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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Alexandria Farmer's Market

While we were in Alexandria,VA this weekend, the kids and I went with Cathy to the farmer's market they hold every Saturday morning in the town square.

We picked up fresh squeezed orange juice, blue berry muffins, lemon poppy seed muffins and cinnamon bread.  Breakfast never tasted fresher! 

And while we were at the market, I snapped these shots.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Is that a swoosh on my forehead?


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day in beautiful Hickory, NC with my mom's side of the family.  At the end of the day, my  mom  said, "That was a really nice day, wasn't it?"  And I couldn't have agreed more.

After we got home Thursday evening we put up the Christmas tree and packed our bags.

We got up Friday morning and made the six hour trip to Washington, DC to my sister-in-law's house.  She was bringing my father-in-law down with her from Massachusetts.

On Saturday, after a trip to the Alexandria Farmer's Market, we headed to the outdoor ice skating rink in Washington and let the kids try ice skating for the first time.  I got lots of pictures but would have been happier with them if all of those other people that I don't know weren't in them all.

How dare other people be at a public ice skating rink when I am trying to take pictures of my children????

Well, I guess that's what the crop function in Picassa is for!

We came home on Sunday with a very special passenger!  My 92-year-old father-in-law (Grampa, as we like to call him) will be staying with us until Christmas - maybe longer if he can put up with us!

That's what we've been up to.  And now it's back to the normal grind.  I've already been to the Walmarts and the dump.  I'm in the middle of a large mountain of laundry.  And Peter needs a haircut and then we have lots of homework.  And then it's Scouts and basketball practice.

Oh, and I keep forgetting - I really need to start Christmas shopping now that Peter's birthday and Thanksgiving have come and gone.  Oh, how I love to use Peter's birthday and Thanksgiving as excuses to put off Christmas shopping.  Oh, how I don't enjoy Christmas shopping. 

But y'all December is in 2 days.  TWO DAYS!

Deep breath.

No more excuses.  Just do it. 

(When did I become a Nike ad?)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Spoiled and blessed.

Can you believe that I am 42 years old and I have never cooked an entire Thanksgiving dinner? 

My mom and grandmother have always taken care of that in the past. I have brought side dishes but I have never done the whole enchilada.

And this year, we are going to my aunt's house and she and my cousin and my cousin-in-law are taking care of the entire meal so I don't even have to bring a side dish.

I am feeling a little spoiled right now.  And blessed!

Enjoy your special day with your people and good luck if you are in charge of the turkey.

I'll leave you with one of my all time favorite Bible verses:

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 
- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Jenga! Jenga! Jenga!

We had some time before time to put the kids to bed the other night so we decided to play Jenga.

I love Jenga.  It is very simple, little kids can play, and because it is relatively fast moving, it doesn't bore me.  But mostly I like it because there aren't a lot of rules to keep up with. 

We had lots of family fun until the very end. Because ,of course, there was a winner and a loser.  There were accusations of taunting and of gloating. There were raised voices and hot tears.

And then it was bedtime.  And lucky for the kids, because if it wasn't already bedtime, it would have been early bedtime.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

And now Peter knows more about Arkansas than I do.

I loved Peter's October project because it was done entirely at school.

At the beginning of October, the kids in Peter's class paired up and drew names of states.  Peter and Daniel worked together on Arkansas.  They researched the state in the library and online and then worked together to create a Power Point presentation.

Yesterday, they got to present their information to the class and to any of the parents that were able to come.
My mom and I were there with bells on!  Grandma doesn't like to miss anything that involves her grand babies!

Peter's teacher requires each of the kids to make a presentation to the class with each of their monthly projects.  I remember first giving presentations in middle school and I hated it.  I was always so nervous. 

I've always hated public speaking and I still do to this day. I wonder if I had been required to do oral presentations in elementary school if things would be different.  

Here's my sweet little man before the presentation:

Here he is during his presentation:

He spoke loudly, clearly and didn't mispronounce anything he was trying to say.  Great job, little buddy!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Imagination Station

The kids got out of school early on Thursday and were out on Friday for teacher conferences and all I can say is "I can't believe it's Monday already!"

