Reading List Summary, September 2012

Mom's List
Chomp (Carl Hiaasen)
Baseball Crazy: Ten Short Stories That Cover All The Bases
The Westing Game (Ellen Raskin)
Ali in Wonderland and Other Tall Tales (Ali Wentworth)
Matilda (Roald Dahl)

Jack's List
Chomp (Carl Hiaasen)
The Westing Game (Ellen Raskin)
Baseball Crazy: Ten Short Stories That Cover All The Bases
Matilda (Roald Dahl)

EJ's List
Five (Dana Meachen Rau)
I Love to Sing (Anna Walker)
Yellow Animals (Melissa Stewart)
Worm Smells (Kathy Caple)
Tag (Ann Bryant)

Family List
Olivia and the Fairy Princesses (Ian Falconer)

Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes (James Dean & Eric Litwin)
Piggies in the Kitchen (Michelle Meadows)
I Love to Dance (Anna Walker)
I Love to Sing (Anna Walker)
The Hueys in The New Sweater (Oliver Jeffers)
Lola Loves Stories (Anna McQuinn)
Duck Soup (Jackie Urbanovic)
I Love Vacations (Anna Walker)
Look! Look! Look! at Sculpture (Nancy Elizabeth Wallace)
I Want a Party! (Tony Ross)
Llama Llama Home With Mama (Anna Dewdney)
Little Owl's Night (Divya Srinivasan)
Tyler Makes Pancakes (Tyler Florence)
The Prince's New Pet (Brian Anderson)
The Emperor's Cool Clothes (Lee Harper)
Froggy Builds a Tree House (Jonathan London)
Anton Can Do Magic (Ole Konnecke)
Harry Goes to Dog School (Scott Menchin)

Lucky Birthday Treat

Jack turned 9 yesterday and when you have a birthday on a school day, you need to bring a treat.  However, I really didn't feel like baking and it's hard to buy a treat that is peanut-free, so we needed to think outside the food realm.  Jack and I headed to a store that has everything last weekend in search of the perfect favor idea and found these great mini playing card decks.  The case is about 1.5 x 2.5" so I'm truly not sure how playable they actually are, but Jack was pretty sold (actually it was between these and gigantic 4x4" in size, but these won).

Thanks to my awesome friend Sandy, we were able to personalize each deck with a label for Jack's big day.  I printed them on clear sticker paper (because that is what I had in the house), but I think they would have looked even better if I had used white for the background. Thanks so much for helping me out Auntie Sandy!  Jack loved them and insisted on putting on every label himself.

And just like that, my first baby is nine years-old.  I truly cannot believe how fast time flies, but I love watching him grow and am very proud of the kid he has become.
{This photo is from August, but it's one of my favorites of the summer. We actually did eat Jack's birthday dinner in this same spot, but it was dark by the time we took silly pics outside.}

Dining Room Refresh

I decided our dining room was a little more stuffy than we'd wanted. It is lined with gorgeous (and semi-formal looking) built-in cabinets, but the fact is that we use it as our kitchen table and it is open to our casual living room too.  So, it needed some brighter, more modern touches.  New drapes, some new photos (big ones) on the walls look really cool with some of the things we already had displayed.  My favorite new thing is the new frame filled with Instagram prints from the last few months.  I love how it came out and the kids have a lot of fun looking at all the pics as they eat.  The best part is I think that it will be super easy to update as well.

dining room 1

DIY Ice Pack

I've been down and out this week with a killer shoulder issue, so have spent the majority of my time lying on a bag of frozen edamame (I rotated between shelled and in the shell).  However, once I visited the magical world of physical therapy with all their fun toys and seamless gel ice packs, I realized I needed something a lot less bumpy.

Enter Pinterest and their tutorials for everything.  I started with this pin for an ice pack made with dish soap, but through the comments ended up here.  A couple ziploc bags, 1/3 cup vodka, and 2 cups of water...done.

After a couple hours in the freezer, it doesn't look like much (ha!) but it feels great.  The consistency is kind of like a slushie, so it's softer than just ice would be and forms to your shoulder (in my case) or whatever you need.  Best part is that after it melts, you just throw it back in the freezer to use again.

I've never been happier to have a Pinterest project work out!  Thanks to physical therapy and these new smooth ice packs, I just might be back in business soon.

Jack's Room Is Finally Done

We were stuck at home most of the weekend, but we definitely made it productive.  One of the things on the list was to finally finish Jack's room (i.e. get things on the walls and reorganize his stuff).  I painted the walls of his room retro Brewers blue and yellow last Spring (like 2011, last Spring).  We also upgraded him to my grandparent's full size bed (which I painted last Summer).  And then everything stopped!

The main reason we waited to complete the room is that we really wanted to do the old Brewers logo on the wall, but weren't really sure how to attack the project.  Our end result isn't the greatest quality (it's a little dark for my taste) but works perfectly.  Jack drew the logo in colored pencil, I snapped a pic of it, and then we ordered a big wall decal through Shutterfly (which was actually free using my Coke rewards - my DC habit is awesome sometimes!).  We added small hooks around the decal for baseball hat management and to house his old-school Robin Yount Pepsi Brewer Fan Club glove.

The entire "remodel" was done almost entirely with things we already had in the house (I did have to buy the hooks yesterday though).  The wall-mounted shelves were in our old house and now hold Jack's bobbleheads, shell collection, and some keepsakes (like his boutonniere and bow tie from his Uncle's wedding).  His side table is an old tv stand from our apartment/college days (spray-painted white), as is the boombox (only thing that gets radio reception in his room).  Baskets are from his baby days and the soccer & baseball were Christmas gifts from me.

The art on his wall were mostly gifts he received through the years (that hung in his old room and were boxed up for the last year), and the ticket shadow box finally found a home on the wall.

The other walls of Jack's room are blue (this is the other side of his bed) and with the big windows there wasn't too much to do.  The letters above the windows are from Pottery Barn Kids and they have been there since he was a baby.  I just gave them a repaint in the yellow from the accent wall.  The big news on this side of the room is that his air hockey table finally found a permanent home, so Jack & the girls don't have to drag it out to play it (which they do most mornings).

The entry area of the room has Jack's closet on one side and his tall dresser on the other (the top is filled with piggy banks and photos and more baseball collectibles).  Jack is a bit of a pack rat, so we spent a lot of time today making some tough choices about what things to keep and which to let go (and by tough, I mean tough for both me and him!).  We left a lot of wall space for future acquisitions, but I'm hoping we can keep the collecting to a minimum for just a little while and enjoy the new space.

Soccer Saturday

Soccer season is here again!  And this year, EJ is playing as well, so we have double the fun.  I wasn't sure how it would go for EJ, but she did great (playing most of the time with a giant smile on her face).  I think the pink cleats and ball she talked me into really did the trick!

Back-to-School 2012

We're all back to school as of this morning.  Jack is in fourth grade, EJ in all-day kindergarten and Livie is back to preschool (she calls it 3K).  Jack and EJ went back yesterday and despite an earlier bedtime, I've never seen EJ so tired (last night and this morning).  Hopefully everyone will get back into the swing of things soon.

Liv spent her non-school day hanging with me...

A surprise in the mail for EJ made the "after school/before dinner" time extra special. Thanks Auntie Tracie!

And today it is Olivia's turn...

Have a great school year everyone! P.S. It is Matt's last "first day" of grad school too, but he wouldn't get in any of the photos!  :-)