Friday, March 31, 2006

Happy Birthday (official) to my mom!

I started a trend with an official and observed birthday this year. Today is my mom's official birthday. But since we were busy with a yard sale today (more on that later), we postponed the celebration. We did have a bit of cake this afternoon, though (leftover cake from M's birthday on Sunday). And she and her sister went out to dinner. I hope they had a wonderful time.
My aunt came over to help with the sale and to sell some of her stuff as she has decided to make the big move to Texas, where 2 of my cousins live. We will miss her, but I know she misses being close to any of her kids and grandkids. The weeding out process of stuff is beginning.
The sale went well today. I sold the last big piece of furniture (that we were trying to sell) from my dad's estate - well, ok, except for the piano....I really have to do something about it, but at least it isn't filling up my mom's basement. The basement still looks fairly full, but I know a whole bunch of stuff went. Someone bought all the sippy cups - 16 of them. Gone. All gone. Yeah. Interestingly enough, we sold more men's clothes than kids clothes. I think more of the kid clothes will hit the 25 cent table tomorrow and if they don't sell then, most of them will be bagged for donation. I had really good luck with my clothes at the consignment sale, but the ones that aren't up to grade for it, need to go.
We will do the sale again tomorrow - I hope it doesn't rain. Rain was forecast for this afternoon and it threatened around 1, then backed off and got sunny. I sure hope its sunny tomorrow. We have most of our stuff inside, but rain sure cuts down on the buyers. And it gets pretty crowded inside if we can't put anything outside.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Challenge Quilt turned in

My Challenge Quilt was due this morning. I finished what of it I could about 10:20 last night. There is still a little more to do, but at first glance, it is done. Good enough!

See here, I even finished hand-sewing on the binding on the back. I was afraid I was going to run out of time and would have to turn it in with pins in the binding.

And here are my 5 circles which were required by challenge rules.

The point of the challenge is to get you to "think outside the box" and try something new. In this case, we picked a random baggie of 2 crayons and had to use those colors. You had to have 5 circles and you had to use a least one traditional quilt block. We were also allowed to use a 3rd color and for all of these we could gradate the color - color from darkest you can make it to lightest and use any of those colors. My colors were pine green and burnt orange.

Official Birthday

vs Birthday observed. Monday was my birthday, but things have been so crazy around here that I have declared next Thursday to be my "Birthday Observed". Hey, if we can do it for federal holidays why not for birthdays? This way, we're all on Spring Break and I'll have M's party over and done with, and maybe the taxes done too.... I can hope.
Anyway, D and I did go out to dinner on Monday - we weren't planning to, but Sunday's paper had a ad from Up the Creek restaurant, saying free dinner on your birthday. Yumm. We've been there a couple of times for our anniversary. My mom graciously kept the kids so we could go to dinner, then to D's school where all 3 high school choruses combined to put on a vocal performance of Carmina Barana. It was very nice. The next morning was heavenly - I got to sleep in, since the kids had stayed over at my mom's. Very nice!
And I can still look forward to my birthday observed next week, when we'll have a homemade (not by me) birthday dinner. We're finally going to use the coupon for the free ice cream cake we won almost 2 years ago for my birthday cake. I hear the kids have been shopping for my birthday present too.

Spring Picture Day

The school took spring pictures a couple of weeks ago. I was not too happy that they only gave 1 or 2 days notice as both kids needed haircuts. A's pictures came out fairly well, so here's a preview:
M's though, looked like a bad case of bed head on too long hair. I declined to buy any of them. I really wish they would give us more notice, so that I could think about having them look decent. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 26, 2006

M Turns 10!

Today was the BIG day - M turned 10! Double digits and all that. He was very excited to open his presents. We let him open one this morning from Gramma and Grampa, so that he could thank them when they called. They often call in the afternoon, though today, they hit just at the end of opening presents - so he would have opened it already if we had waited. But this way, he could report that he had opened, installed and played their gift - Pinball Science game for the computer. It's a cool game.
Here's M with his stack of presents after dinner (his choice of lasagna & green peas - D decided to add naan for those of us that like it (everyone but M)).

