Friday, September 27, 2013

Little Hawk's Thomas the Train Birthday

Our little guy turned 4! I asked him what kind of cupcakes he wanted to take to preschool and he gleefully replied "Thomas the Train!"  I had meant, "chocolate or vanilla."  But now it was out there so I went to Pinterest to find help.  Pinterest sent me to "Hell-o-muffin!" and Little Hawk loved the train photo there!

And so this offered some inspiration.  I knew mine wouldn't be quite so amazing as this... but I gave it a shot and I'm pretty pleased with the results.

red velvet cupcakes, no fade cupcake papers photo IMG_5748_zpsc9d0420c.jpg

Cake Mate cupcake paper cups. I haven't tried the no-fade ones before and I'm pleased with the results. I opted for cake mix cupcakes. Red Velvet. Yummy.

cookie sheet with train track photo IMG_5750_zps79fdcf53.jpg

I thought about drawing a track like in the photo, but seriously? Why? We have lots of track. I thought the Melissa & Doug puzzle track would keep from moving too much, so I used a cookie sheet, covered it with napkins and placed the track and the train over the cookie sheet.

 building the cupcake train photo IMG_5752_zps50afcc73.jpg

In the picture from Pinterest, you notice that the cupcakes sit on top of graham crackers. I used the cupcake frosting in between my graham crackers. I didn't use anything to "fix" the cupcakes into place, I just set them on top of the crackers.

  cupcake train with oreo wheels photo IMG_5753_zpsc96d1382.jpg

add wheels. I used Trader Joe's Joe-Joe's cookies but you could use any kind of cookie.

Thomas the Train, Cupcakes! photo IMG_5754_zps971e4bec.jpg

Thomas the Train, Cupcake Train photo IMG_5758_zps67464301.jpg

linking to Smiling Sally's Blue Monday

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Painting by the York River

On Monday M didn't look so good.  There is a cold going around.  She woke up snotty nosed and puffy-eyed but her one eye was so puffy it looked like she had pink eye.  And both eyes were blood shot.  I knew it was just a cold.  I knew I could give her Benadryl and send her to school.  And I knew chances were she'd be miserable and that Mrs. H our nurse might very well call me because of the puffy, blood shot eyes.  So, we sent everybody else off to school and went to the York River to let the dogs run while we sat and painted...

Yorktown, Board Walk photo IMG_5744_zpsb5f396bb.jpg

Painting on York River Beach photo IMG_5743_zps38c56b01.jpg

Dogs playing by the York River photo IMG_5727_zps23346f58.jpg

My dogs, playing by the River photo IMG_5728_zpseb21ea1b.jpg

Thalia, York River, 2013 photo IMG_5733_zps63304314.jpg,br />
Painting by the river photo IMG_5724_zps377a853f.jpg

Landscape Painting by the York River photo IMG_5739_zps52a7f83f.jpg
adding this as a late addition to "Outdoor Wednesday"

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sketch- Magnolia Flower

I've been going through old art work, thinking about cataloging and selling it to make room for new.
This is a study or sketch in oil on pre-stretched canvas I did when trying to complete a commission I'd received in 1995/1996.

magnolia flower, sketch photo IMG_5663_zpse0c1363e.jpg
Magnolia Flower, Oil on pre-stretched canvas

I am cleaning out my studio.  This piece is for sale for local pick up only, it is on stretched canvas so I don't have a shipping plan thought out right now.  In the event that you are interested in having it shipped to you - leave me a message and maybe we can figure something out.

The two below are the pieces that were done for the commission.  The sale fell through and they hang in my dining room.
Magnolia Flower photo IMG_5723_zps7e70c8ef.jpg

Magnolia Flower photo IMG_5722_zpsca012648.jpg

Linking to Blue Monday where Sally is featuring art by Norman Rockwell

Friday, September 20, 2013

More Spanish History

Well, I'm now on my second book in the reading pile: Franco and Hitler by Stanley Payne.  He too assumes I come to the book with more background knowledge than I do, is there a primer?

But I like this quote:
"The civil war...became probably the most mythic event of the twentieth century, most frequently, if inaccurately, described as a contest between democracy and fascism.  More than a little fascism was involved but there was no real democracy on either side." page 4 &5

in mid August I posted on Facebook:
staying up reading Spanish History because I picked up the copy of "For Whom the Bell Tolls" that my dad gave to me eons ago and realized I have no idea what he's talking about... the Spanish Civil War was fought because why?
the answers:
A.E. said: Excellent book! 
Political and economic upheaval in the wake of WWI led to social unrest culminating in a military coup, which brought fascists into power. No bueno.
M.R. said:  I've wanted to read more about that, too. Glad you're pursuing it.
T.M. said: US and Russian pilots flew on the communist side against Germans who flew on the fascist side as Hitler helped out his pal Franco. The Germans debued their frontline fighter there, the ME-109, that pretty much outclassed all the left over mid 20's fighters the reds had. The painting Guernica is based on a German bombing raid on the Basque town of that name. Badajoz (on the arc de triumph by the way) was also bombed during the civil war but i dont know which side. Excellent book )
so according to Payne both A and T get bonus points for not saying "democracy"
but still...

