Friday, December 31, 2010

A Clean Start for the New Year

We had a wonderful trip to Long Island to visit our family over the holiday! We stayed at my mother-in-laws and intended to visit from 12/23 - 12/27, however the weather had other plans! Two days later than expected, we arrived at home -- weary travelers, unpacking what felt like a caravan's worth of belongings from our over packed minivan! While my husband spent this morning braving the supermarket, Target (for a return) and the liquor store for some bubbly (for he and I!) for tonight, I braved the "garbage cupboard"... I wish I had taken a before photo -- you can't quite appreciate my hard work without the before photo... For anyone who has spent any time at all at our house, you know that the garbage cupboard is a major hub of activity. Obviously, the garbage is kept in there. Also, cleaning supplies (there is an eye hook latch at the top to keep little hands out of the cleaning supplies!), and on the top shelves we store art supplies, etc. for the kids. In our effort to put away all of the things that the girls got for Christmas (Santa and the family were all very generous!), I decided that this morning would be a good time to clean out the garbage cupboard. I had piles of papers, buckets of markers, crayons, paint sets -- and Playdoh GALORE! I took the opportunity to clear out all of the things that my girls no longer use and organize the things that they do use. I now have neatly labeled containers -- one for each girl, and one for all of the Playdoh "utensils". My cleaning and organizing spree carried over to our 2-drawer lateral file. The top drawer holds all of my 4-year-old's books, while the bottom drawer holds all of the puzzles and things for car trips (auto bingo, Leapster, Story Reader...). I love when I have time to sort through everything and organize and pull out broken toys or dried out art supplies. This is a great time of year to do that, too -- when you are making room for new toys and craft items. Now I feel like I earned a relaxing evening at home with my family, ringing in the New Year!

How do you like to prepare for the New Year?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

"It's the Most Wonderful (Busiest) Time of the Year..."

I need to make a New Year's resolution to be more timely with my blog posts... I've been in a little bit of a state since before Thanksgiving, and although I am now (blissfully) on vacation from work until January 3rd I am still going a mile a minute over here! Yesterday was my first day off and my littlest one and I went out to lunch with Grandpa and Great Gram and then we hit the stores until it was time for my eldest to get off the bus! I spent the entire evening filling out Christmas cards. Today I've been wrapping gifts that I need to take to the post office to ship to Nana in Florida. My husband braved the grocery store and stocked up on the supplies I need to make Christmas cookies this week, as well as an appetizer for Grandpa & Gramby's holiday party tonight, and some appetizers for a little Christmas Eve party that we are having at my mother-in-law's house in Long Island! Right now we are waiting for our 9-year-old to be dropped off from a sledding birthday party (great idea for a winter birthday party!) and she is going caroling with her Girl Scout troop this evening while we are at Grandpa's, and then we will run out to pick her up and bring her back to the party! WHEW! Tomorrow should be relaxing though -- we are going to church, then hitting the stores to (fingers crossed!) finish our Christmas shopping, and then tomorrow night we will be getting Chinese food for dinner and settling in to open Nana's gifts for us. I've been looking forward to this time off from work, but from now until Christmas it will be a blur of holiday preparations -- shopping, wrapping, celebrating, packing, appointments, oil changes (don't let me forget -- I need to get an oil change for the minivan this week!)... I love this season, but it is exhausting! I can't wait until all of the wrapping is done and we are with our family enjoying their company!

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday with your family and friends!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Paper “Stained Glass” Ornaments

At the preschool holiday party on Saturday, we had a number of crafts and games for the kids and their parents. One of the cutest crafts that we did was a "stained glass" ornament made out of paper. One of my committee members, Stacy (who specifically asked me not to give her credit for this, so of course, I am!), had seen a variation on this craft at a Halloween party and she adapted it for Christmas ornaments.

Here is what you need:

- Construction paper (we used red, white & green)
- Clear contact paper (each ornament used two 3"-4" squares)
- Tissue paper (we used red & green -- $1 for a bunch at the dollar store!)
- Scissors
- Glue stick
- Hole punch
- Curling ribbon, yarn, string, etc.

We folded a piece of construction paper into quarters, and then drew half of an open, circular ornament on one side of the folder paper (see photo).

Then we cut along the lines and this gave us 2 circles connected by a "tab" at the top.

We took a few small squares of the tissue paper and laid those on the sticky side of one of the 3" squares of contact paper (sorry, I don't have any of that leftover to show!). Then we covered that with the other piece of contact paper – so the tissue paper squares are sandwiched in between the two squares.

We placed the contact paper in between the two "rings" of the ornament and then used the glue stick to glue the entire thing closed. You may need to trim the corners of the contact paper off, if they are sticking out from the ornament.

Then we punched a hole in the top of the ornament and tied some curling ribbon through the hole to make a hanger.

This is how the craft table looked at the end of the party…

Here is one of the finished ornaments:

And here is how cute it looks on our Christmas tree!

I love this craft because it was simple to do – the parents did help the little ones, but my 9-year-old made one all on her own – super cute, and you can take this idea and use it for all sorts of things! You can use any colors you want to make a tree ornament, or a cute window decoration! Imagine making one in an egg shape with brightly colored tissues and decorate your windows for Easter! As Stacy saw at the Halloween party, they made them into jack o'lantern decorations. You could even take this idea and put one of your children's small school pictures in the middle – what a great ornament for the grandparents' trees! Hmm… I may have to try that for this Christmas!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Catching Up

It's been a busy holiday season so far, my brother-in-law came out to celebrate his birthday with us the weekend before Thanksgiving, my little family of four had a wonderful, peaceful Thanksgiving at home, I coordinated the preschool holiday party (yesterday -- yay!), and I've been battling a nasty cough/cold for what seems like an eternity... So I've been a little neglectful of my blog... :( But I am back and I have a great idea that I will be sharing with you for a simple, adorable ornament that you can make with the kids! Stay tuned!

Monday, November 15, 2010

What Do I Do With All Of Those School Calendars?

