Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Super Why Facts

Fun fact:  SuperWhy,* the show on PBS Kids about a group of friends who turn into fairy tale heroes when they have a problem ("What you do when you have a question? You look .... in a book!"), had a whole lot of merchandise in the aisles of Toys-R-Us two years ago when CAM and WHM both watched it daily. 

Fun fact: now that it's just WHM who watches it because Maine PBS is awful CAM's in school when it is on, and WHM is excited beyond belief to have a Super Why birthday party, you can rest assured that all of the merchandise has been discontinued.  Even little action figures are approximately $1,000,000 on ebay. 

Super Why = Super Unavailable. 

Not to worry.  I'm trying to make it so WHM's party is no less awesome than CAM's Fancy Nancy party was.

Why am I posting this, you ask yourself?  Well, because about ten minutes ago I just lost what was seriously the 89th auction (if you include Craigslist inquiries, it's more like 147) I bid in, trying to win Super Why merch for my little man's birthday.  Who knew there would be a run on Super Why merchandise?

(And where do they publish the list of toys that are about to be discontinued, so I can buy up all the stuff I see at Toys-R-Us, too, and sell it for a mortgage payment?  Please add me to that mailing list.)

Stay tuned, Super Readers!  The party is Saturday and I have officially done only marginally better than nothing to prepare.  Gonna be a late two nights Thursday and Friday ... and what I am counting on to be a fantastic Super Why party on Saturday. 


*We love the show. The stories are cute spins on traditional fairy tales, and the Super Readers teach sight words and reading skills, identifying a problem in their "real" world and then zooming into Storybook Village to solve their problem with an analogous problem in a fairy tale.  They have Super Letters, spelling games, and so forth.


This image is copyrighted by Bill Watterson and is taken from, which I found via Google search 5/29/13.

I posted the comment below on my personal Facebook page earlier, and thought I'd repost it here.  I've had a week-and-a-half of feeling pretty discouraged with the state of public schools and the lack of a work ethic of so many of our students.  (Not, mind you, of all of our students.)  There are many categories of kids, some with great work ethics, some with lousy, and countless in between.  But the general sense of apathy or a lack of aspirations is getting to me more and more lately.  It's everywhere and so incredibly disheartening.  If I think too hard about it or let it get to me, I come home thinking I can't possibly teach another day.  Something happened yesterday -- more than I can type here now, but which I will hopefully get to come back and fill in -- and this was what was on my mind this morning.

My Facebook post:

Some thoughts on "self esteem": I will not coddle you. I will not tell you that you are better than you are, but I will absolutely tell you when you are better than what you're doing. I will not make you feel all warm and fuzzy just for the sake of warm fuzzies. I will tell you the truth, because self-esteem should be earned. Whether you are failing or passing, best in the class or the worst, I will tell you the truth and I will demand your best. I will help you get there. I will do whatever I can do to teach you and to give you support to learn. I will give you whatever tools you need and I can provide, and I will even research new ones, just to help you be successful. I will -- even if I don't think it makes sense -- work harder at this than you work. I will tell the truth whether you like it or not, and I will never just tell you what you want to hear. I will bust my tail for you and with you. But I will NOT lie to you or anyone else for the sake of your self esteem.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

I Hate Bar Applications

I know "hate" is a strong word, but trust me: it's entirely appropriate here.  I don't regret using it.  I don't "strongly dislike" bar applications.  I abhor them.  Despise them.  Hate them.

This whole application process, minus the actual test, will be done by Monday at 5 -- a fact for which I am beyond thankful.  I realized tonight that I had nine pages notarized Wednesday, but I now need to have four of those re-done and an additional two forms notarized on top of that.

Also, the pleasure of all this will only cost me $875 plus an additional $50 to have my scores sent and $60 to order study guides for the Maine exam.

I really think the exam itself can not possibly be as bad as the application process.


My Stunning Ballerina

I'm still sick.  This cold is slowly making its way through, and I went from daggers in my throat (Wednesday and a sick day at home Thursday) to a stuffy head and dry cough.  I'm still pretty voiceless.  CAM had ballet photos today and to make the day a little smoother, Mick took WHM down to NH with him for some work he had to get done.  I got to sleep in and then just spend the day with CAM, which was a nice treat, even with this wretched cold.

