Thursday, July 31, 2008

Back to school...but not for us

We are smack dab in the middle of summer but some of my dear friends' children start kindergarten  in the next week or two.  Will, Hannah, Aiden and Maddie all are making the big leap to Kindergarten.  Kindergarten is such a milestone because it signals the beginning of the "school years" which seems miles away from "toddlerhood" or even the pre-school years.  
Anyway, I was thinking about some great books that I read to Grace last year in anticpation of kindergarten and that we'll read again to get ready for first grade.  As most of you know, I love children's literature and try to find a picture book to fit every occasion.  Here are a few we really enjoy.

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
This book is really fun because it addresses the nervousness that many children (and adults) feel in new situations.  The story follows Sarah as she protests going to school on the first day.  She gives every reason or excuse in the world for not going but is cajoled and forced to get dressed, eat breakfast and get in the car.  When she finally makes it to the classroom it is revealed that she is actually the teacher!  The illustrations are fun and the surprise ending makes it really stand out.

Mr. Ouchy's First Day by B.G. Hennessy
This book is told from the point of view of the teacher and how he is nervous and excited about the first day.  I think this book helps to give children some perspective about teachers and that they have a life outside of school.  It's really a simple text and the pictures are lively and engaging.  

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
This is a classic book that I think speaks to the parents as much as the child.  Chester Racoon doesn't want to go to school.  He wants to stay home with his mom.  His mom tells him that she has a family secret, The Kissing Hand.  The kissing hand is a simple gesture that makes Chester and his mom feel better.

There are many, many more books out there that explore starting school.  What are some of your favorites?  

Buttons...on curtains

The other day my sister called and was wondering where I ordered the buttons for Harris' curtains.  I had used buttons in the shape of wrenches (to go with his tool room) to pin back the fabric on his valances in his room.  They were cute buttons, but they did not show up very well because they were a dark blue.  Anyway, as I was looking for the button website (Button Queen) for Delita I came across some tool buttons that I had not seen before.  These buttons looked much more realistic so I ordered them (fortunately it's an inexpensive change to make) and my mom sewed them on.  I like the new buttons much better!  I do wonder if my sister ever found any for Brendan?  

Monday, July 28, 2008

Pesto and Susan Branch

We bought a share in a community supported agriculture (CSA) program this year and have really been loving it.  We go once a week and pick up fresh vegetables, some fruit and flowers.  I think it is a great way to cook in season and help the children get a better understanding of where food comes from.  One of the crops that I have been getting in abundance is basil.  Not only do we get it at the farm, but the basil in the children's garden has done quite well also.  

I've used a lot of the basil for one of my personal favorite summer recipes, Pesto.  I use the recipe by Susan Branch from her book, Heart of the Home.  Her cookbooks are some of my favorites because not only are the recipes really good but she has a way of making everything look lovely.  Her illustrations make me want to cook.  Her books are hand drawn and handwritten and they are simply beautiful.  They make me happy just looking through them!  
I make a batch of her basil and what's not eaten right away (I have to practice some self control) I put in ice cube trays and freeze.  My hope is that I will still have pesto come January, but that never seems to happen.  I don't even have pesto in October!
Pesto (from Heart of the Home by Susan Branch)
2 cups fresh basil, washed with stems removed
3 Tbsp. pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
1/2 c. Parmesan Cheese, grated
1/4 c. Romano cheese, grated
2/3 c. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter

Toast the pinenuts in a small skillet in the butter.  Put all ingredients into food processor and blend until smooth.  Freeze or refrigerate until ready to use.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Our Weekend

We had a good weekend (though I'm sure not as good as Kelly's, as she is probably lounging on the beach as I type).  On Saturday, we went to our friends' for a BBQ on the patio to celebrate her son's first birthday.  I love first birthday celebrations.  They are a celebration for the parents - for making it through the first year - just as much as they are for the child.  It's also fun how first birthdays are often shared with family and friends who took the journey with you.
  Sonja is an amazing mom to her three boys (who are all 4 and under)!  How does she do it?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Art in the Park

One of the things that I love about our town is the community programs that are offered. Grace participated in one such program this past week. It was Art in the Park and she had a ball! Everyday they worked on a different art project, and I thought I would share some of them. She is at such a great age for this because she is not yet restricted by the notion that the sky must be blue or that her work must be perfect. My wish for her would be that she can always be open and creative.

A seahorse made with cardboard and modge podge.

I love how they hung everything up to look like an art show.

A toucan creation

A hummingbird whose middle is made out of a peanut shell!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Butter Girl

We had corn on the cob the other night, and I was reminded of how much I love my "Butter Girl." She makes buttering your corn so easy! It really falls into the category of "why didn't I think of that." (The children love her as much as I do.) We even went so far as to get butter babies.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


My mom brought these over yesterday.  I think they look gorgeous on my dining room table. Thanks Mom!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tooth Fairy

Grace lost her second tooth tonight. It was really loose and she asked Bryce to pull it, which of course he did! Since we were in Vermont when she lost her first tooth, I didn't get to give her the tooth fairy pillow that I had for just such an occasion. It's by Kelly Rightsell and has a frog fairy in a tutu on it. It has a little pocket that the tooth goes in - it's really adorable. Grace wanted to know if she got $2.oo since this was the second tooth she lost. I'm thinking the fairy does not think in those terms!
Blogging tips