Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Late Summer Seasonal Table

While most days I feel as though this entire year has sped past in the blink of an eye, I simultaneously feel as though Summer is beginning to drag on forever.

I'm really working on waiting until as close to the Autumn Equinox as possible to begin making seasonal changes, but it is getting harder and harder to resist the temptation.

In an effort to pacify our urges for a change of decor I decided our seasonal table was in need of a late summer makeover.  Kinsley and I spent some time this afternoon making some new peg dolls and updating the table. 

Late Summer Table 1

Late Summer Table 2

Late Summer Table 4

Our little sunflower maiden is rushing about trying to harvest her sunflowers before the birds eat up all of the seeds.  Those pesky birds!  If they'd only wait a bit they'd realize she was planning on leaving plenty for them to enjoy as well.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Doll Clothes Swap

I spent the weekend sewing my fingers to the bone trying to finish up last minute details on my offerings for a doll clothes and accessories swap I joined. Okay, so I was using the sewing machine but still, it's a lot of work. Nothing like a looming deadline to make me incredibly productive.  When I first signed up for the swap I knew I wanted to do something Christmas themed and with the way my girls treat their dolls like part of the family it only made sense that they'd need some stockings to fill at Christmas.  And of course, my girls think that every occasion calls for a new mama made dress.

Doll Swap 3

Doll Swap 1

Doll Swap 2

Doll Swap 4

Doll Swap 5

Doll Swap 6

I made six holiday peasant dresses and six little Christmas stockings.  We also included a few little wooden presents for the dolls to find in their stockings.  These sets are on their way to their new homes and we're anxiously awaiting our items in return.  These swaps are quickly becoming addictive, but they are so much fun.  Though I have to say I wouldn't mind my next few sewing projects being full sized.  It always surprises me that these little projects can take as much time to complete as their full size counterparts.  Maybe I'll actually manage to make our new Christmas stockings this year...

Sunday, August 24, 2014


Sometimes being a mama to two little girls is hard, really hard.  I mean bring you to tears hard.  Maybe it's all parenting in general, my personal experience just happens to be with girls.  Two little girls who couldn't be more different even if they had tried.  And sometimes, sometimes that makes for some really long days.

But sometimes (and thankfully more often than not around here) the days are really really good.  And sometimes in the midst of what you're sure is going to be an incredibly long (and likely not so good) day you can experience some of the best moments of motherhood.  This was my experience yesterday afternoon when we had to make a trip to the emergency room with both girls in tow.  Kinsley hasn't been feeling well for several days and we were reaching the point of doubting ourselves even though we were sure it was only the stomach virus that has been taking out most of our area.  With kids all starting back to school around us it was only a matter of time before it started happening.  Even homeschoolers get caught up in that sort of thing unfortunately.   

Regardless the girls and I made the trek in for what ended up being a 7 hour stay.  Seven hours.  In the emergency room with a sick girl and a four year old that doesn't care for being anywhere other than her home.  Sounds great right?  That's what I though too, but it turned out to be such a rewarding and uplifting experience for us all.  

I watched as my littlest girl completely took over the role of caretaker that normally belongs to her older sister.  She spent the entire time trying everything she could think of to help her sister feel better.  She took this new role very seriously and watching the love and concern on her face was an amazing experience.  Making sure she was well covered by her blanket, offering to get her snacks or water, trying to cheer her up, and generally just doing her best to care for her.  

Even Kinsley, in all her discomfort was looking out for her little sister's well being too.  When Kaitlyn was cold she pulled her in close so they could both snuggle under the same blanket to say warm.  And while I was explaining to Kaitlyn that we'd have to wait to get a snack because the vending machines were on the other side of the hospital and we couldn't leave her sister alone, Kinsley spoke up saying "Mama, I don't want sissy to be hungry so I can be strong and walk there." just so that her sister could be happy.  My loves.
When the time came for blood work to be done Kinsley immediately started to well up with tears and on the walk over to the lab Kaitlyn stood right by her.  Offering her best advice from her memories of her time at the doctor's and telling her excitedly that it was the very same thing that she had to do herself.  When the time for the needle came Kaitlyn took her sister by the hand and kept telling her "it's not bad sissy, it doesn't hurt." over and over again.  It was all I could do to hold myself together at that point.  When these moments of pure sisterly love shine through I wish I could freeze time so those moments could last forever.  


