Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fore! '09

Last weekend we had what is turning out to be an annual summer event in our neighborhood: Golfing. Teams get together, come up with a theme and create a mini-hole around said theme. Last year was our first year and we had such a good time that it was often brought up on Bunco nights to do again. So we did.

This year we had about double the number of participants than last year which was very fun; we got to meet some new neighbors we'd only said a passing "hello" to.

Our team consisted of the Schroeders and Heckels. We partnered up with the Schroeders last year for our "Decades Theme". This year the Heckels were going to be in town. Both couples are great friends of ours so we were excited to work on a hole with them.

We came up with the idea of having a State Fair theme. Things really took off from there. As the week went on, we kept coming up with more and more ideas to add to our theme.

Mike and John worked on our actual game about mid-week. I think Matt had started back to school that night, though he probably would have wished to be helping out in the garage during a rainstorm instead. Really, watching these two guys fiddle with how this was going to be put together was rather entertaining. John's an engineer - he's a bit of a planner by nature. Mike's second career choice should have been an engineer. I'm surprised this design didn't include schematics as a first step.

They had a couple practice shots. It was a lot harder than we thought. By Saturday we had all decided it was just easier to toss the balls into the buckets rather than chipping. But, we were still using whiffle golf balls so it was okay.

By Saturday I had the kids working, including Jonda's oldest. Child Labor laws? Nah....

The kids made cones for us to put the cookies that Jonda spent all Saturday afternoon baking. And I'm KICKING myself for not getting a picture of these set up because they were SO cute (and tasty!!). (Sidenote: Click here to jump to Kristy's blog where she includes far better pictures than I have!)

We had our entrance....

Complete with welcoming mascot....

The Mighty Midway....

On our "Midway" we had signs posted. The swings were the "Flying Trapeze" and the slide was the "Giant Slide". Across the grass Mike had blown up a bunch of floats that he laid in there and we had a sign that said, "Bumper Boats".

Of course, no fair is complete without the food, and for those attending the MN State Fair, you know that food has to be on a stick!

Kristy was able to procure a variety of sticks for our food samples and Jonda has a large box of popsicle sticks. We spent Saturday evening putting all the food together including fruit, meatballs, little weiners. Kristy arrived having made "Rice Kristy Balls" on a stick. Drizzled in chocolate. Yum!

And you may notice the popsicle stick on the bottle of rum. All drinks were on a stick as well. Mike glued popsicle sticks to the beer cans the night before. You heard it here first: Beer-on-a-stick. We are hoping to get into next year's fair with it and make our millions.

And I must say - I didn't have anything to do with the food other than shopping so it was all very edible!

The game was four holes total. The others were so fun with their themes - it's great to see everyone get so into this - even the guys!

We had a couch potato hole. Here they actually set up their deck like a little living room, complete with a couch, end tables and two TVs! One t.v. played "Caddyshack" and on the other TV we all took turns playing Wii Golf. (Jake was quite jealous the next day when we told him!) Their team dressed in pajamas or "laying around" attire and provided a necklace for each participant: a small red potato on a string.

Another hole was titled "The Salsa Hole". Here they provided us with a complete meal of chicen tacos, the fixings, and tortilla chips. There was also some Tequila to get that full Mexican feel. Here the official rules state you had to wear the sombrero and take 10 shots. They had a sombrero in the center of the yard and rings painted around it with point values. What's great about this night is everyone just goes with whatever happens to be the rules. So there we were, wearing potato necklaces and sombreros and we were totally normal.

Our neighbor decided to make his potato necklace quite the creation and added onto it at every hole.

Oh! Who are these two happy people?!? And still fairly sober...

The final hole was titled, "Big Sexy Hole". Before we rate this as blog as NC-17, you should know it was named after one of the team participants. Before you wonder what the heck kind of neighborhood we live in, you should know that I have NO idea how he got this name. But it's his none-the-less.

There was only a mild resemblance between the real "Big Sexy" and the game named after him.

