Friday, August 21, 2009

First Days of School

It is hard to believe that school has started already. Mr. Henry has started 5th grade and is now in Middle School. Ack! How did that happen? I am so not ready for the middle school drama. She was happy to start this year. Last year was so hard with starting a new school, but this year everyone is in one school and she is seeing all of her friends.

Mr. Oswald started Preschool this year. She has always went to a babysitter during the day, but this is her foray into formal education. She has been there for two days and loves it. We took her in the first morning, and after she dropped her backpack in her cubby, she looked at us and said "See ya!" Love that kid; she is fearless!

Mr. Henry's Birthday-the month long jubilee

Mr. Henry recently turned 10. She has managed to extend her birthday celebration into an entire month.

First, the hubby and I took her to Chicago for a mini-vacation. She loves Harry Potter. So, we took her to the Museum of Science and Industry to see the Harry Potter exhibition. they all kinds of props from the movie and explanations about how things were done. While at the museum, we also saw Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince at the IMAX theater. While in Chicago, we also managed to catch up with some old friends of mine from college, go shopping on the Miracle Mile (hubby was so thrilled) and play at Navy Pier.

Second, we had a party for the family. Nothing too big, just the grandparents and uncle/aunts. Mr. Henry is not a cake kind of girl; she is more of a cupcake girl. So, we made cupcakes with her favorite animal-penguins. These were so easy and cute.
Finally, we are having a slumber party next Friday for nine of her friends. It will be, of course, Harry Potter themed. I have plans for Herbology, Transfiguration, Potions, and Quidditch. It should be fun. Mr. Henry is really looking forward to it.

I still wonder how she conned me into an entire month's worth of celebrations. It's a good thing you only turn 10 once.

Happy Birthday to Me--Part 2

I bought myself a birthday present. I have wanted a comfy chair for my front porch since we moved into this house a year ago. I wanted someplace to read and relax, and now with my laptop, work on my days at home.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Happy Birthday to me

It's my birthday today. It's not a significantly big one, but for some reason it has me down. I feel old and worn out. Worn down and neglected. The gray hairs and fat cells are winning. The trouble is I don't know what the race is about anymore.

Bah! Apathy and self-pity are not attractive qualities, but today I just don't care.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The best subjects

Like any other mom, I love taking pictures of my girls. Also, like any other mom, I think my girls are uncommonly cute. Mr. Henry is at that awkward age when you don't want you mom hovering around with a camera, and your smiles tend to be fake. However, I do catch her off guard sometimes, and she is beautiful. Mr. Oswald is the best subject--her red curls and infectious grin are so camera ready. Although Miss Pretty is closing the gap quickly with her flirtatious eyes and impish grin. I had the best day last weekend taking them to the zoo. I also just happened to get some really cute pictures!

"Now listen to me sister!"

Don't you just want to eat her up with a spoon?

She is so patient.

There are just no words for this one... *love*

Menu Monday--Freezer Finds

It is officially "Freezer Finds" week. I plan on only buying the produce and milk needed to get through the week. Money is tight due to recent vacations and other events. Let's see how I can clean out the freezer and pantry.

Monday--Grilled Chicken Dijon Salad (marinated chicken breast in freezer; dressing in fridge)
Tuesday--French Dip Sandwiches, Tater Tots and Cucumber Salad (Meat, buns and tots in freezer; cucumber and tomatoes from garden)
Wednesday--Spicy Venison Stir Fry (small roast in freezer, rice and marinade ingredients in pantry)
Thursday--BLT's (Bacon in fridge, Tomatoes from garden)
Friday--Pancakes and Sausage (Pancake mix in freezer, sausage in fridge)
Saturday--Steaks, Baked Potatoes, and Asparagus (steaks in freezer, potatoes in pantry)

Maybe I can get all our groceries for the week for under $40? I hope so because Most of my food budget this week needs to go toward Mr. Henry's birthday on Sunday. She's going to be 10...sob! Another post later.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Menu Monday

The past week was really busy, and when it came time to plan the menu all I was looking for was easy. So, this week is a selection of tried and true favorites.

