Things I Love Thursdays

Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens!  Schnitzel with noodles!

Okay, I’ve actually never eaten Schnitzel.

Some things I’m digging right now…

Gelli Baff by Zimpli Kids

GOO!

This stuff is AWESOME.  You mix a packet of sand-like stuff with water and it turns into a bathtub full of jelly!  It comes in a variety of colors and when you’ve had enough of squishing around in the goo, you add the included packet of dissolver and rinse it down the drain.  My kids (I saved it for the big kids, since I wasn’t quite sure how it was all going to work the first time around) LOVED this.  I used 2 packages for our standard-sized bathtub, and it was plenty.  I was a bit concerned about exactly what chemicals I was exposing them to, but it is non-toxic, manufactured in the UK and approved in Europe, so I figured it was at least as safe as them ingesting Kraft Mac & Cheese.  The company also has a SLIME BAFF – we’re trying that next!

Slime Baff

Caveats: 1. It doesn’t dissolve and rinse away quite as easily as they make it sound. 2. Though it is put in a bath tub, no one gets clean, and you might actually find little pieces of jelly on walls and in  kids’ ears. 3. It costs about $7.50 per box. 4. I have no idea if this would be a problem for people’s septic systems. 5. Probably not appropriate for kids under 3.

Maileg Mice

I know, I know… again with the small woodland creatures and anthropomorphizing.  I can’t help it.  Maileg is a Danish company.  They make a lovely collection of whimsical toys. These adorable little creatures come individually, in a variety of outfits and combinations.  I love the ones that come with matchbox-like beds.  There is a cute (expensive) little mouse house you can buy.  And, for some reason, they also sell a mouse-sized toy vacuum. I want all of them. (Click on the photos for links to the pages on the Maileg site.)

Little Sister in a BoxBrother Mouse

As always, these aren’t affiliate links.  I just provide them for your convenience.  Happy Thursday!

To Pickle at Five

More than four, less than six

I kiss your tangy sweaty little boy head as you push me away.

There is sand in your hair clinging to your scalp.

Because you were doing somersaults in the dirt.

I should have known.

***

In early evening you sit, tired from a day spent figuring out the workings of the world, inside and out.

Your little brother crawls over you.  And over you again.

You don’t mind. You barely look away from the program on the TV.

***

You have grown so capable.

Limbs lengthening. Now all muscle and bone, and soft tight skin.

New freckles dot your nose. Your teeth used to seem so big.

***

Last week we saw the planets, and marveled at the vastness of the universe.

How this goes around that, and that goes around this.

And I marveled at you, my boy, who entered this world face up, eyes open.

***

Reflection

Happy belated birthday to my dearest Pickle, a kind and generous boy who has only just started being a little too cool for my kisses.

Close up

Major Award

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I am a slacker.

Alison at Please Stop Putting Crackers Down My Shirt kindly nominated me for the Liebster Award. (Thank you, Alison!)  It has only taken me 7 months to get my rear in gear and acknowledge and respond.  Whoops.

The Liebster Award is kind of like a kind chain letter in the blogging world.  And I am a sucker for chain letters – and probably the only person who ever actually participated in the “panties” and “children’s books” chain letters.  (Please tell me that someone besides me recalls these chain letters?)

The award is basically intended to introduce readers to other good, small blogs they might otherwise miss in their interweb travels.  I am supposed to answer the 11 questions Alison has posed, provide 11 facts about myself and then nominate other blogs for the award.  Forgive me for not following the rules perfectly (does this mean my Liebster will be revoked?) but I figure something is better than nothing, especially after 7 months.  I’m not going to be nominating other blogs here, but I solemnly swear that I will link to and mention my favorites as it occurs to me to do so.

