Sunday, November 27, 2011

Spike, the Christmas Elf


Last week we were gifted (by the neighbors) with yet another tradition...Elf on the Shelf. I deliberately waited to open it, because my plate is full right now. Today the boys opened their package and read his story.
For the next month this little guy will travel back and forth to the North Pole nightly to report the boys' behavior and special requests to Santa. He returns before the day begins and rests in a new hiding spot in our home until it's nighttime again. Bright-eyed JB was thrilled and captivated by the magic of it all. MC on the other hand thought it was creepy and insisted we name the elf Freaky Jack, "because he's just freaky!". We settled on Spike, but MC doesn't want me to put him on the shelf just yet. Maybe I won't be stuck with have another tradition after all.
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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Just for Kicks

As if I don't have ENOUGH projects! I added another quick one to the list: reupholstering the piano bench. I went to Hobby Lobby last night, just to get out of the house (HA!) and scored fabric regularly priced $45/yard for only $7/yd. Thankfully it was a small project. I bought 1 yard, though I could have gotten by with 1/2. I figured I'd splurge with the ginormous discount. Just when I thought I had an extra few minutes to knock it out, Baby A woke up and demanded my full attention. About 40 minutes later I finally finished and was pretty pleased with the results.
See for yourself... 
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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Blog Interrupted

Twenty consecutive days of blog postings….interrupted!
On Monday night, Nov. 21st, we had a power outage that lasted two hours. It was downhill after that. I spent all day Tuesday at the hair salon, followed by a trip to Central Market to pick up a few last minute Thanksgiving ingredients. Guests began arriving on Wednesday and that brings us to today….Turkey Day!

It doesn't seem like it should already be Thanksgiving. Where did the year go? Last night I baked a few desserts and chopped the "Southern Trinity" (bell pepper, celery, and onion). I woke up early this morning (as usual) with my game plan. Take the yeast roll dough out of the fridge; prep all veggies; assemble dressing. The next few hours is a circus of sorts: calculating cook times and juggling side dishes to to avoid having to reheat it all before dinner is served. Traditionally, we serve dinner at 1:00. This year was no different, but a little more difficult. After pressing through a brief moment of frustration, I acknowledged that I should push back dinner time to give myself more flexibility. I don't know why it took so long for that "revelation".

We've had a great time eating, laughing and eating some more. Although my helpers are staying a few extra nights, I will resist the urge to put up Christmas trees tonight like I've done in the past. There's plenty of time for that! For now I think I'll have another slice of apple pie ala mode with rum butter sauce.

Happy Turkey Day!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Countdown Begins


I'm somehow managing to plow through my to-do list and that's a great feeling. It's going to be a great week! I can feel it!
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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Household Happenings

I'm trying to stick to the NaBloPo challenge I really am! It has definitely taught me that I'm not a fast writer. As with every thing else, it takes me forever to finish. I've gotta stop over analyzing everything! So, even though I may not officially post something everyday, it's out there in cyberspace waiting to be edited.

Here's what we've been up to:

The boys finished the 2nd Six Weeks of school.
Baby A got her first round of shots (she did surprisingly well).
We've been cleaning and pulling out Christmas decorations.
I've started choosing decor and color swatches for the boys' rooms.
We had a surprise house guest.
The boys performed in their fall piano recital. One of them realized they should take my advice during nightly practice.
I've taken Christmas pictures and ordered cards.
Baby A took her first road trip and did great!

Toss in a bunch of homework, household chores, a nursing baby and hyper terrier. What do you get? 1tiredmommy
Time to suck it up and keep moving. We've got a busy week ahead!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sweet Surpise

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Last night I made a recipe pinned on Pinterest. I recently discovered Pioneer Woman and I can't believe what I've been missing!
My favorite thing about Grilled Chicken with Lemon Basil Pasta was the basil. I am in love with basil. I use it on pizza, in sauces, on pasta, for homemade pesto, in salads, on panini…..
For years I've been growing it along with other herbs in a pot. . Planting is much more cost effective than buying it in the store; and I have to admit, stepping outside to clip it for recipes makes me feel a bit like Martha Stewart. This year I decided to plant it in the ground.
I brought my old herb pot to the new house and set it outside near the herb garden until I found a use for it. The plants were dead, but it was still full of soil. A few weeks later, I noticed herbs sprouting again in the pot. Now, I've taken enough science classes to know how it all works, but because I have a "black thumb", I'm conditioned to trash plants when they die and just buy more. The fact that I don't generally read directions sealed the deal.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover that basil is self-seeding and will continue to grow, if the conditions are right. Now I'll have all the sweet basil my heart desires. Yum!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Making a List and Checking it Twice

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This week I started working on Christmas decorations. Since we moved we decided to change up our decorations to fit the house. Though different, the plan for this year is pretty simple to avoid going overboard and having a tacky mess! We're sticking with lights trimming the house and flowerbeds, wreaths hanging from each window and a large one on the front door. I still need to decide what to do at the front entrance. I have a few days. The plan is to have it all up next weekend.
I pinned a really cute wreath on Pinterest and decided to do my take on it. I'm still playing around with ornaments and picks, but I'm loving the repurposed golden R and chartreuse (this year's accent color) ribbon. The other outdoor wreaths will also be repurposed.
While the vinyl saying is not technically for Christmas, I've been meaning to hang it for a while and I'm always happy to check a few things off the to do list. A few years ago I discovered how practical vinyl art is, especially text, because it covers a large area and is much cheaper than paintings or a canvas print. LIttle did I know how difficult it would be to hang all of these individual letters on a curved, textured wall, but I did it. I think know it's a bit crooked (by about an inch), but I resisted the urge to take it down and do it again. I'm going to try NOT to let it drive me bananas.
Crafting keeps me sane, so right now I'm feeling pretty good!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tiger Mom Has Returned

It took a while for me to get back in the groove, but it finally happened. All year long, the boys have been joining neighbors for daily play dates, watching t.v., know "kid things". Well, grades aren't up to par and classroom instruction leaves a lot to be desired. This week we resumed our old schedule which means the boys spend most of the afternoon doing homework, enrichment exercises and reading. It's painfully boring, but I know it will pay off!

Other than that, It's business as usual (the week before Thanksgiving). I have a million irons in the fire and even more projects in the works.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

The Christmas tubs have been pulled. Stockings and Christmas pajamas are being embroidered. (Some) Presents are hidden. Christmas cards have been ordered. As soon as the last bites of turkey and dressing have been devoured it will be time to get busy! Although I'm working on wreaths and getting organized, I have a thing against decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving. Something just feels weird about that. So, as usual, we'll be in a mad dash to get everything done.

This Christmas, we'll:

Visit the children's theater
Go to the Christmas tree farm
Decorate gingerbread houses with friends
Make a new set of Christmas ornaments
Bake goodies for neighbors
Go ice skating (if we can figure out logistics with Baby A)
Set up a piano bar--Both boys now play the piano and I've finally convinced them they could make some cash by playing Christmas music while family visits during the holidays.

'Tis the season!

Monday, November 14, 2011

It Must Be Santa

With Christmas just around the corner the boys have started their usual "Is Santa real?" line of questioning.

Last year, I overheard JB saying, "There's got to be a Santa because Mom and Dad would NEVER buy all this stuff!". MC doubted Santa's ability to get around the world in one night. At first I just laughed it off, but deep down inside I was a bit saddened by prospect of them losing that little bit of innocence.

At their ages, their friends were talking about their different theories. So much so, the teachers banned talk of Santa. So, when JB began to doubt (and wouldn't let it go) I responded: "What do you think? Well, if you don't believe in him he won't bring you anything." Pretty savvy answer, huh?

Fast forward to tonight...

JB "Okay, Mom, tell Santa real? We're old enough for you to tell us the truth!"
MB "There couldn't be a Santa. There's no such thing as flying reindeer. He'd have to drive a car."

I held back the giggles and stood firm to my previous explanation. Finally, JB conceded, "Well...I believe, but..."

I'll have to admit I was a little relieved. Maybe that will buy us another year!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The End Justifies the Means

I've never been fond of the process. As a child, I notoriously quit various activities because I felt tortured during the learning process. I remember quitting tap lessons because I didn't want to just "tap, tap, tap". I wanted to instantly be as good as Gregory Hines (after seeing him on Sesame Street). This pattern continued through adulthood and is probably one of the traits that I'm least proud of. Even things that I consider myself to be passionate about require me to endure the painful and dreadful process. My trouble with the process is even evident in my obsession with countdowns.

Cake decorating, for example, is usually painful until I am taking pictures of the finished product. I'm not sure whether this is a perfectionism issue or something else, but it's my own personal struggle. Because I've already quit everything that is "quittable". All that's left is the "nitty grit", as my mother would say.

At this stage in my life I'm hoping to learn a lesson from the process. Then I'll know for sure that the end justifies the means.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


My guys LOVE football. Honestly they love all sports, but football holds a special place in their hearts. They are such diehard fans they'll watch classic games, a concept that's unimaginable to me. Watching a current game is bad enough. Why would someone watch an old one?
I loathe sports! I'm not competitive and don't really like playing games. I never played a sport and only attended games that my hubby played in when we were dating in high school. There are too many rules and it's hard to follow the ball. Fans see athletic prowess. I see a bunch of guys in tights, running around falling on each other. I have literally fallen asleep standing up at a football game.
As the boys get older and more interested, I find myself asking more questions about the game. I don't really care enough to remember the answers, but that doesn't stop me. From the look on my hubby's face he'd much rather I take time during the off-season to learn the rules. Who knows, maybe I'll get a Football for Dummies book. Probably not! As Mama (Kathy Bates) in Waterboy would say, "Foosball is the Devil!".

Friday, November 11, 2011


I am NOT a morning person and that makes mornings pretty painful. Before Baby A, I did the whole morning routine. Well, since she joined us the hubby has taken over mornings. At first things were going pretty well, but gradually they've gotten kind of hairy. We have two totally different approaches. I'm like a drill sergeant and he's more like a cougar. I'm very direct and upfront about what needs to be done and when. I don't think I'm mean, but I know that kids will run amok without clear instruction and I can't handle chaos. My hubby has a softer approach until crossed. It's almost like he lies in wait and then pounces.

In a perfect world everyone eats their breakfast, everyone can find their jacket, no one complains about their lunch, folders and backpacks are ready to go and library books are not left behind. Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world. I'd love to say that I always keep my cool. Unfortunately, I don't. Nevertheless, we keep trucking in hopes that one day all of our ducks are in a row. Believe!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Times Have Changed

Tonight JB has his fourth grade musical program and for the first time I found myself contemplating whether or not I should take my camera. My, how times have changed...
From day one, every detail of JB's life was documented. Though I didn't have a digital camera, I took a tons of pictures of him. For special occasions we had them done professionally. As first timers, we were duped into believing we needed a katrillion photos of our kid in weird poses with weird, artificial props. To this day we still find leftover pictures from those expensive photo sessions.

When MC came along, I soon realized how much easier it was to have one child looking at the camera, smiling with their eyes open and no crazy wardrobe malfunctions. With two kids...forget about it! Because MC slept the first nine months of life, our initial pictures looked more like JB posing with a deceased baby or a male baby doll. Eventually he woke up and we got a lot of really nice shots.

One year I was determined to have them take their Easter pictures with a live bunny. We searched for a studio with bunnies, scheduled the appointment, dressed, and the boys were terrified! Thankfully there wasn't any excrement, or excitement for that matter, because I wasn't prepared for rabbit pee or poo on their Eaton Easter suits. Needless to say they still don't have a picture with live bunny rabbits.

Eventually I decided it would be more cost effective to upgrade my camera and take their pictures myself. When you find yourself taking props, particularly your child's drum set, to the studio it's time to DIY!

Here were are with Baby A. I've already taken a million photos of her! Sadly they're among the 2,500 images I have on my digital camera. The problem with digital photography is, well...bringing the pictures to life. I'm so far behind with scrapbooking I should probably add that to my to do list. Times have really changed! Hopefully my younger two have enough memories in their memory albums to reminisce when they get older! If not, they can always ask JB to fill them in on the details. Oh, the burden of being the firstborn.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

PC Woes

Although I have neurotic tendencies and am a pretty Type A person, I can't say that I have anxiety issues. That is until I'm forced to work with technology. It's hard to understand and even harder to explain. Let me be clear, I have basic computer skills and can use many different programs. Since learning to type, in middle school, I've always been able to type upwards of 60 words per minute (thanks in part to my extremely long fingers). Nevertheless, I have a severe reluctance to become a tech whiz.

I guess the first mental block has to do with personal preference. I'd prefer to write with a pen. Secondly, I tend to get comfortable doing things a certain way and resist unnecessary change. "If it ain't broke don't fix it!". I'm huge on systems and routines. Once I get in the routine of doing something a certain way, I stick with it unless I feel that it's no longer working even if it's not popular or trendy. Basically, if I'm the last person on the planet doing it I don't care as long as it's working for me. I guess that may sound a bit narcissistic, too, huh? Anyway…

Our desktop PC has been on the fritz for a while. The hubby has practically rebuilt it a dozen times and it still has boogers. Unfortunately for me, this time of year is the WORST to be without the computer. In addition to the boys' weekly homework, I use it often to upload pictures for sharing, blogging and ordering online.
With our desktop out of commission, we've had to use the Mac. I haven't used a Mac since college. I can type and do a few things online, but that's about it. I've had to learn how to open documents and attachments. Locating files and pictures is like going on a scavenger hunt.

Attaching the external hard drive, the weird mouse pad, all of the extra steps to complete each function.....I just don't like it! We were both in denial, but it looks like we're getting a new desktop for Christmas.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Upcoming Projects

Since we started packing to move two years ago, so many things have been on the back burner. I'm so conformed to systems and procedures, I just couldn't imagine starting a project or updating scrapbooks and having to stop. I couldn't figure out the logistics, so I held off on starting ANYTHING. Any projects or ideas were "for the new house" and filed away.
Now that we've moved and gotten settled in, there are a ton of things I want to do, but Baby A is quite time consuming (in a good way)! Just doing laundry and caring for her takes the majority of my day. And of course nothing kills the creativity bug like sleep deprivation! Nevertheless, I'm determined to get some work done! I really want to go junking soon for inspiration. Until then, here's my project list:

Hang a vinyl wall saying
Decorate the game room
Make a menu board for the kitchen
Make a Christmas wreath
Decorate our master bathroom
Replace laundry room flooring with concrete stained floors (hired job, I'm not THAT ambitious!)
Update scrapbooks
Organize digital photos
Hang the boys' school artDecorate the boys' rooms themes: music, action figures/superheroes
Make a wine barrel lazy susan

Now that soccer season is over I may be able to tackle a few things on the list before holiday guests arrive.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Through the Storm

As I sit here typing and listening to the rain hit the skylight, I can't help but think of how fleeting storms are. No matter how destructive, they always pass. At the time, mere moments may seem like an eternity. But when the skies clear, the view is always crisp and crystal clear. In life, though rarely welcomed, difficult times are inevitable. No matter how bad things seem, they always get better. Nothing lasts forever; all things end. That truth is reason enough to continue to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving.
When I think of all the times I thought things couldn't get any worse, sometimes they did--but, they always got better (eventually)! In every situation my time and energy was redeemed. Every storm was deliberate and purposeful.
The bonus comes from taking a moment to reflect and learn a lesson. There's always a lesson! Besides, what's the point of having a clear perspective and not seeing anything?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Road Trip

This weekend we took a quick road trip. There was no Starbucks and no internet connection. I discovered packing with a newborn is much lighter the third time around. I learned a lesson in taking things in stride. I'm pretty sure I'll need a few remedial sessions on that topic!

The boys had a blast playing with cousins that they rarely get to see--old-fashioned, crawling on the floor, running laps around the house, playing. I resisted saying "no" to every request. They drank more gatorade than milk. They stayed up late and had a sleepover. They were in heaven!

Baby A did surprisingly well! She was doted on, passed around and cuddled the entire visit! She slept soundly and cooed loudly.

It reminded me of my childhood days in the country, when things were slower paced.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Exposure is HUGE! Not to the point of being over-committed or for the sake of being pretentious, but to establish a broad perspective. If you're only familiar with what's inside your box, that's all you'll feel comfortable with. That's all you'll strive to have. As a child, I was exposed to a variety of experiences and always made to feel that nothing was beyond reach. For eight years, I played the violin. I tasted caviar for the first time at a recital reception. When we took annual vacations, we visited as many historical landmarks as "fun"attractions. Of course, there are tons of things that I haven't done and places that I haven't been, but I'm thankful for exposure. Those experiences, in part, shaped my decision to become a stay at home mom: Nothing is beyond reach.

I try very hard to create the same type of experiences for my children. It's important for them to know how to conduct themselves and order from the menu in an upscale restaurant. At 9 and 7, they know the protocol for traveling on an airplane. When I overheard them say that only rich people rode in limousines, I had the hubby arrange to have one transport us from the airport to hotel on our next vacation. They were dumbfounded! We then explained that you don't have to be rich, you just call a car service. For the same cost of a cab ride, the boys were exposed to something new.

My hope is that providing them with a variety of experiences will help them become capable, confident and ambitious young men. The sky is the limit!

Friday, November 4, 2011

I Write Because...

Well, it's Day 4 of the month long blogging challenge and I really haven't written anything insightful. I figured I should go a little deeper.
What's the whole point, anyway? Why do I bother writing?
I write to clear my head. It's that simple. At any given moment there are a billion thoughts going on in my head. I'm always planning, preparing, organizing and micromanaging family and personal business! I even keep a notepad and pen bedside because, depending on the season, I often do it my sleep.
As a child I was always with pencil and notepad in hand. I even have pictures to prove it. Over the years my writing has become more reflective and introspective. I journal for myself and each of my kids in addition to blogging. Though I prefer pencil over the keypad, just being able to document events and emotions is a special way to track maturity and state of mind throughout different life stages. When I look back on previous posts and journal entries, sometimes I'm amazed at the personal growth or accomplishments. Sometimes I'm embarrassed by the sentiments expressed. But I'm always glad that I took the time to document, because without that so many details like kids pronunciations of words and funny antics would be forgotten. Besides, self reflection is a whole lot cheaper than therapy!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Things I Hate!

I was shoe shopping for the kiddos when I saw the first offender. After a few seconds, I had a whole list of things that drive me nuts. I'm sure there are more, but these are my top 10:

1. Kids' shoes that light up
2. Lame' and Peau de Soie fabrics
3. Smelly things
4. When people chew with their mouths open
5. Burnt (charred) food
6. Pine scented candles
7. Shoes with dirty heels
8. Waking up to a buzzing alarm clock
9. 3-D movies
10. Dirty bath towels

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Most Eventful Time of the Year

I cannot believe it's already November! We've had a very eventful year and the most eventful time is yet to come. With Thanksgiving right around the corner I've written the menu:

Smoked Turkey
Cornbread Dressing
Wild Rice and Sausage Dressing
Roasted Root Vegetables
Yeast Rolls
Cinnamon Cream Cake
Pecan Pie
Sweet Potato Pie

As usual the hubby will smoke the turkeys and I'll do the sides and dessert. JB makes the homemade rolls and MC makes the cranberry sauce.
I've also written a menu for the week to accommodate out of town guests. I'm scaling back because I'll need to be able to deal with Baby A.
This time of year brings many traditions, so I'll need to be sure to take my vitamins and get out the list pad. Cookie decorating, gift exchanges, holiday outings, making gingerbread houses… all with a baby in tow. Not to mention that I still haven't bought the first Christmas present! I'm definitely operating in grace, because otherwise I'd be in a manic state.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Time and time again I've set the goal of blogging more frequently, to no avail. BlogHer is hosting National Blog Posting Month and I've decided to take the plunge and officially challenge myself to write every day. So here goes…

NaBloPoMo 2011

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