Saturday, May 31, 2008

Surf's Up Saturday- Kid Style

I am trying something new here since all the cute things that I have found lately were things for my girls. With summer here I found myself surrounded by adorable clothes, great gear, and super cute accesories for their rooms. Below you will find eight of my favorites from this week's surfing! Enjoy!!

From top left to bottom right: 1. Starfish Shoes from Twilite Moon; 2. "I Eat Sand" tee shirt by Ellabee Baby; 3. Orange Fuzzy Wuggs puppet at Manhattan Toy Co.; 4. Animal Woven Baskets at Pottery Barn Kids; 5. Pet Fish Soap in a Bag also at Spoon Sisters; 6. Sand Go! Sand Toy at Spoon Sisters; 7. Pirate Rock Star tutu at Elizabeth Gwen Originals, hosted on Etsy; 8. Hot Pink Skull Swim Shirt on Kitsel

Thursday, May 29, 2008

It's a Zoo Out There!!!

Ok, well it is not every day that I find a website that delights, inspires, and intrigues me as much as today's find has. I should have saved it for Surf's Up Saturday, but I was too excited to wait! After all, what could be better than combining animals and words to make something that teaches and creates art at the same time? I present to you Bembo's Zoo! (Thank you to Tangled and True for another great find!)

The creator of this artwork took animals that would be found in a zoo and used just the letters that made up that animal to create an image of the animal. How fun! Don't get it? Let me show you!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What does 45 minutes of forced boredom look like?

This! 45 minutes at a DEAD standstill in I-71 north with a baby and a tired preschooler. After 10 minutes the cars started shutting off and people were getting out of their cars to check out what was going on... by the end everyone was taking pictures and visiting other cars!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A few numbers for thought

38 days that I have been a full time stay at home mom

1,000 (approx a month) it took for me to be able to go to work full time! (Yes, that is money we paid OTHER people)

0 days I was dancing regularly a week prior to me going back to dance

5 dance classes that I will be teaching a week from now on

12 years that I have been singing and dancing

4 jobs that I have had that were not dance related

110,000 dollars it cost me to get my BA in dance

8 people who told me in the last year that I belong in a creative field

3 new hobbies that I have discovered I enjoy and may be good at in the last month

Times that I have said to myself- This is the best decision that I have ever made- Countless!!!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Surf's Up Saturday! A little of this... a little of that!

Ok, so I was going to do another theme... especially since we are in an "ahoying and aaarrrghing" mood in my house from listening to a great Pirate CD... but then I became a little ADDish and discovered a whole bunch of other things that have caught my eye! So here is my lil list of a little of this and a little of that!

Well, I have to share the CD that has captured my kids and husband's undivided attention. We have been listening to this CD non-stop and I am ready to don an eye patch and make someone walk the plank! Pirates of the Caribbean: Swashbuckling Sea Songs is a hit and will be sure to have you singing, "Yo ho yo ho a pirate's life's for me!".

Next is a new obsession of mine, Bento Boxes! These Japanese box lunches are so neat because it is visually appealing, houses small amounts of a lot of different foods, and keeps the food separate. As the mom of a picky 3 year old I am constantly thinking of ways to make new food fun for her. She hates most meat, balks at the thought of new things, and likes a lot of variety. So for me creating a Bento box lunch is more than worth the effort. Here is a great collection of pictures of these wonderful lunches and if you want to see a great blog about them go here to Wendolonia! This is one of my favorites from the picture pool:

Well with summer right around the corner it only means one thing... the dreaded hunt for the perfect bathing suit. Last summer was a no brainer- I was very pregnant and was going to look like a beached whale in whatever I had on so who cared what the suit looked like? But you pay a price for that peace of mind the summer after having a baby... your beach bod is not so hot and you are even more self conscious. So when I came across this swim suit at Target thanks to a great blog- Tangled and True - I dashed to the store to see if the suit was too good to be true. I can't wait to sport this sassy zebra print at the beach this summer! It is pretty, flattering, and under $50! Check it out!!

