Friday, September 07, 2012

"Maggie's life is a celebration of all that is the very best of life." --JSA

Walker Percy. Aesthetics. Napa. San Francisco. Energy. Enthusiasm. Knob Creek. Lemon Curd. Car. Brideshead Revisited. My Pregnancy Denial. Chester. Two Burner Stove. Porch Sleeping. Long Necklaces. Risotto. Broccolini. Jam. Arrested Development. PG Wodehouse. AS Byatt. Packing. Too Many Glasses. Harry Potter. Harry Potter on the Beach. Monk's. Mussels. 3Years of Friendship Before You Saw Me Without a Ponytail. Encouragement. Courage. Diligence. G Bathes in Your Sink. G's Baptism. Hope. Beach House. Flip Flops. Crab Feast. Folk Music. Friendship. Faithful Discipleship. Cooking. Museum Days. Ten Thousand Places. Assateague Camping. Virginia. No Car. Library Sales. Flea Markets. At Freddie's. The Children's Book. Georgetown. Jams by Mags. The Cherry Blossom Festival. Apple Picking. Apple Brandy. Broadmindedness. Understanding. Peter Pan. Fairytales. Vin de Noix. Black Berry Jam. The Zoo Birthday. Philosophy. Apple Picking. Beer and French Fries. Christmas. Like What You Like. British Mysteries. British Romances. British Humor. Anything British. Roast Chicken. Children's Books. Little Lamb Books. Chili Party. Dominican House. Jazz. Music Month. Fish Market. Real Conversations. Blue. Teal. White. New Cabinet: Too Many Glasses. The Messiah. Shoes. Boots. Sandals. Scarves. Stylish. Introducing Friends to Friends.Albert Campion. Loyalty. Couch Sleeping. The Medici Conspiracy. Gilbert & Sullivan. Much Ado About Nothing. Pasta. Onion Awesomeness. Easy Grace. Hospitality. Decorum. Framable Thank You Notes. Do You Want My [enter piece of furniture]? Epiphany Party/s. Too Many Chairs. No Preconditions. Shakespeare Theater (What Did We Even See?). Easter. The Kennedy Center. Englad, ho! The Black Keys. Grape & Bean. Alice in Wonderland. Muriel Spark. Driver's SeatThe Sea, The Sea. Elizabeth Bishop. Katherine Mansfield. Til We Have FacesEnder's Game. Generosity. Wendell Barry, the Evangelist. [The Second Sex]. Foyle's War. Downton Abbey. Ragnarok. Myth. Car?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Back to School

Here are some of our preparations for this year:

Sew on a Duluth Pack Patch to the backpack.

Bigger Lunch Box

Camelbak Water Bottle, so that she has more than just a juice box for lunch.

Tooth Fairy...


G lost another tooth this week... which prompted me to make this guy:

G sticks her lost tooth into this guy's "mouth", where the tooth fairy finds it :)

Quiet Time, Pt. 3

Fabric Collage:

Pinterest Inspiration:

G's Creation:

Friday, July 13, 2012

Quiet Time, pt. 2

My Book of SentencesI was looking forward to this summer so much--having G back with me during the days. It has been so so fun to have her here -- in the mornings we have a blast going on adventures and K&S love playing with her. She is a big help too. However, I hadn't really thought about what we would do during K&S's nap time. Their nap is often at least 2.5 hours, and usually goes to around 3-4 hours. While I think it is important for G to be able to play on her own--which she does quite well: she listens to audio books, draws, builds things out of legos, builds things with paper, etc. However, I began to feel like it was quite a LOT of alone time to spend 3 hours every single day by herself, filling up on her own. So I got some work books for her to do also, that I help out with minimally. She really enjoys doing "school" (she gets to choose a sticker for each page she completes), and it makes the time more diversified.
Lollipop Logic: Critical Thinking Activities

This summer's selection is:

Summer Bridge Activities: Bridging Grades First to Second-- Kumon My Book of Sentences 6, 7, 8. I like this one because it identifies the grammatical parts of a sentence outright (not just the general terms "describing word", etc.), but the actual terms, "adjective".

-- Kumon Grade 1 Addition & Subtraction

Easy Origami (Dover Origami Papercraft)-- Summer Bridge Activities Bridging Grades 1-2. Betty D told me about these books. This is probably the one that G pulls out most herself. Each page has a variety of exercises (from clocks to identifying long vowel sounds), so she gets to do a lot of different things.

-- Lollipop Logic Grades K-2. G's favorite. This book is not just logic games, but starts building sequences of reasoning skills. 

Giant Play and Learn Book (Activity)-- Easy Origami. Also builds skills if you do the exercises through doing the projects in order.

