Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Yes - I'm still here and Thrift Share giveaway

Hello all!  I'm pleased to let you know that, contrary to my spotty presence here in blogland during recent weeks, all is well.  I've actually just returned from a trip to Rome, Italy - I am very excited to share details with you about my travels later this week - so this is just a short post to announce the winner of my last Thrift Share giveaway and to post another giveaway.  I realize that I'm about 2 1/2 weeks late announcing the winner of the Pyrex fridgies, but who's counting?  Besides everyone who threw their name in the proverbial hat, that is - though, point in fact, Miss Intrepid drew the winner's name out of an actual hat for me.  My apologies to everyone who was waiting for an update!

Congratulations to Scarlett Fontaine whose name was drawn as the winner of the Pyrex fridgies!  You can check out her thrifting adventures at car boot sales (the UK equivalent to community "yard" sales here in the States) over at her blog Scarlett Loves Elvis.  I personally always enjoy the tidbits of overheard conversations that she shares.  Of course, I have to agree with her that this week's tidbit was cringe worthy.

And without further ado, here is this week's giveaway:

I just love these mid century modern wood and cork snack trays.  They measure about 6"x8" and they look as though they have never been used.  As you can see, they are shaped like fish and I believe that they are made out of teak.  Per the marking on the back, they were made in Japan though their styling seems Scandinavian to me.

How gorgeous is this little guy?!?

It may be hard to see, but "Japan" is stamped on the back of the tail - this is the only marking.
I did a little bit of searching for some information about these, but couldn't find anything other than a listing for another set on Etsy.  If anyone out there knows more about them, I'd love to hear about it (as would, I'm sure, whoever wins them).  I originally purchased them because they called to mind some Sere Wood snack trays that I picked up at a church rummage sale a few years ago.  I don't have any pictures of mine handy, but you can see photos from an Etsy listing that has already closed here.

If you would like to be entered into this week's giveaway for the set of four snack trays pictured here, please leave a comment between now and midnight EST on Saturday, June 4th.  I will announce the winner in next week's Thrift Share post.  Please only enter if you are planning to use these yourself or gift them to someone else as opposed to reselling them.

In the meantime, I'm linking up a day late to Apron Thrift Girl's Thrift Share Monday.  Have a great Tuesday, friends!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Weekending Tri-Style

I wanted to share a quick glimpse of what we have been up to this weekend before getting back to the day-to-day things that have gotten very little attention around here for the past two days.

Miss Intrepid and Running Man were great spectators as the rest of us swam, biked, and ran in triathlons this weekend.

E2B getting his swim on

Go Princess Wonder, go!

And yes, that's me, making goal #25 a reality...I've officially completed my first triathlon.

It has been an exciting - and exhausting weekend - and I look forward to sharing more about it soon.  But right now I need to go do some laundry.  Or lay down.  Either way, I'm off and I hope that you, too, had a great weekend!

"The race is long, and in the end, it is only with yourself."  ~Mary Schmich

Friday, May 20, 2011

This Moment - Look Mom, no hands!

{this moment} - A Friday ritual inspired by SouleMama.  A single photo capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

"Life must be lived as play."  ~Plato

Friday, May 13, 2011

This Moment...Beware of Dragons!

{this moment} - A Friday ritual inspired by SouleMama.  A single photo capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Sir E2B protects Princess Wonder from the mighty Grammy dragon!

Blogger's site has been down since Wednesday morning, so the other posts I had planned on for the past several days will be coming soon.  In the meantime, I hope that you all have had a magical week and are ready for a weekend full of play!

"It's hard to stop Muggles from noticing us if we're keeping dragons in the back garden - anyway, you can't tame dragons, it's dangerous."  ~Ron Weasley

Monday, May 9, 2011

Thrift Share Giveaway

I've missed posting a thrift share giveaway over the course of the past month or so and I'm excited to be back not only with a vintage Pyrex giveaway, but also to share some of the goodies that I have managed to thrift in recent weeks weeks.  Read on, fellow thrifters, and feel free to post a comment for your chance to win the fridgies pictured at the end of the post.

Over the past two weeks I've had the chance to stop by two church rummage sales, about a dozen garage and yard sales, and one lovely estate sale.  I'm trying to be more mindful about what I purchase - because I like it and the price is good is not enough of a reason to buy something - so I just satisfied myself with taking photos of some of the things that I came across but decided not to bring home.

I am drawn to Couroc trays and own several of them - at least one of which has this very owl.  Although I swung back down the aisle to check out this bundle several times, I decided to leave this cute little find for someone else.  One of the things I like about Couroc is the wide variety of patterns that have been produced.

