Another great summer is coming to an end. That’s just the cycle of life, everything comes to an end and then we hope and wait for it to begin all over again. I can’t believe how much these little ladies are growing, I think to myself, next summer they’ll be so different, bigger, wiser, will they still play with their little barbies and be obsessed with their little LOL dolls? Will their cute little summer clothes fit them next year? Will they still follow me around the house like three little ducks? Everything is a cycle, and yes, summer will come again but there will be change too. I’m saying goodbye to summer knowing that it will come again but these little girls will have shed some skin and have grown in personality and awareness. Of course change is good too but I’m hoping that they will not change too much too fast!
In a world of constant change I’m grateful for the seasons, for the predictability that they give my heart. As I put their bathing suits away I am sad to say good by to the girls of summer 2017 but I know summer will make its appearance again, and that gives me comfort. Their bathing suit size and interests might change, but I know we have many summers to look forward to together.
One of my guilty pleasures is antiquing! Actually, I can’t say I feel guilty about it since most of the time I’m just browsing and admiring. However my most favorite and treasured finds have been from antique and consignment shops.
I love looking through old items once used and cherished by another human being. A human being that once walked this earth and may not even be here any more. The items become like orphans, waiting for a new home. Imagine how many orphaned items there are in this world. Sitting on a shelf, waiting to find a new home. (Of course an even sadder thought is how many orphaned children there are in this world.)
What actually does make me feel guilty is shopping in major department stores purchasing new items when I know if I took the time I could find something used and less expensive in a consignment or antique shop! Walking around one also brings back memories of items that I would have found in my grandmothers home or in one of my aunts home as a child. Most of these people are gone from my life, but when I enter an antique shop, I’ll spot plates and bowls or curtains that bring me right back to long forgotten days spent with loved ones. It’s similar to how a certain smell can bring you back to a long lost memory. Items too can spark up old cherished memories. Or perhaps I gravitate towards items that maybe I owned in a previous life, hmmmm. Who knows right? How interesting is that? Makes me just want to walk through an antique shop right now and wonder about each object. Who owned it? Did I own it once before, is that why I feel so connected to it? My newest discovery is a sweet little shop called Twice Around. I’m absolutely in love with this little gem. The place is neatly filled with used home furnishings and decor for the inside and outside of your home. Everything is set up delicately throughout the store. You can find current items and vintage items.
It’s a real treat to walk through the organized space inside and out. I found several pieces for our new home. I’m just not sure where to place them just yet. It’s funny but I wait for things to truly speak to me, I don’t always know exactly where I’m going to put them. All I know is that they belong in my home and I will find the perfect spot for them in time! Upon entering the store, I fell in love with this beautiful basket!
One can never have too many! I might either use this to store my potatoes in my kitchen, maybe as a little trash can under my desk. Not sure yet, but all I know is that it’s a great addition to my home! I also immediately fell in love with this double handled vase.
I don’t have many display pieces in my new home and thought this would fit lovely on any surface. Perhaps on the fireplace mantle, or on a kitchen shelf. Maybe on my night stand. I don’t know yet, but all I know is that I loved it and had to have it.
I heard about this goldmine 9 years ago while in a mommy and me class with Isabel and it’s been one of our go-to ever since. Sometimes we go for one hour and sometimes we bring lunch and spend an entire afternoon. We love bringing cousins with us and sometimes, we like to spend our family time there. Admission is free and the farm is filled with many common farm animals such as cows, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, rabbits, turkeys, peacocks and I’m sure a few others that I’ve failed to mention. Children or adults can feed some of the animals. Food cups are available for $3 with $1 refills and you can keep the cups for future uses. There is a cute wooden train to the far left upon entering the farm, the kids love playing on it. Not too far from the train is a sweet little children’s garden. The fresh air and wide open field make this space a child’s natural playground. My kids absolutely love this place!
