Wolves and mammoths and braces oh my!

Now this is a stuffed animal. Bigbos the wolf, brilliant. So tired of the same ol same ol…webkins, ugh please. Yes, they are marketing geniuses, but I won’t succumb. Not even when I saw the vulture. No, keep walking…there has to be toys that look like they were created for the creative child, the one who doesn’t have to have everything in their lives revolve around a TV show or computer screen.

I was flipping through this site and said out loud, ‘I will be an awesome grandma someday’ to which my 15 year old daughter said, well…you could start by being an awesome mom and get me the woolly mammoth.  I think that just by having her, at 15 want a woolly mammoth is a clue that I am a great mom!  Managed to keep them occupied without thousands of brand names cluttering the house or labeling them with Dora this and Hannah that.

I do have an excuse to purchase a Jellycat toy, my sister in law is expecting…and my little sis is off at college, she’d love a little huggie…and her tastes run quite similar to mine, guess my mom did an awesome job too.

 Jellycat, large truffle wooly mammoth, what a sweet little friend to drag around the house, lay on, snuggle with. I can see those tusks doing double duty as teethers too.

The funky little clothing line by appaman is definitely rich old aunt gift material. ( my own kids wear hand me downs and hand mades and are just fine with all that thank you very much ) I do like the lightening bolt polo shirts for boys though, if you absolutely have to dress up at 4, might as well declare to the world, “I’m a fire bolt, watch out”

Lou Lou’s Corner has fantastic eco friendly weird wooden toys…funky clothes, creative books, those amazing stuffed animals that are nearly anti stuffed animals…and not a Snuggie or internet ready toy in sight!  I did run across a barefoot dreams robe…a real robe, not one to be pulled on backwards and worn out of the house….no, a cuddle up on the couch with a good book robe. yummy!   If you cannot easily get up and race to the phone…well so what?  Relax, stay comfy, let the machine get it.
and finally I leave you with this……

Small Paul-Bob the Braces Dog


Posted in art

Brain Cloud

In the unpopular movie, Joe vs the Volcano, Tom Hanks a soul sad hypochondriac learns that he is dying, of a ‘brain cloud’,  he accepts an offer to throw himself in a volcano at a tropical island, and along the way there, learns to truly live. 

A brain cloud, I’m thinking that might feel a lot like writer’s block. Such a sorry sap place to be. The only time I face the page with nothing to write, is when I have the carrot being dangled in front of my face. Give me a well paid assignment and I freeze, like a deer in the headlamps.

Eventually, I will get the work done. The words will somehow string along and I’ll make the deadline and all will be well. But this intermediate time is torture. I make myself sick, literally sick, with wondering what in the world to write that hasn’t been done before….and done better.

In the meantime I leaf through my journals for inspiration, pull books off the shelves and surf the internet for something to jump out at me and tell me it’s going to be alright. Flipping around today I stumbled on another one of those how to make money blogging sites thinking there would be a magic trick to blogging for money and allowing me to just write. Blogging isn’t a problem, free wheel thinking, throwing this and that out there, writing like I talk, that I can do. 

You Say Too is the website I stumbled on, it had some excellent blogs on their and so, of course, I flipped through some of them…for ideas of course, anything to spark this frozen brain…no. All it did was make me realize how very prolific those bloggin fools are and how very cloudy I am.  The site itself has a money making premise, something about revenue sharing, which I’m sure will sound good once I jump in a volcano.

Posted in art

I was raised by artsy folk, who instilled in me a general disregard for child centered places that catered only to children. Chuckie Cheese like establishments being only the beginning of the madness, everyday it seems there are more and more expensive places willing to take your money or

 host your child’s birthday party.

My children get invited to many of these artificial events, some are worse than others. Cattle like prodding to get through the precisely laid out schedule, smile and for goodness sake, have fun.

I selfishly want to enjoy taking my kids on adventures, open their eyes to a bigger world and do it in a way that doesn’t sacrifice a week’s pay. If you are with me so far, check out these little known gems Cleveland has to offer families. Not all are free, but they all offer world expanding culture geared to children without shutting the adults out of the fun.

Playhouse Square tops my list for two reasons. Not only do they have an excellent children’s theater program, four shows for $40. Their membership package offers even better deals and gives kids a connection to the theater, meeting cast members and preshow parties.

It is also a little known fact that they offer free backstage tours. Children and adults will be enthralled at the grand inner workings of the theater. This is something that will inspire both you and your children. This is a great place to start; if your kids are sparked by the magic of the theater, then you can go back for more. Playhouse Square has a lot to offer.

