December 31, 2010

In under the wire...

I wanted to finish my December Daily project by the end of the year. My family was all off work and school for the week, so our Christmas holiday lasted a bit longer and I wanted to capture that time with family and friends. Now, as we head toward midnight, the final pictures of Christmas are complete. Here is my December Daily Project... right on time!

Thanks to Ali Edwards for sharing her wonderful project idea with us. When you visit her site, click on "continue reading" at the bottom of her entries then scroll down to see the other people who participated - there are some amazing artists!

December 26, 2010

Share Your Christmas Surprises!

My family picked great things for Christmas gifts. Candles, chocolate, coffees, a knife sharpener, a fireplace pie iron, and a great New York puzzle/map.

But by far, the best gift I received is the camera used to take these pictures because it is from my three kids who used their own money, chose the perfect camera for me, and worked together to get it done - without me having any hint! I have been without one for almost a year, and they knew how much I missed having my own.

What was the best gift in your home this year?

December 25, 2010

Now I can share these!

Now that the gift opening is over I can share the jewelry I made as gifts. I made the photo bracelet for my oldest, and another for my sister. I made the pendant necklace for my other sister.

December 23, 2010

Potato Pancakes

Tonight for dinner my kids asked for one of our holiday traditions - potato pancakes. We usually only make them for Christmas and maybe one other time during the year because they are so much work. We have tried starting with frozen hash browns but they don't give the same consistency. Some people put the potatoes in the food processor and make a paste out of them. But nothing is as good as freshly shredded - which is why we only make them for the holidays. I made ten pounds tonight. Anyone else want to make some? Here ya go....

Deena's Potato Pancakes
  • peel and shred potatoes
  • for every 4-ish cups of potatoes add 1 egg and 2-3 T of flour
  • add a generous amount of salt
  • I like minced onion, not my family
  • mix well with a fork
  • drop by fork fulls into olive oil or olive oil/butter mix
  • fry until one side is crispy, then flip and fry the other
  • serve with applesauce or sour cream (our family is half each)
You might want to serve with a salad or make sure there is enough milk in the house - these are hard to stop eating, and definitely not a low fat food!

December 20, 2010

December 17, 2010

the ABC's - a critical life skill

My youngest was in charge of music this morning while I was driving her to school.

"Can you see if that song is on my ipod?" I asked.
"Yeah, sure."
(pause while scrolling is occurring)
"No, it's not - oh wait. I'm having trouble with my alphabet. Yeah it's here."

Having trouble with my alphabet? The kid cracks me up! And I never really thought about how important that piece of information is in today's world. Now that was a great start to my day.

December 16, 2010

number three - or two

We caught squirrel number three in the trap yesterday. Today I was telling my co-worker, and she said, "Are you sure it's not just squirrel number one or two returning?" She pointed out that the stash of nuts we put out in the trap is probably calling every squirrel in the neighborhood to our house. Now, THAT, would be our luck.

December 15, 2010

I'm not a minimalist, but someday I'd like to be.

FB over at The Everyday Minimalist made me laugh today. The last couple of days she has shared pictures of her kitchen cabinets. It made me think of some of the times when family has been over to my house cooking. Like on Thanksgiving when my sister asked for a whisk for the gravy. "Over there" I said, "in the drawer. It looks kinda like a fork." It was. And another time when we were taking hot dogs out of the pan of water and I handed her the grill tongs. Trust me, there are utensils and gadgets I would not want to be without, I just choose them carefully. What are they, you ask? Ok, here they are:

1. George Foreman Grill - I love that even frozen meats cook quickly, and the drippings drain off into a little pan, so you can drain it or use it for gravy or sauce. It is awesome for grilled cheese sandwiches!

2. Magic Bullet Blender - The perfect blender for the smoothie lover because it can handle ice and chunks of fruit effortlessly, and my family does not like chunks of anything in their smoothies. Clean up is really easy because it all comes apart.

3. Pampered Chef Scraper - This is my number one, favorite kitchen utensil. I have four of them. They are stain proof, heat proof, and sturdy. Great for everything from frying potatoes to turning the edge of an omelet. And the small one fits inside a soup can....

