Monday, June 28, 2010

We're Off

Grace, Sophie and I are off to Meme and Pop's house. It was the perfect week to squeeze in one last extended visit before a certain someone starts school five days a week in August.

Until our return, I leave you with a picture of a sunflower blooming in our little garden. Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

St. Augustine

We're just getting home from our visit with Dean's family. While there we took a side trip to St. Augustine to see the sights. It had been approximately six years since our last visit there, so needless to say, Grace had never seen this beautiful city before.

One reason for our visit was to see the St. Augustine Lighthouse. After reading several books about lighthouses, Grace has a new found fascination with them. She dreamed of counting each step as she climbed the circular staircase, then seeing the "amazing view" once she reached the top. Unfortunately however, she was just an inch too short for the required height to climb.

Dean ended up climbing the 219 steps - that's a picture of him waving at us.

While exploring the numerous brick alleyways in the city we discovered this art gallery - it's perfectly named don't you think?

Our visit ended at the Castillo de San Marcos, a fort built by the Spaniards in 1672. While there we took a self-guided tour of the premises and saw a reenactment of the cannon firing (the only part of the trip Grace didn't care for due to the loud noise).

Despite the heat, we had a great day visiting one of America's oldest cities!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer Weeding

With Grace spending the next couple of days with Dean's family I decided to seize the opportunity and head outdoors at sunrise to complete a much needed task - weeding. Yes, now that the daily afternoon rainstorms have officially arrived, the weeds have decided to sprout everywhere.

And since I didn't think you would care to look at a picture of a pesky weed, I leave you with something more pleasing - one of our zinnias with a little visitor. Happy summer to you!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

We had a quiet Father's Day due to the tragic day we suffered exactly one year ago. Unfortunately, I believe that our memories from that day will remain with us for quite some time, casting a gray cloud over this day for many years to come.

However, Grace was excited as they come. Today was the day she was finally able to give her Daddy his present. So what was the "big secret" hidden behind closed doors you ask? Well, it was a book Grace came across at Hallmark called, "Superdad". It reminded her of the comic books Dean loves to read, so she just had to have it for him. The book had several pages which could be personalized along with others that were rather "plain", therefore requiring Grace's personal touch. So the book along with a handmade card and some rocks she found in our backyard made Dean's day.

To all you Dads, especially my own, Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Summer Drawing

Occasionally on the weekends the three of us draw together. We each have our own sketchbook that holds our best drawing efforts - items mainly drawn with the assistance of a wonderful Ed Emberley book. However, this summer I decided to take things one step further. I purchased two books that will accompany Grace and I during our days together. Whenever the desire to draw strikes us we'll be at the ready.

The first drawing in our books is of our house - a place that we know so well, but was admittedly difficult for us to draw. We both decided to start our sketches in ink, then finish them with watercolors. This surprised me since Grace prefers to draw with pencils or crayons (perhaps other surprises are in store during this project as well). As you can see, my sketch remains colorless at the moment. Our drawing time was interrupted by a mishap involving the need to call a plumber out to the house asap (Dean nicked the backflow valve while mowing).

By the end of the summer our books will be overflowing with creative goodness. Oh I can't wait!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Jungle Gardens Re-cap

Grace enjoyed her week at camp but by weeks end she was exhausted. Here are some pictures I took on the final day......

Holding Oreo, the rather obese skunk that lives at the gardens. According to Grace his prior owners fed him too much dog food and cookies.

This is Merlin, the parrot Grace got to weigh and make a special toy for.

The campers held a wedding ceremony for the tortoises. Here's Grace in front of the banner that she helped make for the occasion.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Grace the Entertainer

We had a busy weekend spending time with family, celebrating my cousin Christopher's graduation from high school. It's hard to believe that he was just an infant at the time of my own graduation - oh how time flies!

As usual, Grace busied herself by providing the adults with some entertainment. From swimming in the pool to demonstrating her gymnastics skills, she took her "entertainment committee" role seriously.

