Friday, December 13, 2013

Counting Down

I feel sort of frazzled this holiday season. There's a more than usual sensing of being rushed. I know the source is work where deadlines are looming and talk of working through the holiday are circulating. I hate the sense of days rushing by and personal life taking the "way back" seat.

So I'm glad that in the midst of the craziness I took time to do something I've been meaning to do for my little one - an advent calendar. I let go of having to do it perfectly and just did it free form. I decided on a count down approach and have used little brown bags with stamped numbers and stickers. Without a place to put all 25 bags, I've been making them in batches and putting one out a day.

Good thing, when we started, I left the number 23 bag on a shelf ready or the next day. I came home to a story from the little one about how she had to open the 23 bag because the 24 bag had nothing in it. Hmm, the the 24 bag had nothing in it because a certain someone had already consumed the contents. I realized, if I had prepared and put out all 25 bags they would have lasted a day. 

So now, we are counting down one bag at a time and celebrating Christmas a little every day.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Weekend Plans

No sleeping in this weekend. We have a breakfast date with Frosty the Snowman. My little one's school hosts a yearly holiday breakfast with the famed snowman. The event includes a gift fair where the little one's can do their Christmas shopping for parents, grand parents, etc. with the help of some nice volunteers. Last year she chose a flower jewel ring for me! Can't wait to see what she buys me this year.

I have to say I'm looking forward to doughnuts and coffee with the snowman.

Photo from Telegraph UK.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas Prep Underway

I'm having difficulty believing Christmas is just weeks away. I've actually bought the little one a bunch of gifts and even wrapped them. We're doing a free form Advent Calendar. More about that later. I finished designing our Christmas cards last night and placed the order. The wreath has arrived from my brother and sister in law and is on the door. I planted a amaryllis bulb and set it on the table in a nice red pot. So why don't I feel Like it's Christmas time yet?

Maybe because it seems like a million miles away in terms of work and chores and gifts still to buy. If I made a list of all that still needs to be done, it would dwarf what I have already accomplished. It's just the time of year when you seem to race around in hopes you'll get it all done and have a chance to finally relax. It certainly isn't as easy as just hanging the stockings with care. Big to do list here I come.

Photo via Limilee.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

My Little Sphinx

We went to the museum to see the mummies and took a photo with the sphinx. The mummies were declared not real because they were not moving. After getting over her disappointment that there were no zombie mummies wondering around, we managed to enjoy a stroll through the Egyptian section of the Met.

The stained glossed windows and knights in armor, that we passed while tracking down chicken nuggets served in a paper taxi, were a big hit. Unreal mummies aside, we enjoyed our late afternoon visit to the museum. And I love my little sphinx.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Tree Falls in the Night

I woke up at 2:25am in pitch blackness. It was technically the morning but when it's dark outside and I should be sleeping, it's night time in my book. I was trying to get back to sleep when I felt a crash and the bed shook. There were no other sounds and no one else woke up, so I finally went back to sleep. This morning the mystery was solved when I looked out the back window. An old tree that has been leafless for years finally gave in and fell into our yard. It was so rotted it broke in to large pieces and now looks like the skeleton of a tree.

The little one described it as one of the forest trees. I love that she sees the wooded part of the yard as a forest. She said one of the forest trees fell into our yard and now we can use a saw, cut it up and use the tree as wood for our fire place. I think it is beyond firewood at this point but I will definitely be looking for a way to clear it away. I'm flattered that the little one thinks I'm handy and brave enough to use a saw. Oh lawn guys, I have a job for you! 


On the way out the door this morning my little one found a leaf and ran back inside asking if she could keep it. She was so pleased with her find and asked "Isn't it beautiful?" I took a quick snap of it that doesn't do it justice. But yes it is beautiful. Leave it to a six year old to stop in the middle of the morning rush to see the beauty in a fallen leaf. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Favorite Swimming Hole

What's your favorite place to swim? Beaches are beautiful to look at, but not my favorite place to swim. Lakes and ponds are out, too murky for my tastes.

My favorite swimming spot is fondly called The Froggy Pool, for reasons obvious in the photo below. A modest kids pool at a community club, that is often over crowded with splashing little ones. One the other hand that is part of the fun. It's perfect for our silly pool games. The atmosphere at the club is laid back, so there's no need to worry  how you look in your swim suit or feel self conscious when you are playing the part the giant crab or even the fleeing bunny. Bunnies don't like giant crabs. The pool also has retro looking metal umbrellas that I love. So The Froggy Pool takes my top spot for taking a dip.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Borrowed Sunflowers

Our sunflowers took a beating this year and our efforts to grow 100 sunflowers were undermined yet again by our four footed nemeses. Yes, deer I'm referring to you!

While the ongoing battle between weekend gardener and the Bambis still rages on, we took a quick detour after grocery shopping this weekend to admire someone else's garden. In fact many someones. The community garden at Duke Farm was full of sunflowers. The largest I have ever seen. While I'm disappointed our sunflowers didn't make it, we were happy to walk among the garden plots and enjoy some borrowed beauty.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Weed to Love

in the past while sitting waiting for the train I would look at the milk weed and other miscellaneous plant life growing around the tracks and think, this place needs a good weeding.