Monday: Venison Steaks with a Balsamic Shallot Sauce, Cous Cous, and Roasted Asparagus
Tuesday: Left Overs
Wednesday: Spaghetti and Salad
Thursday: California Bowls (must remember to make rice Wed. night)
Friday: Coupon Madness (out to eat--local restaurant w/ coupons)
Saturday: ??? Husband will be fishing and I don't know how inspired I will be to cook for 3 picky girls.
Sunday: Fish Fry, Cole Slaw, Corn on the Cob

Friday, July 10, 2009


Last weekend the husband and Mr. Oswald were outside riding scooters and bikes. Generally terrorizing the small animals of the neighborhood. This left Miss Pretty and I inside. She was playing in the toy room and I was sewing in the dining room. (What? Your formal dining room doesn't double as your craft room?)

Anyway, she was playing various toys and occasionally bringing them in to show me. I looked up to check on her and noticed that she had the closet doors open, looking in. I told her to leave them alone and she quickly stepped in the closet and partially closed the door. Now, I could still see her and she was standing completely still--almost frozen. I kept calling her name, and she didn't move. I could see the grin on her face getting bigger and bigger. Finally, I walked over to the closet, and as soon as I touched the door handle she yelled "BOO!!!" and started laughing--big full belly laughs that only a toddler can do.

I love when they start playing pranks and telling jokes.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Pretty Little Mistakes--A Review

This month's selection was "Pretty Little Mistakes" by Healther McElhatton. It is a "choose your own adventure" type book that follows the main character through the differnt life choices made.

Some members of my book club found the constant page flipping annoying and/or distracting. I can see this, but I enjoyed the premise. While the main character of the book is not well developed, there are moments that really zing at your heart or conscience.

This book really spoke to me. To me, the main message was that sometimes we’re in such a hurry to get “there”. We often overlook the stepping stones (that often are disguised as boulders, mountains, asteroids or cosmic blockage) that are simply part of the journey.

My destination is already on the cosmic map. I've simply not clocked enough mileage to be at that point yet. The cool thing is (like McElhatton’s book) is that at any point I (or any of us) can turn, slow down, speed up, join up with fellow travelers, stop to camp and roast some marshmallows, star gaze, bird watch, meditate, go for a hike or skinny dip in a swimming hole along the way.

These places are our choice points. Forks in the road. Bends in the path. Occasionally we hit a pothole. Or a road closed sign. Or construction. But that’s all part of the adventure.

What part of your story is unfolding? And if you’re less than satisfied, what choices can you make to change it? Which fellow traveler might you be able to hitch a ride with? Do you need to slow down? Speed up? Stop and smell the roses? Are you even on the road?

For a silly summer read, this book got me.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Book Storage

Books have taken over my house. Especially books for my two littlest girls. This is such a cool idea. Just saving it here for future reference. I see several of these in my future.

Book Club--Pretty Little Mistakes

I have book club tonight, and I all I have to say is...nothing right now. I have a whole post about this month's book, but for now a picture will do.

Pop Art

My newest piece of pop art. I found this at a local junk store. It thought it went perfectly with the quilt I am making for my office. It is pretty small, only 8" x 8".


Menu Monday

This week's menu isn't very inspired but it is a very busy week. I have book club on Monday (yay!), Tae Kwon Do Tuesday and Thursday, as well as a Preschool parents orientation on Thursday. Then, my first Tae Kwon Do tournament is Friday and Saturday. (Sooo thankful for Mom & Dad for coming down and staying with the littles so I can concentrate at the tournament.) Finally, on Sunday Mr. Henry comes home! Gosh, I am already tired!