The conferences went well.  Both kids are doing great at their new school.  Peter is "very intelligent" but needs to "focus a little more" and "talk a little less".  All of these were things I knew.

Sarah is "curious" and "keeps the teacher laughing".  Apparently Sarah asks her teacher questions all day starting even before school starts!  What?  That's interesting.  I never would have guessed that! 

The teacher said she didn't mind and that she likes to joke with Sarah about her curiosity.  Hopefully curiosity doesn't kill the cat!

When I got up on Saturday morning, there was an email from the mom of one of Sarah's classmates.  She was asking if Sarah and 2 other girls from the class would come for a sleepover - that night.  THAT NIGHT! 

Who invites someone they don't know for a sleepover THAT SAME NIGHT?!  I declined on the sleepover, Sarah had ball practice that night anyway and I don't know this family yet.  But they did say that if the little girls couldn't make it for the sleepover THAT SAME NIGHT, they were also invited on Sunday afternoon to a party at Celebration Station.

Sarah had been talking all week about being invited to a party at Imagination Station so I assumed this is what she was referring to.  I knew she really wanted to go and since we had a good 24 hours lead time on this party, I let her go. 

Although at first, I didn't want to let her go, partially because I figured we were being invited last minute because someone else who was invited several weeks ago had to back out at the last minute.

But in the end, I'm glad I let her go because she had a blast.  She went on an on about all the fun things they did which led to Peter getting upset because all he got to do was "spend the whole afternoon at home with mom and dad" and "why does Sarah get to go to all the fun parties"?

To which I can only answer, "I don't know.  Maybe it's because she's curious and keeps the teacher laughing?"

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Way too old...

The kids and I got our flu shots yesterday.  Our doctor's office runs a flu clinic 3 times in the fall.  We first got flu shots two years ago when I was working at the preschool.  I just KNEW I would get the flu if I didn't get a shot so we all got flu shots and none of us got the flu.

Last year, it was the middle of November and I called to make Peter's well check appointment and to make flu shot appointments and they said, "We've already done our clinics and we have no more shots."   I  tried to get the kid's flu shots at Walgreens but apparently only doctor's offices can give the flu shots to people under 18 so we ended up not getting flu shots.

And Sarah got the flu.

It was horrible.  She was miserable.  She missed a week of school.  Then it snowed and the kids missed another week of school and then I was miserable.

So I called in October this year to get an appointment and got one of the last spots in the last clinic they were offering.  I guess next year I need to call for flu shots in August

Anyway, we went yesterday and I have to say, my kids can put on quite a show.

The clinic is always held in the waiting room. You just go to a nurse who has your chart, sign a form and get your shot  right there in the waiting room.

Two years ago, the waiting room was packed.  My kids took their shots like men, so to speak, and other than a few quiet tears from Sarah, there were no histrionics.

This year, however, we got there and the waiting room was empty.

So Peter decided to see how much he could get away with. There was whining, there was complaining and a couple of times there was even turning and walking away from the nurse right as she was getting ready to stick him. 

When it was Sarah's turn, she did everything she saw Peter do and finally when she got the shot she screamed, "OOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCCCHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

I apologized multiple times to the nurse who assured me that she had been a pediatric nurse for 8 years and had seen it all.

That may be the case, but I know that she was thinking a 7-year-old and a 9-year-old are waaaaaay to big to be acting like that.

Because that's what I was thinking.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


The sun was setting and was casting a reddish glow over the trees and grass. I tried to capture it but I didn't quite get it...

So I opened the shutter (I think!) and got this...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Smores in the chiminea.

Saturday night after dinner, my husband fired up our chiminea and we made smores.

Well, tried to make them is more like it.  We wrapped them up in tinfoil and laid the in the fire but they got a little too done.  Dan and I decided that we need to use two layers of tinfoil.

When the smores didn't work we switched to marshmallows so the kids didn't mind.

I took quite a few pictures on Auto that looked like this:
 And then I switched something and turned something and it looked like this:
I liked the way that looked so I left it that way and we took a few more pictures.

I really do need to figure out what I'm doing. It's fun playing around though!

Monday, November 14, 2011

When, people? When?

Peter's 9th birthday was yesterday.   ....sigh...  How did my little man get to be nine-years old and 4 feet 6 3/8 inches tall?

