Wednesday, June 29, 2011

This girl...

Kaitlyn's hair
This girl is why things have been slow around here. It's a good thing she's so cute. Otherwise I might have to ship her off to the circus. Sleep regression is not a fun thing.

(And don't worry, she has had a trim since. I don't want you to worry about her walking into walls and such, although she still does that some...)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer Fun Series

I had intended to post our "Summer Fun Series" starting post before today but it took us a bit longer to recover from the virus that struck us, and we are still struggling with Kaitlyn's sleep regression (but that's another post entirely).

With my girls not being in school yet we don't have to deal with the sudden change in routine and summer boredom issues, but I still wanted to find a way to make them aware of summer and make it fun as well. I had the idea to do a summer advent calendar (much like a Christmas Advent) that would hold all the different ideas for fun summertime activities. In my mind it was going to be a beautiful quilted piece with a colorful banner and lots of brightly colored pockets. Then reality set in. I realized that summer would be over before I was able to complete something like that so instead I pulled out my trusty glue gun and felt stash and set to work.

Summer Fun
I went with the basic visual of what I had originally planned but made a few changes along the way. I realized that while the pockets were cute it gave me no chance to guide the direction our days' activities went. I decided to simply glue the squares down and tape the activities to the front. It gives me a chance to see which activity we are picking each day to ensure we choose one that can be reasonably completed when I take into account the temperaments of the children at any given moment. It has worked out very well this way and Kinsley likes to ask, several times a day, what each piece of paper says.

Summer Fun closeup

When I looked at the picture I realized that I listed "make our own crayons" twice, I'll have to add in a new activity to replace one of those. You can do a search online and find tons of blog posts and websites full of summer bucket list ideas like this one and this one and this one as well. I didn't include activities that I consider to be part of our everyday schedule. I used this as an opportunity to try out some of the crafts and activities that Kinsley and I had wanted to do but never tried before and a couple old favorties that we hadn't done in a while.

Have a Fashion Show
Big girl library day
Outdoor art show
Backyard carnival
Art in the park
Tie Dye
Squirt Bottle Painting
Mentos Fountain
Make our own crayons
Write our own bedtime story
Camp out in the backyard
Family Game Night
Go Fishing
Indoor Hopscotch Game
Melt icecubes in the sun
Have a parade through town
Make a fairy garden
Have a watergun fight
Water bomb sponges
Build a fort
Roast Marshmallows
Homemade icecream
Face Painting
Homemade playdoh
Have a picnic
Beaded jewelry
Decorate canvas shoes
Make sidewalk chalk paint
Silly string fight
Puppet show
Lighted sno-cones
Cardboard tube binoculars
Patriotic ribbon wands

I tried to include more activities that could be done indoors because it is so miserably hot already this summer and we just can't spend that much time outdoors. I think this way we have a pretty good mix and hopefully no one will be bored. We also didn't include many outings because we didn't want to deal with the crowds or the heat right now. And with trying to get the littlest one back on a regular schedule the more time we spend at home the better off we are.

We're also taking part in the Smart Summer Challenge to give us a few more ideas. This week's theme is "You on the Map". While we're following along with the calendar we are changing up some of the activities to better suit younger kids and what I think my girls in particular will enjoy. Today's activity was drawing a life size Kinsley.

Life size Kinsley 2
She was so excited to decorate herself and we spent the better part of the afternoon on this activity.

life size Kinsley
And of course we had to draw on a t-shirt and t-pants because that is the only suitable wardrobe for an almost 4 year old.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

First Day of Summer

I have a hard time with the idea that today is the first official day of summer since it has been over 100* several times already. That truly worries me as to what the rest of the summer holds for us. The girls and I decided to celebrate our first day of summer a bit differently.

Winter Day

We gathered up our pillows and blankets, cranked up the A/C and turned on Frosty the Snowman. We put on what little winter gear that we hadn't already packed away, made some hot cocoa (chocolate milk for the littles) and ate cookies all while pretending that it was a nice cold winter day. Maybe it's not the most traditional way to celebrate the beginning of summer but with 2 out of 3 of us sick it was all we could muster. I have to say that I think it might be our new tradition though. It was quite a welcome break from the sweltering heat.

