Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ballet Pictures

Yesterday, Glamourcraft Studios came to Grace’s ballet class to take pictures.  She was thrilled to be able to wear her recital costume for the first time! 


Her ballet instructor asked us to put a little make-up on the girls so they wouldn’t wash out in the photos.  Actually, they instructed us to put on eyeliner so their eyes would “pop.” I challenge any mother out there to put eyeliner on a five-year-old.  If only I had thought to take a picture of Grace’s face after I attempted the impossible…  She looked something like this:

Not fun.

So I scrubbed her up and started over, sans eye liner.  A little blush, pink eye shadow, lip gloss, and she looked fine.


Here she is waiting patiently in the hallway with her peeps.


The photographers (wisely) wouldn’t let any parents in the room during the photo shoot.  I would have paid money to see them take the group picture with 15 miniature ballerinas age 3-5.  Grace also had individual pictures taken, so I’ll be really interested to see what they look like and what kind of poses they did.  I’ll post them when I get them!

Monday, April 26, 2010

See the Resemblance?

lisa rinna


This is what happens when someone accidentally gives Grace a piece of Laffy Taffy coated with egg albumen.  It took two days for her lips to look Botox-free.



Last Friday, I got a phone call from my little brother, Jon.  He had an unexpected layover in Dallas on his way home from Afghanistan!  We were SO thankful and excited to have him spend a few hours with us.  He looked great, and we enjoyed the visit.

Jon was extremely tired and jet-lagged, but he was craving Gulf Coast shrimp, so we headed to our favorite Mexican restaurant, Pappasito’s.  It was delicious and Jon assured us it was a great improvement over M.R.E.’s!

When we got home, Todd and Jon planned on catching up on DVR’d episodes of their favorite show, Burn Notice.  Jon laid down on a mattress for the first time in several months while we got Grace ready for bed.  He was out for the night!  We’re so glad he got some good rest on a comfortable mattress before he boarded the plane home to Hawaii. 

Todd took him back to the airport the next morning, and he arrived safely home to his family!

Jon's Homecoming

I love you, Jon!

Recent Cakes

Here are a few pictures of the cakes I made last week.  For more details, visit my new cake blog!





Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Preschooler Quote of the Day


Grace:  (excitedly)  “Hey, Kie, did you know I went to the Cinderella show on Saturday?”

Kie:  (looking bored)  “Yeah, I know.  I saw it on Facebook.”


Free Samples!

Thanks to Deal-Seeking Mom for alerting me to this new program sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service! 

The purpose of the Sample Showcase is to get new products into the hands of consumers.  If you visit the Sample Showcase website, you will answer three brief questions to see if you quality to receive the free sample shipment.  I qualified and should receive my package in early May.  Happy sampling!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Every Little Girl Wants to Be A Princess

Our much-anticipated trip to see the musical Cinderella finally arrived!  Grace woke up extra-early and donned her special dress!
002I even let her wear a crown and put on an itsy-bitsy bit of make-up!  

009 First, we picked up her sweet friend, Natalie, who spent several hours in the ER last night being treated for a broken arm!  She wasn’t letting that stop her from today’s extravaganza!

012 We ate lunch in a beautiful tea room.  The girls sipped pink lemonade from a silver teapot and ate sandwiches and fruit.   These girls entertained everyone with their excitement, laughter, and dancing!

013 Despite the rain and bad weather, everyone still looked beautiful when we got to the theater!


After the show, the characters signed autographs for our little princesses!


Despite Grace’s disappointment that Cinderella had dark brown hair, it was a FABULOUS show, full of very talented actors and musicians.  The girls loved every minute of it, and we’re already planning our trip to see Peter Pan in a few short weeks! 

Zoo Day

Grace has been suffering from seasonal allergies, but she was feeling better, so I took her and Kie to the zoo!  It was a perfect day…sunny and warm.  They had so much fun!  Grace paid for it later after being outside in the pollen and around animals for several hours, but they were so sweet and had a blast!

I don’t think I had to tell them once to take turns or share.  They made sure each other could see the exhibits and obeyed me when it was time to move on or leave.  So precious!


We rode the train around later in the day when we were tired. 

