Tales from the Great Covid Pandemic

Why write a blog and not tell stories? That was the whole point of this…..

 

Me: I can help you.

Tornado E: You can’t.

Me: I teach freshman English.

Tornado E: But you don’t teach GATE freshman English.

Kid….

***

Me: I can help you.

Tornado E: No, you can’t.

Me: You’re working on English. I’m an English teacher.

Tornado E: Well, you don’t know MLA.

Me: Kid, do you even know what my degree is in?

***

Me: Tornado S, you’re in trouble!

Tornado S: I didn’t do it.

Me: No kidding. I’ve heard from two teachers now. You haven’t done any work for 2 weeks. You’ve just sat in front of the computer doing nothing for TWO WEEKS.

Tornado S: I did science.

Me: Try again. The last teacher that emailed me was your science teacher.

***

My Mom: Fae, you need to go to the grocery store. I forgot to ask you for sour cream.

Me: You sent me yesterday.

My Mom: You’re the only one who can go.

Me: And the day before that. And the day before that.

I am the red shirt of my family.

***

My mom has been making masks.

My mom: Fae, I sold your mask.

Me: You sold my mask? The one you made me last week?

My mom: One of my friends wanted a green one. It’s not like you’ve worn it.

Touche.

***

Tornado A: Hi, Mama! I’m up!

Me: It’s…. 6…. why…?

Doze because I don’t have to commute anymore….

Tornado A: I checked my assignments! I didn’t have any! So I did 3 math exercises and 3 English assignments! So I’m done!

Me: It’s…. 6:30….. Dude, your teacher hasn’t posted anything. I haven’t posted anything!

Tornado A: But I checked!

***

Tornado A: MAMA! I’m done! With all my assignments!

Me: It’s only been twenty minutes!!!

***

My grandma: I need to get milk and eggs and a cake mix.

Me: Why won’t you let me go for you?

My grandma: I’m not frail.

Me: You’re in. the. vulnerable. group.

My grandma: I’ll be fine.

Me: I have charts and articles. I’ll bore you with research.

My grandma: Fine. If it makes you feel better, go.

***

Me: Are you done with homework?

Tornado E: …. Yes….

Me:…..

Tornado E: (nods and smiles)

Me:…….

Tornado E: ….Maybe…..

Me: Do you work.

Tornado E: (sighs, grumbles, goes to his desk) mumbles something

***

Me: Are you done with your work?

Tornado E: I’m watching something first (on his phone).

Me: Is it for school?

Tornado E: ….Yes…..

Tornado E’s phone: *%$!@

Me: Your phone tells me that’s a lie. Do your work.

***

Me: Did you read?

Tornado S: YES!

Me: Was it game stats online?

Tornado S: Yes!

Me: Go read an actual book.

Tornado S: But-

Me: Now.

***

Tornado S: I don’t see why I can’t read online.

Me: Are you reading game stats?

Tornado S: I was researching.

Me: Game stats?

Tornado S: What does it matter? Reading is reading. It’s all the same.

Me: Can you make connections? Predictions? Analyze theme, plot, characters?

Tornado: I’ll get a book. (mumbles something about teachers and mothers.)

***

My mom: Fae, I need green onions.

Me: I’ll put it on the list. I’m going now.

My mom: Do you have your mask?

Me: Yeah!

My mom: Let me see.

Me:….

***

Me: Why does my face mask smell of peanuts?

***

When you wear a face mask, no one can see you mouth cuss words. Even when you wear a face mask, people can still hear you cuss though.

Make Puppets!

Here me out. When I needed a craft back when I was a teenage babysitter, this was a favorite among the kids. Especially sock puppets.

I was a cool teenage babysitter. We played games. We made crafts. We cooked. I let kids stay up later if they cleaned the house with me. I read stories with voices and acted things out. If you had a sink full of dishes, I would wash them. (Except one family that always had overflow all over the counters. One time there wasn’t even a dish, cup, anything in any of the cabinets. Nope. No way was I doing that many dishes.) And I never had a boyfriend for anyone to worry about. Cool.

Also kids love acting out stories. And sock puppets are so fun.
1. Sock puppets. We all have old random sock singles. Let kids use markers to decorate the face. Glue yarn for hair. Glue buttons for eyes.

 
2. Brown paper sack puppets. Markers to decorate faces. Perhaps even clothes. Glue googly eyes.
3. Popsicle stick puppets. Decorate popsicle sticks like characters with markers. People do this all the time. With Minions….?


4. Paper puppets. Draw or print out figures. Color them. Cut them out. Glue them on popsicle sticks. Back when I was a cool teenage babysitter, I had a whole bunch of these in authentic historical costumes and did shows about famous people in history. Then the kids would play with them. Because I was cool.


