Ramblings from my life…

Just life in general

Last post

This will be my last post for this blog.

I strongly feel this chapter in my life is over. (Navy life, transition, Civi life… and now moving on to just Civilian life with kids growing up too fast!)

You can visit my new blog at Another Revelation to see the continuation of my life story.

Open door

When God closes a window, He opens a door.

As I was running today, I was thinking about how much I’ve learned in the last two days. How humbling that not only has God used me as a lesson to myself, but my head feels so much clearer. Even my worries have lessened. I know, it sounds so cliché… Girl makes sacrifice, God speaks to girl, girl feels calm and see’s hope. Maybe it sounds cliché… but it speaks truth.

I was reflecting over why I started this blog, why it has the title that it does and wondering if it is time to move on. Originally, Half My Heart was intended as a means to write my husband while he was on deployment, vent my frustrations and document my children’s lives. I came up with the name because “half of my heart” was in Afghanistan. Now I’m pondering starting a new chapter in my life… a new blog with a fresh new name.

In other news, it snowed. Not as much as last year, but enough for the kids and I to build a semi-fort in the back yard. The kids reason for the fort was to hide from daddy when they have a snow ball fight… we shall see.

Miss Perception and Mr. Perspective

Recently I became aware that my perception of being social might be tainted. Nothing like a little perspective thrown in my face. What I mean is that is it so easy to get drawn into the online social networking world… a faster way of communicating with friends and family than waiting for them to reply to an email or voice message. It would seem like any free time I had, I’d use to check the statuses of my friends. In a way it is helpful because I was “in the know” of who was doing what… but why do I feel the need to know in the first place? Does it give me a sense of comfort? No. Does it fulfill me? No. Does it make me happy? Maybe. Maybe not.

Several instances in the last week have brought me to the conclusion that I in fact have a problem, an addiction if you will. The dictionary defines addiction as this:

addiction |əˈdik sh ən|noun: the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity. A dependence, habit, problem. An obsession with, infatuation with, passion for, love of, mania for, enslavement to.

I think I did have an obsession – an infatuation of sorts with finding out who was doing what in the local area. I was checking facebook at least 3 to 4 times a day, when really even checking it once is probably over kill. A few weeks ago I started praying about it. I asked God to open my eyes to what I am called to do. I already know that I am called to be a wife and a mother. I know that I am called to sing at church. I know that I am called to be a friend… What I’m not called to do is be on the computer or my phone.

So, I have started a challenge. A few weeks ago my pastor mentioned fasting. He told us that fasting meant giving up something to concentrate on God. It didn’t necessarily have to be food, it could be anything that was an addiction. So, I deactivated my facebook page…. and a strange thing happened. I felt lighter. Color filled my cheeks. I can’t say that I haven’t been tempted to re-login to that world, but that is part of detox, right?

If you know me, will you hold me accountable? My goal is to be socially offline until February 16th. (After that I will only check in a few times a week.) I will still blog and search google for recipes. I will still check the weather and pay my online bills… and in my spare time, I will be living life. Being social, offline.

loving each other...

Year end review

Well, December has turned out to be a very full and fast paced month! It seems that when your youngest child turns Seven, time starts to go even faster. When I started this blog Three years ago, I felt the urge to write all the time. Now it seems that with the addition of Facebook, I don’t have much to share anymore. Maybe, or maybe I’m just lazy.

Most of December was filled with activities for Girl Scouts, school or rehearsals for the Christmas Eve pageant. We also were taking the oldest child to the doctor for testing. She was very lethargic, fatigued and complained that her neck hurt all the time. Blood work revealed that everything was fine. This Holiday break has given her the opportunity to “heal”, if you will, from the stresses of being a 3rd grader and she has been the happiest I’ve seen her since this summer. I’m thinking that my new years resolution will be to take things slower. Not that we are over involved, she only does Girl Scouts and gymnastics… but then add in her sisters Girls Scouts which meets opposite weeks, our Bible study growth group and homework and all the sudden we have a full week.

We had a wonderful Christmas holiday. The girls were involved in the Christmas Eve service, as was I. Both girls were bell ringers during the first song and the 8 year old was a flag dancer at the end. All of those rehearsals paid off!

