Monday, January 24, 2011

Fun at the Fair!

This weekend we spent some time at the South Florida Fair. This year is the first we've spent at the fair as a family of five. Our last trip to the fair involved a rather traumatic toddler meltdown (Kyle's! So that will tell you how long it has been!) and a serious consideration of never, ever, ever returning to the fair again. Ever. But, alas, we did. And it was GREAT! All three kids loved it and we had a fun family day.

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Katie and Kyle spent a couple of hours representing their club as
Ambassadors at the
4-H booth.

I don't know why nobody believes me when I say
my kids are ANIMALS!

Katie really enjoyed the horse arena and the activities there.

The chickens were awesome ~ so many different beautiful birds! The kids and I were talking again about how we need to research a backyard chicken coop. {And, I couldn't help but note a bit of macabre irony that the newly hatched chicks were eating from egg cartons...}

I discovered a new-to-me Quilt As You Go technique that I can't wait to try

And oohed and ahhed over the beautiful work exhibited.

We spent a couple of hours exploring the Agri-plex, where Kyle proclaimed he wants to raise a cow for 4-H {but since we live inside city limits that won't be happening}; viewed a 9-11 memorial with pieces of steel from Ground Zero on display in the Expo Center; entered raffles; and ate some yummy {and uber-expensive} fair food. Bill loved the model train that stays on display year round. Mari loved the Native American wind flutes and we sat and listened to the music for quite some time. Katie played in a sandbox full of corn {and found pieces in pockets and socks and all kinds of places all evening} and helped me collect information on making our garden a little more successful. And Kyle spent some time talking to professional beekeepers about how to start his own hive and gathered volunteer and camp information from the county's Department of Environmental Resources Management and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. So I guess that means we're going to have to end the boycott. The Fair is a definite WIN for our family.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: The Dragon and The Turtle by Donita K. Paul and Evangeline Denmark

Poor Roger. He's just a little turtle and somehow he's gotten himself "turned around" and can't seem to find his way home. Luckily, though, there's a dragon munching on crunchy, squishy, nutty bugs nearby who just may be able to help. When Padraig pauses mid-snack and looks down to see Roger looking troubled he decides to lend a hand. The Dragon and the Turtle by Donita K. Paul and Evangeline Denmark is a cute little story about unlikely friends and it's just so cute, so kid-like.

When Padraig sets out to help Roger find his way home, Roger gives him tiny bits of information at a time so it takes several tries to find the right house. Padraig sticks with it, rumbling tummy from his interrupted snack and all, and in the end helps Roger find his way back home. He even gets to finish his snack, not on another crunchy, squishy, nutty bug but on one of Roger's Mom's Chocolate Chip Snappers.

Two pages of discussion prompts on friendship and the moral of the story follow the conclusion of the story, with reference to Proverbs 17:17 ~ A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. It adds a little more depth to the book. I also thought it was a neat touch that a recipe for the Roger's Mom's Chocolate Chip Snappers is included at the end of this kids book on friendship and adventure. Story time followed by snack time ~ can't beat it.

We really liked this book. The story line was cute and easy to follow; Vincent Nguyen's illustrations were fun and bright; and Chocolate Chip Cookies = Three Thumbs Up!

::DISCLOSURE ~ I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Groupfor this review. ::

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Practically Perfect In Every Way!*

Quite possibly my favorite part of blogging is getting to know other bloggers. Like Rachel. And today, I'm going to introduce you to her! {And that means I get to play BERT! How fun is that?!?}

Image from Google Images

Ready? Off We Go!

All right. Come along with me. This here's Cherry Tree Lane. Nice little spot, you might say. Number 17's just down a bit.*

And No.17 Cherry Tree Lane is where we'll find Rachel blogging about her life as a self~proclaimed 1950s housewife stuck in 2011. As you might have guessed Rachel shares an affinity for one of my own favorite movies, Mary Poppins, {is that your name? It's lovely!*}and she has an etsy shop that is not to be missed!

Rachel has all kinds of quirky and fun things in store and I love.Love.LOVE browsing her vintage wares. {In fact, it kind of hurt my heart just a little bit when I popped into her shop today to gather pictures for this post and found the item I had my eye on had sold. Yesterday. Figures. :) }

But OH! The lovelies she has in there now will make your heart skip a beat!

When you're done shopping make sure you pop back over to the No. 17 Cherry Tree Lane blog and read all about Mary's adventures with Jane and Michael. I mean, Rachel's adventures with Kensington and Frankie

It's easy! Let's see... You think. You wink. You do a double blink. You close your eyes... and jump!*


Or maybe it's easier just to click on her button. ;)
*And by the way, if these quotes don't scream Mary Poppins at you, it is critical that you watch the movie again. Tonight. Spit Spot!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dream a Little Dream...

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

"Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think."
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ~

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Smart Martha's Catholic Guide for Busy Moms by Tami Kiser

Are you a Mary Mom or a Martha Mom? Because I'll admit it: I don't think I'm either. I try ~I do ~but I am a horrible housekeeper. I always feel like there are 400 things to do and nothing ever gets done. Now I know we have three kids running around this household but it still seems as though there’s got to be a better way. This is why I had kind of high hopes for Tami Kiser’s Smart Martha’s Catholic Guide for Busy Moms. Maybe this would be just the system I need to finally get it together?

Not so much. But not because it’s not a good book, just because there is no such thing as a cure-all. Most of the tricks and tips in the book were common sense things that shouldn’t surprise anyone (fewer and more meaningful toys makes for easier cleanup and more fulfilling play) but there were some really great little tips I hadn’t heard before too (use a blanket for toys with lots of parts and when the kids are done playing scoop the toys up, blanket and all, and put it back in the storage bin until next time. ..Genius!). It reiterated the happy family standard of family dinners and limited TV/video game/computer time. We really do well with the dinners but have a real ebb and flow around here with the TV thing. And I loved the “M is for Mom not Maid” getting the housework done section and the Daily Clutter Busters are being added to my routine. The key is consistency with me so hopefully I will keep it up!

Even though there wasn’t a whole lot of ground breaking knowledge in there, all in all I really enjoyed Smart Martha’s Catholic Guide for Busy Moms. It really is nice to be reminded that other families have the same struggles as we do ~ and that there are relatively simple ways to overcome them! Now if I can just get my Smart Martha Clutter Buster ways to combat my A.D.D. little-piles-of-stuff-all-over-the-place problem we’ll be in good shape!

DISCLOSURE: This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from
The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Smart Martha's Catholic Guide for Busy Moms by Tami Kiser. The Catholic Company is also a great source for serenity prayer and baptism gifts.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Oh, Leah, You're My FAVORITE Friend Today!

I *so* love receiving packages of yummy fabric in the mail and today I did just that!

Thanks to Leah at Sew Spoiled, I am now the proud owner of a this fabuloso fat quarter set of Amy Butler's new line, Soul Blossoms. And I love.Love.LOVE it!!!

I just can't wait to find something wonderful to make with it! Look how lovely:


Ahhh...Now THIS is the stuff daydreams are made of...