Wednesday, December 24, 2008

:: Happy Holidays ::

I wish all of you a safe, wonderful and very merry Christmas.  
I'll have plenty to blog about next week, so be sure to check back.  :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Grown Men and Snowballs...

It's been snowing here... it's practically a blizzard!  Well, okay, it's a "blizzard" by our standards anyway.  Like I said in my previous post - it rarely snows here, so when it does we get really excited.
So I was cooking dinner and I kept hearing the faint sound of snowballs hitting the side of our house.  I thought "oh, how cute... the kids are having a snowball fight."  I knew that Jason and Benjamin were out making a snowman - or at least that's what I thought.
I went outside to check on them and that's when I learned that the men on our street - yes, the grown, adult men - were in the the middle of a huge snowball fight.  And according to the witnesses I spoke with - my husband started it. The poor kids didn't stand a chance.  And the men spared no one... every one, small children included, were fair game.  
One woman was innocently getting out of her car after returning home from work and was pegged in the back with a snowball.  Luckily she was a good sport about it.  Jason and our neighbor Tony conspired to attack our neighbors across the street.  Tony rang their doorbell and then hid around the side of the house, and when they opened the door and Jason yelled "Hi neighbor!" from across the street, Tony ambushed them.  They were good sports, too.  In fact, they were really good sports - they started grabbing at snow and retaliated. Good for them.  
I am not sure what it is about an undisturbed yard full of freshly fallen snow that makes grown men act like nine-year-old bullies on a playground, but I witnessed the phenomenon first hand. Grown men, fathers, flying through the air pelting each other with tightly packed balls of snow.  Adult men squealing and laughing and hiding on the sides of houses and behind cars, waiting for a victim to attack.  It was hysterical.  And at the same time, oddly sweet and charming.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


We had the most amazing surprise waiting for us when we woke up this morning.. SNOW! That's right - it actually snowed in College Station! Since we live so close to the coast, it very rarely snows here and we have not seen snow since we moved here almost six years ago. What's even more incredible - it just started snowing again and Benjamin is running around in the backyard yelling "I am eatin' snow, Mama!" "There is snow on my tongue!"  How great is that?
We saved two big snowballs in our freezer... we thought it would be fun to have a snowball fight in summer next year. Well, I am off to make a snowman... HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Holiday Card Photo Shoot

It's that time of year again!  Time for holiday photos! ugh.....
There is always drama in our home when it comes time for holiday photos. Yep, holiday photo shoots would not be the same without all the fussing, screaming and crying. I still don't understand what's so difficult about "just sit down, look at the camera and smile..."  I always manage to get at least one good picture - but it comes with a price, trust me.
I was determined to get my holiday cards out on time this year.  But in keeping with  my usual poor time management skills, I waited until the last minute.  I was actually putting off taking the photos out of sheer dread.  So, I procrastinated.  Which meant I had to pay extra for prompt processing and faster delivery.  
Now, I realize that I could take Ben to a professional photographer and pay for a sitting and order prints, but I am more of a naturalist when it comes to family photos.  I don't really like the "studio" look of photos taken by professionals.  It just doesn't seem natural to me.  I prefer more candid shots.  They just seem more real.
So, the day came, I took a deep breath, said a quick prayer and sat Ben down in front of our Christmas Tree.  I put a Santa hat on his head and started taking pictures.  And you know what? Aside from some minor distractions and goofy faces... it went really well.  I guess my little boy, who is now a big 4 year old, is starting to get the hang of having his picture taken.  I was so proud of him. And the best news of all? The cards I ordered arrived today, ahead of delivery schedule.  Which means I will actually get my holiday cards out on time this year.  
It's a Christmas miracle!!!

Holiday Photo Shoot

My Baby is 4... I Can't Believe It!

I seriously cannot believe my little boy is four years old.  
Time really is precious... it goes by so quickly. 

