Friday, December 18, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Howevah...I have an awful lot of Christmas items languishing in my Etsy shop. An awful lot. And, well, it's almost Christmas......so, um, you know.....if you could maybe just stop buy...oops, I mean stop by.
There are lots and lots and lots and lots of other beads, jewelry and beaded gifts available. Come check it out!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
A tradition that we have is, after dinner and dessert, when everyone is winding down, we all head down to Old Towne, where they light up the city with thousands of tiny lights. We walk through the square and wander through the streets, stop for hot chocolate and ice cream (well, it's Florida!), admire the Bridge of Lions and soak up that last bit of peace before the Season kicks in full speed.
As we walk through the square, I always make the kids stop and climb up on one of the old cannons and pose for a picture. We've done this every year for, oh, about a decade or more I guess. This year, when I downloaded the pictures later, I was amazed by how huge the kids were. I mean, really so big. So I went back, looking for an older picture to compare. The earliest one I could find on my computer was from 2004. It's not very good quality, but you can get my general point.
Wow, that went by quick.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
So, here's a few things I'm thankful for:
5. Although we haven't been untouched by this diseased economy, we haven't been destroyed by it.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer's history if you die.
2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.
5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
6. Was learning cursive really necessary?
7. Map Quest needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.
10. Bad decisions make good stories.
11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.
12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.
13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to the ten-page paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.
14. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this garment... ever.
15. I hate it when I miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Damn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?
16. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.
17. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
18. How many ounces of alcholol I consume daily has a direct correlation to how far into summer vacation we are. (This one is mine. It made more sense than the original. To me, anyway.)
19. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.
20. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with a martini than Kay.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
This weekend, I had a conversation with a person I hadn't seen in about 12 years. It was awkward at first, the way that kind of thing can be. We chatted about jobs and kids, houses, pets. The usual. But then he asked me,
"So, what have you guys been up to? What else have you been doing?"
And I was silent. I just stared at him, dumbstruck by my inability to come up with an answer.
What had we been doing? Raising kids, working, paying bills. Is that it? Is that all there is? I mean, I used to do things..... didn't I?
I think we're so busy with just day to day, working through it that - somewhere along the line - the living part of life has just faded to grey.
I have a list of things I want to do someday. Places I want to go, where I want to take the kids, things I want to see before I die. But, my daughter is almost 12 now and I realize that most of those things are left undone, still waiting for the right time.
When is the right time?
Why all the 'saving for retirement'? Braces? College? A new drain field?
When does life start getting lived and not just prepared for?
So, please share your thoughts. Maybe I'll get inspired.
P.S., if it's any consolation, after a few minutes, I asked him the same question and he had exactly the same reaction as I did. Silence.....
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Don't get me wrong, Tucker is a great little guy. He's so cute and he's super sweet. He follows me everywhere, gluing himself to my ankles. He's pretty smart and he did finally learn to swim like an actual Labrador Retriever (he used to swim free-style, hauling his front legs completely out of the water and then slapping them back down really hard - creating such a churning wake that he'd nearly drown himself).
It's just that he gets really, really lonely at night. When we're sleeping. Or, when we used to be sleeping. His heart wrenching cries fill the house until not a creature is sleeping, not even a mouse. (except for my husband who, much like when our children were babies, is miraculously unable to either hear or respond to these cries) But after nearly a month, those cries are not nearly as heart wrenching as they used to be.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Also, I'm in the process of updating the Mermaid Glass website (finally!!!) and I'm starting to list some items there and remember - I always give FREE SHIPPING from my site. Here's a preview of what's there. I'll be adding more items daily.
Monday, October 12, 2009
As I expected.
Today, I forced myself to take bead pictures (a chore I hate!) and actually got some things listed. It feels good. It feels 'normal'.
One listing in particular that I want to mention is for a pink and Chalcedony goddess. All profits from this bead will got to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, in recognition of Pink October. I'll also match the profits and double the donation. She's in my Etsy shop.
Friday, October 2, 2009
This is our new puppy, Tucker. We still miss Titus, but Tuck is a sweet little guy and the kids are happy to have a puppy to love. We've had him for a week and he's very healthy, has had his check-up and shots and everything is looking very good so far. He's fiesty, though. Not adjusting to his crate very quickly. Obviously, he prefers the couch!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Check back, because I have quite a few new ones that I'll be listing over the next few days. I've got some focals and some sets, some cutie beads and some organics.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
A few weeks back, I was feeling down. Business was slow, personal issues were piling up, I'd just been targeted by the 'Fraud Police', etc... Anyway, I visited Lisa's blog and absolutely fell in love with one of her 'Abyss' beads. I commented on it and asked her about purchasing it. I felt like I deserved a little pick-me-up, and I just knew I had to have that bead.
