Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Main Street

Here is the view down our main street yesterday evening. I was out to a meeting about discussing the new school. I got to do a virtual tour of the inside. When it is finished it will be really nice. I am not sure how I am going to like living so close.

Monday, July 28, 2008

$100 grocery budget

There was a story on MSN that caused a lot chatter on various blogs about trying to feed a family of 4 on a $100 dollar grocery budget so I thought I would share some links. I use coupons and try to be frugal and I am ashamed to admit I have no idea what my monthly grocery bill is. I feed the two man wrecking crew and I can say they are eating me out of house and home. I think I am a pretty average shopper. We do eat out occasionally and I don't prepare every single item from scratch. I do cook more than I use to and I try to be healthy. There is definitely room for some improvement. The above mentioned article hit home with me as today is the first time in months, that I have actually purchased more than just dog food from COSTCO. COSTCO is quite a distance from our house so we don't shop there every week. We usually go once a month and mainly for dog food. We usually buy 2 to 3 bags at a time as it is the cheapest and what our dogs like to eat. Here are some opinions on the above article - just something more to think about.I was able to glean a few money saving ideas myself. Here are some worthwhile links to check outMoney Saving Mom, Baker's Dozen, Bachelder Family, 200 Dollar Mission. I am a big fan of the Fix, Freeze, Feast book about warehouse bulk cooking. This is only kind of bulk type cooking I do much of anymore. I have had the pleasure of hearing Lindsay Tkacksik speak to the MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) group.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

School Supplies Demystified

Ok, I admit it. I have been school supply shopping. I just can't pass up 22 cent crayolas. I love new school supplies. It smells like mommy's freedom. LOL Sometimes, the things on the list make me go hmmm. The ladies over at the two peas in a bucket have demystified the school supply list. They have answered why the heck is the teacher asking for that. So, I thought I would cut and paste the answers here for your reading enjoyment. Those ladies over there crack me up and cleared up all school supply questions for me.

1. That mean teacher wants an 8 ct. box of crayons and the bigger box is on sale.
+++ We ask for the 8 count to help teach kids their colors and avoid arguing over what color of red the teacher wants. This also allows kids to match up a color they were using the day before without sifting through 87 shades of red.
+++ Buy several of the bigger box, pull out the 8 basic colors from each, and make one larger box of the 8 basics.
2. Can you believe the mean teacher wants me to send in dry erase markers?
+++ Yes I can! Teachers long discovered that for under $10.00 you can get a shower board cut into individual dry erase boards for each student in the class. This is a great way for kids to practice essential skills in a fun and exciting way. Your kid will be using them, not me.
3. Red pens. Please, my kid is not buying the teacher her favorite grading pen.
+++ Nope. Your kid is buying a pen for him or her to grade her own review work and make corrections as we go. They are also used for editing or second chance answers on questions they got wrong the first time through.
4. Please, does she even know how much Ticonderoga pencils cost?
+++ Yes she does. Do you know how much time is wasted in a day when your kid brings nothing but cheap pencils that do not sharpen? I will make you a deal. You send your kid with 10 sharpened pencils each and every single day and I will not request a brand.
5. Copy paper? Really?
+++ sadly, yes. Some schools only provide teachers with a set amount of paper per school year. If you want something creative, like readers theatre that requires lots of copies, that allotment needs supplemented.
6. Baby wipes? My kid can wipe his butt just fine.
+++ Yes, and your kid can also get glue all over them every single time they use a glue stick. 1 minute to clean up with a wipe, or 15 minutes to take the whole class to wash their hands. You choose.
7. Seriously, are you eating glue sticks as a daily snack?
+++ Nope. Kids go through them. Right now they are super cheap. Buy some, be happy. It is ok. We are not eating them I swear, but kids do lose the caps and they dry out. They also break, etc... Oh, a thought about glue sticks....please don't send in the el cheapo glue sticks..many of them simply do not work well at all. Elmers rocks, Target brand does not hold. Sometimes brand name is better! It's no fun for a kid to see his project fall apart within minutes of creating it.....
8. Good ol' liquid glue was good enough for me.
+++ We have carpet. Kids, liquid glue, carpet = bad.
9. What the heck, no Trapper Keepers???
+++ That is right. Desks are small, books are big, kids are slobs.
+++ Not to mention the slick plastic makes a great surf board for the teacher to break her neck on when little Johnny left it on the floor because it would not fit in said desk. Leave it at home, surf is not up dude.
10. The teacher is anal. She wants specific colored folders.
+++ Yes I am, but that is besides the point. I am teaching your child how to be organized. Each color will have an assigned purpose. When I say get out your stay at school folder, I can see if your kid is the only one without a yellow folder. The next day when I tell them to get said paper out of their stay at school folder I can remind them that it is the yellow one. If a child does not have a yellow folder lord knows where the heck that paper is now.
11. 4 million index cards, really?
+++ Another skill I am teaching. How to study by making flash cards. Nifty huh? You can thank me when he sails through college.
12. Fine Point Sharpie
+++ Ahh, an essential for outlining artwork and putting together a pleasing presentation. We outline all colored work in black marker, we use it to trace over letters on posters, etc.... You will kiss me come Science Fair time when your kid knows how to properly measure out, letter, and label a presentation board.
13. large glue sticks vs. small glue sticks. My school asks for something like 8 or 10 of the large ones in 1st grade. Why?
+++Because they last longer. If you want to buy the smaller ones because they are way cheaper, that's fine, but be prepared to either bring more to start out with, or buy some later on in the year when your child runs out. The kids that actually bring the large ones (or buy the school supply pack) never run out of glue sticks before the end of the year.
14. Ziploc bags. What is the teacher going to bring her lunch every single day?
+++When I taught first grade we always asked for ziploc bags to sort math manipulatives, hold magnetic letters, etc...
15. What is a pack when speaking of pencils, pens, etc.... The teacher did not specify.
+++ That teacher may not get what she wants exactly, but if I was buying I would buy what was on sale at the time. For instance today I saw 2 packs of glue sticks for 22 cents and glue sticks in a pack of 5 for $2.28. I would buy what I thought my child would need to get through the year. The point is to buy enough to get through, not one pencil for the entire year.
16. Highlighters?
+++I know with older kids, highlighters are used in Language Arts for highlighting different parts of an essay when learning how to write one. We use them to highlight sight words, important info in notes we took, etc....
17. Post it Notes, why in the world?
+++Students use these these to mark vocabulary or passages in text that they do not understand or need more help with. They also use these in class to write down questions that they still may have at the end of the lesson so that the I can address them. Post its are also used to make big class graphs.
18. Clorox Wipes?
+++Do you know how many kids sit and pick their noses before using the computer? Do you want your child using a computer keyboard that is germed up with snot & boogers? Better yet, I have witnessed little girls in their cute little skirts touching themselves, then on to the computer! Those Clorox wipes looking better to you now? How about little Johnny sitting at the community table and sneezing all over it? Should it be left for the next kid to use & contaminate themselves? Those Clorox wipes are a life saver. You wouldn't believe half of the gross stuff I've seen in the school setting.
19. Why do just the boys or just the girls need something?
+++ This is for the mom who asked why if the kids are using the dry erase markers, do the boys only need to bring them. Because there are more than 1 in a pack. Usually they come in packs of 3. The teacher did not feel that all kids would use 3 markers each, therefore she assigned boys one thing and girls another. Sort of like a potluck. You bring a side, I will bring a dessert.
20. What the heck are they doing with register tape?
+++ Kids are using it to make time lines, write sentences on and then cut them up and organize them, etc....
21. Why can't they ask for stuff that you can get all at one store?
+++Oddly enough we are not privy to what will go on sale or where it will be stocked. We turn in our lists at the end of the previous school year not during the time that the stores put things on sale.

More Parade

Chuckles -age 6
This is my 4th parade this summer. I can recognize those on the parade circuit. There is one state representative that has been in every parade. He has that practiced teeth whitening smile and parade wave down pat. This was my town's pioneer parade. They were handing out some interesting things besides just throwing out candy. The kids received these fake teeth both Chuckles and the Big E were really into them. They also passed out necklaces, t-shirts, and pinwheels.

BIG E (age 4) and his fake tooth

Friday, July 25, 2008

Find of the Day

Our BIG adventure yesterday was going to the beach to look for sea glass. This beach is our secret or not secret location to find sea glass. It isn't good for wading but great for beach combing. My friend, Mrs Epi, got the find of the day. She found hoe. Thank goodness, Bones didn't find any bones but little Miss Highness did. LOL

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lego Contest

Our library held a Lego contest for kids. The picture above is of the entry that won the 10-14 age group. All I can say is "WOW". There were a lot of incredible entries. My kids loved participating.

Here are the wrecking crew entries. The space needle was #1 son's and the star war ship was Chuckles. #1 Son won 3rd place in his age group of 6-9.

Monday, July 21, 2008


(Needs a Nickname, Her Highness, Bones, & Chuckles)
I think it is Mrs Epi's goal to attend any parade in at least a 50 mile radius. I was happy to tag along with Chuckles. I love a good parade. This is the first parade I have seen with a procession of decorated golf carts.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

New School

New School from the front

School View from the backside. This is part of the view I see from my upstairs window.I am pretty sure I have this number memorized. Someone should give them a call. This is the view I see at breakfast, lunch, and Dinner. It pretty much dominates our backyard. There is nothing like waking up in the morning to construction.

***edited to add a link to a blog describing the inside a little bit 7/21/08

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Bermuda Triangle of School Placement

At last, the school board has decided somewhat who will attend the new school being built behind my house. There has been months of rumors so at least something has been decided. I still don't know if my children will be attending but we are one step closer to knowing. Details in this article earlier this week. The general gist is that students in a school in another part of town which has part of it's building is condemned will be bused to this new school and some neighborhood children will also attend to relieve overcrowding at the nearby schools. This new school is literally in my backyard so according to the article those in neighborhood MIGHT get to attend also. So, back to the waiting game. I hope to post some more pictures of the progress on the school later. Oh, it also is suppose to open on time but I have my doubts.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Special Project

There has been a lot of interest in Pandas by Chuckles. So, we have been doing some research, reading, and crafting on the subject. It all started with "The Story of Ping" which is set in China but has no Panda's in it. Our giant world map has a picture of Pandas on it right by the Yangtze river. This led to a discussion on Panda's. There also has been lots of talk about the movie, "Kung Fu Panda." Nonna gave Chuckles the stuffed Panda, PO, from the movie along with a book on the movie. We finally went and saw Kung Fu Panda with Mrs Epi and Family, yesterday (7-17). Evidently Chuckles didn't get the memo that you aren't suppose to talk during the movie. He really got into the movie and was talking during quite a bit of it. We also read the short chapter book "The Year of the Panda". Chuckles really liked this and is a good read aloud about a boy who finds a Panda. We also checked out from the library, "A Panda's World." The above art collage was made by both Chuckles and #1 Son. Both of them got practice cutting and who doesn't love glue. We also got a chance to look up San Diego Zoo's Panda Cam. We were lucky enough to visit the Panda's at the San Diego Zoo when we lived there. We have an awesome picture with Kathy Hawk, panda keeper, and the panda, Hua Mei. (See below)This picture was taken May 2001. Talk about getting up close and personal. Hua Mei was really interested #1 Son and studied him for a long time.

Our Trip

Here are a few pictures from our trip to the City of Roses . I think a good time was had by all. Sunset picture

Chuckles in the foliage. I like the shadow in this photo.

#1 Son Playing in the Salomon Street Springs Fountain.

Chuckles playing in Holliday Park Fountain

Chuckles in the Hotel Pool

Rolling Down a Hill at Washington Park in the Veterans Memorial

The lift at the Discovery Museum - Giant Man Child and #1 Son

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

City of Roses

This is our 2nd Day in the City of Roses. All is well with the world. Yesterday, the kids and I walked the Lloyd Center Mall. Then all us visited Powell's Books. Holy Cow, that is a huge book store. We also walked the riverfront. We let the kids run in the Salmon Street Spring. (Pictures to follow at a later date) The kids got soaked. All in all we walked a total of 6 miles. We were tired at the end of the day.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


We are taking a short notice vacation with the Giant Man Child. It is work for him but a vacation for us. I'll be back posting on Thursday. Have a GREAT week. I know some of you will have Honey Pot withdrawal. Don't despair I won't be gone long and I will probably come back with some more dysfunctional stuff.

What did we do this week?

People are always asking me, what I did to day? Sometimes as a stay home Mom it is hard to quantify. I did take some pictures so we must have done something. I am sure some of the week involved this Mom losing her temper (summer is long) and I not proud of that part. I am working at being more calm. I am so flawed and have to ask for forgiveness and grace every day. The picture above is a giant ice cube I made in layers that has stuff hidden in it. You have to chip away to find the hidden objects. We started with plastic knives and ended up using screw drivers. (ADULT SUPERVISION RECOMMENDED) This was a lot of fun but required some pre-planning. We did this today. The idea was found at the crafty crow. There is some seriously good kid craft ideas there. It was a link from a local blog Snapshots.

We also made a stop earlier in the week to feed the kids. The picture of the kids is by #1 Son. This is at Hovander Park. Chuckles calls this the farm. They have animals that you can feed.
We also made some sponge balls . Ours were modified somewhat as we only had the sponges with the scrubbing surface one side. These were a hit but definitely get regular sponges. They make such a satisfying splat. I like these better than water guns. It seems like water guns cause so much strife sometimes. Do you think I need a bigger pool? #1 Son is begging me to get a pool the same size as Mrs Respiratory Therapists' pool. He has pool envy. She is so cool. We have also been working on a special project. More on that in the next post.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Summer Rituals

Giant Man Child with Niki and Buzz

It doesn't really feel like summer until we eat dinner at Birch Bay State Park. This little gem is about 15 minutes away from our house. Ever since we moved up here, we have a summer ritual of taking our dogs and kids and having dinner out by the water and it never is quite summer until we do this.

Man Down

This Crane is for you Mom and Dad. My parents are really into spotting cranes. This one was walking along the beach minding it's own business.

Giant Man Child and I spent most of our time at the beach searching for Sea Glass. This beach isn't that good for finding any. We didn't find but a few pieces. But Chuckles who wasn't even looking really (rather play with the seaweed -yuck) found this huge piece. The picture above is him bragging to us about his find.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Headline- Handcuffed man leaps into bay

I swear that we have the dumbest criminals here. This one just made me laugh. Just had to share. Sad, when this is only the real excitement in my life.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A New Purse

When I was browsing the magazines by MYSELF at the grocery store - what bliss, I found in one of the quilting magazines a really cute dish towel handbag. So, being the resourceful person I am, I realized the magazine is also at the library so on the way home. So, I stopped and made a copy of the pattern.(see below for the picture of original)It is so cute and looks pretty easy to make. It took me a little over an hour and I am not that skilled so it fits in the easy category for me. I love the outside pockets. I originally thought the most expensive part of the project would be the handles but in reality it was the dish towels. Total cost of the project was $12. The handles I got at JoAnn's with a 40% off coupon and a 4 pack of towels at Target was $9. So, $12 later and two extra dish towels above it what you get. I am sure I could of found cheaper dishtowels but this is what worked out for me. The pattern was taken from the magazine American Patchwork & Quilting August 2008.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Here are a few pictures of the 4th. We did the Blaine Parade in the morning and shot off lots and lots of fireworks with friends in the evening. The first picture is #1 Son, 2nd picture is Her Highness with her Dad, and the last picture is Bri with a Parachute thing on her head with Pappy in the background.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Meet My Little Friend

This is what I found yesterday afternoon in my driveway. At first, I didn't think it was real. We live right next to a drainage pond so we see lots and lots of little frogs. This thing was a big one so much so I had to call my neighbor, Mrs Respiratory Therapist to check it out. It was our neighborhood attraction yesterday afternoon.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

This is what I found in my bathroom window, yesterday. This is #1 Son's teddy, Stitch. I can't decide if he is looking at the construction of the new school or contemplating jumping.

Hopefully, this gave the construction workers something to laugh at. Big Teddy is watching YOU!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008