Friday, April 30, 2010

Arbor Day

We had a little celebration in honor of Arbor Day tonight. My definition of a celebration seems to revolve around a book and fun food and tonight was no different. Harris and I made cupcake trees for our treat and we read, A Tree is Nice by Janice May Udry.

The cupcake trees were easy to make because I already had the lollipops and the green candy coat (leftover from the frog party). Harris thought the red on the tree were apples and Grace thought they were blooms- either way I used sprinkles leftover from Christmas. I got the idea for the cupcakes here.

I even used recycled cupcake cups- so no trees were harmed in the making of our trees!

During dinner the children made a list of things that trees are great for:

Beautifulness (Grace's word)
Home for birds, animals and bugs

And finally we read the charming book, A Tree is Nice. You must check this book out. It's simple and straightforward but is engaging and totally focused on the beauty, usefulness and wonder of trees!

Thursday, April 29, 2010


I walked out of my door yesterday to find these peonies sitting on my doorstep. How fantastic is it to have a friend that will share her flowers with you just because she knows you love them? They are from her tree peony and aren't they stunning? They make me want to weep with joy. Seriously. I expressed that to Bryce who looked at me like I was possibly insane.

My friend, Gretchen, recently went on a trip to Italy and brought back a few goodies. One of my favorites are these little candies. I like how they call them digestives. Doesn't that sound so much better than candy? Plus, the box is pretty!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Try, try and try again... and then again

When I first began working on the first aid kit project I thought that it would be an easy task- and it probably would have been if I had any idea what I was doing! Since I did not have an old metal lunchbox to use I picked up a brand new white one at Michael's for $6. I knew that I wanted to use the iconic first aid symbol and it was a bonus that the lunchbox was already white!

I picked up some red spray paint and printed out a copy of the red cross. Using an exacto knife I made a stencil of sorts, using just white construction paper, and taped it on the front of the box. In my mind this should have worked out brilliantly....

but not only were the lines not sharp but it was off center and crooked!

Fortunately, I had paint left over from the peony painting so I sprayed over the red cross with white paint and used heavy card board for my stencil instead of paper. I tried again...

and had no better luck. I sprayed it white again and gave it another try, this time waiting a day to make sure all the paint was dry. Not only did it not work but the white paint started cracking... so I went and bought another lunchbox!

This time I decided to use painters tape to tape off the red cross. I thought this was a no brainer solution to my problem.

and it might have been if I had really made sure that all the corners were down tight. But I didn't (I really thought I had!) so the paint ran. Not bad, but enough. I should note that at this point Grace was starting to remind me that nothing had to be perfect. But I couldn't stop myself from trying one more time.

The final box is not perfect but it is good enough. In fact when I peeled off the tape the red paint tried to peel up too but I just used my fingers to smooth it back down! I really wanted to try one more time to see if I could get the lines really crisp but I honestly didn't want to send the wrong message to the children. I spend a lot of time explaining to Grace that nothing has to be perfect and I didn't want to not follow my own advice!

Monday, April 26, 2010

A first aid kit for the mudroom

Now that spring is here and the weather is warmer (and then colder and then warmer again!) we are all outside a lot! Yeah! However, with outdoor play comes lots of splinters, cuts and bruises, bug bites and the occasional blister.

I recently saw in a magazine (I cannot remember which one) a first aid kit that was made out of an old lunchbox. They had painted the lunchbox the color of the wall and affixed it directly to the wall. I thought that this was a brilliant idea! Rather than having to run upstairs every time a bandaid is needed we can grab it in the mudroom! We filled it with simple and basic first aid materials. We've already used it several times and love it!

I thought that it was going to be an easy and quick project. It wasn't. Mostly because of my mistakes but that is another post...

Sunday, April 25, 2010


We had a fairly low key weekend that was filled with just enough stuff to make it interesting!

Grace participated with her brownie troop to help clean up a local park.

Saturday afternoon we held a "family garden clean-up" session. The children's garden was in sad shape after the tough winter we had. As I inspected the garden I was worried that it was in too rough a shape for us to make a dent in one afternoon! However, I needn't have worried because with all four of us working it was done in no time! The best surprise of the afternoon? Working to clean the garden turned out to be really nice family time. The children talked about all sorts of topics and really were a huge help in the clean-up! Being back in the garden made me excited to do a few new things in the garden this year!

I had to share this photo of Harris. This is what Harris dresses like to go to church on Sundays. Of course, I think he is always adorable but you know what makes him over the top adorable on Sunday mornings? The pen he puts in his pocket so that he looks like his Dad.

