Tuesday, May 19, 2009


M and I have a deal. I plan the weeknight dinners and he cooks them. On Sunday night I make a list of dinner options for the week based on what's in the pantry and freezer. M then chooses what to make each day, using the list for inspiration. See, he HATES planning dinners. He hates trying to figure out what to make. I don't mind at all. I make sure that we have the food in the house by doing the grocery shopping and then he cooks the meals Mon-Thurs. I cook Fri-Sun. Not bad.

Here's the menu options for this week:
  • Polska kilbasa with onions and green peppers, green beans
  • Pork roast, asparagus, crescent rolls
  • Spaghetti and meatball caserole (left overs) and salad
  • Chicken Parmesan (chicken in freezer), green beans
  • Breakfast for dinner (eggs, sausage, toast)


Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day Notes from the Boys

I was showered with gifts (flowers, homemade cards, Wii Fit, cupcake carrier) and cards for mother's days. Below are the notes that R and T wrote me at school.

My mom is special because she helps me with my home work, she is nice, she buys me clothes, she takes me places, she helps when I'm sick, she makes me meals, she gives me chores, she keeps me safe, and she loves me.

R's was a fill in the blank:
My mom is special because...she helps with homework and cooks great meals.
I like it when my Mom...cooks, she has the best chocolate croissants.
My mom can do many things. I think she's best at...helping. From homework to chores, mom's the best!
My mom has a pretty smile. I like to make her smile by...making a joke.
My mom is as pretty as a...tulip.
My mom is smart. She even knows...advanced algebra.
I 'd like to tell my mom...that I love her and want to thank her.

Ahhhh...I love my boys!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Building a Bridge

R has to build a bridge that exists or has existed in the state where we live. He didn't want to take on a bridge that is too big or complicated, but he did want to make his bridge realistic. M remembered that there is a park near our house that has some historic bridges there (that have been relocated from their original sites when they were upgraded.) So, I helped R Google the park and we saw five great bridges from which to chose. He chose a bridge that was built in 1892 that was over a river two towns away.

R and M printed pictures from the Internet to use as a template and began to build. I was surprised to see that graph paper was not involved in the building of this bridge. But, as R pointed out, he had a picture right in front of him and didn't need the graph paper.

R used the pneumatic nailer and wood glue to adhere the bottom of the base to the top of the base. He also glued all of the pieces together and painted the whole thing.

Here it is in pictures:

I realized midway through the project that I hadn't taken any pictures.

R got very good at using the Gorilla Wood Super Glue, which is great for this project because it dries fast.

He just has to hold the piece of wood in place for a few seconds before it takes hold.

Gluing a bridge is very hard work...it takes lots of concentration.

You have to hold your mouth just right.

It's also hazardous to your hands. R says that he'll be picking the glue off his hands when he's a teenager.

Here is the finished bridge, all painted and ready to take to school.

R proudly shows off his bridge. (Note: Bad idea to take a picture of a boy in a red chair wearing a red shirt holding a red bridge.)

R stands on the actual bridge at the park. I have no idea why his hands are in the air -- did I accidentally say "stick em up" instead of "say cheese?"

Working Hard For the Money

You may remember the policy we have in the house regarding the purchase of large ticket items by the boys. First of all, mom and dad must approve of the item to be purchased. Secondly, the boy must pay for half of it out of his piggy bank, and earn the other half from chores assigned by mom and dad. R is the only one who has used this policy -- he bought a much desired Pokemon game for his DS (which he and his brother have played for over 100 hours in the year or so that he has owned it.)

T has always been a saver -- I think he had over a hundred bucks in his piggy bank AFTER we went to Disney world. Anyway, the object of his desire was a Nerf gun that shot out sponge bullets machine-gun style. He saw it while buying a birthday present for a friend and decided right then that he really, really wanted it. It was forty two dollars! An extremely high price for a Nerf gun, but this one was an automatic Nerf gun. I told him I'd talk to dad about it.

The next morning he nicely asked me if I spoke to M about it yet. "Oh no, I forgot!" I told him." He responded sweetly, "That's okay, mom, no problem. Maybe you'll remember tonight." That conversation happened three nights in a row. Finally, I remembered to mention it to M. Of course, M saw no problem with a machine gun style Nerf gun.

So, I let T know. He lit up like a Christmas tree and said, Great, what chores can I do? Do you have any worth ten dollars? (No fool, that boy, we usually assigned fifty cent to one dollar price tags on jobs.) We did find a five dollar job -- clean up all the dog poop in the back yard that accumulated over the winter when it was hidden in the snow. What a job! I told him on Friday night that he could get five bucks for that. Wouldn't you know it, but on Saturday morning, he was out there at the crack of dawn (7:30) while M and I were still sleeping, and he was shoveling poop. He sure gave his walking cast a work out making trips back to the woods to dump the poop and back to the lawn to collect it. When I woke up, I saw what he was doing and gave him a plastic bag to collect the poop in so he didn't have to make so many trips to the woods.

When he came in after that job was done, he marched over to the counter and grabbed a piece of paper. He wrote $5 in the middle of the page and drew a thermometer on it and filled in about a fourth of it. "What else can I do?" he asked. Here is what he did over the course of the weekend to earn his half of the gun:

* Poop duty for five months of poop (yowzers!)
* Pick up the sticks in the back yard so the lawn mower won't break when it's christened for the
* Sweep and mop the kitchen floor
* Vacuum the water in the basement with the wet/dry vac -- three times over the two days
* Clean the downstairs bathroom
* Clean the upstairs bathroom

He proudly told me on Sunday at about 2:00 pm that he had earned his half. So, we took off for the store. I had told him that dad and I would pay the tax on it and buy the batteries. (That's before I realized that it took six D batteries -- those things are expensive!) Anyway, he is one happy boy. I asked him if he was proud of himself for having a goal and working hard to get it accomplished. He said, "Proud? No, I don't think I'm proud. But I'm really very impressed that I did it so fast." Well, there you go.

He loads up his gun with all 25 "bullets" that it came with. He's sitting on the landing at the top of the stairs so that he can ambush his brother.

Rambo's got nothing on this guy!