What My Boys are Cooking

Each summer the boys are in charge of one dinner a week.

The only condition in choosing food is that it can’t be something they have already cooked this summer.

The boys enjoy cooking and have been pretty good about ensuring that there is either a fruit or salad with the meal. They have made sure to steer clear of any veggies on the menu.



Here’s what they have served:

Week 1:

 Alex: Grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup, grapes
Andrew: Beef tacos and cantaloupe
Week 2:
Alex: Chicken patties on bun, fries, and strawberries
Andrew: Cheese sticks as an appetizer 🙂 , 3 types of pizza (including mac n’cheese pizza), and blackberries & blueberries
Week 3:
Alex: Cheese raviolis with homemade red sauce, cheese bread, and salad
Andrew: Homemade calzones with salad
Week 4:
Alex: Spaghetti, homemade red sauce, homemade meatballs, and salad
Andrew: Hot dogs, chips, fruit, and yogurt

Maybe not all are the healthiest options but I want to make sure it’s their meal and not mine.

I’m hoping all of this cooking by them pays off so in a few years they will be doing all the summer cooking (insert evil cackle).

Summer Reading So Far

Next to Love: A Novel by Ellen Feldman

5 out of 5 stars


From Amazon: t’s 1941. Babe throws like a boy, thinks for herself, and never expects to escape the poor section of her quiet Massachusetts town. Then World War II breaks out, and everything changes. Her friend Grace, married to a reporter on the local paper, fears being left alone with her infant daughter when her husband ships out; Millie, the third member of their childhood trio, now weds the boy who always refused to settle down; and Babe wonders if she should marry Claude, who even as a child could never harm a living thing. As the war rages abroad, life on the home front undergoes its own battles and victories; and when the men return, and civilian life resumes, nothing can go back to quite the way it was.
From postwar traumas to women’s rights, racial injustice to anti-Semitism, Babe, Grace, and Millie experience the dislocations, the acute pains, and the exhilaration of a society in flux. Along the way, they will learn what it means to be a wife, a mother, a friend, a fighter, and a survivor. Beautiful, startling, and heartbreaking, Next to Love is a love letter to the brave women who shaped a nation’s destiny.

I really love historical fiction books so I found this book a good read. I loved the characters, all though at times I was frustrated with them and for them. The pace of the book just right with the chapters follow the close friends for about 25 years, detailing their struggles, triumphs, and relationship. I stayed up several nights getting this book finished.

Mommy Tracked by Whitney Gaskell

2.5 out of 5 stars


From Amazon: For Anna, Grace, Juliet, and Chloe, the idyllic town of Orange Cove, Florida, is home…but even in paradise, balancing the challenges of motherhood and life is never easy.

With a son in the throes of the Terrible Twos, divorced restaurant critic Anna has too much on her plate to reenter the frightening world of dating—no matter how expertly her new admirer wines and dines her….Grace has three beautiful daughters and the perfect husband, yet she’s increasingly obsessed with one nagging flaw: her excess baby weight…. Ambitious Juliet is desperate to make partner at her law firm. Fortunately, her husband stays home with their twins. But at the office, Juliet is finding more than work to occupy her time….When newest mom Chloe gives birth, her husband seems indifferent to parenting their son. Chloe is so overwhelmed that she finds herself slipping into a nasty habit she thought she’d overcome.

Kind of couldn’t wait for this book to end. It started off promising but I just didn’t care what happened to the characters. Using a supplement to help you lose wait and you end up in the hospital? I had no sympathy. About to have an affair with your boss? No sympathy. Your husband gives a stranger your baby so he can go play golf? Complete sympathy but that only lasts for a few pages.

The Beginner’s Goodbye: A Novel by Anne Tyler

3 out of 5 stars


From Amazon: Anne Tyler gives us a wise, haunting, and deeply moving new novel in which she explores how a middle-aged man, ripped apart by the death of his wife, is gradually restored by her frequent appearances—in their house, on the roadway, in the market.
Crippled in his right arm and leg, Aaron spent his childhood fending off a sister who wants to manage him. So when he meets Dorothy, a plain, outspoken, self-dependent young woman, she is like a breath of fresh air. Unhesitatingly he marries her, and they have a relatively happy, unremarkable marriage. But when a tree crashes into their house and Dorothy is killed, Aaron feels as though he has been erased forever. Only Dorothy’s unexpected appearances from the dead help him to live in the moment and to find some peace.
Gradually he discovers, as he works in the family’s vanity-publishing business, turning out titles that presume to guide beginners through the trials of life, that maybe for this beginner there is a way of saying goodbye.

