The things they say

Lucy: Chelsea, Chelsea!
Craig: Who's Chelsea?
Lucy: I'm calling Jonah Chelsea right now! Chelsea? He's not coming!
MacKenzie: Well, he doesn't know you want his name to be Chelsea right now.
Lucy: Oh, but I do. Chelsea!

MacKenzie: Checking in on her and Jonah playing: Whatcha doing?
Lucy: Dancing for Joy and speaking Spanish words.
MacKenzie: Carry on then.

Lucy: Look at my beautiful Valentine.
MacKenzie: Oh, did you make it for a friend?
Lucy: Well, I did but it's too pretty to give away. I'll keep it.
MacKenzie: You could make another one to give away.
Lucy: Okay
a few minutes later...
Lucy: Look mama!
MacKenzie: Oh, who is that one for?
Lucy: Me. It's too pretty to give away.
MacKenzie: But you are supposed to make valentine's to give to people you love.
Lucy: But I love myself! This one is for me too!

Jonah has two jackets, one of which is an Texas A&M jacket. We got him to say aggie a while back and I guess we always had him repeat it when he put his jacket on because now he calls both of his jackets "aggie." If we are going outside, he runs over to the closet and says "Aggie! Aggie." And that, my friends, is how you do parenting right!

Lucy still has trouble saying her name, L's are one of the hardest letters for small children to pronounce so it's more like "you-cee." So I thought I'd help Jonah out and started refering to her as Noona. Success. Jonah now says mama, dada, and noo-noo.

Lucy has very few wrong words or phrases these days which makes me a bit sad. Two that remain - her dress up high heels are called "step shoes" and she calls my weights, "muscles."

Speaking of "muscles," both kids love to exercise with me so as soon as I move the coffee table and Jonah knows what is happening so he starts doing a sign he made up for exercise and then runs over to the pantry so Lucy can get him cans to use for his own weights.

Don't ever say the words "furry happy or monster" around Jonah without planning on letting him watch this video or you will have a tantruming toddler on your hands. He LOVES this song. He actually loves most music and will "sing" along when we sing or even if I just try and sit down at the piano.

Lucy: May I have some milk it my oatmeal. It's too hot.
Me: Yes, but you can't get upset if it ends up too liquidy. Remember how that happened last time?
Lucy: I won't, Mom, it will be insignificant!

Lucy has been really interested in opposites lately, all because of a story about an "opposite man" who brings trials on a little boy by making the opposite of what he wants happen (spills his milk on the ceiling, etc). We were driving to church one day when she saw a smiley face painted on a rock and said it looked like the opposite man so she needed to say some opposites like "I love Sunday School!" and "I will be wild at Sunday School"

For the record, she doesn't hate Sunday School, she just prefers not being around other children if at all possible. But it is true that she isn't wild there, I think her favorite part is when it is time to clean up the toys and games and sit still and listen.


Bathroom complete!

It's done and I'm loving in. I really only expected to make it tolerable with this mini-makeover but
I actually really like how it all came together and I've learned to embrace the yellow and gold. And as you'll see below, I even picked out a gold frame to add more gold to the space! Crazy!

After I did the big stuff I realized I did want color and I really wanted a Katie Daisy print. So Craig and I picked one that we both liked (notably one without a cute saying on it) and then of course, I needed some fabric.

This is where I always do things the wrong way. You really should start with your fabric and then try to find paint and other things that match. It's much easier that way. I never do that which means that in this case I was looking for a fabric with my base colors of yellow and grey plus my accent colors of bright pink and lime green. Easy peasy, right? Not so much. But I just happened to stumble upon a moda print that almost worked and then I searched for a bunch of moda charm packs and found the perfect one! The fates aligned!

