Thursday, January 29, 2009

It's all about Love

Since the big focus in February is Valentine's Day, I decided that during the month our family would write "love" notes to each other. As I was walking through Walmart a couple of weeks ago I came across a blank paper mailbox kit. For $5 the kit came with the mailbox, some stickers and some foam letters. I wasn't keen on the colors of the stickers, plus I wanted to make it my own so I decided to use some Basic Grey paper to cover the mailbox. I used ric rac along the sides and I covered a silver heart brad with pink fun flock to attach the flag. I had some chipboard shapes (heart and scallop circle) which I covered with Basic Grey paper and used some rub on letters to spell "love notes". All in all it took me less than an hour to do the mailbox. The only disappointing thing is that the mailbox is made from a flimsy cardboard so I am not sure it will hold up for more than one year. I wish they had made a metal mailbox which would have lasted longer.

My hope is that during February my family will take time to notice the small acts of kindness that others do. The note can be as simple as "You are the best just because" or can be more specific such as "Thank you for helping me with my homework". The point is that so often we take for granted the small things others do for us. Hopefully my kids will learn a lesson from this and have fun doing it. And maybe once they feel how nice it is to be praised or how good it feels to praise others, they will continue to do it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Random Questions

I subscribe to a lot of blogs. Some for the fun of it, some for inspiration and some for information. One of the blogs I subscribe to, The Sisterhood of Scrap, is giving away a prize to one lucky winner who posts and answers the following questions on their blog. And since I am a sucker for contests, here goes......

1. What color are your socks you have on now? green (they match my sweater and I have to be color coordinated, right?)

2.Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? my husband

3. What did you have for lunch today? A grilled chicken and pesto sandwich with a fruit cup and unsweet ice tea (see I am still sticking to my diet).

4.Name someone you admire. I am naming two - my mom and dad

5. How many cars have you owned? 6 (3 of which have been minivans)

6.How many homes have you lived in? Okay not counting college (because technically those weren't homes) it would be 11. I am a traveling gypsy.

7.Are you left-handed or right-handed? right handed ( but oddly enough I have three lefties)

8.Do you wear shoes around the house? No way. They come off time I walk in the door.

9. What was the last thing you took a photo of? My dog

10. Do you like hot chocolate? Not really. I prefer a Starbucks Caramel Latte.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

And the award goes to.......

(drum roll) me! Thank you so much Nancy for giving me this award. I am very flattered. Nancy has a great blog chronicling her journey through the foreign adoption process and beyond. Take a minute to check it out at The Schwartz Family Blog. You'll love her adorable little guy!

As recipient of this award, I have been asked to nominate some of my favorite bloggers. Here are the rules:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post

2. Nominate 5 blogs that show gratitude or great attitude or both

3. Be sure to link your nominees within your post

4. Let them know they have received this award by commenting on their blog

5. Share the love and link this post to the person whom you received your award from

This was kind of hard for me because I enjoy reading so many blogs. So I decided to nominate a few that I really enjoy and have been following for sometime.

And the awards go to (in no particular order at all)........

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sad Day

Friday morning my husband's 100 year old grandmother passed away (link to obit). For the past 10 or so years she has been living with Alzheimer's. I am lucky to have met her before her mind was clouded and her memories were lost. She was a beautiful person inside and out. Her passion for life was catching and when you were around her there was no doubt that she loved life.

My brother in law spoke at the funeral and talked about how when someone dies, the headstone reflects the date of birth and the date of death but in actuality it is the in between that matters most. During her life, she left an indelible mark on everyone she met. And while we mourn the loss, we celebrate the in between.

It is sad that she is gone but she is now in a place where her mind is at last clear again. I am thankful for the years that I knew her and know that one day I will see her again.

As a side note, I am awed by the fact that she lived 100 years. It is a testament to the kind of person that she was. Ironically I got an email a few days before her death detailing what life was like in 1908, the year she was born. I thought it interesting enough to pass along. It's amazing the changes that took place during her life!

In the year 1908...........

  • The average life expectancy was 47 years.
  • Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.
  • Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
  • There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles of paved roads.
  • The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
  • The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower!
  • The average wage in 1908 was 22 cents per hour.
  • The average worker made between $200 and $400 per year .
  • More than 95 percent of all births took place at HOME .
  • Ninety percent of all doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION!
  • Sugar cost four cents a pound.
  • Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.
  • Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.
  • Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
  • The five leading causes of death were Pneumonia and influenza, Tuberculosis, Diarrhea, Heart disease and Stroke
  • The American flag had 45 stars.
  • The population of Las Vegas , Nevada, was only 30
  • Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and ice tea hadn't been invented yet.
  • There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day
  • Two out of every 10 adults couldn't read or write.
  • Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.
  • Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drugstores. Back then pharmacists said, 'Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind,regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health'.
  • Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help.
  • There were about 230 reported murders in the entire US

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


While folding clothes last week, I turned the television on to The View. They were having a segment about weight loss with Joy Bauer as their guest. Joy is the resident nutrition/health expert for The Today Show. Her role on the show is to report on recent studies and help guide viewers towards making good choices at the supermarket so that they can develop their own strategies for staying healthy and trim.

