Saturday, December 31, 2005

Friendship, Priorities and Thanks!

Last night Allison and I went over my best friend's house so our girls could exchange their Christmas presents and us Moms could have good girlfriend time. Susan's daughter, Stephanie is almost 18, Susan's sister's daughter, Maria, is 8 and of course my Allison is 4. Here they are in front of the Christmas tree.
Every time I look at a picture of the three of them together I feel such pride. They are all beautiful, intelligent, kind, loving and just basically wonderful girls that will definitely make a positive mark in the world. Just thinking of Stephanie about to finish her Senior year of high school and going off to college makes me realize how fast life really goes. I still remember the phone call from Susan to announce her birth like it was just yesterday. I'm going to take this as a lesson to appreciate the time we have with family and friends. Someone once said to me that no one will ever say on their death bed that they could have worked more. It's always that they should have spent more time with family and friends. I guess that would depend on what is important to you as an individual. However, for me it's true. Money seems to be such a driving force in so many lives. Maybe it should be more for me but it isn't. Being the best Mom that I can be, guiding Allison through life, giving her a good solid foundation, supplying her with what she needs but not spoiling her, loving her unconditionally, teaching her independence and self-worth, showing her that you can have a traditional upbringing but still have choices in deciding what you want from life for yourself are my driving forces. I've been fortunate to have experienced and done a lot of things in my life but now God has blessed and trusted me with my most important role yet. Like anything in life, the more time and attention you spend doing something the better you become at it and more successful are the results. So, I sit here typing away while my precious angel sleeps, planning the weekend's activities with her and being thankful for my best gift ever!

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005


That is how long it's been since I've blogged! I've missed it and beginning with January, I will be blogging frequently! I would like to blog at least a few times a week. But for now, I'll post a few pictures of my holiday decor and my roses that Curtis sent to my work for my birthday. Aren't they beautiful? Yellow roses are my favorite!

I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas!

Christmas Eve before we opened the presents. I just love her Christmas nightgown.

After Santa stopped by:

One of my favorite parts of Christmas, my Nativity. This was the first year I felt comfortable putting it in Allison's reach. I remember my Mother's Nativity and how I loved looking at it every year.

My newest addition to my holiday decor. Isn't it beautiful? I didn't need it but I had to have it!

This is Allison's Princess tree in her room. I did it all in white and pink lights, pink shiny and matte balls, irredescent beads and I made the Disney Princess ornaments and the crown on the top because I couldn't find what I wanted. She loved it and wanted it on every night. We allowed her to have it on on Christmas Eve and when she woke up in the morning there was one single present from Santa under the tree and she flipped out. She was so excited and couldn't wait to see what was under the big tree downstairs. Christmas was definatley wonderful this year because of her!

Looking forward to blogging soon!

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Sunday, November 06, 2005

A daughter's perception!

Just popping in with a picture Allison drew of me on her Magna Doodle! It's so funny what their perception is of us! Those things on my feet are the flip flops I have on. She even put the combs that I have in pulling my hair back today! What a nice break from cleaning to have her bring this to me with all smiles. LOL...I'm surprised she didn't put the dish towel that is resting on my left shoulder in the picture!

I'll be back later with another blog entry. I actually did one yesterday and then when I went to post it I got an error message and then it disappeared! UGHHH! I think I'll write it in Microsoft Word next time and then cut and paste! I hate it when you have to learn a lesson the hard way!

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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

"Squeek, squeek, squeek!"

Hi All! Just a couple of pics of my little mouse on Halloween. I ended up taking her trick or treating over by my parents' home since I felt more comfortable there. It was so much fun since most of the houses that we went to were ones that I went to when I was little. We met up with my best friend, Susan, her sister, Marsha and her daughter, Maria. Maria is the cowgirl...doesn't she look awesome! I asked Allison what she wanted to be for Halloween and her answer was "A mouse, but not Minnie. A pink mouse!" So a pink mouse it was!
I made her costume from a sweat suit and it was so easy! It took me less than an hour! I had just under $6.00 in it! Gotta LOVE it when you don't have to spend a ton of cash! I LOVE making her costumes but I am sure that one of these years she is going to ask for a store bought one. But for now, I am going to enjoy every minute of making them myself! If you scroll all the way to the end of the post, I've also included pictures of her costumes from previous years.

Before I go, I wanted to post a question for all of you! It was something that came up at work on Monday when we were talking about trick or treating. The question is: "What was your favorite house to trick or treat at and why?" Mine was Mrs. Betty Smyda's. She lived just a few house up from ours and was the little old lunch lady from my elementary school. She would bring us into her house and let us chose from whatever we wanted on her table. I don't exactly remember all the things she had but I remember it was a lot! She even had nickels and dimes taped onto to a little white cards too! She really made a big deal out of us coming to her house and I will remember that always.

