Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Huh? Was that a Compliment?

Last night I made chili for dinner. We hadn't had it for a long time, so I took extra care in preparing it. It's a simple recipe, but still.

So, Rob is eating his helping and he says, "MAN! This chili is GREAT! What did you do to it?"

I smile and open my mouth to answer but I don't have time because he continues with...

"Oh! It must be that new chili powder we bought."


It couldn't POSSIBLY be the cook. I guess this says something about PAST batches of chili that I've made! :)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas with Nerf Enthusiasts

Every Christmas, we travel to go to my side of the family's big Christmas gathering. This year it was at my aunt's and literally 5 minutes from our front door! Now, THAT is the way to travel for Christmas!

We always try to time our arrival to match my cousin's arrival. She is ALWAYS very late but we've gotten to these things on time and been so BORED before she got there. My kids can't wait for her kids to arrive. Rob has no one his age to talk to until her husband arrives. You can see why we wait. This year she arrived about 2 minutes before me (which made us both about an hour late, planned on our part). The older generation enjoys the Brandy Alexanders that my uncle makes in vast quantity while they wait for the delinquent younger generation to arrive. They don't seem to mind too much.

About those Brandy Alexanders... they have been my uncle's trademark at these gatherings for about 30 years. As soon as I was old enough to drink them, I was supposed to join in the fun, but I can't stand the smell of them, so I've never indulged. Now, of course, Rob and I just don't want to drink in front of the kids, so we decline.

Now, for dinner, my uncle brought good wine. Again, I declined, but I said I would like MILK and please hand me a wine glass to put it in. WELL, NO WAY was my uncle letting me do that! He said it would taint the wine glass and no future wine in the glass would taste the same. It might even ETCH the GLASS! He threatened to find me a sippy cup instead! However, he's not much taller than me, so I elbowed my way past him and snatched my glass of choice. Thus began our wildest Christmas dinner ever.

Usually, we eat (late, it's ALWAYS late... food promised at 2 PM... we never actually eat before 4 PM... which probably explains the drinking...). Then we have my aunt's incredible dessert, Plum Duff (a family tradition). There is calm chatting throughout.

NOT SO this year. First we started with the jokes. I seemed to garner most of them... first with the milk, then with my oatmeal bread... being oatmeal, everyone said they would be most regular now (Wow! WHAT a compliment!)... and since Plum Duff is made with prunes, well, you can IMAGINE where the conversation went after that. I would like to point out that there were NO CHILDREN at the table. Oh no. This was ALL ADULT. I know it SEEMS like a 9 year old would have started us down this line of conversation, but no...

Then Matt came into the dining room with his new Nerf blaster 6-shooter... a gift from my uncle. Those two ganged up on us all and turned into sharp shooters! They particularly found aiming and HITTING the --um-- rears of the women doing dishes was a hilarious activity. The various --um-- "sizes" of the targets provided much jocularity and much shrieking! Bad uncle! We kept telling him that Matt is not allowed to aim at PEOPLE without goggles, but he didn't care and Matt LOVED IT. Of course, I thought they were going to collapse laughing when they hit me in the chest with their targeting prowess (although, I believe that was accidental and we won't discuss the size of THAT target). :)

My uncle said it was the best Christmas gift EVER. He's SIXTY-FIVE years old! :) Matt, age 7, was quick to remind my uncle that he GAVE the gift to HIM. :)

Now, here's the best part. When I was 7 years old, my family had just moved to Ohio from California. I was very uncomfortable with my newly met cousins and all the new extended family. My uncle was the one adult who really made my brother and I feel welcome. I remember him chasing us around in various outdoor games and being in awe over his various exploits (like outrunning the mean bull in a neighboring field). Now I got to see him with my own son, making him laugh and feel part of the celebration, and the years fell away.

I love having such a wonderful memory to take away from our family gathering this Christmas. Sometimes weird, but wonderful nonetheless. :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Hmmmmm.... Too Weird?

I'm starting to wonder just how WEIRD it might be looking for me to be dressing myself and LASSIE the same way in my profile pic!


Honestly, I do NOT dress my dogs in clothes. For real! Maybe a santa hat before they ate it, but that's it. :) Oh, and there WAS that Princess Leia incident...

But somehow, in a profile pic, with a famous canine movie star, it's funny to me!

So, bloggy buddies, if it is too weird, I hope someone TELLS me before it just gets out of hand because Speedy over at Speedcat Hollydale sent me over to Photobucket last night with the directions to use stickies and, well, it is FUN. :) And sometimes you just have to have fun, right? :) Even if it is just silly fun.

Besides, I'm blaming the outfits on Daisy over at Dancing With Daisy because her profile daisies just looked so CUTE all dressed up for winter! :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Best Wife He's Ever Had

I feel so special. :)

Last night, Rob and I went over to Kroger for some quick groceries. I had coupons. I'd checked out sale items online.

So, we got what we needed (or just wanted, like doughnuts), and headed for checkout.

We bought $40 of groceries and spent only TWO DOLLARS out of pocket. That's right. $2.

Rob says I'm the best wife he's ever had. :)

And now I'm going to go eat a doughnut.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Beware of the Doghouse

One of my friends posted this on Facebook today and I just had to share it here. I laughed through the whole thing and it's pretty long! See if you would accept any of these gifts. Rob and I don't exchange gifts, so he's off the hook. Sort of. :) We DO have two doghouses in the backyard, though, soooo....

Beware of the Doghouse- Hilarious! - More bloopers are a click away

If you feel like it, leave a comment with what YOU would consider the perfect gift to keep your significant other out of the doghouse! :) And really, I LIKED the RAM gift guy! I thought that was sweet with the cute note attached and all. But, then, that's just me. I like thoughtful, even if it's brief.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Music Monday - Thanks to Speedcat Hollydale (the Real Santa)

Speedy's Music Monday

Cute Animal Christmas Song

(Go on... listen to it... and try not to smile! :))

Breathing Places (Lyrics - click here then scroll down)

A Sad Hair Day

I think it qualifies as a sad hair day when you sort of wake up and realize...

1) Your new hip hairdo really looks rather like the hairdo you had in eighth grade... which makes it an overgrown version of a Dorothy Hamill style when she won the Olympics (I feel OLD!) and NOT the spittin' image of the picture you took in to the stylist... which was a really nice pic of Kyra Phillips from CNN.

2) The hair you've spent 6 months growing out is now SHORTER than when you started. SHORTER. And I really wanted some long hair for once. I was really loving how it felt swishing around on my neck. Unfortunately, the hairdresser likened it to a .... to a.... (I can hardly say it...)... to a (whisper) mullet. OH NO! Really, it did NOT look that bad. It was just how it grew out and I didn't style it before I went in to get it cut. I was just trying to give her something to work with. But, she took the AXE to that idea. Literally. In the form of some very sharp sheers. Bye long hair. I loved you.

3) You need a hair straightener to mimic the look the hair dresser left your hair with... and which you cannot duplicate... and you have NO idea what kind to get because heaven forbid should you buy something that would hurt your already hurting hair. Did you know severe iron deficiency anemia makes your hair fall out? Did you know that gray hair is NOT the same texture as your original locks? So, now my hair kind of makes me wanna cry. But I won't. Because there are way bigger things to cry about than HAIR.

But, now I remember WHY I quit getting my hair professionally done. It's so much easier to just not pay any attention to it at all. Yes, DENIAL sometimes is easier to deal with. I'm goin' with that. Sniff.

Fortunately, I still have a Christmas tree to decorate and it's my favorite, a Hallmark miniature tree which was given to me by my dearest friend ever. And I'm quite sure she didn't give it to me because of my HAIR. This will be a darn fine distraction.


The "me" my hair wants to be (Yes, yes, I know. JUST the hair. The rest is just an "I WISH." Sadly, my hair isn't much longer than my EARS. Sigh. This is the pic of Kyra that I gave the stylist.):

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What? Blue Eyes?

Just a moment ago, I was trying to take a snapshot of my new haircut with my iSight computer camera.

