Wednesday, July 29, 2009

No, I'm not MIA - I'm just busy...

...doing nothing. (With nothing witty to say about doing nothing.)

A few good things:
  • Kids slept until 11:15 am. I think the whole " You have to be up by 10:00 am" thing is pretty much shot. I figure Happy Girl will have to start getting up around 7:30 next week for VB. I'll let her enjoy the last week without enforcing the "rule".
  • Princess went for a play date at the neighbor's house.
  • Happy Girl and I went to find shoes for VB today. Found them, on sale, at target, after only trying on 3 or 4 pairs, and she likes them. A lot. We then went to Old Navy where she found some shirts she really likes (for school) and they were on sale too! Afterwards we had a really nice lunch together at Panera. (which she ate all that she ordered and was appreciative for the meal and the time alone - with me.)
  • Broke down and bought a food processor. It was also on sale - a 10 cup wide mouth for only 30.00. It's a steal!
  • Got two loads of laundry done in between all this.
  • Happy Girl LIKES VB camp - even if she did hurt her back doing "Wall sitting". She is also happy to be hanging around with our neighbor J's girlfriend "A" (who happens to be part of the High School team that is helping to teach the camp) . A is really a sweet girl and is an excellent influence on Happy Girl.
  • Got the oil changed on my car today - even though it took FOREVER for them to do it! Mr. H, Princess, and I sat at Walmart and people watched. It was fascinating!
  • And lastly - I started my second sock.

It's been an interesting day even if nothing funny happened.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Oh, and by the way.....

31 days until school starts for Happy Girl. 37 until the Princess meets & greets her teacher.

"I've Waited my Whole Life" to see this video

This has to be one of the Funnest Videos I've seen in a long, long time. It's given me such a good feeling and made me so happy that I can't help but cry for joy when I see it. (Even after the 5th or 6th time.)

I wish this couple the best - they've created an awesome beginning! If they continue the rest of their marriage with as much joy and humor as they've started it with, I think they should be okay.

Friday, July 24, 2009

And Then The Yarn Gods Smiled


One Down - One To Go....Not too bad for a first attempt.

(Hopefully this came out the way it was supposed to - and that I can do it again!)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Zucchini Apple Bread

2 Cups all purpose flour (I use 1/2 all purpose, 1/2 wheat)
1 Cup granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2/3 Cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 small zucchini, peeled and shredded (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 small apple, peeled and shredded (I chop mine into smaller chunks)
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 - spray loaf pan with vegetable pan spray (I use crisco - old fashioned, I know) Set aside.

In large bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. In medium bowl, combine oil, eggs, vanilla, zucchini, apple, and sugar. After combining wet ingredients, stir in flour mixture. When mixture is just combined, stir in nuts. (Do not overmix) Turn mixture into prepared pan(s)

Bake approximately 50-60 minutes for (1) 9" loaf, (1) 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 + 2 small 4 inch pans. (Toothpicks should come out clean from center of loaf). Cool bread in pan for about 10 - 20 minutes (depending on pan size) then cool completely before slicing.

(This recipe came from the Essential Home Medium Loaf pans that I purchased but does overflow the pan if you plan on making only one 8/12 size pan. I have been making 1 8 1/2 inch pan + 2 4 inch pans per recipe. 50 - 60 minutes would be appropriate for the larger 9" loaf pan - The smaller pans get done sooner - around 30 - 40 minutes as well as the 8 1/2 inch pans get done about 45 minutes.)

Lazy Days of Summer

Nothing much going on here. Softball/T-Ball are over and Volleyball doesn't start until next week. I've gotten most of the basic cleaning done and don't really feel like delving into anything complicated. I've read some good books (none of them a "book club" selection) and I am contemplating taking a nap. (It's only 10:45 am - but that doesn't seem to matter)

I have a little bit of running to do today but it should be okay. I also have a "Hot Tub Maintenance" Class to go to tonight. I'm hoping that going to this will give me some confidence that I'm not destroying my spa. I'm also hoping to be in my spa starting this weekend. (It was repaired yesterday and we are now in the process of "flushing" the pipes.) I picture a glass/bottle of "an adult alcoholic beverage" in hand, the spa lights on, my hubby by my side, and no children in sight. I miss that. It's hard when he has to be to work so early in the am and my children stay up too late.

