Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas morning w/ Mabel
We have been all a flutter with holiday preparations and holiday celebrations!  We have been blessed with a wonderful holiday season - time spent together as a family, time spent with friends, another Christmas with Great Grandma, a roof over our heads, food on the table, and warm beds to sleep in.  This year was extra special because we welcomed a new addition to our family -- on Christmas morning we surprised the girls with a puppy!  It has been a long time coming (years since we last had a dog, forever since we had a pet that showed any interest in the girls) and my husband and I have been keeping the secret (along with a select few) since before Thanksgiving -- it was tough, believe me!  On Christmas Eve, my husband drove 3 hours round trip to pick up our new puppy from a Mennonite dairy farm!  The woman had lost her husband this past year and this was her last time breeding puppies - she has a lot on her plate handing the farm on her own.  Our new puppy is a black and white Boston Terrier and we named her Mabel Rose!  She is very sweet, particularly when she is sleeping - which is frequently! - and right now she has a wild, puppy "bite-y" side...  We're working on that.  That and potty-training.  It's like having a toddler in the house again!  But we all love her and we're excited to have her join our family!  I was thinking the other day that when my husband and I got married we were a couple, when we had our first daughter we had started a family, when our second daughter came along our family was complete.  And now, adding Mabel to the mix, our family is "enhanced!"

Wishing you and your family Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

What Should We Say to Our Children About Tragic Events?

Following the tragic event in Connecticut on Friday, which sadly, has been the most recent in a long line of tragic, unthinkable events, I know of so many parents, including myself, who are seeking the right words to say to our children.  In our house, we have tried to avoid the news when the kids are around, although on Friday afternoon I saw that one of my 11-year-old's friends had sent her an e-mail breaking the news to my daughter.  Fortunately, I saw it first and was able to tell her about it myself.  I saw later that she had an exchange with this and a couple of other friends on e-mail.  We talked about it again this morning during and after church.  I was prepared for some discussion about it in church, but was unprepared for the depth of details the deacon went into about the event in CT as well as detailing many other events - 9/11, Columbine, the movie theater shooting, etc.  As soon as he started speaking I lifted my 6-year-old onto my lap and drew my 11-year-old closer to me.  My husband and I had spoken very briefly and vaguely to our 6-year-old on Saturday, so I knew that she knew a little about it, but not so many details.  Friends and family have been on Facebook this weekend discussing what happened and what we should do and how could this happen and looking for answers where sadly, there are none.  But it was also a nice forum to exchange ideas for talking to our children.  A friend of my sister-in-law's posted this information and I also received a link to it from my 6-year-old's school, in a reassuring e-mail from her principal.  Here is a link to the National Association of School Psychologists' Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers.  

My heart breaks for the families in Connecticut who lost so much on Friday, for the children who survived but who had to go through something that no child should have to experience, for the staff who put the children's welfare first, and to the whole community of Newtown, CT.  And my heart breaks for all of the children across the country who may be walking into school tomorrow feeling that school is not as safe as they once believed.  And my heart breaks that we even need to have these talks with our children - that there are people in the world that have no respect for human life, that have no compassion for innocent children, that have no fear of or respect for or faith in God, and who are so deeply troubled that they can see no light at the end of the tunnel.  I hug and kiss my children each and every day and I tell them that I love them each and every day, but I, like other parents, am hugging them a little tighter these days. 

May we all find peace and love and hope this holiday season, and each and every day.  God bless!

Outtakes from the Christmas Card Photo Shoot

Nothing like waiting until the last minute...  Thank heavens for 1-hour photo printing!  We have received so many lovely holiday cards from friends and relatives, but I haven't had the time to take any photos -- or an idea for a card!  After church today, I had the girls put on their Christmas dresses and I took 87 pictures of them with my digital camera.  I ended up getting a 6-picture "collage" card online at Walmart, which says "Counting Our Blessings" -- that seemed appropriate this year.  Here are a few of the outtakes from the photo shoot -- I'm sure you parents can relate!!




She was being a monkey...  Literally.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Midnight Wake Up Call

So last night, I had a dream that my 6-year-old had climbed into bed with us in the middle of the night.  I groggily got up and went to the bathroom at about 3:30am and when I climbed back into bed, I found that it was not a dream, and there she was, all cozy in the middle of the bed!  As I was settling back in she said to me, "Mama, we never said the pledge at our Girl Scout meeting last week!"  (We got distracted with painting our hand-print ornaments as soon as the girls arrived, so that they would dry in time to use the Sharpies to decorate!)  So I said, "I know, Sweetie, we'll do it at next week's meeting."  And she said, "TWICE!"  Ok!  I guess she told me!  Apparently we are raising one super patriotic kid who wakes up in the middle of the night to scold me about the pledge!  Gotta love her enthusiasm, if not her timing!  ;)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Very "Pinterest" Holiday Season

I know I am late to the party, but I have been on Pinterest for about a month or so -- LOVE IT!!  I have been finding all sorts of wonderful ideas on there, and I have actually used some of them this holiday season (I drive my husband crazy when I buy cookbook after cookbook and never try any recipes...  But Pinterest is free and I've actually been putting it to good use!)  Here's what I've tried:

Waffle Cone Cornucopia
 These were great -- you take a waffle cone, dip the tip in water for 20 seconds, microwave for 20 seconds, and then carefully twist the tip to curl it.  We filled them with candy and nuts and out of foam paper, I cut acorns and leaves and we used them as place cards too!  This will be a new twist on my Nana's traditional candy & nut cups -- we'll definitely do this again!

Hand-print Snowmen Ornaments
 I did this one with my Daisy Girl Scout troop -- we had a production line and it worked out great!  My co-leader painted one of the girls' hands, then placed a blue ornament on the open palm, had the girl close her hand around the ornament for a few seconds, and then she took the ornament and voila -- 5 little finger-shaped snowmen!  We placed them hook-side down into an empty ornament box (could also use an empty egg carton).  We had written the girls' names on the ornament box so that we could keep track of whose hand-print was whose...  When they were dry, we had the girls write their first name and the year on the bottom (palm print) and then with Sharpie markers they decorated their snowmen.  Everyone loved this craft!  The kids had fun making it, the parents who were there loved the idea - a few (including me) and planning to do this for presents - and we sent the girls home with their dried ornaments wrapped in tissue and placed carefully into gift bags -- already to give to Mom and Dad for Christmas!

Toilet Paper Roll Snow People
 While the Daisies were working on the hand-print snowmen ornaments, we kept the other girls busy working on toilet paper snow people.  We collected empty toilet paper rolls and wrapped them with a wide strip of white paper (we used glue sticks to adhere it, you could also use tape).  Then we used other pieces of construction paper to "dress" our snow people -- I used black with the bottom folded over to look like a top hat.  My 6 year old made a little yellow tiara - as all snow princesses wear!  We also used construction paper to make scarves -- one girl in the troop came up with the idea of cutting the edges for fringe.  Another girl came up with the idea of cutting stick arms out of brown construction paper.  Honestly -- give a child an empty toilet paper roll, some glue, paper, scissors & markers and they will take it from there! 

