Food & Drink

Food & Drink
Food & Drink

SHOP MY FAVES

SHOP MY FAVES
SHOP MY FAVES

STYLE

STYLE
STYLE

I Wanna Go Back...

to the 80's! No, not in a time machine. Via a concert...an Eddie Money concert to be specific. A few girlfriends and I are going to see Eddie Money and John Waite ("Missing You") tonight. I'm so looking forward to a girls night.

This will be the first time that I'll be away from the girls overnight since June. But more importantly, it's the first time that Henry will be here with the girls overnight. By himself. Usually, our overnight trips involve the two of us, and Emma and Harper stay with a babysitter. But not this time. Apparently, there's a plan, and it's a secret one. No one will tell me what is in store for the remainder of today and tomorrow. According to Emma, it's secret agent material! Should be interesting!

As for me, I will enjoy a solitary, two and a half hour drive to Pennsylvania during which I will listen to my own music...quite loudly at times. I'll stop at Starbucks and get my favorite coffee. It'll be nice to order just one drink rather than three and to be able to get in and out of Starbucks in less than 4 minutes. It's amazing how much time children add to running the simplest of errands.

I'll meet the ladies tonight for dinner and a cocktail and of course, lots of laughs. We'll head to the concert where the good times will continue. Don't forget to check back in a few days for pictures!
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Say It Forward - Pootsie

Today’s posts feature my sister-in-law, Susan (aka Pootsie), and my sister, Brenda, both of whom are avid readers and commentors of Pieces Of Me. My approach to Say It Forward was to devise and list of questions for the commentors in an effort to get their opinions of and reactions to my blog.

Susan is Henry’s sister. She currently resides in Denver, Colorado with her husband, Steve and children, Rory and Austin. Susan is an early childhood special education teacher and college instructor. She enjoys crocheting, reading, gardening, and baking. She really loves her work and spends lots of time reading journals and working on special projects related to early childhood and early childhood special education. She’s been an invaluable resource for me by providing me with guidance and tips for dealing with difficult parenting situations.
Susan is pictured here (second from left) with her daughter Rory, son Austin, and husband Steven. A happy family, indeed!

Here's what Susan has to say about Pieces Of Me:

Sheila: When I first emailed you and asked that you take a look at Pieces Of Me, what were your initial thoughts? Oh, great! Not her again. I don’t have time for this nonsense! Or Wow! Something new to read. I can’t wait to dig in! Or just plain old indifference?
Susan: I actually had not ever read a blog so I wasn’t sure what to expect!

Sh: One of the primary reasons I started Pieces Of Me was to keep relatives informed of our goings on. Do you feel closer to our family by reading our daily adventures? Do you feel as if you are part of our experiences?
Su: YES!!! I log on daily…and really missed you when you were out of touch over the long President’s Day Weekend.

Sh: What have you learned about me, the author, after having followed Pieces Of Me for two months?
Su: I learned more about you as a person, a wife and a mom. You are very creative and have a wide variety of interests. You are a great writer and a talented photographer! I also think we have a lot more in common than I realized!

Sh: In terms of features and content, what would you like to see more of? Less of? Is there a particular kind of post that you would like to be a regular (weekly) feature?
Su: There are so many pieces that have been helpful to me in a variety of ways…this is a tough one! Family wise…I just LOVE knowing what you guys are up to…what is happening in your lives, etc. Professionally, it has been helpful to me to get an idea of what is available to families via the Internet…and what resources families are using. Parenting today is SO different than it was when our kids were little! I really appreciate you getting me up to date on what is out there so I don’t look like a total dinosaur when I talk to parents! How about weekly pix of the kids?

Sh: What attracts you to read Pieces Of Me consistently? How often do you check-in? Daily? Weekly? Monthly?
Su: The strongest pull originally was to be closer to what is going on with all of you. However, I love your blogs. Your writing style is great…you are funny…and have so much good information to share!

Sh: How would you feel if I told you tomorrow that I have decided to discontinue writing Pieces Of Me? Please explain.
Su: I would be totally bummed. I feel closer to all of you and your blog is very entertaining!! You are on my home page as a favorite.

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Say It Forward: Brenda

Brenda is my sister, the oldest of the four daughters. She lives in Seminole, Florida and is a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service in Indian Rocks Beach, where she enjoys the warm ocean breezes while she fills mail boxes shaped liked dolphins. Not bad for a day's work!! I can't imagine why she is counting the years, wishing they were days until she is able to retire. She enjoys watching and attending almost any sporting event, but is a huge fan of her hometown Tampa Bay teams. She enjoys playing golf and any outdoor sport. She also, occasionally, enjoys being dragged to Walt Disney World by me and the girls!

