Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Horsing Around

Yesterday, Bro and I watched as Lulu rode horses with her Girl Scout troop. The girls had a fabulous time and got about an hours worth of ride time per girl. I was amazed at how free the girls were to guide the horses. When Lulu goes to summer camp, they have an instructor with the horse at all times. In this case, they had a few instructors in the ring, but the girls were definitely guiding the horses themselves.

Surprisingly, Bro stayed awake for the whole event. He was very excited to see the horses and to be in the new environment. The girls gave him plenty of attention as well, as usual.

Lulu Wins the Presidency

Kick off your campaign for President of the United States and learn what it's like to run for the Oval Office.

OK - this is more for upper elementary students, but I admit that I was pushing Lulu out of the way so that I could play. Below are the results from Lulu's campaign. Education, global warming, and the war in Iraq were the subjects that were most important to her. She decided which states in which to spend most of her time and campaign budget. You'll notice that she was running as a Republican (I'm not going to comment on that).

Seriously though. Check it out! It's quick and easy and fun too!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Halloween Fairy

Where have I been? Have you heard of the Halloween Fairy? Well, I hadn't either... until now. You see, one of Lulu's friends spent the night. I overheard the girls talking about their favorite family traditions and the friend yelled out, "Halloween Fairy!" Halloween Fairy? So, I had to ask, "What does the Halloween Fairy do?"

Get this... after the kids go trick-or-treating, they set out their Halloween candy, at the front door, with a note gifting the Halloween candy to the Halloween Fairy and asking for a gift in return. When the kids wake up the next morning, the candy is gone and the gift is in its place.

Can you believe it?

At which point Lulu says, "Dear Halloween Fairy - I'd like an autographed picture of Hannah Montana, um, or backstage passes to Jonas Brothers concert." Grin.

Wow! She doesn't ask for much does she?

The friend explains that, "you can't ask for money; so that's the only problem."

When the friend's mom came to pick her up, she clarified some of the Halloween Fairy logistics. First, the night of Halloween, the kids are permitted to eat as much of the candy as they want. They can also just take one bite of a piece and throw the rest out. They can eat until they make themselves sick - fun. The sky is the limit. The only rule is that whatever is left over, and untouched, is set outside for the Halloween Fairy, along with the note. Secondly, and this is the part that I was most confused about, the gift request should include several choices and Halloween Fairy always does her best to give a gift on the list but she is only one Fairy and she does the best that she can. Whew - relief! I'm glad that we cleared that up!

Does Halloween Fairy come to your house? I'm sure that she'll visit my house this year.

Style Tour Bus - Day Two

So, Lulu wore her hair to school today and was proud as a peacock. Everyone loved her hair. Except, one boy. She told me, "Eveyone loved my hair, except for David." I said, "oh yeah - what did he have to say?" His response to seeing her hair was, "Hey Lulu - bad hair day?" To which she replied, without skipping a beat, "No - and you?"

Hah! She is too much.

She finally took the shower that she was supposed to take on Thursday, but didn't because of Survivor. Then she was supposed to take it on Friday, but didn't because she cheered a night game and was tired when she got home. Then was she was supposed to take it on Saturday but didn't because she had a friend sleep over. Finally, she was supposed to take the shower on Sunday, but didn't because... we were preserving the hair.

Luckily, we got a shower tonight!

Looking forward to a day at home with the kids tomorrow - no school!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Style Beauty Bus

Stop the presses. This is the biggest event in my house since the birth of Miley Cyrus. Lulu went to the mall with a friend and found this...

Then, she got her hair done - in total hollywood style - and looked like this!

She came home with this bag of gifts...

We have to try to keep this hair in place for school tomorrow!

Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Survivor, as in the reality tv show

Good news and bad news. The good news is that a new season of Survivor started on Thursday. The bad news is that I was actually thinking about creating my own Survivor blog and these guys beat me to it!

If you are a mom then you will agree that we do not have time for television. Most moms I know only ever have their tvs tuned to Disney, Nick, or Sprout.

Lulu was a toddler when Survivor first aired. I watched on day 1 and was hooked ever since. Since then, Survivor has evolved and I have been told that rewatching season 1 is pretty cool because you can tell from the way that the producers present the story that this was a very new adventure for them. I've been wanting to Netflix Season 1 but... who has time for that!

Nonetheless, as previously stated, Lulu and I have been watching since show 1. Now, dear husband watched with us. Admittedly, it took some time to get him watching the show as he loathes all reality television. He is just as hooked as we are.

