Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday Steal

Alright.  There's not a whole lot I can do about what the yard sale deal of the week is.  Today, it is, again, clothes.  I swear that, in the past, I have picked up much more interesting items like a Mohawk canoe for $125, but lately, it's all clothes, all the time.  Our friend R will not need to purchase any fall/winter clothes this year.  Apparently, every parent whose child had recently grown out of size 10's had a yard sale today.  I picked up Old Navy sweaters, Gymboree pants, and Gap dresses with the tags on.  Sweet A did, however, get a cute winter dress by La Princess $1 (which she wore all afternoon!).

She also got this gorgeous jacket by penelope mack, ltd $1.

But, the find of the week is this cute little jacket by coco bon bons $1.
This is yet another (as my good friend Kelly would say) chi-chi-lala children's brand that is, admittedly, so adorable.  The seller informed me that this jacket goes for over $100 new.  I just checked online, and that seems to be about right, unless it's on eBay.  This will be going out to baby S  whose momma is all about The Fashion. 

In the spirit of equality, I also picked up a genuinekids striped sweater and a Melissa & Doug spelling puzzle for C.  At 2.5, his letter recognition is amazing already.   He thinks it's more fun to call "s" "sssss," and really, so do I!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

West Meets East

Normally, my brain on its way to work is not what anyone would call together.  By the time I get halfway to campus, I realize that I've been listening to the Laurie Berkner Band (fabulous kids' music for those of you out of the kid loop), and I'm singing "booty booty, ya ya ya" even though my children are not in the car.  It's at this point that I usually switch stations, shake my head to clear the kid-friendly, mother-approved lyrics out, and wonder if I've hit anything in the last ten minutes of driving. 

Yesterday, however, I looked up before making that first turn on the road to academia, and this is what I saw:
Immediately, I was filled with a sense of clarity and wonder at the beauty of nature.  The clouds structured like the prow of a great ship; the curving line of trees; the fallow field - all framed by the trees bordering the road - felt like a window into "the larger context."  It reminded me to be in the world.

Who would have thought that a west coast girl would be inspired by, much less live in the midst of, east coast farmland?  When I was growing up in LA, taking the RTD down to Hermosa Beach or walking up Compton Boulevard to the Sav-On for a scoop of ice cream, I thought I'd never leave.  Now, I can't imagine going back.  I simply don't fit into the rush anymore.  Most days, I don't really feel like I belong here, either.  At risk of waxing philosophical, I am a product of two worlds.  In the south, I will always be "that girl from California," and in LA, they tell me I have a southern accent, y'all.  But every once in a while, I look up, and I am in the right place.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Candy, Candy Everywhere

I can remember Easter mornings when my brother and I were little; we'd wake up and start the search.  Eggs we had dyed the night before were hidden on the piano, in the plants, on the counter next to the wall phone...eggs for days.  But the baskets were the highlight.  Colorful woven rattan baskets filled with green plastic Easter grass, jelly beans, and huge chocolate bunnies.  Just to be sure we weren't too traditional, mom would throw in a gummy rat or two.  Then, in my memory, we would sit and eat everything - all at once - go into a sugar coma, put on some frilly clothes, and go to church.

Halloween was much the same, minus the church part.  There are pictures of my brother and me sitting on the brown linoleum floor, still in clown or hobo or gypsy costume, legs spread out guarding our candy hoards.

My children are blessed with two sets of grandparents who are not only close by, but who they see all the time.  This past Easter weekend, A and C got a TON of candy:  entire packs of Hershey's bunnies, candy butterflies, huge suckers embellished with frosting, chocolate bunnies, turtles, and chicks...our candy jar runneth over.  So, here's the thing.  Baby girl cannot eat candy in between meals without getting an extra shot.  She will never get to just gorge herself on candy on an Easter or a Halloween at, say, 3 o'clock in the afternoon unless she gives herself more insulin.  By proxy, neither can Cyrus snack on his Easter candy just whenever.  That would not be fair.

I suppose that this is healthier for all of us.  Since A's diagnosis, I rarely snack.  She and I might have something carb free every once in a while when she gets home from school - pickles, pepperoni, cheese - but we never have cookies and milk.  We never go out for ice cream.  We never go out for a Starbucks Frappaccino.

