Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Urban Farmgirl Giveaway!

Check out this super cool giveaway for a $60 gift certificate for any CSN shop!

Go here to enter: Thanks for the opportunity, Urban Farmgirl!

Hot Car Wash


I know, I'm crazy taking pictures of teens.

But seriously...doesn't this look like some sort of stripper car wash?

And you will notice in some previous photos, I'm digging the focal black and white filter.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Tom and His 5K

After I completed my 5K, Tom was inspired to do one himself.

On Sunday, he signed up for a 5K.

On Monday, he bought running shoes.

On Saturday, he ran his first 5K.


He trained one night. For 24 minutes.

And he completed in 34:57.

I need to get on his training plan!

I'm proud of you, Tom. Impressed, and a little jealous.

But, thank you. Thank you for giving me the drive to beat your time.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Black and White

Aunt Brooke and Oscar sat for a spell on the old swing.

They chatted.

They swang.

I love the peacefulness in this photo.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Lily Dale, NY

I believe in spirits.

I believe that this cat is more than just a cat. He was trying to tell us something. He was the only cat that came right up to us and watched us walk away. Okay, that might be a stretch, but our visit to Lily Dale was enlightening and rejuvenating.

Even though we were late in the horticultural season, we were sprinkled with a few beautiful flower displays.


The homes were beautiful. Well, many of them. Some of them on the side streets were a tad run down.


This tree was my first picture at Lily Dale. We were waiting for a service of Healing at the Forest Temple. Amazed at the height of this tree, yet more delighted with it's Seussian foliage.

We weren't able to get an appointment for a one on one reading, but had 4 opportunities to be plucked from the audience and receive a message from the 'spirit world'.

I know, some of you don't believe, and that is totally understandable.

But I do. I believe.

And I believe more today than I did yesterday. I've heard the naysayers claims that other people are 'planted' in the audience and the medium calls on them because they know them. That may be true, but I'm no plant and I got a message.

The identifiers were 1) a woman that was a shoe shopper. 2) Any type of shopping. 3) She loved to shop. Of course, that's my Aunt. She gave me a message that my Aunt knew I was going to be buying clothes soon. Sure enough, my Mom (my Aunt's twin) wrote me a check for my birthday and in the note, wrote "Clothes for Carrie - only".

Some things about job and life were intermingled in there. One thing that really stuck with me is that the medium said, "You notice and feel when a spirit is around you. You sense it or you shiver. That's because they are touching you." That made me shiver (wonder who was touching me then!?!).

And the last message that came at the very end, even after I thought it was over, was that another woman has joined with my Aunt that has a tiny dog. A tiny teacup sized dog. She sends her love.

I had no idea who this was. We grew up with big dogs. My mom and her sister grew up with big dogs. We used to make fun of little dogs.

So my mom and I walked. And recalled what had been said. Then my mom said, "I did give Grandma that little stuffed dog".

My grandma Ruth had recently died and for her birthday, my mother had found a Furr Real pet for her. It was a tiny tea cup sized dog that barked, and wagged, and nuzzled.

And that's what I'm going with. Grandma Ruth and Aunt Kay, chillin' together.

It is an amazing place. By the time we were done, I felt like we had just gotten there, but I felt more aware and more attuned to nature and sounds and sights.

Then, going through my film of the day, I stumbled across this photo.


I didn't see anything while I was sitting at the inspiration stump, virtually alone with my mom, talking about the names on the stone pavers. We found (Grandma) Ruth & Roy, Catherine (my Aunt Kay) and some other names in our family.

Do you see anything? I checked my film before and after shots. Not one of them had any smudge or dust on the photo. My lens is clear.

I truly believe someone was there.

Watching with us.

And this is further proof to believe that there is life or 'something' after death.

Do you believe?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Prickly Sunshine




I've never been able to grow sunflowers.

Not sure why, they just never seemed to make it past 4 inches tall.

But this one.

Wow.

A gift from my neighbor, I planted this in the "Golden" soil. I have a small spot next to the house facing East that has the sweetest soil. Annuals come back year after year, tomatoes grow like weeds and flowers are more colorful than the brightest rainbow.

Sunflowers will be in my future, for sure. And perhaps some note cards to savor through the winter months.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Magnetic Chalkboard

A month ago, in bribery to get my kids to go to Lowe's with me, I told them we'd buy some chalkboard paint for their rooms.

After strolling the paint aisles three times, I asked the adorable 19 year old if they had chalkboard paint.

I was easily up sold (he was totally cute!) on the magnetic paint to go under the chalkboard paint. A wink or nudge could have gotten me to buy the dry erase paint, too. Yeah, to be 19 again!

Okay, where was eye? Oh, yes his eyes. I mean, no.

