It's been tough

Sunday, January 31, 2010 | | 19 comments
{Mom and Nicholas 2008}
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My heart is aching for my son.
This weekend he attended the funeral of one of his friends. He was killed in an auto accident. It was late at night and the driver hit a tree. According to the reports, he was killed instantly. The following morning the news broke with the fate of this young man. I cannot even begin to imagine the horror his parents have been going through. They have been in my prayers all week.
Honestly, I'm not sure I'd have the strength to go on.

When Nicholas called to tell me the news I knew he was upset and wanted to talk. Not necessarily about the accident but just talk. I think he needed the connection of home and safety.
As his mom, I wanted to pull him onto my lap, wrap my arms around him and keep him there, safe from life. Obviously, this isn't a reality on many levels.
Both his father and I took this opportunity to talk with him about choices in life and the consequences ~ dire at times.
We shared with him that youth is not invincible.
 Nicholas is a wonderful and loving young man. His father and I are so very proud of him. He is doing very well in college and we want him to enjoy all the experiences that come with this "right of passage."  However, there will always be a tomorrow and his choices dictate how he will face it.

I made sure I called him several times this week. I'm still a little concerned about his health. He is feeling better but not up to full speed just yet and his throat is still sore. I also wanted to provide him the option of sharing his feelings if he needed to.
During one conversation he got a little weepy {my heart was crying for my little guy} and expressed his fear of what had happened, how he had never lost a friend, the void he felt without seeing him this week, and how this is affecting his life.

I sent him a note of encouragement as he faced the day of saying goodbye forever to his friend. I reminded him that I was only a phone call away if he needed me. I made sure I had my phone with me at all times on Saturday. Nicholas called me not once but twice; before and after the funeral. Nicholas shared that the hardest part of the service was when the younger brother spoke of what would never be between him and his brother due to his loss and when his mother greeted him with such grief and emptiness in her eyes. I had {and do now as I type this} tears flowing down my cheeks for the loss that this mother will carry for the rest of her life.

 Nicholas thanked me many times during our conversation for always being there for him and expressed how much he loved me.

My son had to face a very difficult life lesson this weekend.

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Dinner is Served

Thursday, January 28, 2010 | | 22 comments
Seared Sea Scallops Pasta

4 oz Pasta of choice
12 ~ 15 sea scallops {You could use shrimp}
3 Tbsp crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
6 cups baby spinach roughly chopped
1 med {or 2 small} tomatoes chopped
2Tbsp pesto ~ I use Trader Joe's

Cook pasta according to directions

Pan sear scallops in olive oil while pasta is cooking

Drain pasta and quickly add the spinach so it will wilt from the heat.
Add the pesto and mix until the pasta is coated.

Add the tomatoes and cheese. Toss lightly.

It's really that easy ~ Perfect for a busy school night.


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Black and White Wednesday

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 | | 24 comments
It's Black and White Wednesday!

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This sweet little chapel is near our home. It brings a smile to my face each time I see it's aged but still welcoming front doors.

The stories these walls have heard over so many years must be filled with prayer requests and praises sharing the history of those that settled in New England . 

While its small in size, it's grandiose in comfort and security.

Take a peek at all the other great photos over at Lisa's.

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Book Swap Partners

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 | | 2 comments

The Book Swap partners have been matched {thanks Jennifer} and are listed below.

We matched up those that left their names and emails as per the listed rules.

Please email your partner by Thursday.

If you haven't heard from your partner by then please contact me or Jennifer.

Once you are in contact with one another, compile a list of books you have, compare the lists and decide how many you want to swap. It's really that easy!

P3Knitter Amy and The Elliots

Niki and Pinot After Playdates

The Hayden Family and Beth Dunn

Don't forget to use Media Postage to keep your shipping costs down.

Happy Reading!

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Update and Reminder

Sunday, January 24, 2010 | | 14 comments
*Thank you for all your very sweet comments, prayers and wonderful emails. Each and everyone has been truly appreciated and cherished. I shared them with my son and he was very touched. I think he was surprised that complete strangers to him would be so concerned with his well being.
He wanted to make sure that I thanked you and to let you know that he is doing better.
I've been asked more than once if it's been hard not being with him ~ Oh my YES!
His father was in D.C. on business so not only was he closer than me but, it was also easier for him to get down there due to his work schedule.
Nicholas is doing better but still in pain. I'm very concerned about this. I realize that viruses need to run their so called courses but, I would have thought that by now he would be feeling remarkably better.
He and his father have spent some time talking about his heath and it's affects on me :) If he isn't feeling any better by tomorrow he is heading back to the doctors. His father will be checking in with both parties and over seeing Nicholas' complete recovery.
I just can't thank you all enough ~ it's meant the world to me!
*Don't forget our book swap, it ends tonight. It's a fabulous way to recycle and save a few {or many} dollars while treating yourself to some great new titles!

