Author Archives: ky_admin

Skyscraper: Our Kindergarten Project

As I planned our curriculum for kindergarten this year I read that kindergarteners are supposed to learn about architecture. Architecture, did you say? Oooooh, yes please! We had already fallen in love with Science Comics and they have a book called Skyscrapers. It’s full of witty jokes, super hero references and a breadth of knowledge-I learned a lot! This book was so good that I used it as a “how to” and Fierce and I made a trip to the salvage lot, Home Depot, Lowes, a recycling center…you name it, we collected it.

Initially, I bought him his own set of all the tools we would need. I don’t keep a tin snips and cement trowel on hand, for example. The first step was creating an environment for him to do a small scale skyscraper. I started with an old styrofoam cooler and filled it with dirt on the bottom and sand on top so it could symbolize the different layers of earth one would have to dig through. The styrofoam bottom served as our bedrock. Then I had 8×8 inch walls cut out of corrugated pads. Ours didn’t interlock like the professionals so it was very hard to keep the dirt back and out of our basement. This was great for Fierce to experience!


Once the walls were in place he measured out the water and added it to cement mix to create and then pour a cement basement. We were on our way! My husband walked in to check on our craziness and suggested that Fierce write his initials in the cement so he did and it was definitely a fun touch to the project. Once that dried, we came back and measured, cut and placed interior barrier walls so that we could pour cement walls into our molds. We made sure all of the cement walls were level.

Then came our first floor. Again, I had thin metal sheets cut into 8×8 inch squares to act as metal sheeting. Then we used the tin snips to cut metal mesh to act as our rebar. Fierce asked for stairs going from the basement to the first floor so I also cut a hole the size of a cookie cutter in the metal sheet while he made a Lego staircase. Then we re-applied the corrugated walls around the exterior and poured a cement floor. Before we walked away to let it all dry again, I had Fierce place four long bolts in each corner to be our pilons and supports for the upper floors. Then we placed another sheet of metal sheeting on top and made sure everything was level again.

We repeated this process for every floor thereafter until the final floor where Fierce stuck a bucket zombie from the game Plants vs. Zombies as the spire on top. Only once did a whole floor of cement come crashing down into my hands resulting in Fierce tearfully walking away. I was able to rescue it and he came back to check it out with a look of approval.


Of course we were not done…no! I have done stained glass in the past so I already had a glass cutter. I bought a whole sheet of glass and then cut the 8×8 inch squares myself. Fierce placed them on three sides of the structure and then used epoxy to secure them. He wanted to leave one side open so he could reach in easily and play with it later. Our skyscraper may not be earthquake resistant. lol. Especially since he wanted to leave the top floor completely open like a roof deck.

In the end we put a string of battery powered lights inside and put a few deck fences with some of the extra “rebar.” For a final touch we painted the cooler blue and purple. We didn’t keep a schedule in making this project. I wanted it to be something fun for us to do together. It is pretty involved and I wanted him to do most of the work so we took our time and it took us a few months to complete. I am pretty proud of our little experiment and when asked Fierce said it was good and gave it two thumbs up.

He Made a Way Where There Was No Way


God has been so faithful to me. He instantaneously healed my back of scoliosis when I was a kid. He brought me through breast cancer 4 years ago. And now he is currently directing me through metastatic breast cancer. I found a random cancerous lump on my back last July which shocked the doctors and brought my case to the board so a treatment plan could be assessed. I had a PET scan done that showed it is in several places throughout my body. This is something that isn’t really supposed to happen when you are on Tamoxifen. I saw a neurologist because the cancer has “eaten” away bits of my spine and they wanted to make sure I wasn’t at risk of a fracture in my atlas. The doctor told me not to fall or get in a car accident. I found that a bit humorous. I am getting an Xgeva shot to build up bone strength and taking supplements to help as well. Then I had my ovaries and fallopian tubes removed because both progesterone and estrogen are feeding the cancer. I just started two different drugs to block any remaining hormones left in my body. I had another gene study done, but that has been pretty much ruled out now. So this is the best treatment plan going forward. I have no side effects so far so I am pretty happy about that!

