Sunday, April 29, 2012

Birthday/Wine Tasting Party

My husband turned 44 this weekend. We decided to celebrate his old age by having a birthday/wine tasting party. The rules for the wine tasting were included in the evite:

We were looking for an excuse to drink copious amounts of wine so we decided to throw a wine tasting party and mask it as P's birthday party.  To make it interesting and educational we implemented some rules.

1. Each person/couple brings a bottle of wine and must not spend more than $12 on it.
2. The bottle must not be from California
3. The wine can be red or white
The bottle identities will be hidden and each bottle will be numbered.  Guests will sample each and score them from 1 to 5.  A prize will be given out to the person/couple who brings the bottle with the highest score.  Hopefully we will discover some great inexpensive wines from regions other than California.

It was such a fun evening spent with great friends! CS was a wonderful co-host! At first, everyone was nervous about not having adequate knowledge of wines. That did not last long!
As the guests arrived, I had everyone write their name on the label of their bottle and then tape it inside a brown bag. We put the numbers on the bags after we received all of the wines so people would not know which one was their own during the tasting.
We gave each person a notepad to
score the wines.
Two hot mamas!

44 looks good on my husband!
So nice to hang out with old friends.

That's my Cousin Leigh!

Me and my sweetie!

So many smiles, that must not be wine

These two decided a spreadsheet was
needed to calculate the winner.
Everyone wanted to know if their wine
was the chosen one.

What is Cousin Leigh doing?

Enjoying the patio.
Each person/couple was given a number
to write a comment on the white board
for that numbered bottle. The comments
got more "interesting" as the evening went
on. I edited a bit (not much) of the white
board before posting this picture.

There was a prize for last place, a bottle
apron with opener and stopper. Don't
they look happy to receive it? Bottle
#10 Fall Creek Chardonnay 2010
Bottle #14 won first place - a binocular

The birthday boy.
Summoning his wishing power.

The winner - Bottle #14 Root:1 Carmenere Chile 2010

The line-up after the labels were revealed. Some were empty
and some (#10) were not!

It was an amazing evening of great friends, good food, and good/bad wine!!!

My husband is going to post the spreadsheet here when he gets around to it.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Robotic Arm

Boogs received birthday money from his Grandpapa, Grandmaman, Aunt J and Uncle R. This past weekend he went shopping for his present. Boogs decided to buy the Robotic Arm Edge.

My husband and Boogs worked on it for several hours on Saturday and several hours on Sunday. It was very precise work.
There were a ton of pieces.

Boogs helped Daddy carefully read the instructions.

Putting the motors together.

Attaching another piece.

Tightening some of the final screws.

Ready for a trial run. Boogs got some Lego pieces for the arm to sort into two cups by color.

Boogs also moved the cups around with the arm.

It took practice and concentration to move the levers just right.

Success! Boogs got the blocks into the correct cups.
I was reading a few reviews about this robotic arm, one person used it to hold a Sharpie pen and write. We will be coming up with different tasks to do with it. Boogs had a good time putting it together. He did get tried and had to take "nap breaks" to rest his brain. He would go lay on his bed for a couple of minutes and then go back to the robotic arm to keep assembling it. He figured out that he had to use a lot of brain power to get it together correctly. Boogs' Daddy said that he really enjoyed working on this with him. For the past couple of years, Boogs has stated that he wants to be a robot scientist when he grows up. He is fascinated by this kind of thing. Thank you GP, GM, AJ, and UR for the great project!

Lunches April 23rd - 27th

Boogs' lunches are inspired by the books we read at bedtime the previous evening. Each night, Boogs reads one book to me and I read two books to him. I usually post his lunches once a week. Click on the "lunches" label at the end of this post to see lunches from previous weeks. 
The Magic Rabbit by Annette LeBlanc Cate
Magician Ray and Bunny are business partners and best friends.  One day, Bunny gets lost in the big city.  Boogs was very sad when Bunny could not find Ray. Bunny followed a path of yellow stars back to Ray. Boogs pointed out that the only color in the book's pictures were the yellow stars leading Bunny back to his friend. In the lunchbox: popcorn for Ray and Bunny to eat while watching movies, orange sunset, cheese stars, almond butter and jelly Bunny sandwich, pb&j magic hat sandwich, and the park made out of spinach and broccoli.

