Jelly Bean Eggs

We made our construction paper Easter eggs this week.

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I think we did more this time than ever before.

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The first year, we mostly just decorated the eggs.

Now, our tradition is to write on them.

The boy does most of it.

Here are a few of my favorites:

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He also made a couple of really LARGE eggs:

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I wrote on a few of them too:

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We also played with balloons this week.

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And we made a bed on the stairs.

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What did you do?

♥♥

Rose Bowl Flea Market & Thrift Store Treasures

I met some friends in Pasadena last weekend.

I spent Saturday night by myself at the Courtyard Marriott in Monrovia.  This hotel is right on the 210 Freeway – convenient, but kind of loud.  If you’re a light sleeper, this may not be the place for you.

On the upside, the room was super clean, the hotel was nicely decorated, the service was excellent, and this was the view from my room:

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I didn’t mind the traffic noise at all and I felt very safe in the area too.  There are a ton of large chain restaurants and stores nearby and parking is free and plentiful, even at the hotel.

I thoroughly enjoyed moving at my own pace, wandering around a couple of stores, then going solo to a late evening soup and salad dinner at Mimi’s before heading back to the hotel for the night.

I found these four huge, sparkly ornaments on clearance at Kirkland’s for $1.24 each:

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On Sunday, I met my friends at the Rose Bowl Flea Market.  Have I told you how much I love that place and wish, with all my heart, that I could go to it every month?  Sigh.

I picked up an odd assortment of things this time.

First, there’s this:

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He is missing a foot (fin?) and has been wrapped in the middle with fishing line to keep from coming apart, but I love him.

He’s made from a gourd or some kind of seed pod and he is filled with little stones that make a very pleasant rain stick kind of sound when you move him.

Um…yeah…if you know me, then you know it was not possible for me to leave without this guy.

I’m not sure what to make of the mermaid and her friend on his back:

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I also found my favorite ribbon vendor and picked up a few things in her 3/$5 bin:

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I found two more Delft-style milk maids too.  I don’t know if I really love these ladies though.  Their faces aren’t as sweet and well painted as the other two I have, so I’m not sure I will keep them.  For the moment, they are in the china hutch with the others.

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I love these little Matryoshka egg dolls:

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I’m not sure how exactly to display them, since they won’t stand up on their own, but they amuse me!

I picked up the sweetest little wooden duckling too, but the ten-year-old promptly claimed it on my return.  I haven’t seen it since.  😦

My favorite find of the day was this wire cake stand:

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The seller wanted $15.

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I offered $10 and hoped she would take $12.50.

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She took the $10!  Yea!  The silver stand below it is another of my favorites from long ago.  Just one more and it’s a collection, right?  Uh oh.

When hunger hit us, I wasn’t in the mood for our usual Italian place, so we ate at the Cheesecake Factory.  I rarely go there, so I never know quite what to order.  This time, I copied my friend – faro salad and fried avocado egg rolls.  Oh my, was that ever a tasty lunch!

We wandered the shops for a while and then went to Goodwill and an unexpectedly large and interesting antique store in South Pasadena before parting company.  It was a disappointment to find the Out of the Closet thrift store closed for the day, but we all felt pretty good about our other adventures.

What a great weekend!  Good friends, good food, good finds, good fun.  Thank you, Leighann and Corina!!

Back on my home turf and apart from my son after three and a half long weeks of winter break, I wandered through the Goodwill and Salvation Army stores near my home yesterday.

I picked up a little wooden candle holder:

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and I found this amazing little wooden stool:

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At first glance, I thought it was painted.  It’s actually decorated with beads.  They are hammered into the wood.

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I would love to know how the artist did this.

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The wood seems soft, but surely there’s a secret.  The whole thing makes me swoon.  It’s clearly hand crafted, an interesting shape, probably Mexican or central American, colorful, detailed and lovingly made – just my taste!

And that’s it!

What did you do this week?

♥♥

Christmas 2012 Pictures

Fa La La La La, La La La La!

