Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mama got a new pair of shoes.

That is all.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Party prep is in full swing

Zion's birthday is only a week away.  A week until my baby turns four.  I look back at previous birthday posts for Zion and they all focus on my last firsts.  Last first steps, last first birthdays, last first words... I love the little girl that my last baby is growing into, so this year, I will try to focus less on her being my LAST baby and focus more on her just being my baby.  I will say this, I am in the throes of planning my last first big birthday party!  All of the girls are so excited for Zion's sushi party.  I will be more excited when I have finished cutting and assembling all of these tiny little odds and ends.  I've decided to make goodie bags for this little shindig.  I am not a huge fan of goodie bags myself because they tend to include a ton of candy and a bunch of little plastic toys that end up in the trash before the day is over.  So it is very rare that I do goodie bags (and they never include candy).  Zion's bags will include a kokeshi bookmark that the kids will be able to color at the party, a mini paper koma spinning tops, a paper crane, a pair of chopsticks and a fortune cookie.  Everything is handmade except the chopsticks and fortune cookie.

Little paper sushi will go on tags for the goodie bags.  I am currently covered in glitter (much to my dismay).

I love kokeshi dolls.  I have loved them since I randomly found one in a thrift store in St. Croix five (or more) years ago.  She became my favorite little trinket.  I found a couple of kokeshi designs on the internet that I like and drew up some blank ones and copied them onto cardstock for the kids to decorate.  I will add a little ribbon so that they can be used as bookmarks.  The large kokeshi will be used to play Fukuwarai.  It's similar to pin the tail on the donkey (we always have some version of that at every party).  Kids cut out the facial features and, while blindfolded, attempt to arrange them correctly on the face.

That red take out box in full of tiny little spinning tops.  I had to hide them in the box because my girls LOVE them and will not stop taking them.

One more week until this party and there is still plenty to do.  I'm sure I will be vacuuming tiny paper scraps and glitter from my carpet for weeks to come.

On a completely unrelated note, Jena made lasagna all by herself last night.  Eggplant, spinach, and sweet peppers!  It was tasty.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Look what I made!

As silly as it may sound, I really LOVE socks.  Not super fancy socks, but a good argyle or stripe works.  Actually, I'm really happy with brand new, stark white socks fresh from the package.  Ahhhh...  Anyway, a couple of years ago, my girls got my a bunch of cool socks (and a big bag of Smarties, which I also love).  It was a very sweet gift.  I wear those socks all the time.  I wear them so much that they are starting the wear out.  My favorite black and grey striped socks had so many holes that it was just uncomfortable to wear.  I hated to get rid of them, so I had to come up with some way to reuse them.  Then I remembered seeing something on Pinterest to turn women's socks into kids legwarmers. Yay!  New life for my favorite socks.  Here's Zion modeling her new legwarmers!

I think they are super cute on her and she LOVES them.  She wanted to wear them with her pajamas tonight.  Here's the rest of her outfit breakdown.

Green sneakers - Converse (previously featured)
Legwarmers - Mommy's favorite socks ($0.00)
Leggings - not sure of the brand ($.99 from Goodwill)
Sweater dress - Old Navy ($.99 from Goodwill)
Bomber Jacket - Hawke and Co. (previously featured)

Total Outfit (without shoes and jacket) - approx $2.00
(with shoes and jacket) - approx $10

Friday, January 18, 2013

What's my kid wearing today?

Hopefully, we are pulling out of a stint of very depressing weather here in Mississippi.  We have had rain for days  (we did have that one 70 degree day last week), then freezing rain and ice, then snow.  Fortunately, after the snow, came the sun.  I need the sun.  It keeps me motivated and driven to anything other than sit on my couch in sweatpants.  It wasn't 70 degrees today, but the sun did pull us out of the house.  And going out of the house means that the kids have to get dressed.  So, here's what my kid was wearing today...

