Shaving Cream Letters

In school, Caroline learns a new letter each week.

Since she wasn’t really picking up each letter each week, I decided to work with her on the new letter before it is introduced.

This week the letter was P and one of our activities was shaving cream writing.


Caroline loved it and had lots of fun writing the letters.



She also had tons of fun just playing.



Needless to say, she took a shower after this.

A Christmas Tradition of Santa Giving Books

***I am reposting this from 2 years ago since it is my most popular post ever – plus the time is perfect***just to clarify a few things which I have been asked – the post office gives anyone those airmail stickers and yes those are real stamps with a stamp marked all over them – the books always have a quick message from Santa on the inside cover, something like “I can’t wait to eat those cookies you put out” or “Rudolph’s nose is all shined up and ready to go.” – add a flourish to your writing or ask someone else to do the writing)

One of my favorite family Christmas traditions occurs on Christmas Eve. Every December 24th, usually in the afternoon, Santa’s elves deliver a holiday book (or two) and leave it at our door.

Once everyone has showered and put on pajamas we get into bed and read the book. The kids love receiving the book and I’m pretty sure Santa loves giving it just as much. Over the years we have built up quite a collection of holiday books. Here’s a peek at some of our favorites:

The Berenstain Bears Christmas by Stan & Jan Berenstain

The Berenstain Bears’ Christmas Tree by Stan & Jan Berenstain

Santa Claus by Rod Green

This is an amazing book, just gorgeous illustrations and just magical for kids 5 – 10 yrs old.

Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma WilsonSanta’s Reindeer by Rod Green

Another unbelievable Christmas book. Tells all about Santa’s reindeer, where they sleep, how they fly, and more. This one will not disappoint.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

Cajun Night Before Christmas by “Trosclair”

Just a few lines of the beginning to give you the gist of this favorite of mine – lay on a thick french/country accent as you read it 🙂

‘Twas the night before Christmas

An’ all t’ru de house

Dey don’t a t’ing pass

Not even a mouse.

De chirren been nezzle

Good snug on de flo’

An’ Mama pass de pepper

T’ru de crack on de do’.

Do you have any family traditions or holiday books that are special to you?

My New Favorite Baby Gift

My new favorite baby gift to give is the One Line a Day Memory Book.

The concept is so simple and in the same lines with journaling & scrapbooking but IT’s DOABLE for everyone.

The idea behind the book is that you have 6 lines for each day of the year. The brillant part of the book is that it lists 5 years on one page. So you get to see what your little one or yourself was doing on January 1st for 5 years. Just think of all the changes you will see this way.

I bought each of my children their own book two months ago and both my husband and I have been faithful to make sure there is something written for each day.

Sometimes we write how their school day went, which friend they talked a lot about, games that they played at home, what they ate or refused for dinner, favorite books, funny stories they told us – really anything is open for an entry.

Here are a few of the examples I have for each of my kiddos:

Alex (10 yrs) – You played “French Resistance Army” with Andrew and Caroline. You each had on a toque and gloves. You all built a trench (made of toy boxes, chairs, and play kitchen furniture) coming out from the tent – loving the Tour de France right now.

Andrew (7 yrs) – Ran errands with Dad & Alex – went to Alex H’s for birthday party and sleepover- at lunch, you said, “Look at me, I can eat like a yak.” And you did.

Caroline (3 yrs) – We play Candy Land almost every day. No matter where you are on the board you always say, “I’m almost winning and you’re almost losing.”

I have enjoyed writing in this book so much that I bought one for my sister for a baby shower present.

To jazz up the gift a little, I decorated a little bag for the book to go in.

I used a blue bag that a pair of sheets had come in and some pink fabric.

I cut the side of the bag since I need to be able to put the bag on my sewing machine.

Cut out a letter “C” (initial of her last name) out of the pink fabric.

I sewed the “C” onto the bag and added a little decorative trim.

Hopefully my sister will enjoy this book as much as I have – Although I have a feeling she might be recording sleep durations and blow outs in the beginning 🙂

Some Heavy Summer Reading

Summer reading choices are often light in subject matter which can make for an easy, pleasant read.

While the following books fall into the heavy, deep, serious, dark, thoughtful category, I feel they are still worth reading this summer.

Ellis Island by Kate Kerrigan

I give Ellis Island 3.5 out of 5 stars

Amazon says:  Sweethearts since childhood, Ellie Hogan and her husband, John, are content on their farm in Ireland—until John, a soldier for the Irish Republican Army, receives an injury that leaves him unable to work. Forced to take drastic measures in order to survive, Ellie does what so many Irish women in the 1920s have done and sails across a vast ocean to New York City to work as a maid for a wealthy socialite.