I have to say, doing those two crafts REALLY kept the girls busy and entertained!  That was the quietest I've heard them so far this year!

Holiday Stove Top Potpourri Mix
 I head a committee at work that meets once a month and there are 6 of us, all women, who are in a conference room from 9:00am - 4:00pm meeting with individuals with developmental disabilities who are in need of services.  We have lunch together, we take breaks together, we chat, we bond -- it's a great group!  We had our holiday lunch this past Thursday, in between meetings, and on a whim I thought I'd whip up bags of this Holiday Stove Top Potpourri Mix.  It was so easy, it smelled great, and everyone loved it!  I'm definitely putting some of this on my stove (or in a crock pot on low!) this holiday season, and this is going to be my go-to hostess gift! 

 I may have another Pinterest trick up my sleeve for someone as a holiday gift -- I'll have to keep that under my hat for now!  If you haven't been on Pinterest, check it out!!

Update to Cell Phone Wish List...

So, I'm kicking myself that I didn't buy that Doc McStuffins doll set the day I took that picture -- my girlie wants it for Christmas and now it appears to be sold out!!  :(  I promised her we'll come up with something she'll love just as much, if not more!  (That wasn't the only thing on her list, thank goodness!!)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cell Phone Wish List

I have found a new use for my cell phone! For the past 6 months or so, when I have been at the store with my girls and they start pointing out things they want for Christmas (or birthday, or just in general!), I whip out my cell phone and take a picture of the child with the item they are requesting. Lots of times I’m able to even include the price in the photo so that I have it for budgeting purposes!
I also use the camera on my cell phone when I am in a store by myself and I see something that I know one of my family members would love to receive as a gift. And once in a while if I see something that I would like for myself, I’ll snap a picture and send it to my husband or parents as a gift idea! I always have my phone with me and it’s a great way for me to remember things that we see throughout the year and may forget by the time the rush of the holiday season is in full swing.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Visiting

Yesterday, the girls and I spent Veterans' Day visiting with family and friends.  We started with a visit to Mema's house (Gramby's mom), then we stopped at Joann Fabric's to pick up supplies for a paper chain American flag craft that my Daisy Girl Scout will be doing on Wednesday (in honor of Veteran's Day we are making this to donate to the new Veteran's Outreach Center).  We stopped for lunch and then we headed over to the cemetery to pay our respects to my grandfather (my dad's father).  He's been gone for almost 6 years and the girls and I have taken to stopping in to visit him once in a while.  They love it - my little one sweetly runs up and hugs his headstone and we stop and tell him what we're up to and let him know that we're thinking of him.  We especially wanted to honor him yesterday on Veteran's Day.  My grandfather served in the Army Air Corps and then the Army Signal Corps in the South Pacific, during World War II.  He and my grandmother had been married right before he went off to war in 1943.  After we went to see Great Grandpa, we drove a few sections over to find the grave of a young soldier who had been killed in the Vietnam War.  We learned about him this past summer when my husband's family was in town for the big family reunion.  My brother-in-law, Joe, is very close to a retired priest who he met while they were both serving in the military.  When he was younger, Joe's friend, Lou, had been friends with the young soldier who was killed in Vietnam and he had attended his funeral at one of our local cemeteries.  He had always regretted not being able to get back to pay his respects once his headstone was placed.  While they were in town this summer, Joe asked for directions to the cemetery and the girls and I offered to take him there and I helped him locate the grave site online.  His family, the girls and I piled in the car and headed over to find this young man's grave and we brought large white paper and crayons so that Joe could make a rubbing of the headstone.  The girls and I made a point to find this young soldier's grave again yesterday so that we could honor him for his service and sacrifice for our country and our freedom. 

After that we ended our day of visiting with a trip to see Great Gram (my dad's mother).  Gram is 91 years old and lives in nursing home.  It was a beautiful day here yesterday - in the high 60's - and we grabbed Gram's coat and her wheelchair and wheeled her outside for a breath of fresh air.  We sat close and told her about our day and told her about going to see Grandpa.  We told her that while we visited his grave we told him about her 91st birthday celebration two weeks ago, and that I knew if he were here he would have reminded us that she's older than him - he was born a few months later and he always loved to tease her about that!  Although, we would remind him that he may have been younger, but he'd had more birthdays than she had -- when he was in the war, he crossed the International Dateline on his birthday!  The memory of his teasing made Gram laugh out loud, which was nice to hear.  She also laughed when we told her that we are hoping to get Boston Terrier puppy sometime soon, and that if we get a boy, we will name it "Paddy" after the little iron Boston Terrier that was her mother's, and if it's a girl, we will name it "Mabel" -- which coincidentally was her mother's name...  We just like the name and thought it would be sweet -- Gram laughed out loud when we told her, but she loved it, so that was good!

Our visit ended with us sitting out in front of the nursing home, watching a very beautiful sunset.  Gram's eyesight is not great - she has macular degeneration and I'm never sure exactly what she can and can't see -- she once described it as someone holding their hand up in front of your eye and being able to see around that.  But I know she could see some of the sunset -- the sun was SO big and beautiful and fiery orange.  She commented on it and I was struck by what a nice moment it was to share with her and my girls.  I hope I always remember that.  In addition to her poor eyesight, Gram can't hear well and she is so frail these days.  The girls and I try to go to visit her once a week.  Sometimes I feel so tired at the end of a week and when we visit I feel like I need a lot of energy to carry the conversation between my girls and my gram.  Sometimes I feel frustrated when we get there and she says loudly, "I haven't seen you in SO long!"  And I remind her that we were just there the week before.  She was a very active, vibrant person when she was younger (even 10 - 15 years ago!) and had tons of friends.  And she has always been a VIP in my life -- we've always been very close and she means the world to me.  It's hard some weeks to go and visit and see how different she is now and to know that she won't always be with us.  I'm so thankful that my girls have got to spend so much time with her, and that they love to visit her -- just like they ask me, "Can we go see Great Grandpa?"

I hope that as they grow older and hopefully have their own children, that they will remember these visits.  I hope that in some small ways my girls are learning about the importance of family, the importance of taking time to remember people who are no longer with us, the importance of respect - for those in need, for their elders, for their family, for their country and those brave men and women who serve their country - past, present and future. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Rainy Day Fun in Autumn

For weeks we have planned to take the girls trick-or-treating at the Genesee Country Village, but alas, Hurricane Sandy is dampening our plans - literally!  We very nearly went in spite of the cold, damp weather -- our 11-year-old desperately wanted to go! -- but when it started pouring rain we were able to talk her into staying at home today.  She is dressed in her pioneer dress (what she would have worn to GCV) and we are having a day of pumpkin painting & carving, Halloween crafts, and baking, with a special viewing of a "Little House on the Prairie" Halloween episode for our eldest daughter, and "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" for our youngest! 

