One down...a million to go.  

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I paid my first mortgage payment today. I'm excited to be able to have made the first payment - due January 1st, of course. Happy New Year. LOL

I'm excited that 2008 is almost over. It has been a very challenging year, and I'm looking forward to starting the next chapter in my life, as a home owner.

I know the next year is bound to be full of challenging times as well, but it is an amazing feeling knowing that I was able to get us to this point.

I realized the other day that I should be proud of me. I don't often let myself be proud of myself or my accomplishments, but this feels like a big one, and maybe I should acknowledge that I did a good job.

Now who wants to help me unpack???

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Friday, December 19, 2008

I haven't meant to be on hiatus for the last month. The last month has just been very crazy. We've only been actually living in our new house (meaning mattresses in and we are sleeping here) for a little over a week. Before that we were half here and half at my in-laws, while we painted and whatnot here. Living in two places can be a little overwhelming. Add into that painting, turning utilities on, emptying a POD, having a POD picked up (this morning - yay!), buying appliances, having appliances delivered, having plumber come to install appliances, having someone come out to figure out why the gas is on but there's no heat, an ice storm that knocks your power out for 24 hours, an IEP to write, all kinds of craziness at work, Christmas shopping, a sick 3 year old who is having trouble sleeping through the night, and getting a cold, and possibly some little other things I'm forgetting, well, sometimes you don't get a chance to blog.

I'm hoping that after Christmas I'll be able to set up my computer, take some time uploading photos, get the boxes unpacked, and be able to blog again. I also wanted to mention that for the past six months I've been checking on all of your blogs using a loaner Mac laptop. I am not used to Macs, and for some reason I am unable to comment on some of your blogs. I have no idea why. One of my favorite blogs won't even load correctly. So anyway, I'm hoping to get back to as normal as I ever am soon. Thank you for your well wishes on my new home. I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful holiday season.

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Home Sweet Home  

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Well, as of about 11:30 this morning, I am officially a home owner!!!

We had planned to go for a final walk through with the real estate agent before the closing. First, we had to stop at the bank to get a certified check for the closing costs. When we got back in the car, Roland looked at me and said, "let's go home." He turned on the radio, and the song that was playing was, "There's No Place Like Home For The Holidays." Roland and I couldn't believe it. I decided that must be a good sign.

We went over to the house and waited for our agent. While we were waiting, he called my cell phone and told us that the selling agents had supposedly left us a key, maybe in the mailbox, or taped inside the front door. So we looked, but couldn't find a key. Our agent showed up, and we all searched for the key, but no one could find it! Our agent called the selling agent, and would you believe the selling agents couldn't find a key??? Apparently they'd gone over to check the fire alarms and whatnot, and had duct taped the key to the inside of the screen door when they left, but when we got there there was duct tape, but no key. No one from the seller's office could seem to find a key. They gave our real estate agent a key code for us to go have one made! So after closing, we had to go to two different places to find a place that could make us a key, then we got to go to our house.

Late this afternoon we took Paige over. We told her we were going to see a surprise. When we pulled in the driveway, she said, "Who's house is this?" and we told her it was ours, and she said, "no way!" :)

I am so happy to have finally been able to bring my baby home. :)

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Showing Signs Of Stress  

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Today my therapist said I'm starting to show signs of stress. Ha, you think? She said I need to really listen to my body, and that when the house stuff finally ends, I'm really going to crash. Woo Hoo. My body wants to sleep all the time right now, as I'm not sleeping really well at night and I'm just worn out from all of the stress.

The good news is that there was no school today due to Veteran's Day. It was a nice little break in the week, even though it was weird to have school for one day, and then have a day off. I'm going to be messed up for the rest of the week. :) Michelle and I took Paige to Old Navy and got her a new winter coat, hat, and mittens. She has a coat in the POD, but I'm not sure if it'll fit her at this point. She was excited because I found a red coat, and red is her favorite color. They are having a sale on their outerwear right now, so the coat was half off. That makes Paige's mom excited. :) Last year we waited until actual winter to look for gloves/mittens for her and we couldn't find any. So we wanted to make sure to get on that right away for her. She looked so cute bundled up.

Then we went to lunch at Chili's. She told me she needed to use the potty, which didn't surprise me as she's in the "I need to check out every public restroom I come across" stage, but I was excited that she actually used the potty when we got in there. Usually she just kind of visits it. We are a little behind in potty training - she totally gets it, but refuses to do it. I think it is because her life is so out of control right now. The doctor told me at her check up in June that she wasn't worried, as it is something Paige has control of when everything else is out of control. I'm hoping she'll be happy enough in a new home soon to use the potty all the time. Today she was happy enough to annouce loudly to the dining population of Chili's that she'd used the potty, so that's a start.

I liked the baked french toast. Paige took a nibble, but that's all she'd eat. She told me she liked making it better than eating it. Roland ate a piece, but I don't think he was all that excited by it. Michelle didn't really like it, but I wasn't really expecting her to, as she doesn't like eggs, and the bread had to sit in the "custard" overnight. I'm not really that versed in custard, but I guess the fact that the recipe used three eggs made it too eggy. Oh well. Roland said he thought that my grandparents would like it - probably because it had kind of a bread pudding consistancy out of the oven. I had a leftover piece this morning and liked it better today, as it had kind of set.

In parting, I ask, anyone have any good, simple stress relievers they'd like to suggest?

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Well, after the 24th, we were on for a short period of time on the 31st. Then we were delayed again, but it looks like we might actually be on for this upcoming week. I am trying to be "cautiously optimistic" at this point. I would really like to be able to move before we are moving in snow!

Work has been VERY stressful, and home has been VERY stressful. I am exhausted from the emotional roller coaster I've been riding for the last few weeks.

