Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Haloweeeeeeeeen!

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This was the first time I've ever made Halloween costumes for my kids. I'm so glad I did! I hope to never do store-bought again. It was a whirl-wind of 2 days but now I am "that mom".

Since no one was going to look very closely at these and I had so little time to make them, I skimped a lot on workmanship. Sam's vest took all of 20 minutes and I drew it on the back of the fabric with a sharpie first, based on a sweater vest from his closet. His hat came from the dollar store last year.

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Allison's started as a $12 shirt from Sears' boy department. It took me forever to find a plain white shirt to work with. I love that she has red sequin trim on her shirt and that it matches the fun hat we found at Target. I though about hot gluing the trim on, for about 3 seconds, and then realized I had to hand-sew it on so it could be machine washable. These clothes will stand up to lots of dress-up play. I have no doubt they will get a lot of use.

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The cow print has been in my stash for years. I think I was going to recover an ottoman at one point and I don't even have an ottoman. LOL

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Emily's bonnet we already had, I just added red velvet ribbon and bows to tie it in with the red dress. I forgot when we were picking out fabric that it needed to go with her already pink bonnet. Oops! I ran out of time making an over dress for her, so it turned into a 10 minute apron instead. No top-stitching here! And everyone has room to wear a sweater under their costume. We got lucky in that it wont' be too cold tonight. Love the metal pail I picked up at Home Depot too. She loves her outfit and next year wants to be Mary Ingalls instead of Laura.

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Sam's shirt was found at a used kids clothing store for $3. I just took a red sharpie to draw in the lines to make it look more like the real deal.

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Do you remember last year when we came home from vacation to find our neighbors willow tree had fallen down? Well that was after the leaves were already gone. So imagine our surprise this year to find a beautiful red tree gracing our new view.

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What a gift. Love it!

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And so the trick-or-treating begins. Hope you all had a fun night!

Friday, October 28, 2011

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

School Girls

First, here is the view as I wait in the pick-up line. The actual school is off to my right. These are condos that were built after they sold off part of what used to be parking lot.

Kind of makes me want to get there earlier than necessary. ;)

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They are loving school so far. Both of them have had nothing but good things to say about their days. With the exception of the bus ride taking too long. But that will get shorter after Christmas break, when they move to the upper campus and take away my gorgeous view. ;)

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Silly girls striking their own poses.

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Plaid skirts and knee socks. *swoon* I was worried they would be around their ankles all day. but they did a great job. These are from Lands End, if you are looking for cute cabled ones that really stay up, find them {here}.

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On the first day I got to witness Allison who was already standing in line, greet her sister with a tackle of a hug when Emily came out of the building. Totally made my day. They played really well together the rest of that day too. Having such a long break from each other does wonders for their relationship.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Second, First Day of School

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They were off at 7:15 today and it was still dark outside. I can't wait for noon to get here so I can pick them up and find out how their first day went. Again.

Girls, I am praying for a wonderful first day for you. That you would find everything you need, make new friends, obey your teacher and enjoy your big day.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fall Party and a Farewell

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Yesterday was the girls' last day at their first school. While we really loved this school, and they had a wonderful teacher there and a fun classroom, we still made the decision to switch them. I'm feeling a little sad about it tonight because it really is a great school. When we first told the girls about the switch they cried. Which of course made us feel terrible and question if we were doing the right thing. But over the past week we've seen several little confirmations that this is the right thing to do.

So why the switch? Well, we originally had our hearts set on a charter school in our same school district but didn't get in. First we were number 80 and later number 40 on the wait list. But then 2 weeks ago we got a notice that they had room for both girls for this school year. I had to read it several times to make sure it really said this year and not next year. The girls could either be in the same or separate classrooms. We were thrilled and of course we chose separate classrooms which wasn't even an option at their old school this year. I had already put them on the wait list for next year, but we knew it would be better to switch them now, in the middle, than wait again to see if we'd get in next year. Now was our chance and we took it. Even their current teacher thought it was best to move them now.

The main benefits to their new school is the traditional, classical education they will receive and the much smaller environment. It's a K-12 school with only 50-60 students per grade. It's considered a college prep school. They learn Latin and wear uniforms. Oh and did I mention that it's a "public" school so it costs us nothing? Well, if you don't count the uniforms that is. And yes that wasn't easy to fork over the money after I had already bought their fall/winter wardrobes for this year. And not a single pair of their shoes match their uniforms. C'est la vie!

This school also uses a systematic and sequential approach to teaching. When they study a certain time period in history, they will also study that same time period in every subject they are taking, across the board (geography, science, Latin, literature, grammar, math, music and art). Doesn't that makes perfect sense? They still offer other languages like Spanish in the upper grades and they combine with another charter school for sports (soccer, basketball, golf, volleyball). They also have drama and an orchestra where the kids can play whatever instrument they want. We were worried about it being such a small school that they wouldn't have enough of the same opportunities as the rest of the district.

Did I tell you that we live in the city that Money Magazine said last year was the best place to live in the entire country? We have fabulous schools and our high school football program is highly sought after. But I feel confident they won't be missing out since they are in dance and we have a piano they will learn. They'll stay in community sports, soccer for now, and hopefully start violin at a music center in a few years too. And of course there will be swimming lessons too. They will definitely be well-rounded kids and hopefully more confident at school because of the smaller more intimate environment.

