Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know that I am pretty much repeating last year's Thanksgiving post but if you ask me it is a message that bears repeating!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hubby's Holiday Take Over

I, Hubby, have been given responsibility for today's post.  Simply to amuse myself I considered filling this page writing about things Eileen would find unappealing (beer, "The Godfather", reasons Virginia is better than New Jersey, the Redskins despite the team currently being unappealing to everyone, etc) but the juice probably isn't worth the squeeze on that one.

I was given this responsibility because Eileen has been in the kitchen cooking up a storm for most of the day. While she has always contributed to Thanksgiving we normally go to New Jersey to be with her family so in the past she has only had to make a few things. This year we are staying at home so it is basically the first time Thanksgiving has fallen solely on her.

Due to the reality that with a single oven there is only so much that can cook at one time on Thanksgiving itself Eileen has been very busy the last two days trying to make things ahead of time. So far she has made soup, two pies, mashed sweet potatoes (my favorite!) and stuffing. The stuffing, which is amazing, is exceptionally important to her because it is her grandmother's recipe. Thanksgiving is Eileen's favorite holiday in large part because she associates it so closely with her grandparents who always used to host the day for the family. Her grandfather has passed away and her grandmother is no longer having Thanksgiving at her house but the day still holds tremendous meaning for her. Making the stuffing with her grandmother's recipe, something I have no doubt Eileen will pass down to our kids, is a way she is able to maintain a connection to her childhood while we start new traditions with our own children.

What Thanksgiving foods or traditions do you associate with your childhood that you are passing on to your kids? Whatever they are we wish you all a happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Book Thief

When trailers for The Book Thief started running I just knew I had to read the book first. Are any of you like that too? If I know that a movie was based on a book I have to read the book before I can see the movie. Weird, I know but I digress. Simply put The Book Thief is a thought provoking young adult book about growing up in Nazis Germany.

Amazon says:  The extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller that will be in movie theaters on November 15, 2013, Markus Zusak's unforgettable story is about the ability of books to feed the soul.

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement. In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

Honestly I could go on and on about this book. It might be a "YA" book but it is filled with lessons that all adults need to learn and/or be reminded of; words are powerful, beautiful things can happen during ugly times and if you stand for nothing you will fall for anything. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Big Old Mess

After having to put all projects on hold while L was not well I am finally getting things done around the house. The only problem is that I just seem to be making things worse not better! I moved all of the furniture around only to pretty much put everything back where it was in the first place. My painted mirror was finished and hung but now I am second guessing the color. Not to mention that I think I might have hung it too high. 

I am full of self-doubt and I fear it is holding me back. I mean really, we are hosting my brother for Thanksgiving. I should be putting the final touches on our house not tearing it apart!!!

Hopefully wise words from my father-in-law will come true....."Sometimes you have to burn the farm in order to save the village." Please tell me I am not the only one trying to do too much!

Friday, November 22, 2013


Can you believe that it is less than a week to Thanksgiving!?! To say that I have too much to do in not much time would be the understatement of the year. But have no fear, I have a plan!

{1} Blue & White Plus Orange

I am sure that it would not surprise you that I turned to Pinterest for some tablescape inspiration. I just love the Thanksgiving table setting that Jennifer put together! I have a feeling that I will love the way my Royal Copenhagen china looks with orange accents.

A Blue Willow Thanksgiving Tablescape, Blue and White Thanksgiving Table, Blue and White place setting, Blue, White and Orange Thanksgiving Table, Celebrating Everyday Life with Jennifer Carroll

{2} Tom The Turkey

Last night I got our bird. I must have been quite the sight digging in the meat case looking for a turkey that weighed less than 13 pounds while wearing a dress. It was not pretty but I got what I wanted! 

{3} Thermometer

There is nothing worst than dry turkey meat on Thanksgiving! So to make sure that does not happen to me I ordered a new remote thermometer. In theory I will be able to leave the kitchen and socialize without over cooking dinner. Leaving the kitchen on Thanksgiving...a girl can dream right?

{4} Apron

I am a big fan of aprons! In fact I wear one almost everyday. They truly help cut down on the trips I make to the dry cleaners and the time I have to spend spot treating my wash. This year I will be wearing a vintage apron that my Gram gave me for Christmas last year but Anthropologie has a bunch a super cute aprons too!

{5} A Forgiving Top

I am sure it is going to prove that I am not a lady, let alone a Southern lady, but I plan to indulge on Thanksgiving. Truly this is my most favorite meal of the whole year! (The only close second is our lobster dinner at the Cape.) So I feel like this top with my pixie pants would be perfect for next week.

