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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Spring Cleaning: The Shed

I ran across this quote today. I like it and thought I'd share.

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it" ~ Aristotle

Me, reading before I could read. Yeah, I've always love books.

I was not going to post a photo today because I spent the day cleaning out my shed. It was not pretty! Instead I decided to pull out one of my super old favorite pics.

In the winter my boyz and the neighbor kids helped bring stuff from storage next door to our shed and instead of stacking the boxes they dumped it all in a heap. I was hauling boxes with them so I was not supervising the process. There were five kids and me, so the work of the children overpowered the work of the mom. It reminded me of the kids toy box when they were younger. Scary!

Today, I took all the boxes out and put them back in the shed in an orderly fashion leaving plenty of room for the things I had been storing in the closet in the house. Actually, the stuff from the closet had been sitting in my dining room since my brother and sister in law moved in.

It is nice to have that job crossed off my (imaginary/mental) to-do list.

The boyz are supposed to come home this evening! I enjoyed the opportunity to do whatever I wanted for a week but prefer to have them with me. It will be nice when they come back. I miss them.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Too Many Tamales @ BWAY

Do you remember the book "Too Many Tamales"?

A family gets together to make tamales. The little girl tries on her relatives ring, loses it in the tamale mix and it gets wrapped and cooked in one of the tamales. The whole family eats the tamales until they find the ring.

The BWAY girls got together to make tamales. None of us made them before, or even ate them. It was fun, although we did not lose anything in the mix.

steamed corn husks

spreading the tamale mix on the softened corn husk

fill the tamale with this filling then roll and steam

Steaming the tamales.

Tamales on the table.

We had time to spare after the food was prepared so we made dolls from the left over corn husks.

Yummy salad!


Monday, April 27, 2009

Boyz First Swim in the Pond - 2009

Cute pond huh?

"Z" found tadpoles...of course.

Only in Michigan does one wear boots to go swimming.

Sword...I mean noodle...fight!

Whee! Now you see him... you don't...

Ta Da!!!

Big stick/spear

Tag! You're it!

I love the towels hanging on the tree! Clever.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ron's Visit and More

You can pick your friends. And you can pick your nose. But, you can't pick your friends nose. Umm, what about picking your brothers nose?

I got distracted with the busyness of life this week and completely forgot to write!

What happened this week?

"Peace out"

Ron came into town for a short visit.

My dad got married last week, but finished moving out this week. Which meant that I needed to pack up the last of his things and put them in one convenient place.

As Dad was moving out of his suite my brother and sister in law were moving in, which meant that all of dads things had to be out of the room and all of their things had to be moved in. I also needed to remove the many boxes I was storing in that big closet and find a new home for it all.

Bye Ronnie! We will miss you!

I took my pre-course course for college. It is required for anyone taking ecourses. I passed with a score of 99%. Yayee!

My boys went to visit their father this week.

I am still working on finding homes for my items that were being stored in my dads closet. They were in the closet instead of the shed because my boys packed the shed in such a way that all the stuff is in a huge heap toward the front. It has been too wet to take everything out so I can put it back in, in an orderly fashion of course. I am unable to put another thing in there unless I throw it toward the back of the shed, which will only make the mess worse.

That's the highlights. I am sure there is much more....oh yeah. The boys went swimming in the pond! I will write about that another day...and post photos!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Navy Week - St. Louis

My son sent me this photo of a girl playing tic tac toe with a Navy diver. I love it and want to share it!

A girl loses a tick-tac-toe game to a Navy diver in a dive tank.
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class John Collins/Released)

Of course I was curious and went to search out more Navy Week photos. You know my fascination with Navy gear/gadgets so I am also sharing the gadget photo.

Lt. Cmdr. Brian Skubin, assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Operational Support Unit 10 from Fort Story, Va., talks about the equipment EOD technicians use in the field.
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communiation Specialist 1st Class Jesse Sherwin/Released)

These photos were taken during St. Louis Navy week at Forest Park which will take place April 16 - 26.

21 Navy Weeks are planned across America in 2009. Navy Weeks are designed to increase awareness in cities that do not have a significant Navy presence.

