Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Miss A: 3 Year Old Photos

I took Miss A out back in April to get some pictures of her at 3.  When my little bro got married in early March, he and his wife gave Miss A and Little J tiaras for the wedding.  Needless to say, Miss A LOVES her tiara.  So for pictures she wore her beautiful gown from the wedding and her tiara.  Here are a few of my favorites, and Miss A's favorites too.

  1. Princesses.  Princesses. Princesses.  Princess movies (especially Tangled). Princess shows (currently Sofia obsessed).  Princess dolls (Tangled and Belle are favorites). Princess books. Princess clothes (she doesn't wear dresses, she wears gowns). 
  2. Pancakes. Apples. Pizza.  Hot dogs. Mac and Cheese. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
  3. Painting
  4. Movies and popcorn.  Especially on Daddy-Daughter nights.
  5. Singing and dancing.  Songs from school and songs she comes up with on her own (which are ridiculously cute).
  6. Friends.  Play dates.  Inviting friends to her house. Going to her friends' houses.  
  7. Books.  Miss A loves to read.  Pinkalicious. Purplicious. My Garden. The Princess and Her Panther. Llama Llama. Where the Sidewalk Ends. 
  8. Helping. Especially with cooking.  She pulls a chair up and wants to stir.  She'll even help with the dishes.
  9. Jumping. Always jumping.
  10. Parks.  Swinging. Sliding. Running.  

Monday, June 24, 2013

Garden Week

This summer my plan is to try to have a theme for each week.  I've been keeping a list of ideas for the past month to help me get started.  I knew I wanted our first theme to be a garden theme because I'm hoping the girls will help me more with our garden this summer.  

To get us started, I requested a bunch of garden books from the library (and bought a few special books to).  The books we read were

My Garden, Kevin Henkes (This is one of my favorite books right now!)

We read some or all of the books every day.  All week, we also worked in our big garden.  We dug up some worms.  We looked at our carrot plants. We watered and weeded. Each day we also did another garden related activity.  In total with reading, weeding, watering and other activities we probably did about an hour of garden related things during the day, so we still had time for playing at the park and other summer fun.

One day, the girls and I headed to Menard's, and so we could pick out flowers for our window box.  Miss A picked out some beautiful purple flowers (no surprise there). She made an excellent little helper.  She loves watering plants the most.  And she loves that the flowers are now right outside of her bedroom window.
Another day we painted pots. I picked up some cheap clay pots when we picked up the flowers, and got some acrylic paints and foam paint brushes so we could keep the pots out on our deck after they were finished.  We already had some flower seeds that we planted in the pots after they dried.
Her tongue is always out when she's concentrating.
Don't you love how well Little J matches our picnic table :)
Inside, we used My Garden as inspiration for Little J and Miss A to draw their own gardens on our sliding glass door windows.  Both girls liked the idea of coloring on the windows, so I'm sure we'll do it again later in the summer.  I bought the Crayola Window Markers with Crystal Effects because there was a purple marker, and the regular window markers didn't have a purple.  The only problem was that the colors didn't show up very well on the window, and got kind of drippy looking the next day.  They would probably be better for bigger kids doing window drawings.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Twosday Two

My last Twosday post was so fun, I had to try it again.  It's also a good spot for an Instagram photo dump :)
Part of the outdoor area at the Roseville Library.  We love this library!
Two adventures with the two little ones last week...

  1. Roseville Library- We planned to go to storytime, but my keys were hidden outside by one of the two little people at my house (I'm betting on Little J), so we missed the start.  The girls did get to help plant some flowers outside, which went great with our gardening activities last week.
  2. Snail Lake Park- We met up with some friends for playtime and a picnic lunch.  The girls had a blast.  We're lucky that so many of their little friends have teacher moms too so the girls have little ones to play with all summer. 

Two fun weekend activities...

