Friday, October 30, 2009

Costume question

Tomorrow is trick or treating. Today is the school Halloween party & the kids get to go to school in costume. Well, Havoc gets to dress in costume, as long as his face isn’t covered, he isn’t wearing a hat ,or carrying any weapons real or fake. Mayhem has to wear pajamas. “So everyone can participate in the fun.”

I don’t get that sentence.  Havoc had to do the same thing last year. But not this year. And last year Mayhem, in pre-k, got to wear a costume. So obviously it’s just kindergarteners who might not be able to go to a party if people were to dress up in costume. If it were issues with someone in Havoc’s class then I would think the restriction would still be enforced.  I understand some people don’t do Halloween for religious reasons.  What I am not understanding is why this ban is specific to kindergarten? The Devil is only after 5 year olds? I assume there is a kindergarten teacher who doesn’t celebrate Halloween, because I can’t think of anything else.

Havoc’s costume restrictions meant we had to find something for him to wear because his trick or treat costume is a Clone Trooper, which has a mask & a blaster & without those he’s just wearing a white pantsuit with beige trim.

So, falling back on a lifetime of experience creating costumes out of what I could find in the house, Havoc went as a ninja. Black pants, black shirt, black scarf on his head (which may or may not be considered a hat) and a black bandana around his neck that he *could* pull over his face but absolutely he promises won’t, because it’s against the rules.

Last year they went as bandits, wearing DH’s thermal tee shirts, my canvas belts, water pistols and a bandana around their face.  The year before that they were pirates which is the exact same costume only the bandana is on the head.

Because I’m all creative like that.

I remember one year wearing  a princess costume with plastic unbreathable mask. The costume itself was a plastic bag with a dress printed on it & you wore the bag over your clothes. It was 1971 in West Virginia.  Every other costume I remember was put together with random stuff around the house. My mom couldn’t sew so one year I ended up with an apron and a wooden spoon and went as Julia Child.

What were your favorite costumes as a kid? Not necessarily for Halloween, but if you played dress up or went to theme parties during the year.

BTW, Mayhem? He’s wearing his spider man pajamas.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

shopping for a fantasy

So I was in Wal Mart a month or so ago

Which is exactly where you would expect a fantasy to begin right? The fantasy of being the sort of person who does not shop in Wal Mart. But I am that sort of person, just sometimes I get these ideas in my head and I forget just whose life I am leading. I call them my Martha Stewart moments.

I needed table linens. Actually I needed table plastics. The dog had somehow snagged a claw in the last decent looking wipe off table cloth (ok, vinyl) we owned and ripped it. My table’s surface is…unattractive.. It’s the table from DH’ family kitchen & was low end balsa, later covered with fake wood look stick on plastic. It needs covering.

Off I went to Wal Mart, the source of my previous table vinyls, to purchase some new ones and some plastic placemats & to see if my one time buy of 8 white cotton napkins could be repeated. (I saw them once on sale for $5 and have never seen them again)

Table vinyls were only available in bright aqua. My kitchen is very earth toned, grey slate, medium wood, green trim. I looked at the table cloths (made of actual cloth) and got this wild idea that “I could do that. Just throw it in the wash from time to time. Get cloth placemats too. How dirty can they get?”

Because I’d forgotten I had 2 messy eater children and the cat problem wasn’t even in my head to be forgotten.

I ended up going to Target, JC Pennys and Kohls before I found placemats, napkins and table cloths that I like the look of and at a price point I could live with. I brought my booty home and set the table. 811

Ah, see I can be the person with cloth!

But then we had dinner.

And most of those things had to be washed because there were mashed potatoes and ketchup ground in on half the table. Then it happened again a couple nights later. I have 2 sets of table linen that I alternate between but I just wasn’t too happy with the constant laundry of all this.

Then I noticed this


Thank you for the comfy bed

And this


And this DSC_5341

They never laid on the table vinyl.

I can’t be in the kitchen constantly shooing them off the table & the table is the first thing you see when you come to the door, so it has to stay covered.  And I am already washing the things more than I thought possible.

So I suppose I am not the sort of person who can do actual table linens

Maybe I can get some table vinyl and put it over the table cloth for mealtimes?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

All About Me topic suggestions

This is the list I came up with after all my searching this weekend. I tried to limit the overlap but there still is some there. I’m not doing pages on all of them but I think it is a good start point of ideas. I may end up using it more as a list of things for my 365 Project rather than do them all as scrapbook pages, then put together a photo book that is a mix of both.

