Sunday, January 30, 2011

Our Cakes, Painted

I have something to share today that I am so excited about and absolutely in love with!  Remember the cake painting that Bryce gave me?  That was the first cake that Bryce and I made together and the start of a birthday tradition that has lasted the past eight years and has no end in sight!

On Friday I received this package in the mail.

A couple of months ago I contacted Carey to see if she would be interested in painting a collection of all the cakes that we have made for Grace and Harris.  I've had a cabinet in my dining room/kitchen for the past year but I hadn't found just what I wanted to put above the cabinet.

I love the first painting that she did for us and I thought that it would be special to commemorate all of the cakes in the same way- except on a little smaller of a scale.  I knew that I would love them but I didn't know just how much!

Carey did an exceptional job and she is amazing to work with.  Each painting is unique and she managed to capture the best details of each cake- which is saying something considering all she had to work with was a scanned picture of each cake.

I'm looking forward to adding to the collection.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Snow Day!

Yesterday was a snow day for all of us.  We got so much snow that I gasped when I looked out the window and the children couldn't wait to get out there!

I had it in mind that if we were going to have a snow day that I would also have a theme day based on snow!  But it didn't happen.  We began the day with gusto and snowflake making but we soon were invited to a friends house to have tea/hot cocoa and play in the snow.  We chose quality time with friends (well the children and I did- Bryce is sick) because snow days are those rare days that allow you to take time out of your normal routine and just enjoy whatever you choose to do- time with friends, quite time, uninterrupted play time and stay in pajama time.  We had a good day!

I did manage to make the children a snow themed lunch!  Bryce thought the cauliflower snowman looked a little more like a snow bear than a snowman but no matter.  We cut the tortillas to look like snowflakes!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Homemade Marshmallows

We woke up this morning to big, fat, fluffy snow literally pouring from the sky.  It was so beautiful!  However, school was not cancelled and so Grace made her way to school for the first time all week.  In order to busy ourselves (and to help Harris get back in the groove of not having Grace here) Harris and I set about making homemade marshmallows.  Harris took a lot of ownership in making these marshmallows.  He even did some dishes and cleaned up the counters afterwards (he takes after his Dad!).

I always use the recipe from Smitten Kitchen because they consistently turn out delicious and are fairly easy to make (though you do have to have a kitchen thermometer).  They are big, fat and fluffy- just like the snow we got today!

In honor of the snow, we cut out some of the marshmallows with a snowflake cookie cutter!

The snowflakes and hot cocoa were a perfect after school treat.

P.S.  For my birthday a few weeks ago a friend gave me a one pound- yes, one pound- bar of dark chocolate.  I've been melting the chocolate in milk for our hot chocolate.  It's delicious!  Thanks Gretchen!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sick Days

We are in day 3 of being hit by some some awful bug that took Grace completely down for 2 days and is trying to get its yucky clutches on Harris.  We have been very low key (Grace literally didn't get out of bed Sunday!) and trying to do quite activities.

Before Christmas I bought paper dolls for the children with the intention of pulling them out when we needed a quite activity.  Normally, I would not have purchased Harris a paper doll but Lily and Thistle was offering a two for one special so there was no reason not to.  I'm so glad that I did!  Harris has enjoyed the doll and I have been astounded at how well he can cut out the clothes!

These dolls are the sweetest thing I have seen in a long time, and I'm so pleased that the children are enjoying them.  Honestly, the dolls capture my romantic vision of what childhood should be.  They are beautiful, and full of happiness and sweet innocence.  I'm also delighted that she offers storybook character clothes for the dolls.  Plus, you can print them out at home!

I've made batches of chicken and rice soup.  I even tried my hand at gluten free biscuits.

I also introduced the children to the newest winner of the Caldecott medal, A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead.  This book is a delightful read!  The story is wonderful and the illustrations are soothing, sweet and endearing all at the same time!  Perfect for an actual sick day!

(And of course, the children have been comforted by their hot water bottles- both the frog and the lamb- and our favorite quilt)

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Volunteering has really been on my mind lately.  As we continue on with our 52 weeks of giving I want to put more effort into our volunteering for both the community and the world in which we live.  I've always found volunteering with the children a bit difficult- many places won't allow children to participate nor have I known where to begin!  I found this list a while ago (I can't remember which magazine) and I thought I would share it.  The organizations that are listed are family oriented and you don't necessarily have to take your children to a facility to do the volunteering.  If you know of a good organization that we should add to the list please share!