Here are Brenda (r.) and I on one of those trips to Disney enjoying dinner in Cinderella's Castle.

Here's what Brenda has to say about Pieces Of Me:

Sheila: When I first emailed you and asked that you take a look at Pieces Of Me, what were your initial thoughts? Oh, great! Not her again. I don’t have time for this nonsense! Or Wow! Something new to read. I can’t wait to dig in! Or just plain old indifference?
Brenda: When you first emailed me about "Pieces Of Me", I had no idea what it would be about. I had never followed any one's blog before.

S: When you first read Pieces Of Me, what were your initial thoughts in terms of content? Design/creativity? Originality?
B: My initial thoughts were, "this is very interesting and very well composed. Where does she find the time to do this?" The whole format was intriguing to me; I am very computer illiterate and would have no idea where to begin with a project such as this.

S: One of the primary reasons I started Pieces Of Me was to keep relatives informed of our goings on. Do you feel closer to our family by reading our daily adventures? Do you feel as if you are part of our experiences?
B: I feel much closer to your family as I read the daily postings. Being 1000 miles away, it makes me feel closer to the girls as I see pictures of them in their daily activities.

S: What have you learned about me, the author, after having followed Pieces Of Me for two months?
B: I have learned that you are a very talented person; a mother and wife who can multi-task and still find time to design and compose daily postings to your blog. Unbelievable!

S: In terms of features and content, what would you like to see more of? Less of? Is there a particular kind of post that you would like to be a regular (weekly) feature?
B: I would like to see more pictures, of course, I'm being selfish and would like the pictures to be of the girls. It gives me a special kind of closeness, knowing I can see weekly pictures, instead of having to wait months until I see them again.

S: What attracts you to read Pieces Of Me consistently? How often do you check-in? Daily? Weekly? Monthly?
B:. The variety of information that you post, be it current events, the girls activities, or useful household info. There is never a dull moment or boring subject on Pieces of Me. I check in daily, as soon as I get home from work, and at various times during the night. One of the highlights of my day. Keep up the good work.

S: How would you feel if I told you tomorrow that I have decided to discontinue writing Pieces Of Me? Please explain.
B: Please don't stop writing Pieces of Me. It is such a fun piece of material. I know when I come home from work I can read something exciting, before I browse and delete my useless emails!
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Amusing Tidbit: Chicken

Kids say the darnedest things. They really do. This happened about a year ago, but we can't stop laughing about it.

Emma had her best friend over for a play date last winter. It had to have been either a Saturday or a holiday because I made them lunch when normally, an after school play date would involve only a snack. I made dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets and buttered noodles. I served the girls their lunches, and they immediately began happily munching away. About 2 minutes later, her friend (whose name I'd rather not publish out of respect for her family) says, "You know, I really don't like chicken, but I LOVE dinosaur chicken! They are so much better than real chicken."

Only from a kid, folks. Only from a kid.
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Adorable or Inappropriate?

A company called Heelarious has come out with these high-heeled baby booties. They cost $35 per pair and are soft and safe. Although I don't doubt that they look absolutely hilarious on a baby girl, I find them to be somewhat disturbing. I do love the packaging though. What do you think of them?


Like them so much that you want to order a pair? Click here.
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It's Bad Out There

When I logged into Yahoo! Mail today, my first greeting was a headline that read "Gov't reports 'mass layoffs' soared in January". Not. Good. It's everywhere I turn...in papers, on TV, on the computer, in line at the grocery store where an acquaintance told me she was laid off in December. It's dismal and downright depressing.

All of it gets me to thinking about my own situation as a stay-at-home mom (SAHM). I know I'm lucky. Very lucky. I'm very fortunate we have the financial means for me to stay home. I often think about updating my resume and going on the much dreaded job search. But the job market isn't what it used to be, and even if it were, my situation isn't what it used to be.

As a former software consultant, I spent a large percentage (80%) of my time at client sites. I could. I was childless. I can no longer do that and nor would I want to. If I must be away from my children during the day, I at least want to be able to be with them in the evening. It's because of this that I'm very limited in what type of job I am willing to take. I've narrowed it down to a Starbucks Barista or retail. Neither of which is faring well in this current economy.

