Monday, October 31, 2011


Sydney's Dance class did a flash mob at a local pumpkin patch on Sunday - Look for her all the way to the right as you are watching - the little ones come in on the second or third verse.

She's wearing a pink hoodie, light brown boots and her hair in a pony tail.

The girls had so much fun and it was funny to watch the all the people who had no idea what was going on at first!  

Her studio does this once every few months - she had a blast!

(p.s., this isn't my video, I borrowed it from the Studio's facebook page) 

Sunday, October 30, 2011


This greeted me yesterday morning...

Now, I LOVE snow (as anyone who knows me will tell you).

Unfortunately, our trees haven't yet dropped all their leaves.

Resulting in some very scary cracking sounds, me running around with a broom, slipping (and falling), and beating the snow off the trees, trying to save what I could.

This big maple tree provides a lot of shade for our deck.

Well, it used to.

Olivia was watching from the kitchen window (!!) when several big branches snapped off, fell onto the deck, and bounced off....

That branch is about 12 feet long.  And heavy.

I'm just sick about this. 

And this wasn't the only tree, but the only one I could snap pictures of from the comfort of the house.

The branch came from up there - about 20 feet in the air.

Unfortunately, we didn't get the cover to our pergola down in time.  

You can imagine what happened.

By the time we realized it, it was too late.

And we never thought we would get such a heavy wet snow this early in the season.
Totally pissed about that.


While all of that was happening outside, and in between dodging falling branches while trying to get snow off the trees, I made these for a neighborhood Halloween bash.
Ghost Strawberries!

I found this on Pinterest and knew I had to try it!

Mine aren't quite as pretty, but you get the idea....

I also made some plain, chocolate covered strawberries for those who don't like white chocolate (my mother).
They were a hit and I made a TON, and came home with none.

Brian and I aren't really Halloween kinda people, so we threw together our costumes at the last minute.

I recycled my bridesmaid dress, threw on a crown, a sash and a velvet cape.

I was going to be Miss America, but in honor of the snow I went as Queen Sno-tober.

Brian hates to dress up so I threw my old graduation robes on him, hot glued a construction paper shield with a "G" and a lion that I whipped up, drew a scar on his head and tossed him a broom.

It took all of five minutes to throw it together.

Some pictures Beth took since she was spending the night here - her power was out for about 24 hours and her house was COLD!

Unfortunately, the weather kept most people away and it ended up being just a few brave people from the neighborhood who made it to the party.

We still had a great time.

But now I have to go clean up branches.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sad face :(

Sydney didn't win.  

She's devastated :(

She'll get over it I'm sure.  This is the part of parenting I struggle with...seeing my kids heartbroken when they've worked so hard makes me want to cry.

I want to fix it.  

But I can't and let's face it - this is a "life lesson".

Otherwise known as "Things sometimes SUCK and there's nothing you can do about it".

She did VERY well, got a great grade, and got a shout out from a representative from the BOE about her project.

But, there were some awe inspiring projects there, and while I was hopeful she'd move on to the County Science Fair, I can see that there were other projects that deserved to go.

So, we consoled her, told her how proud we were, we told her it didn't matter if she won, she did her best and had a great project and we told her that next year we'd do something EVEN BETTER.

I just wish I could convince her that even though she didn't WIN, she did an amazing job.

Her thinking is that she didn't win, therefore she didn't do a good job.

How do you counteract that?

And when did she get so competitive?

And why are my girls so hyper about getting A+'s and 100%?

 I can honestly say that we have always told them to do their best - if it's a B and they worked for it, we'd be proud.

It's about the work and the effort, not the grade.

Who's going to remember when they're an adult that they got a B in Math in the third grade????

(Well OK, I do, but I digress...although I'm still a little pissed off about it.)

On another note - to all my east coast/north east and mid-Atlantic peeps - stay safe and warm in the SNOW!!!

(Seriously?  October snow?  Who'd have thought???)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

She's OVER it.

Sydney presented her project to the judges Tuesday.  I asked her how it went.

    "Sydney - how did your presentation go for your project?"

    "Fine.  They just asked questions about the project."

    "What did they ask?"

    "I just told you mommy (eye roll) - questions about my project." 

   "Oh - well I was looking for more specific questions...."