You are more than welcome to come watch Survivor with us sometime. If you do, please keep in mind a few household Survivor rules traditions:

1. First and foremost, Survivor is more important than bedtime, taking a shower, and so on. Case in point, we got a call from Daddy Warbucks, to say that was Survivor was on. Immediately upon hearing those words, Lulu's bedtime was extended until 10:00 (it was the 2 hour season premiere you know) and her shower was rescheduled for another date. Even Bro stayed up for the festivities because I could not tear myself away to sit upstairs and nurse him to sleep.

2. Always eat popcorn or root beer floats during Survivor.

3. Always get ready for bed during commercials (brush hair, brush teeth, pajamas) since bedtime commences immediately after "scenes" (see #4).

4. Do not go to bed before you see "scenes" from the next Survivor.

5. Never, ever talk during the show, no matter how important. You can share your thoughts, take a bathroom break, get a snack during commercial only.

6. Never ever take a phone call during Survivor.

7. Always say, "shhhhh, shhhhh, shhhhh Survivor is back on" and frantically run back to your seat when you hear the show come back from commercial.

8. Announce who you think will be voted off, AFTER tribal counsel but BEFORE Probst reads the votes aloud.

So, I want to know, did you watch the Survivor season premiere on Thursday? Do you have a show, that you watch as a family, on a regular basis? Do you have any similar traditions? Would you like to join us for Survivor sometime?
I have so many Survivor stories to share, but this will have to do for now. Don't forget to tune in to CBS, 8:00 p.m., Thursdays.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Last One

Those of us with good manners adhere to the rule of the "last one." That is, we never take the "last one" of any food product. As you strut past the tray of crab cakes at the annual summer fiesta, you look to see how many are left and wouldn't be caught taking "the last one." Even at home, you have a few pretzels left in the snack bag, the last bit of milk in the jug, and the one reeses peanut butter cup in the candy bowl... from LAST HALLOWEEN! Why? Because you, being so kind, don't want to take "the last one" and you have trained your family that good manners are to leave "the last one" for someone else.

I know that you all do this.

The rule of the "last one" plays out daily at the office. There is always one mint left in the jar, one cookie on the plate, or, in this case, one piece of cake left in the box (see pic). Are you kidding me? How hilarious is this picture?

This is the problem. Stick with me here. When you take the second to last one, you are, in fact, taking the "last one." Why? Because nobody is going to get to eat anymore now that the second to last one is gone. For example, in this picture I helped myself to someone took the second to last piece of cake. This bite piece that you see pictured will be thrown away at the end of the day. Or, as in MY case, I will wait until the end of the day (when most of my co-workers have left) and secretly scavage it for myself before tossing the box in the trash... not wanting to be caught eating the "last one" as well as the second to last one.

Do you see my point? The point is that NOW I can't even eat the second to last one because then I am, in essence, eating the last bite because nobody is going to eat the "last one."

Don't believe me? Try it out. Keep eating the second to last one... at holiday parties, at office parties, and at home (depending on your housemates) and see what happens. The "last one" just sits there and rots! If you try this then leave us all a comment on how it worked out.

Pulling Up!

Bro just started crawling and now he is pulling up. Drats! I thought I had a few months before I had to worry about that.

Here he is, frame by frame, going after the one, lowely, boring, object that I left on this table.

Ah - the smell of success!


Look at these rugs that I saw while I was downtown last weekend? Bro's room is an underwater/nautical type theme. I so want one of these rugs for his room. Okay - these are not so in my budget, but would be gorgeous in his little room.

Or maybe THIS one in front of our fish tank?

I'll settle for this little tiny one.
Deart Husband liked this one and insisted that I take a picture.

Okay - if I can't have one for myself then I'll suggest some for a friend. Have you ever been to Fairy Grandmother's house? You know the large carpet in the kitchen. Wouldn't this be a fabulous replacement for that rug? Fairy Grandmother - you need this in your kitchen.
At any rate, these came in all sorts of sizes and shapes and are so perfect for anyone with a nautical themed room in their house. Do you own a boat? Get a small one for the boat. Oh - yes!

Quarter Cup

Speaking of oatmeal... I just have to share this. I have a set of measuring cups that came from Dear Husband's grandmother's house. She loved to bake (as do I) and her measuring cups were passed down to dear husband moi!

I have been missing my "quarter cup" for quite some time now. At first I assumed that it was in the dishwasher, in the back of the silverware drawer, or lost in our spatula/tongs drawer. I have resorted to accusing dear husband of taking it and not putting it back and have now threatened to 'lose' some of his stuff if he doesn't STOP taking my stuff. I had recently decided to add a quarter cup to my Christmas wish list because my quarter cup was gone forever.

