Monday, April 30, 2012

The Annual Variety Show

Last year's Variety Show at The Girl's school was a lot of fun, though the gym was so packed that many (and I mean MANY) people didn't have a place to sit. This year, they moved it to the high school auditorium and while there were still people that couldn't find a seat, it was MUCH more comfortable. The Girl's class went first with their song and dance routine to "Jailhouse Rock". They got off to a rough start - missing their que - but after a second start, did great.

I'm STILL trying to get a video to upload of her routine so check back later to see it.

Other  parts of the show included demonstrations and routines including gymnastics, piano, martial arts, guitar (there was a great one with a father and daughter playing La Bamba") and of course, there was the teacher's finale which, once again, was the highlight of the show:

It amazes me how many children are willing to get up in front of a crowd that large to do their thing. I know I wouldn't have done that back then. Maybe I would now...but definitely not back when I was in elementary school.

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Lego KidsFest - Denver

Back in March, we received a postcard in the mail from the Lego Club (The "Pickles" are both members). The postcard was an announcement about the Lego KidsFest coming to the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. Well...we KNEW we had to go! Weren't we a family that LOVES Lego's? As soon as I knew which day of the KidsFest we had clear,  bought our tickets. Then we waited for the day of the KidsFest...sometimes patiently, sometimes not...for an entire month!

The week of the KidsFest, all the "Pickles" could talk about were Lego's. The Boy just KNEW he wouldn't be able to sleep the night before.

When the day finally came, he kept asking how much longer it would be before we left (there were two "sessions" that day and we had the later one). We just couldn't get there fast enough for him. At least he paused long enough to get a photo with the enormous blue bear outside the Colorado Convention Center. I think maybe the bear wanted to play with Legos, too.

I was hoping the KidsFest would be all he was expecting and more. Well...three acres...all Legos. What do you think?

They both LOVED IT! There was so much stuff to do that they didn't even get to HALF of it! Right at the entrance were lots of Lego statues.

We had to pose with at least one of them. We chose Indy...

The detail on the statues was just incredible - specially considering these are all created from the regular 2x6 bricks!

Then we headed over to the Build n' Race area where kids (and adults) could construct Lego cars...

and then race them down ramps against other kids.

Next, we jumped over to (and into) the huge Brick Pile...

(I hope I never see anything resembling THIS pile of Legos in my home).

I pulled the kids out of the brick pile and dragged everyone over to the "Lego Challenge Zone" where they had 2 minutes to create whatever the announcer chose. When their turn came, they had two minutes to make a shark or an octopus.

The "Pickles" teamed up to create a shark.

Mr. LH made an...octopus...

use your's a octopus...with the tentacles falling off...

Prizes weren't given out to a "winner". Instead, everyone (kids only) got a parting gift (which pleased the "Pickles" immensely!)

"Creation Nation" was next. A huge map of the US was taped out on the floor (including Alaska and Hawaii).

Everyone could get a square baseboard and create on it whatever they wanted. They could then tell the staff members where in the US to place their creation.  Some of the creations were really impressive! There were THREE Statues of Liberty.

The "Pickles" made a tornado. It's that square twisted shaped thing right in the middle of the photo below. It went in Oklahoma. So they like disaster movies...

We had signed up for one of the "Master Builder Academy" workshops but still had some time before it started. The "Pickles" both moved over to the "Lego Art Gallery" where they could create mosaic tiles for display.

Once The Boy  finished his, he headed over to the Ninjago area to play while The Girl started a second mosaic.

Finally it was time for our last event, the Master Builder Academy workshop (I was looking around for a chair by then and thankfully found one in the workshop area.) Master Builder Steve worked for Lego designing sculptures - not the kits you can buy in the store. He even had a college degree in sculpture. He talked with the kids about building STRONG models (as opposed to just cool looking ones).

As they built their spaceships and robots and whatever else they were creating, Steve went around for some one-on-one time with (almost) each child. He commented on their techniques, suggesting ways to make their models  stronger.

With the Master Builder Academy over (it was about 30 minutes long), there was time for one last game of Ninjago before it was time to go.

The "Pickles" got a Duplo KidsFest Brick as a souvenir as we walked out of the building. They also started making a game plan for the "next time". I guess they enjoyed it.

