The Rappin’ Bananas – our Omers


I’m a little behind in my reporting, but I wanted to show off Jonathan’s Odyssey of the Mind group, “The Rappin’ Bananas.”  OM is a creative problem solving competition for children (got that smack off the website), that Jonathan participated in this year.  I got to be the assistant coach.

Each year there are five new “problems,” and Jonathan’s team chose the balsa wood problem.  They had to build a structure using only balsa wood and glue that couldn’t weigh more than 18 grams (about the weight of five nickles) and it had to hold as much weight as possible and withstand “shock waves,” that the kids created by dropping weights onto the structure.

I coached along with another Dad, but this is a kid driven program and the kids have to come up with their designs, tests, and presentation on their own.  Here are some pictures of Jonathan testing one of his structures.



These kids totally amazed me with their ideas and it was super cool to witness the evolution from the first structures they built that broke with 20 lbs. to the final structure that held 140 lbs. and withstood five series of shock waves.  I’ve never seen the learning process played out so vividly before.  Indulge me in an example.

On one Saturday Gavin brought a structure to test that was three sided.  Hannah had one that was four sided.  Both were well made, but the four sided one preformed better.  Jonathan wondered aloud if four was better than three, then maybe five sides would be better than four.  The kids talked about if they used more wood to make another side, they wouldn’t be able to have as many cross supports without going over their weight limit.  They decided to build a five sided structure to test, and the next Saturday they found out that it did, indeed, hold more weight.  Very Cool!

They also had to come up with a creative presentation of their solution, and include costumes made with trash materials, hence the newspaper mache banana hats. 

If you have kids who are wondering about doing OM next year, I give it a thumbs up.


Leave a comment »

Yet More Blogs

Absolutely Bananas No spotless or organized lifestyle here. Instead, a three-person household (plus dog) is partial to wacky, wild good times. A blog with joie de vivre.
Visit this Blog
Callapidder Days A simple, sweet, homegrown blog by a mom of two boys. Her insights and observations are universal. Her twice-yearly “reading challenges” are smart.
Visit this Blog
Chasing a Child Despite all she’s been through in her quest for a child, this mom maintains her sense of humor and perspective. Poignant, insightful details about a biracial family and adoption.
Visit this Blog
Do They Have Salsa In China? Twin 3-year-olds girls adopted from China are front and center. It helps when mom is an avid (and talented) shutterbug. Loaded with charm.
Visit this Blog
Like Merchant Ships Daily tips on how to live well on less. Packed with frugal and fun ideas. She finds beauty on a small budget and treasures in unlikely places.
Visit this Blog
The Meanest Mom Meanest? Nah. Funniest? A definite contender. With three children born in the same calendar year, this mom got a crash course in kid juggling.
Visit this Blog
Modern Mami She yearns to be a WAHM, but her outside job keeps calling. An honest approach to the struggles of balancing parenting and family from a Latina perspective.
Visit this Blog
Momisodes We’re tickled by the clever TV format and the winning way with words and pictures. Each “episode” unearths a telling moment or universal truth.
Visit this Blog
My Litter A newbie, this SAHM’s “litter” includes “six kids, numerous cats, a dog, and one husband.” She describes herself as referee, detective, cook, financier, and hobbiest.
Visit this Blog
The Pioneer Woman Her “about” says it: “I’m a thirty-something ranch wife, mother of four, moderately agoraphobic middle child who grew up on a golf course in the city.”
Visit this Blog

 I just found this list of blogs on the Scholastic website (I was directed there by CJane) and I figured you’d like to know.  Not that we have any more time in our lives for looking at blogs of people we don’t even know.  I barely have time to look at the blogs of people that I do know, or who I imagine I know in the case of CJane.  Incidentally, there is only one degree of separation between me and the lovely CJane; I learned about her blog from my maid of honor, AdreAnn, who was (or maybe is I don’t remember) in her ward.  Cool, eh?

Oh, another reason to totally ignore these cool new blogs is that, in my case at least, the more I read other people’s great blogs, the more insecure I get about my own.  But, I read them anyway.  It’s irresistible. 

And yes, I do realize that I’m telling you to read and not to read these blogs in the same post.   I can’t make up my mind, how can I possibly be expected to make up yours?

Comments (4) »

Dreamy Dinners


Lately I’ve been unmotivated to cook.  But EVERY SINGLE day, my family wants to eat. 

They’re all like, “Mom, what are you making for dinner.”

