Saturday, March 31, 2012

Twelve for Twelve - Check In 3

Twelve For Twelve

Check in #3

  1. Write every day.
-  Blogging counts. I mean I am putting down words and ideas. That’s not nothing.

  1. Post to my blog at least once per week.
- I win! I declare this goal met! At least for right now.

  1. Resume my daily exercise routine.
- Doing better on this but the exercise is still a bit irregular.

  1. Better eating habits.
- Cupcakes are good for you, right? Milk, eggs, flours…all the food groups covered? And dinner is optional. 

  1. Lose at least 50 pounds.
- Another three pounds down. How that happened with the cupcakes and skipping meals I’m not sure. Maybe it has to do with mowing a nearly two acre lawn with a push mower.

  1. Organize my photographs chronologically.
- N/A 

  1. Scrapbook more.
- I haven’t scrapped at all this month. I’ve got photos developed so there is the move in the right direction but as far as pulling stuff out. Ugh! I don’t want to clean up afterwards so I haven’t been willing to make a mess in the first place, which is actually going to be a problem because I have scrapbook I must finish before August that I haven’t even started on yet!

  1. Write actual letters to friends and family.
- Win! Mostly. I’m still writing but not as much or as regularly this month. I also need to add some family into this as I am mostly focused on writing to friends.

  1. Reinstitute Family Game Night.
- Still a work in progress at getting an actual regular night but Friday’s for some reason seems to be working out the best. A combination of no school or homework and a later bedtime probably has a lot to do with this.

  1. Backyard homestead.
- Really proud of this one. In an effort to save money on building raised beds, I converted my old milk crates (that I used in my classroom) into planters. I’ve got six so far plus a few containers I had previously sitting around filled with tiny green things. The girls and I stuck to growing from seeds so we are just getting some tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers and peppers popping up plus a scant dozen flowers planted. I am really happy with this for right now. I’ve recycled and I’m growing things!

  1. Get my favorite recipes organized.
- I added a few new recipes into my personal book: A shepherd’s pie and scones. I’m not very focused on this for right now, though.

  1. Travel.
- I am sad to say, but until someone gets a job (hint: It’s ME) travel is going to take a back, back seat - let’s just put it in the truck - for now. The fact is, the car needs new tires, gas is too high and we are tightly budgeting to make sure we stretch every dollar. It sucks, but there it is. Finding a job, much to my dismay, is a high priority right now. Maybe once I get that settled then I’ll be back to this goal, but until then, I am taking this off of my check in list.

March Photo A Day - Where You Relax

I'm am truly sad that today is the last photo a day for me right now. Tomorrow starts the April Blogging A to Z challenge that as much as I am looking forward to, I am a little nervous about. I haven't a fully fleshed out theme not do I have more than five posts completed. I meant to work on them during March, but...meaning to and actually doing are to entirely different things.

Anyway, for today's photo I wanted to showcase a few places where I relax. I hope you enjoy!

This is my Adirondack chair that sits on my car port. We don't really use the carport for cars so it has turned into a patio of sorts. From this chair I survey my container garden, the girls playing in the yard and the squirrels scampering around looking for nuts. I like sitting out here in drinking tea in my jammies in the morning just as much as I like sitting here waiting for the girls to get home from school.

Our tent at a nearby campground. Not only is camping relaxing for me, but the girls too tell me how much better they feel camping. No stress, no phone, not internet, no T.V. Just us, a deck of cards and dead cow cooked over fire.

I've posted photos of Maine before. This one happens to be my favorite. One that I thought for the longest time had been lost when a certain husband (who shall not be named) crashed my computer. During a recent cleaning frenzy I happened upon a few CDs labeled "photos" and lo and behold, I actually had made a few back ups.

Going to Maine is like going home. Although things have changed since I lived there and spent my summers there, there is a feeling of peace, of relaxation, of love that I strongly associate with this small island cove. This is where my siblings and I played, where cousins met annually, where my family gathered, reminisced and loved, where my very best childhood memories took place.

Friday, March 30, 2012

March Photo A Day - Toy

I wish I had my Lego's from when I was little. Back when Lego's were inexpensive and sets were more free style than structured and organized.

Lego sets today are fun, don't get me wrong, but I like building my own spaceships and boats. Recently (daily if I am being honest) Lego's explode all over my living room.

Aliens chasing a shark-riding Princess. She is missing her "princess hair," which was stolen by the alien on her left.

Yup. The shuttle crashed into a castle. It was not pretty.

