these eyes

You know when you open your email and, if you have a preview pane, you can see just the top little part of the first message?

My sister sent some photos of my youngest niece, Megan, and these eyes were peeking at me through the preview pan.  Begging me to pay attention to her.  Begging me to hope in my car to drive to see her, snuggle her, play with her chubs.  ::sigh::

I think I might keep the email message on top just a little while longer. 


Here is the full version of the photo.  

I can't just show you those beautiful blue jean eyes without also showing off her cute little button nose or her wrist chubs or her dark pretty hair or her porcelain skin or her ............ I could go on and on.

I miss my little Meggie Moo.


always there for you

The Bad News: I am not the new PTO President

The Good News:  I stayed true to myself

The Bad News:  I felt sorry enough for myself to go and get ice cream

The Good News:  I only ate 1/8 of the pint instead of the entire pint

The Bad News: The remaining 7/8 is sitting in my freezer, waiting for me to fall

The Good News:  I can get back up without the help of B & J

The Bad News:  My work is just beginning and I will fall so many times I will be bleeding and bruised

The Good News:  I will not now, nor ever be broken, for I am saved.



I love salads.  Love, lOve, loVe, lovE fresh green salads.  Now that we are focusing on real foods in our home,  I have a big bowl of salad most every day for lunch.  I like my salads to be as healthy and nutrient dense as they can be, often containing 3 types of greens.  I have grown quite fond of 'my salad', so when I am out of an ingredient I HAVE to run ot the store before I can continue to chop.  This happened today and I felt silly going to the store for 2 things, but since I cut up enough veggies for 3-4 days worth of salads, it was worth the effort. 

Okay, okay.  I know you are sitting on the edge of your seat waiting to hear what goes into my daily salad.  If you promise to oooooohhh and aaaaahhhh, I will tell you.

  • Spinach
  • Romaine
  • Pre-mix bag of Brocolli slaw
  • Green Onions
  • Red or Green Bell Peppers
  • Other Mixed Greens when on sale

This mixture goes into a ziploc bag in the fridge veggie drawer.  When I am ready for lunch, I dump a large portion into my bowl and to that I add seseme seeds, feta or parmesan cheese and just enough blue cheese dressing to give it zip.  Too much and I have negated the health benefits of the veggies.  The dressing is an accessory ingredient not meant to take center stage.

The seseme seeds and cheese add the protein, so I usually don't add chicken or eggs to my mix.

There you have it.  My favorite salad.  It may not be the healthiest, highest protein or lowest calorie recipe, but I it is a far cry better than the leftovers or fast food I used to dine on for my midday meal.  WYKBYDB (When you know better you do better), right?

What do YOU love to have for lunch?


daily photos

When I decided to take a photo a day, every day, for the year 2010, I was making a quick decision.  It was January 1st which meant I needed to start that very moment and commit to the project without thought of failure.  

I had seen and read about people who documented their progress of their own daily photos and had always been in awe of the results.  Not just the beautiful photographs, but all of the moments captured.  

As of yesterday, I have pressed the button 103 times.  Why not 104?  Well, I forgot one day.  This is real life we are talking about people.  I am certain to flub up; and when I do I will take a deep breath and move on.

Today I want to share a few of my favorites.  If you get my posts through a reader, then you don't see the Flickr photo-stream I have in the right hand margins.  If you ever want to see my daily pictures, just go directly to my blog.  Grab a nice cup of coffee, kick your feet up, relax and enjoy the slide show.

  Had I not started this photo project, this piece of paper would have been recycled.  Now it can be marveled at over and over again.  F-W-O-G.  HeHe

 Hhhhhhmmmm.  Ciabatta.  When I look at this photo I am reminded of all the 'Baking Bread on Tuesdays' with Ceesa this past year.  We have learned to bake bread, but are just embarking on the bigger purpose.  I am loving the journey and look forward to the possibilities!

 Ben, watching TV.  Seriously.  I know he was playing some spy game with Ellie, but then got side-tracked while sneaking through the living room.  I love this boy.

Taking a photo a day gives me an excuse to document this little set-up in Ben's room.  He had done this the night before and I discovered it when walking in to put away laundry.  It was AFTER I took the picture that I realized he had lined them up according to color.  At first glance I was just admiring the time it took to lay them all out.

George (left, outside) and Alice (right, inside).  George has been with Dave and I since before we were married, while Alice just joined our family a couple of months ago.  I wish the cats loved a adored each other, but sadly George is unwilling to share his space.  Alice tries SO hard to win George's heart, .....just look as her submissive body posture!  In this photo, George is 'laughing' at Alice, who is not allowed outside.  Another point for George.

Maddi has started shying away from the camera, so getting this shot required quite a bit of begging on my part.  Mads has been playing the guitar since January and has developed a real passion for strumming.  

And finally, I can never have too many photos highlighting the reason I married this man.  HeHe


gratefulness heavy on my heart

Gratefulness is weighing heavy on my heart today, so I will lighten the load by sharing a few things I am most thankful for:

  •  The arrival of Spring;  the colors, the smells, the sounds and the possibilities

  •  My children showing me the amazing ability to adapt to lifestyle changes

  •  My husband proving to me everything will be okay

  •  Kneading bread and knowing by feel when it is ready to go to rise

  •  My forever sisters

  •  The community I am a part of who believe in the importance of the best education for our children

  •  Advil, Paxil and good chocolate.  For without these three, I am unable to be grateful for anything.


can't win for losing

My oldest daughter, Maddi, is in middle school.  She attends a Health class every other day, opposite PE.  Mads didn't talk so much about her health class in the first half of the year, and come to find out the subject matter was all about body changes, being a tween and how to practice good hygiene habits.  If I even bring up the subject of deodorant Maddi spins on her heals and practically runs the other direction.  In other words, she does not want to grow up and have to think about these things.

