Friday, December 13, 2013

Getting Ready for Winter Break

I admit I really look forward to Winter Break each year. While I do love all my students and kiddos, it is a needed time to rest and rejuvenate a bit. 

What I always plan to do and what I actually do during Winter Break are two different things. I plan to relax and sleep in every day (I aim for noon), frolic (yes, frolic) in the backyard and enjoy the clear night sky as I stargaze and breathe the cool crisp air. I have very romantic notions about my down time. But it almost never happens that way. 

What really happens is Karma makes sure I am awake by 8am no matter what so he can be let outside and eat breakfast. He does this by standing next to my bed near my head and silently (creepily?) watches me sleep, communicating to me with his doggie psychic powers until I become aware enough to open my eyes and acknowledge him. I occasionally pretend to be asleep in hopes he'll get discouraged and give up. Sometimes he does give up, and goes back to his bed (with a loud sigh for good measure), which only rewards and reinforces my behavior. 

Unlike Karma who seems to be able to go without food indefinitely without complaint (Who's a good doggie? Karma is!), the cats routinely declare a state of emergency if they've been away from a food source for more than a couple of hours. They express their disgruntlement by meowing loudly and banging the cabinet doors around 5am, making it more likely than not that I am already awake by the time Karma begins his one-sided staring contest. 

Then instead of being completely lazy as intended, I end up getting some wild hair to completely redo my whole house, starting with a crazed cleaning of everything, then move into grand schemes of building stuff, whereby I haul into my main living room loads of lumber, hardware, sandpaper, and an assortment of electric saws, drills and other power tools (because the garage is too messy to work in), and ending with rearranged furniture and even whole rooms. And the added bonus of being a procrastinator is that I start all these fun projects but wait until the day before the break is over to finish, leaving me up half the night rushing around the house and getting no sleep. So instead of being well rested after my break I'm a little insane and deeply overly tired. This happens every year. Without fail.

Also applies to ice that falls from the ice dispenser. It'll be fine.

This year I've started early. I already tackled both ceiling fans and air vents near the ceiling a couple weeks ago, took down the play farmers market with intentions of rebuilding it bigger and better, the pantry got decluttered and sorted last week, and I've moved on to ultra cleaning and hyper organizing my kitchen cabinets to satisfy my inner Stepford. We'll be moving the TV room to the front room- the former Kinder room that never quite gets used enough and is now in fact storing oodles of toys- and reinstating the craft room that will also once again serve the role as our dedicated meditation space. I also plan to remove every strand of pet hair in my home between now and the 21st. I am trying to keep my goals more realistic this year (clearly).

Happy Friday the 13th!


Monday, December 2, 2013


Ostara and Hecate lounging in the pack and play. This is where Oskar sleeps for his nap but since I moved it out to the main room the cats find it very inviting when he isn't occupying it, and sometimes even when he is. :-)

I wish I had thought to use something like this when the kittens were born, it would have been perfect. The cats love it and I don't mind them using it. It just means I have to wash Oskar's blankets every day, but since I do eleventy-three loads of laundry every week it's hardly any extra work.

Things are much quieter and mostly back to normal now that all the kittens have been adopted. The cats are still on kitten food but I see that Ostara at least is finally putting on some weight again. Now I can slowly move them back to regular cat food. After their babies were born both mama's got so skinny as they used all their calories caring for their babies and nursing them. They had unlimited food and it was kept out 24/7 but they just burned everything off. Now they aren't as active since they aren't herding kittens anymore, and while they will always be slim cats, that is just their breed, I'm glad to see Ostara getting a little weight on her. Hecate is, too, just not as much. But that is how it was before they got pregnant. Even though they are sisters, Ostara was always the bigger one.  

Most importantly- I can finally remember what it was like to breathe and smell again! It's not all back, I am still allergic to the cats and dog, but with ten fewer cats in our house the difference is night and day. 

Catching Fire

Alex and I saw Catching Fire this past week and it was AWESOME!!! As someone who hasn't read the books, I liked the first movie, Hunger Games, really well, but I LOVED the second movie, Catching Fire. To me it was much better. Since I've had the books for a couple years I ran home and started reading the third book immediately. Love, love, love!

We also saw the new Thor movie and it was better than expected. 

Is it just me or has there been a shortage of awesome movies for the last few years? It seems like maybe one or two a year strikes my fancy, whereas a few years ago we saw everything that came out and loved most of it. Now we usually wait for it to come out on DVD. There's just no enthusiasm for what's showing anymore. Maybe my tastes have matured or I'm just not as easily wowed as I used to be. But Alex is the same way, too. I asked if he wanted to go see the new Thor movie and he said, "Let's just wait for it to come to the Redbox." 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Yet More Random Updates and Halloween Pics

We had a great Samhain / Halloween this year. Alex didn't trick or treat this time, so we stayed home and handed out treats we had made. Only we had almost 100 children visit our home, and we ran out of treats at like child # 48. 

Knowing trick-or-treaters don't cotton to the house with no goodies to hand out, we furiously swept through the house looking for suitable things to give away. We don't usually have candy or sweets in the house and there was no plan B. We DID have plenty of fruits, so we grabbed a few bunches of bananas and I quickly scrawled jack-o-lantern faces on the peels with a black sharpie, and grabbed all our oranges and did the same thing. 