December 12, 2010

kinda squirrely

Since the squirrels moved into our attic a month ago, we have been trying to get them leave. They are in a point of the eaves where we cannot get from the inside, and from the outside it's 2-1/2 stories off the ground. We tried a loud radio and leaving the lights on, but that didn't help at all - I think they actually liked it - so we borrowed a live trap. It took a week of trying it in different locations but we finally caught one.

Then, Sunday morning we heard the familiar rummaging around in the attic. Their food stash must have been low because a few hours later, when I looked out the window, there was squirrel number 2, in the trap. We think there were only two upstairs, but it would be just our luck that the one we caught today was just another random squirrel from the neighborhood, so we put the trap back out just in case. Next step? Figuring out a way to seal off the openings....

December 11, 2010

Album in a Box

Looking for a cute and quick idea? Try making an Album in a Box. The box keeps little tokens in one place and is an easy way to store the album - and you can display it under the tree next year! Great gift idea for a party host or baby sitter. You can give it with photos or let your giftee add their own.

Not really over the river and through the woods, but still pretty

The path to the compost bin....

December 9, 2010

good thing I chose unlimited....

I just got my cell phone bill for November and all I can say is, "Wow." One of my daughters had 1,696 texts, one had 2,792 and the other had 2,927 texts for the month. I'm no math genius, but spread over 30 days that's somewhere between 57 and 98 texts a day. Assuming that they are sleeping at least 7 hours a night, that's 3-5 an hour - not accounting for the time they are in school. I'll let you all figure which total goes with which kid.

December 8, 2010

one down....

Yesterday I decided that since efforts to trap our squirrels had failed, we would return the trap when I got home from work today. I was crabby about having to take an hour out of my night to drive out and back to return something that didn't even work. As I pulled into the driveway this afternoon, miracle of miracles, there Mr. Furry was, in the trap. Turns out they don't want peanut butter or sunflower seeds or oranges - just cover it with snow and toss some leaves inside. Hopefully, with snow predicted this weekend, that others will be out scurrying around and can join Mr. Furry in their new home soon. We never get that lucky - although today was close.

December 7, 2010

St. Nick comes around again.... grrrreat.

Yesterday I came home to find the dogs had eaten all of the St Nick stuff - and today, that they had yakked it up all over the living room carpet and on the beds. Those pictures were not as cute as the damage ones....

Managing Teen Holiday Stress

While flipping through a newsletter recently I came across an article about teens and holiday stress. I know some people are thinking, "What does a teen have to be stressed about, especially during the holidays?"

Some of the causes of stress are the same for adults, but the one that got my attention was, "Many teens feel empty because holidays are not the same as when they were young kids." Awww. I never thought of it like that before. In addition, the holidays can be especially difficult for teens affected by loss or divorce, and the extra expectation of holiday spirit may just be too much.

Teens can try many of the regular things we think of to fight stress: eat right, get enough sleep, and slow down. Here are two more ideas: 

Let go of ideas of perfection. When my kids were younger I had ideas of exactly how Christmas morning should be - the perfect tree, matching outfits, visits with Santa.... It was exhausting - for all of us. Now, I just don't care about those things. Wear sweats to Grandma's? Pizza for Christmas breakfast? Whatever. 

To do something charitable. There is something rewarding about doing a nice thing for someone else. Fortunately, my kids are good at seeing these opportunities, whether it's a $5 gift for the toy drive or taking an extra candy cane for a friend. I think it's important for teens to be the recipient of something charitable too - being on the receiving end helps them to think of ways to pay it forward.

If you're interested in reading the whole article you can find it at the Rhode Island Department of Health.

December 6, 2010

St. Nick goes to the dogs

Apparently our dogs were not happy that St. Nick did not include them, and they took care of the matter themselves today while we were gone....

December 1, 2010

Welcome December with some desktop cheer!

I found this great little advent calendar gadget from Michael at I like that you can't open the boxes until the correct day, otherwise I'd open them all the first day.

