Friday, July 10, 2009

The Day. It was Thursday. We did stuff.

The day started out innocent enough. Hubs was delayed in leaving, as he was working a later shift. K- and I went out to the consignment store to peddle our hand-me-down's. We pocketed $45.00, $15.00 of which we left back at the store in exchange for 2 pairs of uniform skorts, 1 pair of shorts and a Shrek Leap Pad game. It was a fair trade, I thought. By the way, they took all of the games that we had (yes, I checked them all for all the pieces and so forth), 3 of the 5 DVD's, the bag of new stuff and not much of the used stuff. So apparently, games are the thing to unload at a place like that.

We pressed onward to an upscale consignment store that I'd hear rave reviews about. Well, it was far too rich for my blood, as I noticed that a dress/sweater set were selling USED for $19.98, it was my cue to exit. I'll be leaving my money at the Village Discount Outlet, thankyouverymuch.

We had an appointment with our fabulous dentist at 12 noon, but we got there about 20 minutes early. That's okay. K- was able to play with the train table and I was able to quietly call a friend from the waiting room. Good news! We have no cavities! Bad news! They are watching a spot on one of my teeth and a few spots on a few of K-'s teeth. Ugh. But we left, hoping that February 4th is when we see them and not sooner.

We arrived back home, had a lovely lunch of quesadillas and started the weekly cleaning. Mom called once or ten times, so she cleaned the bathroom with me, did the laundry and I'm sure that she'll call while I'm sweeping. I still need to tidy the kitchen. I had clipped coupons in anticipation of going to KMart's double coupon thing this week, but they have a minimum purchase amount of $25.00 and you can only use 10 coupons. Nope. Not a deal for me.

Several times today, I have hosed the wretched beetles from my tree. At this point, the swarm is so bad that the beetle juice isn't even keeping them at bay. I have found that when I hose the tree off, they do swarm and tend to remain swarming around and into the beetle bags. Hubs emptied the bags today, crushed the dead beetles and hung a pierced bag in the tree (where no one can see) in hopes that the dead beetle smell will repel them. About this time last year was when they got so bad, but I don't know if they stopped because the tree was all eaten or it was their time to move on. My guess is that they moved on because of lack of food.

So, K-'s friend, E- got home and the girls biked up and down the street a few times. Both girls were getting a case of the crabby appleskins coming on, so I announced that it would be the last up and down until lightning bugs. Something in my child snapped. She absolutely melted down. She sat down at the end of someone's driveway and wouldn't get up. Then when she did, it was only because I was pushing her bike up the street and had taken her lightning bug collection privilege away. Then, she decided to start yelling so loud that I placed my hand over her mouth to muffle the sound and she blew her nose into my hand. She then lost TV for the evening and the next day. We trudged up the street until she finally did collapsified body in the front yard, so that I had to pick her up and carry her in. The neighbors? Oh, many were out or had their windows open. They were all watching. If I were to give her a score, I'd say a nice 9.8. She was a hair sloppy on the landing. She continued the festival of no and disobedience when she got into the house. She has officially lost TV for the entire weekend. She has lost lightning bug collecting for these two nights and I have taken her new game that she earned today. I told her how everyone was watching and now they think that she might be a bad little girl and it is up to her to prove them wrong. She cried and asked if daddy would kiss her when he got in, or if he thought she was a bad little girl. I told her that we both know that she is good, but she made some very bad choices. She told me the bad choices that she made, hugged me and apologized profusely and promptly fell asleep at 7:30 PM. (She was sent straight to bed.) Tomorrow is another day. Wow. I hate the breakdown battle. Argh.

We've made the solid decision today that we will not be vacationing this year. There was a glimmer of a chance of a vacation in August. It was a real opportunity, but the timing was bad. We have a sale at work and asking for that week off is like asking for the week of Christmas off. Hubs has programs, but he would have been able to have someone cover. K- starts school the next week and we would have only just gotten home to have to ready her and shove her out the door. We didn't want to shove out the door. We want to have a nice first day. She also has Kindergarten Orientation sometime that week before, which we'd really like to attend. It turned out that the week that was potentially being offered wasn't available in a townhome or beach house, so the next week was chosen, which really cuts us out. We've decided to sock the money away to save for winter and just general savings. As soon as we get the RAV paid off, we'll have to get Hubs a new car. He's kicking around the idea of a Matrix, which with a downpayment will land us with the same payment that we have for the RAV. I figure that I can have the RAV paid off in two more years. But still, another car loan. Sigh.

