A need for civility

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The story of Phoebe Price is a sad one. And, the fact that this is becoming far too common is just as sad.
I don't understand why some decide that another is invaluable. I guess we could all think of reasons why they do but none would really explain it.
It's easy to say that it would've gotten better for her. But to a 15 year old who is being bullied everyday, that would seem the impossible.

Her family, being Irish immigrants and new to the area, probably didn't know the American rights that possibly could've helped them.

These are some of the questions I had when I heard this story: Are the parents of the bullies really surprised that their kids were invloved? There is a lot of cyber bullying out there as well. Do parents read their kids' Facebook and My Space pages? Do they read their friend's comments, which I think can be just as telling? Could a group of teen-agers really hide this behavior from anybody for that long? Did the school or teachers know what was happening?

What about bullying as adults? Do we not call it bullying because they are adults? What about television - talk shows or reality shows? Do we dismiss the types of bullying seen there because it's a good show? What about negative comments on blogs? Sure, one can disagree and it can be done civilly, so is there really a need for harsh words?

Maybe it's just the teenage girl in me that is sensitive to the desires for acceptance and happiness or maybe it's the mother in me that desires for my kids to live in a kinder world.

Whatever it is, I just wish all these families weren't going through this today or any day.

Egg-cellent placecards

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Filling the eggshells with soil and seeds.

Chubby fingers.
Trae couldn't resist a taste test.

Does planting grass in egg cups sound fun to you?

It did to us so that's what the kids did last week.

I made the crack on the tops of the eggs and opened it to save 2/3 of the eggshell. Luckily, my kids love to eat eggs so none were wasted. After washing them out, we filled them with soil and a generous pinch of grass seed.
When the grass has finished growing, and hopefully the quick seed will do the trick, we should have lush, green grass growing from the tops of these eggs.
We are going to use them as placecard holders on the dinner table. Each person's name will be written on cardstock and we'll place it between the blades of grass. And since eggs don't stand up straight too well, I'll help them out by using egg cups.

I think most kids love to do projects like this. It may just be a way to get mine to help set the table a little more egg-citedly...okay, I couldn't resist.
Fingers crossed for a nice crop of grass eggs!

Thrift store picks of the week - week 5

Monday, March 29, 2010

Belen and I managed to make a quick trip to the local flea market and 1 thrift shop on Saturday. We wanted to escape the virus that was knocking 3 of the other kids out. Since Jon was home and the kids were sleeping, we went out for a while. Most of the market vendors started loading up by 2 PM so we didn't see much there. I did manage to pick up a few things though. I usually have an idea of what I am looking for so I quickly scan the booths and avoid perusing them too much. That keeps me focused and on budget.

My first find was this cute little bird. I remember my mom had a pair of these. Although it looks like a smooth finish, it actually feels a little rough with a porous texture. A light dusting made it look pristine. And for only .75 cents it came home with me.

In one of my last posts I mentioned that I like to buy things that are "native" to the area in which I live. Well, I couldn't do any better than this! This is going into the boys' room and Reese just loves it. I have a few other banners to display as well so they will make a nice grouping.

Next up - If I spot books that are in decent shape with interesting covers or in this case, spines, I like to use them to elevate other things, like this flower. You wouldn't even know that this candle holder came crashing down a few weeks ago. Apparently kicking shoes over the banister will do that to ceramics. Super glue was a good invention.

I don't always buy just vintage items at fleas or thrift shops. Take this glass candle holder for instance - it was a Target item that had been marked down twice in the store before the Goodwill bought its clearance items. I liked the chunky glass so I bought it for $2.99 with an extra 20% off. Charley said, "You got a discount on top of a discount??" Yup.

Speaking of Target, I spotted this metal sign at the flea market for .50 cents. It will also go in the boys' room. Reese thought it looked too new for him so I may have to run over it, hammer it or something.

So there you go - another round-up of fun finds. For all you fellow thrifters and flea marketers, as soon as I work on a link party, we can all link our posts together on one page. Then we can enjoy what each other has found.
Until then, let me know how your hunting was!

When man's best friend doesn't like you

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Trae with our neighbor's wonderful dog. He loves to run with her and she lets him. She is a good dog.

Have you ever had a run in with a dog?

I did once. I was delivering girl scout cookies when I was 8 and a neighbor's dog came running from its house and tried to chomp my arm. He jumped up and was nearly as tall as me. Maybe he wanted the cookies I was holding which I was trying to use to fend him off. I can't remember whose Thin Mints I ruined that day...
I loved my childhood dog, Darby. He was a Chihuahua. I remember my mom taking me to get him. The owner of the litter of pups had me lie on my stomach and call them to me. The one who made it to me first was the one I could have and Darby was it. We loved him silly.

