Monday, August 31, 2009

The ME Collage

Isabel's first school project of the year - a ME collage.

Friday, August 28, 2009


I was sorting photos and came across a quote that a friend gave me when I had Nicholas. It's a reminder that our children need our love, our time and our attention more than anything else we can give. It's written by Diane Loomans and also posted on her website (

If I had my child to raise over again,
I'd finger paint more, and point the finger less.
I'd do less correcting, and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less, and know to care more.
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites.
I'd stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I'd run through more fields, and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging, and less tugging.
I would be firm less often, and affirm much more.
I'd build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I'd teach less about the love of power,
And more about the power of love.

So, to all my mommy friends, go hug your kids, tell them you love them and ask what they want to do today!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Try this - turn your photo into a kaleidoscope!

I found this very cool link off of the Magical Childhood blog ( to

The website allows you to take any photo and turn it into a kaleidoscope.

Here's the original photo:
And here are the kaleidoscope pics Isabel made...

By the way, Magical Childhood is a wonderful blog to read if you get a chance check it out!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

First Day of School

My beautiful angel started 2nd grade today. She was up before 7 - dressed and ready to go impatiently asking how much longer. She doesn't catch the bus until about 8:45 so the wait was killing her!

It seems like just yesterday she was starting kindergarten!

Here she is with her teacher Miss Ridgely (her second year of teaching!)


Wonder what this is...I'll tell you soon!
Isabel and Nick had their very best friends Casey and Emma spend the night. What an adventure. We started the evening by making their names out of clay which was then baked:

Here they are all baked - now they need to cool so it's time to build a tent:

Well, then they wanted to play Twister, so down came the tent and out came the game. Lots of laughs and giggles ensued:

Then pillow fights and more laughs:

Nick crashed around 10 pm but the girls were going strong. At 1 AM I made the executive decision to declare it bed time! Even with the lights out chatter continued for another 20-30 minutes.
We started the next morning bright and early at about 7AM. Apparently Emma had a bloody nose, so she woke Casey. Well, Casey felt that she needed to wake Isabel and then of course, I needed to be awaken. They tried to wake Nick but he was having none of it and continued to sleep until about 9.

They played til Nick got up and then Santi made pancakes. Then it was outside to paint the clay letters they made the night before.
The finished names:
Some swimming fun:

So then I made the mistake of leaving the kids alone with Daddy. I ran to pick up pizza and returned home to find this:

Seems they asked Daddy if they could paint the swingset and he answered, "Sure." So they did!

Friday, August 21, 2009


Chores...ugh! Growing up I had chores to do around the house, most of them on Saturday morning and I couldn't go out and play until they were done.

First, let me say I'm not big on the word '
chores' as I believe helping out around the house is part of being a member of the family. We are all responsible for the house - we all mess it up (some more than others) and we all need to help clean it up (again, some more than others). We do reward Isabel & Nick for going over and above what they are responsible for but there are certain jobs they have as members of the family.

Second, let me remind those who have forgotten or just don't know -
I am not Martha Stewart. My house will never ever be featured in House Beautiful. I have too many other more important things to do - like playing Uno 10, bouncing in the trampoline, making cookies - than cleaning. So my children don't ever see me spend an entire Saturday cleaning the house. They might see me spend 20 minutes cleaning the bathroom and then head outside for some fun (we call that a fun break).

That being said, we do try to keep a pathway clear so you can walk and we try to keep the crumbs off the floor.

Isabel's responsiblities include emptying the dishwasher, emptying the trashcans on Sunday nights and helping take the bins down the driveway, putting her clean laundry away and keeping her room, hmmm, what's the word - neat, tidy, picked up?? Well, she does a great job with the dishwasher and trash. But the room and laundry...well, that's another story. I have tried everything I know to get her to clean her room. The only things that works are threatening to go in with the trashbag or helping her clean it.


I find if we work together, we can get it picked up in about 10-15 minutes. Amazing what a little kindness will do!
AFTER - a happy child:

Now, here's a mom of 7 (expecting #8) who writes on the topic of chores and she basically says the same thing about working together. She also disses on rewards and punishments for chore completion - I get her explanation but in my opinion, especially for young children a reward is in order. The reward doesn't have to be tangible - it could just be kind words or an extra hug reminding your child how great they are and how lucky you are to have them!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Well, the kids are in Gettysburg with Grandmom for a few days. I know I'm supposed to enjoy this time of peace and quiet but well, I miss them. I especially miss seeing them when I get home from work - they both run to the car shouting 'I'm the first one to see you!".