So today is a busy day for us. We have a park program on dragonflies and damselflies. My aunt wants us to pop in and see her and Grandma (we were going to do that Thursday, but Aunt Donna wasn't feeling up to it) in the afternoon. Then, friends will be coming over to celebrate E-'s birthday. He just turned 7 last week. We'll dine on brownies and catch up as the kids play in the backyard. Heather promises not to vomit this time. ;)

So as the news of Michael Jackson's passing settles down, the week has been walking down memory lane with the couple of friends of mine that lost a parent back in June. A previous boss' mom died last week, with the memorial just this week. These are losses that I can't fully help with. I feel like if I make some sort of comparative comment, I'm trying to downplay their loss, which isn't the case at all. (No, neither A- or Julia has said that.) I'm a filler speaker. I'm wordy, I tend to eat hips sometimes and in the occasion of attempting to soothe feelings and be there, I over talk. Why can't I keep my flippin' mouth shut? I read e-mails from A-, talking about great costumes that dad made and contests he entered and won. I see Julia, my co-worker, roll through extreme highs and lows over the loss of her mom. And there is Chris, who I've not been able to speak to, but have sent a sympathy card to. I guess it is a nervousness. I'm a fixer by nature. I can't fix their hurt. I would if I could. I guess that my mouth thinks that it can help to fix, but really it just needs to tell my ears that it is happy to pass the job along. Good listening ears, my friend. That's what I tell K-. I guess that I should practice what I preach, eh?

Good weekend to all of you. May your listening ears be firmly in place. [e-er, e-er] There. I checked. Mine are.

Smiles in my day:
- K- holding my hand when I was getting my teeth cleaned.
- Finding a 15% off shopping pass to Kohl's in my e-mail box. Now I'll go and get the cute little drop waist jumper for K-. It was 30% off and I can use my shopping pass on top of that. We'll use our consignment store money and that makes me smile.
- Having big plans to fill our pool (a large plastic shell pool from TRU) in the AM to have it heat up while we're gone to our park program, so we can play in it later. That will make K- smile.
- Though I hate the hum of the central air, I'm glad to have it to use when we need it. I decided to turn it on tonight (Thursday night) so that I don't have to play catch-up tomorrow when they predict that it will be 90 F. (I know, don't complain. Y'all in the mid section have been battling 100+. )
- Being able to talk with K- about the icky evening breakdown, tell her what a good little girl she is and to tell her that I love her. She had me snuggle in with her and I made up a story. "But mommy, I really don't want to make up a story tonight." "I do!" I made up a story about her and what a great kid she is-- concentrating on the positives about her. I don't want her to feel worthless by any stretch, I do want her to behave and be respectful.
- The Heath Bar in the freezer that I forgot that I bought myself this past weekend. Mmmm.
- That K- was able to have a positive experience at the dentist today that didn't involve her getting "a big lip." (Numbed up lip from dental work.) Dr. Rick could return to being the "good guy" and all is well.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

ABC about me!

I stole this one from Jamie who stole it from Shawna.

