Thursday, December 16, 2010

A very special Christmas Elf.....

I'm baaaack! It has been a couple of months since I posted but I have been very busy with family matters. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball that is totally unexpected. Lets just say, my little guys need lots of KK's love and attention right now and that is exactly what they have been getting. I have been wanting to get them a Christmas Elf, so today while I had gone to pick up the 5 year old from school, the elf appeared. After we had been home for about an hour, the big guy looked up at the Christmas tree and said, "KK, look at that elf at the top of the Christmas tree. He's not an ornament cause he's not hanging from a branch, he's just sitting there." I said, Wow, look at that. We looked around and found a book by the tree about a little elf that Santa would send to your home to watch for good or "bad" behavior. The children are supposed to name the elf and are encouraged to talk with it and share what they would like from Santa. The boys named him Zeus and have told it several things they would like for Christmas. Each night, he magically appears at the North Pole to inform Santa of what he has observed while in your home and then returns, but always in a different location. (I am a little concerned about what Santa might learn from the elf tonight) Let me put it this way, it was too cold to play outside today and these guys need lots and lots of outdoor time. Anyway, tomorrow is another day. Right? When you awake each morning, you look to see where he might be hiding. The big guy, our more "spirited one" (he has more energy than the energizer bunny), wants so badly to just touch the elf. The way it goes, if you touch the elf, he will lose his magic and can no longer communicate with Santa. The little guy is terrified that his brother is going to accidentally touch him and cause him to miss out on presents too. It is hard to find spots that are out of reach of those little climbing monkeys. We are on day three now and the boys are so excited when they wake up to see who can find him first. It has been a great gift and I purchased it at the local Hallmark store. I am attaching a couple of pictures of Zeus hiding out.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Good Old Days...

I think you already know I grew up in the country. I have absolutely wonderful memories of my childhood. As far back as I can remember and until the day I married and moved away, we lived by the most amazing family. I have one sister that is three years older than me and the neighbor family have three girls and two boys around our same ages. We spent countless hours together and what one didn't think of, the other did. I have so many great memories but a few really stand out in my mind. We lived pretty far out of town but there was a highway in front of our homes. Each Fourth of July and New Year's Eve, our Dads would purchase fireworks and divide between all the kids. Each child would get a small paper bag of fireworks and a lit cigar to light their fire crackers with. (guess they thought that was safer for us than a lighter or matches) We thought we were "oh so cool". Our Dads would use sling shots and shoot cherry bombs over the occasional car that would pass by on the highway.
Saturday nights were a blast in my neighborhood! We were very fortunate to have parents that were so family oriented. When you live in the country you learn to be creative with your entertainment.   You might say we were a  little bit mischievous but it was always good clean fun.   Our Dads would take an old worn out purse that belonged to one of our moms and tie a very long string to it and put it in the middle of the road that was in front of our house. There were pine trees between our home and the highway so we would all squat down behind the pine trees and wait for a taker. It was an old country highway so a car may pass by every 10 or 15 minutes. When someone would pass by the purse, they would hit the brakes and back up. Just as they opened the car door and reached down to pick it up, our Dad's would start reeling it in. Some of the nicer people would just take off but others would yell out words that we weren't used to hearing. Our Dads were always coming up with fun things for us to do.
With our neighbors, we roasted oysters on the grill, churned ice cream, and sometimes (without the parents knowledge)  had BB gun fights. (I accidentally shot one of the neighbor boys in the mouth and the BB wedged in a cavity he had in his tooth.) We ran in the house and got tweezers but we never could get it out so we had to tell his mom. She took him to the dentist and we got a good talking to. We rode go karts, horses and bikes for hours on end. We would pick peas and cut corn in our Dad's garden, then sit around in lawn chairs shelling  and shucking  so our moms could put it up in the freezer. We had sleep overs and would sometimes put tents in the yard and sleep outside.  We had talent shows and invited the few neighbors that lived close by.

Times have certainly changed and even though our kids and grand kids have many more opportunities then we did, I think they miss out on so much.  The good ole days when it was safe to let your kids roam the neighborhoods are long gone.  Life has gotten complicated and everyone is busy and stressed with jammed packed schedules.  I am very fortunate to have grown up in that small country town with such a loving and happy family. We really did grow up like the Cleavers and I loved every minute of it!!


