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How do I wash this thing? Should I wash it? What happens if my kid spills Kool-Aid on it?

When you order a tablecloth or table runner from me, I’ve already taken preventative measures to help the ink set. I wash, dry, and press the fabric before I letter it. Then, after I letter it, I set the ink with an iron again. Finally, I spray a matte finish on the runner to prevent yellowing and give an added coat of protection from fading.

 So, once you get it home, here are some things you can do to properly care for your new table runner and/or tablecloth: 

Spot clean as a first defense.

When you spot clean, make sure the cleaner doesn’t have any kind of alcohol or bleach in it. Alcohol will cause the ink to run and bleach would change the color of the ink and lighten the fabric.

If Disaster Strikes (i.e. Kool-Aid)

Use a stain stick on the stain or some Blue Dawn (my stain remover of choice). Wash it in cold with regular detergent and air dry it. You can iron it after drying it. If you like, you can get a can of this Krylon Matte Finish and spray it again. It’s the only product I’ve come across so far that helps add a protective layer, but doesn’t compromise the texture of the fabric. (I bought this at Micheal’s.)

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What Not To Do (And, It Doesn’t Matter that Much)

I made my first tablecloth five years ago. I didn’t wash or press the fabric before I lettered it. I didn’t iron it after I lettered it. I washed it and dried it on my regular heat setting. Essentially, I did nothing to protect it.

I still use the tablecloth on my table every Christmas season. The ink faded some, but overall, I think it’s held up great since I did nothing to protect it. I would go take a picture of it, but it’s in my attic. And my attic is hot. Just trust me, I still use it every holiday season.

Other Things Worth Knowing

Canvas drop cloth gets softer every time you wash it. It still sets a pretty table, and it still looks great with the lettering, but the fabric will feel different.

I’m exploring dry cleaning as an option, but I think most people want home care techniques first. I’ve also know of one client who purchased thick plastic vinyl from Walmart. It’s great quality and protects the tablecloth with no worries of stains.

Feel free to ask any questions or offer any tips to me. Thanks!

PicMonkey Collage FB CoverTablecloth Business

I officially started a business this week. I have a sales tax number and a form from the county clerk. I started a new Facebook page, and I’m in the process of rebranding my website to fit the needs of my growing venture. Life is weird and pretty great.

Books I’ve Been Reading

Even though this site will become my hub for all things Words by Kelly, I also want to keep a space to write about weird stories or deep profound thoughts (like, Why do I like some unreliable narrators and call those books profound and hate other unreliable narrators and call those books terrible?) So, in the spirit of book nerdery, here’s what I’ve been reading lately.

Landline: A Novel by Rainbow Rowell: I didn’t love Landline as much as I loved Attachments: A Novel and Eleanor & Park, yet I enjoy Rowell’s voice and cultural references and characters so. The supernatural element held just plausibly enough to keep me interested.

The Last Letter from Your Lover: A Novel by Jojo Moyes. Apart from one glaring plot hole, I enjoyed this book, though my favorites so far are The Girl You Left Behind and Me Before You.

Get It Done: From Procrastination to Creative Genius in 15 Minutes a Day by Sam Bennett: A great kick in the pants for creatives.

Dear Mr. Knightley: A Novel by Katherine Reay: The name of Jane Austen’s heroes, but patterned more after Daddy Longlegs, this book follows one of my favorite formats, the epistolary novel. Check out her other book Lizzy and Jane, too.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler: This book completely surprised me with its wisdom. I KNEW it would be funny, and I KNEW it would have behind-the-scenes stories about Tina Fey and Seth Meyers. What I didn’t expect from this book were the moments of hard truths Poehler sprinkles throughout or the tears from the chapter about her boys. I love moms.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling: I binge watched the first season of The Mindy Project while Tyler was away at a convention. I loved it so much, but I couldn’t satisfy the craving for more (not on Netflix or Amazon Prime. Our library only had 1 season). I fulfilled my Mindy Project crush by reading her book, which was quirky and funny and strangely like my childhood/college years, even though completely different. Growing up in America is funny like that.

