Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A dinner party

Sunday night, we hosted a birthday dinner party for our dear friend Emily. This was a collaborative affair among Kristin, Sonja, and I (and of course, our husbands!) and we had a lot of fun planning a strawberry themed picnic! Emily and her husband own a wonderful cafe and catering business, so we chose a Sunday evening for the party since they are always busy on Fridays and Saturdays! I thought I would share some details (okay, it turns out to be a lot of details) from the evening.

The Setting

Because we chose a picnic theme and strawberries, red, white and pink were obvious choices for the color scheme.

We used fresh cut hydrangea's from our friend, Carrie's yard and put out bowls of strawberries on the table.

For place cards we cut a slit in the strawberry and slid in a card.

The Food and Drink

For drinks we kept it rather simple with beer, wine, water and strawberry lemonade.

Right before dinner we had a champagne toast to Emily.

For appetizers we served chips, dip and a strawberry and goat cheese crostini.

Our main course consisted of marinated and grilled flank steak, a noodle salad, a strawberry and poppy seed dressing salad, and roasted potatoes.


Right as we finished dinner it started to sprinkle and kept it up for just long enough that we had to move to the front porch! It didn't seem to dampen anyone's spirits! For the birthday cake I made a vanilla cake with strawberry mousse. Carrie made delicious chocolate covered strawberries and pretzels and Kristin brought chocolate cupcakes with pink icing.

The Favors

We sent every couple home with a jar of strawberry jam.

The people

Of course, the most important part of any party are the people. We decided to keep it small and intimate and tried to invite Emily's favorite people.

Homemade Card

The children surprised us with a homemade card, complete with flowers from their garden, for our anniversary. The top part is Harris' artistry and the bottom is Graces. I love the picture of Bryce mowing because I think it is so clever how the grass is already cut where the mower has been, and I adore that Harris drew Bryce by the grill which even includes smoke! Gosh, I love those children!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Our story

Bryce and I have been married thirteen years today. He asked me this morning if it felt like 13 years. I answered honestly because I feel like we have been married forever. And that's a good thing. Here's our story...

Bryce and I met at Young Harris College (this is also where we met some of our very best of friends). Bryce and I didn't really connect until our second year and then I considered us just friends. He, however, had other ideas and kept trying to get a relationship started for much of the year. I resisted because I thought he was rather nerdy (read: smart) and I thought I was really too cool for him (I was delusional, I was really not cool at all). Also, he had a rather irritating (now endearing?) way of making fun of me (he says he was just trying to get my attention). The funny thing is that I remember chatting with a mutual friend, Angela, about Bryce and stating that if we ever did date I thought we would end up getting married!

Then came the blizzard of '93 and being stuck together in a exceptional situation made something click! I decided to bring him with me on an Easter weekend to my sister's house and that seemed to seal the deal! We've been together ever since.

Early in our dating relationship I told Bryce that he was my Green Frog because he turned from a frog to a prince. Thus our love for frogs was born and we now consider the frog our family mascot.

I consider myself very fortunate to have found a partner in life that values the same things that I do and has proven to be a really wonderful partner and father. We've had many, many great times and a few hard times, and I'm sure that in the coming years we will face much more together. There is no one that I would rather face them with.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Dinner Party and Strawberries

I'm super excited about a party that we are helping to host this weekend. Our friend Emily is turning 30 (30!) and we wanted to surprise her with a small dinner party in her honor. One of her favorite things is strawberries so that was our starting point. Some of my favorite people are going to be here so it's sure to be a great evening!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Coco and Lily

I'd like to introduce the newest additions to our family, Coco and Lily! They are the sweetest kittens and the children are already head over heels in love with them. There will be no shortage of handling and love for these little girls!



The girls

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summer List

The children and I made our summer to do list this afternoon. I've set a goal for myself to do something with the children everyday and not say "in a minute," "when I'm done," or "I'll be right there." I've gotten in a bit of a habit of assuming the children will keep each other busy (which is often true) and putting them off until later with the result being that they have often forgotten what they wanted to do in the first place.

I love a good list and am hoping this will keep us on track and help us to find joy in the little things (here's to hoping we find a rainbow!).

Last Day of School

We had a busy last day of school!  It was only a half day so when I picked Grace up from school (where she and most of her classmates where sobbing because they would miss their teacher!) we went over to Gretchen's house for lunch and some banana split sundaes!  We also went for a quick dip in the freezing cold pool... in the rain.  

Fortunately, it did stop raining so we were able to go to Rachel's fiesta that she had in her back yard.  The children made beautiful paper flowers, played on the trampoline, made fairy clothes and cracked open a pinata.  The adults dined on delicious fajitas and other goodies!  Not a bad way to celebrate school being out and the summer getting off to a great start!

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I always try to keep my posts on this blog positive but honestly we've been a bit out of sorts around here. We've had what feels like a series of unfortunate events.

