Monday, June 29, 2009

Setting Things on Fire

Yesterday, we went here... get these:

We live in a town where you can actually do FIREWORKS at your HOUSE. So, last night we walked to the local shopping center where they have temporarily erected a fireworks stand so that we could stock up for next weekend. Then, after dinner, we went in the front yard so Daphne could experience her first sparkler:

And her first snake:

She really liked it, but I am pretty sure that I was even more excited than she was. I haven't done sparklers in a long long time, because any and all front yard fireworks were outlawed back home in Texas. I can't wait to do the cones and fountains that we bought.
The down side is that fireworks are kind of messy. Look what the snake did to our bricks:

I don't think it's gonna come off. I think we were probably supposed to put it ON something before we lit it. Speaking of burning things, look what I did to my pot last night:

I put the steam basket full of corn in there, but I forgot the water. I couldn't figure out why my corn was on fire. The corn was bad and the pot is ruined. And dinner, which was an attempt at pork chops with baked beans, wasn't very good either.
But, at least there were fireworks.
Hope your weekend was good. Visitors from Texas coming today. It's gonna be a fun week!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thrift Shop Jackpot

Today, we decided to go to the local thrift shop, Twice is Nice. We both scored. Daphne found this patriotic heart for 50 cents, and I found these pillowcases for $1.00 each:

She is excited because the Fourth of July parade goes right past our house, so she wanted to get something to decorate the porch. I am excited because there are 4 new pillowcase dresses in Daphne's future, provided I can make them correctly.

Yesterday, we had lemonade, even though Daphne didn't really take a nap. Lemonade tastes better when you drink it on the porch steps with your favorite kid.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Itchy Trigger Finger

This video clip has nothing to do at all with this blog post, but I don't like having posts with no pictures, so enjoy. It is dedicated to my cousin's wife, Stefanie, because whenever she thinks of Daphne, she thinks of snorting. Long story, but not really blog-worthy. So, there you go.

Anyway, I have an itchy trigger finger. And when I say that, I mean I have an itchy pedal foot. And when I say that, I mean I want to sew something.

It's been a long time coming.

Here is what I want to sew:

  • First, cloth napkins. We use way too much paper in this family. That is going to stop.
  • Some sort of small pouch with a long skinny strap that I can sling over my shoulder for when I walk somewhere and don't want to carry my whole purse. Just big enough for money, keys, hand sanitizer, and lip balm. And possibly my evian refreshing mist spray bottle. The essentials.
  • A pillowcase dress (or 2) for Daphne to wear when we go to the beach later this summer.
  • A couple of market bags. My Central Market ones have seen better days. And they aren't very fashionable.
  • Some sort of cool summery shirt for me.

The possiblity of ANY of this actually happening seems small. The only time I have to sew is naptime and night time. Night time is right out. There is no way. I fell asleep on the couch within 10 minutes after I put Daphne to bed last night. Naptime might work, but I fear naps are phasing out. I put Daphne down for her nap an hour ago, and she's still awake. She has called me upstairs three times. First, she had to potty. (She really did, so that's OK). Then she was thirsty. Then, she wanted a lullaby. Now, you know that if someone is requesting to hear ME sing, it is a stall tactic and nothing else. I just told her that we could make lemonade later if - and only if - she goes to sleep. I think that did the trick. All these trips up and down the steps are wearing me out. Anyway, if there is any progress at all on this list, it will be blogged. But don't hold your breath.

Now, I am going to look through some patterns I have in case the opportunity arises...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hydrangea Experiment Day Two

So, the hydrangeas wilted significantly since yesterday. They look kinda the way I feel. The walk TO the movie theater this morning to see Horton Hears a Who was pleasant, but the walk home was hot. And my pokey little sidekick made it take much longer than it should have.

It is naptime again, and it appears that in spite of sitting in the nice cool dark theater for almost 2 hours, Daphne is actually going to sleep today. The walk probably wore her out too.

The problem with going to kid movies is that the audience is a bunch of noisy kids. No, that's not true. The real problem is that the kids, who are just being kids, are accompanied by adults who either don't have the know-how or don't have the will to control them. It was pretty unruly in there at first, and as we navigated our way through the line of kids fresh off the bus on a day care center field trip, I thought it was going to be a real drag. But when the lights went down and the opening credits began to roll, I looked down at the Peanut with her bowl of popcorn and her blankie, and she looked up at me with a HUGE smile and said,"This is gonna be AWESOME! And you are one awesome Mommy," it was all good. And the kids (mostly) settled down and the movie was cute and I'd do it again.

