Summer Fun No. 61, Chalk Art Festival

Things can get pretty serious when you're checking out chalk art.  Truthfully, I think the kids were just in complete awe that the artists in the Chalk Art Festival were using chalk (or pastels) just like they do!

There were so many cool ones to check out!

And when they weren't staring, they were running to the next one!

After we stopped for lunch...and a cool treat too (it gets hot out on the sidewalk)!

Summer Fun No. 60, Winnie the Pooh

We saw the new Winnie the Pooh movie and Olivia brought a friend with her.  And yes, I'm also the Mom that brings along cups to the theater so my kids can easily hold their own popcorn from the big bag.

The kids really liked the movie and I was thrilled that a lot of the stories we had been reading were included in the plot.  My kids have loved listening to the stories in our newest library books (pictured below) but I must admit that they are a little tough to read aloud to the younger kids (older/dated language, narrator confusion, etc.) but it's been worth the extra effort as they laugh a lot!  It's been fun to revisit some of my own childhood memories and to teach the kids about the original Hundred Acre Wood gang (not this version).

Summer Fun No. 59, Backyard Movie Theater

Remember how fun going to the drive-in was when you were a kid?  Well, it is even more fun in your friend's backyard!  And it's awesome for the parents don't really have to watch the movie, you can enjoy a cocktail or two, and (if you're lucky like we were) your host makes awesome popcorn  for everyone to munch on.  Such a great time!  Big thanks to Jackie for hosting in her super spacious backyard!

Summer Fun No. 56, 57, 58, Kidz Days

This month we've had a lot of fun at Kidz Days which is programming our performing arts center has on it's outdoor stage a few times each week. They are always held in the morning so we had to wait for summer school to be over to take part, but we've definitely enjoyed the offerings this month (starting with library storytime)!

There was fun with First Stage

We did some stretching with Milwaukee Ballet

And EJ's favorite was watching Irish dancers and then joining them to learn a jig.

I love all the experiences the kids have had and hope they continue this program for a long time, but the best part for me...watching my kids enjoy the beauty within our city (and having lunch once or twice with Dad too)!

Summer Fun No. 55, Dance Recital

Our little ballerina had her big end-of-class performance and was so excited that she talked about it for two weeks!  She did a great job (even if she did yell to me from the stage at one point)!

She may not always get it right...

But she loves every second and definitely gave it her all!

And so, of course, we celebrated her success with the best ice cream in town!

Summer Fun No. 54, Butterflies and the Zoo

Grandma treated us to a day at the zoo doing all the special things Mom & Dad never agree to (sea lion show, carousel, lunch, gift shop purchases, popcorn), but the hit of the day was the butterfly exhibit!  When we entered, I thought it might be lame because there were a lot less butterflies than there are in the permanent exhibit at our local museum, but these were a much friendlier bunch!  Either that or we all became Butterfly Whisperers for the day.

They landed on/crawled to some interesting places too!

The only thing that got my kids out of there was tickets to the sea lion show.  What a fun day...Thanks for spoiling us Grandma!!!

Countdown to School 2011

We did a little countdown to school project last year for quite a few neighborhood kiddos we knew heading to JK (4-year-old half-day kindergarten).  This year it is just EJ and her friend Abbie (and they are going to different schools too) so I did something a little different, but hopefully just as much fun.

Matt teases me constantly about saving toilet paper tubes, so it certainly didn't help for him to arrive home to this pile of supplies on the coffee table (I may have had to put up with a tasteless joke or two).  However, if you are a tube saver like I am, you have almost everything you need!  The only additional supplies are decorative paper, spray adhesive, and goodies to stuff in the tubes.

Cut the decorative paper to fit around the tp tube (mine measured 4.25" x 6") and head outside (or to a well-ventilated area) with the tubes, paper & spray adhesive.  Spray the back of the paper and then wrap it around the tube.  Try to line it up neatly, but don't worry too much about the edges.

I almost forgot that in order to use these tubes for a countdown, you need to label them with numbers.  I gave my trusty assistant some oval labels and he got to work numbering and labeling both sets of tubes (the benefit of big kid company during naptime).

At this point, we were all set to add the swag.  Only having two sets to make definitely meant that the contents were a lot more fun...silly bands, "jeweled" hair bands, stickers, nail polish and sleep masks.  Everything a girl needs to look and feel her best for her first big day!

Fold in the ends on one side of the tube (kind of use your thumb to "dent" one side toward the middle and then do the same from the opposite side) and fill the tube with the goodies.  Then fold in the ends on the other side.

And now, instead of tubes, you've got boxes...filled with help your somewhat nervous kiddo (or is that just EJ?) get ready for the big day.  EJ's are sitting at her place at the dining room table so that she can open one up each day at breakfast.

Abbie's were delivered in a small bag (that looks huge here but is truly only about 4x6") with a little apple note attached to the outside.

