Tuesday, August 31, 2010

One woman's trash is another woman's treasure OR this makes me happy...

The other day I was sitting at my dining room table working on a project...I looked around at this

and I realized that this makes me very happy!   Now, I understand that for most people that would not be their first thought about the contents of this table.  Their first thought would more likely be - EEK! I need to clean up this mess...

Not me - I am sitting in the midst of all this and feeling happy!  No really I was...let me explain.

As I was working away I realized that everything I needed to make my project (and probably about 9 others) was right there in front of me.

  • Stamping supplies
  • Glue
  • Ruler
  • Coloured pencils
  • Paint
  • More glue (a different kind of course)
  • A bowl of beads
  • My iced coffee (yu-um  left-over coffee, lots of ice, 1 tsp sugar, and some french vanilla creamer)
  • Way in the back you can see a frame - that is the coolest flamingo pic that needs some work before I can hang it up...
  • My glasses (well there's the case the glasses were probably perched on my nose)

  • There is the globe in case I suddenly need to know the location of a certain place
  • Paper
  • I think I see a camera tripod in there - don't really need that ???
  • My sharpies - can't live without those sharpies...in fact I just bought more at Walmart because they were only $2 for a pack of 8 or so!
  • More stamping supplies
  • More paper
Now once in a while I stack like things together, throw away some bits of trash, maybe put a few things away...but pretty much it can be known to stay like this for days.

Here's the other side of the table...

  • Paper punches
  • Scissors
  • Way in the back is the hair dye solution to remind me to go and buy the colour because I am looking a bit gray...
  • Of course the usual two forms of communication
  • The planner that the girlies and I bought at the $ store - sounded like such a good idea until we found out it only went til December...
  • Brian's fancy leather book that holds his info for Preservation Big Band is under the planner
  • I see the paper cutter
  • Oh, some left over orange juice from breakfast (which was probably eaten at around 12...you know us the early risers!)
So, for now this little mess is making me happy - I am getting a bee in my bonnet to have a dinner party though...then this mess will have to go and I will wonder why I ever let it get like that in the first place!

And believe it or not this same table can actually look like this!!!!!!!

Now I am going to go and plan my menu...

xoxo    Elizabeth

Saturday, August 28, 2010

It's not whether you win or lose - it's how you play the game!

I love old things...you all know that.  So it would follow that I love old games.

I used to play Chinese Checkers a lot when I was little...when I found the board that is towards the  back I couldn't resist it - it has regular checkers on the other side and the pieces are stored in little sections on the edges!

This is similar to the one I played on...wonder where mine went.

I think blocks can be considered a game - when my girlies were little it gave me a great excuse to collect all the blocks that I could find.  I have some old ones I was lucky to come across...and I also bought some new sets.

Do you remember this one?  Mine is a reproduction - but still brings back the memories!

 Here is a great place to find reproduction toys   http://www.backtobasicstoys.com

It used to seem so much more complicated!

Making it through the logs, under the bridge...

past the crazy cat and on by the chicken coop...don't get too many stings!

Well....I have a new game....and of course it comes with a story.

Oh my look at that fabulous box!  The corners aren't broken, the kids are straight out of the fifties...swoon!

So, a few weeks ago I took a couple of my friends to a place that our family loves to go - Crazy Steve's.  No, that is not the actual name of the place...and if Steve ever sees this I hope he knows I mean that in the nicest way...

Steve's place is on 16th Street down near G Street.  You can tell where it is because outside the door there are some goodies placed here and there (when Steve has the store open).  You might see an old metal garden chair, a rocking horse, a crib mattress - who knows - but just enough to make you want to see what's inside.  And inside well there are treasures beyond your wildest dreams!!!  And there are also old cans of tomato sauce, old bags of spaghetti, a scary doll or two, old paper cocktail napkins (which one of my friends bought for me!) - YOU JUST HAVE TO SEE IT TO BELIEVE IT!

We took a spin around the store and just when we were about finished I spotted the Cootie game...I picked it up thinking it would be wrecked...it wasn't!  I opened the box thinking all the pieces would be broken or gone...they weren't!  I remembered back a lot of years playing Cootie...Oh I wanted that Cootie game.  You don't need a Cootie game I told myself (who generally doesn't listen very well).  Oh but I like this Cootie game.  Yes, but this Cootie game will be too expensive I told myself (who was wavering back and forth). Well, maybe not....I looked at all the pieces again, I held it for a while...I put it down, I picked it up again.  The anguish, the guilt, the indecision.  Self, I said - it is simply not in the budget...put it down and walk away!  AND I DID!

