Building Sandcastles

I just found this post that I started some time ago. I guess I got distracted. Not sure where I was going with it but - here's an updated photo of my kids all the same! This is at Bodega Bay. Karlee, Kyle and Kevin went there while I was out of town on a "Girl's Weekend". They went horseback riding on Uncle Craig's horses, right on the same beach. They flew kites in the sand and built sandcastles too!....So much fun!


An Average Joe....

1. Starbucks' first store opened solo in Seattle in 1971. How many locations of this popular coffee hotspot are serving up java today?
a. 1,326
b. 7,102
c. 25,478

2. The cappuccino is a product of this country:
a. Italy
b. France
c. Japan

3. Good news! A recent study showed that coffee has health-enhancing benefits including:
a. Lowering blood pressure
b. Improving vision and hearing
c. Supplying disease-fighting antioxidants

4. Americans drink an average of how many ounces of coffee a day?
a. 32 ounces
b. 16 ounces
c. 8 ounces

5. Coffee beans are actually seeds harvested from:
a. Coffee tree cherries
b. Coffee tree pods
c. Coffee tree roots

6. The world's largest coffee exporter is:
a. Brazil
b. United States
c. China

7. Which famous composer wrote The Coffee Cantata, a satirical commentary about coffee addiction?
a. Ludwig van Beethoven
b. Johann Sebastian Bach
c. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

8. How many pounds of coffee can the average coffee tree yield per year?
a. 1-2 pounds
b. 5-10 pounds
c. 20-25 pounds

9. The term "cup of Joe" was coined during:
a. World War I
b. World War II
c. The Vietnam War

10. If you ordered a latte in Italy, you'd likely be served:
a. A cup of black coffee
b. A tablespoon of sugar
c. A glass of milk

Test yourself - think you know! I'm okay with being an "Average Joe". I knew that I had guessed on some, knew others and was just plain clueless on a few! Here are the answers if you need them....

You're An Average Joe! You know enough about coffee to keep you grounded, and can rattle off the calorie count in your favorite coffee drink. However, when it comes to coffee trivia, you're completely clueless. Here are a few notable nuggets to keep you informed:

1. Starbucks is the largest chain of coffee shops in the world, boasting 7,102 locations.
2. Cappuccino is an Italian beverage made of espresso, a little bit of hot milk and lots of milk foam.
3. Drink up! A study conducted by the University of Scranton revealed that coffee is the number one source of disease-fighting antioxidants. It has more than any other food or beverage in the American diet.
4. Sip on this: Americans drink an average of more than eight ounces of coffee a day.
5. Coffee beans are harvested from the cherry-like fruit that grows on coffee trees.
6. In November 2006, Brazil shipped 2.79 million bags of coffee, making it the largest exporter of in the world.
7. Johann Sebastian Bach wrote The Coffee Cantata in the 1730's in jest of coffee addiction.
8. A coffee tree can only produce 1-2 pounds of coffee each year.
9. The term "cup of Joe" was coined during World War II when American military men (G.I. Joe's) were said to drink large amounts of coffee.
10. If you ask for a latte in Italy, you'll likely be served a glass of milk.

Outdoor Living

The past few weeks I've been working hard getting the outdoors ready for summer. With less than 15 days left of school - I want to be ready. So recently Kevin and I decided that it was time to actually purchase patio furniture....After 12 years in this house we needed something to call our own! When we moved here in January, 1995 we were lucky enough to be left with some treasures! You know the round metal white table - though ours was more rust colored than white. I found a great table cloth for it and put a slit in it for the umbrella that was left - a nice yellow vinyl one!... That spring while out doing the Saturday morning yard sale excursions I found a great wicker set in a natural tone - I painted it a great green color with my Wagner sprayer - it set me back $20.00, or $5.00 a piece. I definitely got my monies worth on that one as it only went to the dump this spring.... So needless to say we were in the market for a new set. We have a large brick area and also a separate summer porch. My dad helped me last week with the annual haul out of the summer porch - I pull everything out of it and hose it down. I have always done this myself as I was able to move the furniture on my own - we now have bigger pieces and I can't do it anymore. It too is all brick and screens all around. Unfortunately in the winter it becomes the storage for outside things and gets really grungy. There is nothing better than sitting in there with the morning paper and my morning yogurt. We have a great wicker set in there that was Kevin's mom's set. Not my favorite pattern on the fabric, but it is a great reminder of her and when Kevin's brother and sister visit we like to sit out there and reminisce....

