Archive | February 2020

middle life

short post..  a little look at life of a middle sister.  Just outside this door is her older sister and 2 friends.  She asked me to put on a movie on mute so they would think we were watching something since the TV is very easy to see through the big glass door and then hid in this inner corner that you can’t see from the hot tub.


I also learned some new slang; if you ‘have tea’ it means gossip, because you ‘spill it’.  I’ve officially gotten to the ‘kids these days’ part of life.

Three things Thursday

What three things are new and interesting?   Um… at first thought I couldn’t remember anything cool to report because I’ve spent the last 4million waking hours going through all the toys in the playroom.  Then I remembered a few fun things, the problem with busy busy weeks is that a week feels like 3 weeks sometimes.

  1. Northshield Auction; The most fun thing in the week is the ending of the fundraising auction.  We put in a group item, offering 4 carloads of people a weekend of training with our group.  I choose the conditions carefully because I wanted it to be fun.  The issues I was trying to overcome first- offering to train someone one on one or a group has been done, and, over the years I think it has worn thin because the actual logistics of the people meeting and training are difficult.  Going to them costs the teacher travel money usually in excess of what was donated.  It also got dishearting to go far to train ‘a group’ and have it only be 3 people. Attempting to get a higher bid puts pressure on both parties, and, makes the item inaccessible.  The 1:1 thing is good in concept but ignores 99.9% of interested people with a ‘winner takes all’ experience.

My solution to this, and I think it will work, is this;

  • we made it a specific date in the auction, on April 25 this will happen.  This eliminates the back and forth of trying to figure out a mutually good time.
  • by offering a ‘car full’ we are opening it up to more people for accessibility and cost share, both of the auction price and of the travel expense.  Side bonus, it gives room for being creative and people love thinking around the rules.
  • Since it is a ‘come to us’ event we eliminate the drive to see a group that isn’t really a group.  They already have a plan on who is in the car and it is their prerogative to fill every seat or bring fewer but it won’t be wondering day of who will come.
  • We opened up 4 spots to win, this gives nearly everyone interested a good shot and keeps the individual price reasonable but added up the kingdom does get a good donation.  also, with a group of 20-30 we are better able to batch and match and nobody feels pressure to ‘be on’ all day.  It is also small enough (and we have 5+ teachers) that everyone will get individual attention.

It was really fun to watch the comments and back and forth and there was even a surprise entry 1 min to the end for drama!  I’m very excited to have the actual event.


2. Gear shift, I was called in to be ‘that mom’ who comes to the legislature.  I’m beginning to be known and I actually went to a meeting without the entire group and didn’t get lost in the literal underground labyrinth of tunnels.  I still don’t know if we effect change with these visits but I always learn something and as an example if my kids remember mom going to fight for their schools and equity and equality that is as good a legacy as I need.  (ps. I do remember my mom and grandmother fighting and working for affordable housing in NY)


3. Back to local – the STEM aspect of our kids school is never stronger than on science fair day.  Every year I’m impressed by the project ideas, execution, research, creative ideas and presentations.  I know parents help some, that is great, that shows that the parents are interested in learning too.  I totally learned a few things from some of the projects and there were very few that looked done without care.  The fact that all 100+ kids seemed engaged is amazing.  The 6th grade actually gets to create an invention with a design phase, technical drawing, and patent application – a very cool intro to the game of inventing.  #1 created a pet feeding machine that does a visual scan of the pet to ensure the right pet is being fed.  Obviously, this is because our cat chows on the dog food and we can’t put it anywhere that the tiny dog can get that the cat can’t get….  her invention has an app for programming a great variety of options and I actually hope we can make a working model someday.  #2 had the question “can people smell the difference between artificial and natural smells” and we had a great time getting pairs of sents and designing the experiment and then getting friends to be our smell testers.  We all learned from both exercises and the most important part is both of them (and the majority of their peers) seem to have fun doing it and they are excited to do more.

Now I go back to my sorting of toys.  The goal is to yardsale or give away a very big chunk.  I’m impressed by how well we have kept sets of things intact, even after a move.  It is sad to say goodbye to some toys they loved as toddlers but space is finite and we need room for them to grow into new hobbies.


top 40 part 2

Birthday quest update; brief recap, I had the flu on my real birthday and all plans were canceled, my birthday is also at a crazy time of year where I am never able to see everyone important in my life so my birthday quest over this year is to have a fun outing  “for my birthday” with 40 friends – I left off with #16, here is the next installment

#17, #18 and #19 (Plus Lars and Vacation Mom but you can’t count twice) all went to an escape room over the weekend and we escaped with time to spare.  I think these rooms are fun and full of clever tricks.  It was great to share the experience with these friends.  It was a little bit of a mixed group.  2 of the guys are close friends from the SCA, we have collaborated on events, talked for a million hours, and you may recognize one of them as my driving partner for quite a few road trips – my life would be less without them.  I’m also counting Vacation Mom’s boyfriend in there.  Sure, he is a new friend and I might be the person who hears the most vented frustration about him but even after all that, he seems to have more pros and we are keeping him (plus he finally got comfortable with us and talked so he counts :).  We went out after for dessert and it was a proper birthday celebration.


Next up is a gear switch, I have not known these friends ‘forever’ but after a few years on school board I would count them as people I would choose to celebrate with.  All three are great individuals who care so much about kids and schools and have interesting lives and experiences I love to hear about; the good the bad and the crazy.  We were semi tossed together by fate/votes but if I’ve learned anything from the board conferences – not all boards are friendly so I am pretty lucky.  Glad to place #20, #21, and #22 on my birthday quest list.  They also flattered me by calling me a baby and complimenting my ‘young skin’.  (they might be my favorites at the moment, my sisters all called me old!).  I’m missing three or four board friends here so I’ll just have to go out another time.


