Thursday, January 31, 2008

Daily Quote

The iPod completely changed the way people approach music.

--Karl Lagerfeld

Bo Bo the Wonder Pet: Part 2

Here are the pictures of Bo climbing the closet door! His sense of balance is pretty amazing.....

Egg-O-Rama: Part 2

OK, well here is the picture of our fresh eggs! Note the pale blue one on top. Hope you like them, Emily!!


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bo Bo the Wonder Pet

That cat Bo is the weirdest animal I have ever seen. I was here at the computer yesterday and I heard a noise behind me, so I looked around, assuming it was either him or Molly getting into mischief. You will never be able to guess where he was--in all my years of cat ownership I have never witnessed something so bizarre! He was on top of the closet door! Yes, on the inch-wide strip that is the top edge of a door. Seven feet in the air, or however tall a door is. He'd somehow managed to get onto my dresser, and climbed on to the open door, and was looking calmly around like, it's my world and you just live here.... I think he likes the feeling of being the highest pet in the house...anyway, it was not a fluke--he did it again today!

And I will post pictures tomorrow; Rachel took some for you unbelievers. Also will post a photo of a bowl of our fresh eggs that Emily asked for. Want to go hang out with Matt now.


Daily Quote

Sure, I'd take the responsibility of queen any day.

--Charisma Carpenter

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


This is just amazing--in the past three days, we have collected TWENTY TWO eggs! Yes, from six chickens, in the depths of winter.....and boy, are they beautiful! We have white, pale blue, light brown with speckles and deep brown. They are huge, and the yolks are practically orange. It makes their annoying behavior so much more acceptable (poop that we have to clean up, stealing poor Lila's cat food and trying to kick her out of her little house, and the mischief they cause in the garden...)

Anyway, we had eggs for breakfast!


Daily Quote

When you talk about a great actor, you're not talking about Tom Cruise.

--Lauren Bacall

Monday, January 28, 2008

Softball Madness

I guess by the time I began this blog last year, we were very nearly done with the Little League season. Only Rachel played, and frankly, I found it completely irritating. Too many games a week, always at night (since school kids play it has to be late in the day or--horrors--on the weekend, which I hate even more) where we were constantly freezing--because let's face it, Long Island nights are not warm at all before June. Even in the summer we can get lows in the 50's, so imagine standing out at 10 pm in April and you'll see what I mean! It was a complete hassle to get to the field by 6:00, because we had to have dinner of course before that--although many families brought fast food to the game or stopped by a drive thru when the game FINALLY ended at 8:30 or 9:00 (10:00 or 11:00 if you had the dreaded Late Game...)I absolutely refused to do that to my family twice a week. Insanity.

And then June came, Little League was over for the season, I breathed a sigh of relief and thought, I won't have to think about that for a long time! And yet, now is the time to register for the spring. I asked Rachel casually if she wanted to play again--at 12 this is her last year for Little League (last year was her first, in fact)--because although I think she enjoyed playing, she wasn't the star of the team by any stretch. However, she does want to play, and Ben overheard and remembered that last year we told him he was too young to start, he has to be he piped up that he wants to play T-ball.

To add insult to my injury, we had to ask Julia if she wants to play too. Julia is extremely athletic, maybe more so than Ben. She plays with Matt and Ben in the yard, and she can smoke the ball over the fence. She's fast and strong and can throw quite well, too. So it would have been terrible not to ask her....but I'll admit I was secretly happy when she said no right away. Then Matt had to go and do the touchy-feely parenting thing and ask her turns out that she's scared she won't be good, that the coach would expect her to just know all the rules, and that she'd let her team down if she made mistakes. Which of course meant we were obligated to reassure her and tell her about teamwork and learning and that coaches are friends......

If I sound grumpy--it's because I AM!!! Honestly, 3 kids in Little League? Hello! We'll be at that field every single day of the week, except possibly for Sunday if we're extra lucky. I absolutely cringe at the thought of it. And this would be from mid-March till June--not even in summer when we have "nothing else to do..." I want to be a good mom, and honestly I wish I had been more athletic as a kid, so if they want to play sports I want them to---but the selfish part of me just wants to run howling into my padded cell. Because that is exactly where you'll be able to find me if I have to suffer through three Little League teams.