My husband walked by and commented, "Wow! That picture sure makes your eyes look blue."


My eyes are NOT BLUE!

We're gonna have to have a little chat.... A chat in which I say, "Repeat after me, my wife's eyes are GREEN." Really. Not even CLOSE to blue.

Taco Soup (YUM!)

I'm just in the mood to post a recipe today. This is one of our favorites! Actually, we just had it for dinner because it is soooo cold outside. Brrrrr! I highly recommend trying this!

Paulette's Bean Soup ("Taco Soup")

2 lbs. hamburger
1 large onion

Brown hamburger and onion together.

Add (do NOT drain cans):

1 can diced tomatoes
1 can beef broth
1 can white hominy
1 can corn
1 can black beans
1 can red beans
1 can white limas (we use butter beans)
1 can pinto beans
1 can navy beans
1 can Rotel (mild or hot, your choice)
1 package Taco seasoning
1 package Valley Ranch Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Mix

Simmer for 45 minutes.

Serve over Frito Corn Chips. Sprinkle shredded Cheddar cheese over the top of the soup. Add a dollop of sour cream (if desired).



If you have a very large crock pot, this will all fit. It takes about 4 hours on low.

Use all the same size cans. They are usually 15 oz. size. We sometimes add 29.50 oz. of the pinto beans. It makes the soup a bit thicker. We also substitute onion powder for the large onion.

This makes a lot of soup! It freezes very well.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Wild Hair Day or The Discovery of the Fountain of Youth

Evidently, when your mom's hair has looked near-hideous for as long as you can remember and you finally see her with a decent hair cut, your response is:

"Mom, what did you DO to your HAIR!" (In an aghast voice that only a 12-year-old junior high girl can muster up).

Mind you, this was said in front of about 20 people in a very crowded hallway after the school musical tonight.

I feel SO uplifted right now! Really!

Flashback to earlier in the day...

Rob went with me to the beauty salon at 10 AM. He wanted to provide moral support. Plus, he wanted to take me shopping at the new outlet mall. What a guy! (He has Fridays off.)

The beautician, named Kristen so I automatically liked her, was so patient with me and my million criteria for my new hair style. I even had a picture! She helped me learn how to style it and everything.

So, when she was done and admiring her work (trust me, it was a VAST improvement), Rob finally saw me and said, "WOW!" Good answer, I thought! Then they both oooh-ed and awwww-ed and said I looked 10 years YOUNGER. (I quickly realized that if I have my hair done only once every ten years for now on, I can maintain the youthful look of a THIRTY-FOUR year old! Hey! it's a plan!)

So, we got home about 4:00 PM and Matt walked in the door from school. "Mom, did you get your hair cut?" he said. I replied, "Why yes, Matt, I DID!" He said, "Oh." Just that. "Oh."


After that, I decided to walk next door and show my best friend. She thought my hair was WONDERFUL and made both her daughters come see it. Either they had a real laughfest after I left or they really did like it!

Thomas, my thoughtful child, then saw me and said it looked nice.

Evidently, it's a mixed bag for how it actually looks. So, NO ONLINE PHOTO. I'm sticking with thinking I look 10 years younger and am happy as a clam!!! :)

Now I just need to schedule my plastic surgery and spend about 1000 more hours at the gym! I'm getting this body of mine back into shape even if it kicks and screams the entire way!!! I think it will be easier with good hair, though, don't you think? :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008



I did it. I made an appointment to have my hair cut and styled.

Why is this a big deal? It's been a DECADE since I last had my hair professionally cut. That's right, TEN LONG YEARS.

I've learned to cut it myself pretty well... as long as you don't notice the back too closely. :) After awhile, I just let the back grow all one length and either had my husband cut it (whining about it all the while, let me assure you, because he was afraid of cutting it crooked) or my daughter. Yes, the twelve-year-old daughter. Not sure why Rob was worried once he knew I was letting Sarah cut it occasionally. Hey, I'm brave. :) Or, maybe just in denial. If I can't see the back of my head, no one else can either, right? Sure.

Why did I stop going to a beauty salon? Well, first it was that I didn't want to offend the stylist by going elsewhere after she gave me a really horrible haircut. That's what happens when you live in a TINY town and the stylist has just joined your church. So, it was either drive way out of town, or learn to cut it myself.

And then, of course, I began to LIKE cutting hair. I cut Rob's hair and Tom's and Matt's. Sarah's doesn't need much since she just wears it long. They generally all look presentable. :)

So, tomorrow at 10 AM I get my hair cut. I AM NERVOUS.

The part that makes me the most nervous is that my hair has issues. It is OLD hair now. :) It used to be full of body and plentiful. Well, now not so much. It is down to my shoulders, though. I haven't had hair that long since about 3rd grade.

Okay. Deep breath. :)

I think the worst part is going to be the people who notice it's cut. "Oh, hey! Christen got her hair cut!" I've noticed that when it looks bad, people just comment that you got it cut, and leave it at that. I'll be listening carefully to what people say. Or, maybe I'll just wear a hat. :)

I'm brave enough to let a twelve-year-old cut my hair... but am I brave enough to post my picture after it is finally cut professionally? Ha! I doubt it!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Flurries at their Finest

I just got back from swimming. I have to say, swimming indoors while watching the world turn white outside from the millions of snowflakes floating through the air... well, it's spectacular. The pool room has a wall of windows on one side. It makes all the difference to the enjoyment factor.

Ten minutes in the hottub watching the same scene... AWESOME!

I think I'll go back. :)

I'll Have a Little Fat with That

It's a noisy day around here. :) We've been doing Legos all morning (which seems like a quiet activity but is somehow not). :) The kids are home from school due to ice/snow. We don't have much here in the valley, but up on the hill where the high school is, they got 4 inches.

So, now the little munchkins are hungry. It is nearing lunchtime. They begged for meatballs, salami/cream cheese, and cheese cubes. Hmmm... Somehow, I'm not thinking that is a good lunch. :) Tommy also wanted chips. Personally, I find salami/cream cheese roll-ups to be disgusting, but my mom got them hooked on them and actually BRINGS them to us.

So, I tell them, "SURE, fine, go for it. BUT, at dinner tonight your ENTIRE plate will be VEGETABLES. Preferably green leafy ones. A big HEAPING plate of veggies. YUM!"

Six eyeballs whipped toward me, flashing with horror!

I grinned. Mwa haha! :)

But then they surprised me. They said, "Well, can we have a potato with them?" And they were PLEASED!

So, I'll make them eat a few carrots now and then really enjoy the completely healthy meal tonight. :)

But, I am wondering if I'm being a completely horrible mom! :)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

“When 900 (or 7) years old, you reach… Look as good, you will not.”

They may not have reached 900 years, but I think this crew looks pretty darn cute!

Today was Matt's 7th birthday party with friends. We chose a Star Wars theme. Darth Vader paid a visit. We made pizza planets, ate moon cake, put together Lego spaceships, had a Nerf blaster battle, etc.

See if you remember all these memorable quotes from Star Wars! I've posted the answers in the "Comments" section.

“This will be a day long remembered. It has seen the end of Kenobi, and will soon see the end of the rebellion.”

The party started with our foster dog making a bid for freedom and us chasing him all the way down the street. Nothing like a little exercise to really add some fun (and weirdness) to the party!!! :)

“Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.”

Darth Vader arrived at last. He arrived late because he (my husband) was out doing a funeral. NOT in his Darth costume, in case you were wondering. His first words were, "Matthew, I'm your father." He arrived in the nick of time...as the natives were becoming restless at the end of the Lego activity.

“Watch your mouth kid, or you’ll find yourself floating home.”

Lee said, "These pizzas look like larvae."
Darth was outside making cola explode with mentos while I watched the pizza planets bake...which the kids had just made. Can't say they looked like planets... more like larvae...as Lee pointed out. Gee. Thanks, Lee! I'm SO excited to eat one now!

“That’s no moon, it’s a space station.”

I found a picture of a moon cake online and thought it looked easy. It's just a cake mix baked in a bowl, with one 9" layer of cake as the base. I found the little wind-up "moonwalker" robot at Target just to have something to perch on top of it.

