Monday, January 30, 2017

Fire Rooster Year

Happy New Year!
This weekend started Chinese New Year, so we get to celebrate New Year's twice!
This is the year of the Fire Rooster.

We always try to do some craft/decorations that include the animal of the year, but roosters were a little hard to find...a lot more chickens actually.
 But finally we were able to find some roosters to print our and the girls colored them for decorations for our Chinese New Year dinner.

The end of last year was rough. We had a ton of repairs...seriously.
Fixed two roofs, then the kitchen ceiling started leaking, then water poured in the back door, then the chimney.
And the cherry on top was when I got a big piece of metal stuck in my tire.

It was one thing after another, and it started to feel like the whole year was horrible when really it was just the last couple months.
But our memory tends to focus on those bad things and forget the many good things that did happen throughout the year.

So when the idea of a Memory jar popped up on my Facebook, I thought it was a great idea and just what we needed.
I found a cute jar at Michaels and some bits of colored paper and we were all set!
You're just supposed to write down your good memories as they happen and then at the end of the year, you get to read through everything.
The girls have already written quite a few slips.
We did have to tell Vivian that she couldn't just write down food that she had eaten...even though those are yummy memories!

Vivi's dance is going well. She's motivated to work on her splits because they have an ice cream party goal this Spring. :)

Shiloh finished her swim lessons and didn't want to sign up again. It's so funny to hear her tell anyone who asks what extra things she takes "Well, I decided that I wanted to take a year off." 

Yes, she's finding herself. Gap year and all that. lol

Both girls have a lingering winter cold. I think Vivian is finally over it but Shiloh still has a cough and it's been nearly three weeks.
At least she's not waking up at night anymore! These weeks have been long!

Shiloh lost a couple more teeth this month and looking at her tooth chart, it seems that she only has four more left to lose!
I can't believe that her Tooth Fairy visits are numbered!
Vivian doesn't like to lose teeth if there is any chance of blood so she's not a wiggler or puller and those teeth will possibly be with her until college so regardless, the Tooth Fairy will still be visiting our house for quite awhile. :)

Friday, September 02, 2016

The Pirate wearing Platforms

Harvest time is slowly arriving here. :)
Picked these super-sweet raspberries yesterday. That's my hand btw, that's how huge they were!
The bugs aren't so bad right now so the berries are huge and beautiful this time of year.
I went to check my cantaloupes and this one fell into my hands.
I checked online and since it smells sweet and isn't too firm, I think it's ready to eat but we haven't tried it yet. It's pretty small but maybe that's the variety that we planted.
Hopefully they are good because there's a bunch more out there!
We've also gotten one nice zucchini, which Vivian tenderly washed and dried...and polished.
....and took on a tour of the house.
The girl loves food, what can I say! ;-D
There's also some mystery plants in the garden, that still have yet to produce.
I can't remember if I planted pumpkins or acorn squash in that area and I can't find my little note that reminds me and so far just a bunch of flowers
Just adds a little excitement to gardening. ha!

The girls will be starting their fall activities soon.
Vivian is taking Ballet again and Shiloh is taking swimming lessons.
Shi is excited about the lessons, but I am truthfully a bit anxious.
Hopefully she'll have a great and attentive teacher and learn some important skills!

My favorite platform flip flops broke last night. :(
So sad.
I threw them in the garbage and Vivian asked me why I threw both shoes away instead of just the one broken one.
I told her it was because I didn't want to limp around the house like a pirate.
Vivian "Oh, but we have eye patches and bandanas and pirate beads for you to wear too! It will be fun, Mom!"

Ha ha, better than a peg leg I guess!

Last week we were in a public restroom (ick!), and a beetle crawled across the floor (double ick!).
Vivian said "Look Shi! A dung beetle! It's a dung beetle!"
Shiloh looked and said "That's just a regular beetle, not a dung beetle, Viv."
Vivian replied "But we're in a bathroom, that means it's a dung beetle!"

Hmm, can't really argue with her there....

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Connecticut sand

The girls have had another good summer with the library program. :)
They just have the closing celebration left, which is cake & ice cream and they get to choose their free book.

This past week they attended two programs.
The first one was making Decoupage boxes.
Vivian's is on the left, Shiloh's on the right.
There was a wide selection of paints and papers, sequins and jewels and stickers to decorate the boxes.
It was a lot of fun and definitely took the full hour for the kids to complete.

While we were there, they let us know that Shiloh had won a prize for guessing how many Swedish fish were in a jar. She guessed the closest.

Her prize? The jar of swedish fish! :)
Both girls won a prize this summer so they are pretty happy.

The second program was making Galaxy jars and Moon rocks.
That wasn't so great. The Galaxy jars were not like I expected from looking online.
I thought they would be jars with glow-in-the-dark stars and other shapes that the girls could put under a light and it would glow.
But these were just some colors and glitter in the jars...and then the separated colors started to merge together by the next day so they don't look that great.
I think I'm going to do my own version of Galaxy Jars with them for a craft project one of these days.