I have two children, who are both in school – two separate ones (middle and pre) to be exact. We have SO many important papers that we have to refer to on an almost daily basis for each girl. We have the school lunch calendar, the calendar that tells us when gym day is and when library books are due, the school calendar that lists days off and testing dates, the preschool assisting calendar, the preschool lesson plan calendar, the instrumental music lesson calendar – and the list goes on! We also have school illness guidelines (when to keep your child home), the religious education calendar, and phone lists from the schools for scheduling play dates. It’s overwhelming! Since these are things that we refer to often, I don’t want to get them mixed in with all of the other paperwork – mail, homework, flyers from school – so a few years ago I started to tape everything up on the inside of our kitchen cabinets. This works out great for us – when the cabinets are closed – no mess! But we are in a routine – myself, my husband, and even our 9-year-old – and we check the schedules inside the cupboard every night to prepare the girls for school the next day. This has worked out great for us!

What is one of your favorite organizational tips for keeping all of the kid’s school info accessible?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank you!

Today was a crazy day at work and at home, but I made sure to take time to thank a veteran for all that they did for us. You don't need to wait until Veteran's Day to honor or thank someone for serving. I think my little one and I are going to take a trip to the cemetery tomorrow in honor of my grandfather who served in WWII. She was quite little when her great grandfather passed away, but I would like to help her get to know him through pictures and stories. Thank you to all of the men and women who have served in the past or are currently serving to protect our country, our freedom, our families and friends. And thank you to their families for the sacrifices that they make to support our military.

God bless America!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Kids Say...

My four-year-old is so darn cute (as I am sure all four-year-old's are...) -- she is becoming fiercely independent and she got herself dressed for bed tonight and came downstairs to say, "Mommy, can you help me? This button took the other button's hole!" Darn buttons -- you have to watch them so closely -- they are sneaky like that! ;)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

"What Do I Do With All of This Stuff??" New Series!

I thought I would do a little series of posts based on the theme, "What Do I Do With All of This Stuff?" This theme encompasses a wide variety of topics and I thought I could share some of my ideas with you and I hope that you will comment and share some of your ideas with me as well! It's Halloween weekend, so let's start with the kids' holiday crafts! (For those of you keeping track, this falls under the larger category of "Kids' Schoolwork" and the sub-category of "Kids' School Artwork...") I am a sentimental saver by nature. I mostly owe this to genetics and my grandmother (my dad's mother). Since Gram, each generation has tried their best to break out of the "Sentimental Saver" (aka hoarder...) mode. I'm getting better and better with each passing year! I do not want to find myself on an afternoon talk show in an intervention situation... ;)

Anyway, the kids do SO many projects around the house and at school and it really adds up over the years (even months!) if you don't stay on top of it. I cherish their little projects and I love to display them, but sometimes it gets to be too much. This little witch is something that my niece colored about 4 years ago. I thought it was so cute that I put it in with my Halloween decorations and I have pulled it out and set it on the window in my kitchen every year for Halloween.

This little white, clay pumpkin is something that my eldest daughter made out of Play-doh a couple of years ago (when she was 6 or 7?). She left it out to dry and I have kept it along with my niece's witch. This little pumpkin actually reminds me of a something that my husband made when he was a little boy. I remember him showing me this little, brown, clay log-like thing that his mother had on display in the guest room. He had made it when he was very young and she had kept it all those years. It was, in fact, intended to be a log, but I have to tell you -- it looked like something else... But, he made it with love for his mother and she has kept it for over 30 years! I think if we can restrain ourselves and not keep EVERYTHING that our children make for us, but still keep some special things, it really shows the kids how precious they are to us. I think it fills a child with pride to see their parents showing off their artwork.

The great thing about holiday or seasonal artwork is that you can save a few pieces and pack them away with your holiday decorations and bring them out to display once a year. It saves on trying to find a space for everything all year long and its like a walk down memory lane for you and your kids -- seeing their special projects from years past! I will definitely be adding this cute, finger-painted pumpkin that my littlest girlie made at preschool to the annual Halloween decorations!

What do you do with the holiday projects that your kids bring home? Anything particularly special that you cherish? I'd love to hear about it!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Fall, Y'All!

We've got our pumpkins, our mums, our scarecrow friend -- we're ready for Halloween and Thanksgiving and all the wonderful things that the fall season brings!

Best wishes from our family to yours!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Little TLC from Mom

My little munchkin has a nasty cold again! Grandpa was watching her at our house and called me at work this morning to let me know. I decided to keep her out of preschool this afternoon -- when I spoke with her teacher she said that my girl was the 3rd to call in that day! I also took the afternoon off so that I could relieve Grandpa of his nursing duties. I'm sure he was happy to get out of the line of germs (fingers crossed that he didn't catch anything while he was with her!), and I know she was happy to have Mommy home with her. Really, is there anything better than having your mom there to pamper you when you are sick? I think not! ;) On my way home, I stopped at the store to pick up my favorite Pediacare Vapor Plug-Ins -- a must-have for stuffy noses!! While I was there I grabbed a few other "sick day" must-haves -- chicken noodle soup, juice, some of my girl's favorite fruits, some "break 'n bake" cookies (of course homemade is better, but warm from the oven is always appreciated, regardless of who mixed it together!), and a few magazines to enjoy while she was napping! I got home and got her snuggled on the couch under a blanket while I made the soup and cookies. I coaxed her to the couch to have lunch with me -- lots of juice, little soup -- and we watched "Bambi" (her choice) under the blanket before she took a nap. The added bonus? My eldest daughter was surprised to find Mom with warm cookies from the oven when she got home from school -- what a treat!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Other Family Table

I think that those commercials that you see (on Nickelodeon?) about “The Family Table” encouraging families to sit down and eat a meal together, are great. People get so busy between work and school and children’s commitments – Scouts, soccer, dance, karate – sometimes family dinners might fall by the wayside. My husband works a rotating schedule and some nights he works late. When he is home, we always sit down as a family to eat together, and when he is working, the girls and I sit down to eat together.

We just recently acquired another type of “family table” – a coffee table from Gramby and Grandpa. It has taken the place of the train table (we moved that down to the family / play room) and I never thought that I really needed a coffee table, but now that we have it we use it all the time! Last night I sat on the floor with my littlest girlie and we (I) put together puzzles – she likes Mommy to put them together until we get to the last piece, and then she likes to finish them! We have started “family game night” where we gather once a week around the table and play a board game as a family. We love games and have an armoire full of them. We love having friends over for game night, and actually, having the coffee table will make that even easier instead of having the games on the floor.

Whatever table you use – coffee, dining, kitchen or even the floor! – try to take even an hour during the week to gather with your family and do something fun together. Even if you don’t own any games you can easily have the kids write down the names of their favorite books, movies, characters, pets and throw the papers into a bowl to pick out for a quick game of charades. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do something fun together as a family!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Nana's Coming!

