Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wordless Wednesday (Kind Of)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, the final installment of the massive book and film franchise, is set to be released in a little over two weeks. To celebrate, I'm going to share the costume that I wore last Halloween. Speaking of Halloween, it is a huge, huge HUGE deal at my college. But I'll leave that to another post. Here's a picture of my Harry Costume.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Two Steps Forward, Lots of Steps Back, and One Tiny Glimmer of Hope

I've had this post floating around in my head for a while now. I just didn't put it into writing because I kept thinking things would change (they haven't).

How is straw bale gardening going for me? Well, it isn't exactly "going". Remember the little sprouts that I mentioned in THIS post? They're gone now. Both of them. As is the tomato sprout that appeared a few days after writing that post. I think that something ate the seed from the melon sprout, because the straw around where I put it is all ripped apart as if it has been dug through. The green bean sprout died, and then some fungi started growing out of the hole it was in. Yuck!

I tried to do it all right. I watered them on days that we had no rain. If it rained (which has been often), I just let nature be the watering can for that day. I think that the problem(s) may be one or more of the following:
  • fertilizer was too strong
  • Bales didn't get enough sun
  • Critters played/dug/ate their way through the bales
  • Watering was too inconsistent (monsoon-like downpour one day, just a tiny watering can the next)
  • Didn't start the seedlings inside
  • Planted too late
I don't think this project is going to work after all. It's ok, though. I want to try again next year. Does anyone have any tips that I can try for next summer's garden? I'd love to hear how your bales are coming!

Amid all of this, there is still one little glimmer of hope. A tiny little melon sprout (nope, not the same one that I saw in THIS post). It is still hanging on. Still standing straight and growing slowly but surely. I think that this little melon sprout can be a life inspiration. Even when everything around you is going wrong, never give up hope, and never stop holding your head high.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Super Summer Saturdays: Another Movie Review (SPOILER ALERT)

It's time for another Super Summer Saturdays post. Although, this past week, the weather here hasn't been all that "summer-y". In fact, it's been downright "spring-y". But I'll post anyways. Maybe it will encourage the sun to stay out! A few weeks ago, I wrote a review on the Hangover Part II. Today, I went with two of my little cousins (ages 3 and 6) to see Cars 2. Here's my take on it.

This time around the Cars are touring the world, with stops in Japan, Italy and England. You'll see plenty of racing scenes, but the main plot of Cars 2 centers around a super secret spy mission. I was able to follow the plot just fine, but I can see where part of it might go over small kids' heads, especially if they've never seen how spy stuff works. Lots of shooting, but the kids I was with didn't seem frightened at all. The six year old didn't take his eyes off the screen the entire time.

You can count on all of your kids' favorite characters to make appearances in this one. Mater especially. He has a much bigger role in this one than in the first. He even winds up being the unlikely hero at the end!

As with all Disney/Pixar films, the animation in this was stellar. Unbelievable. The water and flames actually looked real! The sound was very well done, also.

I give this movie an A-. 6 year old Z described it as "really funny". If you have Cars fans in your house, you won't want to miss this one!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Super Summer Saturdays: Fun in the Pool

If your family is like mine, summer just isn't summer without plenty of time spent swimming. We actually have a backyard pool, which we love. Our relatives and friends often come over for cookouts and other get togethers. When everyone's here, you can bet that there are lots of fun games going on. For this Super Summer Saturday post, I'm going to share two of the games with you. I'll share even more in some future posts!

The first one requires a dog. Our Hershey simply knows it as "Game". If you ask her if she wants to play her game, she gets super excited and runs to her spot on the side of the pool. Then her human teammate (almost always me) stands on the diving board and asks her is she's ready. The game can't start until she answers that question. Sometimes we have to ask her more than once, but she always barks to let us know she's ready to begin. Then we run as fast as we can and jump from the diving board and while we're in midair, we throw a tennis ball to Hershey. This game couldn't be any simpler, but Hershey just adores it. She could play it all day. Try this game with your pooch!

This next game is also pretty simple. It's called Colors. One of my friends came up with the idea when we were in elementary. You can play it with as few as two people, but it is definitely better with a large group. To begin, you pick one person to be It. They will stand on the deck or sidewalk just outside of the pool. Make sure that they are standing with their back towards the pool. Everyone else gets in the water and stands or treads water along the edge closest to It. Then, It will select a category. Any category will do. We always used colors (hence the name of the game). It announces the category and everyone who is in the pool thinks of something that falls under that category (pink, for instance) but they don't say their choice out loud. Then, when everyone is ready, It begins naming things that fall under the named category. If It says something that someone has chosen, that person has to swim to the other side of the pool. If It hears them, they turn around and jump into the water to try and catch them. If the person makes it to the other side without being caught, It returns to the side of the pool to continue naming things until someone else escapes. If It catches the person, that person will become the new It, and the game starts over with a new category. This is a really fun and easy game for kids. Try it at your next pool party!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What I Did Last Night

See these amazing girls?

We went on a road trip together to see these amazing boys.

Who happened to be touring with another group of equally amazing boys. 

 Together they were epic,

And it was the time of my life.

If you can't tell from the pictures, the concert that we saw was a dual-headlining tour with New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys. The Backstreet Boys were the objects of our affection in oh, like, third grade. I have many fond memories of sleepovers spent swooning over posters of these cuties while singing their amazing tunes into hair brushes. So as you can imagine, getting to see them live again, with my very best friends, was one of the greatest nights I could have ever asked for. Totally worth the 3.5 hour drive from our little Ohio town all the way to Pittsburg, PA.

"I don't care who you are; where you're from; what you did; as long as you love me" 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Super Summer Saturdays: Summer Movie Review (SPOILER ALERT)

Is it just me, or does it seem like all of the good movies are released during the summer months? While there's nothing I love more than being outside by the pool, spending an evening at the theater is a great way to beat the heat (or rain).

As part of my Super Summer Saturdays series, I will be writing reviews of some of the biggest summer movies.

Today, I will review the Hangover Part II. Perhaps the most anticipated movie of the summer, this raunchy comedy did not disappoint. Ed Helms (Stu), Bradley Cooper (Phil) and Zach Galifinakis (Alan) are comedic geniuses. When we last saw this troublesome trio, they were creating chaos on the streets of Las Vegas. This time, they're hitting up Bangkok, Thailand.

Alan's one-liners are instant quotable classics. ("What is this, A PF Changs", "I'm a Stay at Home Son", "My uncle said he once saw an albino polar bear").
All of the favorite supporting characters make appearances, too, including Mike Tyson and the infamous Mr. Chow.

Yes, there were some key plot points that were very similar to the first movie. A stolen animal, for example. The first time it was a tiger, this time a monkey. Then there's the lost friend. First Doug, now Teddy. Some people were disappointed in the similarities, but I still found it to be a good movie overall.

I won't say much more. You'll have to go watch it for yourself to see what other crazy shenanigans the guys get into this time. Let me know what you think!

PS: I added tags to the bottom of my posts so now you can see all of my Super Summer Saturday (or straw bales, or pets) related posts in one place! Happy Summer!