Friday, August 26, 2011

'frog' in my throat croaks hi

Well, the cold that Rhett had....I got it.  So did Noah.  And while we are all on the road to getting over it, I will say that having a cold when it is still over 100 degrees outside makes life miserable to an uncomfortable level.  It doesn't even make sense.

Anyway, I'm about to go learn how to ride a horse.  Last week's lesson surprised me by how many things you really have to know.  It isn't just getting on and saying, "Go."  The horse I rode knew that I knew nothing and he was having none of it.  :)  So faking confindence is something I will have to work on.  (And Dad, I am sad that I didn't tell you about me wanting to ride a horse and also glad I didn't tell you all at the same time. heehee)

I hope everyone has a safe weekend.  Krista, offer to come to Tulsa is still on table (always is) if hurricane gets to much.  :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

inspriration to creation: Butterflies from Maps

I'm a big fan of butterflies, and also love to keep mementos from vacations, so when I saw this, I knew I must do something like it:

My Inspiration
image from Image Surgery.  This beautiful creation is made by Joseph Warren.

I had many maps and such to choose from, but I decided to make butterflies out of my vacation memorablia from New York, Washington D.C. and chose two things from Oklahoma that were special to me.

My Creation
1. Map of New York: It shows the Brooklyn Bridge Subway Station where my mom, sisters and I got off to go walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. It was pouring rain, however, so after Jana bought a $5 umbrella, we got back on the subway and went shopping intead.
2. The Star-Spangled Banner Flag from the National Museum of American History in Washington D.C.  This was one of my favorite places that my family went to during our trip.  This flag was huge and protected and couldn't be photographed.  I had a flyer for the museum though and a small picture of the flag so I thought it would make an awesome butterfly.
3. The White House.  We took a tour on the day that Noah had an awful toothache.  We had planned on finding a dentist after the tour.  He was a trooper and didn't complain too badly.  It was around the green room, however, that my other son began to complain.  He needed to find a bathroom, NOW.  Umm, are there public restrooms in the White House? No.  Our tour went a little faster from that point on, much to Seth's dismay.
4. Ocktoberfest, October 2010, Tulsa, Ok.  We had just recently moved to Tulsa and missed our friends terribly.  We heard about this German festival and thought we'd invite our friends from Edmond to come and stay the night.  They did and we all had a pretty great time.  It was tiring, but all the kids got their faces painted and got to ride roller coasters and we got to see our friends.  Win for all!
5. Map of OKC area.  We lived in Edmond, OK for four years, longer than we had lived anywhere else since getting married.  We met some pretty awesome friends there and even though some have moved away, and we have moved, we have stayed close.  Edmond will always have a very special place in our hearts.
6. The Lion King, New York, Girls Trip.  This was my first Broadway show.  It was an amazing performance.  Afterward, we walked down to a diner to get something to eat and ended up walking past Lehmen Brothers.  There was a lot of commotion there-media, cameras, and such.  It was September 14, 2008 the evening before news broke that they had filed for bankruptsy. You know the rest of the story.

I used an 8x10 canvas that I already had and painted it red. This canvas had black and white patterned scrapbook paper glued onto it from another past project, but I decided I liked how it came through.  I mod-podged the canvas for texture, then antiqued it with black glaze.  For the butterflies, I just cut out a pattern and used it for all of the butterflies. Some turned out better than others.  I mod-podged the butterflies to make them less fragile, then folded them in half and glued the "body" onto the canvas.  I mod-podged the wings, front and back yet again to make them stiff.  Then I glued the top of the wings onto the canvas, with part of the wing still puffed out (I used the end of a paint brush between the butterfly and canvas to get the same amount of puff for each one). I glued the edges of the bottom wing and the "foot" too. 

This is also hanging in my bedroom.  I love this inspiration to creation project the most so far because it has so many stories attached to it.  I like the butterfly-migrate-travel connection too. 

Have a great day!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

nothing is sweeter than with you*

Good Monday to you! I'm happy today. 13 years! Yea us!  I made Seth a picture cd using a song that is my very favorite ever.  It is called Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and describes perfectly what I feel for my sweet husband.  The chorus goes:

Ahh. Home. Let me come home.
Home is wherever I'm with you.
Ahh. Home. Let me come home.
Home is where I'm alone with you.

I'm a lucky girl. 

In other news....

This picture will tell you how our weekend was:
It was busy and went too fast as usual.  However, I will say that those 2 and a half hours we were outside on Saturday afternoon was pretty awful.  The boys did great at their flag football game and I think had a pretty good time.  But it was so so so hot and humid.  I drank down 2 bottles of water and a half a gatorade and I was just sitting!! We were so sweaty and wet and I hope to never relive that experience.  When I got in my car after that games, the thermometer said 116 degrees.  I know it wasn't that hot but it did feel like it at times.  Whew. 

