Tuesday, January 31, 2017

My Happy Planner

When Brandon asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year I told him I wanted a Happy Planner. I had seen people using them and wondered if it'd be something I'd like and let me tell you...I LOVE IT! It's like scrapbooking/project life/making a list and getting it done all at the same time! There is nothing more satisfying than making a plan and carrying through and I feel like if I write it down it's about 99% gonna get done. Not checking the stuff off gives me a bit of anxiety actually, so maybe it isn't the greatest...I don't know.

Since today is the last day of January I thought I'd give you a little peak at my (nearly) finished first month.On the first page there are some questions like what am I currently reading, watching, cooking, eating, crafting etc. Then there is a spot for goals (crushed mine) birthdays this month, any notes I'd like to keep and other important dates. January was a very busy month with tons to do! (I made more than 15 scrapbook pages but I haven't officially counted them up. This post make #31!)

The next page was blank but when I got home from the Women's March, I cut those words from a newspaper we were handed at the metro stop. 

Next 2 pages are a standard monthly calendar. I used this to jot general notes about particular events/days/important dates. 

The next two pages were dated Jan 2-8th and all the things we had going on. I printed out the numbers at the top of the page with my Cricut Explore and used stickers, pens and printables I found on Pinterest to dress my days up. I also included some pictures I had taken of events we'd attended.

I used the same method for the other weeks in January filling up my pages with to do lists, things to purchase, things to get accomplished etc. Each day is separated into three rectangular boxes and I use those as morning/afternoon/evening dividers. I've seen other people use them differently but this method works for me and makes it easier for me to glance at my book and see what needs to get done at what time. 

Since the last two days of this month end on Mon/Tues there was a whole lot of space left to the right. I decided to use some more of that newspaper to fill up the space...I love that "RESIST!" and the hilarious color by number of the Chump! Some of the colors are orange (of course) alt-white, fool's gold, grey poupon, verbillion, dung and tyranny. Ha! 

Yesterday I got February all ready to go and I'm all set to begin filling up those little boxes tomorrow!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Dakota's Birthday Album

I have one completed birthday album! Woohoo! Too bad it's Dakota's, lol! She's only 4 so her's was the simplest with regard to pages needing to get done. (Zoe's is complete to her 16th birthday, Landon's up to his 9th and Harper has a few years finished. I only want to do up to the kids' 18th birthday's so I'm nearly done with Zoe's as well!)

The album itself is 11 1/2 x 11/2 and holds 8 1/2 x 11 pages. I chose a smaller layout size than the traditional 12 x 12 because I wanted to do something different with these books and it's fun to scrap a different size every once in awhile.

Here's the cover:

Title Page: You'll notice I don't have a photo of Harper on this page but when Dakota was born, Harper wouldn't go near her. He absolutely refused her and didn't really warm up to her until she was nearly 3 months old! He just wasn't having it.

First Birthday:

Second Birthday:

Third Birthday:

Fourth Birthday:

I've got a spread in the works for Harper's fourth birthday and then I'll only have three more years to do for him...and then I'll try to catch up on the big kids. I'm shooting to finish Harper's by mid February and the other kid's by summer. Fingers crossed that I can do it! :) 

Dress Shopping, Take One

I was pretty excited to get to go wedding dress shopping with Zoe yesterday. She's been asking when we should go and I told her my first available weekend day was this Sunday, so she made an appointment at David's Bridal for 1:30 pm. Her man of honor Viktor also came and the three of us had a good time oohing and aahing over gorgeous dresses.

Zoe was the first to arrive and was told that her sales rep wasn't quite ready yet. The place was PACKED with women trying on gowns (bridal and prom) and our appointment started about 15-20 minutes late. While we waited we browsed the racks but there were so many that it was nearly impossible to know where to begin. So, we just kind of perused the aisles and checked out price tags to determine if it was even worth pulling off the rack.

I tried to take pictures of each dress she tried on and they were each truly unique. Of course we liked bits and pieces of each gown but there were definitely a few standouts. The first one was a trumpet design and while it was pretty, it wasn't my favorite. Zoe loved it and we loved the length of the train but it was the first dress so we didn't wanna get too excited just yet. The only thing I didn't like about it was the stitching on the cups of the dress top. I felt like it took away from the dress, not added to it. Zoe didn't feel that way at all and thought it was great, but on we went.

This next dress was GORGEOUS! I loved every single thing about it and so did Zoe and Viktor. The only problem was they didn't have it in her size. (This is clipped all over in the back to show how the right size would fit.) This dress is no longer in production so we can't just go anywhere to get it...poo.We loved the sleeves, the beaded belt at the waist and the back was lovely too...it was absolutely stunning.