Elbow-patch sweater

So what is your Thanksgiving game plan?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

American Education Week

This week is American Education Week and my kiddos' school has held events every day this week. I look forward to this week each year since I love getting a glimpse of what my kiddos' school day is like. Oh and I might enjoy embarrassing them a little bit too!

At the beginning of the week the fifth grade class this year hosted a Math 24 tournament. Math 24 is a game where you are given a card with four numbers and the object of the game is to make 24. You can add, subtract, multiply and divide. Use all four numbers on a card, but use each number only once. Not a simple task if you ask me!

And I have a feeling that B's pattern might have been holding her back. Every time a card had a "2" and a "4" on it, L would shout out "24". In his mind it made perfect sense! I am just not sure the rest of the fifth graders saw it that way.

Then later in the week, the third graders hosted a "wax museum". Each third grader had been given the name of a famous American and was asked to do a research project on that person complete with a speech, poster and costume. M was assigned George Washington Carver.

It was just too cute to see all of the third graders standing still in the gym waiting for a parent to come over and touch their "push me" button. Then they came to life the read their speech. I may or may not have given my "waxed statue" a kiss. I simple could not help myself!!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Trying Not to Get Ahead of Myself

Bad news - we are not going to be able to travel up to New Jersey this year for Thanksgiving. Good news - we are hosting my youngest brother for Thanksgiving. (Hubby's note- Better news: He is bringing beer and I don't have to drive anywhere!) So I have been cleaning like a mad woman to get our home ready for next week. It turns out that a family of five can make some big messes! 

Much of my day today was spent cleaning in our formal living-room. I have to be honest while I love this room, I just don't get to spend a ton of time in there. In fact for most of November I have only gone in the living-room to water the plants. After the dark.

So imagine my surprise when I noticed that my Christmas cactus has tiny buds! Since I feel like everything is losing color outside I was so excited to see that soon my plant will be filled with beautiful, bright pink flowers. 

I can't believe I am going to say this little Christmas cactus has put me in the Christmas mood before Thanksgiving. But don't go all crazy thinking that I am decking the halls and all that. One holiday at a time and in order...that's my rule and I am sticking to it!!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Head In A Book

If you have been reading my blog for a bit you know that I am dyslexic and M seems to have many of the same struggles that I had growing up. Getting M to do home-work or to just read a book was like pulling teeth at times. But I am happy to report that things have gotten better!

While M still has a lot of work to do, he has made such progress! M has become a "reading man" and it just makes me so happy. Home-work does not start with a fight every night.  His grades have greatly improved and so has his confidence. 

Is it too much to hope that he has learned the important life lessons that hard work pays off!?!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Bounce Around!

I am sure that almost everyone in American has taken their child to a birthday party or two at Pump It Up or someplace like that. Indoor inflatable bounce house-like parties are nothing new. But man are they fun!

This past weekend our whole family was invited to celebrate the 6th birthday of one of my besties's youngest child. So we all got in the car after double checking that everyone had their socks. And when I say everyone, I mean everyone!

We might have been the only adults bouncing around. But what can I say, Hubby and I have no shame! It was just too much fun. It felt so good to giggle and bounce around with our kiddos!

I hope and pray that our kiddos keep reminding us that it is good for everyone to really play ever once in awhile!!!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pillow Talk

It would be an understatement to say that all progress made by me on my family room make-over for the One Room Challenge came to a stand still last week when L got sick. I really wish that I could say that I was Wonder Woman but I am not! 

Luckily though I did not have to lift a finger this week and yet progress was still made. Thanks to a friend and seamstress I have four new pillows!

I might know how to sew simple curtains and I can follow a pattern but there is something about zippers and trim that gets me every time. I really need need to take a sewing class or two but in the mean time I am happy to know that I can always call in for reinforcements!

And would you believe that all three kiddos noticed that something was different in the family room after I placed my new pillows? If you ask me that is a mommy/decorator success!!!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Da Bomb!

I know that I have already told you all about one of Baltimore's sweet treats, Berger Cookies. While some might be happy to indulge in these awesome cookies as-is, every once in a while I like to step it up a notch and turn them into the Baltimore Bomb pie. The best way to describe it is a traditional chess pie with chopped up Berger cookies added. I know that sounds weird but trust me!

Baltimore Bomb

1 frozen extra deep Pillsbury pie crust
1 egg
4 egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
6 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
10 Berger cookies, chopped

Prepare pie crust according to the instructions on the bag. Allow crust to complete cool.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Bring about an 1 1/2 cups of water to simmer in a medium sauce pan

Whisk together the egg, egg yolks, sugars, salt and cider vinegar in a heat proof bowl.  Whisk the heavy cream and then place bowl over the simmering water. Add the butter and continue to whisk until the mixture is warm to the touch.

