Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Single Parenting Strength

My mother-in-law is one of the strongest people I know and one of the people I look up to the most in my life. She single-handedly raised six children almost on her own - yup, six! Dad left when Aaron, the oldest of the brood, was a Senior in High School. But, as she will tell you in this post, she really didn't do it completely on her own. Following is some sound advice from someone who knows, and has been there.

Monday, May 30, 2011


Throwing ground beef on the grill always makes for a celebration in our house. Here is one of our favorite variations on the ho-hum hamburger. Give it a try, it's yummy!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Tribute To Those Gone On

The melody of "Taps" is such a haunting and humbling tune that it puts a lump in my throat almost every time I hear it. It is only a few simple notes, but sometimes less is more. I have never really known the words to this simple melody until now, so I would like to share them. They, like their melodic counterpart, are simple and beautiful.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Patriotic Berry Trifle

Oh my gosh, I saw this recipe on the Food Network this morning and just had to share. I LOVE fruit and I LOVE things that look pretty when they are finished... oh ya and I SUPER LOVE cool-whip and whipping cream (I know, a flaw, but I never professed to be perfect).

This will totally be on my menu this Memorial Day: except I'm not an angel food cake fan, so a yellow cake will probably be substituted. Hey! I told you I wasn't perfect! 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Man Cave: Our Memorial Day Service Project

Rendering service to others is an important part of any well-lived life. In fact, I listed it as one of the Top 10 Chores every man should do at least once a year. As our children were growing up Kathy and I made service an important part of our family "culture". Of all the service projects we have done, the most memorable one happened on Memorial Day.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Flag Etiquette

With Memorial Day just around the corner there will be a lot of flags on display. I love it when everyone has their flags out: it makes me feel proud of our country and the unity of those around me. There are certain etiquette rules that should be followed during this time  however, so I thought I would share them straight from the US Flag Orginization's Web Site.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Quantity over Quality

I had a great evening yesterday. I didn't do anything grand, go anywhere special or spend any money: I went for a walk.

Sometimes it's the simplest things in life that bring us the most joy. Seeing your child smile, eating an ice cream cone on a hot day or walking hand in hand with your hubby lost in great conversation.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Photo Scavenger Hunt - A New Idea: Colors

Last week I posted my ideas about some fun photo scavenger hunts you can do. It really spurred all of us on to want to do this activity again: so we got together and thought of a new challenge and then headed out. We all had great days with our significant others, I had a fun time playing around with my  new camera, and it was great meeting up and hanging out together afterward at Dairy Queen. Here's what we did.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

$5 Meal

A great date night if you have several couples involved. It's cheap, fun, creative, and you all get fed. Who could ask for more?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Dealing With Bullies: Reader Response

Meet Corrine. Corrine is one of my best friends and the inspiration behind my post "Dealing With Bullies". No, not because Corrine is a bully, but because her son is having a hard time with bullies at school.

Josh is one of the most kindhearted kids you will ever meet, but he is different and the kids at school know that: Josh has autism. Here are Corrine's words on what it is like to be a parent of a bullied child.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Man Cave: Primordial Manness

Certain activities seem inherently manly: pouring concrete, hanging drywall, fixing a transmission. They are the stock in trade of manhood, component parts of the complete manly experience. They are the baseline. But every now and then a singular event comes along that takes a dude's manliness to a whole 'nother level.

I am now gong to relate the single most manly event of my life.

And it involves nudity.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Go Fly A Kite!

No, Aaron doesn't see an alien space craft in the sky, he is just flying a kite. This picture pretty much sums up my husband..... but seriously, flying kites can actually be a lot of fun. It takes you back to being a kid: obviously it did for Aaron;  gives you a chance to slow down: though not the way we fly kites; and gets you outside enjoying the day: of course living in Seattle that can be hit and miss. Here are two ideas that can make kit flying extra fun.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Photo Scavenger Hunt

This activity is so versatile its perfect for a lot of different situations. Usually we do this on what we have pegged a "Blate" - a blogging date that we do with our siblings that don't live in the area. We all do the date on the same night, doing the same activity, and then blog our results since we live in different states and can't do it together. As long as you have teams though, you can do it with anyone.... Families, couples, friends: it's perfect.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Unknown Dinner Party

I have been having unknown dinner parties since I was a teen. I cant tell you where I first got the idea for them because I honestly don't remember. They are great for kids and adults alike and are a super fun, guaranteed hit.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Support Each Others Interests

I am in a fog, and will be all day. Going to bed at 3:00 a.m. and then waking up at 8:30 a.m. will do that to you: and let's face it, I'm not 20 any more. Why on earth did I go to bed at 3:00 in the morning you ask? I was out partying with Aaron all night long.... sort of. Aaron is in a band.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Dealing With Bullies

I hate bullies! Always have... not that anyone loves a bully, but I have a zero tolerance for one person exerting their "power" over another. I can never sit idly by when I see a person being cowed by someone else: no matter what the situation is. 