Well, instead of letting me buy it, she made a gift of it. So sweet! Imagine my joy when it arrived and, not only was my dream bead in the package but another, equally gorgeous creation and a goody bag of fabulous supply samples.
Wow! I have to say it was the most generous, thoughtful thing anyone has done for me in a very long time.
And the beads!!!
If you're a beadmaker, you've probably had this happen: You see someone else's beads -whether online or in person - and you say to yourself, "I could totally make that" and then, very quietly inside your head, you say, "And I bet I could make it better."
Right??? You know you have so don't even try to deny it!
Well, I took one look at these beads and for one of the few times ever, I absolutely knew that not only could I not make these beads better I couldn't make them at all. In my dreams, I make beads like this!
Here are pictures, though they in no way do justice to the true beauty. I'm serious. In person, the color blending is perfection and they're so deep and sparkling you could get lost in them. The details and design are outstanding. They're just...wow.
If you've ever, for one second, contemplated purchasing one of Lisa's beads... DO IT! They're even better in person than they are in pictures - true works of art in miniature. (Although, not that miniature. These are substantial focals.)
Thanks again, Lisa. You're the best.
Of course, now I have a severe inferiority complex and can't even make myself turn my torch on. I mean, seriously, why even bother? : )
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
After a visit to the doctor informed me that I have borderline high cholesterol, I've been much more careful about my health. Well, not much more careful, but definitely slightly more.
I walk and swim every day, I cut down on caffeine, I don't eat pork and almost never eat red meat (this is hard. I don't like steak, but I might commit a felony for a cheeseburger), I have replaced most dairy with soy-based products, etc... But how, some of you might ask, do you get your family on board? Is it possible to turn a cheese-loving, french fry gobbling seven year old around once you've let him walk on the wild side?
Well, the truth is, I lie to them. Well, not lie. I omit. I haven't tried to break all the bad habits. I'm easing them into it slowly. I thought I'd share a few of my 'omissions' with you.
* And please understand, we are actually a pretty healthy family anyway. I try to grown most of our veggies in my organic garden. The kids eat virtually no fast food, processed food, refined sugars, or white flour foods. They do drink, maybe, a soda every couple of weeks. We eat very little red meat, no processed lunch meats, and they get plenty of exercise. And veggies. I've always made the kids eat what we eat, like it or not. I've never been about tricking them but what I'm doing in the instances listed below is really more of a 'replacement plan'. I'll tell them about it, but it's easier to deal with after than before.
So, here goes.
1. I switched all eggs to an egg substitute. Unless we're having Eggs Benny, that is. They know about this one, but don't care.
2. I refill the Half & Half carton with soy milk. My husband never knows the difference.
3. I make 'chicken' stir fry using seitan. Seitan is a gluten-based meat replacement. It doesn't really have any flavor of it's own but if you cook it with veggies and other great seasonings, it takes on that flavor. Unlike tofu, it has a chewy, meaty sort of texture. I cut it into small pieces and everyone thinks it's chicken. I'm probably going to tell them about this one in a couple of weeks.
4. When I make lasagna, instead of ricotta cheese, I use a little bit of fat-free cottage cheese and silken tofu. Blend it in the food processor until it's a puree and mix in some egg substitute, a little Parmesan cheese, garlic and spices. Blended together, no one can tell the difference. This way, they get some extra protein and vitamins. When I make 'white' lasagna, I add spinach to the food processor, too. My kids don't like spinach lasagna normally, not because of the taste but because of the texture. By blending it up, it just becomes a puree with no texture at all.
5. I make my spaghetti sauce with V-8 juice. I use tomato sauce and paste, too, 'cause toms are good.
6. I add pureed veggies to virtually every baked good. I've actually been doing this ever since Anna was a baby. She'd eat her veggies, but this way she'd get an extra serving or two. It's just a way of adding some extra vitamins and fiber without having to think about it or add it to a meal. They can have a helping of veggies in their after school snack. Some of these they know about, some they don't. Like the beets in the chocolate cake. (Which is weird, because my kids love beets. I should tell them this one. They'll probably think it's hysterical.)
7. I use silken tofu to replace 2/3 of the fat/butter when I'm baking cakes, cookies, etc.. You can't taste the difference at all.
8. I make frozen 'pudding pops' with flavored goat milk. The kids actually like them better than ones I used to make with skim milk. They're sweeter and thicker.
9. I add milled flax seed to almost everything. You can add it to your breading if you're frying or oven-baking something. You can put it in bread, baked goods, smoothies. It can also be used as a fat substitute. Very handy and it tastes kind of good, too. Sort of nutty.
9. I don't use sugar substitutes because they are just full of bad stuff. However, I don't use refined sugar, either. I use turbinado or raw sugar. It's more natural, tastes sweeter, and has fewer calories than refined sugar. I have also tried stevia, but it's got a funny after taste that I don't like. Agave nectar is o.k., but not my fave. I just like plain old sugar, but in limited quantities.
