Monday, May 31, 2010

Soloman Snow

I lucked up last week at the library when I picked this book up, "Soloman Snow and the Silver Spoon" by Kaye Umansky. I had both kids with me so it was a "grab what looks good and go" trip. Our library kindly puts the new young adult books on nice little stands with the covers facing out on a shelf, so convenient! However, I'm sure they don't find my snatching them all up convenient.

I did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. The story begins in a small village where our hero lives with what he believes are his real parents. A chapter or two later he finds out otherwise and is off on an adventure to find out who he is. Of course he meets up with several characters who join him. My favorite is little Rosabella also known as "The Prodigy". Rosabella is a terribly spoiled child with awesome skills in manipulation. She also has the most adorable speech impediment, she can't pronounce her "R's". This book would be such a good read aloud.

Found on the back of the book is a quote from the author;
"A while ago, I went on a reread Charles Dickens' binge. Inspired, I cried, "I can do that!" I couldn't. What came out was Soloman Snow."
After returning this book, the librarian asked if I knew about the second in the series. Oh what joy! To find that there was another and it was available for checkout. Also surprising was the accommodating librarian. My mother and I have often discussed how cantankorous they are in general.

If you enjoyed the kind of humor found in "The Series of Unfortunate Events" you will enjoy these two books as well. I found them quite funny!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer Crafting

I love to craft, it's therapeutic for me. I've collected some ideas for Katherine and I to do this summer. I don't think it's going to be as therapeutic but it'll keep her busy for a few hours each week. Today's craft came from Deep Space Sparkle. It used oil pastels to create a lizard sunning on a branch. I knew Katherine would love it. Most 6 year old girls like Build A Bears and fluffy rabbits, our child loves reptiles.

I drew the lizard in pencil, copying the provided pic. Then Katherine colored in with the oil pastels. We used facial tissue to rub in the oil and to blend the colors a bit. It turned out great! I think we'll save it for a Father's Day gift. If you haven't worked with oil pastels before, it's not as messy as I was expecting. They are similar to crayons but have a more vivid color. They blend so nicely with some rubbing.

This is another site I used for ideas, Kathy has so many wonderful projects with good instructions. This woman is definitely a great art teacher, she knows what kids enjoy doing. I really like her Monet Water Lilly post from this week.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Remember the two mirrors I picked up at yard sales? I'm happy to say that they've both found happy homes.

The first one was added to my collection of clocks and mirrors. This collection I built without even knowing. It wasn't until after we moved that I noticed they would all look very nice together. It appears I am drawn to round objects. The large clock on the lower right was a recent bargain from Winn-Dixie of all places.

The next mirror I spray painted silver and hung above a nightstand in our bedroom. Now both nightstands have some balance.

I must say thank you to my husband for doing all the hanging and in such a speedy fashion. Wow that obsessive compulsive behavior comes in handy!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Yard Sale Finds

I had a successful morning at yard sales last weekend. My yard sale buddy called in sick so I went alone. But I found quite a bit of interesting things! The most memorable was a huge iron birdcage for$5. I was tempted to put it the yard with some climbing vines but it was simply too enormous. My kids would have loved getting in and out of it but I didn't think about that until hours later.
Here's a rundown of what I came home with:
Plant stand (hidden behind the wreath)
Blue lamp with hideous shade (the shade is now in the trash)
Outside flag
Nice plastic child size hangers (I always run out around consignment time)
2 t-shirts, a pair of pj's, and a hoodie for Katherine
Some cheap jewelry (to rip apart and make something fantastic)
Two pumpkins, one mercury glass the other cardboard
A beautiful blue berry wreath (it was only $2!)
2 children's books
A large mirror (yes another mirror, but really, this one was on my list)
A basket full of small toys (for a project coming up)

All for a grand total of $28.00. I am pleased.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Good Deal

Some of you have seen me with "my best friend twice a year". It's my collapsible four wheeled shopping cart! I keep it in the back of the car every spring and fall for shopping the consignment sales. It receives much attention from other shoppers who wish they had one. An opportunist could really make some cash selling these outside the sales.

You can buy this one this week at Walgreens for $14.99! That's $5 cheaper than what I paid. These carts can be elusive when you're specifically looking for one. Take advantage of this if you can.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Class Of 2010!

I remember sitting in the hospital calculating the year my youngest brother would graduate from high school, 2010 what a cool year! Patrick was born when I was almost 16 years old. He was one the best thing that ever happened to us. Life had become very boring before he came along. Here are a few photos of the two of us together:

This photo always makes me laugh, me and Grandma wearing entirely too much make-up.

