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I’ve wanted to host a Valentine’s heARTS and CRAFTS fair for a few years now and after much hemming and hawing, I finally got around to doing it and for a great cause!  On Sunday, February 12, we gathered our 2nd grade Girl Scouts and asked them to bring their brothers, sisters, and a friend or two to join us for lots of crafty fun. The group decided to use this event as an opportunity to raise money for the Minnesota Raptor Center.

With a suggested donation of $5 per child, we had a total of 23 children gather at our home to get their sweetheart picture taken (with our red table cloth taped to the fireplace, we took each child’s picture, then I photoshopped the pictures into these cute Valentine’s borders.

Next, the children colored a picture of a pair of love birds for the coloring contest to honor the creatures the event supported. At the end of the event, we asked a few of the moms to pick their favorite picture and they chose Hannah’s. Hannah won a cupcake kit.  We also gave away a few additional door prizes.


The kids also had the opportunity to get their faces painted, to check out our “Sweetheart Sale” in the basement – clothes and toys sold with 10% going to the Raptor Center, and to create a heart-shaped sun catcher out of melted crayon shavings and wax paper.


We had Girl Scout cookies for sale and I sold a few of my Pearl Girl items, Megan R. sold Stella and Dot jewelry, Michelle C. sold her Usborne Books, Julie F. and her daughter sold scarves and hats they knitted themselves, my friend Ann had her beautiful watercolor and wire art, and Maddie sold $7 worth of her Crafty Kitty items which included cat toys (felted balls with jingles) and crayons melted into fun shapes like hearts and lips! 10% of the profits from these vendors were gathered to donate to the Raptor Center.


It was a REALLY fun day and we raised $100 to donate to the Raptor Center!

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The end of summer is quickly approaching and this week in particular flew by.   We kicked off the week by inviting our cousin Katie (who will be going into 3rd grade although she is just six weeks older than Maddie, that’s what you get when you have an August and a September birthday!) over for a sleepover.  She was a total angel and even played “First Communion” to get Maddie excited for her upcoming sacrament.  We treated Katie and ourselves to a little Jamba Juice action then walked around Centennial Lakes and jumped ahead to next week when we sat in the Gazebo.  Katie in particular really liked the place and said she enjoyed how calm it was with the classical music playing and thanked us for taking her there, like I said, a real angel. However, she is an angel who sleeps like nobody’s business.  The morning after the sleepover we were scheduled to have a new gas line put in to replace our old one and they moved the gas meter from inside the house to outside (oh the joy of living in an old house!).  I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when they pulled the tractor right into my precious green grass and tore it right up. I had been seeding and watering the lawn for at least five week.  The words I used under my breath were not in the least bit kind. I am glad that I kept them to myself and didn’t say them aloud given the fact that these men were working with our gas line!!!!

Back to Katie, the kid slept so hard that she didn’t even awake to the jack hammering right outside the window.  I tried to wake her up so I could bring the kids to Perkins for breakfast. Even though they said the work was perfectly safe, I just thought I’d feel better not being there, what with at least three gas related explosions within 5 miles of our house over the past two years and all….but Katie slept and there were no problem. I guess the angels heard my prayers and protected us that and we had a really competent crew doing the work. Maybe they were the angels, you never know about these things.

I canceled next week’s craft camp because it was scheduled during our school orientation time so this week’s was the very last craft camp of 2011.  We had only 2 kids and 1 helper show up, most folks were AWOL at the State Fair which was fine by me because it was kind of nice to have it be a low key event.The kids worked on kindness coins based on our trip to Tucson, Arizona.  While we were visiting my Uncle Tom at his darling ooo! store right next to the University of Arizona, we stumbled upon this wonderful little courtyard with a blue water fountain and painting stations set up for anyone passing by to paint bells for wind chimes that are handed out every April to unsuspecting folks around town.  The idea is to pay homage to a little boy named Ben who died at a very young age.  The organization is called Ben’s Bells.  If you are the recipient of such a kind act you are simply asked to spread as much kindness as you possibly can.  Ben’s Bells also sells ceramic “Kindness Coins” which you’re supposed to spend when you see someone doing something kind. You give them the coin and tell them that you saw them doing something kind and now it’s there turn to pass it on when they see someone doing something kind.