This does not make me sad, but it does, sometimes, make me angry.  Every little kid should be allowed to eat all the Easter candy she wants every once in a while.  And, I guess we could allow her to do that, but it would break the routine that we've established. Routine is EXTREMELY important to regulating a Type 1 diabetic's blood sugars.  There are a lot of "we coulds" and "yeah buts" going on in my head about our massive Easter candy pile.

Last night, for her after dinner treat, A had a whole, individually wrapped Hershey's bunny. C had a Lindt hazelnut turtle.  They'll have these treats until July.  When my brother and I were kids, all we had left by the Monday after Easter was plastic Easter grass and the sweet memory of chocolate.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Multitasking Sunday - Happy Spring!

Warning!  This post multitasks. 

Ok!  First, what a wonderful weekend.  Perfect NC weather.  80 degrees, clear skies, and a nice breeze.  We got to see family, eat some wonderful food (had Gloria's gumbo for lunch today - awe-some!), and stick our toes in the sand.  Ok, it was river sand, but I'll take it.
So cute!  And these spring outfits are brought to you courtesy of your friendly neighborhood yard sale.  A's outfit:  Laura Ashley dress ($10 - a splurge at "One Fish..." a traveling kids' consignment event), no name woven green hat ($1 with matching purse), SmartFit Leather Collection pink shoes ($1).  C's outfit:  genuinekids dinosaur print T ($0.50), Old Navy navy shorts ($0.50), OshKosh B'Gosh leather sandals ($1), blue bunny apron ($7.99 Target...yeah, yeah, I know...).  Total:  $22 or so.  You gotta love it.

The yard sale find of the week is clothes (again!).  Another cute outfit for R.
The Children's Place blue corduroy jacket ($1), Limited Too floral empire waist shirt ($0.50), Mossimo denim skirt ($0.50).  Total $2.  Mmm hmmm.  That's right.
Yard saling was a bit short Saturday because I went to sell my recycled flower jewelry at Spring Run.  Had a great time, and I sold the ivory necklace!  Didn't even get to wear it...dang. 

We got our first installment of our spring CSA, and I used the broccolini in some pasta with garlic herb sauce tonight.  So good!  We also got regular broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, about 20 irises - beautiful!, romaine, onions, and turnips via Brothers Farm out of La Grange.

Here's hoping y'all had a wonderful weekend.  I'm ready for Monday - papers to grade and finals in sight!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring Run Market Saturday!

Click on the title of this blog post to go to the Spring Run Market web site.

I will be at Spring Run Market this Saturday from 11-2.  The location is the center of Arlington Village.  Come out and support your local artists, craftspeople, and farmers. Consider signing up for the spring CSA's.  I know my family and I will enjoy our fresh, local, organic veggies this summer!

I will be selling new, recycled flower jewelry - perfect accessories for your spring outfits!  Check out my "Royally Recycled" posts for pictures of my most recent creations.  Hope to see you Saturday!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Royally Recycled - Ivory Necklace

At the St. James yard sale last Saturday, I found this pretty little Old Navy tank top ($0.50).  There was a small stain on the back.  I had not used cotton for my flowers before, but I thought the fabric was beautiful in a shabby chic sort of way, and I thought that it would make some beautiful jewelry.
The picture really doesn't do this one justice.  I didn't want to wait for natural light, though.  Instant gratification!  I chose to sew these flowers on to the necklace back piece because it ended up being much lighter than the polyester pieces. 

The leftover fabric will become individual flowers for hairpieces, pins, etc.  And for those of you who are curious, the scrap fabric is going to my talented mom for doll stuffing.  I will post pics of her dolls soon!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

And the Pulitzer goes to...

So sue me for fashion ignorance, but until last fall, I had no idea who or what Lilly Pulitzer was.  Then, suddenly, there was a freshman comp paper on sororities, and lo and behold, an entire rush class of young women in Lilly Pulitzer dresses.

Then there was the ad for the yard sale in November that stated, in no uncertain terms, that the Lilly Pulitzers were priced as low as the yard saler would go.  No negotiating.  I went to this yard sale, curious to see what could not be negotiated, and found several sundresses that would have fit A beautifully had they not been priced at $10 each.  Firm.  I have my principles.

Today was the mother of all Greenville yard sales - the St. James Spring Fling.  This is the sale people line up for at 4am.  The sale that features church members hawking sausage! and cheese! biscuits starting at 5:30am.  The sale that is cordoned off with chicken wire until, at 6:30am sharp, the wire is rolled back, and the people run through.  Yes, I said run. 

