Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tasty Tuesday

Last night in order to protect my flowers, and plants from the freeze I brought them inside. This morning when I came into the living room I discovered that while my plants had survived the freezing cold, they had not survived the dog. There he sat all proud of himself and the fact that he had dug nearly everything out of their pots and that he had spread dirt everywhere.

My family was happy to see that the favorite herb in our house, and key ingredient in one of our favorite dishes was by some small miracle spared destruction.

I placed my pots of basil back outside, and as the day warmed the fragrant smell wafted through the open door. Very soon it will be ready for me to begin to harvest and make this easy, flavor packed, classic dish.

Pasta With Fresh Basil Pesto

2 Cups Fresh Basil Packed
2 Large Cloves Garlic
1/4 Cup Pignoli (Pine Nuts), Walnuts, Hazelnuts, or Almonds
1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
Favorite Pasta Cooked According To Package Directions

Place basil, garlic, nuts, cheese, oil, salt and pepper into a food processor, pulse a few times, and then process until fairly smooth. If you desire a thinner consistency add 1 tablespoon of hot water from your cooked pasta.

Place pesto into the bottom of pasta serving dish, and then add your favorite hot, cooked pasta. Toss until pasta is well coated. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.

Helpful Hints:

To enhance the nutty flavor spread nuts on a baking sheet and toast at 350 degrees for 6-7 minutes or until lightly browned.

Pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for one week, or frozen for two months.

Pesto's not just for pasta, try on poultry, baked potatoes, or as a spread on a freshly sliced tomato.

Hope you enjoy this classic Italian dish!


Monday, May 18, 2009

Candle Tip

I have been neglecting my blog as of late, and I apologize. I have been tired, a little cranky, and just off my game in general. I can not seem to get back into the swing of things.

Hopefully another week or so to recover and I will be back to my old self. In the meantime I will leave you with a little candle knowledge.

Did You Know?

Air Conditioners, Fans, Humidifiers, De-Humidifiers, Ionic and Regular Air Filters, etc., can all effect the scent throw of your candles, scent simmer pots, plug-ins, and other scented products.

So, if your favorite candle, or other scented product doesn’t smell as good as usual, it’s possible that a quick change of location will have you enjoying the delicious aroma again in no time at all.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tasty Tuesday

After a few days of lovely green hospital jello, I returned home to find that my family had fixed one of my all time favorite desserts. Strawberry Pie!

Add a luscious surprise of hot fudge topping, and you have a recipe that has been a hit at every party, family event, and with all of my oldests daughter's college friends.

I found this recipe on one of my favorite recipe websites Pillsbury

Black Bottom Strawberry Cream Pie


1 Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crust (from 15-oz box), softened as directed on box
2/3 cup hot fudge topping
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 pint (2 cups) strawberries, quartered
1/2 cup strawberry pie glaze
1/2 cup whipping (heavy) cream, whipped, if desired


1. Heat oven to 450°F. Make pie crust as directed on box for One-Crust Baked Shell using 9-inch glass pie pan. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.

2. Spread hot fudge topping in bottom of cooled baked shell. Refrigerate 1 hour.

3. In small bowl, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Carefully spread over chocolate layer in shell.

4. In medium bowl, gently mix strawberries and pie glaze. Spoon evenly over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

5. Just before serving, pipe or spoon whipped cream around edge of pie. Store in refrigerator.

We've make this pie a lot during strawberry season, and have used prepared graham cracker crust, cookie crust, and even substituted strawberry jello for the pie glaze. It is a delicious hit every time.

Enjoy, and let me know what you think!


Monday, May 11, 2009

If Life Hands You Lemons Don't Drink The Lemonade!

On Friday a dear friend sent me an e-mail wishing me a Happy Mother's Day Weekend. I laughingly e-mailed her back with my own well wishes, and this quick little story...

Our friend owns a salvage yard, and last week my husband took Bubba with him to get tractor parts, and they got to see the car crusher in action. Our friend gave Bubba some old golf balls. You'd have thought it was Christmas! Bubba has told me that him, dad, and Boo are taking me someplace special and different for my special day. I'm hoping I don't get a trip to the junkyard!

Well I didn't get a trip to the junkyard which I defintely would have preferred to what I got!

