I'm wondering...


We have been so busy lately and I think this is how most of us feel all the time.  I mean...Jack is sleeping...that NEVER happens.  I was driving or I think I would have joined them in napping.  SO anyway, things are crazy busy (but in a good way), but I have a couple things I've been wondering about as I'm out and about.

1) Are Birkenstocks back in again?  This old lady needs some comfy sandals for everyday running around this summer with a little more support than the flips.  I was eyeing up the Gizeh but I went to a very granola/crunchy college and I'm having flashbacks.  Then I'm running around town and I'm seeing TONS of kids in Birks.  So now I'm thinking that I'm both too old and not granola enough to wear these shoes.

2) What kind of art do you hang in a bathroom?  We've always had small bathrooms with not a lot of wall space, so it's never been a big issue.  Now that we're redoing a space, I'm seriously over-thinking it.  I've searched a bit and it seems big themes are instructions (wash, brush, floss kind of things) and travel.  So far, I'm working with a water theme (duh) and I think I have what I like picked out (starting with these hooks), but what do you think about bathroom art/decoration?

3) What was your first concert and how old were you?  I'm contemplating a concert for Jack's birthday present (contemplating meaning I haven't talked to Matt about it yet...just been thinking about it).  I know he's kind of young so it would depend on the band/artist and venue.  The kid deserves some fun though...and EJ's ear piercing birthday experience kind of set the bar high!

Turned Upside Down



Today is a little crazy and the upcoming weeks aren't looking like they will get less crazy.  Someone in our house is traveling like a crazy person.  We are coming up on the end of school and all the special events and field trips that go along with that.  Spring sports are in full swing and our practice/game schedule is nutso.  Best of all, are the men currently ripping apart our upstairs bathroom.  I cannot wait to not only have that shower working again but to have my bathroom look somewhat up-to-date (instead of 1970s cheap).

And while this is a major win for this household, it makes things somewhat tough for me.  I am not really sure what to do with myself at times like these.  I can't leave the house because there are always questions to be answered, etc.  I can't exercise (because I truly can't imagine anything more awkward) or clean (because what is the point, there is dust everywhere & no water).  I am catching up on computer stuff right now, but I am not sure what I will do next.  Everything I think of seems rude...reading, working on blankets...hey, why don't I relax while you bust butt on my house?

Bottom line, I'm going to try not to stress, or worry about what the guys working think of me, and just enjoy the kids, get everyone where they need to go, and try to relax a little.  We'll see how that works out...

So Happy to Have Mothers


Hope everyone had an amazing day!



Read Aloud Advice?


The girls and I need your help to find another book as wonderful as The Year of Billy Miller.  it was cute and funny (with his little sister Sal often stealing the show) and features a stay-at-home Dad and has a boy main character (who is right around EJ's age) and best of all it is written by one of our favorite authors (and Racine native), Kevin Henkes.  We loved this book and recommend it highly!

But we now have a problem.  I read a chapter or two to the girls each night and I fear we are out of book ideas (especially after coming off such a great title).  The girls prefer funny over serious.  They love stories about kids around their age.  They like animal stories.  I'm reading the books to them but they are just 5 and 7, so the language can't be too tough (for example, Anne of Green Gables...we made it one page and they were confused!).  Subject matter obviously has to be age-appropriate.  Any suggestions?

For reference, these are books we have already read aloud and enjoyed...
There's A Hamster in My Lunchbox
Stuart Little
Mr. Popper's Penguins
Thumbelina, Tiny Runaway Bride
Cinderella, as if you already didn't know the story
The Wizard of Oz
Ramona Quimby series - all
Ella Enchanted
Socks
Henry Huggins series - all
Mary Poppins
The Chocolate Touch
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
How to Eat Fried Worms
The Year of Billy Miller
Charlotte's Web (currently reading)
Little House Books (EJ has already read these herself)
Boxcar Children (EJ is reading these to herself)

Reading List Summary, April 2014


Mom's List
Where'd You Go, Bernadette (Maria Semple)
Eleanor & Park (Rainbow Rowell)
Most Talkative (Andy Cohen)

Jack's List
The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit (Octavia Spencer)
Who Was Walt Disney? (Whitney Stewart)
Hatchet (Gary Paulsen)
Leepike Ridge (N.D. Wilson)
How to Steal a Dog (Barbara O'Connor)

EJ's List
Case of the Sneaky Snowman (Carolyn Keene)
Meet Cynthia Rylant (Frances E. Ruffin)
Meet Beverly Cleary (S. Ward)
The Yellow House Mystery (Gertrude Chandler Warner)
The Ninth Nugget (Ron Roy)
The Orange Outlaw (Ron Roy)
The Fashion Disaster (Carolyn Keene)