In other news, I'm trying to learn how to make better use of my time by scheduling activities that I want to do and/or need to do. I've always been a bit resistant to calendars and scheduling systems, thinking they'd make me dull and would suck any spontaneity out of my life. However, I'm also learning more and more that the things I'd like to do "someday" will never actually get done if I don't determine when "someday" is. This week, I scheduled in time to make a recipe I've been wanting to try - baked French Toast. Paige, Michelle and I made it tonight and it sits in the refrigerator until tomorrow morning, then we'll see how it is. I like a breakfast recipe that I can make on Saturday night when I am coherent, and not have to try to figure out in the morning, when I'm not. If this works out, I might have to look for other recipes like it. Suggestions are always welcome. :)

Next thing to schedule is some time to play around with moving photos from my new camera onto the computer and sizing them, so that I can go back to posting pictures from all of my Unplugged Projects, Halloween, etc. I did much better with pictures when I could just stick the photo card in the computer and access all of my pictures. For some reason it seems much more time consuming to get the cord to hook the camera to the computer, and then to have to resize the pictures to post them here. I think maybe I just need to dedicate some time to it.

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Life Gets In The Way  

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sometimes life gets in the way of blogging.

The past few weeks have been difficult. Our closing date keeps changing. It went from the 17th to the 24th, and then we found out earlier this week that we didn't have all the paperwork we needed to be able to close on the 24th. As of this minute, I don't know when we are closing, and it is depressing me.

Meanwhile work has been very stressful over the past week or so. In my position I am have to be both an administrator, as I am considered to be "head of the program," and also the teacher. I am finding more and more that these are two different jobs and sometimes it is difficult for me to manage the program and try to function as the teacher - especially when I'm also trying to manage buying a house, being a mom, being a wife, and living my own life.

Over the last week I've had a lot of hard administrator-ish issues to deal with, and I find that sort of thing to be very trying and tiring. Add that to the emotional roller coaster of trying to get out of my inlaws and into our new house, and I'm finding I'm pretty wiped out at the end of the day. So, I think my blog posts will be sporadic for the time being. I'm still trying to squeeze in Unplugged Projects and fun things like that, but I don't always get the chance to blog about them. I hope I can find more balance soon!

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Thursday List  

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I'm having a hard time getting this link to work right, but there's an apple bread recipe on this blog that looks yummy. You might need to scroll down to find it.

I love this orange peel wreath. I might have to try one!

Two new blogs that I think look like fun, and are giving me some great ideas for projects to do with the kids who are coming down to my classroom at lunch to visit with my students: Great Solutions to Team Challenges and Think. I found the Think blog courtesy of this post. Thanks for the fun link, Julie!

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Time flies...  

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sometimes it seems very hard to work, raise a child, and take care of a blog. To top it all off, we are (finally) in the process of buying a house, and some days over the last week or so, it's seemed like I have several full time jobs.

I do the Unplugged Project every week, but I've had a hard time getting around to posting about them. Hopefully I'll be able to catch up and post HARD and FRUIT soon. I know, dear reader, that you are dying with curiousity about what Paige and I were up to for these projects. LOL

To top it all off, I've got a new camera, which I love. Although that part is great, it is hard because now instead of a memory card, I have to hook the camera to the computer to upload (or download?) the pictures onto the computer. Then, because the photos are really big, I have to size them before I put them on my blog. Lately it seems I haven't had the time to do all of this photo stuff in a timely manner.

Over the past few weeks I've read several blog posts about how to get more readers to your blog. They suggest reliable posting, for one. I don't know when I can ever promise that! They also suggest that your blog have a specific purpose. For example, you wouldn't expect car repair tips on a craft blog. I realize that I'm not sure that my blog has a specific purpose. I started it when I began to realize that perfectionism was ruling my life, but I know that that's not all I blog about, when I find the time to blog.

So anyway, just thought I'd let you know that I'm still out here, your totally unreliable, randomly posting, time-challenged, lazy photo uploading, blogger. Thanks for checking in on me.

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Thursday List  

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I love the idea of this hand quilt. Very cute!

I love the idea of a Halloween Advent calendar! Oddly enough, I saw one at Target today for the first time and thought it was such a cute idea. It had a piece of gummy candy in each little box - that part didn't excite me that much, but I was toying with the idea of hiding other things in it.

I want to make some pumpkin rocks!

Very yummy looking - baked French Toast.

I'd also like to try these Faux French Fries.

I like this color mixing activity - it looks a lot like some of the Montessori type water transfer activities I've seen online, but also has a color mixing lesson!

Look at these cool juice box crayons!

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Here's to simple evenings.  

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Tonight was good.

No elaborate plans tonight or anything, but the evening made me happy nonetheless.

Roland made dinner (he's the cook in our home) and we gathered around the table to eat. This isn't a habit we had at our old house, and I've really enjoyed our dinners together, for the most part. Paige often complains about sitting and doesn't eat, but tonight she slurped up her "yummy noodles" (aka Ramaan Pride) and was pleasant.

After dinner, we cleaned up the table, and all of us, Momma, Daddy, Paige-Girlie, and Aunt Michelle worked on our Unplugged Project. I really enjoyed having a family project.

Then I gave Paige a bath and we used out this new cup thing that Michelle bought to help keep the soapy water out of her eyes. It worked wonderfully and it is the first bath in a long time with out screaming and/or tears about soap in her eyes.

Then she got in her Ariel jammies, watched Charlie and Lola and ate goldfish while I combed her hair.

Sometimes simple is so good.

Sometimes simple makes me smile.

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100 Things  

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Well, this post is a few posts late, but I started it and kept it in draft, adding to it here and there for a week or so! I'm not sure how interesting it is, but here's my list of 100 Things About Me.

