Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ruby Throated Beauty

Male Ruby Throated

We have two Hummingbirds this summer that are hanging out in our yard. We usually just have two each year. I am waiting for the day that I have 5 or 6 at one time. Won't that be cool?! So this year we have a male and a female that are enjoying our little spot of earth. I had excitedly hung out the sugar water at the beginning of the season but for whatever reasons the Hummingbirds weren't too interested...but...the ants were. I couldn't for the life of me find the ant guard (little moat like thing that prevents the ants from making it to the sweetwater) so I took the feeder down. My gardens contain plenty of humming bird friendly plants and I knew they would have plenty of choices to drink from so I wasn't too worried about them finding nutrition.

However, I did miss seeing them up close. When they feed from a feeder they perch and stay longer and seem more relaxed so you can get up close and personal. I debated about putting the feeder back up but then we were on vacation for a week and then it was so unbelievably hot and the sugar water turns bad quickly in 95 plus temperatures. make a long story short, the garden is looking rather spent after a month of 95 degree days so yesterday I put the feeder back up and made a big batch of sugar water so I can keep the feeder filled with fresh food each day. I still don't have an ant guard but I moved the feeder to a different location away from the deck. It was fun to watch the hummers up close again tonight. They are so beautiful. Now if only they would play nice with each other.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Treasured Photos

My mom had a bunch of slides that she had found recently so she asked if we could convert them to photographs for her. They were slides my dad took back in the early 60's. We had them transfered and were happy to find lots of great photos of my mom and dad, brothers and great grandparents and grandparents from over 40 years ago. Sadly, my dad, brother, grandparents and uncle are no longer with us. I am so cherishing these little glimpses into my family life 10 years prior to my arrival on the scene.

This is my dad. He must have been in his mid twenties. So laughing at the wallpaper in the room and what looks like a Hollister shirt from back in the day.

My parents are a new couple in this photo. Aren't they adorable?

These are my great-grandparents. I remember my Nanny but my 'old' poppy as he was referred to, I do not recall at all. My Grandma Dot, who is one of the loves of my life, is in the background looking hot in her mink jacket. This was taken in New Haven CT

My brothers Joe and Michael... look how my mom dressed them! They look like little pimps or wiseguys or something and to top it all off, Michael is wearing BRIGHT BLUE shoes...what is up with that?

My mom is pregnant in this photo with my brother Michael. I wish she was looking at the camera. Dad is looking sexy with that skinny tie!

My grandparents owned an Irish pub in New Haven, Connecticut. My dad would tend bar there...I wonder if he ever wore this outfit that the guy in front has on.

My great-grandmother Carrie and my Grandma Dot and her son, my uncle Mike, sitting around drinking tea. I remember playing lots of keeno around this table when I was about 4 or 5.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Glimpse...

Emma is away for the weekend visiting with my mom. So on Thursday Ellie and I decided to 'straighten' up her room. We really just dusted, vacuumed and organized some of the chaos clutter. She definitely has a mutant gene somewhere growing in her body that she inherited from her father that allows her to look past the messiness in her room and not care. At. All. One. Bit. Totally something that would have made me nuts at her age. I was basically an undiagnosed OCD kid growing up. No, not really that severe at all but I did like everything 'just so'. I remember whenever my girlfriend Barbara would come over and she would be in my room picking up everything and then putting it down in all the wrong places, it would just make me start hyperventilating... well, that's what she would say anyway. She always would just laugh and say "I am going to move something...I am touching this..." I don't know why I stayed her friend. She was so cruel, oh, and may I add in that she was quite unorganized and messy! (hope you're reading this Barb!) I am still neat and tidy and I can visualize where I have put things because normally they are always in the same spot so when Steve looses his keys or Emma looses her phone I just chuckle and remind myself what a blessing it is to be like me. Oh, by the way, Ellie is a carbon copy of me. love that!

Because Emma's room was a bit neater I decided to take a few random photos to remember her at this age. She is going to be 14 in the Fall and her tastes are always changing. At this moment she loves Justin Bieber, Twilight, makeup, technology, sleeping in, Twitter and Facebook, lamenting daily over the fact that she should have an IPhone and that we are evil parents for not buying her one, hoarding snacks and water under her bed, drawing hearts and peace signs on everything including her body, little monster animals and her big pink soft blanket from pottery barn. For risk of overstepping my parental boundaries I will end the list right there as to not share too much. I am sad she is growing up so quickly. Although she spends more time on the messy side of the street, she is a wonderful daughter that makes me laugh and I am very proud of her.

