Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year once again

It's hard to believe that 2008 is about to end. Where does the time go? It seems like just a few weeks ago, I sat down and typed out my resolutions for the year. I think it's true that the older you get, the faster time goes.

I had such big expectations for 2008. It was the year I turned 40 and I just knew it would be the year I made some big life changes. Fortunately I made it through the year, unfortunately not so many big life changes were made.

I wish that I could say that in the past year I...

lost enough weight to fit in those size 6 jeans
exercised every day
kept my house clean
read the Bible every day
had an endless supply of patience
submitted my pages to get published in a magazine

Instead, in the past year I...

rearranged my scrapbook room several times and it's still a mess
still haven't caught up on my kids scrapbook albums
stressed way to much about the little things
never really got into an exercise routine
haven't organized my master bedroom closet
still haven't hung up any pictures upstairs

However, the past year wasn't a total loss, because I did make some positive changes. In 2008, I...

discovered Facebook and reconnected with some old friends
completed a bible study at church
worked on building a stronger relationship with my husband
spent more one on one time with my kids
practiced small random acts of kindness
learned that I need me time and worked on making it
stopped saying yes every time someone asked me to volunteer
rediscovered my love of reading

In the next year, I am hoping to...

cook healthier meals
be more consistent at blogging
continue practicing small random acts of kindness
further develop my relationship with God
start exercising more (and maybe fit into those size 6 jeans)
laugh out loud more often
be more accepting of others
stop beating myself up for not being perfect
cuddle more with my kids
stop worrying about the unimportant small things
have a date night with my husband a couple of times a month

Happy New Year to you!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Under the tree

Yesterday's Advent Calendar event was to sleep under the tree. The boys were excited about the prospect of camping out but Haley decided she preferred the comfort of her own bed. Here are my guys sleeping with the glow of the tree making them look like little angels.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Too young for a gun

My 9-year-old has been trying to get my husband and me for weeks to buy him an Airsoft gun. While I lean toward "absolutely not, are you crazy you'll shoot your eye out". My husband leans toward the "why not I had a BB gun when I was a kid". Of course I carefully remind him that he also did other crazy, reckless things when he was young that I do not want my child to do EVER. But I digress.

My husbands argument is that it's a right of passage for all boys. He had a BB gun when he was a kid and he survived. No one lost an eye and no one was seriously injured. My argument is that I don't think a 9 year old needs a gun that shoots pellets. I don't have issues with my son playing with a gun, he has plenty of Nerf guns and play guns that don't shoot anything (or anyone). It's just that when I read the packaging on the Airsoft gun and see a warning that it isn't to be used by a person under the age of 18, I am pretty confident that it was put there for a reason.

For those of you not familiar with the Airsoft guns, they use little plastic pellets rather than metal BBs. This makes them safer than a normal BB gun but they can still put out an eye. The guns come in spring, compressed air and electric versions, but they all basically work the same way, which is to use compressed air to launch the pellets at an impressive velocity.

Airsoft guns also look like lethal firearms because they are exact replicas. The only notable difference between airsoft and lethal weapons, other than the blaze orange tip, is that airsoft guns fire small plastic BB’s instead of metal bullets.

One of the top selling online stores has this to say about safety and the airsoft guns.

First and foremost, protective gear should be used at all times. This includes, most importantly, eye and face protection. While airsoft shooting goggles or glasses (with shatter resistant lenses) are a must, a full protective face mask is highly recommended. Full face masks protect against facial damage to cheeks, teeth, and ears, as well as providing complete protection for the eyes. Along with protective face wear, the use of a thick sweater or jacket, a balaclava (a cloth head mask), gloves, a hat, hard-soled boots, and knee and elbow pads are also recommended. As a final safety measure, the covering of all exposed skin is also highly advised.

Does a 9 year old need a gun that might require him to wear a full protective face mask and cover all exposed skin?

Some of you might think I am overreacting or being an overprotective mom but this seriously causes me some concern. Does there come a point where we give in and compromise our child's safety to let him have something that "all the other kids" have?

The only positive that I can find in letting him have a gun is that it provides an opportunity to teach gun safety, which will be an important lesson for later in life. The cons as mentioned above are the safety issues.

