Food & Drink

Food & Drink
Food & Drink

SHOP MY FAVES

SHOP MY FAVES
SHOP MY FAVES

STYLE

STYLE
STYLE

Halloween Drama Queen

Emma has never been one for parading in front of throngs of curious onlookers. We learned this the hard way. Her first year of preschool when she was a mere 3 years old, her school put on a Christmas show. She turned around and refused to face the audience. She was so uncomfortable. It was hard to be upset with her when I felt so sorry for her. She was just a baby after all. But as the years passed, we expected more from her. And she met and/or exceeded our expectations. She was no longer shy but rather anxiously anticipated the performances.

So imagine our surprise when she awoke this morning, the day of her school's annual Halloween parade, with anxiety which she masked as a headache. I gave her some children's Tylenol and told her that she'd feel better quickly. But she wasn't convinced. I think she was unsure of her costume, how she'd look, how she'd compare to the other girls in her class. After a little pep talk from me, she was ready to go to school. All this after having missed the bus. Ugh!

I anticipated receiving a phone call from the school nurse at some point in the morning. I ran my errands, and even managed to buy a new pair of boots without a phone call. At 2:00 we grabbed the camera and headed to the school. I just love this parade. The kids are so cute. Who can resist little ones all dressed up?

This smiley child was not who I expected to see. As it turned out, Emma marched proudly. She had fun, and even went so far as to say that this was the best parade yet! Who would've guessed after the morning we had??

My sweetheart bat.
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Happy Birthday, Honey!

It's Henry's birthday today. And it's a milestone one, but I'll say no more than that. :)

I recently read a post on Farmgirl Paints where Becky was describing her anxiety surrounding hosting birthday celebrations and parties. I couldn't agree with her more. I want to go above and beyond. Over the top for my family's birthday celebrations. The funny thing is no one expects anything grand.

Tonight, we'll be celebrating with a quiet evening at home. In a few weeks, I'll be hosting a larger get together with friends and family. But for tonight, it's going to be exactly what hubby wants...an evening with his three girls.

So, please excuse me while I go decorate the dining room, make and decorate cupcakes and cook dinner. I have a party to prepare!!
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Illness abounds

Everywhere I turn, I am surrounded by stories of sickness. Stories of kids coughing throughout the night, hugging toilets in the wee hours of the morning, running fevers that barely register on thermometers. It's scary. Frightening.

I have to admit that the seasonal flu, and worse yet, H1N1 absolutely terrify me. I am ultra paranoid, demanding that my kids wash their hands every 30 minutes. Their skin is about to peel off, but I don't care. I don't want a house full of germs. More importantly, I don't want my children to be sick. Down and out for days. That's no fun.

This week at Emma's school, they've had the highest absenteeism rate in at least 10 years. I overheard this today while dropping something off in the main office at her school. So, yes, it's coming straight from the source. I'm on high alert. I have anti-bacterial soap dispensers placed strategically around the house. You can't be too vigilant. Every so often I'll holler, "Have you washed your hands lately?"

I heard yesterday on the nightly news that 30% of Americans will become infected with H1N1 this season. I'll be washing my hands every 5 minutes if it guarantees that I'll be in the other 70%.

Note: When I performed spell check on this post, I was sure that H1N1 would be highlighted. It wasn't. Scary that it's in the Blogger dictionary.
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Tackle It Tuesday

I've been staring at this bulletin board/key holder for weeks now. Dissatisfied with the way it looked, but not really knowing what to do with it. When I woke on Friday morning, the idea bulb in my head went off, and suddenly the fate of the board was clear. It was quite simple, a new coat of paint would give this boring board new life. I bought this about 10 years ago when I was going through my Pfaltzgraff Naturewood phase. I loved the sage green, and at the time I was a collector of watering cans. This seemed very appropriate for me. But 10 years later, the colors no longer appeal to me, and my love for watering cans is since long gone.

I stripped the decorative ribbon from the board and removed the key holders. I sanded a few areas of it and wiped it down before I applied the painter's tape. Because it was a light color to start, I thought it wasn't necessary to prime it before applying the spray paint.
Here's the final product...all spiffy and new. The black really makes it pop against the white wall. I moved it from the master bedroom to the eat-in kitchen area where it's much more functional.

To see what others have tackled, click here.
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Call the FBI...

someone has kidnapped my daughter.

