Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What we are reading

Mackenzie has two books we have been reading. The first is book one of Fairy Realm-The charm bracelet by Emily Bodda. This is a chapter book we got at the library last week and have really enjoyed. I read to Kenzie in the afternoon's after she gets home from Kindergarten and Becca reads to her at night before bed. The other book is Return to Fairyopolis which we got at the bookstore over the weekend. This is a beautiful book that is written like a scrapbook with handwritten pages and little envelopes with notes inside. There is a definite fairy theme and it will come as no suprise that she wants to be Tinkerbell for Halloween!

Becca is reading Eragon by Christopher Paolini. She tested at a seventh grade reading level at the end of second grade and cruises through small chapter books in days. It can be a little tricky finding her something to challenge her reading ability but is still age appropriate. She is really into dragons lately and when we came across How to Raise and Keep a Dragon by John Topsell she was all over that. I love finding books that feed thier imaginations! Another theme going on here, but she doesn't want to be a dragon for Halloween, she wants to be Elizabeth Swann in her pirates outfit from Pirates of the Caribbean!

Dom isn't much of a reader unless it is magazines or it is to learn something which for me, as a bookworm, is a little hard to accept. I am always saying you should read this or that and his response is always the same,'I'll just wait for the movie to come out.' So I don't bug him anymore but he did pick up few books a little while ago and has been reading Patriotic Battles- How the War of Independence was Fought by Michael Stephenson.

I am reading Life Artist- Scrapbooking Life's Journey by Ali Edwards. I am trying desperately to get back into scrapbooking on a regular basis and this book seems to be the inspiration I needed. It really stresses the simplicity and the importance of scrapbooking the little things in life not just the big events. It also stresses embracing imperfection. The picture doesn't have to be perfect, the page doesn't have to be perfect-life is not perfect, just roll with it. This was very helpful to me. In the back of the book are challenges and one is a week-in-the-life album. I have decided to take on this challenge for this week and so far it has been kinda fun.

Ali currently has this challenge going on on her blog in case anyone is interested in checking it out. http://www.aliedwards.typepad.com/
Her blog is helping to keep me motivated for the project.
I think this will be a fun album to look back on years from now and see what has changed and what has stayed the same, if anything.

This is what one of the pages in Mackenzie's Return to Fairyopolis book looks like. This is helping to inspire my scrapbook too!

Monday, September 29, 2008

I Can't Knit!

No, I can't knit but I made this really cute hat in an afternoon!

While looking for crafts to keep the kids busy over the weekend I bought myself a set of knifty knitters. Knifty Knitters are round or rectangular looms that come in different sizes. Instead of knitting with needles you knit on the loom. They are pretty easy to learn how to use, though the directions that came with them were not real helpful. I also bought a book too that was really easy to understand and the book includes several patterns. You can also find directions, patterns and videos online. The set I bought has four different size looms in it.

Basically you wrap the yarn around the pegs and use a little hook to pull the yarn over the pegs to make your stitches. Easy.
I have tried to learn to knit in the past. My mom tried to teach me several times when I was younger and I just couldn't get it. I can crochet a little bit but I have trouble keeping my stitches even throughout a whole piece but with this I had no trouble and I was pretty proud of myself. The round looms make it really easy to make a hat and I am hoping to try my hand at socks. You can make flat items too on the round loom you just knit in a "C" shape instead of going all the way around the loom.
Now the girls want me to make hats for all their webkins and their Amercan Girl Dolls!

So if you are looking for something to keep you busy this winter, check these out!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

It's raining again

After having a rainy summer the last thing I want to see is more rain but here we are again, our third day in a row of rain. I am more lenient with TV and computer time for the girls when it is rainy but when it rains for several days in a row there has to be a limit. So I took a quick trip to the craft store to see if I could find something. I grabbed a couple of puzzles and then came across one of those little plastic looms that you use little loops of fabric to weave together to make potholders. I remember doing this as a kid and thought the girls might enjoy it and they did! I even got a little idea book to make other things with the squares. These two things kept the girls busy for a good part of the weekend.

Today Dom was a little stir crazy so we headed to the book store to wander around and let the girls each pick out a book. Becca got a book about dragons and Becca got a book about fairies. These are two of the girls favorite things. The rest of the afternooon was pretty laid back. The girls have read their books, both alone and together and now things are settling down for the evening. I am hoping that tomorrow is a drier day so we can get outside again!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Do you ever...?

