Saturday, May 30, 2009

Great Gift Idea for your friends...

Most of you know that I lead a Daisy Girl Scout Troop. And I am constantly traipsing the internet for good ideas for stuff to do at the troop meetings. I want these girls to remember these meetings for as long as they live (I know, not a small feat, but I like to set the bar high).

Enter in the Double-Daring Book for Girls. I was lucky enough to receive the first book from a good friend of mine. And I loved it. And now I am using the second book to come up with things to do at my troop meetings as well as things to teach my two girls, like the history of April Fool's Day or about the Nobel Prize.

If you want a challenge, check out the book and try any of the games, like organzing a croquet tournament or making a labyrinth. I am telling you, this book is not only for rainy days, but for all days in between. Leave me a comment here if you have this book and have tried any of the things in it. If not, go here to check out the book and to Amazon to purchase!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Pictures - These need some explanations

All these pictures where taken with my iPhone at some point in the past month. So yea, they are pretty much really, really random shots.

So to the left of the vehicle in front of me is the No Hand King. Go ahead, click through. Interesting story, and I drive by this guy everyday on my way to work.
Sometimes my kids take over my phone and decide to take pictures of the inside of our van. And yes, we are watching Phineas and Ferb and yes, Ray and I really like that cartoon. They don't say "stupid" or "dumb" as much as SpongeBob SquarePants and the adult humor in it is funny.

Waiting to get our pictures taken for the pool. Maybe she was practicing? I don't remember.

Audrey on a playdate with her best friend Cate. Seriously, if these two ever get separated, I am in big trouble.

This is from our weekend away in Wilmington. On the way down, we saw this restaurant (Buffalo Wild Wings) and Ray literally drove off the road to get to it. To say he likes wings and beer is an understatement. Audrey just likes to dance, forget the wings.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

TV Show

There isn't much I watch religiously on tv anymore. Lost (seriously? that was one HELL of a season finale), So You Think You Can Dance (so glad it's back on), American Idol. I also love watching the random shows on TLC and Discovery Health like Mystery Diagnosis and Dr. G Medical Examiner, but I just catch those when they are on tv late at night.

The only other show I tivo and watch and have for many, many seasons is Jon and Kate Plus 8. Yes, I am one of those that watch that show. And I know there has already been a crapton written on the internet about that show, but man, that season premiere just got to me. It was so sad to see how the two of them acted towards each other. It was heartbreaking to see Kate, as hardcore as she normally is, break down and cry. Yes, it is totally like watching a train wreck, but now I feel like it's getting personal. Kate made a comment during the show about how parents of multiples have a higher divorce rate than others - it's true in my family as well. I have a twin, and my parents divorced when I was young. But I was lucky - my parents divorce was amicable and I got two great stepparents out of it (as well as step-siblings).

I don't know if I can continue to watch this show. As much as it is a train wreck, I can't stand to see a the tension between Jon and Kate. I also hate confrontation, and I have a feeling something along those lines will happen at some point in the season on the show. I also have enough drama in my own life (you know, like running out of milk or having that darn house we still own in Virginia on the market) to watch that kind of drama on tv.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Fun Never Ends

This past holiday weekend had its ups and downs.

The ups? Hanging out with the kids, a cookout with friends, getting stuff done around the house.

The downs? Ray's car died at church (how inappropriate). I had driven it to church with Ashley so that I could teach her Sunday school class, which ended up being a private lesson for Ashley since no one else showed up. Ray came up an hour later for service and as I tried to leave, the car wouldn't start. So we went home, got a neighbor to drive Ray back with jumper cables, and Ray promptly drove the car straight to Advance Auto for a new battery.

Then there was the musical beds we played all weekend. Friday night, Ashley ended up in our bed saying her stomach hurt. About two hours after that, Audrey shows up without a shirt on and different pants then what she went to bed in. Come to find out, she had an accident in her bed and was attempting to change her clothes when she decided to come get me. So off I went to clean her and her bed up, and her and I slept the rest of the night in the guest bedroom.

Saturday night, Ashley had a friend sleep over, and again at 4:00am, Ashley was having troubles sleeping and her and I ended up in the guest bedroom. I didn't want her waking up her friend.

Sunday night brought Ashley up again saying her stomach hurt, except this time she decided to throw up all over the guest bed when I tried to get her to go to sleep. Not fun. We don't know what was wrong, she didn't throw up again and ate fine yesterday. We are going to limit her sugar intact since she seems to have an intolerance to sugar that we found out about last year. We have been slacking on watching what she ate, and now we are probably paying the price. She was actually supposed to go to school yesterday, but I kept her home instead.

Let's hope this week goes a little more smoothly.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Pictures - Artplosure

Last weekend, we were keeping my friend's daughter for the weekend while they were at a wedding. Thankfully her and Ashley are the same age and play together really well.

