Sunday, March 29, 2015

In my little world lately, part two

Ok, noteworthy moments from March.  March was a pretty exciting month, but a lot of the pictures I took are from random moments at home.

First off:  Otter's flair for fashion.  It's very exciting to walk to the bus stop when you are behind someone this fashion forward.

Owl is "fancy" a lot too, but on this day she looked pretty subdued in contrast to her sister.

After we got home from the bus stop, Moose built a boat.  I'm afraid I don't remember where they were travelling.  The Swiffer was the oar, of course.  Just before or after this, the chairs were a train and were headed for California.

Last year I went all out for Dr. Suess's birthday. This time...I did not.  I went and read books to the kids at the school for their Read-a-thon, but that was about it.  Chick got really into the spirit of the day, though, and did a bunch of Suess-themed drawings out on the walkway.

Chick, Monkey and I went to a princess-themed ballet that was performed by the BYU ballet team.  It was fun to get all dolled up :) 

There were lots of people that we knew there so we got a picture of the girls with a few of their friends.

Monkey loves her baby, Ella.  She looks so young in this picture...and she IS young, but she's definitely working on growing up.  In fact, she read her first chapter book ("Holly the Christmas Fairy" from the Rainbow Fairies series) a week ago, and another 1.5 books since then!  Way to go, Monkey!

The benefits of having a junk yard, continued: It's easy to have a library (the same area has been a post office in the's flexible like that).  The girls wrote book titles on pieces of wood... my favorite was, "The Dog that Ate Peas."

While the big girls were getting literary, Owl inspected a baby slug. 

And Owl and Otter spied on the neighbor's yard.
(Owl is looking at the screen right now, and said, "Otter is wearing my coat there!  That's funny!")

And Moose and Monkey spied on the tool shed :)

We've had some really nice weather days lately, which has provided lots of outside play time, and yard clean-up time for me.

Chick's class had a field trip to the Aquarium and (thanks to my Mom for watching all of the other little people) I was able to go.  It was fun.  Most of my pictures didn't turn out, but it was really beautiful--I especially loved the variety of coral and plant life. 

Fun fact:  Scientists estimate that every grain of sand in the Puget Sound has been cleaned by going through a sea cucumber.

(Of course, Chick and I thought of OUR otter when we watched the otters)

(the girls in my group)

The day after the field trip, Chick got an award at school.  It was for good academics overall. 

Next year she'll be changing schools because she'll be in the district's "highly capable" program.  Going to orientation, expo, and tour for that was part of the excitement this month.  She's not excited to change schools, but I'm really excited FOR her.  The program is an enrichment, project-based was slightly intimidating (some things sounded more like my experience in COLLEGE than anything I'd had in elementary school!), but really really awesome.  Fun projects and really thoughtfully put together.  Plus having her be more challenged will be great.  In looking into the program I heard this quote from another parent:

"If you are the smartest person in the room,
then you are in the wrong room."

The other day we went to Flower World, which I'd never heard of, but is a super huge nursery with lots of animals.  We didn't have much time there before they closed,  but loved every minute of it.  We enjoyed exploring the various ponds and such within the nursery, as well as the farm animals that were out on the grounds.

I bought a butterfly bush, columbine, hellebores, and astilbe.  Yesterday I got it all planted (the kids helped).


We've read some good books lately.  I read "Enchantress of Crumbledown" which I'd read as a teenager.  It was still just as interesting and inspiring as before. 

I also read Outliers, which I found very thought-provoking.

Oh, and "Gone-Away Lake" as a pre-read to gauge how well it would go over for my kids (I'll be reading it again to them this summer).

My favorite that I really did read aloud to them was "The Castle in the Attic."  We all enjoyed it.  We did a poster-sized venn diagram to compare & contrast "The Castle in the Attic" with "The Indian in the Cupboard."  I enjoyed both books, but I think I like Castle better.  Fun book with good messages.

