Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Princess's 6th Birthday Party

It was so very muddy outside, I didn't let Princess wear her crown (thanks Amanda!)

The rain stopped just before the party started.
I set up to have everyone inside, or at least the food...
I am so tired of it raining half way through and having to run everything inside.
Farmer Dad set up the borrowed tent outside and the tables and chairs, he forgot to
put the flowers out there,

or any of the "snack" foods, but oh well.As Willie sings..."there's nothing I can do about it now...".

The menu consisted of :

Hummus and crackers
A variety of heirloom tomatoes (fresh from the garden)
with fresh mozzarella and olive oil
Goat cheese with fig sauce and crackers
Veg platter
Chips and salsa
spinach dip
Fresh fruit (including some figs)
Roasted Veggie sandwiches
Grilled chicken
Mashed potatoes
Roasted Pork Loin (with apples and fig)
Mac n cheese
Olives and cheese
Fresh Italian bread

Pumpkin bars
Cupcakes (vanilla and chocolate)
Candy Corn
Dried and fresh fruit for desert

Coffee,tea,water,apple cider,punch,beer,wine

Unfortunately, I did not get one picture of any of the food,
the gift bags,or most of the goings on.
My niece (and Goddaughter) Amanda helped keep the kids
somewhat organized decorating mini pumpkins,

and painting sun catchers in Halloween themes.

Our good friend Miss Diana once again shared her incredible talents
and painted all the kids faces (or arms)much to their delight!
The kids decorated their cupcakes while they waited their turn, or after they were done
getting "painted".

Some also made some "macaroni" necklaces
They also spent a lot of time playing in the yard.
I should have handed out sample sizes of Shout as a party favor.(Muddy!)
Every child left clutching a mini pumpkin in their hands
and with a bit of our corner of the Garden State spread across bottoms
and big smiles upon their faces. ;-)

Thanks to both of these incredible women who helped make the party such a success!
After everyone left, Princess began the "opening of the gifts" process...
Wow! She got so many wonderful gifts...thank you all.

Here she tries out her Hannah Montana Dance Mat (from her "sweet prince") with her friend Peanut.
Thanks to Peanut's Mom, Naomi for helping to put some other stuff together for us.;-)
Thank you all for the Birthday Wishes..it was a busy crazy weekend and you
all played a part in making it a very Happy 6Th Birthday for Princess.

Special Note to "Bean"....
I just read your comment, and cannot believe you were so close to me and I missed
out on meeting up with you!!! Had I known you were going to be in the area, I would have
met you for coffee at the very least!!! We were 10-15 minutes away!!!
I am so very disappointed!! :-(

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Politics here in the Garden State?

There's an effort to elect an unknown random person as President... and it's someone we know! Watch this online video about the surprising new nominee:


Be sure to check this out today, I'm not sure how long the link will be good for!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Johnny Appleseed

Today is also the birthday of Johnny Appleseed.
We will most like celebrate it with a tea and some
"apple sauce muffins" in the afternoon.
The weather is supposed to be miserable here,
and we have much to do to get ready for Princess's
"Autumn Birthday Festival" this Sunday.
I was hoping to get in an apple craft to celebrate today, but we were too busy
cleaning out my closet..looking for the party favors I had ready in advance.
Last year we had a lot of fun making "apple stamps" and printing cards and wrapping paper
with them. Princess's Great Aunt Grace L-O-V-E-S apples, so we make many drawings of them for her.
We will read a few books... Johnny Appleseed by Reeve Lindbergh
and our favorite is by Steven Kellogg.
I think he's an interesting character well worth learning about.
Happy Fall Y'all!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

September 26, 2008

That's right, tomorrow,My Princess will turn 6 years old!
Just 6 years ago I delivered her at 2:21 in the morning.
Less than 3 hours of labor, about 3 pushes and there she was.
I was probably in labor for longer than that, but I slept through it.
If it makes anyone feel better..I haven't slept much since.
I can hardly believe it has been so long
since we had her and yet I find it hard to remember
what it was like to be childless..must be all the sleep deprivation.;-)
Farmer Dad took a vacation day, so we can spend the day together.
Breakfast out? Lunch? Dinner? A fun outing? Stay home and watch the rain?
Nothing is set in stone..I'll post some pictures when I can.
Keep your fingers crossed for no rain on Sunday...PLEASE!?!
My house is not big enough for all the friends and family who plan on being here.

