Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Just Hanging Out

The last two Mondays the kids have been home from school.  I really love having them here and feel like we all receive the gift of a day off.  We try to have all of our chores done in the morning and spend the afternoon hanging out or doing something fun.  Yesterday we had a cousin over, so that was fun.  Later, the kids watched some TV in the afternoon while Beckett napped.  I try to calm the crazy loud that comes after watching TV with leftover tacos and reading.  Right now we are making our way through two chapter books.  We are reading Miracles on Maple Hill, and when my oldest isn't around, we are reading Ballet Shoes.  They are both lovely reads.  I love children's books that talk about real things in a  way children can understand and all can enjoy.

Two weekends ago, Steven and I headed out of town to Bend for our 12th Anniversary.   We love that town.  Lots of sun and a break from the rain and grey of winter.  I really cannot complain about this winter though, we have had a sunny winter for the Pacific Northwest, but, nonetheless, Bend did not disappoint.  Sunny days were in abundance.  Steve's parents were generous enough to offer to take our kids for the weekend.  Yes, they do that.  Amazing family we are blessed with.  We felt so spoiled, three days and nights away.  Steven got me the necklace above.  I absolutely love it in all of its chunky, aqua green glory.   We hiked and biked and ate and shopped and relax and ate and slept in. It was marvelous.  Our room had a view of the river and a wood burning fireplace.  Heaven.  When we got there I realized I forgot to bring a knitting project from home.  Perfect excuse to run and buy some yarn.  With Steven's encouragement, I headed out to buy some bulky yarn for a scarf for me.

It was lovely, relaxing, and went by too quickly.  I love going away just the two of us and I also love coming home to my babies.  They saw us coming up the drive and came running out to meet us.  Love them to pieces.  I always love coming home to them.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Weekly Art With Kids | Watercolor Castles

We made watercolor castles this week.  We followed Meg's directions from Whatever.  She has a whole section in her sidebar of fun crafts that she has done with her kids.  I love doing art with kids that use items we have on hand, that have easy instructions that all can follow, and give structure but also allow for creativity.  This project went over well, with only a few tears from my 5 year old, who was frustrated his did not look like the examples on the computer screen.  How do you address that issue?  I thought next time I may show them the example so they can see what we are doing, then put it away and start the project.  I'm hoping that may allow for more creativity and less frustration. 

I even enjoyed participating with them.  I highly recommend working along side your little ones as you work on art.  I very much enjoy it.  I'm definitely not the best at drawing or painting, having never really tried, but I attacked it without a lot of worry of how it would turn out.  I just created.  I think it makes it more fun for all of us.  I know that it isn't always possible to sit down and work with the kids during art time.  (Sometimes that can be a great time to get other things done, when they are set up and busy with art.)  But I'm going to try and sit down and do it with them more often then not, to connect with them more, and enjoy the process.  My attempt at being more playful this year.  (More on being playful in a post I'm working on sharing here soon.)

When all was said and done, all were proud of their creations. 

Love the mermaid.
The flags were VERY important.  He wanted me to do flags on mine.

I didn't quite finish.  I had dinner to make and basketball practice to get to.
This guy just hung out and watched us play.  He did alright with just watching us.  I think he may be ready to do his own "art" on the side, maybe some paint brushes, colored paper, and water for him this next time.  He may not be quite ready for that (imagining water everywhere).  Any other suggestions?  What do you do for little ones when they aren't quite ready for the bigger kid projects?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

On The Knitting Needles

I'm joining with Ginny of Small Things today to share with you what I have been reading and knitting.  I'm knitting the sweater from the book Phoebe's Sweater and chose a bright red yarn.  Now I'm not so sure I love that color, I chose it before Christmas, and now that it has past, it seems too bright and bold.  I also am using bamboo needles and the bulky yarn is not sliding off the needles smoothly.  I may need to go and purchase some metal needles to help this project move along.  I'm hoping to get it done soon, to pass along with the book to my girl.

