Apr 29, 2011

ECF - Patch of Bearded Iris Edition

Here's a shot of my beloved bearded irises with the ubiquitous dogwood in the background.


Apr 28, 2011

Small Victories

Sometime over the past few weeks I reached the point of overload where a switch was thrown and now I'm finally able to tackle stuff one thing at a time - more or less. Truly there is no other way to go. I refuse to make a to-do list because it would be scary long and depress me. It's inescapable anyway - all rolling around in my head. Instead I just keep plucking one task or another from my mental list and attacking it, then I move on. I'll get to it all eventually.

Stuff on the list includes birthdays (many), elementary school graduation and other end of school year stuff, multi-phase house renovation, school play, softball, field hockey, family events - planning and attending, summer planning. There's more but I can't remember it all right now.

Oh, yes and there's a small and needy person arriving in just over 8 weeks! Truthfully that's the one I'm least prepared for and yet, I'm not worried about the lack of prep at all.


So I'm just plugging away at the list and each item that I can check off is a small victory. Meanwhile things in my area are blooming everwhere. Driving down the street I feel like I'm in a sea of pink. I'll have to take the camera out and show you. There are dogwoods everwhere and some other tree with pink blossoms that is leaving pink petals all over the place. Funny how it doesn't bother me so much when the stuff being tracked into my house is crushed pink petals.

My yard is blooming too. Some things are blooming less than usual but it all looks really healthy so I'm not worried. Then again there are my peopnies that look ready to pop any day and irises and lilies are sprouting everwhere. I'm keeping watch with my camera.

Apr 26, 2011

Ten on Tuesday - Ten Ways to Save at the Grocery Store

Here's a recent picture of my white lilacs. They were just starting to open when I took the picture. I'll have to go back and check out how they're doing now.


Moving on to the topic of the day - 10 ways to save at the grocery store. I'm sure that's something that we're all interested in now that the cost of gas has risen to epic proportions.

  1. Leave Bruce at home - I can't be the only person who has a family member who tends to add stuff that we "need" to the basket whenever you go. For me it's my husband so now he knows better and stays away.

  2. Shop with a list - I find that I do much better when I have a formal list rather than a general feeling of what we need. Sadly, training my family to make the list, or at least to contribute to it rather than telling me what to get while I'm walking out the door is easier said than done.

  3. Use coupons - So simple but such a pain. I do love watching the bill shrink at the end when I use them.

  4. Buy the store brands - but not always. They can be sneaky and I've seen some store brands that are a bit higher than the name brands. Really! Buyer beware.

  5. Don't shop hungry - suddenly you just can't resist those Entenmann's donuts and by the time you get to the check out counter you're explaining why you're buying a half empty box. Fess up - I'm not the only one.

  6. Avoid the cheese counter - this one is an epic fail for me. I just can't resist it. They always seem to be sampling some fabulous brie or delicious cheddar or aged gruyere or.... sigh, it's all delish. Sadly it's all imported and expensive too.

  7. Only buy what you need for sure - I tend to buy veggies and fruits that would be great for dinner or lunch sometime this week but without a specific plan. Then, when my week goes crazy and I have no time at all for a meal at home the food goes bad and it's just wasteful. Shameful really.

  8. Buy the frozen veggies - they're supposed to be better for you anyway and they won't go bad super fast in your freezer.

  9. Stay away from the prepared foods.

  10. Shop faster - it's true that hurrying through the store means that you may forget something but... if you really needed it then you can get it later. On the positive side, the less time you spend in the store the less time you spend getting tempted by stuff that you don't really need.

Apr 25, 2011

When Not to Go Camping

Yes, you read that right... camping. I'd probably say that it's not highly advisable to go when you're 7 months pregnant but I made these plans many months ago when I was feeling like this pregnancy was going to be easy.


I took last Thursday and Friday off to take my daughter's Girl Scout troop camping. Mostly it was fine and I survived but having lot's of great help was the key. Four other mom's and 2 teens (including my DQ) came to assist and they collectively made sure that I did no lifting and, honestly not much beyond providing guidance. I love them.

Sadly they couldn't do anything about the cold and the rain. And there isn't much anyone could do about having to sleep on the floors. Ouch!


Fortunately I was able to spend the subsequent weekend relaxing. I read, I ung out on the deck, I planted stuuf and I napped... a lot! Best of all, DQ and I went to have mani/pedi's. I got a color that I m currently obsessed with, one that's so appropriate for this week - Dating a Royal.

Apr 19, 2011

Ten on Tuesday - Ten Things You Love About Your Family

Happy Passover to all who are celebrating. Last night was the first seder and we were fortunate to be invited to a friends house, as we are tonight. Normally I would be hosting the crowds but we are lucky to have good friends who took over and made sure that I wouldn't be taking on too much extra work right now. I love them.

It was a lovely meal and a fun celebration - except maybe the paper "hail" that landed in all of our food and drink. The company was great too and I met new people and reconnect with others. There was a bit of a hiccup though. At one point I was standing and talking in the kitchen. Someone asked about the obvious bump and when I was due. Just then, the mother of a friend of mine interrupted and said that she didn't know I was pregnant - she just thought I was heavy. My friend and I quickly excused ourselves to get a bit of fresh air lest we start laughing on the spot.

I am so thankful that my family usually has the sense not to say such things out loud. That's probably the perfect #1 for my list of things I love about my family.


2. Laughter - I love giggling over silly things like getting caught in the rain with my family. My girls and I can laugh endlessly over the dumbest things.

3. Traditions - I am really big on traditions. My girls are getting older now and we discuss the future a lot. One of the thngs we talk about a lot is how I hope tha the traditions that we've built are important enough for them to carry them on.