There’s also an outdoor nature explore classroom with a huge wide open area for kids to run around freely. A stage is set up with a music and movement area filled with instruments made from household or natural items, they change this often allowing children to explore with all kinds of material. The photos I’ve shared here are from the past and present. There’s also a little section where you can paint with water or get messy in the messy material area. There’s picnic tables for bringing lunches and bathrooms are always open! The fun never ends and there’s always something new! Every Year they add or change something which makes it always exciting to visit. They also have classes, camps and festivals that are fun to attend. We always look forward to Baby Animal Day Which is coming up soon in May 2017. For upcoming events visit ccesuffolk.org.
My middle daughter, Melina came home from school the other day and asked me to make an indoor hopscotch for her. Immediately I thought this was an awesome idea and quickly thought of a way to incorporate it into celebrating my oldest daughter, Isabel’s birthday. She was turning ten, so what a perfect way for her to enter the double digit world! We always have a stash of washi tape so I figured that was the best way to make one. I also thought it would be fun to use washi tape to write a big number ten in front of her room so that when she came out in the morning, she’d follow it to the hopscotch in the next hallway. After she got through the hopscotch, her sisters had some gifts waiting for her. It was a perfect way to celebrate her b aefore she headed off to school for the day. I’m letting the girls keep the hopscotch until I get tired of looking at it! It was also a great little addition to her birthday party!
Valentine’s day is right around the corner and I thought it would be fun for the girls to make something for their cousins, who also happen to be their absolute bestest friends! They love using Crayola Model Magic at school, so I thought to use that to make their special gifts. The idea was to hand make some small plates out of modeling clay and then fill them with their favorite treats (chocolate hearts, Conversation hearts, etc). The plates can then be reused on a desk for paperclips or on a dresser for jewelry.
I simply helped the girls roll out their clay and mold their plate (use parchment paper as a backer to keep the Magic Model clay from sticking). They then either painted a design or used one of the molds to lightly imprint a design onto the plate and then paint it. Using a toothpick, they proceeded to press little red sequins and gems into the plate for added decoration. Lastly, just place the plates somewhere out of the way and allow to fully dry which will take roughly 24 hours.
- Magic Model (white). This is a soft, squishy modeling clay material. So fun for little hands. It doesn’t break apart and it’s easy to handle.
- Lips and Heart molds
- Acrylic Paint
- Paint Brushes
- Wax or Parchment Paper
- Sequins, gems, beads.
- Toothpicks (to help push the sequins and gems firmly into place).
Happy Valentines Day!
Winter, spring, summer or fall the Quogue Wildlife Refuge is a perfect place for a family hike. We discovered it several years ago from a book titled “Discover Long Island”, by (put authors name here). My husband purchased it when our oldest child was born so we could discover new places with her. The book has been so helpful for planning special day trips right here on Long Island, and over the years we’ve discovered some family favorites (The Quogue Refuge definitely being one of them). Its 305-acre preserve has seven miles of trails that we’ve enjoyed on beautiful winters days as well as a budding spring afternoons. We never tire of this place and it’s free! There is so much to discover here, from the outdoor wildlife complex that is the home of several injured birds, owls, foxes, bobcat, and tortoises that the refuge has rescued, to its indoor nature center, where you can discover a variety of reptiles, freshwater turtles, large insects, Chinchillas and mush more. Inside the nature center there is a spacious room filled with books, a table filled with animal artifacts, and a relaxing seating area with a beautiful view of the pond and surrounding woods. It’s the perfect place to pack a lunch (picnic tables out front) and spend a morning or afternoon.
They also host a beautiful Earth Day celebration every year that we’ve faithfully attended several years running. Definitely a lot of fun! This year the kids all got a free bag to decorate and Dragonfly Landscape Design gave a free Norway Spruce to everyone who attended! We’ve since planted a few that we received and gave the rest to family members!