I personally love that they won't ever change schools at different grade levels too. There is no separate middle school, junior high or high school. It's all in one soon-to-be renovated building just 9 minutes from us. K-6 is still meeting in our old church building one city over from us until their portion of the new building is ready at Christmas. We toured there with the girls last week and it was fun to show them where we were married and to see David's dad's old office. Brought back a lot of memories.

I grew up in Minneapolis which is a HUGE school district. We were moved from one school to another every 2-3 years. And guess what. Every.single.time. all of my friends went off to the other school in our area, never the same one I was going to. I should have interviewed them first. "I can be your friend as long as you are moving on to the same next school with me." So, I was basically the new kid 6 times in my school career. It's no wonder I never had a best friend throughout my school days. Being that it's a charter school and you can live anywhere and still go there, now we can choose to live in a less expensive area and not worry about changing schools too.

So, on to their Fall party. They both came home saying that they got to hi-five everyone as they left that day. So glad their teacher made it fun for them right up to the last minute. She really is a sweetheart.

With their favorite friend from school, who they've also played against in soccer this fall. I'm sure we'll see her again through community sports. Would it kill them to give me a smile?

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Pumpkin bowling was a huge hit. Those pumpkins took a beating and had to be covered in masking tape by the time they were done.

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Bat B I N G O

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Making necklaces.

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Enjoying a fun snack of apple pie and hot cider. Cutest, easy dessert ever. The kids got to scoop out their own pie filling and we added the whipped cream.

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Since we forgot to bring back our library books I'll need to visit the school again. That gave me time to run out and buy the book "Oh the Places You'll Go". When I go back to their school next week I'll ask their teacher to sign a book for each of them. Then I'll continue to do that every year, without them knowing of course, and we can give them the books at graduation. Thank you Pinterest for that idea!

By the way, if you are looking for a great book to read, I highly recommend "Secure Daughters Confident Sons". I'm half way through and it's really good.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New in the shop {Ric Rac Ruffles}

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Find them {here}.

My Budding Designer

Emily wants to be a "Shop Girl" just like me. When I was sewing our Christmas samples, she was stuck like glue to me for at least an hour, watching everything I did.

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She asked if she could use my scraps and a box of pins to make her own creation.

She spent time laboring over the design.

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Then made the top.

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And the pants.

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Sweet, sweet girl, I will teach you to sew very soon.

I love that my girl wants to be creative just like her mom. Makes my heart smile. :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

My chalkboard is up!

Yay! It fits perfectly at the end of the hall where I get to see it a dozen times a day. In fact I find myself looking down there just to see all it's lovliness. Now I just need to work on my penmanship. I thought when I was making this, "Wow, this is HUGE, I'll be able to fit a ton of words on it." Apparently not. I'll need to adjust my writing style. But I'm super excited to try the new chalk pen my sweet friend gave me for my birthday last night. Does she know me, or what?

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Love all the detail on this frame. It's quite heavy too. And you can't get better than free...thanks Mom! Here she is in her former life. I was able to save the painting itself and bring it to Goodwill.

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I found this fun cross-stitch on eBay and snatched it up for just $18. I had another place in mind, but until a new table lamp (hopefully for my birthday *wink*wink*) gets decided first, it will sit right here for now.

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Ballet and Tap

The girls are taking tap and ballet all year and will have a recital this spring. I'm SO excited for them! They love it so far and it's fun to see how much they've learned so quickly already.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Happy Fall!

It's a gorgeous 88* here today and fall is in full swing. We have a week of rain coming soon so we are enjoying this weather as best we can right now. Tonight I get to scout out one of my favorite spots, looking for the perfect family photo backgrounds. It's the perfect night for a walk and preparation for taking photos for one of my favorite families this Friday. I'm praying that the scattered thunderstorms they moved up a day, stay away.

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Sam actually asked me to take his picture. It was so nice to have a willing subject.

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And I just finished up a teensy-tiny blouse in size 12/18. It was quite fun to make this along side of a size 7 at the same time.

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Happy fall y'all!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Finding Solutions {Owl Growth Chart}

In our house I find I do a lot of decorating just to cover up the silly design flaws of who ever built this house. Our house is so tiny that there is absolutely no need for an intercom system. But the builders jumped on the 80's bandwagon anyway. To change out the system to white would cost about $800. And since we aren't willing to tackle a larger hole, sheetrock patch job ourselves, the only answer right now is to cover them up. Of course we'll have to do something proper with them if we ever move. Imagine seeing a house you like only to find big holes in the wall when the previous family moves out. Yikes! Either way, they are an eye-sore. You've already seen how I covered the one in our bedroom and the electrical panel in Sam's room. And pretty soon I'll get to show you the command panel in the kitchen. It's a doozy of a hole. I still have yet to come up with a solution for the one by Sam's lightswitch. I fear there is no solution right now, but I'll never stop thinking about it.

So today I waved my magic wand in the girls room, and this is how it turned out. ;)

Remember these wall stickers from Target ,that were in the girls' old room? They were a bit much in there, but now they are perfect in their new room.

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Now you see it!

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Now you don't!

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TaDa! A little woodland themed, totem pole inspired, growth chart.

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Wall stickers, a pine 1 x 12 x 4', white paint and a green paint pen and perfect painting weather makes me a happy girl.