Sunday, September 20, 2009

Thank you!

Nature Girl loves swap Mail! Here she is hugging her Back To School Swap package from Zoey.

This is wahat we mailed off to Zoey. She loves music and since she hasn't officially started school we went with a musical theme for our package. We included the latest Ben Rudnick and Friends CD, a whistle, a plush friend to share the music with and a book. We hope Zoey enjoys her goodies.

This is the package Nature Girl received. She got a book, mini notebooks, pencils, colored pencils, glue sticks, shells and a set of 6 card games. She's had lots of fun with her goodies! Thank you Zoey!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Better Late Than Never

What is your name?

I’m Liz, mama to S (almost five) and K (three.)

Tell a little bit about each of you.

We live year-round on Mackinac Island. Mackinac is a small island located between the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan. Cars are illegal here so everything is done via bicycle, horse power and snowmobile. It is a major tourist attraction in the summer, but in the winter there are only 500 of us here so it is the quintessential small town. Since we live in such a small town, I do not use S and K's real names or show their faces on-line. S loves legos, mermaids and princesses, while K loves her baby dolls, stuffed animals and her Leap Pad. I love to sew, quilt and be crafty.

Do you have any back to school traditions?

Not really. S went to his first year of pre-school last year and K starts her first year in two weeks. So far we just take lots of pictures on that first day.

What's your favorite back to school memory?

Fresh milk! My parents were both teachers so they didn’t get paid all summer long. By the time the end of August rolled around money was really tight. My mom would often try to sneak canned milk into a milk carton to try to save money. She insisted she couldn’t tell the difference – but we sure could. Blech!!

Name one thing you like to do with your child.

We really love to read books together. It is one of S and K’s favorite things.

Tell three things you've learned since becoming a mom?
  1. Criticizing other parents is easy - until you are one. Then you realize things aren’t quite so black and white.
  2. It is different when it is your child. As a teacher people always told me that but I never believed them; now I know it is true.
  3. Having a clean house isn’t as important as spending time with your children.
    What do you like to do?

What do you like to do?

We enjoy geocaching, taking walks through the woods, riding bikes, playing at the park, inventing recipes and reading books.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lisa and Fischer

I guess we are EXTREMELY late introducing ourselves. (We blame the baby.) We had a wonderful swap and want to give a BIG thank you to Amber and B for such an awesome back-to-school package! Fischer is elated! We’ve really enjoyed getting to know B!

What is your name?

I'm Lisa and this is my son, Fischer.

Tell a little bit about each of you.
I am a teacher, but my main student right now is Fischer. I left the classroom shortly after he was born to stay at home with him. Fischer is a very busy boy who loves all kinds of vehicles, sports, space, and anything to do with firemen and their trucks!

Do you have any back to school traditions?
Fischer hasn’t started formal schooling, so he doesn’t really have any traditions yet. Mine, growing up, were back-to-school shopping – my favorite and organizing all of my new school supplies. Like some of you - I still love school supplies.

What's your favorite back to school memory?
My favorite back-to-school memories are actually as a teacher. I love that first day – jitters and all!

Name one thing you like to do with your child.
Fischer and I love to read and sing together. Thankfully, he has no idea that his mother can’t carry a tune! We also love to go to Starbucks -is that bad? ;) Our most favorite thing is to get together with our friends and “play, play, play” – as Fischer puts it.

Tell three things you've learned since becoming a mom?
1. I was the perfect mom – BEFORE I ever had kids!
2. I never knew love like this – Sometimes I miss him when he is asleep.
3. Being a mom makes me want to be and do better.

What do you like to do?
We like to play with friends and family.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Jill And Nature Girl

We're a little late posting our introduction but here it goes.

What is your name and where do you live?
I'm Jill and this is Nature Girl. We live in a rural part of the North East.

Tell a little bit about each of you.
Nature Girl is 5 and begins kindergarten in just a few days. I return to teaching 4th and 5th grade special ed this week. We enjoy reading, crafts and spending time as a family.

