Monday, May 31, 2010

seashell birthday

There has been a whirlwind of activity going on here at the Clothesline. Between miss E's actual birthday on Wednesday, finishing up our homeschooling for the year by Friday, and preparing for the family gathering birthday party on Sunday, it's been non-stop action. So here, once again, I will inundate you with a series of photo collages in order to share with you the celebration of my baby turning five. She requested a seashell birthday this year...we do love the beach!

On Wednesday she opened a few gifts from us. She was super excited to get a real starfish...painted purple. She does love purple. She also got to choose the dinner menu for her birthday. She chose homemade tomato bisque and grilled cheese sandwiches. Yum! We also had some cupcakes for dessert. It's not a birthday without a little cake and a candle to blow out. And yes, the morning of her birthday we headed over to the mall and she got her ears pierced! She was very brave...not one sound of pain and not one tear.

Yesterday was the family party. She was showered with gifts, lots of purple stuff, and lots of love. It was really nice to have everyone come over. And yes, that picture in the center of the collage below is the birthday dress. I used Jennifer Casa's new, free, summer dress pattern, Leisurely. I changed the hem to a scallop to make it more seashell-ish. Miss E loved it and wore it all day. I used elastic thread for the first time, it was a little tricky for me, but it worked out just fine. I also used french seams everywhere so there's not a raw edge to be seen!

Okay, here's a better picture of the dress. The seashell fabric was the only kind they had at Joann's, it was on clearance, there was only a yard and a half of it left, and miss E thought it was beautiful! Yippee! Then we meandered around to find some coordinating material...perfect-stripes! I always enjoy making a birthday outfit to go with the cake theme that the girls choose. Here are some others from years, here, here, and here.

Oh, and here's a close-up of the cake. I used the shell on the left as my inspiration. Then I just had to add a starfish on the edge. And yes, once again, I used my friend Theresa's method for making the most beautiful cakes. She is a cake genius!

So there you have it, my very detailed quick version of the birthday events, in a rather large nutshell seashell. Now I don't know about you, but I either need another cup of coffee or a really good nap.
Happy Memorial Day! I am so thankful for every ounce of freedom we have in this wonderful country of ours. xo ANG

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

the big five

Today is a special day in the Clothesline family.

This tiny little baby of mine,

that eventually became very roly-poly,

is no longer a baby.

She has, at last, become a big kid.

Alas, she is now FIVE years old,

with a five year old body big enough to match her huge personality.

Time does fly. It really does. I can remember when she was tiny, her loud, mouth-wide-open cry, her scooting - not crawling. And now she's five. Tall and fast. Sweet and helpful. Funny and full of love. Love for her sister, for her cat, and anything that crawls or leaves a trail of slime. She's complex, this one. Girly to the core...loving shoes and fancy jewels, but also loving to get dirty and climb and jump and play.
Happy Birthday Baby!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

home again, home again

Well, we are back from the beach. I have so many pictures to choose from but I will share only a few. We had a wonderful time. The weather was beautiful, the water was nice, the shells were found, the skin was protected, and the sand...well that was everywhere. We even brought some home with us...unintentionally, of course.
beach fun
beach sights
aquarium wonders
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We spent most of our time on the beach. Beach after breakfast...beach after dinner. There were a lot of baths and a lot of drain-clogging sand. We walked and walked in search of shells and shark teeth. We found a lot of both. By the end of the trip the kiddos were even finding shark teeth. We built sand castles and dug really deep holes. We drew in the sand and watched the seagulls. Okay, we chased them, but we were still watching them. We also went to some shops and played a delightful round of mini golf. Tim made the only hole in one, but the kids came close. Me? Not so much.
Today we are trying to get back into our routine. We are still waiting for the sun to appear. It's been raining since we got home on Saturday...and evidently it rained most of the time we were gone. Great for the garden. My tomatoes plants tripled in size in just one week! No kidding! It's all growing and growing fast. Once the sun comes out we'll be weeding and cutting grass and planting more little plants that I started before we left.
Ah, it is good to be home. Happy Tuesday! xo ANG