Where was I? Ah, yes, looking at my two children and sporting a new 'Mom' cut we bought a can of magnetic and a can of chalkboard paint.

And then it sat. And sat.

In an uncommon moment, Tom took the boys across the street to play and I was left home alone. I grabbed the painters tape, the level and a brush.

FIVE coats later, the magnetic seems to be magnetizing. I would highly suggest using the magnetic paint as soon as you get home from the paint store where they so kindly shake your paint for you. (That was so kind of my little 19 yr old, seriously, he shook my paint).


And there they sit. Only the magnetic paint, that doesn't really hold a decent magnet. I figure once I put the chalkboard paint on, it will be even less magnetic.

But you know what? It was fun to tape it up and slowly apply coat after coat after coat after coat after coat. It was relaxing and meditative.

I did enjoy painting, but I think the purchase may have been the most fun!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Checked Off

When I started this little Couch to 5K months ago, I never thought I'd stick with it.

My last two weeks of running were less than inspiring. Riddled with tendinitis or IT Band issues, every step had my mind racing to the pain I'd be in when I was done. I kept making excuses of why I couldn't run longer or harder or faster.

But then kept thinking that I have to do this. I need to do this.

And I did.

Yes, I walked at points. I swore (thanks for telling Dad, Keith!), I winced, I couldn't remember why I decided this would be a good idea.

My brother Keith and sister in law Brooke helped me every hill, every picnic table, every turn, every puddle, every garbage can. Every step.

I asked them at one point why they do this (both IronMan and I'm hyperventilating before mile 1) and they said, "When you're finished, you'll know."

My reply was either a swear (hope I didn't offend, Brooke) or "yeah, right".

We were making deals the whole way, if I ran to the dead pine, I could walk until the yellow post. As we were nearing the end, I thought we were turning right and making it right to the finish line, but no, turn right, then turn left. Ugh.

Another deal...okay, I walk from the blue garbage can to the corner and I promise, I'll run all the way to the end.

Deal.

Then Keith asked if I wanted to walk a bit. Oh yes...I do.

"NO" says Brooke.

(screech!!!)

Brooke said no. And I'm glad she did.

I needed the tough love.

And I crossed the line.

Pretty late and flanked by the young kid and his grandpa and the stroller pushing family on the other.

But it doesn't matter. Because I ran in my neighborhood, alone, three times a week since April. I pushed myself. I made myself get off the couch and on the streets and for that, I am grateful and proud.

Who would have thought this chubby girl would even run to the refrigerator, let alone run 3 miles for fun?

So, why do I do this?

I certainly did it for my health. I did it to prove to myself that I could. But the one motivation I didn't know until the end, was inspiration.

I was inspired by my brother and sister and their encouragement and love.

I was inspired by my parents and husband and sons cheering me on (clearly bewildered that their mother was actually running).

I was inspired by all the other people running and the people volunteering and the cheering crowd.

But inspiration works both ways.

And now that I have crossed the finish line...

I run to inspire myself.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

One of Those Days

You know it will be one of those days when things fall out of place.

And of places.

My gluten free granola fell out in one huge clump into my yogurt and all over the place.

I should have tried it before I poured.

Stale.

Chewy granola in vanilla yogurt stinks.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chalk at Night

Please take note of the feet and legs.

This is Sam.

I know, hard to believe that this is the child that eats McD's Chicken Nuggets with a fork and screams at a paint drip on his arm.

He never wants to be messy. Sam got on his knees and worked this chalk like an artists works on canvas. Other than the smearing and blending, he reminded me of Jackson Pollack, throwing color onto the slate. As a side note, slate is the best surface for chalk (I know, obvious, yet if you can get your hands on a huge piece, put it in your yard, the kids will LOVE it).

And then there is Oscar. My four year old that surprises me every day.

This chalk drawing has thought bubbles. A four year old drew thought bubbles.

Perhaps he is reading too many comic books.

My apologies for flash photos...you know how much I dislike photos taken with a flash. It was late dusk when I took these and the non-flash photos just didn't work.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Camping, Again

This is my favorite picture from camping. My two boys, occupying themselves as we set up camp. This isn't just a turtle, though. It's a turtle-dinosaur-shark-whale. Bet you didn't know that! All the rocks had a shape of a different animal, unlike the turtle. I love the imagination of Sam. His explanations seem so convoluted, yet end up being so obvious.

I think I took more pictures of weeds this year than I did of my kids.

Our second annual tradition of tie dying was in full force this year with the ingenious mind of my sister in law and great friend, Lisa. She bought soda ash. If you've never used soda ash prior to tie dying...you must. The colors are brilliant and I think we used less dye. Well, except for me, I soaked my yellow and in turn used most of it (sorry, Lisa!). These turned out great and I'm already excited for next year's batch.

