Thursday, April 26, 2012

7 Years of Spencer

2005-1 day old--Austin, TX

2005- 2 months--camping in UT

2006-1 year old--Laie, Hawaii

2007--2 years--Austin, TX
2008 --3 years--Lake Saimaa, Finland

2009--4 years--Philadelphia, PA

2010--5 years--Acadia, ME

2011--6 years--Finland

2012--7 years--Skokie, IL
What a cute kid!  It's been fun looking through all the pictures we have of him.  I had forgotten how much spunk he had, even as a toddler.  So glad he's in our family!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Spencer's Birthday Party

 We were initially dead set against a birthday party this year for Spencer.  They are too expensive, and they stress me out more than almost anything else.  But we decided a few weeks ago, that if Spencer just had a few friends over, and if I didn't have to organize any games or activities, then we could do it.

So we had a Wii party (with a Angry Birds theme on the side) with just three of Spencer's friends, J, M, and J--two from church, one from school.  They played Mario Kart for about an hour, then ate pizza (take and bake from Sam's club) and cupcakes.  And then Spencer hastily opened his gifts before they all had to leave.

Easiest birthday party ever.  I was able to sit and read a book for over half of it.  I will happily have birthday parties every year if they turn out like this one did.
Engrossed in their game

Spencer's supposed to be blowing out his candles (which he lit), but I think this picture was taken when we realized his sleeve was in the fire.  

Eating cupcakes 

Unwrapping gifts
My Angry Bird cupcakes.  I got the idea for these from here.  The crown (made from an ice cream cone) and mustaches (black licorice), however, were my own invention.

In lieu of goody bags, I made each of the boys their own angry bird (pattern here), with a bag of angry birds fruit snacks attached

And a angry pig balloon (templates for all birds here)

Happy 7th, Spencer!

Planning an angry bird themed party and need inspiration?  Here's the best link I found.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Quick look back at Easter

 I completely forgot to post about Easter.  Here are just a few pics of our hunt:
And the kids new Easter clothes:
Spencer requested something new this year, so I scrambled and made him the Aloha shirt the Friday before Easter.  And Mea's dress cost less than $5 to make, thanks to remnants and lack of a zipper.  (I tried to get her to wear her white sandals, but she insisted on the white socks with black shoes).    

Monday, April 9, 2012

Laboratory Garden

I have very few and limited memories of garden experiences:

Before I moved to Hawaii (so, 6 years old or younger), I remember going out in our side yard and picking beans or peas (not sure which) off the fence. We probably had more of a garden somewhere else, but I don't remember it.

Do gardens exist in Hawaii? I'm sure they do in some form or another, but I have no idea where. No one I knew had a garden.

My grandparents had an extensive garden when they lived in central California, but we never really had anything to do with it other than weeding when we visited in the summers. By then, everything had been planted, and nothing (aside from a few strawberries) was ready for harvesting.

In 8th grade I had to take one quarter of an FFA-type class (Future Farmers of America). I vaguely remember planting beans and then picking them, but not having to really do anything else.

Sometime in high school I visited a friend up in Canada, and stayed with her family for a month. During that time, I helped to plant their garden. But I don't remember anything aside from throwing a few seeds in the ground.

In Texas, I wanted to plant a garden, but we lived in an apartment at the time. So I planted some lettuce in a container on my porch, but the Texas sun shriveled it all up pretty quick.

In New Jersey we didn't have anywhere to plant a garden. But the fall before we left we kicked a rotting pumpkin into our tiny flower area next to our front porch. The next spring a weird, vine-like plant started to grow. My mom was the one to point out that it was a pumpkin plant. Unfortunately we moved to Chicago before we saw anything come of that one.

Needless to say, I have no real experience with gardens. I am completely and utterly ignorant.

But we've decided to try. Maybe something will come of it.

So, off to Lowes the kids and I went the last day of Spencer's spring break. The kids definitely had their opinions on what they wanted to grow, and since I have no experiences one way or the other, I just decided to plant what they wanted. Here they are:

I had read (I think on Pinterest?) that a good way to start a garden indoors is to plant the seeds in old toilet paper rolls. Then, when it comes time to plant outside, you can just plop the whole thing in the ground. Recycling at its best:

Waimea helped plant the seeds. I had no idea how many to put in each, so for the big seeds, I put 3 seeds in each little pot. For the little seeds, I just sprinkled a bunch in:

Time for watering:

And here we are on day 10!
The lettuce and broccoli came up within a few days. Then the tomatoes a day or two later. Then the corn and cucumber and carrots appeared. A few of the beans popped up yesterday and are growing fast. Today we saw the first of the peas and pumpkin. Most of the peas and beans, and none of the watermelon, have made an appearance yet. But we still have a few days to go before they are technically supposed to (so the package says).

So, here are my questions/concerns:

When do I plant them outside? The package says to plant them when the danger of frost has passed, and it gives a monthly range. How am I supposed to know when the danger of frost has passed?

The package also says to thin them when they are a few inches tall. Which is now. Do I just pull them out and let the pulled ones die, or is there any chance of replanting the pulled ones in their own little pot?

When I do plant them outdoors, what tips do you have for keeping out squirrels and rabbits?

Any other advice from seasoned gardeners is greatly appreciated!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Top 10 Signs You Have a Crappy Spin Instructor

10. No rhyme or reason to their workouts--stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down, no reference to time, just arbitrary decisions on what to do next.

9. They encourage you to "bounce." Who bounces on a bike? Ridiculous. You look it, too.

8. They get mad at you for continuing to cool down on the bike while they are off the bike and stretching, claiming you are distracting them. Seriously?! Since when is a decent spin instructor ever going to be distracted by someone spinning?

7. They make references to your "core" more than once or twice. It's better if they never say it at all. The more they say it, the less they should be trusted.

6. They treat the bike like an aerobics apparatus. Crunches on a bike? Really?! Have you ever seen that outside?

5. They encourage you to spin over 120 RPM's. Almost as bad is if they tell you to "spin as fast as you can" without any encouragement to add resistance before doing so.

4. They encourage you to "stand up straight" in position 2 (standing run position). The bike is not a stair-stepper, people, and should not be treated as such!

3. They say you get a better workout sitting on the bike than standing. That is way too absolute of a statement; there are too many variables involved to make blank statements like that.

2. If they mention that they also teach zumba, water aerobics, or by far the worst--water zumba. Enough said.

1. Their form is so bad they look like a chicken.

(What is Spinning? Click here or here to find out.)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spring Break Photos

My dreaded week has come and gone. The kids had a blast, even with the simple things like McDonalds. Here are some photos from our week:

Mea rolling down the hill outside the Children's Museum (the stuff on her face is face paint, one of her favorite things about the museum):

Spencer on the spider web outside the Children's Museum:

Bowling at Pinstripes. Spencer got a strike and a couple of spares. He beat me both games we played:

Mea loves the idea of bowling, but is usually done in minutes. I had to persuade her to finish the round:

Butterfly Museum:

One landed on my friend K, and it was getting too close to her face and freaking her out, so I took it off and held it a few minutes:

Looking at the zebra in the distance at the Lincoln Park Zoo with friends W and B:

The hippo that pooed (Spencer's favorite part of the experience. That and the Monkey that peed):

The polar bear:

On Friday, instead of going to the Lego Store, we stayed home. Spencer had a friend over from school, and Mea and I planted the seeds for our garden:

Over the weekend we made and decorated Easter sugar cookies:

Imitation is the best form of flattery. Evan did the row on the right. The kids did the ones on the left after seeing Evan's. My favorite is Waimea's on the top left: