Friday, August 29, 2008

Award . . . I'm not worthy

I’ve said it before and will say it again, I am amazed at how deep and enriching friendships are formed through blogging. I’ve found a kindred spirit in Kim, at Sunbonnet Cottage. She is a hero to me. Both she and her husband are courageous beautiful people.

She surprised me with my first blogging award two weeks ago while I was busy with my Munchkins and I now want to pass the honor on to some other people whose Creativity have inspired and encouraged me over the past few months.

First, I am supposed to list 6 things that make me happy.
1) I'm happy to serve my God
2) I'm happy that the Cottage Master stayed with me when circumstances were difficult
3) My offspring
4) My extended family
5) My friends
6) And finally, working in my home brings me a great deal of happiness

A few of the people I'd like to pass this award on to are:

1) Kim and her husband, Rich, at The Chosen Child creativity is challenged daily in the ways that they use their resources to best help their son, David, grow into the man God intends him to be.

2) Liz, at Mabel’s House is a very creative and entertaining writer. We will all proudly say we knew her “when” after her stories are published and she becomes famous.

3) Meredith at Like Merchants Ships is so full of creative ideas from food presentation to saving money in every area of her life. She taught me that the crumbs from the cake pan can be used as toppings on ice cream and fruit desserts (rather than eating on the spot as my reward for baking).

4) Kristin at Grace Violet is always full of great ideas that stir my creative juices.

5) Llyn M at Llyn M is a kindred spirit. Her home and family are her focus and crafts and creativity are her gifts.

6) Teresa at Plumwater Cottage has a lovely blog where she inspires and challenges me to use what I have at hand to create beauty.

Copy and paste the AWARD into a new post on your blog, list the 6 things that make you happy and pass it on to 6 deserving blog Hostesses.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The way the ocean works

The kid in the red thought he could build a tall enough place that the ocean's incoming tide could not get to him.

Here is the same kid 30 years later teaching his own son how to play with the incoming tide by
digging a hole in the sand.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Day Three with Munchkins

It was a beautiful day today, Friday, and we had a fun time at the zoo. I'm pooped out tonight and will process the pix tomorrow -- just got Munchkins to bed -- I can still hear them play. Their dad has gone to visit old friends and grandpa and nana are headed to bed soon!!!! Here are some pictures from yesterday.

Munchkins were eager to help with any work that might need doing, including changing the water in the pond. Here they are, Sweet Pea controling the plugging and unplugging of the power and Pumpkin ready to handle the sucking of the pond water.

Here is there task -- first suck out all of the dirty water.
Pumpkin makes an editorial comment about the smell of pond scum

Sweet Pea has been enjoying the same Lite Brite that was a favorite of her aunt's 30 years ago. I was surprised that the light bulb still worked.

Later in the day Sweet Pea and I went off to do some girl shopping. Of course we stopped at the thrift shop first. I found a jelly roll pan, and she picked out a bag of spiders for herself and a bag of snakes for her brother. As we were rounding a corner she spied a horse and told me she would like to go back to look at the horse.

Oh my, she had seen this larger-than-her stuffed horse. At first she just asked to hold it to see how soft it was and when I asked her if she wanted to take it home her brown eyes got so big I thought they would pop out of her head. She was willing to put back her bag of spiders if she could have the horse, but of course I said she could have them both.

She named him Cosmo. She has thanked me once for every dollar he cost -- 15 times. She and Cosmo are tucked into bed together as I write this.

This evening after Sweet Pea had a bubble bath and Pumpkin took a shower they topped off their tanks with corn dogs and some more of their blueberry pie that they made yesterday from the berries they picked with dad and grandpa.


Back seat driving

Oh, Melissa, thank you for my first award. You are so kind to think of little ol' me.

It's raining here so we spent some time at the play area in the mall. I never grow tired of watching kids play with other kids they don't know. They so very quickly introduce themselves, make up games and abide by the rules that each other make up as they go. Sweet Pea and a girl her age along with the girl's younger sister all held hands forming a circle and then danced around a puppet that was in the play area. They started to giggle so hard that their mother and I had to start laughing too.

