Thursday, May 28, 2009

Summer is Here!

And it's officially hot!

Unfortunately I think the air conditioner on my car needs some work or we're going to be in trouble! And it was only 86 today!

I had some pictures of my friends' photo shoot to show you, but I think I'll save them for next week.

Tonight Cory was asking to go to the park so we walked over... and I forgot to have him wear a swimsuit!

See there's a water feature that they put in last summer, but never got approval for.

We discovered that it was on this weekend and Brian and Jason took the kiddos over while Amber and I took a nap (woo hoo!). But Cory wouldn't get in. So I didn't think I'd need the swimsuit tonight...

This photo is from a couple weeks ago.

We saw some friends and shared their popsicles. Then Cory decided he wanted to go see the water. I showed him how to put his hand in the spray and after a few laps around the outside he was right in the middle. Even standing over the jets that were coming up out of the ground. Needless to say he was soaked!

Oh, and this picture is from 2006 when we were in Atlanta, but I don't have my camera right now (it's in the shop again - don't ask - at least it's their dime) so you'll just have to imagine that this is what it looked like in the above picture.

Kids everywhere having fun!

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Book: Rose House

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Rose House

WaterBrook Press (May 5, 2009)


Tina Ann Forkner


Tina Ann Forkner writes contemporary fiction that challenges and inspires. She grew up in Oklahoma and graduated with honors from CSU Sacramento before settling in Wyoming. She lives with her husband, their three bright children and their dog and stays busy serving on the Laramie County Library Foundation Board of Directors. She is the author of Ruby Among Us, her debut novel, and Rose House, which recently released from Waterbrook Press/Random House.


A vivid story of a private grief, a secret painting, and one woman’s search for hope.

Still mourning the loss of her family in a tragic accident, Lillian Diamon finds herself drawn back to the Rose House, a quiet cottage where four years earlier she had poured out her anguish among its fragrant blossoms.

She returns to the rolling hills and lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley in search of something she can’t quite name. But then Lillian stumbles onto an unexpected discovery: displayed in the La Rosaleda Gallery is a painting that captures every detail of her most private moment of misery, from the sorrow etched across her face to the sandals on her feet.

What kind of artist would dare to intrude on such a personal scene, and how did he happen to witness Lillian’s pain? As the mystery surrounding the portrait becomes entangled with the accident that claimed the lives of her husband and children, Lillian is forced to rethink her assumptions about what really happened that day.

A captivating novel rich with detail, Rose House explores how the brushstrokes of pain can illuminate the true beauty of life.


I enjoyed this book so much more than Ruby Among Us, and a few of the characters show up again in this book. Rose House shows that Tina Forkner has really come into her own as an author.

I really enjoyed the mystery that played out around the painting and it kept me in my chair reading so that I finished the book in one sitting! Anyone who has lost close family members will want to take note though, there is definitely the element of grieving and it brought tears to my eyes more than once.

If you would like to read an excerpt from Rose House, go HERE

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Book: Jillian Dare

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Jillian Dare: A Novel

Revell (May 1, 2009)


Melanie M. Jeschke


Melanie Morey Jeschke (pronounced jes-key), a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and graduated from University of Virginia as a Phi Beta Kappa with an Honors degree in English Literature and a minor in European and English History.

A free-lance travel writer, Melanie contributed the Oxford chapter to the Rick Steves’ England 2006 guidebook. She is a member of the Capital Christian Writers and Christian Fiction Writers as well as three book clubs, and taught high-school English before home-schooling most of her nine children. Melanie lectures on Lewis and Tolkien, Oxford, and writing, and gives inspirational talks to all manner of groups, including university classes, women’s clubs, young professionals, teens, and school children.

A fourth generation pastor’s wife (her father Dr. Earl Morey is a retired Presbyterian minister), Melanie resides in the Greater Washington, D.C. area with her children and husband Bill Jeschke, a soccer coach and the Senior Pastor of The King’s Chapel, an non-denominational Christian church in Fairfax, Virginia.


