Friday, May 29, 2009

Hurricane Me

Check out the hurricane names for the upcoming hurricane season. Look at "M." Do we ever get the the "M"s during hurricane season? Can't wait to see those headlines!

Also, Yummy Mommy has challenged her followers to do one random act of kindness today and then report back to her. I actually like to practice the random-act-of-kindness/pay-it-forward type philosophy. Just recently our neighbors made us some mojitos and brought them over. We loved the drink so much that we immediately went out and bought the supplies to make more. Then, we made mojitos for our other neighbors. They, in return, sent some homemade meatballs over for us to enjoy. We (the neighbors) do this stuff often actually.

So, now to think of one random act of kindness or hope that an opportunity presents itself.

Monday, May 25, 2009

If You Give Your Husband Some Grapes

Yep - Dear Husband makes his own wine. While I am a big fan now, this took some getting used to. The first batch that he ever made was started in the basement and bottled at his brother's house. I wanted nothing to do with it. I mean, I felt like we were freakin' makin' moonshine out of our house. Then, Dear Husband bottled the wine. Then he brought it to give away as a hostess gift at a New Year's party (mortifying). Low and behold - he was the talk of the party. Everyone was interested in his wine. Who knew?

This time, I agreed that he could start a bigger batch and house it in our kitchen in the 5 gallon drum.

I feel like this whole process is like that book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

So, here is my version of making wine, written in the story style of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

If you give Dear Husband some grapes, then he is going to want to make wine out of it.

If you let him make wine then he is going to ask for some wine bottles.

If you give him some wine bottles (thanks neighbors) then he is going to want to rinse them.

If you let him rinse the bottles then he is going to want to super-wash and sterilize them.
If you let him wash and sterilize the bottles then he is going to want to fill them.

If you let him fill the bottles then he is going to want to cork them.

If you let him cork the bottles of wine then he is going to want to store them.

If you let him store the wine then he is going to want Napmom to create some cool labels for them. (I'm working on that part.)

If you let him label them, then he is going to want to... drink it all?????

Funny story = I told complained to Dear Husband that this is the most redneck thing I have ever done. Then we started talking about the corker machine (pictured above). He said that it reminded him of the machine that you use to make bullets. He was kinda saying this in a way the insinuated that I wouldn't know what he was talking about. I assured him that I had, in fact, made bullets before and I knew what the machine was like. He replied, "Oh really? You've made bullets? Then this is far from the MOST redneck thing that you have ever done... I mean... if you have made bullets before." Whatever.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

a budding photographer

The farmers who sell tomatoes on the side of the road take credit cards.

The farmers at the farmers market take credit cards.

The people who make a living off of selling strawberries to the public at their farm, only take cash.

While Lulu and I were waiting for Dear Husband to get back with some c-a-s-h, she took some pictures with my new camera. Here are here pictures that she captured herself. My only regret is that I was not able to take pictures of her capturing these photos, because it was priceless.

She took this picture using the preset mode for taking pictures of small items such as flowers.

She crouched down into a field of 3 foot high grass to get this perspective.

Notice these next two pictures.
Barn #1. The grass is in focus but the barn is blurry.

Barn #2. The barn is in focus but the grass is blurry this time. She did this on purpose. She wanted these two different effects for the two different shots. Okay, this is a concept that I didn't grasp till about... 6 months ago.

I want to start a flickr photostream for Lulu's pictures. It seems that you have to set it up with a yahoo e-mail address? Is that correct? Am I missing something? I know that I don't have to actually use the yahoo e-mail address, but it just seems ridiculous to have to use their web address to set up the account. I must be missing something.

Strawberry Fields

Friday night, Dear Husband hinted that he wanted to go pick some strawberries. Knowing that (1) this would be a fun family event and (2) Lulu needed a berry picture for the scavenger hunt, I immediately got on the internet to see what our options were.

I found that a local farm sells U-pick strawberries. They recommend that you call before you come. Their Saturday hours are usually from 8-noon. However, when I called, the recording said that they would probably sell out long before noon. We piled into the car and arrived to the farm at 9:45 a.m. I am glad that we rushed to get to the farm, since they were turning customers away by 10:15. Yikes!

Some of us picked strawberries.

Some of us ate strawberries.

