Monday, January 31, 2011

Lessons on Artists

Instead of an art lesson today, I had a lesson on artists.
I just finished watching a very impressive series called The Impressionists.

This is a story of the great painters of the Impressionists era. The story is told by the old Monet looking back on his life: how he got started, his friendships with fellow artists, his inspirations, the struggles, the vast locations and subjects of the art. It is truly a visual feast. The landscapes and scenery are stunning. The colors are amazing. A scene will show one of the artists painting one of his famous works, then will still shot into the actual finished painting with the name captioned. It's really like seeing the life behind the artwork.

This is the younger Monet ...

Played by, you guessed it ...

Richard Armitage!
I just love a chance to put his photo on my blog again. Can you blame me?

Now, it's tea time and I'm off to brew my new favorite:
I know it sounds like an odd combination ... chocolate and jasmine ... but it's quite lovely. So I'll sip my tea and reflect on art for a while.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Latest Discovery

I'm not a huge fan of housework.
But it has to be done.

I've flirted with Flylady for years. She's very motivational, but I tend to get distracted or simply annoyed by the pressure and I don't keep up very well. But occasionally my house looks, feels and smells pretty good. You know, when all the stars align, I'm on a cleaning kick, and the kids have willingly and cheerfully completed their chores, above and beyond my impossibly high expectations. Yeah, then. It doesn't happen often, and the results are very brief before the mess starts up again. But for a tiny bit of time, it's pure bliss to have a clean house.

Part of the bliss comes from these fine products ...

At one point I was going to start making my own cleaning products. I was going for that non-toxic, healthy approach. But seriously, I can only do so much. I know it's not terribly time consuming to make your own products. But I get such joy out of not having to do that one extra thing. Mrs. Meyer's claims to be "earth-friendly, biodegradable, phosphate free". Good enough for me. The products work just as good as any others I've tried. But what sold me was the smell! They contain essential oils and smell absolutely divine. My favorite scents are Basil, Lavender, and Lemon-Verbena. I can't believe how often I'm cleaning my counters and kitchen table now.

I have no affiliation with Mrs. Meyer's. Other than I will be a forever customer now. I'm sold!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Look Who's 17!

Happy Birthday Selena!

Friday, January 21, 2011


So today I had a clandestine meeting with some guy I met on the Internet.
We've been exchanging emails for a couple of days.
He was offering me something I couldn't refuse.
So today we met.
And he delivered everything he promised me he would. And more!

Ok, ok ... so it wasn't as secretive and illicit as all that. Don't be letting your minds wander.
Really, what kind of a girl do you think I am?

The truth is, I recently joined my local Freecycle group.
Are you aware of
Well I wasn't until just a few months ago.
Basically, it's an email group. You join a group that's local to you. Now you're a part of a community privy to items people are looking to give away. Or you can post items you would like to pass along. It's all free. The idea is to share things you no longer want or need instead of tossing them. And it creates a community of sharing and caring.
I love that!
I have noticed all sorts of items up for grabs. Everything from furniture and exercise equipment to baby formula and boxed mac and cheese.

Today, this is what I scored ...
A very nice gentleman was sharing his abundance of purple potatoes, ready for planting!
This is what I'm talking about ...
the whole sharing and caring community thing.
He grows potatoes, had way more seed potatoes than he needs for his own use, and is thoughtful enough to want to share with others. What a blessing.

He even threw in some garlic too!
I can't wait to get my garden tilled and ready to plant!

Now I know sometimes things like this can go sour, and there are people who don't join the group for the right reasons, and others that flake on their promises, and all that. But I have faith that by and large people are going to play nice and be fair. Besides, I made sure my family knew where I was going. And I took my now-taller-than-I-am, with-a-developing-deep-voice, son with me just in case.
And I met a new friend! And I gained some valuable knowledge about growing potatoes and garlic. And even a tip on a good source for baby chicks whenever we get our backyard coop ready.

Next step, cleaning out my garage so I can pass along some things we no longer need. What's that saying ... one man's trash is another man's treasure. Then I'm sure we can bless many people out there with our bounty!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Random Ramblings

It's cold here.
Sun didn't show itself all day.

I've been coughing for 2 weeks.
Last night I made a home-remedy recipe for cough syrup.
It has ginger, honey, apple cider vinegar and cayenne pepper.
The cayenne pretty much makes your throat numb. So in essence you could say it works in an odd way.

My son cut off his long golden red locks today.
My son is also now taller than me and closing in fast on his dad.
Sometimes I hear my son's voice from another room and wonder who the strange man is in my house.

I sat in our pool today.
It didn't have any water in it.
But I still froze.

Kids and I are working on a 1000 piece puzzle of San Francisco.
A perfect activity for a cold, dreary day.
I was surprised at how well my almost 6-year old does with a puzzle like that.
I assumed she wouldn't be able to focus long enough on it, but she shows great concentration. And she's very good at finding the exact piece I'm looking for.
She amazes me on a daily basis.

Same daughter also talks non-stop.
Chatter, chatter, chatter.
I just had to pause between typing those last 2 sentences because she had something to tell me.

I'm still watching British tele.
Last series I completed was called Berkeley Square.
Quaint little show about the divide between upper class society and their hired help. Sadly the show only ran for one season. It was good costuming homework for me though as we'll be using some turn of the century styles in our upcoming play production.

