Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Secrets of Happy Families Book Review

I've read a lot of books about family dynamics.  To some extent, they all seem a bit similar.  Recently TLC Books asked me if I'd be interested in reading The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler.  I said sure - I'm always up for a few new ideas to improve the way our family is functioning.  I think one of the ways to keep your family happy is just to be consistently thoughtful and intentful in how your family is operating. 

I started reading this book with the assumption that it would be similar to others that I've read.  But I was pleasantly surprised.  Feiler approaches different areas of family functioning by searching out experts in various fields and looking for new ways of improving the family dynamics in a way that works for you.  I love how much he emphasizes open family communication and including each family member.  Often, he applies innovative  business tactics that have been very successful in social networking and businesses.  He tackles touchy topics like resolving conflict, setting an allowance, family reunions, and talking about sex. 

My boys are still a little young to become firmly involved in some of the suggestions.  For example, my 3 year old twins aren't exactly ready to start brainstorming on a family mission statement.  However, I did want to put one of the techniques to the test.  I chose Feiler's suggestions on family dinner.  You've probably all heard the research about how important family dinners are for kids - I've always taken this to heart.  Besides, I grew up in a family where dinner was every night at 5:30, so it's kind of ingrained.  Feiler says that it doesn't have to be dinner though - if your kids are off to sporting events and such in the evenings, make it a family breakfast or a family lunch instead.  The key thing is that everyone is coming together for a meal for the purpose of talking. 

Feiler's suggests that you have discussions of each individual's high and low points from the day.  For a couple of years now we have gone around the table to talk about the favorite part of our day.  But we have never discussed the low point.  I liked this idea, because it gives kids an opening to talk about things that may have bothered them in school or even at home.  Feiler also suggests family meals are a wonderful time to improve vocabulary.  So I've started to try to bring a new word to the table each evening - the first night it was orzo, which was in our soup!  The other idea I liked from The Secrets of Happy Families was to use the family dinner to teach kids about their history - to tell family stories which give kids a feeling of connection and of knowing where they come from.  Do your kids know where their parents met?  Where their grandparents grew up?  Of an illness in the family and how it was handled?  The answers to these questions and more give a child a sense of being part of a larger family.  According to Feiler what has been found in studies is that, "The more children knew about their family's history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem, and the more successfully they believed their families functioned."

I found this book full of valuable and unique ideas that I plan to try to implement in my family.  We won't use all of them, but I do think we'll be putting several to use.  It's a book I'll be hanging on to, to refer to in the years to come.  If you are looking for new positive ways to improve your family (and who isn't?) this is certainly an excellent choice. 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes.  The opinions stated above are my own. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My Old Man, Winter Coats, and Crocs

Lately I've been getting my horse out to ride in the afternoons when it's sunny, and once Pierce gets off the school bus letting him have a little mini riding lesson before heading inside for homework.  It's nice to get some fresh air.  The twins enjoy driving their trucks around the arena and pretending to be horses on the jumps.
 I can't even count the number of times I pretended to be a horse as a kid and sailed my fleet feet over wooden cross bars, with a brisk neigh. 

Sometimes Reid likes to ride with me.  Here we are on my horse, Phoenix.  There was a time I wouldn't have dreamed of putting a kid on Phoenix (who seemed to refuse to tolerate any rider other than myself).  But he's an old man now, at 21, and he has arthritis.  I've had him since he was 3.  I wonder, sometimes when I call him old man, if he's silently calling me old woman? 
Pierce is always excited to get to ride.  I didn't even have to punch holes in my saddle stirrups for him, thanks to a brutal riding lesson when I was 14 years old that involved doing the entire hour in what my instructor, Art, referred to as "jockey position".  Turns out my teen jockey length stirrups fit a 6 year old just fine.  
I know what you're thinking.  You're wondering why the kid is wearing Crocs and a swimsuit (and winter jacket, no less).  It was beach day at school for spirit week.  Finding a creative way to do beach day without freezing was quite the mom challenge, let me tell you! 

Now if only it really were beach week.  I don't know about you, but I'm done with winter.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Smoked Sausage and Spinach Soup Recipe

I make soup pretty frequently in the winter.  Luckily, the boys generally like soup.  Recently I tossed together a new recipe and was quite pleased with the results.

