Still Catching Up...

I wish I could devote more time to blogging these days, but the best I can do is to post when I can.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cars® Catalog

When the Tumbleweed was little she knew all of her princesses by heart, played with them daily and took them everywhere with her. The Dandelion is the same way with his Cars®. He has a pretty good collection of them, and despite the fact that they are frequently being misplaced, he knows them all. This can pose a problem when one is missing or when someone who is unaware of the difference between the dozen Lightning McQueen cars he has. We have many other cars, including "Earmuff Sally", "King" and "Chick", but the Lightning McQueens are the most confusing - and most frequently missing.

For the record, here is a picture dictionary of the Dandelion's Lightning McQueen cars. Click for a bigger image.

You might notice there are no "regular" Lightning McQueens pictured. We have two, but they must have gone on a long road trip because I haven't seen them for a while. Bath Lightning must have gone after them, because he is missing too. We are looking hard for him but he can change colors, so it is extra challenging!

Dying Eggs

We didn't dye eggs last year, perhaps I should have remembered why. But, during a moment of weakness on Monday while we were at Walmart I let the Tumbleweed pick out a glitter egg dye kit. That sounds like fun, right?

Not exactly. As I set up newspaper, six cups of egg dye, and 12 hard boiled eggs I started to question my decision. The Tumbleweed was very excited, which therefore caught the attention of the Dandelion, and I had two egg-makers all ready to go. Less than 30 seconds in - after two eggs had been dropped into the cups with big splashes - I was ready for it to be over.

Fortunately, the Dandelion lost interest waiting for his eggs to change color, so the Tumbleweed and I were able to finish the rest with a little less mess. I still decided that there was not enough time (or enough patience!) for glitter yesterday morning and waited until today to glitter them. The kids were both excited about their eggs, so I guess it was worth it in the end. I am still not sure about this holiday tradition, but I did learn from the experience - it requires lots of patience and shouldn't be done in the morning before school!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Not-So-Well Visit

So, today was to be the Tumbleweed's five year check-up, complete with the remaining two shots required for her to go to school in the fall. She was fully aware of this, and therefore had been promised a trip to Toys R Us following the appointment to purchase a toy that she had been saving her money for (which she had done) if she behaved at the doctor.

So imagine my surprise when she had a rash all over her when we got there. Feeling like a completely awful mother, I confessed that I had not noticed the rash because she had dressed herself this morning. The doctor took one look at it and said, "it looks like strep." Strep? She is acting fine. But 10 minutes later, we had the results back that she had strep. So that meant no shots for a couple more weeks (she liked that idea), but no school (she didn't like that at all).

But that left me with a dilemma. She behaved well at the doctor, but didn't get shots. Should she get her reward? Well, she did get the reward - a Barbie and the Mermaid Tale "Merliah" doll. I guess I am going to have to come up with something else for the day we go back for the shots.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Two Little Skiers

The Dandelion had his first chance to try skiing this weekend during our trip up to Attitash. We got him a 1 hour ski rental, and he had a blast having the Eagle run him up the hill (the Magic Carpet Lift was closed) and going "super fast" down the hill. He naturally figured out how to turn to his right, and several times turned himself right around and skied backwards down the hill - Watch out Shaun White!

The Tumbleweed also had fun on the slopes, taking the chair lift to "the second floor" with Papa and later to two Blue Square trails with the Eagle. According to her ski buddies, she just likes to point her skis down the mountain and "fly". I think I am glad it wasn't me up there watching her!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Gettin' Dirty

One activity the Tumbleweed looks forward to in the spring is planting seeds. Typically this is an outdoor activity, and in past years I have not attempted to include the Dandelion. So when we went to a Planting Playgroup at a friend's house, everyone was pretty excited. The Tumbleweed was looking forward to planting seeds (for "her very own garden"). And the Dandelion got to play with dirt - in the house!

A big thank you to our brave host who let a bunch of toddlers play with dirt in her dining room! The kids had a blast! :)

Monday, March 22, 2010


The kids want everything that is on a TV commercial. Since the Tumbleweed recently had her birthday, we just got finished hearing "I want that for my birthday" every time a new one started. Most of the time I tune out most of what they are asking for, but today I caught this exchange between the kids.

Dandelion [while watching a commercial]: "I want that for my birthday!"
Tumbleweed: "That's make-up. It is to make you look glorious! It is really for girls... when they are 6."

Hmmm... make-up is for 6-year-olds these days? That's right, all 6-year-olds should look glorious whenever possible.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

More Power

We are working on a surprise for the kids... more accurately, the Eagle is working on the surprise and I am distracting them. He spent all day either in the yard or making trips to Home Depot in preparation for the assembly of a swingset. We had ordered it from Toys R Us a couple weeks back and got the call late last week that it has finally arrived. And after a full day of work, I think we are almost ready to put it up...