I feel great! It’s always a bit up and down when you are waiting for results or anxious to get treatment started, etc. However, through it all I have been at peace with everything. Of course there is loss like not being able to have another child, but then I look at the child I have and wow! I am blessed! Wes is so great through all of this. He is an amazing level headed person who I can rely on for strength.

Last time I had cancer I had to cancel my travel plans. This time, I was able to take Fierce to Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Spain, Andorra and meet up with my brother in Milan, Italy. All this just 8 days after surgery. I didn’t have any problems at all and I walked EVERYWHERE…lol. Thank you Lord! I appreciated it like breath to breath.

Cut Flower Garden

My Latest Hobby

The Beginnings of a Cut Flower Garden

I LOVE flowers. So…when my sister-in-law gave me “Floret Farms Cut Flower Garden” by Erin Benzakein, I was thrilled! I couldn’t wait to get started! This book helps you plan for a flower farm if you really wanted to undertake that en-devour. For me, I ordered one type of seeds and thought I would give it a try.


Cosmos are annuals, but the more you cut them, the more they produce so you have adorable little flowers all summer long. They are very tall plants and took up quite a lot more space than I thought they would, but thankfully I planted them in front of some trees and behind my iris’ so they provided the perfect height balance…whew! The book does say: “These plants get very bushy and prefer a little extra room to spread out, so space plants 12 to 18 inches apart.” Oh, the details 😉

Another great feature of these flowers is that they last for about a week in a vase. One tip is to harvest the flowers when the buds have not quite opened up yet, but are colored.

I hope you all try these next spring! Sow the seedlings 4 weeks before the last frost  and then plant them into the garden once the danger of frost is past. Happy planting!

Let Me Plan Your Next Trip

Your Personal Travel Guide

Vacation on the horizon? Awesome!

So many people have to work extra before their vacation in order to leave and not worry about loose ends, etc., leaving no time to read an entire guide book, much less make a plan. You tell yourself you will read it on the plane, but let’s be honest, you end up watching a movie and trying to sleep. Instead, hire me to plan your trip for you by personalizing your tour guide book around your interests and schedule.

Your personal plan for your trip will include:

  • ♦ Purchase a DK Travel Guide corresponding with the country(s) you are visiting.
  • ♦ Star the most important/interesting things to see.
  • ♦ Mark all applicable maps with your hotel location.
  • ♦ Based on the amount of time you have each day to tour, your preferences and map proximity, I will write out a personal guide for each day.
  • ♦ Organize your day by the times and days certain destinations are open so that you have the best chance of seeing as much as possible.
  • ♦ Include restaurant recommendations for dinner that correspond to the area you are touring each day.
  • ♦ Highlight tips about culture, dress code, currency used, etc.

The Main Trip Layout

Each overall plan will be laid out with the day of the week, date, city or area to be explored and activities or destinations (indicated by the #’s which also correspond with the #’s the guide book uses on its descriptions and maps). This will be placed onto the inside cover of your book.

After making your purchase, please fill out this form so I can better assist you in planning your trip.

Please only list the country(s) & City(s) you will want travel guides personalized. If you list more than one, please select the total number you would like at the checkout.
Please let me know what dates and times you will have available to tour. For example, if you are on a business trip and only have the afternoons to tour, I will choose destinations to see that are open at that time.
If you would like your flight, hotel, tour guides, etc. confirmation codes written in one place on the book so that you have them all together, please list them here.
In order to best recommend restaurants for you. Please also list if you would like to do fine dining, just a quick bite or a variation of the two.

Turn Around Time: 7-10 days (including shipping)

Contact Us with any questions you may have.

A Tasty Bite

A New Party Favorite

We watch a lot of movies at our house and about half way through, my husband will ask, “What’s for something?” I usually make a quick snack and lately I have been a bit bored of the usual options. I decided to throw this tasty treat together and it is a new favorite at our house. First you taste the buttery flavor of the cracker with the salt of the kalamata olive. Then you taste the creamy goodness of the goat cheese complimented with the sweet guava paste. I hope you like it!


