Sunday, August 09, 2015

You ready for some baseball?

Well, I waited too long to write about our first experience with organized sports -- too many pictures, and they go so far back. We signed Hank up for Little League last November. December was when tryouts were held. Yes -- tryouts. Even though he hadn't played before, he still had to try out. He ended up on a farm team, which uses a machine for pitching in our area.

Come January, we started practice. Luckily we got a super nice coach -- very encouraging and somehow quickly understanding of my moody little 6-year-old.

A non-visual snapshot of Hank playing baseball -- he is the kid who isn't paying attention, won't practice, says baseball is stupid, etc., but then would cry if he struck out, and beat his fists on his thighs if the team lost a game. The biggest accomplishment would have been any sign of him managing his emotions and expectations better, but things seemed to get worse as the season progressed instead of better. We started two games a week late February, and, finally, in mid-June, our season came to an end. I think we were all glad for a break. Unfortunately Hank says he isn't interested in playing again. We are still hopeful he changes his mind -- but also looking for another team sport opportunity.

As mentioned, mom and dad were very involved with the team. Above is a scoreboard I made for the team, and here are some of the more creative snacks I put together until I gave up and just started throwing everything in a lunch bag and calling it a day.

Baseball themed Poptarts from Big Lots. Unfortunately you couldn't read the team logos on them...

Rest of snack with Poptarts -- drew laces on a cup of peaches to look like a baseball

1st snack (with items above) -- personalized with player numbers and paper in team colors

2nd snack -- this was for a game right before Easter (hence the baseball themed eggs)

Packaging for snack shown above

My most creative snack -- used a dollar store frisbee to hold the snack items. It came with the net cover...

...and I added the custom Giants label

I was so proud of him out there -- makes me envious of families with kids who just go with the flow in life, and those who feel passion for getting out there to do sports, win or lose. Hank will find his way in life, but wish he didn't make things so hard for himself along the way.

Today we went to watch an Angels game. Hank pointed out the positions, and wanted to make sure he knew where his favorite player, Mike Trout, was located on the field.

Other than that -- the only interest that fueled him through the game was a parade of snacks. Afterwards, we told him that he would be running the bases. You would think we told him we were severing his arm off.

He was so against doing it, but couldn't give a reason why. I made sure he knew it wasn't one of these runs -- just a quick jog through the bases. Only mom and dad would be watching him -- everybody else would be looking for their kid, and all the kids would be running at the same time -- everything I could think of that might be worrying him. By the time we got in line, he was ok with it.

Hank = plaid shorts, Everett = little guy with blue shoes

The only way we got him to do it was encouraging him to be a helper for his little brother, who really really wanted to run the bases.

Maybe this one will be the All Star?

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Winner winner

Our annual trip to the OC Fair was made more exciting this year as I had an entry in the fair -- some chocolate chip cookies. In making the cookies for different events, they received rave reviews. A co-worker suggested I enter them in the fair. The original recipe was found online, and appropriately "adapted" for use in this type of contest.

Well, lo and behold, I won 3rd place in the chocolate chip cookie category! I was giddy with excitement the day we went to the fair to go check them out and get my ribbon. I made sure everybody had full bellies and that they had gone to the bathroom before heading over to the culinary arts area -- I didn't want to risk whining ruining my special moment!

In addition to my prize ribbon and 10 whole dollars, all entrants receive a participant ribbon, a free entry ticket, and your score sheet.

Maybe next year I we will try one of the more competitive contests, such as the table design. Only the winning entries for that contest are displayed at the fair -- it must be fun (but nerve-wracking!) to set up for the judging day.

Other pics from the fair

Our only annual tradition we have consistently done every year we have been together :)

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 :)