Evil Crafting – Princess has another use for Perler Beads

Believe it or not, I have been very busy working on things for the blog. But everything is still in progress, so I haven’t been able to post stuff yet.

However, Princess came up with something that I really wanted to share with you all. Remember how overjoyed I was to discover the Perler Bead/Geek connection? Perler Beads are PERFECT for recreating 8-bit graphic images, and there are TONS of patterns online for all my favorite cartoons and sci-fi shows.

But Princess came up with a totally unique use for the beads. She had to make a diorama about the nitrogen cycle. Apparently cows play an important part of the nitrogen cycle, so we had to go to the craft store to buy a little toy cow. And to show why cows are an important part of the nitrogen cycle, Princess decided to use Perler Beads. Here’s a picture of how she used them.


Do you see the Perler Beads?


How about now?

Moo poo!

There they are!

Yep,  my kid turned Perler Beads into moo poo! And just so you know, she got an A on her diorama 🙂

Letters from YO MAMA – Calling home sick

Dear Small Child,

This is YO MAMA speaking. I love you very much. But you stayed home sick from school EVERY DAY last week. Your father tried to take you back to school on Friday, when we knew you felt fine, but you cried and moaned so much he had to bring you back home. To me. And every day that you were home, YO MAMA (that's me) could not go ANYWHERE. Not to the gym, not to the grocery store, not to the craft store to buy yarn, not even outside to go for a walk. As a result, YO MAMA is now STIR CRAZY. Totally, and completely STIR CRAZY.

This weekend, you ran around the yard, played, went to karate class, had fun at a 5-hour long Girl Scout meeting, and did all sorts of cool things. And you never once cried about how sick you felt. So today, when you got up, your father and YO MAMA told you, “YOU ARE READY TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL!” And naturally, you started crying again.

But your father took you to school anyway. And you've been there a grand total of 90 minutes. And you've already been to the nurse's office, and the nurse has already called YO MAMA to let me know that you are crying about an upset tummy.


You are at school today, and you are going to stay there. And you are going back to school tomorrow. Because YO MAMA is so worn out and so stir-crazy from being stuck at home taking care of you all last week that there is NO WAY IN HELL she is going to pick you up from school and bring you home. Instead, YO MAMA is going to stay right here, on the couch, watching bad horror movies on TV while she sips coffee and draws webcomics.


I love you. Have a wonderful day at school.



ACW Episode 249 – It’s fitting time!


Click on the pic to see the full-sized comic!

Princess is 11 years old. Seriously. Keeping up with school uniforms is getting expensive.

The kids are back at school, and I’m trying to get to work on a schedule that will let me get comics done on a regular basis again. Of course, I’m once again juggling volunteer work with my own personal work. I’ll have to see how this works out.

I’m also trying to do more blog posts. You may start seeing quick posts that are just shots of whatever my current work in progress is. I’d love to start doing some posts on craft projects, like some of the crochet toys I’ve done, but that means I’ll have to find time to do the crafts as well as write the blog posts.

Anyhoo, if you start to see lots of quit photos of drawings and weird cat or crochet pictures, that’s just me flailing around, trying to do some blogging.

Ya know, strangely enough, it was easier for me to write blog posts when I had a pre-schooler and an infant that it is now that I’ve got a pre-teen and a grade schooler. What happened to my time?!

I lurve DOODLING!!

Last Saturday I think I fractured a rib. Today, my back started going out. Obviously, the school year has started, because I can't recall a school year in recent history that hasn't started with me being sick or injured or both.
But that's okay, because now that the school year has started, it means I can once again indulge in my favorite past-times – watching really bad horror movies on SyFy while doodling and working on webcomics. The image above is the warm-up doodle I did today while watching some abysmal crime against cinema called “Headless Horseman.” It's not a huge piece of art, but I'm glad I can steal some time to doodle and watch bad movies. I can't do that while the kids are home during the summer, so at least there's one good thing about them going back to school.


ACW 236 – Oh yeah, it’s Christmas


Click on the thumbnail to see the full-sized holiday webcomic.

