Birthday treats

It was recently a special man's birthday. Since I had come across a great Father's Day treat idea in Family Fun magazine I decided we'd give it a try for this occasion. Click here for complete directions. The following are pictures of our masterpieces!

First, bake cupcakes or brownies in silver foil muffin liners. So far, so good!

Then you make the grill grid. I was going to mix my own black frosting but it comes in a handy, dandy tube that's ready to go!

Now comes the creative, fun, free-hand part. We found caramels, fruit slices, taffy, hot tamales and toothpicks. That was all we needed to create steaks, hamburgers, cheeseburger and hot dogs.

Don't forget the grill marks!

Viola! You have a great platter of mini-grills complete with greats much better than anything that comes off the grill (have I mentioned that I love sugar!).

Happy Birthday!



Miss A has been happily enjoying an Introduction to Kindergarten class this summer. While we thought she was most certainly ready for school we decided it would be a good idea to get used to a bit of structure. Kindergarten will be all day, every day starting in August. This is sure to be a jolt to the system of a little girl who has had no schedule up to this point. Sure we have the occasional morning with an appointment or other such reason to get up and at 'em but mostly we get to relax. This means that the three women of our household have had the luxury to sleep in a bit (8 o'clock or later most mornings, yeah!) and lounge around in pajamas until such time as we feel the need to change into clothes (double yeah!!).

Since this class started at 8 o'clock we had talked about the need to wake up early. Miss A has been excited for some time to get an alarm clock. Namely a Hannah Montana, High School Musical, iCarly or other equally wonderful Disney/Nickelodeon character clock. Well, these clocks were no where to be found in late May so we had to settle for the radio she has in her room. Conveniently it can be set to play Cd's as its 'alarm'. So...our little pre-Kindergartner has been waking up to Selena Gomez (a Disney Channel star...if you are 5 years old and a girl). With the exception of 1 or 2 mornings Miss A has come downstairs each morning either sleepy and still in pj's or a little sleepy and dressed. I am VERY impressed by this.

This past week my dear husband was out of town for a couple of day. I had gotten up extra early to get organized for the day before I had to get the girls up. I looked at the clock...7:12 a.m...the alarm should have gone off. I heard no footsteps overhead so I decided to give her another minute or two and then head up to wake sleeping beauty. No sooner than I was ready to head up I heard feet hit the hardwood floor and saw a fully-dressed, hair-brushed little girl. "Hi A," I say. The reply is, "Hi Mom. Sorry I'm late!"

A bit taken aback would be an understatement! I smiled to myself and told her she most certainly didn't need to apologize. I said I was just on my way up to get her. Then on we went with breakfast (Fruit Loops with milk, please) and getting everything else ready for school.

Somehow and sometime my little girl decided she'd grow up (if only just a bit so far). She can get herself dressed, fed and ready to head out all on her own. I'm not sure how it happened, or when, but sorry is not a word I would associate with the process at all.

My little pre-Kindergartner finished up with her class today. We celebrated with a wonderful lunch and play session at McDonald's.

Miss A you are a remarkable young lady with lots of great things ahead of you. Keep getting up with that alarm clock and being prepared for the day. There are lots of great adventures ahead of you and I can't wait to watch from the sidelines.


Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful dads of the world today! God made a great choice when He gave me to my Dad (and Mom) and my girls got pretty lucky too.

A Little Girl Needs Daddy
A little girl needs Daddy
For many, many things:
Like holding her high off the ground
Where the sunlight sings!

Like being the deep music
That tells her all is right
When she awakens frantic with
The terrors of the night.

Like being the great mountain
That rises in her heart
And shows her how she might get home
When all else falls apart.

Like giving her the love
That is her sea and air,
So diving deep or soaring high
She’ll always find him there.
-Author Unknown



I have Sirius/XM Radio in my car. Once in awhile I listen to a bit of Rosie Radio (Rosie O'Donnell) if my girls are entranced in a movie (we also have a DVD player in our car...I know...very lucky!). Rosie's guest yesterday was Neil Pasricha. Neil began a blog about 'awesome things' after his marriage fell apart. Apparently his wife decided she didn't love him anymore and they both respected each other enough to end the marriage and kindly part ways. Not exactly sure how that happens but I digress.

Neil started the blog and set out to list 1000 Awesome things. Awesome things include:
  • #998 Getting grass stains out
  • #956 Using Rock-Paper-Scissors to settle anything
  • #483 Do nothing days
How true are these??? Each one is so, so, so simple, so universal and so awesome.

Side note: My dear Miss K (2 years old) has mastered the art of Rock-Paper-Scissors. She gets ready with fist in hand, pounds the rock-paper-scissors and them immediately sighs audibly and lets her arms fall in defeat as she is sure she's just lost the current round of the game. It's really quite entertaining and so fun to watch you don't want to let her know she has won, if in fact she has beaten you!

I'm going to start reading through the list. Click here if you'd like to do the same. Neil also has a recently released book. Guess what I may be getting before a trip to the lake or an upcoming road trip?

I think we all need to spend a little more time enjoying the Awesome things in each day...like the beautiful flowers outside my door, the green grass all around, the glass of red Kool-aid that hasn't spilled yet tonight or the quiet of a house with 2 little girls sound asleep after a fun day!


Great arms...here I come!

I mentioned in an earlier post that I really don't relish exercising. Once I'm doing it I don't mind but its not always on the top of my "what I want to do" list. However, I've been thinking for far too long that I needed to start something again.

So the half-marathon relay is in the works. My favorite brother said 'sign us up' when I mentioned it again. This means that I need to start jogging/running on a somewhat regular basis. I just have to make it through 6.5 miles by September 11. I should be able to do that, right?!?!!!

