1John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

TV Time

I'll admit it, I'm a fan of television.  It bugs me that it gets frowned upon by some moms.  I remember watching cartoons when I was a kid, and I want these kids to remember that as well.  This group of kids works very hard five days a week at my house.  They are always learning.  Time for some mindless television and popcorn.  It's part of being a kid.  Doing 'nothing'.  It sparks the imagination later- as on the day this picture was taken, they watched  a classic Winnie The Pooh cartoon, and later played it all out in their imaginations in the play room.  This morning the kids were cold after our walk to the bus in the wet air.  Someone brought the movie 'Tangled', so they are now cozied up in blankets and watching it.  (Excellent movie, by the way.  I'd watch it again even without the kiddos.) 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Baby Is Enrolled in Kindergarten...

Yesterday our youngest was enrolled in kindergarten for this fall.  I cannot believe this- what a strange feeling it will be to have all three of them in school now.  Last night I had a nightmare that I was pregnant again... Boy was I glad to wake up!!  I guess it's better to let my baby grow up than to start all over again.  Bittersweet, I guess. :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Indoor Gardening

It is still cold enough outside for us to wear our winter coats.  Not ideal weather for seed sprouting, yet.  We found some tiny pots with a 'disc' of potting soil inside.  Add two tablespoons of water to expand the soil.
Look!  It is expanding!
Add seeds.  In this instance, it was Alyssum.  It's very easy to grow and transplant.
Place them in a window somewhere.  They sprouted in two days, and now I fear for their lives because it is so cold outside.  We might transplant them into a better pot with some real soil.  Happy planting to you! ☼

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Today I created...

Here is a photo of what I created today.  I purchased the bottles at Ruffles And Rust Square.  I wandered over to the Snohomish Antique Mall  about a block further up and found the old salmon box.  Put the two together, and WHAMO!  A nice piece that now graces the front door.  Fresh forsythia from the back yard looks great in my new 'vase box'.  You can do this too!  The little shops on 1st Street in Snohomish have several bottles, all shapes and sizes.  Make sure you wire the vases in so they don't fall out.  I also purchased these signs:
Since we have an apple tree AND live in the Northwest, we no longer have to worry!
I couldn't do without this metal one.  I do love my garden sweet garden. ♥

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Host A 'Grandmother Tea'

Our kids are so blessed to be surrounded by grandmothers.  I found an article about hosting a grandmother tea a couple of years back.  Stephanie and I started planning. We mailed out invites to all of the grandmothers, letting them know that we are hosting a tea in their honor. We set the table, baked some scones, and filled a vase full of questions Steph had for them.  (What was your first paying job?  What were your grades like in school?  If you could turn into an animal, which one would it be?)  What a great idea!!    The whole idea behind a grandmother tea is to get to know them.  We chose to also spoil them a little.  One grandma smartly escaped the photo above by offering to snap a photo. I cannot believe I was tricked! ;)
We made an apron for each grandmother.  The canvas fabrics were chosen to mirror each different personality or likes.  This one above was made for my Grandma Audette.  She had a wonderful apple tree in her yard.
This was made for Adams Grandma Thurber.  She always has her home decorated in beautiful colors for each season and likes to garden.  I am horrified that I cannot find photos of the other two aprons.  One for my mother-in-law had a tea print on it.   Jeans fabric for my mom.  With a car on some railroad tracks.  (Inside joke)♥
 Here is Stephanie, escorting my mother to her seat.  Fresh lilacs graced the table. Table favors were smartly scented soaps in a cute box. :)
I recommend hosting a grandmothers tea!  I think they felt special for a couple of hours in this busy life we are all bustling through. I felt it was neat for Stephanie to listen to each of  them and get to know them  a little bit more.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Use Your Newspaper

Newspaper is wonderful as art.  I read the paper every morning, so there is always one around.  It is most often used to cover the table when we paint or use excess glue.
We created these patriotic star pillows last year.  The kids stuffed them with strips of newspaper. 
Yesterday in honor of spring, we created newspaper flower gardens.  It is cold and rainy again today- will we EVER really have spring in Washington?   We were hoping to motivate it with our art.
We'll leave these on the art wall for a while and see if it helps.  Meanwhile, if you have some sunshine where you are, please stand in it for us! ☼

