Thursday, April 30, 2009

Birthday Bash for the month of May

MomDot is doing a different giveaway every day for the month of May in honor of one of the author's (Trisha's) birthday.  They are also giving away a swingset!
Since my birthday is in May too I will definitely be participating.
Happy Birthday Trisha!!!

Results of chopsticks giveaway...

Congratulations Michelle! I have emailed you. If I don't hear from you by Sunday I will do the random thing again and choose another winner. This whole giveaway thing was fun! I think I will do them more often :)

True Random Number Generator  4Powered by RANDOM.ORG

The Total Gym XL

My husband and I have just started regularly exercising together.  He wants to get in better shape, I want to fit into this adorable/sexy dress I have for a wedding the end of May.  We got a total gym for free (from our in-laws basement) and have had it set up in our bedroom for occasional use for an embarrassingly long time.
We are only doing two different exercises that are supposed to work 80% of the major muscle groups.  All I know is, it really makes you sore all over!  I think that's a good thing :p
If you ever see one of these at a garage sale/craigslist/etc. & have the room for it - I'd encourage you to get one.  They are SO easy to set up & use.  Just make sure if you have a cat he doesn't sharpen his claws on it.  Our ex-cat had the habit of doing that.
What do you love this rainy Thursday?  Head over to the Diaper Diaries to link up :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Because Being a Mom is Hard Work...

Eighty MPH Mom is hosting a Mother's Day giveaway with tons of cool prizes over at her blog from May 1-May 8.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

8 Things Meme

My friend Kathryn tagged me in a meme so here goes:

Eight Things I'm Looking Forward To:
  • My Wonderful Hubby's Birthday in two weeks!
  • My birthday at the end of the month
  • My third wedding anniversary & celebrating with the best husband ever at Cheesecake Factory :) :) :)
  • Evan's first birthday in August
  • Christmas (cause I just love Christmas)
  • Someday singing in church again
  • Having my parents/in-laws over for dinner
  • meeting my Lord in heaven & being in the presence of God! (borrowing this from Kathryn - thanks babe!)

Eight Things I Did Yesterday:
  • Moved a futon by myself
  • Went to the library
  • Made dinner
  • Changed poopy diapers
  • Vacuumed
  • Kissed my husband
  • Texted my brother
  • Read blogs/blogged

Eight Things I Wish I Could Do:
  • shape-shift
  • have a clean house without effort
  • see through walls
  • draw
  • be perfectly in shape without exercising
  • fly
  • keep my laundry room empty
  • sit and read books for hours
Eight Shows I Watch: (occasionally)
  • Seinfeld
  • American Idol
  • Lie to Me
  • Hell's Kitchen
  • The Office
  • Kitchen Nightmares
  • Cops
  • The Cosby Show
Eight People I Tag:

REALLY want to win!

Simply Being Mommy is hosting a giveaway for a Douglas Plush toy HERE.  I REALLY want to win!
They have such cute stuffed animals :)

Homemade Applesauce

I love homemade applesauce!  I love how yummy it tastes and how easy it is to make (not to mention what a nice, fast baby food it is :)  I was recently blessed with an abundance of free, very fresh, very bruised apples.  So I thought I would walk you through how I make applesauce in case you've never done it.  Sound good?
For more yummy recipes, check out Blessed with Grace & Balancing Beauty & Bedlam.
My giveaway ends soon to - so please don't forget to enter if you haven't already - the link is in the sidebar.  Thanks!

So first I chopped up the apples.  I was trying to do this quickly because Evan didn't want me to chop apples, he wanted me to play with him.  So I didn't so much "chop" as slice-into-fourths-peel-and-call-that-good :)
Here are the apples & about a quart of water.  I cooked them for about an hour until it was all nice and mushy.

