Archive for the ‘family fun’ Category

Zombie Cookies

This little ghost refuses to turn right side up no matter what I do 🙂

By accident, we discovered a simple way to make zombie cookies. The girls wanted to make gingerbread cookies and decorate them so I got out our Halloween/fall themed cutters and some sprinkles. They wanted to also use candy corn. I warned them that it would likely melt in the oven but they wanted to try it so we did. The results: the candy corns melted completely, turning a reddish orange and looking like decayed flesh. Ta da! Zombie cookies aka dead body gingerbread.



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I thought our summer would slow down after the 4th but we’ve immersed ourselves in summer as if we need to take in all the swimming, wading, and mudding we can get.  We’ve been ridiculously busy but in a wonderful way.  I’d planned to continue with schoolwork through the summer but other than a few weeks of messy science experiments, some fun math topics on weeks when M doesn’t have camps or scheduled activities and plenty of reading, we’ve ended up dropping all formal work. That’s not to say we aren’t learning but I’ve realized we really need a break, a time away, an old-fashioned summer.

Perhaps it comes from re-reading so many books that touch on the old-fashioned spirit of summer vacation – Half Magic, Magic By The Lake, and The Time Garden by Edward Eager, The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall, The Middle Moffat by Eleanor Estes, Canadian Summer by Hilda Van Stockum and probably more I’ve forgotten.

Our last five weeks have included a trip to the beach which including two stops at Riverbanks Zoo, visits to the Museum of the Coastal Carolinas and Ingram Planetarium, trips to the pool, two sleepovers, trips to a fantastic park with a creek and woods to explore, exploring a butterfly tent, catching fireflies, eating milkshakes and root beer floats, a family day at Brent’s work, playing in babypools, M perfecting her scootering technique, the start of M’s Eco-Dectectives camp at the NC Arboretum, and five birthday parties. No wonder I haven’t had much time for blogging. I forgot my camera (sometimes intentionally so I could just participate) for many of these events but here are some pictorial highlights:

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Brent called us all out recently and we had the privilege of seeing a double rainbow.  By the time I got the camera the second rainbow had mostly faded away though you can still see it faintly in the right corner of the first picture.

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I love reading day-in-the-life posts, and I haven’t done one in awhile so yesterday, I made notes throughout the day and fleshed them out today during C’s nap.  M has met all the first grade learning goals that I set so we’re taking it easy this week, focusing mainly on art and our tidepool study.

6:15 – I get up, make coffee, read email and blog posts
6:45 – I hear C saying, “M wake up”.  C poked herself in the eye the day before, and it remained really red so I go to check it. It’s still red. Brent looks too, and we decide that I’ll call the doctor’s office once it’s open and talk to the nurse
7:15 – B leaves, and the girls start a game with each other. I make breakfast
7:30 – We eat breakfast, and I show girls how I rearranged with boxes of basic supplies for each of them. The girls decide to paint and draw with pencils
8:30 – I call the nurse, and she says I should bring C in. I dread having to go but I make an appt for 10:45.
8:35 – I help C get dressed.  She plays with playdough while M keeps painting. I fold laundry and send some emails
9:00 – We clean up art and playdough, get everyone dressed and brush teeth, settle on the living room floor with my laptop to watch videos on You Tube.
9:20 – I give the girls a snack and leave them watching Blue Planet. I clean up and call the nurse again because the redness in C’s eye is almost gone now. The nurse says I can cancel the appt, but I second guess myself about 8 million times.
9:30 While I’m on the phone, the girls decide to stop watching videos and start a game. They play fine for awhile, then arguments about who is playing where. C throws the lid of a toy bin at M and gets a timeout. Each of them play alone for a little while. I reserve a hotel for a trip to Bryson City (a small town not far from us in the NC mountains) for a weekend getaway in July.
10:15 – Inspired, I think, by a Max and Ruby video she’s very into, C asks if she can have plastic eggs to set up an egg hunt.  I get them and she proceeds to hide eggs. I do dishes and clean kitchen while she hides them, M joins us and we take turns hiding and finding, I do a bit more house work while that goes on
10:50 – We wrap up egg hunting, and the girls ask to watch a movie. We go back and forth on what, and then M asks if she can watch one of my Jeeves and Wooster videos. C looses interest and starts playing pretend bath which consists of making a bathtub out of blankets, dumping in lots of toys and asking me to pretend to wash her.
11::30 – C’s eye looks redder again. I flipflop once more, call the nurse again, and get an appt for 2:45. I call our friend that we were planning to hang out with in the afternoon and ask if I can drop M off so she and her friend will get some playtime.
11:45 – I make lunch, we eat, M changes clothes for her playdate, C changes clothes due to a milk spill, we head out to drop off M and come back for C to nap before her appt.
12:45 – C and I read together, and I tuck her in for nap. I clean up from lunch, do a bit of decluttering, check email, read more blog posts
1:15 – C comes out of her room asking if she can get up, I tell her she needs to sleep and send her back.  I sit down to read for a few minutes.
1:45 – C comes out again.  I decide she’s likely not going to sleep and tell her to play in her room until we’re ready to leave.  I start gathering some animal magazines for us to read and coloring supplies for C.  I realize we should leave a little early and get gas on our way.
2:10 – C and I leave for the appt.  I wouldn’t have chosen to be sitting in a doctor’s office waiting, but I really enjoy the one on one reading time I have wtih C while we wait.  The doctor says her eye is fine – no corneal abrasion, no infection, just a superficial bruise.  Relieved, we head for my friend’s house.
3:45 – We drive up at my friend’s house and see M and her friend playing in a mud “swamp” they created by making a dam. They are covered in red mud and as happy as can be. I change C into her bathing suit and try to encourage her to play in the clean water in the baby pool, because I know if she gets going in the mud, she’ll have it in her hair and it will start flying everywhere.  I’m just not the kind of carefree mom who wouldn’t mind a bit cleaning up to mud-covered girls, though I wish I was.
4:15 – C needs to go to the bathroom, and we discover that we’re all locked out of my friend’s house. Fortunately, our van contains a baby potty, toilet paper, bags, and clorox wipes so the need to poop with no bathroom available was easily handled.  The kids are happy to keep playing so we hang out and chat and watch them play.
4:45 – My friend’s husband arrives to unlock her house, and I’m relieved.  I didn’t want to leave her with three tired, muddy, hungry children and no way in.
5:10 – I head for home with two exhausted, wet girls. Realizing we’re all really thirsty and have no water bottles so I stop at a grocery store and get us bottled water go through the Bojangles drive through and get us a lemoade, a Sprite, and a tea, because that’s a good way to end a hot afternoon of playing outside.
5:40 – We’re finally home after I missed a turn and brought us a round about way. I feed the girls, bathe them and settle them in front of Cinderella. Despite the guilt it often brings on, we usually feed the girls between 5:30 and 6, let them play with their dad when he gets home around 6:30, and put them to bed before he and I eat dinner.  In a different season of our life, we’ll have family dinners most nights but not now.
6:40 – Brent comes home, and I head to the video store in our neighborhood to get new movies for us.  He talks to the girls and snuggles with them while they watch the movie.
7:00 – I’m back.  We turn the movie off, Brent reads to C, and I read to M.
7:45 – The girls got to bed, and Brent and I eat and watch 2 episodes of Stargate.
9:30 – I do some chores, check email one last time, get in bed and read until I can’t keep my eyes open.

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Last week we visited my parents. and we stayed so active I felt like I hardly sat down.

We had an egg hunt.

We went walking on my uncle’s land looking for wildflowers and wildlife.

We visited the zoo.

We spent lots of time playing outside. M practiced her bike riding skills, and the girls enjoyed the July-like weather by playing in the sprinkler.

I didn’t get a picture, but we also earned about blowing bubbles with spools at my aunt’s house. This is how she blew bubbles when she was a little girl, and I remember creating these bubbles with her when I was little.  We used old-fashioned wooden spools, a bar of soap, and a glass of water.  Rub the spool across the soap, dip it in the water and blow from the non-soapy side.

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C is three now, and I can’t believe it!  We celebrated her birthday with a whale-themed party early since it fell on Easter Day.  The day turned out rainy and cold so our plans for outside activities had to be revamped, but we made do more easily than I’d expected.  The kids made whales from socks, string, and googly eyes.  A little surgery converted our pinata to a pull-string style pinata and the kids ripped the bottom out in seconds.  Next we cut the beautiful Beluga whale cake and the kids ate while watching Diego’s Humpback Whale Rescue.

For our family celebration on Easter weekend, we made another batch of rainbow cupcakes and C insisted on going to dinner at a local pizza place where, though she does not like pizza, she loves the breadsticks and the pink lemonade. Then we opened presents from family and much fun was had with new toys as well as boxes and wrapping paper.

Finally, while we were visiting my parents last week,  my aunt got her a cake from my favorite bakery back home and we celebrated once more.

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The post title will resonate with fans of Russell Hoban’s Frances series which both my girls developed a love for at 2.5.  In A Birthday for Frances, Frances’ little sister, Gloria, is having a birthday party.  Frances tells her imaginary friend Alice that “your birthday is always the one that is not now“. Later, she sings “Everybody make a fuss for birthday girls who are not us, girls you take your pail away, eat cake and q-p-m all day.”  Her mother inquires whether “q-p-m” is ice cream.  And, of course, it is.  M and I began referring to ice cream as “q-p-m” when she was 3 and we still use that term on occasion.

But despite sisterly squabbles, Frances decides to spend two allowances and buy Gloria a Chompo Bar and Four Balls of Bubble Gum. The gift giving doesn’t go exactly as planned but all is well in the end.

A few weeks ago as we discussed plans for her birthday, C announced that M would be getting her a Chompo bar and four balls of bubble gum. We reminded her that our rules were that you could have bubble gum at age 4 (she’s turned 3) so she relented as said 4 balls of candy would be fine. I had to help M follow through with this wish.  After all, at the big sister class we went to when I was pregnant with C, M told the teacher that her sister would be named Gloria because she was determined to be just like Frances. And I almost used Frances and Gloria as blog names for them.

Not having access to a real Chompo bar, M got her an Eclair, a favorite treat for both of them.  Malted milk eggs in her favorite color substituted well for the bubble gum, and it was a happy moment when M presented her with present.

C’s actual birthday falls on Easter this year, so we celebrated early with friends. After our family party this weekend, I promise to post more pictures of my little girl whom I simply can’t refer to as a baby anymore.

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