Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sponge Ball and Boochie Review


Every so often I succeed.

But more often than not, it's an epic fail.

Before we went camping with all the cousins, ranging in age from 3 to 11, I purchased some sponges to make this craft.  It seemed so simple.  Almost too simple to be fun.

Boy was I wrong.
 
On day 1 in 95 degrees of humid heat, we cut up the sponges and tied them with dental floss and the kids got playing.

They got me a couple times, it felt really great and refreshing.
 
We hit a couple snags in the "he hit me" and "you are supposed to throw it, not tackle" aspects of the fun.

They were all soaked.

And all happy.

Now, that homemade fun was great, but you know what I think was better?

BOOCHIE!

If you have kids, you should get this game.  It will become my new standard gift for birthdays.  It is made by Gameright and has won all sorts of parenting awards. The game is recommended for kids ages 8 and up.  My 5 year old loved it.  I would say that if a parent or kind older sibling was playing, the little ones could have fun, too.  If they can throw, they can play.

The game is simple, a take on Bocce, with fun twists and turns.  It's a really fair game.  The more points you get, the harder your throws (or kicks) become.  Thinks like, sit on the ground and toss backwards.  Or use your knee to move the objects.

I had a lot of fun with it too!  The only issue I had, was that two of the wristband velcro straps came out of the fitting and it was a big pain to feed it back through.  I am sure this game will be a camping standard, as well as a boredom buster in this house!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

SYTYCD

So You Think You Can Dance

Great show.  It has the competition of amateurs and my love of dance.

I'm sharing this clip.  It is amazing.  Get prepared at the 1:35 mark.



If this show isn't in your weekly repertoire, it should be.

Or just check it out on You Tube and avoid all the commentary (especially Mary Murphy screaming).

Some of my other favorites this week are:



and



The one that stole the show (other than the first one in this post) is this girl power dance with Sasha and Melanie.



It's a great show for the dancers, the choreographers and for the guest judges.

You should watch.

Even if you don't think you can dance.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My (Not So) Perfect Garden

I don't have a fabulous yard.  
Yes, I take pretty pictures of the flowers that look nice, avoiding the ones eaten by bugs or missing petals.

It's only fair that you see the ugly parts of my yard to see that I am a real person, with a brown thumb at points.

My only pea pod vine that had produced two pods turned brown over the weekend while we were away.  Brown as in crispy, not just limp.  Brown.  Gone.
My maple trees.

Sick.  Like chicken pox for trees.  As sad as this is, my neighbors will be relieved and hopeful.  The previous owners planted six maple trees in a row, very close to my neighbors' new addition.  Maple trees aren't great for privacy.  These monsters now drop their many, many leaves in my neighbor's gutter (and my pond), so neither of us would be all that upset if they had to come down.
And my teasel.  Some would say my giant weed.

That it is.  I just never got to the point of pulling it out.  Then I realized what it was.

Weeds are living things, too.

So there you have it.  I have death and sickness and invasive giants in my yard (and green pond water).

And I'm proud of it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Reading Challenge

I may have created a monster.

My favorite parenting magazine Family Fun by Disney had a couple summer ideas.  One, was a mom that set up a chart for her family to read books.  Each book gets a check mark.  The family member with the most checks at the end of the summer gets to choose a family outing.

Sounds perfect, right?  I whipped up a chart and stuck it on the fridge.  I couldn't wait to tell the kids about it.

They were both excited.  Immediately, O ran upstairs and before I knew it, had put his first check box on the chart.

Then a second.

And a third.

This is where it got all messy.  O is reading short phonics books.  Sam, not so much.  Well, Sam figured that he could read those same phonics books and get marks.

Back the truck up!

I don't want to count pages or anything, but that's just not fair.  A couple shaky voices asking about winning and losing and we figured that a third grade level book would receive multiple boxes checked.

And then O marks his fourth and fifth and all the way to eleven boxes.  This is in a two hour period.  I have created this reading monster, which isn't a bad thing, unless he is flaunting his reading prowess to his brother.

Which he was. 

I clearly have two very competitive boys.  Not only is this about reading, it has become a lesson in controlling emotions and not always being the winner.  Day one, people.  Day one.  So much for Disney's great ideas.  They clearly don't know my children.

I just wanted to encourage (yes, bribe) them to read.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Chenango Valley

 This place seems different every time we visit.
 New weeds to appreciate.
 New rock skipping skills to perfect.
 New rocks to find.
And new moments of quiet introspection on my boy's face to capture.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Remember This?

