Monday, March 30, 2009

What THE Heck??????

On the way to church yesterday morning, I asked Allison if she thought it was going to snow more or if spring was here to stay. She said spring was here to stay.

Ha! I can't wait for her to get up and see what I saw this morning! I took a picture just in case it melts before she wakes up.

I bet she'll ask if they have a 2 hour delay for school this morning. She hates Monday mornings as much as I do!

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Vintage & The Modern Day Brownie!

Allison joined Girl Scouts last fall as a Brownie and has loved every minute of it. Earlier today, Curtis and I were talking and decided that joining the Scouts has been the best experience for her.

Why, you ask? Well. Allison's mind is always moving and she loves to learn new things. The word her teacher uses most frequently to describe her is that she's a "thinker." She also tells me that Allison is always searching for knowledge and answers. Boy, does she know my child! Allison loves to read but not story books or chapter books. Her books of choice are encyclopedias and dictionaries. Yes. I know. She's odd. She's not like most children.
What do you expect from Curtis and I?
A normal child?
No way!

Anyway. I'm getting off the subject as I often do. Brownies. Brownies is the subject. Let's stick with it here. Okay. Yes. Brownies is the perfect thing for Allison. She is always learning new things as they work towards a badge. This is good. Too much repetition is not good for her. She gets bored if there is too much of one thing. She is amazing at retaining what she learns the first time she learns it and once she's learned it, she is ready to move on. That is exactly why being a scout and working on the badges works for her. They usually do 4 activities to earn a badge.
This is perfect!

Okay. Here is Allison dressed in her Brownie uniform. Isn't she adorable? She is definitely the "Modern Day Brownie." Apparently the Girl Scouts have relaxed their uniform standards and it's up to the troop what they want to choose as a uniform. Even though I'm a traditional person, I actually like that idea. I think it's blends better with the modern day families.

One thing that hasn't changed is the Brownie Membership Pin. It's the pin you see in the first pic on this post. It's on the brown Insignia Tab. Allison hasn't received hers yet so I went to my jewelery box and dug mine out from when I was her age. I dipped it in jewelry cleaner and it was good as new!

Okay. Here's the vintage part of the post. It's me! All decked out in my official Brownie uniform in 1970! Scary, aren't I? I am glad they changed the uniform and loosened up a bit! Can you imagine that lovely orange tie now? Oh, and that beanie! I'm not going to say much about the beanie because it is still an option for some Brownies. Gasp!

Oh. By the way. Sorry Alesia for cropping you out of the picture. Your eyes were closed in the pic anyway and after all...this blog is about me! :::wink, wink:::

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Monday, March 23, 2009

In Need of Some Inspiration!

This Spring & Summer I plan on making some changes to our home. I have plans to paint the walls, refinish some furniture, sew some new curtains and update our look. I have so many ideas as to what I want to do but I am stuck on the bathroom. I can't get inspired! It's driving me nuts!

I usually have no problem deciding what I want to do or knowing what direction I want to go in...but not this time. All I know is that it's in need of a change.

This is currently how our bathroom looks. It's pretty basic so it shouldn't be hard. Ya, right! I am having a mental road block on this one!

A couple of things I know for sure are that I am not going to paint the cabinets. I don't have a problem changing out the hardware but I do not want to paint the cabinets at this time. I also know the light fixture needs to be changed on this one but I might have to live with that one for a little while.

So basically, I'm looking for ideas for a color and style change. Any ideas? Suggestions?

Don't forget that there is a man living in this house and I am sure Curtis would be appreciative of no pink or frills. I know it's a little feminine right now but I was pregnant when I did it and I wanted lilac. On a side time when Curtis and I were having a discussion, I told him that he had a problem compromising to which his reply was..."I pee in a purple bathroom, don't I?" Enough said.

So I am asking my blog friends...."Please inspire me!" One more is NOT an option.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

An Easy Sunday!

After a very busy and crazy week, I am just hanging out with Allison today.

I really don't have much to report but wanted to drop in and say hello and thank all of you for your prayers and comments on my previous post. Please keep praying...they are going to need them.

