Saturday, November 27, 2010

The best day ever (at least pretty close)

Have you ever had one of those days when you just want to be a kid again, you want to let your hair down and say to heck with the cares of the world ? That was me today. Reagan was invited to a Birthday party at the local roller skating rink, to say that I was less than thrilled to take her is an understatement, 3 hrs at a roller rink with a kid that doesn't skate can we say "WooHoo" ? Off we went I did the mommy thing, and then watched as my kid precariously took off on these big clonking shoes with wheels, to say she looked uneasy is an understatement, imagine a baby duckling on ice. As I watched her tackle the rink, listened to the pounding music and watched other skaters gliding past her I started to feel a little sorry for her (They won't let you on the rink without skates), my feet were itching to put a pair of skates on, though I've only ever ice skated or roller bladed ( eons ago) and the only available skates were the 2 in front and 2 behind kind which to me were a little intimidating. Then Reagan's words resonated through my head, when asked if she was sure she wanted to go she said "I would really like to at least try", then I thought how tickled I would have been at her age if my Mom would have made a complete fool of herself and joined me on the rink and that's when my mind was made up, I went and bought my ticket and rented my first pair of 'traditional' roller skates ever. When Reagan saw me her face was priceless, I may not have had a camera to capture the smile but I think that look will be engrained into my brain forever. My first time around I told her I needed to go alone and she needed to stay far far away from me while I got my 'Skate legs' It took a while for me to feel comfortable with not being able to slide my foot to the side, and not stop by doing a side slide but before long I got the hang of it and though I say so myself I rocked *WINK* I took Reagan's hand and edged her away from the wall, she fell once, cried, sniffed "I hate this" and wanted to go home, With a few encouraging words and a hug she ventured out again, before long she was only holding my hand and not doing a death grip to the side ledge, a couple of times she wanted to leave the rink, she'd had enough but I couldn't keep off of it, she'd watch and smile and I could see the look on her face, I'm thinking it was the same one I had earlier in the afternoon, the wanting but being unsure, I got her out again and told her to copy my feet, she did, she rocked, she laughed, giggled, fell and started laughing so hard I couldn't get her back up again, before I could say "Roller skates" she said "Do you think we could go out into the center ?" Yes my child that was death gripping the wall 2hrs previous was wanting to go out into the very middle of the rink where there was nothing but a Mommy's had for stabiliy, I took her out to the very middle circle and told her to look around, she was really in the middle of the rink and was standing unaided, her look was again one of those priceless ones and then before we knew it the DJ was announcing that he was playing the last somg of the session and guess what ? We were the last ones out there.
This afternoon started out with being one of those obligatory Mommy duties and ended up being an afternoon of fun and more importantly an afternoon when I became more child like in my thinking and let the stresses of everyday life take a back seat and made some pretty fun life long memories with my favorite 7 year old.
We're already talking about when we should go next :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Etsy Black Friday shop

Many, many stores over at Etsy are having Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, many are having sales all weekend. Go on over and check out the fabulous stores that are participating and pick up something that's a tad more unique than what you'll find w/ all the commercial door busters at the mall.

From now until midnight Monday I am having my own sale, 10% off all items plus free shipping anywhere in the U.S just use this code at checkout TGT2567.
Hope to see you there.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Music to my ears

Reagan is not a big vege eater at all and I find it very frustrating but that may have all come to a screeching halt, I just introduced her to Lays French Onion Dip. She was starving and needed a little something to tide her over before dinner, I suggested dip and tortilla chips, she was a little leery she's never eaten French Onion Dip before. I put a dollop on a chip, her eyes lit up like a Christmas tree, "Hmmm, this is AWESOME, you know what would be really good with this ? Vegetables"  No way Jose, she's now sitting with a plate of raw veges, a little bowl of dip, happily munching away and watching an episode of " Good Luck Charlie"  (Love that show.) It really is the little things huh ?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Chocolate and Pumpkin cupcakes

If you are looking for a Fall cupcake then this is the one, so yummy and you can adjust the spices to your liking. I used pumpkin pie spice, but cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger would be awesome too.

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes

 Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

1/2 C butter
1 1/2 C packed brown sugar
3 Large eggs 1 1/2 C sifted cake flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 Tbs Pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup Buttermilk*
1 can Pumpkin puree
2 tsp Vanilla

1.Cream together butter and sugar
2.Beat in eggs one at a time
3. Blend all of the dry ingredients together 
4.Stir together Pumpkin puree, buttermilk and vanilla
5. Alternately add dry ingredients and Pumpkin mix to the creamed butter, sugar and eggs

Pour batter into cupcake holders and bake for 25 mins.

These are delicious frosted with the frosting from this post .

 * If you don't have buttermilk you can substitute for 1 cup of your preferred milk mixed together with 1Tbs of apple cider vinegar

Monday, November 1, 2010

When bad things turn into good

Saturday I got busy making cupcakes for a Halloween party we went to last night, I'd decided on Chocolate and Pumpkin cupcakes covered in Ganache, then I was going to frost on a spiders web and stick a plastic spider in the middle, cute huh ?
I baked the cupcakes, they turned out great, went on to make the Ganache, the same Ganache I've made a million times before and FAIL, it turned out NASTY !! Started off using Bittersweet chocolate (that'll teach me not to read the box) then I heated it up too quickly and it got all grainy and separated on me, I wondered if I could salvage it, I dipped my finger in to see how it tasted and oh, my face squished into a thousand directions, the only place it was good enough for was the garbage.
So then it was onto Plan B, I no longer had time for the Ganache to be made, cooled and set in time for frosting, I didn't have a can of frosting on hand so I surfed the net and came up with an awesome recipe, I'd link you to it but I can't find it now, I will however share it with you all. Never again will I buy canned frosting, this is delish. I added some extra pumpkin spice to mine to give it an extra Fall type taste. The consistency was more in tune to that of mousse and despite the amount of sugar it wasn't overly sugary at all.