The moon rocks are messy too (a mixture of baking soda, water, coloring, and glitter) so we've left them in the bag and let the girls squish them into shapes in the bag.
Apparently it's supposed to dry into a rock-like hardness but the girls are having a lot more fun with it in the bag. :)

Vivian was asking me if she could "Play with Connecticut" the other day.
"How are you going to play with Connecticut? 
You mean the States Game?"
"No...You know, Connecticut! Connecticut sand! I want to play with Connecticut sand!"
"Ohh, Kinetic sand!"

They love Kinetic sand and Play-doh and I've noticed how nice it is to not have the carpet under the table anymore when cleaning up the messes that come from Play-doh and sand.
Plus, I picked up a little dustpan and brush so the girls can sweep up their own messes to some extent.
They think it's fun to use too, so that is another bonus. ;-)

Saturday, July 30, 2016

July to me

July has been a busy month!
DH and I celebrated our Anniversary this month.
Vivian asked if I would take her to the store to buy a card for us.
She choose the card and wrote out her message (asking for some spelling help here and there) and then carefully hid it away in the play room until the actual day.

So incredibly sweet!

The girls have also been busy with the yearly kids library programs.
They went to a program on Nanotech...which I'm pretty sure Shiloh picked out. 
We were on a wait-list for that program and they called us maybe 20 minutes before the program to let us know we got in!
Thankfully we were already preparing to go to the library that morning so it wasn't a big rush for us.
Vivian was probably the youngest one there and some of the activities were a little more difficult for her. The instructor was a teacher from a nearby school but she was used to teaching teenagers.
But both girls got to work together since they divided the class into teams so I think that helped her with participation.
(Even though she probably didn't see it that way since Shi could do more than she could!)
They're signed up for a couple more programs this summer, and Vivian already won a prize for one of their weekly contests.
She was totally thrilled and could barely eat her lunch. lol

The garden has been busy this year.
In some ways it's weird, like all of our bean plants were eaten up by something...but cantaloupe is growing?
The blueberry and raspberry bushes really loved the mild winter and probably all this heat and humidity too.

I've never had enough raspberries to actually freeze some before.
Usually Vivi just ate them as soon as we picked them.
Our raspberry is terribly pricky and thorny so I don't let the girls pick them.
I keep ending up bleeding and with slash marks all over my arms from that bush!
At least it keeps down on the pests that actually get to the raspberries.

The blueberries seem to increase each year.
We've gotten into a pretty good routine of picking every other day. First clearing off any Japanese beetles that we find, then Vivian usually helps me pick the berries.
When we're done Shiloh helps me spread a coffee grounds and water mixture over the bushes to keep the Japanese beetles away.

We also did a big garden weeding this week.
Both girls helped with that as well.
Thankfully I make a quick map each spring when I plant because otherwise I would have no clue what was coming up out there! ha!
We had to wait until everything grew up some before we could start pulling weeds because it's so hard to tell when a plant is just a couple leaves.
But it looks like a real garden now and it will be much easier to keep up on the weeds now that it has been cleared.

Floors & Accessories

The floors are finished!

This photo is of the dining room floor, which was the last room to be completed.
There was a ton of wax buildup to remove, and sanding, and filling and paint scraping to do on this floor.
There was actually an outline on the floor of a door or something that they had painted white.
Feels so good to be done!
Unfortunately we were a little impatient to move the furniture back into place (eating in the living room while only being able to pull your chair out a few inches and having to climb over the top of furniture to reach your laptop is not great fun when you're an adult) so we pushed the piano back a little too soon and then had to fix a few small marks it made on the floor.
It's so nice to be done, and it's been very easy to keep the floor clean as well.
As you can imagine, carpeting under the dining room table when you have children is not the greatest.
I actually was really surprised that the carpeting looked so good underneath when we pulled it up.
I was imagining all kinds of stains that I didn't clean up enough or something.
A bonus is that the girls keep offering to sweep or dust mop the floors for me. :)
I think I will start taking them up on that offer!

Of course, now I needed new accessories to go with my new floors!
Thankfully everything has been very inexpensive so far.
New wreath...Anniversary gift! (Thanks, Mom!)
New curtains...on clearance for $5.00 at Lowe's!

New rug, not on sale but irresistible (it's really soft)!
New table runner..actually two placemats from the Dollar Store that I stitched together $2.00.

With the awful heat and humidity we've had lately, the floor has felt nice and cool.
I'm hoping it won't feel too chilly in the winter but a few more rugs and some fuzzy slippers should take care of that. :)

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Fun and Floors

I took the girls to my parents' camp for a long weekend.
We had a ton of fun though the weather didn't always cooperate.
The little park near the water had been completely redone and the girls loved it.
They played on it for two of the days that we were there. :)

We also had a beautiful day and beautiful weather to spend at the French festival.
We watched the children's theater and ate fried dough and cotton candy. Good stuff!

We even got to watch the parade. A very long parade!
Which was so nice since we rarely get to watch a parade at all.  
A very fun weekend.

