We're like Mayberry, with a twist

With our friendly neighbors, kids playing in the street until dark, the moms at home with the children — you would think we're back in the 1950s. Especially now that we're all hooping it up. That's Christine and Mavis in the picture above. It's good exercise while we're watching the kids. Guinevere and Sophie have been practicing their tricks too. Will's just about got it.

Now I can get in on the action too! Thanks to my cool friend Nichele, I have a brand new hula hoop all of my very own. Yep, she makes hoops. And teaches spin classes and writes about health. And a million other awesome things like make wine and drive an Alfa Romeo. I said she was cool.

So come on over, grab a hoop and hang out with us anytime. 
Donna Reed pearls and aprons optional.


Book crazy, part two

Yes, that's a big box. Yes, it's full of books. 
No, we didn't need more books BUT of course we need more books!

Before I went to the downtown library book sale, I purchased a grab bag of sorts on eBay. A lot of 72 vintage children's books of various sizes and styles. While there were a few pictures, I didn't really know what I was getting. I had a fun time opening the box and seeing the contents. Turns out, I got quite a few gems. All for about 34 cents a book. Not bad! 

If you are a "Corduroy" fan, this name is familiar. But maybe you are like me and didn't know until recently how many other books Don Freeman has written and illustrated. This sweet family story is from 1957. Sid and Midge are two pigeons in San Francisco who find the perfect spot for their nest. Put it on your check-out-from-the-library list.

This one made me laugh out loud.

An interesting book with moving flaps/parts from a 1976 Folger's promotion. All the parts work which is the first thing I consider about vintage books with moving parts. But it is definitely going back on eBay. The clown on page 9 is rather disturbing and I don't even have a thing against clowns. 

One of the first board books? Copyright 1964.

Digging the illustrations! 

My favorite story has to be "The Husband Who Tried to Keep House." Anyone want to guess how well it went? Here's a hint: The wife had no problems out in the fields.

Groovy coloring books. Joseph will especially love these. 

Amazing collection of "little" books. 

This is the oldest book in the collection. Copyright 1944. Nothing to indicate that it is not a first edition. Could be worth more than all the other books combined. 

What I didn't consider when buying so many books, is where would I put them?! The shelves here are officially full so that's all the books I'll be purchasing for awhile.*

*Fingers crossed


Now back to regular programming

I'm back! I'm back!

Okay, you probably didn't miss me but I had to take a forced break from the lovely laptop when it decided to up and die on us. But the Apple store is awesome! Fixed for free (covered by a recall that we didn't originally think we were under) and now the computer is better than ever. They even replaced the missing shift key no charge. Apple understands something most companies have forgotten ... yes, you need awesome products but then you have to back it up with awesome service!

During the break ...

The eggs hatched in the front door wreath basket. Mommy and daddy are very protective and chirp, chirp, chirp when you try to take a peek. At least they are not Mockingbirds!

Will rocked the library's 8th annual summer Talent Show. Seriously thinking about getting this kid an agent.

Seen and spoiled by both sets of grandparents. Seriously spoiled!

Joseph peed in the potty! Maybe just a fluke but definitely a step in the right direction.

Completely got obsessed with The Hunger Games. Read all three books in a week ... twice! Would rank it next to Potter, above Twilight. Move over Mr. Cullen because you've got competition. Looking forward to the movie next year.

Ahhhh, it's good to be back.


Book crazy, part one

No one told me the downtown library has an annual book sale!!! But I happened to find out the week of the sale so I didn't miss it. I'm sure Chris would have been okay with me missing it.

The sale was soooo huge, it took up space on two floors. The normal book sale room (B'ham locals, it's open regularly) was cleared of the usual stuff and filled with children's books! Next year I'll know to schedule twice as much time to go because I didn't even have a chance to look at all of them. 

With William getting bigger and all, I brought home lots of picture books. Not one board book. Don't worry, some of the picture books are for Joseph.

Here are the highlights:

Huge coffee table book "Space Shuttle" for Chris, copyright 1986. With the space shuttle program ending, I knew he would appreciate it.

The classic "Make Way for Ducklings" by Robert McCloskey.

"The Golden Bunny" by Margaret Wise Brown for Joseph and his bunnies. Was watching for this on eBay so happy to get it much, much cheaper. 

Another coffee table book, "Alabama 24/7," full of photos taken by folks we know. (One day, we'll have our groovy vintage awesome coffee table from the '70s back in our living room. That day will be when the kids are much, much older.)

Will actually went to the sale with me and probably won't do that again. But he was so patient with momma and helped with the book selections. He picked out for himself, "How I Became a Pirate." He recommends it.

For me, I got "In the Middle of the Night" by Kathy Henderson/Jennifer Eachus. Because it made me remember all the sleepless nights with Will, but in a good way. My mom wondered why I had gotten it, but she too was tearing up by the end.

But you may ask, what did I get for you? I got you "Rosie's Walk" by Pat Hutchins. A classic with a 1968 copyright,* it is listed in "1001 Children's Books You Should Read Before Growing Up." I got us a copy too, and Joseph made Chris read it to him again and again. Not that he got the joke but that's what makes it appealing to older readers. Leave a comment by next Thursday (June 23) and I'll pick a lucky person at random. 

Disclaimer: This giveaway is for a USED library book. While in good condition, it looks like a library book. It has the usual library markings. Fair warning and all.

*I can't tell you what printing this is but it is definitely not a first edition. 


Father's Day freebies

Last year, I couldn't find any printables for Father's Day. So not the case this year!

TIE-riffic goodies ... It's Always a Party at the Parkers

Father's Day PINGS (and for us clueless, she tells us how to use them. For us who remain clueless, she has free printables) ... Ladybird Ln

Retro soda labels ... Delightfully Noted

Catch My Party

Everything you need to throw a party for dad ... Catch My Party (designed by Love Party Printables) FYI, they have two other party packs to choose from ... all free!

Motorin' cards ... Funkytime (might be my new favorite design blog)

Father's Day retro clip art ... Just Something I Made

"King for the Day" crown ... Family Fun magazine

Cake banner (also good for sandwiches and pancakes) ... Dearie Designs

Super Dad iron-on transfer and banner ... Delightful Designs

For the golfing dads ... Tatertots and Jello

This roundup not big enough for you? Not what you need? No problem.
More ideas ... here, here, here and here. Whew!


Opportunity to create

Not sure when or who but clearly, someone in the house stepped on the xylophone. My money is on Joseph. He's already broken more toys than Will and Will's three years older. I wouldn't say Joseph is destructive but he does have a knack for throwing things. He even broke a Thomas the Train piece with a well-aimed rocket throw and those things are indestructible! We're working on how to take care of our toys.

In the meantime, what to do with these groovy plates?! Chris suggested making another xylophone. My first thought was a necklace. A quick search on google brings up the idea of a wind chime. 

Ideas?! Suggestions?!


A real nest at my nest

We opened the front door Tuesday to find a surprise. A momma bird thought the basket there was the perfect place for a nest. She was surprised too when we opened the door. I was afraid she might abandon the nest but she came back. Now we are using the back door to get in and out. It's a pain but getting to see baby birds up close when the eggs hatch will be the reward.

Moving inside, here's the nest that has been decorating my mantle. I had planned to make this with Will after seeing the directions featured on The Crafty Crow. (I pretty much want to make everything I see on The Crafty Crow!) A big thanks to Ms. Agya at school for taking this craft off my to-do list! 


Squash and Monster

By William Tutor, age 5

The bird is afraid the scary monster is going to eat him, but he really wants to play tag you're it.

The bird gets skis and a jet pack. He's carrying squash and a tomato. 

Now the bird has a tail shaped like a pick ax mining for crystals while skiing with a jet pack.

And the monster has all of that stuff too.

And now they both have satellites.

The one-headed monster turned into a three-headed monster.

And then the bird ate the squash and tomato.

And then they started having four snowballs on them.

And then the bird realized the monster didn't want to eat him, he just wanted to play with him.




McWane Science Center has new exhibits open for summer including a zip line!

Ah, summertime. Time to enjoy longer days in the sun.
Our June-July-August to-do list includes ...

Glow night — we're going to stay up late and catch fireflies, look at stars
splashing around in the zoo fountains
splashing around the Gardendale Splash Pad
splashing around in our backyard pool
splashing around in the JCC pool (I sense a theme here!)
potty training for Joseph
Annual 4th of July cookout
free family movies at local theater
make and eat lots of popsicles
Trip to Nashville
Trip to Pittsburgh
Vacation Bible School at Avondale UMC
summer reading programs at local libraries
Trip to Memphis
block party
losing the training wheels on the big bike
Mother's Day trip to Ikea
Trip to family cabin
Trip to Huntsville

Have your own summer to-do list? Please share!

(Updated 7-29-11)


What Will sees

Daddy (not this tall in real life)

Mommy (not this round in real life ... well, maybe)