What will power my friends told me!  Good job!  And off we went to check out the antique store.  I did a pretty good job of putting that Cootie game out of my head - I only whined to a few people about it...

Then one day (at ballet camp...) one of these two friends came up to me with a bag....she said - I wanted to thank you for introducing me to Crazy Steve's...and in that bag was..........

you guessed it!  My Cootie game!!!!!!!!!  Isn't it beautiful..still shiny and all the parts are there except one teeny tiny one...can you see which one?

Look at the gorgeous Cootie Bug....

My friend said they tried it out - just to make sure that the game really worked!

And, they came up with a new version - Cootie Monster!

Well needless to say I am as happy as a little clam with my new Cootie game and am planning my next family game night!  Thank you friend - I treasure my Cootie game - in fact I can't seem to put it away with the other games...it is sitting in the living room on a little pedestal - really!

All this talk of 'old' games is making me hungry for some of the 'old' candies that I love...let's see...Chico Sticks, Bit o Honey, Wax Lips and Wax Harmonicas, Mary Jane's, Abba Zabba, Big Hunk...I could go on and on.  I forgot - what about those Candy Cigarettes!!!!!!  With the little puff of something!!! Maybe that was the gum cigarettes - ???

 Try this website for our 'old' favorites    http://www.nostalgiccandy.com/

What are some of your favorites?  Candy or Games!

xoxo     Elizabeth

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Our first cup of tea...

Lane has begun her journey with Mr. Mortenson!

So, if you are coming along - we will share our lesson plans.

On our first day of studies we plotted a course of reading.  We decided that two chapters a week would be a good pace.

Lane has a map of Pakistan that she will fill in as she reads:

I think that you can pull this map right off the post and then just enlarge it...
(sorry about that line in there -???)

Lane is going to use a notebook to write down rivers, mountains, cities, etc as she reads and then she will use the web, the encyclopedia or such to help her place them on her map.  Coloured pencils, stamps, cut out images...what ever seems fun can be used to make the map more creative.

Hopefully some of you will share your maps with us when we are finished!

Lane will also be making a list of any words that she is not familiar with as she reads.  She likes to go on dictionary.com and look things up!


We are going to keep a time line of the events that occur in the book.

We talked about different ways to make our time line and decided to use a  composition book.  A couple of years ago we made a time line right on the wall with construction paper and such, that works well also.

Can you decipher the title of Lane's comp book?

So far...

  • Read two chapters per week
  • Keep a running list of vocabulary words
  • Keep a list of landmarks and places
  • Map these landmarks and places
  • Take notes (this is so she and I can talk at the end of each section she reads)
  • Answer any questions or do any additional activities that are assigned
Lane's question to consider this week is:

What are some life lessons that can be learned from this book?

For example:  One thing that could be taken from this book is the idea to 'Dream Big'.  Greg Mortenson isn't afraid to take on a huge project.  His ideas seem to be almost too big to accomplish, but he moves ahead with plans that help him work toward his goals.

This is a question that will need to be considered all through out the book - it won't really be answered completely until Lane has finished the book.  I wanted her to have it now, though, so she can think about it while she is reading.

Next week more lessons and ideas!

Here's another interview with Greg:


*** I poured over a lot of info on the web to help me create these lessons plans - so I can't claim all the credit...I took ideas from here and there and meshed them together.  When ever possible I will share where the ideas come from.

As-salaam Alaaikum (Peace be with you)

xoxo    Elizabeth 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Something a little silly...

Thought it would be fun to have a little now and then feature that spoke to the little trouble-maker, shopper, eater, 'I want that' girl that lives inside of me...

For example - if I didn't have to think about $$$ at all I would go out and purchase 4 of these

One for me, one for Madison, one for Lane, and one for Sarah who can't live without every purple thing that she sees!

Here's the other half of the purse...something tells me that D and B doesn't want us copying their photo...or it's the universe conspiring to tell me I. do. not. need. this. bag!

Sometimes it's just fun to say what you would buy...then step back into reality -

I love to go through the catalogs that come in the mail and mark ALL the things that I would buy...and then just throw that puppy into the recycling bin!

Just like I would love to eat this...

But...my tummy would not be happy with me!  Oh well, for now I'll stick to Madison's chocolate chip cookies and my Thrift Store bargains! 

xoxo    Elizabeth

Thursday, August 19, 2010

If you only ever read two more books....

I am not a reader of non-fiction and my dad no longer reads fiction - so it is rare that we read the same book.

