Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fun at the Inlaws

I always enjoy visiting family and Sunday was no exception. My in-laws have a beautiful house on the lake and they just added a two story sunroom to the back of the house where the deck used to be. Because their lot is wooded, it's the most wonderful feeling to be in that sunroom all snuggly and cozy chatting with family and having the woods and critters and views of the lake all around you. That and the fact that MIL and BIL are wonderful chefs and always feed us like we are on vacation. Just dreamy.

The foliage...
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The promise of summer to come and of summers past...
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Boys having fun...
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Friday, November 23, 2007

Robinella's Craft Corner

Here it is...the Christmas "gift" gift. The ingredients are: glass block, diamond drill bit, drill, BIG fancy bow, 35-count light set. Optional: glass etching materials. I left mine clear and with a big enough bow, it works just fine. They also sell glass blocks with many pre-etched designs. (Shop for the glass blocks in the spring and save 75%.)

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Instructions: Determine the front and back of gift. Drill hole in bottom right or left of the "back". Thread the lights into the block, stopping after the last light. You'll need all of the remaining cord left out. Tie a big fancy-schmancy bow (I used ribbon with wire in the edges - helps with shaping) or you can buy pre-made bows and afix to the top after wrapping the block with flat ribbon. Voila! Fini. I think your family and friends will love this "gift".

And here it is...

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

What am I thankful for?

Family and friends. Here are a few reasons why...

We went to visit Pogo and kids on Wednesday. It's always a wonderful time and Pogo really puts things in perspective for me. I'll never find a truer friend.

When we were getting into the car, Pete asked when I was little, what did I want to be when I grew up. I told him an artist. He got this really big grin on his face and said that is what he wants to be too. Then he looked at RePete and asked, "What do you want to be, RePete? An artist, a vegetarian or a doctor?" I got a really big kick out of that.

And other than stretch jeans and black Friday, I am thankful that even after 22 years of being with BN, he still types my name in the "high score" log when he plays video games.

Happy Tofurkey Day!


Wednesday, November 21, 2007


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I started a home school bowling league last spring and we are in the middle of our second season. We've been having a lot of fun, meeting new people - it's been a positive experience.

Unfortunately, RePete has gone from my compliant, beautiful little angel baby to a shoe throwing, beautiful demon baby. He is three after all. Pete didn't go through the terrible terrific twos and threes. He's giving us a run for our money now, but not then. I don't have anything to compare with for RePete. Hopefully, he'll get it of out his system now and we can breathe later.

Case in point:

We have two little friends that are brothers. They are petite little fellas. One is turning 3 this month and is about half RePete's size and the other is 6 and the same size as RePete. (My boys are big and hers are small) It started with RePete trying to play Tag with them. The older one took RePete's hard tag as hitting and hit back, and then RePete then the friend until the friend ended up in tears. Another time, RePete tried this game with the younger little guy and got the same reaction. He only does this to these two boys.

He was like a shark after it's tasted blood. He wants more. The last 3 times we've gotten together, it happened just like the first time. It's no longer a game, at least not for the other boys. RePete seems thrilled with himself. I'm not. The other mom poopahs it saying, it's his age and stage. It doesn't make it any easier to get him through it. I feel like staying home and not playing with them anymore - to prevent the bullying to them. I remove him from the situation, make him apologize, have him sit out with me. Anyone gone through this? How did you handle it?