So, thank you, Tally Ho, for your summer kid movie program and for having a working AC. We'll be back for the Muppet Movie.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Hydrangea Experiment

Well, it's naptime so I tried to sit on the porch swing with my iced coffee and look the new PBKids catalog I just got in the mail. Alas, I was thwarted. First of all, Daphne was making all kinds of noise, which I heard over the monitor, because instead of napping, she was "having a campout." Plus, it's hot out there. And finally, although I didn't actually see any mosquitos, I felt their presence. So I quickly cut some hydrangeas and came back in the house. Kev's mom told me they are easy to dry, so I decided to try it. Most of the internet articles say to wait until the end of the season to cut them, but I thought I'd try it anyway. I don't know how they'll do, especially hanging right in the sunny window, but I couldn't figure out anywhere else to hang them, and they look sort of weirdly pretty hanging there. If this batch doesn't work, there's plenty more for later.

I can hear Daphne up there whispering to herself now. I don't think she's going to sleep. Dangit. We had a nice long playdate with the neighbors this morning, so she ought to be tired. I know I am. I guess my porch time will have to wait until the sun goes down.

Tomorrow morning we are going up the street to see Horton Hears a Who for $1.00 at the Tally Ho. They have a different kid movie each week all summer. It'll be nice and cool in the theater, and there will be popcorn. She probably won't take a nap after sitting in the dark all morning though. Maybe I'll make her jog all the way home...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day Blog

Father's Day weekend started with meatloaf. I SO did not want to make meatloaf on Friday, but I did and it was good and the best part was that Daphne liked it and ate it all up and dinnertime was very pleasant. Saturday morning, we drove to Herndon for breakfast at the Silver Diner, where you have your own personal jukebox and there are good pancakes. There are NOT good grits, so I didn't make the mistake of ordering them this time. When we got home, we gave Kev his father's day gifts, part of which was having Daphne "outfitted." She came downstairs with a new backpack, kid binoculars, a flashlight (which broke immediately - thanks, WalMart), Adventure S'Mores Goldfish Crackers, and a bow on her head. She announced that she was "Ready For Adventure!!!!!!!!!!!!!" and the plan was made to go on a hike the next day. To prepare for this, Kev and Daphne went to the attic to have a practice adventure in the teepee while I cleaned the house. Then, after naptime, we went bowling. After some initial fear and refusal to participate, Daphne really got into it:

She scored a 54. Not bad.
Dinner was meatloaf, part 2.
Sunday, we got up early, packed a lunch, and drove to Great Falls for Daphne's Father's Day Adventure Hike:

We saw a chipmunk, a hawk, several herons, some daddy long-legs, and a duck. Daphne was a real trooper and carried her backpack the whole time and didn't get cranky until the very end.

The falls were cool, the weather was pleasant, and all in all I'd say the adventure was a success. I look forward to the next one. Back at home, Daphne slept and Kev cut the grass. Dinner was grilled meat at the new Kabob place followed by Milwaukee frozen custard.
I am exhausted.
Today it is hot, and it is going to get hotter. It was nice this morning, so we took a short walk. But now it's hot and Daphne is upstairs NOT napping. I looked ahead in the forecast and saw 96 degrees on one of the upcoming days. It was bound to happen sooner or later. But I'm going to try not to complain too much, because we've had it pretty good so far. I mean, it's almost the end of June and I think it's only been in the 90s once or twice. I can handle that.
So, Happy Father's Day once again to Kev and my Dad and all the other good Dads out there. I hope you all had a nice day doing whatever it is you like doing. You deserve it.
I am now going to try to figure out the meal plan for the week, which may or may not include meatloaf. There is still some left...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Summer, Cont'd

Daphne got a popsicle making set for her birthday, so we made some. The first ones we made were OJ and vanilla ice cream mixed together, and they were really a Dreamsicle. The next ones were lazy popsicles, just some peach-mango juice from a carton. I didn't try those. I don't like peaches or mangoes. The one above was the most work. It is made from watermelon, strawberries, sugar, and lime juice (recipe from Everyday Food). I haven't tasted one, but it looks like Daphne is enjoying hers. I need to ask the neighbors what we have to do to get an ice cream man to come to our street. I could really go for a bomb pop. For some reason, tonight's meal plan is "meatloaf." Oh, how I don't want to make a meatloaf tonight. I want ice cream. At least there will be leftovers for the weekend.

