It has been a long time since I've helped make a Valentine box. But with a little help for ideas from a Google search and expert sticker placement from a willing and able 4 year old, Valentine's Day 2016 will be the cat's meow!
Jill says when Kinley carried it into her classroom, one of her friends said, "Oh look! It's a cat!" Mission accomplished. (Yes, confirmation from an unrelated 4 year old is validation for the quality of our work. Sad, but true.)
The school Valentine box was just one of several holiday projects that the girls and I accomplished during our time together this week. Jill was at a conference in Wichita, so Kinley and Brooke got a trip to the farm. Do you think we got enough sprinkles on these Rice Krispie treats? I was going to go around the outside with frosting or candy melts to define the heart shapes. But I reconsidered after trying to keep two girls on chairs while helping mold and unmold cereal treats. (Yes, I kept them in their PJs during the cooking session to reduce the laundry needed after this sticky project.)
I should have gotten photos of both girls trying to sweep up the sprinkles from the floor. It's good I had two brooms for two big helpers. Brooke also tried to climb into the dishwasher to help me unload the top rack. That's dedication!
Grandma didn't just promote sweet treats. The girls also were our pizza chefs for the evening. I wonder why they didn't eat much at supper: Could it have been that they ate the ingredients along the way?
Our craft projects weren't done. Kinley also made decorated this wooden heart. Grandma didn't realize that the flowers weren't stickers. So Kinley held each tiny flower while I dabbed them individually with a little glue. Then she put each into place, creating the pattern herself. She was meticulous and very patient. It turned out better than I could have imagined, especially since I was also trying to keep Brooke entertained at the same time. Stickers, pipe cleaners and the kitchen Tupperware drawer distracted the littlest helper. (And I may have also had to keep her from climbing some shelves at the same time.) Some day, she may be gluing decorations, too. But we'll see if she ever sits still long enough. Busy, busy, BUSY!
Case in point: We hung the heart on our back door to get a photo before Kinley took it home. Brooke was a little too interested to suit Kinley. The photographic session was cut short before I could get a posed photo with both girls. It seems to be the story of my efforts to photograph the girls together!
Brooke's busyness may also be why I didn't get any photos at all of Kinley decorating bookmarks, though it kept her occupied for a long time. I didn't expect her to decorate all 25 in the package. But she loved picking out which stickers she wanted to use and then decided which bookmark she wanted to share with other people.
While the Valentine's projects were a hit, the baby calves were less of an attraction than we predicted. Brooke is an expert animal sound imitator. And she did do her share of mooing in the cattle lot. But neither of the girls was wild about touching the baby calves. Kinley had her eyes on the big mama cows that were too close by to suit her. None of the heifers were aggressive. But they are pretty big to a 4 year old and a 17 month old.
The girls liked watching them from a little further away! I'm guessing the mamas felt the same way.
The girls also checked out the head stall in the cattle shed and explored the other outbuildings.
They much preferred seeing the cows and calves from the pickup window
The next day, they checked out the cattle trailer. (At least the cattle poop was dry, Mommy!)
The cats continued to be the star attractions at the farm. Kinley was reunited with her favorite, Cozy. When I looked at the photos later, their connection was further cemented because of their big, beautiful eyes. (But, true to form, it couldn't happen in the same photo.)
Brooke liked whichever cat was nearest to her at the time.
Unlike Kinley, she doesn't play favorites in the feline department.
We read every story in the Fancy Nancy book collection. Brooke sat there for a few of them.(We used a new Valentine's bookmark to keep our place between reading sessions!)
Kinley was such a big help with Brooke. When Brooke was inconsolable, wanting Mommy at bedtime, my singing of Sunday School songs only worked for a little bit. But having Kinley lying beside her finally calmed Brooke down enough for her to fall asleep.
As the oldest sister myself, I know that little sisters can sometimes want to do whatever you're doing. They can mess up your stuff. But there's also a bond that never ends. They are fortunate to have one another.
And we are blessed to have them both (though I am definitely reminded why God made it so that you parent when you are young).