Reading List Summary, November 2012

Mom's List
The Cricket in Times Square (Garth Williams)
Friendkeeping (Julie Klam)
Wonder (R.J. Palacio)
Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected (Kelle Hampton)
If The Walls Could Talk: Family Life at the White House (Jane O'Connor)
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? And Other Concerns (Mindy Kaling)

Jack's List
The Cricket in Times Square (Garth Williams)
The Bell Bandit (Jacqueline Davies)
The Secret of the Fortune Wookie (Tom Angleberger)
Save The White Whale! (Geronimo Stilton)
The Curse of the Cheese Pyramid (Geronimo Stilton)
The Spy Game (Gertrude Chandler Warner)
The Spaghetti Detectives (Andreas Steinhofel)
One Dog and His Boy (Eva Ibbotson)

EJ's List
Worm is Stuck (Kathy Caple)
Yuck! (Catherine Friend)
Eddie and Little Skunk (Catherine Friend)
Sunshine, Moonshine (Jennifer Armstrong)

Family List
Arthur's Dream Boat (Polly Dunbar)
Cinderella, as if you didn't already know the story (Barbara Ensor)
One Cool Friend (Toni Buzzeo)
And Then It's Spring (Julie Fogliano)
Sophie's Fish (A. E. Cannon)

In a Fog

I had surgery last week and while I was able to go to Thanksgiving dinner, I must admit that the last week has been a bit foggy!  Yesterday I started feeling a lot more like myself and went a little crazy with a full shower (I even shaved my legs), making dinner, and a craft project with the kids.  Of course there was still plenty of resting time (in between my humiliating walks around the neighborhood per doctor's orders).

Photos above (top to bottom, left to right):
1. I've been living in our borrowed recliner (I get to sleep there too) under a cozy blanket.  I'm on my second book and am finally reading the books I own while I can't get to the library to borrow new ones (yes, I have a library book habit).
2. I sent this pic to the girls before I went into my surgery.  They loaned me their Brave Bears that they earned for their awesome hospital stays post-surgery.  I've got some cool kids.
3. This is the gorgeous neck brace I now have to wear for the next six weeks.  It's really annoying, but nice to have my neck protected (I'm a little nervous about hurting myself).
4. EJ painted my toes after my shower this morning.  They certainly aren't perfect, but I'm not going anywhere anyway, right?
5. Straws are my life, but at least I'm drinking Diet Coke again.
6. Another glamorous part of my recoup time...compression socks.  I've been hiding them with yoga pants and slippers.

This week my Mom is coming to spend the week with us to help me out (Matt is traveling) and drive the kids to school.  I'm a little worried as the kids are pretty excited to have all this Grandma time (and Dad time last week).  I'm not sure they're going to want me back!


See the date on that can?  That says Dec 13, 2010.  Matt found it last week when he changed offices and for some reason started to drink it.  Spoiler was nasty!

Turkey Tango

EJ had a dance program at her school last week so show off the moves they had been working on in gym class.  Clearly, they had a blast!

The big finish number was called Turkey Tango.  I loved that while most of the girls had picked out fancy dresses to wear, EJ had chosen her dress because it was "brown, like a turkey."

Happy Thanksgiving!

My size

Now that is a bottle of wine!  As big as the 3-year-old seems about right to me.

Something I Want...

My friends Alyson and Karri have been posting each week as part of a 4 gifts series (want, need, wear, read).  Last week they did WANT and I must admit that it got me doing a little internet browsing/shopping myself.  It's fun to shop when you're not spending any money, right?  So, I thought I'd put together a virtual wish list of some of my fun finds.

