The journey of a thousand miles begins with...the perfect pair of shoes.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

RTT: Watermelons, Cakes, Birthdays, ipods and...whatever

Hello! It's RTT! I have missed it for a few weeks now. WHAT? I know.


*Apparently the 6 weeks we took for summer vacation made me totally forget that homeschooling seriously cuts into my blogging/napping/movie time.  I have to actually teach and interact with Indy.  Whaaaaaa.

*What did people do before the invention of portable music?  Think????  Talk to other people???? On my way home from the gym this morning I realized that every single person had earbuds in and was busy looking at the ground. In the interest of full disclosure, I should add that I too was wearing earbuds, but I make it a point to look at (or at least try to look at people-hard to do when everyone's looking at the ground) people and nod or say hello. I think mp3 players are making us antisocial.

*Indy's BFF had a super awesome birthday party this weekend. It was Star Wars themed and Hoosier Mom (really, 3 months and no blog update?) made the coolest R2D2 cake. Seriously. It was amazing.  Check this out:

The legs are made out of Rice Krispie treats and iced.   She is a cake diva!

*James Bond carved the super cool Death Star watermelon in the background.  It is now official: watermelon is his medium.  You can see his watermelon shark and watermelon monkey brains by clicking the links.

 That's no moon.  It's a melon!

*Indy wants a Star Wars party next year (he told me this about a week before the pirate party this year) and said when James Bond carves the Death Star watermelon for him, we're going to put some fireworks in it and blow it up just like the movie.  Sigh.  He also wants a Han Solo in carbonite cake, like this one:

Double sigh.

*Is it really almost Labor Day Weekend?  REALLY?  Where did the summer go?  Of course here it's already chilly (high of 62 today), but still, Sept, already????

*Indy had his first soccer practice last night.  James Bond called me at 4pm to tell me that he'd gotten an email last week, that he hadn't opened until just then re: Indy's soccer.  We didn't know when practices would start (we were told to look for an email), so at 4pm, I learn that practices start at 6pm (that day!) and Indy needed cleats and shin guards before then.  Great.  We ran to the store (where they were mostly wiped out of cleats in Indy's size) to get a pair.  The only ones they had in his size were neon yellow and the only shin guards they had left were kind of a goldish/neon yellow color.  Fancy!  I'll have to post photos.

*Drat, Indy needs my help.  I guess I'd better go do something.  Before I do though, I'll leave you with this:

Go click the creepy button to read the other randoms.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tunis, Tunisia, where we discovered I’m worth about $61,000

Since I'm still a bit under the weather (but getting better), I thought I'd post more of our cruise. This was our second port.

Our next adventure began as we pulled into Port in Tunis, Tunisia, Africa. Africa, people! I’ve been to Africa! Okay, so just the very tip of a northern country, but still, Africa! The day was sunny and breezy and we were greeted by camels, dancers, men dressed in Roman costumes, and men in native dress playing drums. It was very festive. We passed through immigration (no one stamps passports anymore-that sucks) and were greeted by Ahmed, our tour guide for the day. He was funny and very informative. We drove from the port to the ruins of Carthage. On the way we passed a new bank that was being built called “the olive branch” in Arabic. In front of the building was an 800 year old olive tree, which Ahmed said was still young for an olive tree. I did not know.

We passed several ruins along the highway and were told that there were more than 700 Roman ruins in Tunisia. Indy was in heaven. There were columns and statues and ruins galore. Hurrah! The town itself has a really interesting history. Queen Dido (a Phoenician) came there after her husband was murdered by her brother and negotiated a deal with the ruler of the locals. She told him she would give him a large sum of money for land that could be covered by the size of a cow (or ox) hide. He of course thought she was crazy and agreed, giving her a hide. She (smart woman that she was) had the hide cut into strips the width of a cord and they stretched out to cover about 12 acres. The leader was impressed with her intelligence and agreed to give her the land. She and her people built their city on a hill overlooking the water. The views were gorgeous. I can see why she chose that spot, aside from its strategic importance in the event of an attack. This is also the city where the famous Hannibal ( the general, not Lecter) was born. Did you know his last name was Barca? The city of Barcelona was named for his family. If it ever comes up on Jeopardy, you’ll know, and you can impress your friends. You’re welcome. I'll expect a small percentage of your Jeopardy winnings.  After Carthage, we hopped back on the bus and headed over to the ruins of the Antonin baths. Again, gorgeousness everywhere we looked.