“I’ve got a very bad feeling about this.”

When I was done cutting cake for everyone, I actually had to grab the cake stand and take the remaining cake away... because one of the boys was a little too "into" the Star Wars theme and was evidently envisioning himself as Luke Skywalker blasting the Death Star! He actually wanted to destroy the CAKE! My poor cake! It's in a place of safety now.

“He’s holding a thermal detonator!”

The boy off to the right in the picture is the one thinking he is Luke. He is ready to dive in already! If you look closely, you can see his tongue hanging out... we had to stop him from LICKING the CAKE!

“I find your lack of faith disturbing.”

Hmmm... I think we invited a bunch of wild things!!!

"Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3720 to 1."

We finished up the party with no injuries and at least one boy asking to come to next year's party. Although, sadly, I think that was mostly because he was enjoying petting our collies! :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Shoot! Stop that Cursing!

You know how I don't swear? (Okay, MAYBE twice a year or so, if I'm honest). Well, wouldn't you figure my kids wouldn't either?

WELL, evidently, NOT SO.

Sarah got flagged online by one of her teachers for INAPPROPRIATE CONTENT on her website. I.E. SWEARING.

My little girl. Oh. My. Gosh. I'm thinking, "She just turned 12 and look what happens!" At the same time, I just don't get it. I've never heard her swear. And then I think..."The minister's kids... they are always the ones... why, oh WHY didn't I marry an accountant?"

When I managed to close my gaping mouth, I read the teacher's comment:

"Heck no is not appropriate. Is that what you would want your grandmother to read or even perhaps Mr. Dunlevy (principal) tomorrow morning? Read the rules again. Clean it up."

That's right. She said, "HECK NO." That's all. And now she needs to, "CLEAN IT UP."

And the funny part is that I say that all the time. I consider it more of an exclamation than a curse. And trust me, grandma says worse. She wouldn't even blink over a "heck no."

In what circles is HECK NO considered swearing? Really, I'm curious. Because I'm sort of starting to wonder if I've just entered "redneck world" and have NO powers of discrimination any more.

Is she not allowed to say, "GOSH," either? Because that fits the same rules.

OH SHOOT! OOOPS! Would that be swearing?

Want to help me out? Just take the poll. :) I need all the help I can get.

I'd love to read your comments, too! Thanks!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cookie Irony

Yesterday morning I logged into my email account and was happy to find 5 comments on the cookie swap post I'd just done.

Here's the funny part. Sandwiched in between my email copies of the blog comments, I found the following emails from Sparkpeople.com. How did they know? :)

Best of SparkPeople:
Getting real about weight loss

The Weekly Spark:
Counting Down the Calories in Holiday Cookies

There is some irony here! :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cookie Swap Day! Recipe for Monster Cookies

It's Fuschia's Cookie Swap Day! Everyone can join in. Just follow the directions in my sidebar, or go over to her site and read the directions there. It's fun! :)


My family LOVES these cookies. I usually have to hide some in the freezer or they all disappear overnight. My daughter even made them as an entry in our local fair and won a red ribbon! It's a nearly foolproof recipe and you can kid yourself into believing these are healthy because of the oats! :)


1 cup margarine
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups rolled oats

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup mini M&M baking bits


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets.

In a large bowl, cream together margarine, brown sugar, white sugar and eggs until smooth.
Stir in the vanilla.
Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and stir into the sugar mixture.
Add the oats.
Mix all until well incorporated.
Mix in chocolate chips and chocolate baking bits.
Drop by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.
Makes 36 cookies.

Bake for 10 to 11 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are golden. If you like chewy cookies, take them out before they look done.

These freeze really well!
I use a medium or large size OXO cookie scoop.
Use regular-sized HOLIDAY M&M’s to make these festive! I use the red/green for Christmas. Just press a few EXTRA M&M's on top of each cookie before baking. That way the colors pop.
Sometimes, I add ¼ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder to the recipe for a yummy chocolate version. You cannot see the colors of the M&M’s as well when you do that, though.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ranger our Foster Sheltie is a Bit of a Butthead

See those oh-so-sweet innocent faces? Hmmmm... Better look twice! Matt is just as sweet as he looks (even though he is bouncing off of the walls today because it is his 7th birthday!).

However, don't be deluded by Ranger, a.k.a. Rocket-butt. Our collies don't know WHAT to do with him. Even now, they are laying around the house in a comatose state. Ranger keeps them all riled up and in racing dog mode! This is SO not like my collies! They are slug collies and proud of it! It's a very special breed and took years of careful development. Keeping up with Ranger is exhausting them!

Even I have felt the effects of his presence, literally. He doesn't like me to leave the house, so in proper herding dog technique, he grabs my shoes, my coat, my purse, my foot, my leg, my... well, ANYTHING (ahem) large enough (ahem, ahem) to keep me in the house. OUCH!

And my poor feet. They are toasty warm now, mind you, but they must never hit the floor under my computer chair without a sheltie head on top of them. I sit down, he lays his head on my feet. Yes, yes, OH SO CUTE, but then my feet go numb because he looks so endearing... and I don't want to move him... because he is, after all, an abandoned dog looking for a new home.

Let's not leave out the new dents in my stomach. I have a recliner. I enjoy watching TV in my recliner with a big micro-fleece blanket tucked in all around me. Bliss. NOT ANYMORE. As soon as 'ole Ranger-butt sees me snuggling in, he decides he wants part of that action and FLIES IN THE AIR (with NO WARNING) and lands his FORTY POUND self on my STOMACH. OOOOMPH! I have permanent dents. The dog is an acrobat.

Okay, okay, he is also the snuggliest little critter. Once on my lap, he tucks his head under my chin and sighs. Adorable.

Man, this little guy is going to be hard to give up.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thanks to a Helpful Blogger...

A very helpful blogger is helping me download a music file so that I can post it here instead of sending people all over the internet to find it. Isn't that nice?

So, in much appreciation, here's your AWARD. :)

Thanks, Eric!

(Speedcat...Cat's Pajamas...It's a cat...Get it?) :)

Cat's pajamas - Something considered to be outstanding
The term "cat's pajamas" comes from E.B. Katz, an English tailor of the late 1700's and early 1800's, who made the finest silk pajamas for royalty and other wealth patrons. Nothing like a cat nap in Kat'z pjs. (from the book, "Cats out of the Bag" compiled by Terry, Don and Ken Beck)

Christmas Photo Poll

Photo #1: Ice Sleigh

Photo #2: Santa

Photo #3: Happy Kids

Ring the Bells

Thanks to Diary of a Southern Drama Queen, I have found my favorite song of the season! O Holy Night by Travis Cottrell. It's on his new "Ring the Bells" CD. It is BEAUTIFUL. It lifts your soul. If you want to listen to it, just use the link and then scroll down the page until you find the list of songs. He has an amazing voice.

Friday, December 5, 2008

That Christmas Spirit

If you read yesterday's post, you know that I took my kids up to Oglebay Mansion to meet Santa (the REAL one). The whole enormous place is decorated for the holidays. A guy from Pittsburgh came down to do an ice sculpture on the front lawn. There was a play, and a magician, and crafts. It's a fun time for a mere $6 and only 5 minutes away! :) It's neat. It's possible I enjoy it more than the kids. :)

Isn't the picture of the kids in the ice sleigh completely cool? (hee hee... yes, they WERE VERY COOL in that sleigh! Very cool indeed! They did have little rugs to sit on so I wasn't torturing them that badly in order to get a picture.) :)

Something very nice / nearly traumatic happened while we were there. Matt likes to take his Nintendo DS with him to these things, especially when he knows there will be a long waiting time (like the loooong line to see Santa). We walked in the mansion and I really meant to tell him to put his backpack on his back instead of holding it like a satchel, but I forgot. So, you guessed it, we sat down to watch the magician and got up to leave...without the DS. I looked at him after we'd climbed up 2 flights of steps to get to the theater ensemble, and noticed NO BACKPACK. Which meant, NO DS, and probably 6 games. My heart started to race because NO WAY could I replace all that right now. The whole point of the backpack is so that he doesn't sit the DS down and forget it. I felt horrible.

