Sno-more SnowmanYesterday it snowed so hard that we had almost two feet or so of beautiful powder out in the cul de sac. The girls wanted to make snowmen so we headed outside and made two HUMONGOUS snow beasts in record time. Our lovely neighbor came out to help, and generously donated coal for the eyes and buttons. I must admit that at four feet high they were magnificent!
At 6.15 this morning, we were woken by the sounds of a snowplow mercilessly destroying our creations....five minutes later he got stuck...not just stuck, but REALLY stuck! He sat for over an hour waiting for another plow to come rescue him.
I wanted to take him a cup of coffee, but I didn't...call it retribution.
Paisley was DEVASTATED to see her snowmen gone...thankfully there is no shortage of the white stuff, so today we will head back out and make more. This time we'll take photos! I lost a scarf in the process of the above massacre, it will be recovered sometime in April.
The perennial SnowflowerHyper ActivusLilium longiflorumcommon garden name - Piper Lily Hannah
a hardy perennial species, flourishes in all climates and blooms especially nicely in cold temperatures. Known to be difficult to train, but if you persevere you will see strong blooms year round. Known to be temperamental despite outward hardiness.
Not suitable for transplantation. Produces sweet scented blossoms, thorned branches can cause discomfort and swelling of the brain, handle with care.
the littlest Snowflower falls in love Today Paisley asked to play in the snow. This comes as quite a surprise because until this moment she has loathed the idea of getting cold and wet at the same time...not just loathed mind you...DETESTED with a passion the mere idea of coming in contact with the white freezing stuff!I have no idea what you are talking about Mummy...I love snow!
See..I told you I loved it!
She has reminded me time and time again "I no like snow"...so today, when the request to play in the snow came I was a little amused, I put on her gloves, snowsuit, hat, and boots to nary a complaint! Imagine my surprise when she rushed into the white powder with whoops of excitement!lovin' the powderready set...fallgetting the hang of falling down gracefully
falling down was the best part!I am a Snowflower...I bloom most beautiful in the winter!
For the last month our family has attended several(okay more than several but definitely less than many) school information meetings. Subsequently, we have also met with three Principals of local schools in search of the right fit for Miss Piper. Today...we think we found the ONE. Originally we had hoped to send her to the Chinese Immersion program at a school 10 minutes from us, but upon visiting and asking some hard questions of the program and ourselves we decided that we will probably not seek that option as a first choice, but rather focus on the 'traditional' program.
We have to say that the 'choices' were all absolutely fantastic, although our perceptions of one option in our local district caused us some concern. Not in an educational way, but more in a social inequality kind of way...(insert soapbox visual)
In our District, the State pays for half day Kindergarten only. If you want your child to attend full day Kindergarten (6 hours vs 2.5 hours per day) you must be prepared to shell out $3500. For those children whose parents can afford the full day option, they get the privilege of attending the ACTUAL local Elementary School they will attend through fifth grade...however...if you cannot afford the full day option your child will have to attend half day kindergarten at the MASSIVE 'Kindergarten Center' which 'supports' all the surrounding 6-7 Elementary Schools. I find this kind of Elitist and Separatist and it made me quite sad for the children and their parents that their children couldn't start their Elementary education in the actual school they would attend through their Primary years. To me, and this is just my opinion, real school starts at Kindergarten, and I think children should be in their HOME school from that point onwards. I personally don't like the idea of so many 5-6 year olds in one building with no imput from the older children...it doesn't speak of real community to me (the full day program has 4th & 5th grade ambassadors who spend time with the K-garteners).
So...while the full day at our local very nice, bright and shiny, brand spankin' new school is appealing on some levels...I couldn't get rid of the feeling that it just isn't right to have 'wealth apartheid' in public schools...okay, wealth apartheid might be a little strong, but this is me talking people!
Today we visited another Prinicipal of a school out of our district ($4000 for full day)...and we liked him and his philosophies. Funny thing is that he lives in our town and his children go to our local school! He was VERY candid about his experiences with BOTH of the schools and we appreciated his honesty. The school, while a little older was absolutely the environment we were looking for. ART ART and more ART covered the walls and some ceilings of the entire school, the children had their own Mondrian, Pollock and Impressionist renderings all over the place, every teacher we saw was smiling and chatting happily with his/her students. The children seemed engaged and participating in activities. The student population quietly boasts 22% 'high achiever' according to the National guidelines and has programming in place to assist those who enter school at all levels!
They have an OUTDOOR CLASSROOM courtyard where the teachers can take the students when the weather is nice and teach them outside while they sit on rock benches amongst native plants(there's even an outdoor smart board!)
I have to say, making this choice is so much harder than I imagined. In so many places you go to the school assigned to you and thats it. We are grateful for all the choices we have and the quality of the local schools in Minnesota, and while I bemoan the half day vs full day options, I am glad we live in a State with such a good reputation. Believe me, there are places we have lived where the schools were all on the National watch list!
So...we are going to bite the bullet, sell all our spare organs on ebay and put Piper into this school. We agonized over the expense of full day, but really feel that she needs it, and I personally cannot imagine her waiting until she is 6.5 before she gets a full day of school.