Oy vey, have we been having fun here. Hubster was away on a business trip for a week. Those things are brutal for both of us. Him, because he’s away from home, in a dry, life-sucking hotel room. Me, because I’m home doing double-parenting duties. Anyway, Hubster came home from his trip in time for me to get the house ready for our monthly Girl Scout troop meeting. The day of the meeting, my back started to spasm. All I could think about was how I was going to take a pill once the meeting was over and just collapse in bed. But the Hubster’s back went out before that could happen and I had to limp along to take care of him.

Then Pixie came down sick, so I had to take care of her and Hubster. Hubster finally made it back to work, just in time for me to get sick. So now I’m on the couch, struggling to finish off a simple one-panel cartoon with accompanying blog post.

As for Princess, that poor kid spent the last couple weeks working on a book report that involved writing a synopsis and opinion of the book, writing a letter from the POV of the main character, and completing a poster that showed a picture of the main character, a time-line of his life, include pictures of 10 items that appear in the book, etc. Then while we were in the middle of that, she got an assignment to write a report on Hurricane Isabel, which had to be turned in the same week. So she was kind of fried by the time she was done with all that.

So now I’m sick in bed. I’m missing out on all sorts of things I was supposed to do this week, but it was all volunteer work so I don’t care. I am allowed to take sick days when I need them, and boy howdy do I need them this week.

Hopefully, we’re all better by next week. We’ll see. In the meantime, enjoy the webcomic!

Cookie-gate Resolved (And I Cut Off The Tip Of My Finger!)

Since I just know people are sitting on the edges of their seats waiting to hear all about how Cookie-gate turned out…

It turns out I blew up all over nothing.

Yep, yours truly got all wound up and frothing at the mouth over a misunderstanding. It seems that the preschool teacher got too many cookies from all the various moms last week, so she decided the class would have two parties – one last Friday before Easter and one later this week. She handed out the homemade cookies on Friday, since they weren’t sealed in packages. Thus Cassie’s cookies were ‘the wrong type of cookies.’ Because the cookies I picked up were sealed in a plastic container, Ms. D. thought they were more likely to stay fresh until next week, so she set them aside for the second party. But Cassie, being five, didn’t understand this and so that’s why she was upset. But she’s much happier now that they’ve had the second party and she’s gotten to share her cookies with the rest of her classmates.

And do I feel like a dumb-ass about all this?

Well, maybe…

I do think I’ve had more than a few bones to pick with Ms. D., and justifiably so, but this particular incident just goes to show the hazards of feeling antagonistic toward a teacher. Fortunately, I realized that there might be some sort of misunderstanding going on before Monday came around, so I made sure that Michael was the one who asked about the cookies that day instead of me, because I was still in an uproar even then. Michael’s got a much cooler head than I do, and I know this and I rely on this, which is the best proof I have that yes, I do actually have a brain. That and the fact that I took Mary’s advice to calm down and not go in with guns blazing over two packages of cookies. Good advice, by the way.

Meanwhile, this whole thing makes me realize a few things. First, I shouldn’t let previous incidents color my understanding of current goings-on between Cassie and her teachers, especially when my knowledge of current goings-on comes only from Cassie. She’s five. She’s smart. She’s honest. But she’s **five**, and she gets confused.

Second, I’m still way too stressed from the previous weeks leading up to my major mental freak-out the other week. I need to calm down. But it’s hard to do that when…

Third, I’ve quit breastfeeding and my hormones are on a rampage. My emotions are just running amok and I get pissed over every little thing still. Plus my boobs hurt and I somehow gained five pounds in one night which was really uncomfortable for a few days. The extra weight did disappear, but the hormones are still doing their freaky-ass thing, so I need to make extra sure I don’t bite off anyone’s head unnecessarily.

And finally, I need to remember that above all else, when my hormones are out of control and I’m in a bad mood, I should be extra careful when slicing onions because I just about julienned the middle finger of my left hand on Saturday night, and that’s making it rather hard to type right now.

Therefore, I’m going to bed.

Now I’m Mad

I had planned to write tonight about how nice my week has gone. I’ve slowed down, quit worrying about the housework, I’ve taken naps most afternoons, and spent more time with Michael and the kids. And it’s been nice… really, really nice.

