Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What We Are Thankful For


Gracie, Daddy and I are always sure to take time out during this festive holiday to remind ourselves and others how much we are blessed.

We are so thankful for the warm home we have, the love that shares that home, and all of the people who have graced our lives over the last 3 centuries. We kid and complain about still living in this small apartment for the last 5 years, each year swearing we will move; but it is cold seasons like this that we have to remember that we have a warm home, despite the size.

We may not have much space, but we have far more love in our small home than any amount of square footage. And now, we can be thankful that we will have less space--because God has seen us through adding on to our already wonderful family.

So, what are you thankful for?

For a couple of years now we have loved to read your responses on this blog. Gracie and I get so much out of how you are thankful, and I am hoping we can continue the tradition. You can put your thankful lists in the comment sections of this blog entry.

Monday, November 24, 2008

An Excited Day

When I picked Gracie up from preschool today she was practically jumping out of her seat--and so were most of the other kids.

She started yelling at me as I stood in line to sign her out "we're gonna miss it momma, I'm gonna miss the special Thanksgiving meal at school!" There is a special meal for the kids on Wednesday, but we will be in Tennessee. I hate that she will miss it, but I am taking lots of fun holiday activities to do while we are away.

I reassured her, and then she continued on about how she got a smiley thumb and she colored a My Little Pony picture.

The rambling didn't stop there, by the time we got to the car she had dumped out an ear full. The class got to play musical instruments. She and Dylan got the small cymbals, Cole got the big symbols. And the teachers said "you get what you get." So, you couldn't pick out what instrument you wanted. But, she wanted the cymbals and got the cymbals. You got all of that so far ;)

And, she made a necklace for Thanksgiving, and they had corn chips for snack with green grape drink.

I think I got everything in there! She has been rambling since I picked her up, and somehow I think I will hear about her day for the rest of the day.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Countdown Continues


Gracie is very excited that there is only 4 days left. She gets so giddy each night as we pull off another feather. And, yes I realize how sad he looks without his feathers now.

This morning when she woke up to get ready for school the first thing she told me was "tonight we get to pull off number 4 feather--I can't wait!"

I am glad we came up with this little idea to help her get excited about heading to Tennessee. Not that we haven't had a ton of other Thanksgiving activities and crafts as well. Today, provided she feels better, we are going to make cupcake turkeys for our neighbors. I will share pictures when we get them done.

Walkin' In A Winter Wonderland

Well not exactly, but it is really cold out there, and by the time I got Gracie in her coat and grabbed her backpack after school it was full on snowing outside.

While it was very cold and windy, Gracie got a kick out of walking to the car in the snow. As I snapped a picture, she of course was trying to catch them on her tongue. Before anyone panics about all the yuckies in that snow (Candice!)--poor thing can't catch one for trying.

Today they finished up the letter J, and got to play in Jello. I am guessing this was a pretty big hit. Apparently they each got a baggie of Jello and got to squish it. Gracie pointed out they were supposed to be easy. She told me she did hers carefully, but a little came out. The teachers helped her clean it up. Apparently, Alexis wasn't so lucky. She squished hers very hard and it exploded. Well, she didn't say exploded, but told me it was on the lights, the ceiling, the table, the chairs and the floor. She also pointed out that she helped clean up the floor.

Snack today was also orange Jello, but not what they got to squish.

I didn't get much else out of her about school, but we have been talking about not being a tattle-tale. As Garren points out he isn't surprised that she has a problem minding her own business. But, that's an argument for later. I think she is understanding that it is not nice to tell on other kids.

And, my poor little informant also has another cold. She is in her room now coloring and watching Snow White. Luckily it doesn't seem like a bad one--so that's a relief. I hope she will be all over it by Tuesday when we plan to travel to Tennessee for Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More For The Birds

We are going to have some pretty chunky birds out there!

Just yesterday Gracie and I made 4 more pine cone finders, and then today she came home from preschool with a bird feeder she made in class.

This one is a bagel with icing and bird seed. Pretty clever idea. We are letting it harden and dry really well, and we will hang it up tomorrow for the birds to feast on.

Also in school today Gracie and her classmates worked on the letter "J." And, cheese balls were snack today.

