Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Beautiful Sign

I had been thinking about having a sign with the 'fruit of the spirit' (Gal 5: 22-23) made for some time, but when I learned that Tessa's school was focusing on learning the fruit of the spirit over the course of the summer....I considered this a SIGN from the Lord. Time to memorize!

Tessa actually does have them all memorized already but I can't take credit for that. Her school has been teaching them a catchy little song, the only part of which Charley remembers is 'the fruit of the spirit is not a grape, SQUISH!!'.

So I have a friend (part of this crowd) who make lovely handmade signs for people's homes. She will custom makes them saying anything you want, so I commissioned our sign and it arrived in the mail a few days ago.....
She made it with a piece of nicely distressed wood to match Tessa's log cabin bedroom, as well as pink lettering of course.

Pay no attention to the monkey jumping into my picture.

Tessa loves it! Thanks Lauren, you are the bomb diggity!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Birthday in the Garden

This past weekend was my birthday, and also Mom and Dad's house was being featured on a tour of historic homes and gardens. The proceeds went to the local historical society which helps preserve old homes and such.

So I ditched the kids with Jeremy and went down to help. My job was pretty simple. Take tickets, hand out programs, direct foot traffic and sit in the sun with my big floppy hat on. And did I mention I was kid free? was like vacation.

So to start here are some pics from the tour..
This is the house I grew up in, built in 1869. It's filled will all sorts of antiques, quilts, collectibles, santas and such. Much of it made by Mamaw, our resident artist.

This is the inside of the smokehouse that Dad renovated. Smoke house as in there are hooks on the ceiling where people used to smoke meat. We used to store our bikes in here when I was a kid, but then it became structurally unsafe and was closed up. I swear I think this weekend was the first time I've actually stood inside of it for 20 years. And look at it now...a little potting shed and oasis!

We had a top notch staff of helper including Ashley the lemonade girl....
Mamaw (holding a weed) and Mom, the tour guides and historians.
Myself, the ticket taker. I was cool as long as no one asked me about plant species. Dad was the smokehouse guide, but somehow managed to avoid the camera.
The tour was both Saturday and Sunday, and when it was over Jeremy brought the kids and some food for a little impromptu birthday party including mimosa cupcakes.
It was windy so I blew out my candles in the smokehouse. When I say I, I really mean Charley, Tessa, Ashley, Mark and Bob blew out my candles for me.

To match my plate, a bowl made out of old magazines!

Okay, I missed Charley a little bit.

Friday, June 24, 2011

That's One Tasty....Book

Thanks to the G's for the new cookbook. Obviously, our house is looking forward to cupcakes!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Does Minute Maid Make a Pickle Juice Box?

Clearly this is a girl who knows what she likes, and given her diverse food tastes, I'm usually happy to oblige. I'm picturing some awesome pregnancy cravings for her in about 25 years. Whoah...typing that just gave me a mini brain aneurysm. (and the fact that I spelled aneursym correctly on the first try just gave me another).

This afternoon the kids and I were out running errands, after which we went to LA Fitness so I could go to water aerobics class while they played in the kids club. Thus, we stopped at a local hole in the wall type Mexican place (read: awesome) for dinner and Tessa had a conversation with the waitress that went just like this....

--Do you have some dip for my chips that's not so spicy? (meaning mild salsa)
--No sweetie we don't, sorry.
--Then could you pwease bring me a bowl of whack-a-moley?
--Sure, is that okay Mama?
(nod and smile and try not to laugh)
--Wook, I got a new pair of shoes. I can run berry fast.

Home Improvement

It's been a little while since we've done any renovation to the dollhouse. And well, I could always use an excuse to go to Hobby Lobby.

We started by painting the kitchen. Tessa chose a nice mustard yellow and I chose the country wood slat flooring. It's scrapbook paper held down by a little rubber cement! Yes I assume it will eventually peel away...but that's just an excuse to change it up with something new right?

Then we painted the bathroom blue to match the linoleum piece that Grammie and Grampie had given us. Rapunzel like the changes. Maybe we should find a doll size bottle of shampoo for her?
So the whole left wing is done, including the bedroom I did back in January. You may notice that some of the furniture from that time has been removed and set aside, after a couple of the more delicate items fell victim to toddler playtime. Also I manged the break the wooden canopy bed which was also pretty delicate...unfortunately I can't blame a kid for that one.

