Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Happy Halloween, everyone!  We weathered Sandy not too badly - 26 hours without power, just enough time to bundle up, have a fire in the fireplace, and share a couple of cold meals tempered with hot cocoa and cider we made on the camp stove. 

Unfortunately, most houses in our neighborhood, and our elementary school, are still cold and dark.  But it takes more than a power outage to cancel Halloween!

Things were rushed tonight getting out the door, but here are some pictures of the girls in their costumes at our church party last weekend.

The Cupcake:

The Pirate:

The Tooth Fairy:

Strike a pose:


The donut eating contest:

And here are the pumpkins Ed and the girls carved when we were homebound on Monday:

As I've been handing out candy tonight, Ed's pumpkins have gotten serious praise, especially from the middle school-age contingent.

The girls are trickling in now, with their heavy bags of sugar and loot.  Time to check out the takings, trade, sort, and eventually get them to bed - hopefully before the inevitable meltdowns - crossing fingers!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Here Comes Sandy

I guess the storm's a'comin'.  School's cancelled today.  And tomorrow.  Which means I've got three extra bodies around here in my space.  Good thing I like them.  They say a power outage is more likely than not, come nightfall and the high winds that come with Sandy's landfall a few hundred miles from here.

We've got batteries, water, and loads of food.  We're spending our apparently last hours of electricity today watching movies & news, charging i-things, baking, doing laundry & dishes, vacuuming, pretty much anything I can think of that we might need power for this week.  I will be bummed if we lose the contents of our well-stocked fridge and freezer, but so it goes.  Some day we'll get a generator.

In the mean time, we're keeping an eye on this tallest-on-the-street tree in our neighbor's yard. (It looks like one tree, but there is a short one on this side of the street, and a tall, tall one behind it by the white house.)
Also mourning a bit the fall foliage that may be blown off before ever reaching full color.  Hoping our sump pump can keep up with the water.  Crossing fingers Halloween will be OK.  And wondering what kind of natural event it would take to give MOM a day off.  I know, no such thing. 

I'm keeping a few activities in reserve, for if and when we lose power, like a blanket fort, nail painting, easel painting, story telling, pillow fights, et cetera.  The rain's really coming down, the wind starting to pick up.  We are hunkered down with The Weather Channel and some peach pie we baked out of the freezer this morning rather than risk losing it.  Our evening plans include homemade pizza and carving pumpkins.  So don't worry about us, we'll be OK.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Krop's Crops

 And speaking of pumpkins, last Saturday I wanted to take my girls out to get some, but I wasn't up for the drive, expense, or crowds of Cox.  I decided to try out a new place (new to us) - Krop's Crops.  As you can see, the day was perfect, and it was just what we wanted - a simple hay ride out to the pumpkin patch, a few pens of animals, and a small store with apples and local honey (which supposedly helps with allergies - gonna try it out.)

A bonus discover when we got there, and the hit of the day, was a sizable corn bin to play in.  And since this place is low-key, we had it practically all to ourselves both before and after the hay ride.

Then we went to Wendy's for lunch, and Target to buy Halloween candy - pretty much a perfect Saturday.  When we got home the girls colored their smaller pumpkins.

And that night I went with grown-ups to the Mariinsky Ballet's Cinderella at the Kennedy Center.  Yeah, I'd say a perfect Saturday.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

PeeWees Field Trip: Cox Farms

 It's almost impossible to not visit Cox Farms in the fall - slides, hay rides, farm animals, live music, more slides, free apples & cider, pumpkins, kettle corn, and more slides!  So since we are doing Pumpkin, Pumpkin this week, off we went to Cox.

Poppy especially loved the baby goats


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

PeeWees: Pumpkin, Pumpkin (week 1)

[A recap from PeeWee mom Shaunel.]

Pumpkin, Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington

I always love the little tidbits about the kids, this is what I noticed:

*Poppy was quite the chatterer. Though I find this hard to believe, I've never conversed to Poppy! It was fun to hear her speech patterns which remind me so much of Ginger. So fun.

*Henry was our man of color. For whatever reason, half the time I asked about the colors on the page, or the paint, or what color their pumpkins were the other kids were not interested in responding. Henry never let me down. He was always enthusiastic about the colors.

*Bodie was passionate about whatever he was doing--playing with the cars, tackling the other kids, or painting his "pumpkin," this kid does not lack enthusiasm.

*Jackson was our resident noise maker. He was an enthusiastic singer, noise maker, and crier. Oh yes the tears flowed strong today. It's so hard to share our toys!

Here's the synopsis (I just kind of filled in my lesson plan, sorry it's not beautifully narrated, but my nap time is still too preciousl! Also, pictures were difficult to manage, but I did get a few)

9:30 Arrive/Free Play (LR):
-Farm Animals
- Mixed pumpkin muffins together [found the recipe on Kari's blog--thank you] (Bodie had no interest, so he kept playing while the others mixed these up, Henry was really anxious to crack the eggs, but I decided I wasn't quite ready for that adventure)

9:50 Circle/Welcome (BSMT):
-Welcome Song -Passed around pumpkin to touch, smell, and describe
**interruption to take out muffins from oven
-Sang "pumpkin pumpkin" while waiting an extra min for muffins to finish
-Counted 12 paper Pumpkins
-Alphabet Song (marched)
-Read "Pumpkin Pumpkin" 2 times (first w/ discussion, 2nd going through)
-Gave each child a (butternut squash) seed, talked about pumpkins growing from seeds, sang "little seeds" (children's songbook)

10:15 Snack (DR)
-wash hands, potty (only henry had to go to the bathroom)
-pumpkin muffins, grapes, carrots
-Discussed Pumpkin Patch and sang "pumpkin pumkin"

