Thursday, May 29, 2008

Happy Birthday to my Dear Sweet Sister!!

Happy Birthday to my Dear Sweet Sister, Amy!

We were lucky to have her here two weeks ago and
we celebrated her birthday early. What fun to see her again! She was here for a conference with the non-profit organization she works for in New York. My mom and I went to be with her, learning a lot about a little know women's bleeding disorder called von Willebrand disease. It was very interesting, especially because hemophilia runs in our family, and despite the serious topic, we had such fun being together! We drank wine and talked, had lots of coffee and good food!

Later on in the weekend, we spent some time together as a family, went to the park, laid out in the sun, had lunch at the mall... All stuff we love to do!

Even though she has a regular day job, she is an artist-by-night, her true passion. She is represented by the Monya Rowe Gallery and is amazingly talented. I'm lucky to have a few pieces of my own from her which I truly treasure. She was also recently published in Time Out New York Magazine as part of their "Great Walks 2008" feature. Her article is here, a very good one, if I do say so myself!

She is back in New York again and we already miss her! Happy, happy birthday, Amy - hope you have a great day!!

A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost. ~Marion C. Garretty

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday in the Park

What is more perfect than a park with train rides, ice cream, a carousel and paddle boats? We are lucky to have a friendly little park with all this and more!

Ours is called
Pullen Park, founded in 1887 and the 14th oldest amusement park in the world. But it doesn't have to have such prestige to impress me. What I love are the beautiful trees and colorful flowers, the breeze that comes blowing in off the water from which duck and geese roam, the sound of the carousel Wurlitzer that floats across the parks and picnic tables as you bask in the sun, the train whistle in the distance and the laughter of children as they skip around with sweet, drippy ice cream.

We decide to have a pre-Mem
orial day picnic at Pullen Park on Sunday to beat the crowds. The weather was incredibly mild - a perfect picnic day. We enjoyed hot dogs, corn on the cob, potato salad and plenty of watermelon at our picnic spot in the shade. After playing a few rounds of catch with a softball, we took a breezy ride on the train that circles the park.

We meandered to the
concessions stand for a tasty frozen treat and headed to the paddle boats for a lazy ride on the lake. It will filled with ducks and geese and we were lucky to spot a duck family with a flock of little youngsters following their mama and papa. It reminded me of that cute little children's book "Make Way for Ducklings" where a mama bird tries to find a perfect spot to lay her eggs and chooses a park in a busy city.

After that, we headed to the Carousel for a swirly ride on the antique animals. They have been beautifully restored to their original early-19
00's colors and are gorgeously statuesque - curious giraffes, leaping horses, ferocious lions and stealthy cats. The 1925 Wurlitzer pipes delightful tunes that (like I mentioned before) float across the entire park.

There was a little pond filled with Koi fish that was perfect for sailing my dad's tin putt-putt steam boat that he picked up
at the Wilson Hobby Shop a few weeks ago. (See his unfortunate first-time sailing experience here!) The little version of the Titanic putt-putted around in lazy circles. It was cute to watch it sail and my daughter had fun trying to keep it on course.

And what would a sunny summer day in the park be without a fresh, juicy watermelon? We had a delicious one that prompted a seed spitting contest. Hard to know who won, since those little seeds disappear so easily in the grass! But they flew pretty far!

What an absolutely perfect day! See more photos from our excursion on Sunniviews...

Essence of Summer

How sweet I roamed
from field to field,
and tasted all the
summer's pride.
-William Blake

A fresh homegrown strawberry from my mom's very own strawberry patch. A burst of sunshine on your lips - especially when freshly picked and still warm. Extraordinary!

See more of my mom's fabulous garden:
See how my garden grows
A day of gardening
Spring has arrived

Friday, May 23, 2008

Pinecone Projects

First let me say, hurray! I'm back! Our little family has been very busy and we've had some computer issues - but now... all is well - and I'm happy to be blogging again.

I've been waiting to post some of our fun pinecone projects we did a few weeks back. My daughter decided she wanted to decorate her "treehouse", aka, the platform attached to the swingset. We got out the paint and had a lovely time being carelessly creative! (And I mean it... I had forgotten how much fun it is to blob paint on wood and let it drip into crazy, swirly designs.)

Since our paint was in
mason jars, we decided to dip pinecones in them to make some bright, colorful "lanterns" to hang from the treehouse rafters. What an immediately rewarding project... dip and done! They were so cute when we clustered them together like "chandeliers"! We used lovely shades of pink, orange and purple. Perfect decor for an afternoon tea.

The next weekend, we decided to embark on the peanut butter-bird feeder pinecone project. We smeared the pinecones with great big blobs of peanut butter and rolled them around in birdseed. Again, another immediately rewarding project... so pretty those little pinecones! We saw a few birds enjoying the seed from the pinecones but the squirrels enjoyed them even more. At one point, I saw a squirrel hanging from the trellis by his back legs and pulling up the rope holding the pinecone - like reeling in a fish!

After the pinecones were hung and the treehouse decorated, we taught our dog a new trick with the milk crate my husband rigged up with a rope. What a good dog!! Such a fast learner!

See more photos of our pinecone and treehouse fun on Sunniviews!