I had really only planned to use fabric to extend the shower curtain but I loved this set so much I made room for a charm pack by making a bunting for the window. I've always loved buntings but have never been able to incorporate any into my decor until now. And buntings from charm packs are so simply - just fold the square in half, cut it with pinking shears and sew them together in binding. I didn't measure or mark anything. And I picked out my favorite fabric of the bunch for the shower curtain, cut a straight line across the old one and added about 7 inches of new material between them. I thought that would look a little less like I was trying to extend the shower curtain than adding it to the bottom might have :-) 

As far as cost goes, this mini-make-over ran us about $250 total. That includes everything from tiles, grout, paint and primer to fabric, print from etsy, frame and new knobs from Hobby Lobby and new towels. All but $50 or so of that was giftcards (Home Depot and Kohl's from Christmas presents and a random Visa card we got for filling out an questionnaire with our new healthy insurance) so I'm really happy with the bang we got for our buck.  

But enough chatting, here's
  • the bunting

  • the extended shower curtain, 

(complete with little helper because I couldn't possibly be allowed in the bathroom by myself)

  • new pink knob (will be new knobS as soon as Craig gets a chance to cut off that stripped screw so I can put the new one in place),

  • sconces for the medicine cabinet

And all together - 



But if I'm trying to stick with the authentic stuff, it really looks like this most of the time. We are a one bathroom, three potty household - but at least now that one bathroom is cute!

To see where we started, check out Bathroom mini-makeover part 1 and part 2


Calendar of Firsts

This is a post in The Living Page Discussion. But it's not the only one. Check out my others:
Nature Notebooks and the Gallery of Forms
Calendar of Firsts

I got a little confused and did my whole gallery of forms last week when I was only supposed to write about nature journals then and do the rest of the notebook this week. Oops. But that means I can write about our newest one today - the calendar of firsts.

I think this is a great one for families with little ones because everyone can really participate. To start, let's do as Larie does in The Living Page and go back to the source. What does Charlotte Mason say about this calendar?

It is a capital plan for the children to keep a calendar––the first oak-leaf, the first tadpole, the first cowslip, the first catkin, the first ripe blackberries, where seen, and when. The next year they will know when and where to look out for their favourites, and will, every year, be in a condition to add new observations. Think of the zest and interest, the object, which such a practice will give to daily walks and little excursions. 

Okay, that is inspirational but not too heavy on the details. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing as it means I am free to  customize it my needs and wants. I searched around and found several. None was exactly what I wanted but all had parts I liked.

Sage Parnassus uses a pre-made calendar of firsts put together by the Red Mountain Community School. I've seen it recommended several times on forums and it looks lovely but was out of my budget. While I didn't have the money for that one, I decided I did want to make sure it was beautiful and worthy of being considered a family keepsake.

Joyous Lessons made a monthly layout that is beautiful and functional and allows for lots of flexibility. I loved how the monthly layout could really give you a feel for the season and decided I wanted to get at least a week, hopefully more per spread to keep that aspect.

Grace For the Day uses a an actual wall calendar and simply jotes her observations down there. A great example of how these things don't need to be complicated! I have a tendency to over think things so that was a much needed reminder.

And Laurie Bestvater even shares hers online with us at Keeping a Book of Centuries.. It's a great source of inspiration if you are having a hard time thinking of what "firsts" to be looking for.

But what did I end up doing, you ask? Well, let me show you.

I started with a moleskin notebook. This is one of a 2pk I got for $13. So a couple dollars more than your standard composition book but pretty and sturdy. I purchased unlined notebooks and am adding my own lines to divide the page. A header and 8 sections per two page spread. The left side says the month and I hope to add a seasonally appropriate verse or quote on the right as time goes on similar to The Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady but I'm not in any rush. I'll just add them as I find them. Here is this week's as a sample.

No, I'm not trying to be artistic with the pen. I'm trying to keep it from closing and the pictures with my finger holding it looked creepy.

It's a sad sample because nothing is written in it yet. But in the last few days the weather has warmed up and I can tell spring is just around the corner (Yes, it is! Don't ruin my good mood by saying otherwise.) I'm quite excited to see what our first "first" will be!

