Why Me.

Dear Instagram, I know you listen to my conversations and feed me ads accordingly. I can even tell that you’re having Google read my emails and feed me ads that fit into that.

But whatever you read or heard that made you think I am the type of person to buy leggings based on how they look when I sit on the toilet – that was bad information. Very bad.

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And also – I’ve never – not once – emailed or discussed boiling my family for a delicious Spring Stew.

IMG_4EF9BDB3AF33-1The wine glasses are a nice touch. Stew is always better when steeped in wine. But why are there two wine glasses and a beer bottle for one mother and two small children? If in fact this isn’t just a slow cooker advertisement?

I don’t know which is more offensive – the fact that Barnes and Noble wants my baby to get to coding, or that Amazon thinks I care about my Cat’s IQ. And also I’m pretty sure all cat’s IQs are high enough to fake the test altogether so good luck getting the accurate number you so desire.

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And there’s nothing quite like looking up a recipe and getting an ad for toe mushrooms underneath it.

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But let’s move onto other sightings.

I spotted this reusable bag the other day, if someone forgot to bring one.

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Noah’s school books are constantly testing my ability to keep my serious teacher face on and not laugh like a Junior High boy. I’m pretty sure it’s planned that way to test my holiness.

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In a related section…

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And then there’s Fran and her impressively sized..wishes.

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Can we please leave the bear fat-shaming out of the first grade?

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Noah never catches the same things I do.

But this time, he had his own conclusions of what they were going for. He added a tiny protrusion to the drawing, then informed me that the page was wrong because “pooping” doesn’t begin or end with the ch blend.

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I get it, Noah. I get it. What kid would assume that bear was supposed to represent crouch.

And finally, we have an issue of local politics we need to discuss.

I don’t know why I follow the city council on Instagram, but I do.

And because of this, I now do indeed know.

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Yelling loudly in public.

Is illegal.

Now. I’m as much against loud noises as the next guy. Probs way more. But what happened to living in a free country?

And if  I see that you’re about to get run over by a car, can I get a one-time permit to be able to yell loudly at you?

And where would I obtain said permit?

Because if it’s at the DMV, you’re definitely dead.

But I will say that this revelation definitely brightened up our family downtown walk on Saturday.

“And this, kids, is the County Jail. It’s where we’ll come visit you if you ever yell loudly in public again.”

Your Personal Shopper In Waiting.

Have you been itching to house a collection of multicolored Furbys around your neck?

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Or are you looking for the perfect sports bra to give you coverage and support you crave as you run your next race?

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Looking for clarity in the many, many boot choices out there?

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Or are you done with boot season and looking for the ideal cool summer sandal?

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I am here for you, and I want to be your personal shopper.

I want to find you distressed denim boots for your every need,

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The perfect shirt with which to impress your boyfriend’s family with your class and sophistication, paired with the most complimentary pants for the outfit.

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And I want to make you sparkle like the star that you are. (Though that criteria might cost you a bit of starry-eyed dough.)

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I don’t want you to feel fenced in by your clothes…

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I want you to reflect your true self in the sheen of your knee!

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And if you’re ready to let your toes peep out while keeping your knees securely covered, I’ve got that look ready to go, too.

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….Or whatever body part you want to let peek out. There’s a peeker choice for all of ‘em.

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….and every combination of ‘em.

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Got tiny scars from getting your gall bladder removed? We will cut your dress so that it shows only the perfect quadrants of your belly.

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Love the high/low look but prefer the backs of your knees to the front? We’ve got you covered/uncovered.

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Whether your style is Little House on the Prairie,

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Queen Victoria meets Green Acres,

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Or Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman,

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I have you SO covered. I even have you covered if your style is Under the Covers.

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I can even help you find that perfect pair of leggings that hides and minimizes, drawing attention up toward your beautiful face.

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(Nothing to see here, people.)

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But wait! Is your genre KellyAnne Conway at an inauguration party? It’s KellyAnne Conway I’ll give you.

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You want the comfort of a maxi dress and the style of a romper? YES! I can EVEN do that!!

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And swimsuits! Yes, swimsuits. Do you want to make sure people know you’re high-strung?

