Sunday, January 29, 2012

Product Placement

At Walmart today:

C. had no idea why M. and I were laughing so hard.

Zombies, Smart Kids, and Other Scary Things

Three years ago, I was single. I lived in Alamogordo. I had several great kids, but had never been pregnant. Funny how things can change.

Two years ago, I was married, living in High Rolls, and telling the kids they needed to put their shoes back on and get in the van.

And then there is now. I blame these, to a large degree:

L’il Critters® Omega-3 DHA Gummy Fish™

As well as the lady giving the brain development seminar several years ago, who impressed on us all the importance of Omega-3 - long before it made the news. I didn't take my prenatal vitamins, but I was pretty faithful with these. Now, we have this:

Yesterday, in the bathtub, she was playing with the little foam letters, and piped up, "B is for Logan!" Before I could even open my mouth to tell her Logan starts with an "L", she continued, "for Butthead!" I'll say the smart comes from the pills. The smart-aleck comes from her father.

While tomorrow is her official birthday, we had her party yesterday. Tradition is, I bake the cake, Daddy decorates it. I made two round layers and put them together, then stopped to give L. a bath. When I came back to the cake, it was no longer quite so round.

According to S., it was the snipe. Those awful snipe cause all sorts of trouble, from making cats crazy to getting into electronic equipment and making it do stupid things. They are similar to mice in size and color, but they can vanish at will - you may see them out of the corner of your eye, but it is very rare to see one full-on. We know they are there, though. (The sneaky things even got chocolate under her fingernails!)

We had friends and family up for the party, of course, and my little darling played nicely with all of them.

Zombies are the latest thing among two-year-olds, you know. Ask her what she likes to eat, and she'll say "Braaaaaaaaaaains!"

She likes the girly things too, though. Definitely a princess.

And a big girl! If you ask her, she will say she turned seven this weekend - because big brother will be six, and she has to stay one more than him. Again, too many Omega-3s. Definitely old enough to be potty trained - when she feels like it! There are quite a few shots of her unfolding each pair and showing them off. I plan to dig those out when she starts dating.

See, best of both worlds: cammo and pink clothes, and her very own pink shotgun and revolver. Gifts from big sister, of course.

I'm not sure our guests knew quite what to make of the cake, but it fit her! Daddy did a great job, I think. The question mark is because we say she's two, she says she's seven, and nobody really knows how time passes on her home planet anyway.

We started off eating with a fork - sort of. Notice the fingers. Then the fork fell on the floor (I can't imagine how), so she improvised:

Yep. My baby girl is eating her birthday cake with a severed leg. I love that little goofball.

L. is looking for his own apartment - getting out while he still can.

And, of course, there is the inevitable crash. Clutching the drawing toy Daddy gave her:) Happy Birthday, big girl! You make me laugh and amaze me every day. I can't wait to see what the next year brings!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

K is for Kisses

So, I'm a little sporadic in posting our story time themes. I think the last one I did was...the letter A. So, sue me. We are having fun with this theme, though, which gives us both the "ew" factor and the "aw" factor.

After I run through the letters (in sign language) that we have learned so far, and the kids tell me that "k" is next, I tell them, today we are going to talk about..."Kissing! Ew!" I ask them if they like to kiss anybody, and of course we quickly decide that kissing Mommy/daddy/Grandparents/siblings is actually pretty cool. When do they kiss us? Bedtime? When we get hurt? Just any time? That leads to a reading of...

I Will Kiss You (Lots & Lots & Lots!)
I Will Kiss You Lots and Lots, by Stoo Hample.

In fun, rhyming text, Mommy kisses her little one on his nose, on his toes, in a tree, on the stairs, and so on. You can stop in many places to engage your listeners (or their parents - how many have to kiss all the stuffed animals goodnight, too?)

Who else do we kiss/get kisses from? Does anyone have any pets they like to kiss? How does a kitty give kisses? A puppy? That leads into...

Love and Kisses
Love and Kisses, by Sarah Wilson

A little girl kisses a cat, who passes the kiss on in bouncy rhyme, until the kiss comes right back to the little girl.

