Thursday, December 30, 2010


As you may know, I hate New Years/making resolutions.

But lately I've been feeling like maybe I should set some goals.  Not resolutions.  Goals.

And then I remembered that after September 11th, I did a lot of soul searching (as I am sure many of you did) and I wrote down my Lifetime Goals.  It's been nearly a decade since I developed my list so I thought I'd pull it out and see how I'm doing.

The first thing I noticed was that my list was hand-written.  Oh yeah.  That just cracks me up because I use the computer for EVERYTHING nowadays.  Even my grocery lists are typed!

Just for a little background information, at the time I developed my Lifetime Goals in September 2001, I was 31 years old.  I had a 2 year old and a 3 month old.  I was on child-rearing leave from my job.  We had dial-up internet access and I did not have a personal email address, only a work email, which I think I checked only two times while on maternity leave for nearly a year.  (My how times have changed!  Now I check email about two times per hour.)

I listed goals in four different areas:  Lifestyle, Travel, Personal, Financial.

I'm doing great with my Lifestyle Goals and if I had to list goals today, I would list the exact same items as I listed a decade ago.  Among them:  live a cancer-free life, never need false teeth, exercise regularly.

My Travel Goals make me laugh.  Clearly I did not anticipate having 5 children!  The destinations listed on my travel goals were:  Prague, revisit Italy (where we honeymooned), Iceland, New Orleans, and Hawaii.  Even today, I would still really love to visit Prague, Iceland and Italy.  I can check Hawaii off my list (visited there in 2004) and I have no desire to visit New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

My Personal Goals were many and most are still relevant.  One goal included raising 3-4 children so I guess I will have to revise this one to include FIVE children.  Another goal was to get a second masters degree or possibly a PhD.  I can tell you that I have absolutely no desire for that at this point in my life.  I suppose I was thinking that I'd be gainfully employed, with someone else (my employer) footing the bill for the additional degree and probably thought I'd work my way up the pay scale with said degree.  So I am crossing this off my list completely.  (I have completed 6 graduate degree credits as well as a number of other workshops so it's not like I've given up on the idea of furthering my education.  I just do not want to embark on another degree program.)  I'm doing ok on the goal of staying happily married until 'death do us part' but I am not doing very well on my goals of hugging and kissing each family member every day and also telling each family member each day that I love them.  This is something I struggle with.  I know it seems like it should be so easy.  I try.  I do.  It's just that I'm not great on the follow-through.  (But at least I'm consistent, right?  Ten years later I'm still working at it.)

My Financial Goals are short:  live debt-free (except for a mortgage) and to pay college tuition and books for my children for an undergraduate education.  Again, I was NOT thinking I'd have FIVE kids to put through college!  So I think I might have to refine this goal a bit.  We do have college savings for each kid (but not nearly enough to put them through college, at least not yet) so I'll have to give some thought to this.  At the very least, I'm going to commit to driving them to college on their first day.  Ha!  Only joking, of course I'll drive them but I'm gonna help them financially too.  But they're gonna have to contribute as well.

So I think I'm going to update my Lifetime Goals, add some sub-sections and figure out how to save for college AND visit Iceland.

Christmas Pics

We had a lovely Christmas and I think we got some great pics.  But I don't know for sure because the camera is AWOL.  I think the camera is in Ireland with my husband and daughters.  They will return on New Year's Day so look for some Christmas photos sometime next week.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Viola Virtuoso

My younger daughter auditioned for the Honors Orchestra at school and earned herself a spot!  I am so excited for her!!  The Honors Orchestra is comprised of 4th and 5th graders from the (ten) elementary schools in our district and students were selected for their "skill and musicality".

I am a little bit surprised that she earned herself a spot.  She practiced the audition piece only a couple of times.   I had no idea how the song was supposed to sound so I didn't know if she was playing it well or not.  She's not keen on practicing so part of me was hoping that she wouldn't get selected for the Honors Orchestra.  Part of me wanted her to realize that if you want something, you have to work for it and not just show up at the audition and expect to earn a seat.  So far, her approach seems to be working for her and I come out of this sounding like the adult character in the Charlie Brown cartoons:  blah blah blahpty blah blah blah.