November 30, 2010

10 Great Christmas Gifts for Teens!

At several points over the weekend I had a house full of teenagers, so I asked them for a some ideas for those of us shopping for teens. Here are their top ten suggestions:
  1. Money
  2. Gift cards - iTunes, Best Buy, and gas cards were top hits
  3. Netflix or other movie subscription
  4. Magazine subscriptions
  5. DVD's or movies
  6. Fleece blankets
  7. Any type of food
  8. Tickets to sports or concerts
  9. Health club membership
  10. Electronics like iPods, cameras, and phones
Ready to shop? Save the hassles. Try Amazon.

squirrel update

Conservative talk radio blaring from the attic has not encouraged our squirrels to leave; it's only made them angry, right-wingers who believe the government is trying to control their lives and constitutional right to property. So on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving we borrowed a live trap from the humane society, loaded it with peanut butter and sunflower seeds, and put it in the attic. Damn conservatives don't believe in handouts....

November 29, 2010

Black Friday starts in the dark

So my oldest makes the observation about the irony of the Thanksgiving weekend and my middle daughter invites friends over to go Black Friday shopping at 3am, with me as their chauffeur.

They wanted to start with Target until they saw the line stretching 200 feet along the front of the building and another 100 feet around the side. They decided to go to the 24 hour Walgreen's down the street to check out all the "as seen on TV" products, followed by breakfast at McDonald's. We got back to Target just in time for the stampede as the doors opened, but it was uneventful.

At least I got coffee out of the trip. Well ok, I got a cami, long-sleeve t-shirt, and sweater for half off at Vanity too....

observing the holiday

My oldest made an funny observation this holiday weekend. She said, "You know, it's kind of ironic how we spend Thanksgiving being grateful for the things we have and then we go out Black Friday morning and spend tons of money to buy more stuff." Ironic indeed....

November 20, 2010

Don't skip the turkey!

Most of us are making plans for our Thanksgiving dinners. But what if one of your guests is vegetarian? Don't panic. I'm here to help: 

First, be careful about the vegetarian label. There are different types of vegetarians: vegans eat no animal products at all, complete vegetarians don't eat red meat, fish, or poultry, and partial vegetarians might eat chicken but not red meat or pork.

Avoid the urge to shop special for a vegetarian guest. Just because someone is a vegetarian doesn't mean they eat tofu and soy protein foods, just like all meat-eaters don't like veal or liver. Many of the meat substitute products are really good and others are barely edible. Unless you know what your guest prefers, I would stick to foods you normally make.

You should still eat your turkey. People who choose to be vegetarian do so for a variety of reasons. When I was pregnant meat made me sick and so I just stopped eating it. I found other foods to replace it and never saw the need to start again. Over the years I have developed more of an animal rights perspective, but that is for another post. The key is respect - I won't bring up how the turkey is raised and prepared if you don't make an issue of me not eating him.

Don't worry about feeding me a complete dinner. If all I eat is mashed potatoes and stuffing that's ok. I love stuffing. Most vegetarians do not get all of the right nutrients in a single meal anyway. We look at the whole day, so I will make up the difference somewhere along the way - probably by adding my beta-carotene through a double slice of pumpkin pie or loading my broccoli with cheese for protein. What? Vegetarians do it too - it's all about the balance....

If you are the type of host who must go the extra mile for your guest, or you really want to make your vegetarian guest feel extra special welcome, just ask ahead of time. Most vegetarians are happy to share the things they prefer, and many will offer to bring a dish to add to the feast. The key to making all of your guests feel comfortable is to keep the focus on celebrating all of the things we have to be thankful for like spending the holidays together.

December Daily - Cover

I started my December Daily album project. It's a mini-album idea from Ali Edwards that documents the 25 days leading up to Christmas. Watch as the project unfolds!

November 18, 2010

Armed and dangerous

My brother-in-law came over to assess the squirrel situation. He headed up to the attic armed with a flashlight, a walkie talkie, and a bb gun (don't post hate comments - we're gonna trap them - the bb gun was only for protection). Thanks, BIL!

November 15, 2010

Ah, Wisconsin.

