Saturday, December 26, 2009


A new job. A new stage. Meal prep. Viruses and stomach bugs. Hosting 14 people for a week between Christmas and New Years. Robot making class for Ben. Art class for Ella. Did I mention meal prep? New playgroup for Levi. School. Homework. Bedtime. Cleanup.

Nothing I do lasts more than 10 minutes. I'm constantly setting up the pins and knocking them down. Over and over again. And yet - my life is full. You'll hear no complaints for me. A little less sleep - a few more memories.

Somedays my life really feels like a 3 ring circus. But I know, when I'm old and gray, and my life is quiet...and slow...and boring - I'll be wishing for all of this back.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What was lost, now is found! Well, sort of...

So, I couldn't let this memory fade, and even though some of you may question my husband's judgement by the end of this post - I assure you that he is a wonderful man and if I had it to do over again - to pick the man of my dreams, the father of my children, the love of my life...I'd pick him. Knowing what I know, knowing all the good and bad, has given me greater confidence in my choice. That being said...

We'd written off the pacifier. Or so I thought. We'd gotten through 1 night and 2 naps without it, and were well on our way to "weaning". Ella, being the very observant girl that she is - found it in the leaves, next to where we park our car each day when we go to school. It was in the state you see above, crushed by a car, presumably our own. She was so delighted that she'd found it. As I squealed in excitement for her, I promptly hid it in one of our car cup holders before Levi could see it. We'd gotten this far, and I wasn't going back. AND - what kind of parent would give a child a pacifier in that state?? I went off to work before Steve got home that night, and had forgotten all about the pacifier.

Fast forward to the next morning. I awoke to Steve rattling around in the wee hours as he headed off to work (via a long run). I shushed him stating "Please be quiet - Levi is waking up more easily since he doesn't have the pacifier." At this point, my husband's exact words are a blur because it was around 5:30 in the morning and I wasn't thinking very clearly. However, he informs me of the good news that Ella found the pacifier and he had gone down very easily the night before. It took me a minute to realize that those things were related. "YOU GAVE IT TO HIM??" I could hardly believe what I was hearing....Yep. Steve gave him the pacifier. When I asked if he'd noticed that it had been run over by a car he said, (and this is a direct quote) "Levi didn't care."

All I have to say - it's a good thing our adoption is final as I post this for the world to see. Our finalization could have gone something like this..."Levi, you're now a Gerrard. Best of luck, kid."

Mom stepped out

What big brothers do to little brothers - when mom isn't looking...

Monday, October 26, 2009

My Ebenezer

This is one of those weeks for me that is dependant on everything going perfectly - that I don't have anyone wake up ill, that I don't have major inconvenience interrupts my day, and that despite my inability to stream two thoughts together, I remain focused. (I can already hear some of you laughing...) I know, I know. I have 3 kids, am working part time, live in a place where we've already had our first snow before Halloween, and a very full life - but somehow my sanity hinges without a contingency plan.

Well, it's already Monday and we've had our first money wrench in that plan. I realized, come nap time, that my pacifier-loving son has lost, what we now know to be his "last" pacifier. We know that it is his last because up until now, he's been unwilling to accept any pacifier except for the type he came home from Korea with. And those are at least a mail order away...but it's now gone, probably in the parking lot with all the other items that drop out of people's cars when they are wrestling their kids out to do those dreaded errands...

