wordless wednesday::nose exploration gone wild

pick a winner?

more wordless wednesday here and here.


do something :: weekend july 23 - 25

looking for something to do with the family or friends or even by yourself?  check out some of the things going on around town this weekend.

a good friend of ours brought our attention to zerolandfill.  this awesome organization collects unused/unneeded samples from architects and interior designers and holds one day events during a specific time of the year (called harvests) for artists, educators, crafters, and other creative people in the community to come and gather the materials collected for their own personal use. their first harvest will be today (friday) from 12-3 p.m. at 3631 perkins ave., cleveland, oh.  i have yet to check this out, but would love to one of these times.  there is a huge assortment of samples from fabric to tiles...all for free.  if you can get down there, i would highly recommend taking the time today to stop by.

the irish cultural festival starts today and will run through sunday.  i'm not irish (obviously), but you don't have to be to appreciate their culture.  the festival schedule looks packed from a variety of irish musicians, pipe bands, irish dancing (i love watching this) and even a native irish dog show.  the children's area will be offering opportunities for kids to learn irish dance, hear stories and a little petting zoo just to name a few.  admission is $10, children 10 and under are free.

it's time for another walk all over waterloo event going on saturday starting at 4 p.m.  this time, they will also be holding a classic car show (1st ever) at ss&w boardwalk.  a family-friendly puppet show put on by picklefight puppets will be going on at 7:30 p.m. at star pop, and of course live music including scoliosis jones (a little plug for my main man) who are going on at 8 p.m. at blue arrow records.  shops on the street will be open including salty not sweet (shameless, shameless, i know), this way out vintage (this place is cool if you like vintage clothing and items), and the arts collinwood cafe.  if you've never been to waterloo arts district why not explore the are during this event?
scoliosis jones

if you like hot dogs then you might consider entering in a hot dog eating contest at the happy dog.  the contest starts at 5 p.m., and entries for the competition costs $20.  proceeds go to benefit the bridge avenue school, "a small private christian middle school...that serves previously unsuccessful students.  the school focuses on reading, math and science foundation building for students who have struggled in these areas." eat a hot dog for the kids!

a swing dance lesson for $5 will be going on from 12-3 p.m. at the beachland ballroom, taught by valerie salstrom of get hep swing.  if you've always wanted to learn how to swing dance but not sure if you want to commit your time and money to full-on lessons, this is the perfect way for you to get a preview of what to expect.  i remember doing something similar back in seattle at the century ballroom.  it was great fun!

and if you're planning to attend the sunday swing session at the beachland, why not have brunch beforehand?  the beachland tavern will be holding their usual rockin' sunday brunch from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. with a live dj spinning (kid and adult friendly) music while you enjoy your food.  yummy, yummy in my tummy!

happy weekend.  whether you're taking it slow with a relaxing visit at the beach or planning on spending all day at the irish festival, make sure to get out of the house and do something!


temporary restrictions

it's time to say good-bye (for a little while) to sushi consumption and my coffee addiction.  tattoos, beers, martinis, and wine will have to be put on hold.

meanwhile, smoothies and ginger beer (very strong ginger ale) are my new best friends.

sounds familiar?  are you picking up what i'm laying down?  that's right!  the bun is in the oven, folks.  here's to a quiver full of arrows.
 Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.  Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warriors hands. -Psalm 127:3-4 (NLT)-
God willing, our family of 5 will soon be a family of 6 (okay, i know some of you minivan sympathizers are going to really push this one on us now).  little baby was an unexpected surprise for us, but certainly not unwelcomed.  his (or her) grand entrance will be march 10, 2011.  we're both excited, but i don't think it has really sunk in yet for the both of us (despite the loss of appetite, nausea and fatigue on my part), even though we had our first midwife appointment yesterday.  i think full-blown excitement will really hit us when i actually start showing, and we are safely past the 1st trimester.

and now if you'll excuse me, i'm going to try and choke something down and look for some more ginger ale.


top ten tuesday

top ten reasons why today is going to be an awesome day:

10. i didn't wake up feeling DEAD tired for the first time in 2 weeks.  [i'm not naturally a morning person so i still felt tired when i woke up today, but it wasn't to the point where i was falling asleep mid-sentence.]

9. gibson slept in until almost 7:30 a.m. as opposed to his usual 6-6:30 wake up call. [oh heaven! let's keep this trend going, shall we?]

8. open windows, central air is off and sunshine.

7. i have energy to work on some unfinished projects thanks to not feeling DEAD tired.

6. working on unfinished projects includes a trip to joann's fabrics. [that place for me is like the record shop for aaron.]

5. one day closer to being reunited with an awesome lady who i haven't seen in over a year.

4. it means tomorrow is wednesday and we get a whole day with dad since he took the day off.

3. going to see old 97s tonight at the beachland with my main man.

