Friday, December 19, 2008

What Christmas means to me

It's funny how things change as we get older. I would have never thought this would apply to Christmas, but this year it's become very apparent that it has. I remember as a child Christmas was my favorite time of year. I couldn't wait for family to gather and presents to get opened and treats to get eaten. When I grew up, my favorite things about Christmas were decorating the house, shopping for presents and baking my heart out. When I had my son, I thought all these things would become even more special.

So it's a bit ironic that, at this point in my life, these things no longer define Christmas for me. Maybe it's time, or lack there of, but the shopping and the decorating seem more like chores than pleasures. Try as I may, even baking isn't filling me with the holiday spirit like it used to.

This year I find myself yearning to establish meaningful traditions with my family, something we can all carry in to the future. We've said no to many holiday gatherings in exchange for quiet evenings at home. Instead of becoming wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the season, I'm reflecting on the year past and the new one ahead. I'm also trying to find ways to give to those in need rather than spending it all on those who have. Most important, I'm focusing on what I teach my child Christmas is about.

I wish you all a peaceful and merry Christmas, and hope that the days ahead are filled with what means the most to you this holiday season.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Reality Check

Wow, what a beautiful day! The beach is gorgeous right now; warm sun, sand and surf. People are walking along the shore, greeting me with friendly smiles as I relax in my lounge chair. Oh, and someone just brought me the most delightful tropical drink. Could this day get any better? Now I even hear birds nice.

Wait a minute. I think those birds are my alarm going off (yes, my alarm is birds chirping). Seven a.m. Monday morning? I must have been dreaming. Good grief. Well, better get up and see what's really waiting to greet me. This day can't be too bad.

I'll just get my robe and grab some coffee first. Watch out for that huge load of laundry in my closet. Hello laundry. What's that? You need to get done today? I'm off to the kitchen for that coffee first. Hello dirty dishes. Don't look at me like that. You'll get done in due time. I just want to sit at the table and enjoy this one cup of joe. Oh, hello dust. Wow, I can almost write my name on this table! Guess I've been neglecting my house while I've been putting up decorations, shopping, wrapping, shipping gifts, mailing cards, etc. OK, I'll look out the window instead. Hello dog slobber on the window. Are you back again? Maybe I'll try staring at the floor. Dirty floor, is that coffee or chocolate milk I see on you? Take a number, I'll get to you later.

I'm going to move in to the office and take a looksey at my email while trying to enjoy this coffee. Hi ginormous stack of mail. Do you need someone to sort through your messy self? Of course you do. I'll head out to the front porch and finish my coffee first. Yikes, it's FREEZING outside! Forget that! Now my coffee is cold. I'll pour another cup. Excuse me, list of things to do on the fridge, I need my peppermint mocha creamer. Wow, list. Did you get bigger overnight?

I think I'll go back to bed and try to find that dream again. I should have a few minutes before...
"Mommy, can you fix me breakfast now?"

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Handmade Christmas

I love to to put a handmade touch on my holidays. Whether it's creating decorations or gifts, I'm happy just to be making something (now I know why my Grandmother always said busy hands make happy hearts). Here are just some of the things resulting from our handmade Christmas:

A simple swag wreath for our front door (made from the branches we cut off the bottom of our Christmas tree)
NOEL -cut letters from a sheet of foam, covered them with moss, berries and tiny pine conesNot really handmade, just a good idea. Plant paperwhite bulbs indoors, cover the soil with tiny glass ballsMake a simple pine cone tree by covering a tall foam cone with moss and mini pine cones
My child's favorite: a twig star to top our tree
Lots of handmade gifts this year!
A knit hat and scarf and a baby blanket that I'm still feverishly working on
Matching embellished Mom and Baby tees
I hope you can find time to put a little handmade touch on your holidays. Sometimes it's the simplest things that bring the greatest joy.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Small Town Holidays

I grew up in a fairly large beach city in Southern California, and believe me, I am the last person who would have said one day I would love living in a small town. Well, almost ten years ago I moved to a small town. Moving here was a huge leap of faith for me, but one I have never regretted for a second.

