It’s A Party

I celebrated my birthday like any self – respecting 31 year old should, with a party! …with 16 preschool kids.  Holla!  Ok, well maybe it wasn’t the party of the century but it really was cute.  When I walked in, all the kids were sitting down in a circle and at once they all yelled HAPPY BIRTHDAY MISS NATALIE!!!  Then they all jumped up and ran over to give me hugs.  Very sweet but little over powering.  I had to grab the wall so I wouldn’t fall over on top of them.  There was birthday banner strung up and this is what the white board looked like:

Apparently ‘E’ is a favored letter with someone.  Later in the morning they sat down again and handed me cards they had brought or made.  Here were some of my favorites:

I was told the drawing in the top left card is a picture of me, the red lined drawing in the card underneath is a picture of a house (floor plans maybe?).  In case I am ever curious about who sent me the card on the top right Anna made sure to write her name in it over and over, only she spelled it Anno and Aiden just might be the next Picasso with another self portrait of yours truly in the bottom right card.

When Anna handed me her card she was positively beaming.  Not only was I presented with a card but with this:

I know what you’re thinking because I thought the same thing.  EEK! Creepy!!  But according to her mom, Anna felt I just HAD to have one of her dolls and wouldn’t be consoled until she was granted permission to bring it for me.  The sentiment is very sweet.  The doll however, well, is not.

For morning snack my mom had brought over cupcakes with plastic rings sitting on top.

Unfortunately I didn’t think to take a picture until most of them were gone.  I don’t know what kind of dye was used in that frosting but it stained fingers and faces.  Hands down the messiest cupcakes eaten at the preschool to date.  But they were so much fun!

Here we have Jeremiah who was so kind as to draw my picture in his card, Anna the doll giver, and Haley.

The little boy in the red shirt on the right is the one who designed my future house in his card.  I know neither one of these pics makes it look all that messy but trust me.  These were taken within seconds of them receiving their cupcakes and the rest of the time I was on frosting control.

As soon as the cupcakes were finished and kids were cleaned we pulled out the playdoh.  Another totally messy activity that’s a pain to clean but fun never the less.  And as soon as I had scraped off the last piece of playdoh from the kitchen floor it was time for lunch.  What could we possibly eat that would top the mess of cupcakes and playdoh?  Oh yeah, spaghetti.  On the positive side, no one had dyed purple and blue fingers and faces anymore.  Instead they were all orange.  It looked like we were holding oompa loompa try outs in that kitchen.

This was hands down the best work birthday party I’ve ever had.  I really wish this last picture wouldn’t have turned out so blury.  But I didn’t have my camera and this was the best I could get.  Here are my kiddos:

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Let Them Eat Cake!

Once upon a time I took a cake decorating class with some co-workers.  I went purely for the social aspect of it and had absolutely zero interest in actually learning how to decorate cakes, much to the shagrin of the instructor.  She would get on to me for holding the frosting bag incorrectly and using the wrong techniques.  So I would struggle awkwardly while she stood peering over my shoulder and as soon as her back was turned, I would continue in my heathen decorating ways.

The girls I teach at church wanted to learn to decorate cakes for an activity so last night we gave them some cakes and a vat of frosting and let them have at it.

I don’t know my genealogy that far back, but after last night I have a hunch there’s some daVinci blood in me somewhere.

Mona Lisa, Shmona Lisa.

My instructor was a fool not to recognize my talents.  A fool I tell ya!

Hold the Onions and Hair Please

Tonight my mom and I swung by Sonic and I ordered a Jr. Delux Burger and some tater tots.  When I got home, I discovered two things about my burger:  1.  The meat was missing and 2. There was a hair where my meat should have been.

I was a little annoyed but didn’t want to drive back to correct a $1 burger.  But then my stomach growled and I really did want that burger, so back to Sonic I went.

On the drive over I was thinking about the situation and what I was going to have to tell them and started to laugh.  Sure it’s gross but to not get any meat on a burger?  Seriously, who gets orders like that?  Oh right, I do.

I pulled in and pressed their little red button and the following conversation happened:

(perky high school girl voice) Welcome to Sonic.  May I take your order?

