Photo Scavenger Hunt

Rebecca and her cousin had a play date last week and they couldn’t agree on what they wanted to do. One wanted to do this and the other wanted to do that. I would mention an idea and one person liked the idea but the other did not. This went on for quite a while until I suggested that they do a photo scavenger hunt. I came up with a list of things to look for and they had to take pictures of the items listed on the page. I sent them off with my old Olympus and this is what they came back with.


1 white cat
1 grey cat
1 orange cat (but don’t get too close to it!)
1 pine cone
pink flowers
orange flowers
basketball net
1 red barn
a swing
a tired Christmas tree
a vine covered rock
a little red wagon
a yellow fire hydrant
a mailbox that looks like a house
the number 36

(They could not find the pine cone. Don’t know why there are tons! And the orange cat.)

Scavenger hunts are a great way to entertain kids of all ages. If they are old enough give them a camera. If they are too young to read draw some pictures for them on a piece of paper and use that as their list. Walk around your neighborhood beforehand to see what they can look for.

My "imaginary friends"

and I all got together on Wednesday at the Roger Williams Zoo in Providence, RI. We first “met” nearly 3 years ago on the ivillage message boards when we were all newly pregnant. Our friendships have blossomed over the years and we have so much more in common than just our 2 year olds. We had such a great time and we will plan many more get togethers in the future. Hopefully even one or two without the kids!

What I did for love…

The kids wanted to swim in the pool last night. We had been out all day and I had promised them earlier that they would be able to. Of course as soon as we got to the house I went back on my word. Honestly I could have cared less if the older two had gone for a swim. It was 8:00pm, 69 degrees out; the sun was hiding behind the clouds and starting to set. It was not warm out by any means and still, kids will be kids and they wanted to go swimming. I am quite certain you could have heard my groans all the way out in California.

I would have been quite content lounging on a chair, poolside in my warm wintry fleece but with Alexander by my side this was not remotely in the realm of possibility. If Rebecca and Christopher go swimming then Alexander goes too. And that means so do I. Ugh what to do? What to do? Then Good Mom kicked in. How often do my kids get to swim in cool (read freezing cold!) weather in Sunset? Not many! So, for the sake of a memory that will hopefully last a lifetime I decided to put on my Big Girl Panties and suck it up (and suck it in!) It was cold out for certain but the water was actually quite warm. The squeals of delight and the laughter and splashes made it all worth while. The fun they had last night was worth every freezing second of it!

Btw, he is wearing a suit with built-in floaties… he’s not quite that built!

Confessions of a Procrastinating Procrastinator

The kids and I are headed off to Newport tomorrow afternoon. I am not packed. I had all day to pack and I didn’t do it. I did the laundry. I folded the laundry. I did not put the laundry away. That is the world’s most God-awful chore — next to emptying the dishwasher. Well, not so much emptying the dishwasher, but putting everything in it away. See a pattern here?

Perhaps if I pull the clothes from all the laundry baskets there will be fewer laundry baskets to empty. I hope I don’t forget anything. I would be in serious trouble. You see nothing is replaceable. There certainly aren’t any stores in Newport. None at all. Not one whatsoever.

So I absolutely have to remember:

Pulmicort and Albuterol for the Nebulizer

(We have toothbrushes, toothpastes, shampoos, sunscreens, etc there)

1 dress for Becca
1 bathing suit
1 skirt and 1 top
1 pair of pants
3 shirts
shoes…. (undecided)
head band/barrettes/pony tail holder
hair brush
pink blankey
Doll and animal (TBD which ones)

4 shirts and 4 shorts for Alexander
swim suit
Pull-Ups for night time
Dalmatian and Blue

4 shirts and 4 shorts for Christopher

toys/games to leave there (ie get them out of this house!!!)

2 shirts
1 shorts
1 white pants
1 white tank
hand lotion
face cream
shoes — flip flops

back up battery for camera
cell phone and charger
Nintendo and charger
phone numbers of the girls I am meeting at the zoo on Wednesday
Stroller! (Jogger?!)

As I make my list of things to be sure not to forget you can betcha that I will. And I just know I am forgetting something…

I could start packing now but nah… But why not put off what I can do today until tomorrow!

And if any of you (Marie!!!) like lists as much as I do and make lists for your lists you should definitely check out this blog by List Mama. I stumbled across it the other day and I have added it to my favorites!

Life’s a Beach!

Today was one of those picture perfect days that come every once in a blue moon… one of those Norman Rockwell days that other people have. Today the kids were behaved — well behaved! They did not bicker, argue or brawl and whatever whining there was, was kept to a minimum. Today was so good that I am fully anticipating the worst for tomorrow!