These are just a few of the things I hope to document this year:
-First mowing of the grass
-First dandelion
-First tulip emerges
-First tulip blooms (What? I really like tulips.)
-First strawberry/blackberry/raspberry/tomato ripe and ready to eat!
-First egg

Part of the fun of the first year is even deciding what to document. Can't wait!


Our new houseguests

They are here! Aren't they cute? The kids certainly think so. Jonah had trouble going to sleep last night because he kept crying "Cheep cheep" and doing the chicken sign.

 Pictures are hard not just because of the red light but I really need an extra hand. I don't quite trust my littlest chicken lover not to be a too rough if I get distracted with the camera. But surprisingly, Lucy has been a bit nervous to touch them, she keeps asking but when I hold them out for her, she changes her mind. I think she's afraid she'll hurt them but maybe tomorrow.

The naming process was also a hard for her, she did not like our suggestions at first but we finally decided that each of us (excluding Jonah) would name one set. If you want to play a little guessing game, can you match the sets to their namers?

Mary and Rakel - Buff Orpingtons
Henrietta and Jane - Silver Laced Wyandottes
Letitia and Rose - Gold Laced Wyandottes

Let the chicken obsessing begin!


The Living Page Discussion: The Gallery of Forms

This is a post in The Living Page Discussion - but it's not the only one. Check out my others:
- Intro 
Nature Notebooks and the Gallery of Forms
Calendar of Firsts

Chapter of The Living Page is the Gallery of Forms which briefly describes the different notebooks that Mason mentions subtle but important difference between some of them (timelines vs book of centuries, I'm looking at you two!), learned about some new ones and got inspired to expand my own personal notebooking even more than I had anticipated at the beginning of the year.

Even though I've been reading and studying Charlotte Mason for a while now, I've only recently begun any actual notebooks. But this is the year people, this is the year!

Commonplace Book

I mentioned here that I started a Commonplace book this year and I have enjoyed adding to it. The commonplace book is such a great one to start with because it is so simple and straightforward. Mine still mostly consists of quotes from Mason's writings but I'm sure with time that will change.

Nature Journal

We've been nature "journaling" for a little while but only on loose paper. You can see one of our first times in this post and here are a few watercolor paintings we did last week of the paperwhite bulbs we are anxiously watching. (And by anxious I mean I'm really quite worried they won't actually bloom. I'm crossing my black thumbs!)

From the left: Lucy's first, second and then mine

My emphasis when I do nature table times with Lucy is always on observing more than what she puts down on paper so I asked her to tell me what we saw and off she went. If you've ever had a one on one conversation with her, you'll know you that she doesn't need much prompting. That girl likes to talk! She told me all about the plants and the rocks that hold the bulbs and the little flower parts that are starting to open up and what colors she needed me to mix for her. I don't worry about over instructing too much because she's perfectly willing to ignore my suggestions. I drew mine then painted over my pencils marks and I offered her a pencil but "No, mom, I'm fine without drawing. I know what I'm doing" and then I showed her how I was going to do mine vertically so I would have room but her reply to that "Well, I don't want to do that." Okay then. But she ended up doing two versions and the second version she did vertically. Of course, that had nothing to do with my suggestion, she did it that way because "Van Gogh did his Sunflower still life vertically so I should do mine that way." I'm fine with that since I would much rather she copy him then me.

I picked up my first book after the paperwhite paintings but redid those as my first entry in my real book because I'd like to draw and/or paint them again once they open up (see how positive I'm being, when they open up, not if they open up.) I also wanted to add a bit more detail than I was able to do while also helping Lucy with hers and keep Jonah from drinking all of his paint.

For me, the decision to move to an more permanent notebook was a commitment to embrace imperfection. I love the idea of notebooks but get worried that I'll mess them up. I know, heaven forbid I "mess up" a $5 sketchpad but I see pictures of other works and feel like mine will never be that good. Yet, every time I've actually sat down and taken the time to sketch what I'm seeing I'm quite pleased with my results so I'm ready and I'm committed now.

