Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

My little flamingo and monarch butterfly!! Aren't they adorable?
And Nora's sleeping buddy tonight. She took her new pet spider "Buzz" up to her bedroom. I assumed he would be put up on the bookshelf, but oh no he went right next to her pillow all cozied up with a blanket of his own. Today was "take a spider to school day" at her preschool. They were supposed to release them at school but Nora was quite upset by that so brought him back home to be taken care of properly.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Staff Appreciation - Halloween Style

I am in charge of Staff Appreciation for our PTA this year. This was a committe I was eager to head up. Being a former teacher, I know how much teachers appreciate these little things through the year to help give them a boost. It is a fun PTA job that doesn't require fundraising or the mundane tasks that some PTA jobs require (I am also the secretary so I get to do some of that stuff too!).

I have created a monthly "craft and chat" time for PTA members to come over to my house to make up little treats for the teachers. It is a fun chance for moms to get together and do some fun crafting. In September we did some water bottle decorations but I forgot to take photos. For October we did 60 of these treat bags.
Tonight I carved out a couple of sugar pumpkins and planted some mums in them to help decorate the tables. How cute are these?

Now working on finding the next craft idea. Open to any suggestions or links!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Oatmeal Fun

What to do when the preschool teacher is in need of oatmeal boxes? Have a day of Oatmeal Fun in the house!!!
Step One: Start with one of the girls' favorite breakfasts, Banana Oatmeal. I just make the oatmeal following the directions but substitute vanilla soymilk for the water. Much sweeter tasting! Then add mashed bananas and top with brown sugar (of course). YUMMY and healthy too (minus the sugar!)!
Step Two: Clean out the sensory tub (i.e. shallow rubbermaid tub) that has been full of beans for the past year and fill it with some oatmeal! Nora had a great time playing with her favorite toys (schleich animals) in the oatmeal. The mess was fairly minimal and easily vacuumed up. I plan to let her experiment with adding some water to the box later this week to see what will happen. That probably won't be quite so easy to vacuum up, but I anticipate lots of fun to be had!

Step Three: Make Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies! YUMMY! Click HERE for the recipe I used today, it was delicous! And check out her new blog Baking Bites. Some yummy recipes and adorable kitchen products that may not all be must-haves but certainly must-wants and some very helpful cooking tips.
So now we can bring Mrs. Brown 3 empty oatmeal boxes for the kids to make their baby cribs.(They are doing baby learning this month and each child will make their own doll, blanket and crib and then get to help bathe REAL babies along with baby dolls. HOW FUN!!!)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Leavenworth Weekend

So many things I want to blog and so little time! In theory, as a stay at home mom you would think I would have oodles of time to blog, blog, blog. But as the the girls are getting older, life is getting so much more hectic! My mind is always thinking of great entries, but the actual act of creating the entry often gets put off until it seems to late to bother! I am hoping over the next few weeks to add some more entries with some of the fun stuff we have been doing.

This past weekend we went over the mountain to Leavenworth for a fun weekend with friends. They own some beautiful property with a yurt. Don't know what a yurt is? I forgot to take a photo of theirs, but here is one I found online that looks very similar.

In simple terms, it is a very stable, semi-permanent tent-like structure with lattice supported walls on the inside. I guess they are originally from Mongolia. You can always google it to find out more! Our friends' yurt has a bathroom and kitchen (even with dishwasher!) with a wood stove that keeps things toasty warm! The kids love going over and exploring the outdoors. Their property is right on the Wenatchee River and the trees were glorious in their fall displays. In the past we have taken the camper for sleeping arrangements but this time we decided to have a big sleepover. So 4 adults, 4 kids (ages 6, 4, 3, 2) and 2 large dogs in the one-room structure. All went well and we had a succesful night!

On Sunday, before heading home, we went on a hike up to a fire lookout station on Sugarloaf Mountain. It was a bit more of a drive than anticipated but the view was amazing and well worth the effort. It was hard to get a photo that really captured the view to show where we were. We were on the absolute top of the mountain with large drop-offs all around and an incredible 360 degree view of mountains, valleys, lakes and rivers.

It was a great time to get away from all the daily craziness that is keeping us busy at home and to spend time with friends.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mount Vernon

The last day of vacation was spent at Mount Vernon. It is a great place to learn some interesting history about George Washington while enjoying lots of space to move and explore.

Madison enjoyed the scavenger hunt they gave her at the beginning and was able to locate all the clues.

Overall, the highlight for the girls was all the farm animals and the fresh air to run freely in. Nora had hoped to spot a cardinal in DC, just like her stuffed one and the last day prooved to be our lucky day and we saw a number of them. These oxen were pretty cool and very friendly!

