Monday, October 31, 2011

Scarecrow Day

Friday was the last day of Red Ribbon Week and all the kids were asked to wear red so they could take one big school photo. But Jadyn and all the other kindergartners also had something else special planned for this pre-Halloween Friday - a tradition known as Scarecrow Day. Imagine 120 kindergartners all dressed to various degrees of detail as cute little scarecrows parading through all the other upper grade classrooms. It was cute. It was fun. It was exhausting!

Here is my lil scarecrow:

With her bestie Riley:

Her class full of scarecrows:

Parading through the school:

With chaperone mom:

Friday, October 28, 2011

Twin Day

Day 4 of Red Ribbon Week was twin day. The funny thing is I know quite a few people with twins and they usually avoid dressing their kids alike but for the kids and their best buds at school, this was all about matching clothes and having fun!

Jadyn with her "twin" Riley:

And Jake with his "twin" buddy Kyle:

Hope everyone has a fun and safe pre-Halloween weekend. We are headed to the dentist after school today (great scheduling on my part huh? The dentist right before Halloween). We have a lot of fun Halloween activities planned this weekend on top of early morning soccer games. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Red Ribbon Week - The First Three Days

It's Red Ribbon Week at school - the week where the kids are taught to stay drug-free. The festivities include a kick-off assembly, a demonstration by the drug sniffing K9 unit aboard the Marine Base and a special dress theme for each day. I usually have a really hard time getting Jake to participate but so far I am 2 out 3. I'll take it!

Day One - Show off your favorite sports team. Jake wore his old Grasshopper t-ball jersey and hat and they are a real minor league baseball team in Greensboro, North Carolina. Jadyn wore an Angels t-shirt:

Day Two - Career Day, dress up in what you want to be when you grow up. Jake wore his Marine Corps uniform (also his Halloween costume this year). Jadyn dressed up like an art teacher and we had fun splattering all that paint:

Day Three - Wacky Day! Jake lost interest and wouldn't let me spray color in his hair. Jadyn went pretty wacky. She reminds me of Punky Brewster for some reason:

Stay tuned. There are still two more days left. Both of these themes will have to be photographed at school, where I am currently living it would seem because it is also the week of the book fair and I love me a good book fair! So I have two days in the book fair and my two days in the classroom, which makes Thursday my only day not volunteering and I will be there anyway to take pictures. Go figure!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Misadventures in Cooking

If you are friends with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, you may have heard how I accidentally set the microwave to 22:20 minutes instead of the necessary 2:20 minutes to heat up my delicious and nutritious lean pocket for lunch (note the sarcasm here). I went to change out of my yoga clothes and smelled something burning. I came out of my closet through the master bedroom to a house full of smoke and a paper plate and lean pocket on fire in the microwave. It had been 8 minutes. No harm, no foul. Except that my house still smells like the inside of a fire pit.

I was suddenly reminded that I am no cook. I have come a long way over the years. The running joke when Joe and I got married was that I could ruin boiling water for raman noodles (putting them on the stove and then forgetting about it until the water had completely boiled away). However, that said I can put together enough meals now to feed my family. I still don't enjoy it. I don't have the patience or passion for it. And I still have the occasional mishap.

The one that gets the best laugh happened almost a year ago. My friend Rose had taught me how to make chicken pot pie from (almost) scratch. I was so proud that I decided to make the dish for my mom and her husband when they were visiting over the holidays. It was a big deal in that yes, I had a recipe to follow, but it did not have exact measurements for ingredients. I followed along carefully and got to the part where you add flour one tablespoon at a time to thicken up the sauce but for some reason the sauce just wasn't thickening the way it had the previous time I had made it. I kept adding tablespoon after tablespoon, I honestly don't know how many I put in there before I finally gave up. The chicken pot pie tasted fine that night, but it was kind of runny. Not the complete and utter success I wanted it to be.