But now I’m pissed.

Cassie had an Easter party at her pre-school today. I got the request to bring in cookies last week. Being overloaded and short on time, I thought I’d buy some nice cookies from the store. Not just any old box of Oreos, mind you, but actual Easter cookies with decorations from the bakery section.

So I bought the cookies yesterday, Thursday, to make sure they’d be reasonably fresh. No point in buying cookies a week in advance just to have them go stale before the party, right? Because no one should have to eat stale cookies at a party. Then Thursday afternoon when I went to pick up Cassie from pre-school, one of her teachers, Ms. D, asked me if I’d forgotten to get the cookies.

“No, I got them this afternoon. Cassie is bringing them in tomorrow morning.”

“Oh!” said Ms. D. “See, we expect the moms to bring stuff in a few days before, so we know we’ve got it all.”

“Well that’s the first time I’ve heard of this,” I replied.

“Yeah,” Ms. D went on. “All the other moms have been bringing stuff in all week long. We just thought maybe you forgot.”

“No,” I said, a little annoyed. “I bought Easter cookies today, and Cassie will bring them in tomorrow. If you needed them earlier, I’m sorry, but there was nothing on the note you sent out saying anything about that.”

“Oh well, I guess it’ll be okay.”

After that conversation, I was a little annoyed about not being told to bring stuff in earlier in the week. But only a little. I figure, it’s no big deal, right? Let the matter drop.

So Cassie went in this morning with two boxes of Easter cookies, and let me tell you, they were nice cookies – shortbread in the shape of eggs and lilies and rabbits with lots of sparkly pastel sprinkles and dipped in chocolate on the back. And they were BIG cookies, and when Cassie saw them, her eyes lit up and she got really excited about bringing them in and sharing them with her classmates, and I thought, “Yeah, I picked out some good cookies. The kids are really going to enjoy these.”

Only they never got the chance.

I picked up Cassie at pre-school around 4:30PM today. Ms. D sat in a chair, watching the kids’ afternoon movie, and said “Hi” but that was it. I took Cassie home, made her and Sam a snack, Michael brought home dinner, we watched a movie, yadda, yadda, yadda. At bedtime, Cassie came downstairs to kiss me good night. “How did your Easter party at school turn out?” I asked. “Okay, but Ms. D wouldn’t hand out my cookies.”


“Uh, what do you mean?” I asked. “Daddy did hand her the cookies, right?”

“Uh-huh, but Ms. D decided not to hand them out at the party, so we only ate Sally’s mommy’s cookies instead.”

Say what?!

“Why didn’t Ms. D hand out the cookies?” I asked, starting to fume.

“She said they were the wrong kind.”

Cassie was visibly upset about this, and I was suddenly struggling to keep my cool, because I could just imagine Ms. D giving Cassie a stern lecture about how the cookies were the wrong kind and there was no way she was handing them out so quit bugging her and go sit down. Obviously, I don’t know exactly how it went, but I’ve dealt with Ms. D before, and I think I’ve got a pretty good idea of how she probably bulldozed over my kid over something small and stupid. And it pisses me off, because this is not the first time we’ve had a situation like this.

There have been a few times over the past year and a half that Cassie has been in that class that Ms. D has informed either Cassie or myself that we have not met some sort of unwritten standard. The first time was way back in January 2007, right after Cassie had moved up to the 4-year-olds’ class, and Ms. D complained that Cassie could barely write her name. Now I specifically asked before allowing Cassie to be moved up if there were any prerequisites that she needed to have before going in there, and I was told no, that Cassie could sit still and pay attention for more than five minutes so she was more than ready. But Ms. D seemed to think that Cassie had a learning problem because she couldn’t write her name perfectly within the first month of joining the class. She wasn’t even four yet, for Christ’s sake!

Later on the following summer, we had the “bag lunch” incident. Cassie’s class went on a field trip. I got a note saying to pack a bag lunch. I thought, “I’ll get a cooler bag for Cassie so that her milk and the cheese in her sandwich don’t go bad.” That afternoon after the field trip, I got a lecture on how it’s too hard for the teachers to deal with cooler bags and I should have known to pack everything in a disposable grocery bag. Except how am I supposed to know this when it wasn’t specifically stated? When I went to school, you didn’t use grocery bags for lunches, you used a METAL lunch box, and you certainly didn’t throw the damn thing out after one meal.