Then I added some cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little apple juice (cause the apples I started with weren't very sweet).  Now, if you like chunky applesauce, you can eat it like this.  However, my boys don't...
So I used my smart stick to blend it into apple perfection :)

Monday, April 27, 2009


I didn't do a whole lot of cleaning today.  I just didn't want to.  Instead, I took my little brothers to the library, made applesauce, vacuumed a little with Will, and played with my boys.
Just a slow, hot Monday.  It was kind of nice.
When my husband got home from work he put screens in some of the windows so we could have a nice breeze through the house.  I swear it lowered the temperature in here by ten plus degrees!
I am thinking about going to Shoppers tomorrow for their double/triple coupons, but I'm not sure if I really want to expend the energy.  It was pretty difficult to shop last time with both my boys...hey I don't think I ever told you about it!  It was a rainy, dreary day, but I was determined to go grocery shopping.  I had my coupons/list all planned out & by golly we were going to do it!  My boys were SO good - they obeyed and didn't whine/fuss at me.  I spent $92 and saved $119 :)  This is what I got:

Some vitals like toilet paper, laundry detergent, & new sippy cups which we were in need of because someone *coughWillcough* has a tendency to throw his cups from his high chair when they are gone.  Sippy cups crack easier than I thought.  Some frivolties like chips (treat for my hubby), cake mixes, & salad dressings that were just too cheap to pass up!
What this picture doesn't show is my two boys falling asleep in the car on the way home, or me crashing after putting kids to bed/perishables away.  I was sooooo tired!
Great savings, but I'm not sure I have enough energy to do it again tomorrow.  I'll let you know...

In other news, I discovered a really cool site today - My Moms View.  She has a giveaway EVERY DAY!  The one I am most interested in right now is the toy wranglers from LuvLoo.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Discipline - part 2

My craft for this week was plastic bag pom-poms from Craftastica.
Since I didn't finish this post in time for Wednesday this week I figured I would just post it today.
I am doing a book review series (otherwise known as your own personal sparknotes :) on the book "Don't Make Me Count To Three" by Ginger Plowman.

Chapter 3 focused on heart issues.  Ms. Plowman talked about not talking TO your child, but WITH them.  She says not to ask "who had it first?" and met out justice, but to get to the attitude of their heart and address it with Scripture.  Ultimately, our goal is to help our kids recognize what is in their own heart and think like a Christian.
"In all conflicts, we should begin our training by seeking to understand the nature of the internal conflict that was expressed in the outward behavior."
This is really a struggle for me.  It's so often easier just to ask "who had it first" and solve the conflict quickly.  I need to remember that solving the outward obedience now isn't taking care of the heart attitude.

Training children in righteousness is the theme of chapter 4.  The main point is to question your children to get back to their motivation for their actions.  The biggest thing I learned from this chapter is to role-play/practice correct behavior when you are disciplining.  For example, Will's uncle sometimes likes to pick on him.  We have been practicing telling CJ "no-no" and coming to mommy.  One thing I thought Ms. Plowman overlooked was praising children for obedience.  I thought it was a good addition to the practicing correct behavior.  Praise good behavior.  I try to do this with Will and it really seems to reinforce and encourage his actions.

Stay tuned for part 3 coming Wednesday...
This post is linked to Family Friday over at Homemaker Barbi.  It's a new carnival that looks really neat if you'd like to check it out!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My Vacuum Cleaner

(picture credit)
  Make sure to visit the Diaper Diaries (assuming you didn't just come from there :) for more Things I Love Thursday.

I love my vacuum cleaner.  I realize that may shock some people since I greatly dislike cleaning.  What can I say?  I'm weird :)
I have a Kenmore Progressive Canister Vacuum.  I had never tried a canister vac before getting married.  I wasn't too sure about it to tell the truth, but my husband convinced me.  He was right (as usual).  It is the best vacuum ever!  It's light to push, which is great since I'm ususally holding a little one while vacuuming.  It's easy to vacuum in the corners of the ceiling while I'm standing on the ground - this is amazing since I am 5' 3".  It has several different, easily attachable parts, which means I can use the vacuum on the ground, high chair, couch, and rug without any difficulty.  It has great suction and I've never had an issue with anything tangling in the beater bar.  The cord is LONG and retractable (that is Will's favorite part, pushing the button to wind up the cord) and everything packs into the top of the vacuum for easy, compact storage.  The best part?  This vacuum retails for around $300, but we found ours on Ebay for $100.  AND it lasts - my mother-in-law has the same vacuum.  It's ten years old and still going strong!  So that's what I love today.  Excuse me, I think I need to do some vacuuming now :)

PLEASE enter my giveaway in the sidebar if you haven't already done so!!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

PBJ Pizza

Welcome to readers that came from Balancing Beauty & Bedlam & Blessed with Grace!  Please be sure to enter my giveaway in the sidebar :)
If you have not done so, be sure to visit the other participants of Tempt my tummy Tuesday and Tasty Tuesday.  There are some really great recipes!