I will say I did enjoy using my camera! It does great for capturing the action.  I was a little afraid for it cause it got so hot, but I would put it in a cooler bag for awhile and luckily it survived.

Here is Noah:
Don't you love his green mouthguard? :)

Rhett got to play quarterback some and was cool and collected.  (Well, maybe just collected):

He also caught a pass perfectly and scored a touchdown!

Sunday came and Rhett came down with a fever, so he is home with me today.  (Feeling better but you have to be fever free 24 hours before going back to school.  I think it would be fine, but I don't want someone else breaking that rule, so I won't either).  I hate that he is already missing a day of school though.  Seriously. I guess you can't help it.

The bus situtation was a little better on Friday but you know, everything has its positives.  I have met so many neighbors and have become friends with a few of them over this bus thing so you just never know.  :) Plus Noah actually rode his scooter to the bus stop this morning with a friend and her parents and that is big in itself! haha.

I hope everyone has a great day!

*I love you Seth! Thanks for everything you do.  Happy Anniversary.

Friday, August 19, 2011

13 years and he still surprises

My anniversary is Monday.  I'll have been married 13 years.  Woo!  Seth surprised me with a gift though a few weeks ago. 

Any guesses?

my rockin' pair of boots

I start horseback riding lessons today!!  Every Friday, I am going to learn how to ride and take care of a horse.  It may sound silly to some of you, but I am most excited.  I love horses, think they are beautiful animals and am looking forward to learning all there is to know.  I have a helmet and everything.  I'll let you know how it goes.  If it goes even a little better than the bus situation, then it will be a success. ha!

Speaking of busses, Rhett was on his for almost 2 hours yesterday afternoon.  Didn't get home til 5 pm.  Crazy!! 

Have a great weekend!!

PS- Happy Birthday Pop!!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Rhett-5th grader; Noah-3rd grader

First day of school.

The bus situation is a little sticky right now and I'm hoping that this afternoon, the bus even comes to our neighborhood.  This whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth and I'm a little sad that all the kids had to witness the stressful situation. 

Here's a quick recap:  Bus stop routes were changed.  One stop in the neighborhood.  Several upset parents (I'm included in this.  I don't understand it because of several reasons I won't go into right now).  This morning, many cars lined the street where the bus was to make the stop.  Transportation director shows up, threatens to divert bus.  Noah and I leave, after Noah gets stressed out that parents and transportation direction are arguing. 

Here's the thing.  I am upset about the bus route change.  To a point.  I wish there were something we could do.  To a point.  But, and here is a big BUT, I'm out if it means my child gets to school late or he starts seeing a side of me that isn't pretty.  I feel for those parents that both work and rely on the bus.  I feel for the transportation director who has a job to do.  But nobody handled it well.  There were parents getting upset about it the bus not coming, parents getting upset that the transportation director was not seeing everyone's side, parents getting upset at other parents for not cooperating.  It was getting ugly and I'm not good at confrontation nor conflict.  So we left.  And now I'm left wondering what is going to happen.  Will it just blow over? Will it change? I don't know.  Right now I just hope that at 3:45 and 4:00, my kids' busses drop them off in our neighborhood. 

Sigh.  Here's hoping that the boys have a good day regardless.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

'twas the day before school starts

 The snacks in the pantry are all tucked away, nicely, waiting to be put into backpacks the next day.
 The small chocolate candies are treats for lunchboxes, pb for Noah and caramel for Rhett.
The bags of school supplies are overflowing.  So many supplies every year...

One more day of summer.  I want to say that I think summer was just right this year.  It didn't seem to go too fast or too slow.  Just right.  I think the boys are ready to begin the year.  I think we are all ready for the cooler weather.  The start of school means it is coming...soon I hope. 

Here's to a big, fun year full of wonderful things to learn and do and be.  Tomorrow is my favorite post of the year--First Day of School pictures! It may too dark for Rhett to do it by the bricks this year but we'll try it anyway.  See you tomorrow!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

inspiration to creation: Red Fern Prints

I like to tear out pages from catalogs when I find something that I like. I either want to create something like it or hopefully buy it. I keep all these pages in a folder and go back to it when I am finally ready to do a project.  Last week, I needed ideas on what to do with one of our bedroom walls.  We had moved some things around and this one wall was completely empty.  What to do? 

