Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hi Guys

So we got started on our annual cookie baking today.

Jed is quite the junior chef! And he only chafed a little bit when I presented him with our matching aprons and chef hats.

I found the coolest little's a cookie cutter that stamps a printed message into the cookie, and it's completely customizable.

I don't care much for rolling out cookies, but these turned out so cute it was almost worth it. :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Somebody Get Al Gore on the Phone!

It's been a strange week.

We had highs in the 50s the other day, while Florida was shivering in the 40s.

We had rain that melted the snow we got last week.

And we have frozen trees without much snow.

Something weird is going on.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Look What We Did Today!

If there's anything in this world prettier than a Christmas tree, for the life of me I can't think what it might be this evening.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Getting Organized

I'd been feeling kind of scattered recently, like I never knew what to do or where to start. I had a bit of an epiphany when I finally realized the cause, but it came as something of a shock, considering my love of all things organized - my house was a mess. Specifically, the schoolroom.

In addition to education, the schoolroom also serves as my "office," and more significantly, the dumping ground for all of our projects-in-progress, from paperwork to crafts.

As there was a lack of available storage in the room, the projects were strewn about on the only available surfaces - the table and the floor. Needless to say, this made spreading out Jed's schoolwork difficult at best...I was always having to shove things aside. As for the stacks on the floor, let's just say they made being in the room rather frustrating and stressful.

While brainstorming possible solutions, I remembered a chest of drawers I had picked up from someone off Craig's List back in the summer for free. It was sitting in the garage waiting to be taken to the transfer station, because it had the worst musty smell I've ever encountered (which may or may not have something to do with why it was free).

I brought the chest of drawers into the schoolroom and knew instantly it was the answer to my organizational dilemma, so I started researching solutions for the mustiness. After trying a few unsuccessfully, bleach seemed to be the only other option, but it was not feasible as the chest was made of particle board. So I started looking for another free chest of drawers.

You can imagine how successful that was. :)

However, I did end up finding a gorgeous old oak chest of drawers for $85, and I managed to talk the owner down to $60. Now came the biggest hurdle: convincing Tracy it was a good idea. It made perfect sense to me...we already had a chest of drawers in the room which would be gone if it was replaced, and I had made more than $60 profit from selling some of Jed's outgrown clothes on e-bay recently.

As I expected, though, these facts did not move Tracy.

He absolutely hates to add more belongings to our household, especially large items. We've moved several times since becoming a family, and it is likely we will move again, and he would like very much to travel lightly. This is a bit of an enigma to me, since I am the one who does all the packing and we hire help to do the actual moving, but whatever.

Anyway, while laying out all the details of my plan, which I had meticulously rehearsed, Tracy had something of an epiphany himself. He came to the realization that, although the desire to live an austere life is quite dear to him, I matter more. This is real progress for one who was used, for many years, to living unchallenged.

I got the chest of drawers!!

And not only did I get the organizational help I needed, I also discovered I made a rather profitable deal. Check out the asking price for this very-similar chest of drawers:

A little bit of stripping and refinishing and I could make enough profit to finance our next move. :)

Monday, December 06, 2010

It's Snow Time!


I was beginning to wonder if winter was going to come this year.

There's something wrong in the universe when North Carolina gets snow before Maine.

The shame is almost overwhelming. :)

But no more!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Try, Try Again

I just experienced the weirdest thing.

I was looking for a previous post I had written about transfer stations because I found this cool little toy at ours recently, and if you haven't read that original post you might not have any idea what transfer stations are or why I love them so much.

{Case in point - the entire back of my SUV is filled again with stuff to drop off - and it will be free to the recipients! Who doesn't love free stuff?}

However, skimming through a couple of years' worth of posts made me realize something.

I think I've gotten lazy. And that comes as quite a shock.

I'd like to say I've gotten busy, but I'm not sure that's it.

It is apparent that I used to try to be witty, or at least entertaining, in my writing. Lately I've settled for posting a few pictures and calling it good, with the excuse that I'm only doing this blog for my parents and other family members and friends that might be interested in knowing what we're doing, and not folks looking to be rhapsodized. (is that a word? if it's not, it should be)

A picture's worth a thousand words, right?

Perhaps that depends on the photographer. :)

At any rate, writing a bit more thoughtfully is my first New Year's resolution. And I think I'll tackle Project 365 again next year...taking and posting at least one picture every day for the year. It was challenging to look for photograph subjects each day...but looking back at my blog, I think it was a good thing. I know I captured more of the little details of our life by doing so.

If that's not scintillating enough for the readers of this humble little blog, I don't know what would be. :D

Friday, November 26, 2010

Cleveland Botanical Garden - Part 3

This is the last installment of our trip to Cleveland.

