Friday, August 31, 2012

Project MCP: Sports

Lunge by Teckelcar
Lunge, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
The second photo challenge in August was sports, a rather tricky one for me since it is sort of betwixt between for the kids. There has been soccer camp, but I didn't hang around much as a result I have almost no actual game photos. However, we did take some of the kids to the Richmond Fencing Club last weekend.

Max, Nate, and Rebecca had a great time.

They learned a bit about different swords and a little bit about proper stance. In the picture they are all doing a lunge. At this point the exercises are without foils, but that will come in time. All three seem eager to give this another go, so we'll see what happens.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Greener Pastures

Greener pastures by Teckelcar
Greener pastures, a photo by Teckelcar on FliWe r.
Yesterday we drove west to Fluvaana to do a bit of inner tubing on the James River. Along the way we passed by the Virginia Department of Corrections work farm in Goochland. The concept of such a place always amused me and for once I was able to take a picture as we drove by the place for bad cows.

When we got back home I decided to look the place up and find out exactly what the deal is behind the work farm. It turns out it is a far nicer place than I thought.

The Virginia Department of corrections has teamed up with the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation to rehabilitate retired racehorces for life off the track.Each horse is matched with an inmate with the idea of the prisoners learning new job skills in the processes of caring for and training the horses.

So after all it isn't a jail for bad cows. Though there is a dairy farm onsite...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Artist of the Week: Matisse

Nate by Teckelcar
Nate, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's artist is Nate.

I love this picture I took of him when we were at Virginia Beach. As I recall I was sitting on my towel with my camera in hand when a rather wet Nate strolled by. I looked up and quickly took a picture. It is a far from perfect, but the lighting and the colors make me happy and honestly that is a big thing. If the picture makes me happy, it is a good picture.

As for today's art, well it made the artist in question less than happy. It's not a bad piece, but he thinks it would have been better if he could have done it the way he wanted.

Matise still life by Teckelcar
Matise still life, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
The assignment was to draw, using oil pastels, a colorfully abstract picture in the manner of Matisse. And this was the challenge for Nate because he wanted to use far more realistic tones. So much so that months and months later he brought that up when I was looking at the picture today.

Ironically his picture was one of the few selected from his class for the school system's Arts and Sciences Fair." Which brings his total up to three now for this year's fair. Mind you I did not see this at the fair, Boy only told his father about the piece. Why he didn't tell completely mystifies me, particularly since I was the one with the bleedin' camera. It wasn't until a few weeks ago when I was rooting about his school work when I stumbled upon it and noticed the neatly done tag from the Arts and Scence's show.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

2012 County Fair

2012 County Fair by Teckelcar
2012 County Fair, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
It's County Fair time which heralds the end of summer.

This year only the dynamic duo wanted to go. Nate was only interested if he could bring a friend and all Jacob wanted was funnel cake. It was a little sad, but honestly it was a lot simpler to keep track of two children as opposed to four, admittedly the older two could go off on their own, but still...

Anyhoodle, It was a beautiful night on Sunday and since Larry wasn't interested in going either I ended up giving Meryl a call.She was game to check out the fair and eat bad fair food. She headed on over to our place to pick us up and go to the fair.

Apart from Max getting a bit queasy after going on a few too many rides in quick succession, we all had a great time. I got wristbands for both Max and Rebecca and they got to go on all the rides they wanted and as many times they wanted (hence the queasiness). We were able to get Max off of the ride in time and in typical little kid fashion was immediately over it as we headed out to pick up some funnel cakes before going back to our house. We stuffed ourselves with fried dough goodness and Meryl even got a deep fried Milky Way on a stick. The deep fried candy bar was a disgustingly delicious treat. It was very rich and decadent, all melty inside a batter crust. It made the funnel cake seem almost healthy.

And speaking of funnel cake, I got a second one to bring back home. The boys were very appreciative of the treat and quickly descended on the plate.

Monday, August 27, 2012

"Argine"

A sweet little film that, judging by the language of the description, is Russian. The quick and dirty Google translate yielded the following description:

"Their dreams come true, you only really want!
The touching story of a little dreamer who wants to be a fairy tale."

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dr Headclaw

Dr Headclaw by Teckelcar
Dr Headclaw, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This is Dr. Headclaw and he is the henchman of the Evil Disco Pony.

At least that was what I was told today.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Project MCP: Essence of My Count(r)y

outside by Teckelcar
outside, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I threw the parenthesis around the r because honestly I can't photograph the essence of the US, except maybe in the broadest terms such as the freedom to have your own little corner. My county or state however is doable.

A few months back I saw on YouTube "50 State Stereotypes (in 2 Minutes." The descriptor for Virginia, particularly in the county I live in, was dead on: "Center of civilization to hicksville in 20 minutes flat."