   "The judge got done asking me questions and was writing stuff down.  But he forgot to ask me about the Conclusion.  So, you know, I reminded him."

   "Really?  What did you say?"

   "I just told you mommy - I reminded him to ask me about the conclusion."

    "Ah.  I see."

This morning I reminded her for the ten thousandth time that Parents Night for the Science Fair was tonight.

   "So, as soon as daddy and I get home and take Olivia to practice, we'll load up Mimi and Poppy and we'll all go to the school for the Science Fair!  Are you excited??"


  "Oh. Good.  Cuz you sure sound excited."

  "Mom, let's remember - the project is done.  It's over.  So don't start asking me a bunch of questions about a green roof, K?  It's done."

  "Well, OK.  I guess............But you know Poppy's going to grill you."

  "Darn.  I forgot about that.  He's totally going to do that.  *sigh*  OK.  But after THAT it's over.  No more questions about green roofs.  Ever."


I'm anxious to see what the judges had to say.
We get to read their comments tonight - wish my girl luck!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Science Fair Project

Since I told you all about Olivia's Science Fair project last year, I thought it only fair to show Sydney's entry this year.  Since she's in third grade now, this is a REQUIREMENT and is graded (which is a bit much, if you ask me, but moving on....)

Since Poppy is a scientist, I suggested she ask him for input since I avoided science in every way possible and quite frankly have no interest in it whatsoever.

They came up with the idea of a green roof.

Being in real estate and a LEED AP, I loved the idea (even if it was "science").

First, they made a box - it has two sides separated by a board inside to make two "rooms"

One side had sod on top, the other side had shingles.
 Holes were drilled into the rooms and meat thermometers placed in the holes to measure the temp.

The middle thermometer read the air temp (it was from Brian's shop - can you tell he's a car geek?)

Sydney measured all three temps every half hour,  for five hours. It was a long day.

The difference in the temperatures was actually quite amazing.

The other side of the box had holes drilled with tubing attached to measure the amount of run off from each roof type.

The glass beaker measured the amount of "Rain" (aka, Poppy standing over the box watering it with a hose with a special sprinkler attached so each side got an equal amount of water).

Look at the difference - with a half inch of rain, the green roof has 4 ounces of run off.  The shingle side had 24 ounces of run off. 

And then it was time to make her poster - it speaks for itself....

Hypothesis #1 

How she made her project
A little ditty about green roofs

Hypothesis #2

It was REALLY hard not to take over the project (i'm a tad competitive, ahem), but she did such a great job with only minimal help from me (and a lot of help from Poppy - he's was the idea man, the builder and the overseer of this project).

If she doesn't win, I fear there will be severe temper tantrums in our future. 

Judging is tomorrow and Parent's Night is Thursday - wish her luck!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

We Go Peanut Sugar

My brother and his amazing girlfriend, Misou, have taken off for a five week journey through Japan and Vietnam.

They are documenting their travels on the blog We Go Peanut Sugar.  

What's with the name?  It's a Vietnamese thing.  Misou explains on the blog.

Misou is from Vietnam.  Brandon is... not.  It's going to be very interesting to see how he integrates into this culture for a month, being a round eye and all that.

(Misou jokingly calls him that all the time, so I feel safe in saying I didn't commit some unforgivable faux pas :)

Between Brandon's writing, Misou's photos, their sense of humor and the inevitable cultural gaffes that are bound to happen, it should an interesting month!

Check it out and follow along! I've posted it in my blog roll.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I love Pinterest....

Where else can you find this to make with your kids with little to no effort?

Now, I have to say we didn't follow directions EXACTLY...

First, we put together our form:
Styrofoam ball
Hanger bent all to hell
2-liter bottle

I screwed the styrofoam ball onto the topless bottle.

Then I bent a hanger for the arms and shoved it over the bottle.

It was very scientific.

Then we gathered our next items:

Plastic sandwich bag
Fabric stiffener or liquid starch

**I could NOT find liquid starch so I picked up a bottle of fabric stiffener from JoAnne's

I cut a piece of cheese cloth and folded it in half to make it thicker (two layers thick).  Make sure that it covers the form enough that it drapes on the ground, so your ghost will stand on his own.