We didn't have a good start to our Saturday though. I got up early to sign Ashley up for cheerleading. I got there at 7:30am, and the registration was supposed to start at 8:00am. I was 77th in line. Now, this also included football, but still! Crazy. I got Ashley and a neighbor signed up, and headed home so that Ray could run to his office to fix the server. He not only couldn't fix it, but on the way back home, he got a flat tire.

So we needed something fun to do and hopefully lift the bad luck that was following us. So we loaded up the kids, and headed to downtown Raleigh for Artplosure. Our first stop was El Rodeo, a mexican restaurant we used to eat at when we were in college at Virginia Tech. We were so excited when we moved to the Raleigh area to find out they had them here.

There were storm clouds all around us (once again, our bad luck for the day), but we managed. The kids made a bunch of art, saw some pirates, and got genuinely worn out which was good. Here are some pictures of the day:
Here is Ashley and her friend Jordan at lunch.

This is Audrey not listening to me and getting wet in the rain storm that passed.

Concentrating really, really hard.

I don't think Audrey was too happy I was taking pictures of her.

Doesn't she look kind of pissed?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Baby Clara

My Stepsister's daughter got to come home from the hospital last weekend...

Tiny! She is still a little under 5 lbs.

And tingling in my arms to hold another baby. No urge to go convince Ray to have a third. There was a time when he wouldn't have needed that much convincing, but we kept my friend's six year old daughter all last weekend, and the sheer volume of three girls in our house all weekend long pretty much killed that.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Ashley only has 11 days of school left, and then starts 1st grade on July 7th. We should get the letter in the mail this week as to what teacher she has next year since meet the teacher is next week. There are three 1st grade teachers for her track next year, and I can just cross my fingers that at least one of her closest friends gets in her class with her.

Audrey also moves up classrooms in her school the same week Ashley starts 1st grade. (And by the way, just typing 1st grade makes me sad and weepy; I thought I was a mess when she started kindergarten...). There are two classes for each age group in Audrey's school, and how I wish they would just keep all the kids together throughout their years there, but they won't.

I wrote the director an email requesting Audrey be kept with two of her friends and the director promised me that Audrey would be put with one of them. And she was, the girl that she loves and has marathon playdates with (seriously, we were at her house for 3 hours on Sunday for a playdate, and they played so well the whole time). But I am sad that she won't be in class with the boy that she is friends with. I get they need to move kids around classes due to personality issues, behavioral issues, but still. Audrey has been with some of these kids since she was 4 months old.

So there will be a lot of transitions the first few weeks of July. My kids may be ready for them, I will not.

Monday, May 18, 2009


No one throw a shoe at me, but I am doing a three day detox program this week starting tomorrow.

And yes, Ray did ask if he could move out for those three days, but I think I will be fine. It is one where you drink a water/lemon juice/pure maple sugar mixture and take supplements. For three days.

So why am I doing it? Yes, I think my body needs cleaning out and yes I like the fact I will probably lose 5-7 pounds in three days (and possibly gain them right back, but whatever). But I am hopeful to also break my addiction to a Grande Mocha with an extra shot. And all those diet cokes.

But more importantly? It's a challenge, and I like challenges. There are four of us doing it, me and three other women who live in my neighborhood. Two of us work full time (and honestly, I think her and I have it easier because if I was home all day looking at my pantry, it would be so hard. Being at work? Pretty distracting.) and the other two are SAHMs. Two of the women have done it before and lived through it and actually said it wasn't that bad.

So needless to say on Tuesday through Thursday? I am not visiting any food blogs.

Friday, May 15, 2009

WAHOO! It's Friday

Another one of those weeks that never, ever seems to end. And yes, I failed to download pictures last night. I got home late due to getting to meet one of my favorite authors (and blogging friend!) Stephanie.

Yes, I did. And I have pictures to prove it, they are just sitting on my camera. And yes, she is just as nice in person as she is over email. She was at a book signing and a Barnes and Noble semi-close to where I live.

And then when I got home, the Hurricanes decided to take game 7 of their series with the Bruins to overtime. Coffee was much needed this morning.

There really wasn't anything exciting going on this week - same crap, different day. Audrey has been refusing to sleep with pants on, Ashley is like a walking alarm clock and has gotten up at 6:30am ON THE DOT every morning this week. I am not hopeful she will change this for the weekend. I motivated my one friend at the gym on Monday night, and then Wednesday night she proceeded to run 5 miles while I limped through 3. And Ashley is weeks from her last day of kindergarten and is closer to becoming a first grader. When the HELL did that happen?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sorry, still playing catch-up

I am still trying to get stuff done at work and at home, and have yet to download pictures and videos and such. I was out of the office most of last week at a conference, hence the backlog of stuff at work. At home? I have no excuse except the freaking Hurricanes taking every series to 7 games and requiring me to stay up late to watch the games. (And Mom? That is the NHL hockey team here in NC, I realize you probably just read that and had no idea what I was talking about).

