Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pretend play

I was tinkering in a cabinet where I happen to store our Halloween stuff and Bella decided she needed to borrow the haunted house and a couple of ghosts. She actually spent hours that day playing with them along with other toys. I love to see pretend play. It's a time to escape reality and explore the world of the imagination. A place I really miss. I can sneak back in to that world when I play with the kids though without looking like a complete dork playing by myself.
He's got that "I'm not up to anything naughty." look.
Moments later he was getting into trouble again...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Making the commitment

Making plans is an easy task. Completing or committing to them is another gesture indeed. I make plenty of lists and plans. I think every purse has one, the frig, the computer, my Daytimer.... Most of them look really wonderful in completion in my mind.

In my mind I have a beautiful raised bed garden providing a bounty of fresh vegetables. I also have a completely organized house and garage too. I have already mastered a couple of things on the sewing machine and I have a healthy and trim body from all the working out and proper eating I have been doing.....religiously.

Now for reality. I have to admit that we have had some great vegetables from our planted vegetables in pots this year. I have some cantaloupe, squash, potatoes and pumpkin growing in the back too. I won't blame myself on the raised beds this year. It just wasn't in the budget. I have been working on organizing the house. I managed to get my kitchen and pantry done. So a work in progress is good. It's like a cycle too. Once I'm done with the last organizing chore I am sure the kitchen will be needing it again.

The sewing has not gotten off the ground because I have not been able - or made the time on the weekend to get some supplies and start practicing. It's clearly a matter of getting that "me" time in regardless. If I don't, I'll never get to sew. I may have to go to Wal-Mart (shutter at the thought, but there's a store near the house) to get fabric and supplies.

Brings me back to my lack of exercise and not making the time. I know not having time is the lamest excuse in the book, so I can't use that one. My pal Janet told me..."just do it". She's absolutely right and it's as simple as that. So what the hell is my problem then? Why can't I just get up @ 4:00am and do it?

All I can think of is that I'm truly not behaving like I'm that high up on the list of daily life. I make sure everyone else is taken care of first as well as the house and other daily needs. Setting the alarm extra early just doesn't happen. I just keep putting it off into infinity.

It's positively ridiculous that this is happening considering that without my health and vitality I have nothing. I can't love and cherish my family if I'm not here. I can't frolic and play if I'm too unhealthy or out of shape. So after all the times I've pledged for change, could I be trusted to make and keep another commitment? The only person I have to report to is myself.

So I guess it's time to give myself another chance to make a change and also quit being so hard on myself if things don't get done if I'm taking time out for my health and sanity. Most importantly, putting me more on top of the list of daily life is in order too. That may be harder for me to do than getting up at 4:00am in the morning. :o)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Good food and family time

I think boys and girls provide different kinds of stress for parents. From girls I assume when they are teens and from boys because they are such daredevils. Kristjan is my little daredevil. He is not afraid of anything. His poor forehead is like a war zone. His little bump on his head from head butting Chris accidentally was almost gone until he fell out of a dining room chair last night and hit his head again. I hate head injuries. They scare the crap out of me. Twenty minutes later, I had to pull him out of that same chair again.
I love his smile and personality. After taking this picture, I realized I better wash my pillow covers again. The drool monster had paid another visit.

Bella loves making her own pizza and I love that she loves the taste. Here is hers all piled up with cheese.
Her pizza after. She ate more than half of it! Chris walked by and nabbed a slice. Bad daddy. Ours was in the oven, guess he couldn't wait. :o)

Happy Father's Day! All snuggled up watching Chris's favorite movie from childhood, The Jungle Book. Looks like it's a favorite for the kids too. Kristjan will watch anything with animals in it and loves music.
I love this picture. I have Bella's sunshine smile on the left and trouble maker on the couch, trying to grab the phone in the background.

We celebrated Father's Day on Saturday. I had my parents over and we all cooled off in the pool, listened to some music and then ate our fill in food. I made Chicken Breasts with Fennel-Mustard and Radicchio along with some herbed brown rice. The chicken recipe is one of Chris's favorites. It isn't the most heart healthy meal on the planet. There is a lot of butter involved, but it is really good. I only make it once a year, so it's not like we eat that way all the time. I hope the fellas enjoyed their meal. I had fun making it.

