our pad

our pad

Friday, June 29, 2012

Egg-cellent Imaginations!

Silly me for thinking I could actually get something done around the house,while the three girls were awake! We had just gotten home from gym, and rain was moving in, so I thought I better use the time to quickly plant a bunch of hostas which we are relocating from one area of the yard in order to make room for a brand  new deck.  The girls had a picnic lunch outside while I got to work digging.  I worked fast as the three of them played nicely in the fenced in backyard.  Soon the play moved into our playhouse where they were just out of view but I could still hear them carrying on.  They then began making quick trips inside, telling me they had to run and grab their baby dolls.  Soon they were all back in the playhouse, and they informed me that it was their dolls birthday and they were baking her a cake. I thought how nice, what great imaginations they have.  All three were playing so nicely together- I should have known they were up to no good! Soon they called me over to join in the celebration and sing happy birthday, before cake time.  Boy was I surprised to learn that their imaginations were not working overtime- they were in fact attempting to make an actual cake.  In their trips inside they had managed to smuggle out eggs, oil, chocolate syrup and grated cheese (which I guess they thought looked like flour)!  I'm glad I discovered it when I did, before they ate their fill but unfortunately the damage of a dozen broken egg shells was already done!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Backyard Beach Party

Yesterday's beach cupcake post had me reminiscing about a backyard beach party I threw for Cameron about five years ago, before the days of Pintrest!

We hosted a beach party in our inland backyard when his preschool let out for summer vacation. It got everyone excited for the summer and made them feel like they were already at the beach without the traffic or the commute! I used bright colored beach balls as the central scheme for the party then found tableware and made decorations to match.I hung beach balls from a canopy and play structures then made fish and sailboats out of the same bright colors. I filled beach buckets with snacks to anchor balloons and used beach toys as centerpieces.Kiddie pools filled with  play sand concealed seashells and plastic sea animals for a treasure hunt. The children had a blast digging to find the buried treasures.A third inflatable kiddie pool was filled with water for the kids to splash around in and I made a water slide by placing a small step slide into the pool. I floated lots of rubber duckies and plastic bath toys in the water and before the children went swimming they lined up and went "fishing" with a plastic net for a floating toy with their name written on the bottom.I also had a beach ball sprinkler going for the kids to run through and cool off and a specially requested beach themed moon bounce set up in the corner of the yard.While these activities alone would have sufficed at keeping the kids happily entertained for the afternoon, I also set up a craft in the shade for a quieter alternative. For this I had the children decorate sun visors with puffy paint and foam stickers. They took these home along with a pair of sunglasses and package Swedish Fish candies in a bucket as a souvenir.
Since the party fell at lunch time I made a variety of different sandwiches on a wide selection of breads and used cookie cutters to shape them into fish, sailboats and ducks.I served these with Goldfish crackers and fruit salad topped with a tropical umbrella toothpick. For dessert I made a blue jello mold served in a clear plastic fishbowl to look like an aquarium. I used blue raspberry flavored gelatin and made it in layers with gummy fish floating around at varying depths. I covered the top with whipped cream to look like waves, and the kids thought this was so fun to look at and even more fun to eat. I also made a cake decorated with colored goldfish and Teddy Grahams to look like a beach scene.I made bathing suits for the teddy graham cookies using colored icing, blue frosting for the water, crushed graham crackers for the sand, round candies and gumballs for beach balls, Fruit-by-the-Foot for towels and life savers to look like inflatable inner-tube rafts. It rounded-out our beach ball party very nicely! For a fun start to summer try hosting this cool party on a hot summer day!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Cupcakes

I made up these yummy beach cupcakes to kick off summer vacation.  I frosted vanilla cupcakes with white frosting, then using blue food gel, turned one half into the ocean.  I stuck in a couple of Swedish fish to make the water come alive.  For the beach half, I crushed graham crackers to serve as sand by placing several crackers in a zip-lock bag, then flattened with a rolling pin.  I finished by placing either a cocktail umbrella or toothpick windmill in the sand.  Just one bite had the kids asking how soon we can head to Cape Cod!


My first baby turned eleven last weekend. I have been a mom for eleven years, and each day is still a new adventure.  I am so lucky to have started this journey of parenthood with my sweet Jameson showing me the way.  He has been a blessing from the start, and most days my saving grace.  With an often stubborn and sometimes defiant toddler, two strong willed preschoolers and a very spirited eight year old, it is so refreshing to have an oldest who does what he is told, is respectful, hardworking, even-kealed, optimistic, patient, and happy.  He is a pleasure to be around and I so enjoy his company and his conversations.  Those conversations have taken on new meaning now that he is interested in discussing wordily events, all things sports or music related and can now chit chat with me as he rides beside me in the front seat! This eleventh year brought him changing classes for the first time, the role of a reggae band member in the play Dear Edwina, a baseball championship for his AAA team, a Yellow Submarine piano piece, an encounter with his favorite professional football coach, trips to New Hampshire, Florida and Myrtle Beach, finishing an Eight chapter Autobiography, taking the face-off on center ice at the Boston Garden with his hockey team, winning the English award for writing in school, serving as an alternate in the district wide spelling Bee, taking in a couple of Red Sox games, and a stellar report card.

  Jameson is so responsible, and I'm not sure if it comes with the territory as being the oldest of five or if he was born this way, but I thank my lucky stars for him every day.  That responsibility means I can trust him to watch his sisters while I attempt to get something done, means he will sit down to do his homework as soon as he gets off the bus from school and means he will set an example for the rest of his siblings. 

