Happy Halloween

I was excited for Halloween this year, and really what is not to love about a holiday that involves costumes and lots of candy.

The plan was to go trick-or-treating with my friend Cordelia and her little sister. I was ready to go right after school, but my parents insisted that I eat “something real” before heading out for the evening.

Right as I finished my pizza the door bell rang and the door opened, but instead of a chorus of “trick-or-treat,” I heard my mom say, “welcome ladies, Athena is in the kitchen.” A minute later Cordelia and Laurel both came into the kitchen and wished me a Happy Halloween.

After taking care of my plate I invited Cordelia to my room to help me get ready.

I showed her the cat costume that my grandma made me, I told her I wanted to be a cat for Halloween and just like magic the my costume came in the mail.

I was excited to see Cordelia’s costume as well. When she said that she was going to be a coral reef for Halloween I had a hard time imagining how that would work. Then she started talking nonstop a couple of weeks ago about how she and her parents were making her costume out of paper, I really couldn’t wrap my head around how that would work, but it turned out great.

We left Laurel with our parents while I got ready. When we got out into the living room she was running around flapping her cape with her arms trying to make her wings work, but we got her to stand still long enough to pose for a photo before we headed out for trick-or-treating.

When we were done trick-or-treating Cordelia’s mom took Laurel home because it was past her normal bed time but Cordelia got permission to stay at my house for a little while.

Once we were inside and warmed up the first item of business was to check out our candy. After spreading everything out we each put our favorites back into our buckets and then traded each other so we both ended up with the kinds of candy we like the best.

We each ate a couple or pieces of candy and then my mom said it was time to walk Cordelia home because it was a school night. I think this was the best Halloween yet.

Does your family celibate Halloween, did you wear a costume?

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Happy Birthday!

My birthday fell on a Sunday this year so I had my party the day before my actual birthday. When I came into the living room on Saturday there was a stack of presents waiting for me.

My parents said that I had to wait until my friends arrived before I could open most of them, but sitting on the table with a bow on it was a new laptop. Since it didn’t have wrapping paper on it they said I could check it out.

Exploring all of the new things on my laptop made waiting for my friends easier.

Before long Lydia arrived!

Lydia and I were playing a game when the doorbell rang.

I didn’t even have a chance to get up before Cordelia came into the living room with a shiny package in her hands.

We spent some time talking until it was time to open presents.

Cordelia and Lydia both wanted me to open their gift first so we settled it with “Rock, Paper, Scissors.”

Cordelia’s gift had two parts, the first one that I opened was a diary with a real lock and key.

The second package was a necklace that Cordelia made herself. It matched my outfit so I asked her to help me put it on right away.

Lydia wrapped her present in recycled paper that she decorated herself using my favorite colors. It was almost too cool to wreck by opening it, but with some encouragement from Lydia I tore in.

Inside I found a hippo stuffy!

Then it was time to open presents from my parents.

The first one had two parts, they said I should open the soft package second. The first package was a paint box, with a new sketch pad and a real palette.

I decided to use the ribbon as a headband, and got to work on the second part.

The second part was smock that is big enough to cover my clothes and gives me room to grow. I think the whole ensemble makes me look like a real artist!

There was just one more gift from my parents, from the shape of the box I had a good idea what would be inside.

I was right, it was a Lalaloopsy doll. I got Crumbs Tea Time!
We cleaned up all of the paper and I went into my room to pull out all of my Lalaloopsy dolls so they could meet the newest addition.

Lydia and Cordelia both love Lalaloopsy so we played with them until the pizza was delivered. After dinner we had chocolate cake and watched movies until my parents told us it was time for “lights out.”

In the morning we had waffles with fruit and whipped cream. My waffle had a candle in it and my friends sang “Happy Birthday” to me.

I had a great time with my friends, I think this was my best birthday yet!

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Valentine’s Cookies

I invited my friend Cordelia over to my house to decorate heart shaped cookies for Valentine’s Day.

Since mixing sugar cookie dough and waiting for it to chill can take a while, my parents and I made the dough and frosting in advance so it was ready when Cordelia arrived.

Before we started Cordelia helped me tie my apron.

We covered the table with wax paper for easy clean up and got the tools we needed.

