We like paint




Apparently a body full of paint transforms Annie into Super Girl and Maddie into Purple Girl.
I feel some halloween inspiration coming on.

Childhood Rites of Passage



This summer Annie learned how to swing. Weeeeeeeeeeeee.......

A Family Garden Trellis Project


While visiting our local arboretum we came across gourd trellises that were made from saw horses. Dan and I both thought these were a great, cheap little garden idea. Part of our yard was planted with fall gourds and they were beginning to take over so I headed to Home Depot to rummage through the scrap bin for as many 2x4's as I could find (they are 85% in the scrap bin) and we were on our way. Want to learn how to make one?

Note the little hands assisting in the project. They did most of the work, so you really can do this.


  • A set of sawhorse brackets.
  • Screweyes
  • 32' of 2X4's (our dimensions were 6'Hx8'W)
  • Twine or a trellis netting
  • 2-8' 1x1's for the bottom support


    1. Measure out the 4 legs to 6' and mark. (we opted for 6' so it is tall enough for the girls to climb in and my scrap wood was 12' long, make it as tall as you like)


    2. Cut the 4 legs to desired length.


    3. Add one bracket to each end of the 8' 2X4 and then slide legs into slots.


    4. Set-up like a swingset.


    5. Screw deck screws into brackets to stabalize.


    6. Lay 1x1 pieces along bottom or a few inches up from ground. Screw into the legs.



    7. Measure from end every 12" and mark for the screweyes. We marked the header piece and the 2-1x1 pieces, then the 4 legs from top edge down.


    8. Drill small pilot hole for the screweyes and screw them in. Annie used the pliers and the old twisting the screwdriver trick.


    9. Begin to string. I left the roll of twine on the ground and pulled the other end through the eyes, cutting and tying off the spool side last.


    10. Run the twine from bottom to top and then from side to side to make a grid.


    Here is the finished trellis just with the gourds starting to grow on them. The other side may need some sugar snap peas and I think we'll put it up a bit earlier next year. It cost us less than $20 to build and only took an hour or so, with the girls helping. Hope this little tutorial helped. Thanks to the Morton Arboretum for such a great idea. And to Annie and Maddie and Dan for being such good workers.

  • Naming the Kitty


    A big thanks to everyone who voted to name our new little kitty. She is very sweet and is settling right in to the family. Although, Tink was the official blog poll winner we have not picked a name. Want to see why?

    Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Share Photos - Free Video Hosting
    (The 2 girls may look like my children but these are not really my children, my children never ever behave this way)
    It seems like the kittys name will be THAT CAT.

    It's Laundry Day....


    Loading up the washing machine. (the sink of our play kitchen)

    DSC06094 DSC06093

    Hanging the laundry on the clothes line.

    Hanging out the laundry

    Ready for the ironing.

    ready for the iron

    Maddie's favorite chore (vintage ironing board from a garage sale)


    After the laundry was done we used the clothes line for a little sock fun...


    What's My Pattern and One of these things is not like the other one...One of these things doesn't belong...

    Nothing like a piece of string to encourage some fun time together.

    Adventures in the city...


    Last week we headed into the city for a day full of city adventures. Our group of 11..

    4-30-something adults

    3-9 year old boys

    2-22 year olds visiting from Ireland

    1-5 year old

    1-3 year old

    I wondered how the fair city of ours was going to deliver a memorable day filled with adventure for such a varied group of visitors. Not only did the city deliver but not a single moment of whining was heard from anyone for 10 hours.

    We chose to ride the train into the city. Each group was able to get on at their own station and the boys and Annie staked out prime seats on the second level. I was so impressed with the boys for taking Annie under their wing and playing along with her as the train made imaginary stops in China, Africa and Brookfield. This was the first train trip for the girls and it was really a great. As Annie ticked off stops Maddie watched as the stations whizzed by.


    Once we were downtown we headed for the free trolley that runs to all the major attractions in the city. It is a bit slower than paying for a bus or cab but such a nice way to see the city. Our first stop was Navy Pier. This is the most touristy of all the places in the city but it's always fun if a bit expensive. Most of the group wanted to ride the Ferris Wheel, even Madison who scoffed at Mommies thought that we should skip it. So up 8 of us went and I was a bit nervous but the view of the city is amazing and seeing my very adventurous girls with eyes lit up with the thrill of the city was well worth the $18.


    A few of our companions opted out of the Ferris Wheel in favor of the Swings...(kids happy-check)


    The main attraction attended to we cooled off inside the Crystal Garden and sat and enjoyed our prepacked lunches.


    After lunch we split up with the Irish heading off to do some shopping (Irish happy-check) and the rest of us checking out the Amazing Chicago Maze. The sign said there were dark areas and loud noises, I asked Maddie if she still wanted to go through, "yeah, mommy let's go". The girls were great and the three boys helped usher us through. While the boys went in the maze a few more times the Moms and Dads (and Annie and Maddie) hit the Billy Goat for a few refreshments. (Moms and Dad happy-check).

    On our way to the Museum of Contemporary Art we stopped at the fountain outside Navy Pier and let the kids cool off a bit. (Yep, we had a change of clothes.)


    We walked over to the MCA where we found a nice little park across the street. We had a bit of a rest while the kids ran off some steam before heading inside the museum. The boys were a bit concerned about the MCA. "What kinda art will there be? I don't think we'll like it." We'll sitting right out front was this....


    Not a bad teaser to get them inside.

    Annie ran through looking at everything while Maddie napped.


    I think that out of everyone the 3 boys enjoyed the museum the most. There were a few multimedia exhibits that we had to pry them away from. At $6.00 for adults and the kids free not a bad way to spend a few hours.


    After all the activity and art it was time for dinner. We headed to the Oak Street Beachstro where we dined outside right on the beach. While the adults finished their Corona's the boys swam in the lake and the girls played in the sand.


    We all finished up with a bit of swimming and wading. It was a really lovely spot to finish out our day. A quick cab ride to the train station, the girls first cab ride, and we were on our way home. Annie joined the boys while Maddie sat with me and drew pictures for the entire hour.
    I am always amazed by how wonderful Chicago is. Keeping a group of 11 from 3-37 happy for 10 hours in the August heat makes it amazing.