Reading List Summary, April

Family List
Amelia Bedelia's First Apple Pie (Herman Parish)
Yoko's Show and Tell (Rosemary Wells)
Read-About Holidays: Easter (David F. Marx) 
Cheerleading (Ellen Rusconi)
Librarian (Jacqueline Gorman)
I Like Bagels (Robin Pickering)
Meeow and the Pots and Pans (Sebastien Braun)
Seven Hungry Babies (Candace Fleming) 
What Does Peace Feel Like? (Vladimir Radunsky)
Children Make Terrible Pets (Peter Brown)
Ant and Grasshopper (Luli Gray)
My Family Is Forever (Nancy Calrson)
A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea (Michael Ian Black)
A Day With A Chef (Hilary Dole Klein)
Time (Sara Pistoia)

Jack's List
Tunjur! Tunjur! Tunjur! A Palestinian Folktale (Margaret Read MacDonald)
Native Americans (Jay Miller)
Dr. Seuss (Dana Meachen Rau) 
The Boxcar Children: The Ghost Town Mystery (Gertrude Chandler Warner)

Mom's List
Just Kids (Patti Smith) 
Bridge to Terabithia (Katherine Paterson)
Because of Mr. Terupt (Rob Buyea) had me at foreward by John Irving 
Find Me (Rosie O'Donnell)  

Never Say Never...

That was what Leslie said to me when she found out I'd given in to the world of Pinterest.  I knew it was awesome all along, but I also knew I would probably spend too much time on it.  However, my lovely old desktop is on her last legs and when she goes, so go hundreds of bookmarks I've amassed over the years.  Given the need to move the bookmarks, and the fact that my starred items in Google Reader are getting to be so many that they are unbrowsable (new word), I decided it was time to give Pinterest a try...

Yes, I'm already hooked!

If you are already on Pinterest, you can follow my pins here.  If you are not pinning, I suggest checking it is a nice way to organize your favs (but it is a time-suck for sure).

iPhone and iPad users...I have a tip for you!  I found this workaround which allows you to pin from your iPhone or iPad through a bookmark.  Check out the step-by-step at Simply the Nest.

Teacher Appreciation Gift Rewind

Teacher Appreciation Week is next week!  I can't believe how fast it snuck up and I will be leaning heavily on the gorgeous ideas and printables from the girls at eighteen 25, but I thought I'd share some ideas I've posted here that may just be the perfect idea for your special teacher.

Paper Bag Book (interior drawings here)

Milk Carton Printable...just add cookies!

Pencil Case and Initial Mug

Pencil Cup Desk Set

Market Produce Bag

Whatever you choose to do/make/gift, be sure to thank a teacher next week!  They work tirelessly to help educate our children in so many ways.

Ten on Tuesday: Easter Weekend

This week I thought I'd share 10 pics from our Easter weekend.  It was a lot of fun family time (even with a very sick EJ...she was a trooper).

1) Setting up their Easter bunny trap!

2) Filled baskets ready to be hidden.

3) The Easter bunny escaped their trap but used some of my craft twine to make them "follow the line" to their baskets.  This involved crawling under furniture...

4) ...and untwisting twine from every which way (and yes, Jack is wearing the pjs St. Nick brought him on's still cold!!!).

5) All dressed up for the day.

6) We celebrated Olivia's birthday with my family on Easter.  She's getting pretty good at blowing out the candles.

7) Jack was good on his Lenten promise to give up his DS, but started playing again during naptime.

8) In all honesty though, we played a lot more games like these this weekend.  Jack & I are now so addicted to Farkle that we might start touring competitively!

9) Olivia saw her first movie (Rio) and loved every second! (Don't be alarmed by her weird face, she just didn't want to stop watching the previews to take this pic.)

10)  And finally, this is what happens when you decide you have to make Jelly Bean Cookies on the Thursday before Easter and find that the grocery store is out of jelly beans!  Well, I should say this is what happens after you beg your peeps on Twitter & Facebook to tell you where the jelly beans are, then beg you husband to buy 2-3 bags on his way home, and then find the 3 big bags you had stashed in the basement (but completely forgot you had).  Oooops!

Earth Day and Flip Flops

{image courtesy of Scrumtrulescent}

As you may already know, my flip flop collection looks a little like the photo above (well, if I could figure out a way to organize them so neatly).  However, (sadly) flip flops do not live forever.  So I was super excited when I read this week about a collaboration between TerraCycle and Old Navy in celebration of Earth Day.

The Flip Flop Replay campaign kicks off April 22nd and ends May 21st.  Drop off your old flip flops at any Old Navy store in the US.  TerraCycle will then upcycle them, creating four public playgrounds to be donated to communities across the country.  {Thanks to shuzsociety and inhabitots for the heads up on this partnership}

I am so excited to clean out my closet and recycle my dud flops (because you know I'm going to buy more)!  But I'm also really excited to learn more about TerraCycle (looks like an organization doing great things with recycling and upcycling).

Other Earth Day offers (click the links for more information):
1) Starbucks will fill your reusuable mug with free coffee or tea on 4/22/11.
2) Lowe's is giving away one million trees on 4/23/11.
3) Origins is sponsoring a trade-in program on 4/22/11. Bring in any empty cosmetic container (any brand) to be recycled and receive a free Origins face cleanser.
4) All US National Parks have free admission this week in honor of National Parks Week.
5) USPS Go Green stamps are now available.

