Monday, June 19, 2017

A Ladybug Birthday Picnic

So in case you missed it, Rachel turned six on Saturday! And unlike last year, when I wrote about her birthday party nine months later (you can read about it here), I thought I'd attempt to document this one in a more timely fashion. Ha! (PS. I bought her dress at Cracker Barrel on our Southern Road Trip two years ago. I think this might be the last time she wears it.)

I've received more than one comment about what "cute" or "fun" parties we throw and I have to say, it's all Pinterest. I really can't take any credit for a lot of it, other than finding and implementing other people's ideas! One of our favourite traditions is the age of the birthday child done in pictures from the last year. This was definitely a Pinterest find and one we've done ever since Sam turned four.
Rachel with her birthday 6!
Dave always does these, and does such a good job of them.
Rachel and I LOVE licking beaters, especially when they're covered with cupcake batter!
Rachel wanted a ladybug theme this year, which was also the theme of her first birthday party. I'm not sure I've gotten any better at creating a ladybug cake. Ha! (You can check out the cake from her first birthday here.)
As is also tradition, I found a ladybug fruit tray on Pinterest, and Dave went to work and recreated it. The kids DEVOURED this tray, and since we had leftover fruit, Dave made another fruit ladybug for our evening party.
Since her party was in the middle of the afternoon, we didn't serve a meal, but these cute ladybug cheese, crackers, and meat went over pretty well. Although I think only one kid (of six) ate the olives!
 
It was hot and threatening to rain for most of the party, so we had the crafts indoors. I found these cute hand print and foot print ladybugs and most of the kids enjoyed making them. Maybe next time though, I will warn the parents that painting may be involved. Ooops :)
The girls enjoyed playing "Pin Tape The Spot On The Ladybug." We did send them outside for a few minutes so I could clean up the crafts and turn it into the picnic table.
And this was the end result of the indoor picnic. I even "made" Ladybug lemonade by buying some strawberry lemonade and putting blueberries in it.

In the evening we had some good friends and Dave's parents over for a BBQ and more cupcakes. It was such a fun, full, day of celebrating Miss Rachel, our newly turned 6 year old.

Friday, June 16, 2017

To Rachel As You Turn Six!

Rachel, tomorrow you turn SIX!
How is this even possible?

You have been counting down the days for about a month now and telling everyone we run into that it's almost your birthday. If you had your way, the whole world would be celebrating with you!

You are completely a big kid now and, as I was looking through pictures of this past year, I can tell that you're into "big kid" things -- reading, dance, colouring, and being with your friends. You love nothing more than to be with people. You are so extroverted that even when you read to "yourself," you read out loud :)

You have loved school this year and have such a good group of girlfriends. I'm sad you won't all be together next year but I know that you will find new friends and will welcome them with open arms. You and Sam are still each other's best friends and I love your sibling relationship so much.

You are very girly. Oma bought you some makeup this year (an early birthday present) and you love it when I tell you it's a "special enough" occasion for lipstick. You also love fancy dresses and want to wear them All. The. Time. You love having your hair done too but mostly want it to be in one big ponytail, or, after your dance performance, a bun.

Rachel, you still collect stuffed animals like nobody's business and I think you've acquired six new ones in the last two months alone. You also love helping, whether it's stirring supper or working in the yard. You are also very good at chores like sweeping and vacuuming up small messes and cleaning the playroom. And you are determined. You have taught yourself to do some of the monkey bars this spring and after school, you practice and practice.

Rachel Katie, we love you so much and can't wait to watch you as you continue to grow and change in this next year.
June 2016
 July 2016
 August 2016
(at the Big Bean in Chicago)
 September 2016
 October 2016
(on The High Line in New York City)
 November 2016
 December 2016
(at Oma and Opa's in Saskatchewan)
 January 2017
(also in Saskatchewan)
 February 2017
 March 2017
April 2017
May 2017

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

All About Rachel

This is the post All About Rachel. You know, just in case the title wasn't clear :) Here is Rachel, from her perspective. (The parentheses are my additions, in case that also wasn't clear! Ha!)
What is your name? Rachel

How old are you? Almost six

What is your favourite colour? Rainbow

Who is your best friend? Zoe (her bosom friend from school), also Violet, Elise, and Isabelle (other friends from school)

What is your favourite animal? a bunny, wolves (likely inspired by her new McDonald's Beanie Boo wolf), ballerinas (Huh?! What!??!)

What is your favourite movie? Frozen and Cars and Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and The Brave Little Toaster (This is pretty much all the movies she knows!)

What is your favourite book? The Wonderful Pigs of Jillian Jiggs

What is your favourite food? pancakes and grilled cheese and Wowie Maui Tofu (Also a favourite last time I did this!)

What is your favourite song? O Come, O Come, Emmanuel and Five Little Ducks Went Out One Day

What makes you happy? Colouring, snuggling with my bunnies, writing cards, drawing pictures, snowflakes, and singing songs

What makes you sad? When someone pinches me like this (and then she demonstrated on my arm and it really hurt)

What is your favourite game? Phase 10

Can you write your name for me?

