Saturday, November 28, 2009


I have a bunch of great stories to share but right now we are in the midst of complete chaos. Utter mayhem. Garbage pail on the head insanity.

I'm unable to think in a straight line. Too many days off from school for the Big O, too much sugar for the big boys, one Slurpee that the diva got her hands on that caused 3 days of unrelenting whining - things are just totally crazy here this week. I am thinking I may lose my mind, and when it happens it will be a welcome break.

Don't worry about the kids tho. They are finding ways to stay entertained.

There's been a lot of unrestrained attitude.

And someone. Ahem. SOMEONE dumped a bucket of water over his friend's head today. In the house. While she was sitting on the couch.

Need I say more? Great Skittles story in the works, thoughts about matchy matchy kids and a few funnies from the Big O coming up soon. I hope.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I don't get it

In an effort to lose the last of my baby weight I am trying to cut back on carbs. Who am I kidding? It is not the "last" of my baby weight, it is pretty much most of it. And baby weight? My "baby" is 2 1/2 years old. So really - I just need to lose some weight. I want to be skinny again. I'm trying South Beach Diet again because it worked pretty well in the past and I also like the fact that I can eat a good amount of food and not spend the day hungry. Because I have these kids ... and I am mean when I am hungry. Kids + Hungry Mom = BAD combination.
Here's what I don't get. I made this soup. It is delicious. Nutritious. Colorful, tasty, hearty, yummy - any word you can think of to describe great soup. (And if you want the recipe, I'll include it at the bottom - because it is also very EASY which is another one of my favorite words to describe anything that has to be cooked by me.)
Why in the world do I want this instead?

The boys made it. As you can see, it was not even mixed properly, it is all full of orange dye, white flour and tasteless powdered cheese - but there it was on the stovetop right next to my very pretty, very tasty, very colorful pot of soup. Why did I want it? WHY?

I ate the soup instead. But after the first two weeks, you are allowed to add in some carbs and do you know what I did first? I grabbed a big spoonful of that nasty mac & cheese. And it was gooooood. But I still don't get it.

Here's the soup recipe:

2 cups beans, cooked as per directions on bag
1 can beans (I used red beans, but you can probably use any kind)

2 cups cubed or shredded leftover chicken breast.
(and if you are vegetarian you could probably leave this out entirely)

1 can diced tomatoes
1 onion cut up, or 1 TBS onion powder
1-2 cups spinach - cooked or uncooked, doesn't matter
2 cups water
2 bouillion cubes (I used chicken but if you are vegetarian you could use veggie)

OK - super easy - Put everything into a crockpot, mix it up and cook on low for 4 hours, or if you are in a hurry, cook on high for an hour or two - OR if you are in a bigger hurry, put it in a big stock pot on the stove and bring to a boil and then simmer for a bit. The longer you cook it, the thicker it gets because the beans break down and make it a nice consistency, almost like split pea soup - so if you want it thicker, cook it longer - if you don't want it too thick, take it off the heat sooner. You can top it with some sour cream if you are feeling decadent. Be sure to eat it in a place where there is no Mac-n-cheese trying to make the soup feel like a second class citizen.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wonderful Grammy

This past weekend my mom came to visit. We needed her for a babysitting gig, and then she stayed a few extra days. I remember when I was little, I used to go and stay at my grandmother's house and it was bliss. I would come home and my mom would say to me, "Every time you go there, you come home SPOILED. I am not going to let you keep going if you keep it up!" But of course she let me keep going and of course I got spoiled every single time.

Now it is my mom's turn to spoil her grand kids. I scanned through pictures to share here, and my little diva caught sight of her "Grammy" and let out a deep sigh, infused with all the drama her little two year old heart could muster. "That's my wonderful Grammy." My girl is CRAZY about Grammy. And ya know, I can't argue with her. Since we don't have any extended family nearby to help out, when someone comes along and plays with my kids, does my dishes, folds my towels and wipes down my counters - without me asking - I kinda get stars in my eyes too.

I got so many things done this weekend and it was all guilt free. I didn't have to ask the older kids to watch the little ones. Grammy was there. I didn't have to stop in the middle of hooking up my scanner (that has been sitting untouched since I bought it 6 months ago) - Grammy was there to change the channel, make some lunch, open the bathroom door, and the myriad of other mundane things that sidetrack me every day from the big projects hanging over my head. I got to go out with my hubby on a DATE - Grammy was there! And when we walked out the door for our date, no one cried to see us going. Who needs mom when Grammy is around? Cool beans.

Even the Big O likes her. Well, as much as he likes anyone.

What kid wouldn't love a Grammy who jumps on the trampoline. Even though she has had both hips replaced? This Grammy is cool like that.

I think the real reason my Diva loves Grammy so much is that deep down inside - or maybe not so deep down - Grammy is still a little kid. Aren't we all?

Thanks for a great weekend mom. We all got spoiled.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sugar & Spice, Everything Nice

We had a great visit with family this weekend. My brother came and brought along his two sweet girls. My little diva was in girl heaven. For a few days, this place was all sugar and spice and everything nice. Generally, things around here are pretty boy oriented, and on top of that, everyone is way older than she is. So having her cousins to play with was a treat. And these three girls (age 1, 2 and 3) kept us all pretty entertained too! Here's the one picture I got of all three girls together. Look at all that pink!
I had to really work to make my youngest niece like me. Maybe because I kept doing stuff like putting bows in her hair and popping flower hats on her head.
But with a little bribery, she finally came around.

See! She likes me! She really likes me!

These girls are as different as can be from one another, as can be seen in their swinging styles. My three year old niece is the fearless one.

The one year old is the pensive one. She is thinking some deep thoughts, don't you think?

And my little diva? She is just generally concerned. And occasionally disgruntled.

But, with all their differences, the girls got along great. Had loads of fun feeding the ducks and playing in the sandbox together. There was no pushing or shoving - OK, there was occasionally some yelling, but that was my girl screaming for her cousins to "COME ON!!" so I am going to just pretend it never happened. I mean, c'mon, you don't expect me to admit that my sweet princess is a bossy loudmouth, do you?

The girls also worked together to make sure they were NEVER in the same frame at any given time. I know they plotted and planned this, because let me tell you, I tried all weekend for a group picture. Nope. I snuck in that one at the top with my zoom lens, and as soon as they saw me taking pictures they scattered like paper dolls in the wind. Sneaky little things. But they sure are cute....

Sometimes I could get TWO of them at the same time....

Especially if I distracted them with the trampoline.....

Or a rocking horse lion thingy. Bongo band on the side.

I'm so glad my diva has some girly cousins to spend time with. I hope they grow up to be best friends. And I'm really glad I don't have three toddlers, because I am still tired after that visit!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bye Bye Miss American Pie

We have had a crazy busy weekend and I have loads to post about, but one thing at a time.
Friday started out with a special date for me and the Professor. Now, I know most teenagers love concerts and I know lots of my friends have gone to see "teenager" type acts like Miley Cyrus, but not us. Nope, my teenager LOVES the song "American Pie" by Don McLean. Yeah, you know the song. "Bye bye Miss American Pie, drove my Chevy to the levy but the levy was dry." (And I apologize in advance for getting that one stuck in your head.) He spent a few months recording it from YouTube, playing it over and over and over ... and OVER again ... and explaining to everyone he met about the real meaning behind the lyrics. So hubby got us some tickets and we went to see Don McLean on Friday! Fun stuff!!
The show was in a picturesque, older theater and we were right up in the second row! It was a cold and rainy night and we had to walk a bit from our parking place, but we were ready to rock when we got there. Here's a shot of the theater - and pardon the crummy pictures - my point and shoot Canon died right before the show and I didn't bring my Nikon, so I was left with my camera phone. I did what I could.
The show was really great. I was impressed. Don has still got some pipes on him and he sang lots of Buddy Holly songs, plus "Crying" (made famous by Roy Orbison) and he hit all the notes - backup band was awesome too. Teenager was kinda bored since he didn't know most of the songs, but then again, he is bored whenever he can't play his Gameboy non-stop. He sat and listened though, he was attentive and polite, didn't complain or anything - I could just tell that he was bored. I've been there myself at concerts, haven't you? Lots of unfamiliar songs with the recognizable hits sprinkled through. But when American Pie started, my boy was really excited.
And then .... TWO guitar strings broke in the middle of American Pie. I thought Don showed lots of bounce and he fixed the strings while singing. Kinda funny actually - but teenager was somewhat disappointed that he didn't take it from the top once the strings were fixed (and he wasn't alone, lots of shout outs from the audience to start over). He is at that age where he does not enjoy the experience quite so much as the recorded version of things. Sigh. Well, *I* really enjoyed the show, and yes, I shed some tears when he sang "Vincent." (This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you...." *WEEP*)
After the show, we had the opportunity to buy a CD and have it autographed. Here's where I thought Don would redeem himself with the teenager. My boy was excited to meet him and we stood in line for a while, paid A LOT for the CD and I really thought that Don McLean would be excited to meet a YOUNG fan. I mean, the place was packed full of 50-60-70 year olds. I was feeling pretty young in there myself. There were NO other teenagers. I don't know, maybe my expectations were a little too high, but I was expecting that my son would get a smile, maybe a quick question about how he liked the concert. We get to the front of the line, teenager hands over the expensive CD and I say, "I think he was the youngest one here tonight. He really wanted to come!" In return? A quick signature, hardly any eye contact and a muttered, "Thanks for coming, hope you liked the show." Now you may be thinking that Don McLean is shy or something - but no, he was chatty as can be with all the people in line ahead of us. Teenager and I stared at each other with mouths open. He dissed us!

My message to Don McLean? Ummm, yeah, the concert was great, but seriously?? You couldn't say hi? And ummm.... you might want to spit your gum out before you go on stage next time. If you can't chew quietly, don't chew at all. I wasn't going to say anything, but yeah, you chew like a cow. Don't get me wrong, I'm not judging or anything - I have that problem myself. Which is why I spit my gum out whenever I am going to be in public. Just sayin'

And my son still really likes American Pie. Even though you were kind of a butt. He's cool like that. You should have talked to him.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Did you see the squirrel?
Racing to the tree?
Must have found a walnut
That had escaped from me

I saw the green leaves flutter

The woody branches quake

Knew he found some treasure

I'd missed through some mistake

Yet I'm glad t'was he who found it

Better he than I

For I would probably eat it
Never asking why.

(Squirrel poem, compliments of Linda A. Copp)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Why You've Gotta Love Your Tween

Parenting Magazine had a great article about why you've gotta love your tween. I have to admit, I was dreading these years, but now that we are in the thick of them, I am finding the tween and early teen years to be a lot of fun. Here are the reasons given in the magazine, along with some photo illustrations, just in case you are a visual learner like me!
Why you've gotta love your tween.
"The good news: You have a new buddy. The tween years provide endless opportunities to bond on a deeper level than you did when your child was little."

"You're past the do-everything stage. When the tween years come around, it's exhilarating to be free of the drudgery that comes with parenting small children... the day to day stuff is much easier."

"He gets the jokes. Your tween will love sharing a whole new level of wit - puns, wordplay, sarcasm.... Laugh along with your tween; some of the sweetest bonding times come from sharing inside jokes and offbeat references."

"He wants to help. When tweens take on a project, it's all or nothing... Let them know how proud you are of their kindness and generosity, and do everything in your power to help them act on it."

"His friends are hysterical. Sure, a group of tweens can get loud and squirrelly, but you're privy to some of the most off-the-wall conversations ever. Carpooling with tweens is a world unto itself." (I can attest to this - I heard in the backseat of my van yesterday, "Feel my Butt Fire!" OK, sure they were playing a game of some sort, but not the kind of thing you hear, say, when having lunch with a grown up friend, right?)

"He's interesting. Tweens develop passions and hobbies, whether it's basketball, Wii games or musical theater. .... I have a fairly good understanding of the 11 year old male mind. Obsessive collecting - video games, Bakugan, songs from iTunes - is the norm."
My tween's interests? I think you can tell, he loves gymnastics. And don't get me started on Bakugan! We are still going through that one with the teenager!

So, if you have a younger child and you are nervous about the upcoming tween years - fear not! Just be sure to keep your camera handy and be ready to take all the embarrassing photos you will need for blackmail. Because sooner or later the tween years will have passed and you will have a full fledged teenager. You might need the blackmail then.
A big thank you to Parenting Magazine and Charlotte Latvala (the author of the article.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Philly Tuesday

Today is Philly Tuesday. If you know us, then you know about Philly Tuesdays and you can just skip over this part and look at the pictures. For everyone else - every Tuesday we go into Philly for golf lessons for the big boys and then a short field trip in the afternoon before The Big O gets home. I always take too many pictures. Miss M was excited to go - she loves having breakfast at Ikea while the boys do golf:

And no trip to Ikea would be complete without a little time spent jumping on the beds. And yes indeed, I took her picture instead of grabbing her up and telling her to stop. I am THAT mom.
After golf, we headed to the Academy of Natural Science. We go past the Moore College of Art and Design on the way. I have been wanting to take a picture of these crazy flower pants for the last few weeks, but I am always intimidated by the ultra-cool, crazy-hair art students who are standing outside taking a cigarette break. Not today! Emboldened by my desire to share with all of you, I snapped a quick picture. Because, really, everyone needs to see these - and hey, if you happen to have crazy horse haunches for legs, you might want to get yourself a pair:

The boys posed with the Academy on the Go car:

Miss M played a game of Human Food vs. Parrot Food.

And everyone got some hands on time with the legless lizard.

No trip to Philly is ever complete without a stop at the Logan Square fountain:

Isn't it pretty??!

So, what do you do on Tuesdays?