Do you ever flip through the channels on TV and get sucked into watching one of those infomercials about the newest products you just can't live without? I do. I don't buy anything. At least not for the one easy(or two easy or three..) payment of 19.99 because eventually it will be in stores for about a quarter of the price because that is of course what it is really worth and why they offer to throw in another item at no extra charge!
Most of the time as soon as I change the channel I forget about the product anyway. But sometimes a product keeps popping into my head or more accurately I keep seeing the same damn infomercial and I think, maybe I really do need that product. Such is the case with the Swivel Sweeper.
Now let me start by explaining that I hate to vacuum. It is my most dreaded household chore. I would rather scrub the toilets than vacuum. I am not even sure why I dislike it so much, mostly I guess it is the noise and it's big and heavy and the cord gets wrapped around furniture legs, dog legs, kid legs, my legs... Plus the fact that with two dogs, a cat and two kids you can hardly tell I've vacuumed within minutes. But because of the two dogs, cat and two kids I really need to vacuum everyday and quite honestly I don't. I can't. I won't. You can't make me!(Though my husband has tried.)
But then I saw the infomercial for the swivel sweeper. A battery powered little sweeper for any surface. Cool. No cords, it's light and it only makes a little noise. Surely this would be easier than battling with the vacuum. So when I saw one at target yesterday, I bought it. I was very excited to get it home and try it but I had to wait for the battery to charge for eight hours!
But I couldn't wait for eight hours. I tried it after about three and it worked quite well. I really like it. I tried it again this morning after it was fully charged and so far I am pleased with it. The only down side is that it has a little tray that fills up pretty quickly. I've only been using it for a day so we'll see how it holds up to everyday use as it is made of plastic. I am hoping that a quick run over the carpet daily will keep up with all the pet hair and dirt that gets tracked into the main part of the house on a daily basis and then I'll just have to battle with the big vacuum once a week. I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Back to Nature

I have been reading an interesting book lately called Last Child in the Woods- Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv. It is pretty interesting, though it reads quite like a textbook.

"A single sentence explains why Louv's book is so important:'Our children,' he writes,'are the first generation to be raised without meaningful contact with the natural world." This matters, and Last Child in the Woods makes it patently clear why and lays out a path back."
-The Ecologist
"Important and original....As Louv so eloquently and urgently shows, our mothers were right when they told us, day after day, "Go out and play.'"
-The Christian Science Monitor

I remember being told the exact same thing as a kid and I have many great memories of playing outside with friends and alone. It was expected and these days not so much. Kids are plugged in and tuned out to nature. My own children even would rather play video games than play outside and explore the acres of land we have. I have to drag them out into the woods, but once we are out there it's hard to get them back home. Once they are unplugged and outside it is so fun to watch their imaginations take over. No toys required, simple sticks and rocks are suddenly the best toys ever. Sticks become fairy houses and rocks become dragon eggs. Becca had a stick she used several days in a row and called it her adventure stick and Kenzie had a smaller one that was her adverture twig. So much fun!

The book was a reminder about how important it is to stay connected with nature both as kids and adults. As the book states, it is no coincidence that there has been a rise in obesity, attention deficit and depression as we, as a society become more disconnected with nature.
So get outside. Do it for yourself and your children!
I'll get off my soapbox now and share some pictures of some of our outdoor adventures.
If your gonna play near the water, eventually you've gotta go in right?

Boomer tries to steal Becca's 'adventure stick'.
There are two smaller steams on the way to the river which we have named Kenzie Creek and Becca Brook. Kenzie used to be afraid to cross the logs on her own but after being left to explore on her own she began crossing on her own and went back and forth her confidence growing with each step. Within a 1/2 hour the girls had found a spot that they could jump across on their own and they were so proud of themselves and each other!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Awesome Apples

Today is the first day of fall which is my favorite season of the year. Summer is a close second, but I really love fall. The sights, the sounds, the smells... everything. Another reason I love living in New England is no one has fall like we have fall. The weather has been fall like for about a week and the leaves are beginning to change. I'm hoping because of the rain we will have some great color this year.
One of our fall traditions is of course apple picking. The past couple of years we have done all our apple picking at our favorite orchard-Grammy and Grampy's house! We picked Macs, cortlands, and golden delicious. We even scored a few peaches and pears too! We came home with two huge baskets and I am not sure we will be able to eat them all. I'll be doing a lot of baking these next couple of weeks so feel free to share your favorite apple recipes!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Got Milk Bone??

I found a dog biscuit in our bed when I went to make it this morning. We do have two dogs so I guess it may not seem that unusual. Except of course that my two dogs aren't the type to bury things and save them for later. In fact my two dogs treat every piece of food as if they haven't eaten for days and may never eat again. Especially Boomer. If it looks like food, smells like food, was once near a piece of food or was food in a former life he's going to eat it. Or at least attempt to. So to find an uneaten biscuit in bed is a little odd to say the least.