Oh, what I would give for some of the fluffy white stuff right now. 

I'm not made for the heat.

Makes me a cranky girl.

You?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Carrie at Four Months

This photograph appeared on my refrigerator the other day.  I assume my husband found it (when he also found my passport! thanks, Tom!).

When I was a kid, all we had were plastic beads on wire to play with.  Have you seen those jump around play stations?  Yowser.  No wonder my kids are bored at age 5.  They've been spoiled with all the fancy schmancy baby toys.

Back to sticks and stones

and plastic beads.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hot Hot Hot: Part 2

As I suggested yesterday, it will be hot.

It is hot.

Enjoy some pictures from the final birthday event for 2011 (no more planning for me this year!).

Oh, it's hot.  Did you know?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pearls and Beef Liver

This is my camera phone...oh, how I wished I had my real camera with me tonight.

The boys and I were picking up some items for our camping trip and while the order in front of us was waiting, I couldn't stop staring at the raw meat. 

Not just any raw meat.  Beef liver.  I guess you wouldn't consider that meat at all, right?  Organs.

But not just any beef liver.

Beef liver draped with pearls.

Only in America.

Only at WalMart.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hot Hot Hot


This is all I have for you today.

It is hot. 

Our home doesn't have air conditioning. 

We'll be at the pool today.  And tonight.

And tomorrow.

Stay cool!

Friday, July 15, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 
 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

How to Wash an Octopus

Forty-seven.
I've made forty-seven wool felted purses.  That's almost one for every state!

But with every bag, I learn something new.  A different, better way to accomplish the felting process.  I machine felt the majority of the bag, but there are always some parts that didn't fully felt.  This is usually were I burn the heck out of my hands.
The evil eye...
Wool felts with really hot water and detergent.  Laundry or dish soap is fine, but I'm finding that the dish soap works the best.  I happened to have some rubber gloves in the garage from Sam's birthday tie dye party.  I put them on to protect my hands from the hot water.  But what I discovered, is that the tiny bumps on the gloves were the best felting tool yet.

And it only took me 47 purses to figure it out.

(Special thanks to Tom for taking these amazing photos)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summer Nights

This is how my nights have started out.  The pool opens at 6:00 pm for two hours.

The boys play in the splash pool for about an hour, then we all go into the big pool.  Oscar usually turns purple 20 minutes into the big pool, then he and I get out.

I'm so proud of Sam.  He is really becoming a nice young man.  He has overcome his fear of the big slides at the splash pool, jumping into his cousins' pool, swimming with his face in the water and he is making friends at the pool.

The same kids show up at the pool each night.  It's becoming a hangout or sorts.  They have splash battles and play hide and seek.  Very cool.  I remember the fun at that age.  I kind of miss it.

Sam also has a young lady caller at the pool.

She calls him 'Raspberry Plastic Tickle Bear'.

I didn't think this day would come so soon.

Tickle Bear.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ukulele + Bohemian Rhapsody = Best 6 minutes of my Day



You must watch this, even if you aren't a fan of Bohemian Rhapsody.  It runs for 6 minutes or so, the additional time is a commercial for Rolex.

Amazing.  Around the 3 minute mark, Shimabukuro's fingers dance on the strings.  Absolutely beautiful.

He is right, if we all played the Ukulele, this would be a better world.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Necking at the Drive In

Oh the love.

Last night we went to the drive in.  They boys really were most interested in Cars 2, but we had to sit through The Zookeeper first.  It was fun.  We brought our chairs and sat outside.  This little guy only made it through 3 minutes of Cars 2.   Sam on the other hand, awake through both movies, only to fall asleep on the drive home at 2:00 AM.  My trooper.

When O woke up this morning, he was all sad about missing Cars 2.  I'm sure we'll have more Cars 2 in our future.

The Transit Drive In was fun.  After the 30 minute wait in line, that is.  You pull to the side of the road and wait in line, driving on the shoulder.  Fortunately, there were two Drive In employees prohibiting line cutters.  We were told we would be in the last row, which was okay, except when you have a small SUV compared to the enormous pick up trucks, it can be difficult to see around such vehicles. 

I remember going to the Drive in with my parents.  We had a big station wagon at that time and would lay in the back.  When the movie was over, my parents would leave us asleep in the back to roll around.  Ah, the days of no seat belts.

The Transit Drive In is the sole remaining drive in in our area.  I hope that we don't lose it.  With the amount of cars there last night, it's on the right track.

I love the Drive In.  No necking this time. 

Unless you account for a couple smooches with my best boys.