On Friday I had what I thought was a bout of acid reflux. My prescription meds didn't help. I had a painful sleepless night, and by lunchtime Saturday my abdominal pain had gotten worse. My husband insisted get checked out at the emergency room. So we dropped the kids off at my sisters and headed to the er.

They poked, prodded, and continuosly asked me if I knew my name. After a few hours they gave me a thick green concoction to drink, they called it a "gastric cocktail". Then I received what appeared to be a half gallon sized cup of "lemonade". This needed to be gulped down before I could go for a CAT scan. It only stayed down long enough for them to get the CAT scan. For the record, it tasted the same going in, and coming out!

CAT results showed a large stone in my gall bladder. Hey who knew I could be like an oyster, and make my own pearls?

I spent Mothers Day having my gall bladder yanked out through my belly button, and totally in a drugged up haze. I'm still a little foggy today, so you will have to excuse any typos, and wierd stuff! I have restrictions for the next two weks, and may have trouble with cetain foods, but I am glad to be back home!

Next year I'm hoping for a trip to the junkyard!


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tasty Tuesday

Today's recipe is an easy pork recipe with a tangy, sweet sauce. This was last nights dinner with no leftovers for my lunch today.

Baked Apple Pork Chops

2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1/2 Cup Chopped Onion
2 Apples, Peeled, Cored, and Chopped, or Sliced
4-6 Pork Chops (cut 1/2 inch thick)
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Ground Mustard
1/8 tsp Ground Cloves
3/4 Cup Apple Juice (warm)

Heat oven to 375 degrees

In a large skillet heat vegetable oil. Saute onion until tender. Remove onion and set aside.

In skillet quickly brown pork chops on both sides.

Place browned pork chops in a baking dish, and cover with sauteed onions and apples.

In a small bowl combine sea salt, black pepper, brown sugar, mustard, cloves and apple juice. Pour over pork chops.

Cover and bake for 45 minutes.

Hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!



Monday, April 27, 2009

The Official Signs Of Spring

Well the past few days have been beautiful. All the signs of spring abound; the right amount of warm, wrapped in soft breezes, and lovely sunshine.

In addition to all the obvious signs of spring like April showers, and May flowers, I’d like to add a few of my own.

Epinephrine: Yes bees are a sign of spring, but for me it is the addition of the epi-pen to my purse, glove box, and medicine cabinet that heralds the beginning of spring.

Runny Noses: Packs of to-go tissues abound for all the drippy sniffers in my house. This of course leads to the blooming of used tissues everywhere I look. Not only do we have allergies, but it would appear that my children have an aversion to that loooong walk to the garbage can.

Political Signs: It's spring here and the politcal signs are blooming. These things really get my allergies going. They are at full peak, and will mostly all wilt out after the May primaries wrap up, only to re-bloom again in time for the fall allergy season.

Pot Holes: I live in SWPA, they come with the territory, and they will swallow your car whole.

Road Crew Workers: Hey someone has to go out and lean on a sign that reads “Road Work Ahead”, and make it look like someone is fixing all those potholes. Not to mention trying to rock those bright orange road worker vests.

Man Boobs: Yes YOU have them, so hey guys do us all a favor, and put a shirt over those things. We don’t want to see them when you’re running, mowing the lawn, or any other time you feel the need to expose them to the world. If you can’t find a shirt, check with the road care boys….maybe they’ll lend you one of those fabulous orange vests.

The Bank Of Poo: It’s true, our yard has become a poo banking institution for dogs. The snow has melted, and we can now see every blooming pile of poo that a million other dogs from the neighborhood have deposited. These are in addition to the ones from our own dog. These do not accrue interest, and child labor is used to make withdrawals from the yard.

Waste Permit: With the nice weather comes dirt, and lots of it! It usually gains access to the house on the body, clothes, and shoes of one small boy. It is accompanied by bugs, worms, rocks, bits of yard, and on occasion tracked in bank deposits. It is booted from the premises through the bathtub, and washing machine drainage systems. The DEP has called and our bathtub waste permit should be arriving any day now.

Outdoor Potty: The six year old announced that it is now warm enough for him to pee outside, and then promptly tested the theory. Between him and the dog I shouldn't have to worry about watering the lawn all summer.

Well I’d love to stay, and post a few more, but I have to go clean a deposit off the carpet.

