Family Night courtesy of Orville Redenbacher
Wednesday, February 25, 2009

For this week’s Family Night theme I went with “Popcorn.”

I think it all started when I was craving some popcorn Monday night when Jonathan and I were watching our weekly free Redbox movie. (My husband works his magic on that – I’m not sure where he gets the free rental codes. I’m sure Google knows the answer.)

We started out by making some peanut butter/popcorn bird feed. Messy and fun.

You might find a few stray bird seeds in your sandwich if I make you a PB&J anytime soon. The kids cross-contaminated the peanut butter jar when I wasn’t watching.



Next we took advantage of the beautiful 80 degree weather, and went to share some of our popcorn with the ducks.

Before heading to the park we made “Duck Food” bags. Here you see the evidence of why my 6 year old lives a life of artistic frustration: His 5 year old little brother copies everything he does. Dylan won’t even order a slushy at Sonic until Ryan does, so he can order the same thing.

I told Ryan that Imitation is the Highest Form of Flattery. He then explained to me that Imitation is also the Highest Form of Irritation.



Back at home, while I made dinner I let the kids decorate some “Popcorn Bowls”; I of course bought the bowls and stickers at Dollar Tree, my favorite Family Night Supplier.

bowls

After dinner it was time to make Popcorn Balls.

We made the popcorn on the stove (I had to consult the internet, being as I had never really made anything but the microwave variety), and the boys got a big kick out of it.

We put one kernel in to test if the oil was hot enough. Anticipation was high waiting for that one kernel to pop. It did not disappoint, shooting up out of the skillet and across the kitchen. Good times.

Our end result was pretty tasty, even though I’m generally not a big popcorn ball fan.

I used this recipe, and used the handy servings calculator to make 10 servings instead of 20.

mixing ingredients

popcorn balls

Ryan’s assessment of the evening: “Pretty good. Better than puzzle night. [I concur.] Not as fun as camping night.”

I asked Ryan if he would like to be in charge of Family Night planning for next week. He wants to do a “Presidential Night”. Geesh…making Mom’s ideas look so juvenile.

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I choose to interpret it as stunned excitement.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009

You should really see the look on my husband's face when he sees canned salmon in the pantry.

Time freezes as he just stands and stares at it. He's thinking of the time that is coming in the near future when he will be eating my wonderful salmon patties for dinner.

He just stares at me....takes a deep breath...and remains perfectly silent....

I suppose this reaction could mean that he's less than thrilled.

I choose to believe he's just so darn excited he's rendered speechless!



Make fun of me all you want, but I am the rare creature that loves fish cakes. Take some fish that's been processed and smashed into a can, pick out a few of the bigger fish bones, add some mayo, bread crumbs, shredded cheese and green onion....that's a great meal right there. A side dish of frozen mixed vegetables and it's a meal that any wife (or cafeteria worker) should be proud to serve.

Now that I've found this site, my fish cake possibilities are limitless!

Honestly...I really do love salmon patties. I fear you will think I'm being sarcastic. Sadly, I'm not.








Gross = Cool
Thursday, February 19, 2009

When I figured out the above equation, that when a little boy says "Ewww, GROSS!" it actually means, "whatever disgusts adults and prissy little girls is awesome and inspiring", it was much easier to find things to thrill my 5 and 6 year old little boy.

(This equation of Gross = Cool is true to some degree for adult men as well, as proven by the fact that the three males in my household regularly bond over episodes of Dirty Jobs.)

Mothers, load this online coloring activity and impress the little guys in your life with the mid to moderate grossness factor.

The "eyeball soup" and the "eggs, bacon, and worms" are the favorites in our house.

The frog leg cupcakes got what I would call only a "mildly yucky" response from the boys:



(FYI: I found the page runs better in IE than in Firefox.)








Trying to be helpful.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I run an analytics program on my blog (blog owners, try Woopra, it's great) that allows me to see how many visitors I'm getting, the cities they live in, and how they found me.

Yes, a bit narcissistic. That's a post for another day.

The program I run allows me to see the Search Terms people are using to end up at Lost in Laundry.