2. getting gussied up and going out with no children. [kids, you know i love you, but i REALLY enjoy spending alone time with your dad too.]

1. date night with my husband = love, love, love!


heavily frosted chocolaty cupcakes made everything better

we have yet to miss the lakewood streetwalk since it started 3 years ago.  the first year, the streetwalk was part of cleveland walk+roll.  i'm not sure why lakewood decided to defect, but after that first year they put on their own "walk+roll," a.k.a. the streetwalk.

the last 2 years we've gone have been fun.  whether they were demos that engaged the audience or live performances, it seemed like there were plenty of things going on at every section of the street.  but even compared to their 1st official lakewood streetwalk last year, this year's was a bit of a disappointment.  this year's streetwalk was scheduled to go on from 3-8 p.m.  unlike the past 2 years, this year we decided to go after dinner, so we didn't get there until a little after 6.  i don't know if time was a factor, but there didn't seem to be a whole lot out on the street by the time we got out there.  the program gave the apperance that there would be plenty going on through out the 3-8 time frame, but i think the bulk of the action finished well before 6.  personally, if you're going to advertise the event running until 8, then there should be enough programs established through out the street until 7:30 at the latest.

we did catch the tail end of a jazzercize demo as we toured up and down detroit rd.

we also took a break and watched some bellydancing by troupe benazir (thank you for sticking around for the late crowd!).  too bad they didn't have any audience participation this time around.  that was fun to do together with my daughter.

then we finished off our streetwalk experience chilling on the grass in front of the library, chalk drawing and watching the skateboarders.

something terribly odd (and perhaps this was poor planning?) that we noticed as we watched the skateboarders in action was the live, not-so-great, sleepy-time folk music that was playing on the front "porch" of the library.  i have never thought to pair folky music (nothing against folk music in general, mind you) with a skateboarding demonstration, and i don't know if that was a smart match.  i remember last year, ending our streetwalk experience at the same spot, and the "active" and more lively music (though not live) playing was much more fitting with the skateboarding demo.  it even got ben and emma moving to the beat...

lesson learned from this streetwalk: maybe we should not wait until 6 to go to the event.  but then again, if it's supposed to go until 8 p.m., there should be more for the public 2 hours before the event ends than open shops with sales and dwindnling booths and activities.

moving on.  late afternoon sunday, we decided to check out tremont's 8th annual taste of tremont. they had a chunk of professor street blocked off for people to roam and taste some yummy foods offered by the local businesses that reside in cleveland's tremont district.  the first thing i noticed was the vibrancy through out the whole event. i mean, people were everywhere.  young, old, children, singles, hipsters, barbie dolls, whatever.  the heat didn't stop the crowd from coming.

michael symon's lolita was offering up their version of the classic macaroni and cheese, while ty fun had some tasty looking spicy chicken basil stirfry. thinking i had $20 with us to taste the variety of food on the street, i was sadly disappointed to find we only had $4.  i guess i should have double-checked the pocketbook before we left!  fortunately, there was still something for us to buy with our $4: 2 corn on the cobs with melted butter!  yum!

 the beer garden was full, with a live band performing and some bean bag tossing (a.k.a cornhole to native ohioans) fun.  they even let kids come in there to sit and hang out (not to drink of course, but if they came with adult family members).  i don't think i've ever seen that before.  is that an ohio thing?  i know in seattle, they have never allowed the kids to come into the beer garden.  21 and over only, and it was strictly enforced.

on the way out, we did stop by a fabulous little shop, a cookie and a cupcake, to re-energize with some delectable cupcakes. why have i not heard of this place before??? the inside was very straightforward.  cute, little decor, not very spacious, but just enough to properly display those frosting-laden cupcakes.  but i did notice that the back had plenty of work space, which i'm sure is essential for creating all these delightful goodies.

gibson was getting out of control in his sling, reaching desperately for a piece to shove in his mouth.  after we each got our own cupcake, we settled just outside to enjoy them.  and oooooh they were good! i think the flavor is on par with that of cupcake royale in seattle (and i am in love with that place...it never helped my waistline that i used to work walking distance from that shop!).

and the best part about these cupcakes, aside from the creamy frosting, is the creme filling in the middle (pardon the blurry shot. wiggly baby at my side did not make for steady hands.).  surprise!

i love weekends like this: exploring the city we live in and immersing ourselves in the different communities around us while spending time together as a family.

i couldn't ask for anything more.


do something :: weekend july 16 - 18

some things going on around town that we may hit up...

the family weekend wonders will be going on tomorrow through sunday at the lakewood public library.  this is a free event open to the public, and will run at various times friday, saturday, and sunday.  check here for more about the schedule.  the kids and i enjoy going to this, especially when we get our favorite librarian ms. nikka to read the stories (if you've ever been to the lakewood public library, she's the one with the blue hair.  we love her.).  we also like mr. t, but he spends most of his time at the madison branch.