One gift from us was 3 t-shirts. He liked them all, but said his favorite was the one with turtles (that photo didn't turn out, though, so you get to see the Spiderman one). Do you know how hard it is to find interesting (to a 10 yo) and inoffensive (to a mom) shirts? I've been hunting for a Pokemon t-shirt since about Nov and can't find one in a 10-12 type size. Mostly what I find are "attitude" shirts, which I despise. I won't buy them.

Here's M opening his gift from A: 2 Pokemon videos that A got at the consignment sale. A got a great deal at 50 cents each (yes, the kids have to buy gifts out of their allowance money) and M gets a great gift. Win-win in my book.

And here's M and my mom just after blowing out the candles. We thought we had some of those everlasting candles, but couldn't find them tonight - or couldn't fingure out which ones they were. We may have to hunt some more before M's friend party - which will probably be in about a week. He wants a sleepover.

I love gift bags

It was time to get around to wrapping up M's gifts today. A wanted to wrap his in wrapping paper, so we did - videos are easy to wrap, being rectangular. I had some books - not all the same size, of course - so I pulled out a gift bag. I've started making some of my own. I did a bunch at Christmas (but Christmas themes don't work so well for March birthdays). So, this afternoon I whipped up one for the size I needed, out of some fabric I bought quite a while ago (maybe 2 years ago?). It really only took me about 10 minutes and I thought it was quite cute - being a party themed print. I'm not sure what else I would do with something like this.

I thing I really like to do is sew the ribbon into the side seam, so it always has one.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

a new chef?

M: what's for dinner?
me: chicken
M: not again! How come we have to have it 2 nights in a row?
me: well, you don't want it tomorrow on your birthday
M: why can't we have something else?
me: well, do you want to cook?
M: can I make macaroni?

end result:

M cooked mac & cheese, with very little assistance - mostly me taking the hot pot and pouring it into the colander - it was hot and rather heavy. M also fixed peas. We learned that mac&cheese and peas isn't enough for everyone. Next time, M will need to fix something else to go with dinner. Yes, we've decided that M needs to start fixing dinner sometimes. We haven't quite decided how often, but at least once a month, probably more like every 2 weeks to start. No fixing the same thing everytime though.
As you can tell, we still haven't gotten the tile backsplash. We really need to go out hunting again, but it just hasn't happened yet....

look what's baking

It's that time of the year again.... birthday week around here. So, this afternoon, I baked M's cake - 3 layers, this year, at his request - and cupcakes for his class on Monday.

Here's the cake after frosting. A bit messy, but delicious! Have a virtual slice with us tomorrow.

I only have 2 layer cake pans, so I borrowed one from my mom. Oops, hers are just slightly bigger than mine, so after stacking the layers up, I had to trim the bottom layer to fit. And then, well, I had to eat the trimmings - cause I didn't want to waste them.

Shaggy heads

A has been complaining that his hair is getting in his eyes recently. He decided that he wanted a haircut in Spring. Well, we didn't get around to it earlier in the week - weather was yucky or he was playing. But today is nice so its haircut day. Here he is pre-haircut:

And then afterwards, he looks like this:

I know my mom will probably think this is too short, but its how A wants it. I asked him how short to make the bangs - he put his hand all the way up to the top of his forehead. I didn't cut them quite that short, but we took off a good bit of hair today. He says it feels better not to have hair in his eyes or getting caught in things.
Meanwhile, M needs a haircut - I tell him he looks like a shaggy dog. He doesn't like the idea of a haircut or of his photo being taken.
I told him he must have a haircut before Easter. He wants to keep it long. I'd rather have it short, but will compromise on longer if it looks less shaggy. We may have to go to the barber to get some sort of trim and neatening up, but keeping some length. It's hard for me to leave some length, as M doesn't like it when I use scissors - its hard not to go too short with clippers.

Friday, March 24, 2006

What happened to Spring??

I distinctly remember posting a few weeks ago about how warm it was and spring-like. Well, we've been officially in Spring now for 4 days and it hasn't once seemed like spring weather. The radio says its "unseasonably cool" - lows in the mid 30's and highs barely into the low 50's. It's a good thing I put the flannel sheets back on the bed when I changed it last week (and wondered if it was time to put them away til fall). We may need them for yet another week. I certainly hope it doesn't freeze again - many of the azaleas are still in bud.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

High Tea

Finally, Blogger let me put up pictures.