I've had this crochet necklace on my actual wish list for awhile.  I love necklaces and how cute is that little hook and yarn ball?  (Just me? Yes, I'm a little obsessed.)
 {available at wear+art}

I love jewelry, but I realized recently that mine is seriously unorganized!  This would be nice to sort out my necklaces and some earrings too.  I am also in need of some sort of jewelry box with drawers to hold bracelets, but didn't come across anything I liked.  Really, I gift card to Charming Charlie's to add to the bracelet collection wouldn't be bad either!
 {available at urban outfitters}

I'm in love with this print...80s theme plus awesome design.  I'd love to add this to the wall of prints I've been imagining filling our downstairs hallway.
 {available at ReStyle}

This one may seem a little odd, but Tripoley is our go-to family game at the holidays with Matt's family.  Low money spent, kids can play too, and lots of opportunity for smack talking! It would be fun to upgrade from the green felt mat.
 {available at wizard woodworks}

I love all things red velvet...I've been wondering if I would love this red velvet cocoa since the moment I laid eyes on it (I already know I'd love the Dulce de Leche.).
{available at world market}

And last, but not least, I recently wore my favorite bridesmaid dress ever and am now on the hunt for similarly styled/shaped dresses, so I can continue being fancy.  I thought these two ModCloth dresses (lace & red stripe) were pretty awesome (if only I had a fancy Christmas party to attend).

{available at ModCloth}

That's enough Christmas dreaming for me.  It was fun to "virtual window shop" for awhile though.  What is topping your want list this year?

Cowls for Christmas

I've been wearing and working on cowls this week.  Jack says I'm wearing them to get ready for my neck brace, but a wise friend said that I'll need them to cover the brace!  Anyway, the first pic is a cowl I made last year but never blogged about.  I had planned to gift or donate it, but somehow it made it's way around my neck yesterday (so I guess it's mine now).  The pattern is pinned here: Sedge Stitch Cowl.

The cowls I am working on are teacher gifts for Christmas.  The first is for Jack's teacher and I winged it on the pattern.  It was very inspired by this pin though.  The blue edging is brighter than it looks here, but I didn't go too neon on this one as it is a gift.  I would love to make this one again though and be a little bolder with the color.

EJ has four teachers this year, so I have my work cut out for me.  I chose to use the soft stitch cowl pattern as I made one last year and loved how it came out (in fact, the pics from last year are much better).  It's a longer cowl (that can be doubled up or worn long) and is light but really warm too.  It's also a repetitive pattern, so I plan to be working on these while I'm laid up (much easier to work on a pattern I don't have to count while on pain meds).  EJ picked the colors...metallic-y black, deep purple, mustard, and spring green.

So, each teacher is getting a cowl and a bracelet.  These Beads for Learning bracelets are created by Maasai women and sold by The Leakey Collection.  100% of the profits from the sale of these bracelets goes to pay for teachers' salaries in rural Kenya.  I couldn't think of a better gift for our amazing teachers.  I hope they like them!

Reading List Summary, October 2012

Mom's List
When It Happens to You (Molly Ringwald)
The Longest Way Home (Andrew McCarthy)

Jack's List
Soccer Halfback (Matt Christopher)
Missile Mouse: The Star Crusher (Jake Parker)
Guys Read: The Sports Pages (Jon Scieszka)
The Best of Pro Soccer (Heather Adamson)
The Phantom of the Subway (Geronimo Stilton)
Dinosaurs in Action (Geronimo Stilton)
The Lemonade Crime (Jacqueline Davies)
Mummies in the Morning (Mary Pope Osborne)
Ben & Jerry: Ice Cream Manufacturers (Joanne Mattern)
The Hoboken Chicken Emergency (Daniel Pinkwater)

EJ's List
Hats, Hats, Hats (Deborah Schecter)
Fun at the Playground (Deborah Schecter)
Go, Dog, Go! (P.D. Eastman)
Shapes for Lunch (Deborah Schecter)
Winter Is Here (Deborah Schecter)
Dance, Annie (Dawn Friedman)
City Cats, Country Cats (Barbara Shook Hazen)
When Night Comes (Deborah Schecter)
I Like Stripes (Deborah Schecter)
The Lion and the Mouse (Gail Herman)
Me Too, Woody! (Heidi Kilgras)

