Saturday, October 29, 2011

Impressing a Five-Year-Old

After gorging ourselves on pumpkin goodies on our self proclaimed Pumpkin Day last Saturday Night, Cassie, our pal Sherry, and I helped N play Blink, which he'd found in the playroom. If you haven't seen this game, it's a cute card game from the makers of Uno. The box says ages 7+ but my friend Carrie taught my 6 year old how to play it when we visited her this summer. N is pretty smart, so I felt sure we could teach him. I'd be his opponent, and Sherry and Cassie would coach him on his hand.

Problem was, I couldn't remember how to play, and the directions were in Spanish. There is no idea where the English version is in our house. Luckily, Cassie is taking a college course in Spanish right now, and both of has have taken quite a few courses in high school. So, she read the directions in her American southern twang, and between the two of us we could kind of translate it. A few words seemed funny, but it could be that we just didn't remember the correct translation of those words. Maybe. N sat patiently, which was really nice.

Anyways, we finally deduced it's like the kids' version of Speed, so I grabbed the cards and got them ready.

N's eyes snapped to my hands. His mouth dropped open and awe took over his face. "Woah, TT!" he exclaimed, "You can shuffle?"

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkins and Costumes

Halloween for 4 kids can get pretty crazy and expensive. The average kid’s costume is $20, pumpkins are $5, trick-or-treat bags $1, and candy to hand out is gonna run $10 (minimum). This means our family can expect to spend at least $100 on this one evening of fun – and that doesn’t include sending in snacks for class parties, trips to the pumpkin patch, or school harvest festivals.

Usually, I wait till 1-2 nights before Halloween to shop for costumes to save time and money. See, by this point, the stores mark the costumes 25% off, plus there are slim pickings so my kids can pick up and consider every costume in under an hour. (Seriously y’all, my kids change their minds a million times and if we go when the store is fully stocked, we are stuck in that aisle forever.) Of course, the school can always throw a wrench in my plans by celebrating Halloween 3 days before the actual holiday (thanks so much).

This year, for the first time, we decided to get creative and put together our own costumes instead of buying packaged sets. K loves Tinkerbell, so I got some wings, a green shirt, and a cute headband with a flower on it. Throw in a skirt that I made of tulle and a little glitter, and we have the cutest Tinkerbell ever. After seeing me make K’s skirt, the older boys were dying to put together their own creative costumes. E decided be a bum, and C is going to be a werewolf (which was quite the challenge to make since masks are not allowed). E’s bum costume consists of a pair of ripped jeans, an old flannel, a cardboard sign that says “will work for candy” and some makeup to make him look dirty and in needs of a shave. C is wearing old ripped jeans, a flannel shirt, brown gloves and wolf makeup. Poor N had to go store-bought, only because I have NO CLUE where to begin with making a Bumblebee Transformer costume (I’m only human.)

N’s kindergarten field trip to the pumpkin patch supplied us with two large and perfectly shaped pumpkins. Last night, the kids teamed up and planned their pumpkins, after digging out (and playing with) all the mushy, squishy, goopiness inside. Tommy’s excellent carving skills brought their jack-o-lanterns to life, and since I was feeling all Martha Stewart from the costumes, I roasted pumpkin seeds- one salty batch, and one sweet apple-cinnamon batch. YUM!

All total, we have spent under $50 on costumes this year- which warms my frugal little heart. More importantly, the time spent with the kids, brainstorming ideas and seeing the costumes come together, was so much more fun than wasting my life away in the costume aisle. This home-made and crafty approach to the holidays just might have something to it. So if you see me on Halloween, I’m not wearing a costume on the outside, but I’m pretty sure I look a little like if Suzie Homemaker and June Cleaver on the inside.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Birthday Party Time

The birthday party we attended Saturday was from 12:00-3:00.

11:45--I awaken from my 1/2 hour snooze two hours later than expected.
12:00--Admit to self that I am not going to find my brown corduroy jacket. Settle for jean jacket, and snatch gift bag and card from stationary closet and drawer and high tail it out the door with G.
12:25--Back the car up to hit "No, I do not want another transaction" at the ATM.
12:45--Pass exit for Birthday Girl en route to book store to get present.
1:30--Pull into driveway, sneak into party with G.
2:00--Present time! Confirm the gift is from us; card is in the front seat of the car.
2:05--Way too hot for my jacket so I remove it.
2:15--Whisper in my ear: "I might be wrong, but I think your shirt is on inside out."