I got some extra scoops about school, although I am not sure how positive. Apparently Gracie didn't get a turn at the water center. She told her teachers she didn't get a turn, but apparently it was because she choose to read stories instead. Now, while she was reading stories she and Maddie had a little discussion. I didn't get all of the details, but apparently Maddie didn't want Gracie to sit in a certain seat. Something about she wasn't the teacher. I didn't quite get it--but they resolved it themselves.

I rarely get extra information about her school day, and when I do I try very hard to stay neutral. While I was concerned about this other girl bossing Gracie around, I know it is important for her to work it out. I asked what she did next, and she said she sat in a different seat. I hate that she rolled over, only because I know that's what I do. I have no self confidence and I let people tell me what to do and hurt my feelings all of the time. But, she seems to have weathered this small incident, so I will let it go.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I Guess They Were Right

About the snow anyway. We went from spitting snow, to all out downpours for most of the day. It seems to have taken a break right now, but I have a feeling it will be back.

For most of the afternoon it has blown so hard that it couldn't accumulate, but at this point there is a thin layer covering my deck.

Gracie, of course, has enjoyed watching it come down and swirl. She said it looks like when the Imagination Movers have a brain storm (Disney kids show).

While I am thinking "It's November people, and not technically even winter!" There is something fun about watching the white stuff fall. We have plenty of food in the house, and when Gracie gets up we will have some hot chocolate. Winter and winter weather can bring on that nice warm cozy feeling, can't it!

But, I can't feel warm and fuzzy for long--because I am feeling like a bad parent. I thought I had more time to get Gracie a winter coat, but looks like time is up. It was 34 degrees today and of course then there is the snow.

She outgrows her coat each year, and I knew I needed to get her one. When we went hunting for pine cones today she wore her wool dress coat, and that worked--for now anyway. I am guessing now I will be hunting for warm bunting.

Going On A Pinecone Hunt


Luckily for us we didn't have to hunt for very long, or travel very far. I had a feeling there were pine trees at the park--and there were. And there were tons of pine cones to boot.

Since it is 34 degrees and blowing snow, finding the pine cones fast was nice. So, why pine cones? For crafts of course.

We made adorable pine cone turkeys and made some more pine cone bird feeders. Those birds love to stop and eat at our "deck diner," just as much as we love watching them. I never thought of myself as someone fascinated by winged animals, but now I know why Lou loved them so much. They are just so gentle and soothing, and some how very interesting to watch.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Winter Is Coming

Tonight

Rain/Snow Likely Chance for Measurable Precipitation 70%
Rain/Snow
Likely
Lo 27°F
Tuesday

Chance Snow Chance for Measurable Precipitation 20%
Chance
Snow
Hi 39°F
Tuesday
Night

Blustery
Blustery

Lo 24°F
Wednesday

Mostly Sunny
Mostly
Sunny
Hi 41°F
Wednesday
Night

Partly Cloudy
Partly
Cloudy
Lo 23°F
Thursday

Slight Chance Rain/Snow Chance for Measurable Precipitation 20%
Slight Chc
Rain/Snow
Hi 45°F
Thursday
Night

Mostly Cloudy
Mostly
Cloudy
Lo 26°F
Friday

Partly Sunny
Partly
Sunny
Hi 40°F
Friday
Night

Partly Cloudy
Partly
Cloudy
Lo 22°F

I saved this picture from our National Weather Service page. It looks like Old Man winter won out his battle with brother fall!

It has been very cold and super windy here the past few days, and it looks like snow may just come our way. Usually Garren is super excited about snow, but with everything on his plate these days--I am not seeing the usual boy-like giddy in his eyes.

The holidays are also getting closer and closer. I have so many things to get done, and never enough time (or energy) to finish. I plan to start working on a list this evening so I don't leave anything out.

While, I am not ready for Christmas yet, it seems like once you get through Thanksgiving it is only a breath away. They really should divide these holidays up a little more :)

Gracie has been delightfully pulling the feathers off of her turkey to countdown the days to Tennessee. And, now that Mr. Gobbles is nearly bald I can see my mother's point that it is a little sadistic to pluck a turkey. But, Gracie thinks it is fun, and since she still hasn't put 2 and 2 together yet as far as the cute animals on the farm and what we eat for dinner--I think I am safe.