So, for now, I will continue to relish every single moment I have at home with my children knowing that I can be stripped of my SAHM crown at any given moment.
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Vintage Magazines

While cleaning out my parents house last week, I came across these magazines. They are classics. They belonged to my paternal grandmother who passed away in 1985. My father kept most of her belongings (except for her clothes) long after she passed away, and I'm so glad that he did.

The magazines are fashion and crochet magazines. The crochet magazines were published in 1915, and the fashion magazine, The Delineator, is dated March 1893. 1893! Can you believe it? What amazes me even more than the dates is that my father never threw the magazines away. I'm guessing he never knew they existed. They were in a storage box under the bed, and I don't think he ever knew they were there. My lucky find!

Take a look...
Front cover of the crochet magazine


Masthead of the crochet magazine


A sample page from the crochet magazine
Another crochet magazine. This one is specifically for boudoir caps.
A sample page from the boudoir cap magazine



The Delineator, a fashion magazine from March 1893


A sample page from The Delineator


Definitely keepers!
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Delicious Decorations

What's a party without decorations? Anyone who has ever been to one of my parties knows that I love party decorations. They add a playfully fun dimension to a party. They are second to the guests of honor, you can't have a party without them. A few years ago, I created this banner for one of Emma's parties. Now I use it for both Emma and Harper.

To create it, I scanned images from a birthday themed tablecloth that a friend who works in the textiles industry had given me. I used Photoshop to place text on top of each image to spell Happy Birthday Emma and Harper. Once I printed all of the letters, I glued them onto construction paper. I display it proudly for each girl's birthday.

You can imagine how excited I was when I recently found Emmie Cakes, a collection of fun birthday and holiday banners. They are way too cute and are completely handmade. I fell in love with each and every one of them. I can't decide which one to order for Emma's upcoming birthday in May. Here are some samples of what is available.

St. Patrick's Day
Easter - seriously cute
Birthday
Close up of a letter on the birthday banner - adorable
Seriously cute and oh so reasonably priced...love that combination!!
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Glass Jar Picture Frames

Have some extra jars hanging around the house? Here's a fabulous, functional and super cute way to put them to use. Just slide a photo into a jar, turn it upside down and display for all to see. Recycling never looked so good!


For more fun photo ideas, click here.
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It's All About The Cake

About a week prior to Harper's 3rd birthday, we started the big build up. We started talking about her big day, the pottery painting and her party. But the only thing she wanted to say about it was "CAKE". When we asked her what she wanted for her birthday, she answered, "cake". When we asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday, she answered, "cake". When we asked her what she wanted to eat on her birthday, she answered, "cake". Cake, cake and more cake.

It's glorious that she had no concern for gifts. I'm not kidding when I say that she would have been elated if every guest had shown up bearing a cake. From the moment the first guest arrived, she started asking everyone, "Time for cake?"

So, here is the birthday girl with her beloved cake.

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We Got Fired Up!

For Harper's 3rd birthday, I took her and Emma to paint pottery at Git Fired Up in Point Pleasant Beach. Emma has wanted to paint pottery since she saw the Gosselin girls do it on an episode of Jon & Kate Plus Eight. I wanted to do it for a special occasion and thought Harper's birthday was the perfect special occasion.

At Git Fired Up, we paid a "studio fee" ($6.50 per child) which included unlimited paints and the kiln firing. The cost of the piece of pottery was additional. Harper chose a cat figurine and a small cupcake (which I am going to make into a magnet). Emma chose a cupcake box. Here are the pieces after having been painted but before being fired.



The girls loved this outing! They love to paint (show me a kid who doesn't), and I loved that the mess wasn't in my home and that someone else would be on clean up duty. Although I'd recommend holding off until your child is at least four years old. Harper was a bit young. She didn't have a whole lot of control with the paints as she wanted to play with them more than use them constructively.



The girls were completely engrossed in their painting.


They took a break for a picture with me.

The finished products!

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A Handmade Purse

Well, sort of. I'm taking baby steps to making more items for the girls. Here is one of my first projects - a felt coin purse for Emma. OK, I seriously cheated on this one. I bought the coin purse and the felt flower. I sewed the flower onto the coin purse. Yes, I know, that's totally cheating. But as I said, I'm taking baby steps. I'm trying.
Here is the purse.
Here is the flower.
Here are the purse and the flower.

And here is the final product - purse with the flower.