A – An advantage you have – I'm pretty visual. It's the art thing.
B – Blue or brown eyes – Hubs has dark blue eyes. I have dark brown eyes and K- falls in to the non-alphabet category of green.
C – Chore you hate – Scrubbing the bathroom.
D – Dad’s name – Leonard
E – Essential start of your day – Eating!
F – Favorite color – Periwinkle and lavender
G – Greatest thing you’ve ever done that made you feel really good – Becoming a wife and a mommy.
H – Habit you have – Making the bed as soon as I get out of it. I can't have the bed unmade.
I – Issue you hate that the world tries to make you pursue – Legalizing casinos in an already economically depressed state.
J – Job title – Mom, wife, daughter, sister, daughter-in-law, artist, gallery rep, display staff, baker, cooker, cleaner, jack of all trades . . .
K – Kohls or Target – Target. It is difficult to navigate Kohl's.
L – Living arrangements – Hubs, K-, me, Smudge the miffy wonder cat and her partner in crime, Spike with the funky attitude iguana. (We swear that they talk and make plans to sabotage.)
M – Music you like – Alternative, Elder Metal, 80's, some Folk, Classical and absolutely NO! country. Eeek!
N – Nicknames – Honey, Mommy, Ame, Amers, Meam, Mamie, Am-a
O – Overnight hospital stay – When I was born August, 1973, Hamstring Endo-Button Reconstruction (ACL surgery) March, 1999, The bout with Bailey January, 2003
P – Pet Peeve – (I have to list only one?) Loud cell phone talkers in public. They aren't new, everyone has one, so you aren't as cool as you think you are.
Q – Quote that you like most – "Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing." Mother Teresa (quotes)
R – Right or left handed – Right handed with left handed tendencies.
S – Siblings – An older sister, LeAnne (AKA Annie). Two younger brothers, Billy (AKA Silly) and Leonard (AKA Dumpy)
T – Time you wake up – 7 - 7:30 AM.
U – Underwear – Bikini, please. No strings. Jockey only. Thank you.
V – Vegetable you dislike – Asparagus. I'm just disappointed in it. Hardly any taste. Yugh.
W – What makes you run late – Losing track of time, kid not ready, Hubs not ready, underestimation of distance. (For the record 98 % of the time we are on time.)
X – X-rays you’ve had – Teeth, lungs (a zillion during the Bailey episode), knee (for the ACL thingy), and thumb (for when I cut through the tendon).
Y – Yummy food you make – I'm not feeling really food creative right now. (I'm in a rut.) I can belt out a good scalloped potato.
Z – Zoo animal – Giraffes. I'm short and generally, they aren't.

Smiles in my day:
- Hubs feels better!
- I get to come back to bed! (We let the sick spouse have the bed.) I have a crink in my neck from sleeping on the couch for two nights. I didn't really sleep, as I kept waking to check on Hubs and if he had a fever. Oh, a sweet night of slumber. I'm so excited.
- The neighbor telling me that what I was spraying on my tree smelled like a good meat marinade.
- It was steady at the gallery today with a few good rushes of people! Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!
- K- made it through the dolly loaning episode and learned a valuable lesson in overnight sharing.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday: Organic Beetle Spray

This week at Bailey's Leaf we are on Beetle Patrol! Sounds exciting, eh? Well, they love my Purple Plum tree. Last year, they loved it so much that they actually defoliated it. The leaves were skeletonized and I was surprised that the tree came back after the massive devastation. So, we give a shout out to my organic chicken farmer friend, Cj for the lovely Beetle Juice recipe. (Sorry to my regulars who read this just the other day.) Here goes:

Organic Beetle Spray (or in my house AKA Beetle Juice)

1 small sliced onion
a couple of tablespoons of red pepper seeds
a couple of tablespoons of dried minced garlic (what I had) or the equivalent of the real stuff

Put into an empty gallon jug (preferably water, as milk always has a milky smell), fill up with hot water, let sit and brew like sun tea. Fill your sprayer feeder (I have one from Ortho that I have turned to 8 oz per gallon) and spray the ever lovin' daylights out of whatever the beetles are eating.

The first I sprayed was Monday. The beetles were swarming from the tree, ended up on me and in my clothes. (Ewwww!) I sprayed again on Tuesday and there were maybe one or two beetles that emerged. The spray is working! I'll spray everyday this week until I make sure that I've driven them away. (Or at least every sunny day.) I'm trying to drive them away from the tree and on into the bags.

A tip: If it rains or you have a particularly dewy evening (like we did last night) re-spray your tree in the AM. I did notice that the dew "rinsed" the spray smell from the tree and the beetles were finding the tree a cozy home again. Argh. Will these things ever go away?!

