Sunday, July 31, 2011

My favorite nephew

Okay, so he's my only nephew. Still my favorite. :-)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Five for Friday

I lacked a decent photo for "this moment" this week, so I decided to share five random things from the week!

1. Nathan has been learning in his music class about the sounds various woodland creatures make, including the katydids. Guess what we discovered living in a flower on our front porch?

2. We achieved the impossible this week...we successfully created and stuck to a meal plan! No takeout, no wasted food. What's more, the boys ate, or at least tried, everything we gave them, including steak fajitas and fish tacos. I'm so proud of them.

3. I managed to get all the boys' school supplies for about $26 total...would have cost me $56 to buy the kit from the PTO. So I used the excess $30 to buy school supplies for the boys' VBS project. They are collecting school supplies for needy area schoolkids. Hurray! (And you know I racked up as many deals as I could for my $30, ha ha.)

4. I rescued a downed sunflower from the sunflower house and now I have the most cheerful sink in the world.

5. First big tomato harvest. Tonight the husband and I are having an "at home date" and the menu is capresi salad, good grainy bread, and a bottle of pinot noir.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thrifted Thursday: Making Up for Lost Time Edition

The children are attending VBS this week, so I am loving a few free mornings! I made it out to my three favorite thrifts, which are all within about a half mile from each other. It was my first trip all summer owing to the fact that the thrifts are nearly the most boring places on planet Earth to my boys, making it no fun at all. Hence I've saved my pennies for my chance to be on my own, and it was worth it.

I scored big with this chip and dip set. I think I squealed out loud when I found it. The price, at $6.99, was a bit rich for my taste, but I still had to have it!

A pair of Columbus Clippers cowbells; they give them free sometimes, but just in case, we are now prepared to sing along with a cowbell at our next Clippers game.

Doilies. I can never have enough. Esp at 59 cents each.

Set of four champagne glasses. I love the old school ones more than the flutes. The good thing about me is that I will make room by getting rid of a few of our glasses that we never use, and donate them back to the store. A dollar each.

Almost forgot to add these...a couple of jars for cheap, just 59 cents.

Finally, a decent solution for my paints and small art supplies. 99 cents plus a coat of paint.

Good, cheap fun on a Thursday.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Once upon a time...

I would have taken this little beauty straight out of the Goodwill. A steal at $20 (and a $5 off coupon to boot.) The shad of aqua blue was hard to capture w/ my cellphone. *Sigh.* I have sworn off collecting and hauling things home that have neither room nor use for. I hope some lucky girl finds this gem and gives it a good home!

As for my, a quiet morning puttering through the Goodwill without children (Dear God, thank you for vacation Bible school) was a fun outing in and of itself, despite the lack of anything I really needed or wanted. I want to stay on the trend of being able to enjoy these little finds without feeling the need to purchase.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"French Week" was more interesting for some people...

(This post is dedicated to Madame Brueggers, my first French teacher.) my husband, who happened to be in France during the week we were doing French studies at home.

He even got to experience Bastille Day in Paris, how amazing is that?

Back at the ranch, we honestly tried. We did our best. Some things we did were to spend a half hour looking at a book about Impressionists. We watched a video about kids in a French family. We had "Petite Dejouner" at a little cafe I know (okay, yea, so it was Panera bread, thanks to awesome coupons from the summer reading program at the library!) We watched the US/France women's soccer semi final (Awesome!) Zachary, who is all into riding his new bike right now, researched and learned that bicycles were invented by the French (the velocipede.) We learned to say simple phrases like "Je fait du velo" (roughly "I ride bicycle") and "Bonjour" and "Au revoir" and any other bit I could remember from high school French. I put French cafe music on to listen to. Oh and the big highlight was finding a book called The Cat Who Walked Across France, because my Nathan loves cats.