When I realized this, I was in a panic. I kept thinking "I don't have time for this. I really don't have time for this. Not today." And I kept praying that the pacifier would turn up. I put Levi down at about 11:40 a.m. without the pacifier. We did the whole naptime routine and when I put him in his crib - he looked at me like, "Uh, I think you are missing something...." I tried explaining to my 18 month old that the pacifier was gone. "There's no pacifier," I said. "The pacifier when bye-bye." I left and of course - the tears reverberated throughout the house. I kept looking for that pacifier. I couldn't let it go - I wasn't ready for's just not the "right" time. The wailing from upstairs was a constant reminder of the loss and the task that neither of us felt prepared for. By the time I went upstairs to comfort my child - we were both in tears. I laid him in bed and began to stroke his face. He quieted - but all I could think about was "How long is this going to take? I could be in here forever and I have so much to do!" Once I began stroking his face and head - the crying stopped. Well, his at least...mine only flowed faster. All at once, I realized who pays the price when I can keep my "I don't have time for this" in check. I can only see what is not done on my (impossible) checklist and how much I have to do to meet the next deadline. I'm like a tornado and anything in my way is forced to move or be destroyed. Slowly, I began to see this precious moment as a gift and not the burden I'd once been feeling. As Levi started to drift to sleep and was no longer dependant on my touch - I dropped to my knees and cried to God. I sat there, not knowing what to ask for, or how to "fix" this most recent crisis of the missing pacifier. Just moments before I had prayed of it's miraculous find - but I no longer thought would be the right answer. Maybe I need to find out what is on the other side of quick fix. I listened to the music playing and the words were from Psalm 46:1-2. "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth give way, and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea..." When I lifted my eyes open - I saw a peaceful, sleeping baby in front of me and was thankful that I wasn't allowed the easy way out. I know there are still many hurdles ahead of me - but I've learned my lesson...sometimes its in our troubles that we see an ever-present God emerge, giving us peace and enough strength to get through the next hour, the next day, or at least until dinner... :)

"Ebenezer", literally translated means "Stone of help". In 1 Samuel,
after the Israelites finally defeated the Philistines, and took back the Ark of the Covenant - Samuel commemorated the victorious battle, by setting up a marker-stone, by naming it "Stone of Help," where God’s miraculous help aided them in their victory over the Philistines. An "Ebenezer" is a reminder of God's real presence and divine help in our lives. For many people, a bible or a cross serves as that reminder. For me, it is this blog. Each "memory" I compile in writing reminds me that God is my "ever present help in trouble." I don't want to forget what I've learned today. I don't want to forget how low the lows are - they help me to realize how needy I really am. And I don't want to forget how quickly and steadfastly the help comes when I ask.

Here I raise my Ebenezer to all of you - and thank God that his help comes at the right time and in just the right way... What is your "Ebenezer?" - I'd love to hear...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Let the housework go and the emails pile up - I need to blog!

To my faithful blog followers. I apologize...I have let you down. But - I'm back and I assure you that much life has been lived in the last couple of months. We've captured many memories, but not many photos, we've started back to school and I've landed a new job that has me working about 20 hours per week. So, we've been...adjusting...

But I'm back and I'm hoping it will stick. First, a couple of updates:

a) My job - it's fantastic, I love it, and I'm challenged in a way I haven't been in a long time. My brain might not rot away after all! ;) I'm a credit and debt counselor for an agency in MA. ( It's non profit, and I have the privilege of giving people (sometimes hard) truth about their finances. To know me is to know that this is a perfect fit for me. I'm blessed yet again!

b) Levi - What a kid! He's a great, spunky soul who continues to be a joy in our lives. We are finalizing his adoption on Tues, 10/27/2009. It is the last step in a wonderful, winding journey and we are thrilled that everything will be "official", though it's been official in our hearts for a long time. Today, we celebrate 1 year since we signed the first paperwork to bring Levi home. What a ride - what a year - what a joy. I could never, never have imagined that so many blessing would be possible in one lifetime...

c) Ella - She went short! (her hair that is...) It's adorable - SHE'S adorable! I'll try to take pics soon and post them. She recently had to do some homework for school and it was an "observation of a leaf". In the assignment, it asked how the leaf "smelled". Admittedly, it's on odd question. But when I was looking over her work and saw what she filled in, I laughed out loud. "Like a hot dog." was her answer. Recently, she also went to Build A Bear for a birthday party and while all the other little girls came skipping out with bears and bunnies they'd made, out walks Ella - with a TURKEY under her arm. That's my girl - so sweet, so interesting, and not afraid to be a non conformist.

