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Monday, June 30, 2014

Camp update.

Peter made it home from camp on Saturday morning.  I swear, he grew two inches while he was gone!

As soon as he walked in the door, he started talking about camp and he hasn't stopped yet!  Just ask his two uncles, former Scouts themselves, who called to find out if he enjoyed himself.  He would still be talking to them if we hadn't forced him off the phone.

He proudly reported that he took a (a, as in one) shower while he was gone.  He took it on Wednesday night. He said he figured that was the middle of the week and would be good enough.  Suprisingly, he wasn't too filthy when he got home and he didn't stink. 

But the laundry!  I did three very large loads when he got home and everything was dirty, muddy, dusty, damp, and brown. 

He earned five merit badges at camp.  One was leather work and one was basketry. I figured these would be two of his least favorite sessions but he said he really enjoyed them.  Although he did say in order to earn the merit badges you had to finish up your projects back at your campsite and that was a little stressful for him. But he managed to complete his projects.

The basket on the right is the first one he did.  And it shows.   The one beside it was his second project and it is definitely better than the first.  The stool was his third and final weaving project and it turned out really well! 

The leather knife pouch and the paracord bracelet were projects from his leather works session.

I'm glad he had a great time but I'm glad he's back home!  

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Do they even still make Afro Sheen?

I'm joining Cari's photo link up today because the theme for this week's picture is "swim" and that's pretty much what we do all summer.

And when I say "we", I really mean "they".  The kids swim all summer.  I just sit by the pool trying to sweat off weight (that doesn't work, by the way) and will occasionally get in only when I'm so hot I can't take it any longer.  And even then it's just a quick dip.  And technically not even a dip because I never even put my head under. 

Back in the 70's when my family were members at this very pool we are members of now, I used to be in the water the entire time we were at the pool. 

My friends and I would do handstands, play chicken, try to figure out what we were saying under the water, play cross pool (I think they call it shark now) in the 10 foot, practice our dives off the diving board (Back then we had a high dive and a low dive, they have since removed the high dive.  I'm assuming they did it for safety reasons.), play Marco Polo, and dive for coins.

And we would even swim.

The only time we would come out was when the life guard blew the whistle for pool break.  Those were the longest 15 minutes of the hour.  We would reluctantly climb out of the water, grab a quick snack, and play in the baby pool until the life guard would slowly mount the stand and blow the whistle, signaling that we could get back into the water.

I remember those afternoons when we would come home from the pool.  Our house didn't have air conditioning then.  This is North Carolina so it would be hot.  We would lay in front of a giant fan with the shades drawn and  all the lights off  in an attempt to keep the room as cool as possible.  

The television console would give off a blue glow as episodes of Andy Griffith or  The Brady Bunch  played in the background as we assessed our sun burns or peeled the skin that was bubbling up from the day before.

This was back before spray-on sunscreen.  Truth be told, I don't remember much sunscreen at all.  I do, however, remember lots of bottles of sweet smelling Hawaiian Tropic Sun Tan Oil and lots of jars of Afro Sheen.  A lot of the moms at the pool would use Afro Sheen as sun tan oil claiming that it brought about the deepest and darkest tans.  T

his was the 70s - people were smoking cigarettes, riding around without seat belts, and apparently not wearing sunscreen.  And yet, most of us managed to survive.

I spend a lot of my time at that same pool now applying sunscreen, doling out snacks or money for Slushies, and watching my kids play all the same games I used to play.

I hope they grow up with a lot of fond memories of their time spent at the pool and very few memories of sunburn. 

Sarah at Tuesday's swim meet.  She placed 2nd in backstroke.  Go Sarah!

If you have a blog and a camera, join in the fun at Clan Donaldson

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Wonky pockets!

We've been getting some updates from Boy Scout camp.  Dan is going up on Wednesday night but another Dad went up on Sunday and will leave when Dan arrives.  It was nice to know that someone  was there to watch out for the new Boy Scouts and to make sure everything was going well for them.  There are plenty of other parents there as well but it gave me comfort knowing that someone was going to be there specifically keeping an eye on the first year Boy Scouts.

He sent Dan a message on Sunday night saying that the opening campfire got cut short due to rain but that all the boys were currently in the canteen purchasing treats so all was well.  I'm sure the ability to buy a root beer and a candy bar put Peter in a good mood. 

Last night Dan got a text with the following picture:

I was so excited to see this picture and then Dan and I just couldn't stop laughing.  I am hoping that the pained look on Peter's face is his normal fake-photo smile and not his I'm-on-the-verge-of-tears smile.  It could go either way.

