Wednesday, April 30, 2008
But I have a new favorite sneaking in. Lilacs. They're just so delicate and fragrant and I adore the color.
There is a huge lilac bush growing directly outside my back door. I can lean over the deck railing and snip some blooms right off, arrange them in a mason jar and bring some of the beauty in. It is completely delightful to wake up to the smell of lilacs sitting on your nightstand...try it.
So, for the duration of this Spring at least, my blog will sport the loveliness of Lilacs. Inhale the heady fragrance...
Monday, April 28, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
The "honies" sitting in Gram's new kitchen. "The better to make you peanut butter cookies with, my dear..."
What a blessing it is to have one of the kids Grandparents living so close! Something I've never experienced before - I love it! I only wish Mr. B.'s parents were a little closer...eight hours is much much too far. But some fun things about having long-distance Grandparents are the big, brown UPS packages full of toys, the road-trips and spending days on end enjoying the novelty of their company. See you soon, Grandma & Grandpa B.!
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
I give you money and send you into the grocery store to pick up 5 items. You can only pick one thing from the following departments...what is it?
1. Produce: pears
2. Bakery: croissants
3. Meat: chicken breasts
4. Frozen: pizza rolls - totino's
5. Dairy: baby Swiss cheese
If I was to listen in on your conversations throughout the day, what 5 phrases or words would I be most likely to hear?
1. I love you.
2. No no!
3. Come here now!
4. You're so cute...
5. I need a nap.
Let's say we're heading out for a weekend getaway. You're only allowed to bring 3 articles of clothing with you. So, what's in your bag?
1. Sassy Bra & Undies - and because this is my blog, I'm counting them all as 1 of my 3 items.
2. A sweet sun dress with big flowers on it.
3. A bathing suit.
So, what 3 things do you find yourself doing every single day, and if you didn't get to do, you probably wouldn't be in the best mood?
1. Having morning coffee.
2. Reading my Bible and having prayer time.
3. Reading a good novel.
We are going to the zoo. But, it looks like it could start storming, so it'll have to be a quick visit. What 3 exhibits do we have to get to?
1. The Apes
2. The giraffes
3. Feeding time for the bears
You just scored tickets to the taping of any show that comes on t.v. of your choice. You can pick between 4, so what are you deciding between?
1. Grey's Anatomy
2. American Idol
3. Everyday Italian
4. So You Think You Can Dance
You're hungry for ice cream. I'll give you a triple dipper ice cream cone. What 3 flavors can I pile on for ya?
1. chocolate peanut butter
2. cookies n' cream
3. chocolate chip
We're talking a 3 hour block with nobody around. What 5 activities might we find you doing?
1. Taking a bath
4. Eating chocolate
Someone stole your purse...in order to get it back, you have to name 5 things you know are inside to claim it. What's in there?
1. Diapers: size 4 and 5
2. My blue wallet with pictures of my kids and (sadly) no cash
4. My pink cell phone.
You are at a job fair, and asked what areas you are interested in pursuing a career in. Let's pretend you have every talent and ability to be whatever you wanted, so what 4 careers would be fun for you?
2. Concert Pianist
3. Ballet Dancer or Broadway Showstopper!
5. Party Planner
If you could go back and talk to the old you, when you were in high school, and inform yourself of 4 things, what would you say?
1. You are so cute and so thin. Stop complaining!
2. You are doing a wonderful job of not conforming to what everyone thinks you should be. Keep it up!
3. Once you graduate life is going to move really fast. Enjoy your girlhood now.
4. Quit dating that idiot...
Monday, April 21, 2008
I had the bright idea to invite her over for a tete a tete birthday celebration. Well...Miss Evie and our doggies ended up joining us for the party which made for quite the entertaining crowd. I made Chicken Salad Contessa (one of Ina Garten's recipes) on big, buttery croissants, served it with crunchy chips, a pickle and sweet tomatoes.
It was one of those golden days that you are convinced is the very temperature heaven will be with a perfect breeze. I couldn't resist dining alfresco.
Since my attempt at chocolate Bavarian cream in little individual goblets flopped - it tasted okay but the consistency was dreadful, I hurried to a bakery and bought scones and called it a day. A minor setback, to be sure. Paired with fresh strawberries, we fared just fine.
And here is a picture of half the party:
Two of my favorite blondies. Loca, Mrs. M.'s sweet doggie, is waiting for her share of droppings from the table. If you look closely you can spot Teddy relaxing in the shade...
Happy Birthday Mrs. M! I hope you are putting your birthday gift to good use soon!
Chicken Salad Contessa
from the Barefoot Contessa
2 split (1 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on (1 1/2 lbs)
Good olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup walnut halves
1/2 cup good mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves, divided
1 cup grapes, cut in 1/2
Lettuce leaves, for serving
Preheat oven to 350.
