Papa and Nonie are here!

So far we have picked them up at the airport.
Had lunch at Wendy's:
Picked up a cool rental car:

Unloaded the van and checked into the hotel:

 Had a tour and relaxed at home, playing trains and dolls. ;)

Next up: Dinner, some quick shopping, and bed. Two a.m. came pretty early for Papa and Nonie and they are beat! More tomorrow!

Fish Sitting

Since we are the only people not going to Florida for spring break, we are fish sitting. ;)

Have you ever tried to take a picture of a goldfish?

Not very cooperative.

She was more cooperative, but the scary eyes are something aren't they?

Not as cooperative as Hallie, but more so than the fish:

Least cooperative of all? Loco, of course.

Papa and Nonie are coming.

So I did the mean mom thing.

I made the kids clean up the basement. For safety's sake. Trust me.

For the majority of our stay, Shawn and I have rarely ventured down to the basement. We've made them tackle it about 5 times, maybe 6? So that's less than once a month. Plus no one ever sees it but kids. So it's one of those things we sort of ignore until you can't ignore it any longer.

In addition to that, I got a replacement for my little Samsung camera after it crapped out on me after a mere 5 months. I upgraded a bit to a new Sony, (even though I'm still bitter about my last cybershot, I couldn't pass up the deal) . I decided a few before/after shots would be just the thing! Plus I wouldn't want the grandparents to have any delusions about how tidy the children are, honesty is the best policy you know. ;)

So in the before shots I can assure you that a bomb did not go off. In spite of the leaning closet doors. (Lets not get into the defective closet doors and/or wiring/electrical issues throughout this house, suffice it to say, I can't wait to get back to Tucson for this reason alone!Grrrr)

No, no bombs. Just lazy, slobs for children. And it's not all their fault. Their friends helped too. (suuuuuuure, blame the friends who aren't there, slick right?)

Ahhh, the sweet After: (which I have no delusions about lasting, don't worry)

Kira was so happy she did some cartwheels and Evan hugged a post.

Can't wait to show you in person Papa and Nonie! See you tomorrow!

Kira's toys say "Hello from Chicago!"

She asked for her own blog post and took this picture herself. ;)

My little Democrat!

Kira is a bleeding heart liberal. I will have to work on that. ;)

But the way she carries on you would like she is best buds with Al Gore. Such a little tree hugger.

She is feeling very concerned about the environment (she still won't remember to turn off her light in her bedroom though!). She wants to recycle or reuse everything. There are times she looks like she is going to cry when I tell her to put something in the trash. So when she saw this:

She started begging. Begging like you would not believe in the middle of the store. But not for chips.

No, not my kid. Not your regular, "PLEEEEEEASE!!! Mommmmmmmy! You *NEVER* let us have chips! PLEEEEEEASE!!!!"

Oh no, it was "Mommy, PLEEEEEEEEEEEASE!!! You HAVE to buy this! It will save the planet! After all the chips are gone, we can just put dirt on this bag and it will just practically turn into dirt too! I PROMISE I will put it in the dirt when we finish it!"

So I caved.

Apparently Chicago didn't get the Memo: SPRING starts TOMORROW!

Argh! This is what I woke up to this morning. >:(

So lets review: The photo below was taken two days ago and it looked *exactly* the same yesterday.

Now I have not complained once this winter. In fact, I rather enjoyed it. But now? Now is the time for spring. This is not ok today!


Jamie Oliver is starting a food revolution!

 One of the things I am concerned with is what the schools are serving our children for school lunch. I find that the food is just as bad as I recall as a child. I packed a lunch (or rather my mom did it for me) until I was in the fourth grade. I ate in the cafeteria begrudgingly until my freshman year of higshcool, when I resorted to corn dogs and a Dr. Pepper or a bag of Sun Chips and a Dr. Pepper or a get the idea. Until Friday when I ate at Taco Time.

My point being. I never liked the food and only ate there because it was necessary for our family at the time.
For first grade Kira took a lunch from home nearly every day. I'm sad to admit that this year that hasn't been the case at all, and I've fallen into the," writing a check is much easier" trap. In addition to that I have not eaten at her school so I have no idea what she is even eating each day. :( 

I picked up a bunch of  Bento stuff at a Japanese dollar store in San Diego a couple of years ago and I find that that makes packing so easy when I do it. Plus it really gives a great visual for portion control. I just wonder what the reality of my doing this will be when I'm trying to get all of us out the door and off to school (me included) in August.
This premise, to change the food in our schools excites me, yet at the same time it really intimidates me. I know that getting change in our schools can be like beating your head against a brick wall. I was on the PTA for two years. And it is better in some places than others. 

In addition to that, we all know that good food costs more. And with our economy and the HUGE slashes that the AZ leaders are taking to the education budget, it feels impossible.
I would like to think it isn't and I'm hoping that this show will help pave the way, give ideas and incentive to make a change. I hope to be a part of that change. 

Sadly, I think anyone who really pushes this through that doesn't bear the name "Jamie Oliver" and isn't being followed around by camera's will not experience the success we would hope for.
"A message from Jamie..."
I believe that every child in America has the right to fresh, nutritious school meals, and that every family deserves real, honest, wholesome food. Too many people are being affected by what they eat. It's time for a national revolution. America needs to stand up for better food!