  • ♦ Ritz Crackers (original)
  • ♦ Goya Guava Paste
  • ♦ Goat Cheese
  • ♦ Sliced Kalamata Olives

Recipe: Put a small slice of guava paste on each cracker followed by an equal amount of goat cheese and topped with a kalamata olive.

Easy and Delicious!

You can buy most of these ingredients at your local grocery store or international grocery store, but here are a few links to make life easy:

◊ Goya Guava Paste: Goya Guava Paste 21 Ounce Can Pasta de Guayaba (2 Pack)

◊ Mezzetta Sliced Greek Kalamata Olives: Mezzetta Sliced Greek Kalamata Olives, 9.5 Oz (Pack of 2)

◊ Ritz Crackers: Ritz Original Crackers, 10.3 Ounce (Pack of 6)

◊ Serving Tray: Silver Serving Tray Stainless Steel – 22″ L x 16″ W x 3/4 H

An Introduction to the Periodic Table of Elements for Toddlers

Periodic Table of Elements
From A to Z

Fierce (my 2 year old son) and I were painting one morning and I thought to myself, “Why not paint the Periodic Table of Elements?” Next thought, “Just buy a poster board.” “Naaa, it will be fun.” So I got out a bulletin board and set to work making my custom colored Periodic Table complete with gold trim. I measured and painted away. The hardest and most tedious part was painting in all of the names of the elements.

This was meant to just be an introduction to the elements so I decided to build upon a concept he already knows. Using the alphabet as a guide we started with Al is for Aluminum and did one letter/element each day until we reached Zn is for Zinc. There are no elements that start with J or Q so we just skipped them. We added one bonus element, Cl is for chlorine, because we were in the pool and it occurred to me that this would be a great real life representation of chlorine. I made it a point to try to find real life examples of each element that he would recognize or already know in a tangible way.

This was not at all an overwhelming task. It took me literally 5 minutes a day to look up an example and go over the general idea of the element. Some days he would have a lot of fun with it and we would make up games to go along with the theme of the element. Other days, I would just remind him a couple of times throughout the day and ask him if he remembered at the end of the day. I let him pin each item on the board. Sometimes I had to start it and he would push it in the rest of the way and then hang the item. If he wasn’t interested, I didn’t force the issue and just did it myself while talking about the element. Honestly it was really easy and just a matter of being mindful of the concept you were teaching throughout the day and days to come. I can’t say my son knows them all, but he knows quite a few and I think we will continue to revisit the ones we have already explored and learn the rest soon!

Al is for Aluminum

Aluminum foil! Of course! Ya, I didn’t have any. I actually had to remember to get some next time we went to the store…What? Who doesn’t have aluminum foil? Ahhhhh!

B is for Boron

For the first time ever, I was not upset when I broke one of my ceramic dinner plates. Boron is found in ceramic and it was now a great hands on example!

C is for Carbon

Carbon fiber is used in race cars so I had Fierce hang up one of his match box cars on the board. He was not too sure about this, but I soon distracted him with a different car to play with. We also watched a YouTube movie on how carbon fiber is used to make the body of a car.

Cl is for Chlorine

Fierce swallowed some pool water at the gym the other day and said, “Yuck, patooee!” I told him there was chlorine in the pool that gave the water that yucky taste and Cl is for Chlorine! It wasn’t apart of our alphabet, but it was a good way to introduce chlorine on the spot as a bonus element. When we got home, we hung up a picture of him at the pool on the board.

Db is for Dubnium

Dubnium is DANGEROUS! I used alliteration and a thunderous voice to make this fun. Then I explained that it was radioactive and I drew the radioactive symbol to put on the board. I am not sure he would remember Db is for Dubnium, but he definitely knows Dubnium is DANGEROUS!!!!

Eu is for Europium

Trace amounts of europium are found in a postage stamp so I found a used one and he pinned it to the board.

F is for Fluorine

Did you know fluorine was in the fuel for spaceships????? Um, YES! Fierce thought this was awesome! I rolled, folded and cut up post-it notes until they somewhat looked like a rocket ship and he very enthusiastically said, “3, 2, 1 Blast off!” and we pinned it to the board.