Because these were costume photos, we were told to bring our ballerinas with stage make-up.  I'm not a big "overdone stage makeup" kind of mom, mostly because the way I see it, we're still talking about six-year-olds on a stage at a local middle school.  I tend to do for CAM what I do for me: mascara, lipstick, blush, and maybe a little eyeliner.  Since she doesn't typically wear any makeup, the effect is pretty dramatic without making her look like a caricature.  (I say this not to be critical, but because we have friends whose daughters do have to wear the full-on theatrical make-up, and it makes me cringe.  I'm so thankful we don't have that mandate.)  CAM was thrilled because she got to wear "real" makeup today, and since we had no agenda once pictures were done, I let her keep it on even after we got home from her ballet pics.  I was feeling pretty wiped out, so I was on the couch and she was sitting at my feet watching television.  I looked over to her and was struck by just how beautiful she looked. 

I whispered out a hoarse, "CAM, will you please get me my camera bag?" and snapped these once she settled back in under the blanket.  These are some of my favorites -- there are about a gazillion photos so you can imagine how difficult it was to pick!  (Best of all: even the ones that look posed are 100% completely and totally not posed.  I was just a snap-happy fool, and in the mix I got some really fabulous candid shots.)


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sweet as Pie: Easy Pasta Carbonara

Remember all those times I've said I am falling soooo far behing in my cooking club adventures?

And how I said that many of the recipes I have cooked but not posted about?

It's about 50/50 these days, where I've cooked but not posted yet, or just not cooked it at all.

This particular recipe, for Easy Pasta Carbonara, goes back to February.  I actually did cook it, but as you can tell, the review is a bit delinquent.

Here you go:

Easy Pasta Carbonara, from the Pampered Chef (see link above for the recipe)
Verdict: Quick, simple, and very flavorful.  Great for a weeknight.
Cook it again: Absolutely!
Cost Factor: Everything* this calls for is in our house all the time, so this was a pantry recipe for us.  (* whether we have cream cheese is hit or miss, and we didn't use turkey bacon, but rather regular bacon.  Sort of.)

I was a little bit apprehensive about this because I don't like turkey bacon.  (Really, now: what's the point?  If you want bacon, have bacon, that's how I see it.)

I also procrastinated a little on this one because making bacon the right way and rendering up the fat makes the house smell like bacon for a week.  In the winter, with the windows shut in the Maine cold, that wasn't something I wanted to take on.

That's a lie.  I just didn't want to clean the grease-spattered stove.

Okay, okay, maybe a little bit of both are true.

In the end, one weeknight I came home from work and, as has been our practice lately, Mick took CAM to either ballet or baton, so I could put on comfy-cozies and relax and cook dinner.  (That sounds odd, I realize.  For me, the relaxing and cooking dinner go together. I just don't like to have to start dinner at 6, after we get home from ballet or baton -- that makes for a late, stressful night.)

But I still didn't want to take the time to cook up the bacon, and since I'd neglected to defrost our bacon, I had to improvise.

If you're wondering,

this is a ramekin of bacon fat we keep in our fridge
 Plus this:

renders up reallllly nicely to give you "fresh, crisp" bacon without the mess.  Like this:

I have to admit:  I was just playing around, taking my chances when I did that -- but I am so glad for that little discovery.  Now we can have recipes that require bacon whenever we want, which is a nice thing to add to our weeknight dinner lists!

But that's not it.  (You know, in case you were thinking this was easy bacon carbonara.  Duh.  Of course that's not it!)  You have to add the rest of the ingredients:  onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, chicken stock, evaporated milk, cream cheese, bow-tie pasta, and chicken broth, and let the concoction cook off for a while. (I thought it was a lot like a homemade Hamburger Helper: all the players into the pot, and cover it up to cook.) 

Shortly before it's done, you add frozen peas.  I'm not particularly famous for enjoying peas, but I do enjoy new peas.  The tinier, the better -- mostly because they are sweeter.  I'm the girl who picks the peas and carrots out of fried rice, if you know what I mean.  So, we cracked open a can of LeSueur and poured about half the can into the dish.  Frozen peas?!  Puh-lease!

Because they weren't frozen, they were ready in no time.

And this ...

... was the final, delicious result, dressed up with some freshy-grated Parmesan on top.

I'm only three months late in posting about it, but it was worth it, I promise!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

... and, for balance ...