I'm busy doing housework and Allison is busy drawing cartoon animals. This is her version of a "cartoon cat." Cute, huh?

I hope you all are having a blessed Sunday!

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Prayer Request and a PSA.

I hesitated posting about this. I am not sure why. Maybe because I try to keep my blog upbeat, fun and positive. My blog is a documentation of my and our lives and I try to move past the not so great moments in my life and focus on the goodness life has to offer. However. This is weighing heavy on my heart and I need to "get it off my chest" so to speak.

The children you see here in the picture are my younger brother's kids. Mya is 7 1/2 and Derek is 5 1/2. In the early hours of Tuesday morning, their 31 year old Mother died in her sleep. Just to clear things up for all of you...their Mother and my brother were not together. They have been apart for several years. It was not a good relationship or separation and that's enough said about that.

Anyway. I believe in the power of prayer and the more, the better. So having said that...I am asking you to take a minute out of your day and please pray for these children and my brother. Pray that God will see them through this very difficult time and watch over them closely for they will need extra angels in their lives. Please pray that my brother, Albert, who has now become the full time custodial parent will have the strength, patience, sense of humor and everything else it will take to parent these kids through this and into adulthood. He loves these kids so much and has a wonderful relationship with them that I know in my heart that he will do whatever it takes to raise them properly. He is just going to need our prayers for this new journey he has just started. He will not be alone in this. My parents, my older sister, Curtis and myself will all be there for him and the kids.

Thank you for all of your prayers. It's going to be a long road to some sort of normalcy for the three of them so all your prayers will be greatly appreciated.

Okay. Now to my PSA...
The results are not back as to why their Mother passed away yet but they are obviously due to a medical condition. We have since learned from her Mother that she had very high blood pressure and was a diabetic. She refused...yes, take medication for her high blood pressure. I know you are sitting there going "WHAT??" because that was my reaction. Her Mother said that she tried to get her to take it but you "couldn't tell her anything." I have to be honest here, I am angry! Angry at her for not taking care of herself for her children. Angry at her for taking herself away from her children. Yes. I blame her. I know I shouldn't but I can't help myself. My heart is breaking for these children that they will grow up without a Mother.

I know I will get past my anger but right now I'm going to use it to fuel my "Public Service Announcement." So. My questions for you are:

When was the last time you had a physical?
Are you doing everything you need to do so you can be the best for your children and loved ones?
Are you getting enough sleep?
Are you eating healthy?
Are you getting enough exercise?
Do you know what your cholesterol levels are?

I could go on and on but you understand where I'm going with this. Be honest with yourself and take a look at yourself and DO something about it! Please!

I am going to admit right here, right now that I have not been my best. I put myself last...always. I am a caretaker by nature and take care of those around me first and never think about myself. My doctor retired at the beginning of last year and I have not found a new doctor yet. It wasn't high on my priority list. Guess where it is right now? Yup...on the top of my list. Here's another true confession for you...I lost 43 pounds on Weight Watchers last year and fell off the wagon in the fall. I probably have put half of it back on. Why? Because I got busy with life and put that on the back burner. So obviously the answers for me to "Are you eating healthy?" and Do you get enough exercise?" is No and No.

I need to make a change in my life. I need to treat my health as I would treat my family. I need to put it first! I need to take care of it like I would my daughter.

I'm making a promise to my family and myself here today to find the better me. My first steps are that I will complete three things before the end of March.
These three things are:
1. I will find a new doctor and make an appointment for a physical...and keep the appointment.
2. I will re-join Weight Watchers.
3. I will work exercise into my life.

My question to all of you is:
Will you join me in finding the better you?

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

There's Nothing Like...

...sleeping in the sun on your 3rd birthday on Mom's favorite afghan on her couch and not getting into trouble for it!
Yes. My baby boy, Simba, is 3 years old today. It's his 1st birthday with us so I'll allow him a little freedom today.

If you are interested in how Simba joined our family, you can check out the story here.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

My Traumatic IKEA Experience!

First let me start this entry off by saying that I love IKEA. I do. Really, I do. HOWEVER...did you notice the big "however?" Yes. However, I HATE shopping there.

