Wednesday, July 29, 2009

And the Winner is...

Our Little Mikey!! After 1000 votes, our name won first prize by a landslide vote of over 280 votes. Would that mean we had 281 votes? Anywho, thanks to everyone who voted for our name, "Mike Byson." This is a pic of our little guy. He is the oldest of the new babies of the year.

We headed out to the park for the day and had a blast flying kites,

taking pics of all the buffalo - this one's giving me the stink eye....,

playing with the over sized basket and soccer balls,

and posing for the ever popular "We don't want to have my picture taken, but my mom is making us, anyway" shot.

They announced all the winning names. Here's me trying to explain in a VERY squeaky mega phone how we chose the name.

Perri "liberated" one of our prizes very quickly.

Mom and Peepa all came to join in the fun.

We even made the NEWS:

And the PAPER!

Thanks to everyone who voted for our baby!! We had a wonderful time - Wish you could have been there!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

I ♥ Faces - At the Beach

This weeks theme at I ♥ Faces is "At the Beach." I have dozens of photos that I love from our trip to Destin a couple of years back, and have already entered several in I ♥ Faces past contests. This image, though, is one of my fav.'s that I haven't entered yet and is of my little girl, Perri.

Head over to I ♥ Faces for the beach bash and enter your own image!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Short and Sweets

Da Hubby came home on Monday after work with a haircut and meeting him at the door, the kidos immediately noticed. Here's how the conversation went:

Kids: "Daddy!! You got a haircut!!"

Da Hubby: "Yep."

Perri: "You look nice, Daddy."

Da Hubby: "Thanks, sweetie."

Duglin: "Looks good, Dad."

Da Hubby: "Thanks, Dugley."

Daylor: "Dad? What's that white stuff in your hair?"

Da Hubby: "That would be gray hair, son."

Daylor: "Oh, it looks weird."

Me: "Daylor!! That's rude!"

Daylor: "Uhhh, no, mom. What I meant is that his hair looks experienced and smart."


Monday, July 20, 2009

Vote for Mike Byson!!

Just for fun, my family submitted a name to a baby buffalo naming contest for a park here in the city well known for its roaming buffalo! (Shelby Farms) 8 names are being chosen for the 8 babies that were born this year. Out of over 400 submissions our name, “Mike Byson,” (Da Hubby's idea), was chosen as one of the 16 finalists! Yay, us!

I am shamelessly asking, OK, maybe begging my friends and family to go to to vote for our name to win! Just click the link, then click the “vote here” link, and vote for “Mike Byson.” You can only vote one time per email address and we would love to have as many as possible! Anyone from anywhere can vote!

This would thrill my kids to death if we could win of one of the 8 names!! Thanks for humoring me and taking a second to do this! I’ll owe ya one!

I ♥ Faces - Feet

I ♥ Faces is going south this week! This week's contest is all about the footsies! Here is my entry my Daylor's foot. We were at a local park in my town where there is a waterfall to wade in. It's a great way to cool off in the sweltering heat as well as a perfect opportunity to get some great footie shots!

Head over to I ♥ Faces for all the foot fun!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Short And Sweets

A sign that I might be spending a little too much time blogging:

Oopsie-Doopsie! Tee-Hee!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Peach Pickin' Party

Every summer for the past 4 years my mom, the kidos, and I have gone to a peach orchard just 20 minutes from our home to pick the most amazingly sweet peaches. They give you baskets to take out among their hundreds of trees and you can fill them to your heart's content with yummy peaches. For only $.75 a pound we rack up on them and eat as many as possible within a few days. Then, I chop the rest up and freeze them for the coming months.

The kids really get into it and get up underneath the branches to get the big fat ones that are hiding there. I constantly have to remind Perri, however, that we want the biggest ones because she tends to feel sorry for the small ones and wants to pick those first. :)

This orchard also has strawberries in the early summer, blueberries, blackberries, plums, nectarines in mid-summer, and apples and pears in the fall. It really is a wonderful place to get really, really fresh, right off the vine produce and cheap, too! We are thankful it happens to be so close to home! Here we put the kids to work picking some blueberries. They are such willing and great helpers!

