12.28.2010

Mama, I wanna Be A Rock Star

Music is a huge part of our family. My mom always sang in church, my dad has played the drums since he could walk. He has been in more bands then I can count. I grew up playing the piano and trumpet. I sang in the church and school choirs. Needless to say music speaks to my soul. I always wanted my kids to have the same passion for music I was raised with. My son wants to play the drums to be like my dad, and my daughter wants to be like Hannah Montana and play guitar.

Last Christmas they both received "starter" instruments; cheap, small versions of the more expensive counterparts they desired from my parents. The deal was take care of them for a year and practice, if they were still interested they would get an upgrade.

Boy, did my mom and dad deliver on their promise!

The little drummer boy rockin' out


There's my girl jammin' on her new guitar!


Thankfully we have a huge basement so the kids can play to their hearts content when ever they want to. I love hearing the sounds of their music flowing through my house :) It's what I always wanted. Lessons start next month and the kids are so excited! 

Anyone out there start playing guitar or drums at a young age and have any advice?

au revoir, adieu, ciao, till next time...
Photobucket

12.26.2010

It's Like MTV Cribs!

I have no clue if MTV Cribs is still on Television, in fact... I have no clue if MTV is even still on Television! My TV programming mostly consists of Disney Channel, Nick Jr. and Sprout these days. But if you ever saw this ridiculous show about pop stars and rappers showing off their 50 custom built cars, their gold toilet seats and the ocean view from their 10 story mansions, you've seen their fridge too. Yup, that's right. Inevitably every episode they would waltz over to their refrigerator and show off what was inside.

Well guess what? I'm not a rapper. (Shocking, yes I know, I come across as so gangsta sometimes!) Do you want to see my fridge anyway? Sure you do!


Look at all that good stuff! Trust me, it hasn't always looked that way (remember, my way too young hubby who almost had a heart attack last week *eek!*) We have gutted the fridge and pantry of anything dangerous for him. Meaning all the sugary, fatty goodies. Now it's filled with Salmon fillets, locally grown fruits and veggies, organic yogurts, Edamame, flavored waters, natural peanut butter, healthy eggs and much more. Oh and a little yummy Champagne to keep me sane. ha ha.

This dietary change has been so easy when my husbands life is on the line. We've had so much fun discovering new recipes and weird new foods we didn't even know existed! Like these yummy snacks:


Yellow carrots! WHAT?! That's so cool! Sure I know it's a little stupid to be excited about carrots of another color. But when you're limited on what you can eat the small changes make a big difference. And they taste so good too!

OK. hummm... I guess this isn't really like MTV Cribs, but I hope you had fun peeking in my refrigerator. I am always looking for new ways to cook a vegetable so any ideas you have I'll take'em.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and if you maybe ate a little too much around the table with family or while baking cookies for Santa then eat your veggies!

au revoir, adieu, ciao, till next time...
Photobucket

12.24.2010

So Long, Miss you

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!


2010 what a year you have been. One of the most joyful & challenging years I've had in a long time. Thanks for the
memories: 

~~*~~


Becoming a closer family
Him riding his "big boy bike"
Sledding in the snow in our backyard
Charleston with my best friend
Seeing my dad drum at church
Homemade ice cream at the local farm
Knowing he loves me more than life itself
S'mores with Chip N Dale
Visits from the tooth fairy
Dog mischief
Healing ears, noses, throats, ankles and hearts
Holding butterflies in my hand
Watching her spin in her Tutu
My son laughing while inner tubing on the lake
Derby car races
Enjoying handfuls of blueberries grown in our own garden
Tackle football while I held my breath after every hike
Snow angels 
Praying for my mom
My daughter's scared face just before surgery (both times)
Hot tea on cool days
Snuggling in bed with my babies
Friends...
Selling chocolate for school fundraiser
Eating chocolate for school fundraiser
All the blooming flowers
Both of them making me smile every day
Him laughing at my jokes 
My mom building homes in Haiti
Him finally catching that baseball
Dancing in the rain
Glasses of wine with the ladies
Learning about everything
Honor rolls, awards, trophies
When she finally swam on her own
Embracing my heavenly Fathers direction for my life
Wonderful birthdays
Watching them hug, and mean it
Standing on the beach in awe of the bigness
The kids riding a mechanical bull
Cheering on Clemson in the stadium
Seeing how fragile life really is
Singing children
Holding his hand in the ER
Being in the parade
Making music
Her dressed as a chocolate chip cookie
Quiet time reading
Being chased by power wheels
Glimpses of their imagination
Watching her color for hours
Hearing my grandmas voice on the phone
Crying from frustration
Crying from laughter
Feeling the Love


