Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Eve

I hope you all had the Christmas celebration you were hoping for. We had a lovely Christmas Eve and Day. We got some nice video, although I'm a little miffed that our camera card ate all of our Christmas pictures.

The three of us spent Christmas Eve just playing. We made some sugar cookies in the morning while J was at work, and they were a hit.
J brought home a pre-made gingerbread house, so that was next on our list. Boo was very meticulous about her decorating. Did I ever mention that her preschool teacher describes her as 'fastidious'?
Boo opened a few presents that evening and fell in love with her finger paints.
She got some darling Christmas pajamas and the softest robe and slippers from Grandma. The pajamas had embroidered butterflies, so she couldn't wait to get them on. The robe was another story. She spread it on her lap and used it for a blanket, but we'll have to work up to actually putting it on.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Lights at the Zoo

We went to see the lights at the zoo the other day and had a great time. It was foggy and drizzly, but that meant no crowds. Boo was so happy to be outside and running. We took a walk through the aquarium while we waited for it to get dark, and Boo enjoyed watching the polar bear sleep.

Eventually we made it outside to see the lights, and found that Boo was more impressed with the puddles than the lights. She found a long puddle and stomped on through. When she got to the end she ran around to the beginning of the puddle and sloshed her way through again. She kept busy this way for quite some time.
But the lights did earn some respect from her after she was pretty wet.
They had a light show set to some Trans-Siberian Orchestra songs that I really enjoyed. Not as impressive as this guy's house, but still very fun to watch.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Understanding and compassion

In the November 2008 Reader's Digest there was an article by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend about her father, Robert Kennedy. I found this part of the article especially moving. Not only because it involved Indianapolis, but also because one man, at great personal risk, used what he learned from his own grief to reach out to others also feeling overwhelming grief.

The day that Martin Luther King Jr. was killed, my father was on his way to deliver a speech in Indianapolis during his campaign for president. He received word of Dr. King's murder and then word from Mayor Richard Lugar that he should not come to give the speech, as it was too dangerous downtown and the mayor could not guarantee his safety.

The mayor was not being unreasonable. Across the country, cities were about to break out in angry desperation and rioting as the awful news began to spread.

But my father believed that he had to go. His campaign was about reconciliation. He could not refuse to go. On his way there, he scribbled a few notes to himself.

Standing on the back of a flatbed truck, my father addressed the crowd and told them about Dr. King's death. They had not yet heard the news. After their gasps of grief and lost hope, he delivered a speech that, sadly, still resonates today (as my father also said to the crowd that day, "I had a member of my family killed...he was killed by a white man"):

"My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He once wrote, 'Even in our sleep, pain which we cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.'

"What we need in the United States is not division. What we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need is not violence or lawlessness - but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice for those who still suffer in our country whether they be white or whether they be black.

"So I ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King. But more importantly, to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love - a prayer for understanding and compassion."

While riots broke out in more than 100 cities that night, there were none in Indianapolis. A black assistant chief of police said that the senator and his family could have slept outside all night and remained unharmed. My father had reached people with his own understanding of suffering and pain and with what had been his clear determination to serve and to help. His actions gave his words credibility.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lying is Bad

Do you find it hard to be honest? Read more on why Lying is Bad.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Gingerbread House

This morning we had some friends over to make gingerbread houses. As much as I love to eat gingerbread, I didn't feel up to the challenge of making the gingerbread and the glue. So we made gingerbread houses preschool style - quick, easy, low stress, great for groups of kids. The kids had a great time, even if we did all eat a bit too much candy.

In the past I have used the little goldfish cracker boxes that look like tiny milk cartons as a base, but at Target they had these perfect animal cracker boxes. I just cut the handle off of the top and it was perfect.

First, cover a sturdy paper plate or piece of cardboard with foil, put a dab of white frosting on the bottom of the box and press it down so it doesn't slide all over the plate.
I love this picture because it looks like the package of graham crackers is floating.