Afterward everyone adjourned back here. Awards were presented from the Couch Potato Hole: winner received a bag of potatoes and a potato peeler.

And those potatoes on a string didn't go to waste. Several were layed around the bonfire to see if we could get them roasted. I don't think anyone actually tasted them though.
There might have been an appearance by two neighbors in Speedos. They might have changed into these suits in the dark of night on our driveway. Kristy's mom, who was babysitting across the street, might have seen them in all their glory. She might have told Kristy it made her laugh.

I don't know if that should be construed as a commentary on the boys, or Kristy's mom's good nature.

Anyway, everyone stayed around for a few hours of swimming in 90 degree water that felt so great. It was another fun year for the Golf Game and we are already looking forward to 2010!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

To Whom It May Concern

We have spent the DAY shopping for school supplies. We took about 30 minutes for a break at lunchtime and headed out for another couple hours. This was just for supplies. Not even getting the actual clothes they are going to require.

The more I’ve looked at these lists, the more questions I have and the more irritated I get for the specificity of them. Here is the letter I would like to send to school:

- - - -
Dear School:

I have spent the last eight solid hours shopping for school supplies. Plus I’ve spent a few hours here and there during the last couple weeks trying to look up prices and purchase things to make sure I fit everything in to our family’s budget. Let’s cut to the chase.

I have a couple questions:

1. My husband would like to know if you have a “deal” in place with Target/Walmart or specific manufacturers like Bic/Expo/Mead. It seems that I always have to have three of something that is only sold in a pack of five. Or seven of something that is sold in a pack of six. Never do I need the actual amount that is packaged. I already have three Expo markers set aside for next year not to mention 10 out of 12 red pens just waiting to be used for correcting.

2. Speaking of pens, what gives? Why is my 5th grader required to bring four blue/black ballpoints, two red correcting pens, and two flair pens (of any color)? Can papers not be corrected in blue/black? Does she actually use the flair pens or are these for the teachers? Because flair pens are a bit pricey - I believe the package of five cost me $7.29. I assure you if you think my daughter NEEDS to use these, she doesn’t. The four blue pens I’m already sending will work absolutely fine for her. I’m pretty sure they’d work just find for the teacher too. And heck, at a package of 12 blue/black pens for $.99 I’d even be willing to send five to school – including one for the teacher.
3. Speaking of sharing, why all the community property lately? Why do I have to buy two boxes of 20 pencils for my 5th grader so that they can be thrown in a community box? Some teachers have explained that they don’t want to have time wasted sharpening pencils so they allot a separate time for this process to be done en masse. I’m sorry for the kid that has that job that day. Pencil sharpeners haven’t changed since I was in school; they still don’t work. Why can’t the kids stand in line during the mornings and sharpen five pencils for the day? We did. And I bet I wasn’t getting sick quite as often from using the pencil that the last kid chewed on.

4. Speaking of spreading germs, Clorox wipes? Really? Do they HAVE to be Clorox? The ones we sent aren’t. I hope they work as well, though I really don’t think you need them at all. We used this crazy stuff called soap and water. I teach piano after school and I can’t say that I’ve seen a decrease in the amount of colds coming through since the wipes started appearing in classrooms. Kids still blow their nose and wipe their hands on their pants. They are probably getting colds from the situation mentioned in #3.

5. Speaking of snot – why the discrepancy in boxes of tissue I must supply? My 5th grader needs to supply two boxes (200 count each, specifically). My 2nd grader only needs to supply one box. Do 2nd graders get sick less often than 5th graders? Both kids required Clorox wipes be sent to their rooms so I’m not sure how that’s possible. Perhaps you should tally how many kids are actually getting sick and make a note of it.

