Friday, July 31, 2009
*Is there anything better than the chocolate and peanut butter combo, my friends?
*We *heart* a good homemade fort here at casa de phillips. Simple Mom has outlined exactly how to construct the perfect fort.
*We are counting down the hours until the big 4th birthday here at casa de phillips. Isaac happened to see me reading this blog post and has decided Candy Land will be the theme for next year's party. If we have taught our children nothing, at least they know how to plan ahead.
*Although a weather station at our house during the summer would simply read "hot" and "unbearably hot", I think creating one for children is a great idea.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Also, I have been stockpiling the crayons for Isaac's big birthday party this weekend.
Please excuse the blog if it gets neglected over the next few days. Family starts arriving tomorrow, there are cakes to be made, decorations to be crafted, presents to be wrapped, and parting to be done.
And apparently some major coloring is going to take place.
Until I am back with some blog material that could not be classified as "fluff" please head over and read about lunch box ideas for toddlers and preschoolers.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Although we had popped through our favorite retail store for some other items, we could not pass up a trip down the school supply aisles. We admired the packs of crayons, shared memories of school supplies of our past (okay, I shared memories and Tobe patiently listened as I recounted the themes of my lunchboxes from 1st to 4th grade.), and realized we were old when we discussed how annoying the Velcro closure on TrapperKeepers must have been to the teachers of the 1980's.
I *heart* school supplies.
As August rapidly approaches and parents rush out with school supply checklist in hand, I ponder what supplies do teachers/parents/children find to be the most necessary. Although elementary schools now publish a specific list of what to purchase, are there any extra supplies that your family picks up before a new school year begins? What supplies do you get for your preschooler?
Leave a comment and let me know what you are purchasing this year before school begins. AND..if you live in my area and would (possibly) like your comment to be featured in an upcoming article, let me know in your comment. (Sorry to have to leave out my non-area people. I do heart you all though.).
I am off to sharpen some pencils and write an apology letter to my third grade teacher for all the times I opened and closed my Lisa Frank "Bubbles" trapper keeper just to make noise....
Monday, July 27, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
(Besides the obvious of 15 mini chocolate chip cookies...)
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Became this with a blink of the eye:
This morning I packed-up two backpacks, filled up two water bottles, and distributed enough food to feed a small island nation between two lunch boxes (I used to hate parents that packed the entire contents of their pantry into their child's lunch box...until I became that parent.). Isaac was fed, dressed, and standing by the back door by 7:20am this morning, which I believe is a personal record for him (he has been experiencing some "motivation" issues when it comes time to get himself dressed this summer). He was a bit disappointed when I informed him we still had over an hour before we would be leaving for school.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Her brother then told her that she was a girl and girls can only be "farmers, princesses, or Little Einsteins." Hmmm... I don't think this is was what Gloria Steinem would have suggested.
Out of all things princess, Cinderella holds the key to E.'s heart. I attempt to steer her towards some that are a bit more unconventional or that at least one that has darker hair, but E. is all about the long blond hair and angelic looks of Cinderella.
On Friday, E. constructed her own "Cin-er-ella" attire from the contents of her dress-up box. I found it to be charming.
According to E., one must wear high heels, three watches from only the finest of kid's meals, purple gloves, pearls, and a cowgirl hat to transform from average two year old girl into Cinderella. Later she added a poodle skirt for flair.
I hope Disney is taking notes...
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
We have had a few kids parties here at casa de phillips so I thought I would share some links to past party posts. Enjoy!
Isaac's First Birthday: Animal Safari (parts one and two)
Evelyn's First Birthday: Garden Party
Isaac's Second Birthday: John Deere
Evelyn's Second Birthday: 1950's Diner
Isaac's Third Birthday: Little Einsteins
Friday, July 17, 2009
A few weeks ago I stumbled across a copy of this book at a local resale shop (great place to find books CHEAP) and scooped it up for my nine year old niece who was in town at the time. She too loved the tale of two little girls wondering through the mysterious floors of an abandoned (if only for one night) library.
Last night I found myself set up at a cozy table at our local library, laptop plugged in, various books scattered about, my trusty writing notebook and pen by my side. Once Tobe had arrived home from work, he and I traded off. I left him with leftovers and two little kids who had just returned home from a very exciting pool party (have I mentioned how great my husband is?) and I set off for the quiet stillness of our awesome public library to get some much-needed writing done.
Apparently the "quiet stillness" memo was not circulated among my fellow library patrons last night because here is a rundown on the completely odd, somewhat wildly inappropriate things I witnessed last night at the library.
Upon entering the library I noticed A. One man on stilts dressed as a ringleader to the circus and B. Another man juggling. Hmmm.