After the service, my parents came over to spend the night so that they could watch the girls open presents in the morning. Santa was generous this year and brought the kids (and daddy) a PS3. It came with one game and honestly, I don’t see any reason to buy another. Ever. This game has so many levels and the game system does so much more than just play the games.

We then headed over to my parents house for the night, along with my sisters family. We had a big Christmas dinner and played a few games of scrabble.

On the 27th, I celebrated my birthday. The day was very relaxing. I got to pick out a new phone (thanks M&D!), go house looking for fun and then have a low key dinner on the sofas by the fire at a local restaurant. The girls sat on the floor by the fire and ate their dinner under the coffee table. Their giggling reminded me of good times when I was their age… but I think I’m having more fun now.

Speaking of good times… this break has allowed us to not only have much needed family time, but also one-on-one time with the girls. The girly-girl and I painted toe nails and went grocery shopping together, while dad and the tom-boy built a lego house. We’ve also had time to snuggle and watch movies, read books and play games. The girls even made up their own version of charades the other night. Now the year is coming to an end. So many memories, a few of them sad… but all of them together make another chapter in our lives. Here’s to 2011!

The Golden Child

The Golden Child

I have a furry son named Rusty. We bought him on the spot when we were going in the pet shop to browse. He nibbled on my shoe and he stole my heart. I couldn’t imagine leaving the store and letting someone else take him home. As a puppy, Rusty got into quite a bit of trouble. From chewing on the kitchen table chairs to eating some mysterious mushroom and needing antibiotics. We decided to enroll him in puppy training and he was number one in his class. We even taught him how to sit with only a hand motion.

Fast forward 8 years…, Rusty has an issue with his eye, READ: How the cookie crumbles. After almost 18 months, we have had no issues with Rusty, until now. For the last week he has not wanted his regular dog food, nor been doing his deed as much as he used too. I am worried… and to make matters worse, he has a strange little knot in his tummy. I guess we are off to the vet, yet again…

But truly, Rusty is our Golden Child. As we deal with tweeny and pre-tween girl ordeals at home… the whining, fighting, complaining… having a son that complies with the rules is nice! I can deal with the homework, extra curricular schedules, etc… it is the moods that get me…

In other news, Thanksgiving was certainly a time of thanks! My husbands side of the family met together (minus one brother and family) and had a great time.

most of the paternal clan...

caught on film! The blurry part is me "scolding" my hubs (for something dumb…) Don't worry, not the bird, more of an Italian gesture of sorts! (too bad I'm not Italian!)

Catch Up

Where have we been?

Life in this household has not slowed down. It seems that we go from event to event. Even when my calendar pages are empty, something comes up, like the 8 year old just started after school Enrichment in Chinese lessons. Monday we have Gymnastics. After the first session ended, the 6 year old has decided that it is not for her, so she is just going to take coloring and reading material with her. Every other Wed and every other Thursday we have either Brownies or Daisies (girl scouts). And of course the biggie… this is football season, so weekends are packed full. On top of the kids activities, I have taken up two jobs. I am substitute teaching again this year but since you normally don’t get a call everyday, I accepted a nanny job with my good friend. She works from home full time and needed someone to watch her younger two, so since I already know and get along with them – why not? It has been around 9 weeks with them and it is a dream job!

In other news, our HVAC just gave up and died, the fan has been on the fritz for about a year (producing hardly any heat and making an awful noise, then in the summer producing next to no cool air).  So since we needed a new system, we converted from oil to electric. The new system is working great!

A pipe in our septic system broke. I don’t know how long it has been broken, but my guess would be that it froze sometime during our major snow storm last year and burst shortly thereafter resulting in the need to be “pumped out” before we had an overflow issue. Hopefully the broken part comes in soon and can be repaired.

Did I mention that there seems to be a problem with our water softener? A few months ago our water started tasting metallic and subsequently our tubs and sinks started to stain. The problem seems to be off and on though, so we are putting off a new system until it completely dies.

I’m not sure that anything else could possibly go wrong with this house. I think we are done. You see, we’ve also had the roof replaced after much leaking…. and a few other things that I’ve mentioned over the years.

On the positive side, we have done some fun things like a surprise mission to Mimi’s house for her birthday, a crab feast and my husbands class reunion. I’ll leave you with some pictures of our adventures…


Stop the presses…

This morning I heard something that I have never heard before. My fashion princess asked ME what to wear. This is the girl who has taken pride in dressing herself since she was four years old. This is the girl who I go to when I’m not sure what I have on matches. Not to worry, she was just having a lazy moment. She is already back to her girly girl self.