I'm now watching BBC's Robin Hood.
I'll have to do a separate post on that one since a certain Richard Armitage stars in it.
Yep, Mmm-hmm.

I don't like doing posts without photos.
So here's a random shot ...

Something warm and inviting to day-dream about.
Look at the color of that water!
I want to paint my bathroom that color.

That's it.
I'm done rambling.
For now ...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Memories of Mom

Isn't it interesting how memories can be linked to a specific smell? Anytime I smell raisin pie I'm taken right back to my grandma's kitchen. The smell of Coppertone reminds me of the summers of my youth. And star jasmine in bloom reminds me of buying our first house. Which we still live in, by the way, yet the star jasmine no longer grows along the front walk.

This is the smell of my mother.
Her signature fragrance was Estee Lauder's Youth Dew. She preferred the bath oil over the spray. She would dab it on her wrists and neck and behind her ears.
She would always purchase her Youth Dew at Gottschalk's department store. Many times she would splurge and get the dusting powder too.
I now have the last bottle of Youth Dew my mom owned. There is about half of a bottle left. I keep it in my dresser drawer. Every time I open the drawer I get a subtle whiff of my mother. It's the smell of warmth, security, reassurance, tenderness, confidence, strength, compassion and love.

It always makes me smile.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Life with Luna

This is Luna.

She's the indoor cat.
Looks pretty sweet and innocent, doesn't she?

Deep down, I think this is who she really is ...
She's been a naughty kitty.
She wasn't always that way though.

Luna is about 7 years old. We got her at the SPCA after our beloved Calorie died. I've always had a cat in my life. I can't imagine not having a cat. The kids and I went and looked at all the kitties at the shelter ... and Luna chose us!
That's how it works you know. Unlike a dog, you don't chose a cat, they chose you.
Well Luna settled right in and took over the house.
And we all got along fine.
Then we did the unthinkable, inconsiderate act of having a baby and actually bringing it home. To live in Luna's house.
She was not happy.
A few years later we err again and bring home a dog.
Into a house dominated by a cat who was barely tolerating a baby at that point.
Well, we took it a step too far last year and really blew it when we adopted 2 stray cats living behind our garden shed.
These 2 cats are outdoor girls. But it doesn't matter.
Luna's had enough.
So guess what she does now to show her disapproval?
She pees on the carpet!
Eeeeegads ... there is nothing worse than cat pee on the carpet. She has one spot in the hall that she returns to whenever she's feeling stressed.
Now I'm the one that's about to blow a fuse over her behavior.
I've tried everything to deter her. I have used the enzyme products and cleaners. I have ripped up the corner of the carpet to get all the way down to the concrete foundation to deodorize and clean it. I bought her a new litter box that she loves. She gets plenty of attention and food and treats and toys. She certainly acts like life is good. And yet, she still does it.

Arrggghh ...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Cold January Randomness

It's freezing here!
Ok, I'm exaggerating. It's 46 degrees. Not quite freezing. But I am COLD! I'm wearing a knitted scarf in the house.

It's 10 days into the new year and I still can't seem to get myself in gear.

I made chicken and dumplings for dinner last night.

We've started rehearsals for our spring play production.
The kids are doing a fabulous job!

My oldest daughter will turn 17 in a few weeks.

I'm planning my summer vegetable garden.
I'm wondering if I can get away with planting some veggies in the front yard. Seems like such a waste of land for a lawn and shrubs that don't produce anything useful.

This photo pops up on my desktop from time to time ...

I have no idea where this is, but it always makes me smile.
It looks so peaceful.

This guy makes me smile too ...

I finally watched North and South. My daughter has been bugging me to watch this for months. I can't believe I waited so long. Look at what I was missing!

Saturday, January 8, 2011


I recently revived tea time at my house.
Every afternoon,
we take a little break for tea.

Everyone has their favorite.
My oldest daughter likes Coconut Chai.
My son likes a fruity Swedish blend.
My youngest daughter likes any kind as long it has sugar and milk.
I'm an Earl Grey lover.
But my current favorite has to be Jasmine.
And I'm with my youngest, I have to have sugar and milk too!

For Christmas my sister-in-law and her family gave me one of these ...

It's the cutest little tea pot with those blooming flower teas. You pop that little pod in there and it blossoms into this sea urchin looking thing.
It's quite fascinating.

No, I haven't given up coffee. It still starts my day.
But around 3:30 in the afternoon you'll find me putting on a pot of tea.
Feel free to stop by and I'll share a cup!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Kid photos pt. 2

Early in December, I took the kids to my dad's for a "country" photo shoot.
You know ... every year, round 'em up, make 'em tolerate the elements -
and mom's quirky photo op ideas
- for the perfect Christmas card photo.
I think they had fun.
Or at least they didn't complain too much.
And I loved the results ...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Reviving the ol' Blog!

Yeehaw ... I'm starting this thing back up!
I've really missed blogging.
So let's get going again ...

Thought I would start off with photos of my kids.

Here are the shots that made the 2010 Christmas card ...

I'll post a few more tomorrow and maybe chat a little bit too.

Happy New Year Everyone!