My husband and I have to carve our pumpkins - I can hear my eldest daughter telling her dad to carve the NY Islanders (our favorite team) logo into his pumpkin...  And of course, I'll make a batch of pumpkin seeds - yum!  My little one painted a princess face on her pumpkin and when it's dry, we'll put one of her tiaras on top.  My eldest loves video games (in spite of her longing to be a pioneer...) and she painted one of the PacMan ghosts on her pumpkin -- she did a great job!

I have roast beef in the crock-pot, banana bread in the works, and apple crisp for dessert.  I have the Halloween lights on and yummy smelling candles lit -- it's a wonderfully cozy day at home!  And my little girlie found another cozy thing to do on a rainy day -- tea party for her One Hundred Acre Woods friends! 


Sunday, October 21, 2012

What is Your "Signature Dish?"

For last night's dinner, I made chicken cordon bleu with homemade rice pilaf and fresh broccoli (purchased at the farm market yesterday).  While we were eating, I asked my family, "What would you say is my "signature dish"?  I mean, years from now, if you were thinking of Mommy's cooking, what would you remember most fondly?"  My husband said, "turkey dinner!"  My 11-year-old daughter said, "turkey dinner, chicken cordon bleu or stew!"  And my 6-year-old daughter said, "Mommy's grilled cheese!"  (She's so easy to please!)  One of us asked my husband what he would say his mother's signature dish is and (as I would have guessed!) he said her meatloaf (she used to have to make 2 when he was growing up -- 1 for him, 1 for the rest of the family!!).  To me, my mom's signature dishes are her baked ziti, her beef burgundy, her rice pilaf and her cream cheese brownies! 

Actually, my signature dishes (aside from my stew) are mostly pieced together from various family recipes.  "My" chicken cordon bleu is actually a recipe that my stepmother found in a cookbook and I added it to my recipe box years ago -- it was actually the first meal that I cooked for my husband when we were first dating.  And my best friend and my mother also loved the dish so much that they added it to their own recipe boxes too.  The rice pilaf that I make is a recipe that everyone on my mother's side of the family makes.  I think it came from my uncle's (mom's brother-in-law's) family, but I remember my Nana, my mother and my aunts all using the same recipe.  Turkey dinner is something that I remember my Nana making - I spent every Thanksgiving at her house in New Hampshire when I was growing up.  I make her stuffing, I make some of the same side dishes that she made, and her squash bread.  I've added a few of my own things over the years - in addition to her stuffing, I make oyster dressing for my husband, sometimes I make my own cranberry sauce and I have tweaked the traditional pumpkin pie recipe to make it my own.  I also make a fabulous apple pie with an apple crisp topping -- that was a recipe I adopted from my stepmother.

As a mom, I like to think about passing things on to my daughters - I have some of my grandmothers' recipes and recipes from other family members written in their own handwriting and those are some of my most cherished possessions.  I would love to put together some family recipes for my girls to take when they move out on their own (although, currently my 6-year-old plans to live with Mommy and Daddy forever!).  Another nice idea that I have seen and would like to do some time, is to frame a couple of recipes and hang them in my kitchen. 

What is your signature dish?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Do-It-Yourself Frame w/ Scrapbook Paper

The second item that I “face lifted” was my chalkboard. I bought my chalkboard at Hobby Lobby for $12. I have had it hanging in my living room for over a year and while I loved the idea of it (chalkboard “art” – having a large chalkboard on the wall that I could decorate with seasonal messages and inspirational quotes), the frame left little to be desired… 






I bought some scrapbook paper from the craft store (about $ .50 per sheet at Joann’s or Hobby Lobby) and I bought some smooth molding from Lowe’s (under $10). Just like I did with the mirror project, I measured the length that I wanted the pieces, got the molding cut to size (thanks again, Dad!!) and then this time, instead of painting the molding, I glued the scrapbook paper on! You can buy “Modge Podge” from the craft store, but I had white glue and I mixed that in a bowl with water until it looked like milk. I cut the scrapbook paper into vertical strips that were wider than the width of the molding. Then I took a paintbrush (I used a sponge-y brush) and my glue mixture and I “painted” the scrapbook paper and the top side of the molding (as opposed to the flat, underside) and carefully placed the paper on the molding. 

Because I cut it into wide strips, I was able to wrap it around the molding so that it would stay in place a little better! Just pay attention to any pattern that your paper has – mine was toile (my favorite!) so I wanted to make sure the pictures would all be right-side up – I didn’t want to have anyone hanging upside down! I used my hands a lot on this project – to smooth the wet, glue-y paper down on the molding, to wrap the paper around the edges – it was a tad messy! I did this inside, at my kitchen table, but I covered it with a large garbage bag first, to protect it from the mess! When the paper was adhered to the molding, I gave it a final coat of the glue mixture as an added layer of protection. 

Once everything was dry, I used Liquid Nails (regular, not for mirrors like with my last project) and I glued the 4 pieces of the frame into place on the existing frame of the chalkboard. I let it dry and the next day I hung it back on the wall. I could not be more pleased with this – it really looks adorable!!  I would use this same technique on smaller chalkboards (like the one on my counter top), picture frames, or even as an alternative to my mirror frame project. And this is just as versatile as the painted mirror frame idea – you can customize the frame with any number of colors or themes of scrapbook paper! I’ve seen holiday paper, sports-related, harlequin – you name it! I have this in mind as a project for a couple of special girls that I know… ;)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Do-It-Yourself Framed Mirror

One of my favorite projects this summer has been creating two different decorative frames to really give a “face lift” two somewhat boring objects in my house! They were both ideas that I have had in the back of my head for quite some time, and when I finally got around to completing the projects I couldn’t believe how easy they were! I should have done these AGES ago! The first “boring object” was my bathroom mirror. We have a huge mirror that hangs over the sink in our main bathroom. There was no frame around the mirror – it was just a large, rectangular (boring) mirror. I wanted to frame it to make it look fancier, so I bought a piece of decorative wood molding at Lowe’s – you can get any kind, and they vary in cost – this was probably $10 and it was more detailed than some of the others. I wanted it to look like a somewhat ornate picture frame, so I was going for detail! I also bought a can of silver spray paint and some Liquid Nails – make sure to get the kind for mirrors – we had to run back to the store to get the right kind! I measured the mirror and wrote down the lengths that I wanted for the top, bottom & sides of the frame. Then, I was lucky enough to be able to pass that piece of paper on to my Dad who cut everything to size for me! If you do not have that convenience available to you, you can get a miter box and saw to make the angled cuts yourself, or you may try going to your local home improvement store and ask if they will cut the molding for you (which they may, if you have purchased it from them!). After the pieces were cut to size, I sanded them down a little and then spray painted them with the silver paint – make sure to do it outside or in a well-ventilated area. I gave them another light sanding after the first coat dried, wiped off the dust and spray painted them a second time. Once they were dry, we used the Liquid Nails for Mirrors and carefully adhered the pieces to the mirror. It looks fabulous, if I do say so myself!