Ga is for Gallium

I really didn’t think Fierce was paying much attention to Ga is for Gallium. But throughout the day when I saw a mirror, I would repeat, “Ga is for Gallium and it is found in mirrors…how cool is that?!” A few days later we were looking in a mirror and I asked him, “What does Ga stand for?” He replied, “Gallium!” I was shocked and not for the first time I thought to myself, “You just don’t know what they are soaking in their little minds…so fun!”

H is for Hydrogen

This is actually the first element we ever talked about and that conversation launched this whole idea. Hydrogen is found in the sun so I cut out a picture of the sun from a flash card and he pinned it up on the board.

I is for Iodine

For iodine I had him pour salt into a ziplock bag and then pinned it up to the board.

K is for Kalium/ Potassium

Life is full of exceptions and K is for Potassium not a name that actually starts with K…Or so I thought. K is for Kalium originally, which we call potassium today. Potassium is found in fireworks so we headed to the dollar store and bought sparklers, snap-its and party poppers. For $3 we had a whole afternoon of fun and even saved some for when daddy got home so Wes and Fierce could do some more! Fierce would only participate in throwing the snap-its, but really enjoyed watching the sparklers light up and the poppers pop out confetti. It was a really fun day.

Li is for Lithium

Lithium is found in batteries. Fierce is a bit obsessed with batteries because it “fixes” his toys. I pinned up the battery package to the board because it was easier than putting up a battery itself.

Mg is for Magnesium

Magnesium is found in volcanoes! I cut out a picture of a volcano from a flash card and he pinned it to the board. Then we watched a YouTube video on the recent volcanic eruption in Hawaii.

N is for Nitrogen

We had a busy day so I introduced N is for Nitrogen at the dinner table and Wes told us it was in lightning. After dinner I drew a lightning bolt and Fierce pinned it up. It was a fun one because the whole family got involved in the discussion and learning process 🙂

O is for Oxygen

O is for OOOOxygen! Fierce really inflects this one and it is pretty cute. Oxygen is found in water and plastics so we put a water bottle with a little water left in it on our board.

P is for Phosphorus

Phosphorous is found in your bones so we made our own little cardboard and tape skeleton. He liked telling me what body parts we needed next. Not gonna lie, I probably would have just done a head, body, arms and legs, but he insisted we have hands and feet. lol

Ra is for Radium

Radium glows in the dark so I got out a race car with wheels that glow in the dark and we played with it in closets and under furniture. He was not at all willing to pin this to the board so it remains off the board. Can’t win them all 😉

S is for Sulfur

It is also found in Tires. Fierce thought this was great so he threw a toy car tire into a fort we had made and then once we were inside said, “Oh no! It is stinky!” and we had to scramble out as fast as we could…and repeat 100x. If you ask him what S stands for he will pinch his nose and say Sulfur is stinky!

Ti is for Titanium

Titanium is found in the metal on airplanes. I pinned up one of his planes to the board. He has tried to take this down on a few occasions, but it has held fast…Mom for the win!

U is for Uranium

I told Fierce that uranium is used to make energy as I drew a rough sketch of a power plant. The next time we were at the Science Museum, I pointed out their sketch on uranium as well. He was not that interested. The battery, coal and wind farm examples were a lot more fun sooo….still on the lookout to find a way to make this interesting for him.

V is for Vanadium

Vanadium is found in springs so I opened up a broken toy and yanked out one of the springs where the batteries are held. He thought this was fun to watch, but disappointed that I wasn’t actually going to fix the toy. Sorry kid, this is for science!

W is for Tungston

W is for Tungsten and that is Wierd.  Tools made of tungsten can cut through metal so we hung up one of his play tools on the board.

Xe is for Xenon

Xenon is a blue gas in earth’s atmosphere. For this one I drew a picture of blue gas with crayon and called it good 😉

Y is for Yttrium

Yttrium is found in LED light bulbs so we hung one of these up with a twist tie.

