Until Next Year...

It's the last day of the year.  It's the last day of the decade.  I can't believe how fast it's all gone by.

I've never been a big maker of new year resolutions.  I never keep them.  In reality, who does?  This year I'm going to just let it all happen.  I'm going to make a conscious effort to do the things I should have already been doing.  Read more, eat right, attempt yoga and meditation (the meditation is the problem... can't get my mind blank!), put more effort into pursuing my interests, grow a garden, etc.  I'm not going to make a resolution to do these things though.  That sounds too permanent, too much like a "to do" list.  I don't want it to feel forced.

Speaking of interests...  To start the new year with a new outlook, I've decided to start a website focusing on the little bit of photography skills that I have.  You can see it by clicking here.  This, like the non-resolution resolutions, shouldn't feel forced.  I want to be able to photograph things without feeling like I have to.  I enjoy photography very much.  I hope to continue to learn and grow with my knowledge in the coming year.

See you all next year!

99 Things

This time of year everyone seems to be talking about the past year and reflecting on what a joyous new year this will be.  I read the following list at Holistic Mama's blog.  What a great idea!  I've realized how much I've not done in my life and how much I still want to do!  Most involve seeing things.  I've got to get busy.

Things you've already done: bold
Things you want (or might want) to do: italicize
Things you haven't done and don't want to - leave in plain font.

1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band.  I made it bold because I was in the school band...
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland/world.
8. Climbed a mountain.  
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo.
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art/craft from scratch.
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Let someone else take the credit.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.
24. Built a snow fort.  --I built a snow chair once...
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Run a marathon.
28. Ridden a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied. --I just want to be comfortable.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo's David in person.
41. Sung Karaoke.
42. Rode a camel.
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant.
44. Been on an African safari.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Done something illegal. -Haven't we all??
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkelling.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theatre.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business.  --Then quickly stopped.  ;)
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies.-- And will be selling them again starting Jan. 1st!!
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Received flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood.
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.
67. Bounced a cheque.
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Kept a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Been on TV.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Listened to Tibetan monks chanting, in person.
89. Saved someone’s life.  My son was choking once... does that count?
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby.
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Went skinny-dipping.
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.

Ten Random Thoughts for Today

I got this forwarded email the other day.  As soon as I read it I wondered how in the world the original author could have been reading my mind!  On nearly every one, I was nodding in agreement.  There are 63 of these random thoughts so I'm going to break them down and list some every week.  Make sure you check back for the rest of them!  Now... ENJOY!

1. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I don't understand the purpose of the line, "I don't need to drink to have fun." Great, no one does. But why start a fire with flint and sticks when they've invented the lighter?

4. Have you ever been walking down the street and realized that you're going in the complete opposite direction of where you are supposed to be going? But instead of just turning a 180 and walking back in the
direction from which you came, you have to first do something like check your watch or phone or make a grand arm gesture and mutter to yourself to ensure that no one in the surrounding area thinks you're
crazy by randomly switching directions on the sidewalk.

5. More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can’t wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that’s not only better, but also more directly involves me.

6. That's enough, Nickelback.

7. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

8. The letters T and G are very close to each other on a keyboard. This recently became all too apparent to me and consequently I will never be ending a work email with the phrase "Regards" again.

9. Do you remember when you were a kid, playing Nintendo and it wouldn't work? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically fix the problem. Every kid in America did that, but how did we all
know how to fix the problem? There was no internet or message boards or FAQ's. We just figured it out. Today's kids are soft.

10. There is a great need for sarcasm font.

To be continued...

11,315 Days


This sweet bay-bay is me just a few months old in 1979.

That's how many days I've been on this great Earth.  Today is my 31st birthday! Last year at this time, I was slowly rocking in the corner while muttering to myself that I could not possibly be thirty years old.  This year is a little bit different.  So much has happened and things are going well.


One year old me in 1980.

I've very grateful for the opportunities that I've been given.  We are once again living in a place that feels like home.  Both of my children are far from perfect, but do wonderfully in school and teach me to count to ten several times a day.  I have the best husband in the world.  He is a saint and I'm so thankful to have him in my life.  The same goes for the greatest friend in the world.  We've been through it all; either together or separately, but we've been there.

Life has been a journey and I can't wait to see what the Universe has written for the next 31 years.


Brand new camera = really excited me!

Presents, presents!

I completely forgot to tell everyone what a wonderful husband I have! And mother-in-law too!  You may remember not very long ago I swore everyone to secrecy to not tell my ever trusty Kodak that I was looking to find a new, sexier model.  And then you might also remember my difficulties with shooting photos during overcast skies.  Those days are gone folks!

My husband surprised me with a new Nikon P90



Plus it came with a camera bag and a new SD card!  I was so excited and surprised!  My mother-in-law had tried to get the camera through Dell, but they were backordered.  I lost hope that I would ever obtain it when I went to look at it on the Dell site one day.  It was no longer listed.  Turns out he's been hiding it in a closet for almost 2 weeks!  He wasn't sure it would be in by Christmas.  It was actually backordered, but he got lucky!  I love it, love it, love it!

Here's an unaltered photo I took with the new camera:


Wonderful!  With my old camera, I would have gotten this effect by using photo editing software.  I am so pleased!

I do feel bad though.  Since I had lost hope of getting this particular model, I wasn't really looking for another one.  Cam told me about the Nikon D40 as was suggested to her by her professional, professor father-in-law, Dave LaBelle.  I thought that the P90 was an SLR, but I just didn't do enough research.  Every time I would mention how much I was excited about the D40, Chris would brush it off and just shrug his shoulders.  What I didn't know was that by the time I had done enough research, he'd already had the P90 ordered.  However, I think this camera is going to be the perfect fit for me as I'm not in any way familiar with any photography terms or gadgets or widgets or gidgets.  I can't wait to start taking pictures again!

The Day After...


Like usual, we got no snow for Christmas.  I think I may have seen a single itty bitty piece of snow yesterday afternoon on my windshield, but that was it.  We had a wonderful couple of days spending time with family.  On Christmas eve, I spent a few hours hanging out with my brother before heading over to Chris' grandfathers for their family get together.  We played dirty Santa and I desperately tried to steal the most awesome looking peacock ornament that his aunt found at Pier1, but I failed.  The kids were excited to get more gifts and all went well.

Neil just wanted me to stop taking pictures of everyone.  He kept ducking and dodging every time he thought the camera was pointed at him.  I barely caught him in this photo.


Kaia on the other hand is a photo magnet.  She seemed to always be in the shot!

My mom came over for the afternoon and we lounged around in our comfys while drinking coffee and eating Twizzlers.  I had forgotten to pick up eggs so Santa had to go without cookies from our house.  Somehow I think he probably survived.

