Sunday, November 30, 2008

Final Thanks

My final thing I am thankful for this month, is the person who I am so very thankful for on a daily basis. My fabulous hubby, Tom. He is such a great husband and father and we are 3 very lucky girls to have him in our lives. I appreciate how hard he works at his job and that I am able to stay home with the girls while he goes to the office everyday. I am thankful for all the wonderful projects he does at home, from building the fence, making the girls their treehouse and doing the dishes almost every night after dinner!! He is my best friend and has been for 13+ years. We have grown alot from the very young people we were when we got married and I am glad I have made this journey with him.

So thank you Tom! And Happy Birthday!!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gobble Gobble

Happy Thanksgiving to All!! Hope you are able to celebrate the day in a way that is special and meaningful for YOU, whatever that may be. This will be the first Thanksgiving in the 13 years that I have been married, that I will spend it with my mom. So that is very special for us.
It will still be a very quiet and peaceful day with our little group of 5. But we will have a feast that could serve triple that amount. Perfect for leftovers!

I have truely enjoyed my daily photo challenge and am pleased to say that I have been able to take a photo for every day! And I have enjoyed it so much, I will be torturing you some more with a December photo challenge that I have planned. I still have a few more days and have been saving some of my most thankful things for the end. Here is a sampling of some of my thankful photos that I haven't shared yet.





Monday, November 24, 2008

Extra Space

Back behind my scrapcave and over the garage we have a huge storage room. When we viewed the house for the first time I knew this space was a huge find. You just don't find this type of easily-accesible extra space in most homes. It is HUGE and has so many fabulous uses. To list a few:

1. A room for the cat's litter box that never has to be viewed by company.

2. The girls' official clubhouse, they have decked it out in animal posters, flags, chairs and more. They keep a supply of water bottles and snacks in the space for emergency situations. Often you will find signs and maps all over the house pointing out the club house location.

3. A place to store my 15+ teacher boxes that I can't part with, even though I doubt I will ever use most of it again.

4. Places to hide the Christmas gifts, though I may have to rethink this with the clubhouse status. They like to rearrange all the boxes and I can just imagine "Santa's Stash" being found.

5. And somewhere to store all the extras like holiday decorations, camping gear, extra boxes, the play kitchen that I can't quite get rid of even though the girls never play with it, the 2 trombones and saxaphone and so much more!!!!

So today, as I start to dig out the Christmas boxes, I am thankful for this room. A space I can just walk into and locate what I need without climbing down into the dark crawl space or up into the attic. A spot where I can put some extra toys while they are not being played with, but the girls can pull out at a moments notice when they want to use them. A place to store sentimental items without worrying about water damage or no space to store it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Easy Yummies

Have you tried these amazing treats? They are so easy and so addictive. Of course the chocolate is the important part (and I AM thankful for chocolate every day!) but then add the saltiness of the pretzels and it is scrumptious. BUT the best part?? The girls can make them almost completely by themselves.

Step One - lay waffle pretzels onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper

Step Two - unwrap Hershey's Kisses and Hugs and put one on each pretzel (This is a great time killer on a rainy day! Just think how long it takes a 3 and 6 year to unwrap 30+ kisses!)

Step Three - bake in 250 degree oven for 8-10 minutes

Step Four - take out of oven and I slip the parchment paper off the hot cookie sheet onto the counter so the girls can then place the m & m's on top of the kiss. You can see the top photo (courtesy of of how nice they look if you do it carefully. You can choose to do it like that, or let the kids be creative on their own and see what turns out!

Step Five - Have girls go to bed, taking 2 each for their dessert and devour the rest as they peacefully sleep.

Step Six - REPEAT the next day! We are on day # 3's batch! Do you think they will really want to make more tomorrow? I can't wait until they can make a chocolate cake while I sit and chat on Facebook!

Art Docent Fun

I am involved in numerous projects and programs at Madison's school but by-far the most enjoyable is the art docent program. Click here to find out the complicated version for how the program works. But the simple explanation is that parents volunteer to be an art teacher for the classroom. We are given large copies of art prints and each month we teach about one of the prints and artists and then create an art lesson to go with it. The main hallways in the school are lined with the students' fabulous artwork. It is such a joy to walk down the halls and see what they have created.
It is a wonderful way to keep art alive in the schools and ensure that REAL art is being taught instead of fun little cut and paste craft projects (nothing wrong with those, I did plenty as a teacher, but that is NOT art!). And I get play teacher for an hour a month, which I LOVE! It makes me realize how very much I miss teaching a class and also how much I could not handle it right now, as planning one lesson a month is plenty!
This year I am teaching Madison's class and one of the kindergarten classes too. So I get to do 2 lessons a month. FUN FUN! For October we had the artist Paul Klee so we focused on abstract art. It was really amazing what the students see in the artwork. They are so much more observant than I am and can comment on all sorts of things in the art that I would never notice.
We did a fun lesson where we "took a line for a walk". Using one crayon on watercolor paper we drew a continuous line, talking about zig-zag, curvey, straight........ Once the line was drawn we used BLEEDING tissue paper and painted small sections of the paper with water, overlapped tissue paper on top and then painted more water on top of that. When the entire paper was covered with tissue paper we peeled off all the tissue to get a great mosaic effect.
I go in tomorrow to teach the first grade our November lesson. We will be focusing on fore-ground and background in a landscape drawing. Hoping it turns out well! I was mentioning to Madison that tomorrow would be my art lesson, which got her very excited. Nora got upset and said that she wanted to be a first grader so I would teach her art ('um what do we do on a daily basis at home?????). I am looking forward to many more years of teaching the girls' classes, though I am going to have to do more studying as we go up in grade levels.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Weekend Wrap-Up