Not long ago, my husband was enjoying a trip to the Dentist. The office is in an old saltbox house and the steps up to the entrance flank each side of the door. There is a driveway to the right of the door which is narrow and leads to the parking spaces in back of the house. It's kind of charming.
But kind of not; it is a dentist office after all.
After his appointment, Jon bounced down the steps and turned the corner. As he rounded it he reached into his pocket for the car keys. When he looked up he was staring into the face of a huge German Shepherd. The dog was already in motion to jump and as he did, Jon took his right arm and crossed it in front of his chest in a defensive motion. It was the only thing he could do after being startled so suddenly. The dog jumped and clamped on to his arm. As the dog pulled away, he took with him a bite out of Jon's arm.

As luck would have it a Police officer just happened to be near the sidewalk when he heard the commotion and came running. Who says cops are always at the donut shop? The Dentist and his wife both ran out the side door closest to the drive-way and called off the dog. The officer, angry at the situation, yelled at the Dr. to see if he was the owner. Nervously, the dentist had Jon come in and they cleaned his wound, saying they would pay for everything and worrying that we would sue. After they bandaged him up, he went to our family doc, got stitches, a tetanus shot and antibiotics.
The police called and asked him to come in for pictures and to file a report just in case this were to happen again. His 1 pm appointment had now stretched to 7 pm.
He was asked to sit next to a girl in a waiting room at the police station. There were two officers grilling this girl about her drug activity. The officers were stern and she was crying. Jon thought at first that he was in the wrong area. He sat quietly listening to the girl's story and wanted to raise his hand to be excused but they told him to wait there. Finally it was his turn and they took pictures and asked again if we were going to press charges. Jon said no, it was an honest mistake. Someone had left the gate opened and the dog ventured out. We were just glad it wasn't a child that had been bitten.

So after all of this, and two weeks later I got a bill in the mail. Not from our family doctor but from the dentist himself! He sent over a $25 gift card for the shirt (from an outlet store) and a $59.00 bill for the teeth cleaning. The nerve, I thought, and I wanted to go bite him in the arm.

I ignored the bill for a while thinking they might get the message but it kept coming. Jon sent the payment over and inadvertantly made it out for $50.00.

AND after all of that, they called Jon at the hotel he manages. They called, not to see how he was doing, they didn't even mention it. They called to see about getting a good deal on a meeting room for their classic car club. Jon quoted him a price and they thought it was too high.
Then the puny gift card made sense to me.
A few days later, I received another bill for the $9.00 we left out of the original payment.
And 6 months later, I received many messages on my phone reminding me to make our next appointments.
"Are these people for real?" I wondered aloud.
I planned on calling them to express my frustration but I just never got around to it.
Then I figured that sometimes silence speaks the loudest and I never heard from them again.

Vaccination questions

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I don't often stray from a feel-good blog, but we're all friends here, right?
It's all good...
Let me preface this by saying I do believe that immunizations are important. I get that.
My kids are immunized. I am not completely comfortable going without shots. But I'm not comfortable giving an 8 pound newborn a cocktail of injections either. I am thankful that I have a great Pediatrician who lets me choose which ones to give and when.
It's totally on my time line.

My kids meet all of the state requirements but it's just on a different schedule. The doctors give me recommendations and we go from there. They actually tell me which shots my kids don't need right now. Can you believe that?
They have even given me their personal cell phone number to bypass the answering service when I need them on a weekend, which I have used. Love them.

Anyway, I just received a letter from the school district stating the new guidelines for vaccinations for the 2010-2011 school year. Who makes these decisions? Why should I believe they are safe when the pharmaceutical industry has paid out over 2 billion in settlements on products that were once deemed safe?
When is it all too much?
Is Thimerosal really out of the drugs?

These are just a few questions I have.

Now I have to look up the records and see what the kids need or should I say, supposed to have. It used to be so easy to remember but with the changes every year for school and for different grades, I simply can't keep up.
Is it just me?

*Back tomorrow with funner stuff!*

Sure sign

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

To me, a sure sign of Spring is when the kids start bringing me flowers from the yard.
I put a few little jars on the windowsill as soon as I saw Daffodils reaching out for the sun. It's kind of like, "If you build it, they will come." I was ready with the vase and sure enough, they came with flowers.
Sometimes they pick them too short for vases and sometimes I only have the bloom to work with. When that happens, I have pretty cups at the ready and float the flowers in them. But this day, the stems were just the right length to stand happily on the windowsill.
And I happily stand back to look at them, being reminded once again of the simple nature of children.
I love it.