Using Pluffy clay, the kids rolled it out and used cookie cutters in the shape of a little flower or a heart then we pushed the end of a straw into the middle of it to give it a hole to place a ribbon to connect a piece of paper that said, “I saw you do something kind. Please pass this coin on when you see someone do something kind.”  Then at the bottom of the paper was a quote like this one:  “Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” ~James Matthew Barrie and this blog address. I baked the shapes for 15 minutes at 250 degrees and then they painted them after they cooled.

While we waited for the coins to bake, we prepared for the Smiley Face party by filling dozens of yellow water balloons.  It was tricky to tie them off, but I finally got the hang of it.  It was a big watery mess and the kids loved it!

The girls also worked on Goofy Glittery Glasses to honor next week’s letter “G”.  This craft was fun to do but was a total flop and the glasses didn’t work to well other than everyone looked like Elton John.

We made HUGE progress this week on ALL of our outdoor projects and I’m filled with joy to announce that we are all done with the garage and driveway as it was approved by the city inspector.  The porchio (patio + porch: thanks Jen B. for the name) was finished thanks in great part to all of the help of neighbor boy Brandon and our buddy Fletcher who both had previous experience with patio pavers.  Our friend Aly came over and stained the inside of the swing set and kept an eye on the baby while I ran a few errands.  I thanked the kids by buying them all lunch from Jimmy Johns.

One of my errands was to return eight pieces of particle boards to Menard’s. Speaking of Menard’s I made great friends with Ashinta at the Customer Service return desk, Justin, and Kevin who helped me haul all the crap I bought and returned.  I must have looked like a real jack ass carrying them in the van. Every time I stopped they pushed the back door open. I could only drive 15 miles an hour and had to cling to the stupid OSB.  Luckily I was able to take side streets nearly the who way there and only had to stop five times to push it back in. Of course, I found our rope and bungie cords later in the week in the basement where many of the contents of our garage have been stored all summer.

Speaking of storage, we finally moved all of our junk out of our neighbor Katie’s garage. She and her husband Paul were so kind to allow us to put so much of our crap in their garage nearly all summer long.  It’s been really nice to finally have all of our stuff in our own garage and to finally start biking around town.  The baby finally got to use her little red Radio Flyer bike that we gave her for Christmas.  She loves it and loves to zip up and down the driveway.

We finally made it to Sebastian Joe’s which is one of my favorite ice cream places.  I wanted to go during our “S” week but never got a chance. We went to the Linden Hills location and despite her lactose sensitivity, I gave in and let the baby eat a whole cone by herself.  The next day is never pretty but it was worth it in her eyes.  There was a lady sitting at the table next to us who looked at Angie and said, “She is doing justice to the ice cream cone, justice.”  I thought that was pretty funny.

After we finished our cones and hosed off the baby, we walked down to the Bibelot (where I used to sell my Meal Magnets) and Creative Kid’s Stuff in search of a new umbrella for those rainy days at the bus stop.  We found rainbow colored umbrellas (in honor of next week…at the end Alphabet Summer the whole thing turns into a big mish mash of letters as we’re trying to get it all done kind of like the grand finale of a fireworks show).  So now we’re all set for those worm filled street days coming up.

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S is for Smiley Faces!  Being a true child of the 19-seventies, I grew up lovin’ the smiley face. We hosted our second annual end of summer party last Saturday night.  Last year we paid homage to the letter “P” by celebrating  “Piggies” this year it was supposed to be during our “S” week but we decided to re-schedule it for a week later so more of our out of town and in-town friends could come.

Despite a few of our friends going to the State Fair instead, it was a big success!  I posted pictures from this year’s craft camps and last year’s Alphabet Summer on those cardboard “science exhibit” boards for everyone to get a glimpse of our activities and adventures. I asked the kids to bring their favorite craft item that they made this summer. I’m not really sure if anyone did.  Maybe next year I’ll be more proactive about saving a sample of each so all the parents can see what the kid’s worked on.

Our friend Denyse provided amazing face paintings for the kids and she sustained a constant line throughout the whole soiree.  Here’s a picture of our little friend Sophie slanting her face to show how it was painted so beautifully.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had 25 kids and their parents show up to paint their own smiley face t-shirts have a water balloon throwing contest which was a big splash! Big thanks to Sheila who filled up over a hundred water balloons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The kids decorated stupid little cupcakes (I didn’t make enough and they didn’t turn out well) but the kids didn’t seem to mind because they got to decorate them into smiley faces with frosting – SUGAR!

