~my thoughts about life~

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cakes Throughout the Years

Here are some pictures of different birthday cakes I've made for my kids' birthdays. I'd like to take a class some day to get better. I've never had any training. I've had lots of fun though! I wish I could find all the pictures...I can think of a train, a camouflague cake, and an octopus that my kids really enjoyed. Those pics must be from the pre-digital age. :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pet Peeves

A lot of things have been bugging me lately...maybe I'm just getting older and grumpier.

My Pet Peeves

  • At the top of the list is a grammatical pet peeve. I hate the use of unnecessary apostrophes. The girl's gave the toy's to the kid's. I especially hate when apostrophes are used improperly on signage: Luigi's, The Best Pizza's in Town. Please have someone proofread a sign in which you are investing big money.
  • Chain emails, email forwards, text forwards, and Facebook post forwards. 97% of people won't have the guts to repost this. Really? Did you do scientific studies on that? My guess is that you randomly picked a number close to 100. If you have the best spouse in the world, forward this to show your love. Nah, my spouse is only the 2nd best spouse in the world. So I'd better pass.
  • People who do NOT use their turn signals. Why? How hard is it to push that little stick down to let me know you're going to turn? No, you would rather stop suddenly in the middle of the street and slowly begin your turn into a driveway. Maybe you should put down your cell phone and stop texting long enough to use a turn signal.
  • People who don't return their carts at the grocery store but instead shove them toward the cart return dock from a great distance. I was recently walking to my car at the store when I saw a woman shove her cart from about 20 feet away. Of course, my car was parked a couple spots down. The cart took a turn and slammed right into my vehicle. She noticed, grabbed the cart, and shoved it in the cart dock. No, she did not check for damage. With a snotty attitude, I proclaimed, "Actually, that's MY car." She one-upped me with attitude and answered me "It's FINE." I asked if she would mind if I checked first and she acted like I totally put her out. (It was fine but that's not the point!)
  • The neighbors who insist on parking right at the bottom of my driveway. Our side of the street is not known for simple driveways. We sit at the top of a hill and have windy, steep driveways. The neighbors could park in front of their house but they choose not to. They like parking right at the bottom of my driveway. So when it's icy in the winter, we have to drive like we're avoiding land mines to miss slamming right into their car.
  • People who go out in public wearing their pajamas. I don't live in the classiest of towns and I'm aware of that. Actually, I'm reminded of that every time I go grocery shopping. There will always be one low-class loser who must grocery shop right after rolling out of bed. If they can't change their clothes, is there any way they brushed their teeth or put on deodorant?
  • People in my family who do not push their chair into the table when they're done eating. Actually, I'll go ahead and throw in people in my family who do not clean up after themselves. How hard is it? I am not your maid, although I feel like it most days.
  • People who litter. They should be shot.
  • Political robo calls, political junk mail, political signs...if you read my post from a few days ago, you already know this.

That's all I have for now. I'll keep you posted if the level on my Grumpy Meter rises.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


This morning's conversation on the way to school...dialogue between the 9-year-old and myself.

Him: "It looks like day out today."
Me: "It is day."
Him: "No, it's morning."
Me: "There's a difference between day and morning?"
Him: "Yeah."
Me: "So, there's morning, day, and night?"
Him: "And afternoon."
Me: "OK, so what time does day start?"
Him: "10 o'clock."
Me: "And what time does morning start."
Him: "1 o'clock in the morning."
Me: "When does night start?"
Him: "About 8 o'clock."
Me: "So when is afternoon?"
Him: "1 o'clock in the afternoon."
Me: "So, morning is from 1:00 AM to 10:00 AM, day is from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM, afternoon is from 1:00 PM to 8:00 PM, and night is from 8:00 PM to 1:00 AM. Do I have it right?"
Him: "Yep."

