Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Reason to Keep Your Teeth Clean

Have you ever asked people to watch your kid so you could go to something important like the dentist or doctor, and then gone and run another less "necessary" errand real quick afterwards - BEFORE you pick up your kid? 

Yah, me neither.

But wouldn't that be a great motivation to keep your really teeth clean so your cleanings are much shorter than anyone would expect???

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Triple Pool Party

A couple Saturdays ago we had a joint birthday party for Kate, my niece, and my best friend's son.  They all three have birthdays within a couple weeks of each other (the other two kids are actually only one day apart - Kate is the outlier).  We decided to throw a joint birthday party now while they're young and still amenable to the idea (because they don't really know any better!).  When they're older, they will probably have a lot more opinions. ;)

The obvious choice of activity and location was a swim party at my parents' pool!  Easy and fun.  So we went with an aquatic theme.  All three of us had a little brainstorming session, and then divided up the preparation tasks.  I think it came together fantastically considering there were three different people independently preparing it!

My primary task was cupcakes:

I saw an idea on Pinterest for something similar to these that I modified slightly.  I made 72 cupcakes (2 dozen each of three different flavors of cake).  I frosted them blue and then used colored goldfish crackers.  The original source used white confetti sprinkles for the bubbles, but I had trouble finding the white without buying a whole bottle of multi-color and then having to sort out the 1/8 of them that were white.  I ended up liking the effect of the little white nonpareils as bubbles even more.  Then I just used a tube of the premade black frosting that I already had around from a previous project and a small round tip to dab on little eyes.


There was quite the spread thanks to both my best friend and my sister:

One of my favorite things we did were the snorkel juice boxes:


We were inspired by this, but we wanted juices and not soda.  There were crayons to write your name on and/or decorate your snorkel mask.  Credit to my sister for the fabulous execution on these.  She took off the straws and hot glued them back on just so.

We tried to have the food kind of follow the theme.  Goldfish crackers and chips with "dip":

Life savers and swedish fish:

For decorations we put up blue and green streamers to look like water/seaweed:

Then we put up various sea critter cutouts that my sister made all over the place:

Some were on fishing line to look kind of like they were floating/swimming:

For a little game/activity, we let the kids go "deep sea diving" for "sunken treasure" on the lawn area just off the deck.  My best friend bought Mardi Gras beads, gold coins, ring pops, and stickers for the kids to collect in goody bags.

I think the birthday girls and boy had a great time, so a definite success in my book!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

My Kids - A Sketch

This about sums each of them up:  Kate just chill and sucking her thumb while looking at the fish, Claire busily talking your ear off about the fish, and Scott looking somewhere else entirely.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sea World

We finally went to celebrate Claire and Scott's birthdays. 

Claire and Scott chose to go to Sea World as a family rather than have a party.  I was totally fine with that!  Less work for me, and practically the same cost as two parties.

However, we had to wait until after soccer season was over and life calmed down a little to actually go.  On the other hand, we needed to go before Kate turned three and would actually require a paid ticket!  Two Saturdays ago fit the bill perfectly.  It was crowded, but not so bad that we felt like we didn't get to do everything we wanted to.

We also got to have my sister and her family come with us for free because of my brother-in-law's military service.  I love that Sea World does that.

We had an absolutely wonderful time.  Sea World is so much more pleasant than many other amusement parks.  Less standing, more sitting to watch a show.  Fewer lines because it's less ride-based.  More shade at shows or even air conditioned indoor exhibits.  My only complaint was that I was at the tail end of a cold that had made me lose my voice.  It's REALLY hard to get your kid's attention at a busy amusement park when you don't have a voice.

Oh yah, and one more complaint.  I had to wear glasses all day.  I don't have prescription sunglasses so I was squinting all day.  And sunscreen and sweat meant my glasses were sliding down all day.  And at the Shamu show, Claire was DYING to sit in the "splash zone."  It's a super big pain to wipe salt water off your glasses.  (Not to mention your camera lens!)  I'm SO glad this glasses wearing thing is almost over!!!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sun Spotting

Did anyone else try to watch the solar transit of Venus last Tuesday?  Or were we the only ones geeky enough to be excited about this?  The only ones geeky enough to have even heard that it was happening?  The only ones geeky enough to care???

Well, in case you were too busy having a real life, I'll give you a quick recap.  The planet Venus passed between the earth and the sun, becoming visible against the sun.  This is super rare.  It won't happen again until the year 2117.  So, you know, this was our last chance to see it.

But you couldn't see it with your naked eye - turning your retinas into smoldering piles of ashes and what have you.  We were reading up on it ahead of time and most places were suggesting that you view it the same way you view an eclipse.  They are all basically variations on poking a pin hole and projecting the circle of light coming through the hole onto a flat surface.