But I think she is going to have to practice to keep pace with the orchestra.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Generation Gap

We got up around 2AM to watch the lunar eclipse.  I'm so glad I got up to see it!  My husband and I went outside with some hot tea, hats, coats, gloves and binoculars.  It was amazing!  It is NEVER truly dark in West Chester -- too many streetlights, houses too close together, etc.  It is often difficult to even see stars on an average night.  But due to the shadow over the moon, last night was darker than normal; the stars were shining brightly and we even saw a shooting star!  (My 7 year old son informed me that it was actually a meteorite.)

We woke the kids up to see it.  They weren't interested in going outside so they just watched, briefly, from the window.  Except for my oldest.  When I woke her up she said, "I'm really tired.  I think I'm gonna stay in bed and just watch it online tomorrow."

That just says it all, doesn't it?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dear Santa

My 5 year old son is learning to read and write and wrote a letter to Santa.  When I read it, I was so touched because he didn't ask for presents for himself.  He asked for presents for his little brother.  He then explained to me that the baby didn't get any presents last year and he wanted to make sure that Santa didn't forget him again this year.  So sweet.

(I didn't buy the baby any gifts last year because he was too young to know the difference but I guess I can't go with that plan again this year!)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Secrets from the Family Closet

As you can imagine, doing laundry for seven people can be cumbersome.  Over the years I've developed some coping strategies and I'll share them, maybe some of them will work for you.  (Sorry to disappoint those of you who thought this posting was going to be about deep, dark family secrets.  Laundry secrets are not quite as exciting.)

No Laundry Day
I used to do laundry once a week.  (Like before we had kids.)  And then it was twice a week.  And then every other day.  Finally I gave up on Laundry Day.  Every Day Is Laundry Day in this house.  But you know what?  If you do a couple loads each day, you can keep on top of it and then it doesn't get overwhelming.  

Ok, to be perfectly honest, I am good at getting the laundry washed, dried and brought upstairs.  What I am NOT good at is getting it put away.  I used to assign a laundry basket to each family member and would put each person's clean clothing into their basket.  And then the baskets would sit on my bedroom floor.  For days.  I'd never get around to putting away the laundry.  Which is part of the reason for the family closet.  Now that all the kid clothing is in the same room, I can just shelve it and be done.  No stepping over baskets, no nagging kids to put away laundry.  So far, so good. (But this is only Day 4 of the Family Closet.)

No Sorting
When I was growing up we had a clothes chute, which was an exciting and fascinating concept to me at the time.  But now when I think about it, I think of all the clothes getting mixed together and know that translates into someone spending a lot of time sorting clothing into different piles prior to washing.  

We sort the clothing by color when it goes into the hamper.  It takes approximately 3 seconds to sort clothing as you are throwing it into the hamper and takes approximately forever for ME to sort it otherwise.

No Folding
This is probably my biggest time saver.  We don't fold our clothing.  Shocking, right?  I used to fold clothing.  But if my children were trying to find a particular item in their drawers, they'd unfold the clothing and then just shove the leftovers back in the drawer because they lacked the coordination to refold.  (As they got older I discovered that it wasn't just coordination that was lacking, it was that just didn't care if their clothing was folded or not.)  So eventually I just gave up.  What do I do instead?  I stack the clothing one on top of another.  This way the kids can sort of "page through" their shirts, pants to find the one they are looking for.  The clothing pile remains intact, they locate the item they are looking for and I'm happy because the clothing remains flat and tidy instead of disheveled and wrinkled.  Are there exceptions?  Sure.  My husband and I still have our clothing folded.  And I have started folding my oldest daughter's jeans because now she is so tall now that her jeans take up too much space (lengthwise) when they are stacked.

No Ironing
I use Downy Wrinkle Releaser on almost all of our wrinkled clothing.  A few squirts, a few tugs of the fabric and it's "good enough".  Exceptions?  My husband's work shirts, dress clothes for the kids (we're talking holiday clothing) and any item of mine that looks like it needs ironed after using the Dony.  But 99% of kid clothing remains un-ironed at all times.

The Dot-Method
I read about this years ago in a parenting magazine and it has been a fantastic help over the years.  We use permanent marker to mark each child's clothing to identify which child it belongs to.  My oldest gets one dot, my second oldest gets two dots, and so on.  It's genius because as you hand clothing down you just need to add another dot to the clothing tag (or collar or waistband).  As soon as a new item of clothing comes into our house, it is the responsibility of the owner (assuming he/she is old enough) to dot his/her clothing and then when the laundry is clean I just have to look at the collar or waistband to know where to shelve the item.  This may not be necessary for some families but because four of my children are so close in age, many times their clothing is very similar in size and sometimes I have two kids wearing the same size at the same time.  With a glance I can easily tell which items belong to which kid and can shelve them accordingly.