Spring has officially arrived in my neck of the woods.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Heart To Heart

Today was a beautiful spring day; warm, and sunny with a nice breeze that made the sun feel just right. After being outside all day planting, playing, and doing yard work, my 6 year old and I were taking a little break.

“Let’s play a Fishful Thinking game” I say. “What game?” asks Bubba.

“Let’s sit here with our eyes closed and you tell me what you hear.”

“Okay”. He closes his eyes, and listens. He starts to tell me what he is hearing, pausing to listen again between each telling.

“I hear bird chirpies”

“I hear an airplane”

“I hear daddy cutting grass”

“I hear a dog barking”

“I hear the trees talking” ….”What do they say?” I ask

“They’re happy the wind isn’t being mean today, and they are telling the birds to come visit them” …. “How nice. What else do you hear?”

“I hear a bee buzzing” silence…”Momma?” in a small fearful voice.


“I hear a big, mean dog barking, and it sounds like it’s coming to get us”

“Would you like to sit…?” He is in my lap before I can finish the question. He settles in, places his head on my shoulder, and starts to listen once again.

“I hear a car”

“I hear the wind”

In a hushed voice “Momma, I hear your heart talking!”

“Really? What is it saying?”

“It's saying Love you. Love you. Love you….. Do you think you can hear my heart talking?”

“Well, let’s see” He stands, and I place my head against his little body.

He waits anxiously “Can you hear it?”

“Oh yes” I say in a voice filled with awe.

“What is it telling you?”

“It says... Momma listen closely, and I will sing you a song….Your heart is singing to me”

Whispering…”Is it singing I love you?”

“Yes” I whisper back still listening. After a long moment “Do you know what else I hear?”

“What?” he asks expectantly.

“I hear a tummy rumbling, and growling…FEED ME FEED ME” I growl, tickling his belly. “Would you like to go back up to the house and help me make dinner?

He laughs, and plops back down into my lap. “No Momma, my tummy can wait. My heart wants to talk to yours some more”

We sit quietly, with the breeze caressing our faces, eyes closed, my arms wrapped around him, my chin on his head, listening, having a heart to heart. And…

It’s the best conversation ever.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Unexpected Encouragement

Sometime life throws you the unexpected, and not always in a bad way. Sometimes it gives you the boost you need in a way you never would have expected…

This morning I had a call from the appliance repairman. The part for my oven was in and he could come to fix it today! Overjoyed doesn’t begin to describe how I was feeling. Especially after letting my family eat at a fast food place yesterday, and everyone feeling a little ill afterwards. An hour after the call, here comes Mr. Repairman, who is a bit older than I expect.

RM: “Good morning young lady”, he says when I answer the door. (Yeah I like you already!) “I’m here to fix your stove. Your husband was here the other day when I came, and had the wrong part.”

Me: “Come on in! I’m sure glad to see you; I thought I was going to have to wait another week to get this thing fixed.”

RM: “Nope part came in early, and your husband told me you use the oven all the time, so I thought I’d get it fixed for you today. Good thing you’re still covered under warranty. You know these days there aren’t so many who use their oven a lot. They don’t make these ovens nowadays for heavy use”.

Me: “Well I do use that thing everyday, and before I know it, I’ll need it for canning all that good stuff from our garden.”

RM: “I kinda guessed you were a home canner”. At this point he is halfway inside the oven. I hear a muffled voice from inside. “How often do you clean this thing?”

Me: (Crap, I’m about to get hell for not cleaning the oven enough). “I don’t know, I guess every couple of months or so… when it’s dirty.”

RM: “You clean this thing too much.”

Me: "WHAT? Too much?! Uuum, I have to tell you no one has ever accused me of cleaning anything too much. Laughing, take a look around you’ll see what I mean."

RM: “I see”, he says in a quiet voice, and looking me in the eye. “I see a house full of living. I see a note that says I love mom and dad, I see papers hanging with good grades. I see signs of happy kids, who have parents that are proud and love them. Those things I don’t see at every house I visit”. Smiling, “I’m 74, and I have bad eyes... love I can see. Dust… well that I don’t see so good”.

Me: Tearing up, I smile, and manage to choke out a thank you for the kind words.

RM: “Your welcome. Still, you clean this thing too much. It burns out the heating element a lot faster when you use the self cleaning button.”

