Friday, May 28, 2010

That was some storm

I wish I lived in Boston, so I could say that we had a wicked awesome storm last night and have it sound convincing, but I don't so I will share some photos instead.  We had two very hot and humid days, which sent us scrambling to put the window a/c units in our old house and me trying to remember exactly how to keep the downstairs of our house cool when it's more than 90 degrees outside.  We try to tough it out without the a/c as much as possible, but when you can't go to the pool, it's hard to cool off. 

So, here's what the storm looked like here:

Someone, although I am not naming names, thought it would be fun to go out and try to collect some hail. Then, that unnamed person got hit with some hail and realized that hail is just like cool, icy rocks falling from the sky so she got her kids and huddled under the gazebo on the patio. Then, that person may have yelled for her husband to help them (though not sure what she could have expected him to do). One of her children may have been running in and out of the hail and gotten a huge welt on the side of his body when a chunk of hail hit him. Of course, it's all speculation.

Here is one of the pieces of hail:

Luckily, this is what we got when it was over:

And, we got a much cooler day, to go with that rainbow! 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Summer List

One of our very favorite traditions every Memorial Day is to make THE Summer List.  We all sit down together and make a list of all the things we want to do before it's time to hit the books again in August, which always comes around much too fast. 

This is the best list I make.  After all, most of the lists I make during the school year include things like pay bills, go to gym, grocery get the idea because you make the same kind of list every single day whether it's on a piece of legal paper, in your calendar or just in your head.  But the summer list, this one is different.  The summer list is a little bit of adventure, with things like go hiking, go to Knoebels, go to the beach.  It also has goals, like read 100 books (that was a contribution from my 8 year old last year) or ride a two wheeler.  The goals are pure fun and no one really cares if you don't reach them.  In summer, it's the journey that counts the most. 

I've already got a few ideas for my part of the list this summer.  With an almost teen in the house, I am starting to realize exactly how precious the time here together is and I want to make the most of it and enjoy every last drop of summer with my kids.  And, I want to finally use my ice cream maker-I think that might be first on the list. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

cupcake love

My oldest daughter was confirmed this weekend.  True to form, we threw a huge party, with everyone we know and had tons of food, lots to drink and some super-cute-time-consuming-but-totally-worth-it cupcakes!  We had to pick a symbol to represent her for confirmation and we chose the sunflower because it has heliotropism.  That fancy biology word means that sunflowers follow the sun-always looking forward and into the light, which we thought was just perfect for this independent and courageous girl of ours.

The bonus was that sunflowers are crazy gorgeous and I got to decorate my house with them:

We also used some paper flowers that I got on clearance at Michaels a while back (thank you Martha Stewart for this little project).  And, thanks to Target, I scored all the cute paper products and cute little paper balls for cheap:
And then, there were these little goodies that grew in my refrigerator (right next to the Mike's if you notice)

Oh, for cute's sake, these were adorable!  As I mentioned before, totally worth the time it took to make them.  And, really so easy.  With a few lessons in piping from my talented sister-in-law and a little trial and error, these weren't too hard to make.  It's just an oreo cookie and some canned frosting on top of a cupcake from a mix!  so cute-here' a close-up:

And, strangely, the light in the refrigerator is good for taking pictures-I will have to remember that.  I wanted to take more shots of these because they are so crazy cute, but I decorated them at night and then we were short on time yesterday before the party.  I really didn't want to greet my guests by saying, hold on-just one more close up of this really cute cupcake! 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

my unofficial and very late movie review

Well, I did finally, after too many technical difficulties, get to watch The Time Traveler's Wife the other night.  I had actually planned to watch it on a night when my husband was working, but had trouble with the dvd player, so he humored me and sort of half watched it with me the next night. 

I am sorry to say it was 101 Dalmatians all over again.  The more I think about it, the more I disappointed I am in the screen adaptation (as they say).  I didn't really buy the chemistry  between Rachael McAdams and Eric Bana (though I did love her as Clare) and I thought he was pretty boring as Henry. 

The screenwriter took an interesting take, showing the movie mostly from Henry's perspective.  I think that decision made the movie much darker than the book.  It reminded me of other sad movies, like Leaving Las Vegas for some reason-maybe all the dark pauses between scenes.  At one point, I thought I was watching a made for tv movie and a commercial was coming. 

I also wonder if the movie took the plot it did because some of the book was a little creepy- like when Henry and Clare tied up and tortured the high school guy, or just Clare being in love with a man in his forties when she was still just a child.  What didn't really play out as too creepy in the book could have been super creepy in the movie.  Though I loved seeing "Burger" as Gomez, I missed the development of his relationship with Clare from the book. 

The moral of this story, I guess, is that books are just better.  I was thinking of some other books that were ruined when they were made into movies, and the first one that came to mind was "House of the Spirits" by Isabel Allende.  Again, great book, terrible movie.   I suppose I will just keep reading. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

mulch ado about nothing

I would like to apologize for that pun, but I won't because I think it's hysterical. Must be the nerdy English major in me, or the product of listening to too much Wait, wait don't tell me!! but that's some good stuff!  Maybe I can get a job writing their limericks-I do crack myself up and it seems like it would be selfish not to share all this talent. 

