Tuesday, May 31, 2011

4 yr old Fashionista

that little Gymboree dress has made it through 3 girls!  She's off to find her preschool friends for some fun by the James River

Colonial Williamsburg mob cap, my favorite ladybug print sundress, sparkly tennis shoes on the wrong feet, purple sunglasses

denim capris with little white flower print, bright orange sundress with yellow flower print, purple jacket, raffia purse, blue striped socks, shoes on wrong again (pink boots) and we are out the door to school.

I ought to let her dress me!

Saturday, May 28, 2011


K's pink play-doh snail

It can be soft.
It can be bright.
Even Brassy
My favorite Pink
speaks to gentle
subtly beautiful.
The small pinks you don't notice.

Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven't time, and to see takes time - like to have a friend takes time. Georgia O'Keefe

I feel the same about pink-

There is a weekly Pink Saturday Link Up Party at Beverly's How Sweet the Sound.  Today marks the 3rd Anniversary.  There are numerous celebrations and give aways.  I invite you to head over to How Sweet the Sound and join the fun.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Tiger Mom Tactics-

okay - I haven't read the book.  But I like the title.

Here is the thing.  I don't have patience for today's kids.  When I was 9 - I was left alone in hotel rooms.  I was left in charge of siblings in foreign countries.  I had chores.  I walked to school in a city.  I was accosted by kids who said they wanted to kill me for my roller skates.  (my brother and I made a ridiculous plan that we thankfully did not have to implement)

So when my kid refuses to do his homework I'm a little like "really? you live such an easy life.  There are kids in this world {not me} in charge of fetching the family's water supply.  Or watching the family's goat.  Or whatever and if they screw up their job they don't eat.  Go spend 20 minutes and do the homework."
So... my kid is not on the baseball team anymore.  And if he doesn't get his butt in line he won't be on the swim team this summer.

It's a bummer about baseball.  They are in first place in the league.  Playoffs and everything right around the corner.  I did get in touch with the coach, let him know what was up and asked if he had enough players to finish out without punishing the other kids.  He's awesome.  As a dad first and a coach second he wrote back "I'm behind you 100%.  School is most important."  Yay coach!

bugs in the garden

attempting a little aphid control without sprays...
I found a Beneficial Insects Company out of North Carolina, which all things considered isn't too far from where I live, and ordered Green Lacewing Larvae.  Sprinkled them around last night.  I also ordered Ladybugs.  Now Ladybugs are known to fly off and leave without doing any damage control- we were out early this morning and it looks like maybe 1/2 to 1/3 are still around.  Hopefully they take note of the bountiful aphid population and get to work...

I do have high hopes for the lacewing larvae - they apparently like humid environments, check, they love aphids, check.  There is however a downer - it is suggested that you deploy them at least twice, optimally four times.  The bugs themselves are moderately expensive but the overnight shipping doubles their cost.  This is a one shot deal.  I hope they do well...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

last night I continued the "pick it yourself" theme and pulled some lettuce in from the kitchen garden - looks pretty in the basket! - romaine & fancy red lettuce.  The romaine is pretty much done, getting leggy so I cut it all.  And then decided to top it with left over steak from the other night.  I made a "bulgogi inspired" marinade and we grilled NY strip steaks - cut up over salad 2 1/2 steaks fed us all, topped with strawberries.  YUM!

That used up a quart-
so this morning I used the remaining quart and mashed up about a cup into the pancake batter and cut the rest over the top - served with hot butter - delicious!  Guess we'll need to go back and get more for jam!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Strawberry Season - Woo-Hoo!

I have been wanting to get out and go strawberry picking for weeks - and FINALLY we went this afternoon. M-Lyons had 3 fillings at the dentist this morning and he said she shouldn't go back to school soooo we picked up Bitsy from preschool and got a milk shake from Dairy Queen for being so brave at the dentist (I know - sugar! duh!) and headed out to Toano VA-

to a cool strawberry patch at Hidden Brook Farm owned by the Hills: Bobby and Jim.