Place chopped Berger cookies into the baked pie crust. Gently pour mixture over the Berger cookies and place in oven. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until pie has set.

Allow pie to cool for at least an hour before slicing. I know that it is really hard to wait that long but if you slice it while it is too hot the pie will just fall apart!


M wanted me to let you know that the pie is best served with a cold glass of milk. And I would have to agree with him - yum!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Harvest Hockey 2013

***This post was to be published last Monday but was delayed due to L's allergic reaction and hospital stay***

We are enjoying a four day weekend due to Teacher Work Days. So what are we doing with all our free-time? Sleeping-in and relaxing...nah. Tackling home improvement projects...not so much. Enjoying a romantic get-a-way...I wish!

No, we are doing what many families with sporty children do. We are away at a field hockey tournament!

I know that I have told you about B's field hockey tournaments from the Spring but this one was different. This tournament was part of B's step-by-step list of how to make the USA Olympic Field Hockey team. Please don't get me wrong, I am not delusional and thinking that my 11 year old is a shoe in for the Olympic team. However, I do love how she makes lists to obtain her goals! 

B's team played two games on Saturday and one game on Sunday. Knowing that three games of hockey over two days might be more than M and L could handle my parents came to the tournament to help out. It really was perfect, Hubby and I could actually watch B play and my parents got to see both of B's goals from the weekend.

The girls won one game, tied one game and lost a game. Not the best tournament record for her club but not that bad either. To me the most important thing was that B gave it her all and never stopped smiling! 

I am sure that parents feel great pride in having their child make an Olympic team or be awarded a college scholarship, like B dreams of getting, but I know that is like the chances of being struck by lighting. What I am so very proud of is how hard she tries each and ever time she walks onto the pitch! I believe that being a hard working team player will take her far in life.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Health Update

First off, thank you so very much to all of you who prayed for L last week! I was truly touched by all of bloggers who reached out to me and let me know that they were holding L in their thoughts.

Last week the kiddos had off from school on Monday and Tuesday. We were going to have a nice and relaxing two days after being away for B's field hockey tournament but things did not go as planned. While eating breakfast Monday L started to break out in a ton of hives so I quickly got him to the pediatrician. From there we started him on some steroids in addition to Benadryl and L seemed to be better.

Unfortunately he did not stay well. The hives came back later Monday night with a vengeance. Hubby and I got all of the kids in the car and we headed to the hospital but L's allergic reaction was getting out of control so we had to stop at a satellite ER that was closer to our home. They quickly treated L for anaphylactic shock with steroids and epinephrine. The doctor and nurse were wonderful with how fast they reacted to L and his symptoms. 

After they had gotten L's reaction under control they decided that L should be admitted to the hospital to be observed. So L and I got a ride in an ambulance while Hubby followed in our car. Thankfully my in-laws were able to meet us at the satellite ER and take B and M home with them. 

By the time L was all checked into his room his skin looked better and his vital signs were perfect. I would not have been surprised if the night shift was questioning why L was having to spend the night rather than just be observed for a couple more hours. But thank God we spent the night because all of L's symptoms came back around 7am. I am still in awe of the fact that he looked perfect when I checked on him around 4am and then three hours later L was having another anaphylactic reaction. Once again the hospital staff reacted quickly to L's symptoms and stopped it from getting worse.

It was decided after L's need for a second does of epinephrine in less than 12 hours that we would be spending some time at the hospital so they could keep a close eye on our little guy. No one wants to spend time on the hospital but I was happy that they were watching him so closely. And when L was finally released from the hospital we were sent home with three different meds and a chart to keep track of the doses as well as the timing.

One week later L looks like nothing had ever happened. I, on the other hand, look like I have not slept in a year. L has been great throughout this whole ordeal. He was just so brave! And he has taken all of his meds with a single complaint. 

If anyone is having a hard time with all that happened, it is me. We still do not know what caused poor L's body to react to violently. If I don't know what hurt my sweet boy so much how can I keep him away from it!?! And I am also filled with guilt. This happened on my "watch". I am suppose to keep my children safe and I didn't. We will continue to work with L's allergist to see if we can figure out what caused the reaction. However we have been told that we might never really know the cause and I just need to come to terms with that fact. I am going to try my best not to wallow in the guilt and rather focus on the fact that L is healthy again. 

After a long week of taking care of L, my house is not at its best as the photo above clearly depicts. Can you tell I am behind with our laundry? But it will all get done in time. I am just so happy that L is back home with us. We are so blessed that L received the care he needed to get better! 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Not As Planned

I am going to respectful ask for some time off. L has been admired to the hospital due to an allergic reaction. Unfortunately he is not improving and it looks like we will not be going home anytime soon. 

When things settle down I will be back. And if you would not mind please send good thoughts and prayers to L. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

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