Next, frost all four sides of the box and press graham cracker pieces all around the box. (Note: Target brand graham crackers break apart beautifully - did I mention I love Target?).
Now, frost the 'roof' and decorate with candy. Boo mostly used M&M's and Hershey's Kisses.
The more, the merrier.
The finished product....
Some of the kids frosted the graham crackers and added candy to the sides of the house too. We also had a bit of coconut colored green to sprinkle around the house as grass.

Next week I think we'll try sugar cookies. I strongly dislike store bought cookie dough, so I will be forced to actually make the dough myself. Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Guitar Hero

I've never played Guitar Hero, but I'm crazy about their commercials. It could be that I love that song...but then there's also the guys dancing in their underwear...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More gluing

I thought up a fun Christmas craft that involved a lot of gluing. Here it is, our paper plate Christmas wreath:
1. Cut a circle out of the middle of a paper plate.
2. Rip a piece of green construction paper into randomly shaped 3-4" pieces.
3. Glue the green pieces all over the paper plate to make the wreath.
4. Cut out shapes from different colors of construction paper and glue them on the wreath as decorations.

OR, if you run out of paper plates, or are interested in less gluing, you can make a wreath this way:

1. Cut a wreath shape out of green construction paper (I used the aforementioned paper plate as a guide).
2. Cut out shapes from different colors of construction paper and glue them on the wreath as decorations.
Great activities for practicing shapes and colors, fine motor skills and starting AND finishing. A skill I am determined (though probably not qualified) to teach my kids.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Did you know...

...that if you have gmail, you can do a weather theme background for your gmail display. And it will display the type of weather you are having. Today my gmail is snowing, and my chat window has a little pile of snow on top. At first I thought this was really cool. But now that I have to go out, it makes me a little depressed. Soon that little pile of snow will be on top of my car.

Glue, baby, glue

Boo has fallen in love with crafts. With gluing, really. Fortunately for me, she is meticulous about her gluing. I told her the first few times about just using a "tiny bit" of glue, and now as she is about to glue something she looks up at me, holds up one finger and says emphatically "tiny bit, tiny bit". You'd think I'd beaten it into her. I am glad that she picks up some things faster than others (does anyone else get tired of saying "wipe your bum"?).
At preschool a couple of weeks ago, she came home with a piece of green construction paper with a Christmas tree drawn on it and buttons (in different shapes) glued on. By the time we got home she had picked all the buttons of and was begging to glue them on again. So this is our cycle. We glue on the buttons, wait for it to dry, pick them off, then glue them on again.
I feel okay about this though. It's a great fine motor activity, we talk about the shapes and colors of buttons, and I don't have to come up with a new craft activity every day.
And really, could I come up with one as exciting as this anyway?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Nativity stickers

Boo is a sticker fanatic. When we were in California, Grandma got her a new package of stickers nearly every day. Heaven.

This week Boo got this great sticker activity from preschool. There's a paper with the stable background, then a sheet of stickers with all the nativity characters.

Boo had a great time sticking everything on.
And no mess!

Christmas shopping

Last night we made it out Christmas shopping. All of our babysitters were off seeing The Nutcracker, so we took Boo with us. And it's actually possible to get shopping done if one entertains the Boo and the other does the shopping. And then we're together in the car. So I tossed my grand idea of doing all my shopping at Target for the silly reason that I had a $5 off coupon at United Art and Education. Since I planned to get a lot of crafty things for Boo, this seemed perfect. Get all the crafty things at UAE, save my five bucks and then finish up at Target. But what I did not realize is that for being an ART store, UAE is possibly the most disorganized and lacking store ever. I found the crayons on my own, and the glue by accident, but had to ask an associate and traipse all over the store for everything else. What a pain. And then later at Target I walked down two gleaming aisles of everything I could have hoped for IN ONE PLACE. Now I know that Target will always be the answer, even if you have a coupon for someplace else.

We spent quite awhile in Target and nearly finished our Christmas shopping. Another 1000 points for Target. Does anyone know where I could find an easel?