We are at a standoff now. I am being the bad guy and standing my ground. On the other hand, I feel that my husband with enough pressure from my son, would cave. Until we can come to some common ground on this issue, I will continue to say no to the gun. I love my kids and it is my duty as their mother to protect them from things I find harmful. I wouldn't send them out to play in a busy street and I certainly wouldn't buy something that would put them in any danger.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I'm Dreamin of a White Christmas

I cannot tell you how long it has been since I have seen snow on Christmas. Actually I can because it is the ONLY time I have seen snow at Christmas. It was 1989, the same year as Hurricane Hugo made landfall on the coast of SC.

In Charleston, we don't get much snow or cold weather (I know there are those that would argue with me about the cold but I am talking cold as in freezing). The average high for December is 61 with the average low being 39. Today's high was supposed to be 77 degrees (but at noon my thermometer read slightly higher at 79). Someone forgot to tell Mother Nature that this is December. You are not supposed to need your car air conditioner in December.

Looking ahead, the forecast for Christmas Day is 65 degrees so I guess the only snow I will see this year is in the neighbor's giant blowup snow globe (and that's a whole other blog entry). It will even be to warm to rent one of those snow blower machines (don't laugh people really do that here).

I am not saying that I want to move to somewhere like this.

I wouldn't even know what to do with that much snow.

Oh but to wake up on Christmas morning and have my yard look like this would be such a wonderful sight (of course my house isn't that nice but you get the picture, right?).

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"Fun-due" at the Woods

Last night for our advent activity we had fondue. I took care of all the preparations before we even sat down for dinner. I made a cheese fondue and a pizza fondue (with hamburger). Our dippers were veggies, bread and pita chips. I also cut up some chicken and steak and stir fried those. We had ranch, ginger teriyaki and barbecue sauce for dipping. For dessert it was yummy chocolate fondue with strawberries, apples and bananas. It was a lot of work but the kids really enjoyed it. We had enough leftovers for another entire meal so next time I will definitely make less.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Dear Santa

Dear Santa:

I've been a good mom all year. I've fed, cleaned and cuddled my children demand, visited the doctor's office more than my doctor and sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school playground. I was hoping you could spread my list out over several Christmases, since I had to write this letter with my son's red crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry room between cycles, and who knows when I'll find any more free time in the next 18 years.

Here are my Christmas wishes:

I'd like a pair of legs that don't ache (in any color, except purple,which I already have) and arms that don't hurt or flap in the breeze, but are strong enough to pull my screaming child out of the candy aisle in the grocery store. I'd also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy. If you're hauling big ticket items this year I'd like fingerprint resistant windows and a radio that only plays adult music, a television that doesn't broadcast any programs containing talking animals, and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone.

On the practical side, I could use a talking doll that says, "Yes, Mommy" to boost my parental confidence, along with two kids who don't fight and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools. I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting "Don't eat in the living room" and "Take your hands off your brother," because my voice seems to be just out of my children's hearing range and can only be heard by the dog. If it's too late to find any of these products, I'd settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a Styrofoam container.

If you don't mind, I could also use a few Christmas miracles to brighten the holiday season. Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a vegetable? It will clear my conscience immensely. It would be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family.

Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is calling and my son saw my feet under the laundry room door. I think he wants his crayon back. Have a safe trip and remember to leave your wet boots by the door and come in and dry off so you don't catch cold. Help yourself to cookies on the table but don't eat too many or leave crumbs on the carpet.

Yours Always,

A Grateful Mom

P.S. One more can cancel all my requests if you can keep my children young enough to believe in Santa.

(I am not sure who wrote this but it could have been written by any mom)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Angel

The boys went with me yesterday to take Haley to get her flu shot. While waiting, Harrison started looking through one of the magazines. He came across a picture of a baby with angel wings and pointed out that the baby was an angel. I said, "Yes, most babies are angels. But then they grow up." Then I said "Well, you are an angel most days, aren't you?" Without missing a beat, Harrison said "Only on Tuesday and Friday."

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Celebration

Not long ago, Holden came home from church and told us he had asked Jesus to come into his heart and that he wanted to be baptized. This was a big step and we wanted to make sure he was doing this for the right reason so we talked to him about it.

A couple of weeks before the baptism our church videotapes each child answering 6 questions. Three of the questions are pretty basic like your name and age and who would you like to thank. The other three entail more thought like how did you ask Jesus into your heart, why do you want to be baptized and what is your favorite bible verse. Holden was very nervous about this part but the day of the taping he did fine.