Allison was an Angel for her first Halloween. It just seemed like the perfect costume to make.

Since Curtis loves drag racing, a race car driver was the obvious choice for Allison's second Halloween. I cut apart and reassembled a sweat suit for this costume and used part of another sweatshirt for the blue band around her waist. I downloaded baby product logos from the internet and reversed them onto iron on transfer paper. I ironed them on white fleece material to make patches out of them and then sewed them onto her "fire suit." I wanted them to appear as her sponsors. I also added the NHRA logo and an American flag to complete the patches. I love yellow roses so I put that on the patch with the name of her racing team as a sort of trademark. If Curtis gets his way and she becomes a professional drag racer when she gets older this just may be the prototype for her real life fire suit someday! LOL....but maybe not if Mom gets her way!

It was just around her third Halloween that "sack of potatoes" would come out of her mouth whenever anyone picked her up. So, I couldn't resist and had to make her a sack of potatoes for Halloween. After purchasing some burlap, cotton material to line the burlap with, stencils, paint, etc., I set out to design and make it. You can't see it in the picture but at the bottom of her sack, it was stenciled with "20 lbs." which was her weight at the time. I used an old shirt and tea dyed it so it wasn't so stark white. I sewed the potatoes onto the shirt which were old nylons stuffed with polyester filling and sewn with brown thread. I loved the way it turned out even though it took me longer to make it than what she would wear it!

Last year's witch costume was the easiest yet. I bought the tights, hat, turtleneck and a women's small black sweatshirt. I cut v's around the neck, sleeves and bottom and then once it was on her, I tied a black satin ribbon around her waist and it was done!

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Monday, October 24, 2005

A Quick Hello!

Hi Everyone!

I am just about to get in the shower to start my loooonnnnngggg Monday! Did I ever mention that I HATE Mondays? I usually start getting cranky Sunday evenings and I finally figured out why. It's because I have to go to work the next day! Oh well, no use dwelling on it!

Anyway, I just thought I would stop by and say "Hello" and share one of my favorite websites. It's Family Fun and if you've got kids, you are going to love it too! I also have a subscription to their magazine and I never throw them out. I keep them neatly filed away for years. There are sooooo many great ideas and fun things to do with your kids in them.

Gotta run!

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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Pumpkins, Face Painting, Hayrides & Corn!

What a wonderful day we had at Harvest Valley Farms last Saturday! This was our second year and another one of our family traditions that I hope Allison will remember fondly. They have so many fun things to do and Allison loves them all! I've posted some of my favorite pics. I think the one of Allison and Curtis is my new favorite of them! (By the way, you can click on any of them to see them larger.)
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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Extreme Friendship and Ty!

Wow, did I have fun last week! Life gets so busy and I get so behind sometimes that I don't get to stop and smell the roses. This week was different. Even though I have tons of stuff to do and a business trip to go on next week that I needed to get ready for, I put that all aside and just had fun!