Place chicken breasts, skin side up, on a baking sheet and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Set aside until cool.
When the chicken is cool, remove meat from the bones and discard the skin and bones. Cut the chicken into a 3/4 inch dice.
Meanwhile, place the pecans and walnuts on a separate sheet pan and toast in the oven for 7 to 8 minutes until golden. Set aside to cool.
For the dressing, mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Fold in half the chopped tarragon leaves.
Place the diced chicken in a bowl, add the pecans, walnuts and grapes. Pour the dressing over the chicken and toss well. Sprinkle the remaining chopped tarragon leaves on top, and serve on a bed of lettuce leaves.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
I was invited by my girlfriends, Mrs. V. and Mrs. F., to their church women's retreat. See how sweet the sign is? I was delighted by the color scheme of Tiffany's blue and red. So so cute and fresh. I think my favorite part of the weekend would have to be the cute decor...second only to fellowship with three lovely ladies, of course.
Let's just take a moment to appreciate this centerpiece. The hat boxes, the ruby slipper, the fringed cake stand. Too cute.
After dinner and a message from this delightfully southern, Paula Deen-ish speaker, we sat around and talked about high school reunions (which I have yet to participate in), our first CD's, how we met our husbands and what books we loved as children.
Side note: I think the little Mrs. V. has as intense a love for children's literature as I do. Shh...
Then, my friends, the sugar and caffeine melee began. Carmel corn, Squirt, Girl Scout cookies and Twizzlers were audibly calling our names. We answered.
It really was refreshing and heartening to spend time with girls for a longer period of time than a couple of hours. Especially these girls. The three of them just have such gentle, loving spirits and while we laughed plenty they refreshed my spirit in deeper ways as well.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Some girls from my MOPS group invited me to a women's retreat for their church tonight and tomorrow. We are staying in this sweet little hotel that looks just like a French chateau.
Four mommies in a hotel room, freed of their burden of motherhood for one night. We get to remember what it was like to be girls again. What fun!
It was nothin'...just a little 5.2 earthquake in Illinois felt clear over here.
Wha?! An earthquake?
(We also felt the aftershock at 10:15 am, apparently around a 4 on the scale...)
Thursday, April 17, 2008
I can't take a vacation. I don't have the time or means. But. A girl can dream, can't she?
Here are my top 5 Vacay's: (so fun, right?)
Who I would go with: Whoever wanted to come! Probably my children and my husband and a nanny (remember? I'm dreaming).
What we would do: Visit the Alps, sight see in Vienna, eat Viennese pastries and chocolate and drink coffee, and many other Sound of Music-ish things.
Spa in Bora Bora
Who I would go with: ALONE. UNO. BY MYSELF. SINGLETON. JUST ME. NOBODY ELSE.
Where I would stay: Here. No, you may not come with.
What I would do: Soak in a tub with flowers; read a book (or not); lay on the beach; get a massage and every other lovely thing they offer at the spa; eat light, wonderful food; get refreshed and come home with a luminescent tan.
Tour of Italy (no...not at Olive Garden)
Who I would go with: My mom and my sister.
What we would do: Take a big, fat tour of the country and stay for a terribly long time. :) I would have to see Rome, Venice, Naples, Tuscany, Cinque Terre and Florence. I would have to eat a LOT of pasta and drink some wine. I would have to buy fantastic gifts.
Who I would go with: Mr. B. (this one's for him)
What we would do: Drive the coast from Washington to San Fran., California. We would stop at the Redwood National Forest and any other fun things along the way. Camp, just to see the smile on my man's face when he's in nature. And end up in San Francisco (for me).
Who I would go with: Mr. B. and maybe the kids (if they were like 12 and 11).
What we would do: Take a magnificent jeep safari and then go to S. Africa and stay in a luxurious hotel with gauzy window treatments and mosquito netting around the white beds. Oh yes...
So, that's it. My Top 5. Ahhh, I actually feel refreshed!
Monday, April 14, 2008
Sunday, April 13, 2008
I think my favorite part of the evening was Art City. A place to let your creativity run wild and no rules to inhibit.
Mr. B. and Beck creating.
Mr. B. made clay molds of the kids hands - all his idea! My mom made magic wands for Beck and Evie with sparkles and rainbow paper. I just marveled at the lovely mess and took pictures.
Evie with her wand.
Check out that table! I loved that. It absolutely reminded me of my little sister. She loves funky, free-spirited things like this. Alli, we are so going here when you get home from college!
The skateless skate park was a blast too. The children were an absolute blur as they careened up and down the ramps. Amazingly, no one got hurt! Probably because my children are athletic, genetic wonders. ;)
Mr. B. Flying.
After roaming through tunnels shaped like animals we decided Jonah must not have had it too bad - the belly of a whale is quite spacious! We devoured some crazy delish pepperoni pizza and then the kids tried their hands at architecture.
