Friday, November 18, 2016

Musings From Natalie #134

Tonight after putting in a full day at work, Steve set out to plant Nat's tree...a birthday gift from her grandparents. A tree was her #1 birthday wish.

Me: "Where do you want us to plant it?"
Natalie: "Somewhere that I can sit under it and read a book."
"I love it! Now we just need to have a tree-naming ceremony!"

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Cupcake Wars - Tween Style

Last Sunday we celebrated Natalie's entry into tweendom with a Cupcake Wars-inspired party.  I absolutely love creating parties for my kids and Nat has tested me with her ideas. However, for the last couple of years, I've actually tried to talk her out of having a homemade party because I worried about how to be relevant to 9 and 10 year olds who spend their afternoons on Snapchat and producing music videos on their iPads whereas I don't even know how to program my own phone.

But Nat would not be persuaded.

"Mom, your parties are the best."

Buoyed by her confidence in me -- I pressed on.

I decided to build the party around two of Natalie's favorite things:
#1 Creating stuff
#2 Baking

As the girls arrived I divided them into three teams. Each group was given a "party kit" filled with team aprons, craft supplies and an assortment of toppings and fillings to use for their challenges. Their first challenge was to create their company's name, logo, message. Next, they were charged with decorating a "store-front" using a cardboard tri-fold. Once complete, they were to work together to create a yummy filling using at least three ingredients from the "inspiration table". They also had to frost and decorate their cupcakes for their client: Willy Wonka. I asked them to imagine Mr. Wonka was announcing a new candy and they were competing for the chance to have their cupcakes served at his candy-release party.  For their final challenge, each team had to decorate cupcakes for a particular client:
* St. Louis Zoo - for the grand opening of their new bear exhibit
* Missouri Botanical Gardens - for their 158th birthday party bash.
* St. Louis Aquarium - for their grand opening event

The girls took their challenges very seriously. The room was a buzz with creativity and concentration. It almost seemed as though a switch had been pulled.

I breathed a sigh...

After all challenges had been completed, each team set up their displays and took turns describing their creations to the judge -- Noah.

It was such a fun afternoon. My only regret is that I didn't book the room for the entire afternoon! I know my time with my girl...these girls is waning. I'm just so grateful I was given another opportunity.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Double Digits

"Mom, I'm double digits's kinda a big number," Nat said.

Happy Birthday Natalie!

Day 1

Day 3,650

Saturday, October 22, 2016

An Opera-tunity We Couldn't Pass Up

This morning my family and I had the opera-tunity to watch a real, live performance through the Opera on the Go! program.


The venue was intimate with less than 25 of us in attendance and included workshops in music, movement and make-up. Afterwards we enjoyed the cast's final dress rehearsal with an abridged version of Pirates of Penzance before they take the show on the road to area schools.

Initially the kids were less than excited about listening to opera, however, that all changed once we entered the room. The cast was very funny and kid-friendly. Natalie spent most of the time squeezing my hand. She was completely engrossed in the performance.

If you are interested in introducing your kids to opera, Opera on the Go! will be offering a sensory-friendly performance similar to the show we enjoyed on October 29th at 2 p.m complete with workshops. Cost is only $10. 

Part of our "movement" workshop -
Pretend you just dropped your brother's new iPhone 7

Pretend you just aced your math test.
Getting a scar in the make-up workshop

Fishing Fun

Last weekend Steve, Nat and I headed to a friend's house for some fishing. 

Steve caught the biggest. Nat caught the most.  I caught poison oak.

While I'm still not very good at fishing. I had a great time enjoying the sunshine and peace and quiet with two of my three favorite people. (Noah hung out with his grandparents as he isn't a fan of fishing and has a fear of bugs.)

Nat caught (with help from Dad) a nice one, too!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Iron Works Festival - Maramec Springs Park

In the hustle and bustle of school work, extra-curricular activities and carpooling - it's nice to take a moment to just s l o w  d o w n. Two weeks ago we took a leisurely drive to St. James, MO for their annual Iron Works Festival held at Maramec Springs Park. We enjoyed a beautiful, Fall day listening to folk music and meeting all kinds of artisans committed to sharing their passion for keeping traditions alive. We listened to folklore from seasoned storytellers, took a walk around the park, fed the fish which swim in the 100,000 gallon spring and meandered through the museum.