Monday, June 30, 2008

A happy discovery

My first red tomato!

One little grape tomato. LOL But it's the promise of great things to come.

The bush beans are starting to flower.

The peas are still trying to produce. It almost looks like they might survive the summer and give me a fall crop.

Chloe's corn is getting tassels now too, which means it may flower soon.

Miss Cora came to visit me at the fence while I was weeding last night.

So I had her pose with the tomatoes to show how big they are. The grape tomato plants are about as high as my shoulder now, and the others aren't too far behind.

And my first dahlia bloom. Isn't it gorgeous? this is the first time I've planted dahlias from bulbs (corms, actually) and they are so much bigger than the ones grown from seed at the nursery!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Country Jam notes

Ahhhh. 4 days of great music, skimpy clothing, 100-degree heat, and too much to drink. Who could ask for more? :o)

This is our third year at Country Jam together. Country Jam is huge - at least for our little town. Literally thousands of people, all packed into one gigantic alfalfa field to listen to great country music singers.

The line-up:

Marshall Reign
Western Underground
Collin Raye
Rodney Atkins
Lady Antebellum
Diamond Rio
Clay Walker
Josh Turner
Jamie O'neal
Jason Aldean
Tim McGraw
Chris Young
Joe Nichols
Little Big Town

Plus a few smaller-name bands/singers. Good stuff. We made it for most of the shows, but missed Sugarland, who is about to play as I type. :o\ Andrew has to be at work early though, and it's not worth sending him out to drive on three hours' sleep. So I'll just have to sit here and sing "All I wanna do-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh...."to myself.

We had a great time, but honestly, Country Jam just isn't the party for us that it was when we first went. That first year we went together we camped for four days, saw every single show, drank two big bottles of Jack Daniel's.... We're a lot more low-key these days. I say we're getting old. :oP

So, on to the pictures. Some aren't great but whatever, I'm posting them anyway.

Josh Turner:

Clay Walker (one of my favorite acts this year, a great show)

I used to have the BIGGEST crush on Collin Raye.

When I was twelve.

Tim McGraw. Awesome. Love him.

I made myself a top to wear. Okay really, I just chopped up a bandana, sewed it back together, and called it a top. Since I am not, nor will I ever be, in the kind of shape required to wear a bikini top like all the other girls out there, this was my attempt at tastefully clad in skimpy clothing.

Jason Aldean.

My hubby :o)

Our Country Jam beverage of choice

These little girls sang the National Anthem. They're called the Cactus Cuties, from Texas. They're between the ages of 9 and 14 and are pretty flippin' incredible. You can see them on YouTube, if you care to look them up. Totally worth the couple of minutes that it'll take.

The Navy Seals Leap Frogs did a jump. Pretty awesome to watch.

And a quick shot of Joe Nichols:

Isn't he cute?

Love the way he runs his fingers through his hair...

Mmmmm hmmm.

And I'm happy to report that both girls did just fine. They stayed with my mom the first two nights (my mother is doing just fine) and with Andrew's sisters the last two days. I think Cora missed me (Chloe sure didn't!) but she did alright for the most part. I'm glad it's over, in a way, because I hate leaving her. Especially today - at the in-law's house. Ugh. Happily, I was wearing a tube-top that said "Serve Friggin' Cold" today, which everyone at the in-law's house saw. I'm sure my mother-in-law was horrified, which added to the pleasantness of the day. ;o)

And that was Country Jam. Were talking about getting VIP tickets and camping the whole time next year. We'll see if we're actually up to it once that time comes around. I'm not as young as I used to be!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Feelin' guilty

I finished the other gift outfit last night. Aren't the cherries fun? I like them.


So this afternoon starts Country Jam. It's a big country music festival that goes on for four days. The first year, we camped out there. We're not so brave anymore. Or we're just old... Anyhow, my mom is watching Cora for two days, and Andrew's sister is watching her the other two days, and Chloe's staying with my mom the whole time except when Mark has her Saturday night and Sunday. My mom said she just can't do more than two days with Cora. It's really not very fun to watch a baby who cries the whole time her mommy is gone. :o\ I hope she gets over that soon. Chloe never did it, so I'm not sure how long it typically lasts. Anyhow, if anyone wants to tell me that I am NOT a bad mother for ditching my kids for 10 hours a day four days in a row, that'd be great. I'm feeling mighty guilty about it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A quote from my husband

"You know how everyone always says you have a lot of energy? Well, most people don't have that much energy. It's not normal."

