Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Healthy Turkey Chili

Fall weather is creeping up on us.  I can feel it.

The air is brisk when I wake up and the nights are chilly when the sun goes in. 

This summer has been full and much has transpired.  And I'm ready for jeans.  I'm ready for sweatshirts.

For apples.

For football.

Football brings a distinct warmth to my heart.  It brings my familiy together.  And where there is football and family there is tacos.

And nachos.

And chili.

All this fall air I've been smelling made me hungry for chili.

Naturally I made some.  I shared a container with my dad and I have leftovers for the week.

I'm totally stoked.

Turkey Chili
makes approximately 8 cups

1 lb ground turkey, cooked
2 38oz cans stewed tomatoes (I used Del Monte Stewed Original Recipe)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/8 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes2 tablespoons garlic
2 tablespoons chili powder (more if you like brow sweat)
1 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken stock

Optional: 2 cans (15oz) kidney bean, 1 cup chopped green pepper

With spoon remove stewed tomatoes from cans.  Finely chop/crush.  Set aside and save juice from cans to add to chili.

Brown turkey meat over medium heat.  While browning, cook chopped onion and oil over medium high heat in heavy saucepan until golden (about 5 minutes).

Add garlic, chili powder, cumin and red pepper flakes.  Stir and cook 1-2 minutes. 

Add tomato paste, chicken stock, and stewed tomatoes and juice from stewed tomato cans.  Add kidney beans (optional).

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Simmer over low heat 1 hour.  Add 2-3 teaspoons sugar if needed to cut acidity of tomatoes.

I serve mine with a 1/4 cup shredded cheese to add some excitement and cut the nutritional value.  In my world chili is better with cheese. 

That's how I roll.

Mommyhood Footnote:  I'm adding in the nutritional information for your viewing pleasure.

Nutrional Information:
serving size: 1 cup
calories: 171
fat: 7.5 grams
protein: 13 grams

Monday, August 29, 2011

I'm Spent

It has been a strange few days.  We've been homebound, eating mucho and resting mega mucho.

Hubby couldn't get to work today.  Roads were closed.  They either collapsed, were covered in debris or still underwater.

Our schedules have been disrupted and the past few days are beginning to blend together in my memory.  It's quite strange.

And oddly tiring.

We've heard stories or families who were tragically hit by the flooding from Hurricane Irene.  We have friends and family still without power.

While we were blessed enough to have no damage to our home, others were not so lucky.

Millions were not so lucky.

And now our town begins to recover.  To rebuild.  To forge ahead to brighter tomorrows.  I'm looking forward to the end result, because it will be phenomenal.

I have no doubt that a year from now we'll be talking about how nasty Irene was.  And how the town has come back from her devastation.

I'm signing off, and leaving you with a picture of my girls.  This was taken Friday night, at the football program's bonfire to kickoff the season.
This picture reminds me of how blessed I am, and what is truly important.

Count your blessings this Tuesday, and have a happy one.

Mommyhood Footnote:  All my loyal readers know I have a deep, sincere love for ice cream.  One of my favorite locations to spend my waitressing cash on ice cream was underwater yesterday.  Everyone in town is guilty of stopping there as much as possible before they close up for winter.

Weirs, I'll be waiting for you and your cookie dough balls next spring!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

My Town After Hurricane Irene

These past twenty four hours have been a hunkered down, television watching calorie fest.

With Irene approaching, the town was prepared to stay inside.  I saw friends at the grocery store pre-storm and messaged them online during the storm. 

While the wind never picked up like we expected, the rain was relentless.  And it left our town underwater.  It left neighbors without electricity, cars, garages and basements.
It left our downtown flooded and without a ballfield.
I am feeling very blessed that I have electricity and my Direct TV.  We were spared the worst.  Our backyard is puddled and covered in leaves, but it remains.

I asked Hubby to take the camera with him when he ventured to the store for a steak. 

