Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mattie Gail Turns 4, and I Turn…Well, Older Than 4!

Molly’s friend Mattie Gail turned 4 earlier this month so you know what that called for, don’t you? Yep! A birthday party! Molly was beyond excited to share Mattie Gail’s special day with her.

And, oh what a party it was! A ladybug party to be exact. There were crafts, and games, and crafts, and food, and crafts, and cake, and more crafts! There was no down time at this party, now way! Something exciting to do every step of the way. Just take a look…

Upon arriving at the party, each guest got to assemble their very own ladybug party hat. Molly even but dots on her antennae. IMG_5360

Look at the sweet birthday girl back there in her ladybug dress.IMG_5363

Molly finished her hat and snuck over to Mattie’s horse for a quick ride. This is Molly’s favorite toy at Mattie’s house, so she just couldn’t resist. IMG_5365

Molly gives Mattie Gail a Happy Birthday hug.IMG_5367

Time to eat…Molly enjoying her favorite food: cheese. Hope you don’t have to worry about cholesterol in 4-year-olds because this kid is addicted to cheese.IMG_5369

Look craft projects to do while eating…cool!IMG_5370

Next was a rousing game of Pin the Spot on the Ladybug. I think Molly actually hit the target!IMG_5372

After everyone had a turn with the spots, the kids played a ladybug version of musical chairs…Musical Leaves. Molly was the last one standing and won the game.

She was a bit confused though. Every kid got a prize when they were “out.” Molly really wanted a prize but her competitive spirit wouldn’t let her give up just to get the goodies. She was rewarded at the end, have no fear. She got a princess puzzle. Oh my, the joy!IMG_5373

While waiting for the cake to be served it was time for…you guessed it. A craft! The kids constructed ladybugs out of raisins, peanut butter and pretzels.IMG_5377

Ummm, how cute is this cake? I mean really, it was simply adorable.IMG_5379

Mattie Gail gets ready to make a wish and blow out the candle. Molly was making a wish, too: She was wishing for an extra big piece of cake!IMG_5385

Looks like her wish came true! You know with Molly’s sugar issues, she (and everyone around her) will pay for it later. But for now, she feasts!IMG_5390

Post-cake sugar rush in action.IMG_5391

Watching Mattie open birthday gifts…the sugar crash is starting.IMG_5396

And one final group shot before the party was over.IMG_5402We got our coats and left quickly after this picture. Things were getting ugly in Molly World. Poor Molly just can’t handle her sugar.

Despite a few behavior issues, Molly had a great time at Mattie's party. Kudos to Tressa, Mattie’s mom. She put on a party that was as cute as a bug. A ladybug, that is!

As it happened, today was my birthday. That meant a double celebration. Tony and Molly got my favorite cake from the Chinese Bakery: Mocha Cappuccino. IMG_5403Lucky for Molly, this is not her favorite. She was content with a tiny dish of reduced sugar ice cream. We were all happy about that! We only needed to experience the sugar uglies once today.

Molly really thought that I needed a Mulan doll from the Disney store for my birthday. Luckily her Dad persuaded her that this would be a better gift.IMG_5408Be still my heart. I am in techie heaven! It’s a laser printer, scanner, fax and copier. And it’s all mine! The rest of the minions in the house can use the old printer, because this one is MINE.

But this right here was my best present of the day.IMG_5406Of course the one I got from my hubby was equally as good, but there was no one around to take a picture of it. Just use your imagination. But keep it clean…this is a family blog.

Thanks Molly and Tony for making this Older than 4 birthday so special. I love you!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Redeeming Myself

Last Friday was cold. Very, very cold. I woke up to below zero temperatures and fresh snow. Again. The husband was out of town. Again. That meant that I had to shovel. Again. Stop the madness. To top it off, school was canceled so I had to fill the entire day with entertaining and educational fun for my child.

I waited until it warmed up to 4 degrees, then put on every article of outerwear that I own and went out and shoveled. It sucked—just no other way to put it.

When I got back inside, I made two phone calls.

The first one was to Tony’s voice mail. I informed him that due to all of all of the shoveling and cold weather that I have endured because he hasn’t been here to do it, he is quickly using up all of the brownie points that he earned by sending me and Molly to China.