Have you ever watched "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" on ABC on Sunday nights? Well, it happens to be one of my FAVORITE shows! One of my best friends, Nancy (Hi Nanc!), and I are ADDICTED to any of the home improvement shows. Wait, first let me give you a little background on Nancy and I! We met over 12 years ago when we worked at the same place. Something clicked and we became friends instantly. Our first "friendship" date was when she invited me over to her apartment to hang out and we ended up faux marbelizing a table! Not exactly what most friends would probably do hanging out for the first time but it was perfect for us. Fast forward years later when I ended up moving into a 4-plex across the street from her. It was the beginning of "Trading Spaces" on TLC. Nancy and I were hooked from the very first show. We would call each other on the phone and watch it together over the phone. It's not like we couldn't walk across the street to watch it in person together but sitting on the phone worked for us. By the way, does anyone know who Alex McLeod is? If you are a true Trading Spaces fan, you would know the answer! Nancy and I do! Anyway, moving right along. Nancy called me about 2 weeks ago to tell me she received a note on her door that "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" was in town looking at doing a makeover on the next street over and they wanted all the neighbors permission. they had to ask Nancy! Well, it ended up that 2 weeks later she received a letter from them on a Monday that they would start Wednesday! Of course she had to call me and I planned my trip to her home to stalk...I mean look for Ty! Even though I had Wednesday off, Allison had a dentist appointment...dang those parental responsibilities getting in the way of my fun! So Allison and I ended up going on Thursday. We arrived at Nancy's around eleven or so and had a cup of coffee, a doughnut and chatted a while. Nancy had another Ty stalker...I mean friend there too. This was the first time I had met Monica but I knew if she was willing to stalk...DANG...I mean watch the fun with us, we would like each other just fine. Her youngest son was also with her. So we had Allison, Mitchell & Zach in tow so I guess we couldn't get into too much trouble. Right? We walked over to the house and the gas company was working out front. Not very exciting but we were able to take some before pictures. By the way, that's not Ty at the controls of that bulldozer! The big silver round things on the pole are lights that help them work at night. Nancy said when she came home from work the previous night, they were so bright. You can see how big they are! Well, since nothing exciting was happening, we decided to go back to Nancy's house. Nancy made us lunch and while we were sitting in the kitchen talking, I happened to glance out the window at something that caught my eye. WELL, all I could muster out of my mouth was..."BUUUUSSSSS!!" Yes, Ty's bus just pulled down her street in front of her house! We all jump up and Monica and I grabbed our cameras and started chasing the bus down the street as if we were crazed girls in the 60's chasing "The Beatles!" Nancy followed barefoot with the kids carrying Allison because she had socks on, Mitchell was barefoot too and Zach was the only one with shoes on! Thank goodness it was a nice day! Well the bus stopped and Ty got off and Monica screamed like a school girl! Oh my, can you tell this was the most excitement we had seen in a long time? Ty ran into a trailer there and stayed in there for a while but that was okay, we weren't leaving until we got a look at him! I guess I should mention that Nancy's street was the production street which was guarded by security guards and you weren't allowed on it unless you were a resident. This pic is what her street looked like. There were signs along the street that identified it as "bin city" and we found out later that those yellow things on the side of the street housed some of the furnishings for the house. All of the other vehicles belonged to the production crew. Here's a pic of the kids too! Don't they look like they are having fun? Okay, Ty ended up coming out of the trailer and we got to see him for a brief moment so we decided to head back up the street to Nancy's home because Monica had to leave to get her other son off the bus so I had to move my car for her to get out. However, as we were walking up to the house, Nancy noticed what was parked out in front of her immediate neighbor's was Ty's bus! The bus they use at the beginning of the show when he tells the design team about the family and they use it at the end of the show to block the family from seeing the house until they are ready to reveal it. You know, when Ty screams "BUSDRIVER, MOVE THAT BUS!" So of course we had to go and take our pictures in front of it! I know, we're pathetic and I don't care if you are laughing at us right now...we had fun and that's what it was all about! By the way, do you see my so not shy daughter talking to the busdriver? She just walked right up to him and carried on a whole conversation! Moving right along...we went and got Emily (Nancy's daughter) off the school bus, took her picture in front of Ty's bus and then headed back over to the makeover house. They were shooting in the back of the house and we could see a little of what was going on. It looked like Ty was explaining to the camera what was going to happen. We were standing across the street behind fencing they put up to hold us back. The security guard kept "shushing" the crowd when they started to get too loud. Paul, the carpenter, walked across the front lawn of the house and everyone cheered. LOL...I guess we were not the only crazies there watching! We stood there a little longer and who comes walking down the driveway towards the street, then across the street and then to the crowd waiting? YES, it was Ty! He started at one end and greeted the crowd. He was signing autographs, shaking hands and posing for pictures. Some lady called a friend on her cell phone and even talked to her over the phone. We were about in the middle of the crowd. Emily, Allison and I were together and a couple of people down, Nancy was sitting on the ground with a sleeping Mitchell laying on her lap! Poor little one! As Ty was approaching us, I grabbed the new bigger sized TV Guide that I had just received in the mail the prior day out of my purse for him to sign. If you haven't seen it, let me show it to you! For privacy purposes, I had to block out our address but you can see Ty signed it! He also told me that I had to watch the show that Sunday because they did something special with TV Guide. I told him that he didn't have to tell me to watch because I watch it every Sunday! He was so gracious to everyone in the crowd. Emily asked if she could have a hug and he smiled and hugged her. He wasn't that high energy crazy Ty that you see on television. He was so down to earth and pleasant. When he got to Nancy (remember she was sitting on the ground) he bent down and patted a sleeping Mitchell on the back and said something to the effect that the little guy just couldn't make it, could he? Here is a picture of Emily with him. She was so excited! She said something about never washing that shirt! LOL! I swear she skipped all the way back to Nancy's house. Okay, now we leave there and go back to Nancy's and this time the busdriver was outside the bus and he opened it up and let us go inside! Yes, I was in Ty's bus! LOL! Here's a pic of Nancy and Emily sitting on the couch and then here's a picture of me acting crazy like Ty with HIS megaphone! It was sitting on the counter and with Nancy egging me on, I couldn't resist! I would love to say that my lips were where his were but the truth of the matter is I didn't put my mouth to it! I guess the Mother in me kicked in and the whole germ thing came to mind and I just didn't do it! Oh well, I guess I'll stick with my Curtis' germs!