And, incidentally, my butt will be three sizes bigger too! Last year we were informed that we "didn't have to pay for uniforms..." except coincidentally, we had to sell 50 candy bars for the team! We just paid the $50 and kept the darn candy, because we'd already hit friends and relatives up for Girl Scout nuts, candy and cookies--we thought, 50 candy bars in a family of 6 people isn't such a huge deal. But 150 candy bars? Sheesh! Now we'll have to go hawking candy bars in the street, just another fun job to get accomplished when I'm not hanging out watching kids play ball. So if you read my blog because you know me, and you don't want chocolate in your life, you should avoid me like the plague from March to June!!


Daily Quote

Didn't come up here to read. Came up here to hit.

--Hank Aaron

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Garden Dreams

I got a garden catalogue the other day, and now I am dreaming. I look at all the gorgeous flowers and think how wonderful they would be in our yard. Never mind that I am not particularly a good gardener, nor do I really love doing the work it takes! I love the idea of it...and maybe that's enough.

I am going to rework the perennial garden this year. The former owner of our house had far too huge a relationship with lilies, in my opinion. Tiger lilies are beautiful, but they are rather boring and common--and they are not good cut flowers, which is my heart's desire. I also don't enjoy their foliage much. My big plan for last fall had been to pull up about 1/3 of the garden--grub those bulbs right out so that when we layer on the compost in the spring I will have the perfect place for tons of different perennials in many colors....that is the other problem with the garden in my mind--Mrs. Carey loved orange and yellow with a few purple accents. I love those colors too, but I want a riot of colors--pinks, reds, white and blue added in.

My big plan went awry due to laziness and painting the house, however. We were very busy with all the painting (as I'm sure you remember! And we still have more to do in the spring, tra-la!) and when we weren't painting I wanted to be inside. I did try to dig up some bulbs at one point, which was really quite back breaking. I am thinking these lily bulbs may have been growing right there for twenty years or even more. Getting even one out took a lot of work..not my idea of fun. So now they have spent another winter in my garden and I will have to spend all kinds of time in the spring getting rid of them...also due to painting we never raked the leaves in the back yard. We did do the front yard for cosmetic reasons, but the back is quite a mess, and we'll have to rake out the garden, the bushes and a few big piles the kids have raked and jumped in over the past months.

Here are my dreams. Climbing roses! I found an assortment of these and they are so beautiful I can hardly take it. I envision these growing over the ugly chicken wire fencing we put up to close the sides of the yard. If anyone can comment about climbing roses--PLEASE DO! I would love to hear if they are difficult, if they need full sun, etc. One side of the yard would have full sun, the other is quite shaded by the maple tree. The catalogue insists they are a variety that's care free, pest and fungus resistant, etc.--but of course they want me to believe that....

Sweet peas! I want these growing over the arbor at the front door. However, if the roses won't grow in shade, I can put the sweet peas in the shady part of the backyard and put roses on the arbor, which has full sun. We currently have clematis there, but it was a problematic plant because we left it potted too long while we waited to close on this house. It did flower and grow last year, but it doesn't look like it will be enough to cover the arbor...unless I have to wait 20 years? I am way too impatient for that!

Strawberries! I am looking at the Ozark Beauties. I would love to plant strawberries, and again, if you have comments about that I would love to hear any tips. I am up in the air because basically they can't go in the back yard at all--the chickens will devour them instantly. In fact, if we are planting vegetables at all (which I want to) I have to find a way to keep the chickens out of the garden completely. Last year they decimated almost everything--peppers, cantaloupe, watermelon, cucumbers, herbs, zucchini...basically they left the tomatoes alone, and the peas and beans grew a bit but not the way I thought they the way, they also have thornless blackberries, raspberries and dewberries--yum! How great would this be to add to our blueberry bushes?

Gaillardia dazzler variety! These are basically large daisy-like perennials--"hardy, carefree, need no pampering" EXACTLY my kind of plant!!--that are red in the center and then as the petals head away they turn into bright yellow. Just shockingly pretty.