Anyway, as you could reasonably infer from the title of this punny post, this weekend was all about yard clean-up.  After doing my Monday morning blog-browse,I've realized that we were in good company as it seems everyone was out in the pollen ridden air trying to spruce things up.  Thanks to my very strong husband and my skilled and very willing neighbor, our fence is well under way.  Remember this?
After some Craigslist help and more elbow grease from my husband, it looked like this (kids not included):

and, today, it looks like this:

It's definitely getting there, and while we didn't exactly finish it over the weekend, the hard work is done (by my husband-I had nothing to do with any hard work on this project.  I simply made runs to HD and Lowes for supplies)

We also weeded and mulched the flower beds in the front of the house and along the side:

and, now it looks (you should be ready for this) MULCH better! 

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Don't judge a book by its movie

When I was nine years old, I went to see Disney's 101 Dalmatians in the movie theater.  If you grew up in the 70's and 80's like I did, you know that going to the movies was a  big, huge deal.  I can pretty much remember all the movies I saw in the movie theater as a kid.  My own kids, like most in the 2000's (is that what we call them) have their pick of kids' movies at any given time-on TV, in the theater, wherever.  They have nearly instant movie gratification.   

So, in the fourth grade, with my Dorothy Hamill haircut and probably running shorts and tube socks, I went to see 101 Dalmatians.  In preparation for seeing it, I had already read the book by Dodie Smith, The Hundred and One Dalmatians.  If I remember it right, I may have even had the book with me when we went to the movies.  Here is the original cover-not sure if mine looked like this, but it might have.

You see, there was this one part at the end of the book, once Cruella had figured out that the puppies were gone.  The shock of losing her potential new dalmation coat was so great that her famously black and white hair CHANGED COLOR!!!  The side that had been black suddenly went white and the white side went GREEN from the shock. I waited through the entire movie for that one part, and it never came.  I remember still sitting in my seat, watching the credits, while my dad tried to convince me the movie was over.  I kept telling him that maybe there would be more-I way dying to see that part. 

That was the first time a movie didn't live up to its book.  All the way back in 1979.  There have been many, many other books since that time that have been ruined once they hit the screen, but I have  been prepared.  The disappointment of 101 Dalmatians has served me well and taught me not to get my hopes up for the movie. 

So, tonight, after reading The Time Traveler's Wife I am going to watch the movie.  I am trying to keep my expectations low, but I really loved the book. We will see if it's Cruella DeVille all over again. 

Monday, May 10, 2010

ahhh... progress

Well, if I have learned anything from the last 3 (almost) years of home ownership, it's that we will never be "finished."  I know that somewhere there is someone who feels like they are finished with their home, but I have never met them and probably wouldn't like them even if I did meet them.  So, in the effort to feel some sense of accomplishment, I present my newly refinished sideboard:

Not only does it look much better than it used to, but it now houses a pretty groovy wine rack where the bottom two drawers used to be.  I was actually more than a little bit ready to give up on the wine rack idea and just paint the drawers and return them to their previous home, but I decided to give it one more try.  I am certainly glad I didn't give up because I was able to snag this little diamond in the rough for only $1.50 thanks to a local thrift stores 50% off everything sale.

Once I heartlessly cut off the hearts with my handy jigsaw, the rack fit perfectly in the space left available when Iremoved the bottom two drawers.  After a few impatient coats of paint from that same old $5 oops paint can, the results were pretty amazing.  I love the new hardware-and it defnitely helped this old sideboard make the transition from early 70's to vintage-y 2010 status.  Here's a great shot of what the cabinet really holds (besides the wine)

The art supplies is this cabinet are all part of my "keep it where you use it" theory of organization (to use that word loosely).  My kids do the bulk of homework, art projects, coloring and creative stuff at the dining room table, so having their supplies on hand is key to both easy access for them and simple clean up (let's face it, that's mostly for me).  Having the storage double as an attractive buffet for parties is just a bonus for me.  And, before we move on, let's remember what it used to look like (about 2 weeks ago):

And, for an even more shudder-worthy retrospective, let's see the same wall just a few days after we moved in a mere 3 years ago:

Monday, May 03, 2010

Thanks to the genius of Craigslist...

We are one step closer to putting our fence in out back.  Our little postage stamp (as I like to call it) yard is in need of a facelift.  After living here nearly 3 years and spending a ton of time on the interior of the house, it seems like it's about time to start improving the landscape.  Enter, Craigslist.  I got the idea for this from young house love quite a while ago, from reading about how they transformed their (much bigger) backyard.  So, with enthusiasm and only a little trepidation, I listed our unwanted shrubbery on Craigslist-free to whomever would like to come and dig it out. 

Thus, our yard went from this:

To this:

The people who came to dig in the blazing hot afternoon sun only wanted the forsythia, not the unnamed "shrubs" that are back there, but it's a start.  I am going to give it a few days and see if anyone else responds to the ad and wants the rest of the shrubs (keeping fingers crossed).

In other news, the sideboard is nearly finished.  I still have to get some more paint on the very bottom of the legs and work out one more idea and then it will be time to sort through all the art supplies and get them back into their proper home.  Here is a sneak peek of the cabinet still in progress:

Happy Monday-it's a hot and rainy one here!