Monday, August 31, 2009

One Less Thing.

Every time I take a walk with the boys, we walk by a tree bearing these cool seed pods scattered around it's base.  

And as my boys will tell you, every time I can't resist picking one up and carrying it with me the rest of the walk.  I then obsessively wonder (out loud, over and over) what kind of tree it is.

It's a sweetgum.

Googled it today and finally solved the tree mystery.  That's one less thing I do not know.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Another Anniversary of My 29th Birthday.

Just celebrated yet another anniversary of my 29th birthday.  That was the year I stopped saying my age out loud, the year we added the question mark candles onto my birthday cake, the year I really started to hate birthdays and getting older.

But year after year, they keep coming around.  My father tries to tell me it's a good thing I am around to celebrate another year.  And I know he's right. 

The boys, however, love to celebrate my day.  They picked out a birthday cake for me, surprised me with flowers and played "Happy Birthday" for me on the piano.  Friends and family emailed and called to wish me a nice day as well.  I have to admit, it was a good day.

Wine made it even better.   

In honor of my birthday, my husband chose this week's "Cheap Wine with a Pretty Label".

Cupcake is a very nice Merlot bottled by Cupcake Vineyards.  It falls under my $10.00 maximum by one cent at $9.99.  I love the label--pretty and girly and swirly.  I love the website as well, fresh and clean.  But most of all, I love their tagline: "Live Deliciously".  And I think that's the way I am going to enter this next year of my life--by living deliciously.  

I'll let you know how that works out.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

We Made It.

It's official.  We made it through our first week of the 2009-2010 school year.  And despite all my worrying, everything worked out great.  The boys have easily adjusted to the change.  They've made many new friends and the younger two have pretty much forgotten they ever attended another school.  I would never have thought I would be able to say that 3 days into the year.  No tears or screaming or boys being angry with me for this decision.   In fact, I'm hearing a lot more "please and thank you" and otherwise respectful words out of their mouths this week.

Keeping my fingers crossed for a great school year!

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Teacher That Changed My Life.

It was a complete fluke I ever ended up in Evelyn Askey's high school art class.  I suppose I can thank Kelli, my 8th grade best friend, for that twist of fate.  Sitting next to her filling out my 9th grade class schedule, I needed an elective.  Kelli chose art.  So I chose art.  You don’t know how many times I wonder where I’d be now if she had chosen agriculture instead.

Ms. Askey was one of those teachers that truly loved every part of her job.  She was passionate about art and sharing it with her students.  She took us on field trips to art galleries, she arranged tours of artist’s studios.  She cried when Georgia O’Keefe died.  She cared about the art community and she cared about her students.  She cared about teaching.  And we all knew it.

But most importantly, she believed in us.  And having someone believe in you, that you can do something, that you can be someone, is a very empowering gift.  Knowing what I wanted to do with my life and having such passion for it, made every other part of my life easier. I worked harder not just in art class, but in all of my classes.  Art club became my life, art class was my reason to get up in the morning.  I asked for extra assignments, I stayed after school.  I carried a sketchbook everywhere I went.  I wrote advertisements for school dances, sold donuts to earn money for an art club trip to New York City.  And I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Me and Ms. Askey at my high school graduation.  That's my Gramma in the background in the top photo.

Ms. Askey encouraged me to work harder, get better, do more.  She submitted my artwork to national competitions where I won blue ribbons and gold keys.  And with her help,  I earned a scholarship to a college I would have never been able to attend otherwise.  She wrote me letters of encouragement the first year I was away.  Letters which I will cherish forever.  

Sadly, she passed away a few years ago.  And when the news let out that she was dying, I hear she received an outpouring of letters from her students.  All thanking her for changing their lives, and encouraging her to somehow beat the cancer she was battling.  You better believe I had a letter in that pile and I was grateful to have had the chance to let her know how much she meant to me.  

Every day of my life I am grateful I walked into that art room.  Every single day.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Can Tell That We Are Gonna Be Friends.