Tuesday: BLTA's
Wednesday: Korean grilled flank steak with grilled green onion and green rice ( rice w/ cilantro and scallions mixed in)
Thursday: Pizza for babysitter and the littles; out for husband and I
Friday: Something in Columbia with TKD group
Saturday: Something in Columbia with TKD group
Sunday: Cookout for family--Brats, Hot Dogs, Greek Coleslaw, Grilled Potato Salad, and PIE (my mom's fresh peach and strawberry pies)

Have a good eats week!

Rainy Holiday Weekend

It will forever be known as the 4th of July that wasn't. The parade we were going to was delayed due to rain and the littles were not pleased. (Notice the little pink and white purse ready to collect candy.)
However once it started, all was forgiven.
The party we were going to was cancelled due to rain, and the fireworks didn't happen. We were going to drive up on a bluff and watch the ones downtown, but the littles were asleep by 8pm and there was no keeping them awake. I guess I should be thankful the neighborhood pyromaniacs didn't wake them up.

Oh well, even indoor popsicles on the 4th of July are a good thing!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Help a Neighbor Out

I love this idea. Catherine from “Everything is Under Control” brought it up last week, and I think it is the best. How simple is it to decide to spend $50 a month at three different local businesses.

There are stores I remember growing up that are no longer there. I remember a store called Marblestone’s that had the best clothes. They were so grown up and sophisticated looking; I always wanted to be old enough to wear their clothes. Once I was, they were out of business. There was also Paul’s Shoe Store. Paul’s smelled like leather and cigarette smoke. He could fix anything. He revived my favorite pair of boots more than once. There were three great drugstores: Rene’s, Morton’s and Pierce’s. Two of them had soda counters and all three would deliver. Only one is still in business, and it is hanging on by a thread. There were also some beautiful florist shops (that I cannot remember the name of) and eccentric junk/antique shops that I loved the look through when I was about 14. All of these places are gone. I can’t help but correlate this with the building of my small town’s first Wa1-Mart. I wonder if people had pledged to shop local shops 20 years ago how many of these places would still be here today?

I want my kids to know the lady at the bookstore, the man at the produce stand and the wonderful women at my local quilters shop. For them to know that things don’t have to come from large anonymous stores or the internet, they can come from people. People who are our neighbors. (Insert Mr. Rodger’s song, “The people that you meet in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood!”) Just because they are growing up in an suburban area, they don’t have to have anonymous suburban memories.

It may sound hokey, but I think this one small thing I can do.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Lazy Weekend

It was a lazy weekend around here.

I did some sewing on Saturday as it was too hot to go outside. I finished my tote bag and got a good start on the charm quilt. It is going together really quickly, so I will hopefully get it finished before the long weekend. It was so hot outside that I had to keep Mr. Oswald and Miss Pretty inside all day and they were not impressed. There was a lot of whining and fighting. After nap all was well, as Grandma (my MIL) brought dinner and came to play! What a relief! No cooking and another adult to distract them.

Sunday was great! It was so nice, 85-ish with a breeze. We played outside all day. We played on the new swingset, or "investment" as the salesman called it. (Insert eye-roll here.) Then we played in the sprinkler. After nap, we played some more and ate dinner outside. It was a perfect summer day.

Menu Monday

It's Menu Monday...
Monday : Stuffed Eggplant with Tomato Capresse
Tuesday: Pork chops, carrots, applesauce
Wednesday: Burritos
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Grilled salmon w/ compound butter, zucchini
Saturday: Finger foods for party (if we go)
Sunday: Smoked Brisket, garlic bread, cucumber & tomato salad

I'm really excited about the eggplant dish tonight. I love eggplant, but I don't know many ways to prepare it. This looks so good and pretty quick too!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

WIP (Work In Process)

I currently have three major sewing projects going on:

-Sarah's quilt (in background) needs quilted. I think I am going to do a simple cross hatch design.
-My Park Slope tote bag just needs to be top stitched and it is finished. I love it! I added some pockets to the inside for my cellphone, iPod, and current book.
-My Park Slope charm quilt is all cut out and ready to assemble.