When, people?  When?

Oh how I would love just one day with my little baby back.  One day to hold him, feed him, rock him and sniff his sweet little baby head.  One more day and I would be so happy.

And then after that one day, I would probably looking for my mostly self-sufficient nine-year old.  I think a days worth of diapers and a night of no sleep would be about all I could take!.

Since he celebrated his birthday with a sleepover last week, things were pretty low-key yesterday.  We  went out to dinner with my parents and my brother and then back to their house for cake, ice cream and presents.

I love this face!

Sarah, Grandpa, Peter, Grandma

I love this face too!

Grandma lighting the candles on the cake.

A new bike! 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Nine is...

Nine is...

a guitar player
a computer gamer
a Cub Scout
a great reader
still a momma's boy
an excellent student

Nine loves to...

play on the computer
play with his best friend Colton
read in bed
play with Legos, Bayblades and Dagedar
follow tradition and do things just like we always do them
go to the beach
watch Wipeout
twirl his hair
take his time doing anything

Nine has my heart.
Happy Birthday, Peter!

Friday, November 11, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday


Jennifer's kids spent the night last night so I'm a little groggy this morning!  There was pizza, donuts, hide and seek, extreme hide and seek with Nerf guns, Trouble, Beyblades, Dagedars and movies.  And to make things even more fun, since there's no school today, they will be playing here for most of the day. 

Yesterday, Sarah said, "Did you know that tomorrow is Veterinarian's Day?  Jennifer, since your husband is a Vet (Veterinarian not Veteran) I guess you knew that already!

My husband is a Vet (Veteran not Veterinarian) and he is traveling home from Ireland and won't get to take advantage of the free meal at Applebee's or Chili's.  He was a little disappointed when he realized he wouldn't get his free burger this year.

I got a new Mom's Plan-It calendar to help me keep track of everything I need to keep track of.  I'm not sure I'm going to like it.  I just transferred everything from my other calendar to this one so I'm going to give it a week and evaluate it.  That's how old fashioned and behind the times I am - I have a handwritten calendar on my fridge.  YIKES, y'all.  That sounds so 1978!  Well, at least my fridge isn't avocado green!

I have volunteered at the kid's new school 3 times now.  And each time, the principal has thanked me for volunteering.  I don't even know many hours I put it at our old school over 3 years...but I can tell you exactly how many times the principal there personally thanked me...ZERO. (Now I know that the old school is much bigger but I was there A  LOT and she saw me A LOT.  A quick "thanks for volunteering" once or twice would have been very much appreciated.)

Typically people arrive at my blog by googling "Pirate Treasure Map Clues" or something along those lines, but lately I have had a lot of people arrive by googling "Alfred E. Newman" and "sock bun curls".  I'm glad to get any visitor I can but I really wish they were googling "super wonderful mom blog that's a definite must-read every day" and ending up here.  Oh well... I guess I'll take what I can get!

We have a very calm weekend planned.  We are celebrating Peter's birthday on Sunday by going out to dinner with my parents and my brother.  And we may try to take the kids to see Puss N Boots.  My husband does a really good imitation of the cat.  He likes to drink some milk and say "Now that's some good leche!".

Peter needs to get started on his November project (which is developing a product that would appeal to his classmates, describing this product in detail and coming up with an advertisement for the product.  He will also have to do a presentation in class).  In addition to working on this, he also needs to get started on his Science Fair project.

Is it any wonder that the bonus room is a wreck and will probably remain one until the kids take all of their toys with them to college?  They will take all of their junk with them...right?

Have a good one, y'all.  And to all the Veterans out there - thanks for your service to our country and I hope you get your free burger!

For more 7 Quick Takes, head to Conversion Diary

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's such a mess I don't even know how to get started!

Our bonus room/playroom is a mess. 

I feel my chest tighten up every time I go near that room.  I have been considering buying a  bottle of baby aspirin to keep on hand just in case I should go into full heart attack mode when Sarah asks me to play with her in there.

I just don't know what to do with the toys.  I think many of them could/should be sent to Goodwill but the kids can't stand the thought of that.  "But I play with this sometimes!" "But what if I want to play with it next week?"  "But Grandma/Aunt Cathy/Santa Clause/My BFF gave it to me!"

