Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A wall of art

Creative Freedom. Self-expression. Thinking. Feeling. Perceiving.

Just the basic art supplies are best.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Look who's 5

This is one of my favorite pictures, as my little one shares a special moment with her father, getting ready for her birthday party. First, she put on her dress and twirled around in the mirror. Then,she quickly went to find her new sun hat. A while later, my husband and I noticed that she painted her toe nails yellow with marker. She really wanted some color on her toe nails, so we told her that she could have her toe nails painted. While picking out the polish (which we keep way out of reach) she noticed some lip balms in the container, so we let her pick out a lip balm as well. While, I can not even tell you how long it has been since I painted my toe nails or put on lip stick, I like that every now and then, my little one feels so special to have her daddy paint her toe nails.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

In the 80s

We have a few days of 80 degree weather, about 20 degrees warmer than normal for this time of year. A nice time to be outside, enjoying the weather and playing with my little ones, bring out the pool for some water play, and maybe clear a few leaves out of my perennial garden, which never was cut down last fall (oops. Unfortunately, no time last year. But, a big big mess this spring. Note to self: always cut down perennials in the fall) My little girl is also turning 5 and we have a celebration to get ready for.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Cherry blossom craft

The cherry blossoms are in bloom. Our neighbor has a beautiful weeping cherry tree, which we love. They make their way to our seasonal nature table with this cherry blossom craft.

To make our cherry blossom branch, we added crinkled up pink tissue paper to a dead branch from our butterfly bush using some glue. My little girl mostly did the crinkling, as your fingers can get very sticky from the glue.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A better day

Today has been a much better day than yesterday.

:: Sister and brother bonding

:: Daughter and mother bonding. Cupcakes, too.

The sun is shining

The sun is shining. It's the start of a new day.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Feeling frustrated

The day has not turned out as I have planned. Maybe I should not have any expectations, but really my only expectation was to have a pleasant day, free from frustration and just wanting to have some quality time with my little girl. I know this is a difficult time for her, with the addition of a new baby. And I feel that I am sucking as a mother. I have less time than I thought I would. I thought I would not be as crabby as I am with sleep deprivation. And my patience is so short. When she acts out and it is to get my attention and then comes more acting out. And she's unhappy. And I am sad. And now she's reading some books in her room and playing dollhouse. And I am down here feeling like a failure and a bad mom. It sucks.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Earth Day paper mache globe

Earth Day is April 22nd. We made a paper mache globe using a balloon, newspaper, tissue paper and a mixture of 1 part flour to 2 parts water. After blowing up your balloon, layer on a few layers of newspaper pieces using the flour/water mixture. While the surface is still wet, gentle pat on the colored pieces of tissue paper.

My little one came home from school with a paper plate globe for Earth Day.

75% of the Earth's surface is covered by water.
Only 1% of all the Earth's water is drinkable!!! It's never to early to start teaching our children to conserve our most valuable resource. Water Use It Wisely lists over 100 ways to conserve water. Here they are:

Tip #1
There are a number of ways to save water, and they all start with you.
  • #2
    When washing dishes by hand, don't let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.
  • #3
    Some refrigerators, air conditioners and ice-makers are cooled with wasted flows of water. Consider upgrading with air-cooled appliances for significant water savings.
  • #4
    Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
  • #5
    Run your clothes washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  • #6
    Choose shrubs and groundcovers instead of turf for hard-to-water areas such as steep slopes and isolated strips.
  • #7
    Install covers on pools and spas and check for leaks around your pumps.
  • #8
    Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost vegetable food waste instead and save gallons every time.
  • #9
    Plant in the fall when conditions are cooler and rainfall is more plentiful.
Tip #10
For cold drinks keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes down you and not the drain.
  • #11
    Monitor your water bill for unusually high use. Your bill and water meter are tools that can help you discover leaks.
  • #12
    Water your lawn and garden in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation.
  • #13
    Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.
  • #14
    Spreading a layer of organic mulch around plants retains moisture and saves water, time and money.
  • #15
    Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway and sidewalk and save water every time.
  • #16
    If your shower fills a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the showerhead with a water-efficient model.
  • #17
    Collect the water you use for rinsing fruits and vegetables, then reuse it to water houseplants.
  • #18
    If water runs off your lawn easily, split your watering time into shorter periods to allow for better absorption.
  • #19
    We're more likely to notice leaks indoors, but don't forget to check outdoor faucets, sprinklers and hoses for leaks.
  • #20
    If you have an automatic refilling device, check your pool periodically for leaks.
  • #21
    Check the root zone of your lawn or garden for moisture before watering using a spade or trowel. If it's still moist two inches under the soil surface, you still have enough water.
  • #22
    When buying new appliances, consider those that offer cycle and load size adjustments. They're more water and energy efficient.
  • #23
    Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you'll save up to 150 gallons per month.
  • #24
    Upgrade older toilets with water efficient models.
  • #25
    Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting. A taller lawn shades roots and holds soil moisture better than if it is closely clipped.
  • #26
    When cleaning out fish tanks, give the nutrient-rich water to your plants.
  • #27
    Use sprinklers for large areas of grass. Water small patches by hand to avoid waste.
Tip #28
Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl without flushing, you have a leak. Fixing it can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  • #29
    When running a bath, plug the tub before turning the water on, then adjust the temperature as the tub fills up.
  • #30
    Walkways and patios provide space that doesn't ever need to be watered. These useful "rooms" can also add value to your property.
  • #31
    Collect water from your roof to water your garden.
  • #32
    Designate one glass for your drinking water each day or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
  • #33
    Rather than following a set watering schedule, check for soil moisture two to three inches below the surface before watering.
  • #34
    Install a rain sensor on your irrigation controller so your system won't run when it's raining.
  • #35
    Don't use running water to thaw food. Defrost food in the refrigerator for water efficiency and food safety.
Tip #36
Use drip irrigation for shrubs and trees to apply water directly to the roots where it's needed.
  • #37
    Grab a wrench and fix that leaky faucet. It's simple, inexpensive, and you can save 140 gallons a week.
  • #38
    Reduce the amount of lawn in your yard by planting shrubs and ground covers appropriate to your site and region.
  • #39
    When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load.
  • #40
    Teach your children to turn off faucets tightly after each use.
  • #41
    Remember to check your sprinkler system valves periodically for leaks and keep the sprinkler heads in good shape.
Tip #42
Use a water-efficient showerhead. They're inexpensive, easy to install, and can save you up to 750 gallons a month.
  • #43
    Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
  • #44
    Don't water your lawn on windy days when most of the water blows away or evaporates.
  • #45
    Water your plants deeply but less frequently to encourage deep root growth and drought tolerance.
  • #46
    Know where your master water shut-off valve is located. This could save water and prevent damage to your home.
  • #47
    To decrease water from being wasted on sloping lawns, apply water for five minutes and then repeat two to three times.
  • #48
    Group plants with the same watering needs together to avoid overwatering some while underwatering others.
  • #49
    Use a layer of organic material on the surface of your planting beds to minimize weed growth that competes for water.
  • #50
    Use a minimum amount of organic or slow release fertilizer to promote a healthy and drought tolerant landscape.
  • #51
    Trickling or cascading fountains lose less water to evaporation than those spraying water into the air.
  • #52
    Use a commercial car wash that recycles water.
  • #53
    Avoid recreational water toys that require a constant flow of water.
  • #54
    Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and save 25 gallons a month.
  • #55
    Use a rain gauge, or empty tuna can, to track rainfall on your lawn. Then reduce your watering accordingly.
  • #56
    Encourage your school system and local government to develop and promote water conservation among children and adults.
  • #57
    Learn how to shut off your automatic watering system in case it malfunctions or you get an unexpected rain.
  • #58
