Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thursday 13 - Thirteen Year Wedding Anniversary

... His morning routine of brining me coffee and getting the boys ready
... His love of Life is Good clothing
... He makes the best barbecue in the world, especially ribs slow cooked at our farm in the summer for friends and family, and that he cooks dinner most nights and cleans it up
... The way he talks to our dog and lets our new cats sleep on his pillow
... His hazel eyes
... That despite having a dad who wasn't involved in the details of his life, he coaches our kids sports teams, teaches them to hunt and fish, and works daily with them on homework.
... The way I fit perfectly next to him when we spoon in bed.
... He pays the bills, a chore I hate.
... He doesn't care what I look like.
... He's supporting my decision to go back to school, even though he knows he'll be left with a lot more responsibility.
... He knows things like the names of animals, trees and plants. He has eagle eyes, and he can spot a deer or hawk anywhere.
... His back massages
... Because he loves me unconditionally

And these didn't hurt either ....

Wedding Pic Here

Thursday Thirteen

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

WFMW Decoupaged Christmas Frames

Are beautiful holiday cards going unused at your house? Yep, ours too, so the boys and I decided to use them to decoupage wooden photo frames for them to give as gifts and to put up family holiday photos. You decoupage fanatics are thinking nothing new, but we have never done decoupage before, but we learned quickly. The biggest mistake we made was not painting the first frame before we added images, and we also learned that the frames look much nicer when you use images within the same color scheme. All you need to create the frames is a wooden frame, scissors, glue, old holiday cards and some Modgepodge to coat the images when you're finished.
We have planned on a big collage using the photos we’ve collected over the years, and we’re also turning some of the cards into an interlocking building game, a project idea from an old Martha Stewart Living. Martha also had a great idea to cover wooden blocks with six different cards to make a picture puzzle set, and a friend of mine is cutting her cards using a circle cutter and turning them into a paper wreath.

Do you have any other good ideas about how to recycle old Christmas cards?

Homemade with Love

***My last week's WFMW entry***

Monday, November 26, 2007


A Bakers Dozen --
Thirteen Years Ago Today

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Misspent Youth?

The truth is that despite three years of high school Latin
The only thing I remember is how to recite Mica, Mica, Parva Stella.
The truth is that despite PBS being one of the only channels we could watch,
I can still remember, in detail, every Brady Bunch episode ever created.
The truth is that despite learning to value all people, and all religions,
Growing up in a Unitarian church,
I ended up marrying a conservative Catholic with Republican leanings.
The truth is that despite all the home economics classes, and taking a basic sewing class three times,
I’d still rather get Chinese take-out or buy a pillow at Pottery Barn.
The truth is that after years of ballet and dance classes
I can no longer touch my toes.
The truth is that swinging makes me feel sick,
And that my roller skating talents have taken me nowhere.
The truth is that all the nights Madelyn and I spent dreaming of what our lives would be like
When I married Leif Garret, and she married Shawn Cassidy, didn’t work out.
The truth is that learning how to dissect a frog
Has never come in handy.
The truth is that my youth is gone,
But if I had to do it again,
I wouldn’t change a thing.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

This Week

--Thanksgiving celebrated warmly with both sides of the family, and I didn't have to do any of the cooking
--Family visiting from New York, Chicago, Boston and Louisville
--Thanksgiving celebrated warmly with both sides of the family, and I didn't have to do any of the cooking
--Family visiting from New York, Chicago, Boston and Louisville
--Getting an update on my niece teaching English for a second year in Japan
--A new hat!
--Fall colors - in a blink they will be gone
-- Drinks out with girlfriends last night, and smiling until my face hurt
--My sister-in-law's sweet potato casserole with sugared walnuts
--The way my brother-in-law makes my boys feel like they're the most important people in the world
--Seeing Enchanted on opening day. I was worried I would be disappointed, but the movie exceeded my expectations. Entertainment Weekly gives it a B+, but for me this movie deserves it's own Oscar category.
--My husband's aunt's hummus on crackers, turkey soup and homemade pumpkin pie after a long walk at our farm.
--Warm woolen mittens
--Joining Simple Abundance online. I don't know what to expect, but it looks like it will help keep me on a path of gratitude.
--Being able to watch full episodes of Pushing Daisies online
--My husband's barbecued steak and "secret seasonings" - never the same twice
--Finally finding a Wii after weeks of trying
--Reading Midnight on the Moon with Reese and listening to updated on Old Yeller with Will
--Pumpkin muffins and coffee at Starbucks with KG

Post Thanksgiving Workout

A bundled up walk at our farm on Friday afternoon full with playing may apple soccer, collecting berries and leaves, finding turkey feathers and even a cow skull or two. Our dog Leilani chased the hills, and Will and Reese kept warm by the love of family. The sun set behind the hills turned the trees and people into living silhouettes, and the last of the leaves falling from the trees felt like colorful confetti from Mother Nature. At home we retreated to the warmth of the fire, hot chocolate for the boys, homemade turkey soup, and the last vestages of the pumpkin pie.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Pay it Forward

Through Sunday Scribblings I've discovered so many awesome blogs and creative spirits. Today I linked to Tanya who is participating in a Pay it Forward game (I have no idea how many links back this goes. Beware, once you start clicking it's hard to stop.), and I'm eager to jump on the bandwagon.

Here are the rules:

1. You leave a comment here on my blog and request to join the Pay It Forward exchange.

2.The first three comments who agree to join will receive a handmade gift from moi (a surprise of course).

3.You return the Pay It Forward by making the same promise on your blog. How fun is that!!!

Wii Wii Wii All the Way Home

Dear Nintendo Company,

After weeks of calling around to stores, my hubby got up at 4 this morning and bought a Wii for my kids for Christmas. Whew. He said he stood in line with over 20 people, all with post Thanksgiving tryptophan hang-overs. Some people who've been even more frustrated than us trying to find one to buy, and with a supply of 20 gaming systems people were going home empty handed.

So what I want to know is, what's up with you creating such a high demand and such a limited supply? This is supposed to be the season of fa la la.

Your new inquiring customer,
Tickled Pink

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Pilgrims Came

Mama Deux and Papa with Will and Reese
and my brother's adorable, yummy, precious kids.
My neice did all the decorations for dinner including
personalized placemats.
Mine said, "Ant Nicole" - I'm saving it forever.
I forgot to charge the battery on my camera
and have only a couple of photos from
our two holiday celebrations. Gah.
The Pilgrims Came
The Pilgrims came across the sea,
And never thought of you and me;
And yet it's very strange the way
We think of them Thanksgiving day.
We tell their story, old and true
Of how they sailed across the blue,
And found a new land to be free
And built their homes quite near the sea.
Every child knows well the tale
Of how they bravely turned the sail
And journeyed many a day and night,
To worship God as they thought right.

- Author Unknown

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday - Wearning a Scarf

I must have inherited my love of scarves from my French father (my mother is British). Pictured above is a of a photo of them, and my mother looking effortless elegant, despite having a newborn (me!).
As a working wife and mother of two busy boys my outfits need to be faire simple (“keep it simple”). Wearing a scarf is effortless, a last minute addition. One of my favorite ways to wear a scarf is to string it through my pants loops and tie it in a square knot or bow. Each of my scarves tells a story, and this William Morris scarf is from one of my close friends (and former bridesmaid oh so long ago), who bought it a the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
I also like to tie one on a purse, especially during the holidays, to add color to an outfit.

To store my silk scarves I bought this inexpensive holder from Organized Living and keep it in my closet.
This basic fold, from an old copy of How to Wear Your Hermès (French pronunciation [ɛʀ.mɛs]Scarf is essential.

And for some lovely, simple directions on how to wear a scarf, be sure to check out Mireille Guiliano, author of French Women Don't Get Fat, at this Borders Books Club video (play #9). There you’ll learn my favorite way to wear any scarf during the winter.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Capturing Fall III

Photos From a Walk this Week
It's a horse, of course!

Will and Reese
Tickled Pink (and green, yellow, red, orange ....)

Up and up - unitl they all fall down So many colors

Hat Head

He learned how to make this hat from a kit,
and I got it.! Way cute!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Sunday Scribblings - I Carry (A Photo and a Poem)

I must be feeling brave. Here's a photo of what I really carry in my purse (click here for notes):

This week's Sunday Scribblings promt is "I Carry."

Here's a poem I wrote today. I teach writing poetry to my class,
and this was a good exercise in how hard it is.

Bag Ladies

We went to dinner,
some new restaurant we all wanted to try,
hanging our purses on the tops of designer chairs.
We ordered tapas and tried the red wine
the sommelier recommended.

We toasted our glasses and pulled out photos of our kids, saying
“How they’ve grown! Where does the time go?”
Gretchen pulled out a silver compact touched up her lips with her latest pink.
I caught her,
while she unconsciously brushed the growing lines around her eyes.

Stacy reached into her purse,
discretely to everyone but me,
and popped several pills
which she swallowed with her Merlot,
confirming what I already dreaded.

I glanced at Caroline’s purse
overflowing with pieces of her -
receipts, cosmetics, candy, multiple to do lists, volunteer work, a book, and toys for her kids.
She looked up, blushed, and confessed,
“I live in fear of being called up for Let’s Make a Deal.”

I glanced at my own purse and wondered
what the purse I carry said about me,
what secret it was holding inside.
Ashamed, I wondered, did I max out my credit cards on a retail therapy trip to Target?
Waiter, check please.

Friday, November 16, 2007

This Week

· Will's team (pictured left; he's in the center) winning their District in soccer today! He's the team goalie, and they beat their opponents 5-1.
· A tie soccer game with Reeses' the two third grades faceing off for an end of season match.
· A crab cakes and a bubbles flight (a trio of sparking wines) with Meg to celebrate her birthday
· A holiday gift/decorations auction with friends
· A kick off party for a friend whose running for an open house of representatives seat in our District
· Hubby saving the day by coming home from work to fix a flat tire
· Slipper drama
· My first Works for Me Wednesday, Thursday 13, and Friday Fiver postings
· A super successful Boy Scouts Scouting For Food collection
· Chicken crepes with cranberries
· Chai Lattes with Resse
· Admitting that I needed to drop one of my work committees and not feeling bad about it
· Taking holiday cards to the Veterans
· New gray cashmere sweater and gray wool slacks from Ann Taylor
· Saying goodbye to a favorite CSI cast member
· Rereading Susan Branch’s Autumn
· Purging a stack of magazines and passing them on to J.S.
· Cuddling with the cats on the screened in porch
· Autumns beauty with the color still hanging on.
· Acorns crunching beneath my feet on a fall photo walk
· Bri’s heart tree
· Pulling out the homemade quilts from Grandma H.
· A bright crescent moon
· Watching a snippet of Blazing Saddles with Will. It’s just as funny as I remembered.
· Baking a confetti cake with Reese. It didn’t make it a day.
· Reading inspiring blogs
· Hubby “bagging” a buck. Not my thing, but it makes him happy. Will makes his first hunting trip out with Dad tonight.

And last, but NOT least....

· Dan, the best man from our wedding, receiving a call for a kidney transplant!! He’s doing exceptionally well. Our prayers are with Dan, Susy, their four kids and extended family, and the family of the young donator who died in a car crash. Please, please sign the back of your driver’s license.

Friday Fiver

I think you have to have a special account to log on to Friday Fiver, but I'm participating anyway ...

1. What's the last thing you threw away? I just purged some magazines, but I donated them to a friend who is equally addicted.

2. Have you ever been to Paris? May favorite trip was during my study abroad in Spain while in college. My favorite memory is of seeing the impressionists’ paintings at the Musée d'Orsay up close on a rainy day. Who doesn’t dream of rainy days in Paris?

3. What do you stare at? My children while they’re sleeping.

4. What do you hurry for? To get to work. I have the “one more thing” syndrome in the morning.

5. Friday fill-in:I could have been a gossip columnist. In high school I was voted most likely to be one and an advise columnist. How could I help it if everyone told me everything?!

Capturing Fall II

These flowers, with thier happy faces, brighten my day
Fall Kalediscope

Bri's favorite heart (shaped leaf) tree

I love this tree because when you stand back and look at it it's red,
but if you go under it, the leaves are green and a golden yellow
The sky is blue and the air is CRISP

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Thursday 13 - Thanksgiving Myths

Who knew Thanksgiving could be so controversial?! With a gobble, gobble here, and some hunting and gathering there, I’ve put together a list of 13 Thanksgiving myths for my first Thursday 13.

Myth #1: The Pilgrims wore black and white outfits, buckles, and pointed hats. Pilgrims did wear black when they went to church on Sunday, but they did not wear black for the first Thanksgiving feast. In addition, Pilgrims weren't quite as stylish as some people think because they didn't have any buckles on their shoes. Buckles didn't appear on the fashion scene until the late 17th century. Inventories from the Mayflower show that John Howland had two red waistcoats, that William Bradford had a green gown, violet cloak, lead colored suit with silver buttons, and a red waistcoat, and that William Brewster had green drawers, a red cap, and a violet coat. Black, white, grey, and brown were by far the most common colors worn by the Pilgrims, but were definitely not the only colors.

Myth #2: Thanksgiving always was in November. The Pilgrims had their first feast sometime between September 21 and November 11. The dinner lasted for three whole days! The Pilgrims probably remembered their old English harvest festivals on this special day. Since the autumn harvest usually occurred sometime between late September and the middle of October, the colonists' harvest festival wasn't celebrated in November, like it is today. For hundreds of years, people simply celebrated the harvest whenever nature was ready.

Myth #3: The Pilgrims celebrated Thanksgiving every year after 1621. The Pilgrims did not do a Thanksgiving dinner every year. It took a long time before it became a real holiday. Abraham Lincoln made it a national holiday with his 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation. Later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt decided that the fourth Thursday in November was an excellent permanent day for this celebration.

Myth #4: The biggest meal that the Pilgrims ate was in the evening. Actually, the Pilgrims ate their biggest meal at noon, and this meal was called dinner. Another name for the noon meal was noon meat. Everyone has a different time for their Thanksgiving feast since it is usually the only meal served, and you remain stuffed for hours. The Native Americans did not have a tradition of eating scheduled meals, and instead ate whenever they were hungry.

Myth #5: The Pilgrims were celebrating a wonderful harvest. The harvest of 1621 was not very bountiful after all. However, the Pilgrims were grateful to be alive. Their wheat, barley, and peas that came over from England did not do very well. The only crop that flourished was corn. The corn crop did so well because of a generous man named Squanto. He belonged to the Patuxet tribe, but he was captured by the English. He later became a member of the Wampanoag tribe when he returned to the New World and discovered his people had all died from disease. He knew all about corn and taught the Pilgrims everything. Most of the Pilgrim's time was spent gathering, preparing or eating food. Interestingly, although there was plenty of wild game, the Pilgrims did not know how to catch it! They could not fish nor hunt. If not for the Indian corn they found and later grew, the new arrivals would have starved to death. Moreover, the guests brought most of the food. When the Pilgrims invited their Native American guests, they weren't prepared to feed everyone who came. A Wampanoag chief, Massasoit, sent his men home for supplies.

Myth #6: The Pilgrims ate turkey, cranberry, corn on the cob and pumpkin pie. The only food that historians are certain that the Pilgrims ate is deer, but they would have been accustomed to eating turkey. Foods like the ones listed today became popular because the Victorians celebrated that way. Historians say the actual Thanksgiving meal probably included: duck, goose, swans, seal, rabbit and lobster.