I just need to figure out a better way to organize that room...big rubbermaid bins just aren't cutting it.  Because everytime someone needs something from one of those bins, everything gets removed from it (because the item is always at the bottom of the bin) and then when I tell the kids to clean up the playroom, nothing gets put back in the right bin.

And it's not helping matters that I have been perusing organizing blogs for some ideas and inspiration.  That just makes my chest tighten even worse.  Look at this how-to post on organizing Legos

I wonder how long it would take us to sort all of Peter's Legos by color?  Probably about a week (or more).

I wonder how long they would stay sorted by color?  Probably about a day (or less).

I wonder how long it would take for my head to shoot right off of my neck the minute that I realized they were no longer sorted by color?  Probably about a second (yeah, a second, that sounds about right).

I would take a picture of the mess to show you guys but that would mean I have to go into the room and that's just not going to happen!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My kingdom for a miniature Heath bar!

My husband is out of town on business tonight so that meant I got a night off from cooking - unless you consider microwaving a Hot Pocket, a bowl of ABC's and 123's and a Lean Cuisine cooking.  And I don't.

As I was eating my Lean Cuisine, I remembered why I stopped buying them many years ago when I was single.  They are horrible.  It was very bland, a little mushy and I found a chicken bone. Blech.

You know how you can eat a meal that isn't very good but you go ahead and eat it all anyway and then afterwards you are full but you feel like you haven't eaten yet because you didn't enjoy what you ate?  Well that totally happened to me tonight.

I was staring forlornly at my empty Lean Cuisine tray when I remembered that yesterday I had discovered a miniature Heath bar in Sarah's Halloween bucket.  Oh I do love me a good Heath bar and was thrilled to find it hiding under a pile of 3 Musketeers and Milky Ways.  

I grabbed the Heath with a little too much excitement which caused Sarah to ask suspiciously, "What is that?"

"Oh, that's just some toffee.  It's grown up candy.  You wouldn't like it," was my reply as as I tossed her a Milky Way and quickly ran out of the room.

I savored that Heath Bar.  It was crunchy, chocolatey, everything a good Heath Bar should be and I wondered why I ever stopped getting a Heath Blizzard at Dairy Queen.  And then I remembered the Brownie Batter Blizzard, the Chocolate Xtreme and the Midnight Truffle.  Yum.  Blizzards.  Yum.

Where was I?

Oh.  I was remembering that I had found a Heath Bar in Sarah's Halloween bucket which made me think that if there was one in Sarah's bucket then the chances were good that there was one in Peter's bucket.

So I went racing over to his bucket and started rummaging through all of his candy.

I caught my breath.  There it is!  There's a Heath bar! 

I reached for the candy bar.  All I could see was the brown paper and an HE written on it.  The rest of the candy bar was obscured by 3 Musketeers and Milky Ways.  Clearly, my kids don't like those either.

I snatched it up and held it close so that no one could see it.  I turned my body away from the questioning eyes of the little people and turned it over.


I dejectedly threw it back into the bucket so it could lay with the rest of the second rate Halloween candy.  I pilfered through the bucket and came out a mini Moon Pie.

As I ate the Moon Pie, I sat pondering why anyone would like a Moon Pie. There's not enough chocolate covering the cookie.  The cookie is rather tasteless. It's filled with that weird marshmallowy goo.

Perhaps it just needed an R.C. Cola to go with it.

So now the kids are in bed and I have free reign over the candy buckets but I know there's nothing good left.  Laffy Taffy, Smarties, Starburst...all third rate candy. 

The Reese's Cups, Kit Kats and  $100k Bars are long gone.

Perhaps I'll just go to bed too.  Ahhh...sweet dreams....

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Beth's Award-Winning Chili Recipe!

I mentioned previously that although Peter's boat didn't win anything in the Cub Scout Rain Gutter Regatta, our chili won for Hottest Chili!

And I say "our" because he did help me.  He dumped everything in the pot and really, after sauteing the beef, what else is there to do?

There were at least 15 pots of chili at the Regatta and even though I knew my chili was good, I didn't think it was good enough to win an award.

