Monday, November 30, 2009

Tree Trimming

Last night we had our annual tree trimming dinner and ornament exchange. The children are super excited for Christmas and were really looking forward to decorating the tree. They also have a lot of fun trying to decide what their new ornament will be and represent! Picking out the tree was hard this year but I think we found the perfect one!

While dinner was being made and lights were put on the tree the children decorated Christmas tree cookies and we all sipped on Cranberry Spritzer (the adult kind and the child friendly!).

This year Grace received a soccer player since this was her first year playing soccer. Harris received a tennis player since he started playing tennis.

For dessert we had tree cookies that we made into ice cream sandwiches.

P.S. Does anyone have any advice on keeping two very curious kittens out of the tree? We keep finding Coco sitting in the tree!! I think that it might give Bryce a heart attack!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Football Friday

Our friends, Kristin and Tim, put together a fun game of football this morning. It was the perfect activity for the day after stuffing ourselves full of food! Here's the rundown (get it?)...

Warm ups



Hot chocolate (and lots of doughnut holes)

Time with friends.

Everyone went home with a cute football ornament!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


We had a lovely, laid-back Thanksgiving. We have so many things to be thankful for, including a day filled with time together and delicious food. Our day included...

Turkey Pancakes

The preparing of and eating of our traditional (delicious) Thanksgiving meal.

Lots of games

And lots of time together!
I hope you all had a wonderful, relaxing Thanksgiving!

Who's ready for Christmas?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankful t-shirts

I really think that it is important that our children learn to be thankful and appreciative of all that they have. We've been reading and talking about what it means to be thankful. Early in November we read the book Thanks for Thanksgiving, and I asked each of the children (separately) what they were thankful for. I then went to a local embroidery shop and had t-shirts made that listed what they children were thankful for.

Harris' list

Grace's list

I got the idea from a catalogue, Chasing Fireflies, but thought that it was rather pricey at $38 per t-shirt. I ended up spending $30 total- including the t-shirts! They turned out really cute! I'm thinking that it might turn into a new tradition.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cake painting

I have a new favorite thing. Words do not adequately explain how much I love this painting. Bryce surprised me this weekend with a painting by Carey Haynes. But it's not just any painting.. it's the first cake Bryce and I ever made together. It was for Grace's first birthday and to this day it's one of my favorite cakes we've ever made. It was just so pretty, feminine and simple. I love how Carey incorporated the bow and the texture in the painting is just wonderful.

I know that I have explained this before but I think that it bears repeating. Bryce and I have a long standing tradition (7 years to be exact!) of staying up late the night before our children's birthday parties and making their birthday cake together. I do all the baking and making and Bryce does most of the decorating. To me the cake is what a birthday is all about (you know, besides celebrating the child's birth!), and I really love the time that is spent coming up with the type of cake we will serve and then watching a lovely cake take form under the influence of decorating tips, icing bags and even candy. To date we have made 12 cakes together!

And now I have a beautiful painting to remind me of our cake making tradition. I think the painting is stunning! Thank you Bryce for giving me something so lovely and meaningful. May we make cakes together for many more years!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New Moon

I have a confession. I thought I might be embarrassed to tell you all that I did such a CRAZY and WACKY think but I'm surprisingly not. Maybe it's because I enjoyed myself so much!

I went to the midnight showing of New Moon. (You might remember my obsessive reading of the Twilight series) It was just myself and ten other of my fun loving friends... and an entire theater full of the local high school students.

My friend Gretchen hosted a late night gathering beforehand and she really out did herself with fun details. Unfortunately, my camera battery died after just a few pictures so I don't have many pictures of her cute decorations. I did get a few though...

Gretchen even gave us bags full of goodies to take to the theater.

P.S. I was standing in line to go to the restroom and as I walked away I heard a young girl behind me say, "I hope I'm not one of these Moms one day." I'm sure she finished the sentence with something about how pathetic it is. However, I've been thinking how glad I am that I'm still up for such fun endeavors and who really cares anyway? I wonder if in 15 years she will feel differently?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Eosinophilic Esophagitis

About a month ago Harris had an endoscopic exam to try to figure out why food sometimes gets stuck when he eats. The food won't come up or go down and it can be very frustrating for him. We got the diagnosis last week and unfortunately it wasn't really what we would have liked to have heard. He was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophagitis or EE. Basically, it means that he is allergic to food (on the inside) and his esophagus is reacting by becoming irritated and inflamed. This is not good as it then can make it difficult for food to go down and will eventually create scar tissue that will narrow the esophagus for good. The million dollar question is what food or foods he is allergic to. In a couple of weeks we will begin testing for allergies and I pray that it is apparent what the allergy is and that it is not multiple foods.

