Monday, June 29, 2015

Father's Day Rehash

Messy Messy Fail - My two-boys-and-a-mama trip to Wegmans was a super fail - toddler did NOT want to go into the double steering wheel cart.  Why he didn't is beyond me.  A fight between he and I ensued in the cart corral.  I saw the cart boys jaws hit the ground as they saw me shoving the toddler into the cart kicking and screaming.

Tidy Victory - On my first day of vacation at home, I have - cleaned up barf, loaded up on groceries, picked up eggs from the egg lady, found tinsel for the kids streamers, fed children lunch, emptied and refilled the dish washer, put away two loads of laundry, taken out the garbage, arranged a nice bouquet for the kitchen, caught up on the RHofOC, fed everyone dinner, baths, made a card and finished this post.  Not too shabby if I don't say so myself.  Don't worry, today will make up for my lack of work tomorrow when I'm in my classrooms for the second time trying to pack up.

As previously mentioned, I did not went to reveal our plans for Father's Day in fear of ruining the surprise.  That would be have been anti-climatic now wouldn't it have been?

Typically I have the boy(s) make a card for Daddy, a homemade gift and a store-bought gift.  But I went with a different idea this year.  Instead of a card and a homemade gift, I smooshed the ideas into one and had the boys create a Daddy Book.

If you look extremely closely the cover says "We Love You Daddy", but the toddler spread his creativity across the title of the book.

Super easy - I purchased a 1 1/2 inch binder with a clear cover, had the boy(s) tell me why they loved Daddy, wrote their response and then let them draw pictures.

Nothing too complicated or involved, just different colored paper, crayons and washable markers.

The toddler was really into drawing smiley faces everywhere.

The baby's minimalistic touch.

The book only ended up being about three pages - the toddler drew three including the cover and the baby smashed a crayon on one.  The toddler announced - "I'm done with it.".  I guess you cannot force creativity.

We (I) also purchased this nifty little gift for Daddy - it's ear protection with an AM/FM radio and mp3 player input by 3M.  My husband likes to mow the lawn with his iPod, but now he can protect his hearing and be able to hear his music much better, or listen to the radio discuss the most recent hockey or football game tragedy.

Lastly, I always ask my husband what he would like to eat for his birthday or Father's day meal - I'm happy to make anything for him if I can!

Last year (or was it two?) he requested fried chicken.  It was really good, but I ended up burning my hand pretty good on the hot oil with the last batch.  I still have some lovely scars as a sign up my dedication.

This year he requested Italian chicken sticks, sweet potato fries and salad.  I used Paula Deen's recipe for Italian chicken sticks, this recipe for sweet potato fries and a simple spring mix salad with cherry tomatoes, shaved asiago cheese and olive oil & balsamic vinegar salad dressing.  For dessert, we went out to a quiet local general store for ice cream.

I was so excited about the sweet potato fries - this was the first time I've ever been able to make them CRUNCHY!   I don't know if it was soaking the fries in water as the post suggested or the fact that I didn't crowd the baking sheet (for once!), but it worked!  My husband originally just wanted store-bought but he was much happier with the homemade fries.

All in all we had a fun, quiet Father's Day at home together as family.  It was really nice to just stay in and not have to worry about packing up diaper bags, spare underwear, snacks, etc.  I sometimes have to tell myself that things don't have to be made into a huge production to be fun or successful.  They just have to come from the heart.

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Oh Hey, Friday - My Summer Has Begun

Messy Messy Fail - Hardly any strawberries at patch number one.  Apparently it's been too rainy and not hot enough yet.  

Tidy Victory - Second patch was much better, but they opened two weekends ago.  The berries had been picked over but we still got what we needed.  

And now that summer has begun, I need to come up with a plan, some goals.  For myself and for the house.  Lots to do.  But that's for another post.

In the meantime, a few interesting things that have occurred now that my summer has begun.

<One> Strawberries - In Western New York, the beginning to middle of June is strawberry season.  Some excellent girlfriends and I always get together for a date of picking and time together chatting it up in the strawberry fields.  Better yet, strawberry picking is soooooooo inexpensive when you do the work yourself.  It took a few hours, but I was able to pick 6 quarts.  Planning on making a lot of freezer jam next week (my first full week of summer vacation woo hop!)

<Two> This Thing - I'm not sure who designed or created this item, but my mind is blown.  Our good friend Aunt Nini brought two of these to me at school, and I had finally had the opportunity to use it at my high school's graduation at Chautauqua Institution.  I have never seen the toddler keep so clean while eating an ice cream cone.  #Mindblown.