Multicolored sneakers - DC ($0.00 free from a friend)
Striped leggings - Gymboree ($.99 from Goodwill)
Skirt - Gap ($1.49 from Goodwill)
Red Jacket - Gymboree ($1.49 from Goodwill)
Floral western shirt - not sure of the brand ($1.49 at Goodwill - handed down from Ashni)

Total Outfit - approx. $5.50

Green sneakers - Converse ($3.99 from Goodwill - they were a bribe so that we could throw away her raggedy silver Toms that she LOVED)
Black jeans - Levi's ($.99 at Goodwill)
Green Cassette t-shirt (not that you can see it) - Old Navy ($.99 at Goodwill)
Purple puffy vest - Old Navy ($1.49 at Goodwill)
Cowl neck scarf - made by Mommy ($0.00 AND I got to use up some of the millions of balls of yarn that we have around here)

Total Outfit - approx. $7.50

Okay, because my older girls choose their own clothes when we shop, I have no idea what brand most of their clothes are.  But since I still have to pay for them, I DO know how much they cost.  Jena is by far my most difficult child to buy clothes for.  She is pencil thin and about 75% legs.  She has long arms and long feet.  Boots this winter were a challenge.  They do not make a woman's size 7 boot to fit a leg that tiny!  But anyway, here's what she was wearing today.

Boots - We got these at Rue 21 (which I had NEVER been in until I had to find boots for her) for $24
Leggings - these are actually Bijou's leggings ($.99 at Goodwill)
Skirt - $1.49 at Goodwill
Striped shirt - $2.49 at Goodwill
Jacket - (This one I do know, because I bought it when she was not with me) Gap ($3.99 at Goodwill)

Total Outfit, with boots - approx. $33 (These bigger girls are getting expensive...)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Zion's Sushi Party

Party prep for Zion's 4th birthday is in full swing.  Well, maybe not FULL swing, but there are things being done.  Invitations are about 90% done.  I have to say that I am pretty proud of them.  I think they are super cute.

What's My Kid Wearing Today

It was 70 degrees and sunny yesterday (we have been in an endless routine of clouds and rain which will continue for who knows how long), so I decided that the ladies and I needed to get out into the world. So, we headed out for frozen yogurt and a walk around the square (that's what you do when you live in small town).  I figured I's take the opportunity to take pictures of all of the girls together (and it's not even anyone's birthday).  Thanks to our sunny Friday afternoon, you all get a four-fer.  Here's what my kids were wearing (note: most of these are posted simply because I am entertained by the ridiculousness of my children):

Okay, Ashni's face?  Really?

 Anyway, here's the outfit breakdown starting with Bijou.
Brown cat sweater - Gymboree ($1.49 at Goodwill)
Jeans - Gap ($0.00 free from a friend)
Floral T-strap Mary Janes - Doc Marten ($2.99 at Goodwill)

Total Outfit - approx. $4.50

Grey Boots - U.S. Polo Assn (these were actually purchased new for Jena last year $24.99 at Shoe Dept)
Multicolored Argyle leggings - Circo maybe ($1.49 at Goodwill)
Skirt Overalls (?) - Tommy Hilfiger ($1.49 at Goodwill)
Denim Jacket - Gap ($3.99 at Goodwill)

Total Outfit - approx. $32 (pretty steep for me)


Blue canvas sneakers - Old Navy ($0.00 gift from her grandmother)
Supe skinny jeans - Arizona ($3.00 from Sears)
Yellow Harajuku t-shirt - ($2.00 from Goodwill in St, Louis.  It's an import!)


Silver shoes - Toms (previously featured)
Striped Leggings - not sure of the brand ($.99 from Goodwill)
Brown Skirt - Gymboree ($.99 from Goodwill)
Atari T-shirt - not sure of the brand ($.99 from Goodwill)
Corduroy Jacket - Old Navy (honestly, I'm not even sure where we got this from)

Total outfit - approx. $3.00 (without the shoes)

And finally, just wanted to show that my sweet little darling will indeed forcefully shove her sister out of the shot if she feels like her photo op is being invaded.

Friday, January 11, 2013

We actually do get some work done...

We really do still homeschool the girls.  I swear.  We actually manage to get work done.  I know, crazy, right.  Yesterday, Bijou and I did some math with Cuisenaire rods and diagrammed some sentenced with the grammar symbols.

I am pretty sure that I have talked about these symbols in a past post, but I'm too lazy to look for it.  Each symbol represents a word function (noun, verb, etc.).  The big black triangles are nouns, the medium dark blue triangles are adjectives and the small blue ones are articles.  Together they form a kind of family.