here is another Payne quote:
It is somewhat surprising that the Spanish revolution of 1936-39 is sometimes all but ignored in the comparative history of twentieth-century revolutions, for three reasons: a. the SPanish revolution was soon completely defeated and history prefers winners b.both Republicans and the Comintern denied the reality of revolution in order to avoid alienating opinion in the capitalist Western democracies and c. nearly all the major left-collectivist revolutions of the century were largely one-party Communist revolutions, whereas the Spanish revolution was semi-pluralist, the largest revolutionary movements being held by anarchosundicalist and Socialist not Communist. pg 5

On page 6 he says that approximately 55,000 people were killed. most of them between July - December 1936.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

lunch at the Cheese Shop

this darling family stopped at the cheese shop on Tuesday.  Four little girls dressed in matching colonial styled dressed.  I don't know if they rented them (I believe visitors can rent clothes from Colonial Williamsburg when they visit) or if they'd brought them.  So sweet!

 photo IMG_5665_zpsf30b05ed.jpg

My high school friend Meg got in touch through Facebook to see if we could meet for lunch.  Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  She was driving through town on her way to a job interview and planned an hour or so for a mini renuion with myself and another friend.  And so we were at the Cheese Shop and I was sitting outside and saw those little girls.

Talking with High School friends always makes me a bit "peevish" I am not sure what my 18 year old self would think of my 40 yr old self.  Frankly, I am not sure what I think of my 40 year old self.  Much of who I am has been brushed aside for the maintenance of family.  "More good women have been lost to marriage and family than war and famine together" (or something like that) Cruella deVil, 101 Dalmations, Glenn Close version.  I remember roaring when watching that movie, I thought it was such a funny quote.  Well, I was single and in college then, little did I know.  It isn't the number of children, it isn't the consultant/entrepreneur husband.  It is the combination, and the various needs, and I'm always left holding it all together.  So if I drop the ball and go do my thing... which isn't to say that I don't ever.  Or that I don't ever do my thing.  But a lot more energy goes into what is best for the family or the business over what is best for me.  And I can just keep going in denial until I am confronted by my own ghost.

Anyway.  We had a lovely visit.  And now my head is full of confectionaries, and pondering business plans, and places for capital.  My friend is a baker.  And previous generations owned a candy shop.  And my friend dreams of owning the same.  How fun would that be?  I was talking about her/her dream at dinner and 3 of my kids immediately spoke up "could I work there?"

In the meantime:
The Cheese Shop in Merchants Square, which is just across the street from William and Mary College, is one of those local places that needs to be tried.  If you are from Williamsburg you go back to the cheese shop every time you visit.  (Well, my friends do anyway.)  It is where you take people who are visiting.  Casual, it is a cheese shop, there is a deli counter toward the back.  It is frequently busy so allow time.  They make the most lovely bread.  And do try the house dressing.  I had a veggie no cheese (yummy, not your typical vegetarian sandwich) and Meg had Virginia Ham with Havarti on French bread with house dressing (sounds scrumptious.!) And if you visit Williamsburg you really ought to have lunch here.

The Cheese Shop, Williamsburg photo IMG_5656_zps69272f75.jpg
cheese counter
Cheese Shop Sandwich photo IMG_5654_zps4df2ba88.jpg
deli counter
Cheese Shop, Merchants Square, Williamsburg photo IMG_5651_zps92301466.jpg

 photo IMG_5650_zps02cf1d8f.jpg
peek through to the Fat Canary

Monday, September 16, 2013

fish out of water

 I pass this boat when I take my son to school, 
I loved how it looked on the lawn with the flower bed.

Happy Blue Monday

Friday, September 13, 2013

a walk in Colonial Williamsburg

some recent pictures taken in Colonial Williamsburg with my iphone and then manipulated with Instragram. Instagram is much too much fun and I'm grateful I didn't discover it earlier, I'd have wasted that much more time playing with it!

early September

watching sheep

loved this wagon

linking back to Outdoor Wednesday

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Independent Ski Racer, Fundraiser for Olympic Dreams

Please join us for a fundraiser benefitting Megan McJames' 2013-14 World Cup ski racing season!
Includes beer, wine, appetizers, silent auction and meet and greet with World Cup Ski Racers
September 28, 2013 6-9PM
335 McHenry Street, Park City 
Tickets are $75 per person
Please let us know if you will be joining us by clicking the SWAG option "ticket to event" on the right side of the web page.   
Can't make my event?
Please donate toward my online fundraising goal of $25,000 by clicking the SWAG options on the web page.  Each donation option includes cool gifts and tax deductions!  If you are not interested in receiving SWAG but would still like to help out, please click the "$1+" button on the right side of this page and enter the dollar amount you would like to donate.
All money raised here will be used exclusively toward Megan's travel, training, competition and equipment expenses associated with being an independent World Cup ski racer.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

You can't make this stuff up!

