Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Under Siege

Have I told you how very sweet our two kittens are? Coco and Lilly are really the sweetest kittens ever. They like to be held and sit in laps, they let Harris and Grace love on them all the time and they have never so much as hissed, scratched or given the children a mean look. That's saying something because if you have never seen Harris handle these kittens then you are missing out. He handles them! He is in love with those cats and lets them know it all the time. Please remember that 4 year old little boys don't always know the meaning of gentle or at least their interpretation is something altogether different than ours.

All the above being said, I must admit that our household is under siege. Here are some examples...

I've had to cover our chair with an old sheet because Lilly likes to sharpen her claws on it.

I've taken the slipcovers off of our chairs because the material is easily picked by claws and the tassels are too much of a temptation. I've even covered the ottoman with towels.

Even Rainbow, Grace's fish, isn't safe. Poor thing.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Officer Buckle and Gloria come to life

We love the children's book Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann. We have read the book many times in the past 7 years and it hasn't gotten old yet! So you can imagine that I laughed pretty hard when Grace and Harris came downstairs yesterday in the midst of some dress-up play. I was told that they were Officer Buckle and Gloria... I love it when books come to life!

P.S. That costume was a dance recital costume of mine when I was little!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Celebration Plate

I've always wanted a celebration plate for our family. It's a plate that dinner (or any meal) is served on when a family member has something- big or small- to celebrate. It's another way to recognize and celebrate moments in our lives.

I've often seen really cute celebration plates but none have really ever felt personal enough. Until now. I recently bought one from Aedriel on Etsy. She painted our logo on a plate, and I think that it turned out darling. I believe that she could paint just about anything and do an amazing job! (She's super nice to boot!)

My hope is that the plate will be a special tradition in our family and for our children.

P.S. Obviously, I've smudged out our last name on the plate. I'm trying to be a little cautious about that sort of thing.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Saving Seeds

We enjoyed our sunflowers in the children's garden this year so much that we decided to try to save the seeds for next year's enjoyment. Family Fun has a template for making your own seed packets. I printed it out and Grace decorated it and glued it together. Hopefully, next year we can enjoy their beauty once again!

Friday, September 25, 2009


Well hello! We have been busy the past week with back to back visitors (the best sort of busy) and I have not had time to pop in.

On Monday my friend Candace and her family came to stay with us for two nights. It was so great to visit with Candace and Jeff and our children were thrilled to play with their lovely children. They left Wednesday morning and that afternoon our friend Alvis and his wife Nesha arrived to spend two evenings with us. This visit gave us time to get to know Nesha (she is delightful) who we only briefly met when we attended their wedding!

It's been so wonderful to have faraway friends visiting with us!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A cake with a bow

This weekend I made a cake for a bridal shower that my mom hosted. I have not used a lot of fondants in the cakes that I have made. However, after doing a bit of research on the Internet it appeared to me that most bows were made out of fondant. I asked Kelly, who has made amazing cakes, if she would share her marshmallow fondant recipe with me. After a few false starts I had a pink fondant that was easy to make and was tasty too (my complaint about fondant has always been the taste).

Now I fully expected my bow to turn out as fabulous and beautiful as the one on the tutorial that I followed. As you can didn't. I think that for my first try it was pretty good but there are a few things that I would do differently next time.

1. Make strips thicker. The ones that I made thicker held their shape better.
2. Make farther in advance. I didn't leave enough time for the fondant to dry out.
3. Use balled up wax paper to help it hold its shape while drying.
4. Use a different cutter. The pizza cutter I used pulled the fondant and didn't give a clean cut. (Thanks for the last two tips Kelly!)

One thing that I did do that I think was really helpful was use pink marshmallows. I didn't have to color the fondant and got a pretty pink to boot!

Sunday Evening

Sometimes I think that the best get togethers are the impromptu ones. Do you agree? It takes off all the pressure and makes you focus on the people you are with. There is no figuring out what to serve for dinner or franticly trying to tidy up your house and/or yourself.