Frustratingly Bonkers

I just can't do this anymore! I want to be able to customize the way I want and I don't want to have to pay an arm and a leg for it. There is so much that I can do with my Blogger hosted blog that I just can not do on the Wordpress one! I have gone back and forth numerous times on what I should do. I've given Wordpress a month. I've tried to stick with it, I truly have. There are so many features that I like of both services, but the one thing that I love the most is just not available on Wordpress.com. The ability to change.

Sure I could find a web host to host the site for around $6.95 a month, then download Wordpress.org, somehow figure out how to upload it, then figure out how to learn CSS, and so on or I can continue to use the free Wordpress.com and pay $14.95 a year for the Custom CSS Upgrade that I can only use on existing themes.

OR I can have a Blogger blog for free (or only $10 a year if I choose to have my own domain name) customize or edit it the way I want no matter how many times I want to do it, and I already know enough about editing HTML to get by just fine.

This whole thing is seriously driving me bonkers. I really don't see the harm in going back to blogging on Blogger because I only have like 5 readers. I need opinions here!

Changes

The Winter Solstice is upon us! The days are gradually starting to get longer again. I have to say that I will miss the night. This time of year is always magical and I think that some of it has been lost in the mix. 

On another note, I dislike my Wordpress blog. I so desperately want to change the layout. This is the only complaint I have using Wordpress, but I'm not leaving. I'm just going to complain and continue to look for ways to spice it up a bit. I'm going to do that today.  Meanwhile, I'll be updating the Blogger blog to reflect the recent postings.

I haven't much talked about the new diet lately. Mostly because it's rather boring. Cheerios and soy milk mixed with some fish and rice. There's only so much one can say about this stuff. I have to admit that I'll never go back to drinking regular milk. Not that I drank it much to begin with, I'm completely addicted to the soy milk now. If only they would lower the price!

Just a couple of days left in the holiday shopping season! Have you gotten all you need? Guess what? I haven't! It just dawned on me yesterday that I have nothing for the stockings! Whoops! Guess I just completely forgot about those. I've always had a hard time figuring what to put in them anyway. I do have a couple of pairs of toe socks for my daughters. She specifically asked for toe socks this year. Other than that, I'm fresh outta ideas! I'm thinking the generic apple and orange mixed with a little chocolate-y goodness. Any good last minute ideas?

Random Funny

Oh my gawd, Becky look at her butt...

Solstice and Other Winter Traditions

When I was out the other day, I got to thinking about why we celebrate Christmas. Many people only associate the birth of Christ with the holiday. Most do not realize that many aspects of Christmas come from different winter celebrations.  The following are some of these traditions.


Solstice

The middle of winter has long been a time of celebration around the world. Centuries before the arrival of the man called Jesus, early Europeans celebrated light and birth in the darkest days of winter. Many peoples rejoiced during the winter solstice, when the worst of the winter was behind them and they could look forward to longer days and extended hours of sunlight.

In Scandinavia, the Norse celebrated Yule from December 21, the winter solstice, through January. In recognition of the return of the sun, fathers and sons would bring home large logs, which they would set on fire. The people would feast until the log burned out, which could take as many as 12 days. The Norse believed that each spark from the fire represented a new pig or calf that would be born during the coming year.

In Germany, people honored the pagan god Odin during the mid-winter holiday. Germans were terrified of Odin, as they believed he made nocturnal flights through the sky to observe his people, and then decide who would prosper or perish. Because of his presence, many people chose to stay inside.

In Rome, where winters were not as harsh as those in the far north, Saturnalia—a holiday in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture—was celebrated. Also around the time of the winter solstice, Romans observed Juvenalia, a feast honoring the children of Rome. In addition, members of the upper classes often celebrated the birthday of Mithra, the god of the unconquerable sun, on December 25. It was believed that Mithra, an infant god, was born of a rock. For some Romans, Mithra's birthday was the most sacred day of the year.

Santa Claus

The origin of Santa Claus begins in the 4th century with Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, an area in present day Turkey. By all accounts St. Nicholas was a generous man, particularly devoted to children. After his death around 340 A.D. he was buried in Myra, but in 1087 Italian sailors purportedly stole his remains and removed them to Bari, Italy, greatly increasing St. Nicholas' popularity throughout Europe.

His kindness and reputation for generosity gave rise to claims he that he could perform miracles and devotion to him increased. St. Nicholas became the patron saint of Russia, where he was known by his red cape, flowing white beard, and bishop's mitre.

After the Reformation, European followers of St. Nicholas dwindled, but the legend was kept alive in Holland where the Dutch spelling of his name Sint Nikolaas was eventually transformed to Sinterklaas. Dutch children would leave their wooden shoes by the fireplace, and Sinterklaas would reward good children by placing treats in their shoes. Dutch colonists brought brought this tradition with them to America in the 17th century and here the Anglican name of Santa Claus emerged.

Christmas Trees

Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if wood was scarce. It is a widely held belief that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles.

In the Northern hemisphere, the shortest day and longest night of the year falls on December 21 or December 22 and is called the winter solstice. Many ancient people believed that the sun was a god and that winter came every year because the sun god had become sick and weak. They celebrated the solstice because it meant that at last the sun god would begin to get well. Evergreen boughs reminded them of all the green plants that would grow again when the sun god was strong and summer would return.

The ancient Egyptians worshiped a god called Ra, who had the head of a hawk and wore the sun as a blazing disk in his crown. At the solstice, when Ra began to recover from the illness, the Egyptians filled their homes with green palm rushes which symbolized for them the triumph of life over death.

Early Romans marked the solstice with a feast called the Saturnalia in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture. The Romans knew that the solstice meant that soon farms and orchards would be green and fruitful. To mark the occasion, they decorated their homes and temples with evergreen boughs. In Northern Europe the mysterious Druids, the priests of the ancient Celts, also decorated their temples with evergreen boughs as a symbol of everlasting life. The fierce Vikings in Scandinavia thought that evergreens were the special plant of the sun god, Balder.

Mistletoe, Holly, and Poinsettias

Mistletoe was used by Druid priests 200 years before the birth of Christ in their winter celebrations. They revered the plant since it had no roots yet remained green during the cold months of winter.

The ancient Celtics believed mistletoe to have magical healing powers and used it as an antidote for poison, infertility, and to ward of evil spirits. The plant was also seen as a symbol of peace, and it is said that among Romans, enemies who met under mistletoe would lay down their weapons and embrace.

Scandinavians associated the plant with Frigga, their goddess of love, and it may be from this that we derive the custom of kissing under the mistletoe. Those who kissed under the mistletoe had the promise of happiness and good luck in the following year.

In Northern Europe Christmas occurred during the middle of winter, when ghosts and demons could be heard howling in the winter winds. Boughs of holly, believed to have magical powers since they remained green through the harsh winter, were often placed over the doors of homes to drive evil away. Greenery was also brought indoors to freshen the air and brighten the mood during the long, dreary winter.