“fall is here, hear the yell

back to school, ring the bell

brand new shoes, walking blues

climb the fence, book and pens

i can tell that we are gonna be friends”


My sons started school today.  Scratch that.  After 7 years, my sons began a new school today.  With much preparation, they all seem to be fine and are actually very excited about the change.  Me?  Well, I’ve been a bundle of nerves for a week, I can’t do anything today but wonder how they are doing.  Frankly, I’m counting down the minutes until I pick them up this afternoon to see how their day went.

Academically, my boys will be fine.  It's the friend thing I always worry about.  School is so much easier when you have a good friend by your side.  So throughout this nerve wracking morning, my favorite back to school song plays over and over in my head.

I can’t help but hope that my little guy finds a new friend like the one in the song.  Someone to chase ants and worms with.

And that my middle son finds a partner in crime, someone to share a giggle with.  There’s nothing like listening to his infectious laugh.

My oldest?  He’s the one I worry about the most.  I pray he can find a friend or two that he feels comfortable around.  I hope his year is filled with good things and people that are kind to him.  A true friend or two to play video games with, ski with, confide in.  And I truly hope he comes home with plans for a sleepover in the immediate future.


“…and when i wake tomorrow i'll bet

that you and i will walk together again

cause i can tell that we

are going to be friends

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

15 hours and 13 minutes.

That’s all that’s left of the summer of 2009 at our house.  And we must have had too much fun around here, because it went by entirely too fast.

We made many wonderful memories this summer.  Here are the ones I remember the most:

  1. Celebrated my middle guys 9th birthday this summer.  A birthday that will go down as the year I locked the entire family out of the house (and car) on the way to his birthday dinner. I will never hear the end of this.  Never.
  2. Sleepovers anyone?  The boys slept over, had sleep overs, slept in each other's rooms.  They were nomads.
  3. After 17 years, the washer finally gave out.  This was the year I entered the 20th century and bought the front loader.  For the record I miss the old machine terribly.
  4. It was a life changing summer.  Decided to spend our life living life and not living in the car.  We walked to get ice cream, rode bikes to get lunch and drove 2 miles to the pool instead of 30.
  5. This was the year our youngest was old enough to join his brothers on the swim team.  And also the year our new team beat the old team.
  6. My baby lost his first tooth this summer.  How can that be?
  7. We made wonderful new friends and kept the old ones.
  8. We watched old friends move out of town and in turn, gained a new city to visit.
  9. Coldstone Creamery makes cupcakes.  Big discovery this summer.
  10. Business was good the summer of 2009.  Received recognition from Martha Stewart, completed my first official celebrity order, worked with clients in Australia, Canada and the U.K.  Saw my work in a magazine.  Awesome, awesome, awesome.
  11. This was the year Michael Jackson passed away.  And my hard rock music lover son discovered pop wasn’t so bad after all.  Still working on that moon walk.
  12. Got to see the inside of a toll booth this summer.  Really could have gone without that experience.
  13. We became a family with an overpriced and never used basketball hoop at the end of our driveway.
  14. Learned how to play ghosts in the graveyard and stayed up until midnight playing it.
  15. We didn’t go to the beach this summer.  And that was okay.
  16. Our family ate our body weight in hamburgers, mini corn dogs and ice cream sandwiches.  We drank soda.  Bed times no longer existed.  We got up late and there were days the boys never changed out of their pajamas.  We didn’t always collect the mail.   The boys played too many video games and watched too many movies.  We ate candy and didn’t always brush our teeth.   We relaxed.
And it was the best summer ever.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Kid in the Middle of the Class.

Two more days and school starts back up for the boys.  Thinking about them returning has caused me to reflect on my own school days.  I couldn't resist digging up old photos of myself at their respective ages.

Yikes!  Look at the hair in 6th grade.  All of middle school was tough for me, actually.  I wasn’t the smartest,  I wasn’t the prettiest,  I wasn’t the funniest and I admit I certainly wasn’t the nicest.  Heaven knows I wasn’t athletic.  Last one picked in gym class?  Always me.   Growing up in middle school, I always felt like I was just…there.  Not really noticed, not really important.  I was just there. 