This I didn't touch other than putting Minnie on the bed. She actually made her bed before heading to Grandmas.

Last Summer we saw the Idols tour and visited with them backstage. They all signed Emma's poster. She really loved Adam Lambert and she still does but not as much anymore... See how quickly it changes...

A typical teenage girl at heart.

Twilight and Justin Bieber adorn the walls.
Steven got the volvo poster when we purchased our new SUV. (Didn't they used to give cash back incentives instead?)

A little corner of her bookcase. Twilight books and stuffed animals and an energy bar. I am always finding food in her room. When you hear about a house that was taken over by ants, it will be us.

Ending with this little gem. No further comment...

Friday, July 23, 2010

P is for Pizza

Steve left yesterday for a few days in New England for work and Emma headed to my moms for some grandma time; leaving just me and Ellie in the house. We are so thrilled to have each other all to ourselves! After we cleaned Emma's room (and removed our hazmat suits) we headed to the grocery store for homemade pizza fixings. I haven't made pizza in ages and I don't think I have ever done it with Ellie. So off we went.

We have a new grocery store in town. Well sort of, it really just has new owners and a new name and a new philosophy. These new owners have thrown all of the Christian values that this older store used to embrace out the window because you can now shop on Sunday and buy booze and lottery tickets. Personally, I am liking the changes or shall we say improvements. The other super cool thing they have is one of those fabulous Redbox DVD kiosks. Can I proclaim my love for the Redbox now? Love, love, love it! So easy and so cheap. Ellie picked out 'The Spy Next Door' and I chose the 'Book of Eli" both fairly new movies for only...wait for it... two bucks! Two dollars for two movies and I didn't have to talk to anyone. No one asked me if I wanted a tub of popcorn or wanted to enroll in a frequent movie was heaven and did I mention only two bucks?!?

Our pizza making endeavour was quite fun. We made half cheese and garlic for Ellie and cheese, caramelized red onions, pepperoni and garlic for my side. Aesthetically, it wasn't much to look at but it sure tasted wonderful. I watched my movie after Ellie went to bed and it was pretty good. Had a neat little twist at the end which I always like. So far, our girls weekend is off to a great start!

Pizza ingredients...check!

yummy onions...check!

Cutest pizza chef in the world...check!

Spreading the sauce with precision...check!

Everything in place and ready for the oven...check!

One delicious pizza ready to eat...double check!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Girls Weekend!

As always, summer is zipping by me way too quickly. I hate that - I so wish it lasted longer. To cash in on some summertime fun, the girls and I took a little trip to Virginia Beach this weekend. We had a marvelous time. Steve stayed home to work and keep Tucker company. We didn't want to put him in a kennel for two days when it is this hot.

Below are some photos from our fun girls weekend. This week will be back to work - designing new items for Tickle Bellies and a logo for a new client. Ellie will head back to summer school and Emma will be off to my moms for some grandma time. It's suppose to be another hot week here in Virginia so I think some ice cream and movie time will be necessary and possibly a trip to the pool, although, I do think we are officially 'pooled out'.

Ellie & Emma
My beautiful girls on our balcony

Virginia Beach
Virginia Beach - crowded and hot!

Cheers to drinks in the pool - aaahhh... the good life!

Emma :)
Ready for the beach!

Me and Ellie by the King Neptune sculpture on the beach.

Watching the fireworks

Even MORE silly bands
Ellie checks out her newest Silly Bands on our way back to the hotel.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ipad Love

We bought an Ipad in the Spring and I just wanted to spend a second gushing about its fabulousness. Hopefully this photo will demonstrate my love adequately... sigh....I really could go on and on.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Studio Stuff

Thought I would share with you some of my designs that will be making their debut in the very near future. Some of these are for Tickle Bellies and some are for a stationery house in Miami that I do exclusive work for. Their 'back to school' catalog will hit thousands of homes next month and will feature my pirate theme along with an ice cream and dinosaur theme I did.