Just the other day, Madison was talking about the house tour and the last room that Washington had built on his house. So it is good to know that at least a little learning and retention took place. It was really a fabulous vacation that helped to build many special memories.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

More Monuments

Tuesday was a day of family sight seeing. And we had plenty of family to participate. Along with our own happy family and the grandparents we had Tom's Aunts Eileen and Joey, Uncle Phil and cousins Clare and Adam.
We started the day at the Museum of Natural History. It is an amazing space but we quickly realized that being contained in spaces with lots of people is not our idea of a fun vacation. So we did a very quick tour and then headed outside to fresh air and free space to move. We enjoyed lunch in the fun sculpture park with a great fountain..

After a fun carousel ride, we started the trek down to the monuments.

Although we had just been the day before, I felt it was really important for the girls to get down and at least see the highlights. And being outside walking around was much more enjoyable than being in the crowded and noisy museum! We hit the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and WWII Memorial. I would have really liked to get Madison down to the FDR memorial since she read a series of books dealing with the Depression this summer and has a bit of a reference base. But the walk to that section would have probably been pushing our luck. I hope we can return when the girls are a bit older and can get more from the experience.

It was a lot of fun and the girls were real troopers with all the walking we did. Our nature hikes are now going to seem like a piece of cake after DC! Though Nora did bum quite a few rides on shoulders! The day ended with patriotic popsicles, what could be better?

And you are lucky this time, I haven't gotten this set of photos loaded onto flickr so no link, YET!

Next up - Mount Vernon.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Monuments and Zoo

On Monday we started our sight seeing adventure in DC. The first big thrill for the girls was taking the Metro train system through the city. I think they would have been happy just riding that all day long! Traveling with the grandparents had many benefits and this day really proved it. They took the girls to the National Zoo, which the girls had asked about since the minute our plane landed. They were really excited to see the giant pandas.

While they were off enjoying the zoo, Tom and I got some time to check out some of the sights on our own. We spent most of our time walking through the monuments. It was really nice to spend time looking and reading without concern about the girls. I also enjoyed having extra time to put into my photography.
By far my favorite memorial was the Franklin D Roosevelt memorial. It is truly amazing and thought provoking. While most of the monuments are impressive to look at this one was a bit more interactive as you walk through the stone walls and statues to wonderful waterfalls.
Along the way there were the most wonderful quotes carved into the walls. You would think the quotes were written about the issues that our nation is dealing with at this moment instead of seventy years ago.

It certainly seems like our current leaders could learn plenty from just taking a daily walk through this powerful monument. And it would certainly be a powerful experience for our youth to spend time really processing the words and symbols

The weather was perfect and it really was a wonderful time spent in our nation's capital. For my flickr photostream click here.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Wedding Day

The big day was finally here. The girls have been talking about this event for months. Tom's cousin Erik and new bride Hillary were kind enough to include the girls in their wedding. The location was gorgeous, but unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate for the outdoor wedding they had hoped for. Though we did a break in the rain for some outdoor pictures after the ceremony.
Nora tore her hem within 5 minutes of having the dress on. Luckily the maker of the dress, Tom's aunt Mary, was able to get it sewn up quickly. The dresses were adorable and so much more special since they were hand made by the mother of the groom.
The girls had a great time being flower girls. We were so proud of them. They had perfect behavior and were really patient during all the waiting times through out the day. It certainly was a great photo opportunity and I am sure you won't be suprised that I was busy snapping photos all day. I definitely think the highlight for the girls was the reception. Cake, root beer in champagne flutes and dancing, what could be better?? They were not picky about their dance partners and the relatives were all great about taking their turns with the girls.
Not enough pictures you say??? Want to see more???? You must be a grandparent, if you have made it this far and still want to see more!!! If so, click here to see all 98 photos on my flickr account. I would love to find out which of the photos are your favorites, as I am trying to decide on a few to blow up for framing and it is a tough decision.
Coming up later this week will be reports (and plenty more photos!!!) from the DC sight seeing adventures!! Come back and take a look!

Friday, October 3, 2008


After a long 14 travel hours yesterday, we made it home. The traveling was actually quite successful with our plane arriving to Seattle EARLY. Only casualty was one carseat that went to Charlotte instead, but they had a loaner for us and are delivering ours today.
We really had a wonderful experience in DC. So many memories were made. Not only did we get to view so many amazing sights, but we got to spend it with extended family which makes it all the more special. Tom's parents stayed in town for the week too so we had 4 adults to 2 kids, which is about the perfect ratio for traveling with children. We also got to spend time with Tom's aunts, uncles and cousins which was really nice.
Over the next week I will be recounting each days events through the trip to give you some of the highlights. Mostly, I will be sharing photos. I took soooo many and am really pleased with the outcome. Hey, there are even a few with me on the other side of the camera, a very rare occurrence.