Monday, December 22, 2008

Naughty or Nice



The countdown is on in our house. 3 days..........they can hardly wait!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Precious Moments in My Life





I did finally clean off the digi cam. Everything from our trip to North Carolina in May, the the Erie Canal Village in July, Lake Delta in August, Halloween, Nutcracker, and everything in between. I thought my dad used to take a lot of photos, I put him to shame! So here are some of my favorites to enjoy.

A Little R & R

I admit it, I probally won't rest or relax, but just a break from the usual: Get everyone up and ready, eat breakfast, get dressed, race to drop 3 little girls, with all the right things like lunches, clarinets, shoes, sneakers and home work off at 3 different places just to be to work by 7:30, race throught the work day sometimes without stopping for lunch or water, just to race home, get them off the bus, do home work, race to get them to activities, home at night, bathed and ready to do it all again will be lovely. I needed a break. Kids at school have also reached pivital moment of mid year panic with grades as well as drama.

So far, I have done nothing big, but it has been lovely. Friday night, because I didn't have to race around, I cleaned 150 photos off digi cam, edited them, uploaded to snapfish, and got the right shots together for the annual calendar I make my parents. It was a huge undertaking, because of course you know me, I edit the photos to perfection. I am not so sure being able to preview photos is good if you are OCD, or is the editing features. I made 3 bathces of fidge too.

Saturday, again, a lovely day. Completed house work, made cookies, and went to my neighbor's house for an open house/make up show without kids ( she sells all natural health and beauty products.......I purchased a few things. I have been wanting to go all natural, wasn't sure which line to try and then I get invited to her party. Perfect!) Brian took the girls Christmas shooping, so I went out to get groceries all by myself! That alone was a gift. I made 3 different stops, accomplished everything on my list, and because he took them to dinner at Friendly's I had the night off in the kitchen. Woo Hoo!

Just these couple little things, and time to have accomplished a few things have made a major difference in my mood. Tomorrow, we are busting Kayanna out of the babysitters and going sledding and then to the mall ( am I crazy) to let her pick out a birthday gift. Looking forward to it!

Embrace the day, enjoy the time off if you have it. Savor the little things no matter what.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Nutcracker 2008


The week Miranda has been waiting for has arrived, 4 performances of Nutcracker this week, along with rehearsal every night at the Stanley. She has worked hard since August in her role as Soldier this year. It's good action I tell you, and she already has her sights set on various roles for NEXT year. Can you stand her? I was outgoing, but she is driven!
They already had a fundraiser Tea Party a few weekends ago, and she was asked to be in it. Here she is the soldier all the way over on the right. Looking forward to going to "dinnner and a show" this weekend to see her. If I haven't already said so 50 million times, I am both in awe of her, and proud of her. Ten-hut, my Soldier girl, break a leg.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ice Ice Baby

I was watching the Today show this AM, and saw a piece about the Arctic ice caps melting. Since 2006, a chunk of the ice cap the size equivelent of California has melted away. I don't understand how people don't get it? Why haven't more people sprang into action? I don't even really like science, but I can understand and see the impact.
I continue on my quest daily to see what we can do differently. I have turned into the mad recycler, making sure there is nothing in our trash that is recyclable. I am not yet composting, that will have to wait till Brian builds me a bin out of scrap materials in his shop ( why would I build it out of anything else?), in the spring, but we are 100% on board with everything else. This week, on trash night, I assessed the garbage impact on our street. I have 5 people in my family, and I am proud to say we put out one wheelie cart of trash. 2 bags. We rock!
My kWh fascination has gone to the next level. I check it daily. We are 15 days into the billing cycle, half way, and we used only 300 kWh so far this month. Last year, at this time, we turned in 1395 kWh for the month of November, I know we can beat that. LAST month, my all time low of 932 kWh......I mey beat that as well. Take that National Grid! We unhooked the dusk to dawn timer on that huge Mercury yard light. We put it on a switch for now, as I really DON't need my yard flooded with light, there is a street light at the end of my driveway. I taking it down all together in the Spring, as it is as ugly as anything that came out of the 70's and replacing it will two solar powered copper old fashioned looking lanterns on each side of the carriage house door. More more asthetic, and it will look tiemly with my 1850's carriage house. Good looking, and good for the environment and my electric bill. Ugly Betty Mercury.....your time has come.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Carbon Neutral

I'm reading "Green Living for Dummies" ( can you stand it?) to try and see what else I can do to be better to the earth, to live in a less toxic home, and teach my daughters to use resources wisely. I am so relieved to find that I am carbon neutral. When we fired up the furnace, in the back of my mind I knew and understood that we are putting carbon back into the air as the smoke dissipates. I felt kind of bad about it. On one hand, it's not oil, but we're making more carbon. I was so happy and relieved that if you use biomass that gets replanted, the replanted biomass ( corn) used up carbon as it grows, negating what it burns off later. Carbon neutral. What a beautiful thing! Now I feel 100% good about what we are doing. I was sad to read only 3% of people in the US are heating with biomass. We still have a long way to come.

I'm energized by the election and am happy that he will support more than just "Drill baby drill". He will show us leadership away from the big biz that is oil. Thank god! AND after just one month of being really focused on my electric bill I just turned in the lowest kWh useage in 12 months. All I did was unplug stuff that used phantom power. It was that easy. I'm looking at more things we can do to conserve electricity now that my numbers went below 1000 kWh per month.

I'm off to drink my fair traded organic coffee made with a reuseable filter. Top of the morning to you........go GREEN!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Living with Dana


I have been watching Life with Ed on the Green channel ( Discovery). My husband thinks I'm nuts I watch it so much, but I am interested in all the new technology and innovations there are out there to live gree, use less energy, and make a healthier home. I am all about this. Funny, my ancestors lived off the grid, drank from a drilled well, and made their own everything. Funny to me that it is the "trend" now. Whatever it is, I am glad to see people embracing it.
I am feeling warmed now by our biomass furnace that went online yesterday. Brian has been working on instillation for the past month, ordering the parts, and getting it hooked up. We could have hired someone, but he insisted he could do it. Well, have at it. Do it he indeed did! He fired it up yesterday, adn I have forced hot air heat coming through my duct work powered by corn. The other good part, besides that fact that we did what we said we would do with our stimilus money and "got off oil" ( 600 gallons of oil per year no longer needed), is that my corn is from a local farmer in Cassville that dries and bags it for heating use. We supported local agriculture. Awesome! Took money from the disgusting oil companies reporting record revenue, and lined the pocket of a small family farm 30 min from my house. That is beautiful to me. No big bas guzzling trucks needed to bring the oil to my house 10 times a year either. We make "corn runs" with Brian's truck when we are going out that way naturally ( it's on the way to my folks house).
This is just the first thing we are doing to be greener, and to use renewable forms of energy. We'd like to research solar and find ways to use it, replace our hot water tank with solar or on demand hot water, etc.....

I know I"m just one person trying to make a difference, but I will. "Never doubt that a small dedicated group of people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

Here is what we installed and are currently running, the Fahrenheit Endurance 50F Biomass Furnace/Stove.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I Hate Celiac Disease

I wish I still had my "Hate Book" going, god, remember those things? What a great place to vent. I was reminded of mine yesterday when working with a girl at my school. Her and her BFF have a note book they pass back and forth. In this age of high tech, it made me smile to see something so simple alive and well.
I wish I had my hate book because I would fill it daily with all thereasons I hate Celiac Disease. I hate it. I'm not even the one who has it and I hate it. I just realized this week that Ava can't play with Play Doh anymore, it's "secret ingredient" according to Hasbro is of course flour. I knew that, but wasn't thinking about it till Ava kept getting sick and I couldn't figure out what was glutening her. Freaking Play Doh! I had to order really expensive gluten free play doh to stock preschool with and a mat for her to play on so her safe play doh doesn't touch the poision play doh. Poision. That is what it is to her. Damages her insides, turnes her behaviorly into a monster. I can't believe what it does to her. Never in a million years would I imagine food could do this to a person.
I hate that she will never be able to go get a "slice and a soda" after school when she is a teen. Our sports teams always do spaghetti dinners in the fall. It's a tradition at my school. If she is playing field hockey or soccer, something so fun and simple, will be a pain in the ass for her. I hate that we can't go to the Applebee's fund raiser this sunday for the girls cross country team. A simple pancake breakfast. Nope, not happening. I hate that we can't go out to eat, or grab something in a hurry. Everything has to be planned in advance. I can't run out of gluten free food, cause there's not much available locally. I hate that slumber parties will be different for her. I hate that when it's cupcake days at school for kids birthdays, she will have to bring her own. That sucks. Big time. I hate that she won't be able to buy lunch at school. There is hardly anything there she can safely have. And college. That's something I think about. The dinning hall.