So, I am going to kick back and enjoy these last "true" weeks of summer. August will be here and with it fall sports and school preparations. I hope to relaxed and ready.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Few Things I Would Like To Do This Fall

  • Go to Amish Country
  • Go to a Friday Night High School Football Game
  • Go to/ Have a Bon Fire - (Still kinda waiting on that one from Summer)
  • Take A Picnic to the Park with Family and/or Friends (Saturday or Sunday afternoon/night?)
  • Go to Red Wagon Farm's Harvest Festival
  • Trick Or Treat - Possibly a party here on Halloween? (It's on a Saturday this year)
  • More Zoo trips - Boo at the Zoo?
  • Maybe an outdoor Birthday party for Mom and the girls? (Think the weather will hold out?) Think somewhere around the beginning of October.... Would that work for Lindsey?
  • Continue to be outside as much as possible.
  • Get a good fall schedule done BEFORE school starts this year. (Take a closer look at my habits - Good & Bad)

These are just some thoughts. ( AKA The randomness that rolls around in my brain.)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Summer!

Today was Summer's 5th Birthday Party so we all got together at my niece's house and basically did what we do every year.

The kids got together and played (or posed while waiting for the cake to be cut). Of course EVERY kid there grew A LOT (since last year) and was totally unrecognizable. The adults sat around and shot the breeze. Of course what we mostly talked about was how the kids have grown so much. A few of them still work and a few are retired. Some have new jobs and some have lost their jobs. Some are still waiting their jobs out to see if they will still have them next year. Thankfully everyone is healthy.

Here we are in the garage...

...or outside in the backyard under one of the MANY trees. (The backyard is completely wooded and was beautifully shaded)
A few things were different like Mad Mike and Big B pulling my oldest niece (who is also Mad Mike's Mom) around in the wagon up and down the hilly side yard. Did I mention that Mike is only 3 and that he pulled that wagon around the yard almost effortlessly? His new nickname is "bam bam". Big B is going into 1st grade and will be 7 next week.We all had a good time and ate too much.
But before we go, here's a picture of the birthday princess....
Eat some more cake....or else! Happy 5th Birthday Summer! I hope you enjoyed your day.
(And thank you for having us over!)

Friday, July 17, 2009

We "Heart" Randomness

Mr. Happy "Hearts" Banana Split Decision Ice Cream Cake (Specially Made For Him) From Coldstone

(But Not The Way His Waistband Feels AFTER He Consumes It)

Happy Girl "Hearts" Sleepovers & BFF's

(But Not Being on the Bottom for Pyramids)

I "Heart" My Girls!

(But Not This Celebrating THIS Birthday")

The Princess "Hearts" Chippies!
(But Not Fruits or Vegetables)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

And Let's Not Forget To Do This...

Stay up until 4 am to watch scary movies with two 13 year olds and watch them freak themselves out. - Of course, after watching the scary movie I will (of course) explain it to them so that they can have the total effect of being COMPLETELY freaked out and then I will probably have to "tuck" them in. I may even receive an invitation to join the "sleepover" but (of course) I will decline just so that I can go to the basement and send them creepy texts until about 5 am which will complete the evening and keep them up extremely late.

