I realized I am behind on some pictures from this month, like pictures of the girl's birthday party with friends, the blizzard, a visit with Santa and the girls in their Christmas outfits that they wore at church for their big performance on the big stage.
M had her first official dental visit on Monday and was a pro! The visit went so well! She has been to the dentist before when S had her cleanings. Also, we had the dentist look at a front tooth that seems to be two teeth joined together.
I think it also helped for this visit to have M watch S get her cleaning done first. But once S was done, M was anxious to get into the dentist chair!
She was so sweet! She opened her mouth wide when directed. She would wave to me as her teeth were getting cleaned. She laughed when the water squirter would rinse her teeth. She said her teeth were crunchy (because of the tooth polish). She did such a good job! I am so proud of her!
One of my childhood Christmas memories is of snacking on Keebler Holiday Jingles and Almond Crescents. It's been a couple years, maybe, since I've had them. But a couple weeks ago, I thought about them and sought them in our local grocery store. None. I almost thought they weren't made anymore but was given some encouragement when I saw a Kebbler ad with a box of Jingles in the picture. I've been looking every time I go shopping and have even kept my eyes open at other stores (like a local mega superstore) but I have not seen them. I know they are a seasonal item so either I am completely missing them or they are just that popular! (And, no, I have not asked management where they are, figuring that maybe my figure and cholesterol don't need those cookies.) Well, today the desire was real strong for Jingles so I was on a mission to find the cookies at my store. I scanned the aisles and pounced on any holiday display I could find at my local grocery store and still NO Jingles! BUT I did come across Salerno Santa's Favorites Anise Flavored Cookies (which look and taste like Jingles). And the company also has Almond Crescents. I decided to give them a try. The Anise Flavored ones were OK. They did remind me of Jingles. But the cookie seems smaller than Jingles. I'll still eat them though. The Almond Crescents were good although I wished they had a touch more powered sugar on them. The good thing is they have 0g trans fat and no cholesterol. So I don't feel totally guilty. :) I still miss the Jingles. But then again, maybe I am not missing anything at all. I just found this blog posted in 2007 about the writers own lament over missing the beloved Holiday Jingles. (I did not realize there was so much history between Salerno and Keebler and the whole story behind the Jingles.) The writer found both the Keebler and Salerno brands at a store, decided to taste test both and concluded that the Keebler Brand was nothing like they remembered. I found another blog with the same kind of frustration over the Keebler brand recipe and how the Salerno brand is THE original. WOW! So much history that I was totally unaware of. So did I eat Keebler or Salerno brand as a kid?? I am pretty sure it was Keebler but maybe not. Sounds like I need to do a taste test as well!
I sent out Christmas cards this year (thanks to all the free or nearly free photo offers out there!) I didn't send out a Christmas letter because I didn't have time to write then. Well, I've got a few moments tonight so here is a short (only because my memory might not be working properly) update:
C: wrapped up with one project late summer and is on to another project. He recently wrapped up with his men's church group. He continues to input sermon notes for church. Through diet and exercise, he has shed quite a few pounds. He remains on blood thinner medications until next month, we hope.
L: A friend and I co-lead the mom's group at church. We have a great group of small group leaders and wonderful participants. I continue to team lead in the three year old class on Sunday mornings. I continue to freelance for local publications. Over the spring I was asked to write a weekly piece on local people doing good things. I really enjoy it. Homeschooling took a break this fall. Not sure why we were so busy but it just never fit and then I just decided to take a break. I hope to resume in January and may even start some things with M. I have a lot of great resources a friend has recommended so that will also be exciting to add to our plans.
S: turned 5 this year. We took a trip to Chicago over the summer and she is all a buzz about one day buying a car, moving to Chicago and being an artist and working with beluga whales at the Shedd Aquarium. She has also enjoyed pretend play as a chef so that has also been an interest. And she really has taken to anything to do with space travel so she hopes to one day go to space and stay on the International Space Station (which we've seen in the night sky a couple times. VERY cool!) She has her life pretty much planned out already.
M: turned 3 this year. She continues to be on the go, go, go! Honestly she is something. So uniquely designed. Sweet one time and sour the other. She is so independent, stubborn and determined when she gets her mind set to it. But then she can disarm you with her smile or laugh. She will be "I Do It!" one moment and then "Mama, I want a hug," the next. This fall she and S attended Patriot Preschool and she loved it! They both graduated from PPS today. I look forward to the spring program, which will be a little longer. And I plan to enroll S as well. I know she really enjoys it.
This year the girls were both in the children's church Christmas program. This was M's first time on the big stage and she did a really good job! We are so proud of the girls! They love singing and this was the best time for them! M wants to go on the big stage again but hopefully Miss Impatience can be patient enough to wait until next year!
We are looking forward to Christmas Day at home. And we get to go to our church on Christmas Day! After that, we will be making various travels to visit family. I am praying for good weather, unlike last year.
