Things to Read - Six Interesting Articles From Around the Web - On Junk Food, Mean Girls, Cyber-Bullying, Princess Culture, Over-Prescribed Antibiotics, and Facebook Updates

1. (Junk Food) - The New York Times Magazine published a fascinating article on the The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food, where industry scientists dished on creating the foods we can't stop eating, "complex formulas that pique the taste buds enough to be alluring but don’t have a distinct, overriding single flavor that tells the brain to stop eating."

"The prevailing attitude among the company’s food managers — through the 1990s, at least, before obesity became a more pressing concern — was one of supply and demand. “People could point to these things and say, ‘They’ve got too much sugar, they’ve got too much salt,’ ” Bible said. “Well, that’s what the consumer wants, and we’re not putting a gun to their head to eat it. That’s what they want. If we give them less, they’ll buy less, and the competitor will get our market. So you’re sort of trapped.” (Bible would later press Kraft to reconsider its reliance on salt, sugar and fat.)"


2. (Mean Girls) - Carly Pifer wrote an article for Slate documenting her own experiences as a high school mean girl, which seemed more awful than anything Hollywood could conjure up.

"We were most devastating when we operated as a pack against one of our own. Fighting among teenage friends is normal, of course, but our fights were a bit more ritualistic than they needed to be. If, for instance, one girl managed to lure the entire group to her side against another girl, we all ganged up on that poor loser in a ritual we called “Circle.” Seriously, we named it Circle. We formed a perfect globe around the offending Magnificent and shouted off reasons we didn’t want to be her friend or why she wasn’t worthy of being ours. Of course, some of those reasons were fair—we were all mean girls, after all, and terrible to each other—but we were merciless by any standard, enclosing her tightly before we expelled her for good. (We actually started as a much larger group, but through Circle and other similarly lovely activities, we whittled ourselves down to seven by yearbook time.)

One particular night at a friend’s unsupervised home, a Circled girl became hysterical and had to be retrieved by her mother. But the following Monday at lunch, the ritual continued. Our former friend knew she could no longer sit with us at our designated spot (smack in the middle of a common walkway, which forced peers and even teachers to alter their paths). So she settled on a distant corner by herself, and I took out my disposable camera—which I always had on hand—and took a picture of her. I still have it."


3. (Cyber-Bullying) - The Atlantic has a great piece on behind-the-scenes attempts at social networking sites to fight cyber-bullying, in particular, trying to stop the conduct before it occurs. At least one computer scientist is researching a "ladders of reflection" approach" - "Think about the kid who posted “Because he’s a fag! ROTFL [rolling on the floor laughing]!!!” What if, when he pushed the button to submit, a box popped up saying “Waiting 60 seconds to post,” next to another box that read “I don’t want to post” and offered a big X to click on? Or what if the message read “That sounds harsh! Are you sure you want to send that?” Or what if it simply reminded the poster that his comment was about to go to thousands of people?"


4. (Boys and Princesses) - Huff Post Parents published a short, well-written article on the difficulties of raising a son in a girl power society.

"Let me be clear -- I absolutely know that there is a need to make sure that girls and women know that what is between their legs should not limit them to achieve anything that their heart is guiding them towards.

But here is what I sadly realized: Within modern girl power, there seems to be a message that girls are better than boys. Boys are BAD. Boys are MEAN. Boys are silly, weak, stupid, clueless, rough.

There are also a lot of double standards when it comes to proclaiming, "girls can do anything!" I have seen parents celebrate that their daughters play with trucks or pick out boxers as underpants. Look! See! Nothing holding this girl back!

This sort of celebration does not happen when a boy picks up a doll or Dora undies.

The modern princess culture seems to be that you can wear a pink dress and still climb a tree. You can love to dance and twirl and still play baseball. You can wear a crown and overalls. I think this message is fine. And I agree with it. Kids -- you can do it all!

Except the point isn't "kids, you can do it all," it is GIRLS can."


5. (Antibiotics)
- This Is Not An Ear Infection is a must-read about the over prescription of antibiotics.

