Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Laugh Til Ya Cry

I have to admit I did something really silly this morning!  I posted a comment on my daughter Jessica's blog,, using an incorrect word. I didn't catch it but Alyssa (my younger daughter) did.  I was referring to the poem of the Tortoise and the Hare, only I wrote "the hair".  We all burst out laughing that I hadn't checked over my work.  I didn't know how to edit it once it had posted so I had to add another comment clarifying my mistake.  We were all doubled over laughing when Alyssa asked, "Does laughing help your corns?"  (She has a corn on her foot).  Now I could barely speak.  I repeated her question not understanding what she was asking.  Then she exploded in another round of laughter.  "No, I said does laughing help your core?"  Ohhh .... It took about 5 minutes before I could get my answer out. I could hardly even breath between laughs.  We were at that stage where just the sound of one person's chuckle, brought a tsumani of more giggles.  We were all crying by the end and yes we all got a great "core" work out.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spring Cleaning.... a Little Early

Ryan doing his part.
Last week, all the snow melted and the sun peeked out from behind its winter cloud cover.  The brand new shoots of daffodils were beginning to rise out of the cold Earth.   Maybe Spring was coming a little early this year.  But the joyous coming of Spring, brings Spring Cleaning (I really don't like cleaning!). I'm not sure what ancient memory is triggered by those first rays of sun and warmth, but as cave people it must have improved our survival when we swept the cave in the Spring.  Even my kids' DNA took over and they felt the need to clean out the winter dust.  Ryan grabbed the wood floor duster and told me I had to vacuum so that he could wash the floor. He went around spraying and dusting until the floor sparkled to his satisfaction.  (Yes, like any kid, he over sprayed and the wood got a little too wet, but hey he was learning to help out and that was what was important to me.) The girls tidied their rooms and the family room, then they vacuumed the steps.  My husband got into it too and cleaned the whole kitchen, even cleaning around the stove.  I took care of the mound of papers that had built up and I readied our old clothes for donation.  I also opened the windows and let the fresh air blow out all of last season's germs.  It was great to get so much done.  With all of us working together, the house looked and smelled great after only about 2 hours. We were now almost ready for Spring....just in time for another winter storm to cover us in a layer of ice and snow. Oh well.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

No More Chairs

My son's school class has done away with chairs.  They now have big orange bouncy balls to sit on.  If they want their chair back they can have it, but when I went in this week to help out no one had chosen a chair.  You might think this would cause more commotion in a class of 21 first graders, but they were all quietly balancing on their ball doing their work.  His teacher told me their level of concentration seems to be improving because they have to focus on staying upright while they are writing which leaves less time to goof off.  I have to commend the school for trying things a little differently in order to improve our kids' education.  My son loves it so much I thought maybe we should buy some for our house, then maybe he would concentrate on sitting at the dinner table instead of running around it.  


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Box Full of Fun

Threading string through breastplate.
My son brought a book home from school about making home-made costumes.  I was naive enough to think that he just wanted to read it and look at all the pictures.  But he brought it home for a reason.  He had a particular costume in mind:  a knight in shining armour.  I was concerned when he pointed out how we were going to make all the pieces.  Not only is he a perfectionist, but when it comes to making crafty things, I'm about as far from Martha Stewart as a person can be.
Fortunately, I somehow made him realize that it couldn't all be made in one night.  We would have to take a couple days to make all the pieces.  The sword and shield were relatively simple once I found big enough cardboard boxes.  The hardest part was cutting through the cardboard with our dull scissors. (The directions said to use a craft knife, but I didn't think we had one and I was too lazy to look around for anything else.)  After the sword and shield were complete I thought he would be satisfied.  I should have known better.  He announced that the next item we had to make was the breastplate.
Breastplate and shoulder strap.
Here looks were deceiving!  We cut out the pieces and covered them with foil.  The next directions were to hole punch the sides so they could be strung together. Simple enough right?  Have you ever hole punched cardboard wrapped in foil?  It was like trying to punch a hole through concrete.  My hand couldn't squeeze hard enough!  I tried pressing it against the floor then Ryan put his little hands on mine and pushed with all his body weight on my hands.  OUCH! But it worked.....we only had 9 more holes to make.  With 2 remaining my palms could no longer take it.  I tried pressing with my foot but that didn't work much better.  Finally, I got the last 2 holes made. We threaded string through the sides lacing each half together and then fastened the shoulder straps.
The moment of truth came when he tried it on..... The breast plate looked good, but the shoulder straps were far too big for his tiny shoulders and the entire piece slipped right down to the floor.  It was getting late so I told him for now we should use string to hold the shoulders together.  "Mom did real knights use string in their armour?" He asked.  Yikes, I hoped this question wouldn't lead to random exclamations of "THIS WILL NEVER WORK.... WORST DAY EVER!" I knew I had to tread carefully.  I told him, "sometimes knights used leather to straps to hold pieces together and it was a lot like string."  That seemed to be good enough and we promised we would try to fix the design tomorrow.  After that, onto the helmet and gauntlets.  I never knew so much could be made from a simple cardboard box!
Luckily he doesn't seem to care that his shoulder strap is faulty.



Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Candlelight Dinner

Snowman Candle Ryan made for me.
Tonight my son insisted on having a candlelight dinner.  He wanted to use the little candle that he made for me at Christmas time.  No one else wanted the lights dimmed.  But as a kid I remember always asking if we could turn down the lights at dinner, most of the time the answer was "no". I don't know why I thought candles would make dinner more special.  I guess it's the silly romantic in me.  It seems my son has inherited this trait.
Tonight, however, the decision was in my hands and we ate our chili in the special glow of Ryan's candle.  

Special Illuminations


Monday, February 7, 2011

Super Bowl without the Football

Lambeau Field
We had a wonderful family Super Bowl party last night.  There were hamburgers, chips, salsa, smoked salmon, crackers and cheese.  The 5 of us huddled around the TV, watching with anticipation.  But we weren't watching football..... we were watching a movie.

We are Green Bay fans... we even visited Lambeau Field last summer. (Way cool!)  Yeah I know it sounds crazy (maybe we are), but this year we  decided not to watch the game. We just wanted to shake things up and do something different.  So we made a pile of cushions and blankets on the floor, munched on munchies and put a spy thriller in the dvd player.  We all had a great time.  We also got to go to bed early... and the Packers still won!   

Sporting Cheesehead gear 


Friday, February 4, 2011

A Good Laugh

I was in the middle of my work and my girls were making an immense amount of noise.  My train of thought was now disturbed so I listened to what was going on.  They were bursting with laughter.  I couldn't even tell what they were saying.  Finally I heard Jessica say, "a bosc of bixed mixers".....what were they talking about?  I listened some more. Alyssa answered, "a box of bixits mixed"....then more laughter.  Tongue twisters.  They were trying to say -- A box of biscuits, a box of mixed biscuits, a biscuit mixer."  Pretty soon I got in on the action and I couldn't say it either.  We kept going back and forth trying to get it right.  Not one of us could say it right.  Tears started forming in my eyes I was laughing so hard.  It was just a tongue twister it wasn't really all that funny, but we couldn't help ourselves.  The laughter gushed out of us like water rushing from a broken dam.  We finally settled down but later in the car they started up again.  This time I had to tell them to stop.  I could hardly breath or see the road because of our wild merriment.  I guess some days we just need a good laugh.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Working Together

Last year my husband and I started a new tradition for our family.  We felt it was important for our kids to experience the tastes and flavors of other cultures, so we began our Foreign Food Fridays Feast.  Every week a different country is chosen. So far we have done 48. I search anywhere I can find authentic recipes:  friends, internet, library, etc.  Then I spend a number of hours in the kitchen preparing multiple dishes to represent the cuisine of the chosen nation for our celebration on Friday.  It's been a wonderful educational opportunity for all of us.  Though I'm not a chef, I love to cook and learn new cooking techniques and ways to use new ingredients.  The kids have learned to enjoy the new dishes we have tried though they still leave the occasional onion or pepper "hidden" on the side of their plate.  We have even added a few of the favorites to our regular weekly rotation.  There is only one problem with our weekly world travels:  the pile of dishes covering every square inch of my kitchen counters. Some nights I use almost every pan I have (which isn't all that many but they sure make a big pile).  After spending a couple hours cooking the last thing I want to do is clean up.  This is where my wonderful hubby steps in. He cleans every dish and every counter top until the kitchen sparkles again.  He tells me to go sit down and enjoy the kids or a book while he happily cleans up all my messes.  When he's finished we watch movies with the kids until half of us have fallen asleep.
Despite the benefits, I don't think I would continue our feasts if I had to clean up as well.  Working together, we have made Friday nights the most special night of the week.  


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Change is Good

Today I'm finally taking down our Christmas tree.  Yes I realize it is already February.  I don't really have any excuses for leaving it up so long, except that I like it. My kids like it too.  I tried to take it down about a week ago and my kids begged me to leave it.   Yes I could have taken it down anyway but why?  Just to show my kids that I'm the boss?  So I left it.
But now that it's February 1st, we have only 9 months before I have to put it up again.  Part of what makes the holidays exciting is the change from the everyday dreariness to the glowing lights and tinsel.  If everyday was glowing maybe Christmas time wouldn't be as exciting either.