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Coffee Filter Art

 Goodbye shamrocks, hello butterflies!  Coffee filters are wonderful art pieces.  They are made to allow the coffee to drip right through it without tearing, so they are perfect for this project.  Write each child's name with a permanent marker FIRST. 
Give them washable markers to color on the filters however they wish. I try to make sure they use at least  two colors, and no black or brown.
Take the colored filter and run it under a slow stream of water.  Just enough to wet it thoroughly.  The colors will run together.  If you have science eye droppers, the kids can drip the water onto them to watch the colors mix.
Place it on a paper towel to catch all of the excess water.  Then let the kids "fan" the coffee filters through the air until they are almost dry.
Pinch the coffee filter together...
Add a pipe cleaner.  Twist together to secure the butterfly.  Curl the antennas if desired.
Hang them up!  These look beautiful in a window, too.
We taped some to our wall under the tree.  Have fun!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Helpful Footwear

It's the simple things that save my sanity.  Rubber boots, for instance, save the day.  Moms do not want to pick their child up with muddy shoes.  I do not want muddy foot prints through my house.  The kids want to go out and play in the muddy yard.  Thanks to our rainy Pacific Northwest winter, the yard is a nightmare.  One step onto the grass results in muddy shoes.   The best way to keep us all happy is to keep enough rubber boots on the back porch for everyone.  (♪♫Hallelujah Chorus in my head..♫♪)  "Yes!  You may go outside.  Please choose a pair of boots."  Smiles usually follow.  No angry moms, no cranky Nicole.  Thank you to the inventor of rubber boots.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Happy Spring!

Hooray for Spring time, we've been waiting all winter.  It's time to notice the tree buds and flower bulbs.  This time of year is a GREAT time for a nature walk.  I like to give the kids a small bag to collect nature items in.  The rule is this : The collected items must be things that were made by God.  The nature walk can be right in your own back yards, or even around the block.  We like to wander just about anywhere, and the kids are more observant of their surroundings when they get to collect items.  When we get home, we examine the items with magnifying glasses.  Fun stuff- thank God for Spring!

Monday, March 21, 2011

No "Daycare" Here, Please

Schedules are wonderful.  Children know what to expect after they get used to the routine.  In my experience, it has been very helpful when a new little one arrives and is having a hard transition time.  Let's face it, most moms would rather die than have to bring their little ones to daycare.  The word "daycare" freaks me out!  Honestly, when I think of that word, visions of a messy space filled with lonely children who are all picking on each other with dirty faces and full diapers.  I hope that isn't a reality, I really do.   I know that my business is technically a "daycare".  But to make me feel better I suppose I just call it a "learning center".  We have a great schedule, the kids are learning so much!  But the one thing I thought was important was to make sure the kids get plenty of free time also.  I grew up playing outside from the first signs of Spring until the snow showed up mid Autumn. (Utah.)  That free time allowed me to learn the following things: empathy for others(as we threw rocks), gravity (falling out of trees and off of bikes), language (......), but most importantly, how to use our imaginations.
 We built huts, on the ground, in the trees, and actually dug ourselves underground holes to sit in, with a tunnel between our holes so we could communicate.  Free time is the best!  One of the things I try to make sure that I remember is that THIS is part of these kids' childhood.  I treasured mine, and really want to create fun for these kids to remember too.  No "daycare" here, please.
That's my son and niece in the video above, getting their groove on a couple of years ago. ♥

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spread Some Love Each Day

1 John 4:7-8 "Beloved, let us love one another. For Love is of God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Those who love not, know not God, For God is love. " (or something like that.) I tend to remember the song version of this verse. ♫♪
Spread some love each day! Smile and say "Hello." Wave! In the grocery store line, donate your change to the person in line behind you without telling them. This brightens the cashiers day, too. :) It's easy to share Gods love, and a gift to be able to do so. ♥

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wooden Treasures

There are many reasons that I love Snohomish, and barn sales are one of them.  Farms will clear out the barn items, dusty and cobwebbed.  I found this wooden fruit crate along with several others and purchased them for $3 a piece.  I used all of them as shelves in the dining room, and this one holds my garlic.  I added some hooks for herb or seed drying.  What you see is from last year, I didn't want it to be empty.  Spearmint, catnip, and a fiery red sunflower loaded with seeds for this year.  I usually get the garlic braid from the market in Seattle.
This treasure was tangled in a mess of overgrown trees in the back yard when we bought this house.  I loved it so much I brought it inside.  It had clearly been out there for years, and was getting weathered.  Who knows, maybe it was only a month, considering our wet weather.  It's safe, now.
This was a fun find, too.  Kids in tow, we rummaged through a large old church that was full of junk.
Not so old, this was purchased at Ben Franklin.  I couldn't help it, it has apples on it.  We have an ancient apple tree.  This holds the pens at the sign in and out station.   I am always on the hunt for wooden treasures.  The older and more interesting, the better.   Happy weekend, all!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Each Story Has A Lesson

