Friday, October 29, 2010

A couple new Catherine artworks

We took these home from art class on Tuesday. The portrait is an oil one, her first, and she worked really hard on it. I think she learned a lot about lighting and proportions. The second is a work in progress, pastel on sanded paper. I REALLY like her pastel work. I think she has a lot of control over the medium, and well, I just like the way the work turns out. They both had a reference work for them, but only the cat one remains since it is still in progress. Enjoy!



I guess I should add Catherine is only 11.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

GIVEAWAY: Wanchai Ferry and Macaroni Grill + $25 gift card


I received a prize pack this week from My Blog Spark and wanted to share it with you, too! I sometimes get little trial packs of food from Wanchai Ferry/Macaroni Grill and My Blog Spark in exchange for writing about them. I will tell you that I have NEVER tried these two products, but I certainly will and report back. Meanwhile, I wanted to share the information with my readers:

Enjoy an Asian escape with Wanchai Ferry restaurant-inspired dishes by simply adding your own protein to delicious entrees like Cashew Chicken, Spicy Garlic Chicken, Orange Chicken, and Kung Pao Chicken. Or bring the romance of Italian cuisine to your kitchen with Macaroni Grill favorites such as Chicken Piccata and Angel Hair Pasta, Creamy Basil Parmesan Chicken & Pasta, Chicken Alfredo with Linguine, Garlic & Herb Chicken Penne, and Chicken Marsala with Linguine.

So stay in and go all out!® Make your meal an experience by perhaps adding some ambiance with candles and flowers.

For more information and dinner tips, visit and And be sure to follow Macaroni Grill on Twitter and “Like” the Facebook page to keep up with all of the latest news on your Macaroni Grill favorites!

In addition, feel free to print this online coupon for $1.50 off two packages of Wanchai Ferry and/or Macaroni Grill Dinner Kits! 

ONE lucky winner will receive a Date Night prize pack that includes:
  • One Wanchai Ferry dry dinner kit
  • One Macaroni Grill dry dinner kit
  • a $25 Visa gift card!!

All giveaway items were given to me by Wanchair Ferry/Macaroni Grill by My Blog Spark for this giveaway.


How to Enter: 
  • Leave me a comment on what you like to do on a date night with your husband. Dinner? Movie? 
  • Comments MUST be "G" rated. Anything else will be deleted and not count towards the giveaway
  • Enter as many times as you like. 
  • One winner will be drawn at random on November 1st. 
  • PLEASE leave me a way to contact you (email address).
  • USA residents, only
  • If you like my blog, won't you please subscribe?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Post home repair stress disorder

I think this really does exist, because last night, the night of the first real, strong, blowing, gusting like it should come through the brick (oh please not that) rain kept me up all night. Why? Because I am not convinced that the new windows don't leak, or that the generator will kick on if needed, or that the drainage will actually, you know, drain.

2 am I'm up listening, wondering, worrying. How can we KNOW it isn't leaking?

This is crazy. I need to be able to sleep at night.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dear Generator, why don't you work?

Tonight we're supposed to have high wind warnings, gusts sustained to 55 mph and possible power outages. Now is the time for this whole house backup generator to come into stride. Except we're wondering if it will. We've had the Generac people set the weekly test run on the unit, and each week the unit has not started properly during the test. It starts just fine manually, but the test cycle never gets it going. We've got a call into the installer AGAIN. The whole point of a whole house generator is that it's supposed to start all by itself, not require you to come home and turn it on. Kind of defeats the purpose of it. Oh stand by honey while I run outside during the gail force winds and flip the switch....

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The great house project 2010

Five years of stress and aggravation, temporary fixes, crossed fingers, disappointment, new ideas, new sills and finally new windows. We went with Woodland Windows and Doors in Roselle and they were very good. The crews were knowledgeable, friendly and courteous. They answered our many (many) questions. The only problem we haven't resolved yet is some sash glass is scratched when they painted it (they are taking care of this) and some final touch up paint is to be completed. We are also getting some brass hinges that they did not order correctly.