So glad that was clarified today. Maybe I need to report this information to the higher authorities. I'm not sure they have it down.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Each time I sit down and remember my childhood, I think to myself, Wow, I had a great childhood! I'm glad I didn't grow up in the present day of video games, computers, iPods, and multiple televisions in each home. Today's kids are missing out on what being a child truly is, my kids included.

The family and I recently had the opportunity to visit a childhood location...a state park where I spent a week every summer of my life. Here is the kiddie pool and beach where we used to spend hours and hours. My mom would sit on a lawn chair or blanket in the grass (there was no fence back then) while she watched us. Days would go on forever. A picnic would refresh us when famished. Sometimes I would give anything to relive one of those days. True bliss.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween Tradition

My family loves Trick-or-Treating, school Halloween parties, and pumpkin carving. But our all-time favorite Halloween tradition is going "Booing." Yes, boo-ing. If you've never heard of it, you definitely need to give it a try.

The first step to a successful Booing adventure is to fill 3 paper lunch sacks with Halloween treats: candy, pencils, baked goods, toys, etc. Fold each bag shut and staple the Boo! sheet on the front. Next, select 3 lucky recipients. We try to pick families with children who are likely to keep the tradition alive. Then, very quietly, approach their front door while the rest of the family hides, giggling in the car. Place the bag of candy on the porch so that the sign is visible and loudly rap on the door. Then you run as quickly as you can, ducking behind a bush or turning the corner. Sometimes the haunted family finds the bag right away. Sometimes, you'll drive by hours later, only to see the bag patiently waiting to be found on the door stoop. It's a great rush and clean family fun! The poem requests that the finder pays it forward...finding 3 more people to Boo!

The poem reads as follows:
The Halloween Phantom haunts you happily from now through Halloween,
And was delivered by a friend who was not seen.
The spirit of the neighborhood has come to wish you well,
Someone, somewhere, selected you to receive this happy spell.
You must display the Phantom on your door so all can spy
That you’re already haunted by this happy little guy.
Then fix 3 sacks with goodies like the one given to you,
Ring someone’s bell and leave a bag and make them happy too!
Happy Halloween!

Download the ghost picture here.

Have you ever heard of or taken part in this activity? I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Easy Chicken Nachos/Chicken Quesadillas

One of our favorite "junk suppers" and football party food is Chicken Nachos or Chicken Quesadillas. They're so easy to make and super delicious! Paired with homemade potato skins, chicken wings, and stromboli, they liven up any finger food party!

Chicken Nachos/Chicken Quesadillas
1. Cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts into bite sized pieces. (If the chicken is still slightly frozen, it is much easier to cut up.) Allow 1 chicken breast per person for a generous portion.
2. Marinate chicken in Italian dressing for as long as time allows. (Sometimes I leave it in the refrigerator several hours, sometimes I only have a few minutes.)
3. Melt a couple tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Pour in chicken along with the marinade. Brown chicken until cooked through.
4. Sprinkle cooked chicken with taco seasoning according to your taste (I like a lot) and stir.
5. For Nachos, line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Lay out unbroken tortilla chips (I use white corn Tostidos) in a single layer. Cover each chip with chicken mixture and sprinkle generously with Cheddar Jack or Mexican cheese. Bake at 350 until cheese is melted and slightly brown. Serve with sour cream.
6. For Quesadillas, butter one side of a flour tortilla. Fill half of unbuttered side with chicken mixture and sprinkle generously with Cheddar Jack or Mexican cheese. Fold tortilla in half and fry on both sides until browned. Cut into thirds, making triangles. Serve with sour cream and salsa.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree...

...with anyone else but me!

We took the family apple picking on a recent, beautifully warm fall day. It was a day that I hope lives in our good memory banks until the end of time. And the best part is that good apples = good apple pie! We plan to make this an annual tradition. Living in the heart of America has its advantages.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

This time of year

This time of year is so wonderful for many reasons! Those wonderful things are some of the reasons I've been too busy to blog lately. I could sit outside for hours, staring at the brilliance of God's imagination and handiwork. But with the good comes the bad.

