~my thoughts about life~

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Versatile Blogger Award

I signed on today to find that I had been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award! Thanks to Theresa at Our Life In Words! She has a lovely (and versatile) blog about her daily life with her two home-schooled daughters. Her husband is working on a project that will provide all the trees surrounding the new World Trade Center Memorial Project. Her posts are very interesting and well written. She and her husband are also phenomenal photographers! I recommend that you check out her blog some time. And thanks again, Theresa, for this award!

As part of the Versatile Blogger Award, I must share 7 things about myself. So here goes:
  1. I am a mother of four children - two boys aged 11 and 9 and two girls aged 6 and 2. Life is busy!

  2. I dabble in many different things; my hobbies include photography, photo editing, baking, cake decorating, sign language, Spanish, and being outdoors. My most recent hobby is running. I just took part in a 5-person marathon last week. It was exhilarating!

  3. I am very religious. I attend church three times a week; it is my top priority in life.

  4. I have green eyes, millions of freckles, and slightly crooked teeth. I've always wished I'd had braces.

  5. I enjoy the performance arts. I've seen a few off-Broadway shows including Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, and Mama Mia and I will soon be seeing Blue Man Group. I can't wait!

  6. I tend to be very wordy when I start writing. I limit myself when it comes to blogging or I could sit here and type all day! I would love to author a book (or a few dozen) some day. The hardest part is getting started.

  7. I enjoy childish things and I don't plan on ever fully growing up. Dr. Seuss is one of my heroes. I love reading children's literature and playing with toys. I still color and I love making paper snowflakes in the winter. Perhaps that's why I have a degree in Early Childhood Education.

There's a Lizard on my Keyboard

Hubby and I recently started noticing these colorful, plastic lizards throughout the house. At first, we thought the kids were being careless, leaving their toys out. So I picked them up and put them in the "Go Upstairs" pile. But then I started noticing them in unusual places that had to be planted on purpose. For example, this lizard was on my keyboard one evening after the kids were in bed. I remembered that Big Sis picked a package of these lizards from the treasure chest at the dentist's office the week before. Putting that information together with the knowledge of her sense of humor made me realize that she's playing a game with us. So Daddy put the lizard in her shoe the next morning. That just made her day! She now has a partner in the game. I love when the kids do silly things that make me realize they all got their dad's corny sense of humor. I love it...that's why I picked him in the first place. (On an unrelated note, today marks 18 years that I have been enjoying his corny sense of humor. We started dating on September 30, 1992!)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

First Pin Curls

Big Sis and I had a girls night recently when Baby Girl was sleeping and The Brothers were watching a game with Daddy. She wasn't happy that she wasn't included with the big kids. So she took a nice warm bath, washed her hair, and we put it up in pin curls just like Great-Grandma still does every night. Big Sis has tons of hair so I had a hard time getting the curls tight enough. Next, we wrapped it up in a head scarf and I teased her that she looked like a little, old lady. She slept in the pins all night and woke up with beautiful curls in the morning. They were spoiled by lunchtime but it was fun anyway.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Candied Walnuts

A perfect Fall treat!

Candied Walnuts
1 pound walnut halves
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Spread nuts in a single layer over a baking sheet. Roast for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, or until the nuts start to turn brown and the smell of roasting nuts fills the kitchen. Stir together sugar, cinnamon, salt, and milk in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat for 8 minutes, or until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla immediately. Add walnuts to sugar syrup, and stir to coat well. Spoon nuts onto waxed paper and immediately separate nuts with a fork. Cool, and store in airtight containers.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I did it!

I successfully completed my leg in the marathon today! I feel such a sense of accomplishment and plan on doing it again next year! 3.5 miles in 40 minutes...not bad for a first try!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Run, Forrest, Run!

Tomorrow is the big day...My Marathon Day. (Please insert Chariots of Fire theme song here.) I am nervous and excited. I have been so busy these last few weeks that my training didn't progress as far as I had hoped. I never ran the full length of my leg. Hopefully I'll be OK...if I have to walk intermittently, the world will not end. So send me happy thoughts tomorrow morning....never mind, you will probably still be in your comfy bed snoozing happily. I have the first leg, which starts at the butt-crack of dawn. Well, pleasant dreams to all of you.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Just Another Candle on the Cake

When I was growing up, my 18th birthday was no different than any other birthday. My parents did not buy into the school of thought that a person magically turns into an adult the day they turn eighteen. I am thankful for that.

