Monday, July 30, 2007

Oooooh, The Prize!

i know you could cut the suspense with a knife and inquiring minds want to know so here is the grand announcement of the...mystery prize (insert echoing announcer voice here). our lovely mystery prize that has stood veiled in shadow is this super duper handmade tote bag, sewn with love by yours truly. this will be sent out to the lucky winner this week. her favorite color is purple, but she swears number two is pink, so i hope she enjoys it. :) maybe i'll have to do another one of these give aways some time. it was really fun...and frankly, who can resist over 100 comments?

Ants In The Kitchen And Frogs In The Pond

catchy title huh? well today, in the land of homeschoolers, was complete science magic. i mean it was gold people. the morning started off innocently enough with a pest problem in the kitchen. this is not so odd since it seems like everyone on our block, every summer, has a bit of an issue with "sugar ants." you know, those tiny little reddish ants that seem to appear out of nowhere and live in colonies of, oh, like fifty bajillion. every other week they seem to choose a new battle ground and we run the normal drill of killing the initial scouts, flag bearer and drum and fife corps. then sneaking up behind them with the trap filled with the sugary death goodness and then waiting for them to take enough back to their army buddies to kill the whole battalion. and so it goes, except for today. we killed the initial few and brought out the trap, but then i figured hey, why not make the best of this? so i called the oldest two kids into the kitchen and announced it was science time. you see, for weeks we have been trying to locate an ant trail in our backyard for our science insect program. it seems the ants in our backyard are schizo and just run around in random circles, not really accomplishing something. our families personality has even rubbed off on our household pests it seems. anyway, this morning in the kitchen was perfect because these ants had carved out an exact route on my kitchen wall and the kids were fixed in bizarre fascination to watch them work. they sat transfixed for a good twenty minutes while i read about how ants followed a trail by smell and all that good stuff. my husband then informed me that only a homeschooling mom would turn an insect issue in the kitchen into a lesson. oh well, i say, make do with what you've got. right?

then, in the land of homeschool science...the day just turned to pure gold. pure gold i tells ya. my mother is visiting and she likes thrift shops almost as much as me. so, we headed out about a 30-40 minute drive to a thrift shop my friend amy told me about. the thrift store was top notch, but what happened after the thrift shop was little kid heaven. we stopped to eat the lunch we had packed at a really cool park we had seen on the way to the thrift wonderland. this park was primo. it had lots of really cool and nicely kept playground equipment, two covered pavilions and bathrooms, yes it even had bathrooms. this park also had a small man made pond with a small fountain in the middle. my daughter asked me to go with her to the pond to throw rocks. i walked over with her and i saw what i thought to be a cricket move through the grass. upon further examination i found it was actually a dime sized frog. i captured the frog gently in my hands and called over my mom and other two children so they could also see it when i let it go. they came over and as i let it go i saw another, and another, and another in the grass. the grass was teeming with froggies. there were hundreds. everywhere you looked they were hopping through the grass and on the rocks at the edge of the pond. we were also able to observe some of the frogs that still had the remnants of their tadpole tale and then see some tadpoles in the water. it was such a joy to see my children, especially my little boy, gently picking up these frogs and just enjoying this little gift that God gave us today.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Hey Folks, We Have A Winner!

it was a long day yesterday (we went to the local amusement park) and so i did close the comments off at 10pm but didn't draw until this morning. and the winner is (imaginary, or real if you so choose, drumroll please...) cr82learn. i can't announce the exact prize as of yet because her and i are parlezing (how do you like that spelling nightmare, vive la france!) on some color preferences, etc. etc. etc. (ooh, don't all those etc. just increase the excitement to a fever pitch). but as soon as all the dust settles, you the loyal readers (read this as the 3 of you who come back when i'm not giving something away) will get to see a lovely picture of the prize that will quell all the intrigue that has been burning inside of you. alright, it's probably not that drastic but a girl can dream...right?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Yet Another Super Dee Duper Contest!