Maybe it's a message from the universe. (Probably not.)
Maybe my husband accidentally dropped it when he gave the dogs a biscuit before bed last night. (Probably.)
Maybe I need to get a life and not take pictures of odd things and blog about them.(Probably not.)

Now That both children are in school and I can actually hear myself think several hours a day, without someone going,
"Mom, can you......"
"Mom, where's my..."
"Mom, I'm hungry..."
"Mom? Mom?Mom?"
You get the picture.
Now I want to blog more and share all these cool things happening in our lives on a regular basis and well, the best thing I could come up with was finding a dog biscuit in bed this morning.
Okay it wasn't the best thing I could come up with. I actually have probably hundreds of pictures of the girls I could have shared but I didn't and I actually get several ideas a week, (a day even) for blog posts. But I don't write them down and get distracted ("Mom can..."), and I forget. So today I chose to babble on about the dog biscuit I found in my bed, cause I am in a random, nonsense kinda mood and I may have had one too many cups of coffee this morning, and because I know my nearest and dearest friends and family will continue to read this post til the end because they love me and because hopefully it made you at least crack a smile.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Nascar 08

This past Sunday Dom and I were at the race in Loudon and thanks to my wonderful sister-in-law, Ellen (Thanks again!) we were able to get passes to go down to the garage area and pits before the race.
We were a little worried that the race would get rained out because it poured all morning. Luckily it let up just before noon so that there was time to dry the track before race time.
I enjoy going to the races but it was really fun to wander around and get to see some of the behind the scenes stuff as well as see the cars up close and you never know who may walk by .
Like "The King" himself, Richard Petty....

Or Presidential candidate John McCain....

It took us awhile to find the 99 car (My favorite) as most of the cars were being inspected and we weren't in the right place at the right time. When we did find it it was jacked up outside the garage being worked on and I knew that couldn't be a good sign with race time fast approaching. It did give us a good chance to check out the car and take pics. I wish we had more time to take pictures, the rain unfortunately shortened our time down there. I am trying to take my photography to the next level and get more than just the usual snapshots when we go somewhere. In fact we almost missed driver introductions we spent so much time looking at the car! Whatever they did to the car worked because they ran well all day and even though they didn't win they came in third! Now Carl is leading in points. Go Carl!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Kitchen help

The girls really like to help out in the kitchen and I am trying to let them help out more and more so when they leave home will know their way around a kitchen . Though Becca recently declared that she doesn't want to go to college, get a job, or ever leave home. I'm glad that she is happy here but well... you know.

So anyway, I have had them prepare their own lunches and snacks for school and help to make dinner in the evenings.
Thursday evening we made sauce with tomatoes fresh from our own garden and while they were cooking on the stove Kenzie peered into the pot and said "Mom the tomatoes are melting!"
I thought this was pretty cute.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

12+ Years

This past weekend Dom and I celebrated our 12th anniversary. Not only have we been married for twelve years but have actually been together for 18 years!! Boy time flies when you are having fun.
There wasn't any big celebrating going on this weekend though the girls seemed a little disappointed there would be no big party like the one they remembered a few years ago for Grammy and Grampy's 50th. I explained that big parties were usually saved for "big" anniversaries like 25 or 50. Then they wanted to know why weren't having a "little" party then since it was a little number and I had no answer for that. So maybe next year we will have a "little" party!

We did enjoy some nice thick steaks on the grill and a black raspberry cream pie for dessert. Also as a gift to each other we gave our bedroom a much needed makeover. Our bedroom has been the most neglected room in the house when it comes to decor. The furniture is fine and all matchy-matchy but the rest of the room just kinda of ended up with the leftover pictures and knicks that didn't go anywhere else in the house and had nothing to pull it all together. The walls were an ivory color and the carpet a blue. Why I chose blue carpet I have no idea, it's a nice blue but I found it to be limiting when I thought about decorating. I have watched numerous decorating shows and still couldn't come up with what to do with the room until this summer.
When we got back from our trip to Maryland and decided I wanted to do the bedroom over (and really liked the color that Jen had on her guestroom wall. Yes Jen, you inspired me!)I started out with finding some bedding I liked , took a color from the comforter for the wall-Mississippi Mud- a bit darker than Jens room I think. I then matched to sheets to the carpet and then just added a few other knickknacks to finish it all off. We also moved my dresser which really made a suprising difference in the overall look of the room. I still need some new lamps and couple more pics for the walls but now I absolutely love it! The room feels nice and cozy just like a bedroom should!

I forgot to take a before pic but here is the after:

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

First Day of School 2008

Today is my baby's first day of Kindergarten. Mackenzie is so excited to finally be going to school like her big sister. She is so proud to have her own backpack, her own folder and her own classroom. I am excited for her and excited to have some time to myself, if only for a few hours.
But I am also a little sad because she is of course my baby.