Monday, November 30, 2009


I'm grumpy today. It could be due to several reasons:

  1. it's that time of the month
  2. I've been home with the kids for 7 days straight without many breaks
  3. it's that time of the year
  4. antidepressants have quit working
Oh, I've been grumpy for a few days but, for whatever reason, I'm in a funk today.

To help me pass the time and/or help me with my mood, I baked.

This was so simple to make. I adapted an Ina Garten recipe for Apple Tart. Yummy.

The free medical clinic called and the don't need me tomorrow. I'm sort of relieved. I'm starting to feel really behind on Christmas preparations. I've ordered Kendall's big gift and now I need to get Clayton taken care of. And then there is my new sister-in-law. She is about 53 and I've met her once. Our family draws names every year and that's who I got. Pete got my dad. I'm trying not to procrastinate this year like I always do!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I saw the movie Julie and Julia this afternoon with a friend. I liked it. I could relate to what the author was going through. For instance, life isn't exactly how I imagined it would be. After having the kids and staying home, I find that I don't have a long-term goal. No direction or passion. OK, I do like to cook and I occasionally take a picture of a meal that I think is gorgeous, but really that blog has already been turned into a best seller, right? I like to think I could be this great professional woman out there and have this great family to care for. I know that most likely won't be the case. For now, it seems I'm a ho-hum-stay-at-home-mom. I learned to cook after I was home all the time with the kids. But, I do like to cook and entertain.

So, where does that leave me? I do have some interest in going back to school to work on a master's degree, but what subject? I've always been fascinated with infectious disease or public health. But, then I feel like why pay the money and have the stress of school when I'm living in central PA and would most likely never use the degree? Or is that just a big excuse for not pushing myself. And then there's the volunteering at the free medical clinic. Once a week is enough and gives me that feeling of impacting some lives out there.

I guess I should look at it as if right now my job is being there for my kids. For instance, they are home tomorrow for opening day of deer season. Yes, you read it right. The public schools are closed for opening day. Annie get your gun. I have a gig tomorrow hanging out with the kids.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

France--Day 4

On Wednesday of my trip, I took a train from Paris to see my friend who lives a couple of hours away. She is British and I met her when she lived in Wisconsin. She and her family are now in France and I've visited them twice over there. She picked me up at the train station and took me to the castle in Epinal. There were beautiful views from there. Her older son took this picture and her younger son jumped up just as he took it.

This is her dog, Abi. She's a sweet dog who knows commands in English and French!
Here is her husband cooking up something on the grill. They have an old farm house with a huge back yard. There are all kinds of fruit trees and berry bushes. I picked a lot of raspberries and ate them while I was there.

That was about it for Day 4. It was a travel day with a little sight-seeing and dinner.

Friday, November 27, 2009

I ate so much on Thursday. Everything turned out just right. Our friends arrived and we had Kir Royale. Yummy! There was a ton of food. I did do one thing differently then what I mentioned the other day. Instead of mashing sweet potatoes up with sauteed garlic and onions, I opted for a sweet potato casserole. Pete loved it. Since we were having mash potatoes, I didn't want to have just regular mashed sweet potatoes. My cornbread dressing was yummy, too.

This is my plate and yes, it's a lot! It's a good thing that Thanksgiving is only one day a year (as far as the food goes).

I had to get up early this morning and be at work at 6:30 am. Yes, everyone else was doing the insane thing of shopping on black Thursday and I was working. I hope to work more, but right now it's not happening. :(

Well, I better go and eat some yummy leftovers for dinner!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

So, Thanksgiving is tomorrow. I have tons to be thankful for. I'm looking forward to preparing the huge meal and having guests. I do wish I could be with my extended family, though. Oh well.

The kids are home for a few days. Nowadays, they are totally into vintage Scooby Doo movies. I liked that stuff, too, when I was a kid. I wish they had school today so I could run errands and have the house to myself just one more day.

The day after Thanksgiving I will work at the hospital. Yay! I haven't worked in a long time and with Christmas coming up, it will be good to have some extra money coming in. Speaking of Christmas, I ordered Kendall's American Doll last night. Now, I have to figure out what the little guy wants from Santa. He's really into the magnetic building tiles. I think I need to order some more so he can build big things.