We'll be doing a kid's lit based weekly "camp" with some of our friends, so I've been looking into books in preparation for that.  I bought a few, and requested several from the library, based on reviews that I read about them.  I'm excited for the camp.  It'll just be for the older three kids, but they'll get to do fun projects and activities to go with the books and hopefully help bring the books alive.

In my little world lately, part one

So much of our days is routine and rush.  But sometimes we do fun things as well.  Here are a few of the latest adventures...these are actually all from February.  I'll do the pictures from March in a second post.
A few months ago our ward Relief Society had a service auction.   People volunteered things that they could make or do as the items to be auctioned.  Bidding was using points "earned" from filling out a questionnaire.  At any rate, I volunteered a set of custom party decorations.  The party ended up being an "Under the Sea" birthday party.
Banner with salt dough sea stars

Poster for "Pin the Starfish on the Mermaid"
Invitations (and there were also coordinated thank you cards & menu cards)
It was a fun project :)
For Christmas Santa gave Monkey a new leotard & a voucher for some gymnastics classes.  She loved it and did really well.  She is a monkey, after all. (sadly it's done now...I'm on the lookout for a good deal for her to keep taking classes.)
This is totally random, but here's a teepee that the kids made one day whilst playing outside.  Sometimes it is nice to have a junk yard.
I've probably already mentioned Wedgits...Owl and Otter got a set for Christmas from Santa, and we ALL loved them so much that I bought more so that there would be enough for us to all play with them at once. 
At first there was a lot of tower-making. 
Then Moose especially fell in love with following the instructions on the design cards to make pre-planned designs. 
Chick then experimented to find different wedges (where the pieces stay together because they are wedged together.  So these are two pictures of the kids showing off their wedges...Moose with a BIG wedge, and the three older kids with a display of all of the wedges that they've discovered.
Valentine's day was fun.  I made heart-shaped breakfast cookies and smoothies for breakfast. 
Then my sister came over for a nice visit. 
Then I spent the afternoon making lasagna for my valentine, the fantastic Mr. Fox.  It was SOOOOOOO good!  Seriously!  The best I've had since I was in Italy. (It doesn't look very pretty in the picture, but it was good.  EVERYONE loved it, which is really saying something).  I used THIS recipe.
For dessert we had heart-shaped apple hand-pies.  Yum.
I didn't put up decorations or do anything very fancy, but I did make fancy foods.
That's it for February.  Fun times with my people!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A bit of magic...

Earlier this week the kids discovered that if they ground up sidewalk chalk and added water, then it would make a paste that they could smear on things with their fingers to paint things.

yeah.  My yard will never be the same.

Anyhow, they gathered up a bunch of rocks and painted them and pretended that they were muffins and cookies (the pretend items of choice at our home).

Then they lined them up at the edge of the yard and tried to sell them for 5 cents each.  They had an "order form" and they decorated the area with the "Fairies and Elves Welcome" sign that I'd made for Monkey's fairy birthday party.

Have I ever mentioned that we live in a quiet little cul-de-sac?  location, location, location!

Only one person came...our dear neighbor Sharon.  I think she told the kids that she might come back to buy one later, because they kept peeking out after they'd had to come into the see if Sharon had left a nickel out there. 

There never was a nickel.  But the next morning there was a fairy!  And one of the rocks was gone.  They immediately assumed that Sharon had left it (which I assume too)...but I suggested that maybe the fairy had noticed the sign and had decided that our yard looked friendly to a fairy.


Now here's the thing...the kids believe in fairies.  They ask me if I do, and I can only say, "I've never seen a fairy, and I don't think that there are fairies, but there certainly are a lot of things that I've never seen.  So there could be fairies, I just don't really know."

And I leave it to them-- to believe as they will about fairies.  And they choose to believe.

And in this case I thought I'd encourage the belief.  I did mistakenly draw a parallel to Weeping Angels, when I suggested that maybe this fairy came to life like a weeping angel...and then Owl kept saying that the fairy was going to get then I had to say that she was a nice fairy and wouldn't get anyone...but that maybe she really did come to life at night, or when no one was looking.