We pray everyone is doing well! Please keep in touch or send us updates, addresses and the like!
Many Christmas blessings to you! As you open your gifts, remember the greatest gift of all is not in a box but the one sent from heaven above!
Blizzard Allison has long past but now bitter cold is entering the area. So maybe we'll be home again tomorrow. We'll see. I am scheduled to take a meal to a new mom. But maybe that can wait. I wouldn't mind another day at home, especially if it means staying out of the bitter cold. We did get outside for a little bit today. It had stopped snowing at one point in the morning but it was windy. M's cheeks each had a big red welt/spot but they went away. She may need a ski mask for outside play this winter. That and longer mittens. Why don't they make longer mittens for kids? Or if anyone knows where to find some, let me know ASAP! M's issue (and S had the same issue a couple years ago) was that her mittens didn't stay in the coat sleeves so when she played in the snow, it would get on her wrists, making those red as well. (Her wrists had evidence of welts, just not red, more like an outline.) C stayed home today. He spent a lot of time outside clearing our driveway and helping neighbors. The driveway was pretty clear of snow by dinnertime. I hear the wind though so I imagine there is a nice drift in the driveway. We didn't get to the sugar cookie cut-outs. Maybe tomorrow or this weekend. But I was in the kitchen a lot today. I made pancakes for breakfast; put together a chicken chili for dinner; made fudge and toffee bars; made grilled cheese sandwiches and soup for lunch; and made an Impossibly Easy Cheeseburger Pie for my new mom friend. The girls played nicely inside. I made their tutu's and we watched a couple holiday movies. It was a busy day. I am ready for bed!
The blizzard warning is out! We may get 8 to 14 inches tomorrow! WOW! I think a lot of long time WI residents are trying to remember the last time there was a blizzard warning. I am glad I was able to get out and about today (although it felt like EVERYONE was out!) and yesterday so I could get essentials we will need for a couple days at home. Tomorrow would be a perfect jammie/laid back day. I bought some sugar cookie dough so maybe we can get to those cookie cut-outs. Also, the girls got a make-you-own-tutu kit so that will be a project as well. And I've DVR'd several holiday movies so maybe we'll snuggle on the couch with popcorn and hot cocoa and watch some flicks. Sounds perfect! And hopefully by Thursday the winds will have died down some so we can play in the snow. If you're in WI, take it easy! Stay home! If you need to venture out, BE SAFE!!!
OK. I see the commercials for those Snuggie blanket things and laugh. But here I sit, swaddled in a blanket because it's freezing cold in the house, wrapped in the same fashion as the Snuggie. Maybe they are on to something...... But, seriously, would you wear one at a tail gate party or sporting event? Maybe I shouldn't laugh over that either!
We put our trees up last weekend, along with the outdoor decorations.
I love our trees. They are so pretty.
The one in the family room is our newest tree. We got it at the end of the season last year. It's about 7 ft. and C put lights in it. M got to put the star on the top. S says it is full of ornaments. I say it is full of memories.
I love ornaments, especially the ones that represent memories. I always pick out an ornament for each family member. On the tree this year is an angel of peace and two Star Trek ornaments (a communicator and Captain Kirk surrounded by tribbles.)
Also for this new tree, I bought traditional glass balls: red, gold, frosted white and red and gold. They look beautiful in the tree!
Our old tree, the one we've had since S was little, went into the playroom for the girl's ornaments, like Sesame Street characters, ballet shoes, a ballerina and more. Today for an Advent activity, the girls got to add candy canes to their tree.
The tree is a pre-lit one. Unfortunately over the summer the box must have fallen, destroying the tree base which held the fiber optic feature of the tree. But C created a new base, which fits the tree perfectly! And the regular lights still work.
Also for our holiday decorations are several Nativity scenes. The girls have a Veggie Tales Nativity scene in the play room. The first Nativity set is under the tree in the family room. The set came with Mary, Joseph, a cow and a sheep; all dolls so children can play with it. Mary and Joseph are not in the stable now because they are still making the journey. They were in the girl's bathroom this morning. :)
The other Nativity scene is a Willow Tree set, which is on the fireplace mantle. The stable we use was a find at a local resale shop. One day I hope to get the Wise Men to complete the set.
I love looking at the Nativity sets. I think about Mary and Joseph and wonder what they were thinking when the events started to unfold before them. What a wonder to think that you are going to carry and raise God's child! He loves us so much! It amazes me to think about how Jesus came into this world like every other earthly child. And then to be the parents to hold that precious bundle in your arms......! Living, breathing, flesh of God! What a reason to celebrate!