~~*~~


Good Bye 2010. When the new year rings in, I will be a little sad. You've been a good one, a really good one...










What is something you will miss about this year? Or what are you looking forward to in the new year?


au revoir, adieu, ciao, till next time...
Photobucket

12.22.2010

To Veg, Revisited...

This is an old blog of mine from over 2 years ago. Seeing as my husbands health is a serious concern these days, I am taking our family nutrition to a whole new level. The black text is new input, my views have changed on a few things. Hope you enjoy :)





People always say "Knowledge is power" this is very true. But, knowledge can also be a burden in a way. Let me explain:

Before I had children I was a successful vegetarian for about a year. Then one day my husband and I were eating lunch at Ruby Tuesdays. He got up to use the restroom and when he returned to the table his cheeseburger was gone, I ate it. I couldn't help it, something in me needed to eat it. Well, that's how we found out we were going to be parents. My body needed those proteins and it didn't matter what it was, I was going to eat it. Since then I have tried to go back "Veggie" quite a few times, but have been unsuccessful. Translation: I was being lazy about my nutrition. Being a mom became all consuming & I let myself go. In more ways then just food... Have you SEEN my waist line?? AAHHHH!

One of the hard things about living in a very small town is your choices of food. The closest health food store is a 90 minute drive, and don't even get me started on healthy restaurants to choose from for dinner around here. McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell, Wendy's, etc. You get my point. Every time I attempt to eat the way I want to eat I am left with only a head of lettuce, and starving. Excuses, excuses, excuses! Do you hear the whining in this paragraph? I'm lame. The answer to my "small town problem" is easy. Have no clue why I didn't see it then. Step 1: get fresh produce from the local farms, and/or plant a garden. Step 2: cook at home! 

Whenever I am enjoying a burger there is this huge part of me that feels so guilty. I am smarter then this. What is wrong? My main problem with the meat industry is how the animals are treated. Why do we need to torture in such an inhumane way just to be fed? Many years ago when men would go out and hunt for food they would only kill what they needed, and use every bit of that animal. Native Americans were experts at this. But now it's heartless, and even though the food may be good, every time we do eat meat we are contributing to these horrible acts that go on today in slaughter houses. Be advised, I wrote this prior to "Food, Inc." WOW was that an eye opening documentary! And as of late my husband being in the hospital has also been a huge motivator to change my eating habits. Not so much guilt, but necessity.  

My husband is a meat and potatoes kind of guy, he is also the main cook in our home. What's a girl to do? (Not anymore! Red meat and starch is a NO NO for people with heart problems. He is now a salad and fish guy.) I need to find a happy medium. I need to find a Vegetarian cook book for people who can't cook. Oh and have no resources for ingredients other then a small town grocery store. Knowledge is power, yes it is. I have seen things about this industry, I have learned about the health benefits to eliminating meat from my diet. I consider myself an animal loving environmentalist. I just can't figure out why I am having such a tough time with this one. Any thoughts? K, as much as I understand, and sympathize with the "old me," I am no longer seeking guidance on how to do something I want to do, I'm living it. So what are my new challenges with food? Ingredient labels!! 