Saturday, November 13, 2010

It's Time For Planting!

This week, the little guy got a lesson in planting a garden.  We spent a couple of days getting everything together before we started.  It has been several years since I had a garden so we decided to start out small and see how it goes.  I wanted to plant a couple clay pots of flowers to add to my flower bed and some paper whites to have on my table for the Christmas holidays as well as a few vegetables.  I ask the little guy to pick out three vegetables that he would like to grow and that is what we got.  He selected three of his favorites, cucumbers, okra and lettuce and I picked videlia onions.  The lettuce he picked out is actually Swiss Chard because he said the picture on the package of seeds with the red stems was beautiful.  We decided since we were using seeds for his three choices we would plant them in the little starter cups until they became plants and then we could replant them in the ground (cups and all).  We started out by visiting Maggie's Herb Farm outside of St. Augustine and selected six herbs.  Parsley, oregano, dill, rosemary, cilantro, and thyme.  He had a wonderful time talking to Maggie's parrot and didn't want to leave.  I finally talked him into leaving there and visiting a couple of nurseries, a feed store and a hardware store.  I must say, those are now his "favorite" stores because they all had a "store dog" and a "store cat" that he fell in love with.  I literally had to drag him out of the feed store because he didn't want to leave the big old lab.  He said Cocoa (the lab) looked so sad when he told him we were leaving and he was afraid he wouldn't have another little boy to play with him.   I had to promise him we would come back to see Cocoa soon to get him out of the store.

Well, we have our garden started and in the next few weeks we hope to see some little plants pop up.  (That is, if we don't over take care of them!)  It is hard for a three year old to understand exactly what takes soooo long for them to grow but he had a great time and a wonderful lesson in planting.  Now hopefully we can watch them grow and actually eat something from our little garden.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Beautiful weather for outdoor reading!

The weather has been perfect for sitting outside and reading a good book (or two or three).  My reading seems to come in spurts but when the mood strikes, I have several books going at the same time.  Right now I am into four books.  I talked about my self-help book (healthier eating) in my last blog.  I have started the transformation by purchasing healthy and mostly organic fruits and produce.  I have switched from soy milk to rice milk and I am trying to rid my house of sweets and processed foods.  More to come in a later blog.  You know how much I love my Gator football team so you know how excited I must be for Tim Tebow's new book to be released in April, 2011.  While I am waiting on it, Mike Yorkey wrote "Playing With Purpose" about the lives and faith of the NFL's top new quarterbacks. (Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, and Tim Tebow)  The main thing that sets the three quarterbacks apart from their peers is their boldness in sharing their faith in Christ.  It is a great book by a Christian author that has more than 70 books under his belt.  The third book I am reading is "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan, a pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California.  He challenges Christians to take the Bible seriously.  I find it eye-opening and soul searching.  The fourth book I am enjoying is "When God Winks at You" by Squire Rushnell.  It is a great book about how God speaks directly to you through the power of coincidence.

If you are not enjoying a good book outdoors, I hope you are spending time doing something else you love on these beautiful days. 


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Temp is FALL-ing!!!

I guess you could say I'm as happy as a tick on a hound dog.  It is going to be our first cool weekend of the season and I can hardly wait!  Cool, as in, nice crisp air and sweater weather or possibly a cup of hot tea curled up with a good book (there is a chance of rain beginning tomorrow).  High of 60-65 Friday-Sunday!  Yeah!  It has been a long hot summer and I think everyone around here is looking forward to fall.  Everyone except my daughter, that is.  If the temperature drops below 80 degrees she heads to work in her ugg boots and some sort of sweater or jacket.  Might just be why she chose to live at the beach. 

The book I will be curling up with (rain or shine) if I can sneak in a couple of hours is a self-help book I picked up last week.  I consider myself a healthy eater but I am no longer a "spring chicken" and it is time to quit kidding myself and take control of my health.  It makes me happy to be in the kitchen and now I must begin eating with my head instead of my heart.  This is a blog in itself and you will be the first to know when I officially begin the transformation.  (which will be very soon indeed!)

