Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Final Day & A Good Time with Friends!

I'm finishing up my last day of vacation today. As I am sure you can imagine, I am sad. It's not that I don't like my job. It's just that I would rather be home doing things for my family. Maybe someday. I haven't gotten much crossed off my to do list this week. As always, my lists are more than anyone could handle in the alloted time. That's okay. I'm trying not to let it get to me. As far as vacations go, it was a good one. I got to spend some quality time with Allison and I got to do a few other things that I've been wanting to do.

One thing I did get to do this week was to spend some time with one of my best friends. As soon as I planned this vacation, I called Nancy and told her to put me on her calendar. I badly needed to hang out with her.
To just be girlfriends together.
Allison and I met Nancy and her kids at T.G.I.Friday's where I used to work. It's where we met over 15 years ago. Here is a picture of our little ones. It's probably been 2 years since I've seen Emily. OH MY! She has grown up! She's a lovely young lady who just turned 12. My how time flies! I found myself saying over and over again "I can't believe how grown up she is!" And that Mitchell! He is such a handsome little guy. Doesn't he look adorable in his new glasses? Nancy and I were pregnant together. Mitchell is 3 weeks younger than Allison. You should have seen them together. They are too cute!
After we had lunch, we headed over to Hobby Lobby. Sadly, we do not have one in Pennsylvania. Although that's probably a good thing. I could go broke in there! They have a really cool home decor section. I've been wanting to make some changes around this house so I'm sure I'll be returning there soon. I did pick up some fun stuff that I will be sharing with all of you at a later date. Everything was so reasonably priced that I spent way less than I had budgeted for myself! Woo Hoo! I'm doing the happy dance!
Thanks for the fun relaxing time Nancy! Let's make it a point to see each other more frequently. After all, it's only and hour to each other's home!
I better run! There is a thunderstorm out there and the lights have flickered twice so I better shut the computer down.
“It is by chance that we met, by choice that we became friends.”
~Author Unknown
Have Fun!
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Thursday, June 26, 2008


I'm sure you all have heard about Build-A-Bear Workshops, right? If not, click on the link to go to their website. Well my daughter could care less about stuffed bears. Yes, she has some but she doesn't play with them. She never has. They just aren't her thing. So thank goodness they have other friends at the Build-A-Bear place! She had received a gift card from Uncle Brian, Aunt Susan and Stephanie for her birthday a couple of years ago. We have yet to be there. I know! I know! I'm a bad Mom! We had all planned to go to enjoy the experience together but it never worked out. We live an hour apart and the closest Build-A-Bear is an hour away. Susan had actually planned to meet us there on Monday but that didn't work out again. She told us to go ahead and go but I gave Allison the option of going like we had planned or waiting a little longer when Aunt Susan could make it. Her reply to my question was "I could do it now." Poor thing! I think she was tired of waiting! Sorry you couldn't make it Aunt Susan but here's the play by play!