Sitting in the exam room waiting to be discharged I couldn't help but snap this one quick picture.  Kinsley still upset from the shot, but not wanting me to comfort her.  Kaitlyn hopped up right behind her and did the only thing she knew to do, rub her back for her.  It's one of Kinsley's very favorite things, and in that moment was the perfect way to care for her.  So often as parents we want to jump in and take all their pain away, and sometimes that isn't possible...and sometimes it might not even be our job.

Most days I'm hoping that they learn just a little bit of what I'm trying to teach them, but yesterday they were the ones to teach me a great lesson.

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Patriotic Custom Doll

Patriot Doll 1

I haven't done any doll making in quite some time but when I received a message about this custom doll I couldn't turn it down.  What can I say?  I definitely have a soft spot for military families in need of dolls.  Making him might have given me the stuffie making bug again as I've picked up some new fabrics and have been pulling out some of my favorite Bit of Whimsy patterns again.   Now to just complete some of the projects and swaps already on my table before I cut into those...better get back to work.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sunflower House

Sunflower House 11

Sunflower House 8

Every summer I have this list in my head (and sometimes on paper, you know I love my lists) of things I'd like to try with the girls.  A fun project on Pinterest that caught my eye, a favorite seasonal activity that we always look forward to, or maybe a fun adventure to go on.  This year we finally completed something that has been on my list for at least two summers now - a sunflower house.  Truthfully this is one of those projects that I have no idea why we didn't complete sooner.  It was really very simple to do and we've had so very much fun with it all summer long.  

We simply started with a few seed packets we found at the local feed store and an open area of yard.  We pulled out all the grass in the area we wanted to plant in and the girls went right to work planting their seeds.

Sunflower House 1

Sunflower House 3

Sunflower House 2

We used some old stakes we had lying about to mark the area so that they didn't accidentally get mowed over when Daddy was mowing the yard.  Ask us how we new that would be necessary...ahem.  They may have worked a bit too well because Daddy was extra careful around our sunflowers and the girls and I did a lot of grass trimming with scissors this summer.  Surprisingly we all really enjoyed taking that extra step to ensure the safety of our beloved flowers. 

Sunflower House 4

Sunflower House 5

It's easy to see in this picture that we weren't necessarily planting our seeds very evenly as we went, but they still grew perfectly well.  Next year I do believe we'll make our planting track at least twice as wide giving ourselves a chance to make our "walls" a bit thicker and our hideout even more secretive.  All in all we're very pleased with our first attempt and have had so much fun with such a simple project.  The girls have loved watching their flowers grow into something so large and I have loved watching their enthusiasm for growing develop.

Sunflower House 10

Now that summer is coming to a close we're watching some of our sunflower heads begin to droop and we're readying to move into the next stage of growing sunflowers...harvesting!  Who knew a little seed could provide so much lasting enjoyment. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Live Now

Flower 4

Our family has experienced two very sudden and tragic deaths in a very short period of time this summer. Events that came so out of the blue that they almost didn't seem real, at first.  Stark reminders that we aren't promised tomorrow, and that life really is as short as we've always heard.

Something that, as children, we are often blissfully unaware of, but that increasingly weighs on our mind as we get older, and especially for us parents I believe.  It's easy to go on thinking that we have all the time in the world to get to the things we've been meaning to do while waiting for the perfect chance and perfect timing.  Even when, deep down we know that isn't true.  Because the truth is, we only have right now to do the things that matter most to us.

So I'm asking you, dear friends, just what exactly are you waiting for? Believe me, I know how busy life can be and how easy it is to fall into the trap of always waiting for that perfect opportunity to do whatever it is you've been putting off, truly I do understand.

 When things slow down at work... When the kids are just a bit bigger... When we finally... Just as soon as...
Those all sound a bit familiar don't they? I know they certainly do to my own ears. But the truth is, we cannot keep waiting for everything to finally be perfect. It's time to start living NOW. Right now, right where we are and with everything around us.  It's time to put the focus back on what truly matters.  Time to have that late night tea party, to put off those dishes and go play in the rain, to write that letter you've been meaning to send to a loved it now.  Stop waiting for the perfect opportunity, or you just might realize it has passed you by.

 I know that you know this, we all do really, it's just that sometimes we all need a good reminder. I've had mine, and please consider this yours.