Do you have any back to school traditions?
This is Nature Girl's first big school experience as she attended a wonderful little preschool for the last two years. We haven't established many back to school traditions yet but last year I began writing a daily note for her. I leave for my school before she is awake in the morning so I leave a note to greet her. She has really enjoyed this and lets me know if I've forgotten to write the note. She's just beginning to read so the notes should be a good way to practice reading this year.

What's your favorite back to school memory?
Nature Girl says her best school memory is doing projects. I'm a teacher so the best part of going back to school is the school supplies! Who doesn't love buying new crayons and markers. Especially when they're on sale!

Name one thing you like to do with your child.
We like to snuggle up in her bed and read chapter books. It's a good thing she has a full bed. It gets a little squishy with Nature Girl, her dad and I all snuggled up to read a chapter before her bedtime. We look forward to this time of the day. One chapter is never enough and she pleads for another chapter. Of course we give in.

Tell three things you've learned since becoming a mom?

1. There is nothing like the love for your child. My favorite time of day is bed time. I love to snuggle in to read with her but the best time of the day is after she's asleep. When I check on her before I go to sleep she looks so sweet and no matter what kind of day we had I fall in love with her all over again.
2. A child's excitement is contagious. Your child's excitement makes you excited. You believe in the magic of Christmas and fairies again just because your child does. It's wonderful!
3. It's not possible to be a perfect mom but there are a lot of ways to be a good mom.
4. After having a child you will never have privacy again. I have an audience for everything I do. Then again I'm never lonely.

What do you like to do?
We like to watch movies, read books, do craft projects and spend time as a family.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Have you met Misty?

What is your name and where do you live? My name is Misty and I married to Chw (who isn't in the photo as it's the first one I found.) We live in the Boise Metro aread of Idaho.

Tell a little bit about each of your children. We have one daughter, by adoption, who is 10. She is a firecracker- obsessed with theater, art and reading.

Do you have any back to school traditions? We home school so not really. Our "break times" are just about as fun as our "school times" just constructed a little different! :)

What's your favorite back to school memory? New clothes. That's about as exciting as going back to school was for me.

Name one thing you like to do with each child you have. My daughter and I love to swim together and read together. I know that's two things, but they are a definite tie!

Tell three things you've learned since becoming a mom? 1} Nothing is simple, and parenting is the least of this. Parenting a child with an attachment disorder has been like nothing I could ever have prepared for. 2} Enjoy every second, they disappear to quickly. 3} Clothes shopping for little girls is awesome.

What do you do for fun? Swim, read, travel, the wii, giggle, movies...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Introducing Amber!

What is your name and where do you live?
My name is Amber and I am married to Matt. Our son is B.

Tell a little bit about each of your B.
B is 4 1/2 years old and ALL BOY. He is a train fanatic. He also loves Hot Wheels, Superman, Tom and Jerry, and Scooby Doo. He is an only child. B will be attending his second year of Montessori pre-school this fall. He loves going to school and his teachers. B has many grandparents that live only minutes away who enjoys spending time with. He has just learned to ride his bike with no training wheels. One of his favorite things to do is wrestle with his dad, who is the head wrestling coach in our town.

Do you have any back to school traditions?
Since last year was B's first year in pre-school, we don't have a lot of traditions yet. We did the usual photo at the front door with his backpack on. We also took a picture on the last day with is teachers.

What's your favorite back to school memory?
When I was growing up, I would lay all of my school supplies out and make a big display of them. I would pack and repack my bag several times before the new year started. As I was older, I remember my mom playing this one song, "Good Morning Little School Girl" by Johnny Lang so loud. She would dance crazy and after a few minutes we would all be laughing, singing along, and dancing. A great way to get a smile on our faces as we were not happy to be going back to school.

Name one thing you like to do with each child you have.
I love showing B new things that I know will amaze him.

