Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Study finds that "green thumbs" actually live happier lives

the redbud flower bed, originally uploaded by brungrrl.

Haha... I'm continuing the "news headlines as blog subjects." I never said they were going to be true...

Here is the follow-up picture of what I got done on Saturday after JT and I got some flowers from Strader's. Click on the photo to go to flickr for more details.

This flower bed is beside our driveway. There are two large evergreen shrubs that take up most of the bed. They are nasty. I trimmed them back pretty good the last time I was outside, so they might be tamed enough to live on another year.

The rest of the bed was pretty much overtaken with weeds. It took longer to dig up weeds than anything else. I added some compost to the soil, planted the stuff, and covered with mulch.

I'm trying to get the candytuft to take off. It is just beautiful when it blooms in a sea of bright white. The rest of the summer it will be a nice dark green. So much of it got scraggly and lost leaves last summer though. I found a few pieces of it growing in random places around the house, so I transplanted those to the front to combine with the new candytuft plants I bought.

If the lemon coral sedum and the little dark-leaf plant would take off, I might really have something nice going there in the way of perennials. And the Gerbera daisy? I just liked it... I will be lucky if it survives any time at all.

The tulips and lilac bushes survived last night... I don't think we got any frost here. They actually looked worse the day before. So I am still enjoying those to the fullest. I love this time of year... there is nothing like all this new growth and showy blossoming!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Family moves outdoors to save on energy bills

New feature on the blog this week. It actually started on Saturday. I'm going to title at least a week's worth of blog posts like news headlines. Only because it's amusing to me. News headlines CRACK me up! I'm not sure about today's headline - I'm a little tired. :-)

The hubs and I are watching Juno. I heard it was good. He seemed skeptical, but rented it anyway. We likey! Lots of good one-liners in this flick. But geesh, childbirth didn't used to make me so emotional.

Speaking of babies, here is the latest pic of me and JT in our 52 weeks series...


Get a good whiff of that lilac bush before tonight's frost does a number on it.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

"Restaurant guest saves toddler from life of dentures"

purple tiny tulip, originally uploaded by brungrrl.

Tonight we entrusted our baby boy to a non-related babysitter and had dinner out with friends. Big night for us, as you can imagine! The sitter (our friends' daughter) was great and even said she'd do it again. Whew, good to know our kid isn't one of those kids who drives sitters away. (At least not yet, I realize it's a slippery slope!)

We ate at a restaurant that we only eat at about once a year because it's such a splurge for us... Basi Italia. We ate outside on the patio. I love this time of year... dining outside is the best.

Several exciting things happened tonight... We were off to the side of the outdoor dining area having drinks and chatting while waiting on our table. We were seated with the guys on one side and girls on the other side of the walkway to the street and front entrance of the restaurant. A toddler girl walked by and was checking us out, as toddlers do. Well, she was so intent on watching us that she didn't notice she was approaching a step down. John's dad-instincts clicked in a flash and he grabbed her just in time.

When I say "just in time", she still suffered a scratch on her ankle, but her face was just inches from the stone walkway when he made contact with her. I barely knew what was going on when I realized what he had done. The little girl's dad came over and got her... she was pretty upset over the whole ordeal. My husband might have won himself some brownie points in my book over this save....

We got seated, had appetizers, devoured our meals, chatted and laughed, and then had coffee and desserts. Keep in mind as I tell this next part, my friend Becka is NOT one to act squeamish or get freaked out over silly things. After we finished dessert, she was looking just over Jenny's shoulder and said, "OH MY... YOU GUYS." And she stopped. "THERE IS A RAT OVER THERE." Just as I looked up, I saw a little pointy-nosed, white-faced creature pop up in the shrubbery by the fence. LOL! It's not a RAT... it's a possum! And a baby possum, no less!

This restaurant is small... the patio area is small. It's like dining in your neighbor's back yard. So when someone says "a rat"... 6 tables full of people look up! And as baby possums will do before they learn to fear people, this one decided to get a closer look at the crowd. So he walked around the perimeter of the fence (as we all raised our feet) and headed toward the kitchen. Just as the waitress shewed him the other way, a lady at the next table let out a shriek. Her date had accidentally touched her leg and obviously, her first thought was "POSSUM!!"

