Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Meet my sister....
Swany's Wild Thing

I call her Sara, but the rest of the world knows her as "Swany."

Sometime before Halloween last year she started working on an awesome Halloween costume.

Swany's Wild Thing Swany's Wild Thing

Sadly, she didn't finish it in time for the festivities, but she vowed to finish it for this year.

Swany's Wild Thing Swany's Wild Thing

I am happy to announce - she DID finish it AND it's awesome!

Swany's Wild ThingSwany's Wild Thing

Freaking awesome isn't it??


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Baby Gifts

The family I nanny for will be increasing their numbers shortly and I of course, wanted to give them a traditional "congratulations your having a kid" gift... though I had no idea what to get. They've already got one kid, so they can reuse a ton of baby items... and they've already received a ton of gifts for this baby.

So naturally... I went the crafty route. I have made baby onesies before, but this time I wanted to include the little girl I watch... since she will after all be the big sister!

T

I made the freezer paper stencils ahead of time and ironed them on before binging them over to their house for craft time. I then let the little one go to town! I limited colors so we didn't end up with a big brown/black mess...

Paint

They turned out pretty good. With the wild painting of a 2 year old, the stencils bled a little. No problem though I jut outlined them with black!
T


Though I used fabric paint - I'm not expecting the shirts to last through a ton of washes (thin paint application and stretchy shirts)... but they will be great the first couple of wears and then be perfect for lounging around the house in!

T
This one was obviously not done with a stencil ;-) Here is a better one.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Book Review

Title: Land of a Hundred Wonders
By: Lesley Kagen
Pages: 289

Book Description:
The summer Gibby McGraw catches her big break, the cicadas are humming, and it’s so warm even the frogs are sweating. Brain damaged after a tragic car accident that took both her parents, Gibby is now NQR (Not Quite Right), a real challenge for a fledgling newspaper reporter. Especially when she stumbles upon the dead body of the next governor of Kentucky, Buster Malloy.

Armed with her trusty blue spiral note-book, Gibby figures that solving the murder might be her best chance to prove to everyone that she can become Quite Right again. But she gets more than she bargained for when she uncovers a world of corruption, racism, and family secrets in small town Cray Ridge. Lucky for her, she’s also about to discover that some things are far more important than all the brains in the world, and that miracles occur in the most unexpected moments.

My thoughts:
I really like this book! Though it was a little sad at times how people treated Gibby, the main character, I found this book to be a bit funny. She might be a little brain damaged, a little slow, and not quite remember everything, but she is certainly not stupid. This book touched on just about everything... family, relationships, secrets, miracles, abuse, love and race just to name a few. I got a little teary eyed in two spots on this book, and I think that any book that can spark emotion from its reader is worth recommending! One of my favorite things about this book is Gibby's jumbled up brain and the authors use of Homophones (man, I had to dig back in to my grade school English for that word!).I also love Gibby's literal interpretations of everyday sayings ;-)

If you are interested in this book, read it! Also check out "Whistling in the Dark" It was a good one too!

Click here for Other book Reviews by Erika Jean

P.S. I am now keeping track of my books on GoodReads. Add me as a friend!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Turning those Frowns Upside Down #geocaching

There are more than a few caches close to home that I've come up empty handed on. I've let them sit around too long...

DNFind

Today I decided to tackle two caches on the Juan Bautista de Anza National Trail. I dashed out of the house a little after 4pm and hoped they wouldn't take me too long to find. It's definitely getting darker earlier. The sun set at 5:42 tonight! (Random fact: Arizona does not observe daylight savings.... Another random fact:My birthday is on the shortest day of the year! Oh, just one more.... the world is going to end on my birthday. I'm going to throw one heck of a party in 2012. You are all invited.)

Both of the caches I went after were placed by the same cache owner, and this container seems to be one of his favorites. His kids must eat a lot of Mini M&ms.

I DNF this cache almost a year ago.

This one I DNFed a year and a half ago!