This the view from the deck in our backyard. Believe it or not I'm looking towards our closest neighbor's house. During the summer it is extremely private in our backyard. Yet Larry works up in Richmond a mere 30 minutes away. So yes in Virginia you get your cities and your countryside all within easy driving distance.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

One Down, One to Go

For Potluckpalooza.

Today was preview night and potluck dinner for Jacob's marching band. The kids have been working hard on the new show for the past two weeks and tonight was the big preview for friends and family. The theme is Little Red Riding Hood and i think it was the best use of color guard that I have seen for our band. The guard is more fully incorporated and no longer look like an afterthought. As for the music, the band sounded great with a very big sound. Which was pretty impressive since they were playing all of today at band camp.

So we were a very happy crowd when we all filed in for the big potluck. There was a ton of food. I made a double size lasagna and one and a half loaves of white bread.  And why the half loaf you ask, well today is the day to drop off entries for the county fair. I decided to kill two birds with one stone. the recipe is for two loaves of bread and I all needed one half for my entry.

Tomorrow I get to do the whole potlucky thing again with out congregation, it's our Friday Food, Fun and Worship. This will be a much smaller crowd so I think I will be making spinach squares, challah, and some sort of dessert.

It's a fair amount of scrambling about to do these potlucks with all the cooking and schlepping of food, but they are well worth the effort.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Artist of the Week: Flag

looking down river by Teckelcar
looking down river, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's artist is Jake.

He really doesn't like to be photographed so I have to sneak up on him. I'm only allowed a few pictures of his face, so the rest have to be on the sly. I took this picture while we were up in Vermont last month while we were near my old swimming hole. He never knew I was behind him as he was walking along. Times like that are why I turned off all the extraneous beeps and such that my camera makes. A brief click when I press the shutter release and the low whine of the motor that moves the lens are all that can be heard.

As for what boy did to deserve the honor, well it is a combination of idea and an execution too small (and long since lost) to picture. Both were done for the last day of soccer camp which I already mentioned at the beginning of the month.

SK John by Teckelcar
SK John, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
A few weeks ago I mentioned in the post featuring Max there were contests concerning the teams' flags. Largest, smallest, and most creative were recognized. Jake didn't win for largest, but he did garner smallest and most creative.

The smallest flag he quickly knocked out on a piece of paper the size of a couple of grains of rice. It was placed in a recloseable plastic bag so that it would not be lost (or course it did disappear once we were done). The most creative, as you can see, was John.

Jake didn't do the actual hair spraying, but it was his idea. So I have to give him credit. Amusingly when the results were announced the camp counselors made Jake go back before calling his name again.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Baking With Julia- Popovers

Popovers! by Teckelcar
Popovers!, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's Baking with Julia / Tuesdays with Dorie assignment was popovers, one of my all time favorite breakfast treats. For the full reciepes you can go to this week's hosts Vintage Kitchen Notes and Bake with Amy.

I have been making popovers for years with varying degrees of success, they always taste good but they don't always pop. This time around I was able to get both batches to seriously "popover" out of the muffin tin. They were scrumptious with a bit of butter (that is what is glistening in the photo) and a sliced strawberry of blackberry with whipped cream sent it over the top.

I think I have found my new go to recipe for popovers.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Crossroads at Moonrise

Lonely road at sunset by Teckelcar
Lonely road at sunset, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Today I was purging pictures from my cell phone. A painful, but much needed task to free up memory, a few were uploaded, a few were straight out deleted, a few were left for me to ponder.

There were the requisite "what on earth is that" shots and a few blurry masterpieces I was happy to delete. amongst this chaff I found this very lonely seeming photo.

I took it while driving down to pick up Jacob from soccer camp. The sun was setting and a full moon was rising, you can just see it's silvery disc peeking above the treetops. I remember the moon was huge that night and I was frustrated by my inability to get a good picture of it as I drove along. I was at a stop sign and decided even though I couldn't properly see the moon I was going to take a picture anyway.

I'm glad I did. All I have done to the picture was crop it a bit.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Queen of the Stuffies

Queen of the Stuffies by Teckelcar
Queen of the Stuffies, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
For years I have been calling Rebecca "Queen of the stuffies," she has a huge collection of stuffed animals and is always wanting more. We keep her collection in two large baskets in a corner of her room. It is overflowing, even with a numerous stuffies scattered about the house, and she loves each and every one. She rotates through them each night for the select few that get to join her in bed.

A few days ago I commented that she could easily bury herself in the pile and we would be none the wiser. That is exactly what she did tonight. She asked for me to take a picture and caption it "find the Rebecca."

If you look very carefully you can just see a bright little eye peeking out.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Lazy Days of Summer

Union Village Dam by Teckelcar
Union Village Dam, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
School starts all too soon and I want to know where our summer went. Between traveling, various sports camps, and appointments our summer break has flown by.