The crust cooling for the Banoffee pie. Flour, butter, vanilla extract and macadamia nuts.

The labor intensive part is thickening up the condensed milk. It takes almost thirty minutes of constant stirring to keep it from sticking. Once thick enough I added the rum, cream and vanilla extract. I made the crust and filling the day before.
Bella put all the banana slices on top for me. She is helping me more and more in the kitchen. I welcome it and hope that she will enjoy cooking as much as I do. Perhaps this way, her variety in foods will broaden.
All the bananas on top. She did a wonderful job.

Finished! The topping is whipped cream, mixed with a little dissolved instant coffee. I sprinkled some cocoa on top. It was delish! Very rich though. Get too large of a slice and I can't handle it.

Next weekend I'll put the Chocolate Ganache Tart back up for vote and perhaps a Zucchini Bread as the other choice. Maybe one day the Ganache will win.

Tomorrow is the kid's eye check up appointment. Chris will accompany me to help out. Neither one enjoys their eyes being messed with. Who does? We both took the whole day off so that after we could have the rest of the day with them. I also didn't want to send them to school right after their eyes being dilated. Not a nice thing. It's not like Kris is going to wear dark sunglasses for the rest of the day and having blurred vision at the playground does mix either!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

On the loose again

The streaker is on the loose again! Try and catch him if you can.

Bella colored me a picture of a special house in celebration. Those colors to the right of the house, left of the tree and over the flower are fireworks. Her interpretation was so cute.

I made a salad for dinner and used the leftover shrimp I made Sunday. I threw them in the oven for a spell just to crisp them back up again. I used up the last of my ripe tomatoes. I have to wait until more ripen now.

I want to thank Val for clearing my head a little bit regarding the Gosselin clip. I unfortunately tend to react first and think later. Not a good thing. There have been plenty of instances where I have reacted and then realized that I should remember to look at things from all angles first. Definitely humbling when realizing that parenting is a challenge for everyone. Even more humbling when it comes to my parenting. I think I am doing the best I can, yet I know I fail at times. Thanks for bringing me back to Earth.

It's been about a week and a half since Bella has had any food dye and we can definitely see the difference. Chris even commented on how easier it was to wake her in the morning. She's cheerful, friendly and is listening. She seems more confident and more articulate. Even sitting still long enough to read and do her art. She still gets all excited and plays like crazy with Kris, but that's what we live for.

Maybe I need to learn from this too.... Gotta finish that darn bottle of One-A-Day vitamins with the red food dye so I can clear my mind too. ;o)

Monday, June 15, 2009

It wouldn't be right

I've picked a great contender in this weekend's dessert poll. It's a classic English dessert called Banoffee Pie, which happens to be one of Chris's favorites and since this weekend is Father's Day, I'm not sure it would be fair not to make it for him. I'll still put it up to vote on Facebook just to see the results, but I may have to make it regardless.

Speaking of not being right....I posted this YouTube video on Facebook of Kate Gosselin denying water to her child (daughter Mady, sitting right next to her!) but taking water herself prior to an interview. This completely set me into a rage. I believe this couple has completely exploited these poor children. No wonder they are having marital problems. Since fame and fortune have taken first place to family, what did they expect? Unfortunately, it's the innocent children that pay the price.

Put it near the top.

Put baking my item near the top of my list of priorities, gets it done. I was not going to let the weekend pass until it was made and I made it! The banana nut bread won the vote and turned out very moist and delish! Chris added some orange marmalade to the top and it set it off nicely. The recipe was super easy and fast. I posted the recipe on my food blog (yes, that poor thing needs more recipe updates) I'll be making this again! I'll have to decide what will compete with the Chocolate Ganache Tart this weekend.

Last night I battered up some shrimp and cooked them in some olive oil. Dipped in the egg wash and then this fish batter I found that was all natural. Man they turned out crispy and great! Dad made me some of his horseradish dip and I dug right in! Bella enjoyed some along with a piece of salmon. She's like me and loves the seafood! I have plenty of leftover shrimp and I think I'll toss them in the oven to crisp them back up and maybe throw them in a salad or just dip and munch again for tonight. Another one I'll be making again!