Station Eleven: A novel by Emily St. John Mandel: This book has a crazy wild premise – a flu pandemic, a traveling Shakespeare theatre and orchestra, comic books, a pivotal production of King Lear. But it has captivating characters and an interesting narrative.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel by Robin Sloan: Our library finally stocked this book, and I’ve been wanting to see if it lived up to they hype it received in 2013/2014. I liked it overall, and I loved the weirdness of it. And I loved that Google was essentially a character.

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony Doer: This book is on everyone’s list it seems (including Pulitzer’s!), but the hype is deserved. The writing is gorgeous, and I love the narrative arc. This writer has such an interesting take on detail.

When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II by Molly Guptill Manning: This book traces the development of the Armed Services Editions during World War II. Publishers worked together to create paperbacks for the Army and Navy, books small enough for infantrymen to stow in a back pocket or knapsack. I loved so much of this book, but then, it started to get repetitive.

Etta and Otto and Russell and James: A Novel by Emma Hooper: I grabbed this from the New Shelf at our library and instantly loved it. It changes narrators, throws in a bit of supernatural, and traces a love story spanning generations. The characters are compelling and a bit weird. I love good writing, and this book has it.

Funny Girl: A Novel by Nick Hornby: This book was a breezy read, but it talked a lot about 1960s culture, reaching goals, doing important things, and love. It was fun to jump into it. Hornby is a conversational writer, which is harder to do than one might think. My husband and I recently started watching Mad Men again, and this book fits along the same timeline.

The 39 Clues Book 1: The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan: The Cahill siblings forego a million dollar inheritance from their late grandmother in order to get a clue that leads to a great treasure. The brother and sister team travel the world, following trails left by famous people in history. Think National Treasure meets the DaVinci Code meets the Amazing Race meets the Magic Treehouse. We listened to the audiobook on a recent trip, and my oldest totally dug it.

The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo: “Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark. Begin at the beginning. Tell Gregory a story. Make some light.” A mouse born with his eyes open, a beautiful princess, a serving maid with cauliflower ears, a ban on soup, a rat, some red thread, and a quest. The stuff of great stories.

I started a business over Christmas. Accidentally. That’s the only way I know how to describe what happened.

Mitch and Katie Cloth2

A few years ago, I made a tablecloth for my dining table using a canvas drop cloth and some Sharpie markers. I found the inspiration on Pinterest when I pinned some kid-decorated drop cloth curtains. I’ve made these table cloths as gifts for family members and friends over the years. Why? Because I’m always on a budget. And I like to doodle. Every time I made one, my friends would encourage me to start a business.

And I would shrug them off.

“It’s canvas drop cloth and Sharpie markers. That’s not a business.”

“I’m not a salesperson.”

“Why would anyone pay me to make one of these? It doesn’t cost much to make one.”

I would roll my eyes at the absurdity of starting a business with something so … silly.

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Back in November, my friend Jami called to ask if I might be able to make something using my hand lettering as gifts for two of our mentors, Yvonne and Menielle. Jami and I had just finished taking Yvonne and Menielle’s Bible class, and Jami wanted to give them a special gift at our last class.

Jami said, “Maybe a throw pillow with one of the verses from class on it?” I said, “I could make them tablecloths. It wouldn’t take me that long.” Jami gasped, “Seriously?! You could make TWO of them?! Over the weekend?” I replied, “It really doesn’t take me that long. It’s not a big deal.”

She texted back later, “Seriously, You are so awesome. I know this sounds odd, but I was just saying the other day that Kelly has the most awesome handwriting. This is so your gift – giving thoughtful gifts!”

When I read her text, I rolled my eyes. Jami exaggerates. This is really not that big of a deal.