There are many reminders of how different life is in a small town all year long, but especially so during the holidays. Sometimes it's as if I am on a different planet. The wonderfully decorated stores aren't crowded, there's almost no traffic, and people are even more friendly during this often hectic time of year. Every year at Christmas, our town goes all out to celebrate the season. Main Street shuts down to traffic and the town comes alive with holiday cheer. You feel safe, despite the crowds, and that is something I treasure.

Some people say living in a small town puts you out of touch, but I feel the exact opposite. Life in a small town has put me in touch with meaningful things like quality of life, a strong sense of community, finding beauty in my surroundings, and making wonderful family memories. It doesn't get much better than that.

Where ever you live, I hope this holiday season brings you peace, love, and joy and that you take time to savor all the things that make this time of year so special.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Beach Style on a budget

We spent Thanksgiving at the beach condo and managed to squeeze in a little work with our play. We finished "updating" both bedrooms with paint, new floors, blinds, bedding and a few things on the walls. Here's what the guest bedroom looks like, still a bit more decorating to do but I think we're off to a good start.

In lieu of headboards (and because Great White Hunter has me on a pretty tight budget), I picked up some bamboo fencing and stapled it to the wall. The old surfboard we found at a local surf shop for a steal. Originally, we put a queen bed in this room, but added a twin at the last minute to accommodate more people (I'm still not in love with striped bedding, maybe it will grow on me). I do love the bright colors in this room.We went for a more peaceful color palate in the master bedroom.
Happiness found in a little condo by the sea...

Friday, November 21, 2008

The case for organic turkeys

Have you ever wondered where the 45 million turkeys consumed each year on Thanksgiving come from? Me neither, but with being sick this week and watching way to much TV, unfortunately I found out. Deciding to watch something educational or mind stimulating, I found a show called "How It's Made" on the Discovery Channel. I thought, "Great! I'll get to learn how something cool is made!" until I heard the the topic was turkeys. In an hour of way too much information on turkeys, here's what I learned:

  • The average life of a "farmed" turkey is 5 months.
  • Since the demand for turkey is so high, commercial turkey farms artificially inseminate all their female birds (who wants that job? And yes, they showed how it's done. Eeww.)
  • Females are allowed 1 hour to lay their eggs, then they are mechanically booted out of the cage to make room for the next bird.
  • Once the female lays her eggs, she is immediately inseminated again!
  • The eggs are packed up daily and taken to a hatching facility.
  • A hatching facility incubates 200,000 eggs a day and approximately 900,000 eggs are hatched in one week.
  • Chicks are kept in cages for almost a month before being sent to "the farm" where they will live out the rest of their short 5 month life.
  • Chicks follow humans around the farm trying to find their mothers (All I could think of was the children's book, "Are You My Mother?)
  • There are a series of 4 barns the turkeys will move through until they're ready to be "packaged." As far as conditions in the barns? Not that great.

Organically raised turkeys are usually free range and get lots of fresh air, real sunshine, and certified organic feed that is free of synthetic pesticides and antibiotics. Their diet of high quality grains and vegetable proteins also make for a tastier bird. Here's a great article from Bon Appetit magazine on choosing the right turkey for your thanksgiving meal. As far as what will be on our table this year? Well, after watching this program, we'll be having sushi.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Not exactly the "me" time I was hoping for

Is the Doctor in? Yes, but she's sick. We have been passing sickness around this house for several weeks now, and just when my sweet child and hubby are feeling better, wham-o! Mommy gets it. Isn't that just wonderful? You're absolutely exhausted from taking care of everyone else and really need some "me" time, but what you get is...SICK. The house is a mess (haven't had much time to clean while playing Dr. Mom), the child's energy level is back to normal, and to top it all off it's MONDAY and I can barely get out of bed. Not exactly the "me" time I was hoping for.

Why does it take a sickness or injury to physically make us slow down? If we realized the importance of "me time" and taking better care of ourselves, maybe we would do it on a regular basis instead of waiting until we get sick. So today, while the laundry and grocery shopping desperately need to get done, I'll drag myself to the doctor, child in tow, which is always fun. Before I go, let me remind myself and others of the best six doctors I know, of whom I would much rather be seeing today:

The best six doctors anywhere
And no one can deny it
sunshine, water, rest, and air
Exercise and diet
These six will gladly you attend
If only you are willing
Your mind they'll ease
Your will they'll mend
And charge you not a shilling.

~ Nursery rhyme quoted by Wayne Fields, What the River Knows, 1990

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Shoe Saga

Many of you are familiar with the antics of my dog, Lily, but did you know about her insatiable passion for cute shoes? Ever since she was a tiny puppy, Lily has thoroughly enjoyed chewing my shoes. Notice I said MY shoes? She could care less about hubby's or child's shoes, which are left lying around the house on a daily basis. I go out of my way to keep my shoes out of chewing reach, but somehow she always finds them. I remember one day I found her eating my absolute favorite pair, the shoes that I simply adored and so did everyone else (strangers would stop me to comment on those shoes!). I was upset for days, until I found another pair on Ebay. Brand new (which was surprising since the style was a couple of years old) and in my size! I convinced the seller to end the auction early and sell them to me. After reading my sob story, she agreed and sold me the shoes at quite a bargain price. Yes, we women really do understand the shoe thing.

I also have a favorite pair of slippers, a pair that I bought while very pregnant with my son, and they are the most comfortable pair of slippers I have every owned. I wore them in the hospital after a somewhat difficult childbirth, and even though I looked like heck, I had cute and comfy slippers so I didn't care. Shortly after Lily joined our family, my favorite slippers fell victim to her shoe fetish. I scolded her and immediately got on the computer to search for another pair. I found a black pair, which were not at great as the fabulous green color I had before, but beggars can't be choosers, right? Within a week I had my slippers back and things were good.

Fast forward to this morning, where I am now on my FOURTH PAIR of these dang slippers. Apparently Lily loves them as much as I do! It took me a bit longer to find them online this morning, but I did and ordered six pairs (just kidding). I guess the shoe saga will continue until she tires of chewing them, and since she's not even two yet, I have a feeling it's going to be a long hard road for me and my shoes.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Mommy Magic

Today being Halloween, much time was spent in preparation for the evening's festivities. My son is dressing up as an Astronaut, and I purchased a bright orange jumpsuit for him to wear. He was not impressed with the costume, said it "didn't have all the parts." He was right. The outfit, while cute, needed some pizazz. I didn't think I could talk him in to wearing any sort of helmet for more than 5 minutes, so I decided to try for something else.

Armed with tin foil, duct tape, an empty water bottle and crepe paper, I whipped out some pretty cool gravity boots and a jet pack. When I showed them to my son, his eyes got so big and a huge smile covered his face. "Wow! How did you make those? Did you use your Mommy Magic?" Of course I replied, "Yes, I did!"

It's a pretty awesome feeling when your child looks at you like you're the greatest thing out there, and that's hard to come by anywhere else. As Moms, we do lots of things every day that go unnoticed, so it's nice when our efforts are appreciated. As our children grow up the Mommy Magic moments will be few and far between, but if we try hard enough, they will still occur. I plan on trying to wow my son well into adulthood. Our kids are worth the effort, and we Moms deserve the praise.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pumpkin Carving

Carving the same old jack-o-lantern face every year can get boring, at least according to my child. We now use templates (you can find a ton of them on the web) that are fun and super easy to do. The pumpkins in these photos were done a couple of years ago. They looked great illuminated at night.
This year, in honor of Marley Lily the Lab, who apparently loves to eat pumpkins although they don't agree with her, we are using the dog template found at this site.
If you plan to do any pumpkin carving, be creative, have fun, and don't forget to roast those yummy seeds for snacking!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Comfort Food

Comfort. It's like a warm glow inside, the feeling you get from a hug from Mom or curling up next to a fire with a good book. Sometimes it's just what we need at the end of a not-so-great day. When you can't get that hug or curl up by the fire, make this instead. It's the ultimate comfort food.


4-6 pieces chicken (bone-in and skin on)
Chicken Broth (enough to cover)
1 Onion, chopped
3 ribs Celery, chopped
3 large Carrots, peeled and chopped
3 Parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
Whole button mushrooms (optional)
Poultry seasoning (1/2 tsp. for chicken and 1/4 tsp for dumplings)
1 1/2 c. baking mix (I use Pioneer low fat)
fresh thyme and parsley, minced
1 cup low fat milk
Heat 2 tbs. canola oil in a heavy pot. Season chicken pieces with S&P, then add to pot and brown well on both sides. Remove chicken from pan. Add veggies (except mushrooms) and bay leaf and cook until tender. Remove skin from chicken and return to pot. Add about 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning, mushrooms and enough chicken broth to cover. Simmer until chicken is cooked through and veggies are done, about 20 minutes. To make dumplings, put all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Drop by large spoonfuls into simmering broth and cover - do not peek - and cook for about 15 minutes.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The technology BOOM

This week, our computer's hard drive decided to crash and go down in flames. One minute we are working happily away on our computer and the next--crash, boom, bang. GONE. EVERYTHING. I know we are talking about a computer here and not something much more precious, but I still can't shake this feeling of loss. Files, pictures, so much important information gone forever.