If you’re a teacher, chances are you have a student like me in your class.  Not a trouble maker, so you won’t need to dedicate time watching their every move.  Not a genius or a brown noser, so they won’t stand out or draw attention to themselves.  There will be a kid in your classroom that will do average work, follow the rules, and won’t cause you any trouble.  They’ll go unnoticed.  I hope as the school year begins, you’ll take a minute to seek out that kid, I know from experience they won’t come to you.  But I hope you’ll notice that kid and let them feel important, no matter what you’re teaching.  They may not tell you how much it means to them now, but I can guarantee you, the rest of their life they will be grateful to you.

Fortunately for me, I had such a teacher in high school.  And she changed my life forever.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Back to School Wine for Back to School Week.

Since the beginning of August, I've planned on dedicating this entire week to back to school blog posts.  And I couldn't have found a more perfect bottle of wine to start the week off.  

A salute to teachers for the latest in my "Cheap Wine with Pretty Labels" series:

Teacher's Pet is a Chardonnay bottled by JZ Vintners in Sonoma County, California.  And it is one of the most clever labels I've seen in a long time.  The details in the illustration alone are worth the $9.99 I paid for the bottle.   I love how the wine name is printed in a typical text book font and printed on handwriting paper.  I love the big apple, the teacher hiding behind the desk, the chalkboard in the background.   And if you look closely, there's a decorative alphabet border above the name of the wine.  I couldn't help but notice both the letter "d" and "p" are printed in Greek letters.  I'm betting that's a sorority reference.

Even the writing on the back of the bottle is thought through.  Here's the touching dedication of the wine proprietor to his mother: "I especially dedicate this wine to my mother, who after raising four kids at home, went on to educate many more in and out of the classroom."

I enjoyed a glass while watching "Ferris Bueller's Day Off".  And if you happen to be in the mood for a good back to school flick, here's a link to Entertainment Weekly's 50 Best High School Movies

So back to school week begins.  And if the calendar wasn't proof enough that summer is coming to an end, I spotted my first fall leaf of the season yesterday.  

Oh, and Ferris Bueller, by the way?  Number 10.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

52 Manholes.

That's exactly how many manholes and utility covers stand between our home and the ice cream shop.  Not only did my son and I count each one on our walk today, we took pictures of them all as well.  

Here's a dozen of our favorite photos:

Love the various patterns and details, never really stopped to observe them before.  Funny the little things you notice when you allow yourself time to slow down and look around.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Song for a Snapdragon.

Turns out there aren't any.  Well, none I like anyways.  I googled "snapdragon songs" and "snapdragon poems" for the better half of my morning and came up empty.  I even consulted my handy dandy "Language of Flowers" book and not one word about my favorite annual.  I did find a few somewhat depressing poems and a movie by Pamela Anderson that bears the same name.  Neither of which held my interest.

I loved snapdragons as a child, squeezing the sides of the bloom to make the "mouth" open.  Who am I kidding, I still do that as an adult.

A few of the blooms in my garden are pictured above.  They have spread everywhere.  None of these plants were planted this year, all have surprised me by returning.  The colors are an even bigger surprise, as I've only bought the pink variety in the center.  I think the garden is trying to tell me I need to add more color.

Such a beautiful flower to go without a song.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Stamp Collecting.

I am a total sucker for a good old fashioned stamp set.  And I've actually managed to collect some very cool pieces.  My favorites include a vintage movie playbill series and an absolutely awesome tailor set.

I don't use any of them.  Not sure why that is.  Anyways, my parents totally support my print addiction and are always on the lookout for more pieces to add to my collection.

Check out their latest $5.00 find: 

I can line up an entire word at once:

I've used my son's washable ink to try out the stamp.  My results will be better once I use a heavier professional ink, but you get the idea.

Love it!  My son caught me inking and has eyes on the set.  I'll have to let him have a try, bet he'll enjoy it as much as me.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Shopping with Boys and Wooloomooloo.

Yesterday was day 68 of summer vacation for the boys.  For 67 days, we have had a wonderful time hanging at the pool, relaxing, eating our body weight in ice cream.  Good times.  That was until we went school shopping.  