Finally, because I love me some Robert Munsch, we have:

Kiss Me, I'm Perfect

The Mommies sure seemed to identify with Lacey's complaint that Mom doesn't have any clean clothes for her to wear, and Mom's response that she can't WASH Lacey's clothes if she can't FIND Lacey's clothes. Poor lacey is forced to wear a Horrible Grandma Present - a shirt that says, "Kiss Me, I'm Perfect". She quickly comes to like her shirt, though, when every animal she meets read her shirt and complies. A kitten...a puppy... an eagle! What animal will be next? And what will happen when a BOY sits down next to her??

This gives us a silly ending, and brings us back to discussing whether we really want to kiss EVERYbody. From there we talk about another great kind of kiss - chocolate kisses! To put the two points together, we are going to make a craft with chocolate kisses, that we can give to anybody we like (and maybe save for Valentine's Day).

This takes a little prep time, and costs more than our usual crafts, but was too cute to pass up. Start with small cans of fruit with pop tops. Open them from the BOTTOM, empty them, and rinse:

Fill with kisses, or any other candy or small treats:

Kinda went to far opening that one, but it will work.
 Add some tissue, to protect the contents from glue drips:

Hot glue the bottom back on. You'll need to hold it in place for a few seconds, while the glue cools - but remember, metal conducts heat!

These don't look pretty, but it's the bottom, so who cares?

I like to cover these with contac paper next, but Walmart stopped carrying it. Grr. Paper cut to size worked just as well. We had markers and foamy shapes to decorate with first:

Of course, the kids' projects were MUCH more colorful than mine! Tape the label on, and add some ribbons to the pop tab (don't pull it up too far!), and you have a ready-made gift:

Like this one S. gave to Daddy last night. Now he can have kisses from her even when she's not around:)

(One little girl, as she was leaving, said she was going to give hers to her Pop-Pop - "Because he will share!")

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Preparing for the Apocalypse

I am not a hoarder. I am a mom, librarian, and former school teacher who lives far away from the grocery store. Okay, maybe I am a little bit of a hoarder, but any of the above categories gives you license to be one. Today, The Pioneer Woman (who lives much further from a grocery store than I do) listed items she keeps on hand at all times, and that of course had me itching to run right back to Walmart and stock up.

Obviously I am not the only one, because there are already hundreds of comments mentioning staples she 'missed', and giving great ideas like carmelizing onions and freezing them, or putting leftover sauces in ice cube trays to add to things like mashed potatoes.

What would you add? I like to take leftovers that aren't getting any love and put them through the food mill. I freeze small portions to use later as baby food, or to add to chilis or casseroles. You can often toss in some pureed vegetables without anyone being any wiser - and what Daddy doesn't know about that leftover squash won't hurt him:)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Boyfriend is a Monster - Graphic Novel series from Lerner

NOTE: I am working on bringing some of the old posts over from our former web site, Three Turtles and their Pet Librarian - particularly the book reviews and library events. So, no, you aren't going crazy, you really did read this already:)
I Love Him to Pieces by Evonne Tsang: Book Cover
by Evanne Tsang and Janina Gorrisen
Graphic Universe (Lerner Publishing)
978- 0-7613-6004-9

Made for Each Other by Paul D. Storrie: Book Cover
by Paul Storrie and Eldon Cowgur
Graphic Universe (Lerner Publishing)
You may have noticed that we don't review many graphic novels. As in, we never review graphic novels. There's a reason for that: we don't generally read graphic novels. But who can resist a title like My Boyfriend is a Monster: I Love Him to Pieces, featuring a story line with a zombie apocalypse? And lines like: "There's a difference between a zombie and a high school boy? Well, when you get a zombie's attention, you know that it'll stick with you, at least until it can eat your brains. Regular guys are more fickle."

