Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I ♥ Faces... Hilarious Outtakes

Way back in September I tried to get more serious about learning to use my camera. Part of that process was to enter the weekly contests on the I ♥ Faces blog. Unfortunately, that only lasted one week. Maybe I'll be better about it in 2010!

Here I was attempting a basic pic of the girls and something got into A when I asked her to smile. This shot just cracks everyone in our family up. I hope it makes you smile, too!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It has been a while

So sorry for the lack of posts lately. We've been trying to get out from under what seems like a never ending cloud of illness. Some long lasting colds turned into double ear infections for both girls, with a side of Pink Eye for O. Kevin and I have had the worst colds we can remember having and mine seems to be migrating to my sinuses. Ugh! At least the girls will hopefully be feeling healthy for Christmas.

If you have young kids and you haven't seen this already, I highly recommend that you check this out. My girls loved it and I think it helped my 'on the fence' niece become a believer again!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cold Mornings

We're having the coldest mornings of the season so far and it really feels COLD! I'd love to gather the girls up and cuddle together in bed all day to keep them toasty warm, but that's not realistic. What I can do is start their day off with good old fashioned Steel Cut Oats (a favorite since it was introduced at their old Waldorf school as daily snack). No better way to warm a tummy, or two. Especially good with blueberries we picked last summer!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

First Snow

The weather forecast was calling for snow very early Tuesday morning. This was a big deal around here because we were breaking all kinds of records for the latest first snow of the season. Putting some trust in the weatherman, I chose the book Dream Snow by Eric Carle for the girls' bedtime story on Monday night. I think every child in our area had a smile on his or her face when they looked out the window Tuesday morning and saw the very light blanket of snow covering the ground!

The snow had melted quite a bit by the time A&O got out of 'school' and into it, but they had fun just the same. I assured them there would be much more snow coming our way over the next couple of months!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pumpkin Pie

Just had to document this: I made a pumpkin pie from scratch and the people who ate it thought it was really good!! Woo-hoo!!

If you ever choose to make a pumpkin pie from scratch, I suggest that you use this recipe for the crust (great for any pie!) and this recipe for the pie. I had significantly less real pumpkin puree and I did NOT use any canned pumpkin so I went with 1/3 of all ingredient measurements and I still had enough filling for a 9 inch pie! The idea of pressing ground pecans and gingersnaps into the pie crust (per the pie recipe) sounded good, so I did that. I was a little nervous about baking the pie on the oven floor (per the pie recipe) so I had it on the lowest rack, which worked really well.

Oh! As far as the pumpkin goes, use a pie pumpkin. Cut it in 1/2, scrape seeds and stringy stuff out and roast in a 350 degree oven for 45-60 minutes (til a knife can slice through easily). Scoop the pumpkin out of the shell and puree. I placed the puree in a strainer lined with a couple of coffee filters and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight to drain out the excess water. It was ready to use in the morning!

I hope you and your loved ones had a very Happy Thanksgiving and you are enjoying a wonderful long weekend. We'll be heading out to my parents' house for Round Two tonight. I LOVE leftover thanksgiving food!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Soaking It In

I still find it hard to believe that this Thursday is Thanksgiving. We have really been blessed with amazing weather this Fall and we're doing all we can to enjoy every last bit of it. Yesterday we drove out to my parents' home in the country and enjoyed a leisurely walk while looking for the perfect 2009 Christmas tree. Usually we're out looking while trudging through at least a foot of snow and I agree to anything just so we can cut the thing down and I can get back into the warm house! We took a long red ribbon to tag the tree so we can tell which one it is in case it is covered in snow when we head back out in two weeks to cut it down.

Today the girls and I took a walk around our neighborhood and enjoyed the bright sunshine.
They say we may see some snowflakes Friday. I'm not sure about me, but I know A&O are ready!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Big Red

A couple of weeks ago I was checking my e-mail on a Friday night and I received a notice that Clifford the Big Red Dog was going to be visiting a cute, independent book store the next day. Clifford is a favorite character of my girls right now, but because the store is a little farther away than most, and I was hoping we could try to sleep in (yeah, right!) and have a relaxing Saturday morning hanging out in our jammies, I deleted the e-mail.

Did we sleep in? No. But the look on A&O's faces when they saw Clifford was pure joy! I'll take that over an extra hour of sleep any day.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A post just so I remember!

Each day after 'school' I ask A&O how their day was, what they did, if they had fun, what they had for snack, what their favorite part of the day was, etc. By the time Kevin comes home at dinner, I have a pretty good idea what went on (and in detail!) at school and the girls often ask me to tell Daddy about certain parts of their day at school.

Today when I got to the school for pick-up, the girls came running out of their classroom to tell me about something new and exciting that happened this morning. This evening when Kevin arrived home from work:

Kevin: "How was school today?"
O: "Mommy! Tell Daddy about the screwdriver at school today!"
Me: (thinking and drawing an absolute blank... about 15 seconds later I got it...trying to hold back the giggle...) "Oh, drill! There was a fire drill at school today!"

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sounds of the Season?

We were having a little bit of trouble with one or both of the girls waking up very early in the morning and yelling, "Is it awake time?". Neither girl knows how to tell time at this point so putting a clock in their room and telling them they have to stay in bed until 6:45am would mean nothing. 95% of the time both girls are awake by 6:45am so I decided to put a small alarm clock radio in their room and set the radio to go off at 6:45am. Now, whenever they wake up, they can only get out of bed and talk if the radio is talking. It took a couple of days for them to get the hang of it, but it seems to be working well.

When selecting the radio station for the girls' radio to play, I went with a soft rock/easy listening station. Usually A&O pay no real attention to what sound is coming from the radio. But, this morning Kevin and I woke to both girls yelling, "It's Christmas! It's Christmas!". Apparently this particular radio station has already switched over to the 'Sounds of the Season'. Someone really should write some nice Thanksgiving tunes!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lucky Me!

I feel very lucky to have a husband who will entertain the kids after dinner so I can get dinner dishes cleaned up and have some time to check e-mail, talk with a friend, or do whatever I choose until it's time to take the girls upstairs to get ready for bed. We all love this time!

Saturday, November 7, 2009


I found out yesterday that my 45 year old cousin, Jennifer, has breast cancer. There was only a 10% chance that a particular biopsy would come back showing cancer and it did. She will be undergoing a mastectomy, reconstruction and the removal of the sentinel lymph nodes under one arm to see if the cancer has spread. There is a 5% chance of that.

Prayers requested for a successful surgery and full recovery with zero additional cancer.

Also, please stop by my blog daily and click on the Pink Ribbon button to the right. Each click helps give a woman in need a free mammogram! Thanks.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Last Sunday morning, November 1, at 7am I was taking down and packing away all of the Halloween decorations. By the time Kevin and the girls came down the stairs for breakfast I had candles in turkey candlesticks as the table centerpiece and a couple of Thanksgiving decorations adorning the chandelier.

Don't get me wrong, I love Halloween. But because the actual holiday of Halloween is one filled with great excitement, frights, and sugar highs, it is almost as if I feel all of those things the whole time the decorations are up.

I'm feeling a lot calmer these days with the warm colors of Autumn dotted throughout the house. There is an excitement about Thanksgiving (yummy turkey with all of the trimmings and pies galore!) but it is a more relaxed, homier feeling. I'm liking it!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

All Hallows Eve!

Well, it was a success. The rain subsided, the wind dropped down a few notches (although the gusts were powerful!) and the jack-o-lanterns stayed lit. We headed out around 6:15pm and stopped by 15 of our neighbors houses. Candy bracelets and M&M's gave a slight sugar buzz before a later than usual bedtime, but for the first time EVER, the girls slept in to compensate for the later bedtime! A HUGE bonus for Mom and Dad. There was the potential of having two voices yelling "I'm awake" at 5:30am (the old 6:30am before Daylight Savings ended!).
(O was a 'flip phone' and A was a banana!)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Gooey and Slimy

We've been watching the weather forecast and hoping for the perfect night to go into the yard to carve pumpkins and sit fireside enjoying the crisp Autumn air. Unfortunately, the evenings have been mostly rainy and breezy (not a combo you want when you've got little ones just getting over double ear infections). So, around the dining room table it was. We 'gutted' the pumpkins one evening and the girls picked faces and Kevin carved the pumpkins the next (I just realized that I don't have any pics of the carved pumpkins! Stay tuned!).

Friday, October 23, 2009

Why didn't I realize it sooner?

We've all been fighting some cold/sinus thing. O just finished the last dose of her Rx and is sleeping straight through the night again. But, poor A. This whole week she has been waking up and calling for me at least 3x per night. Once I get to her bedside she has just been asking me to help find her blankee or bunny/mouse/lambie/whatever. I've been assuming that she's been sleeping lightly because she has been stuffed up. Until this afternoon when she casually mentioned her neck or maybe her ear was sore. I looked at the clock and it was 3:50pm. I quickly called the Pediatrician's office and they had one last spot at 4:10pm available. I reached my sister (who just happened to be driving down the road one street away!) to watch O and buckled A into her car seat.
As soon as my sister arrived, A & I headed out. She was talking away in the back seat when I asked her, "Does your ear really hurt right now?" She kind of looked at me with this little smile on her face that told me I most likely was worried about nothing. By that time we were already at the Dr's. office so in we went with my explanation to the Dr. ("I'm not sure if she just said it to be like her sister, or because it really hurts."). The wonderful Dr. quietly examined my babe and then said with a smile, "They really seem to do everything together. She's got a double ear infection, too!"

So, here I am feeling guilty for not figuring it out sooner. I've had several surgeries on my left ear and I know that the pain is brutal. Perhaps it was just starting to hurt? Perhaps they are a lot tougher than I am? Regardless, I'm thankful we could get in to the Dr's. office today and we have an Rx to fix what's wrong. Hopefully my A will soon be well and we'll get back to getting a good night's rest.

South Africa 2005: I wonder if these guys get ear infections?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Pediatricians' office was hopping!

Sunday morning O walked into the kitchen holding her right ear and said, "Mommy, I think I have an ear infection". I'm not sure if most 3 year olds can self-diagnose, but based on her past with ear infections, I believed the poor kiddo.

Monday morning I called the Pediatricians' office when they opened and I left a message requesting a 'sick visit'. I've never had to leave a message before, so when 10am rolled around and I hadn't gotten a call back, I called again and was politely told that the nurse would in fact be calling me, but at that point she had 40 messages and requests for sick visits! Knowing that the waiting room would be crawling with germs I arranged for my sister to come watch A while I got O checked out. I was happy I did that after I saw a child in a face mask walking out of the Dr's office with her mother upon our arrival! Our appointment ended up being at 4:05pm and by the time we got into the examining room my poor O was clutching her left ear as well. Double ear infection. Ugh!

When I returned home my other sister called to let me know that she and my nephew had just been to the Dr's office where my nephew had tested positive for the Swine Flu! The office staff made him put on a face mask and he had to leave through a back door!

(Old pic of A&O but I don't have any new, relevant pics to post)

Looks like those germs are out in full force! I'll be using a nasal wash and washing hands like crazy over here. What is your favorite health tip for staying well?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Day In

We're all feeling a bit under the weather. Kevin and I have some sinus thing going on with headaches and sore throats. A has a little cough and runny nose. O has a headache, sore throat and fever. Fortunately we have zero plans for the weekend so today we stayed in our jammies, played games and generally took it easy (not hard to do when it is chilly and dreary out!). Tomorrow will most likely be much of the same.

I hope you're having a happy and healthy weekend!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Awesome Video!

I saw this on facebook and think it is just so great. Enjoy & share!