Building a retaining wall

The Eagle decided to take the Tim Taylor approach...

The Eagle finishes the clearing & leveling

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Markers & Popples may seem like recurring themes, but that is what the Dandelion is into right now (the Tumbleweed is too, but to a lesser extent). For over a month now, the Dandelion has played with his Popple daily and nearly every day he asks me to print out a new "Popple Paper". I think I have printed the same coloring page out over 20 times! He only likes to color it with markers, so often this leads to a little trouble as the markers leave the table. But cleaning up marker and timeouts aside, he really enjoys coloring his Popple papers.

When the Dandelion isn't coloring, Popple rides around in the stroller, cuddles on the couch, gets "diaper changes" and sleeps in his Popple bed. It basically serves the function of a doll. It is the closest thing to a "lovey" that either of my kids have had, although thankfully it doesn't quite have to go everywhere with us.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Spring is in the air. We have had a nice stretch of warm days in the 50s this week. We have gotten back to walking the trail twice a week with our friends. The kids have enjoyed getting out in the afternoon to ride bikes and collect sticks in the yard. And of course the birds and bugs are reappearing all over the place.

Our new bird feeders have certainly been attracting our feathered friends. I am enjoying the challenge of sitting quietly by the window and waiting to get a good picture. I think the birds watch me too because when I'm not sitting there with a camera, I walk into the room to find the coolest birds on the deck. Sometimes I am sneaky enough to get some pictures, but most of the time they fly away.

I don't have a picture of our newest bird, a red winged blackbird, but I have managed to snap a few more good pictures.

The nuthatch is certainly my favorite to watch. They visit regularly with their acrobatic perching and constant movement. The cardinals and blue jays pass through daily, but never stay long and are really hard to photograph. The Downy Woodpecker is a less frequent visitor so it was a nice surprise to find him dining along side a cardinal this morning.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Going Retro

Today we had a barrette-making playgroup at a friend's house and we made some 80's style braided-ribbon barrettes. My sister & I used to have them in almost every color. It was so cool to sit down and make some for the Tumbleweed - even if we kept getting interrupted by the kids :)

I've only made one set, but I think I might make a couple more and put them in her Easter eggs - shhhh....

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Feed the Birds

Since we have been talking so much about the birds, Grandpa decided to bring a project for the kids when they came to visit. Over three days, they worked on making bird feeders. Grandpa really likes having a project to do when he comes to visit so he and the kids can wear their matching project hats. It was a good thing he brought an indoor project because, as it usually does, it rained the whole time my parents were here.

Day 1 - Painting
The first, and most exciting, step was choosing the colors. We had paint leftover from the Dandelion's bed for his but the Tumbleweed wanted purple for hers, so off to the store they went. A good project always has at least one trip to the hardware store, right?

Day 2 - Assembly
Hammers, drills and nails, oh my! Grandpa says the kids need to work on hammering slower before their next project because he almost lost a finger - LOL. I guess they were just a little excited to hammer. The Tumbleweed was all prepared to use the drill by herself as well, but Grandpa helped guide her a bit :)

Day 3 - Completion
While the kids were sleeping I added a finishing touch to each of their bird feeders, and when they saw them they couldn't have been more excited to hang them up. Except it was still raining. Hard. But, while we filled them, Grandpa put up a post in the rain and we put them out anyway.

The kids are so excited to watch them. And so am I :) By the way, we spotted a robin in the yard on Thursday. Hooray for Spring!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Abraham Lincoln and Other Exciting Things

On the morning of her family party, the Tumbleweed opened some cards she had received in the mail. From my aunt & uncle, she opened the envelope and two things fell out. With excitement she shouted "A box top and Abraham Lincoln!" Yes, she was excited about what most kids would have called "money" or "$5", but she was more excited that it had Abraham Lincoln on it. LOL.

That set us up for some great excitement as she opened her birthday presents...

I can certainly say she had a great time with all of our family, and that she is really excited to be 5!

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Name Game

The Tumbleweed got a "Fur Real" cat for her birthday. On the package it say that the cat's name is "Lulu". The Tumbleweed, using her new reading skills, read it herself and declared the cat's name as "Luh Luh", pronounced in a very specific manner. A way no one else can pronounce. In fact, if you try she rolls her eyes and says "Oh man" no matter how close you get.

She has always had a knack for interesting names, including: "Kikiwix", her Webkinz Tree Frog; "Big Dolly" & "Little Dolly", her Cabbage Patch Kids; and "Sleeping Beauty", her Disney Girl Doll (because her eyes close when she lies down).