Chocolate Frosting (To die for)
2 3/4 c Confectioners Sugar
6 Tbs Unsweetened Cocoa powder
6 Tbs Softened butter
5 Tbs Evaporated milk
1 tsp Vanilla

1. Sift together sugar and cocoa
2. Cream butter until smooth
3. Alternately add Sugar mix and milk
4. Blend in Vanilla
5. Adjust as needed


Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday, Monday

Ever have one of those days when you're just not ready for the day to start and you certainly don't want to start negotiating first thing in the morning ? That happened here today, Monday came around way too quickly, my bed was too warm and the hour too early. I needed to be eased into my day and negotiating wardrobe choices with my 7 y/o certainly wasn't on the agenda, so yes, I let her go to school looking like this.
I'm sure the her teachers are wondering if I've lost it, was I thinking it was St Patricks Day coming up instead of Halloween ? Did I read the school dress code policy ? (I did, it's the way she's standing that makes those shorts look shorter than they really are.. right ? ) Maybe they'll think that my washing machine broke down and I couldn't get to the laundromat, maybe they'll be concerned and wonder if I'm sick and too ill to make sure that my child is appropriately dressed for school. Or maybe, just maybe, they'll nod their heads understanding that we all have one of those Mondays when the mere fact that my kids were sent off w/ a full belly, and brushed teeth and hair was an accomplishment  in itself

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It was one of those days

I got up at my regular 'O Dark Thirty and heard the wind and rain, put my foot out of the bed and felt the nip in the air.
I went about my usual morning routine, coffee, packing lunches, saying "Goodbye" to one child while waking up another, you know the normal Mommy thing, but the more I heard and saw the rain the more I really didn't want to go out, I turned on the heat for the first time since April and suddenly the house was filled with a cozy warmth, making it even harder to want to start the day for real. Before I knew it it was time to take Rea to school, I threw on my sweats pulled back my hair and off we went, I couldn't wait to walk back into my house again, when I did I was met with the yummy warming scent of a Glad Plug In, my house felt and smelt cozy. I went about doing dishes and then sat at the sewing machine and started working on an order, all the while the wind was howling the rain was pouring but I was warm and snug in my abode and my thoughts turned to dinner.... Home made Chicken Noodle Soup, Home baked Bread Rolls and an apple pie or apple crisp ( That was my biggest decision of the day ) YUM !!! and that's how my day continued until it was time to go back out again to pick up Reagan from school, I ran upstairs to brush my hair before I left and that's when I saw it..... I hadn't showered all day, my hair was still pulled back, I still had on my sweats, not a scrap of make up was to be seen and well, I looked like I had just rolled out of bed. I just stood and stared, a little taken aback. I'm a shower first thing in the morning gal, I NEVER wear sweats throughout the day unless I'm deathly ill, my hair is always done, my face is always moisturised and with a little make up, I always look like I am ready for my day. I looked at my watch and I had 5 mins to fix my hair, brush my teeth and put on a little make up, no time for a change of clothes, it was what it was, I put dinner on to simmer, the rolls were rising, the apple crisp was baking and I ventured out of my house for the second time that day into the cold and rain, I picked up my girls, we came home and were greeted by the amazing aromas of soup and apple crisp (no fake Glade this time) the bread rolls had doubled and were ready for baking, the table was set and soon as a family we sat down and ate a meal together sharing the happenings of our day and you know what ? It was the perfect day. It didn't matter that I didn't look like my usual put together self, it was what was in my heart that made the day so perfect. The contentment of having a wonderful family to provide for and a business where I can come and go as needed and work in my sweats, my customers will never know (unless they read this) and it sure as heck didn't matter that I wasn't wearing any make up, I was just happy being me and doing what I love. I've a feeling there might be more "Throw on the sweats and go" kind of days around here, though I will shower and fix my hair, that was kinda gross, by the time the realization hit that I hadn't showered it was another 6hrs before I could stand under those jets and that just kind of left me with an 'ick' feeling.

Monday, October 18, 2010

My favorite shades of orange

I'm not generally an orange loving person but for a couple of months out of every year it becomes one of my favorites
Who can resist pumpkin patch orange ?
                        Or the orange glow of a fire on a crisp Autumn night ? 
Even Jack Frost can't defeat these hardy flowers as they give us one more glorious glimpse of color before Old Man Winter shows up

Friday, October 15, 2010

Why do I need a wider window ledge ?

So that all the flowers Reagan picks for me don't end up in my kitchen sink.
Bouquets from the florist are beautiful but ones hand picked by a 7 y/o are so much more special

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It's October

You know what that means right ? It means that it's Breast cancer awareness month. Have you done your self breast examination this month ? Are you up to date on your Mammogram ? You know that place on your breast that just doesn't feel/ look right ? Go get it checked out now !!!!

Everybody thinks of breast cancer as A) something that happens to somebody else, B) Something only women get,  C)  Women younger than 35 don't get it , D) It always starts off with a lump.