There is one thing I totally HATE about this time of year (and I don't use that word often). I absolutely despise political phone calls! They make me want to rip the phone right out of the wall. I consider them a great invasion of my privacy and the normalcy I strive to achieve in my hectic life. We get several of these calls a day, either endorsing a candidate or an automated survey wanting to know who I plan on voting for on election day. I'm not political. Yes, I vote, but I don't spend every waking moment dwelling on who stands for what issue and why.

I am looking forward to the day AFTER election day. And please, people, remove your yard signs before the Christmas decorations go up!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Budding Little Artist

Baby Girl is at it again. I feel like I should make her a scrapbook entitled Why I Have Gray Hair. The beautiful art washed off easily on the dining room table but still remains on my Grandmother's chair that was part of their dining set when they married in 1950. Thanks, Sweetie.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Family Food

I have always taken an interest in traditional cultural food and what it means to families. My husband has a Greek/Macedonian heritage so I love attempting to make ethnic food for him (although I think I like it better than he does). My mother's side of the family is German/Hungarian. Everything Great Grandma made consisted of chicken, potatoes, and noodles or dumplings of some sort. Some of our favorites are Chicken Paprikash and (I have no idea how to spell this next one) Katoffelnokel. For dessert, we made nutroll, strudel, and Magdaline Kiefel (Kiefle?) (which I think translates into "Moon-shaped Cookie"). I got the itch to make Keifels last night for my mother's birthday. Some of the in-laws don't like this dessert but I'm a true "Hunky." Here's a picture (half with nuts, half without) and the recipe:

Magdaline Keifel
1/2 lb. sweet (unsalted) butter
1 1/4 C sugar
4 eggs
2 C flour
chopped nuts

Beat butter and sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each egg. Add flour and beat well. Spread into a greased 15"x10" baking pan. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Let cool. Using a biscuit cutter, cut into a moon shape.

Friday, October 8, 2010


The Binky War is over. I am the victor!
Sleep was good and peaceful last night!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Naptimme of day #2 wasn't much better, but I'm claiming the victory. Since Baby Girl woke up before 7:00 AM this morning, I opted to start naptime early today. It was the same routine as last night but no Daddy to come to the rescue. I put Baby Girl in her bed and took my seat in front of the door. For 40 minutes, she screamed, banged, played, and sang. At one point, there was even a sweet song about "Mommy, opie! Opie dar, Mommy!" And then there was a bout of "Toppit, Mommy!" (Stop it.) But then I heard a dreaded sound...the sound of diaper tabs unfastening. I was in her room like a bolt of lightning to catch her removing her diaper through the leg of her onesie. I firmly told her no, zipped her back up, and put her back in bed. When she climbed out, I put her back in. This happened a few times until, at last, she didn't climb back out. It was a long process, but still a victory.

Baby Girl- 1
Mama- 1

Day #2 sans Binky

Well, day #2 was not good. Since she only took a 40 minute nap yesterday, I decided it was best to put her to bed early. Ha, yeah right. She decided it was best to not sleep at all. For the first time ever, she climbed out of her crib in protest of bedtime. I put her back in. She climbed out again. To save time, I'll just say that this happened many times. So I decided to sit in the hallway and lean against her door to prevent her from escaping her room. 50 minutes later, I realized this was a mistake. She continued to bang on the door and scream, "Opie dar (open door), Mommy!" Finally, sleep-deprived Hubby stormed out of bed and informed me that this was not working. Oh really? He freed Baby Girl from her nighttime prison and put her in our bed (not the best idea in my opinion). Moments later, they were both sound asleep.

The Score:
Baby Girl- 1
Mama- 0

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Free at Last, Free at Last...