The following two books are the exception to this rule:

If you only ever read two more books in your life these should be those books.  I know that is a strong statement  - especially coming from a hard and fast fiction lover.   These books are that important.


There are people in this world that we assume we have nothing in common with.  People who live far away in lands that we are not familiar with.  Sometimes these people make us uneasy because we know so little about them.  And sometimes because of where they live and things we hear in the media we might form opinions when we really don’t have all the facts.

These wonderful books show us that we and these people are more alike than we are different.  They give us the chance to realize that being an everyday, ordinary human being is something shared world wide.

The following link gives an interview with Greg Mortenson, it is a little bit long, but well worth your time.  Even if you just watch a minute or so - don't miss it!


 Politics aside - the ideas presented in these books pertaining to dealing with terrorism are amazingly straight forward and in their own way quite revolutionary (not in the military sense of the word).

What Greg Mortenson and his family are sacrificing to make this world a better place for all of us and more importantly for our children and all the world’s children should not go un-noticed.   This is a family effort on their part  and there is no doubt in my mind that the Mortenson family is affecting a change that will leave the world as we know it a different and more enlightened one.

This links you to a song sung by Greg's daughter Amira.  There is some great footage of what Greg and the Central Asia Institute are accomplishing.


Lane will be reading these books this school year - and we will be doing some lesson plans and other exciting things.  We will keep you posted if you would like to read along with her.

Greg will also be speaking at the Gallo Center in November - maybe we can carpool!

Go out and get your books today.

xoxo    Elizabeth

Monday, August 16, 2010

Breakfast with Bethanne!

I am hoping to make this a recurring theme.  Bethanne has agreed to from time to time provide us with a yummy breakfast recipe!

In this episode Bethanne is at the cabin in Arnold - in the future we may find her in some other interesting places!

Here goes the first in the series...

Eggs with Onions and Spinach

You're gonna need this stuff:

A dozen of these...

One of these and some of that....(1 red onion diced and 3/4 of a bag of spinach)

and a little of each of these.  ( to your taste )

Put some olive oil in your pan and let it heat up a little...

add your onions

and let them cook up a little - maybe til they're a little carmelized.

Toss in the spinach - we used baby spinach so Bethanne put it in whole.

Let it wilt a bit and mix it up with the onions.

Get your eggies ready - whisk them a bit...

and add them to the pan.  Now you want to put in your garlic salt and pepper - you can add seasoning at the end also if it needs more.

Cook til it reaches your desired amount of done-ness ( I don't think that is a word...)


We made some nice french bread toast and cut up an orange-flesh honeydew to go with it and Ta Da a beautiful summer vacation at the cabin breakfast.

What are you making next time Bethanne?!

That concludes our first episode of Breakfast with Bethanne - please go and make this for yourself!

xoxo    Elizabeth

Friday, August 13, 2010

"Let me see the cups..."

I have a very close friend who taught me a lesson that I have never forgotten.  This friend is  younger than me (by 10 Years) and yet she somehow figured out this important bit of life before I did.

When my friend would come for a visit and we would share a cup of tea or coffee before I would serve her she would say to me - “ Let me see the cups”....


She would then look carefully at each of the cups in my cabinet.  The cups would be examined, remarked upon, considered... and finally a choice would be made.  Smiling she would hand me her cup of choice and we would proceed to enjoy our treat and each other.

Aren't my girlies sweet in this photo?

This same ritual would be applied to a plate if we were having something to eat.  It took me a while to really understand what was going on and the real meaning behind it.  At first it hit me that this was a great way to enjoy the things around you.  To really notice what pretty things a friend might have or to use a variety of different items.  As our friendship grew I realized that I was learning a much more important lesson.

Some days are filled with chores, some days are harder than others, and some days are just down right difficult.  If a person can learn to ‘choose’ their cup...to really look at even the small things around them and find some joy there - then even a very difficult day can offer a glimmer of this joy.

Can you tell we love Disney cups?

I love this idea of taking the time to really look at things and reminding yourself that life can be found in these little things.  The fact that you spent time looking at 10 or 12 pretty, cute, or interesting mugs before you chose one is time well spent.  The fact that you will smile each time you take a sip from this particular cup is a good thing.  The fact that you can apply this little lesson to your entire life is a gift.

This is one of the cups my girlies collected (when they were little) on our 'Quinlan Ladies' vacations at Konocti

Thank you friend for this wonderful gift.

What cup will you be using for your coffee today?

xoxo     Elizabeth