Thursday, April 30, 2009

School binders


Grace got her report card the other day and when I put it away she wanted to look through her old school work.  It was easy for her to do because we have binders for each grade.  In them we keep class pictures, special work, notes from teachers and report cards.  Basically, they're for whatever we feel should be kept from the school year.  I should mention that I'm not a super sentimental keeper of school work and preschool art. I definitely keep that which has meaning or is special but lots goes in the trash!

The binders don't take up much space, are easy to keep up with and put things in one convenient place.  What more could you ask for?


P.S. Grace did great on her report card.  I'm so proud of her work and how she is growing!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Crabapple tree... installment #1


When we first moved to our home it was the end of summer and we were disappointed that our property didn't have any trees that we considered great.  We had one tree on the side of our house that stood alone and, to be honest, didn't look like much.  It was a splendid suprise when in the middle of spring it burst into the most beautiful flowering tree I had ever seen!  It starts out with deep pink buds that open into pink petaled blooms that eventually turn white.  What we had was a crabapple, and a really nice one at that.

When we did the kitchen renovation we put a large window facing that tree so that for about two weeks every spring the pink flowers take up the whole view!  It's glorious! 

This year I've decided to have Grace sketch the trees during each season.  Of course, we started by reading a book,  The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons.  

We decided that the Springtime deserved two sketches - one before the blooms and one after.  


Early Spring

P.S.  I got the idea for this activity from this blog.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Retirement Party

After 30 years the beloved director of Harris' (and Grace's) preschool is retiring this year.  I was asked to co-chair, along with my friend Lauri, her retirement party.  The party was Saturday night and I thought I would share some details.  

Dee loves the shore and is retiring to her beach house so the theme of the party was a no brainer.  The party was held in the parrish hall of the church that the preschool is in.  We were on a very strict budget and by using inexpensive decorations and things we already owned we were able to keep the cost of the party to a very bare minimum.  Fortunately, Lauri is a huge fan of the shore and already owned all things beachy!  We used her seashells liberally scattered about the room, we borrowed glass votive holders, and brought in our own firepits.  I was able to get beach balls at the dollar store.  

One of my favorite elements of the party was the beach balls hanging from the ceiling.


The preschool children painted these amazing fish canvases and they provided, along with the  beach balls, the pops of color that gave the party a bit of whimsy.  Other than those two things we kept to a very neutral, beachy color scheme.

The day we went in to set up we were surprised by a gigantic cabinet that had appeared in the corner of the hall.  Apparently, it had just been dropped by for the upcoming rummage sale that the church hosts every spring.  We decided to use it to set up the bar area and it turned out to be beautiful!

My friend Emily catered the party (the food was amazing) but in order to cut down on costs we decided to handle the desserts ourselves.  Lauri and I made the cupcakes and others brought in delicious treats.  


Lauri put together the flower arrangements for two of the tables and we used glass hurricanes with candles and seashells on the other two tables.

Another favorite element of the party were the firepits that we set up.  

Our husbands were the bartenders for the evening!


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Arbor Day

Friday was Arbor day and we celebrated by planting a tree!  We picked out a dogwood tree because it reminds us of Atlanta.  




Our new tree!

We also read a really neat book about trees, Crinkleroot's guide to Knowing the Trees.  Marilyn brought the book to us on her last visit.  I believe she got it at a church or yard sale.  It seems to be out of print but can be found used and at libraries.  Indeed, our "new" copy is an old library copy.  It's a great introduction to different trees, vocabulary that is pertinent to trees, and why trees are important to us.  Plus, I also like exposing the children to more non-fiction.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Earth


To celebrate Earth Day, I took the children to see the new movie by Disneynature, Earth.  The movie's imagery was spectacular and awe inspiring - I recognized a lot of the footage fromthe BBC series, Planet Earth.  There were several times during the movie that I questioned whether the children were old enough to be watching.  It is not a movie for the faint of heart (which Grace can be).  They did not shy away from showing the circle of life!  There was never blood or gore but it showed predators on the hunt and at one point during the movie Grace looked at me with tears in her eyes and asked, "why is there so much killing?"  She had a bit of a difficult time with that aspect whereas it didn't seem to affect Harris one bit!  He did however ask, about 10 minutes into the movie, where all the people were!  The more I have thought about whether it was appropriate for the children to see this movie the more I realized that this is real life in the wild; it is a part of nature and is the fundamental drive that moves animals forward.  I really want them to understand that, even if it is hard for them to watch.  I'm glad we went and will look forward to Disneynature's next release!  

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Grace goes to work...


A few days ago, I asked Harris what his Daddy did all day at work and he answered, "make money."  Whereas that is true I also would like for the children to have some idea what their Dad does all day while he is away from us.

Today, Grace participated in take your child to work day.  I couldn't begin to imagine that she would fair well at the office for 9 hours but she did.  I started calling around noon to see if I should come pick her up but she stuck it out!  She seems to have done exactly what Bryce does all day, minus the meetings.  Bryce even took Grace out to lunch.

She did paperwork.

Worked (played) on the computer and drank coffee (hot chocolate).

Had a meeting, with just Dad.


