Friday, April 24, 2009

Eleanor is a hippie chick.

Today was hippie day at school and here's Eleanor all ready to go. I got the kerchief, necklace and button (it says Green is the new black) at Target. Eleanor tie dyed the shirt last summer for the fair. You can't tell, but her pants are bell bottoms. Ben and Macy dressed up too (well Ben just wore a tie dyed t-shirt) but I didn't get a picture of them before they had to go to school.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Do you see that big pile of fabric? Those are all pillowcases waiting to be sewn. There's at least 120, maybe a few more. I've sewn one. I've been cutting and ripping and matching and buying and this is what I have. Unless we get a bunch of donations or we come across some money, we probably won't make the 365 because it's just too expensive, but 120+ is not bad! I even had the cub scouts (in Ben's den) make pillowcases for their craftsman badge. They'll keep theirs. Macy and Eleanor have picked out their fabrics and Ben wants to go shopping for his. This will be their first year to enter "You be the judge."

I'm not sure if I'll win for most sewn. I hope so, since none of the pillowcases I've cut out so far have really just grabbed me as a big vote getter. Not too worried since it's all for a good cause and that's why I do it!

I'm glad to say the pillowcases have also helped me get out of a sewing funk. I'm working on a muslin for a friend who will be in a wedding and I did my first successful full bust adjustment. I've bought a few patterns and hope to work on those soon. I've also started making headway on all those boxer shorts I've cut out for Trent. Now if I could only get further along on the girl's smocked dresses. Seems for every step I make forward, I go 3 back!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Spring Break Day 5-Duckpin Bowling

Today we went duckpin bowling. I had never heard of duckpin bowling until I moved to the Washington, DC area. I've only been three times and that includes today. It's a lot of fun.

The first difference between duckpin and ten-pin is the size of the pin. As you can see, the pin is about 1/2 the size of a ten-pin.

The pins are set up the same way as in ten-pin bowling.

The second difference is the size of the bowling ball.

As you can see, the ball is much smaller and much lighter. Claire can easily hold the ball which is about 2 pounds. There's also no finger holes.

You wear bowling shoes just like with ten-pin. These are Trent's. He wears a size 13.

The final difference is you get to roll the ball three times for each turn. If you knock down all the pins the first try, it's a strike. If you knock them all down with the second ball, it's a spare. If you knock them all down with the third ball, it's a 10. If after three tries there are still pins standing, you must not be a very good bowler. Just kidding! Your score for that round is the number of pins you knocked down. In duckpin bowling it is much more difficult to knock down all the pins than in ten-pin. That's why you get three tries. No professional Duckpin bowler has ever achieved a perfect score of 300. That's how hard it is.

Duckpin bowling is still more popular in this area than anywhere else, but even so there are only a handful of alleys still open. The one we visit reminds me of when I used to go bowling with my mom a long, long, time ago.

The most modern thing about this alley is that the computer does keep score for you, although you have to punch in your score after each turn. When we first came here, I marched up to the counter and said, "Something is wrong with our computer. It's not recording our score." To which they said, "You have to punch it in." Oh! Then we noticed that the pins weren't getting cleaned up between each ball. I went back up to the desk and said, "There's something wrong with our lane, it won't clean up the downed pins." To which they patiently said, "You have to step on the pedal after each ball." What pedal?

This pedal.

Then we noticed that after we had rolled our three turns, the lane wouldn't reset. We went up to the front desk and they asked, "Did you press the reset button?"

Ben is pointing out the reset button.

That was our first time. Today went much smoother. We just forgot what we needed to do to sweep up the knocked down pins, but after a quick reminder, we were on our way.

Between turns, the girls spent their time and quarters buying little trinkets by the front doors.
Kate and Trent helped keep score.
Ben tried his hand at the "A Winner Every Time" game. He only won candy that he's not supposed to eat because of his mouth expander.

And the winner of the day? Eleanor!!! She did a great job! Tomorrow we go to the pool. Indoor, of course!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Spring Break Day 4-Lunch with Dad

No pictures from the restaurant because I forgot to bring my camera (and I don't usually take pictures when we go out to eat). I was holding Kate though and wearing the same jacket so just pretend the above picture is in a Chinese Restaurant (instead of a creative dance class) and Kate and I are surrounded by Trent and our very well behaved and hungry children (instead of little girls wearing tutus). We had a lot of fun and the food was yummy. Afterward, Trent went back to work and we went to a park for a little while.