Mr. Putter & Tabby Paint the Porch by Cynthia Rylant
Boogs enjoyed this story. He laughed out loud when Tabby chased a squirrel all over  Mr. Putter's freshly painted pink porch. Boogs practically rolled off the bed when Tabby, the neighbor's dog, and a chipmunk ran through the repainted blue porch. We will certainly be checking out more Mr. Putter books from the library. In the lunchbox: berries, Chex Mix, almond butter and jelly squirrel sandwich with pink "paint" splotches, pistachio nuts, Tabby boiled egg, and salad.
Robert the Rose Horse by Joan Heilbroner
Boogs thought this was a Dr. Seuss book because of the picture of the Cat in the Hat on the spine. He was disappointed that there were not a lot of rhyming words. Robert, the horse, is allergic to roses. He has great big sneezes that cause all kinds of calamities. Boogs thought the sneezes were funny. In the lunchbox: pb&j horse, rose made out of turkey pepperoni, dried apricots, "kerchoo" made out of cheese, broccoli, and kiwi.

Things That Are Most in the World by Judi Barrett
This book is an interesting list of bizarre things. In the lunchbox: "the quietest thing in the world" cheese worm eating peanut butter, "the jumpiest thing in the world" spinach tortilla with cheese & ham frogs wearing turkey pepperoni skirts, tomatoes, yogurt pretzel, mango, and applesauce. I drew "the smelliest thing in the world" skunks on the bottom of the applesauce container but it looked so bad I decided not to photograph it. Boogs came up with his own idea, "the ickiest thing in the world is a giant living blob mixed with barf." Yep, that's my boy.

Boogs has a field trip today. I saw a post not too long ago about printing on paper bags. It did not work for me. The bag kept getting jammed in my printer. Unfortunately, Boogs saw me trying to do this. When I decided to give up, after messing up four bags, Boogs was a little upset. He was really looking forward to having a strawberry picking picture on his lunch bag for the field trip to pick strawberries. So, I printed the picture on matte photo paper, cut a hole in the sack, stuck the picture in the hole, and then taped over it with clear postal tape. Voila! Something that should have taken a couple of minutes, took a big chunk of my evening. But, it did turn out pretty cute. His lunch bag will not be hard to spot on the field trip. Boogs gave the bag a thumbs up.

Check out the wonderful sites I link to on my sidebar! If you want to see more book inspired lunches, click on the "lunches" label at the end of this post. Be sure to leave me a comment to let me know you stopped by.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Sandwich For The Bloggess

Boogs did not get to have a learning playdate today. Instead, I went to a book signing event for Jenny Lawson, a.k.a. The Bloggess, for her book Let's Pretend This Never Happened. Boogs got to stay home and have some extra Daddy-time. I have been following The Bloggess for quite a while now and I think she is hilarious. Her blog is not for everyone, at times some of her language and stories are a bit too much for me. That is most likely because I grew up in a Southern Baptist home where "gosh" was considered cursing. Reading her story about Beyonce, the giant metal chicken, kept me laughing for days. I love that Jenny Lawson has such a strong voice for what she believes in and is not afraid to say anything.

I decided to make a sandwich to match the cover of Jenny's book and take it to the book signing. So, I made a likeness of the taxidermied mouse, Hamlet Von Schnitzel. I put a note on the container that said, "Hamlet Von Schnitzel's likeness is made out of white-wheat bread stuffed with almond butter & jelly, a marshmallow neck ruffle, peppercorn eyes, candy star skull, and a fruit leather cape. Each day, I make my son's lunch based on the bedtime stories that we read. Hamlet Von Schnitzel is the first non-children's book sandwich that I have made. I hope you enjoy it. P.S. I have OCD about handwashing so this sandwich was made with clean hands." Then I told her she really should not eat food from strangers. She laughed and told me the sandwich was awesome. Her "people" took a couple of pictures of it.

