Saturday, December 25, 2010

Thanksgiving in Utah

We decided last minute to fly to Utah for Thanksgiving. It was a short trip but it was great. We loved being with family and having our kids get to know their grandparents and cousins better. This was Valencia's first time to Utah.

On the morning of Thanksgiving I put on some Christmas music to listen to while we cooked. Valencia heard the music and came to enjoy it... this video is so her -- she didn't even know I took it. She LOVES to dance and can't help herself if she hears music playing.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Here are the kiddos in their Halloween costumes. The girls wanted to be mermaids this year and I had a very fun time making their costumes. In fact, I didn't even have to take a trip to the fabric store -- I pieced them together with things in the house -- mainly from their old dance recital outfits (which I thought would horrify them but they didn't seem to mind). I had SO much left over felt from the playhouse that I decided to make felt fish bags to go along with their costumes.

Do you see anything missing?? That would be a cute 21 month old that cries everytime he sees his costume. I forced it on once but that didn't go over well and only lasted for about 5 minutes, so no cute elephants this year!

We went trick or treating on Thursday afternoon/evening at some shops in Marblehead. The weather was amazing -- 75 degrees. While we were out we stopped for pizza because everyone was starving.

We've had several "Halloween" dinners this month. I found some fun and very yummy recipes.

We thought these stuffed mini pumpkins were great. The jack o' lantern rolls were a lot of fun for the kids too. We also had witch fingers in bandages (mini hot dogs wrapped in puffed pastry - with some ketchup on the end for nail polish)
And caramel apples:

I haven't done the Jack o Lantern quesadillas yet -- they're on for tomorrow's lunch.
As a side note -- this is Valencia's first Halloween. People ask me how she likes it -- what's not to like?? Dressing up as a mermaid and getting candy! She loves it! It's fun to see her experience all these firsts. I sometimes forget that it's only been nine months since she came home and all of these things are new to her.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The playhouse is done!

All of that free time I talked about having is paying off. I just finished the play house I started over the summer. It's a slip-cover that fits over my dining room table -- you can also choose to make them to fit over a cardtable. It was a really fun project to do. I looked at several ideas online -- I followed the ideas from this one: This link has some templates and good ideas about how to make the house.

Here's the front door -- the mailbox door opens to put notes through and the flowers (that are falling over) can be picked out of the grass. I will say that the door should be made out of something other than felt -- you can kind of tell from the photo that it's getting stretched out. In the blog above it looks like she used a heavier (maybe leather) material for the door.

The garden -- there are carrots and cabbage to pick out of the dirt and corn on the cob to take out. The grape vine was a brilliant idea I had one night :) The longer I worked on the house the more ideas I had to add to it -- this is the only one that I ended up adding -- at some point you have to be done!

Apple tree picking -- the apples velcro on the tree. You can also take some of the flowers out of the grass.

the animal door -- the kids wanted a dog and cat. It originally had a door that hung down but Beckett didn't understand he could go through it, so I cut off the door part and left it open.
After finishing it I had another idea for a play house. It would be really cute to make a red barn playhouse with big barn doors on the front and have animals on the outside. Beckett would LOVE that -- he's currently obsessed with barn animals. This was such a fun project and now I'm debating about what to sew next -- I'm thinking maybe some felt food.

Thanks mom for teaching me to sew and for buying me my first sewing machine!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tallie's first day of school

Valencia started school one week before Tallie. Watching her big sister go to school helped her feel very excited about starting school. She kept telling me she couldn't wait until her first day, but I thought once it came down to going in without mom she would struggle. To my surprise when the bell rang and it was time to line up outside she ran right up and was the first in line and happily waved goodbye. When I picked her up she told me she LOVED it and was then disappointed to learn she wasn't going to school the next day (she's doing 3 days per week). On occasion - maybe once or twice a week I have her stay a full day and the girls love those days because they see each other in the cafeteria at lunch and then they have recess together. They really are best friends and think it's so fun to see each other at school.

Valencia wasn't totally loving school in the beginning, but now that Tallie goes too that's completely changed. They're both excited about school and on the drive home they love talking about it with each other. It's pretty fun to see. And I have to admit I am LOVING some me-time. Beckett takes a 2-3 hour nap while the girls are at school and it's such a nice time for me to work on personal projects and goals as well as to regroup and prepare for the craziness once I pick the girls up :)
Valencia has two uniform choices - the kakhi skirt and polo shirt I posted earlier and this jumper. Cute!!

Tallie also just celebrated her 5th birthday.

She requested a french poodle cake - which was a lot of fun to make. It turned out HUGE -- I sent Jared down to the basement to find a board big enough to put it on -- way to big for a cookie sheet.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

First Day of Kindergarten

Valencia started kindergarten this week. She wasn't excited to go back to school -- she'd rather stay home and play with mom, but we really talked it up and made a big deal about it the last couple of weeks and it worked. She even got up extra early the first morning because she was so excited, but when it came time for me to leave her there she became very nervous and started to cry a bit. But by the time I picked her up she was happy as can be and had a great time at school. After her first day I asked if she would be scared again tomorrow to go to school and she said yes. She said it will take 10 days of going before she isn't scared.