Myth #7: The Pilgrims were the first to celebrate Thanksgiving in America. Native Americans had been living in America for over 40,000 years before the Pilgrims arrived. Certainly, harvest celebrations had been part of their rituals. San Elizaro, Texas claims the first feast was held in 1598 to celebrate the arrival of Spanish explorer, Juan de Onate. The Berkeley Plantation in Virginia reenacts the landing and celebration of the settlers on board the Margaret in 1619, a year before The Mayflower reached Massachusetts.

Myth #8: The Pilgrims who sailed on the Mayflower were mostly old men. There we about 103 passengers on the Mayflower including 51 men, 22 boys, 20 women, and 11 girls. About half of them died in the first winter in the New World.

Myth #9:: The Pilgrims stole the land for their Colony from the Indians, and mistreated them. The Pilgrims arrived and found a place to settle, called Plymouth on Captain John Smith's map of 1614. The native Indians called the area Patuxet. The Patuxet tribe had been completely wiped out in a 1618 plague (probably smallpox), and so there was at the time no tribe inhabiting or claiming the land the Pilgrims settled. The only Patuxet survivor of the plague was Tisquantum, more commonly called "Squanto" (who had been in England at the time of the plague). Squanto was accepted into the Plymouth Colony and acted as interpreter and negotiator with Massasoit and the Wampanoag confederation of tribes--the Pilgrims nearest neighbors.
The Wampanoag never overtly challenged the Pilgrims' right to live on the land (until 75 years later), and in fact it appears Massasoit liked the idea of having Englishmen neighbors and allies because it increased his own power within the region by keeping his enemies at bay.

Myth #10: The Pilgrims ate with forks and ate their plates. Partly true and false. The Pilgrims used bread as plates and then ate them afterwards And while forks were widely used by the upper class in Italy during the late Middle Ages, they were not known in England until 1608, when the English writer Thomas Coryate returned from a walking tour and showed his countrymen the Italian eating implement. The English were slow to adopt the idea; as Jonathan Swift put it in 1738, "Fingers were made before forks, and hands before knives." The English considered eating with forks effeminate and regarded them as jewelry. They used their napkins to both pick up food and wipe their hands.
The Wampanoag never overtly challenged the Pilgrims' right to live on the land (until 75 years later), and in fact it appears Massasoit liked the idea of having Englishmen neighbors and allies because it increased his own power within the region by keeping his enemies at bay.

Myth #11: Children were part of the celebration. The tradition for eating in that time was for husbands to sit at the table followed by their wives and adult guests. Servants and children stood by the table to help with the meal and bring more the heated food to the guests. Children and servants ate after the adults had left the meal area and ate leftovers from the main meal.

Myth #12: The Pilgrims ate with forks and ate their plates. Partly true and false. The Pilgrims used stale bread as plates and then ate them afterwards And while forks were widely used by the upper class in Italy during the late Middle Ages, they were not known in England until 1608, when the English writer Thomas Coryate returned from a walking tour and showed his countrymen the Italian eating implement. The English were slow to adopt the idea; as Jonathan Swift put it in 1738, "Fingers were made before forks, and hands before knives." The English considered eating with forks effeminate and regarded them as jewelry.

Myth #13: The Mayflower had originally set sail for Virginia but, due to bad weather and navigational errors, landed at what is now Massachusetts. The tiny ship sighted huge breakers off of Chatham on Cape Cod, and alerted to this danger followed the coast north to the safety of what is today's Provincetown harbor before sailing across Cape Cod Bay a week later to Plymouth. At that time, most of the east coast of North America was considered Virginia and Massachusetts was merely the northern portion.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday - Thanksgiving Cards*

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say "thank you?"
–William A. Ward

One of my cherished rituals in November is sitting down to write some family and some close friends is putting together a Thank You/Thanksgiving gratitude card. I feel blessed to know so many amazing people, and I think writing the cards fills my heart more than it fills theirs.

