Monday, November 30, 2009

little vignettes... the story of their lives

My daughters are very creative.  Always expressing themselves... through music, art, writing- and always changing and growing.  Many times a week, I stumble upon a vignette in one of their rooms - and it is so very "her", it makes me smile. 

The other day, I took a few photos because, really, these vignettes tell the story of their lives. In the moment they are living them.   And I will never have that moment back...



the memories are mine to treasure,


this post is linked to fingerprint fridays
...where do you see God's fingerprints?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

thanksgiving morning 2009

gianna and brielle dressed with school spirit*...

shaye and mackenna celebrated their knowledge...

snacks for parade watching...

{no breakfast foods here!}

planning our attack for the next day...

this year's winner...

the dynamic duo of auntie and mackenna

with a solid 2nd place finish by shaye.

the day went on to include a delicious dinner-

thanks, John!!

and then pies, of course,


family and friends.

Ended the day with my favorite Thanksgiving tradition-

a viewing of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas!!

*colors edited as a safety precaution, but you get the idea.

 Just curious, what did you do?

Any fun traditions we should add to our day??

Saturday, November 28, 2009

sneak peek.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

give me a break.
and a Kit Kat would be good too.

This upcoming week is crazy busy for me: volunteer commitments, cooking for classroom "Thanksgiving feasts", shopping for project supplies, going to see new moon, and now I'm supposed to be resting(funny), following up with doctors and specialists, and this is the week we decorate for Chirstmas!  

So... I will be taking a break from here, until I return at the beginning of December- which is the very next week! - with lots of great pictures and posts about all things cheery and bright.  

Until then...


check out this picture of Brielle that I snagged off her camera, because she hates posing for me lately...

she's twelve.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

our favorite things

Since I am a procrastinater and waited until the very last minute to take my pictures for this and then was taken by ambulance yesterday for an allergic reaction, I am just sitting down to do this post.  Thus, instead of run around trying to take good pictures, download 'em, etc.  I'm just using pics I got off the web. But I swear to you- these are all things we have in our home right now.  And usually.  In fact, John just bought two more bottles of this wine the other day...

Only about $15 a bottle and delicious - all of the red ones in this collection are - but you'll have to take my husband's word for it because I don't drink wine. But he does.  Enough to know what he's talking about.

Me? I know Yankee Candles.  They are the only candles I buy and use.  And those metal draft covers they sell for about $10?  Not a gimmack.  They totally keep your candle burning evenly- with NO waxy residue left on the jar at all!  Worth the one time investment. 

My favorite for this time of year:

I have been burning this scent every Christmas for 10 years now- I never get tired of it and I always get compliments on it.  My other all time favorites are Stormwatch, Sage and Citrus, Cherry Lemonade, and Spiced Pumkin.  Every now and then I'll get something else, but those are my go to scents.  I just bought my Christmas Eve jar last Saturday and Yankee Candle gave me a small jar of Nutcracker for free! I'll let you know what I think, I haven't lit it yet...


the only stitch of make-up I wear 99.9 percent of the time. (I will wear eyeliner and eye shadow for like, a wedding.  Or when we go to a fancy resturaunt.) No lie. I own one eyeliner, one trio of eye shadow and my Lash Blast.  Nothing else.  I wear vaseline on my lips. No face makeup, blush- never have, never will.  Tried it in high school and thought it was sooooo uncomfortable.  I'm all about comfort. 

What else. Hmm.

Oh wait, I have some pics on Flickr of some of my favorite things...

my chocolate diamond ring. true love always.

(the most embarassing video ever- me getting the ring)

the cupcake picks I bought from Bake and Destroy
for my sister's (a big ELVIS fan. HUGE.) birthday.

New Balance sneakers.

More specific to this picture- my cupcake stand.

Hershey kisses. true love forever.

my Ugg boots.  worn daily from now until.. summer.

my van.  2006 Town & Country. no problems ever.

knock on wood.

the wallet and mini wallets
I bought last year from Mushy Bug.

