dear hanes,

you are the only sister that is a regular instagrammer. probably because you are the youngest so you are the only sister with an iphone. anyway, check out my spiffy instagram viewer on the side of my blog. automatically updates and looks all cute and stuff. sorry that only one on the current view contains you. I will fix that soon.

anyway, you make your own at snapwidget if you were interested

dear jessie,

do the east coast santas look as strange as these two? first one creeped me right out. second one has some crazy pants dance moves.

also with you being all super pregnant, I thought you'd appreciate that at least someone is getting some sleep.

p.s. we're those people that wear shorts with our snow boots now. 

dear caitlin

we have already added quite a few things to your to-do list for when you come home this week for thanksgiving.

1. observe max's mad hopscotch skills. if it snows you will have to draw your own on the basement floor.

p.s. watch for his tongue. it is usually out. he must be channeling concentration power from the air. no idea where he could have picked up that habit.

oh hi, hanna.

2. converse with father. hopefully something politically interesting happens by then or the topic could possibly be what-will-trump-do-next? :)

3. play race cars with max

4. teach artist fartist lessons to lily

5.  wear some stripes and play with the cutest niece and nephew you've got

possibly bringing blogging back

let's try this again.

my goal will be to blog more than once per season.

wish me luck.

in the mean time I became a cool kid and started using instagram. but how do you find people that are super to follow? who do you follow? will you tell me your user name? please?

front porch fairy garden

At some point, I came across this lovely little fairy garden project. The first one I saw was the 2010 version on the magic onions. It had been on our list to do for a while. On a trip to Laramie to see sisters I found the furniture at my sister's toy shop and snuck them into my bag. Well, snuck them in so my children didn't see them. I didn't steal them. That wouldn't be conducive to tiny magical visitors. Then one day recently we were headed out of town and I decided to pick up some of our other supplies while we were out. Our local lumber store is good if you're into warped wood and dead plants. Again, we wanted the best chances that some three-and-a-half-inch tall friends would pay us a visit. 

Fariy garden day finally came. We invited some little friends that also very much do believe in fairies. 

My post today isn't so much a tutorial as it is just showing what we did. The brilliant magic onions blog has a whole page of fairy garden goodness if you're looking for specifics. 

Lily's garden included: table and chairs, little leaf stove, pond and little cupboard for leaving notes or gifts. Lily knows that tinker fairies love getting buttons and bits of string and other treasures to use in their inventions. 

It also has a little bed tucked in the shade. Both my kids gathered the bedding. Little knitted wrist cuff and some leaves and dried flowers. Looks very cozy. 

We indeed did have a magic visitor! Max spied the fairy dust first. The very first day Lily left a button, a piece of string and a rubber band in the cupboard. Luckily :) the fairies were able to construct a little swing with all of the supplies! Lily said they must have made that because we have one like it in the backyard and they wanted their own. Of course. 

We'd asked these friends along without much thought ahead of time but ended up having plenty to share. Pots, dirt, a couple plants and a piece of furniture or two. Perfect. Their holes are where they were going to add flowers when they got home. 

AND when I went to find the links to the magic onions blog I noted she's actually having a fairy garden contest this year. And it's still open. So why not add us to the list? You still have a week to join in too!

first third of summer in crappy square photos

did you know the camera in an ipod is not as good as the camera in an iphone? it's true. and I don't have an iphone. but I can deal. 

and just in case you're not only interested in these pictures but also the tiny explanation well have I got a treat for you. I've eliminated the need for the scroll down-scroll up-scroll down-scroll up when all the captions are grouped down at the bottom. 

now that's service!

spreading happy

sadly, some people are a little too good at spreading junk. spreading ugly. spreading bad. to that, I say think happy thoughts (yo internet grandmas, that's a link. a good one). and then go be with happy people and do happy things and watch happy videos.

here are a few of my favorites:

in order shown, I'd rate them: 1-mesmerizing, 2-silly, 3-practical, 4-genius and 5-sexy and he knows it


the fact that we've already done lots of shoe scrubbing is a good indicator that we've started our summer off right. school's been out around here for 2 weeks and we're well into the lazy/crazy activities we want to do while the beautiful weather lasts.

like everyone and their mother, we put together a list. ours comes in the form of printed and cut-out squares pinned to a 2 by 3 foot bulletin board. we add a star sticker every time we complete a mission. happily, we've already done many more than are shown here.

