Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Break From the Heat

The sun has set on what was an absolutely beautiful day around here. We caught a small glimpse of the weather that lies ahead of us in the upcoming months - ah, I can't wait!

After Grace got home from school we spent the remainder of the day outside - swinging, swimming, drawing and even eating our dinner in the fresh air, something that we haven't been able to do in many months. After dinner we watched the sunset and Grace entertained us by singing some impromptu songs.

We look forward to what Mother Nature has planned for tomorrow!

Monday, September 28, 2009


Grace and I started our Monday morning by baking a batch of chocolate chip cookies. They seem to be the favorite cookie around here - enjoyed by both of my chocolate lovers. I'll occasionally bake several sans chocolate so I can get in on the Toll House cookie eating too, yum!

Wishing you a sweet start to your week!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Horse Party

Grace attended a birthday party for her friend Kani who just turned six. Kani loves horses and as you can see from the pictures it was a horse party. Grace enjoyed every minute of it!

Posing with Star the horse. Grace decorated the cowgirl hat while at the party. The hat along with the denim skirt made her "a real cowgirl" indeed.

Us with Star just after Grace got a horseback ride around the yard. After her ride she said, "That's my favorite part of the party".

Attempting to lead Curly Sue (a pony the children got to dress-up) around the yard. I think the pony had other ideas - such as eating some lunch.

Grace with the birthday girl while she opened our present.

I think Grace just may be a horse lover too - she had a smile on her face the entire afternoon!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Book Inspiration :: Kitchen Towel

Grace just loves the book, "Earl the Squirrel" by Don Freeman. It's a cute story about a little squirrel in search of acorns - perfect reading for this time of year. There's one particular page of the book that Grace laughs hysterically at every time we read it. It's when Earl finally discovers a tree full of acorns and one falls right on top of his head, "Bonk!".

We wanted to make something that would remind us of silly Earl. So the idea of the kitchen towel was born. Here's how we made it:

Grace painted a piece of muslin (backed with freezer paper for support) with orange fabric paint.

When the paint was dry she drew an outline of a treetop on the backside of the freezer paper. Then she cut the image out with her scissors.

I machine stitched the treetop and trunk (Grace said of her choice of trunk fabric, "I like this one, it looks like swirling leaves in fall") onto a ready-made flour sack towel. Then I embroidered Earl (wearing his red scarf - a gift from his friend Jill), an acorn, an owl (hard to see in the photo) and the word "Bonk" in Grace's handwriting.

The towel is now displayed over the handle of our oven door - it's a wonderful reminder of autumn and a much loved story!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

First Day of Autumn

The calendar said that it's officially the first day of autumn - unfortunately there's no hint of fall around here. However, we didn't let the warm weather dampen our enthusiasm. We welcomed the new season with all it has to offer. Here's some of what we did:

We went to the library and found books about fall, among other things. We explored the butterfly garden and read some books in the shade. Grace had a great idea, she said "We can eat lunch here (in the garden) when it's colder and read lots of books". Yes, we will have to do that in the coming months.

We spent the afternoon preparing a fall feast. Our preparations sent us out to the garden for fresh herbs. While outside Grace spent time on her swing and then picked a fresh flower, a marigold, for Molly's vase (something that we've done since she passed away).

We had a tasty meal together as a family - enjoying the flavors of the season. As you can see, Grace did a beautiful job setting the table. She took items from her kitchen and nature table to create the centerpiece. The table looked very fall-like indeed.

We hope you enjoy the bounty that autumn offers!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Current Projects

My creative juices have been flowing lately. It seems that my "spare" time is spent sewing or dreaming about what to make next. Here's two of this week's projects....

While Grace was at school today (she normally only attends school Wednesdays and Fridays but it was picture day so she went for the morning) I made her a pencil roll for her colored pencils. I thought the roll would be a good storage alternative to the box they came in, since it was falling apart. Thank goodness Grace agreed - she can be a tough critic I tell you, especially when it comes her art work/supplies. She quickly organized each pencil with the coordinating fabric pocket and declared, "It's so beautiful".

In case you wanted to know, the pattern for the pencil roll was from the book, "Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts" by Joelle Hoverson.

This weekend, while Grace had an overnight visit with Meme and Pop I got around to basting a quilt that I've (and Meme too) been working on - details when it's complete. As you can see Sophie found it to be a very comfortable spot to stretch after a long nap on the couch. And I wonder why it takes me so long to complete a project!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Overnight Visitor

While Grace and I were heading home yesterday a Yorkie ran in front of our car. I pulled over and picked her up looking for some form of identification, but there was none. Puzzled with what to do next we took her to the local animal shelter to see if she was chipped. Long story short "Little Dog" came home with us until her family could be found.

This morning as Dean was driving out of our subdivision he spotted a "lost dog" sign. So I gave her family a call and they came to pick her up. It was bittersweet seeing her go - it was wonderful to see Little Dog reunited with her family but had we not found them she would have made a happy addition to ours.

In case you wondering, Sophie was such a good sport during Little Dog's overnight visit. She didn't seem to mind having another dog around, which was a bit surprising to us. To reward Sophie for her good manners Grace gave her a chew bone - a special reward indeed.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A New Appliance

Our washing machine had been making some rather odd noises lately. We decided to not have it repaired but rather use it until it wouldn't run any longer. Well.... last week it finally decided to call it quits right in the middle of a load of wash - that was fun I tell you.

