Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Lemonade Stand

Yesterday Alex and our sitter's eleven-year-old twins, Jazzy and Lizzy, made a lemonade stand. They were open for about six hours! There was no stopping this group, and the girl next door, Bessie, also got involved. They paid her $2 and gave her cookies for her efforts.

Taking a cue from the kids upstairs who have run a number of lemonade stands, they got this small bike out of the backyard and affixed an advertisement to the back. Then one of them rode the bike up and down the block, letting everyone know that fresh lemonade and cookies were for sale. They also posted signs.

They sold more than lemonade and cookies. As the nice sign on the stand told customers:

lemonade - 50 cents
ice - 1 cent
cookies - 75 cents
water - free

Unfortunately, most of the ice melted, so that wasn't a big money-maker. That Alex ate about six cookies may have also put a small dent in profits.

When I got home at 4, they had run out of the chocolate chip cookies and so were selling rice cakes and several different kinds of cookies found in the kitchen. Apparently the rice cakes sold well.

Today Alex wanted to run another business. When I told him that I thought it might be hard to get customers for a second day, he said, "But stores are open for more than one day." When I left the house, he was talking to one of the twins about putting together a puppet show. Of course, the plan was to sell tickets to the show to everyone in the neighborhood.

The kids are going to decide on an organization where they can donate the lemonade stand profits, which were over $50.

It will be interesting to see what they have produced or sold by the time I get home today.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Club Penguin...??

Was anyone else alarmed by two recent articles in the New York Times: one on the proliferation of websites for little kids and the other on the eight-year-old (I think that's his age) video game master. I found that image of the diminutive video game master, sitting atop a desk or some such thing in his dark basement, a bit depressing. The photo in the story about kids' websites (e.g. Club Penguin) also made me sad -- that little girl sitting on the couch with a laptop. Don't get me wrong: I like technology -- hence the blog! but I don't know that kids need it in their lives that much when they're so young. Somehow this topic makes me think of Pokemon. Matt and I both are unimpressed by Pokemon. As Matt said, "What kind of strategy is there in a game where the more you spend on the cards, the more valuable they are?" Yeah, what's the strategy there for kids? I get what it is for the guys who produce the game. And, while I know that there's math involved in playing with Pokemon cards, I think there are other fun, more interesting ways to get kids excited about and playing with math concepts. When all of this gets to be too much, then I start thinking that it would be nice to live in a cottage in Half Moon Bay and send my kids to a Waldorf school.

Monday, June 4, 2007

June already...

I can't believe it. It's already June. Alex has three more days of kindergarten. My college reunion was wonderful. Truly. I think it was one of the first times in I don't know how long that I was just out in the world on my own. What's interesting is that Smith College reunions tend to be more about women connecting with women and less about people bringing their families. Some people do, but the majority of people come on their own. It was pretty great to have almost three days of just talking with friends, catching up, walking around the campus and Northampton, and not having any interruptions.

Here's one of my brilliant ideas about reunions: Why don't they just print right on the name tags what kind of cars people are driving? Wouldn't that save a lot of time? Just go for the direct hit. I think it's a funny idea. That is not to say, however, that the reunion was all about who's who and what's what and what kind of success people have or haven't had. It really didn't feel that way.

My friend Martha told me another good idea about reunions that a friend of hers who's an executive coach offered her: Before you go to your reunion, you imagine that you have (and that you take) this little pill that prevents you from ever making any comparisons between yourself and anyone else. (There's goes the car on the name tag idea.)

What stood out most at the reunion was how many smart and funny women I knew at Smith (and how smart and funny they still are -- and how many interesting things they are up to), how incredible it was to go to school in such an amazing setting with so many resources dedicated to our education, and how worthwhile it is for families to make such educational opportunities available to their children. It was also hard to believe that twenty years had passed. My sense of time became warped as I walked about the campus. Somehow it was easy to feel as though there hadn't been so many years since we were students living on campus.