This is a super easy, super inexpensive way to re-purpose an old mirror for your child’s room – maybe you have an old mirror lying around, or picked something up at a garage sale and you want to fix it up for your child’s room. You can use any type of paint color to match your child’s room – pink, if you have a little girl, blue for a boy, something metallic for a teenager… Or let them paint it themselves! If you are particular about matching room colors, then provide them with only the paint colors that you “approve” of. Or, how cute would it be to use smooth molding and let your child paint their hands and put their hand-prints all over it? The possibilities are endless!

Stay tuned – next I’ll show you my other fabulous frame idea! I love this even more than the mirror!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First Day of School!

My sweet girls were back to school today!  My eldest (who is now 5'7" and taller than her mother!) is in the 6th grade and my "baby" is in the 1st grade and in school for full days now!  (Mommy seemed to have a harder time adjusting to that than she did!)  They looked lovely in their new dresses -- they both like to wear dresses for the first day -- so glad that they appreciate getting dressed up for the first day of school!  When I drop my eldest daughter off at school or pick her up some days, there are kids that look like they came to school in their pajamas...  Yesterday we were all home for the day and with rain pouring outside we opted to clean closets!  I had meant to do it this summer, but time got away from me.  I always like the girls to start the school year off with a clean, organized room, and it certainly helps us to get ready faster when we know where everything is, and the dressers and closets are only full of clothes that fit!  Once they were in bed, I gathered up pictures for them to put in their lockers -- my little one has a locker this year too -- that is very possibly her favorite part about school this year!
 
Daddy, Grandpa and I were all there to walk them down to the bus this morning -- videotaping and cameras flashing away!  We were like the paparazzi...  Thankfully, my girls don't seem to mind!  (I figured if anyone said anything to my 6th grader about the fanfare at the bus stop, she could blame it on her 1st grade sister!)  I'm so happy that they get to ride the same bus to school in the morning -- it's nice for my little one to have her big sister there to watch out for her!  They have different buses in the afternoon (not sure why...) and this afternoon I took some time off from work to get home in time to meet them.  Of course, they were each late (always happens on the first day) -- my eldest daughter's bus was about 15 minutes late and my little one's bus was 30 minutes late!  I sat out on the front step for about an hour total waiting for both of the girls -- armed with my video camera again, of course!  It was so nice to be home early and to be there to greet them and hear about their days.  We went through their book bags, pulled out the things that need to be signed and sent back tomorrow, cleaned out their lunch boxes and got them ready for tomorrow.  Then we went upstairs so they could change into play clothes and I sat on the floor of my little one's room and cleaned out her dresser (hadn't gotten to that yesterday!).  We bought her a set of hanging "shelves" for her closet -- one of those soft-sided organizers that hangs from the curtain rod and has 6 shelves/cubbies.  She and I picked out outfits to get her through the rest of this week and the beginning of next -- outfit, underwear, shoes, etc. all set!  What a time saver that will be!  We had dinner a little earlier tonight, we read a book together before bedtime and we said our prayers and they were all tucked in on time with no running around and no chaos.  The dishes are done, the house is straightened up and we're ready for tomorrow -- oh, how I would love to get home early every day!!

Pencil Vase
To brighten up the breakfast table for the first day of school, I put together this little pencil vase with some sunflowers -- I tried to do this last year and didn't have enough pencils.  I bought 2 more packs when they were on sale this summer, but could still use a couple more to really fill it in!  I took an empty soup can and taped the pencils into place and then tied a sunflower ribbon around my "vase".  I think I'll look for some cute "school-themed" ribbon for next year!  I like to do a little here and there to make things special for my girls, and I love that they take notice!  My little one asked her sister this morning, "Are those PENCILS?"  And my elder daughter said, "Yes" and my little one said, "Are those pencils with their NAILS CUT?"  What a cute, funny way to look at it!  

Monday, September 3, 2012

"Diner Night" at Home

For the most part, my girls are polar opposites when it comes to the food they like to eat.  My eldest is getting closer to becoming a vegetarian each day, and my youngest is more of a carnivore.  My eldest loves veggies and is not too into fruit.  Her little sister is just the opposite!  My eldest loves pizza and pasta, my little one doesn't like either of those!  And as the primary "chef" in the house -- my frustration is growing...  One thing they do agree on?  They LOVE the local diner!  We have taken them to the diner a few times over the past year or so and they both love it -- my youngest loves the milkshakes and my eldest loves getting french fries and gravy.  We can't afford (money-wise or calorie-wise!) to eat at the diner as often as they would like, but the other night I surprised them with my version of Diner Night at home.

I made turkey sliders, which thankfully is something they both can agree on -- I use lean, ground turkey and mix in a half packet of Lipton's dry Onion Soup Mix.  Much less fattening than a diner burger!  I form small patties -- usually 8 to 10 out of 1 lb of meat -- and I cook them on my George Foreman Grill (love it!).  We had slider rolls, but if I didn't have those on hand I would use whatever I have -- cut up hot dog or hamburger rolls, biscuits, dinner rolls, etc.  We baked french fries in the oven and I just used one of those dry packets of turkey gravy that I had on hand - super quick and easy and only 20cals per serving.  I served mixed veggies (which they would not get at the diner), and for a special treat I made homemade milkshakes!  I used 2 cups of vanilla ice cream, 1 cup of 1% milk, and 1 tsp of vanilla.  I put this in the blender until it was smooth.  I split this into two glasses for the girls, topped it with a little low-fat whipped cream and popped a "bendy" straw in -- big hit with the girls!  I made myself a chocolate shake, following the same recipe but substituting chocolate ice cream. 

It was a fun meal, something different for us to have at home, and while the girls enjoyed their "diner fare" I was happy about being able to control the portions and the calories!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Waiting for the Tooth Fairy to Visit...

Couldn't resist taking this picture of my sweet baby last night -- she was so sweet!  She had just lost one of her front teeth -- third tooth to come out, first of her top front.  She was great about it -- no drama, just a lot of wiggling with her tongue!  We put her little tooth in her tooth fairy pillow and she went to sleep, waiting for the Tooth Fairy to visit!  (Which she did, much to my girl's delight this morning!)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Reading Nook

This year for our little one’s 6th birthday, we decided to create a reading nook for her in her bedroom. Bless her little heart; she fell in love with this “bling-y”, pink beaded lamp at Target (I believe that Mommy’s love of interior decorating is starting to rub off on her girls!). For months, every time we went to Target, she would ask if we could go look at the lamp! 

