Sunday, July 05, 2015


Since the last year has kept us moving, we decided to keep the 4th low key-ish.  As in, we didn't make any big plans.  However,  John still ended up needing to work for some of it.  And, we still have four young children, so most things feel a bit hectic even without big plans.  We did dinner out on Friday night and took the kiddos fireworks shopping.  We shot off our tiny little fireworks in our driveway to everyone's general delight.


(I love fireworks names.  And the fact that treats designed to celebrate America are made in China.)

Saturday morning, John took Lily to run her first full 5K.  It's all downhill, so it's a great one to start with, and they give out children's medals.  She ran most of it, only walking a little, and had a great time!

John picked up Bella afterwards, and the three of them went for donuts.  They brought me one, and I had to hide from Violet as I ate it, because she LOVES them and CANNOT have them because they contain eggs.  #allergiessuck


We watched some of the start of the Tour de France, which is one of our favorite summer events.  Then, John headed to CFA to help get set up to sell sandwiches at Pops on the River, the downtown LR event with fireworks and fun.  We joined him for dinner and partied in the inflatables and near the fish tank.

(I could NOT get a better group picture to save my life.)

The cows got up on stage to lead the Chicken Dance, and John and the girls helped throw beach balls to the crowd at the end.  They thought they were big stuff  (the girls, not John).  You can see them in the bottom left corner of the pic.  The twins liked watching the dance and the "COWS!" - it's one of the words they can both say with a lot of authority.


We skipped the fireworks, because John was helping tear down the CFA stuff, and I did not feel like child wrangling alone for at least another hour before they started, all after bed time.  Bella was quite distraught when she realized that we wouldn't see the main event and wailed a good part of our drive home.

I am so thankful to live in a country where we have the freedoms that we do.  It's easy to take for granted, but when I read the news and realize all of the fights I've never faced, I'm thankful.  America is not perfect, but it is a great place to live.  I also love the cheesiness that everyone really does embrace.  The 4th of July never takes itself too seriously, and I love it for that.  I also love dressing for an occasion.

I don't want to pretend like our weekend was all fun and games, because there are simply a lot of moving parts right now that we are responsible for.  I'm working to be grateful for where we are, but the fact is, I do miss seeing big fireworks shows and having laid back time.  I know we could do it, but the amount of work is really great with very small children - especially with our family weighted the way it is.  I know life will not always feel quite like this, and I think it is okay to look forward to some of those things while trying to really take in and enjoy what we do have right now.  Life is so very rich.  Hope that your 4th was safe and happy!

Friday, July 03, 2015


Summer is speeding by.  Or creeping by, depending on what moment it is and what we have going on.  That said, I still can't believe that July is upon us.  Here's a high/low run down of lately.

Low:  Saying "See You Later" to our dear Rwandan friends who are now back in Rwanda.  We threw a huge goodbye party where we grilled and ate and the kids got covered in grime.  The party was great- saying goodbye was not.


High:  At that party, a sweet nine year old boy took William under his wing and walked around with him all evening.  It was so very precious, and I thanked him over and over.


High:  Key Lime Pie on date night.  Summery deliciousness.

High:  Celebrating EIGHT years open at our CFA.  Cannot even believe it.  John was a sport and stuck his face into the cake while everyone sang.  Lily was especially delighted by this.

High:  Teeth-brushing while wearing sunglasses.

Low:  Always dirty mirrors, windows and everything else that the children are in contact with.

High:  Making fun of the twins double pouting which does turn it into a joke for everyone - turning frowns upside down.

Low:  The girls both have chigger bites that are turning into quite a bother.  They like to scratch at inopportune times in places that are a bit unsavory to itch in public.  I've tried to explain what chiggers are, and I think there was some confusion.  At one point, Lily said they should dress up as Chiggers for Halloween so they could go from door to door saying, "Chig-ger-Treat!"  Ha!  I don't think we will be doing that version of the Bug Squad, though I am impressed with her creativity.  Also - I cannot fathom why this is the most comfortable position for them to watch Disney Jr from.

High:  Triple date night with dear friends including loads of excellent sushi.  We have great friends, and I am so thankful for time laughing and talking about things that matter and things that don't.  It's nice when you can do both with people.

High:  The kids and I went to see Inside Out with a bunch of our friends.  I loved it, and so did the girls.  The babies mostly loved the popcorn and wandering the theatre during the last 30 minutes.  Thankfully, there were not many people there, besides our friends.

High:  Summer flowers and bunnies on walks.

Low:  Lots of emotions all the time.  With less schedule, there are more opportunities for whining.  We are working on it, but it is an uphill battle at this point.

High:  Less schedule has sweet benefits as well, giving these girls more time to play.


As usual, life is peppered with good and hard-ish.  Happy holiday weekend!

Thursday, July 02, 2015


Okay, friends.  I know it has been like 25 years or so since I posted a tutorial of any sort.  There are many reasons for this that I could name:  I can sometimes be lazy.  I've only done cookies in the last year.  I have toddler twins.  So many reasons.  But, a couple of weeks ago an idea took hold of me, and I actually saw it out to fruition and sort of documented it for any who may also want to recreate this.  Or something better that you can think of using this technique.

So, I was shopping on the app of my favorite boutique and fell a bit in love with a watercolor tiger shirt.  Here's a screen shot of it, because it is now sold out.


It was also a bit pricey for me, and then I thought - maybe I could recreate it!  So, I set about to order a shirt that I thought I would like.  Amazon to the rescue.  I wanted something white and a little slouchy/comfy.  I found this shirt and got it in the mail two days ago.  At under $15, it wasn't super cheap, but I like that it had a style I wanted and is super soft.

So - for this project I relied heavily on my Silhouette machine, Freezer Paper (available at all grocery stores) and Matte Fabric Paint (Tulip brand like this but in several colors and available at most craft stores).  I purchased the digital file of a tiger head to cut out through the Silhouette online store.

If you don't have a Silhouette, you could search for "tiger head clip art" and print something out to trace.  You could cut the freezer paper with an exacto knife, though this will add time to your project.  I had my Silhouette cut the head out after adjusting a few of the lines to make it the size I wanted.

I ironed the main outline and the eyes onto the the shirt, centering as best I could.

Then I painted using these colors.


I used a lot more water than I normally would to get the "watercolor" effect.  I also marked with pins generally where the snout was and the "cheekbones" to help guide myself while painting.

This is what it looked like when I took the freezer paper off.

Because I messed up the face of the original freezer paper stencil I had cut, I had to cut an extra face out and ironed it over what I had done to make the stripes and paint the eyes.  I used much less water to get crisper lines.

I do love the results - though in retrospect, I would have made the tiger face a bit bigger.  Next time.  I googled actual tiger faces to try to get the eyes to look sort of legit.

Obviously, nothing is perfect about this little project, but I think it will be one of my favorite summer shirts to throw on.  Comfy, breezy and light, with a pop of neon and sparkle.  I highly recommend Freezer Paper stenciling.  There are a ton of better tutorials online if you need/want more details.  The possibilities are endless, and it takes very little paint, so the $6 a bottle doesn't seem like a lot when you get to use it forever.  I made shirts for both Lily and Bella's birthday parties using this technique.

Happy creating!