Saturday, February 28, 2015


Today, our girl is a teenager.  I can hardly believe it. All week I've thought about this post and have continued to put off writing it.  What should the focus be?  Should I talk about how worried I am that I'm not good enough to be a Mom to a teenager?  Should I talk about how sad I feel when I realize we only have 5 years left with our girl at home?  Should I speak of how very proud of her we are?  Of who she is and who she is becoming?  What about how honored I am to be her Mom?  How deeply grateful I am that she made me a Mom 13 years ago?  Perhaps I write about how strong a sense of self she has and how we pray that that sense can stay strong in the years ahead?  Should I reflect on the fact that if, 13 years ago, one had asked me to envision my 13 year old I couldn't have come close to envisioning anyone as complex, thoughtful, loving and unique as Grace is?

I've realized I don't have the words to really describe all my feelings about this milestone birthday. Nor can I do an adequate job describing Grace and all her many layers.  So instead, I'll carry on with our annual top 10...

1.  She's still a Daddy's girl.  She will talk with Bryce about anything and everything.

2.  Grace continues to take ballet 4 days a week.  She's quite good.

3.  Several years ago, Grace coined a phrase "frousky" to mean that someone was grumpy or unhappy in the family.  Somehow it stuck and now that's our key phrase in describing someone's mood when they aren't happy.

4.  Grace can facilitate between ecstatic, frousky (see above) and sad all within 5 seconds.  We call it her pterodactyl mode.  She doesn't care for the pterodactyl description and is lobbying for it to instead be called "drama llama" mode.  I will agree that that is cuter.

5. Grace tends more towards being an introvert.  I'm trying to be mindful of this while also remembering that this age craves friendships and social connections.

6.  She loves to sleep in, wear her "comfy" clothes and listen to her music, which often includes 80's hits.

7.  She is still an adventure loving girl who is super comfy in hiking boots and her zip off pants but she is also most certainly showing an interest in a little more fashion forward clothes and accessories.

8. She doesn't like to play games with people nor does she beat around the bush.  She also doesn't have a lot of patience for people who do.  She is a rule follower but also very independent.  She has a strong moral compass.

9.  She loves to read.  However, she's straddling that line between "children's books" and "young adult" books.  She recently stopped reading two young adult books because she felt they were inappropriate for her!  

10.  She thinks she wants to be a traveling adventure writer when she grows up.

We love you Grace!  Happy Birthday.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Getting Rid of Wrinkles- a tip


Perhaps you already use and love this method of getting rid of wrinkles on tablecloths, but I want to share this magical tip just in case you don't because it literally makes entertaining easier!   After our tablecloths are ironed we have no choice but to fold them up and store them in a drawer (as compared to being able to hang them).  Therefore, even though they have been beautifully ironed, they are still wrinkled when we put them on the table to use.  Recently, I discovered a very effective way of getting rid of those wrinkles.

Spray your tablecloth with a fine mist of water and, with a partner opposite you, gently pull the tablecloth between you.  The wrinkles will magically fall out!  I now swear by this method and wish I had discovered it sooner!


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Matilda and the MoMA

Last week, we took an overnight trip in to NYC to see Matilda on Broadway.  We read the book together last spring, but hadn't yet made it to see the musical.  It was a last minute decision to make it happen and I'm so glad that we did.  Roald Dahl is one of Harris' very favorite authors so I knew that we had to make this book come to life and broadway didn't disappoint!

The next day, we spent a couple of hours at the MoMA, or Museum of Modern Art.  This was a first for all of us and sort of blew Harris' mind.  He kept saying things such as, "This is Art?" and "I think I could make that!"  Case in point...

I think it was great to expand the children's base knowledge about art to include design, film, photography and even video games (it really sent Harris over the edge to see *Mind Craft in a museum!).

Also, it's always thrilling to see an original painting that you've read about.

 Harris is part of the art!

And always, always a favorite...

*Ha!  I realized after I hit publish that I wrote, "Mind" instead of Mine!  But I'm leaving it because it makes me laugh as I always say that there's is something about Mine Craft that alters your mind!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Children in the Snow

We've had the coldest winter that I can remember since we moved here almost ten years ago.  Honestly, the winter doesn't bother me as I know it does for some.  Perhaps it's due to my spending my childhood years in Florida, but as long as I'm dressed for it, I don't mind the cold.   The children also enjoy the winter and, fortunately, we've had some snow for them to play in.  Here are two of my favorite pictures of my favorite children...

Friday, February 20, 2015

Skincare for Grace

Around the time that I turned 13, my Mom took me to see our resident Mary Kay consultant (I later worked for her in my middle school years) to get me started on a healthy and consistent skincare routine.  I'm so thankful for that as I've always been conscientious about taking care of my skin.  I knew that I wanted to do the same for Grace, especially as we move into those teenage years where hormones and the like can wreck havoc on the skin.  I read about One Love Organics in a magazine somewhere, and intrigued, wrote to the company asking if they recommended their products for teenagers and if so, what the recommendations were.

I was delighted to receive an email from the company President, Suzanne.  Here's what she had to say,

I recommend keeping it super simple. I would recommend Chia Whip Purifying Foam Cleanser to cleanse and pair it with a Cleansing Sponge. Make sure your daughter hangs it up after each and every wash-never lay it down on the counter or it will disintegrate. My boys love washing their face since incorporating the sponge. It keeps the wash out of their eyes, is easy to rinse and feels good. 
Brand New Day is also a great exfoliation treatment and masque 1-2xs per week. But if your daughter is new to skincare or doesn't like many steps, just stick with thorough cleansing right now. That is THE most important step in your skincare routine. Just getting her to wash thoroughly everyday is a great habit.
For moisture, I would recommend applying a tiny bit of Skin Savior Balm to damp skin. As soon as you cleanse, blot the skin and apply Skin Savior Balm. This post will show you how to apply correctly.  
I would get the smaller Discover size because it should last her 6 months or more with regular use.