Guess what ? all of those assumptions are WRONG, it doesn't always happen to somebody else, you and me are just as likely to get it as the person at the end of your street, not only women get it. Yes it's rare for men to get it but they can and do, we had a male family friend diagnosed with it 15 years ago, he underwent chemo and radiation therapy and then went into remission,he was one of the lucky ones. Women of all ages can and do get it, when I was nursing back in VA we had a 16 y/o girl come in for what appeared to be nothing more that Fibrocystic Breast Disease, it did sadly end up being breast cancer. Not all breast cancer starts off with a lump, the most fatal and aggressive type of breast cancer is Inflammatory Breast cancer, it starts off w/ a red area on your breast, is tender and hot to touch, as it progresses you will notice that the breast enlarges, the nipple appearance changes and you may notice a discharge. If you notice any of the above PLEASE go get it checked out. My own mother noticed small changes in one of her breasts, the skin got dimpled and was hot to touch, she blew it off, figured it was an infected mosquito bite, it wasn't until her nipple inverted, her breast tissue turned to almost black and she was in excruciating pain that she saw a Dr, by then it was too late, the cancer had already metastasized into her bones and she died 15 months later. She never got to see her first Grandchild reach her first Birthday, she never saw her son get married, she left behind a father who had to sit back while his one and only child died in front of him, she left behind a husband who worshiped the ground she walked on, I don't get to call up my Mom and ask mothering advice, I have to rely on friends and instinct. Could her death have been prevented ? I don't know, could early detection have given her more time ? Yes, more than likely.
Can early detection of 'traditional' breast cancer save lives ? Absolutely. So go do that breast exam, make sure all the women in your life are doing theirs and if you notice or suspect that by even the remotest chance there could be something wrong make an appt and go see your Dr immediately, your friends and family will thank you for it and you won't miss out on some of the wonderful milestones in your own life and the lives of your loved ones, it might just be the most unselfish thing you've ever done.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

In a blink of an eye

Thursday night I went to bed, Mom to a teen, a tween and a 7 y/o, Friday morning I woke up and found myself the Mom to 2 teens. It doesn't seem possible that I could possibly have 2 teenagers, it doesn't feel right saying "Victoria and the little kids" Ben was always one of the "little kids" now I'm going to have to start saying "Reagan and the big kids"
I was looking through pictures yesterday and came across Ben's Birthday pictures taken  last year, he looked like a little boy, he was still wearing a size smaller than his age, he was shorter than me and his feet were about the same size as mine. This year his looks have changed, now he's all teenager no doubt about it, he has the skater hair cut, his legs reach his arm pits, he's an inch taller than me, his feet are 2 sizes larger than mine, he's wearing large youth or small men size clothing and girls are no longer "Icky".
But some things  have stayed the same, he is still Ben, the kid who no matter what will stand up for what is right even if it's not the popular choice, still opens doors for his sisters and me, still talks to adults as though they are not an alien species, still adores his little sister (though sometimes they fight like cat and dog), still has stinky feet (I hope that changes one day), still loves Elmo and Cookie Monster, still loves to skateboard everywhere he goes, and is still just a good kid, I know he's mine and so I might be a little partial, but it is what it is, he's a good kid.
He's definitely not perfect, sometimes those hormones kick in and he becomes this alien life form, he still looks like Ben and sounds like Ben but dear Lord, he can get whiny, pouty, mouthy and down right belligerent, and I have to admit that throws me for a loop. Sometimes I see the absurdity of the moment and find myself laughing at his outbursts, (they can be that ridiculous) other times I just get free weeding out of it ( #1 punishment around here ) and sometimes he gets sent to his room like a naughty 2 year old to calm down.
At the end of the day though, he is my son, I love him and wouldn't have him any other way.
Hope year 13 is a wonderful one for you Buddy, love you to the stars and back, always and forever, Mom xox

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Scarf Giveaway

Everybody likes something for nothing right ? With scarf season upon us you might want to get a head start over here

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Quick, Easy, Nutritious & Tasty

Sounds good huh ? I think as busy women we are always looking for something that includes all 4 of those words and my guess is that most of us manage to get in the Nutritious, but the quick, easy and tasty ? Not so easy, seems like we think we have to slave away at the stove for an hour or more in order to feed our family something that we see fit for their consumption.. Where did we first get that notion ?
Well I have found something that fits each one of those categories and it's something all of the kids and adults in the family enjoy.. I should call it success on a plate, oh and there's very little clean up too, even better :)
Julie was looking for new recipes, another thing I think we all struggle with, coming up with something new and not the same old, same old. So I decided to share with her and all of you, one of our tried and true suppers and one that's so simple your kids can even help with the process.

Tangy Quesadillas

Roast chicken, torn into bite size pieces
Grated cheese
Cilantro (chopped)
Finely chopped jalepeno (optional)
BBQ Sauce
Soft tortilla shells

Mix the cheese, cilantro and jalepeno together in a bowl.
Take one tortilla, on one side place your chicken, sprinkle with your cheese mix, pour on a little BBQ sauce, fold the other half of the tortilla over so it looks like a half moon. Place on a skillet at medium heat and cook for 4 mins per side until ligtily browned and the cheese has melted, serve w/ a mixed salad and tada, dinner is served :)
 Easy peasy. Sorry about the poor picture quality, but I saw Joys post just as I was serving our dinner and so snapped a quick pic before one of the kids devoured it

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Really ?

I can't believe it's been almost 2 months since I blogged, guess I've been in a blogging slump, ah well, it happens to the best of us right ?

What a difference 2 months makes, Reagan went from 6 to 7 and  into 1st Grade, Ben went from 12 to 13 ( at least will be on Friday) and into 7th grade, Victoria graduated High School and started her first job, I gave in and let Victoria's boyfriend give Reagan a puppy for her Birthday... what was I thinking ? the school runs started back up, schedules fell back into place along with Fall sports and Marching band,  I have found myself with more hours in the day to do as I please than I have in the last 18 1/2 years and it feels weird and liberating all at the same time.
Just like 95% of the U.S population we are having a tough time making ends meet and so the shop that went into a slump during the Summer also,  is now picking up and with the (much) cooler temperatures keeping me more inclined to want to stay inside, I have rekindled my love affair with my sewing machine and we have been inseparable this week creating things for the Fall and upcoming Holiday season, can we really be thinking holidays already ? In fact we have been so inseparable that my husband asked me just the other night if I could maybe drag myself away from the machine for a couple of hours and give him a little attention, I obliged but reminded him that Fred Singer provides clothes for our children, to which he retorted "I provide a roof over their heads" Couldn't argue with that logic, appears that they're both great providers and help immensely in the creativity dept.
Marc helped create these 3 beauties