Today you are 3. M, you are growing so fast, it is hard to keep up at times! You amaze us with your intelligence. You seem to take everything in. We love to see your creative side come out through your playtime and the drawings that are starting to form. You also amaze us with your energy and determination! You have been on the go since the day you were born (look at that delivery time!) and you really don't show signs of slowing down! You also have wit and humor. You can be so goofy and quite the entertainer. You clearly idolize your bigger sister. You also try to act bigger than you are and do not like to be held back! You are always thinking 10 steps ahead of us! Slow down, sweetie! First things first, remember? Be patient. We do get frustrated with you many times over (comes from the stubbornness trait at this age) but we do love you all the same. And you have a knack of making those pickle times into sweet times with a smile or a goofy act or with a sweetness that does run through you. You act all independent and confident and fearless but inside there is still that baby who (finally!) wants snuggles from Mama and Daddy-o. We love you, peanut. God has truly blessed us with you! We look forward to the many years to come to see you grow and blossom!
Today we got into the holiday mood some as we baked cookies for a cookie exchange I'm doing with our church's mom's group on Tuesday. My holiday favorite are peanut butter blossoms. Might not sound like a holiday cookie to some but I love them! I am a sucker for peanut butter and chocolate! YUM-O!! I made over 10 dozen cookies. It sounds like a lot but I was surprised at how fast it went. The girls helped a little. M did not like rolling the cookie balls in the sugar. S helped with the first double batch. I was solo on the second double batch, but again, it went very fast. All these tasty cookies! I can't wait to see what we get at the exchange on Tuesday! Now to figure out how to store them until Christmas!!
I am so amazed! The 50 free SeeHere photo cards I ordered (and blogged about) on Wednesday showed up today!! Also, one of two free calendars from VistaPrint arrived yesterday. (And I see they have more freebies and deals I might have to consider!) Lastly, I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of two free photo books I created through Winn-Dixie. (See Freebies4Mom for details about this. It was posted on Nov. 6, I believe.) Lots of great photo gifts to give this holiday season! Maybe this week I might get a start on those Christmas cards!
Earlier this week the girls and I (along with a friend and her three kids) rang bells for the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign. It was a fun time, especially when the boys came up with a bell dance to entertain the shoppers. We certainly got more donations with that dancing! I enjoy this service. It is typically a lot of fun (although two hours can be long for the girls and they tend to lose interest toward the end). It is also a great life lesson for the girls. We talk about people who are in need, how the money we collect will be used and how we are helping just by giving a couple hours of our time. That's it. A couple hours of time make a world of difference for someone in need. So if you haven't signed up yet or haven't tried it yet, I encourage you to. Call your local Salvation Army office now.
Visit Freebies 4 Mom, one of my favorite blogs, to get the skinny on getting 50 free 4x8 photo cards. Absolutely, completely FREE!! This offer has been in the blogsphere for a while but I'm just now getting to it. I ordered mine tonight with no problems at all. I kept the card pretty simple but I think it's beautiful. Once I was done, I entered my information and waited to enter my payment info, for shipping at least, right? But, nope, I did not pay a penny!! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Freebies 4 Mom and SeeHere by Fujifilm for such a wonderful gift!!! (Update: I deleted the info I posted earlier about a free photo ornaments. Apparently that was not an accurate deal. See the comment below.) I have a confession: I tend to be somewhat a slacker when it comes to sending out Christmas cards. I have the best intentions (you should see the bag of Christmas cards I still have from previous years!) One year I wanted to send one of those photo cards where you slip your picture in. Another year, I was just going to do regular Christmas cards. But, more often that I should admit, not all the cards make it in the mail. I don't know what the hang-up is. Maybe it's addressing the envelopes, which seems daunting. But this year, I vow that everyone on our list should be getting a card! (And if I don't get one to you, I apologize in advance!) Again, check out this fabulous freebie! And if you are new to SeeHere, you can get 100 free prints! Also, before you get started on your photo cards, read up on Freebies 4 Mom for some tips to make the process go smoother. (There were some technical issues, I guess, but it should all be cleared up.) You have until Nov. 30 to get in on this freebie. Enjoy!!
I am so excited! For the next four weeks, not counting next week, I get 50 minutes of me time! The girls start PPS tomorrow! Three days a week for four weeks! I am excited for them. S is participating for the third time while M will give it a go for the first time. I know they will have a lot of fun with their buddies, make new friends, and, of course, learn a lot. There are some exciting themes in store! I am excited for me because this means time just for me! Whatever will I do? I could go shopping without the girls but I think I will be more inclined to enjoy the time at a local coffee shop and read. :) I cannot wait. I know the time will fly but I will treasure every minute. It will be just the refresher I need.
This season finds many families in need. Food pantries, among many other charitable organizations, are noting record numbers of families and individuals seeking their help. So here is a call to unstock your shelves and restock those in need. It's easy to do. Next time you are at the grocery store, grab an extra can of vegetables or box of pasta. Pick up an extra tube of toothpaste or shampoo. Lots of organizations can take your extras and get them to those in need. Homeless shelters can use personal care items; food pantries can use canned and boxed non-perishables. Organizations that care for domestic abuse victims (a number that is also growing due to this poor economy) and expectant mothers and their babies can use all sorts of baby and personal care items. Couponing seems to be popular these days so next time you head to the store for double coupon days, keep these organizations in mind. Instead of stocking your shelves, think of how you can help families in need. Yes, this time of year encourages a season of giving, but perhaps you can start a trend in your home that can be year-round. This need is not going away once the Christmas wrapping has been tossed away.
