Thursday, August 23, 2012

First day of Kindergarten.

Today was Miss C.'s first day of Kindergarten!

The day didn't exactly go as expected, but we survived and will live to go to school another day. My little sweetie awoke excited about her big day. She couldn't wait to get dressed in her uniform. She helped me make her snack (the first two days of school are minimum days, so snack only). And she couldn't wait to load up her lunch box and backpack.

Master W., whom I thought would remain completely oblivious to the proceedings, was the first to burst into tears. We were packing up her snack when my little guy started crying and it only took a moment for me to realize that had just dawned on him that his playmate, his Sissy, was going be gone for school. My heart broke a little and I did my best to console him... then he ran off to play with his cars. So much for 2.5-year-old heartbreaks!

We took lots of pictures before we left, including a couple of the snack I packed for her (cheese sticks, flower shaped watermelon pieces and a cut strawberry). Check out the kitty and doggie picks! I picked those little cuties up this summer in anticipation of school starting, and just recently received our bento boxes in the mail. This little strawberry box has a snap-top lid, which makes it easy for little hands to open. And, of course, it's pink... which makes it just perfect in Miss C.'s book.

Anyway... we arrived at school and joined the crush of parents dropping their little ones off for the first day of school. Miss C. was still all smiles as we entered her classroom, found a hook for her backpack and headed for her desk. I waited around just long enough to watch a few other parents leave then I figured it was time for me to go.

Just as I started to say goodbye with a kiss and an "I love you! See you in a few hours!", she started to tear up.

Now, I'm a big softie. And I have battled all my life with crying too easily. Seeing my daughter crying was gut wrenching... and tear inducing. Thankfully, her teacher was right there to help reassure her so I could beat a hasty retreat after a slightly tearful attempt to console her. I knew that I couldn't stay any longer... it would only make it that much harder for both of us.

I had my big tearful breakdown last week, so I was able to swipe away those few tears running down my cheeks and make it home without losing it.

At pick-up time, I took a moment to talk to her teacher and, as I suspected, she did just fine after I left. She did have a few crying jags tonight – as I suspected, she was completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of people at school. (Apparently certain introverted aspects of her parents' natures can be passed on to children – go figure!)

I'm just glad we made it. Here's hoping tomorrow is an easier day for my sweetheart!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cozy up: 'Choo Choo'

I wouldn't be exaggerating if I said we have a train obsession going on over at our house.

We have a train table packed with wooden tracks and tiny wooden trains (Ikea has very well-priced tracks and trains, if you're on a budget but want to get in on the train madness). Whenever we're on the road, Master W. is constantly scanning the scenery for trains, train bridges, railroad tracks and "jingle bells" (a.k.a. crossing lights and gates). And Miss C. loves to reconfigure our wooden train tracks over and over again.

You can imagine, then, how thrilled we are whenever we score a great train book at the library. One of our favorites this summer was 'Choo Choo: The Story of a Little Engine that Ran Away' by Virginia Lee Burton (yes, this is the same author who wrote the classic 'Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel'). Burton's is, of course, an amazing storyteller and illustrator and she put her gifts to good use when creating this story about a naughty little engine.

The story begins by introducing Choo Choo, a little black engine, and her crew: Jim the engineer, Oley the fireman and Archibald the conductor. All is well until one day Choo Choo decides that life would be so much more fun if she no longer had to pull all of the cars full of passengers and mail and luggage.  She makes a bold escape while Jim, Oley and Achibald are enjoying a coffee break and chaos ensues!

We read this one over and over again until my kids practically had the story memorized. And even though we returned it weeks ago, Master W.'s little wooden engine that lives on our train table still manages to lose her tender on a regular basis - just like Choo Choo does in the story.

Of course, you'll have to read the book to find out what happens to little Choo Choo. I promise you, though, that you and your little train lovers won't be disappointed – Choo Choo goes on quite an adventure!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Selvege winner!

A big thank you to everyone who entered my little giveaway!

Since there weren't too many of you, I did this the old fashioned way. I numbered your entries, wrote down the numbers on slips of paper and drew a name (eyes closed, of course!). And now for our big winner...
Woot! Woot! Congratulations, Robyn! I've sent you an email so you can send me your address.

If you haven't had a chance yet you really must check out Robyn's blog, Pen Pals and Picture Books. Robyn is awesome. Best bud and fellow PP&PB blogger Whitney is awesome. Together, they blog about awesome children's books and assorted activities. That's a lot of awesomeness!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

PB & Strawberry Grahams

I must confess, I have a bit of a sweet tooth. Okay, okay, more than a bit of one. 