Then it was back to working on the hardwood floors at home.
We've had random furniture shoved in different rooms for the past couple weeks to clear the floors.
The girls have loved plopping on the recliner in their playroom and having toys piled in their room.
Finding the hamster had a new home in the bathroom was a little less thrilling, I guess.
Vivian said "Why is Elsa in here? I need privacy!"
Lol, Elsa is sound asleep in the daytime so I was able to assure Vivi that he wouldn't peek. ;-)

The turtle wasn't too happy to have her tank moved all around either.
She didn't have her heat lamp or sunny window like she's used to for a few days.
As soon as I was able to get her pushed near an outlet, I plugged in her light in and she plopped herself on her rock sun-bathing like a boss. :)

Hopefully we'll get everything resettled by the end of the month!

Friday, July 15, 2016

With Floor-ish

Our July has been super busy!
We had been talking about removing our wall-to-wall carpeting for awhile.
 The carpeting had been damaged by the turtle's heat lamp falling onto it years ago, and also lately the edges had gotten caught by the vacuum and started to unravel.

Then I woke up early one morning and it hit me that I thought there was hardwood floors under all that carpet!
We should see what is under there and at the very least, save some money on labor for carpet removal.

So we actually started on July 4th. Cutting off a tiny little strip where the unraveling was the worst.
Hardwood floors!

They didn't look too bad but of course other surprises awaited.
Like the tons of paint drips, apparently our house was painted with massive amounts of turquoise paint years ago.
Which is weird, I can't picture it...I don't want to picture it!
 And it's also weird because our other house had layers of paint, and when it chipped off...ta da! Turquoise!

I also found that when I was cleaning my treadmill and Vivian knocked over the rubbing alcohol (months ago) did soak through the carpet and pad and leave a water spot on the floor.
Such wonderful surprises. But the internet is amazing and I found so many tips and tricks to remove the water spot.
Not one of them worked completely on its own, but a combination of several and it completely disappeared.
I should have taken photos of that, it was amazing!
Plus the oddity of rubbing alcohol actually helping to remove a water spot caused by rubbing alcohol? Craziness!

We ripped up more carpeting...
Entryway after carpet removal
 ...and then dove into hardwood floor refinishing.
Scraping, sanding, filling in everything with wood putty.
I love wood putty. It is fun. I would putty everything if I could.
I don't let DH putty. He is messy, his theory is to pile it on the gouges and sand off the excess later BUT if you clean it good while you are using the putty it's so much neater and less work overall.
It's my putty. :)
Vivian has eagle eyes so she helps me find the little digs and nail holes that need filling.

After all the backbreaking prep work...finally we could stain the floors.
Entryway, after staining,  and before trim work
And put in carpet transitions and trim work on the baseboards.
A lot of work.
But we have our entry way completely done now and most of the living room done now.
The rooms with lots of furniture are the hardest.
I haven't been able to take many finished pictures because of the furniture having to be crowded around the room we're working on.
Hopefully I can take more pictures once we're done, :)

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Smiley faces everywhere

I finally found the smiley face potatoes that I've been wanting to get for the girls!
I had found a coupon and advertisement for them and thought they were adorable, but two Walmarts and a Target later and I still couldn't find them.
Finally...found them at Price Chopper!

Vivian took one bite and said "Ohh, these are lovely!" Lol
They are like mashed potatoes inside and have the option of baking in the oven or frying.
I chose to bake them.
Very cute and tasty!

Vivian has been fascinated with a magician show she likes to watch lately.
So she started doing her own little magic acts that she makes up.
Like a switching erasers trick.
She starts out with "As you can see, this table is real, this blanket is real, and this eraser is real."
Then she finishes with "This trick is so simple, even a child can do it. Ha ha! 'Cause I'm a child and I'm doing it!"
Oh, it's so funny.
I wish she would let me videotape her but she gets all self-conscious. ;-)

The girls are all signed up for the yearly library reading program again.
This year it seems to be sports themed which is a little less than thrilling for the girls.
Vivian pored over the baseball cards that they were offering as a first day treat, and then asked the librarian if she had any cards of the "New England Patriots".
Lol, wrong sport, dear.
They also had some rubber bracelets as an optional treat so at least everything wasn't sports related.

They had a DIY craft to make sports-themed bookmarks but I told the girls to cut out whatever shape they wanted and it didn't have to a ball or hockey stick shape like was suggested.
So they made "book" bookmarks instead. :)

We also decided to skip the soap-making class this year, since we made our own soap at home over the winter and we can make more any time we want.
That was a craft we loved but we're hoping to learn some new projects this summer!

Vivian was initially dragging her legs about the library program, just not wanting to really bother with it. But I set up a chalkboard in their room for them to note the start and finish times of when they're reading and she's been loving that.
She even started carrying a sheet of paper around with her to note down every minute she reads. 
Shiloh is always reading....But I don't think I can put down 24/7 on her chart though!
She's not as good about keeping track but Vivian's been watching her time for her too so it works out.

Hope everyone has a Happy and safe 4th of July!
We already got to see fireworks from the comfort of our home which is quite a luxury, especially when you have young kids and also tend to get eaten alive by mosquitoes waiting for the fireworks to start.
They had some really pretty fireworks this year too, including some smiley faces. :)