Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rainbows


When we made our summer To Do lists, one of Grace's items was to see a rainbow. Fortunately, her wish came true while she was in Hawaii! She's still fascinated by them (they do after all seem very magical) and so today we did a bit of a rainbow project.

We started out by making rainbow bread! The bread was easy to make because it is started with frozen bread dough. We divided the dough into five pieces and used food coloring to color each one. We left them to rise, stacked the pieces on top of each other, and let them rise again. Sadly, this is where things did not go exactly as planned because they didn't really rise again and when baked the bread was pretty flat.

It still looked neat, though, and was very tasty, if a little dense. I would definitely make this bread again but with my own bread recipe.

As the bread was rising (or not, as was the case) we read, The Rainbow and You by Edwin Krupp. This book did a great job of explaining a very hard to understand concept (light refraction and so forth) and the children found it really interesting. In fact, Harris was very keen to try the author's suggestion of making your own rainbow. It was really cool when it actually worked!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Writing Basket



I got the idea to do a writing basket several months ago when I saw one on this blog (which has fantastic content). I've been meaning to put one together for the children but didn't get around to it until yesterday. Man, I wish I had done it sooner! I put the basket out yesterday and the children sat for almost 2 hours "working" on their writing. They did write some more today and I hope that it will not be a one time thing but a regular part of their day.

I think how often it is used will depend on where the basket is located. I usually put most of the art supplies in the attic playroom, but I've put this basket downstairs in a central location. They can grab supplies and sit at the kitchen island, take the basket to the garden or sit in the foyer!

Harris really surprised me! When I showed him the composition book that was for him his eyes lit up and he said, "This basket is for me too!?!". I explained to him that he could draw and dictate his story to me. He immediately went to work!


Monday, July 27, 2009

Lavender Farm


Bryce and I have a secret dream of living in an old stone farm house with a beautiful barn and lots of outbuildings. On Saturday, I found the perfect place for us! Not only did it have all of the aforementioned requirements but the crop they grew was absolutely stunning... lavender.

Alas, it is not for sale but we certainly did enjoy visiting! My Mom and I took the children to a local Lavender Farm and I couldn't believe how pretty it was. We came home and made delicious lavender cookies. For breakfast the next morning I made homemade biscuits on which we drizzled our newly purchased lavender honey. Delicious.





Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hawaii


Two weeks ago Grace had the trip of a lifetime. She went with her Grandma to Hawaii- just the two of them. I've been asked why I didn't go with them and the answer is really simple, I wasn't invited! I hold no grudge though because this was a really special trip for a Grandma and her Granddaughter.

I don't believe they went with a real agenda except to have fun. Looking at the pictures it looks like they spent a lot of time in the water! Grace is a fish! They did explore the island a bit and the aquarium. One of the highlights of the trip for Grace was swimming with the dolphins!

Each caption is Grace's own words- she dictated and I typed exactly what she said. It was, after all, her trip to explain.

I couldn't wait to get on the plane.

I loved swimming with Leho the dolphin. He was very silky.

Me and Grandma spent a lot of time in the pool.

Our room was overlooking the dolphin lagoon. I loved it!

I met a stingray named Pua. I touched her, she felt like a marshmallow!

Me and Grandma loved the hot-tub! I didn't spend too much in it!

I was so excited about my dolphin quest!

After my dolphin quest, I got a stuffed dolphin named Hoku. Hoku means star in Hawaiian.

The baby pool had new turtles and was bigger than it used to be.

I loved the waterfall. It had beautiful blue fish in it.

I read the funnies because Grandma read the paper everyday. They weren't as funny as the paper Grandma gets at home.

We ate breakfast at the Plumeria every morning. They had great coconut yogurt. It was overlooking the beach.


I absolutely loved seeing the waves come in at the beach. I played sea turtle.

I loved my new flipflops and sunglasses (p.s. I looked like a movie star!).

I went on a boardwalk. I got a hotdog and shaved ice, a special Hawaiin dessert.

I met a friend named Alani. We had so much fun! We played mermaids and dolphins.

(Grace also wanted to share this but there is no picture.) The King, Queen, Crowned Princess and Prince of Japan came to stay at our hotel. I ran into the king, there were so many security guards!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

And the winner is...

Well that was fun! Thanks to everyone who left a comment and entered to win the bar of soap. Honestly, one of the best parts of blogging is reading the comments and connecting with you through the blog. I appreciate you taking the time to check in every once in a while!

Our method of picking a winner was really scientific and well developed.

First, we wrote all the names down.

Second, we put them all in a hat, closed our eyes and picked...

Jeni!

Congratulations Jeni! I will send the lemon verbena down your way (although I think you would also really like Ocean!). Thanks again everyone! We just might have to find a way to do more giveaways, it was a lot of fun!

