Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Look at this crazy kid!  How in the world does she not fall out of her bed?

Monday, May 28, 2012


Julia had a major collision while playing at the mall play-area this morning, and we think she suffered from a mild concussion.  (I looked at this website to see what the symptoms of a concussion were.)

Julia was jumping off of one piece of equipment into (what she thought was) Evelyn's arms.  However, Julia jumped too hard for Evelyn to catch her, and they both came crashing down.  Julia hit the front of her head on another piece of equipment, and then she hit the back of her head on the floor.  Both girls were crying - Julia was hurt, and Evelyn felt bad for not catching Julia.

I knew something was up when Julia didn't bounce right back and want to go play - that's what she usually does.  All she wanted to do was rest on me...and the pupils of her eyes were very small and not focusing well.  Plus she was talking in a very quiet voice.  Not normal for our little spitfire.

I let Evelyn play for about ten more minutes, giving Julia a little more time to rest.  Then we headed out to the car to drive home, and Evelyn made sure Julia didn't fall asleep in the car.  Julia didn't want any noise in the car, so we had to turn off the radio.

Once we got home for lunch, Julia said she felt cold.  I had to put a quilt on her lap to keep her from shivering.  All through lunch Julia had a far-off, distant look in her eyes (with her pupils still small), and there were a couple of times she almost nodded off while sitting up.  She kept asking to lay down and take a nap, but I wouldn't let her.  I gave her a dose of children's Tylenol since she complained about having a headache.

After eating two chicken nuggets and drinking some milk, which took about 20 minutes, Julia snapped right out of it.  Literally.  Her eyes instantly looked normal, and she started talking in her normal voice.  She said her head still hurt, but she wasn't begging to take a nap any more.  Whew!  We'll still watch her closely over the next couple of days, just to make sure she doesn't have any lingering symptoms of a concussion.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Easy Summer Entertaining

We invited friends over today to swim and then stay for dinner.  By planning ahead, we all had a great time and enjoyed a tasty meal.  Did I mention that, including our friends, there were nine of us?

Yesterday we girls bought pool snacks - two small bags of Goldfish and a 10-pack of Capri Sun drink pouches.

Last night I made a pitcher of pink lemonade for the kids to drink with supper.

This morning I made a s'more ice cream pie - start with a graham cracker crust (I let the Keebler elves make mine), spread softened chocolate ice cream over the crust and let harden, then spread marshmallow creme on top of the ice cream.  Easy-peasy, and the kids LOVED it.

I also tossed three pounds of chicken breast pieces into my garlic-lime marinade (click here for the recipe).  The prep work for grilling was done.

My breadmaker whipped up a loaf of bread - everyone devoured it, and my kitchen didn't get hot from using the oven.

Our friends brought fresh fruits and veggies to help round out the meal.

We played at the pool for two hours.  Then the kids started watching a movie while the chicken was on the grill.  After eating dinner outside on the deck, the kids watched the rest of the movie before digging into dessert.

We all had so much fun, and it was a piece of cake hosting our get-together.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Twist the Baby!

When I asked Evelyn if she would push Julia around in the inner tube, I had no idea the two of them would have this much fun!

Pool's Open!

The day we've been waiting for finally arrived...opening day at our neighborhood community pool!  We headed over there after lunch and stayed for almost three hours.  The girls had fun floating in the "tubie" (as Julia calls it).
 Then the girls played with toys other friends had brought.  (Why play with your own toys?)
 The girls mostly played on their own, which gave me a chance to rest my knee.  I'm sure you can guess where we will be the next two days of this three-day weekend...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Big-Girl Bedtime

Phase One of the bed switcharoo took place this evening - the twin bed moved from Evelyn's room to Julia's room.  Julia got new bedding for this bed on her birthday.  But Julia couldn't have the twin-sized bed until Evelyn's new bed came.  Since the full-sized bed will be delivered tomorrow, Julia got her "new" bed tonight.
In addition to moving to a big bed, Julia also started reading a chapter book for her bedtime story - Toys Go Out by Emily Jenkins.  This is a good book for someone her age; it tells what toys and stuffed animals do when humans aren't around.  If she likes this story, there are two other books in the series with the same characters.

