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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

First Snow of the Year

On the last day of the year, Mother Nature has decided to bless us with snow, it is about time! I am very excited. Perhaps we may be able to use our shovel before it disintegrates from misuse. I had to videotape it before it disappeared.

Happy New Year everyone.

We got up early this morning to go see the movie Bolt. My son and his friend did not want to go at all, but here you can see that the moms are always right. It was really funny and we enjoyed it. There were even some tearful moments.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Whoops! Year-end cleaning

I had some entries still in draft form that I will be posting, so they are in-date order, just trying to clean up before the new year. You know how that is. I apologize for the confusion this may cause.

South Jersey Moms Like Me

Just found a great website forwarded to me by Lauren at . It is for South Jersey Mothers and I like the events feature very much. It is hosted by the Courier Post online site. There are activities listed by day in many of the South Jersey towns and we can submit our own. What a great way to share information or plan a day off with my kids. Thank you Lauren! I wish we had one of these just for our town. Now that is an idea.

Top Ten Things I Wish I’d Done in 2008:

Mark Cahill of Dad-o-Matic inspired this post. I hope he is able to realize his dreams.

Upon reflection, It was a good year overall. I no longer work in a crazy environment, though I still sometimes have nightmares, I made some new friends, got involved with town events and spent lots of quality time with my kids, family, sister and brother and dogs. We welcomed three beautiful new babies into our family and another one through our friends. We have a new baby coming through another set of friends next year and that was the best Christmas news ever.

During this year, my kids and I explored our own town and found some wonderful new places to hang out. We cut back on dry cleaning and chemicals. We have all those energy-saving lights in my house, though I hate them. We got the magicjack phone! ( I know, lame but I had to say something) I recycled more and am currently keeping a plant alive INSIDE for longer than a week. I cleaned the basement and shed outdoors, and then cluttered them back up again. I sewed costumes again for the first time in three years, put up some sauce from the garden, put up peaches from someone else's garden, and vowed to do better next year. I kept in touch with some friends better this year and next year it will be everyone else's turn, so get ready! Most of all, I started writing again, and that is good for my soul and pocketbook. Now that I am done patting myself on the back, here is what I missed:

1. I wish I had taken my kids camping. I love to camp, and want to share the experience with them.
2. I wish I had gone to visit my dad in Syracuse, I had a lot of time off and never made it up there.
3. I wish I had gotten the fire pit sooner, it is good times in our own backyard.
4. I wish I had mastered the art of grooming my dogs with those clippers, it would have saved me money.
5. I wish that I had planted a bigger garden, it was such a good haul and we could have used more. I wish I hadn't planted those awful radishes.
6. I wish I had brought in my pepper, tomato and basil plants before it got too late. Poor Planning.
7. I wish I had applied for my new certifications sooner instead of procrastinating as usual.
8. I wish I had not snapped at people at all, I am too cranky sometimes.
9. I wish we had taken more trips exploring Philadelphia, especially the markets.
10. I wish I had re-painted the bathroom and kitchen.

Well, if I turn this into a to-do list I guess I have a plan for next year, just like Mike, thanks for the idea! I was going to include more alone dates with my husband, but really, we both love taking the kids with us still, so maybe just a few extra of those thrown in for good measure.

I want you to comment with your lists, or blog them and link to your blog in my comments. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Carcass Heaven

Picture this, I am cleaning up after Christmas dinner with my sister Pinky. She is telling me to "Save the carcass and make soup." Now I know this already, but I was too full and too cranky to contemplate it. She can attest to how cranky I was.

I was up late on Christmas Eve trying to help my mother-in-law clean up her party mess, and actually had to leave before it was all done. I felt like crap about that. But here is the situation. I was up early Christmas morning to make the turkey dinner with all trimmings, we opened presents, my brother came over to visit, them my sister and her boyfriend came at three for dinner. By five p.m. I was whipped!

I just wanted to toss the carcass. My husband came into the kitchen and said making soup was a good idea. By then I wanted to throw the carcass at him. After all, he wasn't going to be doing it and he didn't feel like picking at the carcass any more either. Some unconscious voice in my head said, "Your sister is always right about this bone thing, remember saving the almost dead bananas in the freezer to make banana bread with instead of collecting fruit flies?"

It if was a conscious voice I would have quashed it promptly. Well, the day after Christmas we had a troop of kids coming over to play, I was refreshed after a night of sleep and pulled those bones out of the fridge and gave them new life in a delicious turkey soup. I tossed in some water, gravy , carrots, celery, leftover chickpeas and corn and an onion. I gave it a pinch of saffron, a shot of italian seasoning and some celery salt. Now I thought I had cleaned the bones well, but there was so much meat left on them that floated off into the broth that I didn't even have to supplement from the leftovers. I was able to feed five hungry kids and have some to freeze. We used the rest of the leftover rolls to dip in the soup. Okay Pinky, you were right! Keep those kitchen tips coming!