Right now, I am happily transforming my daughter's home from Halloween decor to Fall.  You know how I feel about those "spooky" things hanging around.  A couple years ago, we took the oldest grandson to the mountains during this time of year and had a wonderful time.  We brought home pretty leaves and delicious apples but unfortunately hubby can't take vacation time right now so we have to make do. (Boo Hoo)  I went to the grocery store this morning and came home with beautiful organic produce and organic fruits for the table. 

I think a pot of homemade chili and grilled cheese sandwiches will be in store for my weekend.  I might even whip up some yummy pumpkin bread.  I think you are supposed to "pig out" before you begin a new weight loss program.  Right?  Happy weekend, happy fall!



Sunday, October 31, 2010



Friday, October 29, 2010

Preschool Halloween Party

The little guy had his Halloween party and parade at the church school he attends on Thursday.  He has a few costumes to choose from but as expected, he wanted to be batman.  When he was getting dressed Thursday morning, he was determined to hold his batman laptop computer while I put his costume on.  When I tried to show him the sleeves would not go on over the laptop in his hand, he got really frustrated and tried to explain to me that it would.  He was determined to make it work.  After a while, he threw it down in frustration and it landed right on his big toe.  Now he was upset.  He has been showing this really stubborn streak lately.  (Don't know if KK's stubbornness has worn off on him or if it is a touch of Independence.)  After a few tears he finally gave up and got dressed.  When we were ready to leave, he put his mask on and I reminded him the teacher really discouraged things that covered their faces as they might fall while trick or treating through the church office.  He said I had misunderstood her and what she meant was if you weren't "big" enough to see good when you wear a mask you shouldn't wear one.  Ok, so we will take it and ask before we wear it.  Ok, KK you will see that I am right.  Guess what, the teacher thought it was great!  So much for that!

On the way home, he said, KK can I watch batman on "on demand" when I get home.  You will have to wait until Mommy gets home and talk with her about that, okay?  Well, I don't know why I can't ever watch it.  I said, sweetie, you know, Batman is not real, it is just a character and he cannot really jump from building to building and do all the things it looks like he can.  I know that KK, just the man inside of batman can do all that stuff.  His name is Bruce.  OK, so that explains why Mommy doesn't like you to watch it.


Easy chocolate tofu pie!

Well, it is the furthest thing from Nana's yummy chocolate pie with her delicious meringue on top but it is yummy and much healthier.  I was craving chocolate today as I perused the aisles in the grocery store.  As I went through the health food section, I spotted the granola pie crust that my Publix has unfortunately discontinued.  It is about the only "graham cracker type" that I have found that doesn't have high fructose corn syrup or trans fat or something artificial.  I grabbed it and the other two ingredients, came home, and whipped it up so it would be ready after dinner tonight.  I have listed the recipe below in case you want to try it. 

2 boxes of mori-nu extra firm tofu, drained
6 oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate morsels, melted
1 granola pie crust

Melt chocolate chips in double boiler.  Put drained tofu in blender and pour chocolate in with spatula.  Blend thoroughly and pour into pie crust.  Refrigerate for a couple of hours.  Keep refrigerated.

Note - You can use another brand of tofu (extra firm) if you like.  You can also put cool whip on top and decorate with chocolate chips.  I have done this several times and everyone loves it.  I don't tolerate dairy so I leave mine plain.  It is still yummy.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Typical Day

I am at my daughter's home today and our 5 year old has a T-ball game at 5:30 tonight.  Since he has to be there early for warm up and batting practice, we (me, the little guy and the 5 year old) will meet Mommy and Daddy at the game.  This means, KK has her work cut out for her today which is early dismissal day at school.  Once he gets home, the two little monkeys start acting like "two little monkeys"!  They cannot keep their hands off of each other no matter whether they are playing or watching a movie.  They love to wrestle and you know how much the big guy likes to tackle! (no football uniform needed)  All I can say is the little guy is going to be one tough cookie one day and you know what they say about paybacks!! 
I got an early start this a.m. to Publix so I could prepare a big pot of my homemade vegetable soup.  Well, two pots of soup since my daughter is vegetarian and everyone else in the family likes their meat. I had to make something easy since we won't get back from the game until after 7:00 and the boys need to be in bed by 8:00.  I'm thinking an apple cake sounds really good too with this cooler weather :)
My little superhero played so hard this morning he climbed up on the couch after lunch and fell asleep.  He got a 45 minute nap in before I had to get him up to pick Max (the dog) up from the doggie parlour then on to pick up the kindergartner.  Mommy might not be real happy with that little power nap when he is still up at 9:00 tonight but it surely helped me out.   