"In a 2010 study, Boston University researchers surveyed 300 pediatricians and found that 85 percent of the time, when infections were minor, doctors ignored the AAP’s guidelines and prescribed drugs. Most of the doctors said they thought that the guidelines made good sense, but they felt pressured by parents to give out drugs anyway. This reckless overuse of antibiotics isn’t just expensive; it is believed to drive antibiotic resistance, too. In 2007, scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified a new form of Streptococcus pneumoniae called 19A that causes childhood ear infections and is resistant to every FDA-approved antibiotic. Now that’s a bug you don’t want your child to get."


6. (Facebook Updates) - Now THIS is interesting - "According to a new study, we are one and a half times more likely to remember [Facebook postings] than any other form of written language. In fact, we remember the random online blathering of friends and family two and a half times more consistently than we remember faces. These are the unequivocal findings of “Major Memory in Microblogs,” a new study from the University of California, San Diego, and the University of Warwick.

“It’s not that you can remember the Facebook posts a little better--you can remember them a lot better,” says study co-author Dr. Laura Mickes, who calls the findings “jaw-dropping.”


Things to Do - Stuck


Years ago, when we were in our young twenties (so so many years ago now), one of my best friends came up with her own theory for life - don't get stuck. She noted that some people become stuck after high school because they find it hard to grasp that nobody cares how popular you might have been in a former life. Others get stuck after college, Reality Bites style, insisting they will never work for "the man," while smoking pot all day and reading philosophy. (Not that anything is wrong with rejecting "the man" - you just need an alternative trajectory.)

According to Allison, if life has a goal, than that goal surely must be to enjoy where you're at while you're there and then to move on - don't let yourself become the forty year old hanging out in a twenty-something bar thinking you look hot dancing to Dynamite.

I have to say, I still find this a pretty profound insight from a 23 year old.

Anyways, throughout the last fifteen years I've tried to follow Allison's advice. I embraced my twenties for all their drunken randomness - I traveled as much as I could, I drank Jagermeister shots, I went to law school, etc. Then I moved on. For the last seven years, babies and toddlers have completely consumed my life. And while I enjoyed their cute little coos and their non-stop cuddliness, I did not find this period of life very "sticky." I'm too impatient for babies, there's so much uncertainty - who will they be? when will they talk? what will they have to say? And regarding the terrible twos, I found them absolutely exhausting - from one completely unpredictable tantrum to the next.

So now here I am with a 3, 6, and 7 year old. T spends our afternoons putting out imaginary fires and capturing bad guys. And throughout the last few months I've wondered how my fussy, disagreeable baby has suddenly become the most adorable little boy to have ever walked the planet. While T creates imaginary worlds, F and P work on homework, art projects, or sometimes help me cook dinner - as the sky outside gradually fades to black, all three kids continually tell me details of their days. And I'm loving it. I love that my kids are all still young enough for playgrounds and old enough for museums. I love that all three of them still run up and hug me when I pick them up from school. I love all their never-ending questions about everything from fire poles to poverty. And I love that I now have mornings to myself, that I go to Bikram Yoga 3 times a week, that I (gasp) grocery shop BY MYSELF.

In other words, despite all my efforts, I fear that I have become stuck. Because I'm not ready to move on from here, I'm not ready for tweens and for all three kids to attend grade school. I'm not ready for dating and proms and the words "my mom doesn't understand anything" - which really means I'm not ready for them to grow up or maybe I'm not ready for me to grow old. Or maybe I just need someone to tell me that it keeps getting better. Anyone? Anyone?



Places to Go - Winter Hiking at Turkey Run (McLean, VA)


It still sort of amazes me that I can now take all three kids "hiking", this just seems like such an event in itself. A few weekends ago, before the crazy cold wind hit, the kids and I decided to log some time on the trails. Every time we drive towards Maryland on the GW Parkway we pass a sign for Turkey Run Park, but this was our first time ever venturing there, primarily because I knew so little about it. Luckily, KidFriendly DC posted on the trailhead at parking lot C, so we followed her advice (though I think we took another trail when we reached the bottom of the hill).