A native Mexican plant, poinsettias were named after Joel R. Poinsett, U.S. ambassador to Mexico who brought the plant to America in 1828. Poinsettias were likely used by Mexican Franciscans in their 17th century Christmas celebrations. One legend has it that a young Mexican boy, on his way to visit the village Nativity scene, realized he had no gift for the Christ child. He gathered pretty green branches from along the road and brought them to the church. Though the other children mocked him, when the leaves were laid at the manger, a beautiful star-shaped flower appeared on each branch. The bright red petals, often mistaken for flowers, are actually the upper leaves of the plant.

Candy Canes

It was not long after Europeans began using Christmas trees that special decorations were used to adorn them. Food items, such as candies and cookies, were used predominately and straight white candy sticks were one of the confections used as ornamentation. Legend has it that during the 17th century, craftsmen created the white sticks of candy in the shape of shepherds' crooks at the suggestion of the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany.

The candy treats were given to children to keep them quiet during ceremonies at the living creche, or Nativity scene, and the custom of passing out the candy crooks at such ceremonies soon spread throughout Europe.

According to the National Confectioner's Association, in 1847 German immigrant August Imgard used the candy cane to decorate a Christmas tree in Wooster, Ohio. More than 50 years later, Bob McCormack of Albany, Georgia supposedly made candy canes as treats for family, friends and local shopkeepers. McCormack's brother-in-law, Catholic priest Gregory Keller, invented a machine in the 1950s that automated the production of candy canes, thus eliminating the usual laborious process of creating the treats and the popularity of the candy cane grew.

More recent explanations of the candy cane's symbolism hold that the color white represents Christ's purity, the red the blood he shed, and the presence of three red stripes the Holy Trinity. While factual evidence for these notions does not exist, they have become increasingly common and at times are even represented as fact. Regardless, the candy cane remains a favorite holiday treat and decoration.
**Information for this post taken from here and here.

First Interview

My daughter, Kaia, came home from school yesterday so excited. She yelled, "I'm going to be on the 6 o'clock news!" My first thought was, "Oh crap... what did she do to get on the news?". Her classroom decided that instead of exchanging gifts for the holiday, they would take up money and purchase gifts for foster children in our area. They took their donations to the foster care office yesterday followed by the local news.

They interviewed Kaia and one of her classmates. She was so excited and embarrassed all at the same time! For some reason I can't embed the video here on the blog, but you can view the video here. Take a moment and check her out doing her first interview!

Holiday House Tours

Today starts the tour of holiday decorations on several blogs! I'm going to be participating in three this year. The Holiday House Tours on Hooked on Houses today, the Home for the Holidays 2009 tour on Southern Hospitality, and the Christmas Tour of Homes on The Nesting Place on Monday, December 14th.

I always have a hard time taking good pictures of our Christmas decorations. They only look good all lit up, but my stinkin' camera doesn't take good low light photographs. Please forgive it, the camera I mean... poor thing doesn't know I'm shopping for a newer model!

Our Chrismas tree! Lots of reds and greens.





The snowmen have been on my Christmas tree since I was a little girl. My mother made them. The candy cane is new this year. Kaia made it for our tree.

Another handmade snowman. The little snowman on the left in the yellow scarf was made by Neil when he was in Kindergarten.

Our mantle is a bit bare. I always say I'm going to buy some garland for it, but I never actually buy any. I can't decide if I want lighted garland or not.

This ceramic snow house was made by my grandfather. The "snow" is all glittery. It's hard to tell in this photo, but the door, window, and trees all light up.

My grandfather also made this ceramic Christmas tree. Several years ago, I lost the star that used to be on top of it. I've never been able to find a replacement. This tree and the snow house are the first things I put up every year.

These are some of our decorations for the holiday. Want to see more? Head over to Hooked on Houses!! There are lots more houses to tour!

And don't forget to visit The Nesting Place on Monday! Just click the badge below!


Cheerios & Tuna

Why can my husband not find the honey nut Cheerios? Three times I've sent him to the store, three times he's not gotten the right kind of Cheerios. I don't like the plain Cheerios. They are too... plain. Ah well, there is always the next trip.

I completely forgot to mention that Monday was Cam's birthday! Her big ol' 30th birthday! Now we are the same age. At least for the next couple of weeks anyway. So happy birthday again! I'm so glad that she's finally wrangled those AT&T jerks to the ground and gotten her internet fixed. It's lonely in cyber world without her.

Is Kate Gosselin's 15 minutes not up yet? Why in the world does Barbara Walters think that woman is "fascinating"? She is definitely NOT on my list of most fascinating people. And Adam Lambert? Not fascinating!

Ok, so I've been a little slacking on the whole diet thing. I ate two smallish pieces of some greasy Totino's pizza last night. BUT I did drink two glasses of soy milk, ate a handful of nuts, and had some fruity Cheerios yesterday so I say that evens out. I still feel guilty though.

Tonight's dinner is going to be...



Spinach Tuna Casserole

  • 5 cups uncooked egg noodles
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups fat-free milk
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 package (6 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken stuffing mix
  • 1/3 seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 cans (6 ounces each) light water-packed tuna, drained and flaked
  1. Cook noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise and lemon juice; set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, melt butter. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually stir in mil. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat; stir in 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese until melted. Remove from the heat; stir in the sour cream mixture. Add the spinach, stuffing mix, bread crumbs, and tuna; mix well.
  3. Drain noodles and place in a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with tuna mixture; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.
  4. Cover and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until lightly browned and heated through.

December 7th

Oops, I'm a little behind on the updating on my food intake... Just know that for the most part, I ate well this past weekend. I did splurge a little and have a couple of glasses of eggnog 'cause I love the eggnog! We even stopped by a convenience store and I wasn't even tempted to eat that yummy looking pepperoni roll. Well, maybe I was tempted, but I didn't order one. I got a 6 inch turkey sub on wheat bread with lettuce and black olives. I pretended it tasted as good as that pepperoni roll would have tasted, but instead I got something like turkey flavored cardboard. Oh well.

Last night's dinner was a new recipe I found online at the Taste of Home website. It was very good for the first try at it, but there are few tweaks we'll be making for the next go round with it. Like no cayenne pepper and more shrimp!

Shrimp Rice Casserole

  • 1 lb uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 2 Tb butter, divided
  • 12 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 Tb all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1-1/3 cups fat free milk
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese, divided
In a large nonstick skillet, saute shrimp in 1 tablespoon butter for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Remove and set aside. In the same skillet, saute the mushrooms, green pepper and onion in remaining butter until tender. Stir in the flour, salt, and cayenne. Gradually add milk until blended. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add the rice, 1/2 cup cheese, and shrimp; stir until combined.

Pour into a 1-1/2 qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover and bake at 325° for 30-35 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining cheese; cover and let stand for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
I used Smart Choice butter, fat free cheese, and Mrs. Dash instead of salt. I had to use vitamin D milk instead of fat free. It turned out well and was easy to make.