5. Shadow puppets. Teach kids to make shadow puppets. I can only do a dog, bird, duck, and bunny. But I’m sure there are more. And just 4 characters can have a lot of stories.


6. Let the kids make up skits and present them.


More to come! Stay safe! Stay sane!

Rock Crafts Part 2

Who wants more rock crafts?

We’ll just pretend everyone is excited by this. I told that I had tons of these. If I look through pictures, I bet I can find a few more.

One of the annoying things about living with my parents is a lot of my stuff is packed away in what I call “deep storage.” Like a meat locker but for my things. So all my crafting books, all my cook books, all my old scouting books, and a lot of my crafting supplies are out of reach. So annoying.

But I’m sure that I can find more crafts and activities to keep my tornadoes busy and your little ones busy.

 
1. Paper maché rocks. Cut up colorful tissue paper. Or just pretty paper. Glue the paper all over the rock. Seal it if you want.
2. Rock collage. Cut pictures or words out of magazines or print pictures and words. Glue them on the rock. Seal if desired.

 
3. Paint rocks gold or silver. Makes for great treasure to hunt for. I used to hide them in the sand box when I had young pirates.

 
4. Paint rocks with nail polish. I should do a whole post on what I‘ve painted with nail polish. Like so much.


5. Words! Paint the rock. Write names.


5.a Write words. Have kids make sentences and poetry out of word rocks.


5.b Write cool sayings and quotes on rocks. Give them away. Hide them around the neighborhood.


6. Ladybugs. Find round or oval rocks. Paint them red. Paint a small portion black for the head. Paint dots. You don’t really have to do red. I’ve seen them painted with other colors.


7. Ghosts. Paint them white. Draw a ghost face on them in black marker. I had the cubs do this one year. They loved it. Points for painting in glow-in-the-dark afterwards. We also made jack o lanterns as well.


More to come. Stay safe. Stay sane.

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Rock Crafts: Part 1

In one of my first craft posts, I mentioned rocks. Now I’m going to get more specific on crafts with rocks because it was my go to for years. Even in Cub Scouts.

Rocks are easy to find. They are cheap. Even if you have to buy a bag of water rocks, there are so many crafts you can do with rocks.

Right now two tornadoes out of three are studying rocks and Earth’s crust, so I’m scouring the internet for science projects to add to the study, so rocks are our thing.
1. Rock hunt. Find that perfect rock. Or rocks. Look at color, size, texture. Like hide and go seek, I can draw this game out for a long time. (Coming soon how to draw out games for a long time. ) Bring home the rocks and wash them. Let them dry. If kids ask why the rock is darker, water changes the light reflecting from the rock. (My boys asked why a lot; they get it from their Mama.)

 
2. Pet rocks. Glue some googly eyes on that bad boy and done. Maybe draw a smile. Make a little home for it with a box. Decorate the box. Name the rock. Teach it to sit.


3. Monster rocks. Paint the rock. Any color. Multiple colors. Draw eyes and a scary face. Bonus points for googly eyes.


4. Turtle rocks. Find the perfect rock for a turtle shell. Paint the rock, preferably turtle colors, but it’s ok to have a pink turtle. Leave it like that or add other rocks or pompoms for feet and a head.


5. Fruit or vegetable rocks. Again this means looking for a good rock to match the shape of the fruit or vegetable or vice-versa. Paint the rock to resemble the chosen fruit of vegetable. I used to paint strawberries.


6. Paper weight. Find a bigger, heavier rock. Paint it. (Makes for great gifts!)


7. A word on paint. I’ve done plain craft paint. We’ve done markers. Spray paint works. Nail polish works. You can seal it with sealer or clear nail polish.


Good luck. Stay safe. Stay sane.

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Fun Kid Recipes

Oh no. I must be running out of ideas. Nah, I’ve got weeks worth before I start building this with new stuff.

We all hear how good it is to have kids in the kitchen. Teaches responsibility. Teaches math. Blah, blah, blah. Family fun time!

Of course, the best reason I heard was from Tornado E’s 7th grade math teacher. When you don’t follow directions when cooking, the consequences are immediate and disastrous. If that isn’t life lessons, I don’t know what are.