Boo and I spent the morning wrapping presents and watching the Peter, Paul and Mary Christmas Concert. Boo is enthralled by Peter, Paul and Mary - FINALLY, someone who is happy to watch it with me! What good taste.

Boo is unbelievably good about letting us wrap up all this good stuff. After it's wrapped she puts it under the tree...and leaves it alone. She occasionally reorganizes the packages, and is FURIOUS when J tries to 'fix' them...who's in charge here anyway? But she hasn't yet tried to open them. Although she remembers what's in them. I told her we would have some cold pizza for snack this morning, and while I went to the kitchen, she dragged out the wrapped package of play food from under the tree. That happens to have some pretend pizza in it. What a smart girl.

Monday, December 8, 2008

TV online

I've become a big fan of watching tv shows online. J found a great website with a ton of great old and new TV shows for your viewing pleasure. I've watched a couple old episodes of Barney Miller (they didn't have the mooshie brownies episode, but I did find that on youtube), Benson, and Bob Newhart just for kicks. And now J and I watch The Colbert Report every evening. Who needs TiVo?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bring on the snow, we've got mittens

Last year, Boo wasn't such a fan of the snow, or and she wore socks for mittens. Grandma sent her a few pairs of really cute mittens this year to try to entice her into wearing them. I bribed her with chocolate and got her to put one on for 2.3 seconds. But that only worked once.

But I guess it's just a matter of the right motivation. Yesterday it was snowing and Boo wanted to go for a walk, so we told her she had to wear her big coat and her mittens. And ta-da...
The mittens went on without a fight. And we had a nice winter walk.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Carol of the Bells

Enjoy this old clip of "Carol of the Bells" from Claymation Christmas. This video was a classic at our home when I was growing up. I watched this with Boo earlier in the week and still laughed out loud.

Monday, December 1, 2008

What the Smith boys said...

Check out this list of hilarious kid sayings. I laughed out loud at most of them. A few of my favorites:

Simon, in a toga, with an accent: “I am Caesar Augustus! And I decree that from now on, all children in this house may consume candy at their pleasure!”

Simon, about to put his face in the empty donut box: “I will now glean the fields.”

Nathan: “Since I’m not going to college, can I have that money in my allowance?”

Nathan, to the waitress at SuperSalad: “May I see the wine list?”

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Blink of an eye

I blinked, and November disappeared. It's a poor excuse for my lack of posting this month, but there it is.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving week, during which we took no pictures. I know. Boo and I did a bit of Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving. We had a great time until the very end when she took off through men's clothing and the only way I found her was because she was laughing hysterically at having given mom the slip.

All three of us ventured out on Black Friday, which we have never done before and will never do again.

So this has solidified my decision to do all my Christmas shopping online. Most of it will have to be shipped anyway, why not let someone else do it?? So Cyber Monday, here I come.

If that doesn't work, I'll try cjane style: "By-the-way I have decided that I'm doing all my Christmas shopping at Target. If Target doesn't stock it, don't ask me for it. And, I am going to do it all in one day. Shop from nine to noon, take an Archer Farms catered lunch and resume from one to eleven. Don't call me that day."

We did get our Christmas tree up and lit in one afternoon, a far cry faster than last year. It still needs ornaments, hopefully that will get done this evening. Boo loves the lights on the tree, and the lights on the houses. She calls them "creamy lights".

And for those of you who are anxious for pictures of Boo, visit my parents' blog, where my mom put together a slideshow of pictures of our trip to music. About half of the pics are from Fairy Tale Town, the post still sitting in my draft box. :)

Blueberry Muffins

We had a gray, rainy morning today, and tried out these fabulous blueberry muffins.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

First day of school

Boo went to her first day of preschool this week. And loved it. She was excited every time I mentioned 'school'. When we walked into her classroom, she hung her coat and bag on the hook and walked right over to circle time. She put her picture up on the tree like she'd been doing it all her life. I watched from the back for a few minutes, but she never looked back. Well. So much for mom.