She looks adorable in her uniform.

Tallie starts school next week and watching Valencia go is making her very excited about school. She loves having a big sister.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


The kids and I headed to California unexpectedly in August for my Grandpa Pringle's funeral. He was 90 when he passed away and had even gone golfing that week! What an amazing man. It was sad to have him go but we were all happy for him to be reunited with his wives.

The trip was also a great chance to see my family again and be with a few cousins. Our last night there we went to Downtown Disney and walked around. Here are some fun shots of the kids.

Here we are on the airplane. After flying to Yellowstone and then 4 weeks later flying to CA, the kids were flying experts. However, on the way home from CA the excitement for flying had worn off which made for a tougher flight. But I did it -- alone with 3 kids and we all survived (but not without a few tears -- none of mine though which was pretty amazing I think).

Beckett's first time sitting at the bar. I thought this was sooooo cute. Beckett normally sits in a high chair but he felt ready to sit with the older girls at the bar -- he's a bit small but he LOVED it. He loves trying to keep up with his big sisters and I just think it's so cute.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Help send James and Pedro to College

Chances for Children is committed to rebuilding Haiti. We are collaborating with Institute Univers, one of the top-10 schools in Haiti. Our current goal is to raise enough money to be able to send James and Pedro (two of I.U.'s brightest) to college in the United States so that they may be able to return to their country and help make it better. Chances for Children will match the donations raised for this campaign in an effort to secure a second year's education for the students. Please spread the word!

James and Pedro recently completed college entrance exams and are ready to begin the application process for small colleges in the U.S. Chances for Children has been researching tuition, admission requirements, host families, on campus living and international programs at colleges and universities across the country. We are now ready to help these young men by providing funding for their tuition and living arrangements. This is where we need your help. We would like to ask each of you to make a minimum donation of $20.00. If every one of our fans, supporters, followers and friends made a small donation of $20, we could pay for their college tuition. Just think, if you could skip going to a movie this month, and allocate that money to help James and Pedro, you would be changing the lives of 2 deserving and ambitious young men. Now isn't that worth missing a movie for?

You can donate by sending a check to:

Chances for Children - Tuition fund
20343 North Hayden Rd Suite 105-114
Scottsdale, AZ 85255

To learn more visit:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

July Update

In July we had a Brown Family vacation -- we all met at the cabin for a week and had a great time. It was so nice to be back at the cabin and waterski and go river rafting and especially to be with family. It's been a great summer for our kids to get to know their cousins.

This month was also Valencia's 6th birthday (and really her first birthday ever!). I was very excited to make it a special day for her. I made a princess doll cake where the cake is the dress. When she woke up and saw it that morning she just stared at it with her mouth open.

Then we did presents (everyone in our family -- including the parents, are so excited about their birthday so we always end up opening presents first thing in the morning).

Valencia was so excited about all of her presents. She let out a gasp with everyone she opened. It was really cute to watch. After presents the girls got ready for their last day of sports camp.

Of the 3 kids, Beckett was the most excited about sports camp (I had to stay for awhile every morning just to let him run around the gym chasing balls). The girls were pretty nervous to go and have mom leave them, and Tallie was especially nervous about playing a game where kids throw balls at each other (dodgeball) - she hid behind a teacher during that game while Valencia ran around and did cartwheels. But the got to go swimming every day which they loved and every afternoon when I came to pick them up they were having a great time and didn't want to leave.

After sports camp we headed to Chuck-E-Cheese and had a great time. Tallie's requesting the same cake and a day at Chuck-E-Cheese for her birthday :) Then in the evening we had friends over for cake and icecream. I think she had a great first birthday. Doesn't Tallie look ready for sports camp in her pink dress??

The following week we did gymnastics camp and that was more their thing. They weren't nervous at all to go and LOVED it. Our local gym has an amazing gymnastics facility that is a lot of fun. Beckett was pretty bummed that he couldn't go in and play too.

The girls got big wheels this summer. They are both nervous about riding a bike - so we thought this would be a good to get them started. They look pretty cute riding around on these, in fact, everywhere we go we are stared at. And just the other night Jared and I wanted to play tennis so we took the bigwheels and a little bike for Beckett and let the kids ride around the courts while we played. It was pure chaos. At one point Jared was holding Beckett trying to run and hit the ball, while the girls were on my side with rackets swinging wild-ly at every ball that came their way and I was just laughing so hard I couldn't even play. I'm sure everyone else there playing (without their kids!) thought we were crazy.
And finally, the primary had a pioneer activity at the church. Last year around that time I needed a sewing project so I made Tallie a little pioneer outfit for the activity. Well... this year I wasn't in need of a sewing project, but I have 2 very competitive girls, so I was frantically sewing Saturday morning 30 minutes before the activity to be a good mom and send Valencia off with a pioneer bonnet. This was without a pattern - so for those of you that saw it in person that should explain things. But she was happy with it and that's all that matters :)

In this video you'll see Tallie doing somersaults, but look at the line in the back and you'll see what I mean when I say Valencia always has the wiggles :)

And finally, here's a cute shot of my kids at the zoo and in their fancy church clothes.

Other than his sore red nose he looks adorable. I love seeing him in this little outfit.