Saturday, January 31, 2009

Owling

One of our books in the January basket was Owl Moon by Jane Yolen. I've always had a fondness for this sweet book. I've been wanting to go owling for a while and since tonight was our Family Night we thought it would be a fun winter activity. It was really cold here so we had to bundle up! We have a state park nearby where I had been told owls were often spotted. Unfortunately we arrived to find that it closed well before sunset. So we went to the woods down by the river and hoped to spot some there. We had no luck but there was something really neat about being in the snow covered woods in the dark. Afterwards we went to one of our favorite hole in the wall restaurants and had some good ole fried chicken.

P.S. We were glad to have my Mom join us!




Friday, January 30, 2009

Chick fest

Grace's class hosted a chick party yesterday in honor of the newly hatched chicks.   The first graders get to participate in a program that allows the children to watch chicks hatch from their eggs.  The eggs were brought in last week and hatched earlier this week.  One
 classroom even had a "chick cam" set up so that over the weekend we could check in on them to see if any had hatched!  On Thursday the chicks were big enough (it's astonishing how fast they have grown) to be handled.  Grace and Harris really loved holding them!  

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Time to make the doughnuts....



This morning things looked very promising.  There was a decent amount of snow on the ground, school was cancelled and I was looking forward to a day spent indoors with the children.  

Then it started raining, the children went out to play only to get soaking wet and they started having a few squabbles between them.  I think it was hard for them to get past the disappointment of not being able to use the sled Bryce got for them.  

So we made doughnuts (what else is one to do in trying times but make something sweet to eat?).  They turned out really good and dare I say, good for you.  They are baked, not fried and have apples and wheat germ in them.  That being said the cinnamon and sugar topping really does make the doughnut.  Perfect with a glass of milk.  

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Games



The children have really gotten into playing games.  They play with each other, with us or sometimes by themselves.  Harris received Zingo for his birthday and it has been played at least once (but usually multiple times) every day since.   

For several years we have had the matching game, I Never Forget a Face, by Eeboo and it also never seems to get old.  As a bonus my children can now name the countries that the children are from! 
 Grace also really like to play checkers, Harris is getting better at it.  It's fun to have Family Night and play games that we can all participate in.  Anybody else have more game suggestions?    

Weekend

This weekend we were fortunate enough to visit with Leah, Bryce's sister, and her husband, Aaron.  They came up for the night to visit with Paul who will soon be moving to the island of Roatan.  The children enjoyed spending time with them and so did we.  We will miss them when they move to Iowa, it's been nice having them so close.  

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Soup


I made my favorite soup tonight for dinner.  It's from Susan Branch's cookbook, Heart of the Home, and I've been making it for a long time*.  I always think of it as a girly soup because it's not meaty and heavy, but Bryce also loves it.  I like to  double the recipe so that I can have leftovers.  I also skip the food processor and use my immersion blender.  Heavenly.

*  When I first began to cook my Mom told me a story about a family she had read about.  The Mom had cancer and was in the hospital for an extended period of time.  While she was there the family had a housekeeper who helped with the children and cooked dinner for them.  After the Mom came home the Dad told the housekeeper that he was amazed at how well she had fed them during this terrible time.  He asked how she knew all of their favorite foods.  She told him that his wife had made notations in all her cookbooks as to what was good, what were favorites and what wasn't a hit.  What a blessing in such a difficult time.   I make notations in my cookbooks not only because of this story but also because it's fun to look back and see on what occasion I first made a new recipe.  

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Date Night


I never posted about our trip into the city last weekend for the company party.  We had a great time and it was fun to get dressed up and be in the city even if it was FREEZING cold.  

Our hotel was charming and quaint.  Our room was miniscule, but we didn't care!  It had really nice touches and it reminded us a lot of the hotel we stayed in when we went to Paris.  Pretty quickly after we got to the city we got dressed and went to the party at the Natural History Museum.  After the party was over we went to a bar called Campbell's Apartment, in Grand Central Station, which I loved because it was really old school.  I had a champagne drink that was called a Flapper's Delight that was very tasty.

 The next morning Bryce and I had a breakfast of pastries and croissants (again reminiscent of Paris!) and then headed out to do a bit of shopping, mostly of the window variety!  It was lightly snowing and still very cold but I was super excited to go in Kate's Paperie because products from the store are always used in magazines that I read.

In Lilly Pulitzer they had vintage dresses hanging on a rack that were tagged as to what occasion they were worn to.  I was amazed that the dresses really didn't look that much different than many of her designs today!


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mud Room




It has been a while since I posted about the renovation.  We might not yet have had a huge snowstorm this season, but we have had a lot of winter weather.  We've had snow, ice and it's been cold!  Which means we have worn mittens, scarves, boots, hats, and snowsuits.  I've been so thankful we included a mud room as  part of the kitchen renovation.  