We got to the beach at around Noon with our towels and chairs and toys, sandwiches, lemonades and Sun Chips. We left at 7:00 after dinner of cheeseburgers, fries and more lemonade. The tide was high when we first arrived and way out when we left. Low tide at this beach is great. The kids can play on the wet sand for hours and dig all the way to China without getting bored. We hadn’t anticipated staying so long but the day and the weather were perfect. The thunderstorms that were predicted never came. The skies were blue and cloudless. The winds light, mild — perfect. The sun was strong but not too hot. We are all exhausted from a long and full day. The older two are still awake. Rebecca is watching the Parent Trap and Don and Christopher are watching Star Wars. I am downloading pictures and trying to keep my eyes open. Alexander fell asleep in the car on the way home from the beach.

I am sure he will have me up before the birds tomorrow. And I am sure I will spill coffee all over the place. And maybe the mug will fall and shatter all over the floor. I wouldn’t be at all surprised. After all days like today are once in a lifetime! I am fighting to stay awake because I do not want it to end.

Can you believe…

I don’t want to kill them yet?

Before you go and report me to CPS and have me arrested like that German lady who wanted to sell her kids on eBay (and don’t you for one moment think I haven’t wanted to do that) I am speaking figuratively (for the time being, at least) and not literally!

So we have been out of school for 1 week, 2 days and 6 hours (but no one is counting) and so far I haven’t gotten too annoyed with them. Have only wanted to throttle two of them — and only 1 time a piece. Have only wanted to slap one little toosh for trying to deconstruct the stereo system!

Now that same little devil is playing with the broken Roomba. Gee, wonder how it got broken in the first place?! It’d sure be nice to have that in working order and have my house all swept up while I slept. My cleaning fairy is not working. Perhaps we’ll get a new one and while we are at it we can get a Scooba as well! Imagine waking up every morning to freshly vacuumed and mopped floors! It would almost make me forget to yell at the kids to wipe their feet when they come in from outside.

I digress again… so here we are day 9 of summer vacation and everything is moving along swimmingly. I have had the kids busy and out of the house (really no better way to go!) or else they have had friends here. Notsobad either. Anything to avoid the “Mom, I’m bored” whines that so easily escape my kids lips.

My kids have no reason to be bored. My kids don’t really know what being bored is all about. They have toys. Oodles of toys. And, like it or not, they have each other. They have paper and pens and crayons and markers. They have puzzles and games. They have indoor toys and outdoor toys. They have books. And if that’s not good enough there is laundry to wash and fold and put away. There are boxes to unpack still and copper and silver to polish. (Oh God, I am my mother.)

I saw Christopher about to mutter that deadly “I’m bored” phrase. I had just told him to turn off the TV. That damned TV that has robbed him of intellect and creativity. (Oh God here we go again. Shut up, Mother, shut up!!!) Christopher, luckily came to his senses and decided to take a little walk down the driveway with the little red wagon to get the recycling bins. On his way back up (while fighting with his brother as to who was going to actually get to pull the wagon) Christopher saw our neighbor hitting balls with his bat. Christopher said hello and any opportunity for boredom was immediately averted! As soon as Robbie arrived the squirt guns came out and the sprinkler came on in full force. There was laughter and shouting and fun to be had!

Meanwhile Rebecca was off at her Grandmother’s house for an overnight with her cousin. They had gone to see Sleeping Beauty (the ballet) at Lincoln Center which was followed by dinner and shopping at the American Girl Place. She has been there all day. (A good thing. She is not a big fan of Robbie’s, at the moment.)

And how does Alexander feel about having his brother and sister home for the summer? Well, yesterday he asked if we could go to school. I asked him if he wanted to go to Mrs. Shannon’s classroom (where he will be in the Fall) and he said “No, I want to take Rebecca and Christopher back!”

the party…

Everyone has been requesting pictures and details of the party. I would have had them up for you all yesterday but I was just tuckered out. Exhausted. Wiped out. Knackered. Dead. I couldn’t move! Preparing for the party was a lot of work. Not more than I had anticipated, but I think that planning it on the heels of the move while working on the house and unpacking took more of a toll on me than I had expected. But the party was a grand success!

On Thursday I went to Target to get some paper goods and plastic cutlery and saw these adorable frames and bowls, all part of the Cynthia Rowley Whim collection. The color theme of blues and greens were chosen based on these!

More from the Cynthia Rowley Whim collection…

I just love these baskets. I picked up two of them!

Due to the rain we decided to set the food up in the Padded Room. Ugh, what a terrible clash! (The good news is that dining room will be redone soon!)

It was agreed upon, unanimously, that Madras and plaid are best left to clothing and not walls!

