Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ever Wonder What it is Like to Be a Member of a Secret Society?

You know, the Masons, the Shriners or others. Some conspiracy believers think that there are secret symbols and meanings everywhere. The dollar bill contains several depictions that some believe are clues or secret messages (the eye at the top of the pyramid, for one). Nicholas Cage did a whole movie about it called National Treasure.

I was at a party the other day and one of the guests let something slip. I was immediately intrigued.

It's called Letterboxing. The practice began in England in the latter part of the 1800's, and it was begun by a Park Ranger. He left his calling card in a bottle, and others who found the bottle would leave theirs. Eventually, people would start leaving postcards, in hopes that the next person to find the postcard would send it back to them. (A Letterbox is an English word for Mailbox). The practice has evolved and now the standard is a notebook and a stamp. Here's how it works: You have a notebook and a stamp (preferably a handmade stamp that makes it distinctive). You search for letterboxes that are hidden in public places using clues that are posted at . (There may be other sites, I'm a newbie in this area). The Letterbox is a small sealed container that contains a notebook and a stamp. When you have found the Letterbox you leave your stamp and a handwritten note in their Letterbox, and you use the stamp provided to stamp your own book and make a note about where it was found etc.

I found the web site, and searched my area. I was astonished to find one so close. One is hidden at the Sledding Park, a mere 5 minutes away. We grabbed a notebook, and I let my little one select a stamp (store bought, not handmade), and we were off!

The kids gripped the directions like it was a treasure map and ran for the bench behind the pool. We passed soccer fields, full of players, a huge football picnic, a group of boys playing Lacrosse, no one knew what we were up to. It was our secret.

We got the the bench, followed the wood line to the left, found the pine tree, paced off the 7 giant steps, looked under the appropriate rock and moved the sticks, just as the directions said. And there, to my disbelieving eyes, was exactly what they said would be there. A small box that contained a notebook, a stamp pad, and some treasures for the little ones. (The directions said that this was a treasure box, so the rules are: take a treasure, leave a treasure.)

Here are the directions, being clutched by my little guy.
And the Treasure! My little guy picked a Matchbox car, and we left a reflective slap bracelet that my daughter decided to donate.

The box contained a homemade journal, tied with string.

And, here's our first entry!

Unfortunately, the ink pad was very leaky and we all walked away with Shrek hands.
What a fun little discovery. We replaced everythnig just as we had found it, and smugly returned to the car. Feeling a little like we know something that very few others know about.
I've already printed out directions to find a few others. My kids can't wait to find the next one, it's like a mystery and a treasure hunt and a puzzle all rolled into one.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Super Fast, Easy, and Oh So Addictively Delicious

The kids were clamoring around the other day, after painting, playing soccer in the yard, putting their feet in the pond, they were bored. They wanted to make cookies. I did not have any butter out (as in left on the counter so that it is precisely the right consistency to whip up something amazing). I scrambled and mentally went through my arsenal in the pantry. I had flour tortilla shells! Cinnamon Crisps, Oh Yeah!
The trick is to butter the flour tortillas with oh so little butter. Almost scrape them dry. The whole purpose is to allow just enough butter so that the Cinnamon and sugar will stick.
Then sprinkle them with liberal amounts of Cinnamon and sugar and cut into wedges with a pizza cutter.

Bake at 350 for 7-8 minutes until crispy. Eat them outside if you can. The sugar crumbs off. They are so good. I promise you will love them.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Chaos in Kindergarten

Yesterday was Teacher Appreciation day at school. This means that some Moms make an amazing gourmet lunch for the Teachers to sit down and enjoy, leisurely, at a table with a flower centerpiece. Other Moms (like me) volunteer to cover their classrooms so that the kids will all be supervised during lunch and recess.

There were 5 Moms that were there to help. It was calamity followed by shocking dishevelment. I looked at my watch and I was a mere 45 minutes into taking care of one kindergarten class, and I was counting down the minutes and trying to avoid disaster at all cost.

Let me set the scene: (amonst your standard recess chaos).

There is one kid asking for me to help him find a Bumblebee so that he can make bug soup.

There are tricycles cirlcling so fast I'm wondering how no one gets run over.

Mom #1 is explaining how she's now 4 months pregnant AND, she was on the pill!

I have to stop a little girl from hoisting the boy searching for Bumblebees over the fence.

Mom #2 announced that she has a flat tire on her car, and that she's just going to go change it. (Bonus points for attempting to change it yourself, sister.) It turns out that she didn't have the tire iron in her car, so AAA had to be called.

Bee boy finds me again pleading for me to help him find the bugs and bees that he needs to make his soup. He confides in me that the soup is only for the bad kids, and that we really NEED it!

Mom #3 amazes the rest of us by wrestling a Nintendo DS from the grip of a group of boys and actually gets them to run around and PLAY! She's a college professor, and insists that she does this all of the time in her classes. Her experience pays off.

