Thursday, March 23, 2017

Conor's Music Class Pictionary Recap

Last night as we drove home from his music class, I asked Conor what they did during the lessons. He said that he did a lot of singing (which is impressive considering he has a cold!) and they played a few games, including music pictionary and rock band karaoke.

I asked what things they drew during music pictionary and he said, "rock bands and instruments."

I then asked which bands they drew, to which he replied, "Oh, ones like Squished Pumpkins."

(Insert mental image of me gripping the steering wheel to within an inch of its life here.)

My apologies to all members of the band Smashing Pumpkins for him not knowing your actual name. He's 6, so what do you expect?  :)

Sugar Bowls Experiment

One day last week, Eric headed out to trivia night with his buddy, so the kids and I had an evening to fill. As if by divine intervention, earlier in the day, my co-worker sent me a link to a tutorial that shows how to make bowls out of melted sugar. I told the kids that after they were done with their homework, we could do a fun project but it was a surprise until then. (They are so easy to manipulate!!)

They diligently worked on their homework and as soon as they were done, we got to work making our very own edible bowls. We melted the ingredients (sugar, Karo syrup, and water) and cooked them until they hit the right temperature. It was a nice opportunity to teach the kids about reading a non-digital thermometer ... learning never ends! Once the mixture was hot enough, we turned off the flame and added our colors -- Annika chose red and Conor chose blue, so we got a nice purple-ish stained glass effect. I carefully poured the mixture over the water-filled balloons and we set a 30-minute timer to let them cool. I quickly realized that I should have made 1.5x or 2x batch to cover all three of our balloons, so I whipped up another partial batch to ensure the bowls would have tall enough sides. Looking back, I probably should have just used smaller balloons because our bowls were huge!! (Note to self: make smaller balloons next time and prop them up on cross-sections of an empty paper towel tube instead of the ramekins.)

Eventually, the bowls were cool enough that I felt confident we could separate them from the balloons. While I held a bowl, the kids helped snip a small hole in the neck of the balloon so we could let out the water without getting the bowl wet. (Easier said than done!!) Fortunately, the balloons released without difficulty (only some random spray) and I was able to put some ice cream in the kids' bowls. They were in heaven... ice cream AND a bowl made out of sugar that they could nibble on. Kitchen fun win for all!

Our cooling sugar bowls

Pretty colors

"Mom, stop making us smile so we can eat these, please!!"

Conor's sugar bowl creation

Annika's sugar bowl masterpiece

My sugar bowl ... too sweet to eat, but fun to make!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A girl and her dog. A dog and his girl.

Last night, Annika and Buca shared some sweet moments of affection that were nothing but pure love. There's just something so special about this connection. (Yes, it helps that we have an amazingly wonderful dog!)

As is proven by his grunts of happiness, Buca is a big fan of Annika's ear rubs. :)


Friday, February 10, 2017

CKS Talent Show 2016

Last week, the kids' school held its annual talent show as part of Catholic Schools Week. It was no surprise that Annika was itching to participate, but was a little stumped on what to do for her talent. Conor tends to be a bit shier than Annika, so I have to admit that I was a little surprised when he said that he also wanted to perform in the talent show.

After a little head scratching, I was struck with the idea that Annika could sing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" while also performing the song in American Sign Language. The song was short enough that I knew she'd be able to learn the signs quickly and master the whole thing prior to the show.

I found two cute jokes for Conor to tell, thinking that, too, would be easy for him to master in the allotted timeframe. Thanks to the Internet, I was able to unearth two very cute, age-appropriate jokes for him: "What is a pirate's favorite state? Arrrrrrkansas!" and "What do you do if you find a green dragon? What for it to get ripe." (insert laugh track here.)

One requirement to participate in the talent show (which is organized by Conor's marvelous teacher, by the way) is each child has to perform his/her act a week or two ahead of time to make sure it is an approved act. When Eric picked up the kids the day of "auditions" (no child is turned away), Eric was told that Conor decided to forego his jokes for whistling. He's very proud of his ability and at the last minute, tossed plan A (the jokes) out of the window and went with plan B (riffing some whistling).

Snow Days for the Olsons

On Sunday as I sat on the bleachers at the local pool and watched the kids in their diving class, I heard a mom down the bench say it was snowing outside. Wha??? Apparently, I had been out of the weather loop because I had no clue that snow was even a possibility.

As it turned out, it was a major possibility that wound up giving the kids two days off from school this week. The extra days off from school were filled with snowman making, snowball fights, snow angels, and some much-needed relaxation for the kids. They kicked back and enjoyed a slower pace for a bit, which was appreciated considering the break neck speed life has been traveling for the past few weeks.

Eric and Conor watching the snow fall

Winter gear, schminter gear.... who needs boots and a coat when you have a hat and PJs??

Pretty backyard trees

Showing off our snow accumulation

Happy snow boy

Annika putting a bit of a scientific spin on the snowfall

The scientist and her assistant

Snowballs are about to fly

Snow angel

Even Buca got in on the snow fun

Snowball fight

Our pretty front yard tree covered in snow

Hey Buca, you have a little something on your nose

Thursday, February 2, 2017

School Talent Show 2017

Each year, the kids' school has a talent show during Catholic Schools Week. Each year, our kids feel compelled to get up in front of the whole school and demonstrate a talent they possess. Eric and I are incredibly proud of them for showing so much bravery and self confidence to do this.

For this year's talent show, Conor recited the poem "Snowball" by Shel Silverstein. Annika did an Irish dance routine with her friend Madeleine. The kids did a fabulous job and had a lot of fun!!

Last night, Conor mentioned that he did feel nervous standing up in front of everyone, so opted to look at his paper to quell the nerves. Leading up to the event, Eric coached him on how to speak slowly and clearly. Conor obviously listened and took the lessons to heart.

Annika and Madeleine took the lessons from their Irish dance class as their performance inspiration. They picked music that was the right tempo, wore matching Irish knot shirts, and got their feet moving in sync. They practiced during their school recesses to iron out their routine and their dedication really paid off.

Way to go, kiddos!!!!



Friday, January 20, 2017

Annika's 2017 Girl Scout Cookies Sales Pitch Video

It's that time, once again, for Annika's Girl Scout cookies sales pitch. Yes, we feel like it was JUST cookie season, too. Time really does fly by!

In an effort to help some people stick to their New Year's resolutions to either lose weight, get healthy, eat better, or any combination of these ideas, Annika is asking people to Pay It Forward.


By buying boxes of cookies for Operation Cookie Drop, which provides boxes of Girl Scout cookies to our military personnel serving overseas. She is hoping to raise 100 (or more) boxes of cookies for Operation Cookie Drop.

See her video below for her sales pitch. Enjoy! :)