Here I am with grandma again at my own graduation. I always end up crying at life changing events. I really don't handle change well. I was a mess at my own wedding. Patrick asked if I was ever going to live with them again and it broke my heart to tell him no.

We have another graduate in the family this year. Chuck's mom graduated from college last weekend after 21 years. It was a great accomplishment for her. Here she is with her two sons:

Way to go class of 2010!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

An Exciting Day

I had a great day! It began by thrifting with some friends. I only bought an old fall issue of Southern Living and an adorable bow tie for Charlie but it was fun nonetheless.

After picking Katherine up from school we went to a friends house who has chickens! We drove up and a mule, a donkey, and a cow moved close to the fence to say "hello". I wish we had brought something for them to eat. They were so curious to see what we were up to.
Walking towards the backyard I could hear the chickens gabbing amongst themselves. There was quite a crowd of them! I was enchanted with this particular rooster.

He started crowing right away when we showed up. He was the smallest of the roosters that I saw but he tried very hard to convince us otherwise. I could hear what sounded like quite a large rooster off in the distance and this little guy would answer back as loud as he could but end up chocking and coughing at the end of his efforts. Very funny!

Katherine spotted some eggs in the nesting boxes. Three beautifully colored eggs! I found several tiny eggs that were so delicate that a couple of them broke under my clumsy fingers.

We were also invited to harvest whatever was ready in their garden. I'm afraid to say that I failed to identify most of what was growing there. I clipped some lettuce to take home and left the rest alone. Look at what a gorgeous green color it was.

Let me share my new found chicken knowledge with you. A chicken can lay an egg almost every day and never see a rooster. The rooster fertilizes the eggs. I did not remember these facts until my mother mentioned that the roosters were loose and to be prepared when I crack my eggs open. I'm a bit nervous about them now but Katherine is quite anxious to boil them and eat 'em. Mom also mentioned she doubts that these tiny eggs came from a chicken. I don't suppose we should eat those.

My great day ended with a delicious bowl of vanilla ice cream topped with freshly picked blackberries blended into a sauce. Wow.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sonic Bloom

My mother has run across the best nail polish I've ever used, Sally Hansen's Insta-Dri Nail Color. I bought the Sonic Bloom color which is a great summer coral-red. It happens to match my new swimsuit perfectly, (more on the swimsuit in a later post). Mom bought Flashy Fuchsia which is a lovely bright pink.

This nail polish claims to cover in one coat and dry rapidly. It does dry quite fast but I preferred the color after two coats. What was the most surprising about this product was how well it lasts. I put it through the beach test. The color did not chip on day 1, 2, or 3 whilst I trudged through sand. In fact, it hasn't chipped ever. I rate this product an A+!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Flower Bed Makeover

We've spent the past several weekends working on our front flower beds. This is what the front of our house looked like when we bought it a year ago:

What was planted in the flower beds was ugly or refused to thrive. The only plants I saved were two hydrangea bushes that I transplanted to a cooler location. They are so happy now and have tripled in size.
Chuck worked really hard on laying the bricks correctly. It bothered me that they were not level and covered just about everything that bothered to grow.

Below is a photo of the drip system we installed to keep my new plants happy. The hose is on a timer that comes on in the morning for 30 minutes. I've covered all the hoses with a cedar mulch that was cheap and it smells nice.

Chuck put the system into my hanging baskets too. It has worked so well!

My plants have grown a bit in the past few weeks but I'm really looking forward to what they will look like in a month. I am pleased. Ta-dah!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Yard Sale Finds

I spent several hours Saturday morning with my friend Ginger going to yard sales. I'm quite happy with my treasures. I spent a total of $17.00 and came home with all of this:

I wanted this Santa from Wal-mart last Christmas but wasn't willing to spend $20 on him. I hoped to get him on clearance after the season was over but they were all gone. I got this one for $3.00!

The bargain of the day was the light fixture. I got it for $2.00! I've been hunting for something to replace a tacky miniature ceiling fan in our master bath. We never use the fan and it's just plain ugly. I have plans to change that....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Two Great Family Games

We've had Blokus for a couple of years now but no one will play with me. I LOVE this game, probably because I'm really good at it. The point of the game is to fit as many of your pieces onto the board while blocking other players moves. Women tend to be really good at this game.The other game I like is Doodle Dice. I am NOT good at this game but I'm determined to win at least once. The point of this game is to match a card's illustration with what symbols you've rolled with the dice. The illustrations get more intricate as the game goes on.

