"What lies behind us, and what lies before us are small matters
compared to what lies within us."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, January 31, 2013


 I am getting a little tired of the neon cheese in the Kraft box. So, at approximately, 5:32 pm (cause I am all about good timing), I decided we needed an adventure in the kitchen. 

As with all adventures, there will always be a few obstacles to overcome, like no clean pots. 

and a gallon of milk spilled all over the refrigerator .......any guesses as to who was responsible for this flood?

She was so proud of herself. Only a special kind of person can make such a huge mess . 

and do I even need to mention, the always merry sunshine?

I assembled my ingredients. My plan: homemade low-acid spaghetti sauce in 30 minutes using all natural ingredients (plus anything else I could find that was not milk soaked)
Supposedly, the key is to use a tablespoon of baking soda. 

"Wow! First a dairy disaster and now I get to hold a tomato!"  I spare no expense to entertain my kids. 

Dancing ensued. I feel the need to mention that Francesca now dresses not only herself, but Victoria as well. 

With a chop, chop here and a..... 

........taste, taste there (she actually ate a piece of raw onion)

here a chop, there a chop (by the way, in case any of you are thinking of attempting this daunting task, you are supposed to peel the tomatoes, but we like to live dangerously!)

Little Miss Sunshine likes the raw onions too. This from a kid who only eats toast with butter. 

Though it can be difficult to manage cooking and watching small children, I had everything under control. 

Victoria didn't like the onions, but she found the leg of a toy prince quite tasty.

To quote little Catherine, "What is that supposed to be?"

It didn't exactly turn out the way I planned (nothing ever does), but it was pretty darn good. 

The reviews are in.........drum roll........

Thumbs up! 

another thumbs up (though she gave the spilled milk a thumbs up too)

The always serious Victoria gives her approval.

Can you believe it? She actually ate her dinner. 

A rather reluctant thumbs up. She didn't like the whole wheat pasta. 

Maybe I should go back to box dinners, though after our adventure, everyone was so tired, we all went straight to bed! I may cook again next month. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Filling the Van

About a year and a half ago, I met someone who became a very dear friend. Jen and her husband, Wayne, were adopting three children from the same orphanage as Francesca and Victoria. They have nine children under the age of nine! 

Now they are embarking on another adventure! They are adopting sweet little Bria! Isn't she a cutie! 
You can read more about Bria here.

They are having a really fun raffle to raise money for their adoption. Saving a child's life does not come easily or cheaply. Please donate if you can so she can be "covered in love" just like every child deserves to be! 

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Yep, we are all sick. Anastasia started it (my maturity has gone right out the window). She is perfectly fine now, but the rest of us are a bunch of sneezing, snotty, whiny (not me, of course, I never whine!) messes.

The kids have been spending their time resting quietly and letting me sleep (insert hysterical laughter here).
So, really, I got nothing interesting.

 Unless you want to hear how we made snowmen out of our mash potatoes. You gotta keep your spirits up somehow.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Dancing (overalls courtesy of big brother)

Duplo (she built this herself!)

Dinner (I don't care what anyone says, McDonalds is a happy meal!)

Dishes (only one broken glass!)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Stand

Sorry I haven't been around much this week;  my creative juices haven't been flowing.  I have been in kind of a funk.  I guess this was a good thing, because my kids seem to learn the most when they are bored. Victoria has been practicing climbing up and down off the couch, over and over. I couldn't really see where she was going with her efforts. 

Apparently, though, she had a plan. But first, a quick rest (that pumpkin shirt really gets around, doesn't it?).

With a drag, drag, here and a drag, drag there....

Then, use those little muscles to pull herself up onto the arm of the couch. Ok, cute Victoria, but, really, what's the point here?

Hold on a minute.....is she.....?

 She is! She is trying to stand without any help. Should I try to help her a little? Na!

And, she did it!!!! She obviously knew what she was doing the whole time. Yet one more thing doctors and physical therapists said she would never be able to do. I always worried that she would just have to lie on the floor like a slug and wait for someone to help her stand up.

So, now that Victoria has proven that she is definitely not a slug, (thank you very much for not helping mom), we needed to design something that could be a little more portable. It's kind of hard to drag the arm of the couch around when you need to stand up. These pillows are keep falling over, so if anyone has any other ideas, please let me know.

I think she is pretty darn pleased with herself! 

Believe me, this is much harder than it looks. You need a lot of arm strength to pull up your whole body without bending your legs. I can't do it at all! 

Don't worry, Francesca, your post of amazing things is coming really soon! 

She doesn't need any help getting to her walker now either. 

And I am outta here! 

That face says it all! And she figured it out all by herself. Guess I should be in a funk more often! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013

Always Great

Our wonderful "Great" died on Sunday morning. She was 95 years old! 

          She died peacefully in her sleep. I know she had a wonderful life, but we really miss her!

This picture was taken two days before she died. Great had fallen off her bed into her wheel chair. She had quite a few stitches, but she never let anything keep her down. When she was at the hospital getting her stitches, she kept yelling, "Hey, get the doctor in here! I'm tired of waiting already!" 
She sure had spunk.

Great was always cheered up with Cheetos and Twizzlers. When I would ask her if she wanted some chocolate candy or some licorice, she would always say, "Bring them both!" (I obviously take after her in my love of all junk food).

Her infamous "Hello Kitty" slippers. 

Here is Great when she was only 16 years old. She was born in Chicago, but grew up in Pittsburgh. She had five daughters and then she decided to go to college to become a teacher. 

She and my Grandpa (who I called Grumpus) were married for 65 years! They had a wonderful, loving marriage. They always kept their sense of humor. Once, when they were younger, Grandpa had forgotten to pick up Grandma at the store. Great smushed a pie in his face. Then, they both dissolved into laughter. 

That's my mom on the left! 

They were always dancing and having fun together and they worked hard together too. Grumpus worked at a steel mill, and then opened his own business designing logos. He and Grandma worked many long hours with their business in the basement. Grandpa had his own column in the newspaper too. 

In their later years, they moved to Florida. Grandma always made the best stuffed cabbage! She was feisty and was known for her "creative language" when someone bothered her when she was cooking.

 Great was definitely a rock star! 

Grumpus died in January too, about 9 years ago. Grandma had a dream about him and he told her it wasn't time for her to come be with him yet. About eight years ago, Grandma came here to live with my mom. As her legs got weaker, we got her a Power Chair to scoot around in. Many times she would be zooming around and knock down entire displays at the store. "Did I do that?", she would ask me, as she darted away. We are so lucky that we got to spend so much time with her. 

Catherine made a special angel picture for Great. 

Today, I had to go clean out Great's room at her assisted living home. That was tough to do. I will miss all our friends there, but we will still visit. 

You're always in our heart Great. You and Grumpus have fun up there!