Monday, December 8, 2014

The Ketchup Series--The One With The Chicken Cake

In mid-October, we took a family road trip to visit my family in Massachusetts.  We specifically planned this trip to coincide with part of a visit from my California relatives.  We spent a wonderful afternoon with many of the aunts, uncles and cousins on my moms side.  The kids had a blast playing in the leaves with my cousins (many of them are closer in age to my kids than they are to me).  I did not, however, capture any photos that day as I was trying to make the most of my time catching up with loved ones.

The last night of our trip we had a small [early]  3rd birthday party for Lily.  She requested to have a chicken cake that was covered in sprinkles; she was very excited that my mom was able to grant her wish.  She especially enjoyed helping with the sprinkles.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Ketchup Series--Rearranging Furniture

Early in October, one of my sisters in law headed up a major project to rearrange the rooms in Ish's parents' house while they were away (this was done with his parents' blessing, no worries!)  While grown ups moved furniture, cleaned, and transitioned items into their new homes, the many children who were around had a blast! 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Ketchup Series--An Introduction

Why hello there, little neglected space of blogosphere!  I noticed the other day that I hadn't posted since the beginning of October, whoops.  It looks like I have a bit of catching up to do.  When I was younger and people said they needed to "play catch up", I remember hearing  "play ketchup" instead.  Over the next week or so I will be using this space to document several events in posts that are long past due.  I created this space partially to keep in touch with family and friends and partially to keep a sort of online scrapbook for my children.  So as you finish up your leftover turkey and move on to preparing for Christmas, please pardon my Halloween photos and other somewhat unseasonal posts!

Won't you join me for a game of ketchup?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

From the Book Nook: September 2014

Somehow, without even an inkling of a plan to do so,  I spent September feasting on and [mostly] delighting in award winning children's books.  I used to feel a sort of guilt in reading so many children's books, but then realized that a good story, no matter what age it is crafted for, is still a good story and worth reading.

September Reading List

  I spent a few weeks reading Lily's Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff.  Set during World War II, this novel is not about the typical heroine.  Lily is quirky, a self-proclaimed liar, and honestly a little hard to like at first.  As the story progresses, she befriends Albert, a Hungarian refugee, who is staying with a nearby family. It is through her interactions with Albert that I came to enjoy Lily. I would recommend this book to both children and adults.

This book was a surprisingly fast read (1 day!).  The Wanderer is written in diary entries by two of the books characters, Sophie and Cody.  It takes place on a sailing ship adventure from the United States to England.  Although I enjoyed the book, I don't know that I would make a sweeping recommendation for it.  It seems to be a book written for middle school girls that doesn't intend to gain an audience from the grown-up reading sector.

When I saw that Ann M. Martin, of Babysitter's Club fame, had written a Newbery Honor Book, I was honestly a bit shocked.  Like many women my age, I spent a good many childhood hours reading Babysitter's Club books, and although I enjoyed them, they aren't exactly literary masterpieces.  I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this story of young Hattie Owens and the summer that she met her psychologically unstable Uncle Adam. This is a true coming-of-age tale, but I would actually hesitate to call it children's literature. Amazon has it listed for ages 8-12 years, but I would not hand it to even the most mature 8 yearolds due to some of the situations and themes presented in the later part of the book.  I could see recommending it to a twelve year old at the very youngest.

I was honestly disappointed by Kathryn Erskine's Mockingbird.  I had read a glowing review of it in a magazine, and actually purchased it new (a rarity for me).  I felt like this book was trying to do too many things at once.  It was trying to be a book about a school shooting and its aftermath, which it managed to do quite poorly.  It was trying to be a book that gets into the innerworkings of what it is like to be a child with Asperger's  which it does an okay job at, but it doesn't ring completely true to my experiences working with children who have Asperger's.  It also tries to deal with what happens to the family dynamic when a family member dies.  Somehow making Caitlin, the main character, lose her brother after she has already lost her mother to cancer seems like overkill.  It doesn't manage to fully handle being a book about loss either.  I cannot recommend this book.

Currently Reading


Sunday, September 21, 2014



Yesterday morning started off strained complete with one particularly grumpy child.  And, as I often do when we have a special outing planned, I started questioning why I ever thought the outing was a good idea in the first place. As the morning and the grumpiness progressed, I was inching ever closer toward making the decision to cancel our apple-picking trip. I think the only thing preventing me was the knowledge of just how much worse the grumpiness would get if I called it off. 

As we were getting ready Little Ish declared that he needed to wear his pirate costume to go apple picking; the outside temperature and the nature of apple picking made wearing such a costume impractical.  After a bit of convincing, he had resigned himself to just wearing a pirate hat and not the entire costume.  Of course, since Little Ish got to wear a hat, Lily insisted that she too be allowed to wear one.  She unsurprisingly chose the hat I made her last winter.  Several verbal tug-of-wars and 2 hats later, we were finally out the door.

When we arrived at the orchard, I popped Atticus in the Boba and all 5 of us made our way down to the u-pick area.  When we finally got in amongst the trees, Liliana looked up and declared, “Apple picking is so beautiful!” And really, it was.  All the frustration of the morning melted away as Ish and Lily had fun finding apples that were just right for picking.  Unlike last year, we did not have to constantly remind them not to pick up the apples lying under the trees. About halfway through our trip, Lily looked up at me and in her sweet little way asked if next time we could go banana picking.  Atticus enjoyed all the time outside, and was content for most of the trip.

As we journeyed back to the front of the apple orchard, Little Ish reminded me that he wanted to “pretend to be an apple”.  This consisted of taking a couple of pictures with the orchard’s face cut-out sign.  He and Lily thought it was great fun, and it made it so they didn’t have to wait in line while Ish paid for the apples. 

After paying for the apples, we staked out a lovely area with a huge tree to sit under as we enjoyed a midmorning apple snack.  Lily got a huge kick out of getting to eat a fixed apple—that is Lily-speak for an unsliced apple. Atticus spent his time taking bites of apple from anyone who would let him, and eventually commandeering the remains of Lily’s apple for himself.  Little Ish seemed to be basking in the whole experience.  Watching the children enjoy themselves made me really thankful that we had persevered through the morning grumpiness.  Hopefully we will make it back to the orchards one more time before apple picking season is over.