Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Great Fly Relocation Project and Other Minutia

I did it! I did it! I made it through eight shifts in a row. Phew! Yesterday was my day to become human again (i.e. walk around like a zombie until I got a full night's sleep).

Today was deliciously overcast - -quite reminiscent of fall. I had hoped to make pies. These adorable pies. Instead I spent an inordinate amount of time searching for 1/2 pint wide mouth mason jars. Turns out they were at my local grocer -- the last place I considered.

While out and about the boy and I also visited a couple of thrift stores and the yarn depot. It's funny how autumn like weather makes me want to bake, knit and gather. I came home with some lovely burnt orange yarn -- perhaps pumpkin hats in the works. Of course the boy wasn't entirely thrilled with our outing. Hey -- we're bonding, right?!! Every fourteen-year-old wants to buy yarn with his mother!

Today I'd also hoped to update the shop and have some vintage/handmade baby gift packages I'm dying to put together. Those projects will have to wait until another day. Alas tomorrow it's back to work. I can't complain. These additional shifts were taken on voluntarily (egged on by the economy but voluntarily nonetheless). Yet I have to admit -- I miss my home. I miss puttering and photographing and creating. My family misses home cooking and the house could use a good cleaning.

Speaking of cleaning house. It seems we've developed a bit on a, ahem, fly problem. I have no idea where these buggers are coming from. Turns out they are great entertainment. Little has quite the knack of catching them in jars (oh how I wish they were fire flies rather than house flies). Ah well. Thanks to the benevolent heart of my youngest several flies have been released unharmed into the world.

And tomorrow I'm back into the world -- for a couple days at least. Then back to puttering. Oh retirement how sweet the sound! Until then I'll keep on keeping.

I hope you all are having a lovely week!


Things I'm loving today:
  • Thoughts of fall
  • Amazing friends willing to help at the drop of a hat
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • A bazillion projects awaiting my return

Things I'm hoping for today:
  • Stress free work days
  • Happy children
  • That darn house cleaning fairy (where oh where has she gone?)
  • More free time

Thursday, July 22, 2010


daisy bouquet
Today marks the halfway point; four of eight work days complete. I must admit I was tired when I arrived home. My feet hurt. I very seriously considered a nap. But outside it was (is) beautiful; not too hot and not too cold with a mild westward breeze. Plus the chickens needed free-range time (which requires supervision after this incident). And, truthfully, Mama needed some outdoor time as well.

So we went to tend our flower garden. I suppose you could call it a cutting garden. It's full of shasta daisies, black eyed susans, lavender, geraniums, chives, yarrow and cat nip; whites, yellows and purples filling every nook and cranny. But this garden has also been woefully neglected.

Bad Mama. Bad. Bad. Sit. Stay.

Because we were slack there were several demonic thistles interspersed amongst the glory.


Well? What's a girl to do?

Hoe in hand Little and I tackled the despicable weeds. We eliminated the worst of them though many invaders still remain (should you find yourself bored I'd happily permit you weed my garden. Anytime!) We also managed to water and dead head our parched patio plants.

Finally Little picked a sweet bouquet for the kitchen. What cheer these flowers will bring as I'm waiting for the coffee to percolate!

But coffee comes in the morning. For now a simple dinner and then sleep. I do believe I'll sleep well tonight.

I hope you, too, had a lovely Thursday.

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Things I'm loving today:
  • Warm summer breezes
  • Puttering, dead heading and listening to the babble of chickens
  • Six-year-olds who fall sound asleep at 7:30 pm (in the middle of the living room floor)
  • Fresh bed sheets
  • Light-filled evenings
  • Lemonade mixed with sparkling water
Things I'm hoping for today:
  • That I might be able to squeeze in some mama pampering (i.e. pedicure) before work tomorrow night
  • Steady, productive but not overly stressful work nights
  • A housecleaning fairy
  • Time to work in the shop.

Monday, July 19, 2010

I might be scarce this week ...

