Friday, June 29, 2012

Life

(a bouquet that Grace gave us for our anniversary)

This has been one of those weeks where the juxtaposition of living life have been all too apparent.  We've had moments of happiness with friends, contented evenings together as a family and today Bryce and I celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary.

(Harris and his buddies- they won their relay and it was so exciting to watch!)

In contrast, my in-laws have watched as their neighborhood in Colorado Springs burned to the ground during one of the states worst wildfires in history.  Blessedly, their house was saved, but they will still have a long way to go once they get back in, assess damage and help their neighbors start the recovery process.



Also, our community lost a hero this week.  After fighting a valiant fight against cancer for almost four years he passed away Thursday morning.  He left behind two young daughters and a wife.  In the midst of this devastating news it has been truly heart warming to watch as our community comes together to support his family.  It reminds of all the good in the human heart.

(the number 17 is in honor of Chris and his family)

As Bryce and I get ready to celebrate our anniversary (on the same day that he is finished at the company!) it seemed a little frivolous to go and do something so happy and celebratory as so many close to us are obviously suffering.  However, a friend reminded me that we must take the moments of joy as they come because we truly don't know what tomorrow will bring. So today I will be ever so thankful for my family, friends and especially my husband.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Home Sweet Home Cookies

Recently, several friends and my Mom have moved houses! I thought it might be fun to make sugar cookies with a house shaped cookie cutter as a little housewarming treat. The most fabulous thing about these cookies is the fact that Grace made them with no help from me except with the stove! She did a great job because not only were they delicious but cute too!

We had every intention of decorating the cookies with royal icing, but we completely ran out of time. Instead, I pulled out our food writers and let Grace decorate each cookie with edible marker. I think that they turned out so adorable!  However,  I was very disappointed with the spotty writing and general performance of the Wilton Food Writers. Next time, I will use the Americolor Markers which seem to get much better reviews.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Camping Trip



By all the accounts the camping trip was a success and it looks to me like they saw some pretty amazing sights...







Monday, June 25, 2012

Camping T-Shirts 2012

It's 10:09 in the morning as I sit down to write this post and Harris is still asleep!  I would say that is a sign of a very fun, very full camping trip with Dad.

This year Bryce got a late start on getting the camping t-shirts printed and so he made them himself!  He got an iron on transfer kit at Michaels, drew a new picture, scanned it in, ironed it on and voila, a new camping shirt!  Our only concern is for how well they will hold up since these shirts get worn a lot!  Pictures of their adventures to follow...


Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Bucket List



The past few days we have all been adding things to our summer bucket list!  I feel like we have lots of time (I haven't signed the children up for one single activity) but as much as I love to imagine long, lazy days, I'm also aware of how fast it really might go!

Our Summer Bucket List 2012

Go tubing
Learn how to braid (I know, I know)
Play with water balloons 
Blow bubbles
Go camping
Go on picnics
Go wading in water
Watch a movie outside
Make ice cream
Host an ice cream party
Make pops
Revisit the fairy gardens
Read in the hammock
Go berry picking and then make something delicious
Go on interesting day trips
Go to the beach
Make s'mores
Visit a botanical garden
Visit museums
Go to the library
Ride bikes around town
Hold hands
Go to the pool... a lot
Learn new jokes
Do nice things for others
Create
Go to a baseball game
Watch the olympics
Go see fireworks
Ride a roller coaster

What's on your summer bucket list?  Please share!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Midsummer


One of my fondest memories from teaching fourth grade was our yearly unit on Shakespeare.  We would read Romeo and Juliet and then put on the play.  The children handled everything from scenery, to scripts, to costumes.  I knew that we had succeeded in getting the children excited when my big, cool fourth grade boys insisted on wearing tights as part of their costumes!  I always used the Shakespeare for Kids books by Lois Burdett and  I cannot say enough wonderful things about these books.  They put the stories into language, while using rhyming couplets, that children can understand and get excited about.  The illustrations are done by children and are absolutely inspired!


Last evening, to celebrate the first day of summer, we read A Midsmmer Night's Dream.  The children were a bit perplexed about why midsummer is on the first day of summer, but a bit of google searching explained that it's actually the mid growing season in England.  We stopped fairly often to explain a little more thoroughly what was happening in the story to Harris- Grace seemed to follow along easily.  However, he didn't have any problem grasping the part where the lovers in the play killed themselves- he promptly acted that part out for us!  If we had more family members we would certainly be acting this one out!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Changes

I can hardly believe that it is already the middle of June and the end of the school year for the children.  It's a bit of a bittersweet end of the year as we have decided to pull Grace from the grammar school she has attended for the last 5 years and put her in the Waldorf School.  It was a very hard decision to make.  There are  things that I love about our community school and she only had one year left!  I've had lots of people ask me why we are pulling her (Harris is staying for now) and, of course, there are many components to our decision.  Basically, I feel like some of the very best parts of Grace were being left behind.  My educational goal for the children is that they grow into people who can think critically and creatively and develop a love for learning.  To that end this is the best decision for Grace right now.

Also, Bryce's last days for the company are coming to a close.  What a journey he has had and what a blessing it was for him to have joined this company so soon after graduating law school.  He will miss those he worked with dearly, but I'm so excited that we get to have him home with us for the summer! What adventures we might have!

I think that change can be so scary and overwhelming, but when I look back at some changes that we have experienced in our married life they are changes that eventually brought unexpected blessings.  As we start this new chapter, I'm praying that we can keep the blessings in sight and look forward instead of back!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Raspberries + Chocolate Chips


Have you ever stuck a chocolate chip into a raspberry?  They are a perfect fit and a perfect compliment to each other!