The second call was to my sister. I needed sympathy and I knew she would give it to me. She understands. She’s a kindred spirit when it comes to the inability to tolerate the cold. Ironically, when she picked up the phone, she said that she and her family were in route to the ski slopes but were driving through a snowstorm.

My advise was to tell her husband to exit off the highway at Frisco (a Colorado mountain town) and go directly to the Village Inn (that’s the Western version of Bob Evan’s for all of you Midwesterners reading). Once at the Village Inn she and her family should enjoy a delicious breakfast then turn the car around and head back to Denver. Skiing in a snow storm is no fun, especially when you are paying soooo much to ski.

When I told my sister about my dilemma she told me that I needed to go to and find something to do with Molly. That’s what she did when her kids were little.

I have just one thing to say: Why didn’t I know about this website like three years ago? Amazing, this website is simply amazing! Tons of crafts, activities and games all organized and easy to understand. I may just redeem myself and become a parent who does fun,exciting things. Not one that just suggest coloring all of the time.

I selected the Crafts link ( The first thing that caught my eye was a one minute video on Boredom Busting Crafts. I clicked on it and 60 seconds later I was armed with everything I needed for an afternoon of crafting fun! We weren’t going to have to spend another day coloring. Yipee!

The video showed three activities to do with a paper plate. Like I’ve said before, I am not good at thinking of things to do, but I am great at copying them.

Here’s what we did:

Paper Plate Project 1: Mosaic Flower

The video demonstrated a mosaic sun, but I thought a flower would be easier, so I improvised. Look at me go!

We started by cutting out different colors from pages of magazines. Molly did the rough cutting and then I used a paper cutter to cut them into small squares. We organized the paper squares by color in little plastic cups.

This took like an hour and a half and had Molly totally enthralled. She loved looking through the magazines.IMG_4254

Next we watered down some glue and brushed it over a picture of a flower that I sketched on the back of a paper plate. Molly carefully fitted the squares of colored paper in each section of the flower.IMG_4258

Because Molly is so anal obsessive careful she did a great job lining up the edges of her mosaic paper into straight lines.


After the entire flower was done she covered the whole plate in another layer of watered down glue.IMG_4262

Voila! Project 1 complete!IMG_4263This project took a couple of hours to do start to finish, but held Molly’s interest the entire time. It could be shortened quite a bit by using tissue paper or construction paper squares, but then you wouldn’t have the fun of explaining to your child what Stayfree Maxipads were  when she found an ad for them in her magazine.

And yes, Molly continued to do silly things right as I snapped the picture. Swell.IMG_4264

Paper Plate Project 2: Flying Bird

For this one, I rubber banded 2 plastic spoons together facing each other, not nested together. Molly colored in a beak with a sharpie…IMG_4270

and then added two eyes.IMG_4272

She cut a paper plate along some basic lines that I drew and we taped all of the pieces together with scotch tape. This project only took a few minutes, but flying the bird around the house lasted a lot longer.IMG_4273

Paper Plate Project 3: Frog Puppet

Molly painted both sides of a paper plate green.IMG_4287

IMG_4288While she waited for the paint to dry she cut out legs and eyes that I drew on green construction paper, and tongue that I drew on a scrap of the leftover pink paper plate.

The paint still wasn’t dry so it was time for Chef Molly to get busy cookin’.IMG_4297

She made a delicious grilled cheese sandwich on her cardboard stove (we made it a rule not to buy big plastic crap toys a long time ago). IMG_4298

Then sat down for a quick bite.IMG_4299

Before long, the paint on the craft project had dried and Molly glued eyes and legs onto the folded paper plate. I cut a slit on the fold of the plate and she finished the assembly by adding the the tongue. Frog puppet is finished!IMG_4289

Here’s Molly doing her frog pose with the frog puppet.IMG_4291

So there you go, a sixty second video filled up our day with three great crafty projects!IMG_4295

But by the end of the day, guess what Molly was doing…coloring. Oh well.IMG_4303

And by the way, my sister in Colorado called me later that evening.  She informed me that she had indeed enjoy a nice hot breakfast at the Village Inn in Frisco, and then headed back to Denver without skiing. Smart girl. Sisters help each other when times are tough! Love ya, sis!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cabin Fever

The gray skies have settled over the Midwest, the snow is coming in regular intervals, and unlike Colorado--where I grew up--there is nothing to do outside. No decent skiing, snowshoeing, or  sledding. Heck, the snow won’t even pack enough to build a snowman, much to Molly’s chagrin.

