Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day

I think the man of the hour had a great day.  He looks pretty relaxed here, right?

Pepper and her fella decided to fix a beautiful feast for us. They made roasted salmon (which I forgot to photograph), cauliflower "Cous Cous"

Luscious sweet potatoes

Here is the whole plate:

And they topped it off with  truly the most amazing cake I have ever eaten.  And I have eaten a little cake in my lifetime.

Now that is saying something. Ever. EVER.

It was amazing. It was delectable. It was memorable. I will never run out of adjectives! They spent hours in the kitchen and it was so beautiful.

(Here they are with our favorite photo bomber.)

I think I am really getting used to having an adult for a child. Oh, my goodness, it was sublime. Can I get a witness? Oh wait, I've got one -- Grandma was here. Here she is playing paper dolls with Tinker.

Happy Father's Day everyone!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

10 Great Books I Bet Your Child's Teacher Hasn't Read

I love to give books. Giving a book is like giving a bit of myself. The trick, of course, is to match the reader with the book and to find something they haven't read.  Since many teachers are also readers and they are all about to finally have some time to read, a book makes the perfect end-of-school gift. Here is a short list of not currently popular books by some great authors; you may even find something you'd enjoy yourself!

  • A Girl Named Zippy: Growing up Small in Moreland, Indiana by Haven Kimmel. This often hilarious, always surprising, surreal trip into the 70s and 80s is so much fun to read, you forget it's a memoir. The perfect book for someone with a sense of humor. 
  • Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns. This lovely novel paints a picture of life in the small-town south through the eyes of a pre-teen boy.
  • Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. For the lover of historical fiction, this story will satisfy! Set near the end of the Civil War, it's the tale of two protagonists, each fighting their own private battles.
  • A Voyage Long and Strange: On the Trail of Vikings, Conquistadors, Lost Colonists and Other Adventurers in Early America by Tony Horwitz.  This is the history you probably did not learn in school, exhaustively researched but thrillingly presented by this award-winning journalist. Perfect for life-long learners and history enthusiasts.
  • Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz. This was the first book I read by Horwitz and the reason I read the others. It is a compellingly told story of the south most of us will never see. It's a little unsettling but you just cannot stop reading it. 
  • Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne. If the recipient in question is under 50 years old, they probably never read this book which used to be required reading for all students. Verne is an adept storyteller and this adventurous book falls into the realm of light, fun reading. An especially good choice for those with a love of travel.
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Saffron Foer. You may have seen the movie but nonetheless, this book is a must read. 911 was the catalyst for the protagonist's unraveling of long-held family secrets. This is an extremely well-told story and keeps you on the edge of your seat.
  • The I Hate to Cook Cookbook by Peg Bracken. Recently republished for its 50th anniversary, I actually own the original version, handed down by my mother. This is the perfect cookbook for busy moms and others who may even like to cook but need some tried and true quick meals.
  • The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. Perfect for the sci-fi or fantasy lover, this is a good book for any novel lover. I won't give it away here but this book has some very surprising twists and turns, perfect for summer.
  • The Water is Wide: A Memoir by Pat Conroy. This prolific author has produced so many wonderful stories but this memoir is my favorite. It is the experience of his early years teaching poor children in South Carolina and, more importantly, what he learned about himself as person. Teachers may have read this book, given the subject matter, but I'm betting if they are under 45 years old, you're safe!
What books do you love to gift?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Alive Like Me and a Lesson on Bullying

I have been terribly neglectful of blogging. Soon I will post some Easter pictures. In the meantime, this . . .

On Easter, we woke the kids at 5:15 AM for 6:00 Mass.  It took The Blitz a long while to wake up but midway through the readings he said, "Easter means Jesus is alive, right?" "Right, shhhhhh."  "So why is he dead right there on the cross?" "That's a statue. Shhhh." "Okay so he's alive." "Yes. Alive. Raised from the dead."  "Like zombies?" "No. Like God. Shhhh."  "So he's alive like ME?"

It went on; you can imagine. After Daddy gave us nineteen dirty looks, I told him we'd have to talk about it later. Thankfully, he got to contemplating the unlikeliness of the Easter Bunny and forgot.

A few days later, he gave me a talk on bullying. He began asking me if I was bullied when I was a kid. I said, "Sure." He said, "I know what to do if I get bullied." So he told me:

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Spring Photos and a Wee Catch Up

Lots has been going on here. And I am too far behind on blogging, so I will just have to catch you up in photos.

I love these little monkeys. Snack time.

I was pretty sick on Sunshine's confirmation day but managed to get this shot with Gram and Grandpa.

Her Godmother and Sponsor, Lisa, flew in from Washington state and surprised us by bringing along Mamaw (whose photo I forgot to take in all the pre-church excitement.)

Pepper and her boyfriend, The Chef, cooked while we were at church.
 Everything was perfect including this lovely relish tray!

With Lisa and Mamaw here, we had to take advantage of this year's
extra pretty Bluebonnets. (The Captain and Tink were in school)

Here's Mamaw!!

Mamaw looks extra pretty in a field of blue.


He loves to mug for the camera.

So does Sunshine.

Blue is Lisa's color too!

Here is our Pepper!