Hah! Look what I found when I opened up my oatmeal?

Ah! It's my quarter cup! Quarter cup - I missed you!!!!!

Oatmeal - an easy recipe

Do you eat or love oatmeal as much as I do? We keep a super-size container of oatmeal in the pantry. I love oatmeal for a variety of reasons. First, it provides fiber, it is a low-cal, and it's quick. I love oatmeal in the winter because it is a warm, comfort food for breakfast. Quaker oatmeal is my brand of choice. You can but the quick oats because they are just as healthy as the old-fashioned ones.

The problem with my oatmeal is this: I never make it quite right. It's always too hot, too cold, too sticky, too runny, too sweet (after I add all of my stuff), too bland, and so on. It's never perfect, until now.

Normally, we add jarred fruit to Bro's morning oatmeal (of the Gerber variety). Recently, he has advanced to Quaker's oatmeal. We were out of jarred baby fruit so I added some cinnamon applesauce, from the refrigerator, to his oatmeal. Wham-O! Spot on! The applesauce (1) cooled down the oatmeal, (2) thinned out the oatmeal, and (3) added just the right amount of sweetness.

Now, Bro eats oatmeal, Lulu eats oatmeal, and even Dear Husband eats it. This is so perfect and so easy and a much healthier alternative to my morning feast than adding syrup and brown sugar.
Do you have a favorite breakfast or way to fix oatmeal in the morning? Please share in the comments below!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

FREE Museum Day

Smithsonian Magazine is offering Free Museum Day on Saturday. This is fantastic timing for those of us who will be rained in on the Eastern Coast of the U.S.

Look for a participating museum here.
Download your free admission card here.
Be sure to check back with us and let me know if you get rained in at a local museum this weekend!

Don't touch that dial!

This just came in through the reader... a must have for every household.

DIY super hero cape! If you are crafty and have some grandsons or nephews then this would be a fun holiday gift for the budding crime fighters!

New and Interesting Tidbits from the Blogs that I Read

You may not know that I am currently tracking over 100 several blogs through google reader. If you read more than a few blogs, on a regular basis, then I highly recommend 'subscribing' to the blogs through the reader. Instead of checking back to each blog, day after day, you will only need to check with google reader and you will clearly see which blogs have been updated. It is, in fact, a timesaver.

You will see that my blog has a sidebar segment of "shared items." These shared items come directly from the blogs that I read. If I find something interesting then I can just add it to this blog with the click of a button.

Today, rather than adding interesting items to my shared items list, I want to highlight a few of my recent favorites from the blogs that I read.

For example, Cupcakes Take the Cake pointed out these lovely cupcake stands, by Michelle Miller.

Need a fun and easy point system to get the kids interested in helping with chores? Kasi has a great idea!

I'm wanting to make this oven "fried" chicken from Blisfully Domestic.

I can't decide what to make for the Scouts' bake sale this weekend.

These cupcakes from gourmet mom?

These pretzel sticks from peas and carrots?

I have had my heart set on making these since I first saw them on al Dente. Recognize this guy?

Anybody seen/tried these slice and bake cupcakes yet? Should I try them?

BTW, I bought some caffeinated coffee from Starbucks this morning - for the first time in over a year! Whew! This is caffeine overload. I should have asked for half caf and half decaf!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

First Day

Following a bitter-sweet 'going away' party yesterday, I had my first day at my new job, today! Let's see - first I was greeted with donuts and a "Welcome" sign. Then it was off to get coffee with my new co-workers. After that, I attended a training class for the better part of the morning. Lunch was a meeting of those of us who are part of the work book club. This month we read Joshua Ferris' Then We Came to the End. Do any of you watch The Office? If you like The Office then you'll love this book. So funny!!! It starts off slow, but just force yourself to keep reading and then you won't want to put it down. When I got back to my desk, I found this picture waiting in my inbox. Note: My wonderful co-worker took this pic for me because I was lamenting that I wished that I had my camera today so that I could share my 'welcome' with you.

So far so good.

On the homefront, Lulu wants to learn French so we will be stopping by the library to get some age appropriate books for her. She tells me that if she cusses in French then no one will understand what she is saying. What? Dear husband proceeded to spout off a few choice words himself (show-off) and she was trying to remember everything that he said. In the end, I told him to save those words for another day!

Thanks for all of your well wishes!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Visit from the Governor

As you may know, we have a new school in our area and due to some lucky redistricting, Lulu attends the new school. They recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony, which was attended by the Governor. In addition to giving a speech to the faculty and students ( reminding students in his remarks that the money [for the school] was from their parents and grandparents who pay taxes), he also planted a “Tree of Progress” in the front area and told students they had to take care of it and make sure they continued their own progress.