1 lb. smoked sausage, diced
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, diced
1 celery rib, diced
5 cups broth (I used chicken)
1 14 oz. can navy beans, drained
1 tsp basil
9 ounce package fresh spinach
1/2 cup orzo
1 tsp basil
30 ounces canned diced tomatoes
5 cloves garlic, minced

Saute garlic, onion, carrots, and celery in a tablespoon of olive oil, in a large stew pot until tender.  Add all other ingredients (except the spinach) and bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer and cook for 7 minutes.  Add spinach and simmer 3 more minutes until spinach is gently wilted and orzo is tender. 

It turned out wonderfully, and we had plenty of leftovers to eat for lunch the next day.  That's win-win in my book!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sweet Felt Owls - Giveaway

Do any of you have vertigo?  I haven't had an attack in years, but I got my balance knocked out from under me about 10 days ago, and I'm still waiting to "sober up".  The doctor did call in some medication, but for some reason I'm not responding to it.  In the meantime, I can't do my usual activities (including working out/running - sob!).  Alternatives include anything that doesn't involve turning my head.  At all.  So suddenly, I've found myself sitting very still and crafting in my spare time. 

My crafty and talented blogging friend Tree posted a link on FB to a tutorial for making felt owls recently, and felt crafts are one of the few I am sort of capable of doing.  Granted, I can't do a straight stitch to save my life, but I generally get the project done and it mostly of resembles what it is supposed to be. 

I had fun making these felt owls, and plan to do some more.  The wooden pegs are tricky to find, and I had to place an order online from a craft store in Maine.  The ones I found at JoAnn were okay, but I think they'd be even better with the appropriate size pegs. 

Why Mr. Owl, is that a mouse running across the grass below? 

If you'd like to be entered to win this sweet set of felt owls (pine tree not included), just enter through the Rafflecopter below.  Or, if you'd like to try your hand at crafting your own, you can find the peg owl tutorial here.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, February 22, 2013

Twin Moments

It's been quiet for a few minutes.  Too quiet.  So quiet it raises my Mom hackles and urges me to go investigate.  I tiptoe to the bedroom door, which the twins have shut.  No whispers from within.  Slowly, I open the door just a teensy crack.

Reid catches me.  "Mom?!"

I don't respond, sneakily watching him and Cort tucked into Reid's bed, snuggled up side by side, surely whispering in that way that only twins can.  I love that they have moments like these.

Reid says, "Mom?!?  What are you doing?"

I open the door and yell "Rrraaaaarrrr!  I'm the tickle monster!"

The twins scream and duck under the covers as I leap into bed with them, attacking with my tickle fingers.  They both collapse into giggles, and when I stop to give them hugs they beg and beg me to become the tickle monster again.

Just one small moment in my day, but it makes the redundancy of daily winter life seem more like dancing in the rain.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Amazingly Light Angelfood Mocha Cupcakes

I had never tried International Delight Light Iced Coffee, and I wasn't sure what to expect. I loved the idea that it had less calories and less sugar, but would it be light and yet also sweet enough for me? Absolutely! In fact, I loved the taste so much that I thought it deserved a fantastic light dessert creation. I decided to make mocha angelfood cupcakes. Perfect for when you want a light dessert that is full of rich flavor.

Ingredients for Cupcakes:
One box angelfood cake mix
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/3 cup decaf coffee, cooled

Ingredients for Fluffy Frosting:
1 1/2 cups International Delight Light Iced Coffee (I used mocha flavor)
1 3.5 ounce package of vanilla pudding
1 8 ounce carton of whipped topping

Place the pudding in a bowl and add International Delight Light Iced Coffee. Mix on medium for 2 minutes. Place in the fridge and allow to firm for at least 2 hours.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350*. Place in mixing bowl angelfood cake mix, cocoa, and cooled coffee. Mix on medium until well blended. Pour into baking cups in muffin tins. Bake for 18-20 minutes and allow to cool.
Gently fold whipped topping into mocha coffee pudding. Frost cupcakes immediately before serving.

I will definitely be making these decadent yet light cupcakes again! Not only did my husband and I love them, but our 3 boys were impressed. And their favorite part? Why the frosting, of course!

