Photo Friday

Luco got a much-needed bath last weekend. He wasn't very happy. On Tuesday we visited Churchville Nature Center with Aidan and Wendy. Beautiful place {and free}!

{Poor guy.}

{"I'll make you feel better."}

{Performance art - they are the trees beside them.}


{Path in the woods.}

Have a great holiday weekend! This is NOT the last weekend of the summer. I am in denial. Winter is not on its way.


Sale ending soon!

{tweet desk clock in orange}

Just a quick reminder that my summer sale ends on Sunday, August 31st. Enter code "summer08" during checkout to get 15% off your order. I just finished adding one new 8" clock: tweet in orange, and three new desk clocks: tweet in orange, tweet in blue and summer . These would be great additions to college dorm rooms!

It's Wednesday, so that means my guest post for Scoutie Girl is up. I featured some photos of one of my favorite things: the beach!


Yummy recipe

Happy Monday! We had a fun and productive weekend {those two things don't always go together, ya know}. On Saturday we played in the yard and then my mom watched Malayna on Sunday so Jimmy and I could finish up some home projects. He cut the baseboards and trim for our new kitchen floor and I weeded, painted and moved some plants around. It felt so good to be outside ALL DAY and not have to worry about Malayna. Thank you, mom!

Here's a yummy summer recipe for you to enjoy. Remember when I tried to be a vegetarian for about six months? I asked around for some vegetarian recipes, and my friend Kerry sent me some great ones. This recipe involves a lot of chopping, but no cooking. Enjoy!

Texas Black-Eyed Pea Salad
Makes 6 servings (yield 6 cups)

1(15-ounce) can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
6 scallions, chopped
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Combine ingredients in a large bowl; mix well.


Photo Friday

We were pretty busy this past week - trying to cram in the last of our summer activities. It started on Saturday with a pirate-themed party for two-year-old Lucy {sitting in the chair}.

{Malayna, Lucy, Sedona and Molly.}

{Ice cream.}

{Cape May beach on Sunday - trying to fly the
pirate kite she got a the party. No luck.}

{Picking tomatoes with Aidan, who is trying
to get Malayna to stop hugging him so much!}

{Yummy tomatoes.}

{Heading off to Sprinkles, the ice cream shop around the corner.}

{Am I a mess or what?}

{Belmar beach with Lily on Thursday.
They spent lots of time rolling around in the sand.}



{Ending the trip with ice cream. Lily likes to wear hers.}

Hmmm. I think we like ice cream.



I've recently started doing some research about dyes in foods and the way they affect children's behavior. Malayna has been having meltdowns at least three times a week lately, and though it could be her age (4 1/2), I suspect that's not the entire cause. Most of the food she eats has no dye in it, but I realized the other day that the toothpaste she uses does. We went to the market on Monday and I let her choose a new toothbrush to go along with the new toothpaste we'll all be using. I was an interesting trip - most of the toothpaste out there is colored or sparkly. Even the so-called "grown-up" stuff. I found a natural toothpaste that looked like it might work, until I realized that even the natural stuff isn't so natural! After checking the labels of at least 5 different packages, we got Colgate original. Why do toothpastes have to be colored? Was your toothpaste colored when you were a kid? Mine wasn't, and I still brushed my teeth!

She and I had a very brief talk the other day about food that is good for your body and food that is not so good {and sometimes makes your behavior not so good, too}. I've been wanting to change the way she eats for a while now, but this gives me the push I needed. Today is the third day without the dyed toothpaste and with me checking the ingredients of what she eats. I don't want to get crazy, but I do want to be aware of what's going into her body {and my own, too!}.

On the one hand, I think this kind of thing sounds a little wacky, but on the other hand, it makes perfect sense to me. One of the articles I read {that I can't find now} talked about how in the past, kid's school lunches contained things like homemade meatloaf, mashed potatoes and a made-from-scratch cupcake. If they wanted a drink, they'd have a little carton of milk or get a drink from the water fountain. Today, instead of homemade food, kids have Lunchables, a juice box and a packaged cookie. The article stated that this was one of the reasons we are seeing so many behavior problems, like ADD. Makes sense to me!

I'm getting a lot of information from this site, but, like I said, I'm not going crazy with it. I just want to be more aware of what we're eating and how it affects us.


Photo Friday

I was trying to get a good picture of Luco this morning. I LOVE this one!

{What's left of our tree.}

{Black-eyed susans never fail to put on a good show.}

{Lots of tomatoes this year.}

{Basil. Yum!}

Speaking of basil, here's my favorite recipe for pesto. I could eat this every day.


2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 large garlic clove
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Finely chop the basil, pine nuts, garlic and salt in a food processor (I use a blender). Gradually add the olive oil until mixture is thoroughly blended. Transfer to a bowl; fold in the cheese.