If you come to our house some night, don't be surprised to see one, a couple or all of us in our pj's. Pj's are warm and comfy. And they seem to be perfect for this time of year. More often than not, the girls are still in their jammies. They nap (or have quiet time) until about 4, by which time, it's getting dark. I'm usually busy with house stuff or making dinner or both so there's no harm in letting them stay in their jammies. By 5 it's pitch black, so again, what harm in letting them stay in their jammies. Then C and I often join the party. PJ's are comfortable and a giant stress reliever, in my humble opinion. I feel so cozy in them. And they are warm and comfy on these cold, dark nights. So, feel free to come on over, play a game with us, join the jammie party.
My Christmas shopping for the girls is nearly done! Generally I am not an early shopper but I've just happened to find some things that were on sale (great deals!) that I didn't want to pass up. For Christmas we give the girls three gifts each (representing the number of gifts Jesus Christ received from the Three Kings) and then a couple small stocking stuffers. So for S, I think I am done. I think I need one more gift for M. (And, on top of that, I had also picked up a couple birthday gifts for her.) Now to keep an eye out for gifts for C. Or maybe we'll just get one big gift for the both of us. :)
I heard Christmas music on a local station over the weekend! Christmas music! Actually, I think it was even before the weekend!!! BEFORE Halloween! What is this world coming to?? Seriously! I know the economy is in the tank and the stores want to drum up as much business as possible but they need to let up. It's too much to have to have the stress of Christmas so early. Let us enjoy one holiday at a time for goodness sake!
S turned 5 today! She is such a little lady. But we still miss the little girl. We have been so blessed to have her. She is a joy and amazing. She is loving and kind. She is funny and so full of joy. It is so cool to see her get things. She is eager to learn. Five years ago she came into this world. She was S, no longer Maynard, the name we called the child I carried. She was ours. But above all she is His. God has blessed us with her. We treasure her and we long for her to know and love Him. And she does. She loves to talk about God. She loves to sing to him, talk to him. The other day, she drew a picture of her and God. It was so cool. She gets it. We are eager to see that relationship blossom. We are eager to see what He has in store for her.
Her birthday was filled with a lot of fun and laughter. It was also a mix of birthday related stuff and Halloween. For her birthday I made a breakfast pan-cake. She got presents from us. (We are planning a combined birthday party for her and M for later in this year.)
Later we went to Wild Air with a family we know. What a great time for S....and M. Before that we tossed in some trick-or-treating at a local grocery store. We ended the day with a little trick-or-treating to a few homes on our block. And, we were blessed with a wonderful neighbor who made a chocolate chip cookie cake in the shape of a number 5. It was decorated and everything! How awesome! What a treat for us!
It was a full and fun day. Now M is talking about her birthday coming up!
We spent the weekend in MN at the Mall of America. The girls had a blast at the Nickelodeon Universe, the indoor amusement park.
S was brave and did not hesitate to try a couple roller coaster rides. One was a regular roller coaster. Another was one of those rides that takes you straight up and then drops you! S said her bottom kept coming up! Thank goodness for safety restraints!
M wanted to go on all the rides as well and did not take lightly to being told she could not because she was small. Thankfully there were similar versions of some of those big rides just for the little ones. Those appeased her for a little bit. She giggled the whole time on the Wonder Pets themed ride, which took riders straight up and dropped them several times.
Our families were also with us so we took the opportunity to have a small birthday party for the girls in the hotel we stayed at. It was a pool and pizza party of sorts.
Again, M showed us a new skill: she thinks she can swim! C says she started kicking her legs and moving her arms once she got into the water. She even wanted him to let go. Eventually she was in a swim ring, which helped her greatly. The next morning we hit the pool again and she spent the whole time in the swim ring, moving around on her own (we were within arms reach). S, on the hand, was a little skittish about being in the water. Probably did not help that she was cold and that the pool was kind of small and there was a lot of splashing, which bothered her. In any case, this is a clear sign that the girls need lessons!
Again, it was a good time and the girls are talking about going again. S also wants to go to the aquarium also in the MOA. We didn't go this time because we had visited it over the summer.