I am not sure when the episode is going to air. Some have said on Thanksgiving or the Sunday before or the Sunday after. You'll just have to watch. There are a lot of surprises but you already know that if you watch the show. I do know that John DeCerbo from DeCerbo Construction who was responsible for framing out the house handed the owner of TC Quality Homes of Canfield who was the main builder on the house a check for $25,000. He told him that "If I can't frame the house in eight hours, I'll donate this to the family. But if I can, I want ABC to donate $25,000." The record for framing a house on Extreme Makeover Home Edition was 12 hours. He did it in 5 1/2 hours! Here's a sneak peak at the almost finished house. I got this pic off of Channel 33 WYTV's website. It's pretty, isn't it? I can't wait to see the show! I'll have my VCR set!

As I drove home from my fun filled day with my Allison sleeping in the back, so many thoughts were going through my head. About how much fun I had. How I couldn't wait until I got my pictures developed. How I wished that I didn't have to work the next day so I could watch them tear the old house down. How I wished that I could be there for the next 6 days to watch all the activity. How I wanted to be there when the family came home and saw the house for the first time. But honestly most of my thoughts were how I missed living across from Nancy. How I loved just hanging out drinking coffee and having loaded bagels for breakfast. How I miss watching Emily grow. How I missed seeing Emily in her Halloween costumes. How I missed playing Scrabble with Nancy. I miss Doug (Nancy's husband)...he's such a good friend. I miss watching HGTV and TLC with Nancy. I could go on but I think you get the picture. Nancy teased me that she had to get Ty there so I would come for a visit but truthfully, I always thought about coming to visit but I think deep down I wasn't ready to face the feelings that I knew I would have. It's sort of a loss. Nancy is a great person and a wonderful friend and I miss her so much. I wish I could have my family and still live across the street. Well, maybe not in that apartment. It would be a little crowded with Allison and Curtis in there too. They both have too many toys! I always believe that things happen for a reason. Maybe there was more than one reason that Extreme Makeover Home Edition came to town. Maybe one of the reasons was to add silly stupid fun to balance my first return to a place I loved so much. A place where I was happy and wasn't ready to leave. A place where I was with those that I loved and loved me. I know life is about change and it moves on but it wouldn't it be nice if we could have everyone we loved right where we want them? I LOVE Curtis and especially my Allison but I miss having a good girlfriend across or down the street to just be "girls" with.

That's all for now and don't forget to watch Extreme Makeover Home Edition on ABC on Sunday nights at 8 PM EST!

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Sunday, October 09, 2005

Bagna Cauda & Halupki!

No, I'm not speaking another language...well maybe. Let me explain.

Bagna Cauda (pronounced Báhn-yah Ców-dah) means "hot bath" in Italian. My Dad is Italian. No, he's not taking a hot bath but cooking for us. This is the only dinner he makes. We usually have it once a season when all the vegetable are just perfect from his garden. And this dish is sure to bring his children home. We can't resist it. All Mom has to say is "Daddy's making Bagna Cauda" and we rearrange our schedules to be there. It's a tradition from my life that I love. We had it two Fridays ago and yum, was it good! What is Bagna Cauda? It's sort of a sauce...a dipping sauce...a fondue if you will. You then dip raw vegetables into the sauce for a few seconds and dab it on slices of Italian bread to catch the drippings and then you eat the bread. We use cabbage, peppers and cauliflower. The recipe comes from the Piedmont Region in the Northern part of Italy. My Dad is from Northern Italy. There are different versions but this is ours. It always starts in a small heavy bottomed skillet. Not a non-stick. He uses a cast iron skillet but it's not neccesary to have one. To the skillet add about 1 1/2 cup of a good olive oil and 1 stick of butter. Heat on medium heat. Just as that starts to warm up, throw in about 6 cloves of garlic sliced thin and a can of anchovies. Do not add it when the oil is hot or you'll fry the garlic and not blend the flavor into your sauce. Cook for about 10 minutes until the garlic browns and the anchovies dissolve. You can turn down the heat and then you are ready to enjoy. **Note** These amounts can be varied to your liking. Most of the time Dad ends up adding more butter and olive oil as we are eating it because we love it so much we tend to gorge ourselves on it! My family likes to stand around the stove with a slice of Italian bread in one hand and our dipping vegetable in the other. My Mom cuts the cabbage in wedges, the cauliflower in florets and the peppers in strips. And yes, we double dip! It's the only time in our family when double dipping is permitted! Yum! When the pieces get too small to dip, we use a fork for the last bite. If you feel more comfortable putting it in a fondue pot and having it at the table then go for it! I personally love the atmosphere around the stove. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I love traditions and it's one of my favorites. Just a couple of other notes on Bagna Cauda. I only use one slice of bread to catch my drippings. The rest of my family will have 5-6 slices of bread. My Mom and I like scooping the anchovies onto our dipper. My Dad, sister and brother prefer the garlic slices. I love the cabbage and sometimes throw in a cauliflower floret for variety. The rest of my family prefers the peppers. It's good no matter how you like it but it's definately not low fat...but the vegetables are good for you!