I had spotted this clever little trick on Pinterest, but not until I had some at a friends house was I smitten with the idea (she used a white chocolate chip).  For our Father's Day breakfast, we had a bowl of fruit and the little bites of chocolate were a welcome surprise!  Delicious and easy will always win in my book! 

P.S.  How neat is it that the German pancake looks like it is glowing?!?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day


My children are so lucky to have Bryce as their Dad!  I'm so thankful for his level headedness, his willingness to "go throw the ball one more time",  and, most especially, his limitless love and support of these children of ours.    We celebrated his awesomeness today with a delicious breakfast, relaxing time on the porch and a fun cookout with other awesome Dads.  



I was so excited about my Father's Day gift to Bryce!  I found this vintage 1981 Coleman Cooler on ebay and it doesn't appear to ever have been used.  It seemed appropriately manly and cool.


In honor of the Dads, I made this Chocolate Guinness cake to take to our potluck cookout.  It was quite yummy!




Thursday, June 14, 2012

An Outdoor Sink




Do you remember this post about outdoor sinks?  An outdoor sink has been on my wish list for a long time, but I was worried about finding the perfect sink- old cast iron sinks can be very hard to come by!  You can imagine my delight when Gretchen informed me that she had an old sink just sitting in a pile in her back yard (they had renovated and not found a use for the sink).  Friends, I could not get my hands on that sink fast enough!  


The sink is absolutely fabulous because it has one nice, deep sink, a narrow sink and a flat area as well!  I don't think I could have ever found a sink so wonderful!  

My Mom made the little skirt that adds a bit of charm to the sink.  We used the same Sunbrella fabric that is on our porch furniture.  We've found lots and lots of uses for the sink already.  We've washed dirty hands (we have a soap dispenser too), potted plants, put together flower arrangements, soaked plants, and even put cold drinks in ice.


The sink is plumbed from an outdoor spigot that we put in during the construction phase.  Bryce did not glue the PVC pipe at the bottom so that I can put a bucket underneath to catch the water to reuse for watering plants.  It's only cold water, no hot water.

 Next to the sink, I filled a powder coated trash can with soil for potting.


P.S. I should also point out that Bryce made the stand for the sink!  He always seems to make my dreams into reality- thanks Babe!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Clothesline


Bryce has always loved clothes that are dried on a line outside, but we have never had an outdoor clothesline.  Honestly, I didn't grow up with clothes drying on a line and have never had a burning desire to try it.  I had visions of stiff and uncomfortable clothes!  I started small by hanging a load of hand washables up to dry.


However, I decided to give it a try so that Bryce could have his sweet smelling, fresh from the sun clothes drying experience.  I started small by hanging a load of hand washables up to dry, which was manageable. The jury is still out on how I'm going to like the dried clothes (I don't plan on line drying all of our clothes), but I'm already a fan of seeing the clothes blowing gently in the wind!


P.S.  I bought this clothesline and I like it so far!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

You Read to Me, I'll Read to You


Tonight, Paul asked Grace if she would read to him for a bit.  I suggested that she get, You Read to Me, I'll Read to You so that they could read it together.  Have you seen these books by Mary Ann Hoberman?  The short stories/poems are written so that two people read the stories together.  The "parts" are delineated by different color texts.  It's a really clever idea that is a lot of fun for both readers.  It's exciting for a new reader and it helps to develop flow and expression.  Though the text is simplistic for Grace it is still fun for her to read, and they are perfect for Harris!


P.S.  The books were wildly popular and Mary Ann Hoberman has written a whole series of books!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Grape Caterpillar Kebobs



Following the children's performance yesterday in The Bugz Show, we had snacks for all the children and families.  We had some really adorable bug themed food.  I made these grape caterpillar kebobs and I just adore how they turned out.  They were healthy, cute and easy- a perfect trio!  



I originally saw them on pinterest and followed the source to here.  You simply thread grapes onto a skewer and attach mini chocolate chips with a bit of icing for the eyes.  The children could easily help with this snack! 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Our Stink Bug


Harris' 1st grade class has been studying insects for the past few weeks and today they performed a show (officially titled, The Bugz Show) for family and friends.  Harris was delighted to be a... stink bug!  His costume included bits of trash and dirty (looking) socks.

His Grandma and his Grandpa Paul, Bryce's Dad who just arrived in town, were able to come see him perform.  We were all super proud of him and his stinky role!






Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Booked

Yesterday, we officially booked our vacation for this summer.  We were super late on this one and for a bit it looked like it couldn't happen, but it finally all came together!  We are taking our first ever RV trip and visiting Yellowstone, Glacier and The Grand Teton National Parks!  Our trip is 15 days long and we are very excited, but also a bit nervous because we've never been RVing!

I have some concerns.  Are we going to get tired of being on top of each other?  Is Harris old enough? Will I remember that I don't really like to camp?

More than anything, I'm excited to go on such an exciting adventure with my family.  If the truth is to be told, I can't wait to see Bryce behind the wheel of a 30 foot RV!

P.S.  The above illustration is by the beloved Susan Branch who is currently enjoying another vacation fantasy of mine- a tour of the English countryside.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

National Trail Day


Yesterday, because it was beautiful, because it was National Trail Day, and because we were craving a bit of family adventure, we went on a hike at a local park.  In honor of National Trail Day our community had organized a hike and we were happy to participate.  The children ran ahead, we lagged behind and learned about the birds, trees and plants surrounding the trail.  It was fun and made us realized we should do it more often!




 
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