Monday, June 29, 2009

The week that was

We've been enjoying our summer so far - quality time at the pool & yard, hours spent in the hammock or on a blanket reading library books, a few playdates with friends, and an awesome band concert at the end of Natasha's Honor band camp last Friday.

This is the post that I started at the beginning of the week, but never posted because I intended to add a photo. I had big plans of weeding, painting, redoing the bathroom ceiling, touch-up painting all around the house during the mornings when I had alone time. But that's not what happened:

This week the girls are (hehe - were) at vacation bible school at our church. Natasha (was) a counselor, and she & Sarah (stayed) for the afternoon fun activities (tie-dying, pottery painting, hiking, trip to a climbing center) while Mira (participated) for the first time and won't be old enough to stay all day for a few years yet. The organizers and teachers were incredible with the activities and the girls had a blast and are sorry it's over.

I did spend most afternoons doing fun things with Mira as planned - reading books, visiting the wading pool a few times, once with several of her preschool girlfriends, dancing to music, baking a cake. All good. It's the mornings that didn't match the plan. I thought with the cool 78-80 degree temps it would be wonderful to paint, leave all the windows open and get away in the afternoons while the house airs. Less stink to deal with than when the AC is on.

Monday morning I cleaned. You know, normal weekend with kids and a garden = dirt everywhere and a ton of laundry. I also spent time posed at my keyboard, waiting for the magic moment when Karen Russells' Snapshots of a Good Life Photography class registration page came online. Despite a small glitch, I was able to get in the class I wanted (starting Jan 4, 2010.) Guess what? My Brother-in-law Jeff managed to get Melissa in too, so we'll be in the same class. Yay!

Tuesday I realized the Thursday conference call was actually Tuesday. Yeah. Spent time getting ready for that. Dialed in. Dialed off to get Mira and feed her lunch. Dialed back in until it was over then we went to meet her friends at the pool. Game over. (Productive call however.)

Wednesday I had a freak out day. Someone got into my car (through a window left open). The garage is filled with bikes & paint easels & whatnot so in summer I park in front of it, with Rich's jeep behind. The jeep was locked thankfully. All they managed was some change though it was obvious they rifled through everything. They left the pennies and package of Swedish Fish I'd bought to bribe small crabby children who don't want to leave VBS with. Must not have been too hard off, were they? Then I managed to throw my keys away while talking on the phone and looking to see if anything else was missing. Until I found them 90 minutes later, I panicked that someone hand actually grabbed them from the back steps (the ones inside the door) and was going to rob us blind while I took the girls to church. While I was looking for the keys (I finally gave up and grabbed the spare) Mira got in the car and her sister buckled her in, along with a passel of Barbies and a Barbie lounge chair. So I didn't know she was BAREFOOT until we arrived at church. Sigh. Gave up on Wednesday morning and read the paper once I found the keys (and delivered the shoes). Oh, I did some work too. The volunteer kind.

I made up for it (the freak-out, not the work) later by going to, ahem, dinner with the VBS gals -the Moms who planned and lead the whole thing who needed, um, dinner, after all that hard work.

Today I baked the following cake that will be served at the final VBS camp outing tonight, along with my not so favorite food, hot dogs. Hey, it's a camp thing. The cake is cool, no? Mira helped roll out the green gumdrop lettuce and squirted on alot of the 'ketchup' and 'mustard'. My friend Shirley is making a cake that looks like S'Mores. No, my children will not need any additional sugar this weekend, laugh! Thanks for the fun recipe Kristin!
Happy 4th everyone!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Air Show Day

Oh what a beautiful day. Blue skies, white fluffy clouds, lovely breeze, jet fuel, the roar of a Jet powered School Bus (!!!!), the Blue Angels, and a Harrier.

Time to read the paper and most of a book on the ride there and back, girls sitting in the back reading, doing puzzles, giggling. And a nice cool shower at the end of the day.

I wonder how many photos Rich took today? Couple hundred at least.
Happy Fathers Day.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Recycled Compost bin

Remember my Earth Day post? Finally, here are the photos of the recycled Crib that my niece Jenny, nephew Todd, and my girls slept in. Well, Jenny, Todd and Mira slept in it anyhow. Natasha hated it from day one. Sarah hated it from month six. One day I could put her down for a nap awake or asleep and she'd stay asleep for two hours. Then WHAMMO - the next day I couldn't even set her in it for 3 seconds while I was standing right there before she'd turn red from screaming and wanting out.

It's much nicer of us to use it this way instead of passing on the sleepless screaming red faced curse, don't you think?

Crib doors for easy access, crazy volunteer elderberry at the corner
Headboards for the sides (along with wild Melissa/Lemon Balm and peonies)

The back of the compost isn't quite against the old garage, although it looks that way.

Just for good measure, a 2 week old photo of the garden. Yes, we cram alot in every year - but it works well. This year we have 24 tomato plants - beefsteak, roma and grape; 8 red, yellow, green bell peppers; 4 hot peppers (I think they are jalapenos this year?) ; 4 each broccoli & cauliflower plants; two rows of carrots; two rows of beans (so far), a double row of snap peas on the frame in the far corner, cilantro, mint that grows along the fence - I keep only enough for tea; a wide wedge of lettuce - so far our only harvest, and daily at that! We also have a hill each of acorn squash, butternut squash, and zucchini. Oh! I forgot the radishes and green onions. Those too! Some years we do plant pumpkins, but there's not always room. The rest of the herbs are grown in a dedicated herb garden next to the house, while camomile & rhubarb hang out elsewhere. We have a whole corner of tangled raspberries - haven't had a crop in years despite trying many things, but I'm not ready to give up on them yet.

