Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Birthday Fun at Painted Plate

For Kylie's 7th birthday, we held her birthday party at Painted Plate. It was so much fun seeing the little kids paint and create their own little masterpieces. As much as I enjoyed watching them, though, I must admit that I was a little jealous. Okay, maybe more than a little jealous. I really wanted it to be my turn to paint! Sadly, in the midst of the chaos of a kids birthday party (my own kid's birthday party), it was not possible.

So what did I do? I gave an extremely selfish birthday gift. A little over a month later I told my friend, Leila, that for her birthday I wanted to take her to Painted Plate and we could each paint something sans children. Thankfully, in my selfish gift giving, I knew it was something she also would enjoy.

We arrived at 4:00 and (courtesy of Leila) started our projects along with some amazing Olympia Coffee Roasting coffee. Could their possibly be a better way to get the creative juices flowing than coffee?

We assumed a couple of hours would be sufficient time for each of us to thoroughly enjoy our time without kids creatively paint our mugs and be ready to leave. The problem is that we are both very detail oriented and perfectionists.

One of the keys to good coverage is painting 3 layers of every color. Let me just tell you now that it is not a quick thing to paint the whole piece with three layers!

In the midst of our chatting, laughter and painting, we watched groups come and go... and still we painted.

At one point we realized how long we were taking and worried that we might need to return another day to finish. Relieved, we found out that Painted Plate was open until 10:00.

5 hours later (about 9:00), we were finished.

At that point, all we could do was wait the 5 days until our mugs were fired. I was a little tempted to ask if we could possibly put a rush on ours since I was so excited to see how it turned out!

In the end, the mugs were worth the wait. Here is Leila's very fun finished product:

I was very happy with how mine turned out as well. Here is my finished product:

After this experience, I think we might have a new birthday tradition on our hands. Yes, we definitely need to do this again.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thankful for the Birth of Kittens

"When will Rosie have the kittens?

For months now our family has been anticipating the birth of kittens. I know, a cat isn't even pregnant for months, but it is still true. Our girls knew from the day we brought Rosie home as a kitten that we were planning to let her have a litter of kittens.

I am just as excited as my girls are. (This is a first for me too.) Last week I told my girls, "I am so excited that I have butterflies in my tummy!"

To explain how her tummy felt, Ayla responded, "I have butterflies and flowers and hearts..."

It was still another week before they arrived.

"Mom, Rosie is having kittens! Right now!" This is how Kylie woke me up yesterday morning. She was the first to discover the event.

I plopped in my contacts, put on my robe, and came to witness the birthing of kittens. When we arrived at the birthing box, Rosie had just birthed her second kitten. As we watched, Rosie silently labored, birthing a total of 5 kittens.

The following video is not very good picture quality, but it sure is cute hearing Kylie call Nana and tell her about the kittens.

Rosie has been such a good momma cat. She took care of each one of her kittens as they were born. I love to listen to her; as her kittens nurse, she purrs and purrs.

In the end, Rosie had 2 black kittens (one with a white tummy), two tabby kittens (one with white paws and a white tummy) and one kitten that is an almost black tabby. We are in love.

We are so thankful for each one of these kittens and that we had the privilege of witnessing their birth.

What are you thankful for today?

 Come join me (and my friends at Adventures Of Raising A Baby In The City )! Every almost every Thursday, I will post something for which I am thankful, and I would love it if you participate as well. It is medicine for the soul to give thanks and, when practiced regularly, results in contentment. It can be anything: silly, personal, or blog related. Just take a moment to give thanks!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens

Ever wanted to take a step back in time? Immerse yourself in someone else's life? Last Friday, I enjoyed a glimpse into the life of Hulda Klager. This glimpse is only a short drive south to Woodland, Washington at the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens. The appeal of the trip is the incredible lilac gardens, but there is so much more than just gardens.

Hulda Klager's Home
First we strolled up the walkway towards the beautiful historic house. This home is filled with the history of Hulda Klager, including many pictures of her family and stories depicting "normal" life at the time. Here is a framed story I enjoyed:
Hulda's bedroom with original dresser, bed and quilt.

Hulda's "mail order" stove.
"Hulda tells the story of her mother, Mrs. Thiel, when she lived in Germany. One fall day in the mid 1850's, Mrs. Thiel went out to her farmyard to feed her pet geese. To her dismay, they were lying on the ground apparently dead. Shedding a few tears but still the practical farmer's wife, she carried the geese into her big warm kitchen and proceeded to pluck off their feathers. While plucking the last one, to her astonishment the geese started to get up and stagger around the kitchen. Eventually all the geese were running around in the house sans featheres and quite a spectacle. Mrs. Thiel was so happy to see her pets alive again that she couldn't chop off their heads. 'What to do with naked geese?' she thought. Winter was close at hand and they would surely freeze. The family trait of originality popped up and she made red flannel underwear for the whole flock, thereby solving the problem until nature had replenished the plucked feathers with a new set of natural clothes for the pets. Mrs. Thiel later discovered that her geese had eaten some cider mash which had fermented. They had become thoroughly intoxicated and were in a 'drunken stupor' when she picked them up for dead."

After visiting Hulda's home, we went outside to enjoy her beautiful gardens. Hulda Klager's passion was hybridizing plants, but especially lilacs. It seems like we were a week or two early since many varieties were not yet blooming. Even so, there were many varieties in bloom. Here are a few of my favorites.

From a distance, this one looked like a pink cloud:
"California Rose"
"Royal Purple"
"Mrs. Bereasha"
"My Favorite"
 I loved how these pink buds opened to a lavender flower:
Pres. Grevy
Mm. Lemoine
 With a name like "Hallelujah", how could I resist taking a picture of this one?
Pink is such an unusual color for lilacs and I especially enjoyed this dark pink bud and pretty pink bloom:
"Esther Staley"
 This is one of the select varieties labeled as "extremely fragrant".
"Katherine Havemeyer"
And would you believe it? Three of us unintentionally color coordinated for the visit:

If you enjoy lilacs, I suggest you take time to go down and visit these lilac gardens. They are open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The farm house will close on May 8th, but the gift shop and gardens remain open until May 14th.

Olympia Local Foods - Winner!

To determine the winner of this giveaway, I entered everyone's name into the list randomizer at 
Here are the results:

And the winner is: 

Krystal Austin!

Krystal, I will contact you through email so you can claim your prize. I hope you enjoy your free local groceries!
Thank you to everyone who entered!

If you have never tried Olympia Local Foods, I would encourage you to check out their site and order. Hope to see you at Olympia Local Foods picking up groceries on Thursday!