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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Kevin Garnett

What better way to wish you all a happy and lucky day than by sharing a pic. I took of Kevin Garnett when he came in to town to play the Nuggets. Get it? Boston Celtics…clover on the back…green uniform…

My love for KG deserves it’s own post, but has origins back in 2002 when hubby invited me to participate in his Fantasy Basketball League. Anyone with him on their Fantasy League has to fall in love, because he’s got mad skillz.

Anyway, this isn’t about KG, it’s about St. Patrick’s Day, and we all here chez Child’s Play can’t wait to see what the Leprechaun does while we’re sleeping.

Usually he creates havoc by overturning chairs, turning anything liquidy-ish green (milk, sour cream, yogurt, the mashed potatoes we’ve already made for our traditional shepherd’s pie), sticking crepe paper on everyone’s doors so they have to break through in the morning, and leaving behind a video game and a box of Lucky Charms cereal.

This year he’s also bringing about 8 inches of snow with him. Thanks for that!

Before the snow covered everything over with a blanket of white, I noticed that my tulips were starting to push through the ground. Pretty soon we’ll be doing more of this:

But for now we’ll celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by eating green, wearing green and thinking green…but seeing white.

48 hour days.

If days were 48 hours, rather than 24, I think I’d be right on track to getting everything done. As it is, I leave about a days worth of stuff undone at the end of my day, and wake up knowing I’m way behind!

I’ll say one thing for life…it always keeps you on your toes, yes?

So here are the things that are keeping me busy:

Golfer started Scouting. They don’t tell you, when you fill out the forms, that it is a full time job to have a Boy Scout as a son. Getting the proper uniform. Getting the proper uniform all patched up correctly. (A little easier, I must say, now that they have sewless, ironless backing to attach all the badges,etc. I asked the Boy Scout store lady if it were proper protocol to safety pin the badges on, as I did not sew or iron or have the strength in my arms to hand stitch each one on. And voila! The miracle cure!) Then there are the pack meetings, and the workbook, and the Pinewood Derby coming up…it’s only been one month, and I’m exhausted. He loves it, and is doing some really cool stuff…I’m just having to juggle a few more responsibilities into my day.

Sassy Princess has claimed my right arm and hand as her special ‘lovey’. She clings to it constantly, and calls it her ‘Tickle Bug’. As in, “Oh, Tickle Bug! I love you!”, “Come here Tickle Bug!”, “Tickle me, tickle bug!” and while I am accustomed to multitasking, I am unaccustomed to lugging a 40 pound weight around by my right arm-leaving it unusable and an irritable kid who would rather I stop doing anything and focus all my energy on her. I suggested she hug her blankie or get her favorite stuffed animal, but that was a no-go. I invited her friends over to play, and there were issues surrounding whether two princesses had to be girls, or if one could be pretended to be a boy. Drama ensues. The one time I managed to get my hand free she said, “My little toes can’t find their mama! Mama! Mama! Where are you toe mama?!” Sliding her foot across to stand on mine, she squealed, “TOE MAMA! We found you! Awwwww!” and so, while I was free to cook lunch with two hands, I had to walk around like i was in a game of Twister with her constantly underfoot.

Now that the weather is heating up, more and more people are coming through the house to see if they want to buy it. This means keeping it in a pristine condition, ready to be shown to strangers with an hours notice. If February doesn’t kill me, this might. I am not, by nature, a clean freak. I’m not, by nature, an organizational whiz. I am, by nature, laid back, easy going, and unstructured. Lazy, if you prefer to call it that. Hubby is completely opposite and he stresses out thinking that I am in charge of getting our house in ship shape during the day if someone calls last minute. He’s been giving me tutorials on proper cleaning procedure. I am expending massive amounts of psychic energy being hyper aware of the clutter in each room. It’s exhausting! And, it makes me really cranky.

The soap business has taken on a life of it’s own this past month, and while it used to be something I could do at night or during the weekend, it’s become something that demands my attention daily. And, it’s taken over my blogging time here, as I spend effort on the blog there to educate inquiring minds about what is in commercial soaps and bath products. All the ‘me time’ I used to have for a few hours at night has been hijacked by soap. I love it, I want my soap to take over the world, I have big plans for expansion and soap domination…but a successful business is like having another newborn. Disruptive, needy, demanding, and in constant need of attention, only not as cute.

