Category Archives: Around the House

The Worst Easter Ever

Most people associate Easter with springtime, bunnies (live or chocolate; I prefer the latter), baby chicks, egg hunts, new life … you get the picture.

When the boys were younger, we would let them eat candy from their Easter baskets for breakfast, dress them in cute (sometimes matching) outfits, take the obligatory family photo on the front porch and head off to church. A very traditional and idyllic family Easter Sunday – except maybe the part about letting the kids eat candy for breakfast. But then, I’ve done worse as a parent.

That’s how the boys would say they remember most Easters – until that one time.

Our church was planning a big to-do on Easter Sunday, complete with a buffet-style continental breakfast. I volunteered to play breakfast hostess and keep the bagel and donut trays restocked. I also took it upon myself to decorate the tables.

The day before I had gathered up some Easter and spring-looking decorations from around my house. I even took a few flower pots and items from my garden area (I am a Martha Stewart wanna-be, without the prison time). The tables looked great and the morning was enjoyed by all.

Later that afternoon, I unloaded the decorations from my car and placed everything on the kitchen table. I set about putting the items back into their proper places. That’s when I noticed something strange looking on the table. HOLY COW – it was a baby bird! A live, newborn baby bird! Confused, I looked around trying to figure out where it had come from. That’s when I realized the birdhouse I had taken from my garden, to use as a breakfast table decoration, must have had eggs in it. And between the warm temperatures of the church’s fellowship hall and my kitchen, the eggs had hatched.

My squeal of shock caught my youngest son’s attention and I looked up to see his face frozen in horror. Newborn baby birds are not the cutest things. In fact, they are pretty ugly. But my heart was aching knowing a mother bird was probably frantically looking for her nest of eggs. I took a step back trying to figure out what to do next and I felt a “crunch” under my shoe. I immediately said a silent prayer and begged for it to be a leaf or anything else except what I thought it was.

My worst fear was confirmed when I looked down and saw that I had stepped on a sibling to the bird that was now struggling for life on my kitchen table. My son saw the look on my face and said, “What’s wrong , Mom? What’s wrong?!” I knew there was no delicate way to get out of this situation.

The birds didn’t make it, and I was forced to have a brief and tearful conversation about the “Circle of Life”  with my son. It was definitely not the way I had imagined the day ending up when I started that morning.

Unfortunately, when your mom kills two baby birds on Easter Sunday, there’s just no way to erase that kind of memory. There’s no card to make it better. I know – I’ve looked for one. And in an effort to help others who may have gone through this kind of tragedy, I even reached out to Hallmark. Surprisingly, they have not returned my calls.

Happy Easter, everyone – I hope your day is only filled with birds that are alive!

 

 

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What Dinner Looks Like On a Friday Night

Friday night is date night at our house.

But that doesn’t mean an expensive dinner out or an evening at the movies. We’re really homebodies when it comes right down to it. So, Friday nights mean dinner in and a movie on the couch – or a Netflix marathon if we’re feeling particularly cheeky.

Friday night dinner has slowly evolved over the years. I used to try to cook a special meal and have it ready for the Hubby when he got home from a long week of work. However, since I work full-time myself, a gourmet meal isn’t always a favorite item on my Friday evening to-do-list. That’s why we started getting all “fancy” and enjoying what we call “eating like Europeans.”

Now, I don’t know if this is how Europeans really eat dinner. But we like to imagine that we are in some little French or Italian café  (we are not picky about our imaginary European locations) where we enjoy freshly baked bread, gourmet cheeses, cured meats, dried fruits, olives and a morsel or two of dark chocolate – all washed down with a fine red wine suggested by our knowledgeable sommelier.

Since imagination can only carry us so far, the reality is, I visit our local grocery store and pick up a variety of meats, cheeses and crackers, along with the occasional fancy fig spread, some fruit and definitely some good dark chocolate. As for the wine, I’m no connoisseur, so I usually buy a bottle of “what’s on sale” that has a good rating posted on the sign over the shelf.  I told you – we are FANCY!

And yes, I do put thought and consideration into my wine and cheese pairings – I use the following formula. Wine I like + Cheese I like = The Perfect Pairing.

perfect pairing

While we call Friday nights date night, we also love to share the time with friends. So, if you find yourself free on a Friday night and you’d like to join us in our imaginary European café, you know where to find us. Bon appétit!

Friday Dinner

What dinner looks like on a Friday night.

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How to Tell If You Live In a House Full of Boys

  • Your toilet seats are always up.

 I have been baptized, by immersion, in my own toilets in the middle of the night more times than I care to recall.

  •  You have a full arsenal of weapons.

Should our house ever come under attack, we are fully prepared with an armory of air soft and nerf guns, as well as a complete supply of plastic swords and knives of all shapes and sizes. Should the battle take an inter-galactical turn, we are prepared with numerous light sabers.

  •  Your washing machine has a special setting for “camo.”

 I wash a lot of camouflage clothing, and we don’t hunt. In fact we have enough to outfit a small army. See the item above to understand the need for so much camo.

  •  You purchase milk and cereal in bulk quantities.

 We go through more gallons of milk and boxes of cereal in a week than I can count. I have watched an entire box of cereal disappear within 45 minutes of entering our home. Our boys firmly believe that “cereal isn’t just for breakfast anymore” because they eat it night and day.

These are just a few of the things that I have found that indicate a household full of boys. I’m sure all you moms of boys have others. What are your tell-tell signs that a boy lives in your home?

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Crazy About Cranberry Bread

I twittered about making some homemade orange-cranberry bread the other day and I had several people ask me for the recipe, so I decided to share it here on my blog so everyone could have the chance to make this cranberrylishious bread.