So some of the wooden pieces are still around and some have been set aside for when the kids are a little older. Right now we love the plastic Fisher Price stuff.

Tessa is also fascinated by the tiny dishes and cups and stuff at Hobby Lobby. I told her some day she could have those. Someday when her brother won't stick them up his nose.

Hobby Lobby was having a 1/2 off sale on all fake floral stuff so I thought it was time to dress up the outside a bit too. I got one bundle of 1/2 off foliage, one package of mini-pots, and one package of moss. That plus some hot glue...voila, a tree!

I hot glued them to the outside of the house, so they don't get lost or eaten by a dog. Pretty snappy, I think.
The third level of the house is kind of like an attic that goes all the way across. I have no idea what to do with that area, but I want it to be something fun. I asked Tessa and she said 'kid's bedrooms'....well that's a little boring but it is her house.

So I'm soliciting idea for the 'attic' studio? science lab? dog grooming business?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day Fish

Well today was all up to Jeremy, whatever he wanted to do. I spent Mother's Day sick on the couch and honestly it wasn't so bad. For Father's Day, Jeremy wanted to...go to church, try a new flatbread restaurant afterward, take a nap, cook a whole red snapper, and play Rockband. We did all of those things!

We've never made a whole fish before, but after finding a new (or new to us?) Asian grocery store nearby, Jeremy was determined it would happen this weekend. I was a little intimidated but it turned out being super duper tasty, easy and cheap! Hello....why have we not done this before?
Jeremy had a recipe that marinated the fish in lemongrass, spicy pepper and fish sauce, then pan fried it in a little olive oil . I've watched 'Anthony Bourdain- No Reservations' often enough to know that people the world over are enjoying the same whole fish dinner, or often steamed. Steamed may have been healthier but that crispy finish was more than a little amazing.
Here's the recipe Jeremy followed.
Holy banana leaves right? He made us some sticky rice using banana leaves. But um, not THIS much. Apparently this is the smallest portion you could buy, only $2. Lookout Marcie, one of these babies is coming your way.
So dinner was super yummy and we enjoyed a nice family weekend. The kids made him these great cards at SWAP, and we bought him a pair of canvas crocs that match mine (that he had long eyeballed- yes mine are men's and yes we now have matching shoes).

My Cookie Project- Beautifully Pink

My cookie project has been a little bit neglected lately. I'm going to blame the transition from baking season into gardening season. Plus I needed a break I guess. I had bought the stuff to make these pink cookies for the girls at Tessa's dance recital which was like three weeks ago. They never got made on time but hey, better late than never.

This recipe falls into the category of super duper easy.

I normally try to bake organic and natural recipes. If you look at my ingredients you can see that these...ahem...DON'T fall into that catagory. But hey, I was shooting for pink.
And four ingredients, perfect! You literally just whip together one egg, one (8 oz) container of cool whip and one package of strawberry cake batter. Then roll them in powdered sugar and bake at 350. The end.
The batter makes a nice fluffy goo. It's a little bit of a sticky mess to roll in the sugar.
But then you end up with these nice white crackles. Pretty and tasty! And as predicted, Tessa flipped over the fact that they were pink. These would be perfect for a little girl party or a breast cancer fundraiser or something.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Library Made My Day

I confessed before of my irrational fear of our public library. Well not fear as much as intimidation. I'm still intimidated by the rest of the library (and more specifically the dewy decimal system)...but we've made it my goal to go visit the kid's section once a week.

Tessa is signed up for the summer reading program. You keep track of your hours of reading (or that your Mom read to you) and then win prizes. Tessa is taking this all very seriously and was super excited to go claim her first prize this morning for 5 hours read.

She got a crown and a coupon for free crazy bread from Little Ceasar's, which ended up being the kid's lunch today (along with some peaches and milk...not as unhealthy as it sounds). I've never in my life had crazy's like breadsticks on crack, rolled in garlic.

And of course 12 new books for the week.

