Dinner is served

Thursday, December 31, 2009 | | 13 comments
One of the many treats of coming to New England is the fresh seafood.
Whenever we have family from out of state it's tradition that we have some variation of seafood. This dinner always includes lobsters and mussels.
My brother's children aren't horribly fond of seafood so we made them a special dinner and served them early so that the adults could linger over our amazing delicacies and intriguing conversation ~ catching up can be most enlightening! ;)

My husband and brother treated us to an incredible meal!

My parents loved to cook.
We are most definitely a "foodie" family. It was a common site to see us all in the kitchen with our proverbial hands in the pot. This has been a true asset as both my brother and I love the task of cooking but also enjoying incorporating our families into the fun.
Lucky for me, I married someone who shares this talent. While he doesn't often have the opportunity to cook, when he does, he can knock me off my feet with his delicious creations.

One of the many traditions we have during the week between Christmas and New Years is going to a family movie. This year we all went to the afternoon showing of A Christmas Carol. I thought it was a little scary for a child's movie. Little Will wanted to leave at one point because he was frightened.
After the movie the men were off to the our local seafood store for their fresh catch.
They returned with lobsters, mussels and clams ~ oh my!

They thought of everything and even had brie and a glass of Merlot waiting for the ladies. We nibbled and chatted while they slaved in the kitchen!
The menu included
~steamed and grilled lobsters~
~clams casino {my husband makes the best!}~
~mussels and cherry stones in a white wine chili reduction~
There was crusty bread to dip in the sauce
and roasted herbed potatoes on the side.

Our two personal chefs outdid themselves!
They even cleaned the kitchen which was no easy feat as they managed to use every utensil, pot and pan in the kitchen.
If you look closely, you'll notice their eclectic serving pieces.
This would normally drive me nuts but I'm trying to "let the small stuff slide". My twitching stopped after only a few minutes :)

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Family fun!

Monday, December 28, 2009 | | 13 comments
Oh What Fun ...
We are all having such a great time together.
It's been SO much fun just being together this week.
The photos above are from our evening of making salt dough art which became anything from magnets to paper weights. Everyone joined in ~ I think the adults had just as much fun as the children ;)
Afterwards, the entire family helped with setting the table {with Christmas crackers of course} making a salad, homemade garlic bread and, lasagna.
Our evening closed with a movie and slumber party in the Children's family room.
I woke up a little sore but it was well worth all the memories.
It's been a whirlwind of excitement and fun and there is more on the way!
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Merry Christmas

Friday, December 25, 2009 | | 8 comments
From our home to yours ~

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!
We are awaiting the arrival of my brother and his family from my home state of Michigan.
They have encountered an ice storm that has delayed them a tad. I'm so looking forward to spending time catching up and being surround with all the busy energy that comes with having small children in the home.
Enjoy your family!

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Christmas Eve

Thursday, December 24, 2009 | | 5 comments
Merry, Merry!

It's been a quiet day of ~
wrapping gifts
hearing from old friends
prepping for Christmas dinner
Christmas Carols
This evening we will enjoy our Christmas Eve dinner.
We traditionally have various fish and shellfish dishes.
As the suspense builds, we open one special gift.
This is always followed with donning new Christmas pajamas.
As I slow down and reflect on my year past,
I am overwhelmed with my surmounting blessings. I've so enjoyed meeting you and getting to know you even better over the past year. Your kind words and thoughtful messages truly make my day. It's such a joy to peek in on you and your families as well. Thank you for giving me the greatest gift of all; friendship!
I'm wishing all of you a restful and relaxing eve of Christmas!

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Let it snow ...

Sunday, December 20, 2009 | | 18 comments
and snow, and snow, and snow some more!
*Update: Yes indeed, we do have a delayed opening. I'll have just enough time to run a couple of quick errands before school begins ~ yeah!
This is what our home looked like last night before we headed to bed. There were only a few flakes coming down ~ I was very skeptical that we were going to get the blizzard they predicted. After all, the storm was to begin late afternoon.

After many hours of snow {whiteout snowing for hours} we awoke to a winter wonderland!
We have over 20 inches of snow ~ I apologize for doubting you Mr. Weather Man ;)
I had hoped to sneak out and finish my Christmas shopping but upon second thought, I decided it was best to stay inside and do what I could around the house. I think this was a much better choice.

Mr. Bozley wasn't too thrilled with the snow.
He went out only a few feet onto the back patio and quickly turned around and headed back for warmth and to give us a piece of his mind.

