Thursday, January 30, 2014

Quilted Southern

     I stumbled upon these two quilts a few weeks ago.  It was one of those thrift store moments where you see what you want lurking in the back, behind the "employees only beyond this point" sign and you know you're going to risk them jacking up the price by asking, "is that available?" 

     I took the risk, and of course, they had to bring in the big guns from the "antiques department" of the Salvation Army and she informed me that the quilts were "really old" therefore they were going for $15 each.  I know I cringed inwardly, but my gaze held steady as a nonchalantly said, "great, I'll take both."  

     I know $30 might not sound like much, but when your thrift money is cleverly skimmed off the top of your monthly grocery budget, it can be a big sacrifice.  So there I was, anxiously standing at the checkout counter ready to only buy one, thinking how adorable they would be on two twin size beds in Sadie's room and trying to justify it, when the cashier asked, "how much did they want for these?"  

     I want it documented here and now that I didn't even hesitate, I said $15 each.  She stared at me and I thought, "oh no, she thinks I'm lying, that they should be more, but I'm not, I'm really not..." then she said, "for a couple of old blankets? How bout $15 for both".  I was floored.  I wanted to correct her and point out that these were not just a couple of "old blankets", that someone had hand quilted and hand pieced them, and look at the amazing variety of vintage fabric!!! But instead, I thanked her kindly, and left a penny in her penny jar.  

     I think I skipped to my car.  I found a few other things that day, and they'll probably make their way into a post soon, but I needed to showcase these quilts by themselves.  Oh, how I love them.  I can't wait to see them side by side in my baby girl's room.  

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snow Day!

     We experienced our first official "Snow Day" in Alabama.  It was more like a light freezing rain, with a powdered sugar coating of snow, but it was enough to shut our little community down.  The schools informed us on Monday that there would be no school Wednesday due to snow, and the roads closed last night at 6:00 and you were only allowed to travel for emergency purposes.  On the plus side, Dean was asked "not to risk the drive" so he gets to stay home with us today.

     This is so unheard of where we came from, We Yankees could hardly believe they were giving us 24hr notice of a school closing, but today we're grateful as we heard about the students in Atlanta and Birmingham who are spending their snow day at school because they couldn't get home last night.  Our snow might not look like much, but without the experience and the right equipment even this much is crippling.

     We've already been laughed at by my dad, who informed us Ogden is expecting 5 inches tonight, and snow showers over the next three days.  It's different here.  The mere mention of snow in the forecast is enough to send people running to the grocery stores in a panic.  Our power was out for a few hours last night, but I'd say we've weathered the storm nicely.
     So, we'll hunker down, light a fire, play some board games, and maybe toss a few snowballs.  We're wishing we'd brought one of the bags of rock salt we left in our old garage, but it's kind of fun to pretend we're Southerners.  Besides, we're expected to hit 72ยบ by Sunday.

A rare glimpse of our house in the snow. 
The last time there was snow on the ground was 2010, and before that, 1999.

Our "snow day" breakfast.

A piece of ice from the top of the trampoline.  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Climate control

     Two, used-to-be-green, ferns flank our front door.   I say used to be because up until three weeks ago they were a lovely greenish yellow, even in January.  We inherited them with the house and up until now they required little to no maintenance and they gave the front porch a real "Southern" feel.

     As I was saying, three weeks ago we had a real cold snap and me and my northern brain aren't used to worrying about plants in the middle of January, so they didn't get covered, and now they are brown.  It's just one more thing that makes me frustrated with this change we made.  I remember thinking one "positive" out of this move would be a year round garden, but I think I prefer 3-4 months of a winter rest knowing the lilacs and peonys and tulips are using the hard freeze to become even more beautiful, and at least the brown grass is covered with snow.

     I was listening to a southern gardening show on the radio yesterday and all I kept hearing was "yes, but that plant really isn't suited for our heat and humidity."  "Sigh", I thought I left weird micro-climates back in Utah, but it turns out my dreams of a subtropical climate where the plants use the humidity to stay hydrated exists much further south of Dothan, more like Miami.  I'm already late planting my peas, lettuce, and other early spring veggies because they come up in February and gardens are done producing here in late June.

     Dean says I can use my spare time to research exactly what will grow well here.  Yup, he really said "spare time".  I think I'll start by buying some more ferns, and remembering to cover them, and start familiarizing myself with new plant names that seem hardy and low maintenance.  Names like Lantana, and Satsuma, and Magnolia.

       Gardening itself is difficult, but when you're in unchartered territory, it's daunting and overwhelming.  Gardening in our new climate is a lot like learning a new language.  I hope it's something I'm successful at.  They have an entire magazine dedicated to "Southern Gardens" so there is hope.  I'll use the next few weeks to get my hands dirty and plant something....maybe I'll find my greenish thumb somewhere along the way.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The New Clubhouse

     We left a clubhouse in our move last summer.  It's something my two boys remind me of everyday.  A clubhouse, and a much loved swing.  So when Ben saw the wood against the garage, he assumed it was for a new clubhouse.  I didn't have the heart to tell him I salvaged it off the side of the road to make our garden boxes out of.  

