Archive for June, 2009

Secondhand Score

Posted by laura on Jun 26 2009 | Awesome

Look what we found at the second hand shop!


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Teacher Gifts

Posted by laura on Jun 24 2009 | Making, School

It’s that time of year – schools are wrapping up, and parents are wondering just what to wrap up for their children’s hard-working teachers. It’s always a dilemma. My cousin Maura and I usually end up emailing each other around now to brainstorm fresh ideas. (Now Maura, it should be noted, once gave their teachers a Margarita kit at the start of summer. That is what you call a hard act to follow. Not sure what I can add to her idea bin.)

But in the interest of sharing, I thought it might be handy to post my top 5 favorite teacher gifts:
1. Cute mugs with funny sayings on them
2. Scented candles
3. Lotion
4. Soaps
5. Anything with an apple on it!

I know what you’re thinking…. and you’re welcome.

No, no, no, TEACHERS, wait – I’m just kidding!! Shoot, I didn’t mean to, honestly, IT’S GOING TO BE OK! Stop crying!!! Please? Here – have a hankie.

Seriously though, some of my best friends happen to be teachers, so I believe I have an inside track on what they like and need. (That and I’ve asked them.) When asked what they like to receive for gifts, most say “nothing,” because they’re so well respected and compensated. Oh, no, that’s not it. They say “nothing,” because kindness is its own reward. Hm. Maybe they say “nothing” because they’re afraid they’ll receive objects with apples painted on them. Anyway, after “nothing,” they usually say a note is good. And I have to agree – a thoughtful note always rocks. But after that, they might say something like, “wellll, if I had to choose something, gift cards are nice. Oh and lots of cash.” Ok I made that last line up – but I’m very intuitive, and I’m pretty sure that’s what they’re thinking.

These days in our schools, the common thing to do is for the room parents to put out the word that they’re gathering money from everyone, and then they get a VISA gift card that the teachers can then use wherever they’d like. I’m all for this, because a bunch of parents pooling modest donations together makes for a more substantial gift to each teacher. So we go with that plan, and Honey writes her own notes to all her various teachers, and I write a note to her primary teacher.

This year, Hot Wheels is leaving his preschool, which means it’s our last year there as a family as well. It’s a lovely school, and in addition to the donations to his main room teachers, we wanted to give all the teachers a token of appreciation. They all look after him at some point during the day, and we’ve been at the school for years now. I’m writing them notes, but we also baked up some thank yous as well. We had an Anzac thank you, a chocolate chip thank you, and a straight chocolate thank you.


We stacked the cookies into these bright bowls and topped them with cards from Hot Wheels.


Unsurprisingly, the pictures were all of cars. (Peculiar looking, but cars nonetheless.)


These fit my criteria of being mostly consumable with some personal effort thrown in. I’m always open to new ideas, though, so any teachers who want to weigh in – here’s your chance!

Happy summer.

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Happy Fathers

Posted by laura on Jun 22 2009 | Holiday

Hope all you fathers had happy days yesterday! Dad, I hope you had a terrific time with everyone over – wish we could have been there. It sure sounded like a great afternoon.

I think Tom’s day in general could have been better, seeing as he’s still sick, Honey’s still sick, and it was hard to drum up the energy to do much. Although the day had its share of downs, there were some serious ups as well – please see Exhibit A:


Exhibit A

Official World’s Greatest Dad hat, lovingly (if not meticulously) embellished by Hot Wheels. Our local Dad rocked this look with a hot Volcom tshirt and board shorts.

On to Exhibit B:

Exhibit B

Exhibit B

Landscapes. The perfect antidote to the flues (flu blues) is a Father’s Day painting session. In these circumstances, the key to success rests entirely in the canvas size to energy level ratio. These little numbers are just a couple inches wide (they’re drying in a shoe box lid). Aren’t they lovely?

Our last exhibit has to do with dessert.

Exhibit C

Exhibit C

Strawberry shortcake. My she’s looking swell! (Nothing quite like dating yourself with ad references from the seventies.)