I worked on the tablecloths over the weekend and wrapped them up before our last Bible class. When Yvonne and Menielle opened their gifts, they both teared up. They hugged and cried with us. They both sent me a thank you note, telling me how much the tablecloths meant to them. Yvonne showed everyone in her neighborhood, her bridge club, and even made her landscaper (I know!) come inside to look at her new tablecloth.

I started to see that maybe my little tablecloths weren’t so silly. They were meaningful. And I needed to stop short-changing my talents.

square cloth

Then, in December, I made a table runner for a Christmas Gift Exchange party. I needed to bring a $10 gift. My van was in the shop, and I didn’t have time to go shopping once Tyler came home from work. So, I took some canvas drop cloth, hemmed it with heat bonding, and hand lettered Christmas song lyrics onto it. Voila! A gift that didn’t cost me a cent and fits in at a Christmas party.

During the gift exchange, my runner was “stolen” three times. Tugging was involved. And name calling. Good Christian women were fighting over something I made.

After the party, I had several friends request a runner of their own. They were all so complimentary, and I would say, “Guys! This didn’t cost me anything! I made it because I couldn’t go shopping.” To which my friends would reply, “Kelly! This is amazing! I write like a serial killer! You could make $100 a piece off of these.”

Reluctantly, at the encouragement of my closest friends, I posted a couple of pictures on Facebook with some price quotes, and within a couple of weeks, I had 14 orders with the promise of more to come. As I started making and delivering these tablecloths and runners, I began to see how this silly little talent of mine was actually a gift to others.

Friends Runner

When I delivered a runner to one of my dearest friends, she cried as she touched each of the names of her children and grandchildren. She read over each passage of scripture, choking back tears. We hugged and cried together. My friend Jami asked me to make another tablecloth for her grandparents full of treasured memories from all of her cousins, and Jami texted me pictures of her family hugging and crying over each memory.

Through this process, I’ve remembered something I say all the time to my kids:

Words are Powerful.

They are. And this little tablecloth business of mine with my hobby doodlings and imperfect seams has turned into meaningful gifts for my friends and family. And I’m no longer saying, “It’s just some fabric and Sharpie markers.”

If you would like to order something from me, please contact me through this link.

This month, I am loving…

Our Fireplace

My kids finally have a fire place at this new house. They love building a fire, staring at the fire, and roasting s’mores. They would do this every single night.

Christmas Music

I’ve queued up some great Christmas albums for this season on Spotify. We love Pentatonix’s album That’s Christmas to Me, Idina Menzel’s cover of “Baby it’d Cold Outside,” and Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane’s album Holiday for Swing (Who knew? It’s so great!) 

You gotta love a girl who eats her pie like a slice of pizza. #pieforbreakfast A photo posted by Kelly Wiggains (@kellywiggains) on

Pie

Namely pumpkin, but I also love my brother’s Bourbon-infused Pecan Pie, too. My kids are already begging for another pumpkin pie. Secret Tip: Double up on the pumpkin pie spice. Use your own roasted pumpkin puree.

Essential Oils

I’m all about our diffuser right now with a steady stream of Raven and/or RC to help with chest coughs and Thieves blend to keep us from getting sicker. I love using coconut oil with a mixture of oils as a natural chest rub, too.

I have the sweetest friends. Yesterday, I received 3 new books as presents. It’s like they know me or something.

A photo posted by Kelly Wiggains (@kellywiggains) on

Books

I received a copy of Gilead by Marilynne Robinson along with her new book Lila from a friend. Another friend gave me an early Christmas present: Ann Voskamp’s Unwrapping the Greatest Gift. The kids and I started with the first devotional this morning. I loved the discussion questions afterwards, and the kids loved the beautiful pictures. I finished The Grisha Trilogy, and I’m working on the second book of the Legend Trilogy.

Internet

My new favorite Tumblr is Your Dear Mama by my friend, Heidi.

