Lasts and Firsts 2014

I wrote about lasts and firsts in a post last year, and was looking back and reread my words and was inspired to write about this year’s lasts and first.  Reading what I wrote reminded me of things I had not thought about in a long time, small details that I am glad to have written, so I am writing one for this year, if for no one else, for me;)

Last morning of school for the 3 bigs today, Avalon has been out since before Memorial Day.

This was Avalon’s LAST year of preschool , after 9 years of being connected to an amazing preschool with teachers that became family we are done…..this was a HARD morning, but I can write about it now, so it too shall pass, my small little people growing like trees into beautiful strong beings. She is already begging me to teach her Kindergarten.

It seems like ages ago I took their FIRST day of school pictures, which I never posted…oh well;)

Total they lost 6 six teeth, had 5  haircuts, we packed hundreds of lunches and snacks, had one case of strep and 2 ear infections, 2 times someone missed the bus, 2 new sets of glasses and Raiven is set for braces in August.

Solomon survived his FIRST year of middle school, which for us is 6th grade.  I love his school, his test scores and exceedingly high so he qualified for the highly gifted program (only 18 kids in his year qualify in the district) at a small choice middle school, it is truly what he has needed since kindergarten, to be in a class with his peers.  This was a decision we did not make lightly but are very happy with so far.

Santanna’s First grade teacher taught her FIRST First grade class this year, Mrs. A was actually Solomon’s 2nd grade teacher so we were super excited to have her, she is amazingly patient and organized, I need some of her skills!!!

Raiven had the same 4th grade teacher that Solomon had and this is his LAST year of teaching 4th grade for 3 years.  he has taken a position as a student teacher assessor, I am hoping he is back to teach 5th grade for Santanna, there is a rumor he will come back and teach 5th grade but year by year I am learning that until that first day of school nothing is set in stone. Right?!?

In a few hours it will be the start of The FIRST day of summer vacation…

Did a little photo shoot after they all were home:

Last day of School!

They just REALLY Love this jumping thing when I ask for a photo….here is some good news, stats are up from Last June:

from 75% to 100% excited about summer!

If you remember:

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Have some fun this summer!!!!!

 

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Finally Outside

It was warm enough outside today to finally get out and enjoy spring.
I went out for a 4 mile run and came back to find Avalon hard at work:

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So I joined in and we vacuumed, wiped down, washed and cleaned out an enormous embarrassing amount off snacks and miscellaneous kid paraphernalia. But to the small vaccumer go the spoils:

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Just enough to pay in coin for an ice cream:

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While I splurged and treated the carro to an ultimate wash :

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Oh man does spring cleaning feel good here in Minnesota. We have been cooped up and frozen in and are ready to be outside and open the windows!!
Anyone else tackling spring projects. Any annual chores you do?
I know my blogging has been sparse but we have been working hard on a front entry nook project that is almost finished. Stay tuned for the before and afters!!

Shreddin’

Really it could go either way….slopes or crafting right??!
We are actually doing quite a bit of both around here. It is cooold still and school continues to be cancelled on random weekdays due to the cold, we were off yesterday and today for temps that were in the -30’s with the wind-chill! Luckliy every Friday the mercury climbs up to perfect temps for hitting the slopes, in MN we have great hills no actual mountains, but we don’t mind!
So we are bumming and skiing/snowboarding, it is polar (ha ha) opposite of the California version of boarding and bumming since we aren’t getting tan, but I could not have planned it better myself.
Mostly we are spending times off the slopes inside, so I am trying to keep a balance between reading, eating, bickering, and screen time…not all that easy!
Here is the project we did yesterday, inspired by this pin on pinterest.

This seemed like the perfect cold day craft….we have cardboard boxes and magazines laying around so we set to work.

I was not sure that I would be able to free hand draw a large shape that would resemble anything better than an amoeba, so I got our the overhead projector that comes in handy at the most wonderfully random times, I posted about it before here!

The kids got out their large bin of “figurines and animals” and chose the one that they wanted.  It worked best to lay the object on its side, and then we adjusted the projection to fit on the cardboard which was propped against the wall and then the kids traced the shape onto the cardboard in pencil.

Overhead scrapping

At first we were going to just rip the paper or cut it into thin strips, however with small hands it was looking chunky and not as uniform as we wanted.

So we employed the help of a paper shredder (which only momma was in charge of!), we borrowed from a kind neighbor, and shredded up old magazine pages.

The kids spent truly spent 2-3 hours gluing down the strips onto their shape…I mean quiet craft time is like silent gold am I right?!?!

At some point we ditched the white glue bottle and got out modge podge which is why some spots on the finished project are shiny…I would recommend this, it seemed to secure the paper better, and not leaves any loose spots that may tear off.

Ta da!