So, we have 8 more days until we head to Tennessee. Ahh--8 days, and I still have so much to do. But, Gracie and I haven't wasted much time. We have made many crafts and we are reading Thanksgiving stories and of course you saw the quilt.

So, we are remembering the reason for this fall celebration--and we hope you will too. With so much bad news floating around the world today--we still have so much to be thankful for! And, be thinking about your thankful lists. As is tradition with this blog, we will have a special section for you to tell us why you are thankful. Each year Gracie gets so much out of your lists, and she starts to realize that there is more to love and be appreciative of than My Little Ponies and mommy and daddy.

J Is For Jump Rope

This week starts the kids learning about the letter "J." Gracie brought home her practice paper today, and let me say--she is getting good! But, then, you already knew that.

They also played a game with a jump rope today. Gracie told me they took turns jumping over the rope. She said she did really high jumps. I am sure all of the kids loved this excercise and I am sure the teacher's heads are thumping!

Snack today was goldfish crackers and green juice (yea, you got me--cool aid?). They also got to play in play dough. The calendar says that it was cornmeal play dough--and I believe it since it was stuck to her fingers. It must have been fun though.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Emma Comes Over To Play


Gracie had a great morning playing with Emma today. We haven't seen Emma in so long, even though she and her mommy moved just a few minutes away.

Since Kathy had to work this morning, she asked if I would watch the now 2 year old, and I was glad to have her.

I haven't kept Emma since she was a year old, and now she is such a happy and active toddler!

Once Gracie woke up (Emma got here at 7:30am!), she and Emma only took a few minutes to reconnect.

One of their favorite things to do was play on the computer. You would think that Emma would get frustrated not being able to do the actual clicking of the mouse, but she would sit for the longest time with Gracie and watch her "play" on PlayhouseDisney.com.

I didn't get very many pictures, as it was a busy morning...but when Emma started to sing her "Itsy Bitsy Spider" song, I grabbed the camera. I got a few minutes before she tried to grab the camera herself. She's pretty cute, so I thought I would post it anyway.


video

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thanksgiving Blessings


This came out so cute, and I am glad I finally found the time to finish it.

I came across the cutest Thanksgiving ideas and crafts, and one of them was for a Thanksgiving quilt. The idea was repeated on several sites, but they used paper to craft together a quilt of what children were thankful for.

Well, you know me. Paper is cute, but it doesn't last. So, I got the brilliant idea to pull down my fabric scraps and make her ideas of thanksgiving last for a lifetime.

I cut many white squares and let her draw what she was thankful for. Her answers were typical, but very cute. Then I added some fall colored squares and finally got around to sewing it today.

Gracie likes it a lot, and it adds a great deal to our fall-themed home.

**You can click to make it larger and see her squares. And, pay no attention to my carpet--I desperately need to vacuum!**

Unseasonably Warm Day

Gracie had a good Friday at school. It was warm and wonderful out there when I came to pick her up, so I just had to snap a picture outside.

The class worked more on the letter "H," and they played "pass the pumpkin." Gracie tried to explain this game to me, but all I got out of it was that each child had a partner. She said her partner was Cole.

Snack today was cheese balls, and they got to paint pictures with Indian corn. I can imagine that was pretty messy.

Ms. Stephanie was out today, and so the kids got to have Ms. Julie instead. This was great as Gracie has mentioned before how much she misses Ms. Julie sometimes.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Look What We Found, Candice!

Okay, I was actually thrilled to death when I came across her in the thrift store today. As a matter of fact I think I actually squealed and asked Gracie "can I have this." She was so cute telling me "okay momma, we can share it."

This is a 1982 baby Strawberry Shortcake (yep, I got it for $1!!!). My best friend Candice was actually lucky enough to have one. She blows (once blew) strawberry scented kisses. This dolls kisses smell more like glue. But, with a little love, a hair wash (in strawberry shampoo) and a trip to the washer for her dress--she will be as good as new.