6. Speaking of notes, please explain the post-it note usage. Not only does it interfere with the numbers per pack discrepancy mentioned in #1 but it also seems ridiculous that I have to buy this many for my student. Am I really just sending these for the teacher? For my 2nd grader I had to supply two packs of post-its. For my 5th grader I had to supply a 3-pack of post-its. And what does this mean: “pack”? Is each individual pad considered a pack or is a set of four pads wrapped together a pack? I’m going with a single pad being a collection because my wallet doesn’t want to dole out what a wrapped package will cost us. Again, because they are sold in sets of four, I had to buy two sets and split them. I also didn’t buy the Post-It brand. Have you looked at the cost of these? They are over double the price of what I paid for the generic brand. And lets look at some numbers – in my 2nd grader's classroom with everyone doing as I did, that’s 4,000 actual post-its to be used over 172 days in school. That’s an average of 23.25 post-its used per day. You couldn’t possibly convince me that is necessary. I think in the entire YEAR last year I received 3 post-its from my kids' teachers combined. We live in a digital age; all my kids hear about from every direction is “living green”. If a note has to be sent home for a parent, then e-mail them. I understand some parents don’t have email – then by all means, send a post-it or perhaps write it in the planning calendar I’m required to buy each year and sign each night. But I still think the reading of 23.25 notes per day average could be reduced by at least 90%.

7. Speaking of reading – why are my kids required to bring certain COLORS of folders and notebooks to school? Do you know how hard these are to find? Purple is always the hardest. I’m searching my fourth store for a purple notebook. Would it be so awful if the kids came to school with LABELED folders? Wouldn’t this, in fact, reinforce the reading skills you are trying to help them master? Instead I’m forced to try and find seven different colored folders for which only five colors actually exist. Now my student has to read the difference between the two sets of folders of the same color, so we really aren’t defeating the ‘saving time/confusion’ effort you may argue to me. Bottom line: each child will still be required to read the notebook or folder despite your best efforts. In the process of you changing this system I’ll save time and money.

8. Speaking of money, why the crazy span in party money to classes? I used to have to send $10 for “party money”. This year neither of my kids’ classes require this donation. Yahoo! But, a mom of a 3rd grader told me her daughter is required to have $35 sent in for “party and field trips” at this same school. At 20 students per class that is $700. What kind of parties are they throwing in 3rd grade and can I be invited? A couple weeks ago we received a letter stating that our school system was underscoring with the government’s programs and the letter listed the steps being taken over the year to better that. My husband’s first thought was: have fewer parties and more actual class time. Unfortunately he was only half-kidding; it seemed to us there was about one per month in classes. And are the 3rd grade parents still going to be asked to spend $7 or $10 per field trip after this initial fund requirement? I hope not. Please address this before my youngest gets in third grade next year.

I wish you the best this year. And I apologize in advance for my daughter bringing a purple, college-ruled notebook to school and a colored protractor instead of clear.

- - - -
Okay. I’ll never send it, but it sure did feel good writing it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Field Trip

Last Monday Tracy called with a plan to help alleviate her boredom. It may have mostly been her boredom, but it was aimed at the kids. She invited us to join them in a trip to the Como Zoo. We ventured there earlier this summer with Mike's mom, but got rained out so we tagged along.

My kids love the zoo. I'm not really much of a zoo fan. Mostly I think it's kind of depressing when I get to the gorilla exhibit and they are just sitting there staring at the wall.

But I lived through walking through that exhibit. I'm not sure that Austin was too impressed when he kept asking for more animals to see. We told him we'd seen them all. We weren't lying. I think he's pretty used to the Minnesota Zoo and it's bigger features.

Tracy is a well prepared mom and she had her two walkers dressed in turquoise so she could easily find them. I gave my kids about 15 minutes to get dressed, help make lunches and be ready. I wasn't thinking child safety. I was thinking, "don't make the toddlers wait!"

Ellie wore her adorable cowgirl hat. I love this hat. But as Tracy says, she looks like George Washington because rarely does she wear it front to back...

And Riley just coasted along with everyone.

