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Sunday, February 20, 2011

HotRod Birthday Party

Boys and cars are a perfect combination. Our family's collection of cars, toy and not so toy, is extensive. We stack the non-toy version two high in the garage if that gives you any idea of how much we love our cars.

Yeah, we had a good time putting this party together for our little guy.

We set the stage for a fun party with official letters from the "State of Chaos" signed by the birthday boy himself. He was very proud of the envelopes which he made tire-tracks on by running his matchbox cars through an ink pad and then across the envelope.
Attached to each letter was a laminated drivers license printed with his photograph and the party details.
LIC #: 6th-Bday
DOP: Sun. 2-00-2011
Issued: 3:30 Expires: 7:30

The kids were greeted with lots of fun 50s music and an impromptu target game made out of an old tire from the garage. It was a lot more difficult than I expected.

The major activity of the day was hot rod fabrication. We made our own cars using die-cast blanks from Oriental Trading. The kids colored them with Sharpie markers, which gave us the ability to create lots of fun details. (Plastic gloves protected little fingers and a black plastic drop-cloth taped to look like a road protected my table.)

After all of the cars were made we needed to race our custom creations. My amazing husband whipped up this great track overnight using some flexible plywood and a couple of leftover boards. SO MUCH FUN!!!

Ready, Set, Go!

Hot rods and customization go hand-in-hand, so the birthday menu was full of do-it-yourself projects including fruit cars and mini pizzas.
A very sweet 7 year old cousin made this great birthday cake. The donut wheels were a huge hit with the kids.

I have finally gotten smart about the whole birthday cake part of our parties. No more running around searching for matches at the last minute. This is my cake basket - filled with extra candles, ice-cream scoops, a cake knife and the no-longer-missing matches. Awesomely effective systems make me smile.

The kids were all sent home with lollipops and car shaped boxes of M&Ms. You can find the FREE (I love free stuff!) template at PaperBoxWorld. In the spirit of hot rods, I tweaked mine to make them a bit more custom.
Okay world, watch out! He has been licensed by the State of Chaos ... and he is ready to roll!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

MeMe and Dirt

"Uh oh! MeMe!" cried my little one from her crib. "MeMe, MeMe, Momma, MeMe!"

To everyone else's ears it was surely a strange combination of sounds. To me it was a very sincere cry that brought both laughter and immediate action. Care to guess what baby needed?


Help with one of her hair ribbons which had come loose.
I know, you almost had it, didn't you.

Obviously this was an issue that needed to be resolved before any napping could occur. I mean really, who can sleep with their hair disheveled! Not my little girl.

Ponytails, ribbons, barrettes and clips are all adored. At some point she learned that when she saw me doing her older sister's hair, she could yell "Me! Me!" and I would put something pretty in her hair. If it works, and it gets you what you need, it becomes a word, so "MeMe" became her word for both pretty and hair clips.

She has several other customized words but I think the hands down family favorite has to be "Dirt" aka. Dessert. A 1 year old running through the house yelling "dirt, dirt" is uproariously funny to my crew. They ask her to say it all the time. So often in fact, that she is slowly beginning to realize how to say it correctly.

Drat. Don't learn too quickly little one!
I love those baby words.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Benjamin Franklin tour of Boston

We have been studying Benjamin Franklin as part of our recent study of The Hatmaker's Sign. (Lots of resources at THSM, btw) He is a really fascinating guy. Anyone who can invent the lightning rod, convince the French to help the US defeat England in the Revolutionary war, and write Poor Richard's Almanack is amazing. We won't even mention the zillion other accomplishments over his lifetime.

So, having been blessed to live so close to Ben Franklin's birthplace, I thought I'd take the kids for a quick educational trip on our way to the Aquarium. None of the original sites are still standing, but the markers were fun to see and talk about anyway.

First his birthplace on Milk Street,

Then his statue on School street commemorating his attendance at Boston Latin, the first public school (from which he dropped out after only 2 years),

And finally, the site of his brother's printing press on Court street where he was apprenticed and wrote the Silence Dogood letters before running away.

Okay, those were the close up shots. Now, for a dose of reality.

I have this funny idealistic part of my brain that says these sites should remain somehow stuck in colonial times. None should have burned down or demolished for commercial reasons. I envision them slightly dusty, yet preserved for all posterity. Not so. The reality of what my kids saw was more focused on Tow Zones and Printing Centers than history.
Strange - the printing businesses are oddly fitting.
What do you think old Ben would say if he could see his stomping grounds now?
Seriously, things just ain't what they used to be.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

If You Eat Superglue...

Nothing happens.
Well, almost nothing happens.

If you eat Superglue mom learns that you can voice complete thoughts and communicate your needs clearly. This is what my precious 21 month old told me while spitting violently onto my kitchen floor tonight.
"Urt, Mama. Gloooo... Tuck!"
(Hurt, Momma. Glue... Stuck!)

Yikes! It is a good thing she said something because obviously I wasn't paying attention to the fact that she was SUCKING on a bottle of Superglue.

Frantically wiping her mouth out with one hand, while attempting to prevent her fingers from sticking together by hold her palms open with my other hand wasn't an easy task. We both ended up pretty crusted over with glue by the end of our struggle.

The good news is that saliva causes Superglue to harden instantly, making it nearly impossible for it to go any further into the body than the mouth. She spit out tiny balls of glue for a few minutes, and we washed the inside of her mouth repeatedly with warm water and a washcloth.

She peeled a large chunk of glue off of her lips, but hasn't been so successful with her hands. She keeps coming up to me and asking me to kiss her little glue coated fingers and I am happy to oblige. Poor baby. Unfortunately, the worst of the glue is the hand that she sucks on while trying to fall asleep. I'm hesitant to wash it with acetone to get the glue off because I don't want her to ingest it or spend the evening inhaling acetone fumes. (Only one major toxin exposure per day; new house rule.) We will see how it looks tomorrow. I'm hoping that most of it will peel off on its own.

And now you know what happens if you eat Superglue.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I love the look of wine bottles - all lined up and filled with the fruit harvested from our back yard vines. There is something so elegant and refined about them. Too bad I'm not much of a wine fan. I prefer my grape juice to be processed into jelly form. Yum! (Hmm . . . jelly making has been on my t0-do list since harvest time. Maybe being stuck inside with this big snow storm we are expecting will inspire me to finally get busy. Okay, off to go thaw some juice now.)
Oh yeah,
I should probably mention that the close-up shot is much prettier than the reality.
Wine making is a messy business.

You should see my basement wall. It is stained a lovely shade of purple.