Tonight before the baptism, they showed the videotape of all the children who were being baptized. It was touching to hear these children talk about this important decision. Their innocence shines through in their simple, straightforward answers. What it came down to was that these kids loved Jesus.

The baptism took place outdoors (thankfully the pool was heated) with the children all surrounded by their family and friends. Afterwards, we went indoors again to celebrate the most important decision that these children will ever make. As the children's minister said, these children will go on to make many important decisions in their lives but nothing even touches this.

Here is Holden being asked a few questions by
the children's minister before the baptism.
Holden made the children's minister laugh
when he asked "How long are you going to hold me under?"

After being baptized

Friday, December 5, 2008

More Christmas fun

The advent calendar is a big hit at our house. It has been a good way to make the family slow down and do things together. One of the activities I came up with was indoor s'mores. David thought it would be much more fun to roast them outdoors so he set up the cooker. The kids had a blast roasting their marshmallows even though I was a nervous wreck that they would burn themselves.
It's all about the simple things.

Enjoying the finished product.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

On the First Day of Christmas

I got an advent calendar this year for the first time. I was in search of something with boxes and after seeing some for $30 and up, I stumbled across a much cheaper version at World Market. It's in the shape of a Christmas tree and has a small boxes for each of the days leading up to Christmas. So I removed the piece of chocolate from each box and insertd a slip of paper with an activity on it.

On Day 1, the activity was for the kids to write their letter to Santa. Since Harrison is still young, he dictated and I wrote. He didn't want any opening to his letter, he just got straight to the point. Here are some of his wishes:
  • a robot like Holden's
  • a bike with skeletons and pegs on the wheels
  • Bakugans
  • skateboard
  • remote control car

He wanted much more so I suggested that we tell Santa he would like surprises and would be happy with whatever he was brought. Daddy said that Santa would be able to tell that was a mom suggestion as Harrison would never actually come out and say something like that.

Holden wished Santa a good Christmas and asked for:

  • a Nintendo DS and some games for it
  • Bakugans
  • Lego's
  • Wii games and extra Wii remote

Our little attorney also tried to negotiate with Santa by saying if he didn't get a Nintendo, he'd like a new bike. Holden also added a P.S. to his letter asking Santa to give him a call.

Haley said that she had been good this year and would like:

  • a new Ipod
  • curling iron
  • Nintendo DS games
  • Wii games

She also asked for world peace and no offshore drilling but said she understood if Santa couldn't produce those things. And being the kind child she is, she said to tell the elves, reindeer and Mrs. Claus hello.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Just a little fraction

Boys love the excitement of fast cars and motorcycle stunts and there is no shortage of video clips for either on You Tube. The other day, Holden and Harrison were watching a video clip of a guy riding his motorcycle. The guy ran into something and flipped off his motorcycle. Harrison gasped and said "I think that guy is dead." Holden replied "No, I think he just got a fraction."

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankful Day 6 and 7

Today I am doubling up on my thankful list since I will be leaving shortly to go out of town for Thanksgiving.

I am thankful for my freedom and those who serve and those who have given their lives to preserve this freedom.

Last, I am thankful for my faith which carries me through each day. I know that ultimately God is in charge and he will be with me every step of the way. Having faith that God is in control helps me through all of the ups and downs in life. For that I am extremely thankful. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours and may you remember not only today but all year long what you are truly thankful for.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thankful Day 5

Many years ago my husband gave me one of the best Christmas presents ever. My first pair of Dansko clogs. Since that first pair of black clogs, I have added a brown pair, a red pair and a blue pair. I live in these from September to April and only retire them for flip flops during the summer. So today I am thankful for my good old comfy Dansko's.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thankful Day 4

Target is perhaps one of my favorite places so it is befitting that today I choose it to list as what I am thankful for. Where else can you go to get just paper towels and spend $50.00 (okay maybe I shouldn't be so thankful for that)? I love walking by the end caps where they keep all of the clearance deals. And the dollar section at the front of the store has some great stuff! Not to mention that they have some great home decor items for a fraction of what you'd pay at a department store. Yes, I love Target and am very thankful that I have one less than 10 minutes from my house. What did I ever do without it?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thankful Day 3

Especially this time of year, I am thankful for Starbucks. So on cold, windy mornings, when I am out on errands, I treat myself to a Skinny Caramel Latte. Mmmm, I wish I had one now.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thankful Day 2

My day two picture takes me to one of the many bookshelves in my house. There I find many, many books. I am thankful for them. Books take me to places I might never go. They challenge me to see things I might have never seen. I open them and find joy, comfort and hope in their words.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Day One Thankful

Besides the obvious things like friends and family, I am thankful for my dog. He is always glad to see me when I come home, even if I have only been gone for 10 minutes. He never complains that I am in a bad mood and wants to be around me anyway. He "talks" to me and I feel sure he is telling me how much he loves me in his own doggy talk.