It was a bright day and...Oh my word!!! I just realized that bow is bigger than Perri's head!! I love BIG. BOWS and I can not lie!

I have a quick tip for ya if you are interested in canning or freezing peaches. If you have ever done either you would know what a PAIN in the uh-hum it is to peel them. If you use a paring knife you loose ALOT of the tasty flesh trying to take of the skin and the handle of the knife ends up sticky from the juiciness of the peach.

I have found that if you place the peaches in a pan of boiling water for 20 seconds and then quickly pull them out, the skin EASILY wipes away with a dish towel or can be peeled by hand without losing ANY of the flesh. Easy. Easy. Easy. (As much as you tends to get on my nerves, thanks Alton Brown for that time saving suggestion.)

And BTW, you will want to bleach the dishtowel out after this process as it will be very icky after you get done.

All I do after I peel the skin away is cut them into slices, put them into a quart size freezer safe baggies, and sprinkle a little sugar in. I shake the bag to melt the sugar and off they go into my freezer.

My kids love when I thaw out one of the bags and it's just the right serving size to put on top of vanilla ice cream or their pancakes in place of syrup.

There really is nothing like summer fruit!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Estate Sales R My Friend

I have to admit it. I am a yard/garage sale kind of girl. I love the thrill of the hunt and the excitement of a deal. I love gettin' up early on a Saturday morning armed with a purse load of change in one hand and a Starbuck's Tall Vanilla Latte in the other. It's thrifty. It's therapy. It's downright fun.

My bud's Jennifer and Maribeth, however, are estate sale kind of folks. I have to say estate sales kind of bum me out. I been to quite of few in the past, but I never really have, first, found anything that I like at them. Second, understood what the draw of going to some deceased person's house is, and then rummaging through things that once meant something to to them but now are discarded by the family as unwanted. It's sad. I've seen things like wedding gowns and diaries, family photographs and letters. Bibles that that look like they have been in the family for years are out for sale.

I understand that families can't keep everything and that maybe sometimes there is no family (sad, again) so a estate sale is a necessary thing to do. But sometimes there are such personal items out that I am shocked are not kept by loved ones.

Anyway, I stopped going to them and have stuck mainly to my yard sales. Jen and Maribeth swear by them. I do appreciate their perspective of rescuing something that might have gone to the wayside. Plus, they have actually purchased some loverly things lately. I decided I would ignore the underlying depressiveness (Yay, I made up another new word!!) of entering the home of someone recently deceased and give estate sales another try.

My mom and I went to two a couple of weekends ago. Honestly, I still felt weird walking through the houses, but I made myself stay and really look. I came across all kinds of really neat stuff at one of them. The lady that had lived there previously obviously had an eye for gorgeous antiques.

Although most everything was WAY out of my rice range, but all the nifty old furniture was fun to look at. She had some OLD vintage toys from the 40's and 50's that were in pristine condition. There were crystal serving pieces and an entire Lenox bone china set from the 50's that they were offering. They also had milk glass bowls and vases (slapping myself for not snatching those up), vintage table linens, and all kinds of stuff that was neat to see.

A few things immediately caught my eye. I found these amazingly bound books from the 1920's and 30's. I fell in love with them instantly. They were impeccably kept and beautiful and I HAD to have them. Until I found out they were $10.00 a piece. Gag. Sputter. Gag. OK, so I didn't have to have after all. I am sure they were worth it, but right now, my pocketbook (and Dave Ramsey) says NO!

I also fell for these gorgeous plates. All fine china. All absolutely perfect for hanging in my kitchen. All $10.00 a plate. Again with the gagging and sputtering.

