Monday, August 30, 2010

First Day of School

It was back to school for Miss Nature Girl last week. She started first grade on Wednesday. She made this cute picture frame on her first day. I'm happy to report that Nature Girl likes her teacher and says that she has a sweet voice.

I was lucky that Nature Girl's school started the day before my teacher workshop days so I got to be the one to take her to school the first day. Here's our self portrait. Daddy was out of the house and on his way to the office so we snapped our own picture. It's a little crooked but I like it.

Nature Girl wanted to wear all black like a ninja for the first day of school. I think her back pack is almost as big as she is!
She had a great first day though the pick up line was beyond crazy. I had to wait in traffic for 30 minutes to pick her up. The poor thing was standing in the rain in a little black sweater the whole time. I felt bad!
Today my students start school. Like every year I'm nervous! I know most of the kids I'll be working with. Last year they worked with the special educator I share a room with so they were in the room with me. I do have two brand new students and two others that will be new to me. I hope we have a great year!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Crafty Goodness Swap = Happiness!

Today was my first official day of school. I got home after a day of teacher workshops and meetings to find swap mail. I joined the Crafty Goodness Swap over at the Magical Bean this summer. As a matter of fact, I just mailed my package out yesterday. It has a ways to travel but I'll try to post some pictures of what I sent later. When this package arrived today, I knew it was from the Crafty Goodness Swap and couldn't wait to see what was in it. Nature Girl was my official package opener. She was excited when she found this sweet owl book. It turned out to be a little cookbook with hand written recipe cards and more blank cards that can be filled out and attached to the pages in the book. Nature Girl called it as her very own since I have one she says. She was very happy and can't wait to add more recipes. Nature Girl got the recipe book but that's okay because look what I got. . . .

This amazing little quilt was made by Maria from Maria's Secret Garden. I just about screamed when I saw this! Maria chose these special photos from our blog and created this amazing keepsake quilt. I can't even begin to express how much this means to me. I immediately hung it up in the hall where I can see it and enjoy it everyday. Thank you so much Maria!! You put a lot of thought and energy into it and created something so special for us! We really LOVE it!

Of course Nature Girl got into the picture. Life wouldn't be the same without that sweet little face!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Apron Give Away

I've had a great summer with Nature Girl & my husband, but sadly summer is coming to an end. I've been a little apron crazy sewing lots of aprons this summer. As a matter of fact I made this poodle apron for the Back to the Future Swap over at the Flirty Apron Swap. At the time, I knew the theme but hadn't gotten my partner's information yet. I couldn't help myself I started sewing and created this. After getting my partner's info I've re-done the poodle apron for my partner but I still have the original. It could use a good home, so I've decided to give it away. If you'd like it please leave a comment and we'll choose at winner by the end of next week(September 3rd.)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Pick Up & A Toy Drop

We went to NY this weekend to pick up Nature Girl. Despite the fact that she didn't want to talk on the phone to us while she was gone I think she actually missed us. We tried to wake her up when we arrived at 11:30 pm on Friday, as she had requested we do, but she was zonked out and didn't even open an eye. When she woke up Saturday morning I was treated to lots of hugs, kisses, chats and snuggles. She stuck by my side for at least the first hour, so I think even though she had a great time she did miss us just like we missed her!

On the way home from NY we decided to do a toy drop. Meet Deloris, Amy, Arnold and Aurthur. This little hedgehog family was stitched and sewn by me then stuffed by Nature Girl and three of her cousins. Here they are riding with us on a deary rainy day. We left them on a bench inside a rest stop on the VT/NH border. We didn't stick around to see if they were picked up but we hope they found a good home.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Strawberry cake - yum!

A few weeks ago Val from Yarnigras posted a recipe for a strawberry cake she likes to make for her family. Both Nature Girl and my husband love strawberries so I tucked that recipe away for later. When my in-laws came to visit last week I decided to make the cake for desert. I didn't layer my cake so it's not as pretty as Val's, but it was absolutely delicious!!! My husband loved it. Me too, I have to admit I ate a piece for breakfast one morning. Yummmy!
Nature Girl like the frosting but didn't eat much because it wasn't ice cream cake. I should have remembered this. I made birthday cakes for the first 4 years of her life decorating entire cakes with little stars of frosting to create pretty cakes. Despite getting claw hand each time from the hours of decorating she would only eat ice cream and not a single piece of cake. For her 5th birthday she got an ice cream cake and her 6th birthday was a cheesecake. It takes me a while to catch on but eventually I learn! Anyway, when I asked her if she liked it she said it was missing something. I asked what and she said it needed chocolate sauce all over it. I think it was perfect as it was and didn't last long before it was all eaten. That's a sure sign it's good! I think the frosting would be delicious on cupcakes too. Click here to see Val's post and get the recipe.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I'm Not Listening to You