Rainbow dahlias---anyone have any advice? These are so pretty, mixed colors from pink to red to yellow to orange. But it doesn't say if they need sun or not...It says they make beautiful bouquets and can be planted along hedges, driveways or borders...comments welcome again!

English Primroses! Free flowering in early summer and again in late summer, thrive even in shady spots, hardy and beautiful. Anyone have experience with these beauties?

Peonies! I love, love, love peonies---but again, I need advice. I think I remember reading about them being difficult to grow or maintain or something...I am not good with needy plants. They are so pretty and the catalogue has a collection of giant double peonies in rose, red, white, salmon and still my heart. However, again it doesn't specify sun or shade!

Just for kicks, this catalogue (Burgess Seed & Plant Co.) gives freebies with if I end up buying all these I will also receive 3 Peacock Orchid bulbs (looks like an orchid, smells like roses, white with crimson center), 4 flowering Shamrock bulbs (rosy flowers from June-Sept also called Good Luck Plant), 1 pack of Trip-L-Crop climbing tomato seeds (allegedly produces 2 bushels of tomatoes from one plant! can climb to 25' with a trellis), and a packet of Vine Peach seeds (easy to grow, fast spreading vine, fruit is like a peach and a mango combined--yum!)

Anyway, these are my dreams. I would love to hear from any gardeners out there if you're familiar with these plants...I need perennials that are beautiful and impossible to kill, basically! (Don't we all...)


Daily Quote

The most important question in the world is, 'Why is the child crying?'

--Alice Walker

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ben & Emma, Snuggle Buddies

Last night I got home around 9:30 pm from my monthly coffee and writing date with my friend, Sue. Sometimes when I come home, Emma is still awake--usually watching a Disney movie with Rachel. Other times she allows either Matt or Rachel to put her down. So I always come in quietly, in case she's asleep. Rachel met me at the door, so of course I asked her if Emma was down yet.

"She's been down for more than an hour--she went to bed with Ben," she informed me.

When we went to NYC, Emma had said she was going to sleep with Ben, and one night several weeks ago, she actually did sleep in his bed, till around midnight. So it didn't take me completely by surprise.

What did was that they slept together all night, and this morning Emma said she was going to sleep with Ben every night--and he agreed to it!

"Emma's a good snuggling buddy, Mom," he confided in me later. "She kept me nice and warm!"

So maybe Julia will get to move into her own room (down here, Emma's room) sooner than we thought!



Rachel got the cooking bug today and decided she wanted to make something yummy for us all for lunch. Jenn makes these things that Rachel LOVES--(and who wouldn't? They are crescent rolls with cream cheese inside, wrapped in bacon!)--so she wanted to make them since we had bacon in the freezer and cream cheese in the fridge. The problem was, I don't buy those breads-in-a-can, so we didn't have crescent rolls.

Being industrious, Rachel decided to make pie pastry, which is not something she's ever tried. But she did, wrapped small rounds around a dab of cream cheese, wrapped half a slice of bacon around them and baked them at 425 for about 15 minutes (till the pastry's brown and the bacon's somewhat crisp).

Talk about delicious! Talk about a diet disaster! But mostly just's nice to have a kid who cooks!


Daily Quote

I'd rather regret the things I've done than regret the things I haven't done.

--Lucille Ball

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Kids Who Make Coffee

How do I know that Julia is growing up? This morning as I was getting out of the shower, my sweet almost-8-year-old said to me, "I made your coffee, Mama!" I was surprised. She has watched me make coffee (of course) and has often helped me grind beans or scoop it into the filter. But it's Rachel who usually offers to make me coffee--though since this was at 9 am, she naturally was still asleep!

"Tell me how you did it," I asked, wanting to see if I needed to prepare myself to go into the kitchen.

"I emptied the old grinds into the trash, I filled the pitcher thing up to 6 with water and poured it into the top, and I put 10 scoops of coffee in, closed the top and turned it on!" she said proudly.

TEN scoops? She knows I like strong coffee (anyone who knows me probably knows that) but even I don't make it that strong! I explained to her that what I did was add a scoop to the number of cups--I would use 7 scoops for 6 cups of water. I kissed her and thanked her for making it, and then went in and quickly added some water to the well of the still-dripping machine.