High Seas Sullivan Woods

Boykin Spaniel Extraordinaire

Thursday, November 20, 2008


With only one week until Thanksgiving, I think that it is appropriate to reflect on things that I am thankful for. Over the next week I am going to take one picture a day of something that I am thankful for. I will post those pictures at the end of each day.

In the meantime, I got this email sometime ago and saved it because it is a reminder that although things might not always be wonderful, we always have something to be thankful for.

Be thankful for the clothes that fit a little too snug, because it means you have enough to eat.
Be thankful for the mess you clean up after a party, because it means you have been surrounded by friends.
Be thankful for the taxes you pay, because it means you're employed.
Be thankful that your lawn needs mowing and your windows need fixing, because it means you have a home.
Be thankful for your heating bill, because it means you are warm.
Be thankful for the laundry, because it means you have clothes to wear.
Be thankful for the space you find at the far end of the parking lot, because it means you can walk.
Be thankful for the lady who sings off-key behind you in church, because it means you can hear.
Be thankful when people complain about the government, because it means we have freedom of speech.
Be thankful for the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours, because it means you're alive.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Harrison does not like to do homework and will make up every excuse under the sun in order to avoid doing it. Thankfully he doesn't have much. Today he was to read a book aloud to me. When I asked him if he was ready to do his reading, he said, "I can't I have claringitis." When I started laughing he must have thought he needed to clarify himself because he cleared his throat and said "See it's all scratchy and that's why I have claringitis."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thought for the day

I came across this quote on Kerri Bradford's blog and found it quite thought provoking, so I am sharing.

"Dreams are how we figure out where we want to go.
Life is how we get there."
If you get a chance, visit her blog. She is an incredible photographer and scrapbook artist.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Permanent Ink

Harrison told David today that he was going to get a bike and some dart guns for Christmas. David asked him how he knew that. Harrison said, "Because I wrote my list in permanent ink".

That reminds me of this story I use to read when I was a child about this little girl who had a magic pencil. Whatever she drew actually came to life. I can remember wishing that I had one of those magic pencils. Oh, the things I would have made for myself.

Now wouldn't it be great if there really were magic pencils and markers. If I wanted a new pair of shoes, I would whip out my handy pencil, sketch away and tadah, new shoes for me. No more scouring the stores in search of the perfect shoe, with just the right height heel and color. Or if I had that marker, I could make a list of chores for the kids to do and guess what, it would be done.

If only it were that easy.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

a knock-off

I have been down for a week now with the shingles. Anyone who has never had this should pray that they don't get it. It is truly the second most painful thing ever next to childbirth.

I haven't been out much these past few days so tonight after I dropped Haley off at swim team, Harrison and I ran over to the store. When we were getting ready to leave he picked up one of those plug-in video games that was by the checkout and asked me how much it was. I told him it was to much money. He said "How much is that?" I explained that it was $16.99. He replied "Oh my gosh, what a knock-off!" I took me a second to realize he meant "rip-off".

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Murphy's Law

Do you ever just have one of those weeks? Like the kind where you wish you had just stayed in bed because it doesn't seem that much is going right? Well, it's been one of those weeks. Oh sure I have tons to be thankful for (like the fact that my husband has a job and I am in good health and there is food on my table) but sometimes it's hard to look past the pile of crap sitting in front of you. Know what I mean?

Like for instance the fact that I got a brand new computer this past weekend and the screen started getting lines all over it when it came out of sleep mode. So I contact Dell who manufactured the computer and was told I had to contact Best Buy where I bought the computer. So I contact Best Buy and they told me to bring it in. So I hauled the whole shebang (hard drive and 24" flat screen monitor) back to Best Buy to find out the video card was bad (or so they said).

After standing there for almost 2 hours with 3 children running amok in the store, they finally found me a replacement which was being held for some other guy who ironically was having the same EXACT problem with his. I reluctantly took it thinking surely this one had to be different. When I got home, the stinkin' door to the DVD drive was broke. So I packed up the whole thing and drove halfway across town to the other Best Buy to pick up a new one.

