Treats for Teach

Last weekend we made up some super simple gifts bags for the brand new teachers in our world!

Candy jars with cupcake liner tops (idea via Martha!)

I found these jar-toppers at Micheal’s.  I just adore the dainty scallop edges and the happy colors!

Every teacher and bus driver needs an edible CARD!

Get it? “Mr. Goodbar”— Have a “GOOD” year!  Last year we did a king size version.  The original idea is via the awesomely creative Michelle Paige!

Wishing all of you a MARVELOUS & MAGICAL school year!!


The BTS Check List

The Back-to-School Check List!  

Signage for BTS photos- check!

2nd Grade pic- check!

Kindergartner pic— check!

Preschooler pic– check!

 Hot Diggity Dog (you can’t really see but there is hotdog on his tee) this little man is starting school too.  He will only go twice a week for a couple hours each day, but it’s still SCHOOL!

Lunches & Lunch Money– check!

Out the door on time– check!

Picture of the BIG MOMENT– check! (Can you hear my heart about to burst with happiness, excitement, sadness, and love here?)

No picture of her getting off the bus!!  We had bit of a mishap.  When the bus pulled up for drop off she didn’t get off!  She was on the wrong bus!?  The driver radioed in and they found her almost immediately. She even told me one of her favorite things was the BUS RIDE!

First Day of school yogurt treats- check!

ohh and I can’t forget the happy-first-day-after-school-goodies-surprise– CHECK!

We are slowly getting into our school groove.

Hope your back to school adventures are going GREAT!


and that was summer

we chalked

we horsed around

  WE… snuggled, played, admired baby rolls, goofed-off, posed for pictures, spent time in the garden, celebrated, smiled, skipped with balloons, made art in the parking lot, walked to the candy store, wore cute shoes…

we became superheros

we played salon (notice the bangs)

 WE… went for evening strolls, enjoyed books, acted silly, made art, danced in victory, posed for more pictures, ran around in the rain, explored, sipped, picnicked, skated and got into lots of things

we tried our very first (banana split)

we grooved with Pete

we day-tripped

WE… dreamed, admired, played in the crib (but did not sleep in the crib!), dazzled, shared treats, made messes (lots and lots and lots of messes), had fun, learned to drive, got cuts, played golf, drank unique refreshments, enjoyed papa

we anticipated

we licked lots of ice cream cones

and THAT was our summer.

I hope your summer was filled with lots and lots of simple things that made you smile!!



A-picture-a-day for Frankie’s first year!

Everyday we take five minutes to dress up (or dress down) for a quick picture!  It’s a family affair because big brothers or big sister are the ones who make her giggle for the camera.

 Working our way to 365!

223 days old


237 days old


246 days old


227 days old

215 days old

As always Frankie sends huge hugs and kisses to all of you!!! xoxoxoxoxox


Brainstorming Idea Board!

Crazy Cow Kit idea via Social Moms.

Taste Test!

The winner of this “taste test” was the french vanilla cinnamon concoction.  I originally wanted to do a blind test to compare whole-soy-organic-goat but I never seemed to have everything on hand at one time.  Milk and honey was the least favorite.  They loved this activity!

Paper Plate Cows via Busy Bee Crafts 

1.  Yes, these are cows!   2.  Cow Painting via dairy farmer Blaise   3.  Storty telling paper elements (for our magnetic board) from The Cow that Laid an Egg by Andy Cutbill 4.  Cow Chip Cookies AKA Chips Ahoy

Cow Counting Tin  (Kids cut magnetic cow spots to store inside the Altiod tin.  They use the cow number cards and spots for math fun and number recognition.)

I love Emerson’s yellow hay bales and long skinny cow legs (above right)!

A Dairy Land Adventure!  This place is incredible.  They have a birthing barn (we just missed a birth but swooned over a calf who was less than two hours old), milking machine (like a cow merry-go-round), bus tour, string cheese maze and all sorts of other fun learning stuff.