My husband can't eat a lot of Sodium, Trans fat and Saturated fat. Yeah well those 3 ingredients are in EVERYTHING! The best way to keep these things out of his diet is to eat Vegan (eating no animal or dairy products at all.) This is HARD. So we're going to take baby steps...

We will keep fish in our diet, it's like #1 on the heart healthy list of what to eat. Egg whites, at this point i'm not ready to lose my wonderful yummy eggs. And grilled Chicken breast. We can do so many meals with chicken and our kids love it. Very limited Cheese & butter, slowly eliminating it all together. And of course we are eating TONS of fruits and veggies. 

Hummmm. Fish, chicken, eggs, cheese and butter. Doesn't sound Vegan at all! Moral of the story is we are trying. We are making permanent changes & I fear if we do a 180 degree change it won't last. I think in the end if we are eating a vegetarian diet with fish every now and then I will be ecstatic! 

I used to think the whole "Knowledge is power" part about food meant knowing how the animals are treated, and the processes our food goes through to get onto our table. But I have to say as important as that is, knowledge is power can sum up finding out my husband has heart issues. We have the knowledge now we are taking the power and eating right. 

Sheesh! Sorry, I didn't realize this post had gotten so long. Hope I kept you entertained. I would love any recipes you would like to share for healthy yummy food :)  



au revoir, adieu, ciao, till next time... 
Photobucket

12.21.2010

See, It IS Magical

Wow... just wow. 


What started as a wonderful, heart warming Sunday evening quickly changed into one of the scariest moments of my life. Let's start from the beginning: 


My beautiful munchkins were singing in the church Christmas program. It brought tears to my eyes to hear their sweet voices singing about that precious baby born in a manger.




As I was taking in the wonderful performance, my husband grabbed my hand and everything changed...


He said he felt weird, his heart was beating more than 130 bpm, his hands & jaw went numb...


We sat on the front steps of our church with ambulance lights twinkling on the stained glass windows as our children sang their hearts out inside, unaware of the fear and chaos just yards away from them...


*sigh*


As I sat in the ER wondering if my husband had suffered a heart attack my mind was racing. 
I can't lose him! 
Hope there's no permanent heart damage!
Will he be back to normal? 
Could we have prevented this?
What if....... 






It was a rough night. We found out he had arrhythmia (irregular heart rate) and it had just gone haywire. My husband has been a bad boy the last few years. He has a severe case of Sleep Apnea and is supposed to wear a CPAP machine to force oxygen in his lungs while he sleeps. He hasn't worn it for years. (Trust me, this housewife has nagged him to no end about this for a VERY long time) Also, he has very high Cholesterol and hadn't been taking his medicine. BAD HUBBY! Throw all this together with a weeks worth of not much sleep and a stressful time of year and you get to stay at the hospital thinking you are having a heart attack. The kids were in great hands with my parents and came to have meals with us in the hospital.






We are back home now, and very thankful for this "warning sign." My husband is committed to changing his future. He finally understands that taking care of him, is in fact taking care of us. We have started new eating and exercise habits. There is a lot of changes going on around our house, and many new things to learn. God has truly blessed us with open eyes and hearts that can heal. We have so much to be thankful for this Christmas season. I think the kids and I will be hugging a special someone a little tighter from now on :)


Up next, the many, many, MANY ways to cook fish. Ha ha
(if you don't get this, wonderful! Those that live with, or know someone with heart problems will understand. You have to eat a LOT of fish!)




au revoir, adieu, ciao, till next time... 
Photobucket

12.17.2010

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

Every body has that one movie, that one they HAVE TO watch every Christmas. For my husband it's "A Christmas Story" for my daughter it's "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer" for my son it's "Home Alone." But for me it's always been Irving Berlins "White Christmas."

I love this movie. I remember as a kid getting in my Christmas jammies and curling up on the couch with my mom for a family movie night. We would sing along to every song. We would dream of snow falling on Christmas Eve and wishing we could spend the holidays in Vermont. 

We would laugh as we fast forwarded the "Choreography" number. (try it! they look funny in fast motion!) And we were touched when it all came together in the end. 