Making the best of it..

sometimes that is just what you have to do. Make the best of a day that is supposed to
go one way, but slowly unravels.Tuesday we were supposed to drive up to the
Watchung Reservation with our homeschool group for our science lesson and some fun.
We were really looking forward to it, stocked the truck with audio books, snacks, etc
to keep the ride entertaining for our young intrepid traveler and had our science bag packed.
We had instead some vehicle drama (she's an old truck-enough said) and missed out homeschool
group day. Instead we took our already packed lunch and walked a couple of blocks to the local

We don't go here very often because although I like that there is almost never anyone there,

Princess prefers the busier play areas.

We sat on a bench and had lunch and played
and walked home,
collecting leaves as we went.I was congratulating myself on how nicely I handled things and how well
Princess adapted to the change in plans, when we got home and she said "let me go to the bathroom and we
can go to our play date". Huh? How did she think that was going to happen? Was she not listening to the entire
conversation we had before the park? Visions of countless similar experiences and conversations
with her father flashed before my eyes...
I must admit. Doesn't anyone listen when I talk?
We made dinner together and she helped me move more stuff around in her "school room".
We actually have the books somewhat organized into subjects now...math, science,geography.."etc.
I desperately wish to sell her play kitchen, but she is not giving it up so easily.She did agree to let me get rid of
her bookshelf/toy box and some smaller toys that she doesn't play with anymore and some books were packed up for the new babies in the family.She insisted some remain as they will surely visit our house once in a while.
That was our day although we did Cha-Cha while we watched Dancing with the Stars..as is our habit.;-)
That and the park make for a well rounded P.E. day right?

Wednesday went better with a trip to a nursery for hay bales and mini pumpkins (we only grew big ones this year)

for her party. We will have a "decorate your own mini pumpkin" event as well as some other crafts and games.
It is supposed to rain from today until Saturday, and be clear Sunday. I am hoping it is also clear for most of Saturday, so my yard can dry out. It will not be fun if we are all crammed inside my house!
If the weather does not cooperate, I may hold off the family until the week after and have them for cake and such
then. I am not sure. Our house is very little..very little.
Princess had a great time at the nursery, counting pumpkins and figuring out how much money things would cost,
how many little scarecrows she could buy with how much money.Once home, we cleaned some more after stacking everything on the front porch where they will stay dry when the rains come.Princess did some work on
the computer, we did some laundry.The mail came. Boy was she excited....not only did she get several birthday cards in the mail, but she got a package from our friends Gabe and Sam.

Wow!! She had to read the enclosed note over and over all night.
"It's so nice to have friends who care about me Momma."
and then..."Can we call them for a play date tomorrow?" Clearly, I should have asked for a globe
for her birthday! ;-)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Autumn Joy

The Garden State has welcomed Autumn with sunshine and clear blue skies,
leaves falling gently and the dusky maroon of the Sedum "Autumn Joy" in full
Princess,Farmer Dad ,and I had a very full weekend of estate sale-ing,
furniture moving, house painting,

yard work doing, garden harvesting,


party preparing, and snuggling up on the couch at the end of the day under a handmade blanket
because you are all too tired to move.Luckily at the end of all of that, my sister came through
with a big delicious pan of her famous "Eggplant Parmesan", she makes me one every year for my birthday,
but didn't have the time or good eggplant at the same time before now.
It isn't easy for her to do this any more, she has two types of arthritis as well as other issues
due to a serious car accident a few years ago, so using her hands to slice,dip etc is painful.
Boy..oh boy..it was good! Especially as we were tired and I didn't feel like cooking after
everything else. Thanks Shell!
also picked up a HUGE box of craft supplies from a lady
near us who is moving across country this week after many years of being an art teacher.
We'll be gluing stuff to Popsicle sticks for many moons!!Gotta love freecycle!!
We also scored some awesome winter boots for Princess and some books and posters
for our "schoolroom".Which I had to move completely around again because I picked up a great
bookcase at an estate sale this weekend! I promise I'll post pictures when it's all put back.
The books are everywhere right now..lol.
I leave you with this lovely photo today....

