Welcome to the blog of science fiction author Eileen Rhoadarmer--where science fiction and Mommyhood collide!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Making Valentines

I used to make Crayon Cupcakes on a regular basis when I was a kid, melting down the little remaining nubs  of spent crayons into a multicolored new one.  I'd been meaning to do this with Zaxxon for a while as his bucket of crayons had a ton of broken pieces at the bottom, and finally did a few weeks ago while we had some friends over.  Then my friend pointed out that these would make really good Valentine treats, and they don't even contain sugar!  She declared that she would be making them for her kindergartener's class, and I decided to do the same as soon as I found out that Zaxxon's preschool would be doing a Valentine exchange.

I got some crayons pretty cheap (I was going to get some from a dollar store, but then lucked out that a bunch of Crayola were on clearance when a nearby store closed) and I took care of unwrapping them.  (My office now smells like crayon wax, mmm...)  I broke most of them into little pieces, though Zaxxon helped a little.

Then we put all the little pieces into cupcake liners.  I actually had to encourage him to spread the colors out, he was starting to just put the same colors together in each one.

Bake at 250 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes and Ta da!  You have Crayon Cupcakes!

Rather than purchasing store-bought Valentines to deliver them with, I just cut up pieces of cardstock into kid-sized cards.  Zaxxon's teachers requested that the kids write their own names on the "from" line so they can practice writing their names, so I had him do that.  It took us a couple of installments, because he had to do it 24 times!  (I've found it strange, both at Christmas and now, that Zaxxon can like writing so much, that he will write his name on anything if given the opportunity, but every time I ask him to sign something, he decides to play around rather than write his name properly.  Sheesh, kids!)

On the front of each card, I wrote "You brighten my day."  Then we used glue dots to attach the crayon on the inside, and Zaxxon sealed them with a sticker

I also had the boys make Valentines for family.  Kal'El made some paintings, which I later cut into cards.

He scribbled on them too, once I'd addressed them

Zaxxon also made some paintings that we turned into cards.  He did the cutting himself

I wrote "Happy Valentine's Day" and he wrote the recipient's names and signed them.

These collective projects were quite involved and time-consuming, especially since Zaxxon got sick partway through creating them, but we had a lot of fun nevertheless.  Love kids and holiday celebrations!

Tot School

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Painting and Valentine's Sensory Bin

Zaxxon got an easel for Christmas this year.  He loves it, but last week I decided to let Kal'El use it, too.  Paint and toddlers scare me, especially when used in the same sentence, but I decided it would be worth it to include Kal'El in the fun.  In fact, I'm starting to realize that he probably ought to take over my tot school posts, as Zaxxon is in preschool now.

Anyway, while watching like a hawk with a rag ready to clean errant paint off all surfaces except the paper, I let him have at it.

He loved it, of course.  He especially liked pulling out a brush, making a stroke, and then putting the brush back in the paint jar backwards (handle first.)  Silly, silly boy.  More paint to wipe off those little fingers.

Zaxxon played around with the dry erase side for a while, while Kal'El painted.

His family portrait (Kal'El is pretty tiny, you'll have to look closely).  Zaxxon, of course, is the largest figure.  Wait though... If I remember my high school psychology class correctly, children tend to draw the person they perceive as being in charge of the family the largest.  Uh oh.......

Zaxxon painted too.  He paints so much, particularly at preschool, that we've long since run out of wall space.

Kal'El still loves the sensory bin.  I got it set up for Valentine's Day (below,) but this was him playing with the Christmas one.


And now presenting the Valentine's Day Sensory Bin!
Inside the bin:

  • red and white elbow macaroni
  • red, pink, and purple pom poms
  • red and pink glass stones
  • pink and purple porcupine balls
  • foam hearts
  • heart, kiss, and I-heart-U mini-erasers
  • heart, star, and flower gems
  • measuring cups and tongs for scooping, sorting, etc
I painstakingly sorted out the green macaroni from the Christmas bin, leaving only Valentine's colors--and I fully plan to do the same with the red and add the green back in next month for St. Patrick's Day.  This is the first time I've actually done two holiday themed bins in a row, this close together.  Kal'El really likes the sensory bin, though, so I'm hoping to get this done a little more often in 2013.

The boys loved it, of course.  They always love a new sensory bin reveal.  So much new stuff to explore!

Unfortunately, Kal'El seems to think the glass stones look like candy, because they keep going in his mouth.  The day I revealed this, I'd been hoping it would grant me fifteen minutes of peace while I made lunch.  No deal--had to be supervised.  Oh well, Kal'El will get there someday.

Kal'El sure liked having it to himself while Zaxxon was in preschool


Kal'El trying out some crayons.  He, like his brother, prefers markers, but they make such a mess I'm less inclined to let him use them.  Especially when I'm hoping that some drawing implements and a piece of paper taped to the table will keep him occupied for a time.