Family List
That's Not a Daffodil! (Elizabeth Honey)
The Summer Visitors (Karel Hayes)
Little Lost Cowboy (Simon Puttock)
Dancing with the Dinosaurs (Jane Clarke)
Who Has These Feet? (Laura Hulbert)
Thumbelina, Tiny Runaway Bride (Barbara Ensor)
Grandpa's Garden (Stella Fry)
Visiting the Dentist (Charlotte Guillain)
Seeing Symmetry (Loreen Leedy)
What We Wear (Maya Ajmera)
Can I Bring Wooly to the Library, Ms. Reeder? (Lois G. Grambling)
John Jensen Feels Different (Henrik Hovland)
Freckleface Strawberry, Best Friends Forever (Julianne Moore)
What Happens to Our Trash? (D.J. Ward)
Big World, LIttle Pig! (Kristi Yamaguchi)
Delilah D. at the Library (Jeanne Willis)

Random Thoughts

The lighting in our house has been terrible this week (really gloomy outside...see above pic), so you get random thoughts, no projects, and gross pics today!

Matt arrived home last night to a counter full of Stove Top and was a little concerned that I was starting us on an all stuffing diet for November.  Truth is, I hate stuffing.  But other people love it and need it for Thanksgiving and it was on sale for $1 at Target.  Go and stock up like I did and fill your food drive bins!

If you are local, go check out the Turkey Ticker.  Donate a turkey through Hunger Task Force and a local company is $15 buys two turkeys for hungry families.  Can't beat that!

The big kids' schools are also collecting money for Hurricane Sandy victims.  We gave them each a base donation, but also offered them a way to make additional money to donate.  They can sell us Halloween candy!  Can you believe they actually went for this idea?  Of course, Jack is trying to get me to buy things he doesn't like, but still.  I'm excited, because given how they have memorized everything they have, this is the only way I'm getting my hands on a 100 Grand!

The big news in this house is surgery prep.  Turns out I need a little surgery on my neck and then I'll be rocking the neck brace for quite awhile!  Good times!  Of course, this means I have completely flipped out with regards to:
-shopping for Christmas!
-finding boot to fit Jack (seriously, the kid's feet are huge & always growing)
-getting rides arranged for the kids during my "cannot drive" period
-tracking down a recliner (apparently, I'll need to sleep in one)
-getting a fundraiser taken care of before the meds kick in
-figuring out easy meals
-filling my wine quotient pre-surgery
-working on more complicated handmade gifts (saving simple patterns for downtime)
-shopping for wide-necked & button-down shirts
-determining what movies/shows my Mom & I should watch while she stays with me

I wore this lovely plaid/down vest combo to the grocery store this morning.  Perhaps the selections should be all 80s movies?  All John Cusack?

We showed the kids a montage of the "two dollars" bits in Better Off Dead and I don't think I've ever heard my kids laugh that loud!  I'm thinking it might be time for them (well at least Jack) to be introduced to some of my favorites!



My friend Julie turned 40 last month.  She younger than me (I may hear about that statistic from time to time), so I had to give her a bit of a tough time when she finally caught up with me.  Luckily, the talented Nellie at nellie*design (she just posted some incredible holiday photo card designs as well) was willing to help me make the gift look fabulous.

40 blows?

40 sucks?

40 rocks!

Julie also got married this past weekend and we had a ton of fun celebrating her special day!  I was honored to serve as MOH and Jack had fun dancing the night away.
{Julie & Jim (Mr. & Mrs. banner by nellie*design), Julie's son (and my favorite baby) Mikey, slow-dancing with my son, Jack & his Godmother}

Family Game Time


Our kids love family game time, but with their somewhat wide range of ages it can be difficult to find games that work for all of them.  We recently tried out the new game Zingo Sight Words and everyone loved it.  Well, Jack didn't actually play, but he did run the slider and help the girls locate their words the first time.  Since then, the girls have been playing on their own as often as I'll let them.  It's a great game for both of them to reinforce the sight words they already know and learn a few new ones too.

Clearly, we have been fans of Zingo for quite awhile.  We received this newest version gratis in exchange for our honest review and I'd say it's a thumbs up from everyone!

 {Where is Sock Monkey?, Blokus, Disney Hedbanz, Feed the Kitty}
As the weather is getting colder, we've been having more indoor game time and these have become our family favorites.  Some take a little more "help" for the youngest and some a little more "patience" from the oldest, but all are lots of fun for everyone.

We might just need to have some family game time tonight for EJ's 5th Family Day!