I debated getting one for Lucy but held off. When we are just playing around with art supplies, she can go through reams of paper but when we do nature study work and she sees me modeling, she is quite deliberate about her work so I wasn't worried about that aspect. But one point I thought The Living Page illustrated quite well was how Mason valued children through the use of the notebook. Giving them the freedom and opportunity to work in the blank slate of a notebook was a way of showing that their ideas have value and merit and deserving of space because they were just as much of a person as an adult. For Lucy and perhaps others her age, I think that concept is demonstrated just as much, or perhaps more so, by displaying her work deliberately as I do one her "art wall." I also thought it we be fun for her first real notebook to be a first grade privilege.

Upcoming: Book of Centuries and Calendar of Firsts

I'm trying to start deliberately and slowly build up my notebook so I don't burn myself out but right now I'm struggling because I'm so inspired. I don't think I'm alone. I get the idea that anyone who reads this book suddenly starts yelling "KEEP ALL THE NOTEBOOKS!"

The next one I want to start for myself is the Book of Centuries. I had always thought it was just a timeline in a book format and that seemed nice for students but I had no desire to do it for myself. Now that I truly understand the format and purpose, I really want one. I got a bit of birthday money that I plan to use to buy this one. It's already effecting my thinking because as I've been reading and visiting museum lately, I keep thinking "Oh, I wish I had my book already so I could add a drawing of that thing or this date."

I also want to do a family style notebook in the form of a Calendar of Firsts and even Craig seems excited about participating in this one with us. The kids already get excited about finding the first strawberries and raspberries and right now we are all on the lookout for any sign of spring so I think it truly will be a family affair.

The format for this is a little more open. I've seen everything from monthly layouts to a 2 day/page set-ups. My first instinct was to put together something to print out and fill in and I think that could look really nice but as I've read through the rest of the Living Page, I've decided to just buy a nice blank notepad and fill it in completely by hand with 8 days per 2 page spread, starting a new spread at the beginning of each month. I think that will give us enough space to write without being so detailed that I lose the seasonal perspective I'm trying to capture.  I had hoped to do that before this post but it just didn't happen because of snow and sickness. That's okay, as long as it happens before the first robin appears or my first tulip emerges.


Worlds of Learning in January

Our "winter" display. 

This was a fun month but we were stuck inside so much, we used up all my plans too quickly. Note to self - January is boring! Keep those kids occupied so they don't drive me crazy!

So our new year started off like most of yours probably did - with news of a big storm coming. So what did we do an hour before the snow was expected to start? Go hiking!

It was a bit chilly but we knew we'd be cooped up, so why not? The most important part of this hike is that Jonah did almost the entire 0.8 miles himself! The only times we picked him up was when he was too engrossed with the rocks to keep walking. And while I'm normally all about stopping and smelling the roses playing with the rocks, there was a storm coming so we really need to keep moving. But seriously, 0.8 miles? What a little hiker!

Then the storm hit and the kids and I were stuck at home while Craig was stuck at work so we did a whole week's worth of activities in those two days. 

Over the month we read Katy and the Big Snow, Zin, Zin, Zin a Violin, Stopping my woods on a Snowy Evening and The Snow Children. I mixed and matched the books and activities according to the weather so they don't match up one to one but nobody seemed to mind.

We  made a "map" of our town. Coincidentally, the week before this she had gotten all excited about directions and asked me what direction we were traveling any time I turned. We mostly drew the big highway and whether things were North or South of our house.

So she did really well with directions but not so much with scale :-) "Anna's house" is actually much bigger than ours and both are larger than a 4 passenger vehicle. And let's not even get started on the goat on the road...

We brought some snow inside to play with.


Made "snow balls" from dates, nuts and coconut. They might have looked a little more snowy with powdered sugar but coconut is yummy and healthy. 

Our next book was Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. We made snowy woods with contact paper and watercolor and salt. Originally the contact paper was going to be painters tape but I couldn't find ours. That was a good thing because contact paper worked really well and was much easier to cut into tree shapes than tape probably would have been. 