Me: “Yeah, but that’s what the clean button is for. Think they’ll ever invent one to do the bathroom, or a teenager’s bedroom?”

RM: Laughing “Highly unlikely!” “All done. I’ll be back tomorrow for the test dinner.”

Me: “It’s a deal”

RM: Smiling “Have a great afternoon, and I’ll see you next time you burn this baby up.”

When you need it most, encouragement can come from the smallest of gestures, simplest of words and from the most unexpected sources. You just have to recognize it, and appreciate it.



Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Half Day Fun!

The kids had a half day of school today. We had a late lunch together, and took a walk in the park. It was a little chilly, so we headed back home, where we are all just relaxing and hanging out.

In a bit we are going to do a shopping trip at the mall, and get some ice cream. While we're off having fun feel free to enjoy this cute little video.

Enjoy every opportunity to have fun with your kids!

Have a great day!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tasty Tuesday

The Friday before Easter the heating element of my oven quit working. For a mom who loves to cook, the oven breaking down two days before a holiday is what one might call a nightmare. Well I quickly rearranged the menu. I made use of my 22 quart roaster, the stove top, slow cooker, microwave, and my sister-in-law's Cafe oven, and we got through the day with everyone enjoying the meal.

Now nearly two weeks later I still do not have an oven. They were here yesterday to fix it, and brought the wrong parts. I will not have an oven until at least next Thursday, and it looks my slow cooker is going to continue getting quite a workout.

I have been surprised by the number of friends who have been asking "what kinds of things are you cooking in that thing?" A lot of them have slow cookers, or crock-pots, but have not used them because they have no idea what to cook in them.

I'd been thinking of adding recipes to this blog, but wasn't sure how I wanted to do it. I'm great in the kitchen, but technology challenged, and don't know how to make a new tab at the top of the page.

So until I get that figured out I thought I'd make Tuesday the day to post some of my favorite recipes. So here it is, my first Tasty Tuesday, starting with a great slow cooker Italian Beef Cubes Recipe.

Italian Beef Cubes

3 Pounds Beef Tips

1 1/2 c. Fresh Mushrooms Sliced

1 Pkg Italian Green Beans Frozen

1 Small Onion Diced

1 Small Green Pepper Chopped

1 Stalk Celery Sliced

1 Large Can Italian Style Diced Tomatoes

1 6 oz can tomato paste

1 can beef broth

1 Tbsp Dried Italian Seasoning

1 tsp Minced Garlic

Place mushrooms, green beans, onion, green pepper, and celery into bottom of slow cooker.

Place beef tips on top of vegetables.

Combine undrained tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian season, beef broth and garlic into a medium bowl. When combined, pour over beef and vegetables.

Place cover on slow cooker. Cook on low 8 -10 hours, or high 4 -6 hours.

Serve over top of rice, or pasta, with crusty bread. Sprinkle with grated parmesan.

Note: To make clean up easier spray the slow cooker with cooking spray, or use one of the handy new slow cooker liners that are avalaible at your local grocery.

Hope you enjoy!



Sunday, April 19, 2009

What Kind Of Doll Are You?

So I was poking around trying to get the hang of FB this morning and one of my friends asked the question “What Kind Of Barbie Doll Are You?” I laughingly posted “I’m not any kind of Barbie Doll, you know I’m more of a Cabbage Patch Doll”.

I logged out, but the question bounced around in my head. Somewhere way back in the day, there was a time I may have said “Oh yeah, I’m a “Princess Barbie”, but it was when I was searching and unhappy.

Today I’m definitely a Cabbage Patch Doll. You remember them don’t you? Why do I think I’m more like a Cabbage Patch?

Well unlike Barbie, Cabbage Patch do not have an hourglass shape. I used to have an hourglass shape, but that was pre-thyroid disease, pre-pregnancy, and 20 some years ago. Today I’m a shape, and that shape is round.

A Barbie Doll is hard, and un-huggable. A Cabbage Patch is soft, you can hold them close, and squeeze them. Kids are always hugging me, even those that don’t belong to me, and I love every minute of it.

Barbie is all about the accessories. You can buy her clothes, shoes, cars, dune buggies, airplanes, houses, furniture, etc. With Cabbage Patch Dolls you could get a change of clothes, and an adoption certificate, and that was pretty much it, they didn’t need the rest of that stuff, they were too busy being held, hugged and loved.