Fabulous night out... I'm still smiling. Happy outdoor dining season to all!


Last night we went for a walk and then watched the sun set from the front porch. JT is eating up the views of the neighborhood and swinging at the park. I snapped this pic of one of the tulips while we were out there.

This morning when the sun came out briefly in between rains, JT and I went to the nursery and bought a few plants. Mainly I wanted to fill in some bare spots with more candytuft and dianthus. But while I was there, I picked up a couple other things for a little spot where I previously had mums.

Now I am out there weeding and preening the flower beds. I just spent an hour digging the weeds out of the bed under the redbud tree and planting the new things.

My compost bin has been a bit neglected over the past year. I was afraid I had ruined it. I know - how can one "ruin" compost?! But I was afraid maybe it got too dry last summer. I did some digging in the bin this morning and found a treasure trove of good stuff! I dug to the bottom and got some material to fortify the soil where I planted my new stuff. (I'll have to get some pictures and post what I got... can't remember the names of it all right now.)

Have I mentioned how easy composting is? Here it is in 5 simplified steps:

  1. Drill drainage holes in the bottom of a large, lidded trash can.
  2. Put some soil in the bottom. This should be some rich soil that likely has the bacteria you'll need to start making compost.
  3. Throw in a layer of dry stuff (carbon matter like dried leaves)
  4. Throw in a layer of moist stuff (grass clippings, fruit peels, egg shells, vegetable stems, etc.) [REPEAT steps 3 & 4]
  5. Water the heap and stir sometimes.

Oh sure, there is some more to it... I'll probably have to do another post on it sometime. Until then, here is a list of resources from the library if you're interested in finding out more.

I think the rain might have stopped altogether... I'm heading back out!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

it gets done

in the produce aisle, originally uploaded by brungrrl.

JT and I went for a walk tonight. We've been doing that every night that it's nice out. I really can't imagine staying inside with him. We usually end up at the swings - he loves swinging.

Tonight we cruised around the neighborhood though. I wish I'd worn better shoes, he was so chilled out and relaxed. He kept pulling himself up to look around better. He likes to throw a hand up and wave at cars, people, shrubbery. And if we pass someone working in their yard, he stares at them until they're completely out of sight. I love a curious baby... even if it means I have to keep a constant eye on him.

John stayed behind and mowed the yard. I looks lovely, darling.

After some dinner, John and JT headed for the bath and I went to the grocery store. That's how I operate... solo on a week night when the grocery store isn't crowded. Lordy, gas and groceries are so expensive right now!

I got JT a couple things at Old Navy today. The clothes for me were a disappointment. I did try on one shirt that I really liked at the top. But it was short and boxy. I left there thinking, "I can make that." And then, "I want to make that." And then, "Heck, if I make one and it turns out, I'll probably want to make a few more." And then I thought, "Wonder if I can make a sleeveless shirt out of fine wale corduroy?" Ok, so that thought train derailed a bit!

So I may try to insert this project ahead of the other sewing projects on my list. We'll see... I could really use the other projects for sewing practice before I start making clothes.

How was your Thursday?

Monday, April 21, 2008

funny baby

funny baby, originally uploaded by brungrrl.

This sweet baby has a runny nose and congestion. I feel so bad for him. I lathered up his chest with Vick's Baby Rub. Man, that stuff smells good. I scooped out way more than he needed just so I could smear the extra on me. Way better than regular vapo rub, this has lavender and eucalyptus... total aromatherapy.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


LO: I , originally uploaded by brungrrl.

This year I am all about Mother's Day. I've pretty much thought it was a made-up holiday (like Sweetest Day) every other year. But last summer I spent a good 8-12 weeks thinking HOW did the women who came before me get through this with such grace?!