Speaking of girly things, both of the girls are in Girl Scouts. The 8 year old is in Brownies and the 6 year old is in Daisies. I’m worried that when my Daisy bridges to Brownies at the end of the year, she won’t think it is girly enough. I mean, come on… we go from super girly, bright colors with a huge daisy flower on front to… brown? We recently had out Investiture and Rededication ceremony. The Daisies worked on cute crafts and the Brownies worked on a self life time-line. Could the two BE anymore different?

Fly on the wall…

School started today. My kids are in 1st and 3rd grade. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet… but talking to them last night about their first day started to make me wish I could be a fly a on the wall. I mean, I know that they will be okay and their first day will go great – but part of me wants to experience it and see what it is like to be a kid in their class. Cheesy, I know. I don’t remember much from my Elementary days… so, I want to see how it feels to have the jitters/excitement of the first day of school, just so I can identify with them.

Ready to go!

The rest of my day will consist of cleaning. Sounds exciting, right? I want to have the house spotless when everyone gets home today. I think I might make the kids a welcome home sign. Last night my husband suggested that I make the kids a special breakfast today. They did not let me forget… so, french toast was served. I made the mistake of leaving a piece on the counter to cool before putting it in the fridge. When I got out of my shower, the toast was mysteriously gone and the one eyed puppy looked a little too happy.

What? What did I do?

In other news, I had a small basil cell carcinoma removed a few weeks ago. Apparently, these things grow really slow… in fact, mine has been present for around 7 years. I was born with a small bald spot on my head, known as a birthmark. About 7 years ago, it started to itch all the time. Even though it was annoying, I didn’t think much about it. Whenever I had my doctor look at it – they said it looked fine. So, I let this cancer grow on my skin because I wasn’t persistent about it. This year, I finally had enough. Having a spot on your head that itches all day long every day is very annoying. I told my doctor that I wanted it taken out. They sent me to a dermatologist and took a biopsy. The results came back saying that it could develop into basil cell carcinoma if it wasn’t removed. This was news to me, since my doctors had always said it looked fine… just a small bald spot, no big deal. After the spot was removed and sent to pathology, the results came back that it was indeed basil cell carcinoma.

Anyway, this is something in my life that is very private and I really didn’t want to share it with the world… but I feel the need, because left untreated… eventually the cancer would become a bigger problem. (Slow, yes… but progressing.) So… this now puts me at pretty high risk for skin cancers. I will never skip a day without sun screen anymore. I will also be that annoying itch that you have… telling you to get it checked out. The first sign is reoccurring itching. It doesn’t have to be all the time – but it is always in the same spot.

Summer days, drifting away…

I’ve been trying to be more relaxed this summer. Usually I’m worried about jamming in enough trips to the library, swim lessons and things that I forget to just enjoy the fact that we don’t have to do anything. I am a family girl. I’m not a huge fan of time away from my husband or kids. However, I haven’t been to my grandparents house in 9 years. I know, my kids are younger than that… which means they have never been down to visit. Thank goodness travel works both ways, as my grandparents have visited us several times over the last 9 years. So, this past week the kids and I jumped in my parents RV for yet another road trip adventure. When we arrived at my grandparents house on Friday morning, my grandfather was a bit taken aback. At first it didn’t click who these two little girls were standing at the door (my parents and I were hiding), but he knew that he recognized them. When we popped around the corner, it all fell into place. We then repeated the hiding as we entered the house to find Gran knitting. It took her a good hour to get over her initial shock! I can’t say that the rest of the visit was fabulous. There is something about living that long that gives you the right to be cranky. We’ll just leave it at that.

Thankfully, my cousin only lives an hour away and came to my rescue! We took the kids to feed some ducks and then took them to the mall to put on a fashion show for us. I’ve never let my girls in a dressing room alone before – so this was a special treat. They tried on outfits and then came out and modeled them for us.

This was a size 10 that she picked out… didn't try that one on!

We left a day early and set out to a camp ground, where we stayed for 4 days. The campground was on a lake and since over half of the sites are owned by people who keep their 5th wheels there… it was quiet. I took runs along the lake and swam in the pool for hours with the kids. The most memorable moment though was when my dad and I took a 3.1 mile bike ride to a local winery, did a wine tasting, and then rode 3.1 miles back to the campground with our purchase!