So, sans Boo, I ran errands at the speed of light and listened to grown-up radio stations.

She was still happy as could be when I came to pick her up. We're both already looking forward to next week.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mimi's Cafe

My brother and his wife live in Sacramento (ish) so we got to play with them twice during our trip.

Tuesday we drove down to Sacto to meet them at Mimi's Cafe for dinner. It all started out so nice...Boo got crayons and a kid menu, a snack of cheerios and soda crackers. Then my strawberry lemonade came. Man it was good. Boo loved it too, and drained it right down. Mimi's has unlimited refills, so another one appeared, hooray! I should have thought this through a little better. A few minutes later....

"Potty quick!" says Boo. We run to the bathroom, and she runs her hand along all the tables (even the occupied ones) as she goes. She runs gleefully into the stall, then does an about face and pastes herself to my legs screaming "NO FLUSH!" It's of course one of those automatic flushing toilets. Which I love. If I had my way, all public bathrooms would be as touchless as the ones in the airports, with no outer doors, and automatic flushing, motion sensor water faucets, soap dispensers and paper towel dispensers. But I digress.

So I peel her down and sit her on with reassuring words, hoping we can get out of the stall before it flushes. And we do. Hand washing is a delight. She notices that I use my paper towel to open the door, so she tries to do it with her paper towel too. And back to the table she goes, touching the other tables as she runs (even the occupied ones).

Then we repeat the above routine (EXACTLY) FOUR MORE TIMES. We finally finish our meal and Grandpa races home before we hear "Potty quick!" from the back.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Happy cows come from California

We just got back from a week in California. And it was happy...
We spent a lot of time w/ Grandma & Grandpa.

It smelled SO GOOD in California.

We wore short sleeves and played in the yard.
And in Grandpa's horseshoe pit.
We played with James and Sabrina.
And great-grandma. (And Pete & Mel, but didn't get a picture w/ them).
I introduced Boo to Jamba Juice and In-N-Out Burger.

Boo got a new puppy from Grandma & Grandpa.
Boo got her own cup of Yo-Yo Yogurt with Oreos and rainbow sprinkles.

There was this awesome rocking horse.
Great-grandma made Boo her own pumpkin.

We had a great trip to Fairy Tale Town...more on that later.

And the best strawberry lemonade ever.

Monday, November 17, 2008

One more Halloween post

Getting ready to go out.
Even though we only went to about five houses, Boo came home from trick-or-treating with the mother load. She squeaked out 'tik-o-tee' and got triple helpings from each candy bowl in return. By the end of the night she was even saying "Happy Halloweeeeeeen". The next morning she picked up her pumpkin and was ready to go out again.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Last week of October

Apparently my brain is in melt-down mode because I forgot to have Boo wear her fairy tiara, fairy ribbons and fairy wand. Don't worry...more Halloween festivities to come, maybe I will remember to get her completely dressed this time around.

Speaking of not all dressed, we had a near miss yesterday. In my distracted I-hope-I-remember-everything-I-need-to-do-during-the-Primary-program state, Boo almost went to church with no undies. Yikes.

And speaking of the program, big sigh of relief that it is over and went well. The microphones worked, kids sang beautifully and remembered where to stand for their solos (and the words to their solos), and I remembered how to lead the music...most of the time. J even went so far as to say it was excellent.

This week should be low key compared to the rest of October, so I am hoping to get everything back on schedule and in its place. We re-arranged parts of the house this weekend, and I am enjoying the new look. The guest room is looking better than ever, so if you've been putting off that visit to Indiana, now's the time. Most of the re-arranging involved bookcase transfers. Dang I have a lot of books. J once again tried to talk me into getting rid of some books. For the first time EVER, I agreed. And got rid of three books that I really dislike anyway.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


We had a fun trunk-or-treat this weekend. Boo was excited to get dressed up again, and even left her wings on the entire time. It was chilly, so she's a bundled up fairy.

Before we left the house.

Boo and Cannon.
Enjoying some cider (with marshmallows) by the fire.