I'm sure many of you are saying, "I hope they have back ups of everything" and I wish I could say we do, but it's been a while since we practiced that VITAL STEP. We had allowed our computer to become a crutch, relying on it for everything and trusting it with so much not thinking it would ever let us down. In a sense, computers can become truly life-like and teach us an important lesson: do not put all your eggs in one basket or rely so heavily on others.

Thankfully, our new computer arrived last night and we're spending countless hours reloading software getting things set up. Being without a computer was not fun, and I hope to be back on track soon. Right after I make a trip to computer city to stock up on cds for our weekly back-ups. This time around, we will rely a little bit less on our computer and a little bit more on ourselves. As for you, Murphey? It's about time you packed up and left.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sweet Dumpling Squash

I found these tiny squashes today called Sweet Dumplings at my local market, so I decided to give them a try. They're quick and easy to prepare:
  • cut the tops off and scoop out any seeds
  • rub them with EVOO and S&P (for a little spice, sprinkle with a bit of fresh grated nutmeg)
  • place cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet
  • roast at 350 for 35-40 minutes
  • sprinkle tops with brown sugar and roast an additional 5-10 minutes or until tops are golden
These gems are super yummy, especially with the sprinkling of brown sugar on top. If you happen to find some, give them a try. Even my son gobbled them up! And check out this website for all kinds of squash recipes.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Beach your children well

have a ball
build sandcastles (or a sand dog)
don't get crabby
always take time out for fun

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The fabric of friendship

Today I would have liked nothing more than to have a few a minutes to visit my blog and post about some yummy recipe that I've had the chance to try, or write about a fun project I've been working on. Things that take my mind off of the daily stresses of life and the reasons I started a blog in the first place. Lately, though, it seems as if my days are swallowed up so quickly I can't even recall a small taste of them. There is no time for much of anything other than the daily grind, and to be honest, things are GETTING TO BE A BIT MUCH kinda stressful right now. Seriously, Murphy has taken up residence at The Moon.

Great White Hunter is a good husband, father, and provider. He keeps us all together over here and works dang hard at doing so. When I really need to vent, though, I usually turn to my girlfriends (and GWH loves this because it saves his ears from my ramblings). Girlfriends ears know when to listen and not talk. They can make us laugh at the most difficult times, cry with us when it seems like the right thing to do, and tell it to us straight when it's what we need to hear.

Today was getting the best of me until a phone conversation with a very sweet friend. By the end of our talk I was laughing so hard I could hardly remember why I was stressed out to begin with, and she also helped me see the forest through the trees (or snapped me back into reality, however you choose to look at it). Now I won't need to dump everything on the hard working hubby as soon as his foot enters the door.

If you are surrounded by good girlfriends, take a minute to thank them for always being there for you and being what you need when you need it. Then, take a minute to make sure you are returning the favor. To quote Douglas Pagels, "A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be."

Friday, October 3, 2008

Easy Fall Decor

I planned on putting my Fall decorations out today, however, I must have forgotten Lily the Lab ate most of them last year. Once I was done crying because all my adorable scare crows and hand-made decorations are gone, I set out to decorate with the simplest items I could find. If you're looking to add some easy Fall touches to your house, try some of these:

Let Fall greet your guests at the front door by setting out some unique pumpkins and gourds. I love the handle on this Wolf pumpkin. For a simple door decoration, I purchased a cinnamon broom from the grocery store, cut some fall grasses and cat tails (my son thinks they're corn dogs) from my yard and added a few sunflowers.

Create a harvest swag by tying ornamental corn together with raffia. I have this hanging on a pub mirror in my entry hall.

Decorate indoor trees with fall leaves, mini pumpkins, gourds and ornamental corn. Fill a wicker cornucopia with the same items to add a touch of Fall to your kitchen. Bowls or platters filled with fall squashes, like acorn and butternut, are also a nice touch.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pecan Chicken Salad with a Fall twist

I had lunch this afternoon with several girlfriends, and the topic of chicken salad recipes came up (probably because that's what half of us were eating!) I have been making my Pecan Chicken Salad for about 10 years now, and it's always a hit. Although this salad is good as is anytime of year, put a fall twist on it by adding red apple chunks and dried cranberries, and garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds. Yummy!

Pecan Chicken Salad
3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (well rinsed and patted dry)
chicken broth (enough to cover chicken)
1 1/2 c. toasted pecan halves
1 lb. red seedless grapes
1 c. diced celery
1/2 c. diced scallions
1 c. chopped fresh dill
1 1/2 c. mayonnaise
1 1/2 c. sour cream
S & P to taste
Preheat oven to 350. Arrange chicken, single layer, in a shallow glass baking dish. Cover with chicken broth, lay a sheet of foil over the pan and roast until the chicken is thoroughly cooked, about 30-40 minutes. Allow chicken to cool in the liquid, then discard liquid and chop chicken into bite-sized chunks. (If you're in a time crunch, you can cheat by purchasing a rotisserie chicken, removing the skin and chopping up the meat.)

Place chicken in a large bowl and add grapes, pecans, celery, scallions and dill; toss well. In a separate bowl, stir together mayonnaise and sour cream (using low fat or fat free will drastically alter the taste of this dish and is not recommended). Add this mixture to the chicken mixture and toss to coat. Season generously with salt and pepper. Serve on a bed of watercress or butter lettuce, garnish with fresh dill sprigs.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Chasing Butterflies

Our weather is so nice right now, we are spending lots of time outside enjoying the beginning of Fall. Child o'mine is a bug hunter, and Fall is Monarch Butterfly season here in south central Texas (they're making their way down to Mexico for the winter). They are tons of them everywhere and my son spends lots of time trying to catch one. Today he found a playful one (you can spot him in the upper right corner of this photo) - he would swoop his net in an attempt to capture it and the butterfly would gracefully dodge it, but wouldn't fly away. This happened about 4 or 5 times until the butterfly finally flew off, probably thinking his luck would eventually run out.

I was so enthralled watching my son play and wonder at the world. Does he truly know how carefree childhood is? I try to remember what it was like to spend my days playing, not having worries or concerns or many responsibilities. I wish I could have captured that time in a butterfly net. I'm so happy that I have my sweet boy to help me remember.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy Fall, Y'all!

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.
~George Eliot

Today marks the official beginning of Fall. The Autumnal Equinox is here and so is my favorite time of year. After today the nights grow longer (does that mean I'll get more sleep?) and, depending on where you live, the days will be noticeably cooler. Here in Texas, well, let's just say mid to high 80's
is cooler and we'll take what we can get. Although, in our defense, temperatures usually remain very Summer-like during the first week of Fall.

One of the reasons I love this time of year is all the fun things to do. Here's a list of some Fall festivities in my neck of the woods:
  • Love Creek Orchards' Great Hill Country Pumpkin Patch (Every Sat., Sun., Mon., & Tues. in October)
  • Oct. 3-5 Fredericksburg Oktoberfest
  • Oct. 10 - 12 Rockport Seafair (crab races, gumbo cook-off, kayaking, kite boarding)
  • Oct. 17-19 Boerne Fall Festival of Art and Music
  • Oct. 25 Boerne Harvest Moon Celebration
  • Oct. 25 Fredericksburg Food & Wine Fest
  • Oct. 31 through Nov. 9 New Braunfels Wurstfest
Wherever you live, I hope you get out and enjoy this beautiful time of year. I look forward to sharing Fall recipes and decorating tips in the weeks to come!

Friday, September 19, 2008

What do I want to be when I grow up?

I saw the movie The Women this week with some friends, and it seems to have me pondering life a bit. Amidst all the drama and the shameless product plugs (there were A LOT), the movie was quite provocative. The main character (Meg Ryan) goes through a difficult time in her life and ends up trying to figure out what she wants out for herself. She's a wife and mother, but something is missing.

All week I have been deep in thought about what may be missing in my life. I gave up a very successful career to become a Mom, and I do not have any regrets. I am very blessed that my husband is able to support my decision to stay home during these early years of our son's life. My main goal and purpose is to raise a happy, healthy child to send out into this big, big world.

That being said, my son is growing up so fast and it's starting to become clear to me that I cannot stay home forever. Going back to my old career is not really an option; too much travel and very long hours. I have thought about teaching and was working on my degree before I got pregnant. Now I question that path - will it really fulfill me or will I just be getting a job that allows me to work around my son's schedule?

The minute I gave birth it stopped being about me, and I completely accept that. However, I also believe we are all better Moms if we have something in our lives that fulfills our desires. When my son was 6 months old, I started a small business that has managed to stay afloat for 4 years, but it doesn't pay the bills. I need to find something that truly inspires me and that I enjoy doing, and that will help support our future. My fear is if I take a job doing something I don't enjoy, it will not benefit my family in any way (we all know if Mommy ain't happy, no ones happy).

I have some time to figure this out, but I must do just that. When the time comes for me to start working again, I want to be ready. I want to know what I want to be when I grow up.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I'm back...but I need some rest!

It's been a while since I've visited the blogoshpere, let alone post on my own blog. Things have been quite hectic around here, to say the least. My son turned five last week, so I was deep in party mode (Pirate party mode, to be exact), plus I had my Mom and her good friend visiting for a week so I was a tour guide as well. Life is getting a bit back to normal now, except I've been totally exhausted. Feeling like I've been run over by a bus tired. All I want to do is sleep, but alas, that doesn't seem to be in the cards for me. I had a hard time sleeping last night because the sink drain in my bathroom was gurgling all night. It's probably stopped up with some sort of hairy clog, but since I've been making a concerted effort to go green around here, I can't pick up the Liquid Plumber.

I found this recipe online to "safely" unclog drains. I'm going to try it out along with my super cool new drain snake . Next time you reach for the Drain-O, try this instead: Pour a cup of baking soda, followed by a cup of white vinegar, down the drain. Plug the opening with an old rag or a stopper and let it bubble away. After a few minutes, rinse with hot water and repeat if necessary. I'm taking my plumber hat off now and, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to take a nap!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Grape Stompin'

Today we went with some friends and visited our favorite local vineyard's Annual Grape Stomp. It's a fun time - we've gone every year for the past 3 years and always enjoy it. The Vineyard is beautiful and the wines are pretty good; if the weather had been a bit cooler I'd say it was a perfect day.
Our boys stompin' grapes and wandering through lavender fields

Thursday, August 28, 2008

He's growing up...

"Franklin could slide down a riverbank all by himself. He could count by twos and tie his shoes. He could even sleep alone, as long as he had a good-night story, a good-night hug, a glass of water, a night-light, and his blue blanket."
an excerpt from Franklin's Blanket, by Paulette Bourgeois

My son, my only child, will be turning 5 next week. Five seems so big to me. He has grown so much in the last year, both physically and mentally, that I really feel like my little boy's days of being little are slipping away so fast.

He has a very special "blankie," one that ever since he was about 9 months of age has never gone anywhere without. Blankie helps calm him when he's upset and helps settle him down before bed at night. Last night, after I had tucked him in to bed, he said to me, "Mommy, when I start Kindergarten I'm going to say goodbye to blankie."

He looked so sad about this decision, but he also knew this was something he needed to do. I hugged him for a minute, hiding the tears in my eyes, and told him that when he's ready we'll wrap blankie up in a special box and put him away in a special place.

Deciding to let something like this go may be a natural part of growing up, but it's still a big deal in his little life. I'm sure neither of us will look forward to the day we say goodbye to blankie. For my son, a special part of his childhood will have come to an end. For me, it will mean my little boy isn't so little anymore. I will probably shed a quiet tear as we put blankie away, but then scoop my son up and talk about all the things we have to look forward to as he grows up.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Manic Monday - Saved by the rainbow

Just in case anyone is wondering, I still loath Mondays. I dread getting out of bed on this particular day of the week, because Mondays make me feel completely OWL (that's Overwhelmed With Life, and you'd know that if you read How To Eat Like A Hot Chick).