We are anxiously awaiting Nana's arrival on Sunday for a week-long visit! We have lots of plans for her while she's here -- we'll be keeping her busy this week, that's for sure! As my eldest was going to sleep tonight the last thing she said was that tomorrow she has to practice on Nintendo 64 so that she can try to beat Nana this week! We are also planning a Harry Potter Clue game, possibly a Monopoly game, a trip to the farm stands to get pumpkins and cider, an early Thanksgiving dinner, and she will also be here for the preschool pasta dinner that I am in charge of on Friday. It's always wonderful to have Nana here for a visit and we try to make good use of each day she is here!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Cafe Au Lait Birthmark

My husband was assisting in our little one's preschool class the other day, and her teacher came up to him and said she had the absolute sweetest story to share with him. She said that during the previous day's class, one of the kids went up to our daughter, touched her cheek and said, "What's that on your cheek?" And without missing a beat, our sweet girl said, "It's my birthmark. I was kissed by God!" Her teacher thought that was just the best thing she's heard!

Our sweet girl was born with a "Cafe Au Lait" (named for their "coffee with milk" color) birthmark on her cheek. They are very common -- 1 in 5 children are born with them -- and are generally harmless, although if your child is born with 3 or more of these it is recommended to have them checked out by a physician, as this can be a sign of neurofibromatosis.

Our girlie just has the one on her cheek, and while it is quite large it is part of her beautiful face and we do not even notice it on a daily basis. For a couple of years, she did not even notice it or comment on it. In the past year or so, she has become aware of it and points to it on occasion and asks us about it. When she has asked me why she has it, I have taken to telling her that I think that before she was born, God kissed her on the cheek. Obviously that resonated with her, and I love that she pulled that answer out when someone at school asked her about it!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Getting Out of Jury Duty and Into the Autumn Spirit!

I'm still here -- I've been wrapped up with jury duty this past week, serving on a trial and hopefully Tuesday (fingers crossed -- the word "sequester" has been used...) I will be able to put it behind me! I'm all for doing my duty, but this has been a really tough case and it has been wearing me down this week. I had a great day with my girls today though -- my husband was working, I took the girls and my grandmother to church this morning, it was a beautiful day today and the girls got to play outside this afternoon. My 9 year old and I played a round of her favorite game, "Harry Potter Clue" which was a lot of fun. My little one started out as my partner, rolling the dice and moving our figure, but she tired of that quickly and moved on to her own entertainment. We also pulled out the Halloween videos -- a little earlier than I usually like, but we're getting in the mood over here! I filled a large basket with my autumn decorations and tomorrow I plan to decorate! I am also putting a roast and carrots into the crock-pot for a yummy dinner for my little family tomorrow night, and I have promised my girls that I will bake them a homemade apple pie.

If I haven't mentioned it a hundred times on here over the years, fall is my absolute favorite time of year. This time of year just says family and home to me. I love the cozy feel of the house when the temperature is starting to dip and the glow of candles and the smells of comfort food. I love to decorate and make my home feel as warm and welcoming as I can for my family and friends. I love the excitement and anticipation of the holiday season being around the corner -- Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years. It's a wonderful time of year -- my girls are both in school (middle and preschool) and they are excited about making new friends and learning new things. My eldest is at a new school this year and it offers so many wonderful opportunities for her -- she's going to learn a new instrument, she wants to join the newspaper and the yearbook staff. My family events committee and I are busy preparing for the pasta dinner at my little one's preschool. We're excited that Nana will be coming up for a visit in a couple of weeks and she'll get to come with us for the pasta dinner, which is such a treat for my girl to have Nana at her school! Girl Scouts is starting up again soon (and Girl Scout cookie time)! We'll be heading out to the farm to get our pumpkins, apples and mums. The girls have already picked out their Halloween costumes -- the little one wants to be a "ballerina butterfly" and my older one wants to be "Link" from the video game Zelda (think Peter Pan -- very similar looking...). We even made plans this weekend with our friends who come over to trick-or-treat with us -- it has become a fun tradition, since their daughter was born a few years ago. This year with Halloween being on a Sunday, we are planning to have a little Halloween party for our kids with a potluck dinner and then we will head out to trick-or-treat together. We were also happy to find out that my brother-in-law is coming out in November to celebrate his 40th with us.

It's a wonderful time of year, we already have so many plans that I am looking forward to, but I am also looking forward to snuggling in the house with my little family. Maybe it's the 50 or so times that I have read the "Little House" books (which I plan to re-read this fall / winter!) but this time of year gives me a feeling of preparing for winter -- getting the house in order, making sure that my family has a cozy place to live, and preparing meals to keep them healthy and well-fed as the weather turns colder. This is what "home-making" means to me. I am surely giving thanks for my family, my home, and my favorite time of year!

(The picture above was one that I took in the fall at the Genesee Country Village -- a great place to take the family in the summer, but even more beautiful in the fall!)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Never Forget

May we never forget what happened on this day, may we never stop appreciating what we have, may we always remember those who were lost and the families and friends who lost them, and may we always show gratitude for the men and women who serve to protect our freedom and our lives.

God bless America!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What's the Problem?

So, we have been doing so great with the potty-training (and by "we", I mean my youngest daughter...) -- within one week of her starting to go to the bathroom on the potty, she was out of pull-ups at night. And no accidents! She had one a couple of weeks ago when she was sick -- had nearly a 103 degree temp, so I chalked that up to the illness. Then two nights ago she had an accident -- when she woke up yesterday morning, she called me from her bed and said, "Mommy, I tinkled a little in my underwear, but I don't think it got on my bed!" Um, yeah, it did. It had already been a rough morning with her sister (big issue over wearing a camisole under her shirt -- she didn't want to, I wanted her to...) and so I was probably a little less patient than I normally am with my little one. I reminded her that I had tried to get her on the potty the night before (right before bedtime) and she had said she had just went and refused to try again. Well, last night she went right before bed, but again woke up this morning and had had an accident. I was getting ready for work and she was still in bed when I went to leave. I went in to kiss her goodbye and she was saying, "Hi Mommy, are you going on the computer now?" and I said, "No, I have to go to work, why do YOU want to go on the computer?" And she said, "No, I think YOU should go down and go on the computer." Finally I decided she was trying to get rid of me, so I went over and said, "Sweetie, did you tinkle in bed again?" Yes, she did. So I told her that it was ok and accidents happen and she doesn't have to be afraid to tell Mommy. So, we got up, changed, I said goodbye and passed her on to Daddy :) and I headed off to work. My husband and I were talking this afternoon and I said, "What are we going to do about the tinkle problem?" and he said, "Um, take the bottle of WATER away from her bed?" I knew she had a water bottle in there, but I didn't realize how much she's been drinking during the night!!