Nature Girl is spending a few days with Grandma and Papa in NY. Number one I can't believe she is big enough to go off to another state without us but she is. Number two she doesn't even miss me even though I miss her terribly. I was just sitting her thinking about her and was reminded of these pictures I took a few weeks back. Here's the story behind the pictures:

I'm Not Listening to YOU!

Like any good parents we've tried to teach Nature Girl manners and to respect adults. We've taught her that she can't cover her ears with her hands when she doesn't like something we have to say, though occasionally she does try it. When her cousin E. stayed with us for a few days she got upset with him. They had been arguing and she had had enough. They're both stubborn and she wasn't making any headway with getting him to see her point of view so she didn't want to listen to him anymore. Since she couldn't put her hands over her ears she devised a new way not to listen to him. She put on the safety head phones her dad had given her. It worked but her cousin was greatly insulted!
Of course like any blogger would, I swooped in to take pictures before helping to mediate the argument. I told her to give me her best mad faces, then I used mosaic maker to put together this I'm Not Listening to You collage. We talked for a bit and agreed that there were better ways to settle arguments. They went off and happily played for a few more hours. Best part is, after a few hours of harmony her cousin E got upset with her and did the same thing to her with the headphones. She was beyond insulted. It was too funny!
So for my little Nature Girl even when you're mad, grumpy and unwilling to listen I still love you with all my heart!!! I can't wait for you to come home!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I've enjoyed being home all summer! Now, as much as I'm fighting it, fall is headed this way. That means school is just around the corner, in fact classes start in a week. Nature Girl will enter first grade and for the first time will attend school for a full day. This will be a big change for her. We've done our back to school shopping. She's equip with her school supplies, a new backpack and lunchbox.

A full day of school means she'll need to have lunch. I work in a school and can't imagine that the school lunch will be any better than the lunch at my school, so she'll be bringing her lunch. That said, here's the problem, I don't know what to send! She eats peanut butter sandwiches, ham sandwiches, bagels, salad, fruits, veggies(not peas or green beans,) mac n' cheese, tomato soup, grilled cheese, cheese sticks, yogurt and cereal. She's not much of a meat eater but loves fruits and veggies. But what does one send for school lunch? It has to be something that she can open and eat independently without having to heat it. We bought a reusable water bottle and a thermos for keeping things cold or hot.

Being a teacher I should know what kids bring for school lunch but I don't. At school I have bus duty not lunch room duty, so I'm lost here. What would you send to feed this sweet little face?

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Dumb But Funny Read!

This summer we've been working on getting Nature Girl to read more. She loves to be read to but doesn't really like to read herself. We're trying to change that. We've been working with lots of easy readers that she can read independently. But today I spent lots of time just reading to her instead.
As a teacher I'm always finding and buying new books to read. I bring them home to share with Nature Girl too. We both love books! Today we had a great time reading four books in The Dumb Bunnies Collection by Dav Pilkey. These bunnies certainly are dumb but they're laugh out loud silly too! We had some good laughs reading about their adventures. Dav Pilkey is the author of Captain Underpants, Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot and the Dumb Bunnies. My students at school love Captain Underpants. Though I have all of the books I haven't read them, I was avoiding the toilet humor with Nature Girl. We have enjoyed the Ricky Ricotta books and now the Dumb Bunnies. If you like goofy, silly humor, you're sure to love the Dumb Bunnies.
So what have you been reading?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Banana Bread

I had some left over bananas after making waffles topped with bananas, strawberries and whip cream for breakfast the other morning so I decided to make banana bread. I own tons of cookbooks but the one I reached for was this one my mom made for me. Can you believe she wrote and illustrated the whole cookbook by hand? I have lots of cookbooks but this is my favorite because I know all the love she put into making it! Not only did she make one for me but she made one for each of my siblings - that's four handwritten cookbooks!

