Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Case Study and College Expo!

Last night we had Junior night at our school.  All the juniors and their parents were invited to participate in a mock college admissions meeting.

We started just like we always do at Bishop - with prayer.  It was the sweetest prayer and I'm not going to lie - it had me choked up.  I couldn't even finish saying it out loud, I just had to listen.

A Parent's Prayer

God, I love my children with all that is within me.
I pray that in your mercy you hear my humble plea.
I ask that you let your lives be long and healthy.
May they achieve all their dreams.
May they be who they were born to be, and may they never forget
that they were, are, and always will be deeply loved by me. Amen

After the prayer I looked to the mother to my left and said, "Great, now I'm crying."  She shook her head in agreement and I noticed their were tears in her eyes too.  Nice to know I'm not the only sap! 

Back to the real portion of the evening...

There were 13 admissions counselors from 13 different colleges represented so everyone broke up into 13 groups.  The students formed groups separate from their parents and then we all went into classrooms.

The admissions counselors were the leaders of each group and we all did the same activity.  Each group was acting as the admission board for a fictitious university and we were read some details about the university and we were presented with the goals of the university for the upcoming class they were going to be reviewing.

The criteria included: trying to grow theater department,  they had a couple of division 3 championship winning seasons in lacrosse  and were trying build on that, they were trying to diversify the student population, they weren't family need based, they preferred SATs in the 129-=1400 range, ACT in the 27-31 range and GPAs of 3.8 or higher on a weighted scale..

After we learned about the university and what they were trying to accomplish with the incoming class, we were presented with 4 applications from 4 different (fictitious) students.

The information contained parent's jobs and schooling, GPA, class grades, ACT/SAT scores, extra curricular activities and honors, recommendation letters, and the essay.

After reading through all four candidates we discussed pros and cons to each and then got to work decided who we should accept.  (We could only accept one, decline one and defer two).

After a lot of back and forth and consideration and comparison, we finally settled on what we were going to do.  Then all the groups met back in the cafeteria and we could see  who everyone else chose to admit, defer, and reject.

It was such an interesting activity.  And having a real life college admissions counselor there was huge.  I was asking her if even the big colleges really read every single essay.  The answer was yes.  (At the time, we didn't know which admissions counselor was with which college but found our at the end of the evening.)

The counselor in my room was with Clemson and that's a pretty big school so I guess they really are reading those essays.  What an odd/interesting job that would be.

After the mock admissions activity there was an expo and the kids could go around to the different colleges and pick up information and ask the admissions reps questions about the colleges.

In addition to NC State, Peter picked up info on Alabama, Auburn and Clemson. It was a worthwhile evening and it really hit me - we have a junior who will be going to college in a year and a half.

Gonna need to start buying my Kleenex in bulk!

I spy Peter!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

High school swim season has begun!

Sarah had her first swim meet of the high school swim season last night! 

I volunteered as one of the timers so I didn't get any pictures of her but I was timing in lane 4 and that was the lane that she happened to be in for all four of her events!

We were swimming against two other schools.  One of the schools has an awesome girls team (lots of year round excellent swimmers) so our girls team lost to them but I think we beat the other team. 

Sarah was very nervous before this meet since it was the first meet she's been in since July.  I think she did great.  I'm interested to see the official times because I think her backstroke time isn't too far off from what she needs to automatically qualify for states.

That's actually her goal this year.  If you recall, she went to states last year as part of a relay team and decided then that she wanted to go during her high school career with her backstroke.  I think with enough practice, she might be able to do it this year!

The team mom made these awesome lanyards for the parents.  What a great idea - especially for someone like me that knows I met you at a swim meet last year but can't quite remember your name!

And on the back it lists the order of events and the times in each for automatic qualification into states!  Such a great idea!

And the awesome dad with the fabulous camera was there last night taking pictures so I hope that there will be some good ones of Sarah.  On the way to practice last week (I drive a carpool from the school to the Y with anywhere to 1 kid to 7 kids and a whole lot of backpacks and swim bags) Sarah and her friends were talking about how horrible they look in swim pictures.  But I disagree! 

I think they look fierce.  Something about using your whole body to power yourself through the water is impressive to me.  Maybe it's because I know how hard it is and these kids make it look so easy.  Anyway, prepare yourself for pictures of Sarah in her swim cap with her mouth wide open cutting through the water.  :)

Tonight is Junior night at school where we will be learning all about the admissions process for college.  I still can't believe we are here already....

Monday, November 18, 2019

Another weekend recap.

On Friday, our high school soccer team was playing in the state championship quarter finals in Mt. Airy.  Peter wanted to go so before Sarah and I got home from swim practice he headed up the highway to make the one hour trip. 

(Have I mentioned before that having a teen-aged driver means you will be praying a lot more than you ever did before?  Even if you thought you prayed a lot previously, having a teen-aged driver means you will double - dare I say triple - the amount of time you spend in prayer. )

Anyway, he made it to and from Mt. Airy safely but sadly our soccer team lost.  He said our student section had as many kids as theirs so I'm glad he went to cheer on the team.  I know it means a lot to the teams when there are a lot of fans there.

On Saturday we headed back to Greensboro to the Apple store to pick up Sarah's repaired phone and turn in the loaner phone. She was sad to see the loaner phone go because even though it was also a 7, the battery was much better on it than on hers. However, she was happy to have her beloved rose gold phone back. "It's so much cuter than the black one." 

After we got her phone, we stopped into Anthropologie where she exclaimed, "I wish I could just live in this store!"  And then she proceeded to smell all the candles (that girl loves a good scented candle) and look longingly at all the gorgeous clothes.  Poor thing, she has Anthropologie tastes and her mother has a Kohls with coupons budget.  Hopefully she can find a nice high paying job some day to support her love of the finer things!

We then went to lunch at Five Guys since Peter wasn't with us.  He doesn't like to eat at Five Guys since they have all those peanuts every where.  But don't worry about Peter.  He was at home eating Bojangles and watching the Penn State game.  He was in his happy place.

On Saturday evening we attended Mass and then met my brother and my mother at Longhorn Steakhouse for Peter's birthday dinner.  After dinner, we went back to mom's house where we had birthday cake and opened presents.

Ignore the two photobombers on the left.  (Look at those mischievous grins!)
Me and my baby! 

Dan headed to the airport on Sunday at noon and dropped Sarah off at a restaurant downtown for Friendsgiving.  Peter and I had lunch with my mom, brother, and uncle.

Later on Sarah texted me that they were almost done with lunch so I was heading out the door to pick her up.  The phone rang and it was Dan.  He was leaving the airport and heading back home because his driver's license had expired.

They will let you on the plane with an expired license but you can't check a bag.  He had taken his large suitcase because he has to wear suits on this trip and typically he checks his bag anyway  because he doesn't like to deal with a bag on the plane or in the airport.  (This is opposite of every one else on the plane but he prefers not having to fight for overhead bin space with everyone else.  He travels a lot and not having to deal with his suitcase is what he prefers.  And don't try to change his mind on this - he will not budge!)

Since he needed his clothes and the bag was too big for an overhead bin, he quickly rebooked  his flight from a 2:30 to a 5:30 departure and headed home to get his passport.  He swung by downtown Winston-Salem and picked up Sarah.  He got home, decided to squeeze everything into a smaller bag because his connecting flight left practically as soon as he landed and he didn't want to have to deal with lost luggage.  And he grabbed his passport and headed back to the airport.

He made all of his flights on time and managed to check in to his hotel in Seattle around 11:30 pm their time. I know he's tired today though but hopefully he will be able to stay awake through all his meetings!

Sarah has her first swim met of the season tonight and she's nervous.  She always is but hopefully she can swim fast.  It's raining and cold here and I'm annoyed that we never got our fall.  It went straight from Indian summer to winter weather.  Alright - no one likes a weather complainer so I'll stop right now.  But if it doesn't warm back up to normal November temps soon, I'm going to be grumpy!  (Ok....grumpier than normal!)

Friday, November 15, 2019

National Art Honor Society

Yesterday at school, Sarah was inducted into the National Art Honor Society!

Membership signifies that you have consistently demonstrate the highest qualities in art scholarship, character, and service.

Way to go Sarah!!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

And now I want a chicken sandwich....

Sarah survived her second (and hopefully last for a while) morning swim practice.  It's hard to get her up at 7:15 for school much less at 6:00.  But she did it and we made it to the Kernersville Y on time and got to school on time both days.  Whew!

That was quite the accomplishment.  Her hair was wet this morning (teen girls are so lucky they can put their hair in a wet bun and still look cute - if I tried it people would be calling the local mental hospital and reporting a deranged old lady on the loose!) and she had to put her make up on in the car but we made it!

Dan should hopefully be home from Germany tonight and will be here until Sunday morning until he leaves again for Seattle.  When he returns home from that trip he should be here until  Thanksgiving and I have no idea when his next trip is after that.  If I don't ask, maybe he won't have to go anywhere until after Christmas.  (That's what I'm hoping for!)

Last Friday after school was over, Peter and three of his friends drove to Greensboro to a Popeye's Fried Chicken to try one of those new chicken sandwiches that  are supposed to be better than Chick-Fil-A's sandwich.  They left school at 3:40 and got there a little after 4:00 and waited FORTY MINUTES (at 4:00 in the afternoon) for their chicken sandwiches.  He sent me this picture:

I think his sandwich looks really good.  It looks super crispy and I love the mayo dripping off.  Peter said it was excellent and he thinks it's BETTER than Chick-Fil-A! 

When we were leaving N.C. State after the tour on Monday we passed right by a Popeye's and I was going to whip in BUT the line at the drive thru was out to the street and I wasn't in the mood to wait forty minutes for a sandwich so we just headed home.  I'm starting to regret that now...

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Seventeen is...

Seventeen is...


Seventeen loves to...

play football
watch college football  and the Carolina Panthers
play video games
eat steak, wings, and pizza
drive around downtown
argue (especially with his sister)
yell at the television when his favorite teams are losing
watch YouTube sports videos
go out to eat with friends
spend time outside tossing the football around

Seventeen has my heart. 
Happy Birthday, Peter!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

A phone update, a surprise party, a college visit, and a very early swim practice.

Whew!  Have we been busy!

When last I left you, I was on my way to the Apple store to get Sarah's iPhone repaired.  They had to send it off but they gave us a replacement.  Sarah was very upset when we had to reset the phone to the last time she had backed it up -- which was a year ago.  (And honestly, I think that backup was accidental.)  PSA - remind your teens to back up their phones so they don't loose all their pictures, group text threads, notes, etc.  And for that matter - back your own phone up.  I never back mine up BUT I go have Google photos so my pictures are automatically backed up. 

Peter had his last football game of the season on Thursday night instead of Friday due to a scheduling conflict.  It rained the entire game but thankfully at least it wasn't cold.  We lost and now the season is over. 

Dan made it home from Ireland on Friday night and we went to the mall on Saturday.  He needed some new shoes and some new jeans.  On Saturday evening, he and I attended a surprise 50th birthday part for a friend.  We had dinner and drinks at Jeffrey Adams downtown.  The food and wine were great and so was the company! 

On Sunday we attended Mass and had lunch at mom's and then on Sunday evening we had the football end-of-season banquet at school. We shared a potluck meal and the coach recognized all the seniors and also recognized everyone who attended every single practice.  There were only a handful of players that attended every practice and Peter was one of them!

When Peter started football in the spring I assumed he would tire of it and as the season wore on would regret his decision to play.  But no!  He never complained about practice, only minimally complained out the poor record, and really enjoyed his time on the team.  Overall, it was an excellent experience for him and I'm glad that he had the opportunity to try a new sport in his junior year!

Yesterday morning, Dan left for Germany and Peter and I headed to N.C. State University in Raleigh for a campus tour.  Dan was supposed to go with us when we scheduled the tour two months ago, but of course, this work trip came up a couple of weeks ago and the timing of those is totally out of his control so it was just me and the boy.  (Sarah stayed home to study.)  

Our tour was at 1:00 and it's about an hour and 45 minute drive to campus.  We left around 10:00 and grabbed some burritos at a restaurant near campus and then made our way to the information center along with probably about 30 other kids and their parents. 

The session started with a very informative presentation about the school.  After this presentation we took a walking tour of the main campus.  (There are two other campuses - the Biomedical Campus where the College of Veterinary Medicine is located and Centennial Campus where the College of Engineering is located.  We only toured the main campus because that's the campus you would be on as a freshman.

The tour was great.  Peter liked the look and feel of the campus.  We even got some ice cream at Howling Cow which is made right on campus from cows that are right on campus.  And of course we got a tee shirt from the campus store.

What I did not get was a picture of Peter on campus because he didn't want me to take one.  So, I snapped this as we were on our way to the car....

This morning, Sarah had to be at swim practice at 7:00 AM because she missed practice yesterday.  (I haven't figured out how to be in two places at once yet so....)  I was worried about her getting up in time but we made  it. We left the house at 6:20 in the rain and thankfully there were no traffic issues.

It was 53 degrees when we left the house and by the time I got her to school and got to the grocery store, it had dropped into the low 40s.  And now they are calling for below freezing temps so school has cancelled all afternoon activities!  Which means no afternoon swim practice!  Yay!  One less thing to do today!

And the best news?  It's Tuesday even though it feels like Monday! 

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

I should have just gone to the Apple store in the first place...

Sarah updated her iPhone on Sunday but something happened while she was doing the update.  I'm not sure if the WiFi went out (sometimes it goes out randomly - thanks Spectrum!) or what but the phone did nothing for hours except say "Verifying Update".

We googled it and did what it said to do and the phone was unstuck and it appeared as if the phone was updated. Victory!

However, after using the phone for a bit she came back to tell us that it said "No Service" and she could only use the phone on wifi.

I did some more googling and we did a couple of other things: we toggled airplane mode on and off, we checked to make sure it was updated to the latest update, we did a hard reboot, and nothing.

Dan left for his trip and I forgot about the issue.

She got home from school on Monday and said the phone was still messed up she tried a few things to no avail.  I just tried to ignore the whole thing.  I hate techy things and knew that this wasn't going to end well. We are getting the kids new phones for Christmas and I really didn't want to have to deal with any phone issues until then.

She said she was fine using the phone only on wifi until then. And since she is rarely anywhere without WiFi I was fine with that too.  (I've mentioned before I'm lazy - further proof!)

But yesterday she realized that she had a field trip today and she didn't want to be gone all day without access to her phone.  I didn't like the thought of that either and also, we discovered that even on wife she could only text her friends that had iPhones.  People like me, with an android, weren't getting her texts and she wasn't receiving any I sent. 

So last night  did all the things we had done previously and then googled some more and did what was recommended: checking for a cellular update, removing and reinserting the SIM card, and attempting to reset network settings among other things.  But nothing changed.  The phone still showed no service. 

Finally I contacted Apple Care.  I spoke to a very nice older gentleman who while kind, wasn't super helpful. (At one point I think he even used the phrase "gee whiz")  I told told him everything I had already done and he was like, "Wow!  You've done all the things I was going to have you do." 

We determined that even though it was showing it had been updated to iOS 13 that it most likely got disconnected from the wifi and got stuck and wasn't fully updated. So he sent me an email with a link to redo the system update and we said our goodbyes.

Then Sarah and I attempted to do that and it didn't work.  So once that didn't work we ended up trying to just restore to an old version.  But the last time she backed up her phone was a year ago.  She wasn't excited about that be we decided that was better than nothing.

Anyway, after doing the restore we got a message that the phone needed to be activated so we attempted to activate it.  BUT - it locked up and wouldn't let us do anything.

So I called back and got a very helpful woman.  We hooked Sarah's phone up to iTunes to try to do the same thing the first guy wanted us to do. She walked us through step by step so I know we were doing it correctly but with the exact same result.

She put us on hold for a long time while she spoke to senior tech.  Then he got on the phone with us and asked us if there was any writing on the back of her phone under the Apple logo.  There was so I read it off to him - a bunch of numbers and letters.

When I was done he said that her iPhone 7 was one of a very small number of 7s that has a weird glitch and won't work after attempting the iOS 13 update.

So he told us we could take it the Apple store in Greensboro - which is 45 minutes from here or to the Best Buy in Winston-Salem which is less than 20 minutes from here.

But as soon as he said Best Buy I remembered that over the summer I tried to take Sarah's phone there to get a new battery.  Her phone (Peter's too) were losing their charge pretty quickly so that by the middle of the day they were down to zero.  I thought it would be a cheap solution to get a new battery for each phone and see if we could extend the life of these phones for another year or so.

HA! Wishful thinking!

Sarah's phone has the tiniest crack in the glass.  It's on the side of the phone so it doesn't impact the view on the screen at all but apparently when they replace the battery they put a powerful suction cup on the screen to open up the phone and the slightest crack would cause the screen to shatter.

The kind folks at Best Buy informed us that we would need to replace the screen for $149 AND pay for a new battery and service fees and suddenly my cheap fix wasn't so cheap.  Especially when the trade in value for a 7 is oddly enough - exactly $149. So we didn't go that route.

But here we are and the Apple guy said we would need to fix the screen before they could fix the issue.

I told him that it didn't seem right that we had to pay $149 to fix a screen that otherwise isn't an issue to fix an issue that Apple forced on us with their bad update.  (Go ahead an google iOS 13 update and see all the issues.)

He put me on hold for a while and came back and said he had it approved that Apple would pay the $149 but I would have to go to the Apple store for the repair.

I have an appointment but it isn't until tomorrow so Sarah will be without a phone for at least two days.  I warned her it might be longer.  My appointment on Thursday isn't until 12:45 and I have to be back at school by 3:30 to take her to swim practice so if they can't get it done quickly (and I seriously doubt they will be able to) I will probably have to leave it with them and get it back on Friday.

So potentially 3 days without a cell phone has her feeling like a pioneer woman.  This morning as she was leaving for school she said, "I'm living on the grid!" which made me chuckle.

I got the cell phone number of one of her friends that will be on the field trip with her so if I need to get in touch with her I will contact her friend.  And if she needs me she will use her friend's phone.  So, technically, she's not too far off the grid. ;)

And might I add, all of that talking with Apple took THREE HOURS!  I didn't get to be until almost Midnight.  Cup of coffee number three - here I come!

(One funny from the phone call with the woman at Apple:  When I mentioned that the phone had not been backed up since October of last year, she told Sarah that she really needed to back up her phone more regularly.  (we were on speaker) Sarah rolled her eyes.  I laughed and told the lady that Sarah just rolled her eyes at her and she laughed too.  She informed me that she has three kids, one of which is a 15-year-old daughter and she was used to all the eye-rolling. ) Solidarity Apple lady.  Solidarity.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Foxborough here we come!

Last month, our niece Jillian was raising money for Boston Children's Hospital in conjunction with the New York City Marathon and she was giving away a chance to win two tickets to the Patriots/Bills game in December to anyone who donated.

On Saturday morning, I was scrolling though Facebook and drinking coffee while Dan was making his eggs and said, "Oh look! Jillian's drawing for the winner of the Patriots tickets this morning.  Maybe we will win!"  Then we both laughed because we NEVER win anything. 

About five minutes later the phone rang and the caller ID let us know it was Dan's brother Dick.  We both laughed and said, "he must be calling us to let us know we won the tickets." But really we just assumed it was about some trees that need to be taken down at the house on the Cape.

We actually won the tickets!!   

But here's the kicker.  The game is a flex game which means  it could either be played on December 21st  or December 22nd.  And they haven't announced the time and won't until they announce the date. So we had to be available to attend on either Saturday or Sunday which would mean flying up and being there on Friday evening  and flying home on Monday morning.

And of course, this is riiiiiiiiiiiight before Christmas.  The most stressful (but totally wonderful) time of the whole year.

Dick needed to know if we were going to use the tickets, otherwise, he was going to redraw for another winner.

We made the immediate decision to go for it! 

Dan has been a Patriots fan his entire life and has never been to a game in New England.  He did go to a preseason game here in NC against the Panthers when we lived in Charlotte but he has always wanted to go to a game in Foxborough. 

So we spent the free time we had on Sunday before Dan left for Ireland researching flights, hotels and rental cars.  Yes, these free tickets are going to end up being not-so-free but we are so excited!

It will be a nice little getaway for the two of us AND we will get to see TOM BRADY play in FOXBOROUGH! 

This trip is going to require some planning on my part though. 

I am going to have to have all the presents purchased and wrapped by the 19th because we are leaving for Boston on the 20th. Last year gifts were arriving up until the 23rd and were being wrapped hastily in the dark of night.  (Praise the Lord for Amazon Prime though!)

And we host a little Christmas Eve party which I will have to have the menu completely planned and food items purchased and in the fridge by the 20th because we aren't getting home until the 23rd.

I am hoping that I can use this little trip to get myself motivated to be ready ahead of time for Christmas.  Every year I say next Christmas will be different.  I'm going to start earlier.  I'm going to be better prepared.  I'm going to get everything done so I can relax the week before Christmas and soak it all in.  Blah, blah, blah.  And every year I seem to be doing everything up until the last minute.

Well, this year, I have no choice!  Let the Christmas planning begin!!

Monday, November 4, 2019

A double portion of what we did this weekend.

I never got around to posting last week.  It was my intention every day to post but I've been busy or lazy or a combination of the two.  Or just lazy. 

Two Fridays ago, we played our last home football game.  And sadly, we lost.  But I have a few good pictures from that game:

I love my number 22!

Last week Sarah started swim practice and has tryouts this week.  The coach is only taking 12 girls and 12 boys this year.  Last year there were no cuts and the team was pretty big.  Not sure why the change this year. He may have addressed that in the parent meeting but I didn't attend. 

Sarah went to a friend's house after swim practice on Halloween and watched movies and then went to another friend's house for a sleepover.  One of the parents sent me this picture:

The kids had Friday off of school because of All Saint's Day.  The kids and I attended Mass and then had lunch and then Peter had to go to school to catch the bus to the away football game.

Dan and I went to the game after he got off work and sadly, we lost that one too.  This has not been our year. 

On Saturday, Dan headed to the airport to go to Ireland.  The kids and I and my mom went to Mass and then out to dinner.  While at dinner we got a text from Dan that his flight was delayed and then it was ultimately cancelled.  He was rebooked for Sunday and he actually got to come home for the night!  That was a nice little surprise.  Of course, he had to leave on Sunday but I'll take it!  He's has three week-long trips in a row so I will gladly take any time I can get with him.  :)

The reason the kids and I went to Mass on Saturday night instead of our usual Sunday was because Peter and some friends went to the Panthers game!  We bought tickets to go as a family but then Dan's trip came up and Peter asked if he could take some friends to the game. 

I'm hemmed and hawed for a bit because I wasn't wild about the idea of Peter and three friends driving themselves to Charlotte and going to the game alone.  But Dan assured me they would be fine so I agreed.

I was a bit of a Nervous Nelly about the whole thing and did a lot of extra praying.  (Like, A LOT.)  Like so much that God was probably thinking - geez will you  just leave me alone for a bit. Or maybe at least pray about something else.

I transferred the tickets to Peter and he put them in his Apple wallet.  And because I was nervous about  him driving around downtown Charlotte I went ahead and prepaid for him to park at a lot downtown near the stadium.  That way he could just plug the address for the parking lot into his GPS and be good to go.  He wouldn't have to waste time trying to find a place to park and it would be one less thing for me to worry about too. 

After they parked, the boys grabbed Subway for lunch and then walked to the stadium.  Peter sent me this one picture from the whole day:

When he left the house on Sunday morning I told him I wanted a picture of him and his friends.  Of course, I didn't get that.  He told me that it would have looked weird if he and his friends were taking a selfie at the game.  So, I'll take the above picture of the field and be happy that I at least go that.

He texted me at the end of the game that he had a great time.  I was happy to hear that and I'm sure part of the fun was being on his own with his friends AND the fact that his favorite team WON! 

It's always nice to get a win.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Homecoming Weekend

Homecoming weekend is in the books.

And they won!  I am so excited for this team!  They played a great game and won.

Peter said the Greensboro newspaper predicted that they would lose so the win was even nicer.  (Although, really, why are local newspapers predicting winners and losers?  Are people gambling on high school games?)

Sarah spent Saturday morning doing her nails.  She found the perfect shade of polish that matched her lilac shoes.  And Peter spent the day watching football.

Both kids were going in opposite directions so it's a good thing Peter was driving himself.  His group was meeting for pictures at Tanglewood in Clemmons and they were having dinner at 2520 Tavern.

This was great for Peter as Clemmons is pretty near where we live.  It wasn't so great for his date for the evening. She lives in Greensboro which is about as far away from Clemmons as you can get so her dad drove her to Tanglewood and then Peter drove her to the restaurant and to the dance.

Sarah was meeting her date and her friends in Greensboro for pictures at the Greensboro Country Club and dinner at the Imperial Koi.

Here's a few of the pictures from the evening.

Sarah and her friend Cameron

The whole group.
The girls.

Peter and his friend Megan.

The whole group.

The boys.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Some recipes, a new kitchen tool, and my new hobby.

It's going to be a big weekend around!  Tonight is the Homecoming game and tomorrow night is the dance!  I'm hoping that we can win this game and that both kids have fun at the dance.

You know I'll be here on Monday with a weekend recap but in the meantime, I thought I'd share a few good things I've found. 

The first thing that I have been loving and using daily is this:

This is a milk frother that I purchased for $9.99 on Amazon.  I have been using it every time I make a cup of coffee.  I use it to mix my collagen powder into my coffee as well as to froth up the milk.  Something about the frothed up milk makes the coffee taste so much more like coffeehouse coffee.

Yesterday I used it to whip up a low carb peppermint mocha!  I just put a tablespoon of cocoa powder in a cup of hot coffee and blended it with the the frother.  Then I added a dash (a little less than 1/16 of a teaspoon) of peppermint extract and Stevia and blended that. And then I added my cream and frothed that and then I added a dollop of whipped cream.  A cheap and low carb alternative to my favorite Starbucks drink!

Last night I tried a new meal out on the family and it was a hit!  It was this recipe for Mozzarella and Pesto Chicken in a crock pot. The only thing I did differently was to use thin chicken breasts instead of the full sized ones and I cut down the amount of butter to half.  The chicken was flavorful and moist and I will definitely make it again.

I served it with a side of sauteed thin green beans and blistered tomatoes as well as this recipe for cucumbers.  I will also definitely be making this cucumber recipe again!  Cucumbers are a nice low carb side that Dan and I both like.  I used one English cucumber and cut the ingredients for the mayo mixture in half and added just a little extra vinegar to make it a little looser.  DELICIOUS!

I've been working on our family tree using  Dan's father had done a lot of research on the Cotell side so I'm trying to get all of that information input.  Dan put it all into a computer program called My Family Tree Maker in the mid to late 90s.  Of course that was a program you had to purchase from Best Buy and install on your computer.  I think we have a floppy disk floating around with all the information but no computer with a floppy drive and who knows where the disks are for the Family Tree Maker.

It's fun when gives you a hint about a relative and you are able to add more information to your tree.  It's also interesting learning things about your relatives.

I learned that my grandmother's parents (on my father's side) were first cousins.  I am a little grossed out by that fact but I guess it was a common practice in the 1800's.

I also learned that many of her relatives are buried on a family graveyard near where she grew up.  This graveyard is just a few miles from the Moravian church they attended and I'm hoping to find it and check it out soon. It's just a few miles from here and I never even knew it existed!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

National Honor Society Induction

Last night Peter was inducted into the Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School's Chapter of the National Honor Society!

Way to go Peter!

Peter's friends Zac and Daniel from Our Lady of Mercy were also inducted!

Sarah loves to rush in when I'm trying to take a picture of Peter and hug him.  Peter doesn't love it.
Here are my mom and Dan at the reception after the induction:

These are the candles that were lit to represent the principles for the NHS:  Knowledge, Scholarship, Leadership, Service, and Character.

Keep up the great work, Peter!!!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Another weekend recap.

Happy Monday one and all!

Another weekend has come and gone. On Friday, I went to lunch at Firebirds with my mom and my brother.  I got my usual - sesame encrusted salmon with a ginger mustard aioli, fried spinach (so good!) and choice of side.  I got broccoli for my side.  This is the perfect low carb meal BUT their bread is delicious so I had to indulge.

Dan and I went to Peter's football game on Friday night.  I met him at work and we drove the rest of the way to Pilot Mountain together.  The boys lost but they actually scored twice on this team so we counted that as a small victory.  Sadly our head coach got pummeled on the side line  and broke his leg.  He is having surgery on the leg later this week.  
On Saturday we had dinner next door with my mom, my brother and our friends the Wallers.  It was delicious and we had a great time hanging out.  My brother has a pool table, darts and a large tv so we played, ate, talked, and watched college football.  Good times!
The Panther's played in London so their game was Sunday morning at 9:30.  Dan, Sarah and I went to Mass at our normal time but Peter stayed home to watch the game.  Thankfully there is a church in Winston-Salem that does a Life Teen Mass during the school year on Sunday evening at 5:00.  Peter attended that while the rest of us stayed home and enjoyed the rainy cool evening on the couch. 

I made this delicious Apple Crisp Cheesecake for Sunday dessert and it was sooooooo good:

It wasn't overly sweet and didn't have too much cinnamon.  It was the perfect fall cheesecake!

And then, just like that, the weekend was over.  Why do they have to go by so fast?

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The tale of my lost keys....

Last Thursday evening, Sarah drove home from swim practice.  Before she drives, she has to  adjust the driver's seat, adjust all three mirrors, turn on her Road Ready app to track her time behind the wheel, and then and only then does she slowly  pull out of the parking lot.

Her driving is getting better - it really is.  But it's all such a process.  A necessary one but still, it is testing my patience.  Something I know I don't have much of and apparently God feels I need to work on but still....

When we pulled into the garage she tried to cut the car off before putting it in park.  A rookie mistake for sure but every once in a while I, a seasoned driver of 34 years, find myself also making. So while I was a little annoyed, I wasn't angry. But we were both a little flustered.

She got it in park, turned off the engine and then, typically I take the keys from her and put them on the kitchen counter when I'm lazy or in my purse where they belong when I'm doing it right.  And she typically sits in the car turning off the Road Ready app and Snap Chatting with her friends while still sitting in the car.

I remember rushing inside to get started on dinner.  I already had tomato bisque in the crock pot but I was also making grilled cheese sandwiches to go with it and wanted to get that started so we could eat.  The bisque is delicious, by the way.  I need to share that recipe with you some day...

Fast forward to Friday morning.  I was heading out to run some errands so I grabbed my purse and started searching for my keys.  They weren't in my purse.  They weren't in the kitchen.  They weren't where my husband keeps his keys.  So I grabbed the spare and headed out to run my errands.

I kept replaying Thursday evening in my head and could not remember for the life of me if Sarah handed me the keys or if she kept the keys and brought them in.

When I got home from my errands, I searched her room and every other place I thought they might be.

When I picked her up from school I asked her.  She thinks she gave them to me but then asked if I checked the recycling bin.  She typically tosses her water bottle in the bin after practice and thought maybe she had accidentally tossed them in the bin if she had them in her hands.

I had just taken the trash and the recycling to the dump earlier that day and I didn't think to check in bins for my missing keys..

I have prayed all the prayers.  I have asked St. Anthony to pray.  I have asked St. Rebecca Irene to pray.  And nothing.  No key.

The thing that annoys me the most is that we just had new keys made because the original set was cracking (thanks Honda - I would think that you of all car manufacturers would be able to make a set of keys that would last more than 6 and a half years.)  And this new set of keys wasn't cheap so to have already lost one is a big bummer.

But I have continued to pray that I find this key and I have continued to search. I've looked in the cabinets, the pantries, the bedrooms.  Places the key should not be but places it might have been laid.

I told Dan I was still praying and he asked why.

Well, why not?!  I have faith the size of a mustard seed and if that can move mountains it can also find keys.

He argued that if they had been tossed in the recycling (like I honestly believe they were) then we would never find them.

But I disagree with that.  God isn't constrained by space and time the way we are so if he wants to mysteriously return my keys then he will. 

So I am continuing to pray.  I am continuing to look.  And I still have faith as small as a mustard seed.

I really do feel like I am going to find those keys.

I'll keep you posted!

Monday, October 7, 2019

Another weekend recap.

It was another busy weekend - well, for the kids anyway. 

There was no football game on Friday night and no football practice either.  Sarah went to a big sleepover with a bunch of her besties.  And Peter came home to get started on his homework.


Just checking to see if you were all awake.

Peter did not get started on his homework because that's not his style.  But he did get up at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning.  He met a friend for breakfast and then they went to Hanes Park with a big group of kids from their environmental science class to do a park cleanup. 

And then after a few hours of picking up trash in the park, he and a bunch of these kids went for pizza at the Mellow Mushroom.  When he got home, he asked if he and Colton could go to the Dixie Classic Fair.

We looked on line for prices - the fair may be cheesy (in my mind anyway) but it sure ain't cheap! Parking was gong to cost them $10 and rides were going to be between 6 to 10 tickets each.  We figured out which would be the best amount of tickets for them to get (based on price breaks) and they headed out.

He got home in time for dinner.  He said they had a good time but it was kind of cheesy for the amount of money it cost him (he used his own money for this). I agreed.  I'm not a fan of the fair but I know other people live for it. 

My loathing of the fair stems from my disdain of any and all rides AND the fact that one time in elementary school my parents took my brother and me to the fair.  I believe my dad's Lion's Club was selling concessions to raise money.  Or maybe we just went for the heck of it.  I can't remember because it was so long ago.

My brother and I got on a ride that basically went round and round in a circle.  It was one of those swing type rides but we were sitting in the seat together. 

Anyway after a couple of minutes on this ride my brother looked over at me and vomited.

All over me.

And they had served hotdogs in the school cafeteria for lunch that day.  And guess what was all over me.


We left right after that obviously because  I was covered in hot dog vomit. 

And that's my fair story.

Anyway, Peter didn't get vomited on so I considered that a win for him. 

I picked Sarah up from her sleepover.  Made a delicious carrot cake for Sunday dessert.  And we watched football - what else - all afternoon and evening.

On Sunday morning, Dan and I left a little early for Mass because we were helping to sign people up to sponsor a child through Unbound.  A visiting priest was coming to talk about the program and since we are sponsors they reached out to see if we could help out at the registration table.

If you aren't familiar with Unbound, you should check them out. 

We sponsor three children from one family (well, actually just two now as the older sister has graduated from high school and has aged out of the program).  I can tell from their letters to me that my measly $40 a month has made a drastic change in their lives. 

These kids are able to go to school because of our help, eat decent food and get healthcare.  The older sister is working at a professional job and taking college classes part time all because of our support.

They address me as "Godmother" when they write letters to me and that makes me feel good. They've even asked on several occasions for us to visit them.  Unbound offers trips to meet your sponsored children and we may just do that some day.

Another cool thing about Unbound is that you can also sponsor elderly people who need help.

Anyway, go check them out!  You won't be sorry!

After Mass, we had lunch at mom's house and then watched football and ran a couple of errands and now we are back to Monday.

Is it just me or do the weekends go by faster and faster?

It doesn't look like much but it was DELICIOUS!!!!!

Friday, October 4, 2019

More dress shopping.

It's October 4th and it is currently 90 degrees and according to my weather app should reach 92!  And this is the coolest day of the week so far.  We are breaking records and I am here for it.

I ran errands this morning in shorts and sandals!  The only negative for me is the fact that our electric bill typically starts going down in September when we aren't running the AC all the time. But it is still cranking.

Sadly, a cold front is coming in tonight and the high temperature tomorrow is supposed to be 68 degrees.  That's a 24 degree DROP. I am definitely not ready for that.

Enough boring weather talk.  Let's talk about Sarah's homecoming dance dress.  Last week I mentioned that the one she loved was overpriced and we weren't getting it.  We went last Friday (the kids had the day off of school) to another place that had formal wear in the hopes that they had some cute short dresses.

They did  have some beautiful short dresses.  There was one really pretty one but we looked at the price tag and it was $250 so NO!

We headed back to the mall because Sarah had seen someone she follows of TikTok (social media video app for all y'all old people like me who didn't know what it was and had to Google it) that was raving about the dress she wore to her homecoming.  She got it at Dillard's.  Off to Dillard's we went again.  (In my opinion, Dillard's has the best selection of hoco dresses out there.  The other department stores just don't have the same volume as Dillard's.)

We found the dress but they did not have her size.  So she tried on the closest size and decided she liked it so we ordered it from their website.  This dress was also more than I wanted to spend for a dress she would only wear once but at least we were done with dress shopping!

Or so I thought.

A couple of days later she started saying, "What if I hate it when it gets here?"  Which is code for, "I think I've changed my mind."

It came.  She tried it on.  And it fit perfectly.

"I don't love it."

So, it was mailed back to Dillard's and the great hoco dress hunt of 2019 started over.  Several of her friends have been ordering their dresses from random little boutiques/online shops in LA.  So after hours of pouring over those to no avail, she finally found a dress she liked.

But they didn't have her size so we ordered the next size down because based on the online measurements. This particular boutique requests that you post a picture of yourself in your dress and tag the store.  Then they post it and you can see how other people look in the dress.  They post their height and weight and the size dress they bought.  And it was crazy seeing the different sizes and shapes of people all in the exact same sized dress.  So that left us not knowing exactly which size to purchase so there's a chance this size might work.

She also found another similar dress that was in what we think is her actual size on this website and purchased it. as well.  This boutique does free returns so fingers crossed one of these dresses will fit and we will send the other one back. Not sure what we are going to do if neither dress fits.

And a nice bonus about this particular boutique is the fact that these are super cute dresses but they aren't super expensive because they  aren't super dressy (no beading, no sequins, etc) so she might be able to wear this again.

She opted for a basic black dress so that means she got to have fun figuring out what color shoes to wear with it.  This boutique also sells shoes.

Now we are just hoping that the dress comes sooner rather than later and that one of these dresses works.

I hope you all have a great weekend.  I'll be by the fireplace trying to warm up!

And since I can't have a pictureless post, here's my favorite shot from last weekend and my current phone screensaver:

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

OKI get away!

On Friday evening, Dan and I headed to middle-of-nowhere- North Carolina to watch the football game.  As expected, the boys lost.  Although, they held the score to 0-0 the first quarter so I thought maybe we had a chance.  But no so luck.

We made it home at midnight.  And were up and out the door at 7:40 on the way to Oak Island!  We  picked up my mom and were checked in to our VRBO by 11:15.  We got unpacked and got the sheets on the beds (the worst part about not staying at a hotel, in my opinion) and then hit one of our favorite OKI lunch spots - The Oak Island Sub Shop!

It's been a long time since we had one of their Cubans and it did not disappoint!

Peter settled in for an afternoon of college football watching, my mom settled in on the front porch for this view:

And Dan, Sarah, and I hit the beach for a couple of hours:

The weather this whole weekend was perfect!!  It was HOT - my favorite!  But there was always a wonderful breeze off the ocean.  It honestly felt more like early August than the end of September and I was so happy!

After the beach we came in and got dressed for Mass.  After Mass we headed to Fishy Fishy for dinner and it was delicious!

Dinner's always better with a view!

On Sunday Peter, Dan, and I went to the beach while Sarah slept in.  That girl even skipped the delicious breakfast made by my mom in favor of sleeping late.

We headed in from the beach and went to lunch at the Southport Smokehouse.  We all got the brisket sandwich and they were so good. After lunch, Peter stayed in to watch the Panther's game and we hit the beach again.

We came in and relaxed a little before going out to dinner.

We went to Island Way for dinner and it was delicious.

Sunset dinner view.
On Monday morning we hit the beach again after another tasty breakfast cooked by my mom.

 We grabbed lunch at Bob's Dogs on the way off the island and then headed home.  It was such a great weekend.  We slept in, ate (a lot!), played in the water, laid on the beach, and just relaxed.  It was wonderful and we can't wait until next time!