And lastly Barbie has to buy her friends. Cabbage Patch is a friend.

Please Note: I’m not a Bratz Doll either and for all the same reasons, but I'd have to add… I don't have balloon lips, and my feet are attached.

So tell me what kind of doll are you?



Thursday, April 16, 2009

Praying For Nikki

As posted on Nikki’s Hospital Care Page:

Nikki was four years old when she became a big sister on Jan. 26, 2007. Exactly one month later after a week of high temperatures she was diagnosed with leukemia. AML type. It took three straight rounds of chemo to get her into remission, or 101 days in the hospital. Then after only two short weeks home, Nikki returned to the hospital to have a bone marrow transplant. The transplant occurred on June 29, 2007 and her baby sister was the perfect match. Ashley was only five months old when she was the donor. Nikki came home July 27, 2007 and has been home since, with only check-ups at the hospital. It has and continues to be a long road with a lot of ups and downs, but Nikki has been very brave. She continues to make us very proud everyday. Signed Nikki’s parents.

Update: July 27, 2008. It has been a year since Nikki has been out of the hospital. I am very happy to report that she is doing great. The best news is that all of the tests that she just had done came back normal. No signs of leukemia. Nikki is looking forward to her 6th birthday party and will be going to first grade this year. Way to go Nikki, you did it!

This week, I received an e-mail saying that an update had been made to Nikki’s Hospital Page. Her mom posted that the family had been sick, and Nikki had developed a fever that wouldn’t go away. A blood test was ordered and the results came back abnormal, and the subsequent lumbar puncture showed a high amount of blast cells. Her AML has returned. Doctors have immediately resumed chemotherapy treatments.

My heart is breaking for my friend, her family, and most of all for her little girl. Nikki knows what she is about to go through, and she is terrified.

When I told my son that Nikki’s illness had returned he was silent for a long moment. Then he knelt on the floor, put his head in my lap, and whispered “Dear God, Please make my friend Nikki all better again. She’s been a good girl, Amen”. Then he crawled into my lap, wrapped his arms around me, and hugged me tight.

So I say to you go hug your kids, and let them know you cherish them, and I ask this: Please add to my Bubba’s prayer with those of your own. If you don’t pray, then good thoughts, well wishes, healing vibes, words of comfort for the family, are all appreciated and welcomed. Thank you.

Off to squeeze my babies tight.


Facts about AML taken from the American Cancer Society Website:

What Is Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)?
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) goes by many names, including acute myelocytic leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia, acute granulocytic leukemia, and acute non-lymphocytic leukemia. "Acute" means that the leukemia can progress quickly, and if not treated, would probably be fatal in a few months.

AML is a cancer that starts in the cells that are supposed to mature into different types of blood cells. AML starts in the bone marrow (the soft inner part of the bones, where new blood cells are made), but in most cases it quickly moves into the blood. It can sometimes spread to other parts of the body including the lymph nodes, liver, spleen, central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), and testes. In contrast, other types of cancer can start in these organs and then spread to the bone marrow (or elsewhere). Those cancers are not leukemia. Both children and adults can get leukemia.

How Many People Get Acute Myeloid Leukemia?
In 2008 there will be about 44,270 new cases of all types of leukemia in the United States. About 1 out of 3 of these will be AML. There will be about 13, 290 new cases of AML. There will be about 8,820deaths from AML in the United States this year; almost all will be in adults. The average age of a patient with AML is 67.

AML is slightly more common among men than among women. The lifetime risk of getting AML for the average man is about 1 in 225; for the average woman the risk is about 1 in 300.
Last Revised: 09/14/2007

For More Information On AML go to the American Cancer Society Website.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Helping The Honey Bee's!


As you know I sell fabulous candles. These candles are a high quality, supremely performing candle that burn evenly with very little residue left in the jar. If any of the wax is spilled, you can wipe it up with a damp, soapy cloth. They have very little soot, are clean burning, non-toxic, and lead free. With an unbelievable scent throw, and a new scent introduced monthly, these candles can't be beat, and they are made right here in the U.S.A.

Honey Bee Vanilla is this month's fabulous new scent. It blends delicious golden honey and creamy vanilla together for a soft, sweet & sensuous scent.

