Friday, May 30, 2008

three things to wrap up the week


Today was the last day of fourth grade and the last day of our first year of homeschooling. I would say it was a rousing success. Nolan finished his bridge unit today by putting the final touches on his popsicle stick truss bridge.


We also had a field trip to Ten Thousand Villages. I had Nolan do a little research on fair trade in advance, but there is nothing like touching the items made by talented artisans across the globe. I can't reveal the contents of the bag since it contains a birthday gift for my mother-in-law. However, I loved pretty much everything in the store. The education director did a wonderful job of engaging the kids in what can be an abstract concept. I encourage you to visit a local store or check them out online. Since the organization is nonprofit, the prices are excellent and you can shop with the knowledge that those who crafted your purchase are treated in accordance with the principles of fair trade. Vote with your wallet, friends.

On a more frivolous note (but one that seriously has me counting the days), the trailer for the new X Files movie is online. I'm going to need to see this twice because I will giggle like a school girl through the entire first viewing.

"So you believe in these kinds of things?"

"Let's just say I want to believe."

I'm giggling already.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

i'm sure he was here first

Smack in the middle of one of the highest traffic areas in the state, a black bear was spotted this morning. He was near a fairly new shopping center that houses Lowe's, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble and a slew of other shops. (And yes, I shop there.)

Ironically, the parcel is now called the Shoppes at Greenridge. It used to be green. I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

happy anniversary

I was taking a picture of this:


And he was doing this:


And 19 years later, we're still having fun.

Monday, May 26, 2008

in the air, without a basket


No balloons tonight, but we enjoyed our time waiting at the park.


It wasn't a total waste: the kids made balloon shapes. At least one of them participated under protest.



Sunday, May 25, 2008

a keeper


Finally, something that lives up to the hype. In my continuing quest for the perfect homemade sandwich bread, I tried Fabulous Homemade Bread from allrecipes. It's a keeper. This recipe made five loaves and a small batch of rolls. Instead of oats, I used two cups of Bob's Red Mill 5-Grain Rolled Cereal and baked the bread from 12 - 35 minutes, depending on the size of the roll/loaf. Three loaves went into the freezer, so we'll see how that works out. Being able to make bread in a large batch is my only hope of abandoning all store bought bread. Also, I did two loaves in regular loaf pans and the rest as shaped loaves on baking stones, though I don't think it made a difference. If I can figure out how to replace the sugar with honey, we'll be in business.

I recommend a warm slice slathered with strawberry jam.


A note on Friday's post: I stand corrected. It was Gomer who said "hooty hoo," not Barney. Sorry. We only had three channels when I was a kid and I only learned the ins and out of Mayberry when I grew up and got cable.

Friday, May 23, 2008

a welcome visitor


He's baaack. We were wondering where our bunny friend had been hiding. Time to bang on the door and yell "hooty hoo, hooty hoo" like Barney Fife before letting the dogs out.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

last day...


Today was the last day of the women's Bible study that has been meeting at my house since January. Of course, that means cake. I wonder if anthropologists will one day theorize that Christianity was somehow linked to food. The evidence exists. (I'm joking. But we really do eat a lot at our church.)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

no wolves, just crickets


This is pretty much what I experience each spring when the camel crickets make their appearance. It's a sign of the apocalypse, I tell you. These things are the size of small dogs and they live to scare the bejeebers out of me when I walk through the early morning (internal) fog in my bare feet. I have hurled both verbal and physical assaults at them to no avail.

The Cricket Hunter (AKA Nolan) is my last resort. He is an expert at catching them and putting them outside. I know -- if I would kill them, that would end the problem, right? The death penalty is reserved for ants and fleas, of which I have a near-phobic loathing.

This morning, in the laundry room, sometime prior to 6:30 a.m.:


Nolan: (Sigh) "I'm coming."

(Meanwhile, said cricket scampers away, leaving the boy frustrated and with nothing to wrangle. About two minutes later, the cricket returns.)


Nolan: (Sigh) "OK."

(Again, the cricket retreats before the boy arrives.)

Nolan: "What are you? The mom who cried 'cricket'?"

Monday, May 19, 2008

a macro photo and...I'm it


Rachel tagged me. I am so boring. I am confident that after reading this no one will ever tag me again. :)

What I was doing five years ago:

Getting my son ready to start kindergarten in the fall and getting ready for my daughter's last year of elementary school. (We adapt slowly around here.) We were also celebrating our 14th anniversary.

Five things on my to-do list today:

Finish (who am I kidding?) the birthday guide for Upstate Parent magazine, go to the library, re-order our allergy medicines, do school with Nolan and work on a story. There's more, but it's even less interesting than the above list.