On the upside, the kids had a fantastic time - checking out the river, picking up numerous sticks and stones, chasing our dog, and generally enjoying winter in the great outdoors. Then we hit our first stream crossing - stones throughout the shallow river made it more than "doable", but my kids still expressed lots of fear. Which all would have been fine in a "such an adventure" sense, until we encountered another stream crossing about 0.2 miles down the path, then another. I'm not sure who found them more stressful, the kids or the dog, but eventually we decided to turn around (sopping wet feet made this decision easier), so we never completed the turkey run loop. Hopefully, next time. And there will be a next time, as this place is too beautiful to not return. Though I'd definitely bring a cell phone, we met some fantastic and kind people along the trail, but a few sketchy guys kept circling the parking lot.


I love when they all get along.


Wish I had more pictures of the treacherous stream crossings, but I was too busy carrying T while trying to keep my feet dry.


Things to Do - Rant

About two years ago I wrote a post on my decision to become a SAHM and up until now that is all I've wanted to say regarding the mommy wars. But lately I've come across a new line of argument that has gotten under my skin (even though I try SO HARD to never let such issues really bother me). Previously, the wars seem to have consisted of a monotonous ping pong game between the benefits of "working" and "not-working," and much like a mediocre ping pong game, they're far from interesting.

So perhaps in an effort to escalate the battle or in a desperate effort to gain attention for oneself*, lately, I keep coming across a new argument - that women who plan on staying home with their children DO NOT DESERVE AN EDUCATION, that their college or post-graduate spot would be better utilized by someone else ("[future-SAHMs] are taking away seats from other brilliant kids who might actually need a Princeton degree to achieve their dreams."). Basically, that educating nurturers is simply a waste of time for everyone involved. And I am angry. Yes, I admit it, Vivia Chen, you have made me angry (though oddly, you seem to be just another blogger, not sure why you need a fancy degree for that either, but I digress).

First of all, let's talk about dreams. In particular, let's talk about the dreams of twenty-something women. Some women dream of high profile careers, while others dream of homes filled with babies and baked goods. If there's one thing I've realized in my 37 years, often these dreams don't work out how you want them to. I know women who never wanted children, instead they wanted business suits and promotions (not that kids and success are mutually exclusive, but for some people they are), one beautiful accident later they're pushing a stroller home from preschool and telling me that they've been phoning in their part time job for the last four years. I know other women who have spent their whole life planning the perfect wedding, who never intended to work past the age of 30 - several of them are now 35 on Match.com. Life happens. Often life doesn't work out how we've planned it. So even if you're 22 and dreaming of muffin recipes - why not have a back-up plan?

Further, what is the point of college anyways? Is it really a trade school, where we learn a discrete set of things suited to a concrete career plan? If so, then why the emphasis on liberal arts? Surely it's not all just to seem clever at cocktail parties. While I find these issues interesting and debatable, it's unquestionable that most top colleges in America embrace the idea that knowledge brings growth, that learning has an intrinsic value. Computers wouldn't have multiple fonts if Steve Jobs hadn't stumbled into a college design class. To the best of my knowledge, Obama has never used his law degree to actually practice law, so does that mean his "spot" at Harvard would have been better served by someone else or do we think some benefit accrues from the fact that the most important man in the free world has a post graduate degree? After all, they don't offer degrees in "presidentialness". If college inspires one to think outside the box (or to think better from inside it) then why wouldn't such inspiration benefit you no matter what you choose to do with your life?

Perhaps Ms. Chen concludes that college degrees failed to enrich/teach/inspire SAHMs, because now we're basically daycare workers. (A judgy position, and suggestive of an inability to envision self-fulfillment outside of conventional a power/money paradigm - but let's leave aside Emily Dickinson, Thoreau, and Mother Teresa, and explore the position's merits.) If the point of attending college is to grow/learn/inspire oneself and if SAHMs have failed to seize the opportunity (presumably because all we do is deal with children all day), then what other career outcomes fail Ms. Chen's test? Daycare workers? Is education lost on them? How about elementary school teachers? Shouldn't we cut them off after high school? All those fancy ideas they heard surely confuse them, after all. Then we come to high school teachers. Obviously they should be allowed some higher education, but then again, they do work with children, best not to waste too many resources on them.