I am starting to explore the idea of licensing some of my designs to corporations. I certainly have a fat enough portfolio by now so there is lots to choose from. The next step will be to contact a licensing agent to see what they think. Stay tuned...


Friday, July 9, 2010

5 things...

Saw this on a blog the other day and thought I would do one too. 5 random facts about me.


Happy Friday

Such a beautiful morning. It was the first time in a week that the temperature was cool enough to enjoy breakfast on the screened-in porch. I love lazy mornings like that where you can linger and just give thanks for the moment and be content. No problems, no schedules just sheer gratitude and appreciation for where you are right at that moment.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hot Day for a Cool Treat


Look how hot it is out there. Can't you see it? OK, well I guess it's kind of hard to tell from this photo but trust me it is way toasty out there. We are staying cool by remaining inside for the most part. I do have to run out every few hours to put ice water in the bird bath and water all the container plants because by noontime they are sucked dry from their 8am watering. They really don't look like they have been sitting in 102 degree weather for a week though so it is worth hauling the watering can around for 20 minutes. Also, my feathered friends are very happy with my bird bath water replenishing service. They need fresh cool water on days like today. I think a Mourning Dove smiled at me this afternoon when I put some ice cubes in his bath.

We decided to make rice krispie treats while we were looking for something fun to do while keeping cool. I have never made them (I know - what a shocker) but there are only 3 ingredients and I am all about simple when it comes to projects in the kitchen. They didn't quite taste like the store bought ones - mine didn't seem to be as compact but they were still yummy. Of course my assistant Ellie did what she does best and assisted me.

American classic...yum!

Marshmellows and melted butter

Ellie stirs it all up

Add in the cereal and put it in the pan to cool.

Add frosting and sprinkles and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Random Photo Tuesday

I am getting back into the groove, the routine, the schedule, the flow... Ellie started summer school today at 8am and I am grateful that I have to be up and dressed by 7:45 to bring her to school. If I didn't have to be somewhere I may linger a tad bit longer in my PJs and get a later start to my day so thank you summer school for getting me up and going!

I have lots of work to do today so I am going to share some random photos from the past few days. If you're on the east coast - stay cool! It's a schorcher out there.

Lots of coneflowers
Purple Coneflower- one of my favorite summer perennials. I wish I had more sun back there.

2 Coneflowers
The bumble bees love coneflower.

Tucker! Where's your ball?

Flowers from the garden
I love being able to cut flowers from my garden to bring inside.

New lamb
I picked up this little lamb in Connecticut. It's a watering can and I just adore it.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Back from Paradise

We have returned from our week in Hilton Head, South Carolina. It was our first time going there and I so loved it...we ALL loved it! It was really perfect and so very beautiful. The resort we stayed in was great with several pools and activities and grounds for walking and ping pong and ice cream and little lizards and palm trees and frozen drinks and Jimmy Buffett music and sunsets and sunrises and pelicans and ocean breezes and great food and koi ponds and facials and pedicures and boogie boards and belly dancing and maid service and big fountains and room service and s'mores and bean bag tosses and soft sand and daydreaming and laughing and more cocktails and going under water while holding your nose and relaxing and happiness - and memories that will forever be etched into my brain.

I have uploaded all of the photos from our trip on flickr (over 100) so take a look at them to see how pretty this little spot in the world really is. I am now headed out to light up sparklers with the girls and to watch the fireworks (if we can see them from here). I will show you my five seven favorite photos from our trip below. It's tough to narrow them down but I will try - I will also try my darnedest not to cry because we are no longer in paradise. I want to go back. I am in Hilton Head withdrawal.

This is one of my all time favorite in the history of my life favorites. I just love it!

Taking a dip in the pool
Emma is just growing up so much. She is really beautiful here.

Drying in the ocean breeze
This reminds me of the relaxed and easy goingness of Hilton Head. The colors and the breeze capture the attitude for me

Another favorite photo
I am doing everything in my power to hold onto these days. They will be gone before I know it. I cannot tell you how much I love this little girl

My beautiful Girls
Another all time favorite for me. When I look at this I realize how blessed I am.

Hilton Head is gorgeous around every corner. This was taken from our boat ride. Love how green and alive everything is.

Ellie so enjoyed our boat ride, especially when we were cruising at top speed. I love this photo because Steve just beams around his little girl.