Here she is picking out the pink leopard. She had always planned on getting a kitty but the first thing she saw when we walked in was a Triceratops dinosaur. She thought it was "cool." I cringed on the thought of walking out of there with a dinosaur in clothes!
Thankfully she went with her original plan!
In the box with the gift card was some stuffing and a little satin heart to put in your friend when you make it. Here she is making a wish on the heart for her leopard. By the way, Allison has not grown a gut! It looks in the picture as if she has a little tummy. I only wish this child would gain some weight! Unfortunately it's just the ribbon bow of her belt.
Now the heart goes in the skin of the leopard. She also picked a sound so if you squeeze her right front paw, she meows three times. Thank goodness I talked her out of the "roaaarrrr" sound. I might have lost my mind with that one!
Now she is stepping on the pedal at the filling station to bring her friend to life!
She's almost done!
The hand off!
Now it's time for the air bath at the fluffing station. She really got into this and is finishing up her back in the picture.
Now comes the really fun part! Which clothes do we like? Hmm. They are all so cute!
What you see in this pic is just a FEW of the items we picked out for our new friend!
Mom had a hard time putting the reins on. In fact, Mom suggested a few more items that Allison hadn't picked out.
I couldn't resist! Everything was so cute!
Next it was time to pick out a name. I asked the lady what time they closed because I anticipated this taking forever! Usually Allison has to contemplate all of her options before she decides on something. Not this time. When I turned around from putting the items on the counter, she was already typing in the name. She picked "Samantha." I don't know where it came from but I like it!
Here she is at the end of our visit. The box in the left of the picture is the condo for Samantha. The box in the right of the picture is Samantha's suitcase Yes! We picked out enough outfits and accessories that we needed a suitcase! On a side note, look at the pose Allison gave me! She looks like a little model!
When went home to pick Daddy up and went out to dinner. Here is Allison and Samantha on the way home. Yes, Samantha is wearing a tiara! It was the first thing Allison picked out.
That is a playdough ice cream cone from Hershey's Ice Cream Store that Allison is eating. It's bright yellow vanilla ice cream with hot pink and blue sugar cookie gems in it.
“The shortest distance between new friends is a smile.”
Have Fun!

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

I'm on VACATION!!!!!!

Finally! I'm on a much needed vacation! I've needed this for so long! I am glad it's here!
I bet you're thinking by this picture that I'm on some beach somewhere. That I'm enjoying the summer sun and the cool crisp waves of the Atlantic Ocean. That Allison is building a sand castle with her Daddy as I'm enjoying an umbrella drink. That's what you are thinking, isn't it? Be honest. You are jealous, aren't you?
Well, don't be! This is what I'm doing on this vacation!
I'll be cooking...

and cleaning...

and doing loads of laundry...

and a little gardening...
and maybe some painting...
and definitely grocery shopping!

Fun vacation, huh?

It may not be a vacation that everyone dreams of but it's what I need.
I need to get caught up on things.
I need to do some projects.
I need to try some new things.
I need this time just for me.

I'm sure when Curtis gets home everyday from work, he'll expect to see this:


I am sure this is more realistic as to what he'll see when he gets home!

I'm hoping to also spend some quality time with some girlfriends. However, I think I'm safe to say that our middle aged Mom bodies haven't seen a bikini in years! In fact, I'm sure the girlfriends in this picture aren't Moms at all. If they were, they wouldn't be on some beautiful white beach running into a clear blue ocean somewhere at an exotic vacation spot like they don't have a care in the world. Nope! They would be rubbing handfuls of sunblock on their little ones at a not so pretty vacation spot or they would be changing a water soaked diaper or keeping their kids from having a sand fight. No, these ladies are not Moms. They may be some day and when they are, they will see that there is no exotic vacation spot that will ever compare to hearing the words "I love you Ma Ma" come from your child's lips. Speaking of my child...I am also hoping to spend some quality time with my two favorite people in the world. It doesn't have to be fancy. It doesn't have to be a sunny beach. It doesn't have to be an amusement park. I'm happy just "being" with my family.

A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you've been taking.

~Earl Wilson

Have Fun!

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Refreshing Lite Summer Dessert!

