Browsing Category

Family

Stories about family life

Creating a Simple Sea Shell Wreath

Family By January 10, 2017 Tags: , No Comments

All the holiday gear is safely packed away for another year.  After I removed the green macramé Christmas tree I had hanging on my door, I realized it left a big empty spot.  Previously, I had a small wreath hanging there but it had seen better days, so I tossed it right before Christmas.

I wanted something I could leave up year round. Wreaths are usually what adorn the doors here in New England, I have never made (decorated) a wreath before but I felt inspired. Since I live close to the water I thought a sea shell theme would work. The shells around here aren’t especially interesting, mostly oysters and mussels.  So, I purchased a bag of sea shells from the craft store along with a wreath. I forgot to measure how big I needed it (and I usually guess too small) but it worked fine.

Too my surprise it went fairly quickly.  Sort the shells, arrange (then rearrange) and finally hot glue them on.  I felt really pleased with the result.  I made the mistake of attaching one shell to close to the hanger; you can see it in the photo.  It eventually fell off.  But even with freezing temps and opening and closing the door (quite a bit), everything has stayed put.

It was easy and inexpensive – wreath, sea shells and hot glue.  It took about 30 minutes.  It’s a simple design but I like how it turned out.

I follow a blogger who regularly creates wreaths out of recycled and repurposed materials.   Her creations are lovely and worth a look.  You can find her at The Boondocks Blog, http://www.theboondocksblog.com.

After I had finished and proudly hung my creation my husband mentioned to me that he heard that scallop shells once symbolized the voice of God or hearing from God.  Awesome.  Now I like my simple wreath even more.

Share:

The Family Christmas Picture

Family By December 22, 2016 Tags: , , No Comments

How can taking a simple family photo be such an ordeal?  All I wanted was to snap a quick picture to include in my Christmas cards.  Of course, in order to do that you have to get everyone’s cooperation!

My oldest son has never liked (or been agreeable to) getting his picture taken.  As you can see, he is the one with his tongue sticking out.  You would think he was 6 years old, instead of a successful, well-respected manager and engineer with two children. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. My oldest granddaughter also won’t cooperate getting her picture taken.  And, despite the fact that the youngest granddaughter has a great smile, she will only scowl in a staged setting. Sigh….it just shouldn’t be this hard!

After much coaxing and the promise of treats, my son got his tongue back in his mouth, the girls stop crying and agreed to face the camera.  However, I guess actual smiling comes at a higher price!  Next year I need to plan ahead…maybe the promise of a pony?!!!

Have a wonderful holiday!!!

Save

Share:

The Fake Christmas Tree

Family By December 7, 2016 Tags: , 1 Comment

When my kids flew the coop…actually, when the first one went off the college, I decided to buy a FAKE Christmas tree.  I thought it was a reasonable purchase.  Real trees can be expensive AND the worst part is…they shed!  The shedding is annoying.  It doesn’t matter how fresh the tree is or how diligently you keep it in water, it just wants to drop spiky pine needles all over the floor.  Buying an artificial tree and then reusing it year after year sounded very budget friendly and “green” to me.  However, my teenage children (at the time) didn’t see it that way.  You might as well have called Mrs. Grinch. My youngest son was especially distraught and I heard about this betrayal of Christmas for the next few years.  They eventually got over it, declaring they would never, ever have a fake Christmas tree in their homes. Ever!

I have had this artificial tree for more than 10 years now. This proves my point about it being economical and green.  But I evidently, for some strange reason, had never assembled it by myself.  I had farmed that job out to whatever children were hanging out at the house at the time.  Now that everyone is busy, it falls on me to get it up and decorated. The tree is actually a colored coded puzzle, with many pieces.  Thankfully this year I knew what I was doing.  Last year was a different story.tree2-a

I put the tree up early this season, we were watching the grandkids on Black Friday and I wanted them to help decorate it.  That part went fine.  It wasn’t until the next evening when my husband and I were curled up on the couch, watching a movie that we heard the crash.  My decade old, fake Christmas tree had taken a nose dive in the living room.  Bummer.  Nothing broke, expect the tree stand, luckily I had only let the grandkids put on non-breakable ornaments.  But it was still a bummer.

