Thursday, August 27, 2009

First Day Of School Celebration

Grace started First Grade this morning and was filled with excitement. Erin starts Kindergarten next week and is very anxious to get started. After Labor Day, I will start working with Mary as she begins her homeschool preschool. I wanted to do something special in the morning, but like most mornings, we were just struggling to get everyone in the car and out the door. Luckily today was my day with my babysitter. Last year, I started hiring our WONDERFUL babysitter to come weekly so I could run errands, clean, relax, or have a lunch date with Dan. While the baby always comes with me, it is still so much easier than bringing all the girls with me on errands. Anyway, I took this opportunity to prepare a special First Day of School dinner celebration. The girls love Chinese take-out but I always cringe when I order it because I have a feeling it is not the healthiest meal on earth. I decided to make Happy Family Sesame Chicken from the Dinner Diva, Leanne Ely, at I added some brown rice and mandarin vegetables. The girls enjoyed using their kids chopsticks. Of course, we needed fortune cookies to top off the meal. I also made a tray of brownies with frosting as an extra treat.

I wanted to get the girls a small gift to commemorate the start of school. In a "Chinese take-out container", I placed a prayer card with a prayer for students, a pin of the Blessed Mother, and a small cross to wear with their uniforms. I gave Mary a small puzzle that she and I can work on together. Everyone loved their meal and gift. This was a wonderful yet simple idea that the girls will remember for a long time!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Our Day at the Farm

We spent this beautiful day at a local working farm/county park. We are so lucky to have such great places to go in Western Pennsylvania. This park is open year round with so many animals to see. Admission is free and you can roam at your leisure. We packed a picnic lunch with some good friends and the kids played for a long time at the playground. We then walked around observing (and petting) the horses, chickens, sheep, bunnies, cows, and the donkey. Erin thought the donkey looked sad. Mary love her "lambies." Even Annie squealed with excitement when she saw the cows. Grace must have tucked her sketch pad in her bag when I wasn't looking. It was fun to see sketching the animals! We agreed that we would return in autumn when the leaves change color. It will be so beautiful!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Summer is Slipping Away . . .

The minutes of summer are slipping away quickly. As my older girls are preparing to start school in the next few weeks, we are trying to pack in as much fun as possible. Trips to the community pool, the farmer's market, the local working farm, as well as a picnic in the park are all things we did this week knowing that the busyness of the school year and cooler weather will change the relaxed schedule that we have grown accustomed to. There is a lot of excitement for the start of first grade, kindergarten, homeschooling our preschooler, dance classes and soccer. But I am not quite ready yet. I enjoy having complete control over the day. Sometimes we were lazy and sometimes we were busy. But the thought of cool nights, sweaters and pumpkins do give me reason to smile!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Time in our home is flying. Just eight short years ago, Dan and I married. Less than a year later, we learned we were pregnant with our first daughter. Grace arrived in early 2003. Fifteen months later, Erin joined our small family. Two years later, Mary was born. Two years and one day after that, Anne joined our much larger family. We truly are Blessed and Busy. I have been thinking for the last few years about how to document our family life. I do not take very good or very many pictures . . . nor do I find the time to actually print the pictures. I rarely remember to pull out the video camera. And just forget about scrapbooking. I find that lately, I have been using a social networking site as a way to share thoughts and pictures of our family with our extended family and friends who live all over the country and all over the world. Something did not feel right about sharing our memories in that way. So I decided to start this blog to document our family memories and photos through everyday stories of parenting, Catholicism, cooking, baking, homekeeping, gardening, crafting, decorating, schooling, reading, and volunteering. And hopefully along the way, someone will stumble across our blog and maybe learn a little something new!