After being "cooped up" a steak was on the agenda.  There was no stopping him.
When he came home with steak (him) and ice cream (me) he showed me the photos I am sharing with you.
I have no doubt that these businesses and families will rebound and all will be well. "Things" can be replaced,  people cannot.
I am sending out a gentle reminder for everyone to shop local in the coming months, because the town will need our support.
And everyone else, wherever you live, should do the same.
Now we need to roll up our sleeves, help our communities and stay safe.

Looking forward to a sunny tomorrow,

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Survival Race

Today Hubby and my brother participated in the Survival Race.  They ran three miles, completing obstacles along the way.

They ran through fire, crawled under wires and climbed rope.  They jogged through high grass and waded through mucky lakes.
It was quite an experience. 

Naturally, because they are anything but your average males, they dressed for the occasion.  They created a "lumberjack uniform".   

They also ran the race together.  They never separated.

You'd have to know them personally to understand.  There is a brotherly bond that has grown from eleven years of being related.
For them, the event was a real hootenanny.  And they will be back again next year for more.
They love to punish themselves.
I am now signing off for what may be several days, depending on what Hurricane Irene does to our power.  If you are also in her path, stay safe!
Mommyhood Footnote:  Look at those outfits.  Heaven help me.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Weekend Indulgence: Peanut Butter and Jelly French Toast

The weekend is once again upon us.  Hallelujah.  Amen.

With Irene threatening to make her appearance this weekend, we are busy stockpiling the house with water, candles and flashlights. 

And candy. 

This morning I decided to take a break from all the Hurricane frenzy and make something different.

Something bad.

It involved homemade french toast and peanut butter and jelly.

And it was delightful.

There are few instructions with this recipe.  You'll need to make french toast, if you need a recipe use mine:

French Toast

You'll also need to make certain the centers are done and that the bread is crispy on the outside.  This is a must for all french toast, plain or otherwise.

Lastly, let the french toast cool for a few minutes, because peanut butter and jelly will get soggy super fast on hot french toast.

I know this from experience.

Once you have warm french toast, assemble your sandwich and dust with powdered sugar.

Inhale, smile and enjoy.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Dog

When we bought our house a few years ago we promised the kids a dog.

We were uprooting them from the life they knew and moving them to new schools.  New bedrooms.  New friends.

And so we bought "the dog".

By nature I am an animal lover.  But I am also a clean house lover.  And this dog has wrecked more of my house than my four munchkins.

As a puppy she chewed and had accidents.  She is so lazy she still has accidents.  Who wants to go outside at midnight when you can walk two feet, poop and go back to bed?

Guess I can't blame her.

The upside to the dog is she is loves the kids.  She doesn't bark unless necessary.  She prefers a low growly noise when she wants something.  She lays around all day sleeping.

She really is quite boring when I think of it.

Well, boring until the sprinkler is in the yard.  When the sprinkler is in sight she goes dog wild.

She runs through and tries to "eat" the water.  She jumps, rolls and circles the area at warp speed.
This is very amusing to watch.  We have spent many afternoons with the giggles watching her dart in and out of the sprinkler zone.

And I have spent many afternoons cursing her when she runs through the water from the hose as I am watering my plants.

My plants usually don't survive the trampling.

But I love her.  She is an amusing, sprinkler loving dog.

And she's ours.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

ThredUP: A Kids Clothing, Toy and Book Swap

As a "mommy blogger", I felt the need to share this link.  I have never heard of this before, and I am excited to share it with all of you.

ThredUP is a kids clothing, toy and book swap between moms.  I am forever trying to rid my space of outgrown clothes and toys.  We send bags upon bags to donation bins.

On the site you search according to gender, desired items and size.  You can then browse through boxes already prepared by other parents with what you are looking for.

You pay minimal shipping for the box YOU want, and it comes right to your doorstep.

Finally, list a box of your goodies for other parents to browse.  When someone chooses your box shipping is free.  They even schedule a pick up at your house!
This is totally cool beans.

Check it out!


Mommyhood Footnote:  This post is NOT sponsored.  I am obligated to share anything and everything cool to all of you.

Easy Brownie Cookie Bar Dessert

Yesterday I made brownies.  I made them extra rich.

