Thursday, September 20, 2012

Evian...or naive?

 This is the water display at our Whole Foods. Yes, I said water display. And this is only the cold ones. I cannot believe there are this many options for WATER! You know, the free stuff. And there is an additional shelf below that has the 'vitamin' and enhanced water.

Although there is one cool option I have not been brave enough to try. It is up on the top right corner - black water. Yep, it is black. Says it is fresh water with volcanic ash or some such thing added. Okay, correction, the website says - Inspired by nature: blk. water is the first functional beverage that enables you to experience the power of Mother Nature�s secret weapon, fulvic trace minerals. 

 I feel odd enough buying water but the stuff we have here in Southern California just tastes awful. One of my co-workers from Kentucky was in LA with me at a show. They have some fantastic tap water. Really. He tried taking some medication with the tap water and he gagged. When he told me I had to laugh. "Didn't you see the bottles on the dresser?" I know we get a bad rap for our high falootin west coast ways, but the bottled water, that really is a necessity.

When we were paring down our household expenses after I lost my job we debated cancelling our water service. So we did a blind taste test; all of us, including the then 3-year-old bug. Hands down winner was the  stuff we get delivered in the big jugs. So that one stayed. Thankfully.

Do you remember when bottled water was first a big thing? I think Evian was one of the first we saw around here. And I remember figuring out that Evian spelled backward was...NAIVE. Telling, isn't it?

Monday, September 17, 2012

A new twist on bank robbery...

I can't decide if this was actually clever or not. They decided to steal the ATM.

Although it didn't work out too well.

(The equipment was taken from a construction site around the corner.)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Monarch Program

So I guess I need to back up a little bit here. 
We have our own butterfly garden in our small(ish) town. The Monarch Program is right down the street. So we went the other day and met a few friends there. 

It was pretty cool. They have a few different types of butterflies and a little educational center to explain metamorphosis.
Okay, maybe not as impressive as the one I went to with my mom in France, but for just down the street it was great. We learned a lot about Monarchs. The Monarch caterpillar only eats milkweed plants. (That I knew. I tried growing them from seed a few months ago to go in the back yard on ‘the hill’ but it was pretty much a disaster.) 

Once the caterpillar goes into its chrysalis it just a bunch of goo. You’d think if you look inside you would find either caterpillar and/or butterfly parts. But they said it was just goo. And a butterfly forms out of that goo. 

Once the butterfly comes out of the chrysalis its wings are small and wrinkly and the abdomen is pretty big. 
Over the next 60 minutes or so the fluid from the abdomen is pumped into the wings and they kind of inflate. Pretty cool.

Oh, and they love watermelon.

In talking about the butterfly garden the bug really wanted one to land on her. She would often stand in the yard with her fingers out hoping one would land on her. When we first went into the vivarium she got her wish but was definitely not sure about it. By the end of our visit she was so happy to have one on her finger. 

As we were leaving I asked about buying some milkweed and they said sure. So for about $20 I got 6 plants, pretty good sized. And now we are watching our own Monarch cycle. I am so excited. Oh, and by the way, we had to get another milkweed plant the other day because my herd of caterpillars (yes, it is called a herd) has eaten every leaf off the original ones.  What have I gotten myself into? 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Monarchs and Milkweed

I have been completely enthralled with this lately:

The milkweed I got at the butterfly garden a few weeks ago is working its magic. We’ve had lots of monarchs flying around. I plopped the plants down in the front planter with plans to plant in the back yard and then we got busy with the reunion so I haven’t relocated or put them in the ground yet. You can see the monarchs come into the yard and zero in on these plants. It is awesome. And they seem to be leaving behind little presents for us. 

We now have caterpillars of every size. They are beautiful! I am having so  much fun with this. The bug thinks its pretty cool too. 



 They grow incredibly fast. The last pencil photo was just a few days ago.

They are amazing. We have them right outside the back door now. It is harder for the monarchs to find them so we won't have as many eggs. Which is actually good because we are running out of leaves. I am leaving them here until we go through a complete cycle. I can't wait for the chrysalis and then the butterfly! Then I'll put them in the ground and probably have to get some more to keep our little colony fed.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Camera shy? Not any more.

This is what happens when your 4 year old finds your camera and is not getting the attention she wants.

I have quite a few feet shot of my own. Seems like a pretty cool thing to take a picture of. 