We had a picnic lunch there and headed home where my kids tried to keep Tracy's youngest awake the entire ride home. Ellie was zoned, but made it to our driveway. I never did find out if they made it home before the girls fell asleep. All in all a fun way to break up a monotonous Monday routine.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Family Room Makeover: Grand Finale


Room to be redone:

Inspiration Piece:


Chrissy had suggested some colors to paint the walls. She saw the room with an accent of dark brown on the far wall and surrounded by a lighter brown. She actually had the names of the colors memorized. She really loved decorating.

So, I went and got the paint samples she suggested. I went to Tracy's and showed both girls the colors and it took Chrissy all of about one second to pick out which colors would look best. Tracy agreed with that choice and when I got home, Mike and I agreed they really did look the best. So, that night we painted until midnight and got most of the walls done. This included all the walls of the family room and kitchen. The only wall left was the accent wall.

The next day Tracy and I talked and set up a shopping night for that night. It was her "night off". She, mom, Chrissy and I headed out to dinner and several stores where we bought accessories for the room. This was so fun for me. Everybody had good ideas that got used and I returned home with a trunk full of goodies. In the meantime, Mike (who, emphatically wanted no part of this) had stayed home and finished painting the remaining wall. He's a keeper.

Mom came over Saturday and we figured out curtains. We shopped at Walmart for cheap rods and found some. But, one package said they were $3.50 and the other, exact same package that was ripped apart said $9. Mom's no slouch when it comes to getting a deal so she laid aside the ripped package insert and we tried to reassemble the package. We "accidentally" left the packaging there, found a self-checkout and checked ourselves out using the $3.50 bar code.

And to say "we" worked on the curtains is a lie. I held the fabric so it wasn't so weighted on one side. Mom did all the work. And then reworked it and reworked it again. I love the results. I love the fact that after 7 1/2 years we actually have curtains on the wall.

So, after laying things out per most of Chrissy's directions, here are the results:

I'm loving this room!!! There are still some things to be added. We want to get a couple bookcases for the back wall. There will be a fireplace someday between the bookcases. The pictures on the floor need to be hung, but I'm hoping to find something to put in the middle of them. (Jake suggested a TV between the pictures and Mike was suddenly ready to take part in this process but I nixed the idea.)

I love the round thing under the table - actually I love it even sitting right where it is. However, no one else in the family liked it more than the squares so it will be heading back to the store. I tried to keep it at an impromptu budget meeting. But even batting eyelashes didn't work.

Anyway - all of that will come in time, along with some other accessories; I have to wait until next month's budget meeting. But for now this is a major leap forward and I love it. A big thanks to Chrissy for getting it on the right track and mom and Tracy for helping out too!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Family Room Makeover: Part 2

So, back to our family room.

Here's the state of affairs as they stood:

Not much to take in. We bought the furniture when we moved in 7 1/2 years ago. We painted the walls approximately four months after moving in. Nothing has since changed. Except the picture of the four of us on the wall in the back.

Tracy had suggested I talk to her neighbor who was really good at decorating and loved it. I thought that was a great idea and Tracy called to say Chrissy was on board and ready to start...that day.
In the meantime as I had mentioned I had been shopping to Homegoods with my mom and we had picked out a ton of things for the walls in a color scheme I thought would work with our furniture. Chrissy came over that night and was all business.

1. The chair had to go. That threw me. I hadn't ever thought about the chair leaving the room. That was our napping chair and I wasn't sure that was going to be negotiable with Mike. Well, with me either, but definitely Mike more. I hemmed and hawed on that one.

2. Chrissy walked around our first floor to get a feel of what our style was like. I wasn't really sure we had one, but off she went.

3. She looked at what we had already purchased and said she liked one of two paintings and the rest didn't really fit into the style of our house. Tracy agreed with her. This wasn't hard to take. I liked the stuff we'd bought, but the more it sat there, the more I thought it was a little too formal.

4. Was it really going to be that hard to get rid of the chair because it really had to go. The plaid was too much to work around.