Ahhh - Summer Fun!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer Status: What's Left To Do

41 days left before school starts (as of today). It's not a small amount of time. It's more than a month and almost 6 weeks. These are a few things I would like to do still before the volleyball madness and the back to school craziness begins.
  • Go to the Westside Market
  • Go to the County Fair (Cuyahoga, Medina)
  • Go to the State Fair
  • Go to the Medieval Faire
  • Hit the Zoo a few times (This one might wait a bit until September since we don't mind going here for just a few hours here and there.)
  • Finish at least two pages each week and get the beginning of 2008 started in the scrapbooks
  • Declutter my house for a joint garage sale that could happen the beginning of September. (joint project with my neighbor)
  • Visit our local pool a few more times (at least enough to justify the cost of the passes)
  • Finish up the garden - Freeze or give away anything extra that can't be consumed fresh.
  • Have the Dance Class friends over for a play date.
  • Even though when the school year starts up it will be obsolete, I'd like to come up with some type of routine that will help me feel more organized.
  • Come up with some portable way to keep a calendar that will work to keep our family on task - and use it.
  • Use a few new patterns to crochet some winter type projects. (Socks, Mittens, Hats, Scarves...)
  • Read a few (more) good books.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Nicknames I've had: Past & Present

A small friend came over today to see the princess. He is new our street and doesn't know our names very well. While he was speaking to us, it reminded me of a few of the nicknames I've had in the past:
  • Tada - courtesy of my baby brother EJ circa 1973.
  • Tabba - A gift from my friend Jodi and continued with the Arbogast & McClure Children. (Although for them I was "Mr. Tabba" Yeah. Okay!)
  • Tab, Tabby, Tabs, & Tabber - My maternal relatives and some friends.
  • Red - Thanks Uncle Fred! He used to say "Better Dead than Red" and I would reply back "Better Red than Fred". We would chuckle and the joke continued for years.
  • Tabeetha - most every teacher I've ever had in my educational career. One would think that they'd never seen "Bewitched" before when I KNOW they were all old enough to see it LIVE! (Hell, I'm old enough to have see it live but I remember it more from reruns.)
  • Tuna (or adapted to "Tuna Lee")- Thanks for that one Dad! I'm not sure if you knew how much this one bothered me when I was 8 or so. I'd give almost anything to hear you say it again. Even in front of the kids.
  • Tubba - It was an honor to be called "Tubba" by Jodi's Dad, Jerry. I didn't see it as an 11 year old child but then again, I didn't know that he lovingly called his daughter "sleeze bag" and his wife "the head sleeze bag" either. Jerry's terms of endearment were always derogatory. In other words, if he liked you, you got a crappy nickname.
  • Ta-Bitha - Something my stepfather would shout if he wanted my attention because he was gonna play a joke or just was in a playful mood. It was just the way he emphasized those syllables that would make me laugh (or hide. I still remember the fish he and my mother put in my bed when they came home from fishing/drinking one night.)
  • Ta-boota - My father n law gives everyone a name - that was mine. It sure beat "Mosquito" which is what he called Lindsey since she would buzz around him all the time.
  • Tabidda - My german grandmother couldn't pronounce Tabitha.
  • Dorcas - It's what Tabitha is translated to in Greek from Aramaic in the Bible. Some bibles say "Tabitha" and others use "Dorcas" (Acts 9: 32-43 or read more here)
  • Taffeta, Tiffany, Tapioca, and Samantha - What I was called when people couldn't remember my name correctly. I still have a hard time believing people would actually think my name was Taffeta or Tapioca.....Crazy! Samantha I always understood because it made sense with the whole bewitched theme again.

And today we've added a new one to the list:

Mrs. Paa-Tabitha

We had baked potatoes with dinner tonight and invited our young friend to eat with us. Since we were talking about potatoes and how good they are (all for the princesses benefit) maybe he thought we were "Paa-Tabithas". Mr. Happy is called "Mr. Paa-Tabitha". Ha ha ha!

Monday, July 13, 2009

What A Day....

