Sunday, July 17, 2011

Happy 16th Birthday, Brittany!

This is just to wish my daughter a very, very happy 16th birthday!  There are days when I don't know what I'd do without her, and I hope this year brings her lots of blessings...

Happy 16th Birthday!
Love, Mom

A wonderful big sister!

During one of the outings she arranged for us this summer.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Oh my goodness, where has the month gone??

Does it seem like I start nearly every post with an apology???  I thought that summer would mean more time to do naive I was!  I'm not really sure that I'm doing more, I think that there are just more people to walk around when I am doing things!

Here's a preview of upcoming blogs from our activities so far:

Cherry picking,

yummy treats,

family construction projects,

keeping cool,

Daisy Scout meetings,

Vacation Bible School Pandemania,

the County Fair,

Fourth of July,

family fun,

and just enjoying the summer!

Not to mention various other projects.  See you soon!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

May Projects

Well, here it is, the middle of June, and I bet you thought I forgot this post, didn't you?

Nope, just had more pressing things to share with you, but here it is, the May Projects post!

First up, the counted cross stitch picture that I made for Don:
This was supposed to be for our anniversary, which was on Easter Sunday.  For obvious reasons, I didn't finish on time, but this was the first project I worked on post Easter dresses.  I haven't ironed or framed it yet, however.

After spending 3 months on Easter dresses, the month of May was all about instant gratification type projects.  Here is a picture of almost everything finished:

See?  All things finished in a few days or less.  You remember that I've said I don't crochet, right?  Well, apparently, now I can crochet, at least a little bit.  It's still not my favorite, but I'm at least able to move a hook around and complete something.  I decided that dishcloths were the perfect thing to practice on.

These are all crocheted.  The dark blue hex in the back came from Lion Brand website.  The fish cloth came from here.  The red heart dishcloth I made up to test a technique I read about.  The red and white stripe "flag" sort of one came from another website, (and my apologies that I can't find it now), and the rest came from various booklets that I've picked up in the last few years. 

Here are the knit cloths I did in May:

See the cloth in the middle?  That is an optical illusion cloth, and I found the pattern here.  The cloth on the right is just a simple cloth, like the kind my mom taught me years ago.  The one on the left is my favorite, though.  Here is a picture of it by itself:

If you look at it from above, it looks like a striped cloth, but look at it from an angle and you see:

flowers!  Isn't that cool?  It's all done using strategically placed knits and purls.  If you like it, you can find the pattern for this one, plus a lot more like it, here.  This is the vintage flowers cloth.  By the way, all 12 dishcloths were made from stash yarn.

But, I did not stop at dishcloths.  No, not me!  I also made a handful of:

cat toys, for my Secret Sister at church.  Well, not for her, exactly, but for her 2 furry children.  These were made with 100% wool yarn, then, before completing the ball, a giant jingle bell was put inside, then the whole thing was felted.  When I revealed to her that I was her Sister last week, she said that her cats loved them!  Silly, but hey, it was stash yarn!
I also learned how to make market bags, but market bags with a twist.  These, when turned inside out, can be tucked into themselves, and become just right for keeping in a purse (if your purse is large, like mine) or stowing under the seat in the car, just in case.
Three marekt bags, folded up.
Three market bags, ready for shopping!
The bag in the center was made from stash yarn, the bag on the left was from yarn that my mom gave me, and the bag on the right, I bought new, specifically to match a beach towel I was giving as a gift:

I also made 3 pairs of children's ladybug slippers, which of course I forgot to take pictures of before I gave them to the person that requested them.  I do have an order for 3 more pair, so I will be sure to take pictures of those to show you.

So it was a rather productive month, using mostly what I had in house.  And I have a box full of goodies to show for it.  Might be time to take on some larger projects again soon, though.  I've already finished a couple of things this month...can't wait to show them to you!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Summer Fun, Part 2

Yesterday, I told you that we were trying something new this year.  We have decided to try having Brittany be our activities director.  The idea is that we will give her a set amount of money each week, and she can use that money to plan activities for us to do.  She is really quite good at finding deals, and getting the most for her money, so we figured that if we gave it to her to research and plan, she'd make sure the money went as far as possible.

Today's adventure was:

Boomers is an entertainment center that has mini golf, bumper boats, go karts, and an arcade.  She really wanted to take the kids to mini golf, as they'd never played before.

First on the agenda was mini golf.  Kids under 5 played free so that saved us money right there:  Katie and Maddie were free.  And yes, they both played, kinda.  Maddie got tired after 4 holes, and wanted to be carried, but I really wasn't surprised by that.

Brittany's boyfriend, Ramiro, helping Maddie at the first hole.

Katie's turn.
Emma, Abby, and Ramiro, watching the game.
Brittany, thinking about her next shot.
Emma, and Katie, in a candid shot.  Doesn't it look like they're posing?
Maddie had so much fun, at least for a while!
Abby, Emma, Maddie, and Katie, posing by the castle.
Oh, and by the way, the "golf lady" was "amazing"...she gave everyone their favorite color ball!

After golf, we headed to another part of the complex:

Are you familiar with bumper boats?  They are exactly what they sound like:  bumper cars in the water!  They have a pool that is 3 feet deep, and about a dozen boats in it.  Each boat is equipped with a water cannon, and people drive around, bump each other, and basically try to get each other as wet as they can.  They look like a lot of fun, and the kids really enjoyed it.  Maddie was too little to go on them, even with an adult, so she and I stayed on dry land and took pictures.  Brittany and Ramiro planned to go on them, but the group that got off the boats just before they got on were SOAKED, and they decided to opt out.