She poured and sugared it just how I like it when it was finished, and even warmed my cup and thermos beforehand. The coffee is still quite strong, but it's the best cup I've had all week, because Julia made it for me.


Daily Quote

All creative people want to do the unexpected.

--Hedy Lamarr

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Madison Square Park

On our walking tour of the city on Friday, Matt and I came across a lovely little park called Madison Square Park, which Dad informed me later was the original site of Madison Square Garden--you learn something new every day. I don't even remember where exactly it was; I believe we were on 5th avenue but I could be wrong....anyway, it was a gorgeous day, warm for January and sunny, and we sat there for about a half an hour, just enjoying the view, talking and people watching.

Another thing we watched was a fat squirrel. It being Manhattan, there were a lot of squirrels there because it was just about the only grassy area for several blocks. Plus there were plenty of folks who threw bits of bread to the little creatures, who showed off by sitting up prettily and taking the prize practically from outstretched hands. We watched one little guy take a bit from a lady walking by with a baby in a stroller, nibble at it for a moment, and then industriously stuck it in his cheek and searched for a hiding place. Unfortunately, the hiding place it chose was by the scrabbled at the concrete at the wall of the fountain, which we watched to see what would happen. Apparently he thought he'd buried it, because he left it there and ran off to find more.

A pigeon had seemed to be paying attention, and started waddling over towards the fountain wall. It being a pigeon, this took quite a while, and Matt amused me by doing the voice of the bird, talking about how it was going to steal the bread from the squirrel who couldn't even bury his prize properly. We watched as it hopped and flew when disturbed by pedestrians, but still went in a more or less straight line to the bread--and then promptly hopped right over it onto the fountain wall, and then dropped into the dry fountain! Maybe it hadn't noticed the bread--but it had looked for all the world as if it had! I guess that will teach us to think we know the mind of a pigeon....


New York City

Matt and I are back from our trip...which of course went by FAR too quickly! We left last Thursday morning, when my parents arrived to stay with the kids. We drove their car back to their house in Brooklyn (since they would use our van to bring themselves, the kids and the dogs back to meet us on Saturday night) and took the subway into Manhattan.

We stayed at the Doubletree Guest Suites in Times Square. What a gorgeous hotel! We were on the 41st floor, high above 47th street and Broadway with a beautiful view of everything. We could see the Hudson River from the bedroom and the East River from the living room. New York is terrific from high in the air, I've always thought.

We ate Cuban food that night for dinner at Havana on 46th street, which I highly recommend. We had to go there because the neon sign, complete with palm tree, reminded us of "Guys & Dolls," when Skye takes Miss Sarah to Havana, gets her drunk, and they realize they're in love. It was a wonderful dinner, absolutely delicious, and then we headed over to the Nederland Theater to see "Rent"....not enough can be said about that show; I won't even try. It was just delightful--the voices, the dancing, the story--funny and terribly sad all at once.

Friday we walked the city, all over midtown and down to the Village; we ate Thai food and went to a comedy club that night. On Saturday we had Korean BBQ lunch (where they cook at the table and you wrap meat and various spicy condiments in lettuce leaves) and then had a leisurely afternoon walking, talking, having coffee and savoring our last few hours.

I don't even know where to begin with this trip! It was sublime to talk with Matt, uninterrupted, for as long as we wanted. To sleep in a silent dark room--no kids, no pets, no wake up time. We laughed, we talked, we was so strange to be completely selfish in the most literal sense--just concerned with ourselves and no one else. No chores, no cooking or cleaning up, no work...just the two of us. We even talked at length about what life would have been like if we'd never had kids. Not that this would have been desirable; just the fact that some people live life like this all the time was what we were mulling over. It was definitely over too quickly!

And the kids did perfectly! Emma didn't freak out, Rachel was helpful (of course!), no one bickered or gave any trouble. Even though part of me expected this, part of me was still shocked when Dad told me about it. We're already plotting the next time we can go away! (Settle down, Rachel, it won't be for a while...) Anyway, I'm posting photos of the suite and the view, just so you can wish that you'd been there! :)


Daily Quote

A man who won't die for something is not fit to live.

--Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Lilly Is Officially Offended!