As we pulled out of the driveway this morning my middle daughter, dressed in a short sleeve t-shirt, cranked the heat all the way up. "You should be wearing your new Columbia," I offered. "Yeah" she replied, "but I am waiting for winter." I pointed to the 33F on the temperature display and she said, “I mean like snowing.”

you just never know

Last time I went grocery shopping I picked up a couple of boxes of cous cous because it is fast and easy to cook and I like it. My middle daughter has eaten it before, but I always kind of thought it was just because it was the only thing available. Last night she was staring into the cupboard looking for food, then all of a sudden smiled and blurted, "Couscous? Can you make this for me?"

Experts say you have to offer a new food several times before kids will like it, or even try it - I guess so.

an award would be nice

Earlier this week I called my sister to brag about my morning. At 7:30am I finally got to looking through the mail that had been piling up since last week while I was sick. In the stack was the closing paperwork for our mortgage refinance – that had to be in their hands the next day. 

I dropped all three kids off at school, made closing payment by phone, picked the Hubby up at work, ran to the notary's office (do you have any idea how lucky we were to find a notary on Veteran's Day with all the banks closed) and UPS store to ship… and picked up and delivered copies for work - in just two hours. So when I called my sister to brag and she said, "Yeah, you're a mom." 

Like what do you want? An award?

We have company!

A pair of squirrels has moved into our attic above the bedrooms. We hear them scurrying around over my head just before the alarm goes off. Supposedly turning on the lights and leaving a radio on should encourage them to find a new home. We’ve had AM conservative talk radio on for the last three days – which I would think would make anyone leave - but they are still there. All I can picture is the movie Caddy Shack. They are up there laughing at us, “Hey, you guys, gather round. It’s time for Limbaugh.”

November 14, 2010

making a registry, and checking it twice...

On my way into work the other day, the radio DJ's were talking about a birthday invitation they got for a nephew that included a "Ryan is registered at..." enclosure. I can see both sides of this. As we head into wish list season for many people, I am wondering what others think of kids creating gift registries.

November 13, 2010

it's all in the paper

I'm attending a conference in Chicago and the hotel is beautiful. Not as detail-oriented as my last Chicago hotel conference experience, but I guess you have to cut somewhere....

November 11, 2010

Down for the count

What day is it? I spent the majority of this week knocked out by the flu. Or maybe twenty pounds of Halloween candy finally caught up with me. I have a few stories from this past week, although I am not sure which were real and which I imagined. Either way, they're funny. I'll pull them together for weekend reading....

November 3, 2010


Whew. I am trick-or-treated out. Now, what do I do with the pumpkins we did not get to carve?

October 29, 2010

Now if I tried that....

My middle daughter had friends over tonight (hi guys - you know who you are). It's amazing what a kitchen full of teens can create!

October 28, 2010

I'd call it "Eat Pray Love Sleep"

The movie previews for Eat, Pray, Love looked so good, but I am one of those people who thinks the book is always better than the movie, so I wanted to read the book first. I knew I would be driving a lot for work so I thought to make the time go faster I would to get it on audio book, and put it on my ipod.

About half way across Wisconsin, I started listening. It seemed sort of scattered, but I thought, "Well, it's a memoir, maybe she's going somewhere with all these ideas." Then around the fourth chapter, I realized that my ipod was on shuffle.

Later that week, I was recounting it to my daughter and her friend, and explained that it was like three books within a book. Her friend said, "Oh you mean like one for eat, one for pray, and one for love?" Somehow I had missed that connection. Apparently this is a good way to build my listening skills.

This also reminded me how much I like to be read to. When the kids were little I read to them, we went to preschool story times at the library, and then started to read to each other. Somewhere around second grade they started reading completely on their own. Now, I read the novels they bring home from school and sometimes we talk about them.

Still, there is something relaxing about having someone read to me. Maybe I'll start going to story times again.