When I was standing in line this guy walks up behind me and asks why I am returning the computer and I explained the situation to him. Turns out he was the one who was having the same problem with his computer and I had taken the one they were holding for replacement. I told him it was a good thing he hadn't gotten that one as the DVD door was broken. I got the new one set up and guess what? The screen started staying blank when coming out of sleep mode. I am banging my head on the wall here.

To top all that off, we got a letter yesterday from these jerks we bought our house from and they want us to pay back $400 because the closing attorney miscalculated the taxes (in 2007) and gave us more credit than we should have gotten (can you say greedy?).

And then last night my back started hurting and hasn't gotten better today. Might be a kidney stone or maybe a strained muscle from hauling the computer across town twice. Who knows but it hurts and Ibuprofen isn't helping.

Just way too much for me this week. I could use a Xanax but somehow the things got lost when we were moving. See Murphys' Law.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Second post for today

Happy Birthday to my hubby.
He is celebrating his 40 something birthday today. Hope it's a great one.

The winner is...

Monday's are always hard for Harrison. After being at home for two days he just doesn't like getting up and going to school. Today was no exception. It started with him whining about his stomach hurting when he was upstairs getting dressed. After going through this weekly, I know his tricks so rather than comfort him, I told him he would probably feel better after getting something to eat.

Downstairs while eating breakfast, he started whining about not wanting to go to school. When he realized that we weren't buying it, he turned it up a notch and started full fledged crying. After a couple of minutes of crying, he choked a little. Seeing that I acknowledged this (I got up to get him a drink) he started trying to make himself gag and cough.

It was truly a performance worthy of an Oscar. It's just too bad I didn't have the video camera nearby.

His performance didn't get him out of school although it did make us late for the bus. Thankfully they caught it at the next stop and by then the tears were gone.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween

Halloween is never dull around here. We live across the street from a man who would put Chevy Chase on the movie Christmas Vacation to shame. It takes him weeks to put out all the Halloween decorations. People drive here to see all of his decorations. He dresses up each year and hands out buckets of candy and toys to the kids who come. This year, he was Uncle Sam. Here he is with Holden (sumo wrestler), Harrison (werewolf) and our neighbors.

Haley spent the night at her best friend's house but we went over after trick or treating and got her picture.

And here is the whole Halloween house.........

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Spiders

I made 60 of these Halloween spiders for Holden and Harrison's class and Haley's teachers. The spider was originally created by Nancy Morgan at Paper Smiles. I modified it slightly and this is the finally product.

I printed out the sentiment with each child's name, punched it out and adhere to the back. It was an awful lot of work given that the kids all ripped them open to get to the candy within second of getting them. But, they were cute while they lasted.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Grim Reaper

This afternoon was pumpkin carving time here. David cut the top off of the pumpkin and the boys started scooping out the insides. I looked away for a few seconds and then caught Harrison stabbing the pumpkin with his little carving knife. I can't take my eyes off of that child for one second. He lost interest in scooping the guts and went back to watching television. Haley made a small effort to act interested in the cleaning part but her heart wasn't in it so Holden and David finished cleaning out the icky insides.

The kids settled on carving the grim reaper on the front and the scythe he carries on the back. Pumpkin carving has gotten much more intricate since I was a kid. Now they have all these new fangled carving knives and etching tools to make the job easier. We have several of these so that everyone has their own.

This is the first year that we have let Holden actually carve on his own for fear of him sawing off his finger. I must say he did a fine job for his first time. No miscuts and no blood. That's what I term a success.

Here are a few shots of our fun afternoon:

And the final product.........

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Democrat or Republican

There are certain things we do not discuss in our family. The big ones is politics. Being a Democrat in a Republican dominated family has caused quite a few heated discussions. This year has been especially brutal on all fronts.

My husband has just about learned that I will not debate him on politics. I prefer to take the stance, "you have your opinion I have mine" (and we all know who's right). He is a newswatcher and to make matters worse, he listens to talk radio in his car. Talk radio whose host is obviously Republican. So when something new comes up, he is the first one to call me and say "Did you hear....". I have learned to "listen" without being really engaged in the conversation.