Jillian Dare leaves her Shenandoah Valley foster home behind and strikes out on her own as a nanny at a large country estate in northern Virginia. She is delighted with the beauty of her new home, the affection of her young charge Cadence Remington, and the opportunity for frequent travel to the Remington castle in England.

She is less certain about her feelings for her handsome but moody employer, Ethan. In spite of herself, Jillian realizes she is falling for her boss. But how can a humble girl ever hope to win a wealthy man of the world? And what dark secrets from the past is he hiding? This contemporary story, inspired by the well-loved classic Jane Eyre, will capture readers' hearts.


Sorry I can't tell you anything about this book because I have yet to receive it. If I ever get it I'll let you know what I think!

If you would like to read the first chapter of Jillian Dare: A Novel, go HERE

Sunday, May 24, 2009

My Crazy Brother

In case any of you need proof that my brother is crazy... this is a picture one of his buddies took.

No, it's not professional, no, it's not photoshopped. He really is doing a flip over a mountain range in Alaska.

This is the second season he's worked as a guide for a heli-skiing company out of Valdez. He's good.

Now he's home for a bit and hopefully we'll get to see him some. I think Cory misses his Uncle Kevin!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Photography Business

Alright, it's official! I'd like to introduce you to Creative Chaos Images and Creative Chaos Photography!

I listed these two note cards on my etsy shop (the Images part) and will have more in the next few weeks.

I'm also selling them at the local antique/consignment shop downtown called Inspirations at Home.

I would sell prints as well, but I'm not sure how well those will go or what images people might like. We'll see if I get any requests.

As far as the photography side of things I have one family that I will be doing their photos for in a couple of weeks and I'm hoping that our friends Jason and Amber will let me do a family photo for them this weekend while they're visiting!

I'm also hoping that some of Brian's juniors will be interested in having me do their senior pictures. I guess I should make up a flier this weekend since I just realized there are only 3 weeks of school left!

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Bath Crayons

Last week LeRoy called me out on the fact that this is called "wordless" Wednesday. But I say hey, at least I'm not writing paragraphs, just a short description of the picture!
Would you rather I not do that at all? Although this photo at least speaks for itself!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Book: Nothing But Trouble

This book review is a bit different than some I've done before. The book is the same - good, but there are some activities going on surrounding it's release. Some of the reviewers are giving away copies of the book so if you want to try and win a copy then you can check the list here.

About the book:

PJ Sugar knows three things for sure:
After traveling the country for ten years hoping to shake free from the trail of disaster that’s become her life, she needs a fresh start.

The last person she wants to see when she heads home for her sister’s wedding is Boone—her former flame and the reason she left town.

Her best friend’s husband absolutely did not commit the first murder Kellogg, Minnesota, has seen in more than a decade.

What PJ doesn’t know is that when she starts digging for evidence, she’ll uncover much more than she bargained for—a deadly conspiracy, a knack for investigation, and maybe, just maybe, that fresh start she’s been longing for.

It's not fair to say that trouble happens every time PJ Sugar is around, but it feels that way when she returns to her hometown, looking for a fresh start. Within a week, her former teacher is murdered and her best friend's husband is arrested as the number-one suspect. Although the police detective investigating the murder--who also happens to be PJ's former flame--is convinced it's an open-and-shut case, PJ's not so sure. She begins digging for clues in an effort to clear her friend's husband and ends up reigniting old passions, uncovering an international conspiracy, and solving a murder along the way. She also discovers that maybe God can use a woman who never seems to get it right.

My review:
If I'm going to read a mystery this is the kind I like! Where I know that none of the main characters is going to die, but there's still enough suspense to make me want to figure out "who done it?"

I really enjoyed this book, my only criticism would be that there are two guys PJ could "fall for" and the author didn't make me love the one she is headed towards at the end of the book. I want her to end up with the other guy! However, this is just the first book in the series so I have hope...

