Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Not a huge shock, but...

... disappointing nonetheless.  It seems that AT&T might have "unfairly swayed" the outcome of this season's American Idol.  I didn't care one way or the other which of the two guys won (believe it or not, I liked them both), and have never voted for anyone on the show.  In fact, this was the first season that I had ever watched Idol.  
If this allegation is true, however, it would cast a little dark cloud over the outcome, I think.  Again, not a huge shock, and not something that's going to keep me up nights, but I figured I'd share.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hard to believe?

It's so strange that there are still segregated proms. This NYT Magazine article is really interesting. Perhaps the author could have gone a little more in-depth, but for such a sensitive subject dealing with teenagers, she did a decent job. The audio slide show is really the most touching part of the piece, as you hear the actual voices of the kids involved in the situation.

Monday, May 25, 2009

In and out

Mike installed my new ceiling fan (Mother's Day present) in the kitchen yesterday--it's fantastic (get it?!).

Here's Mike washing dishes (I love my husband so much!). You can see my new sink, new counter tops, new shade, and new light over the sink. Hooray!

My darling husband also finished staining and varnishing W's W-sized eating set to match our dining table. It looks great, and W is super-proud of it.

Here are my veggies in the backyard. I have several tomato plants, bell pepper, eggplant and squash. I sowed some carrot, radish, watermelon, and pumpkin seeds this past weekend as well.

Here's the first squash bloom of the season!

Here are my delish herbs. I have (clockwise from lower left) basil, parsley, mint, cilantro and rosemary.

Remember the stuff I started from seeds back in March? Some of it didn't work, but the stuff that did work is pretty impressive. Here are some tomato and bell pepper plants.

Memorial Day

We went to the Rutgers Gardens this morning. We didn't get to see much of it, as W was a little on the fussy side. We will definitely go back; the grounds are beautiful, and best of all, it's free!

Giant chair, or tiny W? You decide.

There is a nice nature walk on the premises. W was not up for walking it, so he rode on Mike's shoulders. There was a little creek running through that we all enjoyed looking at and listening to.

I took this picture of us, accidentally cutting out the best part of the subject-matter. Oops.

Mike took this one; he managed to get all three of us in the frame.
On our way home, we stopped at McDonald's for lunch. After eating, W played in the PlayPlace. Mike helped him figure out how to climb on parts of it. He loved it. We did big time hand sanitizer when he got out, of course.

Peeking out from the play structure...

It's back to work/school tomorrow; we had a wonderful holiday today, though.

Things that make me happy

My in-laws gave W this magnetic put-together tractor the last time they were up. It had been in the closet until today. As you can tell, it's a huge hit.

W is VERY PROUD of his tractor.

W and I picked strawberries with some friends of ours on Friday afternoon at a nearby farm. They were absolutely scrumptious! I also got some zinnias and "butterfly daisies" for the front yard.

On Saturday, we went to the farmers' market, where I got flowering tobacco plants (they have a lime green flower) to fill in the rest of my front beds.

Here are my zinnias (in the back), Wave petunias, and the flowering tobacco.

And my pride and joy, the lavender bush. It was a tiny, puny thing last year, and didn't bloom (they often don't in their first year). I pruned the heck out of it, and now look at it! It's about to bust open with some deliciously-fragrant blooms.

A happy boy

We are so fortunate to have such a happy, healthy boy! He loves the play structure near our townhouse. He is really good at climbing up and down.

We go over to play at the "play set", as we call it, nearly every day. He adores it.

W and mama, enjoying a nice afternoon

What a ham.

Check out the hat that I embroidered for him! He wanted a lightning bolt on the side of the car so that it looked like Lightning McQueen, from Cars.

The back of the hat says "vroom", which I free-handed. He loves this hat. He wore it to bed the other night.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Some more pictures

Here are some more pictures of recent projects/cuteness.

Lovebirds and vines embroidered on a dish towel for a family friend who is getting married at the end of the month.

W watering the plants

Watering more plants... He loves it when we give him a "job" to do!

A co-worker/friend of mine is expecting her first baby in mid-July. We are throwing her a surprise shower at work tomorrow. I embroidered three cloth diapers for her to use a burp cloths. Super soft and super absorbent (for obvious reasons!). She doesn't know what she's having, so I used gender-neutral purple and green for the word "baby".

Here's a sleepy moon...

And here's a sweet baby face.

And this blanket is for Alice's new addition. It's super plush and soft. It's in LSU colors (of course!). I used two pieces of cotton flannel and put a piece of batting between the fabric. I trimmed it with purple pom-pons and hand-embroidered "Lil' Tiger" on one corner....

...and the baby's initials in the bottom corner. In my humble opinion, it turned out really well. It's going in the mail tomorrow.

Some pictures

As promised, some new pictures.
Here is the clay pot he made for me at school for Mothers' Day. Aren't the hand prints great? He chose the stones around the rim and glued them on himself. He also picked out the geranium and planted it (with a little help from his teachers).

The apron itself is from Wal-Mart. I did the embroidery myself. I donated it to the church for the Youth group's silent auction.