Today is the last Monday before child o'mine (stop laughing, Christopher) starts preschool, and it ranked right up there with the most hectic of days. Then, late this afternoon, just when my shoulders began to tense up thinking about all the things I still needed to accomplish, I looked outside and saw this:

It was a full spectrum double rainbow, and so glorious (look closely at the top photo-do you see the second rainbow?) I'm not a photographer, that's not my gift, but I hope you can catch a glimpse of how spectacular this sight was. My decompressor for the day came so beautifully pacakged, don't you think?

Monday, August 18, 2008

How to have a happy weekend

  • Get in car, drive to Austin.
  • Visit my favorite yarn shop and purchase fabulous yarn to make another baby blanket.
  • Stop here for the best cupcake I've ever had (a Vanilla Dream Whipper Snapper, to be exact).
  • Devour above mentioned treat, get frosting on my shirt, cupcake in my hair and a smile on my face.
  • Make homemade pizza with dad and step mom, sit on their deck and watch the wonderful rain while drinking some dang good zin.
  • The next morning, take child for chocolate chip pancakes and see the smile on his face.
  • Drive home, stopping here along the way.
  • Treasure their "honor system" set up - be thankful things like this still exist.
  • Buy some gorgeous flowers, fall squashes and tiny eggplants. Get another smile on my face.

  • Be welcomed home by the sight and sound of more rain (and a husband and dog who missed us).
  • Put child to bed, hear him say he loves me "more than the whole wide world."
  • Climb into bed with a smile on my face and a tear in my eye. Be thankful for a happy weekend!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cute Reusuable Shopping Bags

These days, there really is no excuse for not using reusable shopping bags. Even Costco, Wal-Mart and Target have their own bags for purchase, and generally they're pretty inexpensive. My local grocery store sells nice sized, sturdy reusable bags for 99 cents. It took me a while to remember my bags when shopping, but now it's become habit.

I have found that you can pack more items into the reusable bags, so less trips from the car to the house. Plus, there are some pretty cute bags out there, which makes being green even better! Here are two favorites from my collection:

You can find a great assortment of reusable bags at this site, and though they're a bit pricey, I think the investment is well worth it!

If you still need a reason to stop using plastic or paper grocery bags, here's 10:

  1. Paper bag production causes 70% more pollution than plastic.
  2. Plastic grocery bags take 450 years to biodegrade.
  3. Plastic “photo degrades” and ends up in our oceans. It is then consumed by fish, and eventually it winds up on your dinner table (lovely).
  4. If you think everyone is recycling those plastic bags, think again. Only 2% of plastic bags are recycled in the U.S. each year
  5. The recycling of plastic emits heavy metals into the air causing extreme air pollution.
  6. An average person will use over 350 bags in a single year, and with only 2% being recycled? Yikes!
  7. In New York City alone, one less grocery bag per person would reduce waste by 5 million pounds and save $250,000 in disposal costs.
  8. In 1999 more than 14 million trees were cut down to produce 10 billion paper bags that were used by Americans that year.
  9. Many grocery stores are considering not offering paper/plastic bags unless you purchase them (some stores in France already do this).
  10. Shopping with stylish reusable bags is hot!
So, go out and get yourself a couple of cute shopping bags and hit the stores. You'll be encouraging others to do the same, thereby doing your part for the environment. Hey, every little bit counts, right?


Sunday, August 10, 2008

How to make your own dog biscuits

I'd like to think I get my cooking talents from my father. He is one incredible cook - the man can cook anything and hardly ever uses recipes (yes, he's one of those types). Anytime I need cooking advice, he's the one I call (sorry, Mom). So when I wanted to try my hand at making homemade dog biscuits, I called my Dad. Of course he makes his own dog biscuits, why wouldn't he? He also makes his own dog food. I'm not there yet, but I figured I could handle the homemade dog treats.

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup molasses
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp. oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Process all liquids and sunflower seeds in a food processor until seeds are finely chopped. Add dry ingredients and process until dough ball forms. Add more milk as needed to make dough workable. Roll dough out on floured surface to 1/2" thickness. Use any shape cookie cutter and cut treats out.

Since these do not rise or expand during baking, you can place them close together on your pan.
Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 30 minutes. For crunchy treats, leave them in the oven for one hour after baking. Once completely cooled, store treats in an air tight container.

The verdict from Lily the Lab? Yummy Yummy!