(my dry sarcastic boss from Office Space voice)  Yeah, I was just here and ordered a Jr. Delux Burger.  It was missing the meat but it did come with a hair.  So… I’d like a new burger.  One with meat but minus the hair.  That would be great.  Thanks.

I would almost pay money to have been inside to hear me say that over the intercom.  Imagining the looks on their faces will have to do I guess.

Field Trip

I thought my school field trip days were long over.  But just this week it was…drumroll please… ZOO DAY!!  I can’t believe how excited I was for this trip but everyday I looked at the calendar and did a countdown.  The morning of, my alarm went off and I layed there and thought about how much I hate alarms and getting up in the morning – which is what I do every morning – and then I remembered, “It’s ZOO DAY” and jumped right out of bed.

Remember on field trips days you could almost smell the excitement in the air when you walked into your classroom?  That’s how it was at the preschool when I got there.  The kids were hyper and kept informing me that they were going to the zoo to see the animals.  According to them, the zoo had every animal from elephants and tigers to cows and penguins.  Newsflash kiddos, the Little Rock zoo isn’t fancy enough for penguins and if you want to see cows you could probably just walk next door.  But their excitement for even just the possibility of some magical wonderment at the zoo was fun to see.

And who could forget the best part of field trips, the sack lunches!  I got sack lunches every day when I was in school but they were extra special on field trip days.  Lunchables, pudding snacks, fruit rollups, juice boxes, and the most important part was the handwritten note from mom.  This has carried over because along with informing me they were going to the zoo, the kids kept pulling out their lunches to show me what was inside.  I however, did not have any “fun” foods or a note from my mom inside mine.  Just two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I slapped together before I walked out the door.  I seriously considered swipping some of the goods from their sacks but in the end I refrained.

Luckily there were almost as many adults that came along as there were kids.  Unfortunately summer is more than in full swing here and it was in the upper 90s with the humidity almost as high.  Surprisingly not one kid needed to go to the bathroom the entire day and as a matter of fact, only one little girl whined and complained.  But they got to ride on the train and the carousel which were some of the highlights.  And for some reason a lot of the kids said their favorite animal was the alligator.  I don’t get why.  All you could see were his eyes as he just laid there in the water.  Snoozer.  The bear at least turned around and looked at the kids when they growled at him.

I got some really good pics of the kids but not so sure their parents would like me posting them on here so you’ll just have to take my word for it.  At the end of the day I was tired, hot, and ready for a nap.  But it was so much fun I hope we go on another one soon – though maybe one with AC next time.

I’m Not a Productive Person but I Play One on TV

For the past two weeks I’ve had Back to the Future Syndrome.  Usually this is when you move back home after a year or more and it feels as though you never left but you can’t remember being there.  And things have changed while you were gone but since it feels like you never left, you aren’t sure when all the changes could have happened.  And there you have the final scene when Michael J. Fox wakes up after only a night and yet a week had passed and nothing was as it was before: Back to the Future Syndrome.

Well I haven’t gone anywhere but the days have gone by so fast, I can’t really remember them.  And yet I was here.  Maybe it’s a Back to the Future in reverse.  Or sideways.  Maybe I’m actually in an episode of Lost.

What I can sort of remember is that my brother was in town for a week during semesters at school.  Has he really been gone four months already??  I’m still around kids ALL THE TIME which has really just blurred into a collage of sand, snot, building blocks, and funny conversations.  Earth Day was yesterday and I helped the kids create the Earth in art form using blue/green paint, a magnet, a coffee filter, and a save the Earth sticker.  It was as though I had transformed into a craft version of Macgyver.

I’ve been tanning so I no longer have to write CLEAR on forms that ask what race I am.  And I got my hair highlighted this past week and absolutely love it.  I don’t know why I don’t get my hair done more often.  I come out of there feeling like the greatest thing since sliced bread.  I’ve been feeling so good the past few days I’ve been bust’n a move to old school Madonna in my car.  You’re welcome people I pass on the road.  Road workers outside my neighborhood, I’m talking specifically to you.