Fred helped create these

The latter 3 are for sale in the shop The other 3 I'm bound by law to keep :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Such a bitter sweet month, a month where we celebrate knowing that we have 1 more month of Summer vacation, yet feel a little sad knowing that we only have 1 more month of Summer vacation.
We get to celebrate Reagan's Birthday, when is a Birthday not fun to celebrate ? I love the build up to Birthday celebrations, but it also reminds me that my 'baby' is no longer a baby, this year she'll be 7, why does that seem like such a big number ?
We have to buy new school supplies, I love buying school supplies almost as much as the kids, but somehow the fun gets sucked out of it knowing that they are going to be used for such a serious purpose... I always buy extras to keep at home for fun projects though, I'm a sucker for brand new crayons and markers.
This Summer Ben and Reagan both went through growth spurts, bah for having to fork out wads more money for new clothes, but yay for all the big Going Back To School sales to lessen the hurt just a tad.
But the one thing I won't be sorry to be rid of ... the constant arguing. After 7 weeks home together the novelty has worn off, the kids are driving each other crazy, they are nit picking the screaming hurts my brain and makes my ears bleed, instead of sleeping in they are getting up earlier and earlier, each one hoping to reach the TV control, the computer, the last serving of cereal, the last pancake, before the others eyelids even beginning to twitch. Last night Reagan had it all planned out, she was getting up early to make B'fast for Marc and me (How sweet was that ?) but she wanted to make pancakes, there were only 2 left, Ben's favorite B'fast food ? Yep, you guessed it, pancakes. At 7am I heard the telling squeak of her bedroom door and then the running of her footsteps down the stairs, her determination to get the last of the pancakes was quite impressive, she made the Breakfasts and bought them up to the bedroom, a smile spreading from one ear to the other, not only had she gotten to make the Breakfasts that she apparently went to bed dreaming about, but she beat her brother, her celebration didn't last too long, within minutes of her 'win' I heard much bigger footsteps running down the stairs and then the little whoop of "Yes" as big brother plonked himself in the big cozy chair, remote in hand and trying to find the one early morning TV show that he could at least tolerate in order to ensure that it would be one little sister couldn't stand, after all where's the fun in finding a show they could both enjoy ?
So yes, I'll be sad to say "Goodbye" to 'Fly by the seat of your pants' days,but to say "Goodbye constant arguing" makes me almost excited to see that big yellow school bus in just 3 short weeks.
*SNIFF* Who am I kidding ? I hate the kids going back to school, I want Summer to last forever, I want lazy days at the beach, in the pool, reading under the willow, playing cards, going on hikes to last forever and ever, I'll even forfeit the crayons and markers if Summer could last just a little bit longer

Monday, August 9, 2010

A weekend of firsts

I love that for the most part my kids love to try different things that take them out of their comfort zone, I was definitely not that way when I was a child and I have a hard time with it now, so to see my kids embrace new things is like a breath of fresh air.
This weekend a friend of mine hosted a crab feast and what better way to get it going than to go catch the crabs ? (There were back ups just in case) 
I had no clue what to expect therefore neither did Reagan but she had so much fun and has requested that we go back and do some more on her Birthday (I think that can be arranged) The crabs were biting one after another which made the whole experience a whole lot more fun.
Once we'd had enough of the heat it was back to Mindy's house for clean up, food prep, and Karaoke. Marc and Ben met us over there (they didn't crab, they golfed instead) Another of our friends set up the Karaoke system and Ben jumped in as though he'd done it all his life, Reagan was a little mike shy and realised karaoke isn't the same as singing along to the radio, but she had a blast regardless.
Love, love, love weekends like this and talking of firsts I also picked the first of my tomato crop. I was a little late in planting and was beginning to wonder if we'd ever get tomatoes this year but sure enough they've started to come along nicely.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Drastic times call for drastic measures

Living here in MD we are visited here every Summer with a myriad of annoying bugs, after this year I may want to move to Alaska where I only need to worry about mosquitoes. This Summer has been HOT and because of it it has been a bad year for ticks and fleas, blech, blech, blech.
Our biggest problem this year are the fleas, OMG, I have spent more time and money trying to eradicate them from our lives this Summer than any other year and I think they are taking out their revenge on me. I wear socks around the house and they climb to the top of my sock and bite me all around the sock band, looks lovely.
I'm itchy and it's driving me nuts but something has bitten me between 2 toes, it's blistered up, the toe is red and inflamed and it HURTS !!! Last night I couldn't sleep it itched so much, I got up and went into the bathroom to spray some anti itch stuff on it only to find the bottle was empty, I was almost beside myself, I looked in my draw to see what I had and lo and behold I had some Vagisil cream left over from a yeast infection earlier in the year (I know TMI) now if it can work for my girl parts I reckon it can work on my not so delicate parts right ? so I covered my toe and guess what ? Immediate relief, OMG it felt so good. Of course because my toe itched the other bites decided to itch, so I covered myself in Vagisil, went back to bed and had a glorious night sleep.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Sweet taste of Summer

 One of our favorite summer activities is to go fruit picking, is there anything more rewarding than going out, picking fresh produce and then bringing it home to turn it into something even more wonderful ?
Monday, Reagan and I ventured out to pick blueberries (So much easier than strawberries) and purchase fresh peaches at one of our favorite farms in order to come home and bake one of Reagan's favorite cakes, Peach and Blueberry Pound cake .
This cake has to be one of our favorites, it's perfect all year round, served alone at tea time or served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream as a tasty desert

                     Peach and Blueberry Pound Cake


 1/2  C Softened butter
1 1/4 C Sugar
3 Eggs
1/4 C Milk
2 1/2 C Cake Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
2 1/4 C chopped peeled peaches
2 C Blueberries

In a mixing bowl cream butter and sugar . Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in milk. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt ; add to creamed mixture. Stir in blueberries and peaches. Pour into a greased and floured 10 inch fluted tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 - 70 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 mins, remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioners sugar if desired.
                                                                       ENJOY !!!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

No need for NASA ?