So, we raced back down the stairs and checked where we were sitting. NO DS. All of us are starting to look somewhat stricken at this point. I asked a volunteer and she said to check the front desk. Back up the steps we go, down a long corridor, through some mobs of tourists, ending up at the front desk.

I gasp, "Was a backpack just turned in?" I have NO hope. SO MANY people are there. What are the odds of an honest one picking it up AND bringing it all the way to the desk that fast? Not very good.

So, when the lady at the desk said, "Why YES, it was," it took us all a moment for her words to register. Matt about cried. So did I because I didn't have to see him brokenhearted on his trip to see Santa. We turned to go back to the festivities and I heard someone say, "Oh! I'm so glad you found it!" IT WAS THE LADY WHO TURNED IT IN! I about kissed her.

It still just warms my heart to think about the EFFORT she went to in order to make sure a little boy wasn't devastated by the loss of a favorite toy. She must have raced faster than we did to get it to the front desk ahead of us. It sure made a big impression on my kids too. I know they'll all do the right thing if they ever find something as expensive lying around somewhere. It was a valuable lesson. Oh, and Matt's lesson to KEEP his BACKPACK on his BACK was highly valuable too. :)

Going to Oglebay Mansion to meet Santa: $6.00
One backpack with DS and games: $250.00
FINDING lost backpack against all odds because of one special person: PRICELESS

Happy kids after Nintendo DS was found:

Thursday, December 4, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

Last week I went up to Oglebay Mansion with my three little darlings. It's an enormous and beautiful place and SANTA makes it one of his first stops of the season. The REAL santa. He told me so when I asked him for a new Lexus... and maybe an iHubs (shhhh!).

Really, the same nice man has been Santa at the mansion for something like 20 years. He really does seem like the REAL Santa! :)

Now, my two oldest, Sarah and Thomas were ADAMANTLY opposed to sitting on Santa's lap. Not so with Matt, age 7. He hopped right over to him. He was so cute. He got all embarrassed and couldn't think of a thing. I cleverly prompted him with several items I'd already purchased. :)

And then, before my wondering eyes, stood THOMAS wanting to tell Santa his wishes too! And when I glanced questioningly at SARAH, she blushed and nodded vigorously as well!

So, now I have this picture. Probably my last, of all three with Santa. I love it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Clever Girl Goes Blog Has a New Invention

Oh. My. Gosh.

I just read one of my favorite blogs and she has come up with a new invention!


It's called an iHubs.

Go ahead. Read it. Clever Girl Goes Blog: My Golden Ticket. She's hilarious.

Now, of course, I do not actually NEED a new husband. But, a SPARE for when this one is incapacitated sounds quite tempting! And HER iHubs model doesn't SNORE! She added apps like "Snore No More" and "Flowers for No Reason." She goes on and on and is so funny. I hope you enjoy it half as much as I did! :)

UPDATE: Rob arrived home that evening and sadly told me that he had called around various stores, checked online at Amazon and Circuit City... pretty much been a bloodhound over it... and was unable to find me an iHubs. He's so funny. He reads my blog before he comes home from work, you see. :)


"Life is short,
Break the rules,
Forgive quickly,
Kiss slowly,
Love truly,
Laugh uncontrollably,
And never regret anything that made you smile."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Crazy Story

Let me just be clear, the STORY is crazy, not me. It's not up for debate, no matter what you think. :)

Yesterday, I posted about fearing mice in bonnets. I also mentioned my "bug dreams" and selling Boyds Bears online. In this story, all three come together in a terrifying manner.

Anyone who has owned their own business knows the stress of it. The long hours, paying your suppliers, dealing with customers, etc. etc. It's satisfying, but has real headaches attached as well. And on top of all that, I was working into the wee hours so I could take care of Sarah and Thomas (when they were babies) during the day.

So, here you'll see one of my fears:

Now, I did say mice in BONNETS and that mouse is not wearing a bonnet. Just be patient.

So, I was particularly stressed one Christmas season with getting Boyds Bears shipped out in time. Honestly, people always acted like I was shipping them emergency insulin not a stuffed animal. But, I digress.

Extreme stress brings on nightmares from which I cannot seem to wake up.

I was slumbering peacefully when across the bed came a FIELD MOUSE. And you know how FAST those things move. Well, I SHOT out of the covers and was standing on the bed screaming when Rob finally woke me up. I made him take all the covers off of the bed. Because that thing WAS THERE, I tell you!

The thing was, the mouse wasn't just any ordinary mouse. It must have had special powers or something because it was WEARING the BOYDS BUNNY TAMI'S HAT! A bonnet.

Here's Tami, still with her (soon-to-be-removed) bonnet:

Now, I don't want to know what that evil field mouse had to do to get Tami bunny's bonnet, but it can't have been good.

So, I've had a real aversion to mice in bonnets ever since. Wouldn't you? :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

I've Been TAGGED

I've been TAGGED by Summer to blog about 6 things you may or may not know about me. And I thought she liked me.

Gee. Thanks, Summer. Then I get to tag more people. Is this the way to make friends or enemies? I guess I'll be finding out! :) (Summer, you know I am teasing you, right?) :)

Here goes...

1) I was born in Los Angeles, California and adopted. My brother is adopted too.

2) I have TWO brothers named Scott. No, it is not because I live in West Virginia. :) One is my birth half-brother and one is my adopted brother. Both are the same age, height, coloring. It's kind of weird. I'm afraid one day I'll be somewhere with the two of them and be forced to say, "Hi, this is my brother Scott, and this is my other brother Scott."

3) I am hugely competitive at playing Euchre.

4) I used to run a retail website that kept me very busy selling Boyds Bears. It's still out there hogging up cyberspace, actually.

5) Someday, I want to open our home to foster children. For obvious reasons, I always wanted to adopt a child, but there is more need in the foster world.

6) Before kids, I was a sixth grade teacher of reading and language arts. I loved it. I can't wait to go back.

Those are the 6 kind of normal things. Now let's go for the more...unusual... :) (This isn't part of the tagging, I just think it's fun, see #1 below). :)

1) I always go overboard. And I don't mean out boating. I overdo everything. Just ask Rob.
2) I have irrational fears of vacuums, worms, and mice wearing bonnets.
3) My kids are both PK's and TK's. They are maimed for life.
4) I haven't had my hair cut professionally in 10 years. Now, that's scary!
5) I never go in bare feet. (My folks owned a shoe store, so why would I?) :) Probably because of this habit, I have very wimpy feet. Very.
6) When under undo stress, I often have "bug" dreams. I wake up screaming about some bug or rodent or snake in the bed. I'll say it for you, "Weird." And if Rob tries to wake me up, I kick him. Oh, I am SUCH a fun wife! :) I'll say this for him, though, he takes his life in his own hands and grabs me if I try to stand up on the bed to escape... especially if the ceiling fan is on. Yeah, it scares me too.
The rules:

-You don't have to play if you don't want to.

- Pass this along to 6 other blogger buds (via a comment on their blog).

- List 6 things people may or may not know about you, providing you're okay with 6 other bloggers (and the rest of the blogosphere, potentially) knowing more about you.

I am tagging (and apologizing in advance):

Eric @ SPEEDCAT HOLLYDALE PAGE (and don't you dare tag me back!!!) lol
Beth at "A Mom's Life"
Tosca @ Perfect Tosca
Leslie Ruth @ Diary of a Southern Drama Queen
Lauren @ Must Love Dogs...and My Parakeet
Suburban Correspondent @ The More, The Messier

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Visit with Lassie

I always wanted to meet Lassie and now it looks like I have! :)

Thanks to a friend, I have a new profile image with a famous star! BTW, that's Lassie #3. There have been a bunch.

I'm on the left. :)


(Thanks Eric!)

Friday, November 28, 2008

My New T-Shirt Should Read, "I Survived Black Friday Shopping!"

My 12-year-old daughter and I went out shopping this morning! We are not completely crazed. We didn't get to Target until a bit after 6 AM. Early enough for me!

We were immediately amused because there was a LIMO pulled up in front of the store. Okaaaaay. Now, how exactly are you saving money on Black Friday deals if you are RENTING A LIMO? Hmmmmm...

So, we made our wild dash to the toy aisles. We knew better than to get a cart because I know from past years that they just bog you down in "traffic." Our mission: FIND LEGO STAR WARS IMPERIAL STAR DESTROYER. None were on the shelf and there was a big blank spot where they had been. Too late!!! Well, it was a long shot. Too bad because I had my light saber at the ready to fend off prospective buyers should there have been one lone box available. Ah well.

Next stop, electronics. New printer, CHECK. New camera... oh-oh! LOOK AT THAT LINE! But wait! Yes, they are BRINGING OUT MORE CAMERAS! Score! :) Camera, CHECK. :)

Dash over to movies. Find two at ridiculously low prices. CHECK!

Stand in line at the electronics counter to find out if they have any memory cards left from the sale. Look at the person next to me. NOTE THE LEGO STAR WARS IMPERIAL STAR DESTROYER in her arms! "Where did you get that?" I ask. She pointed to an end cap far from the Lego aisle. I take off (as fast as you can take off with 100 people between you and your destination).

I pass by one empty end cap. I look ahead. I see a big box... I near the last end cap and THERE THEY ARE! So, LEGO STAR WARS IMPERIAL STAR DESTROYER, CHECK! :)

I send Sarah off to find a cart while I guard our loot (which we can no longer carry). She snags the LAST CART in the store and zooms back to me. That's my girl! :)

So, we head around the perimeter of the store to get to the registers. THE LINE IS BACKED UP TO FROZEN FOODS at the far end of the store! OH NO!

We browse through clothing and end up near the cash registers again and this time NO LINE. Well! That was great!

I am THRILLED to hand over my 10% off EVERYTHING card to the cashier. "PLEASE don't forget to scan this," I say. And, of course, she forgets. Sigh. SOOOO, we are told to go to customer service where there is a HUGE LINE. Doesn't that just figure? But, while standing in line over there, I realized that I'd been overcharged $9 for one of the DVD's I bought, so it worked out.

We went a couple of other places and ended up at Russell Stover's for a chocolate fix. They had NOT ONE good sale. NOT ONE. I could have gotten some of their chocolate cheaper at Target with my 10% off. It was disappointing on one hand, but my waist was grateful. :)

We are back home and happy to have survived. I am PLEASED to report that we came across NO CRAZIES. Everyone was quite pleasant and cheerful even to the point of not arguing over who was in line first! It was nice to be out and about and seeing SMILES instead of grumblings.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanks Giving

Happy Thanksgiving!

On Monday of this week I was feeling quite the grinch. One of our cars failed state inspection and since it's a 1991, we had to retire it. So, the days of no car payments are over for some time to come. Sigh. Puts a bit of damper on the fun of Christmas shopping, that is for sure. To say nothing of the absolute joy (ahem) of just having one car for awhile.

So, I was still feeling a bit grumbly yesterday as we went to the grocery store to pick up dog food. The dogs were a trifle upset that I forgot about them when I did grocery shopping on Friday.

We were driving down the street to get to the main road when we come across an elderly lady STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD. Odd, to say the least. So, we stopped to see if she needed help. It ended up that she needed a ride to the bank and was doing her version of hitchhiking. Now, I've seen her around the neighborhood quite often. I was never quite sure what to make of her since she walks around in winter coats in the middle of summer.

Bottom line, when I'm 90 years old (or so), I sure hope someone is around to help me get to the bank so that I don't have to stand in the middle of the road (in freezing temperatures) and flag someone down. So, we took her over to the bank and brought her back home.

It made me very sad seeing someone so in need of such simple assistance. And that made me think about how grateful I should be to even have ONE car, let alone two. A car that I CAN DRIVE and that gives me freedom to do things like go to the bank and the grocery.

I'm feeling somewhat embarrassed about my "bah humbug" attitude, let me tell you!

The entire time this sweet old lady was thanking us profusely for helping her out, I just kept thinking, "No, thank YOU."

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Food Coma

I am still in a food coma from yesterday. :) We had our family Thanksgiving. We are going to my parents' house tomorrow for yet more Thanksgiving fare, but we like leftovers, so we had dinner here first. And boy, do we have leftovers! :)

I love to cook, so I overdid it, per usual. :) I tried a new recipe for green bean casserole (recipe here) and it was as good as the website promised! :) That was a relief because I am not necessarily a GOOD cook. :)

The kids did say that my Thanksgiving was better than the school's. Oh WOW! (heavy sarcasm)

Then they thought about it and decided to actually rank the meals. I felt better when the school got a 0 and I got a 10 (later revised to 100). :)

Plates were practically licked clean (can't actually guarantee that some were not since we had homemade applesauce and Matt likes to be a little caveman). We ended with a burping contest.

I'm (unfortunately) very serious. LOTS of giggling. LONG lecture from ME on HOW TO BE CLASSY (ie, NO BURPING at the table, or on a first date, or, well, you get the picture). :)

I think we have lived too long in WV. But, hey, it was a fun meal. :) Happy kids are a good thing.

I'm also thinking it was a good thing to have a trial run Thanksgiving at our house before getting to my parents' house tomorrow. They really ARE classy. We scare them sometimes, I think. :) They don't like loud voices. Or burping. Definitely not burping. :)

Here's what we had:

Turkey (with a defective pop-up timer, thank goodness for meat thermometers!)
Broccoli Casserole
Green Bean Casserole
Corn Pudding
Homemade Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls (didn't read quantity and had SEVEN rolls per person - think that was enough? :))
Homemade Applesauce
Mashed Potatoes

I managed to add sugar to all the fruit and cheese, and cream cheese, heavy cream, sour cream, or fried onions to all the vegetables (kind of a cream theme). :) I think that's how the kids rated it a 100. :)

I hope everyone has a marvelous Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm a Grinch Today

Bah Humbug!

We had to get my husband's Toyota ForeRunner inspected today and it FAILED. In a big way. Well, it is a 1991. But, it only has around 80,000 miles on it, so we were hoping for a couple more years. I know. That sounds funny to say about a 1991! :)

So, now, in the midst of holiday cheer, we have to figure out what to do about a second vehicle. Who wants to buy a new car in this economy? Do you lease instead and hope for cars with better fuel economy in a few years?

This has me feeling a little LESS than cheerful, shall we say.

So, I'll be back tomorrow with a post I've been working on about our visit with santa. That should restore my holiday spirit!

Friday, November 21, 2008


Brrrr! It's verrrrry cold today! I think this calls for some hot chocolate! :)


So, I was chatting with Rob and he mentioned that he had just seen our daughter's swim instructor.

And that reminded me of the last time I had seen her (outside of the pool where lessons are given).

I was at a yard sale and I noticed the owner looked familiar. I finally got close enough through the crowd to say, "Hi!" and then I realized who she was.

In a moment of high brilliance, I said, "Oh! I didn't recognize you WITH YOUR CLOTHES ON!"

Let me just assure you that I got some VERY STRANGE LOOKS! :) I had to quickly explain my comment, which, let's face it, just made the whole thing worse. Funny, but still worse. :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Swimsuits for the Ages

Today I went to the gym. I meet my husband and we do water exercises for 30 minutes or so. It's part of his rehab after his knee surgery and it's also just plain 'ole fun. One-on-one time without little munchkins listening in? Oh yes. Fun.

So, I was running late and I dashed into the dressing area... just in time to see a MUCH OLDER woman wearing MY SWIMSUIT! She must have been 80. EIGHTY!

Of course, it was really not my suit. That was in my gym bag. But it was JUST LIKE IT.

And I thought, OH NO! I've done it again! I HAVE A FRUMPY SWIMSUIT! I've always had rather frumpy tendencies, but really, I thought my swimsuit was okay. And yes, it covers me QUITE WELL, but that is necessary since when I bought it Matt was only two and I was constantly bending and stretching and racing around after him in it. I didn't want to scare off the neighbors when I was out in our wading pool. You get the idea. Really. I was just being considerate.

But, it gets worse. Because even though I hastily averted my eyes, picked up my jaw, and went to a locker so I could change, I couldn't get the reality out of my head that...


Come spring, I am DEFINITELY buying a new swimsuit! And it better be hip and trendy... or at least not fit for the AARP crowd!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

First Snow

Our first snow has arrived! It's BEAUTIFUL snow! Not enough to make you afraid to drive on the roads, yet enough to cover up all the ugly brown that we have this time of year. Everything looks clean and fresh!

Now, if ONLY it would snow inside my HOUSE! :)

I made my first snowball... which actually turned into an iceball because it was such good packing snow. I sent it to a friend via email who didn't appreciate it at all! Imagine that! :)

Now our whole family is eying the weather and hoping for enough snow for snowman making and sledding! We have the BEST hills around here for sledding! It's completely invigorating.

So, if you don't have snow, I'm happy to share some! But not too much. We need it for our snowman! Enjoy the pics! :)

The snow begins:

The wind picks up!

First snowball!

This beautiful view is 3 miles from our house. I drove up into the hills as the snow was starting to melt. The clouds had broken up and the sky was amazing! Views like this just sort of put things into perspective for me and bring a sense of calm.

I hope the next snow lasts a bit longer! It keeps snowing and melting. We want sledding snow and DRIFTS! :) Is there anything more fun than tunneling through a snow drift? :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sometimes you just need a little encouragement.

If you've read my blog before, you know all about my newish gym membership. It's great. I love it. I go 5 days a week.

But, as much as I recognize that I need to go so that I can be healthy again and lose weight, my mom just told me a couple of days ago that she doesn't think I'll continue to go. I'll get bored and quit.

And you know what? That little discouragement made me think that maybe that's what would happen. And it's not as if I have a history of quitting easily either. I'm generally a rather optimistic, never give up sort of a person.

Sometimes our thoughtless words strike someone a lot harder than we mean.

I was trying to work through this. I'm used to it. I get comments like this all the time from my parents. I think many people do. You learn to deal.

But, then, today at church, another member of the gym came up to me with the obvious intent to ENCOURAGE me. She was so impressed with how well I've been doing at the gym and how I just go to town on the treadmill and bike and told me so. We often meet at the gym just by chance since we both like to watch the same TV show while we walk. (Yes, the exercise equipment has TV capability!)

And suddenly, I lost that bleak outlook on my commitment to exercising. I'm sure she had no idea the effect of her words. Sometimes the most minor comment we make can change someone's day so much for the better. You just never know.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rice is Nice

I am completely hopeless with making rice! It's been proven again!

This time I was just making Minute Rice. Now, WHO messes up Minute Rice? Really. I want to know.

Evidently, ME.

It was a simple mistake, really. I was in a hurry because I was in the midst of making a yummy Greek dish with chickpeas (which Rob only agreed to eat after I assured him they were really the more manly garbanzo beans :). I decided it might taste good over rice. So, in order to get the rice done in time, I grabbed what I thought was Minute Rice. Now, most of my food is generic and this was rice in a large glass canning jar. Hey, it looked right to my "I need bifocals" eyes! :)

Rob, knowing me and my history with rice, calmly got out my new rice cooker, read the directions, and started some real rice.

Bless him.

Because I did NOT start cooking Minute Rice. I started cooking regular rice in the Minute Rice fashion. OOOPS! :) Let's just say it is still cooking. Rob's rice is fluffy and beautiful.

I am never going to hear the end of it! :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ten Marvelous Things

Today Rob (my husband) has again amazed me with...

1) Letting me sleep in on his day off.
2) Taking the boys to school on his day off.
3) Taking care of all the pets this morning.
3) Making up his own list of chores to do on his day off.
4) Emptying my pail of dirty water from mopping the floor (because I hate to do it and he saw it sitting on the floor).
5) Offering to take me SHOPPING in PITTSBURGH for a pair of BOOTS just because I mentioned that I didn't want to drive home tonight in the dark.
6) Putting my waffle iron back together because he knows it flummoxes me.
7) Changing all the lightbulbs in the whole house that needed changing (because I can't reach without a ladder).
8) Practically ordering me to get out and DO something this morning with my mom... just because he knows I want to.
9) Bringing up the clean laundry from the basement (because it is heavy!).
10) Not even once complaining about his obviously sluggish beyond belief wife whose only job is to take care of our children. :)

I think he's a keeper. :) Because he's not like this just today. He's ALWAYS like this. And cheerful about it too! WOW! :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hamster Talk

Oh, the joys of hamsters!

I was lamenting our hamster population to a friend the other day and she shared a couple of her own hamster stories.

First, I have always been afraid that one of our cats would get to one of our hamsters. Tigger has almost succeeded, twice. Once, he completely demolished the cage by knocking it off of Sarah's desk! I found the hamster huddled in the wreckage while Tigger looked on hungrily.

Well, my friend had also always feared this. And, alas, one day one of her family's hamsters came to a dire end. Unfortunately, she didn't know this. And also unfortunately, she had to get up in the middle of the night for something and... SQUISH. Yes, she found the hamster all right, in the dark. She told me that she immediately thought of the trauma this would cause her 5-year-old son and she hoped...

"Oh my gosh, I sure hope we have MICE!"

Now, that is LOVE.

Fortunately, her son didn't realize that his hamster was gone right away. Yep, she kept up the pretense of a living hamster for a YEAR by keeping lots of extra bedding in the cage. He was older by then and better able to cope with the loss. What a mom!

Then she told me about the plight of their other hamster. It escaped. That's an old story with hamsters, of course. They are all escape artists. They hunted all over the bedroom and throughout the second floor where it escaped, no hamster. Two cats. Poor poor hamster.

BUT, lo and behold, she was doing laundry in the basement (yes, TWO FLOORS DOWN) and picked up a sock... and found a HAMSTER. Imagine that! Now, I would have SHRIEKED and probably lost the hamster again (or killed it from the sheer terror it would have felt from the volume of my yell), but she protected it and got it safely back in the cage.

She is some woman. And some mom.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's all in the Eye of the Beholder

The kids are off school today due to Veteran's Day. Matt has been bouncing off of the walls since yesterday when he found out he had a PLAY DATE with a new friend from school.

Kelly (Isaac's mom) called yesterday to invite Matt over. She was really happy that our two sons have finally decided to be friends. She even mentioned how glad she was that her son had made friends with the "good boys" at school. I'm not sure why she was concerned because she has a wonderful family. But, it did make me feel proud of Matt that someone else thinks so highly of him.

So, Matt was to be picked up at 11 AM.

6:30 AM Everyone is sleeping in because it is a day off school... EXCEPT MATT.
7:20 AM I finally give in and drag myself out of bed. I was so looking forward to a good snooze til 8:00 AM, but it was not to be.
7:30 AM Dogs are THRILLED to see me up at my usual time.
8:00 AM Matt: "Mom, when am I leaving?" Yes, this is the first of the billions of times he asked this same question between 8-9 AM.

9:00 AM Begin cleaning regime with unwilling children. Funnel Matt's antsiness into cleaning! Hey! It worked!!! For the next two hours he only asked about 12 times. :)

11:00 AM Wave goodbye to Matt.

1:00 PM Receive phone call from Kelly.

Kelly: "Hi Chris. Just wanted to tell you that the boys are having a great time."
Me: "Oh, that is wonderful! I knew they would."

Kelly: "There has been a slight injury. We have a spinny toy and Matt got hit by one of the spinners. I have a cold compress on his eye. He's fine. You can barely see where he got hit."
Me: (with hand still on phone book ready to call eye dr.) "I'm sure he's fine. Thanks for taking care of him!' (remove hand from phone book, breathe, breathe, breathe, continue conversation calmly...)

