~my thoughts about life~

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mystery Shoppers Beware!

I recently received a very official-looking letter in the mail. It was from a company I had never heard of, but upon later Googling, was a real company. Also enclosed was an actual check from an actual bank. The first thought that entered my mind was, "Scam! Run, Forrest, Run!" But Hubby said he checked up on it and it looked quite real.
I read every word of the document, which seemed to make sense. It said it was looking for mystery shoppers. Well, who wouldn't want to get paid to shop??? There were very specific instructions...spend $100 at a certain store and fill out this evaluation form. The second part was to evaluate Western Union. I was supposed to wire a specific amount of money to an unknown person and rate how professionally this was handled. The check was for the exact amount of both assignments.

But I wasn't born yesterday. I thoroughly check out anything in which I take part. So I decided to ask my mother, a business banker, if she had any thoughts on the matter. She said she'd never seen a letter like that but surely wouldn't believe it. She said that most people probably wire their own money before waiting for the check to clear. And then the check ends up bouncing. BINGO! She nailed it on the head! I found this article online and it totally confirmed all her suspicions. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/crime-scene/cons-scams/loudoun-authorities-uncover-my.html

So, if you happen to receive one of these letters in the mail, don't waste your time investigating it. Tear it up and go on with your day. It's fraud.

Friday, July 30, 2010


If a picture is worth a thousand words, this says it all.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Beautiful Day

It was such a lovely day in my neck of the woods today. So I decided to shoot some outdoor pictures of my four children. Big mistake. Now I remember why I take my own children to a studio rather than photographing them myself. I did get some good shots of the older kids. But Baby Girl just refused to cooperate. The open spans of green grass were much too tempting for her. So I took this shot of the very blue sky, which makes me very happy.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I took my first Senior pictures over the weekend. I think I could get used to doing this as more than a hobby. They turned out really great. I can't show them to you so I used a picture of my camera instead.

I spent an hour with the high school Senior and took 140 pictures in three different outfits. It was a close friend so I didn't charge her. But looking around at different websites, I figured I could have charged quite a bundle! Who knows, maybe I'll be a rich and famous photographer some day??? It's nice to dream.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More Feet

My friend's daughter's feet...I know, disgusting! But I had to post them.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What's For Dinner?

This is one of my personal favorite dinners. And if time is on your side, it's extremely easy.

Beef Tips & Noodles
Cut any size roast into bite-sized pieces. Shake beef cubes in a gallon ziplock bag with enough flour to coat each piece. In a large skillet, brown beef in hot oil with salt and pepper. Add one can of beef broth for a medium roast, more or less depending on the amount of beef. Cover and simmer all day, stirring occasionally. Serve over wide egg noodles.

(*Note: I make this recipe on the stove top but it could probably easily be converted for a slow cooker.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

What's For Dinner?

A favorite of ours around here is Spaghetti and Meatballs. It's one of the few dinners that everyone in our family actually eats. Some with sauce, some with meatballs, some just plain. But I'll take it. Here's my recipe:

She's Spaghetti & Meatballs
1 egg
1/4 C milk
1 1/2 slices bread
1 lb. hamburger
1/8 C onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed or chopped
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
In medium bowl, beat egg lightly; add milk and crumbled bread. Allow to stand 5 minutes. Add hamburger, onion, garlic, salt, & pepper; mix gently. Shape into 12 meatballs, about 1 1/2" in diameter. Place on a greased jelly roll pan (you can cover your pan with aluminum foil sprayed generously with Pam). Bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare Sauce:
1 T butter
2 T onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed or chopped
1 t sugar
1 t salt
1/2 t Italian seasoning (I use Pampered Chef)
1 (28 oz.) can tomato puree
Melt butter in a large saucepan; saute' onion and garlic. Add remaining sauce ingredients; bring to a boil. Simmer 30 minutes. Add meatballs. Cover and simmer 30 minutes or until ready to serve, stirring occasionally. Serve over thin spaghetti.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Birthday Weekend

Big Sis turned 6 yesterday. We had a few of her friends over for a Littlest Pet Shop party. We had "pet adoptions", a piƱata that wouldn't break, and my first fondant cake. I was pretty pleased with the outcome of my first attempt. It's definitely something I will try again. There is nothing sweeter than seeing a slew of precious little girls all running around together. We made priceless memories.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lost & Found