With less calories and less sugar, International Delight Light Iced Coffee lets you enjoy MORE of what you love! For more fun ways to break up your day, visit ID's new online games today for a chance to win sweet prizes and coupons to use on your next purchase!

Disclaimer:  This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of International Delight. The opinions and text are all mine.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Royal Icing and Basket Weaving - Cake Decorating Level 2

Recently I finished my Level 2 Cake Decorating class.  In this class, we covered royal icing, which I didn't like much.  I missed the creamier (and tastier) buttercream.  We did a bit with fondant and gum paste, and I really didn't like it either!  I guess I'm just a simple person when it comes to cake making.  I was happy with how my final cake turned out though.
I did a two layer strawberry cake with a layer of homemade rhubarb jam in the center.  I used buttercream frosting on the outside and on the basket weaving.  I liked learning how to do the basket weaving - it was kind of repetitious and relaxing.  The lilies are made from royal icing - which, while edible, isn't so tasty.  They are pretty to look at though.  Kind of looks like an Easter cake to me. 

I decided not to take levels 3 and 4 of cake decorating.  They focus exclusively on fondant and gum paste, and that just isn't really my thing.  For the most part, though, I've learned what I wanted to and hope to keep practicing my techniques regularly.  After all, I was able to create these fun Valentines cupcakes for Pierce's school party last week:
If you have the right tips, these are actually super easy to make, and I thought they did turn out quite cute.  I hope the afternoon wasn't too rough on Pierce's teacher - with 20 kids hopped up on all this sugar! 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

But Why CAN'T We Cut a Hole in the Wall?

Pierce has been into spy gear lately.  He recently used a gift card he received from my aunt and uncle for Christmas to purchase a CSI door alarm for his bedroom door, that goes off at the smallest shadow crossing the path, and requires a card pass to turn off.  This does have the potential to be one of the most annoying toys ever created, but who am I to hinder a spy at work?

To fuel Pierce's imaginings, we have started reading Harriet the Spy.  I have my old beloved childhood copy from the 1980s.  I had to tape it together but it still has all the pages (so far).  I had forgotten that Harriet is kind of mean in her judgments of others, so we have a lot of open discussions about that as we read.  As a result of this book, Pierce has become obsessed with the dumbwaiter in Mrs. Plumber's house.  He doesn't understand why we can't cut a hole in the wall to build a dumbwaiter.  In fact, he comes up with new ideas and theories every day of how this might be accomplished in our house.  He brings these theories to Paul, our family project-master, and while Paul gently explains it's just not possible, this answer doesn't suit Pierce.
Once he realized we were pretty firmly set in not cutting any holes in the wall, Pierce came up with the idea of cutting a hole in the ceiling instead.  He's quite determined, for a 6 year old.  And while we built him a pretend dumbwaiter out of a Kleenex box and some rope strung from the office loft, this just doesn't suit because Pierce can't actually climb into a Kleenex box - only his stuffed animals can. 

Readers, don't you think Paul and I are just so mean, not to let Pierce cut a hole in the wall to build a dumbwaiter?  Talk about stifling some ingenuity!

I have a bit of an update on the job front.  Seems my CPS background check must have finally come back, because Friday I was sent W2 forms online and a confidentiality agreement to sign.  So hopefully I'll be starting some training in the very near future.  Thanks to those of you who continue to check up on how the job situation is going - I really appreciate how thoughtful you are! 

Monday, February 18, 2013

I Heart Keenwah Creative Quinoa Snack Giveaway

I grow so weary of the same snacks over and over.  As a runner, I often look for easy portable snacks in bar form that I can grab on the go and eat before I workout.  But they do grow old.  When I heard about the new I Heart Keenwah snacks, nutritious and made from an all natural quinoa cluster, I was excited to try them. 

 I was particularly pleased when I looked at the ingredients and found that there was nothing foreign and unprounouncable on there:  organic quonia, cashews, tapioca syrup, raw sugar, dried cranberries, honey, almond oil, baking soda and salt.  I loved that they were the perfect size to toss a few in the pocket of a running jacket in case I needed a nibble in the middle of a long run. 

But the true test for snacky goodness was, of course, the taste test.  Sometimes the all-natural snacks just don't have much flavor.  Well, let me tell you, these do not disappoint!  First off, they are crunchy and chewy, but without being dry and crumbly.  I loved the sweet burst of flavor.  All three boys really enjoyed them, and Pierce said his favorite part was the cranberries. 