I accomplished this by adding a mixture of 24 crushed Chips Ahoy cookies and a stick of melted butter to the mix. 

Sometimes I just like to try things.

I smashed the cookies to smithereens in a zip lock bag and poured them into a bowl with the melted butter.  I pressed this mixture into the bottom of my greased 9x13 pan.

I made boxed brownie mix, always adding a squeeze of Hershey's syrup to the mix.  I poured this on top of the crushed cookie base.

The result was an extra rich, extra delish brownie bar.  The cookies baked in and only a small trace of them remained.

While still warm, I served these to my munchkins.  Naturally I jazzed them up with a drizzle of chocolate syrup and topped with whipped cream.  They were delighted.

After the kitchen was quiet again, I served myself one as well.
I was delighted. 

And as I devoured my mid-afternoon snack, I realized it was an easy and elegant dessert for company.  No fuss needed for this one.

Happy Hump Day! (giggle giggle)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Curbside Picnic

One thing I can tell you about having a big family is that there is a lot of running around.  We have practices, playdates, homework and school activities.  We cherish quiet nights at home, and unfortunately they are few and far between.

While there is much running around for Hubby, myself and my older kids, for my little kids there is a lot of waiting around.

I stress the words a lot.

My two youngest wait at football practice, gymnastics practice and doctors appointments.  They have minimal if any playdates and they are dragged all over creation. 

They have had to adapt well and learn how to wait gracefully.  It's all about survival for them. 

Over the years I've always kept a blanket in my trunk.  It comes in handy when I want them to sit and play at fields.  It gives them a "home base;" some sort of perimeter.  Within this perimeter I empty the backpack full of markers, crayons, papers and figures I keep in my car.

My blanket rapidly fills with munchkins from all surrounding areas.  Then the mass of munchkins all happily play on the trunk blanket.  The kids stay entertained and I am happily left alone to spectate.

My trunk blanket is also phenomenal for impromptu picnics.

Tonight I set up our happy meals curbside and we enjoyed some fresh air instead of waiting inside at gymnastics practice.

We were freed from the tiny waiting room with windows.
It was a welcome break for me and the mini-munchkins.  The air was much needed, and I wasn't driving places just to spend money.

When the weather turns?  This blanket gets a good wash and becomes a safe haven from wind, chilly air and frozen fingers at football games.
Every parent needs a trunk blanket.  If you don't have one, get one.  You'll thank me later.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Auntie Annie's At Home Pretzel Kit

Along with my weakness for Diet Coke and ice cream comes my appreciation for soft pretzels.

If I know there is a good soft pretzel available within a few miles of any destination I make that pretzel my next meal.

No questions asked.

Auntie Annie's makes a Mommyhood approved pretzel.  They are delish to the max.

Recently my mother gifted me an at home pretzel making kit.  An Auntie Annie pretzel kit.  Heaven in a box.

And last week, when I had a monster playdate, I made the munchkins pretzels.  Most of the munchkins requested cinnamon sugar pretzels. 
I made them cinnamon sugar pretzels and a few salted for myself.
I could never make these pretzels if I didn't have munchkins to eat 90% of them.  This is because I would eat 100% of them.  I would pop a can of soda and devour pretzel after pretzel after pretzel.

And just when I couldn't eat any more pretzels I would squeeze in one more.
The end of my story is that an hour after the pretzels were baked there were no more.  Every munchkin asked for seconds, and I ate seconds as well.

A wonderful, tasty summer activity.

HaPpY MoNdAy!

Mommyhood Footnote:  This post is 100% unpaid and uncompensated.  Auntie Annie's doesn't know me from a hole in the wall.

I love what I love and I share what I love.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Just Being Kids

The other day I caught my munchkins being kids.

And as always, it was awesome.

I wish them this kind of happiness always.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Weekend Indulgence: Oreo Caramel Brownies

You will assume when opening this post I made these brownies as my "weekend indulgence".

We all know what happens when we "ass-u-me".  

There are no Oreo Caramel Brownies at my house right now.  But I am hoping my girlfriend and fellow waitress brings these to work tomorrow night. 

