Thoughts for Thursday...

Still dying to go to the pool but definitely not complaining about the fall-like temperatures these past few weeks. We've had so many opportunities to visit the zoo and explore different parks around the area without sweating to death!

I am feeling old this week. For the first time in my life I am SORE FROM GARDENING. Ha! 

The house we bought was beautifully landscaped, but there was one little pocket in the back that didn't have any color and looked a bit overgrown. After dinner the other night I pulled out one of the bushes/saplings/whatever-it-was. Then another. Before I knew it, I had an enormous empty patch of dirt. Oops.

 We headed over to Home Depot (where Catfish randomly screamed at a butterfly and scared the snot out of everyone within 15 feet) and were excited to find all of the shrubs on sale for 50% off! I've wanted a Rose of Sharon bush pretty much ever since we bought our first house and finally pulled the trigger.

Yesterday Sweet thing and I planted the Rose of Sharon, a rhododendron, a big hydrangea, about ten hostas, four big day lilies and some other little flowers. 
Fingers crossed that everything fills in as nicely as we hope!
We headed down to our favorite farmer's market for some broccoli and got a little sidetracked visiting the park down the street. We met a family who shared with us that there is a small path from the back of the park leading down to the Miami River. Couldn't pass up that adventure!

How cool is this?!

 The girls had a blast hurling rocks into the water. My sweet little "officer" Sweet Thing was very concerned about the legality of other kids wading into the water...She is a hoot.
 We hung out for awhile before heading back up to the park for a treat.
 We are all about the snow cones these days. Across from the park is the cutest little snow cone stand. Makes you feel like you're on a little vacation every time you sit back in the brightly colored adirondack chairs and wait for your yummy dessert.
 And checking out the color of your tongue never gets old.
 This next picture is for everyone who thinks my girls are always smiling and picture ready. Ha! For every perfect picture, you get one that just ends up being "perfect". Hilarious.
Loving listening to this these's Jack Antonoff from Fun, and the video is pretty entertaining too. If I can get my tush back in gear, it'd be great running music!
In other news, we are now in the final stretch before Sweet Thing starts kindergarten. I feel like throwing up every time I look at a calendar. Man, it goes crazy fast. I know she was in daycare full-time while I worked, but this feels so different. A totally epic moment.

This pretty much says it all.
On top of it, this is the first time (maternity leaves notwithstanding) in almost a decade where I haven't been starting the school year as a teacher. I am happy, happy, happy to be home with my family, but it's definitely a surreal feeling not working! 

Found this awhile back and meant to post it on my special education classroom blog but never had the chance. Just thought I'd throw it into my Thoughts for Thursday blog just because!
 Happy almost-weekend!

Stained Glass Window Hangings

We had A LOT of rain this weekend, so it was time to raid the craft desk and make some art in our pjs!
 We grew some sweet peas in hanging window terrariums early in the summer and needed something to hang up in our breakfast area once we took our terrariums down. I've always loved hanging crafts (and I happened to buy several packs of Press 'n Seal last week), so making "stained glass" pictures was perfect.

For this craft you'll need:
 Press 'n Seal
 a hole punch
 construction paper 
string or pipe cleaner
 We had just watched a show about shapes, so the girls chose a rectangle and circle for their picture. I used scalloping scissors to cut out each frame shape twice.
  Next we spent some time tearing up the colored tissue paper.
 I always keep the tissue from gifts- comes in so handy at craft time!
 I covered one frame with Press 'n Seal
 then added glue,
 spreading it evenly over the surface.
 Then the girls went to town carefully laying out different pieces of torn tissue to cover the surface.
 Here they are, hard at work!
 Next I added a second sheet of Press 'n Seal and glued the other frame on top. The girls smoothed out the surface with their hands.
 When everything was dry, I hole punched each picture then threaded it with a sparkly pipe cleaner. 
 Look how cute they turned out! 
 I love the way the light shines through! We had some fun, printed tissue paper that worked really well for this craft.
The girls are really enjoying sitting at the breakfast table admiring their work!
 You can pretty much use any shape or color scheme to fit the occasion. I think Valentine's Day hearts or Halloween pumpkins would be adorable!


