Sunday, September 30, 2012

Birthday Rapping

K-boy just celebrated his 13th birthday. The items on his birthday wish list were pricier than they used to be, and BadDad and I took our time deciding exactly what to get for him. In fact my hubby ended up finishing the shopping during his lunch break on the big day.

D-boy was worried that we wouldn't get it all done in time. The other night after dinner he whispered to me, Mom we only have a few days until K-boy's birthday. We'd better get busy!

Me: I know, Sweetie. We'll shop on Wednesday. Do you have any ideas?

D-boy: I think he'd like some rap music.

He's right. K-boy is going through a phase of gravitating to music that BadDad and I don't care for so much. The deal is that he can listen to certain artists, but not around his younger siblings.

D-boy: I know what I will do. I'm going to rap for him!

I was touched that he would think of something so personal for his big brother.

Me: That's a great idea, D-boy!

D-boy: I know! I'll just say all of the bad words that I know!

My jaw may have dropped then.

Me: Huh?! No, you don't need bad words. You could just rap, Happy Birthday!

D-boy: Mom, bad words are the whole point of rap!

Me: You're not allowed to say bad words, D-boy. Smart people can always think of better words to use.

D-boy: I need to use bad words for rap, Mom! I'm going to say....

I held my breath and cringed. Could my six year old really know bad words?

D-boy: I'm going to say stupid! And dogbreath!

I struggled not to laugh with relief. Then I told him not to talk that way.

linking to:  Finding the Funny

Friday, September 28, 2012

Pumpkin Pizza

My daughter might just be a pizza making genius. We make homemade pizza around her a lot, at least every week or so. We mix up the toppings and the crust type so it doesn't get old. M-girl, however, took things to a new level last night when she suggested making a pumpkin pizza. Not pumpkin flavored, that just sounds gross. Pumpkin shaped.

We topped our deep dish pizza with pepperoni eyes cut into triangles, pineapple teeth, and a broccoli stem. So simple and yet so adorable. It was almost too cute to eat.

Almost. Pizza might never be the same again.

linking to:  Strut Your Stuff, Super Link Party

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Cheeseburger Cake

As some of you know, I bake whatever kind of cake my children want for their birthdays, and make them whatever dinner they request. They've taken it as an invitation to stretch my creative cooking talents. Somehow, so far I've been able to meet their challenges.

This year K-boy requested a cheeseburger shaped birthday cake for his 13th birthday. This was prefaced by a giant cheeseburger for dinner. Notice a theme here?

I was proud of the way that the cake turned out, but it really wasn't that difficult to make. I just divided my favorite yellow cake recipe between a cake pan and a pie pan - hence the nice, domed bun shape. For the burger, I baked brownies in a cake pan. A batch each of buttercream and chocolate frosting, with the addition of some food coloring and slivered almonds and the cake burger was complete.

K-boy was happy with his big burger birthday, and I'm pleased to report that there is no sign of teen moodiness yet...well other than manufactured moodiness to tease me.

linking to:  Strut Your Stuff, Super Link Party

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Conversation With My Almost Teen

I went to pick up K-boy from his church youth group the other day. With no kids in the car on the way there, I got to listen to my music for a change. When I met K-boy in the parking lot Modern English's, Melt With You, was still playing.*

This is the dialogue that ensued.

Me: Oh, I remember this song came out when I was a teenager.

K-boy: That was about one hundred years ago, right?

Me (ignoring him): Listen to the words, K-boy! There have always been songs that are great for people your age. Hear that?...'the future's open wide!'

K-boy (deadpan): Not for you, Mom.

Me (devastated): Whaa! Agh, you're right! I was a kid when this song came out, and now I'm going to be the mother of a teenager. My youth is goooone!

K-boy: Oops, you're really just realizing that? Sorry!

Me: Sniff. Well at least you're a wonderful kid.

K-boy: Yeah, till my birthday next week. Then I'll turn moody.

Me: Just because you're turning thirteen doesn't mean you have to turn moody.

K-boy (grinning): Moody!

This is how gray hair is earned.

*My discussion with my son did not involve the full lyrics to the above mentioned song.

linking to:  Finding the Funny

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sun Room Makeover Times Two

This past summer we finally got around to painting our sun room. It went from being a problem area, with dated stenciling, and a leaky ceiling, to an oasis of calm in our house.