     It's amazing how many hours can be consumed when you give a boy a hammer and a bag of nails.  They worked on it all afternoon and only needed  help nailing on the roof.  They have big plans for this clubhouse.  A nice addition to the pirate raft Dad made them for Christmas.  We just wish we had our Lake St. friends to fill it with secret plots, adventures and popsicle wrappers. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Sleep Eating

     We all have one of these hiding somewhere in an old photo album.  Years from now I'll pull it out to embarrass her and she'll turn it around and ask why I let her have her hair like that.   
At least dinner looks somewhat healthy, right? 

Sunday, January 19, 2014


     You remember it, the game with the dice in the plastic bubble.  When it pops up with your number and there are so many options, your head hurts as you try to get your four little colored pieces "home".  We got it for Christmas and it has gotten out of control, in a good way, I think.  They ask to play constantly and their strategic implementation is improving.  Alan's lost a few eyebrow hairs and Ben has been known to conveniently "forget" the rules, but it brings us together.  Trouble, a game we'll be playing for a long time, I'm sure.


     It's January 19th, the time of the month when most people are already forgetting their New Year's resolutions.  Well, I'm getting some time to finally post ours. Maybe seeing it in writing will make us all more accountable.  Along with dropping a few unwanted pounds, managing our cash flow more wisely, and honing our spiritual habits, we've each chosen some new things to work on this year.  Something fun and somewhere new to visit...

     Dean chose to develop his wood working skills and to attend Major League Spring Training in FL.

     Brooke chose to make a list of chapter books and read them with the kiddos, and to attend a seafood
     festival.  You'd be surprised how many there are to choose from.

     Ben chose to work on sports and go to Hawaii (I'm not sure where Hawaii came from).  He would
     also like to start a hiking tradition on New Year's Eve.  Something he adopted from spending time
     with Aunt Rea and Uncle Steve this year.

     Alan chose to "ride my Jeep and my bike and play basketball and go on a train."  So far Alan is the resolution champion.  Here he is with his ball and his Jeep.  He works on his resolutions every spare minute he can.  Dean says we could all learn something from him and make our resolutions something we like to do already.  Does that defeat the purpose, I wonder?  What it means is that our resolutions would look like this...

     Dean...sleep and eat Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
     Brooke...knit and look for thrift store treasures with Legos and read

Hmmm....maybe we can set aside a few weekends a year where we all get to work on our secret resolutions.  The ones that make us truly happy.

Saturday, January 18, 2014


     She weaves a path of destruction, debris in her wake.  
Like an awkward creation of Dr. Frankenstein,
halting, disjointed, yet so stealthy in her stepping. 
 We watch, amazed that she no longer crawls.  
She has moved into toddlerhood with grace, and disaster, 
following the dog in unsteady circles around the house.

Pizza Night

     Ben and Alan were discussing our dinner plans yesterday on the walk home from the bus.  I heard Ben say, "No, Alan, we're having pizza tonight because it's Friday and Friday is pizza night."  Then Ben went on to explain that everyone knows it's Friday pizza night because he was talking to Luke, his friend at school, and Luke's family has pizza on Friday nights too.

     I didn't realize we had created a ritual, but I'll take it.  I don't think we've actually had pizza the last few Friday's, but now it will be an automatic addition to our week's menu.  Nothing fancy, although I did have to look up a new crust recipe because I ran out of my bulk Winco Pizza Crust stash.  It turned out pretty well.  We have the inevitable pepperoni and cheese, but we get creative with a supreme/Hawaiian split and a BBQ ckn/ckn alfredo split.  We end up with left overs, but isn't that one of the main reasons why you have pizza night anyway?

according to the boys, pineapple doesn't belong on pizza.

     Luigi's Italian Icee's....another Friday night ritual we've inadvertently created.  They're so yummy!
Happy Friday, everyone!

2 in 2 Days

"Mom, do you think the Tooth Fairy will bring $100 for TWO teeth?"

Roadtrip Highlights

These are for you, Mom and Dad...

*Inevitable vacation photo disclaimer:
      for those of you, ahem, Ryan, judging these photos and their photographers, please remember, most
      of them were taken by total strangers, just before a ride was starting, or with 200 other people
      waiting to take THE SAME picture....

 On the Road...

Downtown Disney...

We HEART Legos!

After some drama we finally made it to the Rainforest Cafe

Seuss Landing...

The only ride calm enough for Gma Jo-Jo...

The "Caro-Seuss-el"

You're a blurry one, Mr Grinch


Jurassic Park...

Ben, naming his baby T-Rex

We waited the longest for this Pteranodon ride.  1hr! 
Well worth the wait according to the boys + we had Little House on the Prairie to keep us company.  
The adventure ropes course that came after it was even more exciting.

Dean's "selfies" are sooo much better than my "selfies"

Is it just me, or do Gpa Blake and Alan look surprisingly un-phased by the massive genetically  engineered Tyrannosaurus Rex charging out of the jungle?


Hi-5-ing Captain America

 Harry Potter...

Chocolate Frogs

Waiting to be sorted

The Three Broomsticks

Our Stroller, the ultimate theme park necessity...
What'll we do when they're no longer young enough to require it's presence?
I might have to resort to a fanny pack, "gasp".

Total exhaustion

I asked them to show me their favorite things from the vacation.
Alan = seashell
Ben = Legos
Saide = Binki
Thanks for a great trip. We can't wait to do it again!