Monday, March 5, 2018

Little Boy

My little 4-year-old is so cute sometimes that he makes my heart melt. Sure, he still thinks he's the boss; he and his sister had an argument about it just the other day. But. . .

Our memory poem for February was Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken," and little boy memorized it, too. I wish you could hear him recite those words I'm not sure he even understands: "Two roads diverged in a lellow* wood, and sorry I could not travel both. . . "

Those sorts of things make my heart do flip-flops.

Now. Last week my baby boy moved out of our room and into his own new big boy bed. The mattress came in a box, and it was a big family occasion to watch it be unpacked and expand. Kids were bouncing around so thickly in that room that a good picture with no kids in it was hard to come by.

The mattress-- all rolled up

Unrolled and mostly inflated

We let the bed air out for a night before tucking him in it for the first time. He half broke my heart and half cracked me up when he said, "Mom! I don't need you to tuck me in! I can do it myself!" We tucked him in anyways. 

Very Fun Box

He loves his new bed, but I think he's had a lot more fun with the box it came in. That box entertained the little ones for at least an entire afternoon. In addition to crawling in and out of it, they also used it as a slide. I heard lots of imagination floating around that day.

In many ways, my son is growing up, but the little boy in him still crawls in bed with us in the morning to cuddle. Thank goodness.

*I'm sure many in my family remember a time when my cousin Becky was similarly too cute for words when talking about her favorite colors-- "red and lellow."

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Thursday Things

The weather has been so warm here the last few days that the kids were outside in short-sleeves playing. Some were even begging for the air conditioner to be turned on! That didn't happen. At least it feels cooler this morning.

I've been too busy to blog much lately, so I've saved up a few random thoughts.

1.  Wonderful Wednesday. Yesterday was a lovely day. I was able to spend some time outside with the kids. Reading a good book (E. B. White's Trumpet of the Swan) aloud to your children in the woods with sunshine on your arms does wonders for a body.

I also saw pretty things outside which cheered me up. All of these added a touch of color to our brown "winter" world.

Bluebird house

Tulips popping up

My yellow crocuses! (Or is that croci?)
And if all that pretty was not enough, later in the day after a quick shower, God gifted us with this rainbow.

2.  Child Development.  The baby is at that funny/cute stage where she likes to "hide" by sitting in plain view and covering her eyes. We crack up every time it happens, and that is several times a day. If she can't see us, we can't see her! (Note: I fully recognize that my "baby" is actually a toddler, but she is still the baby.)

3.  Bookish Podcast. My high school BFF recently joined together with some of her co-workers to created a podcast about books they read. It is called Unabridged, and you can find it here. In their words:

Unabridged - Four Teachers Take on Books is a podcast that comes from the desire to share a love of reading, cultivate a reading community, and invite students to become lifelong readers. 

I have listened to a couple of the episodes, and I wish I had more time to read. I also love hearing more of Jen's voice since we don't get to talk often. I am making a prediction that she will never not love a book they review. If you listen, you will learn that she is a real book lover.

4.  Another Place to Shop.  Recently a new family has been coming from afar to our little church-- and they have children! That's always exciting for a small church, you know. Anyway, their three older girls are crafty and have started a business. It is called KovalKreations and can be found here or on Etsy.  Right now they have some beautiful girls' clothing and baskets. I am in awe of their skills.

5. Vintage. And speaking of Etsy, after a long Christmas break so we could arrange things in our updated home, we jumped right back into Sideling View Crafts. I finally sold one pattern in January! And because we have developed an auction habit, I started listing some vintage items.

I'm still listing things because I have quite an accumulation of stuff and not an accumulation of time. Below is a cute vintage children's book I listed this week.

And that's all for Thursday because my family needs to eat breakfast!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Winter, Inside and Out

Last week we had ice. I tried to capture how the sun shining on the ice on Sideling Hill made everything look like a fairy world, but I couldn't. I'll show you the results anyway.

Meanwhile, inside we dealt in cold things, too. For my kindergartner, we are studying one picture book each week. We read the book aloud each day, and do some activity that connects to it. Last week was Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost, illustrated by Susan Jeffers.

One day we focused on the "and downy flake" page. We talked about snow and how each snowflake is different and has six sides.

On this day we did our "fun" activity for the week; we made tortilla snowflakes.

First we folded flour tortillas in half and then in thirds (to make a pie slice shape). We cut shapes in the sides, unfolded them, and baked them in the oven at 350℉  until they were crispy (not burned). Next they were brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with powdered sugar. This was a fun and tasty activity I plan on repeating with the younger two children!

I'm not sure we'll enjoy more winter around here, and most of us are still holding out for a big snow. But at least we found a way to enjoy the little bit of white stuff that we had.