Since then, I’ve heard complaints that Cassie can’t color in the lines, which apparently will cause her to flunk out of kindergarten next year because in kindergarten they take those things very seriously. Imagine the horrified look on Ms. D’s face when I told her that I was a professional artist and that I consider coloring in the lines to be a sign of creative death and dictatorial brain-washing. And no, I wasn’t joking.

Then we had a lovely incident over the holidays when another child accused Cassie of tearing a paper pop-up play-set that she had brought in. This child swore that Cassie had torn the play-set, so Ms. D put Cassie in time out, and when I came in, she told me that Cassie had torn the play-set and had gotten into trouble for it. And I, believing that this was exactly what had happened because Ms. D surely wouldn’t have put Cassie in time out otherwise, gave Cassie a stern lecture about being careful with other people’s property and then I made Cassie apologize to the other child. Then, just as we were leaving, the other child’s mother showed up, and I took the opportunity to offer to pay for a new play-set, and the mother said, “Well, let’s look at the damage first.” And she pulled out the play-set and set it up and looked it over and couldn’t find a single thing wrong with it. Nothing was torn, nothing was out of place. It was as good as new. And then the other child looked at it and couldn’t find the spot where Cassie had supposedly torn it because it wasn’t there. So that child had to apologize to Cassie, and I apologized too for lecturing her when she hadn’t done anything wrong. But Ms. D? Oh, she just got this funny look on her face and walked away.


Oh, and let’s not forget the time Ms. D told me that Cassie was probably ADD and would most likely be culled from kindergarten because every now and then, Cassie spaces out in class. And this is how I found out about THIS particular issue…

Ms. D: “Just so you know, Cassie’s not been paying attention very well in school this past week.”

Me: “Well, that’s probably a hold over from too much TV at home over the holidays. We’re back on a stricter schedule, so I’m sure she’ll straighten out soon. If you have any problems though, please let me know.”

Ms. D: “Oh, we’ve been having this problem since day one. It’s just that lately, it’s gotten a lot worse.”

Me: “Huh?”

Ms. D: “Cassie always spaces out, she’s always the last one to finish up her meals, always has to be reminded to finish up her work… You know if she continues like this in kindergarten, they’ll probably diagnose her as ADD.”

Me: “And this has been a problem for HOW LONG?”

Ms. D: “Since her first day here.”

Me: “That was over a year ago. And you’re telling me about this NOW?!”

Please explain to me, what kind of fool notices a problem and says nothing about it for over a year? Oh, and for the record, kids can only be diagnosed by doctors, not by teachers, and our doctor told me that no one would even consider looking at a child and labeling them as ADD if they were younger than six, and even then, it’s questionable.

But we’ve moved past the ADD thing, and the coloring thing, and the Cassie-can’t-write-her-name thing and the Cassie-got-punished-for-something-she-didn’t-do-thing, and now we’re on the Cassie-brought-in-the-wrong-cookies thing. And I’ve about had it. Yeah, it’s a stupid little thing, but here’s my beef. First, if there was a specific type of cookie that was considered “wrong” as opposed to “right,” then why wasn’t that specified in the note that was sent out? The only problem I can think of is that the cookies had chocolate on the back of them, so the kids might have gotten their hands a bit messy, but isn’t that what napkins and paper towels are for? And doesn’t the classroom have a sink with soap and water? And aren’t the kids required to eat IN THEIR SEATS LIKE GOOD LITTLE MINDLESS ZOMBIES SO THEY CAN’T POSSIBLY MAKE THAT MUCH OF A MESS ANYWAY?! Oh, and if Ms. D didn’t pass out the cookies to the class at the party, what did she do with them? Pass them out to the other teachers and staff? Eat them herself? She sure as hell didn’t hand them back to me, the person who paid for them.