Sunday, December 28, 2008


On December 24, 2008, Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter Dies. What a loss to the writing community. I had seen a few of his screenplay adaptations when I was younger, read him in college, but was a bit unsure of my feelings about his work. He was generally a bit too dark and political for me during my own roaring twenties and he hadn't reached his political maturity then. I recently was able to catch "The Hothouse" by The Lantern Theatre Company in Philadelphia. As his most comic play, it should have been a bit uplifting, but Pinter was never interested in painting a pretty picture. The people in his plays are caricatures, their basest natures uncovered at last. When reading or watching a Pinter play it is hard not to draw correlations with some of the more absurd characters in our own lives. I wish him farewell and will keep an eye out for revivals of his works.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Made with Love

I told you about a month ago that my daughter was making very cool gifts for her friends for this holiday season. They had to be inexpensive, since Midas I am not, and they had to be made with love. We baked tons of cookies and packaged them up for her acquaintances and teachers, but for her close friends, we got very creative. Haley has recently wanted to come up with her own fashion line of accessories.
We created a label design and with some rudimentary sewing, we were able to make some beautiful custom items for her friends. CANDYPUNK is born! We took a trip to the goodwill store, and loaded up on $2 sweaters with nice stripy-striped sleeves. We watched an episode on threadbangers on how to create hats and mittens from old sweaters. We decided we really needed to make leg warmers first and then the hats and gloves.  
Here are some photos of our final efforts with her own designer label. For the label, we created our design using photoshop and ironed it onto an old t-shirt. We cut the design out with pinking shears in a label shape and sewed them into her fashion pieces. Viola!

Her friends loved the leg warmers and put them on right in school during gym. I can tell we will be making lots more of these in the future.

Here are her labels, aren't they cute?
Arm warmers will be cool too, we are so happy that her gifts were made from recycled materials, made with love and very frugal. Perfect Christmas presents!

Some sweaters were easier to make sets out of, though we did have a few wonky thumbs, we will get better over time.

Holiday Pitfalls

December, 2008 was such a warm holiday season, we went to many Christmas events that we could not help but catch the Christmas Spirit. I was able to catch my nephew in his show, my daughter in her holiday concert and my son in his. we also went to a concert my daughter's friend had at his high school a few towns away. Being with kids during the Christmas season makes it all come alive. I have enclosed a video of my son during his first band concert ever. He was a featured drummer, which makes up for every afternoon when he runs downstairs tot he basement to bang on the drum kit for hours at a time. They love to see the light shows and they especially love dressing up in their Santa hats and funny socks. Walking through our local elementary school I ran across a slew of elves and gingerpeople.

The season was not without it's pitfalls though. On Christmas Eve, we went to church for afternoon mass. The kids put on a nativity pageant every year and the children's choir sings during the mass. My son Eric was in the pageant for the first time and my daughter sings with the junior choir. I had to bully him into participating. Our Choirmaster is a very small Italian lady named Rita. She could run the whole church on her own, she fundraises all year long and is the first person to get on the phone and get support for different events. Rita is in charge of the pageant. This year we had some problems because CCD times were changed into split sessions, leaving no time for the children's choir to practice. So we lost the children's choir altogether. These were our nativity pageant performers every year, so her crop of actors had to be pulled from the CCD classes at the last minute. My son said he did not want to do it and I pushed him into it. I told him that Rita was our church treasure and that we would do anything she needed. She might not be there very much longer and we needed to support her cheerfully. He told ME to act in the pageant, which is fair, I guess. maybe I could have played a cow.

Anyway 2 practices later, it is Christmas Eve and Eric does a fine job of playing one of the 3 kings. Then the group of performers and volunteer moms goes downstairs to take off their costumes and rejoin the mass. I told my husband that I should get up and go help, but he stays my hand and says not to go. I always helped when my daughter was in the pageant, but my husband does not like to cause a scene, and if I get up and leave my pew, people might notice. Let me tell you, this whole not creating a scene does not work out very well for him because my son never comes up.

I am sitting in the third pew, right where I was when I was waving to him as he stood on the stage and I never saw him re-enter the church with the other kids. They were coming through every door and my neck was swiveling around as I tried to find him. My husband is signing to my daughter in the choir, still on stage, to ask if she sees him. No, she does not. They are spelling the words out because they only know the sign language alphabet.
After 10 more minutes, my husband goes in search of him and comes back without him. Now I am freaking out, "peace be with you," NO WAY, I cannot concentrate at all and I am praying like mad. I go and search the choir loft, the closets, the choir room and start walking up and down along the pews. Some of Eric's friends are helping me look. Unfortunately, the church and the entrance and lofts are fully packed with all the people we don't know who never bother to come every week during the year.

Visions of sex-starved priests and strangers are running through my head and I am crying. I am looking at the microphone on stage thinking, "I could just end my misery if I wrestle it away from the priest and call my son to the front of the church." My husband told me later that he was worried that I was thinking about that. Well, I guess he knows me.

Finally, I go back to my seat to tell my husband that I could not find him. It is now communion time, we figure Eric has to go up to get the body and blood, we will just try to catch him then. The people in front of us have now noticed that I am crying and they start whispering to each other. Talk about not creating a scene. A lady from the other side of the church was waving frantically at us and we saw that she was trying to tell us that she thinks she saw Eric on her side. We craned our necks and tried to catch a glimpse, but had no luck. Turns out the little weasel was in the SAME ROW as us, on the other side of the aisle. As he gets to the end of his pew to go up for the communion, I grab him and march him up to the priest to get the wafer, skip the wine, and then continue marching into the hallway to finish freaking out.