This one is headed to furniture!  That one to toys!  The other to baby clothes!  Two years ago, when I was shopping for baby boy clothes, I was sifting through the immense mound of cute and tiny, when two women pulled up beside me with a wagon.  They proceeded to wipe an entire section of infant clothing into the wagon.  They then walked off stating, "We'll go over to the toys and sort through these there."  I was incensed.  Had those women not read the yard sale etiquette handbook?  Now that's what I call low class.

I woke up late today - 7am (bad yard saler!) - and so was not able to participate in the biscuits and stampede.  I got to the Spring Fling at 9:30, and had low hopes of finding anything.  While there was still an immense amount of stuff and things, there were several empty tables.  The good St. James volunteers had consolidated already.  I started going through the boys' clothes because C is the fastest growing kid east of the Mississippi, and found very little.  A pair of navy shorts.  A cute Gap button down featuring a surfing scene.  A light green sweater with a snow man for A for next winter. 

The kids' clothes exhausted, I went to the ladies' large table.  Holiday applique sweaters abounded.  I was about to give up, but then, peeking out from beneath a pair of red velour leisure pants, a little dress in pinks and oranges.  Size 10 - perfect for our friend R - and...wait for it...a Lilly Pulitzer.  $1.

I held my breath and worked the zipper.  Perfect.  Checked the hem.  In tact.  All this little dress needs is a washing and ironing, and Easter, here we come.

I just checked the Pulitzer web site.  While this dress is not current, the sundresses available are similar...and they start at $68.  Huzzah for recycling and decreasing my carbon footprint!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Thank You, Montessori

Tonight I witnessed a wonderful thing:  families watching their children dance, children running around between the adults, rolling in the grass and playing in the dirt (the kids, not the adults!), and an entire school, pre-schoolers through eighth grade, parents, teachers, friends, relatives, and administrators coming together to celebrate this world we live in.  Each level of students at our Montessori public charter school studied different continents and countries, set up games and food items from those countries, and dressed in traditional costume and danced traditional dances.  We all sat outside in the late afternoon sun, the fields blowing green around us, and watched these children enjoy themselves sharing what they had researched, learned, and practiced.

I have to admit that when I first learned the Kidsfest program would start at 5 on a Friday afternoon and end around 8, I thought...well, my thoughts were not positive.  Do they not know we work all day?  Do they not know the kids' bed times are around 8?  Do they not know...??? 

I am so very grateful to this school for many things, not the least of which is their complete and utter dedication to each child's well-being, learning, and growth, but tonight, I am grateful for a vision of hope.  When 95% of the attendees at a school function are still there at the end of a program, long after their children have finished performing, you know something special is happening. 

After the middle school danced their final dance to the Beatles' "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" (they had studied England, of course), the music and movement teacher said thank you and goodnight, and the students running the PA system started to play "Electric Slide."  As my mom and I were trying to pull A towards the car; the program was over, after all, and it was already 8pm - A's bed time; A was pulling us towards the concrete pad the kids had used for their performances.  She began to dance her bouncy version of the Slide, and my mom and I danced with her...until I noticed that the entire space was full of students dancing the Electric Slide.  Kids of all ages danced with each other; pictures and video were taken.  When the kids pulled the plug on the speakers after "Cotton Eyed Joe,"  everyone booed. 

The parking lot emptied slowly.  No one honked.  No one yelled.  No one cut anyone else off. 

My daughter's eyes shone in the waning light as we drove down the winding road to our home, and she sang, "There is just one moon and one golden sun, and a smile means friendship to ev'ryone, though the mountains divide and the oceans are wide, it's a small world after all."  Indeed.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Royally Recycled

For the last few months, I've been obsessed with creating recycled flowers.  I use mainly recycled materials, and have found through trial and error that your standard bridesmaid's dress has the perfect fabric.  Natural fabrics do not melt - they burn - so I can't use a lighter to "seal" the edges of silk, linen, etc.  The polyester melts nicely, and, if I'm really careful, it doesn't even turn brown (on white fabric - I actually like the darkened edges of darker fabrics, especially reds).  I have used silk for more "knotted" flowers, and I like the effect.  This gives me something to focus on when I yard sale so I can more effectively pass up the way cool mosaic glass candle holders and occasional set of vintage wine glasses that I do not need and don't have room for.  : )

Here is a recent necklace that turned out well:

Necklace made from recycled materials. Recycled blue silk (scarves), recycled taupe poly-blend fabric necklace base (bridesmaid's dress), recycled faux cream pearls (old necklace), and new cream ribbon.