Friday, July 24, 2009

A bed for the kittens


Before

After

I flat out love my bed. It makes me really happy to get into bed at night and get a good night's sleep. With that in mind I thought that the kittens might also like a comfy place to sleep (which they do a lot). I found a really inexpensive one at IKEA, but thought I would make it a little more personal for the girls. I recovered, with the help of my Mom, the pillow and spray painted the basket white. I think that it now looks appropriately girly for two sweet kittens.

P.S. You can still enter the giveaway! The children and I will pick the winner tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Blogiversary and a giveaway!


Guess what? I have been writing on this little blog for exactly a year! To celebrate I've decided to do my first giveaway!

A few weeks ago my friend Emily gave me a gift that included a bar of soap. We have been using the soap for about a week now and it makes me smile every single day! You might ask how a bar of soap can make one smile? On the top of the soap is an engraved portrait of a quirky, fun lady with crazy hair. It's fine soap that doesn't take itself to seriously. I just love it. And anything that makes you smile while brushing your teeth needs to be shared. Plus it smells good.

We are really very fond of love gifts around here and I thought it would be fun to celebrate one year of blogging with a love gift to a reader of The Princess and the Frog Blog. Just leave a comment telling me what fragrance you would like and the children and I will randomly pick a winner (this blog doesn't generate a lot of comments so you have a really good shot at being the winner!).

P.S. The available fragrances are lavender, lemon verbena, ocean, green tea and clementine.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Library Bag


I have finally gotten around to doing something that has been on my to-do list for a long time. The children and I put together a library bag! We are trying to take more advantage of our local library because I'm trying to ween myself away from my amazon addiction. I'm really just joking. Sort of.

I was inspired by Brooke over at Inchmark and the cute bags she made. I used a bag that we had left over from a previous craft project. I wish I had thought it through a little more because we tend to get a lot of books when we go. This afternoon we broke in our new bag on a trip to the library and we could have used a bit bigger of a bag. Or maybe we should stop getting so many books.

Grace drew library scenes on transfer paper (I think that's what it is called, I threw away the package). I scanned in her drawings, printed it and then ironed it on the bag. I even went so far as to embroider a title on the bag. I haven't done embroidery in years. Of course don't look to closely at the stitches, but I'm thrilled at how it turned out.



In the bag I'm going to keep a notebook with titles of books I want to read with/to the children, a pouch with library cards and money to pay the inevitable fees, our summer reading lists and The Read Aloud Handbook.


P.S. Be sure to stop by tomorrow because I'm going to do my first giveaway in honor of an exciting blogging milestone!

Monday, July 20, 2009

A visit with Brian... and Bryan


sorry Brian and Bryan, I don't know why you are not really in focus

sorry Harris, I didn't mean to put your head behind the flowers

Years ago we meet Brian while we were all in college at YHC. Throughout the years (does all that italicizing get the point across that it seems to have been a long time ago?) we have remained friends and we were thrilled that he came to visit us over the weekend. Brian and Bryan recently got married and it was great to spend time with Bryan to get to know him a little more.

P.S. The children now think that Brian and Bryan are super great because they discovered a message left on their chalkboard. They now rank pretty high up...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Backyard Renovation: Before and After




Up until this spring we have focused mainly on the inside of our house (and the porch). We decided to start working on our yard this year and man have we done a lot of yard work!

When we bought our house it already had a deck attached to the house. I'm not usually a fan of decks especially when they don't seem to be very useful and this one has driven me sort of crazy for the past 4 years. It juts out into the yard and isn't wide enough to really do anything with. We have really been all over the place trying to decide what to do with it. If we took the whole thing down it would turn into a much bigger project (time and money wise) so we decided to just take off the back part of the deck. Here's how it all went down...

Bryce, Harris and Mark, a friend from work, took off the back portion of the deck.

Bryce power washed the portion that remained. We want to marry the power washer we love it so much. It made the deck look like it was brand new!

The previous owners must have been big fans of bricks and concrete! This is the old walkway leading to the house.


A bulldozer showed up! We hired someone to level out the ground and pull up the gravel and concrete.


We really wanted a designated area for relaxing, eating, entertaining and even crafting in the backyard. However, we didn't want to put anything permanent down because we are still hoping to one day add on a screened in porch with a master bath above. Pea gravel was the most economical choice. I was worried about how it would look and feel with our house but it turned out great!

The new walkway is so much better. We got all the slate (for free!) from a coworker of Bryce's.


I have been hauling around this chandelier years! We strung up some twine and hung it from the trees.

When we first moved in we discovered that the previous owners had installed a pond of sorts. It didn't have a fountain and was in pretty rough shape but it was home to lots of frogs. Thus, we dubbed it the frog pond. It is now officially a pond once more! I found this great little fountain that I adore and we added some lilly ponds and oxygenators. Of course, I'm still learning how to take care of it but we love the sound of the running water. We are really hoping some frogs find there way to our little pond.



Here are some views from the house. The grass has started to grow in, but we still have some planting to do in the fall.
 
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