I decided to make my own!

I started with a 3in, 3-ring binder. Of course I wanted it to be pretty, so I opened up photoshop & worked on a cover page & a spine cover for my binder.

Here are closer looks at my covers. {you will see a different name on these - my SIL could use a little help in organizing too, so I made her one for Christmas!}

Inside my binder I have the following categories...
Meal planning
Gift Giving
And my volunteer projects (which include the church website, and, Mom's Group)

Each of these categories have customized printables that I use to plan my meals, track birthdays & Christmas, household projects, warranties & online log-ins & passwords. Household maintenance, vehicle maintenance & a long term "to-do" list area ll included. I also have sheets for pictures to edit, and, pictures to order - so I don't forget what I'm working on!

I have been successfully using this for 3 months now, and, It's safe to say it's now a regular part of my routine. It makes everything so much easier!

Next up...organizing Cole's school paperwork, projects, artwork :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Homemade Christmas Gifts

This year I had so much fun taking a little extra time & making some homemade gifts... all pinterest inspired, of course :)

I'm not a super crafty person, but, I think these projects were even easy enough for me.

Picture Ornament (this picture was taken before the ribbon was tied on the top)

Personalized Coasters. These are awesome! I made both photo & monogram ones. We gave them to teachers & friends.

These puzzle piece ornaments were perfect gifts for our Autism Support Group friends and therapists.

Next year I hope to make many more homemade gifts :)

Our surprise Christmas Adventure

{I'm determined to get our Christmas posts up before Easter! ha!}

On a Friday morning, Darky our Elf brought the boys a letter from Santa. Because they had been so good, he was sending us on a Christmas Adventure with Big Papa & Nana!

Ready to go! It was just me & the boys :)

When we got to the hotel, we found they had the best Christmas Decorations!

The staff made Gingerbread houses & guests got to vote on them (our vote was for the UP house!)

That sneaky Elf even followed us to the hotel, and wreaked havoc on the boys pictures.

Headed home after our fun weekend! (well, until we got stuck in an hour long traffic jam :/)

So..are you interested in knowing where our surprise Christmas adventure was too?? My parents took us to Historic St. Charles! It was so fun :)

Our LONG awaited new floors!

Since Cole was old enough to walk, I have dreamed about having different floors. Something that does not stain every time apple juice, ketchup, (vomit) hit the floor. Last fall we picked out what we wanted, and, started saving...right before Christmas Lumber Liquidators had a huge sale that finally made our flooring affordable. Bright and early the day after Christmas, my hubby got started!

We decided to run this beautiful Vintners Reserve Laminate Hardwood through our Living Room, Kitchen & Laundry Room. It was a big project!

This picture shows the {ugly} laminate we had before in the kitchen & laundry room, and, the beautiful wood we replaced it with :)

When we started to pull up the carpet in the living room we found real hard wood! Sadly, it was pieced together in several places with plywood - so we didn't have the choice to refinish it.

Here's the living room...almost done!


Don't worry, I have plans for those kitchen cabinets. Soon they will be a beautiful antique white :)

And look, we even got a housekeeper as a bonus!

There is still so much work to be done. Paint in the living room, stairway & kitchen. Trim painted & back up. Area rugs to purchase. Cabinets & counter tops to refinish. Yep...the projects just keep coming! (too bad the money doesn't come with it!)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Darky, our Elf

Because my life is so very crazy at times, it's February 22nd and I'm just now getting caught up on Christmas posts. Seriously.

We were so excited this year when a little package showed up on our doorstep. Our Elf on a Shelf quickly became a beloved tradition in the Lenczycki House.

Here are a few of the crazy places we found him...

Fishing in the toilet!

Bringing a treat for Cole :)

Sneaky Elf was found in the fridge drinking Cole's soda!

Making a total mess in the boys bathroom...

Delivering a letter from Santa!

He followed us to the hotel & drew on the kids pictures!

He was caught skyping with Santa!

Switch out the stockings for our unmentionables!

Taking a bubble bath in Mom's antique gravy boat :)

Hiding on the Christmas Tree

Pillaging through Mom's purse...

And hiding in the drink cabinet :)

I can't wait until next year when Darky returns...:)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Our LEGO Build Table Project

My son is CRAZY about legos! For 2 years I searched & searched for a lego table that would work for us. We had a small space with built in shelves that I really wanted to utilize for legos - so I had to be very choosy. One day I stumbled upon this blog post by Jen at iHeart Organizing..and I knew what I had to do. First, check out my inspiration here

So, first, I started with this cheap table I bought from the hotel I worked at years ago. It was $5 when I got it. I originally picked it up as a desk for Cole, but it never fit where I wanted it to - so it had been in the basement for several years.

I started by priming the entire table, so that the paint would adhere. (only the top is primed here..I forgot to take a pic with the entire table still white)

After it was primed, I taped off the top & began painting the rest of the table the beautiful blue paint I used as an accent color in Cole's room.

And, finished the top off with 2 coats of chalboard paint so the boys can draw roads, buildings, space - whatever goes with their lego creations.

The most expensive part of this project was definitely the chalk board paint. At $15 a can, it was a hard pill to swallow - especially since I only used about 1/4 of that & still have tons left. Hopefully I will find more projects in the future to use that up.

So far, Cole is loving the table - it gets used quite often :)