To read other "All About Rachel" posts for age 3 1/2 go here, and for age 2 1/2 go here.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

The Weekend What A Lot We Got Done

For a few weeks now, Dave and I had been looking forward to this past weekend, which had no scheduled plans, as a time to get some things done. And did we manage to do all okay, a lot of the things! So let me share with you.

As you may remember (but probably not!) from my June goals post last week (see it here), one of the things I wanted to do was "Weed and plant the front bed." So Saturday morning that was first on my list.
Before:
During:
After:
We also worked on "Get all the dandelions out of our yard and MOW THE LAWN," at least in the front yard. The kids did a fairly good job of picking dandelions and not getting too distracted. Except for a few times! Ha!
While they picked dandelions, I also managed to get a couple of our other front yard beds looking much happier.
And then I mowed the lawn. And when all was said and done, our front yard now looks like this:
I am MUCH happier with this and have walked outside maybe a hundred fifteen times in the past few days just to admire it. Ha! Now to tackle the back yard...

Since Dave still has a bad back, he made waffles for when we hosted his parents and niece for brunch, then he cleaned up and made two salads for our supper that night. Yum! And I have to say, it was a treat to get out of the kitchen for awhile :) (Due to Dave's work schedule, I end up doing most of the cooking, so it's nice to have a break.)
Sunday was supposed to be rainy all day (they lied), so we'd planned on an indoor day. I made a list (it had 23 things to do on it), I made myself some coffee-hot chocolate (with extra whipped cream leftover from waffles), and I got to work.
Sadly, getting things done around the house is not very picture worthy, unless you count this picture of Rachel attempting to try on a shirt. We determined it was too small! Hahahaha!!!
But by the end of the day, Sam and Rachel's clothes changeover (another June goal) was mostly completed, buns were baked, supper was made, and we ended the evening with a walk to Starbucks. As we were dropping off some of the books from my TBR pile (yay June goals!) at the little library, I noticed this interesting book:
Front Cover
image from here

If you read the description, you will see why I (may have) shrieked with glee, and grabbed this book for my TBR in Kenya pile. And best of all, I can leave it behind :)

One of Dave's goals for this weekend was that the kids not feel too rushed and that they just had time to do what they wanted. Since Sam compiled a five page fantasy baseball team (with both current and historical players), I would say that that goal was also achieved!
It was a really good weekend. I felt like it had a good mix of getting things done and not feeling too rushed or crazy. I just wish every weekend was this great :)

Friday, June 02, 2017

June Goals

I really like when people write "list-y" posts, like books they've read, "currently" posts, Day In The Life posts, and posts about their goals. So here's my list of June goals. Maybe if I announce them to the internet, they'll actually get done! HAHAHAHAHA!!!

1) Drink more water. I've been trying to cut down on the coffee-hot chocolate and, with summer coming, now is a good time to drink more water. (Since I'm writing this in such a timely manner (as usual), I will update that I did manage to drink two whole bottles of water yesterday which is equal to about six cups.)
2) Make serious progress on my To Be Read pile. Now, to be clear, I always have two (or more) piles of books going. The first pile is my library pile. These books have deadlines so it tends to change more often than my other pile.

The second pile (the one I'm referring to here) is the pile of books which aren't library books. They are either borrowed from someone, or have been given to me. Since there is no deadline to read these books, this pile just tends to grow. For example, Janice gave me a book quite a few years ago about parenting kids ages 2-6. Since Rachel will turn six in a few weeks, both my kids have basically outgrown that book. And I still haven't read it.
3) Finish the kitchen art (see example here). It's been sitting in our living room for a few weeks now waiting for a sunny day. I need to spray mount the tea cups on the canvas and I want to do it outside. With the amount of rain we've been having, sunny days have been few and far between. But they do exist, so I need to catch one of them.
4) Find some good thick books to read in Kenya. I don't have an e-reader so I will be taking physical books with me. Therefore, I can't take a million so I have to find some that will keep me occupied for awhile. If you follow me on Instagram, you will see that I tend to read 3-5 books a week so I really need some good long reading material. Give me suggestions please!!!
This is the start of my Kenya reading pile.
 
5) Get all the dandelions out of our yard and MOW THE LAWN. We have a push mower (like this one) and it doesn't mow over dandelions well. So we need to pick them all off and then mow. And it's getting to be desperate times around here.
Now to be fair, the kids and I spent about half an hour on the front yard the other night and made some serious progress, so I do have some hope that this will get finished eventually.
 
6) Find a house/yard sitter. We're heading out of here and someone needs to get the mail and mow the lawn. Yeeks.