I work less than 5 minutes walking distance from the Pittsburgh IKEA and I do not go there. Honestly. I have only been there twice in the last 4 1/2 years. I know some of you out there are probably jealous that I am so close to one. Some of you are thinking that I'm nuts for not going on a weekly basis but it's something I just can't do. Yes. I said CAN'T. Let me explain.

Several weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to stop and get some of these "BURKEN" jars for my kitchen...

...and some of these"BRANĂ„S" baskets for my...
"EXPEDIT" shelving unit that I bought on my last visit to IKEA ... 3 years ago! By the way, don't you just love all the cool names they have for their stuff?
Anyway. If you have ever been to IKEA you know what I mean when I say that you can not get into that store easily! The entrance is clearly marked so I don't mean that but once you step inside the door, you don't know where to go. I end up going into this little entrance which dumps you directly into one of their shopping areas. I then had to find my way back to a corner of that area so I could pick up one of their carts that have wheels that go in all directions. Yes. This cart can not only move forward but sideways and is a little hard to handle at times because you are not used to driving a cart with a mind of it's own.

Okay, now that I got into the store and have my cart, it was time to search out the jars. I found them quickly and I was doing just fine at that time. Then I tried to find my way to the baskets. It wasn't an easy task. That place is like a maze! There are these openings that you think is leading you to another section but then you take it and you end up back where you were! Ugh!

I finally stumbled and I mean stumbled upon the baskets. Thank goodness! I was starting to get frustrated. There weren't very many there. This was disappointing because they are handmade and they are all a little different. I had trouble picking three that were similar.

After I had my jars and baskets, I thought that I would look around a little. This turned out to be a good idea and a bad idea all in the same. I stumbled upon some more of the baskets and traded in a couple that I had already picked out for some that were better matches. That was the good part. The bad part of my "looking around" idea was that I should have known better. I get lost in IKEA and can't find the entrance or the exit and then I start to panic. I'm serious! I start to break out in a sweat and then I start breathing more rapidly. I go into panic mode thinking that if there was a fire or some other emergency, I couldn't find my way out. I would die in IKEA with baskets and jars! So after my 30 minute visit to IKEA, I had to get out of there...and I didn't even make it to their other floors. Thankfully, before I had to embarrass myself by asking someone to point me to the registers, I luckily found my own way out!

I know this crazy but this is what IKEA does to me!
It turns a normal independent middle-aged Mom in a fearful panicked child!

Why couldn't they just build the store like other stores? One large space divided by aisles and rows?

Seriously. I don't think I'm alone in feeling this way about this least I know there's one other out there...because in sharing my experience with my BFF, she agreed with me!
Do any of you have IKEA panic when you shop there?

Oh look! It's our personal inspector!
Princess has to sniff, examine and climb into any package, box or basket that comes into our house. I don't know what she's looking for but I hope it's not bugs!

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

I Think I May Need Help!

Is there a twelve-step program for cupcake paper hoarders? If so, I think I may need to get to a meeting!

What can I say? I think I may have gone a little overboard on purchasing cupcake papers. Some of them are so cute that they are hard to resist. They are also so decorative. You can not only use them for cupcakes or muffins but I like cutting up brownies and bar cookies and putting one in each liner. They make a pretty presentation when you are giving your baked goods away.

Look at my new ones! Aren't these Daisy Picnic cupcake papers just yummy? I could just see cupcakes decorated with daisies in I HAD to bring them home with me!

I actually don't think the problem is all of my cupcake papers. I think the problem is that I've stopped baking lately and they've just accumulated.

Look at my collection! Oh my! Did I just say collection? Wow! There IS something wrong with me, isn't there? Seriously friends. WHO has a collection of cupcake papers in their kitchen?
This is sad. They've moved from a shoebox sized storage bin to one that is two sizes up!

You do know what this means, don't you?
I need to get baking!

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Get Yours Today!

I went to the Post Office today to mail a few packages and to pick up some stamps. I always buy the FOREVER stamps because I really don't use more than just a few a month.

If you don't know what the FOREVER stamp is, you are missing out. It's a First Class stamp that you can use FOREVER! Yes...even when the postage goes up! There is no need to go to the post office and buy 2 cent stamps to add to your outdated stamps so you can mail a letter. Isn't that awesome?

