Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thinking about...

3 bdrms, 2.5 baths
Open your door and you are literally on this small park

Nice step up from where we are now,
Not my dream home,
But maybe a step in that direction?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Mecca - Tar-jay!

Despite our lazy, summer days, P woke up yesterday morning clamoring to do her new 'workbook,' purchased at Target. If you are a teacher, or are interested in buying your child's new teacher a little gift for the beginning of school (or want to think ahead for holidays, teacher appreciation, etc.), drop what you are doing and run to Target. Unfortunately, my camera died, or I'd show you a picture of my loot. You know the $1 aisle in the front of the store...? It is chock-full of educational goodies, including $1 books, and cute teacher notepads, stickers, even small pocket charts!

I got 22 copies of a book called 'Elmo's Birthday' - I'm going to wrap them up and give on to each student on his/her birthday this year.

I'm almost excited to start working in my classroom now!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Progressive playdate

Still loving summer!

Yesterday we had a spontaneous 'progressive playdate.' Started at L's house, worked on a slide-show for our playgroup summer picnic, while kids lunched and played outside. When L had to leave, moved onto S's house where 'dramatic play' inside ensued, (while S and I chilled outside planning the activities for said summer picnic). Since we were on such a roll, I invited everyone back over to our house for dinner (with husbands), where the kids played dress-up and admired E's 'Star Wars' Lego display.

Playdate time - 11:30 a.m. - 9:15 p.m. (45 minute break to regroup around 5 p.m.)

Are early mornings, school and routine really just a few weeks away?? Am I making the summer tooo fun for Miss P??

Thank goodness for me that I love the energy, excitement, and rhythm of school, learning new things (kids and me) and Fall - which I've decided is my second favorite season.

P enjoys learning, but has always preferred 'home days with mom' as opposed to pre-school days (see above - do I make it too fun?) : ) Here's hoping the *magical* kindergarten environment will dazzle her enough to put aside summer fun for another year.

We're going to make the most of the next few weeks!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009 obsession

Everything has been on back-burner lately, as I've been obsessing over Looks like we will probably start looking at homes as soon as this weekend! Tips, advice?? My dream is a family-oriented neighborhood that has a fourth of July parade down the street, decorates the neighborhood for holidays, etc. I would be willing to go for an attached home or townhome, if it was part of a community like that. Other than that, it just needs to be big enough to fit our little family, and not require too much work before move-in. (I'd also love a big yard for playing/entertaining!)

There is a neighborhood about 25 minutes away, where we could prob get all that, but I'm concerned about the commute, and don't like the idea of P being so far away from her school community.

E is stressing about details, and doesn't want a million people (family) asking us about it, so if you know us, ssshhh....(just couldn't resist posting what is on my mind and am hoping for advice!)

Send me your words of wisdom and good thoughts! : )

Friday, July 17, 2009's here!

I'm an avid reader. Not a Oprah Book Club member, though. Sadly, you won't see me reading Edgar Sawtelle anytime soon. I'm of the Sophie Kinsella genre, the Nicholas Sparks style, a Kate Jacobs reader and a big fan of Jane Porter.

Jane Porter is an author who does two types of novels: bodice ripper Harlequin style romances, and 'women's literature,' - basically chick lit. I have read 3 out of four of her women's lit and have loved them! These books speak to you. (At least they did for me!) Some chick lit authors, like Jane Green or Madeline Wickham, tend to focus on ensemble pieces, where you experience different points of view and then all the characters come together. In Porter's novels, you live and breathe the protagonist. You get inside her mind and soul. She is a very emotional writer whose books really reverberated through me. Odd Mom Out and Mrs. Perfect particularly (don't let the light names fool you!)

Anyway, her newest book arrived in the mail today and I can't wait to dive into it!
Me + good book + cozy spot + yummy bev= BLISS!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Daily Uniform

Daily uniform from head to toe:
*no fuss hair
*minimal or no makeup; little sunscreen and lip balm
*a smile
*tank top
*shorts or yoga pants

Loving my carefree summer!! What is your uniform?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Is it just me, or do you have ton on your plate right now? I'm loving my open-ended summer days, and at the same time, I am loving getting things done. However, right now, I feel like there might be one too many balls in the air. (Although, I'm not wearing a suit, like the fine lady above). Currently I'm working on:

*unpacking from our camping trip
*gearing up to re-organize the next area of our home
*working on the evite for P's birthday
*trying to commit to working out and training for an August race
* getting our finances in order and considering leaping into the housing market
*Looking for a part-time after school sitter for Miss P

All while trying to be a 'present' parent. Yikes!