Other official duties for the day included playing the guitar...

climbing the rock wall...

and writing on the smartboards.

I asked Lulu if she got to see the Governor. She said, "I got to touch his hand!"

Monday, September 22, 2008

One Pot Meals

So, I put together the menu for the week and went grocery shopping. When I got home, I realized that everything was a one pot meal (how did that happen). I am very excited because we haven't tried most of these recipes before. As you might remember I am trying to be creative with the menu because I was accused of feeding my family spaghetti and pan fried pork chops a little too often.

Here's what's on the menu this week. Pork chops with apples, tater-tot topped casserole and some chicken casserole that I can't find a pic or recipe for. Plus, I am going to make some mini-meatloaves as well.
We have tried the tater-topped casserole. To be truthful, it has kid sauce in it. In my house, kid sauce is code for 'cream of mushroom soup.' Heaven forbid that we mention mushroom because then you-know-who won't eat it. She has caught onto us though. When I told her what we were having for dinner, she asked, "What's the sauce? Please don't tell me that it has kid sauce in it. I hate kid sauce." Hah! Not only does tater-tot casserole have kid sauce in it, but she loved it. Then, she asked to have tater-tot casserole for lunch the next day. Plus, she was mad when she got home as she reported to me that "someone forgot to pack the tater-tot casserole as instructed." So, she ate it as an afternoon snack. To try to make it a little healthier, I use the low sodium, low fat kid sauce and double up on the veggies.

What's on your menu for this week?

Take a Child Outside Week

September 24-30 is take a child outside week. It is a great time of year to be outside. I only wish that the week had started yesterday since Bro, dear husband, and I spent the day in Annapolis and Lulu was at the beach with Daddy Warbucks and his family. Yahoo!

Other outside activities planned for this week are: walking the dog, cheer practice, Homecoming games this weekend, and a Girl Scout booth at the (outdoor) craft fair.

Plus, I almost forgot, it's oyster season again. Lulu and Luvs2boat need to go get their oysters as well!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

National Gratitude Day

No words, just this collage in honor of World Gratitude Day.

Friday, September 19, 2008

International Talk Like a Pirate Day

In honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day - may I present...

Lulu - age 4 or 5??? Oh sweet bribery! What was she thinking?
And here is Lulu and lifelong friend Gator! Shiver me timbers!

p.s. Ms. Mindless - do you recognize the bed?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Once upon a time...

To my most faithful readers, do you recognize this person?

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who volunteered to preach the sermon, at church, for Children's Sunday. I have no idea what she was going to say, but when they asked for volunteers for the service, that was what she volunteered to do. She was offered the job of "Reader #1," instead.

Once upon a time, there was a preteen who interviewed - with the school principal - for admissions to a small private school. When he asked her what her talents were, she told him, "Well, I talk real well."

Once upon a time, there was a high schooler who fell in love with Shakespeare.

Once upon a time, there was a college student earning her degree in English.

Once upon a time, there was a mom who loved to read to her children.

Once upon a very recent time, there was an employee looking for a new direction and drooling over eyeing the available press secretary position in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.

Coming soon (hopefully) - a Master of Arts in Communication from Johns Hopkins University with a concentration in _______ (Public and Media Relations, Political Communication, or Digital Technologies - which one?).

By the way, I think that I'll take this class (see below) during session one year.

480.630 Essential Skills in Digital Media Literacy
This course teaches students how to become effective at creating, accessing, analyzing, and evaluating various digital media through instruction in media production skills and by applying the latest innovations in media literacy theory. The course focuses on the the essential skills communication professionals need to create digital content (including digital slide presentation, photo manipulation, video/audio production, web site, blog and podcast publishing). At the same time, students will learn how to analyze media content and explore how media shape politics, culture, and society.

They also offer another course which teaches students to create online media and "maintain a blog" as well as some other things that go along with blogging. That would be another good one for session. hmmm... Which sounds better? A.) I have a degree with a Concentration in 'digital technologies.' B.) I have a degree with a concentration in 'blogging.' JUST KIDDING MOM!!!
What were your interests as a child? Do you pursue them now? What are your children's interests? How do you see those working into their adult lives? For me, little Lulu is a diva extraordinaire now, so who knows what that means for the future... thoughts?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Are you kidding me?

Remember this shirt from my earlier post?

