Reading List Summary, August 2012

Mom's List
If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This (Robin Black)
The Kid Who Ran For President (Dan Gutman)
The Sixty-Eight Rooms (Marianne Malone)
Bad Kitty For President (Nick Bruel)
The Indian in the Cupboard (Lynne Reid Banks)
Girl Walks into a Bar... (Rachel Dratch)

Jack's List
Scat (Carl Hiaasen)
NERDS (Michael Buckley)
The Sixty-Eight Rooms (Marianne Malone)
Bad Kitty For President (Nick Bruel)
The Kid Who Ran For President (Dan Gutman)
The Indian in the Cupboard (Lynne Reid Banks)

EJ's List
It's Snowing! (David Martin)

Family List
It's a Butterfly's Life (Irene Kelly)
All About Turtles (Jim Arnosky)
Pink! (Lynne Rickards)
Mayors (Shannon Knudsen)
The Invisible Princess (Faith Ringgold)
Porcupines (William John Ripple)
Berries to Jelly (Inez Snyder)
The Napping House (Don Wood)
Lissy's Friends (Grace Lin)
Big Hugs, Little Hugs (Felicia Bond)
Fire Trucks on the Move (Judith Jango-Cohen)
Chicken and Cat Clean Up (Sara Varon)
Polo and the Dragon (Regis Faller)
Blue Animals (Melissa Stewart)
Big Sister, Little Sister (LeUyen Pham)
An Island Grows (Lola M. Schaefer)
New Red Bike! (James E. Ransome)

Snippets from the Week

--I decided on a new pattern for my wrap for Julie.  I tested it out with the old yarn...easy and cute, but yuck with the thick yarn.  This pattern calls for something much more fine...and soft...and lush.  Love the new stuff!

--At the wedding we went to last weekend, people were talking about how soon the next wedding will be.  I had been focused on the first day of school and completely blanked on how soon I would need a new outfit (same crowd of people at both weddings).  Luckily we have the coolest consignment shop ever right in the neighborhood and I found the perfect dress.  I also bought some earrings (I didn't need them, but I loved them) and ogled a super cute purse (that was WAY out of my price grid).

--The dress is super thin though and has a low-cut plunging neckline, so I needed some underthings too. I learned in the dressing room that the girls speak their mind and really don't pull any punches.  Whatever...better them than the people at the wedding, right?

--The library is closed for the next four days and the mere thought of that apparently sends me right into hoarder mode.  That stack of books is my current "to read" pile...well, minus books I own that are also "to read."

--Soccer season began again last night.  Jack is so psyched to be back at it and was even agreeable to the ghetto soccer ball...for now.  He moved up a size in soccer balls and picked out one he loves for his birthday wish list, but needed something to practice with for the next month.  I decided that "starter" ball should be the $4 one.

--I went a little crazy with the library movies too, but I see lots of couch-project time in my weekend, so I figure it's okay.  The girls checked out Beauty & the Beast (which I'm hoping is as big of a hit as The Little Mermaid was) and I got one of my all-time favs to share with Jack.  He started out so hesitant (it is really hard for a boy to see the fun in a movie with such a girlie title) but he was laughing out loud within 5 minutes.  Inconceivable!

--My couch-projects are many right now and that pic on the bottom kind of sums up my daily struggle.  Do I work on my volunteer project for school (the red folders) or do I play with the fun new crochet pattern I'm working up?  I'm thinking you can guess what has been winning lately.

--I've been dragging the kids on morning errands this week and while they haven't been thrilled, they have definitely made the best of it.  Yesterday they were huge hits with the senior set out on their errands too.

--Also this week, Matt and I became the last people on the planet to watch Bridesmaids.  Loved it!  We also rented Friends With Kids last week...I cried at times from laughing at that one.  And yes, clearly I currently have a little crush on Maya Rudolph and Kristin Wiig...who doesn't', right?

Ticket Shadow Box

I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but my oldest is a hoarder.  I'm a collector myself, so it's obvious where this tendency comes from, but...his desk/room/playroom can get a little crazy.  So while we are still encouraging him to weed through his possessions, I also try to look for ways to contain the things most important to him.

I pinned this idea awhile back and Jack and I tackled it this week.  I started with a shadow box frame I already had (I'm sure it did not cost more than $10 and I found it in the donation pile).  It had a 1" mat with a cardboard backing behind (it folded into small boxes behind the mat to create the "shadow"), so I got rid of the mat and cut the backing  so that it was just the back and side edges.  Jack and I bought some paper tape and stick on letters at Target and set out to make it a little more fun.  I really like how much brighter it is and that there is a pattern to the backdrop.  I cut a small slot in the backing so that Jack can add tickets without taking everything apart too.

Jack added some tickets within seconds of me putting it all together.  Now to get the walls of his room finished, so we can finally hang things on the walls!

Leave Them Alone for the Weekend...

