Wednesday, August 31, 2011

An Ode to my Backyard

My weekly column is up over at Athens Patch.
Today we are discussing childhood dreams
becoming a reality in your adult life.

Has your life met the expectations
you had for the future when you were young?
Here's a little sample...


My husband and I stood back and admired our two sons as they happily ran through our new backyard and climbed up our new swing set. Half an acre of land had been cleared out by our own two hands to prepare a space for the children to play. A picket fence wrapped around the yard and closed us all in like free range chickens.

It had been a true labor of love. We had spent many weekends cutting down and hauling off trees to make the perfect clearing. After months of hard work, we had finished the project. And now we were standing in our own little paradise.

Please click here to read the rest of the story
and to join in the discussion over there.

My Faith in Humanity Has Been Restored.

Have you seen this wonderful commercial?
God Bless Willie Nelson.
That old hippie holds a special
place in my heart.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

52 Weeks of Happiness :: Week 26

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Rediscovering my love for reading.

Over the last six years since becoming a mama
I haven't really had an interest in reading books.


It's been just too much to try

to fit in reading

with my two little monsters
needing so much of my time.


Well, my love for reading

has been rekindled.

I suppose that they are getting older

and suddenly, my life has

room for books.


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I don't have the luxury of sitting down
to read for huge chunks of time

so I find myself stealing moments

to soak in the story.


Slowly, as the week passes

I read the book in quick spurts throughout the day.


While waiting in the car line

to pick Griffin up from school,

I give Koen a book to thumb through

in the backseat and we both

take a minute to read.


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I am a voracious reader
who gets pulled into the story easily.

My mind wanders to the characters often.


While doing household chores I will

think of the story and before I know it,

the dishwasher is only half loaded
and my feet are propped up while I read.


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Sometimes I can't sleep
because the book is calling to me.

I snuggle up in bed and yawn

and read and rub my eyes and read some more.


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As the boys play outside
and my cranky cat begs for attention,

I shut out the world

and get lost yet again in the story.


It's as if some the best parts of me
that were lost in Motherhood
are slowly coming home.


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Want to join me in my quest
to scout out happiness for a whole year?
Simply post a photo of something that
makes you wildly happy and tell us all about it.
Then, steal my button and include it in your post.
Don't forget to link up to Mr. Linky.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Friday Night Dates :: 14

I'm inviting romance into my life
one Friday Night Date at a time
and documenting each one here on my little ol' blog.

I want to remember every detail
of these splendid home spun dates.

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Date #14

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Romance was in the air
as the scent of blackberries
filled our senses.

The film was dreamy
with deep red hues
and mysterious moments.

Kinda like Twilight but set
in a medieval village.
Nothing like watching teenagers
deal with unrequited love
and the possibility of immortality
to make you feel pretty good
about your own life.

The champagne helped too.
It was a great night.

Here are the recipes...

Blackberry Champagne Cocktail
1. 1 tablespoon Chambord liqueur
2. Chilled Champagne
3. 1/2 rounded teaspoon blackberry or passion fruit sorbet

1. Pour the Chambord into a Champagne flute and top with Champagne. Add the sorbet and serve at once.
Blackberry Prosciutto Appetizer
INGREDIENTS

* 1 loaf French baguette (12 ounces)
* 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
* 2 Tbsp. sugar
* 2 pkg. Driscoll's Blackberries (6 ounces each)
* 8 oz. chevre (goat) cheese
* 2 tsp. chopped garlic
* 1/4 tsp. dry Italian seasoning
* 1/4 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
* 1 Tbsp. milk
* 4 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto

Instructions

1. Preheat broiler. Slice baguette into 32 diagonal slices. Place bread on broiler pan and broil 4 minutes or until golden brown, turning once; set aside.

Bring balsamic vinegar and sugar to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Boil 10 minutes or until reduced to ½ cup. Remove from heat and stir in blackberries. Cool completely.

Combine chevre, garlic, Italian seasoning, pepper and milk in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Cut prosciutto slices crosswise into 3 pieces.

To assemble, brush balsamic reduction on each slice of baguette and spread with about 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese mixture. Top with 1 piece prosciutto and 1 blackberry from the balsamic reduction. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Did you find romance over the weekend?

Winner : Karate Kid Edition

We have a winner for this week's installment of Freakshow Friday. Please take note that my super hilarious and non biased best friend was the judge. Here are the top three in no particular order.

VandyJ
Crouching toddler, hidden twin.

Judith
Dance Bitch, Dance.

UBERMOUTH
NInja, the twin sister, was not taking it lightly.

The winner is...
VandyJ

Crouching toddler, hidden twin.