A Goat (by our 11 year old, completely independently):

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An elephant ( by our 9 year old again independently) I just love the hair-do:

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A panda bear (by our 6 year old, mostly independently, she needed a little help gluing and staying on task at one point, but you can see she came back with vengeance and a black crayon for the background):

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And who else? Pocahontas (by our 4 year old, she may have had some momma help;)):

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Really an easy craft with what materials most of us have around the house, if you do not have a projector you can certainly free hand a shape, I am sure most of you out there have better art skills than I!

And just one more…proof that the sun does shine on MN hills!

A bombski

Wee hours card making..

Last night I stayed up until today working on our holiday/Christmas/keeping up with the Jones’ card. Which for the life of me I cannot figure out how to share here….seems like I should be able to do so easily but NO. So you will have to wait until I get a hard copy in the mail and I will promptly share.
I do enjoy making these and sharing our cute little selves with friends and family, but it seems like so many cards come with beautiful faces in matchy outfits and perfectly edited digital pics, I know we all want to look amazing, I know I do, which I think is why it seems a lot of cards just have the kids photos and everyone’s name. C’mon people love yourself enough to make it onto the card, we want to see you.
Speaking if touché, you may remember last year when I posted about how adventurous it was to get the right photo…I sent a card with only kids and everyone’s name. 2012 Holiday card
SO this year, with our lives being so hectic I just plugged in 2 photos from earlier in the year and added them to a beautiful snapfish template, one of the kids, and one of all of us. I had visions of us dressing up goofy with goofy glasses and ‘staches with a caption like “We seriously hope you have a merry…happy…”, I came close, but it is never quite what my mind dreams up…work with me people!! Anyway  I chose a cardstock paper and it allowed me to put a photo on each side and even had a little space to write a little family update. Again are these letters taboo? I feel like I have read so much satire about how these holiday letters have become inflated ego boosters for the writer, but nonetheless I shared highlights of accomplishments and activities. When we went to bed last night I was joking with Jon that next year we should dodge all normalcy and sent a lowlights list: child one is beyond sassy, the dinner dished sit in the sink overnight 75% of the time, neither of us have worked out since Thanksgiving…you now the REAL deal.

I am eager to share the card when it comes, but in the meantime, tell mw what you send in the mail, photos, cards, nothing?  Do you enjoy getting cards and letters about others lives?  I know we do, so keep sending and writing!!

Squirt Level Triathlon

Summer, how fast it flies, I love it, for real.
It seems like calendars are full of events, fairs, festivals, friends; endless opportunities.
We may have accidentally hit the ground running faster this summer than we sauntered into last school year, but there are such so many fun thing to participate in when the weather here in Minnesota is sunny and warm, we really do know how to pack a year of run into the summer.
There are so many things I would like to share, but these photos I had a chance to sit down and edit and it is so cool that Santanna has made family history by being the only one to complete a triathlon….and at the squirt level.
60 feet swimming
.9 mile bike ride
.4 mile run
I am so proud…I also hope that by involving all of our kids in these small races at young levels they will carry these skills throughout their lives as hobbies, emotional management time, a way to stay fit and/or a way to compete at their own level.

TRI

 

Frozen Raspberry Lemonade Popsicles

Today marks the official first day of summer…I know some of you have been enjoying summer weather for a while, but blue skies and wispy clouds combined with higher mercury readings are finally here in MN!!!  Yeah!!!

That means little bodies are heating up and taking to the water.  At our house my kids are huge fans of anything sweet that comes from the freezer.

This is a rendition of a recipe I saw on-line and tweaked a bit.

None of the ingredients in this are hard to find or really all that great for us…(read: no paleo here;)), however it is a treat and as treats go, they are not usually broccoli…am I right?!

Ingredients:

  • One box of Raspberry Jell-O (you could really use any flavor, strawberry would also be really tasty)…8 serving size.
  • Lemonade mix, enough for 8 servings, more or less depending on your tartness preference.
  • Water
  • Ice
  • Sugar (Optional)
  • Dixie cups
  • Plastic spoons or Popsicle sticks

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Boil 4 cups of water and stir in Jell-O, lemonade and any sugar if you like to sweeten your mixture.
Add ice cubes to a glass measuring cup, add water to equal 2 ½ cups total, then add to Jell-O Mixture.
Pour into paper cups; I put mine into a muffin tin to keep it steady for the little helpers I had, also to catch the drips.  I also used a funnel to help keep things neat. Put in freezer for 2 hours.

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After 2 hours they should only be partially set. This is when we added plastic spoons, I did this so little hands could hold onto then better and avoid a stick, put back into the freezer for another hour or two. This made about 14-16 pops with the Dixie cups approximately 3/4 full.

ENJOY!!!!

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Poppa’s Day

At our house he goes by Poppa, some families use different aliases, dad, pop, daddy, padre, poppy, fathter…and not all are created the same, but thanks for life right?!

This Poppa here has a heart of gold, he has been a trooper since before they were born, he went to almost every OB appointment, got up and brought the baby to the milk supply every night that he was home., changed and washed countless diapers.

Rocked and sang all these littles to sleep with more patience that I could muster some days.