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Or poisonous to the touch?

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And if you’re a ruffly, girly kind of girl, I will ruffle you from top to bottom.

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And finally. For the ultimate fashion staple, denim.

Have you been reading my jeans posts and want to make sure your pockets aren’t too high? I have fire insurance pants for you.

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Because there’s NOTHING as useful as calf pockets.

I am ready to hear from you. Let me help you with all your fashion needs.

Orr Park Scavenger Hunt.

You may have noticed I’ve been on a bit of an outdoors binge for a half a decade or so.

(Which, by the way, is the most insulting word in the English language. “Outdoors.” AS IF doors had been there first, then nature cropped up all around them and so we had to call it OUTdoors. No. Doors don’t deserve a tenth of that honor.)

Anyway. I like running and hiking, and my kids do too, but they tire quicker than I do, or sometimes even think they’d rather do something else. But if I can turn it into a social occasion, they are ALL IN.

So to get what I wanted, I created The Last Minute Network O’ Adventure*, which is a pair of constantly-growing text groups where I send out our hiking plans to other homeschool moms, etc. who are available to hike on weekdays, and whoever can join us joins us.

(The other reason we have this group is simple: I need something to say when people find out I homeschool, then gasp in a horrified fashion, and say, “But HOW will the children be socialized?!” …I answer “Well, we hiked 18 times last month with 65 different friends, therefore spending approximately 30 hours engaged in quality time and conversation…so there’s that.”)

Every now and then I’ll create other outings for this group as well, as was the case with this Scavenger Hunt at Orr Park in Montevallo. There are over 40 intricate tree carvings within a large area of the park, and it was just begging to have a scavenger hunt made of it. The kids and I had only been there once, and it’d been over a year, but we remembered it fondly.

So I decided that two Scavenger Hunts were needed: a photo scavenger hunt for smaller kids, and a clue scavenger hunt for big kids. The photo one was easy. I had pictures from our last visit of almost all of the carvings, so I selected a group of very distinct characters, slapped them onto a page together, gave them checkboxes, and declared it done.

Screen Shot 2018-04-01 at 10.21.32 PMClick here to download the Photo Scavenger Hunt sheet for yourself.

But when I went to make the advanced scavenger hunt, I learned quickly that I’m not very good at clues. I toiled through the sludge of my brain, trying to come up with witty ideas, with no luck. So I recruited Chris, whose skill with the quill is undeniable, and he had me a perfect, mostly rhyming clue sheet in less than an hour.

Screen Shot 2018-04-01 at 10.22.03 PMClick here to download this sheet.

The kids and I arrived early to make sure none of the carvings had changed or been damaged, and thankfully all were still in tact – and with a number of new carvings as well. Of all the parks in Alabama, this one is one of the most fascinating.

Our attendees arrived, and we explained our instructions and set them off to hunt.

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We had a total of 32 kids join our hunt – a few of which were strangers who just happened to be at the park on the extremely lovely day, saw me handing out clue sheets, and asked if they could play along. My kids, having helped with the clue checking, decided to be floating scavenging aids to kids who got stuck.

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The part of the park with the carvings is a well-contained area, but it is very long. There was much running back and forth and back and forth again. Much exercise was achieved without any of them ever realizing it.

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When they finished, they had to find me and turn in their clue sheets.

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Then they received their prize, modeling clay to make their own sculpture – so that the day could totally count as an art appreciation field trip.

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The kids took the assignment much more seriously than I assumed they would, all modeling one of the carvings that they had seen in the park.

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The Scavenger Hunt was a success, and I hope to do it again for anyone who missed the inaugural session. But you don’t need me to make it happen – just download and print out the photo and clue sheets and give it a try.**

* If you’re not in my Network O’ Last Minute Adventure and want more information, comment on this post and I’ll email you.

** Scavenger Hunts are not just for kids – they’re totally for adults. Chris and I spent many dates doing the Itty Bitty Magic City Scavenger Hunts that used to be printed in the newspaper. Scavenging is a proven bonding strategy.

Note – If you want another Scavenger Hunt, we made this micro photo scavenger hunt years ago for Avondale Park. Not all the items will still be findable, but most should be.