Vandy J
is the funniest blogger in all the land.
Now head on over to her blog
and marvel at this fantastic award she just earned
to proudly display forever.

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Thanks to all the people who played.

Tune in this Friday for another instalment of Freakshow Friday!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Freakshow Friday : Karate Kid Edition

It's time for another installment of Freakshow Friday. Where I ask my readers to come up with a caption or story for a funny photo. My best friend will be the judge and she's one hilarious freakaziod. So, bring it! Here is this week's photo, I love this kid.

Sweep the leg Jenny!

You got a better one for me?
If so, you may just when this awesome award
and have bragging rights forever.
Oh...do I ever have an award for you!
You will win this brand spankin' new award!!

<span class=

If you win then I'll link up to your
Blog and make a big deal
about how funny you are.
Simply leave your funny caption or story
in my comments section.

The winner will be announced on Monday.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

You Capture : Ordinary Moments

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We are settling into our new school routine.
My little first grader has homework for what
feels like the first time.

Although, I have to drag him away
from relaxing after school,
I love watching him sit and work intently on his assignments.

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I feel privileged to get a little glimpse
of all the new things his little brain is learning.

These ordinary moments are so important.
They are shaping who he will become.

Last night,
after homework was completed
and dinner had been scarfed down,
the boys begged to have "bath time" in the kiddie pool.

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So we grabbed the last bit of evening sun
and soaked up a late summer splash for bath night on the porch.

The air is getting cooler...just a bit.
Bath time in the pool
won't be possible in a short time
as fall settles in.

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We have to bask in
this last bit of summer sun.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Moms Talk : Postpartum Depression


Imagine the anticipation of becoming a new parent. The nursery is filled with stuffed animals and the diapers are well stocked. The crib is lovingly put together and your heart is ready to love your new bundle of joy.

Now imagine the shock some moms feel when the new baby finally comes home and they discover that they feel desperate and afraid. At a time when most moms would be delighting in their newborn baby, women who suffer from Postpartum Depression have feelings that go beyond exhaustion and weepiness. It's as if the typical baby blues seem never to go away.

One local mom named Beth, who wishes to not be identified for privacy issues, found herself crippled by Postpartum Depression after her first son was born...Please go here to read the rest and comment away!

Creating a Creative Space

I do my writing in our office/spare room/place where we toss junk space.
My mom and I made it a little project
to makeover the room so that it
can be a creative haven for me.

A place to be inspired.
A place to retreat.
A place to write.
A place to relax.
A place that is all mine.

So we cleared out all the junk
and moved in pretty things
that make me feel feminine in
this crazy house full of boys.

Here is a little peek of the
textures and colors
that can be seen in
my new sacred space.

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I feel so much more balance
in my life now that I have
such a wonderful
place to write
and relax.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

52 Weeks of Happiness :: Week 25

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Having a spa day at home.

So I have to confess that I've been
a bit of a mess lately.

It seems that the summer

left me a bit neglected and ragged

from keeping up with my wild boys.


My mom took pity on me
and invited me over to her house

for an afternoon

of rest and relaxation.


It was a total surprise
and a welcomed retreat

for this weary mama.

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She pampered me by giving my
feet and my hands a lovely treatment.


I sprawled out on her bed

and she washed my feet with a warm washcloth.

It was just about the sweetest thing ever.


I could have cried
because I felt so spoiled.


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Then, she gave me a facial.
The relaxation settled around me
as my skin was exfoliated and hydrated.

It felt so lovely
to have someone tend to me for once.

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I then took the most delicious nap
in her big ol' comfy bed

with the air conditioner blasting cool air on me.


It felt like heaven.


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After a stretch and a yawn
I hopped into her shower

and let the hot water drip on my face.


No little people were banging on the door.
No little people were screaming my name.

I even washed my hair.


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Then I climbed back in her bed

and spent the rest of the afternoon

reading a good book.


It felt like such a luxury.


I felt so loved

and relaxed

and taken care of.


It did wonders for my soul.


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Want to join me in my quest
to scout out happiness for a whole year?
Simply post a photo of something that
makes you wildly happy and tell us all about it.
Then, steal my button and include it in your post.
Don't forget to link up to Mr. Linky.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Friday Night Dates : 13

I'm inviting romance into my life
one Friday Night Date at a time
and documenting each one here on my little ol' blog.

I want to remember every detail
of these splendid home spun dates.

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Date #13

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This was such a fun date.
Years ago, when Roger and I were
first married, we came home late one night
from being out with friends
and turned the television on to AMC.

An amazing classic movie was on
that sucked us in.
I remember snuggling on the couch
watching Cary Grant torture Grace Kelly.
I fell asleep before it was over
and never found out who the jewel thief was.