Couple that with a beetle bag and you are set. Tricks to a beetle bag? Well, the naturalist hubs of mine will tell you:
1. Place your bag 30 feet or a little less downwind of what is being eaten. (Not always an option, but that is what the box says.) You don't want to place it right at the plant, as that draws the beetles and well, that is what you are attempting to avoid.
2. Empty the bags regularly. Beetles are repelled by the smell of their dead buddies hanging out in the bag of death. Think about it, would you purposely go into a death trap? Uh, nope.
3. You don't have to buy their hooks. If you have an empty shepherd's hook (or two like me), just use those!

Smiles in my day:
- K- was able to spend Tuesday with her grandma at the local city water park and they had such a good time.
- K-'s mosquito bites are healing. The one by her mouth a little more slowly than the rest, but I put some more neosporin on it last night. Hopefully that will help.
- My in-law's got me a spaghetti dinner and had me sit down for a meal. I'm so tired. Usually, Hubs picks K- up, but he was able to go home early so that he could rest and recuperate from the virus that he has going on. I went to get her, but I don't get there until 6:30 PM. It was so kind of them.
- K- loaned out her new-to-her dolls to her little friend, E-. It was a very sweet gesture that I did double check with her a few times on the fact that she was okay with it. I want to encourage sharing and thoughtfulness, but this evening at bedtime (I write my post the night before) she was regretting having loaned them out. She wanted me to go and retrieve them and I told her that we would get them back tomorrow. She has played with them so much, but I told her how proud I was of her sharing and that God's heart was smiling, too. We'll talk more about it in the morning, but I was so proud of her for loaning out a prized possession. The wantsies backsies? I think that is more due to the extreme exhaustion she is suffering from her big day at the pool.
- K- took about a dozen of her cookies to share with Nana today. An older couple at church have adopted K- and the grandmotherly lady bakes for K- on a regular occasion. Her husband dropped some cookies by for K- on Sunday evening. He dropped 5 dozen off! She also shared a dozen with E-.
- Have I mentioned that Hubs is on the mend? Now, if he could just catch back up on his sleep and get back to his abnormal/normal state of being with his regularly scheduled digestive distress . . . (If only that could be figured out and healed.)

Hey! Have a good day! :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tales from the Trenches: Gallery Visit 101 for Tourists

1. Please keep your children with you AT. ALL. TIMES.
2. If you need help reaching/handling something, please feel free to ask. We're happy to help you.
3. Please don't throw your money at me. I have to bite my tongue and have long conversations with God begging that He hold my tongue so that I don't respond in a rude way. Please hand it politely to me.
4. Yes, I'm happy to gift wrap your items. Please don't tell me how to do it. I've worked here for almost 8 years. You've been here for the total of about an hour. My guess is that I know how to do my job better than you do.
5. No, I won't give you a discount.
6. No, we don't have a sale corner.
7. Shipping is a service we provide. Yes, we do it as a service and as such, I'm sure that you understand our making a profit off of it. I'm sorry that the shipping and handling is a little higher, but the post office is just down the street if you prefer.
8. No, we don't have boxes for the items that we sell. Believe me, if I have packed fragile items that have been padded between clothing in a suitcase that have made it through the airline handling halfway around the world, I promise that your small, unbreakable item will make it just fine in the car on the 2 hour ride back home.
9. No, I won't give you the artist's phone number.
10. No, I won't give you a list of galleries that sell my boss' work. They only carry a very few pieces in comparison to what you see on display here. You want to "find bigger pieces at another gallery and not pay the shipping for it?" Thank you for your honesty, but hardly anyone else carries the bigger pieces. Three words. Drop. Ship. Baby. There's no other way. I'm sorry for that. I wouldn't want to pay crating and shipping fees, either.
11. I know that our main lot only has about 12 spaces. It is a smaller lot that requires you to pull head in and back out only. Doing the e-er-e-er in and out, back and forth is crazy. The "R" on your PRNDL means reverse. Utilize it.
12. Again, the lot is small. Please don't double park your car, especially during the busy holiday season. I know that you have a beautiful car. I do, too. Go through one Ohio winter and a few Giant Eagle parking lots and that will cure you of vehicle pride really quick.
13. No, we don't carry rings in 1000 different sizes. We also don't carry cases of every item that we sell. I know that you are here for a limited amount of time and I apologize for the inconvenience.
14. No, we aren't computerized at the counters. All of our slips are handwritten. Just look at it as charm and not a hassle.
15. Please don't tell me that I need to hurry. I'm one of the fastest wrapper that you will find at the gallery. (Not tooting my own horn.) I can only go as fast as my fingers can take me. I'm sorry that you've run yourself so behind. Next time, feel free to keep a running tab going so that I can work on your items while you continue to shop. Then, by the time you've decided that you are to leave, all of your items are wrapped.
16. Your wrapped gifts will not make it through the airport security, much less customs. I'm not suggesting that I send you with the wrap on the side because I'm lazy. I'm really suggesting it as a nice thing for you.
17. Though it hardly ever happens, if you want, we happily accept tips. Especially if your family has been particularly difficult.
18. Continually changing your mind and continually adding on does drive us crazy, even though we won't admit it. We can wait to write you up until after you are finished making your final selections. Really, we don't mind.
19. We have posted hours. I know that you got wrapped up, things took longer, you got lost . . . but really, when it is closing time and you come in at 2 minutes till, we still really want to go home regardless. We aren't telling you that we are closing to be rude. It's true and we are tired.
20. Yes, handcrafted items are expensive. Thank you for loudly confirming that.
21. No. You may not pick our flowers. My boss spends much time and money selecting and planting all of those flowers. You will make him very cranky. Like the park, we have a no collection policy.
22. If you break something, just fess up to it. Hiding it and having me find it later only makes me cranky. I promise, I won't yell at you. Do you want to know a secret? I break things, too. You should see my breakage listing after setting up the Christmas trees.