Coming up tomorrow-Duck Pin Bowling.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Spring Break Day 3-The National Zoo

Today we went to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park or we just like to call it the National Zoo.
We saw animals that you can't see just anywhere.

Sea lions, (or were they seals? I forget.)

pygmy hippos,


(What? You don't believe they have cows at the zoo? They do, it's true and you can't see them just anywhere. I know for a fact that if I look out my front window, I will not see a cow. So we make sure to see them when we go to the zoo.)

and my favorite, cuttlefish.

I used to be an intern an the invertebrate exhibit where the cuttlefish lives. That was right after I graduated from high school. About a million years ago. Have you ever fed a cuttlefish? I have. It's fun. I've even fed baby cuttlefish. That's even more fun than feeding big cuttlefish. I've also fed an octopus, brittle stars, sea anemones, and lobsters. You know what we fed all those things? Shrimp. Like the kind you buy in the store. No kidding. Well actually we fed the baby cuttlefish glass shrimp (otherwise know as ghost shrimp) and they were so fun to watch, grabbing the shrimp that was as big as they were, shooting ink all over the place. I guess you had to be there.

Moving on.

In addition to looking at animals, we also climbed on top of statues that look like animals.

We ate lunch.

More climbing.


We took lots of pictures.

Kate was upset because everyone had a camera except her. I lent her mine and here are some pictures of the animals she enjoyed (starting from the top left corner, going clockwise) zebras, cheetahs, tigers and the pandas. Kate has quite the view from her stroller doesn't she?

This was the last picture of a busy day. The zoo was crowded, but not horribly so. Minimal whining and fighting over who could climb on which statue first. Even Kate did a super job considering she couldn't really see much. On the agenda for tomorrow? Lunch with Dad!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Spring Break Day 2-Monsters vs. Aliens

We went to the movies today. We saw Monsters vs. Aliens. It was cute. The kids liked it, even Claire and she scares easily at the theater. Kate was a handful as most of my children were at this age. That's why we rarely go to the movies, that and it costs so much. We usually just go to the free summer movies or check them out from the library.
This is how I feel after two days of spring break. Tomorrow we go to the zoo!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Spring Break Day 1-Cupcake Bites

It's Spring Break in the Palmer House and that can only mean one thing. Five children at home with nothing to do! I, their crazy mom, had this great idea that we would make cupcake bites like Bakerella. It looked so easy. Even Pioneer Woman made them with her daughters, so of course I could do it with my children. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Okay, stop laughing. It wasn't that bad. Let's take a look shall we?
First we made the cake and crumpled it up into a bowl and added the frosting. We used a white cake mix and vanilla frosting because that's what the kids wanted to use. Besides I had those on hand which I bought with double coupons. They were cheap!

Ben doesn't look to sure about this. He never was one to play with play dough. Come on Ben, it's not that bad!
Much better!

The girls have always liked to play with play dough, so they dug right in.

Here they are ready to go into the freezer. The next part is to form the bottoms. I wanted to take the easy road and use candy molds for the bottoms, but Michael's was out of the candy molds I needed. The cashier said they were unloading the truck right now and I could come check next week. Yeah right. So I bought some tiny cookie cutters that looked like flowers and formed the bottoms myself. It was tricky work and even then they looked terrible.

Then came the dipping part. Everyone had fun with that part. Well Kate didn't because she was taking a nap for part of it and Claire would just throw the whole cupcake bite into the bowl. She's a bit of a wild child.

Here they are with the bottoms coated. We dipped the tops after they hardened a bit.
Then we added an M&M and some sprinkles.

Here's the first one we finished. Not Bakerella, but not so bad.

Here's a few more.

Here's Kate. She woke up from her nap about halfway through the process. She helped us by eating M&M's and watching the Wiggles. She wants to know when the cupcake bites will be ready.
Here's the older four hard at work. The kids really enjoyed the bites, but to be honest I think you could cover a dirt ball in chocolate and they would eat it and think it tasted good. Trent and I thought they were just okay.

I would like to make the easier version with the candy molds and use red velvet cake mix with cream cheese frosting like Bakerella does to see if I like that flavor better.

Here's Claire explaining how to make the cupcake bites. If you need more info, go visit Bakerella. She's the queen of the cupcake bite. If anything, just go to see how many wonderful ideas she has come up with.