And I have to say I really like this one. Beautiful composition and pretty good lighting. This is our 19 year old Cabo. I love this girl. She is the longest relationship I have ever had. Oh wait, second longest. Deb gets the longest award.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Oobleck! - otherwise known as that cool goop

This is great. Kids love it. But I have to say that adults love it too. The man used to teach elementary school and he introduced this to me before we were married. I got so excited about it. We used to go to parties, and I mean the adult kind of parties where you stay out late, drink too much, raise a ruckus and generally act like children. And I would raid the kitchen wherever we were and make this stuff. Imbibing adults really like it.

And now we know that the bug likes it too.

According to Instructables: Oobleck is a non-newtonian fluid. That is, it acts like a liquid when being poured, but like a solid when a force is acting on it. You can grab it and then it will ooze out of your hands. Make enough Oobleck and you can even walk on it!

Oobleck gets its name from the Dr. Seuss book Bartholomew and the Oobleck where a gooey green substance, Oobleck, fell from the sky and wreaked havoc in the kingdom. Here the Oobleck will be made in a bowl and will likely make a mess, but only because you can get carried away playing with it.

(I just love the internet. I did not know any of this before now.)

It really is a fun experiment and you probably have what you need in your cabinet now. Cornstarch and water. That's it. The ration is between 1:1.5 and 1:2, water to cornstarch. So 1 cup of water and between 1.5-2 cups of cornstarch. They used food coloring which would be very cool. We've only ever done straight white.

Make up a batch and act like a kid. Even if you don't have one.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Break ground - then throw a party.

I realize that I am a great procrastinator. I really need a deadline to get almost anything done. So if there are any major projects that need to happen, they will usually get started oh, maybe a few weeks before Christmas, or a birthday even. Yeah, that will work.

In our old house we didn't really use our backyard as much as we wanted. It was mostly grass so there was no real patio area. Our table and chairs kind of stuck in the grass, there was no shade, that kind of thing. A nice backyard, but not as usable as we would like. So we enlisted the help of my father in law who is an absolutely fabulously talented landscape architect. He came up with some great ideas that I never would have. And since we were doing it ourselves it wasn't that over the top. Just very creative. Good, plan in place.

One Saturday I egged The Man to help me break ground by breaking up a small peice of concrete that needed to come out. Boy was that fun. Sledgehammers flying! And then I promptly proceeded to tell him that now that we started the backyard we needed to get it finished in 6 weeks so we could have his 40th birthday party in our beautiful new backyard. I have to admit that this bit of news did not really go over well with him or with the FIL. But the man knows me well and just kind of went with it, after the initial panic attack. But I was convinced we could get it done. And we did. We kicked butt! And we have awesome friends who would come by to help. Seriously, we told people what we were doing and they came, of their own volition, to help out. So cool.

We were finished almost 3 days before the party, so no sweat there. Seriously, that is a huge time cushion in my world. I am used to finishing things up as people are coming in the door. I think it is genetic. On my mother's side. Turns out that any family wedding (and there are a lot of them) or other big event will find either my mom or one of her sisters (or maybe me) doing up a hem or some such thing on the day of, usually as we are supposed to be going out the door. I wonder if my cousins do the same thing? I would have to think so. That particular gene is pretty strong...

We did end up moving at the end of the year after the backyard redo. A few close friends' first question was "How does the backyard look?" Luckily this house has a fully functional, party ready backyard. Seriously, we lucked out. But now I think I want to make a few changes...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cousins - a lot of them

We have a lot of cousins. Both of us do. And we have multiple layers of cousins. The Man's are mostly around here. We see both sides all throughout the year. And there are multiple generations hanging out together now that the little ones are all growed up. And here is a good one for you - we also see my father-in-law's cousin's children a lot. Basically we just call them all cousins. So much easier that way. I tried figuring it out one day and got stumped. Then I found this little chart and it helped so much. (BTW - the above referenced is The Man's second cousin.)

Monday, April 16, 2012

A bit of wandering

One of the most fascinating things about the internet for me is the path you sometimes take. So here is mine this evening. Bear with me. (Is that the right bear? or should it be bare? No, I think it is correct. Oh, the many quandaries I face. See, more wandering.)

I check into Facebook every once in a while and try to get caught up. Luckily I don't have that many friends that post so I can go every few days and still feel somewhat current. One of my friends shared a link to a blog where you can get a free 8x8 Shutterfly photo book. This definitely caught my eye. I need to put our France pictures into a photo book and just haven't done it yet. So, I click the link and it tells me to click this link (must use this one) and you sign into your account, or create a new one, and you get a credit on your account for the hard cover, 20 page, 8x8 photo book. So I did it. Cool.

