Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Unintended Consequences of a Classical Education

As you may recall, Q-ster has been crazy for Greek mythology these last months, and the Olympics have been particularly exciting for him, with all the mentions of the Games originating in Athens, seeing Olympians, and hearing about Greece itself.

Sunday morning, he burst into our room, declaring, “Bow down before me for I am like Zeus!”


“I have Olympic underwear!” he explained, tugging on the waistband of his shorts to show us his Fruit of the Looms. He’d noticed the TV commercials flaunting Fruit of the Loom as an Olympic sponsor.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Mystery Loaf

At first glance, I thought she was cutting up half a round of bread, but no, it's something else.

Any guesses?
It's a giant jicama!  Tasty and sweet.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Really, Really?

I thought that the hamburger cake was amusing, if not particularly appetizing, but then I saw the "watermelon with ants" cake below.  Someone at this grocery store needs to be less creative in the desserts department.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Olympics Begin

I think my favorite part of the London Olympics Opening Ceremony tonight was James Bond (Daniel Craig) meeting up with Queen Elizabeth to "parachute" into the stadium.  Cool.


TV announcer: Her best event is the 100 meter butterfly.

Buster: That's a REALLY big butterfly!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Read Carefully When Unpacking

 I was reading through Magellan's travel gear catalog, because I love seeing the clever supplies and imagining new trips, when I came across the item below - Toothpaste Tablets.

The "chewable toothpaste tablets aren't liquid or paste, so they can be carried on airplanes.  Compact and convenient, simply chew a tablet, brush and rinse."

Sounds great.  Except if you buy the other item on the page, which is the InstaCloth.

These tablets "unfold into full sized disposable washcloths when immersed in water."

Don't chew the wrong tablet.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Traveling Crew

The boys have become quite competent little travelers.  We had to leave the house at 3am on the outbound journey, so in the photo above, Buster is pretending to sleep at the gate, while Q-ster is reading away, as usual.  They can pull a rolling bag, wait with the baggage, and use the toilet.  Buster still uses a full car seat at home, but he's eligible to use just a booster now, so that's what we did on the trip.  No more hauling-of-the-car-seat, Hooray!

Monday, July 23, 2012


It was kind of an awful day at work, so here's something funny instead.

I'm a reader of Unclutterer, where they post a feature every week called "Uni-tasker Wednesdays."  The highlighted product is always something incredibly goofily specific, like plates that are shaped to only hold triangular pizza slices, or a lock that seals only Ben and Jerry's ice cream.

I think I have a good one for them here.  It's a banana slicer.  The packaging reads, "You can slice a banana very easily.  Great for snacks."

There are also specific instructions to not use it for anything else but slicing bananas, as "it may cause damage and injury."  I think I'll use a knife, thanks.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Home Again, Home Again

We had a lovely week with family in the Midwest, and now we're home.  They were beautifully behaved on the plane rides, with help from lots of snacks and iPads help. Somehow, I ended up doing a load of laundry every day of the trip.  #travelingwithkids 

SwingDaddy and I just finished up watching the Tour de France.  Every year, I'm so amazed at the talents, endurance, tactics, and sheer hard work of the riders.  Jens Voigt is a perennial favorite.  In an interview after his team had pulled in front (therefore taking the brunt of the wind) for a long day, he explained that riding in front is only hard on the body.  Riding further back in the pack is harder on the nerves, because you don't know what is in front of you - the road conditions and potential crashes.

Switching topics: Another year, another crazy shooter.  I'm saddened to hear of the killings in the Aurora movie theater, so close to the anniversary of another terrible shooting.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

One Ring to Rule Them All

I found this note on our dresser from the little dude.  I like that it has an arrow pointing to an invisibility ring, but that you can't actually see anything.

Apparently I missed the earlier arrangement, which actually included the Lego ring.  SwingDaddy had already taken it and put it back on the Frodo character's hand.

It was sort of cooler with just the note.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Chocolate, the Complicated Type

This was originally a very simple post.  I see some cute chocolate for the boys while walking through the Frankfurt airport, bring it home, and they eat it.  

However, I wanted to link to the chocolate type to explain it, and that led to more research than expected.

We've been fans of "Kinder Surprise" ever since a friend of German descent set them out as table amusements/favors at her wedding, years ago.  The twenty people at our long table unwrapped the foil on the egg shaped items and found chocolate eggs.  When you bite into the eggs, you discover that they're hollow, and there is a toy within a capsule inside, ready to be put together.  Some of them were quite sophisticated - one fellow assembled a miniature carousel, which included three horses that went up and down while they turned around the axle.

You can't buy them in the US, and I always assumed that was because the toy parts were too small or something, but it turns out (according to Wikipedia) that the FDA has a rule against confectionery items that have non-edible parts embedded in them, and the capsule inside the hollow egg counts as embedded.  Also, even though the brand is "Kinder" (German for child) and I see them all the time in Germany and they have  a big presence in Germany, the company that makes them is Italian.  According to the Wikipedia article on Kinder Surprise, of course.

Anyway, I saw some egg shaped "Kinder Joy" sweets in the Frankfurt airport and brought them home for the boys.


