Saturday, June 19, 2010

Anyone else remember...?

Today I'm feeling nostalgic for things I remember from my childhood. Not stuff that every kid had--Barbies, Legos, Tinker Toys, American Girl dolls, Baby-Sitter's Club books, Disney movies--but those things that not many kids owned. Those rarities made life special.

1. The Magic Locket by Elizabeth Koda-Callan

Generally on a long day of shopping my mom would get me a little something special if I was well-behaved. It was usually a book, Barbie clothes, Crayolas, a hairbow, etc. I can still remember being at Sam's Club looking through the stacks of books while my mom did her monthly bulk shopping. After a particularly long day (I had already gone through all the free food samples), my mom bought this book for me. I can't remember what the story was about, but it came with your very own locket.

2. Stardust Classics Dolls
I can't lie: I was an extremely girly child. I loved pink, dolls, unicorns, fairies, princesses, make-up--all the expected trappings of a young girl. I had lots of dolls, mainly thanks to my grandparents. But my mom and dad one year bought me a Stardust doll--Laurel the Woodfairy. The dolls (including a princess and time traveler) aren't made anymore, but I still have mine tucked away in storage to someday give my future child. Better hope it's a girl!

3. Cherry Merry Muffin
Maybe these aren't as unknown as I originally thought, as I found a few webpages dedicated to them. But growing up, I don't remember any of my friends having these. I was obsessed. I had every single doll (all three editions) and every playset, most of them bought for me by my Uncle Eric.

4. Popcorn by Frank Asch
Popcorn is probably my favorite book from my childhood, and it's not one that is commonly known. It tells the story of a bear named Sam who throws a costume party while his parents are away. All his bear friends bring a gift of popcorn, and they decide to pop it all at once in a big kettle. Chaos ensues and Sam is left with a house full of the stuff. He finally cleans it all up before his parents return--bearing a gift of popcorn. And Sam feels sick, never again wanting to eat popcorn. I guess the moral of the story is not to throw parties while your parents are away. Maybe popcorn is a metaphor for alcohol? Certainly a good message for toddlers.

5. Pappyland

For most of my childhood my family didn't have cable. Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel were "inappropriate" for children. Shows like Rugrats and Ren & Stimpy didn't reflect positive moral values. We were left with good ol' (free) public broadcasting. They had "great" (and by great I mean terrible) educational shows like Reading Rainbow, Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, Puzzle Place, and The Big Comfy Couch. They had a few good nuggets: Wishbone, Carmen San Diego, and my favorite, Pappyland.

Pappy was an old man who taught kids how to draw. I remember everyday getting a pad of paper and a pencil, and plopping down in front of the TV so Pappy could teach me how to draw a giraffe or hippo. I still, at least a little bit, resent having to sneak over to a friend's house to watch Stimpy eat Gritty Kitty while being choked by a psychotic chihuahua.

6. Fine Artist
Before The Sims or Roller Coaster Tycoon (or a million other cool computer games) I played Fine Artist on an old IBM. On rainy days when I wasn't allowed outdoors, I would spend hours honing my Da Vinci skills. You could do really cool things like paint...and draw. You could insert noises or moving graphics. I would make my own comics. Now it seems pretty lame, but I guess compared to Minesweeper or Ski Free, it was down right amazing.

7. Rose Petal Place

You know when someone's career is down the tank when they agree to do anything called Rose Petal Place. Marie Osmond starred in this awful movie I owned and loved as a child. It's about a bunch of flower people who are kept alive by the beautiful voice of Rose Petal. But she is continuously being thwarted by an evil spider named Nastina (her theme song is "I Love To Hate") and her companion, Horace the Fly. Yes, it's just as awful as it sounds. My brother used to watch it just to make fun of it.

8. "I Always Thought I'd See You Again" and "You And Me" from Jetsons: The Movie
This movie was my very favorite from my childhood, and again, it's not an extremely popular or well-known one. The songs had tons of things I loved: neon colors, teenage romance, flying horses, Tiffany. The sad thing is I actually own this on DVD.

9. Fashion Plates
There's nothing that can make a 6-year-old feel more like a fashion designer than crayon rubbings.

10. ValueTales

This is the kind of stuff my mom devoured and regurgitated to my brother & I during our childhood. ValueTales were a series of biographies for children that featured different values. Science, history, arts--all combined with a tale of positive morals. I distinctly remember being terrified of the Louis Pasteur book because of a picture of rabid dogs. He created the rabies vaccine, by the way. I guess I learned something after all...

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

the adventures of cleaning

I don't mind cleaning, I really don't. I would even venture to say that I enjoy cleaning on occasion. But cleaning my room sucks. I never really tidied it before moving into my apartment last August and the mess increased as I dug around rooting for things to pack. Clothes and clothes and clothes everywhere. Empty Diet Dr. Pepper cans. Boxes. Blankets and sheets and pillows. I even managed to step on my wonderful lap desk while moving my television to my apartment, which resulted in a large crack and explosion of tiny foam beads that stick to everything. This stresses me out greatly, because no matter how hard I try, I cannot seem to get rid of them.

The stress has started to subside as I move into the organization part of cleaning. I've found some great forgotten treasures:

  • A Venus de Milo magnet I bought in Paris last spring
  • 2 "gold" rings, which upon closer inspection are engraved with Tengwar. Yes, I am sad to say I own 2 One Rings of Lord of the Rings fame
  • My souvenir pressed penny collection
  • Ruby earrings
  • A pair of cashmere socks
  • Some pretty nail polish
  • My very first piano book, emblazoned with yellowing stickers
  • A pack of scrapbook stickers
  • £10 and a bag of Euros
  • Seashells from Sanibel Island
  • Quarters...lots of quarters
  • A silver necklace from Taos
  • The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (This happens to be one of my favorite books of all-time)
More to come, I'm sure.