1. I was born in Burlington, VT, but I grew up on Cape Cod, MA.
2. I am a big sister to one younger brother.
3. I was the third generation to graduate from my high school. My mom and grandmother graduated from the same school, although it was a different building when my grandmother went there.
4. I do not like hot dogs.
5. I do not like potato chips, although I will eat them with onion dip, which I do like.
6. I don't really like pie, because I don't like crust. I do like most pies that are made in a graham cracker crust, though.
7. I met my husband on AOL. My best friend, Michelle, "saw" him in a chat room and thought I'd like him, so she talked to him a bit. At the time we used to "talk" to all the same people online.
8. My favorite place to be is at the ocean. I always have this sense of "coming home" when I'm at the ocean. It is very relaxing and peaceful to me.
9. I love to swim - in the ocean, in a lake, in a pool, whatever.
10. I took swimming lessons as a kid and there was a picture of me during a swimming lesson in the paper. I think my family still has a cut out of it somewhere.
11. However, one of my biggest fears is drowning - or dying in any way that involves not being able to breathe.
12. I was a girl scout for many years - up through 8th grade.
13. I had braces for several years.
14. I am afraid of spiders, even though I know it isn't logical. They just creep me out.
15. My friend Michelle and I have been friends since we were in high school - 17 years ago.
16. My favorite color is blue, although as a kid I would say my favorite color was gold just to be different from everyone else.
17. I HATE the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard.
18. I love office supplies. I like to browse stores like Staples.
19. I used to think that since I like office supplies, I'd like working in an office.
20. I didn't. I worked for seven years doing data entry for a health insurance company, and I hated it.
21. I LOVE working in an elementary school. I love school assemblies, book fairs, and things like that.
22. I love to read out loud.
23. I love calendars - I enjoy picking out new calendars, and love turning the pages each month.
24. I've had a problem with car sickness since I was pregnant with Paige.
25. I don't drink coffee - I've never liked it.
26. The summer before my senior year of college I was in a bad car accident and my car was totaled. I was told that the seat belt saved my life.
27. I always wear my seat belt and am a seat belt advocate.
28. I have no tolerance for drunk drivers. Roland was hit by a drunk driver when he was a teenager, and to make a long story short, his left arm is paralyzed and he's lucky to be alive.
29. I once saw Jack Wagner in concert.
30. I went to middle school in the 80's, but I was very into 60's music and culture at the time.
31. I used to love the Monkees and recorded every episode.
32. I remember being made fun of for wearing my Mom's peace symbol earrings to school.
33. I could never tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi until I met Roland, who had strong preferences!
34. Now I'm a Coca-Cola girl. :)
35. I found my engagement ring in the refrigerator tied to a bottle of Coke.
36. Dolphins are my favorite animal.
37. My wedding ring is a dolphin - it is made out of a dolphin charm.
38. My main requirement for our honeymoon was that I got to swim with the dolphins.
39. I got to be in the water with the dolphins in Mexico, and then swim with them in the Florida Keys.
40. I drove (well, actually rode) across the country from Boston, MA - San Diego, CA with Michelle's mother in a week.
41 I want to drive cross country again - I'd love to do it sometime when I can take as long as I want and stop wherever I want.
42. I dream of going to Hawaii and Australia.
43. I love to travel.
44. I have gone on two cruises. One with Michelle, and one with Roland on our honeymoon.
45. I learned to type in typing class in high school - on an electric typewriter, even.
46. People get annoyed with me because I can type one thing while looking at someone and having a conversation with them about something completly different.
47. One of my favorite TV shows is Friends. I have all of the seasons on DVD.
48. I have been compared to Chandler Bing more than once.
49. We took the Friends season where Rachel was giving birth to the hospital with us when I was having Paige, to play on the laptop. We thought that since the show always makes me laugh, it might distract me from being in pain/uncomfortable.
50. I have always loved to read.
51. As a kid, I used to spend a lot of time in the library during the summer. I used to enter contests to see who would read the most books, and I remember winning at least once.
52. Summer is probably my least favorite season because I hate heat and humidity.
53. Ironically, I have seasonal affective disorder. I hate daylight savings time because I miss the sun.
54. Fall is my favorite season.
55. October is my favorite month.
56. I love the smell of sunscreen.
57. I dehydrate very easily, and often.
58. My wallet has Tigger on it.
59. I've had the wallet longer than I've had Roland.
60. Roland and I have been together for 11 years.
61. Roland and I just celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary on September 7th.
62. I have a cat named Fidget.
63. For my undergraduate degree I went to a small college in New Hampshire that since has closed.
64. I double majored in English and Communications.
65. I interned at a radio station in NH.
66. I got into a car accident in Boston while driving the radio station's van. I had to call them and have them send a tow truck and bring me back to NH.
67. When I was in college, I had a radio show with a friend.
68. I have always wanted to be a stand up comedian, but am too scared to try.
69. When I was in college, I used to read my poetry at a coffee house some weeks.
70. I was the copy editor of the college newspaper for awhile.
71. I love to read and collect recipes, but I rarely try to cook anything.
72. I scrapbook.
73. I like to do yoga. I mostly enjoy the yoga class at my gym, but I have a hard time motivating myself to go.
74. I often have months that I pay for my gym membership but have not been to the actual gym once.
75. I like to do suduko puzzles.
76. I have been a bridesmaid at a wedding at Walt Disney World.
77. I have never been very good with math, and math and money easily cause me anxiety.
78. I love learning about different religions and cultures.
79. I love the show, The Amazing Race. I wish I could travel around the world.
80. I have sprained both of my ankles before.
81. I fell down the stairs at my mother's house and sprained them both at the same time. We speculate that one may actually have been broken, although I never went to the doctor. As a result, my right ankle bothers me sometimes.
82. I didn't get the chicken pox until I was in middle school.
83. I didn't get my driver's license until I was a freshman in college.
84. I used to do a lot more writing. Growing up, I wanted to be an author. I haven't written anything in a long time, and I miss it, although I've had a hard time coming up with something (other than blogging) to write.
85. I take my showers at night, before bed.
86. Roland and Michelle tease me about how fast I shower, which is ironic, because I used to have a college roommate who would give me a hard time about how long I was in the shower.
87. Christmas is my favorite holiday, although Halloween is a close second.
88. I think my favorite thing about Christmas is the Christmas tree.
89. I am a pack rat, although we got rid of lots of stuff when we had to put our stuff in storage. I am trying hard to learn not to keep every little thing.
90. I have what I consider to be "OCD Tendencies." Sometimes I'll have to check and recheck things, sometimes several times in a row, like if I turned off a light, or turned off the stove.
91. Weird, quirky things happen to me. Roland and Michelle call it the "Only You Factor."
92. My first job was working at a movie theater.
93. I like video games, although I don't often have time for them - I have played almost all of the Spyro the Dragon games. I even have a stuffed Spyro.
94. I love the Scholastic catalog. One of my favorite things about becoming a teacher was being able to order books through Scholastic. I send the fliers home, but often I'm the only one who buys books every month.
95. I have just started Eclipse, the third book in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series.
96. I tend to be great at brainstorming and coming up with ideas for things, but I'm not always great at following through.
97. I have had migraines (and headaches of other varieties) as long as I can remember. I remember having them in elementary school.
98. I have a Happy Bunny watch and sweatshirt that says, "Cute But Psycho. Things Even Out. (When I was pregnant with Paige, I bought her a onsie at Hot Topic that said, "Cute But Stinky. Things Even Out.") I use cute but psycho to describe myself a lot. Roland usually calls me a "Cute Butt Psycho." I was wearing this watch every day up until we moved to my in laws...I think the watch must have ended up in the POD.
99. The watch I'm using right now has Jack from Nightmare Before Christmas on it, and has a couple of little skulls that move around inside it. Nightmare is one of my favorite movies.
100. I hate moving.

