Thursday, December 14, 2017

In Honor of My Mother's 70th Birthday

Happy birthday, SuperNana! I got you something for your birthday. And that something is a photo of all four of my children.

Way more effort than ordering something from Amazon.

If you're wondering why the boys look so goofy it's because, well, they are. Also, they were all gnawing on carrots, which I'm sure you appreciate. 

I have no explanation for the expression on Charlie's face, except possibly smugness that he was the one who got to have the baby on his lap.

We're all wishing you a lovely day, and we wish we could be there to celebrate with you. (Though there will be way more cake to go around without this horde of locusts present, so there is that.)

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

And the Verdict Is . . .

Cubby on his cafeteria lunch: "It was great. I had a little cup with mushed-up strawberries, like applesauce. And apple slices, but not the apple slices with the red sugar on them."

Points for avoiding the red-food-dye sugar apples, Cubby, but those strawberries sound gross.

Charlie on his cafeteria lunch: "I got to have ketchup on my chicken sandwich. And I had chocolate milk."

Obviously, they enjoyed the many ways in which sugar is presented at the cafeteria.

They asked if they could do it again. I told them they could buy a lunch if they had the money, but both of them opted out of "Nachos Supreme*" today, instead declaring they would wait until spaghetti day. So it's back to Mom's tuna salad sandwiches today, with the promise of cafeteria spaghetti on Thursday.


* I don't know what makes them supreme, but I bet the "cheese" is that bright-orange liquid stuff. Mmm.

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Great Cafeteria Lunch Day

Cubby and Charlie have never once eaten lunch at their school cafeteria. Or rather, they eat lunch there every day, but they don't eat the food served there. They always bring their lunches.

The main reason for that is that I cannot justify paying $2.50 for a cafeteria lunch when it takes me ten minutes in the morning to pack their lunches. Not that I always enjoy packing lunches first thing in the morning--I mean really, who does?--but seriously. No way am I forking out five bucks a day so they can eat cafeteria sloppy joes on a regular basis.

Surprisingly, they had never asked before if they even could try the school lunch, so it wasn't an issue. Then, last week, Cubby asked. I started to say no, but I quickly amended that to a yes, if they used their own money.

Lessons in fiscal responsibility, an exciting lunch for them, and a day when I don't have to pack a lunch? Who's the crafty mom now?

There then followed much perusal of the school lunch menu to determine when the best day would be for the purchase. Pizza day? Nacho day? Spaghetti day? They went with today, which is build your own hamburger day, with an alternate option of a chicken patty sandwich.

Cubby is excited about the hamburger. Charlie is excited about the chicken. They always want different things.

I helped them count out the appropriate amount of money this morning. And now I just have to wait until they get home to see if it was everything they'd hoped it would be.

Friday, December 8, 2017

I'm Choosing to Focus on the Positive

It started snowing lightly about an hour ago, and I was looking out at the gently falling snow thinking happy thoughts about Christmas-y weather and cozy houses. Then I came across this photo that A. took last year, in November.

Not happy. And will for sure happen sometime in the coming months.

Thankfully, there are plenty of happy things to focus on inside the house, too.

Like smiling babies. Doesn't get much happier than that.

Happy Friday, my lovelies. I hope you're finding the happy wherever you are.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The North Country Larder

This morning I had to confiscate a rubber bracelet imprinted with "Jesus Loves You," because it was being treated as a giant rubber band projectile by my precious little gifts from God.

Jesus loves you, but not when you try to take out your brother with a Sunday school bracelet.

Anyway. That has nothing to do with the rest of this post, which is all about a beaver. Or rather, about another beaver*.

And here it is, with its eventual consumers.

That photo, by the way, is totally staged. Jack is holding a trap, which he is not normally allowed to handle. Cubby is holding a hatchet, which he is normally allowed to handle but which doesn't play any part in the trapping of the beaver. And Charlie didn't even go to check the trap, instead just running out for the photo op when the real trappers returned with the rodent and then going back into the warm house to continue building with Tinker Toys. He's holding the trap setting tool. What a fraud.

Anyway again.

Now that A. has trapped another beaver, I am required to make beaver tacos again. I can do without them, personally, but the kids love them. Like LOVE LOVE them. They talk all the time about the beaver tacos we had last year, so of course, when they saw this beaver, they were all, "YAY! Beaver tacos!"