    Set a kitchen timer when watering your lawn or garden to remind you when to stop. A running hose can discharge up to 10 gallons a minute.
  • #59
    If your toilet flapper doesn't close after flushing, replace it.
  • #60
    Make sure there are water-saving aerators on all of your faucets.
Tip #61
Next time you add or replace a flower or shrub, choose a low water use plant for year-round landscape color and save up to 550 gallons each year.
  • #62
    Install an instant water heater near your kitchen sink so you don't have to run the water while it heats up. This also reduces energy costs.
  • #63
    Use a grease pencil to mark the water level of your pool at the skimmer. Check the mark 24 hours later to see if you have a leak.
  • #64
    If your dishwasher is new, cut back on rinsing. Newer models clean more thoroughly than older ones.
  • #65
    Use a trowel, shovel, or soil probe to examine soil moisture depth. If the top two to three inches of soil are dry it's time to water.
  • #66
    If installing a lawn, select a turf mix or blend that matches your climate and site conditions.
  • #67
    When you save water, you save money on your utility bills too. Saving water is easy for everyone to do.
  • #68
    When the kids want to cool off, use the sprinkler in an area where your lawn needs it the most.
  • #69
    Make sure your swimming pools, fountains, and ponds are equipped with recirculating pumps.
  • #70
    Bathe your young children together.
  • #71
    Consult with your local nursery for information on plant selection and placement for optimum outdoor water savings.
  • #72
    Winterize outdoor spigots when temperatures dip below freezing to prevent pipes from leaking or bursting.
  • #73
    Insulate hot water pipes for more immediate hot water at the faucet and for energy savings.
  • #74
    Wash your car on the lawn, and you'll water your lawn at the same time.
Tip #75
Drop your tissue in the trash instead of flushing it and save water every time.
  • #76
    Direct water from rain gutters and HVAC systems toward water-loving plants in the landscape for automatic water savings.
  • #77
    Make suggestions to your employer about ways to save water and money at work.
  • #78
    Support projects that use reclaimed wastewater for irrigation and industrial uses.
  • #79
    Use a hose nozzle or turn off the water while you wash your car. You'll save up to 100 gallons every time.
  • #80
    Share water conservation tips with friends and neighbors.
  • #81
    If your toilet was installed before 1992, reduce the amount of water used for each flush by inserting a displacement device in the tank.
  • #82
    Setting cooling systems and water softeners for a minimum number of refills saves both water and chemicals, plus more on utility bills.
  • #83
    Washing dark clothes in cold water saves both on water and energy while it helps your clothes to keep their colors.
  • #84
    Leave lower branches on trees and shrubs and allow leaf litter to accumulate on the soil. This keeps the soil cooler and reduces evaporation.
  • #85
    Report broken pipes, open hydrants and errant sprinklers to the property owner or your water provider.
  • #86
    Let your lawn go dormant during the summer. Dormant grass only needs to be watered every three weeks or less if it rains.
  • #87
    Plant with finished compost to add water-holding and nutrient-rich organic matter to the soil.
  • #88
    Use sprinklers that deliver big drops of water close to the ground. Smaller water drops and mist often evaporate before they hit the ground.
  • #89
    Listen for dripping faucets and running toilets. Fixing a leak can save 300 gallons a month or more.
  • #90
    Water only when necessary. More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering.
  • #91
    One more way to get eight glasses of water a day is to re-use the water left over from cooked or steamed foods to start a scrumptious and nutritious soup.
Tip #92
Adjust your watering schedule each month to match seasonal weather conditions and landscape requirements.
  • #93
    Turn off the water while you wash your hair to save up to 150 gallons a month.
  • #94
    Wash your pets outdoors in an area of your lawn that needs water.
  • #95
    When shopping for a new clothes washer, compare resource savings among Energy Star models. Some of these can save up to 20 gallons per load, and energy too.
  • #96
    Apply water only as fast as the soil can absorb it.
  • #97
    Aerate your lawn at least once a year so water can reach the roots rather than run off the surface.
  • #98
    When washing dishes by hand, fill the sink basin or a large container and rinse when all of the dishes have been soaped and scrubbed.
  • #99
    Catch water in an empty tuna can to measure sprinkler output. One inch of water on one square foot of grass equals two-thirds of a gallon of water.
  • #100
    Turn off the water while you shave and save up to 300 gallons a month.
  • #101
    When you give your pet fresh water, don't throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your trees or shrubs.
  • #102
    If you accidentally drop ice cubes when filling your glass from the freezer, don't throw them in the sink. Drop them in a house plant instead.
  • #103
    To save water and time, consider washing your face or brushing your teeth while in the shower.
  • #104
    While staying in a hotel or even at home, consider reusing your towels.
  • #105
    When backflushing your pool, consider using the water on your landscaping.
  • #106
    For hanging baskets, planters and pots, place ice cubes under the moss or dirt to give your plants a cool drink of water and help eliminate water overflow.
  • #107
    Throw trimmings and peelings from fruits and vegetables into your yard compost to prevent using the garbage disposal.
  • #108
    When you have ice left in your cup from a take-out restaurant, don't throw it in the trash, dump it on a plant.
  • #109
    Have your plumber re-route your gray water to trees and gardens rather than letting it run into the sewer line. Check with your city codes, and if it isn't allowed in your area, start a movement to get that changed.
  • #110
    Keep a bucket in the shower to catch water as it warms up or runs. Use this water to flush toilets or water plants.
  • #111
    When you are washing your hands, don't let the water run while you lather.

