Friday, October 14, 2016

7 Quick Takes about Bringing in the New, Voodoo Math, and a Dire Prediction for the Future of Arts and Crafts

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?


A local park in our town was recently renovated, and I have to say that version 2.0 is pretty cool. After our first time visiting since the rebuild, I asked my kids what they thought and was confused about how unenthusiastic they were.

Then I remembered: these are the same children who, when we got new couches to replace our 1980s brown floral monstrosities (just kidding Mom and Dad, thanks for the hand-me-downs) would go down into the basement on a regular basis just to sit on them quietly because they weren't ready to embrace the new ones yet.

In time, I'm sure they'll accept the new park. Maybe.


My daughter's science class is starting dissection. Specifically, chicken wings. I thought it was hilarious how the email from the school was so emphatic about not having to touch them if you don't want to.
It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

When I was her age, my science class had to dissect rats. And not cute rats, they were like bloated mutant sewer rats the size of housecats.

I don't remember much from that unit other than a kid named John getting sent to the principal's office for scalping his, putting the ears on his head, and singing the Mickey Mouse theme song. So she's in for a wild time.


My son came to me after finishing his homework one night saying "Mom, I can add any two numbers in the hundreds. Wanna see?"

"Okay," I said, "228 plus 167."

And then he wrote down this sorcery:

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

What. The. What.

He got the right answer but I had no idea how he did it.

I had to have him explain it to me twice, do a second problem while I watched, and then explain it to me one more time. Later I tried to teach it to Phillip but got confused again.

It was devilry. Witchcraft. But I liked it. 

It was (and is) hard to wrap my 34-year-old brain around a new way of adding, but once I got it I could see that it helped him conceptualize place value and what he's actually doing, as opposed to my signature "guess and check" method of just moving digits around like I did when I learned to carry numbers in elementary school.

Having kids keeps your brain young.


For movie night, we watched We Bought a Zoo starring either Matt Damon or Ben Affleck (years ago they did a couple of movies together and now in my mind they're the same person.)

I thought it was pretty good, but Phillip was sensitive to the age gap in the romantic interest. I said that I guessed it was because there are no old women in Hollywood, and even if there are, they aren't allowed to look like it.

That turned to a conversation on aging in general and Phillip kissed me and said, "I'm glad you don't look like you're 20. I like a seasoned woman."

I guess that means we're getting older, because one of my favorite things about his appearance is the laugh lines that appear around his eyes when he smiles. Every time I see them, it makes me think of what a good life we've had. We built those laugh lines together.

When I told him so, he smiled (purposely exploiting my weakness for the laugh lines) and said "So you like a weathered old beast like me, too?"


My aunt and uncle stopped by on their way through New England on a 3-week tour of the U.S. in their camper (sounds rough, right?)

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
My 4-year-old set up a folding chair in the driveway to watch them unload.

They stayed with us for a few days and parked in our driveway, which basically turned it into Disneyworld for my kids. Had I known, I would've bought a camper years ago and saved myself the trouble of ever purchasing toys.

The whole 48 hours they were here, my kids were obsessed. They woke up at 6 AM begging to go out to the camper. The older kids got to sleep in it, which was probably the actualization of all their childhood hopes and dreams.

All they did in there was color or read, and I think there may have been popcorn involved, but the novelty of doing it in a camper (kind of a glorified tree fort, I'm thinking) made it the funnest activity in the world.

And then after they left, I found my kids playing with this:

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Like I said, they're obsessed.


Nifty purchase of the week:

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

I'm excited about the zero waste factor of tubeless TP, but to be honest, I'm extremely concerned about what this is going to mean for the future of preschool crafts.

In the last decade I've seen toilet paper tube pilgrims, owls, pencil holders, mermaids, octopi, and, I kid you not, Martin Luther King, Jr. What in the world are they going to do when toilet paper goes tubeless??

And then I came across this Etsy link selling bulk lots of toilet paper tubes for crafts.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

It seems like 12.5¢ a tube is pretty pricey considering that they're literally selling garbage, but then again, these are going to be hot commodities someday.

I think I'm going to start saving mine now and once I sell out at age 75 I'll have a fantastic retirement cushion. Who needs a 401k?


If you're Mormon, and especially if you're Mormon in New England, you know that a new temple was recently built in Connecticut. There are only 150-ish of them in the entire world, and temples are a really important part of our religious worship, so it's kind of a big deal.

When they build a new temple they have an open house so that any members of the public, including children, can see the inside. After the open house it's only open to adult Mormons who've met certain religious standards, so my kids were really excited to go see it.