A. and I are less enthusiastic. Beaver meat is okay, but it's awfully . . . red. I know that sounds weird, but it's really, really red, in an almost disturbing way. Kind of like liver, and man, I really hate liver.

No matter, though! It's not about me. A. did all the cutting and trimming of the meat for me, so all I have to do is cook it. Which I did by putting the meat in some water to come to a boil, and then forgetting it was on there when I took Jack down for his nap. I came upstairs to a stove covered in boiled-over beaver juice.

It is about as appetizing as it sounds, yes.

I got that cleaned up, though, and now have the meat successfully simmering gently on the stove. I also have a grouse in the refrigerator to cook. A. shot it when he was deer hunting. Grouse I can wholeheartedly recommend. They taste like really good chicken.

Beaver in the pot, grouse in the refrigerator. It's a northwoods kitchen for sure.

* I just realized I never responded to a person in the comments of that post who asked if we have a lot of beavers in our area and what kind of trap A. uses. The answers are: There are a TON of beavers here. A. is trapping them at a neighbor's hunting cabin, where there are so many that the cabin is in danger of being submerged in the ever-expanding beaver pond. And the traps A. uses are instant kill traps set under water, so they're very humane.

Monday, December 4, 2017

The A.M. Shift

It's 5:45 a.m.! Time to hang with the footie-p.j. crew!

When even the baby is yawning, you know it's too early.

Friday, December 1, 2017

I See by Your Outfit that You Are a Cowboy

I knew this day was coming. I've been waiting for a notice that one of the children has to dress up as something at school, something that would require me to make a costume. Something that would bring the day of reckoning to the non-crafty mother (me).

That day was today.

It's Career Day at Cubby and Charlie's school, and Charlie's teachers asked the kids to dress as what they want to be when they grow up. Charlie said he wants to be a cowboy.

Somehow I doubt that's a career often pursued by people in this northern outpost.

It is, however, a relatively easy outfit to come up with. Charlie already has Wrangler jeans and a plaid shirt (no pearl buttons, but good enough). I had a red bandana to tie around his neck. I even had a belt with a real buckle that shows a cowboy on a bucking bronco. The MiL bought it for Cubby when he was two, but Charlie is skinny enough that A. was able to punch another hole in it at the very end to make it fit*.

What I did not have, however, were the most iconic parts of the cowboy outfit: the hat and boots.

I didn't even try with the boots, just sending him in his winter boots and telling myself he's a northern cowboy.

I briefly considered taking advantage of Amazon's two-day shipping and actually buying a hat, but that seemed like a waste of money. So I found a YouTube tutorial on how to make a cowboy hat with paper.

I did actually manage to make a hat, though it doesn't look quite like the one that guy made. Or, um, at all. For one thing, my cutting was a little, ahem, rougher than his, because instead of using an Exacto knife to carefully cut little triangles, I just quickly snipped around to make the little sticky-out things on the crown part that I taped onto the brim part, so you could see where I had cut.

I figured I could just tape on another piece of paper all around the hat to hide it. I gave this piece to Charlie to decorate with crayons. He decided a cowboy would have red lollipops on his hat and proceeded to decorate accordingly.

Sure. It's a Willy Wonka cowboy hat, I guess.

Also, I only had letter-sized paper, which made a hat that was not at all big enough for Charlie's head, so he can't actually really wear it. I told him real cowboys never wear their hats indoors, anyway, so he could just hold it when he was at school.

I also told him that he was getting a cowboy omelet for breakfast, because cowboys love cheese omelets with salsa. He totally bought it. And then, when I offered him an orange, he asked if cowboys eat oranges.

Yes. And I bet they all make their beds and pick up without being asked, and never, ever punch their younger brothers**.

I should milk this one for all it's worth, right?

Anyway. Ridiculously small hat aside, the outfit ended up being pretty good. He was happy with it, in any case.

Cowboy Charlie, ready to ride.

* He stabbed himself in the process and bled a little on the belt, but I told Charlie that would just make it more authentic-looking.

** Ha. I actually knew a few cowboys when I worked at a dude ranch in Colorado during the summer in college, and they are very likely to be messy and prone to fistfights. They did all eat salsa, though.