I am hosting a big Christmas cookie decorated event in a few weeks so I needed (or felt like I needed) a Christmas tree . Otherwise, I probably would have waited until the after Christmas sales and looked for a new one.  The next afternoon, while I was pondering this, my youngest son, the one who years ago thought I was the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, showed up at my house with a brand new, easy to assemble, artificial Christmas tree.  I was shocked, surprised and touched.  He had a big grin on his face, shrugged and then put it together for me.   Long live my new, FAKE Christmas tree!tree-a

Share:

A Little Travel Adventure

Family By November 17, 2016 Tags: , , 3 Comments

I had an interesting experience with the TSA last weekend, on my way home from a short vacation. First, I want to mention that I never get stopped in the security line at the airport.  I never have to go through scanning more than once.  My bags generally pass though on the belt with no problem.  Therefore, I gave little thought to going through airport security Sunday afternoon.

I was cleared to go through Pre-TSA but my husband was not, being the sweet, loving, supportive wife that I am, I hung out with him in the long security line instead of ducking out and taking the shorter, easier route.  This was a mistake.  When my turn finally came, my bags made it through fine but I did not. I obeyed the petite TSA agent working the body scanner, positioned myself on the painted feet and put my hands above my head. Then I walked out of the scanner and stood in front of the larger, more foreboding agent waiting for him to wave me on (daydreaming about finding an iced coffee somewhere).  As I stood there, the large, blond male agent was suddenly replaced with Olga, the ex-Russian wrestler, turned woman’s prison guard, now working for the TSA.  She completely blocked my exit and then motioned to a picture of my body scan (I am not sure she used words). The screen showed three large dots over my private parts (it looked like I was wearing matching yellow underwear) and one small yellow dot on my wrist.

I looked at her in disbelief and immediately held out my naked wrist for inspection.  She wasn’t impressed. I was speechless but she was not.  She immediately began telling me what was going to happen.  I listened to her, stunned and a bit embarrassed.  She went on and on and on in a low monotone voice explaining what she was going to do in order to “investigate” the yellow dots.   I am sure my mouth was hanging open and I was blinking.  YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME….this is a joke, right?  A test to see how people react?  Understand, I wasn’t wearing any jewelry (no hidden body piercing under the yellow dots), nothing in my jean pockets…I wasn’t even wearing makeup!  I was pretty calm up until she asked me if I understood and if I wanted to go behind a privacy screen. OMG!  I declined, but now I am worried I didn’t fully understand what she was going to do.  Why else would you need a privacy screen?!

Then it began.  The pat down, which included lifting my top (twice) so she could feel around the waist band of my pants and of course, touching the rest of my body. She did seem to be quick and respectful which I was grateful for.  Especially since I was providing a good distraction and entertainment for the other passengers waiting to get through the line. Honestly, I always look, wondering who they caught.  I will never do that again!  My body search concluded with a hand wipe and scan.  Of course, nothing came up.

When we were almost done, I felt semi brave and asked why I was flagged? Olga just shrugged and said sometimes its loose clothing.  I thanked her towards the end of our visit.  Why?  I don’t know.  Except, I appreciate their diligence to keeping the friendly skies safe.  I didn’t tell her that though, I didn’t want them to think I was trying to suck up or cause a distraction giving them any reason to detain me longer.  I did have on loose clothing, top and bottom.  I have lost weight and decided to wear my comfy loose jeans to travel in. However, I am now considering purchasing a pair of black leggings.  Then they wouldn’t have to pat me down, they could see everything!

My husband was moving our items off the belt when I was finished.  It felt like an hour but I guess it was only 5 minutes or so.  What was his comment once we cleared security?  With wide eyes he declares, “wow, that was intense!”  I have to agree. Next time I am leaving him in the dust and taking the Pre-TSA option.