Both games have simple rules and are a blast. Kids age 8 and older can easily play either games.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Iron Man 2

My parents volunteered at the last minute to babysit while we see a movie this weekend. Fun! We loved the first Iron Man and of course had to see the next one. I'm thankful it wasn't in 3D. Some of the previews I was excited about turned out to be in 3D. That angers me.

Back to the movie, I thought Mickey Rourke who plays one of the bad guys was awesome. His career is back on for sure! I've already forgotten all that unfortunate plastic surgery business.

Sam Rockwell was also great in his bad guy part. He's one of those actors you've seen before but cannot remember where. Not anymore!

Of course Robert Downey was his usual goodness and Gwyneth. Scarlett was beautiful but her acting was a bit flat.

Overall the movie was entertaining and funny. I loved it.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Chickens, You're My Obsession

I have been interested in having some chickens for fresh eggs for about a year now. However, after watching Martha's recent show on chickens I'm obsessed. Everyone in her studio audience brought their pet chicken and held it in their lap like a cat. Martha loved on a chicken in her lap almost the entire show. I've never seen or heard about this kind of behavior from a chicken. I had no idea they could be considered a pet.

I checked out this book from the library, "Living With Chickens: Everything You Need to Know to Raise Your Own Backyard Flock" by Jay Rossier. I really liked this book, it was interesting and entertaining! What little did I know about chickens. An egg, what little miracles they are.

Last week I was just surfing some blogs about nothing in particular and came across this fascinating woman's chicken coop! I've never seen the likes. It makes chicken husbandry look "chic". You must go there yourself as she doesn't want anyone copying her gorgeous photos.
Then, today in Home Depot I was just waiting around for the hubby when I spotted this magazine called "Organic Gardening" with a beautiful chicken on the cover! I had to have it. Surely I am meant to have chickens!?

There has been some debate over whether or not I should pursue this new hobby as our neighborhood covenants clearly state "no chickens, goats, or hogs". I was crushed at first but now I'm scheming. We'll get a fence......I'll share the fresh eggs......we won't even have a rooster....what's the big deal..........
This chicken thing is NOT over.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mother's Day

My first Mother's Day was in May of 2003. My in-laws lived close to Sanibel Island Florida at the time, so we had a photo session there. The pics turned out to be some of my all time favorite photos.

Here is me telling Chuck to "suck it up" for a few more minutes after he tells me things are biting him. In my zeal to get some good photos I didn't bother to look at his legs until we were done. They were in a black cloud of biting flies. He really is a trooper. I would have been pitching a fit.
Notice my father in-law in the back packing up, everyone was concerned but me. I can be such a Queen Bee sometimes. And why is it there always a photo to prove it?!

Oh how I love these two brown eyed cuties.

I can't have a Mother's Day post without my Charlie or my wonderful mother. Here they are together in Navarre Beach Florida last weekend. Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Perfect Housewife Day 1/The Only Day

Last week I challenged myself to be a better stay at home mom. I have become a bit lazy when it comes to cooking and cleaning. A year ago I made a chore chart but I might have followed it a handful of weeks since. Here's how Day 1 of being the perfect housewife went down:

Thursday-clean master bathroom, 1 load of laundry, and load/unload dishwasher.

I got my cleaning caddy and a roll of paper towels and went to work on the bathroom. Things were going pretty smoothly until I called for Charlie who'd been quiet for a moment. He obediently came to me with my missing bottle of Clorox Green Works hanging out of his mouth. He obviously had been drinking it. Chuck called the Clorox company and found out the product does not contain bleach and we just needed to watch him for any ill effects for the next hour.

I was quite shaken with almost poisoning our child so I used my nervous energy to vacuum. Vacuuming was not on the chore chart for Thursday but it should have been done the day before. Charlie loves it when I vacuum. He usually follows me around and touches the vacuum lovingly. But that day he discovered how to yank the cord out of the wall and make it stop. The second time he did this I had had enough! I screamed at him so loudly, Chuck came running out of the office yet again, to see what all the fuss was about. He blessedly took the baby and entertained him until I was finished and had cooled off with some angry tears.
Here's Mr. Mischievous:

I learned a good lesson, I'm not the perfect housewife and I'm glad. Upon reflection if I was, my friends would hate me. And it appears that trying to be perfect just makes things more complicated so I will continue with the chore chart and cooking healthier meals but some days are just going to be eventful!