Yesterday, we did some arts and crafts. I let the Peanut use some of my supplies, and she made her first all-by-herself handmade cards:

Today was (finally!) the last day of school here in Loudoun County. I have noticed a much greater than usual number of teenagers walking up and down our street today. The ones that are smiling and carrying ice cream don't worry me, but the moody-looking others seem like they may be up to no good. There's not much scarier than a teenager with time on his hands.
Happy Father's Day to all you good dads out there. I hope you have a fun celebration that includes a nice juicy steak. I'm not sure what we're going to do. Various ideas (bowling, blueberry picking, brunch) have been thrown around, but we'll see what happens. I'm just hoping there are no fits and a reduced amount of whining. I can't take the whining.
Have a good weekend, everybody.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Number Six

The next Thing That Makes Me Happy is having fresh flowers in the house. These hydrangea flowers just showed up in the garden, so I did a little research and tried this "boiling water" method to cut them and try to prolong the blooms. We'll see how long they last. Here is what they look like outside:

Unfortunately, it is on the side of the house behind a giant spruce (?) tree, and no one can really see it except my next door neighbor. There is another hydrangea outside that is just starting to bloom, and it looks like the flowers are a sort of magenta color. It's in the front, so we'll be able to enjoy it. Can't wait to see what's next. Interesting things are happening in the swamp...should see some blooms soon on whatever they are.

Dave Pepper is Everywhere

Daphne was back to being an early riser today, so I only got about 7 minutes of porch time this morning. But during that time, I saw Dave Pepper. That makes about 8 non-gig sightings. He was walking down the street with his dog. I guess he must live somewhere in the neighborhood.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Haven't done this for a while, but Thing That Makes Me Happy Number Five is having orange shoes. These came in the mail today, an early birthday present from my mom and dad (Thanks!). I used to have these ones but I wore them out, and now they don't make them any more. Tip: If you find a favorite pair of shoes, maybe buy a back-up pair. I'd give anything to have done that. I loved those shoes. The new ones are cool too, and they can go in the water. They inspired me to suggest a family walk after dinner tonight, and I must say, they were very comfortable. Maybe I should order more for the sad day these have to be retired...

PS. We saw a very cute little rabbit on our walk.

Summertime, and the Livin' is Easy...

Another weekend is in the books, and it was a good one. Friday night, we decided to walk over to the Hamburg Doner German restaurant (Now called Doner Bistro, much to Kev's dismay) for brats on the patio and some music by the omnipresent Dave Pepper. Dave Pepper is an English transplant who plays (mostly) classic hits (think Beatles, Kinks, etc.) and who I see EVERYWHERE I go around town. He messes up the lyrics now and then, but he's a lot of fun to see. Daphne was even singing along. This week, he added Mad World to his set, probably due to the recent Adam Lambert version being so popular. Such a great song. I will have to bust out some Tears for Fears if I can find it.
Saturday, we had another block party, this time because two families on the cul de sac are moving away this summer. It is such a drag. Five of Daphne's friends will suddely be gone. I am hoping for good new neighbors with nice kids soon, but houses around here aren't selling very quickly, and the neighbors we're losing will be hard to replace. One of the neighbors put up the water slide (above) to keep the kids entertained during the party, and did it ever! They had so much fun. It took Daphne about 30 minutes to work up the nerve to get in, but once she did, there was almost no getting her out. I have to admit, I really wanted to go down the slide, but I was told the age limit was about 10, and I'm pretty sure I couldn't pass for that. Anyway, we grilled burgers from the farmer's market (b-y-o-Meat) and had a great time watching Daphne have fun with her friends. Good times, but kinda sad.

