Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I am adding new things to my Etsy Shop

I will be putting some things on Etsy and Ebay in the next few days. Yes, I had plans to do this a while ago, but the time got away from me. You can visit my store here: (cut and paste this into your browser if it doesn't link-sorry still trying to figure out all this stuff!)

I also made some badges and horseshoes-now I just have to figure out my camera because these pics are kind of out of focus and not very good, but you get the general idea.

I am thinking I will go to some horse shows in the Spring and set up a booth and see how it goes. I would like to have enough sales that I can start donating a portion to our local therapeutic riding program. It has always been my wish to be able to help others out the way people have always blessed me.

I have spent alot of time on these pieces. I love that slightly whimsical look and like splashes of color and combining the rustic with the unexpected glitz of a rhinestone. I have really enjoyed sorting through my vintage buttons to find just the right ones for each bracelet and horse shoe. Its been even more fun because my children enjoy helping, too. It doesn't get much better than this! Horses, crafting and spending time with the kids!

Unicorn Girl and the Cosmic Journey

This would be the title of my book if I were writing one. Its been a couple of months now since we brought this sweet girl home, and our lives have changed immensely. Definitely for the better! Dancer has been enjoying her time off the track, outside, instead of in a stall 24/7. As you can see, she has discovered lots of fun things in the field. "Look, Mom! I'm a unicorn!" The creativity with the burrs is amazing, don't you agree? (You wouldn't think I brush that forelock every day, but I really do!)

I would like to add most of this lovely experience would not have been possible if it weren't for my good friends, John and Alice. They graciously extended their gorgeous 100 acre farm to Dancer and I. John has been teaching Dancer how to be a real horse, and he has been teaching me how to handle one. Its pretty one- sided so far-I think I have been learning way more than she has. There have been many times in the round pen where Dancer and I have been facing each other and she is just standing there, and she lets out a huge sigh-sort of like, "Will she ever get it?"

Yes, I have a looooong way to go in that department. (Remind me to tell you sometime about my on-going rope tying saga.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Things to Be Happy About

My 85 year old grandmother lives about an hour and half from us, on the outskirts of D.C., and with my crazy schedule we don't get to see her very much. We finally decided it had been long overdue and packed up the kids and made the trek to spend an afternoon with her.

It was lovely; we decided to take her out to lunch and afterwards she insisted on getting sneakers for the girls for school-(Nanas are great for this sort of thing-they always want to help out with all those unavoidable expenses associated with back-to-school.)

Nana invited us back to her place for a rest before our journey back home. We sipped lemonade and talked about all sorts of things. It was one of those days I secretly wished would go on for a while-I didn't want it to end. For a short time, I was transported back to a time before kids and husbands-I was a younger version of myself.

As a special treat, Nana always had something fun to share with the girls-usually it was old photographs-a reminder of days gone by. My girls always enjoyed looking at these and trying to recognize who was who. Today, Nana had something different. "I think you'll get a kick out of this," she gave me a little wink and a smile as she handed me something.

I took the hand made book from her hand and started reading. Honestly, I didn't even remember making it. But, it was clearly in my handwriting, and was obviously compiled during my "Calligraphy" period. There are five pages:

I got the biggest kick out of the fact that I listed "Queen Size Beds" twice. What was that all about? All I can say is that my grandmother is always so wise and seems to have the best timing in the world. How did she know that I needed to be reminded of what makes me happy? It seems that I, like everyone else, can fall prey to the blur of everyday activities. So, don't forget to enjoy something special today; it could be your grandmother, an indian summer day, or whatever makes you happy in your life! Cheers!

A Definite Must-See!


Recently, my husband took me over to check out the new Gettysburg Visitor's Center, and boy, was I ever impressed! A Washington, D.C. transplant, I will tell you that this place can compete with the best of them. The museum is thoughtfully laid out, with loads of interactive displays and tons of interesting information.

(Inside Front Entrance)

This is the perfect day trip for school-age children.....

(mural of the battle displayed at the beginning of the exhibit)

Who knew history could be so much fun?