And everything fell apart.

Let me give you a brief synopsis of school shopping with 3 boys (and a husband).

Why do we have to go?  Because I need your foot with me in order to buy you shoes.  Can’t you just trace my foot instead? You’re going.  Stand up straight so we can measure your feet. These shoes are too tight.  They hurt. (My children have been in flip flops or barefoot the entire summer.  Socks feel tight at this point).  Walk around and see if they fit.  I said walk.  Stop running.  Get back here now.  Stop touching your brother.  Stop touching your brother.  Are you touching your brother?  Leave your brother alone.  Yes, you have to try the pants on.  Stop touching your brother.  Stop licking the mirror.  Stop touching your brother.  Are you kidding me, no, I will not buy you candy.  How many more stores are we going to?  He’s touching me.  It takes a lot longer when you horse around.  Oh, Dear Lord, are you seriously touching your brother.  I have to go to the bathroom again.  How many more stores are we going to?  I swear if you don’t stop touching your brother.  You can ask me as many times as you want, but I’m still not buying you candy.  Get away from your brother.  Look, Mom, my leg is bleeding in my shoe!  You can't possibly have to go to the bathroom again.  For the last time, get your hands off of your brother!  This is the worst afternoon of my life.

And as much fun as that sounds, the day ended with us getting stuck in rush hour traffic for a solid hour.  I’ll let you imagine how enjoyable that was after an exciting shopping excursion.


All of this led to a bonus “Cheap Wine with Pretty Labels” post.

Wooloomooloo is a Red Blend from South Eastern Australia.  The wine was good.  Quite honestly, this probably wasn’t the best day to have me pay attention to the taste of wine. You could have given me a glass of swill and I would’ve been thrilled.

So here’s my review.  Cool label, good (much needed) wine.  Cheap ($7.99).  As for the name?  I am positive it’s a swear word that means school shopping sucks.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I'm Winning the Lottery and Buying a Herd of Sheep.

Or is it a ram?  Long horned sheep, ram, whatever you want to call it--I need one of these in my life.

Or two or three...

I'll need to win the lottery first, though.  Each one of these awesome little guys is $1199.  Yikes.  Saw that price tag and quickly backed away.  Spotted him at Arhaus Furniture while school shopping today (you'll read all about that disaster in an entirely different blog post).  

I need to stop looking at the pictures.  Just makes me want one even more.  So cool.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I Don't Know What I'm Drinking, But It Sure Is Tasty.

I confess, I broke several of my self imposed rules for this week's "Cheap Wine with Pretty Labels" series.

  1. The label is okay, but it doesn't really scream out at me.  I like a label that makes me need to buy it.  This one is artsy, but not all that interesting.
  2. I've promised to keep the price range at $10.00 or under.  This bottle went over my budget by 99 cents.
  3. I like to write about wines I've never sampled before for this series.  Busted.  Second time I've tried this one.
So here's the rule breaking wine.

Pomelo is a Sauvignon Blanc bottled by Mason Cellars.  And it's delicious.  I mentioned before that this is not the first time I've tried it.  I was originally introduced to Pomelo by one of my closest wine snob friends.  This guy really knows his stuff and was so impressed with the unique flavor.  The wine sold out quickly around here, and I've had to wait for the bar to get a new shipment in before I could try it again.  I won't lie, it felt a little like Christmas when my husband came home with the bottle on Saturday night.

Pomelo is a "giant citrus fruit native to Malaysia and thought to be ancestor to the grapefruit".  That's what the bottle says, anyways.  I've never heard of a pomelo before (note to self: pay more attention in the produce section).  But the wine definitely has a slight citrus flavor to it.  Somewhat lemony, definitely a grapefruit like after taste.  I just love it.  

I enjoyed a glass while watching a preseason football game and wrapping my son's birthday gifts.  Snacked on salt and vinegar chips, which was a combination I highly discourage.  Just plain nasty together.  

Oh, and one last thing--it's a screw top.  I mentioned before, I don't have anything against a wine bottle with a screw top.  I wasn't lying.  Tried this one twice, and I'll definitely be buying it again.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Now Playing.