Friday, May 14, 2010


We are getting set for our vacation so things may be a little slower around the Clothesline next week. I'm packing and cleaning and list checking, all the while trying to retain my sanity. I feel pretty relaxed even though my to-do list is still long. In fact, the girls and I spent some time this morning with our friends at the park. The weather was nice, the kids were nice, the conversation was nice, the snacks were nice. Does it get any better?I mean, really. I've moved around a lot and I know the value, the treasure, the blessing of having dear friends, friends that are like family. So when we're going to be away for a week it's always nice to drop everything and spend a few extra hours with friends before leaving. It's good for the kids, it's good for the moms, it's just plain ol' good. Okay, seriously, I really should be packing and all that jazz. Have a great weekend. Happy Friday! xo ANG

Thursday, May 13, 2010

you capture::yellow

Yellow. It's such a wonderful color. It just screams spring, and I love it. Hmm, I wonder why I don't have more yellow in my house then. I suppose I just depend on the flowers outside to show off their yellow beauty. This week's theme for You Capture made me stop and think and look around. Here's what I found.
The first flowers on my tomato plants!

I get so excited every time I see a bloom or notice new growth in the garden. But right now, we're celebrating yellow...and when you see yellow blooms on tomato plants you know that one day soon it'll be a delicious, ripe, juicy tomato. Mmmmm. (that's assuming that the deer won't make a comeback)
The other yellow thing that just longed to be captured on film and shared was a small stack of successfully made...

Gluten Free Buttermilk Biscuits!

Yep, you heard me. Biscuits, not hockey pucks. Not gritty, crumbly, inedible biscuit wanna-be's. These were real live, soft, moist, tastes-like-the-real-thing biscuits. You can find the recipe here. And just so you know, I made them again yesterday and added cinnamon and raisins, topped with glaze. Delicious.
Visit I Should Be Folding Laundry for more yellow goodness. Happy Thursday. xo ANG

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

settle down, beavis...or playing with fire

sunshine + magnifying glass = fire
sunshine + magnifying glass + slight breeze = small fire
sunshine + magnifying glass + slight breeze + broken flower pot = contained fire

sunshine + magnifying glass + broken flower pot + extreme heat = exploding fire

As you can see, the girls aren't in any of these pictures. They were very interested and amazed that Dad could start a fire just using the power of the sun and the curve of a magnifying glass. So, yes, there was some actual learning going on here (homeschooling at it's best), but the girls opted to keep their distance to be safe. They did collect leaves and sticks to make the fire bigger and bigger. Then, yes, the pot exploded from the heat. Just so you know, the pot was already cracked from being crushed by several feet of snow over the winter months so we knew it was a possibility. The fire was always contained but it was so hot that the concrete driveway was warm to the touch. Amazing! Playing with fire - check...learning about fire -check...being safe around fire - check. Now the girls want to start a fire by rubbing two stick together! Happy Tuesday xo ANG

Sunday, May 9, 2010

life changing

once i was a daughter and a sister. then i became a wife. now i am a mother with two daughters, sisters. it's life changing, this thing, this gift, called motherhood. my prayer is to be the mother, the example, the vessel, that God has planned for me to be so my girls can grow and learn and long to be everything God has planned for them. (me and miss O in 2003)

(me and miss E in 2005)
Happy Mother's Day

Friday, May 7, 2010

it's a zoo out there::part three

Okay, this is my final post about our trip to the NC Zoo. These pictures are all from the North America side of the zoo. We spent our morning in Africa, went out to the car for a nice picnic lunch, then drove to the North American side to begin the second half of our day. I must confess, we did rent a nice double stroller for this part. I know, my kids are 7 and 4 and they shouldn't need to ride when they've got perfectly good feet for walking. But let me tell you...there is a lot of walking. Tim got a nice workout pushing the stroller, especially on the uphill parts. The girls did get out and walk a lot, but when they were tired and hot it was nice to have that stroller with a canopy to keep the whining at bay. Anyway, on to North America. First stop...seals, sea lions, and polar bears. The sea lion was taking a nap with her snout in the water, the seal entertained us with her underwater acrobatics, and the polar bear was getting a light snack. Evidently he didn't want me to catch him eating...but I did anyway!
Then we were on to the stream and river section. Oh, there's a lovely, yet dark, indoor exhibit with many types of fish, snakes, bats, and owls. Most of those pictures didn't turn out very well. But, when we went outside the next animal we came to was the river otter. Seriously, one of the cutest little mammals out there.