American Idol has taken hold over here. I’d forgotten how much stinking TIME it takes to watch AI in the beginning season. 2 hours Tues. & Wed., then 1 hour Thurs. We are helpless to stay away. It blows our existing schedule to smithereens. Last year around this time the kids and I had been reading a book a week together and then BAMMO! American Idol started, we got our reading time preempted and that was the end of it. Trading literacy for cheesy reality TV show? Check!

I’m burning the metaphorical candle on three ends, as it were.

And now, I must go, because Sassy’s toes have now found my tickle bug and are wanting it to come play with them AND her other hands. And she just announced she’s hungry for breakfast and needs to “go eat some meat!”

Air Pressure and the Jar of Death

I have so much fun watching my kids pick science experiments to do together. I, personally, never liked science in school–not because I didn’t like doing the experiments, but because I didn’t like doing all the exhaustive worksheets and essays afterwards. So, when I hear the word ‘science experiment’ I have this feeling of boredom sweep over me.

However, I’ve noticed that because worksheets and essays are not required here chez Child’s Play, that the kids are free to simply experiment, experience, and wonder. This isn’t boring! They have no negative associations like I do. Sometimes they do an experiment and let it go, not thinking of the ‘who, what, when, where, why’ of it all. And then sometimes they really stop to wonder just what the heck is going on. In those cases, they research a little more into it. They write out a script so they can share it with the internet. They practice until they get it right (but the bloopers are the best, so I included them at the end) and add some of their own flair while doing it.

When all is said and done, they do a lot of work…but it’s so fun they don’t notice. They are teaching me how to learn about science, and really like it.

Overheard…

(The following conversation was held after a week without Nesquick Chocolate Milk mix. I forgot to pick any up on our last trip to the grocery store, and made the kids wait a week until I could get to Costco to pick up a jumbo-Costco-sized-super-ginormous-345345345 servings per can-Nesquick.)

Golfer: “Hey, Naturalist. Do you think The No Chocolate Milk Crisis is as bad as the Cuban Missile Crisis was?”
Naturalist: “Oh, yeah. Definately.”
Me: “Uh, you guys realize that during the Cuban Missile Crisis, everyone in North America was afraid the Russians would send missiles over and blow up everything in the US, right?
Them: “Yeah.”
Me: “And you seriously are comparing that to going a week without Chocolate Milk?”
Them: “Yeah.”
Me: “And do you seriously believe going a week without Chocolate Milk is worse than an impending nuclear attack?”
Them: “Uh…………yeah.”

*****************************

Today, Golfer and I were playing basketball at the rec center. The game of Horse was going a bit long, and I needed to pick up Sassy Princess from their kindercare, so I suggested we shorten the game.

Golfer: “We can play ‘Ho’ instead?”
Me: (giggling a little) “OK, sounds good. First to ‘Ho’ loses.”
Golfer: “Actually, can we play to ‘Hor’?”
Me: (dying with fifth grade mentality giggles) “First to ‘Hor’ then.”
Golfer: “You are at ‘Ho’, so this should be a quick game! You’re only a letter away from ‘Hor’!”
Me: (hoping the people that just walked in don’t think poorly of my parenting skills) “Can you shoot the ball now?”

I lost. On the way out, while checking the ball back in, Golfer announces loudly: “We should play ‘Hor’ more often!”

************************

Sassy Princess, while checking out my Library ID card.
SP: “Hey Mom! Look at you in this picture! Your hair isn’t freaky!”
Me: (trying to recover from a bad haircut last week) “Uh, is my hair freaky right now?”
SP: “No. You don’t have freaky hair.”
Me: “Who has freaky hair?”
SP: “Daddy. Daddy has REALLY freaky hair.”

************************

With comedy like this, is it any wonder I enjoy having them home rather than at school?

American Idol

Listening to an hour of people trying to sing: painful.
Listening to Simon reply: funny.
Spending an hour snuggled under a blanket laughing and talking with a usually too busy preteen: priceless.