Mostly I hate all the normal things she can't participate in. I hate that her risk of certain GI related cancers is very high for her. Gluten destroys villi and healthy stomach homeostasis, cheating on the diet is not an option for her. Keeping on it 100% of the time is really tiring.

I hate it. I know it could be worse, but I still hate it. I told you I could fill a book.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

I'm Aware Allright!

Welcome October, my favorite month! Halloween Month! A day off this month for Columbus Day ( as screwed up as the history is)! Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Typically, I donate to our school fund raising for BCA month, and that's about it. This year, I feel I have kicked up my own personal awareness to a level I never really needed. I had my first baseline mammo. in September, just like I said I would. Sure enough, I get called back for more "views" they like to call it. Views my ass! Flattening the boob in question ( my left) to even flatter dimensions is now what I call a view. They told me they would take more photos and then see if I needed an ultra sound. Turns out there was a mass they could see in the original photos. They thought at first it was a lymph node. Who knew your breasts had those? Not me, but no surprises there, I never paid attention in science class. The extra photos get looked at, not a node. It's off to ultra soound. Again, who knew they would ultra sound my boob, I asked the tech. To which she replied "Who knew I would ultra sound boobs all day?" The Doc that read the images said likely just a cyst. They measured it and I have to go back in a few months to "follow up" I think that's code for more "views."

All in all, I was pretty calm. I surprised myself. I will not freak out over this, and I will diligently follow up. All in all the prodding, flattening, and "viewing" of my boobs didn't bother me too much. I like my boobs, always have, they are a feature of mine that I am at peace with. Perfect "C" cup ( after babies, used to be a "b"), not too flabby, still not saggy. I hope medicine never has to mess with them, and I have vowed to get them mammoed every year from now on.

Happy Breast Cancer Awareness Month, from my boobs to yours.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fall Weekend


It's is Barnfest weekend in my neck of the woods. We look forward to this old fashioned street craft fair each year in the Fall. It's kind of a tradition. It means you survived back to school and can embrace everything that is fall, Autumn, my favorite season. Autumn is stunning up here in the north country, I always feel sorry for people that don't live where the colors change. ADK girl through and through here.
In addition to Barnfest, we have the typical 100 things going on. Anna has a soccer game, Miranda has both ballet and Nutcracker rehearsal, and Ava turns three this weekend. Go three. Three is not two. That has to be good. Need to make gluten free "Backyardigans" cake, and frosting, and of course do the usual weekend chores ( Saturday AM and I already have done 3 loads of laundry and got my groceries. I marvel at myself). Need to plan Girl Scout meeting this weekend, and an ice cream social for 200 kids ( school club that I advise is having a social for Freshmen, again, marveling at myself. How do I do all this?) Also need to clean the house for the family that is coming over. Just a typical fall weekend in my life.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Recently, in My World

Wow, you can tell school started up, as my posts have screeched to a halt. Well, I am home today with a sick kid. Ava was the first to succomb to the rampent germs of school. Poor thing. Fever, cough like a seal barking, stuffed up nose, the works. She was all wheezy in the middle of the night, so I wrapped her up and took her outside to get some cool, moist night air. She was able to get a few hours sleep after I did that and propped her up on the couch. It figures, though. Today I took half day off, and was leaving work at 11 to go have my mammogram done ( we get 1/2 day per school year to use for cancer screenings, isn't that awesome?). That would have given me some alone time at home before my appointment. Now, I am hoping Brian can get home early so I can still go.
I did follow up on all my doctor appoints, and so far, everything checked out fine. My BP is 109/60 ( go me), my cholesterol is 146 ( sexy, ha?), and all my labs were normal. I had my yearly girly screen ( way overdue, a relief that that checked out), and since my monthly visitor is only about 2-3 times a year now, I had an ultrasound just to make sure it's due to peri-meno and not anything else. It's not, so I guess I am going out of business. I'm ok with that. I am 37, I am done birthing babies, so hasta la vista baby! ( I work with a woman who is 50 and still not, I think she's jealous). I have decided against any kind of hormone replacament, opted for a natural supplement, and will just ride it out naturally. Not a fan of pharmaceuticals, especially HRT's.
In other health updates, day 43 of no flour and no sugar, and man oh man do I feel awesome! I am energized, my skin and hair are fabulous, and I really did need fabulous. I have lost 10 pounds rahter painlessly. All cravings have stopped and I am able to stick with my healthy eating plan. It's great not to be distracted by food. Incredible. I have stuck with my daily laps at school during the day and that goes a long way towards mental health and well being. I come home feeling like I have actually had a break, and am ready to hit my second shift of being a mom in a good mood. Which is the way it should be. My kids should get the best of me, not the worst. They deserve me to be strong and happy for them.

All in all, busy as everything is, we are off to a great start to the school year. This weekend, the "Farenheit Biomass Furnace" is up for installation! Our plans to be greener and get off oil as a heating fuel are on track!!!!!

Monday, September 08, 2008

My Kind of Weekend!

I had one of those magic weekends where I accomplished everything on my list, plus had some fun! We went out to dinner Friday night, as is our tradition, first Friday after back to school. Kind of a sign we all survived! Friendly's is out as a restaurant choice, what a gluter nightmare that is, so it was off to our new fav, Piggy Pats

Saturday, we had a cord of wood deliverd for our fireplace, so we made an assembly line and moved it into the backroom. Love that smell of it! I also did all my housework, scrap booked with the girls ( 3 pages), made spaghetti sauce, granola, and blondies.

Sunday, I finished 2 loads of laundry, put it away, went on a hike with the girls on the greenbelt trails, finished painting the pantry, helped close the pool, made lasagna, and even had time to polish my nails.

This week, however, activities start for the girls, soccer and ballet, so it's my last weekend of freedom. I did enjoy it!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

28 Days

If you are addicted to substances isn't it 28 days that you get in treatment? Well, my addiction isn't drugs or alcohol, and it probally won't kill me, but I am addicted to carbs. Sweets, starches, breads, cereals, good ol carbs. Only lately, with 2 members of my house having to go gluten free, it's got me reasearching and thinking. There really isn't one single thing good about most carbs, especiall wheat, and even in it's 100%true state, it's hard for our bodies to break down. Most are empty calories, viod of nutrition and hard for our bodies to digest, and do lead to many health complications. The more I read, the more I am aware, the less I want things like that in my body. So, I grabbed a book at the library, mostly looking for gluten free recipies, "No Flour No Sugar", and 30 days ago, I went cold turkey. No flour no sugar. I do eat some carbs, but only whole grain oats, corn, and rice. I eat only sugar in the form of fruit and an occasional dose of splenda to sweeten things. I have had sugar free ice cream a couple times, and sugar free pudding as a treat, but that's it. And like every time I go off the carbs, my cravings stop, and I feel amazing. My skin is amazing, my energy is amazing, and I have lost some weight. 30 days means I am past the 28 days, so I should be able to stick with this. My first big goal is 100 days off flour and sugar. My FINAL goal is to see if I can stick with my changes for a year, because if I can do that, then maybe I have changed my lifestyle. I have done this before, for 6 months. Lost weight, health was great, but I missed my carbs. This time, there are very few temptations in my house, as all of our dinners are gluten free for Ava and Brian. Combine that with all I have read about wheat and wheat gluten and I don't even want it anymore.

30 days down. Here's to feeling amazing.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Better Be Good to Me

I return to work next week. That means I have to swap garden clogs and flip flops for actual real shoes, put make up on, and head into my office. This is the time of year that my projects come to a screeching halt, as does any focus there was on myself. ( I actually get a little time in the summer to read, garden, and do some things for myself). Between running my house, taking care of the girls, and my job, which gets stressful as I usually have close to 200 students I am responsible for, I get stressed out. Most people don't know, or can't tell, cause I do deal with it well, but I stop taking care of myself. I need the time to focus on my own kids, so something has to give.
This year, I have decided that the something that has to give is not going to be me. By the end of this past school year I was fried like chicken. I gained back the weight I lost, and I wasn't eating healthy, exercising, or taking my vitamins or even drinking enough water. Combine that to the fact that my office doesn't have a window and most days I don't get lunch, which means no sunlight, erractic eating, I was feeling bottomed out.
Not this year. My supervisor askes me each year what my goals are for the year. This year, I am making some goals that will keep my own personal and mental well being in mind. Sounds a little selfish, but if I burn out and am not refreshed and energized, I am not good to kids, my own or other peoples.
My goals for the year are as such:

1. No working through lunch. I will take a break, get out of my office, eat lunch around adults, and walk for 20 min after lunch. ( I can walk laps in the school and get some sun light before heading back into my cave)

2. I will always have a full water bottle on my desk and even stop to drink it

3. I will take time in the evening or morning at home and exercise, either a walk, my bike, or treadmill. There is time, there is always time. I have found time before and everyone survived.

