Thursday, April 29, 2010

Adventures in Beading

The Peyote Stitch Bangle

This project requires about a bazillion toho and hex beads, about 12 yards of fire-line, and I don't even want to think about how many hours...I mostly did it in while watching my shows over the last month. Hardly any cost, supplies wise, but nobody will ever SELL these because it's so labor-intensive!

But, it's sparkly! I love it! And that's saying a lot, after staring at it for so long, that I can still love it!
Next up, something with big and chunky beads using eye pins....and not as many hours. I'm feeling the need for a 1 hour start to finish piece!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dirt, Snails & Puppy Dog Tails

...that's what little boys are made of.

And so, if you are the parent of a son, you may occasionally find any or all of the above in some pretty unexpected places.

I give you, Exhibit A:
"What IS IT?", you might ask.

It's what we call around here, "a concoction". You never can tell what you have until it starts to melt. TO BE HONEST, I much prefer to find these "experiments" in the freezer to, say, under his bed, or on the bathroom least the temperature keeps them from "growing things". I'm not kidding. I once found a water bottle (sealed, at least) on his closet floor whose contents looked greenish-blue, slimy and carbonated....

There are also times that I find a recycled dentyne blister pack filled up with OJ or lemonade and frozen, you know, flavored ice cubes....don't mind those so much, when they don't get spilled on the way IN.
This time,(after the melt), we have the lovely combo of RED CAROLINA CLAY, FESCUE (grass) and WATER. I chucked it out onto the lawn and called it a day.

Wonder what I'll find next?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tree Huggers Unite!

Chris finally found his Dawn Redwoods and was able to complete our whole border! It looks even better than I imagined it could. There are 5 Little Gem Magnolias, 3 Dawn Redwoods and 2 Nellie Stevens Holly Trees (can't see them in this pic). The shrubs are planted in twos, and are labeled in the above picture, except for the ones on the very back end....I think they are Viburnum... If you're counting, we're at 10 trees and 10 shrubs in that border! And he dug all those holes and spread 46 bags of mulch with his own hands!
I'm so glad that he loves to work in the yard! It is turning out so beautifully, and I know we will love and appreciate it even more because of all the research and work he put into it!

He'll be mowing the grass all summer long, but I think we will be waiting to plant the other side of the yard until fall when the landscaping will be all done next door at the house currently under construction.

Yay for Trees! And....Happy Earth Day this week! Don't forget the 3 Rs!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spring has SpRuNg!

...and all these little surprises keep happening in our yard. The best thing about the 1st year in a new home and city is the way the landscape changes with the seasons. I didn't expect as much drama in this climate. Boy, was I wrong!

North Carolina is such a beautiful place to begin with. I was in awe of the painted sunsets that shone through our lichen-covered tree trunks right out of our back windows all through the winter.
And now, look what Spring has brought us! I can hardly see the kids through the woods as they explore and collect caterpillars for their leaf-filled keeper. I can't wait until they build their cocoons!

We thought this small and delicate tree was a crape myrtle, right outside the office window. Upon returning from our trip to Gatlinburg we discovered that it is a beautiful little white flowering dogwood, it's flowers had popped within the previous 3 days! It is such a gorgeous tree and I'm so happy we have one. Dogwoods are also the state tree!
If ever there was a Wisteria Lane... They climb the trees here, (these are at least 60-75 feet tall) and it's absolutely breathtaking to see the spots where it's just taken over!

Here's a close-up of the flowers, aren't they so pretty?

We had a steep warm up (90s) a few weeks ago, but now it is closer to the norm, low 70s. Chris has been busy planting trees and shrubs, 18 to be exact. We almost have the natural border on one side of our house complete. We're just waiting for the nursery to get in some Dawn Redwoods. They'll go in the spaces with no bark at present. Hopefully in the next week or so!

And possibly my favorite part about Spring is that it is now berry and melon season! I made a strawberry shortcake for a girlfriend/birthday lunch at our house yesterday. Such a simple, yet delicious treat!