Does she think she can predict ex-ante who will benefit and who will not? By Ms. Chen's criteria, I probably can too. In my social circle of top-tier law school attendees, women have proven to be far more likely than men to compromise their careers for family. So women are more likely than men to not "benefit" from our educations, and the end result is clear. We really shouldn't have wasted everyone's time in the first place. And since our husbands are all quite literate, why not just embrace the idea that those likely to become caregivers should never learn how to read? What? There are countries were this occurs? How wonderful! How efficiently their societies must operate. Oh wait, but in these countries all women are denied an education. Oh, sorry Vivia Chen, now you're one of us.

Obviously Vivia Chen feels that she knows who deserves an education and who does not. She does not base her arguments on (though somewhat wiggly) ex-ante objective criteria like test scores, recommendations, grades, and a genuine love of knowledge. She bases it on ex-post judgments about who "NEEDS" a degree and she defines "needs" based on one's life choices compared to the ones she thinks should have been made. Obviously, any applicant could easily lie her way into school by insisting that she hates babies or that she would never ever stay home with her children. Why not make women sign a pledge? Let's write it in blood.

But I find this whole thing so slippery. By saying only some women deserve an education we seem be getting closer to the idea (already embraced in several cultures) that NO WOMEN DESERVE AN EDUCATION (and I say "women" because i have never seen this argument applied to men, we seem to assume as a culture that males' ambitions are legitimate - even if they use their Princeton education to smoke pot, teach elementary school, or climb Mt. Everest, as long as they don't "have babies on the brain"). All of which scares the hell out of me. I have two girls. And when I tell them they can be anything they want to be, I really mean ANYTHING. And all I ask the Ms. Chen's of the world is please please please don't take this away from them.

*By the way, I have no idea who Vivia Chen is, I randomly came across her blog post through a facebook link. She is quite likely jumping on her bed right now, glad that I have given her needless hits. Apparently she sees her blogger profession as important enough to insult other women's career choices, lord knows there aren't enough bloggers out there.

[Please click here for my follow-up post on this issue "A Kinder, Gentler Rant"]


Things to Make - Easy Tissue-Paper Suncatchers

untitled (15 of 18).jpg

Our windows needed something pretty to brighten up these winter afternoons, so I cut tissue paper into squares and then had the girls attach them to contact paper. We used a second sheet of contact paper to keep everything in place and hung our creations in the window. Easy.

untitled (1 of 18).jpg

untitled (6 of 18).jpg

untitled (9 of 18).jpg

P's learning about patterns in school, so she had a great time utilizing her new skill. Whereas F went the random route. And T ran around catching imaginary bad guys. So go our weekend mornings . . .


Things to Do - Grateful List (January 2013)

untitled (1 of 1).jpg

(The Lumineers, not that you can actually see them, but I promise they were there).

All in all, January sucked. I was sick for most of it, including having the flu (or something flu-like) on my birthday (not the best start to my year of health) and spent most of the month coughing and saying "I feel awful." On the upside, life provided a few amazing highlights, like watching the Lumineers live and a weekend away with some mom friends. So let's not dwell on the bad stuff, instead I'm looking ahead to all of February's probable awesomeness.

* Listening to Izabo
* Watching Looper
* Reading Travels in Siberia
* Watching Hugo for family movie night
* Watching Wreck it Ralph at the Cinema Drafthouse for family movie
* The Lumineers (live at DAR), esp. when they covered Talking Head's "this must be the place"

* Get Probiotic Tea
* Homemade caramel apples
* Dan's mushroom risotto for my birthday (though I couldn't eat it until two days later)
* Menchi's opens on Columbia Pike
* Massaged kale salad
* Dinner at Tari's in Berkeley Springs, WV
* Bacon, egg, and salsa cups

