Category Archives: Not your typical public service announcements

Free Fries at Burger King March 17 & 18

Just a quick FYI that Burger King is offering free fries while supplies last, March 17 & 18, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.  No additional purchase required.  We enjoyed ours with their holiday green ketchup…a fun, free outing with the kids!

Here’s the link:

Enjoy your free fries!

Happy Chinese New Year, indeed

E’s class celebrated the Chinese New Year recently by learning about Chinese culture and eating a Chinese lunch.   Dessert was a fortune cookie for each child.

So tell me…

…if your oldest (and one of the beneficiaries on your life insurance policy) came home with this fortune in her backpack, wouldn’t you be just the slightest bit disturbed?

In case you have trouble seeing the image, it says "You will inherit a large sum of money" and has creepy smiley faces on it.

(At first I was comforted by the fact that we don’t actually have “a large sum of money” for her to inherit, but then I remembered about the life insurance and was reminded that to E, “a large sum of money” is anything more than a penny.  Ah, the joys of being 5 and alive.)

Happy Chinese New Year, indeed.

In case you hear sleigh bells this evening…

Just thought you might be interested to know that Santa shops on Craigslist and is picking up his main Christmas item for the girls as we speak

I just heard from him that after a successful purchase, he is in his sleigh on the way home.

(This is much better than the phone call I received from him during his last Craigslist holiday excursion, exactly one week ago, when he told me he was unable to pick up “attempt number 1” at this type of item – despite borrowing a larger sleigh from a Santa Nana – because it was “larger than he imagined”, might “crumple the sleigh like an accordian”, and made the Christmas tree twine he had intended to use to tie it down look like a piece of thread that would snap and send our sleigh crusher hurling down the highway.  In his words, “It would have never fit in our house.  Honestly!  I left it with the owner and still gave him $10 because I felt bad that he had to help me try to carry it to the car”.

(Whatever.  Those craigslist postings can be hard to interpret.  The picture made it look manageable!  I mean who knew you could get too much Christmas for an original asking price of $40?)

You may be wondering at this point what on earth Santa has been trying to get the girls that has caused this much drama.  Well (no surprise), it’s something dramatic people (like my daughters) will (hopefully) love.  Here’s a clue from the craigslist posting: “a WOW gift for your little dancer, singer, actor/actress”.  Another clue: retractable curtains.  And I made sure to check this time…it is significantly smaller, with dimensions perfectly appropriate for a 5 and 3 year old (and for a sleigh!).

I can’t post a picture because (1) it’s not Christmas! and (2) I haven’t seen it!   My fingers are crossed that it will be something that will suit us and inspire the kids’ creativity.  But I’m waiting, because my Santa is still on the road…

wrong time, right idea (but I’m willing to negotiate)

A genius friend of mine, who empathizes with my situation of having just gotten my kids on a relatively sane sleep schedule, suggested we all just boycott Daylights Saving Time.

With the clocks all falling back an hour yesterday (and the effect being my day now starting an hour earlier according to those clocks) I am tempted to follow her suggestion.

However, as a reasonable person, I am willing to negotiate.

Here are my terms:

If the clocks can fall back far enough to erase most of the college football that happened this weekend – say back to noon on Saturday, before UNC and Alabama both lost – then I’ll go willingly into the new schedule.

I a mom, which means I love my sleep.

But even at the new 5am, I am a fan, which means we can work something out.

In case you were curious… (alternate title: my life in multiple choice)

Anyone curious about which of the following tasks is more difficult?

(A) Cleaning dog poop off a sparkly glitter shoe without removing all the glitter

(B) Changing a battery in our nursery’s smoke detector while standing on the baby’s glider

(C) Disposing of raw meat scraps (the icky trimmings that begin to smell grotesque after 1 hour in the garbage) while the disposal is broken

(D) Helping a one year old transition from 2 naps to 1 nap a day without disrupting the schedules of the other two children, or

(E) accomplishing anything at all on my actual “to do” list

The answer?  E.  Because (when I am not feeding, dressing, changing, driving, bathing, playing with, or hugging my children), things like A, B, C, and D seem to pop up unexpectedly and consume the majority of my day.

And, in case you were wondering about option ‘A’, you should know that even working with glittery poop is not glamorous.  Note to the general public:  the week before Halloween trick-or-treaters dance through your neighborhood in their favorite dress-up outfits and shoes is a particularly important time to scoop the poop…

Public Service Announcement (re: Grocery Stores)…alternate title: “Thank You Nana”…other alternate title: “These Are My People”

So, it turns out that our local grocery store does not open until 7am.

How do I know this?

Nana told me.

How does Nana know this?