I would like to get my bag finished and the charm quilt assembled before the weekend, so I can baste and quilt both big quilts over the weekend. It is going to be too hot to go outside, so I might as well sew.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Monday Menu

OK, so it's a day late!

Monday - Sweet & Spicy Grilled Scallops, Lime Glazed Pineapple and Coconut Rice

Tuesday - BLTA's (Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato and Avocado)

Wednesday - Chicken Marsala, Roasted Red Potatoes, and Green Beans

Thursday - Brats and Cucumber/Tomato Salad

Friday - Spicy Braised Chicken Curry (Crockpot recipe)

I am really excited about the Crockpot Curry. I love a good curry- Indian, Thai, Indonesian, African... It really doesn't matter the country of origin. I love how the proteins just melt in your mouth and the combination of spices work together. The one on Friday has Thai red curry paste, peanut butter and coconut milk. It also has peas and carrots, so I know the kids will love it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The strangest thing I have ever seen

I know that's a lot to live up to, but I have truly seen the strangest thing ever. Last weekend, my husband and I went on a date afternoon/night. It was a great time. We went to the Missouri History Museum to see a special exhibit on the quilts of Gee's Bend. The exhibit was fantastic and inspirational. As a complimentary exhibit, the museum pulled some of their own quilts out to display.

We were walking through looking at all the samples from different eras: the German piecework, a Baltimore album, a few crazy quilts. Then, out of nowhere, we saw the craziest crazy quilt I have ever seen.
For those who don't know, a crazy quilt is specific style of quilting. It is a combination of irregular shaped pieces of fabric with many different types of fabric, such as velvets, silks, ribbons, and lace. For more information see here.

Now I have seen a lot of crazy quilts, I think they are wonderful. I love the embroidery and the rich fabrics. However, I have never seen taxidermy used in a quilt. Yes, I said taxidermy!
Those are real chipmunks! (Sorry for the photo quality, the lighting was low and no flash was allowed) They are in the bottom center of the of the quilt posted above.

There is no words for this. My husband and I stared at this for a while and just walked away. He later said, "And you thought my plan for an extreme taxidermy shop was crazy--there is a market!" (This is his funny plan for what he is going to do in retirement.)

Father's Day

To my husband, thank you for being a great father. I know you were nervous about becoming a dad. You said that you never had a father in your life and didn't know what to do. I told you that it would be fine; you would figure it out; you're a good man with good intentions. You looked at me like I was crazy. For once, I am glad to say "I told you so!"

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Can I bottle this?

The creativity muse has been visiting...

I have been fervently working on a quilt for Mr. Henry. She picked out all of the fabrics and the pattern; it is vibrant pinks and greens with deep chocolate browns for contract. It is lovely. It is a simple bricks and blocks pattern, but the simplicity really sets off the colors. She really wanted penguin fabric for the backing but I couldn't find any in the in right color way. However, I did find an penguin applique pattern. So, I have some pop art styled penguins for the back. She will be so surprised. Photos to come upon completion!

I also ordered some charm packs of Erin McMorris' Park Slope line. I love the colors and pop art style. It is very 70's. I am making a bag and a quilt for me. I haven't made a quilt just for me in almost 10 years! The quilt is going to be for my office; I get cold working in the winter. My office is currently just a bland yellow/gold. I am definitely going to add color with this line!

I also just finished a photography project. I went through all the photos I have of the girls and selected my favorite 16. I then cropped and tinted them. They all went into a photo montage for the front of the new jewelry box my husband gave me for mother's day.

I wish I could bottle whatever it is that gives me these bursts of creative energy. I guess I just have to enjoy it while it lasts.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Goal Achieved

Last week I participated in my first Tae Kwon Do test.  It was the hardest thing I have done physically in years (other than childbirth).  It was three hours of constant kicking, patterns, sparring and, finally, board breaking.  I broke my board on the first kick--AWESOME!