It was almost 2 full days later when I was looking at the canisters on our countertop marked sugar and flour and a lightbulb went off in my head. When we moved into this house, I had purchased these said canisters that were pre-marked for sugar and flour. I loved how they looked in our kitchen. However, we only use flour when Joe bakes so instead of using the flour canister FOR flour, we keep non-dairy creamer in there because it is something used more frequently. Can you see where this was going?

Not thinking, that night I was making chicken pot pie, I used the flour canister knowing but not realizing it at that moment that there was not flour in there but instead non-dairy creamer. No wonder the sauce wasn't thickening up! Thank goodness it didn't completely ruin the pot pie by altering the flavor too much because like I said, I have NO clue how many tablespoons I put in there trying to get the sauce to thicken. And Rose is now afraid to give me anymore of her recipes.

So back to the lean pocket incident. It happened on Thursday. By Saturday, even after airing out the house for two days and cleaning out the microwave, lighting candles and spraying who knows how much of various kinds of air freshners and fabric refreshers, the house just still reeked of smoke. So while I was at the fall festival with the kids, Joe took the microwave out from above the stove and thoroughly cleaned it. He wiped down all the walls and baseboards in the kitchen, dining room and main living area, as well as steam cleaned the carpets. When I got home I wiped down all the countertops, cabinets and mopped the tile. It took all this and FINALLY, I think the smell has disappated, although it does still smell a little when we use the microwave. What an ordeal it turned into!

I would like to think that something like this will never happen again, that I will always be diligent and careful but the fact of the matter is, as far as I may have come, I am still no cook. I mean who ruins a lean pocket in the microwave? And honestly, I will never live down putting non-dairy creamer in my chicken pot pie.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween Costume Preview

After soccer games on Saturday we had the perfect opportunity to try out this year's Halloween costumes, participate in some fun activities at a fellow elementary school's fall festival and hang out with some great friends - The Davis Family.

First a photo op at home with my little strawberry butterfly and Jr. Marine (Jake had to do an "action" shot):

At the fall festival, the kids got to trick or treat at several of the classrooms, go through a hay maze, play a bean bag toss, sit on a tractor pulled hay ride (it broke down, what can you do?), eat yummy brats and chips, go through their very first haunted house, which neither of my kids were too scared by (Jadyn surprised me) and finally, bounce to their little hearts' content in a bounce house, all with former preschool classmates and current soccer teammates Chris and Stephanie and their little brother Landon. Even if it was a little too warm for a "fall" festival, a good time was still had by all.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Magoomba and MeMe

Haven't blogged much. Been busy yes but I could have blogged should their have been anything really blog-worthy. To give you an idea of how much our lives have been "lather, rinse repeat" I didn't take a single picture from October 11th until this past Saturday. For me, that is virtually unheard of. There have been a few highlights from the past couple of weeks, so here they are:

1) First of all for the "lather, rinse repeat" - kids school Mon-Fri, soccer practice every night Mon-Thurs, family move night Friday, soccer games Saturday morning, relax and errands rest of the weekend. For Joe add work and school. For me add work, volunteering in both kids classrooms, walks and visits to the dog park with Kuma, doctor appointments and yoga on Thursdays.

2) Last Saturday Grandpa and Grandma Funny Nose came out to watch the kids soccer games. Afterwards, we tried a somewhat new restaurant the next town over called Willie Boy's. It is saloon, BBQ type place. Atmosphere was pretty cool. Food was just okay. Visit with family was great.

3) Last week, the kids school started a new number system for pick-up. After two days, Jake caved in and decided to try the bus home as the new system was rather chaotic. I am very happy he was finally willing to give the bus a try because it is a lot less stressful and time consuming on me. Now I can just head to the bus stop at 1pm to get Jadyn and 3 pm to get Jake and not deal with sitting in line for 30+ minutes or the traffic or the people who choose to ignore the rules. And the kids both get to ride the bus with their best friends. Win-win for everyone!

