Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pure Joy!

What could bring a little girl more joy than to sneak into her big sister's room undetected and help herself to all of the jewels?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

New Life for an Old Dresser

As I was looking for an outfit for my littlest girlie to wear today, I was once again admiring her sweet little dresser and thought I would share it with you! This dresser was such a find for us -- literally! Before we met, my husband found the dresser on the side of the road near his downtown apartment. Coincidentally in need of a dresser, he picked it up and carried it home. (I need to remind him of that fact the next time we see some great treasure on the side of the road that I want to pick up -- he always says, "No way!") I believe he painted it once for his apartment, and then it came with us to our first apartment and then first house together. Finally, when we were able to purchase "grown up" furniture, it was relegated to the basement.

When I was pregnant with our first daughter, I painted the dresser (wearing a face mask, of course!) to match her nursery -- we didn't know that she was a "she" at that point, so it was a seafoam green and ivory nursery. I saved a bunch of the cute wrapping paper and the sweet little baby gift bags that the presents from her baby shower came in, and I cut them up and used them to line the inside of the drawers. I thought this was just about the sweetest little dresser ever -- perfect for a little baby!

When she turned 3, we bought her a "big girl" bed for her room and I believe my mother bought her a new dresser that year. Still, we saved the sweet little dresser, and 3 years later it moved into our new nursery for her little sister. My littlest one's room is a totally different color palette from the seafoam green and ivory dresser and I still have every intention of repainting it to match her room. But, I did save the paper and gift bags from gifts that she received when she was born, and I replaced the "drawer liners." I also bought some precious little bars of baby soap that are rose scented and I have those in the drawers, so her clothes smell beautiful when you open the drawers.

This definitely fits into the "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" category, but it is such an adorable little dresser and with a little bit of love and care it is just perfect!

Do you have any special projects that you have done in preparation for your new arrival? Or any tips for decorating a child's room? Please share your great ideas!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hmmm... Where Did She Get That From?

Ok, so apparently we need to watch what we say around our little one... The other day, on our way home from a visit with my grandmother, I told the girls that we needed to stop at the grocery store to do our shopping. My older daughter was NOT in the mood, to say the least. My littlest one was excited to ride in the carts. As her sister continued to complain about going to the store, my 2-yearl-old turned to her sister and clear as a bell said, "Stop-a whining, Lulu!" OK! I could not stifle a laugh and "Lulu" tried to put forth a fake cry, but even she could not help laughing!

My girls and I went out swimming on this hot day, and on our way out, my eldest grabbed the sunblock stick for her face and her sister's. In our rush outside it got placed within my little one's reach and she found just a little while ago and was putting it on her toothbrush! I saw that and I said, "Oh! You didn't put that in your mouth did you?" And she said, "No, my beep!" and pointed to her nose. I wasn't sure that I heard her correctly, so I pointed to my nose and I said, "What is this?" And she said, "Beep!" We all enjoy playing this little game where we touch her nose and say, "Beep!" and then she'll touch, say, Grandpa or Daddy's nose and they'll say, "HONK!" Well, apparently she thinks that her nose is called a "beep!" We'll have to work on that before she starts school... Another one of those things that sounds so darn cute until your child gets to school and the other kids look at them like they are from Mars!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Yin & Yang

As an only child myself, I have always been fascinated to see how siblings with the same parents, growing up in the same house, can turn out so different! People always comment on how much my girls look alike, but I have been able to tell from early on that they have totally different personalities.

One recent illustration of this came up on Friday during our trip to the zoo. Our littlest girl was in the creek, walking along having fun, when all of a sudden she tripped and fell knee first onto the concrete "creekbed." My husband and I both grabbed for her and we both immediately thought this was the end of our fun day because that HAD to hurt! We picked her up and sure enough she had cuts all over both knees. But you would only know that from looking -- she did not cry at all, and it did not slow her down at all either! She was ready to go play on the playground! And not only that, but she was climbing up to go down the slide and kept crawling around the top of the jungle gym on her injured knees! Even when we cleaned her up with wipes, she did not make a peep -- you would not know she had ever been hurt.

Her older sister on the other hand... Earlier that morning they were sitting together at the table coloring with markers. My older daughter looks at me, panic-stricken, and points to a little red dot on her finger. She says (very dramatically), "Mommy, is this marker or am I BLEEDING???" I said, "Honey, I'm sure it's just marker." It wiped right off and all was well!

Family Day

On Friday we had a rare treat -- my husband and I were both off of work, school is still out for our older daughter, and we had NO obligations to go anywhere or do anything for the whole day! We woke up somewhat leisurely (ok, well, the girls and I did -- my husband did have to run to work to drop off some employee reviews, but he was home before we woke up!), my husband vacuumed the pool, and then he and our older daughter made their famous omelettes for breakfast!