2 shoe stories from yesterday:

K. (Cross Country runner in the previous post) texted me after school yesterday.  "I may need a ride home in about 20 minutes.  I am at a club meeting but may not be running today because I am without running shoes.  I have looked everywhere and cannot find them in the school or on the bus."
30 minutes later "Never mind I will explain."
An hour later I've taken MLyons to ballet and I have the boys in the car doing homework on the way to soccer and K calls and explains she borrowed her coach's shoes for practice and is sure she left her bag on the bus but when she asked the driver after school he said he didn't have it.  So we finish the call and I call transportation to ask how I track down a gym bag with shoes in it.  I describe the bag and the boys perk up, "Mom that bag is at the Middle School."  What?
"Yeah, we saw it on the news.  Someone left it on the bus and everybody thought it was mine but they said it had girl stuff in it." says Tiger.
So I drive over to the Middle School which is closed but I access the gym via the football coach and explain and he sends me in the office.  There I speak with our fabulous (I mean that. Ms. Swann rocks.) principal who tells me that the bus driver held up the entire bus line because he wanted the gym bag (that was featured on the news) back because he had a high school student who was looking for it and he wanted to give it to her in the morning! How kind is he?

Later that afternoon.  I have fetched MLyons from ballet and the boys are at soccer and there isn't enough time to go home, so we go to the Food Lion to pick up fresh veggies for dinner and I am weighing zucchini and Bitsy says "mom where is my shoe?"
I turn around and my 6 year old is standing in the Food Lion with one shoe on and one shoe off.
"Bitsy! What did you do with your shoe?" I ask her.
"I don't know."
Little Hawk points at the lettuce right next to the zucchini "Its over there."
MLyons and I look around the floor, under a few pallets and Little Hawk insists "over there" pointing at the lettuce.  So I look at the lettuce.
Now, you need to understand.  There is a man standing in the produce section directly in front of the lettuce stocking more lettuce.  So he's working and I'm kind of looking around and finally I say to him "I'm sorry.  Did you see a yellow shoe?" he looks at me as if I'm insane.  "A yellow shoe?"
"yes" I say and I point to Little Hawk "he says it is over here."
I spend another minute looking around and then I see it.
Directly over the man's head, on the top shelf of the produce refrigerator thing, is her shoe.
She was dancing and kicked it off while I was weighing zucchini and it missed hitting this man in the head by maybe 1/2 an inch.  I am dumbfounded.
"excuse me" I say and reach for the shoe which I hand back to Bitsy.  And then I say "I should have taken a picture of that shoe on top of the produce refrigerator."  But I'm not about to take it off her foot and put it back up there so I can snap a picture.  The Lettuce guy has clearly decided that I actually am crazy, no need to add fuel to that fire.
Bitsy happily puts her shoe back on as if kicking it off into produce is a daily occurrence and I can only shake my head.

yellow ballet flats photo yellowshoes_zpsc3cea5e1.jpg
offending yellow ballet flats

Produce in Food Lion photo foodlion_zpsa8c90122.jpg
yep - right there above the lettuce

Monday, September 9, 2013

openly defiant?

I have no idea what to do with an openly defiant 6 almost 7 year old. No idea. When you ask a child not to do something and they do it again. And you ask them again. And they do it again. And that something hurts, physically hurts, their little brother or the dog or another person.  What do you do?

I can't send her to her room.  She shares a room and she trashes the other person's stuff.  I can't send her outside, she yells.  Time out? Seriously? A time out? She *hurt* someone for the love of god.  Take something away? She doesn't care she just uses her older sisters' stuff anyway.

She can't have a conversation about it.  I don't know if she can't understand or won't understand.  Saying "mom asked you not to do that and you did" gets a "yes mom" asking why gets a "yes mom" or a "don't do that."

I don't know what to do.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Bragging Rights

K is my oldest, 15 and a Sophomore in High School.  Today she ran her first cross country race. ever. She ran 5K in 22:47, which my brother promptly told me makes for a 7:35 pace. Did I mention this is her first race ever?  Her coaches were a little excited.  Her teammates gave her "respect" as K says.