So? Instead I give you some sites I have come across lately:

  1. This is why you're fat - I just think this one is hilarious, in a "I may have over indulged in some nachos once in my life, and yea, that probably added a few pounds to me."
  2. MizPee - While this doesn't have NC listed, it just may have your state. And no, I am not normally freaked out by dirty toilets as I believe I have perfected the hover method.
  3. Rightathome - Everyone knows I am a HUGE advocate of freezing meals, and more importantly, I enjoy sitting down to a no-fuss dinner every night with my family (even though Ray normally sticks his nose up at something I have made). I found multiple recipes on this site I can prepare and freeze. And what was the easiest? These chicken recipes. And not only can you bake them, you can grill them as well.
  4. Spirit Fingerz - Yes, I love the Hokies of Virginia Tech. But look, they also have NC State and Wake Forest. HOW FREAKING CUTE I AM SO BUYING SOME.

Um, that's it. Have fun!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Need to catch up

I have pictures and videos to post. I have laundry to do, bags that need unpacking (and I don't know if they are from this weekend or last weekend, how sad is that). I also have about 300 unanswered emails in my inbox, and more stuff I need to post on my review blog than is humanly possible.

So instead, I will share a brief conversation from this morning.

The scene: Ashley and Audrey's bathroom while they were brushing their teeth and combing their hair.

Ashley: "When do I become a woman, Mommy?"
Me: (in the back of my head, thinking NEVER) "When you turn eighteen. Why?" (And no, I realize this probably wasn't the best of answers, but hey, I was completely caught off guard.)
Ashley: "I don't know, I just wanted to know."
Me: "Well, what made you think of it?"
Ashley: "I don't know."

What in the heck made her ask that? Maybe I don't want to know....

Friday, May 08, 2009


Last night was Ashley's kindergarten performance - the one where she has a small speaking part (two lines) before a song. She did great! This kid really loves to be on stage. What until I actually get the video sliced and diced to show you her dancing at the end.

She does look slightly tired - maybe if she would actually sleep past 6:30am, she would be more rested.

And congratulations to my stepsister - she had a little girl last night. She was a little over 4 lbs as she was a few weeks early, but according to my Dad, everyone is doing well. And no, I don't have a name. Men aren't very good with passing that information on, but I am going to Virginia this weekend for my Grandmother's 80th birthday, my Dad's birthday, and my friend's son's first communion, so maybe I will get to see the new baby.
UPDATE - Baby Clara is in the NICU, her lungs are not fully developed. Prayers are needed.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

I dwell

I tend to latch onto things and let them bug me for days on end. In other words, I dwell alot on stuff I probably really should just let go of. I am blaming all this dwelling behavior on the mass of gray hairs that have sprouted on my head.

And one of those things that keeps bugging me is something that happened to Ashley at school on Monday. She had art, a subject which she loves. I mean, this is the kid who got an art basket from Santa for Christmas, and was just as excited about that as her American Girl doll.

According to Ashley, her and the kids at her table were talking, probably when the art teacher was trying to talk in the beginning of class. So what did the teacher do? She made Ashley and all the kids but one kid at her table put their heads on the table for the rest of the class.

This is KINDERGARTEN. This is getting towards the end of the year. This is excited 5-6 year olds. I get it, they were talking, disrespectful. What the art teacher didn't see was how hard Ashley cried when she got home that day, sad that she had to keep her head on the table for an hour, sad that she didn't get to work on her painting, sad that she is behind all the other kids in her class on this painting, sad that she won't get to finish it.

I understand, this was punishment, and believe me, she got that. I know teachers work unbelievably hard - I know, I lead a Girl Scout troop and teach Sunday school. I get it. I appreciate all of Ashley's teachers beyond belief.

What I really wanted to do was to contact Ashley's teacher to see what happened, or even contact the art teacher to see if Ashley could come in an finish her painting on her own time. But Ashley did not want us to do that, and I respect that.

We told Ashley that some teachers are not as nice as others. Was this the right thing to say? I don't know, but it is true. Ray has vivid memories of some mean teacher he had in elementary school - I have vivid memories of my high school physics teacher throwing a chair at someone. And yes, we told her to try and not talk, focus on the teacher when the teacher is talking, show respect. Which she knows, it's just sometimes 5 year olds forget.

I am off to go pluck gray hairs out of my head now.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


So I have been doing pretty well with my weekly budget of $75. I only had one week where I went over in the last 6 weeks, and I blame Ashley. I took her with me, and well, I have a hard time saying no to my kids.