4. I will say no from time to time. Again, everyone will survive. Other people can handle things too.

5. I will not buy shoes that are cheap. Comfortable shoes are not a luxury item. ( Please note I put all non-comfortable shoes in my garage sale! It was hard to get rid of cute shoes, but I decided to be good to my feet.) Soft Spots are my new signature shoe. ( just bought pair number 2 after pair number one purchased in 2006 not only gets tons of compliments, still look new and are like walking on air. Cute and comfy).

6. My spa day coming up in 2 weeks will not be the last time I go. ( I am using up my birthday gift cert. from Brian to a day spa. Complete pedi and manicure, with hand and foot massage. ) I will schedule another apt. for mid year and not cancel it because I " don't have the time."

7. I will not come up with any reasons not to go to my docs apt. for yearly check ups also in 2 weeks. I will bring my list of concerns and follow up on each and everyone of them. Life is short, make sure you are healthy.

I already feel better. This year, I better be, good to me.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pocketful of Sunshine

I love this song, it's so me!

I got a pocket, got a pocketful of sunshine.
I got a love, and I know that it's all mine.
Oh, ooh oh oh.

Do what you want, but you're never gonna break me.
Sticks and stones are never gonna shake me.
No.
I got a pocket, gota poketful of sunshine
I got a love, and I know that its all mine, oh, ooh oh oh.

Wish that you could, but you ain't gonna ownn me
do anything you want, you can't slow me down, no oh.

Take me away: A secret place.
A sweet escape: Take me away.

Take me away to better days.
Take me away: A hiding place.

I got a pocket, got a pocketful of sunshine.
I got a love, and I know that it's all mine.
Oh, ooh oh oh.

Do what you want, but you're never gonna break me.
Sticks and stones are never gonna shake me.
No.

I got a pocket, got a pocketful of sunshine.
I got a love, and I know that it's all mine.
Oh ooh oh oh.

Take me away: A secret place.
A sweet escape: Take me away.

Take me away to better days.
Take me away: A hiding place.

There's a place that I go,
But nobody knows.
Where the rivers flow,
And I call it home.

And there's no more lies.
In the darkness, there's light.
And nobody cries.
There's only butterflies.

Take me away: A secret place.
A sweet escape: Take me away.

Take me away to better days.
Take me away: A hiding place.

Take me away: A secret place.
A sweet escape: Take me away.

Take me away to better days.
Take me away: A hiding place.

Take me away: A secret place.
To better days take me away.

Take me away to better days.
Take me away: A hiding place.

The sun is on my side.
Take me for a ride.
I smile up to the sky.
I know I'll be all right.

The sun is on my side.
Take me for a ride.
I smile up to the sky.
I know I'll be all right.

Secret Life of a Soccer Mom

I am a soccer mom. I drive a Volvo, have 3 kids, golden retriever, lead a girl scout troop, work in a school, love to go antiquing, and on the outside looking in, it would seem very boring and cookie cutter. Predictable.
From time to time I shake things up, and some things you wouldn't guess about me are that I love dance music. The more beats per min the better! I keep up on music and like to listen to new music. I like to be hip with my technology as well, and both know how to use it and update it in my home. I love to dance, and would love to do out dancing sometime soon with my husband. Typically, my MP3 player is loaded with great dance music, and I listen to it very loud. I overheard my daughter telling her friend she thought it was "weird" that I have an MP3, and listen to stuff that she also likes ( she loves Madonna. Like mother like daughter).
Currently I have some hot tunes in my MP3. I have the Johnny Visious mix of "Pocketfull of Sunshine." It's delish. I also have my friend JP's club mixes, and I would like to share the link. They are hot as well: http://www.djsupercub.com/mixes.shtml
So if you see me out there droppping my kids off at soccer, scouts, ballet, Nutcracker rehearsal, field hockey, don't assume I am listening to country, or that lite and easy station. I am one jamming mom!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Ava "isms"


Ava, she cracks me up! She is a talker, non stop communicator. She has a couple thing thought she says regardless of correcting her that she insists on saying like:

Going Suit- bathing suit. She can say bathing suit just fine, or swim suit, but this is what she insists on. As in " put your going suit on we are going swimming"

Pickups- hiccups. As in " Mom, I have the pickups". Hmmmmm.....could this stem from me asking her to pick up her toys one too many times?

Coconuts-pistashios. Yesterday, while cracking and eating pistachios with Miranda, she said " Mom, I am eating coconuts, and I like them."

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

7 Things I hate.....

My daughter has been listening to that Miley Cyrus song "7 Things I hate About you." I was remembering our "Hate Books" from high school.....slam books is I guess what they really were, only I don't think they were intended to be mean, it was our way of expressing things we disliked, not just people although there were a few people on my list.....

So, here is my current hate list, 7 Things I hate:

I hate the way the media morphs 2 names together on cleb couples, like Bradalina. Please, they are 2 seperate people.

I hate the way media also pays enormous sums of money for pics of cleb new borns. 14 milion dollars for pics of their twins. Bless them for donating it all to childrens charities.

I hate how fast cars fly down off the hill on the road in front of my house, and the fact that there isn't a "Children Playing" sign.

Roadside memorials. I have noticed several in the area. When someone dies in a vehicle related death and people put up a memorial marker and flowers, etc....I realize people want closure, go to the memorial, bring those things to the cemetary.

I hate the way our nation is immobolized by the price of oil/gas, and having to decide not to have wanderlust this summer because I can't afford the price of gas.

I hate the way the nations is making a "housing crisis" a big deal and trying to bail everyone out, like those people that live in Old Forge and have not only a house, but a waterfront home in the same area, haven't paid taxes since 2003, and the press is making a big deal about "poor them, they are losing their home". Um, they have 2 homes, valued at 700,000. SELL one to pay your taxes and LIVE in the other. If the county bails them out, they will have to bail everyone out.

Finally, I hate the weather this summer. Too cold. My pool is 62 and nobody wants to swim. Really need to get a solar panel next summer.

Wine Ice Cream


I just read this story on the news site I frequent about some local Wine Ice cream that is now legal to sell in NY. Last year, in June, I purchased the ice cream on my way up North. I was with a friend from work and we grabbed 2 spoons and dug in. Yum! It was awesome. However, we purchased it w/o being ID'ed and I guess we assumed it was only wine flavored. Ooops.

It really was Yum-o!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Halloween

OK, I really do know it's August, be we are already in "Halloween Prep" mode. I love Halloween. The year we went to Salem Mass in October was like Christmas to me. I don't know what it is about Halloween, maybe just that I am a kid at heart? Anyways, we already have costumes, bought them last November on extreme clearance at Target. I think each costume was 4.00, and they are those nice 30.00 costumes that include everything. I start buying candy this month and freezing it, as we get 300 trick or treaters and I like to give "good" candy. Name brand, no fillers!
Where does my husband stand on all this? Well, he decorates the "Haunted Porch" and made me that awesome witch for my yard, and he takes the girls out to get candy, but that's about it. He doesn't like to think about it till about October 20. For the past few nights, somehow Halloween has come up at dinner,very innocently. As in, we were in the party store and costumes are out now, etc....HE thinks it's a conspiracy and we would do anything to bring it up. Well, last night, again without thinking, it came up again, only now it's funny cause it keeps coming up and we aren't even trying. It's fun to drive him crazy.
I was in the craft store yesterday getting more stencil paint for my living room stencil project and guess what's set? HALLOWEEN! Enjoy summer, there is still lost of it left, but Halloween is just around the corner. 92 shopping days left.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My Sparkling Daughters



Turbo Tech!

I spent most of yesterday playing with my computer, but......I actually downloaded music to my MP3 player, a smoking hot playlist of current songs ( and I got the just released remix of "Pocketfull of Sunshine", it's mixed with Sweet Escape and it is AWESOME!), updated features on my computer, cleaned out things we never use, used the flashdrive to dump out photos and free up space, and set up everyone's new email. In addition now that there is road runner, Miranda is able to use some of her technology that didn't work on dial up. She is also on tech overload. However, to make sure she is not a computer slug, for every min you are online, you owe me a min of reading. Works like a charm and she is reading!

