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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Practice makes perfect

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Pea’s ability to furrow his brow and stick out his bottom lip is impressive and he knows it.  I like to think that he takes after me in this respect.  What he hasn’t figured out is how to maintain The Pout in the face of our laughter – it is so stinking cute it rarely elicits the desired response.

Here are a few attempts at pouting during dinner:

Something you have done deeply offends me.

Wait a minute, what are you doing? Stop laughing at me.

I am NOT laughing. This is serious. I mean it. Don't look at me.

Ah nuts. Fine. You got me this time.

I've taken a moment to collect myself and NOW I am totally serious. I don't remember why I'm upset with you, but that's not the point anymore. I. Will. Pout.

There is nothing funny about this so don't even TRY to change my mood.

I AM NOT SMILING.

Damn you people! How's a boy supposed to pout around here?

Master gardener

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My children seem to be on a reconstruction after destruction kick.

Pea had the lovely idea of picking my tulips so that he could plant them in the dirt.

Brilliant.  Why didn’t I think of that?

"Take picture, Mama." Yes, yes I will.

How to make a book – a tutorial from Tea

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Tea was busily entertaining himself with craft supplies this morning when he announced he wanted to show me “how to make a book”.

He was enthusiastic about the process being thoroughly documented, so I took a few pictures while he explained his complex artistic process.

1.  Tear two pieces of paper from a notebook.

The irony of this is wholly lost on him

2.  Place a line of glue dots along one edge of the bottom paper.  “I know it kinda looks like monster eyes.”

3.  Color the page that will be the cover of the book.  “This book is a dog hospital book.  So it tells you how to make dogs better in the hospital.  I am going to be a vet when I’m big.  Hey, wouldn’t it be exciting if you and I are both firefighters when I grow up?”

4.  Press the top paper onto the glue.  “You’ve gotta just put them together.  And then it’s your book.  See?”

Indeed.  Tea uses these notebooks to write “tickets” for everything from “thank you Liz for giving my Mama that teddy bear because it’s my favorite” to “Mama, you walked in the kitchen with your shoes on.  You shouldn’t do that.”  Now that he’s being all crafty, this blog should be a breeze.  I can just coast and let him come up with content.  It’s about time.  He’s been freeloading for too long.

fingerprint tie

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After 12 years at Pia’s school, our wonderful, fabulous principal is leaving for another school in another state. As a going-away gift Pia’s class made a fingerprint tie for him. What is a fingerprint tie? Well, this is our version:

1. Begin with your inspiration, in this case our beloved principal who won’t shy away from wearing ‘fun’ ties.

2. Attempt to find a sold colored cotton tie at a store. Fail.

3. Go to plan B and make a tie out of suitable fabric (we chose grey cotton) using this awesome tutorial from the Purl Bee. I never in a million years thought I would find myself sewing a tie… it was immensely satisfying and gave me new respect for tie-makers worldwide.

4. Add a message to the back of the tie where the tag would normally go. We chose the message “You have touched our lives forever. We will miss you.” I printed the message on printer fabric, cut the edges with pinking shears, and hand stitched the tag to the tie.

5. Using acrylic fabric paint, hope for the best and ask each kid to put their fingerprint on the tie. I had each kid dip their finger in a little puddle of paint, dab their finger on the palette once to get off any excess paint, then guided their finger to a place on the tie and smooshed their finger to get a good print.

6. 34 kids and 4 teachers later the tie is officially fingerprint-dotted. Of course, I failed to take a picture of the tie after all the fingerprints were done, so the picture below is only half-embellished.

How I know it’s time to make rhubarb pie

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When the plant is big enough to hide a child, pie is overdue.

In case you're wondering, he's smelling it

A few hours after I snapped this picture, storms rolled through and pelted us with pea-sized hail.  I initially thought only the arugula was damaged (not beyond repair, don’t worry) until I wandered to the back of the yard to pick rhubarb for a pie the next day.

The rhubarb was smashed to smithereens.  I had no idea it was so fragile.  All the leaves were punched through with holes and the stems were ripped apart and snapped in half wherever hail struck them.  Considering our rhubarb is hiding in a non-ideal spot under a lilac bush, it’s incredible how decimated it was.  It made me doubly glad I hadn’t stuck my seedlings in the garden yet.

On the bright side, the pie was delicious.  If only we were patient enough to let it cool before digging in, because day 2 was even better than last night.  Now it’s gone, and so is most of my rhubarb plant.  Anybody have divisions they’d like to trade for some arugula?

my sneaky birthday party

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Last year, in a moment of self-absorbtion, I decided that from my 33rd on I would host a party on my birthday. Actually, I don’t know that I would call it self-absorbtion. I think it is more like the girl finally getting wise and not waiting for prince charming to make her dreams come true and instead making her own dreams come true. Or in this case, surrounding myself with friends, plants, and cocktails on my birthday. These are the dreams I have in my thirties. But, instead of simply having a birthday party, I decided I would host an annual plant swap… with cocktails. So this weekend I hosted the 2nd Annual (sneaky birthday party) Plant Swap.

The rules of the swap are simple. Dig up/divide 5 perennials from your yard, bring ’em to the swap, and bring home 5 new-to-you perennials. I made plant markers for each of the attendees. One side says “2011 Plant Swap” and the other side has the person’s name and space to write the name of the perennial they are giving. My thought was that as my friends stroll through their gardens years from now they can gaze upon their plants and think fondly of the person the plant came from.

As friends arrived with their plants they arranged them by light need: sun, part sun, shade. Pia and her cousins helped with the lovely chalk drawings and words.

The swapping is intense. Look at the seriousness on these faces as choices are made. As each person gets just 5 plants they have to think hard about which ones will go best in their gardens. Here I am describing to Laurie just how tall Joe Pye Weed will get. Luckily we each had a pomegranate and blueberry champagne cocktail to lighten the mood.

I came away from the swap with some serious scores. An oriental poppy. A yellow hosta. A fern. Lily of the Valley. And not one, not two, but three peonies, courtesy of Robin. I spent the whole next day neglecting my family and happily gardening. Ah, birthday self-absorbtion. Such fun.

Tea’s Unparty

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Last year, I enjoyed planning an airplane party for Tea.  He didn’t care about the details that I spent hours on, but it was fun for me.  This year, I didn’t feel any creative sparks in the party planning arena, so I didn’t plan anything at all.  Tea still wanted a party, and we conventiently had playgroup at our house on his birthday, so we blew up a few balloons, his Nana made him a cake, and we threw firefighter hats on the kids’ heads.  Instant party.

Tea’s single request, apart from cake, was to play hide and seek.  Now, I love my kid and I adore his friends, but wow they are some seriously challenged hide and seek players.  There was a dreadful amount of peeking, hiding in the same spot repeatedly, and I was stranded more than once when I hid and no one bothered to find me.  There was also a whole lot of giggling.  They had a ball.

I’m glad Tea had a great birthday.  He didn’t need a fancy party.  All you really need is friends.

Afterwards, Tea assured us that he did NOT need a nap.  Since it was his birthday, we let him chose to stay downstairs.  He spent the rest of the afternoon “snuggling” with his dad.

You must be mistaken - this child is *not* asleep