Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday in the Garden of Bad Momma - The Color Purple

Vinca ( Myrtle)

Wild Flower - no idea





Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bodies - The School Science Project

Bodies: The First Grade Science Project. Now how do you throw that out?
p.s. I have a few of these in my possession. Do you think I can set up an exhibition and charge admission?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Spring Cleaning - Part II - HELP!

This weekend I continued where I left off on our Spring Cleaning. I spent a bit of time cleaning out the vegetable garden plot. As you can see from the before photo below, I have my work cut out to get ready for planting this year. I didn't pull out the stakes and dead plants at the end of the season last year. One of my boys pointed out that our garden looked like it belonged to the Addams Family!

I moved on to our closets, making piles of outgrown and outdated clothing. I was making fairly good progress until I came to the Dining Room Table, which is covered with two or three years worth of old school projects, papers and artwork.

At this point I choked. I tend to be a pack rat and have a hard time getting rid of unnecessary paperwork and momentos. I am organizationally impaired as well as ADD. I took one look at the table and walked away. When faced with an unpleasant task, I tend to put it off for later. Better add "procrastinator" to my list of short-comings.

My husband is much better at this. He will sort through the piles of papers that come home, filing schoolwork and recycling art projects and papers not worth saving. This works well until one of the kids finds their treasured project in the recycle bin and rescues it. Surely Dad made a mistake! I don't have the heart to say otherwise. I end up adding the retrieved items to the growing collection on my table.

I will probably end up being one of those old ladies who is found barricaded in her house with 20 years worth of mail and newspapers. Good thing I am not a cat person! I sure could use some advice!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Perennial Potluck

Photo by Alex

Common Ground
There are many similarities between blogging and gardening. Both are hobbies that almost anyone can do, you learn as you go ( or grow!), and can be shared with others. Both past-times also help preserve memories.

Certain plants and their scents can bring back long-ago experiences. To this day, Forsythia and Lilac bushes and Lilies of the Valley remind me of the first botanical treasures to flower each season at my childhood home. When my parents' home was sold, the new owners let me dig up some plants to relocate to my yard as momentos. This was mutually beneficial. I was able to hold on to some dear memories and made room for the new owners to relocate some of theirs.

Pot Luck

This Sunday, I took my middle son to a garden party. I was invited by a friend who owns a garden shop in an urban area. I was having a hard time finding Lily of the Valley plants and was going to have her special order some for me. Her neighborhood garden club was having a Perennial Potluck / Plant Exchange where gardeners would divide and bring plants from their garden to trade. She thought I might find some interesting plants.

I dug up a variety of perennials from our yard such as Day Lillies, Lamb's Ear, Lamium, and Sweet Pea to swap. My son was excited about finding some flowers for a small patch I designated as his special garden plot. I was hopeful of finding some shade loving plants. Neither one of us was disappointed. I even found Lily of the Valley plants that I was searching for!

Good Gardeners are Hard to Find

I was a bit surprised at the lower than expected turnout. In recent years, attendance at this garden party had been dropping. As the urban neighborhood is becoming more gentrified, it is attracting a younger, more affluent population. One of the club members speculated that her neighbors rather pay someone to tend to their landscape than to get their hands dirty.

She shared a recent anecdote about a neighbor who approached her to get the name of the lady who tended to her yard. As the neighbor was coming and going he would frequently see a woman hunched over planting, pruning and weeding at his neighbor's home. The man wanted to see if the gardener would be willing to work her magic on his property.

She gave his a bemused look and said, "That lady is me!"

A Memorable Time

My son brought his camera and took some photos of both gardeners and plants. When we came home, we excitedly showed off our loot to the rest of our family, and found the perfect home for each new friend. Not only did I find my sought after Lilies to help preserve my memory, I helped create a new one for my son.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Earth Day - April 22, 2008

I went to recycle today and got this t-shirt to celebrate Earth Day. I love the sentiment! Every day should be Earth Day.