October 27, 2010

I live in a bracelet factory

If you have teens you probably have friendship bracelets - you know those colorful little knotted string bracelets that kids make, exchange, and wear until they fall off. This summer these were especially popular in our house - there were several started at one time, secured to tables throughout the house with layers of whatever tape they could find. They usually make their appearance about the same time as flip flops and shorts, and fade away with the tan lines. For whatever reason, this year they just won't go away. Ever surface has tape remnants, there is string tangled in the drawer with the computer and camera cables, and I keep pulling bracelet remains from the dryer lint trap. Someone save me. 

Wake up early - attempt #2

Maybe the day before 4-day weekend break is not the time to start a new getting up early routine.... Fail.

October 26, 2010

Wake up early - attempt #1

Maybe getting up early is like running - it sucks at first but gets easier the more you do it.....

October 25, 2010

it might not be pretty....

Today this post from Emily at caught my attention. I do not like mornings, but I am going to try to get up early tomorrow. The coffee maker is programmed to start half an hour earlier than usual, my slippers are by the bed, and a fleece blanket it waiting for me on the couch. I'm not making any promises - I may only make it down to the couch to snooze until the next alarm, but even that would be progress for me. Sweet dreams...

October 24, 2010

holding down the fort

My sister and her husband went out of town and left my other sister in charge of the three kids for the weekend. I called the house to see how things were going and my five year old nephew told me that I should be babysitting. I asked why and he said, "Because you're more like a babysitter."

I'm not sure if that means I am more fun like a teenager or more responsible like a parent.... I do know that before the 'rents left he asked, "So if Aunt A is staying here, who will be in charge?"

Should I be worried?

October 23, 2010

... and it's only $2!

On the way home from volleyball last night, my middle daughter asked to stop for poster board to make signs for the cross country meet the next day. Great. Target's closed. Walmart's closed. Good thing we have a 24 hour Walgreen's just down the street.

So my daughter comes out with several sheets of poster board, and says, "I found this really cool dry erase one for two bucks." We get it home and it IS really cool. It's the size and weight of regular poster board but dry erase! How awesome will it be at the meet to erase "Go Erin" and write "Go James".

I cannot tell you how many late night stops we have made to buy poster board for school projects. I'm thinking with this stuff and a pack of colored post-it notes, we should be able to create just about any book summary or science diagram the teachers can assign.

October 17, 2010

Our weekend project

This weekend we moved our family room TV from the corner near the  the kitchen to the opposite side of the room. And it was so easy - one trip to Walmart for a splitter, a leftover hunk of cable that we already had in the basement, and half an hour of time - most of it waiting for the cable box to cycle back on. Everyone knows what an accomplishment it is for us to do anything remotely resembling a home improvement project without help. Usually, when we have something that needs to be fixed we just invite a family member over for "dinner". I know other people can replace the entire front door in a weekend (my sister) but we don't want to overdo it.

I was hoping that moving the TV would help with the noise level in our house, and the improvement is incredible.You can't even hear it from the kitchen - this is huge when our family computer, and thus homework central, is the kitchen table. Sometimes location is everything....

October 13, 2010

Computers running like crazy

So my kids were talking this morning.... As my youngest was putting on a pair of Nike shocks, my oldest said, "You know, it's weird. There's even software in our shoes."

October 12, 2010

Really? What do you EAT?

I've been a vegetarian (no meat, no chicken, no fish) for 15 years, and the first thing people say when they learn that is, "Oh I could never do that. What do you eat?" So I thought I'd share a recipe for something easy. 

Four Cheese Lasagna (vegetarian, low-fat, low-effort)
1 box lasagna noodles, uncooked (I like Barilla's whole grain)
2 jars of sauce, any flavor
1 carton fat-free ricotta cheese
1 carton fat-free cottage cheese
1 package low-fat shredded parmesan cheese
1 package low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese

I checked the size of each package and carton of cheese for those of you who cook with measurements, and they are all 16 ounce. Weird. Ok, chop the garlic, basil, and onion really small, then mix it with the ricotta and cottage cheese. Start with a layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan (I use whatever pan is clean and the noodles fit in without having to break them). Add a layer of noodles, drop some spoonfuls of the cheese mixture onto the noodles, then sprinkle with the shredded cheeses. Keep layering: sauce, noodles, cheeses until you run out of ingredients or pan. I usually get about 5-6 layers. It really doesn't matter what order you use as long as the noodles touch wet stuff. Finish with sauce. Cover with foil and bake for an hour at 350. It's done when the noodles are tender. Melt a little extra shredded cheese on top just before you serve it.