On a side note, we had also celebrated the letter “I” with “S” last week and I found myself very inconvenienced when I realized that I forgot to buy ice for the beer, so I posted a note onto Facebook and was thoroughly inspired by the speed and generosity of our friends as I received three huge bags of iceI saved 1.5 bags for a party we now must schedule in the near future!

Towards the end of the event, I asked all the kids to pull out a letter from a hat (well, actually it was just a plastic Tupperwear kind of thing) and we assigned them to next year’s calendar. I’ll post the letter assignments for next year’s Alphabet Summer later.  Maddie and I decided that the theme of the craft camps will be Magical and Mythical Creatures.  We asked everyone to generate as many ideas for each letter of the alphabet as they could come up with.  There were some really good ones, but I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do for V, W, and Z…vampires, werewolves, and zombies.  I might have to let those letters drop off the map for the 0-12 year crowd.

When the kids arrived, we asked them to write down something on a piece of paper that was concerning them, then they were to rip it up and place the scraps in a little green bucket with Oscar the Grouch on it so they could “leave their worries behind.”  Later we it got dark out we placed their bothers into the fire pit and roasted s’mores over them. Then we called it a night.  All I can say is it’s been a super summer AND I’m happy I’ve survived it….and I’m now ready for a sabbatical!

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We had a relatively quiet week because I tried to quit the busy pace we’ve been keeping this summer.  I started the week off with a bug of some sort or another.  Feeling queasy and absolutely exhausted.  By Wednesday I felt all better but Maddie developed a bad cold and a bit of a fever and missed the last day of swimming camp on Thursday. I also thought it best to cancel B and Q Craft Camp this week so we didn’t spread the bug.

I broke down and called my friend’s boy who’s nickname is Buddy to help me out with my patio porch project.

Hopefully this week we can squeeze in the quilted butterfly busy bags in with our I and S crafts. I decided to live dangerously and went out for ice cream at the Pumphouse Creamery (never made it there for our “P” week). The line was very backed up but no one was the least bit crabby about it and the wait was well worth it but that’s probably because of the company we kept with neighbors Melissa and Ella.

Despite not feeling the best, we did have some fun.  On Wednesday morning, we went to the Q Kindness Cafe (the “Q” is for Quality) for breakfast in downtown St. Paul with our buddy Quinn, his sister Zoe, and their mom Sheila.  Sheila made a couple of Qs on Quinn’s pancakes with syrup. The restuarant was a wonderfully inspirational place.  It was fun to talk to the owner Lisa who’s husband is made our delisious blueberry pancakes and to hear about all the kind acts that happened there when peopled pay it forward for future customers.  After we ate, we checked out the bronze Charlie Brown and Snoopy statue. Everyone seemed to come into the place with a smile including this guy who just stuck his smiley face in the camera so I took his picture. As we got into the car, we encountered a guy who’d definitley had a bit too much booze (by 11:30 in the morning, love downtown!)

On Friday morning our neighbors invited us to go to the Science Museum with them. Although our “S” week starts in a few days, we were able to identify quite a few “B”s during our visit.  We spotted several big fat bumble bees in the Big Backyard exhibit. We stepped back 60 million years to learn about the Age of Behemoths. The girls got to see how big the belly of these beasts really were. We also enjoyed checking out the big bookshelves filled with books about dinosaurs.

Since we moved here, I’ve been trying to tour the Bartholomew House but the hours it is open are so limited.  We’ll have to try again in the future weeks.

 

We made it to the Penn Lake Library in Bloomington to pick up some more fairy books and even stopped at Augsburg Park library to pick up some books that were in my reserved in my que. The camera broke and I’m unable to use the auto focus feature…oh well, I’m getting better at using manual focus and actually starting to like it.   I worked quite a bit on our backyard this week in preparation for our end of summer party and to be honest, we’ll be pretty much broke after we finish paying for all the work we’ve had done on our garage and driveway this summer. Two last pictures for you I took today: Ella and Angela in their little cars going “beep beep!” and Angela blowing bubbles, her  new favorite thing to do, “out-thide!” Hoping we’re all feeling better this week!