Last year, or two years ago they tried to sell baby Strawberry Shortcakes in the store. I fell in love with it, but I wasn't $22 in love with it--so the year passed and I didn't get one. It also took batteries, and as many of you know I am completely old school when it comes to toys. Toys shouldn't talk! That's what a child's imagination is for.

Other goodies we found: 3 handmade quilted stockings for $.75 each. I would have loved to have found 4, but as Gracie pointed out "there are only 3 of us mommy, so we only need 3." We also found the Strawberry Shortcake house ($1) for Gracie's miniatures she has been wanting, the "Don't Break The Ice" game I was going to get her for Christmas ($.50 here, $5 in store), and 3 baby outfits ($.25 each). I love it when I rack up.

She's Okay

When I picked Gracie up from school today she was as chatty and chipper as ever.

She and her school mates played "Hot Potato" today, and they worked more on the letter "H." Gracie told me she tried to show Ashton the right way to make an "H," but he still did it wrong. I know, I know...I am on it! I will start working on keeping her from being a know-it-all. Can't imagine where she might get that from.

They also talked about the weather today. Apparently the teachers asked what they liked to do on a rainy day. Gracie told her "wear my purple coat." I am pretty sure she was talking about her nice dress coat.

Snack today was crackers and tea. I am not sure if she actually got tea, but she knows what that is--so maybe. She said she spilled some tea and went to the bathroom and got a towel to clean it up. That's my big helper.

She has talked a little more about fire and being afraid of fire. But, I am letting her talk and I keep reassuring her.

Nervous Nellie

I dropped Gracie off at school this morning, and I am a little concerned about her. That worrisome intellect she has is in over drive this morning.

When she got up this morning she was telling me she dreamed about her Disney book and the fire on the front. Then she talked more and more about fire and fireman and water ruining everything.

She was super chatty and didn't seem upset--but what she was talking about clearly was bothering her. We talked about fire and how she is safe and that mommy and daddy will always keep her safe. We talked about the sprinklers in the house and calling the fire department--but I kept it light. I even told her that the sprinklers would put out the fire, but we would have to put everything in the drier because it would be soaked.

When I dropped her off this morning I warned the teachers that she was "nervous chatty." Ms, Stephanie told me she loves to hear Gracie go on and on. I chuckled to myself--that child can talk and talk and I am not sure if she breathes! One of these days I will have to video one of her rants. I say "rants," but she talks like that all the time. I didn't think she had been around Candice that much ;)

Anyway, I am hoping that when I pick her up she will be better. I had a feeling that she was thinking a little too much. Last night I had the worst headache and didn't get dinner started, so super dad got dinner done--after her loaded us in the car and took us to Denny's. While we were there he was talking about his trip to DC today to go to the US Supreme Court and how he had to get on the train and he was a little nervous about doing something so important. All of a sudden she gets upset and starts talking about him not coming home. Like most of her worries it came out of no where. He reassured her that Daddy always comes home. It took a little more reassurance and hugs before she seemed convinced. Poor thing was nearly in tears. She ate her dinner and went to bed well, so I figured her worries had been calmed, but I should have known better. Once that mind gets started, it is usually a few days before it is back to simple girly innocence.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Perfectly Pink

Gracie has a new room...well sort of.

I have been thinking a lot lately about how we are going to make room for another person in this very small two room apartment. While the plans are to get our first home, or at least a bigger place, we don't feel like that will happen until a few months after the baby gets here. And, we already have too much stuff.

Well, I started today on downsizing Gracie's room. Once I have my mind on something it doesn't go anywhere until I deal with it. So, Gracie and I started rearranging. I started by removing all of her Fisher Price Little People sets (and bit my lip from crying). I replaced the shelves with her My Little Ponies and other miniature sets that she really favors.

I have also made a shelf for containers full of her other favorites like puzzles and finger puppets, and her paper and pens (this child loves to "write" and make notes and invitations and now she has a container full of paper and pencils and stickers and more).

This really has been a long time coming, as I am sure one of the reasons she doesn't play by herself much is that the toys she really wants are harder to get. Now, everything is out in the open.

Plus, she saw the original pink covering on top of her shelves that we had when she was a baby. I took off the blue gingham and now her room is very pink--just like the girly girl that she is.