I've been trying to make homemade pizza once a week this month.  (1) Because it's economical.  (2 & mostly) Because my hubby/kids adore it.
This past week in addition to our normal entree pizza I felt like something fun and different for dessert.  When  I was a kid I remember going to Hungry Howie's Pizza in Florida with my grandparents.  They served a peanut butter and jelly pizza that I loved!  I thought I'd attempt to recreate this childhood favorite.  What do you think?

The "recipe" was really easy too.  I made homemade pizza crust using THIS recipe from Money Saving Mom.  Then I poured melted peanut butter and melted jelly over the top.  I put a strudel-type topping on top with 1/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons of flour.  I baked the whole thing for 12 minutes and voila!  PBJ Pizza that my hubby and boys gave their stamp of approval.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Rainy Monday

On this very cold, dark, rainy Monday I think I am going grocery shopping with both my boys.  It will be fun - in a crazy, trying to do five things at once sort of way :)
Mondays also mean laundry for me.  I don't really like laundry.  One of the WORST things about laundry is socks.  And the fact that no matter how many times I put both socks in the wash, one of them disappears :-p
BUT today I came across the coolest website/giveaway that solves the problem of the missing/mismatched sock!
Check it out here at Katydid & Kid.  Em - this is totally your kind of thing!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Fridays are so nice!

This is an easy, cheap, romantic, and personal gift that anyone can do!  For Christmas one year, I got a posterboard and a bunch of sharpies.  I made a list of 100 things I love about my husband.  Then I simply covered the posterboard.  I also added some little doodles here and there to make it more visually interesting.  Now it hangs in his workshop/garage.
So simple, but so cool!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fruitsense Drinks

  Last time Shoppers had triple coupons I picked up several bottles of Old Orchard Fruitsense drinks.  The first flavor I tried was the key lime colada.  Blech!  The coconut left a very chemically aftertaste.  It was baaaad.  I decided to give the juice another chance (since I still had several bottles) and opened the kiwi dragonfruit one afternoon.  It is labeled the "energy" flavor and I really needed energy that day.  I was pleasantly surprised at the taste - MUCH better - light and fruity; it tasted like watered down juice.  (But not like apple juice, you know how some juices are labeled "strawberry banana cocktail" or whatever and you look at the ingredients and it's apple and grape juice?  I hate that!)  It actually seemed to work giving me energy too.  I don't know if it was actually the "energy" properties or just the fact that I took the time to drink something, but I had more spring in my step to deal with the rest of the day.  I have also tried the pomegranate blueberry mangosteen flavor and while I didn't like it as well as the kiwi, it also has a pleasantly light taste.  There are two other flavors of Fruitsense: cranberry raspberry & tangerine grapfruit, but I didn't have THAT many coupons :)
I don't think I would purchase these full-price, but with coupons they make a nice occasional treat from water.  They would also be perfect for when you are sick, since they have all sorts of added vitamins.  I don't know that I would go straight to "love" for Fruitsense...though I do strongly "like" it.  Have you tried Fruitsense?  What did you think?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"Hey Babe"

My hubby called upstairs to me today to ask me a question.  "Hey Babe, where are the such and such?"
Will, the recently turned two year old parrot was standing by his daddy, "hey babe, hey babe, hey babe."

Ken and I totally cracked up.
Sometimes being called "babe" is almost better than being called "mom".   Almost :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My very first giveaway!

Welcome Tempt my tummy Tuesday & Tasty Tuesday readers!  For yummy recipes, visit Blessed with Grace on Tuesdays for the Tempt my tummy Tuesday carnival.  For even more yummy recipes, visit Balancing Beauty and Bedlam for Tasty Tuesday.

I love Asian food.  Vietnamese noodle soup (pho bo), spring rolls, chicken teriyaki, coconut milk rice, general tso's chicken, beef broccoli, curry, baklava, egg drop soup - it's good stuff!
Because I like asian food so much, I have put it as a category once a week on my monthly menu.  Once every week this month we are going to have some kind of homemade asian food.  This is where you come in.  Because as much as I love asian food, I sometimes get in a rut as far as new recipe ideas.  So...
I am hosting my very first giveaway!  I have two packages of Kame bamboo chopsticks to give away:
That is 10 pairs of chopsticks!  They have pretty red, shiny lettering on them.  I have no idea what it says :)  They are reusable and hold up really well!