My dad and I try to totally avoid any type of political conversation. Of course he trys to get his point across by passing along emails. I have several friends who do the same. The nice thing about that is that I can choose to a)read them and then delete them or b) delete them and never read them. I won't tell you which I do more often.

Next week will be the end of the cat fight. I don't know about you but I am ready for it to end. The issues have long ago stopped being talked about. All the candidates are concerned about is one upping the other. Every other commercial is a political ad jammed packed with nasty accusations about the opposing candidate. And forget the political rallies. Does anyone remember what their mother's taught them when they were children? If you don't have anything nice to say.....

The end is near. One more week. I think I'll make it provided I don't listen to the radio, keep the television off any news channel, and delete all emails referencing political views.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A good laugh for Monday

I am not one to pay attention to commercials but lately I have caught quite a few that I find very funny. Actually some of the commercials are funnier than the actual television shows.

Here's one of my favorites.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Christmas is coming

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere you go;
Take a look in the five and ten
glistening once again
With candy canes and silver lanes aglow.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Toys in every store....."

No, I haven't lost my mind. I do realize there are still 63 days until Christmas. But, if you walk into any store, you will see that the Christmas decorations are already on the shelves nudging out the Halloween decorations (which by the way were already on the shelves in late summer). If you are looking for a life size light-up Grim Reaper to decorate your yard for Halloween, you'll likely have to look behind the boxes holding the 6' Spruce with shimmering lights already attached.

I am no Grinch but somehow seeing Christmas trees and decorations for three months prior takes away from the joyful anticipation of the whole Christmas experience. And it isn't just the stores that start early. By the time Christmas rolls around, I am so tired of hearing Jingle Bells that the very sound of those sleigh bells send me running for the radio dial. And after seeing A Christmas Story forty-three times, I can quote Ralphie line by line.

I love Christmas. I have started my Christmas shopping and my cards are already done. But, that has more to do with the fact that I hate the pressure of last minute preparations. I like to enjoy the month leading up to Christmas by making homemade gifts, baking cookies and putting out the decorations. What I don't love is the overcommercialization of Christmas.

What happened to the days when the Christmas decorations came out right around Thanksgiving and the radio started playing Christmas songs after December 1? Can't we just experience one holiday before we start moving on to the next? How long before we see the trees and lights go up before Labor Day?

I know Bah Humbug.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pumpkin Picking

We took the kids to the pumpkin patch yesterday to pick out a pumpkin. A as in one. We came home with 12 pumpkins. We got one large pumpkin to carve, three smaller pumpkins for the Mr. Potato Head decorations, three even smaller ones to balance off the larger ones on the front porch and 5 tiny ones for inside decorations.

Cost of gas to and from the patch: $4.00
Cost of the pumpkins: $38.50
Smiles on their faces: Priceless

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Yes, it's Fall

So on my last post (which was eons ago I know), I posted that I wanted some cooler weather. Well, apparently the Big Guy heard my prayers because the cooler weather has arrived. Yes, that makes me happy.

Friday, October 10, 2008

So tired of the heat

I was born and raised in the South. And I now live in the South. But there are many, many days between the months of June and October that I really wish that I was somewhere other than the South.

For most of my adult life I lived in NC where the summer heat was sizzling but that first refreshing day of Fall made you almost forget the scorching heat. Now, I am living 4 hours South and that makes a big difference in the changing of the seasons.

I love Fall. You know the cool, crisp mornings when the leaves have started to change. I want to walk outdoors and take in deep breathes of cool air. I want to feel my skin tingle from the crisp air. I want to turn off my air conditioning and throw open the windows and feel a cool breeze blowing. But that isn't happening here with the temperature reaching into the mid to upper 80's by late afternoon and the humidity registering at 81%. The only cool breeze I feel is when standing in front of the air conditioning vent.

I need to escape this sticky, strangling heat and humidity. I want Fall. It's a must to preserve my sanity. If I had a super power it would be the one where I could transport myself kind of like in the movie, Jumper. Then I'd just wish myself into someplace that is in the midst of Fall and wa-lah, life would be good.

I'm convinced heaven will be Fall-like weather forever. And summer? Well, you know where you'll have to go to experience that season.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Apples, apples and more apples

I came home from this weekend's trip with a trunkload of apples. So now that I have all of these apples, what am I to do. Certainly we can't eat all of these apples before they go bad. Here's where my Martha gene kicks in. I decide I am going to make some applesauce and maybe some apple bread and whatever else I come across that is apple and sounds delicious.

