Saturday, June 30, 2007

Perfect Summer Day

The perfect summer day:
- Wake up, read for a little while (Sue Grafton S Is for Silence), with coffee.
- Go to the pool, have fun and get a bit sunburned. Read and finish novel.
- Do a few chores around the house, do a couple errands.
- Have a delicious taco salad dinner with fresh fruit and family/friends.
- Go to the park, pitch to daughter #2, chat and play at park.
- Have Italian Ice for dessert.
- Play with sparklers (little ones and bigger ones) in the dark.


Monday, June 25, 2007

Old Faithful

When we moved in almost 7 years ago, the garden was tired and not really touched at all, as the owner, a widow, lived in a nursing home at the time that she sold the house. One highlight was this beautiful rich purple clematis, that was growing up and tumbling over the side of a non-working gas lamp.

Once I got a new trellis, the clematis really thrived, and blesses us with bountiful blooms in June & July. This plant has to be 15-20 years old, yet is still healthy!

Hmmm...maybe I need a bigger trellis...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Softball Fun!

Fun game the other night! Actually it was AB's bday, and we ran out to a neighboring town for a double-header, yet we only stayed for the first game, so that we could all celebrate together as a family.

G had a "grill" (made from a pile of rocks) and "made" bbq hamburgers and all the fixins!

Beautiful day!!

Oh, and the team won in the last inning, go Cubs!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Today AB turns 14.

So, for your birthday:
- Have a blast
- Eat some cake
- Enjoy time with friends & family
- Finally, play soccer!

I hope you like your present!!

Thanks for being a joy. Happy Birthday!!

Monday, June 18, 2007


The lilies have started blooming! More to come...

Clambering Crown Vetch

Crown Vetch is a ground cover commonly seen growing wild along highways and along nature paths. I started some a couple years ago, hoping to fill in a little slopey garden in the front yard, with not-so-great drainage. Ha! It loves it there! It is thriving, and you can see the crown vetch wending its way up through the weigela bushes, at points 4-5 feet high! It has a delicate light pinkish color.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

One Lone Foxglove

My garden is mostly shade. Our backyard is ALL shade (not even dappled really) -- a great challenge for someone who longs to look at beautiful, colorful blooms during our short growing season.

I had THREE foxgloves last year. We only have one remaining foxglove that over-wintered...sad. Not enough snow to insulate the perennials, despite one BIG March snowstorm.

And a couple weeks ago we had a little mishap with the garden hose, so one of the spires of the one remaining foxglove that over-wintered got chopped. I carefully detached it and took it inside, scornfully chiding anyone and everyone that could have been responsible (but really, everyone does this!), and with hope, put it in a vase to see if the tight tiny not-ready-to-open buds would bloom. Ah, and after over a week, they didn't.

So here is the one that is lone foxglove. I love the spire, and the little speckles of color inside the bell-shaped blooms.

Summer Sports

A couple weekends ago was team picture day...for soccer and softball. I took these photos "on the sly."

G is doing great on her soccer team. After she scored a goal, she put her hands up and covered her mouth, as if to say, "Oh my goodness!"

S has been pitching in the last 2 games and doing very well!

It is so fun to watch them!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Neighborhood Fun!

Last weekend we enjoyed two fun neighborhood events: the annual block party, which is always held on the last day of school, and a graduation pool party for the young man across the street.

Fun times!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Creeping Jenny Munched!

Some weird little gray caterpillar thingies chomped all my Creeping Jenny!! Same thing happened last year. I just didn't have the heart to do anything, like spray pest-killing poison on the little varmints. Last year it did come back and bloom.

It's hard to tell from these photos, but Creeping Jenny is a beautiful, rich carpet-like groundcover, very easy to grow, with almost succulent-looking leaves and small bright yellow flowers. I am an eternal optimist, so I am confident that it will revive and survive.

Here's what it's SUPPOSED to look like:

Friday, June 8, 2007

School's Out!

Today is the last day of school. Here we are at the bus stop. Both I and the other mom at the bus stop brought our cameras today. Funny.

Guess it's a milestone thing...I was just feeling a little reminiscent of the year, and wow, how fast time flies!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Gardening & Family Love

Gardening, especially beautiful plants and flowers, has a lot to do with family love. Just think for a moment: do you have a special perennial, Christmas cactus, or other plant from a family member? For years, we had my husband's grandmother's Bleeding Heart, and after my wedding, I rooted and potted the ivy from my bouquet and gave to my mom and mother in-law (I don't even have one of these ivy plants any more!).

Is there a flower that reminds you of a loved one? One of my dad's favorite flowers is zinnia, so I think of him when I plant them. My mom is very talented with African Violets, which I kill readily every time I try.

My husband's aunt drives from Michigan to visit several times a year. She is the oldest of my mother in-law's 4 siblings, and she is one of the most spritely and active people that I know! This May she came bearing plant gifts -- 2 Autumn Joy sedums from her garden, and hollyhock seeds. The sedums are exactly like 2 others that I have in the front yard! Look, they are practically identical.
I hope they like their new home! And I will think of her often, as I am tending them and enjoying them this growing season.

Thanks Auntie Val for the special gifts! (that's her in the front...)

Monday, June 4, 2007

Nice Work!

Our 6th grader worked very hard this year and made the A honor roll. Now as she puts it..."well, I just did all my work, so what's the big deal?" The "big deal" is...doing your best, going that extra step to diligently keep up with the skads of homework assignments, test, papers, and the like...and then being recognized for it.

Much thanks to the "Dream Team" at our school. She has thrived under your care this year!!

And thanks also to the 5th grade teachers, Mrs. V-S, and Mr. S., who helped set the foundation. Your encouragement, guidance and die-hard enthusiasm is so much appreciated!

On to 7th grade...!!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Pretty in Purple-More

Here are our salvias, new to the garden this year. The deep purple color is so striking...


Bathroom Updates
Here are some before and after photos from our bathroom renovation. The former owner of our house was true to the 60's. Sunglasses may help when viewing the before pics! We used Artisan Restoration for the project -- they are affiliated with Kaufman Roofing.

The tiler was a true artisan (his whole team too!), who helped us with the design for our custom-look tile. After some discussions (and a few sketches on the drywall), we decided on a border in the shower, on the floor, plus diamond-shaped accents randomly placed on the walls.

This room is now one of my favorite rooms in the house!