Halupki a.k.a. Stuffed Cabbage Rolls or otherwise known as my favorite comfort food is a tradition from my Mom's side. She is Polish. And, of course, I only like her recipe. It's so yummy! She always makes it with lots of broth/sauce and serves mashed potatoes with it and you use the sauce on your potatoes. I don't do it that way. Although I love mashed potatoes, I don't need anything else when I have big plate of Halupki in front of me. I made them Thursday night and had Curtis put them in the oven when he came home from work on Friday since he gets home before I do. They were all I could think of on Friday at work and when I walked into the house on Friday night and smelled them, I couldn't wait to get them out of the oven and into my tummy! I think I ate too many. No, I KNOW I ate too many. That's okay, I don't make them very often because Curtis doesn't like them but he loves my stuffed peppers. I hate stuffed peppers but I make them for him. Forget that! Let's get back to MY favorite! Here's my recipe which is my Mom's recipe which is her Mom's recipe. I shared this once on the aol scrapbooking message boards but after making them last week, I adjusted the recipe to fit what I did since it's never been written down. It's just something I learned growing up. Something I will pass down to my daughter since she loves them too. In fact, after having leftovers yesterday, she thanked me for them! Isn't she sweet?

Cindi's Family's Halupki (Stuffed Cabbage Rolls) Recipe

1 large head of white cabbage or 2 small (I like two small because the cabbage is more tender)
2 lbs. ground meat
1 c. white rice (not instant)
3 cans tomato soup
2 eggs
salt & pepper (a few shakes of each)
2-3 T. dry minced onion

~Cut core out of cabbage head and cover with boiling water in large stock pot. Boil cabbage until leaves begin to fall off the head with a little help from you. I stand at the stove and peel one leaf off at a time. Drain leaves. With a sharp knife thin out veins along the spine of each cabbage leaf. Do not cut the vein out.

~Mix together ground beef, rice, 1 can of tomato soup, eggs, minced onions, salt, pepper and not quite a 1/4 cup ketchup.

~Assemble cabbage rolls. Lay the leaf with the vein part towards you, put a little of the mixture on top of the vein, fold in the sides and then roll. There is no set amount to put in each leaf because the size of the leaves vary. Place in roaster with the seam side down. I place the larger ones around the outside of the roaster. I also cut up the remaining cabbage in approx. 1 inch squares and place on top.

~Pour the remaining tomato soup (2 cans) over the top of the cabbage rolls. There is no measurement to this but squirt ketchup over the rolls in a sporadic fashion. Not too much...don't cover the entire top...kind of like if you were putting chocolate syrup over a sundae. But make sure you put enough on it because it adds the "tang" to the tomato soup. Next pour a little more than 3/4 of a can of water over the entire mixture.

~Cover and cook for 1-1/2 hours at 350 degrees. If you make more than 2 pounds of ground meat, you'll need to cook it longer.

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Thursday, September 29, 2005


Wow, I never thought when I started doing a blog that I wouldn't be able to post frequently. I guess my life is busier than I thought it was! I should know that because I have been feeling overwhelmed everyday. I never seem to be caught up and I just feel like I am sinking little by little in this great big ocean and I will never get to the top and see the sunshine again! I am behind in everything! I just can't do it all...although I want to and feel like I should be able to. I finally went grocery shopping yesterday because we literally had nothing in this house. Our refrigerator had 2 eggs, 2 apples, some onions, condiments, Bailey's, milk and some pedialite in it...hardly anything to make a meal out of! Laundry...that's another thing that I will never be caught up on! I swear it grows by itself in my laundry area! Emails...did I mention that I have almost 200 that I haven't read yet? And I'm not sure I will even be able to read them any time soon! There are also so many other things that I need to do and I just can't get to them! I've been getting up at 5 am to get some things done before I go to work and even thought it's helping, I tire out earlier at night. I just feel pulled in so many directions and I'm feeling like I will never be caught up and I will never be able to relax and enjoy life again. Just the thought of Christmas makes me start to hyperventilate and this is my favorite time of the year! I need to SIMPLIFY my life! I need to do it now! Where do I start? HELP!

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Sunday, August 21, 2005

Been a LONG Time!

Yes, it's been a long time since I've posted. I've missed it! I have so much I want to write but not a whole lot of time right now. I am hoping I will find some time on Wednesday to blog but until then I just wanted to stop by and say "I'm still here!"

In the meantime, here is one of my favorite pics of my Allison. It was taken when she was about 2 years old. I love how this picture shows her funny little personality. She is always smiling and so much fun and this picture just seems to capture that.

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Thursday, August 04, 2005

A Lesson from Pap Pap!

