Friday, May 31, 2013

Glimpses from the Garden


Purple Iris


Yellow Iris

Dark Purple Heirloom Iris

Bleeding Hearts

Red and Yellow Columbine

Pink and light Yellow Coumbine

Closer shot of Red and Yellow Columbine

Peonies from Grandma Anne

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Product Review: Snapps Cream Cheese Pepper Bites

Our local Dollar Tree store recently added a frozen food section and I was excited to see these Snapps Cream Cheese Pepper Bites in the case.  I love Jalapeno Poppers so I thought I would give them a try.  Upon opening the package I found this:

8, count em, only 8 of these bites.  I have them on a small cookie sheet so do not be deceived, these are small bites.  I followed the directions for baking them, let them cool a bit and then bit into one.  To put in kindly, they were awful!  They had so much spicy "heat" to them that they burned the roof of my mouth, my tongue and my throat.  I had to drink some milk and take a spoon full of sugar to get it to stop burning so badly.  Now, I like spicy but this stuff was way up there on the heat scale for peppers!  I ended up throwing the rest away and then made sure I took them directly outside to the garbage so the dog would not get into them and suffer the way I had. 

Bottom line is this...I would never recommend these to anyone and will not be wasting my money on buying them ever again.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Really Living in the Moment

   Yesterday I spent part of the morning with Bradley while his Mommy went to have a check up to see how the newest little one (due in late July) is doing.  It was a cold and wet day so we met at a McDonald's with a play area so that Bradley could have some fun and run off some energy.  I bought us a strawberry/banana smoothie to share and then we were off to play.
   Bradley was very excited to be there and was taking it all in while still making sure that I was close.  He would venture off a bit and then come running back to and wrap his arms around my legs to give me a hug and get some reassurance and then he was off again. :)  As he gained more confidence, he started to run around and chased the other kids all the while giggling to himself.  He then started climbing up on things and wanting to jump off so I would hold his hands while he did so...this went on for about 10 minutes straight.  Then he spotted the car, the bright red and glorious car that he could crawl in to and drive!  He made sure that I was right there with him to begin with and would drive and then come to me for a hug.  Finally, Mr. Independence decided he could be a big boy and do it by himself but kept an eye on me through the windshield.  He was so funny, he would smile and wave and then blow me kisses (after I told him not to lick the windshield)!  
   I had made a decision before we got there to just live in the moment and take it all in.  I focused on his smile, his expressions and his sheer delight in getting to run and play.  Looking back I realize just how much I would have missed out on if I had not made the conscious decision beforehand to really and fully live in the moment.  How many times do we miss out on those special little things because we are so distracted by everything else around us?  As a young mother I was overwhelmed with having 3 small children within a 22 month span.  I missed out on so many special moments because I was just so busy and tired.  As a grandmother, I now have the time and ability to just take it all in and enjoy my grandson.  I chose to also live in the moment when my son Josh and DIL Jess were recently home on a visit and we had all the kids here along with my parents.  I knew that those times were precious and few and far between so I put other things aside and focused on just taking it all in and enjoying my family.  I am going to make an effort to really live in the moment more often and make more treasured memories.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Getting the Garden Ready

During the cold winter and early spring months I dream about and plan my garden.  I look through all the gardening catalogs that come in the mail and think "this year I will try...".  I usually end up planting the tried and true crops that we like but try to add at least one new thing each year.  This year we will be adding a pear tree to replace one of the cherry trees we lost.

My hubby got the garden all tilled up and ready for me to plant.  I started with some cold weather crops...the things that need warmer weather will be planted later.

While my hubby was tilling, we dug up some volunteer lettuce plants and replanted them in a pot.  We also dug up a very robust swiss chard plant and cilantro and replanted those back into the garden.

My Bleeding Heart plants are doing well in the lanai flower bed and we are hoping the transplanted columbine also takes hold.  It was being taken over by the Lupines in another bed so we took pity on it and moved it here.

I'll try to post more pictures as the garden grows and as we add more to it.  I love watching my garden spring back to life and being able to have fresh produce to make wonderful meals with and flowers to grace our home.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Summer Bucket List

Have you ever made a Summer Bucket List?  Since I am a substitute teacher, I have my Summers off.  Every year I seem to have a dream list of what I would like to do with my time off but I never seem to get around to it.  It seems like as the years go by, time seems to just speed up.  This year I am determined to take some time to really nurture my soul and do some things that bring me great pleasure.  In order to hold myself accountable and really slow down and do some of these things I have created a Summer Bucket List. Some of these things are just for me and some are things that my husband and I have decided we want to do together. :)

~read the entire Wizard of Oz series of books
~go camping at least once
~work on making one of our guest bedrooms into a retreat and place just for me to escape to
~watch some of the many movies that I have here on DVD or even "gasp" VHS
~ try to spend at least one day a week with my grandson Bradley and my soon to be born newest grandson that is due in July
~plan some fun dates with my husband and actually carry them out (picnics by the lake or river, hikes, sunset dinners, etc.)
~take the dog down to the river and let him run wild and play to his hearts content in the water
~go and pick blackberries
~try at least one new recipe each week (I have a huge cookbook collection)
~try to have a bouquet of fresh flowers in the house each week
~go to the Farmer's Market at least twice a month to get fresh fruit and veggies that I do not grow here at home
~take my camera with me more often to capture those amazing moments that you come upon and want to preserve
~spend more time with my MIL and FIL  
~explore some of the beautiful sites in our area that I have yet to see

How about you?  Do you have a bucket list for the Summer? 