After baking the bread and waiting for Kris to wake from his late nap, we went next door to Nanna and Nannu's house for a visit. They brought out the sprinklers and hose so the kids could play. I wore my suit so that I could cool off as well! I had to take this picture. Love the outfit!

He doesn't dig the sprinklers as much as just sitting and splashing. Just get a couple of mixing bowls and a water hose and he's good to go.

Bella liked the sprinkler and would come and give him a fill up every now and then.

Bella is getting a nice tan this summer. They take her twice a week for swimming lessons at school, plus outdoor play, then the pool at home with more outdoor play. Even with the sunblock, they still get sun. She has my mom's Maltese nice olive skin. Lucky thing.

It seems in order to play outside we have to incorporate water somehow. It's just too darn hot. Saturday we went to a neighbor's house for a going away party for a fellow going off to Iraq in the military for a year or so. They rented this giant blow up water slide and the kids were having a ball with it. Even the adults were having their go. They also filled up a little kiddie pool and that's where Kristjan hung out most of the time.

Next weekend Chris will be brewing and I will baking and cleaning. I think I'll try to make some bulk items to stock up the freezer again. I also want to get some material and items for sewing so I can start practicing. I can't believe I haven't had a chance to do it yet. I want to make as many gifts as I can this Christmas. Better get crackin!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Want to be a better baker

Let me rephrase that. I want to learn to bake and make desserts and then become better and more comfortable with it. I am much more a cook. Desserts have always intimidated me. Since I have started baking breads, I have fallen in love with it. Put a dough ball in the oven and the out comes beautiful bread. It's a wonderful process. I'm still just a beginner with the bread and want to branch out and make more varieties.

I want to practice with the desserts so I came up with the idea that every weekend I'll make one homemade treat. To make it even more fun I decided to put each weekend to a vote. On Facebook I purposed two items for this weekend and the one with the most votes I will make. The choices for this weekend was Chocolate Ganache Tart (above) or Banana Nut Bread. I think after I make the item, I'll post a picture and perhaps the recipe if it ends up being a true keeper.

I was not able to make the Banana Nut Bread the other day and I was bummed about that. Doing anything like that on a week day is pushing it on time. I think I can handle one thing a weekend and I'm sure I will love the process and hopefully the outcome. I don't think Chris or the kids will mind either.

Oh! I have to also say the I am excited that one of my favorite authors Michael Pollan is coming out with a documentary this month! I can't wait to see it. Go to http://www.foodincmovie.com/ to check out the trailer. It's an inside and in depth look and where our food comes from. Things that have been hidden from the consumer with the consent of our government (USDA and FDA) for years.

Oh man...here I go again. The food supply is controlled by a handful of large corporations that obviously put profit before the consumer, their employees and animal welfare. Even though we have bigger breasted chickens (the consumer wants the breast most in a chicken), insecticide resistant soybean seeds, and GMO corn we also have new strains of e coli bateria causing illness to an estimated 73,000 Americans annually.

Most importantly this country has a staggering obesity rate, particularly in young children and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults. In the past meat was not on every breakfast, lunch and dinner menu. Meat used to be an item saved for treats or Sunday dinner. Now, we are able to eat meat conveniently whenever and where ever we please and at a low cost to the consumer. Problem is, the genetically processed and antibiotic ridden, GMO corn fed animals are making us all sick, obese and prone to diabetes.

So we can eat our meat for less; however, our lifestyle of eating too much of it is causing expensive medical problems to consumers. Save now at the grocery store, pay later with high health care and medication costs. Hmm.... are your eyes opening yet? It's much better on us, the state of health care costs and the environment to eat a healthier diet with grass fed organic beef, pork and chicken. Did you know that if everyone made just one day a week a vegetarian day, it would lower greenhouse gases as much as if everyone in the country switched to driving a Toyota Pruis? Surely people can survive just one day without meat. Our family does it all the time.