Last year we spent our B and Q weeks by: taking the bus to Bachman’s with McKenna (we’re still hoping to do this with our buddy Bridget this week because she was out of town this week), ate at Quiznos and Q Cumbers,  and made Daddy a Quit Kit.

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P and N week has come and gone. We transitioned from T and D week in Grafton, Wisconsin to P and N quite nicely. On Saturday we spent the morning at the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum and played in the puppet place and pizza restuarant. Then headed back to the Craun’s home for some real pizza, snap peas, and popscicles for lunch.  We spent the afternoon at the pool and the girls put on a pop princess show after dinner followed by a walk to their nearby park where we met some of their new neighbors.

On

Sunday, we headed back to the little apple city but first took our wonderful host family out to breakfast at the Heart of Grafton Family Restaurant where we had plenty of pancakes but the service was super pokey and putzy leaving us in a nasty mood.  While we were waiting we checked out the Paramont Plaza Walk of Fame and walked on the giant piano with the names of the artists who recorded music at Paramont Records. Here’s the view from the sky. I gave each of the kids a penny to make a wish in the little pond.

Shortly after breakfast, we said our sad goodbyes and drove to a brief tour of Port Washington then slowly made our way across Wisconsin to stop in at Grammy and GrandpAl’s for pizza. (which never gets old!) As we arrived, the baby woke from her nap and started chewing on her little piggies.

Just like last year,during out N week we celebrated what was previously called National Night Out but is now called Night to Unite with our neighbors by starting out on the odd side of the street by playing in the pool and pushing each other around the driveway in little cars.

Then we headed back to the not so odd (I mean even) side of the street where we were greeted by a police officer on his to motorcycle.  We had a great BBQ at our next door neighbor’s house and I put pig tails in the girls’ hair.

On Wednesday, I pulled off our third story time at Bellies to Babies on my own because the baby was with Denyse and the big girl was at Forces of Nature camp learning about tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanoes.  Her teacher promised the kids wouldn’t make any magical items that cause these horrific events so we wouldn’t have a repeat of rainforest camp. The fourth day of the camp she came home soaking wet and I asked her what happened, her response was, “a tsunami” and then she ran off into her room to change. On the last day when I picked her up, the teacher and all the kids were outside with a big plastic pop bottle filled with vinegar and baking soda letting it pop the cork off into the street. Needless to say, it was a very fun camp.

Back to story time. My audience was very small but just the right size. I read to little Mr. Avery who is THE best listener a storyteller could ever wish for. I read plenty of Winnie-the-Pooh, Miss Spider’s Tea Party, Oh the Places You’ll Go, Harold and the Purple Crayon (which is plum full of “P” words). He wasn’t so interested in My Little Pony, the princess stories, or Fancy Nancy. After we finished reading, we lined up all the books and made them fall like dominoes a few times.

We had hoped to go to Paint Your Plate with our little friend Parker P. but ended up at the pool instead because of the big brother Phil factor which was fine by me.  It was a beautiful hot day and we postponed Paint Your Plate for another day.

Initially I had different plans for our craft camp. We were going to make pretzels, learn about the food pyramid, and make noodle necklaces but because we had so many children who wanted to come for fairy week and I couldn’t fit them all in, we made pixie nooks instead.  This by far was my favorite craft of the summer and for the first time, I joined in and made my own.

Each nook contained a small house for the pixie (a tiny birdhouse painted and embellished), a clothes line with tiny little clothes hangers, a bird, a flower, a fence, and tiny little marbles (thanks Julie!) for walking paths. We used take out containers from Noodles (where we had to go for lunch that day just to have enough for all the kids coming). The kids were really proud of their little pixie nooks and we listened to the Trouble with Tink  CD while we crafted.

That night several of the pixie nooks were visited with a little glitter from their pixie, a note and for some of the lucky kids a few artifacts to indicate what kind of pixie they were. Maddie’s was a golfing pixie with a tiny little club, tee, and ball. My was a gardening pixie with a few little gardening tools. The neighbor girls Bridget and Nia both had sewing fairies move in with tiny little thread bobbins, and the little boy across the street had his dream of a boy pixie come true with an electricity pixie named Paul.

The next day, I got to work on our own little Pixie Place where all magical and mythical creatures are welcome (even big baby trolls as pictured below). All children are welcome and any adults with fanciful natures. Non-believers keep out! I bought this darling little door at The Linden Tree.