With an eye towards financial stability Mama picked up a few extra shifts (six to be exact). This means I'll be working four days followed by four nights. Actually, now, three days and four nights as day one is complete. In other words I may be scarce this week.

It's okay. Actually it's a nice change of pace. The girls are at day camp, the boy is practicing self-sufficiency and Mama is having an adventure working day practice (Let me tell you days and nights are very very different. Before today I can't tell you the last time I got to do a "healthy pet" exam. I'm also vaccinating, spaying, neutering and doing dentistry -- all things that are not typical of emergency practice).

But before the big work push we went to the lake. You know -- the same lake we were hoping to go to on this day when our plans were thwarted. Yesterday we finally made it. I can't even begin to describe the beauty -- snow-capped mountains, crystal clear waters, sentries of iridescent blue damsel flies, monster trout and Atlantic salmon, warm summer breezes, canoes and kayaks, picnic lunches -- there is nothing better than a day at the lake (and I have the sunburn to prove it).

This week as I'm waking early and working hard I'll remember our day on the water. That'll be sustenance alone to get me through. And come payday I'll be ever so grateful. I hope you all have a lovely week. See you on the flip side!

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Frugal Friday -- Summer Fun Pack

lavender wands

In this region gardening is a challenge. The growing season is short and even in the middle of summer we have to worry about frost. This year the cold extended well into June and my vegetable garden has been a bust. But one thing that thrives despite the weather is lavender.

Last year we made lavender sugar and lavender sachets. This year we tried our hand at lavender wands. The lavender, of course, was free. And the ribbon thrifted. Overall this project cost, maybe, a dollar.

This project completes our summer birthday fun pack. It seems we know quite a few kids born in the summer months. And now we are able to celebrate with fun yet frugal gifts.

Our fun pack includes: a hula hoop, homemade bubbles (with attached pancake shaper/bubble blower) and a lavender wand.

Good for the gifter and good for the giftee. What more could a person want?!!

Here's hoping your summer is also full of fun!

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Love Thursday -- The Anniversary Addition

Today is Mr. Peculiar and I's fifteenth wedding anniversary. Fifteen! We'll be celebrating this weekend -- thrifting and paddling and fishing and picnicking. In the meantime here's are fifteen good things about being married to "my guy":
  1. Being loved for exactly who I am and not who I ought to be
  2. Having someone who's parenting style is the ying to my yang
  3. Fantasizing about the future and having our visions match
  4. Waking up to a pot of hot coffee
  5. Coming home to find the laundry folded and put away
  6. Getting schooled at spelling and mental mathematics (i.e. no paper or calculator)
  7. Redeeming one's intellect by knowing more literature trivia and latin than one's spouse
  8. Having dinner delivered at work when I'm simply too lazy to cook
  9. Snuggles, hugs and kisses
  10. Knowing that Mr. Peculiar has a soft spot and, no matter how much he complains, he adores the creatures I drag home
  11. Kibbe, grapes leaves and tzatziki
  12. Sitting on the porch with a glass of wine, knitting needles and good company
  13. Foot rubs
  14. Football in the background on lovely fall evenings
  15. And, finally, our three beautiful babies

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Make it Monday - Our New Tea Towel

Hello! Just popping in to share our new tea towel. It's a vintage embroidery pattern picked up from a flea market. Next on deck? Pillowcase embroidery.

What to embroider? What to embroider? Perhaps flowers and birds.

What are you working on?

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Great Way to Pass a Summer Afternoon - Sunday

Take a Nap

When I was a child I used to find a sun spot, lay down and sleep like a kitty. I haven't done that in years (and don't know if my body would forgive laying on the floor), but oh how delectable does a sweet sweet nap sound?

"Think what a better world it would be if all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap"
~ Robert Fulghum

And what is Sunday if not a day of rest? I say put your foot down. No more racing to and fro. No more accomplishing this and that. Instead lay down and nap.

Sweet dreams!