Eric said he could not see us, we had moved. We told him we did not move. We were in the same spot as we were when he was on stage looking at us. After bickering back and forth he says, "See, I told you I shouldn't be in the pageant." Well, I flicked him in the head then because one should not beat one's child on Christmas Eve. I told him Santa might leave him coal and we went back to our seats. It took a while for me to stop crying,my eyes just kept gushing though I was much calmer. I barely heard my daughter sing and I have no idea what the priest talked about. It was the worst church service of my life and I am getting him lifts for his shoes next year. Now Eric will do the pageant until he is 50, and I will be a volunteer mom until I die.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Government Inspector

I am originally from the New York City area and spent many years in Southern New Jersey NOT taking advantage of the proximity to the Philadelphia Arts district.

In 2006, I was invited to see a production of "Richard III," by subscribers of the Lantern Theatre Company. I loved the show so much that I went home and e-mailed all my fellow Literature students about the incredible performance this company had given. I did not become a subscriber immediately, though I should have. The next year, 2007, I went to see the all-male casting of the "Taming of the Shrew" along with my daughter, who was 12 at the time. When I was getting my Literature degree she had to listen to all his plays on audiotape as I drove her back and forth to summer camp. I thought she would enjoy seeing one of them live.

She absolutely loved it and talked about it to her friends for weeks. It was especially thrilling for her to have performers talk to her during the play. The Bianca character played by a puppet was inventive and allowed us to understand that theatre does not always need to be conventional to be understood and appreciated.

My daughter is a budding thespian and participates in a musical theatre company during the summer months. She told me that she NEEDED to go see as many productions as she could so she could learn how to be an actress. After that experience, we decided to become subscribers, her and I. It was affordable for us and actually saved us money, since we planned on seeing everything this theatre company has to offer. My son was 9 years old and didn't express interest and my husband is into sports and not theatre. Nevertheless, we dragged him to last year's performance of Othello and he enjoyed it. My daughter had an amazing English teacher, who was introducing her enrichment students to Shakespeare. We invited her to go along with us and some friends and parents from class. I also invited other teachers from my school. Everyone thought the theatre was interesting, the parking convenient, and the actors so talented. Now we have a whole group of people who come to see the Lantern Theatre Company perform.

As each production goes into tech week, we send out an evite to many of our friends inviting them to a night of theatre. We carpool or meet in the city, walk to dinner at Moriarty's or the Irish pub and always have a wonderful time.
A few months ago we caught Pinter's "The Hothouse," and loved the staging changes. I reviewed this play earlier in my blog and you can see that review here.

We recently enjoyed "The Government Inspector." The themes Gogol wrote about are timeless, and the characters are so funny, especially Bobchinsky and Dobchinsky. This play allowed my 14-year-old daughter and I to discuss the ridiculousness of people who believe they are above the law. The delusions of grandeur and self-importance displayed by the characters of the Mayor, Judge, and Anna made both of us chuckle and we were amazed that so few actors were able to play the entire cast convincingly. Even though the play was written in Russia in 1836, people don’t change all that much. The merchant’s bribery reminded us of the political machine that has so overwhelmingly taken over the media spotlight this past year. Since my daughter discusses such issues in her middle-school history classes, we had another way to interact and connect. Some of our favorite actors had returned for this production, My daughter thought that Sarah Sanford was the top player of the evening, while I preferred Anthony Lawton. To be honest, every actor in this company is gifted and we enjoy them in all their personas.

We cannot wait to see “Sizwe Bansi is Dead” in January. Although my daughter does not yet know about apartheid, she will soon have an understanding that cannot be taught from history books. I guess we will be extending an invitation to her social studies teacher as well for this production. We plan on eating at one of the dining partners next, since we have not yet graced their establishments. They all seem to be within walking distance.
This is Denise and Bill, they are the subscribers who took me to my first production here and we have been together for most shows, ever since!
A quick note about the Theatre location, we love the beautiful St. Stephen’s church. We had the luck to arrive early one Saturday and explore the beautiful choir loft and nave. Each time we drive in to see a production, we get to discover a new piece of Philadelphia around the theatre. Last week we caught the music and light show at Wanamakers (Macy’s) before the show. It was snowing and City hall was all lit up.
Beautiful! All this lovely shopping and sightseeing is right around the corner from the theatre.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Night Vision Goggle Giveaway

Ok, One of my blooger friends, Jenn Fowler of Frugal Upstate, who is interesting and funny, wants to give away night vision goggles. Go to her link here and win!

IT IS ONE DAY ONLY! So get there!

Things that go bump in the night

Ok, I am sitting here, minding my own business and a crash comes from somewhere in the house. I investigate, and find that one of my kids, who shall remain nameless, has fallen asleep on the toilet. The crash was the ipod and phone hitting the floor. I have never seen someone who wasn't drunk fall asleep on the toilet. Unfortunately, I have seen many drunk friends in that position. Funny thing is, none of them, kids or drunk friends, can walk very well after their hineys have been welded to the seat. Their legs fall asleep too. No I am not posting a picture, it would go viral, no doubt.