So I give you easy recipes to teach your kids how to cook. And yeah, I’ve got bunches of these.
1. Quesadillas. Try different cheeses.
2. Cheese crisp. Open face quesadillas baked in the oven so they are cheesy and crispy. Butter the tortilla, sprinkle with cheese, and pop into the oven until the edges get brown. Cut like a pizza Traditionally with cheddar. But I’ve done it with three different cheeses to make them look like candy corn once cut.
3. Trail mix. Kids love making it. Nuts, cereal, granola, pretzels, dried fruit, freeze-dried fruit, M&Ms. All kinds of fun and interesting combinations. I do this about once a year with my cubs. They love this. Their older and younger siblings love this. Their parents love this.


4. Popsicles. Juice in ice cube trays; plastic wrap over it; toothpicks or popsicle sticks stuck into the plastic in each square. No ice cube trays? Paper cups. Plastic wrap over the top. Stick a popsicle stick in. Freeze.


5. Peanut butter and crackers. Teach your kids early how to spread things. Mine are horrible at it.


6. Jelly and cracker sandwiches. My tornadoes loved these as kids. Regular crackers. Graham crackers. It can get a little messy.


7. Cheese and sandwich meat and crackers. Basically homemade Lunchables. Pick your favorite cheeses and meets. As a kid, I thought this was the height of sophistication.


8. Parfaits. Healthy: yogurt, granola, fruit. Layer. Dessert: pudding, cookies, whip cream (maybe a layer of chocolate syrup)


More to come. Stay safe! Stay sane!

Some Beauty Crafts

Let’s take a break from being messy for a little bit. Right now in this time of chaos and crazy, we need to take care of ourselves. Yes, yes, many of us are too busy to do so. Trust me, I know. Everyone seems to be telling me to slow down and focus on myself. Breathe. Yeah, yeah, I will…. after this.

But I am sure we can make a little time to pamper ourselves. Who doesn’t like a good bath? Who doesn’t like feeling pretty and relax?

So here are some beauty crafts for adults, teens, and tweens. Ok the first 2 are for kids too.
1. Bath salt. Mix Epson salts with a little food color, perhaps some vanilla. Tada You can use oils meant for soap or eating if you have them.
2. Milk bath. A cup of instant milk into a bathtub. Like Cleopatra. Remember this for sunburn season.
3. Avocado mask. Just mash up a ripe avocado that you forgot you had or were waiting just one more day to use and oh damn. You can add a little olive oil.


4. Body and face scrub. Equal parts salt, sugar, and oatmeal. Simple. Easy. Oatmeal oats by themselves are a good body and face scrub.


5. Coffee and sugar body and face scrub. Equal parts fine ground coffee, brown sugar, and coconut oil. 1t vanilla extract.¬† They say “fresh” ground coffee. But I’m a rebel.


6. Hair wash. 2 T of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water. Wash hair normally. Pour on hair wash. Let set for 2 minutes. Rinse.


7. Beer rinse. Wet hair. Rinse with beer. Let set 2 to 5 minutes. Wash hair normally. I tend to wash my hair really, really well after the beer rinse. Also they say flat beer is the best….


I have a whole book on this stuff, but it’s in deep storage. But now I’m thinking of trying some new ones and see how they work and add more here.

More to come! Stay safe! Stay sane!

Bookmark Crafts! Part 1

Did someone say bookmarks?
Nobody ever says bookmarks. Sigh. (I hope you had a sight gag in your mind for that, and then me shaking my head sadly.)

But I have 2 days of bookmark crafts. Because they’re easy. And I think they’re fun. My boys did too…. once… before it became a huge thing. They make great gifts for readers. And they’re easy to mail in an envelope to cheer someone up.
1. Stickers and construction paper. Easy. Fancy it up with covering it with clear contact paper or clear packing tape. Punch a hole; add ribbon.
2. Paint samples and stickers. Easy. Fancy it up with covering it with clear contact paper or clear packing tape. Punch a hole; add a ribbon.
3. Paint samples and cool hole punches. That is if you have a cool hole puncher. Why do I own random stuff? Maybe you could make cool designs with a regular hole punch….


4. Card stock/paper and thumbprints. Just random thumbprints. Or make cool pictures out of thumbprints like flowers, birds, or monsters. Fancy it up with clear packing tape or clear contact paper. Punch a hole; add a ribbon.


5. Glue pressed flowers on a card stock. Cover with clear packing tape or clear contact paper.


6. Clear contact paper and confetti or cut pieces of colored tissue paper. To fancy it up, punch a hole, and add a ribbon.


7. Have the child draw a drawing. Take a picture. Adjust the size and print it out. (hell, just have the kid draw on a piece of paper and add a ribbon.)


8. Craft foam and markers.


More to come. Like seriously, I have more of these. At least another day. I’m sure if I went though my notebooks, Pinterest, photos, and old posts, I would have more.

Stay safe. Stay sane.