Seriously you humans, we are going to have to come up with a better option than me going outdoors for relief!
Yes, he does have a jacket and yes it is monogrammed. He is a posh pup and he knows it.
I think the look on his face says it all! :)

My own personal Frosty the Snowman!
Kevin spent over 2 hours out in the white fluffy fun redistributing its beauty. This is his second {or third in certain spots} swip over the driveway there was so much snow.

The first big snow of the season is always magical. Our neighborhood is beautiful in its blanket of white. The squeels of delight from the children was magical. There were sleds and snowballs flying all around.
I'm secretly wishing for a delayed opening tomorrow morning so I can run a few errands that I didn't accomplish today!

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Annual Cookie Exchange

Saturday, December 19, 2009 | | 6 comments
7th Annual Christmas Cookie Exchange
This afternoon was my cookie Exchange.
I look forward to this event every year. I tried to take a few photos before everyone arrived and it became too hectic so there aren't many; I apologize
It wouldn't be a party without a little entertainment!
We decided to invite DDLC ~ why?
We had no hot water or heat!
I discovered this while going through my morning routine.
While I was entertaining upstairs, my husband was entertaining in the basement. The repair gentleman was SO kind. He refused to come up the basement stairs and insisted upon using the cellar door so that he wouldn't interrupt my party.
Long story short ~ after 4 hours and many replacement parts we have hot water and heat ~ yeah!
After a his daunting task, I expressed my thankfulness with a bag full of Cookie Exchange goodies!

Not to mention the impending BLIZZARD baring down on South Eastern Connecticut.

I am so fortunate to have such amazing women in my life.
The are such an asset to my life and I learn so much from them.

There was a toasty fire, good food and, great conversation flowing.

I teach with these two fun ladies ~ Love them more than they know!

Just a quick shot before the table was covered with yummy delicacies!

This is one of my two platters of cookies from my cookie exchange.
Each cookie has a family history with a story behind them ~ absolutely priceless!

I wasn't able to get photos of all my dear friends and the fabulous cookies they created.

My family and I will be enjoying them during the Christmas season.

My sweet husband helped me with the last minute details ~ such a great husband!
I am truly a very blessed lady!

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Boston Pops

Thursday, December 17, 2009 | | 7 comments
It's Christmas!
A few weeks ago, before the craziness began, I told my husband I wanted one evening alone to together to celebrate the Christmas season.
Without missing a beat, my sweet husband surprised me with tickets to the Boston Pops Christmas concert.
It was simply amazing!
We went out to dinner and then to the concert ~ I couldn't ask for a more wonderful Christmas pick me up amidst the holiday frenzy!
My favorite part was the sing a long! ;)
Thank you Kev, you've made my week, my month and my Christmas wish come true!

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Monday, December 14, 2009 | | 9 comments
~ I'm getting there ~

{Country Living}
It was a busy jam packed weekend around our home
The tree is up {finally} after a few "incidents" and beautifully decorated. Bozely added his personal touch this year. Those of you with 2 year olds will understand why the bottom of our tree is bear. Who knew I'd be going through this AGAIN with our puppy. If you are considering any type of redecorating this year I'd advise you against hiring an English Bulldog!
I wish I could share with you the amazing pictures of the home tour this year. Unfortunately, there was no photography allowed and I was far to busy to think about taking any photos of our home. We actually had lines this year waiting to get inside the homes to view. Our charity did very well and I'm thrilled that the monies raised will benefit such a worthy cause!
This week is our staff luncheon. I am decorating and want to make sure that it is holiday inviting and most enjoyable. After all, when you put your name on something you must live up to a certain level.
Next on the "LIST" is our Christmas party this Friday evening. Everything is set and ready to go ~ whew. Saturday is my annual cookie exchange ~ this too is all set and ready to go.
I've reviewed the menu for both events and doubled checked to make sure that we don't have any duplications as the guest list is revisited.
My students gifts are wrapped and awaiting their surprise. I love the look on their faces when they enter the classroom and see a package on their desks ~ it's SO true that giving is much more rewarding than receiving.
I'm off to enjoy a glass of wine with my husband before heading off to bed.
Enjoy your evening!

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Late arrival

Wednesday, December 9, 2009 | | 16 comments
Late Arrival ~ Just what I needed!

