"Boys are found everywhere—on top of, underneath, inside of, climbing on, swinging from, running around or jumping to. Mothers love them, little girls hate them, older sisters and brothers tolerate them, adults ignore them and Heaven protects them. A boy is Truth with dirt on its face, Beauty with a cut on its finger, Wisdom with bubble gum in its hair
and the Hope of the future with a frog in its pocket."
Author: Alan Beck

Monday, January 30, 2012

You'll thank me later.

This time last year, I was spending hours each day researching the bazillion breeds of chickens.  I had recently found out that the covenant that once banned backyard chickens, no longer existed.  Quick!  I had to start my farm before the rule changed back.  This news was too good to be true.

Here we are, one year later, madly in love with our girls.  OK, I'm madly in love with them.  The rest of the gang just loves them....even hubby.

As spring approaches, my inbox has been flooded with 'reminders' from various hatcheries that "Now is the time to order baby chicks!"  And if I were no longer dwelling in the middle of suburbia, you can bet your bottom dollar I'd be ordering....by the flock-full.

However, since I remain (for the time being) stuck in the city, and have reached my 'chicken limit', I am going to live vicariously through people like YOU.  Don't have chickens?  Get on the horse, it's time to buy!

Here are the top 10 reasons I think every home/family/backyard should have chickens:

1.They start out as baby chicks (duh), and you know there isn't ANYTHING in the world cuter than a day-old chick.
2.They eat every bug known to man, which means no more pesticides sprayed in the grass.
3.They're sweet and social, and will follow you, your kids, your neighbors, your neighbors kids, or anyone else who seems of interest to them.
4.They're super easy to maintain.  Definitely the most low-maintenance girls on the planet.
5.They're inexpensive.  Ours were $2-$5 each, and cost roughly $10 per month.
6.They're much more entertaining than any snake, lizard, frog, fish, gerbil, hamster, guinea pig, parrot, or other creature could ever be.  Really, they're hilarious to watch.  I'm not kidding.
7.They're quiet....unless you accidentally end up with a rooster. Poor Chicken Butt.  I wonder if he thinks of us.
8.They provide the young-ins with endless learning experiences.  That's right, kids.  Eggs don't come from Safeway.
9.They think your leftover table scraps, old cheese & noodles are a real treat!  Nothing goes to waste.
10.Did I mention they lay fresh eggs?

Bottom line?  Unless you're my brother, and you're deathly afraid of germs, and anything that poops, do yourself (and your kids/family) a favor and start your own backyard farm.

You won't regret it.

Wanna know more?  Ask me!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Shrinking Talent

Remember Shrinky Dinks?  Those homemade, fun creations that magically shrink when baked in the oven?  Did you make them when you were little?  Do you make them with your kids now?

I've always thought of Shrinky Dinks to be tailored more towards little girls, thus the reason I had never done them with the boys.

Until last week.

I was browsing through Michael's, looking for rainy snowy-day activities to do with the boys.  I came across Shrinky Dinks, which, to my surprise, showed all kinds of boyish creations and ideas on the front.  Excited for my upcoming Shrinky Dink adventure, I headed towards the checkout, armed with my weekly coupon.

It didn't take long for the perfect Shrinky Dink moment to come.  The one where two boys are arguing, one is complaining of world record boredom, while another quietly does his best to convince his little brother to allow him to duct tape him to a chair...."just for a minute."

Enter Shrinky Dinks.

"Shrinky huh?" they replied. 

Truth is, I had them at "you put them in the oven and watch them morph."  They were sold.  An added bonus was the fact that sharpies were required.  My boys and permanent markers = true love, happiness and joy.

Four out of five boys participated.  Mr. 5th grader was not about to be caught making something called a Shrinky Dink.  As for the rest of 'em, just look at how enthused they are! (Can you spot the boy who preferred to color the counter instead?)

The boys surprised me by spending a long time coloring.  I don't think they moved for 25 minutes.  Talk about a world record.  They finished coloring and we carefully placed their dinky creations into the oven.