Motherhood hit me like a semi-truck. I think God pretty much delivers little babies with a special blend of hormones, emotion, and loud crying designed to instill the the parents with the deepest understanding of what their miracle means.

So, I decided last summer that this year I would definitely do some special things for my mom and grandmothers. I finished my mom's gift last weekend and I couldn't wait to give it to her. So she got it yesterday, along with an overnight visit from me and JT. Since it's been delivered, I can share it here. Maybe, you'll be inspired to do something special for your mom this year? (Allow me to remind you how often you needed fed, diapered, bathed, rocked, and snuggled 24 hours a day those first few months of your life!)

This album is from I picked it up at the Memories Expo a couple weeks ago. I like this album because it's heavy, durable chipboard. Oh, and I also liked that it says "Nana" which is what JT calls my mom (or he will when his vocabulary expands beyond uh-oh). Lots of paper, glue, paint, and sanding went into this book. Not really any special techniques... I tried to keep it simple in design and light in content. Lots of stickers on this bad boy!

My favorite piece is the page that says, "My nana makes the best fried chicken" with a photo of Mom holding a bucket of KFC! Check it out here.

frosty times

Frosty Times, originally uploaded by brungrrl.

JT and I spent the night at my mom's house. He had a fabulous day playing with Nana! She has a blow-up globe that is bigger than he is... he played with that all over the place. He also spent a lot of time playing peak-a-boo with Nana. Good times.

When he went to bed, I got some time with my mom. She teaches digital scrapbooking classes. How convenient, I'm a digital scrapbooker! lol. Can you believe we've never sat down and done anything together? Sometimes she helps me out with phone support when I need to know how to do something, but that's been the extent of it.

So this weekend, she taught me how to make eyelets, buttons, metal frames, etc. And I learned a few useful things like transferring layers between files and how to draw a perfect circle.

Now I can take my digi-scrappin' to a whole new level. This page was my practice page for learning stuff. So after all the training I applied my new skills by finishing it up and adding embellishments. Pay close attention to all those eyelets... don't they look real? And can you believe I didn't even need a crop-a-dile?!

Friday, April 18, 2008

on the move

Two things to report: Flickr now has video. AND... JT can crawl!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

if you like trolls...

I'm in my pajamas, eating turtle cheesecake. Ahh, a moment of peace. I know - it is completely contrary to the weight goals I posted last week. I'm still working on those, just indulging a little today.

My friend Sarah is off to Australia for 5 weeks, so tonight was her bon voyage party at the Chocolate Cafe. We are going to miss her and be very envious of her traveling gypsy ways. And no blog for us. Can you believe there is no internet access in the outback?!

On Sunday I watched a show on PBS that was awesome. I'm sure there are plenty of shows on PBS that I rarely watch that are excellent. I had tuned in for Artzine and this documentary came on right afterwards. It's called The World Was Ours. It is about an amazing community of Jewish people in pre-World War II Lithuania. I didn't get to see the whole thing, so I will be watching for it to air again.

They interviewed people telling of their memories of Vilna. One lady was remembering that as a child, when she was sick, her mother would put a pillow on her lap and place her on the pillow. She'd pull the little girl close to her and sing Yiddish lullabies to her. The lady said she always wished to be sick so she could have her mother sing to her.

Oh! My eyes are welling up right now. Isn't that the most heart-wrenching story? I thought, her mother must have been so busy that only when her kids were sick did she have time to sing to them. I have to remember to slow it down and make time for those little moments with my boy.

And speaking of mothers, my mom brought us back a little present from Florida after Easter. It's the three billy goats gruff and the troll under the bridge. I'm pretty much in love with it. I love the colors, the size of the troll, and how he just blends right into the hillside. It has some meaning attached to it also... recently we discovered that my dad is pretty good at making up stories for kids. Unfortunately, all the stories involve goats, trolls, and a gruesome scene.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

9 months

Just a quick post to tell you that JT is nine months old today! It also means that I've had 9 months to lose the weight I gained in that same amount of time. Well, I am within three pounds. I'm gonna go ahead and be pretty pleased with that and just keep working on it. My fat to muscle ratio is certainly not the same because three pounds is not going to get me back into my old pants. So... more cardio, more yoga, and maybe some chasing of a toddler soon...

