Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Zombie Children in the Boredom Apocalypse

we wish you a very happy, sugar-charged (and, of course, silly) Halloween with our first guest post from Jes to the silly = sane blog. read and enjoy... and watch out for the vacant stare...

“Mom, I’m bored” is probably the scariest phrase I hear all day. On the outside it may not seem very frightening, but what happens to a child when they have entered the boredom zone is the stuff of horror films.

My usually imaginative, witty and active child literally turns into a mindless zombie. All thought, reasoning and feeling has fled their bodies and I am left with an uncooperative empty shell of kid who doesn’t even have the muscle strength to stand up and walk away from a couch. Instead, they usually roll off the couch with a sigh of exasperation followed by a whine that makes the nerves in my ear drum turn bionic, amplifying all negative thoughts and feelings all around me.

I am now properly set on edge and ready to do battle.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

meet Jes

hey all! this is a quick post to introduce you to Jes, one of my dearest friends who you will be seeing as a guest poster here on silly = sane.

Jes has three children -- two boys ages 8 and nearly 10, and a girl age 4 -- and i've had so much fun watching these kids grow up. (that's them on the right. cutie patooties!)

in high school, it was Jes who roped me into many of the activities that forged my future career path (wow!). when we were in college, it was Jes who introduced me to coffee (God bless the woman!). and since forming families, it's been Jes who i most often look to as a model of parenting (and how!). this is a momma with serious silly parenting skills. she's a master, y'all. and as you'll see, her posts carry that same humorous approach to life. she would want me to say that she's still learning the ropes. but, then, aren't we all?

so be sure to check out her first post, and stay tuned for more...

welcome, Jes!

Monday, October 29, 2012

book pick: Meow Said the Cow

what kind of tricks does that Cat have up his sleeve now? sick of the Rooster's early-morning crow, he changes things up around the barnyard. it's a tower of bah-bel (bah-dum-ching). but when Cat chases after a whiskered treat, he finds his tricks turned back on him.

with Halloween this week, we figured a little magic might be in order, even of the completely random kind. (the cat does magic? um, ok.) i had to read through this book once to get the hang of the story and rhyming. and after that, my girls had me reading it over and over again. anytime i get a "that's silly, Mom," i figure it's ripe for a silly = sane book pick. i mean, they used the word "silly"!

Meow Said the Cow reminds me of another book that switches things up on readers (although not by magic). Adventures of Cow, Too has Cow, the Huggable Holstein, going to the supermarket for his mom to buy some key items. but as we discover, in Cow's world, a bowl of ice cream means frozen peas, and going to the movies means watching laundry, and his dad is a penguin-shaped doorstop (you should see the rest of his family).

when the kids are very young, these types of books are probably only confusing -- either that, or great for some one-on-one review (what sound does a sheep really make?). but the older ones get the joke, and in our house that means the younger sibling gets it too.

this post contains affiliate links. learn more here.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

fall crafts even the not-so-crafty can handle

we recently moved, and since then i've actually decorated. uh, whoa. i never felt this urge in the old place. my 5-year-old daughter loves the fine home arts, however, and last year she insisted we bring in some fall flair. so we put up her macaroni pumpkin she made in preschool along with amber-colored bead thingies i had knocking around, and there we go... happy festive fall to thee!

this year, i brought out the big guns. i have dead CORN STALKS standing up outside my front porch in an arrangement that resembles an ACTUAL SHEATH OF CORN. and an ornate URN filled with small self-harvested PUMPKINS that are REAL! oh, but that's not all. me and my non-crafty side are parting ways for good. i even decided to have fall craft time with the girls. it was an impromptu thing. we had a basket full of pristine fall leaves (Little One neglected the flower part of her flower girl duties at a recent autumn-themed wedding, but she aced the cute part so it's ok). we also had a glue stick. and a pumpkin from Sweet One's field trip. hmmm, leaves + glue + gourd ... i can totally handle that! i give you, Sweet One's leaf pumpkin:

isn't it so rustic chic? oh, you know it. but we didn't stop there. we also had a pen. and printer paper. and a crapload more leaves. hmmmm, leaves + pen + paper ... i feel another crafty momma brainstorm coming on. ta-da!

ok, so it wasn't a brilliant idea. pretty obvious, actually. other (actual) crafty mommas out there have moved well beyond the traditional fall symbol of the turkey to things much more hip, like a hedgehog. (and here i'm just starting to understand the whole owl craze.) but darnit, baby steps!

why crafts? i hear your sighs. because the kids love them, yes. because it's good for them somehow (something about fine motor skills and an active imagination...). but also: breaking the monotony. you never know what stories and practical life skills might come out of impromptu not-so-crafty craft time. for instance, Sweet One got a lesson in persistence when our first method of gluing leaves to gourd didn't really stick. i also got to see how she retained a surprising amount about turkeys from her field trip, and that she likes her turkey's beak wide open to let that gobble, gobble come out loud and true. one other thing: i enjoyed it. it's time with my kids doing something completely ridiculous.

(oh, and now i have indoor fall decor to go with my outdoor fall decor. it's pretty autumnal around here.)

here are some other fall-themed crafts that won't scare off the non-crafty among us, things i've found in my trolling that we have tried or plan to try soon:

quick, easy, and fun. halloween storytelling with diy shadow puppets, from Imagination Soup

as ambivalent to carving pumpkins as i am? especially when the kids don't do any of the work? Kids Activities Blog gathers up a nice list of alternative styling tips from around the intertubes (my favorite: Potato Head parts). or just do what comes naturally to a young girl: slather it with glue and glitter and sequins a'la Domestic Goddesque.

over on the BabyCenter Blog, there's a much cuter leaf turkey that uses felt circles.

and, while you're getting the creative juices flowing, do what i've done and steal an idea from at home with Ali by dedicating a whole plastic tub or cardboard box to items otherwise destined for the recycle bin or trash. toilet paper tubes. cereal boxes. rubber bands. random pipe cleaners and feathers and twist ties. you know, a happy box of randomness. you never know what the kids might make from its contents. (no, really, you might never know...)

have something simple to share of your own? let me know! (no, really, let me know.) i need all the help i can get.