My parents have a farm...not a big one but one that they refer to as a "gentleman's farm." It's 13 acres and one of my favorite places on earth. The only animals they have now are beef cattle and a couple of barn cats. He doesn't do it as a business but for his family and occasionally he sells a side of beef or a whole cow to the people who ask. Growing up, in addition to the cows and cats, we had dogs, horses, a sheep (a pet for my younger brother that followed him around like a dog), quail, rabbits and pigs. Never chickens because farm chickens are too dirty for my Dad. The pigs were anther story. Pigs only roll around in mud to keep cool. My Dad's pigs had no mud. Their pen had a wooden floor the entire length of the pen. He piped water underground all the way back to the barn. And every day we kids had to go back to the barn and spray the pigs! It was the most important chore of the day! Do you have any idea how many times a day I heard "Whose turn is it to spray the pigs!" I used to hate those words but now as an adult I would love for my only responsibility of the day to be to "spray the pigs!"

Okay, I got off track which is easy for me to do! On this farm my Dad also had gardens. They were huge! His biggest and main one is still about an acre big. He grows corn, tomatoes, peppers, garlic, potatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, garlic, pumpkins, watermelon and others that I can't think of right now. Again he does this for his family but will sell dozens of corn to the people around town since my Mom doesn't can as much as she used to. Well this year my Allison showed an interest in my Dad's garden and he took off with that interest! He told her that he would give her a corner of his garden to plant her own. Well, then he changed his mind and built her an elevated garden in the back yard so she could see it from the patio and house! It's also easier for her to go out daily to water her plants. They planted tomatoes, green peppers and purple and pink flowers in her garden. She is so proud...and so is my Dad! Usually you can find my Dad bragging about his garden to his farmer friends. You know the kind of bragging that I'm talking about..."I've got red tomatoes already" or "Wait till you see how big one of my pumpkins is." However, he's bragging on his granddaughter's garden this year! I LOVE that he has taught her about gardening. It will stay with her forever.

The first fruit from her garden was a tomato. Of course, I had to make a big deal out of it. You can see it growing on the vine in this picture. My Mom said when it first grew, she was watching out the window and saw my Dad and Allison arguing. Allison wanted to pick it and he was trying to convince a very stubborn little girl that you had to wait. Patience is not my daughter's best trait! My Mom enjoyed watching them because who do you think she got her stubbornness from? Dad! Anyway, here is the harvested tomato. Yes, I took a picture of it! Would you expect anything less from a scrapbooker? Isn't it beautiful? Yes, I agree! Well Allison wanted to make ketchup from it. I told her that I didn't know how. She told me that all you do is "put it in a bowl with water and mix it up real good." LOL...I wish it was that easy! I decided to cut it up and put it over barbecued chicken topped with cheddar cheese. Here is the finished product! Yum! It was so delicious! I can't wait for more vegetables from her garden! I don't like green peppers but you better believe I will LOVE those! Curtis on the other hand is waiting patiently for his favorite stuffed green peppers with peppers grown from his precious daughter's garden!

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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Just me and the fish!

It's almost 5 AM and I have been up since before 4. I can't sleep and I'm not sure why. So I thought I would come downstairs and blog a bit. I peaked in and checked on Allison before I came down and this is what I saw! I love looking at her when she sleeps. You can almost see her storing up her energy for the day ahead! This little one has always been on the go all day long...since the minute she was born! It always seems that the first comment from anyone that spends some time with us is always something to do with her energy. Usually the comments are "I wish I had half of her energy!" or "Is she always like this?" or "Does she ever slow down?" and "How do you keep up with her?" The answers are "Me, too!", "Yes, all the time." "No, not even at bedtime, she goes from high speed to passing out." and finally "I don't think about it. I just try to keep up!" Sometimes I think she really should have a younger Mother but then I think of my dear old Aunt Edith who passed away at 85 when I was 5 months pregnant with Allison. Once when I visited her in the extended care home for seniors, she was telling me of her daily routine which included going down to the dining room and helping set the tables for the meals. I told her "Aunt Edith, let the staff do it. They get paid for doing that." She replied that she didn't do it for the staff but for herself. She said keeping busy both physically and mentally helped her stay young. She said she didn't want to become vegetative like some of the other residents. As I try to keep up with Allison, her words often come to mind and when I think I can't go on anymore, somehow I find the energy. Thank you and God bless you Aunt Edith. If you were right that keeping active helps you live a long life, I'll be around for my grandchildren!

Okay, it's not me and the fish anymore. Dennis (the fish) has hidden behind his plant and gone back to bed! Thanks buddy for leaving me! Maybe I should take a hint from him and try to get some more sleep myself. Allison will be up in a couple of hours and I'll need to be ready!