The closest I've gotten to the so called lazy days of summer was when we were up north. Even then we were busy exploring places such as mt childhood haunts. Pictured here is one of my favorite spots, the Union Village Dam.

The kids at first didn't believe me when I told them I would swim there. They soon learned that I was right as we moseyed upstream to my favorite swimming hole.

That was a good lazy day.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Artist of the Week: Zoom

Max by Teckelcar
Max, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's artist is a very grown-up looking Max.

He looks so very serious in this picture and far older than his 10, almost 11 years. But then again, I have been saying for quite some time he is an old soul.

Mind you he is not to old to be creating with Legos and requesting to be photographed with his creations. The penguin pajamas also add a touch of whimsy and keep him from looking too much like an "important artist." He is important, just in a kinder and hug filled way.

Either way I think this picture gives a bit of a glimpse of who he is to become.

zoom by Teckelcar
zoom, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
For now he is my boy who creates all sorts of vehicles that are cobbled together from various Lego kits. The curved pieces in the back are from a couple of Star Wars' spaceships and I know the shield with the rampant lion is from a Harry Potter themed kit. The rest of the pieces are much more generic and I don't recall their original configuration.

Over the years the completed kits have been pulled apart and the pieces mixed in with all the other loose Legos and I am fine with that. They are meant to be played with and inspire creativity.

Just what my boy is doing.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What You see Is Not Necessarily What You Think

This is a news story that is too good not to share.

A woman thought she saw a dead body floating in the Susquehanna River. A sad story indeed, but what really happened is downright hilarious. Go to here to get the full story.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Thomas Beale Cipher

Quirky little animation with a retro flair by Andrew Allen. The film is based on legandary cipher and features a unique animation style.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Project MCP: Repetition

Dual Dachshunds by Teckelcar
Dual Dachshunds, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
The first challenge of the month was repetition and I figured what better way to show that than the red boys at their favorite perch. Between the repetition of the dogs, their pose, the steps, and the uprights for the railing I pretty much had it covered.

We pretty much find them on the steps every day. From there they can look out the windows and keep tabs on the yard. Judging by their alert expression they have spotted something. What it was  I have no idea. Most likely it was a squirrel.

They do make going up and down the stairs a bit hazardous, but that is life with a couple of dachshunds underfoot. You always have to watch your step.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Parenting On The Fly

Today was spent in the car, driving around and waiting. Mostly for Rebecca, but also for Jake, Nate, and the pantry.

At one point I had just dropped off Jake and was driving Rebecca to her indoor soccer game, and being indoor is very important  here. As I was tooling along the highway it hit me, Rebecca had left her gear in the van from this mornings soccer camp at the field. She knew she had a game later and thought it made sense to leave it all in the car. I agreed after we fished out her water jug.

So yes Rebecca had her socks, shin-guards, and cleats on which would be fine and dandy for a rousing game of soccer. But...

She was to be playing indoors on artificial turf.

At a facility that had written in Four inch high letters on the doors "NO CLEATS."

Oops, we had forgotten her indoor soccer shoes and it was too late to go back and fetch them. The only other pairs of spare footwear in the car wee my Tevas and Max's rather battered sandals. To save the day we pulled into a shoe store that was conveniently on the way and got Rebecca a new pair of sneakers. She wasn't sure if this was a good idea until I told her that Nate wore his sneakers to his indoor lacrosse games. Molified she wore her new shoes and didn't look back.

Good thing I hadn't yet done the back to school shoe shopping.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Artist of the Week: Fabulous

Rebecca by Teckelcar
Rebecca, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Rebecca is this week's artist due to her efforts to make the dogs a bit more fabulous. Which is an understandable goal when the only other female in your family is your mom.

Having three brothers is tough when you want to be a girly girl. She can do a mean sliding tackle in soccer, but she does it on an all girl team. As soon as it was possible she asked to be on a girl's team and left the co-ed teams behind. Now she is on the travel team and is eagerly awaiting her first tournament.

Dell by Teckelcar
Dell, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
In the meantime she is making her world a bit more fabulous, one dog at a time.

I had trimmed the dogs nails today and jokingly referred to it as a pedicure. This got Rebecca's attention and she decided to go one better and asked if she could put nail polish on the dogs' nails. I could see no harm in this and gave her my blessing.

Dell was her first victim/client. She collected our nail polish and asked which one we should use. Blue ended up being picked for Dell. She hustled him outside and proceeded to paint his rear nails. Once she finished I held Dell in my lap as his front paws were painted. It's not very easy to see the blue, but it is there on all four paws.

John by Teckelcar
John, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Then it was John's turn.