And Napmom (not pictured - cause I won't let anyone use my new toy camera) took pictures, picked strawberries, AND watched the baby... kinda.
In the end, we came home with two large boxes...

of pretty and yummy strawberries...
... and one messy baby. By the way, here is a little plug for Shout stain remover. Thanks to Shout's stain fighting abilities, Bro's shirt is now sparkly white again. When in doubt, Shout it out. It works every time.
We had great fun.
What is your best stain remover secret? Do you Shout it out or do you know of something better, "greener," cooler?

Let Maryland See Your Smile: Mission 12

Captured another picture for the photo scavenger hunt.

Mission: Picking berries in a field. 5 points.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Let Maryland See Your Smile: Missions 1-11

Took the new camera out today and captured some pictures for the summer scavenger hunt, sponsored by Lulu's orthodontist.

Photographer's Note: It's a new camera. Go easy on me. I'm still shooting in "auto." Someday I will figure out how to use all of the fancy buttons.

The scavenger requirements are divided into missions. These are the missions that we accomplished today. Participants are encouraged to "be creative."

Mission: On a merry-go-round. 4 points.

Mission: On a store "quarter" ride. 7 points.

Mission: A uniformed policeman or security guard. 5 points.

Mission: A garden gnome with a red hat. 5 points. (See it? In the square to the top right of Lulu's head? This will be our back-up picture for this mission.)

Mission: A black poodle. 3 points.

... and the tag to prove it. (See? It says, "black poodle" on the tag.)

Mission: A mannequin. 3 points. Must be imitating the pose of the mannequin. 4 point bonus if in store front window.

Mission: In a photo booth. 4 points.

Mission: At a "Ritas." 3 points.

Mission: A yellow car or truck. 3 points.

Mission: Library. 5 points.

Mission: A fire hydrant. 2 points.

11 missions accomplished to date. These were the easy ones. "A live chicken" will probably be the most difficult to accomplish.
I hope that your weekend has been off to as wonderful of a start as ours has.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Follow Me and Everything Will Be Alright

Napmom had to remove the "Follow Me" widget from her blog page because it was wreaking havoc on my life. Apparently, I am not the only person with this problem. The good news is that the blog is accessible now. Maybe this is why I haven't been receiving very many comments.

Milk Allergy and Pets

Milk allergy. Confirmed. From what the doctor can tell, from his blood work, Bro has a slight milk allergy. We are taking him to an allergist for more testing.

Dog. I was almost attacked by a vicious dog the other day. I mean really… what do you do… I was walking along with my dog on a leash and I had my baby Bro (in a stroller) and Lulu with me… Did I mention that my dog was on a leash? And some other idiot had his dog (a Collie) off of the leash and his dog started harassing my dog and my dog started to growl back and then it escalated and the teeth were showing and then I was putting myself in the midst of this mess to keep my dog under control but then I realized that my dog might get confused and bite my leg off instead of biting the head of the other dog… all the while the other’s dog’s owner was just standing there (still with his dog OFF of the leash) watchin’ this all go down?

We tried to walk out of the way (the aforementioned collie just kept harassing us).

What would you do? I’m not kidding? My dog was being harassed and the other guy did nothing.

Did I mention that my precious dog was on his leash?

Dear irresponsible pet owner,

Walk your dog on his leash.
Smoking is a bad habit.
I think that you were drunk too.

Napmom – practically perfect in every way (at least, that's what my Grandma tells me)

13 Things that I Plan to Do Between Now and Monday

1. Renew my driver’s license
2. Run to the Girl Scout store. Quite a hike as it is all the way up in North Baltimore.
3. Find new letterboxes.
4. Make my personal letterbox stamp.
5. Take Lulu to a local clay store to make a Father’s Day gift with the scouts.
6. Check on the letterbox that we hid together.
7. Go see Night at the Museum: Smithsonian
8. Buy some summer clothes for Lulu.
9. Take some pictures for her summer scavenger hunt.
10. Learn how to use my new camera.
11. Finish the photo album for Lulu’s Girl Scout friend who is moving across the country.
12. Go to the zoo.
13. ??? Relax.???

Yeah – a 4-day weekend. I hope that you are having fun. The weather should be nice here on the East Coast. Camping did not work out but, as you can see, what have lots of fun stuff to take its place.

