Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Mug Swappin', Mug, Mug Swappin'

It came, it went, it rocked! Cuppakim's Annual Mug Swap 2014 was so fun. This was my third year participating, and I had such a wonderful time! Here's a recap, instagram style:

Four weeks ago, on August 1st, signups were opened. Kim said she would accept the first 500, but ended up taking 1000 participants! Holy Mugs, Batman! I announced my intentions to join in the fun with a little clink of the morning cups with my boy, as well as a pic of last year's mug swap booty, and a photo of the recipients of the greatest blessing, donations toward their adoption. Win, win.

After two weeks of patiently waiting, I snapped this quick photo of my favorite mug and spoon from last year's mug swap. So glad I did, because a few days later, my mug met its demise at the hands of a "helpful" toddler who loves to empty the dishwasher. :(

Meanwhile, I had some shopping to do. I had been given the lovely Jenna to bless. I shopped at my most favorite mug store ever, Anthropologie. For being known and celebrated as a place to drop a wad of cash on totally crazy expensive furniture, they have really reasonable, really fun mugs. In my package I also sent a fun kitchen towel and sunny measuring spoons, also from Anthro. Scattered all around were fun little California treats, Jelly Bellies from the Jelly Belly Factory near my home. Cappuccino, Chocolate (pudding) and French Vanilla to make one's own Vanilla Mocha flavor explosion. :)

After three weeks, I received my lovely, sunny, happy, totally-me blessing: a "B" mug with turquoise handle, a cute little picture book full of encouragement, honey sticks, coffee, and a "Coffee & Jesus" spoon made by mamamango herself. Such a fun, happy package to receive on the first day of school.

It's been such a joy participating these past three years, and getting to know all kinds of new internet friends. Mark your calendars for next August 1 so you can hope to be in the lucky few that get to bless and be blessed. Thanks, Kim, for all your hard work! XOXO

Monday, August 25, 2014

First Day of School 2014-15: Kinder & 2nd Grade

Well, our first day is already over and was a success! 

The day started bright and early (like 12:30am early) when Sam came into my room crying and upset about the "fort" in his bed falling apart. After much discussion, I finally asked him to crawl in bed with me and go back to sleep. Maddie woke shortly before 6, excited and unable to go back to sleep. She joined us in the bed until we all rolled out about 6:30.

Sam & Maddie with their teachers' flowers. The lightbulbs say, "Can't wait to grow BRIGHTER in Kinder/2nd Grade this year!" It was Maddie's idea to take flowers on the first day. :)

My big girl! All set for her first day of Second Grade, in a 2/3 split with Mrs. Buhler. Maddie is thankful this year to have several friends in class, five or six girls from her Summer softball team!

Sam's first picture pretty much sums up his morning, as well as the attempt at school pictures:

Little Buddy was pretty nervous and was having a hard time channeling all that nervous energy into anything besides whining, asking to stay home repeatedly, and running around like a crazy person.

When we got to school, Maddie gave us the shove-off, letting me know she'd be "fine" and to take Sam to Kindergarten. :) He was pretty unsure about the whole thing:

The parents were able to stay for 20 minutes, and thankfully by the end of our classroom tour and after playing with some unifix cubes, Sam was ready for me to go. He gave me a kiss and headed straight for the carpet when Mrs. Dennis rang the bell.

I'm really grateful for the kids' placements this year. Mrs. Dennis couldn't be any sweeter. She is totally warm and loving and nurturing, just the kind of person Sam needs. She gave him a big hug and talked so sweetly to him at the end of school today. She told him, "Thanks for being such a sweet boy in class!"

Maddie's teacher also told me how "sweet" she was. Couldn't ask for any better compliments about my kiddos! Looking forward to another great year as Sycamore Sharks!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Back to School Eve Feast 2014

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Back to School! And in keeping with tradition, we're kicking off the 2014-2015 school year with a Feast! 

This year's theme: Let Your Light Shine.

I was thinking about how to send my kids off to school and started singing, "this little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine," which made me think of the verse:

Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

All the party decor just flowed from there. I found a cute print on etsy that incorporated a lightbulb so we just went with it. I had so much fun planning and preparing for this year's feast.

First, the traditional back-to-school party crowns:

Some of the decorations:

I printed a few instagram photos of moments where their little lights were shining bright:

New this year are fun little "let your light shine" tags (also found on etsy) which will accompany the kids to school each day on their backpack and bookbag as little reminders to shine their best. I can see this becoming a tradition as well. :)

On the menu:

Pineapple Sunbeams

Sun Buns:

Lemon Roasted Chicken
Yellow Squash Sunbeams
Yukon Gold(en)s

It wouldn't be a party without sparkly (lemonade):

 Second Grader 


And, last but not least, Sunny Lemon Cake with Lemon Curd and Whipping Cream

Bags are packed, folders stowed, lunches ready, outfits laid out, kids in bed, Mama at peace.

The children were nestled, all snug in their beds
while visions of back-to-school danced in their heads
With Mama in her jammies
holding a nightcap
hopinh everyone stays down for a long night's nap

Merry Back-to-School to all, and to all a good night!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Lake Almanor

A few weeks ago our friends offered to let us stay at their house on Lake Almanor. It was the perfect vacation for our little family of five. We enjoyed lots of outdoor adventures including fishing, hiking, paddle boarding, kayaking, swimming, dock jumping, rock throwing, stick collecting and sunset watching. We also rested a lot, watched movies, did "dates" with the kiddos, and enjoyed a lot of fresh trout.

Exploring around the river

First day on the river: a success!

Hiking in the Mt. Lassen wilderness to Bumpass Hell

Bumpass Hell steam vent (smells like sulphur)

The best sunset of our trip

Sam swimming around

It was a long dusty road to the Yellow River

Yellow River aquatic plants: there were flowers growing right out of the stream. It was so beautiful!

Exploring around the Yellow River

Swirl cones at the Pine Shack

Somebody loves his Maddie girl

no caption necessary
pretty little stream trout

 honeybee reunion?
me and my hiking buddy

Friday, August 22, 2014

lens envy

A family friend is selling his 70-200 1.4 and I've been borrowing it the past week. I'm totally in love. I rented one a few years ago for Ben's 35th but two days wasn't nearly enough time to truly admire every little detail of its awesomeness. A few days ago Evan and I did a mini photo shoot at a local park. Here are my favorites (it was hard to choose).

If I had a dollar for every photo with his pointer finger doing its thing, I'd be rich.




his messed up hair is my favorite part of this photo

sweetest little face