I don't know what style the next one is considered but it too was very nice. The picture I took of it doesn't do it justice but it was so ill fitting that we didn't spend too much time on it. It was also the most expensive dress she tried on and would have needed a ton of alterations. The sleeves were too big, the bust was too big and it was really long. They didn't have another closer to her size to try on and it was really hard to imagine what it'd look like if it were better fitting.

The last dress was one I asked her to try on because it had a fuller skirt than the other dresses she'd tried. She wore an amazing dress to prom one year that fit her beautifully and when I thought wedding gown, I thought ball gown style like the prom dress. So, on a whim we pulled this next dress off the rack...

I'll admit that when she walked out I thought it was a little ho hum, but then, she stuck her hands in the POCKETS, and spun around and it was magical. I felt like it was lacking something so I asked the sales lady to grab a belt to add. The belt absolutely gave the dress the little bit of sparkle it needed but the belts she chose were too thin and really needed to be much wider to be what matched what was in my head. 

We ended up leaving without buying anything and it was a tough decision for Zoe to make but ultimately she decided she wanted to try a few other places and styles before committing. We have an appointment tomorrow and Thursday evenings...fingers crossed we'll have a decision before too long! 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Harper's Peru Project

A couple weeks ago Harper came home with a "country project" from school. He was to choose any country he wanted and make a poster with some facts about that country. When I asked him what country he wanted to do he said South America...so, we explained that that wasn't a country but a continent and then helped him find a country IN South America to learn about. He chose Peru. Why, I have no idea.

While I was at the Women's March on Washington Tony helped Harper gather some facts about Peru. They found things they liked to eat, what animals were native to the country, what their flag looked like, etc. They didn't have school this past Monday so I used that time to help Harper put his poster together with the facts that he and Tony had gathered.

I wanted the project to be simple and look like something he made, not something I did, so I gave him ideas and let him do the work. It's hard to see in the photo below, but he has South America on there with Peru colored in, the Peruvian flag, a paragraph about what they eat (they commonly eat guinea pigs!), a section that lets you know that they speak Spanish and a few words translated from English to Spanish, what sports they enjoy in Peru (soccer, bullfighting,volleyball), three photo's of animals native to their land (jaguar, spectacled bear, puma) and at the very bottom some examples of their money which is called Sol.

He practiced telling us all about his poster a few times that way he'd be ready to do his presentation on Friday. All the parents were invited to the classroom to see the kids' work so Dakota and I spent Friday morning learning all about different countries. There were some great posters and some very interesting facts and costumes!

Some kids even brought in food to try from their countries. One kid brought in seaweed and I was really surprised when Harper decided to give it a try! (He didn't like it!)

The little girl who did her project on Poland brought in kielbasa which both of my kids loved!

And, a boy who reported on Jamaica brought in plantain chips. We liked those as well!

But, the biggest winner was the little girl who talked about Germany and gave each of the kids a bag of gummy bears! Those were the class favorite, hands down! 

Dakota's First Dental Appointment

After school on Thursday Harper, Dakota and I had dentist appointments. It was Dakota's first appointment and I was a bit nervous about it so I had Tony come along to help me out in case Dakota freaked. 

I'm happy to say that the appointment went fairly smoothly but Dakota was a bit stubborn at times. The hygienist was very calm and patient with her and I really appreciated her working with me in getting Dakota to cooperate. Harper did great except when she turned on the spit sucker thingy, it scared him half to death! If she'd have given him warning he'd have been fine but when he heard it and saw that thing coming towards him her grabbed her hand and clamped his mouth shut! Poor kid. I had to talk him down a bit so he'd let her finish and once he realized it wasn't going to hurt him he calmed down. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

60 Degrees and Sunny!

60 degrees in January is not typical for Maryland but that's exactly what we had today!

We took advantage, of course!

Artsy Partsy, Class 4

We continued to learn about the land we live on this week but instead of concentrating on things that grow on the land we talked about things we might see when we're outside.

Our first project was a self portrait because we do see people when we're out and about.

When the kids finished the teacher then handed each child a mirror to see if they could see anything they'd missed. Dakota immediately noticed that she'd forgotten to draw the butterfly necklace she was wearing and added it to her masterpiece.

