Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Feeling Nappy

Tyler's latest line is 'I'm feeling nappy' which means he feels tired and needs a nap. He also tries this out when I give him a time out: "But I'm nappy! I can't take a time out!" to which I reply "Then you can nap in time out!"

Someday This Will Be Funny??

Yesterday Tyler behaved fabulously. Until 5pm. Wherein he turned into a raving lunatic in footie pajamas. He had woken the night before with nightmares, so I think his interrupted sleep was catching up with him. In the absence of a padded room and straight jacket, I sent him to his room because he was pretty much out of control. He finally settled down (mostly) and I went to get him ready for an early bedtime. I happened to peer into James' playmobil bin and noticed that something had spilled in there. I didn't think much of it because I was focused with laser-like precision on getting the kid to bed. I was getting him ready for bed when he informed me that he didn't need to go to the bathroom. Why? Because he had needed to go, and James was in the bathroom, so he peed in the bin. Arrrrrrgh!!! Why??? I am writing about this because hopefully someday I will laugh about it. Or at the very least, it will be great when Tyler is an adult to remind him of what he put me through. :)

Frostbite And Other Tomfoolery

This goes down as one of my favorite James stories of all time. On Monday he got off the bus and declared "Mom, I have frost bite on all my fingers on this hand!" Now considering that it was in the 40's when we went to the bus and the temperatures only climbed from there, I knew he didn't have frostbite. I mean really....but it did cross my mind that the boy has watched way too many survival shows and it was getting to his head. He showed me his hand and how the skin around each fingernail was bright red, insisting that it was frost bite. And that's when it all started making sense. You see, the day before we had gone to our friends' house to hang out and have dinner. They always have some sort of interesting Mexican delicacies hanging around and this time it was some chips called Taquis. They are like rolled up tortilla chips coated in some sort of spicy, addictive seasonings, no doubt sprinkled with crack to make them highly addictive. And were they ever! Even James kept dipping in for a few more. And a few more. And did I mention that the seasonings were bright red??? Yep. I broke the news to James that he wasn't in fact suffering from frostbite, but indeed more like a case of an 8 year olds idea of thoroughness as applied to handwashing. At first he insisted it wasn't the chips. After all, he had washed his hands!! But when I asked him which hand he had been reaching into the bag with he held up his poor frost-bitten hand and got a grin on his face. Yep, it was the Taquis!

In other news, we got a frost last week and as we walked to the bus, Tyler declared quite excitedly "It 'nowed! It 'nowed!' He promptly got down and licked the neighbor's grass, declaring that it tasted like snow too. He wasn't as thrilled when we told him it was just frost.

And in other, other news, Katie, James and I are back in Farm Hands. On Saturday they basically shut everything down so that everyone could witness the 'once in a lifetime' event of raising a windmill. Who knew? I never thought about it, but a windmill has to get up somehow. They rigged everything up and we all got on the rope and raised the windmill. It is amazing what people-power can accomplish. The windmill was 30 feet tall and went up pretty easily. I am sure arranging all the ropes and pulleys beforehand was no easy task, but the actual raising of it was quick!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sick Kids

The kids have all taken turns getting sick since last Thursday. Fun times! Fortunately it was a quick, 24 hour bug for Katie and Tyler. James had it for 2 days, and this morning woke up and was much better. I put him on the bus and it wasn't 15 minutes after school started I got a phone call from the school nurse. She said he said he felt fine, but that he was pale and green (seriously) and looked sick. And besides, he was sick yesterday and apparently they have to be fever free without any Tylenol for 24 hours before they don't require hazmat suits. So I had to pick the little turkey up, even though he was clearly not green and looking fairly chipper. It really wasn't a hardship because I kind of like the kid and spending an extra day with him is nice. Now if only I can convince him that his 100% spelling test history is reason not to worry that he missed three days of spelling practice. I mean, hello! The kid NEVER misses a spelling word.

Friday, October 11, 2013


Here are a few pictures from the last...oh, month or so. The first few are from the kids' birthday party.

James and his friend Hudson

James and his friend Richie (both boys brought him a bow and they know him well or what?!)

Katie getting some advice from her friend Katie about how to open/use her birthday presents

Katie, Katie and Emmy

The rest of the pictures were ones Tyler asked me to take of him in the tree. I think he was enjoying hamming it up, you think?

