Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Halloween Trick For You

The above sign is my disclaimer ...... yes, the same as the scary rides at the big theme parks. If you do hereby and herewith promise not to hold me accountable for any subsequent heart attacks, view the below link for a Halloween fright!

Turn your volume UP to get the full effect and watch the girl on the bike closely.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Double Digits

Our Holly turns 10 today -- quite a milestone! She's excited to get her ears pierced after school and celebrate with a family night at the mall.

Ten years ago .... even then she was unpredictable and had a mind of her own, as she decided to make her entrance into the world a week early.

She's our most complex child, who is artistic, athletic, with a strong sense of justice. (I've suggested a career as a parole officer when she grows up).

Happy Birthday, Holly Dolly!

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Easiest Recipe Ever

This is a simple recipe for PUMPKIN MUFFINS that's ideal to whip up with the kiddos!

One box yellow cake mix (the Golden Butter Recipe cake mix works best)


1 2/3 cup pumpkin pie mix

Equals this !

Just mix the dry cake mix together with the pumpkin pie mix, and that's it.

Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full, and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

I think the only thing simpler than this would be to go the bakery and BUY the muffins!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Adjusting our Lenses

In response to my last post, by popular DEMAND (just for you, Amy) -- here's a picture of my new short 'do.
I think the weathered fence background brings out my eyes.
I had to take several photos before I was satisfied. One shot accentuated my wrinkles, one seemed to highlight my fashion forward double chin......
Is it just me, or do you view pictures of yourself with a critical eye? I have tendencies to view myself through a critical "lens" in most areas of my life, actually. Always trying to measure up.
I need to adjust that lens to be less severe, sort of like that "soft glow" lens I'm fond of at the photograhy studio. You know, the one that softens all the features and glosses over the imperfections? It's called GRACE.
Are you prone to be too hard on yourself? Come on, admitting it is the first step in recovering!
I have to remind myself constantly that all I ever have to be is what HE created me to be. And that He doesn't expect perfection and extends grace and unconditional love to us.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lost in Translation

I'm going to level with you right now -- I tend to put off hair cuts for myself. I also procrastinate on oil changes for my vehicle, but that's beside the point. Back to the hair, it's entirely possible that I have some lingering baggage in that department.

Anyhoo, last week I took the plunge and dropped in to a "quickie" salon for a trim. That, by the way is a key word: TRIM. I think you sense where this is headed.

The hairdresser (who appeared to be fresh out of 6th grade) proceeded to then lop off the majority of my long, luxurious tresses. (Hey, it's MY story -- roll with it)!! In her little cosmetology world, the word "TRIM" must translate to "LOCKS OF LOVE".

The aftermath includes relentless choruses of: "YOU GOT ALL YOUR HAIR CHOPPED OFF"! I tell them that wasn't my intent, and then go on to assure them I am NOT undergoing chemotherapy. My self-appointed personal stylist, Coco at SuperCuts, took it upon herself to make that fashion choice for me. She who holds the scissors is the one in control, folks. Apparently, with my dainty, pixie like facial features, she was convinced I could carry the Mia Farrow look.

The bright side is ..... I won't be needing another cut until, say, 2011. At that point, I'll head to that swanky, renowned salon of Great Clips. After all, they're cutting edge. Ba dum bum!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

This Should be a Tide Commercial

At our recent community festival, Evan was presented with the perfect opportunity for an 8-year-old boy: Chasing a pig in a pit full of mud!

This little piggy proved to be elusive, but there's always next year! See him in the far left part of the picture mocking us? Consider this fair warning, Wilbur, our snouted nemesis -- we'll be training during the off-season! Evan was even hosed off by the fire department afterward. What a great memory for him!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Oh I Love Me Some FALL !!

Fall is my FAVORITE season! I just love pulling out the autumn decorations and "decking the halls with boughs of pumpkins" (feel free to chime in with a fa-la-la, if you so desire)

Our weekend was da bomb! The kids were out of school last Friday for a "teacher in-service" day. (What IS that, anyway?!)

As a side note, they most certainly DIDN'T have such things when I was in school. We counted ourselves fortunate to get a day off from school during the Blizzard of '76, but I'm not bitter.

Anyway, on those occasional days off from school, I make an effort to plan a fun day for us to enjoy. This time around we headed to a GREAT pumpkin patch we had heard about and spent about 5 hours having the best time!

This wasn't just your run-o-the-mill field-o-pumpkins, friends. This was the mother lode of Fall Festivities! There was so much to do -- lots of plain, simple fun. Here's where I'll mention that I. FORGOT. MY. CAMERA. Oh, the pain! I spent the whole day thinking "that would be such a precious shot"!
One favorite stop was the underground slide that the kids went down repeatedly, paddle boats, an inflatable to jump on, hay bales to climb, a mega bin full of feed corn to romp in, a train ride, a corn maze, playgrounds, and of course, a hayride to the pumpkin patch.