Her sentence was - A green dog on a yellow tree.  See the pattern of the symbols (article, adjective, noun)

This is the first time that she got to use the green crescent.  The crescent is the symbol for prepositions.  So far she has learned nouns, adjectives, articles, verbs and prepositions.

I started to try and retouch this picture and digitally clean up all of the junk in the background, but, hey, there's learning happening here and sometimes it's messy in our house.  Anywho...we did some place value work with the rods and some triple digit addition.

This is my place value chart that I made on the fly.  We just worked up to the hundreds place.  We will start thousands next week.  Once she has mastered adding thousands without regrouping, I will introduce regrouping.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ten Things that I've Learned About Raising Girls...

I don't really read a lot of things anymore about raising children.  Every now and then I will follow the links posted by Facebook friends to inspirational articles about touching things that the authors have learned about raising their respective children.  So, I figured I would write one of those loving and inspirational post about the things that I have learned about raising girls.
1.  Girls talk.  ALOT!  I am not a huge talker.  I don't want to have lengthy discussions about my feelings or troubles.  But my girls are different.  They want to have a lengthy discussion about EVERYTHING.  I have never talked more about clothes, food, books, movies, music, positions at the dinner table, seating in the car or ponytails and their holders in my entire life.
2.  Despite popular belief, girls smell.  My girls are not delicate flowers.  They are more like that giant putrid flower that grows in the rainforest.  They fart, they don't always flush and I have had to bribe a couple of them to take a bath.  Couple that with ballet shoes and fencing shoes (and socks and knickers for that matter) you have a foul combination on your hands.
3. Not all girls are Daddy's girls.  My girls LOVE daddy, don't get me wrong.  But if they have to choose between hanging out with Mom or hanging out with Dad, they are more than like going to choose Mom.  It's really more of an interest thing than a preference.  My girls and I like to do the same things (and I am more likely to get snacks, lol)
4. They will ruin clothes.  You know all of those ruffled, sparkly, pink, sequined clothes they make for little girls?  Yeah, I hate those.  Not only because I think that they are ugly, but because my girls ruin clothes.  They are either covered in paint splatters, impossible to get out sauces or so ground with dirt that there's no use in trying to get it clean.  This is another reason that I am VERY thrifty when it comes to buying clothes.
5. Someone is going to want to be a dancer, singer or model.   I have three out of four daughters in ballet and it is because they all asked.  I have never suggested it, they've all just asked to dance.  I think that there is just something inside of the little girl brain that says "Tutu?  Yes please!"  Even my little girls who live me, the antithesis of girl.  And as we speak, three of them are having a photo shoot, so....
6. They will trash their rooms.  And your living room and your dining room and your car.
7. They will eat you out of house and home.  I hear people talking about their sons and how much they eat and how lucky we are to have girls.  Um, yeah, my girls eat like teamsters!
8.  They will fight about anything.  And everything.  I have heard some of the most ridiculous fights in the last few days.  The most recent was about eggs and whether or not they came from the store or the chickens at school.  It ended in tears.
9. Panties will find their way into every part of your home.  Now I'm not sure how you leave your underwear on the back of the couch or behind the bookshelf, but there they are.  Fortunately, they are almost always clean underwear.
10. Despite it all, they will always want to take of you.  They will fix you breakfast in bed, want to pick your clothes, braid your hair (or Daddy''s hair in our case), make you dinner, read you a story or any other thing you may need or not even know that you need.  They may talk you to death and fart repeatedly in the process, but they will be there to help you out (whether you want them to or not).

What's My Kid Wearing Today?

I am not a fan of super girly clothes.  You will rarely see my girls in ruffles or sparkles.  You will never see them in bows (unless that bow is a tie).  I have made my peace with pink and mary janes.  Bijou even owns a pair of those ruffly socks (thanks to her job as flower girl in my sister in law's wedding).  But as a whole, I feel that overly "girly" clothes are fussy and silly and impractical.  There are certain clothes that I think should be a staple in all of my girls' wardrobe.  Those staples are leggings/tights of various colors and patterns, jeans of various cuts, a denim skirt, converse type sneakers and a denim jacket.  I think I can group any of those staples with other things and pull off a pretty cute outfit.  Now, I know that I have four daughters, but I really love little boys' clothes.  I have learned over the years that I can pair a "boy" item very girl specific item (i.e. a skirt) and no one confuses my daughter for my son (well, most people don't).  That's the type of outfit Zion wore today (and because she has short hair, if I don't put her in a skirt people automatically assume that she is boy).  Here is her rainy Wednesday outfit.