The first kids who got fruit in their pails gave us funny looks. One little girl ran down our driveway yelling excitedly, "I got a banana! I got a banana!!" 

Eventually those all ran out, though, and the kids just kept coming. So we started raiding all the cabinets and pantry for everything we could think of. We ended up with a big pile of possibilities, which included carrots, potatoes, cliff bars, flax raw food snacks, old leftover party favors, paintbrushes, crayons, and an unopened package of saltines. 

The frenzy began at 7:30pm, and ended almost exactly at 8:30pm. It seemed like it lasted for hours, though. And it was fun and hectic and Alex loved opening the door in his Grim Reaper get-up and trying to scare little children. And I couldn't believe how many teenagers and what appeared to actually be adults came a-knocking with their pillow sacks opened wide. Seriously??

All in all we had fun. Next year I will just break down and buy a truck load of candy. I will just have to protest consumerism and the consumption of high fructose corn syrup some other way! 

Some of our decorations inside and outside.

I put out Fall and Halloween themed baskets for art and crafts.

The new art center. When I moved this toy shelf to make space for the holiday decorations I realized it would make a great art shelf. 

It also holds the tray for serving and table ware, a water dispenser for self-serve drinks and a basket of towels for little spills.

The redesigned sewing basket- sewing kit (blue), two hoops with fabric, one is felt the other muslin, and the small one is shelf liner for toddlers to use with the plastic blunt needle as they practice their sewing techniques. :-)

The sewing kit I made for them is just right for the Pre-K's and Kinders. It has scissors, needles, thread and a pocket for needle threader and buttons.

The larger creation station basket for recyclables that can be turned into fun sculptures, crafts and art.

Some of these pictures feel like deja vu. have I posted these already before????
Here is the sandwich bread we baked and sliced for one of our bread making days. 

Alex being a ham. Even though he was trying to be creepy,  I love love love this smile of his!!

Alex and me having fun taking self-pics and using the delay feature, something Alex never tires of. 

Oh my goodness- aren't they adorable?! Halloween day the kids all wore their costumes. So cute!! 

Elise was such a cute witchling! My little apprentice in training. lol

Hera (below) posing under the witchy table. We were sad to see her go. She was the only kitten that was ALL black and was SO sweet. I am glad she has a loving family to call home, though.

The two momma cats and Zeus cuddling on the reading rug before Zeus left us. The mommas were always little cats, even though they do almost nothing but EAT, and the kittens all were so big, it's hard to tell who the baby is in this picture. The one sitting up is Hecate, she is mostly all black and Alex's cat. Laying down the one facing the camera with the golden eyes is Zeus, and the one on the bottom right is Ostara. Our momma cats have green eyes, whereas most of the black kittens had golden/orange eyes like their dad. And the two white kittens had blue eyes I believe. 

Random Updates...

Yikes! It's been a while again since I was here. I have such a hard time sitting down and really keeping up on blogging. Not like I ever did it much anyway but the commitment to blog daily or even weekly is significant. My hats off to those folks out there who stay so dedicated to keeping their blog fresh.

Well, we finally found a home for our last kitten. Alex named him Zeus. And he was most certainly a Zeus. He was so soft and fuzzy. But he's in a great home where he'll be loved and now we are down to just our two original momma cats, Hecate and Ostara. I can't believe the kittens are 17 weeks old now. 

Lots of kiddos out sick with colds and coughs the past few weeks, so it's been a skeleton crew as it were for many of the days. But we've had loads of fun and have even been able to take a couple field trips recently. We got to visit Jump Time, the new trampoline place in town, and we enjoyed last Friday's story time at the Library. Here they are with the turkey at the library-

Outside at the city park, Elise climbs the curvy ladder- she was not convinced it was a good idea, though. But when she made it to the top she decided to do a happy dance instead of cry. Yay for 'Lisy!!

Brookie (below) collecting baby pine cones to bring back for our discovery table.

A funny little squirrel played around us on our jaunt through the park as we searched for leaves and acorns.

Alex and Ollie on the stage. Alex is pretending to sing opera and loving the big open space to perform his own little concert. 

Oh Yes- Levi turned a big giant 4 years old this month! He had a fun pirate themed party to celebrate, and Henriikka made him this awesome skull and cross bones cake.

levi wanted nothing more than for it to be time to open his presents.. Oskar had fun standing on them (background). :-)

The pirate ship pinata was a great end to the celebration.

This was something we saw at the recent harvest celebration at the expo center. Tree slices turned into animal ornaments. I snapped a pic so I could remember to try to make these with the kiddos for the holidays. 

And Alex (below) learning about the process of making apple juice.

The kiddos at mat time. This is when they select a puzzle or developmental toy to work on individually on their mats. 

Last week I worked with the kids on some fine motor games. This was a favorite one- picking up wooden blocks with tongs. Fun! they asked to do it again and again.

Jump Time

Alex jumping in the foam pit. That is his favorite area when we visit.

Elise and Ollie (below) had fun on the trampolines and bouncy slides.

Here some of the kiddos are playing restaurant and cafe. They created a menu and took turns ordering food, being the chef and the server.