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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Family Olympics...

My children were recently inspired by the viewing of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games that they decided we needed to have a Family Olympics. At first this sounded like a great idea...until I saw the event schedule:

Hurdles, Badminton, Volleyball, Trampoline, Javelin, Hammer Throw (the safer version of discus), Water Polo, Swimming, Gymnastics, Track and Field...and the list goes on.

Opening ceremonies were held...Olympic Torch was lit and burned throughout the games. Medals were awarded...even slept in the Athletes Olympic Village.

What a great way to enjoy not only the Olympic spirit but some much needed family time. We often find ourselves caught up in the chaos of sports, school and other activities - we forget to spend time together as a family unit.

Lots of laughter was had and a few injuries occurred (ahem...that would be just me!)

Here's to competing again in 2016! (And hoping the kids forget about the Winter Games of 2014!!)

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Great Gifts

I am always looking for unique gifts to give to friends who have moved into a new home or a unique way to say thank you, rather than a delivery of flowers. 

Below are a few of my favorite and most recent purchases. I believe all the recipients have been happy...although, would they really tell me otherwise? 

Happy Shopping....

Donovan Cellar's Pickle Collection





Cranberry Island Kitchen Whoppie Pies


Cake Monkey Assorted Pot Pies (including Apple and Blueberry Crumble)
Harney & Sons Tea Tray Gift Sets






Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My Babies Are Growing Up...


The first day of school has come and gone and I survived! That's right - I said me...not the kids, but me.

I often feel that the parents are the one's with more anxieties than the children when it comes to the first day of school. This morning, as it is each year at their school, they gather in the common circle for a celebration prayer. Each child arrives and sits with his/her class (except for Katie). At the end of the morning, Katie finds a friend from school, runs off and finds her classroom all on her own. When I arrived to say "goodbye" she asked "Mom, what are you doing here?" Like I ever left! Somehow, all morning, my nerves of how will she be when I say goodbye were put to rest as I left her smiling and playing with her new friends on the ABC carpet.

As I was driving home, I realized that this school year will be many firsts for our family - for the first time, they will finally all be at the same school; my oldest, Max, will be learning French for the first time; for the first time, my middle son, Jake, will no longer be the youngest at the school; my youngest, Katie, will be going full time to Pre-K and for the first time, I will be in a home alone all day!

Here's to wishing the 2009-2010 school year is a great success! *Clink *Clink

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Importance of Having a Best Friend...


September 2nd...To many of you it's the countdown to the upcoming Labor Day weekend. However, for me, it's always a special day I get to help my best friend, Kerri, celebrate her birthday.

And tonight I did just that with her husband, father, brother, her 4 boys and some of her good friends. At one point during the evening Kerri introduced me to a good friend of hers and said, "Blah, Blah, Blah - I'd like you to meet my best friend since 9th grade."

WOW - 9th grade. Have I really known her that long?! At first it made me feel old...but then (while I was fortunate enough to be holding her little baby boy...so yummie and sweet!) I got to thinking how incredibly blessed I am to have had her in my life for all these years.

Having a best friend has been often defined as important aspect in life because of the need to make connections to other people on deeper levels. When something goes wrong in your life, you can turn to a best friend first in order to get things straight again. No matter what is happening, a best friend becomes important because of their ability to reach you on levels that others may not have been able to.

And, for me, that's exactly what she's been able to do.

Through the years, we have participated together in some incredibly stupid things. Things we are only now sharing with our parents knowing we can no longer be grounded for our actions! And things we will never share with our children until they have children of their own!

However, there have also been some incredibly precious and life changing moments as well.

So tonight I reflect on the beauty that is our friendship and thank God for the blessing he has given to me, in our friendship, everyday.

Happy Birthday Kerri! I love you.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tomato-Zucchini Bake

Many people responded to my earlier blog entry about posting the recipes I cook for my family that are a success. So, here's the first.

Tomato-Zucchini Bake
(from the July/August 2009 Health Magazine)

Ingredients
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 pound sliced zucchini
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1 1/4 pounds sliced vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°. Coat a 2-quart shallow baking dish with cooking spray, and alternately layer sliced zucchini, corn kernels, and sliced tomatoes. Combine panko and Parmesan, and sprinkle on top. Bake, uncovered, in the center of oven 30 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cover with foil, and bake for 10 minutes more or until vegetables are tender. Serve immediately.


**Notes: While the kids enjoyed it, remember to allow it to cool before serving as the cooked tomatoes are HOT and will burn their lips! Also, I added some fresh herbs - basil and oregano. Cannot imagine the dish without them.

That Time of Year Again...


As summer starts to wind down, I find I spend more time these days getting the kids ready for school than anything else. Just when I think I am finally ready and prepared to send them back, I turn to find one more school supply I forgot, one more form I need to fill out or one more check that needs to be written.

I find that if I can get organized from the start, the school year will have less bumps along the way. This year, I will have three in school full time and will be able to dedicate my "free" time to building up my business as well as volunteering more of my time to the non-profits I currently work with. That being said, scheduling can become a nightmare. Lucky for me I have come across a life saver....www.momagenda.com. If you are a mom juggling more than one schedule - this is the perfect calendar! It not only allows you to track your own events/meetings but each of the children (or in my case, my three children and my husband). I've been using this system for over a year now and find that I have eliminated several scheduling conflicts.

Check out their website. You will also find a section of checklists that you can print - well worth a look if you need some help organizing other areas of your life.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What's for Dinner?

Every night I am constantly struggling to find something that everyone will eat. And by that I mean kids and parents included. We, as parents, can only have so many meals consisting of chicken nuggets, macaroni/cheese, noodles with butter, etc. But when I do invoke some "change" there is always some form of complaint.

How did our mom's do it when we were growing up? I remember when dinner was ready, we all sat down, ate up and didn't complain. Although, I do have to admit there were a few times I remember shoving as much food into my mouth as I possibly could and then excused myself to the bathroom. Wonder if they ever caught on to this? Luckily for me, my kids have not gotten that creative.

Recently I was cleaning out my office and came across hundreds of recipes I had ripped out of various magazines. I am sure my intent was to cook them some day - however, when I noticed some dated back to 2002, I realized my time was up.

So I've taken a new approach...cook a new recipe every night (taking Friday's off for family pizza night, of course!) The kids can then decide keep the recipe and make again or send it to the trash (along with the leftovers!). In return, they have to promise to eat without complaint. Moreover, we, the parents, have to be honest about our "take" on the meal as well.

Well, to date, it's going pretty good. We have tossed a few recipes in the trash and have managed to keep a few for another try. I have to say I'm proud of the kids for taking on this challenge with me. Not only am I getting a chance to expand their taste buds but
selfishly, I am getting the opportunity to clean up my recipe book.