Saturday, May 16, 2015

Teacher Appreciation Week

Teacher Appreciation Week was earlier this month, as those of you with school-age kids know. I knew this would be a busy week when I took on room parent responsibilities, but I tried to take it all in stride. It was my job to organize the efforts for Hank's kindergarten class. Here is what we did (unfortunately these are all before shots, not how each day's activity looked once the whole class participated).

Monday, the kids were asked to bring in a flower to make a bouquet. On the instruction sheet, I included a tag the kids could cut out and sign.

On Tuesday, the kids brought in something blue to contribute to a bucket to celebrate the teacher's favorite color.

On Wednesday, the kids brought in packets of seeds to add to a gardening gift put together using Dollar Tree gardening supplies.

On Thursday, the kids brought in books to contribute to the class library. The instruction sheet had a book plate to cut out and put in the book.

Friday, we gave the teacher a gift card. I also put together a candy card from the kids' perspective thanking the teacher. They liked being referred to as Smarties.

On that day as well, we gave a thank you gift to the aide who helps in the class 3 days per week. She received a small bottle of apple cider, a caramel apple candy, and a gift card to a grocery store that had a picture of apples on it.

In addition to what I had planned, the PTA had activities as well. The room parents were asked to make banners to hang outside for the teachers.

There was also a lunch for the teachers.

A parent at the school had built a farmer's market stand for some other purpose, but wondered if the PTA could use it for the teacher lunch. The PTA president says she doesn't like to say no to anybody who offers to help. Not only did it work, it made for a totally fabulous backdrop to a farmer's market themed event! All of the elements other helpers ( including moi) fit together so nicely. The president and I had pinned the same party that gave a canvas bag for partygoers to take home their goodies. She found a vendor to donate the bags.

For Everett's school, the director comes up with the daily recommended way to celebrate the teachers each year. Monday was anything apple, so I did the apple themed gift described above. This was also the gift for Hank's after school teachers (no themes specified at that school).

Tuesday we were asked to bring in spa items, and gift baskets were assembled by the director. Wednesday was a parent hosted breakfast. I brought in juice with these labels.

Thursday the kids were asked to bring in flowers to make a bouquet. Fresh&Easy had these paper flowers this year. I added a small paper doily with Everett's name.

Finally, Friday was a parent hosted lunch at Everett's school. We brought in water bottles. Could I just bring water? No. I added etsy purchased labels that said Thank You. For some reason the labels were a little short, so I added a piece of ruler printed washi tape to cover the gap.

The hectic pace carried on a bit into the next week, as we did a more-elaborate-than-it-needed-to-be snack for Hank's baseball team (a post for another day), and it was his teacher's birthday. She said she liked Dr. Seuss, so I made a poster board with a quote from the Dr. Seuss book Happy Birthday to You, streamers, and a few party supplies

including bookmarks for the kids.

There are quite a few more PTA events scheduled for the remainder of the year, plus whatever we do for the end of the school year for Hank's class. Despite the extra work, I feel so lucky to get to know a group of people who like to go all out like me!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A dream come true!

Happy Mother’s Day! Hope you had a lovely day enjoying time with those who grant you that title, but also some time to relax and enjoy some time to yourself :)

We did our annual trip to the local Renaissance Faire. It was our goal this year to go in costume. I did not do one single thing to prep for that experience in the past 365 days, so I asked BT to find an option for renting costumes. He not just found a place to rent the costumes, but, seriously, the most amazing place. Bianca is a local costume designer who works out of her home. Her whole house is basically a large closet filled with the most beautiful costumes, hats, accessories, jewelry, etc. It is overwhelming, especially when you find out she made a majority of the costumes. They are stunning!! She is one of the main designers who supplies costumes to royalty at our local Faire. Seriously – talking to Bianca and seeing all of her beautiful work took away any guilt regarding not being on the ball and making something for us to wear myself.

So – here we are

I was a peasant “wench.” I loved having the two different colored skirts, and bodice was just right for my level of modesty. It cinched me in nicely, and pushed “the girls” up, but my cups did not runneth over.

Bianca gave me accessories to wear on my belt – just like a Faire veteran. I had a fox tail, bells, and a leather coin purse.

The boys also wore peasant garb. Everett was absolutely adorable in his pantless chemise look. It was period appropriate to not have pants, as toddlers likely just ran around and squatted to go potty wherever they pleased. For some reason there weren’t a lot of toddlers in costume on the day we went, so he received an extra helping of attention. I wanted him to wear this hat I made way back when, but he wouldn’t have it. Hank’s rented costume was too big, and was made of heavier material. He rightly, though not politely, refused to wear it the day of. We compromised by having him wear the shirt that had been intended for me, the vest that came with his rented costume, and one of my belts.

BT went as a monk. Bianca and her husband said that he would get heckled all day, with folks asking him where the kids came from. He was planning to just put a finger to his lips to indicate he had taken a vow of silence. Oddly enough, less people talked to us in character while we were wearing costumes compared to the years we have gone without. Perhaps they were expecting us to talk to them in character, lol. 

We did a few activities this year. Hank learned how to make chainmail. He just made a bracelet, but got to try on a finished vest.

Everett and I hung out in the petting zoo.