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Unplugged Sand  

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Last week's unplugged theme was sand. Paige loves sand, so I knew she'd enjoy pretty much whatever we did. We actually didn't do much of a project - I just used it as an excuse to try a new product that I thought she'd like, Moonsand. Turns out a little container of it is just over $3, and it comes in a color called Rocket Red. Red is her favorite color and the color of Rocket on Little Einsteins, whom she loves, so that was good enough.

I gave her the container of sand on Saturday morning and she went to town with it. She asked for it several times over the weekend. She seemed to like dumping the container upside down so the sand would come out molded, like a sand castle. She said it was a cake, and then she'd cut the cake with one of her knives from her play kitchen. She loved this game.

I also got a new camera this week, so I played a lot with my new toy while she played with hers. :)

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Unplugged Soft  

Monday, September 8, 2008

This week's Unplugged Theme was soft. I decided I'd like to try a project that I've been wanting to do with Paige - make soft pretzels. Paige loves playing with any kind of dough, so I thought that she'd enjoy doing that. However, I didn't get my act together early enough to find a recipe and ingredients. However, Roland had some pizza dough, so we made fried dough instead.

The perfectionist in me kept thinking - Fried Dough is a silly project for "soft," but I had to convince myself to let it go - after all, weren't we going to be using dough either way??

Roland helped me with this project. He opened some premade pizza dough - Pillsbury, I think. He gave Paige a piece to play with and told her to flatten it out.

First she made it into a ball, but we eventually got her to roll it out. We don't have a rolling pin here and I couldn't find a can, so I gave her a jar of peanut butter to help her roll it out. :) Then Roland put some sugar and cinnamon in an old spice container and let her mix it up, while he fried the dough. When it came out and was cool, we sprinkled the cinnamon sugar on and enjoyed them!

Not a huge project, but it was fun, and yummy!

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Thursday List  

Thursday, September 4, 2008

This is a project I've been wanting to try with Paige - but it has been rainy and yucky for the past few weeks. I love the idea of how to prepare and display these Frozen Paint Paintings.

I don't remember if I've mentioned Make Something Monday before, but I really like the idea of setting aside a little creative time each week, and I really like this idea too!

These french toast kabobs look like fun!

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Unplugged Insect  

Monday, September 1, 2008

I've been following along with the Unplugged Projects, just not posting them during my little bloggy hiatus. I'll have to post what we were up to for rough, hot, and cylinder later. This past week the theme was insect.

Paige is like her mom and isn't too keen on lots of bugs. So we went more of the cutsie route, and made a caterpillar project I saw on No Time for Flashcards. Paige seemed to really enjoy this. She helped me use a cup to trace the circles, and tried doing that for the first time. She also tried to help me cut out the circles, although I generally had to finish the cutting for her. She was able to make the P for her name, and then her A came out like an H, so I made a little curve on the top to turn it into an A. She made the I, and together we made the G. She made the line down for the E, and then I told her where to put the the other lines to finish the E. She also drew the smilie face on the caterpillar. She helped me put the glue on the backs and place the circles on the background. I do admit to a little bit of perfectionism, turning the circles the right way so you could read the letters - but I tried not to put in too much more of my input! LOL She also picked out the different colors for the different circles. My pictures of this project came out pretty bad - I'll have to try and take a better picture of the finished project, maybe in some natural light.

Later, I pushed past my perfectionism to try my hand at making a game. It is more or less my idea, but with a little inspiration from this fishing game and a paper plate alphabet caterpillar from here. I cut out a lot more circles, and made an alphabet and number game. I made a caterpillar face on one circle, and then made a capital letter of the alphabet on each circle, so you could make a giant alphabet caterpillar. Then I made another one, using the lowercase letters of the alphabet. I made the uppercase and lowercase letters the same color, so that she could match the uppercase and lowercase ones, and it would be sort of "self-correcting" that way because the colors would match, as would the letters.

For the number caterpillars, I made one that had a number 1-10 on each circle, and then one that had the number word one - ten on each circle. I also made sure the number word that matched the number were the same color, just like the letters. Then I showed her what I'd made, and how the letters and numbers matched, etc. So far she's enjoyed playing with the uppercase letter caterpillar. She likes to put out the letters and we come up with words that start with the different letters. Last time she put them away she made sure the P was on top - for Paige, of course. It'll be interesting to see how she likes these games as time goes on.

A few pictures of the uppercase game:

I was thinking that maybe someday I could make this into a magnetic game with a fishing pole too - we'll see if I ever get that far.

Amusingly enough, as I've been typing this, Paige has been watching Charlie and Lola on DVD. She started yelling, "Mom, there's a ladybug on the tv!" She showed me, and sure enough, an actual ladybug was crawling around the tv screen, so we took a peek at it. It nearly gave Paige a heart attack when it spread it's wings and flew off - I don't think she was expecting that! So much for being completely unplugged around here - apparently even our insects are plugged in!