And, because the internet is a crazy place, there is a YouTube video of my in-laws playing on The Family Feud back in the 1980s – my mother-in-law even mentions my husband’s name in her introduction. He was two at the time.

 

Comfort Food

I’ve been making Chicken and Noodles, Chicken and Dumplings, and Stew That’s Not Really Stew lately (I left out the tomato paste and made a roux instead). And my kids want hot chocolate round the clock. Mostly, we’re just cold. 

One of my 3 Roll Assistants/Quality Controllers #flourfordays A photo posted by Kelly Wiggains (@kellywiggains) on

Movies

Tyler and I took advantage of free babysitting to see Mockingjay. I can’t wait to see the final installment. These movies are my favorite book-to-screen adaptations, and I might like the Mockingjay movies better than the book, a rarity! We also rented Maleficent this month, and my boys along with my husband and I loved it. My daughter wanted to watch the “real” Sleeping Beauty.

A Christmas tree makes any house look fancy.

A photo posted by Kelly Wiggains (@kellywiggains) on

Christmas Crazy

Our December is packed per usual. The kids have church musical and Cub Scout events coming up. My husband has Christmas concerts to conduct and concerts where he’s performing. I’m trying to make sure we all have enough time to enjoy the magic of these few weeks.

What are YOU into this month?

Link up with Leigh Kramer and friends. It’s a fun monthly link up, where you find great ideas for books, fashion, music, movies, and more.

Ramona and Her Friends: Beezus and Ramona / Ramona and her Mother / Henry and Ribsy / Henry and Beezus

I grew up loving the Ramona books. I remember a particular love for Ramona Quimby, Age 8. As the youngest of 3 kids, I absolutely identified with Ramona. She had good intentions, but being good was absolutely no fun. Ramona wanted, more than anything, to be grown up, but growing up was just too hard. Explaining her actions to others was even harder. Ramona rocked the bunny ears on a library trip. She loved squishing her new rain boots in fresh mud. She wanted so badly to pull Susan’s perfect ringlets (Boing!) She embraced all that was loud, messy, fun. And she was adorable. As a kid, I always thought of Beezus as a fussy and bossy know-it-all with no imagination. She couldn’t even come up with her own stories!

Lately, my kids and I (mostly my two boys) have been reading through some of Beverly Cleary’s books. They loved The Mouse and the Motorcycle, as well as the accompanying Saturday Morning Movies from the 80s (You can watch them on Netflix!). I picked up Beezus and Ramona to see if they would like it. As I read the opening chapter, I suddenly saw these two sisters in a new light. Beezus speaks to my boys. When she gets annoyed at having to read another story to Ramona, they nod their heads. When Ramona throws an impromptu party, they know what it’s like to help clean up messes their sister made. They completely understand how hard life can be when you have a baby sister. 

Their baby sister is loud and embarrassing. She wants to wear clip-clops (princess shoes) to the store and carry her stuffed kitty with her, dragging it on a handmade leash. And worst of all, no one understands because all of the adults think she is ADORABLE.

I still completely relate to Ramona. I will always be a baby sister. But I love how motherhood sheds some new light on beloved books and characters. Which makes me wonder, are you a Beezus or a Ramona?

Have you re-read a series lately that, because of motherhood or fatherhood or adulthood in general, has changed your perspective on the characters?

Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters

I spent this week putting ALL the HOLDS on ALL THE BOOKS. I’m looking forward to reading Texts from Jane Eyre, Ruby RedThe Rosie Effect, and As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride. In addition, my sweet friend Heidi is sending me a copy of Marilynne Robinson’s new book Lila. I’m prepared for my heart to splatter on all the pages. Here are affiliate links* and short reviews of other books I’ve been reading.

Landline

Landline by Rainbow Rowell. I didn’t love Landline as much as I loved Attachments or Eleanor & Park, yet I enjoyed this read. The supernatural element held just plausibly enough to keep me interested.

