Tuesday, February 14, 2017

#MomFail

2 days ago: had kids get their school candy grams ready. I was on the ball!! Why can't every mom be super organized like me? I mean seriously, take notes!!

1 day ago: withdrew cash to pay for candy grams. (I actually needed cash for several things so I was really proud of myself for withdrawing one lump sum instead of writing a zillion small-dollar checks. Man, I was mastering this thing called life!!!)

Today: candy grams' forms and money due. Totally forgot to send them to school.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Bonnie Plant's 3rd Grade Cabbage Program

Each spring, every 3rd grader in Alabama (and other states that choose to participate) receives a cabbage sapling from Bonnie Plants that they are encouraged to plant and nurture for 12 weeks. There are several goals of this program, including:
  • developing an interest in agriculture
  • teaching the basics of gardening and the importance of food systems
  • awarding a $1,000 scholarship to the student in each participating state who grows the largest cabbage
Stinky received his a few weeks ago and kept it in a sunny spot in the kitchen until the weather was mild enough to put it in the ground. Cabbie, as it has affectionately been named, has its own raised bed full of rich, compost to help it along.


 
 
Still needed are fertilizer granules (cabbage is a heavy feeder) and BT to control cabbage looper populations.
 
Finally a school project that I can use as the basis to remind Stinky daily of the benefits of having a Master Gardener mom. Even though I am inactive, and have never grown cabbage before.
 
Stay tuned as Stinky and I will post updates on Cabbie and hopefully meet all three goals!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Valentine's Day is for Lovers

Yes, Valentine's Day is for lovers. Young lovers with dual incomes and no children. Parents of school-aged children have zero time for long, romantic dinners at overcrowded and overpriced restaurants. I can't even find time for a luxurious, uninterrupted bath. And when it falls on a school night, well, are we even required to acknowledge it?

But I do enjoy a reason to add festive touches around the house:

My clearance mini Christmas trees got a makeover with felt heart stickers.


A Dollar Tree banner was deconstructed and redone to hang over the fireplace. I forgot to take a before picture, but it used to hang vertically. I like this look much better.


I painted this heart door hangar last year. Finally get to use it!


Another Dollar Tree find. Not entirely sure what these are, but I always hang them off flower pots since the legs are cloth and therefore moveable.


Very likely the only thing we'll be doing next Tuesday evening is homework, ballet and karate. However, we purchased an outdoor movie screen and projector that I am dying to break in. I'm thinking next weekend, we'll have a family Valentine movie night under the stars with take out and lots of chocolate. Just the way I like it.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Quote of the Week - A Picture is Worth a Lot More Words Than You Think


This picture is deceiving. It looks like a sweet big brother helping his little sister with his homework. And it is. What you don't know, and this is where the deception comes in, is the story behind this photo.

Yesterday's homework session went a little like this:

Stinky: "Yes! I only have 2 pages tonight!"

Proceeds to complete his homework in minutes and runs off to play.

Highly unusual on ALL counts!

*****

Blinky: "But we have benchmark testing this week. I don't understand why I have to do homework!!"
[The implication here is that since no new material was presented this week, any worksheets her teacher assigned are duplicate homework.]

This goes on for the better part of an hour.

Me: "If you don't do your homework, we're simply not going to gymnastics."

Blinky: [hysterical crying] "But I wanna go to gymnastics!!!"

Me: "Then get it done by 5:15!"

Two minutes later, after no progress was made and crying only got louder, Stinky comes over.

Stinky: "Don't cry Stinky. I'll help you."

Progress

Some 20 minutes later...

Stinky: "Ugh! Stop getting distracted!!" #irony

Maybe 10 minutes after that...

Stinky: "Ok mom, she's done. See, you just have to be nice.

Me: [crickets]

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Lady Liberty

This week, Lady Liberty visited our elementary school. Lady Liberty is a traveling civics course designed to empower children and promote healthy citizenship.

This was Blinky's first year to participate, but Stinky's second. Both were equally excited to come home and tell me what they learnt, including:

  • the history and purpose of the Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island
  • the role Ellis Island played in early immigration to the United States
  • how to give back to the community
  • how to recognize and honor individuals who go the extra mile for their community
  • and most importantly, drum roll please...why Lady Liberty is green [patina]
I am so pleased the kiddos thoroughly enjoyed the program and retained so much information. They are well on their way to becoming a few of the Next Great Americans!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Quote of the Week

Random grown-up: "Stinky, how are an orange and apple alike?"

Stinky: "I don't know."

Random grown -up: {crickets}

Stinky: "They're both fruit." Followed by a lengthy (and very accurate) explanation about the different types of airplanes he's been on.

Random grown-up: "So you know all that but couldn't tell me how an orange and apple are alike."

Stinky: "I don't study fruit, I study airplanes."

Monday, January 16, 2017

Christmas in Nassau

We spent Christmas Eve thru New Year's Eve with my parents and brother in Nassau. Its been a while since I'd been home and the kids were starting to forget details from our 2014 visit when they were only 6 and 5, so it was well overdue.

We arrived Saturday evening and spent it with my parents at home. My Dad made cracked conch, bean & rice and conch fritters for dinner. It was delicious! That night after putting Stinky and Blinky to bed, the grownups wrapped presents to help Santa.

Christmas morning, the kids were up bright and early to see what Santa left! Based on their current interests, the grandparents splurged on a solar robot kit, motorized car kit and deluxe artist set for Stinky. Blinky received a perfume making kit, beaded jewelry & accessory kit and a tea party set. They were overjoyed!