All in all, the day wasn’t a total wash – just close to it. We hoped that Hot Wheels would dodge the virus, but he came down with it last night. We could sense it coming on when he turned himself in for a rest early in the day, saying, “I’m just going to sleep until dinnertime.” Then a little later on, he was standing in the kitchen, trying to form a coherent sentence about lunch, when he suddenly became aware that his bare feet were standing in a patch of light on the floor. He curled himself down onto the warm square and said, “This is awfully nice.” Now these might not necessarily be hints of oncoming sickness – as Mum pointed out on the phone, he might have just been a cat in a previous life. So we’ll add that to his chart.

Now I’m off to don my Nurse Nancy cap and a crisp apron. If you need some soup or a smoothie, you know where to find me.

One last thing – to Dad, and Craig, and Tom, and the many fathers who truly give the title its finest definition – thank you. For the countless stories, the patience, the drawings, the care, the inventiveness, the curiosity, the jokes, the strength, the effort. Nice work.

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Too Late

Posted by laura on Jun 19 2009 | Fun

Nearly every day, Hot Wheels runs the numbers.

“How much money do we have? If we sell our house AND our Mazda 5, can we buy a Ferrari?”

He questions. He plots. He ruminates. Nearly every day.

So yesterday we’re strolling the neighborhood together and we pass a red convertible. “That’s a nice Miata,” he says, and he’s thrilled that standing on the curb next to it, he’s almost taller than it is. A man walking down the opposite sidewalk gives me a smile and calls over, “Watch out – pretty soon he’ll be wanting a Ferrari.”

It was just like the moment last week when we were standing in the Apple store and a guy said to me, “Pretty soon he’ll be dragging you in here.”

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Posted by laura on Jun 18 2009 | Not So Fun

On this, the very first official day of summer in our house, both Tom and Honey appear to have come down with the flu. I believe it’s the flu because they’re both complaining about every single square inch of their bodies and they have the same miserable, crawl-under-the-porch look on their faces.

I think it shows spectacularly bad planning on their part.

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My Favorite Day of the Year

Posted by laura on Jun 17 2009 | Awesome, Holiday, School


Goodbye school, helloooooooo summer!

Let the games begin.


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Posted by laura on Jun 15 2009 | Awesome, School




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Party Down

Posted by laura on Jun 10 2009 | Fun


So every June we have a party for Tom’s birthday. He loves his birthday – well, any excuse to have a party, frankly. Plus it’s a perfect chance to have our friends over to catch up with Gini and Craig while they’re visiting. After a cold grey week, we were all pleasantly surprised to see some sunshine on Saturday. Just in time for friends, snacks, and cupcakes. We had a loose ‘racecar’ theme going on around here. I had visions of doing a cool vintage grand prix look, but well, you know how that goes. I was lucky to get the little race flags for the cupcakes. 


Fortunately we have a Hot Wheels living under our roof, and he was super happy to supply us with plenty of wheels for decorating. Many, many thanks go to Gini and Craig for all the deck sweeping and food prep they put in – I swear, throwing a party is ridiculously easy with four extra hands. Particularly when those hands ran a couple of pubs and a restaurant! Check out these gorgeous appetizers that Gini made:


They were so delicious. Teeny bits of sautéed mushroom and tomato and carrot on top of zucchinis… tasty and beautiful to boot! Here’s a shot of the table:


You can see all the cars lined up down the side. Start your engines, people – we’re having a party.

With all that help, I had plenty of time to get dressed and ready – no frantic last minute searching for shoes. (What will my closet think?) It was such a lovely day I wore a sleeveless cotton A-line dress that used to be Mum’s. Thank you, Mum! I’m so grateful for all the shopping I haven’t had to do because of your awesome dresses. Lucky me.

Now Tom’s all excited about his 40th next year. He wants to have TWO bouncy castles.

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Happy Birthday Dear Tom

Posted by laura on Jun 04 2009 | Fun



What a fun day here. Gini and Craig came back from a road trip down to southern California, Tom got some awesome presents, we had dinner at a great Mexican restaurant up in San Anselmo. It was all good. In fact Hot Wheels wrapped it up nicely this morning when he said, “Today is a lucky day for Daddy.                 Except for the working part.”

Happy Birthday Tom!! Here’s to a great year ahead.

Starting the day off right with birthday toast.

Starting the day off right with new books and birthday toast.

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Posted by laura on Jun 01 2009 | Awesome, School

2.5 weeks till summer vacation.

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