Monday, July 30, 2007

Country Living

Last week was a quiet one here at the Reddy Zoo. It was the first week all summer that we didn’t have a single thing on our calendar. There were no camps, schools, or even doctor’s appointments. What a beautiful thing! I decided to take the kids for an impromptu 5-day, 4-night stay at the “Country House”.

Grandma and Grandpa have a house in a small lake community about an hour from our house. It’s just far enough away to make you feel like you're on vacation. The house has changed over the years to make room for more people as the family has grown. The simple A-frame has become more like a lodge, accommodating more than 20 people plus babies and toddlers. On busy weekends there can be three to four pack-n-plays set up in various rooms for little ones to take their naps or turn in for the night.

Our usual trips to the country house are for weekends when other families are there as well. The kids love going out there when they will have cousins there to play with. It is fun for us grown-ups to get together too. Everyone enjoys swimming in the lake, going fishing, swinging on the rope swing, and playing games in the evenings. Not to mention the loads of delicious food we indulge in during stays at the country house.

The bulk of this trip, however, was just me and the kids. Although we did have quite a few visitors who came to spend a day with us, it certainly was not the usual party weekend with Grandma, Grandpa, aunts, uncles and cousins. I thought the kids may have been bummed, but they had a great time. And it truly was a vacation for me. Just being away from home, away from the painting, the laundry, and the dog was heavenly.

We arrived on Tuesday and didn’t come home until Saturday evening. We had friends come out on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Dad was able to join us after work on Friday and spend Saturday with us. We took a few pictures while we were there. We are so lucky that we have such a special place to go when we get the chance to escape. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

I also have to thank our good friends for letting us spend the weekend at their lake house last weekend. It was a lovely getaway and we hope to do it again soon.


Monday, July 23, 2007

The Dog Days of Summer

The weather has actually been quite mild during these last couple of weeks, but I still have to call these the “dog days”. Our dog, Scully, is growing old and NOT gracefully. She is behaving sort of like she did when she was a puppy; getting things down from the kitchen counters and chewing them up, getting into the trash and scattering it about, and (my favorite) peeing on the carpet. Unfortunately, I do not have the patience for these kinds of behaviors that I did when she was a puppy.

It has been difficult for us to leave the house for any length of time. Nine out of ten times when we return from simply going to the store there will be trash on the floor or a loaf of bread will have been devoured, and I am constantly cleaning the carpet. We thought that she was going potty on the floor because she couldn’t wait as long to go outside as she used to. However, she has started going on the floor while we are here at home with her. She has even gone right in front of us! It is causing me to stress out a bit, as you can imagine.

This morning she got up with me and I let her out to go potty. She came back in and then peed on the carpet in the living room, right next to yesterday’s spot! Apparently she prefers the carpet to the grass. I decided that Scully needed to try being an outside dog for a while. Of course she’ll still have water out there at all times, and there’s plenty of shade for her too. It will probably take some getting used to, but it’s the best solution I can come up with at this point. If you have any other suggestions (or if you would like to add an eleven-year-old, 60 pound dog to your household) please let me know.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Paint, paint, and more paint

You might be tired of hearing about my dining room, but it happens to be a major part of what’s happening around here, so too bad. We decided that “Sueded Leather” wasn’t really the right color for our new room, and we decided to go darker. I must have been in the mood for sweets when I got to the paint store because the color I selected was called “Swiss Chocolate”. It was more than a little darker than our original color and we were slightly concerned with the contrast. However, I like the dark chocolate color more and more as it has been slowly going up on the walls. I especially like the dramatic color changes from one room to another. No two rooms are the same color on the main floor. This picture shows the view from the dining room, through the foyer, and into the living room.


Our kitchen is painted another bold color – a deep red. The texture exists because of the trauma the drywall incurred upon removal of the floral wallpaper.

The only room left to paint on the main floor is the bathroom. It currently has the dreaded wallpaper, but only on three walls and it is a small room. C.B. is dying to help me tear down. My dilemma is what color to paint this room. It has to be different from any other room, and it has to have the same intensity as the other rooms. I have thought about using the purple from this great chair we have in our family room.
This chair has been the inspiration for three other rooms already. The main taupe color is the color of our family room, the dark green color is in the living room, and you saw the red in our kitchen. The only color we have not yet used is the purple. It's a very royal color. Perhaps it is fitting for a room that contains a throne. Get it? A throne? Ha!

Actually it does not matter at this point because we have other painting projects that have priority over the bathroom. Since we are not selling our house we have decided to separate the girls, who have been sharing a bedroom for almost a year now. Miss M is often awakened by the lovely sound of the Banana impersonating Mariah Carey in the mornings. We are really starting to feel sorry for her and would like to get her into her own room as soon as possible. We will be moving her into a smaller room so that the boys, who will probably always share a room, can have the bigger one. To sweeten the deal we told her she could help design the look of her new room. She’s pretty excited about it, and she has a lot of good decorating ideas. I would love to get the room ready for her while it is still summer. That way she can enjoy some Banana-free mornings before school starts. Miss M’s Room = priority one.

Moving the boys into the girls’ old room will also present another painting project. Right now it is very “girly” in there, as C.B. recently informed me. We have been talking with the boys about possible d├ęcor for their room. They still love the superheroes, but we also have a ton of Star Wars stuff since we experienced somewhat of an obsession with Star Wars a not so long time ago, in a neighborhood not so far, far away. (A bit of background info: the Star Wars Main Theme was playing when we entered the reception hall on our wedding day, and Han and Leia were our cake toppers. See? Just a slight obsession.) The boys’ room = priority two.