After breakfast we got ready and piled in the car to go to the zoo. We are fortunate to have a great zoo just minutes from our house, and each summer/fall we renew our zoo membership. It is such a great deal -- I think for a family it's about $55 for a year's membership and it's about $8 or $9 for an adult to enter without a membership. You really can't beat it! And with the close proximity to our house and having two kids of varying ages -- we can run to the zoo and not feel like we aren't getting our money's worth if someone gets cranky and wants to leave early. We got a late start on Friday, but we went and had lunch there and saw most of the animals -- we did skip a few things for the sake of time.

One of my daughter's favorite things at the zoo is the "creek" that they open up in the summer. It's man-made with all sorts of animal footprints in and around the creekbed. There are rocks to climb and deep and shallow spots to wade (or practically swim, if you want to) in and we bring our water shoes and a towel to dry our feet off with! This most recent visit was the first time that we took our littlest girlie in the water. She had her water shoes on and at first, she stood there, not knowing what to do, but she took my hand and we waded around and she got more adventurous.

Our zoo also has a great playground and the girls enjoyed playing there before we headed home for a swim. It was a really nice, relaxing day with the family - a much needed break from all the running around we usually do!

Daddy's Omelette Recipe

My husband has always made great omelettes (his brother does, too -- must be a family thing!) and he has taught our girl how to make them as well. She loves to help out in the kitchen, and this is always a fun, bonding moment for the two of them. She played waitress and took all of our orders, and then together they whipped up made-to-order omelettes for breakfast. She can mix up the omelette recipe on her own, for the most part -- she's even a great egg cracker! Then Daddy does the cooking on the stove. Their usual omelette mix is as follows:

Daddy's Omelette Recipe

3 eggs (more or less, depending on hunger!)
A few splashes of Red Hot Sauce (adds great flavor, not heat)
American Cheese, broken into little pieces (any cheese will do)
Garlic salt
Dash of water

Mix this all thoroughly with a whisk, adding the cheese last. Pour into a hot, greased (butter or non-stick spray) frying/omelette pan and as it starts to cook on the bottom, slowly and carefully run your spatula around the edge of the pan, lifting the eggs until you can carefully flip one side onto the other when the middle is just about cooked.

Sometimes they add other ingredients like ham, turkey, black olives -- whatever you have in the fridge that sounds yummy for your omelette! Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Extreme Blog Makeover

Who doesn't love getting a makeover? Even a blog can feel tired and run down sometimes. I thought this one could use a little freshening up, and thanks to The Cutest Blog on the Block, I was able to do this makeover for free! I hope you enjoy the new, fresher look!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Laura Ingalls Wilder Day

If I haven't already mentioned this, I am a huge Laura Ingalls Wilder fan -- huge. And to my utter delight, my older daughter has caught Laura fever too! It started with her reading the "My First Little House" books when she was younger (my friend Christine -- also a huge Laura fan -- gave her one when she was born, I believe!) and then started watching some of the Little House shows that we have on dvd. Just this past week she started reading "Little House in the Big Woods" the first book in the Little House series (both of my girls have the complete box set -- I'm definitely starting them early!). They are such wonderful books (I enjoyed the tv series too, but the books are what I truly love!) and I have read them over and over since I was a little girl -- in fact, I have been reading them again this week! If you have a daughter, I highly recommend getting her these books -- and if you have a son, he would probably enjoy "Farmer Boy" which was written by Laura, about her husband Almanzo's years growing up on his family farm in NY state.

My friend Christine and I were SO excited to hear about the first ever "Laura Ingalls Wilder Day" to be held at the Genesee Country Village which is about 45 minutes from our house. As soon as we saw this on their schedule (6 months ago?) we knew we had to go with our girls. My older daughter was very excited and she specifically asked if she could get dressed up like Laura for the occasion. WELL! Go dressed up in clothing matching the theme of the day? Of course! I found this wonderful woman on the internet who makes beautiful pioneer dresses (if you are ever in the market for one, let me know - I will gladly share her contact info!) and I ordered outfits for both of my girls. Christine also ordered an outfit for her daughter -- we thought we were showing great restraint NOT having dresses made up for ourselves (there were moms there who were in costume...)! In fact, Christine's husband Will was mocking us recently and told her that we "were a step away from the people at the Star Trek conventions!" The dresses were a big hit, and our girls were asked to be in the Fashion Promenade in the Town Square -- we felt quite honored, but truly it ran for 2-1/2 hours and this poor man stood there taking cards with names, ages, towns, and the Ingalls character each child was dressed as, and to his credit he mustered up quite a bit of enthusiasm for each child who went through -- in spite of the fact that almost all of them were "portraying Laura Ingalls." But I thought it was nice the way they did it -- there was not a long line, your child got their little moment of stardom (Christine's daughter got two moments, because she was very upset that she had forgotten to bow on stage -- the security guard was nice enough to let her go up a second time!), each child got a certificate with their name on it commemorating being in the promenade, and then a professional photographer took their picture in front of a little wagon. Very cute!