In other news, this weekend the family and I took a last minute day trip. The girls love water fountains… so we seek them out whenever we can.

Life with girls…

One word: Drama.

Anyone with more than one girl in the house can tell you that there is always drama. It doesn’t come it little spurts, but rather in large booms. Anything from screams, crying and growls to the Miss Prissy attitude… it is all there. You might have seen us out in public. We are the family with the two angels that never disrupt conversation or act rude. I mean it, no sarcasm there… but walk into my living room and another story develops.

I often wonder what life is like for my husband. Three moody girls and a dog. Lord help him the day the second kid hits puberty. I can imagine that the pinching, hitting and screaming episodes will calm down at each other… and the Mom is so not cool phase will start. I’m sure there will still be screaming, but maybe it won’t be as high pitched?

Obviously my girls can be sweet little angels at home too… but boy does it seem like they are at each others throats too often! Maybe because it is summer… maybe because the six year old finally has an opinion and wants to share it.

That's her, with her arms folded…

In the cooking world, I made three more appetizers to go over to a crab feast at our friends house.

Watermelon, Tomato, Basil Skewers (as easy as it sounds, with a balsamic glaze)

Black Bean and Mango salad (with red peppers, corn, basil and a lime dressing)

Smoked Salmon with capers and olive oil… garlic toast

All three are again from the cook book I am working through. I will post recipes over on my cooking blog. Tonight my sister-in-law is coming, so I am making a chicken and shrimp deal from the cookbook. Hopefully it turns out well!


Finally, what you’ve all been sitting on the tip of your seat for… the long awaited first recipe of my summer challenge! The reality of it is I would need to go shopping several times a week to keep up with the different recipes. So, we will have to take things a bit slower. For example, last night I made a new and improved lamb burger with roasted zucchini and yellow squash. Ground lamb was on sale and therefore I could not pass up the opportunity to make something with it. Basically I mixed the lamb with bread crumbs, one egg, kosher salt, pepper and fresh chopped garlic. We added our usual olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top, along with fresh tomatoes and arugula.

Anyway, my first recipe from the new Giada book was “Egg-white frittata with lox and arugula” which I completely over salted, since I don’t measure anything. I also used whole eggs because, come on… I’m not going to use egg yolks separately in anything any time soon… and I’m not going to waste them either. You can watch Giada perfect her frittata HERE on Food Network or copy her recipe from my cooking blog, HERE.

On the home front there is not much to report. The girls finished up their week of vacation Bible school and had a blast. We’ve been trying to make a craft a few times a week and have managed to get ourselves invited to a friends pool at least once a week.

In other news, it seems that something has happened to our water softener system. A few weeks ago we started having a metallic taste to the water and now our iron levels are so high that my tub and sinks are staining. We have never had a problem with this… sometimes when life hands you lemons, you don’t have any sugar to make lemonade.

the ONLY lemon that I like…

A little motivation…

I am one of those kind of people that gets really excited about doing something new. I get really fired up, go full force and then usually give up or slack off. If you’ve been following me, you will know that I’ve been jogging for the last 3 years on and off. (READ: Running in the rain from October 2007 when I was still struggling to make it around the block without stopping!) So here we are in the summer of 2010. I think my biggest battle is starting to feel tired and wanting to stop. However, the little angel on my right shoulder quickly jumps up and kicks the little devil on the left to the ground and I quickly keep in step to leave him behind. I don’t know what my fear of going farther is. My route is always the same… I don’t know what to do to motivate me to go the other, longer way around the neighborhood. I pat myself on the back because, “at least I went out and did it!”

Anyway, I decided to start an accountability chart. I joined dailymile.com where I can log my miles and time – but mostly just post that I went for a jog and other users will comment (err motivate me) on the great job I did. So hopefully this will work and keep me accountable and moving on the street.

Speaking of doing something new and then slacking – I realize that I haven’t started my cooking challenge. School ended and I kind of wanted to do nothing at all, but I am over slacking and ready to start! I will look through the cookbook tonight, go grocery shopping for ingredients tomorrow and voila, hopefully have a new recipe to share! I’ll keep you posted and you can help keep me accountable over on the daily mile! (or here!)