I started Luncheon of the Boating Party and The Secret Keeper.  I'm really trying to get into the first and am trying to patiently wait to read the second.  These are both books for our upcoming book groups.  Kate Morton is a new to me author and I can't wait to dive into this and her other books, but Luncheon of the Boating Party is our February read, so I will continue on.  These are both books from my 2014 Book List. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Project Life 2013: Week 4 & 5

I knew that I hadn't posted a lot of scrapbook pages from 2013, but I was mildly shocked when I looked back and realized I only had 2 posts that hightlighted my 2013 album.  I recorded weeks 1-3 in this post and my title page in this post.  I thought I may just skip it all together and start fresh with 2014.  I debated if I should post a few of my favorite pages from 2013 in one post and call it good.  I even debated making a video, but decided I'm not ready to venture into videos for this blog, though it is something I would like to do in the future. 

I finally decided I wanted to share my 2013 book.  I'm doing something completely different in 2014, so I thought there was value in sharing this album and the approach I used to record 2013.  Like so many of these projects, the beauty and story comes from the collection of these photos, together in one book, week by week.  I've tried to keep it simple.  Most weeks have gone on a one page spread (one side of a 12x12 pocket page).  There are a few weeks where I have made it a two page spread.  The first week of every month has a title card, in the top left photo slot, with white glitter stickers.  I followed Pink Ronnie style and recorded each additional week in the top left hand pocket where I recorded the week and the dates directly on the photo.  Each week also has a week in review card where I added details from the week. 

I used the Seafoam Kit from Project Life.  I also oredered the Studio Calico Project Life membership this last year, and you can see some of their cards throughout last year's album.  I mostly used the project life design A page protectors with some additional 8 1/2 x 11 page protectors to highlight special events.  I also experimented and added a few pocket page protectors in different sizes.  It was so fun to do this and I'm definitely going to used different size protectors in my 2014 album. 

I tried to keep it mostly photos and words.  I added some embellishments to the pocket pages, more to the insert pages.  I also added text directly onto the photos.  You will also see the 4x6 collages of photos throughout the book, usually 6 2x2 photos.

I will be taking the next few weeks to share my 2013 album.  I'll share a month in each post.  Some months have a lot of pages, like March with our big Disneyland/San Diego trip and Spring Break all in one month.  I'm hoping to get on track and share my pages as I complete them.  But for now I see the value, in sharing this pages from this last year.  Even looking back over my 2013 album as I took photos of these couple weeks, I was so grateful for the memories recorded from this last year.  I will not be doing a week by week album in 2014 but I'm so grateful I did it this last year.  To watch my children grow, to record the daily activities as each week passes, to jot down the funny things that were said and done, is such a blessing to see all together, collected weekly in 2013. 

Just some moments captured and events recorded.  Photos of two of my children and a story and a quote recorded from my other two children.  Something from all four kiddos recorded on this page.  Not planned but certainly made me smile.

A view from our porch, our bed, lots of vitamins, a trip to the ER (our first and only, so far!), snowflakes, a new to me salad.  Just some events that made up this week.
Steve recorded his life goals through these sketches he did one family night.  I had to record it.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2014 Book List

The Republic by Plato (Free On Kindle)
The Aeneid by Virgil (Free On Kindle)
Munchkins Read Aloud
Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
Betsy-Tacy and Tib by Maud Hart Lovelace
More All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
Babe:  The Gallant Pig by dick King-Smith
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Little Britches by Ralph Moody
The Railway Children by E. Nesbit (Free on Kindle)
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Magic for Marigold by L.M. Montgomery

Its quite a list.  Wish me luck.

Click to find 20132011, and 2010 book lists.

My Thoughts on Some Recent Reads

Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist

Absolutely loved it.  A memoir about food, about connection, about life.  I told a friend about it, she finished it before I did, and gifted it to me on my birthday.  So very happy to own this lovely book.

A Gathering of Finches by Jane Kirkpatrick

This one was so hard for me to get through!  I started reading it in April and I think that is one of the reasons I had such a hard time getting through my fiction books on my book list this year.  It sounded good, a historical fiction about a woman who settled in Oregon with her husband.  It was just so depressing, she was so flawed and seemed to wallow in her weaknesses.  It never really resolved itself.  I finally did get through it.

