Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I am not by nature a superstitious person. I do not forward on chain letters, a broken mirror doesn't frighten me, and I've even been known to walk under a ladder from time to time. 13 doesn't frighten me, although Friday the 13th can be a fun night. Full moons are beautiful to gaze at and spilled salt gets swept off the table and into the garbage can.

But right now I'm a tiny bit nervous about the mileage on my van. It is 66622. When I was in the 66,500's, I kept thinking how I didn't really want it to get to the 66600's. And when it turned I watched it with a slight feeling of dread. Now I'm thinking of reasons to drive places and actually glad that I have to drive my kids 12 miles round trip to school each morning.

Within a week or so it should be in the 66,700's, but until then I'm driving extra carefully.

Monday, April 28, 2008

I Hate Rude People!

I am really tired of going places and people on cell phones thinking they own the world! I have been going to the same library for eight years now, and in the last year I have encountered more and more people using their cell phones LOUDLY in the library. And not for emergency calls, but just chatting.

The latest was today in the children's area. I was looking for some books when I actually heard this, "You're shitting me." I turn to look, and there is a woman, no kids, sitting on the sofa talking on her cell phone. I'm assuming her kid was in the storytime in the room off of the reading area. So since she had no kids, she thought she would just make a few phone calls! That's fine and dandy, except for the fact that the library bars use of cell phones inside and she was using foul language in a children's area! She couldn't be bothered to step outside of the library to have her conversation because you know, she wanted to talk! Aaargh! I hate rude people.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Cleaning Joy

I know this is both ridiculous and disgusting, but I felt true happiness today. My bathrooms were disgusting. In the last week our family was hit with a nasty ass bug that left every single one of us either vomiting or having diarrhea. I'm sure that's a fact most of you could have lived without, but I'm all about the facts here. Consequently, every bathroom in my house was filthy. The toilets were especially gross, as either one of our heads or backsides were parked there several times over the course of the illness.

So today I'm finally feeling better and decided to tackle both the upstairs bathrooms. I didn't expect to feel such joy at peering at sinks with no toothpaste stuck in them, at eyeing the shiny mirrors, at gazing at a fresh toilet bowl with no orange or brown spatters. But to my surprise I felt a lightness that made me proud, proud to know we are no longer using facilities covered in crap and vomit.

Aahh, it's the little things in life that bring so much joy to my heart!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Was This Really Necessary?

Received a package of crap in the mail the other day and this ad was included in it. Now really, is a Mickey Mouse dressed like Elvis really something anyone needs? And what kind of person buys this stuff?

Some of the selling points include:
"Sparkles with over 80 faux jewels" - Ooooooh, faux jewels, just what this needs
"Edition limited to 95 casting days" - Great, only a few people will have one
"Only $19.95" - though I would have to pay sales tax as I live in Illinois, but the lucky collectors who live in North Dakota wouldn't have to
"The first-ever Mickey Elvis figurine from Hamilton" - because this was surely a market that needed to be tapped
"Every dazzling detail is simply 'ear-resistible'" - Couldn't resist a Mickey ear joke

What do you think Nikki, does your Elvis devotion extend to Mickey Mouse? I didn't really think so.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Signs Of Spring

Spring has finally sprung in my little neck of the woods. Since getting a digital camera several years ago, my interest in photographing nature has blossomed. I love that I can take multiple pictures of the same thing and not worry about wasting film. I like getting close-ups and trying different angles on the same subject. Even though I am not even close to a professional, I am proud and happy of the results I get. It brings me joy seeing the beauty around me, and getting to capture it on camera and possibly hanging it somewhere on my wall in my house gives me great satisfaction. I also love how personal the pictures in my home then become.

This past week I have been able to capture some pictures of the buds on a tree in my front yard and the flowers on a bush, also in my front yard. I love this time of year, when after a looooong winter the trees and bushes give showy displays of color, like they're saying, "We're back! Did you miss us?"

Here are a few of the pictures I snapped. Enjoy!

These first four are from a tree in the tree lawn.

These are from the bush in front of my house. Not sure what it is, we inherited it when we bought the house.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Fun Monday

Well, this better be fun, because my weekend (from Thursday on) was not quite fun. Two puking daughters, a sick husband, a nasty head cold, and corralling large numbers of children in the school cafeteria and trying to keep them quiet during the school musical = my weekend.

But I digress. Our hostess with the mostest, Southern Doll, has asked us to tell you the following:
What have you done in your life that was worth doing? I want to know the moments in your life that you hope will be the ones to pass through your mind when your time comes. I hope that doesn't sound too morbid. This doesn't necessarily have to be items you have checked off your Bucket List, it can be those small moments that made you smile, or the time you got that huge promotion you deserved, or the first time your baby smiled at you out of pure joy. I want to know all the moments, big and small, that make life sweet! If you don't already have a running list of these in your mind, you should! These moments help you remember how much your life is worth living, and we all deserve to enjoy it.