  1. Rock the Garden- E and I spent the evening at Rock the Garden, without the girls.  It was nice to get away and spend time with adults, have a few drinks and listen to live music (and thankfully, we were able to hide out at our friends' house during the rain).
  2. Canterbury Park- The girls and I took E to Canterbury park for the races on Sunday afternoon.  Miss A loves to watch the horses race.  She cheered for Lucky all afternoon, though none of the horses we saw were actually named Lucky.  Little J was pretty excited to see so many horses too, though she was pretty sure horses say, "moo." And Sunday is Family Day at the track.  Lots of fun stuff for the littles.  

Rock the Garden
These girls sure do love their Daddy!
Family selfie at the races (Little J's not really into the selfies yet).
Two things I loved last week...
  1. Running- I am not a morning person at all, but I did get up and run before E left for week 3 times last week.  Great for getting my day going, and great way to rack up some #sschallenge points.  
  2. Relaxing with Miss A and Little J- It was nice to have a low key week to hang out with the girls.  The last couple weeks of school are always crazy, so it was nice to have time to play.
Little J rockin' Mommy's sunglasses.
Two things I did not love last week...
  1. Little J climbing. On. Everything.
  2. Miss A and Little J fighting.  They're not too bad most days, but they need to get outside.  Rainy days are not our friend.
The girls went to a construction themed birthday party on Saturday.
The princesses have had to learn some new skills.
Two things I accomplished last week...
  1. Booked our rental car for Germany
  2. Deep cleaned the dining room 
She's looking so big to me lately. 

Easy Father's Day Project

My girls LOVE to paint.  So this year when I tried to come up with a Father's Day craft for them, I decided they should paint something.  We also usually get Daddy some kind of photo gift (big surprise there, right?).  So here is what we did for Daddy's gift this year.  
We went to Target and picked out a matted picture frame.  We went with a two opening frame because getting a nice picture of the girls together is next to impossible.  At home I took the matte piece out of the frame and let Miss A and Little J each paint half (I had to watch them very carefully to make sure they stayed on their side of the frame).  I gave each girl a plate with a bunch of colors, and a q-tip in each color.  Q-tips make great paint brushes for little hands!  

Little J's greatest masterpieces are almost always her hands.
I put a picture of each girl in the frame on the same side they painted.  I really like how it turned out.  I think it will be a great way for E to display some artwork and pictures of his little girls in his office.  I think it turned out really cute.  I may need one to take to work with me this fall too!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Backyard Photo Shoot

So, last year for Father's Day, part of E's gift was a picture of Miss A and Little J holding a sign that said We Love Daddy.  I got it laminated so we could use it every year.  I should have remembered that it was a battle to get a half way decent shot last year, because this year was a total no go from the girls.  This is the best we got.  
Not what I had hoped for (seriously, any tips for getting sweet pictures of siblings together would be much appreciated.).  But, we got E a frame with 2 openings (more on that tomorrow) so I decided pictures of each girl alone would have to do. I had them sit on top of their awesome picnic table to keep them (semi) contained (and bribed Miss A with a little candy).  I thought I'd share my favorites of each girl, because, well, I'm their mom and I think they're adorable!

Friday, June 14, 2013

My Little Monkey

My school finished up last week, so I'm home with the girls until the end of August.  And I'm so excited to spend so much time with them this summer.  I think we'll have a lot of fun adventures.  But Little J's new favorite hobby is climbing, and it is stressing me out.  Seriously, if there is a chair around, Little J will find it and move it to something higher to climb on.  Or, if there's nothing fun to climb on, she'll stand and "jump" on the chair (her version of jumping is really just bouncing.).  Miss A has never been a climber.  Overall she's a little timid when it comes to heights.  Little J is not.  At all.