I picked up 3 books today because I knew that the price of a First Class stamp is going up 2 cents to 44 cents on May 11, 2009. When I asked for them, the postal worker told me it was a good idea to get them now because they will be sold out soon. That is what happened to me last time. They sold out WEEKS before the postage went up!

So if you watch the pennies in your budget like I do, buy your FOREVER stamps now! I know it's only a couple cents per stamp but it adds up after a while. I think I may pick up a couple more books this week. After all, besides loving a bargain, I love having stamps in my drawer when I need one!

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Monday, March 09, 2009


Yes! I am on vacation!

It actually started yesterday but I was lazy, lazy, lazy and didn't bother to blog about it then. I pretty much had a little me time while Curtis took Allison over to his Mom & Dad's. I watched two movies back to I used to do when I was single and childless. I never get to see any movies anymore so this was a treat for me. I watched "Made of Honor" with Patrick Dempsey (YUMMY!) and "The Banger Sisters" with Susan Sarandon and Goldie Hawn. Yes. I know that movie is like 7 years old but I never saw it! I liked them both very much.

Today the real fun starts. This is the vacation I take to regroup. I need this time to get some things done. I need this time to get caught up. I need this time to clear out the closets and drawers. I need this time to plan the changes I want to make in our home. I need this time to keep my sanity.

I am finding that I need one of these vacations every year!

So the picture is not how I'm spending vacation. It was just the first image that appeared when I Googled "vacation." :)

Well. I gotta run and get to it!
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Saturday, March 07, 2009


Allison: "Mother. What's that big garbage can for in the back of the van?"

Me: "It's for your toys."

Allison: "Are you SERIOUS?"

This was a conversation Allison and I had this week on her way to school one day. Her perception was that I was cleaning house and her toys were going!

In reality, I bought it to store all of her outside toys. You know the ones...skates, helmet, elbow & knee pads, sidewalk chalk, Frisbee, jump ropes, basketball, soccer ball, kickball (Geez! How many balls does one kid need?) and more. I thought it would be easy to wheel it out and everything would be in one place. I also thought that end of the day clean-up would be easier too...and any dirt that ended up on the toys would be contained in the trash can and not on the floor of our basement or on our deck.

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Friday, March 06, 2009

Poor Rosie!

This is Rosie. She is Allison's favorite sleeping buddy. Allison has had Rosie since she was just a little girl. One day I'll give you the history of her dolls but for now I have to share what happened to Rosie last night.

Unfortunately Rosie got in the line of fire when Miss Allison got sick last night at 11:30. This traumatized more than just Allison. It scared the he - - out of me! You see Rosie isn't what she used to be. She's had a few surgeries and some implants to plump up her shape. She had also gotten a little dirty but I was so afraid to wash her. I was afraid that it would be the end of Rosie.

Last night I had to face my fear. Rosie HAD to get a bath...and a good one!

The only thing that had worked in the past was OxiClean so I knew I had to use that again. I held my breath the whole time! I had to softly rub her fabric with a soft surgical scrub brush they use in the hospitals. They gave me one when Allison was born to brush her hair. I've kept it ever since and use it to clean Rosie. I am embarrassed to say that she was a lot more dirty than I thought! She's a trooper though and made it through the cleaning but took a while to dry. I put her in the dryer for a little bit and then put her in front of the register to finish the drying process. However, since it's warmer here today, the furnace wasn't kicking on so I had to put her back into the dryer. :(

Well, I'm happy to report that Allison and Rosie have been reunited and are cuddling on Daddy's chair while Allison plays her Nintendo.
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Monday, March 02, 2009

The Moms Do Some Grass This Month!