P.S.  After seeing these pictures I have a strong desire to spruce up Bryce's workspace!!  The only color in his office seems to come from the paintings the children did for him!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Earth Day Cookies

To kick off Earth Day the children and I made cookies (really every event is made better with food, don't you think?).  They were super easy and the children loved them!  We used a boxed sugar cookie mix (the point was to make the cookies not make the cookies) and tinted most of the batter blue and the rest was tinted green.  I rolled the blue mix into balls that the children squished flat and then they added the green "land masses."  After the cookies had baked and cooled we added frosting to the top and bottom for the north and south poles.  I have a surprise after school activity for the children and these will make the perfect snack. 
  
Squishing the dough flat and adding the land.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Children's Museum


Today was a cold, rainy day but we were lucky enough to see a rainbow! It was Al and Marilyn's last full day of their visit so we kept Grace home from school and took the children for a day of learning at a children's museum. We were very busy with lots of jobs to do!
We fixed cars.

We grocery shopped and worked the register.

We made music.

We made new friends.

We even drove a bus (it looks like hard work!).

Most importantly, we had fun!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Busy, busy

We have been busy working on all sorts of projects around here. Al and Marilyn are still here and we have really put them to work. None of the projects are 100% done just yet but they include a new portico, wiring for my porch chandelier, painting a little mouse on a door, painting the pirate ship and making a hatch for said pirate ship. It's so exciting to be getting things done!

P.S. Will the projects ever end????

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Yes!

Sometimes you just have to say yes. Grace and I ran an errand today and she found this hat in the sale bin.  It looks like a toadstool and has a mouse on it.  It practically had Grace's name written on it!  I just couldn't say no.  So I said yes.  She loves it.  


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tomato soup and grilled cheese

Bryce loves grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup! We had rainy, cold weather yesterday for Bryce's birthday so it was a perfect night for comfort food. For his birthday I got him these plates that have a bowl for soup and a place for the sandwich. I think that we will use them a lot. I've made this tomato soup for years and it's one of Bryce's favorites (and the children's). It's super easy to make. It came from Martha Stewart Kids magazine.

Also, my newest obsession is using thyme butter to make our grilled cheese sandwiches. In Family Fun magazine they had a recipe for grilled cheese croutons using the thyme butter. I don't make the croutons because they would get soggy in the soup, wouldn't they? You should try it; it's really good!

Creamy Tomato Soup

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 28oz. cans crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. Heat oil in medium stockpot. Add onion; cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and dried basil; cook 2 minutes more. Add tomatoes and the water; cook 10 minutes.

2. Remove from heat. Puree using an immersion blender (or use a blender). Bring to a simmer and add cream, salt and pepper. Stir to combine . Serve and enjoy!


Thyme butter

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Happy Birthday Bryce!

Today is Bryce's birthday!  I'm very thankful to have such a wonderful husband and co-parent.  Here are the top 10 things I love about Bryce right now..

1.  He's an awesome Dad
2.  He makes really good coffee and even brings it to me on weekends
3.  He can make/do almost anything
4.  He goes along with all my harebrained ideas 
5.  He's not afraid to learn or do anything, even if it's not a "guy" thing
6.    He cleans up after me in the kitchen
7.  He gets up first in the mornings
8.  He sings to Harris every night
9.  He will eat anything I cook
10. He's loyal (to people, friendships and ideals) 

Happy Birthday Bryce

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter


I hope you had a wonderful Easter!  We did.  We started off the morning discovering that the Easter bunny did indeed visit us while we slept.  Every year the bunny has a theme for the children's Easter baskets (it's nice to know that the bunny enjoys a good theme just as I do).  This year Grace's theme was reading and Harris' was music.

Harris received a set of handbells, some books on music and a music cd- Beethoven's Wig 2.  We have Beethoven's Wig 1 and love the music!  Of course he also got some chocolate (shaped as musical instruments).
Grace received some new chapter books and a picture book.  We believe that the bunny has a thing for redheads because the main character in each book has red hair!  She also got a library kit and bookplates.  Oh and chocolate.  Of course.

We attended church services to celebrate the resurrection.  Grace and Bryce both sang in the choir and I did the children's message.

The children looked adorable dressed for church.  Harris was excited to wear the tie... until about 10 minutes into the church service.  



My Mom joined us for a nice dinner of lamb, asparagus and potatoes. We also had a chocolate ganache cake. Yum.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Painted Easter Eggs and a Carrot Menu



Remember our Easter tree?  Last night we had our annual Easter egg painting extravaganza.  It was extra fun this year because Al and Marilyn were here to participate.  

You might not know how hard it can be to paint on a fragile, blown out egg but it involves...

Concentration...

Laughter...

and a blow dryer.

The final results were magnificant.  I can't decide which are my favorites.  I love the Colorado mountains because it is a reminder that Al and Marilyn were here for Easter.   I also love Grace's fairy and Harris' camouflage egg.

In honor of the bunny that comes to visit on Easter night we also had our all carrot meal.  We started doing this a few years ago and we added to the menu this year.  I think we have gotten it just right!  Everything is surprisingly good (not to mention just plain fun). 

All Carrot Menu
Carrot Soup
Carrot burgers with lettuce
Carrot Cheesecake

When I saw this carrot cheesecake in MS Living this month, I knew that I had to make it for our meal.  It was easy to make and really good.  The carrots are fondant!  

P.S. The children left the Easter bunny some nibbles.  We made carrot muffins and Grace thought he would appreciate some carrot juice.  

 
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