Tell three things you've learned since becoming a mom?
1. It's much much harder than I ever imagined.
2. It is much much scarier than I would have imagined.
3. I didn't know I could love anyone so very very much! He is my biggest motivation to be the best I can be. He is behind all of the choices I make.

What do you do for fun?
We act crazy and silly, we swim, we go to the mall to play trains at the book store. We ride bikes, play games, and visit local parks, museums, and playgrounds. We get together with our friends, have picnics in the yard, and camp in our living room while watching movies.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Here's Meg!!!

1) Who are you and where are you from? My name is Michelle (aka Meg)I am a woman becoming a midwife (Right now that means full time 3rd year BSN nursing student) , a mom, and someone who loves to help women transition to being mothers, whether that means cooking a meal, helping them learn to breast-feed, or sitting and listening. I was born in Mississippi, live in Ohio and from California since I lived there for 27 years!

2) Tell me a little about each of your kids.Lacy age 5 is very artistic and I think will love drama. She just finished circus camp and after the performance she said it was the bestest moment of her whole life.Oliver age 3 is into trains, pirates, and ghosts. He loves to tell long complicated stories, usually about ghosts. He is a kick and a handful all in the same breath. He is very sensitive and also loves to do intricate things like play with small plastic animals and build with legos. He does art if his sister is doing it. Ashby- At one it is hard to know who Ashby will be. But she loves to be in the in the thick of things with the older kids and she seems very smart with baby math concepts. She hates water which means all 12 o her baths have been traumatizing to everyone involved.

3) What's your favorite back to school memory? I don't have any memories per se. But, I do remember always being really excited and not being able to sleep the night before.

4) I know you homeschool, will you do anything special to mark the beginning of the school year with your kids?We are officially starting the 18 of this month, I got Lacy a backpack! I think she will be thrilled!

5) Name one thing you like to do with each child.Lacy- I enjoy sitting and doing observational drawing.Oliver- I like go grocery shopping with Oliver. It is sort of our special thing. We get a cookie.Ashby- I like to hold Ashby when she sleeps. But she thinks my favorite thing to do is nurse! Haha!

6) What's an activity you like to do with all 3 kids?We have started going on walks and I love that.

7) Three things you've learned since becoming a mom? 1-That the person who just cut me off may have had a really hard morning with their small children.2-That I am much calmer if I slow down, don't hurry and focus on the moment.3-That children are very forgiving, thank goodness, because I make a lot of mistakes.

8) What do you do for fun?I love to use my camera, read, knit, sew, and I especially enjoy doing research, any kind (academic, internet for personal research, whatever!)

9) HOw long have you been married and what's the best thing about your husband?I have been married for 9 years!!!! I think the the thing I most enjoy about my husband is that he likes to play games with me and is a good sport! I think the best thing about him is that he is loyal and dedicated to doing his job well, whether it is as an employee, a dad, or a husband. (In spite of all this we still find time to have the normal marriage "loud conversations!!!")

10) One thing you would like people to know about you? Hmmmm.... I think secretly I wish that people knew that I am very lonely in Ohio and also very smart, not stuck up or judgmental like I come across when I am insecure, so don't tell anyone all you blog readers! But, I will just write on here that I am trying to learn how to RUN!!! I can go 20 minutes right now!!! Really slowly, it's not the distance that matters!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Introducing...Mag of Meg and Mag!!!

No one has posted introductions yet so I thought I would get us started by introducing Mag to you all. I interviewed her this AM!

Who are you and where do you live? Melissa (aka Mag) from Spokane, WA

What is your favorite back to school memory? My mom taking pictures of me on the first day of school. I think she tried to do that every year. I plan on doing it with my kids.

How many children do you have and what are their names and ages? Two kids, Sammy is 5 and Abby is 2, but they will both have birthdays before the end of the month.

What is your favorite thing to do with your kids? It would have to be swimming. It is something they both love and the three of us can do together.
What is your kids favorite thing to do with you? Probably to sit on my lap and have my undivided attention for awhile.