I can't believe how fast everything moves on my computer now. I have turbo baby! Turbo car ( I really am going to get a speeding ticket one of these days), turbo online. For a multi tasking mom like me with limited time, I appreciate the speed. Zoom Zoom!

Dog Days of Summer


Need I say more?

Monday, July 28, 2008

We're Not Gonna Take It

So Brian and I had decided in the Spring that we're not going to take it anymore. We are referring to the price of gas/oil and that fact that it has driven all other prices up. We decided to make changes to keep money in our pocket and not feel the pinch of what's going on.
Some of my summer has been consumed by being a better, smarter consumer. To date we have: put our biomass furnace on layaway ( Total is 4K with taxes, we used the stimulus money and some savings and have about 1K to pay off before October), the pellets will likely cost us 1K this year, Oil would be triple that, so the savings is HUGE, this furnace will pay for itself in just 2 heating seasons. Not to mention we are being kinder to the earth. We changes out communication suppliers. Our phone used to run us 50.00/month, 10 for dial up and 60 for Direct TV. 120.00 total. For a dollar less, I switched to all the best from Time Warner, I got: digital cable, digital phone ( one flat fee, I can call anywhere, nor charges), adn road runner. I significantly upgraded our technology and in the long run wil save a few bucks. Finally, I reshopped our home owners insurance and will save us 300 dollars this year.

It seems like good savings, but we will probally just break even, but that was the plan. It took up a bunch of time, but has saved us some cash and improved out technology. If the government isn't really going to do much to make things easier for people, we took matters into our own hands.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Technology

We have updated pretty much all of our technology at home. It's almost overwhelming to make all the necessary changes. Spent the morning typing to update my email address to all. Took my two hours. We purchased the "All the Best" from Time warner and updated to digital cable, Road Runner, digital phone, and we even purchased a new phone to handle all of this. Loving the speed! If you don't hear from me for a while, it's just that I am trying to get everything settled and set up.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cooperstown Beverage Trail

Who knew? Cooperstown has a beverage trail, and I was on it! As anyone that knows me knows I love, love, LOVE Cooperstown. Old homes, country living at it's finest, cute shops, that lovely lake and history, and I will even forgive them for the whole baseball thing. Anyways, my dad had knee replecement surgery. I took him last week for the preop. and yesterday for the surgery. Well, what's a girl to do in Cooperstown with 5 hours on her hands? Head to Fly Creek for Apple Wine. While there, I sampled their new Apple Cherry Wine, and brought that home as well. Both are chilling in my 29 bottle wine chiller. They look so happy here.
So about the beverage trail. They gave me this magazine and it was all about the trail, from Bear Pond Wineries, to the Cider mill, to Ommegang and Cooperstown Brewery. I got a stamp at the cider mill and if I visit the others will get a free glass. Silly good fun, but now I want to visit. Bear Pond has cranberry wine, and I do love my cranberry wine! Had another NY Wineries cranberry with Thanksgiving last year, it was delightfully perfect with the turkey. Crisp, sweet, and lovely. Brian and I are now motivated to finish the trail I began yesterday. Good to know we still have goals!
My dad's birthday is today, and they will turn off the pain block and send him to therapy. It won't be such a good day, but I told him a year from today on his birthday, his knee will be working and pain free, for the first time in 20 years. Here's to that, Dad. You deserve it. He will get sprung from Bassett on Saturday, Hall of Fame Saturday. That should be fun. May need to stop for more wine.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Books, History, and POPT, Again

Books, well, I have just finished my two, I was reading them concurrently, and would read them based on my moods, but " A Girl of the Limberlost" won. What a great book. I will put this on my daughter's reading lists. The main character is everything I want my girls to be. She is hard working, honest as the day is long, and resilient. I have always said my girls don't need to be straight A students, but honest and hard working will get them anywhere they dream to go, and Elnora, from this book proves my theory. A good read, very good.

The Prision Diaries and Letters of Chester Gillett, not so much. I started to read out of curiousity, as I tend to gravitate towards regional authors of late. He seems to have been writing this for an audience. It seems "staged " to me, like he was writing hoping for an appeal and when the appeal came, they would present this diary as evidence that he was a well educated, compassionate, caring person, to shed doubt for the jury. He had to be writing with this intent. Oddly he never mentions Grace, but once just in passing reference. He hardly mentions his circumstance, but to refer it to his troubles. After I read this, I now feel that the diary was superficial, and that he never for a second believed he would be put to death. He thought there would be an appeal and he would be free. He seems arrogant. ( Another motive for the diary, he would hope to sell it for profit). I also now know he killed her. He made her travel seperatley from him as they headed to the "North Woods", they boarded the trains at different times and did not sit together. He registered them as assumed names into the various hotels ( what would real names have mattered? Who in Utica knew them, or Big Moose?) they stayed at and ran out on their bills. He had planned ahead by telling his family he was just heading north for some R and R. He had some things sent on to Old Forge. Never mentioned Grace or the fact that they would travel together. ( The entire time she was preggers, he cavorted with other girls without real cares). He rents them a boat and loads his suitcase into it, tennis racquett, and all his belongs for a lesiurly paddle in the Big Moose. Who takes all their stuff? Grace didn't.
The only thing I wonder, is what the hell was he telling her? How did he justify they travel seperate ( they didn't even sit together, which was premediated, so people wouldn't be able to testify that they saw them together). How did he justify the vacation, or the fact that he loaded his stiff into the Adirondack Canoe for a paddle? And why was she so guillable, so smitten with him she would believe his crap? They went to Utica first, the theory being he was looking for a boarding house for unwed mothers and she would stay there, have the baby and give it up, but if that were the case, why the seperate travelling arrangements? Nothing illegal there? I think that is just what he told her, knowing the entire time he had a plan. I would like to now read the letters she sent him. He sent her a few, but she sent him many. I am just curious what she believed what was the intention of their trip north? Romantic getaway?

In other news, I met up with my friend Karen, and he fater in law grew up in our house. I invited them over to see our projects, and it was cool having him here telling us what has changed, or how things were. He grew up here, we are the 4th owners since 1850, his parents were the second, so this house was pretty "original" when they lived here. I have them looking for old photos of the house, old black and whites. We would like to have some to display them. Funny, where I have my antique was stand, he said his mom did. Where I have the dining room buffet, he said his mom did. My wash basin and picture, he said his mom had one just the same! Mission accomplished! When I decorate, I try to take history into account, and although I want some modern things, I like to showcase the history of my house!

Finally, breaking news last night. Kids are fat. That was actually the story. Brian and I were laughing, because I have been saying this for a couple years. Working in school, I see 600 plus kids in my building. You wouldn't believe the overweight to healthy ratio. The norm is chubby. And somehow, the chubby girls still have self esteem to wear tank tops, low rise, short shorts, etc......( these are teens). They are addicted to technology instead of running around outside, they eat crap, drink sugar filled energy drinks ( Every AM at school, walk down the hall and see the kids drinking this crap for breakfast, or eating chips and soda for breakfast), and most probally don't sit down for dinner. Oneida Co. came into our school and did an survey, anonymous, on various helath and safety issues, less than 20% ( I think it was 16%) sit down and eat with their families.

Hope money wasn't spent on this new study that says kids are overweight.POTO again. Walk the halls of any school. It breaks my heart to see kids in what should be their health prime overweight. They will struggle their entire lives with health and weight.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Chef Boy is She Cute!


Ava is Miranda's chef hat from girl scout camp. Had to share the cuteness that is Ava.

Island Girl


While I am showing off our projects, here is a view of the island Brian customized ( it was just base cabinets, the ones we got for the kitchen.). He wrapped it in beadboard wainscoating to match tne cabinets, added legs he made out of stair banisters, and we sanded down the butcher block we removed from the gutted out kitchen, and voila! I love it.

More Country Living



I worship "Country Living" magazine. You can take the girl out of the country, you can't take the country out of the girl. If you have glanced at this magazine, then you know my style. Not "country cute" like my friend Amy says ( Fake country,tacky country), but antiques, and a style that suits my 1854 village farm house. So, when the neighbors gave us their old playhouse, I couldn't just plop it in the yead, I had to make it match it's surroundings and to look, well, perfect. So I spent a week working on it, but here it is, before and after. ( Well, my before shot has 1 coat of blue paint on it, it was grey with green trim to match my neighbors house).

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Again, POTO People

So Obama makes some remarks yesterday that come up as, and this is funny, "Breaking News" on my internet home page. Headline news, bold print with links. Among other things, he said this: ``I have little doubt that we've moved into recession at this point, and the sooner we can get money into people's pockets, the sooner that we can stabilize the housing market, and the sooner that we can send a message to the markets that we're serious about creating an energy policy that will create greater energy efficiency over the next decade or so, I think the sooner we're going to get our fundamentals right,'' he said.