This year some of the people I’m thankful for include: SR & KR for having us to their house for our annual boating trip, MB for setting the bar higher for me by constantly setting the bar higher for herself, KG for encouraging me on good and bad days, LB for holding my hand through some dark days (and for being their for me to talk to on my morning drive to work; she’s way better than a new cup of coffee at Starbucks), DW for teaching me how to always do the next right thing, MV for being an amazing friend and for reminding me to enjoy life’s little moments (like the day we celebrated her birthday for hours with the windows open at a city bistro), TI for still making me feel young like we did when we both celebrated each other’s weddings, CH for teaching me how to save myself and giving me the tools to do it, SK for teaching me that there are limits for what I can do for other people and that my best is more than good enough, co-workers MP, DM and JS for being there when I need to be uplifted and for being some of the best friends a girl could have, and to my mom who worked hard to repair some old wounds in our mother/daughter relationship. Just typing this list has left me feeling overwhelmed with gratitude.

Want to write your own, but don’t know what to say? Some links that might help get you started include:

Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude

The Wheel of Gratitude

Some Famous Quotes about Gratitude

wikiHow – Letter of Appreciation

wikiHow - Love Letter

43 Folders - Keeping Connected

New York Times - Gratitude Visits

*This is my first Works for Me Wednesday post after being a long time lurker.
Be sure to click over!

Slipper Day for Children's Book Week

Slipper Day for Children's Book Week
Darn they look so cute. Too bad it took a quick trip to Wally World to buy them before school, once again causing me to feel like a "Bad Mom." Grrrr. I really thought I had my act together this week. Focusing on the positive, the important things are that they got them (and got them to school, and me to work, on time!), that they had a fun day strutting around school and cuddling up with good books, and that I even had a moment to snap this photo, something I wouldn't have thought to do before becoming a Blogger! I'm not feeling like such a bad mom after all.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Capturing Fall I

Leilani in the backyard on Sunday afternoon

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veteran's Day - Sunday Scribblins "Left and Right"

These are some of the cards, poems and posters some students from my class, and others from my school, made for one of our local VFW halls, a project we've done for the past five years. Some of the projects are used to decorate the fireplace at the hall, some go home with Veterans, and many they deliver to some Veterans at the city Veteran's hospital. Dropping off the cards each November helps me to put some of my gratitude into action. My father served in Korea driving a duck boat, and my brother in the Middle East on an aircraft carrier. It's a good feeling to know that my family has contributed to our country's greater good, and I think it makes my students feel good to reach out to people who have served.
To me, whether your political leanings are left or right, it's important to believe in the sacredness of individual life; to support our troops and the people of which ever contry we're fighting for or against. I smiled ear-to-ear when I saw a bumper sticker that read, "God loves everyone. No exceptions."
My class wrote acrostic poems with words like Veteran, Freedom, Remember and American. We also studied the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and read the poem The Vigil. I love it when I feel like I'm learning as much as they are.
The Vigil
In measured steps he makes his rounds,
The click of heels the only sounds.
He stands erect, so straight and tall,
With pride and dedication responds to the call.
With deep affection his vigil keeps
Over those who forever sleep.
He responds not to the visitor's stare,
Maintaining his vigil as in in silent prayer.
In the morning's twilight hours,
His watch becomes like cathedral towers
Reaching from Earth to Heaven above,
A lasting tribute to one man's love.
As time and seasons come and go
His vigil remains for all to know
That beneath the sacred Arlington sod
Lies three buddies known but to God.

Thanksgiving Decorating 2007

Pics of Will and Reese with friends from their second grade Thanksgiving play, and a photo of the boys with some of their cousins
Fall Vignette with a fall tree by Will, music box from a trip to Austria my brother brought back for me when I was 10 years old, a watercolor of the smoke house at our farm by by friend Meg, and some Shaker boxes from an Amish store near our farm
Watercolor by my mother-in-law of Will and Reese in the creek at our farm
Pilgrims on the mantle
Kid friendly table setting
Pilgrims II
My childhood Muffy Vanderbear decked out for Thanksgiving

Fall folliage and checked ribbons decorate a chandlier
Mice and pumpkins in the china cabinet

The Welcome Turkey

Pumpkins at the door