Green Frog Rainboots - $0.00 (free from a friend)
Black Leggings - $.99 (from Goodwill)
Denim Skirt - Justice ($.99 from Goodwill)
Awesome Rocky T-shirt - $.99 (from Goodwill)
Purple and White Pinstriped shirt - Benetton ($.99 from Goodwill)
Zion's favorite pink retro jacket - Adidas ($.99 from Goodwill)
Orange slouchy hat - $.99 (Goodwill)

Total Outfit - approx. $6

Bijou was not as enthusiastic about me taking her picture, as you can see from the expression on her face.  Of the four girls, she is probably the most "girly".  I question her taste on a regular basis.  But never fear, I shall brainwash her over time.  This is her rainy Wednesday outfit.

Pink Floral Rainboots - $0.00 (hand me downs from my niece)
Grey Leggings - $.99 from Goodwill
Neon Yellow and Grey dress (not that you can see it) - Gymboree ($.99 at Goodwill)
Pink Jacket - Land's End ($0.00 free from a friend)

Total Outfit (not including the price background of the fencing salle) - approx. $2

Jena and Ashni just asked why I haven't taken pictures of them yet.  I told them that when they wear something cute, then I'll take their pictures.  I see some outfit competition in the future.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Our new allowance system

As much as I love my family, it is not easy managing a household of six (especially when you come from a household of three - with a 8 year age gap between the two children).  With working, schooling, feeding, crafting, chauffeuring, and all of the other stuff that goes into the course of my day, it is sometimes difficult to make sure that everyone's chores are being done, that attitudes are positive and that instructions are being followed (the very first time).  So we have implemented a little system.  For years I have tried to teach the girls that we take care of our responsibilities because they need to be done, not for rewards.  So we have never given them an allowance before.  Honestly, that was a huge pain in the butt!!  I'm sure they get it, but with my schedule being so busy I have resorted to bribery. Well, not bribery...a reward system.  We have implemented ALLOWANCES!!!  The kids are ecstatic.  

We have all of their chores written on big craft sticks.  The older kids have a set and younger kids have a set.  Each Sunday they pick chores at random and store them in their chore containers (I started color coding certain things for them a couple of years ago and it kind of stuck - Jena is green, Ashni is yellow, Bijou is blue and Zion is red).  These are their chores for the week.

We also have other clearly defined ways to earn happy faces or red strikes on our behavior chart.  (There are things on the strike list like, screaming, whining, not following instructions with first time, being uncooperative, not finishing chores.  The opposite of these behaviors earn happy faces.)  This is our behavior chart.  It's just one of those cork board squares that I added the girls pictures to.  We have a three strike policy in our house.  The first red strike (which is just a thumb tack colored with red sharpie) is a warning, with the second red strike you lose your chance for a happy face for the day and with the third you are doomed to go to bed a half an hour early. (Notice that Zion has three strikes in this picture.  She got the tird strike late, so she will NOT be happy at bedtime tomorrow).  If you have no (or just one) red strikes then you earn a happy face for the day (which is a thumb tack with a happy face drawn on it).  At the end of the week, we all sit down and count up the happy faces for the week.  For each happy face the little girls get, they earn $.25.  For each happy face the older girls get, they earn $.50.  

This is our tax jar.  Yes, I said tax jar.  Some days I feel like my kids eat all of our school supplies.  Pencils disappear while in use, crayons are immediately broken into the tiny nubs, markers tops are, I don't know, buried in the backyard.  SO, in order to (hopefully) get the girls to understand that their things cost money, we deduct taxes from their allowance.  Ten percent of each girls' allowance in deposited into the tax jar.  This jar will hold money that will be used to purchase school supplies when needed.  Hopefully, this works out.  I'll keep you updated.

Monday, January 7, 2013

What's My Kid Wearing Today?

