Saturday, April 26, 2008

Soaking Up The Sun

Just came in for a second to get something to drink, but I had to share. I'm on cloud nine because of the way we've spent this Saturday morning. Number One Son and I have been working in the yard together.....planting a big bird of paradise my next door neighbor shared and cleaning out a weedy bed. He moved loads of pavers to my potting bench. Then we moved some daylilies and rosemary plants. After everything was mulched and watered we sat on the porch and admired our work. It's the most quality time I've spent with him in a very long time so I'm beaming. Now he's working on the car he bought when he got home. All paid for, no payments; so smart. Can you tell I'm proud of him? He's such a fine, hard-working man; fun to be with, easy to talk to.He's going to make some lucky girl an ideal husband.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Brood

Just wanted to share a picture of my joy.....all four of my children(can I still use that word?) in one place. This is from a ski trip last winter, but hopefully I'll have one to share from this summer if I can catch everyone at home at the same time. The house seems so alive after a very quiet winter. We're going from one at home to all four at home for the summer. I plan to enjoy every minute of this rare pleasure............being a mom isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it's definitely my favorite role.
p.s. left to right are Wes, Lucy, Emily, and Jackson

Extra Special Giveaway

No, it's not me. I've been too busy being a mom again to do anything creative lately. Unless you call being on a first name basis with the cashier at Publix, cooking up a storm, and washing mountains of dishes creative. The giveaway is from Katie of Punkin Doodle Boo. She has fashioned some whimsical wonders from clay and paint that are irresistible. Run, don't walk, and give her a visit.

Baking Mixes

When it comes to baking, I'm a purist. No mixes, artificial ingredients, or Grade B anything. Only the best to be had goes into what I bake. That's the only way it's good enough for my family and worth the time it takes to do it well. The only thing that would make me break that rule is if someone I admire came out with a line of mixes with ingredients that make it taste like it doesn't come from a box. Well, it has happened. Ina Garten of the Barefoot Contessa cooking show on Food Network has baking mixes to die for. Her cookbooks have been on my shelf for years and her show is on our Tivo list, so I knew the mixes would be wonderful. We've tried the ones for brownies and coconut cupcakes with scrumptious results.
I highly recommend them as pantry staples, especially if you get lots of drop in company. I'm stocking up because with all four of my children back home for the summer, everyone is going to be expecting homemade goodies. And as much as I love to bake for them, the pool and book list are calling my name.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Phoenix Holiday

Here we are in Phoenix! The Tapatio Cliffs Resort is beautiful and you really don't have to leave it to have a wonderful holiday, but I have to be exploring so off we go.

The Phoenix Art Museum has an exhibit titled Masterpiece Replayed that explores the phenomenon of french artists repeating themes in their paintings. Works by David, Monet, and Matisse are included so I'm checking that out today.

Next I'm going to Biltmore Park in an old in town neighborhood. It looks charming and I may just ride around and look at houses even though there's great shopping, too.

Tomorrow, Hubby and I are going to the Diamondbacks game in a further attempt to visit every ballpark in the country. The stadium looks fantastic with it's retractable roof for HOT days. Hopefully Tampa Bay is going to build one just like it.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Running Out The Door

We're off again this Phoenix, Arizona this time. The only thing I know for sure we're going to do while we're there is go to the Diamondbacks-Padres game Friday night. There's apparently a fabulous pizza place that was featured on Oprah which might be worth hunting for. Anyone have any other suggestions?
So while I'm gone will you please feed and walk Roxy, water the roses everyday, water the magnolia, and get the mail and newspaper. Thanks! I knew I could count on you.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Shameless Nepotism

This week my sister started a blog in an effort to journal more regularly. What's so difficult about journaling regularly, you ask? Well, take one busy self-employed husband, add six busy home schooled children, mix in one rambling family home and you have the recipe for one busy lady. I especially love the name of her blog: Happy Heart. It comes from the way she encourages her children's attitudes to be (as in, "Go sit on the steps until you have a happy heart.") and she also imposes this restriction on herself. She and her family are so precious to me, so I encourage you to visit her and find out what's going on in her life.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Boys Are Back

Hip, hip, hurrah by Peder Severin Kroyer
Our sons are coming back home for an extended time now that the ski season is winding down. They've been in Utah working at Snowbird Ski Resort since last fall. Hip, hip, hurray! Time to celebrate.