While Gracie's room has been redone and uncluttered, the rest of this small space needs a make over too!

I am hoping that we will get a little help from family. With Christmas and her birthday coming up relatively soon, I am hoping that we can convince the grandparents to stick to a few categories of smaller items. I have made room for more games and puzzles as these are of her favorites. She also has larger containers for her miniatures, which she loves. And, I have made more containers for dress up--which is something else she plays everyday!

In the meantime I am cleaning up and out and making room for baby and all of those baby things, and our big girl is loving her big girl room.

School Today

Gracie and her classmates started working on the letter "H" today. Gracie told me they also had lots of fun with golf balls. Yep, golf balls.

First they painted with them, I can only imagine the mess. I am thinking it would be like marble painting--I can't wait to see the outcome. And later, they played a game. Gracie told me it wasn't real golf balls though--it was the scratchy white balls (she means those craft Styrofoam balls). Apparently they had sticks of some sort and they took turns hitting the ball to their partners. She told me Dylan was her partner. Apparently it was a fun game for everyone.

Oh, and the nice fall weather did in fact go away. Yesterday was pretty chilly, but today it is freezing! I bundled Gracie in her warm wool dress coat to go to school, and the wind was so rough that it was blowing that heavy coat backwards!

I guess winter is here. I guess I will just have to long for spring a little early this year.

Today's Quote

"When Uncle Luke was a baby he read Star Wars books and put Ariel stickers on paper. Yea. He loves Star Wars. He had a Star Wars birthday party when he was a baby."--Gracie

Friday, November 07, 2008

Picnic In The Park


Today was an absolutely beautiful day here in Strasburg, and Gracie and I just couldn't stand to waste it. So, after school, I packed us a picnic basket and we headed to the park.

Apparently every other stay at home mom had the same idea, because there were 4 other families there. In fact, all 3 picnic tables were taken. Luckily I had our big blanket in the trunk and we found shady tree and spread out our lunch.

It was so warm out there we even took off our shoes to eat. After some lunch Gracie was off to play. She found several other kids her age and they played for over an hour.

It was just a wonderful day and I am glad I had the idea--because we all know that this is likely the last real "fall" day we will have as winter is coming soon.

We hope that you enjoyed your warm and sunny day...and if you didn't get one--maybe you will soon. Don't waste it--find a sandwich, a blanket and take your shoes off. You will LOVE it! :)

G's And Feathers

Gracie had a wonderful day at school today. She and her classmates got to paint with feathers--sounds fun huh!

They also worked more on the letter "G." And, being one of those annoyingly cute mom's I couldn't resist making the best of "G." After all, Gracie is the best thing I can think of that starts with G. So, yesterday Gracie and I made 80 letter "G" cookies and covered them with green sprinkles. You could tell she was very proud when we brought the container in this morning.

The teachers told me the kids loved them and thanked her 10 times. Gracie told me the girls really loved them because she told them it was Tinker Bell sprinkles on top. Actually it was. Leave it to Grandma to find Tinker Bell and Princess sprinkles at the store.

Besides being a "G" for Gracie day--it is also gorgeous outside. I think we will make the most of it!

**The picture is from our cookie baking yesterday. You can see how proud she is of them**

Gracie's Diner


Gracie and I had so much fun watching the birds this morning before school.

I finally hung up the pine cone bird feeders that Gracie made Saturday. I was in charge of kids crafts at the church bazaar, and Gracie made several.

I took them outside and hung them on the deck last night. I figured they would hang for a while and I would sneak them in the trash. But, surprise the birds love them! There have been 15-20 birds fly by for a mid-morning snack.

Gracie is at school this morning, on a beautiful day I might add, and I am still watching these birds dine at the pine cones Gracie made. I think this will be a fun watching experience for both of us.

Clearly I couldn't get the best pictures as those little birds are fast, but I got this good one to share.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Beauty School Drop Out

Well, not exactly, but she got an adorable Disney princess make-up set in the 50 cent grab bag she picked out from the thrift store today.

I made sure everything was washed first--but she has been giving everyone beauty make overs this evening--even daddy.

