Friday, September 25, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
While I was lecturing them recently on this topic, they reminded me that Harriet from Harriet the Spy ate a slice of cake and a glass of milk after school every single day. While they all love cake, they did think a slice of it each day would get old.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
One hot, steamy day in August, my sister and I took my three kids on a field trip of sorts. We left New Jersey and took public transportation into Brooklyn. Once there, we visited my sister-in-law and her scrumptiously adorable new baby boy. We all went out to lunch together, and my kids whispered to me that we have to buy Mo Willems' Knufflebunny for the baby because his neighborhood looks just like the one in the book. Plus it's really funny. That's one blank filled on my Christmas shopping list. After lunch, we left my sister-in-law and her perfect boy and walked over the Brooklyn Bridge. It was interesting, fun, and ridiculously hot. I believe I told the kids my underwear was so sweaty you could grow rice in it. Or something like that. Once we made it to midtown Manhattan, we stopped in every place we thought might be air conditioned. One of those places was an old fashioned tobacconist shop. It had a wooden Indian outside and everything. I don't smoke and never have, but oh, the smell of pipe tobacco is divine. Combine it with air conditioning on a hot humid day, and I could have moved in. While my sister and I inhaled as deeply as possible and perused the tobacco products and their accoutrements, my three kids asked the salesmen if they had any extra empty cigar boxes. A very nice tobacconist (talk about old school words) led them into a room sized humidor to make their selections.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Did you Spirograph as a kid? That little construction right there, turning a noun into a verb, is pretty new school, so maybe I shouldn't have used it during Old School Week here, but actually, it's more about classic old books and products, not about writing in a retro style, so I'll repeat. Did you Spirograph as a kid? I did. I loved putting the little circle inside the big circle, sticking a ballpoint pen in the middle and making hippy dippy trancey spiral designs. As it turns out, all of those designs have definite mathematical formulas, but I never bothered with that aspect of the activity. I just liked decorating my notebooks, folders, and any piece of scrap paper I could find. The version I had back in the 1970s was put out by Hasbro and could keep me entertained for hours. A few years ago, my daughter received the "Hypotrochoid Art Set" pictured above as a birthday gift and fell in love with it. I hunted it down on the Internet (definitely not how my original set was purchased back in the day) and bought several to give as gifts at birthday parties. Patina Stores sells it for $7.95. By the way, Patina Stores has lots of other fun and sometimes retro gift items for the tweens and teenagers you occasionally shop for. Klutz books has The Spiral Draw Book which includes spiral wheels and pens but apparently it is not as easy to use and is more expensive than the Hypotrochoid Art Set. Therefore, I've only given you the link to Patina Stores. Have fun!
Monday, September 14, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
and you don't want to see the state of my boys' shoes. so I lined up the family water bottles, and while that picture may say "Make love not landfills," it doesn't say "Back to School."
The older kids each were asked to bring a book for pleasure reading to school today. Lucky public school kids! Let me say I attended Catholic schools until college and was never told to bring a book for pleasure reading or do anything else pleasurable for that matter. Maybe a photo of the books would be a nice non-cliche memory, but my ten year old son was still hemming and hawing between Louis Sachar's Sideways Stories from The Wayside School and a nonfiction book called The Kid Who Invented Popsicles as we walked out the door this morning. This is what my nine year old daughter packed:She absolutely loves the wickedly evil pixie Opal Koboi in Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl books. It's a nice cover, but that shot doesn't scream "School Days" either. I believe the following picture does capture the essence of beginning school in September 2009. It is of what I think is the most important school supply my children have with them today, because as I was shouting "I love you! Have a great day!" what I was really thinking this morning as they got on those buses was "I love you, and don't you dare bring home swine flu!"
Friday, September 4, 2009
It's T minus four days until my kids go back to school. Fortunately we've had a bit of a cool snap here in northern New Jersey which makes the idea of school seem logical rather than horrible. We've had a week of weather that makes you grab a sweater and think about apple picking and high school football games. The cool days inspired a bit of organization. Don't worry- it didn't result in full on fall cleaning. We straightened up a bit and returned all of the library books, audio books, and DVDs we've amassed this summer. So long, Artemis Fowl. Fare thee well, Geronimo Stilton. Now I need to dust around the book bench, dagnabbit! The kids and I also made our annual school supply shopping trip armed with lists mailed to us by their teachers. I could get on my high horse about suburban teachers requiring expensive and hard to find items like twistable colored pencils, but frankly that high horse is exhausted. Fortunately, the whole $5.49 twistable colored pencil thing didn't kill the joy I get from sniffing new notebooks and organizing folders and loose leaf paper.
One other side effect of this autumnal weather is that it has inspired a whole rash of play dates. My kids have been hanging out with friends like crazy before homework and soccer practice get in the way. A few days ago, I had three boys building a fort in my yard and three girls playing "Adoption Center" with baby dolls in the house. And while I know it would have made Gloria Steinem wince, I let everyone stay in their little gender role boxes. In fact, I eavesdropped a bit on the adoption center, and it was more compelling than any soap opera I have ever seen! After that, I provided conditioner for a Barbie makeover. Yesterday, it was girls baking cupcakes in the kitchen while little boys ran through the room with paper towel tube light sabers. I tried to mix it up some by having the boys help decorate the cupcakes. They did so while saying, "Sayonara, sucker!" to every sprinkle they ate and by coming up with synonyms for "constipation" and "diarrhea." Won't their language arts teachers be pleased with their verbal skills next week?
Here's hoping that the weather stays cool enough that they don't resent climbing aboard the big yellow bus next week, but not so cool that it ruins recess, because everyone knows that recess is the best part of the day!