For the most part, though, interest in this whole thing is waning, even for me. We spent much of the week either at the swimming pool (Je fais du nager) or parked on the front porch for some reading (J'aime lire livres) writing in my journal (J'ecris avec un stelo) and even eating our breakfast (Je dejoune sur la porche.) The heat has really kicked in this week. Mexico week was reduced to listening to a couple of CDs and going to our favorite Mexican place for dinner. It's so hot that we can do nothing but go to the pool and lay around the house, it seems.

In a weird burst of creativity, after a brief conversation about the French and Indian war, the boys wanted to make cucina dolls, a project they saw on a video during "Native American" week. I decided to be grateful that they were putting some energy towards a creative and educational pursuit, and I realized that although my intentions were good, the boys now need some chill out time, as well as opportunity to do the things they really want to do, as the days of summer are suddenly numbered.

And a word on Paris: everyone I know asks "why didn't you go with him?" Alas, between us, my husband and I have but one living parent. My mother in law is herself a busy woman, not to mention that two rambunctious boys for a whole week might be a bit much for her. However, this is what I am grateful for: in my earlier years I got the chance to travel, and to really do a lot of things that I had always wanted to do. So now, when my dear husband goes on business trips to Paris, I don't feel angry or jealous, despite Paris being sort of the number one bucket list destination that I've never been to! I feel confident that in a year or two, once we've made it a financial priority and secured the funds to do so, we will all journey to Paris. And Austria. Italy. Spain. Etc. Besides, it's important to have dreams.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Have a peachy day!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Eating Good

Harvesting has begun here. Between our homegrown veggies, and our large beef purchase from a farmer friend, our weekly outlay for groceries is hovering around $50 a week right now. Could not come at a better time since we are still cash-poor from, well, a lot of things. I feel blessed.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sunflower house

Early in the season "we" (which was really more myself) planted a sunflower house for the boys. I planted it in the old strawberry patch, so the boys might be able to forage a snack while they are in there. So far it is growing nicely, and it s a cheery thing to look at during the stormy weather. It's 90's all week for us, with thunderstorms most days. A good time to read since I can't get out and do the chores. I like letting Mother Nature water the garden for me!

Monday, July 18, 2011

My brother is *officially* engaged!

I really felt the love Saturday night, being welcomed by my brother's future in-laws at the engagement party. We learned a bit about Filipino culture, had a lot of unrecognizable yet delicious food, danced, and were embraced (physically) by a zillion warm and friendly parents, aunts and uncles, siblings and cousins, and yes, there was even a visit from the King himself! Most of all I am so happy to see my baby brother so happy.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Simple Birthday

Zack was so surprised to find a bike downstairs this morning! He had pretty much resigned himself to not getting one. He was tickled. On the whole I was glad for the change in tone this year---a small family party, with one friend sleeping over. He's over the moon happy with his bike, Star Wars LEGO sets, binoculars and a bird identification book, two Wimpy Kid books to complete his set, and an Angry Birds board game (we'll see if we can figure that one out!) I think we are striking a "just right" feel for birthdays. Big parties in years past have been fun, but also have come with mountains of toys that I'm afraid they did not appreciate. Also since Ken just got back from Paris for work, we were not in the mood for complicated. This is why they invented pizza delivery. Still, I had to bake the cake, because that's just how I roll. :-)

Friday, July 15, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by Soulemama.

Friday, July 8, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by Soulemama.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Our trip to the Mohican State Park

A trusting dad, allowing Nate to help with the campfire wood.

Going on a long, rustic hike.

Man, cooking food with fire.

Me and Zack, after a dip in the camp pool.

Happy Boys in a canoe.

The snake that both of my children and husband stepped over. I spotted it, and after shoving my older son into my husband when screaming in the other direction: "Snake! Snake! Snake!" Nature made me do that :-) Incidentally, if anyone knows what kind of snake this is let me know. We've heard there is a burgeoning timber rattler population in that park.

More hiking.

Wildlife: a family of loons! I'd never seen (or heard) any in person before!


More feasting, because you get a treat after you walk six miles and tangle with a scared, scary looking snake!

The Mohican River

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th!

Celebrating 235 years of liberty!