The best part of this newest scent; A portion of all sales will be sent to Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences to help with research on Colony Collapse Disorder phenomenon that is causing a lot of furrowed brows in the U.S. and other countries.

CCD is a mysterious disorder causing the disappearance of millions of honeybees that, if left unsolved, could affect the availability of the food we eat.

So go ahead and try this fabulous new scent, and help out the honey bee's too!



Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Creepy King

This morning as we were getting ready for school, I flipped the television on to catch the weather. My six year old was watching with me when a Burger King commercial came on. The commercial showed Sponge Bob, and featured a spoof of the song "I Like Big Butts".

They show these women shaking their large square rears, and the creepy king measuring their butts. The commercial ends with them saying "booty is booty". This oh so fine example of tasteless crap was for a kids meal with a Sponge Bob toy.

I'm an adult (most of the time), and I've always thought the "King" is creepy. I know that some will think the commercial is funny, and they are certainly entitled to their opinion, but for the life of me I can't figure out why we need to use these kinds of degrading images to sell kids a hamburger, and a toy. What ever happened to having kids in commercials geared towards kids?!

Creepy, and inappropriate, and did I say creepy?

Edited to add: To the person who sent me this link : BK Commercial

Thank you (I think), and as to your opinion, you're entitled to it, as I am to mine. I am not about controversy, I just prefer to teach my son to respect not only women, but all people. And how about next time put your "opinion" in the comments department.


Friday, April 3, 2009

Heard At My House This Week

I live in a house of chaos, and if I didn’t have a sense of humor, I would have ended up in a straight jacket a long time ago. My kids are an endless source of amusement for me and the little gems of funny that fall from the mouth of my 6 year old always keeps us in stitches. I am here to share some of those little gems with you today.

With that said, here’s what’s been…

Heard At My House This Week:

My butt is scratchy! Lucas says if you have a scratchy butt it means you didn’t get all the poop. Does someone want to check my butt?
---Uh No, and note to self don’t hold Lucas’ hand on the school field trip.

Hey Boo, did you know two lefts don’t make a right? It’s true…I heard it on the news.
---I don’t recall seeing that on the news, and I’m pretty sure it’s two wrongs, but hey maybe they changed it when I wasn’t looking, and yeah I've heard somewhere that the news is reliable.

Mooooooom…I spilled milk, and I’m not crying. If you’d have gotten me a Sham-Wow it would’ve cleaned up like 2 million times what I spilled.
---Okay, so I’m the one that’s crying, and yes my son wants a Sham-Wow. He thinks it’s a license to spill.

Lily said if you get gray hair, and pull it out it grows on your head like a weed. Did you pull out a gray hair mom?
---Let’s see, I never had a gray hair until 6 years ago, and he’s um 6. ‘Nuff said.

After a conversation on family history…I’m half acrobat, half human, and half democrack.
---Okay who was I sleeping with, and what was I drinking?!?!?

And last but not least…

Why can’t I smell my boogies?
---Putting that one out there for ya’ll, cause I got nuthin!


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sad Dog

How many of you have a dog? Our dog is a 3-year-old Beagle/Labrador mix named Toby. Some days he's a Beaglador, and other days he’s a Labeagle, but he’s always a wild, barking, “Marley” kind of dog. My son, who was 3 when Toby came to live with us, calls him his brother.

They are best pals, and where you see one, the other is close by. Our son taught Toby how to dig holes in the yard, and once we caught Toby trying to bury him in one.

When Bubba is playing with his cars Toby is right there, and when Bubs isn’t looking Toby steals the cars and chews off the wheels. When Bubba is playing with his dinosaurs, he gives the herbivores to Toby to chew up so that they look like carnivores mauled them. Toby is always happy to do so.

Every morning Toby barks, growls, and tries to chase off the big yellow monster that steals away his brother. That school bus is not his friend, even in the afternoon when it brings his brother back.

When the bus has gone Toby will whine, howl, and scratch at the door. After a while he goes to his pillow, lies down, and eventually he is quiet.

I totally understand his frustration. I miss the days when Bubba was home all day. There are times when the house feels so big, so quiet, and quite lonely when everyone else is gone. Today this wet, gloomy, rainy day is one of them.

I have tons of chores that need completed, e-mails to answer, phone calls to return, and candles to deliver, but today if anyone is looking for me they’ll find me next to Toby, staring at the door.

Monday, March 30, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I grew up in a large family that always had a vegetable garden. My dad loved to garden, but I hated it. When my husband and I got married, he decided that he wanted a garden, and I reluctantly agreed. He was as surprised as I at how much I had retained from my childhood about gardening and canning vegetables. That was almost 22 years ago!

Today I love to garden, I love watching the plants grow, the taste of tomatoes warm from the vine, and the sense of satisfaction that I get when the harvest is bountiful. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I can plant whatever I like in my garden (that means no lima beans, and no eggplant). My dad never let us have any say in what was planted, but we did however get to weed.

Whatever the reasons I am now starting into my favorite part of the year, and this was the weekend we decided to shop for our plants, and the remainder of our seeds. I’m lucky that my kids aren’t picky eaters and they love vegetables, so every year I let them pick a few items that they would like to see in the garden.

The oldest, let us know that she would like tomatoes and whatever else it takes to make the gallons of salsa that come out of my kitchen every year. The 14 yo made her plea for green beans, and romaine lettuce. Then…came… the… 6yo!

The conversation went like this.

6yo: I want to plant mashed potatoes.

Me: You don’t plant mashed potatoes… you plant potatoes, dig them up, wash them, peel them, cook them, mash em up, and theeeen you serve them, with gravy, to little 6 yo boys. Plus Mr. S. has a potato farm, and gives us lots of potatoes every year remember?

6 yo: (sigh) Then I want eggs. Not the kind you dippy, the kind you peel.

Me: You don’t plant eggs. You KNOW they come from chickens.

14 yo: Yeah they come from chicken’s butts! They POOP them out.

6 yo: Nu-unh! Mooooom!

14 yo: Ya-huh! (This goes on for a few minutes, ‘til I have to put a stop to it or my head will explode!)

Me to 14 yo: You made your pick let your brother make his.

6 yo: Fine! Then I want toast! Not the butter kind, the kind with the brown salt on it.

Me: staring at him, while desperately trying not to pull out my hair.

6 yo: Are you gonna tell me you can’t plant toast?

Me: Yes. Toast is not a vegetable. How about carrots? Or peas? You like those (All the while thinking… I’m planting them anyway).

6 yo: staring at me

Me: How about this? We will plant a potato in the big flowerpot by the garage, and you can pick another Veg-A-Ta-Ble to go in the garden, AND I will make you hardboiled eggs, and cinnamon toast for breakfast.

6 yo: Okay. (pause) If I say broccoli trees, are you gonna tell me they’re not a vegetable?

Me: Broccoli is a vegetable, and yes we can plant some.

6yo: How about pickles?

Me: Well we can plant cucumbers, and then turn them into pickles.

Me: Are we done here? Is everybody happy? Note to self: Feed everyone before asking about garden next year.

Whoa! All I can say is, when my dad kept us out of the planning stage, maybe he was onto something!


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Our Fishful Thinking Nature Walk

I have recently had the priviledge of becoming an ambassador for Pepperidge Farms Fishful Thinking Program. Part of my job as an Ambassador is to inform others about this wonderful resource that helps children to develop an attitude of optimisim.

The Fishful Thinking program provides tools parents need to teach their kids how to think optimistically about themselves and how to use their Optimism to overcome life's obstacles with a lot of fun activities that the whole family can enjoy.

If you would like to learn more about Fishful Thinking go here.

After the rain yesterday we decided to try out one of the activities and went on a Nature Sense walk. We talked about the five senses, and which one we wanted to concentrate on during our walk.

My 6yo chose touch. Yay mud, and wet! Lol. So we touched puddles, mud, leaves, tree bark, grass, a birds nest, and whole lot more. We ended by touching hand santitizer :)

Both my 14yo, and my 6yo old enjoyed spending time together, laughing and showing each other more things that they could touch.

When we got home they were both all smiles, and I had them write in our family journal. Both wrote how much fun they had, and my 6yo (who is just starting to put sentences together) wrote "I havd fun, mud is gud".

We had so much fun and I know that they will enjoy doing it again.

So give it a try...go havd fun with your kids, and don't worry cause I hear that mud is gud for you!