So, we bought the lamp for her birthday and we also bought a cute, pink flowered beanbag chair to go in her room. Gramby and Grandpa bought her a sweet little table – just the right size for the reading nook! She was very excited to open those three items on her birthday (in addition to presents from her other grandmothers, and her great aunt – Merida’s (from Disney’s movie “Brave”) suction-cup bow and arrow was also a big hit!) and the next day I quickly set up her reading nook. She had some room between the foot of her bed and her bedroom wall, and that was where I arranged the beanbag chair, the little table, the lamp, and a basket of books. 

Now she has a cozy little spot to curl up and read books to herself or to her favorite toys! She started to learn to read last year in kindergarten and we are happy to do anything we can to encourage a love of reading! We’re anxious to see her reading skills blossom this year in first grade!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Hi there! My name is Livvie, and I'm The Fine Art of Motherhood's oldest daughter. Today is my mom's birthday!

My mom has been blogging about my sister and I for a long time. I like reading her posts about us and today I want to thank her for what she does every day.

My mom is really busy; she works Monday through Thursday, and during the school year she runs my sister's Daisy troop. She also has to take care of us, and I know that must take a lot of energy!

Happy birthday, Mommy!



Thursday, July 26, 2012

Family Reunion

What a busy summer we have been having -- I have been completely absorbed in planning a big, 3-day reunion for my husband's side of the family.  I have been planning and organizing, and he has been (basically) doing my bidding -- poor guy!  He has informed me that he is not doing another landscaping or painting project for the rest of the summer!  He has painted the fence, stained the deck, worked on landscaping in the front and the back yard -- you name it!  I have shopped and cleaned and decorated and crafted and informed (family members with updates on Facebook and on e-mail) and scheduled, and on and on... 

This side of the family gets together for a big reunion every four years -- we volunteered to do this four years ago -- naturally, we pretty much waited until this spring to start doing projects to prepare for it...  Way to go, us!  ;)  We had close to 60 people attend, traveling mostly from Long Island, but we also had family come in from Connecticut, South Carolina and California.  We are fairly close to Niagara Falls, so a large group went to see the Falls last Thursday and then on Friday, we had 21 people that met up to go to our local zoo -- that was a lot of fun!  Later in the afternoon, a group of people went to a local golf course and played 18 holes of golf, and in the evening, everyone met up at our house and we had dinner catered from a great Italian restaurant -- the food was a big hit!  For dessert we served make-your-own ice cream sundaes -- that was my mother-in-law's idea.  By the time I had finished planning this, that and the other thing, I hit a wall and could not come up with another idea!  The kids enjoyed swimming in the pool and the adults enjoyed visiting with relatives they had not seen in quite some time.


On Saturday, we headed down to the beach for the day -- we had rented the upstairs room in the beach's bathhouse, which was a fantastic location!  For $500 it came with tables and chairs, a kitchen, 2 bathrooms, an elevator which was wonderful for bringing everything in and out, and it has a huge, covered balcony that overlooks the beach and the lake.  We lucked out with a gorgeous day -- clear, blue skies, the water was open for swimming, cool breeze off the water, and the beach was not crowded!  For lunch we grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, had a pasta salad, chips, and watermelon.  Lots of people hung out on the beach, swam, some played beach volleyball, some sat on the balcony and looked through photo albums and chatted with relatives.  We bought tickets for the kids to ride the beautiful 1905 Dentzel carousel - I think they each rode at least three times!  (I even went on once!)  In the evening, we had dinner catered again, this time by a local BBQ place -- another big hit!  (Good thing -- by this time we had accumulated SO many leftovers...)  We had a dj who played music and offered karaoke.  I also talked him into taking a picture from the balcony of the whole crowd of us standing down on the beach -- he took one shot on my camera and it turned out great -- everyone is visible, everyone is smiling -- amazing!  (I'm a photographer's daughter, so I'm all about the photo opps!  Couldn't miss the opportunity to have a picture with everyone in it!)

One special highlight of the evening was our showing a dvd that our 11-year-old daughter made.  She is becoming the Steven Spielberg of "Windows Movie Maker" -- she makes videos ALL the time, and they are really great!  This one was 3 songs long -- "My Wish" by Rascal Flatts, "Everybody" by Ingrid Michaelson, and "Theme from New York, New York" by Frank Sinatra which is our family's theme song!  We begged, borrowed and stole (off of Facebook...) pictures of everyone in the family and she set them to music.  We played the video at the party on Saturday night (borrowed my dad's laptop, LCD projector, and movie screen -- thanks, Dad!!) and as a "lovely parting gift" we handed out a copy of the dvd to each family attending the reunion.  Everyone loved it -- my sister-in-law, Jenny, was sobbing because she was so touched by it, and she went up to our girl (who rarely ever cries) and told her how proud she was of her -- our girl burst out into uncontrollable sobs!  (Happy, I'm sure!)  At the end of the night we finished up with our family tradition -- everyone joining in a big circle to do a kick-line to "New York, New York!"  Talk about your big finishes!  ;)

On Sunday morning, a bunch of the family (in addition to the 15 staying at our house!) came over for breakfast and fond farewells before traveling home.  Those staying with us stayed until Monday, and we spent Sunday floating in the pool and trying to unwind from the whirlwind weekend!  It was a short work-week for me (Weds and Thurs), but I'm still trying to recuperate from all of the work we've done over the past weeks (months...).  The family seemed to have a good time -- my mother-in-law seemed to have a wonderful time, and in spite of all of the work and stress, our girls had the opportunity to connect with different generations of their family and participate in some long-standing family traditions.  That makes it all worthwhile!  (And I can say that honestly, now that my feet have finally stopped hurting...)  ;)  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Happy 6th Birthday!

Happy 6th birthday to my sweet, beautiful, funny girl!  Mommy and Daddy and Sissy love you so much!  We can't even remember what life was like before you came along! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Chasing Away Your Child's Nightmares

Over the past week my little one started having nightmares - four nights in a row, which is unusual for her!  A week ago Friday, there was a fire near our house, which we saw on our way home.  We were never in any danger, which I explained to her, and the firefighters did a wonderful job of putting it out before it got too out of control, but I think it was weighing on her mind.  On the third night, she woke up and climbed into bed with my husband and me, and on the fourth night when I heard her crying, I woke up and went in to sleep with her.  On Day Five, when it was bedtime, I tried something new - in addition to telling her that she was safe and sound in her cozy house, and that Mommy, Daddy and her big sister were all there with her - I told her that I was going to throw away all of her her bad dreams.  She was lying in bed, and I leaned over her and picked at the air around her head - seemingly grabbing her bad dreams and tossing them over my shoulder.  She loved it and giggled, but I was very serious in my task, and you know what?  No nightmares that night!  So, I did it again the next night - again, no nightmares!! 

