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Showing posts from June, 2011

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real {End of June}

PRETTY ~ I found this little yellow fellow crawling on me after cleaning up the deck.  I set him on the wooden railing and spent a beautiful, slow minute watching him find his way over the edge and back to the lawn.  My son said he could be poisonous but anything this fuzzy must be harmless ...right? HAPPY ~ We spent the ideal afternoon at the beach this week.  It was perfectly hot outside and I was even able to sit still and page through a magazine while watching the older boys romp in the surf with my little one digging in the sand by my side.  We returned home sandy, tan and properly exhausted.  FUNNY ~ Lots of chocolate grins around here this week since we made our own pudding pops. We found the easiest recipe in Family Fun Magazine: Whisk together 1 package instant pudding(we used Devil's Food flavor) with 2 cups milk, 1/2 cup cream and 1/2 cup sugar.  Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.  Makes 10 pops.      REAL ~ One not-so-id

"Mom I'm Bored!" :: 13 Ways to Respond

My boys have been out of school for a solid month now and some of the fun has already run out of summer.  They only last 20 minutes on the Slip-n-Slide, they've had enough of the heat and even watching a TV show is not enticing.   While I love seeing what happens when their boredom becomes imagination and creative play, sometimes we all need a little inspiration. Previously I shared my   list of QUIET activities and elaborated here on how to do Quiet Stations .   These lists today are helpful when the kids need to release their energy in a productive way (rather than sword-fighting and pillow-fighting all through the house). Most often it only takes ten minutes of directed play with Mom to spark a whole new set of their own ideas. ACTIVE OPPORTUNITIES INDOORS 1.  Play Simon Says , Charades, Going on a Bear Hunt, or Telephone.   2.  Play Hide and Seek or Red Light, Green Light  in the house. 3.  Play Musical Chairs around the kitchen table. 4.  Play Balloon

June Swoon Daybook

A photo thought...   Outside my window...   Finally a good, steady, warm rain.  My plants all need the drink.   ZJ looked outside and said, "I just love cozy, rainy days!"  So do I and it feels like we are due for this one. *Note: As I finish this post the rain has stopped and the sun is coming out again.  I am wearing...  Black capri pants and a lavender tee-shirt.  Hair is still wet from the shower and no make-up on yet.   I am thinking... I'll leave the make-up off all day! I am hearing... Since the rain stopped I am hearing t he door alarm beeping every time the boys run in and out of the garage.  (I can see them scootering on the sidewalk from where I sit at the computer.) I am thankful for... My wonderful husband.  We had such a fun family weekend with the kids and I am eternally grateful to be sharing this life with him! Around the house... Because of said wonderful weekend I have five loads of now-wrinkled clothes to fold!  Oh well. Al

Savoring Summer Saturdays {Tinto de Verano}

Want to take a mini-vacation?  When the summer sun is getting too hot and mama needs a break at the end of the day ~do like the Spaniards do~ make a wine cooler. Tinto de Verano can be translated loosely as "summer red".  It is a refreshing, fizzy, sweetened red wine drink with only two simple ingredients: red wine and sparkling lemonade. I first tried this drink as a college student studying in Spain.  I didn't even like red wine back then but this mellower version of sangria was the perfect alternative on sweltering Sevilla evenings. Here's all you need to do: Fill a glass halfway with ice . Add red wine to halfway. Top with fizzy lemonade  (I use Taste of Inspiration Sparkling Sicilian Lemonade.  Spaniards use Kas Limon or Casera if you can find it.  Even real lemonade with a touch of tonic water would work!  You just really need some fizz.) Sit back and pretend you are sitting on the balcony of your Spanish flat, surrounded by bougainvillea a

Pretty Happy Funny Real {peaches}

Pretty ~ as a peach!  The peaches are so fragrant and beautiful right now that I had to make strawberry peach jam .  I have never done any preserving before and now I am addicted!     Happy ~ My oldest son is so kind to his baby brother (KC) and when he wanted to hold hands with RW I couldn't resist capturing the moment.  Funny ~ We have been having fun exploring new parks around town.  We had this place all to ourselves on this beautiful day.  Real ~ As I mentioned, I am loving making jam these days but the reality is that it is a big project and requires a lot of clean up afterward.  Totally worth it! ~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~ Every Thursday, here at Like Mother, Like Daughter! 

A Note To The Duchess

Dear Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, I watched your show the other night on Oprah's new network.   Normally, I avoid Oprah's show altogether but the kids were asleep and I was drawn in by your beautiful blue eyes with their deeply lost look.  What a sad hour I spent listening to Dr. Phil and Suze Orman try to give you the reason for your self worth.  They kept telling you that you should love yourself, like what you see in the mirror, and not care what other people think about you. And you, Sarah, may I call you Sarah?, you kept pushing back, resisting all that they were telling you.  You kept asking this ultimate question, "How do you get self worth?  How?" Dr. Phil said you just have to believe that you have every right to be here on Earth, just as you are, and then he paused, a long drawn out pause.  I sat up a little straighter, leaned into the moment, waited with bated breath for Dr. Phil to lay it on you... but he didn't.  He sort of left you hanging.