A few other things about our N and P week include eating pork chops and Fig Newtons, cheering on the Nature Center runners with pom poms on Saturday morning and working on my pretend porch patio paver project. We completely gave up on the library, park, ice cream aspect this week…no, I take that back!  I got to have a little time with my long time friend Patricia on Saturday afternoon when we hung out and had ice cream at Anodyne in South Minneapolis. She had the Nicollet Pothole and I had Pavaratti.

The crafty kid made me my very own penseieve this week. Just want I always wanted!

Last year we celebrated the letters N and P by getting some new shoes,  ate noodles with our neighbors the headed off to Nickolodeon Universe at the Mall of America, and went to Noodles with our friends Elsa and Anna. W enjoyed going to Paint Your Plate, finally growing our hair out long enough to put it in pig tails, refusing to nap until we got pooped out, helping to paint a mural, making a personalized patch for our pants, having a procedure at the hospital, putting with papa, attending cousin Katie’s pool party, throwing a Pink Polka Dotted Paper Mache Pinata Party, and sewing polka dotted curtains

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I’m a little behind on posting again but that’s because we’ve been busy having a crazy busy fun summer.  I started D and T week off by getting a truck to drop off a yard and a half of dirt to fill in all the holes in our now empty and grass-less front yard.  I spread the dirt all over the yard and have been seeding and watering it like crazy in hopes of having a respectable yard again. It’s nice to be taking back the yard and watching all of the transformation going on.

I haven’t had much of a chance to sew lately, but I did receive an order for upcycled jeans for a pair of twins, so I made these with a cute little heart and bow. I really hope they like them and wear them often!

On Monday morning, we picked up our buddies Elsa and Carol and attended Tale Time at the Wild Rumpus book store in Linden Hills. I love their tiny door for toddlers.

I took a little time off on Tuesday and met a friend for coffee and a walk.  She and a friend just started making these fabulous painted shoes and cell them under the name Funky Cinderella. On Tuesday night we caught up with Elsa and her parents for a little DQ action. On the walk home, the girls jumped on their dad’s shoulders and the baby wanted in also so Elsa’s mommy obliged. I love the desperate look on Ernie’s face. They all looked doggone tall to me!

Wednesday night we finally got to do something I’d been trying to do since last summer which was to ride the trolley over by Lake Harriet. We ran into some friends at a local restuarant and asked if they wanted to join us and the obliged. Despite having a horrible migraine, my friend and her two children joined us. It was a quick little event but very fun. Unfortunately, the migraine turned ugly and my friend had to throw up a bit in the car ride home. We were all so grateful for the bucket I carry for just such an occasion having two super pukers for kids. Not to worry, I won’t post any pictures of that. I’m happy to report that she felt much better after the incident and that I had to hang my head out the window to keep it from turning into the pie eating contest in Stand by Me, a movie that still gives me nightmares to this day.  Fortunately, the children were all too wrapped up in their happy little worlds to ever notice anything was happening in the front of the van.

On Thursday, we had a really great craft camp and were lucky to have our three neighbor girls (who are triplets!) join us. I took the kid’s to our local professional drum shop just a few blocks from our home. Unfortunately, we had to do a little detour because of all the construction on 76th Street. Steve performed for us a bit and showed us many drums and percusion instruments including a triangle and a tamborene.  He showed us a wall of drum heads signed by famous drummers from all over the world who had visited and purchased items at their shop.

On the walk home we noticed a detailed mural done by many local artists including the baby’s daycare provider Denise pictured here which got Maddie to thinking about when she was in daycare, so we stopped by the center where she used to go to catch up with her provider Laurie.

Ok, back to craft camp. For lunch the kid’s wanted to have a picnic in the park (which I told them was a bit premature given that “P” week was next week but I obliged and packed up a bunch of sandwiches and made a big jug of Tropical Punch and we loaded up the wagon and had a picnic at the park.

This week we made decoupaged treasure trunks out of shoe boxes that I painted gold. I started with the idea last spring when we made Maddie a Harry Potter trunk.

The kids picked out lots of pictures that they liked or inspired them from various magazines then we used Modge Podge to stick them on the shoe boxes.  We also made dream diaries (an idea we got from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix).  I also painted composition notebooks gold and the kid’s labeled them with their names and we Modge Podged that onto the little journals. We listened to the CD of the Tale of Despereaux. We talked about dreams, nightmares, and daydreams and the importance of having dreams in all respects and setting goals. When it was time for pick up,  the triplet’s mom surprised me with this beautiful bunch of Gerber daisies which absolutely made my day!