We had just such an impromptu dinner with friends tonight. We dined on simple hamburgers/hotdogs, a salad and good old fashioned potato chips! The children enjoyed playing with each other on a beautiful afternoon and evening.

We capped off our evening with s'mores by the fire. The fire felt great and was a fun way to usher out the last bits of summer.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Harris starts school

Despite my asking/begging him not to grow anymore Harris started Preschool yesterday. This, his last year before Kindergarten, promises to be a fun year. He will be attending school three mornings a week for 3 hours! He did great his first day!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pesto and mayonnaise... Together

Fall is definitely in the air here. We are still having some warm days but they are punctuated by chilly evenings and a few cool days. I've been scrambling to make batches of pesto to freeze so that we can enjoy the delicious goodness for a few extra weeks (there is no way that it will even last into winter). I freeze individual servings in an ice tray and they pop out easily for lunches, snacks and sandwiches.

Tonight we had BLT sandwiches for dinner with fresh heirloom tomatoes from the farm. At the last minute I had the idea to spread pesto mayonnaise on the BLT and oh good heavens it was good. You really must try it. Tomorrow. Do not hesitate.

Pesto Mayonnaise

2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons pesto (one cube is 1 tablespoon)
a dash of salt
a dash of pepper

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fashion Week

Did you know that this week is fashion week in New York City? I'm not really one to follow the runway shows and the fashion of each season. Please don't get me wrong, I have a long standing love of clothes and all the accessories that go with them but the fashions on the runways seem to have very little to do with me. I do know that those fashions are what eventually trickle down to me, but by the time they do they look so very different from the runway fashions that I like them a lot better. Because let's just be honest...I can't wear what those models are wearing.

Grace has always had her own style of dressing...comfortably. Above all Grace wants to be comfortable. This past weekend she and Bryce were watching a tv show together (tennis maybe?) and there was a commercial for fashion week or a fashion tv show. This 20 second commercial inspired Grace to make a fashion book and I just had to share a few pages. I love her details. The laces on her shoes are my favorite. I believe they were inspired by her recently acquired tying skills.

Walking the runway

The School Kids Collection

The Groovy Girl Collection

The Sport Team Collection

Monday, September 14, 2009

Canning Lessons...yum

On Saturday I had an opportunity to attend a canning lesson. Gretchen won the lesson at her church auction and invited me to go along. Canning is something that I have wanted to learn but have always thought it to be a laborious and time consuming process. Well... I still think that it is somewhat laborious and time consuming but I really enjoyed the lesson and the outcome! I love the idea of having bottles of beautiful food put away to enjoy months after the season is over. There is something very comforting in knowing that you can make something now that your family can enjoy later.

We made hot pepper jelly that made my eyes, mouth and Gretchen's throat sting as we cut the peppers but boy was it good (it seems to me that 5 cups of sugar can make just about anything good!). I think that I might try to can some applesauce this fall, and I'm going to make it a goal to learn how to can Marilyn's salsa. My mother-in-law makes a salsa that is so good Bryce and I hoard our precious jars. Thanks to Gretchen for letting me tag along and thanks to Ted for letting us into your kitchen!

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers

Our children are not yet at an age where we have had to explain to them in any sort of detail the horrible events that took place on September 11, 2001. However, we have read to them a true story about the World Trade Center Towers. The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein tells the story of Philippe Petit and how he succeeded in walking between the Towers on a rope. The illustrations are beautiful as is the story. I think that this picture book is a nice reminder of the towers that were an important part of the city for so long and to so many people.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

First day of 2nd grade

Grace had a great first day of school and seems to really like her class and teacher!

As always we took Grace's picture on our front steps. This year we added a sign with her teacher's name, the year and grade. I got this idea from my friend Carrie and I think that it is such a great way to document the new year!

Grace was very excited to receive her school cone. It's always a highlight of the first day of school.

