Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Project Life, week 18

Plugging away at catching up with my digital Project Life project. This was a fun week to do, since it included L's birthday party. I decided to make the whole first page about the party, then squeeze the rest of our busy week into the second page. I'm ready to move on to other colors after two weeks worth of blue, blue, blue!

Project Life - The Templates
Cobalt Edition Full Collection
Banner Labels No. 1 by Katie Pertiet
Photo Journalers V.1
Life Sentiment Cards Vol. 3
Everyday Photos Brushes
3x4 Eclectic Mix Cards

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cookies and more cookies

When I saw these Funfetti cookies on the Tasty Kitchen blog, I knew that they would be perfect for Lachlan's last day of preschool celebration. They're basically sugar cookies. They were super easy to make, yet so festive looking. I left the almond extract out because we didn't have any, but next time I will definitely use it. These were very tasty (and the leftovers were well-received by Bill's coworkers).

I loved the look of these multicolored cookies when I pinned them. It also sounded like fun to let the kids knead the dough like play doh. So when L's buddy from down the street came over this morning, I decided to have the boys help me make these. Well, as you can imagine, there was alot of tasting going on, as well as some seriously sticky fingers. I added a little food coloring to the yellow batch, but the rest of the coloring is from the jello. I have to say that I don't love these. They were messier than the average cookie to make, and the jello flavor weirded me out (didn't stop me from eating a few, though!). But the colors are super fun and the kids like them, so I won't swear them off entirely. They would be fun to make for a party.

There was just enough jello powder left over from the cookies to make a stacked jello dessert for tonight. Kenley is a big fan. She thoroughly enjoyed it - as you can see by the jello all over her hands, face, and hair.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The annual garden post

Here we are again, it's garden time. My last two summer garden attempts have been major failures (thanks to a newborn and then a one year old who still wasn't walking all summer). But this year I'm determined to make it work and stay committed to my garden maintenance (read: weeding). We have an awesome, large, and full sun garden space, so it's important to me to utilize it - and to get a little better at gardening every year.
Kenley and I went shopping last week and came back with a trunk full of plants, dirt, and a few tools. I even got a new sun visor that's a little dorky looking, but very effective.
garden, post-planting

I have been learning about gardening in the past 5 summers we've lived in this house - mostly through trial and error, googling, and advice from a few knowledgeable friends and family members. One thing I'm trying this year is to keep the number of plants to a minimum, so that I can focus on taking care of a few things well. Here's what we planted: sunflowers, zinnias, poppies, strawberries, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, and pumpkins. I also planted a couple lavender plants and a border of marigolds, because I have read that their scent deters rabbits. I'm also going to sprinkle garlic powder and some of Sadie's dog hair around the perimeter to attempt to discourage those pesky bunnies.
My other focus is making the garden a more beautiful place to spend time (weeding). I took down the ugly rabbit fence that wasn't keeping them out anyway. Then I lined the outside edge of the garden with some edging bricks. I used some stone originally left over from paving our sidewalk and patio to make an entry path and an path around the strawberry patch. I also brought down our pig sculpture and lined a few flower pots along the edge. I hope this also makes the kids feel welcome to come into the garden. Lachlan seems quite excited about the whole process, and he helped me plant most of the seeds. Kenley is more hesitant, and still nervous about walking on ground that isn't very level.

Also, I wanted to grow some herbs in pots, but in the past when I put them down by the garden, I would forget to care for them. So this year I planted them right on the edge of our driveway - just outside of Sadie's invisible fence border - and in plain sight where I won't forget to water daily! Here I planted basil, mint, parsley, jalapeno, and a yellow pepper plant. Also a few pots of flowers, again, to keep things pretty.

Oh, and today's brainstorm was to toss all the seed packets into a baggie, so that I can keep track of them for reference if necessary, and to remember what we planted when next spring rolls around.

