Saturday, April 30, 2011

Royally Honored Everywhere

We just returned from a near 2 week stent in the United Kingdom. We helped put on a conference and had a meeting to attend with a little vacation in between. It was somewhat sad that we’d booked our return flight the day before the royal wedding before we knew it was happening. Getting to see all the pre-wedding excitement in country made it all the harder to leave!


Many stores had signs posted or displays that could have passed for the 4th of July.  Gobs of party supplies were out for all the purported wedding parties.


You could find all kinds of memorabilia and some of it wasn’t over-the-top cheesy. Yankee candle had a royal wedding version! The Hello magazine below reads “Kate’s Last Days as a Single Girl.” Butter cookies in an engagement photo tin anyone?


Then there were restaurants: free onion rings at Burger King, champagne flavored royal ice cream at Baskin Robbins, crown cookies at the cookie store…


and one of our favorite finds in England {something I haven’t had the opportunity to eat in nearly a year}. They actually had donuts with a golden tinted glaze!


I hope you enjoyed the festivities from wherever your venue was. We watched the wedding at a British neighbor’s house. She prepared a wonderfully British luncheon for us afterwards. It was fun to make memories this way!


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Gardening Fun In and Out

Even though we’ve been gone for nearly two weeks, I still wanted to report on our gardening fun outside and indoors with homeschool as we continue along with HSV’s Gardening Challenge.

Some successes include our tomatoes, green beans, strawberries, lettuce and cilantro. In fact, everything seemed to have doubled in size {after these photos were taken} while we were gone and thankfully received a lot of rain!









We’ve had something eating up our basil and new broccoli plants, and I haven’t figured it out yet. The girls and I read an old Golden Book called, How Does Your Garden Grow?  by Pat Patterson. In the story, the little girl plants marigolds by her tomato plants after discovering aphids on them. Thankfully, this hasn’t been our trouble, but it was a great reminder to buy new marigolds for our tomato plants. {Our marigolds from seed took so long to grow last year we’re quicker to buy this time.}















Some other books we enjoyed from our shelves that fit what we were doing outside were Mrs. McNosh and the Great Big Squash by Sarah Weeks, Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall, and Beatrix Potter stories.


We all had fun doing garden themed homeschool work over the weeks since the last HSV Challenge when I downloaded much of Homeschool Creations’ Gardening Units.  The girls’ favorite was the Trowel Game where I hid the gardening trowel card under a cabbage number card. They had to say the number {which can be tricky for both of them still} before they could pick up the card to see if they’d found the trowel.


The girls also loved singing the “What Do Plants Need” song and doing all the plant growth sequencing. I look forward to pulling all this stuff out again for this season next year! Thanks for the fun Jolanthe and the  Homeschool Village!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mother’s Day Cards

Last year we didn’t wait until the last minute and made some fun card for our moms. Everyone got to help! I saw the idea on Family Fun.


We let each girl color a basic house drawing. The we cut out the shape, the door and shutters (a little different from the Family Fun instructions).


We used current photos or took new ones, including our little bunny (behind the door)!


Our moms (the grandmothers) were very thankful for our bit of work!


Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Numbered Collection


A new fad in our home is sticker collecting, particularly Cromos (in Portuguese). The girls were given their first set of stickers in a little tin. It wasn’t until later we learned books were made for them!


Panini is the same company that does sports trading cards in America. In Portugal and other European countries you can buy these books for a couple Euros and then packs of stickers for 50cents. They make them for many characters and teams. I even saw they were offering one on the royal wedding in England on the UK site.


What I love about this “hobby” is how the girls are working on higher number recognition. What a fun way to do it!


I also like that these stickers have a place when new toys and things always have to find a spot in our house. It’s been a cheap yet rewarding way to let the girls know we’re thinking about them when we occasionally bring home a new pack of stickers.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pillowcase Lampshade

Recently I bought an IKEA duvet that I’d been eyeing when it went on sale for 20Euro. Yet it has led me to change up my guest room d├ęcor quite a bit. All of the sudden I’m figuring out how to make it work! Maybe you know the feeling.


Thankfully, one fast changeover came to mind before our last guests arrived. I had been waiting to print some graphic on fabric before recovering this lampshade, but I didn’t have time for that. Instead I pulled out an old pillowcase.


I ironed the pillowcase several times, and those wrinkles from who knows how many years wanted to stay! Regardless, I cut the case the length of the shade plus enough to make a  ruffle at the top. This way I could gather it to fit the shade.


Pretty fast and simple!


The Girl CreativeSharing at these craft “parties”:New Look Button

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hello Kitty Soccer Party

You may think that there is no such birthday party theme as Hello Kitty Soccer, but this did not stop my now 5 year old from deciding that is what she wanted for her birthday!
Thank goodness for the internet! We found Build-A-Bear outfits that fit our big Hello Kitty doll {Portugual-esque colors don’t you think!} and a soccer outfit for a new small Hello Kitty doll. Both made great gifts from the grandparents.
I found several images on Google to print out and use for decorations. Some weren’t even flat images: I used pictures of water bottles and t-shirts with Hello Kitty playing soccer and cropped out as much as I could.
I put my Silhouette to work on an image I imported from Google to hang over our table—another learning curve opportunity since I did not buy it from the Silhouette online store. The soccer balls are from their store, but I adjusted the color accordingly!
I enlarged the same soccer ball and cut out it separately with the Silhouette for a guide to decorating the cake. I need all the help I can get! Here I am just checking the fit before I ice the cake.
After icing it and filling in the holes with colored crystal sprinkles, I covered those sections with the other cut pieces to add chocolate sprinkles in the open spaces.
I ended up adding black licorice to delineate sections. I’m not crazy about the final outcome, but my daughter was happy to have a soccer cake, and that’s what was important!
We had more rain than we’d hoped for—the girls entertained themselves with dress up and painting for the most part. The sun did come out before everyone left, and we had some great soccer moments in the back yard.
My sweet 5 year old enjoyed herself!

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Royal Palace of Mafra

A couple weeks ago, we were privileged to take some guests to Mafra—a first for us. Look at what we’d missed!


The inside seemed even more majestic than the outside. How about a king’s eye view of the basilica within the palace?


Or a very nice hospital for sick friars? {Yes, that is a faux friar standing up there on the right! Ha!}


Amazing ceilings and art…


Hunting trophies galore—wall mounts and chandeliers and furniture made of it!


The most awe-inspiring library I have ever seen {and we almost quit our tour before we got here thinking we’d seen it all}! 


35,000 books, some from 1500’s, hand  printed, wow…


It’s worth a visit to see what broke the bank for Portugal so long ago.



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