So many changes for our little Sunshine!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

New Cake Flavor

Back in the beginning of April, one of my friends brought us pink lemonade cupcakes.  We all fell in love with them and devoured them...but the cake mix and frosting were nearly impossible to find.  

Guess what we girls happened upon in the seasonal section of Target this afternoon?  Pink lemonade cake mix and frosting!  I have a feeling this combo would also make delicious cake pops...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Video of Evelyn Riding Her Bike

Here's a video of Evelyn riding her bike, taken last Sunday:

Monday, May 21, 2012

$32 Kicks

As per my knee doctor's and physical therapist's orders, I bought a new pair of tennis shoes today.  The best part?  They were only $32!  I totally lucked out at the DSW clearance rack!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Swings, Scooters and Bikes

This evening we went to the park across the street, mostly so Evelyn could practice riding her bike.  Julia, forever an opportunist, wanted to do more than watch Evelyn ride her bike...she wanted to play!  So she went on the swing for a bit, and then she took turns running around the park and riding her scooter.
 Helmet?  Check.
 Riding without Daddy holding on?  Check.  Evelyn can go around the entire basketball court by herself, including making the turns.  She's a quick study, that's for sure.
 And let's not forget about the little redhead and her adventures on the scooter.  She's really getting the hang of it!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Butterfly Release Party

Evelyn's class has been observing, first-hand, the life cycle of a butterfly.  The class got their caterpillars about two weeks ago, and they have watched them make chrysalises and then emerge as butterflies.  

This morning Evelyn's class, along with one other class, held a butterfly release party.  The classes made a circle around the butterfly cages, and then they read a poem, thanking the butterflies for the opportunity to watch them grow.
 All of the painted lady butterflies flew out of the netted cages - some went straight to clover flowers,  others took off for the creek area, and some had to check out the students by landing on their heads.
 Here's Evelyn, trying to lure a butterfly to her clover flower.
 And here's Evelyn with a friend, getting really close to having a butterfly land on the flower.
 After releasing the butterflies outside, the students returned to the classroom for a life cycle snack.  Everyone divided their snack plates into four sections and got snacks that correlated with the different stages - yogurt-covered raisins were the eggs, gummy worms were the pupae/caterpillars, pretzel nuggets were the chrysalises, and butterfly crackers were the butterflies.

Julia's Candyland Program

Julia's preschool class put on an end-of-the-year singing program this morning, called "Candyland."  Julia has been humming and singing the songs she learned for the past several weeks, and she couldn't wait to be a part of the real deal.  Here she is, before the show.  Julia's class helped decorate the ice cream cone (above, right).
 It was hard to understand all the lyrics, but this much is true - Julia sang her little heart out.  After the program, Julia got several compliments from other parents, saying how well they could hear her.  :)
 At the end of the show, all of the kids got diplomas, congratulating them on a fabulous year at ELF School.
 And here's a picture of Julia with her teacher, Mrs. Dengler.  Julia loved going to Mrs. Dengler's class every Tuesday and Thursday morning this year, so it will be quite a change for Julia to have the summer off.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Awesome Preschool Program

Julia and I headed up to Rockville this morning for the Flower Buds program at Brookside Gardens.  Evelyn went to this monthly preschool program when we first moved here, and she loved it.  The program is still going strong and definitely worth the drive and the $5 activity fee.

Today's theme was butterflies.  The teacher read a couple of books about butterflies, and she showed the kids a poster of the life cycle of a butterfly.  Then we headed to the tables to plant butterfly gardens.  Each preschooler got a HUGE pot, and they planted four different butterfly-attracting plants in them:  milkweed, parsley, zinnia and heliotrope.  This guy will love living on our sunny let's see if it attracts any butterflies!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Flowers

At our previous townhouse, it was a Mother's Day tradition to plant impatiens in the front yard.  Well, that custom continues in our new townhouse, since the front yard is on the shady north side.

