Wednesday, May 23, 2007

My birthday present!
I had a tough time deciding what to buy with my birthday money....didn't need any clothes or fiber or yarn, so this is what I chose! When DH and I visited my Dad in the nursing home last Friday, there's a large tank set up just outside his has a couple Angelfish and Gouramis. I've always loved tropical fish. The last time I had a tank was before Brendan was born. I had goldfish for a while, then some African Cichlids. Both are beautiful, but the tropicals are what catch my eye!

DH and I went to PetSmart on Sunday and found a 10 gallon kit that was marked down due to the box being opened. I picked out some plants(artificial), the gravel, the's a stump with two plants attached to it and some pretty glass shells.

Yesterday and today I went to two different pet shops for my fish. Here's what I have: 1 yellow Guppy, 2 Dwarf Platys, 1 Red Wag Platy, 2 Sunset Platys, a Swordtail(this one has a beautiful tail...both the top and bottom fin are long, not just the bottom one), a yellow and black Sword, another Platy that is an off-white with a red tail and a Green catfish(he isn't green though).

They are all doing wonderfully and the kids all love them!
My Swap box arrived!!

Last month I joined a swap on Desert Garden's website. We were to fill out a questionnaire concerning our fiber and yarn likes and dislikes, garden questions and questions about ourselves in general. Jennifer then paired each person up and a-spinning and a-shopping we all went!
I received this wonderful package today from Jane Plaugher at Fiber on the Mountain in North Carolina.
The yarn is a lovely shade of pink in 100% Superwash wool....and there's about 500 yards of it too! I will be searching online today for a pattern...I'm thinking s lacy stole?
Jane also included a YUMMY bar of dark chocolate, which is almost indulgence for today!
The bottle of body spray is Raspberry Vanilla...smells so nice! The little calender is adorable....that will be hung on my fridge. And the last item is a gift pack of 5 seed packets...all Wildflowers of the Blue Ridge! These will all be planted this fall and will bloom next year.

Thank you, Jane! I love it all!
New Growth!
These are pink, white and red Cosmos popping up. Cosmos are one of my favorite flowers to grow....they require little care and grow quite quickly once the weather warms up.

These are Calendulas growing in one of my flower boxes on the back porch...these too, are very easy to grow! And I believe that you can eat the petals of this flower. I think these are a mix of yellows and oranges.

And in the other two flower boxes are Zinnias. This variety is called "Thumbelina". The plants only grow to about 6" tall and they come in yellow, pink, orange and white. Most of the seeds I planted sprouted, so some will be transplanted to my back flowerbed when they're a little bigger.

The Allium opened! Well, you can see, it's covered with lots of tiny flowers that don't open all at once. I'm not sure what variety this Allium is, but it stands about 18" tall. It is very picky about water and heat...have to keep my eye on it!

I can't remember what this perennial is...maybe an aster? It's a very pretty pink. I'll take another photo when it blooms.

And finally, my sunflowers finally decided to grace us with their presence! I wasn't sure they would come up...they were buried very deep after soil from the neighbor's yard was pushed through under the fence. I took away what I could and here they are! This variety is's called "Jade"...a very light green Sunflower. I found the packet at Kmart. It's a Martha Stewart packet. These grow to about 4-5" and are branching, so I should have lots of flowers this year!

A beautiful mum my two oldest and my husband picked out for my birthday! I love the fluted petals!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I turn 30 today!
My photos are a little out of order, but oh well!
I found this adorable swimsuit for Caitlin on Ebay last week...only paid a couple dollars for it too!

Caitlin decided to put Brendan's costume on she's playing outside with it on!

I love this card my mom gave me today for my birthday. She also gave me a little money to use towards whatever I would like.

And finally a photo of me on my 30th birthday, today, May 19th. This week I decided to lighten my hair a few shades and get it cut. It was getting so long and the ends were so ratty, they didn't want to flip up anymore! I think the next time I color it, I'll go a little lighter. I've had so many compliments and my husband loves it!! :)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Our Trip to the Zoo!

My husband was on vacation this week and we decided to take our youngest daughter to the zoo Monday morning. She went when she was about 7 months old...but no memories of it of course!
My favorite animals were the penguins....these are Humboldt penguins that live on the west coast of South America. They are small, maybe 2 feet tall.
I used the action setting on my camera and was able to catch these wonderful underwater shots! Enjoy!

This is of the zoo's elephants. She turns 40 years old this year! Caitlin was able to touch her...she was very fascinated. The keeper was giving Suri jelly beans as a treat!!

A woodchuck that took up residence under one of the rock walls near the tiger exhibit. He (or she) was just chilling out on the pile of rocks in front of his home.

This life-size tiger is always a favorite stop! Caitlin was a little bit hesitant at first, then she suddenly wanted to get on. I just love her smiles!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Flowers, Flowers
One of MANY lilac buds on my bush this spring....trimming in late winter-very early spring makes a huge difference for this lilac. I checked this morning...there's a few buds opening and I can smell the sweet fragrance. I've been looking forward to it for a long time!

One of the few tulip buds almost ready to bloom. I think this one will be red with a black and yellow center.

Brilliant Johnny Jump Ups or Violets, or whatever they're called. I don't care if they spread like mad....they're just so beautiful!

A pretty daisy-like perennial in my back flowerbed. Didn't save the tag for this one...anyone know the name?
The first batch of yarn ready for my Aunt in Florida. She purchased three batches of batts from me and I am spinning them to about a size 10 crochet thread weight, single ply. This blend is pink and gray with some pretty sparkles....very difficult to photograph and achieve the correct color!

I love this photo...I think it should be on a notecard! These are Osteospermum....or African Mum, I think...have to go check the tag. Found this at Lowe's along with a few others daisy-like perennials. This plant is in the back of our yard, in front of the neighbor's new fence.

This little bed is about 3 1/2 feet by 2's on the side of the house next to a window. I planted 3 perennials(can't remember which though), this single allium and 6 little orange marigolds. It receives a lot of sun, so I have to water the allium at least a couple times a does not like direct sun too much!

Pretty blue forget-me-nots planted on the side of the garage. Such dainty flowers...these came from my MIL's flowerbed....she had an overabundance of them this year!!

My first real herb garden! The top left is a Coreopsis...just because I had no where else to plant it! There's Curly-Leaf Parsley, Golden Oregano, Chives, Purple Sage, Rosemary and Lemon Thyme...which smells wonderful!
I'm very much looking forward to using these in my cooking!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

More plants....
I decided to plant Zinnias and Calendulas in my three flower boxes this year, instead of buying annuals. Almost all of the seeds came up! You can see the difference in the leaf shapes. The Zinnias are rounder and the Calendulas are longer and thinner. I'll be taking more photos as they grow so you can see the progression.

This is Golden Oregano. Such a lovely green. Part of the back flowerbed will have herbs. I've wanted a nice herb bed for a long time.

New buds on the lilac. The bush is full of them this spring again after a good round of pruning a few weeks ago!

The Forget-Me-Nots I planted in the bed alongside the garage. There might be some blooms open today! These spread like wildfire, but that's just what a need to fill in that bed.

New leaves on my red rose. I love the color of them and how they change.
Spring is finally here....
A single purple allium...our previous neighbor gave this to me before she moved last spring, so this is the second time it's bloomed here. These are such interesting flowers. I'd love to purchase more this fall. I've noticed that this likes the shade and water. I may have to move it to a different bed this weekend. Though I may just put some mulch down and see if that helps.

A lovely Columbine I purchased at Kmart the other day. I'm still deciding where it should be planted as it needs partial shade. I'm thinking in with my rose bushes. One of them didn't make it through the winter unfortunately.

Some of my daffodils. All of these were here when we moved in almost 3 years ago. They have multiplied wonderfully! This color is so pretty...a lovely contrast.

Another shot of the two colors. These are all I have...but this fall new bulbs from Brecks will be arriving for planting. My MIL are I are sharing these bulbs since Brecks is having such nice sales, plus a bonus coupon! We're getting these tulips, these daffodils, and these daffodils which actually have a nice fragrance.

A shot of half the flowerbed that runs along the side of the garage. I dug up some of the daffodils from the back and then planted some Johnny Jump Ups and Forget-Me-Nots from my MIL's garden. There are still 2 Hostas in there that need to be dug up and planted in front of the house. My husband will be making that flowerbed soon. Can you see the shape of the rock leaning against the garage? It's a heart! I didn't notice it until I was moving the rocks glad I did!
Worms & Dirt & Kids...a great combination!
I think this is my most favorite photo of Caitlin. Yesterday I spent hours outside digging up my large flowerbed. Every time I found a big worm, (and these two were the biggest) I showed them to Caitlin. She just wanted to carry them around. She was very careful not to squeeze them. I asked her if I could take a picture of the worms and she happily agreed. The look on her face is priceless to me. She's very much like I was, well, and still am....fascinated by all creatures. :)

I forgot to post this photo last time. The kids were all having a mid-day meal of cereal at Grandma's house....if ran for the camera, since, well, they're all sitting still next to each other...that's rare! You can see the milk running down Caitlin's chin!

This is the large flowerbed in progress. Our neighbor that lives behind the fence has been doing lots of yard work..with big machines and such...and he had some extra dirt I could have. He just dumped it over the fence and it sat in a pile for a couple weeks. The kids decided to dig a hole to China...or at least tried. Yesterday was a beautiful day and I was tired of looking at the hole! So armed with only a shovel, I broke it all up, filled in the hole and kept Caitlin busy with worms. To say the least, I am very sore today, my middle back muscles and my's almost tough to work on any spinning today...but I must!

And here's the flowerbed almost finished. I had tons of stones laying around...they all came from my grandparent's property....I used the flat stones in the middle for a walkway and the rounder and odd-shaped stones for the edging. The lower bed is about 4-5 inches higher than ground level and the back bed is at least a foot higher. I need to put some sort of edging behind the walkway stones to prevent the dirt from husband will figure that out tonight. I also need to move all the little stones I have leftover...probably they'll go behind the garage...which will eventually be covered with more dirt. The only plant growing back there are double orange tiger lilies. Very pretty. I'll be sharing those with my neighbor and my mom. You can see on the left of the bed my huge lilac. I trimmed the old seed pods off a few weeks ago and what a difference that made. There will be MANY blooms in just a couple weeks.