John took today off so he and JT could have a play date. They played some new games they made up. Apparently JT made some good attempts at crawling today, too.

JT had his check-up with the doctor today. He is 20.3 pounds and 29 inches tall. He got one shot and did not cry. He puckered, gave the medical assistant a sneer, but did not cry! The doctor also spied an incisor coming in on his top row of teeth.

For the third night this week, we went for a walk. JT just jabbers and waves (only at vans). Pretty much everything he did tonight I thought was the cutest thing I'd ever seen. I gave him a teething biscuit to munch on while we ate our dinner. He loved it. He held onto it with a death grip and cried when John tasted a bite of it. LOL! Possessive much?

We took some pictures and videos tonight, but I'll have to post another time. I'm too tired to download them tonight.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Saturday, documented

Saturday was "document your day". I think I faded out on taking photos in the afternoon. I want to do a scrapbook page about it... we'll see if I get to it! I am halfway through writing down what happened yesterday. I am stalled out because I can't remember what we did in the evening. lol!

But in brief for the blog... here's what Saturday looked like:

JT and I played for 3 hours Saturday morning. Geesh, he sure gets up early! 6:30am, just like the weekdays. Here he is almost figuring out that the ball goes in the hole at the top of the treehouse. He is just catching onto cause and effect with some of his toys. It's amazing to watch.
When John got up, I showered and met up with Ellen and Amber (and kiddies) at the Hilliard baby stuff sale. Love this event! We stood in line so we could get in on the action from the opening bell.

Here is the crowd inside the gymnasium. JT didn't go with me because it opened right at his nap time. Since he won't nap in the stroller, I did the event without him.

That probably worked out in his favor though, look at the pile of stuff I got him! I can't even begin to tell you how excited I was over these toys. Everything you see here cost me $33. For some perspective, the octopus alone is about $25-30. Hopefully these toys are high on imagination and low on lead.

And here is something I saw on the way home. Not something you see every day... a life-size doll on the corner! She was advertising for Little Darlings, a second-hand store trying to get the attention of the folks leaving the sale. Oh, trust me... I like Little Darlings store also!

Here's where the day gets away from me... we went to the YMCA and signed up for a membership. We took JT swimming in a COLD pool. We got chocolate dipped strawberry blizzards on the way home. JT took a nap. John went to work for a while. I cleaned the yard sale bounty and took a nap. When John got home we scrounged for leftovers for dinner. JT was in a crabby mood because of his teeth. He and John cuddled and read books. He isn't usually a cuddler, so this was some precious time. I sorted through about 2 weeks of mail. (I've been on a bit of a postal strike.)

After JT's bath, we retired to the man cave. We watched Michael Clayton and I started a craft project. I went to bed early for a Saturday night because I knew the weather was going to be good today and I didn't want to miss any of the fun!

Ok... will have to tell Sunday stories another time. Ta-ta for now.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

this baby...

baby in the toy bin, originally uploaded by brungrrl.

...this baby got me up at 6:30am
...this baby has the most infectious smile
...this baby gets more attitude every day
...this baby played with me all morning
...this baby is growing way too fast
...this baby went swimming today
...this baby got a bunch of new toys today
...this baby eats like it's going out of style
...this baby makes kiss noises and zerberts
...this baby reaches for me
...this baby is the center of my world
...this baby can whistle
...this baby is going for a walk when he wakes
...this baby has been asleep for over 2 hours
...this baby needs to wake up.
I miss him.

Friday, April 04, 2008

livin' in a powder keg

Powder Keg embossing powders, originally uploaded by brungrrl.

Last post about the expo, I promise. I totally fell in love with these embossing powders. The colors are delicious... I could eat them up!

The booth was Powder Keg Embossing Powders. They custom blend their colors. So each container is actually a carefully crafted blend of color. The kit comes with three coordinating blends. And coordinating glitter. And matching fibers. And Ritzy Ditzy Glitz... and everyone loves glitz, right?

