Thursday, July 14, 2011

Piggy Polish: Now Your Toes Can Really Dance!

Generally speaking, I'm sort-a an au natural kinda gal. I dress simply. I don't wear a lot of make-up. Even my jewelry is more or less pretty simple (except for the many awesome handmade earrings that my 7 year old makes...).

But, I love painted toes.

You'll never see me get a manicure -- it interferes with all the dirt, dough and art supplies that usually cover my hands.

But, a pedicure - yes, indeed.

The one thing that has never set well with me (though truth be told, this has not held me back) is the idea of putting such horribly chemical-ly stuff on my toes. Still, I do it.

Now, however, I can do it with a whole lot less guilt (and better health) thanks to Piggy Polish. Piggy Polish is DBP, Toluene or Formaldehyde free! And, it comes in a zillion fabulously wonderful colors. It's $9 a bottle -- but, hey, our toes are worth it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Circus Smirkus, Yes!

Summer scheduling. It's a juggle for working parents, for sure. Who knew?

We finally, I think, more or less figured it out. No comments, please, on the fact that it's mid-July.

We even planned a vacation. For two self-employed people, this is a huge deal. I'm pretty darn excited.

But, then, just after the airline tickets were purchased I had a moment of panic. We'd scheduled this vacation right through the local Circus Smirkus performances. Panic. I know, I know. It seems silly to be so obsessed about a circus. But, this is no ordinary circus. [I encourage you to read this post to see just how significant Circus Smirkus is to me.]

But, I was wrong. Oh, how I love it when I'm wrong! We'll be here for Circus Smirkus.

If you are in the northeast, be sure to check out the upcoming schedule to see if there's a performance near you.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Strawberries, Strawberries, Strawberries!

Late June into the first few days (or maybe a week or so into July depending on the Spring) strawberry season hits Maine. And, oh how delicious it is! I'm not sure what I like more, the experience of picking them or eating them in their various forms. Jam. Shortcake. Blended. Straight up.

Of course, like many things in Maine (except for winter), the season is short-lived and Maine-rs expend a lot of energy trying to preserve this summer goodness to enjoy all year long. I, however, have never canned a thing. I'm totally intimidated by it. I really want to try it - and I think this year might be the year.

On Sunday, the four of us set out to pick strawberries. And, man was the pickin' good. In less than 45 minutes we had picked 16 pounds of some of the most beautiful berries ever. So, while I try to get my nerve up to can, I've already put half of these strawberries to use. I've made six pints of freezer jam (this is SO easy -- so do it!). I've frozen berries for smoothies. I've made shortcake for 20.

We had PBJ sandwiches today with freshly made jam today -- and, it was wonderful. But, I'm still thinking about the wonderful time we had picking.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

All Before Noon the Fourth of July

A snapshot of a classic Fourth of July morning in New England?

Uncle Sam Leads the Neighborhood Parade

Bicyclists in the Parade (Note for future: Crepe paper and humidity don't mix.)
Miss Grumpy on Her Float

Proud Cyclist - Her First Time Cycling in a Parade
King of the Parade
Worn Out, But Taking it All In
The Line Up
The Littlest Sack Racer Tumbles
Lollipop Race: Score!
Practicing for Water Balloon Toss
Gearing up for the Three Legged Race. The leg length discrepancy is, as guessed, a handicap.
Tug O War Complete with Motivating Fire Hose
Young Winners and
Older Winners
Going home for a nap...winnings and all.

Weekend Egg Toss Restores Faith in Humankind

Okay, it's not that I don't have faith in humankind. I do. I really do. But, sometimes it seems we live in a world that is increasingly competitive, divided and, well, self-focused. This weekend at my Mom's neighborhood fourth of July festivities, my faith was restored.

Picture this, if you will. A neighborhood of families engaged in the annual fourth of July field games. Sack races. Balloon toss. Egg Toss. Tug o war. Some of the games kindly group competitions by age --giving those young and inexperienced (and perhaps the elderly and over-experienced) a chance. But, the egg toss is an exception. It is a a generation-wide competition. And, as far as I can tell in the couple of years I've been going to this gathering--it's super competitive. I think families have held winning titles for generations. This year, titles -- and, perhaps some pride - cast aside.

As the gap between tossers widened, my daughter and her cousin (one year her elder-visiting from Maui) kept tossing. Their tosses (particularly my daughter's) came no where near they were supposed to reach. But, each cousin ran to whereever the egg would drop and roll and pick it up and return to their spot. The judges and the fewer and fewer remaining contestants gracefully ignored the fact that the girls, by all standards, should have been disqualified many tosses before. As I sat in awe, admiration and amusement from the sidelines, I wondered what inspired the competitors to toss the rules aside. Was it the awe of the fact that the egg that repeatedly dropped and bounced never broke? Or, was it the determination (and pride) of two little girls? Whatever it was, it was a beautiful, beautiful thing.

The girls took home first place ribbons for the egg toss -- and, quite honestly, I am not sure I've ever seen two little girls quite so proud.

Thank you to all those Wildwood players and judges for your grace -- and to that chicken who laid one amazingly strong egg.