Thursday, September 30, 2010

Favorite Things Friday

I have this camera that is half fancy smancy. I soo yearn for a real Nikkon D-something camera that takes real pictures. But, alas, we still have the college fund to think about (err...or the Still Paying for Danielle's College fund anyway)

So I decided that I was just going to buckle down and learn how to use my present camera better. After all, it does some cool things that I am just not taking advantage of. So, first off, I decided to learn how to use the Micro and Macro settings work. I have been frustrated in the past that the zoom really didn't zoom all that well and I couldn't get any good focus on an object at close range. Enter: Macro function. Who knew? I'm sure you all did, but me? Not so much.

Take a look at this picture. I know it's too dark but good detail, right? And yummy muffins, I highly recommend, by the way!

Day at the Spa

Last Friday, I pulled out an old foot bath I have and decided to do a Pedicure Day with the girls. Isabelle and Grace are true girly girls and are hilariously excited about anything that is pink, bedazzled, ruffily, or anything that involves a tiara. When I put on my make up in the morning, they will sit and watch intently, trying thier hardest to sneak into the case to snatch a few strokes of blush..or whatever they can get in thier hot little hands.

Whenever I put a dress on Isabelle, she gives it the "Princess Test" She twirls around, if the dress flies up, it passes the P Test and she goes happily on her way, sure she looks stunning in her royal attire. If it fails, she is sad and begs me to take off the unacceptable thing and put her in a real princess dress. She has even said to me,"Now no one will think I'm pretty!" Oh the drama.

Back to the story at hand. The kids took turns soaking thier feet. I rubbed lotion on them, painted and filed thier toe nails. I even called myself "Daniela" and spoke with a french accent. Isabelle even referred to me as Daniela later on in the week. She is so funny!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lunch Lady Blues

In spite of an unfortunate Bento Box incident(Isabelle's new bento top busted into pieces!), I have been trekking along with the healthy lunches for my kids. When they were in home care, I liked the fact that I didn’t have to worry about packing lunches for them, BUT now that I do pack them I really like the fact that I know what they are eating (mostly).

I thought I would lose steam on this, but really, I look forward to packing their lunches and it’s another little creative outlet for me. And, if truth be known, I probably mostly Bento to keep myself motivated to pack healthy lunches. THEY would probably prefer a Lunchable and a baggie of carrots. You KNOW that’s the truth.

In the top box you have Beloved Mac and Cheese, paired with Nitrate free hot dogs (ummm that's supposed to be cut to look like an octopus..but oh well) In the little monkey head you have ketchup. In the bottom bento you have Strawberries, cucumber butterflies, and teddy bear cheese. In the little box's are white chocolate chips for a treat, and the closed one has a bit of ranch dressing for dipping the veggies.Yum!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Favorite Things Friday

I'm not sure if this will become a thing or not, but I was looking for an excuse to show you one of my favorite things and Favorite Things Tuesday just wasn't as catchy. I love Mason Jars. In my opinion, cool drinks taste way better when drunk(am I using that right?) out of a jar.

I particularly love these vintage aqua colored jars. Beautiful, right? And I would like to thank Margaret and my Grandma for giving my current collection to me. I LOVE LOVE LOVE them. One day, when I have a room where I can lock my children out of craft, I am going to fill it full of stuff like this.

Or turn them into Solar patio lights and chandeliers....

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mama's Little Helper

Grace loves to help me unload groceries. She loads up her cart from the bags and pushes it around to the pantry or fridge so that I can unload it. She's cute, right?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

To Sell or Not to Sell

We found a couple of houses that we are interested in, in an area we are interested in. One house is amazing, at a decent price, with a few draw backs: like a small master and no bathtub in the master bath. Oh, but the kitchen! A girl would want this house on the kitchen alone!! And as the realtor told us, it’s really women who buy houses. If you can hook the woman, you’ve got the man.

So we decided to put our New and Improved House on the Market and see what happens. The realtor came over yesterday and took pictures and videos. We kept the kids corralled in the center of the room, running interferences, so they wouldn’t touch/move/drop/spill/wipe smuts on anything while the guy did this. We turned on a movie to distract them for a few minutes. I think they sensed the obvious ploy to distract, and being the focused creatures that they are, would not give us 10 seconds of uninterrupted conversation with poor Mike, the realtor. He was patient and kind. Me? Not so much.

