April 24, 2014

Way down yonder in the pawpaw patch!

Where, oh where is dear little Nellie?
Where, oh where is dear little Nellie?
Where, oh where is dear little Nellie?
Way down yonder in the pawpaw patch.

Pickin' up pawpaws, puttin' 'em in your pocket,
Pickin' up pawpaws, puttin' 'em in your pocket,
Pickin' up pawpaws, puttin' 'em in your pocket,
Way down yonder in the pawpaw patch.
                                          --American Folk Song

Oh how I loved it when Mr. Green Jeans would sing the pawpaw song on Captain Kangaroo!  I would sing along with him, stuffing imaginary pawpaws in my pockets. I wasn't quite sure what they were exactly, but in my mind they resembled persimmons, since they both started with a "p".  And looking back, that wasn't the only thing I stuffed in my pockets...bits of paper, an extra pretty marble or two, shoelaces and hair ribbons all seemed to make their way into my pockets at one time or another.  

My mother often remarked that when she was growing up she bitterly resented the fact that girls didn't have pockets, which meant it was hard to keep up with the fast growing collections of her brothers.  As you can see from the picture below, she might be right...not a pocket in sight!  (She's the cute, but pocket-less, little girl on the far right, shown here with her two older sisters and one of her younger brothers.)

But fashion design has come a long way in the last few decades, and we now have an elegant sufficiency of pockets on our clothes.  Even wedding dresses have pockets now!  Which would come in handy if you are getting married tomorrow...you will have a place to tuck your poem!

Tuck your poem?  Yes!  It's National Tuck a Poem in Your Pocket Day!  As if Take a Poet to Work Day wasn't enough fun, now we can find a special poem, tuck it in our pocket and carry it with us all day.  I've already printed out several short poems and taped them to my cubicle, in case anyone needs to borrow a poem for the day. Hopefully everyone has their own, but you never know, and I'd hate for someone to be caught short and remain poem-less all day!  If you would like to read more about this special day, you can do so here.

And what poem did I choose for my pocket tomorrow?  My husband raked all the winter debris from our front yard the other day, and it reminded me of this lovely little poem by Robert Frost.  Having visited Frost's farm in New Hampshire, able to roam through his pasture and woods at will, this poem brings back sweet memories of a lovely day.  I hope you find your own special poem that brings you happiness today, and don't forget to tuck it in your pocket!

April 18, 2014

Time to wrap up the baby shower before the weekend arrives!  If it takes a village to help throw a baby shower, in particular it takes sweet women to help host the party, and I was lucky enough to have some amazing women offer their help.  Where would I have been without the cheerful and willing assistance of my daughter, one of my best friends, and my daughter-in-law's step-mother?  We all gathered early at the church and had the decorating all done in less than an hour.  They brought flowers, activities, decor, and most of all, hearts filled with love for the expectant couple. 

This is going to be a really picture heavy blog, because I've had so many requests to share a lot of the pictures, so I'll keep the text short and let the pictures tell the story:

Name tags and "guess how many kisses" in the sandpail

It wouldn't be a proper story book shower without lots and lots of story books, as well as lovely floral bouquets and sparkly pinwheels...

Guest book was a thumprint tree...

Favors were mini chocolate chip cookies and Give a Mouse a Cookie bookmarks

Dessert table

Peter Rabbit's veggie tray and Hungry Caterpillar's fruit tray

And look at the coconut candy that fell from the coconut tree!!

Forks only...because the dish ran away with the spoon, of course!

And the story books brought back fond memories for my children (in front and behind!)
And fun was had by all at the "activity table"...you could decorate pages for an alphabet book, or you could decorate a onesie.

And we obviously had some creative, craftsy people at the shower!  Won't it be fun to dress the baby in these?  The baby ended up with over thirty new little shirts!

And at the end of the day (and shower) what better advice than this?!

Happy Friday, everyone!  Have a blessed Easter weekend...


April 17, 2014

April baby showers bring....May babies!  Yesterday I shared some of the planning that went into my son and daughter-in-law's shower, and today I thought you might like to see some of the crafty ideas we used for decorating.  Having the story book theme made it all so much fun!  Since everyone was home for the big birthday bash the night before the shower, I put everyone to work helping with all the finishing touches.

I had found an old fairy tale book that had seen far better days, and it became a wreath that we hung over the dessert table. My son's girlfriend, who is an education major, offered to help assemble the wreath.  Teachers can be so crafty--thanks, Maddie!

She also assembled colorful pinwheels made from Dr. Seuss's Hop on Pop, which became centerpieces on the tables, along with lovely floral bouquets.  They were really easy to make, and added a fun pop of color to the tables.

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, my daughter was designing the cupcake toppers:

My sons were baking cupcakes:

My mother was busily cutting out many, many bookmarks to use as favors:

And I worked on assembling the banners that we used for the food and gift tables:

It was a true labor of love, and we all had fun working on it. Tomorrow I'll show you how it all came together!