Thrift store picks and uses - week 3

Monday, March 22, 2010

Today brings another installment of my weekly Thrift store round-up. I have a lot of fun going out each week and seeing what I can find that will prove to be useful around here. I am always reminded when I go that useful doesn't have to cost a lot. One of the best parts I think. Oh and did I mention I always have fun?

From my excursion I brought home another plate and candle holder. The plate's painted design was wearing off so managed to take it off from the center but I still need to scrape off the rest.

I loved its detail and knew I could turn it into another cake/dessert stand. My kids could not wait for me to take the picture before they started helping themselves...

I love them and am always on the look-out for good, vintage hangers. I love their lines, typography and hinges. They are usually well made and always have a nice, 'made in the USA' stamp. Love it.

Not only do I use them for clothes but the main reason is that I like to use them to hang up the artwork that Reese so proudly brings home. It's easy and looks cool. It doesn't hurt that he likes it too. Who knew a .25 cent purchase could make someone so happy?
Self portrait - spot on.
And rounding us out are these sweet, little school chairs.
I couldn't pass them up.
I am a sucker for kids' items and chairs top my list. When I won't be using these as picture props they will be used by three of my little ones, whom have already struck their claim, but they are sturdy enough for adults.
Surprisingly heavy too.
I still need to finish cleaning them up but they've already been used to reach the sink, sit on to read a book, look out the window and have been pulled up to the ottoman for snack time (and to watch the yellow sponge of course.)

I'm already planning my next trip and look forward to seeing what's in store, especially now that flea market time is here. If you make any great finds, let me know and if you have any questions on an item or how to re-purpose it, just ask. I'm sure we can put our heads together and think of something.
Happy hunting!

Make it good

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The other day I received an e-mail from a friend telling me that another friend went home from the hospital to spend the last few days of her life with her family. She had been battling an illness for four years and the end of her earthly life was drawing near. Yesterday her body succumbed to disease and she slipped into eternity.

I was sad for her children. No one should lose their mother especially when they are of such a young age.

Even though there is comfort in knowing that one is not suffering anymore, it still hurts when they are gone. And there are little girls hurting right now because they won't get to see their mother for a while. Just for a while though, because I believe that God has a plan and the reunion in Heaven with our friends and families someday will be awesome.

It got me thinking - is it really necessary that I want to make sure my children have the extras in life? Is it worth it to work extra hard, to go at a fast pace to fit in their voice and music lessons, sports and social activities? Do I really need anything when there are others with less than me?

My answer was no.
And then my answer was -but while alive you must live.

As long as your perspective is in check and you try to live the best life you can, and sincerely try to make the world a little bit better, those extras can bring happiness and enrich your life. There is goodness around you. You may have to go search for it but it's there and then you'll be able to help others see it too, especially when they need it most.

Make it good and have a great Sunday.

Hip pigs

Friday, March 19, 2010

My 4 year old asked me to tell her a story so I asked which one she would like to hear.
She said that she would like to hear The Three Little Pigs.
So I began the story the way I've told it a million times...

That was my problem.

Apparently, the pig's house that is made of bricks, is complete with an I-pod docking station and a large screen t.v. with killer surround sound.

I forgot that part. I guess her Dad has updated this story.
Man, those are some hip pigs.
P.S. I've had a few questions on the sticky note post. You can find them here.

It still makes me laugh

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I guess I should have done this on Post-it note Tuesday, oh well.

An effortless 15

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dear Belen,

When I first had you, everyone kept telling me how girls are harder to raise. And that I would see what they meant come the teen-age years. I would smile and tell people I haven't seen that side and I didn't think I would, because I never wanted to take away any goodness from you and feign humility to agree with them.
I didn't agree. I still don't.
They probably thought that I was just a young, naive mother. But I could see your character already and was trusting in it. You have been such a delight for easy and accommodating with a good attitude about everything. Your patience could rival an old sage from literary tales.
I thank Heavenly Father everyday for making my transition into motherhood so smooth.
From the very first day, it was like you had been with us forever already, starting us out on this eternal journey and blending in to our little family so easily.
Actually, I believe you were.
And unbeknownst to you, you were laying the groundwork for future siblings to learn from your example. Thank you.
I'm so glad it was you.

Happy Birthday 15-love you.