Well, at least he is admitting it, and not trying to dance arouond it, but don't people know this? The Republicans are trying to fake us all out by stimilus checks, but isn't the very notion that people needed a hand econimically basis for recession? Have not we as a nation been through times like this were the Feds have stepped in to lend a hand and we called it what it was, recession? Recession has to happen, after all. Recession, depression, and economic booms are a continuous pendulum that swings all the time. We are there folks. Even though I believe we have everything to do with it, we are there one way or another.

Along with the "Living Large" Clinton years, people were economically healthy. They bough big houses, cars, toys, etc....When we applied for this home loan, the banks wanted to give us up to 75K more than we spent. We kind of said " are they nuts?" We don't want a loan this big. What happends if there are more health problems, a lay off, home repairs, etc, how would we handle it all? But Brian and I aren't really the norm, we think of these things and try to live conservatively. The norm would have purchased that living large home, that came with huge taxes, heating and cooling, and when oil prices shot up, they couldn't afford it all. Again, I think things are being learned by this mess, and perhaps lenders will lend more conservitively. Oil prices rose 40%. Who factored THAT into living expenses. We don't need housing reliefs and checks from the government. We need to reply on ourselves for stable energy sources like wind and solar. We would control the price of that, and not have to be at the mercy of anyone but mother nature. That then controls the price of well everything. The oild has risen 40%, and the price of all goods and servics have followed.

When we visited my sister in law in North Carolina, and saw all the sunshine, I couldn't believe every home in her new development didn'thave solar panels? That's crazy! That is a new development!!!! If people in general can't afford oil to heat their homes, gas their cars, think about business? Everyday businesses are going under, people are losing jobs. Who wouldn't have paid a little extra for a home with alternative heating and cooling energy if it meant helping to stabalize the economy, jobs, and our nation as a whole? Every new home should be built in a way to save people money and save resources.

Forget Obama, I am going to run for President. On the "We're Not Gonna Take It" ticket/party. Who wouldn't vote for me? We are re-visiting the 70's and sadly we didn't learn from history. A war we can't get out of/afford, energy crisis ( yes, I call 5.00/gallon gas a crisis, POTO people) , and recession. Here we go again......

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Book Worm

In the summer, while I go full speed ahead trying to catch up on life, parent and worry about my own kids ( instead of all the kids at work), and become "Project Girl". I become a book worm. During the school year, between working a stressful job, and all the girls activities, my own life and personal enjoyments come to a halt. Something has to give, and it's my hobbies. But during the summer? I head to the library and grab a stack! I am currently reading "A Girl of the Limberlost" by Gene Stratton Porter. Don't know how this escaped me as a kid? I read everything I could get my hands on and many American Classics. ( but sadly, didn't finish half the books we were supposed to read for AP Lit. Man, who picked those books! Our AP kids are reading much better selections) This book has got my attention. I will polish it off by weeks end.
Walked down to the library yesterday for the girls to get some books, no summer brain drain here, and got "Prision Diaries of Chester Gillett" Typically, I don't go for crime books, or even mysteries, but the tale of Chester has always intrigued me. PErhaps because he was tried in Herkimer Co, or because this happened in my precious Adirondacks, or just because I can't understand how murder becomes an option to someone just not wanting to face parenthood. It was turn of the century, before DNA, he could have just said " She is a tramp, a tartlet, the kid isn't mine." He was an upstanding man from an affluent family, she just a working girl. HE would have been believed. It's the same for Scott Peterson, divorce was always an option. So perhaps my read and curiosity is just to try and understand how someone arrived at that decision? I am not sure, but whatever the case, it looks like a good read.

Anna got a stack of books, as did "the professor" I took the liberity of grabbing a coupld for Peep, as she is at camp. She isn't crazy about books, but the other two? They get me and they get books! We'll have to head for the playhouse for a good read today.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Captains Log

Summer vacation, day 2, and did I get some things done! Put a first coat of paint on the play house ( left over paint in the cellar, left for us from the last owners!), went to the playground, swam for 3 hours with the girls ( I swam laps as they played), made a nice home made dinner, moved the crib out of Ava's room, moved in Miranda's old bed for her, and cleaned out the dress up box and under Miranda's bed. Ready for the loft to be built in her bedroom. Mulched around the trees, and moved out plant boxes I am using in the playhouse project.
Look at me go! Also, as I was cleaning out the vitamins, I found some Papaya Enzyme not yet opened. I asked Brian about it and he said he wasn't taking it anymore. Me " What will it do"? Him " It's for energy". Damn! Why didn't you say so. Who needs more energy than me. So I popped the recommended dose. I figure I will give it 3 weeks and see if I have more energy. Cracked myself up, I was recalling Amy in high school when she kept that list in Chem. of the chemicals and elements. She would ask the teacher what a certain chemical would do if you put it in your mouth. He would answer, she recorded that, and then tasted it to see what the reaction was.

Here's to another busy day! I want to finish the blue paint on the playhouse, and fill the planters with dirt, maybe even get some plant for it. Embrace the day! and here's hoping my papaya will kick in!

POTO

POTO, pointing out the obvious......I have been saying for the past, I don't know, YEAR, that we got ourselves into this oil mess. Blame government all you want, but how many people are driving around in gas guzzling monsters? How many people with kids "needed a big car" and drive cars half the size of my house? How many guys drive trucks and never actually put anything in the truck bed? MANY. It's simple economics folks, lower demand, increase supply, lower the price. Learned that in high school. The solution has ALWAYS been that we need to make changes as a society. We need to trade in vehicles for hybrids, we need to move closer to work and commute less or car pool. We need to combine errands and drive less period. We need to heat our homes with renewable resources. We need to harness the wind! Why in hell would you put a power line through my beautiful upstate NY for energy going to NYC, when you could put a wind farm in the Catskills, or closer to the city??????? It is so obvious, yet governments response is that in 10 years time maybe there will be vehicles mass produced and available and affordable, and that they should lower the speed limit to force people to save gas??? Are you freaking kidding me? Force legislation down our throats? People should be making the changes on their own.
So yesterday, some old oil tycoon from Texas comes on TV and says what I have been saying all year. That we created it, we need to get ourselves out of it. His backdrop for the news conference? Wind turbines, beautiful clean wind turbines. ( you know, ones that don't even require man power to run them?). The networks lead with this story last night. Maybe people will now take notice and make changes????

Don't blame me. I live in the village I work in, although I have 3 kids and according to society, I "qualify" to drive a small house, I drive a Volvo wagon, fits 7, 28mpg. Could be better, but not bad overall for the small amount of driving I do. We actually use the truck we own to haul stuff, move stuff, and for my husbands home inspection biz. We are purchasing a furnace to burn pellets. No more oil heat here, and thatsavings will be hundreds of gallons a year.
I also blame the Clinton years. Times were good. We forgot to save for a rainy day and we became gluttonous consumers. We could afford super size everything. I think times have to be tough right now so we slow down, and make positive changes for ourselves, and for our planet.
I will continue to raise girls that are aware, that are not sucked into consumerism, and that reuse, reduce, and recycle. It's up to me to help, and I can make a difference. We all can, and in the end, it will benefit us all and generations to come.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

An Ode to Google

Google, Google, how I love thee!

I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner, this way, I can be busy all day and not have to stop and think, 'cause who wants to think on a vacation day in July? So, I googled some things I have in my pantry and freezer to see what I could make. I googled "sausage and cornmeal", two things I have in plenty and that are gluten free. Came up with a recipe for a cornmeal sausage casserole. Awesome. We are sick of the same old same old gluten free fare, so this will really shake thinks up, and use what I have in stock!

Enjoy this gorgous sunny day. I am going to paint the "new" play house to match the house ( the neighbor's kids are too big for it, so they gave us their sweet little custome made playhouse, that currently matches their great old house), Ava wants to go to the playground, swimming is a must on this hot day ( pool is actually a steamy 70 degrees), and who knows what other tasks I can come up with, the day is young! Embrace it! And remember, Google kicks ass!

Monday, July 07, 2008

I've Got a Mule Her Name is Sal






It was 15 miles to Erie Canal Village! What am all American 4th of July we had. Went to the drive in Friday night to see Wally-E. The movie actually depressed me, I'll post that another time. Saturday, for the 4th we went to Erie Canal Village ( free admission) and explored life in the 1800's for the afternoon. We had a picnic lunch there, and then came home to play, swim in the pool, cook out, and shoot off our "Contraband" fireworks from Pennsylvania. For a State I don't really like, that is REALLY boring to drive through, they make up for it all by selling me fireworks. Had a bunch of silly fun, and I will always remember and never forget little Ava driving the power wheels around and around the pool and under the deck at FULL SPEED. She is crazy, we were calling her "Danica".