All in all, it went well, and the house looked good. Hopefully good enough to sell. Time will tell…

An Artsy Fartsy Week

Do you like my title? Well, I think I’m going to go ahead and talk a little more about why it was an “Artsy” week at our house, and a little less on why it was a “Fartsy” week at our house (please refer to past post with chili recipe).

Isabelle loves anything crafty. So much so that for her birthday I bought a couple of bins and filled it full of markers, colored pencils, art pads, Paint your Own projects etc. She LOVES it and pulls it out MANY times a day. Whenever I do any kind of “project” I try to include Isabelle, if I can. She’s an old pro, now, with a paint brush and a glue gun!

This week I bought her some little pumpkins and let her paint them…very exciting.

We also jazzed up our laundry room storage. I purchased little wooden squares at Jo Ann’s, along with some chalkboard paint. I have been dying to use chalkboard paint, and honestly, I went a little crazy with it. The anticipation was so great, I was a little afraid I would just paint any smooth surface in sight. We painted the little squares and then simply glued a bit of pretty ribbon to the top and glued the squares right on the basket. I just turned them around, so the tie was in the back. I’m thinking of doing the same thing with the girls’ storage baskets upstairs.



While I was on the kick, here is Isabelle pulling a Vanna White in front of our new pantry chalkboard. Again, I didn’t clean, prime, sand. I just taped the edges and slapped on a couple coats of chalkboard paint. I LOVE it!

On a side note, Isabelle obviously has her mother’s lack of self control when it comes to coloring her world, and you can see from the below picture, she went a little Picasso all over Grace…who thought it was fabulous, by the way.

P.S. NO matter what “they” say, washable markers do not come off of everything!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Week of Firsts

Well, today marks the second week of Daycare for the girls. They are adapting quite well. And it has been a week of "First's" for us. I thought I'd share some with you:

*Isabelle brought home her first homework assignment last night. Daddy sat at the table with her as she traced her name over and over again. P.S. They call her "Isabella" at school and it's on everything and I'm having a hard time getting folks to call her Isabelle. We may be on slippery slope here...

*Grace is going on her first bus ride AND field trip today. Her class is loading up on the bus and going to Pizza Hut for lunch (FYI, it's all of half a block from the church).

*Grace also got her first cold of the season (blah!)and we celebrated with the return of the night time vomiting! We are praying that it's just related to this small (and it has been very small) cold and not the return of the Asthma Cough stuff! Thank you, Grace's new classmates, for sharing your germs :)

*And lastly, I made my first pot of soup of the season this week...we'll chili. Yum. I know it's still 80 degree's here in the daytime, but it feels like Autumn, doesn't it? And this Rachel Ray Indian Summer Chili is one of our all time favorites! I couldn't wait to make it!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Do you Bento?

Since the girls started back at daycare/preschool this week it includes an element that I was dreading...the packing of the lunches. Now three days a week I have to pack four lunches a night! Uggg. So I started searching the internet for some kind of creative (and healthy) lunch ideas for the girls. I ran across several blogs that featured a type of lunch packing called Bento...It's from Japan and it means "take from home" And I think its mostly because the lunch boxes are called Bento Box's.

Anyway, these bloggers post pictures daily of what they packed for thier kids for lunch. was like instant ideas for lunch! All of the sudden I was very excited about packing lunches! I started out with what I had. The first fun-ish thing I did was pretty quirky but they LOVED it. I just put pretzel sticks in fruit and called them pretzel popcicles. (It worked better for lunches at home since the pretzel's got soggy by lunch time at school...but live and learn!)