On Friday morning, we set off bright and early for a little weekend traveling and a trip to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to visit our friend’s who just moved a few weeks ago.  We had a wonderful time playing with their daughter’s and their dog.The girl’s loved playing with their DS games and now I guess we all know what Maddie wants for her birthday.

The first night we arrived we attended a wonderful concert in the park and spotted this strangely deformed tree and kept trotting right on past a “danger” sign.

The next day we got a tour of Milwaukee which is a beautiful city on Lake Michigan. We played at Betty Brinn Children’s Museum for a really long time and enjoyed the toothbrush exhibit where they suggest humming Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to yourself to make sure you brush your teeth long enough.

The girls loved the theatre and driving the bus. Maddie played with the drum set in the toddler area while the baby climbed through a tunnel that looked like a tree.

at the end of our day trip to Milwaukee, we were all very tired, epecially the little one.

A few side notes about this week: the country finally reached a debt deal, Maddie twisted her ankle and sprained it a bit, the baby ate a bunch of tomatoes right out of the garden and enjoyed brushing her own teeth with her sister. She is teething big time and chewing on everything. Angie got a brand new toy helicopter from our friend Pat and her family when they came over for dinner last Saturday night. They brought Maddie a game about telling time too. All in all, it was a terrific week!

Last year for our D and T weeks we: got to spend a lot of time with Daddy during his day off, spent time with our friend Darcy, her daisies and went to DQ, visited our local drum shop for the first time, saw a great big rubber duck at a garage sale, went downtown Minneapolis and visited Target headquarters in downtown Minneapolis.

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With both the front and back yard all torn up, there’s no place to play outside and boredom has hit our little home big time. So I figured it was time to packed up my first born and drop her off at Spanish camp so she wouldn’t forget everything she learned this past school year. The theme of the week was the life in the rainforest.  I think the teacher’s lessons were a little too effective because immediately after they made beautiful rain sticks it began to rain and rain and rain until the school had water coming in both the front and the back door, every intersection on my way to pick her up was flooded with over a foot of water including the parking lot, and the most frustrating part was the water that came in both our kitchen and basement.  That was not fun and the F word was used liberally and I don’t mean the word fart. Luckily, the rain was nice and warm, but Maddie was freezing when she stepped into the air conditioning. The following days have been incredibly humid and muggy and just as I would expect the rainforest to feel like.  We’re really hoping this week’s camp about the Carribean has much more pleasant weather.

On Tuesday, I finally cut my hair and donated 13 inches to Locks of Love.  I gave Paula full permission to cut and style it as she liked and I think she did a fabulous job.  It feels so good to have short hair in the heat of summer. After I got my haircut, I went and bought a bunch of beautiful flowers at Wagner’s Greenhouse. I had hoped to go there during our W week but didn’t get a chance. I’m glad I waited a little bit because I got some really wonderful herbs and perrennials at a very very low price and I used my $10 off coupon from the Chinook Book. It was nice to have a distraction from focusing on how our garage project has fallen to the back burner this week because of all the rain.

I got to debut my new pixie cut for our fairy focused craft camp. The whole day was bit frantic and I felt like a real lunatic by the end of it.  We had ten kids join us this week because the theme was a favorite topic for so many: fairies, lemonade, and luggage tags.  We focused on the fairy aspect because it was raining and a bit cold outside so no lemonade stand and I completely forgot about the luggage tag deal until Theo reminded me, oops.  When I realized it would probably rain, I put a note out on Facebook requesting a fairy movie.  Grace and Ava brought Barbie Fairytopia but it kept skipping. I had the kids working on lots of crafts so they wouldn’t get bored. It got to be pretty chaotic toward the end.  I usually like to break our day up a bit with a walk or field trip somewhere in the neighborhood, a snack, and transitional games or a relevant movie.  I was missing Maddie because she was at camp until 12:30 PM and she does such a good job with keeping the kids busy and occupied while I cook and prepare for the next craft.