Thrift store picks of the week

Monday, March 15, 2010

I love the weekend. It's a time to hang out, tackle projects and have a little more down time, no matter how short that down time is. It's also the time I get to go to the flea market or thrift shop. There is always something waiting for me to re-purpose or display at minimal cost.
How can I not go? I think it's the ultimate in "reduce, reuse, recycle."

Reese and I went to a couple of shops and he enjoyed scouting for his treasures. He shares the same love of vintage that I do, as do his sisters, making our trips more enjoyable.
Being goofy is part of it...

So let me share this week's round-up with you:

I always have my eye out for transferware and ironstone so I picked up two brown transferware plates. They were marked "as is" because of the crazing. Lucky for me, I like the crazing effect because it adds character. I'm not afraid to pick up imperfect items unless there is too large of a crack or many chipped edges.

The vintage horse show ribbon from 1947 has great color and would add interest to a side table or bookshelf. I like to pick up items that are "native" to the area in which I live. This one is from an area not too far away from where we currently live.

The large pendant shade is the perfect size for my entrance. I was planning on spending a lot more for a new light fixture but I saw this guy, and at 4 bucks, I couldn't pass it up. I'll just use the existing light fixture, add the shade but change out the fabric. Although I like its texture, the metallic gold woven through just doesn't cut it for me and I've had enough of the"70's Harvest gold" in this house.

And rounding out the trip, I collected plates and candle holders to make more dessert stands like the one in the picture. I'm sure you've seen them before and they are just as easy to put together as they look. Not to mention, inexpensive and pretty. These are just a few I picked up but all of the plates and candle holders I have were between .25 cents - $2.00. So, if the kids knock them over, I'm not out anything, really.

So there you go, another productive trip that was easy on the wallet. I'll be scouting for more finds this week - can't wait. If you find anything on your excursions, let me know.
Happy hunting!

2 year old manners

Friday, March 12, 2010

While I was working on the computer yesterday, Trae man walked in to the room and sat on my lap. I called him a saggy bottom boy as he scooted from my lap and tried to take off his diaper. I told him to hang on for a sec but he continued. He pulled it off and I went to throw it away, assuming it would be safe to do so since he had a full, wet diaper. But when I came back he was busy whizzing on the floor.

I said, "Uh oh."
and he said "Uh oh, I spilled" or in Trae speak, "I spiowod."

That made me laugh and while I was cleaning the floor, I said, "Thanks a lot Trae man."
To which he replied, "You're welcome,"
Or in Trae speak, "Yo wacome."

At least he's polite about it...

An 8 year old's foray into the world of wine

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I'm thinking this is what my arm may have looked like at 8 years old? on..

I quietly made my way to the staircase banister to peek around and see what the big deal was in my living room. There were chairs all over the place. I wondered where we had gotten all of these chairs.

Seeing in to the dining room, I noticed the table even had all three leaf extensions in it. This must be some shin dig, I thought.

My cousins wanted to have a crystal party but felt their space was too small to host a large gathering of people. I believe it was for a direct selling company for crystal glasses and dishes and their approach was to have a wine tasting party. My parents' living room was long and large with the space to provide multiple seating areas. So, although being LDS and my mom did not drink alcohol, she let my cousin and his wife host their party at our house.

I don't remember where my brothers and sister were at the time. Maybe at a church dance, school sporting event or just at a friend's house. Being the youngest and 7 years apart from the rest, I was often at home with my mom or dad while my siblings were out with friends. That evening, my mom told me to go upstairs for the night.

I really wanted to check out the party going on but I went and watched TV for a while. We lived a little out in the country and had no cable then. I ran through the few channels we had and they were all news programs, PBS or a Northwest magazine show. It was a really boring line-up to an 8 year old.

As I peered over the banister, I also had a view to the kitchen. There were plates of hors d'oeuvres on the counters and no one was milling around in there. "Oooh, cheese!" I said to myself.

I made my way in to the kitchen and snacked on a few varieties along with crackers. Some were soft cheeses with pungent smells and some were sweet. I decided to stick with good old Tillamook, still the best cheddar in my opinion.

My mom came in, let me get snacks and reminded me to head back upstairs. I asked for something to drink so she gave me a glass of water. I asked what everyone was having and she said they were drinking grape juice. I thought that sounded better and wondered why I wasn't having any. She went back to the other room and I looked around for grape juice.

I didn't see any in big plastic containers just in tall slim bottles. They were displayed on the dining table with crystal glasses and decanters so I went and poured myself some. I was stopped by the consultant in charge of this party. She said I couldn't have this kind of juice. I wondered what was up with these people and their tight grip on the grape juice?!

