Thursday, February 24, 2011

Auction Basket Case

My first experience with being involved in the creation of an auction basket was last year, for the preschool fundraiser. I really just dipped my toe in the water -- was present for the selection of the theme, and okay-ed decisions made by my more pro-active co-room mom. It all went very smoothly.

This year, I am the more experienced of the room moms in terms of how this all works. Our theme last year, "cooking" went over well, (two baskets, one for pretend cooking, one for real cooking). I suggested we nab the theme. We have less money to use this year, which is just as well; one thing that drove me crazy, even from the sidelines, was the amount of work that went into these baskets (driving around, time spent hunting online, wrapping the things for presentation). The baskets only went for the purchase price at auction, if we were lucky! A strange tradition.

Anyway, when I was at Ikea, having spent all the money in the budget on a handful of great play kitchen items, I confessed to the employee who helped me carry the heavy piece that I felt a little guilty about how easy it was this time, copying an idea, and doing one-stop shopping. His response was surprisingly pithy: "Work smarter, not harder." The Tao of Ikea?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Rain Roulete

"You're so lucky!" These were the words of a friend regarding the fact that C's birthday was in the late spring, and we were able to confidently plan a park birthday party. This friend's girls' birthdays are in January and February.

The youngest's birthday is next weekend. A few weeks ago, when we got serious about planning the party, the weather was gorgeous. A perk of living in Southern California! I thought. We can have a park birthday in February! G got excited about it, invitations were ordered, and away we went. And then we hit the window where the weather sites will start to give you an extended forecast.

Depending on who you ask, there is around a 40% chance of rain on the day for now, give or take. We have a skeletal Plan B, but I am still hoping we don't have to go there. At least G reports that what he is looking to most is the chocolate cake, which will be there, rain or shine.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dual Birthday Theme Duel

Weeks ago, when I asked C. what he wanted on his birthday cake, he replied without hesitation, "Caillou!" That was easy, I thought. I found Caillou invitations, a mylar balloon, a table cover... this 4th birthday party at the park was going to be a piece of cake. Until...

Hubby, in conversation a few days ago about the upcoming birthday, happened to ask C. what he wanted on his cake. The cake is the last thing to get ordered. "Fireman Sam!" he replied with enthusiasm. Hm. A disjointed theme? Or give the kid what he wants (unless of course by party time he wants Batman on the cake)? Or put them both on the cake? I have to decide by Wednesday... As long as it's chocolate, I imagine he'll be fine with whatever I decide.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Before I had kids, I resolved that I would not let them play with guns. It seems like an obvious rule to me.

But, but. What about squirt guns? I sure loved them as a kid. I remember the excitement of picking one out at the drugstore, getting the stream of water from the faucet small and steady enough to go in the little hold in the back, and fumbling with the stopper to get it snug, before blasting the neighborhood boys with my best shot.

Sometimes it seems like a ridiculous thought to consider denying my kids this pleasure, but other times, I worry about the slippery slope.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Scarry History

I loved the Richard Scarry books as a kid. The imagination, the word play, the details of the world he created... I got lost in them, in the best way.

Now, my sons have a few Scarry books. They enjoy them too. But they are not yet old enough to read the books themselves, so Hubby and I have the honor.

As fabulous as these books are, they are hard to read aloud. The other day, reading to C. before his nap, I skipped a few pages here and there, to get through. When he wasn't quite ready to sleep afterward, I gave him the book, "Here, you can look at this while you rest." He picked it up and started slowly paging through it.

"Mommy! You missed this page!" he yelled, an edge of concern in his voice. Pause. "You missed this page too, Mommy!" Oops. Busted. And come to think of it, although I remember being read plenty of Dr. Seuss, Berenstain Bears, and Mother Goose tales as a kid, I don't remember hearing the Scarry ones...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bust my Boiler

Perhaps C. has been watching a little too much of the Thomas and Friends dvd that he received for the holidays. Or maybe it's a combination of that and Fireman Sam that's causing the problem. Thomas is narrated by Brit Pierce Brosnan; the latter has characters with various accents from the UK. So now C. is experimenting with a British accent – dropping his r’s and denasalizing vowels. “The cah ovah theh.” “The mahn with a red sweatah.” He’s also trying out idioms and vocab from the show. “Bust my boiler!” I heard him say once. And he likes to use the word “decoupled” whenever possible.

Even Hubby will randomly follow a statement with “…Sir Topham Hatt boomed importantly.” Time to unplug the TV already?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Several years ago, my husband and I heard a Sandra Tsing Loh commentary about what she called "treasure chum" -- the useless things that accumulate in the house. The term has proved to be so useful, especially after having kids, that we now just say T.C. We giggled through the skymall magazine during plane rides, marvelling at all the T.C. We wrestled with the challenge of finding appropriate favors for C's third birthday party last summer; "No T.C.!" was our guideline. We opted for personalized cookies.

This past week, I was presented with a new category of T.C.: a menorah that C. made at preschool. I do think it is lovely. But we will never use it. So what am I supposed to do with it? Do I put it in the top of the closet forevermore? Will he be hurt if I chuck it? Is there any way to recycle it? I'm truly conflicted.