<Three> Graduation - It was a tradition for our high school to have their graduation ceremony at the beautiful Chautauqua Institution for many years when the location was changed to a local venue in town.  It never worked like it did at Chautauqua.  Thank goodness it has been moved back!  The atmosphere, history and beauty of the institute just makes for a marvelous ceremony.

<Four> Rain - I don't think we have gone a day without rain in the last week.  One bitter cold winter followed by a wet spring and summer makes for a not-so-good start to summer.  But the rain HAS to stop at sometime, doesn't it?  I continue to blame my lack of planting on the weather.  

<Five> Fourth of July - I LOVE going to see our local parades (as mentioned in this post) and fireworks on the 4th of July.  Luckily, my husband will be able to spend the holiday with us along with some friends to celebrate the holiday (he's usually working at the Chautauqua opera house that night).  I'm trying to come up with a non-pointy streamer craft to make with or without the toddler to use instead of a pointy American flag at the parade.  We'll see how that turns out, you know how crafty I am.  Stay tuned.

What plans are you making for the 4th of July?  

Linking up with....

Polka-Dotty Place

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Topic's Cucumber Dip

Messy Messy Fail - I haven't planted a thing yet.  I've moved a few plants, dug some things up (to make way for the driveway/front porch) but no annuals and no new perennials.  Get on that, Katie, your garden looks like insane!

Tidy Victory - 6 quarts of fresh strawberries picked with a good friend, and it only took 2 hours (heavy on the sarcasm).  Not to mention the delish lunch we stumbled upon at a small New York style pizzeria.  My mouth is watering just typing about it.

Friday, June 19, 2015

That's a Wrap

Messy Messy Fail - Sometimes I am a great multi-tasker, other times not so much.  Today - not so much.  I had to return to the high school three times after I initially left to take the toddler to his UPK open house (ahhhhhh!) to get/do things I forgot to do.  Boo!

Tidy Victory - I knew I shouldn't have waited this long to find a dress for the wedding I am attending with my husband tomorrow.  However, the Bon-Ton had quite the decent selection and I found one, on sale, and they even let me use a COUPON ON A SALE ITEM!  I about fell over - I ended up paying $27 for his dress, woo hoo!

The craziness is finally coming to a halt and the end is near - successful retirement party, baby is baptized, driveway is fully paved and I finished my last concert last night.  It's funny - there is a mad dash of activity at the end of the school year and then it comes to a grinding, SCREECHING halt.  Suddenly, I have nothing to do but spend time with my family.  A couple more small performances with students next week but that is it.  With going to a wedding and celebrating Father's Day this weekend, I've been wrapping up a bunch of things.

<One> Wedding Outfit - As mentioned above, the stars aligned and I found a great dress for a smokin' deal.  I was truly worried, the choices in my neck of the woods can be extremely limited.  I tried on about 10 dresses to start, but this one had structure, hit my waist in just the right spot and I just love the color!  Here is my outfit I've planned for the wedding tomorrow:

<Two> Lancome Lady - She first approached me as I was trying to pick out a dress - did I want to try some foundation, get a color match and some samples?  I originally didn't think I had time, but I found my dress so quickly that I made time!  She matched me to color Porcelaine D'Ivoire 130 in the Dual Finish Powder/Foundation.  She applied it with a brush and it had nice coverage, not too little but just enough.  AND it smelled nice.  Got a sample of Genifique Youth Activating Serum, too!

<Three> Elizabeth Arden Lady - She approached me after I bought my dress and I had just ran over to the perfume counter to see if there were any gift sets on sale.  I used to wear Chance by Chanel (the gold one), Ralph by Ralph Lauren and Cool Water (hello, 90's).  Lately I've been looking into purchasing Honey by Marc Jacobs, but the Elizabeth Arden lady introduced me to Untold.  Now typically, I do not associate Elizabeth Arden fragrances with young, lights scents (with the exception of Sunflower, hello early 90's), but she had me try Untold and I actually liked it.  It contains notes of bergamot (love!), peony, gardenia and sandalwood.  It's amazing how scents you would never think could go together would make such a beautiful smell.  When things smell good, it calms me down.  I have air fresheners everywhere I go.

<Four> Card Making - We really love making cards in this house.  It's fun, crafty, creative and inexpensive.  It's also a great way of letting people know how much you care by taking the time to make something special just for them.  My sister, the toddler's godmother, has a birthday next week so I had him make a card for her.  Some colored paper, washable markers and clearance stickers from Wegman's was all we needed.