d) Ben - if you are looking for Ben, it's best to start at the Lego table. It's usually where we find him. However, over the last few weeks, we've discoved (with a little work and suggestions from friends) that Ben loves to read! These days, he starts his day by coming downstairs after getting dressed to indulge in his newest love - and we are having trouble keeping up with the library visits! He has been an incredible big brother to Levi - in ways we couldn't have imagined before Levi's homecoming. Each Friday night, Levi has been reluctant to go to the childcare provided by our small group. So, we've commissed Ben (with a very small money incentive) to chase after Levi for those couple of hours. He plays trains, and cars, gives him snacks (he's found candy works well!) and Levi LOVES it! They have a couple of matching shirts, and they love wearing them. It's just amazing to think that these boys didn't know each other 1 year ago and now they are best buds.

e) Generally, we are doing great! We hard our first snow, and the kids went outside and relished in it while the grown ups moaned at the thought of another winter. Oh - to be a kid again!

I'll leave you with a picture of Levi and I enjoying that "snow" and his very fluffy coat. I'll update very soon with a few more pictures of the kids...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Camping - we made it!

First, and foremost, Steve is doing really, really well. By Saturday a.m. he was feeling good enough to be bummed he wasn't camping with us. He's on a three-week course of antibiotics with a good chance of making a full recovery. We missed him very much, but I'm also glad to report that by mid day on Saturday, I'd already decided our trip was worth the obvious obstacles! We really had a blast.

I took my camera camping, but as you can imagine, I didn't get many photos - you're looking at most of them! I was too busy trying to keep everyone...alive!

But, some highlights:

  • Jumping rope: we went all the way to the Adirondacks to learn that Ben and Ella both love to jump rope - go figure!
  • Pitching a tent in the rain: nothing beats the feeling of arriving at dusk when it is pouring rain and thinking "I wonder if we can sleep in the car...?"
  • Junk Food: Smores, Popcorn, Burgers, candy, chips, was all good.
  • Our Hike: We took a mile hike to the Kane Mtn. Fire tower. It must have been The views were spectacular and I got a lot of prayer time climbing that tower, praying that all the kids I was responsible for would make it safely down. Levi rode in the backpack and loved the adventure!
  • My kids were simply amazing: I couldn't have asked for a better weekend.
  • My 11 year old friend, E, had me laughing, crying (in a good way), and sitting back amazed. J & K - you should be very, very proud of your daughter. She made this trip wonderful in every way. You've done a marvelous job - she's a delight.
  • Levi stuffing Mike & Ikes in his mouth: He has a bit of a sweet tooth, and found the box while the rest of us were busy packing up. We'd blocked him into the car to keep him safe, which wasn't hard with the amount of stuff we had packed! When we went to check on him, he'd crawled into his carseat, with the box of mike & Ikes in hand and was stuffing them in before we noticed. We couldn't stop laughing - it was the perfect ending to a wonderful trip.
We missed you Steve, but I think I need to bring E with us every year! And Levi thinks we should always bring Mike & Ikes! :)


Sharing (v): What emerges when you only have two popsicles, and three kids.

Care for a Lyme?

I woke up last Wed morning to Steve telling me he'd been awake all night with what seemed like a fever. He had chills and was generally pretty "flu-like". After telling me this he said, "I think I have Lyme's disease." Being the very compassionate wife that I am, I assumed that he was jumping (or leaping, rather) to conclusions. However, I also know that he had a lengthy discussion with someone at our family camp 2 weeks prior - who talked about their daughter's battle with Lyme's disease. Hmm....