There were 5 judges who tasted everything, voted, compared notes and at one point could even be heard disagreeing.  (Well, maybe disagreeing isn't the right word.  Dan came up to me after checking out the chili and said, "the judges are having a hard time agreeing on who's the winner". That could be considered disagreeing, right?)

I used my regular chili recipe which I think tastes very similar to the chili that Wendy's restaurants serve and I add about 4 tablespoons of jalapenos.

The jalapenos that I used were from our garden.  I had sliced all the jalapenos, put them in a pot, covered them with vinegar and let them simmer until they had softened.  I have on old pickle jar which I store them in. 

Here's my recipe.  I didn't think it was super hot but Dan thought it was pretty spicy.  And apparently so did some of the judges.  I kept saying to Dan, "It's really not that hot!  Wonder why I won this?"  Dan said it's because the award is really supposed to be for "Hottest Chili Maker!"  I love that man!

Beth's Award-Winning Chili

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 (1.25 ounce) package chili seasoning mix
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 (16 ounce) can chili beans, undrained
  • 1 (16 ounce) can baked beans
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can tomato soup
  • 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers
  • 4 tablespoons diced jalapenos (pickled not raw)
  1. In a dutch oven over medium heat, cook beef, onion and green pepper until beef is brown. Add chili seasoning and water. Stir well.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir and cook on low for 2 hours stirring occasionally.  (This recipe also works well in a crock pot.) 
  3. Serve with jalapenos, shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream. 
Here we are with our trophy!

Doesn't this look delicious?

Isn't this trophy adorable?

For more slow cooker recipes visit Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.

More boats, more disappointment. That's life kid!

The Cub Scout Rain Gutter Regatta or the Cub Scout Annual Character Building Contest was this past Saturday.  Peter and Dan worked on the boat together and hoped they had a fast one. 

Peter got to use the sander and the saw a little more this year than in previous years and he got to do most of the painting. He decided he didn't want a theme boat or a decorated boat, he just wanted a fast boat.

But it wasn't meant to be.

He lost the first heat but luckily it was double elimination.  He won his next heat but lost in the the final heat to the boy who ultimately finished 3rd.

Peter was not happy and he wasn't a very gracious loser. We are still working on that.  It's a hard lesson to learn.

Here are some pictures from the afternoon:
Peter's boat is the blue one in the middle.

All smiles before the race.

Peter and some of his friends cheering on the younger Cubs.

Peter at the beginning of one of his races.

Peter at the end of one of his races.

Peter after losing the first heat.

Peter at the end of the competition with his medal and a forced smile for Mom.

On a positive note, there was  also a chili contest and the chili that Peter and I made won for "Hottest Chili".  We were very excited about that!  I'll post my award winning chili recipe later!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Wings, cheesecake, sleepover and best of all - NO GIRLS!

While Sarah was off camping and having a wonderful time, Peter had his best friend Colton over to spend the night.  We took the boys to Christo's for dinner.  Typically Christo's has an all you can eat pizza bar that the boys were excited to get, but of course, they don't have it on Friday.  So they got wings instead.

Eating wings is Peter's new favorite thing to do.  He started out by eating them plain and worked his way up to mild.  But on Friday night, he decided he would get medium.  Dan and I talked the boys into getting medium and mild just in case they couldn't take the heat.

It was probably a good thing because after 3 medium wings, Peter switched to mild.  Here they are enjoying their wings:

Yum.  Look at the sauce dripping off the wing Peter is holding.  Makes me wish I had a big plate of wings right now.

We told the waitress it was Peter's birthday (well, Peter was concerned because it wasn't technically his birthday until next week and he didn't want to lie so we told her we were celebrating his birthday which was true) and she rounded up all the other waitress and came out clapping and singing with a piece of cheesecake.

Look at these cute faces while all the waitresses are singing:

And look at this picture.  Peter looks a little worried that Colton might eat all of his cake!

Here's a cute picture of the two boys.

They devoured the cheesecake in about 30 seconds and then proceeded to have a sword fight with the cutlery because that's what 8 almost 9 year old boys do.

We had a fun dinner and the boys had a great sleepover...I'm just a little bummed out that I didn't get any of that cheesecake!