So there you go... vegetarian, healthy, easy.

October 10, 2010

Give a girl a ring....

Last Christmas while I was shopping I found a ring I wanted, but it was not on sale and it was Christmas - other places for the money to go.... so I passed on it. A few weeks ago I was in the store again, and the ring was still there, and it was 40% off, and the only one left was in my size. I took that as a sign and bought it. Every time I look down and see "Love Life" it's a reminder to check my attitude. The best part is the saying inside - for those times when I really need some encouragement. I know it's just a little thing, but it makes my day.

October 8, 2010

the emergency graham cracker kit

Since my oldest daughter got her first locker I have made it a habit to get the combination at the start of each school year. Today, my youngest texted me from school, for about the fourth time since school started, asking if I could drop some hygiene or beauty item off in her locker. Ordinarily most of us girls would just tuck these things in a pocket in our bag, backpack, or briefcase. But at our school, middle schoolers are not allowed to carry backpacks during the day (weird I know, but it's the rule).

So this morning I gathered up deodorant, hair ties, a few personal items, mints, chap stick and a razor - basic girl essentials - for her to keep in her locker. You can't just leave this stuff lying around. I had to find the perfect container for it all. Something easy to get to and find what you need, yet boring enough to blend in on a locker shelf. At 8:43 this morning, the "Emergency Graham Cracker Survival Kit" was deployed.

October 7, 2010

It's gonna be a magical day....

All of my family and friends know that I have a history of nearly - sometimes completely - missing important dates. Things like the Easter Bunny, St. Nick, 100 days of school, Dr. Seuss' birthday, and spirit week often sneak up on me, but NOT THIS TIME! No, I swear.

Do you realize that Sunday is 10-10-10? This is huge. Think of the references to "10" in our culture: Top Ten, Perfect Ten, Give Me Ten, and I'm Gonna Count to Ten, for example. This is a magical day and it will only happen once in our lifetimes! And I have known this for more than a month now.

So how will you recognize 10-10-10 this weekend?

(seriously, feel free to add your comments... because I still don't know how I plan to celebrate this)

October 5, 2010

homework sure is different these days

My middle daughter was at the table doing her homework, and I looked over and saw her texting. "Aren't you supposed to be doing your homework?" I asked. She turned, rolled her eyes, and showed me the message she was sending: "Decide whether f(x)=(^4)-(7x^2)+6x has any local maxima or local minima. If so find each value." Ok good, keep working.....

October 4, 2010

you say that like it's a bad thing...

Today I went to Michael's for more adhesive and was browsing near the seasonal things. From around the corner I hear a mom with her two grade schoolers who have to touch everything on the rack. "Mom, look at me." "Oooh I like this pumpkin." "Hey, a skeleton!" Each time the mom replies with patience.

As I move to the end of the aisle the daughter, who is about eight, tries on a mask. The mom says, "Oh, you should wear that for your Halloween party at school." Taking it off, the daughter replies, "No, I don't want to look like Count Dork-ula."

The mom spins around trying to keep her calm composure, fake laughs and asks, "Where did you hear that?" I was torn between laughing at her shock and buying her a drink. I remember how it felt to realize that my child had learned something that I did not teach her - that awful feeling that my baby was no longer just mine.

So, to the mom from Michael's today, hang in there... because in just a few short years, you'll be sitting at the table at midnight trying to help her with the last three pre-calculus problems, on the homework that she has been working on for more than two hours, and is 30% of her grade, and you will realize that maybe learning from others really isn't such a bad thing....

September 19, 2010

The real reason...

So, it's true that I was on a leave while I re-organized some things. I had been debating whether I had the time to keep blogging. My sister has already asked, "When are you coming back? I miss my weekly opportunities to laugh at my family."