What are three things that you have learned since becoming a mother? 1) It is not easy and I don't know what someone else's story is, so I shouldn't judge other parents too harshly. 2) I am my children's number one advocate and I have to be the one to stand up for them even if it is uncomfortable for me. 3) I should base my parenting decisions on what I think is best and appropriate for my kids and not worry too much about what other people will think.

How do you unwind? Talking over the day with my husband after the kids are in bed.

What one chore do you love and which one do you hate? Hate, hate, hate laundry. I don't know if I could actually say that I love any chores, but I do not mind watering the lawn.

Ok, who's next?

Stubby Pencil Studio

Hi Swapping Friends,
I (Meg) wanted to let you know about a special store our family loves. I actually just bought gifts there this morning for Mag's kids birthdays coming up. It is called Stubby Pencil Studio. Our gift closet has the recycled cards that my kids color to include with presents they give, the crayon rocks and then I buy coloring books like Rosie Flo's and we have a unique gift everytime without buying lots of plastic or risking giving something the child already has! Here are some questions that I asked Kate the owner, who is a mom herself and has twin girls. She started the store so that other moms like her would have a place a buy eco friendly art supplies. She is lots of fun to talk to. So call her up if you want. ;) And if you place an order than please make sure to check the specials page (at the top under the header to the left) because she is always giving away free stuff!
A brief Interview with Kate:

What is your favorite school memory?
New Shoes

How would you describe Stubby Pencil Studio?
Stubby Pencil Studio offers earth friendly alternatives for art and craft supplies like crayons made from soy - not petroleum; stationery, greeting cards, sketchbooks and journals made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper - not virgin trees; pencils made from sustainably harvested wood and recycled newspapers - not dying forests. You'll also find natural play dough, non-toxic wooden toys, do-it-yourself kits, reusable bags, birthday party favors, and many other fun and creative eco products for families.

What essentials do you think every kid needs to do spontaneous art?
First pick - watercolor crayons - they are a water-soluble crayon - meaning they turn your drawing into a watercolor as soon as you touch it with a wet brush. Super fun and immediate results - without much of a mess. We keep a drawer filled with art supplies for our girls - watercolor paper, blank sketchbooks, crayons, pencils, markers, scissors, glue sticks... They'll open the drawer and get creative for hours on end.

Of the products you sell, which is your favorite?
We have a brand new item that I'm super excited about - eco stars. They are star shaped crayons (recycled from 100% old, broken and discarded crayons) They are perfect for little hands and kids just LOVE them.

(Oh and by the way, no kick back, incentive or payment was received for posting this. I just wanted to share a fun back to school resource with you!) Happy Swapping Meg (and Mag)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Blog Invites Just Sent Out

If you are new to our swap, we sent out an invatation to contribute to the swap blog today. It should be fairly self explanatory, but you will need a google account to be able to sign in. Let us know if you have any trouble and we will walk you through the process. Feel free to do a post introducing yourself to the group and/or share ideas here on the swap blog. If you have swapped with us before, then you should still be able to post this time around, but we can send you a new invite if you are having problems.

We have a small group this time, so it would be fun if we could all get to know eachother, not just our partners. One way to do that is to visit and comment on one another's blogs. If you don't have a blog, don't worry--you can always post here. Here's a list of links to all the swap participant's blogs (they are also in the sidebar):

The Quilted Turtle

Monday, August 3, 2009

Did you get it? Check your email and start your engines!!!

The little people swap is now underway. Partner emails were sent out this afternoon and it looks like we will have a fun group this year!!! Check back here frequently for updates, intros, pictures, and ideas! Meg and Mag

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Calling all procrastinators!!!

Tomorrow is the last day for sign ups! So if you have been waiting jump on board! Meg and Mag

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sign-Ups Are Open!