Share:

Movies that Make You Hungry

Family By October 2, 2016 Tags: , 5 Comments

We recently watched the movie Chef.  This was the second time, the first time was in the theater – afterwards we were famished.  This time I was prepared.  I made heavy duty snacks to eat while we watched, which lead to a discussion afterwards about movies that make you hungry.  Our criteria?  You actually want to find or make the food you see on the screen.

Here are the top 5 foodie flicks we came up with that qualify as generating hunger while you watch:

Chef

I had never even heard of a Cuban sandwich before I watched this movie. All the versions they came up with made my mouth water (especially the one in Texas). I finally found a fairly authentic one in Las Vegas, it didn’t disappoint.  However, the best thing in this movie was the grilled cheese sandwich he made for his son.  OMG!  We have actually tried to recreate it at home.  In the bonus material, on the dvd, Jon Favreau discusses how he learned to make it from a real chef.

Ramen Girl

Despite the actually story of her trying to finding herself, this movie makes you crave a big steaming bowl of ramen noodles.  Not the dry kind in the package from the grocery store.  After some searching, we found a really good ramen shop in NYC (Ramen Setagaya), we’ve returned several times.  Their bowl of ramen looks like the one in the movie, which is probably just a typical bowl of ramen but that is what we were after.

East Side Sushi

I reviewed this movie earlier in the year, you can read that post here.  Not only did we want to eat sushi afterwards but it also gives you a craving for Mexican.  I even wanted to eat all the strange sushi combinations she came up with.

No Reservations

Every time I watch this movie I want to eat spaghetti.  Nick, the sous chef, makes some for Zoe in order to get her to eat.  It looks like just a bowl of noodles and sauce but you know (from the way they cook) it tastes amazing. Then, of course, there is the tiramisu he makes Kate for dessert. Hmmm.

Ratatouille

Yes, I realize this is a cartoon, but I had never heard of the dish ratatouille before this movie came out.  It looks so delicious and then, the restaurant critic has an out of body experience when he eats it – why would you not want to try it? After searching the web for a recipe that looks like the one in the movie (someone actually posted a Disney version), I made it and it does taste good.  However, mine didn’t look as good as it does in the cartoon!

I am sure there are other delicious, mouthwatering movies out there that I haven’t seen…yet.  One of them, that I missed in the theater but hope will come out on dvd soon is The Hundred-Food Journey with Helen Mirren. I have heard it would rank right up there on my list of best food movie.  I will have to wait and let you know.

Share:

Making Memories on Purpose

Family By September 4, 2016 Tags: , , 8 Comments

My mother-in-law came for a visit recently.  This was her second visit since our latest granddaughter was born.  She is called Gigi by her great grandchildren. She has to travel two thousand miles to get here so her visits are infrequent.  My oldest granddaughter loves Gigi, even though they have only spent a handful of times together.apple tree-resized

I don’t remember my great-grandmother (my mother’s grandmother).  All pictures, only black and white, portrayed her as severe looking.  That could have been the popular pose of the time but the stories I hear about her agree with the pictures!  Yikes.  Even though she was alive for several years after I was born, there are no pictures of her holding me or even with us together.  That is not the kind of memory I wanted my granddaughters to have.mack and gigi-resized

Before Gigi arrived I made a plan to have her spend some quality time with them. Last year the oldest one was 2 1/2, we went apple picking, feed the ducks and had a picnic.  This year I arranged to take both of them but on separate days so they could enjoy Gigi without competition.  It worked out well.  I planned a visit to the beach, lunch and shopping.  Both the girls and Gigi enjoyed it.