Food Wars

The school that C and N attend is doing a lot of cool historical stuff this year because it is the anniversary of some historical event. I can’t really remember which and I’m not great with history, so that led to this conversation with my mom the other day:

Me: Well it can’t be the nation’s birthday. I know that one was in 1776. Who would celebrate the 435th?

Mom: And Virginia already had their big one a few years ago.

Me: Yeah, b/c they made all those 400th Anniversary license plates. Maybe a war? They should really put the year, location, and reason for wars in their name. It would make it easier to remember. Wait, what was the War of 1812? That was 200 years ago.

Mom: Was that one with France?

Me: I thought we liked them since they helped us get rid of England. Wait, maybe they stopped sending croissants over or they were stale after crossing the ocean and we wanted the recipe but they wouldn’t give it to us.

Mom: I don’t think we started a war of croissants.

Me: But it makes sense, because croissants are pretty awesome, and if I was in America and France wouldn’t give up the recipe, I would totally shoot them. Then they would shoot me back and it would turn into a big war with lots of shooting. Then our people and their people would sit down and we would work it all out over French roast coffee and pumpkin spice creamer. We would trade some pumpkin butter for their croissant recipe and everyone would be happy.

Mom: You know that wars aren’t usually over food, right?

Me: Ummm pretty sure they are. Battle of the Bulge? Boston Tea Party? People get serious about their food.

So, regardless of what the history books say, I am convinced the War of 1812 was over croissants. And now it is on Wikipedia, which makes it official. This is probably why I don’t home school.

PS. Didn’t the Irish have some war about potatoes? And notice how Switzerland doesn’t ever have to fight wars because they are awesome about sharing their cheese and chocolate with the world.

PPS. I'm starting to think my mom isn't much better with history than I am. Not only did she not know what this year is the big anniversary of, but she didn't know most wars are over food.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

High Frequency Words

B and I ran through his high frequency word cards again yesterday morning on the way to school. When he read this combination, I remarked, "Huh. A 'no' would have been a better third word. "

He replied, "OR you could read it: Late? Oh, yes!"

So maybe my earlier post about being on time wasn't completely sccurate.

As we went through the list, we found another combination that made a sentence. Actually, if you add it to the first "sentence", you are well on your way to a paragraph spoken when we run late..

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It's a Matter of Taste

As I tucked, B in last night, he offered to make my coffee in the morning and add a "special ingredient." I was a bit nervous, but I like to promote creativity and generosity, so I thanked him. After informing him a package was hot cocoa, he shoo'd me from the kitchen while he "cooked". I returned to this, and snapped a shot. Friends on Facebook guessed they were chicken nuggets or oyster crackers. They are pumpkin spice marshmallows. Cassie and I adore anything pumpkin, and have in fact declared this Saturday to be our Pumpkin Day, when we plan to eat as many pumpkin foods as possible. The coffee was actually pretty good with the marshmallows, and I attribute my productivity today to that special ingredient.

This same morning, G licked fish food flakes off his fingers. The child has also been known to eat Cheerios he finds in the driveway and any number of crumbs he extracts the car, often with a whole-hearted, "MMMM! That yummy." He will not, however, eat roast chicken or steak. Go figure, huh?

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Amazing Bus Race

Since I married, I'm usually on time. I thank Josh for that. Today was an exception: we were too early.

Josh had to go to the oral surgeon today, and I had to renew the license I'd accidentally let expire three days ago. I'm sure Cassie will address my driving reputation in many subsequent posts.

Anyways, the errand list meant I'd called in today, which meant we all got to sleep in a bit. The DMV doesn't open until 8, and B doesn't have to be at school until 8:40.

Everyone in my house cooperated today. We were out the door and in the car by 7:58, which was entirely too early to drop him off at school. The bus was scheduled to arrive at the sitter's at 8:05. Unfortunately, the sitter lives ten minutes away.

In the past, it's been Cassie's kids who skid in the driveway just in time to load the bus. In fact, she's asked me to have B stall the bus driver at times. I hope she was kidding, since we never actually have.

My mind was racing. Which mom's mind isn't racing? I did quick calculations and realized we could head the bus off at a later stop, which would be earlier for us considering that we were coming from the other direction. Josh was driving. He can't take my thought process--it makes him nervous. I directed him to a crazy location, and we arrived just as the bus did.

Ha! Made it. I think he thanks me for that.