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Friday, December 31, 2010

Survival - Kira's Current Obsession

I told Kira and Marisa that we were going for a drive and asked Kira to tell me what we needed to put in the car in case of an emergency. So she decided that we needed a couple of blankets, some water, some food, flashlights, a lighter, and some toys... lol.
So we got 3 blankets - one for each of us - and a pack of graham crackers and a jar of peanut butter. I filled 2 bottles with water. She helped me gather all our emergency supplies and take everything to the car.

We had to go by the Dollar Tree to get batteries, so I got her and Marisa a Sprite and me a Dasani water.

Then we 'got lost' - literally. I asked them which way to turn at every light or stop sign. I couldn't even begin to tell you how we got where we went. I found a place called Bolding Mill campground. We stopped there and got out to look at the lake because there was a very shallow area where you could see the bottom. I explained that all the leaves that we could see piled up in the water makes perfect places for fish to lay their eggs because the babies can hide from predators. Then a guy came with his boat and we watched him put his boat in the water - move his truck - and go off on the lake to fish.

I taught Kira how to use my phone to call her daddy, just in case mommy ever got hurt and couldn't use the phone. Then we went on with our 'getting lost' adventure.

So then I come to a place called Toto Creek. Again, it is a local campground with boat docks. (lots of those around here)

I parked the car and we all got out and walked over to the edge of the trees. There was a big wooded area. Kira and I chose a good clearing (right near the edge of the woods/parking lot) where we could build ourselves a shelter - and then we pretended we were lost in the woods and trying to survive until somebody found us.

(I'm sure you're laughing by now... but it gets better.)

I had to use the scissors that we had included in our emergency kit to cut away some briers from our clearing. While I was doing that - without any direction from me at all - Kira was gathering longer branches that we could use to build a 'roof' over our shelter.

So I laid one blanket on the ground after I cleared the briers and twigs and pine cones out of the way. I sat Marisa down and covered her with another blanket so she could be warm. And then I used the branches that Kira had found to build a sort of wall by wedging it between the trees. We had chosen an area that had several trees kind of lumped together, but was clear in the center and had a natural "doorway" for the shelter. Anyways, I used the third blanket to drape over the branches to act as a wind break wall.

Then we snuggled up together and I made Graham Cracker, peanut butter, ghiradelli square sandwiches... which were beyond delicious!

We sat and talked about how we could build a better shelter if we were actually lost. What we would do if we heard voices out in the woods if we were actually lost. Lots of different scenarios...

IT WAS ABSOLUTELY AWESOMENESS! And... I thought of this all on my very own!!! lol

I told Kira that we will go camping when the campgrounds open in the Spring and we will build ourselves a true shelter using trees and sticks and stuff.

I was amazed at how she "packed" our emergency kit and how she chose properly sized branches that were just right for wedging between the trees for building a shelter.

I just had to share. It was so much fun!
(Marisa was pretty much just along for the ride - and the chocolate peanut butter sandwiches... )

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Christmas Scramble

Why, oh why, does the powers that rule over the world of toys make it so difficult for us parents to procure that perfect gift for our children? Those in charge somehow know exactly what toys are going to be most coveted. They release the toy in September or so, with only a limited supply so that that one item is around for a very short time when parents are  not even thinking about Christmas. Then - very clever of them - they make sure that the prized toy is simply unavailable by the middle of November, leaving a trail of frantic and frustrated parents.

This year's prize - TOOTHLESS.

I had originally intended to have Santa bring an Ant Farm for my 4 year old - Marisa. Unfortunately, the weather grew too cold for ants to travel, and I was left to search for another suitable exciting item for Santa to leave under the tree. We recently discovered How to Train Your Dragon, so it occurred to me that she would like to have a Toothless. After all, she spends a great deal of time pretending that she has an invisible dragon named Toothless. I have no doubt that this will please her, even though she has not thought to request it. Indeed, she is not even aware that such a creature exists. Neither was I until I did a nifty little Google search.

Much to my dismay, that Google search revealed that Toothless does not exist in any store. Clever toy manufacturers limited the supply for Christmas in order to drive up the demand. So - I did what most parents would do. I checked elsewhere. There's Amazon, Ebay, and multiple other locations for buying coveted items that can not be located in stores. Sadly I discovered that this little dragon was selling for exorbitant prices. I was certain that I had no chance of being the lucky soul who would have a Toothless under my tree this year. I began making alternate plans - JUST IN CASE. As I planned, I also placed a bid. I hoped that my bid would be enough, but I have a budget to maintain. I have a limit of what I am willing to spend on any stuffed animal - even for Christmas. The item I chose to bid on included extras, too, so it was more appealing. There was a small package of Squinkies - also coveted this year - and a miniature Toothless figurine. The package was alluring and promising. I dared not hope for positive results because I felt certain that some other soul would be willing to pay way more for this collection that I could manage.

This morning broke with a sigh of relief. I woke with a start and hurried to check the status of my Ebay bid. The bid ended sometime in the night. Having entered my maximum bid, I felt no need to watch the disaster as my prize was stolen from me by some other with a higher bid. Instead I ignored the bid and hoped - prayed - for the optimum outcome.

You should know that I do not normally obsess so much about buying the perfect gift for my children. They are typically so easy to please. The issue here, though, is that I had already determined the PERFECT GIFT for Marisa and had it all planned out. That ant farm was going to be so amazing. She would have her very own ants. She would be beyond thrilled. (My mother-in-law would not be so thrilled at the idea of ants spending the night in her refrigerator, but she was going to suck it up for the greater good... ) The weather, which is rarely THIS cold here, took a turn that required me to change my plans. It took me some time to come up with the next idea.... and then I found that it was going to be difficult, at best, for me to make that happen.

Well, I digress.

This morning broke with a sigh of relief. I woke with a start and hurried to check the status of my Ebay bid. Imagine my surprise and glee when I discovered that I WON MY BID!

Yes - I awoke to find an invoice awaiting payment for my wonderful little Toothless (and everything else). I am so thrilled and excited. The seller has assured me that he will make sure the package is mailed first thing Monday morning via Priority Mail, complete with a tracking number. Now I have to sit back and wait patiently for my Toothless to arrive. I am having it mailed to my mother-in-law's house since we will be there for Christmas. I am certain that she will be more accepting of a dragon in her house than those little ants.... although having ants in her refrigerator would have been so much fun.

And in January - a few short days after Christmas - I have no doubt that every store between here and said mother-in-law's house will be FLOODED with multiple stuffed Toothless dragons...because that is what the manufacturers do.