My mom took us out for high tea this afternoon. As you can see, it is an occasion for the boys to get dressed up.

The tea was lovely. We did it back in Dec also when one of my mom's friends was going to be there with her Red Hat Society. M was disappointed that this time they didn't have chocolate mousse. In Dec they had a large bowl of mousse - like large mixing bowl. And when it got low, they put out another bowl - heaven to a 9 yo chocolate loving boy. Even without mousse, there was quite a spread of desserts.

Unfortunately, most (all?) of what M likes there are the desserts - I believe he had a muffin, but maybe not. Other than that he had chocolate chip cookies, strawberries, chocolate puff (very yummy, until he discovered it had a large center of coconut) - oh, and the ham and cheese (no mayo, no mustard, just bread) sandwich that I brought so that he would have something other than dessert to eat. M is getting (got long ago?) too old to have to take special food for. We told him that he needs to be more willing to try foods before he can go to this tea again. He did try a scone and said he didn't like it - I think he tried a piece smaller than a piece of catfood. I don't know what there is not to like - it was like a very good, sweet blueberry biscuit/cookie. Yummm. A declared all the food yummy, except for the chicken salad sandwich - I thought it was fine, though different somehow than normal.

Blogger is not letting me put up photos today - I'll try to add them later.

new school times

I got an automated message from the kids school - they are changing the start times of all the schools next year. I had some prior warning on this as M came home a few weeks ago and said that T (the superintendant's daughter, who is in his class) said school would start earlier next year. I wouldn't normally give much heed to a second-hand info from a kid, but considering the source, it was worth looking in to. I asked D, and he said he had heard a rumor from a student....hmmm, sounding more likely all the time. So at the last PTA meeting, I button-holed the principal and asked her - yep, they were considering it. It seems the school board just voted a few nights ago and they have changed the times, all right. Elementary will start earlier next year, 7:35 (instead of the current 7:50). They were considering 7:15, so I guess I should be glad. They will get out at 2:10. They claim that the buses will not run any (or not more than 5 min) earlier - I hope not! My kids are getting on the bus at 6:45am now! I have to wonder if the earlier start time didn't fly as they couldn't work the bus routes?
Anyhow, middle and high school are also changing times, and this will affect us soon - M will start middle school in less than 1.5 years. At that point, if these times stick, middle won't start until 8:45 and will go until 3:55. High schoolers will go 8:05-3:10. They say one reason for changing all the times around is to split up middle and high school bus routes and to have more buses running so the middle & high routes aren't as crowded. We'll see.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

consignment sales

Today was the start of a consignment sale I participate in. I get a larger percentage of my sales (80% vs 65%) if I work a shift, so I worked this afternoon. I'm tired now! I spent the morning finishing pricing items and trying to find the rest of some set/toy/outfit. I finally got all the pieces to one toy that I've been trying to sell for about 2 years, but on several others, as soon as I put all the pieces together, someone decides that they MUST play with it... even though it is a toddler toy. Maybe I can finally sell it when A gets to be a teenager. Last fall the kids decided it was time to sell the Duplos (but not the Legos). I ran into a mom at the sale who said her teenager still plays with Duplos and Legos, so I guess I could have it worse.
From 11:30-3, I worked my shift, checking clothes and putting them out on the racks - it was tiring. Then back home to supervise the finishing up of homework, trying to plan a Scout meeting for tonight and fixing dinner. Then Scouts, where we worked on our scrapbooks some more - drawing pictures of camping. After Scouts, D took the kids home for bed, while I headed back to the consignment sale for the preview sale. I managed to find some pants for M - I hope they fit and a few other things. I'm always amazed at how much stuff some of the people buy - like several laundry baskets full! I'll show the stuff to the kids tomorrow and see if stuff fits. The kids usually want to go on Saturday, when its half price for most stuff.