At dinner tonight, I mentioned to my little one what Daddy had said about the water. Her response? "But Mom, the water is not the problem! The TINKLE is the problem!!" That kid just slays me -- she is so funny! I did take the water away, so we'll see what happens tomorrow morning!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Update to Bedroom Makeover

As I mentioned the other day, we decided to give our 9-year-old a bedroom makeover to start off the new school year. She had had her previous wall color and room setup since her 3rd birthday, when we gave her her first "big girl bed" as a present. Unfortunately, I am realizing that I don't have any "before pictures", which is too bad because the room has undergone a huge transformation! One of the best parts about this big transformation? It only cost us the price of the paint! We got a lot of bang for our buck simply by moving her furniture around and painting her room! When Grandpa and Gramby were getting ready to move, they gave my girl their old bedding including sheers and swags for the windows. We were using them in her pink room (the bedding has a light yellow background with pink, purple and blue flowers that have green leaves and stems) -- it did have all of the same colors as in her room, but it just wasn't working for me... Somehow in this new arrangement, with the new wall color and the new way that I used the swags on her bed -- it's a huge improvement!

In her "old" room, we had a wonderful, large, wooden dresser with a hutch (free find from our dear friend Michael!) that was on the wall to your right when you entered her room. By moving this over to the left of the door and replacing it with a little vanity table / desk (handed down from Great Grandma!) it really opens up that part of the room and gives the illusion of more space. Over her desk we hung a photo collage of family pictures -- every picture has my girl in it with her family members! I found this beautiful frame a few years ago at the Christmas Tree Shop -- for $20! We just relocated it in her room and now she can look at her favorite pictures when she is at her desk. The cube shelf under the window was purchased at Target a few years ago -- I believe for around $30. With the purchase of the fabric "drawers" ($8 at Target?) it gives her some extra storage space and the open shelves are great for storing her books.

So, we are still working with the kelly green plush carpet, but it somehow seems to fit in better with the new wall color and it's in good shape and my girl likes it, so we'll go with it! And it's hard to tell in this picture, but the new furniture arrangement gives her a huge amount of space! There is enough room to easily accommodate at least a queen-sized air mattress, which is great for sleepovers and visits from our extended family. And she loves to lie on the floor with her big drawing pad and her art set and draw pictures for her stories. She can lie in bed and watch her tv which is at the foot of her bed now -- her sister loves to come in and lie on the bed to watch tv, too! Removing the Barbie house and huge tub of accessories and dolls also gave her a lot of room. And her dad contributed a couple of his old Beatles albums to help decorate her wall (and help show her newly acquired love of the Beatles).

Just a can of paint, some furniture rearranging, and some de-cluttering gave our 9-year-old a much-needed update for her room, and it's helping her to start the 4th grade on the right foot!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What I Did This Summer

Tomorrow is the first day of school in our school district! At the beginning of this week I was feeling quite sad for my girl that she only had 3 days left of summer vacation. I was having pangs of regret for letting the summer just slip by without feeling like we did that much. So I started to think about what we did and I decided that I would do my own blog version of our annual “What We Did This Summer” poster board! And as happens with my girl every time we do one of these together, I was surprised at how much we did do this summer! These are just the things that we either did as a family or that the girls did this summer:

- Took a trip to New Hampshire to visit family
- Took my eldest daughter to play miniature golf (the little one fell asleep in the car – we took her back to the house!)
- Trip to the beach where my girl and I built her first sand castle
- Took a trip to New York City (ok, technically this was during her last week of school, but still it was at the end of June!) – the girls got to ride in their first taxi and visit FAO Schwartz!
- Took the girls to see “Mamma Mia!” on Broadway
- Went to visit family in Long Island and attended our niece’s graduation
- My eldest went to Girl Scout Day Camp for a week (which she loved!)
- She also stayed over at Girl Scout Camp for one night (which she loved!)
- She took a one-week writing class at Writers and Books (which she loved!)
- Both girls went to the yacht club for two weeks of swimming lessons (thanks, Gramby!)
- The four of us went to see Toy Story 3 at the movie theater
- Went up to the Town Hall for our town’s annual 4th of July festival
- Had a 4th of July gathering at our house and watched the fireworks from our backyard
- Swam in the pool
- Tended our new garden
- Played on the “new to us” swing set
- I took the girls to my friend Christine’s house for our annual “Laura Ingalls Wilder - Preparation Day” where we churned butter, harvested veggies, and made biscuits and Johnny cakes for Laura Ingalls Wilder Day
- Went to our 3rd Annual Laura Ingalls Wilder Day where my girl and I met Dean Butler (Almanzo on the tv series) and biographer William Anderson – a BIG event for my girl who is an aspiring author herself!
- School clothes shopping
- Went to the music store to lease a clarinet for my girl to take lessons in school
- Took the girls to the library
- Took the girls to a charity hockey game for a friend of my husband’s, where we got to see Jim Craig and Mike Eruzione from the 1980 US Olympic hockey team (ok, so the girls were probably as excited as my husband was to see Dean Butler from “Little House”…)
- COUNTLESS phone calls between my girl and her cousin Julie and two of her friends from school (seriously thinking about Mr. Brady’s pay phone idea from “The Brady Bunch” – remember that episode?)
- Several movie nights at home – I believe we rented “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” and “Alice in Wonderland” 3 times each this summer!! (Those will be on the Christmas wish list…)
- Inadvertently kicked off another wave of “Beatlemania” in our house – our 9-year-old is now their newest, biggest fan!
- Painted and redecorated our 9-year-old’s bedroom to accommodate her maturing self – no more pink, no more Barbies – she even has some Beatles’ albums on the wall (thanks to her dad!)
- Did some rearranging in the house, reclaimed the living room for the adults and made the family room more of a play room including the train table and the Barbie house
- BBQ pool parties with friends and their families
- Had a “Princess & the Frog” themed birthday party for my little 4-year-old
- Play dates with friends – at our house and theirs
- Our eldest spent a fun-filled afternoon at Bounce-It-Out with her best friend and her family, which coincided with the fun-filled afternoon that my little one and I spent –
- Potty training!! What a rock star my girl is – and what a wonderful thing to be done with diapers and pull-ups!!