This is NOT a children's book.

After these pictures, the handler/wrangler (I don't know what to call the store employee who keeps the line moving) started to put the cover back on the container. Jenny asked her to leave it off so that everyone who came up to the table could see it. What fun!

UPDATE: The Bloggess tweeted about my Hamlet Von Schnitzel sandwich!!! She also wrote about it on her website and said, "It tasted adorable. And suspicious."

To see other book inspired lunches I have made, click on the "lunches" label at the end of this post.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Lunches April 16th - 20th

Boogs' lunches are inspired by the books we read at bedtime the previous evening. Each night, Boogs reads one book to me and I read two books to him. I usually post his lunches once a week. Click on the "lunches" label at the end of this post to see lunches from previous weeks. You can find the other two  lunches for this week here. They were part of the Bento Bloggers & Friends Earth Day blog hop. Here are the rest of the lunches from this week: 

I Love You As Much... by Laura Krauss Melmed
This is one of Boogs' old favorite board books. He was not feeling well on Sunday, his allergies were making him feel nauseated. Boogs wanted a snuggly book for bedtime. This little book has eight different animals telling their young how much they love them. The last page has a human mother cuddling her sleeping infant with the text, "Now sleep, child of mine, while the stars shine above - I love you as much as a mother can love." In the lunchbox: ham & Babybel cheese sleeping infant, pasta salad, grapes, spinach & carrots, Pirate's Booty.

If Not For The Cat by Jack Prelutsky
We own several Jack Prelutsky poetry books.  Boogs picked this one out at the library. It is a book of haikus. Each haiku is paired with an illustration of an animal. The names of the animals are listed at the back of the book. I held the book so that Boogs could not see the pictures until after he guessed what the animal was. We discussed the author's choice of words. I had to explain many of the words to Boogs which is great for building his vocabulary. Boogs' favorite haiku was "Boneless, translucent, We undulate, undulate, Gelatinously." It was describing a jellyfish. Boogs and I released our Painted Lady butterflies from our butterfly garden this week, so I was drawn to the butterfly haiku. "Wingless we went in, But we emerged as fliers - And oh, such colors!" In the lunchbox: almond butter & jelly butterfly sandwich, eagle's nest & eggs tomatoes, cereal bar jellyfish, sloth's dinner spinach, berry flowers for hummingbirds, and yogurt.

Clara and Asha by Eric Rohmann
Each night, Clara is visited by her imaginary friends.  This books tells the story of her friendship with an enormous imaginary fish. The oil painting pictures are gorgeous! Boogs studied the pictures in this book several times throughout the week. In the lunchbox: pb&j Clara with nori features, Asha boiled egg, Goldfish crackers, kiwi, and salad.

Check out the wonderful sites I link to on my sidebar! If you want to see more book inspired lunches, click on the "lunches" label at the end of this post. Be sure to leave me a comment to let me know you stopped by.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Homemade Geoboards

C and I had fun planning this learning playdate to make geoboards. While the kids were at school, we collected our supplies. It was funny having the two of us trying to decide what type and thickness of wood to get. We spent at least 10 minutes on the nail aisle debating which nails would be best. Neither one of us is what you would call "handy".

We chose to make geoboards this week to bring in a bit of math to our learning playdate. First, everyone had to measure and mark where to place their nails.

Next, it was Hammer Time! 

Oops, had to pull out a crooked nail.

Big Sis wore the Bob the Builder hat.

Then, it was time to use the geoboards with rubberbands to make some shapes.
B's board

Boogs' board

E's board

We talked about and named most of the shapes Boogs made on his board.

I made one, too.

The kids were very engaged in this project. It took quite a bit of time to hammer in all of those nails. When they were finished they asked if they could use the safety goggles for a project of their own. They wanted to protect their eyes while burying each other in pebbles.

Boogs and I are going to use our geoboards at home to practice making and naming shapes.