Monday, May 25, 2015

Magical Orange Vinegar Cleaner

I am always and forever chasing my kids away from the cleaning chemicals. I am also always and forever scrubbing up the messes my kids make, because sticky.
We've also been buying a lot of oranges recently.
So I've been soaking the orange peels in vinegar, which makes a practically free, concentrated, nontoxic cleaner that smells fabulous.
And this morning when Heidi and Ion were squabbling and Rori was trying to get into the (sealed) container of OxyClean, I had a brainwave. Fill up 3 bottles with orange cleaner, give each kid a bottle and a rag, and let 'em go.
The coffee table is now soaking wet, the entire kitchen is swimming in orange vinegar, and they're going after their toy shelf with a vengeance. Ninja mom level: master.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Grateful for chaos

Today I am grateful for the chaos that my life sometimes is. It means that I have four beautiful, creative, energetic children who aren't afraid to ask for (and sometimes insist) on what they want and need in life. It means that I have food to feed them, even when that food is scattered all over the table. It means that we are blessed enough to have a choice in food, so they have the luxury of being picky eaters (and therefore scattering their food). It means they love each other and want to play with each other, even when that means someone steps on someone else, or when it means that Ion insists on being Ana instead of Kristoff and Heidi (who also wanted to be Ana) is stuck without a love interest. It means that they have beds and blankets to make a mess of, and they have clothes to wear or pull out of their drawers and leave in piles all over their room.

Chaos means a lot of things that many people in the world don't have. So since my choices are to be grateful for it or to cry about it, I'm going to be grateful for it. And then I'm going to drink a tall glass of blackberry wine (something else to be grateful for) and start to work on cleaning it all up.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Castle of Muskogee

Check out my guest post on Ryan's blog! We went to the Renaissance Festival at the Muskogee Castle, and I wrote about it!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Rainbow Cake

The day before Easter seems like the perfect time to make a rainbow cake! (actually, Heidi had just been asking to make one forever and we finally capitulated.)

You could do this with regular white cake mix but we got Duff Goldman's tie-dye cake mix because that way we knew the food coloring colors would mix and be pretty, instead of turning muddy. 

Heidi helped. 

A lot. 

So did Ion. Super helpful. Those beaters weren't going to lick themselves. 

(please ignore the just-played-outside shirt. His only involvement in food prep was licking the beaters. No sweat or mud got in the cake.)

Separate the batter into 6 bowls and let a child help you mix your colors. If said child sneaks bites, you will be able to tell by the blue stains on her lips. 

Separating out the batter and mixing the colors was kind of more time consuming than I like food prep to be, like, ever. But the kids thought it was AWESOME and I got to sneak in a lesson about the color wheel. A delicious color wheel. 

Some lessons die hard when you're the child of an art teacher. 

By the way, using the food coloring that came in the box was the right choice. Look at how not-muddy those colors are!

Then you pour the batter into the pan in order (red first, then orange on top, then yellow on top of that, etc.).

No after-baking photos - they stuck to the pan a bit (user error - we were out of Pam and I used butter) so we ate 'em. 

DELICIOUS. This cake mix is totally worth the price. 

We'll try again in the morning and see if we can't get them to come out of the oven pretty enough to decorate.


Plantable Easter baskets!

You wish your husband were as creative as mine. Admit it.

Ryan came home from the store today with brightly colored flower pots and a bunch of perennials. Tomorrow we'll decorate them with pretty stickers and let the kids use them to gather eggs. Then we'll plant flowers in them. 

A much better way to honor the return of life to the earth than throwing plastic baskets into a landfill, don't you think?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Vacation 2014 Part 3: The Zoo

We went to the Tulsa Zoo! And I got to play with my nifty new zoom lens!

They loved the carousel. They would have ridden it fifteen times if we'd let them.

Note to self: this lens captures all the glow of a sweaty hot day in a way that might not be completely attractive for portraits.

Rori rode a giraffe.

I was actually really far away from this bear.

The kids were asking if they could go over the fence and pet the bears. I told them NO.

I was really far away from this flamingo too.

Sea lion!


Pretend choo choo train!


I feel that the juxtaposition of rhinoceros and Coca-Cola machine is really some sort of postmodern critique of life, or maybe of the spectatorship of nature.

This is an albino alligator? crocodile? I never can remember the difference and it really doesn't matter, since they would both be equally unpleasant to meet in a swamp.

And this is a desert cat which, if it were found in a living room, would be completely indistinguishable from a regular cat.

I don't know what kind of bird this is.

Or this one.

Or these.

But they're really pretty.

Heidi and the bear had fun making the same face.

And Ion wanted to be friends.

I was far away from this butterfly.

And I was really far away from these chimps. Don't worry, I'll stop telling you how amazing my new lens is soon.

Heidi is a lot smaller than a chimpanzee.


Is YOUR zoo cool enough to have Ganesha in it? I DIDN'T THINK SO.

Don't worry, he got away.

There's a statue of an owl if you look where the statue of the man is pointing.

Heidi wanted to climb to the top of the big rock.

We had adventures in the rainforest.

Photo credit: Ryan

And we played in the petting zoo.

Ion wants to be in FFA.

Feeding animals is the BEST.

There is a baby monkey in this picture!

And we saw Hedwig.

I officially wish we lived close enough to the Tulsa Zoo to become members and go every weekend. Ah, well, I guess we'll keep crossing our fingers for a farm and let the kids grow up with livestock that way.