I can't tell you how excited I was at 5:45am this morning!
The call came in that we had a late arrival which means I had an extra 90 minutes to myself this morning ~ yea!
The best part ... a late arrival isn't a day that we need to make up in June!

I addressed Christmas cards, started dinner, cleaned a bath and a half, and knocked off a few more "to do" items from my list.

It really was very beautiful and just the boost I needed to get me into the Christmas spirit!

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009 | | 14 comments
It's been busy, busy, busy around our home ~ I know you can all relate!
Last Sunday was my Art Show.
It went very well but with all the prep and then attending the event,
I didn't have a weekend to catch up let alone get ahead.
This afternoon I'm have my "natural" hair color touched up {read dye job!}
along with a few inches taken off.
Afterwards I'm dashing off to deliver my holiday tassels to a cute shop in Mystic for the Christmas Stroll this evening. If you live in the area, it's a lovely evening and really puts you the Christmas spirit!
During my free time {ha, ha} I'm putting the finishing touches on our holiday decor. The tree will be arriving this week. My goal is to have everything else decorated beforehand.
This weekend welcomes the Holiday Home Tour on Saturday and on Sunday my annual Cookie Exchange.
Did I mention that my husband decided the holiday season would be a good time to remove the popcorn ceiling in the foyer along with painting the walls, trim and doors?
Not to mention remove the runner from the stairs and paint the risers.
Yes, it's always fun to add a mess to a chaotic time.
He promises to have it all done before the weekend. UGH!
I'm starting my morning off with a Starbucks Peppermint Mocha before I greet the excited children who remind me each morning how many days before Christmas vacation begins! :)
Enjoy your day!

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The List

Thursday, December 3, 2009 | | 13 comments
I'm making my list
and checking it twice!

That’s what I have been doing … over and over!

This is my list of survival.
You see, I have a master list and from that I create sub category lists ~
yes, I’m that neurotic!:)

I have a very busy few weeks ahead of me with little extra time to breathe.

Currently, my life is filled with

Art show {this weekend} I have been a busy Elf

Making and delivering a dinner to a friend and family
{just out of the hospital}

My annual Cookie Exchange

Christmas Party

Girls Night Out Holiday Dinner

Home Tour

Oh yeah, and I work full time and I’m not finished with my Christmas shopping!

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Thanksgiving Eve

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 | | 13 comments

Today is one of my favorite days of the year!

My husband and I have a tradition of meeting for lunch on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving{ This is providing we aren't traveling to see family out of state} Also known as Thanksgiving Eve {not sure when that term began but I've been hearing it a lot lately}.I have to work until 1pm ~ no, my school does not give us the day before the holiday off like many schools do ~ darn!
I look forward to this every year. It's my time to relax and enjoy a little quiet and calmness with my husband before the madness of the Holiday begins. Not to mention I get treated to a fabulous lunch.
This year we are meeting at one of my favorite family owned Italian restaurants. Tonight dinner is pizza from my favorite pizzeria ~ and it's famous! Mystic Pizza.
I'll be a stuffed turkey before the actual turkey day arrives! :)
My market shopping is complete, the house is clean, laundry is washed, dried, folded and put away.
I have to prepare and serve our Thankful Fest at school today then I'm off to enjoy what I'm most thankful for ~ my family!
Have a thankful day!

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Monday, November 23, 2009 | | 10 comments
It's been a long, long day!

It's been raining all day and it's cold. The damp cold that gets into your bones.
{do I sound like I'm 80?}
I ran a few errands after school ~ not a good choice! The stores are insanely busy. I only needed a few items and it took twice as long as normal to check out.
Right on cue, it began down pouring as I left the store.
I, of course, left my umbrella in my SUV.
I finally arrived home after 6pm to find my husband laying on the couch.
Upon the initial gaze, I knew this wasn't a good sign.
When I found out he had been home since 4pm I knew we were doomed.
My husband has never seen the inside of our home at that time on a work day.
He's got "the cold"
I'm the one being blamed ~ he's probably right, we have a germfest going on in my school.
I know you're all jealous!

I made the only logical choice:I poured myself a glass of Merlot and changed into my pajamas!
Once the necessities were taken care of, I began dinner.
I whipped up Chicken breasts with portabella mushrooms, petite diced tomatoes, garlic with a gorgonzola sauce on top. This was served over Trader Joe's perline pasta.
Just what the doctor ordered on a chilly damp New England night.
I'm heading off to the family room to read my Traditional Home magazine that just arrived in front of the fire.
Hope you're enjoying a cozy evening!