Friday, August 8, 2014

This Moment

. . . . . . . . . 

 {this moment} ~ A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. 

 . . . . . . . . . .

  Sunflower House 11

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Raising Butterflies

Earlier this summer we finally marked an item off our summer bucket list that we've wanted to try for a couple of years now - raising butterflies. I'm so glad that we got the chance, but I must say it was definitely a learning opportunity filled with lessons about what not to do next time. Our caterpillars arrived quite large, which we were told was due to waiting too late into the year and they growing more quickly in transit.

     Butterflies 1

Butterflies 3

I'm still unsure about that claim but regardless we started with quite large caterpillars, and within a matter of a couple of days we had some forming their chrysalis on the bottom of the jar. I'm thinking perhaps they were trying to form in transit and were knocked down during the trip. Either way we were happy to have at least a couple that formed properly and hoped that moving the others to the netted area would give them a good chance of somehow surviving.

  Butterflies 4

Butterflies 5 

 Our unit study area quickly became the favorite spot in the house as we all anxiously waited, hoping that we would have at least a few butterflies to come to life.  We were so excited when we finally saw the butterflies emerge!  

  Butterflies 6

Butterflies 7'

Butterflies 8

I'm happy to report that in the end we had 3 perfect butterflies and a whole host of experience.  I have no doubt that we'll try this again next year (though perhaps in the Spring instead) and see what new lessons we might learn then.  I wish we could have gotten pictures of them once we released them but they flew away much too quickly.  It was definitely one of our highlights of the summer. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Summer haircuts

Haircuts 3.
(seriously, she has the most creative poses for photos)

When the girls woke up Friday morning they were insistent that it was the day to finally get their haircuts.  Honestly Kait has been asking for quite some time to get hers cut again, she very much prefers it short but grew it out for ballet recital at mama's request.  I'm really not sure what took us so long to actually make it to the salon to get it cut, but something always seemed to get in the way of our plans.  It turns out that we were delayed for a very good reason.  Kinsley came home from her dance camp this summer ready to jump on the haircut bandwagon, which was really quite a shock to all of us.  You see, she's always insisted on keeping her hair long and never wanted scissors anywhere near it so we knew she had a really good reason in mind for this sudden change.  Of course Mama had to snap a couple before pictures...

Haircuts 1

Haircuts 2

Haircuts 4

Haircuts 5

Haircuts 7

Haircuts 6

Aren't they adorable with their new shorter looks?  Kinsley was a bit apprehensive just before the cutting started, but she quickly built up excitement and by the time the haircut was over we could hardly keep her feet on the ground.  Bouncy doesn't even begin to describe her mood for the rest of the day, though it's certainly a good place to start.  But, I don't think it was simply due to her new and lighter look, you see she had an ulterior motive for cutting her hair. 

During summer dance camp she heard the other moms and girls talking with one of the sweet dance moms who was diagnosed with breast cancer over the summer.  She asked a bit about what it all meant and why she was losing her hair and we explained as much as we could, and as much as she seemed to need.  She really didn't mention much about it after, but a week or so later she came to me asking if her hair could be used to help make a wig for her friend's mother.  Absolutely yes!

Sometimes your kids will do something that stops you right in your tracks and makes you think that perhaps you are doing a pretty good job at this parenting gig after all - this was one of those moments for me.  Helping others is something that has always been important to us, and we try to model that example for the girls and get them involved from a very young age.  Donating to charities and causes, volunteering our time where we can, and always looking for ways to help those around us are things we've done for so long that the girls can sometimes seem to gloss over the importance of it.  While it's great that the girls view these things as commonplace in their lives we don't want them to do it just because it's what we do.  We've made a conscious effort to explain the "whys" behind doing these things as well, to help them really understand the importance of looking carefully at the world around them and seeing beyond themselves.  But sometimes, when raising young kids, it can seem like so much of what we say goes in one ear and right out the other, but I'm here to tell you it's not.  

They are watching, and listening to everything you say and do so keep right on doing it.  Keep leading by example and being the kind of person you want your children to be and they'll get there, and they'll likely even surprise you along the way.  And sometimes, they might even teach you a thing or two as well...

Haircuts 8

Friday, August 1, 2014

This Moment

. . . . . . . . . 

 {this moment} ~ A Friday ritual, inspired by Soulemama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

. . . . . . . . . . .

  Kinsley Reading 1