And now I have a little confession (blush).  When I received the email asking if I'd like to review these, I asked if they would send extra so I could give away one for my readers.  I was so greedy to try these that I opened the big bag first and dug right in, without reading the little accompanying note.  I was supposed to eat the sample bags and give away the big bag (OOPS!).  So sorry readers - I'm terribly embarrassed.  What a bad blogger I have been!  And thank goodness this tasty snack is only 120 calories per serving, huh?  Anyhow, so instead, I'm giving away to one very lucky reader two sample bags - one almond and one peanut ginger.  And next time I promise to read first and chow down later (all this running I do - sometimes it just makes a girl mighty hungry!). 

Disclaimer:  I received 3 bags of I heart Keenwah for review purposes and since I piggishly ate the wrong bag, I will be giving away the two smaller bags.  The opinions stated above are my own. 

To enter to win, click on the Rafflecopter giveaway.  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, February 15, 2013

Best Little Puzzlers Around

For the past year or so, the twins have been OBSESSED with puzzles. It's really Reid who pushes the puzzles.  He is always the one that gets them out, but Cort likes the companionship, so he always ends up helping Reid work them.  We have a good assortment of puzzles, of the 30 piece variety, but it seems they have gotten too easy for the twins.  So one day I broke out a 100 piece Melissa and Doug pirate puzzle that I bought for Pierce at a yard sale last fall.  It's for ages 6+, and Pierce complains it is too hard and won't work it.
Would you believe that Cort and Reid sat down and worked the entire thing on their own?  It took them a while, but they were so proud when they finished.  And I'd say they sure showed up their older brother this time around!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Baked Chicken with Rhubarb Jam

My friend Ginger sent me a wonderful chicken recipe.  I adapted it a bit and it was so delicious that I'll certainly be making it again soon.

3 1/2 - 4 pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup rhubarb jam (if you don't have rhubarb jam - I chose it because I canned some last summer - a marmalade would work just as well)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 large cloves minced garlic

Salt and pepper chicken and rub it into skin.  Preheat oven to 400*.  Mix other ingredients in small bowl and spread sticky jam sauce all over chicken.  Place in 9x13 baking dish, leaving space between each piece.  Bake for 45-55 minutes, until juices run clear and chicken is golden.

I think this may be my favorite way that I've cooked one of our chickens - and I've cooked a lot of chicken in my time!  Do you have a favorite way to cook chicken, readers?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Second Log Home Tour!

It's been a long time since I did a log home tour.  Over a year and a half.  Mostly because my house is always a complete disaster area.  With 3 boys, 4 cats, a dog and a rather messy husband, I'm sure you can see how this could happen.  Recently, though, I threw myself into decluttering and deep cleaning, and was pleased with the results.  And so, I bring to you readers, my second log home tour.  The great room:

You can't see from these pictures, but we have an A frame with trapezoid windows, so lots of light comes in.  I love looking up at the tall ceilings when I'm doing yoga.

The great room flows into the kitchen, and you can also see the office loft from here. 

The kitchen is one of my favorite places in the house.  I love the pantry and the Mexican floor tiles (which I knew I wanted before we even built the house!).  Paul and I went on a wild ride waaaaaay out in the boonies of Virginia to find a specific Amish cabinet maker named Daniel - the handles on our cabinets are mountain laurel.  And Paul made the countertops himself, out of concrete.
This is Pierce's room.  Paul recently rearranged the room to surprise him, and it actually looks much larger now.  Pierce was thrilled with his "new" room.

Downstairs bathroom.

The twins' room.

This is the guest room, which is in our basement.  We had it built when I was pregnant with the twins.  The furniture is from my paternal grandparents, and I love the dark wood.

The loft/office.  I keep trying to get Paul to take that eagle to work, as it isn't really my thing, but so far I haven't been successful.

Master bedroom.  That's Baxter napping on the cat tower.

Master bath.  The boys love to get in the jacuzzi with their shark collection.

Other side of the master bathroom.

