Monday, August 20, 2012

Back to school

So as much as I try to pretend its not happening, school is starting! I have really really enjoyed having my kids home this summer. Now I'm not saying that there weren't {MANY} moments that they were bickering incessantly and I wanted to lock myself in the bathroom or put them all in a basket on the fire station steps and go back home to sit in peace and quiet. But they're a little big for that, and I would miss them after a few hours... And seriously, we had a fun summer. We didn't take any big vacations or have something "to do" every day, it was just a really good mix of swimming and fishing and walking and parks and Popsicles and movie marathons. The smell of chlorine and sunscreen and sunshine and shampoo and stinky Crocs. Bodies littering the family room floor because it's like a frat house here in the summer, and that's ok because we didn't have any buses to catch. Now I can feel reality sneaking up on us, like when "they" start telling you how many shopping days til Christmas and I begin to panic. I feel this almost crushing sense of sadness win I think that the next time they're all home with me for the summer - they'll all be another year older. A little bit more independent, a little bit closer to "Mom, I just want to play with my friends today..." {{SIGH...}}

I went back and forth with "Should I start making them be in their own beds by 8 pm and practice getting up and dressed early?" and I decided that come August 21, they'll have to get up and I don't think we really need to practice it. So over the last couple weeks, we've been soaking up every last little drop of summer and that doesn't mean I'm out of touch with reality, it just means I'm ordering one more drink at last call, baby! It'll be closing time soon enough :(  But for now, we're letting the bodies fall where they may, we're sleeping in (sometimes, past 7 am - GASP!) and we let the day take its own direction. Soon enough, we'll have to conform. Soon enough . . .

One thing I did vow to get a handle on this year was the overwhelming influx of "school papers." With four kiddos in school full time plus one preschooler this year, it's gonna be a doozy!!! I started by asking other moms if they had any suggestions or systems that totally worked for them, took bits and pieces and here's what I came up with. I used mostly what I already had, and turned an otherwise unused wall in our dining room into our "family command center."
Each student has an inbox (clear wall pocket) for papers that need to be seen, signed or sent back. Anything that needs to go back to school goes on their clipboards, made by Melissa Frances scrapbooking. I bought the clipboards YEARS ago at Archiver's and have been just waiting for the perfect use... I used mod podge to adhere some scrapbook paper to each board. The clips are embellished with acrylic letters + coordinating card stock I punched with a circle punch and glued to a chipboard hang tags I had saved from the kids' Life is Good T-shirts and painted with Martha Stewart chalkboard paint.
The framed cork board was a steal for $9.99, and is the perfect spot to tack up school newsletters, lunch menus, district calendars or Book It sheets.  I found the clock and wall decal dry erase calendar at Target in the back to school department. The whiteboard weekly calendar and dry-erase to-do list are from the Board Dudes.

I'm pretty darn pleased with how it turned out....

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Happy Birthday Finley!

Happy Birthday to the sweetest 6 year old ever!! Love you Fin!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Hi my name is Ruby, and I love biscuits . . .

I love biscuits so much that I am fully convinced I should've been born in the South. Add hot black coffee, grits and some country music and I'm a happy gal.
I love to cook and bake, but the perfect biscuit has always eluded me . . . until now. Thanks to my ever-growing obsession with Pinterest, I can now make a killer biscuit. I have made them weekly since I found the recipe at Plain Chicken - which is another new obsession of mine. If you're looking for quick and yummy recipes - look no further.
Anyhow, seeing as the fam & I are currently soaking up some sunshine in the Florida Keys and I don't plan on hanging out on the computer for long, I'll leave you with this foolproof biscuit recipe just in time for Thanksgiving.
I will also include a picture of the biscuits before they were baked. I never got to take a pic after, as they were inhaled by my family. My husband actually said he ate so many that he wanted to curl up and take a nap using one of the fluffy biscuits as a pillow. That's a pretty good rating in my book.
Happy Thanksgiving all!!!

7-Up Biscuits

2 cups Bisquick
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup 7-up (I use Sierra Mist Natural)
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 450.
Cut sour cream into biscuit mix, add 7-Up. Makes a very soft dough.
Sprinkle additional biscuit mix on board or table and pat dough out. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a 9 inch square pan. Place cut biscuits in pan and bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Its scary to be a kid