Because they look like heaven in brownie form. 

And I will be making these come September.  I have an "as needed" baking policy from June -September.  With no central air the oven is an enemy.  Although these might just be needed before the weather cools.

I'll keep you posted.  And I'll post my results. 

But it wouldn't be kind of me to keep this dessert from you for that long.  To know these exist is to know you need to bake them.

And so I will, soon.  And you must as well. 

And then we can all squeeze into our jeans and laugh.


Friday, August 19, 2011

5 ? Friday!

It's Friday.  Happiness is oozing out of my pores.  I'm giddy with anticipation because this weekend my Sports Fanatic plays in his round robin scrimmage.

It's kind of a big deal 'round here.  Can't explain it, but it is.

Gotta love us football crazies.

5 ? Friday! (Join Here)

1. Do you close the bathroom door when you are home alone?
I have shocked many friends and family with my "open door" habits.  They cruise by the bathroom and it's always stop mid stride, hands over mouth, "Oh! Uh, hey?" 

Always a bit of an awkward moment.  For them anyway.

With young munchkins I always felt strange closing the door.  I didn't like leaving them unsupervised.  Even if it was for the time it took to tinkle and wipe.

I am much better about closing the door now.  Munchkins are older, and I need THEM to know that for #1 AND #2's door stays closed.  

But if I'm home alone the house is my oyster.

2. You have to walk around with a word on your forehead. That word describes you. One word. What is it?


Be happy, be thankful.  

I just read a quote on a greeting card that is now my phrase to live by.

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you do with what happens to you."

Attitude is everything.  And life is too short.

3. What store do you refuse to shop at and why?

I have sworn off so many stores but I'm easy to forgive.  I'm too laid back after the initial annoyance is over.

So there is no "I'll never shop there" store.  I say there is, but there is not.

But I will say for the record that the Gap has a HORRID return policy.  I have 4 kids.  If you think I am making it back to return ANYTHING within 30 days of buying it you are off your rocker.

And if I am organized enough to still have my receipt when I DO make it back you better give me my $ if that shirt is still remotely in style. 

I hope someone from the Gap read that.

Target also stinks with returns.  I hope Target read that too.

4. If you participated in arranged marriages for your child(ren), who would you choose for your child(ren)?

Someone who is kind, handy, attractive and makes a nice living.  
I sound like every single woman in America.

But for my munchkins, kind is by far and away the most important.

5. If you could pick how and when you would die, would you?

I would live forever with my munchkins.

I guess if I HAVE to choose, I want to be very old and still living a great life.  And then pass when I'm sleeping. 

HaPpY FrIdAy!

Random Picture from hard drive!
Good Luck Tomorrow Wizards!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

This morning I made chocolate chip pancakes.  I made them because it's summer. 

And it's Thursday.

And I wanted to.

If you care to enjoy these yourselves, here is precisely how to prepare them:

Heat griddle.

Add oil.

Make pancakes. 

Add chocolate chips.

The End.

Mommyhood Footnote:  I'm thinking these would make a perfect dinner.  No need to save such a delight for breakfast.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Back to School Organization

We have a very short three weeks until the school bus once again rolls up at 8:35am.  We will be ready and waiting, smiles big and bright.

New shoes will be clean, clothes will be crisp and unwrinkled.  Lunches will be bursting with wholesome sandwiches and homemade goodies.

I save all the "hurry! hurry!" frenzy for the second day of school and every day thereafter.

I have begun my back to school organizing, starting with the entryway.  We spend much time in this very area waiting for the bus to appear down the road.

And so last year I had Hubby hang lovely hooks at munchkin level.  Each munchkin has two hooks, one for jacket and one for backpack.

This has been a HUGE floor de-cluttering help.

This year I have added an old piece of furniture my parents were discarding.  It is a small bench, perfect to rest packed lunches or to sit and put on shoes.

A clean, organized entry keeps me sane.  It keeps the mind working.  Nothing throws me into a tailspin like clutter and mess everywhere.