The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes. Apart from one glaring plot hole, I enjoyed this book, though my favorite Jojo Moyes’s book so far is The Girl You Left Behind.

Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo. I love the Russian-esque setting of the Grisha Trilogy books. Fun YA reads.

My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories: This collection gives just what it promises, the same hot-chocolate-and-marshmallow-warm-fuzzies that a feel-good holiday movie would give. I didn’t love every story in this collection, but I really liked a lot of them.

Get It Done: From Procrastination to Creative Genius in 15 Minutes a Day by Sam Bennett. A great kick in the pants for creatives.

 

Dear Mr. Knightley

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay: The name of a Jane Austen hero, but patterned more after Daddy Longlegs, this book uses one of my favorite formats, the epistolary novel. Samantha Moore receives a generous offer for a full scholarship to journalism school if she agrees to write letters to her anonymous donor. Only $2.99 on Kindle right now!

Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography by Rob Lowe. I’m in the middle of this one. There are sections that I’m loving, especially the opening chapter, and there are sections that drag (kid actor woes). I’m hanging on until I can read the back story about The West Wing.

The Ramona Books: My kids cannot get enough of that crazy Ramona Quimby. The books still speak to kids, even fifty years from publication, and Beverly Cleary makes me choke up on a number of occasions. Reading the adventures of Ramona with my kids has helped me to remember what it’s like to be so misunderstood. Plus, I’m raising a Ramona. Boy, am I ever.

I’m a little late to the game, but I’m teaming up with Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Twitterature linkup, a great place for find new books to read. Come hang out!

*(The affiliate link thing means that Amazon gives me a kick back if you buy books that I link to. No extra charge to you, a little extra book money for me. Win-win.) Thanks for supporting my reading addiction!

Thanksgiving books

*This post originally appeared on KellyWiggains.com on November 1, 2013.

As you recover from your trick-or-treating candy hangover this morning, I wanted to recommend some Thanksgiving books and movies we love reading and watching every November. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I spend the whole month talking about thankfulness and gratitude with my kids. You can find most of these books at your local library:

2895608This First Thanksgiving Day: A Counting Story by Laura Krauss Melmed

This richly illustrated book about the first Thanksgiving will appeal to any child. The artistry is beautiful, and each page offers your pre-schoolers a chance to count. Along the way, the accompanying verse ties together the historical sections of the First Thanksgiving. I can’t recommend this one enough.

 

 

 

 

In NovemberIn November by Cynthia Rylant

I love the illustrations in this book, and the text is perfect for bedtime. November is the gateway to winter, when nature goes to sleep. The book features different parts of nature and how each prepares for winter, including families celebrating Thanksgiving together.
 

 

11360892Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet

This book tells the history of Tony Sarg, the man who brought the giant balloons/upside down puppets to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. Check out this review and free printable Parade Unit Study to pair with the book at The Library Adventure by Jill, the Enchanted Homeschool Mom.
 

2159794This Very First Thanksgiving Day by Rhonda Gowler Greene

Following “The House that Jack Built” format, this book provides a story in reverse of how the first Thanksgiving meal came together. “These are the Pilgrims who farmed the new land,/ who steadfastly labored and toiled by hand,/ and learned from the Indians, skillful and strong.”
 

 

 

1353614A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman

This book is funny and silly, perfect for any age. It explores the antics of Peter the Turkey, the only turkey in Squawk Valley vain enough to show up in the town square so close to Thanksgiving. However, the townspeople soon find Peter has a few tricks up his feathers, too.

 

 

 

291966A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Although The Great Pumpkin and the Charlie Brown Christmas are more popular, don’t discount the Peanuts’ gang in offering a lively and entertaining tale about Thanksgiving. My kids love watching Snoopy and Woodstock make an unexpected Thanksgiving dinner of popcorn, candy, and toast. Along with the original special, the Charlie Brown cast also does a fantastic retelling of the first Thanksgiving in “The Mayflower Voyages.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have other favorite Thanksgiving books?