There are so many moments in life that make life worth living for me. I have been blessed to have a wonderful family and friends. In an effort to make this easier to read and hopefully not to boring, I am going to try to list some of these moments.

1. Being kind to Lauren in 7th grade, when no one else on the volleyball team was nice to her.

2. Being a friend to Tracey and Heather when they got pregnant in high school.

3. Pouring balloons over my grandfather's head on his birthday (I was 13) even though I was terrified to do it.

4. Interviewing my grandpa about his days as a bootlegger during prohibition.

5. Dancing with my grandpa (and my husband's grandpa) at family weddings.

6. Walking down the aisle with my Dad.

7. Marrying Brendan.

8. Writing notes to my students when I was teaching them.

9. Writing Adrian when I stopped teaching and seeing whet a wonderful young lady she is becoming.

10. Being pregnant four times - feeling my babies move inside of me.

11. Giving birth to my three beautiful children.

12. Volunteering at my kid's school.

13. Seeing my kids faces every year when I make them the birthday cake they request.

14. The year money was tight so my husband and I only spent $20 on each other for Christmas - I made him a little scrapbook about our life together up to that point.

15. Having our 10th anniversary dinner at home because Brendan had lost his job, and enjoying every minute of it.

16. Seeing my best friend, Aimee, become an amazing mom.

17. Going to my 5 and 10 year college reunions and remembering how much fun I had with some amazing men and women.

18. Giving the checkout girl at my grocery store a $25 gift card at Christmas - anonymously.

19. Going to Barenaked Ladies concerts and Barry Manilow concerts.

20. Surprising my Dad on his 60th birthday.

21. When my brothers and sister and I sent my parents to New York for three days for their 45th anniversary.

22. Going shopping with my mom the day after Thanksgiving for the last two years.

23. Having Thanksgiving at my house and having my mom help me make the turkey.

24. Hosting Christmas for my husband's family.

25. Calling my sister and talking about anything and everything.

26. Making my aunt a card every week and sending them to her while she undergoes chemotherapy.

Whew, I think I could go on for days. When I started I didn't know where I was going to go with this. But as one idea came into my head, another one would pop up and then another! I am truly blessed to have such wonderful people in my life that make this list so long.

Now head over to Southern Doll's blog and check out all the other Fun Monday participants.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Fun Monday

Our host is Nekked Lizard Man and Lady over here.

Their task this week is: FIVE PICTURES - FIVE WORDS PER PICTURE.
Any 5 (FIVE) pictures, any subject, and any 5 (FIVE) words to describe and/or explain each picture. CAN YOU DO IT???

Sounds fun, doesn't it? So without further ado, here are my five pictures.

St. Patrick's Day Family Fun

Cousins Forever At Morton Arboretum

Saturday's Breakfast - Made From Scratch

Husband, Love Of My Life

My Four Favorite (Happy) People

Now, head over to Nekked Lizard Adventures and check out the other Fun Monday participants!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thumb Sucker

My youngest daughter is a thumb sucker. I'm not ready to say "was" yet, but I'm thinking I might be able to soon, maybe. Zoe was a thumb sucker from the beginning. I could not get her to ever take a pacifier, but her thumb worked wonders. She was a good sleeper from the beginning, also. Still is. I credit the thumb.

For the first three years, we only saw the thumb in her mouth when she was tired. The rest of the time it was on her hand next to her body, away from her mouth. Then somewhere between her 3rd and 4th birthday the thumb started finding her mouth more and more often. Watching TV - thumb in mouth, listening to a story - thumb in mouth, riding in van while taking brother and sister to school - thumb in mouth. My husband and I decided to take a page from my sister's parenting book (she had two thumb suckers) and instead of outright outlawing it, we told Zoe she could only suck her thumb while she was lying in her bed. She was allowed to go upstairs and suck her thumb if she wanted to, but she had to be in her bed when she did it. Well, that didn't really work. We reminded, cajoled, played games, pointed, pulled, etc. And the thumb would come out of her mouth, anywhere from 2 seconds to 2 minutes, but then it would be right back in place. To say our method wasn't working would be an understatement. We weren't sure what to do next.

So in March we took her to the dentist for her checkup. We had the nicest dental hygienist, super sweet chairside manner and lots of smiles and fun questions. Zoe was enjoying the attention and doing an amazing job of letting people poke around inside her mouth. When the dentist came in she ate up all his silly jokes and attention. When asked about whether she was a thumb sucker, I gave an emphatic "yes." Dr. J. said he could almost see a thumbprint on the roof of her mouth, which I wouldn't be surprised of at all considering the amount of time her thumb was spending in her mouth.

Then Dr. J. said something that I had no idea would have such a profound effect on Zoe. He told her that she really shouldn't suck her thumb. That's it. On the way home Zoe mentioned how she wasn't going to suck her thumb all the way home. And she didn't. Then the next day on the way home from taking the kids to school she said it was hard not to suck her thumb, but she didn't suck it. And honestly, I haven't had to remind her once since that dentist appointment to take her thumb out of her mouth.