Are you letterboxing yet? Good times! You should try it.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Some Long Overdue Book Opinions

I read Rattled. It was a recommendation from Matt. I started reading Matt's blog shortly after Madeline's birth and well before he was made famous by Oprah, People magazine, and others. Session was over. I was looking for something lite and fun. Matt recommended Rattled. I bought it; I had just been through 3 months of misery. I think that I deserved it. Why am I explaining this - sorry?

Rattled is a get-it-from-the-library book. Read just for the fun of it. It is the true life experience of becoming a single-mom. The author is also a blogger for Glamour magazine (if I remember correctly).

The book was okay and worth the read if you are looking for something lite.

You can read other blog reviews on the book as well. Plenty of others have really enjoyed the book.

Personally, Rattled totally reminded me of Emily Giffin's style of writing. I loved, loved, loved Giffin's Something Borrowed series. It started with Something Borrowed and continued with Something Blue (much like Rattled, but better - in my opinion) and then Love the One You're With. If you are looking for lite girlie books (but not trashy) then Giffin's books are great. I tore right through them when I first got them... a few years ago.

p.s. If you are my neighbor and the least bit interested in these books then I am happy to loan them to you. Thanks again for the mojitos!

Twilight. Yes. I was pulled into the love life of high school vampires. Lulu's peers are reading the book and she wanted to read it. I told her that I had to read it first. There is a bit of controversy as to whether Twilight is appropriate for tweens. I chose to let her read book 1. Whatever. That was my decision. I don't really have trouble with the specifics of the book but the main female character is far too infatuated with her vampire boyfriend for my taste. Lulu is about halfway though the book now. I hope to have some impromptu discussions about the book when she is finished. I'd like to get her take on some of the actions of the main female character.

My opinion? I'm torn actually. I read book two - New Moon - in about a week (see below). The Twilight books are fun and easy reads, but I just can't get emotionally dedicated to a high school vampire's love life. Sorry folks. Having said that, I will read books 3 and 4 because... everyone else loves these books and I have to be in-the-know too.

Update: As of this post, Lulu is reading another book that she got from the school book fair - can't remember the name of the book though.

New Moon. New Moon is Episode 2 of the Twilight (vampire) series. New Moon was given to me as part of my Mother's Day gift from my mom. My mom ran into Lulu and her dad at the bookstore. Lulu suggested that mom buy me the New Moon book for Mother's Day - knowing that I would have to read it before she would be permitted to read it. hmmmmm...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dress Code

It seems that upper management is considering permitting us to wear flip-flops thong sandals in the office as well as professional shorts on Mon/Thur/Fri days that we are least likely to run into MGA members.

OK - there is some controversy surrounding the difference between a thong sandal and a flip-flop. However, when are shorts (no matter how professional) appropriate for the office?

Are men going to be permitted to wear the shorts too? Like these guys on Wall Street. Hah.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Odds and Ends

Here are some other pictures on my camera that need to be shared.

Bro touched his first snake. It's a worm snake apparently.

Lulu got a glimpse too.

Bro likes garlic butter. (yuck)

Lulu learned to do this dishes. Sweet! Why didn't we think of this before?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Farmer's Market... finally

I finally made it to the local Farmer's Market. It was worth the trip. The Farmer's Market is open every Saturday from sun up 7:00 a.m. till I can't remember exactly about noonish.

I had been forewarned that there isn't much produce this time of year. Still, I had a great time.

Check out these apples gourds apple gourds. Apparently you can paint them and keep them as decorations or even make a bird house out of them.

Toad houses, in case you are wondering.

The local Horticulture Society had lots of plants and herbs to choose from.

This guy (not pictured) is a beekeeper and had a honey stand. Look closely at his stand for the Visa/Master Card sign. These guys take credit cards. Who knew?

Bro had to have his blood drawn today so mommy got him an oatmeal cookie for breakfast.

More herbs from a local farmer.

Oh sweet heaven - they sell coffee. I was told that the beans are not grown locally (DUH - I'm glad they cleared that up for me), but they are ground and packaged locally. This farmer also had tea available and the herbs for the tea were, according to him in fact, grown on his farm.

More flowers and plants from local farmers.

After the Farmer's Market, we hopped over to Fairy Grandmother's house. Bro ate some banana while we waited for her to come back from the gym...

... and we kept Dear Husband company while he prepared Fairy Grandmother and Luvs2Boat's boat for the Blue Angels' flyover.

Conclusion: Loved, loved, loved the Farmer's Market. Will go back again. Can't wait for some local produce to arrive (tomato, fruits, yum).