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Great Way to Pass a Summer Afternoon - Saturday

Sew Something

When summer comes I set aside my knitting. Wool and warm summer days simply don't mesh. But I miss the repetition. The soothing knit purl repeat. Knit purl repeat. Instead I turn to embroidery. My latest obsession is vintage transfer patterns. Oh my there is much fun to be had! I can't wait to show you my latest tea towel -- soon I promise. The theme is Bee Clean. Quite appropriate in this household. Here's a sneak peak:

When mama pulls out needle and thread undoubtedly the children want to join in. My child friendly medium of choice? Felt. What a forgiving fabric. It doesn't fray or wander or go awry. Perfect for little ones just making their way. Our favorite creation is a blanket stitch heart; ideal for hanging, attaching to gifts or as bookmarks.

I never thought I'd find solace in sewing (or knitting, or cooking or baking). But it seems homemaking is in my blood, in my soul. I can not deny that I am a woman. A woman who works yet truly enjoys making a home.

And part of homemaking is sewing. So, whether it's pants that need a new button or you are feeling ambitious and create a new dress ... don't forget the needle and thread this summer. You may just find a little bit of yourself you thought you never knew existed.

Happy sewing!

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Friday, July 9, 2010

A Great Way to Pass a Summer Afternoon - Friday

Get thee to some water!

So you know the saying about the best laid plans? "The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry." Yup. That one by Robert Burns. Well today it held true.

We were going to go to the lake. We woke early, sucked down coffee and packed a picnic lunch. The canoe and kayak were hoisted atop the car. The kids were loaded and I was literally walking out the door when the phone rang. I almost didn't answer but it was early. I mean no one calls before 8:00 am unless something has gone awry. And indeed it had.

My sister was on the line. Her and her family were driving up to Oregon (we had planned to meet up with them later). Notice I said "were", as in no longer driving. It seems their geriatric suburban had chugged its last mile. They were stranded on the side of the road 100 miles out. And here's the kicker. They had been towing my Grandmother's Trillium camping trailer. A trailer they'd outgrown and were bringing it to us.

A trailer! A trailer! We're getting a trailer!

Needless to say we did not go to the lake. Thanks to AAA the suburban was towed. My brother-in-law went with the truck to attend the dying car. However the trailer, my sister and their five children were left on the side of the road. Left to battle the mosquitos and dust. Clearly a rescue was in order. We must've been a sight for sore eyes!

In the car, on the way home, my sister mentioned they'd stopped by one of their rentals (they own several properties). The renters had moved out and left quite a bit of stuff. In passing she mentioned they'd left a typewriter -- it was mine if I wanted it. A typewriter? What kind? How old? My sister didn't know.

Turns out it was GORGEOUS. A lovely black Corona Silent model. I've been jonesing for a typewriter forever and now two have come into my life in the past week. I mean, seriously, how cool is that?!!

So we didn't go to the lake. We didn't kayak or canoe or galavant in the water. But we inherited a vintage trailer -- a gorgeous egg of our very own, and a new-to-us typewriter to boot. The best laid plans may not have come to fruition but what a day!

I promise -- photos soon. In the meantime -- get thee to some water. That is, unless your plans go awry.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Great Way to Pass a Summer Afternoon - Thursday

paper dolls holding hands
Play with paper!

Alrighty. This one's coming in just under the wire. And, yes, it is still Thursday on the West Coast. Today we played with paper. Oh my goodness there is so much that can be done with paper. Paper dolls, paper stars, and paper cranes. Paper lanterns, paper frogs and paper hats. The possibilities are limitless. And paper? We all have paper. I consider this project absolutely free.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Great Way to Pass a Summer Afternoon - Wednesday

homemade bubble solution
Bubbles are a prerequisite for summer. But you don't have to go out and buy bubble solution ... you can make your own.

  • 1 cup good quality dish soap (trust me -- generic doesn't work so well)
  • 2-3 tsbp glycerin (found in the baking department of my specialty food store)*
  • Water
  • Old milk container
  • Bubble wands (get creative here -- we used old pancake forms)
Mix water, glycerin and soap in milk container. Allow to sit overnight. Pour into shallow dish, insert wand and blow away!