December 2nd

So last night I had a salad for supper. 2 Tb of light ranch dressing, 5 olives, a 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, and lettuce. I honestly have no idea what the numbers are for it. I used regular shredded cheese because I already had it. I'm not going to just go throw out everything I have that isn't low cholesterol or light or low fat or whatever. There wasn't much left in the bag so I used what was there and next trip to the grocery I'll get the low fat cheese. An hour and a half later I was starving. Not literally, but all I could think about was food, food, food. I broke down and ate 25 Wheat Thins. I'm definitely going to have to find some good, filling recipes.

I actually looked forward to breakfast this morning! A 16 oz. glass of soy milk and a bowl of Fruity Cheerios with soy milk. I've never had the fruity Cheerios before, but of course the grocery store was out of Honey Nut Cheerios. Because that would have made it too easy.

I think I'm already going to do away with the number crunching. That crap is for the birds and will probably only end up making me feel worse about the food I eat. I'm still definitely going to be reading the labels, but I'm just not going to be cataloging those numbers.

Lunch was relatively bland. One and a half tuna sandwiches. Made with white albacore tuna (in water) and wheat bread. Man that sounds a lot worse than it actually tasted.  I found a website earlier while trying to find good foods to eat that said, "If it tastes good, you probably shouldn't eat it anymore." Gee, thanks.

For supper tonight I'm going to try a recipe I found on Kraft Foods.com. It has (per serving) 400 calories, 3.5g of saturated fat, and 80mg of cholesterol.
Foil-Packet Southwestern Chicken Dinner

What you'll need:
1-3/4 cups warm water
2 cups instant brown rice, uncooked
4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
1/4 cup KRAFT Light Ranch Dressing
1-1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets (about 4 cups)
1 red pepper, chopped

How to fix it:

HEAT oven to 400°F. Combine water and rice; let stand 5 min. Spoon onto centers of 4 large sheets of heavy-duty foil; top with remaining ingredients.

BRING up foil sides. Double fold top and both ends to seal each packet, leaving room for heat circulation inside. Place in 15x10x1-inch pan.

BAKE 25 to 30 min. or until chicken is done (165°F). Cut slits in foil to release steam before opening each packet.

I am encouraged by the fact that it is prepared with brown rice as I've read that eating the white rice is probably not good for me. I like broccoli too so hopefully this won't be too bad. Still not a fan of chicken though...

What the Fudge?

I'm not exactly sure what happened to my Wordpress blog, but I've had several people (ok, 2 people) tell me that they weren't able to access it. Something about it being private and needing a password. I immediately set about trying to figure the cause of all this confusion. Some how, some way, my blog privacy setting got changed. I assure you that I did not do this on purpose. It's all fixed now and should allow any and every body access. I'll still have the occasional private post, which you may get the password to by simply sending me an email, but I'm not going to privatize the entire blog. That defeats the purpose of having one.

Speaking of having a blog... In light of the recent news from El Doctoro about the insanely shocking level of my cholesterol, I'm going to be writing about my food intake. It's probably going to be boring at times, but I'm going to use every resource I can to make sure that I start to eat right. A blog is a wonderful way to keep track of what's going on and to get helpful insight from other readers. Help and tips are always welcome.


I know that it seems I'm jumping in this whole thing with all my clothes on and I guess that I am really. I'm overly worried about the whole situation because my grandmother had her first heart attack when she was only 33 years old. That factoid resonates inside my head. I'm almost 31. My cholesterol level is crazy high.

AND I HAD NO IDEA.

I think that might be the most worrisome issue about this whole thing. The fact that I was completely clueless. I mean, I am aware of the fact that I do not eat as healthy as I should or that I don't exercise either. Apparently all of my laziness and bad eating habits caught up with me a while ago, but they were sneaky and didn't tell me.

I do have a tendency to overreact sometimes, but in this case I think it may be beneficial. I asked Chris on Monday morning to stop by the grocery store on his way home to pick up few things. Whole wheat bread, white albacore tuna, wheat thins, yogurt... things I know that I can now eat. The grocery store here in town only carries the unflavored version of Silk soy milk. From what I understand, the unflavored version is a little lacking on taste. Yesterday afternoon he graciously made an out of the way stop by Wal-Mart in Bowling Green to pick me up some Very Vanilla.

I shook it up. I poured a glass. I took a drink. Not what I was expecting, but in a good way. Definitely doesn't taste like moo juice (as Sam called it!), but I like it. Sort of reminds me of milk with powdered sugar and nuts. Not the crunchy, just the nutty type flavor. Does that make sense? The great thing? Kaia LOVED it! She had two glasses.

Bye Bye Bacon

When you're young you think days last forever. Next year will never get here. Thirty is old. Now that I am thirty, I don't feel it. I feel like I just woke up one day and I wasn't a kid anymore. Yesterday, I realized my age. I actually felt old.


A nurse from the doctor's office called with my test results from last week. She said everything looked fine except for my cholesterol. The doctor would like for me to start a low cholesterol diet because my numbers are a little high. I made the mistake of asking what the overall number actually was.

248

Alrighty then. I basically had a little freak out session in my head for a few minutes. From what I've read on the internet, 200 is considered high. The doctor wants to retest me in about 3 months so I have 3 months to drop my cholesterol by 48 points.

No more bacon, sausage, processed cheeses, red meat, butter, or any other stuff that I think tastes really good. I'm going to be relegated to eating things like oatmeal (Oh JOY!) and beans. Oh and chicken... I really don't like chicken. I have found several sites that list healthy recipes and a couple of people have given me links to some sites that I think will be helpful. Good news is that I like things like cinnamon Life cereal, honey nut Cheerios, fish, and nuts. I don't know how long I can go eating these foods though. I think it may get a little boring. Much to the delight of Cam, I'll be starting to drink soy milk soon too.

I've never been on any type of diet in my life for any reason at all. I don't even like the word. Any recipes, handy tips and tricks, or advice is definitely welcome in this case. I'm sure going to need the help. And watch out 'cause I'm sure to be blogging about what I'm eating these days.

Best In Show


This is Cyrus. Named after John Malcovich's character, "Cyrus the Virus", in the movie "Con-Air". Not named for any certain country singer(s).

He is almost 6 years old. We've had him since he was around 10 weeks old. He's been the best dog we've ever had. He's great with the kids. He does tend to be a jumper and a licker though. I get tired of trying to defend his breed. He's an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, or Staffordshire Bull Terrier, whichever you prefer. Most people just say, "You have a PIT BULL?!?!" and "What about your kids?"



This breed gets so much bad publicity in the news. It seems that every dog bite comes from a pit bull. If you raise a dog to be mean, vicious, and aggressive then guess what? You're going to have a mean, vicious, and aggressive dog. It really doesn't matter what breed of dog you have, if you raise them well they will be good dogs.