April 16, 2014

As Christopher Robin would say "hip hip hooray!"  The day has finally arrived when I can start sharing a little background of all my recent comings and goings.  I didn't want to spoil any surprises at the birthday party or baby showers, so I can now show a little of the behind the scenes action.  Let's start with the baby shower, shall we?  And the obvious starting point has to be the "theme".  There was a time (uh-oh, I'm starting to show my age!) when a baby shower was just...a baby shower.  Invitations were mailed out, people arrived, you served cake and mints and coffee and party nuts, played a few games, oohed and aahed over the sweet little baby gifts, and went home.  That was before the advent of the internet and Pinterest, my friends.  Nowadays?  There are so many amazing and creative suggestions a keystroke away that it can become an EVENT rather quickly!

It's no surprise to any of you that read my blog regularly that I am a reader.  Always have been.  Always will be, so I wanted the baby shower to start my new grandchild off on a literary note.  My library is filled with all the books my children loved when they were little, and I wanted to make sure that a bookcase brimming with lovely children's books awaited this precious new child when he or she enters our world in a few short weeks.

 So I was very fortunate to find a great designer, Jen Leonardini, who designed the invitations, bookplates and assorted paper goods for the party.  You can find her on Etsy at Top That Designs (link here).  Here are a few of her lovely designs we used for the shower, using beloved characters from Dr. Seuss, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Hungry Hungry Caterpillar, Peter Rabbit and last, but certainly not least, Max from Where the Wild Things Are.


Request to use a baby book as the gift card


And in true If You Give a Mouse a Cookie fashion, if you ask for books...you will need a bookcase to house them!  I had so much fun painting and decorating the bookshelf I bought thirty years ago for my son's nursery.  It had gone through several transformations over the years (anyone remember the "country pinks and blues" of the 80's?) but it is now a soft green to complement the gray walls of the nursery, and decorated with Pooh and Tigger decals to match the nursery decor.  

Bookcase "before", holding extra tea pots and cookbooks in my solarium

And bookcase à la Winnie the Pooh! (sorry about the poor photo resolution, the light in my dining room makes taking pictures more than a little challenging)

Wherever I am, there's always Pooh,
There's always Pooh and Me.
Whatever I do, he wants to do,
"Where are you going today?" says Pooh ...
"Well, that's very odd 'cos I was too.
Let's go together," says Pooh, says he.
"Let's go together," says Pooh.
"What's twice eleven?" I said to Pooh,
("Twice what?" said Pooh to Me.)
"I think it ought to be twenty two."
"Just what I think myself," said Pooh.
"It wasn't an easy sum to do,
But that's what it is," said Pooh, said he.
"That's what it is," said Pooh. 

"Let's frighten the dragons," I said to Pooh.
"That's right," said Pooh to Me.
"I'm not afraid," I said to Pooh,
And I held his paw and I shouted "Shoo!
Silly old dragons!" ... and off they flew.
"I wasn't afraid," said Pooh, said he,
"I'm never afraid with you." 

So wherever I am, there's always Pooh,
There's always Pooh and Me.
"What would I do?" I said to Pooh,
"If it wasn't for you," and Pooh said ... "True,
It isn't much fun for One, but Two
Can stick together," says Pooh, says he.
"That's how it is," says Pooh. 

Photo: Lots of work on the baby's room. Yay! It isn't trashed anymore. Looks like a nursery now. Michael Scales you are amazing.

April 15, 2014

Laughter...it helps!

“Life is worth living as long as there's a laugh in it.”
―L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
Good morning!  Yesterday morning I got up with every intention of posting my blog, but the fates were against me.  My computer kept crashing (with this perky little message "aw snap!  looks like your computer crashed!  would you like to restart?)  "Aw snap"?? Really--my computer tells me "aw, snap" ?!  And then of course, there was Mother Nature's Monday morning offering right outside my window...
All in all, it made for a bleak and exasperating start to the day.  Sunday had mostly been spent on doing taxes (can you say procrastination?) and Monday morning just seemed a little too much to handle.
But thank goodness, I get a "re-do" this morning and have managed to find a thing or two to smile about.  One--my husband installed our new under-cabinet lights in the kitchen yesterday.  They look great!  Two--all my children will be home for Easter!  As Martha Stewart would say "that's a good thing."  Three--taxes are done, filed, and already accepted by IRS.  Whew.  Four--since Saturday I have managed to find my dress for my daughter's wedding, book the photobooth, musician AND the cake designer.  I'm starting to breathe easier--four checks off my to-do list!  And last, but certainly not least of all, I have a family that makes me laugh.  If you don't believe me, just check out these family photos from the last couple of weeks. 
Day without Laughter Whole Woman Network

“I don't trust anyone who doesn't laugh.”
Maya Angelou
Always remember to be happy because you never know who’s falling in love with your smile.
“I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It's probably the most important thing in a person.”
Audrey Hepburn
Smile and the world will smile with you

“Laughter is carbonated holiness.”
“Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” ― Mother Teresa
“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol 
You’re never fully dressed without a smile. – Martin Charnin
May your day be rich with laughter and smiles...stop by tomorrow for some baby shower pictures, because how can you not smile about a baby?  Let's end this post with one of my all-time faves by Ralph Waldo Emerson, and have a wonderful day!

"To laugh often and much"

To laugh often and much
to win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better,
whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch
or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.