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From the baths, we went over to the Medina, which is the original market place. It was….interesting. The vendors are very aggressive. When we got off the bus and made the short walk to the Medina, I have to say, I felt like I was on display. All the locals were staring at us like “oh, look at all the pale people.” It was kind of creepy.
At the Medina we learned how the little hats the men wear are made. They look like a Fez, but are called something else (can’t remember the name). The women knit them from camel or goat wool and they look like big, loose weave berets. They are soaked overnight in warm water on a mould (in varying sizes) and then dried in the sun. The wool shrinks and the hat is shaped. They are then hand dyed. Interesting. We went from accessory alley to gold alley, where my eyes nearly popped out of my head. Holy cow! Gold and jewels everywhere. I did not buy anything, no matter how tempted I might have been. Then it was off to the carpet alley where we saw how those beautiful carpets are made. By hand. Most of the patterns are inspired by the tiles and other artworks in the Mosques. The carpets come in different materials, knots per square meter and of course price. The most expensive carpets are made of pure silk and are heavenly to touch. They have 1 million knots per square meter and take almost 3 years to make (for a 6x9 ft). WHAT? They also cost a lot. A lot. The 6x9 foot were $10,000 (US)! I’d never let anyone walk on it! There was one that was so gorgeous I nearly wept over it. The price was $11K. They offered us the “special price” of $9K. I laughed. $9K indeed. The owner of the shop told James Bond he would give him the carpet and 500 camels for me. Um, what? He said he could use another wife. Again, what? Polygamy is against the law in Tunis (Ahmed had told us this earlier),but many of the men don’t care and have multiple wives like their ancestors had. I laughed heartily and told him that he’d give James Bond many, many more camels to take me back. He laughed. I was serious.   So, at $100 (USD) per camel plus $11K (USD) for the carpet, that puts me worth around $61,000 in Tunisia.  Good to know, I suppose.

We did buy a carpet, but not a silk one. Ours is cashmere and has 100,000 knots per square meter. It is smallish, maybe 2x4, and was priced at $600. I told them that way waaaaay too much and started to walk away. He offered it at $450. Again, I said no and took a step away. The owner (who had previously offered the carpet and camels for me) put an arm around me and asked what I wanted to pay. James Bond and I did some quick back and forth whispering and I told the owner that I didn’t want to insult him (see what I’m doing?) and he said a lady with such beautiful eyes (that’s true, BTW) could never insult him. Really? Let’s find out. I offered $150. He actually looked startled and said it was too low. I thanked him and stepped away. He tightened his arm around me and said for me and my “beee-yuu-tiful” eyes he’d “sacrifice” it for $175. Ha! We were willing to pay $200! Yay me! They packed our carpet up and off we went, back to through the market and past the cafes where we were once again stared at. We liked the area around Cathage, but the city center was a bit dodgy. Kind of exciting though. What is it about danger that makes it exciting? We rushed back to the boat to make the all aboard time, but Ahmed assured us that if we missed the boat we could all go back to his place for couscous. While that was nice of him, none of wanted to explain to Tunisian immigration why we were not leaving the country when we were supposed to. On the way, we passed stall after stall selling flowers. Ahmed said it was in preparation for the upcoming wedding season. In Tunisia, most marriages take place at the end of May or beginning of June, to beat the heat of the summer and the cold night of winter. Weddings are a weeklong event attended by 300-400 people (each night!) and the bride and groom are only allowed to be together after the 7th night. Can you imagine? Of course we all made it back to the boat and life was good. Better than good; Fantastic.  Before boarding Indy and I rode a camel!  A camel!!!!  Indy was so excited.  I asked James Bond if he wanted to, but he said after Iraq, he'd had enough camels and didn't need to ride one.