Cyrus is a good dog. He would defend his humans if he had to, but would never bite anyone just because he wanted too. I think the vast majority of the injuries sustained by these dogs is the fact that their owners weren't raising them well and weren't caring for them in a way that is conducive to a happy dog. I would never allow my dog to just run around on his own. Even if he was a poodle.


I'm writing this because I've heard of two dog bite victims in the news lately and so much emphasis was put on the fact that they were "viciously attacked by a pit bull" that I wondered if anyone had any idea there were other dog breeds out there. I'm here to say that there is at least one dog of this breed that is a good dog. He's a family dog. He's a lap dog, if you let him. He's a companion. He's goofy. He's lovable. He's kind. He's the perfect dog.


He's our Cy-cy, Cyrus the Virus, and Goofy Gus.

What cha doin'?

This year we'll be doing Thanksgiving dinner at our house on "Black Friday". Usually we reserve this day for just lounging around the house letting all the food from the day before digest in it's own time.

I didn't really know what this thing called "Black Friday" was until I began to work in retail back in 2000. I did 5 years worth of working the jewelry counter at Wal-Mart on that fateful day and I vowed to never, EVER, actually do any shopping on this day. For some reason, maybe it's all the turkey eaten the day before, the day after Thanksgiving turns people into crazies. Flat insane is what they get. I've seen people do some seriously strange things for a $5 toaster, okay?

Last year Cam talked me into going out into the craziness. I mean it was Friday after all and we couldn't pass up on our "Fun Friday". We didn't really have a certain plan of action. We were just going to be going. This is what we ended up doing...

Yes, it turned into an interesting day. I missed her so much this week!! I can't believe she is so far away!
I hope that everyone had a safe and happy holiday yesterday. If you are/were out and about on the "busiest shopping day of the year", then I hope that you make it through unscathed! Have a great weekend!!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating this week! Enjoy this great remake of an awesome song!

I'm Going There...


I'm a fan of Michael Jackson just like anyone else. I was shocked that he died just like anyone else. I wasn't shocked, however, to see him win awards at the American Music Awards ceremony last night. No, I wasn't shocked. I was irritated. I don't want to sound cold, but why did he win? Would he seriously have won if he hadn't passed away? I can't help but think that no, he wouldn't have won.




Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist, Favorite Soul/R & B Male Artist and Favorite Album in both categories. I would have really cried foul if he had won for Artist of the Year. He was nominated against Eminem and T.I. in the Pop/Rock category for male artist. I honestly don't see how he beat Eminem, who hasn't had an album out in several years himself, but with the release of his new album, Relapse, has gotten himself right back where he once was.




Winning Pop/Rock album over Taylor Swift? Something is wrong here. That girl has sold more albums than freakin' Elvis Presley! Well, it seems that way!! For such a young girl, she sure has her head on straight!


Now I'm not trying to knock on ol' Michael here. He was a great artist. Still is a great artist. I just have a problem with giving awards to people simply because of a tragedy that has befallen them. He was obviously working towards this new "comeback" tour, but I feel that the awards show did a disservice to it's artists.

And another thing!!!! Lip syncing sucks. The best performances were Kelly Clarkson and Alicia Keys who were actually singing their music! So a big thumbs down going out to Janet Jackson and Jennifer Lopez who were clearly not singing. Adam Lambert and Lady Gaga win for the weirdest awards show performances... EVER. For the record, I just want to throw out there that I'm not a fan of Mr. Lambert in the first place. All together this show was definitely lacking on the entertainment value.

I Just Don't Know...

what to write about. Nothing interesting or fun is going on.

It's a short work/school week for everyone due to the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. I'm just not excited about the holidays this year. For once I'd like to be able to spend some time with my family, but it's not going to happen. They all just live so far away. We had hoped to be able to go down for Thanksgiving, but the school district is using the day before Thanksgiving as a "make-up" day so we had to drop those plans. Driving to southern Florida on Thanksgiving day is not my idea of fun times.




We're lucky this year though because we are only going to have to do two dinners. That is something we are both thankful for! Thanksgiving day we'll be going to my mother-in-law's for family dinner. Her dad, Chris' granddad, usually does dinner on Thanksgiving day at his house, but this year they are going to do it at my mother-in-law's and I think that is wonderful. Not only does she have a larger home, but we can all get together on one day. I'm really looking forward to it. Then Friday, I'm cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Just for my mom. Last year, I cooked my first real Thanksgiving dinner. It was a pretty awesome dinner. We got to have my bestest friend in the whole wide world and her family over. We ate, drank, and were merry.

I'm interested in knowing what kinds of family traditions everyone has for Thanksgiving. At my mother-in-law's we always help decorate the Christmas tree. When we get there, the tree is bare, but by the time we leave it's completely decked out with ornaments. So what is/are the tradition(s) in your house?

Music from My Library


Yes, Please! {Friday Night Lights}

I love football. We are definitely a football family. Maybe, just maybe, one day Neil will play football. He loves football too. In fact, we allowed him to get his own Facebook page just so he could play fantasy football with us. He's holding his own on that one. Hasn't beaten me yet, but he's working on it.

I've heard of this show, "Friday Night Lights" on NBC, but I'd never actually watched it. Recently we took a chance and invested in Netflix. Netflix is awesome! I had no idea all the movies and TV shows they have including some that you can watch instantly on your computer. One of these is this TV show.

These boys are so cute!! So this post is going to be the next installment of the Yes, Please series.

 
Kyle Chandler
I remember this guy from a show that aired back in 1991-1993 called "Homefront" on ABC. He was in "Pure Country" with George Strait. That's a good movie too, by the way. He was in "King Kong", "The Kingdom", and "The Day the Earth Stood Still".



 
Taylor Kitsch
He's 28 years old, but I still feel a little dirty for thinking he is so stinkin' good lookin' since he plays a 17 year old high school football player. He hasn't been in too many shows or movies, but you can see him in "John Tucker Must Die" and "Snakes on a Plane". I haven't seen either of these so I don't know much about them. I have however seen both "The Covenant", which I LOVE, and "X-Men: Origins - Wolverine".

 
Zach Gilford
He plays the sort of goofy kid who gets thrown into the role of staring quarterback. He hasn't really been in too much else besides this TV series, but I think he'll be able to find other roles easily enough. He's got that down home, comfortable feel about him.

 
Scott Porter
He's the former starting quarterback. Injured on a play and paralyzed from the waist down. He had a little stint on "As the World Turns". He was in "Prom Night", "Speed Racer", and "Bandslam".

 
Gaius Charles
He's not been in too many other shows either, but he's a wonderful actor. He's been up and down and everywhere else on this show. Not to mention, duh, he's super easy on the eyes!

It would be totally wrong of me to not include the absolutely gorgeous girls on the show. I mean, I do have male readers!!