As we were mixing the shirts in soda ash with Oscar and my niece Jessica, Oscar's stick flew out of the bucket and soda ash water splashed up. I grabbed him and Lisa turned on the water and we stuck his head under the faucet. Well, first I rammed his forehead into the faucet (my alignment was off) and then we rinsed his eyes out. He was screaming, we were frantic. We set him down to look and found that the stick scratched his face and that was the reason for the scream. It had nothing to do with the soda ash water. Hey, at least we were prepared!

Here are all the cousins with their tie-dye shirts. They all had a great time this year. It was great to see them interact and play together.

Oh, Chenango Valley State Park...I do love you, even if you rain on us EVERY year!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Budding Artists





My boys were trying to come up with ways to make money. All so that they can buy toys. Lego's to be exact.

They decided that painting pictures and selling them would be a great idea. These are all available for purchase, many priced at $10 to make the math easier when saving for $100. Yes, that's a big Lego set. Prices are negotiable for sure. More on my Facebook page here.

I love that they were creative and didn't just beg me to death (which still may happen).

Thursday, August 12, 2010

In My Backyard

We had a rain shower with the sun shining. My favorite kind of rain. The rainbow wasn't all that awe inspiring, but this gallardia seed head surely caught my attention.

Although this Feather Grass reminds me much of wheat, of which I'm allergic too, I still love the beauty of it. The sun on the seeds makes it almost glow.

And of course, the always intriguing day lily. This is a double one that my Dad gave me. I love that it blooms after most have been dead for weeks.

Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Monsters!


Look at this winged creature. He is so soft and cuddly and is a nice monster, not scary.

And he comes with pants that have his monster friends on them.

I stayed up till the wee hours of the morning working on this little guy, mostly because I wanted to keep sewing, but I still wasn't sure how to tackle the chair cushion I was supposed to be making.

The joy I get from finding scraps in my fabric bin and creating something like this is amazing. Who needs diamonds when you've got fabric scraps?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Dill


Dill.

Oh, the fragrance. It got to the point that it was making me sick and it was only in my house for 5 hours. The smell affected me like the cinnamon stick brooms and pine cones that are sold at Christmas time (should be any day now, right?).

I'm still smelling dill 3 days later.

I took a sprig outside and took a couple pictures. I never thought dill could be so pretty.

Hopefully, the other shots will make their way into the shop as photos and stationary.

Off to get a pickle!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pickle Love

There is something about these pickles.

Maybe it's the dill.

Or the thick slices.

Or the onions.

They are delicious. They remind me of when I was younger and living at home. My mom had this awesome pickle keeper from Tupperware that you pull up on the handle and the liquid drains to the bottom for liquid free pickle eating. (I can't believe they still sell them...my b-day is coming up!)

They also remind me of when I was living in Chicago and my mom brought me a jar. It was like gold. I rationed my pickles and even though I shared them with coworkers, I watched every pickle slice go into their mouths, knowing that they will be gone soon.

There is something about these pickles.

My mom, my cousin, her kids and I gathered at my house to make pickles. We planned on making three batches, but I think ended up with 8 batches. We looked at old pictures, talked about the last time we had these pickles, talked about our kids, and how important a good knife is. We chopped and sliced and measured and poured.

There is something about these pickles.

The recipe? The origin is unknown, but we are going to call them 'Claire's Icebox Pickles'.

12 pickle sized cucumbers
2 onions
3 1/2 cups sugar (I think 3 cups would be fine, we had lots of sugar at the end of the bowl)
3 cups white vinegar
1/3 cup pickling or canning salt
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. mustard seed
1 tsp. celery salt
1 tsp. alum
Fresh dill

Chop cucumbers and onions and portion into 3 quart sized canning jars.
Mix the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl with spout and portion into the 3 jars. Add a couple sprigs of dill to each jar and seal the lid.

That's it...well almost. Put them in the fridge for 4-6 days (I dare you to not sneak a pickle by day 2). Each day, shake the jar and turn upside down.

You know what it is about these pickles?

They make memories.

And they are amazeballs!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Laffy Taffy Sandwich

Do you ever wonder what a child will become?

Do you ever wish you could jump inside that brain and see where it takes you?

Every day, at least once per day I look at Sam and say...'huh?'

I wonder what he is thinking, how he is thinking. If the things in his brain make sense to him, then why don't they make sense to me?

And what is to become of this boy? Engineer? Lawyer? Artist? Chef? Rodeo Clown?

As strange as this culinary experiment appears, it makes total sense to this boy.

Two of his favorite things...rolls (which he got a 12 pack for his birthday, one of the best gifts, he said) and candy. Specifically chewy, sugary candy.

He did eat it, just not as a sandwich. He learned a lesson.

Chewy candy doesn't go well with crumbly bread.

At least he didn't put bar-b-Q sauce on it.