Saturday, February 26, 2011

(Equally) Good Times with Evan and Claire

I've got so many overdue pictures of Claire and Evan, I had to make a trip to the "Funny Caption Bank" and make a major withdrawal.  Please feel free to smile or chuckle (if appropriate).

Kitty Cat's new game.  If Claire is IN, Kitty stays OUT.  And vice versa.

Claire:  "Kitty Cat, can you help me with my lawn mower?  There seems to be a malfunction."

Claire: "Oh, wait.  I've got to watch that airplane first."

Kitty Cat:  "I've found the problem.  You just need more soap bubbles."

Claire:  "Goodness gracious, that Kitty Cat is smart."

"So smart, I just flipped my lid!"

Claire: "I know this looks like the slide that was indoors last week.  But how could it be?"

"I think I'll take a short hike with my little wagon.  Call me when Grandma gets out the Goldfish, or in five minutes, whichever comes first."

"Uh, Grandma. . . I don't mean anything by this, but have you seen the size of your shadow lately?"

Evan says, "I want a big shadow like Grandma and Grandpa's."

Grandma says, "Evan, let me assure you, your shadow and everything else about you is just right."

"Whoosh!  I think Grandpa must've rubbed this baby down with wax paper!"

Evan is famous for smiling just before and just after a camera appears.  But I got him this time.  And you can guess why he's so happy I bet.

"I dunno, Grandpa.  I think when the three little kittens found their mittens they shouldn't have worn them to eat pie."

"Ahem.  Grandma, when he says 'cheese' you're supposed to look at the camera."

Guess who celebrated "Clifford, the Big Red Dog" at Mom's Morning Out today?

Give up?  OK.  It was CLAIRE KIRBY!

"Woohoo.  I want big red ears and a black nose like big sis."

"I thought if I smiled you'd do whatever I asked.  Isn't that a rule?"

"Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought I heard somewhere that you guys were extinct."
(This was Evan's first time ever in the Johnny-Jumpup, and he liked it.)

Like the title says, "Good Times."  This picture speaks for itself. 

This giant oak tree is about three times the size of when Jennifer and Amanda used to play around it and its neighboring Magnolia tree more than two decades ago.  Now, a root makes an ample seat for Claire.

Claire:  "Will somebody let me know when the next party is?  I've just gotten some new bracelets."

Believe me, the next party could start any time!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Good Times with Brianna and Hunter

Brianna was in a mood for hats the other day, so I pulled out a St. Patrick's Day hat a few weeks early.  She took to it readily, so I'm sharing the pictures even if they are a little premature.  Who knows what she'll be wearing on St. Paddy's Day?

Brianna:  "Grandma, you get three guesses: am I Robin Hood, the Green Hornet, or St. Patrick?"

"Whoa!  How'd she ever guess I'm a leprechaun?"

"But I'll never tell where my pot o' gold is."

And with that she struts away to deal with more pressing matters. . . carrying her cute little pot with her.

Brianna: "Hunter, it's about time you started earning your keep around here.  How 'bout doin' some tricks?"

Hunter: "How's this: Alakazim, Alakazam-- you WILL play 'Mary Had a Little Lamb'!"

Hunter's also taken up riding.
Hunter: "Hi ho, Grandpa, and away!"

"Don't worry, Grandpa.  I'm watchin' your back.  Not much choice."

"So what's this contraption?  Some instrument of torture?  I never should have let you guys know I can sit up."

Hunter: "Hey, Sis, you're stealin' some of my limelight."
Brianna: "Take it easy, kiddo.  I was bouncing in one of these things before you were a twinkle in Mommy and Daddy's eyes."

I don't think there will be any sibling rivalry between these two.  They get a whole lotta lovin' from all directions.
Next blog: Claire and Evan

Another Appreciative STAPLES Customer

Last fall I blogged about a very gratifying shopping trip at Staples where everything I got was free, based on Reward points.  This morning I read Amanda's Frugal Report blog about her impressive savings at Staples.  Lo and behold, I had just gotten back from spending $21 of free Reward points myself.

