I have been hearing for a while that kids are no longer learning handwriting, or cursive, in school. I didn't really grasp the full extent of this until this weekend. I was practicing writing, (okay, I admit it, I usually print...) and asked Captain Awesome, my 14-year-old, freshman, to write his name. For a moment his eyes glazed over, then when he realized I was serious, he got a panicked look on his face. I gave him pen and paper, and he agonized and struggled for about five minutes while attempting to sign his name. When he finished, it was all wrong. I need my teacher, Mrs. Tweet, from third grade, who made me practice and practice.
photo courtesy of Google Images, www. icemilkaprons.wordpress.com
I asked Captain Awesome, "How are you going to sign a check?" Then I realized, my son will more than likely not be signing many checks. He will swipe a card, scribble something on a pad, then push a button. Our world is changing. With our society becoming so dependent on computers, our kids no longer need to know handwriting. It makes me sad, to loose this beautiful expression of individuality.
Even though my mom and dad TOTALLY hooked me up for Christmas with a new camera and all, I am a little lot slow about actually taking it out of the box.
But I am craving being surrounded by "pretties" having taken all my Christmas decorations down in a timely manner this year.
(Even got the outside lights taken down today. Living in Minnesota, that usually doesn't happen until March. Or April. Okay, maybe even May... But in my defense, we usually have three feet of snow covering all those electrical cords until then!)
And not exactly knowing the etiquette about snagging pics off of Pinterest, that has me swooning on a daily basis, here is an old post.
Hoping to brighten your day, here are some of my favorite things...
Little girls who take baths in a bucket in the garden
With all the horrifying news coming out of Haiti, I find it very hard to blog. Everything I do seems trivial. But I have noticed I am now craving beautiful images. I spend way more time than I should looking at all your beautiful sites, and they make me smile. I am wishing I can put a smile on your face for a bit too.
I stumbled upon a cabinet that I thought might just possibly work in my pantry. My in-laws (thank you, Dave and Kathy...) sent us a check for Christmas, and I have been just waiting for the right purchase to come along. I found it, on sale, in all its glory! And I am so excited... I now have my farmhouse pantry.
The most miraculous part of the whole thing is that not only did we manage to get it home in one trip (it's huge, eight feet high!), my husband did not complain one bit about having to strap it to the top of my car and drive 35 miles down the interstate with it, and that he loves it as much as I do! Miracle of miracles!!! And thank you, Honey, so wonderful of you to put up with me.
I am now using it as my baking station, I actually have to pull myself out of that room now as I love it so much. I was going to buy brand new cabinets and put in there, but this piece has a story with it. I am sure it is going to whisper it to me on some quiet day...
The rolling pin and the colander belonged to my husband's grandma. I rescued them from the garbage pile when we were moving her. Her colander stores my baking powder and brown sugar. I adore having some of her things in there with me.
The rest of the cubbies are hard at work. I love that it is pretty and practical at the same time.
Bento Box Fever has hit our house! My sister posted about her bento box, (here) and I fell instantly in love... Libbie very sweetly bought my Nature Girl,
a bento box of her very own, and the two of us have had so much fun learning about the Japanese culture. Come explore with me!!!
Wikipedia describes bento boxes as a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento consists of rice, fish or meat, and one or more pickled or cooked vegetables as a side dish. I searched many different sites, a bento box is compact and the packaging of a bento box is an art form. Apparently there can be a sense of competition between moms to see who can pack the most beautiful and healthy lunch. Ngoc, of Cooking Cute wrote "It is said that when you eat a bento lunch prepared by a loved one, the preparer’s feelings for you are transmitted through the food" Her site is here, go check out her beautiful creations, you will love them!
Our bento is not so beautifully prepared, but we had a ton of fun...
Fruit for our bottom layer...
Lib ordered some adorable animal picks that I used for the blueberries, I bought the sushi at Target.
Don't you love the soy sauce bottle?
A hard-boiled egg, we love bunnies around here! And certainly, the eggs taste better in shapes... Check out Lib's egg mold, here...
I bought some mango pudding, sesame cakes and rice biscuits at my grocery store. Her chopsticks fit on top of her box.
Her packed box!
I have to warn you~ this was the first time I packed her box, a school lunch is $2.50, I spent about $15 on her lunch, so much for cost-effectiveness! I really wanted her to try some different foods to get the "full experience" of using her bento box. She researched another culture, and had a great time teaching her friends and a few teachers about another culture, so it was worth it. Next time I am buying some of the dehydrated squid!
During the Christmas holidays, my Sweet Bluebird was interested sick and bored out of her mind, so she started reading my blog. She got through about four posts before she looked up with an absolutely horrified look on her face. She said in a tortured voice, "Mom! Your blog makes you sound nice! If people read this, they will think you are nice, and you're not!" Luckily, I knew exactly what she meant, and I had a good laugh over it.
I have read more than one post lately, with women comparing themselves to others and falling far short. This is so dangerous for us on so many levels, so I just want to set the record straight. I am far from perfect. If I come across as being even remotely put together, I am giving you the wrong image... I run around chasing after kids, running them here and there, forgetting one here, catching a hockey game there. Right now, my house looks like a tornado ran through it. And due to my husbands crazy work schedule, I haven't talked to him while he has been awake since Saturday... I remember once when the kids were little, I was busy with about a gazillion things, and realized after they were all tucked in bed, I hadn't fed them dinner. I had a hazy recollection of one of the kids standing on the counter, handing down Oreo's to the littler ones. Aha! They fed dinner to themselves. No worries...