-- The Giant Play and Learn Book. Fabulous graphics, creative activities. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Quiet Time, pt. 1

G and I have been working on some afternoon crafts this summer. This week we made little books together. I got the idea and instructions from Design Mom here

I tweaked the instructions slightly by making it an inch smaller all the way around; I used a file folder instead of card stock; and I used nylon thread instead of linen. I also added a cute speckled cover page (which doesn't show up very well in the pictures, but looks super cute with the red cover). 

I'll post some more fun summer activities as I am able :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Top 10 Apps for Kids

 Apps for kids are a life saver in doctor's offices, specially. I love that the kids can sit on my lap, or share the iPhone in the stroller and NOT touch all of the germ ridden toys and chairs and walls in the doctor's office. They are also a great distraction for kids while they are, say, getting a biopsy done :) (As you may be able to tell, we've been in the docs quite a bit recently). My criteria is generally: 1. It has to be aesthetically pleasing and interesting (there are some hideous apps out there) & incorporate sounds that I am able to hear 2,371 times without wanting to pull my hair out, 2. It has to bear repeat playing, 3. It has to be pretty low-fi (kind of contradictory criteria for talking about iPhone apps, but I mean--not things that are just "catchy"or video gamey, or trite: things that encourage old fashioned kind of play, not just mindless distraction). Here are our favorites: no particular order...

Toca Boca:
This developer has really cute graphics, and really fun games. (Some of the games are redundant--monster kitchen is the same thing as kitchen, just with monsters--so choose before you buy!). Our favorites are Toca Kitchen, Toca Tea Party, Toca House, and Toca Doctor.

Interactive Alphabet:
My two year olds can already manipulate this one, and love the motions and sounds that each of the letters activates.

Cookie Doodle:
Start with one of 15 or so recipes, and mix the dough (adding each ingredient--cutting in butter, shaking in salt, dripping in vanilla, etc.), cut out the cookie shape, bake, ice... and eat! After two years, this one has not gotten "old" yet.

Fruit Memory:
This is a classic matching game, played just the way you would with real cards. You can choose the number of players and cards displayed.

Plic, Ploc, Wiz:
Create funny illustrations using objects and lines.

PreSchool Adventure Island:
This includes probably the most games (all educational--alphabet building, counting), with lots of variety.

PopOut! The Tale of Peter Rabbit and PopOut! The Night Before Christmas... well, really everything by this developer. These classic stories are presented with their original illustrations--with a twist. You can help collect blackberries with the good bunnies or tickle the sugar plum fairies. These are delightfully slow and "low tech" (for being so sophisticated). They have now added several Sandra Boynton books to their repertoire as well.

Sound Shaker:
Another simple app with nice sounds and nice graphics. Very easy for little kids to use (1 to 2 years). Tap to create sounds sound patterns.

Count the Animals!
Learn to count in English, Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Slovak, Spanish, & Swedish. Fantastic and humorous graphics, clearly enunciated counting, count forward or backward. I have tried several apps for kids to learn languages and this is the first one to capture G's attention, and has her repeating out loud all along the way.

The Game of Life
Definitely for older kids, but really fun to play together. G and I love playing this while we wait at the doctor's office--and so do J and I! It's a great 3D rendition of the classic board game.

Paper Town Friends:
A paper doll game with the best graphics hands down of any app out there. Handcut tiny paper clothes on cute tiny paper friends. So far this app has seen the most use of any that we have by both 2 year olds and 5 year olds! The illustrator, Robin Rosenthal, also illustrated an app version of Winken, Blinken, and Nod.

What are some of your favorites?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

J and I don't usually go overboard on Valentine's day, but I was feeling a little sentimental this year. I found this cool idea for him and wanted to share it. It's a Latitude/Longitude bracelet. You can have it printed with any Lat/Lon that you want. It was hard to choose between the nostalgic choice, Florence, Italy (where we went on our honeymoon) or where we are now--I chose the latter--appreciating where God has brought us.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

DIY Mirror

I was recently inspired by this image on Pinterest of a belted clock. 

I thought I could do a similar thing with a mirror. I found a couple of cool colored leather belts at a thrift store (I made sure I got ones that were as long as I could find). Then I picked up a mirror at Michael's for $5, and used a bit of styrofoam from my mom's recent purchase.  

I used a glue gun and put glue on the back of the mirror, and then glued it to the foam. Then I used an exacto knife to cut around the mirror. I then used the glue gun again to glue around the edges of the mirror, and attach the belt. 