This post has affiliate links. Thank you for supporting KellyWiggains.com.
Photo Credit: edenpictures via Compfight cc

Our August at a glance: August in our home means birthdays (my oldest and my husband, plus a cousin and a brother-in-law), anniversaries (our 12th this year. Go us!), summer band, and back to school for everyone. (You can follow me on Instagram here.)

I’m joining up with Leigh Kramer and friends to talk about What I’m Into in August.

Books

Attachments: A Novel: Funny. Interesting premise. I could be friends with two of the main characters.

Fangirl: I liked this one (mostly), but not as much as Attachments or Eleanor & Park.

The Girl You Left Behind: A Novel: The story of a painting originating in Northern France in WWI and its journey. Fascinating. I’m quickly becoming a Jojo Moyes fangirl.

The Invention of Wings: With Notes (Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 3): I loved the narrative voices in this novel, and I loved the imagery: “The sun looked like a little white button stitched tight to the sky.” Isn’t that lovely? I enjoyed the setting of the 1840s, the beginnings of Abolition and the hints of Women’s Rights for our nation – all tied together in this novel.

The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike Book 2): Graphic. Disturbing. A little gross. I couldn’t put it down. I love Cormoran Strike (and Robin!).

Still Life with Bread Crumbs: A Novel: An interesting novel about a woman, waning in her career as a professional photographer, getting a new start in a small town.

Mary Poppins: Very different from the movie, but still enchanting and fun for my kids.

Beezus and Ramona (Ramona Quimby Book 1): My boys and I have decided that their sister is exactly like Ramona.

Treasure Island: We listened to this on audio. More on that in a minute.

Music

I should just re-categorize this as Spotify. It’s pretty much my sole source of music (Follow me here).

Vienna Teng: I love this album. My husband introduced me to her through the song “The Hymn of Acxiom.” It was the ballad for one of the top DCI shows this year. (Drum Corp International. It’s like Nascar or March Madness for band nerds.) I’m embedding a video where Teng explains her composition process for this song:

And here’s a link of the Bluecoats playing this ballad in their DCI show “Tilt.” I started it at the ballad, but watch the whole show. It’s great. (Amateur video. The official video isn’t available.)

Jim Weiss on Spotify! Jim Weiss is on Spotify! I learned about this from The Art of Simple Podcast. I can get an extra 15 to 20 minutes of read aloud time for my kids WITHOUT HAVING TO READ ALOUD. Entire books are available along with folk tales, short stories, as well as history and Shakespeare for kids.

Kid Grooves: The most requested playlist in our home.

Podcasts

I’ve been walking in the mornings, and I love listening to podcasts. I ran out of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me Back Logs, and I’m all caught up with The Art of Simple. I need some new ones.

Television and Movies

Arrow (interesting but has “roll my eyes” moments), Last Comic Standing (Really like the judges and format. Watch the Best 100 jokes episode to see if you’d like it.), The Amazing Spiderman II (needed some better plot arcs, good overall), The Muppets Most Wanted (I’m glad we waited for RedBox), How to Train Your Dragon II (excellent!)

Come see what everyone else is into at LeighKramer.com, and share your current favorites in the comments!

This post features affiliate links. Thanks for supporting KellyWiggains.com.

taco casa
Scene: Local Taco Casa, lunchtime.

Characters:
Kelly, mom in mid-thirties
Keynan, seven-year-old son
Parker, six-year-old son
Hannah Beth, three-year-old daughter
Woman in Adjoining Booth

After finding a booth, grabbing forks and napkins, and getting the drinks situated, Kelly sits in a booth beside Hannah Beth and across from Keynan and Parker. 

Keynan: “Mom, what’s the country with all of the ice?”

Kelly: “Iceland?”

Keynan: “No, it starts with an A.”

Parker: “You mean A-LASK-A.”

Keynan: “No, it’s the one at the bottom.”