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Random ...

Friday, November 20, 2009 | | 14 comments
Acts of Kindness
{Country Living}
As I pondered at all that was so quickly about to arrive, I realized that once again I was being swept up into the enormous vat of commercialism.
This almost got the better of me once again this year.
Luckily, I stopped myself before it had a chance to take hold and dictate my Christmas season.
I'm celebrating the season with a different flare and I invite you to join along!
I've had an insanely crazy busy week and I know that this will be the norm until after the holiday season.
However, I made a point this week of sticking to my newly appointed agenda. Doing for others to better appreciate all that I have and the ability to share.
While standing in line at the Commissary {military market} I noticed how well behaved two small children were behaving {just before the dinner hour}. Normally I would have kept this thought to myself but I ventured out of my box and expressed my delight and complimented the mother on her lovely children's behavior.
A mother's hard work is acknowledged
While paying for my coffee one morning, I paid for the car behind me.
A smile on my face and knowing that I put one on someone else.
Many food drives are being held during this time of year.
I've made a point of donating complete meals to several.
I'll be able to enjoy my next meal knowing that another family will too.
My goal is to do at least 3 random acts of kindness a week. It's doesn't have to cost money, time or energy.
Please won't you join me during this season of love to mankind!

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Fun, fun, fun!

Sunday, November 15, 2009 | | 10 comments
Jammie Swap
Who doesn't love a new pair of jammies?
There are days I look forward to coming home and donning my jammies ~ they are beloved long lost friends after a taxing day!
Truth be told, I just changed out of mine.
Yes, I know it's 4pm in the afternoon on a Saturday.
Yes, I know you probably think I'm lazy.
Yes, I enjoyed every minute.
If we didn't have plans to meet friends for dinner this evening, I'd still be in them!
Just in case you're wondering, no I never leave the house in them.
I do have standards ; )

Victoria's Secret
~if only I looked this good first thing in the morning~

If you're in the need of a new pair of jammers Join the Gossip is hosting a fun
Pajama Swap!
The deadline is quickly approaching
The rules are simple and the exchange amount is right up my ally.
Only 20.00~25.00. Perfect!
TJ Maxx and Marshalls have some really cute sets this time of year.
Stop by and sign up for a little fun!

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Thank you!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 | | 17 comments
Happy Veteran's Day!
How lucky are we to live in this country with all that it offers us!
I for one am guilty for not always appreciating where I live and all the privileges that it offers. I take for granted that I get to make choices for myself and my family.
Thank you to all that have served and continue to do so.
Your selflessness to protect us does not go unnoticed or unappreciated!
{A special and well deserved thank you to my husband!}
To the families that must function and thrive in your absence, I thank you.
This is a life not meant for the meek or mild but for those with enduring strength.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Monday, November 9, 2009 | | 19 comments
I have decided this year to celebrate my birthday for not just one day, but an entire week. My actual birthday is Friday ~ yes, that would be Friday the 13th. I happen to consider this to be a very lucky day!
I'm not sharing this celebration idea with my family or friends that live near to me. Just you, my bloggy friends are privy to this enlightenment. This is more of a personal celebration. I'm going to treat myself to something small each day. This morning I stopped on my way to work for a Pumpkin Latte. This was a most enjoyable indigence until one child projectile vomited across the classroom and two others went home with very high temps ~ ugh!
Over the past few years I've come to the personal conclusion that I'm much more concerned about others happiness and put mine aside. I am always on a quest to make sure that when someone is down, I send a note or treat to pick them up. If a birthday is near, I am scouring the shops and wracking my brain for the perfect gift. During the holidays I'm knocking myself out for picture perfect gifts for everyone on my lists and making sure each and every minute is memory worthy.
Me? I'm the after thought!
Not this year ~ I'm head of the line, first on the list, numero uno!
Hmmm ... what shall I do for little ole me tomorrow?
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Thanksgiving decor

Saturday, November 7, 2009 | | 13 comments
Just a little fun
I've seen these cute pumpkins all over blogville this season.
Some of them have just one sweet initial, some spell out words such as BOO or FALL, others have silhouettes of jack~o~lanterns or witches and they are all adorable!
I grabbed one of these white pumpkins right after Halloween
when they were just about giving them away. With all the great scrap booking paper they add to offer it was hard to chose which print but I narrowed it down to a pretty golden yellow with red {hard to see in the picture}.
I pulled out the Cricut machine and zipped off my husband and my first initials for either end and our last initial to place in the middle.
Because everything looks better with a few polka dots, I added a finishing touch of brown and copper polka dot ribbon.
It's just the perfect addition to our limited Thanksgiving decor!
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Happy Halloween

Saturday, October 31, 2009 | | 10 comments
Witching you all a Safe and Happy Halloween!
We have our candy ready,
the jack o lanterns are on display,
our traditional stew cooked in a pumpkin is simmering,
hot apple cider will be ready as soon as the doorbell rings .
Bring on the Trick or Treaters!