The soothing green that we choose transformed to whole space.We purchased new cushions for the sofa and chairs, to replace those that the dog has chewed. The bold blue stripes play well against the crisp walls. The room looks all dressed up for when company comes.

For everyday use though, we pack away the good cushions, and put the old ones back on. Because...we still have a dog that chews them. And we have kids that decide that the sun room is great place to wage full out Nerf wars. So they build forts....

Oh well, at least it's a nice, quiet retreat...sometimes!

linking to:  Earning My Cape

Monday, September 17, 2012

Organizing Hand Me Downs

For those of us who have more than one child of the same sex, hand me downs are a part of life. Those of you who are lucky enough to have friends or family with children just slightly older and larger than your own also face this. Good quality clothing that lasts for multiple children saves money. The tricky part is coming up with an organized system to save the clothing for the younger child, so that it is easy to find when the time comes.

My two boys are more than six years apart in age, so my storage system has to be well labeled as well.

I only save those items for my younger son that are in almost perfect condition. Anything that is stained, torn, or just too worn does not make the cut. I don't want him to feel embarrassed about wearing his brother's hand me downs. Let's face it though, jeans are jeans, whether they were purchased six years ago or just last week.

We invested in heavy duty, plastic storage bins. I sort the clothes into similar sizes, and put them into the appropriate bins which I've labeled with a permanent marker. They are all stored together in the attic. Every spring and fall, I pull out the bin with clothes that might be a good fit for D-boy.

He thinks it's fun to try on everything in the box. We call it his personal store in the attic. At this time, anything that is not a good fit, or is no longer in fashion, is bagged up to donate. We still end up having to buy him some new clothes each season, but having some already paid for does help the family budget. That's always good, particulary when all of my kids decide to have growth spurts at the same time!

linking to:  Earning My Cape

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Artful Daughter

Before I had children of my own, I never realized how much some talents and tendencies begin to emerge in childhood. Like mothers everywhere, I consider each of my three children to be amazingly gifted in multiple ways. What strikes me most, are not so much the similarities between my kids, but the differences. For in those differences I see glimpses of their true passions, and what they each have a penchant for.

M-girl, my only daughter, has a particular interest in art. It's more than an interest actually. As her younger brother likes to say, "she craves art".

From the time she could first hold a crayon in her chubby, little hand, she has been almost constantly creating something. Oh, she'll take breaks to eat, read and play, but sooner rather than later, she's back at her creating. Often I tuck her into bed at night, only to find her awake much later, drawing in bed.

She uses up copious amounts of art supplies. We go through markers, paints, crayons and paper at an alarming rate. When she's out of all of the usual supplies, she will improvise with just about anything. She's been known to scratch pictures in the dirt with a stick. Twigs and yarn are turned into dolls, boxes into houses and puppet theaters. Recycling awaiting removal from the house is often claimed by her and transformed into something unexpected.

I can boast of a bit of creative talent of my own, along with a certain amount of technical knowledge. I'll guide her as far as I can in her study of art, and then seek outside help when I can no longer teach her. For her it truly is a study. She haunts the library's art section, checking out book after book about drawing and painting. She is simply driven to learn how to improve her techniques so that she can finally portray the images in her mind's eye.

When I look to the future, I don't know what her life has in store. I pray that she'll be happy, and live a fulfilled life. I think for her, happiness is going to include creating art in some way. It surely is fascinating to watch her find her way!

linking to:  Pour Your Heart Out

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Morning Sunshine

My kids aren't like the children on cereal commercials. You know the ones that come to the breakfast table, fully dressed and eager to gobble up whatever is put in front of them. Mine tend to be a bit harder to please in the mornings.

The other day, D-boy was having a particularly hard time finding anything palatable in the house. He quickly rejected toast and yogurt, but I kept trying to tempt him.

Me: Sweetie, do you want that cinnamon toast cereal that you begged me to buy?

D-boy: What else do we have?

Me: How about a nice, juicy clementine?

D-boy: Ugh! Don't we have something else?

Me: I can cut you up some apple slices.

D-boy: Oh, forget it. I'll just eat pain!