They hold my coupons, medical cards, and library cards.

They make me happy every time I pull them out.

And yes,

I carry everyone's  library cards.  it's just easier that way.

I also love Diet Coke, Subway veggie delights, or BTs- hold the L.

Vanilla Chai drinks from Dunkin' Donuts are my favorite.

I don't like Honey Dew's donuts.  They are too doughy.

And I love to make fun stamps to dress up my mail.

To see everyone else favorite things, visit...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

live and let learn: toddlers

Before I answer the question left in comments the other day, let me state that I never left any of my daughters unattended while participating in any of the following activities.  I don't follow suggested safety guidelines- I'm just present.  Which means there and aware of what's going on. 

Question: If you had an 18 month old at home right now what projects or activities would you do with her?

Short answer: Let them do.  Adapt and relax.  Toddlers are preschoolers too- don't underestimate their abilities- they will often surprise you and they will "get it" eventually.  Each of my daughters had their own kid scissors by the time they were two. Not plastic "safety scissors" (who could ever cut anything with those?)  Real blunt edged scissors.  Just being exposed to them was helpful- eventually they learned how to hold and operate them correctly.  And by age four, they could use any scissors, even the kitchen ones. Save your money.  There is absolutely no need for the latest "learning toy".  Kids learn by doing.  So live and let learn.

supplies every toddler should have:


*I never bought special sized or shaped crayons, pencils, etc.  Kids will learn to hold everything correctly eventually, and the practice does their fine motor skills good!
Allow them access to:
your recycling bin toilet paper rolls, tissue paper, boxes, empty containers and lids, etc.
your canned goods great for sorting and stacking
your pots and pans and cooking utensils let them make a mess of your cabinets, better yet actually cook with them.
your dust pan and brush
your bags, purses, and shoes

a roll of toilet paper

cotton balls

Try, do, learn.  Researching unschooling and other various methods of child education- it was amazing to me the "academics" children learn through living.  Of course, you know that- it's instinctual, but we are groomed to think "learning" only happens when "teaching" is going on.  Well, you can see the learning value in any and all of the following things to do with your toddler...

  1. play ISpy They don't have to guess a specific item, just naming anything that is the color you named is good enough.

  2. go on a themed scavenger hunt (Outdoors: numbers, Fall, Christmas, etc.  Indoors: circles, numbers, colors, bears, etc.)

  3. make leaf rubbings

  4. take advantage of the local library Attend story hour, take out books, play in the childrens' room.

  5. two words: sidewalk chalk

  6. play "Jack" be nimble Lay a taper candle down on the floor.  Have your child jump over it while singing "Jack" be nimble, "Jack" be quick, "Jack" jumped over the candlestick - inserting your child's name.

  7. play follow the leader This works great for when you have housework.  Skip to the laundry room, stand on one foot while washing the dishes, etc.

  8. have a pillow fight Sound crazy? think gross motor skills!

  9. make a sock puppet Can be as simple as drawing eyes and a mouth on a sock with a marker.

  10. make some ice in large containers and add it to their bathtub 

  11. have fun with food coloring- try some green eggs and ham

  12. three words: arts and crafts At this age, that simply means letting them use the materials.  Glue, paint, color... do a little art every day.

  13. experiment with materials Golf ball painting, sponge painting, potato stamping, etc.  Glue cotton balls, cheerios, anything you have on hand. Color on paper, the sidewalk, your bathtub(tub crayons).  Think outside the box- the possibilites are endless.

  14. read with your child

  15. subscribe to preschool daze An amazing blog written by the director of a preschool and all projects are listed alphabetically so they are easy to find!!  An abundance of ideas- toddlers are preschoolers too, especially when they have you right there to help them!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

wordless wednesday:
youngest & oldest

fivE and 15 !

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

tactile learning

Mackenna's homework assignment:

practice writing in shaving cream or sand.

We've done this before in salt.

She was having so much fun...

that it wasn't long before...

some of her sisters wanted in on it...

you're never too old to indulge your senses.