It was a warm day with the cicadas singing in the trees and I was ready to zen out and pick away- but Bitsy was tired after preschool. First she was hot, then she had to pee, then she was tired and on it went. I made her hang in there until M-Lyons had a full bucket. M-Lyons had gone strawberry picking last year with Mrs. McMillan's preschool class and she was a pro - she got down and looked under leaves and filled up her bucket with gorgeous red berries...

Hopefully we'll make it back Friday with all the kids and get some more. I'm going to go pull out my "Doubleday Cookbook" my Uncle Pete and Aunt Margaret gave me for my wedding. See if we can make ourselves some yummy strawberry preserves to put in our big old fashioned pantry!

If you are looking for a place to pick in Williamsburg area:  this is off of Rt 60, turn at Barnes Rd/ State Route 601 (turn right if you are coming from Williamsburg direction) and then continue until Skillman Dr.  You'll see the sign-

Berries are $2.00 a quart (I think) which is $8.00 a bucket and they are so super sweet and juicy you'd pay twice as much!

The Hill Family

100 Skillman Drive
Toano, Virginia 23168-8924

Monday, May 23, 2011

A little outdoor fun

Yesterday we had a water gun fight - yes I let my kids play with guns, sue me.  Anyway - we decided to try out an idea we've been kicking around for a while now - a paint gun fight.  So we started with white t-shirts and we mixed blue acrylic into the water before filling the guns.  Acrylic mixes with water but usually - once it dries on fabric it stays.  We only tried this yesterday so I don't know yet if the color will hold or wash out.  I'm letting it dry first and then I should probably iron it.

Its been a while but I think I'm going to link this up to Smiling Sally's Blue Monday.  Head on over to her blog for more "blues."

Smiling Sally

Sally has a particularly cool post this week.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Firebird waking

firebird, crayon on cardboard 2011

Firebirds have been on my mind for sometime.  I've been resisting the image as it has been claimed by another under the more American title of Pheonix.  But I can't quite get away from it.

There was a wonderful Russian fairy tale from when I was a kid - my Uncle Pete rescued two fairy tale books one of Russian Fairy Tales and one of Chinese Fairy Tales.  I loved the Russian ones and the illustrations were amazing.  Anyway - Firebirds were featured.

More recently I've learned that they were also regular symbols in Korea.  The Queen was often arrayed with Firebird motif embroidery, it was the balance to the King's dragon.  I am drawn to that imagery, the firebird and the dragon as yin and yang in balance together.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Some People have all the luck

and I totally wink as I say that-

My husband just got home today from being away for 10 days at an SAP trade show - called SAPPHIRENOW.  He is playing his iPhone videos he took last night of the Sting concert.  Yes, SAP paid Sting to perform at the end of the conference.
Last year it was Santana.
The year before that it was Eric Clapton.

And since he hasn't had the time to actually go to a concert (okay - we went to see U2 a year ago - but thats my first concert with my husband) since he became a consultant- it is kinda cool that SAP brings in such fabulous shows.

So I'm off with a glass of wine to listen to the home videos of Sting live...

don't hate me

Sunday, May 15, 2011

trying to be Mom to my teenage daughter - sigh

7th grade
do you remember 7th grade?
I lived in Wissmannsdorf Germany - my dad was stationed at Bitburg AFB.

My oldest is in 7th grade.
We've had some interesting talks lately. Talks about clothes, make-up, boys, dating, why people act they way they do (like I have any answers).

I was what Mr. Ross called a "late bloomer." Mr. Ross was someone I knew later, in college actually. In 7th grade I was still completely clueless - I do remember the end of the year. I decided to get my hair cut - I don't remember why but it was a big deal. I'd never had a hair cut - my mother would trim it from time to time but I had long, thin, limp hair. And then suddenly I didn't. I spent days shaking it - I couldn't believe how light it was! But socially - wow - I went from just blending in (think Princess Diaries "somebody sat on my again today") to the "it girl" overnight.

complete with a new top from my grandma "in the states." All the new cool clothes were in the states and wouldn't trickle down to the BX for another few seasons, if ever. Yeah, it was 1984, and "Thriller" was the coolest thing ever...

