Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Easter Baskets for Older Kids

Continuing in the theme of "oh, yeah, that happened a bit ago," here's what our Easter egg hunt looked like this year.

The kids are now 13.5 and 11.75 years old. Roughly. Nea asked whether we were having an egg hunt this year, which was a reasonable question, as we have been out of town for at least the last 3 Easters. It’s been awhile. I wanted to mix it up a little, since they aren’t quite as excited about candy as they were a few years ago. Boo has braces, so that also complicates sugar consumption.

So I cut out 11 pink paper squares and 11 yellow. Put those in 22 of the eggs. Filled the rest of the eggs with some candy. It was pretty wet out, so we hid the eggs in the house. Oma and Opa helped. Boy, Opa wanted to make finding the eggs super difficult!

Once they found the important clue eggs, they had to unscramble the letters to find their Easter baskets.
If you want a little brain teaser, these were the two sets of clues. (answers at bottom of post)



Oddly, Boo had a bit of trouble finding hers (pink clues). I didn’t think that part would be particularly challenging. It was under a reusable grocery bag in the back.

This is Nea’s basket. A wrapped present from a local boutique (beaded bracelet, seen in second photo), a giant jar of capers, a book, self-sealing water balloons (sort of a gift for me, frankly, knowwhatImean, fellow parents?!), and gum. She’s been eating the capers as a snack, in a bowl with a spoon. As one does.

Boo’s basket had seaweed snacks, a trashy magazine, facial wipes, running shorts (wrapped, shown separately), and gum. 

[answers to the word scramble]

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Ugly Ornament Party - 2015

Oh, how we love ugly ornaments! Oh, how difficult it is (much more than you might think) to find a real contender! Sure, the stores are full of normal ugly, but the truly awful are very rare. I would know, because I look for them all year. You'd think garage sales would be full of them. But no.

Updated to add a link to this related Cracked article. I don't care what anyone says: I sort of like #3.

Here's what I brought to the table: Christmas Herpes. So named because, as we know, "Glitter is the herpes of the crafting world." I trashpicked it, naturally, so no backstory on why anyone would glue a bunch of pine cones together and then cover it in holographic glitter. What the photo doesn't show is how heavy this monstrosity is. Truly a fail. Extra points for also, again, failing to be ugly enough to garner very many votes. I'll never win my own party, sniff sniff.

For the others, let's go in reverse order. First, some bad honorable mentions: Little Drummer Boy and Leder-HORSE-n (obviously pandering to the German unicorn vote, that one).

We can all agree, no?, that they are unfortunate. But not bad enough, sorry. 

Next, the one I voted for. I love it! It's "A Very Troll-y Christmas." I believe there's some sort of troll movie coming out, so points for relevance. Also, it's a nice riff on the Easter Egg craft thing, as it's the same shape as those traditional sugary Easter delights. It only lost by a vote or two. 

And lastly, the winner, which is worse in person than what you see here, aptly named "Orange You Glad This isn't Your Ornament?" It's half a painted coconut with weird seed pods stuck on it. Except the one on top apparently wasn't glued enough, as it didn't make it to my house.

And there you have it. Another ugly ornament party in the record books. Hope you enjoyed this installment of "oh, yeah, I have a blog, oops, forgot."

We're just going to move forward and ignore the fact that this update is super late, kthanksbye.

Monday, November 9, 2015


Some say it's a Dr. Suess quote, but who knows. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

I (heart) Trash - 7th Annual Trash Pick

To think it’s been so many years of joyful trashpicking already. New partner in crime this year, the lovely Kim, who was super accommodating and fun! She says she had a blast. Her haul included some wicker furniture, a cool Paris painting, a super-excellent old metal "potting soil" box, and some other stuff. I forget.

The annual purple parade that our town throws every spring was almost upon us, so I had purple on the brain. First up, purple curtains and a purple floral sheet, both of which I used as tablecloths. Was festive! Those are both on a dark stool that I haven’t quite found a home for yet.

Here we have a medley of lovely objects. Starting clockwise from the owl, one of those garden owls that are supposed to scare off rodents and birds. Doesn’t work for crap, but regularly scares the crap out of me, as I round the corner of the garage. I’m high-strung, apparently.

Bag of new wrapping stuff, including patterned tape (fun! Would never buy, but will use!), fancy ribbons, gift bag, nice holiday card.

Funny story about the hand weights. I like to set expectations a little before starting. “What do you hope to find this year? What is your quest?” I told Kim I was looking for some 5 pound weights (and purple stuff for our upcoming purple party). She was extremely impressed when I spotted these at 75 meters, athletically leaping out of the minivan with a joyful cry of “5 pound weights!!” She didn’t really know what was happening until she saw my score. Five pound weights. Boo-yah. Also, 8 pound weights, but I already had a set of those.

Handy bin, rustic ornamental birdhouse, dove, and sign (close-up below). Also a box of seashells, which might go to an art project. If not, I know an art teacher or two.

Various baskets, a PURPLE party-lite vase/candleholder. A vase with the $59.99 price tag still on the bottom.