And I’m all like (but only in my head), “Blech, those selfish brats always want me to make something.”  I don’t say that though.  I say, “Um, I don’t really know right now…let me look in the fridge…wow I should have defrosted some chicken or something…no we can’t go out…how about some, um, cereal?

And then they frown.

But now I’ve got that problem all taken care of ’cause I went to dream dinners.  Tonight we had island chicken and coconut rice.  Sweet!  I do love the modern conveniences. 

P.S. It was a little different than Let’s Dish in Fairfax where I used to go, and I didn’t like it quite as much, but I’m trying to reserve judgement for awhile since I’m not sure if the little differences were actually inferior or if I just don’t like them because I hate things being different.  If I ever run for anything my slogan may well be “A VOTE for Shelley is a VOTE for Stagnation!”  Whose with me?

Comments (4) »

I Can’t Stop Watching


Comments (3) »

Happy Day


I wrote this last night, but it didn’t post.

Today was a good day.

I went to this really very heavenly used book store in Clayton that I found a couple of weeks ago.  It is small but stuffed with great books, new and used.  So after the kids went to school I sorted out some books I was pretty sure I wouldn’t need to read again, Midwives but not The Time Traveler’s Wife, The Thirteenth Tale, but not Bel Canto, and I got $36 in store credit which I promptly spent, plus $15 more because…oh, who needs a reason.

I am  excited to read Labyrinth, by Kate Mosse.  I have a very good feeling about it.

Then I went to Little Caesars for their $5 hot and ready pepperoni pizza, since it was right next door.  It’s not like I usually need a whole pizza for lunch.  When AdreAnn and I were roommates our freshman year at BYU, we used to scramble together $5 and order Little Caesars (we would beg for extra cheese), then we would wait outside for the delivery guy and attempt to sneak the pizza back into our room without any of our lurvly U-hall dorm sisters detecting it.  Once we were safely locked in our room we would roll up a towel and stuff it against the door/floor crack to block the smell from wafting out into the hall, and we’d turn off the lights and eat in the dark so it would look like no one was home.

That’s how much we didn’t want to share.  I make no apologies.

After lunch I picked kids up from school and had them help me right some of the mess in the yard from rain, weeds, leaves, and falling palm fronds.  Jonathan learned how to work the blower.

And finally, we went to my parents house for yet more pizza and watched last nights American Idol.  I didn’t really like anyone tonight.  Maybe the blond country singer.

And now, I’ll drift off to sleep with my new book in my hands, my sweetheart by my side, and my faithful dog at my feet.  Nothing could be finer.

Comments (2) »

Lilly, Pepper, GG and Cricket

dsc01099Did I tell you that we got chicks?  We got chicks.

They are so CUTE.  Right now they are living in a box in the bathtub because they need a warm little habitat.  They are two weeks old now, so on Saturday we can move them to the garage with a heat lamp.

Our bathroom has never been so lively.  All my human smalls love to play with the chicken smalls.  It is just weird that I go in the bathroom to hold and play with my little chicks, Lilly, Pepper, GG, and Cricket, and then I go in the kitchen and poke the poultry defrosting on my counter to see how it’s doing. 

However we will never eat our chicken pets.  Um, just their eggs.  Hopefully blue ones.

Comments (4) »

My Little Secret

I have a secret.  Sometimes, when you are a grown man you wear stretchy pants alone in your room.  Just for fun.

No, I just wanted to say that.  My real secret is that sometimes I take myself and my book out to lunch.  I know stay at home moms are supposed to protect the secret that our job is the best gig in the world, but really, I love my dates with my bad self.  Usually about twice a month I will find myself fed up to there with cooking, laundry, the dirty entry way, chip bags under the coffee table, planning dinners, arguing about who is going to practices, wiping the dog’s muddy feet, and whatever else sends me over the edge that day.

A moment of quiet reflection will ensue.  I will ponder, “how can I get my good attitude back and even appreciate the blessing I have in being a stay at home mom?” 

And the answer is like a sweet and light hand on my shoulder saying, “go to lunch.” 

For me, eating out and a good book are some of the best therapy there is.  So yesterday, I went to this awsome burger joint down the street called The Counter.  And I self medicated with the best sweet potato fries evah.  I am reading The Dive From Clauson’s Pier.fries1

And then I emerged refreshed, and today I am ready to face whatever comes my way.  I can say that because my mom and I are planning to go shopping and get pedicures.  You should go.  Maybe the same thing will happen to you.

Comments (4) »