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In case you were wondering, stickers go on your face.  🙂

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The 400-piece Straws and Connectors set is a favorite this year.

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Valentine’s Day decorations are in the works.
(Shh, don’t tell anyone that we haven’t taken down Christmas yet.)

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Happy New Year!

♥♥

Some Christmas Stuff

The little boy and I made some of those glass “marble” ornaments last night.  I’ve made them every few years or so, but never been pleased with them enough to post photos or really even to keep them.  This year’s batch is making it to the tree!

Here they are:

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It’s hard to get a picture of them actually hanging on a branch.  I think my camera is dying.  😦

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To make then, you need some clear glass ornaments and a bunch of acrylic paints.

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You just put some paint inside the ornament and swirl until it looks right and everything is covered.

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On a few of them, I swirled in one color, let it set for a few seconds, then used a straw to scrape stripes in the first color before I poured in the second color.

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You will waste some paint.  It takes more than a tablespoon to get the insides really coated.  I dump out most of the excess then put the ornaments upside-down on an empty egg carton to drain/dry completely.  We waited overnight before replacing the caps and hanging them on the tree.

I think they look like giant Italian marbles.  🙂

There are a few other decorations new to our house this year too.

– a huge glass strawberry that I picked up in one of my favorite Poway thrift stores:

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– a fun felt garland from Michael’s:

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– a paper garland, carefully handcrafted by the little boy:

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– the usual menagerie of sticker-covered wrapping paper trees in the stairwell:

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I’ve had that wire birdcage house on the shelf for a few years.  It came from one of my all-time favorite stores – The Vintage House in downtown Brentwood, California.  This year I filled the cage with a bag of those fragrant cinnamon pinecones from the grocery store floral department.  They smell so good when you walk by them to climb the stairs.  Ahh.

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And last, but not least, I finally found a frame at Goodwill that was interesting and big enough to fit the little Mexican tapestry I bought a few months ago.  I did a really bad job of spray painting the frame – my Facebook friends already read my note to self about avoiding windy days and swarms of gnats next time.  😦  Ha!  But it will do.  I just wanted to get the cloth protected a.s.a.p. and onto the wall while I put more thought into the bigger picture redo of my bedroom.

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So there you have it.  Christmas stuff.

How are you decorating this year?

♥♥

Kitty Cat Memorial Cactus Garden

My dear friend, Leighann, was in town for a few hours last Wednesday.

We met for lunch and some thrift store browsing in Poway before she headed to the coast for a meeting.

Whenever we get together, Leighann brings me the most amazing, thoughtful gifts.  This time was no exception.

Behold the beautiful Kitty Cat Memorial Cactus Garden:

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She assembled it in a gorgeous glazed blue pot.

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She tucked some sea glass and a tiny kitty between the plants.  (Sorry so blurry – hard to get a clear pic of the kitty’s little face.)

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I love this little garden so much.  It’s a perfect addition to our backyard.

More importantly, it’s a fitting tribute to Rusty and Poupon who spent so much time where this pot now sits.

Thank you, my lovely friend!  You always know exactly what to do.

Just outside our front door, there is small patch of dirt that makes my eye twitch.

This tiny patch was once home to a beautiful, licorice-scented heliotrope plant, but ultimately it proved too small to adequately contain such an aggressive shrub.  The heliotrope had zoomed to dishwasher size, was dropping its little purple flowers all over the path, and was mercilessly grabbing our clothes when we walked to the door.  We had to tear it out.  😦

For the last few years, the dirt patch has been basically empty, save for a handful of river rocks.  It never used to bother me, but now I stand in my driveway every afternoon as I wait for my son to come home on the bus and I just can’t help but stare at that stupid, unfinished, neglected chunk of yard.  😦

It’s a problematic spot – not very deep, limited water, and anything we plant there must be trimmed back from the walkway.  There aren’t many plants that can handle such routine and vigorous pruning.