But most of the castle inhabitants escaped onto the nearby pirate ship.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

March Photo A Day - Feet

I have two confessions. One: I hate my feet. Really they are pretty ugly. I hate wearing shoes and for the most part go barefoot so I have thick, thick calluses on my heels and toes. Gross. My second confession? I love, love, love my daughters' feet. Sweet and adorable. I wish I had photos of their feet from when they were infants and toddlers. I love taking pictures of their feet when we are out at the beach, camping, playing in mud, trying on socks, wearing get the point.

I couldn't decide on just one, so I unfortunately I am subjecting you to a boat load of feet. Sorry.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

March Photo A Day - Trash

This was a really hard challenge. I mean who in their right mind wants to see trash? How can I make trash - my trash - interesting and artistic?

I drink Earl Grey Tea like I own stock in the company, like I have my own East India Shipping line, like I am British. There is nothing that a good cup of tea can't fix. Except maybe appendicitis, but I'm not sure as my appendix hasn't wanted to leave yet. A long time ago, I used to drink regular Lipton with milk and sugar, but once I discovered Earl Gray, I was hooked. I take it with sugar and that's it. By the end of the day (especially now that I am home all the time) there is a little pile of tea bag wrappers sitting on the counter. Not that I'm too lazy to throw them out, but it is the only way for me to keep track of how much tea I am actually drinking! I have to ration, you know, since a box is wicked expensive. Let me tell you, if the colonists had Earl Grey, that little Tea Party of theirs would never have happened. They would have been all, "What? Throw my Earl Grey into Boston Harbor? Are you mad? Do you know how delicious this shit is? Let's just stay colonists. No biggie!"

A to Z in Four days!?

So when I signed up for the Blogging A to Z challenge back in February I was all cocky and confident. "I have a month to plan posts," I told myself, "No problem!"

Umm... Yeah...Problem.

One of the names I didn't put on my name cloud yesterday was maybe one of the more descriptive ones: "Procrastinator."

I am so good at procrastinating, I sometimes don't even realize I'm doing it. It's ingrained in my hard drive and no amount of reprogramming has been able to help. And I certainly don't want to do a complete system wipe. I work well under the stress of a deadline. The problem is the deadline needs to be really close for me to acknowledge it. Like "objects in the mirror are closer then they appear" close.

I don't even have a theme for the month yet! I have some vague notions of what I might want to do for some of the letters, a few jotted down words and doodles (not that I'd put a doodle up here, because as crafty as I like to think I am, I can not draw anything save a smiley face and a snail) but I have nothing concrete.

But people, four days is an eternity to a procrastinator of epic proportions like me. I can ideally keep procrastinating until April 1st and then whip out some random post and be done with it. Except, I really wanted to be ahead of the curve here. Have good solid posts that weren't just thrown together to fill a niche. And have posts scheduled to go so if I was busy (right!) I wouldn't be worried about it.

Four days. I could get quite a lot of writing done in four days. If I had a theme. If I focus. If I - oh! The lawn needs to be mowed!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March Photo A Day - Your Name

When I married Scott, I kept my maiden name. There's nothing wrong with Scott's name except that it isn't my name. I was adamant that the only thing that was truly mine, that belonged to no one else in the world, was my name. No one could take it from me. It was my unique identification.

I have not changed my opinion on that. I still firmly believe that my name is mine alone. Although both girls have my husband's last name, I have passed my belief onto to my them unwittingly. When they speak of their futures and their potential husbands and children (I cringe every time they do this) they use their last name for their children. Maybe it's a result of not knowing who their husbands will be. Maybe it is a result of my opinion. Regardless of the reason, they are equally adamant that their name will remain their own.

Over the years, I have learned that it isn't just my birth name that is mine, I actually own quite a number of names all of which I am proud to have. The one that gives me the greatest pleasure though is Mommy.

For today's theme, I decided to get a bit creative with my many names and create my own word cloud. If you haven't ever seen one (where have you been?) you can find them here or here. I didn't want to have a computer create mine for me especially when I have so many craft supplies, so I made my by hand.

This shot is a raw one. I had just finished it and set it on my black ottoman.

This one I put it in a goldenrod painted frame that I had planned for another project. I doubt very much I'll keep it in this. I think it needs a less yellow frame.

This one is the same as the color one above but while I was playing around with my edit buttons (I don't have photoshop so I just use the MS Windows photo tools) and I really loved the extreme contrast in the b&w.

Monday, March 26, 2012

March Photo A Day - Key

There were so many ways I could have gone with this one. Symbolic, literal, motifs. It was all wide open. In the end though I really liked the idea of something solid and tangible.

