Friday, February 12, 2016


It's Friday so how about 7 Quick Takes??

1. Dan has been in England all week and will be back home tonight!  Last night he stayed in a hotel near the airport in London so he could leave bright and early this morning. He texted me a picture of what was hanging on his wall.

Apparently, it's a map of Europe that's lit up with tiny lights.  The last I heard he was struggling to figure out how to get it turn off. That's one heck of a night light.

2.  Peter's basketball team is their conference playoffs this weekend.  His first game is tonight at 7:45.  Luckily Dan's plane lands at 6:30 so he won't miss it.  Peter has had a great year with this team.  He's third string and doesn't get to play as much as he would like, but he's learned a lot and this group of guys is just the best.  They really seem to get along well and enjoy each others company and sometimes, I think, that's just as important as playing time.

And they are all so handsome, don't you think??  Although, I am a little partial to #21!

3.  It's Lent so I've been pondering what to give up or what to pick up.  I've added a new daily devotion and I'm going to try to spend more time being kind not just to those outside my home but to those inside - seems I lose my patience most frequently with those I love the most! 

4.  And as far as giving something up?  I just started Weight Watchers on Monday.  So I'm giving up feeling full.  Y'all, I'm not going to lie.  I've lost three pounds this week but I have spent the better part of this week being hungry.  I am about to turn into an apple!  Or a banana.  Or an orange.  Take your pick.  Fruit and raw vegetables are zero points so I've had my fair share of them and it's hard. Oprah keeps talking about eating bread on this diet but I haven't figured out how to eat bread and still be able to eat anything else.

5.  I'm sure it's a learning least I hope.  I signed up for the 3 month plan (just access to the app/tracker and online support - no weigh ins or meetings.) I'm hoping that I can figure out the best things to eat and keep me full over the next couple of weeks. If anyone has any hints or suggestions, please feel free to share!!

6.  Peter won his school Geography Bee!  He was so excited because geography is his thang!  Winning the school bee means he qualified to take an online test.  If he passes that test, he will be able to participate in the state bee.  Fingers crossed!

7.  Since Peter's a bit of a geography nerd, he got this shirt for Christmas and wore it proudly on the last dress down day at school.


Enjoy your weekend people.  Head over to Kelly's for more 7QT!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Garlic Jalapeno Whipped Feta Dip!

I tried a new recipe for our little Super Bowl party and I wanted to share it with you.  I typically make my jalapeno popper dip but felt like shaking it up a bit.  (And I would like to point out that I posted the popper recipe in 2008, long before everyone and their brother was making it.  I like to think I was a bit of a trendsetter back in the day.)

My new find is Garlic Jalapeno Whipped Feta dip.  Apparently I have a minor obsession with jalapenos  (featured prominently here, here and here).  A girl's got to do something with all those jalapenos her husband grows!

I found the recipe at Carlsbad Craving and it is definitely worth a try. 

Thanks to the red wine vinegar and the honey, the dip starts out sweet.  In the middle there's a nice punch of salt thanks to the feta and it finishes with a spicy kick thanks to the jalapenos.  (I think I watch a little too much Food Network!)

This dip was good with pretzel things, pita chips and vegetables.  And it's so pretty.

It even complimented my guac and salsa arrangement:


Monday, February 8, 2016

Catholic Schools Week and everything else we've been up to!

So Catholic Schools Week and life in general happened last week and who has time to blog when you are busy getting things done?!

Now that things have calmed down for themoment I thought I would show the old blog a little love in case anyone thought I was hibernating.

The PTO board is heavily involved in planning and executing Catholic Schools Week so we have been busy.

On Sunday morning the kids had to wear the uniforms to Mass and Peter and Sarah were greeters.  Sarah also go to be an usher when one of the kids from another catholic school didn't show up.  She was pretty excited to get to pull double duty.

Later that afternoon Sarah and I worked the Girl Scout Cookie Booth:

And after our time at the booth, we rushed over to school so I could get things set up for Taco/Bingo Night.  It was a lot of fun!  We found a great place to cater our taco bar and the food was delicious and authentic!