Benjamin loves Mexican food, and since I am a sucker for theme parties, I thought it would be fun to throw him a Birthday Fiesta.  So we did.  Complete with sombreros, maracas and tacos. It was a blast.  
I decided to rent a huge jumping castle (yes, the "Jupiter Jump" for all of you inflatable jumping castle fans) and I also rented a bubble machine. That was actually more for me... I just thought it sounded fun.
So, the day of Ben's party turned out cold.  Very cold.  And windy.  And not just a little windy... more like hurricane force winds windy.  It was insane.  I kept waiting for the Jupiter Jump to rip free from its stakes and float away with the kids still inside.  We had rented tables and chairs so that we could all sit outside.  Those were rendered completely useless once the wind gusts started, so we basically just sat in the dining room and looked out the window at the kiddos jumping in the castle.  The near-frozen kiddos jumping in the castle trying to stay warm. The wind also made the bubble machine fairly useless, too. Once you turned it on, the wind just whipped the bubbles around the backyard and they would hit the kids in the face and head and pop instantly. And apparently bubbles sting when they pop in your eye. Just ask one of the poor kids who was attacked by a wayward bubble.  Poor kids.
But you know, despite the crazy weather, I think everyone had a good time.  We had family and close friends here to celebrate Ben's special day, and that was nice.  Plus, not one kid blew away, froze or was permanently blinded by bubble solution.  So, I guess Ben's birthday was a huge success. 
Oh, and the day after Ben's party... perfectly sunny, warm day - and absolutely no wind at all.

For more pics from Ben's party, just follow this link...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Posts are Coming! The Posts are Coming!

Okay, I admit it.  I haven't been posting on my blog as much as I intended to.  I even had to remove an earlier post (the one about State Fair food) since the slide show I had in the post was causing all sorts of problems with the layout of my entire blog. Technology is frustrating sometimes.  But I'll repost it soon.  
The truth is that I actually have several posts started... I just need to finish and publish them.  You see, I tend to get side tracked and I lose focus and well, before I realize it, another week has gone by and I still haven't posted anything. So, here it is.... my "Early New Year's Resolution," or I guess it should be my "Near the End of the Old Year Resolution." Something like that anyway. Whatever it's called, here's what it means - I resolve to post at least twice a week.  That's it.  Not too much, but enough to keep my legions of fans interested. That was a joke.  I think I actually have about two fans.  And they have both emailed me asking why I haven't posted anything.  I told them I had just been super busy... but actually, I am just super bad at time management.  I also just got a subscription to NetFlix.  NetFlix is AH-MAZING! But I have spent a ton of time watching movies the past few weeks.  They were fabulous movies.  I just didn't get much else accomplished.  
Then there's the issue with trying to type with a four year old constantly talking to you and a husband who works from home and always needs to know where something is or needs my help with office work.  I have just had to explain to both of them that when I sit down to work on my blog, I am deaf and mute - so don't bother me because I can't hear you and I won't respond.  So there.
Well, I am off to eat some lunch and then run errands... but stay tuned... the posts are coming!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Fairy, a Princess, a Pumpkin & a Rhino...

I cannot believe Halloween is already over.  This year has just flown by and in nine days my baby turns four years old.  wow...
Halloween at the Scarpace house was a BLAST!  We had our good friends over and I made some "spooky treats" and then we all went and terrorized the neighborhood.  The folks in our subdivision are friendly people and they really go all out for the kiddos that live here.  There was one house this year that absolutely ROCKED!  The woman that lived there said she has always loved Halloween and she decided to have some fun this year and get a giant inflatable haunted house.  The kids had to walk through it to get to the door for candy.  She even had her black lab dressed as a pumpkin.  It was way cute.  I instantly bonded with her.
Ben was a rhino this year.  I know - random.  Believe it or not, he was the ONLY rhino in the neighborhood.  wink. wink.  He took forever to decide on what he wanted to be - he was originally going to be a red-eyed tree frog.  But he decided he didn't like the feet in the costume. He's picky and a bit neurotic, have I mentioned that before?  I made Jason and myself a t-shirt that had "College Station Zoo, Rhino Keeper" on the front, and I found Ben a silver "feed" pail for his treat bag.  Yeah, we were all in on the fun. 
Halloween is my favorite holiday, hands down.  It always has been. And now that we have Ben, it is even more fun - as if that were even possible.  I watch him get excited about dressing up and trick-or-treating, and I remember how that felt when I was little.  My Mom was the Queen of Halloween.  I'm serious. The woman could haunt a house like no one else and my costumes were always 'da bomb.  Of course she made all my awesome costumes - I have to buy Ben's. I just wasn't blessed with my Mom's sewing genes.
Ben has already decided that next year he wants to be a cat.  
"Oh, a scary black cat?" I asked him.
"No, Mama!  A house cat.  Like George.  I want to be George for Halloween next year!"  
I'm hoping he changes his mind before then...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Dallas Arboretum