So, I better stop blogging and get cooking! I've got to make my stuffing today. I'm making cornbread stuffing/dressing. It's simple, yet so yummy. I made my cranberry sauce last night. I've never made homemade cranberry sauce before. I'll taste it today to see how the flavors blended. Our friends are bringing two pies and some green beans. I usually am the dessert person but I'm happy to pass the torch when it comes to making pumpkin pies. I'm not a fan of them. I'm also roasting some fresh brussel sprouts with figs and lardon. And of course, we will have mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes. My husband doesn't like the sweeter version of sweet potatoes that my family makes so we will do a savory dish with sauteed onions, garlic and butter mixed in mashed sweet potatoes. I should get some yeasty rolls to put on the table too. I almost forgot about that! I think that's it for the menu. Oh, and the turkey. We have a huge one because Pete thought I said I wanted leftovers. Ugh.

So, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, November 20, 2009

What to do?

I'm trying to plan ahead and get ready for the holidays. This year we are staying home for Thanksgiving and having friends over for the big meal. But Christmas will be spent on the road. I'm so torn about this. My kids still believe in Santa but their cousins in New York City know there is not a Santa. Two years ago, my niece said to my kids, "Santa is your mama." I was sick. I remember saying to her (mind you, she was 3, almost 4, at the time), "I'm sorry Santa doesn't come to your house, but he comes to ours." Later, I did the Santa Tracking on the Internet and I hope filled her with doubt. So, there's the quandary. We will be in New York until Christmas day and then we will go up to Boston to see Pete's parents. My sister-in-law will have a tree (she will probably hire someone to decorate it, but still), so that seems like the perfect place for Santa to bring the presents since we won't get back until Dec. 27 to our house. I'm just hoping my kids will get to enjoy the magic for another year. Yesterday in the car my daughter asked me if Santa was real. I replied, "Gosh, I hope so." My son said, "Yes, he's real. You've seen him!" So, my 7 year old is questioning it but my 5 year old still believes.

I think I'll call my sister-in-law and tell her we will be doing Santa there. I hope she gets the message. Seriously, her son at age 5 was putting stuff in our stockings Christmas morning before my kids got up. I just don't want Christmas to be ruined for my kiddos.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wow! The week flew by from the last time I posted!

Gosh! I'm getting so behind in my posting. We've been doing stuff around the house and then there's no time for important stuff like writing in my blog.

My husband is out of town again this week. He has traveled a ton this fall and I think that's one reason the house is never in shape. The kids destroy it faster than I can pick it up. Yes, they should be helping. I know.

I volunteered today at the free medical clinic. It was my second time to volunteer. So far, I've had good luck finding veins on the patients. The clients (that is what they are supposed to be referred as) have been great. Most of them look like anyone else-clean cut, well dressed, etc. The difference is they make too much money for Medicaid and they're too young for Medicare. Private insurance policies are way too expensive for the average person so there are a lot of people falling through the cracks. It's a shame it's that way right now. I don't understand how some people can be so cold-hearted when it comes to health care access. I know it will cost money to insure people but, hey, nobody seems to bat an eye at all the money the Pentagon spends. I guess it's OK to destroy lives rather than preserve and try to keep lives healthy. Oh, I digress. What I was going to say is the patients thank me and say how much they appreciate what we're doing there. It's almost uncomfortable. Don't get me wrong, I love the pat on the back, but I'm getting something out of it, too. After all, both my kids are in school and I don't have permanent work yet, so really, what else should I be doing?
Just maybe I'm selfish and need the adult contact? It's only 3 hours a week and it goes by fast.

It seems the lice scare might be over at school. Knock on wood, I think we averted it for now. That's just what I need--to have to wash all the bedding, etc. I think that would just send me over the edge.

This Thursday is the last day for my bible study this semester. It's been hard keeping up with it with Pete gone so much, but I've enjoyed the time spent there and getting to know the ladies better in my small group. I think we will get together some more to make Christmas candy with a couple of the older ladies in our small group. Sounds like fun to me!

Did I mention that I've joined a Bunco group? They meet once a month and play Bunco. It's really an excuse to get together with a bunch of women and eat and talk. They have different themes depending on the host and this last time was "wear a fancy occasion dress." I stayed in the car until I was certain I was at the right house and I saw other women in long dresses! After a while, some of us changed into more comfortable attire. It's just not the same when you're not dancing and drinking.