come back to lakewood public library later on that evening for their front porch concert series in july.  this is another free event, going on from 7-9 p.m. this evening they will be featuring saborit latin soul.  enjoy this hot, summer evening dancing around the front steps of the lakewood library to some latin music.  too bad you can't enjoy a cool, refreshing mint mojito to go with it.  hot, summer night, latin music and a mojito?  i think that would just be about perfect.

do you like polka music?  do you like hot dogs?  do you like polka music with your hot dogs? then you don't want to miss dj kishka at the happy dog for polka happy hour from 6-9 p.m. with a vast selection of classic polka music, you won't be able to keep yourself from busting a polka move.  ice cubes and beer baby!

if you are a supporter of local and handmade items, you might not want to miss cleveland craft coalition's true colors: exposed held at river colors studio and black bird baking company. there looks to be a great line up of artists.  so make sure to stop by and check them out from 12-6 p.m.

lakewood streetwalk will be going on from 3-8 p.m. up and down detroit rd.  this is technically their third year, although the first year was under the walk+roll program.  if you've never been, i highly recommend taking the family (or friends or both).  bring your strollers, bikes, skateboards or just your feet and enjoy the opportunity to traipse around in the middle of the street.  last year, they had some live music from coffinberry, some awesome breakdancers, a skateboarding demo and zumba, to name a few.  it was so much fun, and i'm sure this year it will be just as enjoyable.

tremont will be busy sunday from 12-8 p.m. for their 8th annual taste of tremont.  we have yet to make it to this event, but hopefully we can check it out this sunday.  if you like the pogues, the boys from county hell (an excellent pogues cover band) will be performing at the treehouse at 5 p.m.  aaron and i had seen them a few months back for the first time ever and we were very impressed.  i wonder if we can take the kids in?

the w. 9th phoenix cafe will be featuring ms. danielle deboe (room service shop owner and made in the 216 founder and organizer) as part of their phoenix forum event. come by from 2-3 p.m. and take the opportunity to ask her questions, get to know her and enjoy a fabulous cup of coffee.

so there you go.  do some. do all. whatever suits your summer schedule. but make sure the get out there and do something!


saddle ridge ranch

our church just finished up VBS (vacation bible school) yesterday, and like last year, emma was filled to the brim with excitement.  she just loves being able to feel like a "big girl" by going to school on her own without mommy and daddy.  and the best part is seeing her excitement to learn, especially learning about jesus. 

this year the kids were taken to saddle ridge ranch...yeehaw! on the last day, emma made sure to wear her cowgirl hat and bandanna (thanks to daddy for lending out the items).

we had a great turn-out, given the smaller size of our church, and a vast age range from 2-9 years old.  it was just too cute to watch them sing and dance (especially those little ones!), and my little girl didn't seem so little anymore.

thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone that volunteered.  i greatly appreciate the time, effort and committment you have given the kids these past 3 days.  it looked like they had a wonderful time!


wordless wednesday::patiently waiting

we are looking forward to harvesting these sweet, little, cherry tomatoes!

more wordless wednesday here and here.


top ten tuesday

i love to travel (although i don't get to do much of that anymore).  i love escaping to a different country (or even a different state) and just experiencing the new environment, culture and people.  i think it would be fun to work for that globetrotters show on pbs.  you would get paid to travel to new places.  how cool would that be? 

so, this would be my top ten vacation places (in no particular order):

1. sydney and melbourne australia. [i've been there once when i was quite young...9 years old, i think.  i would love to go back, visit family and re-visit some of the places we went to.]

2. greece. [ancient greek structures like the acropolis, seeing some of the places where the apostle paul preach, yummy greek food, the mediterranean beaches...so much to see and do, i'm sure.]

3. st. petersburg and moscow russia. [you might be thinking why?  well, why not?  i've never been there, and i would love, love, love to see the st. petersburg ballet and the bolshoi ballet live.  the two cities are not close, but i suppose i won't be popping over to russia on a regular basis, so if i was going to go there i think i'd want to do both cities.]

photo source.

 4. scotland. [this one is mostly for my husband.  i think it's always fun to visit the places where your ancestors came from, and i'm sure aaron can wear his kilt the whole time.]

5. poland. [this is another place where we can learn more about aaron's heritage.  i also think it would be fun to visit my great aunt and uncle.  we correspond by snail mail, but haven't seen each other in many, many, many years.]

6. israel. [what an amazing journey this would be.  i have only been there once, 10 years ago, and what an opportunity it would be to return *with* the whole family.  there is so much we can learn and experience there.]

7. thailand. [with as much as i like thai food, it would only make sense for me go and visit thailand.]