Opening Pages            


            Vital Statistics          

            Your Name  

            Your Birth Sign        

Family Members                     



            Siblings (could be several pages)

            Grandparents (could be several pages)

            Extended family (could be several pages)

            Family Tree    

            Ancestors (could be several pages)

Childhood Memories                    



            Childhood        (could be several pages)

            Birthdays         (could be several pages)

            Vacations/Holidays            (could be several pages)

            Teen Years   (could be several pages)

            Education        (could be several pages)

            Childhood Friends            (could be several pages)

            Childhood Home         


            First Car     

            First Job      



            Favorite Music           

            Pets            (could be several pages)

            Major News Events            (could be several pages)

            Crushes You Had            (could be several pages)

Current Life                   

            Your Significant Other

            Your current or recent Jobs

            Home Now

            Hometown Now

            Places You Have Lived (could be several pages)

            Your Family Now (could be several pages)

            Thoughts on Motherhood

            Faith & Spirituality

            Hopes & Dreams

            Fears & Worries


            Your Body & How You Feel About it

            Hair & Clothing

            Pets Now

            Pieces of Me

            Current Car or other Cars  (could be several pages)

            Daily Routine

            What You Do to Relax


            Describe Yourself Today - Right Now

            Current Friends (could be several pages)

            Hobbies (could be several pages)

            Interests (could be several pages)

            Obsessions (could be several pages)

            Things You Collect (could be several pages)

            Habits Good & Bad (could be several pages)

            A Letter to Your Past Self

            Groups & Organizations


            What is in the News  (could be several pages)

            Sports You Play

            Gadgets You Love

            Thoughts on Housework

            What Has Changed about You in 10 Years

            What is in My Purse

            What is on My Dresser

            What is on My Bookshelf

            Your Week in a Glance

            Letter to the Future You

Lists of Things (choose a number of items to list)

            # of Random Thoughts (your age is good for this)

            # of Your Top Achievements or Triumphs

            # of Confessions

            # of Things You Love about You

            # of Things You would Change about You

            # of Favorite Things



                        tv shows




            # of Things You Always have with You

            # of Things You are Grateful For

            # of Things You Still Want to Do

            # of Things You Have Done

            # of Ask & Answer Questions (get someone to make you a list of questions)

Monday, October 26, 2009

All About Me – the book!

Because having a blog isn’t narcissistic enough.

I am a digital scrapbooker. I’ve been doing it for 4 years now and have over those years been active on a number of boards and done a great many challenges.  Mostly I scrap my kids but sometimes the challenges are to scrap something about you.  Recently we had a discussion on one of the forms about Scrapbook Fantasies Book of Me blog. She gives you prompts all year & you end up with I think around 35-40 prompts and 60 pages. 

I’ve been thinking about doing some sort of album of me for a month or so now. Maybe a collection of scrapbook pages about me or maybe an All About Me Project 365 next year.

Me me me me me me ME!!!!

Sorry, just had to get that out. Now back to…

I am self-centered enough to want an entire book about me but I am realistic enough to know that if I went with a photo project probably by mid February I will have run out off interesting ideas and be taking pictures of my toothbrush and sock drawer. Which I could assemble in a photo book with little post ironic snarky zeitgeist comments, or not because I am not entirely certain what I just said actually means. I can certainly see the humor in myself & am not above self mockery but I don’t think I can manage 365 photos of it.

I spent a few days going through old challenge notes and visiting forums and blogs and have assembled about 75 prompts for a Book About Me. Not that I will use all of them but it’s nice to have a list to work from.

Then I went though all my layouts (643 to be exact) and found about 60 that were about me. There is a lot of overlap on topics. For instance I have 4 layouts about my home and 5 about my childhood and 3 about crochet and an embarrassing number about my electronics. About half of the layouts are bad from a design standpoint. The scale of the elements is off, the shadows are either huge or non-existent, bad recolorization, bad photo adjustment, hideous color choices etc. But I saved the layered .psd (or .psp) files so I can fix them or at least have a base to rework them.  I’ll weed through them & remove the duplications (I have 3 that feature my mp3 player) and then sort out what prompts I still want to do and that will be my project for next year.

I’m also going to do another 365 Photo project in 2010 but I need a topic.  I did the boys play in 2008 and that came together nicely. This year has been topic free, more random & I find it harder to do. It’s not looking as cohesive. I think I work better with guidelines. I’m looking for ideas now.  Any theme suggestions?

I’m leaning toward monthly photos of the same things, with some other general topic mixed in. I’m thinking of every month having an individual photo of everyone, a photo of some outdoor feature to be determined (like the maple), a photo of some indoor feature (like the sink full of dishes or a pile of laundry) and a photo of my book stack. That is 7 out of approx 30 photos a month.  What other things can you think of that change yet stay the same over a period of time? I’d like about 10 things that regularly appear and the other 20 or so will be on a general topic.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Weekly Winners - week 43

The feline edition

This is the kitten Ashes, who is about 4 months old


He is fierce with his older siblings. 