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Catching Up  

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sometimes the longer you stay away, the harder it is to come back. You aren't sure what to say about where you've been, so you just keep quiet. But then the longer you are quiet, the harder it becomes to figure out what to say, and you start thinking you'll have to have some sort of exciting post about what you've been up to all of this time. I have nothing really exciting to say other than I'm still out here.

Around the time of my last post, we had some computer trouble, were on a trip to visit my family, and I got a summer cold. That was the initial reason for being away for a bit. Then I was almost done with summer camp, and concentrated on that. Then, the week after summer camp ended, all of my inlaws went away to Disney for a week, and I had a 3 year old who was wondering where "vacation" was and why they all went without her. We tried to do some fun things with her, but we also enjoyed having the house to ourselves and it was hard to go back when they came home.

Paige and I have been doing the Unplugged Projects every week, but I've been very frustrated when I try to take pictures of our activities. I have a hard time getting a decent photo. I know I'm not the best photographer in the world, but it seems like every one I take you wouldn't be able to see what was going on in the picture. Then I started to wonder if I should bother posting about our activities when you couldn't see anything. I have been reading about how "good blogs" all have pictures, and I know I like it when blogs have pictures, so I guess I convinced myself that if I couldn't post a good picture, I shouldn't bother. Roland thinks that the problem is half that I need more practice taking pictures and half that I need a better camera. So I think I'm going to treat myself to a new camera - any suggestions?

The housing situation isn't much better, and we've all gotten a bit burned out. Due to an increase in salary from getting my Master's degree this spring, I was able to get preapproved for a mortgage again, but we weren't approved for the place we were interested in because it was a town house. We found another house we liked but it had multiple bids and we didn't get it. That one hit me pretty hard - Paige had gone with us to see the place and had picked out her room. We've seen two more that we were interested in, but both had multiple bids, and we just can't win a bidding war. I'm just so done with this.

I have spent a lot of this week setting up my classroom and attending meetings and whatnot. School for teachers starts on Tuesday, and then the kids come back on Wed the 3rd. I feel bad because I'm feeling very burnt out and the year hasn't even started yet.

I guess that's where I've been most of the last month - in burn out. I love reading and commenting on everyone's blogs, but often feel like I've got nothing great going on here to post about. Guess I've been a bit in pity party mode! I have to keep reminding myself that I'm blogging for me. I love comments and having you all visit, but that I should be writing for me, and not to put so much pressure on myself about what I write and what my pictures look like, etc. I am so good at getting stressed out about things that are supposed to be fun! So, in an attempt to deal with burn out, I'm trying to learn to relax and just let go of what I can't control. I'm a bit of a control freak, so this is going to be hard. :)

Nice to "see" you all again!

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Unplugged Flat  

Monday, July 28, 2008

Ok, so this is technically my 100th post, and no, this isn't a big list of things about me. This is in fact my Unplugged Project for this week. I will try to get to that big list over the next couple of days - we just got home from a long weekend with my family on Cape Cod, so I'm using that as an excuse for not doing the list, and also for having kind of a simple Unplugged Project this week.

We did symmetrical paintings - putting paint on one side of a piece of paper, folding it over, and then having the paint on both sides. I folded a piece of paper and told her to paint on only one side of the fold. Paige thought it was pretty funny to try and paint on the other side of the "line." I would keep shooing her back to the "right" side of the fold. She thought this was funny. She also ended up painting herself quite a bit during this project, hence the naked artist look.

We put some paint down and I let her finger paint a little, and then we folded it, smooshed it flat, and opened it up.

It is a pretty simple project, but she seemed to think it was pretty cool.

Then Friday night we went to visit my family, and while at the beach, Paige told me that she was making a "flat sandcastle." Isn't it nice when they come up with ideas that just happen to fit the theme all on their own?

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Thursday List  

Thursday, July 24, 2008

First, I'd like to thank all of you for your wonderful comments when I was feeling a bit down the other day. Things are going slightly better this week, and we may have found a way to get back in the housing game. This is such a stressful thing!

Secondly, my next post is my 100th! I can't believe it. Can I really think of 100 things about myself?

Ok, now on to your regularly scheduled Thursday List....

I think I could definitely use a canvas of happiness right about now.

Another yummy looking trifle. I wish someone in this family liked pudding besides just me, as most trifles seem to include pudding.

I'm always interested in finding out the benefits of imperfection.

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Unplugged Glass  

Monday, July 21, 2008

Well, I guess I'm better late than never this week. I had a stressful week and had a hard time coming up with an idea I was happy with for the Unplugged theme of glass this past week. So tonight after dinner, we did one of Paige's favorite projects - we made "stained glass" suncatchers by sticking different colored tissue paper to contact paper, and then hanging it in the window. Paige actually prefers when we use glue and stick the tissue paper to wax paper, and when I said we were going to make suncatchers, she asked me where the glue was. But I told her we were going to use sticky paper, and she actually agreed fairly easily.

I had told her she could use her scissors to cut the tissue paper, as she loves to cut, but she eventually ended up just tearing some of the tissue and sticking it on the paper. I also got out some leftover glitter I had from when we did our Discovery Bottles, and she was happy to stick that on the paper too.

I stuck it in the window, which is also "glass" and took a quick picture. It was getting late, so most of my pictures are a little dark, but you get the idea.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Things are not going well.

In March we discovered that our landlord was selling our house and we needed to be out by May 15th.

We found a house we liked, and put in an offer. The bank was involved with the house and had to approve our offer. We found out it could be awhile. So we waited, and waited.

Memorial Weekend we had a marathon cleaning and packing session, filling a POD with most of our belongings. We had to leave several pieces of furniture behind, and we threw away quite a bit. We'd become overrun with clutter, and the whole process was very emotional.

Afterward, we moved into the third floor apartment of my sister-in-law's home and waited for the bank.

Last week the bank came back with a counter offer - $70,000 over what the owners had listed it for. We don't have that. The house isn't worth that.

This past Saturday we went out and found a new place we like. We were getting ready to make an offer today, when the mortgage guy calls and says there's a problem. Seems he was looking at our file and needed to update it because it's been a few months. The market is changing, he says, and he's not sure we'll still be approved for a mortgage. A few hours later we find out we aren't approved - but we would be if I made a couple thousand more a year.