Most nights, I like to have a little something sweet after dinner. My kids enjoy this ritual too, so I don't mind using dessert as a way to reward them for trying new things at dinnertime.*

I've always got healthy eating on my mind, so I prefer to keep the portions small and the treats homemade. Oatmeal raisin cookies, chocolate chip cookies (both homemade) and the occasional small scoop of ice cream (I need to start making this myself!) are our usual after-dinner treats. Last night, though, I was fresh out of homemade goodies so I had to think fast!

After a quick mental inventory check of my pantry and fridge, I whipped up these cute little peanut butter and strawberry grahams for my kiddos. They gobbled them up! Master W. doesn't like whipped cream (I know, I know... what kid doesn't like whipped cream???), so I made his without. 

They're easy to put together and relatively healthy compared to most desserts, since I used an unsweetened natural peanut butter (I recommend Trader Joe's brand if you haven't tried it yet). All you need to do is layer graham crackers, peanut butter, sliced strawberries, a tiny dollop of whipped cream and – if you have them on hand, which I did – sprinkle a few mini chocolate chips on top.

This would be a great cooking activity to do with your little ones if you don't mind a little mess at your table. Let me know if you try them – I'd love to hear how your kids enjoy them!

You can find this post linked up at:

* I know not everyone agrees with this philosophy when it comes to feeding children, but I've found it works well for my family. If you've ever had a child who is extremely strong willed and picky, you'll know how challenging meal time can be. It's just one of many things we do to encourage our little ones – especially our picky eater – to be open to new foods.

Monday, August 13, 2012

A teeny tiny giveaway.

That's not an exaggeration! It really is pretty small as giveaways go. But I still think it's a good one.

Today I'm giving away a lovely piece of selvage from the wedding quilt I'm making for my brother and his wonderful future-wife. The lucky winner will receive two, two-yard strips of selvage from Birch Fabric's Mod Basics Abacus in Grass (an organic fabric, by the way).

Just look at that little elephant! And that chubby little hand clutching Lightning McQueen! There is some serious cuteness going on here. 

I may not be a selvage-saver (thank goodness, because I certainly can't stop myself from hoarding every other tiny scrap of fabric that crosses my sewing table), but I know some of you out there love to keep your selvages for special sewing and quilty projects. And I just can't bring myself to throw away something so adorable.

Maybe one of you would like a chance to add it to your selvage hoarde collection?*

I'll ship anywhere, so international entries are welcome. Just leave me a comment on this post telling me a little something about yourself.

I'll draw a winner on after 9 p.m. PST on Friday, August 17. Please make sure there is a way for me to contact you if you're a no-reply blogger. Good luck!

*If you find yourself asking, "Why would anyone save selvages?" or "What could you possibly do with them?", then you may want to click here to see some amazing selvage projects. These ladies boast some serious selvage skills!

Friday, August 10, 2012

A little gift for my mom.

I have this incredible person in my life... my mom!

She's everything you'd ever want in a mother: an amazing listener, phenomenal Ama (grandmother) to my kids, and she's always finding ways to share her gifts with others. 

As a child, I never thought about my love for my mother. It was just there. Now that I'm an adult with children of my own, I think about it all the time. She's so incredible and my love for her grows every day. 

I always wish I could do more for her, to show her how much I love her and appreciate her. This week, I made her a scrappy armrest pin cushion just like the one I made a few months ago... only I made hers in the jewel tones she loves. 

It's a small thing, but sometimes those unexpected little gestures are the perfect way to show our mamas just how much we love and appreciate them. Have you thanked your mom lately?

Monday, August 6, 2012

I went crazy.

I spent my entire Fat Quarter Shop gift certificate in a moment of insanity pure bliss late last week. And look what showed up today!
  1. Timeless Treasures Blue Mod Cars
  2. Sweet on NYC White Taxi Cabs
  3. City Streets Olive Busy Downtown
  4. City Streets Orange Tossed Wind-Up Cars
  5. Michael Miller White Dig It
  6. Ten Little Things Orange Trucks
  7. City Centre Light Blue City Grid
  8. City Centre Red Stacked Cars
  9. Cone Zone Green Construction Zone

And, of course, I needed a coordinating solid, right? Kona Steel seemed like a perfect complement to all those cars and trucks.

What will all this fabric goodness become? My little guy is in need of a quilt to cover his big boy bed. I've been planning a unique (to me, at least, since I haven't seen this design anywhere before) block just for this quilt.

I can't get started just yet, as I still have to finish the wedding quilt for my brother and future sister-in-law first. Hopefully I'll be able to get moving on it soon!