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Enveloped in Love

I was blessed to have had my parents and all my kids together for Mother's Day weekend and also for us all to share an early Mother's Day afternoon on Saturday with my sweet MIL and FIL.  Josh and Jess arrived on Thursday along with my hanai son Lee and my parents got here the next day. :)  My hanai son Ben also surprised us with a visit. :)  There really are no words to describe the overwhelming sense of love, happiness and pure contentment and delight I felt having everyone together.  Bradley loved having all his aunties and uncles along with great grandparents around to spoil him rotten. He took full advantage of it too but also quickly realized that it also made it harder for him to get into things he was not supposed to because there were that many more people watching and retrieving him. ;)  We did take a big family picture on Saturday with 4 generations of our family together and also some with Jeff and my parents with their grandkids and great grandson.  It is rare to have everyone together so we took advantage of it.

Our time together was filled with plans for a baby quilt for the newest little one joining us in July, a wedding quilt for Jess and Josh (my mother makes beautiful quilts and has the couple wait about a year before she makes their quilt so they can see what their combined likes and dislikes are style wise), wedding plans for Jaysn and Rachel, lots of laughter, trips to the park, going out to eat for Mother's Day (thank you Daddy), basketball and golf for Jeff, Josh and Chris (Jaysn had to work and my parents had to leave Monday morning) while Heather, Jess, Bradley and I (Rachel also had to work) went shopping and out to lunch.  Later that afternoon we went bowling and then everyone headed home to collapse. It was a busy few days where we ate too much, slept too little and shared so much love and laughter!  I really did not think that anything could top getting a new car last year for Mother's Day but this was by far my favorite Mother's Day yet...I got to spend time with most of the people that I love and hold closest in my heart. :)

*I tried to upload photos to this post but for some reason blogger is not allowing me to at the moment.  I will try again later.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Wonder of Being a Grandparent

My husband and I were blessed to spend some time with our grandson Bradley this past Saturday.  He is just growing and changing so quickly.  Tomorrow he will be 14 months old!  One of the things that struck me was how Jeff and I really focus on Bradley when he is with us and how we try to take every moment in deeply and appreciate it.  My soon to be daughter-in-law/love Rachel noticed this and commented on how I seem to love being a grandma…she is spot on right! 

Bradley “helped” me while I was shopping for a Mother of the Groom dress and some other things.  He had definite opinions on what Grammie should and should not wear.  One of the things I tried on he did not like at all and told me “No” and shook his head.  I asked him again if he liked it and he shook his head and backed away from it.  LOL!  On the other hand, I knew I hit the jackpot when I tried another dress on and his eyes lit up, he got a huge smile on his face and he kept pointing to the dress and smiling.  When I asked him if he liked it he nodded his head yes!  He helped me pick out several dresses and some pajamas and of course, he also got a toy (because Grammie and G-pa spoil him just a bit).

After all that shopping, we needed to get some lunch so we went to our favorite Chinese Buffet place.  Bradley is very popular there with the owner and with one of the waiters. J  He and the waiter play games with each other and Bradley flirts outrageously with the pretty lady who is the owner of the place.  I got Bradley some noodles, pizza, oranges, cantaloupe and pineapple.  He was not interested in the pizza (which surprised me) but loved the noodles and went nuts over the oranges.  Heather told me she had never given him oranges before so now we have another fruit we know he likes to add to the menu.  He shared a malasada (fried donut) for dessert with me and finally had a full tummy. 

Heather and Chris planned on meeting us back at our house to pick up Bradley.  Upon our arrival home, Bradley spied Caesar in the back yard and started to squeal with delight and clap his hands.  He loves that dog and Caesar, who adores Bradley, got very excited and started jumping around.  Those two are so funny together!  We made sure that they had some play time before Bradley headed home.

Being a Grammie is like falling in love all over again every time I see my grandson.  Every little thing about him amazes me.  He can be the most endearing and loving little guy one moment and then go into stubborn tantrum throwing mode the next.  He can make me laugh until my stomach hurts with his expressions and antics.  He can make my heart just break for him when he gets hurt or is not feeling well.  Most of all though, he has opened up a whole new world to me where I get to experience the wonder and love of being grandparent…what a blessing it and he is!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Another Life Lost Too Soon

Our community is grieving the loss of a young man.  His family is heartbroken and asking "why".  His friends are trying to remember all the good times they shared while tears roll down their cheeks and they too are asking "why".  I don't think anyone will ever have the answer to the why but I pray that those who knew and loved him will never make the same choice he made now that they have seen and felt the pain that this has caused.  Somehow, I have a feeling that this young man, if he had known the devastation that his choice has caused to those he loved, would not have taken his own life.