This is the first book I've read by Susan May Warren and I'll be looking for more at the library since the rest of this series isn't published yet!

Read the first chapter:

About Susan:

Susan May Warren is the award-winning author of seventeen novels and novellas with Tyndale, Steeple Hill and Barbour Publishing. Her first book, Happily Ever After won the American Fiction Christian Writers Book of the Year in 2003, and was a 2003 Christy Award finalist. In Sheep’s Clothing, a thriller set in Russia, was a 2006 Christy Award finalist and won the 2006 Inspirational Reader’s Choice award. A former missionary to Russia, Susan May Warren now writes Suspense/Romance and Chick Lit full time from her home in northern Minnesota.

A note from Susan May Warren

Sometimes, do you feel like you just don’t fit in? You look around you and if anyone knew how difficult it was just to put yourself together, to smile when you feel completely overwhelmed, to even figure out what you were making for supper, they’d know what a mess you were. Maybe you totally relate to those words in 1 Peter – God’s elect, strangers and aliens in the world. Do you feel like when you look in the rear view mirror, all you see are your mistakes?

Maybe not. But if so, then PJ is your gal. I wanted to write a story about the person in so many of us who just wants to get it right…but can’t seem to stay out of trouble. My friend and I have what we call the “stupid mouth” club…and we report our weekly foibles (usually on Monday, after Sunday church!). PJ is our charter member. She’s the girl that changes her mind, always hopes for the best, is always discovering that she is just a little different than everyone else. PJ is us.

And that’s good news. Because God loves PJ. He loves her messiness, and her impulsiveness, her heart bent toward others, the hope that fuels her actions. And He has a plan for PJ – one that includes her weaknesses as well as her strengths.

Yep, I need to hear that – need to hear that I don’t have to be perfect for God to love me, use me, sing over me. Need to hear that although I don’t fit in, well, I’m not supposed to…in fact, I’m supposed to be a little…alien.

I wrote PJ for everyone who feels just a little messy, just a little like they can’t quite get it right. And who needs to hear that God loves them. Period. Full stop. Hallelujah.

What is your favorite Bible verse and what does it mean to you?

My current favorite is: Hebrew 4:16, “Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” It means that even when I come crawling, my face to the floor, He won’t reject me. I pull it out whenever I blow it, or feel inadequate, or when someone hurts me, or...when I hurt someone else. Basically whenever I feel like I’m Trouble, I remember that God won’t turn away. In fact, He may even do what I do to my children – turn me to face Him, despite my puffy red face, wipe off my tears and pull me into His arms.

How did you come to be a writer?

I’ve always been amazed at the journey God has taken me on. I always loved to write, but being a missionary in Russia, I never dreamed about being an author. I just tried to do the best with what God had entrusted to me, and for me that meant writing missionary newsletters. I honed my skills through my newsletter, and then, after a number of years, began to write devotionals and magazine articles. Although I tried my hand at writing novels (I wrote 4 before I ever had one published), I never thought I would get anything published. But I diligently studied craft and analyzed books, even though I was hidden away in Siberia. I’ll always be grateful that Tyndale took a chance on me! I’m still learning, and still trying to be a good steward of the gift and task I’ve been given to write books that draw people closer to God.

Where did the idea for PJ Sugar come from?

Every author dreams of a moment where someone says something, or they see something on the news, or in a newspaper and it springs out at them, nearly shouting – STORY IDEA! This happened to me a number of years ago while talking to friends about their daycare situation, and how one of the parents ended up being a murder suspect! Scary! But an interesting idea. About that time, I was a mom who wore many hats – homeschooling mom, writing teacher, speaker, children’s church leader, -- and it occurred to me that a mother really has to be a sort of PI. Not only taking on different roles, but sleuthing out daily household mysteries like, who ate the last of the peanut butter (and put it back in the cupboard?) and whose socks are laying in the middle of the floor, and finally…(in our house), who let the dog (and her muddy feet!) in the house! PJ is the alter-ego in every mom, that super-hero inside of us that allows us to have esp (I know you’re not really done with your homework!), or have “eyes in the back of our head,” (stop poking your sister!) or even figure out how to whip together an award-winning science project the night before the fair. PJ just applies all those skills to bad guys and figuring out the truth.