... a little list of silly, random things I love:

1.  Sticky notes in every shape, size, and color*.  Just ask Mick; it's an addiction.

2.  Rainy Sundays.

3.  Paper clips with the little rubber coating, so they really grip whatever it is you're clipping.

4.  The smell of rain right when it starts.  It smells like screen doors and I can never possibly take a deep enough breath.

5.  Waking up in the middle of the night thinking it's got to be close to when my alarm will go off, only to learn it's 11:30 and I've got five-and-a-half hours of sleep left!

6.  Pepsi in a can or from a fountain.

7.  Big straws, like you get at McDonald's or Wendy's.

8.  Yellow highlighters, not neon.  Old-school highlighters make me happy.  (And they don't hurt my eyes.)

9.  Dixon Ticonderoga #2 Pencils with a super-sharp point.  I actually keep an electric pencil sharpener next to my pen/pencil cup.  Oh, how I love pencils!

10. Those white 3M Command hooks.  I love them.  They are in every room in my home, attached to my computer monitor, holding up towels behind our doors, holding wreaths and purses and bathtub toys and necklaces ... I love them.  The best things 3M has ever done are Post-its and Command hooks.  (Well, and Scotch tape. Really, you can't beat 3M when it comes to things that stick.)

11.  Brownie corners, especially if they're just a touch crispier than you meant.

12.  Wrigley's Spearmint gum.  Just half a stick, thank you.

13.  Keeping score at a baseball game.

There you have it.  I have an unhealthy obsession with office products and I am picky about straw diameter and my Pepsi provenance.  But every day I use these things and I am thankful they are part of my life!  What quirky things do you love?


*Just make sure they are Post-It brand or from KnockKnock. Otherwise they won't stick -- and you'll have to refer to my earlier list of rants.

I'm feeling a little rant-y

CAM had a cough all last week that was making her crazy.  Poor kid, she had nothing else wrong, but this dry cough that popped up at the worst times and never seemed to get better or worse.

Saturday, when half of her class was here and coughing, we realized where it came from.

And, like clockwork, I came home from work yesterday (Monday) with a tickle in my throat and by 6:30 was feeling that whole "yep, I'm definitely coming down with something" funk.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I stumbled upon a blogger who periodically does "50 things about me" posts.  For the life of me I can't remember where I found her, so I can't link here.

In that spirit, I was going to do something similar -- something like the list I did last year.

And then I realized that everything I was thinking of sharing with you was, in fact, stuff I'd already shared last year.

Well, today I feel like crud.  I have been working on the Maine bar exam application since 3:30 and I am still here at my computer at 8:49 and it's not done yet.  I have a mostly-done application and a wicked backache.

Those bar exam applications are nasty beasts, I will have you know.  Both Alabama and Maine are, apparently, among the pickier applications out there (I can't begin to imagine New York's).  If you don't already know, Mick and I have tended to move a fair amount in our marriage.  And we hit some tricky financial times in recent years -- a downward slide that's now only finally turning ever-so-slightly back up, but there was some hefty damage done along the way.

And guess what you have to do on the bar applications?  That's right: list EVERY SINGLE PLACE YOU HAVE EVER LIVED SINCE YOU WERE 18, with no breaks in time.  So my application looks like this:

new dorm
new dorm
new dorm
new apartment
new apartment
new apartment
new apartment
new apartment
built a new house
new state, with apartment
new place again
back to our home in Georgia
oops!  new home in Georgia
moved again
and back
and again
and back
and again
And back
And Maine

Seriously.  This is ridiculous.  And then, repeat with every single job I've ever had, going back to my very first job when I was 16 years old.  And then go ahead while you're on a roll and explain your credit report.

It's tedious and frustrating -- not because it's hard to do, necessarily (although remembering it all and looking up addresses and phone numbers and such is a challenge sometimes), but because it's so tedious.  Did I mention it is tedious?

So I'm sitting here, and I feel like I have daggers in the back of my throat. I'm tired, I'm grumpy from the bar application, and my back is killing me.  I think I'm going to do a new list. (It's either vent or kick an imaginary puppy somewhere, and I am definitely not interested animal cruelty tonight.) This one's about things I can't stand.  I'm not talking obvious, like people driving too slowly in the left lane, or moving, or bar exam applications.  I'm going to try to be a little creative here.

