Day 1: A Street


A Not-So-Thrilling “First”

Ariel experienced another childhood “first” today: her first encounter with a schoolbus bully.

Apparently, a girl behind her unzipped Ariel’s backpack and pulled out the tag that lists Ariel’s personal information. Ariel took it back and told her, “it’s not your business,” to which the bully responded by spitting in Ariel’s eye. She seemed unhappy and a little bewildered as she got off the bus and related the story, but not too terribly shaken up or frightened. And yes, she told the bus driver, who commanded them both to face forward and leave each other alone. Hopefully this incident won’t repeat itself…

Big jump down!

During the semester that I spent at that same elementary school, I was teased incessantly, and bus rides in particular were horrible. Putting Ariel in this school has been a strange experience, with certain emotions washing over me as I walk down the halls, emotions that I have to push out of my mind and remind myself that Ariel is a completely different person than I was, with much better social skills, self-esteem, and fortitude. I was a sixth-grader who had never been in a public school before, and she is a kindergartener who just finished an excellent year at her state-run preschool. But this incident is bringing some of those feelings of anxiety back to the surface for me, feelings that I am trying not to show to my daughter.

I keep telling myself that I need to blog again

It’s been a LONG time. And the Happy Place blog I made always felt contrived, so I gave it up very quickly. But I think I would like to come back here and pick up where I left off. So much as changed, but I think that I’ve done enough healing that the new me can come here and hang out next to the old me without an emotional break-down (at least, I hope!).

Anyway, I found this on Pinterest yesterday and it piqued my interest. It made me want to go out on a limb and actually DO it. Shocking, but true. So I think I’m gonna! Back soon!


So much has happened since my last post.

There are things that you talk about on a blog, and things that you don’t. There are things that I will be able to share publicly one day, but for now, the details will have to remain unknown. This July, I made the very difficult decision to remove myself and my daughters from an abusive situation. The last few months have been a challenge, a roller coaster. They have been some of the happiest and most stressful and most angry times of my life. I have never felt more free, more capable, more determined, or more overwhelmed. I have never had more hope for the future.

With a new life comes a new blog! It feels weird to continue tacking posts of my new life onto a blog from a past that seems so far away emotionally. So come on over to Happy Place and check out our new life! It’s deliciously pink…

How to Make Frog Invitations

Finished Froggy

These turned out so cute!  And they were easy!  Best of all, I came up with them all by myself, which gives me some serious bragging rights… Woohoo!

Wanna make some?

To make twelve invitations, you will need:

  • 2 Pieces of Green Construction Paper (I chose two different shades)
  • 2 3×5 cards or other stiff paper
  • 24 googly eyes
  • Elmer’s Glue
  • Scissors
  • Black pen or thin marker
  • Decorative 81/2 x 11 paper suitable for printing

Let’s start with a plan!  I sketched out the shapes I would need on 3×5 cards, and cut them out.

frog invitation templates

The top oval is the head, and the bottom one is the body.  The left foot is for both front feet, and the right leg and foot is for both back legs.  I took a paper cup, cut off the rim, and squeezed it slightly to give me a good oval shape to trace.

Something I read recently said that human instinct causes us to think that disproportionately large heads are cute, since babies have disproportionately large heads.  I decided to use that principle here.

Time to cut out!  I folded a light green and dark green paper each into sixths.  Arranging carefully, I was actually able to fit the head, the body, and two each of the legs, plus two little circles for the eyes, onto a single sixth of construction paper.  I cut all 6 layers at once to save time.

Frog Parts

To add interest, I used contrasting colors for the head and body versus the legs and eyes.

Time to assemble!

Gluing Head to Body

First step, glue the head to the body (I used regular old Elmer’s glue).

Glue for Front Legs

Frog Legs!

Next, apply two dots of glue to the center of the body and glue the front legs on.  If, like mine, your froggy feet are a little crooked, you can flip one of the legs backwards to make them symmetrical.

Froggy Eyes

Next, glue the eyes to the top corners of the head, making sure that they stick out above the head.

Froggy Butt Glue

Frog Hind Legs

Now, flip him over and add a couple dots of glue to his little butt.  Glue his hind legs into place.

Googly Eyes

Finally, glue on some googly eyes.  I bought my baggie of them at the Dollar Tree.  Can’t beat that!

Let them dry on parchment paper, then use a pen or marker to add a mouth and nose.

Mouth and Nose

Now, if you’re doing this for a little boy, you may wish to stop reading now, or at least give the next part your own little twist.  But this was supposed to be a PURPLE froggy party for my little princess, and so far, we had no purple.  Moreover, I was dismayed to discover that neither of my packages of construction paper contained purple.  What to do?

Well, I dug around in the art cabinet and found a dried up bottle of purple glitter paint.  I added some water, let it sit for a bit, and then gave Ariel a paint brush and a piece of poster board.

Purple for Crowns

Once it dried, I cut rectangles from it and glued them to the back of each frog, purple side facing forward.   I left a good inch above the head of each frog.

I cut around the body, and then cut a little crown from the piece above the frog’s head.

Crowned Princess Frog

Last step, I promise!  I typed out a short invitation message and printed it on a piece of green scrapbooking paper, and glued that to the back.

Invitation Text

And there you have it!  Aren’t they super cute!??  Felicity loved running around with hers, croaking “ibbit!  ibbit!”  I’m told that her cousin did the same thing!

A Do-It-Yourself Frog Birthday Party

When I consulted with Ariel in early January about her birthday, I asked her what kind of a party she wanted.
“Mmmm, purple!” she quickly decided.

“Okay, purple, we can do that!  Is there anything else you want it to be about?  Like maybe an animal?  Do you want a horsey party, or a kitty party, or a doggy party, or a froggy party, or –”

“A froggy party!  Yeah!  Yeah!  A froggy party!”

And so it was decided.  My little girl’s 3rd birthday party – her first themed party – would be a froggy party.

My budget was, well, no money.  But I kinda wanted that Martha Stewart, I-did-it-all-myself-and-don’t-you-wish-you-were-as-perfect-a-mom-as-I-am look (me?  vain?  never!), so I figured maybe I could make that work WITH the lack of budget, in my favor.

Well, suffice to say, by the end of the party, the other moms there were calling me “Martha.”  😀 Wanna see how I did it?  Stay tuned!

Getting Organized for Cold and Flu Season

KK, so my Village Green ladies and I are supposed to be taking pictures of our homes or things/people in our homes as if they were for a magazine article, and posting them.  So here’s my first one.


And here’s my little mini-article, for good measure:

With the cold and flu season upon us, now is a great time to reorganzie your medicine cabinet!  This can be a daunting task after months of haphazard grabbing and shoving.  Here are a few quick tips to get your started!

  • Start by clearing off a counter or table nearby.  You’ll need room to sort your medications in full view.
  • Toss anything empty, expired, or no longer needed (like that teething medication for your preschooler!)
  • Separate your pills by usage.  Try grouping them into Cold Remedies, Pain Killers, Supplements, Gastrointestinal Aids, etc.  When you’re looking for something to keep your nose from dripping at work, you’ll be so glad to have a selection of cold remedies in one spot!
  • Label and replace.  Decide where each group will go, and put it away.  Labels will make everything easy to find later, and will help everyone remember not to put the vitamins with the cough drops.
  • Now take a look!  What is missing?  Maybe you have plenty of cough drops, but no decongestants!  Take a minute to think through what you may need this winter and add it to your shopping list.

It only takes a few minutes, and you’ll be thanking yourself all winter long!