This little room was part of the house before the renovation, but it had narrow kitchen cabinets lining the lower walls and was basically unusable for anything but a bit of limited storage. (Oddly, the listing for this house named this room the "eat-in kitchen!")  The bathroom door was also not in this room, it was off the kitchen.  I've been really happy with the brick tiles that we put down for the floor; they don't show dirt and can really take a beating.  

We had the bench and cabinets built-in on the back wall. We each have a basket for all of our stuff and after the season is over I store the items for next season in the baskets above the bench. During the winter, we have hats, scarves and mittens where we need them. In the summer, we have towels, sunscreen and insect repellant at the ready.  You can't see the other wall of the mudroom in the pictures but he also have a window which lets in nice light and we have just enough room for an umbrella stand and a key holder.  All in all, it's really nice to have a place for everything as soon as we walk in, or on our way out the door.

P.S. I love the fabric on the cushion that my Mom made...it's frogs.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Snowy Day

 
We had an unexpected snow today!  The children and I read the book Snowflake Bentley and went outside to try to catch snowflakes.  We couldn't believe how well we could see their formations on the black velvet.  While we were outside we decided to go for a hike in the woods.  We had so much fun!  The snow was perfect and it wasn't too cold.  We had a snowball fight, made snow angels and looked for wildlife (we didn't see any).  When we got home we had hot chocolate with peppermint marshmallows.  In Grace's words it was "totally, awesome fun."



Saturday, January 17, 2009

Evening in NYC

We are off to the city for the night.  Bryce's company party is this evening at the American Museum of Natural History, and Bryce surprised me with a night at The Franklin Hotel!  I think it looks dreamy and romantic!  


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Save Hand-Made


I love children's toys that are functional as well as beautiful, which seems to be the case with many hand-made toys.  I've recently learned that there is some misguided legislation that is threatening to make hand-made toys illegal!  This would put a lot of small businesses out of business  and make our toy options a lot more limited.  There is a really thorough explanation of the situation here and what you and I can do about it.  

Santa brought this woodland fairy house (the elves made it) to Grace for Christmas.  I'm not sure who loves it more- her or I!  It's so beautiful and the details are exquisite.   We've even had a real fairy visit and sleep in the bed!  We know this because she left some fairy dust behind.  It was very exciting!



Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Love at first sight....

Three years ago, when my sister was visiting, we went shopping at a nearby town that has lots of antique stores.  In one of the shops I spotted an antique chandelier (I adore them!) that had strawberries on it.  It was really, really out of my price range, but I have thought about that chandelier a lot.  I've even looked on ebay several times but not had any luck.  Until Saturday.

A friend called and asked if I would like to ride with her to a store that was going out of business.  As we were looking around I looked up and spotted a strawberry chandelier (new, not antique).  It was love at first (re)sight! I was thrilled but dismayed to see that this one was also out of my price range!  Gretchen encouraged me to offer a lot less (what did I have to lose?).  I did and after a bit of going back and forth we agreed on a price!  I'm going to put it on the front porch.  It has me dreaming of alfresco dinners.  

Monday, January 12, 2009

Seasonal Books


One of my goals for this year is to do more meaningful projects with the children that are centered around children's literature.  If you know me, you know that I love children's books-picture books and chapter books.  I have now been out of teaching seven years (!) and really feel out of the loop when it comes to the new offerings of books!  Subscribing to the Horn book has helped, but I need to make a more concerted effort.  If anyone has any great book suggestions I would love to hear them (or of a way to learn about new books).

In an effort to read more seasonal books I have created a book basket that will stay in the hallway outside of the children's rooms.  Every month I'm going to switch out new books that are relavent to that month's holidays, seasons, birthdays, special occasions, etc.  For the January basket I put winter/snow books and several books that deal with the issue of civil rights (MLK).  

P.S. I bought this book basket years ago at Pottery Barn Kids.  They are perfect for books because they have a low front and high back.  They no longer carry them and I really wish I had bought more!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Let us eat cake!


To celebrate my birthday Bryce and the children made me a birthday cake!  Grace had the idea to put the bow on top in honor of my love of all things with bows.  It turned out beautifully and the cake was delicious!  


Assembling the finished cake

Decorating the cake

Enjoying the cake!

P.S.  Thanks go to my friends, Marci and Gretchen, who brought over scones and flowers today!  We had a proper tea and a good time!  Scones and cake in one day- who could ask for anything better?


Friday, January 9, 2009

Bathroom wallpaper

I just ordered this wallpaper for the attic bathroom.  I think that it is super cute but am a little nervous about putting it in such a small bathroom.  Will it look too cluttered? Too sloppy? I hope not!  Fortunately, since it is such a small bathroom I only need one roll so it's not a significant investment.  I haven't decided if I'll paste the children's artwork in the frames, or let them draw on the wallpaper (be still my heart!).  Any ideas?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Binders



About a month ago, Jeni asked how I kept ideas straight from one year to another.  My answer- binders.  Ever since I can remember I have loved to cut out of magazines and create binders.  When I was a teenager I created beauty binders!  Whenever I see an idea that I like and think I might use someday I cut it out or print it out and put it in the appropriate binder.  I have many!  The ones that get used the most are the Holiday ones, good things for children, travel and meal ideas.  And of course the party one gets pulled out at least two times a year!  Grace loves to go through and look at all the fun cake ideas.  