Some Highlights For Today:
  • It's been about 75 degrees, sunny, breezy (but not too breezy) and gorgeous outside.
  • I got my first cucumber today from the garden and Happy Girl has "called it".
  • Princess Happy has her last T-Ball game for the season tonight and her coach is taking the team (13) out for Ice cream to "celebrate" the season. (I personally think he is celebrating that it is over. Managing (13) 4 & 5 year olds has to be enough to drive anyone to drink or at least celebrate that it's over with chocolate ice cream.)
  • I did a real life "Farm Town" style swap with a friend who swapped cabbage, radishes, & Mint Jelly for some zucchini, squash, Cherry Jam, and a cuke. (No, it isn't the same one that Happy Girl "Called".)
  • One of the kids from up the street came over to play with the Princess. (The highlight isn't that she came over, it's that she just went home.)
  • I won 2 tickets to an Indian's game thru the Strongsville Library reading program AND Happy girl won 2 tickets to an Indian's game. We now have vouchers for 4 waiting for us to pick up at the branch. I'm not a huge fan to go but it is something Mr. Happy and Happy Girl enjoy doing together. Now they get to go twice! Yay! I'm holding out for the gift cards to Target, Borders, and Panera they said they were offering.
  • And speaking of Mr. Happy - He helped me grocery shop and run Happy Girl to her lesson today. That was a HUGE help especially since we explored the new GE at Parmatown. The princess got the play in the Eagle's nest and we had some "quality time" together. Ahhh - just like when we were dating!

And tomorrow - I have a list almost like it. I hope it will be just as satisfying!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Some Friendly Neighbors

Our next door neighbors are pretty nice. (I think we are REALLY lucky!) The "S" family has been here in the neighborhood awhile. They've raised two boys - D & J. D is presently serving in Afganistan in the Marines and will be for the next year. J will be following in his father's and brother's footsteps in a month. When we talk with him, he tells us he is excited and anxious to go. His mom and dad are very, very proud. (Especially his dad who is a die hard, "Semper Fidelis" kind of a guy.) This evening is his graduation party and we are looking forward to congratulating him on his career choice.

Just this week J has taken a few of the little kids on our street under his wing and invited them to just hang out with him and his buddies. I think this says a lot about the character of these young adults that they would take precious time away from their friends/girlfriends just to play ball or ride a scooter with a 4 and 5 year old. They are really making an effort to talk to the kids. They know they won't ever get this last summer of freedom back and yet they are taking the time to just play and get to know these children. It makes my princess feel very special to play with the big kids. Someday (soon) they will have jobs, families, adult responsibilities to take care of. I'm really in awe. I didn't think this happened anymore. I'm so glad it's happening here and that we get to be part of it. When those responsisbilities come I think these kids (ah hem, excuse me - "Young Adults") will be ready. In the meantime - I think I will just enjoy watching them play with the kids and thank God that they are my neighbors.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Oh Happy Day!

I'm so happy. I get to go scrap tonight. An evening. With friends. Without Children. Without Hubby. YAY! I'm so happy! I might actually finish my vacation book tonight. (I'm very close to done - I think I only have about 6 - 8 pages left to do.)

I love to scrap but I've decided I hate to scrap by myself. It's more fun to get in a group and b/s about stuff. I have a wonderful scrapping room downstairs. It has a lot of room and I probably own most of the "toys" out there to fill it. I'd like it to be better organized. I wish it was painted a pretty color. But when it get's down to it, I really don't need that in order to be productive. I just need to get down there and get working. I try to work a year behind so that I have time to pick up supplies that I use when they are on sale. It also gives me some breathing room so that I don't feel like I'm being pressured to get it done NOW. (I probably should put a little pressure on myself or else I don't get anything done ~ LOL) I'm also not worried that I'm going to miss a picture (like this one) if I scrap it too quickly.
(This is one reason I love to scrap - imagine displaying this page at her graduation party! giggle!)

I also try to do them in chronological order or chronologically by child. In this case, I will scrap this adorable tea party (Thank you Lazymama-Designs for the awesome picnic cloth bag which holds the tea party stuff perfectly!) in the Princesses book. (Even though I'm temped to keep this layout in my book because my hubby looks so cute playing with the girls. (I'm still surprised he isn't dressed up - at least with a crown.)

And lastly - I scrap because my children utter such gems at the strangest of times.

"Does this floaty make my butt look big?"
~ Happy Girl 7/9/09

(Note: Its also why I am blogging. It's becoming a great tool to help me remember!)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

It Was A Beautiful Day!