We are finally a pacifier free home! But I can't say this decision was made by choice. We have gradually lost all of Baby Girl's "binkies" and I've refused to buy more. She's 2 now and I think this is a good age to stop. I hate seeing kids going to middle school with a pacifier in tow. I'm obviously kidding but I can't stand trying to decipher what an older toddler is saying while they keep their pacifier clamped in their teeth. I vowed that I would never allow my child to do this.

Our first step was to only allow the pacifier to be used for sleeping, church, and restaurants - times when I wanted her to be quiet. Then we went down to bedtime and naps only. This is where we had a problem. We were down to only one binky so we treated it like gold. I didn't want to lose it before I was totally ready. Yesterday during nap, Baby Girl decided to remove her clothes and her diaper. Then she proceeded to take a dump right in her bed. I will spare you the disturbing details so we don't have any vomiting on keyboards and laptops. So I decided to throw the VERY LAST BINKY in the trash. And no, I'm not replacing it. So Baby Girl was forced into quitting cold turkey. I wish they made a patch for this.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tea is a Cup of Life

Nancy Reagan said, "A woman is like a tea bag, you can not tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water." Yesterday was not a good day for me. This warm, comforting mug of hot tea was something that helped me better deal with the day. One of my favorite things about autumn is mugs of warm, sometimes spicy, sometimes sweet hot tea.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Dirty Dishes

How clean have your dishes been looking lately? Are you mad at your dishwasher because its performance is not up to par? Maybe it's not your dishwasher that isn't doing its job. Many of my friends have been complaining that their dishes have come out of the dishwasher dirty or covered in a white film. And that's exactly the experience I've had recently. My plastics (baby bottles, cups, and plastic utensils) have suffered the most noticeable change. Then I read in the newspaper that the government created a law that reduces phosphates in dishwasher detergent. Phosphates, which help your dishes come out clean has been reduced to 0.5 percent from as high as 8.7 percent. So that's why your dishes are coming out dirty. Read this article to better understand the issue.
I'm not a tree-hugger but I try to do my part to eliminate waste for the environment. I take quick showers, I don't let the water run while brushing my teeth, I unplug my cell phone charger when not in use, and I turn off lights when I leave a room. But I have to draw a line somewhere. What is the point of having an expensive dishwasher and buying costly detergent when it's not doing the job properly? As the head of a household of six people, I really don't want to resort to washing dishes by hand. I'll never get out of the kitchen! Thoughts?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Still Shutterflyin'!

Yes, you might say I'm addicted. I just received my fifth digital scrapbook from Shutterfly.com! This album is a collection of Christmas pictures from 2004 to 2009. Santa Claus visits my Grandma's house every Christmas Eve. So I have one album that shows how the kids have grown from being scared to death of the bearded man, to loving and hugging him, to looking too big to be sitting on his lap. It also makes me very anxious for Christmas to arrive again.

And while I'm at it, I must admit that I've already started working on my next album. It will be a review of 2010. I've started uploading pictures but still have dozens left to add. 2010 has been very good to us so this will be my fattest book yet. Who knows what the album after that will hold...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

My Favorite "Bow-tique"

In a home with two little girls, we have our share of hair bows lying around the house! This photo only represents a portion of our hair bow stock! I must have a bow to match every outfit the girls wear. And if they have matching outfits, they must have matching bows. Big Sis wears big, fluffy bows while Baby Girl usually sports headband bows (she's still a little hair-challenged).

Most boutiques charge a fortune for custom handmade bows. But I finally found a website that has beautiful bows of all colors and styles at an affordable price - BrynnBella.com! We've been shopping there for about 5 years, ever since Big Sis had hair! The bows hold up extremely well; some of these are several years old. I've even washed them when they've gotten covered in hairspray and gunk. I highly recommend checking this site out. If you have little heads of hair running around your house, you won't be sorry!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Another Lizard Sighting

This was the early morning sight we beheld today. The Lizard Lady is at it again! Maybe I'll try to sneak it into her lunchbox without her realizing.