The glasses almost made me change my mind.  I not only enjoy Couroc pieces, but I dig owls.  I've seen these glasses in photos, but this was the first time I have actually found any.  It was only the recent addition of the glasses below that stopped me from snapping these up.

This picture doesn't do these glasses justice.  They are absolutely beautiful and I love drinking out them - the kids really like the smaller ones because they are just the right size for their sweet little hands.  These belonged to my paternal grandparents and were their wedding crystal when they got married in 1949.  Sadly, my grandmother passed away in December.  My grandfather recently moved from the home they shared on the river to a cottage in a local retirement community.  He came across these glasses - which have been in a box for about 25 years - in his attic and was pleased to pass them along so that they could be put back into daily use.  I know only that they are called Electra and were made in Europe at least 62 years ago.  I certainly wasn't going to bump these out of my cabinet for the Couroc owls, though I was tempted to get rid of the vintage Smurf glasses that my kids love so much to make room.

Vintage game...complete...priced at just $1?  Ah yes, so very, very tempting!  But after my recent board game purge I decided not to bring this one home.

This vintage precursor to the modern pin ball machine was really cool.  Even so, I don't have a great place to display it and I don't really need one more "cool" thing to collect dust around here.

Okay, these vintage linens were harder to pass up.  They were in great shape and priced reasonably (at 25% off, make that priced very reasonably).

Now that I've demonstrated I am capable of restraint (though Running Man may dispute my claim of self-restraint), I'm happy to share some of the goodies that did come home with me.  This is just a sampling - some of the items I found are destined as gifts, so I don't want any surprises ruined by picturing them here - but I am excited to share just the same.  One of the great things about thrifting is the wide variety of items that can be found. From pieces of Americana to books to office supplies, you never know what might turn up on the shelves of a thrift store or in a box on a driveway.

This box from the Monticello Dairy was a real find for $3 at a yard sale two weekends ago.   Its previous owner was storing (and selling) old records in it and seemed surprised when I asked if I could buy just the box.  I plan to use it for storing books.  Apparently the Monticello Dairy building is still standing - and housing retail stores - in Charlottesville, Virginia but I couldn't find any information about the dairy itself in my initial web search.

This vintage Virginia Dairy bottle was one of two that were at the church rummage sale I made it to on Saturday.  At $5 a piece I bought just the one.  As you can see, it needs a good cleaning, but it will make an excellent vase once it is cleaned out.  My initial searches online didn't turn up anything about the history of the Virginia Dairy.


They look like they were meant for one another :)

I posted back in March about "The Happiness Project" - a book that I've had out of the library for several months a different times during the past year that I still haven't managed to finish.  At the low price of $2, I was glad to add it to my home library (and save on future library late fees).  "Little John of New England" by Madeline Brandeis was published in 1936 and will join my childhood collection of books in her The Children of All Lands Stories.  One of my goals for 2011 is to explore museums and historical sites around town (#19), so this tour book of Hollywood Cemetery will come in handy.  As soon as I found"The Wishing of Biddy Malone" - the story of a girl who loves to dance and sing and stumbles into a faerie village - I knew that Princess Wonder would love to read it.

The 4" binder looks like it has never been used and set me back a quarter.  The vintage Boston adjustable hole punch (2, 3, or 4 holes) needs a little cleaning, but for $1 was worth a little elbow grease.  The replacement cartridge for my label maker was free and would have cost me at least $12 at an office store.

And, of course, I promised another Pyrex giveaway.  Looking for a new home today are these two sweet little vintage Pyrex fridgies in the butterfly gold pattern.  If you would like to win these, please leave a comment between now and midnight EST on Friday.

Sorry, the inlaid mushroom tray is all mine, but the Pyrex fridgies could be yours!

I'm linking up to Apron Thrift Girl's Thrift Share Monday.  Happy Monday, friends!

"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."  ~William Morris

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Weekending Mother's Day Style

I must say that this was a particularly lovely weekend.  It started very early Saturday morning when I woke up to head out for some "yard sailing." Running Man offered to get all three kiddos up and rolling to their soccer games so that I could check out the sales all by myself...a treat that I don't often get to enjoy.  The girls had overlapping games so I met up with them midway through the morning to make sure that Running Man and I could divide and conquer - he stayed at one game and I headed to the other.  We had a quiet afternoon at home and then enjoyed bowling with some folks from Running Man's office after dinner.  It was Miss Intrepid's first time bowling and I don't know that I've ever seen anyone so enthusiastic about knocking down any number of pins.  One pin?  Fabulous!  Seven pins?  Just as fabulous!

