Fun in the ‘hood

Let me just say that Bandon Drive is growing in to the nice little community I had hoped for! I think a big factor is that many of the kids are just getting to the age of being able to play and wander house to house on their own a bit. We have a big population of first grade and kindergarten girls — on our street, there are five first grade girls and two kindergarten girls who all play great together.  The girls had a lemonade stand at our neighborhood garage sale today, and two of the neighbor girls joined them to play and sale. Yesterday, we all ended up in a neighbor’s backyard (I went along so Elizabeth could play with their three-year-old, too.) They kids made a water canal system in the rocks and the got fun-dirty!

A ten-year-old girl hosts the little ones one weekday afternoon for story/craft/game time. The kids love it, and we mamas do, too!

I am really looking forward to summer and a yard full of playmates!

It reminds me of playing with my neighbors as a kid. I remember our moms would sometimes write on our hands how long we could stay and play or what time we needed to be sent home.  Maybe I’ll get to try that soon. 🙂







Who says men don’t multitask?

In case it isn’t clear in the picture, this is my husband working from home with five computers in front of him — two laptops, a Netbook, a desktop, and his iPhone. When I snapped the picture and commented on his multitasking, he did admit that he wasn’t multitasking and explained what each machine was doing while he checked his email on his phone.

My Little Family on the Prairie

My love affair with Little House on the Prairie and all things pioneer-period continues. And thankfully, my girls enjoy it and my husband tolerates it! We are making our way through the whole series of Little House on the Prairie, checking out a two-disc set from the library each week. I’ve been wanting to visit Pioneer Farms with the girls since Christmas, when they got their prairie girl dresses. I saw on Facebook that they were having a presentation today — Girls of Grit — about what life for women was like in various families during the period. Caroline chose not to wear her outfit, but Elizabeth donned hers. I left the bonnet at home (and we needed it in the sun today!)

This was our third visit to Pioneer Farms, but it was our first visit that did not involve the Biscuit Brothers (and therefore huge crowds!) It was pretty much a ghost town, especially when we first arrived. A Girl Scout troop showed up for the Girls of Grit tour and there was one other family wondering around. Going on the tour was fabulous as we were able to enter some of the rooms in some of the houses. We toured a small farm of a German family who had thirteen kids in their one room house. We saw a Tonkawa Indian site. We saw the Jourdan-Bauchmann farm — representing an upper middleclass family, and we saw The Bell House, the home of a senator and cotton farmer. We heard of life for women and girls and kids from a range of socio-economies.

There were caterpillars aplenty — fuzzy ones! Hundreds, easily! Elizabeth couldn’t stop screaming about the Very Hungry Caterpillars! All the girls seemed really fascinated by them — maybe even more so than learning about life as a pioneer.

After two hours on the prairie, in the heat, we were BEAT! I commented in the car that it would have been hard to have lived then. Caroline said, “But WE were WALKING the whole time!” Yeah, hard work indeed.

Homemade Playdough — I’ve found the secret!




And the secret is WINE!

Yup, who’d have thought. I’ve made lots of homemade playdough these past few years, but I never put much thought in to it. Sure, lots of recipes called for cream of tarter, but who has that? I just left it out and added extra salt. Well, guess what, scientists! Cream of tarter is the secret to silky soft, smooth playdough (that and NOT TOO MUCH SALT!)

Cream of tarter, or potassium bitartrate, is a byproduct of winemaking. The cream of tarter is what helps thicken up the playdough (rather than adding more salt as I had been doing.)

So, it is true — wine makes me a better mom!

Here’s the recipe:

1 C Flour
1 C Water
1/4 C Salt
1 TBSP Vegetable Oil
2 tsp Cream of Tarter

(add food coloring — which we did — or a packet of koolaid for scented and colorful playdough)

mix together and then heat on the stove until it thickens up

then kneed the squishy warm dough some more — it’s very soothing!

One recipe made enough for three colors, each filling a Gerber Applesauce container (which I admit I bought for a fun snack that would give us a handy container for our playdough.)

House Rules by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult novels have become my resting place. If the library doesn’t have the latest hit available for me, I’ll check out one of her books that I haven’t read and know I’ll be in for a treat. I am a big Law and Order fan, and her books sort of play out as if they were made for TV (a negative critique for many, I know.) This book in particular, with its crime scenes and courtroom drama, is especially Law&Order-ish. By design. Jacob is an autistic teenager obsessed with crime scenes. His grad-student social skills tutor is found dead, along with a complicated crime scene, and Jacob is charged with her murder. Picoult’s novels usually present with an unexpected twist at the end, and to be honest, this time, I had it figured out in about 24 minutes (as Jacob would say.) Is this because I’ve read too many of her books or that this one was particularly predictable. Or do I have too many friends with sons with Asperger’s Syndrome (and a daughter who is drawn to these boys)?

As always, I enjoyed her work. And I checked out another of her books today. What will I do when I get ahead of her work? I am not far behind, so I need a new favorite, I think!


Happy Easter!


Happy Easter! We brought home the flowered cross (so I can take it to storage in the next few weeks), so John displayed it in our front yard. What a beautiful symbol of our Risen Christ. We had a lovely Easter, starting with a family egg hung with my sister and her husband and kids here on Saturday. Poppy, Nana, and Mrs. Ross joined us and stayed for Easter, too! The girls awoke to a scavenger egg hunt with clues — which I will repeat — that led them to their baskets. We had another egg hunt at church, though with about a third of the number of kids I expected. I think I may need to skip planning that for next year as it is such a busy day for families.

Elizabeth ended up with a fever by the end of the day, so she isn’t too chipper in our family pictures, but I do love the oh-so-rare family picture, so I treasure it. (Notice my new short, dark hair. I decided to return to my roots.)

Word to my lover

Lately I have really been enjoying lying in bed next to my dear husband playing Words with Friends on our phones. And I enjoy connecting with him throughout the day, he at work, I at home or running around town, as we play together. (We tried to play Scrabble as a family today, but I just couldn’t bring myself to keep score. It’s so handy to have the game do it automatically.)