Thursday, July 31, 2008

Illustrator Magnets

Many years ago, I made some magnets like this. Today while I was sorting through some old craft stuff, I came across the left-over supplies. I decided that I wanted to make some more. It's a nice, easy project...just the kind I needed today. I immediately began looking for paper to put behind the glass. I didn't want to just use scrapbooking paper. I wanted to use something that would be fun for my kiddos to use. The pictures have to be very small...about the size of a dime! I looked in our recycle bin and found a Toys'R'Us catalog. There was a page with an add for 25% off all Karen Katz books. I love her illustrations and her stories are so sweet and simple. In the add, the pictures were just the right size for my project.

I cut out three of the pictures, glued them to the back of the glass, added magnets, and the project was done. Blogger decided that this next picture needed to be sideways, but I'm including it anyways. These magnets were so hard to take a picture of!

I am very happy with how they turned out! The sweet illustrations bring a smile to my face each time I look at them. My daughter loves playing with them but we have to keep them away from her brother because EVERYTHING goes in that boy's mouth!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Garden Dinner

Oh, the satisfaction! Tonight we had dinner strongly influenced by our garden. We had Pesto Steak on the Grill with a side of Whole Grain Spiral Pasta tossed with pesto and tomatoes. The basil for the pesto and the tomatoes were picked from our garden by the Daddy/Daughter gardening team.

Mmmm, it was so yummy! Our whole house smells of basil. Fresh from the garden, it's scent was amazingly strong. The kids both gobbled up dinner. They especially loved the pesto and tomato pasta.

We didn't follow a recipe, so I learned a little about collaborating with my hubby and being creative without a recipe as a guide. I don't cook steak. I don't much care for it except when I am pregnant (which I am not). So, my dear hubby was patient and taught me how to grill a steak to perfection - well, nearly perfection.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Constitutional Convention

This November, when we go to the polls to elect a new president, in our state, we will also be voting on another issue. We will be voting on whether or not our state should have a Constitutional Convention. This concept has been very confusing to me. I have tried to learn more about it, especially since I know it will be on the ballot. Any information that I have read has left me even more confused.
Tonight I attended a Constitutional Convention Debate. Both sides of the issue were represented and both defended their positions. Questions were also fielded from the audience. It was a really good experience. I learned a lot and I have a much better idea about what I will be voting on in November. There will be a podcast of the debate and I will put up a link when it is available.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Catching Up

Sometimes I feel like I am swept up in the massive wave that is life. I find myself too busy, too involved, too behind, too prepared, too unprepared, too... everything.

Today, instead of being swept away by the wave that has been the month of July, I accepted it. I stepped back and acknowledged the beauty of it. Sure, the waves of life are noisy and unpredictable but they really are beautiful too. Today, I tried to relearn that. To reteach myself to relax, breath, and catch up. And, to not get flustered by the crashing of the waves but to see the big picture and to see the beauty in it. This is a constant lesson for me.
Today, I tried to catch up on much of what has been neglegted over the past several weeks. However, I left time to enjoy the peace and quiet with my children and the company of old friends.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Demolition Derby

I have always loved the Demolition Derby. It is by far my favorite event of the fair. I remember sitting with my childhood friend screaming for our favorite car to bash the others and drive away victorious.

In 1997, I drove in the Demolition Derby. My soon-to-be fiance was in the passenger's seat with me. As the adrenalin flooded through our veins, all we were thinking about was crashing into other cars and avoiding getting crushed ourselves.
We weren't thinking about the fact that the following year we would be married or that, in the years that followed, we would bring children into the world. We were focused on crushing cars and not breaking any major parts of our own bodies.
Today, we sat at that same arena for the last time to watch the final Demolition Derby at our Fair's current location. We sat as spectators and introduced our children to the competition that holds strong memories for my husband and I. The children loved it! Our daughter sat on Daddy's lap and watched with fascination as the crushing began. Our son sat on my lap and grinned from ear to ear at each crash of the cars.

I felt fully the impact of time as I saw the smiles on my children's faces as they enjoyed the crashing of the cars. It felt like only yesterday that my hubby and I were in that arena in a Demolition Derby car filled with adrenalin. Today we are married and holding our children... telling them the story of Mommy driving in the Demo Derby and Daddy bravely sitting at my side, completely trusting my driving. Eleven years have passed since that day. A wedding and two children are the major events since then. Sitting in that arena for the last time, sharing a story of our past made me realize just how quickly time flies by.

My daughter decided that she wanted to drive in the Demolition Derby when she is old enough. She wants Mommy to be her passenger. I told her that in 11 years Mommy and Daddy will be teaching her to drive. Then it hit me... In the amount of time that has passed since we drove the Demo, our daughter will be on a driver's permit. Whoa!