It is a happy day in our home today. Puppy has been found! Puppy is a gift my oldest son bought for Baby Girl when she was born. It became her most favorite thing, her security blanket. Well, Puppy has been missing for quite some time. I even blogged about it once. As I was cleaning Baby Girl's room today, I was arranging the over-sized stuffed animals and dolls that "friends" thought were so cute that they MUST buy them for my children. Underneath Giant Minnie Mouse was the poor, crumpled Puppy. It was so sweet to see Baby Girl's reaction at the reunion to her long, lost friend. She looked the animal over closely and quietly, almost reverently, breathed her name - Puppy. Now she's carrying the pink stuffed animal around the house, calling her name over and over. "Puppy, Puppy, Puppy!" I hate to break it to her that Puppy is quite filthy and is in need of a laundry bath. Maybe I'll wait until they've become better reacquainted.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Amish Country

It's been a while since I've posted because I've had so much internet trouble lately. It's extremely frustrating!

Anyway, I love visiting Amish Country. If I had no ties to family, friends, church, or work, I would definitely live there. There is so much peace and serenity: the occasional passing horse and buggy, the laundry drying on the line, and the cute little stores selling junk and treasures.

I recently travelled with a group of 40 kids to an Amish animal park. It's one of those places where you ride on a covered wagon pulled by horses. Animals of every kind approach the wagon to eat from feed buckets. It was a divine day, in spite of the 90 degree heat. I took over 200 pictures, mostly of the children feeding and petting the animals. But here are a few of my favorite shots.

Friday, July 9, 2010

My List #78

#78 on My List of 100 is about the marathon leg I am running. I am happy to admit that I have finally started training! I am very disappointed, however, with how far I can run before getting totally out of breath. I think high school was the last time I really ran. I have a long way to go!

I have been running in the evenings in a local parking lot, which has been very difficult with the 90+ degree weather we've been having. But I enjoy running laps while my kids ride their bikes.

I also went on a 10-mile bike ride in the 90 degree heat. It was so lovely that it didn't feel like training at all. We drove up to the Great Lakes and found a beautiful island that had miles of bike trails and beaches. Which leads me to #62 on my list - I love sitting on the beach and reading a book. Where we were was so gorgeous that you couldn't tell you weren't sitting by the ocean. Who knew the Great Lakes were so lovely?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

4th of July

Happy 4th of July! If you're spending time with family or going to fireworks, have fun! If you're setting off your own fireworks, be careful!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

100 Things About Me

I saw this on another blog and thought it was very clever. Even though the author was a perfect stranger to me, I really enjoyed reading 100 random things about her. I don't talk about specifics too often here but I thought this was a good time. And I bet this will be more difficult thank I think.

1. I think my eyes are my best feature.

2. I am truly lazy and would love to just sit around all day doing nothing.

3. I could live on nothing but junk food for the rest of my life.

4. I started dating Hubby at age 16 and got married at 19. We're still together.

5. My oldest son looks and acts just like me and he's the one who drives me crazy.

6. I have a degree in Early Childhood Education.

7. I think being a stay-at-home-mom is the best job in the world.

8. I have had 7 surgeries: 4 C-Sections, foot surgery, an Appendectomy, and a Tubal Ligation.

9. I consider my husband my best friend but I have a strong desire for other female relationships.

10. I have a Diet Coke addiction.

11. I consider myself a failing OCD. I like things to be perfect but don't always have the energy to do it the way I want it done.

12. I love to bake but don't really like to cook.

13. I love entertaining.

14. I never had braces and I don't like my teeth.

15. I have more freckles on my body than anyone could ever count.

16. I do not know how to hook up the DVD player and have to call my son in to do it for me.

17. I loathe improper use of apostrophes.

18. I got fired from my first job after one day. I was a Junior in high school and they thought I was Junior in college. I still hold a grudge.

19. I have never had a pedicure.

20. I do not pump my own gas.

21. I look at my husband every day and wonder how I ended up with someone so good looking.

22. I attend church three times a week.

23. I finally admit that I wish I would have worked harder on piano lessons as a child. Mom was right.

24. I am jealous of how many things my little brother can do well. I am also so proud of him.

25. I would love to have another baby but I don't want another kid.

26. My parents live next door to me.

27. I have only lived in two houses my entire life. (Here and next door!)

28. When my kids are grown, I plan to travel the world without them. I will start in Italy.

29. One of my dreams is to be a children's book author. Every time I try to start, I can't think of anything to write.

30. I typically eat at Chipotle a couple times a week. I am addicted.

31. I would love to get a tummy tuck. And I would if I could justify the cost.

32. I have snuck backstage at numerous concerts and developed a friendship with the artist because of it.

33. I make a gallon of sweet tea every day.

34. I've only been to 17 US states but hope to visit them all before I die.

35. I'm a very picky eater but will try anything once. One of the worst things I've tried is escargot.

36. I missed graduating with honors because of one D in Spanish class my Sophomore year. I talked to the girl behind me instead of paying attention. That's probably my biggest regret today.