So I want to know. What was wrong with the cookies? Where are they now? And why did I have to find out about this whole mess from my daughter instead of her teacher? Hmmmm? Let me tell you something. Come Monday afternoon, when I arrive to pick up Cassie, I am going to find out the answers to those questions, and then regardless of what happened to the cookies, Ms. D is going to say thank you to Cassie for bringing them in, especially if those cookies got eaten by the staff instead of the children they were meant for. And if Ms. D doesn’t say thank you to Cassie, then one of the pre-school administrators WILL because I’m tired of this garbage, and Ms. D is going to find that out in no uncertain terms.

I’ll let you know how it goes…

Disciplining My Four-Year-Old

We’ve been having some problems lately. Cassie is starting to test the limits of what is and is not acceptable behavior. And boy, do I mean test. We’ve had open defiance, full-blown melt-downs, hitting, whining, etc. I have been at a loss as to what’s been causing her bad behavior, and also at a loss as to how to handle it.

It used to be a simple matter of threatening to take away Cassie’s movie time or her treat to get her to straighten up. But for a while now, she hasn’t bothered to eat enough dinner to earn a treat, so that obviously doesn’t matter to her. And since she started taking karate, she doesn’t have enough time in the evenings to watch a movie, so yanking that is no threat either. I suggested to Michael that we refuse to take her to karate class, but he pointed out that it’s a physical activity (which she needs) and it’s purpose is to instill a sense of self-discipline in children, so he won’t agree to that tactic (and yes, we both have to agree to the punishments; otherwise we end up undermining each other while trying to discipline Cass).

But we’ve got to do something. Things have just gotten out of hand. Cassie ended up in time out three times last week, once for telling her teacher “No!” when she was asked to be quiet. And then this week she hit another child in the face with a toy when that child refused to share with her.

What to do, what to do? The thing that bothered me the most about all of this was that I was hearing about most of these incidents from Cassie herself, and not the teacher. I don’t always see the teacher when I come to pick Cassie up, so when Cassie tells me she ended up in time out that day, I’m forced to decipher her 4-year-old babble to figure out why. That really doesn’t help. The “No!” incident was apparently bad enough behavior that the teacher took time to tell me, and I made Cassie apologize on the spot for that. But then two days later, as we were leaving the school, Cassie told me she was back in time out again for refusing to wash her hands, at which point I got out of the car, hunted down her teacher and told the woman that I wanted to know every time Cassie misbehaved. Why this surprised the teacher is beyond me, but her response of, “Oh, so you’re one of those parents who cares!” did not leave me with a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Yes, I care. On Tuesday, when I found out about the hitting incident, I made the teacher write it up in a note. I get notes all the time about how Cassie needs to practice writing her X’s or her Q’s, or she needs to practice writing her name. But I’ve never gotten a note because she was in time out. “We don’t normally write notes for things like that,” the teacher explained.

Well you do now.

I took Cassie and her note to karate class that evening, and made her hand the note to Sensei. At over six feet tall, he is an imposing figure to small child. His voice is deep, and it sounds like thunder when he’s not happy. Cassie got only a fraction of its full force as he read the note, but I think that was enough. Then she had to come home and show the note to her father as well. She’s kept her nose pretty clean the rest of this week.

I could have just let Michael and I handle this, but obviously our disapproval doesn’t matter as much to Cass at this point as someone else’s, like say Sensei’s. So I’m thinking if enough adults show disapproval of what she does, that may work better than just yanking her movie and treat every night (although she now automatically losses those privileges as well if we get any more notes). We’ll see how it works.

Sunday Morning Musings

Just some random thoughts about what’s going on in our house, in no particular order…

Thought #1 – Living In The Mobile Age

Sam is getting more and more mobile, and as a result so am I. She’s crawling, (often on her hands and toes like a baby gorilla), standing, cruising along holding furniture, and in general getting into stuff. I am racing around her in an ever increasing circle, trying to put stuff out of her reach. Cassie got into a lot of stuff at about this age, and Sam is doing the same, but there are some differences. Sam will climb stairs. Cassie never tried them unless I was there to help her along. Sam grabs different things, namely Cassie’s toys. So at least I’m not the only one scrambling to remove stuff from Sam’s reach. Cassie was fairly easy to distract. If I took something away from her, I could give her something else to play with and she was happy. Sam is a bit more stubborn.
Ah well, it’s that age, and as exhausting as it is keeping up with Sam, it’s fun to watch.

