Thursday, March 22, 2012

I have fond memories of blowing out eggs and making an Easter egg tree when I was a kid, so this year I decided that would be a fun thing to do with my own kiddos. We dyed eighteen eggs, even though I didn't think our tree would need that many eggs, just because the kids were having fun with the dying process. While the eggs were drying, we went on a walk to search for branches. Luckily, there had been a storm with a lot of wind the night before, so there was no shortage of branches laying around the neighborhood.

Next, Emma and I blew out the insides of the eggs, and it was at this point we realized it had been a good idea to make eighteen eggs. There was a bit of a learning curve, and we ended up breaking the first four eggs while trying to poke holes in the end. We eventually got the hang of it and were able to finish up the project without too many more egg fatalities. Our next problem came when we were rinsing all the egg goo off of the eggs - the colors that had been so bright and varied rinsed off with the goo, leaving nothing but light pastels. The greens turned to light blue, the reds and purples were pink, and the yellows were basically white. We considered dying them again, but opted not to, mostly because I didn't want to go to the store and buy another dying kit.We glued ribbon onto the eggs and hung them on our branches. I also printed out some Easter subway art to set on the table. It looked cute, but something was still missing, so I found some fabric in the basement and sewed a quick and easy (and very crooked) table runner. Perfect.
Our Easter table is complete, and I love that, whenever I am in the kitchen, I can glance over to the dining room for a little Easter cheer.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Oh, man.

When Jose, our old dog, was alive, I would sometimes tell myself that we wouldn't get another dog after he died. No one to remember to take outside, no one to remember to feed, no one to worry about when we go on vacation, no one peeing in our house when he's home all alone during thunderstorms...nice, right? Then, after Jose died, it made even more sense not to start all over because we have a new house and new furniture and the last thing I want is some new dog peeing in our new house and chewing up our new furniture. Makes sense, right?

In spite of all that, Steve was thinking that we should get a new dog, because his opinion is that "it just seems like a family should have a dog". While I kind of agree with that, I knew that getting a new dog at this time didn't make a lot of sense. At least, my reasonable side knew that. The problem was that my emotion-driven, idiotic, completely unreasonable side was telling the reasonable side to shut up. And then after telling it to shut up, it beat it into submission. Then, knowing that reason could no longer play any part in this decision, that darn unreasonable side started to look online for puppies that might be available. Grrr. So, even as I was telling Steve and myself that I didn't want to get another dog, I was at the same time telling Steve about this puppy or that puppy that might be a good fit for our family. Crazy, I tell you.

So last weekend I finally found a breeder that had a litter of Shih-tzus that were ready to go and reasonably priced and that looked super cute online. We drove about two hours to get to her house and look at the puppies. The little Shih-tzus were pretty cute, but there was another dog there that really caught our attention. He was a Shorkie, which is a half Shih-tzu, half Yorkie. He was unbelievably cute and so playful so we started to think we should get him instead. However, we had our hearts set on a Shih-tzu because that's what our old dog was and we know they are such great dogs. So, before my reasonable self could step in and try to restore order, we bought two puppies and headed home. Gah!

So, here is the Shorkie, whom we named Sherman, on his way to his new homeand here is Mickey.I am being super diligent about getting them trained well, for the sake of our new house and furniture. In the car on the way to the breeder I read "Everything You Need to Know To House Train your Puppy" out loud to my family so we could get a head start on learning the best way to train these guys. I'm sure my children were riveted. We also have an obedience training lady coming here on Wednesday night to give us a crash course on training puppies.So far it's been going pretty well. We're crate training them, which was sad the first night because they cried a lot, but after that it's been much easier. Now they don't mind being in the crate at all. I'm already tired of setting my alarm for 2:00 a.m. to let them out to go potty, but I suppose that won't last forever.They really are adorable and lots of fun, so - so far, at least - I am not regretting the decision to get them. I am, however, looking forward to when they are completely trained so I can stop being so vigilant all the time. My book promised that would be in 30 days, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that that is really true. Twenty-one days to go!

Friday, March 02, 2012

I am clueless about plants. Absolutely, utterly clueless. I would like to learn how to take care of plants and garden, but I am at a loss. One morning we met a nice older lady a few houses down from ours, who mentioned that she loves gardening and would be happy to help me if I have any questions. Come Spring, I think I might have to take her up on that.A couple months ago, we bought two plants to go in our entryway. I really love these plants, so I was determined to keep them alive. I read the (short, mostly useless) instructions that came with them and tried to water them the right amount and keep the front door open all the time so they would get enough sun, but things are not going so well.They are obviously dying. For awhile I thought maybe they would be okay, but the brown spots on the leaves of one and the constant withering of leaves off of the other one are making it pretty clear that they don't have long to live. Boo.Despite this setback, I decided to bring even more plants in our house. I saw some cute little terrariums on Pinterest and I knew I wanted to make some of those for myself. I tried to find some artificial succulents to put in them, but I couldn't really find anything that looked half as good as real plants. When I came across the perfect terrarium containers - in the cookie jar section at Target - I figured it was time to just suck it up and get some real plants.

We took a trip to Suburban Lawn and Garden, where it just so happened that a lady working there that day was a self-proclaimed "terrarium expert". She was eager to share her extensive knowledge with us, which I very much needed and appreciated. The kids, however, weren't too thrilled to be walking around looking at plants while this lady talked about terrariums for more than an hour. By the time we had gotten everything we needed and left, I felt like I was a terrarium expert!As soon as we got home, I set up my little terrarium workstation and got busy putting in all the necessary layers - rocks, charcoal, and some particular kind of potting soil, then more rocks - and deciding how to arrange the plants. Aren't those little plants adorable?It's been a couple weeks now and so far they are not only still alive, but they appear to be thriving. Hurray! I'm not exactly sure why, but I really love these terrariums. It makes me happy just to look at them. They look a little lonely on this table right now, so maybe at some point we'll add something else, but for now - as long as I can keep them alive - I'm content just to enjoy them here all by themselves.