An acquaintance of mine is at her wit's end right now because her recently turned eighteen-year-old son has disappeared. Her Facebook posts plead for any information about her son. "If he would just contact me..." she says. My heart sunk at the thought of what she's going through. But then, she posted that she heard he was staying with a friend, even though he didn't bother to mention it. I was angered at him for putting his mother through this but then I read her response: "He's 18, there's really nothing I can do." Ugh! Why is it that teens are no longer responsible to their parents when they turn 18? I'm 34 and married with 4 kids. I still answer to my parents. Yes, I make my own decisions. But when my parents think I'm making the wrong ones, they let me know. And I appreciate it.

Maybe I'm just old school. Does anyone else agree with me that the only thing different about turning 18 is another candle on the cake?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My Screensaver

I take a lot of pictures. If you read my blog, you probably noticed that already. I have so many pictures stored and I love to occasionally view them. One way I accomplished this is that I set my computer's screen saver as a slide show of all the photos in my picture file. I will catch each member of my family just sitting viewing the photos from time to time. The big kids laugh at how little and funny they once were. Sometimes Baby Girl even sits on the desk chair and watches the slide show like other kids watch TV. Occasionally the slide show runs during dinner. As we sit around the dining room table, we discuss the pictures, places we've been, things we've done, and cute stories about the kids. Many interesting conversations have developed because of the slide show and I plan on keeping it set up that way for years to come....our family's digital photo album.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Stitch in Time Does Not Save Nine

It has to be said, Scouting and sewing-challenged people do not mix. I have had scouts in my home for the past five years. That's a lot of patches, people. So far, my mother has been the one to stitch all those numbers and symbols on the boys' uniforms. But we are horrible procrastinators and don't think of sewing on patches until right before meeting time. So I have reluctantly taken over.

On the left, you see an incomplete Cub Scout uniform. The orange patch is on it's last leg, literally hanging on by a thread. There is no red patch on the left side of the diamond, but we won't go into that story. And on the right of the picture, you see a Boy Scout sash, a tabula rasa. This is Big Brother's first year of Boy Scouts. Looking at this empty sash, I envision the multitude of merit badges that will someday be displayed in uneven lines. It makes me want to cry. I think I need a sewing tutor.

Monday, September 20, 2010

National Punch Day

Today is National Punch Day. I'm sure you already have your parties and celebrations planned. But if not, here are two of my favorite punch recipes. They both are fantastic and beautiful in a at parties. But if you don't feel like preparing punch today, maybe you should just punch someone in the nose instead. (Just kidding!)

She's Sparkling Cranberry Punch
1 can frozen concentrate cranberry juice
1 can frozen concentrate white grape juice
1 2-liter Sprite

Keep juices frozen and Sprite refrigerated until ready to use. To prepare, dump all ingredients into a punch bowl and stir until juice is melted.

Strawberry Slushy Punch
2 1/2 C sugar
6 C water
2 small packages strawberry Jello
2/3 C lemon juice
1 quart orange juice
1/2 can frozen pineapple juice
2 2-liters Sprite

Combine sugar, water, and Jello in a saucepan. Boil 3 minutes. Add lemon juice, orange juice, and pineapple juice. Freeze overnight. (Pitchers work well.)
The next day, scoop mixture into a punch bowl and add Sprite. The punch keeps its slushy consistency for quite a while.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

That's How You Know

How do you know you're still in love? When you see your Love from a distance, in an unexpected place, and you think to yourself, Wow. Then you can't help but allow a little smile to spread across your lips, even when you're standing in front of 600 people who may or may not be looking at you. That's when you know. Sorry to be sappy, but I'm still loving Hubby today after 14 years of marriage. If you are still in love, make sure to let it be known today. (And yes, "That's How You Know" from Enchanted is playing in my mind right now.)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Perfect Saturday