I made sure to take pictures, then I framed one so they could put it on shelf in their room. I feel like I am documenting history.  Today it might not mean much to them or their parents but when they are much older they may treasure a photograph of them and their great grandmother. I would have (especially if she was smiling!).grandkids-resized

Save

Save

Share:

Mexican Fiesta

Family By July 31, 2016 Tags: , , 8 Comments

This week we went back to my husband’s home town of Albuquerque, New Mexico, for his class reunion. His mom lives there, so we try to make the trek from New England to the Southwest about once a year.  This time we decided to relax, not do any sightseeing and eat.  Albuquerque has the most amazing food.  Anything you want to eat…they have it.  Of course, our main focus was Mexican food.  Yum.  Mexican restaurants in Connecticut cannot compare to the delicious food found in New Mexico, no matter how hard they try.  This was our main attraction this week…enjoying the delicious food.  Oh yes, and the class reunion. 🙂

Red chili, green chili, breakfast burritos, tamales, tacos, enchiladas, sopaipillas, we ate it all. Except the pig snout…I threw that in for fun.  I actually found them proudly displayed at an indoor market.

mexican4tamales

mexicanmexican2

The most interesting one of all….

pig snout2

 

This post shared at:
Grand Social Link Party
Over the Moon link party
Wonderful Wednesdays Blog Hop
Welcome Home Wednesdays
This is How We Roll Link Party

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Share:

Mission Impossible to Finished

Family By July 3, 2016 Tags: , , 15 Comments

All I am hearing in my head right now is…the Mission Impossible theme song.  I know I will not be able to type out the tune, so I will let you hum along in your head with me.

This is an update to a previous post.lego15

Back in December my (grown) sons received the S.H.I.L.D. Helicarrier Lego set, with close to 3000 pieces, as a Christmas gift.  They were beyond thrilled.  If you didn’t get a chance to read that post, you can find it here.lego8-resized

 

 

It took these two professional engineers almost 6 months to put it together.  In all fairness, they both work full time jobs, one has a wife and two small children and the other has a girlfriend and a new YouTube channel.  These things tend to get in the way of serious FUN and ADVENTURE. However, not to let go of a challenge – they kept after it until it was done.lego9-resized

My youngest son was always the kid that played with all the Lego people, packing them into every space possible on a model.  The older one, not so much, he was more into the model itself.  Thus, the close-up pictures of the Lego people were taken by my youngest, while the table shot was provided by my oldest.  It was a great team effort.lego11-resizeid

 

For those of you looking for a good family project – Lego has a solution for you.  The Avenger’s Helicarrier, it’s better than a 1000 piece puzzle (times 3)!  It will keep them busy for months.

 

 

This post linked to:

Over the Moon Link Party
Grand Social
Nanahood Blog Hop
Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop
Welcome Home Wednesdays
This is How We Roll Link Party

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Share:

My Thankful Journey

Family By June 12, 2016 Tags: , , 16 Comments

In general, I am a positive, upbeat person.  However, we all have those periods when things get to us or drag us down.

I went through one of those seasons recently and decided to take some “positive” action against my “negative” attitude.  I started a Thankful Journal.  I don’t journal, I didn’t keep a secret diary when I was a teen or tween.  I tried once, but quickly abandoned it when I couldn’t think of anything interesting to write about.  Of course, now I blog weekly about all kinds of things….hmmm.

I started my Thankful Journal with a purpose, rules and a deadline.  I was determined to get out of the doldrums, this was my main purpose.  My rules were simple and straight forward, I had to write down 5 things I was thankful for every day (I couldn’t miss a day), they couldn’t repeat and I could not use my family in the list.  The reason for the last rule was that I already know I am thankful for my family, I was trying to stretch my gratitude muscle. My self-imposed duration for the exercise in thankfulness was 30 days.  I figured that I should be able to do it for 30 days.

I found a cute notebook (duh) and began my journey.  It was not as easy as it sounds.2016-04-phone-pics 1479 Some days I was in bed and realized I did not make my thankful list for the day. I wasn’t even sure where I left the notebook.  I learned to keep it close and take it to bed with me, so I wasn’t stomping down the stairs at night looking for it. I challenged myself to take it seriously and look carefully at my life to acknowledge the small, wonderful blessings that I have.  The first few days were kind of dry and rote.  But as I kept at it and searched for interesting things I was thankful for, it became easier.