I have exactly 1696 songs on my iPod (and an infinite number of songs I intend to download).

Last 3 played songs: 
  1. "Forever" Chris Brown (downloaded after I couldn't get the music from the infamous YouTube wedding video out of my head).
  2. "Thank You" Alanis Morrisette
  3. "Love is My Religion" Ziggy Marley
Most frequently played:
  1. "Boston" Augustana.  I've listened to it 47 times.  As soon as I'm done this post, I'm gonna go listen to it again.
  2. "Come Clean" Hilary Duff. Punished myself by listening to this 22 times. I don't know what I was thinking.
  3. "Gravity Rides Everything" Modest Mouse.  20 times.
Most popular genre: 
Rock. But all genres are represented, don't fret.

Most songs by these artists:
  1. Green Day
  2. AC/DC
  3. Dave Matthews Band
0:13 seconds.  "Appetizer 1"  Grateful Dead, The Pizza Tapes.  I have never heard this song in my life.

789:57 minutes.  "Slip Slidin' Away" Paul Simon.  Hmmm.....thinking there is a big problem with this track.

Decade most represented? 

I am most embarrassed to admit I like: 
"As Long As You Love Me" Backstreet Boys.  Only Backstreet Boys tune I like if that helps redeem me.

Why isn't this on my iPod
"59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)", Simon & Garfunkel

Tomorrow I'm downloading: 
"Anyone Else But You"  The Moldy Peaches

I'd most like to memorize: 
"Subterranean Homesick Blues" Bob Dylan
If it's playing, you better believe I'm singing to it (loudly and completely out of tune):  
  1. "All You Wanted" Michelle Branch.  In my brain, I totally rock at this one.
  2. "Where I Stood"  Missy Higgins
  3. "Breathe (2 AM)" Anna Nalick

Just plain awesome songs every iPod needs:
  1. "Mustang Sally" Wilson Pickett
  2. "Long Cool Woman" The Hollies
  3. "Starry Eyed Surprise" Paul Oakenfold.  Try not to dance to this one.  I dare you.
  4. "Son of a Preacher Man" Dusty Springfield
  5. "Should I Stay or Should I Go"  The Clash
  6. "Chain of Fools" Aretha Franklin
  7. "Brown Eyed Girl" Van Morrison
  8. "Lean On Me" Bill Withers
I wish I had thought to write:
"Yellow" Coldplay.  "Look at the stars.  Look how they shine for you...and all the things that you do."

The way I'd most like to live my life:
"Girls Just Want To Have Fun" Cyndi Lauper


Friday, August 14, 2009

Catch Another Butterfly.

Spent the day chasing after butterflies in my backyard.  And I've got the pictures to prove it.  I've also attached the lyrics to one of my favorite butterfly songs by John Denver.  I remember the song from Sesame Street of all places.

Hope you take some time to read the lyrics, and I hope they inspire you to take some time to catch a butterfly or two.

Do you remember days not so very long ago

When the world was run by people twice your size?

And the days were full of laughter

And the nights were full of stars

And when you grew tired you could close your eyes


Yes the stars were there for wishing

And the wind was there for kites

And the morning sun was there for rise and shine

And even if the sniffles kept you

Home from school in bed

You couldn't hardly stay there after nine


And I wonder if the smell of morning's faded

What happened to the robin's song

That sparkled in the sky?

Where's all the water gone

That tumbled down a stream?

Will I ever catch another butterfly?


Do you remember campouts right in your own backyard?

Wondering how airplanes could fly

And the hours spent just playin'

With a funny rock you found

With crystal specks as blue as all the sky


And I wonder if the smell of morning's faded

What happened to the robin's song

That sparkled in the sky?

Where's all the water gone

That tumbled down a stream?

Will I ever catch another butterfly?


Now I watch my son, he's playin' with his toys

He's happy, I give him all I can

But I can't help feelin'

Just a little tingly inside

When I hear him say he wants to be a man


And I wonder if the smell of morning's faded

What happened to the robin's song

That sparkled in the sky?