Friday, December 19, 2008

caving in

ok, I am ashamed to admit that I have caved in and added adsense to my blog. I am trying to get it to move to a different area, maybe it will happen. I have been trying to get it to work for THREE years. I am ashamed of that also, being my tecchie self, there are many things I have not done yet, such as feedburning, and I added that tonight. Not sure what that is all about, but I will see if my blog catches fire over the next few days. I am a pyro at heart, have been since the 7th grade. We used to walk home from school and set all our Bic pens on fire so we could see the little flaming drips and hear them whisper "ssspppeww" as they hit the ground. See, plastic can be fun! Do not try this at home. Anyway a feedburner seemed like a good idea at the time and I will let you know how I feel about it soon.


OK ever since I moved my feed to google, I can't get the stats without doing a bunch of junk. Can I move it back?


I currently have uninvited house guests, most people call them dust bunnies, I call them annoying little pesky, living rent-free moochers. They need to get a life, they just hang out all over the place and try to get noticed, or they hide behind my couch. This current infestation doesn't know it yet, but they are outta here, before Christmas. I know, I am heartless, kicking them out before the holidays, and it is getting so cold outside...

What it is all about...Rats

After careful consideration, and after reading a lot of blogs that I enjoy, I have decided to keep my eclectic format and not go specific. Essentially that means you will get my recipes, theatre reviews, rants and raves, family pics, Raging Schnauzers, shameless plugs, and everything else.
I have to be very structured most of the time, and my blog frees me up from all that. I just get to let it all hang out in no particular fashion. Right now I need my nails trimmed because I keep making mistakes every 20 seconds.

Yesterday, I came in from shopping for stocking stuffers, my daughter was baby-sitting and my son was playing the drums. She was in the bathroom. As I came in, I saw a trail of black feathers all over the dining room floor. I thought, "Uh-oh, the dogs tore apart a stuffed animal again."
I yelled out to my daughter, "The dogs have struck again, they got into something."
She came out of the bathroom and screamed her head off. After my initial panic attack, I thought she discovered that what they had torn apart was something precious. It wasn't, it was the Halloween Rat that I had picked up at a yard sale down the street for fifty cents. This rat is scary and pictures do not do it justice. It is missing one arm, I bought it anyway, and its feather are always flying off. I know, a rat with feathers, what is up with that? Can't tell you, but it is fierce.

My son had snuck upstairs and placed it outside the bathroom door to scare her with when she came out. It worked. Now he is aware that his sister will someday, someway, get back at him. Karma is a boomerang!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


If you see me coming with a camera, know that you may end up on my blog...
You have the right to back away screaming when you see me raising the gadget to my eyes, or you have the right to yell out,
"Not for Publication!" If you don't read my blog, too bad, this was your only warning.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Where to start?

I guess I sometimes have too much to say and can't get started on a blog entry. There has been so much happening over the last few weeks that I don"t even know where to begin. Maybe if I start at today, I can go backwards.

Today my daughter made me go see her friend's band concert in another town when I really had to go Christmas shopping. I almost said no, but I didn't. I was blessed with a beautiful evening of music that I got to share with my most favorite and only daughter. I may add pics later. She was able to see a bunch of old friends and I was able to make her happy. What more can we ask for when our kids are teenagers? When they are happy, we are happy.
I did fill out some christmas cards while I listened, and luckily I had most of the addresses in my ipod. If my writing looks off, too bad, I was balancing on my knees and this year you are actually getting a picture no matter how chubby I look. It is a Christmas Miracle. I like listening to Christmas music when I fill out my cards, so it was a perfect match and I didn't feel at all embarrassed about doing it in the middle of the concert. After all, they weren't my kids playing the instruments, I was an extra and actually enjoying myself.

Right now my husband is convinced that something is "wrong with the Wii" because he is not winning. We must have " Messed up the sight thingy."

Anyway, back to rest of my life. I had the worst backache two days ago from substituting in Kindergarten's and Pre-K's, I really don't fit in those little chairs, they compress my back, But I am all fine now. Just imagine a chubby 42-year old woman trying to sit on a thimble and you get the picture.

I messed up all the pictures I took at my daughter's band/choral concert by scanning my new Middle school certificate onto the memory card. PINKY YOU WERE RIGHT! it does matter -sometimes. What a waste, but I may get some from a friend and post them later. I am working on it.

Oh! I screwed up invitations to my daughter's concert and now I am the &%$@head of the month in the family. I tell you if I get the cold shoulder much longer I am just gonna make t-shirts and rock my new title. I should seriously enjoy it. I do not know why everything has to be serious, I mean we all love each other, so who cares? If we died no one is gonna care about that nonsense anyway. That is my measuring stick these days. After finding out an schoolmate died recently, I have new perspective, we don't know what time we have, so why spend it being miserable? Thanks for letting me vent all night ( you know who you are).

I took my daughter for the scoliosis x-rays and they are not as bad as we thought. Her back does snake around quite a bit, but we have seen worse. We will see the specialist in January, so keep your fingers crossed people, because she may want to trade in her newly paid-off saxophone for a violin and I never anticipated raising my own Quasi-moto. See, I am cracking jokes now, it helps me deal.