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Treat or Treat!

Thursday, October 29, 2009 | | 12 comments
Over the years I've had the privilege of working with some amazing individuals. These ladies go above and beyond and give so much of themselves and it's all done selflessly. To be fair, I learned a great deal in college. For the most part I enjoyed many of my courses and felt they were preparing me for my future as a teacher. Upon graduation, I thought I knew it all and could take the world on ~
yea, I was young!
Reality is, that what I have really learned has been through life experience. Hands on and peer modeling has made me the {proud} teacher I am today.
Each Wednesday a group of us meet for coffee at Starbucks. I'm the youngest of the bunch and feel so lucky to be included. After {more than I'm willing to share} years of teaching, I still feel like a sponge around these ladies soaking up their knowledge. Meeting with them is a wicked early start to the day but I look forward to it each and every week.
We don't all work in the same building any longer so this is the only time we have together to just "chat."
Being creative individuals, we are always bringing little surprises and treats along to share.
Since Halloween is just around the corner, I made these little paper mache pumpkins filled with homemade truffles for my friends.

Once a month we have a birthday celebration in my school for teachers and staff. We all sign up at the beginning of the school year for this yummy event. I signed up to bake for the October birthdays. I made my tried and true Pumpkin Torte.
Not only is it amazingly easy {I'm almost embarrassed to give you the recipe}, it's sinfully delicious ~ if only it were calorie free!
It's perfect for the Thanksgiving holiday if you're in need of a dessert.
I'll warn you though, it doesn't travel well. I almost rear ended a little car because I was so worried about the torte tipping over.
Thankfully, no one {car or torte} was harmed during the delivery.
I'm not sure how I would have explained that one to my husband.

Pumpkin Torte
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 toasted pecans ~ divided
1 package yellow butter cake
1can (15 ounces) pumpkin ~ not pumpkin pie mix
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
10 ounces cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
16 ounces whipping cream
1. In a small pan, melt the first three ingredients. Add 1/4 cup of the pecans. Pour this equally into two greased cake pans.
2. Mix the cake mix, 1 cup pumpkin, milk, oil, and spices.
3. Pour mixture on top of brown sugar mixture in pans.
4. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until golden.
5. Let them cool completely ~ this is very important.
6. Beat the whipping cream until firm peaks form ~ set aside in frig.
7. Mix cream cheese, powered sugar and remaining pumpkin.
8. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.
9. Cut each cake into twos horizontally.
10. Layer the cake with mixture in between.
11. On the top layer add the remaining toasted pecans.
12. If desired {as shown in photo} make a little extra caramel by combining butter, brown sugar and vanilla. Let it cool completely before drizzling it over the top.

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Secret Scarecrow

Monday, October 26, 2009 | | 20 comments
Have you heard of Secret Santa?
This is his laid back cousin, Secret Scarecrow.
Years {and years} ago I taught in a school that had a fabulous staff who enjoyed not only their students, but their colleagues as wells.
We had such a blast together. We would often do things together on the weekends that included our spouses and sometimes even our own children.
Each year we would sign up for Secret Santa partners just before Thanksgiving.
This would insure enough shopping time during our so called time off during the weekend holiday.
We all enjoyed this time but, to be honest it was "one more thing" added to an already hectic and chaotic short few weeks.
The idea of Secret Scarecrow popped into my head one day and I proposed it at one of our meetings. It was accepted and implemented the following fall.
As I've moved through the years, so has my scarecrow idea.

Today was the first day of Secret Scarecrow.
I'm treating my gal to homemade Oatmeal, cranberry and white chocolate chunk cookies. Inside the pumpkin tag is a gift certificate to Starbucks.
Our gift giving began today and will end on Thursday. We try to spend only 10 dollars a day. Friday we will reveal our Secret Scarecrows and enjoy a soup and salad luncheon together in the Teacher's Room.
I actually enjoy this so much more for the simple reason that I have time and I don't feel rushed as I do during the Christmas season.
Give it a try and let me know how it turns out!

