Monday, January 31, 2011

Ready For Spring

We are supposed to get a big storm tomorrow and Wednesday. Ice, snow, sleet, and who-knows-what-else. I am ready for spring. Ready to play in the dirt and plant the garden. Ready for the kids to be able to get out of the house. Right now, they are running around, all happy, and VERY LOUD!!! We need to get outdoors! But enough of my ranting. I did finish painting the boys' room today which I am very EXCITED about! I posted a skirt over at my crafty blog, so that means I have been sewing too. It keeps me sane. And thus ends quite possibly the most boring blog post ever. Adios, amigos!

Friday, January 28, 2011

More Snow

Its getting a little ridiculous around here. We got about 16 inches of snow on Wednesday. It was quite a storm, complete with news-to-me 'Snow Thunder.' It took us about three rounds of lightening to figure out what was going on. Yesterday we played outside for quite a while, shoveling, making a snowman and sledding down the snow pile on trash can lids. Even Tyler loves the snow. I will say that getting three kids dressed up for snow play is a lot of work! This morning cabin fever hit us hard. After staying home all week sans car, the kids were bouncing off the walls. Mom had the crazy idea of us walking over to their house. That entailed her meeting us at the road and carrying Tyler so I could carry the stroller across the green belt and the foot bridge. If she wouldn't have been there to help, there would be no stinking way I would have done it! But, I think we all benefited from getting out of the house. Now to entertain them for the rest of the day....

And here is a picture of the beautiful bowl that our friend Con-Rachel brought back for me from Africa. She went last year and brought me the salad tongs, and this year brought a bowl to match! It is so cool. And the fabric! She brought me two huge pieces of fabric to sew with. I have several ideas already for them. We'll see what they end up as.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sunshine, Snow and Shoeboxes

Yesterday it was mostly sunny and almost 40 degrees! It felt downright tropical. OK, maybe not tropical, but it was nice. Our 'quick' walk turned into a nice, long walk (bike-ride for James). Katie stopped every 8 feet or so to pick up a stick, or a handful of snow. She would plop down in people's yards and make snow angels. We would stop and let her catch up, only to fall behind again. She's off in Katie Land as we've begun to call it. :) It was quite nice to get out. This morning we getting more snow, between 4 and 8 inches they say. We might also get a layer of ice. Thankfully I went out last night when Jeff got home and got some books and movies for today. Yay for extended library hours!! And what is the 'shoeboxes' about? Every year we fill up shoeboxes with toys, school supplies and toiletries for Samaritans Purse, who then distributes them to kids around the world. They partner with missionaries, churches, and others to distribute the boxes to local children. They also hand out picture books in many, many languages called the 'Greatest Gift,' telling them the story of Christ. Many of these children are from orphanages, war-torn countries and destitute situations. Quite often, they have never recieved a gift before, and have none of the things we consider basic 'necessities'. Because of the humanitarian nature of their distribution, Samaritans Purse is allowed to go into countries that wouldn't otherwise let outsiders in. China and some middle Eastern countries come to mind. Anyway, the whole point of me telling you about this is that we are able to 'track' our boxes to their destination. Yesterday we found out that some of ours went to Zimbabwe! Our other boxes went to the Phillipines and Peru. Its very excited to actually have an idea of the places our boxes are going. I am thinking that the winter hats we packed in our boxes won't be used too much. :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

That Was Interesting

This weekend we had both cars inspected. (PA law) First the car, then the truck. On the way to pick up the truck, the car died. And, it appears that it has died for good. There is a small possibility that it will magically start up tonight but its not looking good. Everything was frozen solid and there was not enough antifreeze in the car. So now, we are a one car family until we figure it all out. I know that there are a lot of worse things, but it won't be fun. Jeff works an hour away so that means he gets the truck. Seems how it is a whopping 9 degrees out today, I don't think we'll be walking anywhere. :) Ah, well, to use a famous Grandma quote "This too shall pass." Hopefully soon!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011



Katie in her new dress
(If I had all the time in the world I would sew Katie a new dress every day! :)

More snow. I saw an idea somewhere to fill spray bottles with water/food coloring, and spray paint the snow. The kids liked that.

I think I will hang this one up somewhere prominent. It makes me laugh every time I see it.

They are definitely unique! :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Childhood Memory: There's a What?!? In The Front Yard

I was reading James a little about owls early and it brought back memories of the time when a Great Horned Owl came to live in our weeping willow tree. The tree branches hung over the sidewalk and that owl would look down at us as curiously as we looked at him. Or maybe he was thinking we were the biggest and tastiest looking mice he'd ever seen. I must have been pretty young, because that owl seemed so big to me. When leaving for the bus stop, I would look up to see if he was there. I don't know how long he stayed, but Dad said that it wasn't long before the rabbit population disappeared. I do remember picking apart the owl droppings with a stick to see what it had eaten. Just a handy little thing I learned from my Sunday School teacher, Mr. Harris. If you ever want to see mouse bones, you know where to look! (You can thank me later :) Another thing we found occasionally in our front yard was a random assortment of livestock. Our neighbors horse had a knack for unlatching the gate and would sometimes come over and graze. One morning I walked out for school to see what I am pretty sure were cows in our front yard. (I remember cows, but it might have been horses) They looked like giants to me and I ran back in the house. I was so scared. I remember my parents telling me just to walk around them and go to the bus stop and sure enough, they did me no harm. You just never know what you are going to find in your front yard!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dad's Sermon

Here's the link to Dad's sermon: click here.

