April/May

Wow, it’s been so long that I actually need to give you a month-long recap.  Sheesh! I do need to get here more often, don’t I? Without further ado, what the heck have I been up to?

Well the beginning of April wasn’t much more than a blur of workworkworkworkwork, but it ended on a high note with two weekends of parties.  The first, being Alex’s 6th birthday (SIX! How can these kids be getting so old?), and the second, Easter brunch at my aunt’s house.

The weather was beautiful and my Grandma even came out to visit, so it was a perfect day.

The following weekend was Luke’s annual canoe trip down the Wilimantic River with Roland.  They lucked out and got another perfect day of beautiful weather.

Here’s the whole crowd of crazies before they headed out.  Very manly, wouldn’t you say?  After they left I headed home and napped and watched the chickens hang out with the cat.  It’s a strange flock I have.

Right after I took this picture I caught two of them standing on the deck next to the cat while she lay there in the sun.  I think it was these two. They just look like troublemakers, don’t they?

In the afternoon I went to pick up Luke and Roland at the landing spot where we all have a celebratory barbecue, happy in the fact that everyone made it down the river in one piece.

There were three adorable, young dogs there who wanted to play with Molly, but my old lady just kept gnoring them and giving me the “Come on, I’m tired. Let’s go home.” look.  Kind of like this:

The weekend after that, Alex finally got his wish.  For, hmm…let me think…FOREVER, Alex has been asking whenever he sees me “Auntie Lisa, when can we sleep over and see your chickens and get their eggs?”  So Cameron and Alex had their first overnight at my house.  It was fun, although I think a little underwhelming for them.  After all the buildup, they were kind of like, oh. Eggs. Big deal. But still, a sleepover is always fun and it was followed by a gorgeous day for Saturday morning baseball.

(And Angry Birds.)

And the most awesome, couldn’t have cast him better myself, retired drill sergeant, turned gruff but caring pee-wee baseball coach.

He told the kids that they all needed to drink water and wear sunscreen to baseball, and that they all had to behave because tomorrow wasn’t just Sunday, it was Mother’s Day.  He was the best.

We left practice and started our super-cheap Groupon afternoon.  I had a Groupon for Moe’s, so the boys and I headed there for lunch (which cost me a whopping $0.50) then headed out to the Elmwood Pastry Shop to redeem my Groupon for a dozen of the best cupcakes on the planet.  We ran next door to Rita’s to use the restroom and I considered making it a three-Groupon day since I had one for Rita’s, but I checked and it wasn’t valid at that location.  Shucks.  We headed home from there to watch a movie and get the house ready for the next day, which, to quote a wise man, wasn’t just Sunday, it was Mother’s Day.

The moms all came over and I made a delicious ham dinner which I really can’t take credit for because someone else smoked it, I just heated it up.  But still, yum.  Look at how cute my mom and sister are.  Seriously.  I’m sorry I look half-naked in this picture – it was hot in the kitchen and I think I may have been starting to catch a spring cold.

And I think that about catches up up to the present.  The chickens are doing well, exploring the yard every day and eating plenty of bugs.  They suddenly remembered that they loved the taste of Hosta and ate every one of mine down to the ground, but the hummingbirds returned last weekend and my little Magnolia tree is blooming, so all is right with the world.

This weekend I have no plans, although I think I may need to take a trip to the garden center to find some chicken-proof replacements for the Hosta-shaped holes in the landscaping.   Monday I’m taking the day off to go shopping in Westport with my mom and sister, so far May is looking pretty good.  So tell me, what have you been up to?

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Placemat Pillowcases

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My sister recently got new living room furniture and I had this idea that I wanted to give her the perfect patterned pillows as the best new couch-warming present ever.

I wanted a good quality fabric with a fun pattern and I know she likes circles and dots, but none of the fabrics I came across were just right.  Disappointed, I left the fabric store and went to Pier 1 for a completely unrelated reason (to buy myself something shiny) and a spotlight shone down, angels sang and these placemats fell off the shelf and onto my feet.  They were, and are, perfect.  Also on sale.

Why did I not think of this before?  Placemats are essentially pillowcases sewn shut.  All I did was cut off the stitching around the edges, trimmed them to size, sewed them back together, and voila!  The most perfect pillows for my sister’s new living room.  Just don’t tell her — I’m giving them to her tonight.