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Boys and Barbies

I had a lot of errands to run today and I decided to check out our local thrift store. I've read so many blogs lately and thrift store shopping seems to be a big deal. BN says I shouldn't shop there because it's meant for folks less fortunate than me. Man that makes him sound like a stuck up snob, but in reality he meant it in a more benign way. There isn't an ounce of pomp in my man and his heart is much bigger than mine.
At the risk of stealing from the poor (insert sarcasm), I decided to see what all the hype was about. So after my trip to the local nursery, and after the BJs run, and after the school supply store, and after the boys had a fist fight in the post office, we ended up in the local Goodwill. It's the only thrift in my little town.
I led the boys to the little section with toys and I perused the kitchen stuff. I'm really funny about used stuff. My mom will buy things at yard sales, take them home, clean them up and use them. I'm a little more hesitant. Actually, yard sale stuff would be better because I can see the folks that had them before me. At the thrift, you never know who had them last. But I looked anyway. I saw a great rice steamer, and I need a new one, but I couldn't bring myself to buy it. Rack after rack I searched looking for something in particular - dipping dishes for sushi. We bring sushi home from time to time but I haven't a proper dish to mix up the wasabi and soy sauce so we need them. And I found a set of four. They are perfect because they match our Pfaltzgraff dishes perfectly. I also found 3 pots from IKEA. I could tell that these things were either never used or rarely used. So I took a chance.
In the toys section, I found a great book, "How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?" (we have the how they clean their rooms one) and Pete found Bionicles ($1 each - all parts present and accounted for) and RePete....well, RePete picked out barbies. Still new in the box ($1 each - knockoffs, not the real Barbie).
Now some of you may be cringing at the thought that I bought a boy, not one barbie knockoff (BKO), but two of them. Obviously, I don't have a problem with this, so we brought them home. The boxes hadn't been opened 10 minutes and those poor girls...
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So I got out the Gorilla glue and some tape and performed minor surgery. After a few hours, when the glue should have set-up, I gently removed the bandages tape, and Blondie's leg operation was a success. Unfortunately for the brunette cheerleader, she's now an amputee.
Then Pete grabs Blondie and takes her upstairs. So I say,
Me - "Pete, what are you doing?"
Pete - "Nothing."
Me - "Then bring her back down here, RePete is going to get upset."
Pete - "I'm fixing her. Going to make her look pretty."
Me - Ummm. okay, but don't do anything crazy."
I start cooking dinner and forget about Blondie and Pete eventually comes back downstairs. I ask where Blondie is and he replies that she is on the bureau by the front door.
After dinner, I go check on Blondie and find this...
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Okay so maybe I should put away the BKOs. I'm not ready for this.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thanksgiving Limerick

I never liked poetry but it is on my list of things to conquer.
So without further ado
I present this to you
my first ever poem
don't use a fine tooth comb
I'm not real sure what to do.
I don't eat a lot of meat.
I made fake turkey to eat.
It's made of tofu
But I can't fool you
This year won't be a repeat.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Lestat or Bubba

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I just love this picture. It looks like RePete had fangs or bubba teeth, but it's really two little spills of vomit.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Robinella's Craft Corner

Well, it's that time of year again to start making little gifts. For family members, friends, postal workers, teachers, the gardner - doesn't matter. Everyone likes gifts, especially when they are made with your own wittle hands.

The first craft we'll visit is the snowman. I made these two Christmases (did I just make up a word?) ago and received a few requests from folks I purposely left off missed on my list.

You start with a stone from your local homestore.
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They come in a brick or concrete color. Doesn't matter which one you buy because the next step will be painting. You can buy a good outdoor paint or do what I did and stir up that old can of Kilz in your shed. Two coats should work - stones are porous and will show through the first coat.

Next you can glue buttons on for his eyes, nose, mouth and buttons - just don't use hot glue. I did this and after a few freeze-thaws, those little boogers popped right off. Instead, pull out that tiny paintbrush and be artistic.

My BFF's daughter hand-crocheted the scarves for me. You can also use fabric scraps. Plaids are nice.

I used RePete's old size 12 month socks. I sewed decorative buttons and flowers on the fronts and then glued those babies down on the heads. The freezing-thawing thing didn't seem to bother the hats.

And there you have it.
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I used a silver cording to tie on a gift tag. It read something like this:

"From our family to yours."

"BN bought the bricks."

"Robinella painted."

"Pete helped with the glue."

"And RePete donated his socks."

These were a big hit and I hope you too can make someone smile with a homemade gift this year.


If I can get up into the Christmas stuff before next Friday, I'll post another "gift". Gift is the operative word for our next crafty session. Attics really creep me out, so if I can't bribe BN to go up this weekend, then it'll be the Friday after Thanksgiving post.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Great Dismal Swamp

Our 4-h group's project for the year is Wetlands. We have a lot of those around here, considering we are on the coast, have many rivers, and reside in the swamp.

Monday, we visited the Great Dismal Swamp and more specifically the Washington Ditch. This ditch was an attempt to drain the swamp and was commissioned by George Washington. They failed. They used slaves as laborers in this arduous task. Here's a shot of the ditch.
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Yeah, I know, don't wet your pants or anything. The boardwalk and the trails leading to the lake were great but the ditch, eh, not so much. Knowing that you are standing on the ground where prominent historical figures stood and worked could be exciting if you are into all that. I am.