5. We definitely needed to get rid of the chair.

As stated last time, Mike wanted no part of this. So, after about 15 minutes of this discussion he realized he had pressing work to do in the basement. Chrissy looked at me and said we should go to Pier One right then. So, Tracy left with her crew and Chrissy and I headed out shopping.

Upon entering Pier One, Chrissy bee-lined for the back. This was a woman on a mission. She pulled out all sorts of pillows but nothing was really jumping out at me. I finally told her I thought they were all "too modern". I'm sure I sounded about 80 years old. Chrissy just looked at me and said, "I just don't think they are modern though." She was probably right...but the graphic pattern on some of them made me think modern and I couldn't love them. We looked more. I thought I was pulling out some great plain colored stuff to throw together. Chrissy came back and nicely but firmly told me that I was off base. Big surprise. But, she held up this awesome pillow and we both agreed that was "the inspiration" for the rest of the room.

And really? I thought, "I actually have a room based on an inspiration piece." Seriously...this was turning out like those HGTV shows that I never get to watch.

We headed back to our house and Chrissy got to work suggesting a few furniture moves here and there. Then she asked if we could just go ahead and try some different moves. So she and I lugged around my giant, overstuffed couches. Chrissy is not a big girl, but again - woman on a mission. I'm pretty sure she could have moved all that stuff herself.

But I liked what she was trying to show me. And yes, the chair was going to have to go.

Chrissy left. I called Mike up from the basement and asked if we could please move this chair to his office. There's a reason I taught Maddie at the age of four to ask her dad a question and bat her eyes at him. It generally works. So we hoisted that chair downstairs and it now resides in his office. It's way too big for the space but it's not the room I'm currently working on and not the room I'm giving too much worry to right now. Besides, Mike could see that the family room was looking better without it.

And it's still a great napping chair. I took one in it last Friday while Mike was on a conference call. His talking didn't bother me one bit.

Part Three coming tomorrow.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Fuh'get about it Fridays!

Here's another installment of the stellar moments in our lives the past few weeks that we would rather forget...

1. I've been trying to organize/edit/send to print pictures the last week or so. Let's ignore the fact that I spent double the amount of time editing pictures of flowers than of my own kids.

2. Jake and I shopped at Sam's Club for supplies. I don't even want to mention the drive to church Sunday morning when I heard a thud in my trunk and realized I had forgotten to take out the 6 gallons of milk and 2 pounds of roast beef after getting home on Saturday. Wipe the slate clean on that memory. Also wipe the checkbook clean.

3. I went to bed by 10pm the other night because I was so exhausted. This is rare for me, but does happen. What doesn't normally happen is that Maddie yells for me so loudly that after her doing it for so long Mike came up from the basement to see why I was ignoring her. After attending Maddie he came in to our room and woke me up saying, "Are you okay?". Except he had to shake me awake. Twice. Apparently I had already easily forgotten about him and the kids because I fell back to sleep about two seconds later.

4. I would rather forget the moment in Joann's fabric store when I pulled on a roll of 54" decorator fabric to get a better look. That little tug resulted in the entire roll unwinding and falling all over the floor. I saw it happen in slow motion. Tracy rounded the corner just as the last bit landed at my feet. She, apparently, wanted to forget she knew me because she just started laughing, turned around and walked away.
5. Mike and I took the kids for a drive. We love to drive around. We love to torture our kids that way. As we were driving through Prior Lake - and more specifically, around Spring Lake I kept looking to my right and would see houses/land for sale. I kept saying, "Maybe we should buy that one." (I mean...we did buy a lottery's just a matter of time). Then I said, squinting my eyes, "Wait...that house doesn't back up to the lake, right?" With a deadpan face Mike replied, "No. Because the lake is on the left." This was followed by a mumbled, "My personal compass." He'll never let me forget that I have no sense of direction.
Really, the more I look back the more I realize it isn't "our" moments that need to be erased from memory. They are my moments. I need to start paying better attention to the people around me.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Family Room Makeover: Part 1

I've been strongly hinting/begging/pushing for us to look at redecorating our family room and kitchen. The colors weren't doing much for me each day and well, really, there was very little "re" to this decorating thing because we had very few things on walls and no tables to put any decorations on.