Well, I found this shirt in JCPenney for $4.99!!!! OK - I had to buy it in black, instead of hot pink, but can you believe it?????

no sleep = great breakfast

I've been up the past few nights working on some projects with dear husband. Again, last night, I rolled into bed at midnight, when I had hoped to hit the sack hours before then as I desperately needed a good night's sleep. It was not destined to be. Bro woke me up a few hours later wanting to nurse.

Before I continue, I feel compelled to share something with you that has been sitting with me for weeks now. You will not find me complaining about waking up in the middle of the night with my new baby boy. As you may remember, from this post, we had an accident at the house involving baby Bro. He is fine! However, a few weeks ago I learned of another family (friends of friends) whose new baby had the same accident and then passed away. I think about this family everyday and my heart aches for them every-singe-day, because our babies are so close in age and the accidents were so similar. I cannot help but think about how close we came to the same tragic outcome. True story - when Bro wakes up in the middle of the night, I pick him up lovingly and say a prayer to God and thank Him for giving Bro to me and for allowing me to share these "middle of the night" moments with Bro, as inconvenient as they may seem.

My plea to any mom who is reading is to take a moment today, when you are feeling the LEAST grateful for the hurried life of being a parent, and thank our Father for the moments that we are given to share with out little ones and, while you are having this conversation, please say a prayer for the family who is missing their baby.

Having said that, which I didn't know that I was going to go THERE today, I was woken up to feed Bro and then... a few hours later... I was woken up again because Lulu is away at a 5th grade overnight and is homesick. Then, I was woken up a few hours after that, by my alarm clock.

The good news is that, I went to Starbucks to get coffee for the first time in months. Truly, I would not make it through the day without it. I am not a $6 cup of coffee kinda gal. I take the house coffee in a cup and then add my own milk and sugar. It was my intent to only get the 1 cup of coffee. Well, Starbucks now offers what they call the "Perfect Oatmeal." It is only $2.35 and comes with dried fruit, a nut medley, and brown sugar "generously portioned to suit your taste." (Yes, I know that $2.35 is a bit much to pay for oatmeal, but it was the cheapest breakfast I could find -having slept in until 20 minutes before I needed to leave the house- plus it came with all of the extras.)

When the girl handed me the oatmeal, she instructed me to let it sit for 3 minutes and then it would be properly brewed. Properly brewed? What is a properly brewed cup of oatmeal? That made me chuckle. In short, the oatmeal was delicious, although I had to add more hot water when I got back to the office. I think that I might bring some packs of oatmeal to the office as well as some nuts and brown sugar. Either way, it was a great little pick-me-up this morning. All in all, I think that my total bill came to $3 and some change. Not bad for a morning breakfast with coffee. shhhhhh - don't tell dear husband.

To summarize, I didn't get to sleep last night, treated my self to Starbucks for the first time in months, and got a healthy and yummy breakfast to boot!

Has anyone else tried the Starbucks oatmeal? Do you have another portable, easy, yummy, quick breakfast idea? What's your morning rush food of choice?

Monday, September 15, 2008


Went to Wordle and created this "gallery." Wordle creates word clouds from the text that you provide. In my case, I pasted in the url of this blog. Wordle uses the number of times a word appears in a text to determine its relative size. Having said that, it looks like cookies and the Aquarium are hot words on my blog right now. I'm also glad to see that "husband," "Bro", and "Lulu" are relatively large as well. Above, is the picture that was produced. Since the words came from my recent posts, I suppose I should title the creation, "Today."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Visit to the Aquarium

Last Saturday, we were expecting part of a hurricane. So, what did we do? We decided to go the Aquarium. Well, that is, Dear Husband said that we should go to the Aquairum and I told him that we couldn't. Then he asked why and I replied that we couldn't go to the Aquarium because we had not PLANNED to go to the Aquarium. He was like, "why can't we just do something just to do something - why does it have to be planned?" So, I decided to be a little WILD and CRAZY and just up and go to the Aquarium... in a hurricane.

I'm so glad that we went. I had not seen their new Australiam Outback exhibit and it was wonderful.

Bro really liked to look at all there was to see.

Funny story - so we got into the Aquarium and were looking at exhibits like the one below. Well, I noticed that there were these large lizard thingies in the exhibits and no barrier between us and the lizards. I asked Dear Husband why the lizards don't jump out at the visitors and he said that, "they just don't." Okay! Hmmm...

Next thing I knew... this large lizard jumped out into the crown of visitors right on top of the man RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!!!!!

Can you imagine?

Look at Bro "holding on to" Dear Husband.

Checking out the sea rays.

Had a great time. If you live in the area and haven't been to the Aquarium in a few years then head on over - you won't be disappointed!