We had fresh homemade tortillas, chicken, beef, fresh guacamole, rice, beans and all the fixings!  It was so good.  This picture does not do it justice.

And then after the tacos there was Bingo!

Who is that working so hard at the white board in the background???

Peter and some of his friends1

On Monday the elementary school collected items for newborn kits for Catholic Charities:

We were able to collect enough items for 12 baskets just like these.  The people at Catholic Charities were so excited!!

And the middle school collected items (dog and cat food and cat litter) for AARF (Animal Adoption and Rescue Foundation).  And here are some cute middle schoolers as we dropped the items off:

On Tuesday we had a living rosary in the gym.  Kids were stationed around balloons that we strung together in the shape of a rosary and each student took the lead on saying that part of the rosary.  

And then we went outside and after some very fitting words from Sister Geri about our prayers and intentions from the rosary floating up to heaven like the balloon rosary, we let the rosary go:

Wednesday was Student Appreciation Day.  The elementary school had a visit from the Monkey Hooper.  She came had led the kids in hula hoop fun.

And after a pizza lunch, the elementary kids had lots of fun stations set up in the gym.  I have no pictures of that because I was with the middle school kids at the skating rink:

Thursday was the annual 8th grade parent/faculty basketball game.  The kids always have such a blast watching the 8th grade play against the faculty and their parents.

And then on Thursday night, our Varsity boys and girls basketball team played their final home game of the season.  And the boy's game was a nail biter!  We were down 15-0 at the end of the first quarter and came back to win the game by 2!  It was the best game I've ever seen.

Friday was the Teacher Appreciation Luncheon.  I've got no pictures of that because I was too busy running around making sure we had everything we needed and I totally forgot until the food was devoured.  That wouldn't have made a very nice picture anyway so just imagine lovely food and lovely teachers!

Saturday was had another basketball game and then afterwards Peter's team went for pizza together since it was the last regular season game.  After that, Dan and Peter went to Mass and Sarah and I hosted her friends so that they could work on their science project.

On Sunday morning Sarah and I headed to Mass while Dan and Peter headed to a spaghetti luncheon that the Boy Scouts were hosting.  Peter had to pour drinks and help serve and Dan got to wash dishes!  Wish I had a picture of that!

And  then on Sunday we had Jennifer's family over for a Super Bowl party!  And I've got no pictures of that because I was too busy eating and talking and enjoying myself.

And now I'm ready for a calm and peaceful and not too busy week!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What's been happening...

The last remnants of our big snow are melting away today.  Well, actually they are already gone! The weather forecast shows highs in the mid 60s next week.  And that makes me happy.  I'm not a snowy cold weather girl.

The kids missed school on Friday and Monday. They slept in and  I was able to get somethings done around the house (a couple of cabinets and a closet cleaned out here and there, nothing too demanding) and the kids were able to relax and have some down time.  They say it was much needed but, come on - they just had a two week break at Christmas and last Monday off for MLK Day!

Peter was supposed to have a dance last Friday night which got canceled.  He was also supposed to go camping which got canceled.  His basketball game got canceled.  Sarah's Girl Scout meeting got canceled. Sarah's science fair group got canceled.

See why I don't like snow?  Around here, it looks pretty for a day and then it just  messes everything up for 5 days.  And we only had between 4 and 6 inches.  This part of North Carolina is just not equipped to deal with snow.

Hopefully all the snow is past  and we can focus on Spring! I can already tell that the days are getting a little bit longer.  There's a wee bit of light in the morning when I go out to get the newspaper and in the evening when I take Peter to basketball practice.  It always makes me happy when I can tell the days are getting longer.

Next week is Catholic Schools Week and the PTO has been getting all of our plans in place.  Hoping and praying that it all goes smoothly.  And we have already been meeting and planning our big Spring Fundraiser.  This year is going by so fast.  I can't believe it will be February next week!