* Long Branch and Gulf Branch Nature Centers after preschool
* The Smithsonian American Art Museum's Farm to Table Event
* Mask Making and Farafina Kan-African dance at the Smithsonian American Indian Museum's Multicultural Festival
* Hiking with the kids at Turkey Run
* T and his friend, Jules, playing firefighters at the JW Tumbles Playzone

* My Jawbone Up wristband (best gadget ever)
* Birthday flowers from my in-laws
* Magnetic poetry sets for all three kids
* Lightroom 4

* Moms' weekend away in Berkley Springs, WV

* A relaxing NYD at home with our family
* P's reading (she's finally getting there)
* A whole day of musketeer play for P and T (she was "training" him)
* 2 happy calls (from the school counselor) in one day (one for F and one for P)
* Our party room out back
* Spontaneous "I love you"'s from T
* Playing Dominion with friends
* F reading (and liking) Anne of Green Gables and the Secret Garden
* F loving piano lessons
* P - "mom, are you happy?"; me - "Of course, I'm happy, I have three beautiful kids"; P- "oh, i thought you were going to say that you're happy because we're leaving you alone"
* T - "mom, when i become a teenager can i have a firefighter pole in my bedroom?"
* Parus and Jenny visiting with Hannah Banana


F - my family, art, school, Cybil Lily, my friends, my toys, Natalia, my American Girl dolls, felling better and going to school, hiking at Turkey Run, stayovers at L's house, that we have a nice house to live in and food to eat, my Kindle Fire, piano lessons, Menchis, my magnetic poetry kit, Hannah, Jenny, Parus

P - my family, Zoolights, school, playdates, that we have a nice house to live in and food to eat, Natalia, playing Suspend, weekends, that I got a happy call, going to the [Smithsonian] art museum, caramel apples, stayovers at L's house, hiking at Turkey Run, Wreck it Ralph, my Kindle Fire, making Valentines, playing Barbies, Menchis, Jenny, Parus, and Hannah

T - my family, Zoolights, Coco, Natalia, that we go to the nature center with my friends, playdates, going to school, reading books, Menchis, Hannah Banana


Places to Go (Vacation) - Berkeley Springs, WV - Moms' Weekend, Part II


Since I mentioned Berkeley Springs in Monday's post, I figured I should say a little bit about the town itself (if only for an excuse to post more pictures). As I learned over the weekend, Berkeley Springs is actually America's first spa town (how cool is that?). Good old George Washington himself couldn't get enough of the town's healing waters.

So on Saturday morning, my friend, Julia, and I drove on over to the state spa for presidential pampering. Or not. On the upside, there is something incredibly cool about a historic place of luxury. And the private roman baths were amazing, nothing like floating naked in hot water while snow falls outside. Regarding the massage itself, um, it was more of a "rub", not a lot of kneading going on (if any), just a lot of lotion. I found this odd. And a little disappointing.

On the upside, other moms frequented the town's private spas (there are several) and had nothing but good things to say. The town also hosts a variety of cute little boutiques (including a great used bookstore), a nice coffee shop, and a REALLY REALLY good restaurant called Tari's.

In summer, Berkeley Springs State park houses a public outdoor swimming pool, fed by the healing waters. Further, Cacapon Resort State Park (right down the road) provides golfing, lake activities (including swimming), hiking opportunities, and vacation cabins. Drive time is only about 2 hours from Washington DC.

A wonderful weekend getaway, though beware of the "rub".

Happy Wednesday everyone!!



Things to Make - Cherry Heart Pies

untitled (18 of 21).jpg

For whatever reason, Valentine's Day has become our baking holiday. Last year, we couldn't stop making heart-shaped pastries, so this year, as soon as I saw cherry heart pies in the Artful Parent's Winter Ebook (tons of great stuff in there, I highly recommend purchasing a copy), I knew they would make the perfect February snack. The kids managed to complete most of the steps all by themselves - F rolled the dough and cut out the hearts (using a cookie cutter), while P spooned in the cherry filling and sealed the pies with a fork. T brushed them all with the egg wash. And everyone loved eating them. A total win.