Questions Answered

1. Who is the person you admire the most, and in what ways have they influenced you?
First, let me explain… I think born and raised Yankees are reluctant to use superlatives. We’re often warm, but not frequently gushy. Terms like “most” and “best” are hard for me, so this is a tough question for me to answer. Example of my reluctance to name favorites? Even at 14-years-old I never hung up posters of any teen idols, athletes, or actors, because I just didn’t like any of them enough to do that. I’m weird that way. I admire lots of people, for lots of reasons. Here are a few:

Emily, who is so strong, and might not even know it
Betty, who never stopped learning
My sister, who makes me laugh and knows me best
My dad, for always being loving and supportive and saving the day
My mom, whose advice was almost always right
Mira, the most true-to-herself human ever
If I don’t stop here, the list will go on for pages…

2. If you could have one superpower – any superpower – what would it be and what would you do with it?
Flight, probably. Because it would be fun.
Or maybe I’d like to freeze time like Evie in Out of This World. I’d get a lot more naps that way.

Evie
3. If you could live out your life in a fictional universe (movie, television or book setting), which one would it be and why?
The Wonka Chocolate Factory (Wilder, not Depp). With the Oompa Loompas. I’m not a candy fiend, but I like the innovation, whimsy, privacy, and nifty singing.

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4. What five music albums could you not live without?
I love music. I’ve seen Springsteen 50+ times, and a lot of his music has served as a sort of soundtrack to my life, so a few of his albums would be on the list. The Rising, maybe a live recording of a show I attended, maybe Born to Run or The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle. And Paul Simon’s Graceland. I might add the “Stand By Me” soundtrack too.

btr

 

5. Do you think you’d survive a zombie apocalypse? What would be your weapon of choice?
Nope. Not a chance.

 

6. What is your favorite thing about the area in which you live?
I have so many favorite things. It is safe, beautiful, close to lots of fun things. It is home.

 

7. You’re an adult now, but if you could send a letter back in time – to yourself at age 16 – what advice would you give?
1. If a boy says he’s over you believe him.
2. Let yourself make more mistakes. Speak up.
3. Go abroad in college.

 

8. As a child, what did you want to be when you became a grownup? Did you eventually become that thing?
When it was my special week in 4th grade, I drew a life-sized picture of myself as a veterinarian. I was wearing a lab coat with a mouse in the pocket. I did not become a vet. I think I had changed my mind within a few weeks. I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I still don’t.

 

9. What’s on your pizza?
I like most toppings, except hamburger. If I’m not sharing, I’ll choose sausage, onions and mushrooms.

Hot_pizza

 

10. What’s your favorite vocabulary word?
I don’t have one. I love a good pun or clever turn of phrase. And my favorite French word is “gaufre” (waffle). Also, I just read a lovely article about favorite lost words.

11. What is the thing you like most about yourself?

Oh goodness, there’s that “most” word again.

I like that I’m still learning and curious.  I like that I try to look for the good in people.  I like that I try.  I like that I’m silly.

 

 

I think this might just be long enough.  I’ll save the 11 facts for next time.  Again thanks to Alison at Please Stop Putting Crackers Down My Shirt!

Things I Love Thursdays

Just a quick post to let you know about a few things I’m digging right now.

Jack and the Flumflum Tree by Julia Donaldson

This great kids’ book by the author of The Gruffalo is a new favorite in our house.  The rhyme scheme is lovely, the photos are colorful and goofy and the story is fun.  In order to cure his Grandmother’s case of the moozles, Jack and his friends go on an adventure to the Isle of Blowyernose to find the rare flumflum fruit. They run into obstacles during the voyage, but are saved by the items Granny has packed for them.  I love the line that repeats throughout,

“Don’t get your knickers in a twist,” said Jack. “Let’s have a look in the patchwork sack!”  

Of course, my children get a great kick out of the “knickers in a twist” part, too.

flum

(Aside: if you have a chance to check out The Gruffalo short film, do!  It is on Netflix and it is beautifully done.  The cast is stellar – Helena Bonham Carter and Tom Wilkinson to name a few – the animation is lovely, and of course, the story is great. Be warned: it is a bit scary.)