This past weekend we returned for a quiet winter walk and discovered that they added a “story book read along” to one of the trails (absolutely brilliant). The story was the well-known book “The Mitten”, written by Jan Brett. Each page was cleverly mounted into a Plexiglas case and spaced a couple hundred feet apart with arrows directing you along the path. Our kids were literally running from one to the next to be the first one there to read the next page. Their excitement and energy was a testament to how wonderful an idea this story book walk is, and the cases make it easy for the Refuge to replace the pages with the another book every couple weeks.
Find out more at quoguewildliferefuge.org
Schedule: The Refuge trails and Outdoor Wildlife Complex are open every day from sunrise to sunset. The Nature Center is open Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.
With so many amazing people in my life, I can’t help but want to give a gift to each and everyone especially during the holidays! Between teachers, neighbors, friends, and that certain someone who just makes me smile, I like to give a little something that says you’ve left an imprint on my heart.
I love homemade gifts! I love making things from scratch and packing them up with special handmade gift tags! It satisfies the creative bug in me especially during a hectic time of the year.
I wanted to give something really special to the teachers this year. With three children now in full day school, the amount of teachers add up and purchasing something really special sometimes can become expensive. So I decided to make something special instead! Teachers are on their feet all day long, so I searched for a homemade foot soak recipe, created my own little tags and wrapped them pretty into a canning jar. We added cozy slip-on socks for the finishing touch! The Recipe for the foot soak is so simple and I altered it a bit but you can find it here.
Here is what you need but first figure out how many jars you’d like to fill and how large the jars will be. So easy to make big batches of this foot soak.
- 1 pint for large or 16 ounce Mason Jars. The size is up to you.
- Epsom Salt (I found that Walmart had the best price) I made about 12 large jars and 12 Small jars and used about 4, 3lb bags.
- Instant Dry Milk. ( I bought about 3 boxes at the supermarket)
- Chamomile Tea bags. I purchased 3 boxes with 20 bags.
- Lavender Essential oil ( or any scent you prefer)
- Hole Puncher
- Decorative Scissor
- Holiday Scrap Booking Paper
- Printable Gift Tags
- Hanukah Gift Tags
I used equal parts of Epsom salt and Dried Milk. Added about 20 bags of Chamomile tea bags per Box of Dried milk/ bag of Epsom Salt. I used a little less amount of the Lavender oil that was recommended here. Using a large basin or Tupperware, I mixed all ingredients together and using a measuring cup I scooped mixture into the jars filling it to the top. Once they were filled, using the lids as a guide I traced circles onto decorative scrap paper cut them out and placed them onto the top of the lids and sealed jars tightly. You can print the tags straight onto a thick hard stock. I used a decorative scissor to cut out the tags, popped a hole through them and used bakery string/ribbon to tie the tags around the jars and tah-dah! Merry Feet!
These make great gifts all year round! Just create a new gift tag for each season.
I’m actually pretty excited that Hanukah will continue well after Christmas is over. Although the two holidays begin on the same night we still have 7 days of Hanukah left after the Christmas celebration is over. Being Catholic, Hanukah is still one of my favorite holidays to celebrate with my husband and children. This beautiful festival of lights, is a quiet, peaceful holiday, filled with candles burning bright and the aroma of sweet sufganiyot (also known as hanukkah donuts), cottage cheese latkas, potato latkas, delicious soups and of course yummy gelt.
One of my best friends from Kindergarten sent my girls this beautiful wooden advent calendar from KidKraft. The kids have been so excited each day to open one window and find a little surprise awaits them while counting down the days until Christmas. I wanted to find something as exciting for them to do for each night of Hanukah. I found this simple DIY Dreidel template from FamilyFun magazine. I simply printed it out, cut it and used it as a template to make 8 paper dreidels. I happen to have a large selection of srapbook paper and simply picked papers with blues and gold tones. I placed the template over the paper that I chose and traced the pattern onto it. I then cut it out and folded the tabs and taped all of the side’s together. My intention is to fill each one with a special surprise for each of the girls like a little trinket, or a note mentioning a special event we can do for the evening , or a hint to where their presents await them. I’m definitely filling one with gelt and requesting a night of spin the dreidel. Happy Hanukah!