A few weeks ago, I accidentally broke off a piece from a succulent in the backyard.  Impulsively, I shoved it into the dirt in the patch out front.  I wasn’t expecting any miracles, but the succulent survived and even started to grow.  Encouraged, I did it again with another plant.  That one made it too.

Today, I bought a few more succulents and tucked them next to the others.  I also added a bag of rocks we had sitting on the side yard.

Here is the (almost) finished patch:

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This may not seem like much to accomplish, but my eye has stopped twitching.

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What have you been up to?

♥♥

Holiday Brain Dump

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Bad Mommy

I waited too long to get my son an advent calendar from Trader Joe’s, so now they’re sold out and I feel like a bad mom.

Well okay, I felt like a bad mom before I went to Trader Joe’s.

Today, I made my son cry.  And I made my mother cry.

Just for good measure, I asked my husband if there was anything shitty I could say to him too.  Wisely, he offered no suggestions.  😐

The little boy’s upset was related to homework.  Or rather, my upset was related to the homework (and to the accompanying note of parental reprimand from the teacher.)  The little boy’s upset was related to homework and to my reaction.  Big surprise.  Might I just say, AGAIN, that I am baffled by the papers that come home with my son?

Getting him interested in looking at them is a daily nightmare for the two of us.  He is tired when he steps off the school bus.  He wants a snack and then something mindless to amuse himself for the rest of the afternoon.  Homework is painful for my child and painful for me.  We both hate it.

But enough about that.  It’s an old, worn-out problem with no solution.  I work daily not to care what the teacher or anyone else thinks of how we handle it.  Or don’t handle it.

Moving on.

Bad Daughter

I made my mother cry because I reminded her that we weren’t the best of housemates when I returned from college feeling all independent and snappy two decades ago.

I had moved back into the house with her and my dad and she and I argued sometimes.  Who wouldn’t have?  Headstrong twenty-something suddenly sleeping in her old twin bed?  I was unpleasant.

Ultimately, mom and I came to a mutual understanding that I needed to find myself a real job and somewhere else to live.  It was an excellent idea, and I am the better for having done just that, but now mom is worried.  She hadn’t remembered the low points of that summer until I burst her rosy impression over a cheap plate of pancakes at Denny’s this morning.  Sorry, Mom!  😦

So, two for two.  My son cried.  My mom cried.

I cried too, but that came after I had filled my cart at Trader Joe’s and then discovered the item I had come for, the advent calendar, couldn’t be had.  I bought every seasonal chocolate product the store carries.

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And yes, I waited until I was in the car to open the teary flood gates.

Okay, so changing the subject completely…

Husband Update

Husband is mending more each day.  He might even go back to work tomorrow – driving in his own car!  Yippee!  He is still uncomfortable at night and if you watch him for a few minutes you will notice how much he favors his right side, but he’s getting there.  The ribs, the collar bone…they are repairing themselves.

The Mission Inn Festival of Lights

We drove up to Riverside on Thursday to spend one quick night at The Mission Inn.  We sort of owed it to the boy (and ourselves) to do something spontaneous and fun to make up for the Palm Desert accident weekend.  The Mission Inn was the perfect answer.

The Festival of Lights is amazing.  There are animated characters, lighted horse carriage rides, giant nutcrackers, icicle lights, garlands, candles and falling snow too.  There are real reindeer and vendors with gingerbread, roasted nuts and miniature doughnuts available every night during the holidays.  There are Christmas carolers and a roving Santa in the restaurants.

The sleeping rooms are luxurious and full of charm.  The spa products in the bath are rich and fragrant and the windows actually open.  The beds are very comfortable and loaded with extra pillows.  The linens are crispy white and super fresh.  There are big fluffy bathrobes in the closet and the package we got came with a divinely citrus-scented aromatherapy candle.

The hotel itself is a work of art.  There is a rotunda with a spiral staircase.  There are gorgeous plazas and flowered balconies.  There are stained glass windows, catacombs and an amazing clock.  The hotel pool is walk-in warm and landscaped to feel private, even though it is surrounded by sleeping rooms.  Everything is beautiful.  Everything is humbling.  And we didn’t even see it all.  We saw a lot, but we missed far more.  Next time, I think we’ll take a guided tour just for the heck of it.