A few weekends ago, my husband, son, Mom and I decided to check out the Dallas Arboretum near White Rock Lake. Okay, if you have never been there, you should really go check it out. It's amazingly beautiful and so peaceful.  It started raining, so we didn't get to see all of it.  We definitely plan to go back.
To celebrate the fall season, they had lined the walkways with pumpkins and mums and gourds. They had a huge pumpkin patch and even a pumpkin house.  And a hay maze, of course.  (wink.)
It is such an incredible place and I can't believe I had never taken the time to check it out before.  
So, if you have never been there, or haven't been in a while, then by all means get thy self over to the Arboretum! You won't regret it.
I apologize for the shaky videos.  My Mom always comments on how nauseous she gets watching some of my home movies.  I use a Flip Camera - which I absolutely LOVE - but it's not perfect.  It doesn't shoot long distances very well and if you move around while you hold the camera the video can get fairly wobbly. I shot about 15 to 20 minutes of video at the Arboretum, and when I made my first movie and tried to upload it, it was rejected because of the size. So, I had to edit it and split it into two videos to upload.  :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cemetery Photos ~ Spooky!!

As you know, this summer my family made a trip to Buffalo, New York. It was an amazing trip. I got to see the house where Jason lived when he was a baby and the homes where his parents grew up. We even visited the church where they married. I have some great photos - but those will take some time to post, since I want to make a slide show with information on each photo. Yippee - slides from family vacations... 
One of the most amazing things about Buffalo is the amount of cemeteries it has.  I am serious - the town is mostly cemeteries.  And not the ordinary cemeteries we see here in Texas.  These places are ginormous!  They stretch as far as you can see and they have the most gothic, beautiful graves.  I was totally fascinated and weirdly obsessed.  These places were like museums... there was so much history and there are so many famous people buried in Buffalo. We saw the grave of a former United States President, a man who died on the Titanic and yes, we even saw the grave of Super Freak himself - Rick James.  
The most amazing cemetery was Forest Lawn.  You needed a map to get around this place. They even gave tours. Crazy. Jason's Aunt and Uncle were really good sports and took us around to all the cemeteries while we were there.  I think I took about 400 photos - I am not kidding.  So, in honor of Halloween, I thought I would post a nice "photo video" of some of the cemetery pics.  I noticed after I published the video that the tops and bottoms of my photos had been cropped out.  Like I said in my previous post, I am still figuring out this video posting thing...  I was going to add some music to the video, but I couldn't find any that was appropriate.  So, just hum to yourself...

Monday, October 13, 2008

I am having technical difficulties - Please stand by...

Okay, I am having some issues with my posts.  Well, actually I am having issues with my videos. You see, when I create my videos on my Mac, they are perfect - the sound is great and the video is crystal clear. However, once I publish them, they get rough and grainy.  So, I am working on a better way to post the videos.  I tried using the Blogger video upload, but after an hour of it supposedly "uploading," I gave up. So, if anyone has any advice, let me know.
Oh, and I apologize for the links to additional videos at the end.  It's a YouTube thing.  I normally turn that feature off because, well, it's stupid.  But for some reason the YouTube site is hassling me this evening and it keeps showing up at the end of the video.  I WILL get this figured out... just bear with me...

