We are a family who enjoys livin' on the edge!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Kiddie Acres

This morning Merritt and I joined our friends at Kiddie Acres. When we told people we were going, we heard similar comments about how old the place was but we had lots of fun. Merritt was not sure about many of the rides but she found one she could not get enough of... the Carousel!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Only 154 more days til Christmas - so I thought I would start decorating...
I'm joking, kinda.
I saw a tutorial on coffee filter wreaths and I had to tried one on my own! The wreath was simple to make and it costed less than $5!
You will need:
- foam wreath {$1 store}
- a package of about 150 coffee filters {$1 store}
- glue
- glitter {I used white and gold because my Christmas decor is all white, gold, and silver}
- ribbon
First, I folded the coffee filters and dipped the edges in glue and then white glitter. I let them dry. I wasn't sure how the filters would cover the green wreath so I hot-glued ribbon around the outside and inside. I didn't want the green to show through. Next, I began hot-gluing the coffee filters around the outside of the wreath and then the inner circle of the wreath. After I was happy with the fullness, I filled in the middle with the coffee filters. Lastly, I added gold ribbon and hung it up!
Now my mind is spinning with other coffee filter wreath ideas! I am thinking of making several smaller versions for my tablescape to go around candles. Or maybe using paint on the edges for different holidays or even a Hook'em Horn wreath for football season. Stay tuned!!

Summer Days

I love being a teacher for the summer days! Merritt and I have been having a blast these days - we love going to the park. We had a special day last week with Daddy and Grandma!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bubbles, Bubbles are so fun! Bubbles, Bubbles for everyone!

Merritt and I hosted a playdate this morning in our backyard. We had so many of our T.O.T. friends come over for a fun morning in the pool {blow-up}. While the TOTS were playing, all the moms made bubbles from idea I saw on Brown Paper Packages. Yesterday, I prepared by purchasing bubbles from a local party store, cutting strips of scrapbook paper to fit perfectly over the bubble labels, and making homemade bubbles.
The ingredients for perfect bubbles are:
6 cups of water
2 cups of dish washing liquid {I used an apple scented - I am a teacher what do you expect!}
3/4 cup of Karo syrup {the same syrup that you would use for pies}
Each TOT picked out their favorite colored bubble bottle {I emptied the store-bought bubble solution} and the moms wrote their TOT's name with a black sharpie onto the scrapbook paper. Then we used packing tape {2 strips} to tape it onto the bubble bottle so the bubble solution would not mess up their names. Then using a funnel {sorry about the sideways shot, I forgot to rotate it!} we poured the bubbles into the new and fabulous bottle!
Bubbles are so much fun and really useful
Uses for bubbles:
1. Doctor's offices: I don't want Merritt touching anything at the doctor's office {books, toys, blocks, etc.} Call me paranoid but I don't want her to get something 'at' the doctor's office! Also, it helps while the doctor is doing her check-up to keep her mind off the thing being stuck in her ear.
2. Shopping: Grocery or Mall, I have pulled out my bubbles while waiting in line and in dressing rooms.
3. Car trips/Traffic: I blow the bubbles towards the ac and it blows the bubbles back to her.
I carry a bottle in my purse at all times and now I have a personalized bottle just for Merritt!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Take me out to the ball game...

Growing up I spent most of my youth inside the 8th Wonder of the World, the Astrodome. My family had our favorite seats and we would eat the Antone's subs we snuck in inside my mom's large purse {because at the time a $1.50 for a hot dog was WAY TOO MUCH to spend}. We would sit in the front row of the lodge deck on the 3rd base side. My dad would listen to the game on his Sony Walkman and my mom would keep track of game in her scorebook. The yelling back and forth between them is something I will never forget, "Was that a called strike or did he swing?" my mom would asked {the scorebook had to be right}. "What?" my dad would yell back about 4 times too loud because when you are wearing headphones you can't hear yourself talk. And then there was me, an Astros Buddy {I think I got a t-shirt, discounted tickets, a bag to bring all my baseball gear to the game, and a dinner for 4 gift certificate to the Cracker Barrel for joining - quite a deal!}. When I wasn't using my dad's binoculars, which weighed about 10 pounds, to stare at Craig Biggio or Bill Doran, I would hang K's on the railing each time the pitcher would strike out the batter. I need a moment, hold on readers.... I am thinking about the first loves of my life... {and their butts in those baseball paints}.
Ok, I am back.
I want Merritt to feel the same love about the game of baseball that her father and I do, so we started taking her to baseball games early. She listened to Craig Biggio's last game while in my tummy, she met Nolan Ryan in the elevator at her first Round Rock Express baseball game, and we use the ESPN box at the Dell Diamond whenever my hubby can get it from the station.
On our way to the game Wednesday, we practiced saying baseball and discussed what we were about to see {mainly me talking about my opinons and her saying 'Ok, mama' and 'Snack, Plez'}.
We had a great time with our friends and can't wait til Merritt loves the game as much as I do.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

If I ran the Zoo

In a couple of weeks , Merritt and I are going to visit friends and family in Houston. I am planning to take Merritt to the Houston Zoo while we are there. My mom and I took her during our Spring Break visit but Merritt didn't seem that interested in the animals, she was mainly interested in the snacks we brought with us. Putting on my teacher hat, I feel like that was partly my fault because I didn't prepare her for our visit. The voice in my head is one of my administrator saying before our nine week assessments; "You must teach before you test." True.
So in preparation for our visit, we started a Zoo Animal thematic unit. And in tue teacher fashion, I made lesson plans and the 3 week unit! Each week we are learning 4-5 new animals that we will see at the zoo, doing crafts, zoo animal books, matching games, stickers, and of course I got her mini-zoo animals that she loves to throw in the pool. And I finally found a use for all the Beanie Babies I collected in the mid-90s - I use them to introduce the animal we are learning about that day and then Merritt and her new friend eat breakfast together.
If you have any other fun animal ideas - I would love to read about them, please post in comments!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