Since I used fabric stiffener - which is THICK - I added some water to thin it a bit and mixed it in a bowl.  Then we folded up the cheesecloth and put it in the bowl, saturating it.

After it was nice and sticky and wet, we unfolded it and draped it over the form.

I had to add the plastic sandwich bag around the styrofoam head after the first ghost because I had to RIP the cheesecloth off the first head.  It wasn't pretty.

But the cheesecloth slips right off when the plastic bag is on there.

Set it in the sun to dry.  Or use a hairdryer.  Whatever floats your boat.

We put our wet ghost on a plastic grocery bag on the front steps.

Once ours dried, I sprayed it with  a bit of Krylon white paint.

Add felt eyes with your handy dandy hot glue gun and.....


We put them in our bay windows next to the light up pumpkins.

Here's a view from outside...

And here's a view from inside...

My kids had a BLAST doing this.

 It's not often I tell them to stick their hands in a bowl of glue to make sure that every inch of the fabric is covered in goo.

They looked at me like I was crazy.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The reason I don't discuss sports.....especially with my husband

Brian:   Oh look – they did win.

Deb:  Who?

B:  The Capitals.

D:   Who’d they play and where?

B:  They played in Pittsburgh.

D:  Really???  They Won? In Pittsburgh???

B:   Well, they won in the regular season….

D:  So it’s the playoffs?

B:  It’s only been three games, honey…

D:  But you just said “They won in regular season", so WTF?

B:  You didn't let me finish – what I was saying was, they consistently won against Pittsburgh in the regular season… It was the playoffs when...

D:  Well, you didn't clarify so I wasn't sure what you were saying. So what about the playoffs? They lost against Pittsburgh in the playoffs?

B:  Honey, they won the Stanley Cup.

D:  The Caps won the Stanley Cup? When? I thought the season just started? So is it playoffs and they lost?  But you said the Caps won...

B:  Oh my God.

D:  I’m so confused….

B:  Me too.

B:  Baseball season starts tomorrow.  You should start following baseball too.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Shut the front door!!

If you remember, after we knocked down the wall, the front door looked like this:

I know what you were/are thinking - DUUUUUUDE!!  That door doesn't match!  Break out the paint girlfriend! 

Well, I would have but I had another plan. 

A NEW front door.

Once with a glass insert to let the light in.

But, um, have you priced new front doors?

Yeah, I actually like my first born, so I wasn't willing to give her up for one.  

Taking down the wall really brightened the space up, but I wanted MORE.

I had resigned myself to living with the door "as is" for awhile.


And then, mom and dad decided to replace their perfectly good front door with a brand new one. 

Cuz, you know, they felt like it.

Who am I to argue that they really didn't NEED a new gorgeous wood grain mac daddy front door?

Mom and dad making unnecessary purchases is how I get awesome hand me downs.

So, I snagged that perfectly good, glass paneled, old front door faster than you can say 

It needed a little work - there were dents that needed to be filled, a few holes from something mom had attached to the door that needed to be filled and a good sanding and painting.

The door isn't as fancy as some and the glass panel has that brass in it (I can deal with it). 

But it is my favorite door EVER.

Cuz it was free.

The outside got painted the same color as the old front door - Red, Red Wine by Behr.

Here it is, in bad lighting, with one coat of paint.  Yeah - it looks bad.

But I promise it's not.

I still need to do touch up on the outside, so you'll have to wait for pictures of the door from the outside. 


We used the same hardware from the old door, thereby saving ourselves another $100+.

(Seriously - why does everything cost a bazillion dollars????)

And finally got it installed....

Yup, I painted it black.  

(gratuitous Rolling Stone reference)

And I love it.

I mean LOVE IT.

You can see the back side of my fall door decoration.  It adds a little color and blocks a lot of the clear glass (the panel is a mix of frosted/bubbly/clear glass).

I actually walked through the kitchen the first few days and was SURE someone left the front door open because so much light was coming in.

At night:

In the morning:

Love the little prisms it throws on the hallway walls. I still have a few things to do in the hall (a few pictures to hang and new rugs) but the door just changes the whole look. 

The only downside?

I have to be careful running downstairs to the laundry room to grab clothes in the morning. 

Probably not a sight my neighbors want to see at 7:00 a.m.

And that is the story of our new FREE front door.