Tot School

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Resistance is Futile

We recently went up to Breckenridge to look at the snow sculptures for their International Snow Sculpture Championship.  The work was, of course, amazing.

But what I found most amusing (from a geekdom point of view) was their example of an uncarved block of snow.  This is my entry, and it's already complete.  I present the Borg Cube!

Or maybe I'm just channeling my own Borg Gingerbread creation.

You will be assimilated.  Resistance is futile.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

New Year Kiddie Craft

Superbowl Sunday here!  We always have a party, and this years looks to be fun.  Too bad the Broncos didn't make it.  Boo.


Last year, Zaxxon got a calendar from a magazine someone subscribed him to.  I hung it on his wall and we put stickers on it every day, in order to help mark the passage of time.  It has become part of our nightly routine.  There was no calendar this year, but I knew we needed to get him another one, because this experiment has been highly successful.  We can point to where we are on a calendar now, and where a significant even will be, and he grasps the concept of how long it will take to get there.  So a 2013 calendar was a must.  Before I could decide whether to nab a free community one from the library or spend some of his Christmas money on one, Zaxxon decided that he'd rather make his own.  So I printed some pages off the internet, he decorated, and we put the whole thing together.  He was very proud of this craft, and it's useful for a whole year, so I thought I'd share.
This was an imitation of the December page of our last Calendar, with a snowflake thrown in for good measure
There are some hearts here, for Valentine's Day in February
For March we have an Easter Bunny sitting on top of an egg
April features some flowers
May includes me and my boys for Mother's Day.  And I've already forgotten who is who.  Dang, I should have done this sooner
June is hubby and the boys for Father's Day.  Hubby is the central figure, and he's got a hand out patting each of the boys on the heads.  Again, don't remember which of them is which.
I tried to get Zaxxon to draw an American flag on this one, but I was describing it rather than showing him a picture, so he didn't quite get it.
A swimming pool (complete with a diving board) and a bicycle for August.  I believe that's Zaxxon and Dada in the pool
September is Zaxxon and Dada raking leaves.  There's a tree in the middle, with red and orange leaves along it's trunk
October is Halloween and is Zaxxon's birthday month, so we have a jack-o-lantern and a wrapped present
November features two handprint turkeys
Lastly, December has Santa Claus.
It's pretty remarkable that Zaxxon stayed with this project in one go.  He was getting a little bored by the end--I made some suggested additions to some months, and he said "nah"--but he still wanted to get it completed and hanging on his wall.  I'm very proud of him for this, and I love that some of his pictures are starting to actually look like the thing he's drawing.  Pure awesomeness.

And as a final note, I thought I'd throw in a sensory bin photo.  This is still the Christmas themed one.  Kal'El loves the sensory bin and regularly requests it, and Zaxxon plays along too, if he isn't in preschool at the time.  On this day, they both decided to climb into it.  I love it when they're both being cute, and being brotherly.

Tot School

Friday, February 1, 2013

January Stat Check

Man, it's been a while since I've done one of these.  A LONG while.

During the month of January, I wrote/edited on all 31 days

I revised my novel, working on chapters 25-31.  Seven chapters in one month is a pretty big deal for me.  I'm on a roll!I made 0 submissionsI received 1 rejection
I made 4 blog postsI took no days off


I decided that January would not be a Duotrope/submission month because I wanted to get my photos in order first.  Hopefully in February I'll get everything back out (because I think I only have three stories currently under review.)  I need to find out whether Duotrope's month-to-month goes by calendar month, or 30 days from the date you pay.

As for my novel, I'm feeling really good about it.  I'm confident that I can meet my "finish by the end of March" deadline.  So long as I average a chapter per week or less, I'll be there--and I've been doing just that.  I'm feeling a lot of enthusiasm for it too.

This is exciting, but also a little daunting.  This novel (which I still haven't named, better get on that, huh?) has been taking up most of my writing time, off and on, for years.  It still won't be done--after all, nobody else has even read it yet, but it'll be pretty close, I hope.  And even with more revisions, I'll be getting other people's opinions before plunging back in, so I'll be working on other things again.  Which will be weird.  And exciting.  I can't wait, but it'll be bittersweet.

Happy Blogiversary

Three years ago, this exact day, this exact minute, I posted my first post to Science Fiction Mommy.  Three years.  Wow.  It's hard to believe it's been that long, but also hard to believe it hasn't been longer.  (Actually, it's hard to believe Zaxxon is so old now!  He was smaller than Kal'El is now when I started!)

I'd wax eloquent on the topic, but in actuality it's very late and I'm scheduling this post for tomorrow (the best way to get it on the precise minute required.)  So I'm tired, and off to bed.

Happy Blogiversary to Me!  And thank you for sticking it out with me!