I learned that important lesson that foam melts when hot glue is put directly on it! So I had to be careful to put it mainly on the edges of the mirror. Any glue that oozes out on the front side of the mirror can but removed by the knife once it is dry. 

And voila! A belt-mirror-tamborine (as J called it). If you use a mirror with a frame or are a very careful person, you would not need to put the foam behind it to stabilize the mirror as you glue it to the belt.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Trash Chair

On the way to school every morning, I always look forward to Tuesdays and Wednesdays--trash days in the neighborhoods that we drive through! A couple of weeks ago I found four great chairs waiting sadly for the trash.

I hopped out and threw one in the back of the Pilot and off we went. Looking back I wish that I had taken all of them--this is such a solid chair.

Anyhow, on to the redo.

I wanted to keep the natural caning in the back, so I taped that part off, and started with an oil based primer. 

I used Benjamin Moore's new line, Advanced, for the 2 finishing coats in Edgecomb Gray, satin finish. For the upholstery, I was a little disappointed to have to replace the foam, but when I stripped off the old fabric, the original foam was disintegrating. JoAnne Fabrics has foam for okay prices, and I was able to make the seat really comfy. It's upholstered in some Calico Corners fabric that I had from the outlet--which was perfect because the arms of the chair mimic the scrolling pattern in the negative space of the fabric. I wanted a little contrasting (subtle) pop, so I added the blue/gray chenille piping around the base of the seat. I like how the natural cane brings out the warm hues in the fabric pattern.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


I'm taking part in the Remodelista Indigo Pinterest challenge! See my board here and the rules here.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Doll House Update

I started this project with the idea of putting legs onto G's dollhouse. When it sat on the floor it was hard to play in the bottom level, and tables were generally too tall or too big (space is a precious commodity in our house). Home Depot has fantastic wooden legs with the screw bolt already in them. They are sanded and ready for paint, stain, etc. and come in a variety of styles and lengths. They also have these incredibly handy plates that you just screw into the bottom of whatever you want to put legs on, and then screw the bolted legs into the plate. It's a cynch.

I also stumbled upon this great water based stain, that you can have mixed to a number of different colors. I LOVED working with it. It is so quick to apply, it's not fussy--there are no streaky lines to contend with, it dries super fast, and you still get the wood grain showing through a bit. I also love the matte/natural finish. I also used the stain to also paint the chevron on the front of the table.

You could do this same project for about $35 if you just wanted to put the legs onto the house (depending on the length and style legs you choose).

While we were at HD though the creative juices got flowing and I thought that, though it would be nice to have the house up off the floor a couple of inches… where would G put her vegetable garden and picnic table?

We wandered around and found everything we needed. The base of the table is made of 3/4" MDF with trim nailed around the edges--so that things wouldn't fall off the edges. We used sample tiles of astro-turf like carpet for the "grass", and the tile guy gave us a remnant bit of the glass tile that we used for the "pond". We decided on some travertine tile for the stone walkway and patio. The "grass" was great, and easy to cut to make our modern landscaping come to life.

Now G just needs to organize her house. :) 

Thursday, January 05, 2012

2011: Books Completed

The Mind Readers, Margery Allingham
Dancers in Mourning, Margery Allingham
The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, Nicholas Carr
More Work for the Undertaker, Margery Allingham
Every Eye, Isobel English
With Bold Fork and Knife, MFK Fisher
The Sea, The Sea, Iris Murdoch
Pearls Before Swine, Margery Allingham
Fashion in the Shrouds, Margery Allingham
Questions of Travel, Elizabeth Bishop
The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje
Gorky Park, Martin Cruz Smith
Traitor's Purse, Margery Allingham
The Sisters of Sinai: How Two Lady Adventurers Discovered the Hidden Gospels, Janet Soskice
The Italian Slow Cooker, Michele Scicolone
Nigella Express: 130 Recipes for Good Food Fast, Nigella Lawson
The Italian Vegetable Garden, Phaidon Press
When We Were Orphans, Kazuo Ishiguro
Tether's End, Margery Allingham
Who's Body, Dorothy Sayers
Howard's End, E.M. Forester
The Tiger in the Smoke, Margery Allingham
Dimanche, and Other Stories, Irene Nemirovsky
Journal of Katherine Mansfield, Katherine Mansfield
The Beckoning Lady, Margery Allingham
A Passage to India, E.M. Forester
Cheerful Weather for the Wedding, Julia Strachey

(Also, several Nancy Drews! with G. Fun to revisit these).

... select reviews and goals for 2012 to come.

Year in Review (not mine)

Two entraining reviews worth a read.

ABE Books' Literary Year in Review.


Dave Barry's Year in Review (hysterical as usual).