And yes, that IS Admiral Akbar guarding my keys against attacks from the Republic.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

March Photo A Day - Breakfast

I love breakfast. It is my favorite meal. I often cook breakfast food for dinner. Bacon, eggs, pancakes! Bring it on!

Every year for Christmas Breakfast I make this amazing blueberry stuffed French toast with a blueberry syrup that I love so much if I could make it big enough I was cuddle right down into it. For some reason, a reason that I cannot fathom, I have never actually taken a photograph of this most delicious meal.

So, instead I present the meager meal we broke our fast with this morning.

First my husband finished off the last of the Lucky Charms – which as we all know are made with crack because that is the only reason I can come up with to explain how we* went through four boxes of them in less than five days! Before you judge, they were on BOGO last week and we all love them, so yes, four freaking boxes. Ridiculous, I know.

Yes. Three EMPTY boxes of Lucky Charms. Or should I call them Lucky Crack?

Next, since Scott had polished off the Lucky Charms I decided to make some muffins. I made a scrumptious banana muffin and a yummy jelly-filled muffin.

Banana Muffins. Moist and so very bananay.
The jelly-filled muffins didn't turn out quite like I expected but they were still good.

* by “we” I mean my husband.

P.S. – my internet is spotty at best for the next couple days until a tech-geek can get in here and make it all better, so I apologize in advanced if I miss a day or two.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

March Photo A Day - Animal

It took me quite some time to decide on today's photos. I actually have an extensive collection of photographs from the zoo, aquarium and camping. I finally settled on two little visitors the girls and I had while we were on a camping trip. So in a way I'm cheating a bit as they aren't "new" photos. But. like a used car, they are totally new to you!

These cuties weren't the only two we saw. The camp site was actually infested with them. Like that show Infested! but without the creepy house. They crawled over the table in flocks. They fell from the trees onto our tent at night. Soft little plip-plops almost like a gentle rain. We had to rescue them from the fire pit before we started any fires.

They didn't seem to realize the annoyance they were causing. Oblivious little caterpillars just doing their caterpillar things: crawling, creeping, plotting world dominance.

Friday, March 23, 2012

March Photo A Day - Moon

I love the moon. I mean who doesn't? Mysterious, unique, shiny. It has a Dark Side. I bet there are cookies over there too. It is really, really hard to take photographs of the moon with a point and shoot camera. As such I present two quick peeks at some recent attempts.

The one is the first full moon of this year. I took a series of snaps as it rose up out of the Atlantic. My peeps and I were goofing around after a seriously delicious dinner and I didn't even know that there was a full moon! Luckily, I never go anywhere without my camera!

This one I took this month. Again another unsuspected full moon. Unless you pay attention (which I really don't) I think the full moon rather sneaks up on a person and then acts all surprised by the response.

"What!" says the moon. "You think I'm so very pretty?"

"Umm? Yeah? Why else would I be all like, 'ohh full moon! Sweet!'" I tell it.

"And these clouds don't make me look...plump?"

"No. Of course not! If anything they are rather slimming."

"Shucks!" the moon says blushing just a bit.

"Ugh!" I mutter, "Such an ego!"

Thursday, March 22, 2012

March Photo A Day - Kitchen Sink

As a stay at home mom my girls do not have many chores. They have to keep their rooms clean, put away their laundry and do the dishes every night. Cyra has to unload and put away the dishes. Ashleigh has to load the dishwasher and hand wash the ones that need special care.

Even though they "know" they have chores, I still have to "gently" remind them every night to take care of the dishes.

Last night, I had to to bring Scott to the urgent care doctor. Nothing major (just a touch of strep) but for him to willingly request to see a doctor is not something to ignore. As we left, I reminded the girls to take care of their chores. I assumed the best.

Oh how silly I can sometimes be!

It looked just like this when I left.

Yeah. I know a close up of dirty dishes is kinda gross, but it came out so nice and crisp!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

March Photo A Day - Delicious

Such an easy theme, so hard to choose photos! I love taking photographs of food. It's sort of an obsession that stems from The Birthday Fiesta o' Fun (don't worry...I'm going to tell you all about it later. Pinky swear!).

Lemon curd berry tart. So very light and delicious. Perfect for a spring celebration!

Can you believe those berries?

Epic salad. We don't eat salad as much as we should. Odd since this was devoured in about three seconds flat the other night!