It's important to teach our kids how to treat others around them, even if they are different: to be able to stick up for the kids being bullied, even if it's difficult: to be able to know what to do when being bullied, even if it's scary.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Magic of Little Caesars and McDonald's

Moods have been a little down around here lately, I'm sure in big part to the weather. Even for living in Seattle it has been extra cold and wet - and that's saying something! My mom came over and got her hair done yesterday and the appointment after her had to reschedule, so I had an extra long lunch break..... what to do? I think things were in order for a Little Caesars Date!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

5 Benefits of Gardening With Kids

It's that time of year again. Time to turn the soil, bury seeds in the earth and lovingly plant starts. Whether your thing is flowers, edibles, or in my case both, planting a garden can be a totally enriching experience for the entire family.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Dice Game

This is a game that was given to us by our sister one Christmas. Similar to Pass the Pigs, this game is fast, easy to learn, and extremely portable. It's about as inexpensive of a game as you can get too. All you need is six dice and paper and pencil for keeping score.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

I have heard many people say that they do not celebrate mother's day because it is a fabricated day put on by the card and flower companies to generate business: a "Hallmark Holiday". As a daughter and mother myself, I have to completely disagree. I think it is wonderful that we set aside a day to celebrate motherhood, in all of it's forms.

Ever since I can remember I wanted to grow up and be a mommy. Even at a really young age, cradling this ugly plastic doll, I did so with the utmost tenderness. I would like to take a moment to recognize all of the mothers in my life.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Adoption Option: Keeping A Toddler Busy

Toddlers.  I love mine. She can bring a smile to my face one minute, and make me want to fly the coop the next. She makes me so proud. I have really enjoyed being her mother.  But, let's tell the truth here. Toddlerhood, just as any stage of child rearing I'm sure, can be very challenging.  Add other children, or a baby to that, and things can become very tricky.  Toddlers are just busy. They love to be constantly occupied by something.  My toddler is almost a preschooler now, but we have come up with a lot of fun things to keep busy with that she really loves.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Cinnamon French Toast - My Favorite!

I am frustrated at the moment, because I had an amazing picture of my cinnamon french toast that I took for a cookbook I just completed. Long story short, I lost my entire folder with all of my raw files in it: picture gone. UGH! I spent all morning trying to find it, but it's just gone. A moment of silence please......

The good news is, I will never lose the recipe: because it took me three months to perfect it's locked into my brain. This is one of my ultimate favorite breakfasts, and one I will be requesting for Mother's Day. I will have the bread all made so all everyone else has to do is dip and cook. Easy, cheesy.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Man Cave: Busting the "Quality Time" Myth

"Psst...hey buddy! Wanna buy a watch? I got some brand new Rolex's here, just a hundred bucks! These are some real quality time-pieces."

Would you buy that?

Then don't by the "quality time" shams that child psychologist are selling either.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Star Wars Day

May the fourth be with you...... Ya, I know, geeky - but so our family! We are proud to admit that we have several Star Wars geeks in our house: the biggest of them all being my son Jeff. You can see how big a geek in this picture taken almost 6 years ago, on his 16th birthday. And, don't be mistaken - even though he is almost 22 years old, he would still take a picture like this today. So, when I found out about National Star Wars Day, I just knew that warranted a party! Here's what we are doing tonight.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Coffee Filter Flowers

I made bouquets and bouquets of tissue paper flowers when I was young. I thought it was so amazing that you could take a square piece of tissue paper and make it resemble a flower: and they don't wilt, so my mom would have to hang on to those things until I had forgotten them (which, if you have kids you know, can sometimes take a long time). I saw these this morning and thought they were awesome. A new spin on the paper flower!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mother's Day Coupons

Mother's Day doesn't have to be complicated. We mother's are so easy to please that it's a snap. The best sound in the world to us is the sound of dishes being done, or the vacuum being run, and we're not the ones doing it. It's just that simple.

I have made up a quick coupon book for you to print and present. Work done. All you need is a printer and you are set for the best Mother's Day gift of all..... you're welcome ;o)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Handprint Apron

Okay, here is my longest standing Mother's Day present from Jeff, so probably the oldest Mother's Day gift I still own and use - and I use it a lot. So easy and inexpensive, it's the perfect gift for any mother this year.