We were quite curious what was inside, since they were not exactly the same as Kinder Surprise.  We opened them up.

One compartment is the candy and the other is the mystery toy.  The white shape on top of the question mark packaging is the spoon to use while scooping up the chocolate on the other side.  It turns out that the Kinder Joy is what they sell in the summer, since the hollow eggs would melt in the warm weather.

The toy was a sort of throwing piece with flags, a much simpler toy than the original Kinder Surprise, but perhaps those have changed in the last years also, due to budget cuts.

The chocolate was just as good.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dance Master Plus Car Tech Extreme

A few weeks ago, we headed down to Santa Barbara for an event honoring our dance mentor, who is legendary as an teacher and historian in the world of vintage dance.  SwingDaddy and I met in his performance troupe, and he even got deputized by the state of California so he could serve as the officiant in our wedding ceremony.

I was a speaker at the tribute (which is a nice enough name for the event, but it doesn't seem that either of the two lovely organizers is a fan of The Hunger Games, because that's all I can think of when someone says "tribute"), and we both performed a few dances at the conclusion of the program.  The other guest speaker concluded her section by saying thanks for the two new careers she'd acquired because of the guest of honor, so I wrapped up in the same way, thanking him for a husband and two children.

SwingDaddy did all the driving on the way down, since I was fresh off the plane from Europe, but I was recovered enough to drive a long leg on the way back the next day.  He ensconced himself in the back seat between the boys.

Here are my three boys: Buster and SwingDaddy playing an XBox game while Q-ster simultaneously watched a movie on the widescreen display in the car.  And just to prove a point on the features, they set up my iPod to play up front, so that I didn't need to listen to the beeps of the video game.

I like our "general conversation, no media" car trips just fine, but it's nice to have some amusements to break up a long drive now and again.

Monday, July 16, 2012

What United Really, Really Wants

Apparently, United Airlines really, really, really wants me to get their credit card. 

After I got five mailers from them, I started throwing the envelopes in a pile, and this is the result, a couple of months later.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Moment of Quiet

Total angels, for about 15 seconds.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Latest in Lego

 Q-ster has been expressing interest in The Lord of the Rings, since Lego has started releasing sets (starting with the cool Frodo and Gandalf horsecart that my sister gave SwingDaddy for his birthday.) We've read The Hobbit out loud to him, and he's familiar with some of the LoTR characters. 

The creation above is his rendition of Weathertop, with a bit of guidance from SwingDaddy.  They noted that building a ruin is kind of nice, because there's no expectation of symmetry.  Note the spiderweb, indicating decay and disuse!

Aragorn is perched on top, carrying bow and sword.

This next one is Buster's line of "potions" that he created for the videogame Skyrim.  I'm not keeping up with that story (he plays it with SwingDaddy, or at least he watches), so I just admired accordingly as he explained the purposes of the different tiny jars.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wishful Reader

Because his older brother is crazed with Percy Jackson and his dad and I are reading our way through the books, Buster has taken to carrying around Book1 of the series, saying that he's "reading" it and therefore part of the fun as well.  Yesterday, I noticed that one of the Harry Potter books was missing from the bookshelf and I found it in his room.  He's "reading" it too.

In related news, I've started drilling letter sounds with the micro dude, because he clearly NEEDS to read soon, so we might as well get prepped.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Making plans for NYC and BlogHer.  It was fun to attend the CheeseburgHer party last year with Mayberry and friends.  The standard thing is to wear a McDonald's bag on one's head, but I decided to make a pillbox hat instead!

Monday, July 09, 2012

Four Footed Friends

Children's souvenirs from Scandinavia fall in two categories: trolls and moose.  I'm not fond of trolls, so moose it is.

These fuzzy guys are pens, but you can find just about anything decorated with moose.

I did a little reading to sort out the various four footed species: Moose are the same species known as elk in Europe.  But elk in North America are a different type of animal.  Thanks for the help, Wikipedia. 

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Ice Cream on a Hot Summer Day

When I'm overwhelmed with all the topics I want to write about, I revert back to my usual pattern of sharing the smallest things. 

We had a good, relaxing weekend with ice cream and other treats.  Notice that the boys all got bigger servings than I did - they're already out-eating me!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Traffic Directives, Sort Of

An interesting traffic sign: "Right turn for buses/trucks not advised."

It's not forbidden, just not advised.  Because you'll really, really regret it.  And we told you so.

In other randomness: I've never seen a pink Domo Kun before, but I guess there's always a first time.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy Fourth

Preschool celebrates the wed, white and bwoo!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Unspeakably Cute

Darling Barbapapa and Barbabeau. (Note that the pink one is the papa!)

Giant plush jam buns! The caption on the website says, "I'm getting bigger and cuter."  Totally true, for fans of anthropomorphic food.

And for something really out there, check out the Strap-ya Survivor Series, where the titans of Japanese adorableness go head-to-head in popularity. Hello Kitty has won the past series, with Totoro and the JujuChan jam bun coming in as finalists.

I think that all that you can really say is that there is always someone weirder than you.

Sunday, July 01, 2012


After two weeks on the road, I'm home again with SwingDaddy and our little board-breaking boys.