I've recently noticed a shortage of new ideas in my binders, and I've realized that it's because I don't get nearly as many magazines as I used to, especially children's (I will never stop lamenting the demise of Martha Stewart Kids and Baby).  

The holiday binder is divided into months.  That way I can flip through and see what holiday or occasion is in that month (besides the obvious, there's Groundhog day, poetry month, Dr. Suess' birthday, etc).


Child magazine (which has since gone under) used to do a column every month on what to do with kids in a specific city.  I also save anything that sounds like we might even remotely be interested in doing.  That's how we found Shelburne Farms and that was a fantastic vacation.  I don't think I ever would have found out about it otherwise.


Monday, January 5, 2009

Easy



Alfie
Does everyone have Alfie? When we renovated our bathroom we put Alfie, the handshower, in and he has made such a difference! Both of the children still take baths and Alfie helps with hair rinsing, body rinsing and tub rinsing. Plus, he's just really fun.

Coffee
When we lived in Atlanta, I only drank coffee on the weekends. When we moved here I started drinking coffee every single day. I think having a warm mug to hold onto was a comfort to me and now I'm addicted.

Macs and the Internet
Bryce has always been a lover of Macs so we purchased one as soon as we were able to. I love it. It makes things so easy! I can easily organize recipes, finances, addresses and photos to name a few, and I don't pull my hair out trying to figure out how to do it all. I also use the Internet a tremendous amount. I did a lot of shopping online after the children had gone to bed for Christmas and didn't have to experience the crowds and searching at the stores.

Immersion Blender
I got my immersion blender for Christmas a few years ago and have loved it ever since! I no longer have to pull out my food processor every time I need to puree soups so it saves time and dishes. I also used it with baby food.


Shower Cap
Seriously. My hair gets frizzy at the very mention of humidity, but by using this shower cap my hair can maintain its semi frizz free status just a little longer. It doesn't hurt that it is cute.

Grocery List
This is a small thing but makes a big impact on time in the grocery store. I got a pamphlet at our market that lists what products are in each aisle. Bryce whipped up a spreadsheet with the aisles and when I make my menu for the week I put the ingredients in the correct aisle. I no longer have to make trips back and forth through the store because I forgot something back in aisle 1!

Calendar
About five years ago, I missed a friends baby shower because I forgot all about it. Instead, I was doing exciting things such as shopping at Target and cleaning the house! At the time I didn't have a calendar and just kept it all in my head. Clearly, that wasn't working. Since then I have been using the MomAgenda and have had great success with it. We've recently been trying out the online calendar, Cozi, which so far has really worked out because Bryce can access it from work.






Sunday, January 4, 2009

Visit from Hilton Head


We love when people come to visit us (hint, hint).  To be honest, I've been surprised at how many people have come to see us here. Kathleen, Carrie, Alvis, Delita and family, Bryce's parents, some members of baby club, Geoff, and now we can add Bryce's sister, Jeni, and her husband Bill to the list.  

They were traveling back from a trip to Canada and swung by for the evening.  We ate dinner together and had a nice time visiting.  Then, to add to our pleasure of their visit, they came over for breakfast this morning, and cooked...crepes!  Needless to say, they were delicious and we were glad to participate in their Sunday morning ritual of making crepes for breakfast.  Please come again!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Fairy Mobile


I sometimes regret that my children have no idea how blessed they are to have such a wonderful father. All I can do is hope that when they are older and parents themselves they will realize how good they had it!

A couple of days ago, Grace came down in the morning with the idea that she wanted to invent something on that particular day. She proceeded to sketch out a plan for a fairy catcher. Her invention morphed from fairy catcher to fairy spotter when she decided that she didn't want to harm the fairies. Bryce listened to her ideas, made a few of his own and then they were off to bring her invention to realization. They spent the better part of the day sawing, glueing and painting her invention. At the end of the day she had her fairy mobile. The only disappointment? She wanted to attach a GPS device at the helm to help her track them down. We had to draw the line somewhere!

It's probably hard to spot with all the clever camouflaging that was done!


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!


We toasted to the new year early in the evening with the children.  I skewered 12 grapes for each of us and we went around and ate a grape for every wish for the new year.  One of Grace's wishes was to see a fairy.  Harris wished that he could stay with his Mommy forever and ever and that everyone would have clean water.  I wish for health and happiness for all that we know and love.  Happy New Year!
 
Blogging tips