Here's the scoop (slightly modified from the Artful Parent's recipe):


* 1 can (or bottle) preserved cherries in syrup
* 2 tablespoons cornstarch
* 1/3 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
* 1 recipe pie crust (the Artful Parent bakes her own (click here for the recipe), we used store bought)
* Egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water)
* 3 inch heart-shaped cookie cutter.


1. Mix the cherries, half the liquid from the bottle or can, sugar and cornstarch in a pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, for 8-10 minutes or until the liquid turns thick, gels, and bubbles. Remove from heat and let cool.

2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Also, bring the pie crust dough out of the fridge to soften slightly (15 min).

3. Roll out half of the pie crust on a floured surface. Use the cookie cutter to cut hearts out of the dough. Transfer to parchment-paper-lined cookie sheets.

4. Spoon a couple tablespoons of cherry filling onto the center of each heart.

5. Cover each with a second dough heart. Press the edges closed with fork tines.

6. Use a sharp knife to cut an X (for a kiss) in the top crust. Brush each hand pie with egg wash, then sprinkle with sugar.

7. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown at edges. (Note - watch them carefully, our first batch burned a little bit)

8. EAT!

untitled (1 of 21).jpg

untitled (11 of 21).jpg

untitled (4 of 21).jpg

untitled (16 of 21).jpg


Places to Go (Vacation) - Berkeley Springs, WV - Moms' Weekend, Part I



We first joined F's playgroup about 4 years ago, when F was three. Throughout my college years I never participated in sorority life (my college didn't even have a greek system) so I found the idea of meeting a random group of women who had nothing in common but the age of their offspring daunting, to say the least. What would we talk about? Toddlers? Ugh, I was SO SICK of talking about toddlers, I already had two and they seemed to have engulfed me. I loved them to death but I also wanted an escape. Luckily, I found the right group of women.

Not that everything came easily at first, it took awhile for me to overcome my social anxiety and realize the true wonderfulness of this group - which includes: a scientist, an economist, a sociologist who dabbles in astrology as well as other systems that attempt to explain why people are how they are (love her), an ex-lawyer (like me), and a "secret agent" (actually I have no idea if this correctly describes her job as she can never talk about it). Several of the moms work (both full and part time), one mom is the sole wage earner for her family. Two moms each started their own businesses (Go Bananas Dancing and The Science Seed) and now manage staffs of people (I find them both incredibly inspiring). Basically, we're all pretty awesome.

When the kids were younger we met at playgrounds and nature centers during the morning, discussions would start with strollers but usually stronger issues would break through - politics, god, how on earth anyone manages to shower. Somewhere along the way we began meeting on Friday afternoons with wine for the moms and juice boxes for the kids, everyone takes turns making amazing dinners. Some days we linger until 9 pm or so. And eventually one of the moms noted that we needed a weekend away - together.

A house was rented. Wine was carted in (practically by the barrel). Somehow 6 tubs of hummus made their way into the fridge. We danced. We Apple to Appled. We ate (a lot), including a wonderful dinner out at Tari's restaurant. We watched a cheesy chick flick. We napped. We spa-ed. We drank. We learned how everyone met their spouse and when they lost their virginity. We drank and danced more.

Good times. I can't wait for our next trip!




Things to Do - Random Links

untitled (1 of 28).jpg

* Well, this is very very good news.

* One of my friends from high school just stared a facebook page full of wonderful, EASY healthy recipes (mostly vegetarian and vegan). She's the one who created the roasted eggplant/tomato soup recipe I posted earlier in the year. Click here to check out her page.

* Have you seen You Are My Wild? Just gorgeous. And inspiring.

* After the fire.

* A meadow in the ocean.

* What about me? Global warming by location.

* Oliver Jeffers. I love his penguin books.

* Familiar rooms, hidden faces.

* A life-size dandelion that could save thousands of lives.

* Bookshelf porn. Wow.

* How to nurture creativity.

* Just my (current) favorite band singing my all-time absolute favorite song.

* The future. Warning, this graph may cause adomania.

* This act is coming to the Artisphere on Feb. 15-16, it looks awesome (recommended for kids 7 and over). Artisphere is offering a $5 discount for readers of this blog, just enter the code "“NoMonsters” at checkout!

