The Pumpkin Patch        

Monday, October 1, 2012

Coming Attraction

Well, with the passing of summer comes new things to look forward to. Mainly, the new addition that will be stork lifted to our door in 9 months (8 months now). Finally, I will be able to enjoy kiddy menus full of puzzles and crayons without the judgemental stares of the waiter! So be prepared for the low down and most likely dirty of the next few months! More to come :).

Friday, August 31, 2012

A pinterest mind on a teachers dime

Pinterest has become my best friend and lover all in one.  It is the first place I look to solve a problem and the last thing I see before I fall asleep at night!

I chose to start this 4th grade school year with one major theme in my classroom, ORGAINIZATION!

I wanted clean, uncluttered desks, places, and spaces for my students to learn and me to not trip over while teaching.  So below are some of my favorite Classroom tips and treats I pinned, borrowed, or developed for the new year.

Love doesn't begin to describe my feelings for my fabric covered bulletin boards! No more butcher block paper cuts for this gal. These boards combined with thumbtacks glued onto clothesline clips and clear notebook pockets have made it so much easier to change out our weekly focus and display student work.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Life's full of Patina and Memories

Being from the south I often have the hard headed assumption that many great inventions MUST have started here. I'd love to give this same assumption to the hanging swing. However, since evidence of swings have often been found on Grecian pottery and in british paintings, I just can't give the south credit for this one. But if the south didn't invent to swing, we truly perfected it. We've made it a part of daily life by using swings to relax, entertain, and even date. Homes just don't seem welcoming enough without this wonderful seating option.

My childhood had a lot of moments built around my nannies swing and her sweet ice tea. Though I've tried I just can't seem to recreate that tea! But nothing's stopping me from owning a swing.

The other day, while thumbing through Craig's list posts, I stumbled across a hanging swing. At $25 and 10 years old, it was beautiful. I quickly called the postings contact number and informed my husband I was headed to the next county to meet a man in the middle of no where where I could pick up my gem. He rolled his eyes, picked up his keys, and explained to me he was not up for identifying my body at the morgue later after my possible backwoods craigslist assault.
He lovingly drove me.

The gentlemen selling the swing was in his early 60s, very nice and from out of town. He explained that he had returned to town to sell off his late parents estate. There, stacked among boxes of books, furniture, and lamps, was my swing. It was more beautiful then I could possibly imagine. The once fresh coat of seafoam green paint now had an aged patina appearance. But the beauty was more then wood deep. This swing had a history. I'd like to assume this couple was happy. I can imagine them sitting on it for hours, enjoying each others company and probably a glass of ice tea. Because of this I decided to try to save as much of this swing as I can.

The mission is simple.
-Replace all the screws/bolts that keep me from falling in the ground.
-Scrub the swing clean but save the beautiful patina.
-Do my best to polyurethane and protect the wood.
-Work on padding or cushioning the swing so it doesn't sit forgotten in the tree.

The chair might fall apart before the project it done.
I might require a tetanus shot at some point.

I'm gonna fight to make this swing a part of my new home and I hope to add to it a lot of wonderful memories in these next years of its life.

Update 7-24: We have finally made it into our new home and I am proud to say my "little swing that could" has found a new life in our beautiful magnolia tree. My dear hubby tried to surprise me one evening by hanging it before I came home. Though the gesture was sweet, the outcome was not to be. After hanging our little gem he sat back and relaxed a bit. Roughly a minute later the swing chains decided they had enough and deposited my husband on the ground with a SNAP! Worry not, what he thought was a broken finger was really just a good jammed one. After the swelling went down, we purchased new hanging chains and replaced the swing lovingly in its proper place. Now Burlap outdoor pillows and hanging lanterns to follow.

Final update: Swing and lanterns are done! She just needed some cushion for the pushin!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Save the wood!