I feel like doors are being slammed in my face wherever I turn and I don't know why. I've been telling Paige that we are looking for our new house, that we are going to find her a room (she didn't have her own room before) that we can decorate with Ariel. She's been excited to find it and excited to get her toys out of the Pod.

I think she'd be fine living here with her family, but she doesn't understand why if we are in our new place, why we can't get her things. I just keep telling her the new house isn't ready yet. After I hung up with the mortgage guy tonight I broke down into tears - sobs, actually. I feel like a failure as a mother. I shouldn't have told her I'd find her own room. I can't take care of my family. These are some of the fears that I choked out to Michelle while I cried.

I know I should be grateful. We are all together. We are healthy, we are happy, we have a roof over our heads, even if it isn't the one we imagined. I know I am very lucky to have family who could and did help us out. But it is still hard, and I keep fighting back tears whenever I think about it. I'm not sure what's going to happen to us.

I've heard of gratitude journals, where you jot down something you are grateful for that day, large or small. I've also seen this done on several blogs. I've also seen a few blogs post lists of things that makes the blogger happy. I've been thinking for awhile that I would like to start making some happy/grateful posts. I wonder if I'll be better about typing these things up then I would be about writing them in a notebook. We shall see.

In any event, here's the first thing I am grateful for. I am grateful for this little girl who came upstairs while Momma was sobbing. I am grateful for this little girl who sat in my lap with her Taggie blanket and Brown Bear, hugging me while I cried. I am grateful for this little girl who told me I was going to be ok.

I love you so much, my beautiful little girlie. I am so happy and grateful to have you with me.

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Thursday List  

Monday, July 14, 2008

Last week I didn't have any links for my list, and I asked anyone who likes my lists to put a link for me to look at in the comments section. Chrissy did me one better - a whole post of links!

This week I've only got a couple:

I love the idea of being a Book Experiencer but I really love the penguin cookies in this post!

This soap making project looks like fun - I've always wanted to try making soap.

If anyone has any fun links this week, please put them in the comments section so I can check them out!

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Unplugged Stone  

When I saw the theme of this week's Unplugged Project was stone, I thought right away of a garden stone., a project I've been wanting to do with Paige. However, this week was too busy for me to get to the store to get the supplies. I'm hoping to do this eventually, though!

This week was busy, so I almost thought that I wouldn't get to do a project this week, when I had an idea. Paige and I played a game inspired by one of her favorite cartoons, Charlie and Lola.

In one episode of Charlie and Lola, "It Is Actually My Party," Lola makes all the boys at Charlie's birthday party play a game called, "Musical Statues."* So I asked Paige if she'd like to try it, and we gave it a shot. Musical statues is kind of a variation of musical chairs. You turn on some music, and the players dance. Then you randomly pause the music, and everyone has to freeze like a...well, like a statue of course. I happened to actually find rules for this game online, (scroll down) and it says that if a player moves, he or she is out. You continue to play until one person is left.

It was too hard to try and control the music and take a picture of her, so after we played I asked her to stand like a statue so I could take her picture. It came out a bit dark, but you get the idea.

*The link for the episode that Musical Statues is in plays the story, but oddly enough omits the part I'm talking about. Oh well.

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Weekly Winners July 6 - 12  

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I didn't take many photos this week. I was hoping that this would motivate me to work on my photos, but then I started wondering what to take pictures of. Geesh.

So here are a few new ones of Paige.

I'm really happy with the way this one turned out. We were playing "Peek-A-Boo" withe the camera while she was climbing the slide in my sister-in-law's backyard.

Another peek.

Mom, why are you taking pictures of the swings?

For more weekly winners, visit Sarcastic Mom.

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Unfinished Business  

Friday, July 11, 2008

Trying to catch up with some unfinished business - awhile ago Forever Daisies gave me a wonderful award, and I'd like to pass it along - finally!

Here are a few blogs that I love.

Chasing Cheerios

Little Princess Chronicles

Ramblings of a Crazy Woman

My Blog


Go check 'em out!

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Thursday List - Reversed  

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Well, would you look at it is Thursday, and I don't have a list prepared! This has been a crazy week - I started teaching summer camp, today is my friend Michelle's birthday, and things haven't been going well with our house offer, so I've been a little out of sorts.

Anyway, this afternoon I had a fun idea - I thought it'd be fun if any of you who enjoy looking at the list of links left a fun link for me to check out in the comments. I'm always looking for more fun crafty ideas, and new blogs to check out. So this week I'm making you guys do the work! I can't wait to see what you suggest!

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Unplugged Sky  

Monday, July 7, 2008

This week's Unplugged Theme was sky. Well, we saw a lot of sky watching fireworks on both the 4th and the 5th. Paige became obssessed with them. She couldn't wait until it was dark enough on the 4th to go and see them. Poor little girlie was so excited about them that she started to cry when they were done. That's a lot of hype for a short time when you are three. Luckily we have a theme park nearby and they do fireworks every Saturday night in the summer, so we went and sat in their parking lot Saturday night to see the show. We might have to go a few more times this summer - "fireworks are awesome!!"

Here she is right before going to see the show on the 4th. I bought that shirt a couple of hours before we went out! :)

Then Sunday we did another (sort of) sky related project - we made Cloud Dough! The recipe seemed quite large, so I cut it in half when we made it. Here it is:

Cloud Dough

6 cups flour
1 1/2 cups oil
1 cup water
optional: white tempra paint

Mix, and play with!

Paige was pretty excited to make some dough - she's been missing the snow dough from our old house. Of course, she played for a long time just with the flour - I wasn't sure we were actually going to get to make the dough!

I didn't add the white paint - I didn't remember until we were all done mixing that I had some in the closet. So I suppose I would have gotten more of a "cloud color" if I'd added the paint, but it was fine without it - and I didn't have to be too worried when she tried to nibble some of it!