That's when the flow of tears began.  They sadly watched their masterpieces turn into this-

I was bound and determined to reverse the direction in which this project was heading.  I sprinted to the garage and came running back, needle nose pliers (and other tools) in hand.  I remember a post my friend, Angie, did on Shrinky Dinks.  She described what to do if your creations began to curl.

 (A note about Angie-We went to high school together, and though I haven't seen her since the early 90's, we stay cyberly connected.  Angie is an amazing woman who makes everything look perfect and easy.  Her kids are always dressed in coordinating outfits, some of which, were sewn by Angie.  My kids?  Frequently seen running naked through the cul-de-sac.  My sewing machine?  I've been searching for the 'on' button for over a year now.) 

Per Angie's directions, I quickly attempted to pry the little buggers open.  This was all I got -

Enter more tears. You'd cry, too, if your coffin was curled. 

I slaved for the next 45 minutes (or more) trying to salvage their art.  In the end, only a ladybug, a heart, and a coffin survived.  They're not flat, they're certainly not pretty, and they look nothing like the examples on the front of the package.

The only thing that visibly shrunk that day (in perfect form) was my ego.  My boys also lost faith in me.  I can see it in their eyes every time I call them to the table for another craft.  They look at me as if to say, "this won't turn out like the Shrinky Dink project, will it?" 

Today for craft time, I'm thinking about making myself a t-shirt -  
I plan on embroidering the letters.  Just as soon as I can find that damn on button.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Putting the cracks back.

Have you ever had the type of day where your first thought in the morning was,

Today....I shall repaint a wall!?

Who am I kidding?  For me, EVERY day begins with my first groggy thought having something to do with paint.  Nothing makes me happier. 

Paint = happiness.

However, since Santa forgot to load his sleigh with a Home Depot gift card for me (or rubber farming boots, or a goat), my paint palate and choices are slim.  With nothing much to redo, I resorted to touch up.

Touch up = slight happiness.  Not the real deal, but it suffices in a pinch.

Hubby was kind enough to venture into what the boys and I call 'the spider room' (commonly known as the furnace room) to gather the colors I planned on renewing.

Room by room, I renewed.  I even let the boys help, until one sat in paint while the others dripped a paint trail all over the carpet.  Note to self: - combining craft time with a home improvement project never works as planned.

I saved the best, the staircase, for last.  The place where all fingerprints land, where walls are never spared from flying toys, hot wheels, shoes, and sometimes....flying children.  This was a job that not only required touch-up paint, but spackle, too. 

Armed with my new favorite tool, hot pink spackle that turns white when it's dry and ready to paint, I filled each little crevice and crack. I waited (impatiently) for the pink to fade to white, and started to paint.  Fast forward two hours later, and I was left with a staircase that sparkled and gleamed.

Now fast forward three hours later....

Do you see what I see?  The pictures don't do the artwork justice.  Them are dark, deep lines. 

Finding the culprit to this type of criminal activity isn't as hard as it used to be.  I went straight to the source.

Wes, of course.

Wes quickly explained, as only Wes could, that I had taken away all of his 'cwacks'.

"I like da cwacks, mama.  So I dwew dem back on."

To touch up or not to touch up.  That is the question.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Year, New Goals.

2012 is bound to be a great year.  I can feel it.

In 2012, I will...

-be the mother of an 11 year old (which makes me really old)
-graduate from school
-celebrate my 13th wedding anniversary - love number 13...love my marriage.
-register Logan for kindergarten...despite his constant protest
-have 4 out of 5 boys in school
-attend 2 weddings
-have another boy celebrate his First Communion

In 2012, I want to...

-read more
-expand my garden
-learn how to sew
-learn how to can
-figure out a way to smuggle goats into my backyard without my neighbors (or the HOA) taking note
-move to a farm (if the goat thing doesn't go over well)
-date more (hubby and I rarely get out...extra emphasis on rarely)
-move to a farm (even if the goat thing works out well)
-blog more
-move to a farm

There it is, my 2012 list of what will and what just may happen.

What's on your list?