Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

A syllable short


Mom? What's a terrorist?

Well, it's a criminal who does terrible things to hurt and frighten people.

Oh. I thought it was a person who visits to see things.

That would be a tourist.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The ghosts of Christmases past

As I rustle through the stores this holiday season mulling the purchases that will either make Santa a hero or me a zero (because, lets face it, blaming the big guy for getting the wrong toy just isn't done) I thought I'd wander down Memory Lane and remember all the gifts that haven't been forgotten the second the wrapping paper had been cleared away:

Toy story

BIC Mark-It permanent ink markers – $23

We bought the 36-count set ions ago. Likely before The Champ was even born. We still have all 36 and all of them work. There is no substitute for good markers. And no end to how you can use them. This year we'll be making tie-dye shirts with permanent markers and rubbing alcohol.


Optic Wonder by Toysmith – $7

It's not really a wonder … it's a binocular/compass combo that rarely gets used in our house for either of those functions. But this a $7 hunk of plastic (now missing the compass feature) has certainly repaid its price ten-times over … though I doubt I bought it. Honestly? I had no idea what this mystery gadget was. It just turned up one day and it's been an important tool for propping up toys, spying on sisters and viewing the opera from the living room ever since.

Toy Story

FurReal Newborn Chimpanzee - $14

We call him “Monkey Baby” and The Champ won't leave home (or sleep) without him. Luckily (because of temporary misplacement) we have three of these babies. The “real” part of the monkey – chittering, snoring and squawking have all lost their appeal (not to mention battery juice). Even I must admit it's creepy how cute he is.

Toy Story

Vintage camera, thrift shop - $1

The kids will always dig this baby out of the toy box.

You can find them at etsy, but I'd go to Salvation Army … or Goodwill … yard sales. You might also want to check grandpa's attic.

Toy story

Haba Geomix blocks - $46

We received these Geomix block by Haba as a gift when Ittybit was two. I'm not sure anyone would outgrow these. Ever.

Toy story

Hello Kitty Sewing Machine by Janome - $115

Cute. Versatile. Sturdy. Indispensable.

Santa brought a Sew Mini by Janome, ($60) which was handy and good for light-weight crafting, but ended up needing repairs after only a few months. Santa now recommends spending just a little more.

Toy story

Wooden train set - $50

Their father had a small set … probably from the Brio company.

We went with Circo at Target. Got a 120-piece set for about $50. It's easy to assemble, fits with the old Brio set as well as another plastic model recently and lovingly handed down. I think the best part may be that it's a toy that won't end up in a yard sale.

And it's hours of fun.

Toy story

Legos – Anywhere from $3 to a small fortune

You will step on them, sweep them up, step on them again … but you will never curse the day they were invented. Neither will your kids.

Toy story

Littlest Pet Shop - $4 to $40

Ittybit got her first Littlest Pet Shop when she was two. I got an apology from the benefactor. “They're like crack,” she whispered so that her own daughter wouldn't hear. Now we have more than a hundred of these little bobble headed things. Parents hate them. Kids love them. Can't win every battle.

Toy story

Superstar Mic - $1

Target dollar bin. Looks like the biggest piece of crap going: A plastic ice cream cone housing a metal coil. Batteries not even needed. Big whoop.

Yet … It's been the best dollar Santa ever spent.

This year Santa is looking into

A pottery wheel

A marble chute

A microscope

and an ice cream maker

I'll let you know how my kids think they stack up against the best toy ever made …

Toy story

The cardboard box.

Friday, November 25, 2011

We're Elfed

Holidays ...

They'll do that to you.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

From the I Kid You Not department

It's not been the best year.

You know?

Maddy ...

The layoff ...

My mom ...

And still, I'm thankful.

Thankful for tiny mysteries ...

Like when my daughter looks at me and asks me if I'm 25, even though I know to her 25 might as well be 100.

Or when the lady at the grocery store cards me for beer, even though I know she's required to card everyone. She's not required to act surprised by the dates.

I am thankful that when my husband holds up a turkey baster he bought during a Thanksgiving eve shopping trip he took with our son, it comes with a story I never in a million years would have guessed:

"Uhhhh ... I don't baste the turkey."

"I know, but it kept your son from melting down in the middle of the store. He really, really wanted a turkey baster."

I am thankful that he decided a $2 kitchen tool was one battle not worth fighting.

Though I'm not sure I'll be thankful when the boy douses me at bath time with his new squirter toy.

But I know it's just the price I'll have to pay for being thankful for all the things that sneak up behind me, yell 'boo' and scamper off, giggling.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Little Miss (Un)Helpful

Anatomy 101

"The Arm Bone's connected to the Leg Bone ...

"The Leg Bone's connected to the Head Bone ...

"The Head Bone's connected to the Gut Bones ...

"Two more mistakes and then it's MY Turn!


Monday, November 21, 2011

Sick day

Picnic lunch

One has a fever, the other is raring to go.

One sits on the couch and stares into the television even when it lands on snow.

The other tears up the house. Strewing toys and crumbs and frustrations all about the floor.