I approached the Reference desk to ask a question, where I noted (to myself) with intense curiosity that the lady working the Reference desk had somehow discovered a particularly purple shade of plum lipstick to match (exactly) her purple/plum dress. This peaked my curiosity in such a manner that I could not really focus on the answer this lady (who was very nice and most likely very helpful) was giving me due to the fact my mind was racing as to how she found such an interesting shade of lipstick. Did she discover it in the tween make-up section? Did she melt various tubes of lipstick to create her own signature color (my mom had a friend who used to do this)? Was it even lipstick or perhaps some sort of Sharpie/carmex combo? Despite the unusual color, this shade actually worked for this lady quite well.
After setting up my spot (and fighting the urge to make my own "fort", but didn't have a Trapper Keeper to properly construct one), I got to work. Time ticked by as I become lost in writing. It was then I noticed a man out of the corner of my eye sit down at the table next to me, starting up an abandoned laptop. He then proceeded to open a Snickers bar and LOUDLY and SLOWLY eat it. Apparently the "No Food and Drink" rule did not apply to this man.
While I attempted to ignore Snickers man, the man on stilts walked by the glass wall that separates the children's area and the rest of the library. The man juggling bowling pins was following closely behind.
With the mantra "Write. Write. Write." going through my head, I attempted to block out Snickers man and Stilts man. It was then that a man and his Chihuahua walked past. I am all about service dogs being allowed anywhere, however I do not think that a Chihuahua wearing a tank top (huh?) is a service dog and should not be allowed in public places. What if he got dog hair in the Snickers bar?
I now attempted to block out Snickers man (who is STILL eating), man on stilts, and the small dog all while not allowing myself to worry about what happened to the guy juggling bowling pins. I typed out a few more lines. Just as my groove was starting to come back, the lady who had been sitting at the table directly behind mine woke-up (did I mention she had been asleep this whole time?), packed up the contents of her table into a DSW bag, and left the library.
It was then that I contemplated screaming, "Help! I am a prisoner in the library!"
Thursday, July 16, 2009
This morning's "disagreement" revolved around a discussion about when school starts, where school is located, and what color school is.
Both children's arguments where completely and totally wrong.
Neither child listened to me when I expressed the sentiment that school cannot begin soon enough (although that was the sentiment expressed at 8:01 am this morning, it is not really how I feel...just how I felt at 8:01am this morning).
Such school discussion prompted me into giving a status update of our summer so far.
Our summer schedule looks something like this.
Status of the highlights of the summer:
Fruit of the Spirit Lessons: This summer course is going well and provides for another source of material to use when correcting the children's behavior. The placemats made six weeks ago are beginning to show some wear-and-tear, but all the activities have been enjoyed by the children.
Park Hopping: Once temperatures began hitting above 90 degrees by 9am and reaching triple digits by noon, our park days came to an end. I feel a bit bad about this, but such heat is no friend of mine. I hope to resume our park-hopping once the weather is a bit more bearable.
Pool Time: Although we have been neglecting our local parks, we have been frequent visitors to our community pool. We make at least two treks there a week and the children's swimming skills have greatly improved over the course of the summer.
Friday Field Trips: Our Friday Field Trips have been a highlight of the summer. Although we have not managed to do a field trip each Friday, we have managed to get quite a few under our belt this summer. I plan to do a summary post (WITH LINKS!) about every destination we hit. I think this experience might carry over into the Fall.
Library Story Time: We have made it to story time on a few occasions. However, the children greatly prefer hitting up the library on off-hours so they have full reign of the computers, the reading bathtub, and the Vulture puppet (the library has a set of ABC puppets with a puppet to represent each letter of the alphabet. E. has a strange attachment to the Vulture. God bless the child who might get to said Vulture before Miss E.).
School: Tobe and I made the decision to put the children in the Mother's Day Out program at their preschool for the remainder of the summer. They will just attend one morning a week for five weeks...at the same time. That last part is the most important part of the whole deal. Once school begins, the children won't attend preschool on the same day. However, for five weeks they will both be in school at the same time. I don't know what I will do with those quiet, productive 25 hours I will have all to myself.
That is a synopsis of our summer so far. Although if you happen to ask our children, they will likely argue that it is going differently....
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
The clock has been my enemy today, as I race to get the dishwasher unloaded, portions of the house clean (FYI..I am currently dusting the computer desk as I blog. Multitask much?), children dressed and fed and educationally-stimulated (does PBSKids.org count?), playdates attended (always fun!), writing accomplished, and phone calls made. In such a rush, I have yet to type up a report of how our summer is coming along. But never fear...that is coming.
And I won't postdate it to publish sometime next year.
In the meantime, check out a new place to read my writing. I am now a "Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner" and will be writing about various parenting topics and covering local points of interest. Hopefully you will pop over there and check my page out!
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Or is it just me answering "Yes" to all of the above questions?