Should be sunny tomorrow :). Yay!

Saturday, June 13, 2009


It's happening. The girls are growing up. Oh I knew it all along - somewhere in the back of my mind. But occasionally something happens to make it so obvious you can't pretend it's not happening.

Last week Natasha babysat - for a 2,4, and 7 year old - all at once. She's even designed her own babysitting business cards and has been handing them about. She regularly walks to the local neighborhood stores - the bookstore, the resale shop, etc. Just to wander, or look at hats and books she just HAS to have. (Thank goodness for babysitting money!)

finally figured out how to ride her bike. Oh last year she tried once or twice after Rich took the training wheels off, but since she could still go on family rides on the tag-a-long, she could easily refuse to ride her own bike. Sarah also walks down to the local shops by herself. While she loves a bargain as much as Natasha does, she goes to the local music shop to ogle the drum sets!

Mira too. She's old enough to feel comfortable riding her training-wheeled bike around the corner with only Sarahs' company, even when I've stepped in to start lunch or do some other mommy-task. Of course, we have great neighbors, and they go only as far as the driveway of a well-known couple around the corner, but still... I think it's wonderful she feels comfortable in her surroundings without me. I'll be in trouble when she realizes a preschool friend has moved in farther down that street! This week at the pool she put her face in the water to retrieve a diving ring and came up all smiles. Then she asked me to take her to the big pool, which she thoroughly enjoyed instead of being coerced in and begging to go back to the wading pool.

Well, if they have to grow up, at least they're doing a pretty good job of it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

summer workouts, Overdue photos and a picnic blanket

The girls have been off school since Wednesday afternoon. We started the summer off right with ice cream at Snookies with a good number of friends who carry the same end of year ice cream tradition. Above you'll see how we spent the rest of the day - hanging out. The picnic blanket the girls are sitting on was made by me from a pattern in Betz Whites Sewing Green book. I have materials for another one too - it is lined with vinyl on the bottom so you can sit on damp ground and the dried grass cuttings and dirt can just be wiped off. Brilliant! Sarah had a sleepover stay through Thursday noon, and we did more hanging about in the yard. Too bad the pool wasn't yet open, as it is supposed to be rather cool all this week.

Twelve! Yes, Friday was Natashas' birthday. Several of her friends came for a sleepover, not that they slept much. We took everyone to see UP. Wonderful movie (sniff sniff), but the real adventure was in getting there. I drove Sarah & Mira in my car, Mira making up Seuss-like rhymes in a high sing-songy voice the whole way there. Too bad wearing earplugs while driving is discouraged, though I think Rich had more need of them. He drove the 5 loud giggly female tweens and even thought about running a few lights to make the ride shorter. I was lucky going home as Mira fell asleep. The tweens didn't.
Here's the birthday girl in her favorite tree.

Sunday I ran out to buy new gym shoes while Natasha was at the party of a girl she's known since her actual day of birth - we have photos of them together in the hospital before either was 24 hours old. How cool is it that they are still friends? (ok, so we've known her parents for oh, 20 years now...). Still, they have alot in common.

I needed new shoes as the old ones were giving me blisters. Otherwise I am thoroughly enjoying being able to work out again. Timing is easier too now that Natasha & Rich no longer leave at 7:20 and need breakfast and lunches at the ready... Hoping to drop 15 pounds by the time school starts up again August 27.

Random photos of Mira and I planting: she's a great garden helper. The pansies in the first photo were table decorations at her birthday party - I simply wrapped the plastic 6-packs in yellow and green tissue paper, then we planted the next day.

Remember my spring break post? Here are a few of those long ago promised photos of my Dad getting a workout chasing the girls :) Sarah: "I'm safe up here - you can't get me!"
Natasha :" Darn, he's guarding the slide. Dude - did he just go DOWN the slide?"
Dad: "Maybe if I just climb up on the slide I can reach..."

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Anniversary Pages for pagemaps contest

This LO is for the Love Me Some New BasicGrey contest over at PageMaps that ends tonight. As soon as I saw the sketch, I knew exactly what I wanted to scrap: our anniversary. The various elements of the sketch just said "Art Deco" to me. PERFECT, because both the restaurant and Theater we patronized that evening are throwbacks to the Twenties. (Dinner was wonderful, BTW, and so was the movie. Check out links at the end of the post.) Oh ok - maybe the Fleur is more colorful than this page, but the silver letters naming movies above each theater is what I was thinking of when I saw this sketch.

I had quite a bit of trouble finding just the right pattern for the bottom edge of the layout - all the patterns I had either obliterated the Art deco feel or provided too much competition for the other black elements. While the darker blue was just about right, it needed something else. The Basic Grey rub-ons leftover from my (ahem, yet unfinished) Hawaii album were just perfect!

Products used were: Bazzill Cardstock; Basic Grey white rub-ons; Silver Cardstock (from); MM 5th Ave journal pages and acrylic accents, Black Tie Transparency; AC Thickers Poolside (perfect font I might add); Wordsworth Foundation Sticker alpha, filled in with a black Zig photo signature pen; unknown bronze/brown ribbon from my stash. Oh and little paperclip from ? on the journal page holding the two movie tickets in hiding!

Fleur Cinema: It's small, comfy, and they serve wine and lattes as well as delectable carrot cake, cheesecake and brownies. What more could you ask for? Oh yeah - a great selection of movies too!
Chicago Speakeasy: Classy, yummy. Prime Rib, Steak de Burgo ~ mmmmm. The kids spaghetti dishes include salad bar and are WAY better than a certain local specialty pasta place too, price included. Oh, and they serve Templeton Rye Manhattans...