A recent trip to a dear friends house… this is her silly dog, Paws!

Rise and Shine

Amazing how a little children’s song can give such great advice. Two ways I’ve been trying to give God glory are by reading the Word and by exercising. I’m not very good about getting up early, but I get up when I hear my husbands shower turn off to make lunches, coffee and start stretches. My routine for the last few months has been to open my Bible and sit on the floor with coffee and start stretching. Now that I’ve accomplished this, my next goal is to get up when my husband exercises in the mornings and go jogging. So far I’ve only been going jogging when time allows and it is after 6:30 am… but usually my husband leaves by 7, so that would be pushing it with all the other morning things I do (listed above).

I’ve decided to use a few Bible verses to motivate me. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 which says, “24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Hebrews 12:11 which says, “11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Last, one of my favorite which I quoted on my very first blog post in 2007, 2 Timothy 4:7  which reads, “Fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith”. This one is true not only to keep your faith strong, but to believe in yourself.

Now, let me share some more sunshine:

My two little sunshines

having some summer fun

Summertime… and the living is easy

So far I’ve never put the kids into summer camps. I’ve looked into the day camps each summer and for the amount of money they cost, plus the time they would be away from me is too much. I mean, call me crazy but I like to spend time with my kids. I think they are fun, well behaved most of the time and just pretty darn neat. Besides, they can always go to “camp” at grammy and grampy’s house – or in their RV somewhere…

the new portable hammock I gave dad for father's day!

This past weekend we took the RV to a very local campground and the kids had a blast. It was a family/kids weekend and it was loaded with fun activities for the girls. Not only did the campground have a pool, which we spent most of the time in, but they had bingo, face painting, moon bounces, etc… The girls did really well swimming, even trying new things like self-floatation!

my little fishes

One summer event that I do put the girls in every year is Vacation Bible School. That gives me one week of mornings to myself AND a fun, safe place for the kids to go learn more about the Bible and the events that go with them. We don’t have anything else planned for the summer except to relax, play, read and get together with friends and family.

I leave you with this… I was singing while sitting around this morning – “Summertime, and the living is easy…” and my 6 year old replies, “Well of course it is, mom.”



I used to think that adults were nuts when they said that time went by fast. In fact, I really feel that my first 24 years of life went pretty slow. Then I got married and had two kids by the time I was 27…my kids are now 8 and 6.5 years old. What is it about having kids that makes time go faster?

Today was the last day of school. A bitter sweet ending for me because for the last 5 and a half months I was a full time temporary employee. While I enjoyed my job for the most part, it was mentally draining. Since I was a temporary employee – my job has ended for good and I’m sad to say that I’d only consider a similar job again if it paid double. So, I will be going back to Substituting next school year. That is, of course, unless one of you has a stay at home job for me.

Yesterday my Kindergartener was turned into a magic first grader. Rewind two years and read: The Magic First Grader where my first born had this same celebration. The celebration was super cute. The teacher turned them all around slowly and then tapped a magic wand on their heads. Then she asked them if they felt any different, in which most kids replied with no. One child, however, replied with, “Well, I feel a bit tingly on my head.”

Poof! A first grader!

…and so the summer begins. Fun in the sun, at the pool, lots of crafts and games, lazy time and most importantly – extra family time!

The bean will sprout

I am still doing some searching on a Chef to follow cook through their cookbook. After a ton of soul searching, I’ve decided that I really want to try and cook every recipe in someones cookbook. Now, the question is who. My first instinct was to choose Alton Brown. However, I have followed a few of his recipes and they are pretty daunting. Next I thought of Giada – but I’ve made practically everything in the two cookbooks that I have of hers. Then I came across Cat Cora. I love watching Iron Chef America, so looking into that seemed like a good idea. I don’t think I am good enough to make anything by Masaharu Morimoto!

It has been a week since I typed the above note… and since then, I was at Target and spotted Giada’s new cookbook and gave in. It was an easy choice because there were no other cookbooks by people I have heard from – AND I peeked inside the cookbook and was overwhelmed by the aroma that I imagined from the recipes. Now… here comes the task, the cooking. I’m thinking the best time for me to start this is on June 16th, the day after school gets out and my last day of work! That way I will have time to shop for proper ingredients and make the dish.