Mostly they ignore each other and blame me.

Why do you let him do that?

She doesn't ever listen to me!

All I can say is ...

I hope tomorrow cools down.

Friday, November 18, 2011

At the risk of seeming boastful ...

monkey baby painting

I can't help but think the resemblance is uncanny.

Behind the scenes

And Monkey Baby is a very patient model.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pardon the pun

Tree looking for a hand out

It looks like this tree is looking for a hand out.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The real reason for launch pad countdowns ...

quilt parts

10 ...

10 ...

9 ...

9 ...

8 ...

7 ...


The boy thinks his rocket ship needs a window. Yup. That's what the complete countdown might have prevented.

Aw hell, Blastoff.

"Mama! You forgot to put windows in my rocket ship."

Monday, November 14, 2011

Table talk

Jackalope at the Bijou

The Champ makes the seating arrangements:

"You sit here. ... That's where werewolves sit," he says to his sister. ...

"And you sit there ... that's where the king sits," he says to his dad. ...

"Ma, you can sit across from me ... but I don't know what you are. ... A fairy? A Queen? No. I don't know what you are."

"So what are you, bud-boy? You a vampire?" his father asks, looking at the pile of Dracula costume he'd been putting on and taking off every hour on the hour since halloween.

"Nope! I'm a Jackalot," he says with a smile.

"Not yet, bud. But no doubt you will in a few years."

Friday, November 11, 2011

A craftacular first

jeans quilt

Some old jeans.

A few remnants bought at salvage.

A couple of hours with the sewing machine and a patch of whirring silence.

I bound the edges before I applied the fabric for the back.

I think I may have cheated in a game where the rules aren't really clear to me.

She didn't care.

To her it was perfect.

She curled up underneath it and drifted off to sleep.

jeans quilt blankee

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Practical matters

Kids? Always practical. Husband? Not so much.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

From the 'I Kid You Not' kitchen ...

Special Soup

"Glass-Steagall Soup" is on today's menu.

It will keep you regulated.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Social diseases 2.0

she's all me

Can't say I was surprised about a new study that says sexual harassment in school-age children is widespread and pervasive.

I was a teen once.

It was pretty bad then.

But now ... with the speed of your wifi connection ... it's probably going to be the worst social disease ever.

You know ...

If I were a fatalist.

Or something.

According to the report in The New York Times:

Girls reported being harassed more than boys — 56 percent compared with 40 percent — though it was evenly divided during middle school. Boys were more likely to be the harassers, according to the study, and children from lower-income families reported more severe effects.

“It’s pervasive, and almost a normal part of the school day,” said Catherine Hill, the director of research at the association and one of the authors of the report.

This most recent statistic is up significantly from similar reports just three years ago.

It doesn't take too much of a stretch of the imagination to see that surging hormones and immaturity combined with the ease of access to cell phones and wifi - not to mention a virtual ocean of other immature, hormonally charged neophytes just waiting at the ends of their facebook accounts ready and waiting to "Share."

But what do we expect? We all know adults - some of whom in power - who haven't matured past a middle school understanding of interpersonal relations.

We have politicians who aren't practicing what they preach.

Add to that an increasingly diminished journalistic standard, where ridiculing ordinary strangers is not only accepted but status quo.

The noise is just getting louder.

And what do we learn?

Not much.

We even have debate over morality of sex education, as some parents and politicians practically up in arms over schools' plans to offer sex ed in public schools, and yet a zero tolerance policy for pretty much anything that could be considered distasteful or potentially illegal, harmful or a target for litigation.

I can't wait to start reading about politicians creating more laws we can't enforce.

In short. I think we're fucked.

Of course an energy shortage could be the most hopeful thing ever.

If you think of it that way.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

A funny thing happen on our way to visit Amah ...

Elevator to the Dark Side

"I always wondered what went on in that building. I had no idea so many nice people were trapped there."

And so it begins.

Friday, November 04, 2011

What I learned today


In 1960 Jerry Lewis made a movie called "Cinderfella."

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Things I learned today:

Our vet has declared Monkey Baby fit as a fiddle and flea free. Same goes for Ariel

Our cat will willingly get into the cat carrier.

And stay there.

For an indeterminate amount of time.

Without complaint.

She won't even mind if you lug her around like a suitcase. Or spin her a little ... like an amusement park ride.

For some strange reason she thinks of her cat carrier as her safe place. Even when it takes her places she'd rather not go.

Like the vet.

But once you set her transportation tent in the car and fire up the ignition all bets are off.

Even driving from the house to the edge of the street will elicit sounds that would make the neighbors think we're ripping out her toenails with rusty pliers and dousing her with antiseptic.

It was a good thing Monkey Baby came along for his check up, too.

Turns out they both got clean bills of health. Neither of them needed to be wormed or flea dipped. Monkey Baby didn't even need a shot.

But while Monkey Baby never made a peep, Ariel wouldn't stop yelling at me. Even when set free, she just laid on the warm driveway and told the world of her terrible ordeal. For hours.

I wouldn't be surprised if she left me a gift in my shoe overnight.