I love the first page of the cookbook! If you read it you'll see that cooking with 4 children was a challenge especially when the utensils were outside in the sandbox being used as shovels and the bake-ware doubled as a sled on the snowy hill! True story! It makes me laugh just thinking about it.
This cookbook is something I treasure! I hope one day to make one for Nature Girl. I think it needs to include photos of us in our matching aprons as we cook! She drew a picture of us in matching aprons in the Mother's Day book she made for me this year. But I digress!
I've shared a zucchini bread recipe from this cookbook a few years ago but this time I wanted to share the banana bread recipe with you.

So here's the recipe for making banana bread. The recipe has a cooking time of 45 minutes but I found it took about an hour to bake. It makes one loaf. Enjoy!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cat Mail

When we got back from vacation in Vermont Nature Girl had surprise mail. Nature Girl was excited to find that she had gotten cat mail from Christy. Christy & her son were our very first swap partners ever.

Christy sent this book called Everything Cat for Nature Girl. Can you tell she loves it? She's hugging it. Now we can read all about why cats purr and many other interesting facts. We've started reading a little bit every night and are enjoying it.
By the way while in Vermont she used her own money to purchase another stuffed/robotic cat. I think that brings the total to 22 stuffed cats! I am planning to make her go through her toys and stuffed animals so maybe she'll be willing to part with a few cats, though I think that is unlikely!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Hoot!

Nature Girl drew and painted this sweet little fish during summer camp. I think it's so cute! I added her conch shell for the photo as it went perfectly and leads into a story.

While we we're in the Bahamas Nature Girl bought this conch shell. She picked this particular shell because the man selling it told her it was his party shell. On the boat ride back from the island she practiced until I finally asked her to stop for the sake of all the other passengers on the boat. Of course it wasn't that loud because she hadn't really gotten the hang of it until now. She was a little disappointed at first because it was supposed to be a party shell but it didn't sound like one when she used it. Like most things it just takes a little practice. Here's a short clip of her practicing here at home. It makes me laugh! Of course you might want to turn your speakers down.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Another Toy Drop

We did another drop for The Toy Society. It's so much fun trying to think of locations, then sneaking around to leave the toys. This time we dropped while visiting my mom in VT. Ironically the drop site was a store that I visited when I was a kid about the same age as Nature Girl.

I made 4 dinosaur finger puppets out of felt. We left them on a community bulletin board out side of a store in VT. Nature Girl picked the spot and help put the tacks through the bag.

We dropped them off around 6pm on Sunday. When we drove by again on Monday afternoon they were gone. We hope whoever found them will have lots of fun playing with them. Now we need to think of another toy to make for our next drop.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Yard Sale fun

I always say that thrifting and yard sales are more fun when you have a buddy with you. You need someone to laugh with you about the gaudy and awful items for sale and to rejoice with you when you make a great find. Nature Girl is often my thrifting buddy and we have a good time together. Last weekend we headed out to some thrift stores and found a few yard sales along the way. Our usual rule is no stuffed animals from thrift stores and yard sales. Lord knows where they've been or what they bring with them! Last weekend I allowed her to break this rule when she found this sweet little batty beanie baby. It looked like Stellaluna to me and I love that story. I justified purchasing it because it still had the tag on it so it hadn't been used much. I'm glad I did because she's had lots of fun with Batty. It has velcro on it's wings so it's been wrapped around everything in the house that it's little wings can fit around. She's also created countless contraptions to help Batty hang upside down during car rides and at home.
It inspired her to hang up side down on the couch wrapped up and sleeping like a bat.

Then to wake up and unwrap her blanket wings, screeching like a bat. I love that she can entertain herself for hours with just a blanket and a toy. It's funny that a little toy can spark so much creativity, experiments with physics, recall of scientific facts and hours of fun!

What Nature Girl says:
Nature Girl wanted to add "I have a bat and it is going to like the vampire a lady is sending us. The one that my mom won." She was hoping Apryl would read this post and see her message.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Zucchini Bread

Summer means fresh veggies and zucchini. Zucchini means making zucchini relish and zucchini bread. Yum!!!!! I love the foods of summer!
Summer cooking and baking gives me another reason to wear an apron. I've enjoyed wearing all of my aprons this summer. It makes cooking so much more fun when you're wearing a pretty apron!