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fall Farm Fun

This year we became members of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) by purchasing a share from a local farm. For the past 21 weeks we've been receiving a box of fresh, local vegetables every Thursday. We've always been fans of "fresh & local" by supporting our Farmer's Market (there is one about two blocks away from our home) but there is an element of surprise with CSA that we wanted to experience: you don't get to choose what you're getting! As a result we've enjoyed the standard vegetables (corn, asparagus, potatoes, beets, cabbage, beans, etc.) as well as those that we most likely wouldn't have purchased (kohlrabi, garlic scapes, tomatillos, bok choy and rutabagas).

This past weekend the family who owns and runs the farm where our vegetables are grown had a potluck dinner on the farm for all of the share holders. Even though the temperature was only in the upper forties, we had a super time! The afternoon started with real popcorn where kids were shelling dried corn on the cob and then popping it. That is awesome popcorn (even without butter and salt!!). Next came a walking tour of the farm and fields. My families' favorite part was picking (or trying to!) carrots and selecting pumpkins off of the vines (my happy, snappy camera batteries died after my carrot photos!).

Mean Mommy taking a pic of my dear O as she went flying onto her bottom when the carrot green broke with the carrot still in the ground!

Finally, there was the dinner. Each family was asked to prepare a dish to pass that included vegetables from their share. I made potato and fennel au gratin using fresh Yukon Gold potatoes, fresh fennel, and fresh garlic (along with gruyere cheese, half & half cream, and salt & pepper). The most creative dish was named Secret Chocolate Cake and it was made with beets!

After an afternoon in the cool, fresh air and a delicious dinner we headed home. It was no surprise to me that we all slept very well Sunday night!

Friday, October 9, 2009

1, 2, 3 Pinch Sniff

Oh, my silly girls. Today we had an appointment for A&O's seasonal flu vaccine and they were so excited! They spent yesterday giving shots to their stuffed bears and babies, "1, 2, 3 Pinch!," the same way Blue gets her shot in the Blue's Clues book.

So we get to the doctor's office, take left arms out of sleeves, are all ready and the nurse walks in with the nasal mist flu vaccine! I seriously thought I was going to see tears because there were no needles! I quickly distracted their feelings of disappointment with Googly Grape flavored Lollipops and we headed home. Perhaps a band aid each to play with will help, too!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I knew this was coming

Ever since A&O started preschool I've been hanging multiple works of art much more frequently. We've got paintings in the playroom, living room and kitchen, and collages in the dining room. I spied some sculptures drying on a shelf at 'school' yesterday when I picked the girls up. Where to put those when they make their way home?! I either need more wall and storage space or to be less sentimental. What the heck does a Mommy do with all of these Masterpieces?!? At this point I'm displaying each work for a week or two, then taking photos of them before taking them down and hiding most in the bottom of the recycling bin. But... some just tug at my heartstrings (those little hand prints!) and then those go into the growing pile on the floor in the guestroom. Maybe at the end of the year I'll weed through the pile and save a couple of pieces for each girl.

Did your parents save any of your artwork from when you were a child? If so, what did you do with it? If not, do you wish they had?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Another Year Wiser

Yep, I had a birthday this week!

On my Birthday Eve I had to leave the house for a while so Kevin and the girls could bake some special cupcakes and wrap presents. When I returned home my little ones looked like they were about to turn inside out with excitement over the Birthday secrets they held. I awoke on my Big Day to hugs, kisses, a handmade card and presents wrapped with love (A&O hid the gifts under their beds so they would be easy to get to in the morning~ they were thrilled!) and the rest of the day was just as perfect. I am truly blessed.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I ♥ Faces... Blue

If I'm ever going to really learn how to take great photos I've got to practice. I ♥ faces is a photography blog with weekly contests/challenges that I'm going to start entering. This week the theme is Blue. I've posted this 'happy, snappy' shot before and wish I could have had a new, technically correct photo to enter (with a focused face!), but I told myself I was starting this now, so here goes... Hopefully I'll improve as the weeks go on!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Neighbors

How do you like your neighbors? We are so lucky to have really wonderful neighbors. Tonight we had our next door neighbors over for dinner because they are moving. They've bought a great old house and have been working night and day renovating the place and it is looking super. I'd say we are going to miss them, but fortunately their new house is right across the street!
It is cool and rainy so it was nice to have the oven on warming the house a bit. First, I put a blueberry pie in the oven to bake while I prepped our meal. I'm usually not a casserole kind of girl but I chose an old family favorite, Chicken Divan (Or "Chicken for Dan" as my brother-in-law Dan would say). Add some rice and an arugula salad and we were good to go.

