Friday, September 28, 2012

Family Portrait

So.... it looks like I've got a lot of work to do to get back in the family portrait.

If you'll look closely, the title of this masterpiece is "My Family".  Family members depicted are Uncle Jamie, Sarah, little brother Will, Daddy, and Uncle Will.

Hmmm....who are we missing?

WHO are we missing?

Who are we missing?

I mean, I knew I was on the bubble, but I didn't know I was already cut from the team. 

Proud Artiste
Does this mean I'm off the hook for bath time now?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Gift in a Box

I don't know what it is about these sensory box things (we call ours a "busy box"), but they are MAGIC.  If I want to do a project of my own, I just hand them a box of beans and whatnot, and they barely even notice me.

Since the official start of fall was Monday, I threw away the funky cloud-dough-and-rainbow-rice mixture and replaced it with some autumnal goodness.  Plus some dried black beans and navy beans.

We had fake leaves, tiny jack-o-lanterns, and squirrel and acorn stickers.
I also dumped in the last of the rainbow rice.

All kinds of scooping and digging goodness for almost no work.

It's never too early for jack-o-lanterns.
We're planning on (finally) making our scarecrow this weekend, and I think it's the perfect time of year for a fairy garden.  

On a totally unrelated note:

Here's my gift in a box...

Monday, September 24, 2012

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

Fall.  Autumn, if you want to sound a little more poetic.  It's my favorite time of year. Unless you count spring.

This weekend, we fueled up at Krispy Kreme, and headed back in time at the zoo.  They hold their annual Harvest Days on the little farm at Grassmere on the zoo grounds, and the weather was perfection for doing some butter churning, wool carding, and skunk petting.

First up, though, was the carousel.

This baby hippo was Sarah's ride.

This mama hippo was Will's ride.


We killed a little time before the festivities by inspecting the elephant skull.  Again.

Paging Drs. Bones and Mandible.

Finally, we hit the Grassmere grounds running.  They played with old-timey toys like Jacob's ladder and the ball-in-the-cup thing.  Will, of course, found a way to turn a toy into a weapon.

Next up was butter churning.  Well, not actually churning.  They put some whipping cream in a baby food jar and Sarah and I shook it.
And shook it.
Until we got our very own little dollop of butter.  Even I was impressed!

Watch out, Bobby Fisher.

I herded my friends back over for some dinotrope-making.  That's not actually what this spinny thing that produces an optical illusion is called, but I forgot the name of it and made up my own.
Deep in coloring concentration

Testing out the goods
The musical instruments were a hit with my little man, strengthening my worst fears that he will become a percussionist while still living under our roof.

See-saw time!

The baryard was fascinating.  Big sigh of relief, since nobody got his head stuck in the fence.  We kept the butter handy, just in case.

Dirty sheep

Things started to go south for Will at this point.  He went off into the trees a couple of times to work through some issues while Sis and I took pictures and made masterpieces.
Pumpkin potato stamp
Candle-making was the hit of the day.  Since nobody came away with any third-degree burns, I think we might be able to try this at home.

Skunk-petting was a close second for favorite activity.
Junior zoo keeper
Will took the opportunity at this juncture to roam the woods a little more and throw a tantrum.  Again.  So, he was even more upset that he missed out on petting the skunk.

Which, incidentally, I heard about the entire way home.
Good thing we don't live far.

What you don't see is Sarah striking up a discussion with a Civil War reenactor about the many flags of the Confederacy, while Will tried to snag an Oreo from a flute player on lunch break.  I think Sarah is going to end up a history buff like her Papa.  Will is well on his way to becoming a human garbage can like his 5 uncles.

All in all, this was such a fun day.  We'll be back, Grassmere.  In the meantime, we're coming for you, Traveler's Rest and the Hermitage.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

To Catch A Thief

We're in deep cover for Operation Cookie Monster right now.

We've got the FBI's most wanted toddler in our midst.  He's a cold-blooded cookie-stealer.  No remorse.  No conscience.  No amount of star-charts or positive reinforcement can rehabilitate this hungry  hardened criminal.

His target is always the same, only the food changes.  One day it's an Oreo left unattended for two minutes.  The next, it's a cheese stick.  He dares to laugh in the face of the slow-eating sister whom he's just unburdened of a Gogurt.

This is the face of a wanted man:

He goes by the codename "Moose", but he also answers to "Hungry Hungry Hippo" and "Moto Moto".  If you see this man, do not attempt to bring him in yourself.  He's believed to be armed with a plastic hammer and dangerously cute.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Outdoor Movie Night

Have you ever had one of those weekends that ended up just about perfect?  That was this past weekend for us.

I've been more asocial than usual since I started back to work, hoarding every free moment to squeeze in all of the stuff that doesn't get done throughout the week.  Mike called me out on my solitary tendencies, and we invited a few neighbors and friends over.  And a few more.  And then some more.

I'll tell you what: there's nothing like having 20 people over to get you motivated to clean the house.

The beautiful weather, good company, and SEC football would have been enough to make it a great time, but the real showstopper for me was the outdoor movie theater for the kids.  Our sweet neighbors brought over their projector, we put up a white sheet I had saved for just such an occasion, add kids, and, VOILA! We crossed a major to-do off of our summer bucket list.

Sorry, but our movie night looks nothing like the ones on Pinterest.  Y'all, there was Duct tape involved.

Guess what?  We still had a BLAST.

Here's the rigged setup for the projector.  Beautiful? No.  Effective?  Oh, yeah.

Of course, when watching a princess movie, princess attire is strongly encouraged.

The view from the patio

Dr. Facilier
The darker it got, the better the picture.

There was just something a little bit magical about watching a movie outside.  Maybe it was because most of the little guys aren't up late enough to watch the moon rise and the fireflies start blinking.  Maybe it's sort of a 21st century version of the bonfire or the bug zapper.  Whatever the reason, a movie projector has moved from my "Want" list to my "Need" list.  

Even our 4th- and 5th-grade neighbors think outdoor movies are cool.

Shadow Puppets
So, I will be pinching my pennies to get one of these buggers.  Maybe Sarah was onto something, charging people $10 for a glass of lemonade...

In the meantime, I'm hoping we can mooch off of the neighbors for one or two more movie nights.  I'm dreaming of seeing the Peanuts Gang up on that big white sheet.

In other news, Will has picked up a bad habit from me.

I turn myself into a blowfish on the car windows while I'm pumping gas.  It gets a lot of laughs from the wee folk inside the car.  I never thought about how it looks to strangers from the outside.