We can’t forget the Banana. She will be moving into the boys’ current room. However, since she probably won’t care about the superheroes on the walls, we can wait to redecorate her room for a while. Bananas room = priority three…or possibly four if we want to get going on that bathroom first. Just don’t tell Banana. She’ll never know.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

New Cake


This cake was made for a red, white and blue bridal shower. I used a cake pan that my grandma found when she was moving out of her house and getting rid of lots of old stuff. The people at the cake supply store had never even heard of this type of pan. It is one pan that makes a three tiered cake.

I also tried another new technique on this one. It’s called sotas. It’s kind of like scribbling all over the cake, but it ends up looking great. My hand hurt when I was finished, but I was very pleased with how it turned out.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Dear Blog

Dear Blog,

Do you miss me? I am sorry I have not visited lately. I have been busy. I know, I know…you’ve heard that line before. But this time I REALLY mean it. I have accomplished a lot since I last wrote.

I (almost) finished painting the furniture to go in our new room. By the way, we have decided to call this room the “Thinking Room”. It will be a place where the kids can go to do their homework, sit at the computer, read, play games, do puzzles, etc. I am really looking forward to finishing up in there.

We spent the weekend at the country along with Grandma and Grandpa and some of our aunts, uncles and cousins. The moms and kids mostly played at the beach while the dads worked on a home improvement project out there. We felt bad for them because they didn’t get much relaxing done over the weekend. Maybe next time.

We had a team party at our house for Miss M’s softball team before her last game of the season. We ordered 10 pizzas for the girls on the team and their families. Then they had ice cream after the game. It didn’t hurt that they won that game either. It was a great end to the season.

I spent most of Monday and Tuesday getting ready for a garage sale I am having along with my mother-in-law. Since we are moving back into our house, we thought we’d clean up and clear out more clutter along the way. The clutter I am referring to is mostly kids’ toys. There are simply too many in this house for our children to play with. They agreed to sell a lot of them, and they will get some money from the sale to purchase some new things like DVDs or games for the computer. If you ask them they’ll say they're getting a Wii. We’re not so sure about that, but they have made over $100 so far in the sale. The Garage Sale Part II is on Saturday.

As I write this I am packing for a Girl Scout Mother-Daughter overnight with Miss M. We are leaving in an hour and we won’t be back until tomorrow. Our wonderful Grandmas and Grandpas are taking care of the younger kiddos while dad is at work. I really won’t be gone for much more than 24 hours, but it takes a surprising amount of packing and planning to pull something like this off. It’s all worth it though. I am looking forward to having some fun girl time with Miss M.

In case you didn’t think this sounded busy enough to ignore my posts, read on. When I get back, I need to bake a cake (Woo-hoo! Another order!) and get ready for Saturday morning’s sale. After the sale on Saturday I need to decorate the cake, and get it ready to deliver to a wedding shower on Sunday morning. After delivering the cake we are going to visit my aunt and swim in the pool at her apartment building. It will be another full weekend.

And if you still think that I am just making excuses, Monday begins another week of Girl Scout Camp for Miss M. I am working at this one again, so it may be another little while before I am able to write again. Be assured that I have not forgotten you. I promise to write again when I can.

Love,
Zookeeper

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Creative Endeavors

Since I’ve been slow to post lately there is a lot to catch you up on. Last Friday was our final day of Vacation Bible School. We had a fun morning and spent the afternoon helping to clean up. (The helpers got free pizza afterwards – of course we helped!) While I was sweeping, several of the teenagers who were also helping clean up ran to get me. They said I just HAD to see what the boys were doing. They thought it was hilarious!






During the week of VBS, I had been focusing most of my energy on getting rid of the wallpaper in my dining room. I was so obsessed that I was neglecting things like laundry and dinners. I took a break from it on Saturday to do some other fun things.

I rode twenty miles on the Katy Trail with two of my sisters-in-law. We are riding in the MS Bike Ride in a couple of months so we are “in training”. By the way, if you would like to make a donation to our team, please click here.

After the ride I went to another sister-in-law’s house to help her with a bridal shower cake. Her niece is getting married in September and she and her sister were hosting the shower. The cake turned out very pretty, especially considering we didn’t have much of a plan to begin with. We tried a technique called cornelli lace, which I have always wanted to try. It’s not as difficult as it looks, and I look forward to having another project to utilize it again.

Also on the “I have been wanting to try” list were these bride and groom strawberries.


I saw these about a year ago and have wanted to make them ever since. My sister-in-law’s bridal shower gave me an excuse. Like the lace on the cake, these were easier to make than they appear, and were a big hit at the shower. Don’t forget to think of me when you need to order a cake or candy (or chocolate covered strawberries decorated like little brides and grooms!)

Also on Saturday, my husband and I enjoyed a “Wine & Cheese” event at our church followed by what we would call a real date. We saw a movie, had a nice dinner, and then saw another movie. That is something we have not done in a very long time. It was wonderful!

Then on Sunday it was back to the wallpaper. And then I did some more work on Monday, when I finally got all of the glue removed from the walls. I got my husband to help me get a coat of KILZ on the walls before bed on Monday, and they were painted with a coat of “Sueded Leather” by Tuesday evening. I must give many thanks to my dad, who spent nearly four hours painting with me on Tuesday afternoon.

There is still plenty to do before we can call the room finished, but I am truly overjoyed to have those walls painted. After all of that scraping and scrubbing, the rest of the work will be a breeze.