This denial of beverage peaked my interest so I decided to take matters in to my own hands. Because all of these adults were busy sniffing, swirling and tasting all types of juice and snacking on cheese, they didn't notice me crawl from the kitchen to the dining room table. The long tablecloth concealed me crouching below as I swiped a glass from the top. I was able to shimmy underneath the row of chairs and went undetected; lying down behind some coats draped over the backs.

When the server came around, I stuck out my arm and firmly held my glass amid the other people. To my delight I felt liquid being poured into my lead crystal glass. I did it and was happy I was so sneaky. So let's just see what is so special about this, I thought. And as quickly as I gulped it, I spat it out, gasping. It tasted like the way my teen-aged brother's gym socks smelled - Sour! I wiped my tongue with my sleeve. "Gross!

They could have just told me it was alcohol. I'm 8, not dumb you know," I said to myself. (Although by these antics, that is debatable.) My mom heard me choke, looked down to where I was, shook her head and held out her hand for the glass.

And I've been sober ever since.

Friends, Flower Show and IKEA

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Silver Burrow's Tail I purchased at the flower show.
I love its color against the aged color of the urn.

Amber and Carrie

This past weekend I went to the Philadelphia flower show with a couple of friends. A chance to get out of the house and into the big city with friends? I'm there!

We made our way onto the turnpike and in no time we were in the bustling city. It's always exciting to me when I see a nice skyline.

The flower show was filled with interesting floral displays and the aroma of sweet smelling blooms. There were plenty of items to buy as well so we each made stops to different booths to get flowers, seeds or plants. I rather enjoy the Silver Burrows Tail which will eventually grow and hang over the side of the planter. It will look so great when it gets to that point.
It's small enough to sit atop the counter in the urn for now.

After the show we were IKEA bound and continued shopping there. Who doesn't love a trip there as well?? Over the loudspeaker they tempted us with dinner for a dollar. So we checked it out and got Swedish (of course) meatballs and mashed potatoes - for a buck, really. It was so inexpensive that we treated ourselves to chocolate cake. Besides, we had walked a few miles already.

Over dinner we decided that for the show's price of admission there really should have been more to do and see. But it wasn't too high and we thought it was good to try once.

But it will always be worth any admission price to have a day to hang out with these gals again for good fun and conversation!
I would pay triple the price for that...
Up next - Baltimore harbor anyone??

Thrift store pick of the week

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Have you ever watched "American Pickers" on the History channel?

This show makes me want to pack up and move to Iowa. I know I could hang with those guys and hike all over people's property, make offers, get excited about a pile of junk and load up a truck. That is my dream job. Well, one of them anyway. Anybody wanna come with?

Today they were tromping through the farm of an 88 year-old American WWII Veteran. I love our WWII vets. I always have. This gentleman was frail and walked slowly; his voice raspy with age and at times barely audible. But he was so lovely in his hat and a buttoned up shirt tucked into his belted trousers. He looked like the perfect grandpa tinkering around his farm, enjoying 60 years of collections in the many barns on his property. I found myself wishing I had a grandpa like that.

Two of my favorite finds of the episode were an antique Harley Davidson bicycle crank and a vintage carnival ride. The crank was made of iron and was very architectural and would look great on a shelf. The carnival ride was a small 5 car ride with old, heavy kiddie cars and was stored in a fold up track on its own trailer. It was awesome. I would love to have that and cart it around to birthday parties.

But since I only go picking in Flea markets and thrift shops, I'll have to settle for this week's find of a vintage Westclox alarm clock. It was front and center on a little out-of-the-way shelf and when I picked it up and wound it, the familiar 'tick, tick' sound made me smile. I think the sound is soothing at night. The little gold doors were an extra surprise. I never hesitated and into my cart it went.

Each week I will be doing a round up of my finds and maybe even show you what I plan on doing with them -once I find out what that will be exactly.

Ooh, now I have more of a real reason to go hunting - yeah. (Like I really needed one...)

Hello Friday morn

Friday, March 5, 2010

Missing March

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Herbs making it through the winter

Welcome home March.

It's been a long time.

It's so nice to see you peeking through the snow covered ground.

I was beginning to wonder if you'd ever show your face around these parts again.

Don't get me wrong, winter was fun and I looked forward to a beautiful snowfall. Old man winter did not disappoint this year and we had a great time playing in the snow. But, the time has come to put that to rest and enjoy the newness of Spring. It's going to be a lovely one.

You're on your way and I can't wait!