as i have divulged before, i'm really into cheese. so imagine my excitement at the thought of free dairy products. and these are even organic dairy products. so head on over to 5 Minutes for Mom for a chance to win!

anf of course if you are looking for my give away just scroll down a bit. but you know, you could take a look at the rest of the page while you're here. don't get selfish and do it all for the goods! :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

TMBG Rocked My Socks Off (And I Was Even Wearing Sandals)

alright, first things first, if you're looking for the giveaway and don't really care what i have to say, scroll down a bit.

now to the real journalism (ha ha, right). anyway, last friday my husband and i did something sort of adult like for a change. we saw a concert at a club. a real live concert in a real live club people. i was trying to think back to when this last occurred and i believe it was when i was pregnant with our oldest child...who is now seven! this realization came hard to the girl who used to see a show almost every week in her college years. but, we were invited to this show by a friend and my mother was in town so that meant built in baby sitter. it was too good to pass up. we went to the chameleon club and saw they might be giants. and they certainly did not disappoint. you see, tmbg holds a particular soft spot in my heart because i have been listening to them for about 20 years now, my husband has too, and now my kids like their kids music. it has turned into quite the family affair. if you have never listened to them you should...i think it will make you smile.

Monday, July 23, 2007

And Now Time For The Giveaway!

i know you've been waiting all week for this, so here is the giveaway. if anybody is actually reading this leave me a comment and you'll be entered to win a superb mystery gift. i promise it won't be used, alive or smell bad. good luck!

an aside added 7/26: i realize i will never even have a fraction of these comments again so i am relishing it. we will be busy tomorrow so i will be taking entries until 10 pm tomorrow (friday). i will draw the winner late friday night and post on saturday (and include what the mystery prize was for all the inquiring minds).

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Now For A Little Bit Of Excitement...

no, i did not sell my house. that would surely have been announced with a lot 'o bit of excitement...or just general whoops and cat calls, but such is not the case. anywho, my excitement is to announce this here bit of summer fun.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

that's right folks, next week i am going to be giving something away. i don't know quite what yet, but i'm sure whatever it's bound to be quite the hoot y'all. cause that's just the kind of gal i am. so, the giveaway will start on monday and i'll take comments/entries on that post all week. on friday, i'll draw the winner. and since i have like 4, somewhat faithful readers, the competition should be about as steep as oh, the bunny slope.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Hey Everybody...I Actually Finished Something!

there is nothing that helps me to feel better than to actually 100% complete a project. so, with all of this house nonsense bringin' me down, i decided to whip something up. i put together a bag for my mother from the fabric i had picked out for her. she is coming for a visit on monday and i wanted to have it finished to give her while she is here...without working on it frantically while she is here. :) i was pretty pleased with my first attempt at this pattern.

i only had one slight problem and it happened, well, i'm embarrassed to say, three times. i kept putting the straps on the wrong side and then they would be trapped inside the finished bag and completely useless. i figured if this was the only problem i had with a new pattern, then that was pretty good for me. before this fiasco i didn't even have to rip anything out. yippee! i have however decided that i need an iron and ironing board next to my sewing machine. going downstairs to the kitchen table every five minutes to iron something got old pretty quick. i think maybe i'll start another one tomorrow.

i picked out these fabrics especially for my mom. they just reminded me of her. not that she wears flowered stiletto boots like the ones featured on the lining/bottom fabric, but like a friend said, it would look totally ridiculous for someone wearing flowered stiletto boots to carry a bag with pictures of flowered stiletto boots. (and wow, anybody shopping for flowered stiletto boots is going to be immediately sent to my site through google because many times can we mention flowered stiletto boots and not come up with a cute abbreviation for them. so from here on out we'll call them the fsb, tres clever i know.) i also thought this bag would be great for my mom because she loves the beach and the pool and with the bright colors and all the pockets, that is just what it is screamin' to me...aside from fsb of course. :)

