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Monday, June 29, 2009

Menu Tactics

I'm making tabbouleh for dinner, but I've decided to strategically call it "parsley salad" and to have the kids bring me parsley and mint from the garden to put in it. (I'll be supplementing with grocery store parsley, however, because they keep eating the parsley out there faster than it can grow.) We'll see how that goes.

What are your favorite schemes for making kids want to eat things that are good for them?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Can We Please Be Done Now?

Attention, all infectious microbes:

LEAVE US ALONE! Get out of my life! You are not welcome here!

Thank you. That is all.

(Do you think they heard?)

These two sickos are pretty cute, though. Ellen climbed up in the bed where Peter was watching Wimbledon highlights and requested, "Stah Bers." She shares Adam's love of Star Wars clips on YouTube.

They've been sick since Monday -- the latest installment in a series of what seems like way more than our share of infections since mid-winter. This one is probably swine flu, though we didn't have them tested. I think this might be the first time one of my children has had a high fever on five consecutive days. Peter has lost ten pounds. Apparently that can happen when you don't feel like eating anything but popsicles for a week. This is not a diet tip.

The truth is, I've loved having Peter home from work, but next time he takes a week off, I hope it's for something nicer than sick leave.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Jane's Harry Potter Party III Recap

First was a field trip to Ollivander's,

where everyone chose a wand
and decorated it.

Next was potions class. We had started a vat of homemade "butterbeer" carbonating with some dry ice for effect.

Potion class props. The fancier labels were borrowed from this Flickr user.

I demonstrated how to concoct Morgana's Magical Floating Orb Potion from Enchanted Spring Water, Essence of Murtlap, and Dragon Saliva (distilled water, dishwashing liquid, and glycerin). Don't you hate how photographs can make you look so much fatter than in real life? Ahem.

We let everyone play with the orb potion for a while. The tool we borrowed from Peter's mom for making giant orbs was a hit.

Next, Peter demonstrated how to make a magical geyser by dropping Moonstones into Extract of Wormwood (Mentos and Diet Coke).

After Potions Class, we held Quidditch team tryouts.

Peter explained the rules of the game,

and then the kids tried their luck at hitting the bludger with the bat. It was a bit tricky trying to whack the enchanted bludger that moved up and down of its own accord. (I should clarify that this was a special, oversized party bludger full of candy and designed to be broken open.)

Then Jane opened a mountain of presents. The former appalling lack of Hannah Montana, High School Musical, and Camp Rock paraphernalia in our home has been rectified.

Lastly, we retired to the Great Hall for dessert: a gloppy, lopsided cake that Jane fortunately adored. Eight-year-olds are the best.

Did you know that the ceiling of the Great Hall is enchanted to look just like the sky outside?

Early on, Peter gave Ellen a little sip of the root beer, so she spent the rest of the time saying, "More juice." We kept the little sips coming -- with as much space in between as we could get away with -- and she accommodated us by happily watching all the action from her high chair throughout the party. What a kid.

I'm glad Jane loved her birthday party. I'm really glad it's over.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Today's Examples of What Happens When I Undertake a Project

I had just finished filling the pans with batter for Jane's birthday cake when Adam decided to try out the latch on the springform pan -- you know, the latch that releases the bottom of the pan from the sides.

BONUS!: At the same time this was happening, Ellen was coloring on the leather ottoman with a green marker.

Two modern inventions to love: silicone spatulas (I was able to salvage almost all of the batter for a second attempt) and Crayola washable markers (all of the green came off).

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Kitchen Table Magic Wand Factory

Jane wants a Harry Potter theme party again (third year straight), so we made some wands last night that the kids can decorate at her party. We followed these instructions that I found, which were pretty slick. Oh Google, whatever would I do without you?

"This house has 1 rule," posted by Jane in January 2009:

We haven't even let her watch any of the movies except the first one, but she loves to watch the trailers on YouTube, and she adores Potter Puppet Pals, to my chagrin. I'm not even going to link to it. If you don't know, just be glad.

Jane in her natural habitat:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Not Particularly Helpful

I can't locate one of the books that the library says we still have checked out. I asked Adam, "Do you know what it looks like?"

He said, "Yeah. It looks . . . like a rectangle."