Monday, March 31, 2008

Why I Didn't Like the Parade

Last Monday I posted a picture of Bird's class re-enacting the Palm Sunday parade. After the parade, each class also had the chance to pose with 'Jesus' at the front of the school. The sitter (who took all the pictures since I was at work) thought it was cute & got one of Bug as well.



This is what started pinging my radar. I thought it was odd that we were having our children pose with Jesus. In fact, I've always found that kind of odd, even before we had kids. (This guy has been Jesus for everything at our church for YEARS).

I mean, this was Jesus, not Mickey Mouse. It seemed rather.... disrespectful, for lack of a better word.

Although... since I do have my kids pose with any character we come across at various theme parks, maybe it does really does make sense. Considering our culture today, I bet lots of people would pose for pictures with Jesus. So even though *I* think it's weird, maybe that's not so odd after all.

The more I thought about it, however, the more the parade continued to bug me. When it comes down to it, I think it's misleading to tell the kids this part of the story (and have them act it out) without telling them everything.

Do I want her to know everything at this point? Absolutely not. She knows that some people were angry at Jesus, hurt him, but God made him better and now he's alive again. And that's all she really needs to know at this age.

For those of you unfamiliar with the story, Palm Sunday celebrates the day Jesus made his final trip to Jerusalem. To celebrate his arrival, many people rushed forward to greet & praise him. They lined the streets with palms so that his feet would not get dirty. They gave him a donkey to ride on for the same reason.

These are the same people who, less than a week later, called for his death in the ugliest way possible - by crucifixion. Mob mentality at its worst.

Now, just to be clear - I do not have issues with children playing dress-up. My kids love to dress up. I think there is a big difference, though, between dressing up like a princess (and a cheerleader, and Mary at Christmas) or dressing up like a future raving lunatic. And really, the issue is not with the kids themselves. Kids love to dress up & act out stories.

But.

I do not let them dress up as scary/mean/ugly (in an angry/hateful way) characters on any given day, so why in the world did I let her dress up as part of that crowd? (To be honest, she didn't really know what was going on anyhow, and it would have made her sad not to dress up, so I let her.)

Like I said before, it's not like I go around telling my preschooler the full graphic details of the entire story. I want her to retain her innocence for some time yet.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Teatime

This was just so pretty! Between the setting sun, the blooming wildflowers, and the fact that the kids were still dressed up in their Easter clothes, it just felt like we were in an English garden.

And Bird definitely knows how to entertain.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Better hide Monopoly now.

HUSBAND: Jaime, come in here! You've got to see this!
ME: (upon entering room) Oh, you're playing Memory
HUSBAND: Bug is really good at this.
ME: Well, you know how much he likes to match things.


HUSBAND: No, you don't understand. He's so good at this that he's beating me! Not only that, when I turn over my first card, he's pointing out where the match is!

Sure enough, in the end it was Bug: a lot; Daddy: fewer than that.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Somewhere, Elmo is shrieking.

This has got to hurt.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The letters are really taking off

Ever since her kindergarten prescreen, Bird has been even more fascinated with letters. To the point to which she really wants to write down real words. We've been more than happy to continually spell things for her or write them down for her to copy, but more often than not I'm surprised at how many of the letters she already knows how to write! And the fact that she knows they come in big & little forms!

This week she made her own grocery list. You may need to click on the picture in order to see better, but her list includes milk, salad, carrots, and cucumbers.

And apparently we need a lot of cucumbers.

Monday, March 24, 2008

When did I become HER?

Whilst at the grocery store, a college-age kid asked me to help him feel the cucumbers.

Since I had both kids with me, I can only imagine that it's cause I looked knowledgable about produce, not that I was cute!

This last week in pictures

In case you missed my super-happy spring flower, I'm on Spring Break this week! Which means I am taking a much-deserved mental break. And yes, that includes from heavy-duty blogging as well. (Cause you've surely noticed how in-depth this blog gets!)

So instead this week will be featured in pictures! Today features the events leading up to Easter:
Our church had its own Easter Egg Celebration a week ago; the sanctuary was transformed into a "Jerusalem marketplace", where children could make things like "rope" or "butter", play games that looked amazingly like hopscotch, and all sorts of other fun things. Here they were learning how to write in Hebrew from the "rabbi":



At Bird's school the kids all dressed up as Bible characters and re-enacted the parade that honored Jesus during his final walk into Jerusalem. Bird is 2nd in line - the golden angel.