If I had known this was all it would take to get her to stop sucking her thumb, I'd have taken her a long time ago. Who knew?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Bunco Babe

Back in January my next door neighbor was hosting a monthly Bunco group that she was a part of and needed a sub last minute. Enter me. She called in the afternoon and asked if I'd be interested in playing. Having never played before, I was both a little nervous and curious. Being that most of the other ladies are from Naperville, I was a bit worried about my appearance. I took some time to straighten my (naturally curly) hair and change my sweater to something a little nicer. I applied makeup and after dinner walked over to my neighbor's house.

I played my first game of Bunco and had a great time. The women were funny and kind, the game was relaxed and filled with talk of kids, husbands, school districts, and reality TV shows. At the end of the night I was awarded a prize for achieving the last Bunco of the evening, as well as getting to pick a prize from the pile that everyone brings. The group was short one regular each month and I was asked if I'd like to join. I did and have played Bunco once a month ever since.

So, last night I played again and didn't have the most wins or the last Bunco, but I did have the most Buncos (3), which results in the biggest prize of the night!!! I received a $15 gift card to Target, and still got to pick a prize from the stash. I was near the end of picking, because they order it so that the person with the most losses gets to choose first and so on down the line. But, there were still lots of great choices left and I got a gift card to Oberweis Dairy - an amazing ice cream place here. It was a fun night!!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Sunday Expert

At church Sunday morning we sat behind one of the lectors. She was a young woman and she read the second reading. The second reading contained many references to God, saying His name often during the reading. Zoe was sitting quietly next to me watching and listening the woman read. At the end, the woman left the ambo and came back to sit down in the pew in front of us. At this point Zoe turned to me and asked me, "Do you know a lot about God?" I stuttered, "Yes, I guess I do." She then asked, "Why don't you go up there (pointing to the ambo) and talk, then?"

Monday, April 07, 2008

Fun Monday - Crush!

My assignment came from Jo beaufoix over at http://www.jobeaufoix.com/

It is this: I want to know about your first ‘celebrity’ crush. You know, the one you fancied from that band, or that film, or who read the news, or who won Gold at the Olympics.

I thought really hard about this, and either I wasn't crazy about that many celebs, or I'm blocking the embarrassing memories of my first crushes. So, the two that I could some up with are John Taylor from Duran Duran and Rick Springfield.

I drew a picture of Rick Springfield in art class in 6th grade when we had to do a portrait of someone in charcoal. I think I still have it in a box in the basement. I remember that I took my sister's record album cover to school to use for the portrait.

I know I got a big poster of John Taylor in seventh grade for my birthday. that went up on my bedroom door. I loved Duran Duran, and of course loved John. I was a bit of a follower at the time! The first picture is of John when I had a crush. This second one is of him now. He's still quite tasty!

I do not have a scanner and therefore cannot show you any photos of myself at the time. Sorry!

Friday, April 04, 2008


I love to bake. My kids love muffins. We have them often. I make homemade and muffins from a mix. I like them both, especially flavors that I have a hard time making from scratch (like almond poppy seed, yum!) So I decided to share my kids' favorite muffin recipe with you. Now, it's probably their favorite because it is almost like dessert. But, it's sooo good.

One thing I love about making muffins from scratch is knowing exactly what ingredients go into the food I'm feeding my family. No preservatives or agents designed to prevent settling/ caking/ foaming, etc. It also gives me the chance to healthy up a recipe. Don't get me wrong, these muffins, with one cup of sugar and a stick of butter, are not health food. But, with a few simple changes to the recipe, they can be better for you.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins (Healthier Version)

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 medium carrot, finely shredded
3/4 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease or line with paper cupcake liners 18 muffin cups.

2. Combine the flours, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Stir to combine.

3. Add the eggs, milk, melted butter and shredded carrot. Stir until just blended. Fold in chocolate chips. Spoon into prepared muffin pans. Bake until puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean; 15-18 minutes. Cool in pan for five minutes. Remove and cool completely.

Yield: 18 muffins

If you don't want the healthier version, substitute all purpose flour for the whole wheat flour and omit the carrot. I figure any way I can get extra fiber into my kids diet is worth it, even if it's just a little whole wheat flour in a chocolate muffin. The carrot was a last minute inspiration after realizing my kids love zucchini and carrot muffins when I make those. The key is using the finest shred option on your grater. The carrot shreds just melt right into the muffin and are not noticeable. My kids had no idea I had put a carrot in the batter.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Fallen Off The Face Of The Earth

Hello again! It's been a while since I've blogged. It happened for a number of reasons, none of them very good excuses or very important. Blogging doesn't come completely naturally for me. I read other people's blogs and so many say they kept multiple journals as kids and blogging's just a natural extension of that need to write. For me, I was a kid who liked the idea of journaling. I can't tell you how many notebooks I'd start writing in only to abandon it one to two weeks later. So, I had a little fall off the blogging wagon, so to speak. I am going to try and be faithful and get back to regular posting. This is my start.