Monday, November 16, 2009

education update:
back to school after homeschooling...

November homework: make a thank you card for someone special-

So many of you have emailed wondering how Shaye is doing in her "super grade" or how Mackenna is adjusting to Kindergarten that I figured it's time for an official update. First off, let me say, I am very excited about everything that the girls' school is implementing and that it is hard to capture the excitement and inovativeness of all that they do in a blog post, but I will try to sum it up.

The school is using the Tools of the Mind program for Kindergarten this year and it's exciting to be a part of it.  It focuses on teaching the children how to self-regulate AKA be able to attend to learning!  It is a program chock full of getting the kids doing and writing, and centers around the Magic Treehouse series- the children do "unit studies" (themed dramatic play, writing, and hands-on activites) for each book.  Hey, homeschoolers- sound familiar?!!  Mackenna is loving being in a classroom and going full time, although she does get tired and tends to be very cuddly/clingy- especially towards the end of a week.

Shaye's multi-age classroom was the answer to our prayers.  As close to a "perfect" educational solution that a public school can offer- considering the logistics of a large group mandates keeping a schedule. Other than that, it is a free learning environment.  They work in pairs and small groups, all around the room; They are encouraged to make connections and have ideas.  They perform hands-on tasks and "math" is a series of games and problems- not boring drills and paperwork.  Her vocabulary is challenged  and her ideas are listened to and expanded upon.  Shaye loves being with other children- and these children are all similar to Shaye in that they love to read, love to learn, enjoy school and doing/learning new things.  This group of children all pick things up easily, so the learning moves at a great pace for Shaye. 

The person having the most difficult time adjusting to back to school? Me. For the first time in fifteen years, I have no kids at home with me.   Luckily, the school loves volunteers and the kindergarten teachers are asking for project ideas and supplies- so, I didn't have to give it all up cold turkey.  I miss the girls, but we make the most of days off, and anyone that reads this blog knows by now that living is learning in this home and that hasn't changed at all.  :)

Rereading this post, I realize it's pretty generalized- if you have specific questions,  feel free to email me or ask in comments.  Child ed. is one of my favorite topics!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

wordless wednesday: oh, happy day

{one Saturday in October}

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thanksgiving Day Parade BINGO

We, like many others, watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade every Thanksgiving morning.  This year, we will be having a little extra fun- playing BINGO for a dollar- thanks to the link to these SIX UNIQUE THANKSGIVING PARADE PRINTABLE BINGO CARDS from Family Fun that fellow blogger Tammy, from Homeschool Rocks, provided me with.  She posted links to more great Thanksgiving activities here.  Thanks Tammy!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

coconut hot chocolate. yum.

I love me some Almond Joy candy bars.  That's why when I saw the recipe for coconut tres leches in the November issue of BHG, I had to try whipping some up.  I say try because I'm not so good at "cooking" things that need constant supervision- ask my girls about my grilled cheese disasters.  Yesterday was a half day of school for the littles, so we gave it a whirl...

3 c.     skim milk
1  can unsweetened coconut milk
2/3 c.  unsweetened condensed milk
2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix the three milks in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering.  Whisk in the cocoa.  Remove from heat and then stir in the vanilla.  Top with what you love.  Share with who you love.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

wordless wednesday:
the unpink ladies - Halloween 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

seasons defined. dates or life?

If you've ever noticed my post labels (and even though I often overthink and change them- all 450+ of them- every 6 months or so, I'd honestly be surprised if you did), you might think I'm a bit flaky.  I post stuff now (November) and file it under INSPIRATION - WINTER.   Back-to-school pictures have been posted under Autumn in the past- even though our district starts school in August. So what gives?  Seasons for me are defined by our life, not by what season the calendar says it is... 

Autumn = First day of school through October 31

Winter =  November 1 until February 14

Spring = February 15 - last day of school

Summer = first day of summer vacation until last day of summer vacation

What about you?

Monday, November 2, 2009

behind the scenes...
Halloween in our home

Sunday, November 1, 2009

54 shopping days until Christmas