It was romantic to watch the same film again...
years into our marriage and snuggled up,
just as we were so many years ago.

Here are the recipes...

Rosemary Gin Fizz
{Adapted from Food & Wine, December 2002}

Ingredients:
1/4 cup gin (I recommend either Bombay Sapphire or Tanqueray to highlight the woodsy features of the gin. I don’t recommend Hendricks, which is my favorite gin, as it’s flavored with cucumbers and rose petals and will thus change the tasting notes of the drink.)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Rosemary Syrup (see below)
Ice cubes
Cold club soda
1 rosemary sprig and fresh red currants, for garnish

Preparation:
1. In a tall glass, stir the gin, lemon juice and Rosemary Syrup.
2. Fill the glass halfway with ice; top with club soda. Garnish with the rosemary and currants and serve.

Rosemary Syrup:
Ingredients:
2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
4 rosemary sprigs, rinsed

Preparation:
Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer over moderately low heat for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain the syrup and chill. (The syrup can be prepared and chilled for up to 1 week.)

Rosemary Cheese and Fig Preserves
{From Southern Living November 2002}
Ingredients

* 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
* 1 (3-ounce) log goat cheese, softened
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
* 2 teaspoons honey
* 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
* 3/4 cup fig preserves
* Garnish: fresh rosemary sprigs
* Crackers, toasted French bread slices, or bagel chips

Preparation

* Process first 5 ingredients in a food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides.
* Spoon cheese mixture into a lightly greased 1 1/2-cup mold lined with plastic wrap. Cover and chill 2 hours.
* Invert chilled cheese mixture onto a serving dish; discard plastic wrap. Spoon fig preserves over cheese. Garnish, if desired. Serve with crackers, toasted French bread slices, or bagel chips.

What sort of fun did you have
with your sweetie over the weekend?

Winner : Basketball Edition

We have a winner for this week's installment of Freakshow Friday. Please take note that my super hilarious and non biased best friend was the judge. Here are the top three in no particular order.

Rita/Fighting Off Frumpy
Amanda only scoffed when they
told her she was too small to play basketball.

Jenn
Lily always felt like a "big gulp gal"
trapped in the body of "a tall drink of water".

Kearsie
"No no! I said the MEGA Big Gulp,
not the SUPER Big Gulp! Dang it."

The winner is...
Rita/Fighting Off Frumpy

Amanda only scoffed when they
told her she was too small to play basketball.

Rita/Fighting Off Frumpy
is the funniest blogger in all the land.
Now head on over to her blog
and marvel at this fantastic award she just earned
to proudly display forever.

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Thanks to all the people who played.

Tune in this Friday for another instalment of Freakshow Friday!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Freakshow Friday : Basketball Edition

It's time for another installment of Freakshow Friday. Where I ask my readers to come up with a caption or story for a funny photo. My best friend will be the judge and she's one hilarious freakaziod. So, bring it! Here is this week's photo, this girl is spor-ty.

That is one big gulp.

You got a better one for me?
If so, you may just when this awesome award
and have bragging rights forever.
Oh...do I ever have an award for you!
You will win this brand spankin' new award!!

<span class=

If you win then I'll link up to your
Blog and make a big deal
about how funny you are.
Simply leave your funny caption or story
in my comments section.

The winner will be announced on Monday.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Despite my twitchy eye...


As I opened the letter from Koen's future preschool my heart sank. "Meet the teacher day" was the following week and biting on it's heels was the first day of school. I glanced over at my sweet 2 year old playing with his tools on the floor and I knew that neither of us were ready.

I wasn't ready.

So, I made the decision to trust my instincts and keep him home with me for one more year. Just one more year to have him here with me. He has the rest of his childhood to spend in a classroom. I am treasuring every moment as even the simplest tasks seem more fun because he is here. A trip to the grocery store is an adventure as we stop to visit the fish tanks. His eyes get big as the gold fish swim up to the filter and dive fast with the current of water. "They having fun, mama!" he squeals with glee.

"So are we kiddo"
I think to myself.

I take him to a gymnastics class once a week and as he jumps down the tumble track with his arms held high over his head, I soak in that image. Before long, he will be off to school and I will miss these simple moments. Like my sweet boy bouncing as I run alongside the trampoline, cheering him on as bounces higher and higher. We fall onto the blue mat at the end and roll around together. His little body wiggles happily in my arms and my life feels so full at that moment.

I made the right decision.

Our favorite book is I am a Bunny. We curl up at nap time in the glider and read the sweet story before he drifts off to sleep. Why would I want to miss this fleeting moment in time? When we get to the page where the bunny blows the dandelion seeds into the air, Koen always takes in a deep breath and pretends to blow onto the page. His little eyes shut tight as he releases his breath and we both silently make a wish.