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There was a woman on our tour I must mention. You know the heavy set cheerleader in high school? She was chubby, but muscular and had loads and loads of school spirit? Yeah, that girl. You know how after high school she got chubbier, but didn’t care and still, even though she was past 30, dressed like she was in school and wore bows around her ponytail? Just making sure you know who I’m talking about. Well, she was on our tour. She was a bit snotty, but still had the super big camera smile and chose poorly when she got dressed that morning. She wore a very short sundress that had very tiny spaghetti straps almost no top and she was very well endowed. I was almost offended. James Bond and I were taking bets on whether or not we’d see nipple (that’s how small this top was). You should have seen the looks she got from the Tunisians. I swear if looks could kill, she’d have dropped dead the minute we got off the bus. They even warned us about our choice of dress the night before and it was in our tour information sheet, so it’s not like she didn’t know. This is what makes people dislike Americans (and yes, she was American). If you’re going to another country, especially a Muslim country, show some respect for their values and keep your goods under wraps..

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  Weekend Bloggy Reading

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I has the sicks.

I've been a bit MIA lately. We've been busy with school and I've had a soar throat for several days now that I absolutely cannot shake. It is sucking the life from me (and the joy of eating because everything tastes weird). When I got up this morning to go to the gym (see, right there, that is a sign of sickness, I should have checked for a fever), I wasn't feeling well, but I went anyway and did my time on the treadmill, all the while fighting a severe headache and a terribly sore throat. I came home and crawled straight back into bed. I didn't even shower, that's how bad I felt. Indy woke up around 9:15am (bless him) and came in. I told him I wasn't feeling well and he told me to go back to sleep and he'd take care of me. He made his own breakfast and watched some TV, coming in every 30-45 minutes to see if I was okay and if I needed anything. What a sweetheart! Also, if I'm sick, there's no school, and he has the day off. Around noon he came in to get the dogs to take them outside (they didn't mind me laying in bed all day) and then went out to play. I finally rolled myself out of bed around 1:30pm and ate some Jell-o, laid on the sofa and moaned ab bit and finished a book. I didn't even feel like surfing the interwebs. WHAT? Mayhaps I should head straight to the emergency room?
Hopefully I'll feel better soon and be back to my happy blogging self.

Saturday, August 21, 2010,, Movie Club?

This past Tuesday night I hosted my book club at my house (which is why I missed RTT-sadness). Once a month a different member hosts and August was my month. Now, you all know I like to throw get togethers and parties, right? Of course you do. Since book club is all ladies, I could do something fun and dainty and, well, girly. Yay! Our book was Persuasionby Jane Austen. Since it was a JA book (and who doesn't love JA?  No one, that's who), I pulled out all my fantastmic new flea market dishes with their beautiful transferware designs and planned my party.  At first I thought about doing an English tea, but who was I kidding?  We weren't going to drink tea!  We likes the wine.  In fact, when we say Book Club, it is usually accompanied by the phantom drink hand raise (you know, like you're holding a glass and bring it to you mouth), because, let's be honest, we do a lot more drinking of wine than we do talking about books.  Oh, sure, we do get some book discussion in, but not a whole lot.  Somehow we always end up talking about Twilight (squee!) and no, I'm never the one to bring it up.  Funny, how that works.
So, since I wasn't going to do a tea, I decided my lovely tea cups would be perfect for punch.  My menu included the following:

Super Easy Tortellini Salad (I have to thank Hope Studios for this recipe-it was amazing)

 Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip with home baked tortilla crackers (take flour tortillas, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and bake until slightly brown-I use the spinach tortillas and they are delicious!)

Crab Salad (I also served some in cucumber cups-1-1.5" thick slices of cucumber with most of the center scooped out, leaving just a bit at the bottom and stuffed with crab salad)

Caprese Salad (tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil and olive oil-YUMMY!) and sliced french bread

Brie with crackers and fruit

Watermelon soaked in Prosseco

Sliced Chingalle salami and thin sliced Pecorrino cheese


Cinnamon Crumb cake

The best punch in the world-recipe to follow

And of course plenty of Vino.

I am so grateful to Hoosier Mom (seriously woman, update your blog!) and another book club member for telling me to take a photo of the spread before we tucked in, otherwise I would have forgotten and it would only be a memory.  Tada!!!

Don't my dishes look fab?   Of course they do.  And now, for what's really important at "book club:"

Sadly several most of the members did not read the book!  There are usually one or two who don't but this time there were only two of us who read it!  WHAT?  This is a great book!  Funnily enough one of the members brought her copy of the movie and we decided to watch that.  It was fun!  I haven't watched a movie with a group of girls since I was in college.  We turned the subtitles on so we could still talk every now and then (mostly to discuss the costumes and who someone was) and ate, drank and chatted happily.   It was so much fun!  Sadly, I was having so much fun I forgot to take photos of the members of the book club enjoying themselves.  Ah, well.  I got a photo of the wine at least.