I have written about Sock-Locks before but I really need to write again about how much of a time-saver they are.  Each person in our family has been assigned a specific colored Sock-Lock.  When you take off dirty socks, just thread the socks through the teeth, put them in the hamper and then wash and dry as you would anything else.  Then when you are sorting through clean laundry, just toss each person's socks into his/her bin and you save hours by not having to match socks together.  Does each person in my house use Sock-Locks every time?  No.  But if most of the people use them most of the time, then the system works well enough for my liking.

If you have any laundry tips please leave them in the Comments.  I'm always looking for ways to streamline my household!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Family Closet

I've become obsessed with the concept of the Family Closet, ie, one location to store all the family's clothing.  I think I first saw the FC in action while watching an episode of the Duggar's show.  Now that I have five children of my own, I feel like our clothing/laundry needs have changed and I decided that I needed to have a FC.

So I started to do some research (which is how I approach almost every aspect of my life) and read about how other people created their own versions of the FC.  Then I took an inventory of all the kids' clothing (using a spreadsheet) and then created another spreadsheet to try and figure out how many shelves I would need and how I would group the various items of clothing on the shelving.  I began pricing shelving online and then went to Target in search of shelving that I could see and touch (as it is difficult to determine how sturdy shelving is when viewing online.)

Score!  I found an adequate shelving unit on sale so I brought it home and started organizing.  Once I got started, I felt compelled to keep going.  So I convinced my husband that we needed to go back to Target to get four more units (so that we'd have one for each kid.)  With a sigh he agreed and off we went.  (I think he knows me well enough to know that once I get an idea in my head, there is no stopping me.  It's just easier to go along than it is to try and reason with me.)

I was giddy on the ride home from Target just thinking about getting the FC organized.  (I realize that this is not normal.)  We spent most of the day on Sunday putting together shelving units and organizing kid clothing.  And the FC is complete!

The baby's room is doing double duty as both a nursery and the FC.  Once the baby moves in with his brothers (which won't be for another 18 months or so) then I will add additional elements to the FC, such as:  a counter for folding clothing and wrapping gifts, a drying rack to hang damp towels after showering and moving the ironing station from the basement to the FC.

In planning the closet, I estimated that I needed approximately 30 small/medium sized bins to house items such as socks, underwear, gym uniforms, leggings, etc.  When I priced the bins online, I discovered that it was going to cost about $170 to get what I wanted.  So instead, I went to the dollar store to see if they had anything similar.  The bins at the dollar store were smaller than I wanted and they had about 10, not 30.  So I decided to comprise, save some cash and buy disposable tin serving pans instead (which you can see if you double-click on the photos).  The disposable pans ended up costing $33 which was a great savings.  Although as my husband pointed out, that may have been "penny-wise but pound-foolish."  Only time will tell.  Between gift cards and a sale at Target, I ended up spending about $210 on the shelving units.  So for less than $250 and less than 24 hours worth of work (including research, planning, shopping, assembling, organizing) I was able to make the FC a reality.

However, in the meantime, Christmas prep has come to a grinding halt and the rest of the house looks like this:

But soon enough we'll get to this room and get the house ready for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Academic Award

My oldest daughter received an academic award at school last week during an awards assembly.  Not only did she make Honor Roll, but she actually got an AWARD.

This is H.U.G.E.

For those of you who know us personally, you know how much this dear girl has struggled academically.  She used to sob her way through homework and get so frustrated that she would shout insults at herself and would punch herself in frustration.  Once when she was in second grade, she asked me what kind of job she could get when she was older because she didn't know how she was going to get a job if she couldn't tell a 'letter b' from a 'letter d'.  My heart broke for a 7 year old who is already worrying about getting a job as an adult.  Many, many times she would be in tears asking me, "What's wrong with me?"  We started down a L-O-N-G road of getting her help.  This took a couple of years and involved educational testing, multiple learning disabilities, IEPs, eye glasses, dietary changes, love, prayer and support, to name a few.

My dear girl NEVER thought she would win an academic award.  She works so very hard just to keep her head above water and never saw herself as shining in school.

Until now.

Her teacher emailed me a couple of weeks ahead of time and said that my daughter would be getting an award, that it was a surprise, and could I come to the award assembly?

