Sunday, February 28, 2010

Amazing Grace

Grace is 8 today. Eight years ago our lives changed in a way we could never have anticipated. I never would have guessed how hard parenting can be or how rewarding. I never knew that you could love another person in the way that we love our Grace.

We think that Grace is amazing. Really and truly amazing. I'm so proud of who she is and who she is becoming. I feel truly blessed that I get to be her Mom. Here are the top ten things I love about Grace right now.

1. She loves her family and wants to spend time with them. Her parents, her brother, and her grandparents.

2. She's a good girl. She thinks of others and has a moral compass that she listens to and follows.

3. She gets excited about life and all that it has to offer. She has told us before that she wants to try and experience everything that she can while she is a child.

4. She loves being a child.

5. She loves to read.

6. She's at an age where she very much wants to be helpful (most of the time).

7. She has not yet gotten to point where she compares herself to others (my wish for her is that she never gets to that point). She is quite happy to be herself.

8. Her red hair and her freckles.

9. She has such a sensitive heart. Two years ago she watched the Curious George movie and she cried (a lot) when he was separated from the man in the yellow hat. To this day she cannot listen to the music that accompanied that movie. She cries at sad commercials and stories. (I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree on this one!)

10. Her smile!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Favorite things

Here are a few of my favorite things right now...

My Mom gave me a set of three vintage frog dish towels for Christmas. Aren't they the happiest?

She also gave me this butter dish girl. She makes me smile when I open the refrigerator.

I think flannel pajamas and flannel sheets are heaven. My sister gave me these cute pajamas with cupcakes on them.

Bryce gave me the perfect purse for my birthday! I need a big purse because I always carry Harris' epipen and Bendadryl with me. This purse can fit an amazing amount of stuff in it! I can carry water, a book and various hats, scarves and mittens- and that's in addition to all my regular purse stuff. And of course it has a bow.

My in-laws gave me this tool for Christmas. I keep it in the kitchen and use it frequently. Honestly, I don't know what it can't do! I've used it to open packages, cut flowers, and unscrew a toy battery compartment.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Olympic Talk

Can we talk about the Olympics? We've been diligently watching every night and will need a few days to recuperate from the late nights once it's all over!

What I really need to discuss is the men's figure skating event. I remember the Russian skater, Plushenko, from the last Olympics. I have to be honest...he wasn't my favorite then. In the wake of winning the silver instead of the gold it seems to me that he has been a very poor sport and has shown really unbecoming conduct. But when my friend Brian posted this article today I really couldn't believe what I was reading! Seriously? Plushenko has now decided that he won the Platinum? What Platinum?!?! What I think has been most impressive is how the gold medalist, Evan Lysacek, has handled the whole thing. He has been nothing less than a class act! They have both provided a great opportunity for me to talk to the children about sportsmanship and how to act gracefully in a disappointing situation.

Did you see the ice dancing competition? I'm not usually on fire about this event but how cute were the Canadians who one? Her costumes were so lovely (the others...not so much) and classic. At the end of their dance I was fully expecting a Cutting Edge moment (love that movie!) so I was disappointed when it didn't happen.

p.s. Also, does anyone else cry every other commercial? Proctor and Gamble's commercial about Moms gets me every single time.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Two Skirts

Do you remember this skirt that my Mom made for Grace? Ever since she made that first skirt she has been whipping up new ones for Grace. But I believe that for Grace's birthday she has outdone herself. Not only did she make a new skirt for Grace but one for her doll as well! Really, does it get cuter?

P.S. Notice the fabric has doll clothes on it? I found the fabric at a local quilting store!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

An experiment with carnations

In preparation for Valentine's Day we performed a science experiment- complete with words such as hypothesis, control group and capillary action! The purpose of our experiment was to color carnations the colors of Valentines using food coloring and water. I thought this experiment guaranteed success so I was surprised when we did not get the different colors I was expecting!

We used three different colors for the experiment- pale pink, hot pink and red. I used my paste Wilton food colors to color the water. I wonder if this food coloring is not strong enough for this experiment? Did we leave the stems too long? All questions that I suppose good scientists ask!

We did get some pale pinks but they were from the red and hot pink jars. The pale pink jar carnations all stayed white.

Even if the experiment didn't go quite as I had expected we still ended up with a lovely bouquet for our Valentine's brunch!

P.S. I really have to comment on how surprised I was at the cost of carnations! I have always been under the impression that carnations were inexpensive. When I called up a local florist before Valentine's day she quoted me $27 a dozen!! Needless to say I passed. We ended up getting them from a grocery store florist (the least expensive ones we could find) and they were still $1 a stem! Is that crazy or am I out of touch?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Peony Painting

Peonies are a favorite of mine. I LOVE them. The beautiful colors, the ruffles upon ruffles and their romantic nature. They are perfection. So you can imagine that my heart beat a little faster when I found an oil painting of peonies in a local consignment shop. I waited (it was hard) until it reached its lowest price (it wasn't exactly a steal) and then I swooped in and grabbed it.