Anyway, I don't know how I missed them the first time. I'm going to bet the yellow wasn't showing through when I looked last year ;-)

While most of you may be slowing down your caching because if the cold and the snow(except for you hardcore cachers), my geocaching season is officially in full swing! Hello Fall and Winter in the Southwest! I no longer fear melting in the desert.

With nicer weather comes more caching and more hikes. And more hikes mean more pictures! By the way, I use the word "hike" very loosely. On my little "hike" today I grabbed some pictures.... Which I would now like to share with you.

Moon Flower
Closed Moon Flower

Moon Flower
Open Moon Flower

Trail Tree
On the Trail.

Buffelgrass
Buffelgrass. Yes, it is an invasive weed - but hey, I can make anything look beautiful!

That is all.

What is Geocaching? Find out here.
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Book Review

Title: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (Book 1)
By: Alexander McCall Smith
Pages: 235

Book Description:
This first novel in Alexander McCall Smith’s widely acclaimed The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series tells the story of the delightfully cunning and enormously engaging Precious Ramotswe, who is drawn to her profession to “help people with problems in their lives.” Immediately upon setting up shop in a small storefront in Gaborone, she is hired to track down a missing husband, uncover a con man, and follow a wayward daughter. But the case that tugs at her heart, and lands her in danger, is a missing eleven-year-old boy, who may have been snatched by witchdoctors.

My thoughts:
This is another book in a series.... that I'm not sure if I'll ever get around to reading. Not that the book wasn't good, but because I'm not that committed. I get too bored reading the same thing for to long. (...and I just found out the book was turned into an HBO series that kind of looks good... does anyone know if it is still on? and anyplace you can watch HBO shows for free?!)

Anyway, Back to the book. It is set in Africa, so it took me a couple chapters to get used to the names and whatnot. A lot of them were very similar so I had to read carefully. Once I got used to it though, I was fine.

The book was basically about Mma Ramotswe and how she came to start her own detective agency. She sort of breaks the mold when it comes to detective work, being a woman and all... You follow a bunch of little cases through out the book, with one major one lurking in the background. I loved reading about how she came to the truth in each one and how bold she was with people sometimes. I liked "watching" her solve the story more than trying to figure things out myself. I guess I don't really qualify this a s a mystery book. Just a book about a lady in the mystery business :-)

As I've said before in other reviews. I liked it, but I didn't love it.


Click here for Other book Reviews by Erika Jean

P.S. I am now keeping track of my books on GoodReads. Add me as a friend!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Trying to get to 500

I didn't hit 400 long ago, but I'm already thinking about 500! I'm headed to Detroit, Michigan around Thanksgiving time next month. I have tentative plans to meet up with a couple cachers and the plan is to grab some caches in Canada. I really want my 500th cache to be there, but if not I'll try to get it in Michigan. (I don't have finds in either).

I really would like to get to 497 finds before leaving. I think that will put me in a good position for a 500 milestone in another country! However... that means I need 75 caches in about a month. Yikes!

I found 3 today, and hope to get back out tomorrow. Cross your fingers for me....

Saturday Caches Saturday Caches Saturday Caches
What is Geocaching? Find out here.
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Oh, and P.S. if you in MI and want to meet up let me know! I'm also in dire need of a ride from the airport to my grandparents house!

Science Experiment




After watching the above video, I had to try it for myself.

It works.

Science Experiment

Science Experiment

Science Experiment

No go try it. You know you want to.

View more pictures here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Book Review

Title: The House Next Door
By: Anne Rivers Siddons
Pages: 352

Book Description:
Their love would never be the same.

Colquitt and Walter Kennedy enjoyed a life of lazy weekends, gathering with the neighbors on their quiet, manicured street and sipping drinks on their patios. But when construction of a beautiful new home begins in the empty lot next door, their easy friendship and relaxed get-togethers are marred by strange accidents and inexplicable happenings.