I love this movie so much that it was all I wanted to watch when I went into labor with my son, ha ha. IN MARCH! 

Needless to say, Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney & Vera-Ellen have been apart of my life for a very long time :) 

I keep trying to shove my love for this movie onto my children... So far it's not working. They want to watch things with more action, more pizazz. I hope as they get older they will appreciate this classic as much as I do. Until then, I will force them to suffer through it to appease there ol' mom. Here's a great clip for your viewing pleasure:

(The funniest part of this great movie)


Now it's your turn! What is your favorite holiday movie?

au revoir, adieu, ciao, till next time...
Photobucket

12.14.2010

Why Yes, Yes I am 30!

Yesterday I turned the big 3-0. A few days ago I was practically hyperventilating in my bathroom looking in the mirror saying "I'm 29, in a few days i'll be 30! 30!! AAHHHH I'm going to be 30!!!" I was seriously freaking out. And that gray hair popping up in my hair wasn't helping a bit. Then the big day arrived, and something happened... I was excited! WHAT?! What had felt like an ending of an era the day before now felt like a beginning. 


Speaking of beginnings, here I am some 29 years ago. And yes, I still love me some Oreo cookies!






Here are the top ten reasons turning 30 is AWESOME!


10. I have a wonderful husband & 2 amazing kids
9. I have my own sense of style all my own (thanks Target!) 
8. Life is GREAT (contentment is the best!)
7. Getting carded makes me smile :)
6. Laugh Lines (only a few i swear)
5. I don't need to find myself anymore, I know who I am
4. I'm still younger than most of my friends!
3. I get to join a whole new demographic group for marketing surveys (yippy!)
2. 5 more years and I can be President! (VOTE for LIZZIE!)
1. 30 is the new 20!


So you see, it's not so bad :) I had a great birthday with my family. Here's a little music for you all: 




au revoir, adieu, ciao, till next time...
Photobucket

12.12.2010

The Christmas Tree & Its Ornaments

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
How lovely are your branches!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
How lovely are your branches!
In beauty green will always grow
Through summer sun and winter snow.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
How lovely are your branches!


A beautifully lit tree looks so good in a home at Christmas! Of all the decorations I put around my home, the tree is by far my favorite :) Each and every ornament tells a story; my babies hand prints, our first home, the past & present, Santa's fame...

I have a few favorite ones I would like to share with you:


This pretty unicorn was given to me as a baby from my grandmother. Every time I unwrap it it reminds me of Christmas mornings at her home growing up, moments I treasure so much. 







These beautiful gold ornaments my other grandmother gave me over the years. Now that she has passed (on Christmas) It helps me know that she is still with us in spirit. 




Nothing beats ornaments made by your kids! A few years ago my munchkins made these at a pottery store. I love looking at their scribbled paint strokes & remember when they were smaller. 



This was given to me by my great aunt & uncle just after my husband and I were married. It's fun to think of all the holidays him & I have shared and the many more that are a head of us. 


This concludes a trip around my Christmas tree. What are some of your most favorite holiday decorations? 




au revoir, adieu, ciao, till next time...
Photobucket

12.11.2010

It's That Time of Year Again!!

I love the Christmas season. The house looks so warm & cozy decorated with red, green and gold all over. The kids are on their best behavior anticipating Santa's arrival. Oh and the smells! sugar cookies, festive candles, chimney's burning firewood, gingerbread houses, and the chill in the air. 

What is your favorite part of this magical time of year? 

I will admit I have one thing that I don't enjoy... The crowded malls and shops! My goodness, people can be vicious out there. This makes me get my Christmas shopping done early so as to avoid the crazy people that come out of the woodwork, ha ha. 

Have a very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!!




au revoir, adieu, ciao, till next time...
Photobucket

11.07.2010

Falling Leaves & Family Time

Well hello readers! How have you been?