Good old Dr. Seuss.  This book is a great tool in teaching kids to try something new.  I'll bet that this book has been read at least 20 times in the past year, and it always holds their attention.  They can't wait to get to the part where he actually TRIES the green eggs and ham.  It seems like they even hold their breaths at that point. :)
We have eaten green eggs and ham in the past in reference to the story.  Last year I made ONLY green eggs, and several of the kids refused to eat it.
This time I wised up and made most of it the regular way.  Saint Patrick's Day was the perfect excuse to make some green ones.
It's a bit blurry, but everyone had a spoonful of the green eggs.  They were excited to try it, just like the guy in the book.  It amazes me how a bit of food coloring can really confuse the senses.   Some of the kids believed that it tasted different. :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Tune To Brighten Your Morning

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! We have a bunch of green children running around here, and it just happens to be a birthday as well. I have a Celtic play list filling the air, and this song is on it. It goes well with the smell of corned beef and cabbage in the crock pot. Today the kids will be searching for tiny green coins, they just don't know it yet. :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Bright Idea

They couldn't turn their little eyes away!  One is even taking pretend photos with the view finder.   Aiden purchased the long noise maker balloons with the pump at Target for $2.99 or something close to that price.  The pump is great, no out of breath adults here.  When the balloon is full and released from the pump, it flies through the air and whistles, bringing laughter and many requests for more. 
This day was different, however.  They instead chose to use Adams boot, and just pump up the balloon inside of it.  I don't know why, but this kept them busy and happily congratulating each other for all of their free time.  They each took turns doing the pumping.  A dirty boot + balloon and pump= entertained children!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Good Use For Small Jeans

One of my favorite blogs posted this idea to use up the extra jeans we have in our closets.  I must have 4 or 5 pairs that I always think someday I'll fit back into, although not likely.  I gained a clean 10 pounds when I turned 31, and it has clung tightly and become a part of me. 2 years later- time to hack up those jeans and move forward.  The link Cool Jean Purse shows a different and much easier version.  The photo above, is what I ended up with, times 3.  Three anxious little girls waited patiently to pick out their own buttons, and were happy to stuff extra fabric inside when I didn't have anything cool to put in the purses.  All three took about an hour.  I used the jeans inseam for straps.
I just took my skinny pants, and chopped off the bottom of each pant leg.  Simple.  Resourceful, and now I don't feel like I have to fit into them someday.  Goodbye, mean jeans- you don't hold power over me anymore!
Look where 'Diamond" was found recently, with "Chick" tucked safely under a blankie for a nap.  If you don't know the story of "Diamond", Here it is!  He is still floating all over the place.  "Chick",  however, has been disassembled.  We use our beanbags all of the time. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Belittled Human Acheivement

God has created such beauty for us to look at, and here we are in a world of countries, each fighting to achieve the best of everything.  Largest cities, most money and power, strongest army,  on and on and on.  With a swipe of His mighty hand, human achievement belittled to mud and mess.   What is most important in your life?  I see this disaster in Japan as a bold reminder that nothing of this world is worth anything.  It's all meaningless, and we are not to grasp onto it (the world) in our attempts to feel worth or a sense of entitlement or safety.
God brings peace, and if it takes a terrible disaster like that in Japan to get people to realize He is real, so be it.  Praying for them, praying for us all.
Here is a link that shows satellite photos of Japan before and after the earthquake/ tsunami.  Powerful.
From The New York Times

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Boys' Room

Adam  had already moved the furniture to the middle of the room so I could get started.  Maybe it's hard to see the paint color here, but it's kind of gray.  I don't like it because I think it looks purple.  Boys and purple do not mix, and it has been bugging me for 2 years.
This is where they had the TV.  Lucky boys- they are spoiled, really.
Within 10 minutes of discussing what to do with all of the games and TV stuff, we found this entertainment center on Craigslist for $10.00.  Now that's my kind of deal!
I love the green walls.  Lucky for me, I went to Target after the painting was complete to purchase a rug and curtain for the closet.   There was still paint on my hand, so I had no problem coordinating. The curtain covers up the closet miscellaneous nicely.  I also purchased some under the bed storage containers to store all of the boys toys.  Out of sight= happy mom.  They enjoyed the clean feeling of their room.
New rug, and no, Aiden still never wears a shirt. 
It turned out well that all of the furniture in the room is wood.  They have some cool Mario posters that need to go back up, and I plan on purchasing a lamp to go on top of the entertainment center.  Not sure about curtains, what do you think?