Thoughts for Thursday...

We experienced the polar vortex last week, briefly returned to the dog days of summer early in the week, then jumped back to sweater weather this morning.

This picture makes my heart smile. 
Unbridled joy, playfulness and the magical excitement that jumping into a puddle brings to my little Catfish make me want to freeze her at this age forever. 
It reminds me that I will never tire of watching this girl LIVE IT UP.
It rained twice this week, so we partied it up in our rain boots!
In horrifying wildlife news, look at the craziness my husband found in OUR GARAGE after mowing the yard on Saturday.
 Yes, friends, THAT IS A SNAKESKIN. A TWO FOOT LONG SNAKESKIN. I have no words. One of the volunteers at the zoo said that it was probably a black rat snake which can grow up to 8 feet. I would die if I happened upon anything remotely close in my house.

In happier news, we had a lunch date with my husband at Chick-Fil-A on Wednesday.
I had a yummy Asian chicken salad and half of Sweet Thing's french fries, and the girls had a blast playing in the indoor playground. I love this restaurant (politics aside), but I am always totally weirded out when they offer to swap out your children's meal book for ice cream. To me that just sends a totally backwards message about the importance of reading. I am more than happy to shell out an extra $3 and let my kids keep the books!

Sadly, our big plans for five straight days at the pool were dashed as the temperature dropped towards the end of the week. It was an extra big bummer for Sweet Thing who finally earned the diving fish set she's been working so hard for these past few weeks (we told her that if she could work up to swimming a few feet underwater, she could earn these little fish to take to the pool...she's been doing an awesome job and met her goal on Monday! Not too shabby for a little girl who refused to even put her ears in the water in early June!).
We also welcomed some new neighbors this week. I hadn't realized they moved in several weeks ago (in my defense, they live like five houses down at the end of the cul-de-sac and we too just moved in last month!), so I was feeling pretty bad that I hadn't made it down to welcome them yet!

Thankfully, blueberry muffins make everything ok! They were well received, and I was really excited to find out that the couple who bought the house are our age and are super nice!

I also went on an onion bender this week. I pickled, diced, sliced and fried red and Vidalias...yum. 


Happy Weekend to you! 

Taste-a-Thon 2014

I am absolutely smitten with our local farmer's market. 

Absolutely. Smitten.

Just by chance I was checking out the local market schedules for our area earlier this week and happened upon the Loveland Farmers' Market page which was promoting an annual children's tasting event this week. The Children's Taste-a-Thon gives kids an opportunity to sample an item from EVERY booth. For each item sampled, the kids receive a sticker to mark on their sheet.
  I knew that Sweet Thing would be really eager to taste all of the new foods, but I was a little worried that the Catfish would not want to participate.

 Boy, was I wrong!
 These two tried all sorts of new and adventurous foods. Above they're sampling chorizo macaroni and cheese while below they chowed down on mushroom, zucchini and broccoli pizza!
 They were a little confused at this booth until they realized the goat was there for petting, not sampling!
 The mozzarella cheese was fantastically fresh! My girls were a little disappointed not to be invited to eat everything on the plate.
 The vendors were so excited to participate and were very sweet with the girls. They were encouraging without being pushy and were really gracious about the kids not loving every single thing they tried(yes, I'm talking about you, beet hummus...for the record, I thought it was awesome!). 
 Look at these beautiful veggies! Incredible!
 I was so excited to see my girls sampling so many raw veggies and loving them! We sampled fresh green beans, carrots, zucchini, cucumber,
and some gorgeous, sweet red tomatoes!
 I was kicking myself for buying berries at the grocery this week.
 These blueberries were like candy.
 And speaking of sweet treats, these girls chowed down on homemade waffles from a super cute food truck.
 After sampling the strawberry lemonade, we HAD to buy ourselves each a glass.
Mama included!
I don't even regret for a second how badly we spoiled our dinner tonight!
We will definitely be heading over to this market frequently and are already counting down the days until next year's Taste-a-Thon!