I didn't check when I last did a family update. But to date, we've celebrated a wedding anniversary and a birthday (mine). S's is coming up and M will follow in a month. Everyone is doing well. We've dealt with some illnesses. I think the girls may have even had a touch of H1N1. Who knows because I still can't tell the two apart. They are the same to me. Summer flew by. C brought in the summer stuff over the weekend while the weather was decent. We haven't done a lot as far as homeschooling goes. Nothing structured that is. S does some workbook pages here and there but I have not pulled out last years curriculum. Maybe in January. :) I might just focus on reading with S because she is showing signs. I might also start some basic things with M, although she continues to amaze us with what she knows! And she is super at Memory! WOW! She and S will be doing a preschool program at a local high school. S has done it before and she loves it! M is very excited. I just hope she will be a good listener. She continues to try is in that area. Well, not so much in the listening department because I am sure she hears us over and over again. But she doesn't always DO! We've been apple picking and to a pumpkin farm. The girls and daddy are going to attempt carving the pumpkins tonight. The leaves have fallen off one tree on our property. Soon the one in back will be bare. The air is crisp. I love fall!
We just finished breakfast for dinner. I LOVE breakfast. I could eat it at any time. I especially love it a dinner-time. I think because it is so comforting. After a long day with the kids (don't laugh! you try it sometime), it is nice to make something comforting and warm and just so delish! Plus it is super simple to make in a pinch! Pancakes, eggs and bacon....so easy and what could be better? Breakfast also evokes images of crisp, cold mornings, comfy pj's, tousled bed head, sleep eyes and the smiles that come with pancakes off the griddle or buttery toast and eggs. The ultimate comfort food! Now S says we need to try a dinner meal at breakfast. Hmmmmm.....not as appealing but I am game. Now what to make?
I don't watch Jon and Kate but I have been drawn into their whole situation. It's so horribly, horribly, tragically sad. Even more sad is that, despite the divorce proceedings underway, the show was still being taped and aired! Seriously, leave the family be! No, the family needs to grow up; the parents need to act like adults and think about saving their marriage and their children. So I was happy to read that someone is finally stepping up and doing something to stop the show. Jon, the husband, has put a cease and desist on taping and no trespassing for the TLC crew. It's about time someone put an end to it all! Why would they even want to consider continuing? Oh, right, for the money and because they are accustomed to that lifestyle. But seriously they should have pulled the plug a whole lot sooner.....for their marriage and for the kids!
I finally did it! I finally made applesauce! We picked apples a couple weeks ago... yummy Macs and Corts. I had made plans to make apple pie, applesauce and other goodies but hadn't had time (in part due to to preparing for the garage sale) until now. My friend sent this super simple crock pot recipe. Perfect for me! Peel, core and slice the apples, throw them in the crock pot with brown sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon and there you go! I was amazed too because an hour into the cooking I saw the apples still in slice form and figured I might have to put the batch through a blender or something. But in the end, it was applesauce! Amazing! (I get giddy over simple things in life. :) ) So now we have two of four bags of apples left. I plan to use some tomorrow to make a pork tenderloin with apples and an apple pie crumble, which is another recipe submitted by a friend. Sounds like a perfect meal for a fall day. Yum-o!!
I am into the last day of my first garage sale. It is MUCH quieter today. Yesterday morning there was a steady stream of people until about 11:30. This morning there has been a slow trickle of people. But maybe as the sky clears up and it gets warmer, more people will come out. The first thing that sold this morning was our Little Tykes Swing and Slide combo, which we sold at our asking price. A lot of small stuff has sold, even some of the cassette and VHS tapes I pulled out late yesterday afternoon. I figured people going up to their cabin up north might get some use out of VHS tapes. One gentleman commented that the TV selection up north isn't great and he's not going to pay for a dish. A lot more baby clothing has sold, although some outfits that I think are super cute are still around. We still have the Carter's John Lennon collection stuff. I had an older gentleman come in looking for the John Lennon collection but he meant music. He was surprised to see our collection was baby stuff. And even more surprised when I explained the characters used in the collection were drawn by John Lennon. The bigger baby items, like the swing, bouncy seat and walker, are also still around. And we put out an old entertainment center, which I hope will sell because I don't want to bring it back in the house. I guess it could get stored in the basement. Last night I decided to add a few more things, like women's clothing and winter gear. Some of the clothing has sold. Still have a lot of the maternity clothing. I was told that is sometimes harder to sell so perhaps I'll just donate it to a local organization. C asked if I'd do a sale again and I think I would. It really hasn't been bad. The pricing part was a little tedious but I got some sound advice from garage sale loving friends. And it helps to have someone else watch the girls. My friend A was a super help yesterday. And my folks are visiting for the weekend so the girls are having loads of fun. My mom even took the girls for a walk to check out all the other sales in the neighborhood. She says our sale is, by far, the biggest one. Probably because it's our first and we have a lot of baby stuff to get rid of. The pricing part of a garage sale is not fun but, as I clean out closets and drawers each season, I can see trying to get into the habit of putting them into totes specifically marked for the garage sale. Maybe even pricing them before storing them away. It's all in my head but it would be nice that should another time come, I can pull them out and go. I plan to even pack up the stuff from today, even still priced, to make the next time a little easier.