I know, I mentioned it before as "happy meat" and yes I did fall off the vegetarian diet rather fast didn't I? My family members still wanted their fish and meat fare and I'm not going to spend all my time in the kitchen preparing three different meals. So back to eating our organic or free range meats in moderation. I usually use meat as a flavoring or texture accompaniment instead of the "main attraction". I don't need a slab of animal meat with every meal.

We have got to re familiarize ourselves with fruits, vegetables, whole grains (not Wonder bread or white rice), nuts and legumes. With all of that you can make a plethora of wonderful dishes and be doing your body and your planet a great service.

Sorry...this subject always gets me all excited!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The good and the bad

Being in the office all alone in the mornings.

The Good:
  • I'm able to get my work done without interruption from co-workers.
  • It's nice and quiet. No politics, no opinions and no vociferating.
The Bad:
  • The office is not in a good part of town and I'm a female there alone.
  • If I get an emergency call because of the kids and have to leave, there will be no one to run the place or answer the phone.

My main concern are the kids. If I get an emergency call, for sure I'm out the door. Sorry folks, my kids are my life, not even an option. If I get a call that they need to be picked up and it's not such an emergency and I can't reach Chris or my parents, then I will call and request that someone please come to relieve me as soon as possible. If no one shows after I have requested help, I have a key, and I will just have to lock up and leave.

I hate to be so impetuous, but I watch people every day come in and leave whenever they feel the fancy. Heck, I have one dude that everyday comes in at 11:30 or 12:00, then leaves at 2:00 for lunch, comes back at 4:00 and then leaves for the day at 4:45 and it's been a completely acceptable schedule. So I guess it's no surprise to me that no one has volunteered or has been scheduled to come in early to help out.

Hence, I will not allow myself to feel "guilty" for any possible circumstance where I might have to flee in an emergency. So as I vent over something that hasn't even happened, (I've got to read some more of the Tao Te Ching and chill the hell out) I'll just remember to lock myself in, indulge in the quiet and deal with whatever each day throws at me the best that I can.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The best award

Isabella and I were awarded winners of the great "cookr" contest! I also love the picture of the pot with steam on the award too. Lovely. It's now safe in my keepsake box.

You know, I have been teasing Chris about entering food cooking contests. Like what Foodtv has from time to time. Make a great burger and win $50,000. Make a perfect chili win $150,000. I think I can figure something out! I'm always experimenting. There is one lady (with children I might add) that has entered many contests and has won over $300,000 so far. She also won a complete kitchen remodel.

So let's see. Do what I love, which is cook. Practice and perfect a specific recipe for each contest. Hopefully win the local, then regional contests. Travel a bit, meet some cool people, perhaps even some of my idols and maybe even win? Sounds like a no-brainer to me. I already have one award under my belt!


When I got home last night, Chris gave me the gesture not to make too much noise and told me to look in the living room. How cute is this? Apparently after Chris picked them up from school they were very happy and talkative. Kristjan kept saying "cracker?" and Bella was giving him her list of foods she wanted to eat for snack. They got home and went in the living room to watch a bit of Spongebob while Chris made snacks. Chris first went to check email (or facebook most likely) and after a minute, asked Bella if Kristjan was alright because it had gotten "too quiet". There was no response so he asked again. He said he got up to see why she hadn't answered and he found them both crashed on the couch.

Needless to say we had a problem later getting them to fall back asleep for bedtime but we couldn't wake them, they looked too peaceful.

Another tidbit of sweetness happened yesterday too. Bella and Kristjan attend the same daycare and while Bella is out of school she's there all day (except for field trips). Yesterday Bella's class went out to play in their playground at the same time Kristjan's class did. They are separated by a fence. Kris saw Bella and called to her and then almost figured how to open or get his way out to get to her. Of course the teachers saw this and closed the gate. Kris was upset that he could not get to her though. I think it's so very sweet that he loves her that much already. Things may change when she's a teen and he's older, but for now....he loves playing with his older sister.

Forgot about this picture. This is from Friday when she was home with daddy with her temperature. She watched "The Polar Express 3D" again. I know it's not Christmas, but she likes that movie. The 3D on it is very cool indeed.

I wonder if they will ever come out with the movie "Troy" on 3D. I could handle Brad Pitt as Achilles in 3D just fine I think.