That 22:47 earned her a 4th place in the JV race.  It also beat a number of times posted by Varsity runners.  She races again on Wednesday so we'll see if she can hold this or if it was a fluke... but it sure was a nice way to start the season!

4th Place!

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Yesterday there was a 2 hour lock down at the local jr. high because someone brought a loaded magazine to school.  I think "someone" was in 7th grade.  This caused quite a bit of stress and anxiety and per our current culture much Facebook discussion.

I don't own a gun.  I have never held a gun.  I had to ask someone if a magazine was what I thought it was.  So I asked a friend who happened to be staying with us who has had lots of experience with guns, he's military and his last deployment was kicking down doors going to house to house in Baghdad.

And then I thought about my son who is in 7th grade.  He is a sweet kid.  And he loves weaponry.  He likes to sit outside with his knife and whittle bows and arrows and spears and lances and attack orcs and things.  He does not like games in which the bad guys are people and so he avoids playing xbox with his friends.  He is one of my most level headed kids but he can be a little flighty.  I can totally see him getting on the bus with his knife in his pocket because he'd stuck in there while in the woods the night before and forgotten to take it out.  Luckily, I don't think a knife causes a lock down.  But if my son realized while he was on the bus that he had a knife in his pocket I think he'd freak out.  He knows the consequences   He'll go straight to worst case scenario.  And so I don't know if he'd turn it in or hope to get through the day undetected.

As I said, I don't think a knife causes a lock down scenario.  But unlike a bullet, it is readily a threat, without adding fire, or a gun or anything.

I do not check his pockets every morning before he gets on the bus.  Maybe I should.

Let's take this thought further for just a minute.  If my son had a grandfather who hunted. (and sadly he does not.) It would be totally possible for them to go out to shoot, lots of people around here have acreage out of town.  And in cleaning up it would be totally possible for him to stick a magazine in his pocket.  And it would be totally possible in all the hype of back to school for  him to forget about it.  Because it is not a stretch, my son is like that.  And if he got crucified for that, for unintentional forgetfulness, that is one heck of a lesson for a 12 year old.  Sure, there are consequences to be had at school.  But there were a lot of "bad parenting" "bad kid" kinds of things flying around social media yesterday and we don't know the story.  What if?

No.  My kids weren't in the building so it is easier for me to look in from the outside.  Yes, my kids have been in buildings in the past when a knife was found at school.  I rode a bus in 10th grade on which someone reported seeing a gun and we were all called into the Principle's office.  I was evacuated from school repeatedly in 7th grade due to bomb threats and we'd load buses and go home while the MPs came in with bomb dogs to check it out. (that turned out to be one kid, whose family was packed up overnight, shipped from Germany back to the US while their military sponsor was ordered to appear before court martial. Talk about a "lesson" )

I have actually been the parent of a kid who took something to school in 4th grade with the intent of hurting someone else:

The weapon of choice: Peppermint extract.
There was a kid on the bus "J" who enjoyed tormenting my then 4th grader.  While baking my son discovered that Peppermint extract had a bit of a sting to it.  He took the bottle to school and dumped it onto his tormentor.  After I got that call from the principal I checked his pockets and backpack every morning for 3 months.  He isn't the kid who likes to whittle with the knife.  In fact no real "weapon" was involved.  Just a little creativity.

I guess I'm just asking everyone to look at their kids, who they want to protect, and try to remember that the other kid is also a kid.  And maybe their parent is irresponsible.  Or maybe they aren't.  And ask yourselves when your kid runs through stop sign with a car in 4 years, even though nobody gets hurt someone could have been hurt or killed, maybe someone else's kid, if it is okay for everyone to freak out about it online.

Just wondering.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Navel Gazing (or whatever Heather said)

Last night I had a rather good realization.

Most of the time, when I have to deal with myself being angry, it is because I'm not setting boundaries and honoring them.  This usually happens when someone needs something from me and I put their need ahead of mine.  Do that too much and I get stretched too far... and then I get angry.

So over the past 4 years I've been saying no. A lot. NO. NO. NO.

No is not a bad word.  I find it very liberating.

And I think it is important.

In early childhood development they say that a child has to say "MINE" and be allowed to mean it before they can share.  I feel like I have to be allowed to say "NO!" and mean it before I can truly say yes.

My inner two year old is delighted.  I mean she is so gleefully hollering NO at everything that moves. I found some pictures of me at this age.  When did I forget how to have fun?

not quite 2
I think today after the soccer game I need to stop and buy play-dough and finger paint and make a fabulous mess with my younger kids and then stand on the deck and scream NO for a while.

Maybe that guy across the way that yells "shut up you little shit" at my kids (we are pretty sure he has tourettes) will yell "shut up" and I can yell "NO!"

about 2 1/2 yrs old.  oh my! I look like a holy terror!
When did I become to uptight?