Diets rarely work for me so listening to Joy talk about making life changes really hit home. I decided to check her website out. I ordered her book, Joy's LIFE Diet: Four Steps to Thin FOREVER . I started the first step this week - Release. During this week, the goal is to break free of food cravings and negative eating patterns (I have quite a few of those). Most important though is that during this week, you should get a jump start on dropping pounds.

The hardest part for me this week has been giving up my Diet Dr. Pepper. During week one you are not allowed ANY sugar or sugar substitutes. The reasoning behind avoiding sugar and sweeteners is that they keep sweetness on our taste buds and our minds and the goal is to reprogram yourself.

Okay, so I am two days into week one and am using all of my willpower not to open one of those Diet Dr. Pepper's in my outside fridge.

I am also a bit hungrier than normal but I suppose some of it is psychological. Yesterday by mid-afternoon I was really starving and caught site of the banana bread. It would have been so easy to rationalize in my mind that it couldn't be all bad because it contained bananas. But I withheld. Today I ate a handful of abby carrots without dipping them in ranch. I consider that an accomplishment. So I hope each day it will get easier.

So we will see how this week goes. I am hoping for a significant weight loss. It will make giving up the Diet Dr. Pepper all worthwhile.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Banana Bread

Harrison and I made some banana bread after school today. He is always willing to help out when I am baking something. Cooking is a good way to teach children about measurements and following instructions. Plus I am hoping that when they grow up they will help their wives with the cooking.
When we bake, Harrison's job is to dump all of the ingredients into the bowl. Today he also helped to mash the bananas which were extremely ripe (really brown). He looked at the bananas and asked why I was putting rotten ones in the bread.

His favorite thing though is cracking the eggs. To avoid getting shells into whatever we are making, we crack them first into a glass bowl. He does a pretty good job but I do have to remind him that squeezing the egg will make it explode all over you. We still haven't mastered not wiping our hands on our shirt.

And I am sure you are wondering....Yes, that is painters tape on my cabinets. We have been trying to get the kitchen cabinets painted for a month now. I am kind of getting use to the tape though. Maybe I will start a new trend.

Here's the recipe if you care to try it:

3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup mashed bananas (2-3 medium)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper leaving enough to hang over the long sides. Whisk together all ingredients in a large bowl starting with the dry ones and then adding the wet ingredients one at a time.

Pour the batter into the lined pan, spreading evenly and smoothing with spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack for about 1 hour.

And the finished product........

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Krispy Kreme

Well it looks like just a week into the new year, I have already failed at one of my resolutions having not posted anything in over a week. But life has been hectic here with the kids getting back into school and me starting a new job. Things seem to be settling down and we are getting back into the routine.

Today is my birthday and I turned 39 (again). Last week when my husband asked me where I wanted to go and eat for my birthday I immediately said Jestine's Kitchen. I have always wanted to try the place because I have heard rave reviews and every time we drive by there is a line to eat. I thought they served brunch but this morning I got up and checked online and it turns out that they only serve lunch and dinner. Since we had already missed breakfast we just decided to head down there for an early lunch. We got the kids in the car and headed downtown around 10:15 and when we drove past the place in search of a parking space, I noticed a sign hung on the door. It said they were closed from January 5th to 12th. Just my luck. So not knowing where else to go, we headed on over to one of my kids favorite places, IHOP. Although it was by no means Jestine's famous fare, it was cooked by someone else so that was okay in my book. I will just try to catch Jestine's when they reopen.

When we left IHOP, we drove by the Krispy Kreme and of course it is against the rules to not stop. So even though our stomachs were bulging and there was no possible way we could eat anything else, we stopped.

When we went in, they were making jelly filled doughnuts. It was very interesting to see the dough dropped into the vat of grease, fried up and then run through the glaze machine. Afterwards they were run through a "dryer" and then reached the jelly filling station where two women were filling each one with either raspberry jelly or lemon creme.
Oh how I wish I there had been room in my stomach for one of those hot off the rack raspberry jelly filled doughnuts. Since there was not we did the next best thing and got a dozen to go. Okay so there goes the second resolution to eat healthier (but it is my birthday).

When we were getting ready to leave, I suggested we take our picture in front of the store. Haley was utterly embarrassed which made it all the more fun. Can't you tell she is happy?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Crazy Dog

When we moved into our house a year and a half ago, we were excited because the previous owners had a small part of the yard fenced off for their dogs. We were glad that we would be able to leave our dog, Sullivan in this area and not have to worry about him messing up the entire yard. Well, a few weeks after we moved, we noticed that we would put Sullivan in the small yard and come inside only to find that he would be sitting on our screened porch outside of the small fenced yard. We figured out pretty quickly that he was actually climbing the fence. Not jumping, climbing. He would put his hind legs on the lower rails and hoist himself up and over the fence. Sullivan is not a large dog so it took him some maneuvering to figure out that he could get himself over the fence. Well, there was no need to have the fence we we took it down and now he has the full run of the yard.

But, apparently like some children, some dogs are just climbers. Sullivan happens to be one of them. In our yard, we have a wooden swing set with a slide. Today, the kids were playing with Sullivan and hoisting him up the steps so they could throw the ball and watch him slide down. It only took a couple of times and Sullivan figured out how to climb up on his own. Here's the dog in action:

Up he goes

He is almost to the top

And getting ready to slide

And after climbing up and down the slide for quite sometime, he was exhausted and found a quite place to rest. Notice he isn't giving up his ball yet.