We are in the midst the first day of our first garage sale. There is a little lull now, which is a relief because my legs and back are aching! It's been a busy morning. We had people in our garage almost as soon as we opened the doors, over half hour before the scheduled start time. Yes, there early birds do truly exist. It's been busy. I have been surprised by what has sold, what hasn't. Some stuff I put out just to get rid of: we don't use or don't want. I'd say we have some really nice stuff, clothes especially. I look around the garage now and we still have a lot of stuff but we've sold a bit too. Not a piece of the John Lennon Collection baby stuff (bed sets, lamps, mobile, walker, swing, etc.) has sold. :( We still have a lot of toys left too. And I've dealt with two or three people who are looking for a lower price on the Little Tykes Swing and Slide combo. This has been an interesting experience. I am tired but we've got a couple hours before we can call it a day and re-evaluate things.
The girls and I joined some friends this morning to pick apples. Yum! We had a great time and got a lot of apples in no time at all. The trees were bursting with big apples. Macintosh and Cortland apples were available for picking. Yummy! I also picked up some Honey Crisp apples as well as apple cider, a couple caramel apples and caramel apple dip. For lunch we enjoyed grilled cheese apple slice sandwiches, apple slices with caramel dip and apple cider. The girls loved their apple themed lunch. In the next few days I plan to make apple pie and homemade applesauce. I might even try baked apples but I'll save that for another time. We've got plenty of apples! :)
This weekend we will be participating in our first neighborhood-wide garage sale!! Our neighborhood holds a garage sale twice a year. So we decided it's time to clean out the basement, which means all of the baby items. Yes, no more baby stuff. I've been going through totes and totes of stuff and it's been an interesting time. I see the clothes the girls once wore and I get a little nostalgic. I even went through all my maternity stuff and, man, I loved being pregnant! And I had some cute stuff. I found some shirts I loved to wear and part of me thought, I could get away with wearing that now. Tunic tops are in style, after all! But, no worries, Stacy and Clinton, I did not keep one maternity outfit! I am nearly finished with pricing the clothes. I just sorted through two more totes tonight but I am going to call it a night and price it all tomorrow. Then I have a couple tables in the basement with stuff piled on them. I'll tackle that tomorrow as well. My goal is to finish the pricing tomorrow and then start setting up Wednesday. I am excited to be doing this garage sale although I will be solo. My friend A is coming over with her kids to watch the girls so that is one less thing to worry about. And the weather looks great, which is a super plus! I'll try to post something after the sale and include pictures. Wish me luck!
S has been doing so well on her bike. But Sunday afternoon she had her first accident. Sadly, we didn't see it happen but we sure heard her halfway down the block!
She ended up with a swollen right corner of her lip, a small scrap on her chin, some road rash on her elbow and a little scrape on her front tooth.
Thankfully she was wearing her helmet because it got crunched up a little in the front too.
I am just thankful angels were watching over her. Chris was in our garage and I was talking to our neighbors. S likes to ride her bike up and down our street, which has little traffic so it's pretty safe.
We assume she was just peddling too fast and maybe got distracted by something and lost her balance and fell over. She was standing by the time we ran to her.
Again, thankful for the angels and helmet. I told her that when I was a kid, we weren't told to wear helmets. I showed her some of my scars from numerous bike accidents.
She jumped on the bike again Monday night without any fears or concerns. What a champ!
It appears there is something in the air that is affecting my allergies. Sadly, they hit me first thing in the morning, even when I start stirring at 4 a.m., even earlier! UGH! Praying this allergy season ends very quickly!
Now that S is riding big time, M is eager to quickly follow in her foot-steps. We decided the other day that she is ready to move up from the red tricycle. We briefly considered getting S a new bike but that will probably wait until next spring.
In the meantime, we decided to fix up a garage sale find from last year for M. It needed some TLC and new tire and inner tubes.
She jumped on that thing and was a pro! Riding and riding and riding. She had a good time.
I imagine next spring she'll want the training wheels off. I hope not!!
In other news: M is very nearly potty trained. We've been venturing out of the house with her wearing big girl undies and she has stayed dry! We still use Pull-ups at nap and bed times. But that will happen in due time.
A couple days ago S told us she was ready to have her training wheels taken off!! AAAAAAhhhhh! Gulp!!!!
So OK. We did. We really didn't have much of a clue how to teach her to ride without training wheels but we gave it a shot. C did all the work on this first try while I tried to keep M on one side of the driveway. He tried to help S maintain her balance and encourage her to keep pedaling. He tried to get her to ride from one end of the driveway to the other, grass to grass side, so that is she fell when he let go, she had a soft cushion. Later, they tried going down the street. I was not there to witness that because by that time it was hard to keep M out of the way.
Tonight S tried some more riding. She seemed a little more comfortable but still was inclined to leaning on one side. But there was one point where she managed to ride a little solo, without realizing it.
Practice, practice, practice, I keep telling her. Soon enough she'll be riding like a pro!
We are so blessed with our girls. They fill our hearts with joy and laughter. We also have typical parental struggles.