Smoke does not always appreciate the playfulnessDSC_6035

Thor studiously ignores Ashes waiting to pounce


Because he really doesn’t mind


For more Weekly Winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 23, 2009

The vaxing part 2

The boys have had their first dose of the H1N1 vax.

Mayhem was the very last kindergartner to get the vax, so I got to sit in the cafeteria for almost an hour waiting for him (I played Mini Ninjas on Havoc’s DS.  I think I may get one for myself for Xmas instead of a Kindle) because they didn’t tell us what order the classrooms were in, they just said 8:30-9:15 kindergarten vaxing. First grade was 9:15 to 10:00. The universe smiled on me and Havoc’s class was the first one of the first grade group, so I was able to take both boys at once & get it over with.

Mayhem was a trooper. Had he not been watching her I don’t think he would have flinched but he did have a moment’s panic when he saw the needle coming. It was over too quickly though for him to work himself up. Havoc on the other hand freaked out. Mayhem tried to help, telling Havoc that it hadn’t hurt, it was ok and things but Havoc was having none of it. I held him so the nurse could get to his arm while he cried & carried on. She asked me if I wanted to wait & I told her to just  go ahead, waiting will not help and as soon as he saw the needle go it (Because I could not get him to look away) there was dead silence. Like ‘oh, that’s it? oh.” He does this every time, which is why I don’t let them put it off, it only gives him more time to freak out. Havoc knows there was a nasal spray option & is not too happy he wasn’t given it, which I think added to his freak out. We will be leaving on a 36 hour car trip to spend a week with my 70 year old parents the day he gets the second dose and we didn’t want to take the risk of the live virus with my parents (or honestly, with us, cooped up in a car for 2 days) or I would have chosen the nasal spray for him.

Given the number of kids I saw, I’d say about half the school population was getting the vaxes. Some of the other half have already had either the  vax or the flu & some just aren’t getting it.  Apparently there are 2 teachers and about 30 kids out with it, in the past 6 weeks. Out of about 450 students, so I guess it’s not too bad here yet.  Though 4 of my friends’ families have had it in the next county over.

I stopped by the market & bought the boys a bag of gummie worms and some Halloween colored sno caps for a treat when they get home. Now I am going to go try & defeat the next level on Mini Ninjas

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The vaxing

I’m not pro vax or anti vax. I’m sort of in the middle. Some things make sense to vax & some things seem more like hype from pharm companies. Purely a personal thing. My boys are on a delayed vax schedule that has dragged out so long I still have an active waiver at the school for a vax Mayhem hasn’t had yet that he ‘should have had’ 2.5 years ago & will actually get at his yearly physical in January. Havoc finally had a chicken pox vax last month after I kept dithering about it for 4 years & finally accepted that he just won’t be catching it.

Flu vaxes are not high on the priority list. We do all the preventative stuff and I think my healthy kids don’t need the vax & since the availability of the stuff varies wildly every year we don’t get it so others who need it more can.

Then the H1N1 came.

I haven’t been inclined toward it either, not because it hasn’t been tested enough or the other arguments against it but for the same reason as the regular flu one. We are healthy people & long term I wonder about the consequences of all this vaxing.

Not to mention had I wanted to get the boys vaxed I’d have a hard time doing it. Unless you already have an appointment for something or think you have the swine flu you can’t get an appointment at my docs in a reasonable time frame. The boys would need 2 doses within 4 weeks apart, but you can’t schedule appointments for it because there aren’t any (one of the docs went out on maternity leave 2 weeks ago so they are short handed on top of being busy with flu people). I could take them out of school and go spend a couple hours or so waiting when they have it at the health clinic, twice, hoping that the second dose is available, that there is another clinic at the right time and that they don’t catch anything while we wait. I can randomly call the local pharmacies to see if they have any, go stand in line there, pay for it, fill reimbursement with my insurance, and then repeat 4 weeks later, again hoping the second dose is there when we need it, etc. But you can’t make appointments, like the health clinic it’s show up & wait, with times to be announced at the last possible moment. Or we can do what we do every year & hope for the best.

But, my kids are already missing 4.5 days of school due to bad holiday planning by me and the school. They are only allowed 10 days off. Yes, we’ve avoided flu all this time but sooner or later it will catch us and it will use those remaining days I am sure.  So a part of me thinks maybe we should get the vax and a part of me thinks the hype is scaring me. I don’t like to be frightened into decisions. It makes me dig my heels in the opposite way & neither is a good basis for choosing.