Pumpkin and Alley enjoying the return of cooler weather with some snuggling of their own!
Don'tcha just love Autumn?!?!?!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Green Up Saturday

Do you care where your food comes from?
Let the USDA know you care...

Food and Water Watch

I am trying to get back on track here in the Garden State,
however technical difficulties are slowing me down.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Finally...an update with photos

We have been having a lot of fun lately, we attended a Build a Bear Party (Thanks for inviting us B&J)here is Princess "filling" her bear.Unfortunately, she now knows they have a store/center near us.
The mall has been a mystery to her so far, but her eyes were opened this past weekend.
We have still made plenty of time for "free play".Princess has been really improving some of her skills lately, from putting
her "stuff" away to reading and writing. She has been looking forward to the next learning
"bag" and eagerly planning field trips we might like to take.
The Museum of Natural History, The Planetarium, Whale Watching,etc.
She has also become even more of a drama queen..we are trying to work on that.
I would really like to teach her to better control her impulses without crushing her spirit.
We did do an Unplugged Group Project this week, the theme was sand.
She made a frame from shells and sand we collected from Sandy Hook this year.
We even got some P.E. in every day.We also moved things around the rest of the house, now that I can post photos again,
I will work on getting some shots around the house. I know Princess took some of her
"favorite areas" shots, as we put away our summer decorations, and prepared the house for the arrival of Autumn.
Now I just have to find which file they are in.
Oh, before I forget, today is National Butterscotch Pudding Day, so try some out for your snack.
When I was Princess's age, it was the snack I had in my lunch box every single day.
She likes it, but would never eat it every day."It's good, but not that good Momma."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cool links

I'd like to share some cool links we've been using lately...

To find out what type of wildlife might be in our area....


Very cool.When we have specific questions about birds...


What happens when I don't have time to stop what I am doing and read to my little Princess?

we use one of these sites:



They work well to keep Princess

I hope you can find something new or forgotten and
just plain useful here today.

Book Post (should have been on Tuesday)

Here is a bit of a book post....
Princess enjoyed very much........

Sleepless Beauty
Another fun take on a classic fairy tale.
A beautiful baby is born..a wicked witch is not invited..
a spell is cast...the outcome is not quite the same.
Princess wants her own alarm clock now.

Princess enjoyed the cute pictures of the young girl
(with long blond hair just like ..me!) as well as a story
that opens the possibility to grow up and do all you have dreamed.
The joy in the right now was not lost on her either.

How to Paint a Portrait of a Bird
This book was billed as a meditation on art,creativity and wonder
that has meaning for every reader.
Princess and I both loved the art and thought the poem was lovely.
She especially loved the musical notes floating around and the ending.

Cherry Time
Princess picked this book out at the library because of the title
and gentle illustrations. The story is about a shy little boy who has trouble
playing with other children until he meets a new friend in a cherry tree.
They help each other be brave. Princess found it a little sad, but we enjoyed it all the sam

We hope you can find something from this list to enjoy at your next visit to your local library
or bookstore. Next week we'll share some more.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Why have I been gone for so long?