And then the next thing we noticed about the picture was his shirt.  He wears tee-shirts and polo shirts every day. His main experience with button down shirts is from first communion and funerals.  I always have to help him with his Boy Scout shirt because he always buttons it wrong.

One of the last things I told him before leaving (in addition to reminders to shower and wear deodarant) was to remember to button his shirt from the bottom button up.  That was he could make sure he got it right.

But apparently, he didn't listen. Look how uneven those pockets are.  Someone did not remember my advice.

So the odds are very, very good that he also did not wear his deodorant or shower either

Oh well.  I was talking to one of the other moms at the pool yesterday and she said her boys never shower at camp.  At least he won't be the only stinky one there.  And hopefully not the only one with wonky pockets either!

Monday, June 23, 2014

I feel sorry for his tent mate!

Peter went to Boy Scout camp on Sunday.  We packed a giant footlocker filled with all of the gear he would need for a week, loaded him up on a church bus, and waved goodbye as he headed off for a week of fun at Raven Knob.

He's been going to Raven Know since 1st grade when he was a Cub Scout.  But Cub Scout camp is only three nights and Dan always went with him.

Boy Scout camp is a full week and Dan will be going but not until late Wednesday night.

I am a little nervous but I think it will be good for him. 

He will be responsible for getting himself up in time for breakfast.  He will be responsible for remembering to brush his teeth and put on his deodorant.  He will be responsible for knowing what time all of his merit badge classes are and where they are.   And he will be responsible for getting a shower without me there to "remind" him that he needs one every day.

Before he left, he actually asked me if he had to take a shower while he was gone.  A shower...singular.  As in one the entire week! 

He was a little nervous on Sunday morning as we were getting everything packed up but as soon as we dropped him off, he found a friend and didn't look back.  Well, at least, not until it was time to get on the bus.  And then he came running up to me and gave me a giant hug. 

I think he'll be fine.

I think we'll both be fine.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

If you are looking for me this summer....

Swim season has kicked into high gear around here. We have swim practice every day (twice a day if we choose to go and usually we do).

We had our first meet on Tuesday evening and in typical southern summer fashion, it started thundering before we could get half way through.  We tried to wait it out but it kept thundering, which meant we had to go back last night to finish up.

Peter and Sarah did okay.  They certainly weren't breaking any records but that's not why we do swim team. Why do we do it then?  Well, here's a few reasons:

I love that their strokes are improving with each summer.  They both have mentioned being on the swim team in high school and this is perfect training for that. And thanks to the swim team, they both know how to do freestyle, back stroke, breast stroke and butterfly.  They may not be fast, but they can do them!

I love that I don't have to worry about them when they go swimming somewhere without me.  And I really owe that to the swim team.  Being on the swim team since they were 5 and 6 means we have gotten some excellent quality swim lessons at a very low fee each summer. Because the way I see it, each practice is actually a lesson.

I love that they are getting lots of good exercise.  Swimming uses your entire body and they both always look so lean and trim after swim season. (Makes me think I should start practicing with them!)

I love that there are tons of kids their age on the swim team.  They really do have lots of fun with the other kids.  It's good not only for them physically but socially as well.

And I love that I get to spend lots of quality time with my BFF at evening swim practices and during the swim meets. 

So, if you need me, I'll be at the pool!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I survived!

I am up by 5:45 each morning during the week so I like to sleep in on the weekends.  But there was no time for that this past weekend!

I am on the school's PTO Board and we had a retreat/planning meeting on Saturday morning.  Dan and Peter headed to Virginia to spend some time with Dan's brother, Bob, and Sarah spent the  morning with Cheyanne.

After the meeting, I quickly picked Sarah up and we headed to her birthday party. Typically we keep birthdays pretty low key around here.  Usually we celebrate with cake, ice cream and presents with family and a play date or sleepover with one friend.

This year, Sarah decided she wanted a "real party" and a "big sleepover".  After some heated negotiation, she ended up with a skate party where she invited all the girls in her class (luckily there are only 11 including Sarah!) and then a sleepover with 3 other girls.  She wanted to invite all the girls in her class for the sleepover but I knew I couldn't handle that so I had to limit it to three.  (And when girls are involved, you need to make sure you have an even number so that no one gets left out.  This is a lesson I learned long ago!)

7 girls were able to attend the party at the skating rink and I think they all had a great time.  They skated, ate pizza and birthday cake, and skated some more.  Three hours later, the skate party was in the books!