The process to remove and install them took a crew of 4 to 6 guys working 8 hours per day two weeks to complete. I thought I'd create a little photo montage of the process so you could get an idea of the sheer scope of this project. It was no small thing, in any shape or form. And I am very glad it is done! Goodbye crappy, leaky, miserable Norco windows, hello Marvin Ultimate Casement replacements with low e coating and argon gas fills and 360 degree cleaning sashes. 

The trucks arrive on Day 1

Ripping out the first windows

Windows we never thought leaked actually did.

John standing by with bleach

Nice, new folding hardware!


Bleach. Bleach. Bleach.

My eating area. I like it with the open space actually!

My office windows. This took 8 hours and 6 guys.

Problems unearthed and rectified.

Kitchen chaos.

A room with a very wide view.

French doors no more.

Sub floor disintegrated from water. We never saw this door leak. The carpet was never ever wet.

My garage stall was the staging area. The crew cleaned and vacuumed nightly.

Sometimes we had only two trucks.

Landscapers came by to re seed. Note to self: need bigger roads.

Sometimes we had three trucks.
We also had a whole house generator installed during this time. Because you know, nothing else was going on....

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The next October camping I do will be in Florida

Let's sum up Webelos Unplugged weekend by saying I was cold day and night, and I threw up.

I arrived with a completely overloaded minivan in the pitch black of night to find a roaring fire and most all of the pack already set up. As one of only two women at the event, I got the extra special treatment of having my tent pitched for me by the boys and their dads. This was awfully nice of them considering I had enough gear to ascend Everest. There were about 30 campers at my site, and 300 in all, so it was a bustling place. The weather was actually not bad, maybe low 60's, so by bed time I was actually hot. We'd used ground covers, air mattresses, camping pads, sleeping bags and down comforters. We wore long underwear (silk) and all new, dry clothes. I thought, this will be a piece of cake.

Oh, how wrong I was.

Somewhere in the middle of the night it started to rain. And the wind blew, and being in a polyester walled tent I heard EVERY noise. I was convinced bears or raccoons were outside. I had marshmallows in my tent and the cardinal rule of camping is NO FOOD IN THE TENT. I was yelling shoo shoo go away creatures at 2am. (It turned out to be all the dad's snoring in tents next to us). And I was FREEZING. FREEZING. And I was dizzy (more on this later), and by 6am, when light dawned, I was exhausted.

I trudged up to the shower house (about 100 yards away) and got a hot shower and felt better. William was up and roaring to go. He'd slept great! By 9am were were sitting in our first scout activity, Readyman, for a two hour session.

and then I crashed. I was a zombie. I trudged back to my tent and took a nap, thinking this would refresh me. It did, to some extent, but something wasn't right. Every time I lay down, the room would spin.

By Saturday night, I wasn't feeling well at all. And by 3am Sunday morning I was really sick. Looking back I was having tummy troubles the day before, but the virus kicked in full swing the next morning. After a night spent sleepless and freezing, I managed to drag myself to the shower house and wish to God I could throw up to make the nausea go away. I lay bundling, shivering and shaking on the bench in the shower house wanting DIE. At some point someone called my pack committee chair who was camping and she came to rescue me. Some Pepto Bismol pills, a banana and some soda and I was ok to go back to the camp site. The entire pack had packed up my whole tent and even offered to drive me home. It was about the sweetest thing anyone could do. And of course I felt perfectly pathetic and hated being a burden but what could I do?

It turned out later I was suffering from a double whammy of a tummy virus and Labryntitis, which causes Vertigo, which I get in the winter. Even now, a week later, I am still taking prescription Bonine (used for motion sickness).

I had all the boys write a note to the rest of their den describing their experiences and they all reflected on what a great time they had, so in the end, I am happy we did it. But next time, we camp in Florida.

Here are a bunch of photos that I took:


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