Without further ado, my mini-list of things that make me CRAZY: 

1. Those little yellow flowers that grow as weeds.  They shall remain nameless, I hate them so much ... but they start with a "d."

2. When people write "suppose to" instead of "supposed to."  We may not pronounce the "d," but let's at least act as though we're literate, folks.

3. Pouring out the last little bit of cheerios and getting all the dust in your milk and having gritty milk and cheerios for breakfast.

4.  Cold showers.  Did you know that if I am in a cold shower I will involuntarily cry?  That's not an emotional reaction, it's my body's reaction. If I am in the shower and the water gets cold, I start to cry.  Every time.

5.  The sound of whispering.  Either talk or don't talk, but don't whisper.  Whispering is like fingernails on a blackboard to me.  I lose my mind.  It literally gets into my bone marrow and makes me want to claw out my eyes.  If Mick is watching a hunting show and they start to whisper, he has to mute it.

6. The expression "at this point in time."  Um, I'm pretty sure you didn't mean "at this point in SPACE," so let's just stick to "right now." Or even "at this point."  But unless we're talking geometry and three dimensions, I think it's safe to leave off the "in time."

7.  I don't want to make this all grammar pet peeves, but I really hate when people say "anyways."

8.  Sweaters that pill after you wear them once.

9.  Skinny jeans on men, boys, and pretty much anyone else.

10. People with poor phone manners, especially if they are supposed to be helping a customer.  "yeah," "uh-huh," and "yep" have no place in that world.  Actually, that's true in person as well.  I can't stand it when I'm the customer and I say, "have a nice day," and the clerk says "yep."  It makes me want to spin on my heels and remind them that they were supposed to wish me the nice day!

11.  Pulling up to a drive-thru window to see that the server has their arm out the window, holding out my drink.  Can you give me a second to get there, please?

12.  Cashiers that don't tell me the total, but just expect me to look at the register and tender payment.  I'm kind-of a jerk about this; I just stand there and look and wait until they figure it out.

13.  Chalk on my fingers.  I hate the feeling of chalky fingers, and since I teach MATH in a school with chalkboards and not white boards, I get chalky fingers quite a bit.  I actually keep baby wipes in my room and use them constantly.  When I had an overhead projector in previous schools, I used to hate "overhead hand," too -- the marker all over my hand from writing on a transparency and inevitably leaning on ink.  I kept a scrubby sponge by my desk and used to scrub my hand after every class.  I suppose I just don't like dirty hands.

14. Sticky notes that don't stick, so you end up clipping them to whatever it was after all, but in the meantime they get dust all over their sticky part and you just end up frustrated with the mess on your hands, throwing them away, and using a new sticky.

Hmm.  I think making this list has made me a little less grumpy, believe it or not!  Thanks for reading along!  What unusual things make YOU crazy?


Monday, May 13, 2013

Look-Alike Contest

If you've been following along, you know CAM and I were entered in a local radio station's Mother-Daughter look alike contest.  (Heck, if you were following along, you may well have been voting, and if you were, thank you!)  First prize was two tickets to the Taylor Swift concert at Gillette Stadium in July, round-trip limo to get there, and a bunch of gift certificates to various places.

We made it through the first round, which was to get approved for the voting rounds.

There were 119 contestants that made the cut, and the second round was a voting round: We had to make it into the top ten in terms of votes to make it to the finals.  Thanks to the many friends and family members we had voting, we made it into the top ten pretty easily, and the top five or six of us stayed pretty close in the vote tallies the whole week through.

The finals started last Monday and went through 11:59 last night.  The way the contest worked, people had to register with the radio station's Web site, and then registered users could vote once a day.  The rules said that each person could only register once.

As the week started, a few of us jumped out -- we had 50-60 votes a day while some others only had a handful.  But then as the week went on, two people started to get more and more votes; they went from getting 50 votes to 90 votes to 150, to finally getting nearly 400 votes overnight. And it was always overnight; I'd go to bed at midnight down by 20 or so votes and wake up at 5 to learn we were down by 150.

Friends told me I was a fool to not register multiple email addresses and vote from all of them.

But we didn't do that.  (And for the sake of full disclosure, it was half because it was dishonest and half because I didn't want to get CAUGHT being dishonest and in turn get disqualified.  I'm not all holier-than-thou; I'm also a healthy dose of scardier-cat-than-thou!)

