Monday, April 30, 2012

Baby Vivy's One-Year Pics

Back in the middle of March, I had the opportunity to shoot my beautiful granddaughter's one-year pics. She was remarkably cooperative which made for some great moments caught in my lens.

Thought I would share a few.

She is my heart-light! Meme loves you, Baby Vivi! <3

The 'Not-Bummer-Summer' is Upon Us

I love that title...

One of the things on our to-do list (mine and the girls') is to see this movie. It looks like a fun time and Heather Graham is absolutely adorable, imo.

Anyway, as I sat down to write this entry this is the title that popped to mind. Summer is fast approaching. School is almost at year's end. It is time to start planning our 'not-bummer-summer'. If you are a parent then you know the pressure that comes with trying to keep from having utterly bored children under your feet all summer. I mean, sure, there are times when they are absolutely expected to entertain themselves. However, things are not like they were when I was a kid. I can not (in good conscience) tell my kids to beat it and not come back til' dinner! There are too many wackjobs in the world today and things just are not as safe for our kids to just go roam off in search of something to keep them busy.

A couple weeks ago, Girl-14 (soon to be 15) and her bff (going forward, known as Bff-14) took a ride with me to the shore. It was a lovely day for it and I got some great pictures.

Nothing soothes me quite like the ocean breeze and the sound of the waves rolling in. Granted, the beaches near me do not have much in the way of big waves...more like waves lapping the shore than crashing on it. That is ok by me! It sounds just as wonderful.

Like last year, we are planning to revisit the tradition known as 'beach Mondays'. I will likely alternate between Harvey's Beach, which is GREAT for very small children, and Rocky Neck for the bigger kids. Hubz will have to be present for the bigger beach because it is exhausting chasing Lil'Man all day! I swear all I see is the back of that boy's head from the moment we arrive until I manage to get him into the car to go home.

Other activities will include Day trips to The Dinosaur Place, which has a great nature walk full of huge dinosaurs and an awesome splash pad for the kids to cool off. Other destinations on our list include Mystic Aquarium, Lake Compounce or Six Flags, the Essex Steam Train and some local museums such as the West Hartford Science Center. Between these activities and being able to swim in our next-door-neighbor's pool, I think that the kiddos will have little to complain about...though I am sure it will not be for lack of trying!

I, of course, will have my camera in tow and will be posting a ton of pics throughout the summer. Hope you all enjoy your families this summer! Take some time to marvel at the little ones as they explore and grow. They grown up in the blink of an eye.

Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bake Pops

 Fun to do with the kiddos

A few weeks back, I ordered a Bake Pop kit online. I went for the buy one/get one deal, which worked out very well monetarily. With shipping and handling the whole total was under $40. Well worth it for something that the girls and I can do together, often, where the possibilities really are endless.

Our first go-round was just...ok. We used the cake mix directions on the box which yielded cake balls that were a touch dry. Upon referring back to the directions that came with the pop pans, we found the trick. They tell you that you can use the directions on the cake mix itself and then add a *note* with ways to make the cake balls better. (read: more moist and dense)

So, we made the next batch following those alternative directions and they came out MUCH better. We added an extra egg, used milk instead of water in half measure, and added a packet of instant pudding mix to match the flavor of the cake. The only mistake we made on the second batch was not using baking spray containing flour. It really does make a huge difference as we noticed on the third batch.

Once all the kinks were worked out, we made about three dozen pops for Hubz to bring to his last clinical day to share with the folks he had been working with and learning from. We made yellow cake balls and dipped half of them in chocolate and sprinkled them with a toffee topping. The other half we dipped the bottom half in peanut butter (melted Reese's chips) and the top half in chocolate then sprinkled them with very finely chopped peanut sprinkles. Hubz said they went over very well! In fact, I have a few emails asking about placing orders.

Overall, I like the consistency of the 'traditional' cake pop (frosting/cake mixture) but the recipe we used with the Bake Pop pans is pretty good too. The fact that they are easier to make with a LOT less mess is a good enough reason for me to use the pans more often than not when making these tasty treats!

I also tried the pans out using brownie mix. I used the directions on the box and they were delicious!  The next recipe we are going to try is peanut butter cookie pops.Yum!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

My Mom

Losing a family member is never easy, is it?

Today is my mom's birthday. In April, she will have been gone six years. She was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer in early March, 2006 and was gone six weeks later. It was horrible to watch someone with such a beautiful smile and expressive eyes become but a shell of her former self in such rapid fashion.

I really intended to write a nice, long post about how much I miss her but sitting here staring at the screen...I just do not have it in me. Instead, a few memories...

I have always loved this picture...

This is the song my mother sang to me as a child...

It took me a LONG time to NOT remember her the way she was in the end but like this...

Her smile and personality was infectious. Her sense of humor was razor sharp and hysterically funny.

I am glad I finally can remember her this way. I am not sure that I will ever stop missing her. The sting is still there, just not as often. I guess that is something. 

I love you today and always, Patty Lee. (3/17/48~4/19/2006)

Thanks for reading.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday Mish-Mosh

Baby Vivi's 1st birthday celebration.

Sitting here in my car while Girl-9 and Girl-8 are at their weekly dance lessons I am painfully aware of how attached I have become to technology. Specifically, I am referring to my smart phone. I don't get much time to myself and I typically use this hour to catch up on my Words with Friends matches and blogs of friends that I am terribly behind on.