I do this superstitious thing when I dither – everything is a sign to me when I can’t make up my mind. There are omens and portents everywhere as I consider all my possibilities. The difficulty of getting the vax is a clear sign we should not be getting it. It’s the universe pointing me in the direction I should go. No vaxing for the flu. The universe has spoken.

Then comes a letter from school – Free H1N1 vaxes! At school! Both doses guaranteed and scheduled! Just sign this form!

Apparently the universe has changed it’s mind. And in a clear and unequivocal manner. It’s basically handed me the vaxes on a plate.

Since I am in full on dither mode I ask DH what he wants to do.He wants them to have it much more strongly than I don’t want them to have it. He had some excellent points and I had nothing so …

They get their first injection Friday. I’m hoping to get a note today telling me what time because they said parents could be there when the kids are given the vaxes. I assume it will be first thing. Can you imagine trying to teach a bunch of 5-7 year olds who have been told at breakfast they are going to get a shot sometime during the day?

I’m totally useless for 48 hours when I know I am getting one and I’m 42

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Teacher conferences

Mayhem can read and Havoc is a wiggler.

That is the short summary of our parent teacher conferences.

I suspected Mayhem could read as a result of his report card but I had no frame of reference for those numbers. His teacher showed me the actual test he was given. He got 25 of the basic letter sounds right, he got all the blends but CH, read all the words on the semester 1 part & correctly spelled 6 of 7 short vowel sound words, missing only SIT, spelling it SET. He did so well she gave him the second semester set of words and he read half of them.

And he has had us convinced that he can only read STOP, ON, OFF and THE (apart from words like Chili’s, Kraft & Pepsi). So we will be doing far more encouraging him to sound out words than we have been when we read together & have higher expectations than we have had of the results. We haven’t really had any expectations actually but now we have a baseline so we can go from here.

Havoc is doing well academically. Apparently he respects the class rules enough that his clowning around is kept to a minimum though he has trouble sitting still. If there is a chance for him to stand next his seat rather than sit in (like when they are working on a craft project) he will be standing. He also often takes longer than the other kids to complete assignments both because he can be over elaborate in their execution & he takes awhile getting around to starting them. He doesn’t just color in someone's shirt red. It’s red with a complex blue & green triangle pattern. His 3 sentence summary of a book can be 40 words long because he wants it to fully summarize the story. He’s also a dawdler. He takes forever to get the assignment started & still wants to be elaborate in the answer. We’ve been dealing with this trait since he was 2. I used to time him putting on his shoes because he could find reasons to put it off or finish doing it and take a full 7 minutes to complete the task.  We also need to work on him sounding out unfamiliar words. He makes a guess and moves on. Such as the word  ‘combos’ he says “Columbus” we say no sound it out and he says “Christopher” because he won’t actually look at the word again but sticks with the theme of the first guess.

We will be working on Mayhem’s reading and encouraging Havoc to order his priorities better over the next six weeks.

They both have friends and seem to get along with well with others though apparently some kids are starting to tease Havoc about his glasses. He doesn’t get why people think it is funny but doesn’t seem very perturbed by it yet. I said if he is bothered he should tell them they lack imagination. Glasses are too easy.  (because that’s what I did & it seemed to work). Mayhem is something of a sexist with very clear ideas of what is girl stuff, though a bit nebulous on what is boy stuff. Girls can do boys stuff according to him but boys do not do girls stuff, like play Barbie princesses. I said“well what about taking care of babies?’ and he said “babies aren’t girl stuff, they are everyone stuff” So I think I am going to leave that one be for now.

Overall everything looks good for both of them. I hope it stays that way.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Weekly Winners - week 42

I have a few this week.

We went to the apple harvest festival.


I made some apple butter


Then we made gingerbread cookies


These guys are bit ticked they haven’t been featured lately


But it is their own fault because they have been busy hibernating


For more Weekly Winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I spent the day, off and on, tearing my house apart looking for a glass jar of exactly the right size and shape. I wanted something small, sort of an elongated votive candle holder, only a bit bigger & maybe square. Like a rocks glass only a bit smaller & taller.

I almost went to Wal Mart looking for one but as DH pointed out “A lifetime of collecting candle burning impedimenta and you don’t have a small glass jar?”

Which, yeah.