Another off the beaten track tour that you can take your kids happens twice a year. On the Saturdays of Memorial Day and Labor Day, the Cuyahoga County Engineer’s Office opens the lower deck of the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge to the public.

The self guided tour is free and very cool. Walk over an open steel grid, 100 feet in the air. Not a tour for the youngsters, but this would be loved by preteens on up, especially if you hand them a camera to capture all the fantastic images of Cleveland.Now, for some relaxing fun, take the kids to the Hershey Children’s Garden at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. This is another place where it pays to become a member. The Children’s Garden is full of amazing natural discoveries, a tree house, interactive fountain and so much sheer

beauty. Adults: $7, Children (3-12) $3, under 3 are free. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10-5pm and Sunday 12-5pm. Wednesdays they are open until 9

<a href=’http://ads.associatedcontent.com/www/delivery/ck.php?n=a14de4a9&cb=1107981302′ target=’_blank’><img src=’http://ads.associatedcontent.com/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=2&cb=751181581778433903&source=&n=a14de4a9&slice=-0-&content_type=article&content_type_id=2206801&category_id=25&key_ad=1107981302&site_id=1&ad_pos=2&key_page=751181581778433903&ac_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.associatedcontent.com%2Farticle%2F2206801%2Fexploring_cleveland_with_kids_activities_pg2.html%3Fpage%3D2′ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>

Note: They are also open Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day

Another magical place to visit nearby is the Rockefeller Greenhouse (750 E.88th Street Cleveland) nothing flashy or fancy here, no giant ball pits or giant talking animals to entertain you, just a lovely place to walk around and soak in all the beauty. Without spending a dime, the Rockefeller Greenhouse is free, as well as the parking. It is open daily, weekends and holidays from 10 am – 4 pm.

The Cleveland Botanical Garden also offers some interesting programs such as the Great Lake Erie Boat Float. You can register to build a boat out of plastic bottles. Admission is your own plastic boat to float in Lake Erie. Go to their website for more info and boat building instructions.

Of course there is always the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. I say that with love, we have been members of the zoo since my kids were very little. 2 trips in a year paid for itself, and since we try to go once a month a membership is more than worth it. http://www.clemetzoo.com/ $60 a year isn’t bad at all for twelve trips with a large family.

They offer a number of fun events throughout the year and now that they opened the Center for Zoological Medicine, my kids are even more interested to go and see what animal the veterinarians are working on that day. Last time we visited, a bat was having its blood drawn for testing.

Cleveland also has a wide variety of ethnic and artsy festivals year round. Such as Parade the Circle, a free June University Circle event that is an explosion of creative fun. I personally know a teenaged stilt walker that participates every year, for the past 9 year. She’s a wonder to behold as her stilt’s get higher and higher each time.

The Hessler Street Fair is another University Circle event that occurs in May. Both draw large crowds and have loads to see, do and experience.

The Waterloo Arts Festival located in the Cleveland’s Collinwood neighborhood, also draws a crowd and offers kids plenty of hands on activities free of charge.
There are so many more festivals and parades check out the weekly paper for local listing and get out there! Clevelander’s need to take advantage of all the amazing cultural opportunities we have in our city.

Finally if you really feel like offering your kids to an indulgent treat….take them to b.a.Sweetie Candy Company, 7480 Brookpark Rd. Cleveland , the largest candy store in the US. You’ll find every sort of candy imaginable here, a real Willie Wonka experience. Watch their eyes

 light up.

Open Monday – Friday 9-7 pm, Saturday 10 – 6 pm and Sundays 11-4 pm

Posted in art

believe it or not

Did you know, Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum is located in Myrtle Beach?  I did not know this, but I do believe it. This museum of oddities would be mighty cool to check out.
Not only that, but the Myrtle Beach Art Museum has a new exhibit paying tribute to Southern authors like Alice Walker….Faces and Stories: Portrait of Southern Writers….nice.
And the Carolina Opry Theater, two hour entertainment phenomenon, fun for the whole family ( according to the website)

All this information is just convincing me it’s time for a vacation!  I checked out Mrytle Beach Resorts …again…and came up with even better rates. I am a freelance writer, I can write from anywhere right? Right.
The Prince Resort has the best Myrtle Beach accommodations I’ve seen yet. ( and the pier is to die for)
The website has winter rates at the Myrtle Beach Resort…monthly rates, that are less than my mortgage. uh huh.

just keep writing, just keep writing….i’ll get down there, yes i will.