Checking out the Waves at Huntington Beach!

Now Here's Some TASTY Vegetables.....

But P.S. - Don't tell the Princess - she thinks it's Chocolate Chip Bread!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

For Gretchen

It's a MIRACLE! Halleluia!

She was a Sk8er Girl.....

She was a little nervous since it was her first time on her skates. She wasn't sure what to make of it. (Okay - I admit it. I was a little nervous - she was excited! She still wasn't sure what to expect.) She knew enough that if she was going to fall that she should fall in a soft spot like grass.

See Ya! We went several times around the circle stopping only to stand in the grass for a few minutes. I'm not sure if she was catching her breath or just deciding whether or not she should go any further. The skates are set on the easiest level and she really wasn't going very fast. Our neighbor suggested she "bend" her knees a little since she looked like one of those dolls that skates. (It's true!)

Enjoying her Water! I would say because she circled the street 8 times that this is a success. Of course it helps that she didn't fall down.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Four Things That are Making me Happy:

1.) We discovered we do have Sugar Snap Peas growing in our garden. There aren't many (And there probably won't be many since most of the plants didn't make it) but there are 3 plants that have pods on them.

2.) I paid Happy Girl to weed the garden today - and she did the MOST awesome job ever. It didn't take her too long and the garden looks great! I've been keeping up with it, but I haven't had time the last few days and I probably won't have too much time in the next few days.

3.) My house is clean and I didn't have to bully anyone into helping me. They did their chores, no complaints.

4.) My Zucchini is shredded and ready to make zucchini bread. YUM! The Princess even sat and watched me shred it. I didn't tell her what it was for. (I'm afraid she won't eat it if I do.) She even played "Zucchini Delivery Girl" and took 4-5 smaller zucchini and 1 larger Squash next door for the neighbors.

Three Things That are Making me Sad/Irritated:

1.) Mr Happy decided to go to a car show tonight and tomorrow night so my carefully planned dinners are going back into the freezer and I have to think up friendlier fare. (Note: My Cheese steak sandwiches & cantaloupe dinner have been "shelved" more times than I like to admit. He swears he wants me to make it, but now I'm not so sure. Mom & the Kids don't really care for it so I had Grilled Cheese planned for them.)

2.) One of my oldest friends has taken offense that I cancelled my reservation to her family reunion. I wasn't sure I should go in the first place and when she kept coming up with (A lot of different) excuses about why we wouldn't have fun, I made the decision to cancel my reservations. She knew that I was considering it, yet is still trying to pin this decision on my family and dh's reaction to me going. Of course, her saying that "she wouldn't travel that far to see my relatives" and/or the comment that she didn't think that she or her family would have a lot of time to spend with us so we probably wouldn't have any fun - might've had something to do with it. I was okay with the fact that she probably changed her mind about inviting us and was looking for a way to ask us (gracefully) not to come, but when she started pinning excuses on my family (which were varied and untrue) that started to irritate me. This whole situation makes me sad. I should've listened to my inner voice the first few times she invited us and just declined outright. It would be a shame to get into an argument about this.

3.) I have disgusting brown fingers from all the cherries I pitted today. I've tried bleaching them but it's in my nail beds and it looks totally disgusting. I was going to make sour cherry freezer jam, but now I'm not so sure since I tasted my strawberry jam and am not terribly excited by it. It'll keep until tomorrow - I'll decide then what to do. In the meantime, I will keep bleaching my fingers so people don't think I have disgusting bathroom habits.

Monday, July 6, 2009


Now those were some Tasty Vegetables!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

You Play Ball Like a Girl.....

Happygirl Pitching

The Princess, running for home plate

It's Almost Over. So They Say.