But I did get to have dinner with a long lost friend yesterday and another tonight. And I've started organizing all my craft ideas. I have tons of projects I think the kids would enjoy or could make for Christmas presents and they've been in a big box. So I sorted them into categories and put them in folders. I'm thinking a 3-ring binder might work best for storage. I've got so many projects I could write my own craft book!

I did find one project we need to start working on soon b/c Christmas will be here before you know it. It's an Advent/Countdown to Christmas project. I've found several ideas for counting down that I liked but the one we will create uses an over the door shoe bag - it's perfect with the 24 pockets. The kids can make the numbers 1-24 to go on the pockets and then I'll fill each pocket with a small trinket/candy.

Another idea I came across was to read a book each day during the 24 days and do a related craft. I'm not sure we would get to a craft each day but I definitely like the idea of a new book each evening.

Speaking of books, I'm looking for some new books for the kids. We have tons of books at our house and the kids, especially Isabel, love to read (Yeah!!). Any suggestions for books your kids enjoy??

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

2nd Grade!

Isabel just called me at work, thrilled, because she got Miss Ridgley for second grade and that's who she wanted. I believe she is a relatively new teacher - this being her second year on the job - so I'm holding hope that her energy level will be high. Teaching is a tough job, especially if done well.

I'm chairing the Staff Appreciation committee for the PTA again this year and am armed with ideas for how to express our thanks to the staff who work with our kids every day. In the process of finding new ideas I came across this idea which I am totally going to steal...

Purchase a nice bottle of hand lotion or hand soap (Bath & Body Works has a fabulous selection), put it in a lovely gift bag with a note card that says: If I can give you a hand this year, please don’t hesitate to call me and then include my home and cell numbers. I'm thinking with some cute paper from Michaels, my Cuttlebug & dies, glitter, etc. and Isabel & I can come up with a fabulous note card and gift bag. I'll post a pic when it's finished.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A good idea...

I read this tip on one of the many blogs I check out: If you have trouble remembering where you parked - especially if you are at a mall you don't normally visit, in a garage or at a theme park where there are thousands of cars - take a photo of your entrance, parking level or other parking reminder with your cell phone.

More ideas can be found:

Backyard Camping

Since we haven't had a chance to camp this summer, we slept under the stars in the backyard. A little help getting the tent set up:

And voila!

Dont' worry - we're off to Cunningham Falls for camping in September. Pics to follow.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Colored Sand

Nick's been bugging me about making colored sand ever since our trip to Dutch Wonderland. There you can fill a bottle with colored sand for several dollars. I told him we could make our own at home and so we did (for a lot less).

First purchase regular table salt (33 cents at Walmart). Color the sand using food coloring - the liquid drops work best. We tried with the gel first since I had more colors but the gel sticks together and doesn't color as well. I used frosting containers for shaking and then later for storing.
Spread the colored salt on a baking sheet and bake at 250 for about 5-10 minutes to dry the salt.
Then use to fill bottles or in our case make cards:
Next we're off to find some glass or plastic bottles for filling!


Isabel has always loved butterflies so we planted a butterfly bush several years ago to attract them. Here's one type we see frequently: Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.

And here she is before she became the butterfly:

Isabel received the Butterfly Kit last year, along with the frog kit. We decided to try the frog kit first - got the tadpoles but they never turned into frogs. So after the first of the year we will try with the butterflies. Wish us luck!

Friday, August 7, 2009


One of my nightly rituals has become sitting on the front porch swing with Nick. It's a nice time for us to chat about the day and spend a little time together. Last night we decided to catch some fireflies.

For some cool firefly photos check out:

Why "The Leaking Life"

Isabel came up with the name of our blogg because, in her words, "all of our ideas and thoughts leak from the faucet of our brain and drip, drip, drip all day long."


I found this cool idea ( for making lollipops out of crushed jolly ranchers so we tried it. The directions said to put the crushed candies in a metal cookie cutter, bake til the candy melts, remove, cool slightly, remove the cutter, add the stick and cool completely. Sounds simple enough.

Well, the kids had no problem filling the cutters and the baking went fine.

It was when we tried to remove the cutters the problems started. I pulled the cutter off the tray and the candy just flowed - completely distorting the shape. So then I waited about 30 seconds - same problem. I waited a little longer and the candy was stuck and it wouldn't come out at all.

So, plan B - free form design.

These turned out great - and tasted pretty good too!
Isabel and Nick are going to share them with friends today. Hope they enjoy them as much as we did.


I am soooo impressed with the change in Isabel & Nick after just 8 swimming lessons. Before the lessons Nick would never put his face in the water and Isabel, only with persuasion and then she needed a towel to wipe her eyes. Now, it's cannonball!