What a wonderful weekend I have had! So good I thought I would write a post all about it! It started out on Friday, when we were hosting Tom's old work group for dinner. I spent almost the entire day in the kitchen and loved every minute of that.
While doing that, my amazingly, fantastic and superb husband did what he does best (or at least, alot better than me!), CLEAN! So a double win for me, I get a fantastically clean house and I got to cook all day. I spent alot of my time on this:
A tiramasu cake. I have to say, it turned out quite well (though it doesn't look as fancy as it tasted!) and I will be saving that recipe for future use! Just listen to some of the ingredients: espresso syrup, kahlua, whipping cream, marscapone cheese...... How could it be bad? The only problem with it is that it served 14 people PERFECTLY with no left-overs. BUMMER! I don't think I can justify the time and effort just for me to eat on my own! The dinner was lots of fun and a big success. And best of all, the house was still clean when the company left! Well, except for the many dirty dishes that needed dealing with.
Then Saturday was so great! A friend came over to scrap all day while the dads took the kids to the Pacific Science Center and then back to their house for dinner. Tom brought the girls home to throw them into bed while we scrapped for 12 hours straight! I haven't had much time to focus on my scrapping lately and this helped me to get my scrapcave cleaned out and organized and now I feel ready to get back on track. I will post layout pictures later this week. Oh, and I may get to scrap again next weekend with more friends! Did I mention how amazing and fabulous my husband is?????

Sunday was a gorgeous fall day so the girls and I gave daddy a break and took the dog on a nice walk on Soos Creek Trail. The girls had a great time picking the last dandelions of the year, playing Pooh-Sticks on the bridge, finding bunnies at the playground and this highlight:

What an amazing weekend and so much to be thankful for! I am one lucky lady!

With Love to Luxembourg

Sent this package to my friend Katy who just started an amazing 2 year adventure to Luxembourg! Check out her always fabulous blog, sycamore stirrings, to get an idea of all the experiences they are having!
I am hoping that this package can help entertain the girls for at least a small piece of time while waiting for all their shipments to arrive. I raided my arts and craft supply space for all sorts of fun goodies for the girls. I was hoping it could reach them quicker but am being optimistic that it will arrive closer to the 5 day estimate of the 5-10 day quote!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Loving the Library

We love the library and always enjoy our outings there. Here are our selections for this week.
I have been on a baking kick. Or at least reading all sorts of fabulous recipes that I envision cooking. The Baking cookbook is fabulous and maybe someday I will be able to add it to my personal cookbook collection (because you can NEVER have enough cookbooks, can you?). I am perusing the cookie section for the perfect recipe to use for the annual cookie exchange party I will be going to in December I am determined to be the winner this year! Because if you didn't know, I have just a teeny-tiny competitive streak to me!
Madison goes straight for the series chapter books in the library. She has gone through all the Magic Treehouse, Magic SchoolBus, Rainbow Fairies, Puppy Place and more. We are running out of series, but luckily she doesn't mind re-reading her favorites.

Nora starts out in the music section for cd's for her room. She is quite the music nut and loves to sing and dance to her selections. Then she makes a B-line for the Berenstein Bear Books and then is happy with whatever other selections I may make.

Being thankful for the library is high on my list. Because it is a great place to please our book loving girls for free (minus my occasional over-due fines!) and it is a great outing for a rainy day when we are feeling a bit stir-crazy.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Contest Notice

No, not mine. I keep thinking I need to do a give-away but don't know what I have that is worthy of a contest. I was also trying to keep track of my post #'s to celebrate #100 and somehow I missed it and I flew right by it without taking notice. I will have to pick some random number to celebrate.

Anyways, this is for all my Cricut loving friends out there. In case you don't know, the Cricut is the most amazing machine for scrappers. It is a die-cut machine that has endless possibilities. I got mine a little over a year ago and after showing it off, many of my friends got one too! (one just placed her order yesterday!)