I gotta hug that little girl in pigtails. I gotta snuggle with that chubby little baby. Before I know it, they will be off on their own adventures, making memories to share with their children.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Today, at the fair, we had an opportunity to learn about Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. An exhibit promised that - for a fee - you could enter and see all sorts of unique creatures. Well, we weren't going to pay to go inside but we sure enjoyed the freebie outside of the exhibit. To entice you inside, the exhibitor had a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach for people passing by to look at, touch, or even hold. Well, my little girl jumped right in. "Can I hold it?!?!" she exclaimed. All those around us were shocked that the tiny, little, pigtailed, 4-year-old jumped right in to hold the very thing that they themselves were scared to even look at. After getting a round of applause from those watching, she enthusiastically asked, "Mommy, can we get one?" To which everyone laughed. When we turned down the exhibitor's offer to come inside and see more, we were told, "That's OK, you brought me tons of business. Everyone wanted to see the little girl holding a giant Cockroach!"

After we left the exhibit, she told me that the cockroach looked like a big Cicada without wings. Pretty funny since I had been thinking that the whole experience kinda reminded me of this time last year when we had the invasion of the Periodical Cicadas. Most toddler's were fearful but not ours. She loved the Cicadas and cried when we told her they wouldn't be back for many, many years.

It looks like we may have a future Entomologist.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hangin' With the Goats

Look at that face! Isn't he cute?

I've loved goats since I was a child. They are definitely my favorite farm animal. I heard a farmer joking once about how good goats are at mowing a lawn. I have this vague memory of him saying that a homeowner wouldn't even need a lawn mower if they had a goat. I thought that was a fantastic idea. Unfortunately, my father did not. I tried every childhood tactict I could muster to convince him that if we had a goat, we wouldn't need that noisy old lawn mower. He, in turn, reminded me of the byproduct the goats would leave behind after eating all that grass. Hmmm, maybe not such a good plan.

Well, I never abandoned the idea. My husband knows all about by hair brained idea of getting a goat to mow our lawn. They are so much cuter than that ugly machine that we currently use. I'm pretty sure that our city has an ordinance against having livestock in your backyard. But, I tell you, the moment someone gives me a green light, I'm getting me a goat. Today I decided what kind I want... a Nubian Dairy Goat. I fell in love with one at the fair today. My friend works in the goat barn and encouraged our children to pet the Nubians because they are quite friendly. This one would nudge us with her head whenever we stopped petting her. Both kids adored her and her big old floppy ears.

I learned today that the Nubians are the ones with the very long, floppy ears. They are one of the larger breeds of goats and their milk tends to be higher in protein and butter fat than other breeds. AND, most importantly, I learned that they are cute and friendly!

I definitely need to get me a goat!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

New Recipe

I tried another recipe from my old issue of Kraft Food & Family. I'm really enjoying the recipes in this magazine that has been sitting on the shelf with my cookbooks since 2004. The recipe I tried today is for Savory Parmesan Bites.

They were really easy to make (only 5 ingredients) and oh-so-yummy. I only made a half recipe and we have left-overs. I also got confused by the folding directions. I was trying to listen to my four year old while figuring it out...not an easy task. So, they look a little wonky and they are much larger than what the recipe called for. So, they're not nearly as pretty as the picture in the magazine but thy sure were yummy. Definitely a good recipe..fattening, but good!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Fair Lady

I LOVE the fair. I've been going my whole life. I've tried my hand at different skills by entering all sorts of categories. From Collectibles to the Demolition Derby, I've tried out so many of the competitions. For about a decade, I have worked as a Superintendent at the fair overseeing the Agricultural Education activities. I love that my job allows me to be a part of a tradition that I enjoyed as a child and that my parents and grandparents participated in as well. Every year, I look forward to seeing all of the animals, watching the competitions, and eating the fair food. The latter may have been my downfall yesterday and definitely was my lesson to learn for today.

Well, let's just say that I'm not feeling so fair today. Last night I got some sort of stomach sickness on the way home from the fair. I hadn't been feeling so well all day but then I went ahead and got myself a big helping of cheese fries. I just love those fries smothered in cheese! Then, because tradition dictates it, my mom and I finished off the night watching the beauty pageant and ending with an elephant ear split between the two of us. It's kinda funny that that's our tradition. We watch girls strut across the stage without an ounce of fat on their body while we indulge in a deep fried dessert covered in cinnamon and sugar. Ironic, huh?

I learned on the way home from the fair... and when I arrived home... and all through the night... and all day today... that if you're stomach isn't feeling so good then don't put fried fair food in it. Particularly food smothered in either artificial cheese or buckets of sugar!

