Ant Farm

I’m fully aware that many moms let their children get a jar to collect an insect.  And the child often feeds the insect and gets to study it.

Since I am a bug-phobe I’ve always said they could observe outside but only outside.  The kids complain often.

“But Mom it’s just a praying mantis.”  “But Mom this beetle is for school!”  “But Mom it’s just a caterpillar!” “But Mom you can never find these trapdoor spiders!”

My response is always the same.  “My name is not ButMom. And, I’m very sorry, but if I make an exception for one insect/bug/arachnid then I’d have to make exceptions for all of them and the exterminator would not be very happy with me.”

I say this very calmly and act like it’s the exterminator who won’t let me bend the rules, but my inner voice is saying, “Ew!  Gross!  Get that THING away from me!!!”  But of course if you say that your kids will think it’s hilarious and you can guarantee bugs or fake bugs will be flung at you.

I take great precautions to keep our bug invasion at a minimum.  In fact we went out and bought some caulking in preparation for this invasion happening right now.  I’m not going to lie.  It gives me nightmares.

So, the latest request is having an ant farm.  I gave my standard reply. Besides, they know that if it’s not poisonous they can observe insects outside.

So I wasn’t worried when Anabelle came in and said, “I made my very own ant farm!”

“That’s nice,” I said, still making dinner.

“I snuck a Dorito out of the pantry and took it out to them and crumbled it up and made a path for them to follow.”  Anabelle was beaming.  “They loved it!”

I smiled and kept making dinner when a thought hit me.  “Wait.  Where did you make this path?”

“From the grass right up to the back door!”

A store-bought, contained ant farm isn’t sounding too bad right now.  Oh, excuse me.  I have to let the exterminator in – Anabelle has her angry glare ready for him.

The Chaperone

The book follows Cora, a Kansas housewife with grown kids, as she agrees to chaperone Louise Brooks in the 1920s to New York.  At the time of this historical fiction novel, Louise Brooks is fifteen years old, but we know from the abrupt flashes of the future within the novel (unless you already knew your history well enough) that Louise will become a famous silent-film star.

The author does a fabulous job in making Cora a very likeable character.  You really want to know why she is willing to leave her handsome, affectionate husband at home and volunteer to accompany a rude, spoiled brat to New York for a little over a month.

The middle of the book was my favorite as we learn about Cora’s upbringing and as a result learn a lot of history about the depression and what it was like for orphans in that time period.  The author clearly did her research and as a result, I found myself so engaged with the main character that when typical beliefs about race and gender and parentage in that time period popped up, I was shocked.  As in, Oh! I forgot that was how people viewed that then.

That said, the last third of the book had some twists and turns (and too much detail) that weren’t pleasant reading for me.  If you are a conservative reader, you may want to skip this one.  At the close of the book, I was glad to have learned more about the time period and glad that I wasn’t born in that time period!

If you’re interested in reading The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty, it’s not too late to join the BlogHer Book Club – we’re discussing 7 or 8 chapters at time.

I was compensated by the BlogHerBookClub for this review but the opinions expressed were entirely my own.

Prepping for the Olympics

How do you get your kiddos excited about the Olympics? For us, we started with watching Cool Runnings.
Yes, I know that’s Winter Olympics, but still…

Then we watched some Olympic Trials – did you see the one where the winner kept on swimming after he won? Kids thought that was hilarious.

Second, we pulled out some maps and puzzle maps. I like that the kids know where each Olympian is from in their mind’s eye.  We started with the United States.

The kids quickly assembled the puzzle then Sam got a funny look in his eyes and said,

Then they all laughed hysterically and couldn’t wait to pull out the next puzzle:

the WORLD!

So we’re ready for the Olympics!  That, and I think there should be another Olympic event:  DogBathing.

I speak from experience  (ten minutes ago).

Each country would need a team of athletes armed with water, shampoo, towels, treats, and eventually a hair dryer.

They’d run outside and try to keep the dog in a circle while cleaning the dog in the shortest amount of time before the dog shakes and gets your team soaking wet.

I’m sure, judging by the neighbor looking over the fence (who wouldn’t stop laughing), that it would be a very entertaining event.

Are you ready for the Olympics?

Not Just for Little Kids

Once upon a time, many years ago, my little ones loved to spend hours putting little beads on these peg boards.  Then, they’d anxiously await while Mom hunted to find the iron (for it was never used except to fuse together their personal artwork).

Many creative pieces were developed and displayed.  But alas, the little ones grew and grew and the box of magic beads disappeared behind a soup thermos no one used. Until…

Anabelle caught me reading an article on fusing glass into artwork.  We have a local place that offers family classes for free on certain days (I’m so excited!).

Suddenly Anabelle was asking about those beads and boom!  My table was filled with kids from 2yrs – 16 yrs old making creations!  And, I had to go find that blasted iron again. ( ;  Plus, I had lost the ‘special’ ironing paper – but parchment is the perfect substitute.

But on a day where the temperatures are past 100 and you don’t really want to be outside, this is such a fun and quiet and creative activity.  I have no affiliation with Perler® Beads but seeing the kids and teens so enthralled, I check out their site.

Get this:  If you make a creation (like Sam’s, above) and upload it, then you get a free pattern – this month it’s Olympic runners!  (How cool is that?)

And, they also have a free link so you can upload a photo and then turn it into a free pattern to make out of the beads.

In my opinion, a great tool to use for National Anti-Boredom Month.