The assembly was long and lots of kids got awards:  honor roll, sports, etc.  After the general awards, each teacher awarded one or two students a special award for going "above and beyond" in the particular subject area and for having "exemplary manners".  When my daughter's teacher called her name, the look on her face was one of shock, pride, disbelief and delight.  I was so very proud of her.  It was really great to know that her hard work is paying off and it was wonderful to know that her teacher noticed her efforts.

She had a spring in her step afterwards and as soon as she got home, she took pics of the awards and posted them to Facebook and emailed the pictures to her grandparents, aunt and friends.  The next day she wrote a thank-you card to her teacher for giving her the award.  Her teacher was so surprised and said that she had never, in all her years of teaching, had a student thank her with a card for an award.

That's my girl.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Madsen Cycles

Check-out the cool bicycle to the right.  I am picturing myself zipping around the Boro with Emma and the baby (almost toddler but will definitely be a toddler by next summer) and a bunch of bigger kids behind me on their bikes.  The cycle company is giving away a bicycle like the one pictured -- you can click on the image to get details.  Fingers crossed, but I never win anything.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Hangover

My oldest daughter collected 9.8 POUNDS of Halloween candy in just under 2 hours.

Our dentist is going to be very busy as a result of our Halloween hangover.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween: The Holiday That Keeps On Going (and going . . .)

By the time Halloween rolls around, I am in full Christmas-planning mode.  I'm working on my budget, cards, menus, gift ideas.  I have no interest in giving any time, money or attention to Halloween.

Is it my imagination, or is this holiday growing in popularity every year?

What ever happened to a $5 costume and flimsy face mask?  Is there anyone out there who just goes into their closet and pulls together a costume without spending a dime?  My four older children all wanted new costumes this year, at a cost of approximately $35/each, plus shipping.

Um, NO!  I told them that every dollar that is spent on Halloween is one dollar less spent on Christmas.

Our Halloween calendar looks something like this:
Tuesday:  youth group Halloween party
Thursday:  Halloween parade in town
Friday:  Halloween parade & party at school (elementary)
Friday:  Halloween dance party at school (middle school)
Friday night:  Halloween party
Sunday afternoon:  Halloween party
Sunday evening:  Trick or Treating (also known as Halloweening to those of us from Pittsburgh)

Really?  That's a LOT of dress up and a LOT LOT LOT of candy.  (Have I mentioned previously that we get around 180 Trick-or-Treaters?)  Anyway, I thought that at least the baby could wear a hand-me-down and figured that my oldest wouldn't need a costume now that she is in middle school.

Wrong.  As it turns out, my daughter's youth group was having a Halloween/dress-up party and besides that, the middle school students were supposed to wear their costumes to school.  So much for saving a few bucks!  I told her that I'm not investing any more money in Halloween costumes so she borrowed one from our neighbors.

My younger daughter found a costume half-off so my husband bought it for her.

My oldest son was desperate to be Boba Fett so we actually paid full price for his costume (although he paid half with his chore money).

We borrowed an Obi Wan costume for my younger son and I did indeed use a hand-me-down for the baby.  (I realize this picture is of a Clone Trooper and not Obi Wan.  We had a costume crisis.  I accidentally sent both the Boba Fett and Obi Wan costumes to school with my older son in the morning.  Then when it was time for my younger son to go to afternoon kindergarten there was panic and we looked for the costume.  I quickly realized my error so I sent him over to our neighbors -- same ones my daughter borrowed from -- to get a last minute costume for the school parade.)  The Obi Wan costume will make its appearance tonight for Trick-or-Treat.

October has been a VERY busy month for us and I am REALLY looking forward to a slower November so that I can catch my breath before the Christmas craziness takes over.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fall Photos

I took the kids to the park to try and get some photos for our Christmas card.  I took over 1000 photos and had four separate photo shoots to get a handful of pictures.  I won't post the Christmas card photos but here are a few others that came out well.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cub Scout Salute

I took the boys to the park this afternoon to try to get some photos for our Christmas card.  My 7 year old is giving me the Cub Scout Salute in this photo.  (He just started Scouts and LOVES it!)  Although this pic won't make onto our Christmas cards, I just had to share it because he's so darn cute.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Tooth Fairy Has a GPS

I didn't think that any of my kids actually believed in the Tooth Fairy.

