Fire Hazards 101

Along the way to getting a new deck, we learned a few interesting things.

1. Although they migrate hundreds of thousands of miles from Canada to South America, and back, each year, butterflies cannot figure out how to get off a screened porch.

2. Putting shingles 0n an entire porch roof does not take as long as putting together one ceiling fan.

3. Sometimes, when things aren’t wired just right, you can have a little flame burning right there on the wire hanging out of your kitchen wall.

Who knew?

The scary thing about the burning wire (aside from the FLAME part) was that it did not trip the braker. You’d think it would, right? That doggone braker tripped a dozen times a day while the “deck guys” were nail-gunning and circular-sawing. But when the wire caught fire? Nada. The only thing that tipped of “the guys” to a problem was the sound of me shrieking (ever calm in an emergency, that’s me) and running across the floor to smother it with a towel.

Matthew asked if all wires catch fire like that. And when I assured him that it was very unusual, he offered to keep an eye on that one in case it happened again.

Oy vey.

Once the fan was re-wired, it worked without incident. Steven was away (of course! That man can avoid trouble like a gazelle sniffing a lion) but I know he’ll b glad to hear that a) it’s fixed and b) it wasn’t his fault.

July 31, 2010. family. Leave a comment.

Almost Finished

The deck is very very very close to being done. Really, there are only two small things left to do.

Hip, hip, hooray!

I tried to take some photos along the way to show the progress. It was amazingly fast.

Here is a picture of the old deck.

Since we were adding a screened porch, the floor and footings of the upper deck had to be re-done.

We went with a composite floor, called “Evergrain,” which should be much easier to maintain than regular wood.

The next piece was the frame for the porch.

Those new stairs are so solid. I didn’t realize how degraded our old ones were until I walked up and down these. Plus? They are level. AMAZING!!!

The roof required a whole lot of hammering during nap time.

We persevered. And napped in Mommy and Daddy’s room.

The skylights are beautiful.

And here we are – done except for a few last touches.

Quite a difference, eh?

Matthew suggested that maybe we should, you know, put stuff on it. I sighed and said that yes, we were planning on doing that soon.

As usual, we took too long and Matthew solved his problem all by himself.

You gotta give the kid credit for taking some initiative. I’m not sure why David needs a bike helmet on the deck, but I’m afraid if I ask Matthew will tell me and then I’ll have to sigh and roll my eyes and explain why you CANNOT strap explosives to your brother REGARDLESS of his wearing a bike helmet.

Instead I’m going to re-paint our picnic table and whip up some margaritas and enjoy the screened porch and ceiling fan.

July 30, 2010. family. 2 comments.


The “deck guys” put the screen up the other day. Almost the first thing that happened was a butterfly got stuck.

Matthew and I attempted a rescue. There wasn’t a door yet, but the butterfly couldn’t seem to consider an option other than “forward.” I found a stray piece of nail-gun-strip that I thought I could use to gently redirect the butterfly towards the outside.

The butterfly went totally cracker dog. After two attempts (cuz if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!) I was afraid it would die of a heart attack. So we let it be.

Then I realized the “deck guy” was watching.

“Butterfly,” I said. “It’s stuck.”

I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m a lunatic. After his lunch break, he walked over, cupped his hands, and scooped the butterfly out the open door way.

In my defense, the butterfly was really high up, and the “deck guy” is a good head taller than me.

July 29, 2010. family, Mommy. 3 comments.

Our Visit to the Farm

Before I ran out of photo space, we took a trip to Great Country Farm. Meghan and Alexander joined us for an evening of tractor riding, fruit picking and outdoor fun.

Peaches and apricots were ripe and ready to picked, so we got a bag of each.

We got soooooo much fruit. The kids had a fantastic time picking. And picking. And picking. Don’t be surprised if there is a later post about making peach and apricot jam.

After picking, we did some of the other fun things on the farm, like jumping on the bouncy pillow,

and visiting the miniature pony.

We got a chance to play on the antique tractors, too.

I love how Matthew is looking for the keys to start it.

We lucked out with the weather that day. It had rained earlier and cooled down considerably. It was a truly lovely evening on the farm.

July 27, 2010. family, the boys, trips. Leave a comment.

They’re BACK!!!!

That’s right, the photos are back.


I have (sort of) figured out how to deal with the space-eating photos. As much fun as it has been to rely entirely on writing, I’m glad to be able to post photos again.



July 25, 2010. Mommy, the boys. 2 comments.

Venus Fly Traps

Ever since we watched “Life” on TV this spring, we have been fascinated by the Venus fly trap. An insect-eating plant. How cool is that? So when I saw this craft idea, I knew we had to do it.