Okay everybody, sign-ups are open for the Fall 2009 Back-to-School Swap. Here are the guidelines:

1) Introduce yourself via e-mail to your partner once the pairs have been assigned and exchange a quick questionnaire to help you get acquainted. Parnters will be assigned beginning of August.

2) Put together a back-to-school themed package for your partner. If you sign your children up individually, you should spend around $10 plus shipping. If you sign-up as a family, you should spend about $20 plus shipping.

3) Mail your package by August 15th or a date agreed upon with your partner.

4) Send some kind of thank-you to your partner: it could be mailed, e-mailed or posted on the swap blog.

5) It would also be nice to see participants post to the swap blog (we will send out invitations that will allow you to do so). You can feel free to introduce yourself and your family, post ideas that you would like to share for the swap, give hints to your partner, and also post a thank-you. We have loved seeing pictures of what everyone swapped in the past. Posting is not a requirement, but it does let all the participants interact a little more and adds to the fun!

What To Do to Sign-up:

1) Send an e-mail to no later than July 31st, 2009.

2) Tell us:
  • your name
  • e-mail address
  • names and ages of children participating
  • individual or family?--if you sign-up individually, each child will send and receive their own package; likewise if you sign-up as a family, your whole family will send and receive one package
  • names of people you have swapped with in the past
  • your blog address, if you have one
  • the state you live in (we try to pair people with someone outside their state)
  • if you are/are not willing to ship internationally (in the past we have had participants from Canada & Australia in addition to people from all over the US)

We will send you an e-mail to confirm that you have been signed-up within a day or so, and then send out your partner's info the beginning of August.

Feel free to share this info with anyone you think would be interested, we would like to have our biggest group ever this time around! Also, if you have a blog, we would appreciate it so much if you did a short post about the swap and link back to the swap blog.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Drumroll please...

Mag and I have been talking about the swap, a theme or no theme? Family or individual. As we have bantered back and forth we have shared ideas and then this morning she sent me this quote: "Do you remember the movie 'You've Got Mail' where Tom Hanks tells Meg Ryan he would like to send her a bouquet of sharpened pencils and she buys a bunch of school supplies and sniffs scotch tape? That was one of my all time favorite movies." I remember that part Mag and I too love school supplies and all the hope that goes along with a new year of school. Here at my house, this is Meg speaking, we home school and will start our first year of homeschooling. But, that doesn't mean we don't know the excitement that goes along with Fall and the fresh start of a new academic year. So no matter what your school situation: Jr. High, Elementary, homeschool, unschool, boarding school, pre-school or no school we would love to have you join in the fun. We would like this to be the biggest swap ever. So pass the word. We have decided from all the feedback that the swap is going to be individual based on pairing children. Since this has been requested in the past. But, we do not want to leave anyone out so if you would like to have a family swap then include that when you sign up. We will open sign ups soon and have more information on the specifics. Right now the guidelines are Individual swap of $10 and lots of creativity and Family swap of $20 and lots of creativity. Also we will be allowing kids from 2-15 participate and will do our best to pair up ages. So you folks with older kids may just end up with a pen pal out all this!!!
And the theme is:

Back to school, rules!!!

OK, now go recruit everyone you know!!!! Let's get ready to play!!! "Hey, you, no throwing sand, or you will have to repeat Kindergarden!!"

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hello, is anybody there?

Heeellllllloooooooo! (Echo)

We are shaking off our hibernation, we slept in this year, and waking up. In Ohio our winter was very cold and in Washington it was very snowy! I don't know about Mag but we did not have a spring.

So, anyone up for the 2009 swap?

I have some questions to ask, feel free to reply in the comments section. We will take all your ideas into account as we create the swap!

Do you want your children posted by individual ages? Or do you like the family pairings?

Do you have any themes or guidelines you would like to see used?

We are open for suggestion. Currently we are thinking of doing a back to school swap or an open ended swap. I am going to send out an email to all you previous swappers to gauge interest! HAppy Summering.