My favorite thing was the twenty-foot, ornately carved church pew sitting in the hall outside our room.  I told my husband that I would gladly tear up the inside of our house and completely rebuild our decor to accommodate that pew, if only they would let me have it.  Sigh.

One of the best things about the trip for me was the little gray striped cat who appeared at the pool when we went for a swim.  My own gray baby passed less than a week before.  It was comforting to see a similar little face so clearly interested in my activities.  When my son splashed near, this cat was just as reserved and removed as my Poupon, but when my son wandered away, the cat came a little closer and talked a little more insistently to me.  I wish I’d gone back down to visit with the cat once we were dry and dressed.  Maybe next time.

Before I change the subject yet again, I have to mention Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle’s, the store across the way from our room.  I went in once with my husband and son and immediately I knew that I’d have to return again without them.  When I did, I bought a painted metal bird and a weird little nativity set.

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Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle’s is jam-packed with the most interesting little trinkets, wrapping paper, bath soaps, whimsical tins, garden treasures, dishes, tiny paintings, knick-knacks and Christmas ornaments ever!  The hours aren’t set in stone, but it seemed to me there was someone behind the register most of the day.  It will take you some time to see everything, so be prepared to browse for a while!

Happening Now

The little boy has liberated some empty magazine files from my bedroom and is constructing makeshift body armor with scotch tape.

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The husband is playing computer games and I am dreaming of pajamas, ice cream and a better camera. 😦

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The last remaining cat has finished eating dinner alone in the kitchen.

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And tomorrow our routine starts all over again.

What are you up to?

P.S.  That Santa plaque at the top of the post is something I picked up on clearance in Bazaar Del Mundo a few years ago.  It reminds me to tell you how emotional it was for me when Santa stopped by our dinner table at the Mission Inn Restaurant the other night.  It was the first time our ten-year-old had ever met him.  Because of the many challenges our son faces just getting through a “normal” day, we have never bothered with shopping mall Santas and their incredible lines.  We’ve never been to any event where Santa was a main attraction and even the occasional Santa in front of a store or at an amusement park has always been too removed or surrounded by other children for us to have a meaningful experience.  This time, Santa came to us and asked our son what he wanted for Christmas.  Our sweet little boy told Santa what we already knew…he just wants pencils.  🙂

♥♥

New South San Diego Thrift Store

I went to a new thrift store two days ago.  It’s on National City Boulevard, just a few blocks north of the Mile of Cars, and right across the street from the #2 location of Aunt Emma’s Pancakes.

I was driving 60 miles per hour on I-5 when I spotted the word “thrift” in big white letters on the front of a blue building.  Makes me laugh to confess that.  I sense thrift stores – not a particularly useful gift to anyone else, but I am thankful for it.  My dad would have been pleased too.

I walked in and spotted this right away:

It’s totally me…

vintage needlework…

cats, deer, and birds…

bright colors…

Mexican or maybe Guatemalan (??)…

folk-artsy textile.

It has a few little spots around the edges, but I love it anyway.  It is remarkable that the threads are not noticeably broken or pulled.

It wasn’t marked anywhere, so I braced myself for a lofty price, but the cashier let me have it for $2.00!

She made my day.  I will definitely go back to that store!

Maybe next time, I will get a couple of pancakes across the street first.  I love Aunt Emma’s.

Honestly though, I do prefer Aunt Emma’s E Street location in Chula Vista.  For the National City Boulevard spot, I think the owners took over another old restaurant and got the furnishings along with it.

Some of the tables are a little rickety-stickety there.  The place just needs a little upgrade, but maybe that has happened since I was last inside.

The pancakes are heavenly at either location!  🙂

Happy Friday!

P.S.  The boy tried on my Chinese garden hat this week.

♥♥