Kelly passes out tacos, enchiladas, nacho chips, and beans from a tray.

Kelly: “Oh! Do you mean Antarctica? It’s a continent.”

Keynan: “Yes, Antarctica. Is that where the penguins live? The ones with four arms.”

Kelly: “I don’t think penguins with four arms exist.”

Kelly opens straw wrapper for Hannah Beth. Picks up straw wrapper Parker shot at Hannah Beth.

Keynan: “Well, I think it would be fun to travel to Antarctica and ride on the backs of the penguins with four arms.”

Kelly: “You’re right. That would be fun. But penguins don’t have four arms, and even if they did, I don’t think we could ride on their backs.”

Keynan: “Katara and Aang rode on penguins with four arms.”

Kelly: “Well, yes, but Avatar is a cartoon, where people draw the characters and put them into motion. So, they aren’t real. Someone decided to draw an extra two arms on the penguins to enhance the … what in the world?”

Parker looks up, enchilada dripping from his face, chili and melted cheese covering his fingers.

Parker: “What?”

Kelly: “Have you put any of that Chilada in your mouth? It’s everywhere. Here, use a knife. You can’t eat enchiladas with your hands.”

Kelly passes out more napkins. Motions for Parker to use his.

Hannah Beth: “Hey Mom, I have a joke. Knock, Knock…”

Parker: “AAAAAAH, the napkin’s in the chili!”

Kelly: “Get another one.”

Hannah Beth (louder): “Mom! Knock, knock.”

Kelly: “Who’s there?”

Keynan: “Mom, do you see those guys over there? Are they all twins?”

Parker: “They are! They’re twins! Mom, wouldn’t that be cool if we were all twins?”

Kelly turns her head to glance in the direction of the boys’ pointing and staring. Hannah Beth stands up in her seat and starts to twirl on the spot, pulling her dress up past her shoulders.

Kelly: “Okay, first of all, please don’t point and stare. Both of you. Stop looking at them. Look at me. Okay, those guys aren’t twins. They look nothing alike. They are simply men who work for the same company. They must have to wear a uniform. See, here are a few more of them.”

Men in uniformed City Maintenance shirts, jeans and baseball caps pass, carrying lunch trays. 

Hannah Beth: “Tortilla! Mom! Did you like my joke? I said tortilla!”

Kelly turns to face answer Hannah Beth who is still standing on the booth seat with her dress in the air.

Kelly: “Woah! Put your dress down! And hee-hee. Tortilla! I get it. Okay. You need to sit down on your bottom and eat your lunch.”

Keynan: “Mom, where is Alaska? I know it’s big, but I can’t remember. Can we drive to Alaska?”

Kelly: “I’ll get my phone out to look, but you need to start eating.”

Kelly places taco back on its wrapper. Finds iPhone. Opens up the Maps App. Keynan takes one bite of his taco then continues to talk about traveling the world. 

Parker starts to sing: “This is the moment. Tonight is the night. We’ll fight till it’s over, so we’ll put our hands up, like the ceiling can’t hold us…”

Kelly: “Okay. I pulled up directions from our house to Anchorage, Alaska. See?”

Keynan: “Can we drive there sometime?”

Kelly: “I’ll have to talk to your dad about that. It would take, let’s see, 3 days and 2 hours.”

Kelly glances down at Hannah Beth. Finds nacho cheese in Hannah Beth’s hair. Kelly wipes and tugs at the glob with a napkin. Hannah Beth protests.

Keynan: “Mom, you know the Buddy movies? Those movies are real, and they live in a town in Washington. Could we go see them in Washington? Is it close to Alaska? Because in one of the movies the Buddies fly to Alaska in a plane.”

Kelly: “Well, the Buddies use real people and animals to play in the movies, but they don’t actually live in Washington or travel to Alaska to help a husky complete the Iditarod. Someone wrote a story about that, and a movie company paid actors to tell the story.”