Enthusiastic Explorer Boy (E2B) relished his role as big brother and really got into helping out - and cheering on - his youngest sister.
Princess Wonder had her own style of bowling.  She can be seen here chilling out and waiting for her ball - traveling at the speed of snail - to make it to the end of the lane.

The highlight of the weekend, though, really had to be this afternoon.  We headed to a state park several counties away so that Running Man could get the lay of the land for an upcoming race there.  While he swam, biked, and ran the kids and I hung out by the lake and soaked up an unscheduled, sunny day of play.  Throughout the afternoon we were joined by other families enjoying Mother's Day in the glory of Mother Nature.  From young children who toddled around hand-in-hand with their parents, to teenagers strutting their stuff with friends, right on up to grandparents who slowly made their way down to the shoreline only with assistance, it was a true family affair.  To be surrounded by laughter, love, and at least three different languages - not to mention the beauty of our surroundings - was sublime.

This is the first of three outfits that the girls wore today...I've hung out with my kids enough to know that when heading out for a day of play in the great outdoors that I'll need at least one change of clothes after some good "clean" fun. 
E2B didn't leave the shore all afternoon, even after his sisters moved on to the playground just up the hill.  Running Man is in this photo, too - he's that speck swimming in the background.



...day (a message of love from my sweet boy).

Miss Intrepid - in outfit #2 - "planting" some "seaweed" she found in the water in the sand along the shoreline.

Princess Wonder dug out her own personal pool.

My view while I kept an eye on my kiddos playing by the lake and on the playground...fabulous, right?

I hope that you all had a weekend full of love, family, fun - and perhaps even a pound or two of sand that made its way home from your adventures - as well.  Happy Mother's Day to my wonderful mother, my wonderful mother-in-law, and to mothers everywhere!

"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin."  ~Shakespeare, Trollus and Cressida

Friday, May 6, 2011

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual inspired by SouleMama. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

This girl just loves to accessorize!

I thoroughly enjoyed my Mother's Day celebration with Miss Intrepid at her preschool and I look forward to a weekend full of hugs with my loved ones.  May all of our mothers - whether they gave birth to and raised us or became touchpoints in our lives in some other way - know our love and appreciation this Mother's Day and every day.

"The best thing about a Mommy is that they hug children."  ~Miss Intrepid

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Let Peace Begin With Me

At church this past Sunday morning I was lucky enough to hear a very timely message about peace - finding peace, creating peace, and nurturing peace within ourselves and with others.  I've been reflecting on that message since then and I feel compelled to write a little bit about it here (in fact, I borrowed the title of that sermon for the title of this post).  I don't have any groundbreaking insights about peace, but I do want to share some things that have really stuck with me since this weekend.

At one point during the morning, we read the following stanzas as a responsive reading.  I am struck by the simple, and yet awesome, truth of where peace must originate if we are to have it with others.

If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.

If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.

If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.

If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.

If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.

~ Lao Tse, 6th century BC

The woman who led Sunday's service is a musician, so in addition to delivering the sermon she also performed songs of love and peace for us.  She encouraged the congregation to participate by sharing small, handheld percussion instruments with us to play while she was singing.  She also added some special touches like taking a version of this poem of Rumi's (a 13th century Sufi mystic), and creating a song for us all to sing together.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field.  I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.

Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.

An unexpected gift from Sunday's sermon was discovering the music of Sara Thomsen.  A handful of us waited out some technical difficulties at the end of the service as folks were drifting out to spend some time in fellowship with each other over coffee and we were treated to Sara's song "By Breath" from the album of the same title.  I immediately came home and downloaded this album and have been listening to it ever since.  This song is both soothing and soul stirring to listen to and - I think - speaks beautifully to the interconnectedness between us all.

Finally, I would like to share a photo that Enthusiastic Explorer Boy drew one afternoon at the kitchen table about a year and a half ago.  I still don't know what moved him to create this, but it is something that I've faithfully kept posted on the door leading to the garage where it will continue to survive periodic purges of the artwork that ends up there.  (My apologies for the fact that it is pictured sideways, I can't figure out how to flip it so that it is positioned vertically in the blog.)

He added the small button sticker in the bottom right-hand corner for what I seem to recall were purely decorative purposes, but the word printed on it is "ALL" and that seems to be just right for a drawing about peace.
I wish for you to have peace in your heart and peace in your home.  If enough of us light a candle, then we can help drive the darkness away.