7) Weed and plant the front bed. Yeah, all that rain has been good for the growing things but makes it tough to get the growing things planted. I've had impatiens for this bed for about four weeks now and I really want to plant them. And I've been keeping three shamrocks (mostly) alive inside since before St Patrick's Day and I want to get them outside.
8) Celebrate Rachel's birthday, three baptisms (thankfully all on the same day in the same service), Father's Day, and the last day of school. Yerghks :()

9) Clear old pictures off of the iPad to make room for new ones. Remember this post? I'm sure I'll have another one once I go through the 3000 pictures currently on there.

10) Go through the kids' clothes and fully complete the size/season switch over. Rachel's is mostly done, due to the fact that she has less drawer space but Sam, with his abundance of drawers, might still have size 5 shorts hanging around. And he's in size 7 or 8 so it's definitely time to do some clearing out. For a funny story about "Sam doing clothes" when he was about two, read the last paragraph of this post!

11) Try not to go insane. We'll see if I manage to blog and let you know if I'm accomplishing this goal :)

Those are my June goals. What are yours?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What's Up Wednesday: May 2017

Once again, I'm linking up with What's Up Wednesday. As I've said before, I LOVE reading these random posts, so you should play along too :)

 
image from here

What we're eating this week... Last week I was a part of hosting a volunteer appreciation night and I offered to bring two desserts. I love any excuse to make Earl Grey Tea Cake and then I searched Pinterest and found these delicious Raspberry Lemon Bars. But I couldn't just serve a new recipe so we had to test them out. And the Earl Grey Tea Cake icing always makes enough for two cakes so I made an extra one to split with Tim and Janice. Janice always lets me borrow her round pans to make this cake and I try to repay her in cake. So we've been eating lots of sweets (which is unusual).
Also, yay for Pinterest where is where I found these two recipes. I always okay, often get great ideas from there.

What I'm reminiscing about... Well, I'm super excited to see these friends again (in Kenya, for those of you who might be visiting or not caught up on our lives), so I've been reminiscing a lot about three years ago, when Sam, Aaron, Ella, and Rachel were more a part of each other's lives.
May 2014

What I'm loving... I'm loving that all our activities are winding down. I love how much Rachel loves dance, how much Sam loves piano, and how much both kids love Logos (our weekly church night), but I also love how not having so many activities means we get to spend more time at home or doing what we want. (And by September's What's Up Wednesday I'll be loving how all the activities are ramping up again. Ha!)

What we've been up to... Watching grass grow. Literally. You can read all about our hedge transformation here, and it was super exciting to come home on Saturday and see the mist of green. Whoo hooo!!!
 left: our weed patch; right: our weed patch one week later

What I'm dreading... Will I sound like a spoiled brat if I say "jet lag?" I realize it is such a privilege to travel but oh, the jet lag. With kids. Yuck.

What I'm working on... Trying to catch up on work. My whole family was sick a few weeks ago and I got behind at work and am still trying to catch up. I'm also working on teaching myself to be a bit more of a morning person because my summer work schedule necessitates me working for an hour early each morning (ideally before the kids get up around 7), so they don't have to spend the whole summer in camps. We'll see how that goes... (Also, how many times can I use some form of the word "work" in one paragraph?!?!)

What I'm excited about... There are so many things I'm excited about right now!!! School is almost out for the summer (only fifteen days left for us!!!), and I'm looking forward to the lazy days of summer! Rachel is turning six in a few weeks and her excitement is contagious!!! And we're going to Kenya in three weeks!!! Life is just exciting these days :)

What I'm watching/reading... I'm not reading anything particularly exciting right now but I did love this book and highly recommend it.
 
image from here

As for watching, well, we've been watching grass grow, as I mentioned above. Ha!

What I'm listening to... Right now, I'm practicing getting up early, so it's really quiet as I write this. I think my favourite sound this month has been listening to the kids play outside together. (I hope you weren't planning on reading this for advice on good shows to watch or good music to listen to, because now you're sorely disappointed!)

What I'm wearing... I've loved being able to pull out my capris this month. I've also traded in my flannel pajamas for a sleep tank and shorts. It's exciting to reconnect with my summer clothes again.

What I'm doing this weekend... Maybe going swimming??? Our pool opens for the season on Friday night and if it's warm enough I'd love to spend some time doing this again:

What I'm looking forward to next month... Rachel turns six on the 17th and then five days later we're going to Kenya! There's a lot to look forward to in June! Plus the kids will be done school so school lunch packing will be finished. Whoooo hoooo!!!!!

What else is new... I can't think of anything else right now.

Bonus question: What is your favourite vacation spot?

Asking me this is like asking me to pick a favourite child, or a favourite book. They're all my favourites! However, I am partial to New York City. I'm not a big city person but New York is one place I could visit over and over again and never get tired of it. I'm fortunate in that Dave has family living just outside the city so we've been able to visit it quite often in the past few years. There's always something new to discover. Or something old to meet up with again!
Us on The High Line, left: October 2012, right: October 2016

You can read about (more) about my love of New York City here, and here, and here.