I passed my test and received my new belt.  It feels great to have achieved this first step in my marital arts journey.  I don't know if I will make all the way to a black belt; I can only take it one step at a time and celebrate the accomplishments as they come.


Mr. Henry left last Friday to go to her dad's for a month.  I am amazed at how quiet the house has become.  I miss her constant chatter about absolutely nothing.  I miss the crazy games she plays with the littles.  I miss the thump of music coming from her earbuds.  I guess I just miss her.

Remind me of this later this summer.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Monday Menu

It's a new thing for me, but I know a lot of you are doing it; it's Menu Monday.

Monday - Spaghetti w/ Meat Sauce (Ground Venison) and Salad (lettuce from our garden)
Tuesday - Grilled Chicken Spinach Salad (spinach from our garden) w/ homemade orange-dijon dressing
Wednesday - Asian Spareribs and Lemon Snow peas
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Grilled Bourbon Pork Chops, Sweet Potatoes, Applesauce
Saturday - ??
Sunday - Father's Day - Out for something manly -- BBq, Wings, etc.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mother's Day Weekend--A Mother of a Day?

I know I'm late, but it has taken me a few days to recover.

The weekend started out on Friday afternoon (finished work early) where I went grocery/essentials shopping in order to free up my Saturday for other planned events...more on that later. The grocery store on Friday afternoon is an interesting place. It was a definite freak parade--all I can say is it takes all kinds. I was glad not to have my 2 year old with me; she is famous for asking inapporiate questions in a really loud voice and pointing for exclamation. Shopping complete? Check!

Go pick up girls from daycare/school, come home, finish last load of laundry (7 in one day), and cook fabulous meal for family. After meal complete, help hubby with little girl baths. Clean up after meal because hubby is too tired after a long day at work! (It must be nice to only have one job--I have my work-work and home-work) Make gift for mother-in-law with Mr. Henry. Fall in bed exhausted? Check!

On Saturday, we woke up at 5:30am. Mr. Oswald and Miss Pretty don't understand the concept of sleeping in yet! Getting up early was OK; we had a lot planned. We went to pick up MIL at 8:30 and off to the zoo by 9:00. If you've never been there, the St. Louis zoo is fantastic. The admission is free and everything the first hour open is also free. So, in that first hour the kids rode the carousel twice, petted the stingrays, and went through the children's zoo. During the day we also saw the Penguins (or pink-ones, according to Mr. Oswald), elephants and zebras. The high point for all three girls was a toss up between the train ride and the sea lion show. They loved them both!

We left the zoo by 1:30 and went for some fantastic BBQ. Hubby and I saw a BBQ place features on Man v. Food (a new Food Network show). It was pretty close to the zoo, so we decided to try it out. It is a small place called Pappy's Smokehouse by St. Louis University campus. It is fantastic! Definitely worth the drive.

We dropped MIL off by 4:00 and were back home by 5:00. Everyone was asleep by 8:00!

For Mother's Day, I decided I wasnted to be alone with my family. It may sound selfish, but I didn't want to host a family get-together or share my day with the rest of the family. I always host all family events--I just wanted a day off!

Hubby, the three girls and I went to a local brunch that was devine! We were going to go to a quilt exhibit at the Frenchtown museum, but it didn't open until noon. Miss Pretty was too tired to last that long! Instead we went home, hubby mowed the grass, Mr. Oswald and Miss Pretty took naps and Mr. Henry helped me with her quilt. It is almost completely pieced. I only have one border left to put on it.

Being able to sew uninteruppted for 3 hours was a devine gift! There were other gifts from the girls and hubby. Mr. Henry got me a the latest Sookie Stackhouse novel, "Dead and Gone". Mr. Oswald and Miss Pretty got me some bath salts and creme in lavender vanilla scent. Best of all hubby got me a new jewlery box. It hangs on the wall and the front has places for 16 photos. It will be nice to finally have a place to put my jewlery.

