Monday, July 26, 2010

A Brief Recess

Life continues to be crazy for the Geier Family. We are on month 8 of trying to sell our house. I completed the class required for my licensure to transfer from GA to AR. I have apparently lost a lot of brain cells since grad school...this class kicked my butt! I squeaked out with my B and am not looking back! I'm still loving my time at home with Logan and looking forward to more fun adventures with him this summer. Trey loves his job and seems to be doing well. He is Mr. Social but finds time for us too. We are hoping and praying that the house sells soon so we can stop travelling back and forth. I'm past ready to settle and put down roots. I want to invite people over for dinner, host playdates, decorate my house, and make messy craft projects! Hopefully sooner than later.

I'm further behind on my blogging than ever before. It is tough to find time, energy, and a free computer. Thanks for your patience!

Monday, May 17, 2010


When I was pregnant with Logan I had a fear that I wouldn't know how to engage him or how to teach him about the world. Now I know that most of the lessons present themselves without planning. All the same, having resources for ideas is great! I am absolutely in love with a series of books that provide activities for children at various ages. I have the books from infant through age 5 and turn to them all the time! I ordered the first 3 off and found the others at Rhea Lana's last year. I was so excited about the find at Rhea Lana that I shrieked and danced a friend Krista was probably a bit frightened...oh nevermind, she knows me too well to be scared!

The books provide monthly age-appropriate activities for families. There are games, ideas, songs, recipes, homemade toys, etc. They also "highlight skills and abilities that are developing naturally" at each age. (Description totally ripped off from the back of the book!)
One of the activities in the 3 yr old book for this month was to make "Pud." I think my mom calls it magic mud. I poured cornstarch into a shallow baking pan. Logan played in the dry powder for a few minutes and we talked about how it felt on his hands. We have been working on opposites lately so this was a great activity to highlight dry versus wet!

Next, I gave him a small measuring cup of water and had him pour the water into the pan. He mixed the water and cornstarch with his fingers to create the "pud." If you've never tried this experiment, it is hard to describe. Pud looks liquid but feels solid. You pick it up in your hands as a solid but it pours and drips off as a liquid. I saw a MythBusters episode once where they filled a large vat full of pud and ran across the top. If they stood still for a second, they would sink into the liquid.

Logan loved this experiment and we will definitely repeat in the future! Pud made for a fun, inexpensive science activity that allowed Logan and I to get sticky, gooey, and sloppy! PUD!

A'hoy matey!

I found a box in the attic and decided to haul it downstairs for Logan to play with. I expected him to make a car or airplane but he immediately deemed the box a pirate ship. Excited by his creativity, I pulled out a cardboard tube that has been propped in the corner of the garage escaping trips to the recycling center and an old pillowcase. Logan cut pictures out of magazines and glued them on the side for decoration. I bet you've never seen a pirate ship with pictures of eyeglasses, children, and magnolia blossoms!? He colored with markers and wrote the letter 'L' all over both the inside and the outside of his vessel so everyone at sea knew this beauty belonged to Logan. His colored the bottom of his boat brown, as well as his right foot. Not sure why, but he did. Thank goodness for washable markers! At one point he decided he needed one of Daddy's tools to finish the boat and brought in a screwdriver from the garage. He then proceeded to punch holes in the sides of the boat so the water could get in. Apparently he had hopes of diving for this boat??

Finally, after 2 solid hours of prep the mighty ship was finished! We broke a juice box over the stern to bless the ship and the captain was ready to sail. He instructed me to return to the living room so he could depart without an emotional farewell. From my looking point I watched my pirate climb into his boat, prepare his oars (wooden spoons), and look left and right. At that moment I was proud and content. Then my genius son said, "Wait! There's no water! Mommy, how I'm going to sail the boat with no oceans?" Yep, that's my smart boy!

If you can't stand the heat...

