September 21, 2014

Back to School

If you're friends with me on facebook, you've probably seen these, but I want them documented here too :) We did a back-to-school photo shoot at the local elementary school. The kids aren't going there, but it made for a good backdrop for these photos, plus the playground has lots of old vintage looking playground equipment that fit the look I was going for.

I can't leave Lincoln out.. 

..he got to have some fun too :)

September 14, 2014

Fall Sewing for my Boy: Lumberjack Hat

While I'm not looking forward to the cold weather that comes with the changing of the seasons, I do love bundling the kids up in hats, sweaters, and boots. I made this adorable hat using Delia Create's free pattern, found here. Sometimes he's not a fan of hats, but there's something about this one he must like because he's been keeping it on (knock on wood!).

He's been a little dare-devil lately..

September 11, 2014

Fall Sewing for the Girls

Last Monday, the girls and I got up early and left the house before Stu and Lincoln had woken up. We were headed to the closest Joann Fabrics. I had been daydreaming of doing some Fall sewing for the girls. I don't know about you, but I feel like as soon as it hits September, Fall is here, so it seemed like the perfect day to get started. Of course we had to stop at Starbucks for the first pumpkin spice latte of the season!! The closest Joanns and Starbucks are nearly 30 minutes away, so both have become a rare treat.

I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to sew, but I wanted to make at least one dress and one skirt for each of them. So we painstakingly chose 8 coordinating fabrics, and I got a yard of each. While we were there, I saw a paper pattern, and fell in love with it for Mollie's dress. It was the Picture Perfect Dresses pattern by Ellie Mae designs. This dress took a lot of time, but it was worth it!

For Delia's dress, I used this pattern that I found on Etsy. It went much quicker than Mollie's dress, and I'm so happy with how it turned out! I love the fact that the back of the bodice has two rows of elastic in it, so it pulls right over the head with no zipper or buttons. 

I was going for the kinda-crazy, mismatched style made popular by the Matilda Jane clothing company. I think I nailed it, if I say so myself :)

September 4, 2014

What Homeschool Looks Like: Reading Review

The homeschool year has officially begun for us! We planned on starting the day after Labor Day, like the local school district does, but we got Mollie's reading curriculum a few weeks earlier, and she wanted to go ahead and get started. After writing this post, we made a decision and ordered the Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read program. Each grade is divided into two levels, and we are over halfway done with the first Kindergarten level. It's been going really well, and Mollie is catching on really fast. The lessons are short and pretty basic. The only thing I'm not totally happy about is the lack of activities or games to reinforce and review what's learned in the lessons, so I've spent some time trying to find hands-on ways for Mollie to practice what she's learning.

 Yesterday, I pulled out our plastic eggs from last Easter and made these reading manipulatives. The larger side of the egg has three different word family endings (ex. -at, -ap, -am), and the smaller side has three beginning letters. By twisting the egg, you can practice reading words and seeing what happens to a word when you change the beginning or ending sound.

I also made a simple Bingo game using the sight words she's been learning. She loves games, and already knows how to play Bingo. I thought this was a hit, and I was right! I'm sure we'll be using this a lot to review.

During each lesson, we always pull out our CVC tri-blocks, and practice making the words from the lessons. All three of the kids love playing with them, so a lot of times I'll dump them on the floor for Dede and Lincoln to use while I'm going over things with Mollie. Here she is using them with a free Bob Books printable I found here. A group of six bloggers teamed up and each created a few free printables for every Bob Book, so those have been really helpful. There are 20-30 printables for each book, so it's easy to pick-and-choose a few that you think would work for your child.

If you have any review ideas, I'd love to hear them!

On A Sunday

I thought Lincoln looked particularly handsome in his Sunday best last week, so I had to document it. He wasn't too keen on that idea, but I managed to snap a few when he wasn't fussing. There's nothing better than a baby in a button down shirt. I was going through Lincoln's clothes in the next size up, and it seems I have a small obsession.

Dede wanted some pictures of her in the rocking chair too. She loves to wear the pink rainboots that I got her and Mollie last Easter. Nine times out of ten, she puts on Mollie's boots on accident, which are waaay too big for her 

We stopped by Home Depot on our way home from church. Mollie carries her coin purse around everywhere and loves to buy things with her "own money". So we walked around the garden center and she picked out some chrysanthemums. She's taking great care of them. I even heard her singing to them this morning :)

I'm not usually a fan of houseplants, but I do love having flowers inside.

September 2, 2014

New York City: Day 3

On our third (and final) day in NYC, we got up early to get our room packed up and checked out. Then we got some coffee and walked up toward Central Park. When I learned that we'd get to come to NYC, the place I was most excited to see was Central Park. Right next to the park is FAO Schwarz, the famous NYC toy store that was featured in the Tom Hanks movie "Big". Now, the Toys R' Us in Times Square was incredible, but FAO Schwarz was even more amazing. I wish I had many more pictures of the inside. I couldn't believe how big it was. The first floor as their iconic huge stuffed animals, and realistic stuffed animals, and candy shop. The bottom floor was all baby and preschool age clothing and toys. They had so many beautiful wooden toys. The other floors had every possible line of toys you could imagine. We thought it would be the perfect place to buy some souvenir for the girls, and a special birthday present/souvenir. If we ever go back to NYC with the whole family (which we plan to someday), I could see spending hours and hours there. It made me sad that the girls couldn't experience it with us, but I think it will be even more enjoyable when they're a little older :)


Dede would have been in heaven. If she didn't already have so many babies, I would have been tempted to get her one.


It was a tough choice, but we finally picked out gifts for the kids, and walked into Central Park.

I was excited for Lincoln to be able to get down and play, since he had to be carried around for so much of our trip, but at that point he was so worn out.  

We walked to an area in the park called Strawberry Fields, where they have a memorial for John Lennon.

 We ended up having to wake Lincoln up so that he could experience the park a little bit. I thought it was the perfect place to get some portrait-style pictures to commemorate both his birthday (which was the next day), and this amazing trip. Here's one, but I'll save the rest for another day.

We were in a little bit of a hurry, because we only had a few more hours to get back to our hotel to catch our ride to the airport. The last thing on our NYC bucket list was to eat some real New York cheesecake. We got on the subway and headed to Juniors, on the corner of Broadway in Times Square

Lincoln, once again enjoying some pickles.


We split a gigantic roast beef sandwich (this is just my half!), so that we'd have room for dessert.

I wouldn't say it was the best cheesecake I've ever eater, but it was good, and the experience is what counts. I mean, eating New York cheesecake in Times Square is priceless!

After we finished, we quickly walked back to our hotel, and within a few minutes we were on our way back to the airport. Like I said, it was a whirlwind trip. We were there for almost exactly 48 hours, but it was an amazing trip and we left with no regrets. It probably would have been harder to leave if we didn't have Lincoln's birthday party the next day, not to mention these two waiting for us at home :)
This was just after we'd given them their souvenirs from FAO Schwarz, a stuffed unicorn for Dede, and pegasus for Mollie.