Olivia's List
Three Up A Tree (James Marshall)
Mr. Putter & Tabby Toot the Horn (Cynthia Rylant)
My Horses (Heather Miller)
Henry and Mudge Get the Cold Shivers (Cynthia Rylant)
Your Pet Cat (Elaine Landau)
Tales for Very Picky Eaters (Josh Schneider)
Caring for Your Cat (Erika L. Shores)
Henry and Mudge in the Sparkle Days (Cynthia Rylant)
Henry and Mudge and the Wild Goose Chase (Cynthia Rylant)
Henry and Mudge and the Forever Sea (Cynthia Rylant)
What Good Is a Tree? (Larry Dane Brimmer)
Bookstore Cat (Cindy Wheeler)
Ten Eggs in a Nest (Marilyn Sadler)
Henry and Mudge and the Happy Cat (Cynthia Rylant)
People in My Neighborhood (Shelly Lyons)
Big Dog... Little Dog, A Bedtime Story (P.D. Eastman)
Fluffy Saves Christmas (Kate McMullan)
Nate the Great and the Fishy Prize (Marjorie Weinman Sharmat)
Aggie the Brave (Lori Ries)

Read-aloud List
How to Eat Fried Worms (Thomas Rockwell)
The Year of Billy Miller (Kevin Henkes)
Patch (David Slonim)
Scarlatti's Cat (Nathaniel Lachenmeyer)
The World Is Waiting for You (Barbara Kerley)
The Short Giraffe (Neil Flory)
Jacob's New Dress (Sarah and Ian Hoffman)
Tea Party Rules (Ame Dyckman)
That's Mine! (Michel Van Zeveren)
Abigail (Catherine Rayner)
Snowflakes Fall (Patricia MacLachlan)
A Beach for Albert (Eleanor May)
Beep and Bah (James Burks)
Community Soup (Alma Fullerton)
This Is the Rope (Jacqueline Woodson)
I See Kitty (Yasmine Surovec)
Tap Tap Boom Boom (Elizabeth Bluemle)

Teacher Appreciation Gifts (OK'ed by an Older Kid)


I have two girls just starting off their elementary school days and one "big kid" boy who is wrapping his up (very soon actually).  He is very thankful for all his teachers do and really is a kid who wants to show that appreciation through gifts during Teacher Appreciation Week, but...he is 10...and a boy.  I think you see my dilemma here.  Thankfully I was able to pull together a week's worth of gift ideas and printables to go with them that the 10-year-old was okay with (maybe even happy) bringing to his teachers.

Day 1 - Chocolate (simple and yummy)


Day 2 - Apple (a classic)
{free printable available here}


Day 3 - A Favorite Book to Share (Jack wrote a note in each book and also gave to a couple special teachers from years past)
{free printable available here}


Day 4 - Cookie from a Local Bakery (big enough to nibble all day)
{free printable available here}


Day 5 - Gift Card to a Local Restaurant (I am jealous of this one!)
{free printable available here}


Bonus Idea:
The girls go to a smaller school and that means that they work with many of the teachers and staff at the school.  I wanted to do a little something for all of them (in addition to the classroom teacher gifts), but there are 8 of them and that adds up.  In addition, I needed a gift that would work for men and women.
{free printable available here}

These small photos albums came in an assortment of patterns/colors (with just a little bit of shimmer to them as well).  I added the tag to the front cover and added the line "here is a place to keep the highlights of yours" at the bottom of the tag (along with the girls' signature). A cute, but practical, thank you!

Do I really need another hat?

{photo by EJ; scary eye wrinkles and broken nose are all me}

I made this hat one night last week while watching my dvr'd trash tv shows after the kids went to bed.  I had been searching for something else earlier in the day and ran into this pic of the hat and decided I needed to have it (pattern is here).  I had other things to do and it is May for goodness sake...did I truly need to make this hat?  Probably not, but I wanted it, so I made it.

Well, we are starting out Spring outdoor soccer season and our weather is crazy.  Here are the girls outside on two consecutive Saturdays.  The left pic is on April 20th and the right is April 27th (and they were not dressed warm enough...and had a blanket over their laps).  Something is seriously wrong with our weather!

I threw the hat in my purse on my way out the door to Jack's soccer tournament this weekend and I was so glad I did.  It was about 10 degrees colder at the fields compared to our neighborhood and it was super windy as well.  Don't let Jack's lack of layers fool you (I try, he resists), it was cold.  Thank goodness I decided I needed a new hat.

Come on Spring!

Round Here


I've been MIA for a number of reasons lately, but that gives me the perfect excuse to fill this post with a lot of smiling faces having fun this last month.  First of all, the Easter Bunny stopped by.  The girls set up their usual brown sugar and carrots plate hoping to see some bunny tracks.  This year the bunny went a little nuts and there was brown sugar everywhere.  He must have been hungry!

Before the bunny's big day, our neighborhood association had an awesome egg hunt (made even better because there was no snow on the ground this year).  We also colored eggs...like the night before Easter.

Olivia turned 5 last month.  She was not excited about it though...she really liked being four apparently.  She embraced her big day however.  There were doughnuts and a robot fish from her siblings...what's not to like?

Liv also had a little celebration at Grandma's house before her big day.  That's where she got to bring her cake...vanilla of course!

We've had a tiny bit of nice weather...

And a lot of crappy, rainy weather.

I finally got to meet my new nephew!

And we realized how tall Olivia is...she is just 7 months older than the cousin on the left.

And just yesterday, EJ finally got to pull out her starter hoops and enter of the world of changing her earrings.  I have a feeling her allowance will be dwindling down very soon!

This weekend is soccer, soccer, and more soccer.  I'm hoping for warmer weather than we had last weekend and no rain.  Then it will be fun!