Thought #2 – The Speakers Of The House

Sam is starting to develop a vocabulary. She now says Mama, Dada, and “Doh!” which I think means “No!” At least she says “Doh!” every time I tell her “No!” She also waves her hands and says “Duh!” when we ask her if she’s done eating.
Cassie has come up with a few new words as well, making me think she has inherited my talent for swearing. Oh well. By the way, did you know most preschool teachers think “Fart” is a dirty word? I thought it was pretty harmless myself.

Thought #3 – The Tooth Hurts

Sam is keeping me up nights again. Apparently she’s got another tooth on the way. Unlike Cassie, who only went through a day or two of fussing before a new tooth appeared in her mouth, Sam spends weeks in miserable preparation for her new pearly whites. I find myself waking up a couple times a night to nurse and comfort the poor thing. That is, right up until she uses the teeth she already has to chomp down on me. Sam will probably learn to swear just like her sister and I, I’m sure.

Thought #4 – Words Of Wisdom From The Mommies Group

On seeing something mysterious go into a toddler’s mouth at the playground… “Finding no bug in your child’s mouth is better than finding half a bug.”

On seeing a child embark on yet another new and exciting adventure involving the stairs and a pair of roller skates… “This can only end poorly.”

Said to a teething baby… “Don’t bite the boob that feeds you.”

That’s all I got today folks. Have a nice Easter.


Cassie doesn’t like her new teacher at preschool. I guess I should have seen this coming. My first born has always been a bit resistant to change, unless of course it’s her idea. She was having so much fun with her previous teachers, Miss Dorothy and Miss Erica, but now she’s in the four-year-old room with Miss Diane and Miss Judy and she says they’re mean. I think it would be more correct to say that they’re strict, or maybe that they have higher expectations of her. After all, the four-year-old room is all about preparing kids for the high-pressure world of kindergarten, and we all know how intense that can be, right? Not that Cassie will be attending kindergarten for another year and a half…

I completely understand where Cass is coming from on this. I felt a bit pressured myself the first day I picked her up from the four-year-old room. Miss Judy, the teaching assistant, stopped me cold as I was helping Cassie put her coat on.

“You need to let Cassie do that by herself,” she said. “We expect the children in this class to put on their own coats and mittens because when they get to kindergarten, no one is going to do it for them.”

“Ah, okay. Well Cass, I think Miss Judy is right. You can put your own coat on.” And she did, with only a little bit of struggle.

“By the way, Mrs. Madden,” Miss Judy said as we gathered Cassie’s papers from her box. “Cassie also needs to learn how to hold a pencil properly. This…” she mimed holding a pencil in a clenched fist, “is not appropriate. It leads to scribbling, and we don’t do scribbling in the four-year-old room.”

“Uh, okay. Well, we’ll work on that at home.”

Cassie started showing me her class work for the day. As I was looking at it, I noticed someone had written her name on one page and Cass had traced over it. “Oh sweetie, did you trace your name? It’s very good.”

“She traced it?” Miss Judy said with a frown. “You mean Cassie doesn’t know how to write her name yet?”

I wanted to say, “Lady, give me a break. She’s not even four yet!” But I kept my mouth shut and just smiled. “We’ll work on that too.”

Ah, no pressure here. Cassie is a bright kid and I’m sure she’ll pick things up pretty quickly. After all, she made some pretty astonishing advances during her first four months of preschool. The kid who never wanted to color is suddenly obsessed with it and now draws the world’s best smiley face pictures. She’s also learned her ABC’s to the point where she can identify all the capital letters and some of the lower case ones too. Plus she can associate the correct sound with most of those letters. She can count to twenty with no problem. And she can even dress herself in the morning, with a generous amount of prodding. I think it’s amazing. I’m sure by this time next year she’ll be a wiz at holding pencils and writing her own name. I just hope she has fun along the way.