My first born is really growing up and which means I have to learn to let go.  I must now give him the independence he has earned.  I let him walk uptown with a friend for the first time the other day; he took a $10 bill with him, bought a small Gatorade and returned nine dollars to his piggy bank.  He wanted a phone for his birthday and now texts with his friends and neighbors.  It is a funny age where he is trying to distinguish himself as the self-reliant middle-schooler, but still needs and wants his mom and Dad.  He can stay home by himself while I run to drop a letter at the post office, is finally able to watch all of his dad's favorite movies with him, texts his friends to say "what's up?" but also hugs me when he walks in the door, falls asleep in our bed and has to be carried into his room, and texts me to say, "I love you mom." Well Jameson, I love you my sweet eleven year old and am so proud of your accomplishments and the young man you are shaping up to be.  You are my star and not only bring a smile to my face each time you walk in the door but inspire me to try harder, laugh more, see the best in people and be the best mom I can be! Hope your twelfth year is filled with nothing but joy and laughter, XOXO Mommy 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful Dads out there, especially my Dad, Grandfather, Father-in- law and husband. My kids are so blessed to have such amazing role models in these men. Their Dad and granddads have sacrificed for them, worked hard for them, shown them the importance of family and loyalty and faith and most importantly love them unconditionally with all their heart.  These grandfathers not only take them fishing, play baseball with them, sit through their ballet shows in the living room, buy them ice-cream or take them to the toy store, but also can install a car-seat in a matter of seconds, change diapers and clean up throw-up, do pre-school drop-off or pick-up, and read bedtime stories. How fortunate are my children to have such a close relationship with their grandfathers!
At thirty-three Jim is celebrating his eleventh years as a Father; Jameson was born on Father's Day.  He has worked so hard for our family but always manages to keep time with his children a priority. Even now with a demanding career, requiring long hours and travel he somehow manages to make it home for dinner most nights, coach both Jameson and Cameron's baseball teams, and Cameron, Avery and Ella's soccer teams. What's more remarkable than the fact that he is willing to take on so much, is the fact that he is willing to come home from these activities, help me get the kids to bed (read them more stories than I do) and only after tucking them in, then sits down in front of his computer to work into the wee hours of the night, to meet his deadlines.  He never goes to bed with out checking on each of the sleeping children and never goes off to work with out giving them a kiss good bye.  What lucky kids to have such an amazing man to emulate. Happy Father's Day- We love You!   

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Funny Little Things...

Oh my! Where do these kids come from?

This is how I found Addie eating her dinner, unbuckled from her high chair and sitting side saddle on the tray.

The girls have been helping me with some planting in the garden. They each got a new watering can which have rarely left their side. In fact they slept with the watering cans the first few nights.  After finishing planting and watering all the impatients out front, I said, "Now girls, we have to remember to feed the flowers everyday, so they grow big all summer long." A few minutes later this is what I find:
They had been generously feeding the plants (that would be goldfish)!!

I said to my littlest helper, Addison, my little wrecking machine,"Remember Addie, we don't pick the flowers, there just for looking at." To which Avery chimed in, "Yeah Addie, you never pick flowers. Its GROSS! And you don't pick your nose either!"

The other day, Addie came into the kitchen with an unmistakable odor. "Addie did you get into Mommy's nail polish?" I realized right away, I had carelessly left in the junk drawer instead of putting away. My girls love to riffle through that drawer as everything in there is a treasure. Holding out her glittery pink hands she smiled, "Yeah Mumma, I paint my nails and I paint the floor's nails too!" Walking into the family room I found all of the nails in the floorboards covered with polish! Can I tell you that nail polish is not easy to get off of hardwood floors. Two-year-olds are just too literal!

Playing outside in the sun last weekend Avery and Ella took it upon themselves to lotion up their baby dolls. The caring little mommies were apparently concerned about the UV index and their dolls fair skin!
I've been trying to be very firm with Addie in the hopes of getting the tantrums and screeeching under control and I think it is just so funny, every time I carry her to a timeout she calls for her brothers to save her,"JJ I need you, I need my JJ."  or "Dubby come get me, I want Dubby." Of course the brothers come running to their baby sister's aid, undermining my timeouts, but it really is sweet!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Memorable Memorial Day

We had a great long weekend at the Lily Pad for Memorial Day.  The weather was beautiful and we made a first beach trip of the summer.  Although the water was freezing and I wouldn't stick my big toe in, the kids were happy as clams (no pun intended) to be swimming!  We had a impromptu neighborhood cookout which turned into a full out dance party. Cameron complained his neck was sore the next day and I attributed it to his headbanging along with other questionable dance moves. We got a lot accomplished in the yard, planted some more vegetables, did some landscaping and lined the front garden with pink and white impatients.   It was so nice to have a break from back to back sports games, and it is amazing how much we are able to check off our to do list when not running all over kingdom come, driving to a marathon of activities.
 It was great to have Jim home one extra day, and I took the girls to a dance recital, at the studio where I taught until I had them.  They sat quietly entertained through the full production mesmerized by the costumes, music and moves.  I am so excited to think of them dancing up on that stage in the coming years. As a ballet instructor myself, I so long to have daughters that share my passion for the art.  We finished off the weekend with another cookout and an early bedtime for the kids. Now I'm just hoping that that summer weather returns real soon!!