I mentioned yesterday in my post that we are trying to eat healthier. We are trying to make better choices. I had someone give me this recipe yesterday and I went right out and bought the ingredients so I could make it for last night. I didn't tell Curtis or Allison it was a "lite" dessert. They both liked it anyway and voted it a repeat recipe. It's super easy to make. It only took 15 minutes to put together but you need to chill it for at least 2 hours so make sure you give yourself plenty of time.
Let's get started!
This dessert is called "Chilled French Apple Dessert"
Start with an 8 inch square pan and line it with 9 squares of cinnamon graham crackers.
I have to share this with you! The grocery store I went to didn't carry cinnamon graham crackers. UGH! So instead of going all the way to the other grocery store in town, we stopped at Walgreen's at the off chance that they had them. They had these tiny little boxes that held one pack (the big boxes hold 3 packs). Aren't they just adorable??? They were more expensive of course, but I would have wasted the gas going to the other store anyway. The little boxes were definitely a happy find!
Next take 2 1/2 cups of canned sweetened CHUNKY applesauce and mix in 6 oz. of light artificially sweetened vanilla yogurt. Don't let this scare you if you are not a yogurt eater. You can not even tell it's in there!
Spread half the mixture over the first layer of cinnamon graham crackers.
Top that layer off with 9 more squares of cinnamon graham crackers. Got that? Okay! Now do another layer with the other half of the applesauce/yogurt mixture. After you are done spreading it out evenly, top it off with 9 more squares of cinnamon graham crackers. HINT: If your pan is rounded at the edges like mine, break a little corner of the crackers off before placing them in the dish.
Now we need the Lite Cool Whip. I'm not a big fan of cool whip but this lite stuff is good!
Spread one cup of it evenly over the top layer of cinnamon graham crackers.
Now you need 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. The recipe says it's optional but trust me, you want to do this. When I started sprinkling it over the top, I thought a tsp. may be too much but I went ahead and put the whole teaspoon on it. Trust me again here, it needs the whole teaspoon. It's a yummy addition!
TA DA! The finished product. It is very cool and refreshing for those hot Summer days we will be having soon!
"Chilled French Apple Dessert"
27 average cinnamon graham crackers squares
2 1/2 cups canned sweetened chunky applesauce
6 oz. light artificially sweetened vanilla yogurt
1 cup lite whipped topping
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1. Line bottom of an 8-inch square pan with nine graham crackers.
2. In a small bowl, combine applesauce and yogurt.
3. Pour half of mixture onto graham crackers, layer with nine more crackers and repeat. Top with remaining nine squares.
4. Spread whipped topping over top and sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired. Chill 2 hours. Cut into 8 pieces and serve.
"Those who think they have no time for healthy eating will sooner or later have to find time for illness."
- modified from : Edward Stanley (1826-1893) from The Conduct of Life
Have Fun!
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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Late Father's Day Post!

I would have posted this earlier but we've been in a debate in this house. Curtis wouldn't let me post his pic from Father's Day. You see his day started with us waking him up with breakfast in bed. I made him Banana Fosters French Toast. Allison delivered it to him wearing her new "Daddy's Girl" shirt...which definitely describes her. She loves her Daddy! Anyway, he claims he looks awful in the picture. I think he looks handsome. After a few days I am giving up and decided to respect his wishes. The picture will not be posted. So all you get to see is this part of his arm. Can you see his muscle? That's nothing. You should see him flex! My man has some muscles!
We broke out the grill for dinner. The charcoal grill. I know gas grills are more convenient but we think the food tastes better on a charcoal grill. I'm sure someday we'll get a gas grill but for now we like our charcoal grill. I made a hearty manly dinner for my man! We had rib steaks, crash hot potatoes and corn. You have to try the crash hot potatoes. I found them on The Pioneer Woman's website. They were really easy and so yummy! You can click on the link to go to the recipe. She has a lot of great recipes but most are not so healthy. We are trying to eat healthier these days so I lightened this one up. Instead of spreading olive oil all over the sheet pan, I used Pam Olive Oil Spray. Just enough to keep them from sticking. Also instead of brushing the tops "rather generously with olive oil", I did about a 1 second spray of the olive oil on each. I also didn't use kosher salt. First because I didn't have any and second because I think it may add too much salt if you are not careful...and that's just not good for your blood pressure! Hmmm, maybe that's why mine is on the very low end of acceptable. :) Anyway, I did sprinkle a tiny bit of regular salt on them since potatoes just scream for salt. I figured if he wanted more, then he could add it at the table. He didn't. There was enough flavor with the pepper and rosemary that they didn't need anything else.
Allison picked me flowers while we were out grilling. She ran upstairs and got the top to her glue stick to use as a vase. Too funny! This picture is VERY enlarged so you can see it. There is a dandelion, a clover, a buttercup, a violet and I don't know what else. We put it in the middle of our dinner table. She was so proud to contribute to the dinner.