Pottery barn rug, currently in the room where I work. It’s very nice. Washed it down with the hose in the driveway first.

Cow shaped blackboard. Metal serving dish.

Detailed view

Two gold cherubs, which I will use with Christmas lights on the porch this winter. A bag of mostly Gap clothing, some of which I kept, some went to charity. A rug that we couldn’t save. Someone else took it from our curb. Hope they had better luck.

Different view, including a stack of books.

Two of Kim’s things: old book and Yankee Candles, new in box. Small plates, being used as saucers under some houseplants now. Gift bag.

Better shot of the rugs, both good and bad

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Apraxia, blah blah blah

Hi. Wow. It's been a while, huh. And this will also be a lame short entry. 

Don't have the full report yet, but we did neuropsych testing on Nea again. She's nearly 11 now. The last time was four years ago, in first grade. Since she's about to go to middle school, it's that time again. And we will do it again in high school, sophomore year, to make sure her accommodations will be current for college.

Short version: working memory is still a big issue. She also has vision tracking problems, which no doubt are apraxia-related. Should have gone to that seminar I skipped. Damn. Contacting the people I know who ran that, though, so I hope to obtain a copy of the presentation. Or at least some names of decent eye doctors.

Another thing on the summer's to-do list: get a better hearing test for Nea. Have the name of an audiologist recommended by a friend. 

The party never stops. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Happy House-versary

Gosh, well, happy new year. That’s a bit embarrassing. I’ve been, um, busy.

So, 14 years ago we bought this house. It was almost a 100 years old at the time. Now it’s well over. It was built in 1908 or 1910, depending on which source you believe. We are finally getting to the point where all the work N does on it is “nice to have” instead of “really, this needs to happen.” We had a visitor come look at the house recently. He grew up here with his 8 brothers and sisters, and a cousin who stayed for a few years.

I felt a bit bad. There’s little left of the original layout. The floor is mostly original downstairs. None of the original closets or stairs remain. His parents came by maybe 10 years ago, so we’d heard some of the history already. They lived here 30 years, from the 1960s to the 1990s. We’ve had other former owners (from earlier) come by, too. It’s a house that inspires loyalty, it would seem. Certainly the garden has undergone at least as much change, too. It had hardly anything when we arrived. Just a few large trees, a couple lilacs. Not much else.

Anyway. If you would like some stylish shoes like these, here’s how to get them. Buy an old house. Work on it constantly for years. Wear the shoes a lot. And that’s about it.

Yes, I did take this photo last summer. When there was grass. It's not like I don't have blog ideas. I just don't seem to prioritize the time to write.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Book hoarding

I know about real hoarding. I’ve seen the TV shows. More personally, I know a woman who deals with real hoarding at her mother’s houses (there are two). The attempts to clear out one house and get it on the market. The citations from the village. One house condemned. Fix it up before the village tears it down. Hoarding spilling into the yard. It’s painful just to hear the stories. They did eventually find the body of the cat they knew had died several years ago. But the struggle never ends, because apparently it’s very difficult to cure hoarding behavior.

Then there’s pet hoarding, which is awful. Our guinea pig rescue group just took in 50 pigs from one such situation. They aren’t well socialized, so they are hard to find homes for.
Hoarding in my family is much more manageable. My mom has 50 or 60 jars of jam in the basement at any given time. Nice, tidy hoarding.

My hoarding centers around books. I finally went around and did a rough count in our house, out of curiosity. I did get rid of a few hundred children’s books last summer, so that helped a little. Plus we have two Little Free Libraries within walking distance, so sometimes I can stick a few books in there. Granted, sometimes I have to bring a new one home, too. It’s only fair.
Starting upstairs, Boo is a minimalist and a big re-reader, so she only has her 50 favorites in her room. Nea is a bit of a hoarder of everything, plus she’s the downstream book-catcher from the older sibling, so no surprise that she has circa 650.

The master bedroom has 175 in a bookshelf, and 130 on the floor/nightstand. Yes, that looks just as well-organized as it sounds.
Ok, so we have a couple book-free rooms. The sunroom and dining room have none. There are only 5 of the most used cookbooks in the kitchen. The other cookbooks are in the living room, with the gardening books and some kid books. Total living room – about 450.

There’s some board and early childhood books I couldn’t bring myself to give away, boxed up in the basement. Let’s say 300.

And that leaves the study. N finished these bookshelves awhile back. There’s books in the cabinets underneath, too, where the board games were supposed to go. Yup. That’s another 1260 or so.

Grand total? Just under 3000 books, roughly. That’s in the realm of normal. Right?
Oddly, I find myself at the library at least weekly.

I did some navel gazing not too long ago and decided that my need to be surrounded by books appeals to my most optimistic and pessimistic hopes and fears.
Best case scenario: I live a life of leisure and have time to read for hours a day!

Worst case scenario: society collapses, and all technology is lost. It’s not safe outside and hurrah! Nothing to do but read all day and wait for the end! See, now where will all you e-book types be then, huh? That’s right. Pillaging the library, fighting over Danielle Steele and Louis L’Amour paperbacks. Ha. Suckers.