I have a favorite book for gardening and household cleaning tips, Slug Bread & Beheaded Thistles, by Ellen Sandbeck. This paperback is full of non-toxic ways to get rid of pests ( insects and bacteria, not human pests! ).

One of my favorite tips from the book, is to take crushed eggshells and spread them around the base of plants in my garden. Slugs and other crawling bugs do not like to crawl over these sharp edges and will avoid your plants. This is also a good source of calcium for your soil.

Another great tip is to save your coffee grounds to add to the soil around your acid-loving plants such as tomatoes. Coffee grounds also make for a great air-freshner for the car or to deoderize a stinky couch.

This is an Earth Day must read!

Happy Earth Day a few days early!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

What's In a Name?

Juliet:"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet." Romeo and Juliet - Act II, Scene 2

After my oldest son finished an hour of reading and emptied the dishwasher for me, I let him watch a baseball game on television, The Cleveland Indians versus the Oakland A's.

As I entered the room, my son asked, " Where is Progressive Field?". I looked at the screen and could see that it was cold and sleeting on the ball field. This has to be Cleveland, I brilliantly deduced. I doubted that it would be snowing in Oakland, California this time of year. I thought my son must be mistaken about the name until I heard it for myself. When did this happen? While I'm not a sports nut, I can't believe that I missed that memo.

So I did some research on the internet and this happened in January of this year. Progressive Insurance bought the naming rights for 16 years at roughly $3.6 mil a year!

I grew up going to games in Cleveland Stadium. It took a while to get used to "Jacob's Field " or "The Jake ". The name was changed in 1994 when a new stadium was built. Now I need to get adjusted to "Progressive Field". Suggested new nicknames are the "Prog" ( sounds too much like Prague for my liking) or the "Pro" ( not feeling it). I guess nothing is sacred. Everything is up for sale at the right price.

I wonder what the value of naming rights to my children are? I may have to test that out on E-Bay or Craig's List. For the right price, I am willing to change my children's names. "Target", "Nationwide" and "McDonalds" have a nice ring to it.

Vanity, thy name is a Baseball Field!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bathroom Humor

As I've been reading the blogs of Moms with toddlers, I am reminded of how much easier my boys are to take care of now that they are older, especially when it comes to the bathroom.
An Excerpt Reprinted from our 2003 Family Newsletter

Bathroom Humor

As you can imagine, there is much drama that unfolds in our household and the bathroom makes for a great staging area!

“ What’s that wet spot on your shirt?”, I asked Colin as I came back to check on him. I was trying to cook some pasta as well as assist Colin in the downstairs bathroom.
“ Devon peed on me!” he replied.
Devon was at the sink, washing his hands, with his back to me. He was pretending not to hear this exchange. “ Devon, is this true?” I asked him. “ Did you pee on your brother?!” Devon looked at me sheepishly and replied, “ It was an accident.” I waited with amusement to hear his explanation.
Apparently Colin was taking too long sitting on the potty and Devon was too lazy to go upstairs to another bathroom. He saw a small opening and thought he could make it. We had a “discussion”. In addition to agreeing that it was not a very wise choice, we also concluded that his aim is not very good either.

Shaving with Dad
Sometimes in the morning Dad will let Colin shave with him. This consists of putting some shaving creme on Colin’s face and giving him a razor with the plastic cover left on. Bit by bit, Colin will slowly and methodically remove the foam.
One day Alex, who is very observant, also wanted to shave. Dad told him he could go after Colin. When it was Alex’s turn, after lathering him up, Dad gave Alex the razor Colin had used.
A few moments later, Alex cried out, “Ouch!” Without Dad noticing, Alex had removed the guard before shaving. Having witnessed Daddy shaving on several occasions, Alex knew that you could not shave with the plastic cap on over the blade. Seconds later, blood and tears flowed freely. Our little stud had his first shaving accident!
It was no surprise that Alex refused to help create a reenactment shot, even when told the cap would stay on and we would use fake blood. “ I’m never shaving again!” he protested in a highly agitated tone.