I didn't get to see my own Dad on Father's Day but I did talk to him. I saw him yesterday and lately he hasn't looked too good. I'm worried. He has some health problems and Spring and Summer is so hard on him. There so much work to do outside on the farm. The heat isn't good. It takes so much out of him. I know he's been to the Dr. and they are going to run some tests. If you pray, please say a little prayer for him. If not, can you just think good thoughts for him?

“Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition; but to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express.”
~Joseph Addison~
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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Making The Best of Kennywood!

My sister's company picnic was yesterday at Kennywood Park. Unfortunately it rained on and off for most of the day. It was supposed to storm but thankfully it didn't. We had planned to take one of Allison's classmates but her Mom called 15 minutes before we left and said they didn't want her to go because of the weather. Allison was very disappointed. My daughter is such a trooper and her disappointment didn't last for more than a few minutes. Once she got in the van and started watching a DVD she was fine and never mentioned it again. If there was thunder and lightning at the park, we were going to leave and then come back after it passed. The weatherman said it would be fine in the afternoon. Thankfully we only had sprinkles and soft rain. Sometimes it came down a little harder but there was no wind so we stayed until about 7 pm. It actually worked out great. The lines were nothing compared to a sunny day. Two of the lines for the water rides which are usually about an hour long were nothing. One was about 7 minutes and there was no wait at the other one. Overall, I would rate it as one of the better visits to Kennywood.
Here are some pics of our fun day for your enjoyment:
Just as we arrived at the pavilion for Alesia to register, it started to rain. We decided to stay there for an hour until lunch was served and then head out for the rides. As you can see by the picture Miss Allison was so excited.

Kenny the kangaroo made an appearance at the picnic and gracefully posed with all of the kids.

Here is Allison and Aunt Alesia on Garfield's Nightmare. It's a boat ride through Garfield's mind and his nightmare. It's all done under a black light with 3-D glasses.

So this pic is so bad but I wanted you to make sure I share the complete ride with you!

You can't go to Kennywood and not ride the Merry-Go-Round!

Of course Allison would pick the pink motorcycle on the Steel City Choppers ride in Kiddieland!

If you are a regular reader of my blog, then you'll remember the post I did on "Some People are Just Born Lucky!" Click on the link to see the post. Well, guess what? YES!!!! Allison won one of the children's door prizes at the picnic AGAIN! This is her third time! It's not like there is only one person in the drawing either. There are hundreds! She won a $25 Toys R Us gift card. She is so excited! I'm telling you, I am taking her to Vegas when she turns 18! Anyone want to come along?

Here she is on the miniature version of the Merry-Go-Round in Kiddieland. It's called Kenny's Karousel.

She braved the Pounce Bounce in Kiddieland by herself. The little girl next to her Mom was scared. My little one was not...of course!

I love the look on her face in this picture. She is so proud!

All my baby wanted to do was ride the Raging Rapids. I had put her off as long as I could and then when I gave in, you would have thought I told her she could have a new kitten! On this ride, you WILL get wet! There is no question about it! Allison loved every second of it. We laughed and screamed the whole time. This picture isn't very clear but I wanted to share with you how afraid I was that she was going to just fly out! Can you see the death grip I have on her? This ride really throws you around.

Here we are just as we got off the ride. We were soaked! Please excuse the running mascara and pulled back hair. I would rather have it pulled back wet than in my face wet!

Since we were already wet, Allison wanted to go on the Log Jammer. Aunt Alesia will go on there because you don't get wet every time and as you can see, she wore a rain poncho. Here they are coming down the final 53 feed chute!

I don't know if you can see it here in her face but my daughter LOVES the water rides! She is definitely my child! I'll take water rides over roller coasters any day!

Here is Miss Allison at the end of the day before we left the park. Her eyes look so funny in this picture. It's as if she's saying "Don't mess with me and my watermelon!"

Have Fun!

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