Several years ago I read Anne Tyler’s book, Digging to America, and loved it. So when I saw The Beginner’s Goodbye on the library shelf I decided to give it a whirl. To be honest, I was disappointed but I think that’s only because I remember loving Digging to America. This book deals with Aaron and how he handles the death of his wife Dorothy and everyone trying to help him. Interestingly, the book is written using Aaron’s voice so all of the thoughts are from a male perspective.  While I found the characters pleasing I did not get a great sense of caring one way or the other what happened to them. If you’ve got a choice between reading this book ot Digging to America, go with the latter.

The Most Expensive Ruler, Ever!

Let me present to you the most expensive ruler ever. EVER!


The problem with enjoying crafts is that when see an item you think, “I can make that.”

When in reality, you should just by the item.

It would save you and your family a lot of pain in the long run.

At least my family wishes I would just buy it.

One afternoon I took the kids to a local craft market.

There are hundreds of vendors set up and I enjoy wondering the aisles looking at the many different projects set up.

After wondering for awhile, I saw a large beautiful white ruler. I thought it would be so much fun to write my kids heights onto it. Plus is would make a nice addition to our living room.

But I thought, $20! I can make that for cheaper.

So immediately after leaving the craft fair we headed to our local habitat restore where I found a board just the right size for $1. I had all the paints on hand so a $1 ruler it was going to be.

Not so.

After leaving the store and standing the board against the back of my car, I put Caroline in her car seat.

And that’s when I heard it.

A big crash.

“Umm, Mom, ” I heard my  11 year old say.

As I walked back to the rear of the car, I saw I had broken a tail light.

Not my tail light. SOMEONE ELSE’S TAILLIGHT!

I said, “Was that taillight already broken?”

“No Mom, the board fell and you broke the light.”

Sadly, my first instinct was to look around and hussle the boys into the car.

As I sat in the car, I realized this was the wrong thing to do and not quite the lesson I wanted to teach my kids. So I wrote my name and number on a piece of paper and left it on their windshield.

About an hour later I received a call from a gentleman wanting to know why I had put my name and number on his car window.


After listening to my explanation he thanked me for letting him know and told me he would call with an estimate in a few days after he returned to his home in Tennessee.

I heard from him soon after and found out that his cousin works at a Chevrolet dealership and the new part would cost $150.

I sent him a check and remarkably a few days later his wife sent a thank you card.

So now his tail light is fixed and I have the world’s most expensive ruler




$1 + $150 = $151 ruler

Your Public Service Announcement…A Mammogram

Women. Listen up!

I am giving a public service announcement because I care about your health.

Mammograms are okay.

Mammograms are not as bad as everyone says.

Mammograms are important.

A few weeks ago I had my annual mammogram. Actually this was only my second ever mammogram since I am 39.

I arrived at the office at 7:17 AM because my appointment was for 7:15. AM

After handing over my insurance card I was handed 3 sheets to fill out which made me ponder

…Wouldn’t it be great if men had the periods? Then they would have to write down the date of their last menstrual cycle 64 times on the same group of medical forms.

…Wouldn’t it be great if doctors and nurses actually read the paperwork you filled out?

…Wouldn’t it be great if Bradley Cooper was performing the breast exam?

But no, it was Melinda performing my mammogram.

After she verified my name and birth date, she handed me a gown and a packet to wash off my deodorant. Messes with the scans apparently.

Melinda then walked back into the room and instructed me to stand facing the xray machine. Apparently if the machine is not making an indentation on your arm, chin, and stomach, you are not close enough. “Closer please.”

After taking my right breast into her hand, she maneuvered me into position.

“This is going to squeeze,” are the famous words. And really, they are quite accurate. I have always heard how horribly painful a mammogram is but I don’t think that’s quite true.

If you’ve ever breast fed, you’ve got this.

Some one else manhandling your breasts?- Check.

Have someone play tug of war with your nipple? Check. Been there done that.

Once the machine has applied pressure to your breast, you have about 15 seconds of being in this position. Quickly switch and complete the left side. You are halfway done.

The xray machine is then moved so that pictures of different angles can be taken. Another 30 seconds and you are finished.