I can't wait for them to start opening the pillow boxes and also, to hear all about their adventures at their new (big girl) schools!
{vintage EJ & Abbie dropping off their brothers for 5K, Sept 2009, age 2 1/2}

Summer Fun No. 51, 52, 53, Brewers Games

Yep, that has three numbers in the post title (and actually I just realized there was a game that we don't have photos of, so it should be 4!).  Clearly we have a favorite activity in this family and, of course, Jack is the number one fan in this house (he went to 3 games last week alone) but the girls have been pretty upset lately when they miss a trip to the ballgame.

Go Brewers Go!

Watermelon Hat Pattern

A lot of you guessed correctly that the hat in this post was crocheted by me.  I am giving a picnic-themed gift and wanted to add something that would be a little more fall-ish to the mix.  I was inspired by this cute hat but the pattern was for newborns.  Lucky for me, Tatiana was willing to answer a few questions and using her suggestions plus this pattern as a guide, I was able to create these fun hats!

Watermelon Hat Pattern
bulky yarn (5 or 6 weight) in red/pink, white/cream & green
bulky yarn (5 weight) in black
L hook (but I crochet very tightly, so if you have a looser hand use a K or J hook)
tapestry needle

With red/pink yarn:
Chain 3, join into a ring.
Round 1: Chain 3. 9 DC into ring. Join to top stitch of beginning chain - 10 sts.
Round 2: Chain 3. 2 DC into 9 DC. DC in join from previous round. Join to top stitch of beginning chain - 20 sts.
Round 3: Chain 3. *DC into first DC. 2 DC into next DC.* Repeat from * to * around. DC in join from previous round. Join to top stitch of beginning chain - 30 sts.
Round 4: Chain 3. *DC into first 2 DC. 2 DC into next DC.* Repeat from * to * around. DC in join from previous round. Join to top stitch of beginning chain - 40 sts.
Round 5 & 6: Chain 3. DC into each DC. Join to top stitch of beginning chain - 40 sts. Fasten off.

With white/cream yarn:
Round 7: Chain 3. DC into each DC. Join to top stitch of beginning chain - 40 sts. Fasten off.

With green yarn:
Round 8 & 9: Chain 3. DC into each DC. Join to top stitch of beginning chain - 40 sts.

Earflaps (continue with green yarn):
Row 10: Chain 3. DC in 10 DC. Chain 3, turn - 11 sts.
Row 11: DC2tog, DC in 5 DC, DC2tog. Chain 3, turn - 8 sts.
Row 12: DC2tog, DC in 3 DC, DC2tog. Chain 3, turn - 6 sts.
Row 13: DC2tog, DC, DC2tog. Chain 3, turn - 4 sts.
Row 14: DC2tog, DC2tog - 3 sts. Fasten off.

Count across front of the hat (joins are on back of hat) 12 stitches and begin in 12th stitch (slip stitch to join).  Repeat rows 10-14 to create second earflap.

Ties & Poms (continue with green yarn):
*Slip stitch to bottom of earflap.  Chain 25.  Slip stitch down the back loop of the chain and fasten off at the earflap.  Repeat on other side. 
*Create two poms (I used this method wrapping around 3 fingers 50 times) and attach one to the end of each hat tie.

Weave in all loose ends.  Then, with black yarn, embroider "seeds" on the red/pink portion of the hat.

Yarns used:
The red hat was made with Loops & Threads Cozy Wool Yarn (6) & Lion Brand Yarn Wool-Eaze Thick & Quick (6).
The pink hat was made with Loops & Threads Charisma Yarn (5) in Think Pink, White and Grass.

The thicker yarn definitely made a bigger hat despite using the same pattern, but both have a lot of stretch which I think would allow for a wider age range.  I will be gifting the pink hat to a one-year-old but it fits Liv's two-year-old head well without much stretching.

The red hat measures about 1/2" taller and 1" wider than the pink, so it fits both EJ and Olivia well.  EJ is pretty petite though, so I'd say that the red hat would fit up to a three-year-old.  Every child is different so have them try on the hat as you work (which is exactly what I did using Olivia as my guide).  You can always add increasing rows to add width or do additional rows of DC (rounds 5 & 6) to add length.

In the end all that really matters is that these hats are fun!  My girls thought it was hysterical that they were wearing watermelon hats and I'm pretty sure they could goof around with the pom-poms all day long.

Summer Fun No. 50, Super Readers Part Two

Remember when I said the girls really wanted to get their own signs?  Well, they officially got their listening hours in and have completed the Super Reader program too!  Yay EJ & Livie!!!

Fav Foto Friday, Beautiful Eyes

Just my girls this morning (sorry your eyes too but you weren't wearing the hat this morning)...

Linking up with Nora...see all the gorgeous FFF eyes over there!