So we had a budget meeting and Mike went downstairs. He came up after some serious thinking and said, " can go shopping this weekend for what you want. Write down how much you want and we can negotiate." What?? No. I said he could just tell me what I can have. So, he took a big breath and said, "You can have $50."

I about started crying. Then he about started laughing and told me my real amount. So, I called mom and Tracy and asked for help.

First we decided to shop in my parents' basement. They just moved and have a lot of stuff they are looking to get rid of. Tracy and I picked out lamps to repaint and other decorations we thought would look good if repainted. We had no problem repainting things we didn't already own. Then my mom said they were looking at getting new tables for their family room and would I like the old ones? Huh. Yep. We thought those would look great repainted too.

So, mom and I hauled the tables to my house and went shopping at Homegoods. We bought tons of things for a color scheme I thought would work. And when I got home Mike even liked all the choices, but he reminded me he wanted no part in this stuff.

I set to work the next weekend refinishing the tables. Here's the before:

They really weren't bad as they were but I sanded and spray painted them black. Here's what I learned:

1. Spray painting five tables takes a lot out of your hands. I started using my right hand. Moved to my left, and by the end I could barely hold the can and press down simultaneously with both thumbs my muscles were hurting so much. The next day I hardly had muscle strength to write in my students' books.

2. Do not do this barefoot. I spray painted in our garage. You don't really notice how much spray actually doesn't go anywhere near the table but instead lands on the floor. At least I don't. By the end of day one I had a crust layer of black paint that no amount of paint thinner was going to get off. In fact, I still have some on my feet.

3. You should probably wear a mask like those home shows suggest. I might have been a little high by the end of the day.

Anyway - some more painting and some more sanding later I had the finished product waiting to go into the family room. This took me about 7 hours over three days. I was so excited to finally have tables in our family room I could hardly stand it. I wiped off the bottoms to make sure there was no paint leftover and carried in what I could. Then I went downstairs and asked Mike to finish his meeting quickly because I had tables to move. That didn't hold much weight but was worth a shot. He came upstairs later and helped me move the last table.

Then we went to straighten some tables and he noticed there were black circles on the floor. He just looked at me and I started to hyperventilate. I ran to get the Dustbuster and luckily it was all dried, dusty paint and everything came out. Whew.

Here's the same table finished:

They all look roughly (ha!) the same as this one. That last sanding is actually kind of cathartic - especially if you have some issues to work out. It was kind of fun to just attack the table wherever and sand away places knowing it didn't really matter if it chipped...that was the whole point. Destroy it before the kids do!

So, there's step one for our room. I'll fill in the rest this weekend.

Monday, August 17, 2009

SUCH a Boy Moment

Yesterday Jake came into the house and said:

"Mom...we were playing tackle football and..."

And then I looked up and he smiled and shrugged and I saw this:

And I started laughing. And I think he was relieved and started laughing. He said he couldn't find his tooth - it was somewhere in our grass. (And yes...this tooth was supposed to fall out. It's just a little ahead of schedule.)

Last night the tooth fairy didn't visit because there was no tooth. I suggested Jake just leave her a note. He showed me this after breakfast:

"Dear Thooth Fairy I lost my thooth wen I was playing otside. My frend bumt me and my thooth came out and fel into the grass and now I can't find it. To: thooth Fairy From: yer buddy"

He said he really tried to do his best work in his printing. He originally signed it Jacob, but thought that maybe she didn't know his name so he would just sign it as "her buddy" so she wasn't confused.

It still makes me giggle. I guess I've been waiting for an "all boy" moment like this for awhile. It didn't disappoint.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"Wii" Need to Change the Subject

It is quite impressive actually to be around Jake lately. He manages, I believe, to find some way to bring a "Wii" into at least one conversation EVERY DAY. Every day. No joke. Here's a few of the latest slides...