This time of year always reminds me on Jimmy Buffett’s song, Boat Drinks.

Boat drinks
Boys in the band ordered boat drinks
Visitors scored on the home rink
Everything seems to be wrong

Lately, newspaper mentioned cheap air fare
I gotta to fly to Saint Somewhere
I'm close to bodily harm

Twenty degrees and the hockey game's on
Nobody cares they are way too far gone
Screamin' "boat drinks", something to keep 'em all warm

This mornin', I shot six holes in my freezer
I think I got cabin fever
Somebody sound the alarm

I'd like to go where the pace of life's slow
Could you beam me somewhere Mr. Scott?
Any ol' place here on Earth or in space
You pick the century and I'll pick the spot

Oh I know, (I know)
I should be leaving this climate
I got a verse but can't rhyme it
I gotta go where it's warm!

I desperately want to go somewhere warm. But it ain't gonna happen. You see, this is the first year in a very long time that we are not heading south for a reprieve from the weather. As a result we definitely have cabin fever—but unlike the song I have not repeatedly used a firearm on my freezer.

One of the very first signs of Cabin Fever is hearing your almost five-year-old whine, “Mom! I’m bored! There’s nothing to do!” Christmas was less than a month ago, the kid has more toys than she knows what to do with, but she choses to leave them sit on the shelf and whine that there is nothing to do. Seriously? Nothing?

There is no real cure when your kid has Cabin Fever. You just have to wing it. Throw a bunch of stuff at her and see what sticks. It’s made me dig deep into my creative soul to figure out fun things to do.

I say I dig deep, but my creative soul is actually pretty shallow. I mean I can steal replicate someone else's idea, but am not that good at coming up with interesting things on my own. I just offer up some routine activities and hope that something sounds kind of interesting at the moment.

Here are some random shots from our first of many CABIN FEVER weeks this winter. (Honestly, this is a post about nothing in particular, but these are the only pictures I’ve got this week, I’ll try to make it seem like something.)

Molly has become quite a little artist recently. My first  thought when the “I’m bored!” whine starts is  to have her draw a picture. Molly’s art always has to have an audience. She wants to make artwork for someone. I convinced her that Grandma and Grandpa would  love a  Molly masterpiece to hang on their fridge.

This is what she came up with. I thought it was pretty good. It seems like just a few weeks ago we were limited to pictures of stick figures or suns. Although this one has stick figures and a sun, Molly has broadened her horizons. She’s added onto the basic design to make a meaningful work of art.  IMG_4221

After the first picture she started complaining about being bored again. I told her she always draws on top of her table. She should try drawing under her table. And she actually bought it. .IMG_4222

Hard to believe, I know, but she was pleased as punch to work on a little art project while under the table. Wish I was that easy to please!IMG_4223

Since I had the camera out, I asked Molly to pose for a few pictures. Oh Boy! Now there’s something original! She’s never done that before. But she was having fun, so I went with it. IMG_4225

She thought it was a crack-up to do silly things right as I was snapping the picture. She’s so my kid.IMG_4227

Next  up was a birthday phone call to Mia. Yes, I actually encouraged my daughter to talk to her friend on the phone. But I was desperate. I needed to make the whining stop. I know I will be kicking myself later for teaching her this skill.IMG_4237

Trying to make sure Mom can’t hear what she is saying. Hmmm, I didn’t even teach that. I guess some things are just embedded in a girl’s DNA.IMG_4238

Okay, she’s almost done. I better think of something else to do before she gets off.IMG_4240

How bout more pictures, Molly? This time we’ll put on your jacket and you can do the fashion model photo shoot.IMG_4241

Still thinking it’s funny to goof off right as I snap the picture.IMG_4242IMG_4243IMG_4244IMG_4247

Finally on Saturday we got a brief reprieve from our Cabin Fever: Chinese class. Molly and Avery had matching panda shirts. Yes, it was planned, but cute nonetheless.IMG_4250IMG_4251

So there it is. A post about absolutely nothing. Kinda like Seinfeld. He did a show about absolutely nothing for years, and it worked for him.

Now I think it is just about time for my boat drink.