Here's a shot of Julia, all ready to start the demolition.  There were a lot of weeds that needed to be pulled, and the dirt needed to be leveled.  (This picture was taken yesterday.)
 And here are the girls with the finished product.  It's hard to see, since the plants are still small, but we planted 18 impatiens - 6 each of red, pink and purple.  It won't be long before these plants will provide a pop of color in the front of our house.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Choreography Competition

For the past several weeks, Evelyn's ballet class has been dedicated to student choreography.  Each student chose a one-minute song, built a story around it, and then told that story with dance.  The teachers chose one student from each dance class (2nd-grade and older) to be a representative in the studio's choreography competition.  

The competition was held this afternoon, and Evelyn said she did a great job (it was closed to parents).  I told her I was proud of her, choosing a Coldplay song on her own, thinking up a story about picking berries, and then dancing to make the audience believe she was in an orchard, picking berries.  All that to say, this was truly all Evelyn's work and effort - way to go Peanut!

Feline Story Time

Rosie was fast asleep on the ottoman, with a book next to her.  Julia took that to mean Rosie wanted a book read to her.  So Julia found a chair (aka a ball) and set Sleeping Beauty next to Rosie (so she could cuddle), and she began reading her Thomas the train book out loud.  I think Rosie was listening because her tail would flip every now and then.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Evelyn's New Bike

Evelyn is between sizes when it comes to bikes, which made it difficult for us to choose a bike for her.  When test-riding a bike at a bicycle shop, the 24-inch style was a little too big for her, but at least she was able to touch the ground while seated on the bike.  So when it came time to buy a reasonably-priced bike for Evelyn, I went with a 24-inch (but not the exact bike she had test-ridden).

It looks like this bike is too big for her right now.  She cannot touch the ground at all (not even on tippy-toes) while seated.  And when she turns the bike, one side of the handlebars gets out of reach.  What we might do is buy a 20-inch bike for Evelyn to learn to ride on now, and then store this new bike in the garage for awhile.  It's too bad our plan didn't work out as we had hoped.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Window Kitty

We've been enjoying some nice Spring weather lately, and we've had the windows open to let in the fresh air.  Rosie couldn't be happier, moving from window to window, checking out the sounds and smells from the outdoors.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Rice in the Flowers

This evening's dinner didn't please either of our two littlest critics - raspberry chipotle pork tenderloins with rice.  Evelyn was trying her best to eat her dinner, all in the name of earning leftover birthday cake for dessert.  However, things took a drastic turn for the worse when Troy and I weren't looking.

Evelyn made the strangest comment: "I just put rice in the flowers."  Standing at the sink, Troy said, "If you did, you're going to time out and you won't get dessert."  I turned from helping Julia and told Evelyn I agreed with Daddy.  Tears sprang to Evelyn's eyes as she started apologized profusely.  Troy and I didn't think she had really put rice in the bouquet of flowers (why would she do something like that?), but apparently she had...and then ratted herself out.

To conclude this story, yes, Evelyn went to time out, and no, she did not get dessert this evening.  Hopefully she will remember to have better manners at the dinner table from now on.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Happy 8th Birthday Evelyn!

This evening Kat and Ross came over to help us celebrate Evelyn's 8th birthday.  Evelyn had the agenda all planned out - open presents, eat dinner (grilled burgers), then eat birthday cake.

Earlier today, Julia and I went out on a secret mission, so Julia could choose a gift for Evelyn.  You can tell by the look on Evelyn's face that she likes the Lego set hiding under the wrapping paper.  (I'll bet Julia is excited, too, to play with this new toy.)
 Evelyn also got a dress outfit, a cardboard castle kit (similar to Julia's cardboard tree house) and a couple of books - including this new fairy chapter book.
 Then we blind-folded the birthday girl and led her outside to see the big present.  She was thrilled to get a new purple bike - her first bike ever!
 Evelyn couldn't wait for everyone to sing to her - she told me that was her favorite part of the evening.
 After making a wish (and nobody knows what that wish was), she blew out the candles.  Just like that, our little Peanut is 8 years old!