Next up, after a nice stroll through the woods, was the grizzly bear. So cute and fuzzy, but seriously scary claws. Looks like someone could use a mani/pedi.
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Then we made our way over to the black bear. These guys are everywhere around here but I've never seen one up close. This one at the zoo was loving the attention and after a nice bath by the waterfall and posing for a few close-ups, he decided to stretch and out be cute.
Lastly, we encountered some frontier animals. The bison were so big and majestic. They were very calm and quiet as they munched on the grass. Every time I see one it reminds me of Dances with Wolves. And then there were the elk. The female obviously didn't want me to take her picture. I assume it was because she was shedding her winter fur and was a little mangy...but did she have to stick her tongue out? Sheesh! And the male, well, he sauntered around with his newly growing antlers like he owned the joint. Amazing creatures.

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So there you have it...our trip to the North Carolina Zoo. We all had a great time and if you can make your way there I know you'll love it, too. Happy Friday! xoANG

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

it's a zoo out there::part two

Throughout the North Carolina Zoo , on the trails between exhibits and as part of some exhibits, there are many beautiful plants and flowers. Here are just a few that I captured along the way. Unfortunately, I didn't catch the names of these beauties, but they are still gorgeous, nonetheless. And just so you know, there will be an amazing display of orchids in the African Pavilion during the entire month of May.
We also spent a lot of time in the aviary. It's such a strange, yet wonderful feeling to be near so many birds. Exotic, tropical birds. The sounds they made were amazing. Some of the birds weren't too scared of us and they let us get pretty close. Others didn't really care to have us in there and watched us from above. And still others sang loudly as if playing marco polo with us. We just had to follow the sound and have keen eyes and then we'd spot them.
This zoo used to have a petting zoo section but not any more. I was kind of sad about that because I really wanted to see some goats and sheep and chickens. To our delight though, they turned the petting zoo into a wonderful area of exploration for the kids. There was a butterfly garden, a long, winding maze of a balance beam made of logs, garden trellis tunnels to walk through, a bamboo maze (which the girls did by themselves-twice!), a wall on which to draw with chalk or paint with water, a pond stocked with tiny fish and timid frogs that drew us in because there were little nets all around for us to use in catching something...we didn't. It was still very fun.
A new section that we were excited to find was all about honey bees. I was quite smitten with the whole design. The walkways and garden fencing were all hexagon shaped. There were flowers everywhere to attract the bees and little information signs with cool facts about bees. There was also a real hive enclosed in glass so we could see all of the activity and bees in various stages of life. Fascinating.
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And just so you are completely aware...the Africa side of the zoo will be opening a new exhibit on May 22nd....Lemur Island! Happy Wednesday xo ANG

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

it's a zoo out there::part one

We went to the zoo a couple of weeks ago and I've been dying to share some pictures. What zoo? you ask. The North Carolina Zoo. It's so great! If you live within 3 or 4 hours it is well worth the trip. We got up super early, made it there by 9am when they opened, and had a great day. There are two parts to the zoo, an Africa side and a North America side. We started our day in Africa hoping to catch some early morning action. The lions, much to my dismay, were already snoozing and didn't seem to have any intention of getting up while we were there. So, on to the apes we went. The chimps and gorillas are always entertaining and fascinating. The giant silver back gorilla named Nkosi was amazing with his piercing stare and playful antics. The chimps, well, they're always so funny. There's always a couple of jokesters in there. They are such a hoot! A couple of them had handfuls of monkey chow that they were being stingy with even while they played. Several of the others found green beans to munch on while they seemed to study us through the glass while we studied them. It was a fun way to start the day!

Next, we went through a building that used to be an indoor monkey habitat but now housed flowers and banana trees and coffee plants. Right after that was the baboons. There were two new babies that chased and played. There were also some very menacing older baboons that weren't too keen on the lady with the camera, hence the intimidating stares I captured.

Elephants were next. Oh, we've never been so close to them. They were quite majestic up close like that. Okay, dirty and stinky, but still quite majestic. There were some rhinos in there too but they were being antisocial.

Then on to the lovely and beautiful giraffes and zebras. So there were a few ostriches thrown in there for fun. The giraffes chased them around for a while as the zebras seemed unimpressed. After all of the running the ostriches stared at us for a while, no doubt trying to make me insecure about my short and inadequate eyelashes.

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So that is Africa for you. The zoo is a natural habitat one so there is plenty of walking in between each exhibit. There are plenty of beautiful trees and flowers to enjoy while strolling along.
I hope you enjoyed the pictures! Happy Tuesday xo ANG