Wednesday, September 25, 2013

September 25, 2013

Mimi requested a zoo visit on the way home from the gym- I was surprised, since it was raining, but happy to comply.  We went home to grab rain coats and boots, and I changed out of my Zumba gear, and we went to the zoo.  Beyond a short bus of senior citizens and their chaperones we were the only ones there!  It's a tiny zoo, though.  I love it more every time we visit.  Close, small enough for the kids to enjoy, and impeccably kept.  We said hello to the tigers and cougars, fed the alpacas, deer, emus, and wallabies, played peek-a-boo with the parrots, and waved at the lemurs.  Just like that, zoo is over!  I expected all the animals to be under cover and resting from the rain, but most of them seemed edgy today.  Tigers were pacing, and the cockatoo was muttering and sqwaking.  

The cup in Cocoa's hand was full of apple pieces- you can buy it from the front desk and feed the animals marked as ok to feed.

Monday night, Daddy chose the activity: the kids chose favorite songs from the radio, he looked up the guitar tabs, and we had an impromptu concert in the school room.  Cocoa grabbed a little guitar and joined in.

Everything is beautiful and green right now- the rains have returned and the yard is growing again.  Perfect herb weather right now- every few days I wander out with a pair of shears and snip parsley, chives, oregano, and basil for a fresh batch of ranch dressing.  (A few spoonfuls each of sour cream and mayo, a dash of hot sauce, a fistful of herbs all chopped up, and thin it with milk and a splash of lemon juice.). I have a big tub of greens from Costco and have made a huge salad every night this week- oh yum.  I don't often crave salad, but it's been delicious and easy.  I bought a bag of crumbled bacon too, because bacon is always a yes.  One night I threw in some grapes, tonight I sliced up criminis, an avocado, and a pocketful of romas from the garden and served it with a rice cooker of quinoa and a sheet pan of roasted cauliflower and chicken splashed with lemon juice when they came out of the oven.

I teach a group music class 4-5 every other Wednesday, and it's nice to have dinner ready to go when I finish teaching.  I had the sheet pan all ready to go in the oven and just had to make the salad and turn on the rice cooker.  Mondays I teach until 5:30, so that's normally our soup night.

Mimi requested a new sewing project the other day, and happily thumbed through my pattern book till she found a really beautiful glass- a margarita glass actually.  Umm.  I free-handed a glass of orange juice, kept the fancy piece of fruit, and added some swirls and a word.  She's learning her letters right now, so she was jazzed enough about all that to forgive the ommission of that really fancy stemware she liked so much.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Making the Fairy Houses



fairy houses in progress


sketching out her fairy house

I loved doing this project with the kids.  We filled up a box with shiny things, and now the girls know just what I mean when I say "Please get the paint box, your smocks, and the fancy box."

Actually, we've done a lot of projects this week.  It's been nice to have our supplies organized and accessible again, with our new cubby system in the school room.  The kids and I made a new wreath for Fall, and Mimi adores it.  She loves anything fancy, and she loves building things.  Making jewel-encrusted fairy houses might be the absolutely perfect project for our pixie princess.

I should explain- we have decided that Mimi is our spring pixie princess.  She's flowery and warm and sweet, and sometimes she just showers and rages, and then everything is sweetness and dancing again.  Our spring pixie princess.  She prefers to be barefoot, and to eat nothing but sugar- if that doesn't say flower fairy, I don't know what does.  Bread and jam for her, outside, please!

Ernie is our water sprite.  When she's hot inside, she boils and steams and shouts.  When she's cold inside, she's sluggish and impossible to get moving.  But, when the weather is gentle she can be chirpy like a little brook and bring joy and life to everyone around her.  She can be impenetrable as fog.  She's deep like an ocean in her thoughts, and can be as still as a mountain lake.

Cocoa is our earth man.  Our dwarf.  Small, strong, agile, with a simple-minded focus on the world and what he wants; he's happiest when he's shoving heavy things around.  He's hard to divert from his path, and knows his own way.  He loves and accepts everyone he sees.

Daddy is the wind- he blows change and blessings and seasons through our lives.  He's the wind in our sails.  He brings the storms from outside our little home, and then blows them away again.

That leaves me- fire.  I come through and destroy and break down what I see that isn't what it could be, and I build and teach and nurture into something better nourished.

It's a silly little thing, but it's calmed the kids down and help them reflect on their own personalities, and helped them appreciate the personalities of other members of our family as we talk and giggle about our own strengths and weakness described this way.  Fairy time won't last long in our home, but for now it's a sweet way to look at and understand a big world.

Kids Made This: Fairy Village

Fairy fixation this week culminated in a late night run to the craft store for some bits and bobs for a fairy village.  We all painted our houses (and decorated) last night, and gave them a final coat of spray varnish this morning before setting up our village.

Going to the backyard, Mimi thoughtfully said "I don't know if fairies are real, but I HOPE they live in our houses!"

Mimi, modeling her fairy house.  Guess who's going to be trouble in a few years?  The girls coated their houses in flat-back plastic jewels left over from Mimi's birthday party.  We stuck them on with glue dots.

Those shorts go in the give-away box tonight.  Yikes.

Cocoa declined modeling his house: he chose to display his "logurt"

Setting up the village

Daddy's house in front, Cocoa's in back, hung on some branch snags above the village for those fairies that prefer to sleep off the ground.
fairy village

Ernie's red-roofed house, and my leaf-covered house.  Notice the jars of "fairy dust" to help entice the fairies to come and stay, and replenish their stores.  Inside Ernie's house, you can just barely see a little wooden spool for the fairy to sit on.
fairy village

fairy village

Most of these supplies were already on hand- we spent about $10 at the craft store for the wooden supplies and varnish.

I look forward to adding to this village- already the girls have made a dance floor of leaves around Mimi's purple-roofed house.


4" bird houses ($1 each)
craft paint
plastic jewels
glue dots
silk leaves
spray on varnish
wooden spools

Flower Pots
1" wooden  flower pots
silk flowers

Fairy Dust Jars
small jam jars

flat marbles

doll house fencing

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sushi Night

I don't remember exactly why I had no dinner plans (it probably involved me spending my cooking time making the monthly dinner for the local women's shelter, and my LACK OF PLANNING that resulted in just enough food for them and none for us.)  Besides that, we love sushi and my kids just light up when you mention the word "Car."

Sushi, potstickers, seaweed salad, and some chopsticks and we were a very happy fivesome.  Ernie favors the little cappellini roe pieces, Cocoa goes for potstickers, Mimi like cucumber rolls and the egg maki, and Wonder Daddy just likes it all.  Deep fried, preferably.  My favorites are the salted mackerel and the boiled shrimp.