Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Ballet

The weekend before Grace's birthday, we took her and two of her dear friends to see the New York City Ballet perform Romeo and Juliet.  It was a beautiful performance and the girls seemed to really enjoy it.  We made an afternoon out of it with lunch beforehand and Magnolia Bakery goodies afterwards, where the entire store sang happy birthday to Grace.  We are so thankful for good friends and wonderful memories!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Grace's Birthday

We had a lot of fun celebrating 13 years with Grace on Saturday!  Saturday morning, we had our traditional panCAKES and that evening she chose to have family over for fried chicken, cake and bingo!

The cake she chose to have is one that she spotted years ago in one of my old Martha Stewart Kids magazines and has been waiting for the perfect birthday to have it.  This was the year!  It was easy to make and very yummy!

Grace made all the festive decorations for her gathering.

The night before her birthday she also made gluten free cupcakes to take in to her classmates.  I'm beginning to feel displaced in the merry making department!  Smile.

Saturday, February 28, 2015


Today, our girl is a teenager.  I can hardly believe it. All week I've thought about this post and have continued to put off writing it.  What should the focus be?  Should I talk about how worried I am that I'm not good enough to be a Mom to a teenager?  Should I talk about how sad I feel when I realize we only have 5 years left with our girl at home?  Should I speak of how very proud of her we are?  Of who she is and who she is becoming?  What about how honored I am to be her Mom?  How deeply grateful I am that she made me a Mom 13 years ago?  Perhaps I write about how strong a sense of self she has and how we pray that that sense can stay strong in the years ahead?  Should I reflect on the fact that if, 13 years ago, one had asked me to envision my 13 year old I couldn't have come close to envisioning anyone as complex, thoughtful, loving and unique as Grace is?

I've realized I don't have the words to really describe all my feelings about this milestone birthday. Nor can I do an adequate job describing Grace and all her many layers.  So instead, I'll carry on with our annual top 10...

1.  She's still a Daddy's girl.  She will talk with Bryce about anything and everything.

2.  Grace continues to take ballet 4 days a week.  She's quite good.

3.  Several years ago, Grace coined a phrase "frousky" to mean that someone was grumpy or unhappy in the family.  Somehow it stuck and now that's our key phrase in describing someone's mood when they aren't happy.

4.  Grace can facilitate between ecstatic, frousky (see above) and sad all within 5 seconds.  We call it her pterodactyl mode.  She doesn't care for the pterodactyl description and is lobbying for it to instead be called "drama llama" mode.  I will agree that that is cuter.

5. Grace tends more towards being an introvert.  I'm trying to be mindful of this while also remembering that this age craves friendships and social connections.

6.  She loves to sleep in, wear her "comfy" clothes and listen to her music, which often includes 80's hits.

7.  She is still an adventure loving girl who is super comfy in hiking boots and her zip off pants but she is also most certainly showing an interest in a little more fashion forward clothes and accessories.

8. She doesn't like to play games with people nor does she beat around the bush.  She also doesn't have a lot of patience for people who do.  She is a rule follower but also very independent.  She has a strong moral compass.

9.  She loves to read.  However, she's straddling that line between "children's books" and "young adult" books.  She recently stopped reading two young adult books because she felt they were inappropriate for her!  

10.  She thinks she wants to be a traveling adventure writer when she grows up.

We love you Grace!  Happy Birthday.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Getting Rid of Wrinkles- a tip


Perhaps you already use and love this method of getting rid of wrinkles on tablecloths, but I want to share this magical tip just in case you don't because it literally makes entertaining easier!   After our tablecloths are ironed we have no choice but to fold them up and store them in a drawer (as compared to being able to hang them).  Therefore, even though they have been beautifully ironed, they are still wrinkled when we put them on the table to use.  Recently, I discovered a very effective way of getting rid of those wrinkles.

Spray your tablecloth with a fine mist of water and, with a partner opposite you, gently pull the tablecloth between you.  The wrinkles will magically fall out!  I now swear by this method and wish I had discovered it sooner!


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Matilda and the MoMA

Last week, we took an overnight trip in to NYC to see Matilda on Broadway.  We read the book together last spring, but hadn't yet made it to see the musical.  It was a last minute decision to make it happen and I'm so glad that we did.  Roald Dahl is one of Harris' very favorite authors so I knew that we had to make this book come to life and broadway didn't disappoint!

The next day, we spent a couple of hours at the MoMA, or Museum of Modern Art.  This was a first for all of us and sort of blew Harris' mind.  He kept saying things such as, "This is Art?" and "I think I could make that!"  Case in point...

I think it was great to expand the children's base knowledge about art to include design, film, photography and even video games (it really sent Harris over the edge to see *Mind Craft in a museum!).

Also, it's always thrilling to see an original painting that you've read about.

 Harris is part of the art!

And always, always a favorite...

*Ha!  I realized after I hit publish that I wrote, "Mind" instead of Mine!  But I'm leaving it because it makes me laugh as I always say that there's is something about Mine Craft that alters your mind!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Children in the Snow

We've had the coldest winter that I can remember since we moved here almost ten years ago.  Honestly, the winter doesn't bother me as I know it does for some.  Perhaps it's due to my spending my childhood years in Florida, but as long as I'm dressed for it, I don't mind the cold.   The children also enjoy the winter and, fortunately, we've had some snow for them to play in.  Here are two of my favorite pictures of my favorite children...

Friday, February 20, 2015

Skincare for Grace

Around the time that I turned 13, my Mom took me to see our resident Mary Kay consultant (I later worked for her in my middle school years) to get me started on a healthy and consistent skincare routine.  I'm so thankful for that as I've always been conscientious about taking care of my skin.  I knew that I wanted to do the same for Grace, especially as we move into those teenage years where hormones and the like can wreck havoc on the skin.  I read about One Love Organics in a magazine somewhere, and intrigued, wrote to the company asking if they recommended their products for teenagers and if so, what the recommendations were.

I was delighted to receive an email from the company President, Suzanne.  Here's what she had to say,

I recommend keeping it super simple. I would recommend Chia Whip Purifying Foam Cleanser to cleanse and pair it with a Cleansing Sponge. Make sure your daughter hangs it up after each and every wash-never lay it down on the counter or it will disintegrate. My boys love washing their face since incorporating the sponge. It keeps the wash out of their eyes, is easy to rinse and feels good. 
Brand New Day is also a great exfoliation treatment and masque 1-2xs per week. But if your daughter is new to skincare or doesn't like many steps, just stick with thorough cleansing right now. That is THE most important step in your skincare routine. Just getting her to wash thoroughly everyday is a great habit.
For moisture, I would recommend applying a tiny bit of Skin Savior Balm to damp skin. As soon as you cleanse, blot the skin and apply Skin Savior Balm. This post will show you how to apply correctly.  
I would get the smaller Discover size because it should last her 6 months or more with regular use.

I very much appreciate that she suggested we start simple and didn't encourage us to buy tons of product.  For Valentine's Day, I gave Grace the suggested products and we talked a lot about how to properly care for skin and why.  I'm hoping that we've started a good habit!

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