 
Minka Kelly, Adrianne Palicki, Aimee Teegarden

And yes, I am totally maybe just the littlest amount of jealous that they are so b-e-a-utiful.
I've only made it through the first season and a few episodes of season 2 so far, but I'm very disappointed to see that seasons 4 and 5 will be exclusively on DirecTV's 101 Network. Not everyone has DirecTV. Including me so that is a real bummer NBC. A real bummer....

M.I.A.

This past weekend went by so swiftly that I'm not even sure if it really happened or not. I mean, is it seriously Monday morning? Already??? Sorry I've been missing in action for the past few days. I've been busy.

I had to take my mom to the hospital on Friday morning to get a CT scan done. They found a dense area that they were a tad concerned with. She made me promise not to tell anyone that the doctors said she was dense in the head 'cause we've been telling her she was dense for years. The radiologist called mom's doctor who then called mom to tell her to take her butt to the ER. I guess I should have told you that when I picked mom up from her doctors office, part of her face was saggy, limpy, and otherwise not in the correct positioning. The dense spot they saw on the CT scan was quite possibly a blood clot forming.

Into the ER we go. Hours of sitting. Hours of waiting. Lots of poking. Lots of prodding. NO food, NO water. The ER doctor says he'd like for her to stay over night to which she immediately says, "No thanks." I say, "She'll be staying." The neurologist comes in, does his little tests and says the same thing the ER doctor says. Stay. She finally caves in and says she'll stay after I use a bit o' guilt inducing charm. Might I add that the neurologist had some really interesting tools of the trade.



Finally after being at that hospital since around 10AM, she gets moved out of the ER. To the MRI room. Then to have an electrocardiogram or an echo-cardiogram or some sort of test where they looked at her heart and carotid arteries. I headed down to the Subway in the hospital and ordered up a nice turkey sammich because I know that she is absolutely starving to death. Oh, I guess I forgot to mention that she is also a smoker who hasn't had a cigarette in all this time either. I'm starting to fear for the nurses lives at this point. She gets to her room around 3:30PM. I've never seen anyone eat a sandwich that fast.

She's back home now. A small/mild stroke, but the clot seems to have resolved itself. No major damage or any minor damage that we are aware of. She's going to take it easy for a while, eat a better diet. In her defense though, she eats pretty well. Thank you to all who asked about her and to my aunt-in-law and mother-in-law who made her brief stay in the hospital more enjoyable. Seriously, thanks.

And all the nurses survived unscathed...

Talkin' Turkey

I can not believe that we have just 7 weeks until Christmas. Is it bad to want to decorate already? I know I'm not the only one! I think my sister-in-law may or may not have already put up their stockings. I've read several blogs, talked to several people that want to start decorating. I hate to sort of skip over Thanksgiving, but the only real decorating I do for Thanksgiving is on my dining room table. I'd like to get one of those ginormous inflatable turkeys for the front yard.

Isn't it cute? It's like 6 feet tall! Anyway, back to the subject... Christmas decorating. It was such a beautiful day last Sunday that I decided to try to coax Chris into going ahead with the outdoor decorating. As in, I was trying to get him to shimmy on up to the roof and hang the Christmas lights. I wasn't actually planning on turning them on just yet. He laughed at me. The temperature was around 70, no winds, lots of sun. It was a perfect opportunity to do it! In years past, we've always waited until the day after Thanksgiving and it's usually been cold and windy or cold and rainy or just cold! I lost that battle, but only 'cause I hurt my ankle putting away the Halloween stuff. Yea, I know... keep telling myself that. He wins all the battles.

I started browsing for some Christmas music yesterday. Just to try to get into the spirit of all things Chrismas-y. I found what has to be the oddest video on YouTube. Ozzy Osbourne singing with Jessica Simpson. Crazy, ain't it? I love Jessica Simpson's voice, but I can't bare to watch her actually sing. She makes weird faces and gestures. She just looks odd.



See what I mean? It's one of my favorite Christmas songs though. I like the oldies, the classics. I prefer to hear them being sung by Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, and the like.

This has inspired a new poll idea! Check the side bar and vote!!

*yawn*

I have been so tired lately. Saturday night I laid down around 8:30PM and I didn't get up until almost 9AM Sunday morning. I don't know what's going on. I had a bit of a sore, scratchy throat last week, but it didn't really amount to anything but just that a sore throat. I had a little cough too, but again it kind of coincided with the scratchy throat. I've just had no energy.

Today it's all gloomy and overcast here. Courtesy of Tropical Storm Ida, formerly known as Hurricane Ida. No rain though. I'm not going to complain about that. We've had entirely too much rain this year. It's supposed to start heading off to the east so we shouldn't get too much rain from it.

Not too much else going on around here though. Not pretty enough outside for pictures, unless you're Beth, who could probably take great pictures of anything. Marvelous photographer that woman is! I'm still searching for the right camera. Hoping to find one fairly inexpensive, on sale, or second hand. I'm not scared to buy a used camera. I found a new one on Dell, but by the time I'd mentioned it to Chris, it wasn't listed anymore. I'm still pining for it though. It was the Nikon I wrote about before. Great camera, only $400. Cam mentioned to me earlier that a photography business in a nearby town sold refurbished cameras. I plan on checking this out.

Monday Mornin'

I've had the Maroon 5 song, "Sunday Morning", stuck in my head since I heard that guy sing it on Oprah last week for that karaoke contest. It just randomly pops in my head.

Some time in the middle of the night between Friday night and Saturday morning, the clasp on the dog chain broke. He scared the crap out of Chris who was trying to check the oil in the car, in the dark at like 5:30AM before leaving for work. Cyrus (the dog) is mostly black so Chris never saw him coming. Of course, we can't just let him run lose in the neighborhood. Other people let their dogs run, but we don't. It's rude to let your dog defecate in other people's yards. So I was up early on Saturday morning. Bummer. Saturdays are for sleeping in.

It was so beautiful this weekend! Sunday we decided to grill a big roast and just enjoy the day. I gathered up all of the Halloween decorations to put away in the garage in exchange for the Christmas decorations. No, I haven't put any up yet, but I'm seriously tempted to do so. While packing a box into the garage, my ankle decided to not function properly anymore and gave out on me. Oooo, did it ever hurt! My foot went a bit numb and tingly for a few minutes, but the swelling was pretty minimal. Unfortunately Sunday's are laundry days and our washer/dryer is in the basement. So that meant many trips up and down stairs for me.



Neil's basketball team starts practicing this week. His coach called Sunday evening. He's not played basketball before, but seems really excited to do so. His coach has turned out to be his P.E. teacher so that works out well. Her son was also on the same baseball team with Neil in the spring. We're really looking forward to seeing him play. I don't think he's going to do baseball again next year. He really got burned last year with that one player who kept hitting him with the ball every time he got up to bat. He's just not into it anymore, but we'll see how it goes come spring.