*****

Chatbooks

I am loving my Chatbooks app.  You download the app, link your account to your Instagram account (or use photos directly from your phone), and the app creates lovely 6×6 inch, color, soft-cover books from your photos.  Cost per book?  $6.  You can customize, take photos out, add more pages, etc., but I’m taking the easy route.  When 60 new photos are added to my Instagram account, it automatically creates my book, and ships it to me. Done.  Captions and dates included.  I don’t have to think about it, and I don’t have to DO anything.   My kids love looking through the books, which become like little journals.  And the price is right.

If you use my code to subscribe I get a $1 credit, and you get a free book.  No pressure!

 If you use my code to subscribe I get a $1 credit, and you get a free book. Everyone wins! Please note that Chatbooks 2.0 will be released in July.  At that point their services will increase, but so will their prices.  Books will be $8 each.  Sign up before the new version is released to be grandfathered in to the new pricing for 2 years! 

The negatives?  The cheap shipping takes forever and I’m not sure I’d think it was worth doing if I didn’t have an Instagram account.

*****

Rimmel London’s Scandaleyes Shadow Stick

I should wear make-up more often, as evidenced by the WORST SELFIE IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE that I took two weeks ago.  Yikes.  And no way am I sharing it. Heck no.  So when I saw these recommended in one of my feedly blogs, I figured I’d give them a try.  I’m not usually a fan of eye shadow pencils – I feel like I don’t have enough control over the amount of shadow applied, and sort of feel like I’m drawing on my eyelids.  But at $4.50 a shadow stick (or even less!) I figured I wouldn’t be too mad about wasting my money if I hated them.

But I love them.  They work almost like a creamy, colored, primer. The shadow doesn’t crease or creep.  They go on smoothly and easily, and can be blended by fingers.  The colors I’ve tried are lovely. My only complaint?  You will eventually need a special sharpener, since they are large pencils. (I bought one at Target for $5.)

Photo by Rimmel London.  Click on it to be taken there.

Photo by Rimmel London. Click on it to be taken there.

I have three colors so far: Trespassing Taupe (matte), Bulletproof Beige, and Bluffing. I think I’ll go back for a few more colors (though probably not the turquoise).

Happy summer!  And remember, don’t get your knickers in a twist!

A Thousand Words

My children love to play with my iPhone.  This is a normal kid thing, I’m sure.  They mostly like to play games. Pickle likes the build-a-robot game and Plum prefers a game with a loud annoying monkey.  (Which reminds me that I should delete the annoying loud monkey game.) Pistachio likes pushing the button until Siri asks him what he wants.

The other morning Plum was using the camera mode in a Toca Boca game.  She was having so much fun demanding that we “SAY CHEESE!” that I switched the phone over to camera mode and let her have at it.

I adore the results.

The is something so lovely and refreshing seeing the world, her world, through her eyes, and at her level.  Coming soon to a gallery near you…

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Brother Little

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Oatmeal

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Breakfast

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Brother Ghost

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Bowl

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Tablecloth

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Cat Door/Eyes

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Legs

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Gate

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Cat

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Where Toys Go to Die

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Brother II

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Finger Brother

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Dad

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Dad II

 

When Pickle was 3.5 we got him a camera for Christmas, but it was a silly, unwieldy, children’s camera.  I should have sprung for the real thing.  I think this Christmas Plum will get her own.

 

Just a Regular Life

One spring evening, cuddled up together under my down comforter, I asked Pickle what he wanted to be when he grew up, what kind of life he wanted to have.

“Just a regular life,” he replied, as if my question was a little silly.

Just a regular life.

I smiled.

“You mean like the life we have now?” I asked.  He nodded.

***

Several years ago I asked my husband what kind of bird he would be if he could be any bird at all.

“A robin,” he answered, without hesitation, “or a blue jay.  Just a regular bird.”

I didn’t believe him. I couldn’t believe him.

“A robin?  Just like a regular, run-of-the-mill robin?  You wouldn’t want to be a hawk, or an eagle, or something interesting like a penguin or an ostrich? A heron?”

“No,” he shook his head, “just a robin.”

***

1981

We met in nursery school.  Though I can’t honestly say that I remember him.  I remember the swing set and missing a step and rolling my ankle.  And I have vague, watercolor memories of making art projects, perhaps Easter bonnets, in a bright sun-filled room.