In general, I have mixed feeling about this event, but those thoughts are best suited to their own post. (Not to mention those thoughts would be the heavy duty kind that I'm avoiding this week!)
And of course we had to dye the Easter eggs!! Not being a total fool, I turned this task over to Grandma!! But it did allow for some wonderful Grandma-grandchildren bonding time.


(M, if you're reading, yes, those are the mugs your mom gave me when we graduated high school.)

All of which leads us up to wishing you & yours a very happy post-Easter week!!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

He is risen indeed.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Crazy 8s

April tagged me for the Crazy 8s meme.

Name 8 Things I Am Passionate About:
1. God
2. Husband
3. Bird
4. Bug
5. Teaching
6. Reading
7. Scrapbooking
8. Time with friends

Name 8 Things I Want To Do Before I Die:
Well, I really want to be able to travel the world before I die, so I'm going to list 8 places I'd really like to spend quite a bit of time:
1. Maine
2. Australia
3. Italy
4. Greece
5. United Kingdom
6. Germany
7. Alaska
8. New Zealand

8 Things I Often Say
1. I love you
2. Stickers go on skin and paper.
3. The same goes for markers.
4. If you want credit for your homework, I will have to actually see it.
5. Did I just slip into Chinese, or were you just not paying attention?
6. This is why I live in a cave.
7. Why do I keep answering these memes?
8. That sounds very tasty.

8 Books I've Recently Read or am Currently Reading
1. The House of Mirth
2. Nothing's Fair in Fifth Grade
3. Peter and the Starcatchers
4. Shopaholic and Baby
5. Tales of a Drama Queen
6. Dedication
7. Swapping Lives
8. Everyone Worth Knowing

8 Songs Ten Bands I Could Listen To Over and Over
1. Apocalyptica
2. Audio Adrenaline
3. B @ re n @ ked Ladies
4. Ben Folds Five
5. George Harrison (solo career)
6. Newsboys
7. PFR
8. They Might Be Giants
9. Third Day
10. Trans-Siberian Orchestra



8 Things That Attract Me To My Best Friends
1. loyalty
2. honesty
3. wackiness
4. parenting styles
5. love of God
6. chatty-ness
7. anti-trendy
8. kids of similar ages


If you want to play, consider yourself tagged.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Gauisus ver!! *



I AM ON SPRING BREAK!!!! Yippee!!



* Happy Spring!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Thanks for the Strawberries!

Annika sent these to me after I was the lucky random commenter. Aren't they cute?



I took this picture of them right after they got here, and they've been all over the house! I personally have been served strawberries, strawberry tea, strawberry cookies, and a strawberry sandwich.


I caught Bird also feeding them to her puppy dog. And her toy ponies. And Dora.


Bug likes to hold onto them and hang upside down off the side of the couch. I guess for him they're the all-too-important counterbalances.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Told ya so

Bird was screened for entrance to kindergarten last week. If you've read here, you know that I've been a little bit nervous about this. There's not exactly another place for her to go next year if she does not go to school with me.

So anyhow, Bird came up to school & talked with the therapist. I managed to wait an entire 24 hours before going to talk to the therapist myself. Fortunately, she was gracious and told me I could come back & chat with her the next day.

This is where the fact that I work there came in handy. Not only did she tell me Bird's score, she took out the actual test & showed me all the questions and answers!! And I can finally lay my neuroses to rest. Bird was 4 years and 10 months old and tested at 5 years old for almost everything!

The only thing she was a little low on was General Knowledge, but judging from the following sample list, it's not hard to see why. This child is my daughter in oh-so-many ways.....

1. Where do you find tigers? At Sea World in a cage. (Too bad she didn't ever mention the word zoo or jungle.)

2. Why would you send Grandma a card? So she can read it. (Well, she can't read it if you don't send it to her, can she?)

3. What do these things (pictures of a lit candle, the sun, and a lamp) have in common? They are all yellow. (Sure enough, they were! Eventually she also said they were all hot, so she did earn credit for this one.)

4. What takes longer: brushing your teeth or eating dinner? Brushing your teeth. (She's not kidding. You would do well to avoid us after bathtime.)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!


Top O the Mornin' to Ye!! I hope you are wearing green, unless you are like Husband and purposefully go out of your way to avoid green just to make my head spin. Don't worry - I may pinch him but you're safe.

Today is the traditional day to celebrate the man who drove snakes out of Ireland. Pretty much all I'll do is wear green. Can't say that I would ever buy cabbage to eat, much less make corned beef & cabbage. I might make shamrock cookies, but I just don't have that kind of time!

If you were wanting to know more about St. Patrick's Day, the History Channel has all sorts of background info, recipes, and activities here.