Sunday morning was all about yardwork for Kev again. Daphne and I went out to play after he finished mowing. It wasn't too hot and gnatty, and we had a lot of fun checking out all the new stuff growing in the yard. The tomatoes will be ready soon. Too bad I don't like tomatoes. I wish we could grow grits or goat cheese. Actually, it wouldn't be a bad idea to get a goat. It might save Kev some time on the yardwork.
Sunday afternoon, we got a babysitter so Kev and I could take a three-hour vacation. I packed up a lunch, and we went to two local wineries, Fabbioli and Tarara. The drive was so pretty. We saw wildflowers:

And donkeys and ostriches and cows and goats and hills and mountains and forests. It was great. I didn't want to go home.

This morning, by some miracle, Daphne slept in a little, and I got to spend about 20 minutes alone on the porch swing with my coffee. A very good way to start the week. The rest of the day has been hectic, though, and Daphne only took a 20 minute nap, so I didn't get a break this afternoon. I had big plans for naptime, too. Our Netflix subscription ran out, and I have to watch the last movie we have and return it by Thursday, so I was gonna watch it today. Oh well, maybe tomorrow.
So, things are good. Time is flying and that means my parents and Jeff will be here soon. The next couple of months are going to be busy. We have Father's Day next weekend, then visitors from Texas for a week, then 4th of July, a trip to Long Island, a couple of little mini classes for Daphne at the rec center, a trip to Ocean City, and a trip to Hershey. Fall (and the first day of preschool!) will be here before I know it. And that's fine by me. I gotta say, though, summer here hasn't been terrible. At least so far, it's delightfully cool in the mornings and evenings, even on hot days. I feel for everyone back home, where I think it's supposed to be 99 degrees today.
So, everyone, hurry and move to Virginia! You can hang out with me on my porch! At least three houses are for sale within walking distance of mine...
I'm just sayin'.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Shout Out to Ryan

Happy Graduation, buddy! We're proud of you!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Watercolor Kev

Daphne painted this for Kev today. It is a picture of him "playing in the attic and wearing his flip-flops."
Kev could not have been more proud.

The Day I've Been Waiting For...

Today, Daphne said, "Mommy, I want to make some crafts." I've waited so long to hear that! She's been really into coloring and painting lately, and she likes to make stuff when I initiate it, but today, this was all her idea. First, she wanted to cut paper with scissors. I got out the ones Kev got her a while back, but that she had forgotten about. She was so excited. "They are just my size!" While she was cutting, I carved up a leftover potato into a couple of simple stamps. I made a heart, and then she asked for a diamond.
She is still sitting at her table, working away. She just came over and said, "Mommy, come look how my cutting is going." She is so proud. So am I.

Maybe someday, she will want to learn to knit. Sigh.
I have one more thing to show you, but it's a surprise for Kevin, so it will have to wait until he gets home. Stay tuned...

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Three Thumbs UP

...and with this final blow, Daphne's Birthday Season 2009 officially ended. It went on for a long time, huh? But it was fun.

We took her to see UP on Friday. We were worried about what would happen when the popcorn ran out, but she sat through the entire movie and didn't even squirm. It was a really great movie, for kids and grown-ups, and I challenge any of you to make it through the whole thing without crying. Plus, it featured a colorful bird named Kevin, who turned out to be a girl, so we all enjoyed that. I give it an A.

The weekend was mostly about taking care of business. The house got cleaned, the lawn got mowed, the trees got trimmed, and the poison ivy is now gone. Hooray for Kev! As it turns out, some of the poison ivy was actually something called Box Elder, a common poison ivy imposter, so there wasn't as much yard peril as we originally thought.

Today, we loaded the Peanut in the Burley and took a family bike ride before it got too hot and gnatty, and tonight we had jambalaya for dinner. Now we are all exhausted. Just in time for Monday. Hope all y'all had a good weekend.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Happy Birthday, Peanut

Happy Birthday, Peanut
Originally uploaded by Tara H.

Happy real birthday, Peanut. I am so proud of you.