This is where he is supposed to be.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Mompetition Survival Guide

video

I was at Pump-It-Up the other day with my children, when I overheard a conversation between two moms. Each of them was trying hard to convince the other that her child was a little genius.

"My little Sarah is only 18 months old and she can already count to ten in Spanish," one mom bragged.

"Well, my son Nick is 16 months old and he can count to 15 in Spanish," the other mother chimed in. "You know, mine is so smart because of all the great organic food that I feed him."

Meanwhile, her particular genius was sitting on the floor blissfully taking objects from his nose, examining them and then eating them....read the rest here (leave a comment while there!)

Cranky Mama


I have an eye twitch and
I got it from my kids.

My kids like to spat
at 6:30 am.
It makes me bonkers.

I look like a crazy monkey half the time.

I can't find my lipstick.

I just realized that the last time
I showered was 5 days ago.

I gained 12 pounds over the summer
because food loves me when I'm cranky
and I love food
and we love each other.

Now my clothes are too tight.

Mama needs a hug,
but a gentle one,

not a commando style hug
where I get knocked on the floor
and lightly choked
like the ones my 6 year old gives me.

Those kind of hugs
make my eye twitch.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

52 Weeks of Happiness :: Week 24

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Lamenting the last week of summer.

Yesterday was Griffin's first day back at school.
We are so excited about his new class
but I wanted to reflect on the happiness
that can be found in the very
last week before school starts.


It's so fun to savor the last

days of freedom.

Like playing on a slip-n-slide at a friend's house.

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Playing huge video game marathons.
Who cares if the kid is playing
Mario Kart for 2 hours straight?
It's summer and soon enough
the controller
will be traded for pencils and books.

I just love the way Griffin believes
that his Mario sweat band
gives him super strength.

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Of course, the last week of summer
is also a time to get geared up for school.

We played the "first day of school" with lovies quite a bit
to work out any first day jitters.

The innocence is just so sweet
and I anticipate that this will be the last summer
that Griffin needs to play out his anxiety
with stuffed animals.

So, I really treasured the time spent
pretending to drop teddy bear and fox off at school.

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The excitement of going to the store
to buy school supplies
is always thrilling.

Griffin skipped proudly up and down the store
with his new backpack and lunchbox.
He felt so much anticipation
for the big day.

I will always treasure the last week of summer.

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Want to join me in my quest
to scout out happiness for a whole year?
Simply post a photo of something that
makes you wildly happy and tell us all about it.
Then, steal my button and include it in your post.
Don't forget to link up to Mr. Linky.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Friday Night Dates : 12

I'm inviting romance into my life
one Friday Night Date at a time
and documenting each one here on my little ol' blog.

I want to remember every detail
of these splendid home spun dates.

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Date #12

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Oh my stars...I just have to say that
the Lemon-honey spritzer was
one of the most fantastic drinks I've ever sipped on.
It's the perfect combination,
the lemonade is tart,
the champagne bubbles in your mouth,
and then the honey coats your tongue.
Perfection!
The feta was so yummy while
When In Rome was silly and sweet.
Just like our love!

Here are the recipes...

Lemon Honey Spritzer

1/2 (6 ounce can) frozen concentrate, thawed
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
2 tablespoons honey, warmed
strawberries

Combine the lemonade and Grand Marnier in a pitcher. Add the honey, stirring until dissolved. Stir in champagne. Pour into glasses, garnish with strawberries.

Baked Feta with Lemon and Herbs

2 blocks of feta cheese
1/4 cup of oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 lemon sliced and divided
1 orange sliced and divided
fresh rosemary, oregano, and parsley
pita chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small oven proof dish, place blocks of feta, and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top evenly with half of lemon and orange slices. Arrange rosemary, oregano, and parsley around cheese.

2. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Top with remaining half of lemon and orange slices, and garnish with rosemary, oregano, and parsley. Serve with pita chips.

Did you find romance this weekend?

Winner : Chewy Edition

We have a winner for this week's installment of Freakshow Friday. Please take note that my super hilarious and non biased best friend was the judge. Here are the top three in no particular order.

w
daddy, i swear. if anyone calls me an ewok.
i'm gonna lose it.

Kearsie
They call me Chew-Bark-a.

VandyJ
Laugh it up Fuzzball!

The winner is...
Kearsie

They call me Chew-Bark-a.

Kearsie
is the funniest blogger in all the land.
Now head on over to her blog
and marvel at this fantastic award she just earned
to proudly display forever.

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Thanks to all the people who played.

Tune in this Friday for another instalment of Freakshow Friday!