I enjoy cooking under the following conditions:

1) I select the menu. I have recipes I'm comfortable using and only branch out when I so choose.
2) No complaining about my poor chopping, slicing, whisking, or basting skills.
3) Expect the kitchen to be messy when the meal is finished. I excel at making messes!
4) I cook, someone else cleans up.
5) I don't bake bread.
Logan loves to help me cook. He is a great assistant. He helps measure, pour, mix, and taste! Sometimes I give him a butter knife and a tomato to chop. I can tell he feels very important by the pride and special care he takes in chopping the tomato. His Grand and Big Phil gave him a gingerbread man apron for Christmas and it is essential that he wear the apron...even when making lemonade. Logan has a few dishes he considers his specialties; microwave s'mores, chili mac, and homemade pot pies. My intent is three-fold...first, he is willing to try new foods if he has been a part of the preparation and second, it is annoying when I'm trying to cook and he is underfoot playing soccer or wanting me to read so I choose to involve him in the cooking instead of battling for peace, and third, maybe someday when he is much older he will surprise me by cooking a dinner on his own!

I don't have any funny stories or touching moments to share but wanted to remember my little assistant someday when he no longer wants to hang out with mommy. I can't wait to see what we cook up together tomorrow!

One Fish, Two Fish (4/21)

On my never ending quest to discover free activities for Logan I stumbled across information online about the Joe Hogan Fish Hatchery in Lonoke, Arkansas. I remember visiting a fish hatchery or two in my youth. My memories were of huge concrete "ponds" filled to the brim with flip flopping fish ready to be released.

Once my grandparents took my brother, my parents, and me to a hatchery in Missouri for Father's Day. This particular hatchery allowed fishing in some of the pools and Grandpa offered to pay for whatever my brother and I caught. These trout were big and hungry! I'm not sure the hooks even hit the water when cast before we'd caught the fattest, most expensive fish ever! My poor Grandpa honored his word but we never went back!

I suppose I expected something similar in Lonoke. The Joe Hogan Fish Hatchery is the largest state owned hatchery in the nation. There isn't a lot of information online but I encourage those interested in visiting the Arkansas Game & Fish website ( for details on this and other sites. There is an old visitor's center on site (2nd building, no the first. although the people housed in the first building are very good at pointing people to the correct building...hypothetically) showcasing live fish and taxidermy'd creatures native to the state. There is a "lovely" mobile hanging from the ceiling made of stuffed Arkansas fish. Lovely??

The hatchery is self guided and HUGE! The day was beautiful and Logan and I were the only visitors in sight. The map was a bit confusing so we didn't find observation deck or the spawning tanks. (Spawning tanks are the concrete pools I remembered from other hatcheries.) The sign outside the visitors center encourages onlookers to keep quiet and still in order to notice other creatures visiting the hatchery. What a perfect reminder to slow down and notice nature! The hatchery is made up of acres and acres of small square ponds (probably the size of 4 Olympic sized pools each) laid out like a checkerboard. There are gravel roads between each pond and strips of grass and wildflowers bordering each pond. Logan and I sat in a strip of clovers and watched one pond for about 20 minutes. We saw jumping fish, birds skimming the water, a little water snake, bees landing on the clover flowers, and heard frogs singing all around us.

While sitting still I noticed a little water snake (years at camp taught me the difference between cotton mouths and water worries, folks!) peeking its head up nearby. I tried to point it out to Logan but caused too much movement and the snake popped back underneath the water. Logan kept saying "C'mon little buddy! I love you!" I explained that we had made too much noise and probably scared the snake away. Logan looked very confused and said "But I didn't even say boo!?"

I'd like to return in the future, perhaps with a tour guide to explain what we were seeing and to show us the full site. While we didn't see fish flipping and flopping like I'd expected, the day was a huge win! I truly enjoyed the peaceful moments with Logan!

Lichterman Nature Center - Apr 16

I lost the cord that connects my camera to the computer and the memory card reader stopped working too! I finally made it to Walgreens to get my pictures off the camera and onto a cd. My intention is to catch up the blog over the next week. However, we all know life may get in the way of this plan. Oh well!

Since the house still hasn't sold (moment of silence please...) Logan and I have alternated weeks between our home in the Memphis area and my parents' house in Conway. I am continuing to adjust to life as a stay at home mom and am in constant search of free/inexpensive activities for Logan. We are definitely keeping busy!

