Giveaway: Blue Man Group

March 19, 2011

Blue Man GroupHave you heard?  Blue Man Group is coming to the Warner Theatre in D.C.! 

Five years ago now, when my oldest child reached toddlerhood, I bought him length after length of PVC pipe* and connectors and let him bang away to his heart’s conent.  We connected them together to make all kinds of shapes out in the yard, rolled marbles through them, and draped fabric over them to make a tent.  He giggled uncontrollably, and so did I. 

We had a fabulous time.  When my friend Marty heard about our fun, she kidded that Widget would grow up to join the Blue Man Group one day — not exactly my vision as I was standing in Ace Hardware buying random hinges, connectors, dowels, and pipe for him to play with.  But once I clicked on their site on the web, I was blown away.  Awesome.

It’s five years later, and I’ve still never been to a show.  Have you? 

Would you like to go?  I’ll pick a random winner from the comments here on Monday at noon EDT, so leave me a comment if you’re interested and available Wednesday night, March 23, for a show at the Warner theater in D.C.  Blue Man will be playing here until Saturday, April 2, and you can get $5 off with the discount code BLISSFUL on shows Wednesday, March 23rd, Thursday, March 24th, and Sunday, March 27th.  Call 800-551-7328 for tickets. 

* I’ve since become aware that PVC pipe is not a good plaything for toddlers because of all the chemicals.  But Boomwhackers are an awesome substitute — and they make REAL MUSIC!  Thanks, Marty for the tip and that long-ago gift — ours have been well-loved!

** Ticket giveaway provided by Blue Man Group.  I have not been compensated for this post in any way; it just sounded like fun.  For additional chances to win, enter the contests at Tech Savvy Mama, I’m Not the Nanny, and Suzie Reviews. 

Lego basic bricks

November 2, 2010

Lego basic bricks 6177I don’t know about you, but I love Legos.  Not the fancy, branded sets that build one thing or maybe two, the latest $99 starships, $199 Harry Potter sets, or $399 kits to build the death star (what?).  I love the basic, red, green, yellow, blue, and white sets that are an open-ended invitation for children to use their imagination and play, building houses, bases, creatures, skyscrapers — where ever their imagination takes them that day.

My children are getting good at the kits (oh, we have ’em), and they’ve always made their own “jet zoomers” to zoom around the house, but now they’re discovering the beauty of open-ended construction with the little bricks, and oh, it’s beautiful.  Widget and I spent yesterday morning constructing a “base” and some vehicles with his little guys and all of our blocky bricks, and it was beautiful.  Just the perfect way to spend the day with your kindergartner (and his 103′ fever). 

When he went to bed, I went online to grab some more bricks, so his next “base” could be more than a few bricks high, and we could build a skyscraper more than four bricks wide.  I thought it would be easy to find the basic sets online, the ones that we used to have, before they all got so specialized and intricate (which I do love, for older children, but for littles? bring on the bricks!).  It wasn’t easy, so I asked my twitter peeps.  And they answered — in spades!

Where have all the basic legos gone? 

There are two easy ways to find them, locally at your Toys R Us, Walmart, or Lego store, or online at  The magic words are “basic bricks.”  Here are two sets that I recommend if you’re looking for “just the bricks, ma’am”:  

The little set is $12.99 for 280 bricks.  I’m picking up a bunch for birthday parties.  (You’ve been warned.)

This post was not sponsored or prompted by anyone or anything — it’s just too hard to find these things, and I wanted to help make it easier for others looking for the same thing.  This is for you, @yankeedrawl and friends — and a big THANK YOU for all the ideas to @mommy4cocktails @canape @minkymoo @angiekeenan @pgoodness @verybloggybeth @brandie185 @ejwillingham @bigbluemomma @squawky @nowseriouslykid @jodifur @centsiblelife @velma @thejesterman @joufy and @joeymom who made great suggestions, including, Toys R Us, WalMart, Target, Amazon, the Lego store, CraigsList, yard sales, and eBay.  Some of you are a lot more patient than I am. :-0

The presents we give

December 17, 2009

Books line the walls of my living room, my office, and my library downstairs (also known as “the basement”).  Books from my childhood and my mother’s childhood share space on my children’s shelves with the new Dr. Seuss and all kinds of books about planes and trains.  Books are tucked into my purse, by my bedside table, and stashed in the car for those rare but essential emergency naptimes (you know, when both kids pass out en route to somewhere and you decide to just let them sleep for a few more minutes?).  Books have given me eyes into so many different worlds, real or imagined, and let me try on different selves as well.  Books.

Years ago, I gave books as gifts to my young cousins, when they were just starting to read and it was easy.  As they grew up, however, there were more and more of them, and they were growing up and reading things I’d never heard of.  I didn’t know what they’d read, or what they were interested in, and so I finally just gave up and starting sending gift cards.  Then cash.  And then I realized I was that aunt who nobody knew who sent a card and a bill that was hastily stuffed into the front pocket of jeans on the way out to the mall, and that was the end of it.

This year, I’ve decided that even though I will undoubtedly not make everyone happy, I will try.  I went to the bookstore when the grandparents were here the other night and shopped.  I shopped up and down the aisles, through the children’s section, into the teen section, back to the classics section, and I bought every. single. young cousin one of my favorite books from childhood.

I have twelve girls now to buy for, between the ages of 4 and 16, and it was kind of overwhelming at first.

But then, then the books started jumping off the shelves and into my arms, announcing themselves as old friends, personalities nearly shouting at me, “pick me, pick me! remember me? you read me  on that long car trip, remember? i was your companion during a year of difficult rides on the school bus! i made you laugh! i snuggled under the covers with you late at night, so many nights, and you read me by flashlight!”

And then it was done.

My arms were full of old friends, classics, award winners, and not, and tonight I wrapped them up and sent them off to all my little cousins and nieces, with a note, saying “These were some of my favorite books.  I hope you love them too.”  But really?  I’d be happy if one of the twelve fell in love with one of the books, or if half of them even got read.

It’s my little way of saying, yes, technology is grand, but books?  Books will be your friends forever.

Ten things

February 21, 2009

Ten things that made me happy today:

Hearing my children’s laughter;

Hearing the silence as they work to figure out how to attach the crane to the dump truck, or a piece of yarn to the helicopter, or whatever else is needed for today’s play;

Eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner with them, as I love to do;

Soothing Little Bear because he (accidentally) spilled his milk, because he gave up the sippy cup months ago;

Planting seeds, and checking on the hyacinth bulb that is growing roots(!) and green shoots already in our little vase;

Planting the seeds of inquiry in their little brains, asking them where the roots come from, and helping them figure it out;

Reading a new book to them at naptime (Magic Treehouse – book 11, I think);

Reading a new one for me (Annie’s Box) while they cuddle and fall asleep;

Hearing my boys negotiate over the Geotrax trains (both of them! talking!);

Hearing them say, “G’night, mom,” as they throw their big boy arms around my neck.

And a bonus one — my friend Jessica has told us “how to help” and take action in response to the news of baby Vivi’s loss, and baby Gwendolyn’s fight.  St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.  I don’t know why I didn’t think about it before.  Did you know that St. Jude provides free care for every child with cancer in America?  They work with insurance companies and fund the rest through donations.  I was blown away by that.  I mean, I remember the TV ads about it, but I’m ashamed to admit I’d never made a donation to help.  Until now.  Thanks, Jessica, for the reminder.  I’m so proud to be your friend.