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Saturday, January 28, 2012

BB's First Allowance


Our girl is sure growing up! Now that she's five years old, she's earning allowance. She received her first dollar today!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

100 Days of First Grade and Fun with Sharkie

Today is BJ's 100th day of first grade. Where the heck is the time going to? (Mom, you were right. It just gets up and gallops.)

For his 100 day project he brought in a baggie full of one hundred mini-marshmallows. And though he amazingly waited until the end of the day to eat any, as agreed (he insists this is the case and I believe him) I didn't manage to get a picture. He came home and ate all but about a dozen in one sitting.

Yes, this week I'm that kind of mom. Eat all the marshmallows you want, kid. (Truly, there were less than a cup's worth, not all that much. It's easier to have this kind of attitude with him because he's equally likely to eat all the sliced red peppers or sliced mushrooms that he wants.)

Today BB wanted to do some of her "Fun with Sharkie." She had two things she wanted to do: Trader Joe's and the park. First, we took Sharkie to TJ's to hunt for Sharkie. (Believe me, she wouldn't have wanted to go there if it weren't for Sharkie!)
For once, we didn't have to circle the store twice to find Sharkie! Spotted him right away in the refrigerated aisle, peeking out from inside a shirt in the decor.


The store employees were pretty amused by it all.

After the store, we headed to the park. She had a great time on the slide with Sharkie!

It had been a while since we'd had a morning at the park. We should do that more often.

Other families have taken Sharkie to Disneyland, to Happy Hollow Zoo, on airplanes... this may be as exciting as things get for our Adventures with Sharkie. We'll see. BB seemed pleased, at any rate, and that's what matters! Now I get to document everything for the class book...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Happy 5th Birthday, BB!

My little girl turned 5 years old today. Last week, I enrolled her in kindergarten. This little girl of mine isn't so little anymore!

In honor of her special day, she brought in donut holes to share with her preschool friends. And at the end of the day, she got to bring home Sharkie! Sharkie is the preschool room mascot (yes, the teacher who introduced Sharkie was a local hockey fan) and kids are supposed to take him home for a week for "Adventures with Sharkie." We decided it would be fun for him to help BB celebrate her birthday.


We had cake (vanilla with chocolate frosting, made by me -- which explains the sliding blue flowers on top of the cake) and went to BB's favorite restaurant, Sweet Tomatoes. Of course Sharkie came with us.

Note BJ's "why can't I hold Sharkie" expression. Way to get in the celebratory spirit, eh?

Lest you think all those veggies on the tray in front of her are an example of her stellar eating habits, take a closer look: the red plate is mine and the empty tray is hers. What makes Sweet Tomatoes her favorite restaurant? The noodles and "special cheese" (grated cheddar) and the macaroni and cheese. And sliced black olives and, occasionally, some sliced mushrooms. Finished with ice cream for dessert.

Before we headed out for dinner, BB opened her presents.

We managed some FaceTime with my folks so that they could see her open the ones from them. Brave new world, that's all I can say.

I shake my head and realize this seems utterly normal to BB and BJ. Still amazes the heck out of me.


She loved the sewing kit, stuffed unicorn, and cupcake set. Thanks so much, Giki and Pop-Pop! She made cupcakes right after finishing opening her gifts!


Many thanks to Nana for the Princess dolls! BB was excited to see Mulan and clothes for her. (We have yet to see the movie, but the Disney juggernaut has made sure she knows all the princesses names and qualities, regardless.)


The cash from Grandpa D and Grandma C was definitely a hit. Thanks!

BB decided that one of her gifts should be from Sharkie. So I gave her one of ours to her and told her it could be from him.

He gave her a new leotard for gymnastics! (A size 8, if you can believe it!!! Remember what I said about her not being so little anymore??? That's big even for her, since she's usually a size 6.) She picked it out herself.


It's so sweet how good she is about saying her thank yous and giving hugs. S managed to snap a pic of the two of us while she was thanking me for her gifts.

S and I gave her a responsibility chart of her own, since she's starting to earn allowance with turning 5 years old. We also gave her a Jasmine doll -- the Disney forces got us too, what can I say? -- and BJ gave her a Flynn Rider doll so that Rapunzel can have her prince.

She really liked the dress from Auntie B and family -- perfect choice! Thanks so much!

And now begins that crazy two months when I say, "I have a 5 year old daughter and a 6 year old son!" Happy Birthday, my dear girl!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

BB's 5th Birthday Party -- with Rapunzel!

Yesterday, BB had her birthday party. She'd requested that a princess come to her party this year, and art is one of BB's favorite things, so we settled on an Art Party with Rapunzel. (Tangled is very popular this year and definitely one of BB's favorites!) Here are the two princesses!