I have been talking to a few friends and acquaintances lately. (Which isn't that unusual, I talk to everybody and I talk a lot.) What grabs my attention is that quite a few of these people have commented that since we are coming up on the 4th, that the summer is almost over. These friends have school age children which means that school starts around August 26th. The way I see it is that there are still 52 days LEFT of vacation. Maybe for others they are counting down the days because they aren't enjoying their vacation. Maybe with all the Summer Clearance Sales going on, maybe it makes them feel rushed. And following those, maybe the back to school merchandise that is beginning to show up on the shelves is pressuring them to start putting their brains into "Back to School" mode. I don't know. I just don't see it that way. We've had almost 3 weeks (23 days) of vacation so far. In those three weeks we've been busy. We've had some wonderful opportunities to do all kinds of summer things. Pick Strawberries, go to the pool, observe the girls at their softball games, watch fireworks. Just hang out in the back yard and dig in the dirt. In a few weeks we will be taking a road trip to Kentucky to hang out with a dear friend and her relatives. I just can't put myself into the mindset that summer is almost over.

In August, Volleyball conditioning will begin for Happygirl. Maybe by then I'll have my brain wrapped around all the back to school stuff. In the meantime I'm just going to enjoy my days as they are.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

July 4th Fun on July 3rd

It started being a cleaning day to get ready for being out on the 4th but somewhere along the way we ended up going (very last minute) to see fireworks in Medina with some friends. After driving Grandma to the beautiful shop we packed up a picnic and went to Medina to pick up our friends. Fortunately, MrHappy drove the van so we were all able to ride together. (Which was fun - almost like a bus trip~the Kids thought is was the greatest thing.) This helped because we knew with Medina having a carnival at the same time, that parking would be difficult to find for one car let alone two in the same area.

So the guys in the front navigated us to this spot - away from the concession stands (YAY!) but right across from the High School. They parked the van on this one patch of grass and it was AWESOME! I mean really! The spot could not have been any better. We were able to pull stuff out of the van and not have to haul it anywhere, the fireworks were viewed perfectly from our seats, and when the whole thing was over we were able to just throw everything and everyone back into the van (which we did in 4 minutes flat) and we were back at our friend's house in 10 minutes. (It is a record. When we lived in Parma and viewed fireworks at Tri-C, it used to take us over an hour to get home and we only lived 7 minutes down the street.)

We still didn't get home until 11:30 last night but it was an enjoyable evening and something that I'm glad we were able to do. Fireworks are one of my favorite things to do during a holiday. (It ranks up there with driving all over creation to see Christmas lights, viewing my Fisher Price Nativity set, making Valentine's sugar cookies, and dressing up for Halloween.)

Friday, July 3, 2009

To Do List

  • Laundry
  • Dust
  • More Laundry
  • Dig in Closets in the basement to de-clutter junk to take to the church by dance class for donation
  • Even More Laundry
  • Pay Bills online
  • Get all the LAUNDRY out of my Laundry room because it's driving me nuts and I can't find anything and it's really making me a little insane because I've been washing all week but the laundry never seems to go anywhere except where I need to go and it's in my way have I said it's in my way because if I didn't then I really should say that it's in my way and I can't do anything else in that room because the laundry is still there and I need the space to work in there and....
  • Oh - and remind the children & my dear sweet hubby to put away their laundry.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My Garden

One of the things I've been busy doing this summer is planting a garden. We had a patch of landscaping that didn't grow anything but thistle and humongous bush/flowering plants. (Not very pretty) It did grow a few bunnies in there last summer but after I went all "Tony Soprano" on them, they became a little more cautious. (I believe they live in the field behind our house and not in our yard anymore.)

Here are a few pics of my new hobby:

In the beginning - there was only weeds and overlarge flowering bushes.

Here are the landscapers clearing the land.

This is it on May 22nd - about 6 weeks ago. I had only gotten as far as hilling the rows. I put the plants in the next day.

This was it Yesterday June 30th.
We've already picked the first "bananas" (As the princess has named yellow squash) and would've had a few grape tomatoes this week except either the wind blew so hard it broke the tomato stem where it was tied to the stake or the cucumbers behind it pulled it and broke the stem. I'm not quite sure which. So far, we've put a lot of work into it and it's been pretty satisfying. It's not too bad for a first year's effort. I swear I'm learning a lot!