We went to high school together.  I sat behind him in Ms. Zaffer’s 9th grade science class.  He teased me, and wore bright striped shirts that were too big for him. In college he called me, very much out of the blue, and perhaps under the influence of some adult beverages.   We dated.  Then we didn’t.  But he still agreed to come to my 5th college reunion with me.

And when we ducked into the parking garage by the grad school to escape a torrential downpour I looked at him and I knew.  I knew that I would marry him.

And I did, a few years later in the same church that housed our preschool.

wedding

***

Of course he wanted to be a robin.  He is a robin.

I had dated hawks, dodos, kiwis.  I had lusted after eagles and peacocks. But I married a robin. My robin.

My robin who is humble and kind.  My robin who is responsible and loving.  My robin whose goal has never been fame, or attention, or fortune, but instead just to lead a good and regular life.  Spending time with his family, loving his kids, mowing the lawn, going to work, going to church, paying bills, cooking dinner, playing catch, changing diapers, reading magazines.  Learning, laughing, doing.

Playing

***

A few weeks ago, at an event, a childhood acquaintance who I hadn’t seen in at least a decade complimented me on my handsome (baby-holding) husband, much the way someone would compliment me on a new sports car or a trophy wife.  I laughed, a bit uncomfortably, but agreed.  “He is tall and handsome,” I conceded. But, I thought to myself, he is so much more.

***

“Just a regular life,” I repeated to Pickle. He smiled, his nose with new spring freckles crinkled.

He is five.  I had expected him to tell me that he wanted to be a Superhero or a Transformer, or to lead some sort of fantastical life.

But he is his father’s son.  A little robin who is content to live a life of kindness, loving other people, being a normal kid, doing normal kid things, and snuggling with his mom on a spring night.

“Do you know what kind of job you want?” I asked him, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

He thought.  “A cowboy,” he said, “and a dad.”

I kissed his forehead.

“That sounds like a very good plan to me,” I said. “And I think you’ll be a really great dad.”

Edits-0085

Admissions of a Tired Mom – Part 6

1. I bought more personalized stationery.  I couldn’t help it.  It has rainbow unicorns on it.  (Yes, I am aware that I am 37 years old.) It also has woodland creatures.  And apparently I have a thing for woodland creatures.
Unicorny.  This is the Animal Tale stationery from Tiny Prints.

Unicorny! Animal Tale stationery from Tiny Prints.

2. Those big crystals of sugar they put on the top of muffins? I HATE THEM. Stop wrecking my muffins!
muffin

 

3. I wrote a list of things that I really should do to make my life feel more comfortable, well-rounded and full.
  • Read – really read – a poem every day (or heck, at least once a week).
  • Have fresh flowers around.
  • Grow something (not just children).
  • Have a nice bed.
  • Eat more fish and more green things.
  • Go to the theatre – and not just musicals.
A pretty good list.  And while my mattress IS of legal drinking age and needs to be put out of its misery, my list also offered me some lovely perspective. It doesn’t contain items like survive, heal, or feel respected and loved so maybe I’m doing alright.

 

4. I’m pretty sure most people drink too much water, or think they need more water than they do. Really.

 

5. My mom was right about a lot of things:
  • As you get older, your hair gets less greasy. Thankfully, true! 
  • You should keep track of the Christmas presents you give, so you can keep things even and avoid giving the same gifts 2 years in a row. Yes. You think you will remember, but you won’t.
  • There is value to comfy undies. Duh. I have no idea why my sister and I fought her on this one.
  • Sometimes you will forget which baby is in the baby picture. I didn’t think it was possible to be unable to recognize your own children in photos, but sometimes I’m baffled even though I birthed them!
A Pickle, a Plum and a Pistachio.  Who is who?!  I have no idea!  (Actually I do, because I assembled the collage, but you get my point...)

A Pickle, a Plum and a Pistachio. Who is who?! I have no idea! (Actually I do, because I assembled the collage, but you get my point…)