I really appreciate all those that have followed me yet again to another blog address. Please vote in the poll to the right to let me know which of the two blogs you like. I like this one because I can have all of my pages in one place. You may have noticed the "Private Postings" tab. Since it was brought to my attention that my blog is public and available for all to read, I decided to have a space dedicated to my private audience only. After conferring with the husband on this one, he suggested that I go this route. This page is password protected and I will be happy to give you the password if you'd like. Just drop me an email letting me know. I look forward to hearing all of your feedback and seeing your comments soon! I promise to stay right here and not drag you from here to there anymore.

Yes, Please! {Edward Norton}

I got bored this week. Sometimes blogging becomes a chore.  I feel the need to write something, anything, but sometimes the words don't come.  This is pretty much what has happened this week.  Oogle this...



   Edward Norton

He's the *sigh*, hottie, man candy for the week.  I recently watched "Pride & Glory" and rediscovered my crush on him.  He's one good lookin' man, if I do say so myself, and I do...

A little more info on Mr. Norton 'cause he's not just a pretty face, ya know.  He's very active with the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust.  I'm sure you heard about the marathon running with the Maasai warriors, who were basically barefoot for the run.  Those guys are real warriors.



Taken from IMDB.com,
Edward Norton was born on August 18, 1969 to parents Edward, an attorney who works for the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Robin Norton, a former foundation executive and teacher who passed away of brain cancer on March 6, 1997. Edward also has two younger siblings named James and Molly. From the age of 5 onward, the Yale graduate (majoring in history) has always been interested in acting. At the age of 8, he would ask his drama teacher what his motivation in a scene was. He attended theater schools throughout his life, and eventually managed to find work on stage in New York as a member of the Signature players, who produced the works of playwright and director Edward Albee. Around the time when he was appearing in Albee's Fragments, in Hollywood, they were looking for a young actor to star opposite Richard Gere in a new courtroom thriller, Primal Fear (1996). The role was offered to Leonardo DiCaprio but he turned it down. Gere was on the verge of walking away from the project, fed up with the wait for a young star to be found, when Edward auditioned and won the role over 2000 other hopefuls. Before the film was even released, his test screenings for the part were causing a Hollywood sensation, and he was soon offered roles in Woody Allen's Everyone Says I Love You (1996) and The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996). Edward won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Primal Fear (1996). In 1998, Norton gained 30 pounds of muscle and transformed his look into that of a monstrous skinhead for his role as a violent white supremacist in American History X (1998). This performance would earn him his second Oscar nomination, this time for Best Actor. In 1999 came the critically acclaimed Fight Club (1999) and in 2000 came his directorial debut in Keeping the Faith (2000).

Notable movies:
Primal Fear
Rounders
American History X
Fight Club
Keeping the Faith
The Italian Job
The Illusionist
Pride and Glory

E for Everyone


I just bought this game for myself this past weekend.  Notice it says that it is rated E for Everyone?  Definitely NOT for just anyone.  Both Neil and Kaia have been asking to start their own games.  I've tried to explain to them that it's not that easy of a game.  My mom would probably breeze right on through most of the puzzles and brainteasers that you have to complete to progress through the game.  I, on the other hand, am finding that some of these puzzles will drive you mad.

The rating is accurate though because there isn't any violence, language, or sexual content.  I think they should put a disclaimer somewhere on there though that warns you of the addiction factor.  I sat and played this game for 4 hours Saturday night.  The whole time I was grumbling and growling and throwing a few expletives at the game, but I could not put it down.  I was determined to figure out the answer.

If you own a Nintendo DS or DSi (or like me, don't have one, but am mooching off of my kids!) and are looking for a challenging game, this is definitely for you.  I can't wait to finish this and get the next one, Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box.

Sunrise

I did not want to get out of bed on Sunday morning.  I guess we all had one too many pieces of chocolate Saturday night because none of us were in bed before 1AM.  Normally, I'm seeing the backs of my eye lids by 9:30PM.  I know this is sad.  You don't have to tell me.  Trick or treating seems to have become a chore.  Neil wasn't really excited about going this year, but humored me anyway.  Halfway through our rounds of town, he gave up.  I can't say that I blame him.  I was ready to give up too.  Every year they haul in truck loads of candy, which never gets entirely eaten before the next year.  I wasn't too upset to cut out of the festivities early.  For once, both children were on board for doing the same thing.... heading home.

I've noticed over the last couple of days that the sun seems to be getting up on a different side of the bed.  Just last week, when the sun would rise, it would come streaming in one of our living room windows.  It was helpful in waking me up after the kids had already gotten on the bus.  Friday I noticed that it seemed a little darker than usual when it was time for the kids to head out the door.  I thought it was because of the cloud cover, but when they walked outside, Kaia said, "Oh, there is the sun Mom.  Over there."  It was still hiding behind some clouds, but was in a totally different location than "normal".  Sunday morning it was easier to spot because it was a crisp, clear, cloudless morning.  I know that Autumn has been here for a little while already, but when you notice the location of the sunrise has moved, you know that we're officially there.

Happy Halloween!


Breezin' Through



For some reason the sun seemed a little sluggish getting up this morning.  I doubt it was the sun's fault that the overhanging clouds keep her rays from shining through, but at 6:30AM it was still pretty gloomy outside.  The temperature this morning was very pleasant though, sitting around 68 degrees.  The kids didn't even want to wear their jackets to school.

It was a near perfect morning.  Except for the wind.  It's been very windy, but the wind added a little something to the moment I think.  As the kids dashed off to their designated positions at the end of the driveway to wait for the school bus,  they noticed all the fallen leaves just lying on the ground.  Waiting for them it seemed.  It became apparent that the night had stripped the maple trees of nearly all their leaves.  I started to run in the house for my camera, but I stopped.  I didn't want to miss the moment.  Together they began to pile the leaves.  Scooping with their hands, scooting with their feet.  Every time one of them would try to throw a handful into the pile, the wind would whip all the leaves away.

I don't think I've ever noticed just how quickly the leaves change and disappear.  Just a few days ago, they were all blazingly yellow and orange and now they are all nearly bare.  I haven't been able to get into the Halloween spirit this year.  I guess I've never noticed how quickly that comes and goes too.

It's How You Say It

Saying 150 miles sounds so much worse than saying 10-15 minutes doesn't it?  If I said that I had driven 150 miles past my destination, you would ask what in the world was wrong, but if I had said that I had driven past my destination for only 10-15 minutes, it wouldn't sound so bad.  Would it?  I was like lots of other folks who was forced to listen to the seemingly neverending story about the Northwest flight that flew past their destination of Minneapolis.  At first, I was like everyone else.  Huge question marks over my head wondering how they could have flown so far past it, but then I hear...
  1. It was only 10-15 minutes before they turned around.
  2. The passengers weren't really aware.
  3. The flight attendants had no clue.
I think the idea that the pilots were asleep came solely from that annoying aviation analyst on ABC News, John Nance.  Anytime there is an issue with aircraft they go to this man.  I have to change the channel or mute the TV.  It's the way he talks.  It grates on my nerves like fingernails on chalkboard.