We had over 40 people here on Sunday — including children. There was order and very little chaos. At one point the skies did open up and we brought everyone inside, but 20 minutes later the sun came out and dried up the rain (and the itsy bitsy spider went up her spout again!) and I sent everyone back out. The rain brought some cooler, less humid weather her way as well. As soon as everyone went back out I went back to work in the kitchen pulling all the final details together to get lunch on the table.

As soon as the food was served the hungry kids filtered in and I went out with my camera to take pictures of my party goers and poured myself a small glass of wine and tended to the children and chatted amongst my guests. I wasn’t hungry — all the adrenaline — but people were raving about the food, especially the pulled pork which people could not believe I made and did not buy someplace!

I was glad that Don was relaxing and enjoying himself. Despite the fact the party was supposed to be for him he spent many long hours getting (the house) ready for it. At one point I thought I might not be allowed to have another party ever again! (This event certainly would not have been remotely feasible in The Crazy Crowded House.)

All in all a great time was had by all… and yes there will be many more parties to come in the Entertaining House!

For more party pictures click here!

Writing Assignment…

I have a few friends whose blogs have been dormant so I said I would be an Honorary Writing Assignment Giver so that they could write about what I suggested. The first assignment was to write about 20 things you like about the summer and 20 things you don’t. Feel free to participate. If you are going to, please post a comment so we can go to your site to check it out!

Twenty things I like about Summer: (in no particular order)

20: the smell of freshly mowed grass
19: walking barefoot on freshly mowed grass
18: the smell of the beach
17: going to the beach
16: Ocean Parke, ME
15: Newport, RI
14: Del’s Lemonade
13: ice cream from The Soda Fountain
12: barbecues
11: flip flops
10: easy breezy clothing
9: not rushing out in the morning to school or to after school activities
8: lemonade on a hot day
7: playing in the back yard with the kids and the kiddie pool and the sprinkler
6: eating dinner outside
5: the long hours of sunlight
4: sending the kids outside and keeping them there!
3: picnic on the beach in the evening with friends
2: catching fireflies
1: being inside with my family during a big summer storm

Twenty things I dislike about summer (in no particular order)

1: mosquitoes
2: itchy mosquito bites
3: bees and wasps
4: bee stings
5: sand in the house
6: sand all over the place
7: sand in the car
8: having to vacuum the kitchen at least once a day
9: my super-huge grocery bill
10: the cost of gas
11: humidity
12: extreme heat
13: feeling sticky
14: bathing suits! (Ha Ha Ha!)
15: hearing the kids say I’m bored
16: it’s very long…
17: the days start to shorten after June 21
18: having to bathe the kids EVERY day
19: too many dishes with the kids around
20: that it ends!

which one of these kids is not mine?

Eva slept over last night. The Disney Channel was having a back to back High School Musical 1 and 2 marathon. That’s what the girls were doing. But when they weren’t doing that they were playing dress-up. Not dressing up each other. No, they are wayyyy too old for that. Dressing up Alexander! Rebecca asked him if he wanted to play dress up and he was so excited! He had been in the kitchen with me and took off (on a tear) upstairs with the girls.

This lovely pink and white toile dress is a size 4! What a husky little girl I have!!! This was his evening dress. (He had his plaid boxer shorts on underneath!)

This morning he had on a really pretty yellow Ralph Lauren dress with a white Peter Pan collar and smocking across the front. He had at least 4 pony tails in his hair! Despite the feminine attire there is no denying Alexander is all boy because all he wanted was his blue tool kit! I have to dig up some of my old pictures. There is a picture of me, roughly the same age, hair just an oomph longer and I am riding my little tricycle. We look an awful lot alike! If you look closely you will see he got his hair cut. They took too much off and I was so sad. I miss my shaggy bowl cut. This hair cut is too clean and makes him look too grown up. I want my shaggy baby back!

Christopher, by the way, was really bothered by his brother in a dress. He kept demanding I take it off… hang on while I dig up one of him at the same age in a pair of my heels…

Lemon Parmesan Orzo Salad

This is one of my favorite side dishes. It couldn’t be any easier to make and it is filled with flavor. This dish is great dressed up for an elegant meal, or dressed down for a barbeque as we are having tomorrow. I loosely based my version off of Giada deLaurentis’ Lemon Spaghetti.

1 lb. Orzo (small pasta resembling rice)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Juice from 1 1/2 to 2 lemons
Freshly ground sea salt, to taste
Light sprinkling crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

In a small bowl (I use a large glass measuring cup) measure and add olive oil, cheese and lemon juice. Stir well, add red pepper flakes, mix well.
Pour over pasta, mix well.
Add salt to taste
Garnish with parsley, cilantro or basil if desired