That’s all that I can think of off the top of my head… Gosh, is that all we did? What did we do with our time this summer? ;) Why am I feeling like we didn’t do anything this summer? It’s always good to take a moment to reflect on what you’ve been up to – sometimes we are moving so fast and we are so busy that we don’t have time to stop and appreciate all the great things we have going on in our lives. Before you jump back into the swing of the school year, take some time to stop and take a breath and think about all of the great memories you made with your children this summer!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bedroom Makeover

We are in the process of re-doing my 9-1/2 year old's bedroom. She's had the same (Pepto) pink bedroom since her 3rd birthday when she got her "big girl bed." She's entering middle school this year -- 4th grade -- and we thought it would be nice to give her a fresh start with a more mature looking room. Paint is a relatively inexpensive and easy way to make a big change, so we are painting and rearranging her furniture.

We have negotiated over a paint color for the walls -- she is SO over pink... She wanted green, but she "inherited" a kelly green plush rug that came with the house. We bought the house from my grandmother Mema, and Mema's mother Nanny had previously lived in our girl's room -- green was apparently Nanny's favorite color. The rug is in good condition and my girl would prefer to have a rug instead of the hardwood floor which is underneath. (Something about snow days and being cozy, and what if she had to get up and walk over to get a book off the shelf... Really, we had that conversation on one of the hottest days of August.) Anyway, her choices of green would not go well with the green rug, so the discussion of paint was tabled briefly. Recently, she decided she wanted to paint the room purple. Daddy brought home some swatches from Lowe's and we quickly and painlessly agreed on a nice shade of lavender called "Mystic Purple." Daddy brought the paint home last night!

Today my girl and I started to take her curtains down and her pictures off the wall. Then we sat on her bed and we each drew a plan for how we think the furniture should be arranged. And then a miracle occurred! After at least a year of trying to convince her to let us move the Barbie house out of her bedroom and downstairs to the family room / play room -- miraculously she made the suggestion herself today! She is constantly complaining about her little sister coming into her room to play Barbies. We thought the solution was easy -- move the Barbie house down to the family room! That was met with a big NO. Honestly, I cannot tell you how many times we have had this conversation -- and today, she said to me, "You know what? I want to move the Barbie house and the Barbie stuff downstairs -- or my sister can have it, either way!" REALLY? I nearly fainted from the shock! It's so wonderful when your kids come to things on their own -- and SO much easier than when you try and nudge them along...

Wish us luck with the makeover -- I'll make sure to take some pictures and post them when we're done.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Trying Something New...

So, I'm trying something new on the blog -- let me know what you think! I'm still deciding, but I like to decorate my home and frankly, the blog was feeling like it needed a little sprucing up, too!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Expressing Herself Through Fashion

After our trip to the music store, we headed out to get our girl some new school clothes and her school supplies. This child is growing like a weed -- at least her feet are... None of her shoes from last year fit her! We bought a new pair of sneakers at Target -- purple Converse, so she is very excited about that! (Pink is "dead" to her -- it's all about purple this year...) We actually started at Justice which is her favorite store. They have some cute things but their prices add up quickly (in spite of the "40% off the entire store" which seems to be every day... so, clearly, their prices are marked up 40%...) so I told her that we would get a few things and then head to Target. I have to say, she and I have not always seen eye-to-eye on what is appropriate and stylish for a girl her age, but she's developing her own style and I think it's cute and classic. She loves plaid this year, and argyle. And she LOVES skirts and dresses -- hates jeans.

At Justice, she picked out a cute dress that looks like a black & white hounds-tooth pleated skirt with a black sweater vest and short-sleeved white shirt underneath. There is a thin, blue ribbon "belt" around the top of the skirt (although the whole thing is one piece) and we picked out matching blue leggings to wear underneath that. She also picked out a blue pleated skort and another dress that looks like a short-sleeved navy sweater with a pleated skirt underneath. We picked out some navy leggings to go under that, or she would even wear jeans underneath when it gets colder. We saw an adorable jean dress at Justice that was about $25, and it was not in her size. Happily, when we went over to Target, we saw an equally cute jean dress that she liked even better and we bought it for $15! We also found a solid-colored, ruffle skort at Target that matched a t-shirt we bought at Justice. The skort only cost us $5!

I let her pick out a few things that really "spoke" to her personality -- specifically, 2 t-shirts with sayings on them. She has a real thing for French culture -- not even sure where it came from, but she's always trying to throw French words into sentences and she loves "Les Miserables", etc... Anyway, in Justice she saw a cute t-shirt that had a woman walking a French poodle on it (she loves dogs) and it said "Tres Jolie" (very pretty) on it -- she loved it! In Target, she picked out a t-shirt that says "Join Our Rally to Save the Earth" -- she loved that, especially since she has formed a club that she calls the "Clean Up Club" through which she is trying to encourage her friends to recycle and to pick up litter in their town.

The best part of our shopping trip? Standing in Justice and having my girl tell me that it was ok that we were only buying a few things there, because she doesn't want to look exactly like everyone else at school -- she wants to have her own style! Yay, her!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Starting to Play a Musical Instrument

Today my husband and I were both off of work, so after the girls' swimming lessons, we grabbed a quick lunch at home and then started our back-to-school errands. First stop was at the local music store to lease a clarinet for our eldest daughter who is going to take an instrument for the first time this year. We are very excited and looking forward to her playing in the band later this school year. I played the clarinet for a number of years growing up, and I have a beautiful clarinet sitting unused in the closet. However, I thought I'd rather get her her own that is not quite as valuable -- not sure that I want a 4th grader carrying my clarinet to and from school on the bus... I called around and looked online and decided that for us, the option of paying one price ($179) upfront and leasing for the year would be less expensive than the rent-to-own programs -- approximately $30 per month. Of course, when we were standing in the store today and I was about to sign the lease contract, I was having second thoughts and said to the woman, "I have to be honest, I'm wavering, because I have a perfectly lovely clarinet at home in the closet!" And the woman said, "I was a 4th grade band instructor at one time -- if you like your clarinet, leave it in the closet!" Ok -- signed the paper and we were done. My girl's biggest excitement (besides the Beatles guitar picks -- she's a new fan, have I mentioned that?)? We bought and brought home her clarinet lesson book and flipping through she noticed the song "Blue Bells of Scotland" is in there! (My mother will appreciate that -- it's the song that was in the music box she bought for her grandmother -- who was from Scotland -- and my girl has the music box and LOVES the song!)

