Monday, March 29, 2010

Mom Fail #1

Monday dawned like any other day. We went about our morning as usual - Curious George, breakfast, getting dressed, backpack on. As I pulled up to to the front of the school, my heart stopped for a moment as I remembered what day it was.


The 29th.

Book Suitcase* Parade!

I felt like the worst Mom ever. With all the chaos of sick kids and the Easter Activity, I had completely forgotten to have her finish the Book Suitcase. She had worked on it the previous weekend, but the actual folder had gotten shuffled through the week, and slipped my mind.

As she struggled out of the car, I mentioned that we had forgotten to pack her project, but that I would figure something out.

I raced home again and burst through the door. Big Daddy looked at me questioningly.

"Ohmygoshwetotallyforgotaboutherbooksuitcaseprojectandit'sdueTODAY!!!!!!", I blurted without taking a breath.

We then spent the next 20 minutes searching for pictures of cupcakes and green foods - which, despite my collection of parenting magazines and Bon Appetits, was not as easy I thought it would be. As oceans of guilt washed over me, we flipped pages, cut, glued, added the luggage tag, and called it good.

I packed Big J into the car and burned rubber back to the school.

I burst through the doors of the school office and explained my situation. The secretaries gave each other a look, then had me leave the Suitcase with them. (oh I hope it gets to her!!)

I went about my day, and sifted through my feelings about the incident.

I don't think I'm a perfect mom. Far from it. I think teachers - particularly in our area - have a tough enough time trying to get students (and their parents) to comply and participate. I like Mrs. C., and I think she's doing a great job with the 'raw material' she's been given. I don't want our family to be a part of the problem. So if Mama has to fake a little bit of a Kindergarten project to assuage her own guilt about forgetting the due date, then so be it. And although I will probably have different feelings about it when she's in 3rd grade and beyond, for now I'm OK with that.

*Book Suitcase = a manila folder to be decorated in such a way as to entice one to read a particular book. Her choice was Pinkalicious. The suitcases are part of the month-long "Trip Around the World" wherein the students would add up reading minutes in order to 'send' the principal to different parts of the world.

PS - I really am not usually this much of a flake. Going forward I guess even Kindergarten projects warrant a reminder for my phone's organizer!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Life Gets in the Way

Once again, I am on the Activities Committee. I rather like this calling, as I enjoy organizing social events and executing them well. I've learned that it's best to create a solid plan, don't be afraid to ask for - and give - lots of help, and prep-prep-prep in advance.

This week I got together to stuff Easter eggs with a few of the ladies. 2 hours and 600 eggs later we were done, and the question of cookies arose. One person stated she would make hers on Friday night so they would be fresh. I announced that I was done, and that mine were residing in the freezer. I received this in response:

"Ugh, I don't freeze my cookies. Don't you want them to be FRESH for the kids?"

Ummmm... well, sure. I love fresh cookies.

But here's the thing:

First, we're each making 6 dozen. That's not an insignificant amount, and it takes a good chunk of time to get it done. I had the time & the cookie dough, so I got it done.

Second, I didn't bake them 3 months ago. It's only been a few days, and they are properly sealed in the appropriate freezer-safe packaging.

Finally, THEY ARE KIDS. I have no illusions that I could have gone to the dollar store and bought pre-made sugar cookies that are 9 months past their expiration date and those bottomless pits with pigtails & polos wouldn't know the difference.

My point - and I do have one - is that despite feeling a little shamed by the fact that my cookies will clearly be inferior to all others, I still stand firm in my belief that the more you get done in advance, the better things seem to work out.

Because sometimes this happens:

Believe me, the last thing I feel like doing today is trying to roll, cut, and bake 6 dozen cookies in the aftermath of 8 hours of nighttime vomiting by both kiddos. Instead, I think we're going to watch a movie & take a well-deserved nap.

Post-script: Ms. Cookie Snob ended up buying her cookies. HA!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Creative Problem Solving

Before I had kids, I didn't understand the tornado of mess they could make. I grew up an only child, and was responsible for cleaning up after myself. Being the conscientious type, I didn't think this was a tremendous burden. Few of my friends had younger siblings, and the little interaction I had with those families left me thinking that things were a little crazy, but not too bad.

Time fades memory, and the introduction of kids x 2 has brought a new awareness of spills, stains, scratches, and marks that are seemingly impervious to energetic scrubbing. My brilliant husband was the one who steered us towards the couch & chair upholstered in chocolate brown microsuede, and I will be forever grateful for this genius decision. Graham cracker crumbs may glare like a neon sign against the dark cloth, but it does a fantastic job of hiding much of the detritus of spill-prone young 'uns.

Unfortunately, my car did not come equipped with equally dark seats and I have been bothered by the mysteriously off color spots which seem to appear on a weekly basis. Our recent Spring weather gave me a kick start to refresh the Family Truckster, and after a thorough vacuuming, I racked my brain for a solution to shortcut those dratted marks besmirching my upholstery.