OK! Call me cheap, people! I got kids to feed (and to take to Disney World) and I just can't justify paying $30.00 for plates I don't even plan to eat off of!

One thing I was reminded of while shopping - stuff at estate sales is SOOOOO much more expensive than garage sales.

So, Mom ended up buying some nice cookbooks and I just bought a small bowl for salt for my kitchen and a soup ladle. Yeehaw. We left and went home.

I bet your wondering why I have pictures of those plates and those books if I didn't purchase them. I have such perceptive readers!

Well, that night after we got home I began to think about those books. OK, thinking is not a strong enough word. It was more like obsessing over them. Hey, they were from the 20's and 30's !! How rare is it to find something like that in great condition? Maybe if I couldn't have all of them I could buy just one.

So, after discussing it with Da Hubby, he sent me back to the estate sale as soon as we got back home from church the next day to see if the books were still there. They were!! YAY!

A second thing I learned at the estate sales is that usually on the last day you can bargain them down. I picked up my three books plus found these two adorable ones and donned my pitiful, I'm-broke-so-please-let-me-have-these-for-as-cheap-as-possible look.

I found the sale facilitator (or whatever they are called) and asked what was the BEST price she could give me for them. She looked at me and said $20.00 for all. The look on my face must have told her I was putting them back, so she spat out, "How about $10.00 for all?" $50.00 worth of books for $10.00? SCORE!!!

As I was walking to check out I happened to notice that the gorgeous red plates were still there and went over to see if they were marked down. The lady must have seen me looking at them so she came and asked me what I would be will to pay for them. I told her I could pay $10.00 for them all as that's all the cash I had. Amazingly, she agreed. She also threw in the cute little terra-cotta bird in the picture below for free.

A couple other sale finds I found were this cute basket for $2.00 and this cast iron wall piece for $5.00. (The wall piece actually came from a garage sale, but hey, I gotta stick to my roots!)

So, I suppose the bottom-line is even though yard sales will always be my first love, estate sales may make it on my circuit every once in awhile. So, thank you to my sweet friends who reintroduced me to the pleasures of estate sale-ing. You continue to inspire me!

Thanks for putting up with this way too long and rambling post. I am amazed and humbled if you made it this far without falling asleep! I'm going to shut up now and go to bed.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I ♥ Faces - "Sports in Action" and "Pets" week

This week's theme of I ♥ Faces photography contest is "Sports in Action" and "Pets." I am submitting one for each category.

My sports in action picture is of our kid's team's soccer coach (aka Da Hubby) revving up our very cute and reluctant goalie for the oncoming ball. I shot this at dusk (my favorite part of the day to shoot!) and really like the warm rich tones of that time of evening.

My Pets entry is of my Mom's rotty, "Gracie." I loved the contrast of mom's pallazo floors with her big, sweet eyes. She's one great, big baby girl. We ♥ her, too.

Head over to the action at I ♥ Faces for all the furry and sporty fun and enter your own best shot!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Ellie Mae- Part 2

What a night last night! I had flashbacks of being a new mommy again, not getting any rest to take care of some tiny babies! This time not baby humans, though. This time it was baby bluebirds!

A little over a week ago I was out picking some weeds in our garden when I noticed a pair of bluebirds flying in and out of the bluebird box we have hanging on the fence in our backyard. We had sparrows in the early spring hatch there and fly away.

Our box was been there for at least five years and we have seen several pairs of bluebirds nest there but have never had any babies.

A few days later, I kept hearing birds twittering as the adult bluebirds came and went from the nest. We have babies!!! We have been careful to keep away from the nest as well as watch our puppies while they were outside to insure the safety of the birds.

July 3rd we caught our first glimpse of one of the babies peeking out.

It's been very exciting for the kids to watch everyday as the mama and daddy have been so attentive and protective of their young through out the day. Apparently, the parents have grown to trust us as they frequently will land just several feet from us as we are in the backyard playing or working in the garden.