By 6 a.m., he got out of bed, turned on the shower and came back a few minutes later to show me a bite on his waist. It looked like a nasty bug bite - and he kept asking me "what does this look like to you?" Too tired to even see strait, I replied (again, my compassion is overwhelming)"I don't know - I'm not a doctor or a nurse!" Steve went on with his morning and headed out of town on business overnight. When I talked to him that evening, things hadn't changed much, and he headed to bed early. To be honest, I didn't think about it I had been feeling a little run down a few days prior and thought we must have had a bug.

Steve came home Thursday night, to a family of kids excited to go camping the next day. I was exhausted from packing, and we still had more to do. (Don't you just love that about camping? Two days away takes 3 days of packing!!) Steve had taken Friday off to go with us to the Adirondacks to meet friends and to camp for the weekend. But when he came home Thursday night and showed me the rash, I became more convinced that maybe Steve really did have Lyme's disease. After calls to the dr., he went on a antibiotic, we packed up the car, and he went to bed. I was convinced that this antibiotic (that came in TWO pills, mind you) would have my husband feeling like a happy camper by morning.

As you've probably guessed, the next morning - Steve felt awful. He took his temperature and was convinced that there was something wrong with the thermometer when it read 103. I knew, very quickly that we'd either be staying home or camping without Steve. We weren't planning on leaving until afternoon, but when I told the kids that daddy was sick - they were immediately concerned that we couldn't go camping. Steve encouraged me to go without him - but could I do it? The kids were desperate for me to say "yes", and in a moment of weakness - I did. At about 8:15 a.m. I put a call into my friend, who has a lovely responsible, 11 year old daughter that is loved by my whole family. I felt like I was a kid again asking if she could "come camping with us." By 10 a.m. - her mom had called back to say that she was willing! I almost cried! Of course my friends who were meeting us were more than willing to help, but they have 3 kids of their own and I thought another pair of hands would be helpful.

And this, my friends, is how I ended up taking 3 kids camping solo (with the support of friends, of course)! More later about how Steve is doing and pitching tents in the rain...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


As Ben and Ella played "This little Piggie" with Levi:

"This little Piggie went to the Korean Market.
This little Piggie stayed home.
This little Piggie had Kimchi.
This little Piggie had none.
And this little Piggie went wee-wee-wee all the way to his mommy!"

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Lots of new...

What's new for us you ask??? Let me tell you!

  • Summer's started (or so they tell us - the weather's been terrible!)
  • We were able to go away for a week to Pittsfield, MA to enjoy a "family camp". The kids loved it. Our favorite night was the square dancing. (Pictures at the link below - there were SO many!)
  • I'm dusting off the 'ol resume to do some job searching...I'm just looking to see what is out there. Got one call and doing a "screening" tomorrow. I forgot how awful job searching really is...
  • We are done with baseball and on to swimming and camp. We are having a "groundhogs day" type summer, with usually down time in the a.m. and pond with swimming lessons in the afternoon...(which I suspect the kids really love). When my girlfriend was driving our kids home from VBS she heard her daughter tell Ella that she had a play date. Ella said "Why do you want a play date when you could go home?" Those are the kinds of kids I have... :)
  • Ok...less talk, more photos! Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

1 day, 2 lost teeth

We were so excited when Ella came to us after church and said "I have good news! I lost a tooth!" Yeah-Yipee-Hooray!

Again, at dinner, I saw Ella's front tooth hanging by a thread, I reached in and gave a good tug. Out it came.

And that is the story of how Ella lost 2 teeth in a single day... Naturally.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Today, with a packed freezer and fridge, I couldn't find anything for lunch - literally.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Grill Menu #3: Skewered Chicken and Red Onion

Skewered Chicken and Red Onion

1/2 c. Red Wine Vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1T + 1 tsp. honey
2T olive oil
fresh pepper
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 3 pieces each
1 lg. red onion cut in 8 wedges, root left intact

Stir together first 6 ingredients. Add chicken and onion to marinade. Stand at room temperature tossing occasionally for 15 minutes (or I sometimes do all day or overnight in fridge).
Transfer chicken and onion onto 8 skewers.

