Thursday, October 30, 2014

#throwbackthursday #1

Hen's first Halloween / 13 days old
Another fall favorite / Janie & Jack outfit, Trumpette socks, pumpkin hat by grandma

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New Purse!

After seven years of faithful service, first as a diaper bag and then as purse, I am retiring my old Timbuktu bag and buying

…wait for it…

…I'm building suspense…

…here it comes…

…hold onto your britches…

That's $68 bucks of bag beauty right there because Boden sent me a $20 coupon (woot!). It is a textured cotton bag with a "practical, wipe-clean coating" and a cross-body strap. I would not have thought I'd be this excited about a bag but I am. Isn't it cute? (Only acceptable answer: Yes.)

First aid kit in my bag-purse

I love the little homemade first aid kit in my previously-known-as-my-diaper-bag purse. You would not believe how many small scraps, boo-boos, ouchies, and the like have been treated, and little hearts saved, thanks to the medical goodies I carry. I try to keep it well stocked and, thanks to the return of The Walking Dead, am even including water tablets should the zombie apocalypse occur and I find myself with my previously-known-as-my-diaper-bag purse and no drinking water. (It could happen.)

What else do I keep in the bag? Here's the list…
  • Neosporin
  • iodine prep pads 
  • 4 different sizes of band-aids (lots of 'em)
  • cough drops
  • pain relievers
  • small gauze pads
  • large non-stick pads
  • scissors
  • one healthy hoohoo*

*I purchased one individual packet when I saw these at Whole Foods because how awesome is a healthy hoohoo? I have yet to use it but I think it'd probably be really great to have during the aforementioned zombie apocalypse.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Prep: Pumpkin carving and pumpkin donuts

Since Hen and I were up fairly early on Saturday we took off for the pumpkin patch and let Darren sleep in. Our goal was to get at least one pumpkin and to pick up a bag of pumpkin donuts. Of course, there were pictures…

This boy be growing!

Painted hay bales

The one

Let the pumpkin carving begin

Pumpkin umbrella (Hen's idea)

Scooping out the bits and pieces

Sketching the pumpkin mouth


Our pumpkin is done

And now we can enjoy our donuts with some tea (from left to right: Darren, me, Hen)

Individual Chocolate Souffles

This will either be a light and fluffy delicious ramekin of deliciousness or a flat one that doesn't look so good but still probably has a great deal of chocolate deliciousness. Either way, it's a win, right?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Book fifty-three: Third Grade Angels by Jerry Spinelli

This book is a 2015 BCCCA nominee. Here's what Hen had to say about the book:
There are kids entering third grade. The teacher tells the kids about the halo. The halo is that little crown thingamajig. The students earn the halo by doing good deeds. George wants to win the first halo. He picks up trash, he eats his peas, he opens the doors for the other kids, and he saves a dog. George does not win.
Would you vote for this book? Yes. [He doesn't know why.] 

53 and still going strong.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book fifty-two: The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir by Dee Williams

I DID IT! This makes book 52, which means I have officially hit my goal for the year. Woot! And woohoo!

Williams' memoir explains the life event that became the catalyst she needed to retool her life - she got rid of her things, sold her house, and built her own tiny house to live in. Her life has been the better for it.

I am fascinated by the concept of micro-living. If I could figure out a way to live that way and still have enough space for my books, husband, kid, cat, and baking supplies, I just might go for it.

Williams is honest and funny without any offensive holier-than-thou judgments on people who don't follow in her footsteps. She's also inspiring. She wasn't an expert contractor, carpenter, electrician, and plumber. But she was an avid reader and know both what and how to research. I would really love to do a project like this with Hen someday. I think it would be amazing to spend a summer or two or three designing, building, and occasionally living in one of these tiny homes. Like I said earlier, I just need to figure out a design that'll fit all my stuff (or a good portion of it anyway).

52 down - I'm done!*

*(But I'm going to keep on going because I've got the third book in that trilogy I need to finish. And I still haven't ready that J.K. Rowling book. And I picked up a bunch of books at Powell's the other day, including another José Saramago (Blindness, Seeing, etc.) book. So many books, so little time.)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Hen is SEVEN!

Holy schnikes! The boy is seven years old. Seven. 7. 1-2-3-4-5-6…7! That's 2558 days old.

