Saturday, July 4, 2015

Test Your Knowledge

On this Independence Day, I thought you might enjoy seeing what you REALLY know about this portion of the founding of our country. 
 This Declaration of Independence Quiz is only 20 questions long and fun. 
 Will you share how you did?
Have a lovely day and stay safe!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Our First Excursion

When Sugar Plum Fairy was asked to be the Junior Queen at the Portuguese Celebration, we sat down and prioritized.
At the top of the list was choosing two young ladies who would accompany us on this journey as attendants.
As far as our daughter was concerned, there were only two that came to mind.  
 These three girls have been friends since kindergarten and we have always been friendly with their parents, but allowing their daughters to travel with us as well as being available for dress shopping and picture taking and, and, and and....well, that is a commitment we weren't sure any sane parent would agree too.
We explained to the parents what we knew and lo and behold, they all did the girls. 
And so we were off. 
While I have known these girls for 5 years, I have never been with them, all together, for extended periods of time.  
In the past 3 weeks, that has changed.
Our first trip was to Los Angeles to the Garment District. 
Hubby and Lollipop Pop were asked quite sweetly to PLEASE join us.
They agreed.
For those of you not familiar, the garment district is downtown Los Angeles. 
  I don't normally like cities.
This is a city.
With traffic that takes three times longer to get through.
I knew we had one day with three 10 year old girls to navigate this maze of streets and shops to find  matching formal dresses and hopefully matching dresses to be worn during the Celebration before and after the parade and Grand March.
My family makes fun of me because I am a planner.
A list maker.
And I was on a mission.
We could not waste our time wandering and wondering where to go.
I asked questions of friends and family for their suggestions. 
Cash only.
Negotiate with the shopkeepers.
I researched online and discovered that while the LA Mart is huge, it is well organized.
And as with most things, there is "an app for that".
 Parking lots are readily available and marked on maps. 
 The shops are clustered together by the type of items they carry.
  Kids clothing is close together and I kept that map available all day.
We spent hours walking and trying on dresses.
There are so many to see and choose from.
  It helped that we had a color palette to stick with and they girls knew what types were appropriate.
These girls were troopers. 
The only negative we heard all day (and not said in a whining or complaining way) was that their feet were tired.
Mine too! 
We stopped for lunch at the end of Santee Ally and people watched. 
 After being re-energized with yummy and fresh food, we continued and found success. 
Formal dresses were located.
Bargained for.
And purchased.
All three girls adored an after parade dress that they had tried on before lunch so we headed back.  What we learned about the Garment District is that the stores can only hold a certain number of sizes, but there are warehouses somewhere nearby.
A phone call to the warehouse and item number such and such in a size whatever is delivered to the shop in less than 30 minutes. 
 It really was interesting.
It also gave us a break. 
What I discovered in this shop was that these girls are perfect together.
I expect at some point there will be bickering or hurt feelings as they are human,  but I have yet to see it. 
They plopped themselves down while we waited and played clapping games. 
They talked.
 They had fun and they were little girls.
Theses are lousy photos...
I am a lousy camera phone photographer...
especially with signs around saying no photos.
 And when they dresses arrived, they smiled and twirled and were sweet young and all.
 After a potty break at Starbucks (because Double Chocolate Chip Frappacinos  cure all) we headed home. 
So what did I learn after spending an exhausting day with these girls? 
I learned that they are polite without being reminded.
They say please and thank you...without being reminded.
They are not complainers.
They are hilarious (a rousing alphabet game that involved "refluffles" proved this fact) and have parents who tease them at home.
 They encourage one another.
I am excited that these two will be a part of this tradition with our daughter.
We could not have asked better young ladies.


Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Look Back

July 4, 2014
This year, as most years, we will spend our country's birthday at home. 
I love watching the fireworks displays on TV from the comfort of our house. 
Air conditioned house if we are lucky.
 Hopefully everyone remains safe and remembers that we are living in a tinderbox. 
 Won't take much to start a fire.
July 2, 2013
Miss Wanda  has become a Wellness Coach and continues to inspire others and leads by example. 

One day we WILL meet face to face.
I know it!

July 1, 2012
I love a good quote and this is a good one.

July 1, 2011
I whole heartedly think this song should be our National Anthem.