First, Bryce took up part of a floor in what was supposed to be an easy job. However, he discovered that part of the floor had rotted away (thus the plywood floor that the previous owners had put down on top of this floor). This discovery added hours onto his job and it still remains unfinished! While he was working on said floor he looked up and discovered that our new portico roof had a leak in it! The house and all that needs to be done is a bit overwhelming!

Secondly, the wind caught our vestibule door today and it swung shut with enough force to break one of the window panes. Being a very old door makes it very hard to replace such things and adds one more thing to the list!

I've also decided that the constant rain and lack of sunshine has affected our moods. Ever heard of winter blues? Is it possible to have summer blues? Just that phrase seems like an oxymoron!

Lastly, and this is a biggie, our family was deemed unfit to bring home a kitten we picked out! I still get angry every single time I think about it! Harris, Grace and I went to a local store to try to find a kitten to adopt. We found a beautiful kitten that seemed just right for us. As we were getting ready to check out with our new pet supplies they came to tell us that they didn't feel comfortable with our family because Harris was so young and "you just never know when a tail is going to be pulled." Seriously???? Of course Grace was devastated but she has gotten over it and I haven't. I just can't wrap my mind around the fact that I have somehow managed to take care of two young children but someone doesn't believe that I (we) can take care of a kitten. I'm also really offended that they presume a young child would be irresponsible around a kitten. Isn't that our jobs to teach children?

But enough of my pity party for one. There are some really bright spots on the horizon because the summer is almost here (Grace's last day is tomorrow) and we have some great things planned.

I also want to wish Bryce a happy Father's Day. Our children are so blessed to have him as their dad. He works hard in every area of his life and raising our children is no exception. Happy Father's day wishes also go out to Al and Paul who are terrific fathers and fathers-in-law and to my mom who, even though we didn't have a father growing up, made sure I never felt like I was missing anything.

P.S. We have also lost our phone service! Apparently, the rain might have something to do with it and the phone company is so backed up that they can't come out until next Saturday! I guess when it rains it pours. Literally!

Friday, June 19, 2009


Last Christmas my Mom gave me silhouettes of the children (I think they came from a gentleman in the mall).  I have finally gotten them framed and hung in our dining room.  I love that I can see them while I'm sitting on our sofa in the living room. 

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Chalkboard Plant Markers

It's raining here again today! This has to be the wettest spring I've ever experienced! The upside is that everything is very green. The downside is that the children's garden is very, very wet. The spot in our yard where the garden is located holds water and I'm worried about root rot. Our seedlings did not do all that great- it was very hit or miss. I guess that a ton of water plus not a lot of sun equals struggling new plants!

A couple of weekends ago we did manage to put out our plant markers. Several years ago we went to a children's garden that had every plant marked with these wonderful chalkboard plant markers. I inquired as to the source of the markers and was pleasantly surprised to find that the distributer was literally in the town next to us! You must use special waterproof chalkboard markers but the writing easily comes off with alcohol. The children have fun coloring pictures on the markers, and I think that it is a great learning tool.  Here are just a few of them...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Children's Book Club

Grace and I hosted the children's book club this afternoon, and I think that it went well. I would expect that it will take the children and I several meetings to really find our rhythm. It has been a long time since I led a group of children in a discussion about a book!

I found some really good group discussion questions online and that helped me to have a jumping off point. It was interesting to see how much of the book the children comprehended (a lot) and how much they could delve deeper into the meaning behind the story. When I was teaching I was always astonished at how much children could add to a discussion when really pushed to stretch themselves. My challenge is how to do that in a small group outside of school. I want this book club to be enjoyable and not just another "educational" experience for them. I find myself wanting the children to love the book as much as I do and to "get" it. I have to remind myself that as an adult I bring a lot more experience into my reading of the book (I sobbed when Charlotte died!).

Anyway, the children did great and we really did have some insightful discussion about the story. My favorite was when we discussed whether Templeton, the rat, was a hero or the villain. (Also, when we got into a vegetarian discussion!) As we discussed the book we had a snack of pigs in a blanket (I couldn't help myself) and spider cupcakes.

After our discussion we did a small activity. They children made a glue web and wrote a word in the middle to describe a friend.

Hannah and her web

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Washington, D.C.

We are back from our weekend trip to Washington, D.C. We had a lovely visit with Leah and Aaron and managed to see a lot for such a short visit. Here are the highlights of our two days spent in our country's capital...

We started off our visit with a trip to the Natural History Museum. While there we saw dinos, marine life, insects and live butterflies.

We walked by the Washington Memorial

One of my favorite things we did was seeing the White House. I find it so pretty and gracious in a rather simple way.

I was also rather keen on going to see the Lincoln Memorial. It is just magnificent! Not to mention the view from the top of the stairs.

Aaron had the brilliant idea to fly kites on the lawn in front of the Washington Memorial. The children loved it.

We also made a stop at the Capitol Building and the Supreme Court.

Just in case you were wondering, there was a lot of this...

... and this.

We didn't even think to bring a stroller with us and it was a lot of walking!

Blogging tips