This after I kind of made him get up and do something for me instead of taking a nap on the living room floor. It must be hard to be my husband. :o\

Monday, June 23, 2008

The sweetest thing

Chloe wrote me a letter today.

This is one of those things that will stand out as extra rewarding about being a parent. After she gave it to me she said "I didn't know how to write 'you are the best mom in the whole world, so I just drawed a bunch of hearts.'" All you have to do is bake cookies with a kid and you get something as special as this. :o)


A couple shots from the front yard:


Two readers said they knew of little girls that wear size 12 months clothes, so I'm making them outfits. The first one is done:

I just love this fabric. These little outfits aren't terribly photogenic, but this one is the same pattern as the pink and brown one I made last week - open back, ties at the neck. Super cute. I love dressing babies in fabric that doesn't look terribly baby-ish. I hope the recipient likes it... haven't decided who's getting what yet. :o)


A little culinary tip: did you know you can eat beet greens? Not only can you eat them, but they're actually really good, sort of like spinach. Beets and swiss chard are actually the same type of plant, swiss chard just doesn't produce a root like a beet does. But yeah, I made a little side salad with beet greens last night, and it was a hit.

Tonight we grilled the beets, along with some green beans. I tossed them with a bit of tuscan balsamic dressing, fresh basil, thyme and chives, and some chopped almonds. Good stuff!


Alright, I guess that's all my rambling for now. :o)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A whole buncha pictures

My mom's cat had kittens, did I mention that? There are 5 of them. There were 7, but two didn't make it. I'm in the love with the calico. Chloe's in love with the pure white one. I don't think my husband is going to agree to two more cats. The one we have is a pain in the rear end as it is!

After breakfast with my parents this morning we went to an "animal expo". They just had all kinds of animals, farm animals mostly, and did demonstrations and such. It was a good way to kill a couple of hours, and Chloe and Cora both seemed to like it.

Petting a snake:

Riding a camel with Grammy:

And painting a horse. Right. At first I thought it was sort of cruel, but the horse seemed rather content, and I suppose it won't really hurt it...

And some shots from outside today. Chloe plays in the wading pool every day. I love when you buy something and you actually feel like you got your money's worth. That pool was worth every penny of the $11 or whatever I spent on it!

This is Cora's "I'm going to take over the world!" face:

And since Deb asked, some pictures of my garden. I was going to post pictures before, but I realized they aren't really much fun to look at. Probably sort of like reading about my garden isn't all that much fun either. LOL But anyway, here are a few shots:

The corn that Chloe planted (minus the 4 or 5 stalks that were knocked down by Izzy and stupid birds.) You can see the pole bean plants up around some of the stalks if you look close. They're growing fast now.

Peppers and tomatoes: (notice the empty spot by the fence? That's the one the dog knocked down. It's still alive though, so I'm giving it a chance.)

Another shot of the peppers and tomatoes from a little further away. The peppers are all green bell peppers. The tomatoes are (from right to left) grape, roma, and big beef. The roma's aren't terribly happy. There are two tiny, just-planted basil starts in front of them.

There's a big empty space after that where I just harvested a bunch of beets that didn't actually make roots. It'll be the carrot bed when it gets a little cooler. Then there's this:

The dark rows are where I just planted swiss chard and bush beans. The short green plants are bush beans that are already growing, and behind that are the peas that are just about finished. (Only about 5 pea plants grew. They were last year's seeds that Chloe planted. Enough for entertaining a little girl though.) Behind that was the spinach/lettuce bed. Since those are done (too hot here anymore for them!) I had Andrew toss the grass clippings there. I'm slowly using that as mulch, but can't do too much at one time. In the fall, it'll be the spinach/lettuce bed again. Behind the grass clippings was the radish bed, but since those are done now, I planted dill, thyme, cilantro and chamomile, though you can't see them in this picture.

All in all, I have about a 40 ft. by 5 ft. space, divided into 10 smaller 'beds' with stepping stones between them. Not a whole lot, but enough to grow plenty if I would've used the space right!

And that's all. My little girl is getting into EVERYTHING - ahhhhh!!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Happy First Day of Summer!

