Sunday, June 29, 2014

Pizza Rules!

Our next door neighbors, Sam and Abby, had their birthday party at Potomac Pizza last weekend.

They took over almost the whole place!

Making your own pizza and then getting to eat it: over the top fun for kids!

While the pizzas were in the oven, the kids decorated goodie bags.  

I'm just seeing now that in the lower right corner of Joseph's bag, he wrote "Peetsu rools."  Pizza Rules!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Last Day of 1st Grade

I'm so glad I started this tradition last year of taking a picture of Joseph next to our tree in the front yard on the last day of the school year, and making a list of all the things he loves at this one special point in time.  I imagine some of those will never change, like movies and chocolate ;) Click on the picture to enlarge so you can read it!
(Here's the one from kindergarten)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Farewell, Fabulous Firsts

Goodbye, my dear Rockstar class.  I don't know about Joseph, but I will miss you all terribly.  I can't believe 1st grade is over! I was as present as I could be throughout the year, volunteering as the lead room parent, organizing parties, chaperoning field trips, collecting for teacher gifts, decorating bulletin boards, stuffing "Take Home Tuesday" envelopes, whatever they would let me do.  I feel like I practically know all 22 of the other kids and their families as well as my own.  And yet I still feel like I missed out on so much when I had to go to work 3 days a week.

We squeezed in one last event the day before school ended, a celebration for all the kids with summer birthdays.  Joseph just happens to be one of them!  Edison's mom hatched a plan to bring ice cream sandwiches and have the kids play outside, and suggested we get some sidewalk chalk for everyone.  I ran with that idea and made up individual bags with a label that looked like a chalkboard.  Who knew I had a chalk font on my computer?  The kids actually loved it and drew all over the blacktop.

I got a little surprise of my own on the last "Take Home Tuesday." The class had made a card for me with lovely messages of appreciation, and George and Laszlo read a letter the class had written to me as well.  "Thank you for enriching our lives."  Sigh...... And totes adorbs that they all call me "Dr. Carl."  I was also presented with a canvas wrapped print of the class from mustache day, when I made chocolate lollipop mustaches for the lot of them.

It took until the absolute very last day of school, but I finally got a picture of Joseph with his teacher, Ms. Klane.  She really went above and beyond to make sure that Joseph succeeded this year, and there are not enough words in the world to express our gratitude.

Day after day, volumes of papers and books and pictures came home in Joseph's backpack.  So much of it is destined for the recycling bin, but on the last day these 2 gems came home.  The 1st is a note from Ms. Klane on the back of the picture she took of him on the 1st day of school.  Heart: melted.

The second is something they must have done the last week of school - passing around papers with one student's name on it, and the others got to write compliments about them. "I like your Mohawk."  "I think you are very smart and clever."  "You are very nice to us."  "You are cool."  "You're my best friend."  "I am impressed with your writing."

How am I going to make it through summer without all of this cuteness???

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Paw Prints

Our elementary school mascot is the Janney Jaguar, and the staff does this cute thing  passing out paw print certificates to students whenever they feel they've earned one with exemplary behavior.  A kid can get one individually, or a class as a whole can earn them too.  When a class accumulates enough paw prints, they get to have a celebration!  To celebrate the end of the school year and the arrival of summer, I made paw print cookies as treat for Joseph's class.

I used my favorite recipe for sugar cookies and royal icing from the Cookie Craft cookbook, and a technique for 20 second icing that I love that requires little to no piping skills.  I used an edible marking pen to draw the outlines on the first dozen cookies, but after that I was comfortable enough to freehand all the rest - just another 4 dozen or so!

After that dried, I went back in and filled in the background with white icing using the same technique.

Et voila, we had paw print cookies!  Lots and lots of paw print cookies, which Joseph was so excited to give to his friends.

I created a label and printed out multiples on sticker-backed paper, then packaged up a pair of cookies  in cellophane bags for each recipient.  We had enough for every classmate and all the teachers too.

They were such a huge hit that I'm sure I'll be making dozen upon dozen more of them for many different school occasions over the next 4 years.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Homework Super Star

First grade is winding down - only 2 days left! - and there were surely some highs and lows.  Remember "Homework Face?"  There was a time earlier on where Joseph tried to  claim his assignment was impossible, so I made him write a note to the teacher that said "I forgot all of my vocabulary words."  Fast forward to the end of the year, while doing double digit addition, he actually says to me "Remember back in the olden days when home work used to take me so long?"

Yes.  Yes, I do.

I couldn't be any more proud of the strides Joseph has made in reading and writing, and all the effort he put into his schoolwork.  

Of course they give these certificates out to every kid in class, but when they actually mean something, they're pretty special. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Faux Hawk

I am wholeheartedly obsessed with Joseph's new do.

As is he.
Thank you, Mr. Lihn!

Friday, June 13, 2014


It was a tough choice for June's cookie of the month.  I had some seriously delicious sounding recipes flagged, but in the end I went with one from the Smitten Kitchen blog for crisp salted oatmeal white chocolate cookies, and many people are glad I did.  I finally got to use this awesome sea salt my friend Jocelyn brought me back from Angelsey in Wales for something other than Ina Garten's salted caramel brownies (which, by the way, people would kill each other for.  They've been my signature dessert for the past year, and they always get rave reviews).

These are some B.I.G. cookies!  They are indeed crispy on the outside yet still delightfully slightly chewy inside.  The hint of sea salt was subtle but definitely noticeable.  I might be a little more heavy handed with the salt the next time I make them, and I will make them again, for sure.

My Joe Joe has yet to give any cookie a thumbs down.