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Weekly Winners June 29 - July 5th  

Sunday, July 6, 2008

This is my first time joining the Weekly Winners group at Sarcastic Mom. I found the link via Beth, and thought I'd give it a try - especially since I am trying to work on my photo taking skills, so maybe this would be some helpful motivation!

As usual, my pictures are of my favorite subject, Paige. These were taken July 5th, at the school that her cousin goes to, around the corner from my mother-in-law's, where we've been camping out for the last month.






Thanks for visiting!

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Thursday List  

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I like this center-peace idea.

I love these shell ideas.

I love this idea for displaying mementos from trips.

I saw a picture of a barrette decorated with balloons and Paige loved it. Here's the same idea with flip-flops! Too cool!

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Learning to be Perfect  

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

There has always seemed to be two distinct sides to my personality.

One side loves to learn new things. I suppose that's why I'm already missing school a little bit, even though I'm relieved to be done with my Master's program.

The other side, however, is the perfectionist side, the all or nothing side, that often ruins things for me. That's the side of me that takes the fun out of learning new things, makes me compare what I'm doing to what others are doing, and if I don't measure up in my mind, tries to tell me to quit. Sometimes I'm afraid to even try, thinking what it'll be like if it doesn't turn out the way I think it should.

I'm trying more and more lately to push myself into trying things, and to change my mind set that it is ok to do something you enjoy, even if you aren't the best at it. Writing in my blog is one of them!

I've always enjoyed taking pictures, especially since I first got a digital camera and could take a million pictures and see what they looked like right away. However, I'm not very good at it. Roland takes much better pictures, and it has always frustrated me that I can take a hundred pictures and not get what I want, and call him over and with a quick snap and a, "there you go," he's produced the picture I wanted so badly. It makes me want to give up.

But, I'm trying really hard to tell myself to keep trying. I've been reading a lot of tips on blogs (I so love blogging) for first time photographers, and the number one tip is to take tons and tons of pictures. So while we were doing the Unplugged Project on Sunday, I followed my favorite little subject around and just kept taking pictures, trying new angles and other ideas all the lists for "taking better pictures" suggested.

Roland and I both like how this one turned out, although he pointed out that her bum is hanging out. Now I need to learn editing too!

There's something about this photo I really like, even though I'm disappointed it came out so blurry. Blurry is my number one problem with picture taking.

Some of the tips say to try taking pictures from behind. This worked good on this day because you could see the pretty french braid that Roland's mom put in her hair. Another thing for me to learn.

Some of the tips suggested filling the frame with the person you were taking the picture of. I'm so glad I tried it - these two aren't the best pictures in the world but I'm in love with them.

After showing Roland my "photo shoot" with Paige, he said that maybe he should have a photo shoot with her. Part of me wants him to because I know he'll get some beautiful shots. And part of me doesn't want him to because I know he'll get some beautiful shots.

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Unplugged Garden  

Monday, June 30, 2008

This week's Unplugged Project theme was garden, and I had intended to do some actual gardening with Paige - but then it rained most of the week, and since we heard that we might hear about our house this week (please keep your fingers crossed) we decided to wait and decide about planting some things from my classroom until we know about the house.

So, I went with a back-up plan that I thought sounded like fun, but Paige wasn't hugely interested, even though it involved paint. Imagine that.

I told Paige we were going to paint a rainbow garden, and we were going to collect dandylions, sticks and grass to paint with. She enjoyed the collecting process.

Then I read to her "Planting a Rainbow" by Lois Ehlert, who is one of my favorite children's authors. Paige wasn't really excited to sit down and read a book - she was waiting for the next part of the project. Then I set out some rainbow colored paints, and told her to use what we'd collected to paint with.

She did this for a little bit, but then moved on to getting water from the water table to "water the garden" with. Good concept - but bad for your pad of art paper!

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Thursday List  

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Peanut Butter Milkshakes look good to me.

I also think the popsicles here look yummy!

This looks like a nice, fast project Paige would like. Now I just need to find some metal lids to make tap shoes!

Although I don't homeschool, I've been quite intrigued by lapbooks for some time. Here are some adorable Tot-Books that I might have to try with Paige.

I think Paige is a little beyond Tot School, but I LOVE the idea.

Paige loves to dress up like a princess and I think she'd love this No Sew Tutu. Melissa made it for her daughter at the beach, and she's put the most beautiful pictures on her blog. We will be visiting family at the beach in July - our little girlies might also need to do this at the beach! What a great idea. :)

Another one we might need to try is her Easy Beach Collage idea.

One more from Melissa - I love the Toddler Activity Bags.

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Unplugged Old  

Monday, June 23, 2008

The theme for last week's Unplugged Project was old. For some reason, this theme was a hard one for me to wrap my head around. I looked up recipes using the word "old," thinking we could make old fashioned something or other. But we never quite got to it.

Eventually, Paige came up with a project that I decided fit the theme on her own. We are still in temporary housing, living with my in-laws. I know it must be confusing for Paige why we don't go to the "old house" anymore. Sometimes we talk about the old house and what we will do at the new house. Well, on Saturday she told me she wanted to do a project that we did at the old house. After a little detective work, I realized she wanted to use a stamp pad I'd let her try one day, that had resulted in a HUGE mess. I told her we didn't have one right now, and she came up with another project we'd tried a few months ago, back in the old house - circle painting.

Circle Painting is painting using an "old" cardboard toilet paper or towel roll in lieu of a brush. Of course now Paige calls toilet paper tubes "telescopes," so she said she wanted to paint with her telescope. Since my memory card was full when we did this, I don't have any pictures of the process, just one of the finished creation.

We also dipped the whole roll into the paint and rolled it across the paper, creating the lines. She thought that was fun too. She also seemed to enjoy that we were sitting on the kitchen floor painting, which we used to do at the old house too.

On Saturday Paige also picked a DVD to take out from the library. While not Unplugged, it sure made me feel old, when I realized the My Little Pony cartoons were dated 1986!