A few notes:
  • The entire KidsFest was broken up into 5 "sessions". One Friday evening and 2 each on Saturday and Sunday. The Friday morning news announced the Saturday morning session was sold out. By Friday evening, all of the Saturday and Sunday sessions were sold out. So if you want to go, don't wait until the last minute to get your tickets!
  • We had never been to the Colorado Convention Center before so we had to find our way there. It was pretty convenient to I-25. I was surprised by the life in downtown Denver on a Saturday afternoon. I guess coming from Winston-Salem, NC (which is VERY small in comparison) I'm still used to a downtown area being fairly  empty on weekends, but Denver was really  REALLY busy.
  • Once we found our way to the parking deck (right behind the Colorado Convention Center), parking wasn't a problem. There were plenty of spaces available. We needed to remember our parking space number so we could pre-pay for parking. You could use cash or cards at any of the machines located in the parking deck (we were directed straight to the top deck). Just enter in your parking space number and select how long you plan to use the parking space (It was $12 for up to 8 hours. We only needed 4 hours but still had to pay for 8. Use this link if you need to see rates). If you use cash, this machine WILL dispense dollar coins. If you don't like that, try to use exact change. I wound up with 8 dollar coins.
  • There were concessions stands open in the event area so food and beverages were available.
  • Wear something COMFORTABLE! You will be standing a lot at the tables creating stuff. There are a lot of chairs in the Lego Theater area, but not a lot of chairs at each of the activities. Your best bet is to do the activities with your kids to help your body avoid the need to SIT DOWN. Don't worry, you won't look crazy digging into the Legos yourself. Most of us parents used to play with Lego as kids anyway. You don't ever really grow out of it.
  • Our session was sold out and there were a LOT of people. That being said, lines moved quickly but tables were crowded. Everyone was in a good mood, though and the crowding wasn't a problem.
  • There was a "lost parent zone" right at the entrance so it was easy to show the "Pickles" where they needed to go if they discovered that "Mama and Daddy were lost".
  • You CAN NOT take Legos home with you unless you bought them at the on site Lego Store. Yes, there was a Lego Store right in the middle of the event - pretty convenient for people who might have come to the event from cities and towns that don't yet have a Lego Store.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

First Blooms

Sure, the trees have been blooming for awhile now and the tulips and daffodils in the neighborhood soon followed. But I haven't planted any bulbs yet (that will come once we move to our own home) so the title of "first bloom of the year" goes to my Origami Red & White Columbine.

I don't know why I never noticed these flowers before moving here, but I absolutely love them! The blooms are gorgeous in any color and the long graceful spurs just and a touch of the unusual that attracts me to certain flowers over others.

This bloom is just the first of many. There are many more just beginning to open. I want to have a big patch of the native Rocky Mountain Columbine (the Colorado state flower) once we are established in our own place (which looks like it is at least another year away).

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"Pin"spiration - Painted Vase

My "Pin"spirations are things I have found on or through Pinterest that inspired me to try something new, whether it's a new craft, a new project or a new recipe.

Several weeks ago, I came across a painted lamp base on BHG. I didn't have a lamp to try the technique on, but last week I found a lime green vase for $2.42 (minus a 25% discount making it only $1.82) and thought it a likely "victim" for the project. I've really been drawn to lime green lately...

Using a water-resistant acrylic paint pen, I began to doodle on the vase.

Mr. LH asked why I would want to ruin a perfectly nice vase. He thought I was going to draw smiley faces all over it or something but was quite pleased with the results.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

A Family Collection - Laura Ingalls Wilder

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I am fascinated with frontier/prairie/farm life and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House book series. I love them so much I made sure my own little "half-pint" had her own collection of the books and we have been going through them one by one at bedtime every night (we're now reading the final book - The First Four Years). I also bought The Little House Cookbook - mainly so The Girl and I could make Vanity Cakes and the doughnuts Almanzo's mother made.

When I came across A Family Collection by Laura Ingalls Wilder at the thrift store (for $1.81) I had to buy it.

