Happy Thanksgiving

November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Eat and be thankful!

I’ll leave you with this kindergarten oddity. It was in Henry’s backpack. His only explanation was to state the obvious: “It’s a turkey, and it says, ‘I survived!'” Was it part of some game? Or just one more activity that is leading to Henry’s eventual vegetarianism?

Have a good holiday. I’m taking a few days off from posting, and will be back on Monday. And for heaven’s sakes, don’t go shopping. Or if you do, buy local.

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CATEGORIES: Henry

Henry's world view

November 26, 2008

Such a classic five-year-old view:

Henry’s the one on the left, the one who is so huge that he is busting out of the box. Dave, who is 6’3″, is on the right. I’m the with long hair and the big nose in the middle. Eli is the short one next to giant Henry (in real life, they’re almost the same height). Zuzu is not flying in a spaceship; that’s her in her carseat.

Doesn’t every five-year-old think they’re the biggest ones in the family…in the world?.

I just wish he drew my nose smaller. (The hair is surprisingly accurate.)

And, just in case you were worried, we all actually have normal hands.

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CATEGORIES: Henry

Just doing the normal boring quintessential crafts here at World of Julie

November 25, 2008

Sometimes I get fixated on some kid craft that I feel like we have to do, or we’re not properly celebrating the season or whatever. Last year it was a gingerbread house (stay tuned next month, I’m sure another one is in the works, against my better judgment), this year it was peanut butter birdseed pinecones. I bought the cheap peanut butter and birdseed weeks ago, and the pinecones have been collecting on our picnic table, blowing around in the wind, and carefully being regathered on the picnic table by me. No one cared. Henry sort of seemed into it, but it wasn’t what he wanted to do when he got home. (more…)

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CATEGORIES: crafts, Eli, Henry, Parenting

Children's Book of the Week: Turk and Runt

November 24, 2008

Turk and Runt: A Thanksgiving Comedy by Lisa Wheeler, Illustrated by Frank Ansley

This is a very silly book, from the same geniuses who brought us Wool Gathering, our most favorite book of sheep poems ever. Some turkeys on a turkey farm completely misunderstand why all those people are coming to buy them every year, except of course for the geeky scrawny younger brother (Runt, of course) who understands it all and saves the family. And then a little old lady wants to eat Runt, and the family saves him. Like I said, it’s very silly, and very fun, and I love the idea that a turkey (Turk) can’t decide whether he wants to be a dancer or a football player. Of course this is yet another book that just marks the inevitable march toward the day when Henry announces he’s a vegetarian.

Let’s see how many times I can fit the phrase “of course” into the same book review.

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Story Room

November 23, 2008

Well, maybe all those letters on the wall are influencing the kids after all. This week Henry suddenly declared that the living room was a Story Room. He set to work outlining and cutting out 18-inch-high letters, and then instructed me on how to tape them to the wall to make words. Now, being only 5, there are a limited number of words he knows.

Here we have "THe" and "WE."

BIG, AND, Jam.

Oh, yes, and of course: diD.

Oh, yes, and of course: "diD."

He does know some other words, like Henry, Eli, and love (from all those birthday cards where he has to write “Love, Henry” on the bottom), but an artist can only crank out so many giant letters before he starts to lose his steam. Or before he discovers a laundry basket of clean clothes and decides to get dressed.

A portrait of the artist as a young man.

A portrait of the artist as a young man.

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CATEGORIES: Henry

Cranberry Muffins

November 22, 2008

While we do all start to freak out in Maine as autumn dwindles, since we’re all smelling snow in the air and our snowblowers are taunting us from their shed homes, the season does have advantages for baking. Because who would make pumpkin pie in July? It wouldn’t be right at all. Likewise, cranberries.

Eli and I made the cranberry muffins from The Ultimate Muffin Book (the only cookbook I use for muffins, and highly recommended). It’s a great recipe, with cornmeal, sour cream, orange zest, and orange marmalade (lesson of the day: it’s not easy to zest a clementine). The only bummer is that the batter is pink but the muffins are brown.

Eli stirs the batter.

Eli stirs the batter.

You can't see the cranberries because they're all chopped up, which means you get cranberry in every bite.

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CATEGORIES: Food
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Just what you wanted: homework!

November 21, 2008
The gingerbread man ran away and started a large family.

The gingerbread man ran away and started a large family.

Attention, World of Julie Readers! (All 12 of you!) A call to action! A ridiculous, random, call to action!

Henry’s class is studying geography in December. Being December, the geography unit also has a gingerbread theme. I guess the class is going to make a gingerbread man, and then bring him to the school kitchen to be baked. The baker is going to come back and say that, during baking, the gingerbread man ran away. Once the kids get over the incredible terror that comes from baked goods you made yourself springing to life and running off, they are going to learn about geography and mapping as the gingerbread man is spotted traveling around the country.