(one of the many interactive displays)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Because Sometimes Things Just Get A Little Crazy

I don't know about anyone else, but the past couple of days have just been nuts. I feel like I haven't had a minute to just sit and breathe. Between back to school shopping for the girls, playdates, doctor's & dental appointments and family stuff, I wonder if summer is really the "slow down" season I remember it to be when I was young.

I feel like I am always rushing,rushing,rushing and it frazzles me. I worry that the girls will pick up on this, and what effect it will have on them later. Last night I was reminded that I need to put my life in better perspective-I have gotten too caught up in things that just won't matter in a hundred years. I was on my way over to pick up the girls from a friends' house and was running late as usual. Its funny how the timing can be just so perfect sometimes. (And, before I share this, please accept my apologies for not being able to embed this video on my site because Youtube removed this convenient little feature for whatever reason.) I just had to share the most timely, heartwarming,incredibly gut-wrenching yet wonderful, wake-up-to-reality-song that the radio decided to play just for my benefit:

(you will have to cut and paste this, I am so sorry, but I promise it is well worth it!!!!!!)

After tearing up for a half an hour afterwards-(hey, I'm a girl, its my perrogative) I knew I wanted to share this with you today. It is my wish for you as you go about your day that you will look at things just a little differently the next time you start to stress. And remember, someone out there loves you very much!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Summer is Almost Over

Seara from Forgotten Treasures Equine-Come visit her here:

There, I've said it. If you are like me, you don't even want to think about what's coming down the pike in a few weeks. Dare I say the word? (School) Yes, I'll admit during the summer months it can be some what challenging with the girls trying to keep them busy, but I do enjoy having them home with me. And, I am sure alot of you are in the same boat as we are, and vacations are non-existent due to the high cost of gas. We have had to be a little more creative this year, however, I think that E and M will have some nice memories to look back on.

No, we haven't attempted any theme parks yet, and I know I am depriving my kids, but this week I am helping out with a pony camp at Hummingbird Hill Farm where the girls are enrolled. This is their third year doing this and it is a blast! What little girl wouldn't want to spend their whole day with horses? The theme is centered around horse shows, and tomorrow, we will be participating in a little in-house show at the farm to demonstrate what we have learned.

Last month, they got to go to a Girl Scout Camp in Fairfield where they also enjoyed themselves and made lots of new friends. We also attempted to go camping at Assateague Island for the weekend at the end of May. (It was cut short by a tornado watch, but nevertheless, we still managed to have a good time.)

I guess I was prompted to think about all we have done this summer because the girls just got their teacher assignments for the year and in the letters the teachers sent out, they asked each student to have something to share on what they did during their time off. This in turn made me think about what I have done, and I can't say its been a whole lot, other than working.

I do have sort of an obsession, though. Since we placed Thor, I have been tirelessly searching for a new addition to our family. I made friends with Kathleen, who runs FORGOTTEN TREASURES EQUINE RESCUE,,who was kind enough to assist me with our very difficult transition. We are so grateful to her for all she has done, and I promised her it would be one of my missions to help her in any way I could to place these very special horses and any future sweetie pies she rescues. She has some wonderful treasures for adoption, of which Moonie is our favorite:

They will be hosting an open house, so be sure to mark your calendars:
If you would like more information or have any questions, it would be best to direct them through the FTER website.
Thanks, Kathleen, for all you do!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


On a recent trip to D.C. we thought it would be fun to take the girls to visit some of the memorials. I thought this was very profound. Thomas Jefferson was brilliant.

May Abundance Be Your Constant Companion

Don't you just love cool, one of a kind things? I love this plate! In my next life, all I want to do is design pottery with designs like this. This is soooo me!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Lay Back and I'll Fan You

This is what we came home to yesterday after running errands. I have to laugh because the night before, my husband was complaining that his pillow smelled like a dog. I told him to quit his complaining, it was all in his imagination. We don't allow our dogs on the bed, so this was quite a surprise. I would love to set up a video camera to see what other things are happening when we aren't here.