What do you having going on? Leave a comment, whydontcha?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Camping at New Brighton!

Last night we returned from two glorious days of camping at New Brighton State Beach . Now, I can't claim to be a super outdoorsy girl, but I just had the best time. Among the highlights:

Pirate treasure: So we went with two other families, and one of the dads prepared a special surprise for the kiddos. Before the trip he created a pretty elaborate map of the beach, that included an 'X' to mark a treasure spot. On the first day, while the kids were busy playing in the sand, the dads buried the treasure (a cigar type box decorated with a skull and cross bones). Conveniently, there was a big 'pirate looking' boat far in the distance that the kids spotted. Anyway, the map was placed in an old bottle that the dads 'discovered' washed up on the beach. The kids - all aged between 3 and 5, went bananas, followed the map, found a marked 'x' in the sand in black charcoal, and dug up the box with their shovels. There were bracelets, necklaces, gold coins, and light-up trinkets. Very cool.

Seals, Sea Otters, and dolphins: We saw all of these creatures. Some up close enough to see their eyes. It was insane. As the kids played, the adults sat in their chairs and just marveled at all of the animals, particularly the seals that were thisclose to us. I was so excited I ran out into the water a few times in my yoga pants - I swear I'd be able to touch them. I ended up almost waist high in water and very close a couple of times, until I feared one might feel threatened and bite me. There is something about seeing sea life in its natural setting, that is just cooler than the aquarium (which I also love).

Miss P's Willingness to try new things: As I've mentioned, P is quite tentative. I'm no wild child myself (except for when it comes to seals, apparently), so I understand. Yet, I want her to have fun experiencing life, so I try to give some healthy pushes. Anyway, one of our current goals is to get her out and riding her bike more in new territory and on anything other than a perfectly flat road. On this trip, she and some of the other kids did loops around the campsite including some minor uphill and downhill, and made some progress learning how to coast and break when going faster than she'd like. She also began the trip not wanting to go anywhere near the actual ocean water and ended it taunting the waves as she ran in and out of the surf. Hooray!

And everything else: the 'big kids' each told a ghost story (unprompted by adults), did puppet shows, and played for hours. We ate like kings: hot breakfast, yummy salads, roasted veggies, kabobs, chicken, homemade tortillas, s'mores, and a fresh berry pie from a farm. E said it was better than we eat at home (oops!) But mostly it was so nice to be in the fresh air, away from home, 'unplugged,' and just having fun. I even found time to read my latest book. Now for me, that is a vacation. : )

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Pinkalicious Party Planning Part 2

After deciding on our theme, the first decision was, where to hold our pinkalicious party? Home is too small (and did I mention I will have returned to teaching full-time that week?) So, we are going with cucina bambini -- a local children's cooking school. While checking it out, the owner and I roughed out a plan a little different than their normal format, as I'm hoping to really do up the cupcake theme.

Here's our schedule: kids arrive - do a craft, Pinkalicious story is read, kids make cupkcakes, while they bake, kids make frosting, then kids sing on karaoke machine and do limbo dance, finally kids decorate cupcakes and eat. As kids leave, they take with them a green apple wrapped up with a little message that says something like, 'remember to eat me and other green foods!' Or, 'To keep from turning pink, eat me!'

This stuff was basically accomplished Monday afternoon/evening. Tuesday morning I hit the ground running to shop for the perfect
craft, since it is not supplied by Cucina (they typically cook a whole meal instead of just cupcakes). The drama began once we hit (the first) Micheal's. My requirements: craft had to somehow fit with our theme, work for boys and girls between the ages of three and five, and not be too messy and cumbersome. Quite a list. After searching the aisles and racking my brains (tiaras cute, but what will the boys do?), I finally asked the store manager politely if she had ideas for a simple craft for five year old girls and boys that might work for a cupcake themed birthday party. Her response (paraphrasing): 'I'm not actually very crafty. I'm truly baffled by your request' (said in unfriendly tone.) Note: Micheal's good for its prices (if there is one near you, GO for their huge dollar clearance deals right now!), notsomuch for customer service.