Evelyn's Birthday Cake

Even though Evelyn's birthday cake involved a few more steps than your regular bundt cake, it wasn't that difficult to make.  She wanted a colorful cake...on the inside.  We started with a white cake mix -  here's the birthday girl, separating the eggs.
 Here's Evelyn, manning the mixer.
 Next, Evelyn helped me color the cake batter.  I added Wilton food color gel to the cake batter, and Evelyn stirred.  Then we layered all of the colors in the bundt cake pan - as per Evelyn's directions, the color order was purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and red.
 After the cake had cooled, I set it on a cake plate and spread a basic powdered sugar icing over it.
 And this is how the inside looked!  Every piece had a different pattern of colors, which made it so festive for Evelyn's birthday.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Tea Party Newspaper Hats

I found a great "recipe" for making girly newspaper hats at this blog.  I couldn't believe how easy the project was, and the hats all came out looking so nice.  You just need four pieces of newspaper per girl, a hot glue gun and accessories.  We had three adults helping the seven girls make their hats, and it took us about half an hour.

Here's Evelyn, getting her head wrapped in newspaper.
 Here's our birthday girl, designing her hat with a boa, feathers and fake flowers.  My friend is helping with the hot glue gun.
 And here are all the hats!  They all turned out big and beautiful - even for little grumpy-pants, sitting on the couch.

Evelyn's Tea Party Birthday Party

This afternoon we hosted Evelyn's 8th birthday party at our house.  Here's a shot of our house before the guests arrived...the living room would be used for big movement activities (including pin-the-flower-on-the-tea-cup), the piano room would be transformed into the crafts area, and the girls would dine in the kitchen, of course.
 As the guests arrived, we were playing music for freeze dance.  Then we moved to the kitchen for some "tea" (aka pink lemonade) and snacks - grapes, butterfly crackers and cheese slices that were cut into hearts, stars and flowers.  I can't specifically recall what was said, but the girls had a lively conversation while snacking.
 Next on the agenda was a marshmallow spoon race.  Within a set time, the two teams of girls had to get the most marshmallows from one bowl to another bowl across the room.  It was a very close game - one team had 45 marshmallows, but the other team won with 46.
 Then the girls tried book balancing.  About half the guests had never tried walking while balancing a book on their heads.  Lots of books took a nose-dive, but a great time was had by everyone.  The next activities were making newspaper hats (I'll write about that in a separate post), playing pin-the-flower-on-the-tea-cup, and me reading a picture book about a bossy tea party host (Not Another Tea Party by Mark Shulman).
 Evelyn requested cupcakes for her tea party, and I arranged the sweet treats on a cupcake stand.  We strategically placed eight candles and proceeded to sing Happy Birthday to our little Peanut.  Since there were a few minutes left at the end of the party, the girls played tea party BINGO until their parents came (they used Froot Loops as the BINGO markers).  Even though the party lasted two hours, the time flew by!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Julia's 4-Year-Old Checkup

Julia had her 4-year checkup yesterday.  She is still in the 96th percentile for both height and weight, measuring 42 inches tall and weighing 46 pounds.  Unfortunately for Julia, her appointment took a turn for the worse when she had to get four shots.  The doctor warned that she might have side-effects from the shots, but I didn't think expect a 24-hour delay.  

All day today Julia complained about her arms hurting (understandably).  I gave her ibuprofen every six hours to help with the discomfort and soreness.  Then at about 4:45 this afternoon, Julia fell sound asleep on the couch, and she slept for two hours.  Even with such a late nap, she still went to bed at her normal time, without putting up a fuss.  Poor girl - hopefully tomorrow she'll be back to her normal self.