I am not a patient person, so I chose something that I thought I could try to recreate.  I came across this page:

My Inspriration
from Ballard Designs (I could not find an image online, they must not sell these particular prints anymore, so I had to take a picture of the page.  These prints are made by artist Patrick Wright and were priced for around $570 for the set of three)

I had some 12x16 canvas paper, paint and brushes so I just made my own flower prints:

My Creation
It took several steps, and the lighting in my bedroom is terrible for pictures, but I hope you can get an idea of what I did.  They have been grey-washed (instead of white washed) and hopefully, when I repaint my bedroom, they'll go well with the color I have in mind.  I have a yellow and white comforter, red accents and hopefully will paint my bedroom a grey-brown.  They aren't perfect, but for now, I like them.  I only spent money on the frames (which wasn't that much), so if I go with something different later on, it won't be a big deal. 

Have a great day!

Monday, August 15, 2011

need: one wafflemaker, handle attached please

I made waffles today.  I was thinking waffles would be a great thing to make and freeze for mornings when I felt rushed (school starts in 4 days!).  I got them made, but there was a problem.:

 I guess sometime during the move last year, the handle broke off on the waffle iron.  (iron? maker? which do you use?) I didn't think too much of it this morning until I realized you need the handle to unlock the latch to open the darn thing.  Being the innovative person that I am though, I didn't worry.  I would find something other than my fingers to push on the buttons where the handle used to be (it gets super hot as you can probably figure out.)  I did find that the bottoms of wooden spoons would work, after not working countless many times.  But I made batch after batch because I had a plan.

To answer your questions:

1. No, I haven't made waffles in more than a year, so I never realized the handle broke off.

2. No, not homemade.  I bought a Belgian waffle mix.  Pretty good if you ask me.  I went the healthier route:  I put blueberries, cinnamon-sugar, plus a drizzle of real maple syrup and it was super-delicious.  The other route would be drowning in maple syrup and butter.  So an improvement.  Rhett had blueberries and a drowning, Noah had peanut butter and blueberries, no syrup at all.  We each had only one.
3. No, I don't really think I need to rush out and buy a waffle iron maker iron (I'm going with waffle iron.  I think) anytime soon, since I haven't used it in a year.  But, I am planning on making the boys breakfast more than I have in the past so maybe in 3-6 months.  :)
4. I'm throwing it away, as soon as it cools down.

Have a great day!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

just passing through with a thought

I think it is funny that no matter how many Pandora radio stations I create, they all end up playing the same or similar artists or songs.  How does it know me better than I do?

Apparently, I like acoustic/folk rock/indie pop or a hybrid blend of that.  In case you wanted to know. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

if I could, I really would

Or wishing, hoping, thinking and praying part 2

This past week, Tulsa has seen rain! And not just a little sprinkle either. Real thunderstorms, pouring rain. Of course, one of my little pine trees looks worse than ever, because that sweet rain knocked off all the dead needles.  Anyone know if that will grow back?
I placed water bottles with small holes in the bottom to help water the trees throughout the day.  Like a dripline, I guess. It's a good way for me to justify drinking from plastic water bottles still.  I can't break the habit!! :)

Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining! But one can see the effects of the droughts.  Winds have brought down trees limbs (I'm sure they are not as strong as they used to be), fences and small plants just look beat down.  However, that is a very small price to pay for the rain. 

I actually collected the rain that was dripping off our roof and one thought popped into my head when I saw the full buckets:

I really wish I could send it down to Texas.  

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

inspiration to creation: French Burlap Pillows

Several months ago, I saw some pillows that I loved.  You have probably seen them too.  They are everywhere.  Like this:

My Inspiration
from Restoration Hardware

I decided that those type of pillows would go really well with my living room.  But, I wanted a little bit of color because my couches are brown, my walls are dark brown, by floor is get the idea.  So, I did this:

My Creation

I have four, each in a different color.  The reason you just see one finished is because I finished sewing one pillow and then didn't finish the others for another two months.  But now they are all finished.  If I had to do it over, I would pick another way to iron on the No. #s.  I printed off the design onto iron-on transfer paper, but then had to painstakenly cut out the N and o and . and the number.  Because of all the curls, it was very difficult and already the 4 has come off a little.  I also didn't use burlap because I didn't think it would be very soft to lay your head, so I used a heavy cotton fabric.  But I do like them in my living room.  They add a little splash of color and also were not as expensive as the other pillows I have seen.  These are "the boys can lay on them and throw them and if they don't last a few years, its okay" pillows, which every family with growing children should have if they are going to have pillows.  :)

I have recently come across some designer knock off blogs that have many tutorials of things that you find in a catalog but can't justify spending a ton of money on it so instead they make their own.  I was inspired and did a few works of art for my bedroom that I'll show you a little later.  Our bedroom is in the middle of getting its own makeover but I need to paint and I just don't want to yet.  I'm still tired from painting all this past year! So maybe soon...