There have been some interesting ones lately.

I will list the search terms in bold, and try my best to address the query, in case these visitors ever find themselves here again:

Reality show "her toe"

I have little to say about this one. If you are considering starting a reality show about a woman's toe, I advise against it.


That is so cliche

Yes, I can tend to be a bit cliche. Glad you found me! Bless your heart!


Where did Garth Brooks go to Elementary school

My research indicates there are seven elementary schools in Yukon, OK. He probably went to one of those. I don't know which one. Sorry. I'm not very helpful.


Swallowed a screw


Depending largely on the size of the screw, that might be a problem. Get off the Internet and call a medical profession. So far, magnetix are the only worrisome thing my kids have ingested. Everything came out just fine in the end. (Ewww.)



Homemade Exfoliant men

You can go ahead and make some, but be sure and tell him what it's for. You don't want him thinking it's chip dip or something and ingesting it.


Selfish ambitious narcissistic

At various and all too frequent times....guilty, guilty, and guilty.


*hmph

Asterisk hmph to you to my friend!


Who sang volari

It seems a "volari" is either a 8MB low powered graphics chip set or a Mexican airline. Neither of which you should sing about.


Ballerina rips one

It happens. Many a tutu have been polluted in this house by one sweet but stinky three year old girl.

And my personal favorite, which requires no commentary:

Serve me up an icy cold spoon of death











Refrigerator Worthy
Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Ryan won 2nd place among the first graders in a Valentine's Day art contest at school.

At 6 years old, his artistic achievements have far surpassed anything accomplished by either of his parents.

(I'm pretty sure the lowest grade I ever got on a report card was in 7th grade art. My sketch book mostly consisted of happy faces. Apparently, markedly unimpressive happy faces.)








Love Blossoms
Monday, February 16, 2009




Jonathan got me a tree for Valentine's Day!

Who would have thought this Oklahoma girl, raised where trees are disposable enough to cut down at will to be burned up as firewood, would be so excited about a 6 foot tree with a 2 inch diameter?

Well, live in a new development in West Texas and you'll understand. Trees are a rare and precious commodity around here.

I tried to think of an overly sappy Hallmark-ish sentiment about how it's a gift that reflects how the roots of our love go deep...or how as we watch our tree grow and blossom we will watch our children grow and blossom...but I got nothin'. And if you've met me even once you would know any such sentiment would be spoken with more than a hint of sarcasm.


It was a gift accompanied with some light manual labor on the part of the giver:





If only tumbleweeds were desirable landscaping decor. We would be the envy of all our friends.

This monster we found blown up against the side of the house was nearly 5 ft tall:


I was so thrilled with my little tree, that Jonathan went and bought me another one on Sunday. This one is nearly 8 ft tall and at least 3 inches thick. A mere stick by Oklahoma standards, but by the standards of our once barren backyard, this little guy is like a Giant Sequoia.


One day, many, many days from now, they will ideally look something like this:

They are blossoming pear trees (not the fruit variety) and look like this in the Spring:


Say a little prayer that our little trees can withstand the rigors of sharing a backyard with two very rowdy little boys.

Edit: Check out these great one liners suggested by my good friend Kelly:

"Will you "tree" my Valentine?"

"I will always love you - even through "stick" and thin."

"Our love doesn't blow around like the tumbleweeds, it is rooted, strong and grows larger every year."

And finally (if he would have given you three trees instead of two) - "A "tree" for each of our "tree" children." (lame, I know)


Ha!








And the monkey's name is Lauryn.
Saturday, February 14, 2009

Monkey See:



Monkey Do:



Lauryn wasn't interested in letting her Daddy swing her around the yard; but she came in and subjected her teddy bear to endless twirling.

Cute.








Trinity KidsPlace
Sunday, February 8, 2009

Wanna see how Jonathan and I get to spend our Sundays?

Visit www.trinitykidsplace.com, and check out the latest blog post!

(Don't be jealous that we have way more fun on Sunday's than you do. Just kidding. Kinda.)