I wasn't sure the salt was doing much as we painted but once they dried, you could see the effects and it was quite pretty.

Craig and Lucy had a special Daddy daughter date to go see Peter and the Wolf. The next day we read Zin Zin Zin a Violin and she told me and Jonah and anyone who would listen all about what a symphony is like. We had attended a music class the week before so I skipped the homemade band. I still want to do that sometime though. 

Of course, we did lots of playing in the snow, 
built a super cool snow fort. 

and Craig taught the kids important life lessons - like how to properly finish a snowman.

We also did a scavenger hunt of sorts where I would tell her what direction, how many steps and what kind (jumps, big, tip toes, twirls, etc). I was planning on "being a compass" with my arms but after the first time, she knew what I meant so I didn't need to. 

Hot chocolate snowlady waiting to be found!

And to go with our hot chocolate - tortilla snowflakes. I wasn't sure if she would be able to cut these herself but folded in quarters wasn't too thick so she could. Yum!

And that's what we did last month! Whew, no wonder I'm so tired. 


Bathroom Stage 1 complete!

Stage 1 is my official sounding title for the big stuff - vanity, medicine cabinet and floors. I started by priming and painting the vanity and medicine cabinet. Since I was working with wood, metal and plastic, I broke out the really good primer - Zinsser bin. Even freezing in the bathroom with the windows open, I probable lost a few brain cells because of this stuff but it works really well. It covered everything including the rusty medicine cabinet insides. Both the vanity and medicine cabinet were in pretty rough shape and the paint didn't solve everything but it looks a lot better and it is wipe-able now.

Up next was the floor. We used TrafficMaster Ceramica groutable vinyl tiles in the color cool gray and I am really impressed by them. They are quite thick and solid feeling. If you touch them with your hands you can tell them aren't tile but I think they look pretty realistic. And they aren't as cold which is nice. I've already got another space or two in the house where I want to use the leftovers.

 I started by laying them out all nicely and marking the floor so we could put the ones under the toilet down first. I thought a staggered tile layout would look nice plus it means you have a bit more room for error when it comes to lining them up. Of course I messed up and started staggering them the opposite way from what I had planned. What can I say, it was stressful working in the tight quarters with the pressure of having no working bathroom. It ended up working out just fine but since I hadn't laid them out, I didn't know that until the end!

I was also nervous about the pieces under the toilet. The didn't seem to stick as well because the toilet was pushing down so hard on one side it was forcing the other side up. The rest of the tiles stuck nice and tight. We gave them a full 48 hours to adhere, putting a couple weights on the loose ones. The weights helped and now that the grout is in place, they all seem fine.

Grouting a large tile floor while not pregnant is about 1000x easier than grouting a smaller subway tile that requires leaning over a counter while 5 months pregnant so that part seemed like a piece of cake. Craig caulked for me and scrapped the mirror where my primer had bleed through. I used Simply Grout in Delorean gray. Everything together including the odds and ends like razor blades and painters tape ended up costing us about $115 but we used gift cards for almost all of that.

So here is where we started:

Here's the result:

I think the difference is more noticeable in person because things are so much cleaner. It won't ever be my dream bathroom but what would I pin in the future if all my rooms were perfect already?

We still need to do stage 2 which is the little things - new art work that matches, cabinet knobs, and towels, a bigger threshold and sconces to cover the bare lightbulbs on the medicine cabinet (some are on the way but they were an odd size so I'm crossing my fingers I measured correctly!).

We are towel minimalists - 2 each for Craig and I and one hooded towel per kid which means that we need new sets every few years anyway. My mother in law gave me a giftcard for Kohls so I know what I'll be using it on. I also need to do something to de-Urkle my shower curtain.