I guess it shouldn't surprise me that she has already chosen the names of her kids. Perhaps her husband will have a different opinion, but someday I could be announcing the birth of my grandchildren, "Sparkles Sunshine" if it is a girl and "Terrence Biscuit" if it is a boy. At least I can pronounce them.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lesson #1: Balance

We finally had some nice weather and were able to get outside to play. The kids really wanted to ride bikes in the driveway, so we got out the helmets. The Tumbleweed's bike helmet didn't fit anymore, so until we get her a new one, she has to wear her ski helmet. The kids were so happy to be outside!

It didn't take long before the Eagle got the Tumbleweed excited about learning to ride her bike without training wheels. Before I knew it, he had the training wheels and pedals off and had lowered the seat all the way. The first lesson - balance. She spent the remaining time doing a very controlled "Step, Step, Glide" down the driveway hill.

Two days later, she and I were back outside during the Dandelion's nap. She continued practicing down the hill, getting a little bit braver. Of course I put my own touch on the lesson with her practicing straddles while sitting on the bike.

School Snack Series - Day 5

On Monday, when we were shopping for snack ingredients at the grocery store, the Tumbleweed decided what she wanted to take for her special birthday snack. No cupcakes for her... she wanted Rainbow Jell-O. I spent yesterday evening boiling water and waiting for Jell-O to set, again & again. It took less than three hours, which was better than I had expected, to make 6 layers.

Rainbow Jell-O

Clear Cups
6 boxes of Jell-O - one each of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple
Lots of water

Assembly - Make first layer of Jell-O according to box directions. Wait until it sets. Add next layer. Repeat as needed. *to speed up the process, use ice cubes in the "cold water" part of the box directions.

It also happens to be "R" week at her school, and they have been doing lots of rainbow crafts/papers, so Rainbow Jell-O was quite fitting. The Tumbleweed said the kids loved it :)

A Whole Hand

Five years ago, right about this time, we were packing a last minute bag and heading to the hospital. At 8:30pm, the Tumbleweed was born 5 weeks before her due date. We should have known then that she would wake up at the crack of dawn every morning and always be surprising her unsuspecting parents by doing things before we're ready.

Some notes to scrapbook...

"At 5, the Tumbleweed loves

... art projects; from painting to beading she is always creating something.
... reading; she is tearing through library books and has just finished reading her first chapter books.
... puzzles & math; she works out puzzles (100+ pieces) and is always surprising people when she adds & subtracts things in her head.
... sports; gymnastics, skiing and soccer are her favorites right now.
... school; and she is very excited about taking the bus in the fall.
... playing Leapster; a good, quiet learning activity, but we have to limit her playing time.
... to eat; lately she has been on a dried fruit kick (specifically apricots & mangoes), but Macaroni & Cheese is her favorite dinner request.
... TV time; her favorite shows are Team UmiZoomi and Super Why? right now.
... helping out; she loves to make people happy and has come home with the "Super Helper" star from school.
... running around; always chasing her brother or running around the playground at school, she seems to have endless energy.
... laughing; she finds funny things everywhere and has an infectious giggle.

She continues to grow and amaze us. Happy Birthday Kiddo!"

Birthday History: 3rd Birthday & 4th Birthday

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

School Snack Series - Day 4

My plans for today's snack were radically altered when the Tumbleweed told me that she would "absolutely not eat" what I had planned to make ("Pinwheels" - tortillas with cheese, lettuce and carrots, rolled up and sliced into circles. Apparently she doesn't like tortillas). So at 9am I was scrambling to come up with a new snack for 25 kids using ingredients we already had in the house. And that is how "Log Rolls" were created...

Log Rolls

Club Snack Stick crackers
American Cheese
Lettuce - sliced into 1.5" x 3" strips
Ham slices - cut in half

Assembly: Break cheese into pieces that fit on the crackers. Place lettuce on top of ham. Roll ham & lettuce around the cheese & cracker.

Monday, March 8, 2010

School Snack Series - Day 3

Today's snack was a variation on one mentioned in a previous post. Since then we have decided to name them "Pogo Sticks" and the Tumbleweed was so excited to share them with her class!