Pediatric Follies

This one goes out to all the moms, dads, and other brave souls who have ever had to take more than one child to the doctor at the same time

Our pediatrician is, in a word, awesome.  When you enter the waiting room, you first notice that the walls are lined with low wooden benches, and identical benches run the length of the middle of the room.  They are easy for kids to navigate, scoot down, crawl on, and are not too high to risk losing a tooth if fallen off of.  Although, for my kids, losing a tooth is always a distinct possibility.  There are a good number of toys to play with including several of those plastic wrapped wire contraptions with the multicolored beads that you have to guide through twists and turns to get through to the other side.  There are Melissa & Doug puzzles - the kinds with locks so no pieces can be lost.  Open the sliding chain lock, find a horsey in the barn.  Yay!

When we are called back by the nurse, she recognizes us.  She knows who we are, and she didn't even have to refer back to the chart in her hand.  She asks the kids questions about school and praises them for their height, hair, headbands, whatever sticks out that day.  Miss W directs us to an exam room, and, if we're lucky, we get the under-the-sea room, aka the mermaid room.  The fish, crabs, mermaids, and other aquatic life are painted with glow-in-the-dark paint, and the kids can entertain themselves for at least twenty minutes flipping the light on and off to find all the creatures.  After that, there are lots of books and climbing on and off the exam bench using the convenient child-friendly stool.  Fabulous, and I don't mind the wait.  Really.

Yesterday was A's quarterly diabetic appointment.  This is a practice that specializes in children - children with lifelong diseases and otherwise major health issues.  When you walk through the door, the first thing you notice is that it is a waiting room.  Standard issue, stain-resistant seats with metal arms linked together.  They are easy for kids to climb on, and the arms present a great temptation to climb over, which prompts many moms' hushed "Get off that right now...please."  There are no toys.  Zero.  So what's a kid to do?  Why, crawl under the chairs, of course.  I see no problem with this.  Obviously, the space between the seats and the floor is much more interesting than the baby Zhu-Zhu- pets we have brought with us because...there are NO toys...and so my kids play.  In the complete and utter silence that is this waiting room.  Towards the end of our "get to your appointment twenty minutes early" time period, I really want to turn my cell phone back on and check the time.  The receptionist has already collected my insurance card and picture ID, so she is safely ensconced in her glass lined area, her eyes averted from the waiting room.  Finally, we are called back by a nurse we've never seen before.  She smiles and points us to the room wherein my daughter's vitals will be checked and her A1C taken.

By the time we get to the exam room, I am vacillating between giving myself a gold star for patience and removing my mommy license for risk of head implosion.  Baby boy has missed his nap (don't even get me started on actually getting an appointment here, and yeah, I guess I could have planned better, but dang), and he has exhausted playing with the scale, the doctor's stool, the stirrups on the exam bed...and now the kids are drawing on the exam table liner with crayon remnants in the color scheme of a funeral parlor.  Not a mermaid to be found.

Do I expect too much?  When I was little, my pediatrician's office had a gigantic fish tank with sea anemone, lion fish, and all kinds of other cool stuff to look at.  My brother and I loved it.  Now, I'm not asking for an expensive aquarium, but, you know, one Melissa & Doug would be nice.  I thought about complaining, but I went from not wanting to be difficult to just wanting to get the heck out of there.  Perhaps that's their intention.

Baby girl's A1C came down by .3 points.  We went for clown ice cream at Baskin Robbins.  They deserved it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Buzz

I love finding costumes for the kids at yard sales.  Not only do they love playing dress up, but they also pretend to be whatever costume they have on.  So, less than five minutes after I arrived home with this adorable bumble bee outfit ($3), baby girl was collecting pollen and taking it back to the hive to feed the babies.  She had learned all about bees at a demonstration by beekeepers at the local library, and, of course, she had also seen Bee Movie.  Not one of my favorites, but we did get to talk about the importance of bees, their mysterious disappearance over the past few years, possible reasons for that disappearance, and the repercussions of our actions as residents of Earth.  Whew!  And baby boy was following behind big sister, learning all about bees, too.  Yay for learning through play!