So the next morning the fairy had moved from where she had previously been.  "Did you move her?"  no.  "Maybe it was Dad?"  I asked why Dad would move the fairy, and they said that maybe he thought it looked better where it currently was.  I explained that Dad doesn't care about aesthetics AT ALL (true fact), so I didn't think that Dad would move the fairy for that reason.

And so, having exhausted all other options of how the fairy could have moved, she was declared alive.


They've since built her a little rocky shrine to sit upon (a la Fablehaven), fed her popcorn (which they say she ate), and chalked her wings to be rainbow colored.

There was much debate about what to name her.  They wanted a flower name...but Monkey wanted "Rose" and Chick wanted "Evie Green" (and there were several others suggested, like Tulip and Ivy), but finally they decided on one.

And so, I present to you: 
Poppy Green,  an exciting new member of the family. She'll just go by Poppy most of the time.

(And thank you to Sharon, if it was indeed you who suggested that the fairy fly over to our yard).

(Sadly, the chalked rocks didn't withstand the rainy weather, but now they'll get to re-paint them, so it's ok)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Chick's Big Days!

Chick turned 8 recently!  That's a big birthday for our family, since it's the age that kids can be baptized! 

Her birthday was on a Saturday. 
She chose Blueberry Breakfast Cake for her breakfast, and then we headed over to "Enemy Tattoo" to get her ears pierced.  We'd gone there for Owl and Otter's piercings and were really happy with them.  This time the piercer was different, and he kinda pushed things out of our comfort zone.  He had a forked tongue, as well as a big gear thing under the skin in his hand!  Not to mention the usual tattoos and piercings.

Anyhow, it was not super fun going there this time, but he did a good job, and I feel that it's more sanitary and safe than going to the mall.  I'll probably go back when it's Monkey's turn...but I'm not looking forward to it.

At any rate, Chick, who doesn't like pain of any sort, was a total trooper.  She didn't cry or scream or anything.  She didn't even really complain.  And she's been really good about not touching her ears, so they've healed up really nicely.

After that we ran a couple of errands: to Barnes & Noble for her free birthday goodie, and then a couple of other stores for things that I needed.

Fast forward to the evening (because I can't remember what we did after we got home!).  Her birthday dinner was Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Tomato Soup.  And her cake was an ice cream cake that was decorated with oreos.  It was my first ice cream cake (making one, I mean), and I was happy with how easy it was to make, and how delicious it was to eat :)  Chick was happy with it too, and that was the important part.

The ear piercing was her main birthday gift.  From Fox and I she also got an Ever After High book, and a stuffed wolf (because she wants me to change her nickname from Chick to Wolf, and I've said no, but the least I could do was give her a little wolf friend).

And just like that, she's eight.


The next weekend was her baptism.  Everything went well.  Dave performed the baptism.  Lots of family and friends came to support and celebrate her big day.  Both of her grandmas gave talks, and they were both fantastic. 

Chick was surprised to get gifts on her baptism day.  I'd made her a charm bracelet with symbols to remind her about the Holy Ghost (patterned off of the one found on Jonesing to Create).  And her Grandma and Grandpa J gave her a new set of scriptures in a cute green purse-bag.  She loves it and has taken good care of them.  She also got a few other things that are special reminders of the day, and she felt very loved and happy.

After the actual baptism we headed home for a luncheon with the extended family members who had come to the baptism.  Everything went well...I didn't take any pictures, but I think it was a nice luncheon.  A special thanks to my sister J and my SIL B, who got everything going while we were still finishing up at the church and heading home.


We had a sweet talk on the night before the baptism, as I was braiding her hair.  And she's talked about getting baptized/related topics several times since then.  It's been pretty sweet to hear her thoughts and see her figuring new things out and feeling God's spirit in her life. 

Oh how I love that girl!  She's a special person, and I really feel honored to be her mom.  I really can't imagine our family without her...she helps me to see things in a different way. 

Happy birthday, dear Chick.