What the boys found most interesting on our adventure was this: A grasshopper, I am assuming.
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What I found most interesting about our excursion today was learning the history. Apparently, runaway slaves used the swamp for hiding and were known as maroon colonies. Research shows these to be one of the largest maroon colonies, or hidden communities of escaped slaves in the US. Some used the swamp as a gateway to the VA/NC ports for finding safe passage north. Amazingly, these people lived isolated in the swamps upwards of thirty years and lived only on what they found on the land. No outside food, pots and pans, or building materials were ever found as they never ventured out for fear of being captured and returned to slavery.

I've heard of the underground railroad, but never of these people. I love homeschooling my son. I am learning so much more than I ever did the first time around.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Boys and Anatomy 201

Prerequisite: Boys and Anatomy 101
There comes a time in all boys lives when they discover that little hangydown between their legs and from that point on, no decisions are made without a direct consult with their penis. Usually, the penis is not all that responsible and when the boy asks it if he should climb on top of the minivan, the penis will 9 times out of 10 say, "YES!". Or if the boy asked the penis if the marble will fit in his nose, once again, a resounding "YES!".
So it comes as no surprise that boys will compose songs about their penis. A tribute, if you will. Here's a few heard around our home. Feel free to sing along.
"Row, row, row your penis"
"Old MacPenis had a penis, P-E-N-I-S" (they get points for spelling)


Monday, November 5, 2007


The day after Thanksgiving we shop and pull out the decorations. We use a 7' fake tree because I like the height and I put it up that day and leave it up through New Year's Day. A fresh tree, while appealing, just won't last that long.
We used to open a present on Christmas Eve. We haven't done that as much in our little family because BN's family didn't do it and he wants to wait until the morning. I think this year, I'll start buying matching pajamas for everyone and let us open those. I've always loved that idea and think it'll make for prettier pictures. Now that we kids have kids of our own, we started visiting the weekend before Christmas or the one after with our parent's and siblings. It's different than what I grew up with but it's fun for our kids because they don't have to open all their gifts and then have to leave them to go to Grandma's house. We also aren't as rushed for time because we visit our parent's on different days.
My Mom passed down her angel that topped our trees since the year before I was born. She'll be 39 this year and even though she is just made of cheap plastic and isn't fancy, I ADORE this angel. I think my sister is jealous, although she's never said so directly. Unfortunately all the ornaments from when we were younger are long gone and broken. We moved a lot growing up. My mom had some really fantastic stuff and I loved, loved, loved decorating the tree. In fact, with my boys being so young, I'm devastated that I have only been able to decorate the top part of the tree or no decorations at all. Last year, RePete thought jumping into the Christmas tree was a sport. I sure hope he's outgrown that this year. And when he does, I have some very beautiful glass ornaments to display for the boys to sit and ponder like I did as a kid. The wonderment is wonderful.
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Her lopsidedness is courtesy of Repete.


Saturday, November 3, 2007

Holey Soap and Inflatables.

Today was full of play. No school done but plenty of things learned...by me.
First, there was the soap thing. Pete uses the half bath for his "lair". There was a time when Pete would only use one square of toilet paper at a time and I kept a nail brush on the side of the sink just for him. The warning given to all first-timers in our home was, Don't Touch The Nail Brush. I thought about having a placard made for it just to save the poor soul we forget to tell. You know how snoopy people are in bathrooms.
Anyhoo, today while Pete was on the pot, he played around with things in the bathroom. Before he entered the bathroom, I saw him looking a bit suspicious, but figured, nah! Twenty minutes later he walks out of the bathroom saying, "Mom, the soap has a hole in it!" I say, "How'd it get there?" His standard answer is, "I don't know."
Initial inspection showed this. (actually, it's cleaner now, but all the evidence was replaced exactly as I found it, minus the soap and water all over the counter - I can't show a dirty house to you (the www) now can I?)
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Wait a minute, hold the phone. What's this?
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That's right. It's a stick pin that is suspiciously bent all to hell. Pete swears he didn't stick the bottle. Pete has been telling a lot of fibs lately.
Later that same day we went with some friends to Kangaroo Jacs. It's an indoor inflatable playground. What's great about it is that you can let your kids go and you, the exhausted parent, have a few minutes to breathe deeply. I ran into a lady once who asked if I had seen a little boy about this high with a dark blue sweatshirt. She hadn't seen him for 30 minutes . Here's how that place looks.
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THEN, we had another playdate and dinner with friends immediately following Kangaroo Jacs. Has anyone else noticed the very high winds we are having? It kept knocking my kids over in our friend's backyard. Oh well, what doesn't kill them makes them stronger.