To enter: 
Leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite asian dish is
Extra entries: 
Subscribe to BooksnBoys and leave a comment telling me you did so
Blog about this giveaway and post the link in the comment section

Contest is open until April 30th.
Winner will be chosen using & announced May 1st.
Please make sure if you are not a blogger that I have a way to contact you!

Monday, April 13, 2009

My Hair Makeover

I was looking for a new hairstyle recently and after I saw the IE Mommy's chic transformation I knew I had to try it for myself.  A HUGE thank you to Tammy & Erin for their sweet encouragement and advice.

Creative or Crazy?

Last night I was sorting laundry to give me a head start for today.  Sorting laundry is a really boring job.  So I did what I often do when I'm faced with a mindless task (and don't have children to entertain): I started writing in my head.  
The laundry I was sorting started taking on personalities and talking to each other.  The dark laundry was bored and rather uninterested in anyone else, "Yawn, she's cleaning us again."  "Did you catch that movie the other night?"  "No, he wore me the day he went to the dump."  "I went to Kohls the other day - have you seen some of the cute spring dresses?  Rowr!"
The bleach load (white washcloths, white towels, etc) was like a bunch of guys comparing scars.  "Oh yeah, well I cleaned up sugar syrup that had boiled all over the stove!"  "Ah, that's nothing.  I cleaned up that poopy diaper the kid smeared all over his walls."  "Guys, guys, I have you totally beat.  I cleaned up vomit - not once, but twice!"
The light laundry is elitist.  They are the ones always complaining.  "He-llo?  It says 'dry clean only' on my tag!  Can't you read?"  "What is this gray shirt doing in OUR load?  He's not a light!"  "Peace, man.  Gray is the new white - haven't you heard?"  (That was the gray shirt, he's kind of a hippie)
Maybe it's kind of a crazy thing to do, but it always makes the task more enjoyable for me :)
What weird/crazy/creative things do you do to make mindless jobs more fun?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lazy Saturday

I got REALLY behind with google reader this week.  I had 200+ posts that just kept building up.  Thanks to some late nights, I got it back under control, but whew!  It constantly amazes me how much information is transmitted instantaneously over the Internet.  Here are a couple of my favs for the week:

I recently had a horrible experience at Walmart and "called corporate" for the first time.  Southern Savers has this wonderful post about calling customer service as well as numbers/email addresses for several stores.

This post on credit cards from the Simple Dollar was very thought-provoking.  I don't ever agree with everything Trent says, but he is interesting and usually makes some good points in his posts.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Very fun weekend project!

A couple weeks ago my husband built our boys the coolest ball pit EVER!
Last year at a garage sale I scored an inflatable ball pit complete with a couple trash bags full of balls.  The ball pit has several holes that we patched.  All was well for a few weeks, but then the pit started deflating again.  Despite our best efforts, it just had too many holes to be salvaged.  So we stored the balls in a laundry basket.  This meant they spent more time dumped on the floor than actually in the basket - not so fun to play with :p  We looked ALL over last summer for one of those hard plastic swimming pools, but were unable to find one.  Finally my husband said "you know, I could just make a pit..."  My response was "this weekend?"  So he did.  I assisted.  Sort of :)  
This is the finished ball pit - cool huh?

My incredible husband built a wooden box with wood we had on hand.  Then we got 1" foam from Joann fabrics and stapled it around the top.  We covered the entire structure with vinyl (easy to clean!) stapled nicely.