I'll be back at the fair tomorrow. I'll be surrounded by all the scents from all the food vendors. I wonder if I have truly learned my lesson!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Catch Up

As you can tell I am REALLY behind in my blogging. I have a plethera of posts that are in draft form. I do plan to catch up but in the meantime, I just keep getting farther and farther behind. So, I'm just going to start posting daily begining today. I'll catch up on the other posts as I have time.

I am writing this here to keep myself in check. I WILL go back and post for all of the days. It was my intent to post daily and I WILL do just that. (Hopefully.)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Time Paradox

I am a big fan of the Artemis Fowl Series by Eoin Colfer. Today I decided to check out the website and found that there is a new book in the series coming out on July 15th. It is called the Time Paradox. I knew Colfer had been working on a new book but in the excitement of my son's first year, it slipped my mind. Eoin Colfer is also going on tour with a stage show to promote Time Paradox. The show is called 'Fairies, Fiends and Flatulence." As I write this, I cannot believe that I am a fan of an author that would have a show with that title. But really, if you've read the books, it actually makes sense. Weird, I know. Anyways, his show happens to be coming to my area. I don't know if I'll attend or not but I am very excited about the release of this book. Now I know which book I will be reading next!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Balloon Fireworks

I saw this post today over on Martha Stewart's website... exploding balloons filled with confetti! How cool is that? Easy too. This looks like so-o-o much fun! I have to try this sometime... birthday? New Year's? The 4th of July? Just for fun? I don't know when I'll do it but I most certainly will. What fun!

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Today, we went down to the beach for dinner on the rocks. The kids love to go down there and for me, it is the perfect end to the day. When we eat at the beach, I don't have to worry about dirty dishes or picky eaters. We eat on paper dirty dishes. And, if you don't like what we're eating, you go hungry since I only bring one meal. There's no requests to eat ____ that's in the cupboard. It's what we have or nothing. Plus, with the sound of the waves, the fresh air, and the views of nature that surround us, it puts the whole family in a peaceful and content mood.

While we were there, I played around with my camera a bit. I was hoping to get some good pictures of the shadows created by the setting sun. The sand is such a good backdrop for observing shadows. I'm trying to learn how to capture this with my little camera.

My favorite pictures were purely coincidental. Hubby and the baby were standing on the walkway back a ways from the beach and I glanced back and the two of them were perfectly silhouetted in front of the setting sun. I quickly snapped a few pictures and I am quite pleased. I am not a photographer and I don't have a fancy camera. However, success in my photography is when a photo can capture what we saw or what we were feeling. This picture does both of those for me. It captured a daddy and his son engrossed in playing together from my viewpoint of simply observing them from afar. I love that I can't see either of their faces but I know that they are both smiling. Yep, this picture makes me smile too...that's my kind of photography.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Pizza Pasta

My hubby and I came up with the easiest pasta recipe ever! I had to bring a salad to a pool playdate with some of my old co-workers and their children today. I generally don't like salads that are anything beyond fruit salads or lettuce salads. Someone else had already volunteered to make those. I just don't like the taste of mayo or vinegar and most salads have one or the other of those 2 ingredients. As I was lamenting about what I was going to make, my hubby suggested we just make our own. This is hard for me. I'm a follow-the-recipe kind of girl. But then, he started talking about what we could add and in the end we came up with a pretty good recipe and I even liked it. We're calling it "Pasta Salad...Pizza Style" or "Pizza Pasta." It is made up of the ingredients that would generally be put on a pizza. You could vary the recipe with whatever you like to top your pizza with. Here's the recipe with no amounts for the ingredients because we just kept adding until it looked right!

Mix together...Bow tie pasta (cooked), sliced pepperoni, black olives, cherry tomato halves, shredded cheese, and Italian dressing.

That's it. I know that the Italian dressing has vinegar but I didn't add too much. It was tolerable for me. Everyone seemed to like it and my hubby really likes it. We may even make it again for 4th of July at my In-laws house. Yummy, I know I will make this recipe again.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I just finished reading the book, Twilight. It is the first in a series of books by Stephenie Meyer. A friend recently read the books after watching her daughter become engrossed in the series. She explains and reviews the book on her blog here. I love children's and young adult novels, so I was definitely curious. However, I am not really a fan of vampire stories. I think that they are generally silly and ignore logic just to get a fright out of the reader. But, I read the story anyways to see what the big deal was and why these books are so popular. The recommendation from a friend helped too.
I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised! I found myself drawn into the story and fascinated by the twists and turns in the storyline. Despite the fact that it is about vampires, I found that Meyer told the story in such a way that it makes the concept of vampires living among us plausible. I couldn't put the book down and was eager to dive into each chapter. I will definitely read the other books in the series!