I started off the day by running 2.8 miles through a beautifully wooded path. (I must admit, there was about 1/2 mile of walking.) I was able to see the flowery meadows of summer and the beginning leaf changes of fall. Next, I relaxed on a hammock while the sun warmed my face. I then had lunch with my father and brother, an extremely rare occasion. After that I visited with Grandma, a bittersweet few moments. Her mind gets worse each day. Finally, I proudly got a good portion of my house clean. It was past due. Tonight, I will enjoy Pastitsio and Loukoumades at a Greek Festival with my handsomely Greek hubby. My wish today is that you were able to enjoy a Saturday as perfect as mine.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Papers, Papers Everywhere!

It's a sure sign that school is back in session when there are piles of papers everywhere you look around my house. First grade coloring sheets are in disarray on the coffee table. Fourth grade handwriting paragraphs scatter the dining room table. And sixth grade policy & procedure manuals and middle school band contracts line the kitchen counter tops. When I was a rookie mom, I cherished and saved as many of these sweet assignments as possible. But now I'm seasoned. With three kids in school, I could easily wallpaper my entire home with the paperwork they bring home. But instead, they serve very well as trash can liners. Sorry, kids. Mama still loves you.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I am so proud of the marigolds I started from seed this year! This picture shows only one patch. As I've stated many times in this blog, I do not have a green thumb. So the fact that one of the plantings the kids & I started has done well pleases me! I might get even more adventurous next Spring!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Summer's End

I love this time of year...a time when you can leave the windows open with no need for air conditioning or heat. My heating & cooling system has gotten a much needed break over the past couple weeks...we haven't had to turn it on once. I love the sweet breeze of late summer and will surely miss it when it's gone.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fall TV

I love when the new fall season of television begins! It's like a new beginning and you get to say goodbye to all those reruns! I love when I am able to watch a show from its inception. For example, I was not a fan of The Office from the start. When I could no longer stand hearing all my friends discuss every detail of the show, I gave in and quickly became a fan. But I felt like I missed so much not knowing the show's past.

My favorite new show from last season is Parenthood. I hope it stays around for a while. I love the drama mixed in with comedy, but no annoying laugh track to deal with.

I'm going to give all the new comedies a chance, hoping one or two can become favorites. Let me know what you think of all the new shows this fall!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Baby Birthday

Baby Girl is growing up, even though I am resisting it with every fiber of my being. She turned 2 over the weekend. We had a lovely outdoor party (on our new patio furniture) with a fire in the fire pit. She wore a darling red and white polka-dot dress from Gymboree so I planned the party to match. Red and white polka-dot balloons and streamers decorated the house and patio. I made a giant polka-dot cupcake with smaller cupcakes coordinating. She got more toys than she knows what to do with, her favorite being a Dora bus that plays music. (I love how she says "Dori," she rolls her "R" like a Latina!)

It was a beautiful evening, despite the fact that my last baby won't be a baby much longer. I am trying not to be saddened by the event but instead am thinking of how much easier life will get as my kids get older. I thought I would be a mom of little babies and toddlers forever...I didn't see tweens coming. But they are here in full force and they're bringing the little ones along with them. I'll just try to enjoy each stage while I'm there.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Life as of Late

Back-to-School has brought with it so many activities that require my attention that I've had to neglect some of the things that are important to me. I haven't been able to blog or do laundry lately. So while I have a free moment, I'll allow the dirty clothes mountain to grow while I send my anonymous thoughts into cyberspace. (I think the laundry pile is starting to mutate anyway.)

We had a fabulous Labor Day that included a barbecue picnic by the lake, the kids climbing on the playground for hours, corn hole, miniature golf, and an evening campfire cookout to end the day. It was exactly the day I needed.

We have been spending much time on our back patio lately. In our 14 years of marriage, we have never owned nice outdoor furniture. Generic lawn chairs was the extent of our backyard paradise. But with the help of an end-of-season sale at Lowe's, we finally got exactly what we wanted. So we've enjoyed the final days of summer sitting around a fire pit on beautifully cushioned chairs and love seats. I would rather spend my evenings here than most places this region has to offer. It has a way of drawing family closer together.