Friday, September 23, 2011

fire up!

Once upon a time, I spent many fall Friday nights on the track,
so I was more than a little bit excited for Ella to have a turn.

I sewed and glued and tied her first cheer bow,

and then acted like that crazy mom

smiling and waving and taking pictures on the other side of the fence.

(I won't lie...we even practiced together when we got home.)

I loved every minute.

And yes, I'm crossing my fingers that cheerleading runs in the family.

Love this little girl. She makes my heart sing.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

good coffee reads

My favorite way to start my morning is with a good cup of coffee and Google Reader. Some of my new bloggy favorites:
What have you been reading lately? Any good blogs to pass along?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

technology tickets

I saw this project on Pinterest (orginally from Under the Sycamore) and I was instantly smitten. I like it because it's pretty and because I think it will work.

Here's the idea: each "ticket" is worth 30 minutes of technology time - either TV or computer or video games...whatever your child is into. You put a designated number of tickets in each child's envelope each week and they can use them at their discretion (with Mom and Dad having final veto power) until they run out. You can also reward with extra tickets or take away if needed.

My kids overheard me sharing this idea with Matt this weekend and got excited enough that I went out and actually bought the supplies yesterday. Usually it would take me another month or two to follow through and do the project. My friend Theresa jumped right on board, however, when we discussed the idea at our weekly morning swim today. 

A couple of hours later we were staring down our clipboards in my front lawn with cans of chalkboard paint in our hands.

We painted and cut and rounded and Mod Podged our way through the afternoon and we're pretty excited about the results. We tend to want things to be perfect (which prevents us from ever starting) and we decided it was good therapy to plunge ahead even though we don't consider ourselves to be expert crafters.

Kudos to Ashley Ann of Under the Sycramore for dreaming up this project and posting great pictures of her board. Here are some more detailed step-by-step instructions (or at least our version of them) if you want to give it a try.


Clipboard (my pick = Target)
Chalkboard paint
Painters tape
5-8 pieces coordinating cardstock 12x12 scrapbook paper 
Paper cutter
Corner rounder
Letter stamps & ink
Small brown envelopes
Mod Podge
Hole punch

  1. Tape off clip on clipboard with painters tape. Spray clipboard with chalkboard paint. Use thin, even coats. Let dry.
  2. Cut out tickets with paper cutter. Ours were 2 inches by 6 inches - you can get 12 tickets out of one 12x12 sheet of paper. Round corners. Punch holes.
  3. Cut out smaller squares to stamp initials onto (1 1/2 by 1 1/2 inches) and add the initials - or stamp directly onto your tickets.
  4. Cut out paper for your clipboard. We did one larger piece about 9 inches by 9 inches and then two smaller strips about 9 inches by 1 1/2 inches.
  5. Mod Podge the paper to your clipboard. Apply Mod Podge to your clipboard first (avoid the part of the chalkboard that will be showing at the top and bottom) and then to the back of your paper in thin, even coats with a paint brush. Leave a strip of chalkboard showing on the bottom. Use your hands or a credit card to push the bubbles out. Wipe away any extra Mod Podge. Let dry.
  6. Stamp initials onto envelopes. I did one for Dylan and one for Ella and one for "Mom" [or Mady...someday]. For now I will put the used tickets in the third envelope. Attach envelopes to the front of your clipboard. We used Mod Podge.
  7. Mod Podge lightly over the top of your tickets. Be careful not to smear the ink of the initials. Let dry.
  8. Cut ribbon - I used 6 inch pieces but you could leave them longer if you want. Thread ribbon through the holes of your tickets. Put tickets in your envelopes. Clip extra "reward" tickets onto clipboard.
  9. Hang clipboard in prominent spot in your house. Explain new system to spouse and kids. Enjoy!

{featuring Paper Studio's Hoot Hoot Paper Pack}


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

back to school!

It seems a little surreal that I sent two kids off to school this morning. And for the first time in almost seven years, my baby boy will be spending more of his awake time away from home instead of at home with his mama and sisters.

We had a great first day, starting with a fairly smooth morning - I owe a big shout out to these printable morning routine cards I found on Pinterest last night.

There was even plenty of time left over for me to take an obnoxious number of first day of school photos in the front yard. (The signs D & E are holding are another Pinterest find.)

Then we loaded up the whole fam and took them to school today all together (it was quite an event).

First we dropped off sister...

And then big sister made herself right at home.

When we came back home, Mady and I enjoyed a nice run on a beautiful fall morning followed by a mommy/baby girl shopping trip and lunch at Panera. We loved our one-on-one time together...

...but we were glad to see brother and sister get off the bus again at the end of the day. (And our new after school routine worked like a charm!)

My favorite story of the day: Dylan told me that he and Ella talked to each other through the fence at recess (their school keeps the little ones on a separate playground). Somehow that brought up prison yard images which made me laugh and then it reminded me how much they care about each other which made me smile.

First day of school = great success!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

summer's last hurrah

With two kids going back to school this fall (PreK & 1st grade), Labor Day weekend really felt like our last chance to soak up summer. We spent most of our time in Holland and we were able to squeeze in a few more last minute activities.

We stopped for a free pony ride (hey, why not?)

Played in the pool with Daddy

Climbed to the top of Mt. Pisgah

(Can you spot Big Red?)

Lunched on Dune Dogz and shave ice

Rolled in the waves of Lake Michigan

Ignored our better judgement and jumped off the pier

Biked down cottage-lined roads

Ate our last ice cream of the season

And enjoyed one last (chilly) swim.

See you next year, Summer!

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