Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pinned It, Tried It

I know it was only about six months ago that I got into the whole Pinterest thing, but I really don't remember what people did before its advent.  I guess we just had to figure stuff out ourselves. Ugh.

Anyway, I've been pinning to my heart's content, and this past week I tried a bunch of stuff.

First up, I turned some leftover plastic Easter eggs into a little matching game for Sarah (and Will, when the time comes).  She's so into games right now, and she wins, like, 80% of the time.  We're taking her to Vegas with us the first chance we get.  Except I'm not allowed to go because I lose All. The. Time. Not on purpose.  Anyway, this was an idea I got from this blog about using plastic eggs to match the capital letter to its lowercase counterpart.

Sarah actually had a good time with it, and it was a nice quick check for me about what she knows and what we need to work on.

Next up was some din-din.  We tried both this foil-packed chicken and this Quick and Easy Coconut Curry Soup.  The verdict on both: Pin Win.

Of course, we tried out the flubber (which is still a hit after several days of play), and we had a little movie night featuring the Lorax, so there were Lorax Snax galore. 

I also made this little statement necklace for myself
 after my plain red coral necklace broke. At first it looked just like Martha's, but the coral beads were just too heavy and the middle section collapsed before I even had a chance to wear it.

By the way, the Dawn/white vinegar magic cleaner is not a hoax.  It works so much better than the 5 gallons of bleach I usually clean with, and it smells better too.

So, that's that for now.  Being back at work is taking some getting used to.  I miss my daily adventures with Sarah and Will, but we're all adjusting. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I'll tell you what, the hubs has been on a hot streak lately with the photography.  He used to be the family cameraman, but then he went through a phase of snapping "action" pictures (read:streaky and random), so he got benched.

Evidently, he regained his photo mojo, because he captured these beauties recently.

 This one is from yesterday, the first day back to school.  I asked him to get a picture, and he literally took ONE picture.  But, since it came out great, I have no complaints. 

On a totally unrelated note, I am soooo jealous that Will cried when Mike dropped him off. Apparently, my son no longer loves me (sniff).

This picture is for the South Bend-ers.  Check out our little Fighting Irishman.  In Mommy's bike helmet.

I love a nail-biter, and you can really feel the inevitability of a crash and the impending fist-fight in this one.
 By the way, Sarah is convinced she needs a bike basket and a seat belt for her stuffed animals.  Because, really, what's the fun in a bike ride if you can't hoard on the go?

Oh, well, I guess that means I'd better get to work.  On the bike basket and seat belts.  Happy Hump-day!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Will's Tips for Stylin' and Profilin'

Since Sarah has her own rules for fashion (found here), I thought it only fair that Will get a chance to lay down the law for the menfolk out there.

Take it away, Will.

1. Brown is the new black.  And the new red, blue, green, yellow, orange, and purple.

2. If it looks the least bit like church clothes, immediately launch into bobcat mode, making it impossible for any human to approach you without the protection of full body armor.

3.  If you are somehow squeezed or bribed into church clothing, IMMEDIATELY smear something purple, red, or brown down the front of it.

Gettin' just a lil' bit of baby fever looking at this squishable creature...
4.  Horizontal stripes are actually very flattering.  By accentuating the rest of the body, they're quite slimming to the cranial area.

5.  Big hair and pouty lips are IN.

6.  Dino tails are appropriate for every occasion.

7.  It's cool to match outfits with your sister as long as it's February and you're wearing a Christmas shirt. 

8.  Mixing stripes and sock monkeys is a fashion DO.

9.  White sunglasses aren't just for South Beach.
10.  Sometimes a lion suit is the perfect outfit to lounge in.

11.  Paint is really the only accessory you need.  Believe it or not, this is body paint done so meticulously that it exactly resembles a diaper.  Eat your hearts out Sports Illustrated.

12.  Walk softly, but carry a big stick... to hit your sister with.

13. Coats are for keeping the hangers in your closet warm.  If you're a total wimp and get cold in the dead of winter, a sweater vest is the way to go.

14. The tuxedo t-shirt hits just the right note for almost any occasion.  It's one part Fly Me to the Moon with a hefty dose of Friends in Low Places.

Monday, August 27, 2012

I Speak for the Trees...

Can you believe I'd never read The Lorax until about six months ago?  Well, we checked it out from the library, and it quickly became a favorite around here. 

So, of course when it came out in theaters, it was on our list of must-see movies to rent.