All weekend long Emma was just not herself. She was being helpful and cooperative. Clearly, someone replaced my daughter with an impostor when I had my back turned. Who was this compliant creature? Cleaning up after herself, helping her sister without being asked, voluntarily putting her clothes in the hamper.

It seems that the less I nag her, the more she does what I want. Great! It's only taken me 7 years to figure this out. But now that I have, I'm putting it in my back pocket for future use. This little tool could prove to be very helpful. In fact, it already has. No more arguing, voice raising and demanding. Things are good. I like it.
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Lessons learned

I've been doing a lot of soul searching lately. Going over the events of the past 29 months. Wondering why I've been chosen to endure 3 heartbreaking deaths in a 26 month period. Why was I dealt this hand of cards and more importantly, what am I to learn from this pain and grief?

Here's what I've learned:

1) Pain is personal. How we deal with it is an individual matter. Dealing with grief and recovering from loss is defined differently by all of us. We can't expect everyone to conform to our expectations of grief. It can't be rushed. You can't put a time frame on it, but you can't suppress it either. There is a necessity in grieving a loss.

2) People, with good intentions, try to lighten death and make us feel better with words. But there's nothing light about death. Saying "He or she is in a better place" is no comfort to me. I don't want them in a better place. I want them with me. Spending holidays, birthdays, vacations with me. Watching my daughters grow, attending preschool, elementary, high school and college graduations.

3) How you choose to deal with pain can define the rest of your life. If given lemons, would you make lemonade or let the lemons rot? You can wallow in grief and self-pity or you can confront them head on and not allow them to take control of your livelihood. Believe me, this isn't an easy choice for a griever. In most cases, self-pity is the easier path. It's the one that, at that very moment, makes us feel good. But long term it's the worst decision we can make for ourselves. It can have devastating effects.

The hardest decisions and choices to make are probably the right ones.

4) Strength and character are a direct result of pain and adversity. Isn't there a saying, "What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger?" It's so true.
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A week of life: Friday Fotos

It's no big secret that my favorite season is summer. It's hard to live in a coastal town and not absolutely adore summer. But there's something about the fall that's so soothing. Maybe it's the abundance of earth tones, being surrounded by deep reds, golds, yellows and browns is very comforting. Maybe it's my overwhelming desire to snuggle on the sofa with a warm, comfy throw and sip hot chocolate with mini marshmallows.

It finally felt like fall this week. The sun was shining and the temperatures were near perfect. It was a perfect week to do fall activities.

On Wednesday, Harper and I enjoyed an autumn walk here. It was so tranquil. I could spend everyday roaming around a beautiful park taking pictures.
Look at the color of the sky...amazing.
I love this bench...vintage patriotism.
Harper loved exploring the woods. She made a new friend. We ended our walk with a snapshot capturing our scenic backdrop.
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My first photography gig

I'm about to burst at the seams! I got my first gig as an amateur photog!!! :) Yay!! It's a volunteer position with Emma's school yearbook committee. It'll be great experience and an excellent opportunity to apply my skills. Do I care that I won't be paid? Not at all. After all, I've never been financially compensated for the most rewarding job I've ever had.

Of course, with all this excitement comes trepidation. Fear of failure. Pictures that just don't measure up. But I need to be brave and take a risk. It's been a while since I've stepped out of the box.
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Wordless Wednesday: Happy, Happy

Yum!
To enjoy more Wordless Wednesday photos, click here.
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Making bread

Last February while cleaning out my parents house, my sister gave me her bread machine. She loved it and used it often. As a baker, I've always been partial to the old fashioned way of baking bread: mixing, kneading, rising, and baking by hand. I was skeptical about using a bread machine. It seemed like cheating.

Yesterday, we finally broke out the machine from the garage. I wanted to give it a whirl. Our first attempt was unsuccessful. We had a power outage about halfway through the baking cycle. There was nothing we could do to salvage the bread. The dough had to be thrown away, and we had to start from scratch. Our second attempt was a keeper. Our house smelled soooo good. Warm bread with butter and jam! You can't beat it :)
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A first

I took the girls bowling for the first time ever last week. I don't bowl. In fact, I never have. I've been bowling with people, but I've just sat there and watched, taking it all in. Because I had no interest in bowling, I never thought the girls would either. I was wrong, and now I regret my selfishness although it was by no means intentional.