A trip down the roller slide and a romp in the ball pit made our night complete.
Phew! We were pooped afterwards and I think I even picked up a little bug while we were there. I'm playing hooky from church as we speak with steaming tea warming me and cold meds pumping through my veins.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Mrs. P. (pregnant w/ baby McKenna), Mrs. N. (pregnant w/ baby Isaiah) and Jamai, Me & Evie, Mrs. B. (pregnant w/ baby Audrey), Mrs. M.
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Mr. and Mrs. B. - not us, different ones - always have us in their home for our church small groups. We invade their cozy little home at least twice a month. We eat, we shout and laugh, we play games, we pray, we celebrate, we make a mess (and then try to clean it up). So I decided it was our turn to host them.
Mr. and Mrs. P. are moving to a new area within the month and I just had to have them over before they disappeared on us.
Voila! There was my guest list!
Saturday morning. The big "Morning Of" my kitchen sink regurgitated food and...stuff...I hadn't seen in months. My plans were dashed. How do you cook dinner for 6 + and entertain in a house with major pluming issues? You don't.
Thankfully, Mr. B. is a whiz of a handy-man and he patched it up as soon as he got home from work. But the damage was done. I was behind on my schedule so I just decided, "on with the show!" and we ordered a delish variety of Chinese food for delivery, I made my devilishly decadent dessert and we had guests!
It was nice to host and extend hospitality to others for a change. And not making the meal really allowed me to sit and be a "Mary not a Martha" as Mr. B. put it so eloquently.
Friday, April 4, 2008
I'm checking the weather, coffee cup in-hand. There's a quiche in the oven and children still asleep in their beds. I'm about to get a chest freezer and put it in my basement to fill with extra meat, casseroles and...ice cream, maybe? For some reason the freezer has been a talisman to catapult me into adulthood. If you have a chest freezer, you're a grown up. That's just the truth.
So...I want to remember. The days when I wasn't a grown up and chest freezers were things that large, home school families used to feed their ever-growing brood.
Remember brand new Crayola crayons. 64 count. The smell, the shiny, flat tips, the creative names. The promise of a perfect new batch.
Remember Silly putty. In the little egg. Its tacky surface still unmarred by the inevitable lint and dog hair. Stretching it til it snapped. Copying newsprint to its surface.
Remember Puffalumps. Sweet, pastel elephants, chicks, dogs, cows and whatever that thing was that looked like a cross between a bear and a dog...
Remember crazy Fraggle Rock. I'm talkin' the tv show with the puppets, not the weird cartoon. The theme song, their hair that had a life of its own. While remembering FR I can't forget My Little Pony Tales, Muppet Babies and the ultimate...Boy Meets World (I still want to be Topanga).
Remember playing with My Little Pony, Barbie and Paper Dolls.
Remember Pop Rocks. Tart and sweet but hurt your tongue when I got a "good one."
Remember Summers at the public pool. The sweaty heat, the boys that were just learning to be pervy, the melting Popsicles.
Remember the Nancy Drew series (please, not the movie!).
Oh...the quiche is done. Beck and Evie (not the unruly triplets) are calling for "mommy"...that's me! I have a MOPS meeting this morning and a spot to clear for my freezer this afternoon. I have guests coming over tomorrow - a dinner/going away party of sorts.
I am not a little girl...
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Jesus answered prayer tonight the best way! Mom's test came back normal and they released her at about 8 tonight and they showed up at our door to let us know. What a surprise and relief. thanks for praying for us....
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
She had some brain scans and testing done to see if there was a stroke or neurological damage. Nothing of the sort. The doctors say she was having classic concussion and head trauma symptoms. They asked if she fell - she didn't remember. They checked for a bump on her head - nothing.
Mom and Gram are busy today with last minute hospital business and discharge (yes, she's going home) and they're playing sleuth like madwomen. Things like, "Well, maybe I fell down the stairs and my bun saved my head from getting a bump." Haha! Saved by the bun.
Anyway, Gram's well and we're all relieved. Thank you for prayers and thoughts. You are all precious.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
We would sing songs from Broadway's Annie at the top of our lungs while driving in her little red Volvo.
Without fail, I would always get Florida oranges gum when she and Grandpa were on vacation.
She adores when her granddaughter's sing for her. And so, we all do.
She wears fun shoes and silly socks.
Grandma Sunshine and Evie dancing on Christmas 2007.
Grandma Sunshine has had an accident tonight. She was with my mom and aunt, doing ordinary things and suddenly lost her memory. Can't remember where she is or why she's there. Can't remember her age. Can't remember her address or phone number.
She's in the hospital and if you pray...please pray for her.
The babies make soft murmuring sounds to themselves as they wake in their rooms.
I take a sip of strong brew and think, "this will be a good day."