Abby, in a fierce water battle.
Emma, getting ready to pull away from the dock.
Katie,  just going her own way, doing her own thing.

Abby, in the green boat, and Emma, engaged in battle.

Katie, in the blue and yellow boat, and Abby.  Just to give you some idea of the size of the pool.
Katie, not nearly as wet as I thought she'd be!
Emma and Abby, a little wet, but not bad.  Emma's already looking for the next adventure.
Maddie, a happy girl, even though it was pretty hot out.
After the kids got off of the boats, we went out to the car and had a picnic lunch, before going into the arcade.  There really weren't any games for the little kids, and the games for the "big kids" were really expensive.  I think Brittany and I agreed that the Chuck E. Cheese arcade was a better bet in the future.

All in all, the day was a big success....everyone had fun, Brittany planned and shopped for deals, we all compromised a little bit, and the kids slept well that night!  I'm sure we've got many more fun activities coming soon!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer time fun, part 1

As of today, school has been out for two weeks now.  So far, so good!  The first few days of vacation, Don's mom was here, so the kids were busy with Grandma.  For the next four days, we just relaxed at home, and basically did nothing.  After all, that's the best part of vacation, right?  On the tenth, Don took Abby, Emma, Katie, and Madison down to his mom's for a four day weekend.  That's right, I was home alone, at least on Friday.  I spent  Housecleaning the family room, and more specifically, sorting through, thinning out, and organizing the kids' toys.  It was a VERY productive 9 hours, and the kids told me when they got home that it was a nice surprise.

The kids had a lot of fun with their cousins while in SoCal.  Unfortunately, Don was kept very busy, so I do not have any pictures of their adventures down there, but I know they had lots of fun!  Don's sister Therry, and niece Sydney, as well as his nephew Justin, niece Katrina, and their 3 boys kept the girls on the move.  Between a health fair, playground time, and swimming, they didn't want to come home!

I also spent that weekend having fun...Friday night was a purse party at my neighbor's house and a Secret Sisters party at church.  Saturday was the show Mamma Mia, followed by dinner, with Mom, Becky, and Brittany, and Sunday was a Scentsy party at my house.  All of these events were interspersed with bouts of house cleaning.  Fun and productive, in 4 short days!

That brings us to this week.  Brittany has been bored.  Monday night, when Abby and Emma got home from Daisy Scouts, Brittany decided to host a slumber party in the family room.  Little did she know that all 4 girls, PLUS Don would fall sound asleep within minutes of laying down:

Brittany put down an air mattress for the 4 girls.  She slept on the couch.

Maddie and Katie, curled up together.

Abby and Emma.  Isn't it funny how they all paired up?

Even Don dozed off.  He and I went to bed though.  Leave "roughing" it to the kids!

Yesterday she was so bored that she took the 4 kids out to wash my car and Don's truck.  The end result was 2 very clean cars and 5 exhausted kids.  They came in, dried off, and put pajamas on, then lay down to watch a movie while I cooked dinner.
Abby, in her winter pj's, for some strange was almost 100 degrees out!

I think Katie was actually playing with that ball when she fell asleep.

Emma, under a bath towel, sound asleep.

Brittany might've fallen asleep while texting someone!

And Maddie.  OK, Maddie didn't fall asleep, she took a nap between vehicles.
And those girls were sleeping HARD.  Don had to really nudge them to wake them up for dinner.  It's amazing what water fun in the hot sun can accomplish!  And all slept really well last night too!

Tomorrow, I'll let you in on the strategy we are going to try for our summer activities this year.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Last day of school: Splash Day!

Abby and Emma, on the first day of school.
 Last Thursday was the last day of school for the girls.  I don't know if any of you have been following the California weather, but we have NOT had the sunny, warm weather that everyone pictures when they think our area.  It has been cold and RAINY!  The last day of school was another cold, wet day.  Don't get me wrong, I like rainy days, a lot, and am perfectly happy with this.  However, the last day of school was Splash Day for the girls.  And they wore bathing suits.  And played water games.  And being typical 6 year olds, saw absolutely nothing wrong with this!

At the girls' school, there were 4 kindergarten classes, each with around 25 students.  On the last day of school, they set up 8 stations around the playground:  ice cream sundaes, water balloon hot potato, sidewalk chalk, hotdogs, bubbles, water relays, water painting, and potato sack races.  The kids were numbered, 1 thru 8, which told them which station they started with.  Then, they rotated through each of the 8 stations, which were manned by parent volunteers.  Everyone had a really good time, and the rain that we did have didn't seem to put a damper on anything at all.

I had a camera with a really good zoom lens, so I was able to stay at my station (ice cream!), and capture all of the action.  As the kids didn't typically know that I was taking pictures, there are not many where they are looking at me.  And now, I'll let the pictures tell the story!
Abby, having lunch.

Emma, at the chalk station.

Abby, ready to get wet at the water relay.

Emma, having lunch.

Abby, at the potato sack race.

Emma, ready for some water play.

Emma, "painting" with water.

Emma's turn to race.

Abby, enjoying her ice cream.

Emma, looking dreamy!

Abby at the water balloon game.

Abby, becoming a big chalky mess!

Emma, playing with water balloons.
I realize that some of those pictures look a little bit sunny.  The sun played games with us all would peek out for a few minutes, then be swallowed by clouds again.  There were a few cloud bursts, but before an alternate plan could be put in action, it would stop.  From what I understand, though, the initial plan was for the kids to be soaked, so I think they modified the games a little!  And now, we have first graders!

Here is Emma and Abby, in their last kindergarten picture, taken right before we left for school:
See you soon!