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Saturday, July 30, 2005


WOW! I can't believe it's been 2 weeks since I last blogged! Life certainly has been busy! Last I wrote I was cleaning and decluttering my house. Well, I continued to do that and I can't believe what I pitched! I also have a big box full of stuff that I am going to eBay! I hope to make some cash for our Disney trip next May! Okay enough of my rambling! I'm going to try and catch up with the last 2 weeks of my life but I'll try to be brief (that'll be a feat for me) and highlight the important stuff.

Saturday - July 16 My precious daughter's birthday!
I can't believe she is now four years old! Her arrival completed my life and each year it is a joy to celebrate her life. This year it was a little different because it fell on a Saturday. The Saturday before her birthday party which means it's chaos that day with final cleaning, set-up, shopping and preparations for her party. However, I am very VERY BIG on traditions and one tradition that we have each year is to take her to dinner at "The Runway" restaurant at our local county airport. Three sides of it are glass from floor to ceiling and we sit there watching the planes take off and land. Allison loves it! It was hard to fit it in but we managed to do it and it was so enjoyable. It was a nice break from running all day. This year my sister, Alesia, was able to join us. She lives about 1 1/2 hours away but comes down every year the Saturday before her party to help me. Allison adores her so it was perfect that she was there. Another tradition is that we give Allison a small gift at this private family dinner and then she gets her big gift at her party. We always give her the "Growing Up Birthday Girls" figurine made by Enesco. You can buy them in either blond or brunette and it has the corresponding birthday on them. I remember getting something similar for my birthdays but I don't know what happened to them.

Sunday - July 17 Party day!
I got up very early and started preparations. I'm a perfectionist so every detail has to be just as I have planned. Curtis thinks I'm nuts but it's just the way I am. This year was a Dora party. Allison loves Dora almost as she loves the Princesses so since we did them last year, Dora was the perfect choice. I try to plan the menu to the theme if possible and this year we went Mexican. The menu consisted of a make your own taco bar with ground beef and shredded chicken tacos, Mexican corn salad, chips and salsa. We were supposed to have Spanish rice also but I scortched it! I never made a batch that big before! Oh well, everyone was very full when they left so it all worked out well. It ended up raining as soon as the guests were taking their plates out to the picnic tables so we had to find spaces inside. My house isn't very big but we did fine.
We gave Allison a Dora bike but unfortunately, the pedals kept locking up so we had to return it and they didn't have anymore so she ended up with a Princess one. She likes it better because she thinks she is a Princess! That is my Dad in the background of the picture. I have never seen him smile so beautifully as he does when he is looking at Allison. He has always had a soft spot for all my friend's children and I'm glad that I could finally give him a grandchild of his own. All my grandfathers were gone before I was born so it's so important to me that she have a relationship with both of hers. I am sure they will be some of the best memories she will have of her childhood.
The rain stopped and we were able to sit outside and let the kids play in the baby pool. Here is a picture of one of my best friend's son with her. They play so well together. Mitchell is 3 weeks younger and his Mother and I were together most of our pregnancies so I think Allison and Mitchell made friends before they were even born! Allison calls him her prince and they kissed good bye. It was so cute!

Monday, July 18 and Tuesday, July 19
Went back to work and tried to catch up after being off for 10 days!

Wednesday, July 20
~Allison fell out of bed about 4:30 am. I took the rails off of her bed and this was the first fall. It didn't phase her one bit and she went back to bed after a drink of water.
~Couldn't go back to sleep so I went to Wal-Mart at 5 a.m.! I hadn't been there in a while because I hate going there with the crowds but it was nice to do some browsing along with my shopping.
~Had a friend over in the afternoon for a late lunch and watched Allison play in the pool.
~After dinner we went over to Curtis' parents for a visit since they didn't get to have their "Allison Time" over the weekend because of her party. It was a nice visit.

Thursday, July 21 and Friday, July 22
~Worked and still tried to catch up!
~Stayed at my Mom and Dad's and there was a first at their house. My Dad came home with a window air conditioner! I NEVER thought I see the day! My parents are 70 and just can't tolerate the heat liked they used to. I wish I would have thought of it. It would have been a nice anniversary present! They are so hard to buy for! Anyway, I'm glad I was there because that sucker was heavy and my Dad is not supposed to lift more than 10 pounds because of his heart problems. So I helped him install it and in the process got to see history being made. My brother stopped by later and was just as shocked as I was that they got one. I guess my parents aren't as predictable as we thought they were!

Saturday, July 23
~I stayed at my Mom's with a plan of going to yard sales in her area with a friend so off we went. I ended up getting 2 crocheted doilies and 2 embroidered dresser scarves for a $1.00! Allison got "The Velveteen Rabbit" book for a $1.00. It was never even opened. Gotta love bargains!
~Stopped by the Farmer's Market and got some fresh veggies.
~Went to lunch at Bert's Wooden Indian. I worked there starting in high school for 6 years. Yum, their food is just as good as it was back then!
~The rest of the day, I dedicated to cleaning my house.

