Pencils-writing utensil, inexpensive gift, or deadly weapon?

31 Mar

I recently went on a trip to Columbia State Park. It is a great place to go in Northern California. It is a living history park that takes you back to time of the the Gold Rush. We did out gold panning (more like iron pyrite panning), dipped candles, made a stop for some fudge at the Candy Kitchen, and then hit up the gift shop. While there I saw a twig pencil that was made into a slingshot. Pretty cool- my son would absolutely LOVE this. Give him a Y shaped stick and a rubber band and he will make his own slingshot. So I picked up three of them. Life has taught me if I am going to arm my son I need to equally arm my daughter… and one for me because it was cool.

Fast forward to being at the house. It is raining and the kids are slingshotting peanut M&M’s at each other trying to catch them with their mouths. It’s a good thing I was recently re-certified in First Aid. The palm hit my forehead as I said “What was I thinking, OF COURSE they were going to use them against each other!” Parenting fail!

Exhibit A:  The pencil in question

Exhibit A: The pencil in question

But then I remembered that four years ago my brother and sister-in-law brought my son a super long pencil back from one of their many trips. At first he used it like a walking stick, but within minutes he was wielding like a Jedi Knight. The pencil went on top of the fridge. Every once in a while it comes down, gets used for homework, is used to attack his sister, and then goes back up on the fridge or the top shelf in the closet.

Then I remembered a story my husband tells about why he doesn’t wear shorts. If you look closely he has a piece pencil lead in each thigh. Why, in one grade a kid sat next to him on his right side and one day stabbed him in the right leg with a pencil. The next year, the same kid sat on his left and stabbed the left leg. Tough school!

So a note to my future self… stop buying pencils as gifts.


A Slightly Homemade Valentine’s Day

14 Feb

The kids have spent the past week working on their Valentine’s Day cards.   We try to do something cool each year but I am getting tired of just passing out candy.  This year I asked the kids if they wanted to make their own instead of buying cards at the store.

My son decided he wanted to draw a picture using MS Paint.  We then put the paint picture on some postcards that I had in the drawer.  Viola, he was done.  Easy, Peasy!

He made it himself.

He made it himself.

My daughter is a bit of Pinterest addict.  She searched until she found the right Valentine’s Day card printable from The TomKat Studio.  She saw some other pins of cards that had glitter on them too.  So she glittered the red parts of the card  (This is a big deal because I kinda hate glitter).

SCORE- so some printer ink later and postcards and card stock I had in the drawer and we were done.

My daughter is also a huge Rainbow Loomer these days. She pinned some more ideas for different charms and got to work. She then attached her creations and made these cute cards.

Her Pinterest inspired creations.

Her Pinterest inspired creations.

I am pretty impressed with what they came up with.  Both of their cards highlight their personalities and talents.   I am glad to have passed on the crafting gene.  Plus- the cards are candy free!

Slightly homemade cards!

Slightly Homemade cards!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

If the Dishwasher Breaks Down

12 Jan

Inspired by Laura Numeroff’s If you Give a Mouse a Cookie

If the dishwasher breaks down, mom does the dishes by hand.

If mom does the dishes by hand, she will probably have to wipe up all the water on the floor.

While she is wiping up all the water on the floor, she will realize the floor needs to be swept…and vacuumed.

After sweeping and vacuuming the house, she will remember the counters need dried and wiped down too.

Then she will continue to wipe down all the door knobs, light switches, and outlet panels.

At that point she will realize she is out of towels, so she does a load of laundry, folds, and puts the towels away.

Finally, it is time for dinner.  Once everyone has enjoyed their meal, mom will remember the dishwasher is broken and she will have to do the dishes by hand.

How I almost broke Christmas

28 Dec

**Please don’t read this if you are under 12.  I don’t want to be responsible for breaking your family’s Christmas too!**

I feel the need to chronicle the past few weeks and how I did my best to fail at Christmas.  Maybe it is a cautionary tale to others, maybe it is so we can look back in future years and laugh about the Christmas Mommy almost had a nervous breakdown.  Maybe it is because it is the stuff you see on sit-coms only it really happened to me.  So hear it is in chronological order.

The week of Thanksgiving– I was on schedule, I had my list of what needed to be done, I had my list of presents for people. The tree was up, the house was decorated- I was looking good!

First week of December-I was feeling the pressure.  My two kids are in that awkward stage of missing teeth and for the past few years Christmas card photos have been a challenge (see last year’s post all about it!).  We couldn’t agree as a family what to do.  Ugh, now I was behind.

Week 2– Okay, after two weeks of very demanding work meetings, I was officially behind on my lists.  Still no Christmas cards.

Week 3-The day that will live in infamy in our house!  The kids found the secret stash!  For the past 6 years we have been hiding the presents in the same spot, thinking we had a kid proof location.  Then my kids “where looking for my son’s homework” in the garage, popped the trunk of the hubs car and found EVERYTHING!  Well that changed the game plan.   Two days later, I was on Amazon trying to do quick orders for new Santa presents. (Still no Christmas cards!)