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Always a Mommy

Friday, January 22, 2010 | | 23 comments
My "little" guy is really sick and in a lot of pain.
He called me late Monday night and asked what he could take for a sore throat.
My son was diagnosed with a severe dye allergy when he was very young. There is very little he can take and carries an Epi Pen just in case he ingests something {or some color} he shouldn't.
I ran down the list and he finally found a dye free med. Before you ask, yes, we always have him loaded down with the items he can take. The problem is that the bottle he had "disappeared" in his room.
While none of this may sound alarming to you, I should also add the distance currently between the two of us. I live in Connecticut and he is attending college in
North Carolina.
When I spoke with him Tuesday morning I couldn't understand a word he was saying. The only way we could communicate was through emails and texting. His throat was so swollen and sore he couldn't speak. He said it felt like pins were in his throat and when he swallowed it felt like razor blades.
I urged him to go to the clinic. He told me his whole body was achy and he didn't want to get out of bed.

{ summer 2009 upon his return from NC for the summer}
{It's very early in the morning ~ I'm looking a little out of it.}
I made a comment to one of my dear blog friends, Corey, and within seconds I had an email from her offering to help Nicholas in anyway she could. I can't tell you how touched I was, and still am. To think that a working mother of three young children would stop what she was doing to go help a child she has never met brought tears to my eyes! I'm truly blessed to have such amazing friends in my life ~ thank you!
By Wednesday I was getting very worried. I was vacillating on what to do ~ I'd already looked into plane tickets. After a short conversation, his father jumped on a plane and is now with Nicholas.
The wanted to hospitalize him due to dehydration but because his father is now there, they have turned him over to his care. He has a severe virus and is on something rather strong {I think anyway} for his pain.
I've come to the conclusion that NO matter how old your babies are, you will NEVER be able to take the Mommy out of the Mom.

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Black and White Beauty

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 | | 13 comments
Last year my husband gave me a fabulous new camera. It's provided me with hours of documenting our family history, capturing fun shots, and a few lessons along the way.
When Lisa proposed the Black and White Wednesday challenge I thought I'd play along for fun with hopes of learning a few more tricks of the trade!

It's been a long week {why is it that a short week always feels longer?} and my son is really sick miles away from home in a different state so, my creative juices aren't really flowing.
I searched my files and our home high and low for something to photograph.
The dog ran away from me
my husband put his hands in from of his face
and no friends were willing to leave their warm homes
thus, I'm going with my tried and true
fresh blooms!
Please don't judge, it's my first {possibly my last} attempt at black and white photography.

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Book Swap

Monday, January 18, 2010 | | 13 comments
It's the perfect season to curl up with a good book!

A few months ago I cleaned up in a Book Swap.
It was great fun and I had 5 new books and only spent a little over $5.00 on postage ~ you can't beat that!
We decided to share this fun with all of you. Jennifer {over at Southern Living: Preppy Style } have teamed up to host another fabulous swap.
The rules are simple and the pleasure of a good book should help get you through the next few cold months ahead.
*Sign up by leaving a comment along with your email address at either blog.
*Sign ups end on Sunday, January 24th, at midnight.
*Partners will be assigned on Monday.
*Only participate if you are serious ~ it's no fun if your partner doesn't follow through.
*Once we partner you up, the two of you should send a list of available books to swap, decide how many, then mail them off.
*Mail your books using "media mail" through your post office.
It's much cheaper and only takes a couple extra days. The savings are worth the wait.
*Questions? You can always email me.
Join in on the fun!

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Relax and enjoy


Last evening we had our good friends over for dinner. We decided to keep it simple and just enjoy the evening. My husband offered to do all the cooking ~ gotta love a man who can cook!
I have been craving the mussels and cherry stones that he and my brother made over the holidays.
They have a little kick to them but I like spicy foods. If left alone, I could easily make a meal out of these alone.
They are best enjoyed with a loaf of crusty bread and a nicely chilled Chardonnay.

Then we enjoyed a fabulous Grilled Seafood Salad Nicoise
It was fabulous! The scallops were so tender. I like my tuna a littler on the rare side but there a small mishap at the grill.
It's just what the doctor ordered after all the heavy foods from the holidays.

I guess this means I have to make dinner tonight, huh? ;)

Have you ever noticed how much better something tastes when you don't have to cook?

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Your thoughts?