4. They are there for us - Sometimes more than others but always in the ways that count. My mother in law's passing has left a huge void and other relatives are already stepping in to try to help us get through it. It means so much.

5. My grandparents - I've said it before but it bears repeating. Not a day goes by without a mention of my grandparents. They are awesome and it means everything to me that my girls and my husband have shared them with me. They may be miles away but they are totally with us.

6. Quirkiness - There is nothing boring about my family. They are always up to something and it keeps life interesting.

7. My girls make me so proud - Every single day I have a reason to look at my girls and feel so proud and happy that they're mine. They are exactly the kind of people I hoped that they'd be.

8. The way we blend - Bruce and I are both children of divorced parents and on his side we were fortunate enough that his mom married a man who loved her dearly and had great kids of his own. It gave Bruce a brother in every sense of the word. I can't imagine life without them. It's such a gift that we have enjoyed such great times together and will for years to come.

9. Family vacations - I remember summers at Lake Champlain with my Canadian cousins and weekends in Pennsylvania with my sister's family. Always such fun.

10. Support - It often seems like our family is a web spread out over the world and no matter what you need, there is someone who can help - with anything.

Apr 18, 2011

Layers and Phases

I can cross one more thing off my lengthy to-do list. We finally bought couches. We ventured out in the torrential rain on Saturday and were rewarded by finding exactly what we were looking for at the first store we stopped at. We had previously been to many, many, other stores and were beginnig to question whether the perfect (for us) couch even existed. Yay! It does and it will arrive well in advance of the Peanut. I am so relieved! Now we just need some pretty pillows and other little details and my space will start coming together. I can also move on to other home related projects - like the super nasty kitchen. But all in good time. One by one it all gets done.


Another thing that is done is my cherry blossom tree's bloom. Sadly, it turns out that I was wrong and those few flowers I showed a while back were the extent of it. Maybe it was the weather that caused fewer blossoms. I don't know. It's not that the tree is in poor health. It's the green leafy one in the foreground of this picture. You can still see a few random flowers here and there and it's very leafy with nice, shiny bark. Behind Yoshi, you can see some white spots. That's the dogwood. It is blooming like crazy. Below are some dogwood flowers that weren't quite fully opened yet.


By the way, the yellow blur is the sign for the play that starts at the High School in just 2 weeks. Once again my girl is running the house so please behave as you're taking your seat. If you're in the area you should definitely go see it. They're doing the Wizard of Oz and there will be monkeys and witches flying. Yes, flying! So cool!

Apr 15, 2011

ECF - Andromeda Edition

There's something so graceful about Andromeda. DSC_0885

Apr 11, 2011

A Season of Change

Can you smell the mulch? Yes, change is in the air everywhere. I believe that this is Peonie foliage. It looks so much nicer now that the wilted and dead remnants of last year's display have been removed. DSC_0883 Although the weather continues to behave in a bizarre fashion (Saturday we were bundling up and today it's like summer) it seems clear that Spring is finally on it's way. And that's not the only change. This past weekend Stinkette went to an amusement park and went on roller coasters for the first time. This from my child who, until now, even refused to go on the ferris wheel. My girl is growing up all at once! She's evolving so fast that if you blink you'll miss it. Another sign of change with her is that she's taken up a new sport. Below you can see my red-haired girl at field hockey practice working on turning the ball. She loves it and she seems good at it so far. Apparently this is a sport where aggressive tendencies are a good thing! DSC_0893 Of course I'm changing a bit too. It seems like my belly grows daily and my girls are fascinated by it. It's so different this time. With the first two I was just round in general but this time it's like I ate a basketball. So weird! Tiring too. We went to the craft fair and did a little shoppping this weekend and I felt the strain. Good thing that they had seating scattered about because I needed it. In between the rest stops I got a ton of stuff done which makes me feeel so accomplished.

Apr 7, 2011

Inspired to Plant

Last weekend Stinkette and I spent a little time on the deck. I was focused on practical tasks like filing the new, supposedly squirrel-proof, birdfeeder and planting strawberries. Stinkette was beautifying. She was inspired. DSC_0877 Last year around this time we went to visit my inlaws in Florida and spent a morning at one of my M-I-L's favorite places - Morikami Gardens. It was so lovely and peaceful. I took lot's of pictures that day like the one below of one of the bonsai. Stinkette was particularly taken with the container gardens and recalls examining them with her grandmother. So when we went to the nursery recently to get seeds for the veggie garden she asked to get supplies for a container garden to remind her of her grandmother and the day. She chose a few flowers, a pot, a little tree, some ground cover and a few props. The results are above. Now she wants to do more. Morikami Bonsai

Apr 4, 2011

Peak, What Peak?

I've reached the point where time really just doesn't seem to be on my side. I've got lot's of stuff to do and few opportunities to get it done. Even worse, not much energy. That's why weekends like this past one feel so damn good! Friday night I went to the theatre with a good friend who had an extra ticket. The play, and Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde was beautiful to look at but very slow. We were a party of 6 but only my friend and I made it to the end. Even so it was such fun to be out in the city. Saturday was errand day. Chaperoning play tech day at the HS, groceries and such. Sunday we did errands of a different sort - examining some of the baby stuff that's been tucked away in the basement and shopping for new stuff. It feels so good to have that done. Makes it a little more real. One thing that we didn't do this weekend was visit the Cherry Blossoms at the tidal basin. Their peak is now past and I missed it for the first time in a while. Never fear though because my tree, Yoshi, is still taking it's time blooming. Most of the branches are filled with buds that look like these. DSC_0871 There are also a few flowers to give us a hint of what's in store. DSC_0873 I can't wait!

Apr 1, 2011

ECF - Reminders of Spring Edition

Here you go! DSC_0862 This is the shot that told me that getting down low for pictures won't be happening again for a few months. Not if I plan to get back up again!