Pumpkin Patches and Hay Mazes

So, it's that time of year again - pumpkin patches and hay mazes.  It's no secret to those of you who know me that I love fall - more specifically, I love Halloween.  But since the world has shifted from when I was a kid, and people are so concerned about political correctness, there are few, if any, school Halloween carnivals anymore. They have been replaced with cheerful, and in no way spooky, pumpkin patches and the occasional hay maze.  Sure, every now and then you will find a "fall festival" some where that reminds you of those good 'ole carnivals, but they just aren't the same.  
I never missed a school Halloween carnival.  I'm serious.  The costume contests, the game booths, the haunted houses... THE FOOD!  I could have cared less about trick-or-treating.  It was the carnival I got excited about.  I don't know why they quit having them.  I was under the impression that they were actually pretty good fundraisers for the schools.  But, for what ever reason, they are gone.  My son will never know how much fun those were.  sniff sniff....
So, Ben gets to experience pumpkin patches and hay mazes.  We never pass one by without stopping.  It's a thing with me.  There is something about that sea of orange that lures me in.  I love pumpkins.  Did I mention that already?
While we were in Dallas this past weekend, we noticed a Pumpkin Patch on the way to Granny Weez and PawPaw's.  So, we took Granny Weez with us and visited the pumpkins.  It was great.  Ben got through the hay maze and we actually got a decent photo of Ben with the pumpkins. (On a side note - trying to get photos of Benjamin is like herding cats.  It's frustrating.  It's impossible.  But somehow we manage every year to get a great photo.  So, I guess it's worth it.) 
Ben decided he wanted to throw a tantrum and refused to do anything we asked him.  I was pretty much fed up with trying to control him, Jason was picking out the perfect gourd and Granny Weez was trying to buy Peppered Pickles.  (Yeah, I know - weird.  But trust me - those pickles were fabulous!)  I lost track of Ben for maybe 2 minutes and when I went to look for him, I found him chatting it up with this pretty girl and getting his face painted.  He always manages to find the pretty girls and flirt with them.  He's gonna be trouble.
I did manage to get a few minutes of video from our visit.  
And you know, that face painting of his lasted a full day on his little cheek.  Maybe there's hope for him yet.  Maybe...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Prankin' the Neighbors

We have way too much free time here at the Scarpace house.  
Our awesome neighbors and great friends, Tony and Ligia, have the unfortunate luck of living across the street from us.  Today when we came home from running errands, we noticed that the recycling truck had left one of Tony's bags with a notice on it saying they were not able to recycle the material he had put in the bag.  We both started laughing about how he was "denied" by the recycling crew.  Since we know Tony and Ligia are good sports, we decided to have a little fun at their expense.  We printed out a huge "D-NIDE" tag (we thought it was funny to spell it phonetically) and then stuck 30 "D-NIDE" stickers (address labels) all over the bag. Our other neighbor, Mario, watched the whole thing.  I know he thinks we are insane, or weird, or both.  
After we get the bag decorated, we run back to our house and wait, flip camera in-hand, for Tony to drive up and see our little surprise.  Okay, so it's probably not "Punked" material, but we had a good laugh.  And we totally expect Tony to retaliate.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Gettin' My Blog On...