She is visiting us, and was gracious enough to travel to said grocery store at 6:30 am this morning to buy one apple.

Who was Jonesing for one apple at 6:30am, you ask?

No one.  And normally, I would have served an apple core out of the garbage before loading everyone up that early for a trip to the store.

However, last night (too late to go out) I remembered that E was supposed to take an apple to school for her Kindergarten’s “Johnny Appleseed” unit.

I also remembered that Nana was here, and (God love her), she naturally follows the schedule my children have forced me into (i.e. she naturally wakes up at 6am).

So, when she graciously volunteered to use her early morning time to get us the apple…

and then upped the ante by volunteering to take the wide-awake T with her…

I took her up on the offer.  (Who wouldn’t?!  And, by the way, I was helping E get ready for school at the time, just so you don’t think I sent Nana off and then went back to bed!)

How was I to know that poor Nana would end up looking like a kid peering in a store window at some forbidden object for half-an-hour?  (the eternally forbidden fruit, it turns out, that bright red apple…)

Grocery stores have those bright, all-night, lights!  Who knew they weren’t open until 7am?

By the way, this might be another piece of evidence that although E is rocking her Kindergarten class, I am in danger of failing the “parent of a Kindergartener curriculum” (seriously, it is harder than you think keeping track of their assignments, completing the administrative paperwork correctly, making sure their spare cubby clothing is weather appropriate amid ever-changing fall temperatures, and remembering which days we pack shorts for gym, books for library, a fresh blanket for naptime laundry exchange, etc.)

Given my mis-steps so far (only one month into the school year), it makes it extra nice that instead of just buying one apple, once Nana got into the store, she bought a bag of apples for E to take just in case any other families forgot theirs.

Although we donated the apples to the pile as anonymously as possible, I think Nana realized that we should – even subconsciously – get in good with this group of families now, early in the schooling experience.

Because although I love all types of people (and secretly admire the more organized ones), the folks who appreciate those extra apples being there are the folks I understand, feel connected to, and will probably see most often.

They are my people.  They are the ones who forget the apple, but realize they forgot the apple, and will be intent upon moving heaven-and-earth to get an apple there, until they realize that someone dropped off a huge bag of spare apples.  They are not the ones who remember the apple effortlessly every time.  And they are not the ones who forget the apple, but don’t really care.

They are the ones who, when we create a cornucopia in November, will make up for an apple-oversight by dropping a few extra gourds in the pile anonymously, and by doing so, will save me a panicked trip to Target.

These are the people who I will meet at school as we drop off the lunches that were left on the counter in the middle of morning crazies.  They are the folks I will see when we’re all picking up posterboard at Target at midnight some evening because something spilled on (or a sibling ate part of) the just-completed project at dinner.  We will chat about how our kids will all be gluing things on a new poster tomorrow morning before the 7:50am school bell.  Craft party at my place; be there at 6am!

For better or worse, these are my people, and I love them before I’ve even met them.

Thanks for the effort and the apples, Nana!  And thanks for beginning my connection to my group of parents: the ones who are (1) invested enough to make it happen no matter what sort of Herculean effort is required to do so, and (2) imperfect enough that we can be friends.

Public Service Announcement: Free Chick-fil-A Today!

Chick-fil-A is offering a free meal to anyone who comes dressed like a cow today, July 8!  Last year, the kids and I downloaded the “cow costume kit” (, dressed in our black and white clothes and enjoyed an amazing (free!) dinner.

Recalling last year’s success, I must acknowledge a few cow-costumed people:

(1) Credit my husband who, when I called to tell him about the event and asked if we could meet him at the restaurant – and dress him like a cow – responded by simply saying, “I’ll be there.  Moo.”

(2) Credit the friends we ran into at the restaurant, also dressed like cows, for sharing even more bovine finery with us, guaranteeing we would all get the full size free meal.

(3 & 4) Credit the mom of their group, who recognized that a nursing wrap was the ultimate in cow costumes (she – a genius – with her newborn baby, and me – an eager accomplice – with mine).  Also credit the poor male Chick-fil-A employee who appreciated the fact that we had left our babies with their dads at the table and awkwardly acknowledged that we had both earned our meals.

Finally, I would like advance credit for our efforts later today.  Dressed as cows, we will enjoy delicious chicken nuggets, the best sweet tea since my grandma’s, no meal prep and minimal clean-up.  Moo.  Moo.  Moo.  Moo.  Moo.  (That’s one free meal for every member of our five-person family.)

Our herd is on its way, Chick-fil-A!!!

Another important public service announcement…Queen Anne’s Lace! (also included: a lightning bug update)

Queen Anne’s lace is blooming!