Last night we were sat eating a nice family dinner and the topic of circumcision came up. (don't most families have those types of discussions at dinner ?) Ben asked "What exactly is circumcision ?" so I explained it to him, he then asked if the penis looked different, I told him that yes it did, that it always reminded me a little of a rocket ship, I also went on to say that I wouldn't be surprised if in 10 years or so there will be far more uncircumcised boys than ever, to which Reagan pondered and then exclaimed, "So I guess we won't have to go to NASA" O.M.G, where does this child get her sense of humor from ?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Virus's are the worst

And I'm not talking the runny nose, sore throat, tummy ache, throwing up kind I'm talking the one that hit my computer a month ago and hasn't yet been resolved, whence the looooong break in posting. I hope to be able to resume normal postings in the next week or so, until then I'll check in when I can and leave you with a  shop update for those of you who may be interested in new oven mitts, placemat sets perfect for a Summer picnic or a handy dandy clothespin bag.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Best and The Worst

We have fabulous neighbors that live across the street from us and between our 2 households we appear to have come up with a bit of a bartering system, I do all of their clothing alterations and in return we get fresh produce straight from their garden, at least that was until a couple of weeks ago when Reagan returned some shorts I had mended and she came home with a humungous bag of Kettle Corn... O.M.G, that stuff is awesome, just the right combination of sweet, salty and crunchy to satisfy the 3pm munchies and the best part, 36 calories per cup, if you do Weight Watchers that equals 1 point. So it's tasty and guilt free a win win situation all the way around, can't beat that right ?

Now for the worst, have you bought Old Navy flip flops this year ? O.M.G, could they make them more uncomfortable ? I think not. What happened to the softer rubber, the slighter thicker thong between the toes to prevent rubbing ? I don't know about you but I'd rather pay $5 for one pair and have something wearable and comfortable than go for the $2 special this past weekend and end up w/ flip flops that make you want to walk barefoot and risk the bee stings than actually subject your feet to that hard plastic mess. I'm all for a bargain but when it comes to the cost of comfort and especially in the Summer, forget it. Old Navy, please go back to your original materials and up the price a little, we really wouldn't mind. On a plus note, the kids sizes are still the original materials, last night I stuck my size 7 feet into my daughter's size 2 flip flops to walk out to the garage and they felt just right.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

When life hands you fabric scraps (and cardboard)

Make bookmarks.
If you sew and are anything like me you have tons and tons of fabric scraps sitting around somewhere, they're too small for a large project but too big to just toss and so we set them aside for the day we start quilting.... yeah right. I'm also one of those sewers that is helping to keep Wrights in business by buying their Bias Binding as opposed to making my own so I have all of those little cards laying around too,but I KNEW that one day they would become useful, and that day is today. I was determined to come up w/ a project to use up fabric scraps, Reagan wanted to give her classmates gifts, she mentioned a pillow each... Hahaha, she's a funny girl, 24 kids and 5 days, I don't think so, but bookmarks to accompany their Summer reading books, perfect right ?
So without further ado I went to work, they are so easy to make I figured I'd write a quick tutorial for them, in case some of you out there are in need of quick projects too, and no worries if you don't sew , a hot glue gun works just as well.

Take your cardboard insert from a pkg of binding, or a piece of cardboard measuring 2 inches x 5 inches and a piece of fabric measuring 13 1/2 inches x 3 1/2 inches

Place cardboard in the middle of the fabric

Fold your seam allowance over the edges of the cardboard and using a hot iron, press. do this on all 4 sides.

Once completely covered

Straight stitch close to the edge (or hot glue the edges down)

Stitch around all 4 sides and then take a hole punch, find the center top of your bookmark and punch 1 hole

Take 11 inches of co ordinating ribbon

Thread through the top and voila you have a bookmark to keep or giveaway with a favorite book as a special gift.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Fads, the art of negotiation and a lesson in manners

Who knew that a simple rubber band in the shape of some tangible item that springs back to its original shape even when pulled out in all directions could possibly be the next craze in America to appeal to Kindergartners and beyond ?
I had never even heard of them until a friend mentioned that they had been banned from her child's school, then another friend in a different state mentioned that her 5 y/o was crazy about them, I had just asked what they were and in walked Ben with 2 rubber things on his wrist,immediately I knew what they had to be, he showed them to me, exclaimed how cool he thought they were and away he went, all was quiet until Reagan caught sight of them "You have Silly Bandz ? No Way !!" That weekend a 6 y/o with chore money burning a hole in her pocket was walking the aisles of TRU in hopes of finding the much sought after Silly Bandz, 5 minutes later Ben came around from another aisle all flushed looking "Reagan, I just found the last packet of Silly Bandz" Her face lit up like a Christmas tree, seriously you'd have thought it was christmas with the yips of joy, hugs and sheer excitement that started to exude from her body.
The following week at school the trading began, apparently the presence of Silly Bandz must have made it's first true appearance in our town over that one weekend. There were stories of who traded what with who, who wasn't go to be friends with another if they didn't trade a bunny for a seal, what boy was going to beat up another because his Girlfriend traded the Silly Bandz he had given her, with another... it was CRAZINESS I tell ya.
Thursday rolled around and Reagan bounced out of school with a smug look on her face, looking oh so happy with herself. I asked "What's with the big smirk" "Well" she started off, Nubanu gave Stephen a heart Silly Bandz, he didn't want it and so gave it to Zachary, he likes me and gave it to me *Giggle giggle* " At that Victoria's ears perked up, "You have a heart Silly Bandz ? Let me see" Little sister dutifully took it off and gave it to big sis "I want it" Whined Victoria (Seriously)Reagan told her she could wear it to her Graduation that night and that was it, so a deal was made. The following day the original recipient of the heart S.B decided she wanted it back, Reagan told her point blank, nope, no can do, Monday the original recipient told her more forcefully this time "I want that silly Bandz back, I'm not going to be your friend if you don't give it back." To which Reagan responded "You might want to use your manners and say please" To which original recipient said "Please *HUFF*" and the response she was given was "That's better, you can have a bunny Silly Bandz, just not the heart." and that was the end of that, I believe Victoria is still wearing the much coveted heart, Reagan has a stash that she has decided not to wear to school "Because they get annoyng" and Ben walked out the door wearing an armful this morning.
Here's my question of the day Why can't I come up with some silly invention like a Silly Bandz and cause it to become the next fad ?