After shamelessly watching the death of far to many innocent pallets, I have found inspiration!;_ylu=X3oDMTBtdXBkbHJyBHNlYwNmcC1hdHRyaWIEc2xrA3J1cmw-/SIG=132ltll3o/EXP=1338774018/**http%3a//

Damn the man, save the pallets!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tips With Southern Style

Southern ladies are raised on little tips of the trade. We are taught to sit up straight or our chest will sag, chew with our mouths closed or you'll look like cattle, and always, ALWAYS wear clean under-roos in case of an accident. My mother always went to the extreme of keeping a pair in the glove compartment of the car...she took this one seriously.

In growing older I've realized that those pearls of wisdom that slipped out of my mothers head as easy as her please and thank-yous are not as well known as I had assumed. Some of them were my moms way of tricking me into unwanted activities. It took years for me to realize that bread crust does NOT actually make your boobs grow bigger.

The tips that I hold dearest are the ones I was taught long before google search was invented. I've picked out my favorite 5 to pass along to those poor kids not raised on grits and good advice.

(Disclaimer: Some of these tips might not necessarily be southern. But when presented to you by a loud woman in rollers cooking bacon in a skillet, they are instantly typecasted as southern in your memory bank.)

5 Sharable Southern Tips
5. Lemon Juice Highlights:
This one might be a little more well known then most, but it's an old favorite. If your a cheeky blonde looking to put a little more "oomph" in your style, this ones for you. Add a little lemon juice to your hair and sit out in the sun for a bit. Gives you a lighter side to your sun soaked do.

4. A little Vinegar:
This trick I HATE! Hate with the deepest passion! The smell of vinegar is repulsive to me, even when added to salt and put in a chip form. But this trick works. If your facing a sticky situation in your microwave or need to loosen old food from it that refuses to give up its microwave status, then this ones for you. Boil a cup of vinegar for about 3-5 minutes. Something about that smell must make the microwave ick want to make a run for it because it loosens all that mess and makes it 100% times easier to clean.

3. Aloe grows on trees?!:
This one is another simple one but I'm
amazed at how many people
don't realize that that big jug of aloe you buy at Walmart for sunburns can be readily available in your kitchen for other issues. A tiny little aloe plant in your kitchen window is a huge help on Knicks and burns that need a little less oww. I picked mine up for 25 cents at the flee market and it has already doubled. Looks like all my favorite friends will be getting a little aloe plant love for Christmas this year.....unless I have to buy flower pots for them...... maybe I should start saving empty yogurt cups and tell them I'm going green?

2. Baking Soda, The Original Magic Eraser:
Counters dirty, glass stove top refusing to clean up, bathtub need a little loven? Baking sodas your cheap and easy friend. Add a rag, a little water, and BAM stains be gone. My dad brushed his teeth with that stuff (not advised, probably not good for the enamel)!

1. Moms Secret Weapon:
When turning 16 In our home you were given two gifts; your car keys and meat tenderizer. Meat tenderizer is ammo against natures natural defenders. Rubbing it on neutralizes anything from ant bites to jellyfish stings. It's quick, easy, and stores very well over time in your glove compartment.

There you have it, little tricks you may not have known or needed. But isn't it always fun to learn something new :).

Monday, May 21, 2012

Hangout takes on the Hippies

On the third weekend in May in a sandy little sunlite town, the hippies invade.

May 18-20th brought with it the Gulf Shores "Hangout Music Festival." This festival offers a magical musical experience by placing its stages right In the middle of the beautiful gulf beaches. In 3 years this festival has worked hard to build itself up as a go to festival destination for out-of-towners. It might be my hometown beach loving opinion but I think this year Hangout got it right. Why not celebrate the festival by pointing out their best qualities (because everyone loves to hear good things about themselves.) Here are my 5 points on why Hangout deserves a good high five;

5. Finding a Shady Oasis:
As a born and raised beach bum I should be used to 100 degree heat in the sand, but a full weekend of dancing AND sweating is just to much. Hangout understood this. They seemed to have doubled the shady oasis locations from last year and more then tripled the water fill up stations. They even included a massive water slide in the middle of the event. Their message was clear, "we want you here....and without heat stroke."