For oven: Preheat oven to 375. Transfer skewers of chicken & onion to a nonreactive dish. Drizzle with marinade. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes. (I finish under broiler to brown.)
For grill: Grill over medium heat, turning 1/2 way through. About 16 - 18 minutes total.

**Angie's notes: I bought several packages of boneless skinless chicken thighs to make at least 3 batches of these over the next 6 weeks. Unlike most meats, I do not marinade these before putting them in the freezer, largely because I purchased the thighs that are already portioned and vacuumed sealed. And it only takes 15 minutes to marinade. I usually grill these, and its a nice, simple meal. We love grilled veggies or a green salad with this and I purchased some oven baked sweet potato fries at BJ's that are frozen and can be baked.

Hands off dinner #2: Tex-Mex Fiesta Casserole

Tex-Mex Fiesta Casserole

6 servings

40 min 20 min prep


ounces lean ground turkey or beef


teaspoon instant minced garlic


cup onions, diced


cup green bell peppers, diced


cup chunky salsa


teaspoons chili seasoning mix

1 3/4

cups tomato sauce (15 ounce can)


cup reduced sodium ketchup


cup frozen whole kernel corn, thawed


cups cooked rice, hot


cup low-fat cheddar cheese, shredded (3 oz.)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  2. Spray an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

  3. In a large skillet sprayed with cooking spray, brown meat, garlic, onion and green pepper.

  4. Add salsa, chili seasoning, tomato sauce and ketchup.

  5. Mix well to combine.

  6. Stir in corn, rice and cheddar cheese.

  7. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish.

  8. Bake for 20 minutes.

  9. Place baking dish on a wire rack and let set for 5 minutes.

  10. Divide into 6 servings.

  11. HINT: 1 1/3 cups uncooked rice usually cooks to about 2 cups.

**Angie's notes: This is a family standard. It's taco like in nature, but not so much table-work! I'll be making 3 batches of these in one sitting. We'll eat the first one right away because once Ben sees that I'm cooking it - he'd be heartbroken to hear he has to wait. (What can I say - the boy LOVES it!?) The other two additional 8x8 pans will be frozen. Once I've done that - I'll have 2 more instant meals to feed our family! You can either thaw first (and add 10 minutes to the baking time to account for the chill) or cook from frozen (double the cooking time at least!). Whatever you do - don't stir. There is no need to, and it will become porridge-like in consistency. We like to add lettuce, sour cream and salsa and eat it with tortilla chips.

Hands off dinner #1: Crock Pot Pulled-Pork (or chicken!) Fajitas

Crock Pot Pulled-Pork Fajitas


  • 2 1/2 lbs boneless pork loin roast

  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced

  • 2 cups barbecue sauce

  • 3/4 cup salsa

  • 3 tablespoons chili powder

  • 1 tablespoon Mexican seasoning

  • 9 flour tortillas


    Trim off excess fat from pork.

    Place pork in slow cooker and place onions on top of roast.

    Mix remaining ingredients together except tortillas; pour over pork.

    cover and cook on low heat setting 8 to 10 hours or until pork is very tender.

    Remove pork; place on large platter or cutting board and pull pork apart.

    Place pork in serving bowl and pour sauce on top.

    Spoon filling into tortillas and roll up.

    **Angie's notes: We LOVE this dish. I've made it with both pork and boneless, skinless chicken breasts. You can use the meat with tortillas, buns or on a salad - it's very versitile. We'll be eating the chicken version with tortillas, sour cream, a little extra salsa and lettuce. I usually make a "salad" out of mine and cut out the tortilla carbs. I will be making a double batch (just over double, actually) and will freeze the leftovers into 2 containers for future meals. Please consider that the meat will cook down a lot, and that each Crock Pot varies in cooking time. It will fall apart when it is ready.

