Tuesday, March 31, 2009

sewing a purse

Our neighbor gave purse craft kits to the kids at their daughter's birthday party -- what a great idea! Zoe couldn't wait till the next morning to sew her purse. She gulped down some food and went straight to work, very seriously.

She braided the yarn that it came with for the strap, and I ironed the flap just slightly, so it would lay closed.

Here she is later, on our way out the door to see some friends at the park. She put this outfit together by herself, including the sunglasses. Too cute! When she isn't wearing the purse, she hangs it decoratively on her closet door.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour is almost here in Colorado!

Join us in a few short hours, as we participate in Earth Hour!

"The lights are going down from the Great Pyramids to the Acropolis, the Eiffel Tower to Sears Tower, as more than 2,800 municipalities in 84 countries plan Saturday to mark the second worldwide Earth Hour." -Huffington Post

Read more about it here: Earth Hour

from 75 to 35 in a day

What do you do when you have a foot of snow, but no hills?

Build a hill.

With steps!

Next time we just have to remember that snow is reflective. All the neighborhood kids are now sunburnt. They aren't complaining though :-)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

new pixie cut

Here is Ashley's new pixie cut. She loves to sit on the bathroom counter, in the corner, so that there is a mirror in front of her, and one on the side, which is the "medicine" cabinet. It cracks her up, having two Ashleys in the corner like that :-) Which is why I can get away with cutting her hair, while she looks back and forth between one image of herself and the other, laughing at the sight! I use Andy's hair clippers, with the #8 extension, because it's easier for me than wielding scissors around her precious self.

this afternoon

Imagine the song, Lets go fly a kite, from Mary Poppins. Then imagine Zoe singing this: "Lets go ride a bike! This is the path I like!" She and Andy made that up a few days ago, when our bikes emerged from the basement, back to the driveway, where they will stay till next fall.

Here we are today, on our way out. We went to a nearby neighborhood park (not a playground) so I could read, and the girls could play make-believe in the grass and behind the trees. Then we biked to a playground to slide for a while, before coming home and cutting Ashley's hair...

Fuzzi Bunz love

We were in need of some new Fuzzi Bunz. It had been a year since we bought any, and a few have been lost over time. I am just such a big fan of these diapers! In all the years we've been using them, we have had no more accidents than others using disposables - really! That's because they fit so well. As big as she is, Ashley has never grown out of a size medium, and I doubt she will before she potty trains. (It's when the cloth diapers are loose around the legs that they leak.) Also, we use the insert that comes with them, as well as one hemp pre-fold, for a total of 4 layers in each diaper. (The pre-fold is folded into thirds.)

I love love love Fuzzi Bunz!

Note: You may click on the words in bold for the link.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

homemade water table

Lately Ashley has been craving water for play. We go to the pool a lot, but even at home, she's been going into the bathroom and playing with water in the sink. Well, today, she accidentally got water all over the bathroom floor. So I had to come up with another solution. I went through the phone book, calling at least 6 stores and second hand shops, but no one had a water table yet. It may be warm outside, but they wont be getting them in for a month, they thought.

Then I found a bunch online, at Amazon and such, but they were so expensive! The least expensive one was over 50 dollars, and I wasn't all that impressed with it. That's when I remembered I had this long storage container on the top of my closet, empty. It's actually meant to slide under a bed I think.

The girls and I took a quick trip to Bed Bath & Beyond, and I got the deepest container I could find, to use as a pedestal. It was about 16 dollars.

We brought it inside, and Andy turned the deep container upside down. He drilled two holes in the bottom at each corner. Then he drilled one hole at the top of the shallow container, in each corner.

We used plastic ties to secure the two containers together.

Our neighbor's daughter came over for a little while, and all the girls had a great time with the new water table. They were all in green for St. Patrick's Day. Then two more neighbors and their dog, came and sat on the other side of the porch with me, and we talked, while the girls played. After a while the two big girls got up to go find leprechauns in the grass. It was such a nice afternoon.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

"It's just a leprechaun in his home." -Zoe

"Two leprechauns gathering gold out in the woods." -Zoe
(the red on their faces are their beards)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Little House in the Big Woods

Oh my gosh I could eat this book up, you guys! We actually finished it a week ago, so I'm a little late in posting about it. We also read it in just one week, because it was so good, we couldn't put it down. But before I get to all of our favorite chapters, I have to preface by saying that I could have done without the first few, which are entirely about hunting. And you could totally skip those parts; it wouldn't effect the story of the book. However, Zoe wanted to hear them, so we listened, and I really don't know how the Wilder family could have survived the winter in Wisconsin (at that time) otherwise.

