Choosing to Be Adventurous

Whenever one of my kids has a birthday, he is allowed to choose the dinner menu and birthday dessert. This is something my mom did when I was a kid. I remember usually choosing meatloaf for supper and banana cake (but of course!) for dessert on my birthday.

At intervals all year long, when one of the boys is especially enjoying a meal or a cake, he inevitably will say This is what I want to have on my birthday!  I hear it over and over again. But when the birthday finally rolls around, he can't seem to remember what it was that he wanted so badly to have on his day.

This time Samuel had the same problem and took several days to finalize a menu. He was not wanting to repeat his usual favorites- pizza and carrot cake. He wanted something different. And he wanted an appetizer.

He's eleven and wants an appetizer.

I've created a monster.

He knew immediately that the appetizer had to be cheesy bread sticks dipped in sauce like they serve at the gourmet pizza shop.
So we made bread sticks. Our friend Karen suggested a Tasty Kitchen recipe called Easy Peasy Bread Sticks, which were indeed easy, peasy and very much like the restaurant's version. Samuel was very pleased and there was not a crust left after dinner. We'll probably make them again sometime.

Continuing with the desire to have something "different" Samuel finally chose, after agonizing analysis of possibilities, lemon meringue pie for his birthday dessert. I don't think he has ever had lemon meringue pie so it was truly an adventurous choice.
I put Samuel at the mixer manning the beating of the egg whites while I cooked the lemon filling. (Peter squeezed about ten lemons for me.) The egg whites got over beaten (something I have never seen before, frankly) so they weren't as light and fluffy as usual, but still perfectly edible and good. Such is cooking with kids.

We all enjoyed the lemon pie but Samuel decided he doesn't like meringue so I don't expect it to be requested again in the future.

That's okay though because there is a whole world of dessert options out there to explore.

I'm thankful for kids with adventurous palates.

Birthday Boy Part 2

Today was another birthday for a boy in the family.

In 2000 we found out that our family was not yet complete after all.

And in 2002 he got a baby brother who has been his side kick every since.

This year I was so, ah, "busy", taking care of that little boy, his side kick baby brother, his grandmother and preparing for his big sister's wedding that the best I could do with his cake decorations was some Bob the Builder flotsam from Walmart.

Everyone wants these two munchkins back.

But they just continue to grow and change. There's no slowing them down.

This was the year they got to ride on Thomas the Tank Engine!

He still has the same great smile!

Our little boys becoming big boys.

And now he's eleven! He celebrated with lemon meringue pie that he helped make.

Happy Birthday, Sammy!

A few pictures.

Kerri really enjoyed the hotel pool.

Pookie really enjoyed the hotel bed.

Daddy really enjoyed the view of the city from our window.

And this was all you could see...

And Mommy really enjoyed having a kitchen in our room!

Life with Kerri was fun in the big city.

Birthday Boy

It's birthday week here on the homestead. Sunday was the first celebration.

Looking at these photos you would think this was a kid's birthday. Certainly most of the guests were children...

...and babies.

But this celebration was for a big kid in a man's body who doesn't mind sharing his special day with a bunch of little people.

We have some pretty special sons who love children and babies and know how to relate.

Happy Birthday, Neal!

Back to normal.

The last few days have been a blur! We had a wonderful time at the Marriott Residence Inn in downtown Toronto, and will definitely be going back there next year. The room was comfy, the staff was very friendly, and we made a new special friend while we were there.

Our cleaning lady is Chinese, and her name is Lihue. She took to Kerri right away, and calls her "my lucky girl". And before we checked out today, she came to say goodbye and brought us gifts: a Chinese good luck charm for our car, and a pretty kitty ornament for Kerri. And she asked us to stay on the 9th floor next year too, so she can see us again.

Pookie had quite the adventure too. I was zipping my suitcase closed, and out of the corner of my eye I saw Pookie rubbing his face on the suitcase. So I scolded him. And then I realized his beard (whiskers?) was caught in the zipper. I somehow managed on zipping them without realizing it. Before I could unzip, Pookie tugged hard and came loose, but leaving behind a handful of whiskers in the zipper. As awful as this is, I could not help but laugh at him. I am a bad Mommy!

We arrived home safe and somewhat sound, and just in time for a major thunderstorm. We lost power a few times, and had fun lighting candles and listening to the emergency weather radio. And I have yet to unpack. I think I will leave that for tomorrow.

We had a fun time in the city! And even hubby got to relax a little, even though he worked up to the last minute before we checked out of the hotel.

Life with Kerri resumes it's normal broadcast...tomorrow!