Friday, April 11, 2008

It Never Hurts To Ask

Last night we attended our first piano recital for 2 of my boys; my 7 year old and my 9 year old. They have been taking lessons for two months. Their piano teacher spent a considerable amount of time explaining a few expectations for the recital.

The program was being held at a mini concert hall that was part of a well respected Piano Gallery. The teacher was concerned about protocol such as arrival time, bowing and playing through mistakes and stressed the importance of not playing with the pianos in the gallery. Many of these instruments are over $20,000.

I was a bit annoyed how much of the last two lessons this lecture cut into. I also didn't need to be told several times about not touching the pianos, but I realized this must be an issue.

The boys wore dress pants, button-down shirts with ties and dress shoes. All the other students also dressed up. The hall was small but elegant and the children had the opportunity to play a concert-quality baby grand. With a few small bumps, the program went well. There was a five minute intermission before the older students performed. We had the option of leaving. We opted to stay.

While we were strolling about, I had to remind my 7 year old a few times about the "No Touching" rule as he started to reach out to play one of the gallery pianos. Several other families milling around, let their children run about and play on the pianos. My husband, who had missed the protocol lectures, didn't believe me. He pointed out all the other kids "tickling" the ivories and I countered that this didn't make it right.

I had my son go up to the desk and ask permission.

The receptionist looked at me and remarked, " He is the only child that asked permission!" and she pointed out a safe section of pianos to try out. I made sure she knew that we were told by the teacher not to touch any piano other than the one in the recital area or practice room.

I was a bit irritated with the other families for not paying attention to the rules. I now fully understood why so much time was spent to try to reinforce the importance of being respectful.

If you know the rules, follow them. If you are unsure, it never hurts to ask!.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Gardening Season Begins

Today is a bright, sunny day and temperatures are in the 60's for this afternoon and the rest of this week. It is the first sunny and warm weekend we've had this year and I was bit by the gardening bug.

Yesterday I started to clean up my plant beds and today I took the boys to buy some plants. We also found some seed packets on sale for 15 cents. I have learned from last year that while the yield per these sale packets may not be optimal, you can't beat the price. I let the boys go wild and pick out almost any seed type ( I nixed the watermelon and cantaloupe seeds - not enough space in the vegetable garden ) and we ended up with 32 packets.

Total purchase price for seeds and plants came to just under $40.

I found this toad while cleaning up a flower bed. He seems to have made his home under the Lamb's Ear plants. The boys are keeping him hydrated with their squirt guns.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

How I Spent My Spring Break

We had what my husband likes to refer to as our "Worst Spring Break- Ever"; we worked day & night to move my business. While moving is very stressful, it is a great way to get rid of crap, as well as test a marriage.

I am happy to say that we survived and I am out of my old space. I still have a ton of work to do to get organized but at least all my stuff is in one place.

My boys didn't mind the long hours. They were allowed to watch t.v. and play video games for hours at a time; mostly unsupervised. They were able to sneak in episodes of the Simpsons, Family Guy and much to my horror, American Dad!

In case there is any doubt that I am a Bad Momma, this Easter clinches it. I was short on time and energy so I picked up a bunch of assorted candy, a frozen pizza and Jones Easter Soda.

After our Easter Pizza dinner, I had the boys close their eyes. In lieu of Easter baskets and an Egg hunt, I threw handfuls of assorted candy at each of their plates. When I was done doling out plastic eggs, jelly beans and chocolates; they were allowed to open their eyes and pig out.

Yesterday they had a chance to share what they did on break. My fourth grader told his class that he had to work all week but he had a great Easter filled with great candy and Easter Soda!
Apparently the teacher got a chuckle out of this and the kids were intrigued with the idea of special Easter flavors of pop.

Thanks for welcoming me back. I hope you all had a good Spring Break.