It was a great trip to a great city.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cleveland Botanical Garden - Part 2

This was Jed's favorite part of the botanical garden - the children's garden. I could totally understand - it was a magical place, full of fantasy and whimsy and little hidden places of delight. Not to mention an awesome tree house and a pond complete with ducks.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cleveland Botanical Garden - Part 1

This was our last, and finest, day in Cleveland. I absolutely loved the botanical garden, for many reasons, which is why this will be a 3-part series.

Can you imagine such loveliness surrounding you every which way you turn? And it wasn't even in the full bloom of spring - the leaves weren't yet out fully on the trees.

I would have loved to see this in the summer.

Friday, November 19, 2010

His Indian Name is A Whiter Shade of Pale

I have a confession to make. Although I puffed up immensely at the success of Jed's Halloween costume, I really didn't have to do much to achieve that success.

I wasn't that lucky this time around.

We weren't planning to attend our homeschool group's Thanksgiving party today, but things changed on Wednesday and so Thursday afternoon found us at Goodwill trying to find the makings of a Native American outfit.

You can judge for yourself how successful I was with that.

Jed was positively scandalized that he was wearing a ladies' top. And his moccasins are several sizes too large which caused him to continually step out of them despite the multitude of cotton balls stuffed into the toes. He made the headdress himself, out of pipe cleaners and skeleton leaves cut to look like feathers (in a very stylistic sort of way), which he insisted on wearing low on his forehead so that it resembled a unibrow.

The real clincher, though, was the make-up. I'll admit I was a little concerned about how white he looked in that shirt, especially around the chest, but I wasn't going to do anything about it. No need to worry...while I was getting dressed so we could leave in a few minutes, he was busily painting his skin with magic marker. A good idea, no? No. It looked like a beaver had built a lodge on his face.

So, instead of being on time to the meeting, we were at home trying to blend together all the hash marks he had made, amidst semi-loud protests of the physical abuse being endured. Apparently the spreading around of magic marker is irritating to the skin. Who knew?

Thankfully he took more magic markers with him in the car and applied his war paint. This prevented anyone from mistaking his Native American skin color for the jaundice that it more closely resembled.

The saving grace in all this...adorable turkey cookies!

How cute is that??

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ice Skating, Part 2

Doesn't this picture make Jed look like he really knows what's he doing??

He doesn't.

I don't know when it happened or why, but sometime during the previous week Jed apparently decided that ice skating is too hard and too risky.

That reminds me of the quote from Henry Ford, "Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right." He was bound to be right...he fell three times last week, and he fell three times this week in the first five minutes.

Oh well. He kept his smile about him at least. :)

When he wasn't sticking out his tongue in concentration, that is. :D

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Although it loses a bit of the impact now that it's November, these blossoms were a sight for our sore eyes back in April, since we hadn't seen anything like them in Maine yet. It was a sweet way to start our day at the zoo.

I'm not a big fan of zoos in general, but this one was nice....lots of "natural" habitats, beautiful trees and vegetation, and interesting walking paths.

And check this out - the equator goes right through the zoo!

Jed was quite disappointed to learn that he's not as tall as a baby giraffe.

Beautiful tropical birds.

Don't see too many of these around here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mad Skillz

I gotta tell you, I know I might not be the best photographer around, but at least I don't charge anybody.

Can you believe a Sears Portrait Studio wanted me to buy this picture?? Who takes a portrait with the subject just standing there, squarely facing the camera?

I gotta learn how to work my camera! And get some backgrounds and lights and an assistant. :)

Meanwhile, we've been up to our ears in the mass production of Christmas cards and ornaments. It looks like we're on track to have our Christmas preparations completed by the end of November.

It would be so nice to actually enjoy the month of December!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ice Skating

Jed took his first skating lesson yesterday!

Unfortunately, next week will be his last lesson...and he's in need of way more than two lessons. :) But these were offered free to our homeschool group, and it was a nice chance to see if he likes it.

He does!

The rink has public skating every Friday from 12:00-2:00. I'm seriously thinking of giving it a whirl myself.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tower City Center

I can count on less than one hand how many times I've been to a mall since we moved to Maine. They're just not around. I don't miss them that much, but it was fun wandering around one in Cleveland...and Tower City Center was really nice.

Located on the Huron Road waterfront, Tower City is full of musical memorabilia (including a Hard Rock Cafe)...

...and gorgeous windows.

Jack is a friend from Missouri who was attending the same conference as Tracy. Jed had so much fun playing with him, he sent Jack a sucker when we got home.

I'm sure Jack was impressed. :)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Great Lakes Science Center

Another awesome place in Cleveland!