4) In other school news, Jake's teacher sent home a progress report and we have discovered that Jake is still lagging behind a little bit in reading comprehension and for those with only younger children - I at least was not aware that while first grade has a big focus on learning to read more and more words, second grade's big focus is comprehension so it is a good idea to make sure not only that they can read the words and the stories but that they understand what they are reading. We are currently supplementing Jake's homework with a reading comprehension workbook and may have to look into what about the particular test they use seems to be tripping it up. However, I am confident he will pull those scores back up in no time.

5) Now for the meme - my TV schedule is slowly but surely thinning out. After having several of my shows either end or get canceled last year, I also decided to drop Private Practice (needs to go away) like I did Desperate Housewives last year. I also gave American Horror Story a shot since I love, love love Ryan Murphy (Nip/Tuck and Glee) but it is all dark and no dark humor and not really my cup of tea right now. So that leaves Monday: Gossip Girl and HIMYM, Tuesday: Glee, New Girl and Ringer, Wednesday: catch up from Tuesday, Thursday: BEST DAY with Vampire Diaries and Grey's Anatomy, Friday: Fringe (Peter's finally BACK!) and Sunday: Amazing Race.

6) Books - Currently reading the Maze Runner trilogy, on book #2 of #3, The Scorch Trials then Death Cure. THEN, I want to re-read Matched before the highly-anticipated sequel, Crossed comes out November 1st. Also, contemplating re-reading Breaking Dawn before I go to a midnight showing of Part 1 on November 17th. Not expecting much from the movie since I didn't really like the book but I have to stick with tradition and with the group of ladies I have going, it is sure to be fun!

7) Music: iTune adds for the month (most are ones I wanted last month but held off on): Mutemath: Blood Pressure, Young the Giant: Cough Syrup, Grouplove: Colours, Hello: Martin Solveig & Dragonette, Red Hot Chili Peppers: Rain Dance Maggie, Coldplay: Every Teardrop is a Waterfall, Beastie Boys:Don't Play No Game that I Can't Win, Foster the People: Helena Beat

8) Speaking of iTunes, I am due for my phone upgrade with Verizon who now has iPhone. Perfect timing with the new 4s coming out. Joe ordered me one (thanks babe!) and it should be arriving this week. Looking for app recommendations and any cool features on the new phone I must know about. Super excited!

9) We have new tenants in our rental. Yippeee!

10) Tons of blogging material this week - Red Ribbon Week and book fair at school (I am mucho busy volunteering on top of my days in the classroom), and Halloween activities this weekend. Plus, later this week hear how we spend this past weekend and a costume preview. So stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Star Students

Last week Jadyn got to to be the start student for her class. It is a chance for each student to feel special for the week and share things about themselves. Her particular teacher chooses the star student by simply going in alphabetical order

Jadyn was very excited and eagerly came home that day and immediately started to fill it out, color and paste pictures to make the star student poster her own. Here she is the next day showing it off before I took her to school:

I was fortunate enough to be volunteering on the day that she got to get up in the front of the class and share her poster. She was just a little soft-spoken but did very well in front of the class.

Most importantly, I wanted to share some of the things she included on the poster because I thought it was a good snapshot of Jadyn and things that are important to her now. It might be fun to compare it in years to come.

Some of her favorite things to do: Play soccer, dance, swim and bake cookies with her Daddy.

Two of her special friends are Riley (from school) and Adriana (our neighbor).

She is happiest when she is dancing.

Her favorite place is the river.

Her family lives in a house with pigeons on top (don't ask, unfortunately it is true) and includes Mom, Dad, brother, Kuma, Jazz and Friday.

Now prepare for your heart to melt - If she could have anything in the world it would be for all cats and dogs to find homes and families to love them.

In class she got to answer one additional question of what she might want to be when she grows up. Her answer was an art teacher. At the beginning of the year it was a soccer coach. Both interesting choices. That's my girl!

In other news Jake won the academics award in his class for the month of September for his handwriting. I have had more than one parent comment on how neat he writes and how funny that the neatest handwriter in the class is in fact, not a girl. He won a certificate and a free meal at Carrow's, which will be going to soon for breakfast so we can celebrate his achievement. Go Jake!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pumpkin Patch 2011

With the weather still mild for this time of year and the forecast calling for record-breaking heat later in the week, when we found out Jake's Tuesday night soccer practice had been canceled, we took advantage of the opportunity to make a weekday (read: MUCH less crowded) visit to our favorite pumpkin patch.