Thursday, June 04, 2009

Hot Dog

Here is Daphne, ready to rock in her new Rocknoceros shirt. She got it for her birthday, along with their new CD. When we told her they came in the mail from Coach - along with an autographed sticker - she was beside herself. The dog in her hand was a gift from a little boy on the cul de sac named Sean. He is a "big kid" and Daphne follows him all around saying, "Sean, look at me do _____(whatever she happens to be doing)." The dog, after a couple of days of debate, was finally named Quincy. He goes with us everywhere. Today, he went with us to see Rocknoceros, but he had to wait in his doggie purse in the stroller. There was brief panic today at the mall when Coach was late getting to the show because he was volunteering in his son's kindergarten class. Every 30 seconds or so, I had to reassure Daphne that Coach was on his way. A great roar went up among the crowd when at last their be-whistled hero hit the stage. Preschool is out for the summer pretty much everywhere now, and I think half of Virginia's toddler population was at the show today. Daphne was pretty stressed out by the crowd, so she clung to me for most of the show, but she sang along a little and seemed to have fun. They are playing again next week, and several Thursdays this summer, but I don't know if I can take another Big Day at the Mall again so soon. I had to take a nap this afternoon.

Tomorrow is Daphne's "real" birthday at last, so I think we're taking her to see UP at the Tally Ho. We'll see if she can make it through the whole movie this time. We're going to have to be strategic with the popcorn. Movie review coming soon...

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


June is here, and it is hot and gnatty outside. In spite of this, we play out as much as we can. The patio has fewer gnats and some shade, so that's where we spend most of our time. Here is Daphne, armed with sidewalk chalk and dressed to save the planet.

Azaleas are blooming in the front. Another great garden surprise.

This is about to bloom in the swamp:

I don't know what it is, but it looks a little like the butterfly bush that Kevin's mom gave me. We'll see what happens when the buds open. There is also quite a bit of purple salvia in the swamp. It is kind of overgrown, but pretty.

And Snoopy may be gone, but we spotted a new back yard critter yesterday:

He is really cute and has a fluffy white tail, which we saw when he hopped away. This is bad news for Kevin's garden, but I'm always happy to share the yard with the local wildlife. As long as it's not snakes, that is.
Tomorrow is the first Thursday of the month, and that means Rocknoceros at the mall. Today we're just taking it easy at home. Writing thank you notes and playing with birthday toys. They say it may storm this afternoon, and that tomorrow's high will be 64. I like the sound of that.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Birthday, Cont'd.

Grandma and Grandpa arrived on Thursday. Their visit had two main purposes: to help us celebrate Daphne's birthday, and to buy a house. I am happy to report that they accomplished both. I am looking forward to the day they move up here and don't have to make visiting a big production. Instead, they'll be able to hop in the car and be here in 45 minutes. Yay.

The birthday party was on Saturday, and I have to say it was a success. I think everyone had a great time, and we had perfect weather for the theme, which was "Colorful Birthday in the Back Yard." There are pictures on Flickr if you want to see.

The cake was cupcakes, of course, in order to avoid my germophobic issues with the blowing out of candles. As it turns out, there was no actual blowing anyway, as the wind did the work, but that's another story. The cupcakes were a caterpillar, ladybugs, and worms in dirt, and I think the kids thought they were pretty cool. They were fun to make. I'd do it again.

The main activity was an idea I totally stole from my friend Whitney, who told me that at her daughter's birthday party, they let the kids paint flower pots and then plant a little flower to take home. The kids really got into it, and I was pleased that they seemed to enjoy it so much. The biggest drawback was that even though I said on the invitation that the kids would get messy, a lot of them showed up in party dresses which inevitably got paint on them. Look how serious they are down there, hard at work:

Here is Daphne's finished pot, which is now decorating the front porch:

So, the kids had fun, and Daphne got lots of nice gifts, and we enjoyed a really nice day in the back yard. The next day, the gnats arrived. Millions of them. I was not told about these gnats, and it was shocking. If it is going to be like this all summer, then it's going to be an awfully long summer. I am hoping it's just temporary, or that there is a solution. I'd almost rather there be mosquitos.
On a happier note, the stuff under my peonies that I thought was poison ivy is in fact wild strawberries:

Who knew strawberries have leaves of three?! We still have poison ivy in other places, but it is not nearly as rampant as I thought.
My mom and dad are on the way back to Texas now, and it's quiet here. Hopefully next time they come, it will be for good. June is going to be a quiet month, as we don't have any big plans until the arrival of my friend Emily and her awesome kids on the 29th. I can't wait for that. It will be so much fun. My goal before then is to catch up on some stuff at the house, and find a gnat solution so there can be picnics.
I hope you all had a nice weekend wherever you are.