Here we go again! The Moms experimenting with something new...grass!
That's Easter grass, of course!
Yes, this month for "Mom's Craft Night Out" we made Easter Egg Wreaths.
The Moms like wreaths so when it came time to come up with a craft for Easter, I knew I wanted to do something with eggs for the wreaths. I searched the web for inspiration and found several Easter wreaths. Some I really liked and some I liked not a whole lot but they had good points. This wreath is the result of my inspiration. This project was easy, fun and I love the end result.
The supplies you'll need to make one are:
The Supply list: Cardboard, Plastic Easter Eggs (I used 42 medium (regular sized) but we'll talk about this later), Easter Grass, 1 1/2 inch wide Ribbon, Wire or Pipe Cleaners for bow and hanger an the back. I recommend you match your grass with your ribbon...not the same color but the same color family.
The Tool List: Hot Glue Gun, Scissors and a Pencil with it's eraser never used.
Let's get started!
We started with a base of cardboard. I just grabbed any box and cut out two circles. If your cardboard is super thick and sturdy, you can use one thickness if you wish. The outside of my circle is 12 inches and the inside measures 9 inches. This makes the wreath a little over 13 inches in diameter. If you need or want a larger wreath, then cut bigger circles....and you'll need more eggs.

I added some hot glue to one of my circles in a pretty decorative fashion. Ha! Who am I kidding? I just squirted it around the frame!
Okay. Now it's time to start hot gluing the eggs down. Look at the top right of the photo. This is where I started. I put a little glob of hot glue on the bottom of the green one and set it down on the cardboard with the fat end on the inside. Make sure you place the eggs horizontal on the board. Do not have them standing at attention or tilting upward. Next I placed the pink egg next to the green one and put one small dab of glue in between the two to connect them. You could probably see it if you click on the picture to enlarge it. Next I added the purple one and connected it to the pink and green one with more glue. To sum this up, you will have glue on the bottom of all the eggs to adhere it to the cardboard and anywhere it touches another egg, you'll need to put a little dab on it too. This will build a nice and sturdy wreath. As you can see with the first three eggs, the purple one nestles right in with the other two. As you work around the wreath, this is not the case with every egg. Look at the next two (yellow & blue). The blue can't quite nestle in between the yellow and pink. Not a problem. Just make sure that when you continue with your wreath, your outside eggs are facing out like a sunburst and your inside eggs are facing inward to a center point. Do not worry about the gaps where you can see the cardboard. We'll fix that later.
When you get to the end, you will probably not have enough to finish out the wreath. This is PERFECT! You will need that space to put a bow there. By the way, I picked up these pearlized eggs at Big Lots. We loved them!
Here's Kelly modeling the latest in Easter fashions!

Okay, the next step is to put the top layer on the wreath. I used 10 eggs...2 of each color. All I did was place them in a random fashion. You can look at the first picture for the example. You can place them over the places where you have the biggest gaps and then fill in or whatever you like. You will need to hot glue these down everywhere they touch another egg.
Next is where we did some grass! LOL! It's my odd sense of humor but I think that's funny!

Anyway....start with a little grass and using your pencil as a tool push some grass with the eraser into the gaps of your wreath. Start with the the gaps under the top layer of your eggs. Then you will need to put them between the outside rim of the bottom layer of eggs. In the space where the gap is, put a little bed of hot glue and let it cool a few second and then put some grass there to cover the cardboard.

Here Dawn shows you how it's done. Do not try to shove too much grass in the gaps. If you press too much in there it will act press against the eggs and pop them apart. You really just need a little to cover up the gap and add sparkle.
Nettie and Kelly used the bright colored eggs and they came out adorable too!

Here's Susan D. on the left with her pink grassed wreath and Cindy on the right with your her yellow grassed wreath. Don't they look proud?

After you are done "grassing" your wreath, trim the fly-a-ways from the outside of your wreath to shape your wreath.

Don't forget to trim the inside too!

Next you'll need to make a bow or if you want, find someone to make it for you. This was our most challenging task for our Mom's that night.
Susan C. is a pro at it. She went right to work on hers.

Here I am trying to instruct Dawn on the bow making process.

Such concentration!

Nettie's doing well and hers came out great!

Oh my! Can you tell that Dawn is really stressed about the bow?

We'll have to have a bow class!

Add the bow to your wreath in the space not covered by the eggs and add a pipe cleaner to the back to make a hanger for the wreath and you're done!

This month's Moms showing their wreaths proudly. From left to right are: Cindy B., Susan C., Dawn, Me, Susan D., Kelly and Nettie.

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