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American Girl Birthday

This past weekend we went to the American Girl Place to celebrate these three girls birthdays. They all have January or February birthdays and decided that instead of a party they wanted to have dinner with each other and their dolls at the American Girl Place. They all have hand-me-down dolls: Felicity, Kristen, and Samantha that they are very attached too. 
Too make it even more special we invited grandmas to join us. How cute do Maca and Little Lady look in their matching red coats?

I am so grateful that Little Lady has these friendships. I am still close to friends I met in first grade girls scouts. I'm hoping these three will also be life long friends. 

They are great girls who also come from families who also love the Lord. Their  moms are actually good friends of mine. It's such a blessing to know that her best friends are being raised in families with similar values. 

I love how Little Lady can be completely herself with these girls. They bring out a silliness in her …
Recent posts

What I've Been Wearing

It's been forever since I've sat down and put together one of these posts. I'm still taking outfit pictures, though. My family is so sweet; they pose almost every Sunday for family outfit picture; I'm much better at posting those on Instagram.

This outfit is two dresses layered on top of each other. Both of them where thrift finds. I love the pattern on the top dress, but it's a little too short for me to wear comfortably. 
My mother-in-law works at Banana Republic and she picked up this coat for me at a steal of a deal. I adore it; it's warm enough for hiking with the kids but also a bit dressy.

These two dresses ↑↓ are both from Antropologie. The one above is several years old. The one below  I picked up last summer. You can probably tell that I'm a sucker for bright colors, flowers, and texture. 
I always get complements on my gold shoes. They are actually a DIY.  Almost eight years ago Jeremy and I where in Florence (he was teaching an architecture stu…

Traditions & What We do on Valentine's Day.

We are big on family traditions and celebrations in our house. I've shared here before that I grew up in a chaotic unhealthy home**. There wasn't enough structure to have rituals and traditions. Naturally, I want to provide better for my kiddos. 
There are several reasons I think traditions are so important. They become a joyful constant in our lives despite the many chaotic changes that happen. They give our kiddos and us a time to look forward to when life starts to feel mundane. Most importantly, they create shared memories which create strong bonds. Holiday traditions and family rituals are an easy way to create a lasting family identity. 
In our home we don't just celebrate the major holidays like Christmas and birthdays. Minor holidays, like St. Patrick's Day and May Day, also get a bit of celebration. We have seasonal rituals as well. We use a chalkboard where at the beginning of a season we write down our plans: apple picking, ice skating, Shakespeare in the p…

Mitten Match

All of our snow has melted away, but we are still holding out hope for more. Living in Illinois means that most likely the next month or so will be full of dull gray days. Bright white snow just makes the gray more bearable.
We are going to continue doing some snow themed activities in our schoolroom in the hopes that nature takes the hint and gifts us with a real snowstorm. Today, we read a couple mitten themed books:The Mitten by Jan Brett andThe Little Kittens by Paul Galdone. Both authors are known for retelling classic stories with exquisite illustrations. Jan Brett uses watercolors to create realistic illustrations. Her books also commonly have border art that offers a new vantage point to the story or foreshadows a coming character.  Some other winter themed books by Jan Brett are:The Three Snow BearsandThe Hat. Paul Galdone's illustration are usually ink sketches with a watercolor wash. His illustrations are more impish and whimsical, but still are very rich in detail. His …

American Revolution and Founding Fathers Book List.

In years past, we've been working our way through Story of The World by Susan Wise Bauer. This year, however, we are taking a break from world history and studying American history. We joined a co-op and one of the classes the kids are taking is Hands On American History. Originally, I had planned on continuing Story of the Worldat home. We are about half-way through Vol 3, early modern history, so in some ways the lesson would coincide. I quickly realized, however, that it wasn't going to work. In class they do a lot of games and skits to make history come alive; but I also wanted to supplement what they were learning with some living books. There just isn't enough time to do the reading for both. For now, we've pressed pause on Story of the World and will probably pick it back up come May when the class ends. 
We are just wrapping up our books on the America Revolution and the Founding Fathers; I thought I'd share what we read.

Jean Fritz is one of my go-to's…

Ice Skating

Right in the center of our city is the cutest little outdoor skating rink. It's become a tradition for our family to go at least once during the winter...this year, the kids are determined that we are going to go at least SIX times. 
This rink is where all of kiddos have taken their 1st spin on the ice. Before kids, Jer and I would come here for a fun inexpensive date. This simple little place holds so many sweet happy memories. 

This trip was BabyZ's 1st time on the ice. He could tell that all of siblings were pumped for what was coming, so he also got excited. Unfortunately, I don't think he's quite a fan, yet. The skates didn't quite work they way he thought they should.

He took the falls like a champ. He didn't cry at all; he just didn't see the point of why we insisted he keep these ridicules things on his feet. At one point he decided it was better to just to roll around on the ice than to try to walk on it. 

Luckily, mommy's arms and hot chocola…