In other news, tonight is the Talent Show at the high school. We use their auditorium because it is much, much bigger and nicer. Last night was the final rehearsal and the girls looked so cute up there on stage!! I think it is funny how I get nervous each time I see them. Or rather, right when they are walking on stage. I don’t know if it is a pride thing – or if I am nervous because I am reliving my on stage days. Boy was that a long time ago…

Speaking of children… mine are super cute. I’m really torn about this being the end of yet another school year… but, what can we do? I guess God has a reason that we grow up so fast. Today my Kindergartner was the guest reader for her class. She picked a second grade reading level book. I’m not surprised, the books with super big words bore her. Huge difference from when my 8 year old was in Kindergarden… she took a Dick and Jane book to guest read. Since I noticed that others were reading at a faster pace, I made both girls read, listen to books and go to the library all summer long last summer. She is thankfully, now caught up, which made the 6 year old ahead… but that doesn’t bother me.

Where the lima beans grow

The other night we watched Julia and Julie, a movie based on the blog by Julie Powel, The Julie/Julia Project. I wouldn’t say that this movie was fantastic, but it wasn’t boring either. The one thing that it DID do, was inspire me to do something. Anything.

Now the brain is ticking. However, my selection is limited… I need a Masters to do some of the things that have crossed my mind. So, here are the things that I can do that don’t require additional education… (1) Do my own Julie/Julia project with any of my favorite chef’s cookbooks, (2) Write a short novel (not to be published) (3) Write a children’s book (could possibly be published) (4) Write my own cookbook (ha, ha, ha) (5) Write lyrics (I can either come up with words or tunes, but never together). … … …

You know what else has inspired me? My kids. I had the day off work today, so I’ve been cleaning and organizing the house. As I pulled paper after paper, project after project and pencil after pencil from under my kids beds, I noticed a pattern. They love to draw, but moreover, they love to write. They are good too. Some are songs and some are stories… but they are all meaningful. They all have purpose and were written for a reason. One of the songs I found had great lyrics. I am going to type them how they are written.

The Sea, the Ochan and the Shore

Some people think theirs know one to play with.
Some people think the earth isn’t spining,
but in the eyes of a ital, theirs know such thing
as an oranary God.
But in everything theirs know such thing as a ital
in the temples eyeball but in every thing theirs such thing,
as God.
He created the sea, the oshan and the shore. He created the sea,
the oshan and the shore. He loves us so much that he created us
for some kindness, for some kindness.

I’m not sure if she is done… and I’m a bit confused about the idol part, I know what she is trying to say – or what she should be saying, rather. Maybe she is confused on what an idol is. Maybe this is a song she heard on the radio and is misinterpreting the words? I’ve never heard it though, so I think it is from her head.

So, I’m inspired. I’m thinking my best bet is to follow a cookbook and blog about it. I mean, I’ve been learning to cook for the past two years and I’m loving it. Every once in awhile I blog about the recipes… so, shouldn’t be too hard, right?

Wishin’ and Hopin’

As I mentioned before, my kids signed up to do the school talent show with a few friends. I had the girls over to practice after school yesterday and the 6 year old has decided that she no longer wants to be IN the show. She informed that she wants to just be in the audience.

Anyway, I went over the song and movements with the girls a few times and then left them to talk and play for five minutes while I cleaned up the kitchen. I was getting ready to head back out when I heard the most awful scream. Now, the 6 year old is what we like to call “a drama queen”, because she usually over reacts to situations. So, my first instinct was to roll my eyes and prepare myself for the “what now” speech. Only, I didn’t get to give it because a friend came running in saying, “she got stung by a bee!” I immediately grabbed the baking soda from the fridge, dumped some into my hands and wet it to make a paste. As she came running in, I started to rub the mixture in. I then had her rinse her hands and applied a nice patted down clump of the mixture. She kept it on for a few minutes and took some benedryl. The swelling went down and she was fine an hour later. Paranoid mom that I am, I still checked on her before I went to bed to make sure she didn’t have a fever. I had a horrible reaction to a bee sting when I was her age… so, you never know.

In other news, the girls have been taking Enrichment Karate classes after school. Our local martial arts center is offering the classes at the school, immediately following school, one day each week and for less than half the price of their usual classes. They even decided to add on 3 extra classes at their studio for no extra cost. The girls are loving it. Not only do they get to earn a white belt at the end of the sessions, but they are also learning self defense and what to do in the case of a stranger trying to take them.