Take notice that no matter what the wand form the bubble always ends up round. Why? Surface tension! More bubble facts can be found here.

*Corn syrup can work instead of glycerin but is an attractant for bees and wasps.

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What are you doing for fun this summer?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Great Way to Pass a Summer Afternoon - Tuesday

people hula hooping
(or how to build a hula hoop)
  • Go to the hardware store
  • Buy irrigation poly tubing; 100 psi and 3/4 inch*
  • Buy pipe couplers
  • Buy electrical tape in a multitude of colors
  • Return home and retrieve a blow dryer and popcorn kernels
  • Cut tubing to desired circumference (somewhere between belly button and chest)**
  • Place popcorn kernels in tubing
  • Heat tube ends with blow dryer and attach with coupler
  • Decorate with tape
  • Hula hoop to your heart's delight
  • And, finally, get Grandpa involved in the festivities

* 100 psi 3/4 inch tubing is great for kids. For a heavier hoop get 160 psi 3/4 inch or 100 psi 1 inch tubing.

** the easiest way to the cut the tubing is with a ratcheting pcv cutter which can be purchased from the hardware store. Fortunately we already owned one of these babies. The tubing can also be cut with a saw.

Note: the poly tubing is typically sold in bulk. We spent around $36.00 for this project which will yield approx 8 hula hoops. Clearly we don't need 8 hula hoops but we have several birthday parties to attend. These extra hoops will be part of our summer fun gift pack (more to come).

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I hope you are having a lovely summer!

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Great Way to Pass a Summer Afternoon - Monday

This is our summer to decompress. We have no scheduled activities and instead are following our bliss. We're roasting marshmallows, going to bed late and sleeping in. We're selling lemonade, walking to the library and visiting the ducks at the park. We're unearthing all kinds of fun yet frugal family activities and I can tell you this: I'm going to be all kinds of wistful when summer finally ends.

In the meantime I thought I'd take this week and share with you a bit of what we've been doing. One special activity per day -- "A Great Way to Pass a Summer Afternoon."

Here's today's contribution:

  • First go thrifting. Be sure to pick up an old board game (or two).
  • After you get home make a batch of lemonade and brew up a pot of tea.
  • Set up the game in the back yard.
  • Bring out lemonade for the kids and half lemonade/half tea for Mama and/or Papa.
  • Lift up your head, feel the sun on your face and the gentle breeze tousling your hair.
  • Then determine whether or not it truly was Colonel Mustard in the library with a candlestick.

Trust me. It's a great way to pass a summer afternoon!

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

My Little Man

Well today is my birthday. Once again I had another post planned. But the universe had different plans. Instead I'd like to talk about a defining moment in a boy's life.

As you know we recently lost our cat. We've become more and more convinced our kitty was taken by a coyote. My children were (and are) devastated. My fourteen-year-old son has been caught in that in-between place of still being a little boy at heart but also feeling that he should act like and be a man. His little boy heart was broken. He tried to hide his tears but a mama sees. Today, as a man, he took his air-soft gun and went coyote huntin'.

Mama didn't have the heart to stop him. She knew he needed to sow his oats and figured he'd never come across a coyote. Mama was wrong. He found a den - two babies waiting for their mama to come home.

He called me, my son, and asked what he should do (to be honest he wanted to talk to his papa but papa wasn't home). "Leave 'em be." I said. That coyote was just trying to feel her young. She might have killed our dear kitty but she did not have malice in her heart.

The boy, my boy, came home an hour later. "What did you do?" I asked.

"I couldn't do it, " he said, "there were babies."

I closed my eyes. "You're a good man." I replied, "a good man".

And indeed he is. We miss our cat greatly. Our chickens will not be free-ranging for quite a while. Our remaining kitties will be spending a lot more time indoors. We love our animals immensely. And we love *all* animals immensely.

I hope our resident coyote moves along soon. In the meantime we'll take the proper precautions.

Good job little man. Good job!

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