Hard to believe my baby will be 5 this week!

Plan A had been to have things here at the apartment as an indoor-outdoor party. We'd invited her entire preschool class, and with 12 kids at the party we wanted to be sure there was room for all. Rapunzel was scheduled to do a magic show for us, and we needed a place where all the kids could sit down to see her show, so we figured that part would be outdoors.

Alas, after weeks of unseasonably warm weather, on Thursday it turned cold and rainy. Plan B time!

We'd reserved a classroom in our building as a back up location, and actually I think it worked out even better to just keep everything in the one room. We moved around the furniture to create a crafts station, a food station, and a face painting station, and we decorated the classroom a bit as well. BB had made "lanterns" to hang around (in homage to the glowing lanterns from Tangled). We also had a craft station for kids to make their own paper lanterns (complete with a glow stick to make them glow!) and of course we made good use of the chalkboards.

Since it was an art party, we encouraged the kids to draw with colored chalk ("just like Rapunzel decorates the walls of her tower!) and BJ especially loved this idea. He got right to work on a solar system.

Rapunzel was very impressive, I have to say. She had a very sweet and gentle demeanor with the kids, encouraging them to join her for face painting or balloon animals without being pushy.


BB had her face painted with a mermaid, flowers, and a butterfly.

Note the "fancy hair" -- to get ready for the party, she'd selected two handfuls of hair pretties and asked me to use them all. I did my best!

Here is BB with her dear friend C and their matching face paint.

Rapunzel's magic show was very cute. She told the kids that there was special magic all around because it was a special day, BB's birthday! They made things appear and disappear and pulled magic colors from their clothes to decorate (and erase) a magical coloring book. She also had her "helper" bunny puppet, Miss Rabbit. The kids were enchanted.

After the magic show, we had cake. (What's a kids' birthday party without cake?) Of course BB wanted Rapunzel on it with long, long hair. She also wanted it to be an art cake and to have a tower. Kind of a tall order. Happily, our go-to bakery was very willing to work with us. They included a Rapunzel figurine, a cutout castle with the words "Paint the World with Imagination" and they put frosting "paintbrushes" on the cake. Finishing touch: Rapunzel's yellow hair running all around the edge.

It was a white cake was chocolate mousse frosting and filling, quite yummy actually (and I'm not a big fan of cake). Rapunzel helped us serve the cake and sing to BB.

Note BJ having his balloon cobra "help" with the candles (I was just waiting for it to end up in the frosting -- happily it didn't.)


At the end, we got all the kids together for a group picture with Rapunzel. (Yes, I am my dad's daughter.)


And to finish things off, Rapunzel gave BB her gift, which we'd actually wrapped up for her to give -- since BB had asked for a Rapunzel book, we thought it would be extra-special to have the princess herself give it to her.
One final "princess pose" and the party was coming to a close!


The birthday girl was very pleased with her party!


Happy almost-birthday, BB!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Again with the Cuteness

The kittens are growing so quickly! They were 10 weeks old on Monday of this week. They are continuing to contribute substantially to the cute and cuddly quotient for the household. They are both very snuggly and will sneak into your lap without any hesitation.


They also often allow themselves to be scooped up into excellent napping conditions. Laps and chests are almost always welcome. This invariably delights the kids.


On Thursday after school, the rainy weather started, so BB asked if we could do a "rainy afternoon movie" (this phrase started up about a year ago and has been a go-to when the weather turns yucky). The kittens were happy to snuggle up and watch The Aristocats.


Lest you think it's all naps and peace and quiet around here, rest assured that they are also ridiculously playful. When I was wrapping up some gifts for BB's upcoming birthday, they had a fabulous time running around over the wrapping paper and playing hockey with gift bows. They also love to hop into the basket of dress up clothes and play.


And the other day, I heard a suspicious rustling noise coming from the bedroom. Upon investigation, I realized it was coming from a shipping box.... We'd folded the lid closed, but apparently that was no deterrent.


I opened it up, and they looked up at me as if to say, "What? Is there a problem here?"


I've heard of jello wrestling, but packing peanut wrestling? That's a new one.



They would have been happy to stay in there for quite some time, I think. Silly kittens!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Feature -- Liz's Wares

Today's featured Etsy artist is the Etsyblogger of the month! Congrats to Liz who runs two Etsy shops: Liz's Wares and Liz's Supplies. In her shops, you'll find a lot of pretty shiny things -- finished jewelry in Liz's Wares and digital files to help organize your Etsy business at Liz's Supplies.