Definitely one for guys or girls, nerds or jocks (or turtles). It's campy, of course, and moves too quickly to flesh out the plotline much, but - it's a graphic novel! The dialogue and the artwork are the key elements of a book like this, and both work very well in this case. We will be handing this to the first reluctant reader we spot. We would also love to see Tsang try his hand at some non-graphic YA fiction.

The second in the series, Made for Each Other, follows a Frankenstein theme. Not quite as funny as the first, it still has enough of the same characteristics to hold a reader's attention - although it does seem a little more girl-oriented. At any rate, the entire series has promise of being a big hit among middle and high schoolers. We give both books a

4 out of 5.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Gender Differences, Revisited

A while back I reviewed the book, "Why Gender Matters" - and now I can't find the post to link to it. One of the things the author pointed out was the difference in the way boys and girls use colors and action in art. My two youngest are demonstrating today:

Two colors. C. and a Jedi friend are fighting a dinosaur off wth their light sabers. He later added red, when one of the figures became a zombie.

Eight bajillion colors. She pointed out a guy and a dog to me. I'm pretty impressed with the circles, myself.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


McDonald's says their apple slices aren't loaded with preservatives, they just stay so fresh-looking because of their wonderful, magical McPackaging. So, I took them out of their package.

Two hours ago. And left them on the dashboard of my van. In the sun.


Cleaning Out the Camera

S. made me some carrot juice this morning. I guess she feels I need a healthier breakfast.

The FedEx fairy came yesterday...

SRP t-shirts are in! Along with a bunch of other stuff I forgot I ordered. And this is the only glimpse you get until April:)

She's not flashing a gang sign, is she?

Look who's just about ready to crawl! STOP IT!

This was actually from back in September. I just love the looks on both their faces. (What is it about guys and blondes, anyway?)

Such a good helper. She doesn't have any PANTS on, but she wants to make sure he has shoes.


Speaking of helpful (and no pants), this is how Daddy fixes diapers. Cammo duct tape.

Huh...I don't remember taking this picture...

...or this one...


I see. Excuse me a moment...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Thrift Shop Score!

S. doesn't wear dresses that often, but she does have a few. What she does not have is a closet, and I've been halfway looking for something to hang her dresses on - besides the curtain rod or the edge of the dresser drawer. I wasn't even sure what I was looking for until I saw this cutie:

She's perfect!
Well, there is a tiny chip missing from the back (which I actually found on the floor and will glue back on), and I think she needs a face, but you know what I mean. She can even hold gloves, and maybe the bracelets M. gave her. Score! This would probably be super easy to make from PVC and scrap wood, but I was happy enough to pay $10 for it.

I was also looking for new pillow cases and something to cover the sofa until a certain feline gets declawed. I ended up with a new-looking maroon king-sized sheet set. The pillow cases match the existing bedspread, I can always use another fitted sheet, and the flat sheet (which I never use on the bed) will do nicely for the sofa. $6.

This particular thrift shop gets dented cans, and S reminded me we need baked beans - by filling the cart herself. She also found a 50-cent thing which LOOKS like a pink baton, but which she will quickly tell you is actually a light saber (just ask the poor elderly gentleman who commented on it and who got corrected in no uncertain terms.)

What I did not find were long-sleeved onesies for the incredibly growing baby - didn't find them at Walmart, either! Silly Mommy, looking for warm clothes in January. Ah, well, he has enough chub to keep him warm. A pretty productive trip for one quick in-and-out!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Teen Cafe Planning

Except that it might not be called Teen Cafe (a name I inherited from the previous librarian). We might change it. We might not. I tossed out, as a ridiculous example, a name Cliff found on a web site - Deliberately Uncreatively Named Group, or, DUNG. At least one individual whose name shall not be mentioned (but which rhymes with Adam) thought that was hysterical. Can you just picture the t-shirts? That was not the most productive part of this week's event, so we're tabling the discussion until next month (which will be the annual chocolate party. I'm sure I will get much more coherent and reasonable answers from a group of teens buzzed on a year's supply of caffeine and sugar.)