I allowed each of the kids to pick out a small pumpkin -- and it was interesting to watch each of them approach that task. Natalie had hers selected in 10 seconds flat, and thought everyone else should too. Alli hunted and hunted for the perfect one. Holly kept picking up pumpkins, carrying them around, and trading them repeatedly. Evan was pretty much just happy to be trekking through the mud! Here's what they ended up with, in age order:

Holly had a Fall concert last week where she had to dress as a scarecrow. Doesn't she make a cute one? AND an effective one -- you'll notice NO crows around! It goes without saying that she had endure more than one chorus of "If I Only Had a Brain".

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Like my Comfort Zone

I'm having a bit of bloggers block, so I though I'd share some of my wedded bliss history with you.

I call this chapter: OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE. The Early Years.

We’ve been married for almost 15 years now – and I don’t mind telling you that I had to wait a LONG time to find Mr. Right. Simply put, I have reason to believe that the “40-Year-Old-Virgin” movie was indeed based upon my life.

That said, when I met my now hubby, there was no doubt that HE was the one I had been waiting for. And was well worth the wait. Not that he's perfect -- just perfect for me.

However, I knew that by marrying him, I would be closing a major chapter in my life. I would be leaving the only place I’d ever called home and all the securities that went with that. I had to leave and cleave to him, whose home was in Chicago. But I LOVE my comfort zone!

It was a scary proposition, but what was even scarier was the prospect of staying in Ohio without him. Plus, he had a diamond ring for me, and I'm pretty sure it's the real deal. So we took the plunge, and I truly couldn't have been happier when I walked down the aisle.

Our first 18 months of newlywed life were spent in a darling apartment in a Chicago suburb. Hubby was working for an aviation school, and I was busy playing house. Best Wife Ever was the title I was shooting for. Those days seem so simple now, when I could just devote all my attention and energy to him. I enjoyed trying out new recipes and noting the ones that he especially liked. (Stop making that "gag yourself" motion ..... right now)!

We enjoyed lots of out-of-town guests while we lived there, and could practically recite the double-decker bus tour script along with the guide. In fact, my dad’s last Father’s Day was spent with us in downtown Chicago, dining at Michael Jordan’s restaurant. Lots of great memories: Navy Pier. Taste of Chicago. Shedd's Aquarium. Sears Tower. Riding the "L" downtown, avoiding eye contact with that scary guy in the 3rd row.....

Although there was always lots to do there and always a buzz in the air, I couldn’t shake the feeling of being ill at ease. I spent mybrief residence in the Windy City feeling that everyone wanted to harm me in some way. Say it with me: in-tim-i-da-ted. I was definitely a tiny fish in a huge pond! In short, it’s a fun place to visit, but certainly not my ideal place to call home.

We were glad to be transferred to Tulsa, OK, just in time to begin Chapter 2 of our married life: Parenthood. Next time I'm stumped about what to write, I'll continue there.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Karen Carpenter Understands

Well, it's Monday morning ..... a dreary, grey, wet one, to be exact. It's the kind of day I'd be tempted to stay in my bathrobe, eat ice cream straight from the carton, and watch a "True Hollywood Stories" marathon. Because, after all, Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.

But I'm going to fight that urge! I'm going to meet two of my best buddies and go walking at the mall -- then check out some fabulous bargains I've been hearing about. Don't you think that's a better plan?! I just hope we don't get "lapped" too much by the older folks who rule the mall "walking track" early in the morning! you think it would be okay for me to carry my ice cream carton & a spoon while I walk?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Answer !

I'm going to go ahead and conclude my little contest .... seeing as there were only TWO guesses submitted and all. Can you say "FLOP"?! I'm choosing to believe that people were SO stumped they couldn't even form a guess.
The two guesses were: Moses (yes, Moses -- SMART ALECK!!) and .... SHAUN CASSIDY. One of those guesses was correct....
Drum roll please..... the winner of the fall decor is JENNIFER B.! Good job, Jenn, and thanks for playing. Vanna White will be by with your fabulous prize.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Guess Who?

Just for fun........

Here's a current picture of a celebrity who was a major heart throb during the late 70's. He was one of my VERY favorites! Care to take a stab as to his identity? I, for one, would never have guessed it! I'll give you a hint: He's 50 now.

The first one to correctly name this celebrity will win a fall decoration for your home! (You get one guess, so give it your best shot!) I'll post the answer on Sunday at 5:00pm and announce the winner.

Icked Out for Eternity

Yesterday afternoon I was in the house beginning dinner prep. when the girls came SCREAMING into the kitchen about a terrifying spider they saw. I didn't worry too much about it until they said it was running into our garage.

Don't get me wrong. I've seen Charlotte's Web. I don't seek spiders out to do them harm. I'm a live and let live girl -- BUT if I'm aware a spider is coming near our living quarters, I'm going to investigate.

So I put down my mixing bowl and went to take a look ..... and they were right. I had hoped they were exaggerating. It was HUGE and scary, and apparently looking to be roommates with us.