Can you believe it's already summer? My goodness, time sure is flying by. I spent most of the day out in the garden. I dragged the girls out of bed early and we were at the nursery by 8:10. I bought swiss chard 'bright lights' and some more bush variety snap beans. I also invested in a bag of compost, two basil starts and a packet of spinach for sowing in August, plus a container of liquid kelp extract for use as an organic foliar fertilizing spray.

I planted all the seeds with a mix of compost to see if they'll sprout a little better this time. I side-dressed the cukes, corn, pole and bush beans, peppers and tomatoes. I sprayed everything with kelp, used some grass clippings to mulch the cukes and bush beans, plus pulled a few handfuls of stray weeds I'd missed.

And, as much as i wish I could say I have patience, I don't; so I started planning next spring's planting. LOL I know I should save that for winter when I'm desperate to do something garden related, but i couldn't help it. I have a tiny little garden space, really, but if I interplant and catch crop, plus sow successionally, I should be able to grow every single thing I want to.

I'm so obsessed with gardening. I wish I would've started learning and reading BEFORE I planted this spring's crops - they'd be doing so much better than they are, and I could've gotten so much more planted in my limited space. But alas, it's all a learning experience, right? I'm having fun anyway. :o)


Friday, June 20, 2008

Oh happy day

I thought since it's already early summer, I was done planting things in my garden until my fall crops of spinach, lettuce, radishes and peas. But hark! According to the organic gardening books I borrowed from the library, I can plant still plant a few things! Wheeee! I'm so glad. I'm so bored with my garden right now. Waiting for tomatoes to go from green to red is rather tedious. My garden is nearly weed free. I'm waiting for some grass clippings to dry in order to use them as mulch. I'm so bored that I'm already planning out next spring's plantings. That's pretty sad. But then I discovered I can easily still plant carrots, more beets and beans, swiss chard, and I can probably squeeze some lettuce and spinach in amongst the corn that doesn't already have beans growing around it, to shade them while they grow in the heat of the summer. I'm getting the girls up early tomorrow - we're heading to the nursery to look for seeds. I only hope that the seeds aren't all gone.

I'm seriously sort of obsessively in love with gardening. Because really, I need another hobby to keep me busy. Ha ha. Organic gardening is a lot more work in some respects, but appeals to me on a grand scale, and so here we are, planning all kinds of fun.

The best part is that this gardening thing really is setting me on my way to overcoming my entirely intense and entirely irrational fear of all bugs.


So I must tell you all about my very favorite shoes, because I believe everyone ought to own a pair.

They are called Gurkees:

Somewhere around five years ago (maybe more?) I bought a pair of the Neptunes at a little store on Main Street that has since closed. I thought they looked different and intriguing. And they do, but the best part is how darn comfortable they are. When I walk to Farmer's Market or the library, or anywhere else, I wear them. If I can walk four miles in them, they've gotta be good. The only downsides are that they have no grip (they're made entirely of rope) so you can't wear them on slick surfaces like skate park ramps or dance floors, or you will undoubtedly end up on your behind. (Which really is quite embarrassing. Take my word for it.) And if they get wet, they stay wet for a long time. Like, a day or two. Rope is very absorbant. That's not bad in the summer though, if you're really hot. I've worn them on mild hikes, long walks, around the house, in the garden... seriously, I'm in love with these shoes. And the really cool part? When your feet start getting tan from wearing them constantly outside, you get this really cool zig-zaggy sort of tan line on your feet that is fun to look at when you're barefoot. :o) Everywhere I go, people comment on what cool shoes I have.

My Gurkees have finally come to their end, I'm afraid. Back when Izzy was a pup, she chewed one of them pretty bad, so that the sole is sort of only half as thick as it's supposed to be, and slowly detaching itself from the rest of the shoe. I've probably walked hundreds of miles in them. They're all frayed and just look sort of pitiful. So I ordered a new pair today - this time I'm trying the Barbados style. When I first bought the pair I have, they didn't have any other choices besides Neptune, and the color options were natural, or black. Gurkees have apparently come a long way since I first discovered them.

Seriously, go and buy yourself a pair. You can thank me later. :o)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ha ha ha "perfect"?

