Sunday, January 24, 2010

"Give Me the Hard Stuff!"

Um, not to brag or anything, but I throw killer parties. Georgia turns 10 this week and since she's almost as big of a Harry Potter nerd as I am, we went all Hogwarts and threw a "Potions Party." Georgia's favorite Harry Potter activity is to pretend she's in Professor Snape's Dungeon doing potions. Every time I turn around another bottle of my lotion has been emptied and for every ounce of shampoo that goes on their hair, at least 5 ounces end up in bubbly concoctions that they entitle "Sleeping Draught," "Liquid Luck," or "Kissing Potion." Dave keeps asking where all his travel size containers have gone and I tell him to check Georgia windowsill where it looks like a display case for a mad scientist. I'm happy to leave them there. Until mold sets in. I draw the line at black and green fur.

For the party we ordered green (Slytherin color) 2 oz spray bottles and .25 oz cosmetic bottles to make perfume and lip gloss, or rather, "Petal Potion" and "Lip Magic." I ran around gathering ingredients: jojoba oil and alcohol for perfume base; canning wax (thanks Jen & Sherrine!), vitamin E oil & petroleum jelly for the gloss base, plus lots of tiny essential oils for smell and/or flavor. By Friday afternoon I was putting together goody bags and frosting brownie cupcakes. I realized I needed to write out the potion proportions so I got back onto the website to figure it out. Under "ingredients' it listed alcohol and I assumed rubbing would do. But when I scrolled down it said it had to be a single grain alcohol like Everclear or vodka. As I read this I realized that rubbing alcohol has a strong odor and would make the perfumes stink.

Shortly thereafter Lindy called me to see what time I needed her to show up to help (she is my kid party slave and does it sooo well). Then I uttered a phrase I never thought I'd say, "Hey Lindy, I need a bottle of Vodka for Georgia's birthday party. Do you have some?" "Sure," she replied, "how much do you need?" We both started laughing at the ridiculousness of my needing booze for a 10 year old party and her having some sitting around (although I should not be surprised as her kitchen is as well stocked with every possible ingredient as Julia Child's was).

At 7 the girls arrived and Becca (my other slave, acting as Molly Weasley) poured Sprite into their Poprock filled goblets and they oohed and ahhhed at the blue fizz. Then we made our potions and ate cake. Right after we sang to Georgia, there was a LOUD banging at the door and in marched our surprise guest, Severus Snape (aka Big Daddy G).

The kids went berserk and were all begging to be cursed by the Half Blood Prince.
Molly Weasley posed with him for a picture and then threw him out in her awesome British accent. Next we went into the "great hall" to be sorted into houses. My friend Amy made my week when she asked me if I wanted to use her sorting hat for the party. She got it at a white elephant/Yankee swap and I still can't believe what a perfect addition it was. Jonah hid behind the couch and used a stealth microphone to announce what house each girl would belong to.

Millie end up in Ravenclaw and was delighted. It was a magical night (except when the Slytherins locked the first years out of the common room and Millie & Gigi bawled) and Georgia seemed so happy about it all. I am exhausted and still cleaning up sticky Sprite spots off the floor. But as I always tell my kids, a party isn't a party until someone spills and someone cries. By all standards the party was a success!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bea Opens Up a Can of Old Testament

Last night the family was trying to watch Idol and Bea dumped her popcorn, refused to clean it up and just, kept, screaming. I've been battling a headache for days and in frustration told her to "Shut up." She was NOT happy with me. She kept telling me, "Mama, you said a bad word! Do not say bad words!" I apologized, we cleaned up the mess together, and I told her I was sorry for giving her "owie feelings." End of story. Or so I thought.

Today over lunch she said, "Mom, God told me that if you say bad words to me again, He's gonna send a storm. For you." Then she smiled and ate her clementine, giving me a look like an Old Testament prophet.

Should I be afraid?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Hillbilly Hot Tub

(Jeff, Dave, & Jim & a staggering work of engineering genius)

My brother-in-law Jeff is a dream. He's smart. He's funny. He drinks the "potions" my kids make for him (Tabasco, mustard, & eggnog). And he knows how to have fun. For example, this year he decided that when they came up for Christmas break, he'd put together a "Hillbilly Hot Tub." He told us this at Millie's baptism and I sort of thought he was kidding. (No offense, but sometimes these brainy guys get all sorts of ideas in their heads that will never come to fruition.) But the week before Christmas a big box showed up with a good sized inflatable kiddie pool. Jeff wasn't blowing smoke. He arrived the 25th with some copper tubing, the pump from his mini koi pond, and a dream of hot water on a snowy day. And a week went by, and though their was lots of talk, nothing much happened. But over breakfast this morning Jeff announced that today would be the day.

Since our neighbors the Kellys have an Armenian bread pit in their backyard (What? You've never heard of one? They're ALL the rage in Yerevan and Watertown...) Jeff decided that would be a good heat source. While some people had their doubts (you know who you are), it turned out to be the highlight of our vacation. The kids & dads went nuts. Here are some pix:

The Armenian bread pit is extremely deep and constructed to get and stay hot. They wrapped the tubing around the logs before bow drilling the fire (matches are a dirty word to Dave and Jim).

Notice the turkey thermometer used to keep track of the heat. It got to 126 degrees at one point.

They filled the tub with water and then turned the pump on to circulate the water thru the tubes, to the copper tubes in the fire, which then returned toasty water to the "hot tub." Given the size, we jacuzzied in shifts. The little girls went first and LOVED it. They grabbed snow balls to see how long it took them to melt in the hot steam.
Next Dallin & Spencer had a girl-free turn. Notice how roomy it is and the awesome space blankets that Jeff brought for insulation.

Denise orchestrated games for the bigger kids like, who can stand outside in the snow for the longest and who can jump on the trampoline, swing for 2 minutes, and go down an icey slide before collapsing from hypothermia. Jonah won at 11 minutes. I don't think there was any lasting braindamage...

Finally the daddies got in. And I'm pretty sure they had trunks on...
It was the perfect way to ring in the New Year. May 2010 bring you unexpected warmth!