Did this actually work for anyone else?  We didn't have any luck.  Because with an eclipse, you don't need a lot of resolution so of course that would work, but Venus was TINY!!!

We did end up getting a good look at it:

See?  TINY!!!  I have trouble believing I could have seen it through a pin hole.  Instead, in short bursts, we did this:

We projected the sun backwards though Marshall's spotting scope onto a piece of paper.

And we didn't even start any fires!!!

Friday, June 8, 2012

That Lying Dirtbag

Last weekend I was hosting a party.  So obviously, I would need to vacuum.  But I have a dark brown rug in the living room.  After I vacuum, my kids get stuff on it again in about 2.5 seconds.  Every little crumbs stands out on dark brown.

(Aside note: I've tried both lighter and darker rugs.  I prefer darker now because with a lighter rug, the crumbs don't show but the dirty spots do.  I prefer a rug that can hide the stains.  With a good vacuuming, a dark rug can look nearly perfect again, even if the effect won't last long.  But it's much harder to reach a near perfect result with lighter rugs.)

I put off vacuuming until the end of the day when the kids were mostly done being in the living room.  And this was when I noticed that my vacuum roller brush wasn't turning.  Of course, when the party was starting in about an hour.  So I ended up vacuuming for my party on all fours with the upholstery attachment.

Yah, not fun.  Since I'm not hosting any more parties any time soon, I'm just gonna let my rug lie fallow until I fix the vacuum.

Which brings me to my next adventure.  Once the party aftermath had passed, I sat down to take apart the vacuum and verify what I suspected was a broken belt.  I looked at the bottom of the vacuum and molded into the vacuum's plastic were the following instructions, "TO ACCESS BELT & BRUSHROLL: REMOVE THREE SCREWS, TURN OVER AND LIFT NOZZLE COVER UP."  This seemed simple enough, so I removed three screws in various very asymmetrical locations from the bottom and started trying to remove the top cover.  I could pull one side up no problem, but the other side just wouldn't come up.  I tried every angle and wiggle and shake I could think of.  But something was holding it down really tight.  Finally I looked at the bottom again and saw that there was a screw right where it was stuck.  A fourth screw!  Once I removed that screw, everything came apart like a dream, I found the broken belt, and was on my merry wild goose chase way.  (Turns out? Not that easy to track down "style 20 belts.")

But four screws.  FOUR!  I could maybe begin to understand if the disassembly instructions were in a printed manual.  Or even on a sticker.  I can see a miscommunication between manufacturing and the tech writers about how many screws there are going to be in the final product.  Or if changes were made and someone missed an update in the documentation.  But these words about three screws were molded into the plastic.  You know, the same mold where they had molded in FOUR screw holes.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

So Long, Contacts!

Today is a momentous day.  This very well could be the last day I wear contacts.  EVER.  I am strangely freaked out by this.  The reason for bidding contacts farewell is that I am getting lasik soon, but that's not what's freaking me out.  Cutting a flap on my eye with lasers and what have you... no biggie.  I'm not freaked by the prospect of surgery, but of being without contacts.  I have worn them since the 8th grade, so more than half of my life.  I got glasses 22 years ago.  What will this be like???  I think I will feel naked at first, kind of like when you forget to put on a watch or wedding ring that you always wear.

But I am really excited!  I'm so glad the timing is finally right for this!

PS - Just a little tip.  Do not stock up on contact solution at Costco when they have a coupon if there is a chance that out of the blue a couple months later your husband will suggest that you spring for lasik.  There is a remote chance that your frugality logic is so messed up that you will be apprehensive about permanently fixing your myopia and leading a life of carefree joy and unencumbered good vision just so you can use up the rest of the contact solution supply you bought. (Issues?  What issues?)

PPS - Anyone interested in buying some contact solution at deep discount?  New and unopened!

Monday, June 4, 2012

School's Out for Summer!

We survived the end of the school year!  All of the end-of-the-school-year madness has ensured my need for vacation.  I'm sure there's some sort of profound irony in that, but my brain is too fried to figure it out.

Scott at his End-of-the-Year Kindergarten Luau.
He turned out to be quite the hula-hooper even though he'd never picked up a hoop before!

We jumped right into vacation with a visit from my aunt who lives in California.  We stayed overnight for a couple nights at my parents' house while she was here in order to maximize visit time.  We toured downtown with her on Memorial Day.

Following Grandpa exploring in Zilker Park.

The kids fleeing from Grandpa as he splashed them with water!

My dad with his grand-kid entourage.

And at the end of our time in Zilker, we almost got run over by this guy hauling his canoe up the path:
I got tired just watching him!