Anyway, I thought I would let you in on this week's adventure. And let me just note before I go on that I do pack my lunch for work most days. And Ray does the same. Now Ashley? She buys lunch normally 4 to 5 days a week, so if you add in her $1.75 for lunch daily, I guess that brings out total up a little. But I am not counting that just because I don't want to. So there.

First, our menu for this week:
Monday - Oven Fried Chicken, mac and cheese, frozen veggies
Tuesday - Spaghetti Pie, garlic bread
Wednesday - Some sort of crockpot dish per Ray's request (I will be really, really late from work)
Thursday - Pizza at Ashley's school
Friday - Out (I will be on my way to Virginia with the girls, Ray is on his own)

So this week's menu is kind of light, but I am planning on making two more meals to go in the freezer (one from this great new site and I will make a double batch of the Spaghetti Pie and put that in the freezer).

What we spent this week? $59.90 at Walmart. What we got for that? Ranch dressing, ground beef, ground turkey, lunch meat, coffeemate, cheese, cinnamon rolls, pizza crust, juice, milk, eggs, apples, rice cakes, and some other stuff I can't tell from the description on the receipt. A lot of odds and ends we needed to fill some holes.

We are also doing so much better on 1) eating leftovers and 2) using up everything in our pantry. I read an article a few months ago about a reporter that ate for an entire month on the items in their pantry without going to the grocery store (except for milk and eggs). There are things I have bought wanting to try, and I just need to make sure I use them.

I am also going to start going to the farmer's market for our fruits and veggies when I finally have some weekends home. Yes, we are traveling again this coming weekend, and then I am not leaving my home for a month (or maybe less, we shall see).

Monday, May 04, 2009


It was the middle of winter, and Raleigh was hit with a few snow storms that I did not approve of. So Ray broke out his laptop, checked the number of Hilton points we had, and we booked a few weekends away (thank you credit card usage). It was something to look forward to as we had the coldest winter here since we have lived here.

One of those weekends was this past weekend. We booked a stay at the Hilton in downtown Wilmington, NC (not Delaware, which confused me as I looked on the internet to see if the minor league baseball team was playing this weekend and was looking at the Wilmington, DE team, not the NC team).

It was a great weekend, mainly because we all love the beach so much. We checked in Friday night and walked the Riverwalk and found a yummy ice cream place. Saturday morning, we got up and headed to Wrightsville Beach and we stumbled upon a surfing competition while there. After about an hour and a half at the beach, we headed back to the hotel to clean up. We walked around a bit, had lunch, stopped at the farmer's market where Audrey decided to fall asleep while I was carrying her. The beach wears my kids out. Ashley wanted to go to the aquarium at Fort Fisher (I wanted to take a trolley around Wilmington, I was outvoted), so we loaded the van and headed out. The aquarium was great, and we got to drive through some more North Carolina beaches we had not been to yet - Carolina Beach and Kure Beach. On the way back, we stopped at a small ice cream shop in Carolina Beach (Ray and Ashley could eat ice cream ALL the time) and then got back to the hotel in time to find some place for dinner.

This is where it got a little interesting. We went to Front Street Brewery (great beer, great food, great prices), and on the walk there, Ray got something in his eye. After many attempts to rinse it out, whatever was in it just wasn't coming out. And then Audrey decided to stick a piece of a tortilla chip up her nose. Thankfully, it came out, and no, I have no idea what possessed her to do that.

Ray ended up going to an Urgent Care Sunday morning, and $235 later, the dirt was out of his eye. So much for it being a cheap weekend with not having to pay for a hotel room.

We packed up and headed to Topsail Beach on Sunday where the girls had more fun. After lunch, we headed back towards Raleigh and was back home by 3:30pm. Everyone was wiped, Ashley and Audrey both napped in the van on the way home.

This week is kind of crazy - I am attending a conference my office puts together in Greensboro Tuesday through Thursday. I am driving back and forth each day. Ashley has her kindergarten program Thursday night where the kindergartners sing some songs after the PTA meeting. And Ashley has a speaking part in one of the songs because they can "really use her strong voice this time" versus using her strong voice in the classroom where she gets in trouble for talking loudly. It was a nice way of saying "your daughter is loud, but this time, it comes in handy". Whatever works.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Friday Pictures - Trouble.

She comes across as so innocent, so sweet....playing here in a friend's yard.
Just try bedtime. Tell me why she has to take the pillow cases off the pillows and gets drink after drink of water. Tell me why she falls asleep almost every night on the floor, or why at least a few times a week she ends up in our bed. And we got a bonus this past week - she decided to sleep sideways in our bed, me with her feet in my face and Ray with her arms and head pushing against him.

But then again, she gives the best hugs to just Ray and I. She wakes up and tells us she loves us. She giggles and laughs and dances and sings.
She's the best three year old I could ask for. And I want her to stay little forever.