And there is enough I can't control to send me into a tailspin.  Clutter will never win in this house.

I am now off to spend what is left of my pay from Sunday on lunchboxes and folders. 

Happy back to school prep!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Easy Cinnamon Bread

These past few weeks I've occasionally strayed from my standard breakfast offerings.

Instead of Eggo's or homemade pancakes I made cinnamon rolls.  The Pillsbury kind.

My munchkins LOVE cinnamon rolls.  If you have blood in your veins and taste buds on your tongue you love cinnamon rolls.  If you don't love cinnamon rolls we probably can't be friends.

This morning I was feeling a tad adventurous and I decided to make cinnamon bread.  I made it out of the packaged cinnamon rolls.

Honesty is the best policy.

I will spare you the suspense.  The bread was fabulous. Gooey.  Delish.  It was much like monkey bread.

This bread would make an extremely easy breakfast bread for company.  The house smells fab, the bread is gorgeous, and with a butter knife you can easily break off chunks of gooey goodness.

Keep a package of Pillsbury Rolls handy for a quick cinnamon bread breakfast of champions. 

Easy Cinnamon Bread
(serves 4)
You will need:
One package Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls
Greased Bread Pan (9")
Hungry munchkins or adults

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease pan.

Cut rolls in half and arrange in greased pan.

Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and cover with foil.  Bake an additional 5 minutes.

Let stand one minute, remove carefully from pan and turn right side up on decorative plate.  Or just use a paper plate.  I'm not judging.

Spread icing generously over bread.  Let it melt and drizzle over the sides.

Place in the middle of the table for everyone to admire. 

HaPpY TuEsDaY!

Mommyhood Footnote:  For more than four adults, I would recommend using two packages of cinnamon rolls and one bread pan.  Bake for 25 minutes, cover with foil and bake an additional 10.  Check center until baked through.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Foxwoods Birthday

If you know me well, you know I am not a drinker.  I don't care for wine, I'd rather pop a can of Diet Coke than drink a beer.

My mother is much the same.  The apple certainly has not fallen far from the tree.

Along with beverage preferences and an inability to see at night, my mother and I also share a deep and sincere love for the roulette table. 

This love is real.

For us any special occasion is hopefully met with a trip to Foxwoods.  There is not always funds for the trip, but with adequate planning we manage to squander away some spending cash.

My mom and I then park ourselves at the roulette wheel and sit for hours.  If need be we take a break and hit up the Wheel of Fortune slot machines.

Hubby and my dad sit at the bar and disappear to play blackjack.

There is little that can match our trips to Foxwoods.  Win or lose, we go to have a good time.

And this past weekend, for my mom's birthday, there was only one place to go. 
And so we went.

A few of my siblings and other family met us there.  It was an up late at night, eat greasy food, gamble together, share rooms hootenanny.

Our past irresponsible gambling trips have enabled us to stay and gorge ourselves for free, and what we don't have for free we pay for with "Dream Points".

"Dream Points" are what you earn for sitting for hours on end playing roulette.  Or blackjack.  Or slot machines.

And so we bring what we would normally pay for a weekend away and we use it to gamble.  And if we lose we had a great time and plenty of laughs.

And if we win we have an even better time, and we come home with a stash for next time.

This Mama had a fabulous weekend.  I was no winner, but I was happy to be with the family.  And happy to be dropping chips on 14 red.  And 17 black.  And everything else in the 2nd twelve.

Because the 2nd twelve is where the magic happens.  

And now I want to wish my mother another Happy Birthday.  And an even happier year ahead.

Because she certainly deserves it.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Just a Little More Chaos

This week was fabulous.  My munchkins were at camp for a few hours each day.  This enabled much time to waste money on trips to Target and still accomplish tasks at home.

Unfortunately some tasks were not so pleasant.

On Tuesday I decided to make Moopa's appointment for her EEG.  Yes, my baby needed an EEG.

Moopa keeps us on our toes with her medical quirks.  We have a phenomenal relationship with her Pediatric Ophthalmologist.  Over the course of the last year we have been to her office numerous times.

We have been so many times that I now actually drive there myself.

