November 23, 2011
This year more than ever it seems the turkey a.k.a. Thanksgiving is getting completely overlooked at least from a retail standpoint. What’s with Black Friday starting at midnight on Thanksgiving or even earlier? I have nothing against shopping that’s for sure, but I do prefer one holiday at a time. I mean just look at the poor guy up above in a ridiculous turkey Santa suit! Although I seriously think he may prefer a disguise rather than a table.
I still get many, many requests for my Thanksgiving Day coloring placemats (for kids and grownups) that appeared last year in Family Fun magazine.*Thank you for your enthusiasiam!* I’m posting them again. Click here to print out the first version and here to print out the second. (intended for private use only please.)
We love to use these around here as conversation starters and time fillers while the meal is being prepared. We have so much to be thankful for.
May you enjoy a happy Thanksgiving with family and friends!
September 27, 2011
My first grader regularly composes an assortment of Mom love notes. She’ll come home from school with a folder filled like she can’t get all the love down fast enough. I know I’m eventually going to miss finding heart after heart in her backpack proclaiming her undying affection, but right now her notes are a total delight. The one below made me laugh out loud…
…completely random on an ordinary Tuesday afternoon. But hey, who says you can’t party mid-week? All you really need is a disco ball (that would be the black ball in center of composition.) Even a 6-year old knows you need a disco ball.
Hope you’re having a week worth celebrating!
September 2, 2011
Happy Back-to-School plus my return!
So summer got me. It lured me away from any sort of a routine. I am totally blaming summer for my blogging absence. And I refuse to feel guilty. I just love summer too much. Don’t think for a second there weren’t mind posts…the ones written, photographed and uploaded in my head, but never quite making it anywhere else. They happened. Again, summer’s fault.
I’m thinking most of you are already back-to-school, but it’s never too late for a back-to-school cake tradition like we do here. If you’ve followed along you know what I’m talking about. If you’re new, let me tell you every back-to-school year begins with a themed cake. I have at least one kid in particular who needs convincing about how back-to-school should be celebrated rather than mourned. Cake helps. In past years, I’ve done a pencil, apple, school bus and notebook. This year, visions of…
…backpacks filled my head. The rectanglarish shape was appealing since time was limited. A quick consultation with my L.L. Bean catalog (because the real backpacks were already at school) served as a reference.
Here are my basic notes for turning a 9″ x 12″ sheet cake into a backpack with the aid of one fruit roll-up for the handle. If you wanted arm straps to show, use an entire box of fruit roll-ups. My straps happen to be hidden since we were down to one lonely green roll-up.
Happy back-to-school and labor day weekend. I promise I’ll be around more with alarm clocks ringing at least five days a week.
June 16, 2011
A Completely Fun ‘To Do’ List
A couple of weeks ago over a family dinner outside on the deck, we pathed our summer. This summer I wanted to put together a list of sorts that would include all the things we wanted to do together as a family. To get started, I printed this cute printable: 50 Days of Summer Fun courtesy of Crafting Chicks. Next, I adhered the list to a piece of cardboard and added some embellishments (more fun!) to go with the theme. To determine what made the list, all family members were given a stack of slips to pen what they wanted on the list. We folded each slip and deposited in a group bucket. The rules: 1) Each activity had to be within a 60 mile radius of our home; 2) Each activity had to be something that everyone could partake in i.e. no bungee jumping; and 3) No activity could be outrageously expensive. During dessert, Dad opened each slip and read the proposed activity out loud. Then we took a vote as to determine if that activity would make one of the 50 slots. Since we’re a family of five, majority ruled with 3 or more votes. We filled our board quickly with a most fun summer.
With my previously sick kids on the mend, we dove into our list this past weekend. #19 was a trip downtown to a really cool outdoor market. One child who shall remain nameless was less than excited about this excursion. However, 15 minutes after we arrived was singing a different tune telling us how much fun he was having. Hmmmm…an added bonus to 50 Days: Trying new things and discovering where fun can be had…that’s in addition to the obvious: Strengthening family bonds.
Getting back to the business of summer, we have quite a bit to experience yet. Future fun includes room makeovers, family game night, pottery painting, bike rides, rollerskating, hikes, a read-in day and museums to name a few. The list has generated big time excitement around here. After all, ‘to do’ lists shouldn’t be all about the work right?!
February 1, 2011
Building a cake
In case you’re wondering where I’ve been, this cake took a really long time. I’m exaggerating a bit (since said blocks were eaten a good week ago), but not by much. I thought the concept was pretty simple (I know I’m not the first to make a Lego cake), but getting buttercream to cover all of those nooks and crannies was a chore to say the least. And yes, fondant would have been easier. That’s if we liked the taste of that. Our fav cake shows like Ace of Cakes and Cake Boss sure have raised the bar (let’s see them make a Lego cake with buttercream!) Anyway, if you’re brave enough to attempt such a cake for your little Lego fan here’s the inside scoop…
It’s basically one cake made in a 9″ x 12″ pan and cut as so. Then you’ll need to bake up 16 mini cake muffins for the little connector dots on top. I recommend freezing the various cut parts for easier icing. Or better yet, stick a few little Lego guys in the 9″ x 12″ and call it a day.