**This book was a lovely book. The children learn a classic poem, and the delightful illustrations add another layer to the poem. I highly recommend it. It is also an easy one for memorizing.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Punch Line

Our children love watching Alton Brown's Good Eats. Me, too. More than a year ago, one of my sons memorized Brown's recipe for punch. Never mind that it was alcoholic,  and he can't drink it. He memorized the poem-recipe, and his heart was set on making it.

I finally gave in on Twelfth Night earlier this month, but we made a non-alcoholic version, too, for the kids. This was another occasion to break out the snack trays and other "fancy" dishes like our punch bowl.

Grown-up punch

Broken hand ice in kids' punch

Unbroken hand ice in kids' punch

And, yes, that is hand-shaped iced in the punch bowl. That was another of my concessions to my punch-desiring son. 

For the record, Alton Brown's punch recipe was good. This is the rhyme-recipe: "One part sour, two parts sweet, three parts strong, and four parts weak." Instead of the recipes found on Food Network, we substituted what we had on hand. No pun intended.

The kids' recipe used lemons, mango juice, sugar, and sparkling water. And don't forget the nutmeg!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Building Project Update-- Big News!

We had a few hiccups in the final lap of our building project. The Inspector said we needed a larger window in the bedroom for egress, so a special one had to be ordered. It came in during the cold, cold weather of last week, but this week was quite mild and perfect for tearing out the "old" window.

Making the opening just right

Newer and larger roll-out window (bad picture--sorry)

The window stuff happened on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday our favorite electrician helped us by moving our Dish cable through brick walls and crawlspace and into an outlet so I can now turn on cartoons to babysit to entertain the little ones while I prepare dinner on "difficult" days. 

Thursday we were on pins and needles waiting for The Inspector. When he came, it was quick and painless, and we were left with a new signature on the bright yellow sticker inside the gray electrical panel.


I did a little happy dance.

We have much work ahead of us still. We need to finish finding places for the things that we've moved about and move the two oldest boys into the new bedroom. Then we plan on moving everything out of the old boys' bedroom to paint the walls and clean the carpet. After that, we'll be moving things back into there for the other two boys (one of them is still sleeping in our room). 

The only other thing left (that I can think of) is the concrete pad for the patio out the back door, and that will have to wait for spring!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Very Hungry Birthday Party

Back before Christmas, my kindergartner had a birthday. We've been using Five in a Row for school, and I decided to "row" The Very Hungry Caterpillar (my way). She was excited to have a Very Hungry Caterpillar birthday party. When I saw this idea on Pinterest, I was excited, too, because it looked so easy.

Very hungry cupcakes

Very hungry egg carton craft (from the day before)

For party food, we skipped many of the sweet things the caterpillar ate through because that would be just way too much sugar. So we didn't have pie, lollipops, or ice cream. We may have missed a few other things, too, just because I didn't have them.

We did have:

Apples, sausages, and salami
Swiss cheese plus some other cheeses

Strawberries, oranges, pickles, and butterfly crackers

I enjoyed this party because it was so easy to prepare AND it correlated to what we were studying in school. Thank you, Eric Carle!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Last Christmas-y Post

Sorry, folks, I don't have any pipers piping to show you for the 11th day of Christmas, but I do have a few highlights of our Christmas this year.

We didn't have a place to put a Christmas tree before Christmas, and the flooring wasn't finished until the Friday before Christmas. We didn't return home until late that night. On Saturday, my husband headed out to do some needed shopping. He looked several places for a small Christmas tree and finally found one just right for us this year. He left it in the Suburban until the children were in bed, and I decorated it that night so the children could be surprised in the morning. 

I picked out one ornament belonging to each person in the family plus a couple of extras. I made a construction paper star for on top, and found a scrap of ribbon in my sewing stash that one son said, "really made the whole tree perfect." It wasn't our usual big get-up, but not one single person complained.

I splurged on a coffee treat for my husband. Coffee By Gillespie makes a 1517 Reformation Roast plus a few other theology-themed blends that I couldn't pass up for the pastor in our house. He's tried the Reformation Roast, and while we normally prefer a different roast, this blend is quite the palate-pleaser and smooth. We can't wait to try the others in the sampler.

On Christmas Day we did have enough of the house put together to enjoy a nice dinner, but we had no special dessert. That problem was remedied by a kind church lady who gave us a box full of tasty and prettily decorated mini-bundt cakes. Everybody had the chance to pick lemon or chocolate AND taste part of the other flavor. 

This dessert was the perfect opportunity to use my new (old) snack plates and cups that I bought at an antique place. I had been looking for a few more sets because my husband found several (but not enough for our entire family) at a yard sale this summer. I was thrilled when we found them on our pre-Christmas date (provided by the kind baby-sitting of a church member for several years running). If you're interested in the pieces, I found a blog post by a collector that shows a vintage photo of ladies using these.

We put a Hershey's kiss in the ashtray part of the plate, and eggnog was a perfect beverage for our cake treats. I can see me using these trays so many times for special tea parties or snacks with the kids. 

And that's our Christmas round-up. Enjoy the last two days of the Christmas season.