Life is an adventure.

Friday, August 6, 2010

I have a confession to make, I am addicted to reality TV. I know, big shocker, so is the rest of the world. My addiction to The Biggest Loser hit an all time low when I found out Kristin Steede from season seven lived in my town. When I found out she lived one block away from my closest friend I did what any (not so) rational person would do, I stalked her. I stalked her Facebook, her Twitter, her blog, I drove by her house and I told everyone I knew where Kristin Steede lived. It got so bad my six year old knew when I was doing a drive by and would say, "There's the biggest loser house." I even almost ran her over while hitting the Panera drive-thru. For the record, this was an accidental meeting. I didn't follow her to Panera nor did I plan to run her over. Like most things in my life, my obsession didn't last long. Lucky for her I've lost interest.

My addiction, obsession, infatuation, call it what you will, has turned to a first-rate show on the History channel called American Pickers. Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz drive all over the country looking for treasure in other people's trash. They drive around looking for houses with junk in the yards, broken down cars in the driveway and anything rusty that looks like it might be worth some cash. I absolutely love it!

The guys and their shop, Antique Archeology, are located in LeClaire, IA which is only 20 minutes down the river from where I grew up. We were back home the second week of July and I knew I had to get to the shop and meet these guys. I called them, I left messages, I sent Tweets, I sent emails...ARE YOU IN TOWN? I NEED TO COME TO YOUR SHOP AND SEE YOU. WHY WON'T YOU TALK TO ME??!?? I got no response. (I'm pathetic, I know this, you don't need to tell me.) When Mike Wolfe posted on his Twitter he was going to the shop early I loaded up my kids and my dad and we headed to LeClaire.

We watch the show as a family, so my kids were just as excited as I was to be standing outside the shop. I found these really cool wire baskets that looked like they came from an old swimming pool locker room. The chick at the cash register said they weren't for sale, but I haggled with Mike Wolfe and got one for $20. I even managed to snag an autograph.

I was so excited to be there and to be meeting these people we watch on TV I think I checked my brains at the door. I had a conversation with Danielle, one of the girls on the show, and sounded like a complete idiot. I babbled on and on about how much we love the show and my grandma collects antiques and blah, blah, blah. She very graciously nodded her head like she was interested. I think I saw her throw me an eye roll or two.

I finally got up the nerve to ask Mike to pose for a picture with me and ofcourse he said yes. I gave the camera to my dad and while I was telling him how to use the camera he snapped this picture. The look on my face pretty much sums up how big of an idiot I felt like the entire time.

Make sure to set your DVRs because Mike said my baskets will be in an upcoming American Pickers. Very cool!

Monday, April 12, 2010


Nostalgia - The term nostalgia describes a yearning for the past, often in idealized form. The word is a Greek compound consisting of words meaning "returning home" and "ache" or "pain". It was described as a medical condition in the Early Modern Period.

I've been dealing with this nostalgia feeling for, well, 20 years I suppose. Recently, though, it's gotten worse. As my children grow and I feel less and less connected to the place where I grew up I find myself remembering things I'd long thought I'd forgotten. I suppose a lot of it has to do with Facebook. As crazy as it sounds, Facebook has catapulted me back to my Catholic school years and my time spent growing up in Illinois. We go back to my hometown on a fairly regular basis, my father and grandmother still live there as well as my husband's children.

On a recent visit, I made it a special point to visit with two of my oldest and dearest friends from my early years. They have remained close friends with each other over the past 20 years. One of my friends even married a guy I introduced her to several years ago. Reconnecting seemed easy, like no time had even passed. We spent several hours over a two day span laughing, telling stories and remembering our innocence from that time in our life. Several names were mentioned that I had forgotten, but I seemed to be the one with all the stories still locked up in my head. We're already counting down the days until our next visit in May. As much as I'd hoped that we could pick up right where we left off and be best of friends again, I know our lives our different and our closeness is something of the past. Luckily, no amount of time or space will ever separate me from the memories of those dear friends. Each day I find a new one lurking around the corner of my mind...and I smile when I recall the fun times we had.

I made it a point to stop into one local establishment that has held a close place in my heart for over 20 years. Downtown is a little soda/chocolate shop that's been in business for over 100 years. Lagomarcino's. Just the name brings the taste of chocolate to my mouth. Our visit was the weekend prior to Easter, so I convinced my husband to take us to the chocolate shop to buy Easter bunnies for the kids. SOLID Easter bunnies!

Once you squeeze past all the delicious candy you find a few rows of old, wooden booths to sit and enjoy your ice cream or lunch in. The moment I saw the row of benches I was reminded of the time my mom took me for lunch here. My jr. high was right down the street and one day our parents were allowed to pick us up and take us out for lunch. My mom brought me here. We both ordered grilled cheese sandwiches. It's a memory that I will never forget. My mom passed away a year or so later. I asked the cashier if they still made grilled cheese sandwiches. She said yes with a huge smile on her face. Next time we're in town I'll be taking Hannah for grilled cheese sandwiches.