The rock star and the rock climber

I’m sure I’ve mentioned several times how different my two girls are. The 6 year old is a girly-girl who loves to dress up, fix hair and in the future (gasp!) will be the teen that is all over which shade of lip gloss will look best today. She loves all things music and pretends that she is a rock star, a chef or a princess.  The 8 year old is a tom-boy who loves to dig, discover, climb and day dream. She is a scientist, a builder and an organizer.

It is amazing to watch them in their element. Right now, the rock climber is outside collecting rocks and other specimens for further analysis. She uses a shovel to carefully scrape away dirt and gently lift the object to her fingers. She places the objects in her bucket and stores them away for later observation. The rock star is upstairs, playing music and singing along. She has her “Hannah Montana” headset on and is standing on her bed in front of her audience… a herd of stuffed animals that can’t defend themselves.

It is also fun to watch the girls interact. When they are both outside, the rock star will try and keep up with the rock climber. She will ask questions and usually give her opinion on why swinging or picking flowers is a much better option… but, they get along and play alongside each other. In other imaginative play, the rock climber will be in a play or musical with the direction of the rock star. She will sing, dance and act along side her sister, usually choosing her own path of rock stardom. In fact, it was the rock climbers idea to have them audition for the school talent show!

It’s fun (and scary!) to watch the girls grow up. I can only imagine what their true professions will be… but for now, I’ve got them pegged.

the rock climber

the rock star being silly with mommy (she loves, loves pictures too...)

The scent of a memory…

Funny how certain scents can take you back. Today on my walk, I smelled wood burning… like a campfire… and instantly was flashed back to the last time we went camping. This, of course, led me to smile because in a week I will be camping at the Disney campground. My parents own an RV and thought it would be fun to drive down and go camping and do a few days of Disney in between. Apparently we stayed at this very campground when I was 5 or 6 years old. The best game plan is to camp, relax, hike and hang out, then a day of Disney, then rinse and repeat a few times. This way the kids get to rest up before running around Disney all day. I’m wondering if I will remember being at this campground or at Disney… and if any scents will trigger my memories.

So, what usually happens the week before a vacation? Something goes wrong… right? Yup, my camera broke. I’m not sure if someone (meaning a 6 year old that loves cameras) dropped it… or if it just magically broke on it’s own… but the thing won’t turn on – or if it does, the lens goes coo-coo.

Along similar lines… last night we watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with the girls. We had rented the book from the library and read a few chapters a night together, then we rented the new version of the movie. I have to say, I remember in the old version that both Willy Wonka and the Oompa Loompa’s were a bit looney – and the new one was equally as looney, but better because there wasn’t as much song and dance. The songs were right out of the book. Anyway, in the movie Willy Wonka has flashbacks to his childhood which are triggered by things that the children say.

As far as books go, even though we own a ton of series books that we haven’t even read… I am tempted to check out some of the oldies like “Anne of Green Gables” and “Little House on the Prairie” and then rent the movies. This way the kids imaginations are running and then they get to see their imaginations come to life during family movie night. Yet another fun learning experience.

What scents trigger memories for you?

a memory of 4 years ago...

Life goals… (when you are 6)

Does life get any harder at six?

Whenever our six year old does her pouty face and look, we usually reply with, “aw, it’s so tough to be six…” to which she will immediately agree. I however, do not agree. I would love to be six. Kindergarten, making projects, playing, getting to cuddle up in an adults arms… not saying that I would want to do the whole school thing again, but six? I could handle six.

Here are the said six year old’s life goals for the moment. (1) Lose a tooth. This is very high on the priority list because most of her class has already lost a tooth OR has a wiggly one. She will even go as far as constantly trying to wiggle a tooth. Fun times. (2) Try to get out of eating (fill in the blank). She might have loved the dish last week, but today is a different story. (3) Convince you that she is more knowledgeable on (blank) topic than you. “No really mom, it is true!” (4) Convince me that EVERYBODY else has play dates EVERY day.

She is a piece of work… but she is oh-so cute.

look at me! I am cute!!

In other news, the job that I was subbing in for the last two months has now become full time. I am a “temporary” employee for the rest of the year. I still go back and forth on whether I am okay with this, everyday. I guess soon enough it will be June and I won’t have to worry about it any more.