Here's a great example:
These people were always finding water all over their pool deck and furniture every time they came home after being away for a few hours. They thought the neighborhood kids were watching for them to leave and using the pool. However, they could never catch them doing it. So, they set up their video cam and left. This is what they found.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

This pretty much says it all...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Letting Go

It was an extremely difficult decision, but we decided as a family it was time for us to retire our dear horse Thor. Father Time was catching up with our regal, gentle giant and we could all tell his heart wasn't in his job anymore. The change in his demeanor was gradual; and it didn't help that arthritis was starting to get the better of him. In his early years, I was told that he had been part of a leasing program at a fancy show barn. I can only imagine how hard he must have worked and how many ribbons he must have won for his riders.

Now, at 23, he was participating in daily lessons at our barn where we boarded, and we would watch him as he slowly trudged around the arena, (it was usually his job to work with the beginners) and you could almost read his mind as he shuffled: "Here we go again, I am so tired of doing the same old thing, day in and day out." You could tell by his demeanor he wasn't enjoying it at all-the twinkle wasn't in his eye anymore. He just seemed worn out. We approached our trainer about taking him out of the lesson string. We understood this would also affect us financially, but his well-being was more important. (We had been fortunate to have an arrangement where she would use him in her weekly lessons which offset the boarding costs.)

We rescued our sweet boy Thor three years ago from a family who was relocating out of the area. I remember how thrilled we were to even be in a position to be able to provide him with a good home. How proud we were-I am sure anyone who has ever added a fur baby to their family can appreciate that surreal feeling-the "pinch me, am I dreaming?" feeling; waking up every morning to rush out to the barn to convince ourselves we really had a horse!

I have loved horses for as long as I can remember, from when I was a little girl. I told everyone when I grew up I was going to have a stud farm in Switzerland. (I must have gotten that from one of the books I checked out during my countless trips to the library.) I guess life got the better of me; I grew up and lost my dreams. Then, along came another little girl who helped me to re-discover them again. It seemed that she lived, breathed and dreamed about horses 24/7. If E could have had a horse come live with her in her room, why, she would have shared everything with it including her underwear. Her idea of the perfect horse was somewhere between "My little Pony" and "Pie" in National Velvet, both of which she was a huge fan. (M is not "horse crazy" like her sister; she tells me she prefers dolphins and wants to be a marine biologist or dolphin trainer when she grows up. On the other hand, give her a brush or a rake and she really enjoys grooming the horses, or mucking out a stall. Surprisingly,she is just not into the riding.)

E and Thor became fast friends. He was always well behaved, almost to the point of being aloof to the adults. With the children, he always seemed to sense he needed to take extra special care. It was not uncommon to find E and Thor walking in the arena, after a lesson, cooling down, with E chattering away. On one occasion I asked her what she was saying. "Oh, I'm telling him a story," she would say, very matter-of-factly, and off they would go. Other times, you could hear her singing him a song.

I know E understood why we had to find Thor another home. She is a practical kid, and she is wise beyond her years. It took about a month to place him, thanks to a lovely lady I contacted who runs a local horse rescue. She was kind enough to put me in touch with some potential buyers, and we eventually found a gem of a gal who exceeded our hightest expectations. It was obvious this person really cared about Thor when she came for her initial visit. She asked all the right questions, and she and Thor seemed to hit it off almost immediately.

We all heaved a sigh of relief once we drew up the agreement. It isn't so easy to place older horses; everyone wants the younger ones, and the seniors come with their own set of issues to deal with. However, they make wonderful companions and are excellent beginner horses because they are so calm and experienced. I am sure you have heard the term "bombproof." Most have that "been there, done that attitude." They are wonderful confidence builders.

Still, it didn't make it any easier the night before Thor was to go to his new home; it was then that reality hit like a ton of bricks. E sobbed her heart out for three hours straight. It took everything in me to hold it together. I started second guessing myself if I was doing the right thing. I began wondering myself how I could do something so terrible. After all, when you get an animal, its supposed to be a commitment forever-and I felt like I was doing the absolute unforgiveable. Somewhere between the sobs of "How could you do this, Mom?" and, "You are a big meanie!" that part of my brain that rules my heart started making mental notes of all the things that I could sell on Ebay to cover the upcoming costs of monthly board if we decided to keep Thor. We could make do with one car, I think-and, maybe I could sell one of my kidneys? Do they even let you do that on Ebay? Any parent knows the feeling, it usually hits late at night when you are at your weakest, and all kinds of scenarios start playing through your mind....