That’s where you come in. Henry’s teacher wants our friends and family (presumably those who don’t live in South Portland, to make it a little more exciting) to send postcards saying you have spotted the runaway cookie. They’re going to keep track of his adventure on a map.  You’re also supposed to mention that you saw the gingerbread man doing something that he might actually be doing in your area, like, I don’t know, climbing Mount Hood or something. Sweating in Tallahassee (Paticus, I’m sure there’s something else people do in Tallahassee…isn’t there?). You should also, of course, mention that you know Henry, so that Henry continues to rock kindergarten. So your postcard might say something like,

“Dear Kindergartners, Hey! I saw your runaway gingerbread man shopping on Rodeo Drive. Whose convertible was he driving? Sincerely, Henry’s pal, Edwina Sugarcracker.”

Though you’re supposed to sign your own name. Not that I’m telling you you have to. I am proud that all 12 of my readers are probably the funniest and most creative people in the country, so I know you can write something interesting. (The actual example the teacher gave was, “I saw your gingerbread man here in Dallas, TX! He was wearing a cowboy hat!” which isn’t so horrible, but it lacks that certain sardonic edge that I think most elementary school correspondence should have.)

I don’t want to sound like I’m mocking this assignment, because this is exactly the sort of assignment I would come up with if I were a kindergarten teacher teaching geography in December.

Ok, now the paranoid question is: can I actually put the address of Henry’s school on the internet? Will some crazy stalker person figure out who we are from this information and track me down? Am I being ridiculous? Email me at julie AT worldofjulie DOT com for the address. Or comment below if you think it’s fine to post the address. And, on the off chance that someone I don’t actually know wants to send a postcard, please do! Step right up! Especially if you live somewhere where I don’t know anyone else! (Because again, this is all about Henry rocking kindergarten, isn’t it?)

CATEGORIES: Henry
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Get those forks ready!

November 20, 2008
photo by Vickis Nature

photo by Vicki's Nature

When Dave and I lived in Maryland, we used to have a Stretch Your Stomach party on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the idea being to prep your belly for the upcoming Thursday gorge-fest, and also to have a relaxed gathering free of any familial angst or baggage. This year, we suddenly realized that our neighborhood is now fully populated with like-minded folks and small children*, and so we are reinstating the first Stretch Your Stomach party in many years. Because I’m all about the party where you only have to walk 300 feet to get there (or to get home) (though I’ll already be home, so that’s even better).

I’m only telling you this now so that you, too, can have a few days to plan your own SYS party for this weekend. Make it a potluck, let the kids run free, and eat eat eat!

*This sort of makes it sound like the small children are separately living on their own. They are, in fact, the children of the like-minded folks.

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CATEGORIES: Food
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Awesome Goodwill Score

November 19, 2008

I managed to score an Anna Sui for Anthropologie dress, in my size, at our local Goodwill. For $7!! Judging by the closest style currently at Anthropologie, this dress cost somewhere around $250 new. Of course, I won’t actually be able to wear it for about three years, until I finish nursing. If I wore it right now I’d have to completely undress in order to feed Zuzu.

Do you like how I got all Anthropologie here, with the purple embroidered cardigan (also a Goodwill score from last year), and pretending to drink coffee from a bowl? I don’t have any of those funky ankle-strap heels the Anthropologie models are usually sporting, so I Sundanced it up a bit with my boots (alas, not at all a Goodwill score).

And do you think I should maybe be spending a little less time poring over catalogs?

CATEGORIES: Julie

Initial here, and here, and here

November 18, 2008

I’ve never been much for monogrammed things (too Alex P. Keaton). But then I had kids, and somehow became completely obsessed with putting giant initials on the walls. Just search on eBay for “sign letter” or “vintage sign letter” and you can find all sorts of nifty old letters from movie marquees and Midwestern gas stations, most for under $10.

Here’s Henry’s H:

And Eli’s E:

I like that the H and the E are both white-enameled metal, but different fonts. (Sort of like how the boys are both From Us, but are their own fonts, if you will.)

With Zuzu, I went a bit nuts. We’d finally gotten our Z name (fairly glad, in retrospect, we didn’t name Eli Zebediah). So Zuzu gets a silvery Z that stands on its own:

And a cool vintage postcard, which I put in a floating frame, so you can turn it over to see the message written in 1907:

She also has her whole name spelled out in wooden letters, courtesy of our friend Martha:

I don’t know if the kids particularly care. Will it be the sort of thing where, later, they’ll be really psyched to have their childhood room decoration, or will they view it as babyish and like a vestige of Mom, and therefore something they want to avoid? Time will tell. I think they’re really cool, at any rate.

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CATEGORIES: housekeeping
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