Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sick Kids All Around

This is how we ended the week.

More Playground Pictures

We have an absolutely fabulous brand new playground around the corner of our house. It was built by Kaboom, an organization that goes around the country building playgrounds to try to encourage children to spend more time outside. They seem to focus especially on neighborhoods with low-income/at-risk children. Aren't we so lucky to live in a "transitional" neighborhood?

This last picture is Kenny, the little boy I watch on Thursday mornings. He's the exact same age as Rylan, but amazingly coordinated. I've watched him hop down the steps in front of my house - about gave me a heart attack!

I've watched a lot of kids in my career as a mom, and there are some that I just never warmed up to, even though I saw them all the time. I'm happy to say that Kenny is so easy to love. I could watch him every day all day and never get tired of seeing him. And Rylan loves him too!

Making Applesauce

Organic apples were on sale at Kroger last week for $1/lb, so I bought 50 pounds and made applesauce and apple chips. I bought a Victorio strainer, a water bath canner, and a dehydrator off of Craigslist a few months ago, and this was my first time using them.

Rylan helped by eating apples.

Eli helped by cutting apples with a special knife that my sister bought for him. I started out cutting and coring the apples, but after the first batch, I discovered that my strainer would remove all of the skin and seeds for me. Best Craigslist purchase ever!

Rylan took a stab at cutting.

The water bath canner was not the best Craigslist purchase ever. It doesn't seem big enough for quart jars (the jars are only covered by 1/2 inch or so of water instead of the 1 to 2 inches in the instructions), which is really weird since I bought about 50 quart jars from the same lady I bought the canner from. The processing still seemed to work anyway - judging by the ol' pressing on the lid test. We haven't tried eating any yet though, so we'll see...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Highlights from this year's Planet Earth Celebration

I love Earth Day. Not because of my hippy nature but because it's the first outdoor holiday of the year. I've always thought of Earth Day more as a celebration of the earth than as a day to remind people to go green. Earth Day to me is all about spring. Hurray, leaves and flowers and birds and bugs and everything green! In fact, Earth Day is my favorite non-religious holiday after the Fourth of July. And if Earth Day had fireworks, it would probably be my favorite holiday.

The past two Earth Days, we've been living here in the Triangle, the home of Burt's Bees, which makes for a very good Earth Day location. Every year, Burt's Bees puts on a big celebration downtown with bands and booths and a junk-band parade. I enjoy finding out what green businesses and organizations there are in the area, and the kids like coloring pictures of native plants, admiring chickens and worms, and making "art" out of junk.

Last Saturday, I spent the morning at a summit to get community gardens started in Raleigh that I helped plan. Then I headed over in the afternoon to man a booth at Planet Earth for the same community gardens group. It was a long and busy day, and I'm really grateful to Michael for spending the day with the boys so I could be involved in something important to me.

Happy Birthday, Eli!

Eli turned five this year. Every year, we tell the kids we're spending a set amount on their birthday, and they can help us plan a party with that money or they can choose not to have a party and the full amount will go toward presents. This year, Eli chose "lots of presents."

He got:

a dinosaur coloring book

a bike helmet, bike pump, training wheels, and bell to go with his new bike (not pictured)

a scooter

a drum

Eli has wanted to play drums since birth, so two Christmases ago we found him an electronic drum at a thrift store. It broke soon after. For his last birthday, we got him real drumsticks, and he does enjoy banging on cans and bins with those. But when he saw this drum in the Marbles gift shop, he decided he had to have it. The darn thing was $50, so it better last! I have to admit that it's pretty cool, though, and much quieter than a real drum would be.

And last but not least, here's the cake I made for him:

Cole Says...

We ordered Dominoes for dinner. I thought it tasted spicy, and since Cole's favorite food is pizza, I asked him, "Which pizza do you like better - the kind I make or this kind?"

He said, "I like them both the same...because I don't want to hurt your feelings."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

At Chuck E Cheese

Rylan rode this Bob the Builder ride 10 times. He kept sneaking tokens from Cole and Eli when they were busy playing games.

Rylan at chuck e cheese

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Cole Says...

Cole: I filled up my reading log. Now what can I do?

Michael: Just because you finished your reading log doesn't mean you can't read for fun. Mommy and I read, and we don't have reading logs.

Cole: That's because you're old.

One Week, No Kids

The Friday before Easter, Michael and I left the boys with Josh and Jaime and drove to Ocean City for a week to ourselves.

We spent some time on the beach...

And some time golfing...

Or I should say, Michael golfed. I did this...

We are hugely grateful to all of the members of my family that made this week possible - Josh, Jaime, Miriam, Shane, Ashton, Mom, and Kellie!!!

Easter Decorating

On March 30, we drove up to Miriam's house so the boys and I could spend a couple days with her family and Josh's family while Michael went to New York for work. While he was gone, Miriam and I decorated eggs with the boys. I had sworn this year that I'd try the natural egg dying method (with spinach and beets and such), but once again laziness won out. Maybe next year.

Cole is in what Miriam calls "the ugly phase." Not that he's ugly. He's adorable. But he is losing teeth and has a huge gap in his front teeth. The funny thing is that in this picture, his front tooth hasn't even fallen out yet (it fell out two days ago). But there's a huge gap there anyway. Can someone be adorably ugly?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Greetings from Ocean City

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