...and they certainly have a lot of fun without you!

Thanks for all the fun Grandma, Auntie Alice and Uncle D!  They were tired yesterday afternoon for sure!

Zoo Day

Summer is coming to a close, so Grandma decided to take us to the zoo for one last visit.  The kdis had a "treat yo self" kind of day with carousel rides and lunch at the zoo and train rides and dinosaur robots and ice cream.  It was a great end-of-summer fun day!  Thanks Grandma!

To Shawl or Not To Shawl?

I've been working on my Sidewalk Shawl CAL sporadically over the last week and actually had let it go until yesterday.  The above pic was mid-afternoon and then after the kids went to bed, I picked it back up and finished all but the fringe/edging along the bottom/sides.

I began this project as a wedding shawl for my friend and I love how it's come out...the pineapples are so beautiful.  But, I'm not sure how practical it will be for her to wear.  I'm not sure if it's just that I'm not typically a shawl-wearer, but it seems fussy to keep it where it should be.  I'm not thinking something you have to fuss with is what you want on your wedding day.  So, I think this might even add the fringe and gift this one or wear it myself...or something.

And this morning, I've been trolling Ravelry for some other options for my friend.  So, I need your opinions...what pattern do you think I should attempt for Julie's big day (I'll be using the same #4 cream yarn)?

 Help? Please?????


I don't have a sister, but these two show me how awesome it would be to have one every day.  Their love for each other shows through in everything they do!

Cousin Care Packages

We decided to spread a little love this past our cousins!  We started with a little "potty encouragement" pack complete with stickers, big boy undies, and a note from big couz Jack.  We sent a little ice cream love to a cousin who recently broke her arm (with a little extra so she could treat her sisters too).  And we also attempted a little birthday ding dong ditch (although that didn't work out so well given they live in the country so we had to "ding" via text).

The kids favorite care package was to their big cousin Nathan.  He had an accident at the waterpark where his face met someone else's...big cut, swollen eye.  We thought he could use an ice pack (and a slushy GC) and the kids thought it was hysterical to send their 15-year-old cousin an Elmo ice pack.  I think Liv's face says it all.

Name Art

The other morning I was looking for a quick art project to keep the kids busy for a little while (maybe long enough for me to run a couple treadmill miles?) and remembered this project I had pinned.  We went with markers instead of the watercolors (still a big treat in this house) and the kids were very excited to embellish their names.  My favorite is "Elizabeth - YAY!"  They showed them to Matt that night with pride.  Call it busy work, call it twenty minutes of quiet...I call it a success!

Sidewalk Shawl Crochet Along

When I saw this Crochet-Along at Indie Lovely, I knew I had to join in.  I've never done one, but could definitely use some inspiration to get back to crocheting (which I haven't done much of this summer) and this seemed like the perfect thing.  I also love the pattern of the Sidewalk Shawl and am making it for my friend Julie to wear over her wedding dress at her Fall wedding (I'm thinking she'll need something over her shoulders during travel time outside in November in the Midwest).

So yesterday afternoon, I used naptime to get started (I also watched Being Elmo with Jack...great story)...

And then after the kids were in bed, I worked a little more (the color didn't change, our lights just look very yellow when it is dark out)...

I'm using a 4 worsted weight in cream and I should also mention that I am not planning on doing the fringe, but am now on the lookout for a scallop edge or another border that will look a bit more formal.  So far, it's a fun pattern and I love how it's coming out, but it's a pattern that you have to pay attention on and this shawl is probably going to need some blocking when finished so all the detail shows.  I love all the little pineapple motifs that are showing already!

Is it wrong that this makes me really happy?

At the beginning of this summer I had a list of grand organization, craft stuff, basement, closets.  Then summer fun got in the way and I've done a whole lot of nothing.  But last week, EJ & I did this and I am so excited.  Before we had small plastic baby travel cups full of hair clips and Ziploc bags full of hair bands...and it was a total mess (and there was more hair stuff on their dresser too)!

Now it's all together in one place (in bowls from the $1 section of Target) and so easy to find exactly whatever combo of bling the girls are wishing for each morning too.  Ten minutes, $2, and a world of wondering why I didn't do this sooner.  I love to organize (and yes, I'm a big nerd)!