Armed with my handy crockpot, I whip out an applesauce recipe from A Year of Crockpotting. I tripled her original recipe because I wanted to have extra to freeze. After 5 hours, I had a pot full of applesauce. The verdict: I am a little disappointed because it's brown (compliments of the cinnamon) but thankfully it tastes yummy. I had enough to freeze and enough to make tonight's dinner Applesauce Chicken (also from A Year of Crockpotting). The applesauce chicken was pretty good although the chicken was a bit dry. I think it was a little overcooked. I started cooking it this morning when in fact, putting it on after lunch would have been sufficient.

I also whipped up some Apple Bread for us and to share with our neighbor who babysat our dog so we could go this weekend. This bread was moist inside with a crunchy crust. And too die for!

Tomorrow I am vowing no apples in any recipes. I'll just wait until Thursday then maybe we'll have Apple Oatmeal Crumble or Caramel-Apple Muffins or Cinnamon Rice with Apples or Apple Cole Slaw.......

Monday, October 6, 2008

This past weekend we took the children up to the NC mountains. On Saturday, we picked apples at the Sky Top Apple Orchard in Flat Rock, NC. This is the second time we have visited this orchard and once again we were not disappointed.

They have hayrides (sans hay), an animal farm yard, a bamboo forest and a huge play area for the children with both an apple and pumpkin playhouse. They offer the BEST apple doughnuts (you'll have to trust me on this one) hot from the oven and sprinkled with sugar. They also have apple cider and caramel dip for apples.

Later that day we went to the Chimney Rock area. We let the kids play on the rocks in the mountain stream. They had such fun hopping back and forth across the rocks and it didn't cost a dime. Luckily no one fell into the water because it was quite cold already.

Sunday we went to visit David's grandmother who turns 100 on October 10th. She has Alzheimer's but otherwise is in very good health. She loves to sing and tap your hand. Every now and again you can understand a word or two of what she says.

Happy 100th Grandma!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Our future storyteller

Harrison is the best storyteller. It never ceases to amaze me the things he thinks up. It's actually almost scary that he can rattle off this stuff so smoothly as if he's given thought to it for hours. His stories usually start off as believable but quickly progress to a full blown tale straight from his imagination.

In the car yesterday he announced that a little boy in his class had run into a pole during recess. I asked if the little boy was okay and Harrison said that no, in fact he had to go to the nurse because his mouth was busted open inside and it was bleeding (so far kind of believable right?).

According to Harrison it was so bad, they had to call the boy's mother. She came to school and stayed with him for the rest of the afternoon. Turns out that the little boy was hurt so badly that he won't be able to speak for a few weeks. The solution was to get this Spanish lady (who ironically, according to Harrison, teaches Spanish) to teach the little boy sign language. Wondering aloud, I ask how she knew sign language if she taught Spanish, to which Harrison promptly replied "She learned it in case someone got hurt and couldn't talk." What an imagination.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lemon-Glazed Zucchini Bread

I made this yummy bread today in another attempt to get some veggies into my children. I thought the bread was delicious, so I'll share the recipe in case you're interested in trying it. I am not sure where I got the recipe so I can't give credit.
Lemon Glazed Zucchini Bread
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup finely shredded zucchini
1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbs. grated lemon rind
1 large egg
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cup and level with knife. Combine flour and the next six ingredients in a large bowl. Combine zucchini, milk, oil, rind, and egg in bowl; add to flour mixture. Stir just until moist.
Spoon batter into an 8 x 4 inch greased loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted, comes out clear. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.
Combine powdered sugar and lemon juice; stir with a whisk. Drizzle over loaf.
(Note: I made 3 small loaves instead of one loaf and I cooked it for about 40 minutes. My oven cooks stuff fast so you might need a little more time than that)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Really wicked

We always try to engage our children in conversation during dinner time. It's about the only time of the day when we have their undivided attention. Last night there was a lull in conversation and I asked the children if they had thought about what they wanted to be for Halloween.

Apparently Harrison had been doing some thinking about it because he immediately blurted out that he wanted to be a "wicked witch". Not your standard everyday garden variety witch, no, he wanted to be a WICKED one.
I really try to encourage my children to always be unique. However, I was thinking to myself (and trying not to laugh) this is not going to happen because all the other kids would laugh at him. I envisioned him looking something like this on Halloween.