What do you love about Spring?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Mission 10K: Accomplished

Back in January, my sister Kasey had a crazy idea that I might love running a 10K. That it would help motivate me to make running more of a priority after the busy moving season I'd just come through. She even threw in the lure of a visit in the Spring, so she could run WITH me! How could a girl possibly refuse an offer like that!?!? Win, win, win!

After 8 weeks of training, I was ready! I even ran 6 miles last week, so, mentally and physically, I knew I was capable. Add the adrenaline that comes from a race day atmosphere and approx. 3000 other runners (not to mention a caffeinated pack of GU at the mile 3 mark), and it was pretty much a party!

It was a beautiful course, tree lined rolling streets, beautiful homes and yards....for every uphill there was the reward of a downhill. It was pretty much perfect and an awesome experience!

This was my favorite part of the course, between miles 4-5.

We all felt great and were happy about how we ran it....even though the steepest hill was at 5.5 miles....killer!

Here we are, the 3 girls in pink! My sister Kasey, me and my friend Shanda who helped me through the long training runs the last few weeks! Thanks to these girls, I am now a runner!

I haven't seen the final stats, they're not posted yet, but I came in somewhere around 1:08-1:10....which I'm told is not too shabby for a first-timer.

And when it was all said and done, my sister even made me a post-race treat. Wheat Berries with greek yogurt and sauteed apples and cranberries! She is the! It was soooooo good!

And, of course, we needed some pedicures tonight! Parrafin wax, "WHERE have you been all of my life?"

We're thinking of making this an Annual Sister/Girlfriend Event! You in?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Imagination Games

I love when my kids are playing happily amongst themselves. We have our good days and our bad days. Especially when there is a break from routine, like Spring Break, they tend to struggle to not pick at each other. Which makes the times that they get along, even sweeter.

Yesterday afternoon, the kids were playing school, I thought. I checked on them and they were happy....they played for the better part of an hour before moving it outside. Later that evening while picking up, I found some sheets of paper that had one of the kids names at the top and a list of 4 super powers each. (this is verbatim)

1. Turn things into weather, ex. lava into water/rain
2. force field
3. hop on things really fast
4. time travel

1. Make weather come
2. step in lava without getting hurt
3. crush things (isn't this just perfect for him!? LOL)
4. transform things

1. run very fast
2. make things pretty
3. gun hands (think jazz hands, but with guns)
4. read minds

I laughed and laughed while reading these! This morning when I asked them about it, they said there wasn't a name to this game, they were just deciding which super powers they each had, and they had come up with them each on their own! I just love how kids use their imaginations!

AND, how do they even know about force fields, time travel and mind reading??? Boggling!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Savi and The Shiner

On our first full day in Gatlinburg we decided to venture out of the hotel for dinner, and a lot of people watching. (Which is another subject in and of itself) The folks you see in Gatlinburg are of two distinct camps. 1) the people drawn by nature; hiking, biking, river sports, etc 2) the folks drawn by Dollywood, Deep Fried Oreos, Airbrushed Tee-shirts, and the county fair atmosphere that the main drag through Gatlinburg has to offer. Quite a bit to take in.

We were not particularly fans of the corn dog and funnel cake stands that were strategically placed every 100 yards and wanted a nice place to sit down and have a meal that was still kid-friendly (read, not a bar and grill). We happened upon a Shoney's and thought that was probably the best bet for that night.
Here we are on the way to dinner. Gunnar pushing Sydney, who was tired out by the hiking around we did that day, everything right with the world.

We arrived at Shoney's and ordered the buffet for the kids, so they could pick and choose. $3.99 each, and free for Sydney! Sweet! I helped the kids dish up and then sent them back to the table so I could plate up a green salad for myself. Not 2 minutes later I returned to the table and found this:

...I started asking what happened and was told "she got hit" by the waiter.

"WHAT? What do you mean she got HIT?" I took me a full 5 minutes to find out that the waiter had swung around from another table and smacked Savi's face with the edge of his serving tray. No apology, acting like it wasn't a big deal. I was STEAMING.

