Wednesday, January 26, 2011


This past weekend, we took a family road trip. The actual "purpose" of the trip was for a soccer tournament for Olivia in Southern California (The Anaheim Cup), but we decided to take the kids out of school a couple of days early, visit Disneyland and make it a mini vacation.

We were all excited about the journey. Well, the kids are never thrilled about spending seven hours in the car, but once we are on the way, the drive becomes part of the fun. I think it does anyway!
We had such a great time. Just being away together was priceless. The kids don't fight like they do at home (they fight but it isn't the same!), and everything about the days just seems different. Sometimes I think we all need to change up the routine a bit. (And it makes getting back into your routine again even better!)

I think I am pretty good about being grateful for my life. I could be better at times, but I really do make it a point to stop and take in things every day, and I know that I am really blessed to have what I have. We all know how quickly things can change.......and I appreciate my life so much.

I took some pictures that make me feel grateful. I want to share them with you.

Olivia and Matt holding hands in line for a ride - what????? When does this ever happen?!!!

The girls in an embrace....xoxoxox

Dan cracking up at dinner.....I am pretty sure we were imitating his snoring noises from the night before. He still refuses to believe he snores.....evs.

Sleeping at the end of a long day........too cute.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Grace is gone

It is a rite of passage - I know. The 6th grade Outdoor Education trip. At our school, the kids go to Sly Park Outdoor Education Center, a little over an hour away. I've been dreading this trip for Grace like the plague. When Olivia went, I was super sad, don't get me wrong. But she is just a different kid. Having her gone was so hard, but I knew she was having a blast and I didn't "worry" about her.

Grace, although she has an incredible inner strengh, is just more sensitive and is much more of a home body. She was so excited to go, was paired up with her best friend in the entire universe, but I knew that somewhere inside she had to be anxious.

On Sunday night, the day before the trip, I went to kiss her goodnight. Her bags were on the floor, all packed and ready to go. The list of things she neded all checked off and laying on her desk.

On the white board she keeps near her bed, I saw this note.

Kill me now.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Hunger Games

Have you heard about these books? I may be a little behind the times here because I would have thought there would be soooo much more written about them!

Over break, I noticed that a Facebook friend (whose reading opinions I value) commented that she was reading the first book of the series and was addicted. I couldn't get her comment out of my head, so I headed to Target to get it. I brought it home, started reading and from page 1 was totally and completely sucked in. The kids saw me, reported that kids at school (yes, it is "geared" toward the 11+ crowd) loved the books, and they all wanted to read it too. They even offered up their own hard earned cash to get a copy for themselves! Being that my kids aren't the avid readers I had hoped for them to be, I was so happy. Off to Target I went again.

I am now on the final book of the series - book 3. Amazing.

A true testament is that I fell asleep while reading the first one, and the King picked it up. The King is a periodical reader (magazines, newspapers, junk mail...) but books? Not so much. The next morning though, he told me he was hooked! And he left on a business trip today and asked the kids if he could take it with him! Now if that isn't a ringing endorsement, I don't know what is!

Has anyone else read them? What did you think?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Spa Day

When I was little, I loved to have a free weekend day to call a "beauty day". I would do my nails, condition my hair, and give myself a facial using my mom's creams. This may have come from my Nana, who every Sunday without fail would do a similar thing. She would take a long bath, shave her legs, and paint her fingers and toes. She had a flowered cardboard box of nail polish in the kitchen that she would pull out, and I loved being there when she was doing her nails so that I could do mine too. Those were happy memories for me.

So last weekend when my girls woke up and told me that they wanted to have a spa day with their awesome friends across the street, I was so happy! It seemed like my Nana revisited right here in my bathroom! They asked if they could use my big tub to soak their feet, use my facial mask and if I had enough vinegar so they could rinse their hair with it (old family secret for shiny hair......:)). I said SURE and set them free to do their thing.

I had a bunch of errands to run, and came home to their clean shiny faces, sparkling hair, freshly painted and very colorful nails and their big smiles when they told me that it was lots of fun.

Later that day I headed upstairs and what I saw in the garbage can made me smile and then laugh.......