Have a great day!

Monday, August 08, 2011

wishin', hopin', and thinkin' and prayin'

 At first, I didn't want to take pictures of my dried-out plants.  They look so sad.  The tops of my little pines, brown and crispy.  The bushes, the flowers, even the trees look very parched.  We water but its not enough, especially now that we have to conserve water. 
 But I decided that yes, I needed the reminder.  When things are good, rainy and wet, we tend to forget to do little things like conserve water or be thankful.  We just assume it will always be like this. 
 I read a few days ago, that La Nina may return after neutral conditions in the fall.  That isn't good for any of us in the US (droughts in the South, flooding in other regions...) but its hard to pray for El Nino (which brings us more than average rainfall here in the South) because it causes drought conditions in places like Austraila! So I guess we just hope and pray for neutral conditions to stay. 
 Right now I wish there was such a thing as drought insurance.  Who knows how many trees and plants are going to have to be replaced?
But I won't worry about that right now. I just hope that next year, I'll have some new pictures to take the place of these. 

Sunday, August 07, 2011

I may see the sun rise

*fresh blueberries, thrown in homemade pancake batter.  What could be better?

7:02 am. That is the time when the bus comes to pick up Rhett and his bus stop that is no longer right out the front door.  It is actually .42 miles away if we want to be precise.  (The school does apparently). 

7:02 am.

If you know me, or even read this blog a little bit, you know that I don't get up early.  Being a stay-at-home mom has afforded me the luxury of (gasp) sleeping in until 8 am or so.  Especially now that the boys are older and get up to watch tv before wanting breakfast (at least in the summer). 

Even during the school year, Rhett and Noah didn't have to be at school until 8:50 am.  We could get up at 7:30 eat cereal or frozen waffles, get dressed, and make lunches and be out the door by 8:25 or 8:30.  (And this was when the bus stopped right in front of our house around 8:15 am) 

You can see where I'm going with this. 

I don't claim to be a morning person but have recently realized that probably nobody really wants to be a morning person.  If given the chance, wouldn't anyone want to sleep in a little later? But most don't have that choice.  And now I won't either.  So I have a choice to make.  Either drag myself out of bed, realizing I woke up late, hussle Rhett out of bed, get him to gobble down breakfast and yell at him to hurry up, and we all leave feeling mad and streesed, or I wake up, make a nice* breakfast for the family, have everything ready, wake up Rhett and when he comes down stairs, everything is calm.  Seth can probably take Rhett to his bus stop and then I can do the same for Noah, whose bus doesn't come until 8:28 am.  If I look at it that way, instead of "Aww, I have to wake up early.  Do I have to? Can't I sleep in???" then the choice is easy to make.  I know when I was a child, I never felt hurried or harrassed or stressed in the mornings.  I want the same for my children. 

It won't be easy to do, but it is something I feel I must.  And I know the rest of you must be rolling your eyes, thinking, "Aimee's finally joining the grown-up party" and all and I apologize if you are but isn't this one of the purposes of a blog: a kind of personal enlightenment confessional?

So there you go.  A change is coming.  A better me may be emerging.  I may become, gulp, a morning person one of these days too. 

*By nice, I mean, not cereal every day.  I can fix pancakes like the picture above, more often.  I can make french toast.  I have several recipes I want to try out that I can make ahead of time (ham and cheese crossants, anyone?) so that should help too. 

Friday, August 05, 2011

a lesson in following the directions

*Our version of Sour Plum Ice Pops, with added blueberries, as per Noah's request

I have a popsicle cookbook which I bought last summer and have now just gotten around to trying a recipe.  These taste quite delicious, but are not easy to remove from the molds and are a little slushy.  I think I should have frozen them for awhile, then put the sticks in.  Just like the instructions said to in the book.  ;)

I want to try another recipe soon, but also am planning on making cheesecake bars.  I'll let you know how those turn out too. 

Here is the recipe for these icy treats:

Sour Plum Ice Pops
from Ice Pops by Shelly Kaldunski

1 1/2 lb underripe red plums (I used very ripe, better eat them now plums, so it wasn't as sour as I think it should have been.  I also just now realized that I only used 3 plums, when it says "about 7 plums."  Hmmm, no wonder they don't look as dark as the picture in the book.)
1/3 c superfine sugar (Put your sugar in the food processor first, then turn it on for a minute.  Your sugar will be superfine then.)
2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
pinch of salt

Cut the plums in half and remove the pits.  Place plums, sugar, lemon juice and salt.  Pour in 1/3 cup of water.  (Aha! Another thing I did not do! Probably why they aren't coming out.  Wow, I am so glad I am blogging this recipe.  I'm learning one thing after another.) Process until smooth.