Friday, June 4, 2010

She did it

I can not believe that it's possible for me to be the mother of a High School Graduate.
15 1/2 years ago, 2 1/2 year old Victoria left home for the first time to attend Pre School, in one hand she had her Barney book bag, clutched in the other was her Pooh Bear stuffed toy, last night, 18 year old Victoria walked off a stage shaking hands w/ school administration with her right hand and clutched in her left was her High School Diploma.
Makes a Momma a little teary. Congratulations Victoria, we love you !!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What a difference 20 years makes

20 years ago I was living in England, I couldn't fathom ever being a mother,had no idea what it was like to live anywhere but the one house I'd lived in all my life, I'd never driven a car, swung a golf club or eaten sushi.
Now I'm living in the U.S, we're now in our 5th house and in State #3. I'm the proud mommy of 3 great kids and run a regular taxi service shuttling them between school, friends and work, sushi is a regular diet staple around here and today whilst out having fun and celebrating our 20th wedding Anniversary, I beat Marc for the first time at golf.. well, not really golf, it was putt putt, but hey I still beat him... he blames it on the heat and allergies, me, I'm blaming it on my wicked putting skills today :)

The last 20 years have been an adventure that's for sure, sometimes I've wondered if we'd ever reach this milestone, other times I couldn't fathom not.
So now we're onto the next 20, and will be kicking it off with our first born graduating high school tomorrow evening, hard to imagine that so much can possibly happen in such a period of time, especially when it feels that our Wedding just took place a couple of years ago.
So hun it's onward and upward, let's see where the next 20 years takes us.

Monday, May 31, 2010

In the country at night

I have lived in both town and country and can I just say that night time in the country is 10 times louder than in the city. In the city it's just people shouting, car engines and the occasional siren, I can sleep in the city with my windows open, the sounds of the city streets become white noise and I can sleep like a baby.
In the country it's a whole different ball game, during the day time, the only sounds I hear are the birds chirping and children laughing... love it, but at night, OMG, whole different ball game, it starts with the crickets chirping, quickly followed by what must be some of the biggest bull frogs, then the cicadas kick off, followed by an owl in the nearby woods and the Whip-Poor-Wills.
I love to sit out under the stars with a mug or glass of something and take in all the sounds around me, but when it's time for bed forget it, no windows open in this house, the sounds are so loud and so different that they never become white noise and alas I have to close up my windows, if I were to fall asleep to the night time orchestra, I would awaken at 5am, to the Dawn Chorus of all the birds that manage to roost and sleep in the trees around us.
Never in a million years would I have believed the country to be a place of endless noise at night

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The winner is .....

Victoria from (sorry my link up still isn't working)
Victoria.. the dinosaur print lunch kit will be on its way tomorrow.

To the rest of you thank you so much for entering.

Several of you asked where I bought my PUL from, I buy mine from Hancock Fabrics

Monday, May 17, 2010

Giveaway Day

It's Giveaway Day again over at sew mama sew (Click the title of this post and it'll take you over there) and to celebrate the beginning of the picnic season I am giving away one reusable lunch kit in your choice of fabrics offered. Each kit comes complete with a Sandwich wrap, 2 snack bags and a cloth napkin. No more plastic bags or paper napkins filling up the landfills.
Sandwich wraps double as a placemat, no more lying your food on nasty picnic or cafeteria tables.
Each wrap and snack bag is lined with PUL (Polyurethane laminated fabric) making them easy to keep clean, just wipe them down and reuse time and time again, want to throw them in the washing machine ? No problem. How about the clothes dryer ? Absolutely, though air drying would be better.
Want to win a set ? just leave me a comment telling me one of your favorite Summer activities along with your fabric choice.
This Giveaway is open to everyone(yes even all of you across the pond) and will close midnight May 20th. On May 21st early in the morning I will let the random generator work it's magic and post who the lucky winner is.

Good Luck !! and don't forget to check out all the other great giveaways. For some reason my link up won't work, so to find Giveaway participants go on over to

Fabric choices

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad

Had my Dad still been alive, today would have been his Birthday, I mentioned that to Reagan this afternoon and in true Reagan fashion she responded "Then we should bake his favorite cake" And so that is what we did.
Dad's favorite cake was a Victoria Sandwich Sponge cake filled with strawberries and fresh cream. As luck would have it I had gone strawberry picking with the girls yesterday and had made my first batch of jam for the season this morning, so everything was set for a wonderful Birthday cake and to remember the life of the person who would have devoured at least half of it.

