Sunday, July 31, 2011


Confession #1. I wish these years with the girls would never end. It's hard for me to imagine Morgan and Sarah not being a part of my every day life one day. (And yes I'm crying right now.) I want to always hear them laughing out loud in the back seat of the car. I want to always enjoy their squeals as they fly on the tube across the lake. I want to always cheer them on  as they practice dive after dive. I want to always wake up camping with them sleeping next to me in a tent.  And yet, I know I'll cherish their growing up too. I just know these sweet days are going to end before I'm ready for them too! And I'm reminded...cherish the moments...all we have are moments on the journey...

Confession #2. I love Mountain Dew. I know there is absolutely nothing good about it, but I LOVE it. Mike does too.  Tomorrow we are challenging each other to give up soda...(maybe forever?!?). There's a $100 bucks on the line to the one who holds out the longest!

Confession #3. Sometimes I feel guilty that I am not using my college degree. That I'm not contributing financially to our family in a bigger way than substitute teaching allows. That I'm not touching lives through a career in social work.  I worry that it will be hard to get back into the field after all the years of being at home with the girls.  And yet, back to confession #1 - I know deep down that I'm making the right choice for our family right now. And I'm thankful that Mike feels it's the right choice too. And I'm thankful we've built a lifestyle that makes it possible. Life is about moments, and yet it's also about choices...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Family Fun Magazine

I only receive one magazine subscription. It's to Family Fun. I LOVE this magazine and I always find at least one activity to do with the girls.  As soon as I saw the stained glass window project...I knew we were doing it! Here's the link on how do this project: - I also LOVE their website - I always go there for cool projects!  This project is super easy...cover window with saran wrap, tape edges with painter's tape, tear up tissue paper, glue on window (I watered down glue w/water (half/half) for them to glue them on with). It kept them busy for a couple of hours! I thought they turned out super cute and the summer sun looks beautiful shinning thru them! What magazine subscriptions do you love?!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A to Z Summer Fun

Last summer we did our first A to Z Summer fun! This year we are keeping some of the same days, and adding in some different days. And with the first half of our summer so busy, I did have to double up a few days this year in order to get them all squeezed in! When making our list I try and think of everything I want to do at least once with the girls during the summer...and put it on here so that we make sure the fun happens before summer slips away! Last summer I was great about getting pictures of each day...this year...well, not so well. But here are a couple. Perhaps it's the heat getting to me?!
"B" Day: Baking Day!
This is their own creation, cookie dough dipped in melted chocolate chips. Umm, yay, they were yummy!

"E" Day: Experiment Day
Polymers let you poke a pencil thru a bag full of water without spilling any of it! Look at that concentration!
Well, today we are on "K" day and I'm glad my girls love this a to z summer fun as much as I do! :)

July 7th        A Arts & Crafts – Village Pottery
July 8th        B Baking Day
July 11th      C Camera scavenger Hunt
July 12th      D Donuts delivered to Dad
July 13th      Experiment Day
July 14th      F Friendship Day
July 15th      G Game Day – Make up some games
July 18th      H Hershey Day
July 19th      I Ice Cream Day
July 20th      J Jump in the Pool!
July 21st      K Kindness Day
July 22nd     L Laugh, Laugh,Laugh
July 25th      M Mystery Monday
July 26th      N-O Neighbors over for Outside Fun!
July 27th      P Pizza at the Park with Pop
July 28th      Q Quiet Day
July 29th      R Republic Aquatic Center
Aug 1st        S Scrapbooking
Aug 2nd       T-U Take a Trip to an Ultimate Surprise
Aug 3rd       V Video Game Day
Aug 4th        W Wilson’s Creek Jr. Ranger Badge
Aug 5th        X-Y Xtra Fun at the Y-Center
Aug 12th     Zippity-do-dah Day!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Yum, yum, yummy: Freezer Meals

Well anyone who knows me well knows that I HATE to cook! Seriously, if I was rich, the first thing I'd do would be hire a chef!  Speaking of rich, check out this house that is being built about 30 minutes from our house - 72,000 square feet - all made of concrete - one of the largest homes in America: click here to see it. Personally, I think it's a waste of money, but it's not my money to waste!

Back to food. The girls have recently decided they LIKE to cook dinner. Last week, with much enthusiasm they made us spaghetti, pancakes and loaded baked potatoes for dinner.  And I'm LOVING this!!! I'm trying to be in the kitchen more with them since they are enjoying it, but it's not something that comes easy for me.

Last summer I shared a few of our favorite freezer meal recipes.  And I thought I'd share a couple more with you now. Enjoy!

Very Veggie Lasagna 
(a summertime favorite for all those veggies from the garden! Note: I usually make this one recipe in 2 9x9 pans, we eat one and freeze one for later, rather than the 13x9 pan.)

2 med carrots, julienned
1 med zucchini cut into 1/4 in slices
1 yellow summer squash, cut into 1/4 in slices
1 med onion, sliced
1 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup red julienned sweet red pepper
1/2 cup julienned green pepper
2 T vegetable oil
1 teas salt
2 garlic gloves
1 jar (28 oz) spaghetti sauce
14 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
4 cups shredded cheese

In large skillet, stir fry vegetables, garlic and salt in oil until crisp tender.
Spread 3/4 cup spaghetti sauce in greased 13x9 in dish.
Arranged 7 noodles over the sauce, overlapping as needed
Layer with half of veggies, spaghetti sauce and cheese.
Repeat Layers
Cover and bake at 350 degrees from 60 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 15 min before cutting.
If you freeze one, bake an extra 30 min or so.

Homemade Chicken Nuggets
(take a little time, but I usually make double/triple batches, and they are so worth it!)

- 3-4 raw Chicken Breasts (sliced into either strips or cut into nuggets)
- 3 T melted Margarine or butter
- 1 T Worcestershire
- 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

In small bowl, mix Margarine & Worcestershire sauce together. In separate bowl, mix bread crumbs and cheese together. Dip chicken into margarine mixture, then dip it into bread/cheese mixture. Place chicken on cookie sheet. Flash freeze chicken for an hour. Then remove from cookie sheet and place in a ziploc freezer bag until ready to bake.

Serve: SPRAY pan (I always forget this step, not a good idea!). Bake uncovered for 30 min at 375 degrees, or until juice in chicken runs clear. Turn once with tongs.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I just finished a book (The Red Tent) and I have been thinking about this one paragraph over and over the past few days.  The main character is moving on to a new season in her life and she is reflecting...remember all the good of the past 20 years, and then she remarks that among the years there had been pain too, but "the painful things-seemed like the knots on a beautiful necklace, necessary for keeping the beads in place."

I hope that will be true in my life...that when I look back, I will see a beautiful necklace...with beautiful beads...and knots that only enhance the beauty and keep it all in place.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


I know that not everyone gets along with their in-laws. And I know that some people have legit reasons for not getting along with their in-laws.  But I've got to say that every time I get together with my in-laws, we have the best of times! Perhaps it's shared tragedy that bonds us to something bigger beyond pettiness. Perhaps it's the distance that makes the times we gather even sweeter. Perhaps they are just wonderful people whom I get to call 'family'. Whatever it is, I'm thankful for them.  We couldn't get together with everyone this summer...well, they live in MA, WI, NY, NC and FL - so it's a bit of a challenge - we saw most of them last summer and hope we can again next summer.

This past week was spent with the Boston Bakers - and I find myself a bit sad today, wishing the miles were a bit shorter, and the girls could have more time with their cousins.  But I am certainly thankful for the opportunities like this past week where we packed in the fun!