Let me slip in a quick disclaimer. I don't give my children pain. He's been using that phrase lately, and I don't know where he got it. I think it relates to his interest in ninja type shows. Now, back to my story.

Me: How about instead of pain, I fix you a special, surprise breakfast?

D-boy (excited): OK!

Me: No peeking, I'll let you know when it's ready.

I proceeded to arrange cereal, apple slices and clementines on a plate for him.

Me: Here you go, honey. It's called Cinnamon Sunshine.

D-boy: Awesome, can I have some more after this!

Yep, the magic is all in the presentation. Maybe that's how those commercial producers manage to get those kids to act excited about breakfast. Or maybe it's because they pay them.

linking to: Finding the Funny

Friday, September 7, 2012

Home Library Makeover

When we moved into our current house, we had a long list of projects to complete. As homeschoolers, we were thrilled to have a room that was ideal for a schoolroom, but it wasn't at the top of our list to renovate. The room is large, quiet, and set off from the rest of the house. We hung up some posters and moved our school supplies in.

When we painted the schoolroom that summer, we didn't bother with the cubby. It's a weird little nook that the previous owners most likely put a bed in. The size and location made it seem perfect to fix as a small home library. At the time though, we weren't quite sure how to decorate it, and the floor needed carpeting. We just piled in the bookshelves and boxes, and ignored the way it looked.

This summer we finally got around to sprucing up the cubby. We weeded out books that didn't need to be on the shelves, and put them in storage boxes instead. A coat of fresh paint, and an inexpensive carpet did wonders. To free up space in the schoolroom, we tucked the futon into the cubby.

Now it's an uncluttered, tranquil reading nook. The books are organized and easy to locate. I'll change them out every so often with the books that are in storage boxes. The kids love it! I even caught my hubby sneaking in a nap there yesterday. If only we had done this sooner!

linking to:  Weekend Bloggy Reading

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dog Talk

Somehow, likely due to a devious combination of pleas and plotting from the kids, our family has three pets -  two cats and one dog. We're decent pet owners in that we usually remember to feed them on schedule, and take them to the vet every so often. We love and care for them... just not to the same degree that we love and care for the actual human members of our family.

We know a few people that are pet crazy to the extreme. They're the sort that will buy car seats for dogs, take them to dog salons, and when coming to our house will talk to the animals before saying a word to the people that live here. Umm....we're not like that.

This is more our style:

Me: OK, time to go kids. Who's going to put Trinket in jail? I put on my outside shoes and grab my purse, which sends the dog into a frenzy of barking and jumping.

K-boy: All right! Come here Stink Dog! (this is said in a falsetto, baby talk voice) Who's getting locked in the crate? Who's getting locked in the crate?

The dog successfully evades K-boy's first attempt at grabbing her, all the while keeping up her horribly annoying understandably distressed barking.

D-boy: Just shut up, Trinket! Ow, my ears!

Me: Language, D-boy! Trinket quiet down, you're just going in your crate for a few hours while we go out and have fun without you.

M-girl: (in a super high pitched voice) Oh Trinket! Come here girl, come here!

D-boy: Shut up, M-girl! My ears!

Me: No saying that D-boy! M-girl, stop. It is annoying. Stop jumping dog, before someone steps on you!

K-boy: (again in a falsetto) Come on Dinky Dog. We'll be back in a few hours. Unless we never come back, and you're in jail forever. Either way you're going in your crate, so calm down.

By now, we all have our shoes on and the dog is practically having conniptions. I finally reach down, scoop her up and hand her off to K-boy.

Me: (in a sweet baby voice) Come on you evil, monster dog. You know you have to go in jail, because if we leave you out you'll chew all of the cushions. We'd take you if we could but....

K-boy: We don't want to! Ha ha ha! He carries her off to her crate in the basement. He'll give her a treat to occupy her while we're gone.

D-boy: Cats are just smarter than dogs. That's just the way it is.

Looking over at the cats calmly watching us prepare to leave, I can only agree. The dog goes crazy every single time we leave the house.

We walk out to the car, shaking our heads and listening to the dog whine pitifully. Oh well, she'll get over it!

Don't hate us too much if you're the extremely pet crazy type. We really let her out again, I promise. Almost as soon as we get home too!

linking to: 
Finding the Funny