Carrie shared with me her amazing 52 week list and she had two great resources for giving to our soldiers.  They are: and  Thanks Carrie!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Owie Doll

Thank you friends and family for your kind phone calls, emails and comments about Harris' procedure yesterday.  It will be a couple of days until we get the biopsy results but we did get some preliminary good news!  The doctor said that Harris' esophagus looked healthy (compared to the last scope) and that there were no furrows or inflammation that he could see.

Are you ready for adorableness overload?

My Mom made Harris an Owie doll to take with him to the hospital.  Owie dolls are amazingly resilient because they are constantly being bruised, scraped and broken and yet they always have a smile on their face and the ability to make children feel better.

I first saw the Owie doll on Ikat's Bag Esty store where she sells the dolls.  I was thrilled to discover that she also sells the pattern to make your own Owie doll. I always assume that my Mother can make anything I ask her too and she can- which is a happy thing!

One of the neatest things about Owie are his band aids.  They are velcro that stick to him and come off without pulling the fabric (I had to order the fabric online).

He wears a hospital gown that ties in the back.  Harris loves that my Mom also made him some white "underwear!"

Owie has a medic bag to hold all of his medical supplies- band aids, bandages, a cast, and an arm sling .  My Mom is also making Owie a head wrap and an eye patch.

Harris absolutely loves his Owie!   He took him to the hospital yesterday where everything that was done to Harris was done to Owie- the nurses were even nice enough to give Owie his own arm bracelets!

My Mom asked that I never ask her to sew anything again.  You don't suppose she's serious do you?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Harris and a Bear

Harris drew this adorable bear and I just love it.  His little face and his heart just make me turn to mush.  We are taking Harris this morning to have another scope to find out if those pesky eosiniphiles are still present in his esophagus.  Please say a prayer or send a happy thought that all goes well and he gets a clean scope.  

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Making Chocolate

Ever since reading Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and visiting Hershey Park, Harris has developed a fascination with chocolate-  specifically, making chocolate.  So he was thrilled to receive a chocolate making kit from my sister and her family for Christmas.

It was especially fun for him (and Grace) to see the cacao bean.  We have read about these beans a lot but it was really wonderful to hold, smell and taste the bean.

The kit comes with everything you need to make chocolate including a stick on thermometer to get the chocolate to the right temperature for tempering.

When all the steps are followed you are left with some delicious chocolate to enjoy!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

52 Weeks of Giving

{Our family this morning, we made sandwiches for a Salvation Army event}

Over the holidays our family used the Giving Jar as a way to do good for others.  When we pulled out a slip of paper and performed the "act of kindness" written there, it was truly a wonderful feeling and something that we all enjoyed.  Unfortunately, we didn't pull as many as I would have liked.  There are a million excuses (the holidays are crazy for most of us) but the more I thought about it the more I realized that I don't want this to be a once-a-year type of activity.  Thus, I've decided that we are going to perform at least one act of giving a week for the next year.  My hope is that the children (all of us really) can begin to understand that giving to others can be a regular part of life - a habit if you will.

I've made a list of activities that span the year and will act as our "guide" but with the understanding that many opportunities might present themselves throughout the year and occur naturally.  I don't want to be tied to a list that I feel we can't stray from.  That said, many activities will have to be planned and prepared for ahead of time.

It's also important to me that our acts require us to give of ourselves - talents, time and thought - not just our money.  I don't believe that all acts need to be grand gestures and in fact I believe that it is often the little things that make a difference in someones' life.

Is anyone up for doing 52 weeks of giving with us?  I think it would be amazing to do it together.  Katherine Marie is continuing on her random acts of kindness for the next 52 weeks and her list is incredible.  

I haven't included my list but if you are interested in seeing it please let me know and I'll be happy to share.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Homemade Vanilla Extract

For Christmas I gave friends and neighbors homemade vanilla extract.  It was super easy and fun to make.  In fact, the hardest part about the whole thing was starting 8 weeks before Christmas!

I got most of my information from this post on Design Mom.  I did a lot of looking on the internet before I started, but to be honest they were all pretty much the same- put split vanilla beans in vodka and let sit for eight weeks.  I ordered all of the vanilla beans from Amazon and they were a great value, especially when you compare to what you would spend at the grocery store for just a few!  They made the extract a rich, beautiful color!

The bottles were from here, and I ordered the lovely labels from Felix Doolittle.

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