Today Mom was sitting at the table, talking to me and my dad. Julia, Ben and Emma were playing the Terri Game (which is where Julia is Terri the Tiger, Emma is Lilly the Leopard, and Ben is Zookeeper Ben!!!) My mom had forgotten to bring her slippers to Grandma and Poppy's house, so she stole Grandma's to keep her feet warm.

Julia was crawling under the table when she gasped and cried, "REAL leopard skin slippers?! Lilly is officially offended!"

We all laughed; it was just so funny! Of course, my mom wanted to blog it, so here I am typing!

Hope you got a laugh out of it like we did!


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Going Away

I'm not sure if I mentioned that Matt and I are belatedly celebrating our 15th anniversary with a weekend in the city--we leave Thursday morning. Of course the kids are a bit less excited than we are....we have never gone away overnight without them.

This morning Emma asked me, "Mama, is this the day you're leaving me?"

I was torn between laughing and crying.....


Daily Quote

The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.

--Ayn Rand

Friday, January 11, 2008

Ben Reading

Ben is really reading now! This morning he read a book about Martin Luther King, Jr. with almost no help at all (the word "celebrate" stumped him!) and he has been reading easy reader books from the library about a worm who does all manner of things.

The difference I saw between him and the older girls learning to read is that he was less interested to begin with. I had to keep reminding him to look at each word--sometimes he would guess wildly, words that didn't make sense. Rachel and Julia were both very focused when they wanted to read, and would pay strict attention and try to get everything right. Ben was much more fidgety and needed more reminders.

Now, however, something seems to have clicked and it's like a switch has been flipped. Maybe patience has paid off, or maybe now his interest in reading is higher. Possibly his recent successes have encouraged him to try harder. But now I see him looking at each word, sounding out longer words, using pictures in the story as clues, and above all not getting frustrated and walking away when it doesn't come in a snap.

I am so proud of him! And being that he isn't even five and a half, it isn't like I was thinking he had some kind of disability or anything. It's just that since Rachel and Julia were both reading before their 5th birthdays and because it came so easily to them, this is my first experience with any sort of reluctance to learn to read. Also, because he absolutely loves to be read to (in other words, it isn't as if he has no patience to sit and listen to a story or to look at the pictures himself) I was wondering why he didn't seem terribly interested in reading by himself. I guess, as usual, that it was just going to come in its own time.

Three out of four are readers---and my guess is that Miss Emma won't be so terribly far behind!



This morning we woke up to a steady rain, almost like one of those soaking spring rains. Then the thunder and lightning began. It is so nice to be in the house, the rain falling outside, lightning flashing and thunder rumbling. We have to have the lamps on because the house is quite dark, and it's just a cozy feeling. I'm liking it!


Daily Quote

Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you.

--Jean-Paul Sartre

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Gingerbread Recipe

Since my darling niece Emily asked me to post the gingerbread recipe--here it is. I usually double the recipe because we love it so much, and it's always nice to have so many that you can give some away!


PS: I do not consider these to be better than my mom and Grandma's ginger cookies, but that cookie is soft and you do not roll them out and make shapes, which the kids adore. These cookies are the kind you'd make men or houses out of.

Perfect Gingerbread Cookies

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1/4 cup molasses
2 tbs. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 3/4 cups flour

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, then molasses. Carefully add the spices, soda and flour and combine till it makes a dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350. Roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut cookies into desired shapes and bake until firm, about 10 minutes. (You can use parchment paper on the cookie sheets if you like, but if you don't use it, don't grease the sheets.) Cool on wire racks and dip in chocolate ganache or decorate the way you like.

Chocolate Ganache

1 cup of heavy cream
about 1 cup of chocolate chips, or dark chocolate broken into chunks (*NOTE: milk chocolate does not work properly for this...)

Simply heat the cream in a heavy saucepan till it is nearly boiling. Shut off the heat and add the chocolate to the cream. Let sit for a few minutes, then stir together until smooth and glossy.

Dip the cookies halfway into the chocolate (I dip whatever part of the cookie looks flawed, if any) and lay on cookie sheets covered with waxed paper. You can add colored sugar or sprinkles now if you like them. Place outside, in the fridge or the freezer to cool to solid. Then remove and stack in tins with waxed paper between layers. (You don't want them to melt together if they warm up!)