I posted my summer schedule at the beginning of June and have stayed relatively true to it these past six weeks. I am anxious to share what is working this summer for us...and what isn't...but even more anxious to hear what kind of fun everyone else is having during this festive, hot season.
Please share something that has been really fun for your family to do this summer or some sort of terrible summer mishap that seemed like a good idea at first (perhaps taking an unairconditioned trolley ride in triple digit heat) but turned out to be the exact opposite. I want to hear from YOU!
Share freely and I will be back with a mini-recap of the first part of our summer later today.
Monday, July 13, 2009
This exchange usually ends with the reminder to "Be a kind friend."
Couldn't we all use such a reminder before exiting our cars?
Be a kind friend to the person who almost runs you over in the parking lot due to the fact they are texting and driving.
Be a kind friend to that grumpy co-worker.
Be a kind friend to your spouse after a long work day.
Be a kind friend to the frazzled young mother with two precocious children in her shopping cart (oh, wait..that one was backwards).
Kindness is talked about a lot around casa de phillips, mainly because we have a closely knit brother/sister duo living under our roof who greatly vacillate between being best buds and being each other's arch nemesis on a regular basis.
The bible story we chose to illustrate the characteristic of kindness was the story of Ruth and Naomi. (*) We discussed how kindness was shown between these two women and discussed how we can show kindness in our friendships as well.
Craft: For a craft, we pulled out some Martha Stewart craft kits I found on clearance at Wal-Mart. Each child made a puppet to give to a special friend to show kindness. (I, in turn, contemplated how I am not really showing kindness to the mother of these two friends who will now have just a bit more clutter in her home than she did before. Sorry.)
As an extension activity, we made kindness sticker charts for each child. When Isaac sees Evelyn showing kindness, he gives her a sticker for her chart and vice-versa. Although this got a bit out of hand at first with the two simply lavishing each other with stickers, some more "thoughtful" attention was given to the detail of showing kindness to one's sibling as the day progressed
I am keeping my fingers crossed that these sticker charts work for through their adolescent years.
(*) Ever wonder where Oprah got her name? Well, apparently she was named after Ruth's other daughter-in-law, Orpah. However, the name was misspelled on the birth certificate resulting in one of the most well-known names of our time. You are welcome for the piece of senseless trivia.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Enclosed in it's tightly sealed container were the flags below: My mother, always the clever one, decided that Miss E. and Isaac needed their own state flag. In case you have forgotten, E. firmly...FIRMLY...believes she is from the state of Arkansas. However, her brother resides in the state of Texas (and if we drive farther than ten miles from our house, they BOTH question if we are in Oklahoma).
The battle of the states wages on in casa de phillips, now with flags fixed over each child's seat at the table. It drives Isaac nuts when E. insists she lives in Arkansas. Just this morning he attempted to explain to her that she cannot live in a different state than he because they reside in the same house. Her defense? She lives in "Ar-kan-sauce because I a girl. Isaac live in Texas 'cause he a boy."
Her brother simply threw his hands up in defeat.
I, in hopes of ending such a discussion, loaded the children up for a Friday Field Trip. We had originally planned on visiting another location today, but made a last minute change before darting out the door.
For some reason, I thought riding in vintage trolley cars in 104 degree heat sounded like a good idea (said trolley cars were supposed to be air-conditioned. Ours was not...unless one counts the breeze from the interstate as a form of air-conditioning. My children did not.). Despite the triple digit temperatures (which make me still contemplate that move to Vermont), the three of us had quite a lovely time.
E. found a dog to pet.
Isaac chilled out in the shade
We all enjoyed experiencing a bit of Americana (well, perhaps E. did not enjoy it all that much. Apparently the noise "skered" her. Nothing makes a 104 degree day better than a sweaty two year old clinging onto one's chest.)
Thursday, July 09, 2009
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Today, my sweet husband, celebrates a birthday.
Because he does not blog, does not participate in Facebook (except through checking my account on a daily basis), does not twitter, nor partakes in any form of self-promotion...I am using this post to wish him a very happy birthday on this fine summer day.
I tend to do birthday events on a bit of a grand scale (remember Rocket? How about the fact I wore a costume to Evelyn's Second birthday party?) and Tobe's birthday is no exception. For his blog post shout-out (which you are currently reading...in case you missed that point due to my rambling), I decided to have the kids perform a little song and dance number.
I think I had visions of the Huxtables and their yearly performance for the grandparents' anniversary. Obviously I did not have the talent coach or the professional child actors when attempting to "teach" my children a few basic moves to go along with a great birthday song.
Check out a YouTube clip of the Huxtables' performance:
(Sorry, embedding of this clip has been disabled. You'll have to check out the clip via the link and then pop back over to my blog)
Check out Isaac and Evelyn's performance:
Want to know the sad thing? This was the fifth or sixth attempted taping of said performance. In one shot, Isaac falls off the fireplace. In another, Evelyn decides to start talking randomly to me about something. In a third, the two begin fighting over whose foot touched the other's toe.