It was the kind of spider that I wondered if I could squish without screaming simultaneously. Not only did its incredible size make me queasy, but it seemed to be furry. I'd never seen anything like it. I found this picture on the internet, and it came the closest to what we encountered. Only double, no triple, its size.

There was no time to hunt for the bug spray. So I took a deep breath, heart racing, and held my foot precariously over top the spider, expecting it to make a mad dash away from the size 9 tennis shoes.

Then I lowered the boom. When I squished it, I couldn't help but let out a little squeal ...... then started really screaming when I realized that HUNDREDS of baby spiders were emerging from their dead mama. It was a pinata of sorts.

Apparently the spider wasn't furry after all -- she was actually carrying hundreds of tiny baby spiders on her back! Sheer instincts kicked in immediately, and before I knew it I was doing a Mexican Hat Dance all around the vicinity to try to contain the spread of the baby spider colony.

And I'll never be the same. In my heart, I know that every single time I see a spider for the rest of my life, my mind will go back to that horrifying image.

Now it's time for my emergency appointment with my therapist. The end.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Oh Dear, We May Be In Trouble

This morning over breakfast, this was the conversation:

Evan: When I grow up, I want to be an NBA basketball player AND a professional comedian.

Holly: Yeah, right. That will NEVER happen.

Me: Hey! He can be whatever he WANTS to be!

Evan: (without missing a beat) OK then, I'll be a PRINCESS!!

Hide the Pretty, Pretty Princess game, STAT!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Real, Live "Lazy Boy" Chair

I love this picture of my big brother, who's a good sport as he "shares his seat" with his two children and our Natalie.

The Big Reveal

Well, have you been in absolute suspense? Could you even sleep last night?!

Here's the answer to yesterday's post:

I like you. I think that you are so special.

DING DING DING -- We have a winner! Jennifer's was the first correct guess. Wouldn't it have been neat if I actually had a prize? The title of "winner" will have to suffice, Jenn!

Back to the note ..... Isn't that just the sweetest? I was thinking, it's a given that a family would love each other -- but it's nice to be liked as well. She totally made my day!

I'll admit that back in 2001 when we found out we were expecting AGAIN ..... I wasn't praising God for that surprise. He downright VETOED our plans! I was barely keeping my head above water juggling 3 little children we already had (all aged 4 and under)! In fact, I used to kid that the name Natalie meant "you've GOT to be kidding me" in Greek.
But God's plan is perfect -- and I simply can't imagine my life without that little ray of sunshine named Natalie! She adds such joy to our home and I'm blessed more than I ever deserved. Thank you, Lord.

"Her children arise and call her blessed." Proverbs 31:28

Monday, October 6, 2008

Are You Smarter Than a First Grader?

My first grader has taken to "writing poetry", especially with me as the recipient.

It's absolutely precious.

Now, the challenge to you, should you choose to accept, is: Can you decipher the message to the right?

Humor me and leave a comment with your best interpretation.

I'll post the answer on Tuesday! This blog will self-destruct in five seconds.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Food Network Fantasy

For this blog entry, I'd like to pretend I'm a Food Network Star. And the challenge is -- feeding your family frugally (more than pork and beans).

My goal is to feed my family a decent dinner for $1 per person. WHAT? You ask? Is this woman MAD?

It's totally possible, and I'd like to share one of my favorite frugal and EASY meal ideas.
My little sister, Amy, gave me this recipe, which sounds too good to be true, but it WORKS!

All you do is pick your favorite Rice A Roni flavor (our whole family likes the Fried Rice), and prepare the rice as directed on the package.

Here's the kicker -- when adding the water, also add boneless, skinless chicken breasts at the same time. The chicken will steam and cook in the same amount of time as the rice takes to cook!

It's really yummy, as the chicken remains moist and absorbs the flavor of the rice seasoning. So there you have it -- simply pair the chicken & rice with a vegetable of choice, and you've got a nice dinner on the table in about 20 minutes!

I hope this will save you a little time AND money. Our grocery store often offers a buy one / get one free deal on chicken breasts, and that's when I stock up!

Now, thank you for allowing me to fulfill my Food Network fantasy. Emeril, eat your heart out.

Let me know if you try it out!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

She Ain't Heavy, SHE'S my Brother

Evan is our only boy.

And is very, very (I mean VERY) likely to REMAIN our lone boy.

About the same odds as Mary and immaculate conception.

He has always wished for a brother. ALWAYS. In fact, I believe his first word was "brother"? (with a quizzical look)

As he was expressing that sentiment recently for about the 2,000th time, Natalie made the valiant offer to "play brother" with him.

Evan pounced on that offer like a fat girl on a crueller. He immediately "suited her up in boy stuff" and struck these intimidating, menacing poses.

Don't they look tough?! So gangsta.

Yeah, well, that "brother game" lasted until Natalie wanted to move on to Pretty, Pretty Princess .... About 3 minutes in.

Now I gotta go hunt for that Krispy Kreme coupon .....