Twelve (and three months)

by Amy on January 18, 2015

Natalie turns 12 | Let's Explore

Natalie is already a quarter-year past her 12th birthday, but I didn’t want to miss bragging on her a bit, and jotting down some things about her at this age.

So far, age twelve is pretty darn awesome. It seems like Natalie becomes more confident and sure of herself every day. I can only hope she carries some of that with her into the teenage years. She continues to be a voracious reader, and is blossoming into quite the writer, too. She is independent and responsible, but still loves to play and be silly. She is a caring and devoted big sister, which makes this mama so thankful.

Sisters 2014

I am so proud of the young woman she is becoming. (She is so proud that she can wear my shoes and is gaining on me in height, too!)

Her family celebration included Butterbeer and Cauldron Cakes, Harry Potter-style. The Butterbeer was cream soda with butterscotch and vanilla Torani syrup. We topped it with butterscotch flavored whipped cream, too. The Cauldron Cakes were inspired by this post, and were actually pretty easy to make.

Harry Potter Cauldron Cakes

She also had a day-long birthday outing, just like her sister did. We had a fun-filled day of miniature golfing, shopping at the bookstore, eating gelato, buying fun accessories at Charming Charlie, and dinner out. The car was decked out with birthday decorations, with candy leis and mini-crown headbands to wear. Such a fun day!

I thought it would be fun to have Natalie make a list of what she’s into right now - a top 12 at age 12. Here’s what she came up with, in no particular order:

Natalie’s Top 12 at 12

1. Clothes – shopping and putting together outfits

2. Alice in Wonderland – She recently read both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. Now, she’s writing her own Wonderland-inspired story.

3. Fantasy adventure books – Favorites right now are Harry Potter, The School for Good and Evil, The Land of Stories, and The Heroes of Olympus.

4. Taylor Swift

5. Lemonade and lemon gelato, and basically anything lemon flavored

6. Creative writing home school class and booksRip the Page!, Leap Write In!, and Seize the Story (at least one of these books is always on her night stand – highly, highly recommended!)

7. 20 Ways to Draw… booksThese books really deserve a post of their own. Both of my girls love them for drawing inspiration! We have the fashion, food, and animal ones so far, but they are coveting the whole collection.

8. Pocket Magic Tricks (made by Toysmith, found at our local toy store)

9. Video Games – Kinect Disneyland Adventures and Disney Infinity

10. Board Games – Forbidden Island, Trivial Pursuit (Family Edition from Target), and Small World

11. Make-up – especially the Lip & Cheek Tint from 100% pure

12. Her family!

Natalie reminds me {frequently} that her teenage years are just around the corner. And I keep reminding her to savor her time as a 12-year-old! Natalie, you are a beautiful girl inside and out. We love you like crazy!

N & H December 2014

Creative Writing Project :: Letters to Santa from the Naughty List

Thumbnail image for Creative Writing Project :: Letters to Santa from the Naughty List

{This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting this site!} My girls adore reading and writing fractured fairytales. Here’s a simple Christmas-time creative writing project that we had a lot of fun working on – writing letters to Santa from a character that might be on Santa’s naughty list. These letters are great practice for creating a […]

Continue reading →

Thankful from A to Z :: Free Printable

Thumbnail image for Thankful from A to Z :: Free Printable

Need something to keep the kids busy today or tomorrow? I made this simple Thankful from A to Z printable for my girls, and thought your kids might enjoy it, too! Here’s the challenge – can you think of at least one thing you are thankful for using each letter of the alphabet? We are keeping our […]

Continue reading →

Creative Book Reports :: Biography Posters

Thumbnail image for Creative Book Reports :: Biography Posters

{This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting this site!} We have some serious catching up to do! There have been first and twelfth birthdays celebrated, big stacks of share-worthy books read, and many interesting projects completed. If the baby-napping gods are kind to me, I’ll be visiting this space more often in the […]

Continue reading →

Playful Picks

Thumbnail image for Playful Picks

{From the Let’s Explore Archives} Turkey Doodles :: These make fun place mats for Thanksgiving dinner! Painted Cork Coasters :: These coasters are a fun and super-simple gift your kids can make. We have been using ours for 5 years and the paint still looks perfect! {Activities & Projects} 10 Indoor Active Art Projects for […]

Continue reading →


Thumbnail image for Double-Digits!

{This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting this site!} Delaney recently celebrated a big milestone – she’s officially in the double-digits now! 10 seems so old to me – really, where does the time go? But, for my girls at least, this age is a lovely bridge between young child and teen. Delaney […]

Continue reading →

Book Review: The Fantastic Family Whipple

Thumbnail image for Book Review: The Fantastic Family Whipple

It’s Natalie’s turn to make her blog-writing debut! She is sharing her review of a book that is now on her list of favorites. She has raved about this one so much it is on my summer reading list! Here’s Natalie… {This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting this site!} The Fantastic Family […]

Continue reading →

Made-to-Order Pizza Pasta Bowls

Thumbnail image for Made-to-Order Pizza Pasta Bowls

Happy Wednesday! I am sharing one my girls’ favorite meals over at Make and Takes today – yummy and simple made-to-order pizza pasta bowls. My kids love pretty much any meal that involves a big buffet of toppings! If you missed our recipe last month, we shared another family favorite – slow cooker lentil sloppy […]

Continue reading →

Book Review: The Sasquatch Escape (The Imaginary Veterinary)

Thumbnail image for Book Review: The Sasquatch Escape (The Imaginary Veterinary)

Please welcome my nine-year-old daughter, Delaney. I’m so thrilled that she will be sharing book reviews for kids here on the blog! She has a fun book to share with you today…take it away, Delaney! {This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting this site!} The Sasquatch Escape by Suzanne Selfors Have you ever […]

Continue reading →

Fairytale Mystery Dinner

Thumbnail image for Fairytale Mystery Dinner

{This post contains affiliate links.} I am so excited to finally share Natalie’s 11th birthday party with you! I told the girls about a dinner I once went to as a kid – a mystery dinner – where everything on the menu was in code so you didn’t know what you were ordering until the […]

Continue reading →