Now, I want to share another great Etsy find- beautiful canvas bags by MellisaVest. We are busy switching over from plastic to canvas in my house, and I love how easy canvas bags are to wash after a long day at the beach. These are different because they are almost artistic in their graphics and make you forget that it is a canvas bag! Love them!!

Finally I want to share a website called Plants Free for Life. After the sticker shock of the prices of little posie pots I was definitely interested in learning how to propagate my own plants. Especially since my neighbor is the original garden lady! There are tons of greenhouses in the area, but there is no reason that it should cost $15 for 10 little bitty plants that are just going to die over the winter... causing you to have to plant all over again! This website shows you how to start your own plants from cuttings to division. How cool!
This is my Gabby with a handful of worms that we dug up in the garden, ready to go to the area with the strawberries

Ok, I know I usually do more, but it is a beautiful day here in Cleveland (and you know we don't get many of those) My garden is calling and we are finding worms for another fishing trip... pics about that later! Have a great holiday weekend everyone!!!

PS: I just caught up with the premiere of So You Think You Can Dance- LA Auditions... good god! It was the return of The Good, The Bad, and The Naked! Four words: KEEP THE CLOTHES ON!!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thought of the day

Do not believe in anything (simply) because you have heard it. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. Do not believe in anything because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe anything simply because it is written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. But after observation and analysis when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conductive to the good and benefit of one and all then accept it and live up to it.
~Anguttara Nikaya I, p.188. PTS Edition

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Snippet of Time

"When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand
pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of
fairies."- Peter Pan

Monday, May 19, 2008

Cleveland Rocks... well more like Roars

One of my favorite things about living in Cleveland is the zoo. Some people are bar hoppers, others dig the sports, but for our family it is all about the zoo. Coming from a city where the exhibits were embarrassingly bare and cold, I was amazed the first time I visited the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. I fell in love with the Rainforest (despite it housing the source of many nightmares-snakes), the butterfly exhibit, and my ultimate favorite- the Northern Trek.

The Northern Trek features- you guessed it- cold weather animals. But there are a few surprises here like the camel, tigers, and a wide variety of bears. My Gabby is a huge fan of the wolf exhibit which features a pack of wolves in a more natural, woodland environment. There is a viewing area behind glass where you can see the den, but it is open like most exhibits are. I have always enjoyed the polar bears and the sea lions, the staff keeps them well supplied with toys and there is one particular Sea Lion that enjoys showing off to the crowds.

The Rainforest is also a pretty neat place to visit, although I don't visit it as often in the summer. It is a steamy, somewhat pungent place, but a feast for the eyes. The plants themselves are spectacular, and there are some pretty neat animals in there like the bats and the orangutans. Every few minutes too there is a tropical rain storm which is pretty neat. My only problem is with the fact that there are some HUGE snakes there... specifically one python who sits atop of an elephant statue. Eeek!

One special thing about the zoo itself is that Mondays are free for Cuyahoga residents. If you don't like crowds- especially crowds of noisy school age children- then I reccomend going another day, but this is a great thing for people who don't have the extra money to shell out but want to share the animals with their family.

So that is the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo! A great place to visit if you are ever in town and well worth the money. There are always extra exhibits too like Touch! where you can pet sting rays and sharks and the newest attraction for the summer- Frogs, Hogs, & Dogs, which will feature singing dogs. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the zoo!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Surf's Up Sunday

Dance- Bailar- Danse- Ballo- танцулька- ダンス- Tanz- Dans- dança
“When you perform you are out of yourself-larger and more potent, more beautiful. You are for minutes heroic. This is power. This is glory on earth. And it is yours nightly.”

Ok, ok, ok... I know that I usually do Surf's Up on Saturday, but with all the dancing going on I got a little sidetracked. So here it goes, and in keeping with the new theme of my life- it is all about DANCE! Viva la dance!!!