Victoria Sponge Cake

For the Cake
1/2 C butter, softened
1C Granulated sugar
4 Large eggs
2C Cake flour
2tsp Baking powder
Pinch of Salt
1tsp Vanilla extract
4 Tbsp Milk

Strawberry and Whipped cream filling
4 Tbsp Strawberry Jam
2 C Fresh strawberries, sliced
1 1/2 C whipping cream, chilled
2 Tbsp Granulated sugar

Confectioners sugar to dust
Strawberries to garnish


1. Preheat oven to 350 degress. Butter and flour 2, 8 inch cake pans. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper

2. In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt

3. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla; then add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. On low speed slowly add the flour mixture. When flour mixture has been fully incorporated add milk 1 tbsp at a time, mix well into the batter

4. Pour batter into each cake pan. Bake in pre heated oven for 20 - 25 mins.

5. Turn cakes out onto cooling rack after 10 mins, let cool completely

6. Once cakes are completely cooled, spread one layer with strawberry jam, add sliced strawberries on top of the jam.
Whip cream, adding 2 tbsp sugar, until peaks form. Spread over the strawberries. Place other layer on top.
Dust with powdered sugar and garnish with strawberries.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Why I love Etsy

Etsy is becoming my one stop shopping spot, I can get pretty much anything I want/need all in one place without leaving my home and the best part is the people you find over there.
Recently I was hearted by a fellow Etsian who runs a soap shop, not sure what it was about her shop but I fell in love, it was one of those moments where you are pulled in but you're not sure why. I've never bought soap online, I don't like not smelling a product first, I have incredibly sensitive skin and so I'm really careful as to what I use on it and bar soap in general just does nothing for me, I'm a liquid soap kinda gal along w/ body wash on a scrubbie, though I will use a Dove soap bar on my face in the shower, but I was all out.
I contacted Deb the owner of the shop DedaNotions, explained to her about my sensitive skin and how dry my face gets and wondered if she had something. Right away she emailed me back telling me of her soap named 'Despair' Now I'll admit the name didn't make me feel real warm and fuzzy and then she went on to tell me how she'd originally made it for her son who was at the time suffering from acne, again that made me question it, why would I use the same soap as a kid w/ acne ? She also told me of her soap 'Innocence' totally fragrance free, sounded better than Despair too, right ? I debated trying one or the other and then she kindly offered to send me a sample of each.. ok, how's that for Customer Service ? A week went by and honestly, I never gave the soap samples much more of a second thought, though I did check out her shop a couple more times. Then this past Wednesday I went to my mail box and there was a pkg in there for me, I had no idea what it could be, I kept trying to remember what I'd ordered and then this awesome aroma came up from the envelope, Lemongrass to be exact.When I got into the house and opened up the package I was expecting to see small note card sized bars of soap, but instead Deb had sent me 2 full size bars, Holy cow !!! I emailed her right away and thanked her, she went onto tell me that she'd first mailed them to the wrong town, so the samples were returned to her, she felt horrid for the delay and so sent me 2 full size bars... O.M.G can we say "Excellent customer Service" I hadn't even considered it a delay and because she was sending me samples and not even wanting me to pay the S&H, so for her to go all out like that really impressed me.
The following day I tried both soaps and O.M.G (again) they're awesome. Despair is my absolute favorite soap of all time, it leaves my face feeling clean, moisturized and glowing after every wash, my face feels so good I don't even want to put make up on over it. I've used it for 4 days now and have already noticed a huge change in my complexion, it's no longer dull, it's healthy looking, my skin has honestly never felt better and the smell of the Lemongrass is to die for. Today I used it in place of my body wash and again I've fallen in love, Deb has herself a new customer.
I have also used the 'Innocence' bar on both my face and body, again with great results, but I like the smell of 'Despair' better, I am now using 'Innocence' on my 6 y/o, she thinks it's cool because it came in the mail and a "Lady really made this".
So if you're looking for a new soap go check out DedaNotions over at Etsy I promise you , you won't be disappointed.

*Anyone know how I can directly link ? I used to be able to, now I just get a box pop up and my link won't copy in there, it goes directly to my text.*

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Reagan's Chicken Noodle Soup

I am in shock. Reagan asked if she could make dinner tonight, she wanted to make soup with a recipe she'd made up. Admittedly it was pretty much like every other chicken noodle soup recipe out there but she tweaked hers and added her own flair and O.M.G it worked, her chicken noodle soup is the best I've ever eaten I could have had 3 bowls of it.(Ben did) She's happy to share her recipe with you, but please remember she's only 6 and she didn't measure any of the seasonings, just threw in what looked about right and tasted it until it was perfecto.

Reagan's Chicken Noodle Soup... Serves 4

3 Chicken Breasts
2 Potatoes... cut into small cubes
2 carrots... Cut into small cubes
3 C Chicken Broth
1 C Water
Lemon Pepper
Black Pepper
Poultry Seasoning
Egg Noodles

1) Season chicken breasts with lemon pepper and a little extra black pepper to add zing
2)Cook chicken breasts until no longer pink inside
3)Cut up chicken into cubes and set aside
4)Pour chicken broth and water into a large saucepan, stir in salt, pepper and poultry seasoning
5) Add chcken, potatoes and carrots to the broth and bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 mins, add egg noodles and continue simmering for another 20 mins.

Be sure to taste and adjust seasonings to suit your palette


Saturday, April 24, 2010

The difference between boys and girls

I'm the mommy to 2 girls and a boy, the girls are 18 and 6, the boy is smack dab in the middle at 12.