Rows and rows and rows of lovely candy filled the glass cases along the entrance of the store. I had forgotten how small the entry way was. When I asked if they minded if I take pictures the lady said, "Nope, lots of people come in just to take pictures." I managed to sneak in between the many patrons crammed into the tiny entrance and snap a few photos of the yummy goodness!

I think every fixture in the store is original or close to original. Nothing had changed from what I could tell. Before we left I closed my eyes and tried to imagine me and my mom sitting in our own booth, me with my Catholic school girl skirt and sweater, her in one of her pairs of navy slacks and plaid shirts. I wish I could remember our conversation that day, but sadly I do not. I cannot wait to take my own daughter back and make some memories of our own.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Sometimes I just feel stuck. So I stick my nose in a book and forget to remove it. Or I allow my fingers to dance across the keyboard as the time tick, tick, ticks away. Or maybe, just maybe, I'll stick the buds in my ears, turn the volume up and get lost. Is being lost better than being stuck? Hmm, I wonder...

I have two library books that are overdue by a month and a half. Will I need to take out a second mortgage on my house to pay the late fee? Maybe the Redbox movies will get returned on time. Only five hours until one dollar becomes two. Procrastination is my middle name.

This guy I knew told me that he thought overcooked, crumbled beef reminded him of rat turds. Now every time I cook hamburger it reminds me of him...and rat turds. Tonight I'm cooking sausage.

I spend a lot of time in my head. The well beaten path in my subconscious always takes be back to a long, lost memory. I was five, I was twenty, the first time I got married...It seems like I spend more time in the past than in the present. Now I have a chance to go back and I only want to move ahead. Is it too late to try and forget I tried to go back?

My favorite teacher in school was my seventh grade homeroom teacher. We called her Mrs. Papa. She was the tall, Greek woman with short brown hair. She is the one who convinced me I like to write. I recently tried to look her up on Facebook but can't remember how to spell her last name. I wonder if there is a website with Catholic school alum teachers? Maybe I'll Google it.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ringing in 2010!!

Well, the new year is quickly approaching and that can only mean one thing…time for the dreaded list of New Year’s Resolutions. This year I want to be more intentional about what I do and who I do it with. I want to spend more time at church and less time on myself. I want to have more dates with my husband. I want to have more game and movie night with my kids. I want to make time for more coffee dates in the middle of the day with my girlfriends. I want to fall madly and deeply in love with the people in my life, my husband and my kids. I want to write more and talk less. I want to work out and eat healthy instead of spending time talking about it. I want to try new recipes and not worry who’s going to complain about it. I want to yell at my kids less and have more patience with my husband. I want to pray more. I want to forget about what’s happened in the past, accept change and look forward to the future. I want to stop being bitter towards the people who seem to have the life I want to have and just make the life I really want for myself. I want to spend more time scrapbooking and less time buying scrapbook supplies. I want to spend more time drinking wine in front of the fireplace with my husband. I want to wake up every morning and be thankful for that day. I want to keep my kitchen clean, my scraproom organized and the office less cluttered. I want to meal plan and stick with it. I want to stop eating out so often. I want to be on the same page as my husband when it comes to disciplining the kids. I want to spend more time with my family. I want to learn to knit. I want to set some goals for my business and then make it happen. I want to learn how to use the grill. I want to meet more of my neighbors. I want to be happy.

I want to glorify God in all that do. And if I can do that I’ll be alright.

Happy New Year!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Not much going on

When I was younger I tried keeping a journal. I would go to Walgreens and buy a beautiful notebook and special pen. I would date the page. The first line always went something like this..."I promise to journal every day. I promise to keep this journal up to date." The next entry was always a month or two later and the first line went something like this..."well, it's been awhile since I last wrote. I will promise from now on to journal everyday." Here I am, 20 years later saying the same things. Guess that old saying "some things never change" is true. I think about blogging every single day, but I'm afraid what I have to say is boring and unimaginative, juvenile.

Anyway, I downloaded the disc on my digital camera and found several weird pictures. I know my 5 year old had been playing with it and it was kind of fun seeing things through her eyes. Seems as though she chased the cats throughout the house. This is a picture of my "ugly cat" Lion Head jumping up onto the ottoman. I like this shot because you can see his crazy tail. Those of you who've had the pleasure of meeting Lion head know what I'm talking about.