My desire to tidy up the train tracks is probably a by product of growing up in a post Highway Beautification Act world. I'm certainly happy that Ladybird Johnson decided our road ways should be beautiful and have stretches of manicured plants and greenery along them.

I'm also happy that a walking tour at Duke Farms enlightened me to the beauty of the milkweed. Milkweed, I learned is the sole food of the Monarch caterpillar. Monarchs lay their eggs only on milkweed and the plant sustains and houses the caterpillar until they finally metamorphsize into lovely orange and black butterflies. Turns out this odd looking plant is not just a "weed" but a food source and habitat. Now, I now longer feel the urge to to see the train tracks all nice and tidy.

How I viewed it before:

How I see it now:

An Imperfect Garden

Every summer our garden seems to go its own way. It never quiet confirms to the image of the perfect garden in our imagination.

Despite "falling short" and sustaining multiple deer attacks, it always manages to offer up patches of beauty. It's never the big beautiful manicured garden featured in magazines, but if you look closely, it is beautifully imperfect.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Just Peachy

We managed to get some peach picking in while the sun shined this weekend. Now we have to figure out what to do with a big ole basket of white and yellow peaches once they ripen.

Last night the little one suggested fruit salad. We used the one ripe peach and today I have a beautiful little hand made snack to look forward to.

I figure I have two or three days to come up with a recipe before the rest all ripen.

Deep Summer

Deep summer is how I'm referring to these last weeks of August. I just can't bring myself to think "end of summer". I'm not ready to let go, even as I sense fall is already in the air some days.

The fire flies of July are gone. Their disappearance went unnoticed at first, but now I realize I miss their crazy lights paths through the yard at night.

The sounds of a summer night are quieting down a bit too, but the crickets and frogs and last of the cicadas are still singing a summer song. As I write this I realize Summer has a sound all it's own and I'll miss it when the cold sets in. Here's to savoring Deep Summer. 

Weird Landscapes

I finished another book on my summer reading list. Girl in a Landscape was s much easier read to get into the second time around. Lots to love in this book including a new take on the western, the alien life form with the even more alien take on English, the young heroine and the bizarre landscape Jonathan Lethem conjures up.

These clay sculptures by Jessica Hans seemed like they could have fallen out of the pages of the book. They certainly seem like they would be at home on the planet of the arch builders.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Face in Hole

Face in Hole photos are so much fun. We took full advantage of the offerings at the 4H Fair.

I think the little lamb is my favorite.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Green Houses

Riding the train browsing Pinterest and thinking about greenhouses.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hanging Out in the 20's

I feel a bit guilty when I find myself watching shows inside during the summer. I justified my video binge with the fact that we did make it to the pool twice this past weekend.

In fact, I was finishing up a sweater (another silly summer activity) and it's nice to have some background entertainment while one figures out how to pick up stitches along an edge.

I made it through several episodes of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries while adding sleeve edges and sewing up seams. I thoroughly enjoyed Miss Fisher's adventurous forays into crime solving and the not too violent crimes. Can you say that about murder? Well CSI this is not. Add a good cast, the amazing outfits, the Melbourne setting and did I mention the outfits? This is show you wish you could walk in to.

I really need to go back and watch these lighted yet intriguing mysteries again to enjoy the details. Sewing knitted seams is not the best way to watch a show that has such rich attention to details. While I didn't give it my undivided attention, the series made an unpleasant knitting task a whole lot more bearable.

Photo Booth Fun

Why is mugging for the camera do much fun? I love old time photo booths but they are hard to find, require change one never seems to have or are sadly broken.

Hurrah for apps like Incredibooth that let us make fun funny faces and pose to our hearts content. Last night we were in a mellow mood. The lighting was too low and and my co-model was reluctant at first, but I got a few hugs and kisses out of the deal. All in all not a bad photo shoot.

Summer Reading: Girl in a Landscape

Reading my way through old books I previously started and left unfinished continues. I've been doing pretty well even if a few new ones have slipped in on a whim.

I restarted "Girl in a Landscape" again thinking it was a completely different unfinished book. Same author: Jonathan Lethem, same genre: science fiction, different story. So I was a little startled at first but now I'm settling for what I hope is a good read.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tiny Harvest

Our garden has suffered two major deer attacks this summer and I have basically given up on seeing anymore tomatoes this year. Sometimes I question the ratio between all the work we put in and what the garden actually produces.

Honestly with all the rain this year the garden has pretty much taken care of itself and I admire the resolve of the sunflowers which keep trying to flower after having their heads bitten off twice. Plants are tenacious.

And sometimes when everything goes right they are productive. Last night my little one harvested our first zucchini. We learned zucchini grow quickly. I was watching this one. The end of last week it was tiny, the size that might be served up on palate of baby vegetables in a restaurant. Last night when we picked it was big enough to serve two. We sliced it and sautéed it with some garlic and enjoyed our tiny harvest. Oh and we photographed it too! Proud gardener's that we were.