So we recently went to a birthday party and were outside and I noticed their new patio furniture (it was cousin Amy's) and had to ask where they got it. She told us KMART - which I knew over the years I've been tempted by there selections. So I said to Kevin one day last week that I'd really like to get a new patio set - which I'm certain I've probably said it at least 11 times in the last 12 years. My annual spring nag! I asked him if he'd meet me at KMART to look at this furniture - of course he was more along the lines of show it to me online.... I was able to find it and he too liked it. It has these great tile pieces instead of a glass table top, the cushions are pretty neutral and I love the chair style. So one day on my way home from picking the kids up from school he called to say that I should go home, get the truck and head to KMART and pick up the furniture I wanted - call it my "Mother's Day Gift" he said.... He'd meet me at home and start putting it together. Yeah!....
Now this is were the story just gets interesting.....The kids and I go to KMART and head right to the patio furniture section, we walk around looking for someone to help us - of course know ones in the general vicinity. I do see a gal in the Health & Beauty section putting things on the self and I track her down. I indicate that I'd like to purchase a patio set and could she help me. Or course you know the answer to this - no, but she'll page someone to help you. So I plant myself near the phone that she has just paged from and wait......and wait......and wait. She pages someone, she pages the manager, she pages customer service, she pages the "runner" - all who ignore her pages as I continue to stand here. After the fifth page I told myself that at 4:10 I was walking out. At 4:10 that would be 30 minutes of standing there - too long. And of course just as I'm ready to walk off the girl comes back up and says "well I guess I can page someone again", to which I say "please don't - I've waited here too long I'm leaving now". Of course she did not reply to this and went back to what she was doing. And naturally I have to walk past the customer service desk to get back to my truck - and since I do have my kids with me I'm really containing myself, but I do stop at the counter and tell the young man that I have just been waiting by the patio furniture waiting for someone to help me and that I think it's ridiculious that someone should have to wait over 30 mintues to get some help. And why after 5 pages has know one come to help me. Ridiculious! So sorry I'm not spending my money here! To which I walked away at this point with my kids trailing behind me. So I get the kids back into the truck and Kyle says to me "Mommy why did you say that to that guy". So I told Kyle that I was upset that I couldn't get anyone to help me. Kyle then proceeds to tell me that the guy told him "to get out of my store and don't come back" And I'm like WHAT? So Karlee and Kyle explain to me that as they walked past this guy behind the customer service counter at KMART that he tells them "to get out of my store and don't come back" with a wave of his hand shooing them out - I'm am floored! And thinking what do I do now. I know I can't go back in there and give him whatfor - I have my kids with me! Not a good example! So we head home and Kevin is not 5 minutes behind us. Of course the first thing out of his mouth is "where's the furniture". To which I say "Well wait until I tell you this"..... I give him the abbreviated version and he says fine I'll go down there to get it. And of course I'm like you couldn't pay me to spend a dime in there. But I did like the set - I'm weak! And also thinking do I pass this opportunity by - he said yes - how many years would I have to wait to hear it again!....
So every night last week Kevin spent time putting the furniture together. A little bit each night. He apparently can get the service when needed. He did call KMART on his way out the driveway and the manager met him at the front door! How special.....The unfriendly guy wasn't behind the counter when Kevin got there and he didn't appear until the end - at which point my son pointed to him and said to the manager - "that's the guy who was mean to me". Kevin did have some satisfaction in the "deer in the headlights" reaction from him! It doesn't pay to be mean to anyone! I wish I could say it ends there - but not! When we pulled the last chair out to piece together it was damaged, as were a few tiles and the table top had a split in it. So Kevin boxed those back up and took back down there to be exchanged. I'd like to say this was a good experience for him but can't - I'll give you the short version. I called him at 4:25 on Saturday to ask him when he was coming back - he'd been gone for quite some time - enough time for me to wonder when he was coming back. Anyway he said to hang on as a gal had just come up to him to let him know what was up, this is what I over heard on my end - "it seems the guy that was looking for your table got off at 4:00 and he's left". Priceless huh! The best part though is that my family made a special "Mother's Day" dinner for me and we all ate outside on the new furniture! I was telling my family this story on Saturday and mentioned that I'm not really a frequent KMART shopper - only when I've forgotten that one of the kids has been invited to a birthday party and we need a gift. The toy section is in the front of the store - convenient. However at this point I'm steering clear. Thanks anyway, I'm sticking to Target!