This past weekend we went on a "boring" (per Grace) trip to Best Buy in search of a new one. We opted for a front loading washer - the idea of saving water and energy sold us. It arrived Monday and we love it! Grace is the perfect height, so she's able to help with the loading and unloading, something she was unable to do before. She has also enjoyed watching the process of how the clothing gets washed. In fact, this morning she ate breakfast in the laundry room so she could watch her beloved "blankie" get "fresh and clean" (yes, she's using the laundry basket as a table).

I'm sure the novelty of a new appliance will wear off quickly - we'll be sure to it enjoy it while it lasts.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Evening Swim

It's starting to get dark a bit earlier around here (perhaps autumn is on it's way - a girl can dream you know!). Grace has been looking forward to the evening that she could finally swim with the pool light on. Tonight happened to be it.

She loved how the light made the water glisten while she swam. It's amazing how children can find the simplest of things purely magical!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Grandparent's Day

"What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies. ~Rudolph Giuliani

Happy Grandparent's Day!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Book Inspiration :: Potato Prints

This week's inspiration came from the book, "One Potato" by Diana Pomeroy. It's essentially a counting book that uses fruits and vegetables as the objects to be counted. All of the illustrations were created by using potato prints - what a cool idea. After reading the book we were inspired to try potato printing too.

I cut two small red potatoes into four basic shapes - circle, square, triangle and rectangle. Then Grace and I filled a paint tray (really a dinner tray but it works great for painting projects) with four colors of poster paint. We added some brushes to the tray, then it was time to get messy.

And messy it was - we both ended up with paint from our finger tips to our elbows. Who knew painting with potatoes could be so much fun!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


With school officially back in session we're settling into a new routine. On Tuesdays Grace attends a gymnastics class at the local YMCA. She's been going there weekly since this past May when she declared that music class was "boring" and wanted to "learn to do cartwheels". Suffice it to say that she's learned to do cartwheels and so much more - loving every minute of it.

Dean and I frequently find ourselves saying things like, "Grace please don't do front supports on the counter", "Don't do forward rolls on your bed, it's not safe", "The helper stool is for standing on, not for practicing your straddle jumps" and ..... I think you get the idea.

Gymnastics is a good thing - well actually, a great thing!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day

We're just getting home after spending a wonderful day at Meme and Pop's house. They held a family BBQ to celebrate the holiday - eleven of us were there. Grace had a great time being entertained by someone other than Dean or myself. All the swimming, playing hide and seek, making beautiful music on the piano, eating delicious food and granting wishes with her magic wand made for one tired little girl. Oh what fun we had with family!

We hope you enjoyed your Labor Day too.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Weekend Gardening

This morning we all spent a bit of time outside. While Dean was mowing the lawn Grace and I worked in our little garden. It was time to sow the seeds for some fall veggies. We're hopeful to have miniature pumpkins, butternut squash and beautiful sunflowers in the months to come.

Reading the seed packet is important, especially for novice gardeners like ourselves. The pumpkins and squash seeds needed to be sown into hills, something we've never tried before. So we now have six hills scattered around the garden - "sooooo cute" according to Grace.

Here's what one side of our garden looked like after we were finished. We're keeping our fingers crossed that the lingering dark clouds don't decide to pour buckets of rain our our hills, washing them away!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Book Inspiration :: Full Moon Cookies

I'm starting a new series of posts called "Book Inspiration". They'll highlight how books inspire us to do so many wonderful activities together. So here's the first...

This week the book, "The Moon Might be Milk" by Lisa Shulman inspired us to celebrate the full moon by making cookies (I know... like we really need inspiration to bake).

In the story a little girl by the name of Rosie was on a quest to see what the moon was made of. Along the way she asked various animals what they thought. Their responses included, milk, an egg, sugar, butter, and flour. When Rosie returned home, with the animals in tow, she asked her grandmother. With that Gran began to place each of the ingredients the animals had mentioned into a bowl. She formed the dough into balls then baked them. When cookies came out of the oven everyone exclaimed "the moon". Perhaps the moon is a giant sugar cookie - a sweet story indeed.

The last page of the book included a recipe, "Gran's Sugar Cookie Moons". In celebration of the full moon we made the cookies together. Grace's favorite part was rolling the balls of dough in the sugar - big surprise! The "moons" tasted delicious and may have started a new tradition around here.

As a side note, we made numerous attempts to see the full moon in all it's glory but the clouds had a different plan - oh well, maybe next month... with moon cookies in hand!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Grace's Match Day

Four years ago Dean and I stared at this photo with amazement. This beautiful little girl, living halfway around the world, was chosen to be our daughter. We're so incredibly thankful that our dream of becoming Grace's parents was made a reality through the gift of adoption - a gift that made us a family!

In other news, my Etsy shop is officially open for business (here). I had been waiting for a special day to begin listing some of my handmade items - Grace's "Match Day" seemed perfect. Oh, just in case you were wondering, the panda theme is in honor of her. After all, she makes me One Happy Mama!