P.S. I also went to a flea market on Saturday morning and scored 15 old spoons for a project I'm working on! It was fun to wander the aisles and see all the treasures/junk that everyone was selling!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day

We celebrated Earth day by biking, eating and reading!

Grace and Bryce started the morning off by biking to school. It seems that often what is good for the environment is also good for our bodies! Funny how that works.

I decided to try to cook dinner using only locally grown foods. Harris and I went to a local farm and purchased pork chops and then made a trip to the farmers market and gathered up asparagus and sweet potatoes. Dinner was very good but I'm troubled because I had to travel to two separate places to get the ingredients for dinner and the pork chops cost $23! I could not spend that on a regular everyday meal nor could I (or want to) travel to the stores to gather ingredients like I did today. Also, I was in my car for far longer than I normally would be... does that really help? I think this time of year also makes it difficult. (We are still members of the farm and love it, but it isn't yet harvesting time for anything!)

The children and I made a cake that was meant to resemble the earth for dessert. I think that it turned out super cute and was easy too. I got the idea here. I just can't think of cake without frosting so we decided to add some clouds!

At bedtime we read the picture book, All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon . I love how this book conveys in simple words that though the world is large and we are small we are still one.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Happiness is...

Climbing a tree with a favorite friend...

Having a sister comfort you when you are sad...

And a bouquet of lilacs on your dining room table.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A goodie bag for the birds

Yesterday, we discovered a nest that is being built by a very busy Robin. This discovery spurred us to make a bird bag full of goodies that the birds can use to make their nests. We used a produce bag and filled it full of ribbon (how's that for recycling?), yarn, straw, hair from brushes and scraps of cotton fabric. I'm hoping that we will spot some of the goodies in nests around our house. Wouldn't the bright pops of color make for a festive nest?

No Roses for Harry by Gene Zion is a great book to read in conjunction with this activity. It's all about the yarn from a sweater being used to make a nest! My children really enjoy this book and Harry the dog!

P.S. I wanted to make sure all that we put in the bag was safe for the birds and from what I have read the ribbon is fine, as long as it is not metallic.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

More celebrating with friends

We had one of those weekends that is a lot of fun but over too fast! Bryce followed in my footsteps of having a birthday week so we continued to celebrate this weekend!

On Friday evening we celebrated Bryce and Kristin's birthday by going out to dinner!

On Saturday evening we got together with friends to play Bryce's favorite card game, Peanuts. His family has played this game forever and it can get really crazy (and it did!). It was a lot of fun! Thanks to Sonja and Ryan for hosting us!

I made these mocha cupcakes (Bryce adores coffee) for Saturday night. They were pretty and tasty but not outstanding!

P.S. Thanks to my Mom who kindly and generously watched the children while we were off having fun!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Revisit of the attic bathroom...

I thought I would do a little update on our attic bathroom and how it's come together since we first wallpapered it. I still love the wallpaper and think that it is perfect for the attic playroom. The children have colored some more of the boxes in and I love how they are a reflection of the children's ever growing skills.

A while back my friend, Jen, had suggested I look at the bathroom accessories line at Pottery Barn Kids. As soon as I saw them I knew that they would be perfect for our bathroom. I love how they add a pop of color! I also found a new bath mat that goes much better than the previous one.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A school tour

Yesterday was an exciting day for Harris. Our local grammar school has a charming tradition of giving incoming kindergartners a tour of the school and a chance to meet some of the teachers. If the new student has a sibling that already attends they get to give the tour! I thought Harris might explode from happiness as Grace toured him around the school- not because he was nearing the start of kindergarten but because his Grace was there.

I have to be honest. My heart broke a little. I'm not dealing well with my children getting older (or myself for that matter!). I just sort of want to freeze time. Is that wrong?

Monday, April 12, 2010

A birthday picnic

We celebrated Bryce's birthday a little early tonight. I wanted to surprise him with the driveway lined with balloons and a picnic set under our favorite tree but as my Mom and I were setting the balloons up Bryce drove up. Usually he gets home at the same time every evening just like clockwork but tonight he was early! We were glad to have him home early, surprise or not! My original plan was to purchase 37 balloons - when did balloons get so expensive? I got an even two dozen and that turned out to be plenty. I must say that they were very festive and happy looking as they bobbed around in the breeze.

Grace made a birthday banner for Bryce that we hung in the tree. She included 37 reasons why we love Bryce.

We started our meal with some cheese and crackers and then dined on croissants with chicken salad, kettle chips, and fruit.

When it was time for dessert we had to move inside because it was really getting chilly. I made a dessert that combined two of Bryce's favorites - Oreos and cheesecake!

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