Pogo Sticks

1- Slice a folded up piece of ham into 1" x 1" slices
2- Using two slices of American cheese stacked on top of each other, cut cheese into 9 pieces - a 3 x 3 square.
3- Thread the ham & cheese onto a pretzel stick*
* I sent some with ham & cheese and some with just ham and just cheese, just in case there were some picky eaters

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Pixie Hollow

We kicked-off the Tumbleweed's 5th birthday celebration with a Tinkerbell and the Lost Treasure Party for her and her friends. The nine little girls made fairy wands and rainbow bouncy balls - with some help from the grown-ups :). We had a treasure hunt for 'the Lost Treasure of Springtime that Vidia had stolen from Pixie Hollow'. After zig-zagging the house, the girls found the treasure (magic prisms that make rainbows in the sunlight bringing the colors of spring to Massachusetts). They were so cute!

Then we had the usual cake & ice cream, and of course presents. I think this is one of my favorite pictures from the party, of the Tumbleweed reading her friend's card. The Tumbleweed was so careful to look at all of the beautifully decorated cards :) And after a few dress-up parades, the party was over and the house was again quiet.

I think it was a success. The Tumbleweed has not once mentioned that she wished we had the party at Chuck E Cheese (which is where she wanted it to be), rather she has already decided that she wants to have a Barbie Thumbelina party at home next year... but that will probably change :)

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Book Fair

The Tumbleweed has been looking forward to tonight almost as much as she has her birthday. It was the school book fair and she had completed her Reading Rainbow chart, earning 7 new books. She could barely contain herself. From the time I picked her up from school she bounced off the walls, singing "The book fair is today...the book fair is today..."

When I finally gave her the okay, it was probably the fastest she has ever put on pajamas. She hopped and skipped from the parking lot to the school. After a few hellos, she was on a mission to pick her new books. It was a good thing we got there early, because once the entertainer started, she was off & running... with her brother close behind.

School Snack Series - Day 2

Right now one of the Tumbleweed's favorite snacks is dried apricots, so naturally she wanted to take some to school. And since one of her favorite movies right now is Tinkerbell and the Lost Treasure, we decided to make "Buried Treasure" for snack today...

Buried Treasure

Take a small cup and place a dried apricot (cut in half) at the bottom. Then cover with alternating scoops of raisins, golden raisins and craisins (or other favorite dried fruits).

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Field Trip

With two days off for teacher conferences, we had a random free day mid-week to head to the Ecotarium with our MOMS Club friends. We had a great time! It was so nice to have friends along, for the company and the extra eyes :)

The timing worked out well that it was the first Thursday of the month, so the "big" kids could go to the Budding Scientists class. I must admit, the class was not as good as the first one we went to. The topic was "light" with can be a hard topic to explain to a 4 year old, especially when they all just want to wave flashlights around :)

Much to the kids' disappointment, the 'ball maze' was no longer there. While this was brought up several times by both kids, its absence meant we actually got to do a lot of other things in the museum. The Dandelion really seemed to enjoy looking in the microscopes (although I have no idea if they were even in focus). I can't say that the Tumbleweed had a particular favorite, as she really did a good job of trying lots of things - including the air tube, the touchable tornado and the boats in the wind. And, once again, both kids enjoyed the racing ramp.

We stayed for about 4 hours, which of course would not have been possible if there had been school in the afternoon. By the time we left, the Dandelion had fallen asleep in his stroller. The sign of a good, fun day! We are looking forward to going back soon, now that we have a family membership :)


For the past 3 nights, the Dandelion has issued a challenge. After two months in his "big boy bed" he has decided that he does not want to got to bed when we turn out the lights and he is going to prove to us that he doesn't need to. We knew it was coming, but we weren't quite prepared for how much effort he is willing to put into his defiance. He does not cry or scream. He does not come out of his room. He does not try to get our attention at all. Instead, he quietly climbs out of bed, turns on the light and plays and then acts completely innocent and cute when we come in.

Here is how tonight played out...

First he played with some cars that we had been letting him sleep with. I took them away and tucked him back in. Next I found him dressed in his fireman costume. I put him back in his pajamas and under the covers and took away his dress up clothes. After not hearing anything for a while, I went to check on him and found him sitting on the floor in a pile of books. I put him back in bed again. And again. And again. Each time he had gotten up and turned the light on and found something new to play with. His pillows were scattered about. His clothes all over the floor. He was in bed wearing shoes. And worst of all he was still awake 2.5 hours after I first tucked him in. He was slowing down though.

Finally, at 11pm I went to check on him. I couldn't open the door more than 2 inches. The light was still on so I could see what was blocking the door... the Dandelion was asleep against the door. It was as if he was choosing the ultimate position to prevent me from putting him back into his bed.

After a little bit of gently nudging him with the door, I was able to push him back enough to get in and move him into the bed. I wonder what tomorrow night will bring...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


After several days of birdwatching, I was finally able get a picture of a nuthatch. Boy are they fun to watch! They are really hard to photograph though.