He trades shifts to be at ball games, pick up from camps; music performances and pre-school special days.,

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I am immensely thankful that all 4 of his children have been patiently taught how to fish, quietly catch frogs and bugs, and have had his soothing voice read them stories for bedtime.

All that being said, he still knows how to be a circus dad and get them riled up right at bedtime, taught them how to make fart noises with their hands, and probably other fun/gross tricks when I was not home.

Poppa

I am so very thankful to celebrate with day with my kids, because they truly have a special Poppa who loves them more than he could have ever imagined.

Lasts and Firsts

Last morning of school for the 3 bigs today, Avalon has been out since before Memorial day.

It seems like ages ago I took their first day of school photos.

Total we lost 7 six teeth, had 5  haircuts, 2 calls from the principals office, only 1 time did someone miss the bus, and we got one new pair of glasses.

This is Solomon’s LAST day of elementary school , where did my baby boy go?  He is so big and confident and independent…my heart!

Santanna is the LAST kindergarten class that her teacher, Mrs. C, is teaching, she will be moving to first grade next year, she has been teaching kindergarten for 25 years….she was barely holding it together this morning, I think we both almost starting crying.

Raiven in the FIRST 3rd grade class that her teacher has had and she has been amazing, I hope she is still teaching 3rd grade when our littles come through.

In a few hours it will be the start of The FIRST day of Summer vacation…

Did a little photo shoot this AM:

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Look at all those legs, just getting longer and longer!

This is the “jump shot” from the FIRST day of school this year (this is their favorite way to have me photograph them, they think it is so funny to look at themselves in this frames):

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And here is the LAST day of school jump shot (with my own personal statistic):

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You can see with all this energy at home all day my posts my become more spaced but hang with me, I have lots of ideas just waiting for these little hands to help me with, plus lots of trips to share.

HAPPY SUMMER!

Wormin’

Not sure what yours was like, but our Memorial Day Weekend was R-A-I-N-Y!!Which actually worked out perfectly because instead of working in the yard, we ripped out our carpet and installed that hardwood flooring we bought earlier this month.
It is still raining, not all day but most, I can’t tell you how many sports practices the kids have missed due to rain.. and snow…in May. Weather is not my area, but I am thinking this is strange.
Solomon’s class is going on an end of year tour of a local fish hatchery and then they get to fish for few hours, before Jon left for work he suggested he go out a gather some of the worms that are crawling all over to use as bait.
No need to tell him twice, this boy was born a naturalist, one hand in the dirt , one foot in the water and both eyes in a book, taking in all the information he can gather.
Best part is: he includes and teaches his sisters.
So him and Raiven set our with a shovel, a bucket, slickers and boots..I did some of this:

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But caught them on their way home.

I always wonder what the conversation topic is.

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The orange in his hand is a candy package he found and brought home to throw away, this is something I have done with him since before he could walk, I would pick up recyclables and garbage on walks and hikes and bring it home.

They also found this guy:

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A bucket full o’ bait:

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And picked a few up from the path on the way home:

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I am eager to show you our new floor, it looks amazing, but these moments are way more fun to share.

This Cake is on Fi-yah!!

Raiven just celebrated her 9th birthday.

We chose to have it at our house and she was allowed to invite up to 9 girls, including her self to spend the night.

All but one was able to spend the night, they all came and played, made a craft and had cake and ice cream.

We are big campers at our house so we set the tent up, since there was still 6 inches of snow outside, in the base ment, for the girls to sleep in.  In nice weather we would have set it up outside.

After seeing this cake:

Credit: Amam Cara…Cakedecorating website

Hubby and I decided to do our own take on a bonfire cake:

Here are the ingredients:

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Cake mix of your choice, along with ingredients needed to make cake, which may vary.

Pam or non stick spray.

Pirouette cookies.

Hard butterscotch and cinnamon candies, at least 25 of each

Here is how we did it, as always feel free to do what you like and works best for you.

Bake cake according to directions on the package.  We used a yellow cake it is a favorite, also I thought it would be neat to take some scoops of the cake mix before baking it and add red or yellow coloring and plop them in so when you cut the cake the inside had more of a fire look,…maybe next time.

We baked the cake in a 9 X 13, cut it in half and sacked it, you could do 2 round pants as well.

Let it cool, frost as you normally would, we used chocolate.

Then take the butterscotch and cinnamon hard candies, put them in a baggies and pound them until crushed, almost like a sugar.

Then put them on a sheet of tinfoil that has been sprayed with non stick spray and put in the oven at 350, here are the candies we melted:

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This does not take long 5 minutes or so, it will look a little liquidy and bubbly, also when you melt the candies you can choose how thick to make them which will change the time depending on the thickness.

Once cooled, break into pieces and put on your cake however you like, add pirouette cookies as the “loge for your fire.

We added fire to the edges, the candy stuck very well to the frosting.

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Ta-Da bonfire cake!

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Sing with me This cake is on Fi-yah!

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Happy 9th Birthday!!  This girl knows how to party 🙂

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