And most excitingly, they finally had "Cars" on DVD and it wasn't checked out! We got lucky on that one. I've checked two other times and all three copies were gone. The kids have never seen it and are enjoying their afternoon movie as I type. If they are really into it, we might go see Cars 2 in theater later this summer.

I'm patting myself on the back for not buying or renting it before now, which might normally be my response. Another goal being conquered...self control and patience when it comes to kid purchases.

So a crown, lunch, 12 books and movie all for FREE. Maybe the public library's not so bad after all. Let's do it again next Friday.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Aging Gracefully

Today we hit the museum and for the first time ever, we took no stroller and no diapers (okay there were a couple of those in my bag just in case). Charley hasn't really sat in the stroller at the museum in a while, but I always take it along for insurance in case he gets squirrely. Perhaps those days are past us....not that he won't get squirrely, but that we can handle it in more of a 'big boy' fashion.

He did try to run away a couple of times in Dora exhibit, but I reminded him that we had to stick together when he ran off I had to hold him, which he hated. Tessa ran off once and I told her if she did it again we would leave the Dora exhibit.

So we stuck together well, and spent a solid four hours exploring our favorite museum spots while walking and holding hands. I was proud of Charley yesterday too when we visited Trader Joe's and BOTH kids were pushing mini carts (while I pushed a big one). Once again we stuck together and and we conquered!

With the diaper and restraints behind us, it feels nowadays like have two kids instead of one kid and one baby. It's a nice change, even if a little sad. Charley has been victim of a very annoying phase of toddlerhood where he gets frustrated because he can't talk and resorts to screaming....I very reluctantly say that I HOPE we are getting past that. He seems to be understanding alot more and responding to discipline, even though his speech is still a bit delayed.

I hope, I hope the frustrated screaming is being left behind us. Please Jesus.

So our summer looks bright...trips the long abandoned library, swim lessons, museum and zoo, the lake, SWAP, vacation bible school and most importantly a family reunion at the Outer Banks.

I can even take both kids to a restaurant by myself nowadays with no sweat, or in this case the museum food court. That's not to say we didn't do restaurants was just alot more hurried and frenzied (or drive thru).

Can we agree that Charley's shirt is a little poetic given his hotdog lunch? We saw a girl who appeared to be about 14 wearing the same shirt, quite possible also from the boy's section at Children's Place.

Enjoy the rest of the highlight reel......

Speaking of aging and growing, this is a dress that Tessa wore last summer, size 3T. Nowadays it's way too short, but I was very happy to find some cheapo 'biker shorts' at Target to make last year's dresses last. Yay for sensibly dressing girls!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Dad Life

Forgive me if you've seen this before, but it's new to me. Ohhhhh so hilarious and surprisingly accurate. In honor of Father's Day...

If you're wondering which one Jeremy is, he would be a cross between the Dad combating weeds and the one crying during "Aladdin".

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Choppers and Snow Cones

That's what you can expect at our local Strawberry festival. Well actually there were strawberry shortcakes but we didn't have any. Free snow cones were good for us.

We dropped by this afternoon after Jeremy noticed a black hawk helicopter parked outside our local elementary this morning. It worked out well because Tessa's school had a helicopter visit the other day and we opted out of it because it was $20 a child. This one was free! And big! And there were snow cones and firetrucks and fireman hats for the kids! Good times for all.

This is some big military truck that I don't remember the name of.
But Tessa stuck her head out of the top....

....while Charley drove.

Note the black hawk in the background.

By the time we got there they were no longer letting people in line to sit inside of it. But we did get to see it take off which was pretty cool.

I have a bit of a fear of helicopters and hot air balloons (not that they are similar in function but still...things that I consider to be shaky in the sky). Tessa kept making fun of me. I guess that's better than her adopting my own irrational fears.

Tessa enjoyed her snow cone while Charley mostly got frustrated by his. He doesn't often like any kind of help with food so trying to help him squish the ice around and drink the juice only resulted in a meltdown and refusal of any more snow cone. That kid truly makes his own bed sometimes.

We came home with plastic fireman's hats after playing on the school's playground for a good long time. The whole time we were at the festival, Charley was happier than a pig in...well you know what pigs are happy in.