Really, that’s it.

1 minute of your time.

Two weeks later you will receive a letter in the mail giving you the results of your scan.

Mammogram. Easiest breastfeeding ever.

Mammogram. Important.

Mammogram. Just Do it.

Oven Jambalaya

I am reposting this recipe today since I have made this delicious dinner twice in the past week. It’s great for bringing to work as a lunch and also on a 100  degree day. Okay that is partly a lie but it’s so good that you will even eat it on a hot day 🙂

When we had our Mardi Gras party one of the items my husband cooked was Oven Jambalaya. It was a big hit then and again when I made it a few days ago.

The recipe is titled, “Mrs. Casey’s Oven Jambalaya,” since I got the recipe from Mrs. Casey, a long time family friend.

If you decide to make this recipe I promise you will question the outcome after you pile everything into the same dish.  Stick with it. Put the dish into the oven and let the magic happen 🙂

Click here to download the recipe.

A HOLY Mother F****er Service

Yesterday while we were at church an older man leaned over and whispered, “Your children are so well behaved.”

I smiled, thanked him, and gave myself a little encouraging mental tap on the shoulder.

Less than a minute later Caroline broke my toe.

I think.

I was standing while singing the hymn when I felt a huge pain surge through my foot.

It is only by the grace of God that I did not scream,” Holy Mother F***er.”

I looked down to see that she had pushed down the little kneeling step onto my big toe.

My open toed sandals did not cushion the blow.

I sternly but quietly said, “Stop that right now. That hurt, ” to which she turned her body away from me and started “singing” the hymn.

I’m pretty sure it went something like this:

What a fool my mother is…She can’t do anything to me in church…Everyone is watching us here so she will not put me in time out or give me a spanking….I love church.

Yes, I’m willing to bet that’s how her song went because 5 minutes later she decided to do it again.

But this time she finished off by standing on the bench as well.

This time I did make a noticeable sound.

While I glanced down at my toe it was red but not bleeding.

I hoisted her onto my hip and would not put her down for the last 10 minutes of the service which I’m pretty sure really lasted for 45 minutes.

After church I spoke to her again about how much that hurt and she seemed to get it.

Either way, I’m wearing tennis shoes to church next week.

6 Kids at the Pool

So the other day I took 6 kids to the pool by myself.

I know, breath a moment, and take that in.

Now this wasn’t any ordinary pool either.

It was a 50 meter pool, with a separate shallow end, and a separate kids pool.

A bit stressful keeping tabs on everyone as they swam with their buddy.

3 were mine, 3 were friends

11 yr old, 11 yr old, 8 yr old, 7 yr old, 5 yr old, and a 4 yr old.


Putting sunscreen on 6 children – awful and long

Seeing friends go down the water slide with huge smiles – delightful

Having the lifeguard tell my daughter to stop climbing up the water slide – not surprising

Having my 4 year old go off the diving board – exciting

Treading water while holding the 4 year old and 5 year old in the deep end – hard

Watching boys race each other in the water – amusing

Losing two pair of NEW goggles – frustrating

Everyone getting out of the pool when I asked – miracle

Arrive home & eating a piece of cake before dinner while hiding in pantry – well deserved.

I am old…

I am old.

At least my two teenage babysitters make me feel old.

Let me explain.

We have two teenage sisters who babysit our kids occasionally.

After a night of babysitting I typically drive them home.

During our short drive home I hear, “Yes, ma’am” about 10 times. It starts to make me feel like I’m a senior citizen. I realize I am not sixteen years old and look one hundred and four to these girls, but seriously, must I be called ma’am?

Isn’t that reserved for women my mother’s age? – Sorry, mom. You are ageless in my eyes:)

The other reason I feel old with them?

When I finish telling a story or a tidbit about my day, they say “That’s so funny.”

Every time. For every story.

And that makes me realize…it’s not funny.

They are just saying that to an old lady who is trying to entertain them during what is probably the longest drive of their life. For me it’s a quick 10 min drive. For them, it’s must feel like we live in different states.

And what’s the worst?

“That’s so funny, ma’am.”

I think I’m going to start looking for a middle age babysitter.

A Well Balanced Meal

My 8 year old made his own lunch today.


A banana.

A container of banana cream pie yogurt.

And a piece of banana bread.

A fruit.

A dairy.

A whole grain.

Obviously someone’s been paying attention in health class this year.