Lo and behold, we finally rented it and hyped up a movie night for last night.  Everybody was super-excited, poised and ready.

And the cable/Internet went out.

No Lorax.

Sarah and Will went with the flow, though, and we watched it yesterday.

The Bar-ba-loots are my personal favorite, and not just because "bar-ba-loot" is one of the frothiest words ever created. 

I saw some marshmallow and chocolate Teddy Grahams Bar-ba-loot snacks on Pinterest, so we noshed on those.  Bar-ba-loots Chocolate Teddy Grahams are dangerously addictive.

 In the spirit of beating a dead horse, the little guys colored some Loraxes,

 and painted Truffula trees.

 I loved this cloud activity from this blog, but thought my peeps might not be satisfied with just using white paint.  So, we added food coloring to our glue-and-shaving-cream mixture, and came up with a rainbow of colors, just like the Truffula fluff.

Sarah made stars:

Will made mountains and Bar-ba-loots:

I contributed with a rainbow.  
You can't tell from these pictures, but the "paint" is dimensional and dries with little peaks and rivets in it.  Now Daddy has some "art of works" (Sarah-ism) to spruce up his office.

The movie made such an impression on Sarah that she asked to walk to choir practice last night, so we wouldn't "make dirty air". 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Jeepin' sans Governor

Mike took the governor off the Jeep the other day because he was "bored".  Considering that our children drive worse than a snowbird in a Cadillac, I'd say the man needs a hobby.

Since I have no idea how he un-governed the cursed thing, and I'm not "bored" enough to try to reverse the procedure, the kids are now free to zoom around our driveway and yard at speeds approaching 5 mph. 

Apparently, speed has actually improved Sarah's driving.

Except in this case.

Will is still hopeless, even on a zebra scooter.  Ah, well.  At least they've got about 13 years to learn to look in the general direction in which they mean to proceed. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Don't you just love Autocorrect?  When I was trying to email myself the pictures of the "flubber", stupid auto-correct changed it to "flubbed".  Now, I'm a pretty good speller, and I can definitely hold my own in the grammar department, so, thanks, but no thanks, auto-correct.

Ugh.  I think I just pulled a hammy climbing down off that soapbox.

Without further ado, here's the flubber installment of the "Pinned It, Tried It" series.

There are so many recipes out there for polymers: the name changes, but the principle stays the same.  Anyway, whatever you call it, this stuff is FUN.

In hindsight, I should have let the kids in on the making of the flubber.  The big deal is that you mix together two liquids to make a gelatinous solid.  I guess the next time I have four bottles of Elmer's glue laying around, we'll give it a whirl.

I made it this morning for the kids to play with when the babysitter arrived, but, evidently, she never got it out. 

No problem, that meant I got to be the hero when I got home.

After having the "No, we don't eat this," talk with Will, we took our own personal slimeball outside to play.

"It's cold!"

Pizza toss

Melted snowman

Do you see the flubber boat?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Snakey's Cafe

Call me an annoying control-freak, but if my kids are going to be hanging out at our house all day with a babysitter, I want them engaged in something besides watching Sprout for 7 hours.  That's why I've been trying to leave new, no-assembly-required (at least for the babysitter) activities for the little guys.

The cloud dough was a hit, as was the rainbow rice, so I decided to up the ante a little and try for a dramatic play center.  Sarah had the idea for a restaurant, so I took it and went overboard ran with it.  I found some great little menus here, mounted them on construction paper, and covered them in clear contact paper for durability.

For our diner setup we turned over some cardboard boxes, used scrap fabric and hand-me-down napkins and placemats, and turned the puppet theater/airplane on its side for a prep station.

I don't have a really clear report on how it went, but based on the volume of wailing that went on while Mike broke down all the boxes  restaurant furniture, at least Sarah had fun.  Will would rather get his food at the Drive-thru.

Sarah's menu cover.

Despite the demands for chef's hats and "half-aprons with pockets to hold money", they had to make do with Home Depot aprons and bare heads.

Since I wasn't around for the restaurant itself, I couldn't guide my little lab rats the way I would've liked to.  Next time, we're busting out the fake money and tickets for writing orders.

This whole thing came about from our visit to the real Brown's Diner here in Nashville.  The kids had the staff rolling with their Knock-knock jokes and Spanish lingo.  And since we were there even before the card-carrying AARP members got there, we had the place to ourselves.
My boys

Us girls.  I'm getting a little trigger-happy with the phone.

