Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Cottage by the Sea

The children and I arrived yesterday for a vacation with dear friends on Block Island.  I'll not be posting regularly this week so that I can enjoy this beautiful island!  Hope your week is grand!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer Thyme Pound Cakes (teacher gift)

Yesterday was the last day of school (finally!) for the children.  Both of our classes gave a class gift to the teachers, but I thought  it would be nice to also give them a little homemade token of appreciation for all that they have done for the children throughout the year.

I've had a recipe for Lemon Thyme Pound Cake that I have been wanting to make for several years.  It was a great way to use my over abundance of lemon thyme and I thought it was a cute play on words (enjoy your summerthyme!).

I've never used a mini bundt pan before but I love how sweet the cakes turned out!  I will definitely be on the lookout for more recipes to make more cute cakes!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bird Topiary

We have added a feathered friend to the children's garden!  Several years ago I found instructions on how to make a bird topiary, and this year I finally got around to doing it with the children.

I bought a small boxwood at Lowes for $7.  We could have gotten a much bigger and much fuller one for $20, but I really didn't want to spend that much so I decided we would start small!

Following the instructions, we wrapped the head in copper wire and snipped and trimmed until we were happy with the body shape.

I think he turned out super cute and adds some personality to the garden!

P.S.  If anyone is interested in the exact instructions let me know and I will send them to you!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Harris' Closet

Harris' closet is very quirky because it is over the staircase coming up from the foyer.  Therefore, you have to walk up two stairs to step into his closet and then you are standing in a teeny, tiny, narrow room.  When we first set up his room, as a nursery, we purchased some closet shelving from the Container Store which has worked well, but as he has gotten older the closet has gotten messier and messier!  It was to the point where he was just shoving things in the closet when it was time to clean up!

I've been thinking about what to do with this space for a long time, and I know that there are lots of fabulous things that I could have done with the space (a reading nook, a desk area, etc.) but in the end we stuck with storage.  Harris has lots of little bags full of goodies- an explorer bag, his owie doll bag, a science equipment bag and a spy kit are just a few- so we needed a place to hang all those bags.  I painted a pegboard with chalkboard paints and Harris drew the outlines of his bags onto the pegboard.  We are hoping this will help him stay organized!

We hung up some of his favorite gnome pictures.

I found this adorable dog hook at Anthropologie (on sale for $3.95!).

Harris only has a few dress shirts that need to be hung.  I'm not yet ready to get rid of these adorable frog hangers that my sister gave me when I was pregnant with Grace.
Hopefully, Harris newly organized closet will inspire him to keep it that way!

P.S.  My Mom helped Grace make that science bag for Harris as a gift for his birthday!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

I woke up this morning to little footsteps on the stairs and whispers in the kitchen.  I hopped out of bed with the intention of getting the pancake breakfast that I had planned for Bryce started.  In the kitchen I found two children who had begun preparing their Dad a special "Father's Day breakfast in bed".  They had already poured some cereal, gathered some flowers and sliced a banana- they even put orange juice in a coffee mug since they didn't know how to make coffee!  It was obvious that the pancake breakfast would have to wait because the specialness of doing something for their Dad all on their own was way more important than a pretty table and fluffy pancakes.  

I believe he thoroughly enjoyed his breakfast in bed and he later enjoyed a brunch of pancakes, bacon and fruit!

I feel very fortunate that my children have such a great Dad and that I get to be on this journey of parenthood with such an amazing person.  Happy Father's Day Bryce!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pot people topiaries

I don't believe that I've ever posted about our pot people topiaries in the children's garden.  These fun pots hang on the picket fences facing inward and add a wonderful touch of whimsy to the garden.
Each year the children paint a new face (they usually choose to paint themselves!) and then we take a trip to the nursery so that the children can pick out their "hair."  Over the years we've have a very fun variety of grasses, flowers and ferns!

P.S.  We paint with paint specifically made for terra cotta pots so it stays on all season!

Monday, June 13, 2011

An Amelia Earhart project

Grace recently had to do a small research project on a hero.  The project was called a "bio-can" and it was a really clever and engaging project that I think would work in lots of different applications.  The object was to take a can (such as an oat can), decorate it to look like the hero and then fill the can with several objects that represents the heroes life.

Grace chose Amelia Earhart for her project.  She filled the can with a paper airplane, a woman and a nurses hat.  She will present her can and do a short oral report later this week.  Didn't she turn out cute?

P.S.  That's supposed to be a pilots hat with ear flaps!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Horse Show

*Warning- This is going to be a picture heavy and a "gushing mother" post.*
Grace participated in her first horse show today.  She has been riding since the fall and we really love the barn where she rides.  This year, the equestrian center decided to host a show for all of their riders.  It was a wonderful experience for Grace!