My elder daughter went through a period of time where she seemed to be having quite a few nightmares and Grandpa and Gramby gave her a dream-catcher that she has had hanging on her bed for years.  She believes that it helps her, and it certainly seems to be doing it's job - she rarely ever has nightmares!  I was talking about this at work recently with some friends who are moms.  One of them said that her daughter went on the internet and found a Bible quote about God watching over her, which she posted near her bed.  She had been having nightmares and it has really helped her.

Whatever the method, in my experience, if you can reinforce to your child that they are safe from harm - whether through a strong power of suggestion or a strong sense of faith - the "monsters" will vanish and sleep will be restored to the kingdom!  

Friday, June 8, 2012

Chalkboard Reminders

How cute is this??  It's actually a chalkboard cheese tray that my  friend Jeanine thoughtfully brought me when she came to a party at our house.  I absolutely love it, and will use it when I entertain, but we really don't entertain as often as we used to -- so I came up with an alternative every day use for it!  I had an extra plate holder (about $4 from Hobby Lobby) and I have it on the kitchen counter near the sink.  It is GREAT for writing notes on -- like yesterday's, "Last lesson!  Don't forget your clarinet!"  And things like that...  It will also come in handy to leave notes for my dad when he's watching the girls -- I'm always looking for paper and a pen to leave him reminders.  And when I want to use it for a party, I can wash it and it will be all ready!

I LOVE things like this -- multi-purpose, and super stylish!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Reaching Our Goals for Kindergarten


This time last year, my husband and I were agonizing over whether to follow our gut instinct and send our youngest onto kindergarten as planned, or to follow the advice of her preschool teacher and have her repeat the 4’s class and start kindergarten a year late. After talking to everyone from our family doctor, to an eye doctor (we discovered she needed glasses, which may have been a big factor in her ability to learn at the pace of the other preschoolers), to fellow parents, to the principal at the elementary school – we decided to push ahead and send her to kindergarten. Her preschool teacher had told us that she was great socially, but her big concern was our daughter’s academic abilities particularly reading, writing, and her artwork, and she warned us that we would likely regret sending her to kindergarten (“the best gift you can give her is to give her more time”). She also told us that (at least in our district) you cannot repeat kindergarten, so if she did not do well, she could not repeat the grade – she said we’d either have to take her out of school and move her to a Catholic school for another year of kindergarten, and then move her back to public school for 1stgrade, or just keep moving her along and she would likely struggle to keep up. We had no problem in supporting our girl whichever way we decided to go, but we faced our own struggle to make the decision that would be right for her.
 
After speaking with the principal at the elementary school, we felt confident about sending her on to kindergarten. We were fortunate that our eldest daughter had been through the school (K – 3) and we were comfortable with the staff and the school. We were upfront with the principal and the kindergarten teacher about the preschool teacher’s concerns. Right from the beginning of the year (early October) we were in touch with the kindergarten teacher to make sure that our girl was getting the help that she needed. Within a couple of months, we had a parent / teacher conference and we were told that our daughter qualified for extra reading help, which we were thrilled about! We have kept up with the homework packets that come home each month, my husband takes the girls to the library on his days off, we take turns reading to my youngest, and my eldest daughter loves to try and play school with her younger sister. She has shown a lot of growth this year in her reading and writing, in spite of having her original kindergarten teacher leave and getting a new teacher, mid-year (who fortunately is fantastic!).

This past Sunday, at my end of the year Daisy Girl Scout picnic, I was talking to one of the mothers whose daughter was in preschool and is now in kindergarten with my little one. She told me that she helps with the kindergarten reading groups each week and she said my daughter is doing great in her reading group! There are four kids and she said out of the four of them, my daughter is always the first one with the answer, does great with rhyming words, and she is very focused on getting her work done. She said she is just doing so well!  She also said basically that she knows what we went through this time last year and she could just cry at the thought of what a waste it would have been for our daughter if we had decided to keep her back a year.  It was so great to hear!  I was almost in tears when she told me – what a struggle that was last year!!  

It can be overwhelming sometimes to make decisions that will potentially have a big effect on your child’s life. We struggled with the thought of her repeating the 4’s class and doing all of the same projects and field trips a second year in a row (our eldest went there, so we knew it would be the same!) – what if she was so bored that she was miserable in school? We didn’t want to put her into that mindset. How would she feel when she was a year older than the other kids in her class (and a foot taller!)? How would she feel to be the same age as her cousins and a year behind them in school? She may not have noticed some of these things now, but they may present problems for her down the road. And deciding to send her to kindergarten was tough too – what if the preschool teacher was right and it was a struggle for her? We were prepared to do whatever was necessary – switching to a private school for a second year of kindergarten, a summer session with a tutor to get her caught up for 1st grade, etc.  Our goal was to make sure she had the tools she needed to make it through kindergarten and to be prepared for first grade -- whether that meant one or two years of kindergarten!
The best advice I can give any parent in a similar situation is to have confidence in your child, advocate for what they need to be successful, be prepared to give them the support that they need, do your research and trust your instincts. And forgive yourself if you find out down the road that maybe what you decided wasn’t the right choice – we can’t predict the future, there are so many factors in a decision like this and you do the best that you can and support your child along the way. 

One of her new kindergarten teacher's class assignments back in January, was to ask the students to write their goal for the school year and to draw a picture.  Our sweet girl wrote (phonetically) that she wanted to swing by herself and she drew a picture of a swing set and herself on a swing.  

Turns out we all accomplished our goals for kindergarten this year!!   We could not be more proud of our girl!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day

As I am sure all of you moms can relate, life has been so busy lately!  Work has been crazy and I've put in a lot of overtime on a recent project, but happily that is behind me!  We are winding down our first year of Daisy Girl Scouts, but still need to prepare for our first camping trip which will happen later in the summer.  I am also in the midst of planning my husband's family reunion and in addition to the party planning, we're using this as incentive to finish a lot of projects around the house and yard.  And the girls' school year is coming to a close next month, which means a flurry of school projects, school events, concerts, etc.  Thursday night we enjoyed our eldest's last choir concert of the year (possibly forever -- she wasn't a fan of choir this year!).  Next weekend her band plays the National Anthem at the local pro baseball game -- we're all looking forward to that!  And then one final concert for the band and the jazz band, and she also has to perform with the jazz band at the 4th grade band concert -- we remember that from last year, where they trot the jazz band out to show you what your child might sound like in the 5th and 6th grade!  My little one's elementary school will have their annual Flag Day ceremony, carnival, and her Kindergarten "graduation."  But tomorrow we are all taking a break from all of that to just spend some quality time together!  The only thing on the schedule is a bbq at my aunt's house and we'll get to see the whole family including Grandma (my grandmother - my girls' great grandmother).  So I'm looking forward to a lot of snuggles and kisses from my two sweet girls -- can't wait!!