How did you welcome summer?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Why Organic?

The Summer Fun Series is put on hold for another day or two because I am fighting an awful head cold and quite honestly I'm too tired to upload the pictures. I know how sad that sounds but the baby isn't I'm spent. I still have plenty to talk about though since I've been such a bloggy slacker.

Our little garden is just not thriving this year. I'm not sure if it is because we got such a late start to our planting or because it flooded immediately after planting, twice. Whatever the cause I'm sad to say that aside from the acorn squash, there isn't much picking going on. By the way, do you cook acorn squash? This was our first year to try it and honestly I have no idea what to do with it now that it's growing.

We did manage to get 2 strawberries from our one little strawberry plant.

First Strawberry
And looking at this picture of the corner of our garden I am beginning to think it was waiting too late into the year to expand the garden and not properly working the soil that may be to blame...

Eating first strawberry
Either way, I hear from a reliable source that the berries were in fact "super yummy".

The one thing that I get the most strange looks and questions about, in this area at least, is the fact that we don't use any sort of chemicals on our garden. I can not count the number of times I've been told "Oh just use SevenDust, it's not bad for you" or "How in the world do you expect to grow anything like that?" and my favorite "Who cares anyway". Well, I can tell you exactly who care, this mama. I happen to have a very good reason (or several actually) for caring. Aside from the fact that you have to be careful with what you eat, drink, wear and play with these days because of all the harmful toxins that are used to create nearly everything we come into contact with anyway, it baffles me that people are so willing to be the ones to introduce toxins into their lives. Why would I put more chemicals and products with ingredients that you probably can't pronounce let alone tell me what they are into our food? Part of growing our own food in our own garden is for the purpose of knowing exactly what we are eating and where it came from. If that isn't reason enough I'll show you my main motivating factor to growing organically...

Organic Gardening
This, this right here is exactly why. Oh, you think it's just a picture of one of my sweet girls playing in the garden. Look closer.

Mouth full of dirt
THAT. That right there is my youngest child with a mouth full of dirt from the garden. If you had a child that loved to do exactly that you wouldn't let a bag of pesticide anywhere near your soil either, would you? I should hope not.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Felt Birthday Crown

Kait pic 4

I want to talk a little bit more about the felt crown that Kait was wearing in her birthday pictures. This was definitely one of my favorite projects that I've ever made. It wasn't only because I was making it for such a special little girl either. You all know I'm a little addicted to blog surfing and I kept seeing the felt birthday crowns popping up all over blogland so I knew that I *had* to have one for Kait. I love the idea of the having a few special birthday traditions that we repeat year after year until the girls are old enough to object to them (and even then I'll still probably try). Something to make the birthday girl feel even more special and something to look forward to every year.

There are a ton of gorgeous felt crowns all over the internet but I couldn't simply buy one. For this crafty mama I knew that it had to be handmade by me to add another touch of tradition and love. I sketched out a very simple idea of what I thought I wanted it to look like and then just freehanded it the rest of the way.

Kait's Crown Blog Pic
I am in love with how it turned out in the end and it's made me even more excited to make Kinsley's for her upcoming birthday. I'll admit that it took me a while to get the placement just right and I thought I would probably never finish it in time but I am so glad that I stuck with it. The supplies of course came from Etsy. I purchased the felt sheets from BenzieBazaar and the colors could not have been more perfect for what I was imagining. Since I was down to the wire on time (I know, shocking right?) I cheated and ordered premade rosebuds from Hey MieMie so that I'd only have to work on the smaller details. They were just lovely and matched the colors of felt pefectly. I couldn't be happier with my choices.

Kait's Crown Pic 1
I added a bit of elastic in the back so that it is adjustable and she can wear it for many years to come, until the day comes to pack it away in her keepsake box.

