Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Trap Setting

We are lucky to have kids that like to play together, most of the time. A couple of weeks back, the older 3 decided to set a trap. They found an old crate, some rope, and a good bush to use, and set up a somewhat decent trap. It can be lowered and raised pretty easily.

The kids put some food under the trap, because they hoped to get a squirrel, a rabbit, or a chipmunk. They thought tomatoes and carrots would be appealing to them all.

The problem with the trap is that someone has to do the lowering and the raising. And if someone is out there, then the chance that an animal will stop by is slim. Therefore, the kids disguised themselves.

Zoe changed into all green, in the hopes that the animals could not distinguish her from the shrubs and grass.

Talia opted for a green and brown ensemble, hoping to mix in with the honeysuckle.

Aaron tried -- he really did. He decided that the gray of his shorts and shirt would work well with the dirt. But he forgot about his hair -- and his blindingly pale skin!

It worked better in the honeysuckle.

The trap is still there, on the driveway, and the kids use it at least a couple of times a week. Aaron has even configured the trap so that he can sit on top of it and raise and lower himself. Pretty cool, no?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Melina Turns 3!

It is so hard to believe that my baby is growing up, but Melina turned three last week. She will be attending preschool in the fall, two times a week. Somehow, it just doesn't seem possible. Since I am speechless, I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. We had a great time celebrating!

Thank you to Gina and Elli and Grandma and Grandpa C. for making it down for the celebration. Tara and Ava had to cancel due to illness, but they were here in spirit.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Can I Just Say?

Victoria Beckham welcomed her fourth child, and first daughter, on Melina's birthday! (That is July 10, for those of you who can't remember. I will do a post regarding Melina's 3rd birthday later...we had a great time!) Do I really care about Victoria Beckham? Well, as a person, I wish her well. Just like I would anyone else. But I don't really keep up with her life, husband, and kids. However, I read that she named her daughter Harper Seven Beckham. Last July, Tiffani Thiessen and her husband named their little girl Harper Renn Smith. I just want to say that my friend, Kelsey, was ahead of the game 6 almost 7 years ago when she named her little one Harper Anne. I wanted to give credit where credit is due in terms of starting a trend. Way to go, Kelsey!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

CSA Happiness

Tim and I finally joined a CSA. For those of you not in the know, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. You essentially are able to buy mostly local, organic, seasonal food directly from a farm. We chose one that 2 other people we know are using. We've been talking about joining for 3 years. Took us a bit of time to take the plunge, no?

This post could develop into a much longer post at some point, but I thought I'd just mention how happy I am with the CSA. The first week's delivery was a bit daunting: I didn't know if the mystery vegetables were beets, turnips, or kohlrabi. After searching the internet, I found out that we were the proud owners of some kohlrabi, and I needed to find a way to use it. I did. It wasn't my favorite, but my friend told me a better way to prepare it and I will do so next time.

Putting lettuce to use has been easy, of course, and so has using up cucumbers, tomatoes, black raspberries (yum) and onions. But I have had to dig around a bit and become a bit more daring in order to use up our kale, beets, cabbage, and fresh herbs. While the kids haven't been completely thrilled with the menu, they've tried most of the fare, and to be honest, I've had a lot of fun experimenting. I was in a food rut, and I think the CSA has pulled me from those depths.

In case you are wondering, I have used The Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home as a guide for preparing our meals. They have so many good -- and by good I mean tasty, not bland -- recipes that I use as is, or I tweak. That book has been my life saver!

Monday, July 4, 2011

How I Like To Spend A Holiday

We were supposed to head to Michigan this weekend. Melina had other plans. Her fever lasted 5 full days, and her crabbiness has extended to 7. There was no way I was going to put a feverish child in the car. A crabby one, yes, but feverish, no.

So stuck here, we were. The other kids were bummed. So far, though, this 4th of July weekend has actually turned out to be one of the best I can remember.

I was able to get my long run in on Saturday, and we put down some mulch around our trees. Woo-hoo! We also made it to the pool that day, where we met up with the girls' best friend and her family. After swimming for a couple of hours, the families decided to extend the fun and we headed over to the Ds house for pizza, salad, and dessert. Emphasis on the dessert. We picked up some stuff, and so did they. The kids hit the mother lode at dessert time.

Sunday wasn't so bad, either. Again, we did some yard work and headed to the pool. I also showed the girls how to easily pick up the dog doo -- that is their job now. Another Woo-hoo! here, please! Fake chicken nuggets, roasted potatoes, and homegrown lettuce and CSA tomatoes rounded out a good day.

And today? Well, again, we stuck to the yard work theme. Tim mowed the back lawn, we all pulled a few weeds and watered the new landscaping (pictures to come soon, I promise). Tim took the kids over for a fun evening at the Ms house for snacks, pool, and fireworks.

What do I get to do? Sit here. At home. With Melina in bed. I could do anything! Or nothing! Exactly how I like to spend my holiday! Happy 4th of July!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Birthday!

A very special Happy Birthday greeting to my special friend and faithful reader, Julie! I hope your day is extraordinary today!

Julie and I have known each other since our first year of college. We both decided to room blind, and therefore, we were stuck with one another. I remember getting a letter of introduction from her in the mail, along with her senior picture. She was wearing a blue sweater -- still one of my favorite colors on her. I was thrilled with her letter -- she seemed NORMAL. That was all I could ask for at that time. Funny thing, though. I remember Dad looking at the postmark and saying something to the effect of her being liberal, all based on a postmark! I can say this because my parents absolutely love Julie. It is just something I find so funny, and so Dad.

(Incidentally, at the time I was probably conservative, only because my parents were. Now, I decide things on my own, and certainly lean toward the liberal side of things. Sorry, Dad!)

Of course we've had ups and downs. We haven't always been in the same state or the same state of mind, for that matter. But Julie is a third sister to me, and someone I really miss speaking to on a more daily basis. I've learned so much from her, and I hope she can say the same of me.

I can't believe the last picture I have of Julie is with her husband, Gil, a couple of months after getting married. Things have changed since then for Gil and Julie, i.e. a beautiful little girl and (I think) another dog. Either way, Happy Birthday, Julie!