There is no excuse for these pilots to have not responded to air traffic control for as long as they did.  None at all.  However, I have a huge problem with these guys being fired over this mistake.  According to an ABC News story... 
"Cheney (the pilot) had a perfect flight record before the overshooting incident, logging more hours in the air than Chesley Sullenberger, who "miraculously" landed US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River earlier this year."
A perfect flight record.  Obviously the pilot and co-pilot should be reprimanded for their lack of following airline policy by using their laptops in the cockpit, but revoking them of their pilots' license...?

No one was injured, maimed, or killed.  It could have been much, much worse, but it wasn't.  In this economy where it is so very hard for people to find employment, does the NTSB really need to strip these guys of their jobs?

10 Year Old Grown Ups


It's official.  He's been here a decade.  A whole decade.  He's in the double digits now.  I've managed to not let a single tear fly.  They've welled up in my eyeballs, but not overflowed them.

We did a little get together for his birthday this past Saturday.  I asked him to invite his friends from school, but I guess he's already at the age where we, as parents, embarrass him because he didn't want to invite them!  He didn't want a birthday cake either.  That's really no surprise though because he isn't much of a sweet eater. Every morning we watch the morning news while they are eating their breakfast and getting ready to catch the bus.  They run a segment of "Mr. Food".  Last week he did a Cinnamon Nut Ring.  Neil said that's what he wanted for his birthday.  It was super simple to make and he really liked it.

He got the new "Transformers" movie so all the kids (plus Chris and my dad) snuck to the livingroom to watch it.  I had an issue with the candles we bought to put on the cake.  They were trick sparkler candles.  The kind that are supposed to sparkle like those fireworks and then when you blow them out they light back.  Didn't happen.  They just burned like regular candles.  It was quite uneventful.  So while the kids were doing adult like things, myself, my mother and father-in-law, and my mom all stood in the kitchen while I held a lit candle and waited for something to happen.  The only thing that happened was that I got burned with hot wax and the candle stuck to my finger.



Then to further make ourselves look like idiots... we balanced a broom in the kitchen floor.  No, really, we did.  See my mother-in-law was telling me that her son-in-law told her that his wife had done this.  Apparently the planets are aligned in such a way that you can do things like balance your broom and it will stand without your help.  His wife stood up all the brooms down an aisle in Wal-Mart.


I can't take all the credit for standing the broom up.  My father-in-law placed it in the doorway first and after several near misses on getting it to balance, I took over trying and got it to stand.

My mother-in-law and I sat in the corner watching and waiting for it to fall.



Then I promised her that I wouldn't put that second photo on Facebook....  She didn't mention a thing about blogging about it!  If you don't hear from me for a few days... you know why.

Monday, October 26th, 2009


Last week was great.  I'm so glad that my dad was able to make the trip up to Kentucky to spend the week with us.  The time went by so fast I can't believe that he had to leave so soon.  We spent most of the time just wandering around aimlessly in various restaurants and places since Chris was at work and the kids were in school.  We managed to walk around Hobby Lobby for a couple of hours and I only spent $5!  The Simplicity patterns were all on sale.  I found one for personal blanket... AKA a Snuggie!!  Kaia said she wanted one for kids so I hope she'll accept a knock off handmade version!  I also found one with a simple quilt design.  I've never made a quilt before, but I'm going to attempt one soon.  Wish me luck!


We visited the Aviation Heritage Park in Bowling Green.   They currently have only one plane on display there.  This particular aircraft is an F-4D Phantom II.  It was flown in Vietnam by Major Dan Cherry of Bowling Green.  I don't think I've ever been so close to any kind of fighter jet. 

The color of the leaves are rapidly changing now.  Dad commented before he left that some of the trees were still green when he arrived a week ago.  Most have already turned to their bright yellows and oranges while some are still green.  Our Dogwoods' leaves had already turned a dark red, but were still hanging all over the tree when he arrived.  Yesterday there were just a handful left.  Pretty soon the weatherman will be calling for snow....

Little Less to Say

Short post today!

It's Neil's 10th birthday. I seriously considered letting him bypass school this morning, but I reconsidered and sent him in. Mainly because today is also report card day at the school. Bad coincidence for him that his birthday would also be report card day.

Dad and I are going to go run around town a little today and see what we can find to get into. I promise to get back to regular posting next week!

Struck Again

I'm in love.  I'm in love with my dad's laptop computer.  I have to find a way to negotiate one of these for myself.  Honestly, I think I would rediscover my love for Ye Olde Desktop if I purchased additional memory (she only has 256MB) and upgraded to Vista ('cause I want to!!).  I'm just scared.

Not scared about the memory thing, that part seems easy.  I'm scared to do the whole Vista thing.  I don't want to have to pay somebody hundreds of dollars either.  There really isn't a need for me to go purchase a new computer of any sort when mine works perfectly well.  It's just slow.  I've done all I can do for it short of purchasing the memory.  I even reset the whole thing back to it's factory settings and still she is slow. 

I've worked mostly with Windows XP, but I've seen a few computers equipped with Vista and I like their ease of use.  I've also heard lots of people complain about Vista as well.  Of course,  I'd love to have a Mac, but again let's face the facts here... those babies are expensive.

So I'm asking all those who are listening... what do you think about XP and Vista?

Good Morning Sunshine!

Hello again Monday morning! 

For the record, I have an extreme dislike for seasonal nasal allergies.  For me they have come with age.  I didn't used to have any problems with allergies or the changing of the seasons what so ever.  Now the seasons change, I get allergies, and my nasal passages swell shut.  I can't breathe and it feels like I'm all stopped up except I'm not.  I have to live with a constant feeling that there is a booger the size of Alaska living in my nasal passages.  Here's my plug for the Netipot.  Nothing ever reduces the swelling except for daily rinses with that Netipot.  So if you've got what I've got, get what I got... a Neti pot.  Ha... I made a rhyme.

My dad got here right on time on Sunday morning.  3:30AM.   I took a brief nap while struggling to watch the football game, but for the most part I was proud of running on my 3 and a half hours of sleep.  I felt young again.  Not really, but it sounded good, right?

My son turns 10 in just two days!  I've waited until the last possible moment to do any birthday shopping so now I have to go out in the 30 degree weather to find him some presents.  That's right, I said 30 degrees!!!  This is just too cold for mid-October.  Everyone please right a strongly worded letter to Mother Nature and tell her that it's too soon for such cold weather and PS could she tell the sun that it's ok to shine in Kentucky for more than one day at a time?  Thanks so much.