Wikipedia has celebrations from around the world here.

If you prefer games, crafts, or wanted to do games & crafts with your kids, you can check out the stuff here.

Anybody have any special plans for today?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Happy Pi Day (and Happy Birthday Albert!)

Happy Pi Day!!

Perhaps you feel like making a pi pie today?




(These are not my pies, but I also couldn't find the bakers either to link credit to them.)

I know a couple of the math teachers will be doing various pi activities - such fun!!

Since I don't teach math, however, we will not be celebrating Pi day. Coincidentally, though, today is Albert Einstein's birthday!!



And I think he'd appreciate it if my physics class ate pies in his honor.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Queen Bird Holds Court

Ever since Bird got a bike for Christmas, she wants to go out into our cul-de-sac and ride it. Which is great. That's kind of the point of a bike.

The unexpected (to me, cause I never really thought about it) effect is that both kids have now started making friends with the other kids who live on our block. Said children will even show up at my house wanting to play with my kids. Which is kind of weird - we've only ever really done scheduled get-togethers up to this point.

I've always wondered how Bird acts in groups. Most of the time when I've been able to watch her, she will hold back until she feels comfortable. For a long while, she wouldn't even talk to the neighbors (and occasionally she wouldn't look at them either.) And that was okay - I would rather her be wary of strangers at first.

However, I think she's okay with everyone now.




Not only did she manage to seat her brother and 2 other boys down to a tea party (and she wasn't even bossy, which floored me, as that was a first), they all had a lovely time. In fact, after they had their tea, they collected a small group of twigs and roasted leaf marshmallows.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Foot Scrub

(Yes, that is her bathroom sink.)



Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Strawberry Bread (or, how to recover when you totally screw up the recipe)

I was trying to create an appetizer from things I (mostly) already had in my refrigerator. When it comes down to it, I was REALLY trying to find a way to use all these lovely strawberries before they went bad:




So naturally I went to Chef Google and asked him how to make strawberry appetizers. After a bit of reading, I decided to make a sauce/frosting out of strawberry cream cheese, sour cream, and a bit of powdered sugar.

As far as amounts go..... I was pretty much just throwing things into the bowl until they tasted good. But judging from the picture, I used about half of an 8-oz tub of cream cheese, and a little more than half of an 8-oz container of sour cream. There are a couple tablespoonfulls of powdered sugar in there.



Now, while the mixture tasted good, it was a little too runny for my needs, so I popped it into the freezer for about 10-15 minutes.

Then I used my frosting squirter to pipe it onto the strawberries.



Now, I was worried about the sauce getting too soft again, so I put the whole tray into my freezer - they would have about 30 minutes to set, and would very easily soften before it was time to eat them.

Except.

Well, except that I guess I didn't put the tray into the freezer too well, because when I opened the door, the entire thing came leaping out to greet me!

Thankfully, the lid was on tightly, so nothing fell out, but it definitely wasn't pretty anymore.

Out came the chopper!! Slowly, I turned my not-so-pretty strawberries into a lovely pulverized mess.





Then I spooned some of the strawberry pulp onto a triangle of crescent roll....



... rolled them, and baked them.




Oh my word, they were SUPERB!!! A very tasty treat. More like a bruch food than an appetizer. I'd definitely make these again.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Garage Sale-ing as a Family

I LOVE to garage sale. There were a couple big community garage sales this past weekend. Then Husband decided he wanted to come along as well, so it became a family affair.

It was an interesting morning, and we did score some great deals, but I have to say this was the highlight:


Cost of the plastic train set: $1.

True value: Priceless, since the kids would play with it every time we stopped. (Yes, they were buckled into their car seats before the car ever moved, thankyouverymuch.)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

School Thought For the Day

Considering my recent kerfluffles with Bird starting school, I found this quote to be particularly refreshing today.

"Our school education ignores, in a thousand ways, the rules of healthy development."

Elizabeth Blackwell

Bird's prescreen for kindergarten is next Wednesday. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A Castle Cake for a Princess Party

Note - Bird turned four in May 2007. She loved that party so much that she wants a semi-sequel for her 5th birthday. Part of that means another castle cake, so I'm trying to remember how I did the first one!

Bird has loved pretty, sparkly things for as long as I can remember. She loves to dress up - even if that just means wearing her normal dresses (and not costumes or the like.)

So when she turned 4 last year, it wasn't exactly a surprise that she wanted a princess birthday party. Thankfully, it was just generic princesses, so we had free reign to do all sorts of non-Disney things.

Husband decided to turn our dining room into a castle. He got the really big appliance boxes from our local Home Improvement store, and spent his time the night before the party putting this together:



It kept him busy while I worked on decorating this masterpiece.



Bird's only real request for the party (aside from the princess theme) was that she wanted a castle cake. At first, I thought she meant something easy - bake the cake in a castle-shaped pan. Even nicer - it was a current pan at that time, so it only necessitated a trip to the craft store to buy it.

But no. Although she thought it looked pretty, she said she wanted something that looked like a castle. And castles aren't flat. Which left me rather stumped.

Thankfully, a friend pointed me in the direction of this site, and I found all sorts of castle shaped cakes. Let me tell you, there are some talented people out there!! I saw all sorts of configurations - some of which I figured I could do, and lots more that I couldn't. I had it narrowed down to a couple of easy ones, (ones I actually knew how to frost) and finally called her over to pick the type she wanted.

Except I forgot to close the window for this one. The one I pointed out to Husband cause I thought it was so pretty. The one I figured I couldn't really do in a million years.

The one where she actually said "Oh Mommy, that one is BEAUTIFUL!!!" (Seriously. She was only 3 and she actually uttered those words. How could I deny her?!)

There were several hurdles requiring my attention:

- I did not have the pans this cake required. (Thank heavens for several weeks and those 40%off coupons for those local craft stores!)
- I did not know how to make fondant frosting. Nor do I like the taste of real fondant frosting. (I eventually found a recipe for buttercream fondant frosting that tasted really good, but I'll save that for another post. Probably when I have to make another castle cake!)
- Something in the cake had to be egg-free, so that Bug could eat it too. (I finally settled on making egg-free cupcake towers. )

The actual construction of the cake took a couple of days. The party was on a Saturday. I baked all of the parts on Wednesday and Thursday, saving the actual decorating for Friday night.

In the end, the body of the castle was 2 8-inch square pans, with about a box and a half of cake mix split between them. The circles are 2 6-inch circle pans, with about a box of cake mix split between them.

For stability, there is a cardboard square between the 2 square cakes and a cardboard circle between those two layers as well.



The bottom half of the towers are regular sized cupcakes; the top half of the towers are mini cupcakes. The tower tops are indeed ice cream cones. I'd thought about either melting pink chocolate over them or just covering them in pink sprinkles, but I was too tired. I used a single 12-inch shishkabob skewer to vertically hold the tower together. It took a couple more skewers to anchor the tower to the body of the cake. (I did that after I did the white frosting on the towers)



Fondant (even buttercream fondant) is a tricky mistress. It looks really good, but if you haven't covered up the cake underneath, it will show every mistake. So I had to frost the cake with regular (homemade) frosting first. Then, once I'd mixed & rolled out the fondant, I could cover the cake with it. I went in 3 stages: the square parts first, then the circles, and finally the towers. I actually did not frost the cupcakes all around - I wanted them to look a little more stone-like, so I only frosted the tops to help them stick together, and then wrapped the tower in the fondant.



Once I had a while castle, I made a huge batch of regular pink frosting and went crazy.

The morning of the party, I heard Bird get up and go out into the kitchen. Then she went into the dining room. Then she finally made her way to our room. She came up to me and asked "Are those castles for me?" When I told her they were, she responsed "They are so pretty! I love them!!!"

Thank goodness!!

Monday, March 3, 2008

How do you want to live your life?

Eventually, we are all going to die. It's inevitable.

The difference between most of us and Dr. Randy Pausch is that we don't have as defined an idea as to WHEN that might happen. He has very aggressive pancreatic cancer, and it continues to return & spread. As a professor at Carnegie-Mellon University, he was given the opportunity to give a last lecture to his students before he 'retired' in order to spend more time with his family.

This past January (I believe), he reprised the talk on Oprah. This video is about 10 minutes long, but well worth watching.





You can check out Randy's home page here. He has links to his current health status, as well as links to the entire lecture.

(Thanks Jess, for posting the link to the video.)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Just so long as nobody wants to do a colonoscopy.

I took a cute little punctuation quiz. Certainly a fun way to while away a few minutes.




You Are a Colon



You are very orderly and fact driven.

You aren't concerned much with theories or dreams... only what's true or untrue.



You are brilliant and incredibly learned. Anything you know is well researched.

You like to make lists and sort through things step by step. You aren't subject to whim or emotions.



Your friends see you as a constant source of knowledge and advice.

(But they are a little sick of you being right all of the time!)



You excel in: Leadership positions



You get along best with: The Semi-Colon



Kind of wondering if Husband is a Semi-Colon, but he'll probably never actually take one of those things!!