Friday, September 23, 2016

Fall Is Here

Cuppa apple crisp tea, Little Bear, Bronchitis and Pneumonia.

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The tea is mine. The bronchitis and pneumonia, that's Abigail.

But Little Bear is our 'when you're sick' show, always will be, no matter how old they get. And cuddles, meds, and doctors orders of time on the couch will make things all better in the world again.

I want to be that mother bear when I grow up.

There was no school, no Irish dance, no group viola class until she is checked again next Thursday... but fall has started and we will take her apple picking (we'll just have to pull her around in the red wagon)

I love my baby girl and I love nursing my babies back to health when they are not feeling their best. My best mothering comes out of days like these. Of course I wish they weren't sick but I so love being 'that kind of mama for a few days that gets to dote on them. Just love it!

I make a get better tray with tissues, the meds, hand sanitizer, special lotions... I check fevers, and keep hair out of sneezes way, I read stories, and do puzzles.  Oh, it's the good stuff.  As long as I know my girls are going to get better I can hunker down and love every single minute.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Love for Packing Lunches

(all pictures taken with my phone)

This was something the girls and I were happy about when we came home from Hawaii. Happy, happy happy!

Last year (see post here) I made the huge switch to a Bento box. From the first lunch I packed in a bento I knew I was never going back!

Although last years bentos were super cute, there were some problems with the size of the sections and some leakage. I read everything on line on bentos over the past year and finally landed on Planet Box (not given a discount or paid by the company) So far I've made 17 x 2 lunches in these new bentos and I can say that I'll use them until they graduate high school.

1.  There is no faster way to pack lunches

I asked Scott to come up with something on the computer to help me plan out the week.

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They girls sit down with me (they have a folder of past weeks sheets to look through and of course there is instagram for a gaggle of wonderful ideas) and we plan out the entire next week. At night after bedtime I pack any 'dry' snacks that can sit out on the counter at night. In the morning, I make the rest of lunch. I slice fruit, add corn, make a sandwich. It's quick and easy because it's all planned out. No thinking is necessary on early lunch packing mornings. Yes, there is no faster way to pack lunches.

2. It is forcing us to plan healthy choices.

There is large fruits section and large veggie section. There is a mini, itty, bitty 'treat' section. And guess what? They don't miss the big treat at all. They agree with me that a little treat goes a loooooong way! The planned out sections force us to 'think outside of the box' (get it?) We get really creative and then some days they just want peas for their veggies, super uncreative, but super easy and super healthy. Yes, this bento MAKES me pack healthier eating for my girls.

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3. Variety, Variety, Variety

Because of the many sections each day is a like a rainbow colors and many different tastes. I can tell you right now that my past nine years of lunch box lunches were the best I could do but I wasn't forced to have so much variety. And fun!

4.  They are they most sanitary lunch box system I've had in my nine years of packing lunches.  

They pop right in the dishwasher after school.  And here's what really rocks... they take up no more room than a standing up skinny dinner plate.  That's it!!! And they come out SPARKLING clean and totally dry (not like plastic at all)

Great for an allergy family what MUST have no cross contamination.  Great for a family that hates germs.

5. So in conclusion, we love love love they boxes. And you can ask me at the end of this school year but we are never going back! Lots of ease, lots of health, lots of variety and fun.

Opening





Anna: homemade mac and cheese, veggie puffs, mango chunks, peas, and five chocolate covered "power berries" from Trader Joes

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Anna:  Tortillini in sauce, peanut butter crackers, corn and peas, orange slices, powerberries

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Dear Planet Box lunch boxes, I promise one day to really do you justice by taking half way decent photos of lunches packed in you. You are much more slick and pretty than these pics show!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

On the first cool evening

This wasn't last night. I think it was last week. But it was one of those evenings when the AC wasn't on and the windows were open. The breeze was refreshing.

So we made smores. Because summer in CT is waaaaay to hot for smores. Smores to me are a fall (and even winter) fun activity/dessert.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What a Book Can Do

Abigail is smart.  She is.  But she is my baby.  She loves animal stories and sweet little chapter books. Like these.

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But this fall when she came home from school one day she told me she wanted to read all of the Nutmeg books this year.  Books are nominated and then children grades 2-12 are encouraged to read quality literature and choose their favorite from a list of 10 nominated titles.

But these books are in a whole different universe from the kid of books Abigail has been reading.

She loves loves loves to read!  And is a wonderful reader.  It wasn't the reading level that made me think twice, but the content.  Could she handle a book like this?

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Tomi Itano,12, is a second-generation Japanese American who lives in California with her family on their strawberry farm. Although her parents came from Japan and her grandparents still live there, Tomi considers herself an American. She doesn’t speak Japanese and has never been to Japan.