I began to notice the day after Independence Day that the parents didn't seem to be around. By the 6th, I became increasingly worried that something had happened to the parents as we had been outside for several hours and they were nowhere to be seen despite the babies calling for them. This was unlike them as usually at least one of them was around the entire day and the babies are not large enough to be by themselves for such a long stretch of time.

As you figured by now, I just couldn't sit by and let something happen to them, so I called out local wildlife rescuer, Brenda, and asked for her advice. I knew time was of the essence when it came to baby birds. They can't live for long without food or fluids.

Brenda agreed that we probably needed to check on the featherlings (I sound so official, don't I?) and make sure they were thriving. So at 9:30 p.m. armed with a flashlight and my much braver than me Hubby, we headed to the nest and found these two little guys, weak and lethargic in their nest.

One of the babies was much smaller, but seemed to be a little stronger than the other. The larger of the two barely moved and was in obvious distress. Now, let me stop and say that I am not in the habit of just removing birds from their nest just because their cute and cuddly.

The absolute best thing for a baby bird is to be taken care of by their parents. Brenda assured me that removing the babies if they were ill or dehydrated so they could be rehabilitated and returned to the wild was priority number one.

She also assured me that parent birds will not reject babies if they have been touched by humans, so if the babies were strong enough, we could easily place them back in the nest without fear of the parents deserting them.

Her instructions were to first supply fluids them to prepare their bodies to be fed again. They were exhibiting signs of dehydration, so she recommended clear Pedialyte a couple of drops every 5-10 minutes for a couple of hours, then every hour or so after that. We also had to put them on a rolled up towel in a box placed on a heating pad kept on low to maintain a their body temp.

The smaller of the two began to take the fluids immediately and began to show immediate signs of improvement. As the night progressed, the larger bird finally became interested in taking some of the fluid and by morning was chirping and acting like new baby birds should - Loud and Hungry! Uh!! They're just so inseay-weensy!

Because they tend to stress easily, I pretty much left them in a quiet room by themselves and tried to feed them as quietly and quickly as possible. That nurturing side of me was trying to take over! I so wanted hold them and love them and call them George (or Squishy) - they were so cute! I had to restrain myself! Ack!

In the morning, I was feeling good about their health and began to wonder what happened with the parents. I parked myself in a window that faced the birdhouse and waited to see if they might show up today. (I know - I am such a Kook!)

30 minutes later here is what I saw.

Daddy was back! I bolted out my back door to get him away from the nest before he realized his babies weren't in there anymore. I flew upstairs, grabbed the bowl I was keeping them in, and ran out the backdoor. After gently returning the nest and the twins back in their house, I ran back inside just in time to see the daddy return to check on his babies. I was so excited that I nearly cried! They are such beautiful birds!

I went and sat in my backyard to watch and make sure everyone was happy and that's when Mama came home, too. I could hear the babies chirp excitedly as she crawled in the house and nestled down on top of them to keep them warm. OK, I know I am a dork, but I was sobbing at this point!

I have no idea what happened to them yesterday, but all I can say is I am so glad they are back on parental duty and the babies have been fed several times this morning already so I know they are happy!

Here is the male bringing breakfast for the wife and kids...

Thanks so much to Brenda who helped me get these guys back up to health for their parents! Don't you just love a happy ending?!?!?!

Side note - If you find a baby bird, please contact a professional rescuer for instructions on how to take care of it BEFORE giving it anything. Different birds require different things. Google for a rescuer near you!

Lyla Bryanne

One of my closest friends recently became a grandmother for the second time in June. They graciously humored and allowed me to take some photos at the hospital to brush up on my photography skills.

I have to say I enjoy those newborn babies! So precious in every way!

Here are a few of my favorites from our "shoot."

Great-grandma's hand...

Sweet big brother...
Giving Gramma kisses...

Congratulations, guys! Love you all so much!!