Today, I intended to use this hour to chat ( yes, actual voice conversation) with my friend Charity. I fully expect to get home and find a few texts from her wondering why I haven't called. Of course, by the time this is posted, she will already know what happened. Sorry Charity!

Onto what today's post is really supposed to be about...

Yesterday we celebrated Baby Vivi's first birthday. (her birthday is coming up this week) She had a great time watching the house full of people who were there just for her. She got to dig into her very own cake (like every 1 y/o ought to) and she did a great job! She got some really nice gifts, her favorites being a Brobee doll and a musical, light-up telephone. I wonder, could it be that there is something built into the female DNA that makes us love the phone?

A big thank-you on behalf of Baby Vivi to everyone who shared in her birthday celebration!

As for me, I start school tomorrow. I mentioned in a previous post that I will be studying to become a   paralegal. Back when I decided to go to school to become a medical assistant, I had been vacillating between the medical and legal field. At that time, I was not ready to spend most of my day behind a desk so I chose the medical field. I loved it the entire time and if I could remain in doubt I would. but, my restrictions being what they are forced me to choose a new path and so here I am. I look at it as being able to travel down a road I had always considered anyway but could only do one thing at a time. In that sense, I consider myself fortunate.

Not much else going on. Hubz is settling into his new work schedule. He seems to like being in his field of choicer and is encouraged to have his foot in the door. Graduation will come sooner than he knows it and hospitals love to hire from within when they can. I  am proud of him. He is going to do very well.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Getting Healthy


~Sisterly Love~

The above is a picture of my daughters. They were waiting to be picked up and escorted to the annual father/daughter dance at their elementary school. They looked lovely, didn't they? By all accounts, they had a great time!

Today is day 4 of my attempt to reset my metabolism and get this extra weight off once and for all. I am a lifetime member of that system where you count the points but have found that I no longer have the sticktoitiveness to count said points. I find that I manipulate the points and they are constantly on my mind. Also, the idea that I can eat whatever I want so long as I stay within my points no longer works for me, as I have a very sweet tooth and could easily eat nothing but chocolate for days. Nope, I needed a different way to look at food.

I have also found that I can not live on shakes and meal bars alone. Anything that restricts what I can eat to just a few options is something that I will not do well with. I love my protein shakes and snack bars but I need actual food as well.

I am so pleased with this program so far that I can barely contain myself! Shipped to my door was a package containing everything that I need to be successful on this program. The most pleasant surprise was that I had virtually everything that I needed to be successful, in terms of food and drink, right in my kitchen. I have learned more about food and the proper way to eat it in four days than i could have imagined possible. I am not hungry. I eat every 2-3 hours. I have a ton of energy. Most importantly, I do not have to eat any pre-packaged, over-processed, super-expensive, tasteless food!

The program comes with these audio CDs that explain what it is you should be doing every day of the initial 21 day program. It is like having a personal coach sitting right beside you, helping you along. There is also a workout DVD with four different workouts to choose from. So far, I have been doing the 12 minute Fat Burner. It has been awhile since I did any exercising aside from walking so i am easing into it so as not to injure myself. With my restrictions due to an injury, I have to be very careful about how I exercise.

I am fighting the overwhelming urge to hop onto the scale. It really is killing me because I am used to stepping onto that blasted thing every morning. I am committed to not weighing myself until day 21. Instead, I will note any changes in how my clothes fit and how I am feeling overall.

The only thing that I have to stay away from in these first 21 days is my beloved chocolate. But, that's ok. There are plenty of things I can have to sate my sweet tooth in the mean time. I have also had to tweak my creamer because sugar, 12 types, is a no-no. Instead of drinking my flavored creamer, I am opting for flavored coffee with Splenda and light creamer. It is yummy, so I am happy.

If anyone is interested in this program and have questions about it, there is a Facebook page you can look at.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Just a Little Update

Full Moon
February 2012

This is the first day I have felt decent in about a week. I hate the winter months. For me, they are full of sinus infections and such and it becomes miserable. This will be a small update.

Hubz' last day driving a truck was yesterday (Friday). He could not be more thrilled to leave that part of his life behind. I remember the day that he came home and told me that he wanted to go back to school. We had just had our son and after watching some of the old guys mill about the terminal, he made the decision that he did not want to 'die with a steering wheel in his hand'. He looked into going back to school and hasn't looked back.

Monday will be his first day at his new job at The Hospital of Central Connecticut. He is very excited to be given this opportunity and I am sure that he is going to do very well. Hospitals like to hire from withing so once he has his R.N. he is hoping that he will be able to slide right into a nursing position. What makes him even happier is that this particular hospital has a nurse anesthetist program which is ultimately where he wants to be. Once he is hired as an R.N. (no matter where that may be) he will pursue his Bachelor's degree online through the college he attends now. He will need that before he can go on to the advanced program. He has big plans and I know he will be able to do anything that he sets his mind to.

My niece and her beautiful daughter are in town and I am hoping to get together with them tomorrow or Monday. I am very excited to see them as they do not come up very often. She is expecting her second child so that is exciting as well. I am hoping that my granddaughter will get to meet her cousin. My great-niece is a little bit older but I think the two of them playing together would be adorable. At the very least, I would get some great pics!

Speaking of my granddaughter, it is her mommy's birthday tomorrow so I just want to say happy birthday to MiMi. I love you from the bottom of my heart and I hope that you have a wonderful day!