Smiles in my day:
- Sales were up in June at the store. Oh sweet relief! I told my boss that I was so happy for her. I said that it was like God was patting them on the back and saying that they were doing a good job! She told me that it was kind of like turning a little corner. I'm so happy for them!
- Sitting in the driveway doing stories with K-. We drew a castle on the neighbor's driveway yesterday and she's made different stories with her little thrift store dollies (McDonald's Cabbage Patch dolls) about all sorts of adventures that they were going on in the castle. Generally, I'm the guard in charge of letting people in and out.
- Watching the clouds go by and making up what things are with K-. Tonight, we had a lamp like a genie would come out of.
- K-'s sweet prayer tonight. "God, please help our daddy. Please, please, please heal him." Her prayer went on and on praying for different folks and their needs. So sweet. It touched my heart! He had a fever last night that broke during the night. He has started to feel better, so he had a little bit of a virus, but she was still worried about him.

Monday, July 6, 2009

So many things

It's a long post folks! Pace yourself!

I've made a decision! Our kitchen will be this by the end of the summer:

The yellow paint chip represents my countertop. Something kicked in at paint chip heaven that said, "Um, don't forget the countertop!" It's easier to select according to that. (I did the same in the bathroom with the baby blue countertop.) The walls will be the Deep Clay Red. The woodwork (cabinets, doors, chair rail, bead board, baseboards and window molding) will be the Chocolate Cherry. I will remove the cabinet hardware, give it a good spray in a nice chocolate brown and reinstall them. I'll also take our light down, spray it and reinstall it. The fan may get the same treatment. I'll also get some tile for the backsplash that doesn't exist at all. (No, there isn't a built in backsplash with the countertop, either.) I also plan on re-lining the cabinets and touching up the shelf fronts with some Chocolate Cherry. The table legs, and chairs (other than the seats) will be painted with either Chocolate Brown Spray or Chocolate Cherry paint. I'll also carry the Chocolate Cherry over to the back door, plumbing access panel and with the woodwork around both the outside and kitchen doorways. The Deep Clay Red is a few shades darker than the color that we have in the livingroom (Papaya Smoothie), so it will all carry through with harmony instead of each room rudely changing colors. (Our bedrooms and bathroom are all different, but the common areas that bleed into each other were important to me to be in the same family of color.) By the way, Hubs likes the colors that I chose. I bought the paint yesterday, so I get my rebate from Lowe's. Guess what? There wasn't even a line at the paint counter! HOORAY!