Eventually,hours later, when E finally fell asleep, the logical side of my brain started kicking in. I knew this was really the best thing, and that Thor would be so much happier not going around and around in little circles in the ring anymore. It still didn't fill the hole in my heart.

The next day, my brave little girl woke up and said the most wondrous thing. "Its okay Mommy" she said, with a big smile, "I'm feeling better today." She reached up and gave me a kiss and whispered in my ear, "Thor gets to make someone else's dreams come true today."

I cried all the way to the barn that morning.

Kids, they are amazing, aren't they?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bubba The Penguin

Fire Trucks and Goldfish

The girls and I went to a fireman's carnival last night. There is something about those that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside-especially when we gathered at 7pm for the parade down main street which consisted of several fire trucks from surrounding towns and counties. The pride these people have in this just amazes me. I have so much respect for these folks who take time out of their busy day to make these events possible. In this day and age when life is so fast paced, its just refreshing to stop for a couple of hours to experience life in a small town. Although I only recognized a few people , I can tell by most of the faces they are hardworking, uncomplicated folks that put their heart and soul into everything they do-they have so much love for their community. And they love their families and spending time with them. I am in even more awe as I watch my girls stand on the corner and wave to the firetrucks. They are at an age where they are so innocent and unaware; the only thing they worry about right now is what flavor of sno-cone to pick, or what game to play at one of the fundraiser booths. They are not self-conscious or obsessive about things the way young girls can soemtimes be. They are just having fun being kids, and living in the moment. Again, I have that feeling of wishing time could just stand still for a while, so they will never have to feel bad or worry about anything more important than what to eat or how to win a goldfish at the local fair.

The parade procession takes a turn down the street and the girls jump up and down with anticipation. "Lets go to the carnival!" they shout, jumping up and down with big smiles on their faces.

The first game we play is the one with the spinner. M and E place their dollars on the table, choosing their numbers carefully. E's number is a winner. The choice of prizes are huge stuffed animals of which E chooses the largest one (of course!). M tries her hand again, but no luck. This doesn't seem to phase her in the least. She takes my hand and drags me over to the goldfish toss where she proceeds to win not one, but two goldfish.

Unfortunately, the weather is not cooperating, and we are forced to cut our evening short. M decides to give her fish to a friend to put in a pond at their farm, where they will have a much better chance at survival than with us. You see, we tried this last year, and with perilous results.

Flashback to last July. Almost exact scenario, except we arrive home from the carnival with two fish. The girls decided to call one Hillary, and the other one was Bill, (I think) You'll have to forgive me, the facts are not so clear a year later. You know how it goes. Fish go in small bowl; mom decides that they need some place bigger to live; one trip later home from Walmart and we now have a 10 gallon aquarium complete with gravel, filter and of course, decorations! And, they must have the proper food! The fish that cost us twenty five cents has now become
a hit to the pocket of at least thirty five dollars.

Time goes by, and Bill and Hillary appear to be the happy couple, until one sad morning when we find Bill floating lifelessly at the top. After a few fitting words and proper burial, life resumed as best as it could. M and E were very concerned about the well-being of Hillary, though. "She needs a friend," E says, with a wrinkled brow. M agrees. We decide to make yet another trip to Walmart.

Hillary's new companion arrives home in a signature plastic water-filled bag. He is a small, black moor with protruding eyes-pretty comical looking really, and he was carefully chosen as the perfect friend for Hillary. We carefully introduce (pour) our new addition to his new home. The two fish regard each other quietly for a moment-Hillary is much larger than he. "What should we name him?" M wondered. We all sat for a moment, just like the fish, and thought.

"I know!" E laughed. "Lets call him Obama!"

I had to admit with all the recent political coverage, my eight year old's choice seemed quite logical and fitting. Ahh, a child's innocence. How sweet it is.