Though Colquitt's rational mind balks at the idea of a "haunted" house, she cannot ignore the tragedies associated with it. It is as if the house preys on its inhabitants' weaknesses and slowly destroys the goodness in them -- ultimately driving them to disgrace, madness and even death.

Anne Rivers Siddons transports you deep into the heart of a neighborhood torn apart by a mysterious force that threatens their friendship, their happiness and, for some, their very existence.

My thoughts:
I liked it but I didn't love it.

The book was split into three parts, each with a little surprise at the end. You had and idea of where the story was going, but certain things happened that I wasn't expecting. About 3 times I found myself re-reading a sentence or two because my thoughts were, "Wait a minute, did that really just happen?"

As for knowing the direction of the story, a lot was given away in the prologue. While it was an introduction to the book - I certainly could have done a quick high school "book report" on the story by simple reading that portion alone. The twist in the end however - a little unexpected!

Click here for Other book Reviews by Erika Jean

P.S. I am now keeping track of my books on GoodReads. Add me as a friend!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ten Ten Ten

10-10-10 was big this year for geocachers. Cachers worldwide went out in hopes to break the record for number of accounts that logged caches in a single day. From what I gather, the record was broken. I think they announced it on Facebook, but I'm not on FB these days... so who knows. I wish they would blog about it!

101010

Anywhooo... I went to an event up in Phoenix on 10-10-10 so I could be a part of the record setting. Sure, I could have stayed around home and gotten a cache or two... but it's always fun to take a little road trip and explore a places you've never been. There were a lot of people at the event too- 100 have logged it so far!

Reflections of Paradise
No, it's not upside down! I captured this reflection in a little lake/pond that was at the park where the event was.

***

If you've noticed geocaching.com has started this new Souvenir thing. You can view souvenirs on your public profile.
"Souvenirs are virtual pieces of art that can be discovered and displayed on your profile. Learn more." -geocaching.com

Those who geocached on 10-10-10 received the souvenir pictured above.

It doesn't excite me much and if I get souvenirs great, but I'm not going to go out of my way to get them. My whole thought on the idea is "meh."

***

I also got this 10-10-10 geocoin at the event. I'll probably release it into the wild, I'm not much of a collector.
101010 Geocoin101010 Geocoin

I got 3 additional caches in the park where the event was being held. There were more, but since I'm still trying to get over being sick I didn't want to push it. :-)

Did you go to an event or grab a cache on 10-10-10??

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What is Geocaching? Find out here.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Geocaching

I found my first locked geocache this weekend.

Geocaching

And it also happened to be my first front porch cache!

Geocaching

I was too shy to knock on the door and say hi so I just made my find, signed the log and looked through the swag. I thought I'd feel a little uneasy being on someone's porch, but I was only nervous for a second! I think I would have felt uncomfortable if the cache was a micro or hidden in the bushes - but since it was so obvious it was ok. It didn't make me feel like a prowler.

Geocaching Geocaching

Geocaching
How does one forget their own name? I think I was too focused on writing the date ;-)

Have you ever found a geocache on someone's porch? Or in their yard?

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What is Geocaching? Find out here.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Garage Sale!

We had a garage sale this morning. We did pretty decent. Around $100 I think... I personally made $2.50. Not a lot I know, but not a lot of my stuff was for sale ;-)

Before:
Before
Actually, this is not a true before shot. We sold some pillows and suitcases before I could even wake up!

After:
After
Actually, this isn't a true after shot either. I ditched my mom and her husband around 11... but you get the idea. We sold stuff.

10 Cents

I think the most exciting thing was watching all the people with their trucks loaded up. Most of them were trucks/vans from Mexico.

Full!

Apparently they come buy everything here and then sell it there for more! I missed a lot of the good balancing acts becuase I didn't want the people to know I was taking a picture of them!

Full!

This was the first garage sale we've ever had. We never had one in the house I grew up in becuase as my mom puts it "There wasn't really anywhere for people to park."

Have you ever had a garage sale? Did you do well?