If I'm feeling very ambitious, I could make liners for the baskets but I'm pretty sure I said that back when I got them - over a year ago? Maybe 2014 is the year it will happen! Or maybe not :-)

I'm torn about whether I want to stick with only yellow, grey and white or bring in other colors. Aesthetically, I think I'd prefer only those three but realistically, this is our only bathroom and will contain froggy hooded towels, pink tea pots and little potties for at the least the foreseeable future so I probably should just embrace that by bring in some bright colors in the art on the wall. I love having Lucy's painting in here so I might have her and Jonah do whatever replaces it but I love the color inspiration of Katie Daisy's prints like this one or this one and her prints are really reasonable priced. So cute and whimsical but not kid themed. That's what I'm going for. Stay tuned to see if I can pull it off.

Update: It took me such a long time to get this post up that I'm actually almost done. I went with color. Really, is that a surprise, I can't deny myself. I just love color.Can't wait to get the last few things done and show y'all!


The Authentic Me

You know when you read something and then for the rest of the week, things keep popping up that relate? Or maybe, you make them relate. It all started with this article about Authenticity and Holiness that has been circulating the blogosphere lately. It's a good article and something I, as a blogger and a mother, think about a lot, because I don't want this to be all a highlight reel, but I also don't want to be negative and whiny because that's no fun.

Once I got thinking, everything seemed to relate - the other blog post that I won't be linking to about how someone who I don't know and don't care about looks down on me, someone she doesn't know and doesn't care about but who happens to be a mother with small children (if you really must know, it's this one Matt Walsh mentions), to blog posts about not being afraid to help fold laundry when you visit another mom and how you don't need to have a perfect house. Even the silly buzzfeed parenting style quiz I took that labeled me as "An Overwhelmed Parent." I am? Nobody told me? Just because I put down that I think kids are "cheaper by the dozen" and that I plan to sleep when my kids are grown? (To be fair, when I went back and did it again changing only one answer I was torn about, I got something about healthy eating which is probably pretty accurate). And of course, my birthday was last Friday and birthdays are the perfect occasion to sit back and think about your life, where you are compared to where you thought you would be.

Now, before I lose you, these all had me thinking about how others might see me just based on my titles of mom, Christian, wife, etc. And overall, it's not a pretty picture. But I also don't think it's very accurate.  Are we all really frazzled and unfulfilled, living in a pile of dirty laundry all the time and unable to shower or change out of yoga pants? I'm not. And neither are most of the moms I know. Yes, we all have our moments. And in some seasons, those moments are more frequent than others so please don't feel like your failing if you are feeling that way. But don't think it has to be that way or that you'll necessarily feel that way for the next 18 years.

So here is me, being "authentic"

I love being a mom. It's hands down the best job I've ever had. I feel like I was made to do this. And well, I was.

I think my kids are brilliant. Yours are probably brilliant too because the human mind is pretty awesome. But mine are just a bit more brilliant than yours. They are also cuter :-) They are also works in progress, just as I am. Which means they mess up a lot and are learning lots of lessons and that takes a lot of work and discipline and teaching on my part - and a lot of learning on theirs. That's to be expected. But I can see them growing up before my very eyes, and I'm not only referring to their physical selves.

I love my home and being in it. And about 90% of the time, it's "clean enough" which means I can feel comfortable when Jonah eats a Cheerio off the floor and everyone has enough underwear and socks to get through the day. If it isn't clean enough, there is probably a reason. It could be a bad reason (stomach flu) or a good reason (kids and I are having a ton of fun and will clean afterwards). It takes a lot of work and a good portion of my day to keep it all together but I make my children help me and since they are too little to know better, then like to help me and together we manage to get it done.

I love my husband and I know he loves me. We don't get date nights very often but we try to have good conversations before we fall asleep every night and I know we are in it for the long haul.

I don't have as much time to read or do crafts or bake as I'd like. I can't do it all. So some weeks I read. Other times I sew. If I try to read and sew than someone normally ends up hungry so I've learned to pick one or the other.

Overall, I find my days mentally, physically and creatively challenging - in a good way.

I don't cherish every moment. Some moments stink - literally and figuratively. Some days, I'm just trying to make it to bedtime. But those aren't most days. Most days are full of stories and tickles and art projects and time-outs and tantrums but at the end of the day, the good outweighs the bad and the bad provides some good stories to tell Craig in those pre-bed conversations.