So. on Columbus Day when Emma's school sponsored a bowling fundraiser at a local alley, my girlfriend and I decided to take our kids. They had a ball! I'm so glad we did it :)

They both looked so cute in their bowling shoes. We can't wait to go back!!
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Outta my way!

Yesterday was not the best day for me. I was a force to be reckoned with. I look back on it today and I wonder who that person was who was walking around in my body, barely recognizable to me.

From the moment they woke until the second they went to bed, my daughters barely left my side and that in itself nearly drove me to the brink of insanity. They wanted to play (with me). They wanted to do a dance they made up (for me). They wanted to put a puzzle together (with my help). By 3:00 pm I was fried. FRIED. And I still had 6 hours until their bedtime. I had doubts that I would make it.

Henry and I tried to watch the Jets game with the girls. All was well until the first half ended and the snacks were put away. It now became a struggle. They didn't want to watch the game but they didn't want to go upstairs to play in their playroom. Why were they insisting on being with me? ALL. DAY. LONG.

I probably sound like an impatient mother, but trust me, I am anything but. We all know that time away from being a mom makes us better moms. I just haven't had a whole lot of that "me" time lately. I guess I need it more than I thought. Plus, I'm coming off of four straight days of cold and rainy weather that has kept us inside. Not the best scenario for a stay-at-home mom.

So, in light of my harrowing day, I'm making plans to do "me" things. Focus on myself a little more. After all, at this rate, it could be a long winter. I don't want a long winter.

Ever have days like this? I know, silly question.
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Selflessness

Being a mother requires the utmost selflessness. Waking up in the morning to attend to the needs of your children requires bravery. It's hard. They wake. I help them get dressed before I dress myself. I prepare them breakfast before I feed myself. I could go on and on with examples such as these, but you get the general idea.

On Saturday, I took the girls shopping for a few wardrobe staples. We happened into Marshall's because I wanted to look at housewares. Oh, and sometimes they have some great deals on Lilly Pulitzer! I found a super cute sweater and a pair of designer jeans which retail for $56 for Harper. I got the jeans for $7. Yes, you read it correctly! Emma found a shirt, and then we wandered over to the housewares. I found the most adorable (repeat adorable) magnet board with a French theme...soooo cute. It came with 4 little Eiffel Tower magnets. I can't even begin to describe it, but just know it was perfect for me. And it was only $12.99!! BUT, I didn't buy it, and here's why.

I had $80 in my wallet at the start of our spree. I was not going to spend any more than that. Period. No exceptions. That was the budget, and we were going to stick to it. I knew since Emma had only found 1 shirt, she'd want something in addition to it. So, I sacrificed my magnet board so that she could buy a pair of boots. See, these are the things we do as mothers. I'm not saying that I'm not kicking myself now. In fact, the $20 in my pocket is screaming for me to go back to Marshall's this morning to look for the board. I'm very tempted.

Of course, I wouldn't be a good mom if I didn't explain to Emma during the car ride home what I had given up. I made sure she knew that I gave up something I really liked and wanted in order for her to have a pair of boots. I wasn't throwing it in her face. I think it was important that she knew that I put her wants before my own. It's generosity. It's kindness. It's a mother's love.

Just sayin'...
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Friday Fotos are back!!

Time to re-institute Friday Fotos!!!!!!!!!!!

Waiting for Daddy at the train station.
Our cat doing what he does best...relaxing on the sofa!! :)
Princess Harper!
Taking advantage of the final beach days!
Out of focus piggyback rides!
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Look what I found!

This morning when I was uploading pictures from my camera to my laptop, I found these photos...obviously taken with the web cam on my laptop. I have no idea when (or how) this happened. Like I've stated before, I need to get a handle on things around my house. Jeez!
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Fall fun!

Over the weekend, we attended a fall festival here. Plenty for the adults (Starbucks samples and wine tasting!) and for the kiddos (face painting, pumpkin painting, bracelet making). Who knew red wine and pumpkin bread make such a great combo!! :)

Painting pumpkins!Making Halloween key chains and bracelets!Plenty of photo ops in the pumpkin patch!

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I'm bored

This happens occasionally. Actually, it happens quite often. I'm not one for the routine and mundane. You could set your clock to my husband and his schedule. Not to mine.

Here's what I'm tossing around in my head: total blog makeover. Yes, a complete re-design!!! It's going to take a lot of work, so please don't look for anything anytime soon. And, I think a name change might be in order, too!!

I'm excited...and inspired :)
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