But everything changes after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor in 1941. “No Japs allowed” signs hang in store windows and Tomi’s family is ostracized. Things get worse. Suspected as a spy, Tomi’s father is taken away. The rest of the Itano family is sent to an internment camp in Colorado. Many other Japanese American families face a similar fate.

Tomi becomes bitter, wondering how her country could treat her and her family like the enemy. What does she need to do to prove she is an honorable American? Sandra Dallas shines a light on a dark period of American history in this story of a young Japanese American girl caught up in the prejudices and suspicions of World War II.

I was curious about this book. Historical fiction has ALWAYS been my favorite genre since I was eight years old and my Dad bought me Little House in the Big Woods. (lots of times on this blog I've shared my love for the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder... life impacting for me, for sure) So I really wanted to read this one too.

Abigail brought it to and from school each day. She devoured it. And wrote notes to me each day.

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And I wrote back to her.

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It was a powerful, beautiful book of courage and strength through unimaginable trials. It was the story told from the little girls point of view. And it grabbed me from the very first page. From the lessons on what it means to be American to how to be a mother with grace, I loved every page.

It seemed especially meaningful to me considering the fact that my family doesn't "look" just like it's "supposed to". Although I think that families with mixed races are the most beautiful.

Abigail and I had wonderful discussion about the Japanese Interment camps and even how Anna is "just as American as you are" kind of talks. I told her the story of Anna in my arms as Scott and I stepped off the plane in America, the very moment she became an American citizen. I told how in China we held her at the American consulate under the American flag as she was sworn in under oath and in our arms.

And we talked about the beautiful country of China as Anna's birth country. And my (and daddy's) deep love for that country. I can't hear the word China and not feel a happy pang in my heart. We talked about who the parents in this book were loyal Americans but how they honored Japan.

I love how books to that. I love how they bring up things that mean so much and NEED to be talked about.

When we got toward the end of the book I wanted to read the last two chapters aloud to Abigail. (we'd been reading the same amount each day) But we both wanted to end the book together. And it was beautiful.

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I cried. I cry at so many children's chapter books. They are my love.

And that look on her face?

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That's the look that only a nutmeg, historical fiction, letting it go deep in your heart and soul can do.

Thank you Sandra Dallas for the words you put down on paper. They taught, they corrected, they intrigued, they warmed. And they got two thumbs up.

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Thank you Mrs. Mulready for YOUR love of books and reading and for pulling us out of the comfortable sweet animal chapter books. We'll still read them of course but thank you for knowing we were (both) ready for this.







Monday, September 19, 2016

Weekending

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This weekend we rested just like a weekend should be.  It felt fallish, especially on Friday and Saturday.  A chill in the morning air and I even had jeans on!  Windows open, curtains blowing.  Fall is here!

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home sick, but sweet time with Grandma
second to last horseback of the season
sweet potato apple stew
irish dance skipping to get better
resting
diary writing
pen pal writing
house cleaning
date night on our couch in our cozy pumpkin family room
scott made pepper bread with dipping sauce
we watched Funny Farm because I want to live in that house and in that town

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i went for a nice easy run
daddy made waffles in the hot waffle iron
family Bible time was so wonderful and powerful
resting
calico critters
washed two more rooms of windows inside and out
curtains down, washed and put back up (I need clean windows and it's ongoing)
food planning and lunches planning
dinners planning
food shopping
garland changing
paper leaf hanging
muppet movie watching (the one with Amy Adams)

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Two cute videos

Abigail was home on Friday and in the afternoon she played with a toy she still loves.



And this (when she's not sick) is still going strong. She is the cutest little bike rider.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Audition

On this blog I have all of these adorable clips of Abigail.  She likes the phone video on.  She's always been fine with me capturing life.

Here's one that I love!

Here's another!

And even waaaay back when she was wee little she loved the camera.  She says at the end of this one "see Abigail, see Abigail"  Back then it was tapes and if we turned the camera screen around she could see herself being taped.

Here's another!

Anna on the other hand has never liked me recording her.  She's fine with photos.  (actually enjoys me 'focusing' in on her with my camera)  I'm grateful for that.  But sometimes I feel sad that I don't have many every day moments recorded of Anna.

So on Thursday night she was practicing a piece for an audition the next day.  I asked if I could video a little clip. Reluctantly she said I could!  So here it is.  But is kinda funny is that she stopped right there in the middle of playing.  I said, "why did you stop?"  "oh, I thought you just wanted a little clip!"  My idea of a little clip is that she plays the whole piece and I get to video whatever parts I want.  I guess I have to be grateful for the parts she'll do.





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