Sunday, July 31, 2011

Menu Plan Monday


I can hardly believe we have come to the end of July. So far we have not had much summer. I was really hoping for at least one warm week, but I guess I will have to be satisfied with the few days we had late spring. I do hope that the cold temperatures during the normally hottest month of the year do not forecast a cold winter again.

Weather aside, we have had some fun this summer, visiting castles, riding bikes, etc. There are more pictures coming soon.

Here is the menu for the coming week.

Check out more great meal ideas at Organizing Junkie.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Menu Plan Monday


What a weird week! The kids and I have not really adjusted to so little structure in our days. We have also been missing our friends who have moved away, been traveling, had visitors in town, etc. Lots of time with just the three of us... I think they are ready to play with their friends again.

This weekend we hosted a farewell party for another family who moved here with us two years ago. It is so hard saying good byes! The party set a new record for how many people we have fit into our little flat. At one point there were 30 people, 14 adults and 16 kids! Whew! But there was enough food and good fellowship ... and the weather was tolerable so the bigger kids eventually went outside to play!

Here is the menu for the coming week.

Check out more great meal ideas at Organizing Junkie.

Happy Monday!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Menu Plan Monday


This week we are house-sitting for some friends who live about 45 minutes out of town. We are excited about the change of scenery and the new options for tourism that are available. I am a little concerned about the meal planning, but we will do our best.

Sunday is our 13 year anniversary and we are excited to celebrate in Saturday night with dinner and a movie ... kid-free! Some days it feels like we have always been together, but I am also amazed that it has already been 13 years! We have moved six times, and lived in three states and two countries, and have enjoyed most every minute of it.

Here is the menu for the coming week.
Check out more great meal ideas at Organizing Junkie.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Magic Tree House

We discovered a new book series at the library a few months ago, The Magic Tree House. Joshua loves these books about a brother and sister who found a magic tree house that allows them to travel through time and space to visit other places.

I love these books because they have stirred a new love a reading in my kids, and have inspired so much creativity and learning. And after reading a dozen of these books aloud to the kids, I have not yet needed to edit anything on the fly (unlike some other books where kids say mean things, or have bad attitudes, or disobey their parents).

We have been reading the British version of these books (with words like "trousers" instead of pants and "rucksack" instead of back pack), but they were originally written and set in Pennsylvania.

For the last several weeks, Joshua and Abigail have turned our living room into their own version of the magic tree house. They have been traveling to the many places that were visited in the various books.

We just finished book number 11 in the series, which takes place on the African Savannah. Joshua decided they wanted to recreate the African Savannah. He pulled out all the animals we have, including giraffes, lions and zebras. Then he started on the problem of making a tree house. Below are some of the ideas he came up with. Very fun!


He took the top of our Little People Noah's Ark and started putting it on various "trees," including this lego tower, the top of his castle, table tops and more.  Joshua carefully chose his Little People avatar because he is carrying a back pack, just like Jack in the book takes on all his adventures.


The rope ladder is so prominently featured in the book, so we had to come up with a way for his little people to climb up and down. A little yarn tied just so, and some drinking straws cut just right made an amazing little ladder.


Next we had to address the problem of the books... In the book series, the tree house is full of books. They travel by choosing a place in one of the books to visit. Of coarse, we don't have any books small enough to fit in our new tree house, so we decided to make them ourselves.


A little paper, a little cutting and stapling, and some great drawing and we had our own little books. Joshua created books for each of the Magic Tree House books we have read to date. Abigail was more free in her book creations.


A rainy afternoon well spent on some crafty solutions has provided hours of fun so far, and I imagine I will awaken tomorrow morning to the sounds of "Jack and Annie" going on more adventures.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Botanic Gardens

On a sunny afternoon last weekend, we headed to the Cruickshank Botanic Garden at the University. Inspired by a friend who posted her son's pictures from the garden, I decided it was time to let the kids take a turn with the small camera. It was very fun to see the pictures, framing struggles and subject choices.


Joshua was given first turn with the camera. He was very excited to focus on entire flowering bushes in the beginning. As he went on, he discovered that he could move closer on a single rose. Lovely!


He also became excited to be the one in control and telling us all what to do while he took pictures of Dad, Mom and Abigail. We got to pose at every opportunity.


Abigail was more abstract in her picture of people. She originally wanted to capture a picture of the heather growing between the crack in these slabs. When Joshua jumped into the shot above (with mom's encouragement) she gladly took a picture of him in addition.


I do love that Joshua caught this moment. I had not even seen her laying in the grass, but Joshua saw it as a picture moment. Very cool! Soon after this, Joshua became obsessed with taking pictures of signs and completely gave up on flowers.


The biggest challenge for both of the kids was the framing. Several times when taking pictures of people, they would stand too close, or move the camera while taking the shot. As you see above, there we several pictures with our heads not quite in the shot, if they made it in at all.


As you see, Abigail also had some trouble with the framing. She also had a difficult time with the focus because her hands would move so much while taking pictures. 
We had a great time and I now realize that we need to find an inexpensive, durable camera for them to use more regularly. Check out all the great pictures they took in our FB album, where I have indicated who took the picture in the captions.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Menu Plan Monday


This is our first week on school holidays. I am working on a plan to help the summer go smoothly. The hardest part for the kids will be no time off from each other. They are use to having their own space for a few hours each day. For the break, they will be with each other 24/7.

Here is the menu for the coming week.
Check out more great meal ideas at Organizing Junkie.

Happy Monday!

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