1. Saturday night at dinner I said, "What's up for the night?" Jake's response? "We could go get a Wii!" (Didn't happen...we got Dairy Queen instead.)

2. A couple weeks ago we watched golf on a Sunday afternoon and discussed the winner's prize of $1 million dollars. Mike said, "Jake, if you keep practicing your golf, then you could win that someday!" Jake literally sat up straighter and I'm pretty sure I actually saw a light bulb hover over his head as he exclaimed (loudly), "If I won that...I COULD BUY A Wii!!!"

3. For Maddie's birthday we sat around discussing what you could buy that was special for a golden birthday. Jake said, "When I have my golden birthday, I'm going to get a golden Wii!" Mike told him that his golden birthday wasn't until he turned 28...and that they might not even make Wii's at that point. Suddenly all laughter stopped coming forth from Jake, he got very serious and said, "No. They will still be making them."

There have been many more instances because, I repeat, this comes into conversation every day. I know we should break down and buy one. I hear they are loads of fun. But, part of me wonders where Jake's creativity would go if he didn't have to find a way every day to get the Wii into at least one conversation.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Apple Pie Dandy

Oh wait...I think it's Apple Pandowdy.

Anyhoo...we tried what Bakerella and Tracy have already tried out. We did some variations though. I think it will be my friend, Jonda's, turn to try it next. She seemed interested when we last talked about it...

These were mini pies on a stick. Bakerella used cherry pie filling, which might have gone over okay with Jake, but no one else. Tracy tried Snickers in hers, but thought they were too dry still. So the kids and I decided to try apple pies. We were trying to think of a way to get around the "too dry" taste that both websites mentioned.

We started by peeling. Of course, as I started each kid wanted a part of that. Let me just say how frustrating it is for both parties when a right-handed person is trying to teach a left handed person how to operate in a kitchen.
Next up was the chopping block. Maddie got pretty proficient at this "rock and cut" motion I was showing her. She was pretty proud of herself and even made sure to tell Mike all about her new found talent. (And yes, grandmas - I was right next to them the entire time. Well, you know - except when I was taking their pictures.)
These apples were chopped up very fine. We sprinkled some cinnamon and sugar on them and nuked them to hopefully get the juices flowing. Literally. And soften them up which we didn't assume the oven would do.

The tops were placed after the lollipop sticks were put in the middle and the kids used a fork to pinch the edges. I transferred them to a baking sheet. (See...they do let me help!) The second and third batches got sugar sprinkled on top of the crust. In the final batch we added some actual applesauce. No one has tried those out yet to let me know the outcome.

The results?

The kids didn't say much except that the pies were okay. When I asked if they were too dry, they said they were. I don't know if it was the power of suggestion or them not wanting to hurt my feelings. Mike was our official taste-tester. He said they were "interesting". Not bad, not overwhelmingly amazing though. He said really they needed more sweetness; they "tasted like a healthy apple pie." God forbid.
I won't be eating them. Not an apple fan. Maybe I'll try some gooey chocolate in the next batch we make. But, Jonda...your turn to try your hand at these, I guess!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Mending Day

Today I:

Sewed on a button from a pair of Mike's pants.

Sewed on a button from a pair of Maddie's shorts.

And the butt of a bunny? We prefer the term "sutured".

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hitting my Head Against a Wall....

Jake has a friend who lives a couple streets over and the other day he came over to play. When he got here he had to call his mom to let him know he arrived. This was the conversation I heard:

Jake: Here's the phone. I'll dial your number...
Friend: It's....(proceeds to list his phone number...correctly)
Jake: Noooo...that's not right.
Friend: Jake, it's....(proceeds to list phone number AGAIN...still correct)
Jake: No. No, that's not right. I think there's a 1 at the end...

I couldn't stand it anymore:


Jake reluctantly handed over the phone and sure enough - the call went through.