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Summer's Here!

As I skipped down the school hall singing " The most wonderful time of the year" Summer arrived. Here, I am still working another week ( Guidance Counselor, we close the place), but the girls and I have started on our way to summer fun. We have Kayaked in Boonville ( free), had a little good bye pool party for a moving neighborhood girl ( cost me 98 cents for the cake mix), and today Brian is taking the girls fishing on the NY State free fishing weekend ( no liscense needed). I am signing them up for FREE swimming lessons, and we have plans to do summer reading at the library, heading to Old Forge to meet a favorite children's author, and many other fun free local things.
With the economy so shaky, Brian and I are saving for a new furnace, the kind you can burn bio mass in ( pellets, or corn), so my summer theme to help us save is " Free and Fun Local Fun!" Looking forward to hanging out with my girls this summer and makig our own fun.

Hey Doug!

Ummmm, to the Guy named Doug, or sometimes "Dougie", or he has been referred to as "Kevin's friend" and even "Cuz", get a freaking clue!! You gave out your new cell phone number and it's not your number you are giving, it' mine rocket scientiest. I have taken so many calls for you that when I find you, after I slap you, I am going to bill you.
And your freinds? Besides sounding like thugs, they are not very smart. They hear my answering machine message, which CLEARLY says " Hey, you have reached the "D" family, also home of Prespective Home Inspection, we are unable to take your call, blah blah blah" It's educated sounded, it sounds like you have reached a family, and we clearly identify ourselves. Why would your friends, the rocket scientists, keep leaving freaking messages??????? Next time today that I talk to one of them, I think some threats need to happen. I think I need to get your number, Doug, Dougie, Cuz, "Kevin's Friend" and then give it out to my friends to harass you. I'm not in a good mood today, just be warned, Dougie old boy.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Having a Moment

Ever have one of those days where you just need to have a moment to cry and then get on with what you were doing? We were at my parents house Friday, stopped in for Father's day, and to pick up some large items to bring to our recycling center. Anyways, Miranda was helping my mom organize old photo's and came accross slides. Slides that have never been made into prints. So I just looked at them all and they are photos I have never seen. There are some of my grandparents holding Kim as a baby, some of my aunts and uncles in younger days horsing around, and one of my uncle Kevin as a little boy on his bike. They all made me emotional, but that one of Kevin.......life just isn't fair is it? I wonder what he would be doing now in life, who he would have married, how many more cousins would I have had? Who would he have grown to be? I don't think about him very often, but that picture got me. My mom was so close to him, she practically raised him, she lost it when he died. I was small, but I remember the grief. Profound grief. I miss who he would have been.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Green Weekend

My weekend actually started on Friday, with a day off. Grocery shopped, cleaned, and finally got all the girls summer clothes out and situated. All closets 100% done! Been wanting to get that done before Memorial day and before we leave for NC.
Saturday, a day to run around! I did some yard work weeding and such early. then, loaded the truck up with green waste from the yard and headed for recycling center. Dumped greens, and got the guy on the big tractor to dump a load of FREE mulched up evergreens in my truck. HUGE load of free mulch. Took Miranda to ballet, and then we were off to the "Wood Energy Day" at New England Pellets in Schuyler. Talked to a few dealers about the pellet furnace, and took a tour of the plant. Cool! Talked to an engineer of one of the furnaces, the "Farenheit", and we are pretty excited about this one. Big enough to heat the house with pellets. Hook it up to exsisting duct work and get rid of evil oil companies FOREVER!
Sunday, after we survived a Tornato watch Saturday PM ( and warmed up the house with a nice fire), we mulched the entire yard, set up bird feeders, back patio furniture, hung patio lights, planted some seeds I already had and moved some existing plants to back garden plot, and got the yard looking fabulous! IT really looks great! All in all a nice weekend spent, very little money spent, and time spent with my family. Perfect.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Pass me a drink PLEASE!

What a week! Glad it's almost over. Started off with a almost 300.00 doctor bill in the mail. Knowing I have pretty good insurance, I had to make some calls to get it fixed. Turns out the referal was not done properly by my docs for Ava's specialist. Time lost on the phone that I won't ever get back. Then, I am trying to pay bills online on Wednesday. They won't go through. I panic, but only for a moment because kids at school are all off the wall. Get home, and in the mailbox is a letter from my bank stating there was a breach of security at a retail or online vendor I do biz at and my DEBIT card info may have been exposed. They have canceled my DEBIT card and are sending a new one with a new PIN and I should have it in a few days. WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You can't call me in person to tell me this? It's my freaking DEBIT card the one that basically runs my life. That sucker is tied into all my online bill payments, it get's me gas, groceries, etc. SO, another phone call. Girl at bank says 1200 people were possibly affected, they can't call us all, so they sent a letter. Due to an ongoing investigation, they can't tell me which vendor. Or if they will ever tell me what vendor. They tell me to watch my accounts so I will know if anyone tries to take my money. That same money that pretty much runs my life. UGH! I have used a Debit card for a decade, use it everywhere, online, offline, you name it. I guess this was bound to happen, but what a pain in the ass. More time lost on the phone that I won't get back.

Today, in the mailbox ( I really do have to stop going to the mailbox. There is never anything good in there) I get a new projected budget amount for my heating oil. I always spread it out over 10 months. When I moved here in 2005, it was 140.00 a month. Last year it went up yo 200.00 a month. They have been pretty accurate. THIS YEAR? 423.00 a month. They are projecting the price of oil to DOUBLE? Again, WTF????? Who can afford this? That's an additional 2230.00. And I only get a 3.5 % raise every year, and between the rise in food and gas, I was screwed as it was. Now this. Guess we will be shopping for a wood or pellet stove. No way am I spending that much and just taking it from the huge oil companies. They can bite me. I'd rather stack wood all summer. Better for the environment, better for my wallet, and makes me less reliable on countries for oil, right?

We are heading for some really tough economic times. Not just us, I mean the US. If the cost to heat your house is expected to double this year, there will be people in serious financial dire straits. Brian and I will come up with a plan, we don't like to large here, but for people just making it now, they won't be making it by next winter.

Pass me a Cosmo, make it a double. Keep the cubes.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Country Living Design




I have a beautiful side porch on the circ 1836 Victorian Farmhouse. We put the swing out there and I have been decorating it for outdoor living little by little each summer. I visualize this cover for "Country Living" magazine in my head. Leafy green ferns hanging down, pillows and old quilts tossed accross my swing, little tables filled with books and lemonade, and candles to light it by night. I am happy to say, I am part way there. This weekend, I painted my wicker chair ( rescued from curb last spring, rehabbed with spray paint I already had and a cushion I made out of this perfect yellow toile fabric I bought waiting for the perfect project). Next to it is a old picnic basket I also rescued from a curb, and on top of that sits my old porch light we replaced last spring, of which I gutted, painted, and turned into a candle lantern. Lovely, not a dime spent, and items were saved from the landfill. Green and free, even better. By summer's end, I hope to have the fern and more old cozy linens to add to the swing and chair.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Rescue Me

Stopped at a garage sale on my way home from dance with Miranda yesterday. Couldn't believe my finds, and all for less than 5.00! Battleship, mint condition for a very excited Miranda. ( love that my kids will play board games. They are "off the grid kids". No "gamers" here.....) I was in the market for a storage facility of some sort for her room. She has her play clothes living in her vanity, and no room for her "girly" stuff. I found a 3 drawer plastic organizer, and hauled it out happily, very happily.
But the big find? Best of all, I got a "Beauty Box". A retro chrome bread box for a buck. Yes one dollar ladies and gentlemen. I wanted one for my pantry organization project. Didn't want a new one, wanted an old one. It probally could have been an east 20.00 at an antique store or more, but there is was dull and a little rusty. What I know is that retro chrome and steele wool? Shines up nice. So I hauled it home, steel wooled it last night, replaced the little lever with this PERFECT glass knob Brian had, and viola! It now occupys a shelf in my pantry for bread, of the gluten and non gluten variety.