Remove 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid before draining pasta. Toss past immediately with the pesto sauce and the reserved cooking liquid. Serve at once with additional cheese, if desired.


New feminist blog

I am loving this newish blog, The Dawn Chorus. From their site: The Dawn Chorus exists to provide a platform for young (and not so young!) Australian women to comment on and analyse the issues that affect us - sex, pop culture, health care, politics, relationships, publishing, sport, the media and beyond - from a feminist perspective, however we may choose to define it.

Their lastest post, Pink Pastel Princesses: Gender Conditioning and Girlhood talks about an issue I think about often. I'm sure once Malayna goes to preschool in September, the whole princess thing will rear its ugly head. Right now, she talks about them a little, but I purposely limit her exposure to everything Disney and princess-y. Someone recently asked her who her favorite princess was. Really? She's FOUR. How about asking what her favorite color is or what she likes to play with! Her favorite things to do right now are drawing, coloring, pretending she's a boy named Leo, learning about sharks, and wrestling with daddy. Not a princess in sight.



{Davyn and Malayna}

We spent Saturday morning at my brother's and sister-in-law's house for my SIL's birthday. My niece, Davyn, gets cuter every time I see her. She really seemed to like Malayna, and of course, Malayna loves her. Malayna would talk to her in a really high-pitched voice and Davyn would "talk" back. I see these two cousins loving each other's company for a long time to come.

I won't even go into detail about the horrible tantrum Malayna had when we got there. Seriously, I won't. Just know that it was awful and lasted a really long time. The girl is persistent. I guess it's a trait that will serve her well later in life, but now? Now it's just HARD.

{Maria's birthday present.}

Maria has wanted one of my clocks for a while now, but couldn't decide which one to choose. Since it was her birthday, I chose for her! I made my tweet clock in colors that will go perfectly in her living room. She also got a matching birthday card. I'm pretty sure she loved the clock! {Right, Maria?}

How was your weekend?


Almost perfect day

I had a near-perfect day yesterday. My mom had Malayna, so I spent some time in my studio {haven't been there most of the summer}, dropped off some work at Artista Gallery in Mount Airy, then drove to pick up our new kitchen floor. We have a Pergo floor in the kitchen now, and while I like how easy it is to clean, I hate the color. Ever since we moved in here almost 10 years ago, we've wanted a black and white checkered floor. It will look so much better than the current floor and will match the style of our house. I'll post some photos after Jimmy installs it. {It WILL be finished after this weekend. Nothing will go wrong!}

When I got home, I did some gardening. Digging in the dirt always makes me feel so good! The weather was perfect for gardening yesterday, and I planted everything that had been sitting around waiting.

I'll leave you with a recipe for a yummy summer corn salad. This tastes so good with home-grown basil and tomatoes!

• 6 ears corn, husked and cleaned {I use frozen corn}
• 3 large tomatoes, diced
• 1 large onion, diced
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 2 tablespoons white vinegar
• salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook corn in boiling water for 7 to 10 minutes, or until desired tenderness. Drain, cool, and cut kernels off the cob with a sharp knife.

In a large bowl, toss together the corn, tomatoes, onion, basil, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Chill until serving.



{Splash park at Marsh Creek Lake}

Things are much better over here than they were last week. Nothing was going right - Malayna's behavior was awful, she was sad and contrary and seemed anxious about everything. She hasn't been sleeping very well which is really unusual for her. The thunderstorm fear is still going strong, and she's been tossing and turning and waking up during the night. She's not calling out for us, but I can hear her in there and can tell that she's awake. A few mornings she's woken up around 4:00 and stayed awake until 8:00 when I go in to get her. Needless to say, less sleep means more crankiness.

These past few days, however, have been better. She's sleeping better, after many assurances from me and Jimmy that there will be no thunderstorms. Malayna and I did a little research on thunderstorms (on the computer) and even created our own thunder with a brown paper bag - we blew in it and then popped it with our hands. When thunderstorms are a possibility, we turn on her extra battery-powered lights and I tell her that if the power goes out I will come get her right away.

Yesterday she and I went to Marsh Creek Lake. It's about an hour from here, so we packed a change of clothes, a cooler with lunch and snacks and a few pool toys. They have a big pool and a kid's play area with fountains. I knew that we needed a fun day with just the two of us, and since yesterday was sunny and not too humid, it seemed like the perfect chance. We had a great time. She's usually ready to go after about two hours, but yesterday she lasted for three. We splashed in the pool, ran around the sprinklers and met lots of new friends. We had a picnic in the shade of a big tree, with ice cream for dessert.

It was just what we needed.


Wish I were there…

This week has been so awful {mostly Malayna-wise} that I wish I could get away. A lone trip to the beach would be nice right about now.