You live in an amazing country full of inspirational people and you have the power to change things. With your help, we can get better food into homes, schools and communities all over America and give your kids a better future.

Sign the petition to save America's cooking skills and improve school food. It could be the most important thing you ever do for your family. America's health needs you now!

  • Sneak Peek on Sunday 21st March 10pm EST and Friday 26th March – 8 pm EST on ABC

Spring is in the air!

Well...sort of.

We got a small taste of it this week at least. Temps in the mid 60's and sunny! It's been so nice. A cold front is moving in tomorrow afternoon though to take it all away. Back to freezing and snow/rain mix this weekend. Boo!

So I made sure the kids had tons of time to play outside after school. They have been cooped up far too long. They barely played here, the next door neighbor has "cooler stuff" than us, but tonight no one was available to play, so they had to hang out with me. ;)

Then I just followed them around with a camera. I'm such a pain.  Then I messed around with effects on Picnik's site. Don't mind me, or the randomness of the pictures. ;)

Hello pigtails! I just love her hair.

And not the greatest photo for quality, but I included it because I love the expression on his face. It's just so...him!

Thanks for looking! Happy Spring!


I thought it would be fun to get the kids a little treat for yesterday.

I have given up eating sugar, but that doesn't mean I could resist temptation. Unless that temptation is smothered in nasty frosting.

Fortunately for my waistline, frosting is a sure fire way to keep me from eating the goods. No will power needed.

Leprechaun Trap!

Evan's weirdest homework assignment to date has to be the Leprechaun Trap. Ok. It's the weirdest to date for both my kids and all my group home kids too! I'd never even heard of such a thing, thank goodness for Google and the people who like to make them and post pictures and hints.

 So we picked up a few supplies at Michaels and set to work. Kira helped with some expert sticker placement, Evan glued down all the gold jewels, stuck the leprechaun decoy on top and made the ladder and rainbow to lure him in!

After we finished we took it outside for some decent light to photograph it.

Here is Evan demonstrating how this will work: He climbs up the ladder, sees the gold under the rainbow but then falls right in the hole when he tries to go across!

Unfortunately the  leprechaun trap failed! They all did, but the naughty little leprechauns made a big mess in kindergarten! He dumped out baskets, put the rocking chair on green table, turned yellow table upside down, put the bean bag chairs on the counter and moved their art around so it was all mixed up! ;) 

Oh well! It was fun to try at least!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I know, its been awhile!

Not sure what happens, I get out of the groove I guess and then a week is gone by.

One of my issues is my little camera stopped working. And I haven't looked for the paperwork to take it in to Best Buy yet.

So I'm back to the big camera, which is fine, but harder to grab on the go.

Kira has been practicing braids and pony tails. It's been fun to be her practice head. I love having my hair done, so it is relaxing to me and she is learning. Though the styles she comes up with are, *ahem*, interesting. Here is one from last week. ;)

She was also practicing her photography skills with these pics. :)
Scary, no make-up face! Oh well!

You like that exposure? I think the camera may have been going at this point. Yikes! Couldn't fix that, sorry. :)

Shawn is working on my new computer though, so soon I'll be practicing some mad photoshop skillz for your viewing pleasure!

Have headache.

For two days. Will be back when I can see straight.

In the meantime, I need a healthy appetizer and recipe to share at a health night my friend is hosting Friday night.

I'm drawing a  blank.

Anyone care to share a favorite?

We are doing Yoga, having detox tea and protein shakes, so you know, it might not be wise to show up with chocolate chip cookies or bean dip and fritos.

Just saying.


Jelly Belly Factory!

So last night Shawn worked all.night.long.

So when he had a chance for some sleep, I loaded the kids up and we headed to Wisconsin. The Jelly Belly Factory has a free tour and a retail shop, and since we are only about 25 miles away and it's free! I thought it would be a fun way to spend the morning.

I was right!


We had to wait for about 15 min. for our tour to start, but it wasn't too bad. They had a movie playing so my kids just stared at that the whole time, and I looked at all the art on the walls. The time flew right by. ;)

Waiting in line:

What kept me entertained? Photo's of course, from as far back as the late 1880's! Little captions, a look at the past. I loved it! 

And here is what the kids found entertaining:

Then we all got a paper hat (required head gear here) and loaded onto the train!
Here is our train:

Kira didn't want to stand there so it's blurry, and Evan is six. Need I say more?

They had this by the exit, it's Jelly Belly art. Apparently it's a "thing" and they have lots of artists that do these. It takes hours and hours of work putting together Jelly Belly Mosaics, and this is the only picture I could get because you can't use your camera during the tour.  Lame, but I'm such a rule follower!

After the tour they let you out, conveniently, at the retail section of the factory! Then they give you free bags of Jelly Belly's! Score! So of course, we took the hint, and did a little shopping!


Jelly Belly Goodness:

On the way out we spotted this little cutie!

Thank you Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin Jelly Belly folks, we enjoyed our time with you!