I'm also working on a complete re-haul of my bedroom. I've got some nice artwork to add from my apartment and I'm going to completely rearrange my furniture. My project for this summer is to paint my walls. I'm thinking a pale creamy yellow with a dusty pink accent wall.

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who else can't wait?

Only 8 days!

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Friday, June 4, 2010

tgif links

It's Friday! Do something fun!

Get organized with some free printables at Kind Over Matter

Never lose a book again with a free personal library kit at Twig & Thistle

Make your own decorative chandelier
at Brassy Apple

Create jewelry with washers
at Helping Little Hands

Bring the s'mores inside and make s'mores stuffed brownies
at Picky Palate

Bake some wings with an unusual glaze
at Steamy Kitchen

Check out the top beaches for finding sea glass at Uptake

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010



the sweetest place on earth

I love roller coasters. I also happen to love chocolate. What better place to satisfy both desires than Hersheypark? I took my first trip to Hersheypark when I was in 8th grade. In Northwest Arkansas, the places to go were Six Flags over St. Louis and Silver Dollar City. They are great, fun parks, but Hersheypark was so different than the others. It was clean, shady, and I swore it smelled like chocolate. It had lots of roller coasters, but lots of other rides, too. A park for everyone.

This was my third trip to Hershey since moving to Pennsylvania. It is still as great as I remember, but growing rapidly. There is now a water park and another new coaster since my last visit. The other impressive attraction is the Zoo America, which is included in your park ticket. It's a small zoo park featuring different animals and habitats from North America.

But one of the best things about Hersheypark is known as Chocolate World. The Hershey Chocolate factory doesn't offer tours, so Chocolate World was born. You take a ride through a colorful, musical world of chocolate-making. Chocolate smells are pumped through the ride and animatronic cows sing about the joys of milk chocolate. It is so dark and cool and sweetly-scented that it is hard not to fall asleep.

Just when your eyes are fluttering closed, you're ushered off the ride and through a labyrinth of hallways until you reach a very bored teenager handing out fun-sized Hershey Bars. Free chocolate! What could be a better ending to a hot, sweaty day at the park?

I've been to many parks, but Hersheypark remains my favorite.

It should be noted that I seem to be getting older and therefore unable to withstand the jerking, twisting, dropping, spinning and banging of your average amusement park ride. Somewhere within the last five years, I seemed to have develop a gag reflex. No, I didn't vomit, but I sure felt it was touch-and-go at times. I'm hoping my tender stomach was merely a side effect of eating bad food and getting very little sleep the night before, but it could be the simple fact of age.

I guess I will need to visit again soon? For experimental purposes, of course.

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

growing and growing...

My garden is really starting to explode! Things are sprouting and blooming all over the place. I fear it's too late in the season to start with seedlings, but the cactus, succulents and herbs should all do fine inside. Still, I find it's so much fun to plant seeds in soil and see how they progress each day, even if a green sprout is all that results.

Look at all the crazy stuff happening in my pot of donkey tail! Lots of new little...what would I call them? Sprouts?

Not sure what these beautiful white blooms are, but they pop up every year in the beds. They look really pretty for a day or two, then they turn the bush into a droopy mess and shed their petals until the bed looks like it's been toilet-papered.

Excuse the dirt under my fingernail (I was gardening after all). My poppies keep blooming beautiful orange and yellow flowers. You can see this orange one struggling to free itself.

Hopefully I'll have some delicious, fresh strawberries soon! The berries are all green and still on the smallish side.

Can you guess what this is? It's a cactus! What variety, I don't know (the seed packet was a mixed variety) but how cool that I am growing a CACTUS from seed!?

Two more little baby cacti are popping up in this pot. I've never quite seen seedlings like this before!

Another cactus...

This pot may look familiar. It once held my lovely lavender plant, which did not survive its temporary abandonment. I replaced the lavender with a pretty measly looking rosemary plant. I can't wait for this one to bulk up and grow more.

Hens and chicks are such neat plants and easy to care for. I really love succulents!

This is a tomato plant. You can see something is digging around in there...

This basil plant finally sprouted after two months. Nothing beats fresh basil eaten with tomato slices and drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Hopefully this can grow more so I can it enjoy it before tomatoes go out of season.

Chives! These sprouted within days and are growing very quickly. I'll have to transplant them very soon.

My very old cat, Cricket, likes to join me on the porch when I'm gardening. He also likes to bat around the poppies, which he was doing moments before.

These are the pepper pots, still looking pretty much the same. One pot is empty, though...

Because I transplanted it to a bigger pot. I really, really want some Cayenne pepper before the summer has ended.

I planted some cilantro seeds in here. I love Mexican and Thai food, for which cilantro is a key flavor. It's one of my favorite herbs and I can't wait to have some. No movement from the pot yet.

I had some random flower seed packets laying around and I planted the cornflower in this pot. Look at all of them! I'm considering moving them to the beds.

And we are joined again by Cricket. Forgive his manginess. He's usually very clean, but he's been enjoying the great outdoors the past few days (which consists of crawling around in the bushes and beneath the deck).

Any idea what we have here? Delicious, wonderful eggplant! There are so many little seedlings. I think I might have to transfer them to a bed.

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