What we did accomplish was to come up with a list of possible programs for the rest of the year, then vote on which the teens would most like to do. We voted by sticker: I gave each teen eight colored dot stickers, and told them to put each sticker on a DIFFERENT activity. And, of course, teens follow directions to the letter. Which is why some activities ended up with more stickers than there were kids. And why inanimate objects in the room got votes. Sigh.

Anyways, here is the list of activities that made the cut, in no particular order:

Cooking program
Pajama Party (come in PJ's and act like little kids)
Murder Mystery
Zombie Apocalypse Survival Skills
Board Games (possibly combining with PJ Party)
Talk Like a Pirate day
Life-Sized Board Game (we did Candyland once - maybe that again, maybe Monopoly)
Guys and Girls giving each other advice - possibly combine with video skills of some of our teens, get into groups to make commercials of some sort?
Bollywood Party/henna tattoos
Science explorations...?
College and Career Night - guest speakers to talk about getting into college, financial aid, resume/job interview advice, etc.
Mask Making
Titanic party (need ideas!)
Graffiti art/wall doodle
Fantasy book theme night (dress as a character, possibly make weapons with fun noodles, marshmallow catapults, etc., and stage a battle between two groups)
Video game theme night (rather than playing video games, dress as a character from one, what???)

As you can see, some of these need to be fleshed out a bit more. What can we do for the video game night? Pirates? Science? Zombies? As usual, they have sucked out what little is left of my brain for the evening. (The teens, not zombies. Although there are parallels...) suggestions very much appreciated!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Last week, M. had her turn to have her friends over. A few girls spent the night, and they decided to make it a zombie apocalypse party. M. is a pretty tough girl, but zombies and spiders are two things that creep her out...which made it really easy to mess with her.

As soon as the little ones were in bed, the girls popped Dawn of the Dead into the DVD player...and Daddy popped the FoxPro into the corner. For those who don't know, this is a nifty little device used to call predators in by playing sounds like distressed prey at a very loud volume. It comes with a remote. Which Daddy pressed at a tense moment in the movie. (Note to self: buy sheetrock to fix hole in ceiling).

That got such a good reaction from M., her friends decided to get in on the game. Two disappeared into the bathroom, then came up behind M. in the dark looking like this:

Looking lovely as ever, H.!

After the movie, they hid in M's room, and showed that the movie had done nothing to damage their fragile psyches by playing with dollies like the sweet little girls they are:

(Another note to self: up M's medication.)

They watched another movie, a much cheesier one, the next morning. The littles were up, but running in and out, so I didn't think they saw much.

Until S. started attacking people with an electric mixer.

And trying to chew their faces off. While saying, "I eat your brains!" I'm sure that's just a coincidence, though, and has nothing to do with the movies.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year Resolutions

I had absolutely no intention of forming any New Year Resolutions (or goals or whatever you want to call them), but Daddy and I started talking about a couple. They are actually things we were working on with some success until baby L. came along (he can't talk yet, so he's easy to blame for everything). Now that he's almost 6 months old, this is as good a time as any to focus on those again. They are simple:

1. Once a month, Mommy and Daddy get some alone time together. Sleeping doesn't count.
2. Once a month, each child gets some fun alone time together with one parent.
3. Once a week, we do something together as a family.

I have some personal goals, too - I want to get rid of this belly jiggle before the next baby comes along (and no, there isn't one in the plans for a while). I want to tweak the budgeting so it works and I'm consistent - I've tried a couple spreadsheets, and they sort of work, I just need to fiddle some more.

I have some goals for the little ones, too - M. can plan her own:) I want to work with C. on keeping his room organized (oh, stop laughing. Okay, maybe I'm not the best teacher for that.) S. needs to work on going in the big girl potty. And L. needs to work on NOT GOING POTTY IN THE BATHTUB. Sigh. Oh, and to grow some hair.

The best ways to keep a goal are to tell everyone about it, and to find a way to keep yourself accountable. I'm going to follow my friend Danica's example and try to blog about my progress at least once a month (oops! I just added another goal, didn't I?) So, what about you? I'll go ahead and asl the same question every third blogger is, today - what are your goals for 2012?