our pad

our pad

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mother's Day

It was a magical Mother's day here at the Lily Pad. I wish it were Mother'sDay every day of the year. I slept in, did no laundry, and put not one dish in the dishwasher.  The sleeping in was huge as we had been at a wedding until one in the morning the night before- my poor hubby! That alone might have sufficed, but there was also a wonderful breakfast of eggs benedict, fruit and yogurt parfait and sparkling orange juice which they had made, waiting for me when I came downstairs. It was all served on a homemade placemat which Jim and the kids artfully decorated with handprints, a colored family portrait and best of all, their reasons why they think I'm special. It was just so sweet. I got flowers and plenty of homemade pictures and presents to keep my smiling all week long. We then went into Aunt Tammy's for a wonderful lunch in the city to celebrate with my mom and the kids were more than happy to play with their cousins. In the afternoon I got to both relax and play some tennis with Jameson- both rare treats! We all had take-out for dinner to conclude my day of rest and appreciation.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Two's Company, Three's a Crowd

My grandmother had it right when she would say, "Two's company, Three's a crowd." This holds very true with my crowd. I have found that when it comes to my girls- two is the magic number. As soon as the third joins in- the claws come out! When all three are playing together it is not long until I hear, "Addie took something" or "Addie just hit me" because clearly, she is the one being left out or bossed around and we she has had enough, she lets her big sisters know it. When the three are together, the twin bond usually take precedents.  When Addie is not involved in the play, Avery and Ella can play uninterrupted for long durations, using their imaginations to conjer up fantastical palaces, beautiful wardrobes, and are always nurturing mothers to the magnitude of baby dolls all named Gemma.  Addie's is also interested in all things involving baby dolls, and when one of the twins plays with with her and the other is occupied with another activity, the play continues seamlessly forever. They laugh together, talk together, share in imaginative play and it is so refreshing to see. This morning it was Avery and Addie who played together so nicely taking their babies for a walk, having a tea party, changing outfits, pretending to be puppies, while Ella rested on the couch and colored quietly by herself. I could actually get tasks done around the house with out referring all morning long. If only this trio could discover that three is more fun than two, what a happy mom I would be!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Driving Destination

After a busy few weeks complete with Cameron's First Communion, My High School Reunion, a Baptism, Hosting a Baby Shower, helping out with a Wedding Shower, spring sports and activities kicking in to high gear, and a rehearsal dinner and wedding to come this weekend, I am longing for a vacation and thinking back to our wonderful trip to Myrtle Beach in April. In the hectic weeks since our travels, I realized I had yet to post about our trip. We pulled it together last minute yet it truly felt like a vacation in every sense of the word. After looking at the prices of last minute airfares for seven tickets we decided to head somewhere we could drive to. We had heard how family friendly Myrtle Beach is, seen pictures of its beautiful beaches and after consulting weather.com for average temperatures, decided to make this our destination.  We broke up the drive on the way down into three days. We spent one night with Aunt Dar, then an educational and fun day in Washington DC, and a night in Richmond Va, before reaching Myrtle Beach. The kids did great in the car although they didn't sleep as much as I would have liked them to.  They stayed busy with movies, books and new little activities I brought out from time to time. I think I actually liked driving better than flying- the kids were strapped in, weren't bugging strangers, could stop and run when they got restless and I didn't have to navigate an airport.  The hotel was perfect for this gang; nine pools and lazy rivers and beautiful views and access to a long flat beach was just awesome. The sleeping arrangements worked out great- we had a kitchen and living room area, Addie slept in with us and the big kids were in an attached room with bunk beds and a queen. I think they would have slept regardless after such busy, fun filled days in the sun. It was such great family time filled with hours digging on the beach, swimming all together in the pool, floating side by side down the lazy river, trying new restaurants, icecream everynight, an amusement park, mini golf, aquarium and just having fun together with out worries of cooking, cleaning, homework and schedules. I think we all made memories to last a lifetime!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

This post was originally published for Parent Talk.