Fit For a Princess

This weekend we had a combination Father’s Day/Andrea’s Birthday celebration at my mom’s house.  My sister (who was turning 35, I might add) requested a princess cake.  What, might you ask, is a princess cake.  Good question.  After making Alex’s birthday cake in the shape of a dinosaur, I thought that maybe I should make Andrea’s cake in the shape of a princess, just for fun, but in the end I opted on this design, fit for a princess.

The cake is Dunkin Hines chocolate fudge (Shocker, I know! But they were on sale and they turn out so well when you really beat the batter and get it all fluffy!) and the frosting is this creamy chocolate recipe.  The center is this amazingly delicious fluffy peanut butter frosting recipe.  The sparkly stars matched the princess’s tiara and it was so good I had to leave the leftovers behind at my mom’s otherwise I would have eaten it for breakfast.  And lunch.  Yum.

Happy birthday Andrea! I hope that your princess cake was everything you wished for.

What I Love: Moms

My mom, specifically.  Moms are the best, aren’t they?  I know that yesterday was Mothers’ Day, but I was busy cooking and celebrating the moms in my life and didn’t have a chance to write.  Plus, telling your mom how wonderful she is doesn’t have to wait until Mother’s Day, right?

Oh, and in case you’ve been on the edge of your seat wondering:

I made the strawberry cupcakes.  And they were delicious.  Very sponge-cakey and pleasantly not-too sweet.  Yum.  Just right for a post-breakfast treat.

So anyhow, back to the moms.  In addition to my favorite mom – mine – I realized that I’m surrounded by and acquainted with so many wonderful moms.  My awesome sister, for example.

Now if my mom or my sister had blogs, I’d refer you to their sites, but since they’re two of the last four people in the world without blogs, I’ll refer you to some of my other favorite moms on the Internet.  Some of them I know, some I wish I knew, some I feel like I’ve known for years.  Enjoy, and happy day-after-Mothers’ Day to all!

Amanda of Me, My Dogs, My Life : funny lady extraordinaire and rockin’ mom to Jane

Karen of Simply June : crafty, creative, and mom to Kolya

Heather of Beauty that Moves : you remember Heather – kind, creative soul and mom to Emily

Anna Maria Horner : gorgeous, creative mom to five kids with one on the way any minute now

Amy of Amalah : hilarious, smart and funny mom to Noah and Ezra

Beautiful Stephanie of Nie Nie Dialogues : mom of four, healing and recovering after a tragic plane crash last fall

Here equally lovely sister Courtney of CJane Enjoy It : mom to “The Chief” and all-around fun, insightful lady

Amanda of SouleMama : crafty, sweet mom of four from Portland, Maine

Amy of Angry Chicken : creative, crazy mom of three who shares my insane need to make odd things like her own underwear and homemade butter (although not at the same time)

And of course you can’t forget the mom-queens of the Internet, Heather of Dooce and Ree of The Pioneer Woman

Now it’s your turn.  Tell me about your favorite moms – actual and virtual.  Who did I forget?

Snapshots

Lest you think I’ve completely abandoned you, here’s a bit of what I’ve been up to lately.

Easter colored Oreo cupcake candies… mmm.

New purses headed for the shop soon.

My new second-favorite dog, Chaz. He belongs to Luke’s cousin’s family.

Some Easter egg-hunting.

A few laughs.

Hey, look! GG’s on the Internet again! (She’s gonna be maaaaad…)

Here’s a really nice picture of my mom.

And the whole fam-damily.

And Luke’s mom in her fancy, new VW.

Look! Buds on the trees. Spring will be here soon, they tell me.  And OK, one more…

That one is for GG who likes animals wearing little hats.

Well, I hope you all had a lovely, busy, crazy fun weekend like I did.  Now are we all ready to face this week?  I’m not so sure I am yet.

Snappy

I spent the weekend getting to know my camera,

taking some neat photos,

and generally annoying Luke.

I was able to test out some indoor, evening shots at my brother-in-law’s birthday party.

I shot some silly faces,

and I even got some action shots in when the Wii Fit came out to play.

And then I captured Molly showing me how she really feels about the constant picture-taking.