Zn is for Zinc

Zinc is in every cell of your body and in the food that you eat. It helps you to grow. To represent growth we hung up a measuring tape. I had my husband take a picture of me boosting Fierce up to pin the last piece on the board. It is a little blurry, but I think you can tell we had fun with this project.

The Perfect Latte

How to Make the Perfect Latte

I am a bit of a coffee drinker. I can’t wait to have my first cup in the morning and sit and watch the birds. I also have a two year old so the bird watching is not as achievable as the latte 😉 Then, like clockwork 2:00 pm rolls around and I need my “crutch cup of coffee.” I just like it. My 3rd and final latte of the day occurs at about 10:00 pm while I relax and watch a movie…and yes I sleep at night.

Better than Starbucks

After trying my latte, a friend said it was better than Starbucks and she was coming over every morning for a cup of coffee from then on…

The Perfect Latte:

  • ♥ For those who like sugar (ie: my husband): Put 1-2 tbs of white sugar, stir and drink.
  • ♥ For the Perfect Latte: Just add a sprinkling of cinnamon on top, stir and enjoy!
  • ♠ Note: I used 2 different sized cups to show you can use either with the machine. For a taller coffee mug, you just have to remove the Tray.

Rose Petal Tea

Collecting Your Blooms

Harvest your rose petals when they first bloom because this is when they are the most fragrant. I know, I know, this will be hard! Remember, you only need a few blooms for the tea so you will still get to keep your rose bush mostly undisturbed.

If you do pick a few to store, you will need to dry them in a dehydrator or in an oven at a low temperature.

Another quick note: You will want to make sure that the store you buy your roses from did not spray them with chemicals.

How to Make Rose Petal Tea

Put boiling water in your tea pot and then add 3 roses.

Let the tea steep for 3-5 minutes.

Pour a cup of tea and enjoy!

Medicinal Benefits of Rose Tea

Rose petal tea is said to help prevent digestive problems, cleanse the bladder and kidneys and help with stress. It can also be a laxative if taken in excess, so one should drink it in moderation.

Rose petal tea is very light tasting and I really enjoyed it’s warmth. I also tried the tea after it soaked overnight and liked it even more. The taste was floral adding to the beauty of this lovely drink. I hope you try it as well! Let me know what you think 🙂

Honeysuckle Tea

This morning I gathered yellow honeysuckle for my morning tea. The tea has a vibrant yellow color, smells a bit like grass and has a very calm or mild green tea taste. It was a beautiful way to start my weekend 🙂


Honeysuckle…to be or not to be?

To Be: Honeysuckle petals make a delicious and fragrant tea. It is said to help with coughs, reduce temperature and to remove toxins from the body (laxative). Avoid putting the leaves of the plant in the tea because it will make it taste bitter.

Not To Be: Do NOT put the honeysuckle berries in your tea or eat them. They are poisonous!

To Be: Hummingbirds love these plants so you will be able to sip tea and watch nature’s beauty.

Not To Be: Other wildlife also like these plants such as bees and moths…hmmmm

Anyways, it is best to harvest the petals when they first bloom because this is when they are the most fragrant. You can use the petals fresh or dry them. Boil water in your tea pot, pour it into your teacup to warm it up and then empty your tea pot. Place about 10 petals into your tea pot and pour boiling water (176-185°f) over the tea. Then steep for 3 minutes. Enjoy! You can also try it chilled. Both ways are delicious!

If you want to check out the book I have been basing my tea garden on, I really love and recommend it!: Homegrown Tea: An Illustrated Guide to Planting, Harvesting, and Blending Teas and Tisanes

Lilac Iced Tea

Lilac Iced Tea is one of my new favorites! I read it was bitter, but honestly I loved it!

To make the tea, I put about 3 blooms into a cold brew coffee infuser and let it sit over night. The next day I tried it over ice and had a brilliant idea…Lilac Ice Cubes! I already had these cute mini bunt cake molds so I wrapped a bloom around the center of each mold, filled them with water and let them set in the freezer. A couple of hours later I had the most adorable ice cubes I have ever seen and would be perfect for a wedding shower. Love Love Love!!!!