Sunday, June 30, 2013

Quote of the Week

Enjoying the small things

Finding quiet moments in our home with a 2 year old and a 12 year old is somewhat of a challenge.  It seems I never have a waking moment to myself.   I have even tried to escape to the bathroom with no success.  Our kids, like most mothers could confirm, have some kind of bathroom radar.  As soon I close the bathroom door behind me, one of them is knocking or calling out mom.   I want to stay up late after they have fallen asleep but most of the time I find myself falling asleep at the same time. 

Tonight, Scarlett has left for two weeks of camp and Phoenix, who has not been feeling well this weekend, is asleep.  I have a moment to myself. 

A hot cup of coffee with my new discovery of Bailey's Toffee Almond Cream creamer and some cinnamon along with a good book.  

 Time to enjoy the moment.  Good Night.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Easy cinnamon walnut cake

I have begun coordinating our coffee hour at church this year.  Although some have helped each week, I usually provide some of the goodies.   I have said before that I am far from a cook or a baker, but I have been trying.   Here is an easy make cake that I came up with combining a few different recipes I have collected.  It has a swirl of nuts, sugar and cinnamon in the middle and has the consistency of a pound cake.  Great for coffee or tea time. 

Ingredients for cake:

1 3/4 cups of flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup room temperature butter
1tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for swirl:

1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees and coat a 81/2 inch loaf pan with butter or cooking spray

2. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt

3. In a bowl combine the eggs, sour cream, sugar, butter and vanilla (the butter needs to be room temperature to mix well)

4. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture until blended

5. In a bowl mix the swirl ingredients

6. Pour half of the batter into the pan

7.  Spread the swirl mixture evenly over 1st layer of batter

8. Spread rest of batter on top

9. Bake 40 minutes(times may vary with each oven) toothpick inserted in center should come out dry

Monday, June 24, 2013

Weekend Recap

We had a fun and busy weekend...

 We started Friday celebrating the Summer Solstice with a visit to the children's museum in Poughkeepsie.
We enjoyed visiting with a few animals
 and building with the new Imagination Playground. 
Saturday we celebrated our cousin Kaitie's Sweet 16
  Looking good! 
 The Beautiful Kaitie
Sunday everyone slept in, a rare treat lately, and enjoyed a nice breakfast together.
 Then it was time to play in the water.
Sprinkler fun and yes, the baby pool still keeps us cool!
 Chinese food for dinner
Some balloon fun

  And cool treats to end the night!!!
A great start to the summer!  How did you begin
 your summer?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Welcome Summer!!!

Then followed that beautiful season... Summer....
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Blogger 101

So I have become frustrated.  I have not posted in the past few days and I have spent the past week trying to learn some blogging skills.  I have tried to create a blog button with little success.  I was able to create a simple button but don't seem to be able to make it so others can grab my button. 

I have begun teaching myself how to make photo collages or to add text or images to pictures, but I must say it is not as easy as I would have thought.  I am trying to create my own heading, but again not going so smoothly.    I still haven't come to understand how to get my blog "out there" for others to view.

To add to the frustration, somewhere along the line while downloading a photo tool, I picked up a virus on my computer.    I have enjoyed the past two months of blogging, however after a few days of challenges I have come to question my computer abilities.  However, I am getting back in the saddle as they say.  My plan is to continue to try to learn new tools and tricks each day and to work toward the blog I envision. 

So to all my blogging friends, how did you come to create and share you blog?    Was it challenging at first?  Any suggestions for this struggling newbie? 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Two year old fun

It is so much fun watching Phoenix explore and learn new things everyday.   He loves to play with water, he has taught himself to turn on the hose which in turn has led to each of us getting sprayed by him.   He loves to play with sand and pick flowers.  He loves ducks and asks each day if we could buy one.  He loves playdoh (what kid doesn't), bubbles, balls and stickers.  He has begun playing with his cars,planes and little animals on his own,  making the sounds of the cars and animals, so cute!!  We have recently begun doing more artwork with him painting, drawing and just recently he used glue for the first time.  He loves to hang  his artwork on the refrigerator and sometimes he will just draw a quick squiggle and say"hang it up", anxious to see it on display. 

And of course he loves his big sister, mimmicking everything she does!!

Our sidewalk chalk road
Bubble fun 
Water Water Water
 Sand time
He loves the glue stick 
As you see from the last three pics from different days he loves his orange shirts too!!!
Our latest art display
 Monkey see monkey do

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

Started a great weekend picking up my father at the airport for a father's day visit.  Beautiful weather, dinner ouside on our deck and a visit to the town fair for some rides, candy apples and cotton candy. 

Barbecue planned for tomorrow and the long awaited Superman!! 

Wishing a happy father's day to all dads.

Happy father's day daddy, so happy to share another father's day with you. I am so happy you are here. 

Happy father's day Roger, my love always, thank you for my greatest gift in life, my beautiful children. 

Quote of the Week

Friday, June 14, 2013

How was your day?

Having a conversation with a 12 year old girl can sometimes be a challenge.  When Scarlett comes home from school

 I ask: How was your day? 
Response: Fine.

I ask: What did you do in school today? What's new?
Response: Nothing.

Now don't get me wrong, sometimes Scarlett has lots to say and I have to say I am lucky that we have a great relationship and she still likes to tell me things.  However, spending lots of our daytime hours apart, I an interested in how her day went.  A few years back I saw a movie, actually it came out in 1999, called The Story of Us with Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer.  It wasn't a great movie but there was one scene with the family at dinner that I enjoyed.  Each night at dinner they would ask each other what the high of their day was and what the low of their day was.  We began asking each other the questions during our dinner.  It has helped start conversations at our dinner.  It has helped us share our days with each other.   It has also helped us deal with the day's frustrations or celebrate the joys of our day.  I have to say some days my high is the conversations we have at the  table while we play highs and lows.

How about you? Do you have any suggestions for getting our kids to share more?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Things to watch...

I had to post this video.  This young girl is great.  If you haven't seen it yet, listen to her sing the National Anthem at the NBA Finals.   Beautiful! 

It is finally here!  Superman- Man of Steel the movie comes out this weekend.  We are so excited to see this movie.  We have been waiting a long time for this.  Check out the trailers....

 Anyone else planning to see the movie this weekend?

So watching television is not something that happens too often is our home anymore. Since Phoenix was born and Scarlett seems to always be busy after dinner we spend little time in front of the television.  However, we try to watch America's Got Talent whose season started last week.  We enjoy the acts and the music played during the episodes really gets you involved and cheering for the contestants.  It is a fun time and a show that is family friendly, a rare find today. 

Check out Paul Thomas Mitchell from last night.  It is moving...

So what have you been watching lately?


Monday, June 10, 2013

On her way to 8th grade!

Scarlett is taking her finals this week.  Her year in seventh grade is quickly coming to an end.  How could she be on her way to eighth grade?  I am so proud of all she has accomplished and learned this year.  I am excited for her plans this summer, two weeks at Frost Valley camp enjoying the outdoors and two weeks in film camp (her first step in pursuing her dream).   The years have gone so quickly and although I am excited for next year with graduation and preparing for high school, I am hoping this summer lingers for awhile. 

Scarlett proudly showing her test in Kindergarten

Scarlett has decided on three books to read over the summer.  She usually needs to be pushed to read, she would rather be watching a movie or listening to music.   We continue to search for books that interest her.  She enjoys books with a twist or mystery involved.  Add a ghost, witch or fairy and there is a greater chance she will read it.  She has also become a fan of history, largely thanks to her last two history teachers; so historical fiction is becoming more appealing.  Scarlett also seems to be drawn to  reading stories where the characters are struggling or hurting in some way.  She said there is more feelings and emotions in these books.  So with all this in mind here are Scarlett's choices.

The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Doll Bones by Holly Black

What books have your tweens or teens enjoyed?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Quote of the Week

Phoenix's Summer Reading begins

To go along with our summer bucket list we have been reading three books filled with summer sights and sounds.   Each book has great illustrations and simple words desribing all the great fun of summer. 

Today we filled Phoenix's kiddie pool and played in the water.   Later in the day when we read Summer Days and Nights, it had a picture of kids swimming in a littel pool, he was so excited.  He said, " I did that!" 

For more ideas on great summer reading for kids, check out this website. 

It is filled with books, hands on activities, summer writing ideas and great fun for summer enjoyment.  

What summer books have you shared with each other?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Summer Reading

     Summer is quickly approaching, school is almost over and it is time to find those books we can enjoy reading during our relaxed summer days.

I am always adding books to my list to read.  There are so many to choose from but here are the four I have chosen for the summer.

The Light Between Oceans by M.L.Stedman
Amazon description: After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
 Amazon description: What are you reading?”
That’s the question Will Schwalbe asks his mother, Mary Anne, as they sit in the waiting room of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In 2007, Mary Anne returned from a humanitarian trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan suffering from what her doctors believed was a rare type of hepatitis. Months later she was diagnosed with a form of advanced pancreatic cancer, which is almost always fatal, often in six months or less.
This is the inspiring true story of a son and his mother, who start a “book club” that brings them together as her life comes to a close. Over the next two years, Will and Mary Anne carry on conversations that are both wide-ranging and deeply personal, prompted by an eclectic array of books and a shared passion for reading. Their list jumps from classic to popular, from poetry to mysteries, from fantastic to spiritual. The issues they discuss include questions of faith and courage as well as everyday topics such as expressing gratitude and learning to listen. Throughout, they are constantly reminded of the power of books to comfort us, astonish us, teach us, and tell us what we need to do with our lives and in the world. Reading isn’t the opposite of doing; it’s the opposite of dying.