Once there, Ellie is introduced to a world of opulence and sophistication, tempted by the allure of grand parties and fine clothes, money and mansions . . . and by the attentions of a charming suitor who can give her everything. Yet her heart remains with her husband back home. And now she faces the most difficult choice she will ever have to make: a new life in a new country full of hope and promise, or return to a life of cruel poverty . . . and love.

I say: I enjoyed this book but was often distracted by the errors in the book. Many times it seemed as if the timeline was off and characters didn’t age as they should have. For example, John’s parents are sixty years old when they take him in but thirty years later their behavior is described as a person much younger. I have always been fascinated by the 1920’s time period and the description of daily life at that time. I enjoyed this historical fiction book but certainly enjoyed the next two books more.


Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz

I give Drowning Ruth 5 out of 5 stars.

According to Publisher’s Weekly: “Ruth remembered drowning.” The first sentence of this brilliantly understated psychological thriller leaps off the page and captures the reader’s imagination. In Schwarz’s debut novel, brutal Wisconsin weather and WWI drama color a tale of family rivalry, madness, secrets and obsessive love. By March 1919,

Nurse Amanda Starkey has come undone. She convinces herself that her daily exposure to the wounded soldiers in the Milwaukee hospital where she works is the cause of her hallucinations, fainting spells and accidents. Amanda journeys home to the family farm in Nagawaukee, where her sister, Mathilda (Mattie), lives with her three-year-old daughter Ruth, awaiting the return of her war-injured husband, Carl Neumann. Mattie’s ebullient welcome convinces Amanda she can mend there. But then Mattie drowns in the lake that surrounds the sisters’ island house and, in a rush of confusion and anguish, Amanda assumes care of Ruth.

After Carl comes home, Amanda and he manage to work together on the farm and parent Ruth, but their arrangement is strained: Amanda has a breakdown and recuperates at a sanatorium. As time passes, Ruth grows into an odd, guarded child who clings to perplexing memories of the night her mother drowned. Why does Amanda have that little circle of scars on her hand? What is Amanda’s connection to Ruth’s friend Imogene and why does she fear Imogene’s marriage to Clement Owen’s son?

I say: I could not put this book down. There were several mornings this momma woke up grumpy because I had stayed up too late reading. There are many twists and turns in this book which kept me guessing. Typically in a good book , you love the main characters. This book was different for me since I didn’t really like Amanda from the beginning. Regardless, I loved the story and wanted to find out how everything turned out.  Definitely a dark read.

The Book of Bright Ideas by Sandra King

I give The Books of Bright Ideas 5 our of 5 stars.

Amazon says: Wisconsin, 1961. Evelyn “Button” Peters is nine the summer Winnalee and her fiery-spirited older sister, Freeda, blow into her small town–and from the moment she sees them, Button knows this will be a summer unlike any other.

Much to her mother’s dismay, Button is fascinated by the Malone sisters, especially Winnalee, a feisty scrap of a thing who carries around a shiny silver urn containing her mother’s ashes and a tome she calls “The Book of Bright Ideas.” It is here, Winnalee tells Button, that she records everything she learns: her answers to the mysteries of life. But sometimes those mysteries conceal a truth better left buried. And when a devastating secret is suddenly revealed, dividing loyalties and uprooting lives, no one–from Winnalee and her sister to Button and her family–will ever be the same.

I say: I enjoyed this book immensely and believe it was due to the fact that it was about a relationship between two very unlikely friends. Button and Winnalee are complete opposites but only because of circumstance. Their lives become intwined and follow an unlikely path. Freeda, Winnalee’s sister, spices up the Wisconsin town and Button’s family much to the dismay of Buttons’ uptight mom. Bright Ideas centers around the lives of five females all trying to find their place in life.

Have you read any good books this summer?

*If you live close, let me know if you want to borrow any of them*

Pitching a Tent

Our house is where bed linens go to die.

It is beyond ridiculous. Enter my closet and you will find an abundance of old comforters, worn sheets, mismatched pillowcases, and scratchy throws. We could probably open a homeless shelter in our backyard if we so desired. We don’t.

Actually we have more sheets than all the other linens combined. We have inherited sheets from our parents, been given sheets as a gift, and received my sisters’ old college sheets.

I choose to ignore any subtle hint they are sending about the state of the bedding in my house.

The sheets leave our house at a very slow rate. If they ever escape it was via the Goodwill box so we have a large stack of sheets in my closet. Stack might be a nice term to describe the linen mess. It is actually a huge pile of sheets thrown every which way. I believe being able to see your closet floor is highly over rated. Technically, I think the experts call it protecting your carpet. After all, I do have children pooping in my closet.