We painted the cardboard circle green on both sides.

And then we added green triangle “teeth.”

When we bent the circle in half, it looked a lot like the Venus fly trap.

I made a couple of black “flies” for the fly trap to eat, but mostly the boys just chased each other around the house yelling, “snap! snap! snap!”

I didn’t get a photo of that. I was probably yelling, “don’t snap your brother!” or something else equally useless.

July 25, 2010. David, Matthew, the boys. Leave a comment.

Sweltering in Summertime

It’s hot.

It’s. Hot.


It is 9 pm and still 93* outside.

Since we have AC this year (thank goodness) we are comfortable in the house, but 2 small boys and one mother cannot stay in the house forever. Trust me. I’ve tried. We have to  get out. Into the heat.

The boys seem to be handling it well, although David will walk 15 extra steps if it means walking in the shade for 5 of them.  Matthew just drinks any beverage he can get his hands on, especially if it’s mine.

When we can, we do things indoors, like go to the gym, or the library, or the grocery store. And when we can’t…. well, we drink lots of water and we sweat a whole bunch. What else are we going to do? It’s hot.

July 23, 2010. family. Leave a comment.

Potty Words

We have had a terrible outbreak of potty words at our house. It’s been going on for months. At first, I just accepted it as a normal, developmental stage. Which it is. But then it got on my nerves. Enough! I told the boys, “no more potty words.”

I told them this a lot.

Which gets old. Very very very old.

So I decided to try a new strategy. If you use potty words, you go sit in the bathroom. Makes sense, yes? I thought this would be worth trying. So when Matthew was saying…. oh, I don’t even remember what now, but it probably involved “poop,” I laid down the law. Using potty words equals a trip to the bathroom.

He said it again. I escorted him to the bathroom.

For the next 20 minutes I got to listen to absolute hysterics. I left the door open and the light on, but he was so completely offended by having to sit in the bathroom that he totally lost his cool. He’d get it together enough to say he was ready to come out, but when I told him he had to sit quietly until the timer went off he would start up again. Finally, he managed to sit quietly for 5 (ok, 4, I admit it. I cheated) minutes I set the timer off and went to survey the damage.

I knew he had been throwing stuff out of the bathroom. He threw all of the books out, and the potty seat, and the stool. He had also completely shredded the toilet paper. But here is my favorite part. He replaced the roll. He even put it on the correct way.

I would have complimented him if we weren’t in the middle of an argument over who had to clean up the mess (not Mommy).

After he calmed down, and cleaned up,  and put on pajamas, and brushed his teeth, and listened to books, I gave him a kiss.

“Mommy,” he said, holding my face in his hands. “Let’s not do that sitting in the bathroom thing again, ok?”

July 22, 2010. Matthew, Mommy. 1 comment.

Soy Ice Cream

We got an ice cream maker as a wedding gift seven years ago. I made peach ice cream the first summer we had it. Do not try to stir fresh peaches into vanilla ice cream and then freeze it. I made delicious ice cream full of peach-flavored blocks of ice.

Then we had two kids and I tucked the ice cream maker into the pantry.

But no more! Steven and I have been talking about making soy ice cream for the boys. It’s ridiculously hard to find, considering how easy it is to get soy milk and soy yogurt.

When I was a kid, my dad made me soy ice cream at home. I got to pick my own color. I always picked blue. Always.

I looked up some recipes on-line. They were…. crazy. I may not remember exactly how my dad made it, but I know For Sure he did not sprinkle gelatin on top of apple juice and blah blah blah.

So I used the “no cook” version for regular ice cream and adapted it. I used 3 cups of soy milk (instead of mixing whole milk and heavy cream) and a cup of sugar. Then I put it in the ice cream machine for 25 min. After it was mixed, I put it in the freezer for the afternoon.

Viola! Soy ice cream. It’s pretty delicious, too, if I do say so myself.

Now I have to go back and figure out to make peach ice cream for real. It shouldn’t be too hard, as long as there is no gelatin-on-apple-juice involved.

July 20, 2010. Mommy. 2 comments.

7th Anniversary

You know you have been married seven years when you don’t get around to saying “Happy Anniversary, sweetheart” until one of you is showered and you have both had the first cup of coffee.

I told Steven it’s been the best seven years of my life, which is completely true.

This is our copper anniversary. If I were a good wife (sigh) I would have cleverly spelled out “I love you!” in copper pennies. Instead I ordered a gift that won’t come until later this week.

But, see, we have been married seven years. Seven. And we don’t have to worry about ceremony or punctuality. Because we are still going to be happily married in three days. Or four. You never know with FedEx.

July 19, 2010. Daddy, Mommy. Leave a comment.

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