I hope everyone had a nice mother's day. I know I did, even if it completely wore me out.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Weigh in Friday

Well, it's Friday and time to record my progress--which was nothing.  Still holding at 251.  I have been really careful about my food intact and getting my exercise.  In fact, I have joined Annette's May Challenge and increased my daily workout amount.  I am hoping that the increase in exercise has caused a temporary water weight increase.  I will stay faithful to my plan and I know I will see success.

Also, a funny kid story.  Mr. Oswald (my middle daughter) decided that she can get rid of any monsters in the house.  She goes into a dark room and announces, "Any monsters left in this room when the lights come on will get a spanking!"  So far, she is monster free when the lights come on!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Challenge Day 1

Well, I did it. I managed to do 30 minutes on the treadmill and 15 minutes of exercises on the stability ball. I stayed away from chocolate as well. This was not easy! I am a complete Chocoholic!

We tried the best recipe last night--California Bowls. It has all the ingredients of a California roll, but in a bowl. There was sushi rice (I made mine with brown rice), imitation crab, shredded carrots, cucumber sticks, green onion and avocado. You put all of this in a bowl and top it with a dressing made with chicken broth, soy sauce and wasabi. Seriously, the best thing I have tried in a while. Everyone enjoyed it. I think this may become a summer favorite.

I am working on a quilt for my oldest daughter, Mr. Henry. It is an easy pattern, blocks and bricks, but it is going together well. I haven't created a quilt without a direct pattern in a while, so it is a great exercise in creativity. This is someting I really needed. I feel like I get caught up in the black/white, numbers in boxes world of work too often and lose touch with my creative streak.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

May Challenge

Annette has a new challenge for May. Add 30 minutes a day to your exercise routine and give up one crutch food, beverage, etc.

I have decided to join in on this challenge. I am currently doing 3 hours of Tae Kwon Do a week. I want to add a couple of hours of Tae Kwon Do practice outside of class and some jogging. This is doable--I just have to make myself!  The challenge for me will be finding a time of day that works.  I have to let go of the excuses!

As for the crutch, this is a hard one!  I am going to give up chocolate in all forms.  I measure, weigh, and account for all calories eaten--but, it isn't necessary.  If I can get over this it will be a huge victory for me.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Weigh In and Finding Balance

Another Friday and another weight in....and the results are positive. I lost another 1.2 pounds for a total of 10 pounds lost. Progress is slower than I would like, but it is going in the right directions.

As a part of my commitment to renew myself, I signed up for Tae Kwon Do in January. I have been attending with my oldest daughter Sarah. Through the class, I can feel myself getting stronger and more in shape. More importantly, I can feel myself re-gaining balance. I have made a point that these 3 hours a week are mine--nothing gets in my way. I am finding balance between my job, my family and me. That's the point of all this.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Wake Up Call

I had a wake up call about a month ago. I stepped on the scale for the first time in almost 6 months. In that time I had gained 30 pounds! I was at an all time high of 261. I can believe I had let myself get to this point. At that moment I decided to join Weight Watchers online. I needed to do something.

I am following the Flex Points plan. I need to have the flexibility to make choices from some of my favorites, while still having a structure to follow.

It has to work this time! I will be posting my weight every Friday and my measurements once a month.

I call a redo!

I am calling for a redo!  Remember in grade school during a game a kickball you could call for a redo?  A chance to try again?  I need one for my life.

I need to work at being a better mother, a better wife, and a better me!  Somewhere along the way I have lost sight of who I am and have been going through the motions.

I need to take better care of myself.  I need to make time for myself.  I need to appreciate my husband for everything he is and stop focusing on what he is not.  I need to see the wonder in my children and not the mess they create.

I am doing this to keep myself accountable.