After reading about Fort Fridays on All About Boys I was inspired to make good use of the old sheets and create a massive tent for the kids. The size of the previous tents constructed have been restricted to the size of the sheet, often leading to yelling and complaining, “He pulled the tent down!”  Factor in space taken up for chairs to hold the tent up and the actual sitting space is quite limited.

So….I started with 1 king top sheet, 1 queen top sheet, and 3 pillow cases.

I sewed them together on my machine in a haphazard fashion refusing to pin anything. It took, ten minutes at the most.

The result was a massive section of material roughly 10 feet x 25 feet. I could be exaggerrating here. I am just taking a guess. Put a queen sheet and a king sheet together and you will have the exact measurements.

The pillow cases spaced out created nice entry points into the tent.

When I peeked into the tent I saw this – Alex reading to Caroline while she sat quietly and listened. I am now putting him in charge of nap time.

The boys have requested I add another sheet onto the tent. I will certainly comply if it means more time pretending and less time asking to play the computer.

Any tents in your house this summer?

Photobucket Weekend Bloggy Reading

My Top 10 Favorite Adult Books

Maybe I should clarify…especially for certain friends of mine. When I say adult books I mean typical regular books you would find in your local bookstore – not the adult bookstore.
I love to read and am a pretty quick reader. I tend to go in spurts with my reading, i.e. 5 books in a month and nothing for the next month. I typically favor books that tell the story of women and children and their daily struggles and triumphs – whether that takes place in the depression or the present. Those stories can be fiction, biographies, or autobiographies. You will notice I do not have any of the “classics” on my list. Several years ago I bought East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I got as far as page 3. I figure my horizons are broad enough.
I hope you enjoy my selections.
Naked – David SedarisThis is the funniest book! My husband and I both have enjoyed many of David Sedaris’ books. The humor is sometimes crude and controversial but so worth it. This book is filled with short stories so it’s nice to read an entire story before bed. My favorite story of his “SantaLand Diaries,” is not in this book but worth whatever you have to pay to read it. 

The Color of Water –  James McBrideI have probably read this book 20 times since it’s my favorite book. James McBrides’ mother fascinates me. She born into a white Jewish family but raised her twelve biracial children as black and married a preacher she adored. This book mixes the history of Ruth McBride with the childhood struggles of James McBride and his family.

The Help – Kathryn StockettI cannot recommend this book enough. Once I started reading I could not put the book down. This book tells the stories of a group of white woman and their black maids in Jackson, Miss. during the civivl rights movement. I am eager to see the movie version of this book this summer and hope she releases a new book soon.



Funny in Farsi – Firoozeh DumasFunny in FarsiMy mom gave me this book after she listened to Mrs. Dumas speak at a conference. I, in turn, have given this to friends since I find it to be a laugh out loud book. Through short essays, Mrs. Dumas shares her life in California after coming from Iran at the age of seven. You will enjoy reading how her family deals with new American customs and expectations.

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate JacobsThis book focuses on a group of women who come together because of their interest in knitting. Some of die hard sitters while others come more for socializing. Moments in this book will make you smile while others will have you cry – amazing.


Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

I have read Angela’s Ashes several times and each time I am struck by the perseverance of Mr. McCourt and those around him while growing up in poverty in Ireland in the 30’s and 40’s.  This book truly makes you appreciate everything you have.
Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna LandvikThis story follows the lives of five women who live on the same cul de sac in Minneapolis over three decades. Texas born Faith, antiwar activist Slip, sexpot Audrey, painfully shy Merit, and Kari the widow, all come together to take you along for an amazing read.

Good in Bed – Jennifer Weiner

This was my last selection to include in this list. Truthfully, many other books could just as easily be in this spot. I like this book because Candy is a strong character with a sense of humor while dealing with her ex-boyfriend writing about her and her “assets” in a national magazine.
The Other Boleyn Girl – Phillipa GregoryI am not a history buff but I am a social history buff. I love to read about the way people lived many years ago, the clothes they wore, and the activities that kept them busy. After reading this book I am thankful I didn’t grow up in the courts of England. Gregory describes them as being cutthroat and vicious – and that’s just between the siblings.

Tara Road by Maeve Binchy

I love Maeve Binchy books, there’s just no question about it. I immediately get drawn into the characters everyday plights and am fascinated how she connects everyone’s lives eventually. Her books, which typically take place in Ireland, always keep me up late at night reading.

Do you have any favorite book suggestions for me?