A Simple Website For Kids You Won’t Get Sick Of

I rediscover the website bemboszoo every few months. The website is based on this book. The author and illustrator, Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich, draws an animal for each letter of the alphabet, using the letters of the animal’s name to form the picture. The kids and I love to guess what each animal is going to be before we click on the letter. Even though we have looked at the site many times we still never get them all right.

I don’t have the book yet, as I just found out that there IS a book. Guess what is next on my Amazon shopping list?!

A Moment I Nearly Missed

I was more tired than usual tonight as I got the kids a snack and encouraged them through their bedtime routine. I didn’t dare sit down because I knew I would not want to get up.

After cleaning the kitchen, prompting the kids to brush their teeth, take care of their dirty clothes, pick up their rooms, and say their prayers, I hurriedly tucked them into their beds and went downstairs to collapse into my computer chair to work on the school newsletter that was due…wishing I could go to bed instead.

Fifteen minutes later I heard footsteps coming down the stairs and I hollered, “get to bed!” before I even saw a face or heard a voice.

Lubow

Luca slowly came around the corner and plopped down in the chair next to me.

“My legs are really itchy.”

I looked at her bare shins and could see the dry skin that is common for her this time of year.

“Go upstairs. There is some cream in the bathroom. Just rub it all over your legs” I told her, turning back to my computer.

“I want you to do it. I don’t do it very good.”

I reminded her how tired I was and that tonight I really needed her to do it herself.

“But I don’t even know what cream to use.” (she does)

Finally, after many more excuses, I told her to go up and get it and bring it down to me and I would put it on for her. I could feel my frustration and the tone of my voice rising. I was not handling fatigue well.

When she came down empty handed, claiming she couldn’t find it when I knew it was right on the shelf where I had told her to look, I finally threw my arms up in the air with a look of disgust and told her I would go get it myself.

Tiger

As I walked up the stairs I was reminded of the book The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo. The story is about a young boy, Rob, who lives with his single father in a small motel, where his father is the maintenance man. There is a lot to the story, but the part I love is the way the father lovingly massaged cream onto Rob’s red itchy legs every night. They don’t talk much and have a generally distant relationship, but this was a service his father performed day in and day out without complaint and it was enough to let his son know what he meant to him, despite his own loneliness, lack of communication or parenting skills.

I felt ashamed when I thought of this story that had touched me. By the time I made it to the bathroom to retrieve the cream that was not were I told Luca to look, my attitude about the short walk upstairs to help my daughter had changed.

She sat on the lid of the toilet as I sat on the floor in front of her and slowly rubbed the cream onto her itchy legs.

I wish I had remembered the story fifteen minutes earlier, but I think Luca accepted my unspoken apology as she hugged me, kissed me on the cheek, and then skipped back to her bed.

Treasure Hunting

Several months ago the kids and I were walking through downtown when we passed a display window of an antique store. There in the window stood a bright red metal gumball machine on a stand. We all “ooohhh”ed, and “awwww”ed and then I allowed myself to be dragged into the store to get a closer look.

When we got closer I could see that it wasn’t in as great of shape as I initially thought. There were scratches. The glass had a slightly filmy look to it. There were some very small rust spots on the black metal stand. I looked at the price tag. It was $60. It was about what I thought it would be. It was an antique after all.

I walked out of the store with nothing and three unhappy and one oblivious child. I wanted it, but it was almost Christmas. I already had the kids gifts and $60 seemed like a lot to pay on a whim. Maybe when Christmas was over I would start looking for a bubblegum machine again.

A couple of weeks ago I ran into Goodwill with a couple of my kids to see if I could find some vintage fabric that I didn’t need.

As we were walking away from the fabric I didn’t need towards the books I didn’t need Anna grabbed my hand and started dragging me to the corner of the store.

“Mom, come see! It is sooooo cool!”

She led me to this:

IMG_1323

It was dirty, but I saw potential.

When I saw the $7.99 price tag I really saw potential.

We received many comments and looks of envy as we walked it to the register. At least, I think they were looks of envy. They might have been looks of, “Good luck with that!” There was no guarantee it would work, after all.

An old guy stopped us in the parking lot to tell us, “Awesome!” Really. That is all he said.

I got it home and took it completely apart, hoping I would remember how to put it back together. I washed each part in hot soapy water and then shined the globe up.

After many attempts I finally reassembled it and watched the kids glow with excitement as I led them into the kitchen to see it all spiffed up.

gbmachine

It shined. There was nary a scratch, blemish, or sticker of a dinosaur on it. (okay, maybe just a couple if itty-bitty scratches.)

I realized I don’t need a fancy antique store to tell me something is a find because of their inflated price tag. I will find my own treasure thankyouverymuch. And it will mean a whole heck of a lot more when I do.

A Valentine’s Day In The Life Of

I love Valentine’s Day! I determine every year that we will buy Valentine’s for the kids parties the next year, but I break down and pull out the craft supplies and the kids and I go to town cutting, pasting, mixing and matching, stickering, and signing. It is one of my favorite traditions with the kids.

This year the girls wanted to use fabric on their Valentine’s boxes so we went to the fabric store and they picked out fabric, buttons, and ribbon. They decided on the placement of everything and I helped them put it all together. I think they turned out cute, and they were a blast to make with my girls. We used good sturdy boxes that will last so they can use them to keep their treasures.

boxes

The kids had their own ideas of what they wanted to do with their Valentines this year. Anna completely made hers on her own. She knew she wanted them to have suckers on them and as she played around cutting different shapes she discovered she could cut out a butterfly pretty easily. The only part I did on her Valentine’s was cut the slits for the suckers. I loved that each of the 29 Valentines she made was unique.

Anna Val2

Lincoln was next. The most important part to him was that it had candy. I found these little gift bags at the Dollar Store so we put an assortment of candy in them and then made tags for them. I cut out a bunch of rectangles with different colors and designs of paper and I wrote “Happy Valentine’s Day”. Lincoln signed his name on the back, punched a pop out heart on each one, glued them, put stickers on them, and stapled the bags to the tags. He stuck with it and did a great job!

Linc Val2

Luca is my indecisive child and she had a heck of a time coming up with something to make. She had all kinds of grand ideas. She made heart cut-outs with felt, material, and paper before deciding to use Lincoln’s design. She did most of the work herself and she loved how they turned out.

Anna Val

Sunday morning the kids woke up to our traditional Valentine’s Day breakfast. We always have pink heart pancakes, bacon, eggs, juice, and when I don’t forgot…fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Unfortunately, this year I forgot. I also forgot where I put the matching Valentine’s cups so we may be having pink heart cups with our green St. Patrick’s Day breakfast next month.

breakfast

All in all it was a great year and I even overheard one of the kids say, “Valentine’s Day is the BEST! It is even better than Christmas!”

Brett also scored brownie points this year. I loved the earrings he got me last year. Last week I was having a struggle with Kai in a store parking lot and didn’t realize he knocked on of the earrings out of my ear until I got home. It made me cry when I opened Brett’s Valentine’s gift the next day (wrapped even!) and saw a new pair of earrings AND a pair exactly like the ones I lost. Sigh.

All in all, it was another great Valentine’s Day!