Kait's Crown Pic 3
The last minute addition of the vine embroidery with the tiny rosebuds is one of my very favorite parts.

Kait's Crown Pic 4

I'm hoping to find the time to make a few to add to my Etsy shop soon. I think it's such a sweet tradition.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pink Lemonade Party

The girls and I started our summer vacation out with a trip to visit family and somehow I made it down there without the cord to my camera so I couldn't upload any pictures while we were gone. We're home now, the pictures have been uploaded and now I have lots to blog about. I'm going to start doing a Summer Series with different activities you can do with your kids to keep the summer fun and educational but first I'm going to go back and show you all the pictures from Kaitlyn's birthday party.

Party Pic 12
Sadly this is the only picture I got of Kait inside her lemonade stand because she was so busy running around. Isn't it the cutest thing ever? The Papa (my FIL) constructed it for us and now we have it sitting in the backyard ready for lots of pretend play this summer. I'm envisioning puppet shows, lemonade, restaurants and lots more.

Party Pic 11
The only complaint I have with the party besides that I forgot lots of little details that no one besides me will ever notice is that is was so miserably hot that day. The weather reports said it was 12 degrees hotter than normal and we felt every degree of it. Everyone had a great time but next year I think we'll look into parties involving water or air conditioning.

Now for the picture overload...

Party Pic 1

Party Pic 22

Party Pic 3

Party Pic 7

Party pic 5

Party Pic 6

Party pic 4

Party Pic 8

Party Pic 21

Party Pic 13

Party Pic 31

Party Pic 24

Party Pic 18

Overall I'd say the party was a huge success and we're already looking forward to the next one we can throw.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Happy Birthday Kaitlyn

Kait pic 4
Good morning Birthday Girl. I look at you and can't believe that you are a year old already. Where did the time go? Sometimes it seems like only yesterday that you came into our lives and we began to get to know each other. There are other times though, that I watch you and can't believe that you are only a year old. You have become quite the smart, adventurous and funny little girl. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly you are learning new things and discovering your world. Your fierce independent and stubborn streak makes me both proud and crazy on a daily basis. Just like your refusing to sign unless you aren't getting what you want. I do hope that you can continue to be so curious and excited by life as you grow older.

Kait Pic 3
And you are quite the fearless explorer. Your love of all things outdoors is something you definitely inherited from your father and I swear you would both live outside in the yard if I would allow it. I've never seen a child want to be outside as much as you do.

Kait Pic 2
I hope that you know how much we all adore you and that we are giving you back as much joy as you have given all of us. Your smile and laughter brightens our every day.

Kait Pic 1
I am trying to remember to savor nights like tonight where we spend hours in the recliner rocking because you refuse to go to sleep. I find this amusing simply because just before bedtime you are the one that goes to your room to get your blanket and paci so that we can snuggle up together. Silly girl. But I know that these days are numbered and so tonight with all of these thoughts and feelings running through my mind I am simply thankful to be able to call myself your mama.

Love you...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

First Birthday Present Ever

Kait's present 2

A certain tiny girl is turning 1 tomorrow, whether her mommy is ready or not. A couple weeks ago she received her very first birthday present in the mail. Since I'm not a mean mommy I didn't make her wait until her birthday to open it. Okay, so really I just couldn't wait any longer to know what was in it. It came from an awesome mama in my mom's group so I was stalking the mail waiting for it to arrive. We didn't even go inside to open it, we just plopped ourselves down in the grass.

Kait's present

It didn't take her any time at all to rip that paper right off.

Kait's 1st birthday gift!!

Kait was pretty impressed and thought it made a neat sound when she would bang her hands on it. Thankfully she was easily distracted with the wrapping paper and I was able to save the plate.

Kaitlyns gift
But seriously how cute is this plate? I love everything about it. We have been talking a lot about birthday traditions that the girls could look forward to every year and this fits in perfectly. I love that every year she can eat her birthday breakfast on her very own birthday plate. And the fact that she took the time to make this specifically for Kait makes it even more special. It couldn't have been more perfect for her very first birthday present.