Hello, Dolly!

It's finally here! Lori's Dolly Challenge.Thanks Lori for all the time you put into this fun event. You're so clever to think of this.

Well, here goes.............................
This beauty reminds me of my grandmother because it stood on her piano so we saw her every time we visited. She had several of these Royal Doulton ladies and passed them to her granddaughters. Lucky us! Did you ever play with Betsy McCall paper dolls when you were little? Well, I did and it was always so much fun to get the new magazine and find out what Betsy was up to that month. Here are some Betsy McCall pages from 1957 and 1959.
Just look at this little cutie. She always puts a smile on my face and she's been around for as long as I can remember. Don't you love her poodle? This pair are always together, rain or shine. They were a souvenir brought back from a trip to Asia about 50 years ago and have been little buddies ever since. What a cute couple! This little lady was a prototype for a dolly favor at a baby shower. She's stuffed with rice and dressed in some scraps from another doll project. For some reason I've never had the heart to send her on her way.
And last, but certainly not least, is my number one son's Sock Monkey that was made by a dear neighbor at Lake Burton, Georgia. It is well loved as you can see and I wouldn't dream of putting needle and thread to him to tighten up those seams. We love him just the way he is.
Thanks for visiting! And thanks again, Lori, for a fun day.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Planting Hope

A gardener is the most hopeful person, I read once. It's because they plant a tiny seed knowing that a beautiful, living plant will be the ultimate result of that act. You'll never hear, "Well, here goes nothing. Probably nothing will come up and this is a waste of time." out of them ............Pollyannaism at it's finest. Newly planted Country Time Rose
No, a gardener acts with great faith and optimism knowing that their labor will bear fruit. Here are some pictures of my labor over the weekend. The Country Time rose was a surprise from Mom that came in the mail with two Double Knockout roses. Thanks, Mom! I got them planted along with three other new roses I bought this week to replace some that were beyond hope. Nasturtium Alaska
This nasturtium is a volunteer that reseeded from last year. It's so pretty that I'm leaving it right where it is and planted two more packets of nasturtium seeds in that area of the garden. I think I'll add some Four-O'Clocks and Zinnias to make it a really raucous party.
Knockout Rose
These landscape roses are planted in a place that used to be full of Southern Indica Azaleas. They were under the Laurel Oak we had to have cut down about a month ago. The Magnolia is taking the place of the oak. We have lots of big oak trees and I've never had a good place to put a Magnolia til now, so there it is.....right in front where I can see it every time I drive up. Newly planted Magnolia 'D D Blanchard' to replace diseased Laurel Oak
We are getting some pretty good rain, thank goodness, so as soon as it lets up I'm going to move some day lilies closer to the house and see how the iris are looking. Happy times.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Calling Art Deco Fans

J.C. Leyendecker was a popular American illustrator during the first half of the twentieth century. He produced over 300 pieces for the Saturday Evening Post, Colliers, and Ladies Home Journal to name a few and was famous for the handsome man in his Arrow collar advertisements. The American government hired him to illustrate posters during World War I as did Kellogg's, Ivory soap, and Pierce Arrow automobiles. The style he popularized is still mimicked today by computer game developers and commercial artists. One place to view original oils of Leyendecker's work is the National Museum Of American Illustration in Newport, Rhode Island. In addition to the oil paintings are posters, magazine covers, and advertisements. The monogram J.C. Leyendecker used as his signature is as unmistakable as his monumental Art Deco style.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

It's A Dog's Life

The best place to send your dog on vacation in 2008 is New York City, according to Animal Fair, a magazine for pet owners. New York has the best places to pamper your pooch with dog-friendly hotels and treat them at canine cuisine restaurants. These places offer special doggy beds, gourmet treats, swimming pools, and massages. Some of the hotels have a concierge just for the dogs. If that's not living, I don't know what is.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Don't Be Fooled

Did you believe Burger King developed a left-handed Whopper in 1998? What about the state of Alabama changing the value of Pi? If you think you're easily fooled on April Fools Day, take the Gullibility Test and find out for sure. With questions like, "Turtles never die of old age. True or False?", it shouldn't take long. Oh, and by the way, the Internet will be shut down 24 hours for Spring Cleaning today.