Imagine - Junior High on a military base overseas. There were 4 fifth grade classes and then we moved on to the Junior High building which was technically attached to the fifth grade building. Same kids- for 3 years. But military so there is the periodic turn over as people come and go.

On Monday I walked into school with a different hair cut and a new jacket. People (okay - boys) I'd never seen before were talking to me in the hallway "hey! when did you get here? where did you move from?" Umm... I've been here for 3 years, we are leaving in two weeks...

It was insane.

And then we moved. And I was nobody again. I never did figure out how to be comfortable with being "fine" or noticed.

My daughter is beautiful. All mother's think their girls are beautiful - and they are. My daughter has been described as having an angel's face. Boys her own age don't quite appreciate it - but adults notice.

And so - after several late night discussions - I find myself struggling to take a bit of time with my hair, make-up, and clothes and revisit my jr. high insecurities so I can better help my beautiful daughter be comfortable with that kind of attention. Because she is - even if she didn't wash her hair for a month and she wore rags - she'd be beautiful and she's going to have to get used to it.

*September, 2011.  I removed my daughter's photo.  For some reason people googling "teenage girl face" are coming across it.  At first I thought the hits to this post were simply those of other parents facing similar situations, discussions, whatever - but it seems that the draw is my pretty girl's picture.  And since I am not sure what the motive is behind that, I'm taking it down.*

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Garden Roses

Spring in my little kitchen garden - its just lovely this year.

Can you believe the rose photos are taken with an ipad?

linking up with Beverly for some Pink Saturday Fun-

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids

I haven't read this yet - but I want to:

Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids

The Author is Bryan Caplan:
Bryan Caplan is a Professor of Economics at George Mason University and a blogger for EconLog, one of the Wall Street Journal’s Top 25 Economics Blogs. His first book, The Myth of the Rational Voter, was named “the best political book of the year” by the New York Times, and made the Financial Times list of the Best Books of 2007.  Caplan's writings have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. He lives in Oakton, Virginia, with his wife and their three children.

this is the "about" bit:
We've needlessly turned parenting into an unpleasant chore. Parents invest more time and money in their kids than ever, but the shocking lesson of twin and adoption research is that upbringing is much less important than genetics in the long run. These revelations have surprising implications for how we parent and how we spend time with our kids. The big lesson: Mold your kids less and enjoy your life more. Your kids will still turn out fine.

Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids is a book of practical big ideas. How can parents be happier? What can they change—and what do they need to just accept? Which of their worries can parents safely forget? Above all, what is the right number of kids for you to have? You'll never see kids or parenthood the same way again.

But really - I just like the title.  I have a lot of kids because I like having them - birth control really isn't THAT expensive or that hard to get right?  I  mean really.  And so - this title flat out cracks me up.   And then once I get around reading it I may very well need to have a copy on me at all times so when the next person asks are they all yours?  With that, you are insane, tone in their voice, I can simply smile and had them a copy.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

and what a day it was!

My husband woke me up to coffee with waffles and ice cream (an Eitelbach tradition)
and there were hand made cards on the table from the kids with very cute and very sweet words.
"you are a good cook"
to "thank you for understanding and not making me babysit all the time"
off to church-
home to the husband and the boys detailing the kitchen and then off to a soccer game - Tiger's team won - and then they made me chicken parmesan for dinner with a salad greens picked from our own kitchen garden.

This was my favorite note from Bitsy: "My mom looks colored.  I would buy her flowers because I love her."  We've all been trying to figure out what the 4 year old means by colored - my aura is that of a rainbow?  I am not washed out?  I like to wear a lot of colors?  I have a colorful personality?  Who knows!  But its pretty funny.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Toilet Paper Graffiti?

If she could, she'd kick my butt for this
but it is kinda funny:

My oldest is studying World War II in her history class... I believe it may explain the graffiti I found

can you see what it says? There is a drawing, and a "wipe Hitler out" message written on the toilet paper... I found it the other day in my bathroom.

While I am glad she is learning something at school I find myself wondering about this new mode of expression. Toilet paper graffiti? Really?