Kelly: "Oh! Hi Matt! Matt's here. Just a sec." (voice becomes muffled) "Let me see, Matt. Oh! Hey! Your eye is hardly bloodshot at all now!"


I decided she had to be teasing me. (stop hyperventilating, put down paper bag)

Then she comments on how she has never heard a child giggle as much as Matt does. Yup. He's a happy kid.

So, now I am waiting for my little darling to arrive home. I do hope he has both eyes intact!!!

UPDATE: Matt's fine and has been invited back. :)

More Heckling... Because I CAN :) (Sorry Dear!)

Hey, it's my blog. My dear husband can read it and hope to not be blog fodder, but it's a vain hope today. Mwa haha! :)

So, yesterday we were doing laps around the track at the gym. It's a nice track. He was making me walk on the outside so I would have to walk farther (because I always take the inside track and he says I'm not getting the workout that I should... sure, that's the reason we'll go with...) Did I just hear some whining? :)

Well, we are on our second lap and passing the windows that look down on the pool.

Rob: "I wonder if many people are in the pool?"
Me: "Let's check!"

I'm glancing down at the pool when I hear it. THUNK! Really loud! The man in walking in front of us turned to look in astonishment! What WAS that noise!

ROB'S HEAD hitting the glass. THAT'S what it was. LOUDLY! I thought the man walking in front of us was going to fall over. He certainly teetered over into Rob's track lane, grinning all the time! :)

Because, I KNOW what he was thinking... "Just WHAT did that guy SEE in the POOL to make him BONK his head so hard on the glass window?"

Let me just assure you that on the NEXT lap around the track, I CHECKED! Not that I don't trust him, but I figured there was a good chance for heckling. (And he SO loves that!) :)

All I saw were a few white-haired people swimming laps. Really. Nothing to make him look so hard that he would BONK his head like that.

So, unfortunately, we conferred on this as we rounded the track yet again... and he came to the conclusion that he is just clutzy. So sorry, dear! :) You know that I most certainly do not think you are clumsy! :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Bit of Friendly Heckling

I have a standing 2 PM date at the gym. Probably one of the reasons I enjoy it.

However, today I almost wanted to exchange my date for someone else. Someone perhaps, nicer. More thoughtful and considerate. Ahem.

So, I was biking and Rob was biking next to me.

I commented that I had already biked an extra 2 miles today because I got there a bit early and was waiting for him to finish up so we could do a few laps around the track. I mentioned that I'd been there a long time.

"Oh," he said, completely unimpressed. "How long have you been whining?"

Now, on the wall over the track, there is CLEARLY posted, a wooden sign that says, "NO WHINING."

Whine? Moi? At the gym? Now really.

About a mile into his bike ride he stopped and said he was leaving. Why? His favorite bike was unavailable. Doesn't that sound like whining? :) Oh, I think it does.

(Sorry sweetie... I had to use you for blog fodder today... and tomorrow will be the story of your -um- injury.) hehe

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Look who we sprung from the local animal shelter today! He'd only been there 2 days, but he was so happy to leave! The shelter director said that he wouldn't eat while he was there. Well, 10 minutes at our house and he was eating like a little horse. I think he knows he found a good thing by coming here. Dogs don't get much time at our local shelter and they were overfull. I think we all know what that means.

So, we have a new foster dog! This one is a big sheltie. Just look at that face! He's smiling! :) He's a real sweetheart. I bet we don't have him long before he's matched up with a permanent family.

Earlier today, my collie Harley was trying to get on my lap. Well, he's 85#, so I was adamantly opposed to the idea! I was trying to push him down when I saw the new foster put his paws up on my chair too. I wasn't too concerned. He's a little guy. WELL! I should have paid more attention because all of a sudden, WHAM! I had a big sheltie on my lap. He FLEW THROUGH THE AIR like he had SPRINGS in his legs. Hmmmm...

I am used to my slug collies. I think we are in for a little excitement! :)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

That Thomas!

Today Thomas (age 10) was asked if the mail had come yet. It's delivered through a mail slot to the side of the front door.

Dad: "Thomas, is the mail here, yet."
Thomas: "No."
Dad: "Are you sure because it sounded like the mail was dropped through the slot just now."
Thomas: "No, Dad, it's not here."
Dad: "Are there still envelopes in the slot ready to get picked up by the mailman?"
Thomas: "No."

Okay. Clearly at this point Thomas is just enjoying saying the word, "No." Rob's no fool, so he had his next question ready.

Dad: "Thomas, is there mail on the floor under the mail slot?"
Thomas: "OH! Yes, there IS!"

Rob rolled his eyes so hard I was afraid they were going to stick that way!

Focus on the Terrific

Saturday. At last. It's been a long week.

I'm sad to see it get all gray and gloomy outside, but I do enjoy the cozy atmosphere inside. A lot.

Some terrific things have happened today.

- I finally figured out what is wrong with my scale and my weight actually IS going down. Whew!
- Hubby told me I was wearing the BAGGIEST JEANS HE'D EVER SEEN (and these are -were- my favorite jeans!)!!
- This means that I CAN still lose weight AND eat chocolate too! WOO HOOOO!
- I can see the END OF LAUNDRY today. A miracle, for sure!
- All three kids are HOME and playing TOGETHER with no arguing. Another miracle!!!
- Hubby can actually take the day off, for once!!!
- I RESISTED the EVIL DQ Blizzard that was brought in the house this afternoon. BACK Evil Blizzard! BACK! (It's been safely imprisoned in the freezer).

So, it's a very nice day. :) I needed a nice day. Somehow this week, I managed to offend a dear friend. It's been bothering me for days. There is nothing I can do except apologize, but I wish I could do more. And I wish that was enough. Apparently, it's not. At least not yet. Time heals. But it still hurts because I really love this person and knowing they are upset with me makes me feel somewhat numb inside.

Focusing on the positive stuff on my blog helps. So does this enormous hunk of chocolate that I'm gnawing on instead of eating a normal lunch. Know what? Maybe I better stop that now. :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Day at the Natural History Museum

My son Thomas (age 10) said the Natural History Museum was like a "dead zoo."

At one point we were standing in front of a large bird exhibit and arguing over which birds looked the most dead. I know, I know. We are an odd family. But, boys will be boys. And some of the birds were really very old stuffed examples and just looked more moth-eaten than others. Plus, most birds were upright in natural-looking positions, but others were laying flat on their backs... and those looked rather more gruesome. More dead, somehow.

Not everyone would understand our conversation about the dead birds. Most certainly another patron did not. He walked by and we heard a most acerbic voice say, "They are all EQUALLY DEAD."

We got a good laugh over it, although I am sure that was not the intent of that grumpy speaker! :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

How Men Think

Last night I learned a secret about how MEN think.

I was at Tiger Cub Scouts (very young men in training, after all...first graders).

We were playing a game of "Telephone." You know the one. The first person in line makes up a sentence and whispers it to the next person, and on, until it reaches the end of the line and is usually a completely different version of the original sentence.

This provided much hilarity. Especially for the adults. Make that, especially for the MOMS.

The first sentence ended up as, "I marry you."

Everyone looked questioningly at the initiator of the sentence. He was bewildered as well. Because he had said...

"I love you."

Now, CLEARLY men learn at a VERY YOUNG age to hear, "I MARRY YOU" (and look bewildered and possibly run in fear) when someone simply tells them, "I LOVE YOU." Doesn't this explain a LOT? :)

I am amused. :)

Monday, November 3, 2008


I took down my Halloween flag today. I couldn't wait to put out my STEELERS FLAG!!!!

They have a really big game tonight and have a really good shot at winning. I'll even be home from Tiger Scouts in time for opening kickoff!

Snacks are prepared. Steeler shirt is washed.



Apple Cake Recipe

I made this last night and my family LOVED it. My husband thinks it is the best apple cake ever! I believe him.


Because he ate the first piece I gave him (and it was substantial!) faster than light. Then he disappeared and returned with another piece of it and after inhaling that piece declared he was about to go into a food coma (since this was on top of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, etc.).

Sarah was too full from dinner, so she nibbled the top off of her piece and made dents all around it. You know how kids are with food sometimes. I sat it on the counter and forgot about it. Later, I was doing dishes and couldn't find the piece of nibbled cake to throw it away. Rob came into the kitchen behind me.

So, I asked him, "Dear, have you seen that bit of mangled cake that Sarah left on her plate?"
There was an embarrassed silence.
"Well, yeah, I ate it."
(If you are counting, that makes THREE!... and he is on a DIET... and is quite dedicated to it... to the point of losing nearly 40 pounds in recent months!)

Okaaaay. There WAS more in the pan, btw. He just couldn't stand for a bit of it to be disposed of...and not into an appreciative stomach! I guess he likes it! :)

So, thanks, Marilyn, for the recipe (should you happen to be reading!!) ;)

I also have to note that although the recipe calls for 1/2 c. of raisins, I thought it said TWO cups on my handwritten recipe, so that's how I made it. I simmered the raisins a bit to soften/plump them up. If you like raisins, go for two cups! :) Hey, with 6 cups of fruit, it HAS to be healthy, right? :) (We'll ignore that 2 cups of sugar!) :)

Apple Cake:

4 c. apples (chopped)
2 c. sugar
2/3 c. oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp salt (optional)
1/2 c. nuts (optional)
1/2 raisins (I used 2 cups).

Add sugar to chopped apples and let sit while assembling other ingredients (stirring once).

Combine oil, eggs, and vanilla.
Sift dry ingredients.
Add oil mixture to apples.
Add nuts and raisins to flour and stir well.
Add apple mixture to flour mixture.

Pour into greased 9"x13" pan.
Bake in 350' oven for 40-45 minutes (or til done).

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Trick or Treat!

We had so much fun tonight! Our street and the next street over are both really popular with Trick-or-Treaters of all ages. Even teens! We had a couple hundred kids come through and it was slower than usual. Yes, I said 200! People new to the neighborhood generally have to be warned ahead of time to buy enough candy and they still never believe it until they see it!

A bunch of houses really go all out. One guy was starting up a chain saw as kids came up to get candy (don't worry, they were at a very safe distance). He also had a scary video showing. A bit much, but you get the picture. Lots of ghosts, and flying bats, and spider webs, and fog machines, and cauldrons burning. One yard had REAL people lying around looking dead. I poked one with my light saber to check. :) It's a bit wild and a real blast. Wall to wall people. The kids LOVE it. Me too.

The funniest part of all this is that we really do live in a very sedate neighborhood. Lots of lawyers and ministers live here (they even get along! :).

Tonight I was expecting all this, so we entered into the spirit of it. Fun. :) BUT, I was floored at one costume...

...The young teen girl dressed as a baby and wearing DEPENDS (and I think that was it) on her lower half. I think her mother needed to have a little chat with her and the message she was sending to every salivating male she came across. And they WERE salivating. Trust me.

My favorite costume was a boy wearing a black sweatshirt with barbie dolls attached to the front of it? Can you guess what he was supposed to be?


:) Did you guess?


A babe magnet! Isn't that clever? He's 10 so it was extra funny. I think. His mom said he came up with it in his own, but I have to wonder...

Then we went back to a neighbor's with her kids and looked through our "loot." Found out our neighbor was handing out gold $ coins (real ones), so the kids were THRILLED about that. :)

I demanded all the Twix and Kit Kat bars and those sweet children handed them over in fistfuls! Can you believe it? :) I was joking, actually. I knew where our neighbor Kim had his stash of Dove Chocolate (because Holly had already sneaked some into my favor bag at our Halloween dinner :)... and was planning to "reallocate" more of them. :) But, Twix and Kit Kats will do just fine in a pinch. :)

So, our night of fun is at an end.

Tomorrow we have our "Monster Halloween Feast." Can't wait!!! :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Why Is Today Wonderful?

Let me count the ways...

1) Grandma took the kids yesterday so hubby and I could have some time to ourselves.

2) We did our weekly grocery shopping in TEN minutes.*

3) The sky is a gorgeous blue, so beautiful that you can hardly tear your eyes away from it.

4) As mom dropped off the kids today, she told me I was looking THINNER!**

* Yes, that is no exaggeration. We RAN through the grocery ten minutes before closing and bought $108 in groceries. I won't have to go back for another week. IT WAS AMAZING!

** This from the same woman who when I was 5 months pregnant and retaining water like a camel, wanted to know what happened to me? "Honey, you used to be so slim and trim." HELLO! Pregnant!!! So, she's a tough sell on the "thin" look. Made me feel great! (In a sad, I-can't-believe-I-don't-need-therapy kind of a way).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lemon Diet Pepsi

I just opened my very first lemon diet Pepsi.

And, well, what were they thinking?

I think there was a reason this stuff disappeared from the shelves two years ago!!!! Even, just plain 'ole wonderful Pepsi would be better. MUCH better.

It's called NFL Kickoff and according to the (funny) commercial, I'm obligated to drink it so that I can get double Pepsi stuff points. After watching the commercial, I'm wondering why the Steelers aren't drinking this stuff. :)

However, it's a LIMITED EDITION flavor with a special NFL football on the can. So, I should force myself to drink it just so I can be trendy. :)

'Cuz, it's all about trendy, right?


(Don't worry, I'm not really finishing it... I've never been very trendy.).

But, I've heard some people really do like this stuff. Let's see if they do.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I can't believe it's already been 10 days since my birthday! It was a really nice day. I even got flowers! Yes, FLOWERS! I never get flowers, but a dear friend made sure I had some this year. (Thanks!!!) :) And they were absolutely completely gorgeous.

So, I've been nursing them along but today I decided that some of them had to go. Why don't roses last longer? But, to my delight, I discovered a lot of the mums still have life in them! So, I clipped stems and did some rearranging, and ya know, I think I'll get a few more days of enjoyment out of these! What a delightful surprise! :)

I'm even thinking I might find some cattails somewhere to add to it since it's pretty much down to Fall flowers in the vase. And I just peered out the back window at my neighbor's yard. He has some yellow black-eyed susans just begging to be picked and added to my flower arrangement. Hmmm... I'm feeling a clandestine operation coming on! :)

Who knew I'd get so much enjoyment out of a bunch of flowers? :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Boo at the Zoo

Every year we go to the Boo at the Zoo festivities at Oglebay Park Zoo. It's such fun!

So, last night we dragged out our Halloween paraphernalia and got all gussied up.

At first, the boys weren't too thrilled with their costuming choices.

1) Use last year's costume.
2) Finally wear the cowboy or knight costume that have been nixed 2 years running.
3) Wear the Darth Vader costumes that I bought last year at Target's 90% off sale.

Yes, I bought THREE Darth Vader costumes. I mean, after all, if ONE Darth is scary, how scary would THREE of them be?

Eventually, the boys decided it would be GREAT FUN to all dress alike and we had no dearth of Darth. :)

Sarah had her costume planned for months and was a pink diva cat. I was a witch, so I said she was my cat. :)

Note that Rob had ONE job. Make sure the boys leave the house with their capes ON. Ahem.

Here's the Darth picture AFTER I discovered that little faux pax. Ahem. Ahem.

If we are going to have no dearth of Darths in the family this year, we need at least one Princess!

And here she is... under duress. :) Just look at that expression!

"Save me Han Solo! Save me! Before I expire from embarrassment or rip someone's leg off."

Yeah, I'm dangerous at Target when they mark things 90% off! I mean, it's like they are DARING me to leave it in the store!

Rob says he should have started the Darth Vader Diet a LOOOONG time ago (in a galaxy far far away....).... Although, he was prepared to test his theory that melted chocolate could be dripped through Darth's mouthpiece.

We did have a hairy moment when we realized that the well-fed dragon is eating pink diva kitten this year!

Fortunately, there are some rescue llamas on the job and they particularly enjoy saving kittens. Or, maybe they just like the color pink. Well, whatever. Whew! :)

We ended our visit only to discover that SOME of us received suspiciously DEFECTIVE bags of CANDY. Ahem. DARTH!!! :)