kosher day

Sunday was a day for many discussions of kosher. One of M's friends is Jewish and his mom asked whether J could spend Sunday with us while she worked. Yes, sure, but we go to church and won't be home til around 1 - if you need me to watch J sooner, he could come to church with us, if you and he don't mind. She didn't mind and J thought that was better then going to work with his dad, so he came with us.
It's interesting to bring a Jewish kid to church....I checked with the Sunday School teacher to see what I might need to prep J on. They were taking a tour of the church - sounds great! And doing some sort of art project. Terrific. Then church. He was very quiet and polite, but bored - we asked later and he said it was about the same amount of boring as Synogogue.
I got to explain to lots of people why I had an extra kid and why he wasn't taking communion. One guy was rather clueless - he didn't know anything about the Jewish faith, like that they don't have services on Sundays or what kosher is (also led to a discussion of halal meats and what that is). Now, I'm no expert on any of this, but I've picked up various tidbits of info from books, friends, etc. I was surprised that he didn't seem to have what I would consider common knowledge. So, at dinner that night after J went home, we had a discussion with the kids about some differences between Christians and Jews, what kosher is, why Jews keep kosher, how something becomes kosher (peanut butter and beef in particular). It was very interesting to me and I hope to M and A.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

baking soda rockets

Yesterday afternoon, M decided he wanted to do some science experiments. OK, first he tried blowing a bubble within a bubble. It seemed to work somewhat, but not great. Then he wanted to try rockets. We don't have any Alka-Seltzer, so we decided to try baking soda rockets. We found a water bottle and a cork and took them and baking soda and vinegar outside. First M added the baking soda and vinegar to the bottle.

Then he corked it, shook it a bit and put it upside down in a brick.

Then you wait. And wait some more.

Then, maybe it needs to be shaken again? Oops, it exploded all over M.

more tooth pictures

A has been losing some more teeth recently. Here he is just having lost the 2nd bottom tooth.

Then his top tooth started getting very wiggly. He's demonstrating how he can stick it out almost at right angles.

Then the next day, the tooth finally came out! He now has 2 completely missing teeth - and one that is about half grown in.

We're in for gap-toothed smiles for a while yet! A is very happy that the tooth fairy keeps visiting.

Friday, March 17, 2006

M's field trip

The big day finally arrived on Thursday - the 4th grade field trip. Hurrah, hurrah! They were supposed to be at the school at *yawn* 6:30 am. So that their buses could leave before the regular buses arrived at 7:15. Since my mom had volunteered to go as a chaperone, I suggested that M spend the night with her - that way she and M could arrive together at school (and I could sleep til my normal 6 am). Happily she did. Anyway, at some point very close to regular buses arriving, they finally took off for Callaway Gardens and Wild Animal Safari.
They went to Callaway Gardens first, where seemingly they spent most of their time in the gift shop and then a bit of time in the Butterfly Garden. Not much comment from M on this. Then lunch and on to Wild Animal Safari where they got to ride in an open air bus and feed the animals. The animals were VERY interested in the food as you can see!

They also saw some other animals like these baby goats - in this case, they were being born as the kids went past!

M assures me that this is a Liger - makes sense - it looks rather like a lion but the tail is striped. If you click on the photo, you can see the image a bit bigger.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

flowers of Spring

It was quite warm for a couple of days and the flowers and plants have decided that it is really spring. It's cooler again now, at least at night, but it doesn't look like we'll get another freeze - good for the flowers. I've been watching forsythias around the neighborhood bloom for the last few weeks and now ours is finally catching up. It blooms late because its mostly in the shade - works out nicely though, by the time the forsythia across the street has finished blooming and is all greening up, ours is in full bloom.

Here are our lovely hyacinths. I really love the two-tone look on these ones.

And the azaleas are finally starting to bloom. Only our small flowered ones are starting now, and again, since they are somewhat in the shade, they don't start blooming quite as early as some. This does mean that they are a little less likely to be flower-less due to a late freeze. The larger azaleas haven't even started to bud yet.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

new library bag

As I was checking out at the library yesterday, the librarian asked "have we given you one of our bookbags?" No, I don't think so (they sometimes give me plastic grocery bags, but that didn't seem like what she meant). She recognized me as a frequent library user - probably from looking at my file, too, what with dozens of books with multiple different due dates - and pulled out a very handsome bag.
It seems that she makes these! and gives them out to library patrons. Wow. I felt pleased and blessed. This will obviously become my new library bag, replacing one that advertised some chemical supply company (freebie from some conference). Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 13, 2006

another tooth lost

A lost his 2nd tooth this morning at breakfast. He was complaining that he couldn't bite the strawberries with his loose tooth, and when he went to demonstrate how far it would bend, pop, it bent too far and out it came. Here he is at bedtime demonstrating the empty space.
You can see that the other bottom tooth is coming in already. You can't see it, but one of the top teeth is loose now too. Teeth seem to come out in spurts and then nothing. Posted by Picasa