Then I started to work on the photo book and realized I had 1300+ photos to go through and wouldn't it be great to start with the ones that I posted on my blog. I mean, I had edited to get to those so I knew they were ones that I liked. Well, after some issues with getting into my flickr account I headed here, to my blog, to see what I could see. And then I scrolled through some older posts to get to the France photos and ran across my Diva Action Plan. And I have to say that out of the five items I listed, I have rocked it on 3 and done pretty well on the 4th and kind of ignored the 5th. So, with that, here is my update. (Yep, all that to get here. I told you it was wandering.

1. cooking - doing better. Maybe not cooking all the time but at least have the plan for dinner and food in the house!
2. clean house - yep, got this one. Maybe not exactly spic and span clean, but definitely presentable.
3. backyard - oh yeah, this is where I have kicked some booty. Three raised vegetable planters, a huge list of small projects completed and I AM CONQUERING THE HILL! Oh yes I am. I think I have about 1/3 of it replanted and I have a plan. That was really the hardest part. But I have it. So that is where I have been spending pretty much all of my time. All of it.
4. office - done. new desk in, things rearranged, still working on what works best in this newish space, but I get to say that I am done with this one.
5. - get in shape - not even close. Nope. And you would think with all the gardening and digging and hauling and digging and moving things around and digging I would be seeing some progress. But unfortunately we have had too many yummies in the house. And my theory is that they need to leave the house now - so I eat them all at one time. So that they are no longer in the house. (Yea, I know that doesn't really work. But that is how I roll.) So, this one will need some focus and soon. Beach weather is approaching. Yikes.

Oh, here is a sneak peak of the veggie garden. More to come later on the entire project.

Okay, now where was I? Oh yeah, find pictures from France.

Oh so easily distracted....

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Wonky Stars

I am a member of the San Diego Modern Quilt Guild. And I think the term member is used kind of loosely because there aren’t any dues or officers, etc. But there is a regular gathering every month to get together and sew and share our projects.

There are also a few guild projects that have been undertaken. These wonky stars are one of them. 

Someone donated the following fabric for the backing and handed out swatches to be used for color inspiration.

This was my second purposefully wonky project. And I think I was hindered a bit by my scraps. So it was actually more finicky to put together than I think it should have been. But then again I had a learning curve to conquer. I had to learn how to just relax with it and trust some color choices for the big picture, even if I was cringing on the scrappy aspect. I really have a hard time with truly scrappy. I need a little order or rhyme or reason when it comes to fabrics and colors. But I keep trying. (You should see my roses.) 

So, since I haven’t been able to attend a meeting in I don’t know how many months I still need to hand these off so they can get added to the others for a kids' quilt. But I really like how they turned out. This may be an option for a fundraising quilt I want to make. I have a lot of fabrics left over from my bed quilt and I think they would work well in this format. And hopefully be a little easier for me to get scrappy with it. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Bug Playground, really

And I don't mean for my bug. Well, actually it was a gift for my bug.  But it really is a bug playground. It is totally cool. Our bug is very much into bugs right now. And our dear friend got her a bug playground. Seriously. 

Now that is has warmed up we found some pill bugs, you know, Rollie Pollies. We tend to find the bugs some time during the day, bring the playground inside, usually into her bedroom, and then forget about them. Until Mommy panics and says “Where are the bugs?!?” and we put them outside in the dark. But one night after dinner Mommy got fascinated with the activity and snapped some shots. So here you go, living vicariously through our Bug Playground. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Log Cabin Wonkiness and Wonderfulness

Last summer I took a class from Malka Dubrawsky with a wonderfully creative friend. It was so great.

The technique was very much out of my comfort zone – at first! Then I totally got into it. We all brought scraps to work with. And I realized that my scraps are all little girl colors. I had scrap envy for a while looking around the room. Such beautiful colors. We were to create some log cabin blocks, Malka style. Which really means as wonky as you want. No rulers, no straight edge. Now I have to admit that I may have made only one log cabin block before, period. So even that was new to me. 

I think her suggestion was to make 9 blocks to make a small throw. Well I stopped at 8. Which was great. (Ha.) So when I put them together I came up with 2 good sized blocks, about 14-15 inches, kind of almost square.

For Christmas I made them into pillows for the girls (the bug’s cousins). They turned out great. And are well loved. 

(Okay, Linda, does that period go inside the parenthesis or outside?)

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Another great day of beautiful weather. I was digging in the yard. Which left large areas of dirt available. And small fun-loving girls were running around. So of course they had to make mud pies. 

Which then turned into playing in a mud pit. So much fun.


Disclaimer: I did create the mud pit. Although it was at the request of cute small fun-loving girls.

