Saturday, May 31, 2008

A lesson learned

Every parent hopes that they will be able to teach their children valuable lessons to take with them throughout their lives. Sometimes we are able to take things that happen to our children and turn them into lessons that will teach them a little about life. This happened just the other day in our household.

When Haley was 5, she desperately wanted a cat. Being an animal lover, I relented and we brought Murphy into our home. He was an easy going cat. Things went well until I became pregnant and Murphy became a permanent outside cat due to the whole litter box changing issue. Even after the birth of Harrison, Murphy preferred the outdoors and eventually we stopped trying to bring him inside.

Since Murphy is Haley's cat, feeding him has always been her responsibility. Over the past few years, she has had to be constantly reminded to take care of the cat. She hardly ever pays him any attention and the cat is lucky he gets fed.

So a month or so ago, we noticed that Murphy was showing up less and less to be fed. As it turns out, the little girl next door has taken a liking to Murphy and has apparently been feeding him. On several occasions, Haley has called him and looked out to see the little girl sitting on her deck holding Murphy so that he can't come. This made Haley very unhappy.

The other night, when Haley called, Murphy came running and when Haley tried to pick him up, he took off back to the next door neighbors house. So Haley came inside crying and carrying on about how that little girl next door was a brat and she was being spiteful trying to keep Murphy.

I sat Haley down and I looked at her and I said "What would happen if everyday I got up and went about my business and totally ignored you? And what if at dinner time I threw your plate on the table and didn't even talk to you? And what if, I never hugged you or cuddled with you or did nice things for you? Wouldn't you want to go and live somewhere else?"

I told her if I were Murphy, I would choose that little girl because even if she was being spiteful, at least she was showing me attention. I explained to her that every relationship, even one with a pet, has to be nurtured. There has to be love and devotion and giving and caring. Otherwise, the relationship would wither and die.

Of course Haley tried to make a million excuses but I think when it came right down to it, she realized that what I said was true. She seems a little less upset by the whole situation.

We have left it up to her as to what the next step will be. If she wants Murphy to be her cat again, she knows what needs to be done. It's a mess she created and I think she is big enough to handle it on her own.

One day, maybe she'll look back on this and think about the lesson she learned. And hopefully it will help her to grow up to be a better person.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Crazy Week

It's Teacher Appreciation Week at Holden's school. In addition to all the cute homemade goodies I have been doing for Holden's teacher, I also volunteered to make a dessert to bring in for one of the lunches today. Of course me, the Martha Stewart wanna-be that I am, could not imagine taking a store bought dessert. So I decide on a cake recipe that was simple yet delicious and 100% homemade.

Off I go to the store yesterday, child in tow, to purchase the ingredients for this cake. That afternoon, I get the recipe out and start gathering the ingredients only to discover that I did not have enough butter. One quick phone call to David and he swings by the store on the way home to grab me another pound of butter. Again, I start gathering all of the ingredients since the recipe calls for the butter, cream and eggs to sit out for 30 minutes before beating. I begin to pour the whipping cream from the brand new, unopened carton only to discover that it is bad. Yep, curdled. Nice.

At this point I am thinking I will just throw in the towel, zip by the grocery store in the morning and pick up a pound cake. But once again, husband to the rescue and off he goes to the store to get some whipping cream. Back he comes and lo and behold he has bought the wrong stuff. Not his fault because really they do need to be just a tad clearer on whether that milky white substance is indeed HEAVY cream or WHIPPING Cream.

Now had this been just for my family, I would have tried to make do by mixing milk with the heavy cream but since it was for someone else, I got in the car and drove back to the store to make the exchange. No since taking chances that I would mess it up at this point in the game.

By the time I got home, it was after 8. The cake takes over an hour to bake after you do all of the slow beating and mixing and preparing. I figured I was n for a long night. But, I had help. Harrison added the eggs and licked the spatula when I finished mixing. He declared it was the yummiest cake batter ever. Shortly after 10, the cake was done and ready to cool.

This morning I got up and whipped up the glaze and poured it over the cake. I had it all ready to go when Harrison came downstairs. He took one look at my cake, nodded his head and said "Mom, I am impressed about that cake." So I guess it was worth all that trouble after all. I just hope the teachers liked it.

Here's the finished cake:

By the way, mom, aren't you impressed?

In case you are interested, here is the recipe (from BHG):

Butter Cake with Fresh Strawberries and Grand Marnier Glaze


1 cup butter
6 eggs
2 cups whipping cream
3 cups sugar
3 cups cake flour
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 Tbsp finely shredded orange peel
2 tsp orange extract
1 recipe Grand Marnier Glaze
1 pint fresh strawberries


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch fluted tube pa; set aside. Let butter, eggs and cream stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2. Place butter in a large mixing bowl, beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until well combined (this will take about 10 minutes). Beat 2 minutes more. Add eggs, one at a time, beating about 1 minute after each addition. Alternately add flour and cream, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Beat vanilla, orange peel and orange extract. Transfer to prepared pan.