I have great childhood memories of picking the white flowers, putting them in jars of water, adding the dye and then watching the flowers turn the color of the dye over the next few days.  Here’s a website that explains why these are the ideal flowers to use for this activity, and how to know which flowers to pick to get the best result:

Dying the flowers is definitely on my list of things to do with the kids in the very near future.  (Thinking we could make a Queen Anne’s lace rainbow bouquet for someone who needed a pick-me-up?  Or, if we weren’t traveling it would be fantastic for Father’s Day…)

And since I’m already in public service announcement mode, I will provide an update on my previous announcement that lightning bug season is here…see the post at the following link for details:

Update: On Friday night, we let all the kids stay up late to watch for lightning bugs.  Now, this easily could have been one of those activities that you build up in your head as something wonderful, only to be let down by the actual experience.  I was nervous that it would be that way – we’d end up covered in mosquito bites or end up with zero lightning bugs sightings, two exhausted parents and three grumpy, over-tired kids.  But I have to say, the experience was even better than I had originally, optimistically hoped.

The best part might have been while we were waiting for the bugs to appear.  We sat on our back porch for at least twenty minutes and just watched the sunset while we held, rocked and talked to our kids.  That might not seem like an accomplishment, but it is actually huge.  These days, it is so hard to get the kids to just sit and snuggle with us for too long.  We still get our fix while we’re reading them stories or watching a movie, but books and movies are big elements to add to an interaction.  On Friday night, it was just us, the kids and the anticipation of lightning bugs.  And the kids were willing to sit still in our laps – even when there was nothing to see – because they knew something was coming, and because they were so excited about being up late.  E & S both kept saying over and over, “You know, I have never seen a real live lightning bug before!  I have only seen the fireflies on Sesame Street!  And Ray and Evangeline in the Princess and the Frog movie!”

And then, across the field behind our house near a cluster of trees (they always seem to be near the trees…), I saw one little flash of light.  We all ran over, and pretty soon there must have been 7 or 8 lightning bugs flying around us.  The girls were so cute, running around in their princess pajamas and bare feet squealing, “I saw one light up!  Did you see it?  I saw another one!”  We caught one in a mason jar and kept it for about 3 minutes, just long enough for the kids to really look at it, and to see it light up several times.  As it flew away, S craned her head so far back to follow the flight path that she almost fell over backwards, and E asked if we could have one to keep as a pet in our house (“It would be like my own night light!  A pet that could come sit by me anytime it was dark and I needed to see!”)  T, who at his age really just enjoyed seeing his sisters so excited, seemed to be looking at us with an expression that said, “I knew it!  I knew it!  I knew that cool stuff happened after you make all of us kids go to bed at 8!”

Well, cool stuff happened last Friday night right around 8:40.  E, S, and T saw their first lightning bugs… and my husband and I got to see our kids light up.

We interrupt this blog for an important public service announcement…lightning bugs!

Lightning bug season is here!  We saw the first lightning bugs of summer last night!  The visual came while sitting on our back porch eating watermelon with friends and was very exciting for three reasons:

(1) Lightning bugs!  Who doesn’t love them!  Brings back such great summer memories from my own childhood…

(2) It means we should have an extra fun night with the kids this week.  They normally go to bed at 8 (before the 8:30 sunset) and were asleep last night during the sighting.  That means we’ll either keep them up one night this week, or we’ll sneak up to their rooms when it’s really dark and wake them to come look, and

(3) we are hopeful that the lightning bugs distracted our guests enough that they will forget the mouse that ran across their feet on our (supposedly) screened-in porch during dessert.  Kudos to both of them for pretending that the rodent was cute and choosing to ask for seconds instead of packing their things as my husband herded (yes, herded, with a barricade of chairs and some wild gestures) the mouse out into the yard.

I couldn’t wait to tell the kids about the lightning bugs, but they were actually far more interested in the mouse.  To summarize the conversation from my side…

– “Yes!  A mouse!”

– “No…not Mickey Mouse.”

– “No…not Minnie Mouse.”

– “Yes…I would wake you up if Mickey or Minnie was on the porch and you were sleeping”.

– “Yes…I would especially wake you up if they brought any of their princess or ‘Toy Story’ friends.”

– “Yes!  That would be amazing, but just so we’re clear, if I wake you up this week, it is probably so you can see lightning bugs, not because all of the Disney characters have gathered in the yard.”

Egads.  Maybe we should just go with the plan of letting them stay up later.  I fear if we wake them, they will just end up being disappointed!

Enjoy the lighting bugs!  (And please, if the Disney characters do congregate in your yard at some point this week, call us, call us, call us.  No matter how late!)