Grill Menu #2: Molasses Coffee Marinated Pork Chops

Molasses Coffee Marinated Pork Chops (Alton Brown, 2009,
  • 1cup cool strong coffee
  • 6 ounces molasses, by weight
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 6 to 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 (6 to 8-ounce) bone-in, 1-inch thick pork chops


Place all of the ingredients into a 1-gallon zip top bag, seal, and shake to combine. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

Preheat grill to medium-high.

Remove the pork chops from the marinade. Transfer the marinade to a small saucepan and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-high, and boil gently, stirring often, until reduced to about 1/2 cup liquid, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the thyme stems after the glaze has reduced. Meanwhile, grill pork chops 3 to 4 minutes per side or until they reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. Allow the pork chops to rest 4 to 5 minutes before serving with the glaze.

**Angie's Notes: If you purchase these items, but don't intend to consume them right away, mix up the marinade in a freezer ziploc bag, add the meat and toss it into the freezer. Remove it from the freezer and put it in the fridge at least 24 hours prior to cooking. As it thaws, the marinade with do it's job and you'll come home to ready-to-grill meat! We'll be adding rice to this dish to soak up that yummy glaze and a salad to round out the meal. Wishing I had enough for a double batch...mmm....

Grill Menu #1: Smoked Sausage Spicy Kebobs

Smoked Sausage Spicy Kebobs

1 lb. Smoked Sausage, sliced 1" thick
1 8 - oz. bottle of Italian salad dressing

Fresh vegetables such as:
1 bell pepper, cut into 1 1/2" pieces
2 ears of corn, broken into thirds
6 cherry tomatoes
3 new potatoes, halved
2 zucchinis, sliced 1" thick
6 large mushrooms

Build skewers alternating sausage and vegetables
Dip the kebobs into salad dressing.
Grill or broil for 4 minutes each side, basting frequently with remaining salad dressing.
If using corn or potatoes, tenderize in boiling water for 3 - 5 minutes before building skewers.

**Angie's notes: Our kebobs have sausage, bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and musrooms. Instead of doing the corn and potatoes, I opted to purchase frozen potatoes from BJ's and bake them off while the kebobs cook.

Insanity challenge, Part 1

The sole purpose of this post is to convince you that I am totally and utterly crazy. I'm just putting that up front. Please continue...

As the summer approaches, I'm a little daunted by the task of taking my own three kids, plus any that I'm babysitting to the grocery store. When I contemplate this, I see lots of chaos management, impulse buying and stressful "I'm never doing that again" in my future . So - I had a much more manageable idea...why not shop for the ENTIRE summer? Right? Or at least cut it down to 2 major market runs for the whole summer -once before it began and once in the middle? At first I was joking, but it eventually evolved into a challenge... Could I purchase at least the basics for June and July, thereby allowing me to make it into August before having to do a major grocery run? And so, it began.

Follow me through the next few blog posts and you can see how (or if!) I accomplish this task. For those of you who want to give it a try - I'm including the nitty-gritty details. I'm breaking the tasks into 3 or 4 step intervals (it's confusing - even to me!) and following with blogs containing the recipes mentioned. BEWARE: if you are not a meat lover, these posts may not be for you. I'm not certain I know how to make meals without some kind of meat since I come from a die-hard "meat & potatoes" kind of family. Consider yourselves forewarned, though I think the same principles will apply.

1) First, you need to make a list of everything in your freezer that you want to use. Anything that is "main dish" appropriate is fair game. Do not include breads, bagels, or other non-staple foods in this list. For me, this included 9 b/s chicken breasts, 6 b/s chicken thighs, 4 pork chops, 1 package of hot smoked sausage, 3 lbs. ground beef, and a container of taco meat (prepared already).