While I am confessing, I should point out, I am not actually nice. I am not a bad person, but nice is not a word that people who know me would use to describe me. Every morning I wake up, I ask God to help me behave that day. I need all the help I can get... Seriously... This is how not nice I am, my other sister, Rachael has a pool party for the 4th of July. During one party, a guy I don't even know sat at the edge of the pool in between Libbie and I. I leaned back, caught her eye, and with a nod of my head, he was in the pool, clothes and all. Don't even know the guy... I just couldn't resist...Really, so not a nice thing to do, hilarious, but not nice...
I am so thankful for my kids, and that so far, God has allowed me to raise wonderful kids. I don't know how, but God does work miracles you know... I used to think I would never not have four car seats in the back, never get out of diapers, would forever have a Sunday School teacher whispering in my ear that, "she doesn't have any underwear on under her dress." (thankfully we no longer have that problem...) They grow up so quickly, I am just thankful for everyday that my kids seem to like one another...
So, if you are feeling a little, well, not perfect, come over and visit me. I have no clue how to make a cup of coffee, but I can make a mean cup of cocoa. Just know, that God loves you for who you are, you will make it, and try to enjoy it while you can!
If you are searching for the perfect Valentine's Day gift, then this post is for you. Last year, I got my husband this for Christmas, and let me tell you, he loves it!
It's from Wonderful Graffiti, link found here, and when people come over, he runs to our bedroom to show them "his wall." ( I know, I am very odd, I have black walls in our bedroom...)
If you haven't checked out Wonderful Graffiti yet, here is a link, for their Valentine's selection. They are having a 25% off sale right now, so you can't beat the prices! I have my eye on this little number for Valentine's Day this year. (Isn't it too cute???) I am also thinking that it would make a fun wedding present for some friends.
When I placed my first order from Wonderful Graffiti, I was pleasantly surprised with their great customer service, their prices, and their products, and really, the entire company. I also ordered this for my dining room, and everyone asks where I purchased it.
My aunt was cleaning out her cedar chest, and lucky me, she passed down some linens that my great-grandma, and my grandma had made for her when she was married. I am so thrilled to have them!
My (dad's mom) Grandma Carlson embroidered a set of dish towels. They are very whimsical, and cute. The complete set is here, with a cat and mouse on each towel. Apparently, Wednesday must be sewing day!
My Great-Grandma Fast embroidered this set. It is very monochromatic and pretty, each day is labeled with a chore; washing, ironing, cleaning, baking, and one for Sunday.
Included in the package was this apron, my grandma always used to bake and do her kitchen chores in an apron. She passed away when I was in middle school, so these linens are extra special.
Look what I found in the apron pocket. A hankie!
Thanks, Aunt Martha. I love all my precious gifts from grandma, and great-grandma. I keep walking into my pantry just to peek at them; making my shelves so pretty!
Our dad recently has taken an interest in feeding his neighborhood bird friends. For years, the only hobby dad has had was working, so we are all thrilled with his new interest. Of course, his new hobby became the theme for his party. As we started planning his party on Tuesday, came up with the theme on Thursday, and held the party on Sunday, these ideas were quick and easy.
I have had this feathered tree for years. I found the bird ornaments half price after Christmas at Target. It was a fun centerpiece for a table.
We created our own labels for water bottles. We just printed off the words on the computer, and I was able to find a bird stamp set at Michael's.
Of course we had to use a bird bath to hold the water bottles!
I made bird nest cookies- butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, peanut butter, chow mien noodles, and Jelly Belly eggs. A fast and fun addition to the dessert buffet. I sprinkled sunflower seeds over the plate to look like bird seed.
A bird cage held the cards.
My dry-erase calendar was a fun way to showcase pictures of our dad. We added fun captions to all the pictures. (Everyone who visits my house LOVES this 4 X 6 foot calendar. Just an FYI~ the calendar was a bit out of my price range. When it went on sale at Pottery barn, I was able to convince my husband to let me purchase it by using "Honey, it will organize our lives and you will know what we are doing at all times." Worked like a charm... Hope you can use this!)
I also cut out letters using my new Cricut (a Christmas present from my in-law's) and attached them to this magnetic board from IKEA. Another fun addition to grace the dessert buffet.
Plastic sippy cups drive me crazy at my house. I always make the kids fun straws and jelly jar sippy cups. (My son drilled holes the size of straws in lids of jelly jars and sanded all the shavings off the other side) I caught Bo climbing the pantry shelves to get his cup down. I think it's a safe bet to say that the kids adore their fun cups. And they look so cute!!! The birds were cut with my Cricut.
My favorite idea... I made wire bird nests from Cathe Holden of JSIM, tutorial found here, and created napkin rings out of them. I placed the napkins in (purchased) nests that I had. Everyone loved them, and many of the women were wearing them as rings.
Hope you can use some of these ideas in a party of your own!