Monday, October 07, 2013

Packing A Shoe Box: More With Less

Operation Christmas Child is something we love to participate in as a family. Recently, my husband's co-worker gave him $20 and a shoe box to fill for a child. He wasn't sure how far the money would go, but my husband assured him I could do two boxes with the money and that we'd pay the shipping. Such confidence in my shopping skills! This inspired me to document the contents of a shoe box, along with sources and prices to give you an idea of just what can be done. This is a great project involve kids with, as they can make simple crafts or write a letter to the child. They learn about giving in the process!

The Goods! Here are the contents of one shoe box for a girl, aged 10-14 years old.

The Details:

Crayons: Walmart, $.25
Toothbrush: Walmart or Target travel section, $1
First Aid Kit: Walmart or Target travel section, $1
Notebook: Walmart, $.17
Frog Hopper: Walmart party favors, $.10
Glue Sticks: Walmart or Target, $.25 for 2
Rainbow Loom bracelets: kid-made, free
Cross Craft: kid-made, free
Painting: kid-made, free

Peppermint Candies: Walmart, $.50 (I usually get these at BJ's for cheaper)
Soap:, $.18
Washcloth: Walmart, $.22
Kleenex: Walmart or Target, $.50 for 2
Pencils: Walmart or Target, $.50
Chalk: Michaels, $.10
Hello Kitty Bag: Target Dollar Spot, $.30
Pink Shirt: Walmart, $.50
New Old Navy jeans: free at a yard sale ( awesome is that!)

You didn't believe I could fit it all in the box, did you?! I have skillz. Also hours of experience playing Tetris in the days of my youth. And the grand total: drumroll please....$5.57 if I did my math correctly! Add $7 for shipping and the total cost to send this box is $12.57. The only thing missing from this box is a pencil sharpener which I will add when I get them.

Now, on to the boy box. The 10-14 age group is the most under-represented, especially for boys. I try to pack a number of boxes for this age group each year.

The Goods!

The Details:

Peppermint Candies: Walmart, $.50 (I usually get these at BJ's for cheaper)
Soap:, $.18
Washcloth: Walmart, $.22
Kleenex: Walmart or Target, $.25 for 1
Pencils: Walmart or Target, $.50
Chalk: Michaels, $.10
Blanket: made from brand new fleece from thrift store, $.75
Toothbrush: Walmart or Target travel section, $1
First Aid Kit: Walmart or Target travel section, $1
Notebook: Walmart, $.17
Frog Hopper: Walmart party favors, $.10
Rainbow Loom bracelets: kid-made, free
Cross Craft: kid-made, free
Painting: kid-made, free

Check out these shorts! I paid $.50 for them, and they come with a belt too!

Toothbrush: Walmart or Target, $1.00
Crayons: Walmart or Target, $.25
Gluesticks: Walmart or Target, $.37
Shorts: Walmart, $.50
Shirt: Walmart, $.50

The total cost for this box is $7.39, and with shipping $14.39.

Other tips:

  • Add a letter! You might hear back from your child. (I have...twice!)
  • Buy in bulk and split the items up: for example, I got soap on Amazon in a 16 pack, and I ended up paying $.18 a bar. Way cheaper than the dollar store.
  • Let your friends and neighbors know what you are doing. They will bring you stuff. My neighbor brought me 80 (!!) brand new toothbrushes his sister was going to throw away. The same neighbor is also a travel agent and has given us lots of the free promotional stuff she gets like water bottles, key chains, and tote bags. 
  • Look at yard sales. This one is new for me, but I have found a lot of stuff this year at yard sales and thrift stores. Keep in mind items must be new. I have found Happy Meal toys, stuffed animals, games, and much more this year, still with tags and for dirt cheap! There is also a thrift store in Trenton that sells new with tags beanie babies in bags of 4 for $2. Can't beat that!
  • Stick with a normal sized shoe box. I know, I know! It is hard to fit everything in, and in the past I have always thought bigger shoeboxes were better. However, now that I've worked at the collection center at church I have changed my ways. The shoe boxes are packed into cartons, and each carton is supposed to have at least 17 shoe boxes in it. (I am 94% certain that is the magic number) It is really hard to fit that many in, and when you have a boot box it is impossible. The problem comes when the distribution points believe they have a certain number of boxes to offer, and sometimes come up short of what they anticipated. 