I wanted to post 10 things we can do together to make a difference this holiday season, I should have done twelve...but I kinda missed the boat on that one. As usual some of my suggestions have a 'eco' twist to them.
1. Call your Senators and demand that the United States of America introduce a healthcare bill for all it's citizens. It's the RIGHT thing to do.
2. Donate to your local foodshelf or Toys for Tots or Coats for Kids...even a small donation will make a big difference for families struggling to make it through the winter & holiday season. 10 boxes of macaroni cost less than 2 lattes from Starbucks!
3. Make less trash! We switched our trash service to once every two weeks and downgraded to the smallest trash bin! It saves us money AND it helps the environment...good grief, where do people think all their trash goes?!
4. REDUCE REUSE RECYCLE! Please recycle as much as you can this holiday season!
5. Switch to non-toxic cleaners for an entire year and beyond!
6. Give your friends, relatives and school teachers reusable grocery bags as gifts or stocking stuffers!
7. buy and eat locally produced foods as much as possible! Buying foods from distant lands have a much higher cost to the environment than buying foods produced within a few hundred miles....do we REALLY need strawberries in winter?
8. Be compasionate to someone who has different opinions
9. Sponsor a child in need...Love without Boundaries, Pearl River Outreach, Heifer International..the list goes on.
Forget the toys, just give them the boxes they came in!
A lot of Amazon boxes have made their way to our doorstep of late, and one in particular has caught the attention and imagination of the Snowflowers! Of course I can't say what came in such a fantastic box because that would spoil someones surprise! It has been modified to a castle, a boat, a floating castle with a moat, a spaceship, a getaway car(where on earth?)...and funnily enough...which looks kind of macabre, but in fact is Sleeping Beauty's bed...and not a coffin thank you very much!
Sandbox Threads ROCK!Everyone that knows me KNOWS that I have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with cute tshirts for the Snowflowers! One of my favorite places to find them great tshirts is SANDBOX THREADS
The girls were sent their OBAMA tees by their 'Aunty' Kris, and we loved them so much that when Paisley grew out of hers we ordered another one! We've also loved the 'custom' word shirts..but I think they need to add a few more words, perhaps 'obstinate', belligerent, diabolical and devilish to the mix (perhaps there's a smaller market for those words eh). My new favorites are the John Stewart shirt...all can be seen here! They also have some rockin' deals, so check out their website. Sandbox is also trying to get fans on facebook and are giving away some $50 gift certificates to four lucky people! Go here to Friend them on Facebook!
Don't look a free tree in the mouth!It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas over here...the weather has finally started to cool down (today was -10C for all the antipodeans)...we hoofed it over to our Realtors office for their annual Toys for Tots/Santa/free tree extravaganza! Hey, I'm not saying no to a free tree even if it looks like Charlie Browns!
Minnesotan girls use chainsaws!Piper & Paisley revel in the chilly weather
"gah, stinky smoke"
The girls stood in line to see Santa, luckily the line was about 15 minutes long...which brings me to this point...how on earth is the line for Santa so short, but the line for Pioneer Woman 5 hours long? hmmmm.Paisley was unsure she wanted to see Santa...can you tell?I'd rather have a cookie thank you very much! In Minnesota you get the REAL THING...no fake beards here, this is the ONE!! Piper loved the Big Guy...Paisley was absolutely terrified...but she did send him a letter and hopes that her requests are met! "listen to Mummy & Daddy?
Going on a Bear Hunt"No bears here Mummy...but I find pinecones!"This morning when we dropped Piper off at School, we hopped over to the park and decided to have a bit of a run around with the hope that I could snap off a few photos for Christmas cards...someone was far too busy to stand still, and far too interested in throwing pine cones and running away from her Mummy to stop for more than a nano second! the bribe of m&m's seemed to work...for about a nano-second...can you see the contemplation? really? M&M's? and all I have to do is stand still for a few seconds? nah!bwahahahahahaha!
IN SEARCH OF...Mum, Dad, Tracey...friends far and near...I am in search of the Secret Seven & Famous Five series of books by Enid Blyton. I desperately want these for Piper and Paisley so that I can read them to them each night.Sure, they are from the 40's and 50's but I fondly remember wearing the covers of these books thin when I was a child, and I want the girls to have the same enjoyment as I did. My love of books is no secret, I have almost an unhealthy obsession with children's literature. But...I cannot help myself wanting these favorites for their bookshelf. The Malory Towers series was one of my all time childhood favorites. Another favorite I am hoping to pick up, luckily this one is available on Amazon...but please, if anyone can source out ANY the above series for me I would be eternally grateful!
and then there are these sweet gems...I must have them...I must!
UPDATE: I found the secret Seven series for a good price with free shipping so I ordered them for Piper's 5th birthday.
Our local grocery store has letters for Santa, complete with a mailbox. We picked up two last week and this morning we worked on compiling that all important list. Piper is reading now and wanted to sound out her words to write the letter all by herself. I only had to help her with a few words, for the most part she worked it out for herself.
She requested a 'sewing kit', 'Barbie kit', and a toy cat. She told me she wanted to write 'pretty pretty please' Lets hope Santa listens!
If by a “liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “liberal,” then I’m proud to say I’m a “liberal.”