Dyan said I sound "like the perfect wife and mother". LOL That's because this is my blog and I can omit whatever I want. I'm really not so great. I promise. ;o) I yell sometimes, when I'm frustrated. I get frustrated too easily. I cuss sometimes if I'm REALLY frustrated (not at my children, ever.) I can out-cuss a sailor without blinking an eye, if I really want to. I don't iron, and commonly cram clothes into closets so that, if they weren't wrinkled to begin with, they will by the time they've sat in there for a week. I don't play imagination games well, even though I've always intended to be the kind of mother that does. I leave piles of stuff by the basement stairs because the basement scares me and I don't want to take things down there.

There really are a million things wrong with me. I just always try a little bit harder to be better. My biggest thing is my patience. It takes a lot of patience to deal with a five year old. Especially one with the snotty attitude that mine has developed. My patience eludes me at inopportune times, and I snap at her, or yell, or am otherwise short-tempered when I should really be able to maintain composure better.

But hey, none of us are perfect, right?


We went to farmer's market again. I bought tomatoes, beets, and asagio bread (whole wheat, relatively healthy as far as bread is concerned.) I like just seeing what they have, so I can plan on buying other stuff the next time I go back. I've never made beets, except juiced with carrots. I want to try grilling them. I know cooking veggies is bad, but it sounds yummy, so I'll try it. I love cooking, when I get a chance to do it.

We watched some belly dancers while we were down there. Chloe was enthralled. Cora was too, actually. I just don't understand why belly dancers are always old and wrinkled and sagging and fat. That was mean. I don't mean it in a mean way. I understand that our bodies aren't what they used to be once we get older. I just don't think we should flaunt it by wearing skimpy bikini tops and skirts with bellies flopping around for the world to see. I certainly wouldn't wear anything of the sort! Anyhow, the belly dancing resulted in Chloe coming home, developing a costume, and dancing around the living room for an hour before bedtime. It was cute. :o)

My inner thighs hurt like heck from the 4 mile walk. I'm considering it a good thing, though when I'm unable to haul a basket of wet laundry up the stairs tomorrow, I may change my feelings on that.


I made a dpn (double pointed needle) holder today using up the leftovers from the fabric for Cora's outfit.

I was sick of all of my dpn's floating around in a little zippy bag with a broken zipper. I've seen a bunch of cute ones just like this for $22 or more. So for around $1, I have my own. :o) It's lined with fleece (the solid pink) to give it a bit more stability. I'm really happy with it. It was about a 20 minute project, which I did while sharing my chair with Chloe while she played her Reader Rabbit game.

Ya know why...

I like sewing so much? Because it's so darn fast! Especially when you're used to knitting, where it takes a week (or six) to make one thing.

Cloth napkins:

One yard of muslin makes 12. I just cut them into squares about 10x10 and hem them. Not much to look at, but they're functional and muslin holds up great. I made these to replace a few that have been lost or eaten by the dog over the past couple of years. Two dozen is usually plenty for our family.

An outfit for Cora:

$2/yard fabric from Wal Mart. Love pink and brown together, and love retro prints. Pattern is circa 1977, Simplicity size 1. I wish she needed more clothes. I'd make a million of these. anyone know any little girls in a size 12 months that need clothes? LOL

A grocery bag from the remaining John Deere fabric, scraps of an orangey-yellow and dark green.

That makes 5 cloth bags now. One or two more and I should be able to avoid using any plastic sacks.

Anyone have any suggestions for me on what to use when I scoop out the cat box? Maybe I should keep a few plastic ones around for that chore.

...'Tis all for now!

It's farmer's market night. Looks like it'll just be me and the girls, but we're gonna walk and hopefully have a good time, just the three of us.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I know I said I wouldn't...

...but we all know I can't help myself when it comes to making stuff.

Remember this dress I made for Chloe? It was back in June of '06. She was three in this picture.

So I love John Deere fabric. Especially when little girls wear it. There's just something cute about that, isn't there?

So I made this li'l creeper for Cora yesterday. I went to Wal Mart and had to walk by the fabric section, which I'm incapable of doing without making a purchase. At least fabric at Wal Mart is cheap. :o) The pattern was a Simplicity from 1977, size 1. Super-simple pattern, no buttons, zippers, etc. Just a few strips of elastic. I wish I had more sizes of the pattern, I'd totally make them.