And let me tell you, eight 10-year-old girls can get pretty sweaty and pretty smelly after three hours of roller skating.  (Puberty, here we come!)

I had already warned Sarah that I was not going to entertain the girls when they got back to our house but I shouldn't have worried.  They kept busy with Truth or Dare, bike riding, finding what they thought was a stray kitten (but luckily was not because I don't need any more cats), giggling and squealing (lots and lots of that!), playing on their iPods, and watching movies.

And did I mention giggling and squealing?  10-year-old girls do a lot of that!

I was exhausted so I headed to bed a little before 11.  Around 2:30, I woke up and could hear that the girls were still awake.  I told them they needed to get to sleep, at which point they giggled and squealed some more and finally fell asleep around 3:30  Luckily I can sleep through giggling and squealing.

And just like that, the party was over and I survived! 

Here, in all their dark and grainy glory, are a few of the pictures I took.  Further proof that it doesn't matter how nice the camera might be, if you don't know how to set it, the pictures will not be good!

The whole gang!
Margaret and Sarah


Sarah and her inflatable ice cream cone. (Everybody needs one of these!, Right?)

Brooke and Gabbie

Mia and Sarah

Tiana, Margaret, and Sophie (and a giant inflatable owl)

The sleepover girls enjoying some ice cream!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Tortellini Pepperoni Pasta Salad

I found another recipe on Pinterest that I really wanted to try. It was for a tortellini pasta salad and it looked so yummy. However, when I tried to access the website that contained the recipe, McAfee sent up several red flags and a flashing screen that questioned, "This site you are trying to reach is questionable.  Do you really want to go there?"

No.  I did not want to go there.  The last thing I need is a virus on the old computer.  But darn it, I really wanted to make the tortellini salad.  I needed a recipe!

I decided to be industrious and did a Google search on the ingredients I could see from the picture on Pinterest and found what I used as my recipe. (I would link to that but it was a strange webpage that was filled with a bunch of strange looking ads and the ingredients to the tortellini salad and nothing else. So.  Not link worthy at all.)

Dan and I thought this salad was pretty tasty. It would make a great side dish at a summer cookout.

Tortellini Pepperoni Pasta Salad

  • 20 ounce package refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 1 cup fresh mozzarella (I used the kind that was already formed into small balls)
  • 1 cup pepperoni (I used the mini pepperoni.  If you don't have this, just cube the regular sized pepperoni into bite sized pieces)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2/3 cup Caesar salad dressing
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook tortellini according to package directions.  Combine all other ingredients and pour over tortellini.  Enjoy!

Friday, June 13, 2014

7 Quick Takes

It's Friday so let's do some Quick Takes!  7 to be exact!

1.  Last Friday when I stepped on the scales, I rejoiced!  I had lost one whole pound!  Yippee! 

But on Monday when I stepped on them again, it was back.  Boo Hiss.  I guess when you stop eating like a bird or a rabbit for a couple of days and eat like a human, it will come back. 

This morning, after 5 days of eating like a bird/rabbit, the pound was gone again. Now I just have to do better with my weekend eating and we'll see if it's still gone on Monday.  Luckily the birthday cake is almost gone!

2.  I've been out the door by 6:00 AM every day this week.  I'm up to 2 miles each run.  They are still very slow miles but at least I'm making progress with my distance.  I'm thinking another week of 2 milers and then I might try to inch up to 2.5.  I'm working under the old adage of slow and steady wins the race. 

3.  I posted a tasty recipe for Avocado Hummus earlier this week.  If you missed it, you should check it out.  It was full of flavor and very creamy!  I dipped sugar snap peas in it and that was my lunch a couple of days this week.  See, I told you I was eating like a rabbit.  If I sprout whiskers....

4.  Sarah's friend birthday party is this weekend.  Typically she celebrates with just one friend but this year she begged to invite all of the girls from her class.  Luckily her class is small.  The ones that can come our meeting us the skating rink for an afternoon of roller skating and pizza, and afterwards three girls are coming to spend the night.  She is very excited.  Me, well, sleepovers just aren't my thing but I'm always glad we did them after they are done.

5.On Wednesday evening I attended a cooking demonstration with my mom and Jennifer.  It was at Chef Dion's restaurant.  His She crab soup and crab cakes are menu favorites and that's what he was demonstrating.  My parents love to go to Dion's and typically get the soup and crab cakes and Jennifer is from Maryland and loves how Dion prepares them as well so we knew we had to attend this. 

It was very informative and a lot of fun.  We took notes, asked questions, and ate great food!  There was complimentary wine and hors d'oeuvres .  And of course the soup and crab cakes which he served with roasted potatoes and asparagus. I would highly recommend Chef Dion's cooking demonstrations if you are local. 

6.  I can not tell you how happy this makes me:

Hurry up and turn red!  Momma's ready for a matter sammich!

7. Oh, and by the wa, did you know?  It's Friday the 13th AND there's a full moon! Well, actually the full moon occurred in the very early hours this morning but it's still going to be almost full tonight. Enjoy all the craziness that is bound to ensue.

Head over to Kathryn's for more 7 Quick Takes.  She's our hostess with the mostest this week and next since Jen is taking a well deserved break.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Rebecca's Garden

When I ordered flowers for Rebecca's funeral, the florist suggested two hydrangeas.  She said they  were just the right size to put on each side of her tiny casket and they would be perfect to plant in the yard after the funeral.

I ordered them and she was right.  They were perfect.  They didn't overpower the delicate white box, instead, they set it off nicely.  And the deep pink color of the blooms was beautiful.

After the funeral, we planted the hydrangeas and they looked good for a day or two.  And then the blooms turned black and the leaves started to brown and curl.

I was devastated.

I wanted those two bushes to bloom and grow and flourish every year as a beautiful reminder of my little one who would not be able to do the same.

I fretted over the lost bushes but Dan patiently watered them every evening and told me not to give up on them just yet.  I Googled and determined that maybe they were getting a little too much water so he scaled back.  I even prayed for God to save those hydrangeas. 

I  mourned the loss of my hydrangeas even as I was mourning the loss of my daughter. Until one evening after his nightly garden watering rounds, Dan pointed out to me that there was new growth on the hydrangeas!  They were getting new leaves!

I rejoiced, hopeful that perhaps next year we would get beautiful pink blooms.

And then yesterday, as I was walking past the bushes, I noticed a tiny flash of color.  Upon further inspection, I realized it was the beginnings of a bloom!  I quickly sent Dan a text with a picture of the bloom and the words "baby girl says hello".

I was happy and so very thankful.  I will be seeing new blooms this summer!

So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. - 1 Corinthians 3:7

There are other things that have been planted around our yard that were given to us in memory of Rebecca and they all seem to be doing well.

Dan's sister Cathy and brother Bob sent two beautiful azalea bushes.  They both have new growth!

Cathy also brought a Camellia bush.  It has new growth as well.  I can't wait to see this bush in bloom.
The teachers at Our Lady of Mercy, Peter and Sarah's school, gave us a dogwood tree.  It will be beautiful next spring!
This butterfly bush was from my sweet friend Christy.  It already has new blooms on it.  I can't wait to see all of the butterflies it will attract.

So many lovely reminders of  my sweet baby.

Linking up at Cari's place.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Guess I need to brush my hair and smile.

Jennifer's girls introduced Sarah to a YouTube channel called Fun2Draw. The host, Mei Yu, shows you how to draw a wide variety of pictures.

Sarah likes to watch the tutorial with her sketch pad in hand drawing along with Mei Yu. She will stop and start the video as necessary until she completes the drawing.

The interesting thing about these drawings is that they are done in a Japanese animation style. They all look like caricatures and each drawing (whether it's human or an inanimate object), has very large eyes. Kind of creepy, but for some reason Sarah doesn't see anything wrong with a slice of birthday cake or a bottle of nail polish having eyes.

Yesterday, Sarah decided to draw my portrait. I snapped this picture while she was drawing me even though I was being reprimanded to "sit still".

After she completed her drawing, she looked at it and me in mild disgust and scolded, "You're frowning and your hair is a mess".  (I guess I should have primped before she started drawing me.  Maybe even applied a little lipstick?)

And then she finished by saying, "If you insist on posting this anywhere, don't use this one I drew of you. Use the one I drew of Elsa from Frozen and just tell everyone this is you."

I look good, right?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Avocado Hummus

I found a great recipe for Avocado Hummus on Pinterest and I made it yesterday.  And if I must say, it was delicious! 

Here's the original recipe.

Here's my version.  I modified the original because I don't typically have tahini hanging out in the old cupboard.  So I upped the lime juice, garlic, and cumin to give it extra flavor.

  • 1 (15 oz) can chick peas, well drained
  • 2 medium ripe avocados, cored and peeled
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for serving if desired
  • 6 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 clove garlic, peeled
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro leaves, for topping
  • Red pepper flakes, for topping 

Place the first seven ingredients into the food processor and blend for about 2 minutes until smooth.