We are really bad at keeping up the ruse.  Too many kids, too many teeth, not enough cash, too much cash (as in the only money around is a $20 and no way are we giving a kid $20 for one tooth!)  Not to mention that we are extremely forgetful.  Many, many times we have forgotten to leave money under a pillow.  And then there's the time that we BOTH left cash, thinking the other hadn't -- jackpot!  So when a kid loses a tooth in Langanland, we usually just fork over the cash on the spot.

But the other day my 5 year old son lost his first tooth and he was SO EXCITED and so sure that the Tooth Fairy was going to pay him a visit.  He lost the tooth around 6pm and then headed out around 7pm for a sleepover.  As he was leaving, I asked him what he did with his tooth and he assured me that he put it in his backpack.  I said, "I'm not sure the Tooth Fairy goes to the Jacksons' house."  To which his friend replied, "Oh yes she does!  She ALWAYS comes to my house and leaves me two dollars!"

Ok then.

When my husband got home, I sent him over to the Jacksons with $2 to give to Mr. Jackson, who had no choice but to play the part of the Tooth Fairy.  When my husband arrived my son was thrilled to show his dad the gap in his mouth.  My husband asked him how the Tooth Fairy would know that he was at the Jacksons' house.  My son told him that the Tooth Fairy has a computer and she also has email.  She checks email each night before going to work.  Her email will tell her who has a lost a tooth and where to find the kid, because the kid might not be at home.  You know, he might be at a sleepover, or on vacation, or something like that.

I'm happy to report that Mr. Jackson is a much better Tooth Fairy than either my husband or myself!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Favorite Friday: Week 4

When I asked my 7 year old what he would like for his Favorite Friday dinner, he replied, "Stuffing."

To which I replied, "And . . . .?"

And then he said, "From a box.  That's all.  Just stuffing.  From a box.  NOT the kind you make for Thanksgiving, that kind is yucky.  Hey!  This year for Thanksgiving can you make stuffing from a box?  Cause the kind in the box is way better than the kind that you make."

I told him that I could not, would not, make stuffing from a box for Thanksgiving.  And then he started moaning that he never gets to eat what he likes.  I pointed out that he gets stuffing from a box all year long but on special occasions (Thanksgiving, Christmas), we are going to have homemade stuffing.

In an effort to feed the other 6 people in the house who enjoy stuffing, yet don't want it as an entree, I am also roasting a turkey breast, steaming green beans from the farm and mashing potatoes (also from the farm).

Tonight's dinner is sort of a warm-up for Thanksgiving.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Favorite Friday, Week 3

We didn't celebrate Favorite Friday last week due to an ice cream social in the early evening (so we had appetizers for dinner instead.)  But we are back on track this week with my oldest choosing the meal for Favorite Friday.  She has requested Paprikas.  Mmmmm.  That's one of my faves too.  Our former au pair, Aniko, started making it for us back in 2002 and it has become a staple in our household.  It's a Hungarian meal that consists of chicken with paprika (hence the name PAPRIKAs) that is stewed in a broth-like, stew-like, gravy-like sauce.  The paprikas is then ladled over Aniko's mashed potatoes:  potatoes mashed with milk, sour cream, butter and salt.


Monday, September 27, 2010

One Down, Two to Go

One room is finished, only two more rooms to patch and paint.

Did I mention that there are holes all over the OUTSIDE of the house too?  Yeah, looks like we were victimized by a drive-by.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Many Faces of a Middle-Schooler

As I uploaded photos from the camera to the computer, I was surprised to find over 300 photos (because I was expecting about 20.)  As it turns out, my oldest daughter has been very busy with the camera and over half of the photos were self portraits.

So far she likes middle school, although she does not like getting up early.  (Her bus comes at 7:31am whereas last year it arrived around 8:45am.)  She likes her classes, especially Family & Consumer Science (Home Ec).

I'm really relieved that middle school is off to a good start.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Are you scared???

My 5 year old borrowed this Hulk costume from our neighbor.  He's been wearing it almost every day, taking it off only when it is time to go to afternoon kindergarten and then putting it on again when he gets home.  I wanted to take a picture of him but he wouldn't let me.

Until I told him that Uncle Dan (my brother who is serving in Afghanistan) was REALLY afraid of the Hulk when he was a little boy.  I suggested that we take a photo to send to Uncle Dan in Half-ghanistan (as my son calls it).  Well that did the trick!  Not only did he agree to have his picture taken, but he put on his most-scary-Hulk-face in an effort to scare Uncle Dan.