Sunday, January 17, 2010 | | 8 comments
I am in need of an organizational tool to hold the following:
*dates and appointments
*business cards
*papers of sorts
*semi personal information
*other necessary"treasures"
My current desk top calendar just isn't cutting it and I'm getting frustrated. Due to the date, January 17th, I think it might behove me to do something or spend the year not knowing where I'm going or when!
I've seen the momAgenda featured on many blogs.
It seems to offer several options and sizes not to mention colors and best of all ~ personalizing! Gotta love that! :)
The price is right but I'm always leery about buying something online that I've not seen nor heard any personal feedback regarding the item.
Years ago I did the Franklin Covey Planner. It worked but it was so bulky and to be honest, much more than I really needed.
I want to find something that I can tote back and forth from school and to meetings with ease.
Am I asking for too much?
What type of system do you use?

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One of "those" days!

Saturday, January 16, 2010 | | 19 comments
I don't want to do anything today!

I want to put my jammies on and climb back in bed with a good book or catch up on some movies that I've wanted to see.
I have no desire to tackle any of the items on my "to do"list for the day.
I keep telling myself that I can get caught up on Monday since it's a holiday~ no rush!
I'm craving junk food {I never eat this stuff} and take out for dinner.
My husband is working around the house like there is no tomorrow.
I am LAZY and nothing seems to be motivating me.
This has to be the definition of the Winter Blahs!
Does this ever happen to you?
Please say yes.

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Soups on!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | | 12 comments
{Southern Living}

Italian Sausage Soup
1 pound Italian sausage (I use turkey sausage)
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, diced
8 cups chicken broth
1 14.5 ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp basil
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp fennel
2 bay leaves
½ cup dried orzo
Shredded Parmesan cheese for garnish

~In a stock pot cook sausage, onion, carrot, and celery over medium heat until the sausage is no longer pink. Drain well.
~ Add the chicken broth, undrained tomatoes, tomatoes sauce, garlic, oregano, rosemary, basil, thyme, fennel seeds, and the bay leaves. Bring to a rolling boil then reduce heat. Let simmer in covered pot for 1 hour.
~ Add the pasta and return to boiling. Reduce the heat and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaves
~ Garnish with Parmesan cheese.
*I often boil the orzo in a separate pan {according to directions on package} and add it to the bowl before serving.
I've been making this soup for years and it always gets rave reviews.
For an addition fun twist, I serve it in bread bowls and a hearty salad.
Perfect for a cold fall or winters night.
If you interested in a few more delicious soups, head over to 3Peanuts . She had a lovely variety from fellow bloggers.

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Storage options

Monday, January 11, 2010 | | 13 comments
Have you ever had a Monday that started off better than you could ever imagine?
You wake up before the alarm, get ready in record time, and even have a little extra time to indulge yourself with before it's time to leave for work?
Ya, me too but today wasn't one of those days!
Instead I spent my morning one step behind and rushing ~ not a good way to start off the week.
It took a turn for the worse when I went out to the garage
clicked the remote to unlock the doors ~ nothing
finally opened the car door and no lights came one ~ this isn't going to be good
put key in ignition, and turned ~ absolutely NOTHING!
Yep, dead, not even a groan of life ~ ugh, double ugh!
Due to the security of my husband's office, they have no phones. It's a series of hoops I have to jump through to get a hold of him.
The stars were aligned and I was able to get hold of him in record time.
He came home and confirmed what I already knew ~ the battery was dead.
Really, who knew!
He jumped it and got it started. I told him maybe he should check the fuses {my mechanical input} but he chalked it up to the fact that he had replaced the headlight the night before and must have left the lights on by mistake.
He insisted that I take his car to work "just in case." Such a gentleman!
The Denali ran like a charm all day!
He even took care of my emissions testing while he was out at lunch ~ thanks a ton, you really are so sweet!
He went out to the garage this evening "just to make sure" all was well and it would start up for me tomorrow morning.
Nothing ~ dead, not even a groan!
Again, I offer my suggestion ~ check the fuses {my response for any and all car trouble}
And this is what he found ...

Apparently, a Yukon XL Denali fuse box is just the right size for a colony {my version} of mice to store their food for the winter!
The thistle seed that my husband keeps for his birds has been stolen and relocated for the long winter ahead.
We have no idea what else these little guys have been up to {or where} so he is going to take the truck in "just to make sure" this week.
If you happen to read about a women in Connecticut driving down 95 and suddenly, without warning, begins to drive erratically, you'll know it's me. I've discovered a passenger {or many} that wasn't invited!
Honey, want to take my truck to work tomorrow "just to make sure" it's OK?
Please, pretty please?

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Refresh and renew

Thursday, January 7, 2010 | | 7 comments
{my beautiful tulips fresh from the market}

I'm not big on making resolutions ~ let's be honest here, they sound good coming out of your mouth and that's about how long they last, at least for me.