Reading List Summary, June 2012

Mom's List
Skinnydipping (Bethenny Frankel)
Guys Read: Funny Business (Jon Scieszka)
The Lemonade War (Jacqueline Davies)
Most Talkative (Andy Cohen)

Jack's List
A to Z Mysteries: The Vampire's Vacation (Ron Roy)
The Mona Mousa Code (Geronimo Stilton)
Thea Stilton and the Mountain of Fire (Geronimo Stilton)
Flute's Journey (Lynne Cherry)
Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night (Joyce Sidman)
Look Out For Turtles (Melvin Berger)
Snakes Are Hunters (Patricia Lauber)
Sign Language ABC (Lora Heller)
Fireflies at Midnight (Marilyn Singer)
A Tree Is Nice (Janice May Udry)
Fawn at Woodland Way (Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld)
The Legend of Sleeping Bear (Kathy-jo Wargin)
Hoot (Carl Hiassen)
Once There Was a Tree (Natalia Romanova)
Growing Patterns (Sarah C. Campbell)
Around the Pond: Who's Been Here? (Lindsay Barrett George)
What in the Wild? (David M. Schwartz)
City Hawk (Meghan McCarthy)  
Guys Read: Funny Business (Jon Scieszka)
The Lemonade War (Jacqueline Davies)

Family List
Chester's Back (Melanie Watt)
I Am Small (Emma Dodd)
Freda Is Found (Stuart J. Murphy)
I Love Cats (Sue Stainton)
When Gorilla Goes Walking (Nikki Grimes)
All the Water in the World (George Ella Lyon)
Bailey (Harry Bliss)
Pick A Pet (Shelley Rotner)
Secrets of the Garden (Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld)
The Grizzly Bear with the Frizzly Hair (Sean Taylor)
Which Shoes Would You Choose? (Betsy R. Rosenthal)
Animal Baths (Bob Barner)
Scooter in the Outside (Anne Bowen)
Apples Grow on a Tree (Mari Schuh)
Stay Close to Mama (Toni Buzzeo)
Working at the Zoo (Tamra Orr)
Stuart Little (E. B. White)
Getting Elected: A Look at Running for Office (Robin Nelson)
Kimonos (Annelore Parat)
Bee & Bird (Craig Frazier)
Pond Walk (Nancy Elizabeth Wallace)
Hands Off, Harry! (Rosemary Wells)
The Cookie-Store Cat (Cynthia Rylant)
Say Something, Perico (Trudy Harris)
Prudence Wants A Pet (Cathleen Daly)
I Am So Strong (Mario Ramos)
What Will Fat Cat Sit On? (Jan Thomas)

Fair Day

Earlier this week, we spent the day at our State Fair.  I didn't take many photos as it was just me with the kids, but I can tell you that we had a blast.  We spent a lot of time in our DNR's exhibit (which we have never explored before) and also did a little giant slide action, ate yummy foods, and visited many farm animals.

Liv was very serious about her cream puff portion...

EJ walked the entire fair (first year without the double stroller for her) and she did great, but she was tired!  This was at our resting point before we walked to the car (another 8 blocks or so to go).

After the fair, we headed to the ear doctor (fun times) and then headed over to our National Night Out.  We usually go a little later and then do the flashlight walk too, but with Matt in class (and everyone tired) it was not in the cards for us.  We spent more time then I thought we would kid swag, ice cream, coloring contests, bounce houses, and more.

The fire department is always there and the kids love putting out the fire in the little wood house they bring along.  This was Liv's first year manning the fire hose and she took her job very seriously.  We also got to check out the fire trucks.  I love that they do this each year!

Before we knew it, it was 6pm (we left the house at 9am) and we were done!  A quick stop at the library for a movie, baths and vegging out were on the agenda for the evening (and I have never been happier to have leftovers waiting in the fridge).

It was such a fun day and even though it was exhausting, it was a day that reminded me how much easier things have gotten as the kids have gotten older.  This was the first year I wasn't juggling diapers, a double stroller, sippy cups, and nap-time.  It was awesome!

Just Breathe...

We had one of those absolutely crazy days yesterday...the kind that leave everyone physically spent and so happy to have a shower and an early bedtime.  Fun, but a little nuts. So, today we're trying to find a little calm (well, we're also shoe shopping, but...) and I thought this pic of our morning on an empty beach might help the cause.

Pinterest Appetizers

This weekend we had a work party (matt's, not mine) that needed a snack or appetizer and I immediately thought of these veggie cups.  They are all over Pinterest, so I don't have a link, but you get the idea...dip on the bottom, veggies on top, all in a little cup making them easy party food.  I used peppers, sugar snap peas, and carrots for the veggies and played around with a tarragon dip recipe until I think I got it pretty close to a restaurant version that I love!  I used dried tarragon (because that is what I had), but you should use fresh if you can.

Tarragon Dip
8oz cream cheese, softened
7-8T sour cream
5t dry tarragon
2t garlic (4ish cloves)

Mix together in blender until smooth (and desired consistency).  Makes enough for 10 dip cups (about 2-3T per cup)

{photo courtesy of Claire Bidwell Smith as I forgot to snap a pic of mine}

I also made these Spinach Crescent Rolls this weekend.  They were going to be an appetizer at a party, but plans changed and so they became our dinner instead.  I somehow got things screwed up in mind and in doubling the recipe, I did not double all of the recipe.  So...they were not done right, but they were still really yummy!  I will definitely make these again for our family or for a party.  Yum!