Egg Hunt Party

Last weekend we attended an awesome egg hunt party hosted by my friend Jackie.  The weather was perfect (I mean we were wearing heavy coats, but the sun was shining brightly) and everyone had a great time.  Jackie thought of so many cute details and, as usual, made many yummy treats! 

The girls waiting patiently for everyone to arrive...

Instructions for the hunt (Jackie split up the kids into two age groups to accommodate younger siblings).

And they're off!

Checking out the goodies in each egg (they were shaking each one to find candy).

Post-hunt group pic

Then the big kids started a serious game of kickball...

and the grown-ups and littles got serious about the snack table!

Cute right?  We loved the jelly bean cookies (recipe here)!  I really didn't think I would, but YUM!  And the girls loved these individual baskets of snack mix (they were so easy for the kids to take outside and walk around with too).

There was healthy food...

and Heather food!  (Easter candy is the best!)

Jackie even made us all treats to go!  The kids each took home a homemade chocolate peanut butter egg and a cute pencil.

The grownups didn't fair too badly either...Easter Bunny Ale (with extra Hops)!

Thank you Jackie for a great afternoon (and for letting me share all your ideas here too)!

Semana Santa in Guatemala

Gorgeous and detailed processional carpets fill the streets of Antiqua for Holy Week...
{photo courtesy of Leonel Mijangos Hernandez via Antigua Daily Photo}

and Lake Atitlan as well.  They are made from sawdust and flowers...and they are gorgeous!
{photos courtesy of Dennis Lynch}

A little peek at how the carpets (alfombras) are made...

Learn more (more photos too) here and here!

Ten on Tuesday: I Failed Genetic Testing

Well, not really important genetic testing or anything!  Remember back in school when they first introduce genetics to the class and you go over the list of weird little things that people can do that are related to genetics?  I basically think they do this because it's all fun things and of course everyone can do at least a couple of them.  Not this chick.  I couldn't do any!  So here are ten things most people can do that I cannot (I know these are not all inherited traits).

1) Roll my tongue (like curl it up into a u-shape)

2) Roll my R's - which sure doesn't help my lack of natural ability with other languages.

3) Answer math questions with the numbers 6 and 8 involved especially when they are multiplied by 3 - not sure why...maybe some sort of elementary school issue, but it's still an issue!

4) Whistle - well, unless you mean the kind of whistling that only dog's can hear (and I didn't learn that until a few years ago).

5) Shuffle playing cards - this is sort of a lie, because I can do this now, but I couldn't until college.  I worked the campus security dispatch desk one summer...third shift.  It got really boring.  So one night I spent 8 hours forcing myself to practice shuffling cards and I overcame my inability.

6) Snap my fingers on my left hand (why only on one hand? clearly, I'm a freak!)

7) Spell separate, definite, necessary without leaning on spell check (or using weird shortened versions) - I am doing so much better with definite though thanks to a tip from Emily a few months ago!

8) Have unpainted toenails - yeah, that one is purely a personality tick/issue, but it's a fact just the same.  I mean my feet look weird enough without having plain toenails!

9) Wink - this one is truly pathetic...I think I can sort of wink with one eye.  I also think that if you saw it, you'd think I was having an eye spasm.

10) Juggle - yes, that is a reach, but I couldn't think of a 10th thing and Matt wouldn't help me! (He thinks this topic is ridiculous, whereas I find it entertaining.)

Turtle Cupcakes

For Olivia's family birthday party (part one), we made these cute turtle cupcakes (instructions from Disney Family).  Totally easy (once we found all the candies we needed) and super yummy (although sugary for sure)!

The girls tried out "testers" for lunch on Liv's actual birthday but before they dug in, they hammed it up for the camera a bit!  I love that my family is always willing to goof around (check out a similar pic from the ultimate good sport here).

What a Difference a Day Makes

{Wednesday night at the playground, Thursday night watching Jack's baseball practice from inside the car}

 The weather can be tricky around here in Springtime!  We should be used to going from Summer temperatures to Winter coats in 24 hours...but we're not!  Poor Jack had to take a hot shower to warm up after a shortened practice...ugh!

What They Wore Wednesday

I thought I'd put a spin on the "What I Wore Wednesday" posts to take a moment to thank the brand licensers for Hello Kitty for making sure she is available on shirts all over the place.  Without this steady influx of options, I would not be able to dress my cat-loving/obsessed Olivia so easily each morning (and EJ thinks she's pretty cute as well)!

Headband and Purse Sets

I made these cute sets quite awhile ago but had to wait for them all to be gifted before I could blog about them.  Actually, there is still one set to be Olivia, but she won't see the blog so I'm safe.

She also won't remember modeling them for me!  (hee, hee!)

Olivia and my niece got the lovely turquoise sets, but for EJ and her equally glamorous friend Hunter, I went with the hot pink with a shimmer right in the yarn (hard to see in the pics, but very fab and glam!).

Pattern links:
Granny Stripe Boutique Bag @ Tangled Happy
Granny Stripe Headband @ Tangled Happy
Flower Pattern @ Get Hooked, Again   

Loops & Threads Impeccable Worsted-Weight Acrylic in Aqua
Red Heart Shimmer in Hot Pink