She was very nervous beforehand but conquered her fear and did wonderfully well!  She rode Scout, who had been ridden earlier in the morning and had had a bit of a hard time (nerves maybe?), but other than being a little reluctant to cantor at first, he performed beautifully!

I overheard Grace telling Scout exactly what moves they were going to be doing.  It was sweet.

As I listened to the judges calling out all the moves they were to perform I must admit that I was astounded that Grace knew how to do all that she did.  She always amazes me with all that she knows about horses!

She won a second place ribbon!

We are so very proud of our girl!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Pantry staples list

I don't like to grocery shop.  Therefore, I make an effort to only go to the store about once a week.  I make a weekly menu which I then use to make my grocery list.   I've found it to be much easier to shop with a set menu planned because my shopping excursions don't take nearly as long!

I rely heavily on always having pantry staples in the cupboards and find it ever so frustrating when I discover that I am out of baking powder right as I am in the middle of baking!  To help make sure that this doesn't happen I've made a pantry staples shopping list on the inside of our cabinet doors.

I bought specially sized chalk-board stickers at an etsy store and wrote my pantry staples on the inside (Bryce sketched the cute little pictures for me).  Now, when I use up the last of the relish I can simply check it off so that it won't be forgotten when it comes time to make my grocery list.  I didn't include things that I buy every single week, such as eggs, milk, bread and butter.

I love anything that is useful, cute and convenient!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Trials, Tribulations and Triumphs (of construction)

Trial:  I panic because the screen porch looks a little smaller than imagined.

Triumph:  My friends, husband and Mom help me to realize that it is going to be just great and will be of adequate size (a little prayer didn't hurt either).

Triumph:  The foundation is dug, poured and looks great!

Trial:  Bryce gets to thinking something is not quite right.  After measuring and looking at the plans (for the hundreth, millionth time) it is decided that our "as built plans" from the architect* (whom we really like) are short by 8 inches.  This means that our original house was mismeasured and the addition is not as wide as it could be by 8 inches.  I know that 8 inches does not sound like a lot, but I think it is the difference between a tight passage between chairs and an easy passage between chairs.  Also, if I were 8 inches taller I would be a lot taller!

Triumph:  A meeting is set with our architect and builder who comes up with a way to make everything right (a bit of canterlevering) and we will now will have a slightly wider porch and bathroom!

Triumph: Harris is going to have built-in entertainment this summer because he loves to watch the guys work!

*I want to say that our architect is very, very qualified and we are very happy with our plans.  The goof up was simply a human error!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Two bunnies and a bird

Children's artwork can be overwhelming in number.  And I have to be honest in that I don't keep the majority of things that the children come home with.  Is that awful?  I just don't have any soft spots for art that is not original work or that looks exactly like the other 16 pieces that their classmates made (where it's clear that someone told them exactly where to put the triangle or where to paint the dot).  The art I do love is often the work that they make, draw or build out of their own creative juices.  That being said both of my children took art with a wonderful art teacher during their kindergarten year.  Art is not offered in our school system for kindergarteners (they figure they get lots of arts and crafts) so taking this art class once a week was a wonderful opportunity for the children to explore basic principals of art with an amazing teacher.

One of my favorite pieces that the children worked on was a little bunny on canvas.  Though the children all painted the same subject I adore how different they turned out!  Grace's bunny has been hanging in the kitchen for three years (hers is on top) and now Harris' bunny has joined it.  The little bird was painted by Harris for me as a Christmas gift this year (Bryce swears up and down that he did not help Harris draw the bird!).

Monday, June 6, 2011

Favorite Thing #9

You might remember that I love the scent of lavender for our home.  Several years ago, I discovered The Good Home Co. lavender scented fabric softener.  I love it!  It makes our linens smell devine (I only use it on our sheets and towels).  I first discovered this product at Target, but sadly it seems that they no longer carry it (I'm glad that I stocked up!).  However, it is still being made and is available on their website, although it is pricier and comes in a much fancier bottle.  I'm glad to see though that you can buy refill sizes!

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Yesterday, I attended a writing celebration in Harris' kindergarten class.  Here is the poem that Harris wrote:

by Harris

Flowers sprout in 
the spring.
Flowers smell 
like honey.
Flowers are
My Mom's favorite thing!

I wonder where on earth he got the idea that flowers were my favorite thing?

Remember the herb garden I planted last year?  My how it has grown!

Grace brought these to me the other day just because.

P.S.  Funnily enough, I'm not a big fan of "florist flowers."  Bryce coming home with a dozen roses is not really my thing but I feel totally different about flowers from my own garden or a friends garden!

Blogging tips