I am not sure. We have been busy here...canning..cleaning...moving furniture around
to be more cozy for the coming Autumn.First Grade. Birthday parties.
Laundry..isn't there always laundry? Planning Princess's upcoming 6th birthday!!
The menu has been re-written several times already..and the "theme" has changed at least
3 times! The invitations have been mailed now, so it is "set in stone".
This years theme will be "Autumn Festival"...Princess is very specific in her themes.
There will be fun "autumnal" activities and party games, food,cupcakes...fun,fun,fun.
Hopefully the weather will cooperate, we are maxed out space wise inside!
Keep everything crossed ladies, and if you pray...add us to your list! ;-)
Princess has been having fun this school year, reading,practicing her handwriting,
maths, science, today we will be celebrating National Cinnamon Raisin Day
and Collect Rocks Day! This means baking and rock hunting...hmm....sounds familiar.
We did do the Unplugged Group Project Yesterday, but I could not get the camera hook-up
cord thingy from behind the computer desk to upload the photos in time.Rats!!
Actually the theme was sand..check out here.
Today we are having new gutters put on the house. Farmer Dad caulked,scraped and painted
whatever bits needed that to get them up and after they come...maybe we can paint the whole house!
Yippee!! I have a lot to do, and many pictures to upload.I will also be back later with a book post.

Friday, September 12, 2008

First Grade is pretty ok and good too.

That's the word from Princess.Today the "meter reader" came, and he asked how school was going...
she told him it's just her first week of First Grade, but it is "pretty ok and good too."
We have had the same meter reader for over ten years, they often have conversations
about movies..(Empire Strikes Back is a fave of both) and the "classics"..you know like Scooby Doo.
We have been doing our usual routine of reading, art, reading,art,cooking,
art,reading some more and doing a work sheet or two at the request of
Princess. My student loves doing school best when she can "pick" what she is to do,
so I put the baggies for the week where she can reach in and pull one out when she feels like it.
We'll see how long I can do it. We have been up to our eyeballs in canning.
Princess has gotten quite good at operating the strainer crank and fills jars with the best of them.
I am trying to teach her to operate the label maker...but the buttons are hard to manage for her..so tiny..do so many things. "This is too confusing...are you kidding me? I ma only five you know..not even six yet! " usually she throws in a "sheesh!" too. She does real well at pulling the seeds out, so I let her do that job most of the time.
This week we have done salsa,tomato juice,gravy,whole tomatoes, and marinara sauce.
You can't tell I have done anything, my kitchen is still covered in tomatoes.
I will post more when I can get my camera cord from behind my computer....I am not sure how I knocked it down there, but I can't upload my pictures without it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11th

Today I will be talking to Princess a bit about
September 11th.
I found a wonderful book at our local library,

Fireboat, The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey by Maira Kalman

The book is a true story that starts with New York City in 1931, listing some of the amazing things that were taking place..
Snickers were invented, the John J. Harvey fireboat was launched.
It talks about some of the fires the fireboat helped put out..like the Normandy.
In 1995 it was considered old and useless, and awaited it's fate as scrap metal,
until a group of friends eating dinner heard about the fireboat and decided to save her.
They fixed her, and got her back out on the water. Everyone thought it was a nice old boat,
but would not actually be useful to put out a fire. But then on September 11, 2001 something so huge and horrible happened that the whole world shook. The John J Harvey comes out of retirement to help out. I think this is a wonderful book that handled a scary topic with great delicacy.

If you are looking for a way to discuss this with your children, get this book.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Princess is almost six!

Princess is only almost six.
I can't make up my mind.
She can be such a "big girl" some
of the time, that I forget she is really
just a little girl .

Do you do this as well? I find myself thinking
"why are you doing that?" when it is perfectly
normal six year old behavior.I caught myself saying, "act your age".
Of course she was.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Book Post for the first Tuesday we're "back at school"..