Just this past May she corrected Moopa's Strabismus. 

As of late Moopa now sees a Pediatric Neurologist.  There is no reason for alarm.  We just need to put together another puzzle for my Moopa.

An so on Wednesday morning I arose at 5:30am to bring Moopa for an EEG.  I showered, made myself decent and threw snacks into my giant "mommy purse".

Moopa wore her bedhead and Minnie pajamas.

This test was quite frightening for her, although she has learned to be an excellent patient.  And so after an hour in the hospital and a new bedhead do' full of sticky paste we were on our way.

Until I decided to get as much of the testing I needed for our neurologist out of the way.  With 75% of the munchkins at camp until 1pm I had a beautiful window to accomplish testing.

And so we did.

Three long LabQuest hours later we were on our way home.  I had planned on stopping at Toys R Us and buying Moopa anything she wanted because she was such a good little trooper.  But within minutes she was sound asleep.

I couldn't wake her. 

I then decided I should stop at the Starbucks Drive-Thru and buy myself anything I wanted because I was such a good trooper.

And so I did.
It was 16 ounces of pure Mocha Coconut calorie heaven.


Mommyhood Footnote:  The Moopa is absolutely wonderful.  No need to fret.  I feel it is impossible to be an authentic blogger if I pick and choose which chaos to share.

And so I share almost everything.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Summer Activity: Weed Bouquet

Queen Anne's Lace has long reminded me of summer. 

It lines the country roads by my house and peppers the fields where my munchkins play football.  And unlike dandelions (my garden arch enemy), I don't mind this delicate weed.

I regard this weed the same way I regard lightening bugs.  They're an annual reminder of warm sunny days and late mild nights. 

When I was a kid my mother told me that if you pick Queen Anne's Lace, and place them in water with food coloring, they will turn color. 

And over the years I have tried it enough to know that it works wonderfully.

Yesterday afternoon, after a long morning of camp, I took the munchkins out to pluck some weeds from the roadside.
I love the activity because it gets them out in nature and it gets them thinking.  It also produces quick results.

Much to munchkin delight, within 12 hours we had a nice bouquet of colorful weeds.
And much to my delight I was able to once again have a clear windowsill.

Nothing beats easy summer fun that doesn't require any long term cluttering of the kitchen.

Happy "Weeding"!

Mommyhood Footnote:  

Some tips:

Pick large, healthy Queen Annes Lace.   Add a significant amount of food coloring, this gives the weed a darker hue.

Watch for allergies.  It may be best to keep this experiment outside.  Sneezing and itchy eyes take the fun out of just about anything.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Camp Day!

Happy Monday.  Today begins a week of camp for the munchkins.

I love day camp.  My munchkins are playing with friends.  They are outside in the summer sun.  They will return home exhausted and ready to rest.

This camp is phenomenal because all three of my older munchkins attend together.  I drop them all off, and pick them all up.  No extra trips needed. 

Every other camp week this summer was met with carpool chaos and much mileage on the gas-guzzling beast.

This week will be much less complicated.   

This morning I thoroughly enjoyed my outing to Shop Rite.  I was able to think long enough to maximize my savings.  I used coupons.  They were valid.  They weren't expired.  I used them for the right items. 
I even matched them with items on sale.

The mighty mind has returned until Friday.  Hallelujah.

HaPpY MoNdAy!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Some Sunday Wisdom

Last night at work we were having a discussion.  It involved another waitress having been "wronged" by someone she knew.  This caused hurt, confusion and anger.

We have all been there.

The conversation began because this person came in to have dinner last night.  Naturally our fellow waitress was anxious.  She didn't want to see them, let alone serve them.

Of course we took this table for her, and the tables in its immediate vicinity.  We would never throw one of our own to the hungry wolves. 

But as we discussed what transpired a few years ago between them, another waitress offered up some valuable wisdom.  

"Holding onto your anger is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die" - Buddha

Isn't that the truth?

I'm forever amazed at how resilient my munchkins are, and I let them lead me by example.  They get over disappointments and keep forging ahead.  They forgive classmates and make new friends.