Where's all the water gone

That tumbled down a stream?

Will I ever catch another butterfly?

Will I ever catch another butterfly?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

No Vacancy.

I am always fascinated by the creative games my boys come up with completely on their own.

On Tuesday my little guy spent the day turning our entire home into a hotel.

Bedrooms were all numbered.

Check in this way. His makeshift lobby was downstairs.  He set up a desk with a cash register and signed us all in when we arrived.  Sadly, this was taken down before I had a chance to take a picture.

He wore a bellhop hat all day, showed us to our rooms, and waited on us when we ate in the hotel restaurant (a.k.a. the kitchen table).

We all enjoyed watching him play and were a little sad when the hotel closed.  Can't wait to see what he comes up with next.  In the meantime, I don't have the heart to take down the numbers.  So until further notice, you'll find me residing in room 98.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Six Things You Never Needed to Know About Me.

Yep. Got tagged by Joy White.  Not usually one to do these sort of things (so don't go bombarding me with these. Please.)  But this one got me, because:
  1.  I love her blog. 
  2. Growing up she ate peanuts out of a bathtub in the town I live in. That totally won me over. (I should mention it was at a restaurant that, sadly, no longer exists).

Here is how it works . . . 
  • Post link to the person that tags you
  • Post the rules
  • Write six random and/or revealing things about yourself
  • Tag six people at the end of the post and link to their blogs
  • Let each person know they've been tagged & leave a comment on their blog
  • Let the tagger know when your post has been published.

And here you go.  Six things you never needed to know about me:
  1. Chuck Berry tripped and fell on me.  And yes, Chuck Berry, the famous musician.
  2. I spent a summer packaging hot dogs in a freezer at a meat processing company.  For the record, WORST. JOB. EVER.  Oh, I still eat hot dogs.  I should add that.
  3. I memorized the entire Lee Press On Nails TV commercial about 25 years ago.  To this day, I can still recite it perfectly and with annunciation. "Introducing new Lee Press On Nails, they press on in seconds..."  Okay, I'll stop.
  4. I collect watches and I quickly drain the batteries in every watch I wear.  I never leave the house without one on.
  5. I have absolutely no sense of direction whatsoever.  None.  I get lost with a navigation system.  "Make a legal u turn ahead"--you'll hear that a lot driving with me.
  6. If I had been born a boy, my mother was going to name me Ashley.  So happy to be a girl.
And the six awesome bloggers I have tagged:

Lori Plyler  Love her current studio makeover series.
Leslie Her Tiny Garden inspires me to go out and work on my own.
Shannon  I love reading about the fun things she's doing in California.
Kate  I am never disappointed with Kate's posts.  You have to read Trashy Treasure.
Stephanie An artsy, Cleveland blog.  Love it.  Check out the Flight Patterns post.  Too cool.
Liz  Liz is one of my favorite Twitter pals.  Love her art.  Just started following her blog.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My New Favorite Wine and My Favorite Old Movie.

"Tango", "Cha Cha" and "Rhumba".  You'd think I was writing a post about a dance lesson, wouldn't you?

Truth is, I'm actually writing about a nifty trio of wines I've just discovered.  It was hard to choose between the three, but I decided on  "Tango" by Dancing Coyote Wines as this week's selection in my "Cheap Wine with a Pretty Label" series.  This label was so awesome, it stopped me in my tracks walking by the wine section at the grocery store.  Wasn't even shopping for wine, but couldn't resist grabbing a bottle it was so darn cool.

Just look at that fun coyote cutting a rug (and note he's on the cork as well).   I found "Tango" on sale for $9.99 and couldn't resist trying it out.  And I'll tell you what, I really liked it.  The label says it is "50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Tempranillo, 25% Cabernet Franc".  It was a very nice mix.  Smooth, not too dry.  A bit fruity.  Awesome.  I loved this Bordeaux as much as I loved the label.  And I will definitely be adding "Cha Cha" and "Rhumba" on my list to try in the future.