I especially admired this necklace with a vintage 1950s pendant. Love to see vintage pieces given a new life like this!
Enjoy the interview!

Link1. Are we teammates on any Etsy Teams? I belong to Etsybloggers, Etsymom, CCCOE, and I’m the captain for SF Etsy.

Etsybloggers is the only one we match on; but I am also in Deviant Art, Etsy Blog Team, MULTIPLE SHOPS on ETSY, Vintage Lovers, Craftcount, Top Treasury, Stumble-I can't even stand up straight, MADE IN USA, I Love Art, beads, Handmadeology, HeartsyOfficial.

2. Please tell us about the items in your Etsy shop. What do you make? How did you learn your craft? What is involved in your creative process?

My main medium is beads and findings. I love making bracelets, earrings and necklaces. I mostly lean fantasy princess-like pieces, but intend on branching to other styles as well soon.
When I was younger I loved making bracelets with pony beads and whatever string I could find. When I was about 14 I finally got the internet and my world opened up to the knowledge of stretch cord, chains, clasps, etc.

I love the design process when I start with a small set of beads and search to see what else I have that would look great with them. I've added to my collection of tools over the years as well.

I love knowing that I'm creating something that will be worn by someone who will feel great about wearing that piece. Whether it's a casual bracelet that becomes their daily favorite, or a special necklace that they chose for Prom or their wedding day!

3. Tell us two (or more) other interesting things about you.

I have also been perfecting my sewing skills too. I intend in the next year or two to open more shops which include LizsHome, LizsClothes, and LizsVintage.

I've created profiles for them, but haven't opened yet. Feel free to add them to your circle so it may be easier to keep an eye on them.

4. How did you get involved with Etsy?

A friend of mind from community college introduced me to Etsy as well as glass beads! She was heaven sent.

I had planned from the first day of seeing Etsy to open up shop. So I created a bunch of items, and researched as much as I could about Etsy.

Then in October 2009 LizsWares was born! I am so glad to have found such an open and caring group in Etsy to share in the experiences of running a small business.

5. What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?


I love this bracelet for many reasons- the beads are gorgeous, it was fun to create. But mostly I love it because when I put it on just after creating it I felt like I had finally found what I really wanted to do with my life. That was to create!
I know that my passion is creating and that I'll never give that up for anything.

6. If you had a gift certificate to Etsy for any one item you wanted, what would you buy?

I would love to have a beautiful vanity to sit at. I currently use a hand mirror in front of my computer, lol.

7. What crafting skill(s) do you wish you had or hope to learn someday?

I'd love to learn carpentry so I can build the furniture that I wish I had now and want for my future dream home.

8. If money were no object for just one day, what would you do?

I'd travel to as many places as I could to buy amazing fabric and beads. I'd most likely start in Europe.

9. Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations?

LizsWares on Blogspot
LizsWares on Stumbleupon
LizsWares on Kaboodle
LizsWares on Twitter
I founded a group on DeviantArt, Etsy-Deviants
I run EtsyDeviants on twitter

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Kitten Company

We're establishing new house habits and rules as the kittens have been growing. They can now do things like jump from the chair to the dining room table -- as I discovered when I came back to my breakfast to find my tea sloshed all over the table! (Thank goodness whomever it was didn't burn a paw! I like my tea very hot.) I've long been wanting to break the kids of their habit of "saving it for later" and leaving plates of leftovers on the table, so this is a perfect motivator. Also getting us in the habit of pushing in our chairs, since at this point they are less likely to make it to the table if the chairs are all the way in.

Though even if they can't make it to the table, they love the chairs. This week, they discovered the fun of racing round and round underneath the table, on the chair cushions. And BB is enormously tickled by the fact that they will jump up and try to sit beside her while she's eating her snack. Doing our best to discourage this...

The bottom line is, these two have no shyness at all about giving us kitten company, whether we really want it or not.

They absolutely insisted on getting up in my lap when I was catching up on some email a few days ago when I took this pic. Actually, Shelly got up there first (the names Shelly and Stormy seem to be sticking so far) and her brother did laps around the computer chair, mewing, until I picked him up and showed him that he could cuddle up on my lap as well. Definitely made it a little more challenging to type, but worth it for the cuteness factor. (Shelly is working her way into my lap even as I type this, actually, with Stormy right behind her!)

Turns out the computer chair is a general favorite for them. They climbed up behind BJ earlier today while he was working on his computer zoo.

Of course any time you're on the couch, you should consider yourself fair game for kitten cuddles.


This includes when I'm practicing guitar.


And by the time I finished typing this, both kittens were curled up in my lap, quite content. Nothing quite like kitten company.