Sunday, May 31, 2009

The family that games together...

It is a rare thing for me to be doling out parenting advice. I do ok and all, but I'm not exactly mother of the year. There is one thing I do that my kids love, I know is good for them, and it surprises a lot of my friends. I play games with my kids, their friends, and pretty much any kid who wants to. Do you remember, as a kid, asking you parental figure, an older sibling, aunt or uncle to play games with you, and they almost always said, "maybe later", or "go ask someone else"? I was the older sibling, my parents were divorced, my mom worked, aunts and uncles lived out of get the picture...but I was always thrilled when Mom would play Uno or Mad Libs with us. I'm not saying I drop everything to play a game with my kids, and there are certainly games I save for once in awhile (Monopoly and Life are two such games - they just take too freaking long.) Generally, however, I will put aside what I am doing to play within the hour. It's even more fun since my son is older and picks games I enjoy, like Scrabble ( I have the super-cool, turntable edition. I love that game.) Anyway, here - from the ultimate game-playing mom - is a list of favorites and why:

1. Aggravation: this game was responsible for teaching my son to count. As they get older they learn to use strategy - especially if they are uber-competitive like my freak husband, who makes it his goal to knock as many people's marbles out as possible, regardless of whether he gets his marbles home or not.

2. Uno and Skipbo: Colors, numbers and matching. You can take the deck anywhere. And it's just good fun.

3. Scrabble and Scrabble Jr.: Really self explanatory. Probably the most played games here.

4. Yahtzee: Serious numbers and counting practice. Way to practice different combinations of numbers.

5. The Garden Game: I think this one is only available online, but it is a very cool and educational game. My dad got it for Monkeybutt's birthday 5 years ago when he showed an interest in gardening, and not only is it fun, but we have learned a ton. Composting, pests vs. beneficial animals, earth stewardship...there is so much to be learned. If you can find it, get it. I will say, though, it's a lot easier if your opponent can read - otherwise you spend a lot of time reading the cards aloud.

We've played Candyland, Life, Chutes and Ladders, etc. as well as one of the 6 different Trivial Pursuits (in teams, obviously) plenty of times, but these are the games we keep pulling out over and over. Give some of these a try - I'll bet your kids will surprise you by how smart they are and how much fun they can be.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Pretty Peonies

My grandmother grew peonies. I thought they were the most beautiful flowers; big, fluffy, thornless roses. When I moved into my own house, I had to plant peony bushes. Only one of them is really blooming successfully, but they are lovely, and the fragrance is heavenly. And I love to snip a few blooms, inhale, and think of my grandma.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Look what I made!

So, my dad and brother bought a sewing machine for me for Christmas 3 years ago. I took it out of the box, neatly organized all the little sewing machine components in its nifty little container, stowed the whole thing in the way cool carrying case - and left it there. Until this morning, when my very lovely friend came over. We were sitting and chatting when she says, "go get your sewing machine. I'm going to show you how to use it."

Looky! A lovely, gathered waist skirt for my little Girl Child. Made with fabric I bought 3 years ago, along with a pattern for a jumper...which would now be too small. So I doubled the fabric over (it was pretty see-through), and made the skirt. It's a bit too big, but she really likes it, and I'm so freaking proud of myself, I could skip. So, hooray! And thanks to my very sweet friend.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


My Cubby garden gnome

These lilacs smelled lovely.

We took my scrumptious nephew to the zoo. He does not have much of a wingspan.

I walked into the living room and found these two sleeping like this. Awww.

We had a nest of baby bunnies the week before Easter.
I've been having some trouble coming up with something to write about lately. So here are some photos I took last month. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Twilight, and why I think Bella is dumb (along with several other irritating characters)

Warning: Spoilers, but if you haven't read any of Twilight, you probably won't care anyway.