Hen is seven and has decided he wants to be a botanist when he grows up. He is fascinated by carnivorous plants. He loves playing with electrical circuits to create things that light up, detect motion, and fly. He is clever and funny and stubborn as I'll get out. He is also a sensitive boy. He rides a 20" bike now. It has hand brakes and gears. He loves his cat, and recently bought a fish he named Red Reed. He is slowly learning to read but would rather be outside playing and running and jumping, although he will lie still to hear a story any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

This year's theme - Reptiles. We hired the most excellent World Famous Mr. Lizard's Mobile Zoo (a.k.a. Brett) to come and share with us all his amazing creatures. Per Hen's request, I ordered a tasty chocolate cake with buttercream frosting and chocolate buttercream filling that the bakery crew did a bang up job decorating using Josh Cleland's illustration of a chameleon with a party hat (with permission). I had a ton of fun putting together the party favors. We decorated with a lot of help from the Silhouette (paper cutting machine). And Hen helped me put together the menu: Lizardade, Chocolate Chameleocake, BBQ Gator Chips, Carrot Cut Snakes hidden in broccoli bushes, and Soft Rose Apple Turtle Shells.

Day of the party - The guests arrive and the volume increases tenfold. The kids start to play and Hen shows off his Venus Fly Trap plants and new fish, Red Reed. When Mr. Lizard called to say he was caught in traffic and would be a little late, we had an impromptu Shrinky Dink craft session. Thank goodness for Google images because I have zero artistic ability but can trace like nobody's business. The kids made requests, I quickly traced a design for each of them, and, voilà, they were kept busy while we waited. Mr. Lizard showed up just as the kids were wrapping up their coloring.

The mobile zoo was awesome. The kids seemed to enjoy the low pressure attitude of Mr. Lizard. He offered the kids a chance but didn't try to persuade any of them to touch the animals, which was a good thing as Mia and Ariel were more than happy to just sit back and observe for most of the hour. All of the kids were gentle and careful and polite and simply wonderful. We got to see so many cool animals, starting with Francois the frog and ending with Attaché the Columbia Red Tail boa constrictor. I don't believe the kids were at all troubled that on this particular reptile-laden day they got to see two amphibians. They also got to hold, but not pet, Toupée the Chilean rose hair Tarantula. They had the opportunity to wear at least one snake (Armani), see a gigantic Pixie frog (poor Pickle couldn't come out the because he, uh, had an accident). And, the big one of the day, they got to see a huge turtle poop, not on my floor, thank goodness. Much fun was had by all.

We ended the day with snacks and cake, presents, distributing of party favor boxes, and many, many thank yous. I wish birthdays came more often because I sure enjoy planning them for the kid.

Of course, there were pictures...

Hen begrudgingly helped with the food signs. He did a great job, didn't he?

Beaverton Bakery creates the perfect birthday chameleon cake with help from local artist Josh Cleland.

Shrinky Dinks save the party!

Hen shows Mr. Lizard his chameleon goggles.

Introducting Francois the frog.

Hen and Armani

Mr. Lizard and the kids impersonating frilled lizards.

If I'm not mistaken, Attaché weighs more than Hen.

Sit, kids, sit.

Kielbasa the Blue-Tongued Skink and a bunch of kids now wanting blue tongues, too.

Happy birthday, Hen!

Click here to view the full set on Flickr.

Book fifty-one: The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen

The sequel to The False Prince does not disappoint. It was another fun read in a long list of those this year. I already have the last book of the trilogy in my greedy reading-ready hands.

Jaron's rule is questioned by the regents who are ready to replace him with a steward until he is of age to lead his country. Carthya is being threatened by pirates. Jaron's bride-to-be is fast friends with a man Jaron despises. What's a young king to do? Go and meet the threat head on, take matters in his own hands to solve the problem before the regents can vote in the steward who is likely to do more damage than good.

51 down plus 1 to go.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Reptile party favors

The party favors are done! I just need to box them up and they'll be ready to distribute to the kiddos on Sunday. I love finding or making party favors. At the Scholastic book sale earlier this year I bought several copies of Nic Bishops Level 2 Reader Lizards book, I knitted snake scarves with bright variegated colors, and Hen and I made soaps with various reptile toys trapped inside. Once the kids use up all the soap, they'll have little crocodiles, turtles or lizards to play with.