This book is a collection of articles and stories written by Laura  for the "Missouri Ruralist" (a widely-read farm paper) between 1911 and 1918. Not only does it give a glimpse into some of Laura's life after the Little House books, but it also gives a closer look at farm life in general as well as Laura's thoughts on social changes (such as women's rights) and historical events (the war).

I have been enjoyed it immensely. You can find a used copy for very little on But of course, you don't HAVE to have the book to read the articles. You can find the eBook online at Books-A-Million.

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

"Pin"spiration - Fabric Covered Binder Clips

My "Pin"spirations are things I have found on or through Pinterest that inspired me to try something new, whether it's a new craft, a new project or a new recipe.

When we moved, I had several containers out and as I came across something small in an odd place (like in the junk drawer, I would toss it into its designated container. I did this with things like erasers, pencil sharpeners, binder clips, safety pins, random dice, etc. Now we have a container FULL of binder clips in all different sizes.

We use them for the obvious things like holding stacks of documents together, but once I started looking for different uses for binder clips, I was amazed at the possibilities. Not only that, but I came across a quick and easy tutorial for covered binder clips. The tutorial covers the clips in paper, but I did the same process using fabric scraps.

I even made some matching magnets for a couple of the clips.

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Easter Egg Hunt

The "Pickles'" Grandmom always always ALWAYS had an Easter Egg hunt on Easter Sunday. In fact, our first Easter in Colorado was the first Easter (since Mr. LH and I got married) without an Easter Egg hunt. It came as no surprise when The Girl asked if we could have one. Of course, she asked me only a few days before Easter.

I bought some plastic eggs (I had donated all our plastic eggs to Goodwill when we moved) and a bag of Easter chocolates and then I raided our change jar. The night before Easter, I filled 30+ plastic eggs with chocolate and loose change for the hunt. We were worried there weren't 30 places to hide eggs in our backyard.

We did find enough hiding places...and discovered that any egg hidden off the ground (on fences, in trees, etc) were some of the last to be discovered.

The Boy - with 3 yellow eggs in plain sight on the fence...but he's busy looking down on the ground for eggs.
Apparently, the "Pickles" didn't think eggs would be hidden 3+ feet off the ground.

The Girl wound up with 15 eggs and The Boy with 18 so it worked out pretty evenly. They had fun with it and decided they wanted an Easter Egg hunt again next year. At least I have more time to plan...

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Work of the Easter Bunny

Once again, the Easter Bunny has been hard at work. As of the Saturday night before Easter, I could finally sigh a big sigh and not worry about the "Pickles" peeking into my closet and seeing their Easter goodies early.

This year, The Girl kept asking me if I believe in the Easter Bunny. I said "yes". Just like I believe in Santa Claus. And we've always said "If you don't believe, he will not come." So I suppose even if they DID catch on to exactly how the Easter bunny and Santa could be real, they would "believe" so they can get their Easter baskets.

This is the photo I get when it's midnight and I'm hiding in a room far from the "Pickles" trying to take a photo of their completed baskets.
That Saturday night, The Girl insisted on setting out their empty Easter baskets like they do with their Christmas stockings. She was going to leave carrots out too, but it was getting far too late and way past her bedtime for her to be prepping carrots. But because the empty baskets had to be retrieved and placed empty in the living room, they had to be re-assembled that night and ready for the Easter Bunny to deliver them.

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Coloring Easter Eggs

I'm not a big boiled egg person - in fact, I don't eat them at all. Thank heavens The Girl does or we might not ever dye Easter eggs. Since Spring Break came last week and the "Pickles" were back in school this week, we didn't get around to coloring the Easter eggs until the day before Easter.

The Girl is using the wax crayon to draw on her egg before dying it.

Mr. LH made a Spongebob egg
The Boy made a "Creeper" egg

The Girl wanted a purple egg so she dyed it blue, then put it in the pink. It came out pretty and speckled
This time she mixed the blue and pink colors and drew Kirby on an egg. It came out a pale lavender.
Of course, I couldn't find any rubber bands and I wasn't about to give up any of my yarn so we just went with the wax crayon and the egg dye this year. But a dozen eggs were enough for this crew. It sated their desire to color eggs and I don't have to worry about having too many boiled eggs hanging around in the refrigerator. The Girl will be eating hard boiled eggs for breakfast this week.

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