Good weekend so far. Went to the Grand March for Prom last night. Our kids had a "Old Hollywood" theme, and I was so happy to see elegant long full dresses. Very little hoochie mama present. My neighbor girl, the one who babysits and I think the world of? Stunning. Can't believe she didn't have a date. Well, in college, the guys will beat a trail to her. What fun. Made me feel old, though.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Tainted Food

For the most part, I have learned this past week that our food supply is tainted. Not just the all too frequent recalls of infested meat, but in general, the food we eat is filled with crap. Crap our bodies don't need, and can not handle.
In addition to spring cleaning, organizing, and yard work ( I worked like Wonder Woman this week), I researched Celiac Disease. Ava has been diagnosed with it, and I needed to know all about it. I have also had to read every label of everything I fed or made her. Crap. Our food is filled with crap. Maltodexrin, for example, I had to look this up, as she can't have Malt. Maltodexrin is a starch, sometimes a wheat starch. Did we need another added starch? Do we even NEED starch of anyform? Grains, yes, from time to time, but our food is pumped with starch, modified food starch, corn starch, modified corn starch, and this isn't even the half of it.
So, doing what any good OCD mom would do, I purged the pantry, and spent an insane amount of money replacing my products with products that are gluten free, and organic. With products that have no more than three ingredients, and that are as close to natural as I can get them. We have all gone gluten free here, as I see gluten linked to many many health complications. Many. So many it made me crazy.
My week has also made me second guess Brian's diag of Fibromyalgia again. See, his dad has Celiac Disease, and 97 % of the people that get it carry the gene, as it's genetic. I don't have any digestive or autoimmune issues, so I blame this on Brian. If that is so, he carries the gene. He had the antibidy test done in 2004, but this test, if one hasn't had much gluten, can be a false negative. Celiac Disease is autoimmune. It can lead to extreme joint pain, fatigue, IBS, lactose intolerance, anemia, thyroid issues, high CK levels ( liver issues), ALL the things Brian has. I am convinced he has this and not Fibro. I asked him to give me a month of gluten free diet to see if he feels better. Ava is doing OK, Brian? Not so much. He can't have a beer, or even hard liqour. Not that the man drinks a lot, but on a hot summer day like today, after working hard, he likes a chilled beer. I hope he survives his month, and I hope I am right about all this. Celiac has a cure, just don't eat anything with Gluten in it and you feel ok. Fibro? Nothing has made him feel better.
Ava and I are off to Syracuse on Tuesday to see the pediatric specialist. Thank god. I have a zillion questions. She seems hypoglycemic as well, which goes with this, and doesn't sleep through the night, another symptom, but don't ask me why? Kids with celiac have night terrors. She wakes up SCREAMING. Every night. And I am tired.

Friday, April 11, 2008

April Showers

April showers actually bring on spring cleaning here! A day in means a day to clean and organize. First, I have to say Happy Birthday to Miranda. 10 today. Double digits. Not sure how that is possible since I am still 30 ( Shhh), but it is what it is. I have her presents stashed, and a nice family dinner planned. In the summer, when it's warm, she is having a High School Musical ( OMG, I love Troy!) sleep over/pool party, and my neighbor allegedly ( he's an engineer, has all sorts of technology) has a projector we can use with a big sheet hanging on the back of the carriage house for an out door viewing of HSM 1 and 2.
For today? More of yesterday, cleaning house, cleaning up yard, mucking out closets, getting organized, etc....One teacher asked me what I was doing over vacation. When I told her this, she said, " If the girls are bored, they can come over." Funny, this is my idea of a perfect vacation! Who would think my girls will be bored spring cleaning? ( however, she is a musher, and has sled dogs, I am thinking of calling her. In their world, she is a rock star!)

Happy Spring Cleaning!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

March Madness

At school, kids have been off the wall. I like to refer it to March Madness. they have been cooped up and the weather sucks, we are nearing the last marking period, always a source of kid stress, it's prom season and relationships are at critical mass, and spring sports have begun, adding more stress to kids. Brian can never believe so many kids stop by my office in tears, looking for advice. He thinks because they are teens, life is a breeze for them, and I should just tell them to grow up. This is why I am the guidance counselor, and he is not! Seriously, though, I can empathize with these kids. He had it easy. His parents had stable jobs, stable relationship, and he had his future all planned ( you know Brian, a man with a plan). My last year of high school, first year of college were the toughest times in my life, and I never sought out anyone to talk about it, anyone adult at least that may have been able to help me out.
My last year of school my parents were losing their business, their livlihood. I had no other siblings at home to share this burden with me. I wanted to help them, yet how could I? I was uncertain where we would live, let alone how could I leave them and go off to school? I only applied to one school, SUNY Cortland, because I was afraid to leave them. I was afraid to make plans for my future, because their was a mess. My dad was depressed to the point I was afraid he may hurt himself. It was pretty intense for a 17 year old kid. My relationship catagory was not healthy either, and the only thing I did have to lean on were my girl friends. They gave me hope, until I met Brian in Sophmore year, and then I had him to lean on. He was my rock, still is.
Looking back, I wonder how I made it out? These were the days before counseling centers on campus, and the days when your guidance counselors were just in charge of your schedules. I have just as much mental health training as I do the academic piece. There is a reason for this. I use my mental health training daily, and I feel for these kids. I understand, and I think they get that about me, which is why they line up for my help.
So, I am enjoying these few days off. Hoping it's not so crazy on Tuesday.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

ADK Day





We headed to Inlet for the Frozen Fire and Ice day yesterday. That's ice skating at Fern Park, sledding on the big hill, a bon fire, dinner at the Screaming Eagle ( love that place), and fireworks over the lake. It's kind of a tradition now, as this was our second year attending. What a GREAT day we had playing outside in the Adirondacks. Ava was great, she put on the little skates and away she went. She skated alone, and then pushing a chair like the other little ones. People were amazed that she was only 2. Miranda, oh Miranda. I wish we lived near ice. That girl glides accross the ice and was even adding some arabesques, and skating on one leg. It's the 3rd time she has skated. It's natural to her. Anna was happy with a couple laps around and the hot chocolate and doughnut they offered.

The fireworks were amazing. Over our heads over the lake, stars in the sky, and a great bonfire going. Here are some shots from our adirondack day and night:

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Il bel far niente

Il bel far niente. It's Italian for the beauty of doing nothing, which is exactly why I have no balance in my life. I can't sit idle. I never do things for myself and myself alone, and I run, run, run without taking time to savor, time for pleasure, time to just sit and listen to the world.

I am reading a great book, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Funny, we were in Target recently and when I looked on the endcap of the book section, I saw that I have read 2 recent NY Times Best Sellers. I typically don't read books because they make that list. I talk to people about what they are reading, and what was good. Lately, though, at the library, all I have time to pick are books from the table up front, as I help my 3 daughters negotiate the library and pick just the right books for them. So, in the moments we are checking out, I grab books that look interesting off this front table. Turns out this must be a recent bestseller table.

This book is really helping me see some things about my life, like the absence of il bel far niente. However, I think half the reason I go go go all the time is that I have all these things I still want to do in my life, so I half expect that when I get done with my obligations, I will have time to do these things. I consider myself a lifelong learner. Not just with things I have to learn and update for work, but life experiences. For instance, I want to learn to sail. When I retire, I want to spend my idle days sailing on some beautiful Adirondack lake when Brian is golfing or fishing. I want to glide accross the lake, listen to the loons, and enjoy the beauty of the mountains. I want to sail my boat alone, and spend some time with myself. That is just one glimpse of the things I still want to learn in my lifetime, I have many more.

I guess I figure there will be time to be idle in my life and do nothing, and these are the days that I don't get that luxury.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Somebody Stop Me!

