Thursday, May 31, 2012

Garden Party

When your daughter is turning four, it's a good excuse to play garden party.
Thankfully, the whole family turned out to help with the decorating and preparations. 
(I needed all hands on deck for that last hour of prep!!)
Thanks so much to my sis-in-law for making the beautiful tissue garland roses--she is great at party decor! She used the roses to make a "4" plaque for the food table as well as a rose ball for the cupcake stand.
Look here for a detailed tutorial for those tissue garland rosettes.
(also thanks to my sis-in-law for some of these pics)
Check out my pinterest Birthday Party board for all of these ideas. *Almost* all of them are stolen. 

As one of our party favors and activities, the guests' moms' helped their daughters make beautiful garden party hats.
Another favor/activity was decorating watering cans with flower stickers.
Strawberry Lemonade was the "tea of the day."
The birthday girl's hat
the cake was made of watermelon
flower shaped cheese sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches and turkey sandwiches made a hearty snack/light dinner for our guests.

Our cupcakes sported fondant flowers as well as flower sprinkles.

Thanks so much to a friend who brought lovely flowers from her yard to make our garden party more authentic (and beautiful).
We used these baking cups
slipped on the lights on the tree for a magical garden atmosphere. (My sis-in-law just poked a hole in the bottom of the cups and slipped them on every fourth or fifth light.
All the beautiful hat creation
As a Thank You for coming... we gave each guest a packet of flower seeds. My mom printed a little label that said "Thank you very much for coming to our garden party!"
Happy Birthday to my four year old! It was fun to celebrate with all our friends.
happy partying!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Garden Party Planning

Tomorrow is my youngest's fourth birthday. Four. That means she'll be out of the church nursery, going to pre-school, getting her ears pierced and a few more whirly years and she'll be driving and out on her on. Like the Sara Groves song, "I know this conversation's a little premature, it's just that I've heard 18 years goes by like a blur." I am so proud of my wee youngest, and in this year where we hope to make her a big sister at last, I couldn't be happier to be celebrating her turning the grande ol' age of 4.
So how will we celebrate? I think if I had left it completely up to her, she probably would have chosen a Tangled party or a Little Mermaid or other some such princess, which would have been fine, but with the alur of all the pretty parties being pinned on pinterest, I couldn't resist choosing the theme.
We're having a garden party.
So tomorrow, I'll be very busy turning our back patio into a garden wonderland (pending rain, of course...)
Here are the plans:

1. Flower poufs, both hanging from the limbs of the tree that grows on our patio and strung on banners.

3. Silk flowers, real flowers and pretty dishes.

I'll be using this recipe again. I really liked it for the sailboat cupcakes.
2. Watermelon Cake (made entirely out of fruit!)

turkey and mayo
sliced cheese
cream cheese and cucumber


(watering cans and flower stickers from Wal-Mart)
2. Decorate Garden Party hats
(hats on sale at the dollar spot in Target for $.30 each, silk flowers from the dollar store)

3. Each girl will also get a packet of flower seeds with a Thank You card as they leave the party.

I'll take lots of pictures and I can't wait to share the results with you!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day!
Thank you to all of our armed forces who have served and are serving now.
And thank you to their wives who also sacrifice daily so that our country can be safe, free and well taken care of.
May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble;

May the name of the God of Jacob defend you;
May He send you help from the sanctuary,
And strengthen you out of Zion;
May He remember all your offerings,
And accept your burnt sacrifice. 

May He grant you according to your heart’s desire,
And fulfill all your purpose.
We will rejoice in your salvation,

And in the name of our God we will set up our banners!
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.
Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed;
He will answer him from His holy heaven

With the saving strength of His right hand.
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses;
But we will remember the name of the Lord our God.
They have bowed down and fallen;

But we have risen and stand upright.
Save, Lord!
May the King answer us when we call.
Psalm 20

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Farm Field Trip

These are a few of my favorite things...
Finding lady bugs...
Seeing what we can see...

And climbing trees.

Friendly horses...
That we meet
And holding baby chicks.
Learning about bees...
And a carousel overlooking the valley!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Summer Bucket List

This is ours so far--find more details on my SUMMER board on pinterest.
Oh, and the party is a Garden Party for my turning-4yo. The youngest is turning 4!!
There are lots of ideas for that on my BIRTHDAY IDEAS pinboard. You'll be seeing lots more pics about that next week!
Have a great summer everyone! What's on your summer bucket list?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Shabby Apple

Dresses from Shabby Apple

I've spoken about Shabby Apple Dresses before, but did you know they now have swimsuits? I don't know if you've noticed, but attractive, modest swimsuits are very hard to find. Look no farther!
Shabby Apple really has mastered  the feminine, modest look in both dresses and suits.
Dresses from Shabby Apple

These are two of my faves.
Simple, modest, colorful, feminine...
What more could you ask for?
Maybe, a SALE?
No problem. Just click the pic below for 10%  off your Shabby Apple swimsuit!
Snag them fast, this deal only lasts until the end of May.
Dresses from Shabby Apple
Happy swimming!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sunrise Jogging

I've begun to jog a bit again. My favorite route has this view less than a mile in. I can't help stopping and instagramming a pic or two each time I run. It is breathtakingly beautiful, and these pictures do it much less than justice, but at least you get a small taste.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