Let's Give It Up For The People Who Don't Have To Shop For Themselves

that's right. you heard it. there are some people who are lucky enough to be able to use this service and not have to shop for their own darn groceries. if this is not a dream come true i don't know what is people. i used to love grocery shopping. the operative phrase here is "used to." i used to view clipping coupons and pouring over grocery ads 'til the wee hours of the morning to plan a killer shopping trip which would encompass every grocery store in a tristate area but this folks was when i had nothing better to do. this was before children number two and three, before homeschooling, before trying to sell a house, and well, before life kicked in. now i strictly stick to one store, giant(frankly because the layout of weis doesn't make sense to anybody) and because i just don't have the time or energy to see who can save me 2 cents per roll on toilet paper this week. i still do clip coupons, but now that we have been eating healthier in the past few years i find there isn't as much to clip that i'm actually going to use. it's rare that they have a coupon for a pound of tomatoes, a head of lettuce or a loaf of wheat bread. i do try to match what we eat to the sale of the week, as much as i can but mostly i just match it to what i know will always be relatively cheap. you know...eggs, tuna, sub par hamburger. you get the point. so back to my original point (and you're now chiming in with "she had one?"). by the time i finally get to the store it's about ten o'clock at night after a day of feeding three children three meals and a snack, changing countless diapers, a load or twelve of laundry, a bit of cleaning and let's not forget my full time job as a referee and prison warden and i am beat. i must look like a zombie lumbering into that place. i grunt and drag my feet as i squint to see my list through blurred vision. so, if i could just call up and say, "hey mack, bring me five pounds of ground beef, one of those whole chickens that are on sale and some pepsi...make sure it's caffiene free."...there would much rejoicing. oh, there would be sheer jubilation. so until that blissful day i'll just keep up my night of the living dead routine. anybody care to join me?

Monday, July 09, 2007

This Old House...Is Still Ours

well, it's been a while since i've written about the house. took a bit of a hiatus, but it's still here. on the market three glorious months today. we've done some stuff lately to "hopefully" help it sell. resealed part of the roof, painted the kitchen, put down new concrete out front and today we had a home inspection done. this with the home warranty offered make the house "home buyer ready" as they call it. the bright spot today was that the inspection came back great. we only need to do work on our back porch roof which we already knew about. this still doesn't mean people are line up outside my door to sign an agreement but at least it was something positive. oh, and if you're in the market for concrete, be sure to give these guys a call and for home inspections contact Pillar to Post. both of them provided us with nothing less than superior service.

just to throw a little pizazz into the post, i'll tell you about what's for dinner here at the old (perpetually owned by us) homestead. we are having spaghetti pie. whoopity do, i know. but what is so cool about this is that it is being made with what was left of this...and that frying pan shot doesn't nearly do this dish culinary justice, so i'll how you this one too.what is this you ask? it is beef ragu (i think it's really supposed to be ragout but hey, who am i to argue with the printed word). anyway, it comes from this months issue of Simple and Delicious. and let me tell you people...this issue does not disappoint. this sauce, featuring roma tomatoes was tastee. i don't think that ragu should be allowed to call their company ragu 'cause i never tasted anything close to this from one of their jars. also from this issue i tried the focaccia beef kabobs and the fourth of july trifle. while the trifle was good (it is definitely not for the texturely challenged), the kabobs rocked my socks off. layers upon layers of herbed focaccia bread, red pepper and seasoned beef lightly brushed with olive oil, grilled to perfection and ever so gently sprinkled with provolone cheese. the stuff my dreams are made of really. i am still waiting to also try the prosciutto asparagus pasta, smores ice cream sandwiches and many others. so pick yourself up a copy.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Fabric Rendezvous, Part Deux!

since we have two joann fabrics stores in town i of course needed to take a second outing to the sale. here's what i found, all at drastically reduced prices of course. :)one more set of bag fabric...

some great flannel that the kids picked out for jammy pants...

