Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Month for One Birthday!

Zoe turned six this month, but it seemed like we were celebrating it one way or another every week this month! I know I baked three different treats for the events, and she made her own ice cream pie to celebrate with. But, it has been fun.

The first treat I baked were cookies called half and halfs. They are a half chocolate chip cookie, and half chocolate chocolate chip cookie, stuck together! I made these extra large and sent them in for her birthday treat for school. According to Zoe, they were a hit!

Because I was making so many cakes/ treats for her birthday parties, I suggested that Zoe make one of her famous ice cream pies for the family to eat on her actual birthday. She chose chocolate ice cream and sprinkled a variety of chocolate chips and sprinkles on top.

The first cake I made was for our family party. Usually, this is the only party my kids have each year. But Zoe has been asking for a "friend" party for quite some time, so we decided that she could have a friend party, too, this year. This cake was a two tier cake. The bottom tier was chocolate chocolate chip cake with vanilla swiss meringue buttercream, the top tier was white almond sour cream cake with almond swiss meringue buttercream. I made the decorations out of marshmallow fondant. Zoe explained the colors and decorations that she wanted, and I came up with this cake.

The following weekend was her friend party. We had ten little girls running around our house having a great time for Zoe's first "friend" party. Zoe loved being the center of attention and also loved her big 6 cake that she requested I make for this party. I took two nine inch chocolate cakes, cut a hole in the middle of one and carved the other one to look like the top of a six. Then I frosted over the whole thing with vanilla buttercream frosting. Zoe requested orange frosting with polka dots, so that is what she got! I was very happy with how the cake turned out.

Overall, I think Zoe would say that her month of birthdays (and treats) was a good one!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Writing - 2nd Grade Style

My daughter's 2nd grade class had a writing party for the parents today. It was meant to show us all the growth the children had made in their writing skills since the beginning of the year. The kids' journals, several stories they wrote, and their spelling sentences notebooks were all out for us to peruse and comment on. There were snacks and beverages, too.

About half an hour into the party, the parents were asked to sit at their child's desk. The kids got out a pencil for their parents and a paper was handed out to each student. At the top of the paper was a writing prompt that our kids picked out specifically for us. Some were "What is your favorite color? And Why?" or "What is your favorite animal? And Why?" or even "What is your favorite Bible story." Emma's assignment for me was "The best joke is . . . " I immediately got nervous. Couldn't think of any jokes. Not one.

Then the students were asked to walk away from their parents to give them some room to write. I thought for a few moments and then the words began to flow. This is what I came up with (and later had to read to the entire class filled with parents and students!):

In my life I have heard many jokes that make me laugh. My kids try to tell me jokes all the time, just to see if they can make me giggle. And while I love all kinds of jokes, my favorite one came from a popsicle stick.

Every summer my kids devour boxes and boxes of popsicles. And every time they eat one, they (or I) read the joke out loud. The summer of 2004 we came across a simple joke that to this day still tickles my funny bone.

Here it is:
What did the girl melon say to the boy melon when he asked her to marry him?
We're too young. We cantaloupe.

I had forgotten how much fun it can be to write from a prompt. As an adult, I rarely take the time to explore some free expression through writing (other than this blog, of course). I think I would enjoy it again.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

A Good Album

Are you looking for a good album that the whole family can enjoy? (Okay, I can't guarantee it for teenagers, but all other age ranges are included.)

On the way to school today with the van full of carpool kids, we listened to an old favorite of our's, "No" by They Might Be Giants. This has to be the best "kids" album out there.

It will not make the parents cringe when they hear the first strains of the first song, it will not make the big brother groan that he has to listen to little kid music, and it will not make the little sisters whine to put on different music.

It will make you want to hear as many songs as you can before you have to get out of the van and go to school, it will make your mom leave it playing, even after the kids go to school because the songs are so fun, and it will have every kid (and parent) singing along at the top of their lungs to every tune.

This is what happened this morning in our van. I was driving six kids to school, my three plus three others. About half way to our destination, Ian finds the "No" CD and puts it in. Two seconds later the whole van is singing Fibber Island. This is no small feat. My passengers are one sixth grade boy, two fifth grade boys, two second graders, a girl and a boy, and one kindergarten girl. Oh yeah, and me, the 37 year old chauffeur. By the time we were listening to John Lee Supertaster the three youngest kids were swaying and moving like backup singers and telling the older boys to, "Look at us!"

It was a great way to start the morning!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

College Fun

When I was several years younger, I attended John Carroll University. I am a proud graduate and alumni of many years and have lots of fond memories of the old alma mater.

One of the fixtures on the campus is what many students referred to as the "big head." It is a statue of our school's namesake, Archbishop John Carroll.

This is what it normally looks like:

However, apparently several of the students took advantage of all the snow in Cleveland right now and had some fun with the statue before leaving on Spring Break. Archbishop John Carroll currently looks like this:

I love it!