Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Our Apologies

Our apologies for the lack of posting lately. The sunshine of Spring and the activity it brings has left us a bit exhausted.

And yes, we occasionally even fall asleep with cheeto remains on our faces.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Freedom of Two Wheels

They say it's something you never forget. Indeed, there is something magical about first learning to balance on those two wheels and pedal, and my boy experienced it for himself a few weeks ago.

Gotta love the electric blue helmet. I never wore one as a child, but I also spent quite a bit of time having gravel picked out of various parts of my body. I figure keeping it out of his head at least would be a bonus.

Off road. Downhill is always easiest. Just jump on and go where it rolls.

Can the smile get any wider? I'd say that's pride.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Every day you try to do something better than you did the day before.

I'm a sucker for The Biggest Loser and while watching tonight one of the contests made the above statement. It's admittedly pretty simplistic but I sat in front of the tv slack-jawed and stunned as I pictured what my life would really look like if I strove for that each day.

Imagine how good my marriage would be if I made it a point to be better at it today than I was at it yesterday.

What could I achieve at work if I consciously thought about performing my work better tomorrow than I did today?

Imagine what kind of shape I could be in if each day at the gym I pushed myself just a little bit further than I did the day before.

Ponder the depths I could reach in my relationship with God if I purposefully took one aspect of it and bettered it each and every day of my life.

What kind of mother could I be if I practiced being just a little more patient tomorrow than I was today?

Maybe this is a "duh" concept for some of you, but the possibilites astound me. I think this is a bandwagon I want to jump on. How bout you guys? Anyone want to commit to being better tomorrow than you were today?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

52 Books - Books 5 and 6

Still loving the 52 books in 52 weeks challenge. Many of you know that most of this year will be a big countdown for me and my family and in many ways this challenge puts that time into a very tangible thing for me. When another book is done, the countdown is one week closer to the big day. Awesome.

Book 5 - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

This book needs no introduction and no explanation. I chose it because somehow I managed to get through high school and college without ever having to read it and I felt like I was missing out on a piece of Americana itself.

Having read it now I can't say that it was a favorite of mine, but I can appreciate it for what it is, not just funny tales of an adventurous young boy but a brave critique of slavery.

Book 6 - Outer Banks by Anne Rivers Siddons

I dove into this book completely blind. The kids and I were in Barnes and Noble and I walked past the bargain paperbacks table and snatched one on first glance that had a name that intrigued me and wore a $4.98 price tag.

Luck was apparently on my side because this was one that I couldn't put down. The pages seem to turn themselves. I was up till the wee hours of the morning today reading until my eyes burned and turned fire red from fatigue and then began again as soon as I woke and read with very little interruption until noon when I at last reached the last period.

In my opinion it was a superb story of a group of sorority sisters who grew inseperable in college only to barely speak for the next 25 years. They reunite after all that time in a grand old house on the outer banks of North Carolina where they, in many ways, fall right back in step as if they had never been separated but in many others discover the giant chasms that separate them.

If you're a sap for the perfection yet complication of intimate friendship like I am, I suspect you would enjoy this one as I did.

Next - A Lucky Child - A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz As a Young Boy by Thomas Buergenthal

Monday, January 24, 2011

Kid Tested and Approved

I am incessantly searching for decent meals for my children. Both are picky eaters and much prefer premade nuggets of an unidentifiable substance that manufacturers pass as "chicken" to anything natural and wholesome. It's terribly frustrating for someone like me who loves to create with food and constantly try new things.

Well, this recipe can by no means be considered overly creative and certainly nothing new, but the combination of flavors made it a hit on the peculiar palettes of my offspring. My eldest, the pickiest, even ate two bowls full. That is such a remarkable happening that I felt obligated to share it in case there were others out there who share my struggles. Don't expect "healthy". Oh no. We are so far from "healthy" it's not even on the horizon, but they LIKED it and it's NOT chicken nuggets! That, my friends, is success!

Oh, and I should say that I had no trouble scarfing down a full bowl as well. Who can deny that combining the best flavors in pepperoni pizza and spaghetti is a brilliant idea?

Pizza Spaghetti

12 ounces uncooked spaghetti
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (1-lb.) package mild ground pork sausage
2 ounces pepperoni slices (about 30), cut in half
1 (26-oz.) jar tomato-and-basil pasta sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 (8-oz.) package shredded Italian three-cheese blend

1. Cook spaghetti with 1/2 tsp. salt according to package directions. Drain well, and place in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.

2. Brown sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain and set aside. Wipe skillet clean. Add pepperoni, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes or until slightly crisp.

3. Top spaghetti in baking dish with sausage; pour pasta sauce over sausage. Arrange half of pepperoni slices evenly over pasta sauce. Sprinkle evenly with cheeses. Arrange remaining half of pepperoni slices evenly over cheese. Cover with nonstick or lightly greased aluminum foil.

4. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes; remove foil, and bake 10 more minutes or until cheese is melted and just begins to brown.

Photo and recipe borrowed from Southern Living 2007

Sunday, January 23, 2011


I love to take pictures of food, but rarely do I ever cook when it's not dark outside and we all know that photography in artificial light general stinks. It's yet another negative side effect of full time work. I am determined to one day figure out a way to avoid it. Until then I'll just take advantage of the light on the weekends.

This was our Sunday morning breakfast.


Oh dear goodness! Can you see the gooey chocolately goodness in the background?? Divine! Also the reason the treadmill and I are going to have to reintroduce ourselves to each other this week.

Yesterday I would have told you that I didn't care much for pancakes but these beauties changed my mind. The kids slathered on the syrup. I ate mine straight off the griddle and can't imagine them being any better.

I adapted these from the following recipe using a tad less sugar but lots more chocolate chips. We're all about the chocolate.

Chcolate Chip Pancakes

• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 2 tablespoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 eggs
• 1 1/2 cups milk
• 1/4 cup vegetable oil
• 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Perfect Saturdays

I love Saturdays. My kids call it "the day off". I may be guilty of wishing my life away by counting down each week until Saturday, but at this time I just can't feel guilty about it. They are just too perfect.

Take today for example. We slept late, made breakfast, stayed in our pjs until nearly lunch, and then ran to town for lunch and a few errands. When we got home we had the whole afternoon to do exactly as we pleased.

Luke spent a few minutes reading his current AR book. To be honest, this was an enforced reading period. He's not that dedicated. These pics were taken while a timer in the kitchen was counting down the minutes until he could play the Wii again. Hey, we do what we gotta do. He's a typical boy. :-)

He and I have a strange affinity for being curled into a near fetal position. This is comfort at it's best!

Oooh! Harry Potter must be in a fix. Check out the furrowed brow.

In the past week Mia has declared herself a "big girl" and has begun to voluntarily perform tasks that no normal child enjoys. Believe it or not she asked if she could unload the dryer and fold the laundry.

Pause for a supermodel shot.

One of our errands today was a stop a Barnes and Noble. Mia's quite excited about her purchase. We love our Ramona! Oh, and can anyone notice what is missing in Mia's smile? Can't believe she's old enough to have lost a tooth!

And where do the kids find Mom? Curled up in her favorite spot doing her favorite thing. Mia's proving to be pretty handy with the camera as well. I think she only took about 20 shots before she finally got my head in the picture and from the looks of it I was in the middle of giving instructions when she snapped it. :-)

Saturdays...if you only came more often!