I know most folks like their pumpkin flavored breads, muffins, etc. this time of year, but I have always been an orange-cranberry lover. While I like to eat this stuff anytime, fall just seems like the perfect time of year for this particular bread. It’s just the right blend of sweetness and tartness. Kind of like me. 😉

Anyway, here’s the recipe. I hope you enjoy.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 egg (slightly beaten)
  • 1 tsp finely shredded orange peel
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 ½ cups cranberries (thawed if frozen) cut in half
  • 1 cup of chopped nuts (optional)
  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. In a small bowl combine egg, orange peel and orange juice. Add to flour mixture; stir until just moistened. Fold in cranberries and nuts. Spoon into loaf pan.
  4. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of bread comes out clean.
  5. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely before wrapping in plastic wrap. If you don’t let it cool completely, it will sweat in the plastic wrap and the bread will become soggy.

You can always just skip the cooling and wrapping step, like I often do, and eat the warm bread with some butter on it. It’s like a little slice of heaven. Or a big slice depending on how you cut it.

Happy Baking!

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At Least It Smells Like Fall

Just because the calendar says it’s fall doesn’t mean the weather is in a cooperative mood. We’ve had highs in the 80s this past week and it definitely isn’t sweater weather yet.

I did, however, make some purchases to help move the autumn process along. Febreze has these wonderful fall scents and are, of course, “available for a limited time only.” I found mine at Wally World and bought the two pack. I “really” want my house to smell like fall. Besides I have all these smelly boys running around so I can use all the help I can get. I also picked up some fall inspired candles.

Thankfully football is in full swing and even though the temps outside don’t tell me it’s fall, Saturday College Football and lazy Sunday afternoons with the NFL tell me it is. And football means fall cooking, you know: chili, cornbread, homemade apple sauce, pies – well, you get the picture.

With that in mind, I’m excited that Pioneer Woman has finally finished writing her cookbook and it is now available. In fact she’ll be hitting the road for a (cook) book signing tour and Sis and I are already making our plans to attend when she hits our town.

I love taking pictures in the fall and even though the leaves haven’t started changing color in full force yet, my backyard has a good head start on collecting them. Soon I’ll be forcing asking my boys to pose with pumpkins and scarecrows in order to get that perfect scrapbook page photo. I remember the year I saw this great photo idea where the kids were laying in the leaves and the mom took  their picture from overhead. It was a really cute shot, and even though I tried for about 20 minutes, I just couldn’t duplicate the look. It didn’t help that J, who was about 3 at the time, did not want to lay on the ground in leaves and even though I kept pushing him down patiently trying to convince him, he just wouldn’t cooperate. Maybe this year.

But if you need to catch up on scrapbooking those fall (and if you are like me, every other season) pictures, check out this web site. I haven’t tried them myself yet, but I have great intentions. 

So, while I’m not breaking out the flannel jammy pants and sweatshirts yet, I am enjoying college football, chicken nachos and the sweet smell of cinnamon flavored pumpkin spice air freshener.

Now where are those boys of mine? I’m in the mood to take some pictures.

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5 For Friday – Spring Cleaning

Five things I learned last week while cleaning:

  1. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. I chose one room each day to clean. And when I say clean, I mean move the furniture and rediscover your baseboards kind of cleaning. So while one room a day sounds wimpy, believe me when I say it was plenty to tackle.
  2. Don’t use Swiffer Wet Jet or Orange Glo or any of those other advertised hardwood floor cleaners. You will be sorry you ever did! I am. At first I loved the shine on my floors and the way my house smelled after using them, but over time I noticed a scummy, build up on my floors that only hands and knees and scrubbing like Cinderella would get rid of. Only water and vinegar on my hardwoods from now on!
  3. Don’t forget to take breaks and pamper yourself during large cleaning projects. Ok, so I didn’t do such a great job with this one myself, but I did take time out to watch a few movies with the boys and I ate a few bowls of ice cream. And popcorn. And Little Debbies. In fact, if I stayed home all the time I think I would instantly gain 15 lbs. from all the available snackage around the house. Good thing I went back to work this past Monday, huh?
  4. Don’t be too hasty to put the winter clothes away just because it’s Spring Break! We had a little cold snap and actually had some sleet and snow last week. I know it’s crazy, but this is Georgia and like they say, “If you don’t like the weather, stick around because tomorrow it will change.” Ba dum bump! Thank you, folks. I’m here all week.
  5. Don’t get distracted while you are cleaning and start rearranging furniture. Why is it that when I’m cleaning it suddenly becomes a good idea to start moving furniture, pictures, lamps and accessories around? I don’t know! It just does. Maybe it’s the adult version of ADD.  One minute you’re dusting and polishing the next thing you know two hours have gone by, and you’re still working in the same room, but all the furniture is in the middle of the room and you’re thinking the couch might look really good along that other wall. Not that this has ever happened to me or anything.

Someday maybe I’ll listen to my own advice.

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Wordless Wednesday – Holding Out For A Hero

It would appear that some unsavory characters made their way into our Nativity Scene this Christmas.

Two Face - He's not a nice guy!

Two Face - He's not a nice guy!

Somebody's a real "Joker" around here.

Somebody's a real "Joker" around here.

Not to worry, though; it looks like Batman has things under control!

Not to worry, though; it looks like Batman has things under control!

I guess in a household full of boys I should expect things like this. Hope you had a “villian free” Christmas at your house!

 

Wordless Wednesday is hosted by 5 minutes for mom.

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