Sunday, July 24
Family time since the last couple of weeks were crazy!

Monday, July 25 through Friday, July 29
Other than working, we went to Curtis' Aunt and Uncle's house for a family get together Wednesday. It had been a little over 3 years since we've been able to attend one of her functions and it was nice to see everyone. They are so sweet and make you feel so welcome.
OH, and I did some Salvation Army shopping! I LOVE going there. Sometimes I get some great finds! This trip I found 2 items. I love to collect old glassware. Depression glass is my weakness but I also love old finds for everyday serving. This piece is in perfect condition and it was $1.99! The other item that I found is an old picture frame. For those of you that know me, I lost my favorite Aunt Carole to cancer about a year and a half ago. While cleaning out her room, we came across a framed picture of herself from when she was a little girl. It was in a newer frame and didn't do the picture justice. I asked if I could have it and my other Aunt that she lived with said there are better pictures of her that I could have. However, Aunt Carole must have loved that picture of herself since it was the only one she took the time to frame and she had tons of pictures! I had been looking for an old frame and this one seemed to fit just perfect and it was only $1.99 too! I think she would have approved.

THERE! I think I am all caught up! Sorry for it being so long! LOL...I just thought of something else to share but I'll wait until tomorrow or later today to blog again!

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Friday, July 15, 2005

WHAT a feeling...

No, I am not dancing around the living room singing Irene Cara's song from Flashdance. Although, it's a great song and movie as well. On a side note, did you know the movie was filmed in Pittsburgh? I love watching it and seeing the city! It's been so long since I've watched it, I think I am going to add it on to my movie rental wish list.

Anyway, the feeling I am referring to is sheer bliss! The bliss that you feel when you've conquered a goal. My living room is clean from top to bottom! It looks so pretty! Don't get me wrong, we don't live in filth but it had been cluttered for a while. I threw out about 80 magazines! I know you are probably saying "What? Did she say 80?" Yes, I did! I save them so I can go through them and rip out what I want. But let's be realistic, am I ever going to find the time to go through them? Of course not! So, out they went! My new goal is rip out what I want when I look at them the first time. Let's see how well I do. I also purged some of Allison's toys. I hope she doesn't notice! Well, I just tried to take a picture of it but it's night and the picture came out dark. I'll try to get one posted soon. In the meantime, here is a picture of our fish, Dennis, that I took earlier. He lives in the living room.
While I am on the subject of the living room, what do you have on your coffee table? Mine has been bare since Allison was mobile and I just realized that I can decorate it again. Help me and give me some ideas!

That's all for now, I am tired and I want to work in the kitchen a little before going to bed.

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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Can get it out of my mind!

Even though I still have a few things to do in Allison's bedroom, it's almost done. I need to hang a couple of things on the walls, clean out the closet and finish painting the dressers. However, I will not be able to paint the dressers until a couple of weekends from now because it has been storming daily. Other than making the bed, I haven't stepped foot in there today. I have been busy looking for the carpeting that I want. I would like something very close to this but I can't find what I want. The room has hardwood floors so I don't want to cover it completely but I want an 8 x 10 piece that is bound on the edges to put down mainly where she will be playing. I want something soft on her little knees. I can find an 8 x 10 bound piece of carpeting in practically any other color at carpet stores but not anything close to this. These sizes run about $90 but if I pick the carpet and have them bind it for me, It will be a little over $200! The salesman at Prizant's was so nice and he suggested that if I can wait a couple of weeks to do so. They will be getting in a big shipment for the students that go back to college. He said it is very rare that they get anything close to the color that I want but they did ask for more colors this time so just maybe it'll happen for me. Keep your fingers crossed! If not, I'll have to go with a neutral beige. But it will have to be a whiter beige than a tanner beige. Because there is so much white in the room, I'm afraid a tanner beige will look dirty. It'll be so hard to settle for something else than what I have pictured in my mind!

I'm so bad because I shouldn't be blogging right now. I am supposed to be cleaning! I can't wait until everything is detailed and I can enjoy myself. I hate it when I have housework hanging over my head! I've been really swamped for a while and I need to get control back over the things in my life. I'm tired of being stressed and not enjoying life. I asked my Mom one day how she did it all when we were little. I mean the woman had and has a spotless house! I don't know where she gets her energy. She said "Honey, I didn't have to work outside the home." She made me feel so not like a failure by her statement. God Bless her! On another note, Curtis took a vacation day tomorrow and he is going to clean the basement! God Bless him too! Allison's birthday is on Saturday and her party is on Sunday so I would like to have everything done by Saturday morning so we can enjoy the weekend with her. I do have to be honest though, as tired as I am and as much as my back hurts, it DOES feel good to declutter this house! I need to live a simpler life!

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