* Judgments. In case you've ever wondered how to distinguish sluts from matrons.

* How marriage ruined Downton Abbey.


Things to Read - Favorite Kids' Books VIII

untitled (8 of 8).jpg

Here are some of our favorite books this winter. Click here to see some of our past reads and click on the icons to enter Amazon. What have you been reading lately?



T - I liked this book, I like big machines [and learning what they do].

B is For Bulldozer

T - I like it because they build a roller coaster. And I like builders.


I Want My Hat Back

P - This guy loses his hat and asks a bunch of people and then figures out the bunny stole it. I thought it was funny.

T - I thought it was funny too and I'm not reviewing it anymore.

A Gold Star for Zog

P - I liked how the princess helped Zog every time.

T - I liked all of it. I like when the captured princess became a doctor.


I'm Bored

P - I love this book. Please read it, it's really cool. The best book ever. It's about a little girl who says she's bored then she entertains a potato who is also bored. Then the potato meets a flamingo who is also bored.

F - I like that it's really funny. The girl is bored, then the potato is bored, then the flamingo - like a pattern.

T - I like that book too.

I Will Never Eat a Tomato

F - It's really funny. The little sister will never eat certain vegetables, so her brother plays a trick on her saying they're from other planets and special.

P - I like that they change all the names and potatoes are from clouds, so the girl is tricked into thinking the things she wouldn't eat are delicious. We should try this with T.

T - What?

I Feel Better With a Frog in My Throat: History's Strangest Cures

F - This book is really really interesting. The unicorn horn was the craziest cure, but my favorite was mother's kisses. I also liked that the book had quizzes and made you guess which cures really worked.

P - I can't believe people used to use frogs to cure things and they maybe worked.

Bear Has a Story To Tell [I love this one]

T - I like it, though it's a little sad, bear's friends are really nice friends. that's it. i don't want to talk anymore.

P - we read it at school. I love this book.

F - It's a circle story - it ends how it began. I like that bear is patient, friendly, and nice.

What Pete Ate

T - He ate lots of shoes, that's really funny. I can't remember the rest. He's like [our dog] Coco, he eats everything [note - Coco really does eat EVERYTHING]

F - I loved it because it's so funny.

P - It sounds like our dog. I liked it but I didn't love it.

Hello! Hello!

F - I thought it was crazy-ish, I liked that it was funny and told you to spend time in the real world. It inspires you go to outside and not spend time on your Kindle Fire.

P - I liked it because it was crazy.


Things to Make - Secret Agent Messages Two Different Ways

Lately all three kids are obsessed with spies and secret agents. F especially loves these kits, whereas her younger siblings prefer hiding behind doors and surprising me. Anyways, on one of the many "snow days" we've had lately, we spent a morning creating secret agent messages using two different methods in an effort to "trick" the bad guys.


1. Method 1 - White Crayon.

So so simple. Write with white crayon on white paper. Then paint over the crayon with watercolor paint to reveal hidden messages.


2. Method 2 - Lemon Juice.

I've always heard that you can use lemon juice to create secret messages, but I never knew how to make it work - turns out you that after you paint on the lemon juice, you need to cook the [thick, watercolor] paper at 350 degrees for a few minutes in order to see the magic pictures appear. Thank you Not-So-SAHM for letting us in on the secret! (And by the way, if you're looking for more spy play ideas, check out Not-So-SAHM's post here).


Things to Do - Talk about The Weather


Northern Virginia has experienced incredibly random weather this winter (even more so than usual). Last week a cold spell, with temperatures in the low twenties, caused us to dig gloves, hats, and old sweaters out of closets. Then this week we put everything away again (even our coats) as temperatures rose to the 70s. Odd to think that climate change, the end of the world, etc. has given us such a smorgasbord of entertainment options. And, with the exception of school closings, we have enjoyed the highs and lows - from snowball fights one day to short sleeves at the playground the next. Every day becomes a mini-vacation full of new(ish) experiences, as we continually try to adjust to it all.

Have a good weekend everyone, whatever the weather brings you.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...