Then he inserted the pvc/net from the inflatable pit and we filled it with balls.  We were going to put a rug in the bottom of the pit, but we forgot so it's open to the floor.  My boys LOVE it and I love that the balls are contained where they can enjoy them :)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Cuisinart Smart Stick

I received the Cuisinart Smart Stick as a wedding gift from a chef I worked with.  She told me that I would absolutely love it.
She knew what she was talking about!  I use this almost daily for a mulitude of tasks.  The chopper is great for fast food prep (onions, baby food, nuts, etc.) and the blender is great for pureeing soup/sauces in the pot.  The whisk attachment is only good in a deep bowl, but 
I have found that to be true with any electric whisk.  Cleanup is a breeze as almost all of the parts release easily and go into the dishwasher.  Light, easy to handle, and quick to use!  I love it!
If you'd like to see more stuff people love, head over to the Diaper Diaries for Things I Love Thursday :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Discipline - part 1

I recently finished the book "Don't Make Me Count to Three".  It is "a mom's look at heart-oriented discipline" by Ginger Plowman.  It was a really helpful book on not just making your child behave on the outside, but getting to their heart/mind.  It's still a little early for a lot of the concepts for me/my boys, but I'm trying to apply as much as I can.  Here is my breakdown of the book and what I learned:
Chapter 1 dealt with "the high calling of motherhood".  Mrs. Plowman began the book by reminding me that although being a mom a lot of times feels like a forgotten/unimportant job, it is a vital, skilled job that we need to perform with passion.
"Being a mom is more than being cook, chauffeur, maid, counselor, doctor, referee, disciplinarian, etc. (just to name a few). It's about molding character, building confidence, nurturing, training, and guiding. There is nothing like the influence that a mother has on her child. A mother's influence has enormous potential to shape the person a child becomes, for good or ill."
This chapter was such an encouraging reminder for me!  Since the world in general does NOT value stay-at-home moms very highly, it is so easy to become discouraged and feel like I'm not doing anything important.  Plus, the challenge to parent with passion and be excited about parenting was motivating to me since I do tend to sometimes just do enough to get through the day and nothing more.
Chapter 2 is about the definition of discipline.  Mrs. Plowman first addresses how the world today associates discpline with "punishment that involves anger".  She then goes on to talk about how many parents today who are trying to set standards for their children focus only on the outward behavior.  "[I]f they can get their children to act right, then they are raising them the right way."
Both of these viewpoints are wrong/falling short of the true purpose of discipline, according to Mrs. Plowman.  She gives the Biblical definition of discipline and its purpose.  She sums up the chapter with this thought," We must help our children understand that their straying hearts produce wrong behavior...If you can reach the heart [of your child], the behavior will take care of itself."
Yikes this is a long post and I've only made it through two chapters out of twelve!
I guess I will have to split this review up over several posts...I hope you don't mind.  Writing out an explanation of what I learned really helps me remember and better comprehend things so I appreciate you being my sounding board :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Marshmallow Worms

I'm linking up with two Tuesday carnivals: Tempt my tummy Tuesday by Blessed with Grace & Tasty Tuesday by Forever, Wherever.  Check em out!
This is one of those "keeping it real" posts.  I made marshmallows today for the first time.  Some parts went well, some parts didn't...
I used THIS recipe from Martha Stewart because I was trying to make homemade peeps.

Here are my ingredients - really simple.  Sugar, water, and unflavored gelatin.
Soak the gelatin in cold water.
Sugar and water, boiling to the soft-ball stage.
Combine sugar syrup with gelatin and blend for ten minutes.  This is when I started...
This is at 5 minutes...
This is when it's finished at ten.  See how it's holding its shape?  Then I was put it in a pastry bag and I was supposed to pipe the shapes directly onto colored sugar.  Here is where I had problems.  Up to this point it was pretty straightforward/easy.
This is my first attempt at a peep.  It's pretty pathetic looking.  It was IMPOSSIBLE to get the marshmallow to pipe nicely :p
These are supposed to be bunnies.  Don't laugh.  Okay, you can laugh, but just don't tell me you did.  After this I gave up.  Piping marshmallow just wasn't working for me.  As a result my kids are getting marshmallow worms in their baskets.  They will probably think worms are cooler than chicks/bunnies anyway.
Will got to try a marshmallow.  He thought the texture was kind of weird, but he ate the whole thing.
Have you ever had a recipe not turn out quite like you expected?

Monday, April 6, 2009

"Don't open the hall closet!"