Summer Opportunities :: How to do Quiet Stations

Last Tuesday I posted my take on having a Summer Bucket List .   I chose to call my list a Summer Opportunities List so as to relieve any pressure from checking each and every item off the list.   I suggested seven QUIET activities, one of which was Stations.   My boys worked through eight stations, spending 15 minutes at each one and we all loved it so much it is permanently on our Monday afternoon schedule. Here's how we did it: 1.  I chose a different location of the house for each activity. 2.  On a colored note card at each station I wrote the task for that station. 3.  Before we began I laid out all materials needed for each task so they were ready to go. 4.  We used a loud timer and set it when everyone was ready to begin. 5.  Each child had a separate note card detailing the order of the stations and what they could look forward to doing at each stop. 6.  Two stations included snacks . :) The photo shows the note card list of o

Mothers as Fathers

  Yesterday, I wished my mother a Happy Father's Day .  We laughed about it but, in truth, Mom had to be both a mother and a father.  My own father passed away suddenly when I was two years old.  Mom never remarried and so each year, when Father's Day comes around, I think of how she had to do it all.  Overnight she had to go back to work when all she ever wanted was to stay at home and mother her two little girls.    Losing my Father was never very sad for me.  I was simply too young to remember anything about him.  Years later, as I look at my own two year old, tromping on the beach with his daddy in tow, the loss is finally tangible .  I had no fishing trips, no camp-outs, no games of basketball in the driveway.  Missing out on these things brings me no regret.  But thinking of my mother, widowed at age 32, never sharing the joys of parenting with the father of her daughters, never having someone hold her hand at night, that is what makes me miss my Dad most of all.   B

Savoring Summer Saturdays {frozen chocolate milk}

  Have I confessed my fondness for stopping by the Starbuck's in our local Target store?   You remember that show with the jingle that went... Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got. Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot. Wouldn't you like to get away? Sometimes you want to go Where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came... (by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo)  Well stopping in that tiny kiosk feels a little like that for me.  And, yes, they just might know me by name even if it is "double tall caramel machiatto extra foamy, please."  Now that the boys are out of school and often with me for my Target run, they have also found a favorite drink.  The double chocolaty chip creme.   I felt guilty enough buying my own coffee but two more?  No.  It had to stop.   I came home inspired to replicate their favorite drink and I must have done it because they ordered one th

Home is Where the Heart Is {5 minute friday}

Ghana, Africa Charleston, SC Sometimes I wonder how much of our self esteem is wrapped up in the appearance of our home.   When we bought our first house, without a realtor, simply walked into a for sale by owner home that felt like home and said we'll take it, we had never felt prouder.  It wasn't long before those four walls seemed to shrink with the arrival of two baby boys and home wasn't homey anymore.   When I look at the photo of the shanty home in Ghana above, I feel ashamed to have been ashamed of our tiny first house.  We may have had mismatched appliances, Grandma's old furniture, and painted over wallpaper but we also had a yard and a fence and a safe neighborhood to rest within.   Home is a place to shelter the ones we love from the chill of the wind and world.  Most Americans have that no matter how small or grand their home may appear. Home should at the very least mean safe and comforting.    Beautiful is a luxury many people don't hav

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real {outdoors}

PRETTY ~ Flowers are blooming all over the place.  I love the color of this rosebud. HAPPY~ We got a pass to the local water park and the boys and I love it.  FUNNY~ After all the fun in the water there comes the "I'm all done" moment. REAL~ My husband's nightmare =  slip-n-slide aftermath. ~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~ Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter

Marriage Meltdown

Fifteen years ago yesterday, he and I lit the unity candle before our family and friends.  We turned toward one another, away from all others, forever.  Three lights flamed into one, un ited in Christ .     For years I had that candle displayed on a golden candlestick in our home.  Occasionally, we lit it on our anniversary, a mini renewal of vows .  Then one year it was next to the fireplace.  Apparently each time we enjoyed the fire, the candle warped a bit more.  When I finally noticed it, the entire back of the candle had melted, dripping down the candlestick, puddling on the floor.  From the front, the outer shell of the candle still held firm, it looked beautiful.  Turned around, the back was missing entirely.  I wondered how it had even stayed standing with its structure so damaged.   Like that candle, we have melted and warped a bit throughout the past 15 years of marriage.  Three job changes, three cross-country moves and three children puts a little excess heat on a coup