4. Shuttles n Such:
A big trouble they had in little Gulf Shores last year was keeping some 35,000 people happy, healthy, and getting them home. Last year buses picked up at our camp site. This was wonderful to get to the event in the morning but proved terrible when the rush of people came at night. Twice I walked back the 3 miles to my campsite before friends in line even made it on the bus. But once again the hangout Houdinis came in and worked their magic. This year they made them stronger, faster, better. They also addressed the "potty problems" of last year, setting up porta potty spots all around the venue.

3. General Admission vs VIP:
I can see this point from both sides. For the first two days of the festival I was lucky enough to have VIP access. This meant free food, drinks, and a closer viewing area for the VIP mainstage. As amazing as the experience was, I must also commend the festival for not forgetting the people who really keep them in business. The VIP viewing areas are amazing, but not all encompassing. I've been to many festivals where VIP fills the first 50-100 ft from the stage, forcing us lowly gen. Ad. Kids further away from our musical heros and behind people who often show up seconds before a show we've been waiting hours for. Hangout dips their VIP in on the stage side. This allows them ample viewing space without forgetting about the peons of the crowd. Kudos Hangout for understanding that being close to the stage is JUST as important to the common folk (us poor teachers included).

2. Spaced Out:
The most notable feature of this years event was space! Hangout chose to expand the event area but not the number of people in it. My dancing hippy hearts says bless you!

1. The Artists:
First and foremost, Hangout brings the sound. They know their audience and they target them with musicians new and old who don't come to sing, they come to perform! Jack White, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Dave Matthews all proved to be wonderful headliners. Flogging Molly left the crowd happy and exhausted from jumping. Steve Winwood, The Flaming Lips, Michael Franti, and Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros also all gave unforgettable performances. Personally, my favorite of the weekend was "Young the Giant." They held their own on the smaller of the Hangout stages, drawing off the crowds energy and even building that excitement up as lead singer Sameer Gadhia surfed on top of the front rows audience.

This was my second year attending the festival. For three nights my husband and I camped out in our Orange Vw bus and scootered our way each day to the festival. We fought off dehydration and tan lines for this festival. We ate delicious vegan food, collected a bagful of sponsor swag, and danced holes into the soft white sand. We are proud to consider ourself "test dummies" for these first developing years of the festival.

And I can't wait to see what next year brings.

As for this weekend.........
The show is dead, long live the show!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Unicycles and Memories

A few years ago I received a phone call from a friend. His first words when I answered the phone were, "Cassie, I need you to find me a unicycle." Even with my usual everyday level of weird, this was a very confusing request. I asked him why in the world he would need such a toy and he proceeded to tell me a story about a buddies house party. Of course a unicycle was present and riding it was the thing to do. I felt his point was still being lost in translation and I directly asked him, "But why do YOU want a unicycle?" I remember it vividly. I could hear him sigh and then positively declare, "I want to impress the ladies....a unicycle will DO this!" That is my Vivid Preston memory. A 10 minute conversation that still makes me laugh inside hysterically. He was so certain at the time about that unicycle that anytime I went into a thrift store I instantly searched around.

A few days ago my husband receive a 6am phone call that we had lost Preston in a motorcycle accident.
Unicycle was the first thing that went through my head.

The kid was full of fun. His car and cycle creations were legendary around our small town world. But to me, he was a huge part of where I am today. 5 years ago I was invited to a car show weekend in Panama City. I showed up with a friend at 2am after working for eight hours and driving for three. About 15 minutes later this squirrelly blonde kid and his friend waltzed into the room. They had been invited for the weekend by Preston. We all stayed up until sunrise talking about everything and nothing at all. Talking to Preston on the phone in that next week was unbearable. He made ALOT of fun about me and that squirrelly blonde kid. But every phone call ended with Preston's serious side. He made sure I understood what a good guy that kid was.

After 4 years together, I married that blonde kid.

Maybe we would have meet eventually, maybe he would have showed up at a birthday. But I would rather be where I am now in life then betting on a maybe. I owe Preston for that. Years later our widespread group of friends has thinned. They've moved, married, and fought. But together we hold some memories of the best years of my life. I hope they know this and if they don't they should now. But I hope Preston knew what a huge part of my life he was by just being who he was that weekend.