It's been a month and the house is already quite messy again, but Paul and I are working hard to declutter.  As much as I love this house, we're kind of thinking about putting it on the market, to get something with a smaller mortgage.  This is if it would sell - which is a big if, although I have heard the market is picking up.  Anyhow, it's something we're thinking about seriously.  If we sold our place, we'd be looking for an old farmhouse to restore with a smaller acreage (about 10-20 acres) in the same region.  I love Pierce's school and ideally don't want to switch school zones.  So lots to think about!  Hope you enjoyed the tour!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Fashion for Kids on a Budget

As you know, we're on a really tight budget right now, so we don't often have money to spend on clothes.  Whenever the boys get extra cash for their birthdays or Christmas, I always put aside some of it for picking up essentials like jeans, and I love to go to Old Navy.  They have incredible sales and I'm a huge fan of their fun holiday shirts.  In the past my boys have sported their Halloween, St. Patrick's Day, Christmas and Valentines Day shirts. 

Now through February 20th Old Navy is having their Kids & Baby Sale - up to 40% off certain styles.  I printed off a $10 off $50 coupon from the Old Navy website, and then the boys and I went to the Old Navy store at Valley View Mall in Roanoke. 

There was such an excellent selection that we had trouble choosing what to buy.  I picked up two pairs of jeans that were on sale for $10 each in the next size up for Pierce.  Last year during Old Navy's February sale I picked up several pairs of jeans for Pierce, and they fit his skinny frame so well with their adjustable waists, plus they have held up.  I've been impressed by how there is no fraying around the bottoms and not a single hole in the knees.  A year later!  Once I had the jeans picked out, we got around to the fun part - shirts!
Pierce got the two pairs of jeans, a long sleeved Valentines shirt, an astronaut shirt (his choice), a St. Patrick's Day shirt, and a Star Wars Angry Birds shirt (his choice).  For the twins, I picked out coordinating blue and red striped shirts, #4 short sleeved striped shirts (perfect for their fourth birthday this summer), and glow in the dark dinosaur shirts (their choice - they are quite fascinated by dinosaurs lately). 
 One thing I love about Old Navy is they have shirts in all the latest trends but they are reasonably priced.  Plus, their shirts are made from such soft material - this is particularly important for Cort's sensitive, eczema-prone skin.
Pierce looks like a little heartthrob in his new jeans and St. Patrick's Day shirt, doesn't he?  He is so excited to wear his new clothes to school.  And I'm thrilled that we got all of these clothes for just $75 (including my coupon)!

What about you, readers?  Do you have a favorite item of clothing you've bought from Old Navy?

Disclaimer:  I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Sierra Nevadas and Sequoia National Park

It's funny - I kind of thought I'd done a post a while back about our trip to Sequoia, but when I was searching for it recently I couldn't find it.  Apparently, I scanned some pictures (this was before my digital camera) but never wrote a post.

This trip was taken before we had kids, part of an 8 day camping trek across the west.  
A picture of the views from the first hike we did in the Sierra Nevadas:

This is the inside of Chimney Tree.

From the inside, looking up:

The infamous General Sherman, in all his tree glory:

If you breathe deep, maybe you can smell the tangy pine needles, the bark, the moist earth:

While hiking, we saw a couple of bear cubs:

This is Tharp's Cabin, built into a fallen redwood.  
Doesn't it inspire you to write tales of Tharp, who lived there?
I think I could live in a little tree cabin like this, just for a little while.  He had a little bunk and table in there, with a fireplace.  Simplicity like this appeals to me.  Maybe I'd have a pet chipmunk for company.  Does the simple life draw you in as much as it does me?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Shrimp and White Beans Recipe

My Runners World magazine always has really wonderful healthy recipes each month.  I've made several of them in the past, and always been happy.  This February, there was a recipe involving shrimp that I wanted to make, as it is still Pierce's favorite food.  Shrimp isn't generally in our budget right now, but they do have $5 bags at Walmart, so I caved and purchased some for this recipe.  I made a few tweaks in my version (mostly to downplay spiciness, as the boys are rather sensitive).