Unfortunately, the frame that the painting was in was not a favorite of mine, but seeing as it can cost both an arm and a leg to have something framed I needed to try to make do for now. I decided to spray paint the frame a bright, shiny white using RustOleum white lacquer.

I think that the new frame turned out well. I'm not sure that it's exactly what I would choose for a frame but for now it will certainly do. To be honest I don't even really notice the frame- the picture gets all my attention!

P.S. In the fall I planted a hedge of peonies. I can hardly wait to see what they do this spring!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Invitations for a doll party

I can hardly believe it but Grace is about to turn 8! As in 8 years old! Where, oh where, does time go?

She knew right away that she wanted to have a doll party (she loves playing with her American Girl doll that Santa brought for Christmas) where each girl brings along their doll to the party.
We used scrapbook paper to make the invitations, and I just love the polka dots! They helped to inspire the use of lots of color. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the different fabrics yet but I'm working on some ideas.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Winter Family Olympics

I'm going to go ahead and apologize for this epic post now. I couldn't help myself.

Our love for the Olympics is well documented. Here, here and even here. Fortunately for us, we know another family whose love for the Olympics rivels our own! So just as we did for the summer Olympics, we decided to hold our own Winter Family Olympics! The deal was made all the sweeter by the massive amounts of snow that we have gotten in the past few weeks! Perfect for the Winter Games.

The Olympians
Marshall, Grace, Hannah, Harris and Elliot
(Grace and Harris made the sign!)

Prepping for the first event with an Olympic official. Bryce had set up several games for the children, including building up a pretty fun sled hill. It helped that the gentleman who plowed our driveway deposited it at the very end!

The Torch Relay

Of course, every Olympics begin with the handing off and lighting of the torch. We made the torch following these instructions.
The first handoff.
Coming in to the homestretch!

The Downhill

Competition was tight.

Flying down the hill!

This event is not without it's risks...
but with skill you can right yourself!
We even had a two man bobsled team!

Snowball throwing
(You had to try to hit targets with the snowballs.)

(The children ran around the "snow track." Some needed more help than others.)

The Food

When everyone came inside we had dinner together and watched the Olympic opening ceremonies. We had to watch bits and pieces due to technical difficulties (we had recorded the night before but the DVD split and then we had difficulties streaming it off the web) but that didn't dampen the fun too much.

Gretchen and the boys made flags for many of the represented nations. Aren't they amazing? She put them in a pile of snow (technically mashed potatoes).

For dessert we had an Olympic Rings fruit pizza. I got the recipe from Taste of Home. I love how it turned out and it was easy! It will definitely become an Olympic staple.

Of course, no Olympics can be without gold medals. I made these following instructions from here. The real bonus is that there is a cookie inside!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day (food)

We had a lovely, relaxed Valentine's day. We celebrated the day in my favorite way... eating lots of yummy food! It started with a late breakfast where my Mom joined us for heart pancakes, strawberries, an oven omelet and hot chocolate with heart marshmallows (and coffee for the adults!).

Grace and Harris made the place setting cards by making hearts with their fingerprints.

Dinner was a relaxed event and consisted of pizza made in the shape of a heart, salad with heart croutons and heart beets and strawberry milk. Years ago I made a similar salad and roasted the beets- it was a long and messy process. This year I bought a can of sliced beets- it was a lot easier and I honestly didn't notice a difference. I hope you all had a LOVEly Valentines!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Grace's Valentines

We got the idea for Grace's Valentines from Family Fun magazine (which always has cute ideas for Valentine's). Fortunately for us, we weren't the only ones using this idea so we were able to download a template for the mustache and lips and even sweet tags to use! I think that they turned out very cute, but I will say that it didn't allow for a lot of creative participation from Grace. She did cut the foam and help assemble the lollipops though!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Snowstorm... again

We got a whopper of a snowstorm yesterday! What with the snowstorm a few days ago and now this one I'm all out of whack and off schedule! The snow fell fast and furious and was beautiful and peaceful to watch. It was an absolute winter wonderland and the children and Bryce had a lot of fun playing in it before it got too blustery. As much as I love watching the snow fall and staying cozy inside, I must admit that I had a moment today where I thought I might scream if I had to help change a child in or out of a snowsuit (and all its accoutrements) one more time! I got over it pretty quickly though!

Doesn't it look like marshmallow fluff?

The snow is up to our porch! And look at our new tree!

P.S. Several years ago our neighbors, Marci and John, gave us a snowman kit! Doesn't it help to make the perfect snowman?
Blogging tips