My next baby step will be to actually sew the flower and possibly the purse. Remember...baby steps. I think sewing the flower will be easier than sewing the purse. The purse isn't the difficult part. It's sewing the zipper that scares me.
Anyway, it's a perfect place for a six year old to keep her money and lip gloss, and I'm thinking it would make a perfect gift for a little girl...filled, of course!
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I'm Back!

This is the longest I've gone without posting...6 days. Obviously, I've had a lot going on which I'll detail for you. It's been a crazy, crazy week. I'm exhausted, overwhelmed with housework, and generally feeling a little unmotivated. I've got to shake it off and get out of this funk.

My whirlwind week started last Friday with Harper's 3rd birthday. I took the girls to Git Fired Up in Point Pleasant Beach to paint pottery. I'll post separately with details and pictures.

Saturday, February 14th was, obviously, Valentine's Day. But it was also the day of Harper's birthday party. We had most of our family here for a celebration. It was so much fun. Again, I'll post separately with details and pictures. The girls loved their Valentine's Day goody bags that I prepared for them. Their favorite goody was definitely the Play-Doh! I loved it too...it kept them occupied while I handled some last minute party prep!

Sunday we traveled to central Pennsylvania where my parents had lived and my sister, Holly, currently lives. My sisters, Brenda and April, and the girls and I did the 3 hour drive together. I wish I could say that we were going for a few days of family time, but it was all business. We were there to clean out my parents house and prepare it for a sale.

My mother passed away in July 2007 and a year later my father passed away. As you can imagine, my sisters and I were clearly dreading the task at hand. It was daunting and overwhelming in every way, physically, emotionally and psychologically. But once we arrived and put a plan in place, we were on a mission. We worked industriously going through the house room by room. I can't tell you how many memories came flushing back just by seeing an object such as a mug, a baking dish, or a piece of clothing.

We made tremendous progress each day, and by the end of our 3 days together, we had accomplished more than was expected. It wasn't the most ideal way to spend time with my sisters, but the process brought us closer. I have a greater respect for each of them for how they pitched in and did whatever was necessary to get a huge job done.

On Tuesday, the girls and I returned to New Jersey. Since we arrived home early in the evening, there wasn't much time to do anything other than make and eat dinner and go to bed. On Wednesday, I spent in hour in Emma's classroom helping her and her classmates celebrate the 100th day of school. Such a fun time, but because that hour fell in the middle of the day, I didn't get much accomplished.

So now, I'm back home where I feel even more overwhelmed by laundry, post-party de-decorating (I know that's not a word, but it's the best way to describe what I need to do), putting away gifts, writing thank yous, general housework, cooking, and entertaining the girls. Plus, to top it all off, I'm exhausted from the 3 days spent cleaning my parents house. I need to crawl into a cave and sleep for 3 days. Yeah, like that's going to happen!
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My Birthday Girl

Yay! Today is my baby Harper's third birthday. I like to make a really big deal of the girls' birthdays. I want it to be a very special day and to make sure that they feel like a princess for the day. For Harper's big day, we are going to paint pottery. Emma has a school holiday for President's Day, so we can spend the day together. It's going to be a lot of fun! I'll post pictures after our weekend.

This year I decided to take a picture of Harper on or close to her 3rd birthday to try to capture the essence of her at this age. She's full of energy, fun-loving and playful. She's got the most pleasant disposition. She's still learning so much about herself and the world around her. We absolutely revel in her expanding vocabulary. It's such a fun age.

My adorable three year old...
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Valentine's Day - the new major holiday

I don't know when it happened but Valentine's Day has turned into a major holiday. I guess it's always been a pretty big deal for "lovers". As a kid, I remember Valentine's Day being about school parties, which meant giving and receiving Valentines from the other children. My mom didn't decorate the house or bake a bunch of fancy cakes, cookies or candies. Those days have been kissed good-bye.

First, let's talk about the school parties. It starts with the kids decorating a box or bag of some sort to hold their Valentines. This is so much fun! We never did this in school. I think the Valentine cards were placed on top of our desks. OK, next let's talk about the Valentines. Gone are the days of giving someone merely a card.

Now, there are treat Valentines that you can buy, anything from Fun Dip to lollipop Valentines. Did we do that this year? Nope. We went one step (maybe two) further. We made these fun cup-filled Valentine treats.
I bought plastic tumblers at my local dollar store. They were sold in sets of 5. I bought treat bags, ribbon, and a large bag of assorted candy at Target. Emma completed her cards, which were standard store-bought character Valentines.