Posted in art

Ugh, not sick, but not well, thought it might be my thyroid acting wacky again, but the medicine is at the right dosage,  apparently.  There has been a lot dumped on my shoulders over the past year ( as some of you know…and have had to listen to all the drama!)

Looking around, I came across Somatic Therapy……. curious.

The website says this kind of therapy can help with depression, chronic fatigue and residual effects from accidents among a list of other nasties.
 They offer a free consultation…..keep ya posted.

Posted in art

Shoes and Spirituality

 Just checked my recent statistics on my online articles, and it seems that my “boots for fall” is a hit. Nice. It just goes to show you all those times I told my writing students to ‘write what they know’ or ‘write about what you love’ is true.

If you caught me on the street and asked me point blank if I loved shoes, I’d laugh and say no, of course not. I’m not one of those girls who has to buy a new pair of shoes to make her happy.  But, truth be told, I do love the shoes I have. Most were found for ridiculously low prices, or at a thrift store even. I like myself a good deal, yessiree.

Last week I found my daughter a pair of Candies sneakers brand new at a thrift store, for $3.00 and a pair of adorable pink cowgirl boots, Bass $5.00…and that would have made me happy just as it was. Finding nearly new, brand name shoes in her size at a store no bigger than my living room was clearly a good find. But what was that peaking out from under the shelf? A pair of size 8, chunky high heeled green mary janes. Oh my. not a scuff mark on them either. I slipped them on just to be sure they really were my size and ahhh, perfection.
Black shoes are generally not my style, I would have walked right by the same shoe in black. But green, that’s sealed the deal. Three pairs of brand name shoes for under $13.00.   (and I only had $15 in my purse)

There is an art to this sort of shopping. It’s such a hit or miss sort of deal. All the way home I kept thinking, what are the odds that those three pairs were all in the right size, color and style. I didn’t mention, my daughter specifically asked for blue tennis shoes…and not more than a week earlier we had been looking for boots online, since she wants to be a cowgirl for Halloween.  Pink boots to go with this outfit…

People talk about the art of intention and expecting to find what you need, I believe in prayer, and asking for what you want. Somehow this must have played into the events of the day without consciously pleading for anything.

This sort of thing happens all the time. A few years back I had written in my journal or some notebook..a list of things I wanted or needed or something. ( I’m always writing out lists) and had put red converse down. I have a thing for red shoes and really like converse…anyways. A week or so later I found a pair, for a dollar. They were in the original box, my size, only pair of converse…and red.

As a pisces, we are supposed to be ruled by our feet. There must be something to that.

Do I love shoes? No, but I love my shoes and the stories behind them.

It’s like I’m building my faith, philosophy and wardrobe all at the same time.

boots for fall 2009

Fashion Rocks

In doing some research for an article assignment, I came across a saved page on my computer,  fashion rocks
Rock and pop culture inspired clothing from indie designer Idil Vice. I love this stuff!  Dresses galore, with the original Woodstock poster image, The Beatles, I love Lucy, Elvis and Elvis Costello (my personal favorite Elvis)  even a Metallica dress.
Her clothing isn’t cheap, dresses run around $100, but it looks better than a concert T, yet with the same effect.

I didn’t know this until today, she has a superstar following, Gwen Stefani, Madonna, Paris, Sarah Jessica Parker, Erykah Badu and even Carrie Underwood.

Mighty cool stuff.

French Toast

If you give a mouse a cookie…….

I had french toast for dinner tonight.

Which brought to mind my favorite blogger/artist  French Toast Girl

So I drew on my napkin…

Eating french toast calls for maple syrup

Which made me think of going to the apple farm as a little girl

Mom would always buy me, one maple candy

I saw a recipe for maple candy just last week.

here it is;

  • 2 cups maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • maple leaf molds

1. Prepare your molds by spraying them with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Pour the syrup into a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. The syrup will boil quite a bit, so you want to have a saucepan large enough so that it will not easily boil over the top.
3. Insert the candy thermometer and add the butter to the syrup, stirring to incorporate.
4. Bring the syrup to 240 degrees (soft-ball stage) and remove from the heat.
5. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes, then beat with a wooden stick until it thickens, lightens in color and turns opaque, 3-5 minutes. Stop stirring once it reaches this point, because you do not want it to set completely in the pan.
6. Spoon the candy into your molds and smooth the tops.
7. Allow to set for 5-7 minutes, then pop out of the molds.

maple candy makes me think of french toast…..

Posted in art