The hardest part of the day was getting the ball player dressed including finding everything he "needs" to go in his equipment bag.  Boy, times have changed since my son and daughter played T-ball.   Well, we are off to the ball field!!   Do you hear me singing?  Take me out to the ball game.  Take me out with the crowd.  Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks, I don't care if I ever get back.  Let me root, root, root for the home team.  If they don't win it's a shame.  For it's one, two, three strikes you're out at the old ball game.

P.S.  Shhhh.   Hope Mommy doesn't read my blog and see those cleats on the couch!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Easy to Make Tin Can Lanterns

The little guys and I made these cute lanterns to decorate their front porch for Halloween.  They were really easy to make and the boys were very proud of themselves when we were finished.  If you would like to make some, the instructions are as follows:

Can of various sizes (used aluminum or tin cans washed and with the wrapper removed)
large nail
soft towel
strong wire
wire cutters or pliers
orange spray paint
votive candles (white or orange)

Wash and soak cans a few minutes to remove paper wrapper.  Dry and fill about 1 inch from top with water.  Freeze.  While frozen, take out one can at a time to design.  Lay can on side on the soft towel and use hammer and nail to tap out face.  Don't forget to tap holes on each side for wire.  When all cans are designed, put on newspaper outside and spray paint inside and out.  When dry, put wire in each side and secure by twisting.  Place a votive candle in bottom and light.  You can hang these or set them around.  Important Note:  You will notice in my pictures that we painted the cans before tapping holes in them.  This was a mistake as I had to touch up the paint after we tapped the faces on them.  If you follow my instructions above it is less work.  Have fun!


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Just another day on another farm.....

Seems like all we do lately is bounce from farm to farm with the little guys.  We had the three year old overnight this past Friday night so before he went home on Sat. afternoon we squeezed in one more farm.  This one is a true down home farm like in "Old McDonald Had A Farm Eee Eye Eee Eye Oh".  Actually it is called Uncle Donald's Farm and just when you get inside the fence, you know you are on a real farm.  Phewww Wheeee!!!  Not thinking, I wore flip flops and my feet were filthy when we got home.  We got a bag of corn and fed everything we were allowed to feed.  We saw Billy Goats, Cows, Rabbits,Turtles, Emu, Deer, Pigs, Horses, Otters, Racoons, Panthers, all kinds of chickens, ducks, ostrich, cranes, turkey (which bit the little guy on the finger). Ouch KK, I need some "magic cream" on my finger right now!  Magic cream is actually a name I began calling antibiotic ointment several years ago when the big guy had a boo boo.  He wouldn't allow anything to be put on it so I told him that I had some magic cream that makes it disappear in a couple of days and guaranteed not to sting or hurt.  Well, he agreed and after great results, he was a believer.  Every time anything happens to either of them they believe that magic cream will cure it!  A while back, the little guy had a sore throat and when we mentioned we may need to see the Doctor, he said can you just put some magic cream on it please.  Before he was potty trained, he would get a little diaper rash and stick his bottom in the air and ask for magic cream. 

He got to milk a goat and then feed a bottle of the milk to the baby goats.  We went on a hay ride and fed hay to the cows in the pasture.  We played in a hay maze.  We saw rats and snakes in the barn.  We saw a huge pig that looked just like Charlotte in Charlotte's Web.  He saw eggs that the hens had layed. And they had plastic owls in several locations.  Remember on a previous blog, I posted a picture of my owl that was recommended by the pest control service to keep snakes away?  Well, that is exactly why they had them! Once again, other than the turkey bite, we had a wonderful day on the farm.