To assemble, I placed assorted candy into the cup and placed the cup into the treat bag. Using a hole punch, I punched a hole in the corner of the Valentine card and threaded the ribbon through it. Secured treat bag with the ribbon. And Voila! All of the supplies cost me close to $20. I was able to make 20 cups. So at $1 per cup, it was a steal of a deal! I can't wait to see what goodies she brings home from school!

Now onto the little treats I give to Emma and Harper. I make every attempt to steer clear of stuffed animals and candy. We have so many stuffed animals, and Emma gets candy from her school friends. This year, I decided to get them goody bags and fill them with some of their favorite things.
I bought the felt goody bags at Marshall's. I wanted to try my hand at making the bags this year, but when I found these for $2.99, I couldn't resist at that price. I filled it with a few of the $1 items that you get when you first enter Target, some stickers, Play-Doh, a little book, and lots of love!
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100 Years Ago Today...

my grandmother was born. Although my grandmother passed away almost 5 years ago, I can't help but to think of today as a major milestone. I have such wonderful memories of her. She was so full of life. She was feistier than a bluejay, and all of us adored her for that trait. Of course, she was set in her ways as most elderly are, and she could be crabby and cranky. It was her way or the highway, and everyone loved that about her. This post is dedicated to her memory...may it stay with us forever.

Katherine Virginia Smith
February 11, 1909 - August 17, 2004
We love you, Nana Kitty Cat

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Harper's Eye

Harper always has some sort of medical issue. Nothing life threatening, but there's always something going on with her (another post for another time). We joke that her middle name should be "co-pay" because she's always seeing either her pediatrician or some other specialist. Her latest is a chalazion, which is a blocked oil gland on either the upper or lower eyelids or both, which is her case. This isn't her first chalazion. She developed them in June 2008 when we took her to our optometrist who, after treating her unsuccessfully for about 6 weeks, referred her to an ophthalmologist.

After months of treating her, the ophthalmologist finally cleared Harper on December 9, 2008. Now, it's back. It's like a bad penny. It's not easily cover able either. It's the eye. Other than wearing sunglasses (not likely for an almost 3 year old), it can't be covered. And it's pretty yucky looking, too.

So, we make the 30 minute trek to the ophthalmologist yesterday morning at 9:15, a frighteningly early appointment for me. The fact that everyone at this office is incredibly nice and absolutely wonderful with children make the appointment comfortable and uneventful. We are given the normal instructions: hot compresses 3-5 times per day followed by a 1-2 minute gentle massage of the chalazion to open it in order for it to drain. Amazingly, Harper is very cooperative. She's the best patient and always has been. She lies down on the sofa and keeps the compress on her eye. She doesn't wince or whine when I massage her eye.

I hope it heals quickly this time. Her first chalazions never drained. We waited months for them to go away, which eventually they did and with their passing, they left behind a small amount of scar tissue. Barely noticeable to anyone but me.

The bottom line is that 3 year olds should be running around the house tearing apart everything that's just been put away not holding hot compresses on their eyes!

For more information on chalazions, click here.
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Free Fridays on Mondays

I am ALWAYS on the prowl for a good bargain...especially when it's a meal. On Mondays, TGI Fridays offers one heck of a deal. Buy any adult entree and get up to two kid's meals free! FREE! One of my girlfriends went last night and feed four people for $17. YES, you read that correctly, $17.

I'm not a big fan of TGI Fridays or any of those chain type places (Applebee's, Ruby Tuesday, etc.). But I do like to take the kids out when Henry is traveling for work. At a price like that, it's hard to pass up. And apparently, many chains now offer some sort of deal on kid's meals, usually it's not free. Most offer a buy one adult entree, get a kid's meal for $.99. Still not a bad deal. Next time, Henry's out of town and it's a Monday, you know where we'll be!
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Lists to live by

Yes. I am a list-maker. I have a list for everything. And, if an item isn't on a list, I will forget it...especially the grocery list. I would NOT, repeat NOT, be able to function without my lists. Daily to-dos, weekly to-dos, monthly to-dos, even yearly to-dos, grocery list, fix-it list, what the girls need list, blog list, craft list, baking list, cooking list, reading list. You name it, I probably have a list for it.
I like to keep my lists organized and in a central place. Here is one of my list journals.Pretty, isn't it?
And here you can see how serious my to-do lists can get.
This is mildly color-coded. And many of my lists are entered in spreadsheet form. Yes, I know crazy. But it's how I function. The only way I function.
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A Camera: Lost and Found

I saw this on Photojojo. A truly amazing story about a lost camera that was reunited with it's original owner. A hiker found a camera while hiking in New Hampshire. The camera was destroyed due to it's being submerged in water, but the finder wasn't about to give up hope. Click here to read the miraculous story.