As a mom and a person, I don't feel broken or damaged or like my life is a wreck or a mess. I feel like I live in a broken world, but me - I'm healthy. I know the Healer and he has made me well.

Most of the time, I don't even feel overwhelmed. I feel equipped. Because I know that I'm doing those good works He called me to. I don't live for the days the kids will be in school or that I will be able to sleep. I live for the day when God will bless us with another.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

I have amazing friendships with women both in real life and online. They support me and my faith and aren't afraid to call me on things if they need to but I know I can turn to them for help when I need that as well. When we get together, we talk and laugh and trade ideas and struggles. We don't sit around drinking coffee and talking about the neighbors.

I don't like drama in my life and luckily, I don't have a lot of it either. I don't feel like I'm in bondage to my sins. In fact, I'm not a sinner! I was a sinner and I still sin but God sees me as a saint and who am I to disagree.

Now I have gone through hard periods in my life. I've walked through valleys and shadows and I'm sure more will come in the future. But I've got a light on my path. I know I'll make it through those too.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

I can see God working in me, day by day, to refine me. I have daily sins I'm working on. I struggle not to yell at my kids sometimes. I don't always have the patience I want to have. But on those days, I ask my family for forgiveness and they grant it. Then after bedtime, I cry to Craig and he gives me love and chocolate. I cry to God and he gives me love and grace. And with love, chocolate and grace, I can go to sleep and wake up ready to take one another day. Because God is good, and with his grace, I am a conqueror.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37

And that's me. Being real and authentic.

PS ~ And lest you think I've just got my rose colored glasses on today, I will let you know that in the past week I have had to leave my stack of books at the library to walk a child out to the car while she screamed "I can behave! Give me another chance! Don't touch me. I'm thirsty! Why won't you let me have a drink of water!" and we are currently battling a almost family wide stomach bug. So generally speaking, not the best week. But still, I wouldn't change it - well, maybe the stomach bug part. Those things are not fun for any party involved.


Happy (Chinese) New Year!

Oh, these were the days. And by that I mean, the days of last week before the stomach bug that is currently wrecking havoc on our lives hit. I remember those days fondly.

Anyway, moving on...

Lucy received a subscription to Ladybug for Christmas from her grandparents and this first issue was all about Chinese New Year so of course, she insisted we celebrate. It ended up being a good idea because with all the storms at the beginning of the month, I has already used up all our "Worlds of Learning" fun plans and was in need of some inspiration.

We started with a couple books about China and Chinese New Year. We read a couple non-fiction ones that describe Chinese New Year too but these three story based books were her favorites:

Then we had to decorate by making Chinese Lanterns. Lucy was able to do these almost completely on her own. For the first, I folded the paper in half and drew the lines and she cut and taped. After that first one, she wanted to draw the lines and did a great job.

We hung them with clear thread and tape which apparently is magical when you are little. 

Her magazine came with a dragon craft so we put that together while listening to some Chinese New Years music courtesy of youtube. I thought I had cute pictures of the kids playing but my sd card died and it took all of Thursday night to retreive this and that one apparently didn't make it (neither did my bathroom pictures so I'll be posting about that as soon as I get a new one)

But the most fun we had the whole week was the red and yellow spaghetti. I made a big batch of spagetti, added a bit of oil and food coloring and just let them play.

They started all nice but I won't lie, by the end of the hour, the kitchen looked like this. 

But did you catch that? The hour! They played with this forever. I highly recommend it. Just do what I did and plan it for a day you need to mop anyway. You will definitely need to mop. But as luck would have it, a big part of preparing for Chinese New Year was cleaning so while I mopped, my little helpers dusted and helped tidy. Hmm. Maybe we should celebrate CNY every week?

For dinner I serving Chinese food, red bean steamed buns and the oh-so-traditional Mrs. Fields cookie. What? You've never heard of those being served on Chinese New Year? Well, Lucy insisted and when your little helpers are this cute, how can you say no?