Where are all my small decorative jars? I can remember seeing them on shelves and tables. Of course after awhile you get to that point where you can picture whatever it is you are looking for sitting on whatever it is you are looking at even if you are 100% certain you never put any votive candle holders in the freezer. Yet in my mind I can see one, sitting there on the door shelf, next to the waffles.  I can remember moving them out of the way of small hands. I can recall thinking numerous times, I should move that before it gets bumped and breaks. I don’t remember any of them actually breaking so I must have put them some place. Some place ‘safe, where I will remember them’ no doubt.  I have plenty of round potpourri bowls but they are all too big and a large number of small square glass dishes (for setting candles on) that are too shallow but nothing appropriate. It has to be the right size.  Appearance matters.

The glass jar is for Havoc’s allowance, in nickels. We’re trying something new as a disciplinary technique. Figuring out what works with Havoc has always been a bit tricky because nothing seems to last. He stops caring about the punishment or the reward soon after in most cases. We’ve had some success with sticker charts though so this is a spin on that.

One of Havoc’s birthday presents is that he now gets an allowance - $2 a week. It’s a reward for good behavior, no specific chores are involved, he just has to listen and do the right thing. Probably he would prefer having to wash dishes or something else tangible and over & done with in a short time span. But I admit I am the kind of parent who, while buying her son his long awaited DS for his birthday, thought to herself “Maybe taking this away as a privilege will be a motivator”.

Yes, I was buying him a gift I would take away later.

Back to the glass jar.

It has to be the right size to make 40 nickels look impressive, yet also make it obviously noticeable when some are taken away. He loses a nickel when he goofs off at more serious times, such as homework, tae know do practice, dinner, etc. He wants to be the class clown & there are plenty of times to be the funny guy during the day, but there are also times when you need to be serious & pay attention. We’re hoping watching his allowance dwindle over the course of a week will be motivating.  He can also earn nickels with good behavior (such as not having to be reminded to do his homework or remain seated through dinner) & thus gain back the lost ones and even earn more than $2 a week.

They do this in school with tickets and a weekly treasure box they can buy things from. Havoc is always bragging on how many tickets he has and showing off what he bought with them on Friday so it’s obviously working.

Anyway, back to the glass jar again.

It has to be the right size. 40 nickels just isn’t that impressive a pile of coins.  Pennies are not worth enough to be useable. So the jar has to compensate. I admit I did briefly consider raising the kid’s allowance just so the pile of coins would look more impressive when I took some away (see DS shopping reference). Then I began wondering if glass was the way to go. Maybe plastic would be better. But a cheap run of the mill small storage container seems…inadequate, insignificant, Insert adjectives here… I think it should be a special container. The sticker charts were all decorated and on colored paper. When we did buttons as a reward (which failed due to consistency on my part & subsequent loss of interest on the boys’ part) they each got to decorate their own plastic tub. So I feel like it should be a special bowl. The RIGHT bowl.

Why do I care so much about the bowl? I can control the bowl. I’m in charge of the bowl.

Havoc though? Different story.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Canadians don’t ride the bible bus

I’ve mentioned before one of the peculiarities of our local public school system is the bible bus. Once a month for an hour or so, students get out of school and go to this bus/rv/trailer that parks in the soccer field and have Bible Study – with parental permission.  Havoc & Mayhem don’t have permission. While I do take them to vacation bible school every summer for a couple of weeks, I think going monthly is a bit much for a couple heathen kids.

*** I have no idea  if this is normal, common or legal. They have been doing it for 70 years. I assume they would have to allow kids out for my ‘comparative religion van’, with parental permission, if I offered it. I went to a Catholic school in a mostly urban environment in a different state in the 70’s. Rural public school in the 21st century is the great unknown to me.***

I was talking about it at dinner the other night because Mayhem brought a second permission slip for it home. It isn’t a ‘choose yes or no’ slip. It’s a ‘sign if you approve’ slip, so I just never sent the first one back.  Apparently they wanted to be sure I received it. I asked Havoc how many kids in his new class did not go to the bus. Last year it was him and the little girl from his reading group so they had extra reading time during bible bus. This year it is either him and 3 others or maybe just him. He seems a bit confused about when it is. Either way he was given extra recess time, which is fine with him. Then he asked me

“Why don’t we go to the bible bus?”

“Because we are not Christians honey”

“Oh that’s right. We’re Canadians!”


He then asked “Well then what are we?”

“Deists” DH said

“Heathens” I said

“Deepest evens” Mayhem repeated

“Canadian deepest evens” Havoc clarified. “I’ll tell my classmates.”

Another teaching moment gone awry

I have no idea why he thinks we’re Canadians

Monday, October 12, 2009

The other man

I am at heart a monogamist. I choose a man and I stick with him.  It is not for me to have several crushes going at once or date a couple guys at the same time. While I support the idea of the poly lifestyle in general (assuming everyone involved is adult and agreeable to it), it is not for me personally.  I feel guilty when I am attracted to another man.  I feel like I am cheating in my heart if not with my body. So I am apologizing in public for my infidelity.

