Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Happy Frogs



I've rediscovered a wallpaper that I love. It's called Happy Frogs from the Sweet Life Collection by Thibaut. I love everything about it- the colors, the print and the name! I really must find a place for this paper.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Creativity Crisis?


One of my greatest concerns about our education system is that it seems as if creative and critical thinking skills are taking a backseat to the pursuit of facts, figures and rote memory. Personally, I would rather my children know how to figure out a problem than be armed with the exact instructions on how to solve the problem. Does that make sense?

On the other hand, it also seems as if family life is often so busy that it leaves children with little time to be creative and use their imaginations.


Last week, I came across this article on the decline of creativity in children (for the first time ever!) and read it with a sinking heart. What would this mean for our children? Is this one more thing that I'm not doing that I should be?


Then I remembered. My children play. A lot. I'm thinking that maybe, just maybe, this decline in creativity might not need to be my greatest concern. Besides, the list of things we might not be doing right for our children is long enough. Why add one more thing to the list?


Monday, July 26, 2010

Anniversary gift



Last week Bryce and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary! Our anniversary was actually at the end of June but with the end of school, the camping trip and going to Hershey Park we thought it best to wait to celebrate.

For my anniversary gift to Bryce (it's part of my New Year's resolutions) I put together 12 dates for the next 12 months. Each month Bryce will open up a new envelope to discover when and where our next date will be. On the front of each envelope I wrote a reason that I loved him. (I got the cute labels here)


I also gave him these cute frog chocolates. They were a combination of milk and dark chocolate!

For our first date we went to a restaurant that Bryce had never been to. They specialize in serving local food and it was very good!


Friday, July 23, 2010

And the winner is...



Thank you to everyone who entered the blogiversary giveaway! I thank you all for the nice comments and positive support. You're the best and you made me smile!

We put all the names in a hat and Grace drew the winning name...

(sorry the name is out of focus)
HOLLY!

Congratulations Holly! I'll be in touch to see what you want on your spoons!

P.S. When we were done choosing the names I happened to comment to Bryce that since Grace chose the name everyone would know that we didn't "choose" who we wanted to win. Grace overheard and said, "even if you asked me to cheat for you, I wouldn't do it!". That's my girl!

First Sleepover


Grace had her first sleepover ever this week and she was so very excited about it! She and Grace (yes, they share a name!) have been friends since they were three years old!

Grace and I had a lovely morning together making cupcakes to celebrate this special occasion. We followed directions for the cupcakes from the book, Hello, Cupcake! by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. Not only were they fun to make (and Grace was able to do most of the work) but I think they turned out adorable!



After we were done making them and taking some photos I put them in the oven to keep them out of harms way. I certainly didn't want anything to mess up the cutest cupcakes ever! So you can imagine my horror and disappointment when I discovered that I had preheated the oven with them in there! This is a problem for me... this is not the first time it has happened. I need an intervention. They were still edible but not nearly as sweet and cute...


For dinner the children made their own personal pizzas and had some sparkling cider which Kristin sent to help celebrate.




After some playtime and a movie I tucked the girls and their dolls in for the night!


P.S. I'll pick the name for the winner of the giveaway tonight. There is still time to enter!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Blogiversary and a giveaway!


Today it has been two years since I started this little blog! I have to admit that I love documenting this small part of our lives in this space. When I started the blog I thought of it as a digital scrapbook and that's how I still think of it today. Of course, what goes on the blog really is a small part of our day to day lives- a glossy version if you will. Certainly my family has its share of moments where we fuss, argue and fall apart just like everyone does but that's not what I choose to dwell on here.

The blog has given me an opportunity to connect to and keep up with friends and also to meet new blog friends! I love the nice comments that people leave and have gotten wonderful ideas and great advice from fellow bloggers. I appreciate your support!

To celebrate two years of blogging I'm going to host a giveaway! It was fun last year and so I'd thought I'd do it again. A couple of weeks ago when Gretchen and I were antiquing I picked up more spoons to make spoon garden markers. Whoever wins the giveaway will win 5 garden spoon markers. The winner can choose whatever words they want "engraved" on the markers (just remember these are not professionally done, it's just me in the basement hammering away!)! Just leave a comment and we will choose a name from a hat on Friday!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Embroidery


Last Easter Grace's basket was filled with sewing notions. Since then she and her Grandma have worked on a few projects including learning to cross stitch and sewing on buttons. Last week when it was too hot to play outside she and I decided to do a bit of embroidery.