It has a little nail polish bottle that opens, pretend pink and blue eye shadow (which she is using like blush), what she is calling lotion, a mirror and a comb. She has kept herself busy for hours, and her "friends" look simply gorgeous!

She is so content and happy with this little set. I am not sure why on earth she is interested in make up and beauty, other than the fact she is a girl. Because, mommy sure isn't. I never have been a girly girl. I wear make up to church and on special occasions, but that's it. I have a feeling though my daughter will be spending many hours in the bathroom when she gets a little older.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Results Are In

And let me thank the nearly 30 of you who logged on and voted in Gracie's mock election yesterday and today. You should have seen her; she wanted to check the votes every hour. We even made a large ballot to keep track of votes.

And, I really think she got a lot of of the whole project. She understands better know what voting is like, and how we have to live with the outcome.

Take the dress up category for example. She wanted "Ariel" to win. That was the first question we tallied today at noon. While "Ariel" got 9 votes, "doctor" got 12. She immediately burst in to tears and I had to hug her for a while.

While this sounds traumatic, I am glad that not everything she wanted won. Think about it, tonight (or tomorrow) there will be a lot of disappointed people, because someone has to lose. So, this set the tone to talk about how elections work and how there are lots of people who don't get what they want.

When her tears dried we continued on.

I made special worksheets for the project and she made graphs and easily answered the questions. She really enjoyed doing it, and she was thrilled when the choice she wanted for dinner won. We in fact had spaghetti tonight.

While she is only 4, I really think that she is old enough to handle some of the larger concepts of our world, and I love to watch the light bulb go on--so to speak.

We also did some fun election papers from Scholastic that Candice sent to us that helped reinforce the idea of elections. Thanks again to her--she is always thinking of us :)

Since you are dying to know...here is how the election ended up:
(you can click on the graphs to make them larger)

Gracie Votes!

Daddy and I took Gracie with us (as we do every election in this town) to the voting booth. This year they got smart and put the machines in the high school gym. In years past we have huddled in a line outside town hall, as well as lined up in our church's very small Fellowship Hall.

We were worried about having to wait in very long lines as we have heard voting is very big this year and many people waited for hours to cast their ballots. Either we picked a good time, or the 10 machines that were in the gym made it easier for a town of 4,000 to pass through; either way we were in and out in 10 minutes or less.

The neat part was, after Garren let Gracie push the touch screen to cast his ballot we were directed to a hallway where they had a kids voting booth!

Gracie was a little hesitant, but she wanted to vote too. They had two laptops set up and a volunteer helped her by showing which buttons to push. I was sure, by the way, to ask if I could snap pictures since you can't have cameras or phones in the real voting area.

We stood back and let Gracie choose which ever candidates she wanted--but Daddy was super proud that she picked a completely Republican ballot all on her own. She picked the presidental one quickly, and the only thing I could think of is she had seen McCain's picture before. The others she didn't know which to pick. So I told her "red or blue?" This helped, and she called out "red" eagerly for the remaining two ballots. The poll volunteer thought that was a great idea.


When she was done she got her very own voting sticker and we headed to our new Denny's.

Sadly, this shouldn't be something we are excited about. But, seriously people we live in a town that has a McDonald's, Burger King, Subway...oh and the new Arby's. Yep, that's it besides the local restaurants.

We didn't have to wait to get in or to get our food and it was good. This was surprising (the wait part) because they just opened Sunday night.

So, now Gracie and I are home and Daddy is back at work and we will likely not see him until sometime tomorrow morning.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Election Learning


I've got a great idea to help Gracie learn about voting and elections! While she knows that we always go to vote with daddy, and that she gets to push the button, and we usually get breakfast afterwards; I would like her to get a little more out of the process.

You can help us by looking to the left of this entry and voting in 4 simple polls. I plan to use the results to help her understand how to make graphs, how see which has the most and least, and to understand the outcome (what the people vote for, they get).

I hope you will help us out. We are opening our polls now so we can get as many votes as possible. I am hoping we will get more than 20 voters as we are working on numbers beyond 20.

I will share all of our "school work" for the day tomorrow so you can see just how much she got out of it.

Thank you!!!!