We seriously LOVE this show. Hubby, Golfer, Naturalist and I squeeze together and watch religiously every week. And yes, we vote. It’s important to exercise our rights, you know? Good lesson in democracy for the kids.

The brutal honesty of Randy and Simon has, in turn, given us all thicker skins. “Do you want to know what I’d say if I were Simon?” we ask. Like when I took Golfer shopping with me to The Gap outlet and found a long, blue cardigan that I loved. “What do you think about this one?” I inquired in the changing room. “Well, if I were Simon, I’d say, ‘That looks great…if you don’t care what you look like.'” Point taken, little man, point taken.

Like most people who go through the show with Simon (who is always spot on, we think), I discounted the sage advice and continued on my merry way…telling him he was crazy if he didn’t think I looked good. I bought the cardigan. I wore the cardigan. I love the cardigan. I walked by a mirror wearing the cardigan. I realized the cardigan makes me look like an old, lumpy pillow. Golfer was right. But so was I…sometimes you just have to do some things because they make you happy, not to please other people.

On that note, I present Keith, our favorite Idol wannabee. I hope he’s still singing and dancing, because he certainly kept us entertained. We saved him on our TiVo for at least a year, and watched this anytime we needed a little pick me up.

Meteor Shower Tonight!

…This just in from Hubby, who emails me lovely, pertinent tidbits of FYI during the day…

The Quadrantid meteor shower is due to reach maximum in the predawn hours of Friday, Jan. 4. The Quadrantids are notoriously unpredictable, but if any year promises a fine display, this could be it.

So here’s the WhoWhatWhenWhereWhy (complete article here):

According to the International Meteor Organization, maximum activity this year is expected on Friday 1:40 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

For those in the eastern United States, the radiant will be about one-quarter of the way up in the east-northeast sky. The farther to the north and east you go, the higher in the sky the radiant will be. To the south and west the radiant will be lower and the meteors will be fewer.

Across central and western parts of North America, the shower’s sharp peak will have already passed and meteor activity will be rapidly diminishing by the time the radiant has a chance to get very high in the northeastern sky. Nonetheless, hourly rates of perhaps 15 to 30 may still be seen.

For us, this will be a risky venture, as we are a bit more westerly than easterly. But we’re not very south, so we’ve got that going for us. Now, I’ve been fooled by meteor showers in the past. Nothing is more anticlimactic than sitting outside in the freezing cold, missing sleep, looking at a dark sky without anything happening at all. And yet, that’s where you’ll find me at any mention of some astronomical event. At the very least, this will give us a good excuse to huddle together, drinking Deluxe Hot Chocolate, and talking about whatever we can manage so late at night (or, so very very early in the morning.)

This year, I might have blown off these Quadrantid’s since we were just on a New Year’s Eve bender of no sleep…but darn those astronomers, they got me with this:

Indeed, this may end up being the best meteor shower of 2008.

*sigh*
I’m such a sucker.

Frosty Mugs

Back in 2001, when we lived in Las Vegas, I ended up with a glass mug from A&W. Best known for their rootbeer, the fast food chain also sells hamburgers, hotdogs and a variety of slushy drinks involving their soda. I think it’s a primarily West Coast thing, because I don’t recall seeing any A&W stands in Kentucky (circa 1994) or Georgia (circa 1997) when we lived there.

Anywho…we have a glass mug from 2001. It’s the most favorite cup we have. We all scramble to wake up first to claim it for breakfast. At any given time during the day, you’ll find us jockeying for position to use it. The clear reason for this is that we store it in the freezer, and when we take it out of it’s nice cold home then we have a perfectly frosty mug. And when we have a perfectly frosty mug, then we have an ideal place to mix our chocolate milk. And pour our soda. The liquid freezes to the side of the mug and then creates a super frozen slush that serves to cool the drink without watering it down with ice. See how the chocolate milk has frozen not only on the inside, but also down the outside?

frosty mug, A&W rootbeer

For all these 6 years, we’ve been fighting over the mug. And then it dawned on me…why not get more?! Why not get more for Christmas? So when my Dad asked what hubby wanted for Christmas, I knew just what to say…enough mugs for all of us! I could already see them all huddled together in the freezer (the mugs, that is) waiting for their big chance to get all frosty and cold. And, best of all, no more in-house fighting over them!

frosty mug, A&W rootbeer

Just look at this beauty…when they’re in the freezer the glass is clear, but when we take them out they get all cloudy and frosty and perfect for any cold drink. All that for only $2.50 a mug! It’s one of the simple pleasures in life.