Garnish with cilantro and red pepper flakes if you want to make it fancy.  (When Sarah saw the completed dish she exclaimed, "Mom, it's so pretty!  And so fancy!")

I ate half the bowl with sugar snap peas.  Don't judge.  It was my lunch!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Let's party!

Sarah's birthday was last Wednesday but Dan was out of town so we didn't really do anything to celebrate.  But never fear, Sarah will get lots of partying time in!   We had our family party on Sunday with lunch and cake and presents at Grandma's house and this coming Saturday she will have a skate party and sleepover with friends from school.  You only turn double digits once so you better celebrate!

Here are a few pictures from Sunday.

The birthday girl!

The gorgeous birthday cake!

Sarah thought this was the most beautiful cake in the whole world!  (And no, I did not make it!)

The candle flames were colored!

Mommy and her 10-year-old!

Sarah and her mound of gifts!

Peter and Uncle Brad.  When your Uncle is over 6 feet tall, there's plenty of lap for an 11-year-old!

Our Trip to Tokyo! The restaurant, not the city.

Dan finally made it home from Seattle around 11:00 am on Saturday thanks to a lovely red eye flight.  Just in time to do the yard work.  No rest for the weary or for men who are married to women who have never used a lawn mower, weed eater, and grass blower. 

When the kids finished their first year at Our Lady of Mercy, we headed to Tokyo Japanese Restaurant to celebrate on their last day of school.  At that dinner, we decided we would make that a yearly last day of school tradition.  Fast forward to the next year (which was last year) and Dan was flying home from a business trip so we weren't able to eat on Friday night and had to shift it to Saturday.  And low and behold, we had to do the exact same thing this year. 

But we made it and it was delicious.  Who doesn't love dinner and a show!

Friday, June 6, 2014

7 Quick Takes: The what's been happening around here edition.

It's Friday so let's do Seven Quick Takes!

1.  Dan has been out of town yet again this week.  He also left the Sunday before Memorial Day (yes, his long weekend wasn't even as long as a normal weekend!) and was gone that week as well.  But he's home tomorrow so there is much rejoicing.

2.  Today is the last day of school and I must say I'm a bit sad.  I am blaming it all on a nice mixture of hormones, grief and nostalgia.    But the kids are so excited to be finished with what has been a very long school year and I'm looking forward to having them around all summer.

3.  And speaking of summer, I went bathing suit shopping.  Postpartum bathing suit shopping is even more horrible than regular post-winter bathing suit shopping.  I tweeted that I wished I could suck in my thighs.  But large thighs withstanding, I was able to find two bathing suits that are wearable. Now I can at least I can work on getting a bit of a tan.  I've always operated under the assumption that tan fat looks better than pale fat!

4.  I took Sarah for a haircut this week.  She requested layers but I had to say no to that.  She doesn't understand that layers have to be dealt with on a daily basis and until she's old enough to deal with them herself, no layers! So when she asked for about 4 inches to be removed, I let her go for it.  A good mom blogger would have a nice before and after shot of her hair.  All I have is this...

5.  After reading the post where I mentioned getting back to running, quite a few people told me that would walk with me if I wanted the company.  I've thought a lot about their kind offers but have decided that it's best to go it alone. 

Now that school is over, I will be running bright and early while my husband and kids are still sleeping.  And one of my favorite things to do while running is to pray.  It's a nice way to keep my mind off the fact that I'm running!  Plus, I wouldn't be much company anyway - I'm not one of these people that can run and talk at the same time. 

6.  And speaking of running, I'm up to 1.5 miles.  My goal for next week is 2 miles each run.

Proof that I really am as slow as I'm telling you!  1.5 miles in 24 minutes.  That puts me at more than 16 minutes per mile.  YIKES! 

7.  And this leads me to food.  Because what good is exercise without a healthy diet?  I've been eating a lot of  Black Bean Salsa. My complicated recipe? A can of black beans, a can of corn, and a can of Rotel.  Throw all of that in a bowl and add some light Italian dressing and voila, the perfect lunch, or if your husband is out of town, the perfect lunch AND dinner.  I've also been eating a lot of rice and a lot of salads. 

And to calm my raging sweet tooth:

Plain Greek yogurt with honey drizzled on top.  (Although this looks more like a ladle than a drizzle!)

And now, you're all caught up with what's been going on around here!  For more Quick Takes, head over to Jen's place.