WE had a fabulous time in Albany yesterday. Shopped till we dropped. The girls rode home in blissful happiness. Miranda, when asked what her best was said seeing Sandi. ( it's a family thing, the question "what was your best". It means what was the best part of your day. The girls got home, scarfed down Pizza Mia from Pizza Hut ( surprisingly only 5 WW points each), and were talking to Brian a mile a min. They were so animated. Ava, in between bites of her pizza, kept saying " We do again, ok Daddy?"
So When I looked over my own purchases, I had to laugh. ORganizational things. I bought some nice under the bed storage bags for my summer clothes, and I bought each girl a Hallmark Keepsake Card box for the cards they save. ORganized that last night. I scoped out the penny cand jars and half baskets I want to organize the pantry. That will require a trip to the Christmas Tree Shop in Syracuse later this month, as I finish up painting the pantry shelves.
Today? A load of laundry, and a trip to ALdi's and the bread outlet to stock up the cabintets and freezer for the next month. Another great day on the docket. Oh, and some reading time with Anna and Miranda to read books with them. Top of the Morning!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Glamour Girls



I love this photo from summer. I call it "Charlie's Angels." They were up this AM at 6. Excited because we are going to Albany to meet up with "Aunt Sandi"
and go shopping. We have upped the ante this year, why mess around with Sangertown when you can head East. They cleaned closets last night and are ready for new clothes and shoes. How did I get blessed with 3 organizied shopping partners for life? Life is good. Head East little girls!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Balance

I love February break. It is typically a time I go through the girls closets, weed out clothes that don't fit or are torn or stained, and we go shopping for some "fill" clothes to get us through the rest of winter. It is kind of our tradition, the shopping thing. Then I clean, organize, restock the pantry and get ready to go till Spring break.
So far this has been a great productive break. I ran some errands Friday, painted the pantry, organized all the girls hair accessories in a really pretty box I got from Tuesday Mornings, and got a few items of clothing at a real bargain yesterday.
I took the girls to the library yesterday to stock up on books for the week. I have decided when they get on my nerves, we "stop drop and read." They found some great books, one book I am looking forward to reading with Miranda, life of a little girl in the Mohawk Valley in the 1920's. I even found a book for me, one my neighbor recommended a while back, " Eat, Pray, and Love." It's about a 36 year old woman ( fancy that!) searching for balance in her life. Despite having "it all", the author feels her life is at a pivital moment and strikes off to 3 countries to find balance. I realized, in reading the Preface, I too am lacking Balance. Most days I feel like I am careening out of control just to get to work, take care of kids, take care of home, cook, etc....I never feel an internal balance. I can't look ahead into my future to see when this careening will stop and sometimes I have anxiety. I am interested in what the author will find out, as I really can't ( or don't want to is a better word!) divorce my husband and head out on a journey. Looks like a good read!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Spiced Up Kitchen



Actually, gutted out and started from scratch is more like it! Starting to really come together. The contractor was done late October, but then we had to become the contractors. At 90.00/hour, we just let him do the stuff we couldn't. We gutted it out late August through September. Hauled all the scraps away. Lived with a floorless pit for a month while we plumbed ( Brian and his dad, they had to move the sink plumbing, and get copper pipes ready for new fridge with water and ice maker). The electrician had to come and bring us up to codes ( nothing was GFP'd, in the kitchen, can you stand it?). I now have ground fault protected outlets! We had to move outlets up from near the floor, install wiring box for self venting micro, put in boxes for recessed lighting above sink, and dimmer switch for new recessed lights.
Contractor installed new floor and worked on joists ( sunk 2 inches with age), put down a new sub floor, ceramic tiled floor with decorative Italian tile border, hung cabinets, put in tin celiling, and installed new countertops. We are left with painting, trimming, putting in crown molding, new wainscoating around kitchen, and decorating. The Island is being crafted by Brian, and will likely be ready by the spring. So here is a peek of work in progress, but first you have to see the old:

Friday, February 08, 2008

Friday Funnies

Stressful week. Sick baby = Miserable baby. Thankfully, some funny things said here this week. Ava was playing little people. She said " Little People boy, WHAZZZUP". Then, as we were sitting at dinner " Oh, MAN". Not to be undone in humor, Anna and I were in the office. The washing machine was draining, and sometimes, it makes the downstairs toilet bubble or gurgle. She looked into the bathroom and said " I think it's going to blow." Does she even understand how funny she is? Love her humor. As Ava was in between throwing up and messy diapers, at least I had some humor.


And, Brian is currently on a wine run. We ralized my 29 bottle wine chiller was just chilling beer. I told him to come home with no less than 4 bottles of wine. I picked 3 and told him to choose a "wild card." That and a fish fry tonight will perk me up I think. I have been up with Ava 2 nights in a row. 3rd time is not a charm. Got my goblet all ready. Maybe I will chill it.

Friday, February 01, 2008

It's Sooooo Good

5:11 am. Can't sleep. Decide to get up and check on the weather. Dang. Not a flake. No snow day. I figure since I am up, good time to load more music into the ipod ( working on Dana Dance Mix.....it's like having my own station to program). 5:15am. Ava's saying " Mommy". Go rescue her so she doesn't wake the rest of the girls. 5:20am. Turn on TV, watch in confusion as I see my school's name scrolling. SNOW DAY!!!!!!!!!! Must be in anticipation of ice?? 5:25am. Brian decides to head in so he can get out early. Somehow, he sets off the car alarm ( the one we never actually need to use, since we live in a Norman Rockwell kind of neighborhood). 5:27am. Miranda is now up. So much for my peaceful work time.
Somehow, I do get to work on this playlist. I now have about 100mb's of FIERCE dance music loaded into the ipod. My next workout will rock the house! I am still quite pleased with myself. Now I understand why ever kid in high school has a loaded ipod. Way cooler than radio. I am currently jamming to Donna Summer's I Feel Love, the Rolo- Remix from 2000."It's soo good, baby it's soooooo good" 8.12 min of pure dance enjoyment. Fierce.
Happy Snow Day! And it figures, I got really organized at work, and was going to see about 10 kids today for counseling. Oh well, guess my Monday will hop.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sunshine




Had to post this. I need a mid winter blast of sunshine. Here she is......my sunshine.

High School Never Ends

I have been in a funk lately. It usually happens this time of year. I don't have a window in my office, and when kids are crazy, I don't get out of my office. When I don't get out of my office, I don't get sun. It's seasonal affective disorder. I have self diagnosed. So today, I was in a rare mood. I did announcements this am ( don't ask.....it's full circle I tell ya. Senior year, Mt. Markham, morning announcements. 2008, many moons later, morning announcements. It's almost comical). From there, another co-worker and I decided to use SAT caliber words. I think I trumped her with the word illbegotten, used in context. Next, I answered my office phone ( it was a teacher call) in Francais......Bon jour, ici Dana, et vous? He was very confused. I am still laughing.
Sometimes my job is very serious ( suicidal kids, kids that cut, families in crisis), so sometimes it is just fun to be silly and make others and myself laugh.

Au Revior!

Don't Bring Me Down

So, it's a Wednesday night. Very cold and windy out. I am landlocked tonight. So what's a girl to do? I am just a blogging away having loaded some mp3s on my ipod. I really am quite proud of myself. I have figured out my technology. ( Sadly, I must report this took almost 2 years.....)
Flashback to Christmas 2005. Brian really batted it out of the park. A car starter for my beloved Volvo and this great mp3 player. I was clueless. The baby was young and taking up all my time. Fastforward to tonight. 2 hours on my hands. I figured it out!!!!!!!! Currently listening to ELO's Don't Bring me Down. Love this song. It's kind of my theme song. I am a very positive person, and I hate those people that are constantly Eyore's, doom and gloom.

Don't Bring Me Down


You got me runnin' goin' out of my mind,
You got me thinkin' that I'm wastin' my time.
Don't bring me down,no no no no no,
I'll tell you once more before I get off the floor
Don't bring me down.

You wanna stay out with your fancy friends.
I'm tellin' you it's go to be the end,
Don't bring me down,no no no no no no no no,
I'll tell you once more before I get off the floor
Don't bring me down.

Don't bring me down,grroosss
Don't bring me down,grroosss
Don't bring me down,grroosss
Don't bring me down.

What happend to the girl I used to known,
You let your mind out somewhere down the road,
Don't bring me down,no no no no no,
I'll tell you once more before I get off the floor
Don't bring me down.

You're always talkin' 'bout your crazy nights,
One of these days you're gonna get it right.
Don't bring me down,no no no no no,
I'll tell you once more before I get off the floor
Don't bring me down.

Don't bring me down,grroosss
Don't bring me down,grroosss
Don't bring me down,grroosss
Don't bring me down.

You're lookin' good just like a snake in the grass,
One of these days you're gonna break your glass.
Don't bring me down,no no no no no no no no,
I'll tell you once more before I get off the floor
Don't bring me down.

You got me shakin' got me runnin' away
You get me crawlin' up to you everyday,
Don't bring me down,no no no no no,
I'll tell you once more before I get off the floor
Don't bring me down


I put it on repeat ( yes, I really am this good). Gotta go jam to my technology......

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Baby it Cold

Temps have taken a tumble here. So, what what is a girl to do? Grab her friend, and her friend's extra snow shoes and tramp a trail through the new snow in the park! Beautiful cold northern NY night. Crisp, so crisp that my ski jacket is making crinkling sounds. Sky so dark it's black. A few laps aroound the park and we are warming up! What a great way to de-stress! Tramping through the snow. Who ever thought I would enjoy snow shoes?

Looking forward to a possible Friday night on the slopes with Brian. Cross your fingers we get a sitter, and that the temps stay cold. More snow baby!