Check out this blog Serendipity. She is the creator of the Graphically Speaking cartridge, which is my absolute favorite! She is highlighting all sorts of amazing things to do with the cartridge, which is really inspiring me. And she is giving away 3 of the cartridges if you leave comments!!!! I am attempting to get inspired for an amazing layout with my cartridge for her next contest. I am sure I can't compete with the amazingly talented ladies out there! The good news is I have the next 2 Saturdays to scrap with friends to be inspired!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Personality Plus

Today I am thankful for my sweet Nora. What a character she can be. She makes me smile so much every day. It is hard to even think of her a year ago. She was still a toddler who whined way more than I liked and still had a horrible pacifier habit that I thought I would never break! Now she has grown into a fabulous preschooler, who still may whine a bit but overall is a true joy in my life. Here she is playing in the bean box today.
Some of the things she has been saying lately are priceless. A few weeks ago she somehow thought it would be okay to stick her tongue out at me when she wasn't happy with a decision I made. When I would reprimand her for it she would quickly say "I am just cleaning myself" and start licking her lips and cleaning her hands and arm like a cat.
The other day Madison and Nora were upstairs working on Madison's zoo creations. Nora was thinking of animals to make. She said "I know, a dingoe, because that is like a dog. Aren't I clever?"
And she has been obsessed with baby pictures of herself and walks all over the house with them saying "When I was a baby I was so ADORABLE!"
So Nora, today I am thankful for all the happiness, hugs and kisses you bring into my life. Thank you for being YOU!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Peaceful Play Times

I have been thankful for this on almost a daily basis the past weeks. The girls have been going off on their own creating all sorts of amazing games to play without any need for me. This may not sound like alot to many parents, but for us this is INCREDIBLE. I could go on and on about all the amazing qualities that Madison holds, but independent play time has never been one of them. Since birth she has had a need to be near me at all times and needed me to engage any play time. I am sure lots of this is my fault for being a hovering mommy who felt the need to be stimulating her constantly and some was just from her high-needs personality as a baby.
The past year or so we have seen glimpses of this but the past few weeks have been incredible. Madison can go off and keep herself (and often her little sister too!) entertained for hours at a time. Often, she will be curled up with a good book but she has been doing all sorts of other creative activities too.

The past 4 days she has started to make a "zoo collection" for Nora's room. She is drawing animals, cutting them out and then taping them above her bed. Nora is thrilled with the results and Madison is really impressing us with her abilities.
The other day she set up a rock work station. She spent time chipping, smoothing, investigating and cleaning the rocks. It was pretty entertaining to watch and she worked for over an hour on this project.

So I am very thankful for the moments of peace and quiet they are giving me and I am very proud of what a wonderful 6 year old daughter I have!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

End of the Season

The final soccer game was today and somehow we stayed completely dry after two days of torrential rains. We had a very enjoyable season. We were lucky to have a great group of kids (and parents) to work with. We saw lots of growth with the athletes and our drills at practice were light years beyond what we were doing last year.
Madison loves soccer and seems to have a great time. Though she often wants to be organizing everyone on the field instead of just playing the game. She said she wanted to play again next season and followed that up with she wants to play until she has 7 trophies. So not sure how much the actual game plays into that decision.
Overall, I think everyone was very satisfied and we had a number of parents asking if Tom would be coaching again next year and to make sure to notify them if we would be. At this point in the season, Tom's answer is typically NO but after a few months away it is easier to convince him. I think it is a bit like childbirth where you forget the pain and suffering and just remember the happiness. And also having Madison sweetly ask with her big brown eyes doesn't hurt! So we will see what next year brings.
And so today my daily thanks goes to my amazing husband. The best coach in the K-1 park and rec league and the best daddy too!!! He was so patient and postivite with all the athletes, from the team all-star to the leaf collector. And he gave much of his time and energy to it at a time when work has been a bit stressful and crazy. Life would have been easier for him if he didn't have to leave work early for practices and spend many hours perfecting his spreadsheets that guaranteed equal playing time for all the team members.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head

It is nice that some of us can enjoy the Seattle rain. We have had a beautiful fall but I think that is about to end. Huge rains are predicted for later day, I am hoping they pass before our final soccer game on Saturday.

And I have to say I am loving my new long range lens that allowed me to stay in the dry garage and still zoom in on the boots. I always want to take rainy day photos but am terrified to take my camera out in the rain so this worked perfectly.

And today I am thankful for gortex and rainboots!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Side Bar Excitement

Okay, one of these days, I am going to spend some real time getting the sidebar on both sides with all sort of fabulous stuff and links. So I can look really cool and hip!!! BUT until that time, I added a new one just to the right! You will be able to click on it to keep up to date on my Daily Thanks Photos!!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Photo A Day

Okay, I am stealing this idea straight from my November issue of Creating Keepsakes (LOVE LOVE LOVE this magazine!!!). It will be a fun scrapbooking layout and also a nice way to play with some photography. The theme is "Daily Thanks". EVERY DAY of November I will take one photo of something I am thankful for. Some days may be something profound and important, while other days it may be something simple and basic or anywhere in between.

Here is today's photo:

Family Dinner - something that I used to take for granted as a daily occurence in the house has become a bit of a special activity the past 2 months. September and October have been extremely busy in our household with me starting a part-time job, Tom taking on a new position at work, family travels, coaching Madison's soccer team, school open-houses and meetings...... I think you get the point. Between all these things the family dinner has not been happening as much as I would like. Tonight we were able to sit down to a nice relaxing dinner, discussing our favorite parts of the day and ending with a family game of Uno. I was so appreciative of this quality time for our family. November should be a bit calmer for us and I look forward to many more family dinners in the month.

I won't bore you with every day's photo but will share some collages of the photos I am taking. Does anyone want to play along?