 With Mother's Day quickly approaching, my kiddos and I have been busy coming up with gift ideas for the grandmothers in our life to let them know how much  they are loved and appreciated. What grandmother doesn't love homemade gifts that come from the heart ? We fist decided to decorate flower pots and fill them with each's favorite flowers. They will be able to think of their grandchildren as the plant blooms all season long. We started with terra cotta planters purchased at AC Moore (3 for $1). The kids then painted the pots and saucers white using acrylic paint. When the paint dried we then had some fun decorating with hand and thumb prints to capture the little hands at this particular stage. I painted my five childrens' hands with their favorite color then helped them each gently apply a hand print onto the outside of the pot. We then decorated another pot with the kids' thumbprints which we arranged in a circle to look like flower petals (just be sure to initial who's fingerprint is who's in pen under each print).
 Sticking with the floral theme, we also came up with 3 D picture arrangements, blooming on paper. I cut out photographs of the childrens' faces to be the center of each flower, then the kids cut and glued on petals, twisted green paper into stems and glued on a little paper cup, cut in half, to serve as the pot. For a finishing touch we glued a ribbon to the top of this flower pot and used a marker tip to add some polka dots. On the back of the picture the kids came up with the caption, "Nanny, thanks for helping us bloom."  My children have always enjoyed tea parties with my mom so I thought something to to show how much they treasure those special moments with her would also be welcome. The kids water colored on plain white paper and once those dried, I cut them into the shape of a tea cup and attached a favorite tea bag. On the saucer we wrote, "For a grandmother whose sweet as can be, we hope you enjoy a cup of tea." And for a final gift we thought, what girl doesn't love to receive jewelry? The grandmothers in our family are no different so we decided to make some beautiful bracelets for them.  We bought some colorful glass beads, wire, and clasps at the craft store, then the kids sorted, arranged, and thread the beads onto the wire. I attached the clasps and viola- beautiful new bracelets to rival any Pandora collection! I think the mothers in our life will be touched with our creative homemade gifts and hope you are able to try these ideas for the important moms in your life this Mother's Day!

Friday, May 4, 2012

My First Communion Decorations and Ideas

I love entertaining and the details that go into making a party truly memorable. For a First Communion, I didn't want to go over the top with decorations, just wanted a few nice touches to help this important milestone stand out.  Simple tulips and white candle crosses on the center of a small table looked classy but still understated.   
I came up with a collage of pictures of the special child, formed into the shape of a cross, showing how they've grown from the age of their baptism and it served as a nice focal point. I used masking tape to adhere the pictures to a wall and they easily peeled off after our event's conclusion. 
I made a banner out of scrap booking paper to match our napkins and color scheme, cutting out pendants and letters to spell out "Congrats Cameron."  I hung it with pretty blue ribbon and strung it above a table which held party favors.

 Another nice sentimental decorative touch was to hang pictures of parents, grandparents, and other relatives who will be in attendance, on their own First Communion day. I hung them from ribbon with clothes pins, and mounted them on an array of different scrap booking papers in varying shades and patterns of blue .

I thought it would be nice to send guests home with a token to remember the special day so I created a few favors.  I purchased simple unfinished wooden crosses at a craft store, then painted them white and using a blue Sharpie Paint Pen, inscribed Cameron's First Communion and the date.  I tied a blue and white ribbon to the top of each cross and had them set out in a metal bucket. I also purchased small Terra cotta pots and painted them white and tied a ribbon around each one. Inside I put a packet of seeds to grow their own Forget-Me-Nots.

For food I made a bunch of different quiches, some pasta salad, fruit salad served in little cups, and  green salad. For dessert I made brownies in the shape of a cross using a cookie cutter. I also made white-chocolate lollipops and stood them up in a small grass pot. For my older sons First Communion I also made a gingerbread house church, complete with a steeple and cross on top and decorated it all with simple white piping. We also served cake and cookies dedicated to our Communicant.  It was a special day whose memories we will treasure for years to come!