Focusing on supplies at hand, I remembered the crib sheet which had met an untimely demise this summer. Why I had kept this I could not recall, but it proved to be the answer to my dilemma. I tucked and arranged, and in moments I had a perfect fit for my kid-spotted bench seat. Washable, easy to install, and exactly the right price for my budget - I LOVE my new car seat cover.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Fab Friday: March 19

One of my favorite aspects of living in Portland was the fabulous food. Huge Farmer's Market, lots of seafood, a love of the artisanal, and a diversity of restaurants all converged to keep me fat and happy.

For a time, I was in love with Caffe Mingo. Small, crowded, understaffed - despite it's flaws it was my preferred destination for an early dinner or late night repast. Caffe Mingo gave me my first taste of Caprese Salad. A basic mix of tomato, fresh mozzarella, basil, and olive oil, Caprese makes my taste buds sing and makes me feel like Spring is truly here.

There's no single recipe for Caprese. I make it with thick slices of cheese, or chop them into bits - but it's always best if the moz is fresh. My preferred tomatoes run the gamut of Roma, homegrown, or grape. Chiffonade some basil, add a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Enjoy this delicate repast while bathed in the light of the setting sun reflected off the lapping waves of Lake Como. Or dig into a bowlful while being serenaded by SpongeBob and the chortles of a slightly manic two year old. Both are delightful.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

No Doubt

Whilst enjoying my morning beverage and perusing the interwebs, I glanced about my living space, delighting in the golden rays of sunshine bathing my winter-weary walls. Then my wandering eye happened upon this:

At which point my brain suffered a mild explosion which resulted in the following:

That last bit is my frontal cortex being drained of all coherent thought for 10-20 seconds while I waited for one of Aragog's offspring to crawl out and hunt down my children for a tasty snack. When I revived myself I decided that mayhaps the delightful Spring weather is signaling me that now is the time to do a little deep cleaning.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Who is 2??


The first thing he spotted was his giant dumptruck.

How he felt about opening presents.

Birthday Banner.

So happy.

Wheels? Check.
Passenger? Check.
Snack? Check.

Checking out Buzz on his new hoodie.
Thanks G & G Engle!

Mom's handiwork.

Cars cake.

I think this was the lowest-stress, best-tasting cake I have made in a LONG, long time.
Bottom layer: Dark Chocolate Cake.
Top layer (curve): Martha's Basic Yellow Cake (Seriously the best homemade cake I've made. Moist & dense.).
Frosting: Chocolate Buttercream (with a twist - 2 oz. of cream cheese!!).
Cookies: Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies.
Decoration: Crushed graham crackers, cocoa powder, Cars.

Big J at 2......
  • Shows off his bellybutton.
  • Loves his trucks, enjoys lining them up & running them over any surface within his reach.
  • Screeches with glee when he sees/ hears Elmo, Daddy & Sister.
  • Favorite food is pasta with alfredo sauce. Also enjoys smoothies, yogurt, ice cream, grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs, oranges, grapes, bananas, granola bars, fruit leather, graham crackers, pretzels.
  • At nap & bedtime, will snuggle with his Curious George. Also insists I give George a kiss and tuck him in, too.
  • Adores his sister, loves to run after her, hit her, and generally bother her.
  • Enjoys dancing, wrestling with Daddy.
  • Likes to lick his hands.
  • Gets excited when he sees dogs of any kind, either on TV or in person.
  • Favorite answer to any question is 'No'.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Fab Friday: March 12

7 straight days of sunshine have helped me to shake off the grey-day blues and kick start my craftiness once again. With a birthday looming, Easter steadily advancing, and school days beginning to wane, there has been much to do.

One tool that recently joined my crafting arsenal is the Fiskars Ultra ShapeXpress.

I've had my eye on this beauty for a while, and with the help of a Joann coupon (keep 'em coming Joann!), I brought it home last month. Clearly made for scrapbookers (which I am most definitely not), this gem has been invaluable in helping me make birthday banners, activity posters, and thank you cards. Paired with their shape templates, the Ultra ShapeXpress makes quick work of those ovals, squares, circles or other shapes so vital to papercraft-creating.

Pick one up today!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Fab Friday: March 5th

Yet another birthday rolls around next weekend, and I am trying, trying, trying to be prepared. No last minute cake making, no frantic gift buying the day before, no late night wrapping parties (for one).

As such, I have been trolling for unique gifts for my boy's boy, spending much time hopping between eBay and etsy. My search for trains, planes, and automobiles in many shapes & forms led me to Happy Family and their FAB tshirts.

First sign of awesomeness: Sheldon from Big Bang Theory has worn their dino t shirt several times. Second sign: their selection! Extensive, varied, creative. Third sign: A high rating with many, many happy customers.

(Images taken from Happy Family shop page. Sorry, but you're awesome!)

I jumped right in and ordered a Robot t, which will go perfectly with his robot moves (he stands still and holds his arms rail straight, then moves them up and down in front of him). And, in a nod to my sweet Hub, I also ordered a Skeleton Diagram t. PLUS - I got a free pirate ship tote bag! What little boy wouldn't want Mama to tote his library books in a bag with a pirate ship on it??

I had a little hiccup in the ordering process, but the owner was responsive, all was smoothed out & my package arrived yesterday. I can't wait for Big J to open these up on his birthday. I hope he's as excited as I am!

Happy Friday!