This is how I typically set up our crafts.  I make a sample tray and a ready-to-craft tray with all the necessary supplies.  This is pretty different compared to free art time where I just toss everything on a table and let them go crazy.

I’ll leave you with three fun facts to wow your cow-loving friends (via Upmqua Dairy):

1.  Cows have an acute sense of smell.  They can smell something up to 6 miles away!

2.  There are approximately 340-350 squirts in a gallon of milk.

3.  It takes an average of 50 licks to polish off a single-scoop ice cream cone.

 Ice cream Lick-a-Thon anyone?



Dinner is Served

We were all in the mood for a fancy restaurant tonight!

So we hopped in the car and found the best spot in town.   Their special is roasted parsley sticks and fresh acorn salad.

Some of us forgot to get dressed up for the occasion!  Luckily they had a no shoes, no shirt… no problem policy.

The boys weren’t really into the fine dining experience.  They of course were more interesting in playing.  The girls had a ball!

I have to admit that I’ve been desperate for fall to arrive.  My three favorite seasons are fall, winter and spring.  Midwest summer is not on my list.  BUT with a “dinner” like this I think I’m okay with summer for a few more weeks or even more!

 Cheers! Love! Blessings!


I am a Ragamuffin Fan.

I am only half way through chapter four and I’m already a huge Ragamuffin Fan!!  The premise of The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning is summed up in my new favorite quote by the author:

“God loves us just as we are, not as we should be.”

Read that three times.  Read that a million times.  God loves us just as we are.

Addicted… he loves us.

Scandalous… he loves us.

Imperfect…  he loves us.

Unforgiving… he loves us.

“But of course, this is almost too incredible for us to accept.  Nevertheless, the central affirmation of the Reformation stands; through no merit of ours, buy by his mercy, we have been restored to a right relationship with God through the life, death, and resurrection of is beloved Son.  This is the Good News, the gospel of grace.” (page 20)

Michael W. Smith summed it up perfectly in his forward, “Not that I can sin more so grace might abound (see Romans 6:15), but grace abounded more because I could find it in the darkness as much as in the light.”   (page 8)

Doesn’t matter how dirty we get… His grace is sufficient.

The gospel declares that no matter how dutiful or prayerful we are, we can’t save ourselves.  What Jesus did was sufficient.”  

“When we accept ownership of our powerlessness and helplessness, when we acknowledge that we are paupers at the door of God’s mercy, then God can make something beautiful out of us.”  (page 79)

We can rest peaceful in this…

“When we accept ourselves for what we are… we are no longer preoccupied with being powerful or popular.  We no longer fear criticism because we accept the reality of our human limitations.  Once integrated, we are less often plagued with the desire to please others because simply being true to ourselves brings lasting peace.”  (page 49)

And I will leave you these last two quotes.  Now this is truly something to SMILE about:

”If Jesus appeared at your dining room table tonight with knowledge of everything you are and are not, total comprehension of your life story and every skeleton hidden in your closet; if He laid out the real state of your present discipleship with the hidden agenda, the mixed motives and dark desires buried in your psyche, you would feel His acceptance and forgiveness. (page 63)

“Grace means that God is on our side and thus we are victors regardless of how well we have played the game.”  (page 78)

Better run now… I have six more chapters to go!


P.S. Shortly after reading the foreword by Michael W. Smith I searched for some of his old videos on YouTube.  This one has my heart. The kiddos have been asking for it every night as their “bedtime” song.  I think we’ve watched it a hundred times and it never gets old.


Once a year my dear friend Kate and I take a trip deep into the wilderness–

all the way to KOA!!

We really know how to rough-it don’t we?!

Next year we are going to go all out and decorate the outside of our cabins.  Paper lanterns and matching banners perhaps?

Three out of six campers looking at the camera!

We can’t do a camping trip without a game or two or three!

A little pool side Instgramming.

You can see Kate’s camping pics on IG via katebogo 

A graceful kind of belly flop!

Breakfast of Champions!

   Thanks for the incredible memories Kate, Izzy and Sam! We love you guys!!!

Can’t wait until camp K & K 2013!