School Planning

I think I've already announced that my two oldest, who have been in a half day 4-day a week tutorial, will be home schooling full time next year. I'm really excited about doing this. They are on the same level in many cases, so this just makes a lot of sense this year. Here's what our proposed schedule looks like--don't worry, I know that it could all change with the say, adoption of a baby, or any number of other events. But I guess it never hurts to have a plan.
First off, the curriculum:
Both children will be using the Saxon 3 Math

It will be a bit of a review for the oldest and it may be a bit challenging for the boy, but I think both of those are a good thing right now.
For our language/history/geography and Bible, we'll be following this

Middle Ages, Renaissance, Reformation & Epistles

from Simply Charlotte Mason. This is a family curriculum and the hubby is going to join us for an hour after breakfast to read from the family reading
and to study the geography that goes along with the lesson. This curriculum also takes the family through the epistles using this GOAL study model:

Grasp this promise
Obey this command
Avoid this sin
Live this principle
We'll be adding an S for Savior to that as we discuss that on our own, we are unable to do any of the G, O, A, or L. We need our Savior and His death on the cross to enable us to be free from sin and able to do works of righteousness.
This curriculum also has a wonderful list of historical fiction to use for our literature. I'll be writing questions to use for reading comprehension for this. There will be read-alouds as well as individual reading assignments with this.
I really like this writing book

but when I saw the $30+ price tag, I thought that maybe I would try using my 4 years of education as an English teacher to give them writing practice. We'll be continuing some of the skills they are learning this year and adding to that--learning to use strong verbs, quality adjectives, -ly words, who/what/which/although clauses, etc. We'll work on outlines and using triads.
I'm also going to manufacture their grammar using bits and pieces of programs we've used in the past. (Mostly following the Shurley Grammar model)
We're going to use Discover Spanish, both the audio lessons and the interactive on-line program, for our Spanish lessons.

We'll be using the biology section of this experiment book to explore animals a little--we'll also be visiting the local aquarium once every two weeks for a little lesson.

My plan is to have two notebooks--one with our "school work" that is all guided and another with all the worksheets and assignments that will be "home work" done on an individual basis. The "home work" will of course be checked each day. This will keep the model that the kids have had this year--and, I think, make a lot of sense to them.

Here's what our two-week schedule looks like:

M1: 9am History-Bible/10am Math/11am Science Experiment/Home work for grammar and literature
T1: History-Bible, Math, Spanish, Writing, Grammar, Geography
W1: Bible/Swimming/Art/Choir/Reading/Homework
R1:History-Bible, Math, Spanish, Writing, Grammar, Geography
F1: History-Bible, History Project/Homework
M2: 9am History-Bible/10am Math/11am Science
T2: History-Bible, Math, Spanish, Writing, Grammar, Geography
W2: Bible/Aquarium Science/Art/Choir
R2: History-Bible, Math, Spanish, Writing, Grammar, Geography
F2: Free for group learning, field trips, etc.

So there you have THE PLAN. I'm sure you'll be very interested to see what actually comes of it when we start school in September!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

What I Love About Being a Momma

I love the everyday moments: the baths, the meals, the books, the tickles, the cleaning, the folding, the putting away. Sometimes I forget, but when I really think about it, I realize, I really love all this!
I love the places we get to go and the things we get to see. You never stop experiencing when you're around little children--even if it is just a walk down your own street!
I love baby wearing (and oh, how I miss it!) I can't wait to wear our new baby--holding them close to your heart while your two hands are free to hold other children--to keep them safe too or to make them feel loved as well, all while the littlest is cuddled up happy as can be!
I love the screaming moments. Yes, I've lost it plenty of times when the screaming goes on and on and on (and on). But you know those times when the screaming is really so ridiculous that the giggle wells up inside of you and must be allowed out? Well, I love those times. That giggle is really an admission that I look just like that to my father when I cry over the things in my own life that seem such a huge deal at the time. I love the mirror aspect of your own children!
I love dressing up--making my girls (and guy) feel special and valuable. I'm not a huge one for just playing, but there are some games I can get into--and dressing up is one of them. 
I love to learn with my children. That's why homeschooling is such a wonder. I am constantly amazed by the facts that my children know and the wisdom that they can draw from those facts. I learn from them every day!
And I love the questions: How did God make us, Momma? Why do we have to die? Where is heaven? What happened to the dinosaurs? Even the simple ones--"Is this fiction or non-fiction?" I love their seeker hearts, their desire to understand balanced by their quick acceptance of the impossible.
I love the parties and the balloons and candy and the cookies and how my children love all of that too!
I love the gifts! I love giving them and helping them receive them. I love their joy at everything new and even the joy of discovering a gift forgotten. 
 Maybe my most favorite thing about being a momma is the fact that children are amazed at so much. I love to see their wonder in the little things--squirrels and sticks and birds and a new pair of shoes. I love how they remind me to see, to really see the things that I take for granted--the moon, the leaves rustling in the breeze, the sun filtering through the trees. I love that my children race down to the garage in the morning to feed the dog. I love that they can get so enthralled with making a lego creation that they don't even want ice cream for snack (it's happened a few times!). I want that! I really want that! Really, I don't ever want to grow up--
But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.
Luke 18:16-17
I love being a momma!
Please feel free to leave what you love about being a momma (or about having a momma) in the comments. I know the list is infinite.