10. And here is my number one tip. My kids like vegetables, but they don't like salad. I don't know why but I do know a trick to get them to eat it. It's actually sort of a trade off - you get them to try something good, but you have to add something not as good to the deal. What? Goldfish. Make a small salad, with a nice variety of veggies that they like, put on a small amount of a good quality, low-sugar dressing, and then add a sprinkle of Goldfish crackers to the top like croutons. My kids love it and we've branched out to trying different flavors of Goldfish. It's not too much of a compromise and they do make whole grain Goldfish now.
Got any tips of your own? I'd love to hear them so c'mon, share.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
If you saw my last entry, you know that we recently got the kids some new pets. One of those pets was a sweet little lab puppy named Titus. What a great little dog - smart, good natured, beautiful and absolutely lovable. Sadly, Titus died on Saturday. He had hookworms when we got him and, for some reason, even with treatment he became dangerously anemic, requiring the vet to administer a blood transfusion. At first, it seemed like this would work but then he began to deteriorate and passed away. We think that it was a negative reaction to the transfusion.
No matter what the cause and even though we only had him for a short time, we all loved him very much and he is being missed greatly.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Simple. There are no beads.
I'm not working.
I'm pretty sure that a goodly portion of you know what it's like just before summer vacation ends. The frenzied rush to the finish line - the scramble to get everything inventoried and organized. What do we need? What do we need to get rid of? What fits? What fits but that we absolutely refuse to ever be seen wearing in middle school?
And I'm like that, too, sort of. But, though I'll deny it until the bitter end, I always get a little touch of the weepies at the end of summer. Those children drive me crazy and half the time I'm wishing they were sitting in a classroom elsewhere from me, but I do recognize the rapid passage of time. I know that by next summer, many 'favorite' things and activities will have fallen by the wayside. Grown out of.
So I try to appreciate this undiluted together time with my kids as much as possible. I try as hard as I can not to be one of those moms that ruins the last few weeks of vacation by constantly reminding the kids that "Summer's almost over. Better enjoy it" or "We have to get back on a schedule so no more staying up late and having 'slumber parties' in the family room every night" or "You're going to be so busy with school pretty soon that you'll wish you hadn't wasted your summer sleeping until noon."
No. Instead, we've filled our last weeks of unscheduled time playing with friends, making homemade ice cream sandwiches and having 'night swims'. We've stayed up really late, eaten pizza for breakfast (I suppose it's technically brunch at 11:00) and played as many video games as we wanted to. We've gone to the beach, we've gone to the movies. We've caught baby lizards, ditch tadpoles and tons of fish. We've hatched butterfly cocoons, we've made soap and we've played super heroes and Dolphin Adventure for hours.
Oh yeah, we've had some other stuff going on, too.
In a move that was obviously fueled by some sort of early onset empty-nest syndrome, I agreed to let the kids get bunnies. They've always wanted them and somewhere in the back of my mind, I suppose I have, too. So we made a trip to the bunny farm.
Unfortunately, the bunny farm was also the puppy farm. Meet Titus. He's one of a kind. And that's all I have to say about that.So this is why there have been no new beads, no tutorial available even though it's been finished for nearly a month, and virtually no contact with the outside world. I am not working.
Because today is the last day of summer vacation. It's over. I stood on the patio this morning, drinking my coffee and watching the sun rise. I looked around at the empty juice packs tossed carelessly beside the lounge chairs, the faded, half-deflated pool toys (so awesome just a couple of months ago), the rock village and pyramid built and abandoned in the flower bed 'jungle' and I felt almost overwhelmed by a sudden rush of emotion.
My son is in second grade now, in an upstairs classroom at the end of a seeming maze of hallways. My daughter is in middle school. Middle School!!! I highly doubt she'll be wanting to play any Ocean Rescue Dolphin Adventure with her baby brother and her mommy next year.
Summer is over.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
For example. Here we have an entire ocean of sparkling blue-green mystery just waiting to be discovered. And where did they snorkel?
In the 4-inch deep tidepool
And here. A huge zoo full of incredible animals. It was one of the best we've ever visited (and that includes San Diego). I mean, just look how close we are to these beautiful giraffes!
But this was my daughter's favorite activity! Here we spent nearly 40 minutes watching the rays swim in circles and 'petting' them. In the wild, my kids are terrified of rays. (It really, really hurts when you step on one.) We stayed in a hotel complex that had gorgeous pools, restaurants, a very cool beachside entertainment complex, water sports and a facility completely dedicated to kids activities. And where did Connor decide was the most fascinating place of all?
That being said, there are some events that are hard to top. Doesn't everybody remember their first major league baseball game?