After I had a full night to think about it, I decided that if indeed he wanted to be a witch, then I would find out what a male witch looked like. I did what any mother would do and went straight to Google.

There was lots of information at my fingertips regarding the subject of male witches, more than I cared to know. But what really surprised me was the fact that I am apparently not the only one with this "boy witch" issue. In my Google search, I came up with a lot of links to others who had asked the same questions "How do I make a witch costume for my son?", "My son insists that he wants to be a witch for Halloween, what do I do?". So I know I don't walk alone.

Oddly enough I never did come across a costume for a "boy wicked witch" other than the Harry Potter type wizards which was not what Harrison had in mind. So I thought that perhaps the best thing to do was to ask Harrison exactly what he had in mind for his costume.

Mom: "Harrison, what exactly were you thinking you would wear as a wicked witch on Halloween?"

Harrison: "A black cape, a creepy, black pointy hat and a broom."

Mom: "Okay"

Harrison: "Oh and a green painted face."

Mom: (Thinking to herself this sounds eerily familiar)

Harrison: "Uh, mom?"

Mom: "Yes son?"

Harrison: "I changed my mind, I think I want to be Frankenstein."

Mom: (breathing a huge sigh of relief) "Frankenstein is good."

Monday, September 22, 2008

Another post for today

On August 16th, Stephanie and Christian Nielson were in a horrific plan crash in Eastern Arizona. There were three people on board, one who sadly did not survive.

I do not know this couple, but through the voice of Stephanie's sister, Courtney, have been following their recovery. Courtney's blog, c jane , is an amazingly eloquent and inspirational dedication to life. Her words have touched me and made me think about how precious every moment is.

Please visit this blog and join with me in offering your thoughts and prayers to this family. If you feel so compelled, there is a place to donate. Their medical bills are, as you can imagine, tremendous and any amount helps.

Kids Say the Funniest Things

Harrison had a birthday party on Saturday. It was at the movie theater and when we got there I asked Harrison if he saw the little boy. He said he no he didn't so we stood outside and waited. After a few minutes, Holden (who was tagging along) must have been getting a little anxious so he asked Harrison if he was sure he would remember what the little boy looked like. Harrison looked at Holden and said "Yes. He has black hair and blond skin like mine."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Not so New Testament

Holden wanted to take his Bible to church this morning so he was scrambling around his room at the last minute in search of one. The only one we could find was the New Testament version my father had given to Holden. On our way to church, Holden was flipping through the Bible and looked at the published date in the front and announced, "I don't know why they call this Bible new. It was printed in 1996."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The things kids think of.....

I love to encourage my kids to be creative. Well, as long as it doesn't get messy. The other day Holden found some pieces of wood in the garage and decided to make a cross. He nailed the two pieces of wood together and then came to me for some paint.

I had a small can of tester paint left over from when I briefly lost my mind and decided I might want to paint the dining room red again (if you have never tried painting a wall red, don't, you'll thank me for it). I let Holden use this to decorate his cross.

I came outside to find Holden lying in the driveway. I thought maybe he was resting or hurt or some combination of the two but in actuality he was painting the sides of the cross.

When I asked him what he planned to do with his cross he said he wasn't sure. Right now it is decorating our screened porch. But really, it wasn't the end product that mattered anyway, it was the whole creating process that was important. He saw some wood and decided it should be a cross. Who knows what project will be next. I am just glad he enjoys being creative.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Holden

Yesterday was Holden's 9th birthday. Time has gone so fast. Just yesterday he was a chubby cheeked little baby and now he has grown into a handsome young man.

Holden requested Chicken Alfredo, his favorite meal, for his birthday dinner. Once again, grandma came through with an adorable and yummy cake. Since Holden loves to skateboard, she made him his very own skateboard cake.

Here is Holden with his great-grandmother.

Holden with his grandparents

And our family picture, which would have been decent had Harrison not made the silly gesture as he does in EVERY picture that we take. The other picture had him with his eyes bugged out and a silly grin on his face. There is one in every crowd.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Grandmother's birthday

My grandmother's birthday is tomorrow but we celebrated last weekend when we all got together at the River house for Labor Day. She will be 82 years young!

This is the gift I made her. If you are interested in details on how to make it, click here.

Here is a picture of my grandmother and my cousin, Hessley, who turned 20 on September 1. My mother made the beautiful cake for them.