So it was my first day back to work after Christmas vacation.  I have to say, it came much too soon.  As you all know, I have a house full of daughters and my daughters like clothes.  As you also know, my husband is home with our daughters until I get home at 12:30.  He does NOT like little girls' clothes (thinking about them, folding them, picking them, arguing with little girls about them).  So, in order to keep the clothing battles to a minimum, the little girls and I pick their clothes for the week and keep them in labeled bins in their closet.  Today, we didn't actually go anywhere, so Bijou is really the only one who got dressed (we like pajamas around here).  So, here's what my kid is wearing today...

boots - Mini Boden ($0.00 free from a friend)
leggings - $.99 from Goodwill (not sure of the brand)
skirt - Gap ($.99 form Goodwill)
shirt - Cherokee ($.99 from Goodwill)
The beaded jewelry I used to make and sell when we lived in St Croix.  These are leftovers that the kids discovered in a box in our hall closet.

Total Outfit - approx. $3

Friday, January 4, 2013

How about a new segment?

I really enjoy being able to dress Zion still.  I also enjoy shopping at thrift stores.  Actually, shopping at thrift stores is really the only my kids have clothes.  It's pricey dressing four little girls!  Fortunately, our local Goodwill is a virtual treasure trove of cool clothes AND kids clothes up to a size 5 are only $.99 and the most expensive kids clothes are still only $2.49.  So, why not combine my love of dressing my kids in cool clothes and my love of thrift stores and create a new blog segment (yes I know, I am not good at keeping up with this blog as it is, so adding something new is probably not my best idea...) called "What's My Kid Wearing Today?"  Whenever I feel like one of my clan looks particularly stylish, I will post pictures.  So without further ado...What's My Kid Wearing Today?

It really is only possible to take one or two sane pictures of any of my children.  After that the insanity sets in...  Anywho, here's a break down of the ensemble, lol:

Boots - Old Navy (I actually bought these new and they cost me a whopping $25.  Got them in the boys section because all of the girls' boots seemed very impractical)
Leggings - Gymboree ($.99 @ Goodwill)
Skirt - Justice ($1.49 @ Goodwill)
Sweater - OshKosh ($.99 at Goodwill)
Bomber Jacket - Hawke and Co. ($3.99 @ Goodwill)
Fuzzy Hat - Not sure ($.99 @ Goodwill)

Total outfit (minus the boots) - approx. $9.00.  Not too shabby, right?

2012 Year in Review

I had a really good year in 2012.  I was definitely busy (which is good most of the time, but my busy mostly consisted of driving).  So I thought I'd share some of my favorite moments.


Zion found her ability to color early this year.  We were (and still are) all very impressed with her skill.

I like tattoos (not sure if I ever mentioned that).  I got one this year for my girls.


My baby turned three (and she will be four before I know it).

The madness that is my house.

Gardening with the lady clan.  This has become a yearly tradition since we moved to Mississippi.

Jena's fancy solo dinner.  


Ashni's prize winning photo.

Ashni's Peter Pan birthday party for her 9th birthday.  Surprisingly, the glitter never made it into the house.


First (of many) fencing tournament.  Bronze medal winner!


Then there was this.  Occasionally we throw adult parties.  There's food on the grill, beer, friends and our kids...eating a kid sized lawn chair...with a pink guitar...


The bountiful harvest from the farm.

The husband and I finally got a honeymoon (after six years).  We spent the night in Bradley Beach, NJ where we had breakfast and then rode bikes around the beach and boardwalk... 

..then we headed to Brooklyn... balls in Chinatown... well as shoes, lol.


Jena turned 11.


At my sister in law's wedding in Virgina.  This was a long drive for a short trip, but it was great.  We got to stay in a hotel (which never happens when we travel)

The venue was a really nice vineyard in some tiny place in Virginia.

The bigger ladies at the reception.

And Bijou's debut as a flower girl.  It was the highlight of her short life.

The kids in DC.


Day of the Dead Halloween costumes.


The Thanksgiving spread.


Bijou's Purple Parisian birthday party for her sixth birthday.

And finally, Jena starred as Clara in this year's Nutcracker.  The performance this year was a little different.  There was acting AND dancing, which means that Jena had lines.  She did really, really well.