Friday, September 30, 2011

when i grow up...

Nathan: When I grow up, I want to be a police guy.

Us: Why?

Nathan: Because I will have a gun and can shoot deer.

Us: Nathan, you don't have to be a policeman to be a hunter.

Nathan: But I can handcuff the deer, too.

Um...okay...good point.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

stressful september

life has been crazy.

not only has this past month been the typical
it has also been one filled with
job-filled stress,
and did i mention, lists?

my kids' first day of school was delayed
a day due to heavy rain and flooding
and my year began with a 2 hour delay.
i love my job, i really do.
but with recent cut-backs in my district,
the number of reading specialists in my building
was cut from 2 to 1 1/2.

that probably doesn't sound like a big difference,
but when you're the 1 of the 1 1/2, it is.
because the 1/2 is primarily being utilized as a teacher
and is not a team player.
therefore, the job that was previously done
by 2 has fallen on my shoulders.

i don't think anyone realizes how annoying
it is to keep track of 400 kids' reading placements
and the ever-changing lists that it takes to keep track.

however, that's not what's really important.

what's important is that my mom
just came home yesterday from a 10 day hospital stay.
she's amazing and i love her.

for those of you that don't know,
my mom was diagnosed 2 1/2 years ago
with stage 4 metastatic colon cancer. 
basically, that means when she was diagnosed,
she already had tumors in her colon, liver, and lung.
she shouldn't be here.

she is a miracle. 
she has not had any traditional treatment.
no chemo.
no radiation.
no surgery.

so 2 1/2 years have gone by without many issues.
yes, there have been good days and bad days as
far as how she feels, but this past 10 days was really
the first "blip" on the radar screen of her cancer journey.

she really does have cancer.
it really is there and growing (slowly).
and it's not going away.

she had to have a colostomy,
which to some people might be devastating
or embarassing
or horrifying.

but my mom has maintained a positive attitude
and solid trust in the Lord.
she has been a beacon of light
to each and every nurse and doctor
she's come into contact with, often making them
laugh or smile.

it has been an emotional roller-coaster watching
my parents face this head-on.

it puts things in perspective and
those lists somehow don't seem so important.
life is precious.
hug the ones you love
and hold them tight.

i love you, mom.
higher than the sky.
thank you for the example you set even in the face of cancer. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ryan to a friend at church: you're the tallest dad here. How old are you?

Our friend: I'm 32.

Ryan: My dad's 39 and he's not as tall as you are. How come?

Our friend: You know how I got so tall? Holding my breath and not talking so much...

Monday, August 29, 2011

quote of the week

N: I love rock and roll, put another dime in the juicebox, baby....

Rock on, Joan Jett. 
Rock on.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


...that green smoothies are yummy :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

you know you're getting old...

when you have to explain to your 8 year old what a phone booth is.

That's just crazy!

Friday, August 5, 2011

scrappy share

I created this layout that was inspired by this October Afternoon blogpost way back on Valentine's Day.  I changed it up a bit and kind of combined both of Nancy Holley's ideas into one layout.  This is one of my favorite photos of our family and I'd been wanting to scrap it for a while.  I tried to include some things that would identify our family with the numbers and letters. I loved being able to use my scraps and lately, I've been doing a lot more machine stitching on my layouts.  Might just have to get myself an assortment of thread colors... :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

a letter

Dear Phillies,

We are a family of baseball fans with three boys.  Boys who want to grow up and play baseball just like you.  Boys who want to spend their precious summer evenings and Saturday afternoons watching you play.  Boys who want their parents to take them to watch you play in person.

However, I find it a sad state of affairs that it will cost us a small fortune to take our family of five to Citizens Bank Park to watch a live game.  Sitting in the upper level in right field would cost us about $150 plus parking $20+, not to mention the outrageously priced snacks the kids will beg us for.  These are decent seats, but no where close to the field where the kids could be entertained by the Phillie Phanatic...

So, we've resigned ourselves to watching the game on tv.  Recently, my 8 year old son gave up a gorgeous Saturday afternoon to watch a 4:00 game, only to be affronted by a Viagra commercial.  Really!?!  Is it absolutely necessary to air a Viagra commercial in the middle of an afternoon baseball game?  With statements about "being healthy enough for s*x" and "having an er**tion," I'm guessing NO!   This wonderful commercial was followed by an R-rated movie trailer.  Just keeps getting better. 

What are we to do?  We can't afford to take our family to the game and watching it on tv has become a hazard in and of itself.  I'm disappointed.

The Phillies organization should take these issues into consideration if they want to create and keep lifelong fans of baseball.  The next generation of baseball fans is just as important as the current one.

A Phanatic Mom

Monday, August 1, 2011

a look back at july....where did it go?

I got to visit my college roommate in Florida (o.k., it really was the end of June, but who's counting?) We had a great time together even though we haven't seen each other for almost 3 years...

We went to see fireworks on the 4th of July weekend :)

We celebrated my niece's 1st birthday on 4th of July.
Isn't she a cutie?