Sopapilla Lament

Jeff and I found a really good Mexican restaurant when we went away for our anniversary. It was quite exciting, really, given the fact that there are no decent Mexican restaurants in the area. Upon entering the restaurant, we were encouraged to find that the wait staff actually spoke Spanish. That's always a good sign. I ordered 'El Grande Especial' because I figured either go big or go home. It was pretty funny when we got our orders. Jeff received his platter of food: two chimichangas with rice and beans. I got my order, and it was so big it came on two platters!! was good. No, I didn't eat it all and fortunately we were able to make use of the redneck method of refrigeration: leave it in the car overnight=frozen food. We were quite excited to see 'Soft and Fluffy Sopapillas' listed on the menu. Emphasis on SOFT and FLUFFY. You see, apparently a good sopapilla is hard to find. (On the East Coast, anyway.) When we have found Mexican restaurants here, they serve a fried tortilla with whipped cream and fake chocolate sauce. Don't forget the maraschino cherry! Talk about major, life altering disappointment. :) Thus the reason we were thrilled to see the listing for SOFT and FLUFFY sopapillas. However, when we received our order, we were disappointed to find that their definition of soft and fluffy was more along the lines of flat and crispy. I have to say that whatever it was was a bit thicker than a tortilla, but barely. And fluffy? Fuggedaboudit! We laughed so hard I almost choked on my food. Our poor waitress must have wondered what was up. They actually did put honey on it, but it was not a real sopapilla. It was even more amusing when we saw 'soft and fluffy sopapilla' listed on our bill. I think we have given up all hope of ever finding a good one around here. I think I need to become my own full service Mexican restaurant. Until then, I will have to settle for fried tortillas with Hershey syrup. Ick!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Random Bits

  • Tyler now know plays peek-a-boo, says 'Uh-oh' all the time, and several other words
  • He still hasn't learned that he word 'No' does, indeed, apply to him
  • Katie bought a package of 9 'wings' (rings) from the dollar store, which she wears...all at once...and gets upset if one of her 'wings' falls off
  • James is mad that the snow hasn't melted off his 'farm' so he can do his farm chores
  • Jeff spent the weekend fixing both of our cars in the 29 degree weather. Despite my fervent prayer that the Impala would somehow roll out into the street and get hit by the trash truck (while Jeff wasn't working on it, of course), the car has now been restored to its previous condition (AKA Running, but barely)
  • Dad preached at church yesterday, and I actually listened to him! (unlike the days of my youth when I was not in the least bit interested in listening to my Dad preach) It was a darn good sermon, I might add. I brought James up with us so he could hear his Chappy preach and for the first half, he sat there like a little man, hands folded and listening intently. After that, he stayed quiet by drawing pictures on the bulletin. (I have drawn MANY a picture on church fact I used to draw the backs of peoples heads and make Mom guess who they were. Good ol' Evora Rippey wouldn't flinch during an entire sermon so she was quite an easy subject.)
  • See, I told you that would be random! So random, I can't even come up with a cohesive conclusion. Have a good one!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

More Garden Pics

Some of the lights: the pictures don't do it justice

This garden was closed, but we could see a lot of it from the gate. It reminded me of chocolate cakes dusted with powdered sugar!

In the 'Silver' garden: the really tall cactus was called 'Mexican Fence Post,' and you can see the 'Old Man Cactus' on the bottom (there was also a similar, furry palm tree called the Old Man Palm Tree) The Christmas tree in there was very pretty, with Dusty Miller and sage interspersed through a blue spruce (?)

In the orchid room: its smelled very good in there!

Big Leaf Hydrangea looks like shooting stars; funny sign at the Children's Garden, Jeff posing with a flower in his 'hair' and I use that term loosely ;)

In the Children's Garden: the pelican fountain was my favorite; Jeff pretending to be trapped inside the tunnel

In the Children's Garden
A Christmas Tree for the wildlife: everything was edible! Not surprisingly, this tree was full of birds.

One end of the beautiful library: all of the book shelves had glass doors, and there was a hidden door to a powder room at the other end.

Longwood Gardens was built by Pierre Dupont who owned the Dupont company, and helped run General Motors. He was, by my highly scientific estimation, filthy stinkin' rich. He gave lots of money away to the community, and poured who knows how much cash into his Longwood estate. He was fascinated by both plants and water, and so he made sure he was surrounded by large quantities! From what we heard, he designed a good deal of the water fountains himself. (They were closed while we were there) The Duponts loved to have people visit the gardens and set up a structure to enable to the gardens to go on in perpetuity. Its pretty amazing that a) someone had enough money to do something like this, and b) that he wanted to make sure it was always open to visitors. I look forward to seeing it again in the spring or summer.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Longwood Gardens Trip!