The school's mascot is an alligator so I always try to include something with an alligator (I'm stockpiling alligator school supplies). The book is a really sweet book called, I Like Being Little by Charlotte Zolotow and it describes Grace to a T. Grace always tells us that she doesn't want to grow up because she loves being a child. This book addresses that in an utterly charming way and has a really sweet and enduring ending.

We had this year's theme printed on her pencils.

Off she goes to another year. Where oh where has the time gone?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back to school dinner

I can hardly believe it but my sweet baby girl starts 2nd grade tomorrow! She's over the moon excited about it and has really enjoyed getting school supplies packed and ready to go. Tonight we had our annual back to school dinner celebration.

I tried a new alphabet soup recipe this year and really liked it. I thought it was tastier being a bit thicker and more substantial.

To compliment the soup we had breadsticks in the shape of letters. I used Pillsbury breadstick dough and just fashioned it into the shape I wanted. It worked brilliantly!

Dessert! It's funny because as I was decorating the cake I realized that the school doesn't even use chalkboards- they are all dry erase!

We took a page out of NieNie's book and decided on a theme for our school year. I really want the children to understand that it is important to do your best no matter what. I want to emphasize that best does not mean perfect or even that it will always be "right." I just ask that they work hard and do their best at whatever it is that they are doing. Is that too much to ask?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Handmade Cards

When my Mom attended our fairy party she brought with her a homemade card for Grace. It was a really thoughtful and cute addition to the festivities! My Mom always makes homemade Valentine's for the children and seems to be able to whip something up for all occasions. She's always done this, I remember as a child she would include notes and stories in my lunchbox!

Bryce's Mom is also talented in this area and will send homemade notes and cards that she made to Grace and Harris. The above card was made for Grace's third birthday party (it was a ballerina theme!). I've said it before and I will say it again...I'm surrounded by talented and creative people!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Watermelon Cookies

We went to a friends house yesterday for some pool time and a yummy dinner! I took along some ice cream and watermelon cookies. I've had this recipe for a long time but had forgotten all about them and their adorableness. They are easy to make and they are good.

P.S. I'm not sure which magazine this came from! I would guess Southern Living.
P.S.S. As always if you click the recipe it should get bigger and easier to read!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Today the children and I visited a sculpture garden. We had a fun time and came home inspired to create our own sculpture. Who knew that tin foil could create such great works of art?

The Inspiration

The creations
Dog with bowl and bone: Grace
Tall Woman: Anna
Shorter man with winter hat: Harris

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

An intimate fairy party

One of the items on our summer list was to host a fairy party. For Grace's last birthday she received the book Now I am a Fairy from her Aunt Delita. Ever since then she has wanted to host a party similar to the one that is shown in the book.

Grace decided to just have our family plus Grandma at the party. She planned the menu (there were several recipes in the book), decided what sort of decorations to use and what we would do at the party. I made some suggestions and helped with supplies but she was in charge!

The children and I made the food and drink together. We dined in the children's garden on magic fruity smoothies, fairy krispies, orange nectar and magic wand fruit kabobs.

Before we ate Grace gave a tour and an explanation of each of the fairy houses she and Harris have built throughout the garden and they did a bit of a demonstration. She also performed a good luck spell!

P.S. We've had very poor luck with the tunnel entrance to the garden this year. First, our nasturtiums never took off and then our morning glories were eaten down to the ground by a very pesky bunny!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Custom Clipboards

As we start to gear up for back to school I'm trying to get a few organizers in place. Last spring my friend Jennifer made clipboards to give as favors at her daughter's birthday party. They were so cute that I felt inspired to create some for my children. I plan on using them for chore charts and paperwork for the children.

The clipboards were easy to make although I found it a little frustrating to try to cut around the area where the back of the clip is attached. Jennifer also recommended tying the clip open while you work with the paper and that was a tremendous help. Once you have traced and cut your paper around the clipboard you simply use Mod Podge to glue the paper on the clipboard. I also painted Mod Podge on top of the paper to give it durability and a nice sheen too!

I'm really happy with how they turned out (I especially love the woodland scene paper)! Thank you Jen! Now if only I can figure out a good system for the chores....
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