**a few notes: if the ganache isn't getting thick and glossy, add more chocolate! I don't measure the cream or the chocolate, so my estimate could be wrong. You can also put a very low heat underneath to get any lumps out.

you can add things for flavoring--espresso, vanilla, mint extract, raspberry or cherry liqeurs--I probably wouldn't use any of that for gingerbread, but for shortbread cookies or cake? delicious!

DON'T wash out the ganache pan! Just add milk to it and you have the most fabulous hot chocolate ever! And if there's a lot left over, you can dip strawberries, bananas, marshmallows, graham crackers--or use it to drizzle over a cake. This is my favorite frosting--I almost never use buttercream anymore. Enjoy!

Musical Talent

I have to say, I am still really impressed. Yesterday, Julia showed Emma how to play "Mary Had a Little Lamb" on the piano. She shows a lot of interest in playing, she asks us to show her how to play Beethoven all the time, and today she went over to the piano while Ben and I were doing lessons and started picking out "Mary" all by herself. She didn't get it right, but what struck me was that she got it mostly right, and that even when she made mistakes she kept right on going. For a three year old to be so determined really strikes me as unusual...and that's saying something coming from me, because in no way do I consider any of my children to be ordinary! :)


Daily Quote

I have learned to hold popular opinion of no value.

--Alexander Hamilton

Delicious Punch

Last week, we hosted Julia's Brownie Girl Scout meeting here. We did a few projects (making masks, dressing up, and acting out different vehicles...) that went toward earning their "Let's Pretend" badge.

So, it came time for Snack. We served fruit, pretzels, Girl Scout cookies (Ha!) and DELICIOUS punch. The punch is soooo good that we decided to put the recipe up on the blog. This punch is good for parties, playdates, or just for fun.

Delicious Punch


Soda (such as Sprite, Ginger ale, etc. Coke, Pepsi, and all that "dark" soda won't taste good....)

About a 1/2 cup of blueberries, or strawberries, even raspberries

A fruit juice (we like pineapple juice or berry juice)


Large bowl (a punch bowl if you have one..A salad bowl does just fine, too)




Mix juice and soda together(not too much, or the soda will go ind of flat.) Then, dump the berries in carefully; don't crush them!

Ladle into cups. ENJOY!!!!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Birthday Gingerbread

Today is my dad's birthday!!! He is now 38 years old.. He said to me today when I asked "How does it feel to be 38?", he answered, "Being 38 is just fine so far. My friends at the office have been honoring me with baked goods and lunch out!"

So, instead of a birthday cake, my mom made him the requested "Birthday Gingerbread." That is gingerbread cookies dipped in chocolate!!! YUM! I can't wait to taste them after our special dinner of Chinese food...

So, here's a picture to show you how special the gingerbread looks. And maybe (if you're lucky!) my mom can tell you the recipe for the chocolate, if you are the unlucky person who's reading this, is not related to us, and does not know the recipe (or even if you are related to us, maybe you forgot..)



Sunday, January 6, 2008

Taking Down the Christmas Ornaments

Today was the day that I dread and look forward to---packing up all the Christmas ornaments and chucking the tree to the curb. On the one hand, Christmas is wonderful and the decorations are beautiful and we look forward to seeing them every year. Also, once everything is put away, it is truly winter, and all there is to look forward to is weeks more of cold and gray landscapes. (We'll ignore all the winter birthdays we look forward to, and Valentine's day, and the odd warm day that revives us, and going ice skating, and hoping for snow storms, etc. I'm making a point here!)

However, it is very cleansing to put all those things back! There's so much more room, even when you consider all the new toys and clothes that have to find a place. The rooms become easier to dust with all those extra candles, knick knacks, Christmas cups, mugs, tins, bowls, wreaths, etc. out of the way. Not to mention the tree, because while it is beautiful and smells nice and brings cheer with its lights--it also takes up room, drops needles on the floor, needs watering, and is a constant temptation to kids and cats to play with ornaments from it!