totally cute green aliens to make pjs for my little green alien lover...
my mother has an affinity for decorating with a flip-flop motif so this fluffy blue fleece with repeating embroidered flip-flops will turn into throw pillows for her...

and this has to be my cutest find of all.

it is decorator fabric and has a bit of a shiny silver in some places. i bought four yards to make two bags and i think i might go back to get the little bit they had left to make smaller bags for my girls. i thought it was so girly with the little princesses they love but with none of the annoying "princess" or "cutie pie" or other obnoxious titles they seem to plaster all over stuff these days. just the pure simplicity of little girls in a land of make believe.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Say It With Me Now...Oooh, Fabric.

today i, sans children, hit the joann fabrics fourth of july sale. and by declaring my independence (hee, hee, i had to say it) i was able to fill an entire cart full of beautiful clearance fabric. yes, every blessed piece (except one, which i used a 40% off coupon on of course) was clearance...and therefore another 50% off. this puts the yip in yippee. take a look at these beauties internet folks...

here are a few of the fabrics i have had an obsession with lately. i think they are absolutely the coolest...and with the 50% they are only $1.50. i thought i would do something positive with my obsession, so inspired by my friend beth, i am going to try and make this bag with all this fabric for christmas gifts. hey, if i start now i just might be finished in time. stranger things have happened.

this fabric in particular i purchased to make the same bag for myself. i couldn't find a contrasting fabric for it so i just opted to use the same throughout. i thought this would be a nice fabric to have a bag made out of for the fall and winter months. however, me getting it done in time for the fall is probably about as likely as this.
these little cuties are slated for pjs for my youngest two. check out the froggy driving a car on the one in the front. i paid 43 cents for the entire yard. now that's what i call a bargain.

this final set i purchased in hopes of making my first quilt. i know nothing about quilting but i figure that since one of the things in sewing i am actually good at is a stitching a straight line...things might pan out after all. the cute black and white purses and the multi colored umbrella fabrics both came from garage sales too. how cool is that? probably just about as cool as this.
bon appetit!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Using Every Earthy Granola Bone In My Body

yesterday was busy in an oh so fulfilling and mind clearing way. and can i get an "amen" when i say i really needed it. we went to mass in the morning and then we had an open house. this was definitely not the mind clearing part because it involved leaving the house spotless and eating at arbys (ok, that's pretty euphoric, but anyway). but after we drove home, readying myself for more disappointment about the house, having the disappointment come and packing up the van, we headed to our rented garden plot in lancaster county central park. this is the third year we have rented a plot, but definitely the latest we have planted it. we were going to forget about it but we got a bunch of free plants so we figured we might as well get them in the ground. now we have tomatoes, peppers, red cabbage, basil, mint, oregano, eggplant, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, squash and cantaloupe. they let you keep the plot until the end of october so hopefully we will get a decent amount of stuff. we'll put a "fall" crop of lettuce and peas in towards the end of august too. that way they won't be scorched by the july and early august heat. the kids had a wonderful afternoon taking off their shoes and getting dirty. it's not a luxury they have here in the city. it's wonderful to see them just being kids.

when we got home i made dinner (a superb one that i'll have to devote a separate entry to) and then continuing the earthy day, i made some homemade pesto with some lovely homegrown basil given to me by a dear friend. i went to bed completely exhausted, but a very, very good exhausted.

Praise The Lord For Better Photos

so ok, the last "supposed" fireworks pictures really stunk, but i have better. friday was the fireworks display in the square and take a gander at these beauties. it was so much fun. we all stood on the balcony out back and watched the great display. i was thinking of printing a couple off and having them sitting around for our open house this past sunday (with oh so clever captions of course) but...just chalk it up to one of the infinite list of things not completed. conjure up the typical "he's checking his list and checking it twice" st. nicholas picture in your mind and that's how long the list is. only difference is that i don't have a magical sleigh and flying reindeer to accomplish mine.