So Dan, are you scared???

Friday, September 17, 2010

Favorite Friday: Chili

Last week's dinner (grilled chicken & pineapple) was at the request of my younger daughter.  Tonight it's  my 5 year old son's turn to have his favorite meal.  It's so nice to know that he loves my chili.  Because his brother hates it.

Isn't there some saying about how you can't please all the people all the time?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

One Thing Leads to Another

It all started here:

And ended there:

It all started last weekend.  My husband decided to strip wallpaper off of my oldest daughter's bedroom walls.  (Back story:  She moved up to her own room on the 3rd floor in the spring.  We bought her a new rug, curtains, duvet but put stripping the "old lady wallpaper" -- as she calls it -- had to wait until cooler weather.)  Since we had lovely cool weather last weekend, coupled with a 3 day weekend, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to start stripping.

But one thing leads to another.

Once he stripped the wallpaper, he decided that he just had to strip the woodwork too.  Four windows, two doors and baseboards.

And then he started thinking . . . the "bump out" in her bedroom is not insulated.  Sooo, while the walls are bare, it makes sense to cut holes in the plaster and insulate the bump out, doesn't it?

Sounds fairly simple.  But it wasn't.  

Between renting the machine, rigging it to reach from the ground to the 3rd floor, keeping it filled with insulation (recycled newspapers), figuring out how to keep it from clogging, dealing with plaster dust, newspaper dust, getting a tarp to place of the insulation when it started raining . . . etc., well, I think you get the point.  It was a LOT of work.  (Most of which was completed by my handy hubby with a little help from me and quite a bit of help from the kids.)

After the room was insulated, my husband started thinking that he had rented the machine for 24 hours.  Why let it sit idle for the next 18 hours?  He decided he should get his money's worth and insulate the bump out in the baby's room, which is directly beneath my daughter's room.  And then he decided to make a day of it and insulate our family room, which is beneath the nursery.

So now I have newspaper and plaster dust in every corner of the house.  Plus around 100 +/- holes in the walls that will get plugged next weekend.  And THEN we get to prime and paint over the plugged holes (which means repainting all three rooms!)

I am still asking myself how stripping wallpaper in ONE room turned into a project that is going to last for 3 months.

A pic of all the furniture pushed to one side of the family room.  It's pretty much a construction zone.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Favorite Friday

We're starting something new in our house.  It's called Favorite Friday.

Each Friday, one kid gets to choose his/her favorite meal and I will prepare it for dinner.

Because no matter what I make, someone likes it but someone else is sure to dislike it.  Honestly, rarely do I prepare a meal that gets "two thumbs up" from every kid.  So now that we are starting Favorite Friday, each kid will be sure to have his/her favorite meal at least once in a while.

And when everyone has had a turn, we'll switch it up and have Favorite Friday:  Desserts!

In the meantime, tonight we're having grilled chicken & pineapple kebobs.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Talkin' Turkey

I roasted a turkey today so that we could make a Bobbie.

What is a Bobbie you ask?

It's a sandwich that is sold at a local deli.  It is basically Thanksgiving dinner on a roll.  Roasted turkey (NOT lunchmeat!), cranberry sauce and stuffing.  The deli puts mayo on theirs but we put homemade gravy on ours in place of the mayo and I think it tastes even better that way.

Back to the story.  I roasted the turkey and saved the wishbone at the request of my boys (ages 5 & 7).  They were SO very excited to pull it apart.  After much struggle -- (and I do mean MUCH struggle!  One ended up with a cut on his face and they both ended up using hand towels to hold on tight to the wishbone so that they could get the leverage to pull it apart) -- they pulled it apart and declared a winner.

And so begins my story.

I overheard them talking about what to wish for.  My older son asked his brother what he would wish for and he said, "I think I'm gonna wish for all the Legos in the world."  My older son said that it would be great to get all the Legos in the world but cautioned that it might not work out that way.  He thought they would have a better chance at having the wish come true if they asked for something smaller.  So they continued to discuss an appropriate wish and they finally settled on some sort of Turbo Something Or Other.

And then later I heard them speculating that the Turbo Something Or Other would probably be waiting for them in the family room tomorrow morning.  I had to jump into the conversation at that point and say that the Turbo Thingy mostly likely would NOT be waiting for them in the morning.  I explained that the idea of making a wish on a wishbone was Make Believe.  My older son with all his worldy wisdom said, "Oh mom.  You don't know for sure.  Sometimes things like this work out and we just don't know why."