12 ounces frozen shrimp, defrosted in a colander
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf, broken into small pieces
1 14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 15 ounce cans white beans, drained
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp chopped parsley

Heat a large skillet over medium-high.  Toss shrimp, 3 cloves garlic, 2 tbsp olive oil and mushrooms with paprika.  Saute 1-2 minutes or until mushrooms are slightly tender.  Spoon into bowl and set aside.  Add rest of oil, pepper flakes, bay leaf, and 1 clove garlic.  Cook until garlic is golden.  Add tomatoes, cook until most of liquid evaporates, 3-4 minutes.  Add tomato paste, cook until darkened.  Add beans and broth, simmer until it is a thick stew, about 5 minutes.  Stir in shrimp, mushrooms, and parley.  Cook until heated through.

The boys did mention it was spicy, but it was only the mildest little kick it had.  I served it with my homemade whole wheat bread on the side.  I thought it was excellent! 

Readers, do you have any favorite recipes that you've found in magazines?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Shabby Apple Giveaway

I know it's just February, but this is the time of year that I start dreaming of summery dresses and the sun on my arms.  Playful tops and classy swimsuits and the sound of kids running on the beach.  Luckily, I know just the website to visit when my mind gets all dreamy and stir-crazy with the winter season.  I'm never disappointed when I browse through Shabby Apple...
I love the red and white stripes in this Venezia swimsuit.  Lately I have been obsessed with stripes.  In fact, I am wearing a wide striped black and white shirt as I type this.  I also suspect that the high black belt would be slimming.  Perfect!

Of course, Shabby Apple is best known for their large assortment of gorgeous dresses.  Truly, there is going to be a dress on there that you love.  I seem to always be drawn toward their dresses where the model is in the Southwest.  The combination of flirty and desert in a vintage dress just calls my name.  Check out Cayenne:
Last Fall I was fortunate enough to win a dress from Shabby Apple (thanks to Shabby Apple and Sandie!).  I was not asked to do a review of my dress, but I absolutely love it, so I thought I'd share a picture with my readers - to show that their dresses are beautiful on regular people like myself.  The material is so soft, and the cut of the dress I found very flattering.

You know what else I love about this dress?  It doesn't tend to get wrinkly (I never, ever iron), so it would be awesome to take when traveling.  I haven't had an excuse to wear it yet, but I'm hoping to do so later this Spring.

Readers, Shabby Apple has been kind enough to offer a $50 giveaway for one lucky person!  This is a Rafflecopter giveaway.  Disclaimer:  I did not receive anything in exchange for this blog post, but I knew that the giveaway and information would be of interest to my readers.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Heavy Cat Carrier

The other day I had to take our cat, Disco, to the vet.  Disco is 15, but has always been fortunate to have good health.  However, recently in an effort to save a few bucks, I switched to a cheaper brand of cat food.  This had the unfortunate side effect of causing a mountainous erruption of pus-filled zits to swell all over Disco's chin.  After they didn't disappear over the course of a couple of weeks, I decided to take him to the vet.

For $104 Disco got a shot of antibiotics and some kitty-Clearasil.  And I learned, the hard way, the cheap cat food is not so cheap after all.  The twins and I returned home, a little poorer, and I let Disco out of the carrier and proceeded to make lunch.  Later, I went to grab the carrier to return it to the basement, where we keep such things.  I grabbed the handle to pick it up and WHOA it was heavy! 
 Out of our four cats, only one is chunky these days, so I said, "Baxter!  What are you doing in there?" All while wondering to myself what sort of crazy cat would willingly take a nap in a cat carrier - the one-way-ticket to the vet?  Imagine my surprise when it wasn't Baxter that crawled out....

Who would've thought that a 3 1/2 year old could cram his entire little body into a cat carrier? 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Painting Pottery

The twins were recently invited to a birthday party at one of those pottery painting places.  I knew Cort really loved painting, but I wasn't sure how the twins would like painting pottery.  Cort picked out a bear to paint, and Reid picked out a shark.  They both chose mostly cool colors for their paints.

 They took right to painting.  Both of them were intense in their concentration.  I was a little surprised by how patient and devoted they were to applying the paints and making sure they got every little crevice.

I think I need to paint with them more often.  It's apparently something they both really love.  Who knew?

What a fun idea for a birthday party!  The only problem was when it was time to leave.  The pieces have to be fired in a kiln, and you don't get them back until a week later.
The twins had a hard time understanding this.  They kept saying, "Where's my bear?  Where's my shark?"  A week is a long time for a 3 year old! 
Finally, their long awaited glazed pottery was ready.  They are now proudly displayed on their dresser.