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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Thankful Thursday - Edition 35

Oh my gosh.  Is it really already Thursday again and I haven't posted anything since LAST Thursday?  Somebody needs to get her act together!

Here are just a few of the many things I'm thankful for this week:

1.  Carpool - last week I had to drive to and from the high school two times a day for three days in a row and let me tell you what - it took a lot of time and a lot of gas.  That made me all the more thankful for the carpool group that we have which GREATLY reduces my time spent behind the wheel each day!

2. Lunch with Jennifer!  Now that school is back in session I can get back on a regular schedule for lunch with her.

3.  Meeting with my old MOPS care group.  Same as above - it's so nice to get back into the swing of everything and I do enjoy my time with this group of ladies!

4. Sarah seems to be adjusting well to high school.  Almost every day she tells me of another nice girl she talked to.  Whew!

5.  The weather is gorgeous right now.  It is still very warm but when I walk outside it just feels perfect.  Even though it's hot the humidity is low and I love it!

6.  Long weekend on the horizon!  We don't really have any plans and that's fine with me.

7.  We FINALLY finished painting the garage this past weekend.  It looks a million times better and I am so happy that it is done!

8.  The world's longest to do list. I am currently in processing of writing down the following:  every area I want to clean and organize, every phone call I need to make (I hate making phone calls), every  project I want to do or have done around the house, everything that I keep thinking I need to do or take care of but totally forget about, etc.  I know I won't get to all of it any time soon but having it all down on one list means I might actually get some of it done.  Maybe...

9.  More yellow roses in the window...

What are you thankful for this week?

Thursday, August 23, 2018

First Day of School and Thankful Thursday Edition 34

It's the first day of school! 10th grade and 9th grade!

Notice the fatherly photobomber in the back?  He likes to to try drive me crazy when I'm taking photos before we rush off to school.  Good thing he's so cute!

And just to make me feel really old and sad and melancholy I thought I would share these two posts from the archives:

Peter's first day of kindergarten.

Sarah's first day of kindergarten.

Look at my babies!  SOB!

My how time flies!  (You knew I was going to say it!)

And now how about a little Thankful Thursday?

1.  My kids are in school!  Time to get back to a regular schedule that doesn't involve me forcing them out of bed at 11:00 AM (okay - that's Sarah.  Peter always had me get him up around 9:00 this summer after we were done with swim practice because he didn't want to waste the whole day sleeping. Sarah on the other hand would sleep until 2:00 PM if I let her.)

2. My kid's school.  I really do love their high school.  I loved their elementary/middle school as well. I'm a firm believer that no school is perfect you just have to find the one that is perfect for your kid.

3.  The teachers.  I am so very thankful for people who are willing to teach my kids.  They all have different strengths and weakness and my kids like some of them more than others but it's like I tell my kids - you've got to learn to work for and with a whole variety of people in your life so get used to it!  (Said lovingly of course as they were complaining....)

4.  A rose on the window.  Dan picked this little beauty from the bush in our yard and it makes me smile.   

5. Target/Starbucks.  Is it silly to be thankful for a Target that contains a Starbucks?  I hope not because I really am thankful for it.  I enjoyed a grande skinny mocha latte this morning as I consoled myself with a little retail therapy after carpool.  I really enjoyed that mocha as I browsed the clearance racks.

6.Sunny and cool.  The weather is sunny and cooler than average these next few days and it makes it look and feel like fall around here...  I'm enjoying it but I hate to see the hot weather end because that means cold is right around the corner. 

7.  Sarah had a great day yesterday at Freshman Orientation.  She was extrememly nervous but once she got through the crowd of cheering upperclassmen she said she saw a bunch of people she knew (from some middle school events the high school held over the last couple of year) and she said everyone was friendly and she felt good about heading back today for a real day of class. Whew!

What are you guys thankful for this week?

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

All the things because apparently my plan to post frequently during the summer never happened so here's another long post of randomness..

Wednesday?  Really? And I'm just now getting around to my weekend update. Time really does fly.

Are we all tired of hearing that yet? Because everyone and their brother is posting that on Facebook and all the social media platforms with pictures of their babies going to college, high school, middle school, kindergarten, and/or preschool.

I'm not judging because this morning I dropped my baby off at high school for freshman orientation day and I just can't help thinking back to when she was a baby and how it only seems like yesterday and how can it be 9th grade already???  And my only explanation is TIME FLIES!

She was excited to go this morning but my sweet Sarah was very nervous.  I took her and Cheyanne to the mall Monday and when we got home this was in our yard welcoming her to Bishop McGuinness:

That was exciting!  And this morning, as we pulled in, the first thing we saw was an upperclassman in a cap and gown holding a Welcome to Bishop sign and waving.  When we pulled through the car rider line a large group of Student Ambassadors wearing matching tee shirts were cheering and yelling, "Welcome to Bishop" and some of them were from Our Lady of Mercy so they welcomed Sarah by name.  And then when she walked towards the front doors, the cheer leaders (in uniform complete with pompoms) were cheering the freshmen on as the headed in the building.

It was such a warm welcome!  And then, look what they were handing out to the parents as we drove off...

Didn't even have to get out of my car!

So now let me backtrack to a little...

On Thursday I took Peter to get his braces off!

So handsome.  Now that the braces are off maybe I will get to see this big smile more frequently!
Friday night we attended the first football game of the season.  We lost but it was still a good game.

On Saturday, Dan and Peter finished up the balance of the work on Peter's Eagle Scout project.  Now that it's finally completely finished he can do the rest of the written report. He doesn't seem to be in any hurry so I'm sure it's going to require some mothering from me for him to get it done.

And by mothering, I mean nagging.

Both kids completed their summer reading papers in case you were nervous that they wouldn't.  :) And they both got to hear ,yet again, a lovely lecture from their dad about how getting your work done early is better than leaving it to the last minute.  But it was in one ear and out the other just like every other time he's given that lecture.  I love that he keeps trying though...

On Sunday we went to Mass then had lunch at my parent's house where we celebrated my brother's 48th birthday.  He and I are the exact same age for the next 3 weeks!

And on Sunday afternoon, Sarah and I headed out to a swim team meet and greet.  The existing members of the swim team and the coach and some parents met any of the new swimmers that could come.  Sarah got to meet the coach and I got to meet some of the experienced high school swim moms so that was nice!

On Monday I took Sarah and Cheyanne to the mall where they spent 3 hours shopping and I spent two and half hours walking laps around the mall in cheap Target sandals.(I did spend 30 minutes drinking coffee and texting them to ask "how much longer".)  I walked a callous on the bottom of my left foot and on Tuesday both my feet were sore.  Next time I take those girls to the mall I'm going to make sure to wear my sneakers!

Yesterday I made home made tomato sauce from tomatoes from our garden and homemade meatballs.The sauce was a lot of work (too much if you ask me) but it was really good and Dan (the person for whom I was making it because I love him very much) really enjoyed it too!

The sauce simmering in the pot.

The meatballs before I browned them.
Meatballs and sauce simmering away.

Before serving, I covered everything with LOTS of mozzarella and broiled it for a few minutes.

My only issue with the meatballs was that I overcooked them a little.  But as Dan said, "Better overcooked than under cooked."

And now, you are all caught up!  Tomorrow is the first real day of school for both kids so you can expect another "Time Flies" post from me!  :)

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Thankful Thursday - Edition 33

Here is a list of all the things I'm thankful for this week:

1. Our back-to-school shopping is done!  We found pants for Sarah last week at the mall and it wasn't too traumatic for either one of us.  Back packs, lunch boxes, uniform shirts and some initial supplies have also been purchased.  The balance will come once the kids know exactly what they need for each class.

2. Coffee.  The first thing I do in the mornings is get a cup of coffee.

3. The Keuring.  I do not miss brewing a whole pot at one time.  I can enjoy my weak coffee and Dan can enjoy his strong coffee.

4. After 14 years Sarah has finally been trained to empty the dishwasher without me having to ask her.

5. Having another mower in the house.  Dan was just saying a few weeks ago that he really enjoys/appreciates having Peter around to mow the grass (he's been doing it for three years now) and he's glad he doesn't have to do it any more.  I then reminded him that Peter will be gone in a few years and he'll be back to doing it himself.

6. Sleeping in.  I've really enjoyed sleeping until 6:30 this summer.  During the school year I get up at 5:30 but over summer vacation I sleep in until Dan gets up for work.  I'm going to miss that extra hour next week.

7. $10 bouquets from the farmer's market.

8. Our health.  Other than a few minor hiccups here and there, our family is healthy and I hope I never forget to be thankful for that!

9. The sunshine.

10.  The warm but cooler weather.  It has been so nice around here this week.  It's warm but upper 80s warm instead of mid 90s warm.  Perfection!

11.  Peter gets his braces off today!

12. My workout partners.  I'm going to miss them next week when they go back to school.

13.  Football season!  I love football season and this Friday night is the first high school game.  I guess Fall really is coming and there's nothing I can do to stop it but I do love watching football! (Go Patriots!)

14. The Red Sox.  Not sure if you knew or not but they are currently the best team in baseball.  One of the best things about this time of year is that I get to watch baseball and football!  And it's even better when your team is winning!

15. These chicken patties from Aldi.  I like the Mexican version and Sarah likes the Mediterranean version the best.  So good with avocado salad and creama - and low carb too!  Such a quick and tasty lunch!

What are you thankful for this week?

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Do not waste your money on the sea weed snacks.

The kids start back to school next Wednesday and Thursday and once again I am shaking my head in disbelief at how quickly summer vacation has passed.

I just signed Sarah up for her fall swim classes.  The instructor who has taught her before has teamed up with the YMCA (actually he is now the director for all their competitive year round swimmers through a program called Tyde) and his seasonal program (preparing kids for high school swim in the fall and summer league in the spring) is now part of the YMCA and the Tyde program and it's being offered at several different Y locations with different instructions. 

Sarah's summer swim coach (who we all adore) is teaching the class at the Y that is much more convenient to us than the one the other instructor is at and the time is much better so, we are switching things up this fall.  Sarah's excited to be gearing up for high school swimming and she is super excited by the fact that Rachel will be coaching her at the Y.

Speaking of high school swim, the Bishop swim team is holding a meet and greet at a local restaurant on Sunday evening so the new swimmers and parents can meet the existing members and coaches.  She is very excited about this so I hope that goes well.

Sarah finished her summer reading book the other day and is now working on the paper.  Peter is still reading his but is not concerned that school starts in a little over a week.  He is also not concerned that he still has a lot of summer math assignments to work through for his math class before school starts. 

While we were on vacation, I was harassing him gently reminding him about getting his work done and he basically said, "Mom, you constantly bugging me about this stuff isn't going to make me want to get it done any sooner.  I've got it under control."

So, I guess he's got it under control and at the very last minute he will get it done .  I just have to find a way to be okay with that.  I should be used to it by now because that's the way he operates.  I just don't want any last minute fires that I'm going to be responsible for putting out.  But he says he's got it under control so I guess I have to trust him.  He is going to be in TENTH grade after all.  Y'all, I can't even...

Our poor little garden is a hot mess.  We came back from vacation and thanks to all the rain the garden has been stunted.  There are a ton of tiny little tomatoes but  nothing big and beautiful like we were getting before all the rain.  And now all the vines are dying.  There have been some years we have gotten tomatoes well into October.  That's not happening this year.

Also our jalapenos are very tiny.  We are getting plenty of them but they aren't getting to the size they normally do.   I have canned what I've been able to get and we've made a couple of batches of jalapeno poppers. 

We planted a couple of Thai chili plants on a whim and they seem to be producing just fine although without having grown them before, it's hard to know..  Yesterday I made a batch of pepper jelly and I think it is going to be a good consistency.  When I've tried pepper jelly in the past it has either been too runny or too gummy (this was after I doubled the pectin in frustration.)  This batch might be just about right BUT when I tasted a little that was left over in the pot it was so HOT.  I'm hoping that once it's cooled and I try some it will be hot and sweet.  Here's a few pictures from my jelly making yesterday:

The Thai chili peppers.

Trimmed up with garlic in the food processor.

Chopped and ready!

Cooking away with six cups of sugar and 2 cups of vinegar!

Processing the jars!

Taaaa - Daaaaa!!!!  And look at all those seeds.  I really think I should have used more sugar!

Dan wants to dry out the next big batch and make chili pepper flakes.  So hopefully the two plants in the garden will continue putting out so we can give that a whirl!

While I was grocery shopping yesterday I saw some seaweed snacks.  Sarah is always looking for healthy snacks so I picked up a little pack to try. 

And they were about as disgusting as you think they would be. It was like biting into baked sea water - salty, fishy, gross.   Luckily this was a tiny pack so only fifty cents wasted.

Sarah made this delicious Ding Dong Bundt Cake for Sunday dessert and I wanted to share the recipe.  It was a lot of steps but it was so very good.  This one will be made again.  Next time though I think we will do it in a spring form pan and not a bundt pan.

On Saturday morning Dan and I finally painted another wall in the garage.  It's been our first free Saturday since we painted that first wall way back in June I think.  It was good to get one more wall done and I think the next Saturday we have free we will be able to knock out the other two at once.  

After the wall painting, we got cleaned up and met Dan's sister Cathy and her boy friend Eric at the farmer's market.  They had been in Charlotte/Lake Norman competing in a big sail boat race and were on their way back to D.C. So we spent some time shopping at the market and eating shave ice (and yes, that's what the sign said shave ice instead of shaved ice).  And of course, I got a $10 bouquet of flowers while I was there:


This bouquet is loaded with so many gorgeous dahlias!

That's what we've been up to and now  I am off to do a load of laundry and try to wake up the kids to see if they want to go with me to the gym!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Thankful Thursday - Edition 31 and 32

It's Thursday and that means it's time for a list of what I've been thankful for the past TWO weeks since I wasn't able to post last week.  Here goes...