Snow Wonderland…

AKA Kid Paradise.

But first, a funny story. I normally blog when I (a), have something to blog about, (b), have the time to blog and (c), remember what it was that I was going to blog about. I normally do not write anything down in advance or jot down cute things that my kids say. However, knowing that I eventually wanted to blog about the snow, I wrote it down on my “to do” list along with laundry, cleaning, groceries and the like. I also made some notes under the word blog that I would title it “Snow Wonderland” or “Snow Paradise”. I just sat down to finally type this blog out only to find my word “snow” crossed out and replaced by “kid”. I haven’t found any other small person edits… so, I will continue.

Our weather has looked a bit like this… snow, then more snow and then a bit more snow. While the kids have had fun playing in the snow wonderland, I am done. I think the dog is done too. Poor guy scratches at the door, excited to go out and roam his wonderful huge yard, only to find out that the white stuff is still covering his precious kingdom. Where’s a poor guy supposed to run his figure eights? How is he supposed to catch that squirrel now? Earlier in the season, Rusty pulled a muscle trying to run after a squirrel when he slipped on the icy stairs that go down into the yard. Now, he will just sit at the top of the stairs and bark at the squirrel as if to say, “I see you… and I could catch you if I wanted to…”

So we have done what any normal family does when it snows and school is canceled for over a week. We have built a snow tunnel, built snowmen (and a snow dog), made several new recipes for dinner and baked yummy goodies and let’s not forget crafts. My kids love crafts. I have started to teach them how to make friendship bracelets. The 7 year old loves it… the 6 year old, not so much.

Here are a few pics of our snowy adventures…

the snow tunnel...

the snow blob that the 6 yr old helped me with...

the snow reindeer... or dog???

husbands perfect snowman... um, yeah.

a little bit, and a little bit more

We had the blizzard of 2009 just a few weeks ago, and now we have the blizzard of 2010.

I’m tired of snow. I must say, it is fun to see your kids playing in the snow… and their daddy out there helping them build a fort… but, come on. Snow means shoveling and slushy mess yet to come.

But while I reminisce about my own childhood and watch my kids have fun, it makes me kind of glad that we are snowed in… bunkered down together as a family for the next few days. We have had lots of hot chocolate, movies and board games… and the fun has just begun.

the view out the front door... where's the mailbox?

no, I do not own snow boots. yes, those are target bags around my feet!

Cheers to the snow!

everything… and the kitchen sink

…and the adventures of life continue.

Last weekend the family participated in the Powder Puff Derby. It is a Girl Scouts sister event to the Boy Scouts Pinewood Derby. They are given a block of wood and told to transform it into a car weighing no more than 5 ounces. Yeah, I wanna see a 7 year old girl use a saw to cut the rectangle into a car shape, then sand it and paint it… oh, and don’t forget the weights. My husband carved the car out and let her help sand and paint it. I think that was a smart idea. When they went to register the car it weighed 3.5 ounces… I guess that is what happens when you hold a stick of 4 ounce butter in one hand and a car in the other…

Surprisingly, the car came in last in every race. My sweet little girl was not upset though. She held her head high and was very proud of the car that she made with daddy. I guess it helped that we were rooting her car on and then exclaiming, “woo hoo! dead last!!”, each time.

yes, gray paint was all we had on hand...

A few days later on Wednesday night, the Brownies (younger girl scouts) had their Investiture ceremony where they dedicated themselves to the Girl Scouts and the Girl Scout Law. It was pretty cute.  The following night was the 6 year olds Daisy meeting. (An even younger set of GS).

This weekend my older brother-in-law came to visit with his family. The girls love to hang out with their cousins and everyone had a great time… especially when it started to snow Saturday morning!

yay for snow!!

I have continued to try new recipes and upgrade some of the ones we’ve learned to love. I made a shepherds pie out of ground lamb which was very light and tasty. I posted the recipe HERE. Keeping with the lamb theme, I made my famous procuitto lamb burgers, upgrading them with a bit of fresh parsley worked into the mix. I then tried a very spicy Pork Chops alla Pizzaiola, which was mostly spicy because I went overboard on the crushed red pepper. As usual, Giada did not disappoint with her Italian morsels. The dish is usually made with steak – as a Pizza-man style lunch because the Pizza man usually already had the red sauce for his pizza’s ready.