And certainly because I didn't learn my lesson with all the desserts at the seafood festival, I made strawberry shortcake.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March Photo A Day - Before and After

I really don’t have a good before and after photo to share today. Not for a lack of trying, you see. I tried. Take a gander at this:

Before – Piping hot sugar laden funnel cake

After – Mostly eaten funnel cake surrounded by three girls who kept saying things like “We really shouldn’t have gotten two desserts” and “Boy do I feel pukey."

The Before and After I have in mind really can’t be photographed. Let me tell you a story instead.

Way back in the old days (aka 2006) Scott and I bought a townhouse. It was a decent house but it needed a lot of care. It was nearby to my mom and sister which was a bonus. It was in a semi decent school zone. It cut down on my commute although it added time to Scott’s. Centrally located in a large metropolis the neighborhood nonetheless felt more suburban than city.

In 2006 buying this house made perfect sense. Until, HOA fees skyrocketed, the economy collapsed and it took my entire pay check to pay the mortgage. See, back in 2006 we had crummy credit and a high interest rate. We were convinced real estate agents and mortgage brokers that after three years of faithful payments, the bank which held the mortgage (and would never, ever sell it because *this* bank didn’t believe in doing things like that) would be more willing to negotiate a refinance for a lower interest rate. It was a gamble that we took.

When the crash started, we were just starting our third year of payments. We struggled still from paycheck to paycheck and we needed that refi. HOA’s kept going up. Stress kept going up. And the mortgage company our loan was sent to wouldn’t even consider us for a refinance. When I called and begged them to work with us, they told me that I spent too much on groceries and should only be spending one hundred dollars a week for a family of four. And I should also consider getting rid of the pets.


Scott and I fought. A lot. They were quiet, simmering fights that often erupted over the most insignificant things. At the heart of everything was the financial whirlpool we were struggling against.

The house was now worth 70,000 dollars less than when we bought. The cars needed repairs. Doctors needed to get paid (and despite having decent insurance, you know that isn’t always enough). Bills, student loans, everything. And each month we watched as nearly every penny we earned was paid out to someone else.

By the end of 2010 we knew we couldn’t do it anymore. The house needed a new ac/heat unit, two of the three bathrooms were in major disrepair, the cars were still falling apart…the list goes on and we could afford none of it. But the more important concern was Scott’s and my relationship. Screw the house, the cars the money, we were falling apart.

Concerns over everything else turned us sour. We didn’t talk except to argue. Stress from both of our jobs played a role. I struggled with my job daily. I was frustrated and fed up with a system that I didn’t think would ever work. I came home everyday crying.

On a particularly bad night in December 2010, Scott and I made the choice to walk away from the house. It wasn’t worth our sanity anymore. The mortgage company told us they wouldn’t consider a short sale. They didn’t want to work with us. We stopped paying. We concentrated on getting other bills paid off and saving up money for the summer when we knew we would move.

I felt such tremendous guilt the entire time. I was raised to be responsible, to take care of my debts. Walking away from the house went against everything I believed in. But I did it anyway. I hurt my mom and sister, as I knew I would, because I didn’t turn to them for help. I didn’t want help at that point – I still don’t. Even worse, they made the assumption that I was jumping into this blind. I already felt miserable knowing I was disappointing them now I felt incompetent. In the end, I had to do what I thought was best for me and my family.

Scott and I found a place to rent in a great neighborhood at a price we could afford and we took the plunge. We knew I would quit my job. The commute and the stress were just too much. It wasn’t worth it. We knew that we’d still be tight just living on his salary but we figured I would find some form of job to cushion our bank account.

As promised, this is a before and after snapshot of my life.

It has been eight months since we moved. I still don’t have a job although I look everyday (I’m actually rather picky about what I will do as it has to fight around my schedule with the girls). Money is still tight because of it. But we budget and make do with less.  

The other day, Scott was leaving for work and I walked him out to his car. The cement carport was cold beneath my bare feet and the air held a crisp bite that promised to warm up. We held hands and hugged.

“Have you noticed how much nicer it’s been since we’ve moved here?” I asked him. He knows I don’t just mean the money or the bills.


“Less stress,” I said. “Less fighting, more peaceful.”

The birds chirped and the sun just tipped over the top of the garage out back turning the sky a delightful rich pink. Scott pulled me tight into his arms. He needed to go to work and I was delaying him but he didn’t seem to mind. His commute now is about three minutes. He kissed the top of my head and rubbed my back.

“Yes,” he said, “Much better.”