Now I have to find out if one is coming to Michigan. We will be going!

As always you can find these, and more great photos at the site by typing "photos" or "eye on the fleet" in the search box located at the top right of the page.

These photos in particular may be found at

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ron Is Coming To Michigan!

Ron just called to let me know that he is on his way home to Michigan from Virginia right now. He does not plan on being in town till late tonight. I can't wait!

Adults Only BWAY Dinner @Buca Di Beppo (Big Joe's Basement)!

There were so many photos that I loved. I do not know why I only took pics of these three.

My parents invited us to an "adults only" BWAY dinner at Buca Di Beppo. We had a blast on the hour long drive down, where we got turned around several times before we finally found the right road.

All of us kids(adult kids) are full time parents who rarely get babysitters and are usually found with our children nearby so it was a great treat to head off for the evening "childless"!

When you enter this fabulous restaurant you cant help but notice a series of black velvet paintings of a nearly life sized partially nude women in the stairway surrounded by every sort of imaginable photograph and art. The art continues throughout the entire building. The manager shared that there are over 1,500 pieces of art in this building.

Of course there are the classics, like children eating pasta and Italian looking families, priests, the Pope and nuns. But there are also many unusual photos such as nuns driving bumper cars, naked children and people of all ages (classically and beautifully done of course...well some were quite comical too), a priest sleeping during confession, children picking their noses, two elderly women talking across the small ally from their porches, people shouting at one another in the street, beautiful movie stars doing regular people stuff, friends, family , lovers, children being mischievous and so much more.

There are very few formal portraits. Most photos seem to be intended to entertain and bring a smile to the customers face. They tend to be candid style shots of people doing just about anything you can imagine, mostly living life. Many are terribly irreverent but obviously intended purely for your entertainment and to paint a picture of the imperfections that all humans posses but often try to hide. There is even a room with mostly Pope paraphernalia, complete with a statue of his rotating head in the middle of the table.

Our view from our kitchen seating.

We were told that "Buca Di Beppo" means "Joe's Basement". Normally customers enter on the main floor and are escorted to the basement for their dining experience. However, we had reservations for the table in the kitchen where we were able to watch the chefs prepare the food and were treated very well by the staff. It was really neat!

Our appetizer was bruschetta on toast served with yummy olive oil.

All meals are served family style, including desert. I was having so much fun that I totally forgot to take photos of the main course. But I did get a photo of the desert. It was amazing! and huge! Did I mention that the meal was a fabulous experience and the staff and food was awesome!?! Really, it was.

Our desert of giant pieces of apple pie with caramel topping and almond flavored crust, very moist layered chocolate cake, cheesecake with strawberry topping and hazelnuts and tirimisu.

The celebration cake is prepared to represent the restaurants colors. We did not try this.

While walking to the car our parents were setting a good example by showing love and holding hands while walking down the street. All the kids followed along and were holding hands too.

On the ride home they were holding hands and looking at one another and talking the entire way sweet to be surrounded by all these happy couples!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Up North Adventures: The Sugar Shack, Cabin and Outhouse

The sugar shack, where they make maple syrup, and the cabin.

The outhouse near the cabin.

I wanted to share these photos from up north.
Nothing interesting happened near or in these buildings, I just like how they look.
The Sugar Shack came supplied with everything needed to make maple syrup.
The cabin is rustic and cozy.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Up North Adventures: The Shoe Tree

The Shoe Tree

We came home today! Yayee!

We had everything packed, were in the car and ready to head home when my youngest told me that he figured out how the chickens had escaped. Of course we had to stop and fix the problem. We were a little late for BWAY dinner, but not too late.

He went inside the coop and rearranged some rocks to prevent the girls from pushing the bottom of the fence to create an opening.

On our way home there is a tree with shoes all over it. It is a surprising sight!
It is sort of a landmark for us, but usually we just laugh and wonder about the story behind the tree and each pair of shoes. Today I stopped to take a few pics. Enjoy!