Now that the kids are older, pictures are much easier. I tell them we are going to take some pictures first and the quicker they cooperate, the sooner we can get to the more fun activities. However, it was still pretty sunny when we got there so we diverted from our original plan. First up was the hay castle:

Followed by Jake's favorite, the corn maze. It is not as simple as going in and finding your way out. In order to earn the prize you have to find 4 stations hidden throughout the maze and stamp them before proceeding to the exit. Jake is really good at figuring these things out and I love watching him analyze the situation. He found 3 out of the 4 stations and we celebrated our victory by showing off the orange bracelets we won:

We quickly traipsed through the actual pumpkin patch. I think we came earlier in the season than usual because the patch seemed full of ripe orange pumpkins to choose from:

The kids then explored the ride area, each picking out a few bounce house/obstacle course type attractions. Jadyn rode a horse:

And after a little convincing, Jake rode a mini-quad and loved it just as we suspected he would:

Finally, what we, .... um I, came for. Some great posed Halloween/Fall photos!

Although I really do enjoy getting the photos, I think the corn maze is a personal favorite for me as well. And it is outings like this (finished off with dinner at Ruby's) that easily makes fall one of my favorite times of the year.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Is there such a thing as TOO much green?

Because if so, we might want to alert the green police. Last year Jake's team did green hair color and face paint for their soccer game the day prior to Halloween. Jake has been asking me for green hair color to show his team spirit since this new season started. He is not usually one to do something that would draw attention to himself so I thought it would be a good idea to let him to do it. The green we picked out was very GREEN.

I don't know what I was doing wrong with my camera during the game but all the pictures turned out kind of blurry. Maybe it was all that green or just simple operator error (more likely).

At any rate that is Jake with the bright green hair defending his goal and he kept the color in the rest of the day through a trip to Grandpa and Grandma's and Sam's Club. He also scored the only goal for his team that day. At any rate, he had fun with it and that's what counts.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A for Apple, A for Effort

Three years ago we went to Oak Glen, the closest place for us to go apple picking. I have very fond memories of my Grandmother taking me there every fall as a child. Well, our experience wasn't exactly how I remembered it as it has become such a tradition for so many that it is jammed packed with people, not to mention early fall does not always produce the most "fall-like" weather here in So Cal and it was pretty hot.

Well this year we were finally ready to give it another shot. Jadyn was VERY excited to go apple picking since she has been doing a unit on apples at school. I researched which orchard to go to based on our best chances of getting to pick apples as Oak Glen has light crops this year due to a late spring frost. Ultimately our best bet would be to go on a Saturday but the kids have soccer games so we left early to get there right as they opened Sunday morning. And unfortunately, the orchard had been picked out on Saturday so we were not able to actually pick apples. However, I do believe we made the most of our time there and it was a beautiful ranch/farm.

We spent a majority of our time hiking on the nature trails but we did take a few requisite pictures of the kids in the apple orchard and Jadyn "pretending" to pick an apple.

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We also got to sample some delicious apple cider, which we ended up purchasing and we traipsed through their pumpkin patch as well, although for us that will be a separate outing soon to come.

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Jadyn still really wants to pick apples and I may attempt to take the kids back at some point so she can have that experience but we'll just have to see. We may not have gotten to do what we came for but I have to say it was still a nice fall family outing.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

It's a Party in the USA (yes I am referencing a Miley Cyrus song, so what?)

It seems like lately even after a long day of school, soccer and ballet the kids still have the energy for a pre-bedtime Funny Nose dance party. The other night the kids really sweetened the deal by coming out of their rooms dressed up and ready to shake it:

Then Joe took it to another level by breaking out leftover glow sticks, turning out all the lights and putting on a techno mix. Yep, the kids and I were glowsticking. It was a rave Funny Nose style.