Friday, July 8, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Aha Moment

Back in May, I got a [what I thought could be a] suspicious email from "Olivia".  She worked on behalf of Mutual of Omaha setting up the spots for their Aha Moment Tour.  This airstream trailer was traveling from city to city recording people's Aha Moments.  She had seen my blog and thought that my photography might be a great Aha Moment.

A little taken aback, I said yes, I'd do it.  After all, I had a full month to come up with such Aha Moment.

It was difficult.  Some people have many Aha moments, that slice of clarity that comes to you instantly and changes your life forever.  I wrote down notes, I talked out loud in the car.  Even on the way to the shoot, I was changing my story.  Those folks on the 33 that saw me talking out loud with my hands, must have thought I was a nut case.
Stepping into the airstream, I was still trying to formulate my single Aha moment.  I knew it was my camera, without that camera, I wouldn't be who I am today.  But there is so much more to the person I have become than just a camera, right?

I combined my photography and my Affirmation Project and found that my Aha moment was realizing that if I was positive about myself and my abilities, that I could do anything I wanted.

 Perhaps even be Dave, the technical producer guy on the Aha Moment Tour!

Okay, perhaps not that.

But my life is a blank book and I can choose the words and photos that will cover all of those pages.

Here is the link to my moment on the Mutual of Omaha's website.

Really think that still shot of me is horrid and I wish I would have sat up straight with my shoulders back!  But, being positive, my hair looks GREAT!

Waterfall Braid

Yes, Hair Week at I Am Momma, Hear Me Roar has come and gone, but I used my newly gained braiding knowledge on my cousin, Abby on Sunday.  What?  You didn't know hair week was last week?  Hmm.

The "official" blog post on the waterfall braid can be found here.  Looks best on highlighted hair!

And while I'm sharing one of my daily blog stops, one blog I read in awe and laughter is Tidbits from the Tremaynes.  This chick, Mandi, is my power tool hero.  Seriously, she is amazeballs.  Go on, click it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Birthday Boys

After a marathon day of sewing, clipping, re-sewing, I had a marathon cake baking day.

O was lucky enough to receive a Luigi costume to match his birthday cake.  I "forgot" to frost this one after the crumb coat on the face.  I was running late.  Bear with me.  What did I care?  I don't eat that gluten cake anyway!  Most folks ate the hat, plenty of frosting there.

He had a little trouble with the candles.


Moustache assistance from Dad.

And Sam.  Sweet Sam.  Sam said to me, "Mom, I'll make it easy on you.  I just want a power up star from Mario."  Oh, how I love that boy.


Happy Birthday Boys!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Wooden Blanquilt

This was my Saturday.  Hoping that the boys would entertain themselves while I created a wedding blanquilt in less than 10 hours.

And they did.  They even said, "Why are you making wood?"
Perfect question.  The wedding invitation looked like tree bark with the bride and groom's wedding date and initials.  I simplified it a bit and was pretty happy with the results.

I finished with enough time to add a velvet bow, shower and get dressed.  Not the most relaxing Saturday, but clearly one of my most productive!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth!

Two little Italians wishing you a very happy Independence Day!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sunday Flowers


These are Gazania.

Annual flowers that I got from a flower fundraiser at church. 

These assorted flowers are beautiful.  I'm getting two flats next year!

Have a happy Sunday!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday (or Saturday) ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Comfort Foods - Gluten Free Style

 Tuna Noodle Casserole.

Yum.

At least now it is.  I don't remember loving it all that much when I was a kid.  Maybe because we ate it often.  I am sure it has been at least 10 years since I last had tuna noodle casserole.  My husband despises any food with the suffix 'casserole'.  If it is one meal served in a baking dish, no thanks.

One day, after hearing my Mother-in-Law talk about the Tuna Noodle Casserole she made and subsequently forgot to add the tuna, I got the craving.  The craving that never goes away. 

So, I tried it.  On my lunch hour, I made my white sauce.  Added some cheese, cooked some Tinkyada Rice Noodles and combined those with frozen peas and two cans of tuna.  I sprinkled some Romano on top and baked it till brown.  Wow.

The best part of this...my kids ate it.  And they LOVED it.  No complaints is equal to love in this house.  Tom, on the other hand, almost lost his lunch when I told him what was for dinner.

And this...Mom's homemade strawberry jam.  So good.  I ate all my bagels in two days.  What's more comforting than a bagel and jam for breakfast and lunch two days in a row?

Tuna noodle casserole for dinner after the two bagels.