As the week went on, though, it started to seem that among the top five (we finished fifth), the top three were, in fact, doing something ... well, a little more than we were doing.  400 votes in a night?  We didn't even invite that many people to our wedding!  And almost all of the votes coming in the overnight hours for an east-coast contest?  I refused to publicly cry that something was fishy, but something definitely seemed fishy.  But what if the votes really were honest?  What if they were just better at beating their drums than I was?  (What if they grew up on the west coast, or if their little girls are sick?  I don't pretend to know their stories, so I don't want to jump to the "you won, you must have cheated" conclusion just because they were so much better at getting online votes than the rest of us were.)

And then I learned from friends that there are entire Facebook groups dedicated just to voting in contests like this, and chat rooms that do the same, and, well, you get the idea.  I guess some of the comments on the photos led some of my friends to think something was amiss.  A few folks pm'd me saying I should contact the radio station.  (Talk about your lose-lose situation!  There's no way to not look like a sore loser there ... even if the station needed -- at least for future contests -- to tighten their rules a bit, there is absolutely no gracious way to have that conversation, as best as I can tell.)

Oh well.  The prize, as far as we were concerned, was the Taylor Swift tickets.  We're pretty lucky that if we really want them, we can just go buy them.  In fact, one of my sisters even offered to do exactly that as a gift to CAM.  Maybe those other folks can't do that.

So, in the end we didn't win.  It took them hours to post the winners today and for a while I had a glimmer of hope that they had done some digging.  (We would have been in second place at best, if they'd disqualified the first three people, so I wasn't hoping for the tickets as much as for honesty.)  In the meantime, CAM and Mick and I had a conversation about how we had a LOT of people vote for us and take time every day to do something nice for us JUST BECAUSE, and how that means a whole, whole lot. And we did it honestly.  That we got so many votes the right way is a testament to you guys -- our friends and family.

I still don't know if the winners really did cheat (or even if they broke the spirit, if not the letter, of the law), or if they're just awesome at getting online votes.  I'm just as content for having entered and the fact that we made a good showing.  I'm really proud of what we did and how we did it.  It sounds so incredibly cheesy, but it's true.  This wasn't a one-of-a-kind prize; it was something cool to do and to try to win.  We tried to win; we didn't win; we're okay.

Thanks, everyone.  We're so thankful for how well we did -- and it's all because of you.

--Jen and CAM

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Fancy Nancy Soiree*

*first of all, I know that a "soiree" really means an evening party.  But Fancy Nancy "fete" just doesn't sound all that fancy.  

Yesterday, almost a full month after CAM's sixth birthday, was her Fancy Nancy Soiree.  Originally it was going to be three things:

  1. A girls-only,
  2. Merida (from the Disney movie Brave)-themed,
  3. outdoor party.

But then CAM had been invited to only one birthday party all year, and it was a boy's party, so I felt really badly not inviting boys. 

And then we got into the idea of a Fancy Nancy party and changed from Merida.

And thank goodness we did -- because Merida's activities would have been archery, but we had thunderstorms all day yesterday, so the party was moved inside.

After last year's Strawberry Shortcake tea party (for which I went a little crazy because it was fun, because I could, because I love all the crafting and detail stuff, and because at that point we really knew it was our last "hurrah" in Georgia), I wasn't sure what I would do this year.  Stick with the relatively extravagant party throwing?  Or tone it waaaaay back down?  We've been to exactly one party in Maine and it was distinctly different from the Pinterest-esque Georgia affairs we'd been to.  (It was still wonderful and the kids had a ball, which is all that matters!)

You can guess what I did.  :)

Here are the photos.

The food spread.

The cake.  CAM requested the same as last year, which is to say a strawberry cake.  It had vanilla buttercream filling and the bottom tier was very dense because I also soaked it with/in strawberry puree.  And I mean, pureeeeeee, not a ganache or layers of strawberries.  The cake, it was a heavy beast.  It was all homemade except the fondant, which I bought plain white.

another view of the food.  The tablecloth is actually four yards of fabric and it's sparkly!

It's really hard to see here, but the bunting says "Ooh-La-La"

Totally a Pinterest idea:  I made fancy veggie cups.  About 2/3 had ranch dressing on the bottom, and the rest were plain -- because you never know when kids will hate "dip."

I bought plain wooden frames at Goodwill, painted them, and used them to make table signs.