PJ Sugar is also a woman who wants to be all things to all people. She wants to be her nephew’s champion and her sister’s best friend, and her mother’s favorite daughter, and Boone’s special girl, and the hero of her hometown. That’s not too much to ask, is it? Maybe…because God wants her to be His girl, and satisfied in who He made her to be. And that is a journey for all of us PJ Sugars.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Weekly Review

Well, our internet has been getting consistently worse in the last week or so. It just quits randomly and yet other times we have blazing fast speed. Thankfully we'd already decided to switch from DSL to fiber and the installer comes on Tuesday. Here's hoping that everything will work well after that since all the components of the system will then be new.

We've had some crazy adventures this past week starting with Tuesday night when we went to see the Chinese Acrobats with my parents. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but this was a fantastic show! It was along the lines of a Cirque d' Soleil show, but on a smaller stage and more focused on physical feats rather than a show.

Don't get me wrong, it was still plenty of show, but there weren't 12 things going on at once so it was easier to watch. It was a good 2 hours of amazing talents including one where a guy stacked 6 chairs on a platform end to end while climbing up with them and at the end did a one hand stand with his body sideways at the top. He was as high as the curtains above the stage!

Other cool acts included girls twisting themselves inside out while balancing things on hands and feet, girls spinning 3 plates on poles on each hand while dancing - these looked like bouquets of flowers, and guys acting like human gyroscopes.

You know those machines you can get into, usually at a science museum, where there are 3 or more concentric rings and you are suspended in the middle and have to right yourself? Well, these guys kind of did that only they were in the middle of hoops and making them roll across the floor by throwing their body weight around. It was fascinating to watch!

Oh, and finally, there was the ballet act. One guy and one girl. A combination of ballet and gymnastics that culminated with her standing on one leg, on his head, on pointe. Yikes!

It was all much better than the ballet we went to last fall at the same theater!


Friday morning our alarm went off at 5:45 so that we could be to my friend Carisa's house by 7 after picking up my friend Becca and her kids. This to help out with a garage sale to benefit our Mom's Bible Study group. Cory had a blast playing in the backyard with the other kids, but I was freezing because I was standing in the shade of the garage and there was a wind blowing. But it was fun to hang out and we made a good amount for next year's group!

After getting up that early Brian stayed up all night with his Magic Club doing the Relay for Life. I'm not entirely sure of the rules, but they donated money by playing Magic. Interesting!

He came home at 7am and then I got up to go to a first time homebuyer's class.

The first hour of that was a total waste of time as the guy who was the "credit counselor" had some good information, but was totally incompetent and unprofessional at giving a presentation. It was really annoying.

The rest of it was good, but suffice to say, we can't afford to buy a house. Even with the $8,000 tax credit that Obama has made available.

The problems are 1) we make just barely too much to qualify for any assistance programs since we only have 3 family members 2) we have so much student loan payments every month that we can't afford a large monthly mortgage that it seems we should be able to on our income. That and the fact that we still live in one of the most expensive housing market compared to local income means that the only thing we can get right now would be a manufactured home. Not a wise idea.

I'm still kind of pissed at the situation I feel like the schools put me in....