I spent a few hours this week laying sod (thank you tetris for giving me mad skills that finally came in handy – I knew you weren’t a waste of time) and tomorrow I’m going to donate blood so my “humanitarian” efforts for the week can be checked.  I also made 5 dozen cookies and have dough to make another two – just thought I would randomly throw that in there.  This time next week I’m going to be back in Illinois visiting my sister and her family with my mom.  Next weekend is also Toad Suck Daze here and for those (all of you) who don’t know what that is don’t worry, I’ll explain in my next post.  But speaking of traveling, my family has been trying to get a mega trip together this summer.  I don’t know all the details yet but I can tell you it looks like I’ll be going from Arkansas to Utah to Idaho to Utah to Idaho to Utah to California possibly back to Utah or if not back to Arkansas.  All in two weeks.  And I’m trying to squeeze a side trip of my own in there to Spokane for a few days.  If you feel like contributing to that fund by all means, go with those feelings and help a fellow blogger out.  No?  Well, you can’t fault me for asking.

Oh and did I mention I’m sort of thinking about going back to school?  Oh how I love that I can make my life seem more busy and productive than it really is.

A Community Within A Community

One morning we took a little drive out to a local Amish community because I guess they usually have really good deals in their grocery stores.  Actually I’ve never visited an Amish community and that’s the real reason we headed out there.  The deals at the stores were just a cover up.  Though I’m not sure who I was trying to use the cover up on.  Myself I guess.  Anyway, I wanted to take pictures because I knew there would be some cool images I’d want to remember but when I got there I just felt like some big creep invading their privacy.  So most of these pictures (the ones of actual people) are courtesy of my sister who was better at getting the pictures without drawing attention.

First of all, it was really cold.  And windy.  Windy and cold, and I understand they don’t use modern technology like electricity but there’s no way I’d want to put these on when they finished drying.  Partly because I don’t think they could get fully dry in this kind of weather, especially the blue jeans.  I’d definitely want to put them next to a fire first.  But I’m a pansy like that.

We  get to the store and see this:

And when you look closer, just a little further down you see this:

Not something you see everyday.  Can you imagine the poor kid that works at the store thinking his job would just be to bag groceries and help carry them out for little old ladies.  Then he finds out he also has to be the horse pooper scooper?  Tough break kid.

Inside the store we found some niffty little gems:

You may not be able to see the writing very well but we have green bean crisps, squash chips, purple sweet potato chips, and okra chips.  Hmm, sounds yummy.  I’m not understanding why the green bean bag costs $7.31.  I thought green beans were pretty common everywhere and would be the cheapest out of the four.  Guess not.  Well, I guess I now know I’d lose if I ever was a contestant on the Amish version of the Price is Right.  My little mountain climber wouldn’t have a prayer.

If dried vegetables aren’t your thing, check out their gummy selection.  Missed breakfast?  No problem, have some fried eggs:

Not sure your teeth are up for the challenge?  Try some of theirs:

I don’t know what to say about the chicken feet there on the right.  I would like to know why the teeth are only $.88 while the others are closer to the $2 mark.

Thirsty?  Try this line of soda and don’t worry, it’s good for you:

Here are some of the locals:

A few days later my sister and I were in Staples and were standing by an Amish couple who was returning a fax machine/scanner.  I kid you not.  Maybe they were part of a less strict group?  I don’t know but not something you see every day.

Heading out we were behind this guy:

I thought this was a pretty cool shot showing the contrast in lifestyles between the Amish and others in the community.  As we got closer I noticed this:

The buggies have license plates and side mirrors.  The side mirrors make total sense but the license plates make me scratch my head.  I don’t know why exactly.  I guess I just assume, maybe ignorantly, that they don’t get in accidents very often.  I mean it’s a buggy for crying out loud.  It’s not like it comes out of nowhere going 70 mph. *shoulder shrug*

There’s more to come from my little trip to Charleston.  Phew, I know, no doubt you’re all on the edge of your seats.

Rice Krispy Hearts

I saw this and decided it looked easy enough that even I could do it.  For a first attempt they aren’t too bad, but there are some things I’ll do differently the next time I make them that I think will make the process easier.  But the 8 year olds these are for will love them…they’d better (shakes fist)!