Saturday, May 16, 2009

New header

What do you think of my new header?
I came up with the concept (the design for the Sew and Sow part) and April, of AprilShowers, did the design/art/installation.
Oh, Happyness!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sick Boy

W. is sick. He stayed home from school today. Thank goodness Mike was already scheduled to have the day off, so I didn't have to miss a day (I've used up all my personal and sick days). He snoozed on the couch for three hours this morning (totally unlike him) and on the floor for two hours this afternoon. His nose is running like a faucet (but the mucus is clear, thank goodness), he has a bad cough, and he's just not himself (no fever, though). So I don't know if I'll be able to go to work tomorrow or not; staying home with him might be in my future. We'll have to see.
I finished a few embroidery projects yesterday--the blanket for Alice's new baby, a hat for W, and an apron for the church's silent auction. Pics will follow, I promise.

Friday, May 8, 2009


I've got quite a spread in the backyard. We went to the farmers' market this afternoon and got lots of plants. I just finished getting them into the ground. I planted--
  • 6 grape tomato plants
  • 4 squash plants
  • 4 eggplants
  • 2 bunches of parsley in pots
  • 2 sweet potato vines
  • 1 patio tomato plant
  • 2 decorative basil plants (it's a purple color and smells divine)
This is all in addition to the plants I put in about 2 weeks ago--
  • basil
  • cilantro
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 tomato plants
  • 1 jalapeno plant
  • 2 clematis vines
  • Oriental lilies
  • 2 bleeding hearts
I also separated and transplanted several daylilies and hostas. It looks so green and lush outside now. It really makes up for the bleakness of the New Jersey winter.
Mike is working tomorrow for someone, so he got today and Monday off in return. He got some molding up in the kitchen, above the countertop backsplash, so it's looking even more complete in there. He also went to Home Depot to get my Mother's Day present... A new ceiling fan for the kitchen! Bye-bye grody brown fan, hello new white fan!

Monday, May 4, 2009


I've got several sewing irons in the fire. I am working on a blanket for Alice's new arrival (LSU motif, natch), aprons for Mother's Day gifts, embroidered pillow cases for a wedding gift and a doo-dad for some matching work at school. The doo-dad is a black velvet pouch (similar to a jewelery roll) for storing decorative ceramic spoons that my lead teacher got on a recent trip to Ukraine. The spoons have delicate flowers in different colors painted on them. There are three of each, four different kinds in all. The idea is that the children look at the colors/patterns and match the spoons accordingly. They are very beautiful and are sure to be a big hit. I'll have to post pics, because I doubt this makes much sense to anyone but myself. :-)
W did some fingerpainting this afternoon. I had tried to get him to do it before, but he never had much interest in getting his hands messy. Today, however, he really got into it. Crayola makes some nice fingerpaint that is actually more like a gel. It is very, very washable. I rolled out some brown kraft paper on the living room floor and squirted the paint onto the paper for him. I showed him how to do it and he took to it like a duck to water. I have two masterpieces from his efforts. One will be used as wrapping paper for a birthday gift for a co-worker (Rita, the lead teacher in my classroom). The gift is a book called "Rita and Whatsit" and it's about a little girl (Rita) who is unhappy with her birthday presents... until she discovers that one of the gifts is a dog. The book was published in French several years ago and was just recently published in English. The name/subject matter was perfect, so there you go.
I got W a copy of "Ten Little Ladybugs" today. It's a wonderful book that works through numbers 1-10 with a lovely catchy rhyme. The pictures and words are simply delightful.
On a side note, it is supposed to rain every day this week. Of course the plants are happy, and everything is greening up nicely, but it sort of means we can't go outside and enjoy the green-ness! It also means that we have dozens of stir-crazy toddlers at work, unable to run out their energy on the playground. And, of course, it means that I have a stir-crazy toddler at home. Seriously, how many trips to the Chick-Fil-A indoor playground can one tolerate?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Potty Talk

So I talked to W's teacher yesterday about the Toileting. She recommended that we really wait till the summer, as she doesn't think he's quite ready. To be honest, I agree with her. I was just worried that we'd miss the "sensitive period" for toileting and mess up the whole process. She suggested that we encourage, encourage, encourage him to use the toilet whenever possible, so that he gets used to that aspect of it. She said to check his diaper frequently, and once we notice that he stays completely dry for two hours or more, he is ready, as it indicates a greater degree of control on his behalf. So that's where we are on that front right now. He is, for sure, excited about the prospect of underpants, but I think he "gets" (as much as a toddler can!) that he isn't quite ready. We just want him to be successful and not get too frustrated with the process.
This is a really great article about Toileting. We are pretty much using it as a guideline for the process. Of course there are some things we sort of brush aside, but the majority of it is very practical and useful for our family.

Things We Do
  • standing diaper changes (actually, quite easy!)
  • elastic-waist pants (no buttons, snaps, zippers, overalls)
  • encourage water play (outside of the bathroom, of course)
  • teach our child appropriate vocabulary for body parts/functions
  • no lock on bathroom door/toilet
  • have small toilet seat that can be put on regular toilet
Things We Don't Do (and Probably Won't Ever Do!)
  • use cloth diapers
  • avoid having a potty chair (we do, in fact, have one upstairs)
There you go.