Anyway, after much searching, while P was saying 'are you kidding me, let's get anything, by the way, watch me play wind-up toys', I finally struck gold. In the 'wooden craft' section were crafty kit necklaces of varying themes, like frogs, hula girls, etc. I let out a little scream as I found .....cupcakes! (Pictured at top). I was able to score 5 sets there at the Westgate location, drove later to the Coop location - nada. Finally found 4 more sets at the SJ Coleman location. Not sure how many I'll need for girls, since attendees are not yet known, however I did get plenty of the 'masculine' : ) monkey necklaces for the boys. By the way, the kits were $1 each. Not bad.

Later at home I decided on doing the cost friendly 'Evite.' However, in my loopy state, I opted to forego the regular styles, and create my own 'pinkalicious' evite. Did you know you could create custom evites? What fun! It is still a work in progress.

Now it might sound like I'm going a little overboard, but do you know what I could have done??! As I did my online research, I learned that pinkalicious is not only a book, but also a musical (think 'legally blond,' I guess?) And, that tons of other little girls have had these parties. I could have purchased a special pinkalicious dress for Miss P and ordered one of many custom invitations I saw. One thing, I really did want to do was order a book for each guest - but that sadly looks too pricey.

Anyway, P is looking forward to her party and is enjoying telling people about it. However, I know that I am the one who cares about the little details. I love to do themes and be creative and go big for all three of our birthdays (since we don't do a lot of entertaining the rest of the year).

Oh, ha - one of the best parts. Cucina Bambina has kind of a grown up lounge, for the parents to chill in and have snacks and watch while the kids play at the party. I know I'll be in the thick of things, taking pictures and such, but I'm glad (some of) my grown-up friends can relax!

Do you like to plan parties for your kids?

Pinkalicious Party! Part 1

I'm quite giddy. Miss P's 5th birthday is in 7 weeks. Right around the time that E and I will be up to our eyeballs with school beginning. So, we are being smart and planning now.
I spent from Monday afternoon to Tuesday night immersed in details and are nearly done. We are having a
Pinkalicious birthday!

It at started when my mom got P the above book for her preschool graduation in early June. Allow me to summarize. The 'protagonist' bakes pink cupcakes with her mom on a rainy day. She then goes crazy for them and cannot stop eating more and more of these pink treats. She eats so many that she actually turns pink and dubs herself (you guessed it!) 'Pinkalicious.' However, like many of us females, she continues to have trouble saying 'when.' She eats more pink cupcakes, and eventually turns red. Finally her doctor helps her to see that she needs to eat a 'steady diet of green food,' in order to return to her normal pallor. The book sends a good message about balance without being preachy, and the illustrations are daring.

The book was a hit with girly girl P, and I instantly could visualize a party theme. We got serious on Monday and the event is nearly planned. I'm not kidding when I say event. We are part of a close-knit playgroup which makes it hard to keep things small (especially when you throw in preschool friends, family, and 'regular' : ) friends.) I do enjoy a thematic birthday party!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Word Wall

This is a wall in P's playroom, which I've turned into a word wall. Words pictured are the ones she can already read and write. We'll be working on words: to, the, and went, and hopefully will have those mastered by the end of the summer. (These words are helpful because they lend themselves to writing "I went to the ______"(fill in the blank). Lots of stories!

Oooh. I have a lot of posts rolling around in my head right now. Stay tuned for details on P's Pinkalicious-themed 5th birthday which I've been immersing myself with for the past few days. Today, we are off to the fair!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Well, we aren't going to be winning design awards anytime soon, but I am happy with my efforts today! You can't see our whole room, and I chose not to display a before picture :) -- just take my word for it -- big improvement! The Cinderella scheme was a big success. I couldn't believe how much I got done. It may be a bit premature, but I think P and I are hooked. I drafted a note from 'the stepmother' listing how the room should be cleaned, and had E type a response from her later. He had fun with it, and P was soooo excited. She is expecting a repeat tomorrow, I said perhaps the stepmother will give new orders next week!