Well, actually, yes I DO know why things like this sometimes work out.

So then at dinner, they announced their wish to the whole family.   They were really quite sure that their wish was going to come true.  I asked how they thought the Turbo Thingy would get into the family room overnight.

Hmmm.  That stumped them.

Finally my older son said that he thought Santa might bring it.

My girls, being much older and wiser chimed in with, "Don't you know that it is September and Santa does NOT work in September?!"  And my other daughter said, "Well, you probably COULD have Santa work to get your wish to come true but if he brought you the Turbo Thingy, he would probably have to take ALL your other Legos as payment."

To which my son replied, "No way.  Santa wouldn't do that!  I think he would want us to have all our Legos AND the Turbo Thingy too."

Well then, it's settled.  Santa is bringing a Turbo Something Or Other to our house tonight.

Or not.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Family Photo

Today I realized that we have ZERO photos of us as a family.  Not one.  So I asked my neighbor to take a couple pictures of us.  Oh, we are a funny bunch, yes we are.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Here's the Scoop

My neighbor organized a Back To School Ice Cream Party for the neighborhood kids.  We partied hard in the alley immediately after they got off the bus.  The event was a HUGE hit and I think it will become an annual tradition.

My other neighbor brought this cool, retro Tupperware caddy to house all the toppings for the sundaes.  Guess who was on ebay today trying to get the same one for her own ice cream lovers?  (Who am I kidding?  I love ice cream as much as my kids do!)

All in all, the first day of school was a success.  I asked each kid, "What was your favorite part of the day?" and "What surprised you most?"  Answers below.

6th Grader
Favorite:  Lockers.  (Apparently she's at the age where she gives one-word answers.)
Most Surprising:  That we had an assembly during last period.

4th Grader
Favorite:  Lunch!  (That's because she made whoopie pies the day before and took one to school to eat for dessert.)
Most Surprising:  That we had recess BEFORE lunch.  (Recess before lunch is new this year; previously it was held after lunch.)

1st Grader
Favorite:  The cafeteria!  (This is funny to me because he packs his lunch.  I guess just being in the cafeteria is exciting?)
Most Surprising:  That people in my class speak Espanola!

Favorite:  The Lego table!
Most Surprising:  That we got to write on a piece of paper that was shaped like a bus.

Here's to 179 more days just like the first!

Monday, August 30, 2010

First Day Photos

Today is the first day of school.  Lots of milestones this year!

My oldest started middle school today.  I think I was more nervous than she was!

My younger daughter is entering 4th grade and my oldest son is starting1st grade.  This will be his first year of being at school all day.  He is most excited to eat in the cafeteria and to have his own desk.

My middle son is officially a kindergartener now.  He is "a widdle bit novus"  (a little bit nervous) about riding the bus and making friends.  He's off to a good start though, our next door neighbor is also starting kindergarten right along with my son.

You may be wondering why the kindergarten photo was taken in the front of the house while the other photos were taken in the back?  My son has afternoon kindergarten so we have to catch the bus in the front, thus we took the photo in the front.  And we proceeded to meander to the bus stop.  Except that the bus came early!  And had a different number than it was supposed to!  So there was no time for photos or tears, we ran to the bus, they got on, the door closed and we waved goodbye.

Here's to a great school year!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bad Blogger

I've been terribly lazy at posting to the blog.  I love the slower pace of summer; the lack of a schedule or routine.  I guess I've taken it to an extreme and have completely ignored the blog.  I

I promise to do a better job with blog postings, starting Monday, on the first day of school.

In the meantime, here's a pic, because a posting is always more interesting when it includes a photo.

Baby's first ice cream cone, Kennywood, August 2010.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Images courtesy of Guest Blogger

My husband took some of the kids to the Phillies the other night.  It was hot, hot, hot.  The temp reached 104 that day so by the time the game started, it was probably still 97 degrees at the ballpark.  Fortunately, they had seats in the shade.  But they were still melting.  The kids had no energy or stamina and wanted to go home so they left after the second inning.  However, the kids got free baseball bats so at least they have something to show for all their sweating!

I've never been to the park (baseball is not my game) so I can't really narrate the pictures below but I thought I'd include them so you can get an idea of what the park looks like.