For reference Grace is using the book, Girls' Best Book of Knitting, Sewing and Embroidery by Virginie Desmoulins. I can't say enough good things about this adorable book! It has great instructions and very appealing projects!

Grace began by drawing a dragonfly using a "mark b gone" pen whose ink disappears when it gets wet.


After she drew her dragonfly she picked out the colors she wanted to use and got to work. We had a few times where her thread got tangled or we had to undo stitches but all in all it went really well! Also, she didn't finish it in one sitting. She would put it down and come back to it when she felt like it.

Her dragonfly turned out absolutely adorable! She helped her Grandma make a pillow out of it that is so sweet and perfect. I believe that Grace had planned on using the pillow for her American Girl, but I have taken possession of it for now. I think it looks fabulous on our window seat in the kitchen!


P.S. When Harris saw what we were up to he immediately wanted to join us. He did and he is still working on his project. I'll share as soon as he's done- I was surprised at how well he took to it!


Monday, July 19, 2010

Colored Pencils

Don't you love it when something turns out more wonderful than what you were expecting? Just such a thing happened to us over the weekend. As crazy as it sounds the happy surprise was a set of eeboo colored pencils. I gave the set to the children to use with their garden and nature journals. Since the children usually write and draw in their journals outside, I thought that it would help that the pencils have their own case.

When we opened them we were delighted to see that the rainbow of colors also have beautiful names! A few of our favorites were; bee whizzing by, troll pants, moss pillows and wipe your feet! How great are those?


I love that the company took the time to give the pencils clever and creative names. And who knows, maybe the names will inspire a young artist!

P.S. The company also makes sketch pads (we used ours here). Wouldn't the pencil and the sketch pad together make a great gift?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

An afternoon at the beach


Yesterday was Bryce's company annual beach day. It's always a lot of fun and it was the first time this summer that we have been to the beach. For the children it was a perfect day as they...

frolicked in the sand and surf

played some old-fashioned carnival games


ate cotton candy

acted like mermaids and mermen

spent time with Mom and Dad

And flew some kites



Thursday, July 15, 2010

A marshmallow stopper

I'm sure that you all have used this trick before but it was a first for me. We put our blueberry ice cream in cones because it's more fun that way, but homemade ice cream seems to melt faster than store bought. In order to stop the inevitable drips out of the bottom of the cone I stuck a small marshmallow into the bottom to act as a sort of stopper. It worked like a charm and the children felt like they had a little surprise treat at the bottom!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bastille Day


We had a little fun this evening celebrating Bastille Day. We don't usually celebrate Bastille Day, but I saw this cute Eiffel Tower treat (via Edible Crafts) and just had to make it.

Making the eiffel tower from icing and sugar wafers took some patience. Their first tower fell on the second layer but they cut the pieces shorter and tried again. And even though the towers weren't picture perfect they had fun eating it (we used vanilla wafers and chocolate covered wafers)!


I adore Paris. When Bryce and I were getting married I desperately wanted to honeymoon in Paris but financially it just wasn't possible. However, in 2000 we were able to go and spend a week in Paris and it was perfect. I mean really, really perfect. It was everything I thought it would be and more. The people were nice, the city was gorgeous and the food was divine. I can't wait to take the children someday (and am envious of my sister who is going in the fall). Celebrating Bastille day ended up being a journey down memory lane as the children were interested enough to want to look through our scrapbook from our trip!

As the children and Bryce worked on the towers and the flags I read them the wonderful book, This Is Paris by Miroslave Sasek. We had fun comparing some of the pictures in the book to pictures from our trip!



Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Blueberries


Yesterday afternoon the children and I braved the heat and went blueberry picking. As usual, I believe the children ate as many as they picked but we managed to come home with quite a few blueberries.

We decided to make a blueberry sauce that we could eat on waffles, in oatmeal and atop ice cream!

Once we got to thinking about ice cream we came to the conclusion that blueberry ice cream would also be good. We used a recipe from my favorite ice cream cookbook. And because you can't have too many blueberries we decided that the blueberry sauce should go on top of the blueberry ice cream. A perfect match!


P.S. We also read, Blueberries for Sal by Robert McClosky. I just love how simply clever and sweet this book is!

 
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