Then I decided to try something else at the same time. By 'try' I mean a real effort, i.e. follow the schedule for more than 30 days. 'Try' in this case does not mean do the workout 2-3 times and call it quits. The latter is often what happens when I come upon some workout that sounds like lots of fun.

I love toned, strong arms and have always secretly wanted them. Have you seen Kelly Ripa lately? She has fabulous arms which I occassionally have a moment to see if the television hasn't been hijacked to the Disney channel or Nickelodeon yet. Granted, she is so thin I wonder if she even exists in person (they say TV adds 10 lbs. so she must be waif-like) but the girl's arms are smokin'. I'll never get all the way there as I enjoy carbs far too much but a girl can dream, can't she?
Well, I'd heard more than once that Physique 57 was Kelly's workout of choice (plus spinning, running and the benefits of a personal chef). Have you heard of it? As luck would have it they have developed a DVD program for you try at home. I ordered it and a few days later (I think it was less than 1 week) it arrived at my door. Of course, there is more to it than just opening the box but its a great workout. Think a combination of ballet and Pilates.

It's actually a little fun. I feel like I'm really accomplishing something and making progress. I can survive the full video (57 minutes) and there is an express workout plus an arms and abs workout for those days when I can't spare a full hour.

So far, so good. Two weeks later I've done all the DVDs more than once and plan to continue as I'm starting to see results (and feel actual muscles). Stay tuned for updates!


Piano dancing

Most days Miss A spends part of the day sitting at the piano. She started taking lessons last fall. Since I play myself it was a thrill that she wanted to try lessons. Luckily we found a wonderful teacher who is helping her learn a skill she can enjoy for years and years to come.

She can also be found at some point every day dancing around our home. It might be in the living room, the front yard or her room. There may be music playing that I can hear or there may be some song playing in her head that keeps the dancing going.

One afternoon while we were spending a quiet day at home Miss A said, "Mom, can you come play piano?" I answered that I most certainly would as soon as I could. So I wrapped up the current project and headed to the piano. "What would you like me to play?," I asked. Her reply was, "Lorie Line or whatever you want."

So I grabbed a book and began. I'm lucky enough to have a beautiful, tall upright black Yamaha piano. That fact allowed me to see what unfolded behind me. My Miss A quietly putting on her ballet shoes and choregraphing a beautiful dance right before my eyes. I kept playing and she kept dancing. When the music got faster or louder her movements got faster and bigger. When the music slowed or quieted, so did her dancing. I've been aware for some time of her innate sense of timing, rhythm and movement but that afternoon I was reminded what a gift she was given.

God put something in her that makes her a great little dancer and lover of music. I hope she is able to continue refining those gifts and uses them to make people smile. I'll try to help her in any way I can.

In the meantime, thank goodness for my beautiful, shiny black piano that lets me sneak a peek at my dancer and her spontaneous choreography.


Everything is fun to this girl

I get several catalogs in the mail. Many just appear without my ever having ordered anything from the company. While I know I should take my name off all lists and just look online (to save the environment, postage costs, etc.) I admit I LOVE them. I love to get them and browse through them. I love to get ideas about what clothes are cute together, neat accessories for my house, fun shoes, the latest and greatest lip gloss, etc.

Last week in my plain white mailbox the early summer 2010 Serena & Lily catalog arrived. I looked through it and found a rug I loved, some fabric that would look great on my dining room chairs and the most adorable nursery collections.

Their nursery collections are named. One is green and pink with a damask pattern. It also happens to be named Kate. Which also happens to be the name of my second adorable and sweet daughter.

The collection's description reads, "Kate is entertainment. It doesn't matter what she's doing; everything is fun to this girl. She sees life as one big treasure hunt, and she's got the map. And darned if she doesn't already know where her treasure is buried."

I realize those words were written by someone who has never laid eyes on my darling daughter #2. The author, however, could have spent the day with her. My Kate is entertainment. You can sit back and watch her all day long. You'll be endlessly entertained. She makes you laugh with her funny faces, her determination for whatever she's doing, her independence, her endless ability to snack while never actually eating a complete meal. It's all very comical if you're not her parent trying to teach things at times.

Everything is fun to a 2 1/2 year old who can keep herself busy much of the day. Going from one thing to another. She may be found making cookies in her kitchen, ringing up items at the cash register or calling into its intercom, "price check!".

Her latest treasure is chewing gum. I don't ever remember it being so fascinating to me but she LOVES the stuff. Give her a pack and she's good to go for the day. One piece at a time (or perhaps 2) will be carefully unwrapped, wrapper thrown into the trash and gum carefully chewed until she deems its time for another or an alternative snack is found. A girl's got to eat, right?!?!!!

She is independent and will let you know what she needs or will happily play on her own until that point. If she doesn't care to do whatever you have in mind she may smile, look at you out of the corner of her eye and say, "no", in the sweetest, kindest way you've ever heard. That's Kate! To know her is to love her.

She's is truly entertainment and one of my two greatest treasures!


Dear Oxy-Clean

Tonight I was ready to relax on the sofa with a DVR full of reality TV. When all of a sudden a lovely child wandered down my stairs. She needed some help before she could nod off to dreamland. Well, as she was sitting on the coffee table to chat she tipped over a glass of RED TROPICAL PUNCH. I may have muttered a word or two as I watched the sweet liquid splatter across my lightly colored carpet. The lovely child returned upstairs. I found you in the laundry room, mixed you with water and started scrubbing and hoping. As I poured a bit more on the currently pink carpet you worked your magic.

My carpet looks like its back to normal (light with flecks of blue, not pink). I have returned to my reality tv and life is good. Thank you for your magic. 

A tired, but grateful mom

P.S. I'll use a sippy cup next time.
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