Friday, August 26, 2011

Color Inspiration-- Fragile Petals

You know those blogs and people that inspire you?  Those that don't just do fun crafts, but those that try to foster a spirit of creativity in their readers?  Wish I was more like that.  However, Patty Schaffer-- the wonderful blogger of Capture the Details, who I recently found through Pinterest is one of those women.  I love her eye for color combinations in general, and when she began creating color swatches based on photos the "details" in life I was really hooked. 

And, of course, I wanted to create one of my own.  The photo I chose was from a recent landscape photography session I did.  This vase was sitting on my client's wonderful long porch-- the kind with rocking chairs an a sweet little table perfect for curling up with tea and a book on a cool summer evening. (Sigh)  I wanted to capture the beauty of the flowers, but I am also loving the way that the light green of the stems in the vase seems to be glowing within the darker glass.

 These color explorations can be used in selecting colors in digital scrapbooking and design, choosing the right paint colors for your home, or fabric for quilting or other crafts.  Coming soon will be a template so that you can create these yourself, and I am kind of hooked on making these.  I am so excited to take these colors and put them into play in other ways!

Monday, August 22, 2011

5 In a Row-- Bunnies and Monkeys and Ducks, Oh My!

Over the summer we have been taking it pretty easy-- busy summer schedule or swimming and park visits not included.  However, summer is coming to a close and with it Noah and I will be moving into a time of more focused learning and reading.  
I won't say that we are homeschooling per-se, but we are at least going to be using this year to pursue the possibility and see how it feels.   A part of that is having a greater sense of a theme, and with it thematic books.  However, I have been debating how I would like to present these books to Noah.  We aren't in a formal classroom, and I don't think that he would flourish under falsely created school-like conditions.  Instead I have been looking for a way to make sure that we are really getting to know the stories that we are pulling from our shelves and the library shelves and get to know the characters therein. 

Imagine my delight to come across a recent post at The Imagination Tree detailing her weekly link party of 5 In a Row Books.  As Anna Ranson on Imagination Tree states,

"The idea is that you choose 5 titles from among your usual books (or from the library) and read them every single day for at least a week....short picture books which feature strong rhythm and/ or repeated refrain so that the children can quickly memorise the words and join in with the story-telling. This empowers them to be able to "read" and re-tell stories from a young age, and also makes them very fluent in a range of text types and literature styles."

It is great to see other families interested in this and read of their experiences with reading the same books over and over for a week and seeing how their child responds.  Now, reading at least 5 a day isn't a problem out here for Momma Weston.  Often Noah will move between Jim and I having a book read 2 or three times in a row, and every night he knows he gets 4 books before bed, and catches me on it if I try to skimp. 

Some nights when I am exhausted before we go in there to read I wish I had set it up from the beginning as 3 before bed, but most nights I am curious what he will choose and excited as he notices more and more detail in the illustrations.  I won't be limiting myself at bedtime to read these selections every day, but it helps to have that built in time to focus on Noah and his burgeoning love of the written word.

Reading 5 a day is no issue, but it will be a challenge to be faithful and read each of these books every day, as Noah is lately scattered in his book choices, where he used to want to read the same books every day several times for months.  (I'm a bit happy to have the variety.) 

For our first week I am picking books from Noah's regular selections that he has been choosing lately and as we proceed into the month of September I will try to choose books more on theme.

Tonight was my second day of reading all 5, and this evening Noah had a minor meltdown at bedtime.  His Da is working a show at the Convention Center right now, which means he
 is up and away before Noah wakes, working the weekend and staying later in the evening, and Noah was enjoying some Da-snuggle time on the couch when it was time to go to bed and he wasn't very happy, but the meltdown showed just how much he needed the sleep. 

But, I digress.  I asked him what he wanted to read as his first book; usually something transportation themed wins out, but tonight he sniffed and told me,  "Bunny-- flower."  It took me a minute, but then I realized he had been speaking of Margaret Wise Brown's adorable book about a Mother Bunny whose son is threatening to run away. In one page her little one tells her that he will hide as a crocus in a hidden garden, and she tells him that if he does that, she will follow and be a gardener. 

Yup, after a meltdown all that would soothe my usual rough and tumble boy is reading about a bunny that turns into a flower-- he even sniffs the pages of books when he sees flowers on them, which is about the most adorably, achingly cute thing ever! 

Our Selections:

The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

Curious George and the Bunny  by H.A. Rey

5 Little Monkies Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow

5 Little Ducks Went Out One Day by Pamela Paparone

Bill Grogan's Goat byMary Ann Hoberman
Thursday, August 18, 2011

Free Printable Verse- Zephaniah 3:14-15

Recently I have had a renewed longing to have the Word of God around me on a daily basis.  Before I was a mom, I never had the issue of finding time to set apart for prayers during the day, and now that I am busy with a little one and everything else I find the old adage is true: I really am "too busy not to pray."

 And to accomplish this I and working to have more verses up around my house that are encouraging reminders of the importance of the joyful spirit I am supposed to have.

One of my favorite verses of all time was one that I knew I needed up -- Zephaniah 3:14-15.  At a very difficult time in my life this verse was very impactful and spoke to me as a young woman.  This file contains the verse in the version you see here as well as aversion on white with turquoise accents-- just in case you were looking to save a bit of ink from your printer. :)  It is in both jpeg and PDF formats for you to download for your personal use.