Life is in full swing out here in SC. Signs of Autumn are everywhere I turn. The yard needs to be raked, there's a chill in the air, and my kids are already making their Christmas lists! We've had a good few months, I thought I would give you a recap of what we have been up to.

Fall means college football, we are hard core Clemson Tiger fans and got the opportunity to attend the opening season game! The kids had a blast cheering on the players. I have never seen so much orange and purple in one place :) We can't wait till we can see a live game again. So much better than watching on the television.

While we were visiting the beautiful upstate for the football game we decided renting a boat for the day would be fun. Why not take advantage of the water before winter cools it all down too much to play in? Everyone had such a good time, I foresee a boat in our future... Now all I have to do is find someone who wants to buy one for me! Any takers? Anyone? Hello?

While we are on the subject of football, my son played again this year. Except, this year he played TACKLE! *eek* I'll admit, mommy was a little nervous. But after the first few games I chilled out and enjoyed it all. 

He played Center, same as last year. This year he was #50. He had so much fun. Plus my hubby coached and I loved seeing them have father/son bonding moments. Both my boys played a good season. The Panthers won some, and lost some but with such a great coaching staff and awesome players every minute was a blast.


While the boys enjoyed throwing the pig skin, my daughter put on her ballet shoes and found a new passion. She had done gymnastics for years but wanted a change. Ballet was just what she needed. Wow, how wonderful to sit and watch your little girl twirl in a tutu. It makes me smile every time.

There are quite a few friends of hers in the class and the teacher is wonderful. They are working on a cute recital dressed as fairies for this Spring. It'll take me that long to figure out how to work my video camera, ha ha.


 Halloween is always fun around our house. Every year we have a "boys vs. girls carving contest" And of course, every year there's a unanimous tie.
The kids are in charge of picking their pumpkin, the design, and gutting their own pumpkin.
Mom and Dad do most of the carving and light the candles. My daughter picks harder and harder designs every year, soon I won't be able to keep up!

Both kids had adorable costumes this year! There was a cute Chocolate Chip Cookie (carrying a milk jug as her treat bag) and a fearsome Medieval Sorcerer (sporting a stylish mustache) roaming the streets around our house. When the candy bags were full and the sugar highs had worn off the kids wanted MORE! So they helped me prepare for a fun Halloween party. Family and friends came from all over. I was proud of all the adults dressing up and getting in to the spirit.
The first 9 weeks are completed at school. Both kids have amazing teachers and both got STRAIGHT A'S! Way to go munchkins!!

Yup, we have had some fun the last few months. Thankfully God knows what we need when we need it. Currently my mom is dealing with some health issues and my daughter just had her tonsils and adenoids removed to prepare for a bigger ear surgery later this month. We got to play, laugh, and have loads of fun now we're rallying around each other weathering the storm. 

I hope you have had a good late summer / early fall. Stay warm as the temperature drops!

au revoir, adieu, ciao, till next time...
Photobucket

7.28.2010

Our Last Disney Park, Animal Kingdom

We've finally made it to the last park to be featured, Disney's Animal Kingdom. During this trip we didn't get to enjoy it as much as we have in the past, because my kids were pretty spent by this point & every person in the western hemisphere showed up at the front gates the same day we did. Oh yeah... and there was the dripping, steamy, humid, weather to contest with too :)


We went on the Dinosaur ride for the first time. Very cool, except it was a tad too real for my son who vowed to never go on it again as long as he lives. But the one ride everyone enjoyed no matter what age is Kilimanjaro Safari. (It reminds me a lot of the main ride at the Wild Animal Park in San Diego.) You are transported to Africa to save the reserve from poachers. All the wildlife wondering around without cages together is something to see.