Yummy & delicious

My little one waited in the living room with anticipation, as I prepared a little surprise. I hinted that her surprise was yummy & delicious.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Making snack time a little special

With my little girl is home from her sleepovers, I am a little more rested, refocused and determined to find more opportunities for quality time with her. Just an extra minute of planning makes snack time a little more special. With the baby sleeping, I am able to give her 100% of my attention.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Missing my little girl

With my baby boy turning one month, this means that I have not slept in one month. Like all moms to newborns, I am sleep deprived. Early this week was my breaking point. I am so lucky to have family close by if I need them. So we planned 2 sleepovers for my little girl. She does love her sleepovers. I am sure she gets away with everything and there is surprises, cupcakes, candy, movies and lots of new things to discover. I am glad she is having so much fun, but boy do I missing her loveliness. I have a few surprises planned for this week for the two of us - a tea party & an ice cream sundae party.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Just blooming

Just a few flowers blooming in the garden. And look at my sedums, 'Autumn Joy' and 'Angelina'. They are looking good. 'Angelina' is so colorful.

Monday, April 13, 2009

One month

Mommy's little Vince. My little guy is 1 month old today!!! Wow, it's hard to believe that 1 month has gone by and it's hard to remember our lives without him. I kind of remember a good night sleep, but I'd rather have him in our lives rather than sleep any day.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Following his footsteps

Bright and early this morning, we followed the bunny footprints from the front door to the kid's Easter baskets. My husband grew up with this tradition and I thought it was a special tradition to continue with our little ones. My little girl's smile lite up the room, as you could see, she was very happy receiving and giving. A few Easter gifts and a few eggs filled with little chocolates and geode slices were discovered with excitement, around the house. Our weather usually calls for an indoor Easter egg hunt. Of course, the Easter bunny brought some sweets, just a little, but not too much. Throughout the week, my little girl had been working on creating Easter present pictures for us. As a parent, it is just a wonderful feeling to be gifted with her artwork. She also shared a daffodil with us. How sweet.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The most colorful Easter eggs

My little girl drew some very colorful Easter eggs. I am still trying to see what crafts and projects we could do as the holiday is closely by. We are still having fun with the spring songs, verses, and fingerplays.

Here's another one for the holiday

At Easter time
At Easter time, we color eggs,
Shades of yellow, red and blue.
We make them pretty as can be,
We'll make some for you and some for me

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Easter's on its way

Easter is almost here. We just put out some decorations and I would still like to fit in a few crafts before the holiday comes. Our Easter seasonal nature table now has a robin's nest and Easter decorations. The Easter eggs my little girl decorated are very precious to me and they have become a family tradition. On her first Easter, I used her little fingerprints for the polka dotted egg and since then she has been decorating the wooden eggs.

It is always fun to add a few flowering branches to the nature table and hang some Easter eggs from them, next on my list. I just finished up this little wool bunny ball for my little girl's Easter basket. I started it before Vince was born, but I've been so busy since then and I would not recommend needle felting when you have sleep deprivation, it can be a little dangerous.

Here's a fun fingerplay to get ready for the holiday.

The bunny
Here is a bunny with ears so funny (hold one hand face up and with other hand have fingers hop up and down)
Here is his hole in the ground (join thumb and index finger to make O)
At the first sound he hears
He pricks up his ears (hold up index finger and middle finger to make V)
And jumps to his hole in the ground. (V jumps into O)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Fun moments in the kitchen

Time flies by too quickly these days. I am trying to get some little loving & fun moments with my little girl whenever I can. I drew a surprise picture for my little one on our steamy kitchen door and had her find it and then we made some shadow pictures on our ceiling in between making lunch.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Painting & drawing

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Artist at work

After a rough night of nursing, I finally made it downstairs by noon. This time around, nursing is a bit more difficult and exhausting and more painful than I remember. I feel very fortunate that I was able to nurse my little girl for over a year and I hope to be able to nurse my son for just as long. I feel very strongly about the importance of breastfeeding and I have faith that tonight will be easier and that the nursings will get easier.

:: Once downstairs, I was delighted to see a surprise picture on my keyboard from my daughter. What a wonderful surprise, she is just so sweet.

:: Creativity was flowing today as our little artist went to work later in the day.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A little natural play area

Daddy constructed a little natural play area for our little ones with tree stumps, rocks, and a digging area in our yard. It came out great!!! (stop back to see some pics) Our little girl was so excited to help out Daddy with the project and even more excited to start playing in the area - hopping from stump to stump, jumping off the stumps, sitting on the stumps and digging in the dirt. In between the stumps is the perfect area to plant some fun smelling herbs, maybe lemon thyme, orange thyme, pineapple sage, and some mint (apple mint). I'll have to do a little research as I am looking for some low growing herbs for this area. I also would like to plant some vines to camouflage our chain link fence. Maybe a combination of 2 types of perennial vines that would attract hummingbirds and/or butterflies, full sun, zone 6a and most importantly be child and dog friendly. Any thought or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Some stumps

My husband was quick to load up the car with some tree stumps he saw this morning along the roadside. Yipee!!! So, we have some stumps to get our project started. Hopefully, we'll have some nice weather so I can get out there to cut down my perennials, as well. I usually cut down them in the fall, but that did not happen last year. With the new growth sprouting up, I really need to get the old growth cleared out. I feel the excitement and energy of spring in the air.


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