The Blitz had a birthday(FIVE!) and this is the only picture I have! He wanted
vegetables on his cupcakes. I made these out of starburst, M&Ms and tootsie rolls.
Pepper styled the cabbages for me out of corn flakes (frosted) and gum drops.
These were a big hit at school. Pepper made him a carrot cake for home and
he loved it. It was a great day even if I didn't get any pics!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Birthday Boys

The Spring Birthday season has arrived! And not a moment to soon for The Captain!

On Friday, this sweet boy turned 7.  We started the day with birthday pancakes, which were really just our whole-wheat pancakes with sprinkles; don't tell the kids they were still the healthy ones!  I did give them a choice of syrup or frosting (left over from cupcakes) and they all picked frosting. Oh, yuck.

We took cupcakes to daycare (it's Spring Break and Mama works on Fridays so, daycare!) and cupcakes to ball practice but told him a few days back the celebration would wait until Saturday. He got back from ball practice around 7:30 and ate his birthday Mac & Cheese and went to bed anxious for Saturday.

He loved his presents. There was a sweet moment where he got some handkerchiefs I had given him and said, "These remind me of Papa. Sometimes when he isn't here I have to remember hard that he isn't dead. But these will help me remember that I see Papa again some day."  Oh, it broke my heart! He loves his Papa so much.

We got him a basketball hoop and obviously a basketball. He opened the ball and all his other gifts and then Daddy said we needed to come outside to see something. He was standing there with the camera and caught this great shot of The Captain when he saw the hoop.
We've hardly seen him since. We hear a lot of ball dribbling and "boing-g-g-g-g-g-" and we know where he is. He hit the pavement in his jammies this morning and it was none to warm out there. So cute.

Daddy had a great birthday too. I bought him a Fitbit --which he didn't know he wanted-- but already loves. He loves data so much and it is a data machine.

He also got tons of music and lots of other nice stuff. We had King Ranch Chicken for dinner (Dad's fav) and Pepper made them both her amazing Bananas Foster Cake.  It was a great day, truly.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Ballplayers, Beards, Bad Haircuts and Boyfriends: Photos from Feb

You tell me. Are these the two most adorable ball players ever?

We've got an Angel

And a White Sox

This little guy adores his big bro

Some sister shots:

And a poor choice haircut:

Daddy is growing his beard to prove to me that it will never get long no matter how many months he grows it. I think it is looking good!

And finally, the photo debut of Pepper's boyfriend. Hmmm. He needs a nickname. Guess we'll call him "Chef." He is a wonderful cook like Pepper and they met at the Caphalon Store. Isn't that romantic?

This photo looks staged but isn't. This is how
much she smiles around him all the time.  
Okay. They caught me. It may have been the blinding flash.
This sweet guy brought her DINNER! Greatest boyfriend ever.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cute Sayings and Other Miscellanea

Life has been too tonsillectomy centered to talk about much else lately. But the dust is finally settling and I have a minute to share.

Tinker has a funny take on life. For one thing, she is trying to add to her vocabulary, so the other day, I said, "I washed your lunch bag and it's still damp . . ." so she said, "yes, you have to be careful with that damn lunchbag." I said, "damPPPP." And she said, "Yes, the damn lunchbag." Okay. I give up.

Also she got in oh-so-much trouble in Spanish class. Apparently she was in one of her lighthearted moods and was skipping around the room and when the instructor told her she had to sign the "reflections log" she flat refused. Oh, my, she is handful. I just keep reminding myself that Sunshine was a handful too and she is the most wonderful girl these days.

The Blitz and The Captain watched the super bowl with Daddy (yes, this is old news). We apparently learned a few football terms but lately, The Blitz has been having "brain tackles." That's when you just can't figure something out. And the other day in the midst of all the chaos around his surgery, I mentioned that I forgot to put a snack in The Captain's backpack. "That's a fumble, Mom," says The Blitz. Yesterday, I asked him if he could count backwards from 20. He said, "Nope. I'll punt."

Did I mention that my team hosted the Superbowl Party for the youth at church? It turned out so great. We had chili and cornbread, pigs in a blanket, pepperoni rolls, cocktail meatballs, queso and chips, fresh veggies, homemade cookies, football shaped oreo balls (like a cake pop made with oreos), jello jigglers in team colors, and team colored homemade pixi stix. It was a hit. We had almost nothing leftover.

I stole a few ideas from Pinterest and we covered a couple of tables in astro turf and applied field lines with electrical tape and put "touch down" and yard markers on with decals. We did cardboard cutouts of ball players.  It turned out so cute. The kids were appreciative and we had so much fun doing it. Another teammate decorated the room with streamers and it was really festive.

Sunshine's confirmation is coming up on March 29. I'd better start making some plans. She said, "I don't want a fuss. I just want to come home and relax with the family." One thing is for sure, I won't be making that cake I made for Pepper. It was a lot of fuss and was just not that cool. I may try this rose one instead but it will likely be all white. That said, if she likes red velvet that would be the PERFECT cake for confirmation.

Pepper has been busy in the kitchen as always and made a lovely meal for us and her boyfriend. She made pork loin with roasted vegetables. It was perfect. I think her boyfriend thought I was insane because I kept saying this like, "this is just perfect," and "This tastes so good," and "these vegetables could not be any better." And he thought I cooked it. Hahahahaha. He finally caught on that Pepper did and I had such a great (private) laugh. Oh . . . my . . . goodness!

That's the news from here. We are just enjoying life and worrying less about the mess. What's new in your world?