Friday, June 1, 2012

{Family} Date Night In: Camping

Today was the last day of school for our daughter!


I'm so ready to not rush our mornings and hustle to this place and that.  I'm so ready to find splendor in the small things, like this bird's nest we found in a nearby tree.  Welcome, summer.  Welcome.

As a family, we want to celebrate the end of a school year and so we are doing a family date.  The theme: camping!

There are some die-hard campers out there who will camp out when it still gets into the 40s.  Normally, we are a part of that group.  But given my recent surgery (which limits where I can sleep and how far I can walk) and our recent recovery from a family-wide head cold, our camping will be taking place indoors.

That's right.

We are pitching a tent in the basement family room.

We are filling it with every available pillow and blanket in the house.

We are going to toast (all beef) hot dogs over a fire.

We are going to go for a "hike" around the neighborhood.

We are going to make s'mores.

We are going to tell silly stories in the tent before bedtime by the light of our headlamps (because, like I said, we are the die-hards.  Die hards don't use flashlights.  Flashlights are for amateurs).  

We are doing a family date.  Camping.  In the basement. Friday night.

You should too.

Family dates like this require minimal effort but result in maximum fun (and maximum fun=memories).

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Things I Love: This Boy

About three years ago, this photo was taken.

And a year after that, this photo came on the scene.

Another year passed and we snapped this shot.

And this past Saturday, this epic moment featuring a monster truck cake with sparkler candles was caught on tape, er, or whatever the digital equivalent to "tape" is.

Has it been three years?  Has he really gotten so big?  Sometimes the days seem to go slowly but the years, oh dear friends, the years go quickly.

(BTW, the birthday cake hat is family tradition. Everyone takes a photo in it on their birthdays. It's my subtle way of reminding my family I am A). Not quite stable and B). Out to humiliate them in the name of family fun. Which is code for, in charge).

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What I Think About: Puppies


Now there's a controversial topic if I've ever heard one, right?

If you think I'm going down this road of cat v. dog people, you're wrong.  Some people hate cats. Some people hate dogs.  What can you do?  As far as I'm concerned they just shouldn't get married (unless they have some mad compromising skills).

If you think I'm going to totally pounce on buying puppies from breeders or pet stores, you're wrong.  I have strong opinions about that.  I'm a girl who gets my pets from the shelter or rescues (since I do like one specific breed).  Buy one from a breeder, kill one from a shelter. That's my thought but if you're a breeder reader, have no fear, I'm okay agreeing to disagree.

What I really want to say is this.

I. Cannot. Stand. Puppies.

Phew.  I feel better.

Really, this friend of mine has a dog with a litter of (9!) puppies and she posts pictures of them on facebook and people leave these ooey gooey comments and I think, what am I missing?

To me, puppies smell weird and they don't do much and they make this strange pig grunt noise thing.  And when they do get old enough to do stuff it involves chewing valuables, pooping and peeping, and barking.  This leads to lots of training and gadget buying.

I guess some people look at puppies and see the possibility of those cuddly little balls of fur.  Me?  I see hard work and commitment.  Maybe it's just my personality but I just want to put my hard work and commitment into, I don't know, my children.

Anyhow, I have two dogs.  I love, love, love them.  They are amazing.  I got them from shelters/rescues older and potty trained.  My kind of dog.  All the benefits, none of the awkward puppy phase.

Our 4 legged family members: Finnigan Smooter and Brinkley Sue--Saved at a shelter older and trained.

I promise--I don't have a bad heart.  I just don't like puppies.  That doesn't make me a bad person--does it?

Thanks, Shell for letting me Pour My Heart Out on your blog.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Days of Play: Shape Museum

Shapes.  They are everywhere.  There are even shapes I can't remember the names of and some shape names I remember but have no idea what they look like.  Rhombus anyone?

Anyhow, sometimes pointing out shapes seems like a petty thing to "play" with children but I just want to remind you that acknowledging those octagons and parallelograms helps prepare children for geometry.  Sure that's a few years down the road but why not help them now?

Shape Museum is a fun little game we like to play at our house.  Or maybe I just like it and the kids feel like it is busy work but, being kids, it's their job to entertain me.  I don't know but it does entertain my children for 10-15 minutes WHILE teaching them about geometry.  And when I feel like I'm teaching someone, anyone, something about math, I feel brilliant.  Obviously.

So here is how you play.

Tell your kids that you are setting up a shape museum exhibit and you need their help.  Give them a pictorial check list of shapes to go "find" in the house.  Younger kids can find circles (quarter), squares (napkin), rectangles (blanket), ovals (rug from the Barbie house), etc.  Challenge older children to find three dimensional shapes like a sphere (ball), cube (dice), cylinder (can of black beans), cone (party hat), rectangular prism (cereal box), etc.

Set a time for 10-15 minutes and let your children go on a shape hunt.  You go on one, too. It's pretty lame if the museum curator doesn't bring anything to the table.

When you get all your "stuff," organize your museum exhibit.  Let your children decide how to classify.  Will they classify by shape?  By dimension?  Color?  Texture?  I'm always surprised at how my children see classification categories differently than I.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Music Monday: Thriving Ivory

I went through a music phase where I loved Indie Rock. Oh wait, I'm still going through that phase.

I know I've spent the last three weeks highlighting Indie Folk and while I dig that sound, Indie rock will always have my heart. Well, at least through my thirties.

Anyhow, Thriving Ivory is one of those great Indie Rock bands that doesn't get the attention it should because mainstream music listeners have been deluded into believing Beyonce and Justin Bieber are as good as music gets.

That caustic digression aside, this band is soooo good but my love affair with The Airborne Toxic Event kind of made me overlook them for a while. However, a few weeks ago my friend Sarah M. reminded me about Thriving Ivory. So I cued up the iPod and put my musical soul at ease to a few of their songs.

Angels on the Moon (an oldie but a goodie)

 Where We Belong

 Hey Lady