Before it rained the kids went blueberry picking. They each made a kid sized pie and have been eating on it. Where are the pictures of that? Well, I was so busy keeping the flour dust to a minimum and making sure each kid got the same amount of berries that taking photos was not on my mind. I'm sorry I missed it, too.

I read so many wonderful blogs where mothers do projects with their kids and take photos throughout the process -- I have a lot to learn.

Tomorrow, if it doesn't rain, we'll go to a zoo.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Invasion of the Munchkins

I want to set your minds at ease. I took the coffee spill photos on a Saturday when no one would question my mental health status.

Quirky Cottage has been invaded by some Munchkins from Alaska. They and their father (our son) will be with us for the next ten days. Mom stayed home for her vacation. She said good-bye to her family with mixed feelings. I know she'll miss them but she deserves a rest, too. Her youngsters are so well behaved. She is doing a wonderful job of teaching good manners.

We found some old hot wheels that their daddy played with in the 80's along with some farm animals and army men. We went to a city park and to the library to load up on books.

Here are some photos to reassure mom that her kids are having fun.

There were three red squirrels playing at the base of this tree.

This was the first time I saw the kids motionless all day

Their mom is a photographer so the kids are used to the clicking of the shutter and they just can't take it seriously any moreMrs.RGS

Monday, August 18, 2008

Coffee Spill Rorschach Test

From the parking garage to the door of the building where I work there is a long concrete ramp where my sloppy co-workers leave their mark by spilling their coffee cups as they slug their way to work.

The first one to catch my eye was this chicken.

And then this sweet little mouse.

Does anyone see a fish?

A Sting Ray?

You tell me, what do you see?

An imagination is a terrible thing to waste.


Friday, August 15, 2008

This and That and some other things

My darling daughter wants me to help her with some home decorating projects as soon as I retire from the 8 to 5 world. Since her decorating style is different from mine I've been doing some collecting of photos that will help me to make the shift to her own special quirkyness.

While this is more my style than hers (I'm having a little bit of trouble make that shift) I love the subtleness of the pattern of this chair.
Below is her style. She owns several of these wonderful pieces from Sweetwater Farms.
See here for more of this great furniture

Now for something completely different. Here is my absolutely favorite gladiola growing in our garden.

One more unique cake idea . . .


Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Secret to losing weight . . .

Last April I put my name at the end of a long list of requesters in our public library system for the book The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight & Eating Great. I picked up the book last Friday and sat down to be enlightened and enthused about eating great and losing weight.
Just a side note: Our caterer friend, KP, had the privilege of assisting the author, Pam Anderson, the day she came to our town and did a cooking demonstration. She prepared Asian Chicken Noodle Soup which can be found on page 137, Wine Biscuits, page 176 and Double Chocolate Pudding, page 289. KP says that Pam Anderson was quite nice and fun to work with.

Ms Anderson begins the book with the telling of her story of weight gain and her decision to make a change. I could identify with her when she described eating so little during the day and then coming home famished only to overeat indiscriminately. A while back I was wondering why I could stay so overweight when I only usually ate once a day. If I had been honest with myself I would have admitted that the one meal lasted from the time I got home to the time I went to bed. Yikes!

She began eating consistently throughout the day along with frequent walk/runs and she began to lose weight. My journey shared her results with the same weight loss when I started eating preplanned six times a day so I know what she is saying is true. It takes a lot of time in the kitchen – not my favorite place to be – to make all these preplan choices. Eventually I lost the motivation to pack my bag with breakfast, lunch and two snacks everyday and the result of that has been a regain of half the weight that I lost. Duh
Ms Anderson has included lots of quick-to-fix recipes. She has ideas on having pizza for breakfast. Gotta love that.