April 16th (see, I am behind!) Logan and I ventured out to the Lichterman Nature Center in Memphis. I'd read about the Nature Center when we visited the Pink Palace Museum last year with my parents and brother but hadn't made time to go. I was a little hesitant due to the price of admission ($6 adults/$4.50 kids 3-12). I have trouble paying to walk in the woods. Despite my concerns, we packed a picnic lunch, sprayed ourselves with sunscreen & bug spray, and head out to explore. Fortunately, my concern was a mute point because the center was having their semi-annual plant sale and admission was free. I can afford free! There are few pictures of this outing because Logan was not in the mood to be bothered by mommy's camera.

Allow me to plagiarize for a better description of our experience. The following is from the website:
Located in the heart of metropolitan Memphis, the Center features exciting new exhibits, lush gardens featuring native wildflowers and trees, and a tradition of excellence in environmental education set in the midst of 65 acres of lake, meadow, and forest. Home to a wide variety of plants, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals, Lichterman is an urban nature center, easily accessible to the people who need it the most, the people who live in the city.
Lichterman Nature Center (LNC) was gorgeous! I immediately took a picture of the gigantic plant sale and sent it to my mother-in-law. Carolyn would have LOVED browsing through the various exotic plants available. Logan and I took the picture and were done with the plant sale. To each their own! LNC offers walking trails through a forest, meadow, and around the lake. The trails were well maintained and the foliage (yep, I went with a nerdy word here) was beautiful! Although there was a large school field trip on site, Logan and I didn't feel crowded or inconvenienced in the slightest. The most interesting part of the day happened when Logan and I approached the bridge over the lake. A staff member encouraged me to pick up a stick to "fight off" territorial Canadian geese. The geese had apparently recently laid eggs and were prepared to defend their nests at all costs. The staffer said "Your son's eyes are at pecking level so be careful." I have worked so hard to enforce the "no waving sticks rule" with Logan and had to change the game. Logan was pleased. I, however, was a bit on edge. Geese have never looked so scary as they did when they were a threat to my child! We survived and have a great story to tell! I did not stop to take pictures of the lake or geese out of fear my child would be maimed while I was distracted!

I was disappointed in the Backyard Nature Center. The building was large and had aquariums to display various native animals and initially looked great. However, upon closer examination, many of the aquariums only had replica creatures. A couple of the tanks were empty and a couple more displayed dead fish. Gross! There were great explanatory exhibits about meadow, lake, and forest habitats.

Overall the LNC was a fun outing and worth the price. I'm not sure we will rush back but will keep an eye on the paper for another free admission day.

Friday, May 14, 2010

When life imitates art...

Logan and I have been working our way through his first chapter book, Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary. (No, he's not reading it but listens very carefully) In the story, the reader gets to know Henry and his rag tag mutt Ribsy. Henry is the main character in 6 books and a secondary character in many of the Ramona books.
Last night, while Logan was in the tub I read him chapter 5: The Pale Pink Dog. Henry enters Ribsy in a dog show and chaos happens! Ribsy chewed his leash so Henry has to use a too long clothesline which leads to several funny incidents of tangling. After a thorough bath (and shower), Ribsy proceeds to roll in mud right before the dog show. Henry runs home to grab talcum powder and shakes the powder on Ribsy's muddy white fur so he will hopefully appear to be clean. Unfortunately, Henry grabbed pink powder and has turned his muddy, tangled dog pink. Great book!

While we were reading I kept hearing crunching noises from the other room. I should have known better but I ignored it for awhile. Finally, I told Logan I'd be right back and I walked into my bedroom. There I discovered Banjo with her head inside a bag that held various craft supplies. I called her name and she popped her head up. She had a bright blue nose! I grabbed the bag and revealed two bright blue paws too! Banjo had been chewing on an electric blue ink pad (stamps)! I picked her up and carried her outside. She left blue nose prints and paw prints on the back door! Fortunately the ink was washable and the carpet & Banjo have since returned to their original colors.

I think it's pretty funny that while reading about a dog that turned pink, my dog was turning blue!