Once the kids were done drawing themselves we began our next project which was to add things to a house with markers. They were given plain white houses and the kids were free to draw whatever they wanted. Oddly enough Dakota had been drawing a house earlier this morning so she was ready for this one! She added a window, a door, a picture frame, a red chimney and then decided her house could fly so those two orange circles are wings, not outside lights like I thought they were. :)

Our next project involved painting a vehicle. There were trains and trucks and while Dakota really wanted a train there weren't any left when it got to her turn. She didn't bat an eye though and just grabbed a truck and went to work. (I was really proud that she didn't get upset or throw a tantrum about it and just settled for what was left.) 

Before we left the kids were given a plain white sheet of paper and told to paint the top blue for the sky and the bottom green for the grass. Then they were able to glue their houses on top and choose a tree and bird to add to the scene. 

Two classes left for this session and I'm pretty sure we'll be signing up for another round! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Junior Year Course Selection

Landon just finished his first semester as a sophomore and while we haven't gotten his report card we did sit down this afternoon and choose his classes for 11th grade. Before we know it it'll be here and we'll be thinking about senior year...it just all happens so fast!

Physics, Integrated Math (he want's to change that to Algebra II, so we'll see what happens there), English and World History as his core classes. He then had to choose ten electives and number them 1-10 with 1 being highest preference. His selections were:

  1. Team Sports 2
  2. Human Geography
  3. Digital Photography 1
  4. Criminal Justice
  5. General Psychology
  6. Yearbook 1
  7. FACS Work Based Learning (Culinary)
  8. Child Development 1
  9. Web Page Design
  10. American Sign Language 3
It'll be interesting to see what he ends up with next year. I was really surprised by his choices (except team sports) but I told him now was a great time to pick some unusual classes to see if anything sparks his interest. Photography would be awesome because then he can teach me what he learns! 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Frozen Fest

I was on Facebook when I happened to see an ad for Frozen Fest at Robinson Nature Center. It looked like a fun thing to do with the kids so I texted my friend Lisa to see if they'd want to go as well and they did, so we bought some tickets.

I wasn't sure how I was going to feel after being at the Women's March on Washington the day before but surprisingly I felt fine so off we went!

We were among the first to arrive and we were barely in the door when we saw Princess Anna and Elsa and Olaf coming our way. Dakota was completely star struck and could hardly believe they were standing there. She wouldn't talk to them and was super bashful when they spoke to her. She and Harper got pictures and afterwards Dakota just stared at them for the longest time! It was really cute!

After our encounter with the famous trio we headed off to see what else there was to do while we waited for our friends to show up. Harper found a neat wheel we could spin to see how a mill works internally while Dakota found a little table filled with "snow" to play in.

Our friends showed up at this point and we headed over to the snowball toss to see how many points we could get.

As we headed to the planetarium to watch Zula Patrol- Under the Weather we stopped to learn a little about birds that are in our area year round vs. only in the winter. 

After sitting and watching a short movie about weather we stopped at a table to make a penguin craft. Well, Dakota did, Harper was in no mood to make any crafts.

While Dakota was busy making a penguin Harper noticed some people outside roasting marshmallows and running up and down the hill. We thought they were making s'more's so the kids were ready to go find the chocolate (they don't actually like s'mores or marshmallow's, just the chocolate!). They were disappointed when they realized there weren't any chocolate bars but Dakota decided to roast a marshmallow for the heck of it while Harper ran up and down the hill. 

It was a little chilly outside and we hadn't brought our big coats so we headed back in where we found another craft to make while we warmed up. (Again, Dakota did the craft while Harper wandered into another room. This time he found a working beehive.)

One of the main events of the day was making our own ice cream so we decided to go do that once Dakota finished her snowman. Harper made mint chocolate chip, Tony made strawberry and Dakota and I made chocolate. It was fun to make but it took a lot of shaking so I didn't get many photo's. The ice cream was pretty tasty though so it was worth all the work!

Just as we finished making and eating our ice cream a reptile show was about to begin so we ventured in and found some seats. The kids and Tony sat on the floor while Lisa, Evelyn and I sat in seats a couple rows behind them. The kids learned all about reptiles and got to touch snakes and turtles. They brought out a salamander but no one was allowed to touch it because of it's sensitive skin.

As we were leaving we noticed a man doing an ice carving demo. My kids couldn't have cared less (tired, hungry, DONE) so I didn't get to see the finished product (it was going to be a swan) but ice carving is pretty cool to witness in person!

Frozen Fest was a fun way to spend the afternoon and I'll definitely be looking for more activities to do with the kids at the nature center!

Dance, 9/18/18

Dakota had her second dance class last night. Her class this year is at least twice the size as last year and it's harder to get videos...