One of my friends told me some very disappointing news in a confession and since I am not in any way a perfect person, I had to hold my tongue and just let it go. I hope she does too, and is able to stop confessing to people so that the issue is laid to rest. It would be nice if everyone could heal and come out the other side better than we all went in. We only know our own souls, that is true, because I MUST be blind if all sorts of stuff is going on around me and I never knew about it. I offer the quote that got me through my own dark passages, "As long as a man can dream, he can redeem his soul."

I took my daughter to see the play, The Government Inspector by the Lantern Theatre Company in Philly. It was very enjoyable. Gotta check to see if I blogged about it yet. I will be back... Ok I did not blog about it yet. Ok I will get to that, right after i go Christmas Shopping, yeah right, I am gonna get that done. Only 5 days left.

Where I'm going?

I know, I haven't been faithful, leaving you in the lurch for a whole week. Sometimes I need a break to recharge and refresh. I have been in a state of vegetablism, is that a word, ok, cauliflourism, you get the pic? Veggin out! I did actually make my Christmas list day before yesterday, begged for new carpet from Santa, who won't get on for me and I guess that is because I have not been good enough this year. I am going to buckle down and bake Christmas cookies after I go Shopping for the gifts tonight.

BTW "Where I'm going?" is a reference to my daughter when she was 2 or 3 years old. She used to ask me that all the time when we put her coat on. Ever since, whenever I don't have a particular plan or know what I am doing, I use it.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Tree Lighting

I am so lucky to live in such a wonderful town. They have pleasant traditions. Every year, we have a tree lighting in our downtown area. There is a Ginormous tree that grows right in the center of town and that is where we gather. Carriage rides take familes around the town to admire the christmas lights that everyone rushed to get up on Thanksgiving weekend. There are wandering minstrels and groups dressed like Normal Rockwell paintings.

Dance companies perform and The Night Before Christmas is recited, then Santa rides in on a fire-truck and lights the tree. This year my daughter sang with her church choir and a group of the other church youth choirs. A few years ago she was a dancing gingerbread man with her dance company. She wasn't too thrilled to have to sing in front of the whole town but she actually had a wonderful night. I am so glad I did not let her skip out on it. Often we have to be pushed into things we don't really want to do, but then we wind up enjoying ourselves. It is such a life learning lesson for me. I am a homebody and my hubby always makes me go do stuff and I wind up thanking him.

While my daughter was singing on different corners with her choir I was able to pick up some stocking stuffers from the Blueberry factory and the other specialty shops in town. This year we have a few new restaurants and boutiques; they were all lit up and chock full of people shopping and enjoying themselves. Next week is the Fireman's Parade and there will be lots more fun. The merchants stay open late and everyone comes downtown to walk around and share happy tidings of the Christmas season. We run into families with new babies and kids back from college and take pictures of each other on the street. This year there was a live nativity at our celebration, there were real sheep and goats and alpacas along with the characters from the nativity. I did not get pictures of it because my daughter's feet were frozen and she wanted to get home, but I probably would have scared the animals with my amateur photos anyway. I will post the ones my photographer friend took when I get them. The whole evening was just so full of happiness and fun. We topped off the night with lattes from Casciano, a buffet dinner from Trina's and some Blueberry wine from Dimatteo's Winery. Enjoy the slide show.

Not a Professional Girl

The other day my son was talking about getting himself a girlfriend. I asked the usual questions any mom would ask of a 10-year old boy, how does he know her, is she cute, what does having a girlfriend mean? He said it meant that they would be in a relationship, but they would only see each other in lunch. He tried calling her but her cell phone was off. So he asked one of his friends to ask her out. Apparently, every time he gets next to her at lunch, there are people around he doesn't like and he didn't want to ask her out in front of "Them." (See, even my 10-year-old gets the whole "Them" thing). So he asked his wing-man to help him out. I warned, "I don't think girls like to be asked out by other people, that is like you don't care enough about her to ask her out yourself."
My son argued, "Mom, she is not a professional girl. She won't even know about any of that."
I almost ran the car off the road. I took a deep breath, trying hard not to burst out laughing, and replied calmly, "You are right, I am just gonna keep my mouth closed."

It was so cute and and the conversation went on from there to one of the best reasons why he likes her. She plays Bakugan and has a very rare Bakugan he covets. He plans on trading her for it and has the transaction all figured out. Sound like a professional boy to me, eh? So last night my sister Pinky is over and we are telling her this story and she inquires, "What is a professional girl?" My son got up and started prancing around the dining room saying that professional girls were snotty and thought they were so pretty and cool. We were laughing so hard as he imitated all the girls he didn't like. As we also joshed him about only liking her for her Bakugan potential, he objected, saying, "No I liked her as soon as my friend started liking her a few months ago." We all laughed at that. It was classic, said my sister, because that is the way boys work or something like that. I am sure she will put what she actually means in the comments.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Holiday Money Saving Tip for Frugal Upstate

Ok, My last tip for saving money this holiday season is brought to you by one of my best friends, Doodle. He said, "Don't spend ANYTHING!" Then he recanted with a bunch of suggestions like shop the circulars, utilize layaways and hit the thrift stores. He also said, "You can go into the woods and chop down your own tree but that may be a felony." I agree, You should really be on your own land. People might come out of the darkness with a shotgun to scare you, I'm just saying, it could happen. I am not going to even get into the whole tree incident when we lived in Brigantine during our 20's, we are all grown up now.
Oh! I know, you can make your own window cling ornaments with wax paper and sparkly puff paint. We did this with my girl scouts and it was so much fun, they only last that one year, but they are frugal, unique and as beautiful as your imagination. The best tip I have for you this holiday season to save money is to win one of Frugal Upstate's contests! Or, visit her site to see the many ways to save money all year-long.