For the last 10 years, I have been stuck in a vacuum of diapers and bottles and preschool programs, first steps and first teeth and big girl beds, etc. These all-consuming tasks that seem to take up every waking minute I have (and often those I don't have) render me guilty of sometimes overlooking those grade school troubles that often fly under the radar. Often, especially when a child is so self-sufficient at an early age, its easy for them to be pushed to the back of the pack when there's a stream of little siblings vying for your attention. After all, she can take her own shower, brush her teeth and fold her laundry. He can tie his shoes, get dressed and make his own breakfast. They assert their independence in many little (and sometimes big) ways. "MOOOOOOM! You're embarrassing me!!" Tim and I were in for a real treat when we realized that we became "lame" before they were even 10.... Seriously??
I never feel at any point like I "have it all together." On the contrary, I usually feel like our daily life is a teeter-totter. Its never prefectly balanced. If I've taken the kids to the park, hosted their friends for lunch and swimming or met up with friends or family for the afternoon - you can tell. The laundry's 5 loads (or 15) deep, the dishwasher needs to be emptied and you could easily wipe "DUST ME" on my console table. I like to think (or desperately hope) that its akin to a balanced diet as in
Its what you eat in a week versus a day that really counts. Just as there are those moments that stop you on a dime, slapping you in the face and telling you "Wake Up!! Pay attention to what's important here!!" there are also those moments that tell you , "Settle down, you're doing a good job. They get it." Finley had an especially rough night a couple nights ago - apparently she decided her bangs were in immediate need of an emergency trim right at the moment Tim was trying to get the baby in bed and I was ironing her patches on her new Daisy smock. (Let me just say I have NEVER had a child cut their own hair before. Never.) Thank the Lord she went with a smallish patch and not too hideously short. There was hope. I fixed them and she looked in the mirror. . . Only to promptly burst into tears (and when I say tears, I mean a high pitched shrieking reminiscent of Darryl Hannah in Splash.) at which point she began gasping, crying harder and screeching over and over "I look so weird! I look so weird!" Now at this point I did what any good mother would do - I called in reinforcements. After a stern talk telling the other kids verbatim what I expected them to say and reminding them not to smile or laugh, I brought in her brothers and sister. They gushed and told her how beautiful she looked and all seemed to be okay.
I continued to put the Daisy patches on the vest and a few minutes later Carter came in to see Finley again. My almost 7 year old presented his little sister with a container of playdough, his favorite pencil and his $2 from the tooth fairy to make her feel better. His most prized possessions.... and a card . . .

which reads: "You have 100 friends. You are the best out of all of them and you are the best in the whole world."

Apparently the front was softening the blow for the back of the card, which reads: "Your fish died. I'm really sorry."

And there you have it. They get it. It was funny, but so sweet and innocent in a 7 year old boy way. He used what he had to show his sister he cared and tried to make her feel better. Of course, it caused a whole new wave of tears (aka shrieking) and a "burial at sea" for Red Billy (I feel ashamed I never knew his name until his passing...)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Mixed bag . . .

I think my favorite thing about being blessed with a big family is that we have such an eclectic mix of personalities, opinions and tendencies. Its amazing how different 6 kids all born to the same parents can be. Of course, at times it can be maddening, at dinner time for example. But for the most part it is endearing.
As the kiddos grow this becomes more obvious and it has become my daily mission to preserve and respect those things that are unique to each of them. It starts from the moment they wake up (or refuse to wake up.) One likes oatmeal, the next hates it. "Yogurt parfaits" are a hit with everyone, but God forbid you put blueberries on his - he only likes raspberries. She'll eat any granola - he hates the one with nuts. One drinks rice milk, one drinks skim. On to lunches - PBJ for him, tuna for her. And so it goes. . . Everybody get dressed -The Batman shirt is his, not the Star Wars - even though they both wear the same size. She hates jeans and loves leggings. She wears only pink, she'll wear any color BUT pink . . .
I think its so important that we don't "bulldoze." Group everyone together because its easier that way. I have been guilty of this in really chaotic times (there's several periods like that every day!) That being said - we all eat the same dinner and follow the same house rules, but I try to really single out those things that make each of our kids special.
Piper is the house artist for sure. She loves baths and fashion design. Trace could tell you something you never knew about almost every animal you've ever heard of (or never heard of.) Carter is the "Baby Whisperer." Seriously, babies LOVE this kid. His siblings and cousins tend to say his name before any other name. Finley is our girly-girl through and through. Its pink and princesses and lip gloss all the way. She is sassy and sweet and eats anything and everything around the clock and is the tiniest little thing you've ever seen! Scout is mayhem, in a rough and tumble almost two-year-old. She LOVES her little brother more than anything else in the whole world, and being number five she is more self-sufficient than any of the others at this age. She has her coat and shoes as soon as she sees the car keys. Nobody's leaving baby home!!! That brings us to Bear, who has never been formally introduced here. He is now three months old and officially the sweetest baby ever! He smiles as soon as you catch his eye, and is so alert and wiggly now. We are all crazy in love with him and getting lots of time to snuggle together inside with this cold, gray winter. Hope all is well with everyone . . .

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Here we are . . .

Let me first say, we are here, we are well, and we do in fact remember that this blog is in existence. That being said, many other things have taken precedence over typing at the computer over the last couple of months.
So.... here's our Readers' Digest condensed version.
Scout started walking. She is now practically running.
Nana turned 60.
Trace turned 8.
We went to Disney World.
Carter graduated preschool and is kindergarten-bound this fall.
I snuck away to the Keys with Nana and a very pregnant Aunt Paula.
Piper earned straight A's for her whole third-grade year.
Aunt Paula gave birth to Graden Hudson Subler a week after returning from Florida.
We're having another baby.