As with all the great books we've read, there were times when Zoe and I looked at each other, like, "Ahhh! That's a bad word." (the word stupid was used in older books and classics) Or we would go, "Ahhh! We don't do that!" (they also used to spank, and we don't) But we know that these old books, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, are stories about American history, and while we may not live our lives as they did, there is a lot we can learn from them, and beauty to be found.

There are so many moments of joy and love, in the lives of this family, in Little House in the Big Woods. Simple pleasures, like the cozy log cabin, alone in the big woods, snug in the snowy winter, and a wood fire burning, are charming visual images. There was cooking with Ma, homemade dolls, clothing and blankets, falling asleep listening to Pa's fiddle and songs, Christmas time, and our favorite, the "sugar snow," when the maple trees were ready for collecting maple syrup, and the dance at Laura's grandparent's house that follows.

This book would be worth reading, if only for the chapter about the dance at Laura's grandparent's house, not that we didn't find many other lovely chapters. Still, this one is so delicious. The horse drawn sleigh with bells, the view through the woods in the early morning, the way the sun rose through the trees on the way... it's so beautiful. We savored every moment of it. Then we read it to Andy that evening, and we read it again the next day :-) And then, we moved on, though I'm sure we'll be going back to it again soon! But first I think we'll finish Little House on the Prairie, which we have already begun.

Friday, March 13, 2009

our homeschool couch ;-)

I've been noticing that while most of our friends homeschool in the morning, we've been on an afternoon kick for quite some time now. Zoe and Ashley find so much creative and imaginative play to do in the morning, not to mention arts and crafts, that we've been saving our "work" for after lunch, when they start loosing steam. Zoe likes reading and writing in our journal, so this is a fun and relaxing time. In fact, sometimes she does it by herself. (Sometimes she asks me how to spell words, and sometimes she writes it herself and it's too funny; I'll have to post one of those.)

We all sit on the couch, even Cherry, the dog, and Anna, the babydoll. Ashley has been really starting to pay attention too. She looks at a book of her own, or listens to us, copying what we do. Above she is pretending to read while we read, and below she is pretending to write while we write. (These are my new reading glasses by the way, though I'm wishing I could have bought the cheap-os at the grocery store, rather than these, from the optometrist. I can't stand spending money.)

Here we are again, not actually reading, just using the book as a reference for our narration. Zoe cracks me up with the details she remembers, like exact lines from the book, and names of places, such as Pepin, which I had forgotten. She could also tell me that the candy from Pepin was "heart-shaped" and that the impressions in the snow were called, "pictures." What can I say? I'm Zoe and Ashley's biggest fan :-) 

Zoe adores showing her journal to visitors. Like a photographer documenting through pictures, this book is Zoe's proof of experiences, and things she's learned. And yes, your eyes don't deceive you, Zoe had to wear this clothing ensemble two days in a row, because it was just that fabulous, hahaha!

Does this one really need any words? No.

Friday, March 6, 2009


Here are a few pictures of the girls, swinging at our friend's house, after we went to the lake. Thanks Emily, for sending me these! We want to come over again soon!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

our new, used minivan

Did you know that AAA can sell your car and even find you a used car? We have been AAA members forever and I had no idea. I found a used minivan a couple weeks ago, and we went down to Denver to get it. The car salesman was super nice, and it was all going fine, until there was delay getting the loan. Andy had to get home to work, so we left, agreeing to come back as soon as we were approved.

The next day we got multiple messages, from the same salesman, only not so nice. He was absolutely insane. He said how frustrated he was with us, and all the mister nice guy stuff went out the window. I can't even remember all the nasty stuff he said. We were all set to get the car, but we just couldn't handle the way he was acting.

So Andy went to our bank, to get a loan, so that we could avoid that kind of situation again. The lady at the bank asked if we were AAA members, and suggested we go there. She said they would do everything for us: get bids on our current car, help us find a new one, even go get it for us - at no charge!

The next day, that's just what we did. We called the office in Boulder, they asked us what we wanted, and they started looking for us. After finding an Odyssey that met our description, I took Ashley down (as you may remember if you read the comment I left in my round-up post) and we looked at it. There was just one big problem with it: It stunk! It had been a "fleet car," which is a rental car.

They were totally nice that we had to pass, and they got back to looking for another one, preferably privately owned. This week, they called and said they thought they had found one. It sounded good, so they went down to Denver and picked it up for us. Yesterday we looked at it in Boulder and we loved it! They had us come back today, after all the paperwork was ready, and within half an hour, the car was ours!

And here it is! Our new, used Toyota Sienna ;-) It's a certified 2005, with 35,000 miles, light grey inside. It gets 25 mpg, like our Element did, and this one was owned by a family who didn't smoke, so it smells great. We are saving 80 dollars a month on the new payments, which we are so excited about! Also, I love that it has a tape player in addition to a CD player, because there is a great audio book at the library, that Zoe and Ashley are going to love, but it's on tape! Now I can borrow it!