I very much appreciate that she suggested we start simple and didn't encourage us to buy tons of product.  For Valentine's Day, I gave Grace the suggested products and we talked a lot about how to properly care for skin and why.  I'm hoping that we've started a good habit!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Valentine's Day

We celebrated Valentines together as a family over breakfast this year.  Heart shaped eggs, bacon and strawberry smoothies were on the menu!

That evening Bryce and I went out to dinner with friends (a french farm to table dinner!) and we had everyone over for a Valentines inspired drink beforehand.  We made this rose cardamom drink that was very, very pretty.  It was, however, very sweet and floral so I think if I were to make it again, I would dial down the rose a bit.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Our girl got braces!  I now officially feel as if we are hurtling toward teenage-hood!  Of course, we think she looks darling, but I won't pretend that she didn't shed a tear or two about getting them.  I was a little worried as she has always has some sensitivity issues, but aside from needing to take some Advil, she has weathered the toughest part rather well!

Bryce took her out for a little post braces Starbucks date.

I made a little treat for her to celebrate this milestone.

And I love how she has embraced the braces and a positive attitude!  She made this little note for herself and attached it to her bed.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Tic Tac Toe Valentines

There was a time when we made rock candy a week in advance in preparation for making class Valentines.  Last night, the night before Valentines were due, I pondered how things change as Harris put together his Valentines that took perhaps 20 minutes to complete!  This year there was no debating various Valentine ideas, crafting and glueing of hearts or even treat making!  Instead, we printed tic tac toe game boards from an online printable and called it a day!

I would like to note that typically this would be a rather expensive Valentine as tic tacs go for $1.69 per box, which would add up very quickly for a class of 24!  However, I happened to find them at Rite Aid on sale 2 for the price of 1.   I also like that each box has the ingredients so that parents with allergies will know if their child can have the tic tacs (they are gluten, dairy and nut free).

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

Last week, Barbara and I went to lunch and visited one of my very favorite stores, Terrain.  With plants, good food, vintage items and a well edited shop, it's my idea of heaven!  It was here that I picked up my first ever Fiddle Leaf Fig tree.  In fact, we both got one!

I love its waxy, deep green leaves and the feel it brings to the room.  Last fall, I picked up a beat up copper pot for a song but didn't really have an idea of what to do with it.  I'm thrilled that I can use it as a container for the tree.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Cupcake Sleeve Storage

I mentioned a while ago that I was going through areas of the house to clean out and organize.  I've recently tackled my baking supply area which, I swear, get messier every time I use something.  One of the things that drives me nuts is to have tons of little boxes that hold cupcake sleeves.  I solved this problem by purchasing a Weck cylindrical jar that the cupcake sleeves fit perfectly in!  I'd seen this done with plastic spaghetti containers, but I'm trying to not buy so much plastic, plus it just looks pretty in the Weck jar.  Just thought I'd pass along the tip in case you have the same problem!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

On Fear

I attended a Christian women's gathering this weekend (IF:Local) that was really powerful and thought provoking.  If I'm honest, it made me feel a little as if my world was small.  There are so many women out there doing such honest, important and hard work in our communities and in our world!  They were inspiring.

One of the things I walked away with was the knowledge that I need to work out some fears of mine. The past several months I've found that I'm more fearful than I've ever been.  Perhaps it's watching others go through really tough times with their health (mental and emotional), maybe it's being faced with my Mom's fall (she's recovering nicely!) or it could just be that I'm 42 now and realize how much I have to lose.

I'm going to work on walking through my fears about parenting, making the wrong decisions, my capabilities, expressing and standing up for my beliefs and opinions, and the what ifs.  I don't think I'll ever be able to eradicate my own fear, I just want my faith to be bigger and stronger than my fears.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Mouse Ears and Moose Tales- A Book Review Blog

Grace has started a book review blog!  I think it's a great place for her to hone her writing skills and at the same time partake in one of her favorite things to do- read!  If you are interested, check it out at Mouse Ears and Moose Tales.  I'm sure she'd love some constructive feedback and maybe even some book suggestions!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Russian Tea

Growing up, my Mom would make a dry mix for a drink called Russian Tea.  The mix contained Tang, lemonade mix, instant tea and sugar.  We simply put a few spoonfuls of the mix in a mug and added piping hot water to create a yummy winter drink.  I loved it, but at some point I realized that it had to be one of the most unhealthy drinks ever!  Preservatives, artificial flavors and massive amounts of sugar reigned!

One afternoon, several years ago, I was chatting with my friend, Kelly, and she mentioned that her Mom has always made Russian Tea also but that it was from scratch!  I finally remembered to ask her for the recipe and she kindly shared and then agreed I could share it here.  I find that it actually tastes like the Russian Tea that I grew up with, but with the bonus of it being so much better for you!  It's so good and everyone that has had it has loved it.

I thought of just typing the recipe out but really, how wonderful is this recipe card?  I love that it's obvious that this is a much loved and used recipe.  Thank you Kelly for sharing!

A few notes...

*I actually only added 1 cup of sugar and thought it was just great.

*I didn't have a bag to put the cinnamon and cloves in, so I just floated them in the mix and then strained them out before storing.

*I think in a pinch you could just use orange juice!

*It seems to last just fine in the refrigerator after it's made.

*I have no idea why it's called russian tea and I'm not entirely sure if that's politically incorrect!

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