Frugal Upstate is having a very cool moneysaving holiday tip giveaway that is sponsored by Nickelodeon and Walmart. I hope you get in on it. you can also enter at any of the elevenmoms sites.

First Blog Giveaway!

Yay! This is my first blog giveaway and have I got an awesome prize up for grabs! The winner of this giveaway will receive a beautiful watercolor print by Marie Natale. She was a featured artist last month at our Hammonton Arts on the Avenue event. Her work was displayed at my favorite Coffee Bar and Sweetery, Casciano. I wanted to take half of her work home with me, it was so beautiful. Since I admire her work, and think she deserves some recognition for beautifying our town and South Jersey area, you can win one of her prints that I picked up last week. Just one, because now I have to go back and get another one. See what happens when you don't buy a frame right away? You give away art...

Anyway, I will select a winner based on the following:

1. Visit Marie's website- pick a favorite painting and post a link back here in your comment. You must comment on this post- you cannot be anonymous. This will give you one entry.*
2. Re-tweet the following message to get 3 entries:*

"MW @meechele7 is giving away a Marie Natale art print on her blog - tweet and comment to enter"
(if you don't twitter, you should try it)

* If you "follow my blog" I will give you 5 entries toward this giveaway.

PLEASE LEAVE A WAY FOR ME TO CONTACT YOU. So many people forget to leave their e-mail! I don't want you to miss out on this awesome prize. I will pick the winner on December 15th and post it here, so check back then to see. Good Luck!

Men and Bad Holiday Gifts

This was so funny, I remember the giant mixer I got years ago, I would have thrown him down a hole that year, but a hand mixer mixed in with Jewelry, that works.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Ebay hates me, I'm gonna go eat worms.

OK, I have no bids, am I the stepchild of ebay? I spent all day posting those stupid Bakugans, I can actually tell some of them apart now and have spent hours locked in my room so my son wouldn't happen upon them. Not one stinkin' bid. I could do better if I set up shop in the school cafeteria, the boys would buy me out. Well, this may be a very short experiment.

Christmas Gifts for Moms

My girlfriend Deb wrote and compiled this wonderful book, Birthdaze, with her friend. They shared birth stories with us moms, "stories from the trenches of womanhood." It is funny and heartwarming and brings all those birthing feelings back with a rush. It is the perfect gift for expectant moms, and for baby showers. The two boys on the website are her beautiful twins, they are always playing at my house, and they are as cute as they appear. Visit her writermomz website here, or in my sidebar.

BIRTHDAZE II is already in the works! If you have a story you'd like to share with other moms, please email your proposal and writer credentials to with the subject line "birthdaze 2." She is especially looking for stories of:

* home births (both modern and from the early 1900s)

* pregnancy and childbirth outside the United States

* a dad's perspective of his wife's pregnancy, labor, and delivery

Thank You for the free chair massage

Thank You Salon Avanti. After years of going to the local haircutting chain store, dealing with overburdened staff and an unclean environment, I switched salons. (Honestly, they never sweep UP the hair; they just push and pile it all over the place at my old salon). Sometimes product has to take precedence over price. When I am trying to be frugal, it doesn’t always work. So now I have a new salon, a great stylist and I am happy. I had a trim appointment this last Saturday and my experiences just keep getting better. I arrived for my scheduled time and was greeted very nicely and offered a beverage. I declined and was then offered a chair massage because my stylist was running behind. Why they don’t do this doctor’s offices, I don’t know, but it would bring down my blood pressure quite a bit. So anyway, I said, “Sure, I would love a chair massage.” I was treated so well and after a 10-minute massage the masseuse answered some of my questions and showed me her beautiful rooms. The exposed brick was lovely. She also explained her packages, and I bought two massages for our Chinese Pollyanna. I was able to relax and shop at the same time! Fabulous! It was later that evening, when I was giving one of these quick “massages” to my daughter that I found out her spine doesn’t feel quite right. Thank God for gratis chair massages, or I would not have known until her yearly check-up. You get a free picture and a plug on my site!

It is incredible that I am so far behind

I know my friends have been buying and selling on ebay for years, but I have never won a auction and I have never sold anything before. How could that be? So today I took the plunge, waded my way through the miniscule charges they were throwing at me, and listed my first item for sale. I will let you know how it goes. I have only 20 more things I have to list, but I just want to take a nap after the first one. The Amazon listing was easy and I listed 10 things in a half hour, but they limit what you can sell, so I had to switch to ebay to auction off the Bakugan.