I have several bad habits.  One of which is that I record about a million television shows and movies on our DVR, and I never get around to watching all of them.  The worst part is, if my poor husband tries to record something, and he doesn't watch it immediately, I will erase it to make room for my shows - which, I don't watch.  He'll ask "hey, didn't I record blah blah blah?" And I'll say "oh, I think there was a recording error."  (Just so you know, I actually do feel bad for being straight out dishonest with my husband.  It doesn't stop me from doing it - but I do feel bad about it...)
So, one of the shows I record on a daily basis is The Martha Stewart Show.  I love Martha.  I have always loved Martha.  And don't get me started about her time in prison... but what I will say about that whole ridiculous fiasco is that Martha came out of it a changed woman.  She seemed softer and a little more "human."  Not to mention, she suddenly seemed to develop this incredible sense of humor.  Seriously.  She actually made me laugh out loud a few times.  So, I love Martha.  There, I said it.
So, while Jason was out working on his mural downtown today and Ben was taking a nap, I sat down and watched a couple of episodes I had recorded.  They were more than two weeks old, but I was happy I actually watched something I had recorded.  One of the episodes I watched was about blogging.  I thought it was a great show.  She had different types of bloggers on, including food bloggers, political bloggers, gardening bloggers, and yes, even Perez Hilton was on her show.  (Just a side note here.... earlier this year, I overcame an incredible addiction to celebrity gossip sites, namely Perez Hilton's.)  I love blogs - there are about a million I come across every day that I would love to read - if I had time.  I do keep up with a few on a daily basis, which when I get more time I totally intend to put on here.  
The show's guests gave some great advice on starting a blog, what to blog about and all that kind of groovy, helpful stuff.  One of the main points they made was to be sure to blog about something specific.  I don't intend to follow that advice - but I still thought it was a great tip.  There is just too much I experience and too many things I am interested in to just pick one to blog about.  Well, okay then, I guess you could say my specific blog subject is ME.  That works.  I guess.
A few months back, before our crazy summer started, I sat down and made a list of things I wanted to blog about.  (What's funny is that I can't seem to find that list now.  I do remember one of the topics I had on my list was, oddly enough, "lists."  I guess I'll need to make a new list now.  So, I have just added "make new blog list" on  my "list of things to do" for this week.)  I appreciate the outlet blogging gives me.  It's fun.  If you haven't started your own blog, I highly recommend it.  And send me a link - I would love to read what you have to say.  :)

Friday, September 26, 2008


Lucky me - I think have caught a stomach bug.  Ugh.  The good news is that I have the most awesome husband E-V-E-R and he let me rest all day while he watched our three-year-old.  He even made me soup and brought it to me in bed.  Awww.  :)
So, as I have laid in bed all day I have come to realize something.  We need a family schedule.  It was easier when my husband, Jason, was working as a school teacher.  We got up early, got him to work and my son and I had our little routine during the day until Jason came home.  Then it was dinner, a little TV, and then bed.  But now that Jason works from home in the studio, it's a little more tricky.  We don't have to be up at a specific time, so we end up going to bed whenever we feel like it.  Which is usually ridiculously late.  We are lucky if we happen to sneak  in a nap time for our son - which means his schedule is off, too.  So, I think this weekend we need to have a family meeting regarding our schedules... well, actually our lack of any schedule at all really.  We also need to work on getting this house organized, but trust me, that is a WHOLE other topic.  A long, cluttered topic.  Honestly.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


"Change" has become quite the buzzword lately... 
Monday was officially the first day of fall.  I love fall.  I am not a warm weather person, and living in Texas near the Gulf is just about torture for me during the summer months.  I am always so excited when fall comes around.  Even though the weather doesn't really start to get cool until mid-November here, at least I know it's coming.  It will be here soon.  EXCITING!  Change is definitely in the air.
Despite the tragic start to our summer, our family has had some incredible experiences and adventures these past three months.  Benjamin flew on a plane for the first time (which, to be honest, I was completely dreading... but he proved my worries to be totally unfounded - he was fantastic from take-off to landing).  We traveled into Canada and visited Niagara Falls.  It was magical.  Nature is awesome.  Just recently, my husband - a long-time Yankees fan - got to see one last game in Yankee Stadium (he also worked in a Mets game while he was there.)  We survived a hurricane and our city was host to some 3,500 evacuees.  Aside from gas and grocery shortages, we were so lucky.  
Changes are taking place in our home as well.  My husband went from being a full-time elementary teacher to a full-time artist.  A few days ago, we traded in our car for an SUV - we needed the room and our car was starting to have issues.  I am still getting used to the size - curbs are particularly tricky for me. 
I have decided to spend more time with my blog, explore new hobbies and find things that interest me.  I always loved my photography classes and I think with a little practice, I could actually be good.  Not like "open my own photography business" good, but more like "wow, you take fantastic family photos" good.  My husband bought me a MacBook Air with some sweet movie and photo editing software - so I plan to learn how to use all of it and get my creative, photo-taking vibe on.
We had a great summer.  We are excited about fall and all the changes it will bring.
Change... I'm ready.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

...and life goes on...