Varoius melt-downs and he said/she saids errupt and die down like a volcano spewing hot lava.

Mom #4, the sporty one, decides to have all of the kids form a chain behind her and go down the slide all together. Her face was ghostly white when she stood after her 4ft. slide. Apparently, she had split her pants from the waistband down the the back of her knee. I kid you not. Whatever inspired her to wear a fleece sweatshirt on an 80 degree day, I will never know. She quickly (and I mean like lightning) tied that fleece around her waist and all evidence was covered, as it were.

I quickly realized that I am Mom #5. I walked as if I was walking on egg shells for the next 20 minutes. Waiting gingerly and making no sudden moves until the teachers returned to save us all.

I am happy to report that I emerged unscathed. And, I'm advocating a raise for the teachers who do this everyday.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Meet My New Summertime Friend

There is nothing more youthful than a summertime "glow". My fair skin, light eyes and Scotch-Irish ancestry do not allow for "glow". The only things that I gain from time spent enjoying leisurely hours in the sun are age spots and wrinkles. I'm happy to report that the obviously fair skinned scientists at Neutrogena have out-done themselves again this year. My lotion of choice last summer was Neutrogena SPF 70. This year, they have an SPF 90! I'll be getting my glow on with a little bronzer. When I'm 90 and I only look 70, we'll see who's laughing then!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Leave It To My Kids To Find Quality..

Among my favorite things about my itouch are the amazing applications. There are some really fascinating things out there. My pre-schooler happily traces letters to spell words, my elementary kids do math problems and word games endlessly. I have fun finding my new favorite...this can change daily. There are so many to discover.

The brilliant minds that create these things have really out-done themselves: I have been listening to my kids chuckle for a few days now while they were playing on it. I basked in their laughter for awhile until I asked what was so funny. They explained that they found a game where you slide a monkey side to side, who is standing on a bar of soap. Oh, and the monkey is peeing in the toilet. Your goal is help him with the proper aim in order to fill the toilet. If you miss too much, or if you hit the electrical outlet, it's over for you. There is nothing graphic or too distasteful. But my thought is, isn't it an oxymoron if you are smart enough to figure out how to create this extensive animation, AND you still think it's funny to try to get a monkey to pee in a toilet??

Monday, May 18, 2009

You Know What They Say About Multi-Tasking...

So, they say that when you multi-task, no task is really completed well because neither is getting your full attention. Well, I ask, is there really a WRONG way to watch the Today Show? I'm going with "NO".

I download the Today show on my iTouch and listen to it as I'm getting ready, or as I'm driving home from school. My Mom is always astounded that I have no idea what the latest news is, so now, when my Mom asks: "Did you hear about..." I can say, "Oh Yeah, I caught it on the Today Show".

More about my iTouch tomorrow..

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Mother's Day Riddle: What do these things have in common?

A long walk through a mossy and fern filled woods that surprisingly opens to a field and a duck filled pond.

An ice cream dessert magically transformed into a clown by some crafty chefs.

School performances, big and small. Kids singing and dancing and giving us their best effort.

Giant inflatable slides. The fun is under-rated!

The Weinermobile. Seriously, who thought this was a good idea?
And the Answer Is: All of these things are ten times more fun when you can share them with your kids! Think about it. As an adult, do you really get excited about the Weinermobile? If there is a kid in the car...then it is SO exciting!
So, this Mother's Day, I am Grateful and Thankful to have so many sources of fun, excitement and JOY in my life. Thanks to all of my kids for making this journey so much fun everyday!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Free Gift With Purchase This Month

We always honor our Moms during the month of May, plus there are the Graduates, and all of the Teachers in all capacities that deserve our Gratitude. I can't think of a better gift than an interchangeable bead ring, or a pair of interchangeable earrings. Either choice is ever so versatile and customizable. During the Month of May, I am offering a Free Gift with Purchase (* While Supplies Last): A case to hold all of your Joy Beadworks beads and accessories. What a perfect way to organize your bead collection.
Click the giant Bead Ring on the Right and Get Shopping!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Running in Quicksand

I've been humming along on top of my crazy schedules. Finally comfortable with the pace, not really forgetting much lately. And then, the wheels came off...I don't think it was one event in particular that really threw me, but contributing factors were an unexpected ear infection and all of the urgent treatment required and all of the sick, miserable kid stress. Then My Amazing Husband ran the Marathon this past weekend. And "what can I do for you's" and "do we have the right kind of Gatorade" and "what else can I do's"? And then the "no-big-deal" expander at the orthodontist last week for son #1 that turned out to be a big deal. I had a slack-jawed miserable child who felt like he couldn't even swallow, let alone eat anything, all weekend. Then HE got the ear infection. Roll all of this into the many, many end of the year school activities that require planning and scheduling. I just plain need an organizational day.

Did I mention all of the Mother's day orders that are coming in? More tomorrow...