Harrison, I am so sorry.

I have loved you since I first saw Star Wars in 1977.  Han Solo made my 10 year old girlish heart giggle with joy. Indiana Jones made my teenage heart think more explicit things. Sabrina made my adult heart hurt with longing.

However,for the first time you have a true rival for my affection. Oh sure John Bon Jovi attracted me briefly and John Taylor from Duran Duran. But those were passing teen crushes. My brief flirtation with Adrian Paul during the Highlander the Series years?  Simply an infatuation. They meant nothing Harrison, you know that. Today I have no idea where they are or what they are doing while you are on my Google ping list.

But this time it is more than a crush or infatuation. I’m sorry. I never thought it would end like this. I thought after 30 years it would last forever. It’s not you Harrison (though really? Calista Flockart? really?) It’s me. I need more than you can give. More than one movie every couple of years. I need someone I can see regularly. Someone who will be there for me every Monday night, either in new episodes or reruns. I’m leaving you for a younger man.

A few years ago I laid eyes on this man

Nathan Fillion, or as I knew him, Malcolm Reynolds on Firefly, now Richard Castle on Castle.


OMG Harrison! I am so sorry but he seems to have slowly but surely displaced you. I didn’t even realize it until recently when I was more upset than is rational to miss an episode of Castle. Or maybe it was when I started getting pissy at missing my private lunchtime viewings of my Firefly DVD’s. He has become my new full time love. My celebrity husband. He’s so rugged and charming and witty and handsome. And mature and muscle-y and, and…he sort of reminds me of you actually… only without the whip…mmmmm Nathan with a whip and fedora… man I wish I hadn’t thought about that.

You were my first real love Harrison. You’ll always have a special place in my heart, but the time has come for me to move on. I wish you well with your skeleton, um, Calista.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Weekly Winners - week 41

This week l took only a couple photos & spent most of my time editing them in various ways in Lightroom






 dark vignette

For more Weekly Winners please check out Lotus at Sarcastic Mom.  Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Report card time

The boys brought theirs home yesterday.  Both of them are doing well with a few surprises here & there.

The first was Mayhem. Mayhem claims he doesn’t like reading (my God! someone switched my baby in the hospital!) and appears to be incapable of realizing that the T H E on one page that he knows is “the” is the same as the T H E on the next page. But then he’ll start reading signs on the road while in the car for products we don’t see on TV “live nude girls”, “school bus crossing” etc. Mayhem is sneaky. He always has been. As an infant I would put him on his back on the floor, leave to get a drink and find him on his belly, and vice versa. But it was a month before any of us caught him in the act. I think he doesn’t like showing people while he is learning & some day I am going to look up and see him reading Anna Karenina instead of Cat in the Hat.  His report card bears this out.

They test them for emergent reading skills. Base line is 20 at the beginning of the year, with a goal of 165 at the end. Havoc scored 141 at the beginning of kindergarten, which I expected. Havoc loves to read. I assumed Mayhem would be somewhere in the 30-50 range given his randomness.  He scored a 101.  The little beggar can read & is hiding it. He recognizes all letters but lower case d, which, dude, is in his name!  His fine motor skills have improved greatly and he has apparently settled into the school routine nicely.  Except for when he makes a fuss about the teach watching him practice writing letters.

Havoc is doing very well, mastering his math and most of the reading skills. (they do mastered, making progress and needs improvement as grades) He is reluctant to guess at words he doesn’t know & take the time to sound them out. He wants to get on with the story & figures that one word doesn’t matter. So what if it is seizes, situation or sayings? Whichever one he guesses first is good enough, lets get one with it. The issues with Havoc seem to be more social. Havoc wants to be the class clown. Because the class work tends to come relatively easily to him he often gets done first and has time to get distracted and goof around. As his teacher puts it ‘he’s a social boy who enjoys talking & sharing his knowledge of many things. But can easily be redirected to his work’ Apparently he is also a ‘unique and most interesting’ boy.

Yeah. I’m not sure what to make of that.  It all reads very complimentary but I do wonder about the word choice of unique. Possibly given that our last name is practically the end of the alphabet she felt she was running out of personalizing adjectives by the time she got to Havoc.  Don’t get me wrong. I like that my kid is unique. But that word can go so many ways.

I guess I’ll find out at the conferences next week.  What do you think about unique?

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Just had to share

Wal mart?

Stopped carrying evil dip this week.

I’m both grieved and relieved.

I saw it there Monday when I went to buy Havoc’s Nintendo DS & Mini Ninja’s as his birthday present. I had to get string cheese & the dip is visible from the string cheese display.

I didn’t feel pulled toward it though. I just thought to myself “oh yes, evil dip.” and walked away unscathed.

Today I was back in Wal Mart, returning some DS accessories and had to get yogurt. Out of habit I looked at the dip display and noticed there was no evil dip! Not only that, there were no other types of dip by that maker! Nothing from that company was on the shelves and the shelves were stocked with some other cheaper brand. And their artichoke parmesan dip had peppers in it.

I hate peppers in my dip.

So, I am at last free of the malevolent deliciousness that is evil dip.


Wish I had known though. I’d have bought some on Monday. The evil dip was right when it insisted I buy it before it disappeared from the shelves.

Damn you evil dip! and damn you Wal Mart as well.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Happy Birthday Havoc!


from this to this


in 7 years.

Where is my baby, my little boy? Off on your own path already, with friends and interests and sayings I know little about. In situations I can’t control, making choices I can’t help you with, giving you advice you don’t seem to hear. Wasn’t this supposed to happen later? Wasn’t there supposed to be more time?

You are 7 years old today. You are smart and funny and when you apply yourself you are quick to learn. You can do anything if you decide you want to. You get along well with your classmates & are doing well at school. You have developed a sense of drama which is excellent when you are reading aloud and a bit much when you are unhappy about being told no or fighting with your brother. You are clever and inventive. You’ve built an entire clubhouse in the woods for your friends and designed the sign. You created a go kart. You’ve mastered the two wheeler in your careful step by step way. You can swim underwater and read just about put in front of you (which makes mommy uncomfortable in check out lines with women’s magazines).

Happy birthday my little one. I love you dearly.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Baking weather at last!

The problem with August & September for me is that they are just too hot to run the oven too often. I like to bake bread. My favorites being cheese breads. But I really don’t like having the oven on for an hour when it is 90 degrees or more outside.  Most of the summer I stick with na’an and other flat breads because I can make them on the grill or on the stovetop.

But it’s baking season now!

I have a loaf of cheddar cheese bread rising and plans for an apple & cheddar loaf this weekend.  I also want to  make feather puff bread, which has cottage cheese in it & sounds like it might be good with apple butter. (I’m making apple butter next week after we go to the Apple Festival. Apple butter & applesauce & variations on them are about the only thing I can successfully make in a crock pot). Then there is my beloved pepperoni & pecorino bread which makes the best grilled sandwiches

I spent the summer experimenting with various flatbread recipes to get a round that was the thickness, softness and chewiness that I prefer. The next  couple of months will be spend on finding the right sandwich bread. I was raised on Wonder. My boys also prefer the fluffy white stuff.

I’ve tried to get them to eat multigrain or whole wheat bread. Goodness knows I have tried. I can’t tell you how many multigrain loves have molded on the top of my fridge. Peanut butter, which is their main sandwich, doesn’t work so well with that sort of bread in their opinion. Its ok for the rare turkey or ham sandwich but not for peanut butter. So my goal is to make a fluffy multigrain bread.  I have some fluffy white sandwich bread recipes that I think I will slowly alter to include more grains until I reach “eww gross!” point.

This is my cheddar bread recipe.  I halved a recipe for 2 loaves because we don't eat that much that quickly & then tweaked the flour & sweetener.

2 cup bread flour
3/4 c whole wheat flour
1 heaping teaspoon yeast
1 teas sea salt
1 c and 3 tbls warm water
2 tbls oil
1/2 tbls honey
6 oz cheddar in small cubes, 1/2 to 1/4 inches

Mix flour, yeast,& salt together in large bowl. In small bowl mix water, oil & honey together. Add to flour mix & stir. Knead for 7-10 minutes until smooth. I use a stand mixer & this takes 5-7 minutes usually. Let dough rise in warm place for about 1.5 hours. Punch dough down & knead in cheese cubes. Grease a loaf pan & put the dough in it. Let it rise in the pan for about an hour. Preheat oven to 350 and bake bread for 40-45 minutes.  Cool on rack out of loaf pan. It;s good warm & great toasted

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Weekly Winners - week 40

We went to Great Wolf Lodge earlier this week for a 2 night stay


Most of the time was spent in the water park


When we came home Havoc decided to master the 2 wheeler

1002a 1002b

For more Weekly Winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

That’s disgusting!

This post is disgusting and icky and gross and shows some probably poor parental judgment though at the time it seemed ok.