2) Find recipe online, in cookbooks, or use old standards with the freezer contents. I like using, or you can perform a google search on your particular ingredient. I like using site that allow users to rate the recipe. I usually choose a recipe that sounds good AND has multiple high ratings. Be sure to scan the comments because sometimes they can come up with some good tips on substitutions or omissions. I like to keep all the recipes in one place - which means once you find the recipe, print it out (or copy it) and put it in sheet protectors in a 1" 3 ring binder. As my recipes have stockpiled, I just move the ones I'm using toward the front. I decided to make tacos (easily decided with the prepared taco meat), Pulled Chicken Fajitas with the chicken breasts (FREEZABLE - divided into 3 meals), Grilled chicken and Red Onion skewers, Molasses Coffee Marinated Pork Chops (a new one for us), smoked sausage kabobs*, and tex-mex casserole (a family favorite - tripled and frozen to make 3 meals). Consider this - do all of you dishes require fresh produce that could go bad if not used up quickly? If so, swap them for recipes that are largely pantry/freezer based items and make sure that you put the fresh ingredient meal towards the front of your list (noted in my list by an *). You can then add salad or grilled veggies to your meals, and those minor shopping trips will just include perishables like milk and some produce.

3) Make a shopping list of the ingredients from those recipes that you don't have on hand. I shop at BJ's (wholesale club), Stop and Shop (grocery), and Trader Joe's (specialty store), so I keep 3 lists and add the item to the most appropriate list. Important: If you are uncertain where to add it - add it to all the lists of the stores you want to check. You'll probably remember if you've already purchased it, but you likely won't remember to add it if another store doesn't care that item.

Easy enough - right? The recipes I'm making this summer are a combination of oven ready (casseroles), grilled dishes and kid friendly favorites, like tacos. I didn't, for some reason, include fish in this menu, but we love fish and will be sure to include it in our next batch! Recipes mentioned above follow in separate posts.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

At least it's something

I heard of hubpages a few days ago, and to be honest...I'm still a little confused. But - if something is better than nothing, I'm on track.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Back to my writing roots

When I was in high school, I began to think about "what I wanted to be when I grew up". For many, this process begins much earlier, but I never had any skills rise to the top. (It's the old "Jack of all trades, master of none" coming into play). However, in high school, I began to find my niche in writing. In it, I found a freedom that I hadn't found before...a sense of discovery and learning that I was excited about. As I entered college, I naturally gravitated towards an English major, but quickly realized that I didn't have passions (or skill, frankly) in grammar and Shakespeare and all that an English degree requires. While I loved writing, I drifted back and forth in my studies. After going through several potential career options, moving to the state of Massachusetts, transferring colleges and meeting the love of my life, I finally landed at Framingham State College in the Family and Consumer Science Department(say whaaat?). Though, it's really a fancy name for Home Economics, Wikipedia describes it as this: "Family and consumer sciences deals with the relationship between individuals, families, and communities, and the environment in which they live. The field represents many disciplines including consumer science, nutrition, parenting, family economics and resource management, human development, interior design, textiles, apparel design, as well as other related subjects."

It's funny - but that is exactly what I studied. I got to take courses on cooking, fashion, nutrition, and family financial decision making - A little of this, and a little of that. Quite frankly, I loved every class I took! But the problem is, it didn't really offer me a real career direction. So after I graduated, I just got married and had babies. (Ironically, I'm one of the few SAHMs that uses my degree!) Because I need to earn some kind of income to keep our family afloat, I've resorted to a life of preschool teaching, babysitting, and part time ministry. But I keep finding a way to write, because it is my first love. (And cheaper than therapy!)

After spending 13 years in children's ministry, a genuine love of mine, I'm ready for a new challenge. So, I'm giving over my position to someone who will be embarking on an amazing journey, and I'm ready to re-engage my love for writing. The timing is a bit strange to me, but sometimes you just know when its time to move on. I don't have any real expertise, or any set goals, don't know a whole lot, quite honestly. But, I need to open this door because its a nagging feeling in me I just can't shake.