  On Monday and Tuesday, I pulled her off of chairs, tables and counter tops countless times.  On Wednesday, I made pancakes for breakfast.  When I started to clean up, Little J crawled up on top of the table and proceeded to spill syrup all over the table, herself and our Play Doh supplies. That was the last straw.  I now have the kitchen gated off, and the dining room chairs on top of the table.  Hopefully that will help me from having a heart attack this summer.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

DIY Picnic Table for Little Ones

If I haven't mentioned it before, I should now.  My husband is amazing.  He is super handy, so he's able to fix most things I break, and build awesome new things for us too (most impressively, our deck). One Saturday morning this spring, E came downstairs and said, "I'm thinking about building a picnic table," then he added, "for the kids." I think at first I probably gave him a funny look, but after thinking about it for a few seconds, I couldn't imagine how we had gone so long without a picnic table.

So the next morning we were off to Menard's to get supplies for a few other projects around the house, and of course we had to pick up supplies for the picnic table too!  Good thing the girls are easily bribed with goldfish, or I'm not sure how these trips would get done.
 A couple weeks later, E woke up on a (finally) nice Saturday morning and got to work.  Luckily Papa was in town, so he was able to help E.  Miss A was on hand to supervise the work.  The building actually went quite quickly.  So quickly that I didn't get any pictures of the building in progress, but below you can see E and Little J testing out the new table.
 For my part of the project, I decided it should be painted a fun color.  I wanted a teal kind of color, but as soon as E mentioned making a picnic table, Miss A was convinced it should be a purple picnic table.  After weeks of negotiations, I won, and we got a teal-ish picnic table (it actually looks bright light blue most of the time... but I'm happy with the color, and happy it's not purple).

Miss A helped me paint the picnic table, and she was actually a great little helper.  I was nervous getting started that she would get paint all over everything, or lose interest after five minutes, but she really stuck with it.  She helped me get the entire first coat on, with surprisingly little paint spilled.
And here's our finished product!  It's already been used for outside lunches and dinners, and a little crafting. I'm sure it will get a lot more use while the girls and I are home this summer.
In total, I think we spent around $50 on materials for the picnic table (wood, bolts, paint).  A friend of mine told me she paid over $200 for a similar picnic table on Craig's List, so I'm feeling pretty good about ours!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Rhubarb Cake

E had his first solo trial earlier this week, which was a pretty big deal... and to make it even more exciting, he won!  Little A and I decided to make him a cake to celebrate!  He's been talking about this cake for years.  He worked at a grocery store in his hometown during high school and college, and one of the women there would make it for him.  So now that we finally have good rhubarb growing in our backyard, he got his rhubarb cake.  It's SUPER easy to make, just a box of white or yellow cake mix prepared normally, chop up the rhubarb and sprinkle it over the top.  Bake according to the box instructions, and you're done!  Exactly my kind of recipe, quick and easy!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


I love reading Heather's Twosday posts, so I thought I'd do one of my own (with a few Instagram pictures from the weekend thrown in for fun).

Things I'm looking forward to...
1.  The end of the school year.  Students are done Thursday, and I'm done Friday!
2.  E and I are going to Germany (without kids) this summer!
Love these two!
Things making me feel old...
1.  My littlest sister graduated from high school this weekend (and, as one of the student speakers pointed out, they started Kindergarten in the fall of 2000... the same fall I started college)/
2.  My current students were born the year I graduated from high school.
Aunt K3's soccer game... they won! Go Lodi!
Apps helping me get back on track...
1. Map My Run- So happy the weather is improving so I can run at least a few times each week.  I feel so much better!  I have it set to tell me my time every half mile (I really like to know where I'm at).
2. My Fitness Pal App- This has helped me be more conscious about what I'm eating, which I really needed.

Little J with Khloe... she will be the one to ask for a pet!
Things I'm working on...
1. The Super Summer Challenge from Back to Her Roots.  I'm hoping that earning points will help keep me motivated and productive all summer.  I'm still trying to think of some good rewards.
2. Planning theme weeks for the girls this summer.  First up, gardening.  I'll share more soon!
My Super Summer Point Sheets
Things I've been listening too...
1.  Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast.
2.  Probably more MyTalk 107.1 than is normal. I am VERY up to date on pop culture. (They have a great app for the iPhone if you're not in the Twin Cities area.)
Little J and I at K3's soccer game.