I'd be happy for any gardening advice you'd like to offer! Thanks for reading!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Lachlan's Blue Party

 When Lachlan and I started talking about his 4th birthday party, his first thought was that it should be at a favorite park and we should invite "the whole town". We settled for inviting his whole preschool class (which was quite a few more than the 3-4 kids I was envisioning). He also requested a Star Wars cake with Anakin and Count Dooku fighting on the top (inspired by his cousin's 5th birthday cake). Oh, and everything should be blue, "because it's my favorite color!"
 We had lots of fun thinking about blue decorations and treats that we could include in the celebration. He loved having his friends gathered together to play at the park. Unfortunately, we ended up with one of the only really rainy days this spring, but it didn't bother the kids a bit. The park's shelter did a decent job of keeping the adults dry.
 Invites: I made the invites in PSE and printed them on cardstock, four per 8 1/2 x 11" paper. I used digital masks by Robyn M. and digital papers.
Decorations: Blue balloons and crepe paper, easy peasy. I wrote up a sign the morning of the party and Lachlan and his Aunt Bethany colored it in. The play doh jars that were part of the party favors lined the tables, and that was about it.
Food: I hired my friend and co-worker Lauren to make mini "blue velvet" cupcakes. They were beautiful and tasted as good as they looked! We made blue jello jigglers (Kenley was in love), blue candy corn, and I made a cake from a box with the requested Star Wars dudes on top. We also bought blue chips and salsa and "blue" grapes.
Favors: This was my favorite part - We picked up small jars and little animals (1 pack jungle, 1 pack dinosaurs) and a can of spray paint at Hobby Lobby. L helped me spray the animals, then we glued them to the top of the jars. I used this glue, but there might be something out there that would work even better. Then I made the hugest batch of homemade play doh EVER and filled each one. We also bought little brown gift bags at Hobby Lobby and I made a tag for the front that said "Thanks for coming". Next up, a custom mix of blue m&m's from HyVee (serious splurge, ridiculously $$) and a homemade tag stapled to the top of the individual zip baggies. Last, but certainly not least, Star Wars Lego pins from A Flair for Buttons. We let the kids choose which animal jar and which pin they wanted before they left the party.
Activities: I knew that the kids would just want to play at the park, so I didn't plan any structured activities. But I did bring a ring toss game, a few Frisbees, a mini badminton set, and 4 pool noodle light sabers (the ones I linked to are much fancier and cooler than mine - I just wrapped duct tape and black electrical tape around the bottom).
It was great to have Lachlan's first friend party with such a fun group of kids, and special that both sets of grandparents could attend as well as Aunt Bethany (and Dan!) and Uncle Zach (and Clara!). Great memories were made!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Summer Fun List!

Yesterday, Lachlan and I collaborated on a list of fun summer activity ideas. Linking up with Ali Edwards' blog (where you can find lots more ideas for summer activities) and partially inspired by this list I pinned.  I'm looking forward to adding to our list (written on our chalkboard wall) and Lachlan can't wait to check them off!

Also, on an unrelated note - I just made this Pesto/spinach/goat cheese grilled cheese sandwich for lunch, and it was YUMMY (just bought a jar of pesto at HyVee, but I'm sure the homemade version would be delicious).

Friday, May 25, 2012

A week of blogging!

photo taken in the Peggy Guggenheim museum's sculpture garden in Venice, Italy

I'm planning to blog every day this week. It is an attempt to get my blogging "mojo" back and also to get a few events into the record books before I forget all the details. So, thanks for visiting and I hope this place will be a little more interesting (at least in the near future!).

L's last day of preschool

Here's a photo of Lachlan from last August on his first day of school

and here he is this morning before attending his last day of preschool 
(until the summer session and next fall)
You've grown taller, stronger, and smarter this year, and developed that silly smile that comes with being aware of what your peers think. 
You have a strong will and hilarious insights on our daily life. 
Your love for Star Wars has been enhanced by your friends and cousins who share the love. 
You have an impressive memory, just like your dad. 
You like to make plans and work on projects, just like me. 

This school year gave you experience in navigating social situations, dealing with disappointments, and being part of a group outside of our family. Your teachers provided you with a rich play environment, a safe place to experiment with being independent, and wonderful art and music experiences.  I think you had a great school year, and I'm thankful for the team of wonderful teachers that made it possible (special thanks to Tricia for helping him create this self-portrait - a treasure!)

self-portrait, age 4 - via Instagram (I'm kirstenw if you'd like to follow)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Project Life, week 17

Playing catch up, now that I'm coming out of my jet lag haze. This week was all about L's birthday and party prep.

Saturday, May 05, 2012


Bill and I are headed to Italy for a week and the kids are safe at home in capable (and awesome) hands. We're very excited! Follow my photos on Instagram this week if you're interested!