I have purged the microwave cart. I saved only the cookbooks that I will/would use. I was able to have enough space to stow one of my three crockpots underneath. (I was gifted a few and there are occasions that I have used all three.) The Kitchenaid, as heavy and large as our little Tercel, didn't fit under there. That's okay. I forgot to take a picture. Sorry.

I purged the game closet, stood all the games upright on their sides. Okay, it is space saving but might bite me in the butt if we don't hold onto the box as we pull it out.I freed the livingroom of all of the toys that have quietly walked in and decided to live in there. I liberated the livingroom of the many toys a few years ago. K- has her doll house and some other little toys in her bedroom. She has 90% of her toys downstairs in her play area. I've explained that they need to stay in one place or the other, not migrate to the middle of mommy's livingroom and stay there. I've washed the windows, moved the couch to sweep the clumps of cat hair from the little ditch between it and the wall. I swept the cat hair off the couch, crumbs out from underneath the cushions and flipped the cushions while I was there.I deep cleaned the bathroom. I looked up, realized that the fan cover was dusty and on my way to stand on the counter, I realized that the silk ivy (I wouldn't normally go silk, but we have no light and we needed something plant like in our bathroom) was covered in dust. IT WAS GRAY! Ick!!! So, I took the fan cover down, scrubbed it with a brush and as it was drying, I swept the actual fan out. I then took the ivy basket down, washed each leaf by hand, dried over all of the leaves, dusted the basket, washed the top of the medicine cabinet, then put everything back. I did a good Lysol/bleach scrubbing of the floor and wiped the doors all down.

The bedroom purging has been completed. (My lollygagging lopped over to Friday a little, but I figured out why I was a lolly. Mother Nature had a little something to do with it and that's all I'm going to say, 'kay? Too bad it took me two days to figure out why I was so flippin' drained!) I'm awaiting the shelf pegs from IKEA, so Hubs' side of the bookcase isn't complete. I wiped baseboards, washed the windows, pitched & cleared items and even re-purposed the bookcase from our livingroom into a lovely clothes organizer for Hubs. Our bedroom isn't big enough to house a separate dresser for Hubs, so the new closet organizer is just going to have to be okay. The new bookcase is in the corner where our computer used to be. Hey look! There is our new chair! Oh! There's laundry to be put away, too! Feel free to help yourself! :)

The closet. I shuffled things around. I put a lot on the upper shelf, like our winter snuggly blankets for the livingroom. We have our sleeping bags off to the right. We also have our air mattress in there, and it is on the top shelf. (It's like a shrine to LL Bean in there.) Not a perfect closet, but it's way more tidy. Look!

Hubs' new clothes sorter. For years, he has told me to skip folding his clothes and to just toss them into themed baskets. I told him that not only would I not do that, but that his mother would kill me. Instead, I decided that the little bookcase organizer I had would work.

And yes, the top of the bookcase is half his to "decorate." We have the Darth Vader figure holder thingy, the ball with the arms and legs that K- tells me to use caution because "Shhh, Mommy? The arms and legs fall off." Oh, and the winged thing that I bought Hubs for Father's Day. It's what he had on his wish list. See? I am a good wife. I did let him have his Star Wars stuff up. It's far better than that year that he decided to put a Grim Reaper up next to the bed at Halloween.

The bookcase came from here. The tray tables are there now. (Mom? Aren't you impressed?) That bookcase has been the collector of crap, dust and books that needed a better home.

Look at what I found last night as I was watering. It is a monarch caterpillar on the milkweed! Hooray! It is our third year with milkweed, it truly is doing the best this year than it ever has and we are so excited!

In other news, we did have to resort to the Bag a Bug for the beetles. I've made beetle juice and Hubs is going to start spraying that. I've left it out in the sun to cook like sun tea. I'm sure that it will smell just grand! (Before you ask, the slinky prevents squirrels from climbing the hook. But, a squirrel can jump 5 feet high, so the slinky doesn't matter so much most of the time.)

Beetle Juice (as in, to rid your plants organically of beetles)
Red pepper seeds
Cut onion
Minced garlic

Place in a gallon jug. Fill jug to the top with water and allow to brew. Place in sprayer and spray affected plants.

During all this, I even managed to make a run to the grocery for some provisions. We took a fruit tray to one 4th of July party (blueberries, strawberries, cherries, pears, apples and grapes). We were going to be there in the early part of the party where they are on appetizers. Later, we went to my parents house for my family reunion. I left the food prior to the first party, though as we were going to be late to my family reunion. Hubs' family thing was about 50 minutes away and we just party hopped. My parents were the recipients of my coleslaw (the Ramen noodle cole slaw) and some chips and salsa. Look! I didn't have to heat the stove! :)

Sadly, I forgot my camera on July 4th, so we'll just have to go with the pictures that others are kind enough to share. Ugh! At Hubs' family party, Iguana Bob was there and did a critter program for everyone. With him, he brought an African Hedgehog, a blue tongued Skink from Australia, an Alligator, a Tarantula, a house rabbit, and a Boa. K- did get to pet both the alligator and the boa. I have pictures with my phone, but I don't have a way to pull them off.

The second party, my dad's family reunion, was the latter half so most of the elders had gone. (Sad.) Nonetheless, we were there to hang out with my aunt and uncles. The boys (my dad and his brothers) set fireworks off for over an hour. The neighbor did his in between, so it was a nice show. Dad bought the big fireworks, so they were city like, just country like in locale. K- didn't want me to put mosquito repellent on her face, so she was bit above the eyebrow and near her mouth, where a dimple would be. She also has one under her arm where I missed putting repellent. Since she was so itchy before bed, I did give her a dose of Benadryl.

Smiles in my weekend:
- K's firsts. My aunt sent her a bag with a pack of Pop Tarts. (K- called them toaster strudel.) I was talking with her and asked if it had been her first. "Yes, Mommy. You wouldn't let me have them before." What can I say, we're sugar free for breakfast, folks!
- She also used a sparkler for the very first time. She was very worried and initially didn't want to do it at all. We explained that it was okay, as we were with her and keeping her safe. After that, she thought that they were great!
- Swinging on the swings at the park today.
- Hubs getting on the swings and swinging with K-.
- Hubs taking K- and me for homemade ice cream. Yum!
- Getting all of the grass stains out of K-'s brand new dress she wore for the 4th of July. Hubs' mom bought it for her and it is really cute. Either the Shout, Spray and Wash with Resolve, Spray and Wash Dual or Spray and Wash Bright and White with our regular laundry detergent added (after having soaked for 10 hours) worked. Whew!
- We accidentally hit the motherload of samples at Sam's today! Incidentally, the cinnamon rolls were my favorite.
- Sam's took the carton of Huggies back so that we could trade them in for Pampers. Seems that baby Leland's skin is so sensitive that Pampers is all he can go with.
- IKEA has called three different times with three different folks keeping us up to date with the locating, mailing and approximate arrival of the shelf pins that are missing. They get an A+++ for follow-up. Absolutely unheard of for a major company. Hooray for them!
- Having Mommy School with K- out in the driveway. We were drawing on Mike's driveway with sidewalk chalk. We were sitting toward the end of his driveway so that we could be in the shade. We did Mommy School for about an hour and K- didn't even realize the length of time that had passed.
- We went on our annual July 4th sale trip to the thrift store. Hey! They have an extra 20% off, so why not? I was on a mission for uniform pieces for K- to start school in. I was able to score 3 LL Bean uniform shirts (2 long sleeve, 1 short), 1 LL Bean turtleneck, a Talbot's long sleeved uniform shirt, a TKS (JCPenney) uniform short sleeved shirt, another school legal turtleneck, 2 pairs khaki pants, 1 pair black pants, a brand new Reese's Cup sweatshirt for myself, 2 pottery bowls that match my current dishes, 1 handcrafted pottery bowl for 25 cents!, a wall phone (a project that Hubs has taken on), and a couple pieces of street clothes for K-, all for the bargain price of $19.50. Hoorah!
- I made a consignment appointment with Children's Orchard for Thursday. Perhaps I can fetch some more uniform pieces in trade.

I hope that all of you were able to enjoy your holiday weekend. Have a great week!