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Wild, I tell ya!

Sunday, October 25, 2009 | | 10 comments
Since the beginning of October we have experienced all four seasons in a matter of three weeks.
I never know what to expect from day to day.
We have had 80 degree weather which then turned to snow. A few days later it warms up and we have thunder storms.
Last night I was certain we were going to lose our roof. It was SO windy. At one point I looked out the front window to see the leaves flying off the trees sideways ~ I kid you not! This was followed by several loud claps of thunder. I actually jumped and let out a little scream, Bozely ran for his crate, and my husband continued to snore while "watching" the game.
Today we awoke to fall in all its glory!
I love how rich this red is against the green ~ it just pops. We have the most amazing stone walls in our area. They were built many years ago and are still standing. On the back of our property we have one that was build many years ago to mark a farm line that no longer exists. We could remove it since it is ours, but I would never want to dismantle our little piece of history.

I walk past this brook almost everyday. It's tucked away along a road that is rarely traveled. I love the soft murmuring sound it makes.

Had you stopped by this afternoon, you would have found me wrapped up in one of our adirondack chair reading one of my new books. This sweet spot is in our backyard.
Beyond this spot is what I refer to as the Wild Kingdom.
Seriously, some days I feel like Laura on Little House on the Prairie!
How would you feel if you look out your kitchen window and saw a Coyote?
I thought so.

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I may have a problem

Thursday, October 22, 2009 | | 20 comments
I've already shared with you the somewhat of a "clean freak" obsession I have and I've shared with you that I'm on a one woman mission to stay as healthy as I possibly can this fall/winter. I've also shared with you that I'm a teacher of small children that not only carry germs but are willing to share them through sneezing, coughing, blowing and I won't go any further than that {you can imagine the rest}.
Most days I recite the following words a minimum of 50,000 times {no, I'm not exaggerating} ..... Did you wash your hands? Are you sure? Let me smell {for the scent of soap} them just to be sure ~ especially if they look really dry.
I've hit an all time new level this evening.
While I was in the Laundry room, my husband came down the hall and went into the half bath across the hall. Upon his departure, I went right into teacher mode ~ yep, I asked him if he had washed his hands and if he was sure.
His response .....
Would you like to smell them Mrs. {insert my last name} and stretched his hands out towards my face.
I laughed, and apologize.
but you know I smelled, just to make sure! :)

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Monday, October 12, 2009 | | 29 comments

This lovely orchid was a gift from a sweet parent. It was an unexpected surprise that was awaiting my arrival Friday morning. I was so touched by the sweet words she shared with me in her note and her kindness expressed in this gift. It made my day and spilled into my weekend!
I've never had an orchid before ~ I've always been afraid of how delicate they appear and I've heard they are hard to grow. I should also point out that I don't exactly have a green thumb when it comes to house plants. According to the card that came with the plant {or is it a flower?}, it needs a temperature of 70~90 degrees and indirect lighting. It also enjoy humidity. I have it in our master bathroom so I think I have the humidity and sunlight down, but there is no way it will reach 70 degrees during the day let alone 90. The warm days are a thing of the past here in New England. It was only 45 here today and that is the high for the entire week and will drop from there. When we are away during the day, the temperature is set for 60.
My husband suggested an electric heating pad on a timer ~ very (not) funny! I am on a mission to keep this lovely alive and beautiful!

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Health and Wellness

Tuesday, October 6, 2009 | | 24 comments
* Update ~ thank you for your comments and emails. I'm very interested in the suggestions that were offered and will be making some implementations into my health regiment. Now I'm off to wash my hands, again! :) *
It's *that* time of year again ~ only starting much earlier this year for some reason. We have already had large numbers of absences due to illnesses in my school. Last week one classroom was down 12 children three days in a row ~ yikes. It is spreading through the grade levels due to the simple fact that it's being passed on to siblings at home and then introduced to the next grade level classroom. Due to the nature of the school I work in {primarily military} we have a revolving door of new germs being transported from different states, and sometimes countries.
I am neurotic when it comes to hygiene! Truly, it's beyond OCD and I'm all right with that. It is only the beginning of October and I can't wear my wedding rings because my skin is so dry and cracked from washing my hands every time I turn around. I use hand lotion but wash it off 30 seconds later when I'm washing my hands, AGAIN.
After many years of teaching, I know that once I get sick {and I will}, I never seem to completely recover. Just when I'm feeling better and think I'm on the mend, I get hit again with something new. One of the biggest culprits is that there are always new strains making their way into our school so my immune system doesn't have the opportunity to create antibodies for protection ~ according to my physician.
What are you taking this season to add a boost to your health? This is a sensitive subject and there is great debate out on this topic. I've done hours and hours of research on supplements and diet {I'll save that for another post} as well attended conferences. For my family, I believe that they have helped in a multitude of ways. When my son was diagnosed with food allergies as a very small child I began introducing supplements into our daily routine. Currently I'm taking a multi vitamin, C, and D3. I'm considering a probiotic. Any thoughts or experience?
I'm sniffle free as of today and would like to remain so for many weeks to come. Help : )