This weekend we took a little trip for our anniversary. My parents bravely volunteered to take the kids overnight, so this was our first ever trip sans kids. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!) They survived, by the way, and I don't mean the kids. Mom and Dad, that is. When we went to pick them upDad said that Tyler is very, very active. He even said that he doesn't think he has ever seen a kid so active. Dad had actually put his pills up on a high shelf so Tyler couldn't get to them, and guess what? The little bugger did. Fortunately they caught him in the act and no harm was done. The kid is definitely a fearless climbing fool.

Back to our trip, we went to Kennett Square, PA and visited Longwood Gardens. Even though we only saw about a third of it, we were impressed!! It is spectacular. We went in the afternoon and walked around everything that was open. We went back after dinner and saw the amazing lights. There are lights everywhere and it was quite beautiful. There is one room that was really amazing. We walked in and it was like a tropical forest with huge palm trees and interesting plants. It was dark, and it looked like a million green stars were twinkling everywhere: on the ceiling, on the plants, on the walkway. There were special green light bulbs hidden beneath some of the plants that cast green sparkles everywhere. It kind of looked like a million green fireflies. Each room of the conservatory had a different climate: desert, Mediterranean, rainforest, etc.. Everything was still decorated for the holiday season and each room had a living wreath appropriate to the climate.

My favorite wreath: covered in cactus and hens and chicks.

This is the largest room in the conservatory. You can see on the top left a huge Christmas tree at the end of a series of pools and fountains. The bottom left picture is a living tree made from cyclamen plants.

This is the DuPont summer house. The small picture on the left is their pantry....its quite a pantry. They have so much china its ridiculous. The large black safe in the bottom right picture is their silver safe (in the pantry). The picture on the top right is the built in towel drier. Below that is their HUGE fireplace which has a swinging arm for the kettles to hang on.

This is inside the DuPont's personal conservatory which connects the two wings of their summer house. Nice, huh?

Here is a display of some of Mrs. DuPont's miniature collection. There were even tiny (and I do mean TINY) wine goblets and a centerpiece of holly in the middle of the table.

I'll post more pictures tomorrow, which might be a bit overkill but it was just so darn pretty! I promise to post a picture of 'Old Man Cactus,' which is pretty amusing.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Just Right

We got the perfect amount of snow this morning. Just enough to play in, but not enough to make a big mess. We took out the awesome sled that my mom found in someones trash. (Seriously, who throws this kind of stuff away?!) This was Tyler's first experience really playing in the snow and he really liked it, especially when I pulled he and James along in the sled. Katie spend her time making tiny little snowballs and giving them to everyone. James spent his time throwing snowballs at everyone else. When we got back, James helped our neighbor clean off both of his cars. James thinks that is just the funnest thing, and he made sure to take frequent breaks to pelt poor Bud with snowballs. Luckily, Bud throws them right back! James was even happier when he came home $2 richer. :)

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Roping Dummy

James got a rope for Christmas: a 'cowboy' rope, as he calls it. Not too long before that, he had found instructions in our Family Fun magazine for making a steer skull out of a milk carton. Its one of those crafts that, despite the simple instructions, its obvious that they did more to make theirs look as nice as it does. However, ours isn't to shabby although he could use a coat of spray paint. Around the same time we made this plastic/tinfoil/masking tape creation, James expressed that he wanted something to practice roping. In the interest of protecting his younger siblings, we decided on a solution. We bolted the steer to a heavy cardboard box, and voila! A roping dummy. I am sure pretty soon I will be having cowboys lined up down the street wanting to purchase one of these things! Ha, ha!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Snow Pictures

Its been about a week since our snow storm, and I've finally uploaded the pictures. As you can see, James and I took turns pelting each other with snow. I really need to get snow pants, because jeans get wet really quick!

This past Saturday, we went on a walk through Five Mile Woods, which is about as close to the 'great outdoors' as you can find around here. It was really fun! We looked for, and found deer, rabbit and cross country ski tracks. The kids stopped and climbed on just about every fallen log, and Tyler enjoyed riding in the backpack.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Bumpy Weekend

This weekend was rife with mishaps. Tyler banged his head on the table, leaving a nice bruise on his forehead. Katie was doing acrobatics while she was supposed to be sitting still in time out and she fell on her forehead, leaving a bump and a scratch. James decided it would be a grand idea to put his arms inside his footie pajamas while spinning around on our desk chair. He fell like a lead balloon, with no arms to reach out and buffer his fall. He earned himself a pretty mean couple of bumps on the side of his face. (We have laminate in our carpet to soften the fall) And then, during a particularly raucous game of 'Who can find Waldo first?' James was sitting in my lap and we were racing to find Waldo. I had found him the first couple times, and James was really itching to find him first on the next page. I said 'I see him!!!' and James said 'Awww, no!' and threw himself back, managing to connect his incredibly unyielding noggin with my eye/cheek bone. It hurt really, really bad. And now, I am sporting a black eye to prove it. Fortunately its not too bad, but I'm sure it'll look pretty as it turns all the lovely shades that bruises do. (Incidently, this is my second black eye in 30 years, and the other one was also obtained while playing with James.) Send the bubble wrap and helmets, we need them!!!