So now that everything is back in Rubbermaid boxes in the basement and the tree waits forlornly for the garbage men, I am satisfied. By the time December comes back, I will be ready to see those things again. For now, I say, the sooner winter continues, the sooner spring will come.


Daily Quote

If you are not doing what you love, you are wasting your time.

--Billy Joel

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Daily Quote

One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.

--Helen Keller

Emma's Headstands

Today Emma was bored, so I decided to teach her some "gymnastics." She already knows how to do a forward roll, so I thought about teaching her how to do a headstand. I thought she would just get bored and get frustrated with it. But I was wrong.

I set up some pillows on her bed. I showed her how to stay off her neck so she wouldn't break it. After she "got into position," I lifted up her feet and she would hold the handstand for about fifteen seconds before rolling to the side.

She got pretty good over the afternoon. Now, by 8 PM, she can get up into the position herself! Here are some pictures to show you how it's done.


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Ice Skating

I am going a bit out of order because I posted "Happy New Year" before I tell about our New Year's Eve--but the reason for that is that yesterday was a busy day and I only had time for that short post. My friend Amie called a couple of days ago and asked if we wanted to go out to Greenport with them on New Year's Eve for an afternoon of ice skating. (It was important that we went, actually--because Amie's husband went to work, and since the baby is not quite 3 months old, Amie couldn't skate--but since Evelyn and Julia are bestest friends, we were the perfect family to ask along.)

We met in the beautiful village on Greenport (I just love this town, and if it weren't for the fact that it would add 30-40 minutes to everywhere we'd want to go, would live there in a minute!) by the antique carousel, in the park where in the winter there is a lovely outdoor rink. It is just so pretty, right on the harbor with boats all around, a beautiful sunset view and if you're really lucky (as we were when we went skating for Julia's 7th birthday last February) a full moon above. We were there trough the sunset part, but not for the moon.

We skated for hours! It was the right combination of cold enough to skate, but not so cold that it was miserable. There were many more people there than I prefer--being homeschoolers we usually avoid crowded times like that--but everyone was in a happy holiday mood. Emma and Ben did very well. Emma used one of the carts that keep you from falling and chugged along happily, and Ben mostly skated holding a hand or by himself. I am hoping that if we go often this winter, he'll soon be as good as Julia and Rachel are. When Emma asked me to "go fast," I bent over and held the bar of her cart around her hands and skated so we were "faster than anyone!" (her words, not mine...) That was fun--but when I would finally stand up my back let me know that it wasn't the best plan I ever came up with!

I did take one break in the middle, and Amie and I went over to Starbuck's for coffee and hot chocolate. Then while I drank mine I gabbed with her, which was nice. Then back on the ice for more fun and glee. We finally left around 5:30 and headed for a favorite pizza parlor, Emilio's, for a fantastic Sicilian pie--served by the co-owner in an evening gown, with upswept hair! She was pretty brave, too--not even an apron!

After we got home, we had a peaceful evening of games, watching "The Wizard of Oz," snacks, and even fireworks that we could see from the dining room window (they were down at the riverfront...) Emma fell asleep around 11:00, but the others made it till the ball dropped. Matt and I stayed up till 3:30, which I am now feeling the full effects of, although we all slept in--the kids till 9:00, Matt till 10:15 and me till 11:23 (when my loving hubby woke me with blueberry scones and coffee--I knew I liked him!) We've had a quiet day of chatting, Play Doh, board games, and now they are watching "Pinocchio" and I am blogging to put off finishing Rachel's lesson plans...I should go do that before I fall asleep!

We have a turkey roasting in the oven--not that I'm hungry--so that means the first week of 2008 will involve little cooking! And by the way, (I'm just back from basting it), putting butter on top of the bird before the salt and pepper make your basting juices look like gravy before the turkey's even finished!!

Here's another wish for happiness in the new year for us all!


Daily Quote

In order to create there must be a dynamic force, and what force is more potent than love?

--Igor Stravinsky

Happy New Year!

I just want to take a moment to wish all our friends and family a peaceful, healthy and beautiful new year. I hope that you are with someone you love right now--perhaps several someones--and that 2008 continues to bring happiness and joy!


Daily Quote

Curious people are interesting people, I wonder why that is.

--Bill Maher