Thank you for stopping by! Here you will find a variety of things as I post whatever happens to be going on in our home - recipes, crafts, homeschool, birthday parties, travels, meals in muffin tins and more! I'd love to know what you think so please feel free to leave comments!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Night Time Fun in the Enchanted Garden

What good is having neat color changing solar lights in your garden if you aren't outside at night to see them? Right? So I promised the kids that as long as the weather was good, we would head out to the garden to see the lights once it started to get dark. To add to the fun, we plucked the glow sticks out of their Easter baskets before heading outside. It was a bit of a job keeping them from splashing in the fountain, but they managed to have tons of fun even without getting wet. In fact, I had a very tough time getting them to settle down for bedtime and Micah didn't fall asleep until well after midnight! Lucky for him I'm a night person.

The 1st trick was getting them to stand still long enough for a quick pic of night time in the garden.

Then the fun stuff began.
Figuring out what kinds of things they could do with the glow sticks...

Then lots & lots of jumping!

I took a few moments to enjoy the sight of the dusky sky and treelines but I don't think the kiddos gave it much thought. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Enchanted Garden

To give my children a place to call their own and to keep them busy as I work in my own garden beds, I created an Enchanted Garden for them. I sketched it out on Sunday, shopped on Monday and put it together today. I actually started yesterday but decided that some of the work was going to require a little help from the hubby.

We started with a small are just behind an 8 foot wide raised flower beds that I have let go crazy (that will be changing soon).

 After removing the sod from the 8x3.5 foot area, I mixed a little mulch into the rather rocky earth.

 We got the mulch for free from our own yard. This Saturday, somebody came to grind out the stumps from our yard which provided a LOT of mulch!

Next, we added a small rhododendron bush that Laural picked out and a couple of pavers which will be the seating area. I plan to put a child size bench here when I find one that I like.
Then came my favorite feature - a fountain. After searching the home improvement stores online and seeing that fountains are super expensive, I decided to make my own by buying a mid size flower pot, drilling & sealing as needed, add a pump and nozzle kit for a simple and plain fountain. That changed, however, when I saw this little cutie at Lowe's which I hadn't seen online. Well, I loved it immediately because it was just perfect for a children's garden and it was only $13 more that the parts I needed to make a homemade fountain! It was meant to be!

Next was cedar edging and a couple of stepping stones followed by a thick layer of mulch.

 Then came some fun details. Some cute gardening tools, a watering can, pots, flowers to be planted, a pinwheel, solar lights that change color and the kids' chairs. Also placed in the garden were a flower pick, a ladybug pick and some large stones for decorating.

 And there we have it! An enchanted garden fit for a little princess and prince!

The only thing left is to bring the kids out to see their new garden!

The fountain was an instant hit!

What fun! I wish I were a kid again so I could play in The Enchanted Garden! It's all good though - it is such a joyful sight to see my two cuties having such fun in their own special little place.

Linked on:
Junkie handmade projects

Beneath the Rowan Tree

Fun with a Freebie

 I love to get freebies in the mail. I am forever filling in forms and signing up for free samples online. Recently, I signed up to get a free sample of Duck Tape brand duct tape sheets. They are 8x10 (ish) sheets of duct tape that remind me a lot of contact paper. I wasn't sure what I would do with it, so when my zebra print duct tape sheet came last week, I set it aside - until yesterday. While I was updating my coupon binder, I realized it was getting pretty beat up. The plastic edges were coming apart and it was clear that it wouldn't last much longer... until... aha! Duct tape sheet! I cut the sheet into 1 inch strips and applied them to the edges, both inside and out. When I fixed all the splits, I had plenty left over, so I decided to do the bottom edge that wasn't splitting yet, just to make it even all around. Since I still had some of the sheet left, I cut out the word COUPONS in a funky font and put that on the front. The letters got a little lost on the white background, so I inserted a sheet of yellow construction paper in the pocket behind the letters and that really made the letters pop! Perfect! I got plenty of attention in the grocery stores when I pulled out my big binder before, but I think the next time the binder makes an appearance in Giant Eagle or Walmart, it'll really turn some heads!