We started the day off by reviewing as many magical creatures as we could think of. I printed out some definitions for most of them so we could sort out the similarities and differences between fairies, pixies, gnomes, leprachauns, and trolls. The crafts I chose were a very big hit. We started by making fairy houses out of yogurt and plant containers.  I prepared them the day before by cutting out little doors in all of them and painting them with a metallic gold textured paint. The kids choose from various supplies including fruit loops, ribbons, moss, grass clipping and fence cut outs, and butterfly stickers. Each and every one of them was absolutely lovely and their was more than enough pride to go around.

The kids each made their own flower crown, and designed their own fairy. Here is a darling paper doll that looks fun to do. We never got around to doing that craft. Here is a wonderful website that has many additional fairy crafts and activities. I had the kid’s make a fridge magnet with a butterfly sticker. That craft turned into a major flop because the sticker was too glossy and the glue we used didn’t work.  When Maddie got home, she got to work and helped the kids make their very own magic wands which I thought was a brilliant idea but made me a nervous wreck because they used BBQ skewers and I was afraid someone would lose an eye.

Lunch was rather simple with magic wand sandwiches made with ham and turkey lunch meat, peanut butter for the vegetarians and jelly for the picky kid with the peanut butter allergy. We also enjoyed Ore Rida pixie crinkle french fries and Tinkerbell fruit snacks for dessert.

Our field trip to neighbor Bonita’s garden was put off until the last minute because of the rain.  At the end of the day, we were able to take a walk around the neighborhood to see Miss Bonnie’s beautiful flowers. She even left a little treat of candy for all of the kids.

We walked past Marilyn and Rose’s gardens too.  Rose lives in one of my favorite houses in the neighborhood from a time when our city was mostly farmland. As we were walking past Rose’s house, we saw a really big fluffy dog just like craft camper Grace’s dog Shelby.

Elsa showed us her beautiful fairy garden and Maddie showed us the little garden she and Elsa made to celebrate the life of her deceased fish Raincloud they made in Elsa’s backyard. When the parent’s came to pick up their kids I was feeling like a bit of a failure, but they were kind enough to compliment me on my flexibility after having to contend with so much scheduling flip flopping.

On Friday night we had some much needed family time and got to spend the evening with our favorite guy – father!  We had dinner at Famous Dave’s in Linden Hills then went to look at the Farmer’s Insurance Zepplin (woo hoo!  next week is Z week…that counts right?) We learned the difference between a zepplin and a blimp – a zepplin has a frame and a blimp does not.

The girls are very fortunate to have a dad who is a pilot. We went for a full moon flight in daddy’s airplane out of Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie. It wasn’t a long flight. Baby was pretty fearful but she did really well. Afterwards she couldn’t stop saying, “airplane! airplane!”  She loved holding the yoke while we were refueling. We didn’t see the full moon up in the sky but got a few peaks when we were driving home.  Because of the humidity it was a very bumpy flight. I was very grateful it wasn’t a long flight because I left my relief band at home. Last year we saw the sunset from the sky and it was Angela’s first flight.

This week, we were downright lazy and completely skipped the library and park deals but I did feed the kids plenty of frozen yogurt to fulfill our ice cream quota. Yesterday morning I made pancakes with farm fresh eggs. I was hoping to go to the farmer’s market to buy fresh and local produce but that lazy thing hit again. On Saturday night we were invited to a fun little fiftieth birthday party for our neighbor Shelly and saw a few old friends Mike and Kenny and even made a new friend named Michael who lives less than a block from us.

A few other notes about our F and L week include: contacting our friend Florence using Facebook who is originally from Zambia to come speak to the kid next week when we celebrate the letters O and Z.  to see if she would come talk to the kids next week about growing up in Zambia.

Last year we spent our F and L weeks like this: we flew the flag during the fourth of July, spent the fourth of July at Grammy and GrandpAl’s house and had lots of fun and fights with our cousins, made a fairy garden and visited Elsa’s fairy garden, hung out with the other first born cousins Ellie and Molly, went to the fair with Clara,  made heart-shaped pancakes to show our love for Sophie, found baby’s lost sunglasses, lemonade stand and found a very large caterpillar, walked through a labrynth, and went swimming at Lake Nokomis,

OK, I’ve had enough F’s for the week….I just spent the last hour trying to restore an “autosave” mistake and after much freaking out and frustration, I finally figured it out and I’m ready to hit the yellow brick road….O Z week that is!

Oh, I almost forgot!  They started framing our garage this week!

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