Here's the story. I went off to college as a freshman only to decide after 3 weeks that I wasn't ready to be away from home. So I dropped out and worked fall term and then went to the local community college for 5 quarters. I thought I had made it clear that I wanted to be a teacher so had gotten the correct prerequesits for getting a teaching degree. 3 years later (I also spent a semester in Costa Rica) I discovered that I had taken all the undergrad classes to major in anything except teaching. Which would explain my crazy combination degree of Chemistry, Spanish, and Christian Ministries. (note: it's really hard to major in anything and get out in 2 years as a transfer student)

Basically I came out of that undergrad with pretty minimal debt, but after working for a year in a chemistry lab I still really wanted to be a teacher so I went back and got a master's degree in teaching. Thus the giant student loan bill. Brian is kind of in the same situation so together our student loan bills are more than a fancy car payment. And yes, both of our cars are paid off.

You might be thinking, well, if you didn't go to grad school, you wouldn't have met Brian. And while that's possible, if I hadn't dropped out to begin with I would have met him back when I was a freshman as he was good friends with a girl who lived on my floor and I had started to get to know while living there.

Ah, the many twists of life. I just hope it doesn't mean we can't ever buy a house here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Book: Beloved Counterfeit

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Beloved Counterfeit

Barbour Publishing, Inc (May 2009)


Kathleen Y'Barbo


KATHLEEN MILLER Y’BARBO is a tenth-generation Texan and a mother of three grown sons and a teenage daughter. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University and an award-winning novelist of Christian fiction whose first published work jumped onto the Christian Booksellers Association bestseller list in its first month of release. Kathleen is a former treasurer for the American Christian Fiction Writers, and is a member of the Author’s Guild, Inspirational Writers Alive, Words for the Journey Christian Writers Guild, and the Fellowship of Christian Authors. In addition, she is a sought-after speaker, and her kids think she’s a pretty cool mom, too…most of the time, anyway.



Washed ashore on Fairweather Key, Ruby O’Shea and her three nieces─the offspring of the pirate Thomas Hawkins and Ruby’s late sister─have a chance for a new beginning as Ruby takes a job in a boardinghouse and the girls are passed off as her daughters. But will Ruby be able to confess all when she falls for Micah Tate, a widower, wrecker, and soon-to-be preacher?

Micah is determined to marry the young woman who has captured his heart despite knowing she has something to hide. But will he be able to remain true to his vows when his lady love’s shady past comes to light?

Captain Thomas Hawkins will go to any length to discover the whereabouts of his daughters. What will his determination cost the folks of Fairweather Key?

When Ruby finds herself bereft of her new found love and protector, will she run away in an attempt to escape her present as she did her past? Will Micah’s love cover the multitude of Ruby’s sins, or will Ruby’s duplicity cost her everything?


This is the third book in the series and I haven't finished it yet... but I have read the other two in the past week! And I would say they are pretty good. I have a feeling this one would mostly stand alone, but the background knowledge definitely helps.

The first book was a bit slow and the descriptions sometimes are a bit tedious, but if you like adventure on the high seas and historical romance then these books are for you!

I think this might be the first set of historical fiction books that I've read set in the Caribbean so it's another side of history that is coming alive for me. I'm glad to find an author that is using a new setting/time period for her novels rather than the traditional "wild west".

Edited to add: I just finished this book (Sunday after publishing this review) and I am rather disappointed. The ending left me with a pretty sour taste in my mouth and for being the last book in the series there were a few to many things that either didn't add up quite right or didn't fit the style of the series. There was definitely a twist that I didn't like and none of the consequences for a period of months were discussed. That's all I can say without giving too much away, but I am pretty disappointed in the end of the series.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Beloved Counterfeit, go HERE

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Zoom Lens

This was what I caught with the zoom lens on my camera Sunday while taking a photo hike at a local garden site.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Book: Taking Tuscany

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Taking Tuscany

David C. Cook (May 2009)


Renee Riva


Renee Riva writes humorous stories with a message, for both children and adults. Having been raised in a large Italian family with a great sense of humor, she has much to draw from for developing quirky characters.

She loves sharing her secrets for story starters at Young Author events, helping to spark the imagination of young minds. Renee and her husband live in Richland, Washington, with their three daughters, a dog, a cat, and until recently, her beloved hamster—may she rest in peace.