Great ideas

I saw these and had to share. They are from http://www.marthastewart.com/. I think they are great ideas.Chairs reupholstered with pieces from outgrown or thrift store sweaters. 1) Cut a sweater apart, working up the side seams and across the shoulders. Trim off the neck hole and sleeves, leaving two squares of fabric slightly larger than the seat of the chair. 2) Unscrew the seat cushions from the chairs. 3) Cover the cushions with the sweater fabric, and secure the cloth edges to the underside using a staple gun or small tacks. 4) Trim any excess and reattach the cushion to the chair. Cost $0

Usually used once and tossed, plastic baggies can actually hold up to washing, drying and reuse. 1) Insert chopsticks or wooden dowels into the holes of an unused toothbrush holder. 2) Hand wash bags with warm soapy water. 3) Hang bags upside-down on the chopstick prongs to let water run out and air flow in. Cost about $7

Corks can protect your tables and counter tops from hot pots and pans. 1) For a medium sized trivet, collect at least 50 uniformly sized corks. 2) Stand them upright and arrange them into a tight circle. 3) Surround corks with an 8 to 10 inch metal hose clamp. 4) Tighten the clamp to bind the corks together and then trim the excess clamp with metal clippers. Cost about $3.

I have tons of corks I've collected. I can supply my neighborhood with trivets...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Another weekend has come and gone

I need to thank Grandma and Grandpa for their package that we received Friday. The clothes fit well and are welcomed and we love getting books. The kids really love to look at and read books. Bella liked the book for Kristjan too. She decided to paint a picture of the book cover in thanks. I think she did a fabulous job. The little baby gives me a chuckle too. :o)
Check out this newly born couch potato. He's adopted Bella's Tinkerbell chair and even puts his foot up for optimum relaxation. This is all thanks to Elmo and his sing a long songs.

Ok, I do my best to balance out the TV time and play time. So outside we go. Bella's so pretty. I think I'm going to be in trouble when she gets older. By the way, she's been doing much better since we've banned food dye. She's also feeling much better after her couple of days of fever and soar throat. We didn't do any pool time this weekend. I didn't want to aggravate her immune system.
I have to say that I think while even watching Elmo, if I said "Want to go outside?" he would definitely get up saying "side?" and race to the door. He loves being outside. We can't say the words "outside", "pool" or "bath" unless we truly intend to do it. Otherwise he gets pretty upset.

My jalapenos have been getting quite large. I have been using them whenever possible. Just wish they had more heat to them. My serrano got dug up by our squirrels and perished. I'm going to pick up a few more chili pepper plants this coming weekend.

Relocating my oregano into the ground was the best thing for it. We have very sandy soil (heck, it's sand - period) and it loves it! They naturally grow in the sandy and rocky soil in the Mediterranean so this environment fits it perfectly. I've been putting it in my sauces and herbed rice.

Even though I only have three tomato plants at the moment, I have been getting plenty of fruit from them. Recently with the influx of much rain, they have all gotten cracks so I have to pick them before they ripen fully. They are so very good though. Better than any store or produce market tomato I can find. I plan on getting three more soon as these plants are nearing their final weeks.

This Saturday I went over to my pal Janet's house to visit, coupon swap, eat like a pig and have a few refreshments with a few friends of hers. She's been holding these monthly gatherings for a couple of months now and I finally got to attend. I even spent the night which allowed me to truly relax for a while. Janet and her husband were very gracious hosts and fed us a wonderful dinner and then made breakfast the next morning. I had a great time and got to meet some cool ladies. It's nice when you can meet people on the same mind set as you. Makes me feel better, like I'm perhaps not just crazy in my thinking, only nuts. I look forward to attending again or even hosting

When I got back home, I smooched with the kiddies for a while and then started cleaning and cooking a bit while Chris battled with the rain and mowing the grass. I believe he had to stop and start around five times but still managed to get it all done.

