Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Rainworks In Seattle

If you surveyed a group of people and asked what comes to mind when you think of Seattle, I'm pretty sure 9 out of 10 of them would say rain.  We're sort of known for damp, gray skies.

I was surprised when my smarty pants son informed me that Seattle actually ranks 44th on the list of rainiest US cities, with 38" of annual rainfall.  (Even more surprising was #1 - Mobile, AL - with almost double our amount at 67".)

I think what makes it seem like it rains in Seattle all the time - is the fact that it rains in Seattle all the time.  Those 38" fall over 154 days, which means there's a lot of what I like to call "drizzle". No big downpours for a few hours with sunshine at the end.  Just days upon days of misty, wet drizzle, especially from October to May.  

Honestly, it can get kind of depressing sometimes.  

Unless you're Peregrine Church, the founder and mastermind behind the Rainworks project. (As an aside, how cool is his name?  I think he was destined for great things.) "I've always been interested in novel ways to make the world a more interesting place," says Church.

Rainworks are positive messages, artwork and oftentimes funny sayings that appear on the ground throughout the city of Seattle - but only when it rains. Church got the idea when he saw an ad for a water repelling spray.  "It's going to rain anyway.  Why not do something fun with it?"

What started out as a fun experiment is now turning into a business for Church, who has several commissioned pieces in the works.  His website has a map that shows where all of the current Rainworks are located.  I can't wait to go check them out.

If you have a few minutes, watch this video.  It's guaranteed to brighten up your day.  Even if it's raining!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Be Brave And Keep Blogging

As I approach one year of writing this blog, I've been thinking a lot about changes.  A few cosmetic ones, aiming for a look that's more appealing and easier to navigate.  I changed the header a bit, re-did the fonts, and added popular posts to the sidebar.

I have been giving lots of thought to the name of my blog.  When C turned 20 earlier this month, Two Teens And Their Mama became kind of irrelevant. However, I've become fond of the name over the last year, so for now it's staying the same. Besides, he might technically be 20, but I'll probably still see him as a teenager until he moves out of the house.

I've been thinking the most about my content.  When I started a year ago I had a rough list of topics that interested me, although that list has been tweaked and changed as I've gone along.  Meeting other bloggers and doing link ups has challenged me to think outside the box and be more creative, which is the main reason that I do this.  To challenge myself creatively.  I love to write, I want to improve my writing, and the best way to get better is to keep writing.

But lately I've fallen prey to the blogger curse - comparing myself to others.  I was getting down about my writing style, the direction my blog is going, and my work-in-progress photography skills.  I was losing my way.

The thing that was giving me the most pause were my Wednesday fashion posts. My original intention was to show easy mom-style type outfits to maybe inspire someone to "get out of the sweats and into the style", because that's what I put on every day.  When I worked outside the home, I enjoyed wearing dresses and skirts and beautiful shoes.  It was actually a requirement, because I was employed in the fashion industry.  But there's not much point when I spend most of my time in a home office with my husband for company.

For a while I considered stopping my weekly outfit posts.  I wouldn't quit writing about fashion, since that's a love and interest of mine, but maybe I didn't want to include myself in the picture.

But over the weekend I was reading some older posts on Pam Lutrell's blog Over50Feeling40. I get so much inspiration from Pam, and I hope my blog can be similar to hers when it grows up!  Her header reads, "Encouraging women with ways to achieve strength, confidence, youthful thinking, inspiration and, of course, head turning personal style."  Pam is uplifting and positive, and her beauty shines through in everything she writes.

And then I came across Neil Gaiman's Eight Rules of Writing.  I love them all, but number 8 seemed to be speaking directly to me.

"The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you're allowed to do whatever you like.  (That may be a rule for life as well as writing.  But it's definitely true for writing).  So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can.  I'm not sure there are any other rules.  Not ones that matter."

So what does any of this have to do with Dress For The Day You Want To Have?  Going forward, I will "dress" my writing for the writer I want to be.  I will blog about the things that matter to me, I will continue to develop my personal style, and I'll share what makes me happy.  Even my outfits.  Not every post will be perfect, but with each one I will be a step closer to the writer I hope to become.  

I'll do my best to not compare myself to others.  I have no idea where this will all end up, and my journey will be mine alone.  I'll be brave and keep blogging, because it allows me to be creative, and it makes me happy.

And isn't that the point?

Now, this definitely makes me happy....it's time for the Spring Style Challenge with Alison at Get Your Pretty On.  Registration is open until April 2nd.  The shopping list releases on the 3rd, and outfits start on the 12th.

I'm really excited about this one, because my shopping ban is over and I can't wait to try some new spring fashion.  This will be my fifth Style Challenge, and I cannot say enough good things about it!  Alison has amazing style, and shares it all during the 21 day challenge. If you don't have a lot of money in your clothing budget - no worries.  I usually find many of the items are already in my closet, and it's easy to substitute with pieces that you own. Plus, Alison's picks are always very budget friendly.  The girl knows how to shop a Target sale! The best part? Not having to figure out what to wear every day - because Alison tells me!

Click on the graphic to sign up or find out more information about the Spring Style Challenge - any questions, leave me a comment or shoot me an email!

**In the spirit of full disclosure, this is an affiliate link, which means I will get a commission if you decide to join the challenge.  I only recommend products and programs that I use and love myself, so I know you'll be in good hands!**

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Mexican Egg Casserole

I can't remember where we got this recipe, or even when we started making it, but it wouldn't be Easter brunch without this Mexican Egg Casserole. As my younger son likes to say, "it's tradition!"