I sprinkled a little flour on the table so the cookie dough didn’t stick.

Then I rolled the dough out so it was even.

Once the dough was ready, I started cutting out heart shapes.

I tried to get the shapes as close together as possible so there wasn’t a lot of dough left over. We rolled the scraps out and cut more shapes, but the less you handle the dough the better it is.

We placed the cookies on the cookie sheet lined with parchment paper making sure to leave space in between for the cookies to spread out in the oven.

When the timer went off my mom pulled the cookies out of the oven. She said we could take them off the pan to cool as long as we were careful not to touch the hot pan.

Once the cookies were cool it was time to decorate! Cordelia has used a piping cone before so she demonstrated how it works.

I didn’t wait long to try it myself. As we finished each cookie we put it back on the pan.

This is what they looked like when they were all done.

Finally it was the moment we had been waiting for, we each chose a cookie and took a big bite out it. It is important to test for quality control purposes.

Cricket was waiting in case we dropped something good, but he didn’t seem too impressed with the frosting crumbs.

Did you do anything special to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

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Gifts for Athena

The weather has been so warm in Wisconsin that didn’t seem like Christmas would ever come. At long last it was winter break, and the days of sleeping in and lounging around stretched out before me.

On Christmas Eve my parents said they had a surprise for me and called me to the living room.

I walked into the living room to find new pajamas and slippers! Josefina is my favorite American Girl doll, but I have always loved Julie’s pajamas the best.

I changed into my new pajamas and came back to the living room to set my stocking out for Santa.

I normally like to sleep in late, but on Christmas morning I woke up before my parents and I checked under the tree to find that Santa had visited.

At my house we wait until everyone is awake and ready before we open presents, but stockings are fair game so I opened my stocking right away while I waited for my parents to get up and make coffee. I emptied my stocking onto the couch so I could see everything. In it I found; a small Rapunzel doll, some new barrettes and lots of candy.

As soon as my parents woke up I asked them to turn lights on the tree on, even when it is daylight, I think it looks more festive when the lights on the tree are lit.
When it was time for presents I put everything (minus a few pieces of candy) back into my stocking and I chose this small soft package, I think it looked a bit like a giant piece of candy.

It was a new T-shirt, in my favorite color with a big sparkly heart on it.

The next package I opened was a new pair of boots.

As I tore into the paper on my next present Cricket joined in on the fun!

I got Noelle Northpole, a special Christmas Lalaloopsy doll!

The next box was kind of heavy and shaped like a big shoe box.

Ice skates, with gold laces and sparkly blade guards.

I saved my gift from Santa for last. I love the shiny green wrapping paper and special tag he used.

I couldn’t believe it, I got my own ipod! I had been asking my parents for an ipod and they said I was too young, this proves that Santa is real.

I set out all my gifts so I could admire them all together. I am so thankful for all of the gifts that I received and to be able to spend the day with my family.

Did you and your family celebrate any holidays this winter?

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St. Nicolas Day

Last year my friend Cordelia invited me to her house for St. Nicolas Day, it was really exciting because Santa visits me every year for Christmas but I had never celebrated St. Nicolas Day.

I was really hoping that St. Nicolas would visit me at home this year but I moved rooms last weekend so I was worried that even if he found the right house St. Nicolas might not be able to find me in my new room. Addy and Josefina kept me company while I read a book to keep my mind busy until it was time for bed.

As I got ready for bead my parents said they would make sure St. Nicolas knew where to find me and that I had been (mostly) good this year. I lined my shoes up neatly at the end of the bed so they would be easy to find, even in the dark. I’m not sure how adults communicate with St. Nicolas but I guess maybe there is a special number so they can send him a text.

In the morning sun filled my room as Cricket nuzzled himself under my hand.

As I sat up I could hear Cricket playing with something on the floor and was excited to find that it was a treat bag in my shoe from St. Nicolas!

I picked up the bag and brought Addy and Josefina onto my lap so they could be with me when I opened the bag.

I emptied the bag onto my bed to see what kind of treats I got.

I helped myself to a piece of chocolate right away, I am sure chocolate before breakfast is allowed on St. Nicolas day. Addy is holding up her favorite, peppermint candy!