If only adults behaved the same.

Our server did eventually approach the customer, even if was only for an uncomfortable hello.

Baby steps, always baby steps.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Tale of a Boogie Board

I grew up with a very close knit group of friends.  Our parents were friends, and we did just about everything together.

One of my closest friends (which still holds true) took me to the beach every summer.  Her parents had a small beach house.  It was on the bay and it was extremely quaint.

It was with her small family that I experienced the Jersey Shore.  And I'm not talkin' Snooki Jersey Shore.

We rode bikes to town for candy, walked to the beach, and stopped for ice cream.  At night we cooked burgers and played board games.

It was the perfect, laid back summer vacation.

With them I learned to boogie board and float in the ocean.  I gained a real appreciation for the beach and how important it is to have a cooler and an umbrella.

I also learned the art of making an umbrella stay in the sand.  They tend to fly off and whack someone when not installed properly. 

This summer I had many flashbacks to my summers at the shore when my Gymnastics Queen learned to boogie board.

And she is a natural.
Watching her brought me such happiness.  It made me feel as though she was having an experience she will remember, just like I remember my summers at the beach.
And anyone who has munchkins know they keep you young.  I know mine do.  

While watching her I had the desire to hit the ocean like I used to, instead of doing my standard sit by the edge and spectate.

And so I did.
And it was awesome.  It was just as fun as it was when I was ten.

Wishing you wonderful experiences this weekend!  Get out there and enjoy yourselves!

Friday, August 5, 2011

5 ? Friday!

Ah Friday.  This weekend is much needed and I am looking forward to it greatly.  
With so much on the agenda today I am diving into Mama M's 5 ? Friday.  The suspense is killin' me...
1. Do you have siblings and are you close with them?
Oh Nellie do I have siblings.  I have four brothers and one sister.  And we have a very strange closeness.  

It's most likely because we are all strange.
I have a brother who is 16 months older than me.  We were in the same group of friends in high school.  He even married my best friend.  

And my two younger brothers are two of my most favorite people in the world.  

My sister is 8 years younger than me.  When I finally acknowledged her existence about ten years ago we became extremely close.  

And she is a phenomenal aunt to my munchkins.

And my oldest brother had the job of threatening to beat up everyone who dated or bothered his younger siblings.  
Even though we all knew he never would.

My parents did it right.  They raised us in a house that we wanted to be in.  Our friends wanted to be there too.  
And we still want to be in their house.  

This keeps us very close.  Eerily close. And I'm so grateful for it.

2. Would you rather be slightly UNDER weight or slightly OVER weight?

Underweight.  Always.
I have an obsession with staying my size.  I struggled with eating disorders in my other life (aka before munchkins) and the mindset never leaves.
Never ever leaves.    

Struggles are gone.  But when pants get tight I run an extra mile. 

Its good and bad.  But it keeps me fit.  And it keeps the mind clear.

3. What's your favorite State Fair food to splurge on?

The Renaissance Faire in New York State.  My family goes every year.  
We dress like Renaissance people and waste lots of money on games, beer and food. 

The men love this day.  It's like Christmas.  They get to eat Turkey Legs and act like neanderthals. 

Usually by the end of the day the munchkins are exhausted and ready to leave and Hubby is still throwing Chinese Stars.  Or Knives.  Or shooting arrows.
I then threaten to leave him there and he catches me in the parking lot.

Its always a good time.

4. What are your thoughts on your kid(s) going to school in a few weeks?

Sadness.  Summer is slipping away from me.  I will soon have to be responsible and make sure I have food in the house to pack a lunch.

I will have to check backpacks and make sure the munchkins get to bed.  

I will have to make sure their nails are clipped and hair is brushed.
I will have to unpack lunches and set out clothes that match.

Please make it stop!  I can't deal just yet.
5. Pool or Ocean?
Because both mean it is sunny and warm.  I guess if I had to choose I would say ocean.  

But in a perfect world it would a pool by the ocean. 