Monday, October 22, 2012

book pick: Dragons Love Tacos

did you know? Dragons Love Tacos. (but, then, who doesn't?)

i think this a book for boys. a boy is the central (human) character. and the writer and illustrator look like the types who haven't forgotten a good poop joke. no girls, no parents. and the story builds to an epic explosion. but i credit the fanciful illustrations and deadpan writing for getting my two daughters on board. it's a favorite, for sure. they wish that Taco Cave were a real destination. (i remain ok with a simple run for the border. bong.)

the dragon-loving boy in this story learns how to cozy up to his favorite flying friends by currying favor with tacos. buckets, pants-loads, and a boat's worth. but he forgot one thing: dragons can't have spicy salsa. it upsets their dragon tummies. and, when that happens, well – watch out. let's just say, he won't make that mistake again. and dragons? not scary at all. they are actually quite tame, love a good game of charades, hold pool parties – and are handy with a hammer for the reconstruction effort.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


here's what you need to know:

 - i write about what i write. i don't write about a specific book, music album or product with the sole intention of making money off it. if i recommend something, it's because our family has enjoyed it and we think yours might too.

 - so, i make a recommendation. does that mean i think you should buy it? no! personally, i'm a garage-sale shopper. and our library card is very well-used!

 that said, you also need to know:

 - i'm now part of the Amazon affiliate program, which pays a commission on sales from folks who buy certain products i've linked to (books, mainly). when i started this blog, i was linking to Amazon all over the place. it's like the Wikipedia of product references. after hearing about the affiliate program, i figured, "hey, couldn't hurt!" so there we are. if you were going to buy anyway, happy day for everyone.

 - i'm also part of the CD Baby affiliate program, which is where i send most (though not all) of my music links. for artists who i know sell their own work at a price that's better than CD Baby, however, i link directly to the artist (no commission involved).

books and music were part of this blog from the beginning, well before i heard of affiliate programs! there's a part of me that feels queasy linking to consumer sites with a stake in things. that's why this disclosure page is here (not just to meet FTC regulations!). on the other hand, they're sites i shop, sites you shop. and if i manage to make 25 cents off this blog in a year because of some links, well, it's probably better than zero.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

1 - 2 - 3 - leaf jump!

we recently moved, and our new street is fronted by gorgeous big'ol trees – i don't know what kind, other than the kind that dump mountains of leaves on our yard! at our old place, i don't think we used our rake more than once or twice. i've already beat that pace in the past week with this place. i filled our yard-waste bin to capacity – and that was just the grassy strip between the road and the sidewalk. and those trees? they're still packed with deciduous time-bombs. yowzas. this Pacific Northwest gal is starting to feel her Midwest DNA kick in.

so after naptime today, which was a dry day, the girls and i logged a first for us: a leaf pile!

now, i know a lot of you are like me (why else would you be here?), and so you'll forgive my first thought: "oh crap, now i'm going to have to rake it all up again." followed soon thereafter by, "gasp! she's kicking them everywhere!" and "oops, is that a rotting plum?"

but i did good. this is a rite of passage for any kid – even an Evergreen State kid, goldurn it – and so help me i bit my tongue and dove right in (literally). ... and then got a bunch of leaves in my face and hair from Sweet One there.

it was fun. we had dirty knees, sticky hands, dusty cheeks and were plucking pine needles out of our hair. we're going to do it again on the next relatively dry day. since the yard-waste bin was already full, the pile is still there (for now, anyway). and you know what? after our rain walk a few days ago, maybe we'll do it even if it rains.

life's too short to stay clean!

Monday, October 8, 2012

book pick: Monsters on Machines

it is unseasonably warm here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. really? upper 60s in October? and still NO RAIN?! wow. i'll take it. luckily, i have a 5-year-old to constantly remind me that a major holiday is coming up: Halloween, of course. and all of those other parental bloggers out there are ever-so-much-more on top of things than i am on this one. but you get the procrastiantor's approach to parenting with me. sorry, folks. it is, in fact, thanks to Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas that i owe this post. she came up with a great list of monster books that i urge you to peruse. we'll be checking out a few from her list on our next library trip this week. it got me thinking of the monster book we currently have on our tower o' library books, and since it's been awhile since my last book pick, i figured it's about time to share this one!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

abort, abort!

uh, ground control? we've got a problem. minor flesh wound to cadet no. 1 on upper deck. stranded cadet no. 2 in lavatory, one level below. captain is in the middle, engaged in mortal combat with invading force that is slipping in through a crack in hold, threatening to destroy critical systems. (die, alien arachnid! you stand no chance against my paper towel roll of DOOM!) repeated requests for backup by cadet no. 1 are gaining in intensity. cadet no. 2 is falling out of contact; radio silence could indicate secondary mop-up mission. status briefing made clear to cadet no. 1 that captain is otherwise engaged. space dementia may be settling in...

you can't blame the children. they lack a fundamental awareness of the space-time continuum (namely, that there is one). when no one is bleeding (much) and there is no (real) crisis, the best tactic to reeling in young emotions that threaten to hurtle off into outer orbit is the diversionary tactic.