Freaking out today

I am freaking out today because I noticed that my daughter's spine does not look right. I mean it looks and feels seriously out of whack. I made appointments and we will see the doctors next month, but until then, I am freaking out in a big way. I can't wait to get the x-rays so I can see if I am just wrong.
My best friend in middle school and parts of high school, Stacy Freeman, used to wear a Scoliosis brace. It was so uncomfortable and it gave off a bit of a funk. She had to wear it like 16 hours a day and she was so self -conscious of the way it make her clothes stick out in weird places. She had bumps under her neck, not on her chest, at least we couldn't see the bumps on her chest because the hardware stuck out too far. It also gave her little skin sores if her t-shirts got bunched up underneath even a little. It was so uncomfortable, I do not know how she ever bore it, and I thought she was so brave. She hated having to take it off for Phys. Ed. and she always needed help for that. In the three minutes they give you for changing, it is not enough time for TWO people to get that thing rigged.
I am freaking out because if my daughter does have this dreaded condition, it will seriously impact her life. I know firsthand that it will and my daughter is such a physical, busy girl, that she will have to deal with taking it off and putting it on all the time.

So I am praying real hard and hoping it is just a mother's imagination running wild.

PSSST. If you have any insights into this condition, feel free to comment.

I never learn!

No this is not me, but a pic of the dratted devil machine.
Two days before Thanksgiving and I had to go get rolls for the big dinner at my mother-in-law’s house. Since we were in the store, I decided to get the necessities for the next couple of days. The kids were going to be off, so I needed bread, pork roll, milk, dog food, and some veggies and salad. We did not fill our cart; my son and I just got what we needed. The store was so crowded, that we decided to self-checkout. What a mess! Every time I have ever attempted this feat, I wind up frustrated, but they had two attendants standing by so I figured I would go for it. The lady in front of me seemed to be having some trouble; that should have been my first clue. Then she started trying to feed it coupons that it didn’t like. The line behind me was getting longer and it was too late to move to another checkout station, they were all jammed. Then the woman fed it like 50 singles. I could not believe her, first of all it doesn’t like every one of them, so it keeps spitting them out. I was so frustrated and I didn’t even use the devil machine yet. I said hi to another teacher an isle over and rolled my eyes. “They” say Karma is a boomerang, and I guess it is, because when I got to bat, it would not scan my items. I could not believe how many times I had to rescan them. The lady before me was not finished bagging, so my stuff was clogging the belt too. The machine started dinging and asking me to clear my belt. The worst times came when my son, eager to help out, starts moving stuff along the belt, he kept picking things up and putting them back down in another place. I tried to explain, while I was getting the hairy eyeball from all the shoppers in back of me, that every time he moved something, he was pissing off the scanner. The other teacher was laughing at me and I really felt like just walking away from my groceries. Since I could not face my mother-in-law with no rolls, I stayed and wished bad thoughts at the machine. The operator let me go after only putting in his password like three times. I am sure that everything did not get scanned and the police will show up at my door someday. I could not tell what slipped thorough the cracks, but I probably overpaid as well since I had to scan some items so many times. Who knows?
I will never use that stupid self-scanner again. I swear “they” are filming us somewhere and laughing their butts off.

“They,” you know what this means, doncha? The ever-present “They.”

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Secret of the Week

I miss my daughter. I hate when she sleeps anywhere but home. I know she is having a good time, but still...

Doesn't he get it?

It is 6am Thanksgiving morning, I do NOT have to cook and that rooster is outside calling to my dogs, I swear. They have been pacing around for the last hour, so I have to get up. Hopefully they catch our feathered friend and bring him home for breakfast. I watched how to pluck a chicken on a kids show, I can do it...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Right Under Me II

The raging schnauzers have struck again, as we were eating our UN-Stone soup, the dogs were ripping apart the trash bag full of shredded mail in my front room. Guess someone put some kind of food in that bag...oops that looks like my Cheetos bag!

Now they are in Coventry

Stone Soup

Today one of the classrooms made stone soup in school. We could smell the aroma wafting down the hallways and everybody in the building wanted some. On the way home from school, my fifth-grade son was talking about the smell and asking what stone soup was. I told him the story and he wanted to run right home and make some. He thought it was funny about the stone and wanted to know if they actually had to eat the stone. I patiently explained that it is a group effort, which everyone has to contribute to for it to be stone soup. He came back with, “ Well, can we make it anyway, without the stone and the meaning?” It was too cute. Of course we went home and made UN-Stone Soup, as it will be known forevermore in my house.

Here is my son tasting the UN-Stone Soup.

Here he is after tasting the UN-Stone Soup. What a happy dinner. I actually got a hug and a kiss and breathless thank you.

Twilight Night

What a cool thing to experience. I felt like I was sucked back in time to my own mooning over Kevin Bacon in Footloose. Two weeks ago, my daughter decided she was going to read Twilight before she saw the movie. The first book got her so excited, she HAD to get the rest of the series, and I was pulling my hair out trying to borrow them from the library and from friends.