Then, last week three different people asked when I was going to start blogging again. I'm glad my life can provide entertainment for so many people.....

Thanks to my cheerleaders for the extra push to get back to work!

September 18, 2010

And we're back!

A few months ago I took on a community project that, like Girl Scout leader-ing or booster clubbing, exploded into a commitment with a huge learning curve. I have been learning to work this new venture into my family life, and think I'm finally on the right track.

You won't hear much about it, despite the plethora of writing material it provides. First, not everyone is ok with having their business become public humor. And really, some of the people really should remain nameless.

And so, I am back!

April 4, 2010

Like socks in the dryer - in reverse

Today I was running errands and looked in the back seat. There is a full load of laundry on the captain's chair and more in the trunk. This happens twice during the year - cross country season and track season. Ask me in three weeks. I'll have enough clothes in the van to outfit the whole team....

April 1, 2010

April fool's made possible through texting!

Today I texted my two oldest kids mid-morning and told them that the school announcement system sent me a text that the schedule was misprinted and only the grade schools have off tomorrow. Both of them caught it right away, and texted me back, but what a great way to connect with them!

February 25, 2010

Our $3000 "free" puppy...

So a few years ago we wanted a dog (ok, it was me). No gerbil, hamster, or guinea pig can compete when you've grown up with a dog. So we wnt to the humane society looking for a cute, little, white terrier kind of thing and we wound up with a puppy that grew up into a 60 pound lab/border collie. But I digress....

He was practically free. A week after we had him home he started vomiting and quickly became lethargic. We took him to the emergency vet where he was diagnosed with parvo virus, which has no treatment except supportive care, and is nearly always fatal. He spent 4 days in the puppy ICU at a cost of $2000, but he survived.

Things were going along pretty well, until January. He was running through the yard in the snow, and suddenly yelped. He would not put weight on his foot, so we treated it with RICE for a day to see if it would get better. It did not. A visit to the vet confirmed my suspicion of a torn ACL. The best option for a young dog like him was surgery to replace the torn ligament for a cost of about $1500.

So most of the month has been spent trying to keep him quiet and healing after the surgery. And did I mention, that 30% of dogs who have torn one ACL usually tear the other one within a year? 

Nothing is ever free. Good thing he's cute.

February 11, 2010

it's simple

I have always loved planners, calendars, and journals, but this s one of my all time favorites! I love how the pages are kind of random thoughts - much like my own. The page always starts with a choice of three things to describe my day and a place to explain why. There's always a red quote in the middle. The rest of the things on the page are random - sometimes I comment, sometimes I check them, cross them out, or add my own. You have to check it out.

February 8, 2010

Proof of a technology gap

My husband is not Mr. Technology. He learned how to send email a year ago. On more than one occasion I have found him talking on his cell phone with it next to his ear - on speaker. So, when he told me he found a place online to order a replacement tail light for the broken one on our van, I was shocked. "Yeah," he said, "it's a lot cheaper than in the store, but it's like a mail order place. Is that ok?" A mail order place? You mean like online shopping? (snicker)

February 6, 2010

Look, it's a...a...a...oh, hell I don't know.

In December I got a great deal on the electric guitar that my daughter requested for Christmas on craigslist. So when someone we knew told us he was moving and getting rid of a piano, I thought we hit the jackpot. Maybe I should have asked to see it first.

As it turns out the paint is only the beginning. Many of the hammers are broken and the strings are starting to rust - it's not worth repairing as a piano. It's sitting in our garage waiting for the right person to find it. Can't you picture it as a garden planter? Maybe a desk? A headboard in a shabby chic room? A fish tank? A "piano bar" for the rec room?

C'mon, who's feelin' it?

January 7, 2010

Announcement, Everyone!

Many of you know my sister because I post her crazy stories here as well. What you might not know is that she is also an expert on early childhood special needs. Later this week she is talking at a local MOPS about how to modify child behaviors. For example, did you know that you can make your kids great with a mood ring, a rock, and pair of rabbit ears. She like McGyver for parents!

Watch for more of her tips here!