This year I'm trying to focus on making changes or tweaking things in my life.

I've read on a few blogs featuring 100 goals in 2010.

This seems a little too ambitious for me and when I tried making the list it sounded pathetic. I was trying to come up with 100 profound items and I just knew after reviewing my short list that there was no way I was going to be able to accomplish this so called list of goals. It would surly only add additional unwanted stress to my life ~ not the goal I'm trying to achieve.

I want to focus on centering my life ~ not to be confused with self centered!;)
My mother use to tell me that LISTENING is an art that takes many years to develop. I want to become a better listener.
This goes beyond the casual conversation. I want to hear what is being said when a friend is sharing something important, when my teenage son is expressing his thoughts and concerns as well as hearing what I am to be doing in and with my life.

As I look around our home, I realize how very comfortable we are.
We want for no "needs" and many of our "wants" have been granted. This is not the case for many families. One area I want to focus on this year is more giving throughout the year and not just during the holidays.
I am still working on compiling my list for 2010. Once it's complete, I'll share a little more.
Hope you are all enjoying a healthy and bright start to the New Year!

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Resuming reality

Sunday, January 3, 2010 | | 19 comments

Most of the Christmas decorations are put away. Our tree is still up which is not like me to leave it up this long. I feel like the holiday season rushed by me this year. I want a few more evenings to enjoy our tree of white lights filled with years of memories. Our Christmas tree, like many of yours, tells the story of who we are, what we've done and where we have traveled.

We had a most relaxing and enjoyable weekend. My brother and his family are safely back in Michigan. I talked to my nieces yesterday afternoon and they are still excited about their trip to Connecticut for Christmas. It was a Christmas filled of memories made and many memories shared. I'm looking forward to our next family gathering. Their visit reminded me that time goes by all too quickly and we need to make the effort to be together more often despite our busy schedules.

My husband and I had a most relaxing and enjoyable weekend.
With school back in session tomorrow for me and my husband returning back to work after the holidays, I wanted to have a smooth transition back to reality.
I've shared before that I'm very organized and at times a little over the top in this area. There is no way I could return to school without having everything in order. This includes a current "to do" list and my weekly menu and clothing schedule in place. So Saturday morning I made my lists, did a Trader Joe's and BJ's run and finished up the laundry. Last night we went to Frank Pepe's {pizzeria} with our very good friends. It was fun to catch up on each others Christmas adventures. We ended our evening with the most amazing chocolate martinis ~ so yummy!
This afternoon we went and saw The Blind Side. If you haven't seen it yet, you must! It's an amazing story from both sides ~ what an incredible family to take such a chance and such a deserving young man with amazing natural talent. I was told that I'd laugh and cry ~ bring extra tissues!
It's a chilly evening of 12 degrees outside so I'm curling up in front of the fire place to read The Help for book club this month.
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Candy Land

Friday, January 1, 2010 | | 15 comments
I'm not sure who's idea it was to venture into the city but we {the adults} were all foolish enough to agree and follow along. It was a very, very, very cold day. The temperature didn't make it above 20 degrees all day and the wind was whipping all around.
We ditched the boys {not for long} and went to American Girl. I must admit that I enjoy going in there just as much as the little ones.
Molly and Mia have quite a collection of dolls, outfits and accessories. It's always fun for me to shop for birthdays and holidays. I think it's rather sweet that both my nieces have dolls with their names.
The children wanted to go to the Museum of Natural History. We happily complied and spent hours exploring. I love watching their faces as they discover and realize their surroundings.
Due to the extreme cold, we passed on the opportunity to skate at Bryant Park. You know it's cold when the children beg you not to go ice skating!
They were MOST excited about visiting the infamous Candy Land in Toys R Us.
If you've never been, it's quite a sight to behold ~ and taste! ;)
The selection of bulk candy is overwhelming and rather pricey at $10 a pound. You'd be surprised how quickly a pound accumulates in those little bags. We had to set a "no higher than" mark on each of the bags. My husband and I learned our lessons the hard way ~ $48 dollars in bulk candy on our first visit!

Even the adults got in on the fun of choosing some goodies for the train ride home. They have candy that I've never heard of nor seen sold in any stores.
We had fun comparing our loot and flavors. I was most impressed with the swirl and multi flavored gummi bears ~ the red is my favorite.
I guess I'll have to go back to get more!

Just a quick shot with the Candyman before the sugar rush hit!
Nicholas wasn't with us due to his schedule so we are missing the
oldest cousin in our family.
It would have been nice if we had had our entire family for this fun outing.
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