Creeping Carpets

One of the gardens I saw last week during the garden tour used a lot of creeping thymes and groundcovers.  These diminutive plants were so beautiful in their spreading habits in rock gardens...

....along walk ways....

....and even the stairs.

These creeping thymes require very little root contact with the soil so they can spread their growth over rock or concrete like no other plant. Hearty little souls, they form a carpet that can even withstand foot traffic.

The way this gardener utilized these qualities was so charming in their garden!

Sedums are another group of plants that require little soil contact. As succulents they can also take the extra heat generated by warm stone. I really enjoyed seeing these healthy plants growing in the nooks and crannies of the garden and the cracks and crevices of the patios.

I'm definitely inspired to find more varieties of this tiny garden occupant to add to my gardens.

My latest attempts have been foiled by my chicken's scratching but I am not going to give up!

Special People

Yesterday I took my daughter to a department store in order to buy a suitcase for P. He needed a new one for our upcoming vacation trip because his old one has broken wheels, a broken zipper, and very low self-esteem in general. While I was there, I browsed for a new top for myself. I had a coupon, ya'll.

The kid was "helping" by pushing our shopping cart (which had the suitcase in it).  We were in the women's section. "Let's go over here," she said, and started to steer the cart towards the plus size racks.

"I want to stay in this section," I replied, guiding the cart back towards the jeans I was fondling. While I surely have had my struggles with my weight, thus far I have not required plus sizes. Honestly, I'm not even sure why it needs to be a separate section. Why not just put all the clothes together and have a full array of sizes in every style?

"Why don't you want to shop over there?" A asked. Oh geez.  How to say this?  I am very careful about the language I use when my daughter is around because I don't ever want her to worry about her body or her weight. I don't think my pocket-sized peanut will ever have weight problems, but I want her to have a good self-image regardless.

"Well, that section is for  . . . big people. We'll just shop right here."  (Not the most politically correct wording, I know. I apologize.)

"Big people? Like you?"  Crap. In her mind: big person = grown-up.

"No, it's a special section for . . . people who are larger," I whispered.  Why, oh why, didn't I just say I didn't like the clothes in that section or something?

That seemed to satisfy her. However, moments later I was browsing a rack that was near the plus size section and angled the cart in that direction.

At the top of her lungs: "MOM! YOU'RE ALMOST IN THE SPECIAL PEOPLE SECTION!" Great. Now, plus size = special needs.  I can't win.

I'll leave you with a couple of photos from our very eventful weekend.

Kerri...and Kerri.

Today our friend Kerri and her two girls visited us. My Kerri thinks it is awesome that she shares a name with our friend. And I think it is quite awesome that our friends braved a two hour train ride each way just to come visit us!

We had a great time! Our day was spent at the pool, and eating, and at the pool, and eating. And while the oldest fell in love with Pookie, the two younger girls hid in the bathroom to play with the cute toy our friends so kindly brought for Kerri as a gift.

I think my friend Kerri would have taken Pookie home if she could. Little did she know that the sneaky pooch jumped on our table and stole a large muffin and ate the whole thing, leaving just crumbs on the table top and his whiskers. Not sure she would still want him if she knew what a thief he is!

And yes, we did make a stop at Tim Horton's. After all these years, I can finally say I had a cup of Tim's with my friend Kerri for real. It was probably the most expensive cup of coffee she ever had, when you factor in her travel expenses!

Thank you Kerri and your beautiful girls J & J for coming to see us in Toronto. And thank you to Kerri's hubby for lunch - we wish you could have joined us! We look forward to our next get together - but next time, lunch is on me.

Life with Kerri....and Kerri was fun today!

New Board Installation Night

This years installation of the new board took place at a fun pottery shop.  We had a fun night painting, enjoying appetizers, and hanging out.  Can't wait to see our finished work when it is all done and the fun stuff the new board this year comes up with.  Congrats to the new board members and thanks to all the old board members.  We have such a fun and wonderful club because of all your hard work!
Having Fun

Picaso at work!


Fun with Friends

Waiting for the paint to dry!

What a fun night!

June Recipe Exchange

This months recipe exchange took place at a members house and was poolside fun food themed.  We had hot dogs, key lime pie, chips, and fruit just to name some things people brought.  The kids had a blast in the pool and on the water slide.  The kids had fun watching the moms go down too!  It was such a fun lunch time gathering with friends!
Time to make a splash!


Just hanging out!

Time for lunch

Little Floatie Friends

Water Fun

Yummy Dessert


Bathing Beauty