I think everyone liked it!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ugh! It only took two weeks.

Band-aid fun!

I know they say attending school will help build a child's immunity but I was hoping it would take a little longer than this. My dear little A caught a bug and didn't feel well all weekend. Sunday was the worst, with a fever and coughing. Monday was much better and she was able to go to school today. When I asked how the day was I heard about playtime, art projects, snack, and the little girl who threw-up on the rug. Lovely. I have a feeling we might be in for a rough weekend.

Change of Season

Fall. I think it is my favorite season. Bring on the color!

Friday, September 18, 2009

While Mommy does the laundry...

This morning while I was sorting clothes and throwing in a load of wash, A&O were busy in their bedroom. Apparently, they were getting their hair done.

After the fun of that wore off they made their way into our bedroom where I was folding laundry. Within seconds the laundry basket became a great source of fun.

It reminded me of when my big three year olds were little not-quite-one year old babes.

We've got relatives in town for a cousin's post wedding celebration so we've got a big family dinner tonight and the big celebration tomorrow night. What are your plans? Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

And Another First!

Last week Tuesday was A&O's very first day of pre-school! In preparation we had a private meeting at the school the week before to meet teachers "Miss Sandy" and "Miss Ellen" and to see the classroom where all of the fun and learning would take place. We also made a paper chain to count down the days, so A&O were really eager to get started!

As hard as I tried to keep things super calm and orderly, the morning of the first day felt a little too rushed for my liking. We didn't get to take the official first day photo before we left the house, and once we got to school O wanted NOTHING to do with my camera. The best I could do were these shots from the front seat of the van!

Fortunately, our girls were happy (a bit shy, but happy) as we entered their classroom. I got a bit flustered when a boy in the same classroom clung to his father and screamed "DON'T LEAVE ME HERE!", but A&O found that scoping out the fun, new toys was more interesting. I actually had to interrupt them to get a kiss and hug good-bye!

Kevin (who took the day off from work) and I hung out in a lounge at the school for about 20 minutes just to be sure there wasn't any 'delayed separation realization' before heading home. I have to say it felt quite strange to be at home with Kevin and no children. That hasn't happened in over three and a half years! I was feeling emotional but did all I could to keep from falling apart. Kevin mowed the lawn while I did the morning dishes, made beds, and threw in some laundry. When Kevin came in to see if I was ready to head back to pick the girls up I took one look at him and I couldn't keep a few tears from falling. They are just growing up too fast! And with twins being my only kids it was like a double whammy!

We were thrilled to find our girls engaged in an activity when we arrived back at the school. They were happy to see us and excited to tell us all about their day. And there was even talk about going back. I'd call that a super first day!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Another First

Last summer, after learning of Stephanie Nielson and her almost fatal plane crash, I began reading all of the archived posts on her blog NieNie Dialogues. I just love the way this woman views Life and her role as a Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister and Friend! I have bookmarked many of Stephanie's posts with the thought that I could borrow some of her wonderful ideas and incorporate them into my own family life.

One of those ideas is the tradition of a Family Back to School Feast. Since A&O were starting Pre-School I thought this was the perfect time to start our very own Back to School Feast tradition. Since we were dealing mainly with three year olds, I didn't go too crazy. I hope to create some special crowns that will be presented on Kindergarten Eve (with the thought of using the same crowns each year but adding a little something to them to remind them of each grade).

The table: brought out the good china!

Big half sister J (I'm thinking this is her debut on my blog!)

O enjoying her meal!

A loving her milk out of a glass goblet!

We all had fun and look forward to a great school year!