If you like period books, this is one to read and if you like period movies (even if they don't feature a wet shirted Mr. Darcy), this is a great movie!  Best of all, it's not expensive.  Click the button and pick up your own copy from Amazon!  This is really the best version of the movie.

Oh, wait, I almost forgot to include the best punch in the world recipe!  How silly of me.  It's super simple to make and your guests will oooh and ahhh over its sheer deliciousness.

1-12oz can frozen orange-pineapple concentrate
1-12oz can frozen lemonade concentrate
1-12oz can frozen limeade concentrate
1 liter Sprite or 7Up (I actually prefer it with 2 liters added, but that could just be me, you can always add more if you like)
3 cups cold water
1 bag frozen raspberries (do not thaw)
1 bag frozen pineapple (do not thaw)

Let the concentrates thaw and mix with water (stir well).  Just before guests arrive pour in Sprite (or 7Up) and add the frozen fruit (keeping the fruit frozen chills the punch!  No need for ice).
Sit back and enjoy your get together with a glass of this and graciously accept all the accolades your guests will throw at you for this amazing punch.  And don't forget to tell them that the super awesome MIHH gave you the recipe personally.

Do you like to throw parties and get togethers?  What's your favorite party recipe?  Blog about it!  Link back to this post if you like!  Oh, maybe I'll do a linky party!  Would anyone be up for that?  Let me know!  Speaking of linking up, I'm linking to Amanda at Serenity Now.

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Monday, August 16, 2010

Flea Market Fun and the box of mystery!

Saturday was a glorious day here in Heidelberg, and happily there was a flea market at the Messeplatz. Huzzah! There is usually a flea market twice a month and if there's good weather, the vendors are out in full force and bargains abound. Oh, yes, this is my idea of fun. I've shown you flea market photos before so I didn't bother to take my camera.  I was shopping!  There was so much stuff!  One of the things I love about this flea market is that some vendors are there every month rain or shine (which is handy if you've done business with them and like them) , but most vendors are new every time with a hodge podge of stuff.  Oh, the possibilities!   I was on the lookout for some tansferware (because I love it, and it's crazy expensive in the States, but over here, it's everywhere) and boy did I find it.
My favorite kinds of vendors are not those who are professional flea marketers.  You know the kind, they have big wagons or RV's and display their goods in an organized manner.  They also price their stuff pretty high and are less willing to really bargain.  Yes, they make it easy to find things and everything is all pretty and clean, but they're not a lot of fun if you're looking for bargains.  One vendor was loaded with transferware and had full sets.  Oh, how I drooled.  A lot.  He had an entire set of Villeroy and Bosch transferware that was gorgeous and included place settings for 6, about 8 serving pieces, a complete coffee and complete tea service set, all in the same pattern.  Believe me, I wanted it.  He, however wanted 250 Euro for the set.  I have to say this is actually a great deal (one 5 piece place setting retails on Replacements Ltd. for $119), but not what I was willing to spend at a flea market, especially since I've picked up pieces for as little as 2-3 Euro each.  Still, I walked past his booth about 10 times and stopped to admire his transferware so many times it was almost embarrassing. This was also a HUGE mistake if you are looking for a bargain.  If you show too much interest, they're not as willing to bargain.  I knew he wasn't willing to come down, so I didn't care. It was pretty and I wanted to look at it.  Looking is free.
Now the people who just have stuff randomly set up on tables and boxes and boxes of stuff haphazardly placed, these are my people.  They generally don't make a living off flea markets and are just out there selling boxes of  extra stuff they've picked up, inherited or  purchased at other flea markets.  They're out to make a few Euro and are really willing to haggle.  They'd rather sell their stuff than lug it back home and will take what they can get.  Oh, yes, these are my people!
I ran across one vendor who had many random boxes, so unopened that held goodness knows what.  He had a box of transferware that I thought had potential.  He wasn't very busy, which is good because that means they're usually more willing to bargain.  I wasn't really interested in all the pieces but did like the cups and saucers.  I picked up a piece or two to check their condition (near perfect!) and then walked away.   It was pretty, but if I don't absolutely love it, I like to keep looking.  If I don't find something I like even better, I'll go back and if the item is still available, I'll give it another thought.  I wandered around for about an hour and didn't find anything else in my price range (cheap) that I loved so I went back to box man.  Happily the box was still available and I asked how much for the whole box.  I didn't really want them all, but I figured, why not?  Box man gave me a price that was reasonable, but this wasn't my first picnic (or flea market as the case may be) and I know better than to agree to the first price.  I stood there with my best P-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-poker face (thanks to Lady Gaga I can never hear or say that phrase without thinking of the song) looking like I was thinking about it, hoping he'd come down a few Euro.  Before I could say anything though he gave me another price that was less than HALF the original price.  I sputtered for a second and repeated the price.  The sun was beating down pretty hard and I could have been having a heat stroke and become delirious all of a sudden (plus there's the whole language thing-German numbers are weird).  Surely I had heard him wrong.  He repeated the price back to me (apparently I wasn't delirious) and THEN he offered me a second box that was closed for an additional few Euro.  He pulled a few pieces out to show me and said the rest was all similar.  I asked him if he was sure (maybe he was having a heat stroke) and he agreed.  I practically threw the money at him, scooped up the first box (I couldn't carry them both), assured him I'd be right back for the second and ran for my car.  I cam back as quickly as possible to scoop up the second box before he changed his mind.  He had a vintage apron in his hand that he offered to me as a Geschenk (free gift).  He packed it on top of the box of mystery and handed it to me.  I felt people staring at me as I ran for my car again, but that could have been because I might have been giggling like a crazy person.  I can't be sure of this though.  I won't tell you what I paid because it's almost embarrassingly low.
I hopped in my car and drove home wondering what was in my box of mystery.  I convinced James Bond to go downstairs and lug the heavy boxes up for me, so we could see what was inside.
Here is a photo of the box I wanted originally:

It contains 12 cups and saucers a sugar and creamer (all of the same pattern), plus 5 plates and 2 bowls (the blue) of varying patterns (including a matching plate to a few other pieces I've picked up along the way) and a few extra saucers of a different pink pattern.  Isn't that awesome???  But wait, there's more.

The box of mystery:

James Bond really liked the little...thing on the side.  I don't know why.  What he's saying roughly translates to "Your moving specialists" or something like that.

When we opened the box, we were stunned.  STUNNED!  I could NOT believe what was in there.  Can you believe this????

And they're all the same pattern!!!! There are 6 dinner plates, 5 soup/salad bowls, 2 serving bowls, a gravy boat with attached plate, a covered serving bowl and a 12" oval platter!  James Bond and I stared at each other for a few minutes before he congratulated me on my super score.  I actually felt guilty.  I wanted to go back and give Box Man more money, but the flea market was over by then.  This is a closeup of the platter:

It is made by Wedgewood (!!!) and the pattern is called Woodland.  One dinner plate costs more than what I paid for both boxes.  I love flea markets!!! 

Oh, wait, and here's the Geschenk:

Isn't that cute?  It's black and cream and he just threw it in the box!  For FREE! 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Letter from the President (of the US)

Good Monday to you all! I hope you had a lovely weekend. We did. It was lazy, just the way we like them.
You may remember a while back when Indy was indignant about what he saw on Oprah's Earth Day show and decided to write the President a letter.  We sent the letter off around the beginning of May and didn't think much about it.  He felt good for having done something and that made me happy.  Around the middle of July, we went to the post office to pick up our mail and had a package slip.  We went to the counter and our package was a a large envelope with Indy's name on it.  I looked at the return address and it was from The White House!  Indy flipped out and insisted we open it right there.  The post office wasn't busy and the workers gathered around (Indy announced loudly that he had a package from the President) to see what was inside.  There were several things, but chief among them was a letter from the President himself.  Indy was overjoyed and insisted I read it aloud.  If you click the image below you can see his response.  I'm sure someone else wrote it, but it is signed in ink, not with a stamp.

Also included were a map of the White House with all kinds of information on it and on the back, a FAQ on what it's like to be President.  Indy found all that very interesting.  There was also a signed photo of Obama (again, ink, not a stamp).