The wine went wonderfully with "Sixteen Candles" (enjoying a John Hughes marathon this week).  Remember the school dance scene?  Just seemed to fit with the Dancing Coyote.  It also seemed fitting to enjoy a slice of this with the wine:

"Make a wish, Samantha."  "It already came true."

Ahhh, that's the reason I love that movie--she got the guy AND she got cake.  

Oh, and please don't send birthday wishes for me.  This was just an excuse to eat cake.  And yes, my son and I actually lit 16 candles.  Go ahead, count them.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

OOooooohhh, Pretty Buttons.

I confess, I am addicted to junking up my blog with widgets, buttons and html code.

And I admit, this post serves absolutely no purpose other than to allow me to show off my shiny new social media buttons.  Check them out at the bottom of this post.  I just love how you can slide back and forth across them and they get bigger.  Try it, it's so cool.

I can't stop playing with them.  I just can't stop.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Seven Boys, a Lifeguard and One Very Dead Bird.

When I look back on today, I will remember it as a wonderful evening catching up with two of my closest friends.  Our nine children all played together in the pool, out of the pool, around the pool and ate entirely too much junk food.

I will remember the day as one of the last times our families will all be together for awhile as part of our close knit triangle will sadly be moving away this weekend.  No goodbyes tonight,  I recall "see you later" being decided as our parting words.

I will remember tonight as the night I was introduced to Coldstone Creamery cupcakes.  Oh, yeah.  And you had better believe they are heavenly.  Unbelievably rich and delicious.

Tonight will go down as the night my middle son and one of his closest friends since preschool had their first official sleep over (praying there is actually some sleep involved in the sleep over).

But our sons?  The boys, I am sure, will remember this night as the night of the dead bird.  Helpless little guy stuck in the hood of my friend's car.  And there's no doubt they'll remember the poor lifeguard, his belly still full from the cupcake we had just fed him, trying not to vomit as he removed the poor creature for us.

A nice night.  Could have done without the bird.  But a very nice night.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Cheap Wine with a Pretty Label

Here's what I know about wine:  
  1. I like wine.  
  2. Wine is good.  

And that's pretty much it.   

Wine aficionado's are going to hate me for this, but I judge wine based solely on two criteria.  
  1. It's gotta be cheap (around $10 or under) 
  2. It's gotta have an eye catching label.
And I have nothing against a bottle with a screw top.

So what do I plan to do with my extensive wine knowledge?  Create a weekly blog post feature of course.  More for my own records than anything else (I can never remember the ones I like).  And if you have a recommendation that fits within my criteria I'll happily try it out. 

So here we go, the first wine in my highly acclaimed series.  I purchased "Red Bicyclette" , a French Rose´ at my local wine distributor (a.k.a. Walmart Supercenter) for around $9.00.  I don't know if I had the Tour De France on my brain at the time, but that adorable red bicycle really caught my eye.  It's a simple, classic design, but it works.  I just want to put this pretty bottle of wine into the basket of my fictional bike and have a cheese picnic in the countryside.  Or enjoy it while watching an old cycling movie like "Breaking Away" or "Quiksilver".  In reality, I drank a glass while sitting on the couch watching "Stepbrothers" with my husband.  The wine paired nicely with an ice cream sandwich, a pretzel rod and a handful of trail mix.   I'll give it extra points for versatility.

As far as taste, it's a Rose´.  I loved the deep pink color, but as my husband pointed out "You know this is a Rose´.  You don't like Rose´".  And as it turns out, I don't.  I drank and enjoyed it, don't get me wrong.  But I would have preferred a glass of Chardonnay or Merlot.  I will definitely try out one of those Red Bicyclette wines in the future.

I know you're on the edge of your seat in anticipation of my next review, so here's my plan.  Shop for wine on Friday, try it out Saturday and write my post on Sunday.  I've already had a few suggestions I can't wait to sample, I hope you'll comment with your own recommendations.  I'd love to hear them!

(On a sidenote, I wasn't sure if wine varieties ought to be capitalized.  I googled looking for an answer and was surprised to learn there is a real division on this subject and no apparent answer.  I went with capitals.  Don't hate me for it.)