Monday, March 19, 2012

March Photo A Day - Funny

The girls and I play games a lot. Board games happen to be a favorite as I am slowly losing my interest in video games as I get older (apparently Cracked has already identified this perplexing syndrome of aging). Now that Cyra is a bit older and has a longer attention span we can play games like Risk, Monopoly and Clue.

A little while ago, during a game of cut-throat Monopoly, Simone decided that we had played enough. Or maybe she wanted to take a turn at being the banker.

"Hello. Let me guard your money for you."

"See? I'm fierce!"

Sunday, March 18, 2012

March Photo A Day - A Corner of Your Home

This is my least favorite corner of my house. I'll admit my house is often times messy or cluttered, but everything gets cleaned up easy-peasy. This corner, however, for some odd reason, is always a disaster. The shelf serves as a catch all, shoes get tossed in the crate, tools pile up. Ugh!

And that milk crate? It is supposed to be in the trunk of my car! It has all my emergency essentials in it: a lantern, a sit-upon, my Rand McNally Road Atlas (in case I get the sudden urge for a road trip on my way to the grocery store), a multipurpose tool, handy wipes and paper towels... Actually there isn't much in the way of "emergency essentials" in there at all!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

March Photo A Day - Green

I suppose that since it is St. Patrick's Day, a green theme fits. One of the things I love about Florida is that there is always so much green!

Trifextra - Week Eight: Lost

Trifecta's 33 word story challenge this week:

This weekend's challenge is to write a story entitled 'Lost' in exactly 33 words. The word 'lost' can only appear in the title, not your 33 words.

My entry:
According to her pedometer, Melanie trekked five miles into the forest. She knew the park entrance was in the south west. The compass spun wildly like caught in a whirlpool as night descended.

Friday, March 16, 2012

March Photo A Day - Sunglasses

Even though I live in Florida, the supposed Sunshine State, I actually don't wear my sunglasses too often. I have prescription glasses so my sunglasses are those wonky magnet clip-ons. They're okay, except that they are a bit too heavy (my glasses themselves are already thick and cumbersome) so they keep sliding down my nose. Irritating. Distracting. Pain in the butt.

WTF? Now there are quizes on blogging?

Earlier this week, in a fit of child-like rage and jealousy, Pickelope tagged me for a bunch of awards and a quiz. Seriously, Pickelope? It isn't enough that my comments make you laugh, now you have to give me a pop quiz? And there's math involved!

Fine. But I'm doing this my way. I'll complete your little quiz but you'll have to wait to see what I do with the awards! Mwa ha ha ha!

1. Out of the different races of life in Lord Of The Rings, which do you prefer and why? (Answer carefully.)
a. Orc
b. Halfling
c. Elven
d. Human
e. Dwarven

Of all the questions, this one is the simplest: Halfling. They are homebodies and all about food. They can adventure when the need is great. They find joy in the simplest of pleasures and burst into song at the first hint of a good meal or alcohol. I would totally be a Halfling.

2. If today will be yesterday, and tomorrow will be today, What will tomorrow be when it is yesterday?
Monkey Farts! I have never been good at math…but I’ll take a stab at it…umm? Thursday2(2a+½xy)= ? Crap what was the question again? I’ll just skip this one. It can’t be worth more than two points.

3. Do you consider yourself a writer or a person that places rather large words together to form a sentence, and thus, a story/post/epic?
I’m not sure I consider myself either really. I often misspell rather large words so I tend not to use them. And sometimes fragment. Also.

4. If you happened upon a war and you had to take part in it, what would be your weapon of choice?
a. rifle
b. sword
c. slingshot
d. bow and arrow
e. dematializer

I’d go with F – The Transmogrifier and turn everyone into Unicorns. Then there would be no more war and I could continue with my peaceful pacifist lifestyle. And as a bonus every little girl would be issued their own unicorn (complete with a curry comb and sparkle ribbons) when they turned five. I'd be a celebrated hero!

5. If you were stuck on an island with no means of escape, and were given one wish, what would it be for?

No wishing for more wishes?

One wish I supposed I’d go for is a companion. I’m totally a people person and I would go Tom Hanks crazy by myself. It would have to be someone that I could deal with forever though. At first I thought, The Bloggess, because she would keep me amused arranging little plays and skits with her collection of taxidermied animals. But then, since she doesn’t know me she might get slightly pissed that I wished her away from her family even though my island prison would be a beautiful paradise full of talking animals and coconuts.

Then I figured my husband would make okay company…but he doesn’t like sand.

Maybe I’d just wish for a machete.