One Bite At a Time by Tsh Oxenrieder

This is a ebook that I'm reading that I thought I would share here.  It is a book written by the creator of the blog The Art of Simple.  It breaks down simplifying your home into manageable weekly task.  My plan is to work through this book this year to help me work through one of my 2014 goals of simplifying my home.

The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis

This was an interesting read.  A fictitious story about the afterlife, of heaven and hell.  As always, C. S. Lewis made me think of life, attitude, and choices in a new a different way.  I enjoyed reading this.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I love this book.  It is the story of a poor German girl in Nazi Germany, told from death's point of view.  I had read reviews.  Some loved it, some hated it.  Those that didn't like it thought it was too depressing, they complained that the ending was too sad.  I was reading and preparing myself for the worse.  I thought the ending, though sad, was also hopeful. 
Mr. Penumbra's Bookstore 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

This book, easy enough to read, the story moved along, but not very interesting.  It is about a man who starts working at a Bookstore and discovers a secret society.

Getting The Pretty Back by Molly Ringwald 

This was a fun read.  I ended up getting it on CD and listening to it read by Molly Ringwald.  She talks about staying fit and taking care of ourselves after kids and as we get older. 

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me by Mindy Kaling

I started watching the Mindy Project and decided to get her book.  It was a fun read about her life and her experience. 

Cheaper By the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth & Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

This was a really fun read.  As I was reading it, I thought it would be a fun one to read to the kids, but I didn't want to give them any ideas of the crazy, mischievous things they could do.  The story is nothing like the movie, which I also loved.  I wanted to be more like this father, so involved with all of his kids, always providing opportunities to learn more and experience amazing things.

The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison

This was a delightful read.  One that I will have to revisit as I get older.  She talks about finding herself as she gets older, as her two boys leave her home.  Beautiful to read.

Get Lucky by Katherine Center

A fun summer read.  A woman who is trying to discover herself decides to be a surrogate mother for her sisters babies.  I enjoyed it.

Monday, January 13, 2014

2013 Book Review

I finished 6 out of 18 books from my 2013 Book List.  Not great but I have high hopes for this year.  Other then the books from my list, I also read Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist , The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me by Mindy Kaling, Getting The Pretty Back by Molly Ringwald, and Get Lucky by Katherine Center.  I also read for our book club Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
The Great Divorce by CS Lewis
The 3rd Thousand Year by Cleon Skousen
Autobiography of Ben Franklin by Ben Franklin
The Republic by Plato
The Aeneid by Virgil
Fun Reads
Peace is Like a River by Leif Enger 
Woman of Independent Means by Elizabeth Forsythe HaileyCheaper By the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth 
A Gathering of Finches by Jane Kirkpatrick 
Northhanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Sequel by Kate Douglas Wiggin
Possession by A.S. Byatt
The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern
Magic for Marigold by L.M. Montgomery
Emily of New Moon by LM Montgomery
Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Eliot
Book Club Book

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Foggy Mornings

We rang in the new year with our annual New Years Eve Party.  How I love spending time with our family and celebrating the beginning of a fresh, brand new year.  So many family members to see and spend time with.  We ate crackers, cheese, and dips.  I made the most delicious bacon wrapped dates from the book Bread and Wine.  So yummy.  The were literally set out and gone in minutes.

I've been sneaking away to bed early and reading away my evenings.  I've so enjoyed this transition, from Christmas movies to ambitiously working through my 2014 book list.  This is a nice change, since I was not so ambitious about reading books this last year.  Speaking of book lists, I'll be posting my new 2014 list here soon.  I'm still adding to the already lengthy list.  Looking forward to reading away 2014.

I've been busily working through my goals.  I'm trying to find a place in my home to post them.  I'm hoping if I see them everyday, I'll remind myself to continue.  Still enjoying the momentum the first of the year brings.