3. Bake about 1 hour 20 minutes or until center springs back when lightly touched. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

4. Place cake on rack over waxed paper. Drizzle with Grand Marnier glaze. Serve with strawberries. Makes 12 to 16 servings.

Grand Marnier Glaze: In a medium bowl, stir together 2 cups powdered sugar and 1 Tbsp Grand Marnier or orange juice. Whisk enough milk (1-2 tbsp) to make glaze consistency. (Note: I found that it took more like 3-4 Tbsp but you will want to add them one at a time so that the glaze doesn't get really thin).

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Last night we took the kids out to our favorite pizza joint, Giuseppi's. The food is great, the prices are reasonable and best of all (according to the kids) they have a game room. We had to wait to be seated since we got there a little later than usual so the kids ran off to play some games.

A few minutes later, Holden came back to report that two boys in the game room were saying not so nice things. As we were getting ready to order, Harrison came to report that the boys were indeed saying bad words. Harrison said "Those boys said the F word and the damn word. " As soon as he realized he had said the actual word rather than the initial he said "Oops" and quickly covered his mouth.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Growing Up

This week, Harrison officially graduated from Kindergarten. It was a bittersweet moment for me. As he walked up on the stage, Wednesday night, I got a lump in my throat thinking about how quickly he has gone from a baby to a little boy. It seems like just yesterday, I was taking him to his first day of preschool. And now here he is. Of course, this was just his test run and he will be going on to full day kindergarten next year but just the same, it seems that he has grown up much too quickly.

Here is Harrison with his class the day of graduation. His teacher, Ms. Pat is in the back. Although it isn't possible to replace her, I do hope that Harrison will be fortunate enough to have another teacher that cares for him half as much as she does.
Harrison's graduating class
After he got his diploma
Our Little Graduate

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

We interrupt the previously scheduled blog....

Today was a hot, sunny day with temperatures in the mid-90's. The kids went swimming this afternoon. But tonight, shortly after supper, the sky turned black and the wind picked up and hail started falling. Of course, the kids were all freaked out and truth be told, I was as well.

We turned the television on to hear the weatherman tell that there was a tornado warning in effect and that people in our immediate area should seek shelter. Fortunately, there were no tornado's and only about fifteen minutes of hail.

The weatherman is calling for more storms on the horizon but I hope that these will be much milder than the one that just went through. Here are a couple of pictures shortly after the hail stopped.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Strawberries Anyone

This weekend I finally had time to take the kids to the farm around the corner to pick some strawberries. As usual, we went a little overboard and ended up with 15 pounds of strawberries.

Here are the kids at the farm:

I have been scouring the Internet for recipes to use them in before they all go bad. I have found recipes for strawberry soup, strawberry salsa, strawberry smoothies, strawberry cake, strawberry ice cream, and the list goes on. I figure that I can freeze a good bit for ice cream and smoothies later on this summer. For now, we'll enjoy eating fresh, ripe berries on everything. Waffles, pancakes, pudding, shortcake. Maybe it's time for a snack.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I'm not sorry.........

Every afternoon when Harrison gets home from school, he asks if he can go and play with the little boy who lives four houses down the street. Most of the time, I make his older brother go with him but on occasion I will let Harrison ride his scooter down there by himself.

Yesterday, when Harrison asked if he could go and play with Brady, I told him that he could. So off, he went down the street. A few minutes later, he came back and said that Brady was going to the pool and wanted to know if he could go. I told him no because we had to wait on Haley to get home. He grumbled about that a little bit but soon he was back outside playing with Holden.

Fast forward an hour. David comes in and says that Brady's dad had just dropped Harrison off. Off from where? Yes, you guessed it, the pool. It seems that Harrison was not outside playing with Holden. He was in fact at the pool with Brady. They had gone for a "quick dip" and Harrison decided that he would just tag along despite my saying no.

I called Harrison inside and asked him what he was thinking by leaving this house without me knowing and going to the pool. His reply was a shrug of the shoulders and an "I don't know what you are talking about kind of look". I sent him to his room so that he could think about what he had done. When I went upstairs to talk to him some more about it, I asked if he was sorry for doing something he wasn't suppose to be doing? To which he quickly replied, "Yes. Can I get out of my room now?"

So you see what it really boils down to is that he wasn't really sorry for doing it, he was just sorry he got caught.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Saying goodbye is never easy?

We had a death in the family this weekend. You remember a couple of months ago, I wrote in my blog about the two Betta fish we adopted, Smokey and David. Well, Smokey left us this weekend to live in that great big ocean in the sky.

Saturday morning as Haley and I were preparing to leave for her field trip, I glanced over at the fish tank and noticed that the blue fish (Smokey) was laying very still on the bottom of the tank. As I got closer, I realized that he was upside down. Not a good sign. So I got him out with the net and asked Haley if she wanted to say some words before I sent him to his permanent home. Being so early, the most she could come up with was "You were a crazy fish. Goodbye." And then with one flush he was gone.