The kids and I took a day trip to the Jersey Shore to visit our friends who also have 3 does that happen??  Here they are patiently waiting for ice cream...

We dressed up like cows and got an almost free dinner at Chick-fil-a.  I say almost because Mark was too chicken (no pun intended - haha) to dress up with us and paid for his dinner!  

We celebrated my nephew's 4th birthday but I forgot my camera!
The boys and I took a {2nd} day trip to the Jersey shore with my mother-in-law and brothers-in-law and stayed way too late on the boardwalk before heading home.

The girls had a night out of rooftop dining.

The kids and I took another {3rd} 2 day trip to the Jersey shore to spend time with my sister and her kids.  The cousins had a blast at the beach and on the boardwalk. 

And we celebrated Ryan's 6th birthday. 

We wrapped up this busy month with a week of Vacation Bible School.
Lots of fun this month...but that's what summer's all about, right?
Hope you're enjoying your summer as much as we are! 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

this boy

Just turned 6 years old!!

I can't believe that my miracle Ryan is 6 years old and going to be a 1st grader!

I can't believe that 6 years ago I gave birth 3 1/2 weeks early to a 7 lb 2 oz peanut who had to have a full blood transfusion at only 2 days old.  Wow!

In honor of his birthday, I interviewed my middle guy about his life right now...

Favorite food: sweet & sour chicken
Favorite colors: pink & orange
Favorite tv show: Kid in a Candy Store
Favorite movie: Narnia ~ The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe
Favorite book: The Cat in the Hat
Favorite toy: monster trucks
Favorite thing to do: make crafts
What he wants to be when he grows up: a chef

Love this kid! 

Ryan, thank you for making our lives more interesting. 
We love you higher than the sky!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

stretch your sketch challenge

Here's my take on Donna Januzzi's July 4 sketch challenge over on the Ella Publishing Blog:

I like how it turned out and I especially loved that I was able to use the pretty October Afternoon and Cosmo Cricket papers since it was an Easter layout!  :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011


So, I'm on week three of the "Green Smoothie" diet.  I am not trying to lose weight....I'm just trying to be healthier.  I've replaced my lunch with a green smoothie everyday and take it from me, the "YUCK, are those vegetables? Girl" they taste pretty good.  And I certainly couldn't possibly eat all these greens in a salad....but I'm getting them in my smoothie no problem.

The most basic recipe:

1 cup of water
1 1/2 bananas, frozen in chunks
1 cup frozen berries
Blend the above ingredients until smooth.
Then add 5- 6 handfuls of spinach and blend until smooth.

It's best served COLD and as you acquire a taste for them, you can change it up.  I've made smoothies with blueberries, strawberries, peaches, apples, bananas, cherries, kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, and red leaf lettuce.  I use my regular old blender, which does a decent job, although if Mark and I are planning on doing this long-term, we're considering a MEGA-blender. 

Even my kids like these, which is saying something....

*I have more energy
*I get fuller faster when I eat a regular meal
*I am feeling healthier
*My IBS symptoms are gone
*My seasonal allergies are lessened

*Break-outs for the first 2 weeks
*Headaches for the first 2 weeks

If you're interested in learning more, I recommend The Green Smoothies Diet by Robyn Openshaw.  She's also known as "The Green Smoothie Girl" on the web.

Friday, July 15, 2011

OBX Vacation

It's hard to believe our annual family beach vacation is already over and done {and 3 weeks ago, now!}.  We had a week of wonderful weather that included relaxing on the beach, relaxing by the pool, relaxing in the house...I think you get the idea.  We had rain two nights, but nothing during the day.  The water was perfect; some days it was crystal clear. 

I LOVE that my kids are at the perfect ages to play somewhat independently without feeling panicked that they're going to wander off or drown.  I had the luxury of reading 3 books over the week, Water for Elephants, The Help, and The Green Smoothies Diet.  All of them were good reads, but The Help was by far my favorite.  I'll have to review it here soon.  I also got to do a little bit of scrapbooking at night, but did not have a partner in crime [MEGAN!].

By far, The Family Talent Show has to be the highlight of the week.  We had
Abby the dancer,
Chris the artist,
Evan the magician,
Ryan the chef,
Ava the French singer,
Grandma and Pop-Pop the puppeteers,
Megan and Jim the ballroom crashers dancers,
the McL Family acrobats,
and Michael and Kim the synchronized swimmers. 

Our family (besides Evan and Ryan) didn't have a talent.  I had brought our robot hat for Nathan to dance to the "Robot" song, but he DID NOT want to do anything by himself.  I had also picked up adhesive mustaches {I know, random...} at the $1 spot in Target.  So about 5 minutes before the show started, I did a search for "mustache" on iTunes and found the coolest mustache song. It's called "Mustache" by the Funkey Monkeys and I tried to upload the song/video for you to hear it because it's just so darn cute, but alas, no'll have to google it yourself!

We slapped on the mustaches, played the song, and danced around.  It was pretty funny and the kids enjoyed it, too.  Nothing like the last minute!

Friday, July 8, 2011

like magic

So here's what my bathroom window has looked like
since I tossed the water-stained curtains
we'd had hanging there since we moved in. 

I am not a curtain person.  I have a very hard time finding curtains that fit my style + my personality + the colors I've chosen for the room.  Needless to say, I have very few window treatments in my house.

I knew I wanted white curtains but I also knew I didn't have much money to spend.
I found this great white shower curtain in the clearance section of Target.
It has a nice texture woven through it
and {BONUS} half of the seams are already finished for me!

I cut the curtain in half to make two panels.
I double-folded a 1/2 inch (total 1 inch) seam along the cut sides of each panel.
I ironed and pinned the crease and then sewed it with a straight stitch through my sewing machine.

 To get rid of the shower curtain holes along the top seam, I folded (only once since the seam is finished) the top down about 3 inches (about double of the seam for the curtain holes).  Then I used the width of the seam for the curtain holes as a guideline to sew the curtain rod pocket.   I just sewed a straight seam along the top and bottom of the curtain hole seams and, VOILA, a curtain rod pocket with a gather at the top.

Finally, I dug out some scrapbooking materials to create my ribbon tiebacks.  These are actually Martha Stewart adhesive ribbon strips.  I only removed about an inch of the adhesive backing to create a band and slid it onto the curtain. 

Easy, peasy!
And I love how they turned out.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

to be mailed june 2011

These letters have been earmarked for postal delivery since June 2002.
Back when stamps were only 34 cents :)
They were written by my third graders from their third grade selves to
their future high school graduate selves.

They are filled with
favorite foods,
lists of friends,
8/9 year old thoughts
and opinions,
and dreams for the future.

Some are quite comical like
"Girls are gross."
"I'm never going to get married!"
"I wonder if teachers live at school?"

I had 8 out of 9 of my 3rd grade classes write this end of the year letter when I was teaching 3rd grade.  This was one of my favorite acitivities and I look forward to mailing these out every June because I know that I'll hear back from some of my kids.  I love knowing their plans for college or work or military enlistment.  I love being able to encourage them at least one more time as they become adults and enter the world. 

Some of my students have been kind enough to say
I was their favorite teacher
or that I inspired them to go into education.

That makes it all worthwhile.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

thankful thursday

today i'm thankful that
i will only have 4 more chances
to get stuck behind Bus 27
on the way to work.


today i'm thankful for the wonderful people i work with. 
i know a lot of people say this and it can tend to sound cliche,
but i TRULY COULD NOT do my job without their help.
it would be impossible!
they are the most loving, fun, hard-working people i know. 
they know more about teaching reading than some teachers,
get paid a whole lot less than teachers,
and never complain about the fact
they could be making more money elsewhere.
they love kids and treat them with respect, while at the
same time commanding it.
they consistently go above and beyond the call of duty
and i love each and every one of them,
joe, jan, cindy, carol, lisanne, maxine, and steph (not pictured).
who else could i convince to wear this headgear
on crazy hat day?!?


today i am thankful for air conditioning...
supposed to feel like 100 degrees later today.


today i am thankful that there are only 8 more days
until i have my feet in the sand [not counting today].


today i am thankful for my Nathan,
who still melts my heart
when he urgently calls my name
from the backseat of the car
only to say, "i love you"
when i answer him.

{someday he'll kill me for posting this
pic of him stomping around in my heels~
but since he's only 4 1/2, i can still get
away with it}

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

hey, lloyd!

Remember Lloyd Christmas from the movie Dumb and Dumber?

That's what Mark has started calling Evan this week. 
Not because he's dumb [although that's debatable in this circumstance!].
No, it's because HE. CUT. HIS. HAIR.

Apparently, he did not learn this lesson
when Ryan massacred his own head.

Nope, we must learn the hard way around here.
And even though Evan thinks it looks good,
we're still gooping him up
and trying to mask the ridiculousness
 until we can get him in for a haircut.

Note to self:
Hide the scissors!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

quote of the week

What if I was a giant slushie?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

i {heart} this app

Have I told you how much I love my iphone?? 

Yes, I am a true convert.

Can't. put. it. down. 
Mark is ready to commit me ~ hee-hee!

Anyway, while browsing apps in the app store [LOVE saying that], I came across this great app for all you lovers of crafts out there.  It's called "Craftgawker."  Their tagline is "look to inspire"...I don't know what I LOVE more, the app or that!!!  :)

Here's the premise...

Crafty people [you know who you are] post photos of their latest and greatest and us gawkers get to check it out and create a 'favorites' list.  The photos link back to websites where the crafter gives a tutorial or shares something crafty.  Isn't that fun!?!

I finally checked out their website tonight and guess what?!? 

There are more gawker sites/apps to be had!

I cannot wait to check out the dwelling gawker!!