Here' a few snaps from my phone:

This girl loves a selfie and every now and then, I join her!

The backyard covering in snow!

This cat will not leave me alone when I'm working!  He's attacking the pull string on my sweatshirt!

The kids played quite a few rounds of Connect Four this weekend!  And Sarah is enjoying a bowl of snow cream!

Beautiful sunset and my favorite kind of snow - melting!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Check out my new frames!!

Firmoo has asked again if I would like to review their product and I was all heck yeah!  I love Firmoo and if you will recall, I've already received two pairs of glasses from them and have loved both of those.

Check out the first pair here and the second pair here.  My first two pairs were very similar because I'm not very adventurous and usually think that if something's not broken then don't fix it.

But this year I was feeling a little wild and opted to go for a bigger frame.  And oddly enough, it looks very similar to a frame that I thought was too big last year.  Hmmmm...wonder what changed?  Perhaps my face got bigger along with every other part of my body?  Perhaps I'm so used to seeing all the cool young hipsters wearing their oversized frames that I didn't think twice about going larger?  I'm not sure but what ever the case, I really, really like these new frames?

Look at the cool stems!  They are white!

The whole ordering process with Firmoo is easy peasy.  Just head to their website.  Select the type of glasses you are interested in (eye, reading, sun) and then start looking through their selection.  When you find one you like you can click on it and then select Try It On.  You can upload a photo of yourself and start "trying on" all the frames.

Firmoo's frames are extremely reasonable in price and the add-ons are also very affordable. The turn around is very quick. I got my glasses in about a week. 

You will need information from your eye doctor in order to place your order.  But, by law, your eye doctor is required to give you your prescription if you ask. (At least if your last eye appointment was within a year.)  They will quickly write it out for you and you will have all the measurements/information you need to place your order with Firmoo.

I am very happy with these glasses (if I wasn't I would tell you) and y'all, they are affordable enough that  you could get a couple of pairs to switch out and play around with!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The euphoria did not last long at all.

When Peter hopped into the car yesterday afternoon, I told him what I had been doing all morning.

He was excited to see his cleaned out room but first we had to go to a basketball game and then we grabbed some dinner and when we finally got home he raced (well, Peter is a bit of a turtle so he didn't actually race but he did go at a quicker than turtle speed) upstairs to check out his room.

He was very happy with how things looked.

But then Sarah exclaimed, "Look at the bonus room!  What a mess!"

Peter raced (this time he did actually race) down the hall because he knew all of his stuff was in there.

And then he immediately came down from his clean room euphoria and reality struck his little hoarder heart hard.

I started explaining the piles and how he could shift some things around but I was hoping that more things would go out of the house than would stay (ha, such wishful mama thinking).

He started checking out the piles and immediately picked something up from the donate pile and exclaimed, "You can donate this!  Uncle Bob gave this book to me and wrote in it!" 

I told him that's why everything was in the bonus room so that he could sort through it himself. 

His brow furrowed and a look of concern crossed his face.  I almost felt like I was watching an episode of A&E's Hoarders.  You know the part when they have the cleanup crew there and the hoarder starts watching all of their prized possessions being thrown into the dumpsters and they freak out?

Peter didn't necessarily freak out the way the hoarders do, but he did get upset.  He started giving reasons why certain items should stay saying he felt bad that he didn't play with/use something more often or in some cases even at all.  Or how he didn't want to get rid of something because someone gave it to him. He was in turmoil.

I convinced him to finish his homework and get a shower and not to worry about it but at bedtime he told me how he was feeling again.  He went to bed when I told him we would start sorting through things after school and that it would all be okay.

He woke me up at 11:45 saying his stomach hurt and he felt like throwing up.  He never did but I honetly believe the worry about his stuff had his stomach in knots.