Keynan: “But the people are real. They aren’t drawn like Avatar.”

Kelly: “Right, but it’s still not a true story. It’s fiction, which is a story that someone made up.”

Keynan: “So, what’s real then?”

Kelly: “Well, real is actually happening, and fiction is when you pretend something happens.”

Keynan: “Mom, did you know Taco Casa has been here since 1972?”

Kelly: “What? No, we watched this place being built, remember? It’s only been opened a few months.”

Keynan: “That sign says Established 1972.”

Kelly: “Oh! Right, well, the Taco Casa franchise started in 1972. I’m not sure where the first one was built, but it’s a chain of restaurants. So, you can see other Taco Casas at other places, but the first one was built in 1972, I guess.”

Keynan: “What’s a franchise?”

Kelly: “It’s a business with more than one location. Franchise means that the people at this location can use the Taco Casa name and sell their food.”

Conversation continues in the same vein until a woman sitting in the adjoining booth turns.

Woman in Adjoining Booth: “I just want you to know. You have the most well-behaved children. I taught school for 35 years, so I know. They are precious.”

Kelly looks at Hannah Beth who is digging nacho cheese from a bowl with her finger. Then over to Parker who is still singing “The ceiling can’t hold uuussss. Like the ceiling can’t hold uuuus.” And Keynan who has finally decided to eat his lunch. 

Kelly: *slow blink*

And scene.

Approximate running time: 15 minutes.

Photo Credit: jypsygen via Compfight cc

Yesterday, I listed some of my recent and perennial favorites for Summer Reads. Today, I’m joining the Twitterature bandwagon once again to mention what I am currently reading. Join the fun over at Modern Mrs. Darcy.

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Recently Finished:

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter: A story of 60 years unfolds, involving an Italian inn keeper, a young actress, a screen writer, and one of Hollywood’s biggest movie flops Cleopatra. This is a book where I loved the themes and characters, but I know some of the content would upset my friends. Love it. Won’t recommend it.

Delicious!: A Novel by Ruth Reichl: Billie Breslin left California and her past to work at famed New York food magazine Delicious! Yet, when the magazine suddenly shuts down, Billie stays to field customer complaints and finds a new pen pal from the past. I wanted to love this book more, but I think some people just have to get their first novels out of the way to write a better one later.

The Martian: A Novel by Andy Weir: I gave this book to my husband without reading it first (rare); however, when someone describes a book as “like Castaway in space,” I knew my husband would love it. And I probably wouldn’t. I was right. Tyler loved this book. He says it’s funny and interesting not because of what happens, but because of how it happens.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell: I actually read this book a few months ago, but I never mentioned it on the blog. Why would reading a book about teenagers falling in love be interesting? The characters. You can’t help but cheer on these two kids as they navigate the murky waters of adolescence. (The Kindle edition is currently $5!)

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: I love John Green’s novels. I love John Green on Twitter. I love John Green on YouTube. He’s just a remarkable human. However, I avoided reading this book for over a year. Cancer hits a little close to home, so I expected to spend weeks sobbing over this book. Guess what? I didn’t. I barely teared up reading this book, but you know what? I still loved it.

Pardonable Lies: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jaqueline Winspear: I actually mentioned this book yesterday, but I did just finish it. I’ve been wanting to read Maisie Dobbs for a while now, but someone lost the first two copies at my library. I decided to go ahead and grab the third book of the series. And I enjoyed it even without reading the first two novels.

The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautifulby Myquillyn Smith: Also mentioned yesterday. Also finished it this month. Also loved it. I recommend the hardback.

In the Middle

The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley: I’m reading the second Flavia De Luce mystery, and I’m loving hanging out with Flavia again.

Jayber Crow: A Novel by Wendell Berry: My friend gave me this book months ago, and like the terrible person I am, I keep putting it on the back burner. No more, I say. No more.

What are you reading this month? Find more books to add to your stack at Modern Mrs. Darcy.