Here it is:

When I asked them about it, Liv said "Oh, when we were doing our masks we put cucumber on our eyes......and then we ate them."

Hilarious. I love those kids.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Before I start to write, I want to be sure you know that not all of my blogs will be about the King. It is just that when I began this blog, I wanted it to be a cooking blog of sorts.....but then I realized that my real life is sometimes just more entertaining than my dinners -- which don't get me wrong, are great, but you know what I mean.

And the King....well, he just gives me so much dang material. If you know the King, I know you are saying "Oh, he sure does!" right this very second.

So while my posts will soon contain details about meals I've cooked (and some pictures too - that is a goal for me), my kids, my jobs, etc., today's entry will also be about the King. And the tsumani he created last night.

Picture it - we are "sleeping" and it is 4am. I should say, the King is sleeping and I am awake as I often am at that time of night, no doubt fretting about something, when I hear the King lift his head and take a drink of water. Thinking that he will get very thirsty during the night, the King usually brings a very large vat of water to bed with him. (Let me add here that most nights the King sleeps like a rock and never takes a sip of the water, but whatever......I digress.)

So the King takes his sip, and then I hear it - WHOOSH!!!!! Yup, he literally put the cup out into the air and let it go. No worries if the table was there, no thinking "Oh god what a mess that would be if I spilled my vat of water.......nope. WHOOSH...........drip, drip, drip.

The King let out a deep sigh. I didn't budge - sorry pal, your tsunami, your mess is what I was thinking.

The tale ends with the King spending the next 20 minutes with towels on the table, floor, surrounding piles of books (we'll get into the King's hoarding behaviors at another time), drying the items on the floor, etc. He was considerate and didn't turn on the light, and for that, I thank him. Sadly though, when he hopped back into bed to resume snoring away (another topic I'll likely touch on in the future), I was wide awake. At 4am........that is what a tsunami can do to a girl.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Let's Try This Again

Hi Friends!

I've tried a couple of times to jump back into my blog over the last year, and it just didn't stick. But I figured that with the start of a new year, and new resolutions, I would give it another try! Bear with me!

First, Happy New Year to you all! I hope that 2011 brings you all that you hope and dream. Or if it just turns out to be a better year for all of us, I'd be happy with that too.

We started out this year by using the King's new toy......a smoker. I did lots of research on them before I bought it, and came to the conclusion that because the King has an undiagnosed case of ADD, an electric smoker would be the way to go - no worrying about maintaining temperatures with charcoal, no babysitting except to add water and wood, and I hoped we'd have good results.

On Saturday, the King headed to the store for a brisket, which for some reason I wanted to be the first meat smoked. I wasn't even sure if I liked brisket, but off he went and returned with close to 7 pounds of meat. If you aren't sure what that looks like, just picture a cow lying on its side, and then remove the whole part facing you. We are talking about a huge hunk of meat.

I had been urging the King to read up on smoking, and we did briefly chat on Saturday night that he would likely have to get up early (not easy for the King) to get the meat in the smoker. I gently tried to tell him that Sunday dinner at midnight wasn't what I was looking for, and I headed off to bed hoping he heard me.

He woke up at 10. Slightly disgusted with this, I again tried to light a fire under him by putting out some foil, seasonings, and I quietly screamed over my shoulder as I headed out to church "That meat better be on there when I get back.........or I don't want to know what might happen." This is how you have to work with the King.

And sure enough, when I got home there it was, smoking away. While the "rules" of smoking vary greatly, he though 6 1/2 hours would do the trick. So we waited.

Well, actually, the King's ADD did kick in during the process and he headed downtown to watch a non-televised football game with a friend. Was I right to get the electric smoker or what? He never could have left if I had gotten him the charcoal smoker. Go me.

We waited patiently until the magic hour, and in walked the King with his beast..........

Here is a shot of it after it rested and was carved.

You might think a piece of meat cooked that long would be dry and chewey! But no! It was really delicious! A very successful first attempt. Good job honey!

Tonight I will try to get creative with the remaining 5 pounds in the fridge.......I'm thinking Brisket Tacos. Any other suggestions?