Lost your camera? Click here to see if it's been found.
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Say It Forward - Carnival of Loyal Commenters

There are not many things more beautiful and appreciated to a blogger than comments. I live for them. In the morning when I open Pieces Of Me and see a new comment waiting for me, I cannot wait to see who wrote it and what it says.

Comments are the jewels of the blogosphere.

Now, it's my turn to thank my loyal family, friends and readers for giving me these treasures.
The fabulous Janice and Susan at 5 Minutes for Mom have created a new weekly carnival…
Say It Forward – Carnival of Loyal Commenters

Say it Forward is a new weekly carnival where bloggers feature their loyal commenters! I'll create a post featuring one of my loyal commenters and then add that link to the carnival Mr. Linky at 5 Minutes for Mom. I'll be including bios, interview questions or even quotes from their comments. It's time to turn the spotlight on commenters and show them how much I appreciate their taking the time to read and comment on Pieces Of Me.

I'll be featuring my first Say It Forward post next Friday, February 13. Don't miss it!!
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The house

Relatives bought this house for the girls for Christmas. At first I thought it was one of those pop-up things that is impossible to pop down and fold into the position in which it came. When I realized it wasn't one of those, my next thought was it's an inflatable house which inevitably, after about 2 hours of play, gets a hole in it and deflates, which, in turn, is followed by 15 minutes of non-stop crying. Actually, it inflates and remains inflated by an electric powered motor. It's provided the girls with hours of fun. They take blankets, pillows and stuffed animals into it. They watch movies on their portable DVD player, and I don't see them for hours!! They absolutely love it! So, thank you, Geoff and Patti for such a wonderful gift!


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Just For Emma

Emma's class is having a Valentine's Day party next Thursday. As part of their celebration, the children will be receiving surprise Valentine's made by their parents. So cute. Last night I made Emma's card. Her teacher instructed us not to get stressed or hung up on creative details. But seriously, how can I not? I tried to keep it simple yet fun...something that Emma would be proud to show her classmates and happy to receive from us. Here is the cover of the card.

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Out of this Youniverse

I've stumbled across a Web site called Youniverse.com. It's very cool. It's chock full of those fun quizzes that I just love. What's so different and creative about these quizzes is that you answer the question by choosing a picture that best represents your answer.

The first quiz I took was called "Art Attack!: What kind of creative are you?". I was a "Happy Dabbler". Not what I wanted to hear. I wanted to hear that I am off the charts creatively. In actuality, the "Happy Dabbler" is spot on. I don't devote my life to creativity, but I do dabble in it when time allows.

I also took the Quiz of the week titled "In 2009 I'll be..." Click here to see my results. http://youniverse.com/newyears/feedback/119cdfca2c08bb5c53f2c6fb4b4b88b3

I have no plans to live my life based on the results of the quizzes. If nothing else, it's random fun!
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Meatless Monday ~ Creamy Potato Soup

There's nothing better on a cold winter's day than a steaming bowl of soup. My family LOVES this recipe. It's easy and delicious. Try it for dinner tonight!

CREAMY POTATO SOUP


Ingredients
2 to 3 slices of bacon, cut in half
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 medium carrots, diced or grated
1 small onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
Garnishes: crumbled bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped scallions

Preparation
1. In a large saucepan or soup pot, fry bacon until crisp, drain on a paper towel.

2. To bacon drippings, add potatoes, celery, carrots, onion, salt, pepper and broth. Cover, cook over medium heat about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

3. Combine flour with 1/4 cup of milk until smooth. Add to potato mixture, stir well to combine.

4. Add remaining milk. Cook over medium heat until the mixture boils.

5. Ladle into bowls. Crumble cooked bacon and any other garnishes. (Makes 4 to 5 servings)

Notes:
For a vegetarian variation, omit bacon. Cook vegetables in water or vegetable broth. When adding the milk, add 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine.

If feeding little ones (18 mos. to 3 years), prevent choking by using a potato masher to crush the potato chunks before serving.
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