And then we cleaned up and had baths before The Man got home. J

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

a little bragging moment

When bug wants to reach something in her closet, she turns over her trash can to create a stool that she can stand on. I love that. She is so resourceful. And even though it creates a mess, I'm okay with that. Because she figured something out on her own to achieve her goal. I really am a proud Momma.

Okay, resume your day. Thanks for listening.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

We are Thankful

One of the great things about my new job is that I get to be one of the room moms for Bug’s preschool class. The other room mom is AWESOME. She is so dang creative I love it. And so far we work really well together. For Thanksgiving she came up with the greatest project for their teacher. Each kid was given a paper leaf to write what they were thankful for about their teacher. Then we put it together in a frame. It’s great because she has a lot of scrapbook supplies and I have the fiber arts and other random things covered.

Turned out so cute.

Oh, and Christmas was gift cards with fun little mini trees. And we made ornaments with each of the kid’s photos. Again, such a great idea (Laura!) and so dang cute. (But I forgot to take a picture. Duh.) Wonder what we can come up with for Valentine’s Day?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Domestic Diva Action Plan

Here are my plans. And I hope by putting them here I will keep up with them and keep checking back in to mark my progress. 

  1. I really need to get more comfortable cooking. On a regular basis. Normal food. Healthy food.
  2. Keeping the house presentable. Got this one covered with FlyLady. Love her philosophies and her way of approaching things. I can do anything for 15 minutes. I can get an amazing amount done in 15 minutes.
  3. Work on the backyard. I am building a garden. Actually three raised gardens in the back yard. I broke ground today! The Man came up with a brilliant solution to fix our retaining wall, which means we can also address The Hill. The Hill has been my nemesis for a few years now. I will conquer The Hill.
  4. Redo the office. I got a great desk the other day. (Free on the sidewalk. We saw it at a neighbor’s while on a walk. Yipee!)  So I want to pull out my old work desk and put this one in and create more of a play room so that I can get all of Bug’s toys out of the living room. And then maybe we can stop calling that the toy room.
  5. Get in shape? Bug loves the beach. And going in the pool. Which means I am going to be spending a LOT of time in a bathing suit. Yikes. I am taking it slow at least making sure that I am active every day. The gardening is really helping on that too.

And somewhere in there I want to make sure I keep creating and quilting. That actually seems to be the hardest to make sure I do. I need to work on that one. 

Go me!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Can you believe it's January?

We really are lucky. The weather here for the last few days has been just fantastic. This was the bug on Saturday- hanging in a mini-pool in the backyard.

What a wonderful way to spend a day in January. Nice, huh?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Settling In

Settling in to this new job has not been as easy as I thought it might be. It could be that the holidays were upon us at the time. That doesn't really make for calm, peaceful transitioning. More like, YIKES! But I really cannot get over the feeling that I need to be somewhere, or that time is short, I gotta go, I need to get back to my desk. Although I have truly embraced not being tied to my phone at all times for emails, messages and what have you. I often even forget to bring my phone with me. I never lost sight or knowledge of where my 'smart' phone was. Now that I have a dumb phone, I really couldn't care less.

And I think I figured out this smart phone thing. I totally understand why it is called a smart phone. I had a brand spanking new iPhone 4GS, for about 2 weeks. And it was so easy to navigate, so intuitive, nicely organized, etc. When you wanted to make a call, you used the button labeled call. Now my phone has a button called send. What? No, I want to call. Where is the call button? Really, I feel so dumb using my dumb phone. When I get call waiting I hit the OK button. Nope, that is the wrong one. My other phone literally asked, would you like to answer this other call? So easy. Not so much now. Okay, tangent over.

So, back to this transition thing. Strange. I have more time and yet I feel like I am not really getting anything done. And that there is my problem. My new job is to be a Mom. A full time Mom. And that means spending time with the Bug. It really doesn't mean working on the computer, trying to coupon like an Extreme Couponer (have you seen these women? wow!), designing a new garden layout, figuring out how to make Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, or how to compost for the backyard. Although I have actually been doing those things. Cool, huh? Oh, all except the computer. Haven't had much time for that. So it is the mind shift that I think is the hardest. But I am getting there. And really enjoying my time.

Hopefully more to come. When I can get the computer time figured out.

PS - yesterday I was running to the grocery store and the man was home to be with the bug. She got so upset that I was leaving. "But momma, you are supposed to be a Home Mommy now." So cute. But I did persevere and got that 15 minutes of alone time.  

PSS - and I have been working on some things. More sharing to come.