Even the Rice Krispy treats are Fancy -- they have little nonpariels on them. 

Lesson:  don't paint the bumpy side of a Rice Krispy Treat with chocolate.  You will never get it as smooth as you'd like!

I have no idea why I took this many photos of the food table.

The living room, minus the couches ... tables set for ten kids, which was EXACTLY as many as we had -- phew!  :)  (We invited all of CAM's class and did not get many r.s.v.p.s, so I had to guess.)  One of the tablecloths is Fancy Nancy fabric, and the other two are ... well, leftover from last year because I meant to sew two additional tablecloths and decided we didn't need to.  I will use that fabric on something else.

The table settings.  CAM did them herself.  She did a great job, didn't she?!

The dress-up station.  I had tons of hats and accessories, including four or five clip-on neckties and three sport coats for the boys.  They loved them!

Le Chic Boutique.  (I don't know if "boutique" is masculine, but I liked it here.  OKay, okay: I was too lazy to check.)

3-foot-tall Eiffel Tower courtesy of my dad, who made two of them within 12 hours of my request.  Anything for his first grandchild!  Hey Dad -- I'm still waiting for my ballet bar ... what if CAM requests it instead??!

Another Cricut-ed banner.  I have gotten much better at these this year!

tissue paper poufs.  Just the right balance to the banner and easy-peasy!

It's hard to see here, but the sign says "Frame Fancification Station."  I bought 20 of the $1 wooden frames at Michael's, painted them in various colors (including blue for the boys) and filled them with a little thank-you for coming.  Then we had literally thousands of various stickers for the kids to decorate with, including princess stuff, stick-on "rhinestones," sports stuff, dinosaur stuff ... you name it!  

The sign says, "Merci beaucoup for coming to my party.  I hope you had a Fantastique time!"

After the frame decorating and snacks, we had a Spectacular Sundaes bar.  I used one of our storage cubes, because it was just the right height for the kids to reach without having to climb or lean.    

All the frames say what's in the little jars -- cherries and hot fudge not on the table for kids yet, though.  (Moms ended up dispensing those for me ... thank you, Moms!)

Check out the bedazzled spoons.  There was a sign that said "Sparkly spoons," but I decided the table was too crowded.

That sign says "Praline -- that's a fancy word for cookie -- crumbles."

Frame fancy-fying

I put this sign at the end table where we piled all the gifts.  I wasn't sure if it was pretentious ... but I was hoping it was just a nice touch.

All fancied up!

You know, because sometimes a stole is meant to go on your head!

I painted three different frames like this.  They didn't get as much use as I had hoped, but I did get at least a few photos.

These two guys LOVED the dress-up station.  Phew!

It hurts my heart that this is blurry, because I love this photo.

CAM's dress was made by Jody at My Kids Drawers.  I adore Jody, and her work is second-to-none.  Check her out on Facebook and Etsy

The clip-on ties were a hit even with the girls!

I have no idea what Mick is saying to me, but I promise he was smiling, not yelling!  

Sometimes, little brothers need a break.

Fancy Nancy?  More like Silly Nancy!

Hip Hop Mogul?

At one point, WHM was the subject of a tickle attack.

Snacks and ice cream sundaes.  I forgot the whipped cream!  Even as I type this, it is there in our fridge, all labeled with its Fancy Nancy glory ... unused.  Mick said he will remedy that. 

Another view of the cake. You can see it glistening in the humidity -- the bow sagging and all.  Oh well.

If only Mick's arm weren't in this. I love the look on CAM's face here.

Might have wanted to switch to shutter speed mode on this one!  Fast kiddos!

Action shot!  Again -- hello, shutter-speed mode?  I'm a dummy.

Blowing out the candles with Gram.  I think this was attempt number 5.

I didn't take a lot of photos of gifts because I was also recording them AND trying to keep a parent-less kid OUT of them.  

In the end, I have three things I wish had happened better.

1.  I wish I'd remembered the darn whipped cream.

2.  I wish I'd done a better job on the cake -- and taken a photo that showed the GOOD bow!

3.  I wish I'd known to not allow kids to attend without their parents.

Also, I wish I'd known that black food coloring, while it washes off one's hands pretty easily, will never, ever come out from under one's nails. I need a manicure just to hide it!  :)

What do you think?  CAM loved it!