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fun at the Sock Hop!

Last night, after Grandpa & Gramby brought my littlest girlie back from Grandparents Night at her elementary school, we were off to our eldest daughter's middle school for their annual Sock Hop!  This was our second year attending, and it's a lot of fun!  Of course, my daughter and her friends never seem to do much dancing -- but the Sock Hop Committee puts on a great event!  For $8 for a family, there's a dj, pizza, snow cones, popcorn, floats -- you name it! They had great raffle prizes last night -- my girls naturally went for the sugar-filled ones -- thankfully we didn't win!  My little one was QUITE disappointed that she didn't win the gumball machine (and a BUCKET of gum!) -- so I think we know what will be the first thing on her birthday wish list...  They have great decorations -- including records strung up across the gym -- and the kids all come in costume.

Last year my daughter was able to fit into a previous year's Halloween costume and wore a poodle skirt.  She's grown about a foot this past year, so the poodle skirt's now a mini -- that will be put away in the back of her younger sister's closet!  She wore rolled up jeans, one of her dad's button-down shirts tied at the waist, her pink sunglasses from her old Halloween costume, and a scarf of mine tied around her neck -- she looked adorable, if I do say so myself!  This is her and one of her best friends -- they've been inseparable since the first grade!

One of the girls from my Daisy troop was there with her family, so my youngest daughter was thrilled to see a friend and they had a great time running around and playing together (again, not much dancing!).  She also saw a little boy from her kindergarten class -- they both smiled and said hi -- I think she's got a little crush!  :)  The school requires kids to come to the dance with an adult (wise choice!), so my husband and I enjoyed visiting with some parents that we have become friends with through our kids -- so a good time was had by all!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Busy Bunnies!

We've been busy little bunnies over here! Work, school, Girl Scouts, family reunion planning, getting ready for Easter, and most exciting -- Nana's here to visit for a week! We've kept her busy too -- she flew in late on Tuesday night and got to spend time with the girls when they got home from school Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday night we all went to my eldest daughter's first jazz ensemble concert which was a lot of fun! Thursday night I was off to a Girl Scout Camporee meeting (the girls and I are getting very excited about that!) and Friday I dragged Nana and the girls around to run errands -- Easter with two girls means stockings, sweaters (for their sleeveless dresses -- knew that would bring the cold weather!), and new shoes! We also managed to squeeze in lunch and a visit to my grandmother at the nursing home. The girls and I make it a point to visit her once a week, and we really enjoy it. The girls have made friends with Kermit (that's his real name!) who works there, and when we come to visit he always offers them a dixie cup of ice cream which they just love. We find it fun to bring Gram a treat -- she's got an incredible sweet tooth, so it's usually cookies -- and we've been making sure that her room is decorated for the holidays. A couple of weeks ago we took down the St. Patrick's Day decorations and last weekend we decorated for Easter and Spring. Gram is my dad's mother, but she just loves my mom and my mom always enjoys seeing her when she's in town.

Today we went to see the movie, "Mirror, Mirror" which was quite cute. The girls enjoyed it and were pretty patient, considering the movie broke halfway through and we were sitting there waiting to see if they could fix it! Luckily for us, they fixed it within 10 minutes or so, AND gave us each a free movie ticket for another time! We're probably save those until June, when Disney / Pixar's "Brave" comes out -- we're Scottish on mom's side of the family, and the girls and I are quite proud of that -- can't wait to see this new Disney / Pixar movie about a brave Scottish girl! After the movie, we took the girls to our favorite park and they played for a while before it was back home for Easter egg decorating and bath time so they are all ready for tomorrow! Nana treated us to Chinese take-out for dinner -- our favorite! And now the girls are asleep in my youngest daughter's bed -- second night in a row -- very cute! They are on Spring Recess now -- I wonder if we'll have a repeat of Winter Recess when they had sleepovers in each other's rooms for 9 nights in a row?

Tomorrow I'm sure they'll be up at the crack of dawn (I should really get to bed so the Easter Bunny can come!) and then they'll search for their baskets and we'll get ready and head out to church and then a visit with the Gram and the family at my dad & stepmother's house. Back to our house where the girls will search for eggs and then a special Easter dinner.

Here's wishing you a wonderful day spent with family and friends!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Happy 100th Anniversary, Girl Scouts!

Happy 100th Anniversary to the Girl Scouts! My girls and I are proud to be a part of such an amazing organization and this year, in particular, is an incredible time to be a Girl Scout! I was a Girl Scout growing up -- from Brownies all the way through Seniors! (I'm so old that they added two new levels -- now it's Daisies through Ambassadors!) And I was a Girl Scout during their 75th anniversary, but I don't remember if I realized the significance of that anniversary, and I'm sure, although I loved being a Scout, I realized how much Scouting did for me. My mother enrolled me as a Brownie when I was in the first grade -- we were cleaning the basement out this weekend and I found a box of things from my childhood, including my first Girl Scout handbook with my mother's neat handwriting spelling out my name on the front cover. I loved that book and was so excited to be able to share it with my 11-year-old daughter who is a Junior Girl Scout.

On Sunday, I had a meeting for the Daisy Girl Scout troop that another mom and I started for our daughters. My sweet 5-year-old is in that troop, and her older sister helps out as a Junior Aide. Since our meeting was yesterday, and the official 100th Anniversary of the Girl Scouts is today, we had our own little celebration. At the Girl Scout store (which I just love!) I had purchased green and white "100 Anniversary" balloons -- enough for each girl and our two Junior Aides to take one home. Yesterday morning, I went to the party store and asked if I could pay them to fill my balloons with helium. They charged me the regular price, as if I had purchased their latex balloons -- this was perfect -- MUCH cheaper than my back-up plan, which was to buy a helium tank! The balloons looked very festive on our table! Also at the Girl Scout store, I purchased the limited edition Girl Scout insignia pins with "100" on them, and we gave each girl a pin to wear on her uniform. In addition to our anniversary (or birthday) party theme, we worked on a badge that was all about being considerate and caring and we read a story out of the Daisy handbook about "The Art of Sharing." In keeping with the sharing and birthday themes, I had asked each of the girls to bring one craft item (children's scissors, crayons, glue stick, etc.) wrapped as a birthday gift to share with the troop and to help us replenish our craft supplies. For snack, one of our girls brought in Shamrock cookies to share (since we are so close to St. Patty's Day -- bonus, they were green and matched the balloons -- I love when a theme works out!) and before our snack we sang "Happy Birthday" to the Girl Scouts.