It was a good day exploring all the worlds inside this huge park.
Our favorite things:

*my son: Kilimanjaro Safari, Primeval Whirl
*my daughter: Dinosaur, TriceraTop Spin, It's Tough to be a Bug
*my hubby: Maharajah Jungle Trek, Kilimanjaro Safari, Expedition Everest
*mine: Expedition Everest, The Tree of Life, Finding Nemo-the musical

We finished the day with a fun meal at The Rainforest Cafe. One of our favorite restaurants. I hope you've enjoyed this way too lengthy look at Disney World. You will now be returned to regular scheduled blogging :)

au revoir, adieu, ciao, till next time...
Photobucket

7.20.2010

Epcot Day

Yeah, yeah, yeah... I know I am WAY behind on adding the rest of our family's Orlando vacation on here. Sorry life just never slows down around our house and since summer is in full swing I am on permanent "mommy, entertain us!!" mode with the kiddies.

Epcot was a lot of fun. Sure it's more educational than the other parks, but don't think it is any less fun! We had a blast.


Favorite things break down:
*my son: Test Track, Turtle Talk with Crush
*my daughter: Mexico, Mission to Mars
*my hubby: Mission to Mars, Test Track
*me: the aquarium, The Worlds

One thing we all enjoyed was a band called "Off Kilter" in the Canada land. They were awesome! Very cool Irish bag pipe music set to drums and a rockin' show.


It was another scorcher. We spent a good deal of time splashing in the many fountains around Epcot to cool off. I for sure want to come back here again. I feel like we weren't able to see even half this park has to offer. One more park to go!!!

au revoir, adieu, ciao, till next time...
Photobucket

6.25.2010

Disney World Featuring The Magic Kingdom

On to our next installment of all things Mickey...

The most famous (and my favorite) of all the parks is The Magic Kingdom. I could easily spend the entire week at this 1 park. If you have ever been to Disneyland this is very similar. A lot of the same rides are shared between the two, the main difference is that MK is bigger and more spread out.

It was a scorching 5 million degrees Fahrenheit on the day we went. Thank goodness for breathable clothing and frozen water bottles!!


Favorite things breakdown:
*my son: Buzz Lightyear, Splash Mountain & Pirates of the Caribbean
*my daughter: It's a Small World, Dumbo, Peter Pan's Flight & Goofy's Barnstormer
*my mom: The enchanted Tiki Room, It's a Small World & whatever the grandkids liked
*my hubby & dad: every ride that made the kids happy
*me: Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, Mickey's Philharmagic & The Tea Cups


We took a break mid-day to cool off and take a short rest back at our cabin. Armed with some new "get up and go" we were able to stay and enjoy the park till late in the evening. I am also shocked and pleased to report that both kids were happy without 1 hissy fit ALL DAY! Wow, Walt Disney sure is a magical guy ;)


We've done MK quite a few times over the years and here's what I've discovered about crowds:
* Halloween is an amazing time of year to go. Trick or Treating with your favorite Disney characters is just so cool! And there are hardly any people, you get the park pretty much to yourself.
* Christmas and Thanksgiving are decorated to the max! The crowds are moderate, but nothing too crammed to enjoy yourself.
* Mid-June is HOT!!!! The crowds are big, but they were not near as bad as I expected.

We hope to try February/early spring next time around. Hope you've enjoyed your little tour of the Magic Kingdom :)

au revoir, adieu, ciao, till next time...
Photobucket

6.23.2010

Disney World Featuring Fort Wilderness

I have hundreds of pictures from our fun filled family vacation, there is NO WAY i am going to be able to talk about all we did in 1 post. So I have decided to break it up for ya'll :) This first installment is all about where we stayed: Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground.

We loved it! We opted for a cabin instead of tent camping.


My daughter took pony riding lessons, my son took archery lessons with the rest of our family. We swam, explored, watched the wonderful Hoop-Dee-Doo Review, enjoyed S'mores with Chip n Dale and made amazing wonderful family memories.




We rode our bikes all over the campground, and also rented a golf cart to tootle around in. It was so nice to wake up and head to the parks via boat too! It was a wonderful place to stay especially since we had a large group. I highly recommend staying here to anyone, even those that don't like camping. It's very magical, Disney magical. 

au revoir, adieu, ciao, till next time...
Photobucket