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It's here!

Thursday, October 1, 2009 | | 17 comments
Welcome October!
{photos of our home last year}
This is my favorite month of the year. It's a season with many celebrations but there is very little commercialism involved. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas and all that it {really} celebrates, but there is a rather large amount of stress and expectations that come just before and after the special day.
For the past many years my husband and I have hosted an Oktoberfest at our home. It's become an annual event and our friends begin asking in August for the date. I've been working on the menu as well as the the decorations for both indoors and out. I really enjoy this "holiday". I love the eclectic group of friends we have and how we all meld together so well.
We will also be attending a few of the fall festivals in our area. They feature local artisans and chefs. I love supporting our local community and the unique talent it offers. One of my new favorites is the Food Stroll a few towns over. It never fails to be an incredible evening.
I celebrated the first day of October with a yummy pumpkin spice Green Mountain Coffee from a sweet local restaurant this morning. I left a few minutes early so that I could run in for my treat ~ it was so worth it!
We awoke to a very chilly start this morning. It was hard slipping out from the warmth of my down comforter. I always forget how cold hardwood floors are in the fall and winter months.
I am actually wearing a light wool sweater today ~ yes, it's that cold! Due to the special event {October} I donned my J Crew cable knit in chocolate brown. I love the colors of fall.
As I'm typing this, my husband is building our first fire of the season and I have a pot of Spicy Chicken Chili on the stove simmering away.
Hope you all had a great day as well!
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Book Swap

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 | | 9 comments

Just as I was turning the last page of my book, Jennifer decided to host a book exchange. Due to the economy and trying to cut back, she came up with this clever idea. Not only does she have perfect timing, we have similar tastes in reading material.
This was one of the best swaps of all. Jennifer and I simply listed the books we were willing to swap, decided on the number of books, and popped them in the mail. I thought her daughter might need a few new bed times stories so, I added a couple in her package as well.
The best part of all was the price. I received 6 new reads for a mere 5.00 dollars in postage! If you use media postage {only for books, magazines and periodicals} it's SO much cheaper. The Post Office said that it could take up to 2 weeks for delivery but it only took 3 days!
I'm ready for the chilly New England nights snuggled up in a blanket by the fireplace with my new books.
Thanks for hosting Jennifer!

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Monday, September 28, 2009 | | 14 comments
One of my favorite things arrives each fall season ~ Comfort foods!
There is just something about a chill in the air and a warm dinner at our family table that makes me feel complete.
This is so easy to make and such a pleaser!
Southwestern Shepherd's Pie
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 small green pepper, diced
1 small red pepper, diced
1 Tbsp minced garlic {we love garlic so we always add more}
1 Tbsp chopped jalapeno
1 lb ground chicken
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp chili power
1Tbsp ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup roasted corn {I get mine at Trader Joe's}
1 cup black beans
1/2 cup cilantro
1 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks
1Tbsp butter
1/2 milk
1.Heat oil in large pot. Add the onion, peppers, garlic, and jalapeno. Saute for about 10 minutes on medium heat. Add the ground chicken and cook until browned.
2. Add the tomato paste and spices. Once incorporated, add the tomatoes and simmer about 10 minutes. Add the corn, black beans and 6 heaping Tbsp of the cilantro. Once it is all mixed well, pour into a 9x13 inch baking dish.
3. Place the sweet potatoes in a pan and cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a high simmer until fork tender. Drain and mash with butter and milk.
4.Spread over the meat mixture. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or until brown. Garnish with additional cilantro.

The night I made this {and took the picture} we didn't have enough sweet potatoes so I added a few regular potatoes to the pot and it was still very good.

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