Better than halfway to my goal of 40.  It is never a good time to get together but I think it is important to try and this exercise got me to go out last night instead of coming straight home.  So far my 40’s are doing ok.


When I worked at previous workplaces there was a rhythm to what got done at what time of year like supplier reviews, budgets, audits, for each thing there was a season.  Stay at home life, as we all know, is not all romance novels and bonbons there are distinct seasons of activity in this ‘line of work’ too.  As in all jobs, it depends on where you are and who is on your team as to what projects you will be asked to participate in.  For me, for the past 5 years, the second half of February equals COOKIE TIME!

I ran the cookies for the older girls troop last year and even made notes to myself on how to do it better this year.  A week in and I’m already more confident that this year will be better on the inventory management side.  I have turned my garage into a cookie palace and our pickup of 290 cases went very well thanks to a parent with a very big trailer.


There have been certain changes in personnel, #1 being infected by the hormones of a teen is taking a less active role but #2 is rising to the occasion nicely and #3 is driven by some sort of internal selling machine that wants to go out in -7 weather for MORE door to door sales.  My weekends for the foreseeable 7 weeks will have some cookie-related activity.

#2 and #3 have some big goals; 550 boxes each.  I’m torn between being proud that they are aiming high and telling them that they probably won’t do that many…  I’m landing on helping where I can so I’m doing the online thing and also coaching them through a few different avenues to sales.  If you would like some cookies shipped directly to you here are their websites;


You need cookies yes you do, you need cookies from #2!



If you need cookies look at me, buy some cookies from #3

I have a feeling by the end of the weekend we will have videos…  They don’t tell you that your parental job may include video editing and grassroots sales efforts but all in a days work I guess.

**Local friends, comment or email an order and we will deliver.


Literary costumes

I have lost a week in blog world but it was a productive week in my 3d world.  They had school EVERY day last week!  OMG!  It was also a special dress up every day week for their read a thon and they had fun wearing PJs, Fancy, school spirit but the best is always a book character day.  I refuse to put ‘real’ effort into these so compromises are made but I liked what we had this year and if you need a super-fast idea for a book character costume and you read one of these books; these are pretty easy

#3 Junie B Jones.  This is NOT my favorite series and I think she only reads them because her BFF does.  Misspelling and bad grammar is super annoying in a book, I know it is ‘the character’ but when you are talking 2nd-grade level books you are forming a foundation here…  Anyway, the costume.  Based on covers the defining factor for Junie is her glasses and then a skirt, sweater, and hair bow combo that should not match in any way.  Depending on the book, socks are crazy stripes, or, plain color knee socks.  This is an easy look to pull off with a standard girl wardrobe and we used freebie sunglasses with the lenses popped out for the glasses look. (attitude pose came free)


Bonus; all sass and misspelling in the day is all part of your character.


#2 The Dread Pirate Roberts from Princess Bride.  This is actually a book!  I read it and enjoyed it and I was surprised that it is rated YA/children.  Really, it is quite a clean adventure and #2 enjoyed it as a summer reading book for her friend book club.  Otherwise, everything she read this year featured a Dragon or a Warrior Cat and we couldn’t figure out those costumes.  The man in black is seriously just a back outfit and mask.  The black outfit was in her closet and the addition of a shirt of mine for that ‘loose pirate look’ was an easy foundation.  I had a medium-size piece of scrap black fabric that I put over her head, over her eyes, and pulled tight in the back to make the mask.  I marked the eyes and cut them out and used a safety pin to secure the back.  We used one of my black belts for the waist over the shirts and it looked great.


#1 Annabeth from the Percy Jackson books.  I can’t recommend this series enough, it is YA but good enough for any adult.  There was some push by #1 to wear a blond wig since Annabeth is always described as having a blond ponytail, but, the wig was a bit of a mess so we skipped it in favor of a neat ponytail.  I turned an orange shirt inside out and use a washable marker to write ‘camp halfblood’ and she paired it with jeans, a beaded necklace and there you go, instant Annabeth.  Our school is anti hat so no Yankees hat, but that is another iconic bit of her character.


It was a fun and crazy week with outfits every day.

That is all the time I have today, I’ll be catching up this week with an update on my 40 for 40 and also my organizing kick.


Three things Thursday

The interesting enough things.  If you also do this please add a link in the comments, i would love to read your 3 things too.


  1. I’m reading a book.  Made of paper.  It has been a while but books to come out faster in paper then they do on my library app so I’m reading this book.  It is  #2 in the series and I like it a lot.  This author has a great nack for interesting books and characters that are relatable enough but also different enough.  It is a new series for her and it is a fresh and fun as the beginning of any of her series.  If you can’t have endless episodes from one series, next best thing is a cool new series you can count on the quality of. 51mqa46cgfl
  2. Crazy hair day at school to kick of (ironically) the read a thon.  They have 10 days of fun activities to celebrate reading because February is “I love to read” month8539ae73-95ab-47cc-a7c1-d36c1d2e5b0b
  3. I’ve been plowing through the garage project.  The cookie area is ready for cookies and I’m getting through bins of stuff and even found a pile to donate to a charity auction happening right now.  Since we are on a reading theme, during the garage work I’ve been listening to this stand-alone book written by an author that I also will read anything she writes.  It is good so far!51rkikghqfl._sx303_bo1204203200_