Recently we had their pictures taken and what a photo session! I was so impressed with M, who smiled and posed like a pro! A huge turn around to her 2 year old photo shoot, where she was a total stinker and refused to look at the camera, even get on the backdrop!
But the girls were so cute and loving and just ate the camera up! So of course it was so hard for me to pick just one pose for a free package coupon I had! I even took up an in-store offer to get a framed and matted portrait package for a steal!
I've been holding off serious blogging because we've had pictures on the camera to download...just not time to download. So I'll have some posts out yet this weekend. In the meantime, we are doing well. It is finally starting to feel like summer around here. My tomatoes are still showing signs of blossom rot bottom, or whatever it is called. I did spy a few that seem to be OK so maybe there is hope yet in a future crop. C has been on blood thinners for a month now. We continue to pray that the medicine works. He has been busy at work with two projects. I continue to freelance and am gearing up for co-leading our church's mom's ministry. I am very excited about that! S wrapped up VBS this week. She really enjoyed it and learned a lot, made some great crafts and even made a couple friends. Next week both girls will start ballet. S will move up to the next level class, which is an hour long class. The unfortunate thing is that the class is at 4:25, which means I will have to adjust nap time those days so the girls are up by 3, at least, so we can get out the door in time. M will be taking Fairytale Ballet, which she sampled this summer. I really hope she will enjoy it. I plan to enroll her in a tumbling class (she has a knack with somersaults) but possibly in the spring. We resumed homeschooling this week. Mostly we've been doing workbooks (alphabet, numbers and some kindergarten skills) and we have been going through some sight word books. I'll be pulling out last year's curriculum and upping it some with K-level things, as well as focusing on the skills S needs to know for K next fall. I'll probably also start working some more with M, which I hope will gear her up for Patriot Preschool in the fall. Summer is wrapping up quickly but that is OK. Autumn is my all time favorite season and S is already talking about apple picking!
Our tomatoes have rot bottom. What a total bummer! I don't know how it happened. Earlier in the process I read up a few articles and one suggested to prevent rot bottom, to add some egg shells in the bottom of the soil. So I did. But they still got rot bottom. We picked up something at the local home improvement store to boost the acidity in the soil but I don't think that helped. I guess there are a few tomatoes that are OK. I just hope so! Some of the tomatoes are starting to ripen...going from green to orange to reddish. I was so hoping to enjoy fresh veggies. Truth be told I have a horrible green thumb. The oregano or lettuce wasn't picked before flowering so I probably can't use them. And now the rot bottom on the tomatoes. I'll give it a better try next year.
Today we had a visit from a local kindergarten teacher with materials to prepare us for when S goes to school next fall. Registration is in January! WOW! The teacher played some games with S like finding letters, reading a book with Sight Words, looking at the alphabet, talking about how to write (from the top) and some counting. She says S is very ready and can see her being a big helper in the classroom. S was very excited. I know she is ready and part of me wishes she could go to school now. I know she would love it! But I know we are doing the right thing to wait until it is time. Besides, I want to keep her home a little longer. :) So, in the meantime, we will continue homeschooling, mostly re-using the curriculum we used last year with the addition of some more K level workbooks and focus on some of the skills she needs for kindergarten. We will also focus on reading, fine motor skills, tying her shoes, math and Spanish.
I love libraries! There are so many books to choose from. I still wish ours would offer a type of scanner that allows you to scan titles to be saved into a wish list on your library account. A few years ago, I discovered that libraries have DVDs you can check out. How exciting to get DVDs for free and many newer releases! I've enjoyed many DVDs from the library but it is so frustrating when you come across a DVD that is scratched to the point you can't watch the movie. Case in point when we tried to watch a family movie Saturday night. Grrrr!!! Smudges, scratches and more! I really wish people would take better care of items that do not belong to them. Libraries have limited budgets so it's not like they can easily replace DVDs. And if people aren't more careful, that service might not be available any more.
We returned yesterday from a five-day trip. It is good to be home! It feels like we've been gone a long time. We left last Wednesday. The main reason for heading up Norte is that C had a business meeting in the Twin Cities. We decided to make that into a family trip. We would visit my sister and then head over for an already planned weekend visit to C's family. The drive up to MN was fine. Long and late by the time we got to my sister's place. C had his meeting on Thursday so the girls, my sister and I went to the Minneapolis Zoo, which was pretty neat. They had cheeky monkeys, a cool water fountain, dolphins, a monorail and lots of cool animals. S got to touch a shark and tried to touch a sting ray. Even though it was a little windy and cool, I let the girls run around the water fountain when we finished with the exhibits. Good thing it was the last thing to do before leaving because while they were playing, the sprinkler part went off, leaving just these water jets shooting up from the ground. Needless to say, the girls got soaked!! On Friday we ventured to the Mall of America. Mostly I wanted to take the girls to the Underwater Adventure. It was cool. A little pricey but cool. They had one of those underwater tunnels so we saw all sorts of fish, turtles, sting rays, sharks and more. S was excited about the sea horse exhibit. The girls got to touch crabs and star fish. I am sure we will be making another trip or two to MN this year yet. C for sure with his business meetings. But also because the girls were ga-ga over the Nickelodeon Universe in the MOA. We walked through there before the Underwater Adventure. Needless to say, the girls were really excited and wanted to go on the rides. They were pretty understandable about the fact that we were not going to play in there, instead going to the Underwater Adventure. (We'd already purchased those tickets so there was no way we had the time or money to do both.) But I could see taking the girls there in the near future so we can do Nick Universe specifically. We left Friday night to head over for our family visit. The girls had a blast playing with the cousins. Lots of fun for them running around, playing in the bouncy house, checking out all the farm animals and more. It was a little relaxing for C and I too. Now we are home and trying to get back into the swing of things.