Music has always been a big part of our family -- my parents both played instruments (that's how they met in college), my husband's mother still sings with a chorus and has had the opportunity to travel to Europe and sing in festivals, and my mother was a music teacher at one point of her life. My husband loves music but never took an instrument -- something he regrets now. If your child shows an interest there are lots of options for buying, renting or leasing. Check out your local music stores, check out Craig's List or eBay or even the local classifieds. And ask around, maybe you know someone from whom you can borrow an instrument. Playing in the band or orchestra or singing with the chorus are all wonderful ways for your child to build confidence, meet new friends, and learn about working as a team.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Disney-Pixar's "Toy Story 3"

Last Friday, we took our girls to the movie theater to see Disney-Pixar’s “Toy Story 3.” We own the first two “Toy Story” movies and all four of us just love them! These are wonderful movies – great stories, great characters, colorful, funny, and yet always with a lesson about friendship and some poignant moments. This was a special treat for the girls, because this was the first “Toy Story” movie that they were able to see on the big screen! If I remember correctly, my husband and I went to see “Toy Story 2” at the theater when I was pregnant with our now 9-1/2 year old. Everyone that I have talked to has loved this third installment, although everyone has talked about how much it tugs at the heartstrings – it’s a lot more emotional than the prior two movies. My elder daughter is quite sensitive and has been going through that “I don’t want to grow up” phase for a couple of years now, so right from the beginning with Andy getting ready for college, she was sniffling and snuggling up to me. There were some parts that I thought were a little bit scarier than I would have expected but fortunately, my girls were both ok through those parts of the movie. Most of the characters from the previous two movies were in this one, so if your child is a “Toy Story” fan they will be thrilled to see their old favorites! And I think it’s wonderful that all of the voices have remained that same, considering how long it has been between sequels. As with (in our experience) all of the Pixar movies, this one is as entertaining for adults as it is for kids. And if you have watched the first two over and over (as we have!) with your kids, it’s fun to try and spot things that have remained the same throughout the trilogy – there were several things in this third movie that were references all the way back to the very first “Toy Story.” People had told me that the end of the movie is quite sad – my girl and I were BAWLING by the end – AUDIBLY. My 4 year old got out of her seat to come and give us both a hug (she’s such a thoughtful little soul)! And my husband was on the other side of her, watching the movie and looking over at us and thinking, “Are they CRYING over there?” It wasn’t pretty – dabbing our eyes with the popcorn napkins… BUT, the point is that really it ended on a wonderful note – pretty much what all of the characters really wanted. They are such great storytellers though, and they very effectively play out every emotional beat to draw the viewers in. For the adults and the older kids, it will definitely tug at your heartstrings. For the younger kids, it’s their favorite characters in an exciting new adventure. – which is a great site for checking out the appropriateness of movies for your kids (thanks, Christine!) – rated this movie for kids age 5 and up and gave the movie 5 stars.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Reading - Unlock a World of Knowledge

My 9-year-old is a voracious reader. And she has a very broad interest in books -- she loves everything from the American Girl books to Harry Potter to biographies and everything in between. Tonight at dinner, my girl was telling us tales about the Beatles (she's a new fan...). From books that she has read about John Lennon, she was telling us about how Pete Best was replaced by Ringo Starr and how originally, John Lennon did not need to wear glasses but had worn the round, wire-rimmed frames in a movie and liked how they looked and kept them. And later, while I was brushing her hair before bed, she was telling me about the Sussex Spaniel which is a breed of dog that had nearly become extinct until the Kennel Club began breeding it, and it is still considered to be endangered. Again, all from a book that she took out of the library. She has read every single book on individual dog breeds in our library.

It just struck me tonight, in particular, the broad range of topics that she has knowledge of -- and it's all from reading. We tried to read a lot of books to her as a little girl, and I remember how much she longed to be able to read on her own. I see that same interest in my 4-year-old and I definitely want to encourage that love of books. Whether you are a big reader or not, it's so important to expose your children to the amazing world that opens up through reading. Read to them, take them to the library, encourage them to read on their own -- there are so many options out there and reading is a wonderful tool to help develop your child's imagination. A love of books is an invaluable gift that you can give your child that will help them in school and throughout their lives.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Potty Time!

Warning – this post may be considered “TMI” (Too Much Information) – but all parents have gone or will go through this ordeal. I thought I’d share my trials and triumphs! (I’m sure my daughter will LOVE this when she’s older! You can bet I’ll be saving it for her! Hey, at least I’m not posting any potty photos!!)

We have been working on a new “project” at our house – potty training!! Shocking, I know – my littlest girlie just turned 4… But, we learned with her older sister that when the child is ready to learn, it goes much faster and is much less painful, than if you decide (or others tell you) that it’s time! And really, I should confess that while we still were not seeing any of the “signs” that the experts tell you to look for – the child showing interest in the bathroom, the child telling you when they have to go to the bathroom, the child showing signs of discomfort in their diaper (asking you to change them) – we decided to take matters into our own hands last week! It was partly prompted by her 4th birthday, and also partly by the fact that we had over a week where either myself or my husband would be home with the girls – a great time to work on it!

So, after we procrastinated for the first, hmm… two-thirds of the week? ;) I jumped right in a week ago this past Sunday. Well, we started on Saturday, but I had her in a disposable training pant (pull- up), and I intended to put her on the potty every 30 minutes or so. At first, she used the training pant as a diaper, so that was not successful. (I was trying to save myself from accidents…) Then, I tried to put her on the potty (ok, toilet – she’s too big the “potty” that we have…) and she screamed and cried big tears and acted downright scared of the toilet! I decided to try again on Sunday. On Sunday, I tried putting her in a pair of her Disney Princess underpants that she got for Christmas and I put a pair of training pants over the underpants – my brilliant idea was that if she tinkled, she would feel uncomfortable in the underpants but the training pants would prevent a big mess for Mommy to clean up. Nice thought – she tinkled and kept playing – didn’t bother her at all! (See – no “signs”!) Well, this was my last day off (Daddy was home for the next two days) and I was bound and determined to have a breakthrough on the potty-training.

