Saturday, November 19, 2011

Helping Hands (or "how to rescue toys from toy jail")

The toys were getting out of control, so we instituted Toy Jail. Any toys that are away from their "home" at bedtime go directly to jail. Within the first 3 nights, we had 3 laundry baskets full of abandoned toys. Now, the kids are more careful about their things and the apartment is easier to walk through.

In order to rescue a toy from jail, you need to help out with an extra chore - putting away JMC's folded clothes, unloading the dishwasher, folding socks (I hate to fold socks!), etc.  It's been interesting to see which toys the kids are willing to do extra work for.  And it's incredibly gratifying to have 2 children begging for extra chores, and come running when I announce I need help with something. :)

Here's JMC helping JA unload the dishwasher. (Don't worry, I unload the sharp knives before any child is allowed nearby.)
At the end of the month, they'll have one last chance to rescue toys, and then all remaining abandoned toys will be donated. The kids already know this, and are ok with the plan.

Whole Foods


bell pepper


Monday, November 14, 2011


JMC has begun to show his interests and make his thoughts known. One of those interests happens to include hats. He likes them so much, he has learned to make his desire known in 2 ways to make sure we understand him completely. He pats his head (Baby Sign Language) and says "go" (for "gorra" in Spanish.) I think he pats his head so we can distinguish this "go" from the "go" he says to the dog. (I really don't know where he got that from...)

Yes, he is wearing 2 hats. He insisted.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dia de los Muertos

by JA, Mami, & JT
We aren't big on Halloween around here. I mean, the kids like to dress up and receive candy (JT says that's the only thing about Halloween he likes), but we don't enjoy the scary parts at all, and even trick-or-treating has proven too scary for the kids in the past. This year, we went to Hy-Vee and the kids had a great time - nothing scary, and healthy treats in their bags.

Dia de los Muertos, however, is something completely different. It's not scary at all, despite the skull and skeleton decorations. It's all about remembering your ancestors and loved ones who have died. So, today we colored calaveras in bright colors like the sugar skull candies.  We will probably make pan de muertos (if we get our school lessons done first), and we'll talk throughout the day about our loved ones whom the kids never had the opportunity to meet or were so young they don't remember. People like Grandpa Fred, Nana Irene, Papa Art, and Grandpa Ray on Mami's side; and Mamita Lina, Grandpa Pablo, and Grandpa Julio on Papi's side. We'll talk about how their ancestors come from Guatemala and Italy, but also from Spain and Sweden; and how very blessed they are to have been born here in the US.  

by JA & Mami. We saw a calavera with blue teeth and thought it looked cool. :)
We did end up making the pan de muertos; we can always do more math tomorrow, right? Besides, we had to measure ingredients, follow the recipe, and watch the time while baking, and that all counts as school, too.