Our first day of First Grade went pretty well
here in the Garden State. Princess woke up refreshed and ready to go
and quite early for her. We got dressed and packed up some bags and headed off to the bank,
then Burger King (her choice- they have a play area) for breakfast. There were actually two boys there
when we arrived, so they all played together..I'm guessing they are homeschooled, they were on a road trip with their family, and when the one brother saw her up in the play area.."hey, there's a girl here!"..the other brother scrambled over introduced himself, asked if she wanted to play "dragons" and when she said yes, he said "here's your sword", and off they went to play until the boys were called down to leave.The swords were imaginary,
the squeals of joy were entirely real! We ate breakfast and then opened our books and had two of our lessons there in the deserted play area of the Burger King with the sun shining in on us and very light music playing quietly in the background.It went very well, and I think we will do it again. I have been holding a couple of B&N gift cards for a while, so we hit the store up on our way back up the highway. The lady who was working the children's section asked her what grade she was in and where she went to school. Princess said,"I don't go to school," and before another word was out the lady asked.."oh, you're homeschooling? Have you seen our homeschool section? We have several homeschoolers on staff here, so we have been expanding our offerings."
Then she gave us a list of their story times (I think it's Wednesday mornings) and told me she would be more than happy to put together a list of books for us.
We read a great picture book by and about Dionne Warwick.

It is all about how she found her gift for singing.It comes with a cd too with two songs,
Jesus Loves Me and Say a Little Prayer.
They were having a special on Halloween themed books, so Princess picked out three,

Happy Halloween Little Critter,
She reads me a Little Critter book every night before bed.
Charlie and Lola Boo! I Can Make You Jump.,
It is hard to go wrong with a Charlie and Lola book, yes we read them with the accent. ;-)

There Was an Old Women Who Swallowed a Bat.
This was not nearly as good as I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie..which we could not find.
I tried to convince her to get In November instead,
but it was her special "back to school" treat, so I backed off.
They came with a free Trick or Treat bag..she was delighted. Next we drove to the post office to pick up stamps
and mail a couple invitations for her upcoming 6th Birthday Party and mail a little something to Gabe and Sam.
Then we hit the library. It was so nice and quiet. We had a snack in the cafe, while thumbing through a couple of magazines, and then headed over to the young children's section. There was no one there, so she played on the computer while I picked out a couple of books. Then we hit up the "science books"...that's where it all went horribly wrong. Suddenly we were engaged in what could only be called a battle of whits. I was looking for a couple of specific books, and Princess was filling my bag with every book she found..three on Mars...several math books, books about the earth. Our bag was too full and heavy to move, and I didn't have the books on my "list' yet. We were arguing in the science book section of the library! Can you imagine? Did I mention there were now people showing up..where it had been empty before? Can you imagine what you would have thought about me as a mother if you had heard us from the other side of the stacks..."You cannot keep putting all those books in my bag!'
"but I NEED to know about Mars!!" "we have enough books already..they are still holding some for us at the desk! ,"But I NEED to learn all about my earth!!" "Pu those back" "No! I NEED this book too!!"
"You can't have every book you want..just because you want it!" "Why not? You are so unfair..you don't want to let me learn anything!!"

Can you imagine? I'd like to say we resolved it well enough to leave with dignity and the other patrons believing that I was a good and kind and thoughtful Mother, but...the truth is even I did not believe it at that point.
We left the stacks after my threatening her that this would be the last time she comes to the library until she can drive herself if she doesn't behave, and went back over to the young children's section. There were some children there now (toddlers), so she played with and read to a couple and then we left. We did stop to rent Nim's Island
and I wanted to rent Horton Hears a Who, but they did not have it.Princess picked out Shark Boy and Lava Girl (again) and we went home for lunch and she watched it.
We read our books after that and cleaned up a bit and did a little math and it was time for Farmer Dad to come home. We picked raspberries and I got to work on saving seeds from a bunch of tomatoes, got more ready for processing, enjoyed having one table without tomatoes, and he comes inside with more! Two baskets more!!
I'm not blaming him exactly, but one day with an empty table is it too much to ask? Oh well.
I have to get off and go can now. I will post about the books we got from the library tomorrow.
The stack is HUGE!! ;-)

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My homeschool buddies and I are all posting pics of our "home schools" as part of our idea sharing.

Plato said...

Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion has no hold on the mind. Therefore do not use compulsion, but let early education be a sort of amusement; you will then be better able to discover the child's natural bent .