Things I would do if I were a billionaire: Do legal aid work for free, but only one day per week; build a "green" house (not the same as a "greenhouse"); finance a spay/neuter clinic and research for a cure; buy annual passes to Walt Disney World and the Louvre and get my money's worth out of both; and spend many lazy days on a beach with my husband.

Five places I have lived: Florence, Columbia, Irmo and Simpsonville -- all in South Carolina.

Five jobs I've had:

Sales clerk, law clerk (see a trend?), lawyer, writer -- Does "mom" count? Yes, let's say it does.

There you have it. What I lack in excitement, I make up for in enthusiasm. I am supposed to tag others, but I'm no good at that. Sign up if you're game...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

springtime in the south





The magnolias are popping out all over.

So are dog noses.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

lazy saturday evening


What does it say about me if I confess that I cleaned out a closet today and found two boxes of sparklers? Scary, I know. But fun.


Friday, May 16, 2008

almost pesto


Patience, grasshopper.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

the fabric stash lives...


My column on Mrs. M's fabric stash is running in this month's WNC Parent.

And the fabric itself is making an appearance in yet another baby gift -- a bib/burp cloth set. One can never have too much pink gingham.

That's a funky 70s tablecloth on top of that stack. I have it pegged for the Tourist Trap skirt in "Sew What Skirts." Of course, we actually use the coordinating napkins so it could make for an awkward moment at the dinner table.


Monday, May 12, 2008

what's one step down from the "sick" waiting room?

That would be when the pediatrician asks you to avoid even the sick kids and ring the bell at the back door. Since taking a picture of my son's whopping case of allergic hives would only serve to provide fodder for the therapist when he reaches middle age, I am instead posting a totally unrelated photo taken by my husband this weekend.

Did you know that dogs love cinnamon scones? They do. See how patient and attentive they are as I enjoy one?


I now return to the ongoing chaos.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

butterflies are arriving



More from yesterday's visit to Roper Mountain Science Center... The butterfly garden is beginning to bloom and the butterflies are starting to take notice. The pond is also blooming -- with lily pads, dragonflies and an assortment of red-eared sliders.

Enjoy -- and Happy Mother's Day to all the moms!





Saturday, May 10, 2008

we dig archeologists


It was Indiana Jones Day at Roper Mountain Science Center. But as the flyer prominently noted, Harrison Ford was not in attendance. You can't have everything.

You can, however, build a dinosaur.


And eat your work...


Then get dirty...





And watch some expert marksmanship in action.


Friday, May 9, 2008

A sneak peek


When school is out or the sun has burned up and left us in total, cataclysmic darkness,  whichever comes first, I am planning to put a few vintage and handmade items for sale in an Etsy shop. Here's a sneak peek of one of the first items to go in the shop: a 1950s-era (I am pretty sure) Swirl wrap dress. Red ric-rac, people. The world would be a better place if we all wore a little red ric-rac. I tried this on and instantly felt the need to add high-heeled pumps and pearls.

Learn more about the Swirl company here.




Thursday, May 8, 2008

Homeschool, part two

As promised, part two of the homeschool saga is online. If you are in South Carolina, please pick up one of the parent magazines noted on the right. You know the drill. :)

And if you are the parent of a child with special needs, you might find this story handy as you plan this summer's vacation. I think the "What's Next?" bag, featured in the story, is pretty darn brilliant.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

dissing the tooth fairy

My son's tooth fell out as he ate a granola bar on the way home from the firefly forest Monday night. Of course, he was prepared since he has a stash of sandwich bags placed in strategic locations for just such an occasion.

Arriving home at some ridiculous hour for a school night, we were all so punchy and tired. As my son brushed his remaining teeth, I popped my head in to ask if he could just leave his tooth in the bag for tonight (giving the Tooth Fairy a much needed 24-hour reprieve) and put it under his pillow Tuesday night.

His response: Could I just give you the tooth in the morning and you just give me the money?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

view from the enchanted forest


We arrived around dusk last night for a long overdue visit to the Firefly Forest. There was enough light for a few pictures before I put the camera away and enjoyed the light show.







We saw one distant glimmer. "There!" "I saw one!"

Soon, there were three or four in the distance, and one flying toward us, emitting a steady, pale blue glow. Within minutes, there were hundreds flying down the hillside, like a mass of Christmas lights stretched among the trees.

These fireflies, Phausis reticulata, are found en masse in only a few places in the southern Appalachians. They live - and light - for only a couple of weeks each spring. But what an impression they leave behind.