"It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness."  ~Old Chinese Proverb (sometimes attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt and others)

Our Spring Break Road Trip

Despite my best intentions to get back into the swing of blogging regularly after our recent road trip to New Orleans, I have found myself in a bit of rut (and not just with my writing).  For whatever reason - and as much as I hate to admit this - I think that there has been a healthy does of allowing myself to wallow and I have not been keeping up with my usual daily activities.  I've blogged...a little.  I've worked out...a little bit more than I've blogged but not the five days a week I had been accustomed to.  I've prepared more dinners at home than has been typical...but we've still eaten out much more than I'd like. I've been a terrible housekeeper...something that is not my strongest suit even on a good day.

All that being said, I've been surprisingly productive in other ways.  Since returning from our trip we have celebrated Princess Wonder's sixth birthday with friends and loved ones.  I helped prepare a grant that I hope will earn money for the water quality testing program at Enthusiastic Explorer Boy (E2B) and Princess Wonder's elementary school.  I've started my vegetable garden planting and bought some gorgeous produce at a local farmer's market.  I registered for my first triathlon.  All of this is good stuff for sure, but not the stuff of everyday life and I'm determined to snap myself out of my slump and get back to approaching my daily life with more intention.  To start, I thought that I'd share a bit about our recent trip down to New Orleans.

Running Man registered, along with several friends, to participate in his first half Ironman triathlon (1.2 mile open water swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run) in New Orleans at the start of the kids' spring break from school.  He lived there for a few years after graduating from Virginia Tech and moved back to Virginia after we got married (well before Hurricane Katrina ravaged the region).  We picked the big kids up from school at the end of the day on Thursday and drove until quite late, finally stopping at a hotel midway through Alabama for the night.  We got up the next day and completed what was about a 16 hour total drive arriving in New Orleans in the early afternoon.

The first order of business was to unload the car and get checked into the hotel.  A seemingly simple task that was made more challenging by the many others checking in at the same time and the voluminous number of small bags that were stuffed into the van along with two bikes, a large suitcase, snacks for the ride, and entertainment for the long drive.  (Remember my clutter companions - those lovely reusable bags?  They are also a blessing and a curse while traveling because I can easily pack those last minute items I didn't think to pack in the main bag(s), but I end up relying on more of them than I would ever intentionally plan for to tote around our stuff.  Also, I think they may multiply in the back of the van while I'm not looking.)  And the high winds...did I mention the high winds that greeted us in New Orleans?  They were something to behold!

Miss Intrepid decided that high winds made for perfect dancing weather.
E2B is carefully shielding his sunflower seedling that was sent home from school the day that we left on our trip.
I think that Princess Wonder's backpack must have been weighting her down so that she didn't blow away.

Once we unloaded the van, parked the vehicle, and dragged everyone inside we were checked into a river view room (courtesy, I suspect, of the frequency with which Running Man stays in this particular chain of hotels when traveling for work).

Despite the fact that the height - coupled with my children's propensity to play around the window - made me nervous, the view was spectacular.

Next we went down to the race headquarters to check in for the race while the lines were short and cruise around the merchandise expo.

Miss Intrepid was Running Man's special helper in getting registered for the big race.
The kiddos prepared early to get their cheer on!

Running Man actually had a work dinner that night, so the kids and I went out to explore a bit and stretch our legs after all of the time that we spent in the car.  We headed to Jackson Square in hopes of finding some open space that would make playtime a bit more fun and free than the smaller spaces that were packed with people around the convention center (we were staying nearby) and French Quarter.

Checking out the Mississippi River
Fountain gazing never does seem to get old.
And jumping, of course...let's not forget the fun of jumping from fountains!
There may not be many trees in downtown New Orleans, but my kiddos are sure to find them wherever they may be.  There are several stands of palm trees in Jackson Square that provide a natural playscape for little ones (they make wonderful "clubs" of a different sort than what generally comes to mind when one thinks of New Orleans).
Watching the making of beignets at the iconic Cafe Du Monde.

On the recommendation of someone who worked in a local art co-op, the kids and I ate at Cafe Maspero for a taste of the local cuisine.  It was fun to eat by the open doors that line the front of the building, though poor Miss Intrepid reached her limit for, well...everything, while we were eating.

Princess Wonder was enthralled by the traffic passing by on the street just outside the open doors.  Of course, in addition to the families, tourists, and donkey-drawn carriages, she did see someone painted blue and wearing vampire fangs so her interest in checking out the scenery was pretty understandable.
Street performers can be seen all around the French Quarter and we saw this particular gentleman several times during our visit.

It was a good, albeit exhausting day, and the kids and I fell asleep early and well before the time that Running Man made it back from his work event.  The rest of our trip was similarly full and I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming week.  And I will be back with another post tomorrow!

"What you do every day matters more than once you do once in a while."  ~Gretchen Rubin

**Gretchen wrote a great post here about the importance of what you usually do...the every day things that are often more important than once-in-a-while things.