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
Amazon description: In the turbulent summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the eighth-grade social food chain. Then, to her amazement, the “coolest girl in the world” moves in across the street and wants to be her friend. Tully Hart seems to have it all---beauty, brains, ambition. On the surface they are as opposite as two people can be: Kate, doomed to be forever uncool, with a loving family who mortifies her at every turn. Tully, steeped in glamour and mystery, but with a secret that is destroying her. They make a pact to be best friends forever; by summer’s end they’ve become TullyandKate. Inseparable.
So begins Kristin Hannah’s magnificent new novel. Spanning more than three decades and playing out across the ever-changing face of the Pacific Northwest, Firefly Lane is the poignant, powerful story of two women and the friendship that becomes the bulkhead of their lives.

Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler
Eighty-nine-year-old Isabelle McAllister has a favor to ask her hairdresser Dorrie Curtis. It's a big one. Isabelle wants Dorrie, a black single mom in her thirties, to drop everything to drive her from her home in Arlington, Texas, to a funeral in Cincinnati. With no clear explanation why. Tomorrow.
Dorrie, fleeing problems of her own and curious whether she can unlock the secrets of Isabelle's guarded past, scarcely hesitates before agreeing, not knowing it will be a journey that changes both their lives.
Over the years, Dorrie and Isabelle have developed more than just a business relationship. They are friends. But Dorrie, fretting over the new man in her life and her teenage son's irresponsible choices, still wonders why Isabelle chose her.
Isabelle confesses that, as a willful teen in 1930s Kentucky, she fell deeply in love with Robert Prewitt, a would-be doctor and the black son of her family's housekeeper--in a town where blacks weren't allowed after dark. The tale of their forbidden relationship and its tragic consequences makes it clear Dorrie and Isabelle are headed for a gathering of the utmost importance and that the history of Isabelle's first and greatest love just might help Dorrie find her own way.

...Look out for our summer reading lists for Phoenix and Scarlett. 

What books are you reading this summer?  Let me know I would love to add them to my list. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Happy Birthday Sis!

This week my baby sister turned 40 years old!  It is funny cause I was always the one who stressed getting older never wanting to acknowledge my birthday but this year my sister began to freak out.  Since I passed 40 I seem to think less about my age, but I know how she feels.

It sometimes doesn't seem possible that 40 years have gone by. 
 It seems like yesterday we were sharing a bedroom and staying up late watching The Odd Couple on our little yellow black and white television.  

 It seems like yesterday we would play library and house and restaurant.

 It seems like yesterday we would spend the day swimming and then run into the air conditioner freezing. 

 It seems like yesterday we would ride our bikes to the next town and  spend hours in the library. 

 It seems like yesterday we would make a line down the middle of our room not letting the other step on our side of the room. 

It seems like yesterday you would say, " I cant sleep", and I would say "Think of Tom and Jerry and you will feel better".

It seems like yesterday we made a clubhouse in grandma's closet and charged our family money to come watch the plays we would perform.

It seems like yesterday we would dress up as Baby New Year and Father Time for New Year's Eve.

It seems like yesterday we would spend all day making up dances to Michael Jackson's Thriller album.

It seems like yesterday we would go to the wresting matches and cheer and boo for Hulk Hogan and the Iron Sheik. 

It seems like yesterday we  would drive to school together singing Elvis songs out loud.

It seems like yesterday we went to college, first fell in love and moved out on our own.

It seems like yesterday we went through our first pregnancies together having our children one week apart.

Thank you for all the memories we have shared together.  I am looking forward to another 40 years of memories. 

Happy Birthday Baby Sister!  I love you! 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

What's in a Name?

So we have been in our new house for a year and a half and we have been talking about naming our home.   It feels right to give our space a name.   We plan to spend many years here and our home is where we spend most of our time and where many memories are made.  It is an important part of our lives and it deserves a special name. 
 Naming my children was a very important part of parenting for me.   It is the first "label" our children would have.  It is something they would use to represent themselves throughout their life.  We were far from "traditional" in our namings.  We wanted our childrens' names to have signifance. 

We named our first child, our daughter, Scarlett Infinity Hope.

 She is named after Scarlett O'Hara from Gone With the Wind.  Scarlett was a beautiful strong almost stubborn woman who has always been my favorite character.   Hope, sometimes referred to as the opposite of despair, is an important part of our outlook in life.  Infinity, chosen by my husband, allows her name to represent hope forever. 

Our second child, our beautiful son, who we lost at seven weeks old, we named Roger Jor-El.   So, I guess we did go the traditional route naming our son after his father.  Jor-El is the father of Superman, again a strong character we love.  Oh how we miss you Little Rog. 

Our third child, our wonderful gift of new life, we named
 Phoenix Kal-El.  

The Phoenix bird, a mythical creature, symbolizes rebirth.  It is said only one Phoenix bird lives at a time and after it dies it burns to ashes and a new bird rises from the ashes.  His middle name Kal-El, is Superman's original name given to him by his parents.  Our son Phoenix is our new life and truly our super hero. 

The Phoenix

How did you choose your children's names? 

Quote of the Week

"The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up." 
-Mark Twain