I made a batch of brown rice for the freezer and cooked up some more vegetable broth. I've been saving all of my vegetable clippings and storing them in the freezer. Things like mushroom stems, tops of peppers, ends of carrots, tough stalks of greens and asparagus etc. I just toss them in my stock pot, add water, salt and pepper and heat it up. I didn't add herbs this time and it still ended up with a good flavor. When I tasted, it reminded me of my Nanna's soup she used to make. I filled up three tubs and two muffin tins worth. Just popped those out of the tins and threw them in a large bag for small serving sizes. Very cool.

If all goes well this evening time wise, I have three VERY ripe bananas that I am going to use to make banana bread. If all goes well, you'll get to read about it tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Under the weather

Little Bellabean is under the weather. Last night she had a tummy ache, headache and little bit of a temperature. I threw Kristjan's bed mattress on the floor in her room and slept with her last night. I can't stand to be far away from them when they have a fever. I can't sleep until they feel cool to me again. She cooled down last night but again had a mild temp this morning. Chris stayed home with her today.

Chris reminded me that this would be the last time for a while that he could take time off because he's running out of off time. It's been primarily him staying home lately because my office is so short staffed.

I've already promised myself that I would not fret over me not being there if my children or I are sick. Other people in the office may have to reintroduce themselves to the alarm clock and come on early one day if I can't come in.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The evils of Red #40

I am speaking of the Red #40 food dye. The wonderful man made additive that is added to foods in order to make them look pretty and bright. Chris and I finally realized that is product causes negative side affects to our Bella.

I had phased it out the best I could about a year ago and she was doing much better with her concentration, attitude and behavior. I then purchased (because they were on sale and I had coupons) Go-gurt yogurt and Flintstones Gummie vitamins. Both of which contain Red #40. Other than what snacks she may have at school, those are the only two items I have for her (that I know of at the moment - need to do a kitchen inspection) that contain the dye. Being all money conscious, I got complacent to her needs. My bad.

Recently she's been having periods of rash behavior, being defiant and not listening, being very hyperactive and unable to focus or be still. I was thinking she was just needing some better disciplinary action or was going to great lengths for attention. Perhaps the later is still true. Last night however, Chris and I realized what the problem was right as we went to bed.

Yesterday Bella was her usual playful and pleasant self. Playing nice with her brother, watched a little TV and actually listened to us when we spoke. She then ate dinner, took her vitamins and had a bath. After her bath she emerged a COMPLETE MANIAC! Just thrashing about with her toy camera that happens to record her voice and replays it back - a feature she really likes. She was yelling, jumping off the walls, throwing things, being very loud and even after repeatedly being told to calm down...she just couldn't do it. She was actually a jittery-nervous-hyper mess!

After we finally got her down for bed and then after we went to bed. Chris asked, "Does that Gogurt strawberry yogurt have any red dye in it?" He got up out of bed and looked in the frig. "Yes it does and out it will go." He got back in bed. I then tell him that I didn't give her any yogurt with dinner so it can't be that. It gets quiet and then he says "I bet those vitamins do!" He got back up out of bed to go check the vitamins and tells me that they do have Red #40.

Here's an excerpt from just one medical and research article I have read regarding food dyes. Red #40 in particular:

"Children are most often the ones who have sensitivity to red 40, whether or not their parents have realized it or not. Reactions include temper tantrums, hyperactivity, aggressive behavior, uncontrollable crying and screaming, kicking, nervousness, dizziness, inability to concentrate and sit still among other findings. Physically you may get frequent headaches or migraines, upset stomach and feel ill after ingesting this additive. Often when red 40 is eliminated from the child's diet a remarkable change is noticed immediately."

I can control her diet at home, but school always gives snacks. I need to teach her what to look for and inform her school and daycare that she is to not eat anything with red #40. I'll supply snacks myself for her if it's an issue.

Note to self: Items to add to my grocery list for this week are dye free vitamins and vanilla yogurt.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Surviving the Florida heat

Sometimes I wish I knew that the economy was going to tank (I am sure everyone does!). If I knew, we may not have sold our first home to buy this one. The only reason is that we owe more on this house than what it's worth now. That's a bummer and I know we are not alone with that issue right now.