Breakdown, was more like it… My elder daughter was waiting for her best friend’s mom to come and pick her up for a play date that afternoon, and my little one and I were having a power struggle over the potty. She had no interest, and I desperately wanted to make this work! I had M&M’s (bribery!) for any attempt to go on the potty – no dice! Stickers and a sticker chart and then I tried reasoning – rarely if ever successful with a preschooler (or their 9-year-old sister, truth be told!) – “Sweetie, everyone you know goes potty on the potty! I know you can do it – you are a very smart girl!” Her response, “I AM NOT A SMART GIRL!! I DON’T WANT TO GO ON THE POTTY!!” Cue her big tears and stomping, pan to my older daughter crying because she doesn’t like to see her sister cry. What did Mommy do? She called Daddy at work to give him a heads up that she would more than likely be running away from home later in the day… (Kidding, of course!) Then I took a deep breath and regrouped, and I told my girlie that if she would at least TRY to go on the potty every day that week, then on Friday we would take her to see “Toy Story 3.” That worked for her! She came over and sat on the potty – hallelujah! I had a step stool at her feet to make her more comfortable, and I had a pile of books on the counter next to her. She and I sat in there for an hour and I read all of the books to her. And in all of that time – not a drop! In the meantime, her sister had left for her play date, and when my friend arrived to pick her up, I told her what I had in store for my day. She was very sympathetic, and I said, “Really, isn’t there a camp where you can send your child and they’ll send them back potty-trained?” and my friend paused and said, “You know…” and I said, “IS there a camp like that?” She said no, but had momentarily thought of a business opportunity and then said, “But I don’t want to be in THAT business!” Agreed!

Anyway, after an hour we decided it wasn’t happening and I put another pair of her underpants on her – no training pants (living on the edge!) – and we went downstairs and watched “Toy Story.” I kept asking her if she had to go potty, and finally when the movie was over we went upstairs and tried again – different pile of books this time! And lo and behold – she pooped! (Hey, I warned you this would be too much…) We were both SO excited! She got a hug, a kiss, and 4 M&M’s. We also called Daddy at work to tell him the big news – ok, I will share, she told him, “Daddy, it was as big as a carrot!!” (No idea why she said that, but she sounded very proud at the time!) It’s the little things that we like to look back and remember fondly! 

Since then, she has been doing great – 4 little accidents in 8 days (2 each on 2 different days) and we are very encouraging about how proud we are of her, and we make sure to say, “Are YOU proud of you?” And she is! This is such a big accomplishment for our little ones, and for us as parents – there are so many things that we have to teach our children and some things just come easier than others. But, if you stick with it and remind yourself that more than likely, your child will learn to use the potty before high school – you will survive potty training! (Two kids down, no more on the way – we survived – hooray!!)

And we did go to see Toy Story 3, which she loved, and I will tell you about that later!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Our First Harvest

It’s official! We are farmers! We had our first tomato and cucumber from our garden, and let me tell you how excited we are over here! My 4-year-old (ugh, that pains me to say...) and I were out in the yard the other day and I was showing her the cucumber that was fully grown, and some little zucchini and little cucumbers that are not ready to pick yet. All of a sudden she starts squealing with excitement, “A RED TOMATO!! Look Mommy, a red tomato!! Can I pick it??” I let her gently pick the tomato (so as not to disturb the green tomatoes that are still growing) and we picked the cucumber and took our harvest in to the kitchen. As I mentioned in my first post about our garden, we did not have big expectations since this is our first attempt at vegetable gardening, but we considered this an “adventure.” What fun to see a return on our work – it’s a wonderful opportunity to try and introduce our girls to new veggies that they may not normally be interested (my 9-year-old did try the tomato – still not a fan, but she tried it, which was a big step!). It is also a wonderful learning experience to see that food doesn’t just magically appear in the fridge or on the shelf at the grocery store – someone puts in an effort to grow the food that we eat!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Happy 4th Birthday!

Happy 4th birthday to my sweet girl! She is all tucked into her bed after a long day spent in the car -- not the best way to spend one's birthday, but (as you can see by my last post) we've been celebrating all week! We just got home from a short vacation to New Hampshire to visit family and we had a wonderful trip full of swimming, relaxation, and lots of laughs! Last night we had a second birthday party for our girl with a pink-frosted cake made with love by her older sister and her great-auntie Sandra. We celebrated my sweet girl's birthday which is today, and my uncle's birthday which is on Tuesday. We just got in a couple of hours ago, but I couldn't let my girl's birthday go by without posting to let her know how much she is loved and how blessed we are to have her in our lives!

Happy birthday, Kiki!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Princess & The Frog Birthday Party

Today we celebrated my sweet baby's 4th birthday! (UGH...) It's SO painful to me that she is already 4 years old (well, officially in one week) -- honestly, it feels like just yesterday she was a little tiny baby -- time goes by too fast when you have kids! But enough of that! We had a beautiful day for a pool party -- Disney "Princess & the Frog" pool party to be exact! Last year she chose to have a Disney princess party (and I chose for it to be a pool party, because she has a summer birthday, and we have a pool!), and this year she wanted a "Tiana" birthday party.

When we were in NYC a couple of weeks ago she picked out a princess hat and dress, which she wore to the party today. What a cutie (if I do say so myself!)! The dress and the princess hat actually reminded me of the little princess outfit that Tiana's friend wears as a little girl listening to the story of the princess and the frog, in the beginning of the movie. My elder daughter said tonight that she thought her sister looked more like a "house elf" (Harry Potter fans, anyone?) than a princess, but I told her, "She felt like a princess and that's all that matters!" (Admittedly, the hat should stand up, but it flopped over occasionally -- cute, none the less!)

I had purchased green and purple star garlands and some green and purple curling ribbon and I made little tiaras for the girls to wear at the party. (This is a picture of Great Grandma and my 9-year-old, testing them out while I was making the tiaras Saturday night -- they make great models, don't they?) I picked the purple and green because they went with the colors of the movie, which takes place in New Orleans -- these are also traditional Mardi Gras colors -- through some gold in there and you could wear this for a Mardi Gras party! These are super easy to make and I made some a couple of years ago for my girls to wear for 4th of July, and they were still wearing them this year! The star garland was $.99 each at Factory Card Outlet and the curling ribbon was $1 at the Dollar Tree -- very inexpensive, but a cute, easy favor that most little girls would love!