Christmas Eve– Well, I finally sent out Christmas cards. In hind sight, I should have sent New Year’s cards because I was running so behind.  I was starting to feel good about things again.  The house was ready for guests, the kids got their presents from us and were happy.  We had a nice evening of church and driving around looking at lights.  The kids went to bed and we were ready to put some of the finishing details on Christmas.

This is when the problems started

And then my mixer broke while I was trying to make cupcakes.  This resulted in the butter not creaming appropriately and all the butter leaking out the bottom of the papers. Good think my Aunt was bringing more desserts!

AND THEN, we went to wrap the Santa presents.  I pulled out the video game my son was getting and realized it was for an XBOX 360… we have a Wii.  This was his only gift and I screwed it up.  At 10:30 PM the hubs and I were on the computer searching to see if any stores were still open.  We contemplated running down to the liquor store and buying him a big bag a candy.   Finally we came up with the idea of putting a very similar name on the tag and blaming it on Santa being old, tired, and a bit confused.  Phew!  It worked.  We also told him that Santa has a deal with all the stores and we could exchange the gift.  I think that morning we earned our Ph.D in lying to our kids.

Christmas Day– Thinking that the worst was behind us.  We were on track for our company to arrive.  We felt bad for that poor little boy “Rex” who Santa gave a Wii version of Skylanders.  We were good to go.

This is when the hour of mayhem and destruction started.  First up-making the house smell like a distillery.  I took something out of the refrigerator and it started a chain reaction.  Things started falling.  The next thing I  knew, the pitcher of Manhattans I had made was crashing to the floor.  The bottom broke out of the pitcher, glass was everywhere, I was soaked, and my floor was flooded with Manhattans.

Less than a half hour after the Manhattan incident, I did it again.  This time I was making  punch for the kids.  When I opened the bottle of cranberry ginger ale it EXPLODE-EVERYWHERE!  Once again, I was soaked.  The kitchen was covered in pink liquid.  At this point the hubs said the best thing I could do was go change and then sit down and stop touching things.

Thankfully, the was the climax of the destruction. Everything went off without a hitch.  The rest of the evening was perfect.  It was a very Merry Christmas.

Here is to a wonderful 2014!

PS- If your holiday was a bit on the verge, please feel free to share in the comments.   It might make me feel a bit better 🙂


Just Sharing…

26 Sep

Finding Balance

“Work me” wrote this little ditty.  I thought I would share it with y’all.  With all the hype about “leaning in”, super moms, etc sometimes I find it good to remind myself that raising kids is a marathon not a sprint and that the best thing I can do is focus on finding balance, in their lives, our family life, and mine.  (The last one seems to be the hardest to do, at least for me).

Please, share your thoughts and ideas on how you find balance.


16 Sep

I am not talking about the Bureau of Labor Statistics of Basic Life Support but instead what you get when you don’t have tomatoes for a BLT.  The “S” is salsa.  Yep, that was my quick kitchen substitute the other day.  When I realized my tomatoes were no longer edible I slathered some salsa on the lettuce and called it a sandwich.  Turns out it was good!  The nice thing is I ALWAYS have salsa.  I don’t always have tomatoes, seeing I am the only person that eats them.  I will have to remember this in the future for other sammies.

A BLS with cheese please!

A BLS with cheese please!

It’s Cutthroat Kitchen Every Night at Our House!

9 Sep

For a family of people who are not foodies, professional chefs, Julia Child’s fanatics, etc we sure do watch a lot of cooking shows.  My son wants to be either Guy Fieri or Bobby Deen when he grows up.  My daughter, who refuses to eat most foods, loves to watch Paula Deen- they agree on the whole butter thing.  I have always been a fan of Alton Brown because he breaks things down to a basic “follow these directions” kind of thing.   Our new TV show addiction is Cutthroat Kitchen.  The Hubs even enjoys the show, he likes the trickery and shenanigans.

We joke that cooking in our house is is very much like this show, like the other day when I tried to make a BLT and half way through realized the tomatoes were no longer desirable.  We frequently are missing ingredients, tools are stolen (or unavailable because smaller household residents have scampered off with them) or have self imposed time challenges or other hurdles like trying to help with homework, load the dishwasher, make dinner, and send a work project via email (Hey Alton- You should add “run a household while cooking” as an auction item).  So yep, we handicap ourselves. The only thing we are missing is the cash.

This leads us to tonight’s fun.  My son has been wanting to make dessert.  I stocked up on the ingredients to make Banana Pudding.  We had been watching an episode so we decided it would be fun to do a banana pudding challenge.  I handicapped the kids by making them use odd utensils, they returned the favor by limiting my time.  Overall it was a fun and messy way to spend the evening.

 Banana pudding smoothie, classic banana pudding & wafers, and something that resembles baby food

Banana pudding smoothie, classic banana pudding & wafers, and something that resembles baby food

The contestants explaining what they made to the judge

The contestants explaining what they made to the judge

The winner was awarded a spoon on his nose.

The winner was awarded a spoon on his nose.

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