A. J. Degulio loved the idea of a visit to the Old Country... until her family decided to stay. It's 1972 and she's turning fourteen in a crumbling castle on a hill in Tuscany, wishing she were back in Idaho with her beloved dog, Sailor. In Italy, her blond hair makes her stick out like a vanilla wafer in a box of chocolate biscotti, and she's so lonely her best friend is a nun from the local convent.

The challenges of roots and relatives are nothing new to A. J., but she's going to need more than the famous Degulio sense of humor to survive. Can't anyone see that Italy isn't really home? It will take a catastrophe - and a few wise words from a friend - for A. J. to understand that sometimes the only thing you can change is your perspective.


This is a sequel to Saving Sailor (I think Renee likes alliterative titles!), but it's not entirely difficult to read as it takes place 4 years later. That being said, it seems there were some key events in the first book that are referenced in this book. It might have been nice to read that one first!

I was impressed with the way the author made this an understated Christian novel. The family is "normal" and the mother-daughter relationship is quite fraught with tension, but you realize there is love there. The girl, at 14, doesn't think about God every moment of every day, but rather has moments of "inspiration" for lack of a better word. It feels real to me.

The only other problem I had with the book was that the timing seems really fast as well as to not quite match up with the storyline. Maybe I'm picky about this, but if a book doesn't have a coherent time line I have issues believing it. It just jerks me out of the story too hard when things don't match. But in this book it's pretty minor and probably would have been helped if I had read the first one!

If you would like to read the first chapter of Taking Tuscany, go HERE

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Moms and Models

My grandmother lives in assisted living home just up the street from my parents. They always have a gathering around any holiday. Today was their "Mother's Day Tea" and they decided to hold a fashion show, with the emphasis on wedding dresses.

My mom still has her wedding dress as well as my grandma's and they are in pretty good shape. She got two of the junior high girls to wear them as part of the show. I brought my dress to hang, but it wasn't well made so has some tears in the sleeves and I didn't want it to rip more.

This is my Grandma's dress, worn by Erin. It's 70 years old this year. The flower is fake, but the necklace is one she wore as we have a picture from the wedding as well.

Hannah wore my mom's dress, which was made by my Grandma.

I think we were the most represented family there, but it was fun!

Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Dragonfly

From a wedding we went to back in 2006

This is for Antique Mommy, I told her I had a dragonfly picture that I had to dig out... and now that we have a new computer it was much easier!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Mother's Day Gift Guide

Momfluence is a group of mom's who are asked to review things and for their opinion on products. They are the ones who gave me the opportunity to review the Bubble Bucket last week. This is a list of products that they're featuring for Mother's Day.


Featured Products

Chic and Carry Wristlet - Make mom’s quick trips out with baby much easier with this great product.


Miessence Organics Mothers Day Set - Every mom deserves to be pampered once in awhile, and these organic body products allow her to do just that.


Sara Lee Simply Sweets Pies - Sara Lee’s Simply Sweets line gives you a delicious way to treat Mom this Mother’s Day with a fast, easy and delicious dessert.


Children Should Come With Warning Labels - Patti McKenna offers a humorous take on motherhood, giving mom a chance to laugh, cry, and identify with her tales.


Roundhouse Designs Desktop Mobile - Roundhouse Designs origami mobiles and wall art are handcrafted creations that make a unique Mothers Day gift.


Roundhouse Designs Jewelry - Roundhouse offers a wonderful selection of handmade jewelry, with styles that are perfect for every mother on your list this Mother’s Day.


Heart of A Mother - Heart of a Mother is a gift book filled with touching tributes to Mothers and Grandmothers, inspirational short stories, poems, proverbs and quotations.


Protect-A-Bed - Protect-a-Bed waterproof mattress covers provide protection from allergens, dust mites, and bedbugs, helping to extend the life of your mattress and mom to sleep a little sweeter.