The whole experience was great, and will be working to piece together our costumes for next year. We will definitely go peasant – anything else out in the dirty, hot area where the Faire is located is foolish. Unless, of course, you are showcasing one of Bianca’s lovely creations.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Just a few decorations, pan dulce for breakfast, and fajitas for dinner to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

The papel picado is from Target, and has a plastic-y finish to it, so it is reusable. Yeah!

Today was a busy day, with dropping off all our teacher gifts designated for today, helping set up for the teacher's celebration at Hank's school, baseball, and a PTA executive meeting. Oh, I didn't mention that I have gone full crazy, and am now on the Board? I will be the school's Historian next year. Some time in between all that, I did my normal, regular job.

Some day I will need to dedicate a whole post to explain how "leaning in" is going for me :)

Monday, May 04, 2015

May the Fourth be with you!

Although my kids are probably part of the 1% of the population who do not like Star Wars, they DO like our little weeknight theme parties.

I cobbled everything together today during my lunch break, and then hastily threw everything on the table before I picked up the kids for swim class. I found the tablecloth, plates, fruit snacks, coloring book, and glow sticks at Dollar Tree.

JustJENN recipes was the main influence for food. We had "Han Burgers," C3PO carrots, Boba Fett pasta salad, pretzel light sabers, 7Up Yoda Soda, Whopper thermal detonators, and double chocolate Wookie Cookies.

It was a fun little get together -- despite the fact that Everett wouldn't join us at the table until the Star Wars theme was turned off...

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Science-y gifts

We went to a dual birthday party today with a science theme.

We put together little gift baskets for the boys The rocket and water balloon launcher are popular with the 6-year-old crowd. I think we give Story Cubes with every gift for one of Hank's friends. The glow-in-the-dark ring toss and science experiment in a box were dollar scores. Finally, we finished the gifts off with some Gobstoppers and Pop Rocks, which seemed like good candy choices for a science-themed present.

They had the kids do a lot of cool experiments -- most I hadn't seen before. They also had a science-based show, which the kids enjoyed a lot.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Happy Lei Day!

Don't  know how two tiki lovers missed the fact that May 1 is Lei Day.

We celebrated with an impromptu tiki party with Hawaiian pizza, pineapple, mai tais for the adults, and pineapple upside down cake.

It was cool to read about this celebration, and the symbolism of different flowers and colors to represent each island.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

An anniversary and a birthday

Playing catch up again -- here are a couple of activities the mister and I did over the past few months. In January, for our 13th anniversary, we finally went on a San Diego brewery tour.

San Diego has become the hub of many California-based breweries. Most of our favorite beers are made in this area (in the San Marcos area, off of Highway 78). There are several well-known breweries, such as Stone Brewing, Ballast Point, and Lost Abbey, and many other ones that may not be as well known outside of California.

The kids had been back-to-back sick that month, and BT's office got broken into, so we definitely needed a break. We went to Belching Beaver, Lost Abbey, Port Brewing, and Stone for dinner. It was wonderful!

The next month, February, was my birthday - the big 4-0! It was my choice to go on a Vegas trip as opposed to having a party with friends. The trip was super nice, as my parents watched the kids for a whole weekend, and we didn't have to come home by a certain time on the day we returned! We have never had such a luxurious vacation since we became parents. I still think back on the trip when things start getting hairy around here. Since it was my trip, I got to pick out where we ate and what we did. We stayed at the Golden Nugget -- still my favorite hotel. Leaving the room, I snapped a pic of my "Going out at 40" outfit. So different from my "Going out at 21" outfit I'm sure I wore the first time going to Vegas as an adult!

The first night we ate at Park, which we later saw featured on Man Finds Food.

Garbage fries!
We then checked out a new shopping/hang out area off Fremont called Downtown Container Park -- it was pretty cool. Love going places where it seems every store and restaurant was designed just for me :) We hit a couple of downtown brew pubs, and then I left BT at a craps table while I went back and slept the soundest that I have probably have slept in years.

The next morning, after sleeping in, we ate at Hash House a Go-Go -- homestyle cooking with an upscale twist and ridiculous portions to boot. We also hit up Frankie's Tiki Room - a Vegas tiki bar. Unfortunately we had the most obnoxious dude at the table next to us -- super loud, nasally voice, who droned on and on to two chicks about the most mundane stuff. You, sir, suck, and you life is lame!! We ate that evening at one of those steakhouses that has a cool history, but is a little past its heyday.

That night was the highlight of the trip -- the Neon Museum!! The museum pays homage to the cool neon signs that have adorned the Las Vegas strip for so many years. So well put together, and such a cool way to learn about the history of this one-of-a-kind city. I left BT once again at a craps table, and I guess he was the hot roller of the night. I deemed him the King of Craps.

One more must-see stop on the way out of town Monday afternoon -- The Peppermill. I don't know why I love this place as much as I do, but would be seriously bummed if they ever renovate it or tear it down. We had a keepsake picture taken there -- until next time, Peppermill.

Wrapping up with my birthday -- here is a pic of the little party my co-workers put together. Do they know me or what?

And I put together my own home birthday party the day of my birthday.

Hank picked out the cake and one of those flaming flower candles to go on top.

On to mammograms and all the other fun stuff 40-year-olds do!