Clean-plate Club

As if Sarah wasn't already upset enough over the demise of the Viking ship, check out what happened to the prep station/puppet theater/superhero telephone booth:

Sigh.  Now I'm off to make flubber.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Rainbow Rice

It's a really good thing I got that dance-fighting video out on Monday, because the rest of this week has been a little nuts.

I got a job, so, during the brief periods of time I'm not being crushed under the weight of a boulder of maternal guilt, I am attempting to re-enter the world of adults.

The kids don't go back to school for another week-and-a-half, so they're hanging with babysitters all day.  Every day.  At our house.  Here's a little formula for you:
Cabin Fever  + boredom + anger at Mommy for being gone all day = MASSIVE DESTRUCTION.

Unless you have some Busy Boxes at the ready.

Tuesday, I left out some Cloud/Moon Dough for them, and they had a blast.

Last night, I made 5 lbs. of rainbow rice (pinned here), and I thought we were going to have to sedate the kids to get them to wait to play with it until the babysitter arrived.

 Pouring stuff is a really big deal for the preschool crowd, so cups and ladles were key.

 Will helped get this tub ready.

I hogged all the rice-pouring fun into the big Busy Box.  Aren't those stripes of color just so purty?

Anyway, I knew that my yummy stripes and swirls wouldn't last too long, but I forgot to calculate the mess that moon dough PLUS rainbow rice could make.  Silly Mama left the moon dough out near the rice.
So, naturally, we combine them.
Looks like Funfetti cupcake mix, right?
 And drive Finn McMissile through it.
There was still some rice-only mixture left for future play. But not much.
The kids seem to have had a good time so far, but when I ask Sarah if she's had a good day, her reply is, "Yes, but no."  Sooooo, there's that.

Anyway, I got home today and they were riding like maniacs through the Funfetti mixture on their tricycles.

I'm gonna go hoarse shouting, "On your marks. Get Set. GO!" a billion times a day.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Gotta Dance

Our children have eclectic musical tastes.  They enjoy listening to the Disney soundtracks, some Backyardigans, and Sesame Street tunes.  There was the Cats phase, a Neil Diamond period, and a Beach Boy era.  Their uber-talented music teacher at school has a cd of amazing (and non-annoying) kids' music that is permanently ensconced in our car's cd player.  Sarah has declared herself a staunch country girl, but she's also into making up her own tunes.  Will gravitates more toward the crooners, like Dean Martin and Michael Buble.

Lately, we've been in a Michael Jackson period.  Specifically, Beat It.  If that song comes on, you better clear the floor, because there's going to be some dance-fighting and moonwalking.

Since she turned 4, Sarah informed me that she "threw out her old moves" in favor of "new, fast moves".

Check 'em out:

Friday, August 10, 2012

Treehouses Revisited

Right before summer started, I had a post about the treehouses on exhibit at Cheekwood for the summer.  The first time we saw them, the architects were still putting the finishing touches on, so there was only one that was ready for us to play in.

All summer, we planned on going back.  But... we waited.  And procrastinated.  And we kept choosing to cool off in the pool over tromping around in the heat. 

But, August showed up and back-to-school time loomed just ahead, so we finally went.  This time we packed a lunch AND met up with friends, making our trip doubly exciting. 

Each of the houses is designed based on a classic piece of literature.

The Rainbow Fish treehouse is my favorite.

The "scales" are thousands of old cd's zip-tied to the frame.  Being inside there with the light shining through was like being in a tunnel of stained glass.

Why can't I just get a normal smile from my kids once in a while?

I was looking through photos the other day, and there are almost no recent pictures of me and either of the kids.  So, I chose to take a picture with Will after traipsing around in 90 degree heat with no makeup on. 

Oh, well, I still think those pictures are keepers.

I don't remember the book on which this next one is based, but it was a favorite.  We just called it the "Giant Ball o' Yarn".

The main attraction for my little guys was the pond and the tadpoles inhabiting said pond. 

Rock-throwing was the preferred sport, barely edging out trying-to-find-a-way-to-fall-in-the-water.

I know I said Rainbow Fish was my favorite, but maybe it was a tie with this one.  Those colors need to get in my house.
This one is based on The Giver, but, having never read the book, I couldn't tell you why. 

All of the kids had lots of fun on the Jolly Roger, trying out their best pirate accents.  By the way, my pirate accent sounds like a jumble of Russian, German, and Australian accents.

Fun was had by all, and now we can cross another activity off our summer bucket list.  Too bad my summer reading list just got longer.