Once there was a little a boy. He woke up on the last morning of his vacation with his “belwy hurtin”. His parents, reflecting on his high carb, no fruit diet of the last 2 days diagnosed constipation and sent him off to sit on the potty where their suspicions appeared to be confirmed. A box of (freaking expensive!) undiluted apple juice was procured. The boy drank it and in about 20 minutes was feeling ready to join his older brother at the waterpark.

The park was practically deserted at 9am on a Tuesday morning & the boy & his friends ran around enjoying the lack of lines. Then the boy can back to his parents saying his belly was hurting again. His father took him off to the bathrooms & his mom bought another ($1.50 for a little juice box!) box of undiluted apple juice. (The boy regularly drinks half water/half juice). The boy returned from the potty and chugged the juice.

Some of you dear readers probably know where this is headed. Your own child has possibly reacted to a huge load of sugar water on an empty stomach as this small boy is about to do. In his parents defense, the boy has never done so, nor has his brother.

The boy sat for a minute at the table (thank you god he was not in the water) of the (thank you god again) practically empty water park, then suddenly put his hand over his mouth and mumbled. “I gonna throw up” and then did so.

All over the ground of the mercifully nearly empty water park.

His father rushed him off to the bathrooms. His mom informed the nearby lifeguard who had seen it happen anyway. Management arrived with a bottle of disinfectant and the Unfortunate Low Man on the Totem Pole who had to clean up the mess. His mother waits and contemplates the fact that she always assumed she would be absolutely mortified if this happened, but yet here is has, and she isn’t. Oh, it is embarrassing, but not that much really. It’s more embarrassing to sit through her children's tae kwon class & listen to the teacher repeatedly ask them to stand still and pay attention.

The boy is cleaned up and left to sit quietly in a chair. His parents & their friends decide the incident was due to the sudden large intake of juice. The friends’ daughter does this fairly regularly, even when her stomach is feeling fine. “She’s a puker” her mom explains.

A half hour later the boy is clamoring to play MagiQuest, a game that involves running all over the hotel & appears fine. MQ is played, snacks are eaten (though hardly any by the boy), the car is loaded and the family heads home on a three hour drive.

Upon arriving home the parents find a couple hundred dead maggots on their bedroom carpet in front of the sliding glass door. 2 days later they still have no idea WTF that was about. There is nothing dead on either side of the door or in the ceiling for the maggots to have come from. Fortunately they had flea bombed the house before leaving so the carpet was poison & killed the maggots. The assumption is they crawled under the sliding glass door for some reason. It was incredibly disgusting, a 6 foot long, 2 foot wide strip of carpet covered in little dead white wormy looking things.

A couple hours later the boy & his older brother begged their parents to go to Chili’s for dinner. The boy had not said one word about his belly since that morning & had been successful on the potty. So the family goes to Chili’s. The boy has pizza and juice & again mentions his belly hurting. A trip to the potty seems to help. The plan was to then go to Wal Mart and pick up the Clone Trooper costumes the boys wanted before they sold out. (and sure enough WM only had one of each in the boys’ sizes so it was a good plan). The boy is happy & excited to get his costume. His parents, with stomach upsets on their minds & knowing they have none of the pink stomach stuff at home, grab some of the kids and adult versions of it, as well as the two costumes.

As they are walking toward the 20 Items or Less lines it happens again. The boy put his hand over his mouth, announced he was going to throw up and then did.


On the floor of the Wal Mart by the 20 Item or Less check outs.

Everyone turns and looks. His father takes the boy to the bathroom where the boy is very upset that he threw up and everyone saw him do it.  His mother and older brother stand around the puddles waiting for Authority to show up trying to look nonchalant about it, though it makes them both queasy. And the mother again ponders on the fact that this really ought to be just mortifying, everyone staring at you, judging you, the mom who took her obviously sick kid to the Wal Mart and yet…again, compared to the regular tae kwon do humiliation, this is nothing. Once again Management and the Low Man appear to clean up the smelly mess.

The mom and older brother decide to go to the other end of the Wal Mart to check out. They get in the 10 Item & cigarette line. The man in front of her turns around, sees the Pepto in her hand and lets her go first. “So you can get the meds to the kid as soon as they come out of the bathroom”. The check out lately says the mother is lucky because the check out lady’s kids would never tell her when they were going to be sick & at least the mother had some warning.

Jeebus, they think, we are at the other end of the Wal Mart & everyone knows all about it!

Father & son come out of the bathroom, a Pepto chewable is given to the boy and nothing more is ever heard about his belly.

The parents discuss how this episode clearly shows their priorities. When the boy said he was going to throw up, the first thing they did was remove the costume (only one in the store in his size) from his hand so he wouldn’t throw up on it. They were hustling him toward the bathroom while doing it, but obviously the costume was the priority.