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Thursday List  

Thursday, June 19, 2008

This week has been a little crazy because it was the last week of school. Today is my first day of summer vacation! The last two years I took the summer off, but this year, as we will (hopefully) be moving into a new house soon, I thought I might need some extra money, so I am working the summer program. I just completed my first year at a new school, so this will be my first time working this summer camp. It is for six weeks, so I end up with two weeks off before it starts and two weeks off after before school starts again. The camp only goes until 1, so that's not too bad a deal. :)

Anyway, all of this rambling means I don't really have much of a Thursday list this week, but I'll probably have more next week because I'm on vacation!

For right now, check out Boredom Buster Monday for the kids.

Another idea that looks like a lot of fun is Muffin Tin Monday.

So that at least gives you a couple of ideas for fun on Monday, right?

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Unplugged Plastic  

Monday, June 16, 2008

This week's theme was plastic. For some reason the first thing that popped into my head was Discovery Bottles. I wasn't sure if Paige was old enough to enjoy these, but I decided to give the ocean wave bottle a try. You put water into an old water or soda bottle and add a few drops of blue food coloring. Then you put in a little bit of oil into the top of the bottle. In the past I've used cooking oil, which works, but gives the bottle a yellowish tinge. This time I bought baby oil to try, and it gives the "ocean" a much cleaner look. Paige seemed to think this was cool, and said, "I want to make more bottles!" I then made the mistake of telling her about one with glitter in it, and she got all excited. So we went out to the craft store yesterday to find some glitter. While we were there we also picked up some little shells for our wave bottle.

When we got home we added the shells to our wave bottle, and made a glitter "relaxation bottle" by filling a bottle with corn syrup and glitter. I discovered during this process that it would have been easier to just add some glitter to a bottle of corn syrup than to put corn syrup into a soda bottle. So I experimented and ended up putting all the corn syrup back in the corn syrup bottle. Finally we made a bubble bottle by filling a bottle with water and a few squirts of dish detergent. Just shake it up and you have bubbles!

There are tons of ideas for these bottles out there. Try searching for "Discovery Bottles" and you'll come up with lots of ideas.

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Thursday List  

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I'm not sure if I've ever shared this tutorial for adorable little monster bean bags. If I ever get my sewing machine out of storage (and learn to use it) I want to try these.

I am not a big fan of cheesecake, but these cheescake shots are so cute! And I love the idea of using a votive holder for them.

Another yummy looking treat.

Make Me Laugh Mondays look like lots of fun!

The Mommy Song - Way too funny.

This summer I'd like to try and make some strawberry freezer jam.

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A Good Day  

Yesterday was a good day.

I took my last personal day so that I could take Paige for her 3-year check-up. As we are currently in housing limbo, Paige's world is a little crazy and she's having some seperation anxiety issues, so she was thrilled that I was around to spend the day with her. Michelle and I took her to the doctor, where she got weighed on the "big girl" scale that you stand on for the first time, and she also got measured with the little arm that they pull out of the scale. She's 32 pounds and 38 inches, 4 inches more than last year.

Then when the doctor came in, she looked at her and said, "Don't stick that popsicle thing in my mouth," seeing as the last time we were there she had strep. When the doctor asked about how she does eating, Paige looked up at her and said, "I don't eat any junk food." I have no idea where she got that, but it was too funny - like I'd been coaching her or something!

Then she got her eyes and ears tested for the first time. I covered one eye while she read letters from a card, and then Michelle covered the other one for the same work out. Then she got to put on head phones and raised her hand when she heard a beep. She did great, and they gave her a Snow White sticker and a Freezer Pop. When the nurse asked her what color Freezer Pop she wanted, I heard the doctor call out - "She doesn't eat any junk food!" Too funny.

After the doctor, we stopped at Payless to look for some sandles for her. We got her some white Disney Princess sandles that have the lights in them. Right before we left I noticed some Croc type shoes that looked like Lightning McQueen. I showed her and she fell in love with them, so we got them both for her and a new pair of sun glasses for me.

Then we went off to Friendly's for lunch. We ordered some ice cream to take home. I got Paige the Monster sundae, which has Reese's Peanut Butter Cup ears, M&M eyes, and a cherry nose, which she got a kick out of, but didn't like the mint chocolate chip ice cream, so I ate that while she had some of Michelle's orange sherbert. Then we all took naps.

I was having fun out with her - I was thinking that maybe I needed to spend one of my personal days every year hanging out with her like that.

Then last night I watched the movie Enchanted for the first time. I bought it a couple of weeks ago, just assuming I'd like it - and I LOVED it.

I was so happy last night. Nothing really special happened, but it was just one of those feel good, make you smile kind of days.

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Unplugged Sticky  

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Paige loves to paint. It is one of the few activities that she'll do for more than about three minutes. Last week I tried a new kind of painting for the Unplugged Theme of paint, and it didn't go over very well. This week, however, I tried again, and surprise, Sticky Paint was a hit!

What is sticky paint you may ask? Why it is just corn syrup with a few drops of food coloring added! It is an activity I've been meaning to try forever, so I finally gave it a whirl for this week's Unplugged Theme of sticky.

Paige and her cousin were in need of something to do Friday night, (we are temporarily living upstairs from her cousins now, so often I have more children to entertain) so I gave them each a big piece of easel paper, a paint brush, and three Dixie Cups of sticky paint. One with red, one with yellow, and one with blue. Paige's cousin said he'd used sticky paint in school before, but it was Paige's first chance to play with it. She really loved it, and asked for it again yesterday morning, and yesterday afternoon. The problem yesterday afternoon was that it was stifling hot, and I was afraid that a sticky project was just going to be unbearable, so I told her it was too hot for the sticky paint. Well, wouldn't you know, first thing this morning I got, "Mom, it isn't hot any more. Can I do sticky paint?" So we did it again this morning.

Here she is Friday night. Somehow Paige always seems to be in her pajamas when we do our Unplugged Projects!

Here's the painting she made Friday night. When she made that one cane shaped blue mark, she said, "I made a candy cane!" This is one of the first times she's mentioned drawing something - at least something that makes sense to me. Most of the time she says she's drawing a "Pookie Sun." I have yet to figure out what exactly that is.

This one Paige and I did together Saturday morning:

And here she is this morning, while Momma plays with different camera angles.

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