Canned Crescent Roll Ideas

How many of you are getting bored with eating the same old thing? How many of your kids are getting bored eating the same thing? How many of you are bored with making the same thing?

Some of us don’t have the time, energy, or know-how to make gourmet meals right now. Here are a few ideas on using canned crescent rolls. All kid approved. It’s also a great way to start with some light cooking. Let the kiddos help. I find they are more likely to eat something that they made themselves.

At least, that’s what I tell myself.

Open up your rolls, spread them out, and add the ingredients. Roll them up and bake them like the directions say.

1. Spread cream cheese and sprinkle your favorite seasoning. I prefer garlic. To add extra flavor, brush melted butter and add a sprinkle of seasoning.
2. Half a stick of string cheese. To add extra flavor, brush on melted butter and sprinkle dried garlic or Parmesan cheese.


3. Half a stick of string cheese and few pepperoni slices. To add extra flavor, brush butter and sprinkle garlic, Italian seasoning, or Parmesan cheese. Add tomato sauce as a dip.


4. A few chocolate chips. I went a little crazy and made and added chocolate shavings.


5. Nutella. Chocolate shavings on those too.


6. Butter cinnamon and brown sugar.

7. A friend recommended ham and cheddar. Her son loves them, so she makes them and freezes them two in a bag.


Somethings we haven’t tried, but I want to. Cheddar. A slice of turkey or ham and cheese. A slice of apple. Jelly.

Good luck. Stay safe. Stay sane.

Stamps! Create your own stamps!

Kids love working with paint and ink. It’s fun. Try it.

So why do I have so many ideas? Because I have been working with kids for a long time and busy kids are happier and less trouble than bored kids. Even as a teenage babysitter, I did crafts with the kids.

The more you do with your kids, the more memories you make. But really it’s about keeping them from destroying the house and your sanity as well as keeping the next battle to the death from happening. Art is good for the soul. For the kids and you.
1. Yesterday I mentioned using leaves and paint for stamps.
2. Potatoes and Paint. Cut a potato in half; it doesn’t matter which way. Toddlers don’t care if you leave like that. Just make sure they are stamping cut side down because toddlers don’t care. Older kids will figure it out. You can carve the potato into a shape. You can carve something into the potato bottom, like a smiley face. Or get really good and carve out something from the potato.
3. Apples and paint. I’ve always cut horizontally across the apple. But now I wonder what vertical apples do. You can carve a shape, but the seeds and the shape of the apple are cool. Apples are more slippery to hold than potatoes.


4. Sponges and paint. Sure, you could stick with rectangles. Or you could cut sponges in all sorts of shapes. I used hot glue to create handles on mine to help toddler hands.


5. Craft foam and paint. You can cut craft foam into shapes and then use them to stamp. I glued the individual shapes onto squares of craft foam to give a better grip to the stamps.


5.a. Craft foam stickers and pant. Stick the stickers on craft foam squares or blocks of wood. Or you could stick them onto lids from milk containers or soda bottles.


6. Hands and paint. The internet is filled with cute things you can make with hand prints. You can just leave it has hand prints or you can decorate them into objects and animals. Everyone remembers The Turkey. I have had my boys put hand prints on shirts, towels, tiles, and Christmas ornaments. It’s also fun to just play with paint and hands. Ink is cool, but there’s something about the feel of paint squishing between your fingers.


Bonus. A great time to go over those hand washing skills!
More to come! Stay safe! Stay sane!

Stupid Easy Things to Do

In a crisis, we tend to forget about easy stuff to do. Sometimes we just forget to do things when we’re bored. Or we just forget.

God only know how many times I’ve wandered around the house bored, not knowing what to do, and then later realizing, “Holy Cow, I could have done X; sonofabitch!”
1. Let kids draw on the steam mirror. You can have them clean the mirror after. Kids are entertained by both. Also drawing something on the mirror as a surprise is cool too.
2. Dry erase markers work on mirrors and windows. Just make sure you supervise them kiddos.
3. Bubble baths are awesome any time of day. A few drops of food coloring in the water. Magic. You can also write words and draw pictures with the food coloring drops on the bubbles.
4. Night baths with glow sticks and bathroom light off.


5. Remember that game you played as kids where you had to keep the balloon in the air. That is still an awesome game.


6. Same game as 5 but you glue/tape popsicle sticks on the back of paper plates and use them as rackets. Have the kids decorate their rackets. Heck, draw a face on the balloon.


7. Since some of us bought up a 3 years supply of toilet paper, you can dress up as mummies. Not us, you. Some of you bought a huge supply. Make a fort out of it.


More to come. Stay safe. Stay sane. You’ve got this parents!