So I searched some more to find some cheap Bento "accessories" to make lunches fun and I ordered a few little things. The box came today and I made breakfast with a few things. Isabelle already asked me "Mom, when do I go to school again?" She's so excited to eat her bento!
Please excuse the bad picture...our camera is on the fritz and this is from my pohone. On the far left are kabob sticks you can use for fruit, veggies, cheese anything...usually cut into fun shapes with a cookie cutter. In the upper left are two egg shapers. You put a warm boiled egg in there, let it cool and it takes on the shape of the eggs. Next to those are little "forks" you can put into food for the kids to eat with, above that is a rice shapper. Great for us since we eat a lot of rice! Below the forms are little tiny sauce containers. Great for ketchup or veggie dip. We LOVE the little monkey ones...that come with little itty bitty spoons inside. Below those are two kinds of silicon cups that are good for keeping food seperate in the bento box. On the right are two ento boxes with bento straps to keep them secure. Can you see the girls hoovering over the new little things? They are pumped for lunch! And these little things were pretty inexpensive, mostly $2 per set.

I put some links on the right if you are interested in checking out the Bento Blogs I have been lurking around.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Mystery Solved!

A couple of YEARS ago I was walking around the office in my summery business casual khaki pants when a co-worker came up to me and said, “Danielle, you have pen marks all over your bee-hind.” I looked back and could see, almost on my thigh, was a bunch of blue pen scribble marks. Weird I thought. Maybe I had a pen stuck in my chair? I went back and looked but didn’t see anything.

I didn’t think anything more about it until about six months ago…it started happening AGAIN. I went to a clinic where one of my DOCTORS (thankfully, a female doc) said, “Danielle, you have string on your pants…wait no, it’s pen marks.” They were brand new, I had never worn them. But, I had washed them and folded clothes on the kitchen table where Isabelle later went a little crazy with a ball point pen. So, I readily threw my preschooler under the bus for that one with a “You know how kids are…”

I started to think I was sub-consciously doing it to myself. I don’t know…scratching an itch? But then I noticed I didn’t have a blue pen…it was black. Na Na Na Na Na Na Na(imagine the music to Twighlight Zone here) Weird….
About a month later the same thing happened when I was in Cincinnati at a clinic. My nurse coordinator said, “Ummmm Danielle, your rear has blue pen marks on it.” What? How did that happen? Reviewing my very early morning, I knew I hadn’t yet touched a pen that morning. I thought, it must be stuck in my car seat. I later went out and looked all over my car. No pen. Weird….

A few weeks later I was walking somewhere with my trusty backpack (I know adults are supposed to have sleek professional satchels and briefcases, but if you had to carry the sheer amount of stuff I do, you would carry a Jansport too!) and I noticed something poking me in the side. I reached down and felt. I looked at my hand and saw blue pen marks! A pen insert had fallen into the lining of my bag and occasionally poked out to draw on my pants! I was so excited about this finding that I had to…well…blog about it.

I’m not crazy! Thank God…I’m not crazy! I wasn’t drawing on myself or haunted by pen demons! It’s the little things that make me happy, really.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A Little Pretty

Along with the Picture Thank You's for Isabelle's birthday and since I'm on a hair accessories kick it's a nice gesture, we included this little hair bow to all of the little girls who came. Sorry, I couldn't think of anything cool and envelope-able for our male guests.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Squeezing Every Ounce of Summer Out...

I am looking forward to Autumn and all it, crisp, weather, the trees turning colors, pumpkin patches, and bon fires. But in the same breath, we have been attempting to squeeze every ounce of sunshine and summer out of our days. Even on the last unofficial day of summer, Labor Day, we spent the temperate sunny day at the Zoo with my parents. It was beautiful, not at all crowded, and we had a great time(thanks Aunt Brenda for the season pass for Christmas!)

And we have been busy preparing for a new phase in the Michael Chronicles: Daycare! Because of some unforseen challenges, we needed to switch from home care to daycare. Fortunatly, we went back to the daycare center that Isabelle was at before I went part time with the birth of Grace. We know the teachers and love them dearly. Best of all (for us): We trust them! And Isabelle will be in a full 3 day preschool program. Score one for Kindergarten readiness!

She was a bit apprehensive about it. Expecting some reticense in this particular child, I had a secret weapon on hand. Last night I pulled out a new surprise Hello Kitty lunch bag and let Isabelle help me pick her lunch foods and pack them. She was good to go this morning (Thank you Jesus!) and excited about...well...the lunch bag, if nothing else.

Grace? As always she jumped right in and made the best of her new situation. New friends and new routine and all. Love that child!