So, I have a feeling we will be keeping more than we donate although I'm going to try to encourage him to let go of as much unused/unneeded stuff as possible.  Otherwise, I've become an enabler!  And I don't want him to be encumbered but stuff throughout his adult life.  If it is something he is no longer using and no longer needs then we need to get rid of it - even if I gave it to him under the guise of Santa Claus.  Especially if it is something that someone else could be using!

Wish me well, folks!  This is going to be as hard as I thought.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Busy but nothing to show for it yet!

Whew!  I've been busy this morning.

I've mentioned before that my sweet little Peter is a bit of a hoarder.  He refuses to throw anything away, starts collecting things and then moves on to something else (bottle caps, antique bottles, baseball cards, golf balls, just to name a few), and manages to find the tiniest bit of meaning in even a scrap of paper.

So over the years, he has  amassed quite a bit of stuff/junk/trash in his tiny room.  I've managed on a couple of occasions to get him to throw some things away but usually we just move them to the basement where eventually, unbeknownst to him, I throw them away or donate them or sell them at a consignment sale.

He has recently decided that he wants to collect war memorabilia.  And he has decided (finally!) that the pictures of construction equipment on his walls might be a bit babyish so he purchased three flags from the gift shop when we were on the Freedom Trail.  He would like to hang those on his wall and display the beginnings of his war collection.

And he actually said, "I think I need to clean out my room."

The problem is that he can't do it alone.  Based on the shear volume of stuff/junk/trash he is too overwhelmed and because of his sentimental nature and very tender heart, he definitely needs some help determining what should stay and what should go.

I've hemmed and hawed over the last couple of weeks trying to determine the best approach to take.  I finally decided that I just needed to empty the room while everyone was gone.

And that's exactly what I've done today.

I have gone through every drawer and every shelf in his room and moved things into the bonus room into four piles:

To be donated
To be stored in the basement
To be put back in the bedroom

At some point this week, depending on schedules, homework, and basketball, I am going to go through the piles with him and shift things around.  I am hopeful that Peter decides to move more items into the trash or to be donated pile.  Unfortunately, I know how his mind works and I'm certain things will move from those piles to the store in basement or put back in bedroom piles.  But I am remaining hopeful that once he sees how empty and clean his room is, he will want to keep it that way.

And I have a little secret.  The pile that is marked trash is very small.   I have actually thrown 4 large bags of trash into the can outside and I'm hoping that Peter doesn't notice.  The items that I threw away were all literally bits and pieces of things or just plain old junk.  But I was afraid that if Peter saw them he would not be able to part with them so I did his dirty work for him.  And I think ultimately he would be okay with it.  I'm hoping that he will see what's in the trash pile and feel good about throwing those items away and perhaps be inspired to throw more things away. 

Wishful thinking?  We'll see.

My bonus room is a huge mess right (even more so than normal!) so I'm hoping that we are able to get this stuff sorted and put into it's respective places this week.  Until then, the door to the bonus room will remained closed!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Seven Quick Takes

It's Friday and I've got a lot of nothing to talk about so it seems like the perfect time to do Seven Quick Takes.

1.  Have I mentioned on the blog that over Easter break we are heading to Ireland?  We are very excited about it!  We've purchased our plane tickets (Dan's been saving his frequent flier miles for this trip!)  and booked out hotels. Dan has plotted out our whirlwind itinerary insuring that we see as much of the country as possible during our stay.  And this afternoon I am taking the kids to Walgreen's get their passport photos so we can get all that paperwork in the mail.  And I've been doing lots of praying for good weather (Ireland is very unpredictable especially when we will be there), safety on our journey, and many family memories made.

2.  And speaking of passports, remember this from when I had to get my passport updated?  Check it out.  It's still just as homely as ever!

3.  The middle school is gearing up for the Science Expo.  Peter and Sarah have formed their groups, picked their project ideas and now it's time for them to get to work. Peter seems very disinterested (although his group did win for best project in 6th grade) but Sarah is all over it.  She's making supply lists, Facetiming her group, arranging meetins and trying to get things done.  Don't worry about Peter though, he will get it done like he always does.  He just has his own way of doing things.  I'm learning this year, to back off and let him do things in his own time.  It's working pretty well...less yelling for me and he is learning some very good time management skills.  (I hope!)