At that moment, Obama, recovering from what must have been the initial "Nemo" like shock of being-in-some-nice-pond-somewhere-then-in-a-tank-in-Walmart-to-some-crazy-woman's-house-in-a-fishbowl, decided he was mad as heck at the hand he had been dealt and became hell-bent on taking it out on Hillary. He began chasing her around the tank. this went on for about an hour, until Hillary retreated into a little cave purchased on our recent Walmart excursion. (I swear she was panting.) "Oh, they're just getting used to each other," I said. Little did I know that this was going to be standard operating procedure in fishworld.

Some days were better than others, and I actually thought that things were starting to look up for Hillary, that is, until one rainy night......

We came home from my parent's house in Maryland where we had been visiting and having dinner. E, upon entering, always checked the fish tank. This evening, something was terribly wrong. Hillary was nowhere to be found. We frantically searched on the floor, questioned the dogs and tried to see if they looked guilty. They just stared back at us innocently-(and trust me, I have enough experience with them to know if they are guilty or not.) Baffled at Hillary's disappearance, we all retired to bed.

In the morning, my youngest woke up with a theory. "I think Obama chased Hillary and made her jump out of the tank," E said. "I think she was trying to jump into the kitchen sink so she could get down the drain." (Because all drains lead to the ocean, right?) Except, sorry to say, our drain was also a garbage disposal, and as I quickly made some rough calculations, I decided it was time to get my husband involved. There was no way I was putting my hand down that drain! I dragged him down the stairs, briefing him like they do on CSI so he would be completely up to date on the dire situation at hand.

He bravely reached his hand into that gaping hole. "Yep," he nodded his head. "E was right on." He pulled Hillary's lifeless body out in his cupped hand. Thankfully, I had not run the garbage disposal as I originally thought I had.

"I wonder if this will be any indication of how the real election race is going to play out?" he mused with a grin.

So, in summary, when you go to a fair or carnival and let your kids play that game where you win a goldfish, beware! Have a back up plan or you may just get more than you bargained for.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I wish I Could Be This Clever

A Magical Journey in Post-It Notes

How to Get Crickets and Neighbors to Leave You Alone

A typical day in the summer for our family starts out something like this:

I get up around 5 a.m. with my husband; he leaves for work, and I have some quiet time to do catch up and get organized in my home office. I am an independent contractor for a lady who needs assistance with some of her administrative duties. It's a temporary position and she has guaranteed me work through the end of this year, but after that, I will be exploring new opportunities. (This is one of the many reasons I began blogging.) I should also add that I occasionally fill in at the local hardware store , as well as a lovely bed and breakfast down the road from us as a hostess. (So, if you thought that any part of my day included sitting in front of the tv or eating bonbons and talking on the phone, well, one out of three is better than nothing.)

My girls, M and E, age 8 and 11 respectively,(I will argue with anyone here that they are actually going on 18 and 21),usually start waking up about 7a.m., regardless of what time they went to bed the night before. The fight for who will go on the computer first, or for what show will be watched on television commences. At this point, I am still in wake up mode and am trying my best to tune out the arguing, which quickly becomes a frenzied crescendo. I try the calm, loving approach. "Goodmorning girls, how are you doing today? Lets go make the beds, get dressed and have some breakfast. Its going to be a wonderful day!" I say this sweetly and full of as much enthusiasm as I can muster while bracing myself for what I know will be coming in about one minute,ten seconds.....

Oldest:"I never get to go on the computer first!"

Youngest:"Yes you do, you stupid head!."

Me: "We do not say the word stupid." This is stated in a monotone voice as I am trying to navigate through the mountainous paperwork on my desk.

Youngest to Oldest: "You always get to do everything first! I never get to do anything first-you were born first, you got to eat first, you got to get hugged first....."

Me to youngest: "This morning you're going to get your bottom smacked first if you don't stop whining!"