8. peru. [i've never been to the south american continent, and i think a visit to peru to admire the andes mountains (and much more of course) would be a great start.]

9. egypt or south africa. [africa is another continent i've never been on, so i think it really doesn't matter which country i go to.  i thought of egypt primarily because of the pyramids, and south africa because of its history and location...the southern most tip of the continent.]

10. india. [delicious food, bhangra dancing, the taj mahal...plenty for the sense to experience.]

what are some places you would like to visit and why?


how to :: milk jug bird feeder

this bird feeder out of a recycled gallon milk jug is simple to make and fun to do with your kiddies.  there are a lot of great tutorials on how to make this, like this one or this one.  but really, it's very easy to make that you won't really need directions after a thorough look at a photo of the finished product.

here's our step-by-step with photos...

1. wash and rinse your milk jug.  take cap off (but save it).  with a nail or awl, poke some holes at the bottom of the jug for drainage. don't make these holes too big, otherwise the seeds might fall out.

2. cut out 2 circles on the sides of the milk jug, away from the handle.  you can draw a circle outline first, if this helps you.

3. this next step is optional.  cover the edge of the cut circles with masking tape.

4. make a small hole on either side of the cut out circles, but make make sure it's big enough to stick a twig through.  this will be for the perch.

5.  make a hole with your nail or awl on either side of the top of the jug, below where the cap goes.  this is where you'll string some twine or metal wire through to hang the feeder.

6. to make it more decorative, you can draw designs on the outside of the jug.  i had emma use markers, but paint might work too.

7. go outside and find a nice, straight twig, long enough for the perch.  you can also use a thin dowel rod, but i like the more natural look of the twig.  run the twig from one end of the hole, made in step 4, to the other. now you have your little birdie perch.

8. run sturdy twine, string or metal through the top holes, made in step 5.  make sure the twine is long enough so that you can hang the feeder properly. replace cap at the top.

9. fill bird feeder with bird seed to just below the perch level.

10. find a good spot for the feeder and have daddy hang it up.

we are still waiting for the birdies to come around.  they've picked at the seeds that fell on the ground as we were filling the feeder, but they have yet approached the actual feeder.




independence day weekend

since 4th of july fell on a sunday this year, it was a treat to have aaron around all day (and night) for 3 days.  it was a much needed family-togetherness and husband and wife time.  especially since he will be busy working through saturday, with a show later that evening.

though we were out and about saturday and sunday, we focused on just trying to keep things low-key and maintain a "go with the flow" mentality (kind of like or vacation mind-set).

we stopped by west side market saturday morning to pick up lunch meat from our usual stand.  saturdays (especially a saturday before a holiday) can get really jammed with people at the market.  unless you embrace that fact and go with it, you will be stressed and annoyed beyond belief (trust me, i know from experience).  after discovering the mile long line at the crepe stand, we picked up some lunch items at a different stand, and headed across the street to the open air in market square outdoor market.  it was great to spend some leisurely time eating, listening to some live music, and allowing the kids to explore.

 since everyone (and by everyone i mostly mean the kids) was still in a pleasant mood after lunch, we decided last minute to stop by the veterans memorial bridge to tour the no longer used streetcar/trolley level.  the last time we visited this bridge was for the bridge project.  this time around, we got to see the bridge bare and quiet...without the all the art and the music and the noise.  it was an interesting contrast.  though there were a scattering of people here and there, it was a quiter experience for the senses this time around.

breakfast for dinner, a nice evening stroll around the hood and some chill time with my husband finished off saturday quite nicely.

for 4th of july, we had the pleasure of attending 2 independence day celebrations.  the first was just up the street at our neighbor's house.  it was one of those bbq parties where it seemed all the neighbors on the street were invited.  i really think those kinds of parties are a rare thing to have now-a-days.  i loved being able to meet other people that live on our street.  what a great opportunity to build a sense of community.  it was a great gathering: plenty of food, drinks, and activities to keep kids and adults busy.  we had a great time there...thanks to our neighbors for their hospitality!

next stop was at the home of mr. and mrs. 52 weeks of cleveland where there was more delicious grilled goodness (still thinking about that grill catching on fire...errr, i mean...tasty, sweet keilbasa).  we were pushing the kids to their limit at this point and they did us proud.  they were the only kids there, but it didn't seem to phase them.  emma hit it off with ms. heidi sue jones while gibson found entertainment in transporting ice cubes from one tub to another.  thanks for your kind hospitality!  we had a great time hanging out.

after tucking the kids in bed, A and i spent the evening on the front porch and saw a little of the fireworks show.

today was spent staying in.  the kids spent most of the day in the kiddie pool splashing around (so glad we got one!).  they even went back in after dinner.  it was perfect for a lazy, hot summer day.

back to the grind tomorrow.  but the 3-day weekend was cherished, savored and enjoyed to the very last bit.
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