4. Sarah got a Polaroid camera for Christmas.  Can you believe it?  Everything old is new again.  The pictures are the size of a business card.  She left a selfie (of course) on my bathroom mirror.  Dan doesn't understand why anyone would want a Polaroid but I think immediately having a hard copy is the draw.  Sarah already has big plans for her pictures.  Something about Washi tape...

5.  I am determined to lose weight.  I've been complaining for months about the extra 20 pounds I'm toting around and now thanks to the holidays it's an extra 27 pounds. Monday I started the low carb diet again and I'm going to stay on it until I can get this weight off for good.

6.  I am also determined to get things cleaned out and straightened up.  The two big areas of concern are Peter's room and the bonus room.  Peter's a bit of a hoarder but has decided it's time to reorganize and update his room.  And the bonus room is a bit of a catchall which needs to be completely overhauled as well.  But these are two very big projects and instead of jumping in and getting it done, I've been stalling this week.  But I have managed to clean out the hall closets and underneath the bathroom sinks.  That's something right.  Unfortunately, every cabinet or closet I open needs to be completely purged.  It's a bit overwhelming.

7.  I've restarted my thankful list.  I started one on May of 2013 in an effort to be mindful of all the good things God sends us each day.  I finally completed my 1000 in October of 2015 and then I stopped writing things down.  Not sure why but I just did.  Yesterday I decided it was time to do it again so I grabbed a plain black notebook and got started.  The first time I did this I got a cute little journal:
 It has a Bible verse on each page and one of my very favorites is on the first page:

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. - 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18

And look what Sarah added last January:
 I think she gets it!

Happy Weekend, friends!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Back to reality. But first, a phone photo dump!

We arrived home Saturday evening after being gone two weeks.  We did Christmas at my parent's house Saturday night, went to Mass yesterday morning and then spent the entire afternoon taking down the Christmas tree and all the decorations.

I would like to say that the house is back to normal but the loads of undone laundry and the piles of things that need to be put away would tell a different story.

I also need to get to the grocery store because I had a hard time scrounging up lunch for Dan and the kids. 

But before I get back to real life, I thought I would do a phone dump of our two weeks away.

A Chocolate Buche Noel from Hazel's Bakery.  So good!

Santa always leaves lots of goodies in our stockings!

Let's open these things!

We spent one afternoon cleaning the gutters!

We visited the Boy Scout Camp Dan used to frequent when he was young.  Here's an old cabin that was built by his Troop in the 1940s!

Me and my love on top of Tippling Rock.

Checking out the view from the top.  We could see Boston in the distance.

Sarah enjoyed the view from a seated position!

We walked most of the Freedom Trail.  Here we are at the beginning!  Follow the red brick path!

Here we are in front of Dan's house.

Proof that it snowed just a little bit. 

We had lunch at Mike's City Dinner in Boston.  Guy Fieri featured it on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.  It was all kinds of good!

The main reason we went was so that Dan could get this Pilgrim.  He loves turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce on a sandwich.

Peter got the French Toast

Sarah got the grilled cheese.

I got the meatloaf sandwich.

We took Dan's uncle around to his old neighborhood and stopped in at The Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Health.  It was easily one of the most beautiful churches I"ve been in.  This picture does not do it justice.

We bought Dan's brother's car which meant we had to drive two cars home from Massachusetts.  Sarah wanted a selfie to docurment the trip! See my wallet out?  When you drive from MA to NC, you pay A LOT of money in tolls.  No need to put the wallet away.
Here we are in Alexandria, VA.  Such a pretty tree!
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!  Ours was a little bittersweet knowing that it will be the last Christmas spent in Massachusetts but I hope the kids have made enough sweet memories there over the last 13 years to old on to. And I also hope that they are able to embrace our new traditions for future Christmas time spent in NC.