She beats to her own drum

Today Merritt and I went to Children's Day Art Park at Symphony Square Amphitheatre. As we walked in there were musicians, clowns, and an instrument petting zoo. We walked by the french horn {she backed away}, violin {she shook her head no}, and other instruments with similiar reactions. But at the end of the line, there it was.... the DRUM. Just like her daddy, who's dream has always been to become a drummer in a rock band and trys to fulfill his dream every time a song comes on with a rockin' drum solo {you know have you seen that driver with the ac on full blast hitting the steering wheel - that is my husband}! Merritt grabbed the drum sticks like a natural and went back several times to ROCK IT OUT!
After, we walked down to the stage and had a seat to watch the show. One of the performers is one of my favorite children's singer - Lucas Miller, the Singing Zoologist. Daddy 'the drummer' even came to join us after his morning radio show had ended. What fun day at the park!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Today Merritt and I went to the Aboretum with some friends from our playgroup. In the 13 years I have called Austin home, I have never gone passed the Aboretum stores to the beautiful and peaceful areas that are just beyond the Gap, Janie and Jack, and Gymboree.
Merritt wasn't to sure about the large cow statues but she did enjoy watching the waterfall and fountains. She asked several times, "Shoes off?" Which in Merritt speak means, 'Let's go play in the water!' A friend brought bubbles and the girls giggled and ran as they tried to catch each one.
We walked down to the duck pond, which was an adventure! I didn't realize when I started the treck down that it was a winding, rocky trail and Merritt's stroller tires were seriously low on air. And then came the stairs! But it was well worth the hike when Merritt saw the pond, ducks, and geese. {Side-note: I am freaked out by birds} We pulled out the bread for the girls to feed the ducks and the geese came over quickly, a little TOO quickly for my taste. She had a great time and ran around the whole pond finding turtles and fish.
We will definitely will have to go back soon!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Red, White, and Blue Strawberries

While searching for something to bring to the 4th of July party, I stumbled upon this from Oopsey Daisy and had to try it for myself.
They weren't as easy as I thought they would be... The recipe said to melt chocolate, then dip strawberries two-thirds of the way to coat the strawberries. Well, I couldn't get the chocolate to melt correctly, so I ended up 'frosting' ALL of the strawberries and then dipping them into the blue sprinkles to create the yummy and patriotic strawberries.
All the hard work paid off, everyone at the party LOVED them!

Happy Birthday America!

I love holidays, the food, family, and friends getting together. The 4th of July is no exception, I come from a military family who has served in every war or battle since WWII, so this is a special holiday for me.
The 4th of July weekend started yesterday with a trip to a friend's house and we cooked on the grill, played in the pool {well, I didn't but that is a story for a different post}, and of course the guys jumped on an oiled up shamu inflatable {it's tradition}.
I hope you enjoy your holiday and have fun; from our family to yours!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I couldn't help...

FALLING in love with letters in frames!

How I did it!

Ok, so I know y'all are SUPER impressed and you are thinking.... "Jennie, that looks SO cool and patriotic, how much did it cost and how much time did it take?"
Sit down because it will blow you socks off... $4.78 {that includes tax}. I did the whole project during So You Think You Dance {the one-hour elimination show}.
First, let me give all the credit to eighteen25 blog, the two sisters come up with the neatest ideas and a lot of my project list comes from them. You should definitely check it out!
Now let me tell you how I did it and where I got all the supplies:
1. Wooden Letters {USA} - Hobby Lobby .99 for 2 letter packages {tell you in a moment what I will do with the extra letters}.
2. Red Paint {I am a teacher so I paint of every color - free}
3. Glitter {I LOVE glitter and already had red glitter for this project - free}
4. 1 piece of scrapbook paper {again, I already had so the paper - free}
5. 3 frames
{Ok, I am going to go off on a tangent but stay with me. I went to Hobby Lobby for the letters but had M with me so I didn't want to go to 2 stores looking for letters and frames, so I checked out the frames at Hobby Lobby.
While I was looking for inexpensive frames, I saw 2 women carrying USA letters and looking for 3 frames. We were doing the SAME THING! How crazy, right? Anyways, I found a frame that I liked and it was 1/2 off $9.99. I thought in my head, 'Jennie you can not afford to buy 3 frames for this project' - it was actually my husband's voice in my head. So I thought, ok, I will get smaller letters (.77 for 4 letters), the one frame and put all the letters in the frame. Still very cute, but also very affordable.
I paid for everything, walked to my car, and saw the Dollar Store. I asked M if she wouldn't mind stopping to look if they had frames, she said 'ok, mama' and we went in. There they were, waiting for me to buy them. So I did and 4 extra for another project (see last picture).
I went back to Hobby Lobby returned the frame and small letters and purchased the large letters and 4 more to fit in my 4 new frames to spell out FALL.
The words and holidays are endless with this idea! When there is a new holiday, just take out the cardstock and letters out of the frame and replace with new letters!}
So here's how I did it:
1. Paint 2-3 coats of paint on each letter.
2. Pour glitter on top of letters while paint is still wet.
3. Cut the scrapbook paper to 5x7 {or whatever size your frame is}. I did this between paint drying rounds.
4. Take out the backing and glass from frames.
5. Attach the letters to scrapbook paper using glue dots or double-sided tape.
6. Put letter and backing into frame and display for everyone to see!