First off I have to acknowledge a super tapper that I just discovered on YouTube- Tap Dance with Rod Howell. He is beyond fabulous and more importantly his instructional tap videos are easy to follow. He goes from beginner to intermediate with lots of combinations too. Just the thing this rusty hoofer needed to get the gears going again in tap! This is my favorite combination- try it out!

Next is an addiction of mine that occurs every summer- Fox Channel's
So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD)! Yay for another season of fabulous dancers, amazing choreography, and scathing critiques from judges. I love this show because it showcases true talent and gives dancers who have worked harder than hard a chance to show the world what they can do... I can't wait... here is a taste from last season- Lacey and Danny.

Since there are so many people out there that share my passion for dance it was all but impossible to choose just one blog that I like so here is a quick list of some great resources if you like to dance, watch dance, or wish you could dance:
A Time to Dance, African.Dance.Drum.Life!, Swan Lake Samba Girl, My Dance Place, and finally Dance Primer.

Next I want to share a great resource for clothing the dancer-
Discount Dance. I have ordered from here countless times and I am never disappointed. They have a great collection of shoes, costumes, and anything else that a dancer needs from extra taps to silicone disks to cover your goods under those sheer camisoles. Here are my new shoes since my old ones bit the dust after ten long years of love- the Bloch Neo Hybrid.

Finally I have to include the workout to end all workouts for dancers- the New York City Ballet Workout. This workout not only kicks dancer butt, it makes you want to work because you get so jealous staring at the cut bodies of the dancers demonstrating the moves. It is easy enough to follow if you are not classically trained, although you have to have some grace and ability. Knowing terms like battement, pas de bourree, and plie is helpful, pairing the video with a ballet primer would be a good idea if you have no idea what "Floor Barre" means. And "don't forget to breathe!".

I am sure that there will be more dance related posts in the future... for now I am just going to enjoy the fact that I looked, I leapt, I fell, and I landed in a place so much better than I had thought I could ever be!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

All You Need Is Love

The mantras of my life:

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Little Bit of Faith

From suffering comes great compassion. Great compassion makes a peaceful heart. A peaceful heart makes a peaceful person. A peaceful person makes a peaceful family. A peaceful family makes a peaceful community. A peaceful community makes a peaceful nation. A peaceful nation makes a peaceful world. ~Venerable Maha Ghosananda, the Supreme Patriarch of Cambodia, to Cambodians on the genocide of the Khmer Rouge

Now that I am home and not working full time I have had a chance to being meditating again. This is something that I did a lot in college when things got stressful or I just needed to find my center again. I have begun reading some great articles on Buddhism and am trying to right myself after getting so far off the path of enlightenment. Gabby is very interested in meditating with me and learning about Buddha. We read a great book called Peaceful Piggies by Kerry Lee Maclean that explains meditation to kids in a very easy and fun way. One of my goals for the summer is to meditate daily and to have a more mindful acceptance of the present.

My house is a bi-faith household which confuses a lot of people. My husband is Christian, was raised Christian, and his family is pretty religious. My family was the opposite with little instruction outside of a Catholic baptism and First Holy Communion. During high school and especially college I was exposed to a lot of other walks of faith and naturally gravitated toward Buddhism and other Eastern religions. The concepts of karma, rebirth, and most importantly zen appealed to me and left me with a very calm and peaceful state of mind, so that is the path that I chose. I never felt the need to question or dissect the values- it was what it was.
I am excited to continue learning about Buddhism and how to incorporate the concepts into my daily life. Even though I differ from all of my friends in this, I have faith that I am on the right path just as they have faith that they are on the path meant for them. (Although I did have an interesting conversation with Klint about Yoda versus Buddha!)
Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Happy Love Thursday

Usually I am all about the love of the people around me, but every once in awhile I get to see the love that my cats have for each other. Happy Love Thurday to my sisters at Shutter Sisters!!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Little Literary Joy!