I embossed a few practice pieces, but hopefully I'll have a full project done with these embossing powders to show soon.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

the games scrappers play

So I mentioned that we had a little crop at Jenny's house last Friday. She found an idea for a game in a magazine. I think the magazine was Scrapbook Play. The game was a lot like the poker game, Craps.

Each scrapper rolls the dice. Whatever number you get, that's how many items you can use on your layout aside from your photos, journaling, and adhesive. Each piece of paper counts, inking the edges of your paper counts as one, and each embellishment is one. There are "bonus points" awarded if you can use the name of the roll in your title or journaling (for example, double 1s is "snake eyes"... yeah right, try to fit that into your family scrapbook!)

So I rolled a 7, a natural. The photos I was scrapping were these pics of JT that Carol took for us when JT was wee little (like 3-4 weeks old). I had a picture of his little toes and a picture of his little hand clutched around one of our fingers.

Here is the resulting page:

LO: Natural Boy

Journaling reads, "JT... you were more beautiful than we had ever dreamed you could be. You had bright, alert eyes that melted our hearts day after day. OH! How we love you!"

My 7 items:
  1. Background cardstock
  2. Letter punch-outs
  3. Needed an extra "A", so I had to use another piece of paper. (Snap!)
  4. Frame for the large photo
  5. Paper behind small photos
  6. "BOY" die cut
  7. Inked edges of layout
And I get bonus points because I used "natural" in my title! Scrapbooking is fun again!! haha!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

scrap happy

I'm Scrap Happy, how 'bout you?, originally uploaded by brungrrl.

I attended the Memories Scrapbooking Expo last Saturday. My mom, JT, and Jenny all went together. We were limited a bit by JT's nap schedule, so we only saw a few booths.

One of the best booths with all the hippest and coolest stuff was Scrap Happy. And I'm not just saying that because I'm biased! Jenny's cousin Susie is the owner. You might remember, we attended a crop sponsored by Scrap Happy at the beginning of March. There's another one coming up in October... sign up now!

Anyhow... pictured are a few of my purchases. Seems a bit colorless, eh? I'm going to get into these acrylic albums, really I am. I'm still thinking about exactly what I want to do with them. And I like this set because it has some smaller pieces I can play with on other pages to get a feel for it.

Jenny handed me the velvet thickers. She pretty much made me buy them. lol. It's cool... I like them. I can see them on a really rich background color... wouldn't they just POP? Like a rich red Christmas layout with a creamy velvet title. Yum. And if I start running out of letters, I'll go scrap with Jenny since she has the same set.

The chipboard birds were an impulse buy. I like birds, ok? Back off!

I don't think my mom gets it about the scrapbooking obsession. She just shakes her head. "So how much were those stickers?" "They're velvet? Is that why you like them?" "So what do you do with these clear things?"

Being the techie-nana that she is, she understands the lure of digital scrapbooking much better... :-)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Trés Jolie

I have a project to share.

LO: Trés Jolie minibook

Last Friday, while scrappin' with my über cool gal-pal, Jenny... I finished this little minibook. It's made of Starbucks coffee sleeves. Making mini-scrapbooks is kind of addicting. I already feel like I need another one of these books for my purse with more current photos in it.

If you want to know how to make it and see more details of all the pages, check out the Trés Jolie minibook photoset on Flickr.

Here's a video from Fiskars demonstrating another way to make an album out of coffee sleeves...

More to come this week about our Friday night crop and the Scrapbooking expo.


JT and I caught a little bit of the evening news tonight. I was checking in on email and he was playing on the floor... with a book.

Here is Colin Powell with some thoughts on dropout rates in high schools across the country:

I love that he links reading to your kids and graduating from high school. I like that he links education and the future of our economy. And I like that he doesn't think we need more money to make it happen. We need to be more involved with our own kids and in the community.

Plus, I'm not really feeling like an 81% graduation rate in suburban high schools is good enough myself. Ouch.