With our first home we had good equity and lower mortgage payments. Problem we had with our first home was not the home itself. It was brand new! We watched it being built. The problem was the neighborhood. We had a home right behind us that we could not block by fence, neighbors on each side with cars on blocks, weight benches in the yard, trash everywhere, drugs going on etc.

Our current home is a little bit bigger, it's in a somewhat deed restricted community where people are expected to keep their homes clean and neat outdoors (not all participate well unfortunately), my parents are just a house away and last but not least - we have a pool.

We love the pool. We are thankful to have it, even with the housing market down. We are able to enjoy the outdoors more, even in the middle of the day when it's unbearably hot outside. It's also a great way to have fun with the family without having to go elsewhere and spend money. I love to grill outside, put the music on, watch the kids play and eat dinner out there too. Just to get away from the Nintendo DS, computer and television for a while.

This year Kristjan decided he just wanted to hang out on the top step and splash the water with his feet and hands. He will not get in a floaty and doesn't want to swim. At least not at the moment. Last year he was floating, splashing and trying to swim. I'll just let him do what makes him happy right now. I'm sure he's just being cautious and will want to get more involved in his own time.

Emily and Bella wanted to be in the pool as much as possible. I can remember being that way too. Even now I don't want to get out at times!

I was going to sign Bella up for swimming classes at our local YMCA but found out that this summer while at daycare they will be going to a college near by to their Olympic pool twice a week. The ladies said that by the end of the summer she will be swimming without her wings and that they will teach the children to swim. I think she will learn well with them. She won't let Chris or I teach her and I think being with other children that are learning will work better for her.

Bella's last day of school is tomorrow and then she's at daycare all day. It won't be a drag though. Every Monday they will go bowling, every Tuesday they will go to the local roller rink, and every Wednesday and Friday they will go to the college to swim. Sounds like she will have a fun and active summer with her friends.

Ahh...to be a child again. I miss it so. Bella slow down. Growing up isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Such a scatter brain

This weekend we have Ninnie and Emily over to visit and it has been delightful. The girls have been playing away. We put the pool to good use this weekend, I did some grocery shopping with my little man, grilled some barbecue chicken on Saturday where Bella found she loved barbecue sauce and Sunday we visited and had lunch with Mama Ruby where Bella ate and enjoyed her first shrimp. Sunday evening I made pizzas for the adults and let the girls top their own.

Today Bella stayed home from school so she could play one last day with Emily before she returns home. I figured there are only three days of school left...what is she going to miss? Bella will miss Emily dearly. They get along well even with the age difference. Maybe one day they won't be so far apart from each other and they can grow up together. We figure we can't do anything as far as that until 2012 when Chris has ten years vested. Then of course we are hoping by then the economy will be back to normal or doing really well.

I have some pictures from this weekend and will post later. My mind is spinning in many directions and I have lists developing. For some reason my organization skills have left me and I feel like a child in a messy room without a thought of where to begin and I can't just shove the stuff under the bed! I have a spring cleaning and reorganizing list in the works as well as other projects in my mind that I would like to become reality. I just have to make the time and make it happen.

This coming Saturday I am going to a sleep over! It's at my pal's house where a few moms will get together to swap coupons, eat, drink and be merry. Instead of being merry and drive, we'll just pretend we are kids again and sleep over!

Chris and I are going to take a week off in July to just stay home. Kids will still go to daycare so that we can both get household things done that we can't fit in during the week or weekend. Things like detail cleaning and organizing, painting, gardening, car detailing and perhaps even some quiet time. We'll probably still take the kids to the beach or something, but we can't afford to go anywhere this summer and there are a ton of things to do at home.

We have in plan to travel up to Gatlinburg Tennessee this fall for a few days to get our mountain fix. We have not been there in a couple of years and it's way past due! Let the kids run free in the fields, go for walks on nature trails, play near a mountain stream, shop in Gatlinburg, visit the brewery, eat some good southern food or just get away for a while.

We are just going to keep our fingers crossed that Kristjan is up for another long road trip. Chris still twitches when he thinks back to the last road trip with stop and go traffic for 15 hours with the last full hour with a screaming baby.

Time to save for that TV screen (I have a DVD player built in the car, but no screen...go figure) and lots of Elmo movies!