37. I am a big advocate of breastfeeding.

38. I am Pro-Life.

39. I am not hugely environmentally conscious. In other words, I am not very "green."

40. I love living in a 4-season location but I wish winter could be cut by a month or two.

41. I have extremely ticklish feet.

42. I can't wear watches because my body chemistry breaks them.

43. I find John Grisham books boring and dull.

44. My favorite author is Maeve Binchy.

45. I know how to swim but not well.

46. I have never drank alcohol or smoked a cigarette.

47. I teach dramatic sign language to the teens at my church.
48. I love my backyard and think it is the nicest yard in the whole town.

49. I love cooking Thanksgiving dinner with my mom and can't wait to do it with my two daughters and hopefully two daughters-in-law.

50. I am paranoid of roaches even though I've never had them in my house.

51. I did not like Katz Deli in NYC but I'm embarrassed to admit it because it's so famous.

52. I love Harry Connick, Jr. and Michael Buble'.

53. I also love gospel music, classical, jazz, pop, soft rock, and 60s music.

54. I love cake decorating but have never been taught. I signed up for a class but it was cancelled.
55. I have had stitches in my forehead and a broken wrist.

56. I have lost two best friends in my life and only occasionally talk to my current "best friend."

57. I hate drama. (Dramatic people, not the arts.)

58. My favorite movie is Gone With the Wind but I've never read the book.

59. I hate peaches.

60. When I was little, I watched The Wizard of Oz and Annie so often that I could almost quote them.

61. I've only tried to mow the grass once. I mowed for about ten feet then stopped.

62. I love sitting on the beach with a book.

63. I have always hated the zoo but broke down and bought a zoo pass this year.

64. I believe in spanking my kids.

65. My parents used to take us primitive camping all the time. I wish I did this with my kids.

66. I don't go to PTA because I can't stand one of the women who sits on the board.

67. I honestly feel bad for my kids' friends because my kids are so much cuter.

68. I hate sales calls and feel like screaming at solicitors when they call.

69. I wish that everyone involved in the pornography industry would suddenly die.

70. I am gradually becoming completely gray-haired and I'm letting my hair go naturally.

71. I am extremely frugal and cheap. I love following the teachings of Dave Ramsey.

72. I am on a puppet team.

73. I do not text while driving and get mad at people who do.

74. I do not drink coffee.

75. I can not stand people who go to the grocery store in their pajamas and people who do not dress up for weddings.

76. I do not believe in ghosts or UFOs.

77. I do believe in Heaven and Hell.

78. I am thinking of running on a relay team in a marathon. But I've yet to start training.

79. I was a virgin when I married.

80. I have a huge extended family and we are very close.
81. I enjoy watching sports.

82. I do not like watching the news because it typically depresses me.

83. I sing in a choir.
84. I'm growing tomatoes this year but I think I planted them too late.

85. I'm very proud that I've kept a house plant alive since my grandpa's funeral 2003. (It doesn't look too healthy though.)

86. I read the comics in the newspaper nearly every day.

87. I don't quite get the hype about Sudoku.

88. I love lying on our hammock and wish I was brave enough to sleep on it all night long.
89. I love finding constellations in the night sky. Orion is my favorite.

90. I think I would do really well if I had the opportunity to appear on a game show.

91. I bribe baby girl into giving me kisses when she wants something.

92. I've allowed my teaching certificate to expire and it would take a full-time semester in college to renew it.

93. I watch Glee.

94. I struggle with my son's math homework because he is passing me up.

95. I save and roll all my spare change. We're hoping to eventually take a vacation with our change.

96. I've saved every love note written to me.

97. I have Old Navy flip flops in almost every color.

98. My house is mostly painted in earth tones. (Tan, sage, slate, and lime green.)

99. My ice maker is broken and it drives me crazy to make my own ice.

100. The title of my blog comes from my nickname growing up - She.