A few days before we went, our Family Home Evening (kind of like a family devotional) was about temples. We watched this video:

We had a little Q&A session about the temple and what it's for, and then challenged the kids to have a temple drawing contest. But they had to do it with their eyes closed.

Winner of the 'Biggest Temple' award:

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

'Most Angelic' (the angel on top was nicely drawn):

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

'Most Concentric Temple':

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

And lastly, 'Loudest Temple' (get a load of that huge trumpet the angel on top is holding:)

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

The award, of course, was strawberries with a dollop of whipped cream and brown sugar sprinkled on top. Phillip came up with the presentation.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

(I wish I'd gotten a picture of the finished product, because they were almost too pretty to eat. I say 'almost' because we devoured them immediately and without regret.)

I plan to post about our trip to the temple open house next week, in case you're wondering how it went. Spoiler alert: I'm thinking about the title "How NOT to Take Your Family on a Spiritual Pilgrimage" and it involves an epic diaper blowout.

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Ann-Marie Ulczynski said...

My grandparents lived outside of Vegas. I remember when I was a child, they built the Mormon temple there. We went to the open house. I was only a child, but I remember being fascinated and awed by the grand scale of it. Thankfully, no blowouts occurred ;)

AnneMarie said...

That camper obsession is so funny! I've always seen campers around on road trips and whatnot, and they are so mysterious-so it's neat that your kids got to explore one. Have you heard of the book "My American Adventure," by Amy Burritt? It's the firsthand account of a 12-year-old girl whose parents take her and her brother to visit all 50 states in a year. I used to be obsessed with that book and the idea of traveling across the country.

That's really interesting that there are open houses for the Mormom temples when they open! I knew that only certain adults were allowed access to the temple, so I had always assumed that no one else would ever be able to see the inside. I look forward to seeing your post about it-sounds like it was a wild time!

jen said...

I just about died of laughter while reading #2 and was fascinated by #3.

Jenny Evans said...

Then you were lucky, my friend.

PurpleSlob said...

Math- yeah. It's pretty bad when a certified teacher, (myself), can't figure out new math!! Terrifying subject at the best of times!
You have some amazingly talented kids there!!
What a perfect award!! Phillip is a food styling genius!!

Carlie Lake said...

What a fun post to read, Jenny. I'm so glad I visited.

Jen|Practical, By Default said...

Thank you for commenting on my guest post at Crystals! I would never have found you otherwise, this was so funny! A great story to read along with my morning coffee, I love how you write. I love the camper comment, why do we buy toys again?? Thanks again!

Crystal Green from Sharing Life's Moments said...

I loved the tidbit about the toilet paper tubes. That's quite interesting to me because I don't save them UNLESS I wanted to use them for a project.

Alicia @ Sweeping Up Joy said...

It would be a hoot to send some wings to school along with a container of BBQ sauce.

AiringMyLaundry said...

Math is just horrible in my eyes.

My son is excited on dissecting stuff. I think his first thing will be the frog.

Sharon said...

I mean, I can't even believe all the things you can see and articulate about, and so well! Must'ent you be tired? Don't you do enough?!! You need a Mommy Napping Camping, just for you alone.

The Lady Okie said...

Chicken wings! I'm dying. We dissected frogs and it was gross. They even asked you to buy a 4-pack??? That's kind of hilarious and kind of sad.

Rachel said...

#1 cracked me up. Change is so hard for kids. I love high quality parks--I think they're the coolest thing ever. One park I loved in Michigan even had a landscaped map of the USA that was at least 150 feet wide and had rock borders between every state and you could run all over it and I loved it so much and sometimes I thought no kid ever appreciated that park's huge map as much as I did. I used to love walking to TX and CA getting all of my traveling in. "Used to" meaning up until 2 years ago when we moved away.
Because of you, I looked up "We Bought a Zoo" because I saw the movie but did not notice an age gap at all--I was super surprised to find out that Damon is 15 years older than Johansson. I couldn't tell--I guess I thought she was a bit older than she actually is, and I thought he was a bit younger. Matt Damon is almost the same age as my Dad. That's interesting. Of course, I think Angel and I look about the same age and I think most people who know us think we're the same age in spite of the 7 years between us--I'm not sure if that says more about him or more about me...

mothers shadow said...

OH, Jenny, I MISS YOU! I have had SO much going on, but I MUST visit more. You make my day!!!

Samera said...

What is it about the camper vans? We were car shopping last year and the kids were sooo excited to go in one.. The 6 year old was exhausted and waited in the car with me but was soo jealous when his sisters (9 and 11) came back saying theyd been inside one!!
He's been reminding that I need to take him for a while now ��