6. If you participated in the TV game show Fear Factor, where would you draw the line in regard to consuming odd "meals?"
Pretty much everything on the show I’d have to draw a line for. I’ve only watched a few minutes of the show when it first premiered and quickly decided that if I wanted to spend 30 minutes being nauseous I’d rather just have a stomach bug.
7. What is your favorite album of all time?
I really don’t have one favorite album (and yes, I am old enough to remember vinyl), although I do remember a certain Smurf album that I listened to pretty much constantly when I was about 8.

8. What is your favorite movie of all time?
This changes frequently, currently it is Sharktopus. Clue, Groundhog’s Day and Billy Elliot are always in the top five.

9. Are you taking part in the 2012 A to Z Challenge this year? It may be the last one, depending on your answer for question 11.
I am. Because I needed one more thing to fret about.

Actually, I am really looking forward to it. I don’t have a theme although I have a few ideas for a few of the letters. And I don’t want to wing it because at some point in my life I’d like to sound polished and reasonably assured that I make sense.

10. If, by chance, you were endowed with one super power, what would it be and why?
I hate this question. It gives me the heebie-jeebies. My daughters ask me this all the time and every single time I tell them the same thing – I don’t want a super power, I’m not responsible or trustworthy enough to have one.

Here’s the deal, I’d like to believe that if I had a super power I’d use it for good, but I know I wouldn’t. I would become a criminal mastermind or a dictator or the executive director of show development at Disney or Nick (the ones who make all the crappy decisions about what to put on the air – don’t get me started about those guys!). I would use whatever power I have to ensure that my family was well taken care of and screw the rest of the world. So no matter what power I selected it would be corrupted.

Well…it would be kind of neat to be able to draw perfect geometric shapes without the aid of a stencil or protractor…for purely crafty purposes, I assure you.
11. Do you believe that the Mayans are on to something concerning 12.21.12?
Short answer: Nope.

Slightly longer answer: I think that ancient civilizations were pretty brilliant to come up with the things they came up with. I watch Ancient Aliens almost obsessively. I love Stargate. But the ability to predict any outcome as an eventual absolute outcome? I don’t buy it.

The Mayans had a great calendar system. So did the Egyptians, the Jews, the Chinese. But it is nothing more than the marking of our movement around the sun. The Mayans were freaking amazing astronomers. They didn’t have the bright lights and Jersey Shore distractions that humans today face. With nothing to do, they watched the sky and mapped the patterns.

Medium answer with more humor: No, but just in case I am making a 2012 Waiting For the Apocalypse scrapbook to preserve my family’s memories in the event that civilization collapses and we are some of the few survivors (I have no doubt we’ll survive because I’ve got 20 pounds of rice, two cans of beans, and five jars of Tang – I am so ready!). 

And now, I have to tag someone else for this quiz. So...Sporkgasm? You're it!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

March Photo A Day - Cars

I've been doing a bit of spring cleaning the past few days and I've gotten to the point of sprucing up the porch. Most of the girls outdoor toys have ended up in a big jumbled mess in the corner of the porch which drives me insane because it looks like the outdoor toy department at Toys-R-Us exploded on the porch.

Luckily, the house we are living in now comes with massive amounts of outdoor storage. One of the areas we opted to use as a playroom of sorts. The girls don't actually play in it because BUGS! But they keep most of their larger and less played with toys out there. In the process of moving the outside toys to the playroom, I figured I might as well clean it up and make it a bit more functional. Eventually, I'd like to completely finish the space and make it much more usable which equates to less buggy.

Check out what I found while I was cleaning!

Scott loves cars. Aside from RPG it is his only real hobby. Since Ashleigh was a toddler, he has been collecting Matchbox and Hot Wheels for her and then for Cyra. The case above is double sided and most compartments are double parked. 

One of my favorite memories is of Scott and Ashleigh playing cars together when we first moved back to Florida. Ashleigh had one of those rugs with the streets and town on it and she took great delight as driving all the wrong ways she could, parking in the grocery store and deliberately crashing into Scott's carefully placed row of hot rods.
Both the girls grew up loving Scooby-Doo insane amounts - well, I guess they actually still really love Scooby-Doo. The Mystery Machine is actually one of five Scooby-Doo cars that came in a pack (Freddy has a Bronco!) but the van is my favorite.
This is another of my favorites in the collection. I'm not sure what kind of car it is but it is such a beautiful rusty orange and it sparkles like gems in the sunlight.
Here's the same car but in black and white. I couldn't decide which one I liked better so I posted both.