So, that's a little of what's been going on around here. I'm running again and loving it. I ran for 25 minutes straight today and only had to stop to walk because there was a long hill at the end!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I had a productive day. Oh, the house is not in shape, but I did accomplish a lot today. First, I had the Women's bible study at a local church. I had done all my daily studies, except one, and felt on top of it. I helped lead the singing with two other women and the songs were awesome. After the morning, I bought a birthday gift for one of Clayton's friends who is having a party Sunday afternoon. When I got home I had lunch, ironed some clothes, checked email and Facebook and then went for a run. I'm up to two miles now and it's getting better everytime I go out. I just put some banana bread batter in the oven. I gotta go pick up the kids from school in a minute and then get ready for Girls' Night Out. Yippee! A good, busy, productive day.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My husband had the day off for Veteran's Day. It was nice to spend some time together since we've been really busy lately and he's been traveling some. His goal was to put the walls up on the tree house. This weekend, he'll put the roof on and add the door. I think the kids will really like playing up there.

I made cookies this weekend for my friends' tail gate. They were yummy. Butter, sugar...what's not to like? The reason we tail gated this weekend was my old friend who lives in DC came up with her family. We went to high school together in Arkansas. It's great getting together. But, we were playing Ohio State University at home. My friends had lived in Columbus, Ohio for four years and became Ohio State fans. We still had a great time even though Penn State lost. It had been a while since Pete and I had hung out with other adults without kids.

Here is my friend with her 5 month old Cavalier King Charles, Charlie. He was pretty cute even if his only purpose is to sit in your lap. He does have a funny habit of scooting his bottom across the floor. My husband wasn't impressed. But, my husband only has use for hunting dogs!

Oh and there was a lice scare at school today. I think it came from a birthday party from Saturday that my son was invited to. At the last minute because we had company this weekend, Clayton didn't go to the party. It turns out the kids who went to the party all got lice! They were sent home from school today. Ugh! I am so hoping my kids don't get lice.

Monday, November 09, 2009

We had a great weekend. My friend from high school, who now lives in DC, came up with her husband and 3 kids. They are a very easy family to be around. She has twin daughters who are 10 and another girl who is 8. I hardly saw my kids all weekend! They arrived on Friday night. On Saturday, we adults got to tailgate at the Penn State game while the 5 kids stayed back with a babysitter. The weather was gorgeous all weekend, too. It was just an awesome time. My house is a mess now, but I don't care.

My kids are out of school today for some in-service. We need a little down time in the house. It's going to be a beautiful day outside so I think I'll try to get them to play in the sun today. Tonight I'm watching some kids while the parents go to dinner. This family watches my kids all the time for play dates and their daughter and my daughter are best friends.

Tomorrow will be the first day I volunteer at the Volunteers in Medicine clinic. I'm excited and a little nervous. I hope I do a good job! It will be for a couple of hours every Tuesday.

I guess that's it for now. I've got laundry up to my eyeballs!

Have a good Monday!

Monday, November 02, 2009


We survived Halloween. The kids had a blast. Clayton was a Clone trooper and Kendall was a Cheetah cub. She's a cat every year.

For Halloween we went to a friend's house and had dinner and then all the kids went out at 6 pm. It was a little chilly once the sun went down, but otherwise the weather was good. The kids got tons of candy! We hardly had any kids at our house, so I have tons of candy, too. :) Good thing I bought snickers.

Last week two of Pete's colleagues from Sweden stayed with us. I enjoy having company and cooked a nice meal for them on Thursday evening. On Friday they took us out to dinner. The
kids had been out for three days last week and I enjoyed the little break from them, even if it were only for a little while. My kids are good kids--don't get me wrong--but they are so mean to each other that I get exhausted being a referee all the time.

I guess the most exciting thing I did today was purchase an electric leaf blower. I should have taken before/after photos of the yard. Oh well. The yard was covered in brown leaves (we live in the woods) and now one can see green grass. I overdid it and am fairly tired but it was a blast!

And lastly, it looks like I will be volunteering at a medical clinic in town. It's the Centre Volunteers in Medicine. I never knew they were part of a bigger organization so that's kind of neat. I'll be there on Tuesday mornings drawing blood. It'll be nice to feel like I'm helping others.

That's it for now. I'm beat. The husband is out of town and won't get back until Thursday!