 Since Dell got the blue John got dark purple. Like his brother, John was very good-natured about the whole process. Heck Max found the smell far more objectionable than either Dell or John. Neither dog seemed to mind and did not try to lick the polish, an obvious concern with these two particular dogs.

In the end Rebecca was very pleased with her handiwork and declared John and Dell to be fabulous.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Baking With Julia- Berry Galette

berry galette by Teckelcar
berry galette, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
No rest for the wicked this week. We had just finished the blueberry-nectarine pie (and I must say YUM) when lo and behold its time to whip up another baked good for Baking With Julia. This week's goody, Berry Galette, is in keeping with last week's with the use of all the delightful bounty of seasonable berries. For a full run down on the recipes check out Tomato Thymes in the Kitchen and The Kitchen Lioness.

The crust, or rather galette dough was a snap to make. I have made enough pie crusts now that as tempting as it is to handle the dough I know better than to do the bare minimum, as a result the crust was tender and flaky. The filling however... well I got all impetuous and squeezed in a bit of lemon juice. Oops, I like tart but this was a bit much. Fortunately it was nothing a bit of caster sugar sprinkled on top couldn't fix.

I think I liked the blueberry-nectarine pie a smidgen more, but this is an excellent and quick way to use up an excess of berries. Next time I just won't add the lemon juice.

Monday, August 06, 2012

A Better Way to Open and Pour Wine

Wholly impractical and completely absurd, but I absolutely love it. A brilliant piece of engineering that works in the most beautiful way.
Technically not steampunk, but close enough to warm my heart.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Soccer Mom

Challenger Soccer by Teckelcar
Challenger Soccer, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
So last weekend I was a lax mom, this week I was a soccer mom.

Max and Jacob were enrolled in a soccer camp, British Challenger to be precise. Of course since they are the oldest and youngest boys in the family they were in separate sections, Max in the morning and Jake in the evening. It's a great program and the site is just 25 minutes away so it really wasn't a hardship. It just meant I was essentially a full time soccer mom this week.

This picture was from today, the last day of camp. The assignment given out on Thursady was to bring in a flag of the county your team is representing (the camp's theme is world cup and the camper are divided up with each tea being a country ).

Clearly Brazil won the biggest flag category, but Max and one of his teammates won for most creative.

Which brings us to the dogs in the photo. Independently two families in team Israel decided to decorate their dogs. Thus the two king Charles Spaniels and Dell are in the picture. The coaches were utterly amazed and could not get over what we had done to our dogs.

So yes, it has all gone to the dogs.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Last Lax

Hershey by Teckelcar
Hershey, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
 This last weekend was Nate's final lacrosse tournament with his summer travel team. It took place in Hershey Pennsylvania and is dubbed "The Chocolatetown Shootout."

Originally we had planned to make this a family vacation, we would watch the games and then go to Hershey's amusement park.However it was not meant to be. Between the various commitments the kids had amassed and Larry having his own lacrosse tourney over in North Carolina it was turning into a quick trip for just Nate and me.

As you can see Hershey, PA is very proud of being the home to Hershey chocolate. The street lights are all shaped to look like wrapped and unwrapped kisses and even the main thoroughfare's road bed has a decidedly chocolatey coloration.
Lax Nate by Teckelcar
Lax Nate, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.

Now the tournament was spread over three fields in the neighboring towns. One very frustrating aspect of the fields was the complete lack of signage. Just a small curbside sign would have made the situation much clearer.

Boy, meanwhile, had a great time. He got to play petty much every position. Nate would swap lacrosse sticks which caused me to be very confused over which boy is mine. Luckily he had on his bright read socks and I could pick him out.


Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Artist of the Week: Soccer Camp

Jacob by Teckelcar
Jacob, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's artist is Jacob for his performance at soccer camp.

The one thing Jacob truly misses is soccer. His schedule is full, dare I say overflowing, with all his commitments in marking band, pep band, show choir band, robotics, and chess. He would love to play for his school, but there is no way he can shoehorn it in to his packed days.

And so we enroll him in a week long soccer camp every summer.

The organization we use is Challenger Sport's  British Soccer Camps. The style of play taught by the coaches meshes well with how Jacob plays soccer and it is just plain fun. Jake has show some very clear leadership skills during this session. Admittedly his biggest goal was to convince his team to select a country that would have a white jersey, the campers are divvy up into teams that are named after different countries. The kids are then to wear the color associated with the country's world cup uniform. Jacob got his team to agree to be South Korea and garnered the color white.

His soccer skills are also worth noting. Even though he only gets to play once a year, he can still give good game. Heck he even bowled over one of the coaches today. Coach Dave was equal parts stunned at being knocked down (I'm so out of shape, I'm getting knocked over!) and being highly amused.

I'm hoping I can find a young adult league for Jacob to play in next year. It'll do him good.