I found that I was grateful for things like a warm breeze blowing on my face instead of an icy winter blast or that a ceiling fan was finally installed in my bedroom and I can sleep better at night.  I realized I am grateful for living in the modern world with indoor bathrooms, air conditioning and hot water running out of my kitchen tap.  Things we can easily take for granted.  The list goes on and grows as your imagination embraces thankfulness.

The 30 day exercise did help me shake my gloomy state. And yes, I did all 30 days, I didn’t miss any (I did come close though).  I also began having more of a grateful awareness in my every day journey.2016-04-phone-pics 1474

I encourage you to do your own Thankful Journal – use your rules – then see what you discover about yourself.

I’m just thankful for everything, all the blessings in my life, trying to stay that way. I think that’s the best way to start your day and finish your day. It keeps everything in perspective

— Tim Tebow

 

 

This post shared at:
Over the Moon Link Party
Grand Social
Nanahood
Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop
Welcome Home Wednesdays
This is How We Roll Link Party

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Share:

My Favorite Aquarium

Family By May 22, 2016 Tags: , , , , 14 Comments

My three year old granddaughter likes aquariums and so does my husband.  Consequently, I have visited 4 aquariums in the last year, in 3 different states.  That is more than I have visited in the two previous decades!  It’s not that I don’t enjoy marine life, it just hasn’t been at the top of my ‘to do’ list. I might write about all my aquarium adventures in a future post but now I want to share about my favorite aquarium to date, the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead, NY.fish2

For my birthday my husband took me on a weekend trip to Long Island.  We had never explored this area of New York before, we took the ferry over in order to drive around and take a look.  We brought our oldest granddaughter (the one who likes aquariums) with us, she had fun and we were able to spend some quality time with her.aquarium-fountain

Since it was my birthday (weekend) the aquarium let me in free, a nice saving off the admission price.   I had already booked our ferry passage home, at a specific time, therefore we allotted 2 hours for the aquarium visit. This was not nearly enough, a family could easily bring lunch and stay for 3 or 4 hours.  We arrived when it opened and since it wasn’t crowded, we could move freely and quickly.  It’s not that the aquarium is huge but every bit of it is designed to draw you in.  The first thing you do is take a walking bridge across a pond that has skates and various fish swimming in it, ending at a waterfall.  They have beautiful murals painted on some walls and the other walls are encrusted with sand and shells, with huge seashell wall sconces.  Whoever designed the aquarium focused on detail and it definitely enhances the visitor experience.atlantis3

My husband really likes rays, he finds them fascinating.  They had a ray touch tank (as most aquariums do) but they also let you feed them.  Wow!  In fact you were able to feed a variety of animals.  I remember when I was a child, my grandmother would take me to see the seals at the zoo.  She always purchased the seal food, so I could feed them.  I loved it and have fond memories of her and I doing that together.  I am glad they do that here.penquins

Besides the general aquarium fare, they have a reptile house, a Japanese Snow money exhibit and a building from the lost city of Atlantis with Poseidon sitting on top.  This building is designed for the budding archeologist. Kids can dig through ruins, shift dirt looking for artifacts and find  ‘gold nuggets’ (aka small rocks) in the gold mine.  Awesome idea.

This is a beautiful and interesting aquarium inside and out.  If you ever find yourself in Long Island, NY this must be on your list of places to visit.

Here is their website in case you are interested – Longislandaquarium.com

This post linked to:
Happiness is Homemade Link Party
Over the Moon Link Party
Grandma’s Briefs
Wordless Wednesdays
nanahood Blog Hop
Wonderful Wednesday
Creative Muster
Welcome Home Wednesdays Link Party
This is How We Roll Link Party
Friday Frivolity Linky
Sweet Inspiration Link Party
Share: