Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Nativity Movie

Once again, my friend Rachel put together a great Nativity movie with our local kids. I think it's so beautiful. (Laura played Mary, and Tustin and Kimball were part of the Heavenly Hosts). I didn't get to enjoy it on Christmas Eve because, (lucky me), I was home from the party with the flu, but I watched it this morning from "YouTube". It always makes me cry.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday. Even when you're sick it can't change the beauty of Christmas- that Jesus Christ, the Savior of all mankind was born.

Enjoy:

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Curse of the Blue Spruce!

the "good enough" tree

Last weekend we went to Maple Row Christmas Tree Farm in Connecticut for our annual cutting of the tree. Every year we head up there, take our tractor ride out to the fields, find our perfect tree, cut it down, ride the tractor back, and enjoy hot cocoa and donuts as we wait for the "tree-pick-up" guy to haul our tree down from the hill and beautifully wrap it in twine for us, ready to be strapped to the car. (Actually I should note here, that since our car does not have a roof rack, among a host of other nice modern features, that our friends the Schmidts strap our tree to their handy car as well. Thank You Michael!) Either way, it's been a great tradition and every year I have loved my beautiful fir tree.

Not this year.

Somehow we were dropped off by the tractor in the land of the Blue Spruce. First off, I've never been very partial to the blue-tinged tree. Instead, I prefer a really lush, dark green. But no matter how far I foraged in this field there was none to be found. To top that off, every tree that we found that was "good enough" ended up having a crazy twisted trunk. (That is a"no-go" if you want to avoid a battle of engineering to get your tree to stand up straight).
After searching long and hard, we finally just gave up and picked the only one we could find that didn't have scoliosis.

We got that over with, assuring ourselves that it would be beautiful once decorated, and heading back down the hill for the much anticipated cocoa and donuts. Guess what? They were sold out! (Karma is not on my side this year) Luckily for us, New Yorkers are obsessed with their Dunkin Donuts and they are on every other street corner.

We got the tree home and quickly learned that a Blue Spruce is not only very blue but full of killer needles, that we have now dubbed "torturous blades of pain." The simple act of hanging ornaments requires one to wear gloves. It hurts so bad, and being the control freak that I am in regards to the tree decor, it was all my pain to suffer! Why would someone breed this type of tree? It's painful nature steals the very spirit of Christmas right out of the person trying to "Deck the Halls!"

I suffered the pain, and the tree actually looked pretty nice. Then came last night.......CRASH! The entire tree fell over- dumping it's ornaments, ribbon and needles of pain everywhere!

I hate the blue spruce.(it's beautiful appearance tries to mask it's mean spirited nature)
The ward Christmas party is this coming Saturday and until it is over I will continue to ignore my blog, my children, the meals, and just about everything else. I am consumed with mangers, centerpieces, musical numbers and a myriad of sordid details that I'm hoping will come together to make a nice occasion for everyone. Wish us luck!

That being said- before I sign off for a few more weeks, once again ( I'll try and get back to posting after New Years)- I wanted to take a quick moment to post a few of our happenings.


Last week Stanton and I went to the Chris Daughtry concert in Manhattan with some friends. So much fun! I love my boy from American Idol! Here's some pictures of Daughtry in action.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Good Wishes for Grandma

This morning I asked Kimball, my five year-old, to say our morning prayers. (He has a tendency to say the same two sentences every time he prays, so before we knelt I encouraged him to take a moment to think about what he'd really like to say.) He began with his list of usual niceties, and then verbalized a VERY special, heartfelt request:

"And please bless Great Grandma that she'll have fun in her coffin today."

Priceless!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Yummy Yums!


I am a big fan of Allrecipes.com. If you have not yet discovered it, then stop now and take a look. My favorite feature to the website is the Reviews. As a general practice I only bother to make recipes that have atleast 100 or more positive reviews. This way I can avoid wasting time with something that will be more enjoyed by the garbage disposal than my taste buds.

I was perusing last Sunday and decided to try and make the top rated cookie called "Beth's Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookie" It has 1291 reviews, so far, and still averages a 5 star rating. I love oatmeal cookies, but (sorry Dad, I know you are a big fan) I am not partial to raisins in them, so I replaced those with chocolate chips. (In case you do not know this already- chocolate makes everything better!) In addition I am not a big fan of Crisco- so I made them with all butter.
With those changes- I love this cookie! The added spices give them a little unexpected twist, and they are super chewy and delicious.
A bonus- the oatmeal is good for you- so that cancels out anything bad for you, such as the butter. Right? (A positive 5 plus a negative 5 equals zero. It's simple nutrition "math" people!)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

No More Christmas Crazies!