005I am really going to miss Kie next year when he starts school!  What a blessing he and his sister have been to our family over the past two years!  Grace will miss him horribly!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Preschooler Story of the Day

The other day, I was driving home with Grace and the little boy I babysit, Kie.  It was a beautiful day….blue skies, warm breeze.  All of the sudden, literally out of nowhere, it started hailing.  It was so weird.  At first, I thought someone was throwing rocks at our car.  No rain, just hail.

The kids got a little scared, but I calmed them down and told them it was just a crazy Texas storm that would soon pass.  This is the conversation I heard between them while I was driving:

Kie:  “Grace, we’ve GOT to pray.  This is terrible.  Pray with me.”

Grace:  “Okay, let’s pray.”

Kie:  “Dear God, PLEASE stop this hell (i.e. hail).  Please make it a beautiful day again so we can play outside.  We don’t like hell (i.e. hail), so please make it go away.  Amen.”

Grace:  (looking out the window at the worsening hail)  “Well, that didn’t work.”

New Cake Blog

Check out my new cake blog! It's called Cakes By Joanna. Original, huh? I decided to dedicate a separate space to my cakes so I can organize my pictures and refer people easily who want to look at my work.
I created this cake for our Easter luncheon with the sweet Thompson family. Since we don't have any family in Texas, they always include us as part of theirs if we aren't traveling during a holiday! This cake has a subtle peach flavor with peach buttercream filling and cream cheese icing. Grace had fun helping me cut out fondant flowers and butterflies!
As I fulfill cake orders, I'll take pictures and add them to my new cake blog! If you live in the D/FW area, feel free to contact me if I can make a special creation for you!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Thoughts on Learning Styles

Product Details

Many thanks to Mama Angie at Molding a Masterpiece for recommending Cathy Duffy’s book 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum a few weeks ago in my comment section!

I’ve spent the last few days reading this book and pondering my plan for home school.  There are some very helpful worksheets and charts that I spent time completing which allowed me to think through my philosophy of education.  The great thing about this book is that it has helped me understand my learning style and Grace’s learning style and how we are going to make this endeavor work!

Thankfully, we are similar in many ways.  We both meet the criteria for “Perfect Paula” as described in the book…planners, organizers, neat, scheduled, rule-oriented.  I’ve got a healthy dose of “Competent Carl”…logical, controlled, impatient, math/science-minded.  Grace has a moderate dose of “Wiggly Willy”, partly due to her age and developmental level…impulsive, activity-loving, kinesthetic.  We both have some “Social Sue”…enjoying friendships and emotionally connected to others.

“Carl” and “Willy” don’t necessarily mix, so I will need to stretch outside my comfort zone to include lots of multisensory techniques and activities for Grace’s benefit.  I was the kid in school that hated group work and anything out of the “norm” of bookwork and study.  Boring, I know.  But I’m excited about the challenge!

This book has helped me determine that we will both benefit from a routine-based schedule.  This will most likely look like morning instructional times in a consistent schoolroom-type setting in our home.  We can use the afternoons for activities, experiences, reinforcement, and homemaking instruction (cooking, keeping house, sewing, shopping, etc.). 

The BEST thing about this book is the Top 100 Picks Chart.  Cathy scores each curriculum on a set of criteria, specifically related to the child’s learning style.  It is SO helpful.  I can just look at the chart and easily see where to start looking to find the best fit for us. 

Interestingly, the programs that I was already leaning towards matched up as a good fit:  Sonlight and Saxon Math. 

I’ve also developed a new interest in the concept of unit studies.  I like the idea of studying one topic and applying it towards all disciplines…I believe this would fit Grace’s learning style very well and result in better comprehension and retention for her.  There are lots of great resources out there, and this is definitely something I will explore in the future.  However, in my first year of homeschool, I prefer to stick with a pre-planned curriculum.  I need to build my confidence as her teacher!

The next book on my reading list is The Well-Trained Mind, due to the recommendation of my readers and fellow homeschool parents.  I’ve got it on reserve in my library…it’s a VERY popular book.  Hopefully I’ll get it soon!

As always, thanks to everyone for the overwhelming support and good wishes I received since we made the decision to homeschool.  Todd and I are both excited to see what the future holds for Grace!