Ultimate Woman Vitamins- Make sure that mom is getting everything she needs to stay healthy and active with the Vitamin Shoppe's Ultimate Woman vitamins.

More Great Gift Ideas

April Cornell Shoulder Bag

BabyPlus System

Not Just Any Old Day Keyrings

Menu For The Week Subscription

For My Mother Reflection Journal

Vintage Body Spa

No Throw

Me Time Sportswear


Kind Notes

Aventine Hill Bath Products

Treadlight Eco Snack Kit

Name Your Tune CDs

Things Remembered Charm Stories

Diaper Clutch


Lia Sophia Riverside Necklace

Lia Sophia Beaujolais Necklace

Lia Sophia Mandalay Bay Necklace

Lia Sophia Athena Necklace

Lia Sophia Love Dust Set

More Great Gift Guides

The Mom Maven

All reviews listed in the Momfluence gift guide were product provided. 
Featured positions were purchased by sponsors. Member gift guides are not affiliated with Momfluence.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Apple Blossom Festival

The last weekend in April and the first weekend in May is our Apple Blossom Festival here in the Valley. Of course that means that everything is in bloom right now and our camera is still being repaired. Driving around town looking at all the trees especially is killing me!

Wednesday evening we went down to the food fair for dinner. Last year Brian had this amazing pulled pork sandwich that he wanted to replicate. The same booth was there and he opted for the baked potato with meat in it... bad choice. The potato was dry and the meat was overcooked. Bummer. I stayed safe with my Gyro sandwich and it was delish! Cory ate half a hotdog and the lawn got the rest.

Afterwards we decided to go check out the carnival. I didn't think Cory would really want to do any of the rides by himself and I wasn't about to pay $3 for myself to go with him! But we found one that was little 4 wheelers on a round track. He was glued to the fence! I wish you could have seen his face when I kneeled down and asked him if he wanted to ride. "Yeah" in a whispery voice!

The minimum age is 2 and he cleared the height requirement by about 1/4 of an inch...
So we shelled out $3 for a minute and a half ride. He was in heaven! He really wanted to ride the "blue one" so we waited one round to make sure he could.

I took this picture before it started since it's my cheezy camera phone and I knew it would be blurry if they were moving. He was all smiles the whole ride!

When it was over I had to go around to the gate to get him. By the time I got to him he was bawling, "ride some more, ride some more". We had to tell him that other kids wanted a turn! I guess next year we'll be buying him his own bracelet and letting him ride all the kid's rides!

Time to Play Outside!

We've had a couple of cold and rainy days this week, but today was gorgeous again as befits our valley in the spring. Cory loves to be outside so it was hard to keep him entertained for two days inside. Especially since he's been sick.

One of his favorite things to do is go outside and blow bubbles. He's been asking for them all winter. So it was great news when I was asked to review the No Spill Bubble Bucket from Time to Play Magazine.

Unfortunately Cory is a bit young for this, but when he actually figures out how to blow bubbles without sticking his mouth on the wand it will be perfect! I was totally amazed at the design of the bucket. Unless your kid picks it up and quickly flips it 180 degrees you will get very little bubble solution coming out. Plus, there are three wands so kids can share!

He tried really hard, but for now Mom has to do the blowing! Which means I actually have to be outside instead of watching from the kitchen window. Good for me too!

(please excuse the poor cell phone pics, my camera is in the shop)

More info on the No Spill Bubble Bucket can be found about halfway down the Outdoor Play page at Time to Play Mag.


Time to Play Mag is also sponsoring the SiteWarming party tonight (Friday) with toy experts Jim Silver (@jimsilver) and Chris Byrne (@thetoyguy) using the #OutdoorPlay tag.

The party will be live on twitter from 6 to 7pm Pacific time and more info can be found at Resourceful Mommy where you can also sign up to win some cool outdoor toys for your kids.

Now, get off the computer and go play outside with your kids! (self included)