There he is, the one and only, Lion Head. Isn't he cute. He's got a face only his momma would love. And his momma in this case would be my son. He's the only one who doesn't think Lion Head is weird looking. Even the vet thought he was the strangest cat she'd ever seen.

This is Dopey. We got our cats from a farm and they were already named. Dopey was one from a litter of 7. They were each named one of the seven dwarfs. Dopey stuck. We never even tried to change her name. My kids call her Dopes, which I find hysterical.

I remember when Hannah took this picture. She thought it was so funny. She ran into the office to show it to me but she was laughing so hard I couldn't understand. I guess it's something only a 5 year old can understand.

Today is October 1st and I don't have my meal planning done for the month, imagine that. I have it on my list of things to do tomorrow. I did find last month that having a plan made it much easier to navigate through the grocery store. If I had one wish I would wish that everyone in my family would eat everything I put on their plates and not complain. Forget a million dollars, I think that would only add more stress. My life would be complete if I could make anything for supper and have everyone eat it without complaints.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Menu Planning

Almost daily I obsess over what to make for dinner. Now that I have two kids in school that means I now have two lunches to obsess over every day. I came up with a system that, three days in, I absolutely love! Every month the school sends home a menu for the entire month. I had both kids pick out the lunches they wanted to eat from the school. Then I made a chart to keep track of lunches and suppers. (See my lovely chart above)
I took a loose leaf piece of paper, put the dates 1 - 30 down the left side and then made two columns. The first column is lunch and the second is supper. I wrote HOT on the days both kids wanted hot lunch. If Bryce wanted it and Hannah didn't I wrote HOT/whatever I wanted Hannah to have for lunch...PB&J with yogurt, for example. I reversed the order if Hannah wanted hot lunch and Bryce didn't.
I made a separate list of all of the dinners I know we all like and that I don't need to a recipe to make. Things like tuna and noodles, tacos, spaghetti, etc. I came up with something like 25 dinner ideas. I decided I wanted to try and incorporate about 10 new recipes a month, more or less depending on the month. So, I plugged the dinners I know how to make into my schedule on the right side of the sheet. I tried to put dinners like spaghetti on the menu the night before one of the kids wanted cold lunch. This way they can take left overs to school instead of ham and cheese or PB&J.
I also added in notes for nights when I won't be home. Luckily September is not as busy of a month during the evenings. The kids have swimming but we're home early enough to get dinner on the table. Hockey starts in October so I'll have more crock pot dinners listed then. I also made sure I added some things from the freezer that I already have set up.
Speaking of food in the freezer, I'd like to get some breakfast items in the freezer. I'm thinking of having a pancake, muffin and waffle day. I'll make huge batches and put them in the freezer for school mornings. Homemade is so much healthier than the alternative!
So that's my meal planning idea for this year. Hopefully I can stick to it. I would much rather take one hour in the beginning of the month to plan rather than taking several hours every week, which what I've done previously. It's not rocket science but meal planning can be a major decision making venture, at least it is for me.
I'm always looking for new tried and true, family friendly recipes. If you have any please share!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

First Day of School

Well it's official, my days as a stay at home mom have changed. Both of my kids are now full time students. Where does that leave me? I'm not sure. The day was a roller coaster of emotions for me. I woke up excited and happy for my kids. Within the house I was crying and lonely. I have to admit, I spent two hours doing nothing...just enjoying the quiet that had been vacant from my house for the last three months. It was nice. Then I submerged myself into planning for my MOPS group. Didn't I say I would not leave things to the last minute anymore? So much for that!! I spent two hours finalizing notes and agendas and announcements. Things that should've been done weeks ago. Maybe it was a good thing. It helped to take my mind off of missing my babies. I showered, ate lunch and out the door I went to setup for MOPS. Two hours later I was booking it through the grocery store to pick up last minute things and then I drove 75 mph back home so I wouldn't miss the kids getting off the bus on the first day.

Luckily I made it in time. I even had a minute to sit back and enjoy the last few minutes of quiet. Then I heard the stop and start of the bus and I stood in the middle of the yard waiting for the bus to drop off my bundles of joy. They hopped off the bus and acted like getting home was the last thing they wanted to do. I stood in the front yard with my arms open waiting for my babes to come running and jumping into my arms. Yeah, so didn't happen. Hannah did hug me and tell me she missed me, but Bryce barely acknowledged my existence.

So, we made it through the first day. Hannah later told me she had a great day and was so glad I signed her up for school...as if I had a choice! Hannah is home now until Friday so the next couple of days will almost feel normal. My husband is scheduled for knee surgery on Friday so I will be too busy and worried for him to worry about my babies at school. Then no school on Monday. So, I'm guessing it will be next Tuesday before I'm able to fully enjoy the quiet house and my new place in this crazy life as stay at home mom to two full time students! Wonder what I'll find to do?