As I've begun the research I can only say one thing: I'm overwhelmed. I'm not sure where to even begin or what questions to ask. And let's face it - I'm still deeply in the "at home with young kids" phase of my life. But, after all my web browsing tonight, I was left with one clear direction: I need to blog. Whatever challenges I have breaking into the world of writing, I just need to do what I know - and that is write.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Ella has always made us laugh when she talks. She coined our family phrase: "What the heck in the world!?"

Today I overheard her singing from the sound of music.

So long, farewell, I'll see you some, goodnight. I do, I do, to you and you and you...

Photos of us at her Kindergarten Author's Breakfast. The school year is winding did it go by so fast??

We're home

California Tallies:
TWO LAA vs. the sox games (both losses for the sox, one after 12 innings).
One unbelievable Fillet Mignon - that I couldn't finish.
Many walks by the Ocean.
One horrific plane ride to CA (don't ask!)
One wonderful flight home (thanks to a godsend of a flight agent who got us a seat for Levi)
Four mornings up between 4:30 - 5:30 a.m.
One dinner at Kari's parents - good food and lots of laughter
Lots of hours hanging, talking, laughing
One run to Trader Joes. Seems I can't live without them anywhere!
Three, maybe four cats to entertain Levi.
Lots and Lots of memories!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Headed to California today with Levi. Using airline credit to see a very good friend. We have sox/angels tickets for Thurs. Back in a few days with lots of good photos and great memories...

We did it!

We walked ALL of the 20 miles. I started, my family joined in and Steve finished it up! There ended up being buses to take us to the finish line at every checkpoint, so meeting up ended up being quite easy. The best news is that, after all the tallies are in - we collected $504 to fight hunger in Massachusetts. One of the things we liked the most about our walk is that there are signs all along the route that teach us more about Project Bread and about the work that they do. Here is what we learned...Through project Bread, $100 provides 5 families with groceries for a week! $50 buys 250 lbs of food for local soup kitchens to feed hungry people. We were shocked to realize that YOUR $500 will supply 25 families with groceries for a week OR will buy 2500lbs of food (THAT'S OVER ONE TON) for soup kitchens across MA. Great work on helping us meet and exceed our goals. Our kids are ready to walk next year and would love friends to join us! :)

We enjoyed some time on the Boston Common (including ICE CREAM) after our walk. It was a wonderful day! (And thankfully the weather was perfect!)

Also - check out the T-shirts! We got such rave reviews on them throughout the walk and after the race! Our family had a lot of fun tie dying them and adding our family logo!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sometimes life is just funny...

I had someone run across my blog about the Walk for Hunger who wanted to help us get it published in the local newspaper. She asked for my permission. I said yes. And about a week later - we found it in the Natick Tab. I couldn't find it online, but I scanned it in for you to see. You probably won't be able to read it from this scan, but it's as close to being "published" as I've come thus far. And - despite our crazy busy lives, we've collected $150 for the Walk - I'm sure we owe a lot of that to this article. We've reset our goal to $200, and we don't walk until 5/3, so you still have time to send it in! Our kids are loving this more than I could have expected. Thank you for helping them to learn such a valuable life lesson!

April 17th - Levi's Tol

Our family photo

Mini cake...
For the rest of us.
Edamame salad (I'd intended to photograph more beautiful Korean food, but this is all I made it to for pictures - however, the food was quite yummy!)

Handsome in a handbok

The Tojabee Event:
In this event, the birthday child goes around the table and picks up items that attract him or her. The child's future is predicted according to the what he grabs. After placing the child in front of the table, the first and second items the child grabs are considered the most important.

A knife is the winner! It means "The child will be a good cook!" And mommy couldn't be happier about that! :)

A close second was the jujube (red dates) meaning "you will have lots of descendants".

Juliette & Levi
Waiting for our American tradition - cake!
Singing Happy Birthday.

A little help is needed for blowing.


A little help from Ben. What are big brothers for, if not for teaching you how to stuff your face!