So how cold do they get? Cold enough to freeze the handle, like this…
A&W rootbeer, frosty mug

Which is why we have a special drawer full of dishtowels, ready to wrap around the handles to keep our hands from getting frostbitten.

A&W rootbeer, frosty mugs

Cheers!

Now excuse me while I go mix myself up some slushy chocolate milk.

Christmas Activities

I can’t believe there are only 3 days left until Christmas!!!!!

I may or may not be ready…I’ve had to take precautionary measures and hide all the kids presents at friends house, because The Naturalist makes it her life’s work to ferret out every hidden present at my house. She doesn’t do it obnoxiously…more like, “Hey, Mom, I was out in the garage, and I noticed a ball was 20 caught feet up, so I climbed the ladder to get it and noticed something covered with a blanket, so when I took the blanket off to get closer to the ball I found a […..] So, what is that? Who’s it for?!” Now I have random presents squirreled away at a handful of houses and I have no idea what is where–I really should have written it down. Maybe I’ll send the kids out for a Christmas scavenger hunt around the neighborhood. Christmas morning, they can knock on random doors, hold out their hands, and ask, “Please, sir, do you have a present for me?”

We’ve had a full week-before-Christmas, which is exciting and exhausting all at the same time. Here’s a narrated pictorial of some of our pre-Christmas activities:

Sending off the last of the packages. I used the flat rate envelope/boxes so I could prepay on the USPS website, pay and download the postage, park illegally in the jam packed parking lot while I whipped past the 34304958034958 people in line, endure dirty looks and under the breath comments because I’m pushing past everyone so I can lay them out on the counter because *remember* I’ve already paid, thank the heavens that the USPS offers that service and run back out to my car because people are ready to start throwing their packages at me.

Making lots of coffee cakes, muffins, and rolls…just like this Jelly Coffee Cake which I love because one time I can make it with strawberry jam, and the next time I can switch it up with Blackberry jam instead. It’s like my holy grail of coffee cake. Feeling blue? Add raspberry jam. Adventurous? Try Peach jam! The possibilities are endless!
coffee cake

We also took some time to decorate our gingerbread houses:
gingerbread houses
gingerbread house
gingerbread house

High on sugar fumes we also decided to decorate our nails to make them fancy for the holidays…the Sassy Princess really gets into this, which is interesting because she’s usually pretty…uh….indelicate. But now we’ve all got fancy fingers!
fingernails

But best of all, The Golfer, Naturalist and I went to The Molly Brown House to have a nice evening tea party with Teddy Roosevelt, followed by his lovely reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

Teddy Roosevelt

Picture Association

OK, what is the first thing you think of when I post this:
snowy branch

???? Quick! ????

This is what I think of…

And this is what The Golfer thinks of…

And the two girls were too busy trying to follow the fox tracks that passed through our backyard to notice the magical crystal show going on all around them.

It was a beautiful, quiet morning (well, at least until the kids tumbled outside) and I’ve never quite seen anything like it…it wasn’t an ice storm, and it wasn’t normal snow packed on branches…this was like the snowfall had decided to run a science experiment and grow outwards in symmetrical crystaline forms. Once the sun came out, it all melted away. Good thing I took 3423432 pictures!
icy
snowy tree

Snow? What snow?

In anticipation of the snowstorm on it’s way here tomorrow, I’m going deep undercover and pretending it’s summer again. Pretty sad, considering it’s not ever officially winter yet…but I’m a cold weather wimp. So, I’m reminiscing about the trip to Minnesota I took with my kids, my mom, and my sister’s 4 kids.

Warm weather + cold lake = happiness!

Good day:

Great day: