Saturday, November 27, 2010

Seasonally Disoriented

It's hard to believe that Christmas is only four weeks away. I packed up all my fall bakeware, dishes, and decorations today. I was a little sad that I didn't even use a lot of it. Where did the fall go?! It was so warm this fall. I think that was it, just that it never felt colorful and crisp. Or maybe I was just too busy being new and homeschooling and doing the everyday to do fun and festive fall stuff. We didn't even get to go apple picking! We called the orchard the week before Halloween and they said all the apples were gone! For the last two years we have gone on Halloween day, and we lived 200 miles farther south, so I really do think this has just been a warm year. Y'all know how I feel about warmth. Boo...

But Christmas time's a-comin'! I'm trying to be excited about that now. We just need some snow! But I don't think we'll have any for a while. I'm hoping Christmas music and getting our tree soon will help me shift gears and "get into the holiday spirit." I'll try to post pictures of all of our Christmastime activities once we get them going. And hey, y'all stay in touch!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Take a Look, It's in a Book

I am guessing that all of us can remember being read some of our all time favorite children's stories on Reading Rainbow. I don't really remember having many books of my very own at my house, and I don't remember frequenting the library apart from summer reading, but there are dozens of stories that I know I heard as a child. I credit elementary school teachers and librarians and LeVar Burton. Supposedly Reading Rainbow aired as late as 2006, but I know my children have never seen it. PBS in St. Louis had a knack for putting some of the best shows on only on Wednesdays- America's Test Kitchen, Mr Rogers, Thomas the Tank, etc.- I'm guessing this is where Reading Rainbow got thrown in? Anyway, I came across this little notice today, dated from way back in March, where it was reported that LeVar Burton tweeted that Reading Rainbow is planning to return to television in a new format. Wouldn't that be awesome?!

Well, in the meantime, I have recently found these awesome story times online from Barnes and Noble dot com. Want to hear Where the Wild Things Are read by Maurice Sendak? Or how about The Mitten read by Jan Brett? Or Olivia read by Ana Gasteyer (not the author, but still, a delightful reading voice)? Click here for those and others. Click the newest story (The Mitten) and enjoy all of the stories available on continuous play (I'm thinking this will buy me 30 minutes to do something while the kiddos watch!).

If you get through everything Barnes and Noble has to offer, here's a link to, another story time site put together by The Screen Actors Guild Foundation. As you might guess, that means you have stories read by all kinds of celebrities. Most of the books are not ones I know much about, and I like the idea of the book being read by its author better; but I think you'll agree that Betty White reading Harry the Dirty Dog is worth a click, and I always like the idea of being introduced a story I haven't heard before.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Poodle, The Baker and the "Deluxe" Darth Vader

My post is a little late for these pictures. I meant to put them up on Halloween because in Des Moines, everyone goes trick-or-treating on the evening of October 30th each year. The event is referred to as "Beggar's Night." I am not sure why they do it early, but they do. With such a departure from the norm, we didn't know what else to expect, so we were not prepared when, at the very first house, the children were asked what their jokes were. Fortunately, we are familiar with the custom of telling a joke to get candy and we had our handy dandy iPhones with us, so I was able to find a joke for each of the children during our stops at the next couple of houses. I usually go the route of a costume appropriate joke instead of a Halloween joke. I don't know if anyone else does this, but people usually comment on how the joke goes with the costume, so I guess it's an acceptable idea. I don't get real into ghosts and witches and stuff anyway.

First, I came here to check my unused Star Wars jokes from last year as August was dressed as Darth Vader. He used the, "which Star Wars character works at a restaurant?" joke- the answer is "Darth Waiter." Next, I looked around for kids cooking jokes for Amabel, who was dressed as a baker. I have to say, it was a little annoying that my search turned up so many cooking pranks. Jokes and pranks are different, people. When one is doing a Google search on a phone in the midst of trick-or-treating, one does not want to keep turning up elaborate tricks to play on people in the kitchen! And when one does actually find jokes, one also has to rule out ones that aren't easy-to-remember one liners. So we settled on, "What did one plate say to the other?" "Dinner's on me!"

I found a joke for Elspeth, who went as a poodle, after about the third house or so. I told her I had one for her and she said, "Oh, well, I already have one." I asked her what it was and she said, "Why did the poodle cross the playground?" And then she did a really deep voice to imitate the person with the candy, "I don't know, why did the poodle cross the playground?" The answer is, of course, "to get to the other slide." I just couldn't believe how she thought of a joke with an animal in it and swapped in the animal she was dressed as without getting any help or even running it by us. She knew it worked, and that was the joke she told. She cracks me up! Later on, Amabel asked me what joke I had found for Elspeth. "What kind of dog likes to take a bath?" "A shampoodle." Elspeth heard me and said, "I like that one!" and then told it for the rest of the night. What a funny kid!

Here are my little punkins carving their pumpkins earlier that day. And here are the results:

Left to right (in both pictures) Amabel, Elspeth, and August (child and pumpkin both with a missing tooth).

Frugal friends will appreciate this last little remark. Our costumes were all gifted to us -E's was a hand me down, Aug's was a Christmas gift last year (great idea that my sister does often: go get costumes at 1/2 price or more right now and give them to nieces and nephews for dress up at Christmas! August's costume had a $40 price tag on it, and I know she didn't spend more than $15!), and Amabel's was her actual apron that she wears in the kitchen and a baker hat from the dress up box. And the pumpkins were a steal for $1 a piece five minutes before the Farmer's Market closed down (who says the early bird gets the worm?!) I feel much better for splurging on those books from Half Price Books knowing that I didn't have to spend much at all on pumpkins and costumes. Hurray!

Monday, November 01, 2010

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