Later that morning after we picked Holden up from his sleepover, we broke the news that his fish had bitten the bullet. He was mildly upset but I told him that Haley had said some nice words at the funeral and then he seemed okay.

That afternoon, Harrison noticed that something was amiss and asked where Holden's fish was. I told him that it had died and he thought I was joking. I explained that I had found him dead that morning. He asked what I did with him and I told him that I had flushed him down the toilet. Again, he thought I as joking. When he realized that I was serious he looked at me and said "Well, that's why I saw him under the house." And then he went outside. But for the rest of the day, he told everyone that his brother's fish had died and gotten flushed down the toilet and it was under the house.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day!

First off, I want to tell my mother thank you. I know there are times when you doubted that I appreciated all of your hard work and sacrifices. And yes, there were many times I took you for granted. But, the older I get, and the more I experience as a mom, the more I appreciate you. And the more I rely on your wisdom. There are days when I catch myself saying some of the things you use to say to me when I was growing up. The things I swore I would never say to my children. Thank you for all that you have done for me. Thank you for being my mother and my friend.

Yesterday I got up at 5:15 a.m. to take Haley to her school for a field trip. Since I was the morning drop-off person, David agreed to be the pick up guy. So at 10:30 last night, I crawled into bed and quickly drifted off to sleep. At around 11:30 I felt a small hand poking me in the arm and realized that Harrison was telling me he was going to be sick (again). After I took care of him, I crawled back in bed and just as I had drifted off, I heard the phone ring. Dazed and confused, I stumbled around the bed to find the phone. Haley was calling to tell us she was already at the school. I went downstairs and couldn't find David so I assumed he was on the way. I got back into bed and by this time I was wide awake. I waited until I heard the two of them come in and then I drifted off to sleep.

Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, we had a storm come through. At 5:00 a.m., I heard a small voice telling me that he needed to be close to me because he was scared. I pulled back the covers and lifted him into the bed snuggling close. Periodically, I could feel him turn closer to me and rub my arm gently. Three hours later, I woke up with my arm asleep and stiff neck but snuggled right next to me still was Harrison.

The boys made me stay upstairs until Haley was awake and then they allowed me to come downstairs.

I got a really nice handmade card and scarf from Harrison.
Holden made me two pictures and a cake.
Haley got me a card and some pretty handmade roses.
And to top it all off, I am getting a beach cruiser. And it's in my FAVORITE color. It isn't here yet but this is what it looks like:

And last but not least here's a picture of me and the hubby.

Friday, May 9, 2008

I'm no hottie

Harrison informed me the other day that he had a girlfriend. Mentally I went through the short list of possible girls. Picking the most obvious, I asked if it was Bethany (the only little girl in his class). He said it wasn't Bethany, that it was someone in our family. Of course I figured he was talking about me, but when I asked him if it was me, he replied "No, it is someone hotter than you." I don't know whether to be offended that he doesn't think I am hot or upset that he even knows what hot is.

By the way, his "girlfriend" is none other than his 6 year old cousin Taylor who he met for the first time at Christmas. Poor child probably doesn't even know she is someone's girlfriend, let alone her cousin's.

Friday, May 2, 2008


This week I found out that a longtime friend of mine has Stage 3 breast cancer. We started kindergarten together and graduated from high school together. And although time and distance separated us, I still recall all of those fun times we had and the special friendship we shared as young children. As a mother of three young children, who are very similar in age to mine, I can't imagine the things that must be going through her mind.

So I sat down yesterday to write her a card and the words just wouldn't come. I wanted to tell her how sorry I was. How much I am thinking of her. How prayer will get her through the worst of times. But, none of that seemed exactly right. And then I recalled something that I had received when I was sick. It reminded me, as I am sure it has others, to never give up hope.

Here it is:

The Four Candles burned slowly. Their ambiance was so soft you could hardly hear them speak...

The first candle said, "I Am Peace, but these days, nobody wants to keep me lit." Then Peace's flame slowly diminished and went out completely.

The second candle said, "I Am Faith, but these days, I am no longer indispensable." Then Faith's flame slowly diminished and went out completely.

Sadly the third candle spoke, "I Am Love and I haven't the strength to stay lit any longer. People put me aside and don't understand my importance. They even forget to love those who are nearest to them."
And waiting no longer, Love went out completely.

Suddenly …

A child entered the room and saw the three candles no longer burning.
The child began to cry, "Why are you not burning? You are supposed to stay lit until the end."

Then the Fourth Candle spoke gently to the little boy, "Don't be afraid, for I Am Hope, and while I still burn, we can re-light the other candles."

With Shining eyes the child took the Candle of Hope and lit the other three candles.

Never let the Flame of Hope go out of your life. With Hope, no matter how bad things are or appear to be . . . Peace, Faith and Love can Shine Brightly in our lives.

Written by an Unknown Author

I have heard your prayer and see your tears, I will heal you. 2 Kings 20:5