This morning was so exciting. The children's section of the Lakewood Library just opened and I was impressed beyond words. The entire area was so colorful, creative, and full of activities for children of all ages, the Burgeon Group really out did themselves this time! I adore the birdhouse theme, watched Gabby "drive" the boat, and took lots of pictures of AJ talking to the baby in the mirror. I can't wait to go back for story time or just visit on a rainy day.
I am so happy to be able to share my love of reading with the girls, especially Gabby who loves being read to every night. We are reading the Spiderwick Chronicles and starting the Harry Potter series. (AJ prefers to read by osmosis, apparently chewing on books is the best way to enjoy them!)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Women know
The way to rear up children (to be just)
They know a simple, merry, tender knack
Of tying sashes, fitting baby shoes,
And stringing pretty words that make no sense,
And kissing full sense into empty words.
~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I love being a mom, more than I ever thought I would. I love being able to fix hurts, calm fears, snuggle with a book, kiss boo boos, and receive kisses unconditionally. I enjoy teaching new things like how to properly pick up a kitten, fish, and dance the blues away. There is so much that goes into being a mom, and it does not consist of just having a baby. Any woman can do that, it takes so much more to be a mother.

I know first hand that not every woman who has kids is really a mother, and sometimes that breaks my heart. The news is so full of stories of kids being hurt by their mothers, it makes me run to my kids and hug them tight, as if I can shield them from all the pain and suffering. But that is another part of being a mom- to protect them when I can and to show them how to make the world a better place, to counteract all those people who hurt.

My kids are my greatest joy and sometimes I worry about what kind of world they are going to grow up in. But then I look at their faces, so smiling and innocent, and I know that there is hope in the world as long as there are mothers. Here are my favorite pictures of being a mother.
Enjoy and Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Another Surf's Up Saturday

Ok, so I fully admit that in the nuttiness of Mother's Day and all that I totally missed my new Surf's Up Saturday... so I am retro-posting this and humbly beg your forgiveness!

Since I am still in awe over the wonder that is the new children's section of the library I am going to make this post a letters, reading, book theme. (Plus it gives me a chance to shamelessly toss in my new graphics project!!!)

First up I want to share a great for a great little book cozy for a bed. I am an avid reader and usually will be reading two books at the same time- a series book and a single book that has nothing to do with the other one. This time it is the Harry Potter series (I am on book two) and a craft book for kids who like dinosaurs. However, with all the reading I do my bedside is a jumble and I have stacks of books laying about. This is where the book cozy comes in. Coming to you from One More Moore it is a great idea for kids and adults alike!

Second is another crafty idea for my girls from Nothing Fancy- a felt mail center. I want the girls to associate good things about the mail and thought that this would be a great balance to hearing mommy and daddy swearing every time they open a letter! (I guess I will have to learn how to use my sewing machine for sure now)

Next I found a great website that has the most wonderful book plates. I love the idea of book plates because out collection is so big and I tend to lend without keeping track of who got the book. Then I see it at their house and can't remember if it is mine or if it is theirs... oye! Anyhow, Felix Doolittle has not only beautiful bookplates, but also other wonderful stationary... just lovely!

Fouth I want to share a great book that I have been reading with Gabby at bedtime. Gabby's tastes are pretty wide, but she has really been getting into being read to in Spanish. Luckily we have some Spanish books, but by far her favorite is Margaret and Margarita/ Margarita y Margaret by Lynn Reiser. It is a great story about two little girls who meet in the park but do not speak the same language. Little by little they communicate and find out that they have a lot in common. I love that this book has English in red and Spanish in blue, translates without losing the story, and teaches Spanish (or English) so easily. Gabby has definitely learned a lot from this great find!

And finally I want to share a great Photoshop tutorial that combines two of my favorite things: Photography and Words. It is Placing Multiple Images Inside Text. I have decorated wooden letters in the past for my girl's rooms and have seen beautiful artwork where the artist takes the letters of a name and turns them into animals and objects that start with that letter. (Turning a G into a Giraffe) But this little tutorial opened a whole new realm of word art! I love that you don't have to print out the pictures, it is all done graphically. Letter art facinates me because there are so many ways to do it... here are some of my designs!

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