I'm trying very hard to not jump to the worst case scenerio (feeding tubes and no food) and I vacillate on a daily basis between thinking that this is HUGE and life changing to thinking that it's totally managable and doesn't have to become the focus of our life. Right now, I'm thinking that we can work through this, find out what is the culprit and remove it from his diet. In a few years, we may even be able to reintroduce the the offending food! My thinking will probably change tomorrow...

P.S. The above picture has nothing to do with anything except that I love it-even though it's completely out of focus!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Children's Library

I'm a big believer that picture books are wonderful for children even as they get older and are reading chapter books. I've read and enjoyed picture books that would be totally appropriate for middle schoolers.

Recently I've seen two images that I can't stop thinking about. I knew right away that I would have to find a way to incorporate such a thing into our household. I'm still working on that...

image from Ohdeedoh and Cookie Magazine

Monday, November 16, 2009

Birthday Presents... in bulk

Months ago our local toy store closed, and I really miss it. I loved the store and it was oh so easy to run in and grab a gift on the way to a birthday party. Several times I've found myself without a gift for a party that the children are attending. I decided to buy in bulk and have gifts on hand for just such times. I bought Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Animals (on Amazon they are often on a buy 4 for 3 promotion) and a nice set of colored pencils. I wrapped them up and now I'm ready at a moment's notice! I feel very organized... now if I could just get everything else together!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Party in a box

Last year we got a surprise visit from Delita and Brendan for Harris' 4th birthday. He was able to attend the party which was really special. Unfortunately, he was not able to travel to the party (you know since there are 1,000 miles and numerous states between us!) this year. So we decided to send the party to him. We gathered the items that we thought would travel well and sent the "party in a box" to Brendan.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Limber Letters

A few months ago I discovered Limber Letters on etsy. How I wish that I had had these always! We use them almost everyday and in many different ways. What I love about the Limber Letters is that there are lots of letters so you never seem to run out of an "e". These letters are just great for emerging readers and already strong readers. Harris uses them to practice his letters and Grace makes words, sentences and practices her spelling words. I've even taken to leaving messages for the children at their breakfast place or above the sink.

I've put them in a container on the kitchen island and have been pleasantly surprised at how much the children play with them. I've even found myself playing with them while on the phone! The gal who sells these letters also has a blog that she updates with new games and/or ideas of what to do with your letters.

We even used the letters to mark who's medicine cup was whose!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Harris' Frog Birthday Party

Harris' birthday party was "toad"ally awesome! He had a great time with his friends and I had a great time planning the party. Forgive the long post but I really want to document all of the details (it's the details that make me giddy... I know five year olds don't really care but I do!). We set the tone of the party with the invitations and it was easy to come up with lots of ways to incorporate frogs into our day.

The Food

Creating this table was my favorite part of the party! I love Amy Atlas and her sweet table designs so that was my inspiration. I wanted to try to do a kid friendly, kid sized sweet table. On the table we had frog lollipops, gummi frogs, decorated sugar cookies, green M&M's, "pond water", green apple licorice sticks to use as straws and the cake.

The lollipops were super easy to make, and I think they turned out really adorable. I got it in my head that I wanted a lollipop stand so I made one using these instructions. It was easy and really cute.

The cookies had mini M&M's on them and sugar eyes. I already had the cookie cutter... we have a lot of frog things!

We usually have this bowl full of gummi frogs sitting on our kitchen counter so I didn't even have to buy them especially for the party.

The Cake

Bryce and I made and decorated the cake together- and we weren't even up too late doing it!

The Activities

We started the party by reading The Frog House by Mark Taylor. We then made frog houses out of terra cotta pots. The children painted them on the outside using paint made for terra cotta. (Before you judge me for having entirely too much time on my hands in which I made miniature banners for the homes please remember that we were home sick for 4 days!)

We went outside to catch flies (disguised as bubbles) with our frogs whose tongues were party blowers. Harris and I made the craft before the party.

Leap frog was played.

As was "leap on Daddy."

The Favors

The Guests

Really, what makes a party are the guests. I wanted to try to keep the party small so Harris was allowed to invite 5 friends (since he is five) which made the party fun and not too crazy (can you put a group of boys in a room and not have it be a little crazy?)! Of course, Grandma was in attendance and we were thrilled to have Leah (Bryce's sister) and Aaron to come as well. They always make a special effort to come for family events and it's appreciated! Plus, it was fun to see her looking so great at 7 months pregnant!

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