Chicken on a Lease + First Day of Preschool = Fun Times!

This is roughly the 54th attempt by James to walk a chicken on a leash. This time he was successful in tying her in such a way that she wasn't thrashing about bawking, but she was not so cooperative with walking. Can you blame her?

He was so gentle in trying to pull her along. Maybe the next batch of chicks we get he can train one from the get-go.

Katie mercifully took her back to the coop.

Tyler's first day of preschool co-op

He know asks everyday when he can go back.

T and K hamming it up under the tree

This girl and her faces...she can get Tyler to go from fuming mad to a fit of giggles with her looks.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Little Artist

Here is one of Tyler's latest drawings. Not that I am biased but I think he is a little Picasso! :) I love watching the kids develop their styles. James draws detailed little scenes with speech bubbles. His sense of humor shows through. Katie draws all sorts of things, and really likes to write her name on everything. Tyler so far specializes in people. This one has a 'happy mile'.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Quote Of The Day

**We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog post to bring you the quote of the day**

I overhead this on the walk back from school:

Why don't you just get a public defender and spend the money on something better?

Yeah, let that one sink in. Maybe congress needs to hear this one, because we are paying for public defenders so people can spend their money 'on something better'. Sounds perfectly logical.

Two Posts In One Week!

I'm failing in the blog arena. Sorry Grandma. So, because I am lacking anything witty or insightful, I will give you some brief tidbits from the Franch:

  • Someday I aspire to have an actual Franch with a sign over the driveway heralding the entrance of the Rocking G Franch (or something like that...I can come up with something), like this:

  • James is a voracious reader. I get the little turkey a chapter book and he reads it in 2 days. If you have any suggestions for good books, leave a comment! He really likes western history, civil war, indians, history, adventure.....he brought 3 books to school today, 'just in case', to which I say: Awesome! 
  • Homework: James is not a fan. Katie did her entire weeks' homework on the first day, then asked when she was getting more. I had to print homework sheets out for her today so she would have some to do. Tyler didn't want to go to bed 'yet' because he 'had to do his homework'. I wrote his name a few times and he traced over it, then drew a bunch of little pictures in all the blank space on the page. He told me in detail what he learned about in preschool yesterday (Daniel in the lions' den, the letter M, writing his name) so the kid is paying attention!
  • Rachel and I are working in starting an Etsy shop. Woo! It is something we have talked about for a long time. Right now I am busy making a few more items for the shop.
  • I also finished another painting (way different than the last one, but fun!). I will post pictures soon. It may involve an armadillo.
  • When I let the chickens out yesterday I noticed that my black Australorp was hanging in the nest box. When she saw me, she did the egg squat. Now, I am no chicken expert, but I am getting better at spotting the signs. (The comb gets red, the egg squat, staring at the nest box, becoming less flighty) She sat in the nest box for at least an hour, which made me very exciting that she might actually lay her first egg! The reason this is so exciting is that she is supposed to lay dark brown eggs and I really want to see one. So basically I spent the morning stalking the chicken coop, but no egg today. Maybe today?
That's it for now. I have important things to do. Like stalk the chicken coop.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

First Day of Preschool

Tyler's first day of preschool went swimmingly. He was so excited. He adopted James' old backpack, into which he loaded a folder, glue stick, a new box of crayons from me, a 'nack', and another one just in case (you never know when you're going to eat next!) and a water bottle. He was also supposed to bring something for show and tell that started with an 'M'. He chose Giraffey, his favorite stuffed animal. When I told him that Giraffey started with 'G' he said 'I will name him M-ee M-ee M-eee!' and that was that.

After we dropped Katie off at school Tyler and I went on a 'date' to the Amish market. He stood before the giant glass case and picked out the donut of his dreams. Interestingly, he wanted plain chocolate, no sprinkles. He also asked for a spoon and a knife to eat it, which he gets from Jeff. Jeff even eats pizza with silverware. It was fun to have 'the Squatch' all to myself and watch him devour a giant donut. I, for one, was very happy to find a maple donut!! That was/is/forever will be my favorite variety of donut, and I have had a hard time finding them in the great state of P-A.