We always make a double batch, because my extended family is like a bunch of locusts - they swoop in and the food is gone five minutes later.  And.... I have no pictures of this delicious casserole.  Before I started blogging I wasn't in the habit of taking pictures of my food, but I promise to get better!


2  7oz. cans whole green chilis
8oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
8oz. monterey jack cheese, shredded
12 eggs
1/2 cup milk
16oz. carton sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Split apart and flatten chilis, then place them on the bottom of a 9x12 casserole dish.  Sprinkle cheese over top of chilis.
Beat eggs, milk, sour cream, salt and pepper together.  Pour gently over cheese.
Bake for one hour at 350 degrees until eggs are firm and top is browned.  Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Sharing Some Gratitude Part Ten

March has flown by and it's time for another look at what I'm grateful for this month.

--I'm grateful that my mom came to visit.  I love this lady so much, and I really wish she would move back home.  When she's here we have such a great time, but for now I'll just have to make do with quarterly visits.

I promise - we were stopped at a loooong stoplight when I took this!

--I'm grateful that this guy turned twenty.  This is a hard one to be grateful for because I really hate the fact that he's growing up so fast.  But he has turned into such a wonderful young man.  Last weekend we took him to Vancouver BC to see a concert for his birthday.  Fun!  I'm not the mom to two teens anymore, which makes the name of this blog somewhat irrelevant.  Not sure what to do about that!

--I'm grateful that my new crown is in and my taxes are done.  Enough said about that.

--I'm grateful that spring is here.  Although our winter was pretty mild and sunny (we didn't see a single snowflake), it was so wonderful to open the windows today and let the fresh air inside.  Everything is in bloom, and hopefully we'll get lots of fruit from our pear apple tree this year.

--I'm grateful to be reading books again.  Which sounds ridiculous, because I love to read. But in the last year I've spent all of my free time reading blogs, commenting on blogs, and working on my blog.  I realized this month how much I miss reading a BOOK.  So I'm trying to work at least thirty minutes of book reading into each day, and I'll be starting with these three lovelies.  

I hope you find what you are grateful for this month!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Hippity Hoppity, Easter's On Its Way

Easter is ten days away.  What!?!

I love everything that Easter represents, but I must admit that I have very few decorations to commemorate this season.  I picked up this little bunny at Pier One a few weeks ago.

Here's his big brother.

This sign came from Wal-Mart.  I was surprised to find some really cute decorations there this year.

And my very favorite, the Lenox Easter Tree.

One of the things I really miss as the boys have gotten older is coloring Easter eggs.  As I've read through blogs the last few weeks, I have seen many different egg coloring techniques.  I really like these marbled eggs from The Practical Mom.  So pretty and simple to make.

I probably wouldn't have been able to get my boys on board with making these though. When they were little, their main objective was to see how many different colors they could dip the egg into, hoping to end up with the ugliest egg of all.  As they got a little older they were more interested in making pretty colors, but patience was definitely an issue. 

Come back on Saturday when I'll share a recipe for the most delicious Mexican Egg Casserole - an Easter brunch tradition at our house!

Linking up with Katherine's Corner and Motivation Monday

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

It's Tulip Time

  Nope - you're not missing anything.  Earth Day isn't until April 22nd.  But it is tulip time!  Because of our mild winter, the tulips are blooming, several weeks ahead of schedule.  Since I'm busy hanging out with my mom during the last few days of her visit, I thought I'd re-run this post from last spring.  


Let's talk about tulips on this beautiful Earth Day.  They are one of my favorite flowers, and I am lucky enough to live only 30 miles from the Skagit Valley and the annual Tulip Festival. 

The Skagit Valley is the largest grower of tulips in the United States, and during the spring festival over 1/2 a million people visit to ooh and ahh over the 700 acres of colorful blooms. You have to be quick though - as soon as the festival is over, they top the blooms and all of those vibrant fields go back to green.

For many years we have joined the other 500,000 people, and let me tell you, it's crowded. This is a small valley with two lane farm roads.  The traffic jams can be horrific. It's not uncommon to have people stop in the middle of the road to hop out and take a quick picture. If you visit the festival, you have to pack your patience.  Ah, but the tulips!

C and T with my Grandpa in 2002

If you would like to grow these beautiful flowers in your own yard, now is the time to order them. The Washington Bulb Co. has a wonderful on line catalog, and they will ship the bulbs direct to you in the fall when it's time to plant.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Happy Spring!

The rain may have returned to Seattle, but the flowers are growing, the frogs are singing (so loudly they keep me awake at night), and spring is in the air. Yesterday T told me that he has senioritis - and he's only a junior.  I'm pretty sure it's just spring fever, and I've go it too!

It's time to break out some new spring fashion and try a pretty nail color.  My favorite this month is "Madison Ave-Hue" by Essie.  It's the perfect pink shade for spring.

And I can't keep this new hand soap from Bath and Body Works to myself.   Every time I use Honolulu Sun I feel like I'm sitting on a tropical beach with a Mai Tai in hand.  It smells amazing.

If the weather cooperates I'll be heading outside to do a little yard work this weekend.  On my way to get the mail yesterday I noticed these flowers poking through - and the weeds next to them.  Time for some gardening.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!
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