This may come as a surprise to some of you, but I was the EXACT opposite as a child.  I know ....... shocking.  I couldn't wait to have a daily routine of bathing with scented soap, shaving my legs, primping and having to put on deodorant. Not that I was a girly-girl; just one who was anxious to move on to the next stage of  ::ahem, cough cough::  development.

Which is why I have a tough time when Maddi doesn't want to talk about personal hygeine or make-up or smelly lotions.  Being the adult and mother, however, means I need to let go of my needs to 'share a moment' and move on to figuring out how to meet Maddi's needs.


Sorry, back to Heath class.  

So, lately Maddi has been openly and freely talking about what they are learning in Health.  Not because she has decided growing up is okay, but because the subject matter has changed to nutrition.  WooHoo!  Food!  The universal language in our household.

Maddi is excited to be learning about the food pyramid and all about the many different food options and healthy decisions to make.  She is recognizing the 'real' foods we have been eating at home and understanding why we need to limit processed foods, sugary cereals and trips to fast food joints.

 click here for bigger version

I really like what the modern day version is all about, even if our government was the one to design it ;)

So, Maddi has been taking her lunch to school and her friends have started to notice what foods she brings and now crowd around her to see what is 'in the bag' for the day.  Maddi is willing to try about anything, so her palette is well developed.  She is willing to pack anything from a PB & J (whole grain bread, natural peanut butter and blackberry preserves) to red bell pepper slices to fresh fruit (including mango and berries) to homemade bread.  Her friends are often willing to try something 'new to them' when in the presence of their peers than at home under the watchful eye of a parent. I love that Mads is willing to be a little bit different and inclined to bring some not-so-popular healthy lunches to school.

Until last week, that is.  Maddi came home to tell me about how a group of Nutritionists were going to be visiting their Health classes, talking about the benefits of healthy food choices.  These 'health scouts' were also going to be walking around the lunch room searching for students who brought a healthy, well-balance lunch.  When they found such a student, the Nutritionists were going to snap a photo of the child and their lunch, then post the pic up on a wall-mounted display for all to view.

Uh, oh.

My daughter Maddi is NOT one who likes attention drawn to herself.  So not like me.  

Maddi was concerned her lunches would stand out and attract the cameras to her face and food.  Mads suggested maybe we pack some junk food along with the healthy food so she could set out bags of chips and soda and candy on the table in front of her, thus thwarting attention of the healthy food police.  She said she could hold her REAL lunch in her lap and sneak bites of fresh strawberries and carrot sticks when no one was watching.

Oh my.  Look what I have done to my child.  She now wants to hide her previously popular lunch just to avoid the paparazzi. 


a public apology

To whom it may concern,

     To anyone who heard me say "Yes, I take my kids to McDonald's for Happy Meal Wednesday.  At $1.59 (then $1.69 and $1.89 over the last 2 years) it is cheaper to feed them at Micky D's than preparing a meal at home!"  I am sorry.  I apologize.  I was wwwwwwrong.  Because you didn't get the full story.
     What I didn't say was that I picked up a meal deal for myself and hubby, and often times Ben & Ellie asked for a Mighty Meal (regular price) while Maddi requested a snack wrap, fries and separate drink.  By the time it was said and done, the 'cheap' meal ended up costing us ~$25; blowing my theory of less expensive than a home cooked meal.
     I don't even want to talk about the amount of calories and fat we ingested.  But, hey .........the kids were happy about the new toy and I was happy because I didn't have to cook and hubby was happy because he didn't have to clean pots and pans.  Win-Win!
     Remember the saying "When you KNOW better you do BETTER, (WYKBYDB)"?  Well, I can not say I didn't know it was bad to feed your family fast food, but I honestly did believe it was cheaper and less stressful.  After watching Super Size Me, however, I must now DO better.
     Just last Friday I had a craving for McD's. (yes, even after watching 2/3 of the documentary ....... it's C-R-A-C-K I tell ya!)  I even grabbed my purse and was ready to head to our neighborhood dealer.  Somewhere along the drive I reminded myself about "WYKBYDB", made a detour and instead went to the grocery store to purchase ingredients for dinner ......... grilled boneless-skinless-chicken-breast, roasted asparagus, cantaloupe and strawberries.  patting myself on the back.
     Another decision I will be making tonight, thanks to WYKBYDB, is to opt out of taking the family to 'Wendy's Night'.  This once a month activity is designed to raise money for our school's PTO, with 10% of sales (from 5-8pm) given by Wendy's restaurant to Ben and Ellie's school.  We have participated every month since September, and have personally contributed about $13,  10% of our food tab for 7 months  Sure, Ben & Ellie love to go and eat with their friends, and I can select healthy choices from their menu, but then the kids wouldn't get their toy!  And don't forget the free balloons!  Oh, and the contest each class holds to earn a Frosty party if they raise the most money!
     So, tomorrow I will present our PTO with $1.90, while tonight we will stay at home, eating as a family, and enjoying a fresh homemade meal.  Sure I will have to cook and Dave will clean up, but I will fee better about the choices we made.



goodbye training wheels

What a great way to end this beautiful Easter Sunday.  My baby boy Benny said goodbye to the training wheels and hello to freedom.  I am sooooooo proud of him!  I do have to admit, however, I am a little sad that my babies are growing up so fast.

here comes the bunny

Happy Easter!!!!