Note: Click on the photo to enlarge the image.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Up North Adventures: The Shiny Tree

While we were pine cone hunting we stumbled upon the most beautiful tree. I have never seen such a shiny, glistening tree. It even had sort of an iridescent appearance.

We were looking down, because that is where you are most likely to find pine cones this time of year, but this tree stopped us in our tracks.
The pictures obviously do not do it's beauty never come close to the real thing.

I have no idea what kind of tree this is. My first guess would be a silver birch, because it has that horizontal peeling bark, but when I attempted to look it up on the internet the bark looks different than this tree.

I called my (new!) mom to ask her opinion. She thought it may be a river birch because of the way the bark peels away with such a fine texture. I will definitely defer to her opinion because she knows much more about trees than I do.

Maybe my friends that own this property know what kind of tree it is. If they don't, maybe they will send pics of the leaves and seeds when it gets warmer so I can find out.

If you know what sort of tree this is feel free to post a comment or send me an email.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Edible Landscaping?

Shayna picked a good one!

While searching for photos of people who had used vegetable plants decoratively with flowers and other landscaping elements I discovered there is a name for this, edible landscaping! I want my home and property to be both ornamental and useful. Edible landscaping seems to be an accurate description of our goals for our yard and garden.

When we moved last year we decided to not plant grass on the vast plain of top soil we call our front yard. Our first instinct was to grow a field of wildflowers. During the winter we have been seriously discussing exactly what we want to do with our yard. I have always felt that grass was a useless waste of our resources except in areas where our children like to walk or play.

Initially I wanted to plant our garden in the south facing back yard but we soon realized that it is far too wet to support veggies. Our side yards are small and shaded. The other options are our front yard or a lot way in the back of my parent’s yard.

We thought about it and talked about it. We decided we would plant non-hybrid or altered veggies, flowers, plants, herbs and pretty weeds all mixed together in our front yard. We want to plant only things that are native to our area, or at least happy growing in our environment.

We will arrange the vegetation so it will be pleasing to look at and hopefully the combinations will complement one another and produce better crops. We want to mix the veggies with everything else so we do not have big bare garden beds all winter (and often spring and fall here in Michigan).

We also want walking paths to enjoy our garden and allow us to care for it. We are thinking we may need to plant grass for the paths, but are researching and considering other options. We prefer something we will not need to mow but will be pleasant to walk on. We will not use rocks because we are planting over our seepage bed and the ground must be able to breathe and we want to provide a cushion so we do not pack the soil.

This edible landscaping will be an adventure and an interesting experiment, as I have never seen it done in real life. I am looking forward to eating yummy produce and and enjoying our beautiful yard this summer and fall.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Up North Adventures: The Chicken Chase

The boyz are chasing chickens to put them back in their home.

One down and one to go.

The girls are safe and sound.

Three chickens were roaming around the yard when we came back from a trip into town. We keep them in a chicken house and run for their own safety. The first chicken preferred going into her home rather than be chased by a couple boys. The boyz had great fun chasing the other two around the yard.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Up North Adventures: Easter Photos

This goat jumped right into his hay bin when we fed them Easter morning. Haha!

I hid eggs both inside and out the house and the boyz found them. This year I did not create a scavenger hunt but I also did not make it easy on them.
I took photos for visual clues when they were stumped. I must confess that my original intent for taking the photos was to find them if they didn't. No one likes rotten eggs laying around...and as an added bonus I can use them here!
We also made Resurrection Eggs, but I forgot to take pics.

Mending pile egg

Flower pot egg

Birch bark egg

Tree stump egg

Fence post egg. Look hard. It is blue.

Saddle egg

I thought this would be one of the easier eggs to find since it was right out there in the open. I was wrong. It was one of the most difficult,and enjoyable for me. The boys walked around this boat many times, they appeared to look directly at the egg and even got in the boat several times. The hot/cold game eventually helped them find it.

Boyz looking for the egg on the boat and saddle.

Clothesline egg

Oh yeah!

Ummm, that's going to be hard to reach


These two pics were not planned...

Are they brothers? Or what?

An axe in one hand and and an Easter basket in the other...that's up north living. Haha.

Finding eggs and swinging.