July 2, 2010
Baba wanted to go to the coast for the day in 2010, so I loaded her and our three girlies in the car and off we went.
 I can hardly believe that she is gone and that next month two of these girls will be moving away to college.

 July 8, 2009
Dexter was the first rabbit that came to be part of our family. 
These two guys are the latest.
Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


What was meant to be a quick overnight trip to the beach last week, was stretched for the girls and I by a couple days.  I took Sugar Plum Fairy's Festa Attendants as planned to have their parade dresses altered and brought them home Friday night. I left Lollipop Pop there.
 Early Saturday morning, our youngest and I drove back to the beach for a couple more days of girl time. It was wonderful. Except for a traumatic event which I summarized in an E-Mail to my mom and sister.

"Well, the girls and I are in Pismo and have been lounging around reading and watching movies.
We jumped in the car earlier to run a quick errand.
Turned the key to a horrible noise and vibration under Lollipop Pop's feet.
Car off...
Blood dripping and an eyeball on the ground.
After a text to my husband on who to call because I was worried about the car, he replied, 'either the SPCA or the coroner', I realized we were on our own.
Then the nice neighbor man who LPP met last night came home.... 
Poor guy.
Danny was completely grossed out but crawled under the car and removed the remains of a huge squirrel for us.
He said he needed wine.
He offered to clean the driveway for us but we declined.
He also came over with a gallon of milk for us which is where we had been headed.
We are picking up wine after church for him.
We are also drawing a chalk outline of a squirrel on the driveway tomorrow."
The squirrel spirit was named Bucky.
He has been immortalized in least until it rains.
After delivery an apple cobbler and a bottle of wine to Danny, he offered to make us dinner!
  Sweet guy!



Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sunday Truism

God made the country, and man made the town. 
~William Cowper, The Task

Friday, June 26, 2015

My Sparse Garden

Gardening this summer has never looked so bleak. 
A very busy spring and the lack of water has not catered to much of a veggie garden.
The tomato came up from seed as did the sunflowers. 
We did have a lovely crop of kale and leeks, though. 
 After washing and blanching the kale, I squeezed a cup full at a time dry and then did a rough chop.
  I then froze it with my favorite method...large muffin tins. 
They are then stored in freezer bags so I can pop one out for soup or a casserole throughout the year.
After cleaning and chopping the leeks, I dried them kitchen towels and flash froze them on cookie sheets. 
These are now in large canning jars in the freezer which makes it a cinch to grab a few for garnish or a handful as needed.
And the taters. 
 Is there anything in the garden that is so much fun to harvest? 
It is like a treasure hunt digging through the dirt.
  Fun stuff.
 I am planning on putting a couple easy things in this weekend that we gobble up, but not much more than that.
Still praying for rain and sane politicians.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Look Back

I feel that I am finally getting the summer "must do's" under control around here.
 The preparations for the Portuguese Celebration in August are under control, although I think I must be pestering a couple helpful ladies beyond measure.
  I am hoping they continue to answer their phones.
I am determined to have everything done by June 30 so I can focus on Lollipop Pop and her college prep. 
She will leave the week following the Celebration.
I am hoping to survive this summer with my sanity in tact.
 That is assuming it was in tact prior to this summer, and I am not certain of that.
Let's take a look back over the years.
June 25, 2014
Last year, while the girls and I were spending time at the beach, we took Amtrak down the coast to Santa Barbara for the day. 
This chalk art at the Mission was impressive! 
With Lollipop Pop attending college in Santa Barbara next year, she will get you see this each year. 
Very cool.
June 28, 2013
While baseball was not the highlight of our vacation for all of the girls, it was certainly was for the boys.

June 25, 2012
This upgrade changed my wrapping world.
It still looks neat and works very well.

June 26, 2011
Beginning my summer vacation with these girls was always one of my favorite parts of the year.  This year, we will be joined by two more girls.
Only one night this time, but I am sure it will be filled with laughter and fun.
June 23, 2010
 This cruise will go down in our family history as the best trip ever.
 One of these days, since I found the camera card (3 years later) I need to make the time to chronicle it properly.
In one direction, the train takes you to Nice.
In the other direction, Monte Carlo.
We did both.
June 21, 2009
Each year, these guys are in abundance.
 I make food constantly in the summer.
 I love looking back.