The manager came out and asked if she was OK. I tried to be civil and calm....but there still hadn't been an apology. "Well, she has a hard purple bump, and a gash that is still bleeding. And she's pretty upset. She's definitely NOT OKAY," I said. I asked for some ice. He retrieves some and I help her position it.

Again he leaves, no apology. At this point I'm starting to get a bit more upset.

Meanwhile, Savi has totally lost her appetite and isn't able to eat anything.

15 minutes later the manager returns. FINALLY apologizes, and let's us know he'll comp our whole meal and to please make sure we order dessert too. We're feeling a bit better now, and I try to lighten things up for Savi up by telling her "Thanks for taking one for the team". Which didn't exactly cheer her up at all.

But when the server returned with stuffed Shoney's bears and tiger pops, well, that did the trick!
So much better! At least until bedtime when she said it hurt to close her eyes. I gave her some Ibuprofen and she conked right out.

And here she is the next morning...shiner central!

Her poor eye got blacker and blacker as the trip went on, and people commented on it everywhere we went! She was SO DONE with the comments that she took to covering her eye whenever she sensed anyone looking her way. :(

Less than a week later, she's all but healed up though! Isn't it amazing how quickly our bodies work to heal themselves!?!?!?

And NOW she has an awesome story to tell her friends when she returns from Spring Break!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Road Trippin': Gatlinburg

The goal was to discover why The Great Smokey Mountains is the most visited National Park on the East Coast. I'm in love with the forests of the Smokey Mountains. This moss has been dormant all winter. Imagine how it will look in the summer!!

There were a lot of cool things to see, and we stuck to the kid-friendly hikes....can't wait until all the kids are old enough to do the really cool ones that are 8 miles round trip instead of 3 miles or less. We're breaking Sydney in this year....she hiked about 1/2 mile and then wanted to be carried, but we'll get there.
This is an old mill behind a 200 year old farm just a few miles outside of the town. There was still water running through it from the stream that is just behind it. The woodwork was amazing! Hand-made hinges and tongue in groove work on the log cabin.

The boys, climbing around in the hay loft.
It's a postcard! ;) The 2 room house was set down the hill from the barn, on a steep and rocky grade. I'm not sure how that worked back then, but it's still standing! There was alot of attic room too, most likely for making moonshine!

We took the lift up the hill overlooking the town of Gatlinburg the last night. This is the view from the top, just after sunset.

The kids became Jr Rangers. This pic is of them being sworn in. We started this tradition as we drove across the country during our move last winter. They have badges for Jewel Cave, Badlands and Mt Rushmore too. They are anxious to add to their collection. Ranger Hill was really cute with them!
This is the trailhead to Mingus Falls in Cherokee, NC. Such a short little hike after the stairs.
...and look how beautiful!

Sydney is in her element here, climbing around and looking for salamanders.

We took so many pics of this beautiful area....stay tuned for at least a couple more!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Our 7 year old & A Pirate Party

A little over a week ago, Gunnar turned 7! (Bad Mommy! Behind on blogging!) We had a small family celebration the night before to make way for the Pirate Party of 9 the day of!

You see all those cute 7 year old boys? They were as loud as the look! But they sure know how to have fun. :)Whacking the Pirate Pinata with everything he's got. I think everyone got 1 hit in before the bottom exploded.

Scavenging for Pirate's Booty.

Walking the "plank". They earned their eye patches for this amazing feat. ;)

Then on to presents...this is where it started...

...and this is where they ended up. With each gift the crowd moved in closer and closer until the birthday boy was backed into a corner. It was hilarious! He got a bunch of lego sets, a game, a badminton set, a frisbee, an rc truck, and his favorite gift of the day? FLARP. Welcome to being a boy at age 7, I guess. LOL

In all the chaos, I forgot to take a picture of the skull and crossbones cake I made, but believe me, the black frosting was a hit!

I was so exhausted by the end of this party, all the noise, trying to get the whole group to do the same thing at the same time. Honestly, I didn't need to PLAN anything....they move at 60 MPH and totally entertain themselves. And the best part? When I asked G what his favorite thing about the party was, he said, "When it was just me and Preston at the end playing on our was like a playdate!" REALLY? Next party - 1 friend!