The DH and I took the kids to the beach while my Dad (the cook) worked on a spread including, grilled lobster tails, baked ham, bean & rice, baked macaroni, and pumpkin cheesecake. Yum! Later that afternoon, we visited my paternal aunt who had the loveliest Christmas decorations!!! Unfortunately I didn't get any sans the kids, so these will have to do:



In addition to her beautifully adorned home, she also laid out a wonderful spread including lobster quiche, baked ham, fried wahoo, Bailey's cheesecake and guava duff. But most importantly, we had the opportunity to spend the evening with extended relatives we hadn't seen in a very long time.

Monday morning, my parents and brother joined us on Bay Street to catch the tail end of the Christmas Junkanoo parade. As usual, the colors and costumes are spectacular! Take a look for yourself:









After the parade, we explored Downtown Nassau. One of the most interesting stops to me was a former underutilized area rich in Bahamian history, that was transformed into Pompey Square. It is a prime piece of real estate linking Bay Street to Nassau Harbor and shopping areas. In the short time we were there, lots of visitors meandered through to take in the Christmas decorations and read about the brave slave named Pompey, for whom the site is named.

 


As we were leaving, we heard someone blowing a conch shell and headed over the Nassau Harbor. I've wanted a clean one for years to bring back to the states, and island accent strong, we negotiated the sale of a large queen conch shell for only $5. We suspected the lady was not licensed to sell these, but it was the day after Christmas and [ashamedly] the price was right.


Up for more adventure, we headed to Potter's Cay for conch salad. You may have seen videos of young, island guys chopping vegetables with a machete at an incredible pace. Ours was not one of those vendors. LOL! Our order took about 1.5 hours, in which time we were invited to play checkers with others waiting. Even the kids got to play. No worries though, the vendor is an old family friend and we allowed for this.


That's my Mom in the background. She'd been on the phone trying to arrange a meet with the art teacher at her school to make shell crafts with the kids. Mrs. M was on her way so conch salads in hand, we raced back home to meet her.


Using local shells and sea fans, we made animals and underwater scenes that we later gave away as souvenirs. How cute are these:


The rest of the evening was spent watching tv and eating leftovers.

On Tuesday, my Mom joined us as we headed back to Downtown Nassau to visit Pirates of Nassau, which was closed the day before for the parade. It is a museum chronicling the history of Pirating in the Bahamas. Mom and I visited the museum before, but it was a first for the DH and kids. They loved the ARRRRRR MATEY!!! pirate at the door to greet us. Blinky even got to hold his pistol.

Inside, the museum was very well laid out and expertly done. One of those if you squint just right, it feels like you were there. The light show for the display of Blackbeard attacking a ship was a bit intense for the kids, so Grammy took them to the courtyard restaurant while the DH and I completed our tour.

 















Next we did a little souvenir shopping and loaded up on beach towels, Christmas ornaments and other household gifts. The kids had some Christmas money that was burning a hole in their pockets. Stinky scored a pirate ship that's more display than toy, but since he just stares at the intricacies of it, they're a perfect match. Blinky got a hat and sundress that scream vacation wear, which means she will wear it every chance she gets in our landlocked city.

Before heading home, we stopped at a beach to let the kids play in the sand. Even though they weren't dressed for a swim, they got thoroughly soaked and loved every minute!

 






We hung with my Dad and brother on Wednesday at Montague Beach while my Mom caught up with schoolwork. While there, we visit Fort Montague. It's one of the smallest forts but has sweeping views of Nassau and Paradise Island.

 


 








Wednesday evening the kids and I did a little grocery shopping with my Mom. Nassau prices are exorbitant to say the least! You pay to play in Paradise it seems.

Thursday Daddy and I had yard duty. My parents' landscaping is virtually non-existent after Hurricane Matthew devastated New Providence last October. So Daddy and I redid the front flower beds with oyster plants and Crown of Thorn plants. We planted mint in the side yard that my Mom rooted from plants at work. And we planted several young seagrape trees in the backyard that I may or may not have dug up from one of our beach trips. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures but truthfully, everything we planted was so young, our stories of working hard in the heat of the day would fall on deaf ears.

On Thursday night the DH and I went out for drinks with a few of my old friends and favorite cousin at Lukka Kairi. The company was great and the venue was spectacular! The restaurant overlooks Nassau Harbor and has several aquariums teeming with lobsters and conch ready to be ordered. Prices are on the higher end but worth it.



Friday was a mishmash of trying to squeeze everything in before we left. The DH and I were desperate to get lunch at The Pepper Pot downtown (my brother was treating us to lunch), even though there was literally no parking, traffic was bumper to bumper and preparations were already being made for the New Year's Junkanoo Parade. The DH ended up walking to the restaurant while the kids and I circled for what felt like forever. I did get to snap these shots while sitting in traffic though:




Since we were not able to eat in the restaurant, we decided to eat...at the beach! This is also where we met up with one of my former supervisors who I haven't seen in probably 10 years. It was really fun catching up! One ice cream pit stop later, we were back home trying to pack.

On Saturday morning, as we're getting ready to head to the airport, two of my former co-workers popped in to say goodbye. We literally had minutes, but I appreciated them coming over to see everyone. Next visit we'll have more time to spend together.

And just like that our week was over. We enjoyed spending the time we had with our family and friends, especially at Christmas. My parents are always so accommodating and extend the royal treatment. And like my Mom loves to remind me, her house is always home. Thanks Mom!