She stayed up late very night reading them all, It took her a week to get through the series, me too. Then as soon as she was done reading them all, she decided she had to own them all. So I had to buy them off amazon, and she wouldn't let me order them used, at a discount, she wanted them new. She was going to spend her own money and besides I owed her $30 anyway. Unbelievable. I never buy books used, I had to just suck it up and do her bidding, after all, she has to make her own financial decisions and learn naturally, the way we all did.

Saturday Night I took a group of her friends to the movies to see the object of her affection, Rob Pattinson, in action. We met at our favorite coffee shop, Casciano, and took off for the Turnersville Movieplex where more of her friends were waiting.

As I took the teens in all I could think was, "This squealing group of kids is going to get me kicked out of the theatre." They were acting like Sydney and I did when we used to get asked to leave movie houses for dancing in the isles during Footloose. The sighing during the movie was another reminder of how much we could fall in love with movie stars when we are young. I used to FREAK, and now my daughter is doing the same thing.
They made so much noise squealing during the movie that I was shrinking down deeper and deeper in my seat. They were comparing all the boys in the movie to each other and debating how beautiful they all were. Her new love is Taylor Lautner instead of Rob Pattinson. Whatever happened to Toy Story and Spy Kids? I miss the good old days of Monsters Inc. though I should have been prepared for this three years ago when she went ape over Zac Ephron in High School Musical. I was a good mom though, I chaperoned all of them and took so many pictures that I tripped up the stairs and fell on my knee to get good shots. How embarrassing, what a mom won't do...
My nachos fell victim to Daniel, one of the girls, Sarah, was SUPPOSED to be guarding them for me. He stepped in them, right as I fell up the stairs.

BubbleShare: Share photos - Play some Online Games.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Driving Under the Influence

You know you are old when you go to get into your sister’s truck and a vitamin bottle rolls out instead of an empty beer bottle. She is getting healthy while driving, and it should be against the law. I should have turned her in to someone. We had a lovely time at the designer handbag auction. We didn’t win, but that bottle rolling out of her truck made it all worthwhile. Now I do not mean to say that she used to have beer bottles in her car, for a bartender she drinks surprisingly little. Bt when I heard the glass bottle hit the road I was expecting Corona, not Nature’s Way. I too am guilty of driving with open containers in my van. I did drive around for a time with oil and vinegar in case I met a salad I had to dress. Ask Jenn, she KNOWS it came in handy the day I “just happened” to have it. It is funny what we have in our cars; I have a lot of friends who cannot find the floor of their vehicles and some that vacuum it out after each use. My sister probably has a coffin in hers, "just in case, you know."

Anyway, the Soroptimist handbag auction took place at another wonderful restaurant that recently opened in our town, Annata Wine Bar. Here is their link.
They have a beautiful dining room with huge chairs to sink into while you drink wine and eat scrumptious food and cheese. Tonight we had tart baked apples covered with nuts and chocolate and some other gooey stuff as hors d'oeuvres. I have been dying to get my sister there; we have to go back to the big chairs because tonight we were in the back banquet room. It is still very comfortable and they even have little mouthwash cups in the bathrooms with a beautiful decanter of scope. I am sure that my sister Pinky took advantage of this nicety, after all, she should not drive and smell like Omega 3 Fish Oil, she might get pulled over.

The handbags were all very expensive and some were so beautiful, such as the Michael Kors and the Coach bags, but some were so ugly I cannot believe people waste a paycheck on them. No matter what label you throw on something, it should not look like a ball of yarn the cat threw up. It should not look like your grandma lost her sewing glasses when she made you a bag out of old leather scraps and your grandfather’s hunting trophies. It should not look like someone doodled his or her initials over and over again on fabric. Aren’t we past all those “initial” bags yet? They are so tired and I just can’t stand them. Lets move on, next fad please. I did not put my tickets in any of the bags that had the crown jewels on them, except one, I thought my teenaged daughter would get a kick out of it. When I was in my twenties, I may have gone for it, but now I am looking for maximum matching capability, not “this goes with only one outfit in my closet.”

Hey Pinky, Thanks for the Aquarius Bag, and the laughs! We’ll win at the Basket Bingo.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Ok, I just had too many memories tied up with teeth after reading mrlady's son's story, I had to post. My son is 10 now and trying to pull two teeth out, so I am going to warn him that the tooth fairy won't come if they came out early. He feels that the tooth fairy is a scam and I told him that the tooth fairy will not visit if he doesn't believe either.

I was awful when I discovered the Tooth Fairy in first grade, and so were my friends. We loved the money and couldn't wait to lose our teeth. It was a beautiful time in our lives, even if we could only eat pureed foods. First of all, if our tooth came out in school, we got a cool necklace shaped like a tooth to put our tooth in and special treatment all day from the nurse in the form of ice pops to stop the bleeding.
After my friend Leslie lost her first tooth in school, most of the girls in my class spent entire recesses trying to dislodge each other's teeth. There were so many bloody grins that year that I am sure my teachers felt like they were at a vampire movie when we smiled as a group.
We tried every trick that Tom Sawyer did and more, thank god there was no internet back then, or we would have needed dentures.
After reading the comments on mrlady's post about teeth, I am no longer embarrassed by the silk drawstring bag that holds all my kids baby teeth and a few of the puppies too. (You know that the tooth fairy sent them back to me just so I could keep them after she was done turning them into stars right?)