I think Staples is a big box store that "gets it."  Although their regular prices are rather high, that's typical of places that sell office or educational supplies.  Their quality is consistently good and their customer service is topnotch.  But it's their rewards that keep me coming back.  At Christmas I got two 20 packs of batteries with a 100% rebate.  We needed the batteries for Christmas candles and various children's toys.  A few days ago I received the $21 coupons for said batteries.

I browsed the store for a while, knowing I wouldn't find anything cheap.  I was right.  I finally headed for the checkout counter with an $8.00 file storage tub (can't get too many of them) and a 100-pack of sheet protectors, which I use all the time for music, genealogy, articles, and so on.  I calculated that those two items would eat up the whole Reward amount.

When I checked out, the girl told me that the tub was half price ($4.00) and I could either get a coupon for the balance or go back for another item.  I had already scanned their office snacks sections, because I've often gotten trail mix type goodies marked way down.  Didn't see any today.  But somebody had set down a single pack of trail mix right there at the front.  I knew it was over $6.00 but decided to splurge.  But when she rang it up it was only $4.00 and I had 21 cents left over.  So really, I got all this stuff and the batteries (from December) for the price of the batteries.  Can't complain about that, because I'll use it all.
Staples:  That was easy.  Yep.  I like Staples.

On a related topic, I have to brag about a deal I got on a magazine for Judy's birthday (don't worry, she already knows about it).  She regularly purchases All You magazine at Wal-mart on a monthly basis.  If it weren't for that magazine and its coupons, she probably wouldn't go to Wal-mart twice a year (she might send me, however).  Anyway, this week she gave me some of the little subscription forms found in the current issue and said she'd love to get this magazine for her birthday. 

I decided to subscribe on-line.  Each of the four forms she gave me quoted a price of $1.94 per issue, plus 30 cents postage.  The website quoted the same price.  I surfed the website briefly and found a little drop-down menu called Coupons and Deals.  Click on it and the last item is Special Magazine Savings.  Lo and behold (that's twice I've said that in this post), I saw the same exact ad I had seen before, but with a cost of only $1.66 per issue.  I was able to lock it in for two years.  And you won't believe how much money Judy will save from the coupons over that period of time.  Well, if you know Judy, you WILL believe it.  (If you are interested in the low rate for All You magazine, here's the link:  All You for $1.66

Anyway, along with all the smart, savvy, money-saving women in my family, I also like to find a bargain.

Because I'm cheap.  Happy frugal shopping, y'all.

Note:  In sympathy to Amanda's computer dilemma, I'm not posting any photos on this post.  Also, I don't have any.  But a new computer may be in my future-- all for Judy, of course!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

February Pot Pourri

It seems like a long time since I had a "pot pourri" blog.  By the way, is "pot pourri" still a category on Jeopardy?  Or is it just something to add fragrance to a stale, musty room?  I knew it was French, but found it in my Webster's dictionary.  It's from the French verb pourrir: to ROT.  Hmmm.  Dried leaves kept in a jar to add fragrance.  Also a medley, a miscellany, an anthology.  BINGO!  Well, here goes.

Below is the arrangement of roses I gave Judy for Valentine's Day.  They're in the jug Moore County Schools gave me upon my retirement.  It finally came in handy.  Note the antique music stand to the right.  Judy gave me that treasure some years ago.  It's cast iron with a leather music rack.  The vintage sheet music on it is "Melody of Love."

For about 15 years I've had another Valentine tradition.  I've provided dinner music for a sweetheart banquet for the ladies of Sacred Heart church.  My dear friend Ann has contacted me each year to provide the music.  She also provides me with a delicious meal at her head table.  We've held this event at Mid-Pines, Pine Needles, Longleaf, and currently at Table-on-the-Green.  As our participants have "grayed," (including yours truly) it has switched from an evening meal to a luncheon.  I play anything from Big Band, to Roaring Twenties, to broadway and cinematic favorites.  And I guess I'll still be joining them for years to come.