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Impulse Purchase
Friday, February 6, 2009

You know how the grocery store has the impulse aisle? With gum, candy bars, and purse size bottles of hand lotion (my personal weakness)?

The hair salon has impulse items too. Only they don't sell gum and candy bars, they sell temporary hair color:







The wild men in my life. Aren't they cute?


Just to be clear, it was Jonathan who came home from getting a haircut with this stuff, not me. I love the occasional tangible evidence of what a fun guy I'm married to!








Meal Time Quotables by The Middle Child

When I served him Chicken Alfredo:

"I can't eat this. I'm allergic to this. [poignant pause] Seriously."

When I cut up his brat and put it on his plate, (because last time I served it to him on a bun he didn't touch it):

"I'm not eating this. It's brown. Brown means it's old and gross."

When I served him a pork chop:

"There's something wrong with this chicken. I'm not eating it."

In the interest of developing at least rudimentary table manners, he's not allowed to say the food we serve is "gross" and "old", or announce that he's not eating, without some consequences. He's beginning to learn to withhold his colorful statements. Sorta. Sometimes.

Regarding things he will willingly ingest, he's discovered his new favorite drink is "Root Beard". But he's only allowed to drink soda about once a year, so he better find a few other things to sustain him. Right now, breakfast is providing the bulk of his nutrition. (Does breakfast cereal even contain any nutrients? Questionable.)



Look at those big, brown, puppy dog eyes...that pouty, quivering lip.

A person untrained to deal with such weapons might break down and comply with his request to serve him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at each and every meal.

Luckily, I am well acquainted with the tactics of five-year-old mealtime warfare, and hardened to the influence of the puppy dog eyes.








Call it a social experiment.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I wonder how long I could go with my hair pulled back in a ponytail, wearing some variation of a long-sleeved black shirt and jeans, before my friends would hold some kind of intervention? Months? Years even?

I'm pretty sure I'm nearing day 55 or 60 or 1,032 and no one has said anything yet. (I'm exaggerating. But only slightly.)



Call it the Mom Uniform.








CLIFF-O-RAMA! (patent pending)
Tuesday, February 3, 2009

That's the catchy name for the family board game we created for family night.

CLIFF-O-RAMA!
(My strength lies in the effort people...I realize the actual creative output can be a little lame.)

First: I created game pieces out of photos, and made a game board out of a file folder.

Second: I wrote "Question Cards" with questions all about members of our family.

Third: I created red "Action Cards" to use when someone lands on a red square.

Game play: Answer a white "Question Card" correctly, then you get to roll the dice and move your game piece. If you land on a red square, you get to draw a red "action card" and complete the activity on the card. First person to the finish line wins.


We had a great time! Questions were things only a Cliff or loved one of a Cliff (or possibly a faithful blog reader) would know. A few examples:

Why did Ryan need stitches?
Name all four of your Uncles and your two Aunts.
When Dylan was a baby, what did he call Ryan?
Where was Daddy born?
Who is Lauryn's best friend at preschool?
What is the name of our church?

The kids got a kick out of it when the questions were about them.

I attached their pictures to MegaBlock pieces to make the game pieces:



A happy accident was that by using these, the kids could stack their piece on top of someone else's if they landed on the same spot. They thought that was a riot.

After we played CLIFF-O-RAMA! (okay, yeah...that is dorky) there was still plenty of time left over for some checkers and Connect Four.

It was a fun night!



I tried to get a picture of Lauryn playing Connect Four. When she saw the camera she jumped up and posed by the flowers instead. Apparently she's taking over the creative control of my picture-taking.



Click here to see a snippet of all our family nights so far!

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When my brain shuts off, it makes for adventure.


Today I was rinsing off Lauryn with the hand-held shower head. She asked,

"Can I hold that?"

So, with the shower curtain wide open, I said,

"Sure!"

And handed it over.

Dumb.

Oh well. The floor and walls...and me...needed a good rinsing off anyway.










Cliff Familyt

I'm Starr Cliff. A domestically-challenged mom, climbing over mountains of laundry to bring you my stray observations and amusing stories about my kids. (more)

 







 



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