Finally, we followed one of the ideas in our Daisy book for earning our badge, and to (literally!) illustrate the theme of sharing, we passed out a piece of paper to each girl and we set out markers and crayons. Each girl started to make a picture and after a couple of minutes, we passed them all to the left and then that girl would continue working on the picture. That was slightly chaotic the first time, but we did it again and again so they got to put their mark on a number of their friends' drawings. Each girl took home a picture that was a combination of their friends' artwork -- they did a great job sharing their pictures and their art supplies, and it ended up being a really cute and fun idea!

We are helping out with Scouting for Food this weekend and we are also looking forward to our first camp-out this summer! The girls seem to have a great time together and I love being a troop leader. Girl Scouts offers so many opportunities for girls to make friends, learn great skills, build their confidence, and discover who they are -- it's been an experience that my girls and I will treasure always!

Do you have a daughter interested in becoming a Girl Scout? Or are you interested in volunteering? Go to the official Girl Scouts of the USA website at www.girlscouts.org to learn more!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Quick Remodel - Bedroom for Our Littlest Princess

On Friday, all four of us were off - my husband and I were off from work and the girls were off from school. At dinner a few nights prior, we discussed as a family what we would do with this special day. Here's how the conversation went, Mommy, "How about we go to the zoo?" Daddy, "Oh, that would be fun!" Eleven year old, "Let's clean the basement!!" (She wants to make an art studio down there -- prior to this you could hardly get her down there to grab a roll of paper towels...) Five year old, "Let's rearrange my room!" Talk about your role reversals... We decided to rearrange our youngest daughter's room (it was rainy and snowy on Friday) because it was a relatively easy task -- we'll save the basement project for another day!

We started around 9:00am and began by emptying the room -- the other bedrooms upstairs were suddenly overrun with stuffed animals, etc. We pulled everything but the bed and dresser out -- even the 2 area rugs came out. We vacuumed the whole room -- corners of walls, up to the ceilings -- everything. And we also dusted everything thoroughly before bringing it back in. Our girlie's room is the smallest of the upstairs bedrooms (downstairs we have a guest room and a very small bedroom that is my husband's office) and she has a beautiful full-sized bed which takes up a lot of room. We were limited on where we could move the bed -- we were trying to maximize her play area -- so we flipped it from where it had been, 180 degrees in the opposite direction. We moved her dresser (which had been at the foot of her bed) over next to her closet. We downsized the amount of stuffed animals -- some are going to be donated, a few were put in her "special box" in the basement (a tub full of mementos) and the rest into her toy box. She tried to negotiate sending some over to Grandpa's house, but we didn't go for that idea (they'll only end up back here - smuggled by her one at a time!). We decided to take her nightstand out of the room -- it had previously been used to hold a pile of toys... We also had to take the glider out to give her more room. I told my husband that we'd have to find a place for it somewhere in the house -- I said, "I can't give it away! I rocked both of my babies in that glider!" And then I said, "Do you see the tears starting?" Because truly, my eyes were welling up... And he said, "Don't worry, you don't have to give it away -- we'll figure out a place for it!" Not sure where that's going to be -- but we'll figure it out! (I'm a little sentimental...) :)

We re-hung everything that had been in her room, and we didn't buy anything new -- we'd like to get her a couple of things for this little reading "nook" at the end of her bed -- a bean bag chair, a lamp -- ultimately I'd like to install a little, girlie chandelier in the corner, but that will involve an electrician. We thought it was cute to hang the Tigger cross-stitch that Nana made over the chair with all of the Winnie the Pooh stuffed animals!

Really the only "new" addition to the room is just something that I pulled out of her closet, and it's my favorite item in the room -- I took a sweet little Disney princess dress that I had bought her when she was a baby and I hung it on a cute satin hanger and we hung it up on the wall next to her window. I think it's such a darling idea, adds to the "princess theme" and it's a nice way to easily showcase a special item that might otherwise be sitting in a box or the back of a closet. We re-hung her little mirror, this time over her dresser -- she's not tall enough to look in it today (standing in front of it) but soon enough! :( And over the mirror we hung a little pink princess sign.

She was very excited about her new bedroom! And after 7 nights of bunking in our eldest daughter's room, the two girls moved the February Recess Sleepover Party into our little girl's room for the past two nights! Tomorrow they are back to school, so tonight they are sleeping in their own beds! It's fun to freshen things up and move things around when you have a free day. We spent no money on this change, but just moving the furniture around, rearranging the decorations and even pulling the little princess dress out and hanging that on the wall, made a huge impact! Let the Spring Cleaning begin!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sister Sleepovers

Another thing the girls have been enjoying much to my husband and my surprise is having “sleepovers” in our eldest’s room – an unprecedented FIVE nights and counting! It’s so funny, because they used to beg to have sleepovers in each other’s room and then they would be SO miserable and neither of them would get any sleep and the next time they would ask we would remind them about the misery from the previous experience. I don’t know if I shared this on here, but I think it was last year, they had a sleepover in my little girlie’s room and my husband got home late – around 11pm – and he went to check on the girls and our eldest was sound asleep, and the little one was sitting up in bed with her arms crossed in a huff. My husband asked her what was wrong and she pointed to her (sleeping) sister and said, “She’s annoying me. She needs to go to her room!” And my husband said, “Well, honey, how could she be annoying you? She’s sound asleep!” And the little one said, “She’s just annoying me! She needs to go!” They went back and forth on this and there was no reasoning with her, so my husband finally had to wake my poor sleeping child and get her to move into her own bed. That was a classic!

They have had to bunk in together on trips to visit family members, or sometimes if we have company and need an extra room for guests. I remember the last time we went to New Hampshire to visit our family, my girls were sharing an air mattress in the same room that my husband and I were sleeping in. The first night that we were there, I remember initially feeling tired and crabby that they were giggling and being silly and not getting to sleep. And then I thought to myself how lucky they are to have each other – I was an only child growing up – and that hopefully they will look back later in life and remember visiting the relatives and giggling all night!

My husband and I actually daydream about moving up to New Hampshire – we really love it – we’ve really thought about it, done a little research, compared school districts and things like that. He’s in a career where most companies want you to be willing to relocate – if he got a good offer to move up to New England, we would find it hard to say no! One thing I have thought about with moving, is how difficult it would be to leave family and friends, but how nice it would be for our girls to have a built-in playmate / confidante. Watching them snuggle together these past few nights, I can imagine them doing that if we were to ever move – helping to comfort each other in a strange, new house. How lucky they are to have one another! In spite of their occasional sisterly squabbles, I hope they always remember and appreciate how blessed they are to have a sister!