January 12, 2011
Dare you to find a match
My three little kittens seem to have problems finding their mittens. Or maybe it’s just finding two of the same mitten. I felt a need to post this for the school administration who e-mails parent reminders to send kids to school with mittens. I do send mittens. But somewhere between here and the playground lurks a ferocious mitten monster who eats mittens for lunch. If by chance the mitten monster is sleeping, the mittens then jump out of pockets and off hands for a big mitten party. The location of this celebration I have not a clue. All I know is by January, I am through buying new mittens. My darlings either wear what we still have in the basket (matching or not) or learn a thing or two about cold fingers.
Then we’ve got hats. These don’t disappear quite as often, but today the third grade boy couldn’t seem to locate his favorite. So I had to quickly de-pompom another hat we had in our stash. Like anyone would wear a hat with a pompom on top. pleeease. Far be it from me to make him go to school looking absolutely ridiculous.
If you happen to see one of mine mittenless or hatless please be assured that the adhesive I applied to mittens/hands or hat/head came unstuck. Try as I might, there is simply not a glue on the market to keep those winter accessories in place.
November 4, 2010
A Thankful Check
Those of you who have been hanging out here for awhile might recognize my Thankful Checklist placemat. I originally created this for my kids to color and check on Thanksgiving day while the turkey was roasting. I wanted to make sure they really understood why we celebrated the holiday. Sure we tell our kids constantly that they have lots to be thankful for—health, a roof over their heads, food on the table—but there is so much more. Even us adults sometimes need to be reminded how awesome “a cozy blankie” really is.
Family Fun magazine included my Thankful checklist placemats in the latest issue. Click here to print out the first version and here to print out the second. (intended for private use only please.)
Here’s the latest version I created for this Thanksgiving, but perfect for any day of the year. And if you don’t check brussels sprouts that’s okay. I’m more of a french fry girl myself.
August 31, 2010
A piece of heART
My very youngest is in the process of phase-in to all day kindergarten. Over these first two weeks, she’s slowly working her way up to being at school for an entire 8:00am to 3:00pm day. I’m working up to that too. It’s strangely quiet here. She knew I’d miss her, so she made me this Perler bead heart. She gave specific instructions to “kiss it when you miss me.” sigh. She is so much older and wiser than her five years.
Speaking of which, we are huge fans of perler bead crafting around here. All three of my kids (and many of their friends) enjoy it, with the added bonus that it’s a pretty fabulous hand-eye coordinating activity too. If you’re not familiar, Perler beading is where you design a pattern on pegboards (like you see above) placing…
..plastic Perler beads on the pegs. Then, a responsible adult covers with ironing paper, irons and the beads magically melt together. Finally you take the creation off the mold, iron the other side and there you have it…a piece of art. Kisses optional.
August 26, 2010
Six Sneakers and one sweet notebook.
All three at the same school. It seems surreal. My youngest in kindergarten?! When did that happen? Back when they were babies, I remember staring blankly through a fog of total exhaustion hearing people say, ‘Enjoy it…they grow up so fast.’ At the time, all I wanted to know was how many more pounds/how many more weeks before this child sleeps six hours in a row?! Now look. I need a bullhorn to wake them up some most mornings. I blinked and here they are. So the start of every school year marks a bittersweet celebration. Of course you need cake and ice cream for that.
A back-to-school cake has become our tradition. This year, I decided to create a notebook cake. In the past, I’ve done a pencil, a chalkboard, a minivan carpool (super ambitious year) and an apple. There is no better way in our opinion than to rehash first days over cake and ice cream.
This notebook is spiral bound. Quickly I might add. This is one very busy notebook factory. Speaking of which, I need to get back to my homework that includes filling out a couple hundred forms that I’m pretty sure multiplied last night while we were sleeping. Here’s to another school year.
April 18, 2010
How to get unstuck
Five-year-old Nora is definitely on a roll. She’s learning how to communicate with words and pictures and can’t get enough of documenting everything. Nora spent the better part of yesterday preparing for family movie night. She made tickets, money and the sign above. (That’s MOVIE with the extra “V” corrected, 8:00pm with drinks and popcorn and a cost of $5…play money accepted.) When she asked me if she could tape the sign to the door of the movie theater/aka Mom and Dad’s bedroom I said something like…”No tape on the doors. It takes off the paint and makes Daddy nuts.” Admittedly, I was working at my computer and only paying half attention. I felt her disappointment about the no tape, but I repeated that she would have to find a different way to hang her sign. She thought for a moment and then skipped off as I continued to work.
I did a double take when I went upstairs and saw Nora’s creative solution to sign-hanging without tape. A great reminder from a preschooler that with a little creativity and drive there’s always a way around potential roadblocks life throws our way.