And speaking of dance, I have to tell you about the epic fail that was the decision to let Jadyn take hip/hop on top of her other activities. WAY TOO MUCH! Every week she has shown a steady decline in her ability to make it through 2 hours of dance on Thursdays culminating last week when she forgot her stuffed animal cat that she wanted to do the lullaby dance with at ballet. Cue 2 hours of whining, crying, disrupting the class, me taking her out of the studio for a stern talking to, thinking I had gotten through to her and then lather, rinse, repeat. Let's just say now that September is over, no more hip/hop for now.

At least no official hip/hop class. Because the impromptu dance parties are here to stay.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Just Because

Last Thursday night we were watching "Top Shot" a reality show with some of the nation's best marksmen competing against each other. The kids were being silly during the drawn out suspense of the group competition:

And the silliness just continued to cuteness:

And ridiculousness:

And to keep it real, it continued past the point where I asked them to settle down repeatedly as it was close to bedtime. While Jake listened, Jadyn and I ended up in an epic battle after repeated warnings lead me to send her to bed early. Sometimes things can turn really quick but I am still glad I captured the good before the moment went sour.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mama Taxi Gets Demoted

Our school district just realized after a year and half of "charging" bus fees that they were only recouping 4% of the cost of transportation so they decided to rescind the fees. So, in order to help cut down on my multiple trips to the school, Jadyn started riding the bus home this week. She was super excited and only slightly nervous. Friday we met the driver and then followed the bus to the bus stop so she could see where to get off and was even more excited to see her boy friend (she was very specific) Dylan who also gets off at the same stop.

So today, I was at the bus stop waiting for her. It happened so quick. I saw the bus pull up and Jadyn smiling in the window sitting next to Dylan. I had hoped to get a better picture but she was concentrating very hard on not falling down the stairs as she got out. She loved it and I love the saved trip to the school.

For now, I will continue to pick up Jake. He is very nervous to ride the bus and it would be much different for him as he would be with all the kids grade 1st-6th whereas Jadyn is on the bus with only other kindergartners.

Having them take the bus TO school makes little sense as I have to be at the school twice a week to volunteer in each of their classrooms and once a week, I pass right by their school on the way to yoga.

So for now mama taxi is taking a demotion, giving up one of three trips to the school 5 days a week, although in all fairness it hadn't been quite that bad as I had been carpooling with another kindy mom who also decided to put her daughter on the bus. But still, it's time and gas saved and just another sign that the kids are growing up TOO fast.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Weekend Recap

Another busy, busy Fall week!

Friday - I chaperoned Jake's 2nd grade field trip to the Gem and Mineral Show in neighboring Joshua Tree. Jake was super excited about this field trip especially and enjoyed purchasing some small pieces of pyrite (Fool's Gold). That night Cruz and Tara treated our family to dinner at Kobe, a teppanyaki style Japanese steakhouse where they prepare the food in front of you. It was both entertaining and delicious. We all enjoyed the Japanese garden and koi pond before entering the restaurant. It brings back fond memories of our time in Okinawa.

Saturday - the kids had soccer games at the same time again. Afterwards, we jetted over to Home Depot because we did not want to miss this month's project, a very cool fire rescue helicopter. In addition to the project, they had the fire department on hand where the kids got to climb in and pretend to drive the firetruck, as well as getting balloons and having their face painted.

After such an eventful morning, we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening playing, building Legos and having a Transformers marathon culminating in watching the newest installment, Transformers 3, which just came out on DVD. The funniest part is that Jadyn really wanted to watch the latest one since she fell asleep when we saw it at the drive-in. Well, guess who fell asleep about 1/3 of the way through the movie? That's right, Jadyn!

Sunday, Jake and I took Joe and Jadyn back to the Gem and Mineral show so they could see all the cool stuff they had on display and we purchased some additional rocks for the kids to start building a collection. Here they are proudly showing off their sorting abilities:

We finished off the weekend with more Lego building, watching football and chores, getting ready for yet another busy week ahead, which should include some cooler weather. We shall see. I can't believe it is already October!