I also had favor bags that I filled with a few fun things for the girls -- animal crackers (this was a 4-year-old's party -- I didn't want to have too much candy!), party-sized Playdoh -- I think I bought 1 container of 10 for $3.99, which took care of 5 goodie bags and I put 2 containers in each. A package of Princess and the Frog stickers (1 sheet in each bag), some plastic faux-gem rings for the girls to play dress up with, and my favorite -- a little plastic frog toy -- one of those little things on a spring that you push down and a couple of seconds later it pops up. Very cute -- lucked out at Factory Card Outlet and got those for $.25 each.

It ended up being a somewhat small party -- at least, not a lot of kids that were her age -- so, mostly our family and friends were entertained by catching up with each other chatting and, of course, swimming! If there had been more kids, I had planned to do a "duck pond" game, but with plastic frogs -- of course! I'm big on themes, and aside from the princess outfit and the tiaras and favors, I also had the Princess and the Frog cake and some Princess and the Frog paper products. One of my tricks to having a theme party and yet stretching my budget, is to shop wisely and be judicious with the theme items. The character plates, napkins, cups, etc. can really add up quickly and they are frequently sold in smaller sets (like 8) -- so you need to buy more! I was serving munchies and cake, so I wanted to be able to put out small plates and napkins for each part. I bought character plates and napkins for the cake and I bought lavender plates and napkins for the munchies. Sometimes I'll just get character plates and a complementary solid color napkin -- and always check the dollar stores, because sometimes you can find your plates or napkins there!

At first, I was disappointed that Factory Card Outlet (the closet party store to us) ran out of Princess and the Frog mylar balloons between Thurs night and today, but in the end, it saved me some money although I would have bought 2 or 3 at the most and rounded it out with (again) complementary solid color latex balloons. Instead, I just ordered the latex balloons. I spent $9.99 on a dozen -- on occasion in the past, I have purchased my own helium tank which you can get at the party stores or warehouse stores for around $19 - $24. This is a great deal IF you want/need a lot of balloons or, if you are having multiple parties around the same time. But, don't expect to buy the tank to use once this year and once next year -- it never holds the helium that long!

All in all it was a great day and aside from being overtired at the end of the day, I think my girl had a wonderful time with her family and friends!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Watch that Slang!

So, we're lying low today -- Daddy is home sick from work and he and our eldest went to the doctor's this morning. He has a virus and she has, as we suspected, "swimmer's ear!" My little girlie and I are trying to stay healthy (although, obviously, swimmer's ear is not contagious...) and she was asking me what was wrong with Daddy. I said, "Well, his throat is sore and he has a little bug, he's a little sick today." About an hour or two later, she said to Daddy, "I'm sorry you don't feel good, Daddy! Mommy said you have a fly in you!" Apparently I need to be more specific and watch the slang! Gotta love hearing things from a child's perspective!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

I hope you enjoyed your holiday weekend with friends and family -- we sure did!

Happy 4th of July!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Start Spreading the News -- We're Back (from NYC...) ;)

We took a few days off to travel first to Long Island for my niece's 8th grade graduation (from the Catholic school that she has attended since Kindergarten!), and then it was on to New York City for the weekend, to attend a family wedding. We had a wonderful trip (although, the parking garage did a number on the side of our minivan -- not thrilled about that at all...)! We made it into a mini vacation and Grandpa and Gramby were wonderful enough to fly in for the weekend to watch the girls while we attended the wedding! They took the girls to see the Museum of Natural History (aka the "Night at the Museum" museum...) and they also took them to dinner at Ellen's Stardust Diner on Broadway -- a fun, fifties diner that is very family friendly! All of the waiters and waitresses have wonderful voices and they take requests and sing while they are working -- the girls loved it! We were able to get connecting rooms in the hotel, so while we were at the wedding Grandpa and Gramby put the girls to bed in our room, and were able to relax and watch tv or read in their room while the girls slept (or pretended to sleep, as the case was...).

On Father's Day, after having a lovely "day after the wedding" brunch with the family, we walked around the city and took the girls to FAO Schwartz. This is so much more than just a toy store -- there were exciting things to see, bigger than life toys, hands-on activities -- we all had a great time! We stopped to watch two men dancing along, playing the huge piano from the movie "Big" with Tom Hanks. I remember when my mom and I went to NYC for my first time when I was 17 or 18 -- we were so disappointed, because the "Big" piano was a SMALL version -- nothing like in the movie. This time it did not disappoint, and after the two men were done with their performance, they opened it up for children and adults to try it out. We took pictures of each of our girls on the piano -- too cute!

In addition to that fun experience, the girls enjoyed making crafts at one the many interactive tables around the store. There were lots of opportunities for the kids to try out different toys -- surprisingly, we did not go crazy on souvenirs! I think each girl walked away with 3 souvenirs, and that included a dress up outfit for my little one to wear to her princess-themed birthday party, and my older daughter picked out a Gryffindor scarf, a stuffed dragon, and some Bertie Botts' Every Flavor Beans from the Harry Potter section of the store.

After FAO Schwartz, it was back to the hotel for a (brief!) nap and then off for a nice dinner before heading to Broadway to see "Mamma Mia!" This was our girls' first Broadway show and while many people would think "Mary Poppins" or "The Lion King" for our girls, we knew that "Mamma Mia!" would hold both of their attentions! We have the movie and it is a favorite of both of the girls -- even our little one knows ALL of the songs! They were both very good at the show, and afterward, when we were heading back to the hotel (after dessert back at Ellen's Stardust Diner!!) the girls saw the poster again and my little girlie ran up, hugged it, and started singing the title song, "Mamma Mia!" Too cute -- had to take a picture (but was longing for my video camera!!)!

It was a whirlwind, but it was a wonderful trip! My husband grew up in Long Island and he worked in Manhattan for quite a while before coming back upstate and meeting me! He loves the city and it has been such a long time since we have spent any real time there. This trip made us realize that the girls are old enough to enjoy visiting NYC, and we only scratched the surface of what it has to offer this past weekend. We are definitely looking forward to our next visit!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Family Time!

After the crunch of the last two weeks, we are taking a few days off to enjoy some quality family time! Can't wait!! See you next week -- enjoy your family this weekend!