The argument ensues until both are sobbing and crying and the youngest is chasing the oldest around the room and trying to hit her. At this point I stand up and scream "ENOUGH! I AM TIRED OF OUR DAY STARTING OUT LIKE THIS!!!! GO GET DRESSED AND GET DOWN STAIRS FOR BREAKFAST!" At this point, any birds that were singing, or crickets that were chirping, or neighbors that were trying to have a nice, quiet start to their morning have all promptly stopped doing what they were doing, attempting desperately to regain the use of their hearing and retreat as far out of range as possible. This is the downside of living right in town. Often, in the early morning, before things heat up, I have the windows open (we have A/C units, not central air.) This leaves most of my life open to interpretation for anyone within earshot.

Minutes later, while I am trying to locate my head which detached from my body shortly after it began spinning and shooting flames in every direction, I hear the girls giggling in the other room, like nothing ever happened.

I can't help but wonder if I will end up somewhat like that guy in the movie Groundhog Day, who relives the same scenes over and over....its not even 8 a.m. and I am totally worn out already.

We're Going To Miss You, Randy

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I'm Sorry

I just couldn't resist putting this on. I am such a sap for this kind of stuff, especially because I love animals so much.

I'll Take One of Those, Please. Cigarette and All

Not much more I can add to this except, Wow! If I had just been born, like, 20 years earlier, I might have had a chance.....


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Thoughts on Organic Flyspray, A Country Home and Catching Fireflies

I bet you don't know too many people who can touch on all three of these topics in one day, but I managed!

For those of you with equine companions, I have a dear friend (I secretly call him the "horsewhisperer") and, he gave me a great tip for making my own flyspray and it is just as effective as any that you would get at a store:

4 oz Skin So Soft
1 oz citronella oil
12 oz vinegar
12 oz water

Not to mention it smells good and keeps your horse's coat nice and soft! (And if you are wondering, yes, John really does look like Robert Redford. His wife Alice is a very lucky gal -although he insists he is the lucky one :0)

And, speaking of horses, you know you need a gorgeous weekend country home.....this recently went on the market. Here's a description I took from the website:

"Built in the 1880's, the grounds at Cornerstone were used by Confederate troops for encampment after the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg. Bordered by streams on both east and west, this farmland offered troops and cavalry a much needed source of water and safe haven.Located just seven minutes (four country miles) from downtown Gettysburg, Cornerstone Farm is close to the Battlefield and various tourist attractions but just far enough out of town to assure peace and privacy. Enjoy the quiet patios, beautifully landscaped gardens and pool. Spectacular view of sunsets over the South Mountain Range. Plenty of fields for horses, a lovely winding country road for strolling, just an incredible setting . Own a piece of history- Cornerstone Farm is one of if not THE most beautiful farms in historic Adams County, Pennsylvania."

Let me know if you want any more info and I will be happy to get it to you because, did I say I was really hoping I would hit the lottery or I would discover some long, lost relative had left me a nice inheritance so I could purchase this for myself.

Unfortunately, the money tree I planted in my back yard did not produce anything yet, but I will be anxiously waiting for the first dollar bill to unfurl, (sigh!) I seriously thought about setting up a donation button here for those of you interested in helping me to make my dreams come true, but I don't think that is exactly legal.

So, I will leave you with this one suggestion for today:

Enjoy the simple moments

Last night, my husband was working late-(he's in retail so that unfortunately happens alot-it used to be that people didn't even believe I was actually married because he would always be working weird hours that coincided with any social events, so I would always have to attend solo.) The kids and I were playing with our dogs, Ella Bear and Kaylee (they are a whole different post-they are australian shepherds and have loads of energy and have to be exercised at least an hour a day or they will drive you nuts) It was my favorite time of day, twilight, and the fireflies started coming out. The kids were laughing and chasing them, the dogs were at their heels, the locusts were buzzing like they do in late summer, a flock of geese was making its way home overhead. It was all so beautiful, and so fleeting, like most good things. And I wished there was a way I could make time stand still and keep it that way for a while. It made me realize how quickly my girls are growing up, how fast things change, and that I would never, ever be able to relive that experience again. I tried to just take it all in, the smells, the images, and how peaceful and happy I felt. It really helped me to realize what is important; and even though I might not be rich in money (at least not yet), I have so much more than most people have, and for that, I am grateful.

Sometimes, the best things don't cost anything at all-