I read Twilight last year. I didn't think much of it, but I knew, since I read the first book, I would have to read the rest. But honestly, it kind of reminded me of "Party of Five" with vampires and no dead parents. You all remember "Party of Five" right? The show that launched Jennifer Love Hewitt, Matthew Fox, Neve? A show so full of teen angst, I felt like I'd regressed to 15 every time I watched it? That's the way I feel about Twilight. I had to keep reminding myself that the main characters were teenagers, and I still wanted to slap Bella - multiple times.
Anyway, I just finished New Moon last night. I almost didn't read it - my Twilight-loving friends all told me it was the worst book in the series and I would probably hate it. I didn't hate it - but it reinforced my dislike of Bella.
Let me clarify, before a slew of avid Twilight fans storm my blog and, possibly, cause me bodily harm - the stories are pretty decent. I have no major problem with any of the other characters - it's just Bella. She is the whiniest character since Holden Caulfield and Raskolnikov. Both characters I wanted to slap around.
During one amusing moment in the book, Bella the whiner is comparing her relationship with Edward to the doomed lovers of Romeo and Juliet. And I couldn't help but agree - because I found Romeo and Juliet to be two of the most pathetic characters in literature. Even in high school - I mean, come on. They were teenagers. Kids - and they certainly acted like it. "oh, no, she's dead, I'll just go ahead and kill myself right here." and then "oh, no, now he's dead..." you get the picture. Understand, I am not the least romantic person alive, but come on. And yes, I am dissing another favorite character in literature - Holden Caulfield. What a whiney, elitist little punk. I never understood Kyra Sedgwick's character's love for him in "Singles"...and the funny thing, my guess is the author meant for the character to be annoying, and what a hoot that so many American girls loved the guy so much. I mean, what a comment on our culture.

Wow, I totally went off topic there. I disliked "Romeo and Juliet", "Catcher in the Rye", and "Crime and Punishment" - three of the world's most popular and best loved works of literature. And now we're discussing...right, the Twilight series, more specifically, New Moon. The entire meat of the book consists of Bella whining for Edward, and developing a relationship with Jacob...and by the way, what is everyone's beef with Jacob? He can't help what he is, and, more to the point, other than the Cullens, the vampires are a lot more deadly than the werewolves. He acts a lot more mature than dumb Bella, and she has pretty much said she isn't going to be leaving Edward. I thought Jacob and his group are a very cool addition to the story, and he could get a heck of a lot better than Bella. Why do these characters love her so much, anyway? She's kind of a twit.

Ok, this was pretty disjointed and crazy-sounding. I just wanted to get this all out before it slipped away. And don't attack me - I'm just as entitled to my opinion, darn it.
Have a nice day. Watch out for mythical creatures.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I've always enjoyed Star Trek. I'm not a "Trekkie" - I've never dressed up as a character, attended a convention, and I enjoyed The Next Generation more than the Original Series (blasphemy, I know.) But I watched every episode of TNG, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager, I can name several species, I love get the picture.

Yesterday we went to see the new Star Trek movie. Most of you know this movie was about Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the crew as young cadets. Great effect, a decent storyline, and I loved the actors - especially Karl Urban as Bones (oh he is yummy) and Zachary Quinto as Spock (I love him anyway - Heroes is my favorite show and he is an excellent bad guy - and he looked, sounded and acted Spock.) The clever bit of the movie is the plot twist that will allow them to make future installments without contradicting the series. I won't go any further, but I do recommend checking out this movie. My kids even enjoyed it. Monkeybutt thought it was great, and the Girl Child was probably a bit young for the more mature plot points, but she loved the action, the aliens, and watching for the "Giant Cheeseball" which makes her day each time she watches the opening credits of the various series (several of the planets look, to her, like giant cheeseballs. A child of vast imagination, my Girl Child.)

Anyway, we really loved the new Star Trek movie. We think you should see it.

Live long and prosper.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Happy 12th birthday, Monkeybutt!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


My eyes are feeling rather grainy.
It's been chilly and damp all day, like Ferris Bueller's "cold and clammy" hands. I feel like taking a nap.

On a brighter note, check out the Mouthy Housewife link I added to the side. I found it reading Denise's blog. Brilliant and funny, a lethal combination.