Random Picture from my hard drive:
My cherished family a few years ago at the Renaissance Faire.
Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Rambling

Today has been a smorgasbord of activities.  LLG has decided to play football.  We are three practices behind so first order of business was a few emails to coaches.

And next order of business was to beg our pediatrician to squeeze him in for a physical. 

Check and check.

Then, around 9:30am we loaded into the car and drove to the mall.  On the way I laid the law for mall behavior and clearly articulated the agenda.

I feel a solid "what is expected" discussion helps with behavior in public places.  It also calms me as I near any public place with my four munchkins.

We arrived at the mall and cruised through sporting goods.  We tried on and chose cleats, grabbed a "weinee cup" and some football socks. 

I went to check out and I was $79.00.  I had a coupon for $20 off $100 or more.  You can bet your button I dragged all the munchkins BACK to sporting goods for a $19.99 Under Armour tank.

I was now feeling a wee bit of perspiration as I pushed the stroller back to the register. 

But Mommy Code is to never turn down a good coupon.

Now that we were fully armed with football essentials, we went to Claire's so the Gymnastics Queen could spend some of her money.

While looking over puppy dog earrings and sparkle bags my phone rang.  Hubby rear ended the car in front of him.  His car was a hot mess.

This didn't surprise me because I had just decided we needed to buy new kitchen counters.  I was eyeing up granite.

I am now juggling sparkle accessories, Geico, football needs, and the munchkins are getting hungry.  I am also grieving the loss of my granite counters.

Oh, and Moopa is double fisting Claire's merchandise from the stroller.  Which I now must put back as the store manager gives me the stink eye.

After a few "we're not hanging in Claire's all day" warnings the Gymnastics Queen makes her selections.  We then hit Build-a-Bear for LLG to buy an Angry Bird (don't ask).

Before exiting the mall we purchased a cup of pretzel pieces from the Pretzel Maker.  I had promised the Gymnastics Queen pretzels when we arrived at the mall.   And I know how important soft pretzels are when you can smell them baking nearby.

On the way home we grabbed lunch from the Drive-Thru, my Sports Fanatic texted his dad for me regarding the car accident, and we pulled in the driveway at 12:30pm. 

The munchkins have eaten, Moopa is napping, LLG is wearing his cleats and "weinee cup", and bless my father because he is coming here so I can take LLG to his physcial in peace.

And tonight, we are off to football with two boys.  It's gonna be an "extra cookie dough and whipped cream on the ice cream" night.

Wishing all of you a MUCH less eventful Thursday!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Small Town Football

Every August we begin another season of small town football.

The players practice five nights a week until school rolls around in September.  And for Mommyhood this means life becomes about football.

Because for us, football is life.

I come from a long line of football fanatics.  I grew up on the football fields in New Jersey.  All of my four brothers played, my dad coached and my mom ran the snack bar. 

I cheered and stared at boys.
Years later my summer nights are once again at the football fields.  Hubby coaches and I pack water coolers with drinks and cold towels. 
We arrange travel and playdates around games and practice.

We sit at the fields in the hot August sun right into the chilly November nights.

And right up until school starts our fields are the place to be.  Because if you aren't playing or cheering you are a sibling of someone who is playing or cheering.

This makes for plenty of "field friends" for my munchkins.  Which makes spectating much easier for me.
And while the beginning of football brings a hectic schedule, it also brings back faces we haven't seen since last season.

It brings back fields lined with lawn chairs and endless trips to the snack bar.
It brings back the sounds of yelling coaches, whistles and colliding shoulder pads.

It brings back late nights and the smell of early Saturday mornings**.

It brings back sweat, tears and hard work.

And for the players it brings back a camaraderie only football can give them.  

Football season is here for this small town.  And while our summer days are officially limited, they will be spent wisely.

Because our summer nights are taken for the remainder of the month.

But make no mistake, this chick is ready for some football.
Happy Wednesday!

** Anyone who has ever played a fall sport knows what an early Saturday morning smells like.  It's a mix of crisp, dewy air and fresh cut grass...and toss in a pinch of stale gym bag...sounds strange but it is quite heavenly**