This pic doesn't really show how vibrant the binder actually looks because I took the pic with my cell phone. I'll try to take a new pic tomorrow with my actual camera to see if I can make it look better.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Well, shucks!

Color me tickled pink to have had one of my muffin tin meals featured on the ParentMap blog along with 4 other very creative mamas! Thanks so much, ParentMap! I'm honored to be included in your blog post! Click the "Featured in ParentMap" banner in the right column to check it out!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday

We didn't do a theme today - just yummy, healthy and pretty food.

We had: vanilla yogurt with a little bit of blue sprinkles, carrots, celery & peppers, butterfly cheese shapes for Micah and string cheese for Laural, peanut butter & homemade spearmint jelly on whole wheat sandwich thins, red grapes and blood orange sections and a ham flower.

A very happy Laural.
We didn't have a muffin tin meal last week due to being terribly busy so she was rather upset with me, but I think all is forgiven since we managed a tin this week.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

What have we been up to?

We've had a few busy weeks in our home! We've had Laural's birthday party, Easter, and a whole bunch of other stuff that has been keeping us on the go but in between it all, we've managed to get some school time in. Because of my own insecurities, I decided to change the path we've been on with Laural's kindergarten and try something different. Up until recently, I've been doing my own home grown version of a curriculum, putting together things that I thought fit the requirements. But then, I began to worry. What if the way I'm doing things is making her fall way behind what other kids her age are doing? What if the way I'm teaching her to read and write are setting up bad habits that will be tough to break later? What if our math program isn't up to par? So, because of all my worries and wondering and not really having anything to compare our curriculum to, I caved and bought the Heart of Dakota Kindergarten curriculum. After looking through the book, I realized that I really had to reason to be concerned. We are pretty much way ahead of kindergarten reading, math and science. But that's ok. I thought about it and decided that we are going to continue with Heart of Dakota but on a little faster pace for the things that we are already ahead on - kind of like a review - and take a little extra time on the things that we haven't spent as much time on. I like that it's a little more organized than what we've been doing (I'm not much of an organizer) and it will give a good base for her for certain 1st grade components.

So today, Laural and I continued with Heart of Dakota and I decided that it was time to start Micah on something a little more structured. So we started on Letter of the Week by Confessions of a Homeschooler. I love this curriculum! I started Laural (at age 2) on the Brightly Beaming Letter of the Week and while I really liked that one, I like this one even more. I might try to figure a way of combining the two. I wasn't sure how Micah would do with sit down learning, but he did an awesome job today! We started with a couple of the more hands on and fun things to do (I kind of ignored the suggested order of things so I could get a feel for how Micah would handle it). I think we will remain unstructured for a week or two to let him get accustomed to the idea of sitting and working on school work before I start structuring his school time. I started him with the A magnet sheet.

 I gave him pom pom magnets and the A/Apple sheet on a cookie sheet and he put the magnets on the tree and the A.

Next, we tried the poke page. Basically, I gave him a giant pushpin and put the paper on a piece of styrofoam and let him trace the letter Aa by poking homes in the paper!. I admit, I was a little nervous about letting my 3 year old handle a giant pushpin, but I explained to him that the end was sharp and not to touch it and he listened. What really amazed me was the awesome a job he did! He completely traced both A & a with only a few breaks to put a hole in other places on the page. I think I've been underestimating my boy!

We also glued apples to an apple tree, traced Aa with a pencil (he did a great job with this one too) and tried our hand at finishing patterns (not such a great job with this one). I also let Laural do the apple cut & paste and a cutting practice page since she doesn't handle the scissors so well yet. I'm really hoping the weather warms up soon so we can take some of our lessons outside! I miss the outdoors but with all the rain and wind, it's far from enjoyable outside yet. I also want to get some of my plants outside. My peas have gone crazy! I need to get them into one of the garden beds soon.

Steve starts vacation tomorrow and we've decided to just hang out around the house for the week and maybe get a yard sale organized for the end of the week - if the weather cooperates. I have so much stuff I need to get rid of - including piles of Beanie Babies! Yes, I fell into the craze long ago and we have loads of them sitting around in bags, needing a good home. Unfortunately, I don't think they retained any value so several have already become Laural's pets. LOL Oh well. I had fun chasing them all down years ago.


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