The last couple of weeks I've started on my Spring cleaning and have now finished all 3 kids rooms, the girls were the first to be done. In each one I found the typical girl stuff, make-up, hair pretties, magazines such as Seventeen and Teen People, Victoria had the usual teen girl stuff, dead flowers given from a date months ago, perfumes without the lids and a dozen different lotions, Reagan's room was full of stuffed toys, Littlest Pet Shop paraphernalia, tiny shoes belonging to Polly Pockets, and play make up... everything looked familiar and smelt as it should and then it was onto the 'Boy' room and Oh BOY !! The first thing that really hit me was the smell, I'm not even kidding, even a clean tween boy smells stinky, what is it with that ? I do remember reading an article a while back when Victoria was about 13, how Mother Nature bascally works her magic with the pheromones of a daughter making her smell disgusting to the father... interesting stuff huh ? So I'm wondering if the same works for the mothers of sons, because I'll tell you what, if a boy every approached me smelling like that when I was dating, I'd have sprinted in the opposite direction. I know he showers everyday, I know he uses deodorant and body spray and I know his clothes are always clean, so what the heck is the deal ? Before I could begin I had to open up a couple of windows, thank God it was a nice day.
Then I couldn't help but notice the other differences, I was finding things that I was totally oblivious to, things that looked like they belonged to something but what I have no clue. Instead of Polly Pocket shoes, I was finding miniature pedals, instead of little accessories belonging to plastic puppies I was finding teeny tiny wheels, there was no make up but these weird little metal and plastic things about 1 1/2 inches long, turned out they were mini screwdrivers for the mini pedals and mini wheels to make mini BMX bikes and skateboards.
There were no magazines with innocuous names like Seventeen but a magazine named Thrasher.. HELLO !! I had to make sure my son wasn't getting the big boys to buy his magazines, so I flipped through only to find pages and pages of skateboarders, BMX'ers, dirt bikers and other extreme sports. Everything just looked and smelt foreign.
When I was pregnant with Victoria I really thought she was going to be a he, I couldn't even imagine raising a girl, now I'm seeing that I am so better cut out for girls than boys, I understand what the girls are talking about, when Ben tells me how he just achieved a 360, just did a perfect kick flip or did a 6 stair downtown, I just nod my head, smile and add lots of encouraging sounds, making a mental note to research what he just said so that I can at least look like I know what he is talking about next time.
However the one good thing about stepping into the cave of the unknown this time was that I made a collection of treasures that I'd found and asked what each one was for and became educated. The next time I step on another of those damn plastic screwdriver thingies, I'll know it can go out in the garbage, because seriously you only need one screwdriver of each size, not a million. Thanks to Thrasher I now know that when he tells me he did a 6 step downtown, he'd better watch out and it had better be a Sunday when the govt buildings are closed and when he tells me he did a perfect 360 I can be totally 100% genuinely impressed because I know I sure as heck would never be able to launch myself and a skateboard up in the air and turn a full 360 degrees without falling in a huge heap and breaking every bone in my body.

The cost of some new air deodorizer ? $6
The cost of a new curtain rod ? $4
The cost of a new blanket ? $20
The cost of Thrasher magazine ? Priceless... I now know what my son is talking about and we can really communicate until he becomes a full fledged teen that is and forgets that to communicate we have to use words, not grunts.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day 2010

So what have you done today or in the last year to become more earth friendly ?

Personally for us as a family we have tried to cut down on all things disposable, no more paper napkins, paper plates, plastic cups or plastic baggies, we are now a cloth family. Not only is it good for the earth to stop filling up the land fills therefore, needing more space to throw our junk but it's good for the pocket book too, no more throwing our money out with the garbage literally.

This morning Reagan asked, just like last year, "Shouldn't everyday be Earth Day ?" and again I responded with "Yes Reagan, it should."
Last year she was home with me and so we got to do some fun projects, this year she is in school, but that didn't stop her from wanting to do something, she ran around finding all the recyclables for me to load up and take with me when I pick her up from school and then we'll run out to the recycling plant.
She also asked if she could have one of the reusable lunch kits I made yesterday to add to the store, I told her I needed it for the store to which she responded "But Mommy, wouldn't this be the perfect day to start using one ?" Can't argue with that logic can you ?
So off she went with her new handy dandy lunch kit and I'm here sewing up a storm adding more to the store as I go along for all of you out there in Cyber Land who are also looking at ways to 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Today in recognition of Earth Day all Clothespin bags are on sale at the reduced price of $10 and for one day only all of the Reusable Lunch Kits will be on sale for $15
If there is a print you would like but isn't available right now just convo me, and we'll work something out.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns! Hot cross buns!
One a penny two a penny - Hot cross buns
If you have no daughters, give them to your sons
One a penny two a penny - Hot cross buns

Today Reagan made her first batch of Hot Cross Buns, once they were baked and dripping with ooey gooey goodness we went around delivering them to friends and neighbors (legend tells us that sharing Hot Cross Buns on good Friday brings both good health and happiness for the next year to the recipient and the gift giver) Personally I think anytime we bake and share food with our friends and loved ones we get immediate gratification which is always heart healthy and who wouldn't feel loved after being gifted some wonderful yummy food ? (especially when baked by a 6 y/o :-) )

She measured

She rolled

She kneaded

She waited patiently for her dough to rise

She changed her outfit and then rolled buns

She glazed and baked

If you would like to make your own, we used this recipe posted over at The honey makes a wonderful change from cane sugar.

Honey-soaked hot cross buns, from my mom
Ingredients for buns:
1 package of dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water plus 2 tablespoons of water
3/4 cup of milk
½ cup of butter (one stick)
2 tablespoons of honey, plus more for glazing
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
½ teaspoon of nutmeg
3 eggs
2/3 cup raisins or currants
4 cups of flour (plus more if dough is too wet)

Ingredients for frosting:
1 cup confectioner sugar
2 tablespoons of water
1 tablespoon of honey

Combine dry yeast and 1/4 cup warm water.
Warm over low the milk, butter, salt and 2 tablespoons of honey until the butter has melted. (Do not let it come to a boil!) Add to yeast mixture.

Whisk in cinnamon, nutmeg and eggs into the mixture. Add 2/3 cup raisins and slowly add the flour, one cup at a time.

Knead on a lightly floured surface for five minutes until the dough is smooth and resilient.

Let rise covered in greased bowl until double.Then punch down the dough and divide into 24 balls and place, sides touching, in a greased and floured 13x9x2 pan and let rise again. With a sharp knife, cut crosses into each bun.

Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

Glaze with honey (as much or as little as you like) and bake five minutes more. Meanwhile, stir together the confectioner sugar, the honey and the two tablespoons of water to make the frosting. When you take the buns out of the oven, cool for 10 minutes, then cross each bun with the frosting

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