If you happen to download this image and print it out, I would love to see where you have it displayed, so feel free to leave your link in the comments below!
Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Day on the Farm

 Noah and I took advantage of the lovely weather we've been having at the end of this summer to full advantage.  We have had one of the hottest/coldest/wettest/ most humid summers I've seen and there has always been something interfering with us enjoying ourselves too much.  In fact, even tonight it has been storming here in Fridley. 

However, this morning was sunny and beautiful and mercifully in the low 80s for a trip to nearby Eidem Homestead-- a historical farm of the city of Brooklyn Park that was having a free event.  In spite of some serious busyness we couldn't pass up the chance to see real animals.

After wandering and seeing the sheep, goats, cow, chickens and ducks, we met up with Sharon and her son Matthew, who are members of a Meetup group I am involved in.  Our boys hadn't seen each other in quite some time, but in that way that little kids do, they were back to being friends in seconds.  Matthew took Noah by the hand and led him to the farm's large sleigh and they spent quite some time figuring out how to best conquer the mountainous wooden seat.  There was some unintentional apple eating from one of the apple trees on the property, and our stroller was almost eaten by a goat, but Noah was so brave with touching and feeding the animals and no fingers were eaten, so a wonderful morning was had by all.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Proof That I Eat Cereal The Right Way

Yup.  You read the title right.  I eat cereal the correct way, but I have been mocked for it from childhood.  Never one to do what everyone else was doing just because they were doing it, I decided pretty early on that I didn't like soggy cereal, but I did like to eat a leisurely speed.

So for the past 20-25 years or so I have been eating my cereal dry.  I fill a nice glass with cold milk to have with my cereal and take a bite from my spoon, take a sip of milk and then have a delicious crispy bite of my Cocoa Krispies each time, while friends and family have laughed at me.  Meanwhile, they suffer through soggy bowl after soggy bowl. 

When I became a mom it was actually discussed if Noah would eat cereal like me or "like a normal person."  (Incidentally, if I give him dry cereal and cup of milk he almost immediately dumps it in his bowl, but I think that is just toddlerhood.)

Imagine my delight to discover proof that I have been right all along.  Meet The Obol.  A bowl designed with two reservoirs that allows you to sweep each bite of cereal down to the milk and have a crispy bite each time! Love it!  See everyone? 

I know, I am bit irrationally pleased with myself, but when faced with proof that people had to invent something to do what I just naturally did as a child is more than a bit pleasing to me. 

Family and friends, you might just see this in your stockings for Christmas so that every time you eat breakfast you have to remember my rightness.  :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Printable Budget Quick Sheet

 Are there ever small things that you never thought would annoy you, and then this little annoyance becomes a great big pet peeve? 

In our home my current annoyance has been the way that bills seem to accumulate and are never where I need them when the time comes to pay.  When bills enter our house, they typically go into a folder that hangs on a shelf in our kitchen until they head downstairs to the office to be filed.  Some bills we no longer get paper notifications for, and usually get paid as we get the notice in our inboxes. 
However, the phone is upstairs, my computer may be up or down, and it all results in bills that have been paid being in the same pile as bills waiting to be paid and much more paperwork than seems reasonable for a small family of three to have to deal with on a regular basis. 

To combat this I made this quick little sheet to help me organize due dates, amounts etc. and not have to wonder if I can carry that stack of papers or if I am forgetting something.  Now, when a bill comes into the house, I look at them each day, and write on this sheet the next due date, and when it is due.  When I pay a particular bill, I write the actual date it was paid, the amount and confirmation number.  This way I don't have to break out my computer or the filing system to know that we're keeping our budget buttoned up.

This is not a typical budget spreadsheet as it contains no way to add or subtract and no formulas.  I have simply laminated the sheet using my lovely recent birthday gift, and we write in permanent marker as the bills arrive.  Quick tip: If you run over permanent marker on many laminated or white board surfaces with a white board erasable marker, then the permanent marker will wipe right off. 

You can simply print off one of these sheets for each month as well, if it is easier to do so that way and have a permanent record.  Around every payday when we do bills and actually file the bills, I run the sheet downstairs to the office and enter in the info. into our actual budget. 

Download the PDF here.
Download the jpg. here. 
Download the psd. here.

I used this lovely airplane doodle from lil blue boo and the yellow background fabric is a PS Action from the Coffee Shop Blog.  All the rest is mine and may be used for personal usage only. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Humid Trip to Minnehaha

Minnehaha Falls in south Minneapolis is one of our favorite locations, and one of the first that we explored as a married couple when we arrived here, and despite frigid temps and not knowing the area, the falls are still one of our favorite places for a quick getaway while still in town.  A museum, a restaurant which has killer fish sanwhiches that even I will eat, as well as the falls and the long secluded and leafy glen below-- the falls always seem to offer something different.  Today it was dancers and a rushing torrent down the cliff after all of our recent rain. 

We walked further down the creek in the Glen to the wading area carved out near the Deer Pen area, and Noah went for the biggest of the rocks-- of course.  It is a wonderful placwe to wade and cool off, but you have to watch your kids carefully so that they don't go where the current is stronger and end up floating downstream. The weather was hot and humid, which explains for the Sprout's wilted expression in a few images.  He was so happy to be there though, and it was our first trip where he could say waterfall.  He kept exclaiming, "Wa-er-fal!  Rocks!"

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