Obviously, this is a video only a Father could love.
Thanks for sticking through it for those of you who don't happen to be Tobe.
Happy Birthday, Tobe! We love you!
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
In case your headquarters in Minneapolis have lost their corporate calendar, I felt the need to inform you that today happens to be July the 7th. Imagine my surprise when I entered your store this morning to discover the "Back-to-School" section is completely set up and ready for business.
Do not misunderstand me, I *heart* a fresh box of 24 crayons and a new bottle of glue more than the average consumer. In fact, I recently purchased five new boxes of crayons at another major retail store due to the fact they were on sale for 25 cents a box. However, I believe the beginning of July is a tad to early to start the whole "Back-to-School" shopping campaign. My children are just getting used to the idea of summer and lazy schedules. Temperatures are hitting triple digits on a regular basis. Please know that we are not ready to contemplate such concepts as "lunchboxes" or "fall jackets" at this date in time.
Although I am resistant to the idea of pushing "Back to School" shopping on your costumers in the middle of summer, please know that I am forced to partake in such shopping if I do not want to be left having to choose between the three lone (read: Tacky) backpacks that will be on the shelves when "Back to School" time actually arrives in our area (read: September). I know if I want a cute water bottle for my kids or a perky container of classroom Kleenex I will have to shop for such supplies this month. Then I will have to clean a space in my garage for said supplies to live for the next eight weeks until school actually begins.
At least I will have a space to store the Christmas junk that I will inadvertently purchase on September 17th when you place it on your shelves...
A Frustrated Target Shopper
Apparently, I need to take a look at my own calender as well. Due to an extended holiday celebration here at casa de phillips, I completely forgot yesterday was Monday. Fruit of the Spirit Lesson should be up later tonight!
Saturday, July 04, 2009
I did not notice this friend at first, however she approached me and offered a generous greeting.
The reason I did not notice her was because I had just come from the picture studio attempting to get a decent shot of a three month old and an almost two-year old. My hair was matted to my face by sweat, my clothes were half untucked, and the remnants of the make-up that somehow survived the session were splattered across my face.
I offered a feeble "hello" while I greedily slurped on a coke, attempting to restore my blood sugar to its rightful levels, while shoving chicken nuggets at my crying toddler and shaking a bottle for my starving baby.
Although I love adorning the walls of casa de phillips with pictures of our little family...I detest the process of having pictures made. I told Tobe the other night there is likely a four month window in the entire span of a child's life when he/she cooperates fully with the professional picture process. When they are babies they are either hungry or tired. Toddlers are grumpy, scared, or resistant. Older children would rather be playing than smiling. Adolescents simply glare at the camera.
This is likely why such a website as this exists.
Despite my slight hatred of having pictures made, yesterday our family joined nine other family members (four of those children. If you do the math, that makes SIX children involved in our picture taking process) for a professional picture taking extravaganza. Amazingly, the whole process could almost be described as painless.
Children laughed adorably.
Evelyn waited to have a potty-training accident until after the photos were done and we had changed her clothes.
It was good times (almost)
Here are a few of our family pictures from yesterday. Enjoy!
Friday, July 03, 2009
Thursday, July 02, 2009
The wonder of a child is quite the encouragement when one is deep in the Mommy trenches, allowing me to see past the tantrums (um..have I mentioned that a local police officer stopped to offer help in a parking lot the other day due to a particular two year old's tantrum. I. Could. Have. Died.), the million daily requests, and the constant desire for Goldfish crackers.
This morning as I was about to jump in the shower, Tobe peeked his head into the bathroom and informed me I needed to see Isaac first. As I glanced around the door frame, I got a glimpse of a little blond hair boy grinning from ear to ear, fully dressed (including shoes) in clothes rummaged from his dirty clothes hamper. Despite the fact that the time on the clock read 6:17am, this little boy was beyond proud of the fact that he took the initiative to dress himself on this fine Thursday morning.
After my shower, I quickly discovered that said initiative did not end with a desire to get dressed before the sun came up. No, Isaac had also decided to rearrange his room. His bookshelf was completely repositioned, books were laid out in series (Help us the day the boy understands how to alphabetize...nothing will be safe), and every possible toy was assigned their own little plot of space on his carpet.
Taking a deep breath, I began the tour that Isaac was beyond eager to give. I went through the "shortcut" between the bookshelf and the wall, I visited the new "Isaac library", and I came to understand that all stuffed animals were now requesting to live on the floor as opposed to the bed. I fought my initial urge to sigh over the ginormous mess and instead embraced what Isaac saw: a room filled with endless wonder, possibility, and fun.
What a blessing the spirit of a child is.
What a blessing that Tobe assisted in the cleaning up of such "wonder" later this evening...