[In case you can't understand her, Poppy is saying she will get an "oranges" pumpkin - she uses the plural all the time and I never correct her because I love it.  Then she gets excited to point out that the carrot she just ate is also "oranges."]
10:30 Art Pumpkin Making (BSMT)
-showed kids my "pumpkin"
-we stuffed the bags, and taped the top
-Showed kids how to paint the pumpkin with the sponges, and let them go at it. This was harder than I though it would be, but they all did a great job. (No one liked when the paint got on them! Poppy and Bodie were especially studious, Jackson and Henry painted and then left for the looming balls)
-Sang more of "pumpkin pumpkin", and introduced "5 little pumpkins"

11:00 Activity (BSMT/Garden)
-Handed out seeds again and discussed digging in the dirt
-Sang "little seeds" multiple times, pretending to grow into pumpkins
-Went outside to plant our seeds.
-found a worm, planted our seeds, and watered them

11:15 Close (BSMT)
-Re read book
-So long king kong

11:20 After Party (BackYard)

-Brought balls outside to shoot some hoops
-Sang "Scary Skelatons" 5x
-Bodie stuck the basketball in the garden, and pretended it was a pumkpin. He kept saying and acting out, "it's heavy! it's heavy"
-Looked at the flowers on the zucchini plant, and picked some zucs. Poppy kept exclaiming, "oh wow! oh wow!"
-ran around the house to distract Jackson from his inability to share

Monday, October 22, 2012

PeeWees: The Runaway Bunny (week 1)

 [A recap of our third book from PeeWee mom Julia.  Poppy was absent for Week 2 of The Runaway Bunny (see Beach Vacay) so this will be the only post for this book.]

The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

Arrival/open play time: We started with coloring bunnies with markers and then everyone got to choose a pompom tail to glue on. They took turns with me helping and playing with the car garage. They all took turns really well with this.

 Circle time: After 20 minutes of playtime/coloring we did circle time. We counted blocks and they had fun with this too.  Then we read the book a couple times, the first time just reading slowly and looking closely at the pictures.  The second time we made actions for some of the things the bunny did to run away.

Activity 1: Then we did some magnet fishing (the bunny wants to turn into a fish to swim away from his  mom). They again took turns well and this could have gone on longer-- I think we'll do it again next week with more things to fish for.

Snack:  We had snack after that: bunny crackers and carrots (the mother and little bunny have a carrot at the end of the story after he decides he's not actually going to run away).

Art:  After that we planted our own gardens (the bunnies obviously got their produce from a huge garden...). Hopefully next week we can do this outside in the dirt if it's not all mud!

Activity 2:  Then we acted out the book. After this we continued the running and hiding by playing hide and seek. They LOVED this and thought it was hilarious. They always hid together-- their favorite place was behind the toilet in the bathroom (see photo). We played with each of them being "it" as well as them all counting together to find me. We will definitely do this again.

Then it was time for singing and dancing/instruments. We finished it off with our good-bye chant and a few more songs and cars while we waited for our moms.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fall Break Beach Vacay

Ed's hunting trip always falls during the girls' two-week fall break from school.  Which I hate.  But this year I got over it by taking the girls to Virginia Beach for four days.  It.  Was.  #1!  Here's why:

Going to the beach in October is #1
The place is completely deserted.  Here's who was there - some retirees, a few surfers, the occasional family with children under 5, and us.  Nary a school child nor teenager in sight.  Restaurants whose Yelp reviews claimed 1.5 hour waits, we just waltzed in.  Acres of beach all to ourselves, every day.  And the weather was perfect.  70 degrees and breezy - perfect for playing in the sand, a bit of wading/splashing, and never getting too hot.

Did I mention it was deserted?

Playgrounds on the beach are #1
There were at least two, right on the beach, within walking distance of our place. 

Beach + playground + no other people = a very happy morning

Grandma is #1
My Mom came with us for two of the days.  She led us on an expedition to the beach shop across the street, where we invested in proper shovels, new watering cans, and other necessities.  She brought surprise activity bags for the girls for each day, which included "beach buddies" (small teddy bears with tiny pillows and quilts she had made), lip balm, books, Skittles, and lacing cards, among other things.

Twinners Poppy & Grandma having a snack at the playground

Cutest group EVER, in a particularly windy spot
 She stayed with Poppy during her nap, while I took the older girls exploring the town, including the fudge shoppe.  Natch.  She also sent me off on my own after bedtime, for a couple of relaxing and much-needed solitary beach strolls.  She even went out one morning to buy the girls each a small treasure chest, with a sparkly gold keychain as treasure, for them to bury and unbury, which they did over and over again.

Playing in the sand is seriously #1
Kids, at least my kids, don't need much else.  Or they didn't for those four days.  We went out to the beach each morning after breakfast, around 9, and came back for lunch around 12.  Then went back around 3, until we got hungry for dinner, or the hotel shadows became so long we got cold, whichever came first.  And most of that was sand play.  You cannot beat it!  (Especially since we got good and proper digging shovels.)

Allowance, post cards, and journals are #1
The girls have been getting allowance for a few months now, and they brought their money to the beach.  We scoped out the beach shop the first night, then counted their money and talked about all their buying options, which they slept on.  In the morning, they wanted to go back right away to make their purchases - each bought a roll of bubble tape and some postcards.  The second day, we wrote them - one to Ginger's friend, three to Hazel's teachers, and one to Grandma Marsha in Colorado.

I also brought their journals, and we wrote in them during Poppy's nap our third day.  Hazel liked it so much she wrote in hers almost every day.

 While coming home is not, and was not, #1 - we were all sorry to have it end - it was still pretty sweet when Ed finally made his way home to us last night, in all his annual mountain man bearded glory. 
Pretty cute, right?

I'm pretty sure we will be going back next year.  If not sooner.
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