Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pancake Morning

Memorial Day was a little cool here, so we
started the day with a pancake breakfast, to warm us up. Kate and Lily both helped mix and flip.

We made our favorite: letter pancakes. My mom, Lois, started the tradition when I was a kid. She had a large French's mustard container that she would fill with pancake batter, so she could precisely write the letters to our names. What fun! When I had kids, she even gifted me a recycled mustard jar so I could carry on the tradition, which of course, I have!

Well, with all sorts of new packaging on the market, I've added an additional letter pancake dispenser to my arsenal. It's from a squeezable jelly container (and it has a little wider mouth so I can pour the batter directly into the dispenser.)

I also have another favorite tool, which I feel is absolutely essential if you have kids, but even if you don't, it's super handy. It's a plastic pizza cutter. You need a nice sharp metal one too, but this plastic version is safe for the kids to use and it won't damage your Dora the Explorer plastic plates or non-stick bakeware. You seriously need this thing if you cut your share of pancakes, waffles, pizza or almost anything that you want to turn into bite size pieces in a hurry. If you have a helper in the kitchen, it's an even better tool---what could be more wonderful than a kid that is learning that cooking is fun and she can do it all by herself!

May Days

The days in May go by so quickly! Here are some of May's happenings:

Jack graduated from a Bear Cub Scout to a Webelo. He did trail clean-up recently and will ride a float in our Parker Country Festival Parade. He and John attended an all-day first aid and safety training that is part of his Webelo training. This important info may be helpful during the guys' outdoor trips together--all part of being prepared!

Kate and Julie wrapped up their year of Brownies with some fun outings, which were funded by the girls' cookie sales. They all went skating together even had an overnight trip! They stayed over at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, an hour south in Colorado Springs for the Wild Nights program. They toured the zoo after everyone went home, had s'mores, slept in a lodge building and then visited with the animals again in the morning, just as they were waking up and being fed. We got an intimate and informative tour of the animals and beautiful mountain surroundings.

Julie celebrated a birthday (reluctantly) this month; her 37th. It's actually a week of celebrating, with Mother's Day falling around the same time, so there were flowers, breakfast in bed, window shopping, eating out and other fun stuff. We also had some nice weather, amidst what has been a cool spring so far. One of her gifts was a new laptop (wow!) and it is such a treasured gift, since it's such a useful tool for preserving and enjoying pictures and videos of family events-- and for sharing them with you!

Memorial day brings the end of the school year for the kids. They are now in 4th and 2nd grades! We celebrated by having s'mores and a sleepover in the camper, which we had set up out front to get ready for the season. (Some of the kiddos in the photo just joined us for s'mores, but we did have 6 kids and 2 parents in the camper all together!)

Poetry Tea and Collecting Art

A fun near-end of school activity was a Poetry Tea that the third graders hosted. We got to hear them read some of their favorite poems from the year, as well as a neat poem about fireflies that was read by the entire class in two voices. They learned about different poetry styles and wrote some very interesting pieces.

Everyone agreed that Jack's poem, Pranks, was very appropriate for him. His other favorite selection, which he read is Green. Here they are in text and below and I'm hoping to upload video excerpt. I love hearing the kids written ideas and I'm so excited to be able to share them with you electronically. (Don't you love the Internet?)

People like pranks.
Really funny to do.
Any time I'll play pranks.
No one catches me.
Kate my little sister yells at me when I do them.
Sometimes hanging dolls from the neck.
Trouble around my house is pranks.
Everybody gets fooled.
Rely on me for pranks.

Green is like rock.
Green is very colorful.
Green is wet.
Green is my sister's favorite color.
Green is shiny.
Green is slippery.
Green smells weird.
Green tastes bad.
Green sounds like splashing.
Green feels smooth.
Green makes me happy.
Green is wonderful.

We've also been receiving lots of this year's artwork, which has been hanging on display at school. I'm adding a slideshow of kids' art in the column at left or you can see it by clicking here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Kids in the Kitchen

The girls had a lot of fun the other night making a family favorite: baked clams. Lily was in charge of laying out the shells (which we got from Nana G and we reuse every time). We also let her stir for a little while. Kate filled the shells and sprinkled them with Parmesan cheese. They did a great job working together, and it is such a treat for Julie to have kiddos that are clamoring to help out with the cooking!

Official Cub Scout Business

Cub Scouts Jack, Ryan and Pepe from Den 3, Pack 369 performed the official flag ceremony at Parker Colorado's town council meeting last night. After visiting with the Mayor for last minute microphone instructions, Jack gave the color guard commands for the posting of the flags and led the Pledge of Allegiance for the beginning of the meeting. The boys were in awe of our town hall, with its cool video and sound system and how the meeting was attended by so many official-looking people, including officers from the Police Department!

Scouting has given Jack so many opportunities to learn about our community. Last weekend, during trail clean-up, we found a weathered, old lost wallet. Since he had learned about the police station and some of its functions last year, we returned to the station with the wallet so they could find its owner. We are lucky to live in such a great place and we feel even more fortunate when we can give the kids experiences that show them how they make our community even better!