My husband had to work, but Grandpa and Gramby were nice enough to tag along for the day and help me out with the girls (especially the littlest one -- she's cute, but FAST!). In preparing for our big event, we went back and forth about buying lunch there, and bringing something with us. My older daughter settled that by requesting that we eat "Olden Day Food." Again with the theme -- love her! I knew from my books that they ate a lot of bread and butter and cheese for lunch so we picked up a loaf of fresh baked "Farmstyle Bread" -- looked just like Ma Ingalls would have baked. We brought American cheese (only kind my girls will eat) and some cheddar, and of course butter (didn't have time to make it myself -- just brought a stick!). In one book they mention eating hardboiled eggs and "salt and pepper in paper to dip the eggs in". So, I packed hardboiled eggs and I cut up a brown paper lunch bag and folded it up with salt and pepper inside. We also brought cut up apples, carrots, corn muffins and sugar cookies. We had a very nice picnic on the lawn of the Town Square and I thought it was sweet that my girl was interested in the authenticity of spending the day like Laura Ingalls, right down to the clothes and food!

The Genesee Country Village put on a wonderful day with lots of activities for families and children to participate in -- we made rag dolls, watched ice cream being made, kneaded dough, made corn husk dolls, pounded designs into tin ornaments, and my girl also was excited to try doing laundry on the old washboard (I'm sure the novelty would wear off it was for more than one day...)! We even listened to stories told by a Laura Ingalls impersonator, who at the end of her performance gave away prizes to anyone who cuold answer her questions right. Her first question was, "If Laura was born in 1867 and died in 1957, how old was she when she died?" And my girl shot her hand up in the air before anyone else did -- not because she can do the math that quickly in her head (she's bright, but she's only 7-1/2!), but she had just been reading one of her books that morning and had just told me that Laura was 90 years old when she died! So, she had the correct answer and she was rewarded with a fresh baked loaf of bread! She was very excited and we were very proud of her!

It was a great day and we have lots of wonderful memories from it -- including getting to meet Allison Arngrim who played Nellie Oleson on the tv series. I was able to get her autograph on both of my girls' "On the Banks of Plum Creek" books which is the book that first mentions Nellie Oleson. When we were standing back in line waiting, Allison caught a glimpse of my littlest one in costume and she said, "Oh look! It's Baby Carrie!" And then after we left, she was commenting to the people who were with her, how sweet "the little, little girl was." She said, "When I gave her her book, she said, 'Thank you very much!' So cute!" Yeah, that just made this Little House fan's day -- let me tell you!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

In honor of my birthday today, I took the day off of work so that I could spend it with my girls. I took them to the yacht club so that my littlest one and I could watch my older daughter's swimming and sailing lessons -- it was a beautiful day here today and it was nice to be outside enjoying the weather and getting to be there to see my girl learning and having fun! It was her idea to have Grandpa take us out to lunch at the yacht club after her lessons, which was very sweet (of both of them -- her to think of it, him to take us!) and then we headed home for nap time! I had a pleasant surprise when I got home - my mother, who recently moved to Florida, had sent me flowers so that was very sweet! We had a restful afternoon of naps, reading, and a Barbie movie, and then my husband came home and took us out to dinner. There was some of the usual sibling bickering (mostly on my elder one's part) on the way to dinner, particularly over who was going to hold the Barbies in the car, and my husband finally said to our older daughter, "Knock it off!" Well, of course the little one loved that and repeated it no less than 10 times to her sister, which did not improve her sister's mood... We rallied at the restaurant (I really had been in a fine mood the whole time, actually!) and had a nice, albeit quick meal -- I'm sure that they moved us along because we had the 2 kids with us! My little one was very excited about getting her straw back into her milk cup (cup w/ lid) and she held it up to show the other diners saying, "HEY, GUYS!" and I said, "Sshhh!" softly to her, so she looked around at the other people around us and showed her cup and whispered, "Hey guys, I did it!" I, of course, thought that was just precious!

All in all it was a lovely day!