This is the year! The year that I will get all my shopping done early. The year that I will be so relaxed and carefree that I'll have all the time I desire to revel in the holiday season with my family. We are going to bake and sing. We are going to read scriptures and stories about the True meaning of Christmas and we will do random acts of service for each other and our fellow man!

This is the year........I hope.

This is my plan every year. Most of the time I fail miserably, (my procrastinating nature sneaks up me no matter how hard I try to check off my lists in an orderly fashion and I end up a stressed-out freak!). But not this year! I am feeling positive. I'm feeling upbeat. I'm feeling ready to tackle projects-- And that, my friends, is what every mom needs to survive the Holidays and come out with any sense of "peace on earth and goodwill towards men." (especially when that Mom is also in charge of her ward's Christmas party. Lucky me!!)

This year I have a game plan for joyful Christmas success:

Number 1- Unlike most years, this season I have forgone almost all homemade gifts. Most of my relatives already have a quilt or purse or something "Amanda-esque" to call their own, so I figure they shouldn't be too disappointed if their gifts are lovingly handmade in China this year. There will be no late nights at the sewing machine for me. I am happily going to purchase gifts and try not to feel too guilty about it.

Number 2- I am doing all the before mentioned purchases online, thus avoiding crowds and the lengthy amount of time it takes me to get anywhere around here. (If you have any unusual online stores that you frequent for great gifts- I would love to hear about them.)

Number 3- We have in acted a new policy in our home. This year we can only talk about what we want to give others. No more long lists for Santa, constant drooling over catalogs, and the incessant "Mom, I want...." and so ons.

And last, I am reducing quantity. Each of my kids will be the lucky recipient of just a few gifts- instead of the endless pile of things they will soon forget about anyway. In addition, I have told my children that they can only make each other presents this year. (I figure my "no-homemade" presents rule does not need to extend to them) I was surprised by their enthusiasm. In fact, they could hardly wait to get started. Last night was a creation extravaganza with tin-foil, paper, glue and tape. Tustin couldn't wait to give me my present so now I am the proud owner of a lovely new tin-foil hair bow.

I will wear it proudly as I shop in my pajamas!

Good luck to all on your own "Christmas To-Do lists." May the Crazies pass over your house and leave you with the joy and peace this season should bring!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Tainted Leaves


Here in our little town we pile our fall leaves at the curb in front of our homes and at the end of the season the city sends around big trucks to gather them up and take them off to who knows where. But, before that big clean-up, the leaves make for mountains of fun. Each week the piles get bigger and bigger. I love going out and getting fun action shots of the kids as they roll, tumble, toss and bury themselves amongst Fall's bounty. Until today...


...I was happily driving home from preschool drop-off when I spotted a woman out walking her dog. She perched her beloved pet right on top of her neighbors leaf pile and let him take care of all his business!! I was speechless! Is this a common practice? Could my precious pile of fun really be a cesspool of animal bodily functions?


This may seem like no big deal to the animal lovers out there, but since I am not an animal lover I am especially disturbed! I would like my pile of leaves to stay fresh and untainted for my harvest play ground. I do not want to have everyones retrievers, poodles, and various mutts relieving themselves in my leaves!!! They are mine! Maybe I will post a sign:


"Family Leaf Pile. No dogs allowed"


Does anyone know if dog urine is sterile?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fruitless Bribes!

( The look of a girl who could not be more pleased with herself.)

This is the main conversation in my house these days:

Me: Laura, Do you want to use the potty?
Laura: No
Me: Why do you want to go in your diapers?
Laura: I just like to.
Me: Let's be a big girl and go on the potty!
Laura: I AM a big girl. And I don't want to use the potty.

I've given up. My child must actually enjoy her smelly self, because she couldn't care less about sitting on any porcelain throne around here. I, on the other hand, am very sick of dealing with her wonderful "gifts." I've tried all the tricks and incentives that eventually, after weeks of sweat and tears, worked for my boys --to no avail.

Everyone told me that potty training a girl would be "so much easier" and that she would probably even start the process BEFORE she turned three. I was really looking forward to the "walk in the park" I was promised- just by giving birth to a female. Boy was I fooled.

My own daughter has swindled me out of toys, stickers and candy. She'll do what I want to get her reward. Then as soon as she's got her mother's praise and gifts, she returns to her old smelly ways- and she's pretty smug about it too!

So, I'm taking the hands off approach and have delegated this responsibility to her older brother. He's spent the last 5 minutes or so reminding her how sad Cinderella will be if the flowers on her Pull-Up get wet. Now, she looks up at me with her big blue eyes and says, "Mom, we don't go on Cinderella's flowers, we go on the potty!"

Whatever honey! Talk is cheap- and I've heard it all before. I am immune to your charm! The sticker/candy/toy bank is closed until I get some action around here.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Happy Birthday Laura!


Laura turned 3 years old this week. My baby is no longer a baby, but a spunky and fun little girl. (Sigh......)

She and her friend Ezra were born 5 days apart so we had a shared birthday party with a small group of their friends. It was one half "Thomas the Tank" themed for him, and one half "Princess" themed for her. It was great fun. We blew up the bounce house, (one of our better purchases from Costco a few years back. If you ever think of getting one, I highly recommend it. We have gotten a lot of mileage out of ours.) had some face painting, and enjoyed some fun castle and train engine cakes.

So- goodbye to another year- it was a great one. We love you so much Laura!

(Laura's Castle Cake- I've learned that a world of cake-baking mistakes can be camouflaged by a lot of candy!)


(Ezra's awesome Train cake. He has a very talented Mom. Shout out to you Rachel!)

(Doesn't every mother love the "cheese" face? So attractive!)




Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Jack-o-Lanterns 2007

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!

One of the best things about Halloween is carving Jack-o-lanterns! I love the smell of freshly cut pumpkins. I love digging in with my hands and getting elbow deep in the goppily-goo, and I especially love pumpkin seeds! What could be yummier that a batch of seeds sprinkled with a little season salt and toasted in the oven until they are crispy and warm? (It's just a bonus that they happen to be good for you as well.)

It's too bad that this day only comes once a year. I get pumpkins, my kids get candy- everyone's happy. And I can always use a little more happy.





Laura's Pumpkin





Kimball's Pumpkin

Tustin's Pumpkin

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bringing the Wild West to NY!

With our Ward Halloween party last Saturday we were able to try out the costumes a little early this year. I think the boys were more excited about their weapons ( pistols, rifles, and spears) than their actual clothing, and Laura?- she's all about the candy!! ( the bucket NEVER leaves her side- even while sleeping!)


(Three cowboys and an Indian)

(This picture isn't very good of the kids, but it is the ONLY one of me. (such is the fate of the family photographer- we never actually get any film time ourselves.)

(Laura, my little buccaneer!)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Normal Costumes--- Anyone????

I've recently been made the "activities chairperson" in our ward. This basically means that I'm responsible for planning a bunch of parties and get-togethers for our church. Unfortunately for me, the previous person in charge of this endeavor was amazing, (shout out to you Rachel) so I have a very hard act to follow. ( As a side note, if at any time you attend a terrific activity, whether with your own church or elsewhere, I would love to hear about it. When it comes to this sort of thing I am all about plagiarizing other's great ideas!) ....

...On to the real reason I am writing about this. Most every year I make my family's Halloween costumes. I just like doing it. (In some way, I think it connects me to my own childhood and especially to my Mom. My Mother was, and is, an amazing "costume developer." If it was Halloween, or you had a presentation for a class, or a school assembly to perform in , she was your gal. It's an amazing gift she has. You need to be a mad scientist? An Indian Chief? A bunch of grapes? A disco freak? Odds are my Mother had just the thing you needed hiding in her closets of wonder- and with the help of her magic sewing machine, within minutes you had the most fabulous, often outrageous, ensemble to delight everyone.......so every time I try and make a costume for my own family I think of her and all those great "dress-up" memories she gave me. I want my kids to have those kinds of memories with me- and thus, when it comes time to be a Jedi or whatever- I get out the goods and start to create.)

Now- back to the beginning- since I have found myself in charge of things, like Halloween parties, I have also found myself with far less time and energy to make my families' costumes, so I decided I would just do the normal thing and buy them. In fact, I was really looking forward to how easy this was going to be. I went to the local Costume Superstore and found adorable attire for the kids and even my husband. Now- onto myself. Where could I find a fun costume for me? It should be in the women's section of the costume store. But, I was soon to discover something very disturbing...

....In the year 2007 a woman, and a mother, such as myself cannot buy a costume in the store. Why, you ask? It seems the only costumes sold for an adult women are for "babes,"- or what I would call "women for sale." For example, would you like to be nurse? Sorry- your only option is to be a "naughty nurse." Perhaps you would like to be something cute like "Holly Hobby?" Sorry again- you're only option is to be the ultra, super slutty, Holly Hobby. What is going on here?

I do not have a problem with "bedroom costumes." They certainly have a place in any fun, healthy, and married (had to throw that in there) relationship. But, that is what they are- bedroom costumes! And that is where they should stay. What self-respecting woman, or mother, wants to parade around like a royal slut for the public? It would seem that costume makers are convinced that this is what the American woman wants. "Party City" has all of about 2 women's costumes that consist of more than a bra and loin cloth! I felt like I needed to shield my 5 yr. old's eyes from the display shelves. Was this Party City, or some sort of porn shop!

I am getting pretty fed up with living in a society that has so completely demoralized woman that we can't even show up to our own church Halloween party as a regular vampire! Oh no- a woman of today would never want that- she wants to be a "hungry like a wolf" vampire- if you catch my drift! Ugh!!

So-it's back to the sewing machine for me and if I never find the time to make something I can wear without shame, I will just have to be plain old Amanda.

Atleast I can keep my self-respect.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Wisdom from a 5 yr. old

Last week there was a minor fire at my sons' elementary school. Fortunately it was contained and all the children were evacuated safely. However, being that they could not return to school that day all the parents were requested to pick up their children immediately. I quickly drove to the High School (the designated pick-up locale) and joined the other 400 or so parents in line waiting to claim their kids. ( That's another story best abbreviated into two words: "complete mayhem").

Anyway, once I'd gathered my kids, they expressed their concern that they had to leave their backpacks and precious belongings. This gave us a good opportunity to talk about what really is important, and we agreed that getting ourselves and our friends out of danger was more important than things. People matter because they cannot be replaced. Material things do not matter because simply, they can.

I thought we were all on the same page with that.... Yet, as soon as we had finished this meaningful discussion, my five year-old looked up at me with his big blue eyes and shared his deep, deep thoughts....

..... "But, Mom, if you're in an emergency and you have to choose between friends and food, you should choose food right? Because if you don't have food you would die."

There you have it. Let this be a warning to all of Kimball's friends---If it comes down to you and the Chef BoyarDee, Kimball will choose the canned goods every time. A kids got to eat right?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

So You Think You Can Dance?

Amanda, Marianne, and Rachel

A savvy friend of mine ( shout out to you Rachel) was able to procure 3 tickets to the "So You Think You Can Dance Concert."- It was awesome! I've always been a big fan of the show, but seeing the dancers live is pretty incredible. I'm not even sure how some of the moves they pull off are even possible! They are pretty inspiring.

Now, I do have to say that lately every time I go to an event like this I feel a little pull on my heart and I find myself fighting the blues. I'm getting so old! Once upon a time I called myself a dancer... Where is that girl? I'm not even sure I could pull off a decent triple pirouette anymore. How did this happen? Motherhood and life took over, I guess.... Still, it is mildly depressing for me to realize that that label of "dancer" I once wore so proudly has been sitting under a dusty pile of "non-use" for so long that I'm not sure it could be brought back to life if I tried.

I could mull over this one for many a worry-filled night, but I'm not going to. I think I'll just start from scratch and sign up for a local class. I'll just enjoy myself and never mention to them that I actually got a degree in the art form- that would be too humiliating!

So, this brings me to the next dilemma- finding a decent, and local, adult class. (because there is no way I'm going to stand in front of a mirror next to a bunch of perky teenage girls. I generally feel good about myself- but no one woman should have to take on that trauma whilst trying to maintain their self-esteem. Seriously- I'm practically three-quarters of the way to menopause!)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Love Sac Nap

Laura asleep on the Love Sac.

Oh that they would make one big enough for me to be completely enveloped in like this. I am so jealous! That would be yummy. If you have never seen or heard of a Love Sac, check it out here. They are so fun. We opted to have one in our basement, instead of a couch because it seemed to fit in better with the free-form play/catch-all room. The kids have often turned it into a giant "island" that protects them from the wildlife and crocodiles. So fun! And so cozy!


Aren't sleeping children the best? Sometimes I think the reason for this is simple- they are NOT awake. Other times I'm less cynical and it is because when they are asleep they are so peaceful and beautiful and snuggly. No matter how old they get (or how much whining and fighting with their siblings they've done that day), when they are sound asleep they are my babies all over again. My warm, lovable little ones all over again.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Happy Birthday Stanton

The Yummy Chocolate Chip Caramel Cake.
Get the recipe here!

Yesterday was my husband's birthday. He's not one for presents or parties, but since he married me, he gets them anyway. I actually intended to obey his wishes and NOT have a party and NOT invite anyone over- but at the last minute I just couldn't help myself! (thanks to the Schmidts and LaBelles for quickly coming over to share the cake and, in my opinion, making his birthday celebration a bit more exciting. The LaBelles even brought their dog Delphi who shared with us his own rousing rendition of "The Birthday Song!"--Thank you Stanton for being a good sport about it!-- I think you even enjoyed yourself despite all your "birthday scrooge" talk.)

The party gang- ready for cake!

getting birthday hugs!


What can I say about someone so incredible? Not once in eleven years have you ever said an unkind word to me. You are an amazing father, friend and husband. Thank you for being who you are and for being all mine! I love you.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

First Day of School!

Kimball was so excited to be starting Kindergarten, especially since it means he can finally go to Central School with his big brother! The first day was a short/phase in day and when I picked him up he was so dissapointed- "Why can't I stay longer Mom?"

Tustin is now in third grade and my heart pulls a little when I see how grown up and independant he is already.

Brother's and Best Buddies!

Laura starts pre-school next week, but already dons her "big-girl "back-pack each morning to be just like her big brothers.

Where has the time gone? I no longer have any babies, and I'm not sure how I feel about it.....

Friday, September 07, 2007

I Can Breathe Again!

I thought I would post a quick update regarding my "legal" issues for any of you who may be interested. I believe my sleepless nights are coming to an end!

I have a good friend Denise( shout out to you!) who is one of those great ladies who always seems to know something or someone just when you need it! She just happens to have a friend who is a police officer here in the Village of Mamaroneck (which also makes him a colleague to my own "friendly" officer.) and she spoke with him in order to get a better idea of what I might be facing in court. It turns out that I don't have to go to court after all!!! If I want to plead "guilty" I can mail in my ticket and a judge will "peruse" the case and then send me a bill for whatever fee he deems fair, based upon my sins. If I want to plead "not guilty," I can show up to court and meet face to face with Officer I Like to Give Big Lectures To Well Meaning, Yet Sometimes Overwhelmed Mothers, and hope that I can escape with a lesser fine/sentence.

I am going to happily take the chickens way out, plead guilty, and hope my fee isn't too exorbitant.

Like most experiences in life, I have learned a few things from this one:

# 1- It is illegal to leave your car running, with keys in the ignition while unattended. Who Knew? So if you are on the way to swim lessons and as you pull out of the driveway your child yells, "MOM!- I forgot my goggles!" you must, in fact, turn off the car and remove the keys before you run back into the house to retrieve them. Otherwise you are a criminal! ( Even more interesting- it is NOT illegal to leave your children in a car unattended while you run into the post office/preschool/7-Eleven/dry cleaners. But, if you do, you will generally be considered an awful, no-good person, so beware.)

#2- For most small crimes- the government will be happy to let you go your way, as long as they can have your money. Are we surprised?

#3- I love my kids (of course, I didn't just learn this) but I REALLY love them! I'm overwhelmed by that love whenever I take a moment to look at them or just think about them. They are the joy of my life. I am so grateful they are mine. This experience has made me want to cherish them even more, be more patient and kind with them, drive slower when they are in the car, take more time to read and play games with them, and just in general make the minutes, hours, and days more full of laughter fun and time together building memories that we can hold onto for the future. ( This is where I feel I should quote one of those well-loved mormon commercials, "Family- Isn't it about Time?" :))

Thanks Again to all of you for your emails, blog comments, and phone calls of support. You are the best friends and family a girl could ask for. These things called "Life" and "Motherhood" would be so much harder without you to share it with!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I am an UNFIT mother.

I have decided to share one of my parenting moments that would be much more comfortable swept under the rug, but I thoroughly believe that confessing ones sins is not only therapeutic but essential to ones forgiveness. so here goes...
We returned Sunday night from our vacation and on Monday afternoon the kids and I went out to run a few errands, first of which was the post office to pick up our mail that had been on hold for a week. We parked in front and since the kids were really enjoying listening to the same song over and over, (one of those unknown primary hymns called "Little Purple Pansies." It sends them into uproarious laughter every time they hear it. I think the reason can be found in the double "P" alliteration. It's just too closely relates to other double "P" words like "poo-poo" and "pee-pee," and we all know how utterly hilarious those words are to anyone under the age of 12. "Little purple pansies trimmed with yellow gold, growing in the corner of the garden old...."Hysterical!!!)

... anyway, I made a quick "no-brainer" decision and said "OK, you kids stay here- I'll be right back." ( I'm sure that a collective, horrified gasp can now be heard from many) And then I told Tustin to lock the door, (because there are bad people out there!)- and of course I kept the car running (because it's summer and I did not wish to cook my children.) I went in and got the mail, and upon my quick return was met by the angriest police officer ever. He proceeded to tell me I was "completely irresponsible" and tell me all the reasons why I was a failure to society and a horrible mother. Mainly, he made it clear that my children could have put the car into gear and driven themselves off into oncoming traffic and died. (now- I must say that he was completely right and of course I had done a stupid thing. I reiterate my "no-brainer" statement from earlier. Especially when you consider that Tustin was in the driver seat and not in his own seat where he belonged. Although he was there- not to try and drive- but to work the stereo control and make sure that "Purple Pansies" played over and over again.)

I could have told the officer many things to try and redeem myself, but the ones I did try turned out ALL wrong. I told him that my son was 8- (that's old enough to be left in a running car right...right? -OK, not so much.) Then I told him that I left the keys in because "I didn't want the car to get hot." Again, that reason didn't pan out so well and he yelled at me and in complete disgust told me to"get in the car." I decided it was in my best interest to keep my mouth shut. He angrily stormed around the car as he wrote on his ticket pad and, I'm sure, thought of all the reason why an awful excuse for a mother like me should be arrested. Meanwhile I was in the car trying to put on a pleasant face for my children. After all, I have always taught them that Police Officers are the good guys and our "helpers" and I wasn't about to destroy that belief. Unfortunately my positive, upbeat attitude worked against me. I think in the officer's mind I was I was "unaffected" and didn't care. ( Lesson: sometimes, smiles DON'T "make the world a better place. In my case they made the officer more irate.) Little does he know that I've hardly slept for days as I've punished myself for being such a loser. I'll be the first to admit that I used horrible judgement, and I'll be forever grateful that nothing bad happened to my kids

Soon, the officer finished his work and came to the window where he ordered me out of the car. (I have to admit that my good composure almost wained as I truly believed that now was going to be my personal Lindsay Lohan/Britney Spears moment. I was going to be arrested. I would get an ugly mug shot- I hadn't even showered for over 36 hours! My children would be forever tainted by their convict mother.....) Fortunately, I didn't get arrested- yet. He gave me another firm lecture where he said something to the effect of "I usually don't give tickets to women with their children, but I'm giving you a summons and you'll have to come to court." and he again repeated that I was "completely irresponsible." This is where I have to ask.. Out of all the law-breaking mothers this man has met in his career, am I really the worst and most disgusting? How can this be?

So, unfortunately, now I have to go before a judge and I'm a complete wreck about it. What will the officer say about me? Truth be told, we'd never met before this, so the only thing he has to go on is that moment of horrible parenting. I'm sure he's convinced that I do not love my children and that I could care less about their safety, when in fact most of the time I'm such a stress case about it that I have to constantly remind myself to step back and not hover!

There you have it. The story of why I am an unfit mother. I can't sleep anymore. All that goes through my mind is all my worries... Do I need a lawyer? What should I say? I know I am guilty as charged. Will they send Social Services to my house? Will I never be allowed to be alone with my children again? Will I get a scarlet letter and be prohibited from all future primary callings and PTA functions? I am in major distress over this!

Stanton keeps assuring me that all will be OK. In the grand scheme of things I know he is right. After all, I do have the comfort of knowing that they are my children forever, but I would like the opportunity to raise them in THIS life....My court date isn't until September 18th. I wish it were sooner, but I guess it's only right that I should have to suffer longer- because in fact, I did make a big mistake.

This has also been a lesson to me on discerning the spirit. Why is that? Well there was a brief moment in the post office where I thought, "I should go get Tustin out of the front seat." If I had followed that thought, this never would have happened. But, I didn't. I really, really wish that I had....


...Chalk that up to another Sunday School lesson.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The very best Jane Eyre!!

I've always been a hopeless romantic. I love to read books and watch "chick-flicks" where true love conquers all. I like to be swept away from reality into a blissful world of dynamic characters who overcome all adversity for their one true love. (As a quick side note, I must say that a happy ending is a must for me. It really bugs me when a writer decides to kill off the main character or leave the story with a thoroughly depressing conclusion. What is with that? I think some of them feel they are a "deeper" more superior artist for having done so. I for one do not wish to pay $10 to see a film, or even more to purchase a book, that will leave me totally depressed. Real life offers way too much of it's own discouragement. I do not care to get high doses of it from the make-believe world as well!.......... Phew!!... I feel much better for having gotten that off my chest!)
The reason I bring this subject up is because I recently viewed, for the third time, the Masterpiece Theatre version of Jane Eyre( released in Feb 07). I've seen a few film versions of Jane Eyre in my life, none of which were able to move me the way this one does. In fact, just thinking about it makes my heart go all a flutter! It is a must see for anyone who loves a little romance, and mystery all wrapped up in one! I think it is exceptionally well casted and performed.
When it first aired on PBS this last February I asked my new best friend, named TIVO, to record it for me and even though it did a fine and dandy job of it, I still felt the need to have my own hard copy. I was finally able to find the 2-disc set, to have and to hold as my very own, a few weeks ago. I have a feeling it will be much like "Pride and Prejudice" for me in that I can watch it over and over again, never getting bored, and each time discovering something new and wonderful about it. (quick side note, when I mention Pride and Prejudice I am referring ONLY to the BBC version starring Colin Firth. Nothing else can compare-- except, of course, for the actual written word by Jane Austen herself- and even that is much enhanced when visualizing Colin Firth!
If you have yet to see this film- what are you waiting for? Check your library and your local bookstore! If any local NY friends need to borrow it they are welcome!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What do I do now?


polka dot skirt-!!- LOVE IT!! I even found "puddle-jumper" shoes to match.
I'm presently on a long vacation in California and have not been blogging, but I had such a great shopping experience today that I had to take a a quick break and share info regarding a fabulous place for adorable and affordable childrens clothes. It's called "Naartjie." Their pieces are all mix and match and they have that extra "sassy-something" that I love! The best part? Their prices aren't that much higher than Target!

The only problem with finding great stores like this is that I've lost my excuse to make Laura's outfits myself. (I originally sewed her clothes because one- I love to sew, and two- it was way cheaper to do so. The kind of clothing I like was previously only found in over-priced boutiques.) Well now, all that has changed and I'm seeing cute stuff everywhere! In fact- it's cheaper than what I could make it for. As much as I love buying this great stuff- it has sort of stolen my thunder at the machine. I mean why go to all the effort if "fancy", and "sassy", and "ultra-cute" is now mass produced and shipped from China?

I guess I have to find a new hobby....

Friday, July 20, 2007

Pink Christmas!


If you haven't already heard of "Pink Christmas"- be sure and check it out here, and sign up. It should be lots of fun! I won't bother giving you all the details- because it will be much better explained by Kristi, the creator herself!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Jello Parfaits!

I loved Jello parfaits as a kid! However, I had forgotten about them until my sister sent me this picture of us eating them when we were little. I loved the yummy and beautiful layers of goodness. (If you do not already have a deep appreciation for Jello, and all it has to offer, I am very sad for you- you are missing out on one of life's greatest joys!)

Anyway, what I especially enjoyed about jello parfaits when I was a kid was that my Mom always made them in the glass goblets and I felt so special being able to eat a treat out of the "grown-up" glasses. ( To this day I still get a little thrill whenever I get to drink out of a goblet. There is something magical, and sophisticated about them, and if you are a sparkling juice connoisseur like me- then you know that any fizzing, fruity concoction tastes much better when sipped from the rim of a pretty piece of stemware).

Reminiscing about my many parfait experiences, I set out to give my children their first. Unfortunately, I didn't have a good selection of jello colors in my pantry so we had to settled for the green and yellow scheme. Either way, the kids loved them and we had a great time eating them.
If you haven't made these before you can pretty much use any recipe for a layered jello. (I like to use the sour-cream method for 12- layer jello like this one here.)You can modify the amount of jello and number of layers to suit your needs.

Fruit and Candy Ka-Bobs YUM!


This last weekend, some friends and I threw a surprise baby shower for one of our amazing fellow moms who is having her fifth child this coming August. (shout out to you Denise!) Now, I love any chance I can get to do a buffet table. Although usually, the food is an after thought for me because I mostly enjoy the "decor" part- that is, the table cloth, boxes, baskets, fabric and various items to make nice levels and eye catching, theme-going stuff. It's a real problem have--amongst many.....
Anyway, for this shower we put our heads together and decided it would be fun to combine the decor with the food. Being inspired by a local business we set out to make our own "Edible Arrangements." Marianne and I (shout out to you Marianne!) painted polka dot pots, filled them with cabbage and went to work making all sorts of edible "flowers" on shish-ka-bob sticks We had a great time making them and I think they turned out beautiful. Add a chocolate fountain and Wha-La!- beautiful food and table all in one. Love it!!
The shower was a great success and I think Denise was almost surprised!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Milestones

This picture captures two major milestones for our family. To start, we had our first trip to the emergency room with one of our children. Laura walked behind her brother on the swings and had her forehead cut open. Luckily for us, when we went to the emergency room there was a plastic surgeon already there suturing up some other lucky couples' child. I think he did a good job and she won't have to be Harry Potter every Halloween from now on. I consider this trip to the ER a major milestone because Laura is our third child, (and- especially since Kimball ,of all children, is our second child) I don't know how in the world we have escaped ER injuries before this. In fact, I have decided that Kimball must have some important missionary work to do in the future because he has escaped death so very many times. Thankfully, Angels seem to be watching over him.

Our second milestone is a very exciting one for me. I have waited for three years, (impatiently and some times desperately), for this to happen.-- I finally was able to gather up enough hair on Laura's head to insert a hair clip and have it actually stay! Yippee!! Woo-Hoo!! Hallelujah!!
FINALLY! - This brings me much peace as a mother.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Basil is the Bestest!

I love basil. It is by far my favorite herb. As soon as summer rolls around I start to crave it's fragrant yumminess This is one of my favorite recipes utilizing it. Once again it comes from "Taste of Home." Fortunately for me I have started my square-foot garden this year so my basil should be plentiful. ( My new-found passion for square foot gardening will have to wait for another post.)
If you have any other basil-enriched recipes you swear by--please share!

TOH Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm always on the hunt for a new cookie. I have my traditional favorites and the ones I usually make because they are my husband's favorite ( otherwise known as "Big Mo's"- a scrumptious recipe given to me by a fabulous friend. (Shout out to you Jenni) and which I have never been able to cook as well as she does.) Anyway, I tried this new recipe last night and they are terrific. I skipped the dip in white chocolate however, since I hate that kind of extra work. They were terrific without it. I think the coconut is what makes them special. It adds a little spunk to them and gives them some extra chewiness. And I, being passionate about all thing coconut and related to pina colada, love them. Give 'em a try!
Oh-and of course this recipe comes from "Taste of Home!" If you are not already a subscriber what are you waiting for?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Goodbye Cricky

"Amazing Grace how sweet the sound....."
We are having funeral services today for our beloved lizard named "Cricky." How could we possibly lose our good friend when just the day before he was healthy, robust, and happily gorging on calcium fortified crickets? It's a short story so I'll share.....

My husband thought he would do something nice for our pet lizards by giving them some real sunshine- so he took their little glass habitat and placed it in the garden. Seems like they would enjoy that right? Well- only if you forget one crucial detail and that is that lizards are cold blooded. They need the sun (or an artificial light) to stay warm- but they also need to get out of the sun/light in order to cool down. Stanton forgot that second part, and all day long they baked in the sun without shade or water....... I will let you imagine the state of our "lizard toast" at the days end.

You know it's funny-my children accepted the loss without much more than an "Oh, can I get a new pet?" while I, on the other hand, have found myself much more affected. I miss our little dragon and It makes me feel very guilty when I imagine what a horrid, slow death he must have suffered. Part of me worries that his little lizard spirit will haunt me at night with chants of "OHHHHHH---Why?," or "How could you?!!!"

Anyway, we are moving on and I have managed to nurse our other lizard back to consciousness- although he doesn't look quite right. Can lizards suffer brain damage?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Fun, Sparkly Flip Flops!

I think these are so adorable! My sister's little girl has some flip-flops like this. They are "Havaianas" flip-flops that have been embellished with little rhinestone flowers. One of the best things about them? They go with everything- jeans, shorts, casual skirts-whatever! Various people sell them on eBay, but I'm going to get me some glue (I think this kind will work great) and see what I can come up with for Laura, and myself. They are definitely very "broccoli!" Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Medieval Times Birthday Extravaganza

preparing for battle

Kimball turned five way back in December and I convinced him that his "Shamu- Under the Sea Adventure" themed party would be better suited for warmer weather. (Atleast warmer than a New York Winter had to offer). Fortunately, he agreed and I was able to procrastinate my motherly duty of throwing yet another party with a gazillion crazy kids. Unfortunately, Spring came all too soon and I was overwhelmed that I had to throw two parties. (Tustin's 8th birthday was a few weeks ago).

I found myself bemoaning this predicament when I mentioned it to my friend Marianne who also had to throw two parties of her own. Then- we had an epiphany! Why not forget the big parties and convince our kids to have a quadruple celebration together at the Medieval Times Theatre in New Jersey. We wouldn't have to do anything except buy the tickets and show up. Done Deal!

Once we told the kids that they could wear costumes, eat a dinner without any utensils, and watch all sorts of fighting- they were an easy sell. We allowed each of them to invite one friend, and they had a blast. (Kimball was a little traumatized when the "traitor" was sentenced to death. He started crying and calling out, "Let him live." It took me a little while to convince him it was all an act and the knights weren't really hurting each other. Thank goodness they all came back out again at the end of the show- alive and well and smiling- because I don't think he believed me until then. I love that he is so tender hearted.)

All in all it was great fun and ever since my boys have been reenacting the show all day long. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I'm hoping they want to go next year as well. Why not make Medieval violence a birthday tradition?

Marianne and I enjoying our souvenir 44 oz. VIRGIN strawberry daiquiris! So Fun!!

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