Going through some files and came across a few cute summer moments. Enjoy! M is walking around in the kiddie pool. In another picture, she is enjoying her first corn on the cob. Ate like a pro! S is all wet from her adventures in the sprinkler. She had a ball playing in that. There are two shots from Chicago's Millennium Park: one the Cloud Gate, which is really cool, and then the fountain that displays pictures of people's faces and then eventually water "spits" out of their mouths! S nearly got hit with the water!
Check out these little babies! My tomatoes are producing fruit! I am so happy!! It is truly amazing to see these little plants grow! I don't know how many are there but I am excited to see them grow. And then get to taste the little guys!
I water them every day. We even got some aqua globes type things to help with the watering, like for when we are out of town. I haven't noticed bugs or anything but I'll be keeping an eye out.
With life being so busy lately, it's been hard to maintain the back garden. But I finally tackled it this Sunday! WOW! There were a lot of weeds! But I got it done and should be good for a while yet.
We've had a couple bunny guests. They've been eating at our new grass in the back corner. My lettuce seems safe as well as the tomatoes. I have seen the bunnies in the back garden, eating at the weeds. Maybe I should cage them in and they can get all the weeds. :)
We had a great time visiting family in Kenosha for the Fourth of July weekend. (I know this is a late post but life has been busy.) The downtown marina was a perfect location for a holiday. We started the morning at the Farmer's Market. There were so many vendors and a lot of yummy stuff. I wish the weather had been warmer. The marina has a beach area as well as a splash area for kids, which I had hoped to let the girls play in. But it was overcast and a little cool. Still, the girls had fun walking around and playing at one of the parks. I am amazed at how much the marina has changed! Downtown Kenosha has spread out so much. What used to be a huge vacant field, the sight of a former car maker, I believe, is now thriving with apartments and new shops and restaurants. And there are wonderful open space areas, perfect for walking, gathering, and just enjoying.
From the look of the parking lot at the marina, lots of people from IL come to dock their boats. It was amazing to see all the IL license plates in the lot. Probably 90 percent were from IL. While it was great to see all the new developments in the marina area, it was sad to see that parts of downtown are in such neglected condition. Such a shame because there are some buildings that have so much potential. Once department stores, then turned into antique stores, are not vacant. One time I drove through downtown to see a homeless person sleeping in the doorway of one of these former beauties. So sad to see. If those buildings were brought back to life, then downtown would be something to see! Many families came out to the marina for the holiday, many camping out for the day. Seriously. There were quite the set-ups with tents and picnic tables and grills and more. Again, what a perfect place to spend the holiday We staked out a place to watch the fireworks but did not spend the whole day there. After the farmer's market and walking around, we had lunch from the farmer's market and then went to the museum, where we saw the replica of a woolly mammoth, one of two found in Kenosha County in the early 90's. After that we went back to my parents house for naps. Then we had dinner at my grandmother's apartment, which is right by the marina. Then we went to our spot and hung out waiting for the fireworks. There was still plenty of places for people to camp out. And indeed, many people came in closer to the fireworks time. It was neat to see all the people and feel the holiday atmosphere. M and I enjoyed some tunes by a local band. There were kites in the air. People were playing catch, volleyball and other games. It was so fun. The fireworks were great too. One even looked like a fighter jet. Seriously. And there were a couple smiley faces too. The girls had a good time, although they were pretty wiped out in the end. They didn't get to bed until 11. But woke up at their regular time the next day. Ugh! All in all, it was a fun weekend.
The girls got these hand-made toy boxes from Great-Grandpa B last month. Eventually we'll paint them up and add foam padding on the tops to make great window seats. S got the right idea, using it as a place to read her books. M's is being used for storage like blankets and Pull-ups.
Over the 4th of July weekend we visited Great-Grandma and Grandpa B, where the girls got to play on a tire swing. They had a blast! It was the perfect summer setting! Family, flowers, the sun and warm weather and then this big tree with a tire swing! How fun! The girls could not get enough of it. It was way too much fun!