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Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone!

It was supposed to rain all day and into the evening so I was worried that I wouldn’t get to go trick-or-treating but luckily it cleared up just in time.

I dressed up in my butterfly costume using the wings I made and waited.  My parents said that I had to wait until after dinner so even though I wasn’t hungry, but I kept asking if we could eat.  After what seemed like forever, just when it was starting to get dark Cordelia and Lydia came over and  we went all over our neighborhood collecting candy.  Did you celebrate Halloween this year?

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Butterfly Craft Tutorial

I am going to show you two ways to make butterflies with coffee filters.

You will need a coffee filter, scissors, pipe cleaners watercolor paints or washable markers and a spray bottle.
Before you start make sure you protect your work surface with something that is water proof. I used wax paper but aluminum foil would also work.

First fold the coffee filter in half and draw butterfly wings on a coffee filter, then cut the shape out.

This is what the wings look like once they are cut out. If you need help with getting the shape right you can print a template.

The first way to add color is to use watercolor paint. Keep the wings folded together while you paint the wings.

The paint should soak through both layers so the wings are symmetrical. One of the nice things about this project is that you do not have to worry about being perfect.

Here is what the wings look like when they are covered in paint. Leave the wings folded in half and set them somewhere safe to dry.

Another way to make butterfly wings with washable markers. The marker will bleed through the layers, but you will need to flip the wings back and forth to make sure that both sides look the same. Once the wings are covered in marker use a spray bottle set to mist to wet the wings.

Once the wings are dry you can finish the butterflies using a pipe cleaner. Fold the pipe cleaner in half, sandwich the wings inside the pipe cleaner and twist the top. Use the ends of the pipe cleaner to make the butterfly’s antenna.

I went to the art supply store with my parents to find something like a coffee filter, only much bigger. We found a big sheet of rice paper. Can you guess what I am going to do with this?

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Athena Visits the Botanical Garden

Back in the spring when I was disappointed about not taking a big trip this summer, my parents promised that we would take some day trips and explore things close to home. Today we visited the botanical garden. The garden has an indoor space and lots of outdoor areas. They just had a big butterfly exhibit in their conservatory, we weren’t able to make it to the garden for the exhibit but we were hoping that there would still be some butterflies.

We were in luck, right after walking in the door a couple of butterflies came so close they almost flew into my face!

I wanted to get my picture with some of the butterflies, so I stood by the flowers they seemed to like, but as soon as I got near the planter the butterflies flew away. I manage to get one picture with a butterfly in it but it turned out as an orange blur in front of the pot.

Butterflies kept landing and taking off again so I watched them on these planters for a while, if you look really closely you can see another butterfly in the photo.

These dishes were out in a couple of places and there were a ton of butterflies around them and landing on the scrubbies. I didn’t find anyone to ask, but I think the bowls had nectar in them to feed the butterflies.

Most of the butterflies we saw were orange, but I did see a couple that looked like zebras and this beautiful black and blue one. After going around the conservatory a couple of times we left to explore the outdoor gardens.

One of the first things we found was this giant cottonwood tree!

I was excited to find a monarch butterfly in one of the outdoor gardens.

I thought these flowers matched my outfit so I stopped for a photo with them.

I found another butterfly! This one wasn’t scared of me at all and I was able to get really close to it and watch it for a long time.

It was really hot and sunny out today so this shady area was a very welcome find.

Even more welcome after all of the walking we did was this bench in a shady spot. I checked it out and gave my legs a rest before we left the garden. I had a lot of fun and I was excited at the number of butterflies I was able to see today! Have you ever been to a public garden and if so what was your favorite part?

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Mini Grace’s first stop part 10

Day 13
All photos were taken by Winter at www.fauxrealfood.com
Grace had been enjoying the food with her host family and was excited to see how it was created. The ingredients didn’t look like those she had seen in the giant kitchen, but the food ended up looking delicious.

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Mini Grace’s first stop part 9

Day 12
All photos were taken by Winter at www.fauxrealfood.com
As her time with her first host family drew to a close the girls threw a Bon Voyage Party for Grace and Josefina.

They took a quick group shot before getting down to the business of dancing

And what is a party without refreshments!

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