I just made the squares myself in photoshop. picked the colors. added the white text and printed them out. snip snip and pinned them on. I admit, a major happiness for me is how perfectly they fit on this board. 
you totally should. I put the blank squares in a pdf document. so you can add your own white text on top if you know how. or draw right on them. or use a white paint pen. I bought the bulletin board at walmart. the document is just 8 pages of squares. a couple of each color. this board fits 77 squares so you just get to pick a handful of pages to print twice until you have enough. you should print at actual size, no scaling or anything.

we also have a little weekly mom schedule that we loosely follow. both my kiddos really like having something to look forward to and get excited about. our schedule has just enough to kick start a few ideas for the day but not too much that we can't just pack up and do something crazy instead. I'd just copied this chart a few times before I filled in what was for dinner. I usually write down ideas when we get them just squished into the squares. or wait and surprise my little people. oh summer, we love you.

love letter to my family

oh my little family, I love you so. right now we are just perfect. and by perfect I mean so so obviously flawed but we are working on it and choose to look at the good. and together we are so good. 

we are always good busy. our days are full but they are full of what we choose to fill them up with. lots of together. lots of celebrations for no reason. lots of reading and learning. lots of adventure times. lots of making things and helping. 

kids, you are amazing. summer is the best of bests because I get both of you all the time. max is a better max when lily is around and lily is a better lily when she's being a big sister. together you are kid-imagination-cuddling-giggling-magic. I keep catching you in those delight little moments I want to remember forever. I never knew this was such a great thing because I remember just being a punk to my own sisters. hopefully once in a while we had a moment. 

you are the perfect ages to try for a BEST SUMMER EVER. we've got the list going. we've got a basic plan. so far, so good. I think this is what I'll sit and think about when you are both older and have other stuff going on. we are purposefully unplanned with activities so we can fill our days with good, good stuff. 

I love being the mom in this family.

teacher appreciation week

Lily's school does a ton to show appreciation to the teachers and staff. what a great thing to demonstrate to your children. since I'm involved in PTA I helped with a lot of it.

PTA bulletin board inside the front door:
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I'll fully admit. my ocd side shone right on through with this one. I left it a little bit to the last minute. came up with the idea. once I figured out how to make it work I couldn't stop making details.

I found an iphone image like one of these and then just started cutting paper. used a traced plate to round the big edges and my corner cutter for all the apps. then just lots of cutting and layers paper and a few paint pens. the little app descriptions came after and I made those up in photoshop with photos of the buttons. I'll include them at the bottom of the post if you're interested.


school supplies with a riddle.

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oreo apple pops.


these came together far easier than any cake pop I've ever been involved in. I did it just a little differently than the lady on the blog I found it on.

my tips:

-used double stuffed (regular sized) oreos. held the oreo stable while I slid the popsicle stick in. most of the cookies cracked a little while doing this but since there was so much filling I just squished it all back how it should be and they were great.

-we had no need to chill the cookies at this point (some of the comments said to)

-GREEN GOLDFISH! my friend suggested this one and it was genius. far less work than snipping candies or anything and I think it's cuter.

-I wanted them left on the sticks so they're easier to eat. we found that just dipping them carefully kept the sticks nice and clean. also I skipped sticking then in styrofoam to dry. we just layed them flat on waxed paper and they worked out just fine. since it's a flat cookie (instead of an actual round cake pop) it really didn't make a different in how it hardened and looked in the end.

-used the little candy bags that I found by the cake decorating supplies. just slid them in and put a staple near the bottom.

such a cute idea! teachers loved them (so I hear)

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windshield washing. I myself was grateful for the people that showed up to help me get this done. even if one of them was rather short.

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we also send out a letter at the beginning of the week asking for thank you notes from the kids. we don't just want them for the classroom teachers so we put together a list of ALL the staff and their tiny picture next to their name. the kids bring letters in all week and drop them off in a mailbox. on Friday I get to deliver them! it was a great great week. 

I really actually do like blogging

now not only After School is over, regular school is over! but I still wanted to share our activities. with myself. because I don't imagine anyone thinks I'm still kickin. and sometimes already-used ideas are pretty good on a no-ideas kind of a day.

Cinco de Mayo

honestly seems like the mini tacos I put in the oven were the highlight. we only had 2 extra girls that day and those 4 kids finished off a whole box. we also:

-tissue paper flowers
-red, white & green beads
-make your own bouncy ball kit from w (it was a dud for us)
-face paint

(mariachi max was from something else)

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Smash Crash & Boom

-super friend brought over her circuit-building set (look up elenco snap circuits. they're awesome)
-we let the kids (safely) go to town on some dead electronics. old printer, space heater, calculator, cassette tapes. made them unscrew and pry whatever they could to find interesting components before we brought out the hammer. unwinding the cassettes was the surprise hit of the day
-built balloon rockets. we used taut clear plastic thread + straws + balloons + masking tape

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Artsy FARTsy

oh this was a fun one. here's proof:


everyone got their own whoopee cushion. our first art project was BUTT-erfly paintings. squirt paint. fold paper. place paper between 2 flat garbage bags. place whoopee cushion on top and sit on it. they could not stop laughing and actually came out beautiful!

then I told them they had to get the potty talk out of their systems so I made them all say BUTT 100 times. then FART 100 times. that was pretty funny too.

since it was right before Mother's Day we made bags for our moms. fusible interfacing on fabric and buttons with fabric glue.

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Secret Agent Man

seems like for this one we:
-made our own secret codes. A=4 B=17....
-popped black bomb balloons
-practiced negotiating laser fields
-secret messages with lemon juice
-had an outside-stealthy-walking-contest
-played outside (it was a really nice day)

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