Blue and Gold Banquet

Aside from the cake decorating contest, this was also a pack meeting. M and A both got more awards and are well on their was to getting their Webelos and Tiger badges respectively. I expect they will each receive their badge at the next pack meeting. They also did skits. It's kind of hard to get good photos of skits, but here's the best one I was able to get of A's group. They were singing and acting out the "Sharky song". A learned it along with all the other kids at Scout day camp last year. It's a cute song, but they needed to sing louder for the crowd. It helped, though, that many of our other Scouts know it (and probably many of the parents heard it last summer too).

Blue and Gold cakes

Saturday night was the Blue and Gold Banquet for Cub Scouts. One highlight of this is the father/son cake decorating contest. Moms or any women are not allowed to help. The other big rule is EVERYTHING on the cake must be edible. M declared that he and A needed separate cakes, so lucky D got to bake and help decorate 2 cakes. The theme was Bluebeard the Pirate and his Treasure of Gold. M wanted to make a pirate ship.

First M and D baked a chocolate cake in two 9" pans, then they cut those in half and put 3 halves side-by-side upright. M said he wanted the ship to be longer and with a pointy bow, so D took the other half and cut it again and put it in front. Then they used Fruit by the Foot to help hold the ship together.

M frosted just the top of the cake (they decided the side was hard to frost and the chocolate cake looked good on its own).

They created gun ports from Andes mints and cannons from tootsie rolls. The bowsprit is a rolled wafer cookie, and there is a gummy princess figurehead.

M cut apart some Nestle Treasures and took out the creme filling, replacing it with "gems" of sprinkles. Reeses Puffs made nice cannon balls.

D cut up flour tortillas for the sails and threaded them onto more of the rolled wafer cookies (with raw fettucine (may not be the most tasty, but it is edible) to help stabilize them). The flag on top was more fruit leather. He had to wait til we got to the banquet to do the final assembly - here it is:

Meanwhile, in between some of this, D and A were making A's cake. A wanted a treasure chest. They started with a sheet cake, cut 1/4 off each end and stuck them together for the base. Then D reinforced the middle part with graham crackers for the curved lid to the treasure chest. He put some wedges of cake in between to try to help hold up the lid. Here they are using more Fruit by the Foot to make the bands on the treasure chest.

Then A added mini M&M's to look like the nails holding the bands on. He has put a few "jewels" into the treasure chest.

Here is the final cake at the banquet. He has added various chocolate coins and jewels.

They both looked quite nice and got many nice comments from the other Scouts and parents. M won 1st place for best use of decorations for his cake. Here the best decorations winners and dads are getting their ribbons.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Challenge Quilt progress

I've been making some progres finally on my Challenge quilt. Here, I've gotten the front completed, with both borders on. I finished that up Friday night.

Then on Saturday, I got the quilt sandwiched and started quilting. You can see the circles I quilted in the middle (the challenge calls for 5 circles, so I need to find someplace to put 2-3 more in (depending on whether I count the circle of leaves)).

You can't see, but I've already quilted around 4.5 leaves. I have plenty more to do, especially as the quilt is due on March 29th. I'm turning it in whether its done or not! My goal is to have it at least mostly done, even if I have to come back and do more quilting later.

Friday, March 10, 2006

readers read....

...wherever they are. We ran some errands after school today, looking for more bits for the cakes D is making with M and A (for the father/son cake contest for Scouts - more on that later, I'm sure). We finished up errands with dropping books off at the book drop and a visit to the paperback library. M got a few books, as did I, and A checked out 9 Magic Tree House books.
As soon as we came in, he plopped down in the hall to read. In the background you can see some of the rest of the stack. I think he's already finished 2 this afternoon. Posted by Picasa