1. Safe travels.  It's a long drive to Massachusetts and back so I'm always thankful for safety while on the road.

2.  Good vacation weather.  It only rained on us one afternoon.  The rest of the time it was sunny!

3. Lots of rain at home.  Unfortunately while we were gone we got a lot of rain at home which lead to flooding in a lot of areas around here but the grass which was so brown and dead before we left is so green and gorgeous now. 

4. We lost a lot of tomatoes to all the rain (too much rain makes them split and bust) and some of the vines are diseased BUT we still had plenty of tomatoes when we got home and I was able to try a delicious recipe last night for dinner - Tomato Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese Soup.  And even though it's hot outside soup felt perfect last night because guess what?  It was raining! 

5. We had a really nice vacation. I love my family and spending 10 straight days 24/7 with them is always fun.  It's not always perfect because in between all the fun activities and laughter there was definitely complaining and arguing but I think that's exactly what a vacation is supposed to be - it's never perfect but at the end, time spent with the people I love the most is always good.

6.I am also thankful for time spent with Dan's family - Dick, Jennifer, Jillian, Cathy, Great Uncle Bob and Ronnie.  We don't get to see them enough so having extra time with them during vacation is always a blessing.

7. My parents and brother - I am thankful for them always but especially when we are gone because they watch the house, bring in the mail, feed our cats, clean the litter box, tend the garden, and water the plants.  AND on the day we arrive home, my parents always have us over for a nice meal so I don't have to worry about cooking dinner - which is always nice because there is never anything in the fridge after a 10 day trip! 

8. Shoe Carnival's BOGO sale!  Yesterday Sarah and I went shopping for shoes for school.  I always have the worst luck at the BOGO sale because one kid will like something and the other won't and I don't get to take advantage of the sale.  Sarah and I went and she found the cutest pair of pinkish grayish Adidas (I think) and then we found 8 pairs of Nikes we thought Peter would like and texted him pictures of each pair and he picked one. Easy peasy!  Now all that's left to get is pants for Sarah and that's going to require a trip to the mall and a whole lot of prayers! :)

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Cape Cod Vacation

We are back from our Cape Cod vacation!  I apologize for not doing a Thankful Thursday last week but there is no wi-fi at our house on the Cape and the cell service on Cape Cod is horrible so my plan to attempt to post from my phone did not happen.

Apparently there was massive amounts of rain here at home while we were gone and lots of flooding but it was sunny and warm at the Cape so we were able to do everything we wanted to do on our vacation.

Selfies on the beach with my girl...

A visit to the Barnstable County Fair where we did get a little rain but were still able to see a lot of animals, ride a few rides, watch a tractor pull, visit the exhibits, etc....

 And spent more time on the beach with my girl...

We spent some time in Boston before we ....

Harvard Book Store

This was right before a bird flew over and pooped on us!  Luckily I always carry WetWipes!

...we headed to Fenway to see the Red Sox play!!!

Fenway Selfies!

The ballgame went into extra innings but the Red Sox managed to win it in the 13th inning!  We got a lot of extra baseball and after the walk back to our car and the drive back to the Cape, we weren't in bed until 2:00 AM!  It was worth it though!

The next day we went for a bike ride on the Shining Sea Bike Path.  We did the portion from Falmouth to Woods Hole.   It's only about 7 miles round trip and we always stop for lunch in Woods Hole in the middle and cupcakes in Falmouth at the end.  Even I don't complain too much about a bike ride when it includes lunch and cupcakes!

This was our view for part of the ride....  

We got to watch the drawbridge open in Woods Hole.


Cupcakes!  Peter had a Whoopie Pie which is not pictured because he was eating it while this was being taken.  You can see his elbow!  :)

We stopped to take a walk on the beach during our ride.  It was so rocky.  Not sure if they brought those rocks in or not but I was glad we had our shoes on!

On Wednesday, we picked Cathy up from the airport and met Uncle Bob and headed to Glouchester to visit  Uncle Ron (who isn't technically their uncle but in fact on of Uncle Bob's oldest friends from the seminary and spent all the holidays with Dan's family so he really feels  like another uncle.

 And then we spent Thursday on the beach, had the best clam chowder in the world at Captain Parker's, took a quick evening bike ride, and finished a puzzle. 

Cathy and Sarah

That's everyone in the distance playing in the water.

My men.

The chowder!

And then on Friday we took a hike from the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History out to Wings Beach where you can look out over the water and see the arm of the cape just as it looks on the map.  You can't really make that out in the pictures though.

And then one last swim before we packed everything up...

And with that, our Cape Cod vacation was over. I hope you enjoyed our photos.  And now we only  have two weeks until school starts.  How can the summer be over so soon???