But the most fascinating thing (according to Indy) was a photo of Bo Obama, the President's dog.  Oh, happy day!  Indy loves dogs and finds Bo (or Bobama as we like to call him) very interesting.  On the back of the photo is all sorts of information about Bo including his favorite food: tomatoes.  Who knew?

Needless to say, this was all a very big deal to Indy.  And to us too, what parent wouldn't be proud?  Indy thinks he's the luckiest kid in the world (this might be true)because not only is he friends with a 4 star General (who happens to know Obama), but he's also friends with the President.  I think my boy is going places. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

RTT: Building Legos in my dreams


I NEED YOU TUESDAY!  THANK GOODNESS YOU'RE HERE!!!!!!  Sorry for yelling, but really, I need a brain drain.

 *As a girl, I never had Legos.  Indy got a million for his birthday, but doesn't want to actually put them together.  I've spent countless hours since Sunday putting together Star Wars and Indiana Jones Lego sets.  It's an awful lot of work to have to put the toy together before actually getting to play with it.  I'm not seeing the appeal. Plus, if you put something in the wrong place, it's a beeyotch to get it back off.

*I dreamed about Legos the other night.  I think it was a nightmare. 

*Why are 2 of the judges on America's Got Talent from Britain? Shouldn't they all be American? Also, shouldn't the contestants be required to be American? They have people who flew in from all over the world to audition. It's not World's Got Talent, it's America's Got Talent. I'm just sayin.

*I don't think I have a talent.  How depressing.  Oh, wait, there is my stellar wit.  Piers would get that.

*In addition to the Lego dreams, I had a dream that a former high school boyfriend of mine decided women were too complicated so he was going to start dating men.  Weird.  Of course 2 of my former boyfriends are now gay, so, I guess it's not that weird that my brain would cook that up, huh?

*I wonder if I am just a gay magnet?  I don't think James Bond would appreciate that thought.

*Why is it that nothing in our community opens before 10am?  Seriously, it's very annoying.  If you want to get something done early, forget it, because nothing can be done (except shop at the commissary) before 10am.  WHY?  Half the things on post have hours that are 10am-4pm.  That's ridiculous.  I dropped Indy off at camp at 9 and had to wait an hour to do any of the things I needed to.  Even the library wasn't open until 10.  I ran to the commissary to pick up a few things but because I had to wait until 10 for my other errands, my whole schedule was thrown off and I am very annoyed.

*I had to get some VAT forms today (Value Added Tax that we don't have to pay if we have a form-tax is 19%) and the VAT office didn't open until 10am. Of course.  I went to the library to drop off and pick up books (after it opened) and then to the VAT office.  I swear half the Polish Army was in line ahead of me.  I guess they don't have to pay German tax either.  The only worker at the VAT office is incredibly slow (painfully slow).  The Polish Army was getting the maximum number of VAT forms you can get at 1 time (10 per person).  The VAT forms are in several pieces that print off and have to be torn apart (they are printed on those pages with the holes down the side that are all attached) and then both sets of the form have to be stapled together.  It's a lengthy process.  The fact that there were so many in front people in front of me and that the lady who worked there was not only painfully slow, but more interested in talking about the brauhaus (brewery) she'd been to this weekend with a coworker made me want to start throwing things and go into an Incredible Hulk type rage.  I refrained though because I didn't want to ruin my shoes and finally get my forms so I can go to IKEA and buy James Bond a new dresser.

*Oh, I finally got to watch Remember Me!  Indy walked in and asked if I was watching Twilight.  Um no, it's just that RPattz is in Remember Me (and no, that's NOT why I watched it *coughcough*).  It's good and I did NOT see where it was going.  I was so shocked I actually gasped.  Out loud.  This is a really good movie, but it's not a feel good kind of film.  Still, very good.  Rent it. 

*Finally, today we have a toofer (twofor?) because they both deal with weight. 

It reads: Need to lose a little weight before your wedding?  Nice, pick on the stressed out brides.  Way to go SlimFast.  Maybe if they went here, they wouldn't have a problem:

How could you not like this gym?  They have a sense of humor.

I hope you all have a lovely and random Tuesday and that if you must run errands, you don't find yourself behind half the Polish Army, contemplating violence.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Yarrrrr! It be a pirate party!!

Ahoy there, me hearties! I mean, hello my lovely readers. I'm afraid my brain is still stuck in pirate mode. Yesterday we had Indy's 8th birthday and it were a piratin' we be was an awesome pirate bash. Indy started planning this the day before last years party.  He knew he wanted pirates and after the huge success of the Indiana Jones party, I knew expectation were high and I'd better do it right.  No pressure.  It rained for almost a week leading up to the party and I was freaking out slightly worried, but the day before the big party, the rain stopped and the sun started shining.  Whew!  I had a lot of prep work to do, but the super-duper awesome Hoosier Mom (seriously, loving you HM) did me a big solid-yo) by baking the cake for me. She baked and stacked it and covered it with fondant and the night before the party, we went to her house and ate Chinese, played a game called Yuker (which I still don't understand, but had enough beginners luck that JAG and I didn't do too bad-we played HM and James Bond), drank a lot of wine and stayed way too late considering we had a party the next day.  Oh, and we worked on the cake.  Silly me!  That's why we went over there.  James Bond drew the map on the cakes and I painted them on with food coloring.  It didn't take that long, and I think the results are awesome.  I owe HM big time.

The day of the party dawned clear and sunny and James Bond and I got to work.  We had games to set up, a party room to decorate, food to cook and a shark to carve.  Oh, that's right, James Bond was at it again with the watermelon carving.  Remember the watermelon brains for the Indiana Jones party?  Yeah, well, this year I saw a watermelon shark online and HAD to have it.  Had. To. Have. It.  I knew James Bond could do it.  It took him about an hour.

The kids started arriving and excitement was in the air.  We broke the kids up into 2 crews, headed by first mate, Indy and second mate, Mona Lisa.  The teams competed against each other for a bag of chocolate dabloons to be divided among the crew.  The losing team also got a piece of pirate chocolate each, but man they wanted those dabloons.  They also earned pirate gear with each game.  The first was "boarding."  They learned that while some pirates swung from one ship to another when attacking, others used planks to get across.  They had to cross a plank blind folded from one platform to another and not fall in or be eaten by sharks.  I stood in the middle of the blue tarp, proving that I really can do anything, including walking on water.  In heels.  ;)  They all received pirate bandannas and waist scarves for this feat.

 Me helping one of our little pirates

The second game was called "Swab the Deck."  They had to push a ping pong ball with a broom from the start to finish line and then hand the broom off to the next teammate.  This was hard, but loads of fun.  For this they earned a pirate earring.
The third game was the noisiest and by far everyone's favorite.  Well, maybe not the neighbors, but whatevs.  We tied a balloon to everyone's ankles (2 balloons per pirate) and the object was to pop the others while not getting your balloons popped.  Once both balloons were popped, they were out and had to go sit on the sidelines and cheer on their teammates.  The last person standing with a balloon won for their team.  This game went on far longer than I expected, but everyone loved it (again, except for the neighbors-12 children + balloons tied to them does not = quiet).  After this they received tattoos, eye patches and the most coveted of all: swords!  Hurrah!
While the kids battled each other on the playground for a few minutes, James Bond, the Contessa and I went to get the food.  Our menu consisted of the following:

Octopus (hot dogs cut and boiled)
Seaweed (green pasta with butter, Parmesan cheese and parsley)
Star fish and Hardtack (cheese and crackers)
Jellied Sharks Blood and Guts (red Jell-O with Swedish fish mixed in)
Fruit (to avoid scurvy)
Seaweed Dip and Crispy Shark Fins (spinach dip and blue corn chips)
Dried fish (Goldfish crackers)
Grog (Apple Juice and Sprite mixed together with punch ice cubes for sharks blood)

The kids loved the names of the food and took great joy in eating the "Octopus" and toasting each other with their pirate goblets.

Indy cleaned up in the presents department (mostly from mom and dad and the grand parents) and got loads of pet food donation to take to the local tierheim in memory of Miss Pepper.  You can click the box below to see some great photos.  BTW, James Bond lived up to his secret agent status by somehow avoiding being in a single photo. 

If you click the box below you'll see a lot more photos.

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I'd like to note that it didn't take me almost a year to post these.  I'm getting better!  I personally don't think it was quite as cool as the IJ party, but Indy still loved it and that's what counts.  He's already got next year's party theme: Star Wars!  May the Force be with me.

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