Changing subjects:  Judy and I took advantage of our current warm spell to walk to the stream at the back of our property.  All was perfectly tranquil until a disturbed bird took flight.  It was a Kingfisher, the first I've ever seen in Moore County (may have seen some at the coast, I'm not sure).  It's appearance fully matched the description in my field guide.  Deep, irregular (and loud) wingbeats when in flight.  Big-headed appearance (I'm quoting the guide book, not disparaging the poor bird).  Bright rusty belly and crested head.  Seen singly or in pairs along streams and ponds.  What a wondrous moment of serendipity.  Around here, we've learned to expect the unexpected.  Hope we see it again.

Changing scenes once again.  I was out at Farm Life School this week and stopped first at the office.  I was welcomed by Tammy and Janice.  Their office has been decorated and enhanced since I retired.  They deserve a great workplace, because they are the wheels that keep this school rolling.  It's always so good to see them and my other school family.

If you're expecting a funny caption, how about this:
Janice and Tammy: "No Mr. Loyd, no one gets in to see the Great Oz, not even you."

My true purpose for being at school was to take Mrs. Dumas and Mrs. Cameron's second graders on the newly revamped nature trail.  There will be a whole blog about this very soon.  Here I am in my snake shirt, taking a familiar view of Jack, Will, and Tom, our triple poplar (as well as pop-U-lar) tree.

And there's no better way to cool down from a nature walk than a good folktale.  These girls and their classmates were thrilled to meet Molly Whuppie, a sharp-as-a-tack, adventure-loving, mountain heroine.

Claire: "WHAT? A blog with no babies?"
Well, just this one. 

But just wait until next time!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"Four on the Floor"

When you have four grandchildren under the age of two, you just might have four on the floor.  Or in the yard.  Or in high chairs. Or in the stroller.  In fact, who knows where you'll find them?

Grandma Judy: "Hunter, now that you're 4 months old, you'll have more responsibilities around here."

Hide-and-Seek with Brianna.  Her philosophy is, if she can't see us, we can't see her.

Brianna:  "You kitty cats will have to find your own hiding places."

It all started out as a typical workout for Hunter.
"Hmm.  I wonder if I can reach that blue moon thingy."

Next thing you know. . . over you go!
Hunter: "HEY, where'd the blue moon go?  Uh oh-- is my best side showing?"

Hunter: "TA DA!  There, everything's back to normal."

Hunter:  " Yeah, Grandma, that was quite a workout.  Hey, where are you taking me?"

"Yeah, it was. . . some. . . workout. . . zzzzzzzzzzzzz."

Oblivious to Hunter's exertions, Brianna concentrates on one of her 101 goals (like Mommy), memorizing the words to her 100 Songs for Kids video.

"Don't make fun of me, Grandpa.  I need to learn them so I can be on American Idol when I'm 16. And maybe I'll grow into these sunglasses by then, too."

Claire's filling up her grocery cart (kindly passed on from Emma and Jessie).
First, she's gathered all the Veggie Tale characters in the house (also from Emma and Jessie).
Now, she's collected all the "hearts" she can find, in honor of Valentine's Day.  Where'd we ever get all those heart magnets?

Claire: "Enough with the shopping.  Now I'll play Pony Express and deliver all those Valentines."

Evan: "Right on, Big Sis.  And just as soon as I can do some exciting stuff like that, I want Grandpa to do a blog just about me!"  (Don't worry, Evan, you won't have to wait that long.)

When Claire checks out the sliding board, she discovers she has a new downstairs neighbor: it's KITTY CAT!

Kitty Cat says: "I just love these kids.  They simply adore me.  They share their toys.  They pet me gently-- most of the time. They put this nice quilt in here just for me.  Let me know when they've gone home, okay?"

Okay, they've gone home.  But they'll be back.  And the sooner the better!