<Five> Father's Day - I am ready with our store-bought gift, a homemade gift, a card (didn't make this one but it was so funny I had to buy it!) and plans to hang out around the house all day.  I'll discuss in further detail later so as not to ruin the surprise.  I just LOVE surprises!

I hope you are all getting things wrapped up like I am, feels so good to cross things off of the list.  Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there and enjoy the weekend!  I hope you like this picture I quickly shot of a gorgeous sunset out of my upstairs window, no filter necessary for this one!

Linking up with....

Friday, June 12, 2015

5 Reasons Why I Have Not Posted in a Few Weeks

Messy Messy Fail - Today itself has been a messy messy fail.  Let me explain - broke a glass candle holder, dumped half & half on the kitchen floor, driveway guys showed up as I was trying to load up the boys in the car, dropped two 2 liters of pop (not soda) in the high school parking lot, dropped multiple items out of my too small cart at Wegmans, had one of my students who worked at Wegmans point out that my cart was too small for all of the items I was purchasing, holding a teething baby, dropped more glass on the floor, dumped a pint of blueberries on the floor.  I guess you could say I dropped a lot of things today.

Tidy Victory - In between dropping the 2 liters and trying to console the teething baby, I had a blissful hour of shopping at Wegmans for the baptism barbecue and purchased everything I needed to make food.  Ah, my happy place.  Did I ever mention I love Wegmans?

Well, according to this blog, I have not posted in nearly two weeks.  It doesn't feel like two weeks to me, but that really is too long of a time.

But I do have 5 very good reasons why I have not blogged in two weeks.

For real.

<One> Work - I will have had three concerts over two weeks - a middle school Lawn Social, a high school Awards Concert and middle school Awards Concert.  The Lawn Social is exactly what the title says - we perform on the lawn and host vendors as a fundraiser for our music program.  At the Awards Concerts I feature some soloists and small ensembles, hand out awards and have the orchestras play some fun pop music.  It's a lot of work.  And a lot of logistics.  But a totally cool way to end the school year.

<Two> Pittsburgh - Last weekend my husband and I went to a Dave Matthews concert with some friends at the First Niagara Pavilion in Pittsburgh while his parents stayed with the boys.  We had a great meal at Bar Louie in Station Square, enjoyed the concert, ALMOST stopped at a bar called the Mousetrap (which upon internet research has a website and may actually be pretty cool despite the gory name), and lastly a quick visit to the Duquesne Incline.  I got some great shots!

Up we go!

View from the top.

Cool light fixture in the incline car.

Aaaaand back down.

There's Dave!

No one can groove like Stefan.

Carter is always smiling!

The soul of the band.
Yes, those are two trumpets he's holding at once.

Boyd & Tim in one shot

<Three> Celebrations - You name it, we've celebrated it.  Birthdays, baptisms, retirements, new houses, new jobs, the list goes on and on.  We love to celebrate and be a part of our friend's and family's special occasions as well as have them be a part of ours.  The baby is getting baptized on Sunday and I'm hosting a retirement party on Tuesday - party on Wayne!

<Four> The House - aka The Money Pit - We have been driveway-less for approximately two months now.  That may not sound like too big a deal, but as the dirt and grass being tracked into the house from the lack of pavement builds up in our kitchen (main entrance to the house) I am reaching my limit.  THANK GOODNESS they came today to put the binder on the driveway, which after being explained to me I now know is the base coat but is still NOT LOOSE GRAVEL.  Finally. We are still lacking a front porch, but come on - baby steps.

<Five> The Bachelorette - I'm just a sucker, what can I say.  I'm watching the latest episode that I DVR'ed as I type.  I'm not really feeling a good vibe from any of the men yet, except for maybe 
Ben Z.  However, history has proven that I NEVER pick who the bachelor or bachelorette picks.  So what do I know.

Thanks for reading my true but ridiculous excuses as to my mega slacker style lately.  With summer approaching, I am setting a personal goal of at least two regular posts a week.  A few current posts in the works include: Fairy Garden Part II, my Deck Hanging Baskets, How to Help Your Child Be Successful on Their Musical Instrument and an Interview with One of My Favorite Etsy Shops - Carolina Knots.

Crazy concert picture, great show!

Cheers to a great weekend with good weather and fun times!

Linking up with......

Bright on a Budget