Friday, June 29, 2012

~this moment~

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
Inspired by SouleMama

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Right before every game, my son's baseball team is called into a huddle to visualize.  No talking, no listening, no words spoken.  In this brief moment, thoughts of hitting, running, catching, batting, fielding, fly balls, singles, doubles, triples, home runs, outs, pitches, and *who knows what* are all racing through their minds. For all I know, one of them is thinking that he needs to double knot his shoe lace or he'll trip, or that he should have picked a grape Gatorade instead of orange.  Reguardless, I often wonder about what each person thinks about for his own mental game.  Do they have confidence in themselves or are they scared?  Can they see themselves succeeding or do they see failure?  

Austin commented after a game that something during the game happened that he had visualized before the game and that it works.  Does it work?  Can we visualize something and actually make it happen? Is it luck or coincidence or will power? If we want something bad enough can we achieve it? Of course we can!

Then I think of my own life.  My family and friends.  Are we taking enough time in our own busy lives to really sit, think, not talk or listen, just visualize?  We should. We can.  We can learn from our children. 

All of us are capable of hitting a home life... or on the field. We just have to see it. And then take a chance and swing.

(*On a side note, I visualized my house being cool again and guess what?? It is! Mr. Air Conditioner Man came through and this mama is a bit happier, and cooler!)

Monday, June 25, 2012

~500 water balloons and one hot mama~

What do you do when your air conditioner breaks down over the weekend and you have the smart idea (maybe it'll be cheaper??) to wait until Monday to call for service?  You head to the store, of course, for a bottle of 500 water balloons!  Trust me... takes your mind off of the 90 degree temps in one toss and burst. 
Temporary relief, but we'll take it!

We came home Saturday from a travel baseball game to find the house at 86 degrees and the a/c running constant, just not cooling the house.  Needless to say, this mama has been a bit grouchy for a few days. As I sit here now, we are still waiting on our local service guy to be here "later this afternoon" to fix it.  We're finding comfort in eating lots of salads, watermelon, grilling out instead of using the stove or oven, and running 5 fans constant to get the air flowing.   Only problem is, the air that is flowing is really, really hot air!  I'm trying hard to think back to times before people had this luxury and not complain too much.
But lets be honest here... it's just not working.  

If you happen to live local and you've seen me and the boys wondering around stores, without a cart, for hours at a time, just browsing, making small talk with whoever wants to chat, now you'll know why.

If you see me driving around the block with the windows up and the a/c blaring, and around, and around, and around the block once more, now you'll know why. 

We're not bored.
We're not lonely.
We're not weird. (Although some may beg to differ.)
We're just hot.
And we'll take relief in any form we can find.
Can't wait to see you, Mr. Air Conditioner Man.  Just be careful not to get soaked by a water balloon when you pull in our driveway.

Friday, June 22, 2012

~this moment~

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
Inspired by SouleMama.

enjoying the first bite from the brownies that he made from scratch

Thursday, June 21, 2012

~loyal Miami Heat fan~

It's been five years since we took Austin to Indianapolis to see  the Miami Heat play at the Conseco Fieldhouse against the Indiana Pacers. My husband has been a loyal fan since 1988 when the team was formed.  Needless to say, we are all Heat fans to this day. 

Tonight we will be watching and cheering on our team to a victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder.  I'd typically pick thunder over heat any day. Especially with the hot temperatures we've been having... a nice rain with a storm would surely be welcome. 

But not tonight. 

Not on the court.

I'll take the heat.

Go Miami!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

~seven things~

Thankful. Smiling. Laughing. Appreciating. Adoring.
Loving. Holding. Remembering. Sharing.

Linking up with Lisa from Little Coffee Beans

Here are seven little things that I'm loving today.

:: Painting fun outdoors

:: Lemon peel bracelets my little one "makes" and wears

:: Friends with a pool to enjoy in this hot weather 

:: Starting a new book while my older boy gets ready for a game

:: Watching my little one roll down the hill and then try to stand up and walk

:: Beautiful sights and scents in our garden

:: Endless games of memory on the floor

Sunday, June 17, 2012

~what do you call...~

... a man who gets twirled around and around
and up and down 
on roller-coaster rides at the fair with his boys,
even though he can't stand them?


The. Best. Dad. Ever. 

Thank you for who you are and what you are helping our boys become.
I can only hope that when our boys are dads someday that they are as loving, caring, and encouraging as their daddy was. 

Sending love and wishes across the miles and around the block:

to my Dad, Ken
to my mother's husband, Chuck
to my husband's Dad, Rick
to all Dads...

enjoy today,
enjoy the ride every day to come,
enjoy your children,
enjoy their children

Happy Father's Day!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

~this moment~

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
Inspired by SouleMama.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

~just grandma.... and one hot date~

"Chef Derek" with "Just Grandma"

When the kids were old enough to talk, we had a huge decision to make.  This decision would last a lifetime, so it had to be made with great care and lots of thought. 

What are the kids going to call our parents? 

Was it going to be Grandma and Grandpa? Mamaw and Papaw? Nana and Papa? Nanna, mimi, granna, pa-pa, paw-paw, granny, grandad...

We settled on "Just Grandma" and "Grandpa".  I always called both sets of my grandparents Grandma and Grandpa and my husband did as well.  If the children started calling them something on their own, we would have gladly allowed whatever term they came up with.  But, they did not and we have always just used these simple traditional names. 

My mom had joked once that she didn't want a slang nickname, she wanted to be called "Just Grandma."  So, every now and then we'll sign a card or address a letter to, "Just Grandma."

Thank you, "Just Grandma", for taking the boys home to stay with you and Grandpa for a couple of days of fun.  It's a much needed little vacation for them (and us) and I know you'll have a blast together.

And the best part of this little stay:
Guess what the hubby and I just did for an exciting date without the kids??  This is big time.... fun stuff, I tell ya!

You ready???
We headed to the library and turned in our Adult Summer Reading Forms. We filled out some trivia papers and author searches to try to win a Kindle. Then we looked at newspapers and browsed the shelves, kid free.  Ten years ago this might not have sufficed as a good date in my book.

But guess what?

IT...... WAS....... AWESOME!! 

Alrighty. Time for you to share.

What do your children call your parents??

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

~how to feed 19 fish in the sea~

Gift giving is one of my favorite times to be creative.  It seems as though we have numerous birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, teachers gifts, and coaches to appreciate through the year. 

The end of this past school year I wanted to make something extra special for Derek's teacher.   His teacher has been absolutely awesome and has made learning more fun than any other teacher either of my kids have ever had.  To say she is amazing is an understatement.  We felt so blessed that each day Derek wanted to go to school because he was excited for the next day or project or lesson.  

After putting some thought into what we wanted to make, we headed for the store to pick up a frame (2 opening 5x7 frame, mat removed, turned horizontal) and some stickers.  That's the fun part... picking up inexpensive supplies ($5.00 total!!) that you turn into something beautiful, unique and personal. We went with a fish theme because Mrs. Carpenter loved fishing and I knew we could play on the "school" theme.   

Derek picked out each fish for every kid and placed them right where he wanted them to "swim".  Mrs. Carpenter was the biggest fish and he put her right up top in the middle with all of her "school" around her. (Notice how Derek put himself right next to her... loved it!!) Then we added bubbles, pearls, waves, shells, and starfish. I wanted to have him write all the names, but he wanted me to because the names had to be so small to fit. 

My favorite part was adding the "School" Year 2011-2012 to the bottom left corner. 

We made sure to include the students that "swam" away through the year and the new students that joined the "school" mid-year.

Wrapping the gift and the presentation is just as much fun as making the gift itself.  We added a fish to the envelope and some bubbles going upward.

Derek added his message to the inside of the handmade card and I left a note on the right side.   Again, we added a fish and played on her name, Mrs. "Carp"enter, and told her, "You are 'O-Fish-ally' the best teacher!" Then we wrapped everything up in lots of bubble-wrap and brown craft paper with twine.  There was also a Snickers bar taped on top. Derek had to add her favorite candy bar.

Derek was so excited to take the package to his teacher the next day.  All of her "school" came "swimming" over to watch her open her gift.  She loved it!  The kids enjoyed seeing their own fish/name and remembering the few who "swam" away through the year.  Lots of tears and hugs and thank yous and laughs were shared. 

Thank you, Mrs. "Carp"enter, for feeding our little fish and encouraging him to flap his fins daily.  You've taught him so much, made learning fun, and he truly knows that there is no limit to how far he can swim in life.
Oceans of love to you,
Mama Fish

~Linking up with:
Todays Creative Blog 
Hope Studios
Craft O Maniac
Funky Polkadot Giraffe

Friday, June 8, 2012

~this moment~

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
Inspired by SouleMama

Thursday, June 7, 2012

~pick your own strawberries~

The weather yesterday was too good not to go out for an adventure.  I decided we'd stay local since we had plans for the evening and didn't want to be gone all day.  Our town librarian told us about a field that was only 11 miles from our house that we could go pick our own strawberries.  We've always traveled farther to another place years prior.
Why had I not known about this place before now!?!

 We headed out on our big adventure and stopped along the way to look at the clouds and admire some of our favorite farms. I decided to surprise the boys and we stopped at an old gas station/pizza place/post office/ice cream parlor in a nearby town. Yep.... one of "those" places.  Where you can find just about anything and you can get your gas from a vintage pump where the numbers turn like an old clock and you have to go inside and pay.  Love these!!    

The boys thought it was pretty cool to be eating in the middle of a gas station, grabbing pizza right out of the box, picking out a pop from the cooler to drink with it, and admiring the racks of candy and chips surrounding them.  You would have thought they were in junk food city!! And no.... this mom didn't give in to any requests.

So, we were back in the car and on the road again. We traveled down one lane roads and took in all the sights, animals, landmarks, and talked about the history of the couple towns we drove through and the people who had farmed this land years ago. 

 The produce farm we arrived at was full of busy workers and friendly faces.  We were told we could pick right there or head down the road a bit to some more fields.  Back in the car and down a lane we continued on.

The boys had a fun time pulling the buckets apart.  We each got a bucket to carry and then we dumped them all together before we checked out.

Austin seemed to enjoy this adventure more than Derek, surprisingly.  He got right into the picking and found "the perfect spot".  Derek was more interested in walking up and down the rows, checking out the watering system, and playing with the Wiener dog another couple brought with them.

Derek did find what he called the "Big Daddy Strawberry" just laying on the ground that someone else had probably dropped from their bucket.  This was the first one we washed and ate when we arrived home.

A while later, we found our buckets were getting full and we needed to go back to the farm and pay for our sweet gems.  Austin questioned this system and how the owners kept track of the other fields and of who payed and who didn't.  It was a nice opportunity to talk about the 'Honor System' and how it's hard to find places around like this anymore.  

One of these beautiful hanging baskets came home with us.

And of course a little bear of local honey that Derek just loved. He asked if he could keep the bottle when it was gone to put our other honey in. It's the simple things in life, isn't it!?!

The ride home was just as nice and beautiful as the ride there.  The clouds looked like, "stairs to heaven."

One more stop at the Dairy Bar in our town for some ice cream and then we'd be home.

I tried out a Lemon Italian Ice and thought it was pretty tasty.

Back at home we poured the strawberries into the sink to give them a good wash and put them out to air dry on towels on the counter.  Needless to say, there were a few dozen missing from the group within a short period of time.  It was so nice to have freshly picked, warm, sun-kissed, delicious strawberries to enjoy!! We just might make some freezer jam today.  (If there are enough left by then. Otherwise, it's back to the fields tomorrow for some more!)

That evening we all loaded up into the car to meet some friends at a Minor League baseball game.  We had a fun time, even though our home team lost.  Austin was lucky enough to catch a ball that one of the outfielders threw into the crowd after a third out in the inning.  And guess where the camera was??
At home,
on the counter,
next to the strawberries. 

It was a beautiful day from start to finish!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

~coming home~

"There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again."
~Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

It never mattered where I lived. I always knew we were getting close to our house by seeing some type of landmark. 

My earliest memories are from when I was 5 years old. The airplanes circling in the sky and a park you could see off the highway gave me a sign we were close.

When we lived in California, I remember seeing the mountains far off through the front window, then the check in station at the Air Force Base where my parents had to show their military I.D. to enter, then the long row of palm trees that lined the entrance down to our neighborhood. We were almost there.

Back in Ohio, we stayed at my great-grandmother's cottage on a lake when we first moved back.  There was a pizza place about 5 minutes away that had a white sign out front with a black top hat on it.  My brothers and I would race to see it first and we'd say, "I see the top hat!" 

When we moved to another house, I remember a Burger King a ways down the road that sat on an intersection.  When I saw that place, I knew it was only a matter of time. 

Another house, there was a pond that we passed and we were close. There was a high school that sat right off the highway at another house that was a clue.  There was a movie theatre near an exit ramp at another house.  A college close to another... 

You get the point.  I could go on and on, considering that I moved more than anyone I knew growing up.  The city was always changing, the weather was different, the bedrooms were always arranged just a bit different, my age was different, the neighbors were new, the schools changed, and the friends were different. 

It's been almost 11 years since we moved into our current home.  This is the home that my husband and I bought together after we were married.  The home that our children are being raised in.  The home that we can't wait to get back to after being away from.   And now, that blue water tower standing high above our town serves as a symbol to our family that we are not far.  We are home.

Monday, June 4, 2012

~easy, crispy, powdery~

Yum! We added strawberries to our Powdered Sugar Crisps but they were good plain, also.  The recipe can be found here if you are interested.  This was a great recipe to use to help teach Derek fractions earlier this school year.  Enjoy!

Friday, June 1, 2012

~this moment~

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words a couple words of thanks -
capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
Inspired by SouleMama

Thank you, Tracey, for these lovely bowls and seeds!
Your work is beautiful and I feel honored to have them in our home.  
Before we opened the box:
I guessed blue.
Derek  picked red. 
Austin chose yellow. 
Much to our surprise, there were TWO in the box.... Derek and I were both right!
 (*Austin was happy he got the tissue paper color right!* )
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