On Sunday, while spending the day with Meme and Pop, she pretended to be a lifeguard at the beach. In her words, "I'm a lifeguard and I'm doing good work at my job". Her duties included: putting Pop in timeout for allowing his dog in the water, rescuing a swimmer from a sting ray, rescuing Pop from a shark that was biting his neck, calling all swimmers out of the water due to a mother sea turtle protecting her baby, and other numerous timeouts for activities such as, swimming in deep water, spitting, throwing rocks and feeding the pelicans.

Phew, I'd say that's one busy day on the lifeguard stand!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Craft Hope's Project 8

Would you like to help the coastal birds and sea life affected by the oil spill? Join us by clicking (here) - you can make a difference too!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pizza Night

Dean had to attend an evening meeting so that left only Grace and myself to prepare dinner for. It didn't take long for us to decide that pizza would a perfect meal. Truth be told, the two of us could eat pizza every night of the week.

The dough and the sauce were made from scratch using the recipes from, "The River Cottage Family Cookbook", and the yummy mozzarella cheese, which is made locally, was purchased from Whole Foods.

Ready for the oven.....

Ready for our hungry bellies....

Just in case Dean didn't get the chance to eat dinner before he arrives home, we saved him two slices. Now that took some willpower I tell you!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Summer Camp

Since Grace has only attended preschool two days per week, Dean and I thought it would be a good idea to introduce her to being away from home five days prior to starting kindergarten. With her input two summer camps were selected, each being a week in length.

This week she's attending a zoo camp at Jungle Gardens. She had a great first day being a "junior zoo keeper". Some of the highlights included feeding the hissing cockroaches and preparing snacks for the spider monkeys. One thing she opted not to do was touch a snake since it was "one hundred feet long" - I certainly can't blame her, can you? She's already looking forward to tomorrow, hooray!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Book Inspiration :: Making Bagels

The book, "Where on Earth is My Bagel?", written by the Park sisters and illustrated by Grace Lin, has found its way into our library bag on numerous occasions. Each time we bring the book home and read it Grace says, "We need to make bagels". So that is what we finally did.

In the story Yum Yung, who lived in Korea, was in search of a tasty New York bagel. He tied a letter to a pigeon's leg and sent the bird off to New York to find a bagel for him. After not hearing back from the bird he began searching on his own. On his quest he encountered a farmer, a fisherman, a beekeeper and a baker but unfortunately none of them had heard of a bagel. Just then the pigeon returned with a response from Joe, a bagel shop owner from NY. On the reverse side of the letter from Joe was a recipe for none other than bagels. The recipe called for wheat flour, sea salt, honey, water and a pinch of yeast - all which could be provided from the other charters he met in story. In the end, Yum Yung declared, "At last I have my bagel".

In case you were wondering, we used the recipe found (here) as it most closely resembled the ingredients mentioned in the book (the only change we made was substituting honey for the sugars). The end result was quite tasty. In fact over the course of the day Grace and I each ate three bagels - yes, you're reading that correctly, three each. Thankfully they were much smaller in size than the gigantic bagel Yum Yung made!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Dancing Trio

Every Monday afternoon Grace and two other little girls danced their hearts out with their wonderful instructor, Miss Erica. Sadly, just as the school year has come to an end, so has dance class.

To celebrate the fun the girls had together, Grace painted three wooden picture frames. After they were decorated she placed a picture from recital night in each of frames. On the last day of class she gave them to the girls, keeping one for herself.

We hope the fun with Miss Erica isn't over yet - she plans on teaching a musical theatre class this summer that Grace would like to attend. We're keeping our fingers crossed that the weekday Miss Erica selects doesn't interfere with gymnastics!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Teacher Appreciation Gifts

With the end of the school year quickly approaching, it was time to show our appreciation to Grace's teachers. There were many ideas tossed around between the two of us, but we settled on a bird theme. Why birds you ask. Well, we feel Grace's teachers have provided her with an educational foundation or her "wings" so to speak, so birdies seemed fitting (Besides, Grace loves birds - she can spot a Mockingbird in an instant I tell you).

Bird books were made.

Apple breads (along with other goodies) were baked and birdie ornaments were sewn (tutorial here).

Kitchen towels were embroidered and thanks you's were written.

After assembling the baskets Grace delivered them to her teachers - with a huge smile on her face. Hooray for wonderful educators!