Most of her recipes are listed as serving for one or two. Recipes that would be good for dinner are for serving four. To my surprise she says that her 12 inch thin crust pizza was to be five servings. I know how to cut a pizza into 4 slices and how to cut one into 6 slices but I would need a protractor and a computer to figure out how to cut one into 5 slices.
None of the recipes are complicated. There are lots of good ideas in this book and I’m glad I took the time to read it.

Oh, and the secret to losing weight? Eat less and move more. The same thing everybody has been saying for years.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Words on my heart

I’m taking a few minutes to say something that has been on my mind and heart for awhile.

When I was young the only ambition I had was to be a wife and mother. At age fifteen I was reading child psychology books in order to prepare myself. I could sew, knit and clean house. I couldn’t cook (and still can’t) because my own mother claimed she couldn’t cook and she didn’t attempt to pass on any wisdom in that area that she might have had.

During the first half of the 1970s my dreams started to come true. We had three children in four years. I rarely do anything without gusto.

Unfortunately, the 1970’s were hostile years for stay-at-home mothers while women were being encouraged to fulfill their potential, find their satisfaction and actualization outside of their homes and families. The underlying message (whether on purpose or accidentally) was if you chose to stay home it was because you were too lazy or too stupid to find yourself. The cultural climate coupled with the fact that I was living in an area where I did not have any close friends or family lead to my feeling of great isolation.
It was the exchanging of letters with two of my fellow stay-at-home friends, living miles away, which helped to keep me grounded and encouraged.

In the late 1970s I read, Never Done: A History of American Housework by Susan Strasser. She wrote describing the work typically done by women over the last 200 years in North America. While there was often isolation in the work her research revealed that women socialized with other women while doing the work. She tells how women did their work in communities whenever possible. Sewing bees, canning projects, etc. While reading Ms Strasser’s book I felt a sisterhood with thousands of unseen and unknown women who had lived before me with the same values, concerns, and dreams that I had. I never felt quite so isolated again. I was still alone physically but not spiritually.

“Never Done” points out that after World War II, it became every housewife’s dream to own appliances that while work saving on one hand, they created an isolated life within the home. No longer did women gather on their porches to visit while scrubbing clothes on a washboard or visited across the back fence while hanging out laundry. No longer did they gather together while making the necessary food or clothing for their families.
The refrigerator eliminated the need for the ice man to stop by the back door to chat. The large grocery stores eliminated the groceries being delivered to the house where news could be exchanged. The social structure for women changed isolating them from each other.

Women in North America went approximately 30 years in this cultural isolation. But now we have the Internet and blogging to change the way we socialize.
Now we can communicate daily (or more often if we wish) with friends all over the world. We can find other women who share our values and interests even though our living situations differ in so many ways. The women whose blogs I enjoy reading often mention how much they appreciate the comments and the friendship offered from women who otherwise would be strangers. We connect emotionally with one another.

If we aren’t afraid to be open and vulnerable with our writing, risking criticism, we develop deep and meaningful relationships with one another. Technology has given us community again and all without a postage stamp.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Cakes, to eat and not to eat

While preparing for my daughter-in-law’s baby shower I had one of those V8 moments. I was looking for something unique to do for her when I stumbled onto the clever idea of creating a “cake” out of disposable diapers. I had never seen this done – ever. But, suddenly people were coming at me from everywhere telling of the cute cake they had at their shower back in 1950. Wow, I felt as if I had just crawled out of a cave. How this idea, which has been floating around for the last 50 years, managed to avoid bumping into me until now?

Not content with just the usual round cake I saw a version of a diaper castle on the Internet and boldly, with the help of my friend SA, attempted to create a suitable castle for my little prince.

For some real fun try these two links. Their names give you a hint for the hilarious photos ahead.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Baby basket and baby bubbles

My friend, SA, and I just had to drop by the Friday Good Junk place again. Here are some of the goodies we found.

And then we got to babysit our 4 month old grandson. I won't bore you with all 124 pictures that I took of him.