This is the current state of my hall closet/pantry:

Pretty sad huh?  I'm going to TRY and get this closet cleaned today.  Not sure if I'll make it cause Evan is teething/has a fever/is really fussy and my poor hubby is home from work sick too.
I'll keep ya'll updated...
12:51pm - Update
I did it!  I have accomplished something today :)  Plus, I found a whole bunch of lightbulbs that I didn't know we had - always a good thing.  Not as cool as finding money in the closet like my sister did one time, but still a very nice surprise.  Here are my "after" pictures:

The top shelf is lightbulbs (in the box so I can get them down easily) and other "stuff to store".
The middle shelf is cleaning supplies.
The bottom shelf is my extra pantry space containing iced tea, saltines, candy, and chopsticks that I got in bulk.  (Next week I will be doing MY FIRST GIVEAWAY with one of these items...don't miss it!)

Then of course, the all-important vacuum, broom, the upper part to the pack-n-play, and random wood pieces that I need to ask my hubby where they go.
*Sigh* It's so nice to have SOMETHING clean in the house, even if it's just the closet :)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Saturday Shout Outs

The most frequent thing I've googled this week was "vomiting/diarrhea".  Here was my most helpful results just in case any of you need it (hopefully you don't!): Treating Child's Vomiting
(That Kid's Health website also has a really detailed pregnancy week-by-week breakdown)

A Very Cool Idea for decorating in your master bedroom from A Thousand Words

I got 12+ bags of black beans for an insanely good price a couple weeks ago so now I am in the market for recipes (hint, hint).  This soup from Salt and Chocolate looks good.  I am planning on trying it maybe this week (assuming my family gets well enough to eat again).

And just for fun, I thought this video of a flight attendant rapping was hysterical!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Using what you have

I am very proud of this arrangement.  I made it using leftover flowers from my wedding, flowers I found at garage sales, wooden roses from Joshua's Hands, and a basket I already had.
Flower arranging is SO easy; anyone can do it.  Really.
All you have to do is find a container - basket, bucket, wagon, use your imagination!
Put some styrofoam in the bottom.
Get some fake flowers.  Garage sales/craigslist/freecycle/clearance at Michaels are all great places to score lots of pretty flowers.
Stick the flowers in so they are varied and look full.
Enjoy a pretty centerpiece that doesn't have to be watered and will never die :)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Two Thursday Carnivals in One Post - Woo Hoo Me!

Today is Things that I love Thursday hosted by the Diaper Diaries!  This is one of my favorite carnivals, because it was one of the first I ever participated in :)  I also saw a photo carnival for today on Everything Except the Grill that I am linking to.  Her theme for today is "Something you do everyday."  Well, the first thing that came to mind was changing diapers!  So I figured I'd participate in both carnivals today.  Aren't I ambitious?

So, here is my picture of what I do (several times) every day:

"Hi to all you bloggy people reading this!  My mom is going to change my diaper & that makes me so happy!"

The thing that I love today that goes along with the picture (actually, it's in the picture) is Balmex.  Desitin is good too.  Diaper rash cream.  It is awesome stuff!  My boys have been suffering from diarrhea/flu/vomiting this past week and I have been SO glad to have diaper rash cream on hand for their poor little butts.  It works wonders for them and saves my sanity.
Plus, when you buy Balmex, you can submit it for $1 rebate from Caregiver's Marketplace.  I got mine from triple coupons at Shoppers for about $2 before the rebate :)  Not just awesome working diaper rash cream - it's cheap awesome working diaper rash cream.  That's what I love!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

For those days when Mommy is tired...

Sometimes there are days when I am tired and it's hard to actively play with my kids.  I really like doing quiet things on those days - like reading books.  However, I have little boys and they don't always like to sit still and read books.  So, there are a couple games that I use on "tired mommy" days.
First is "Animal Imitation" (like the name?  I just made it up :).  What you do is have your child/ren lay on the floor with the light off, then you tell them when you turn the light on they have to act like a ____ (insert animal here).  We especially like odd animals like worms; be creative!  I leave the light on for a couple minutes and then when I turn it off they have to stop what they are doing, lay down and quietly wait for the next animal.  It's a great game because mom doesn't have to move much, the kids get to practice their animals, and get lots of energy out!
I also like "Statues".  I didn't come up with this game, but I don't remember where I saw it.  Basically the idea is to play music and have your kids dance.  When the music stops they have to freeze into a statue.  It's is REALLY funny to see what "cool" poses kids come up with :)
I hope this helps some of you with your own "tired mommy" days!