Snuck that last one in there, huh?
No, you do not need to adjust your monitor. You are reading that correctly. Before you dig deep into the archives, I am aware that roughly 16 months ago, I said I would have no more babies, the Johnson Baby Factory was closing its doors. Well, I'm here to say that that (obviously) has not proved to be true. And frankly, we couldn't be happier!
So this new little one should be making his/her appearance somewhere around Halloween. Boo!
Needless to say, birthdays, vacations, the end of the school year and pregnancy have been taking up just a bit of our time lately. After a few false starts though, we are settling into summer nicely. and are looking forward to sunshine, less of a schedule and some time "Up North" this summer.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Good bugs, bad bugs, bugs everywhere!!

So lets face it - if there's one thing you can count on as a mom, its that things rarely go according to plan. My life over the last month is proof of this - a comedy of errors of sorts. It started with a yoga class my sister-in-law taught on Fat Tuesday. I was so excited to go spend time with my sisters-in-law and nieces, all while getting some exercise to boot. I did it, I loved it, I signed up for the long haul. C'mon, a mom of five needs a shot at some zen. I unfortunately have not been back to said yoga class since then. To make a long story short, ear infections, my husband flying standby home from Vegas during March Madness, dislocated jaws, school projects, five kids all outgrowing their shoes at the same time, and a death in the family have all prevented me from finding my zen.
But please, read on . . . there's a rainbow in my story . . . zen can be found in many places . . .
My point is that with so many things out of your control as a mom, you want to be able to have a say in your kids health. They're going to get sick from time to time, but why not arm them as best you can?
I (along with my kiddos) was lucky enough to be able to sample some great products that the fine folks at Vidazorb provided. Can I just say, this has been a good thing for us!! When they contacted me about trying them out and telling people what I thought, I figured a probiotic is a probiotic is a probiotic (do not attempt to say that ten times fast.) My kids have fairly consistently taken some sort of chewable probiotic with their slew of other daily vitamins. As a dye-free, all natural family, my kids enjoy their vitamins like other kids might enjoy Skittles or M&M's. We know about the benefits of putting the "good bugs" in your belly to help fight off the "bad bugs." But what we found with the Vidazorb was much more than we expected. We thought we'd fight off a few colds or flus, resist more germs from the dreaded doorknob or shared preschool toy. We think these things may have happened, but so did much, much more . . .

My seven-year-old has always had a very sensitive stomach, complaining at nearly every meal that his tummy hurts or that the food was giving him "icky burps." He has seen a pediatric gastro doc since age two. He's been scoped and medicated. We've done two different proton-pump inhibitor drugs, and prescription histamine blockers. We've taken them and gone off them and watched his symptoms flare up again. I am not a fan of medication. Not. A. Fan!!! Enter Vidazorb. We had just visited the doc again, been prescribed another med, and discontinued use of the med after no improvement. Our package of Vidazorb came and I thought, what the heck, lets give it a try. He started taking one Vidazorb Belly Boost Probiotic supplement with breakfast, one right after school and one with dinner. The first thing we noticed was that he actually asked for them because he loves the wild berry flavor. After a few days we noticed he was not complaining of "icky burps," his term for reflux. He was actually eating what we served for dinner, and eating snacks other than cinnamon toast (his go-to food with an upset tummy.) We asked him how his stomach was feeling and he stopped, thought about it and said "Good," as if he were surprised! This is more than I could have asked for and enough to make me a loyal Vidazorb momma!! Watching your child not want to eat because they don't want their food come back up is awful! Having found something that is naturally helping him is so awesome!
So, this blog is my equivalent of "shouting it from the rooftops!"

Why you should take a probiotic - and they're not just for kids:

  • They help your body absorb more nutrients
  • They support your body's immune system - fight off more bad "bugs"
  • Reports indicate they're an effective treatment for a number of allergies
  • There are studies showing that probiotics may play a significant role in helping the body manage its metabolism
Why Vidazorb??
  • No refrigeration required
  • All natural colors and flavors
  • Great tasting wild berry for kids and vanilla for you! (Though I have one stubborn 5 yo who much prefers my vanilla)
  • The Belly Boost for kids contain the best strains for kids - and have been extensively researched!
  • They provide what they claim - all the bacteria alive and viable in the bottle on the shelf for two years!
So, have I mentioned that we've become a Vidazorb family? Okay, now here's the good part . . . so can you!! Vidazorb will be kind enough to give a free, yes I said FREE bottle of their Belly Boost to the first 5 people to follow them on Twitter (@bellytweet), "tweet" them, saying you came from my blog and telling them why you'd like to try Vidazorb. If you're not on Twitter yet, do you need a better reason than this??

If you're not on Twitter, are opposed to Twitter, have no idea what Twitter is, or aren't one of the first five to follow and "tweet," don't worry!! You can still get a whopping 40% off of the entire Vidazorb line on their website through April 14th, using the code CCC40.

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