Friday, June 29, 2012

Playful Playroom

The most important thing to me about a playroom is that it encourages and inspires creativity. Both of the girls love art, so we proudly hang it. We switch it out as they make new pieces and I tuck the older pieces away in a file with their name and a date on it. Someday I am going to have to choose a couple of really special pieces and toss the rest, but for now I just file it away.

They had a blast decorating the ART. These cardboard letters (found at Hobby Lobby) are perfect for gluing all kinds of things like beads, crayons, dried flowers, and the list goes on.

Clara painted this picture when she was four and I love it.

The girls did this about six months ago and I love how this turned out! It would be fun to do this every year or so and see how much they have grown.

I tried to pull in primary colors into the playroom so if the girls ever end up with a brother, it would work for him too. Of course if that ever happens, we will get rid of the banner of flowers.

This jar for knick-knacks has saved my life. You know all those little toys that are so hard to find a home for (think finger puppets, yo-yos, tiny stuffed animals)? Now I just throw them in here and put my guilty conscious to rest because they are organized in some fashion.

In keeping with the theme of encouraging creativity in play, Chris built this wonderful puppet stand for Christmas. Clara is the driving force behind naming and developing the story line behind the puppet shows and she enlists Addie's help to perform them. The common theme running through the majority of these shows is that a prince saves the very pretty princess (or two) and they live happily ever after. I guess we need to expand their puppet collection!

I love storage bins for organizing toys. Since Addie doesn't read, it is helpful to have the bins labeled with different shaped stickers. I can tell her "Put those toys in the bin with a house on it."

We need to add more storage and seating to this playroom as well as a few more decorative elements. However, it serves its purpose well for now.

Muddy and Lovin' It

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Summer Heat

What is a mother of restless kids going to do on a day with a high of 106 degrees Fahrenheit? Hit the pool, that's what! We had planned to go hiking, but when it was already in the high nineties in the early morning, we nixed that idea.

Good thing we did because we had a blast!

Clara is brave and jumped right into that cold water!

She even tried doing some back flips off the diving board.

Addie prefers the quiet scene on the edge of the pool. She would rather stick her toes in the water than be completely submersed.

After we cooled off, we came home to enjoy the perfect summer meal.

I found this recipe for very tender pulled pork. I used a pork shoulder (about eight lbs.) and added about four cups of root beer. After it cooked for about seven hours on high in the slow cooker, I pulled the meat off the bone, removed all the fat, and drain the juice. Then I added two more cups of root beer and barbecue sauce and let it simmer for another hour. There was enough meat to bring a meal to a family who had just had a baby and eat leftovers for several days.

Then I made this pie for our family since I was already making one for the family with the new baby. We froze it and it was the perfect cool ending to a super hot day!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Living Part 1

It has been a few weeks since I posted last. We have been trying to enjoy summer like there is no tomorrow. There really is not much time left to enjoy summer activities during the week for the girls and I, so we are trying to make the most of the time we have together before I start my new job.

We were up in Albuquerque, NM for about a week and one half the first part of the summer. We did so many fun things together! There are a lot of pictures so I am going to split up the posts.

Chris and I went white water kayaking on the Lower Gorge of the Rio Grande River. White water kayaking the love of my husband's life before he met me and to be honest, it was pretty stiff competition for a while. After spending the day on the river, I totally get why he loves it so much. Chris spent countless hours white water kayaking in New Mexico, Colorado, and Montana, but pretty much gave it up when we established our home in southern New Mexico. Now I understand why he still talks longingly about it. Kayaking is fun and a huge rush!

We didn't get many pictures coming down the white water because whoever was manning the camera was usually also going down the same stretch and more concerned about keeping their duckie upright than taking pictures. Here is one picture I managed to snap of my dad and sister in one kayak and my brother and sister-in-law in another kayak navigating a short stretch of white water.

Chris and I are messing around in this next picture. We thought it would be funny to get a picture of us in the same kayak rowing in opposite directions. It seemed like a good visual of how marriage works sometimes. We are on the same team and yet sometimes we find ourselves "rowing" against one another. This picture is a reminder to work together because we are on the same team!

The Rio Grande is absolutely beautiful in this section of New Mexico and we saw great scenery and even some wildlife. Here is a mama duck and her ducklings.

We also saw several pairs of geese.

This trip was so fun. Chris and I are now talking about renting a kayak and taking the girls down the calm stretch of river later this summer. Maybe Chris' love of the water will rub off on the girls too. My extended family is turning kayaking on the Rio Grande into an annual tradition and we cannot wait for next year!

Friday, June 15, 2012