About a month ago, we learned that both of my in-laws had passed away, in their home, together. There are no words to describe that kind of shock. We were all stunned. They both had serious health concerns, and they were both suffering with debilitating diseases. I guess in some way, we had all prepared for the inevitable - the day we would learn that one of them had died. But none of us were prepared to hear that they were both dead. We are all sad - we miss them both very much.
My in-laws, Carolyn and Gerald, were two of the most unique people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I will always remember Gerry's incredible sense of humor and quick wit, and I will never forget Carolyn's love for nature and animals. There is something quite spectacular about a woman who preferred a beautiful rock or unusual leaf to any fancy jewelry or expensive pair of shoes. And I will forever keep in my mind the time Gerry used the phrase "ghetto fabulous" - correctly - and meant it. Those memories are priceless. Carolyn and Gerry are irreplaceable.
Now Ben and I look up to the sky and he asks me which cloud Nana and Grandpa are sitting on. "That one, right there...."
And life goes on...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Being Sick Makes Me Lazy...

So, when I started this blog, it was totally my intention to submit at least one thing every day. But then, I got sick. Really sick. Like, "I Think I'm Going to Die" sick. And that left me feeling fairly unproductive and completely uninspired. So that's my excuse for not contributing to this blog for a while. I guess it's not really a big deal, given the fact that I have yet to advertise to my friends and family that I even have a blog. I plan on doing that, as soon as I have some content and therefore some reason for them to come here. The good news is that I feel much better now, and the great news (at least for my blog anyway) is that I am once again excited about posting. I have a million ideas and topics running through my head. Woohoo!!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Fun with PlayDoh, Part I

Throughout history, few toys have stood the test of time like good ‘ole PlayDoh. There’s the Slinky, Barbie, the Rubik’s Cube, sidewalk chalk, Silly Putty and Lincoln Logs. And as I found out last night, just like Slinky, PlayDoh really is fun for both a girl and a boy.
My son, Ben, had been begging for PlayDoh ever since he saw a commercial for it on Nickelodeon. I really had my reservations, given the hazards it posed to my carpets and kitchen table. Then one day we were in Toys R Us, and I noticed they had a PlayDoh Kitchen, and since I am a sucker for play food and Ben loves to pretend to make me dinner, I caved and bought it for him.
Okay, if you haven’t experienced PlayDoh in a while, well, do yourself a favor and pick up a tub or two. It is a blast! I don’t know if it was the fact that it was food or what, but I could have played with the stuff for hours. I have always had a weird fascination with fake food… when I was a kid, I loved to go to Sears and look at all the plastic food in the refrigerators and ovens. Ben has a toy kitchen with a community food pantry’s worth of fake food to go with it, and I love to pretend to cook with him. So, the PlayDoh Kitchen was right up our alley.
On the menu last night were……

Grilled Steak with Green Beans and Tomato Slices

Ham Steak with Broccoli and a Crescent Dinner Roll

Fried Chicken and Mashed Potatoes with a Pat of Butter

I am officially a fan of PlayDoh. And my carpets and kitchen table are perfectly fine.


Well, I finally did it... I started my own blog. To be honest, I have wanted my own site for a while now, I even went so far as to register two different domain names in the past two years. The problem was that I never really had the time or the desire to sit down and create a whole website - and I really didn't know what kind of a website I would have anyway. I enjoy crafts, just not enough to devote an entire website to them.... I enjoy cooking, but I have like five or six recipes, which obviously wouldn't fill up much space on the Internet. I have a wonderful family, but let's face it, they don't really want me plastering their photos all over a website for the whole world to see. I suppose I could have put all of my favorite things on a website with different links and updates and all the hoopla that goes along with having your own site...but that brings me back to the fact that I just don't have the time to do all of that. (It's taken me about an hour to just create a logo for this blog, and I am still not happy with it.) So after much thought and research, I concluded that all I really need is a nice, easy and free weblog. Yes, a "blog." Welcome to the Internet, Melanie. :)