Divide mixture among the molds, cover and freeze until solid, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.  If using sticks, insert them into the molds when the pops are partially frozen, after about 1 hour, then continue to freeze until solid. 

So, in conclusion, if you do not want super sweet, slushy ice pops, then don't do what I did.  :)

Thursday, August 04, 2011

on a camera roll (iphone pics)

Just for fun, here are my "Project 365 when I think about it" pictures from my iphone.  Although I haven't taken pictures everyday as the project would have you do, I have tried harder to capture more of life's moments on film than I otherwise would have.  This summer I dropped the ball more, but I want to get back to taking pictures again.  Here you go, in no particular order:

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

this heat is making me cranky

(and other things that are driving me insane)

*The boys have dentist appointments today.  I know this because a) the dentist office has called at least 3 times on my cell, once on my home phone and once to Seth's cell, b) they have mailed postcards a month ago to remind us, c) they have sent me text messages twice, d) they have emailed me last week, and this week.  Can I say, overkill?  Wouldn't it be funny if I forgot now?  haha

*The City of Bixby has been under voluntary water restrictions for a few weeks now.  Now, the City of Tulsa is beginning voluntary water restrictions.  I am fine with that.  What I am not fine with is my HOA watering the "public" landscaping in my neighborhood in the heat of the day, after sending us all an email about said water restrictions.  I sent an email this morning.  I was that angry.

*Flag football practice starts Thursday for Rhett and Friday for Noah.  Because of the heat, they have moved all practices to 7 pm.  Do I think it will cool off by 7 pm?  When the low has been  87 degrees? No. 

*The bus stop will no longer stop right in front of my house.  They had to slash the budget, so now the bus stops at the front of the neighborhood and that is it.  I'm not mad about this, just wistful. 

*School is 15 days away.  This has been the first week all summer that I have been glad it is coming.  But Seth let me go grocery shopping by myself the other night and then the boys played with friends yesterday, so I am good again.  :)

Thanks for letting me get some things off my chest.  I'm feeling a tad better.  Now I need to get ready to go...let's see, where did I need to go today...oh yeah, the dentist.

Monday, August 01, 2011

it's a cool, comfortable 56 degrees

...In this cavern, which is where we went to on Saturday.  This is Bluff Dweller's Cavern, near Noel, Missouri.  Here's our little story of how this road trip came to be.

Seth's parents were going to go to Colorado last week.  Then, their air conditioner broke and alas, they had to cancel their trip.  Sammy still had a few days off from work, however and decided that Tulsa is the place to go! haha  (I really feel bad for them that they couldn't go to Colorado and had to come to one of the hottest spots in the USA right now.) We are really glad they came here though for the weekend because Sammy gave us the idea of going on a road trip.

So Saturday, we loaded up in the pick up and drove to Arkansas.  We were going to go to Old Spanish Treasure Cave near some small town in Northern Arkansas.  I had my trusty map on the iphone and lead us right to...

A hole in the ground, literally.  Seth pulled into the little area of parking and said, "Umm, are you sure you want to go here?"  We got out and Seth said, "This looks just like a scene out of Deliverance.  Well, I hadn't seen that movie, so I told everyone that we just needed to chill and check it out.  Luckily for Seth, the woman running it, who seemed nice enough, told us that a group of 17 children were coming out and we were welcome to join that group.  That scared me, so I said no thank you! While the boys, Sandy and I were in the bathroom, Seth met one of the tour guides who could have been cast for Deliverance and got to hear how at Halloween, he sometimes keeps people in the cave and lost maze for over 2 hours, heh, heh, heh. 

I think we all breathed a sigh of relief when we found out that another cavern was just 15 minutes away in Missouri.  I love how road trips always bring little surprises, don't you? :)

Bluff Dwellers Cave was beautiful on the outside. On privately owned land, the owner found and excavated a part of the cavern himself.  His family still owns it and his youngest daughter (now 81) runs it now.  It was very beautiful inside and the boys and I wore our jackets (I think because we could, you know?).  The cavern was welcome relief from the heat, for sure!

Here everyone is after the tour.  Already feeling hot again...

The boys also panned for gems, which was a lot of fun for them.  They "found" several gemstones from their purchased bag of sand. 

One more picture to help you imagine the coolness of the cavern.  Just two hours away, we might be going back sooner than later!  :) 

Thanks Nana and Pop for the fun weekend!!