11.30.2011

Weekend Visit to LaSalette

We visited LaSalette in Attleboro this past weekend. It was a perfect night to see the Christmas lights. A great place to see with the family...and it's free.









11.29.2011

Unseasonably Warm Weather...Can't Beat It

Caught by accident shooting into the sun...

My daughter flying like a fairy from her favorite Rainbow Magic books
A twelve yr old and 8 year old who still love to run around and play :)

Ok, so we REALLY did have snow a few weeks ago. But since Thanksgiving it has been unseasonably warm. It's been in the 60's for a few days. No complaints here. Easier to decorate outside...actually enjoyable photo shoot for Christmas cards at the beach (with the kids smiling real smiles instead of "I am freezing, when are we going home?" smiles). No black ice on the way to work...or scraping windows. Knock on wood. I know it's coming back again...but a girl can dream.

P.S. I've extended my Cyber Monday sale a few days.

11.27.2011

Doing a Little Decorating....

Someone hiding in the background on the couch!
No elves on the shelf here!
Our fab silver tree...belonged to my husband's family...complete with color wheel!

11.22.2011

I am Thankful...

I am thankful for:

My Children's Presence in My Life
My Husband's Thoughtfulness
Family Gatherings
A Warm Coat and Gloves on Chilly Mornings
Food When I am Hungry
A Soft Pillow to Rest My Head
A Good Book to "Take Me Away"
A Garden to Tend and Nurture and Harvest
Friends who never judge...who are always there
A Puppy Who Depends on Us
Students Who Actually Care
A Job to Go To...Even on the Bad Days
My Health
A Place to Call Home
Freedom
Memories of Grandparents...and Great Grandparents
Someone Who Can Make Me Smile...or Laugh Hysterically
Hopes and Dreams
Children who aren't too old to snuggle their mama

I am thankful for the Life I Live...everyday.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

11.21.2011

Etsy Discount Code Through Friday

Through Friday, enter Code BLKFRIDAY20 upon checkout at MY Etsy shop(not others), and receive 20% off your total purchase.

Stay tuned for a Cyber Monday coupon code coming Saturday.

I have just added LOTS of vintage china, and will be adding more all week.

Spread the word!!

11.20.2011

Mini Pumpkin Mousse Parfaits....Easy Thanksgiving Dessert


I found this at a great site called thetomkatstudio

It is a wonderful site giving party inspirations...recipes...party themes, etc...

If you are planning a party, this is the place to go!


These are definitely part of our Thanksgiving Day menu this year.


Mini Pumpkin Mousse Parfaits
:

Ingredients:

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin

3 cups heavy cream

3/4 cup superfine sugar

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Ginger snaps, for garnish

Directions

Combine pumpkin, 1 cup cream, sugar and spice in a medium saucepan. Simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes. Cool fully.

Whip remaining heavy cream and vanilla to soft peaks and fold into cooled pumpkin mixture.

After you make the mousse recipe, use these steps to create the mini parfaits:

{1} Add crumbled gingersnaps to bottom of mini parfait glasses
{2} Put the mousse in a large plastic bag. Snip off the corner and pipe a layer into the glasses
{3} Repeat step 2, but with Cool Whip
{4} Top with crushed gingersnaps
{5} Enjoy!

Photos by Laura Winslow Photography

11.19.2011

Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome...It's Not Pretty

My 8 year old daughter suffered a nasty bout of cyclic vomiting this week. Just when we think it may have disappeared forever...it rears its (very)ugly head.

C was diagnosed when she was 3 by a pediatric neurologist in Providence, RI. I had already self-diagnosed after MUCH research. I needed someone who actually represented the medical profession to confirm what we thought...we did not let on about our self-diagnosis.

C started out having episodes 50 some-odd days apart. After careful tracking and note-taking, we started to notice patterns. Vertigo in the morning upon waking, meant cyclic vomiting was coming that night. That has been a constant. C is also considered to be a "calendar kid", meaning her episodes are brought on by time, not by stress or excitement. She now has episodes every 70 some-odd days.

Cyclic Vomiting is vomiting which occurs in a pattern. Some kids (and adults) suffer for weeks on end, often ending up dehydrated, and in the hospital.

Food, Excitement, and simply time can be triggers.

Some people find medications are helpful. We have chosen not to medicate. Many of the medicines we were encouraged to try have never been tested on young children. We felt that for the number of episodes C was suffering each year, daily medication was not the answer.

Vomiting often comes on in the night, and continues through until morning.

For C, this last episode was odd. Usually they last 1 night. She slept til 3:45 the first night. Then the second night she started vomiting at 11:30 pm. She had hideous nausea, EXTREME stomach pains, and vomiting until morning. She gets anxious, and extremely sensitive to touch, sound and light. When morning arrives, the cycle is broken. We were told that the body is trying to rid itself of SOMETHING, and until it is gone, the cycle continues.

We attended a Cyclic Vomiting Association conference in Boston several years ago. Doctors from all over the world attended. They are still unsure of so many things...brain based or stomach based? What triggers this? Is it hereditary?

And most of all, how can we CURE this?

C also suffers from Celiac Disease. She has been gluten free since May. Still no connection to the Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome.

With a pale face and tired eyes, C told me this morning..."I told God he needs to let me live to a thousand." When I asked why, her reply was "Well, he made me have a hip brace, a helmet, CVS, and Celiac....it would only be fair." Her eyes twinkled through the exhaustion. She knows she is special, and that she is here to help us all learn to be strong. From a mom's point of view, it just doesn't seem fair.

If you know dr's and nurses, please ask them to get educated about CVS. It is still not fully understood by some members of the medical community, especially in emergency rooms. Help educate friends and family.

I'm still hoping to get Ellen DeGeneres on board. She always seems to make thing happen. : )
Check out CVSAonline.org to become more informed.

Thanks.

11.18.2011

Kindle Fire Review


My 12 year old son is getting Amazon's Kindle Fire for Christmas from his grandma this year. It arrived today and we thought we should charge it just to make sure it is working properly before storing it away for the next month.

As with my 2nd generation Kindle, set-up was extremely easy. Remove from box, attach wire, plug in to wall...software is downloaded via wi-fi, and it is good to go. (Needs to get a full charge)



What we like:

Super fast internet and downloads

Color screen....with VERY vibrant colors

Backlit

Previous Kindle purchases show up in "the cloud", and can quickly be downloaded to this device.

Previous Audible purchases can be quickly downloaded

Very clear graphics on apps

Comfortable to hold

Easy to understand

Comfortable use of Qwerty keyboard, especially when turned sideways

A Great Perk:

My son loves the fact that he can listen to his favorite Audible books WHILE he is browsing the internet. (So yes, he can now listen to the book for his book report, while he is shopping for sneakers :)

Cons:

For Volume, you have to go to the settings menu...no quick touch button like our 2nd generation Kindle

But so far, that's our only con...really!

The Kindle Fire is reasonably priced ($199)compared to other similar devices. This one could give the iPad a run for its money.

And don't worry Grandma, we are putting it away now....maybe.....

(This review is based on personal opinion. We have not been compensated by Amazon.)

11.13.2011

Thanksgiving Place Cards from Martha Stewart

I have been making these cute little trivia turkeys with my class of 6th graders for YEARS now. I found them long ago in a Martha Stewart Living Magazine, and have continued the tradition each November.

They are placecards for the Thanksgiving table, with trivia questions on the feathers. How fun!

Martha has even included a template and trivia question/answers on her site. Thanks Marth.

In the classroom, I have my students pull their trivia from the current science chapter, then they play a little trivia game with their classmates. They love it. Many of them have been inspired to go home and create placecards for their entire family for Thanksgiving dinner.

A little turkey...a little trivia...all good.

11.12.2011

Thanksgiving Menu...Sometimes Change Is NOT Good



I can't believe Thanksgiving is around the corner. We are busy making plans: menus, guest lists...etc....How about you?

My mom, age 77, and dad, age 79, still enjoy hosting Thanksgiving dinner(Rock On Dooey and Jim). So 46 years later, I am still eating at Mom and Dad's. And I love every minute of it. Being one of five, has allowed, in recent years, my mom to dole out some of the sidedishes. I've made the stuffing and butternut squash for a few years now. Not sure yet what my official role will be this year, but I will adapt quickly.

So our menu basically looks like this:

Turkey (always perfect)
Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Stuffing
Carrot and Turnip
Squash
Sweet Potato
Cranberry Sauce
Pickle/Olive Platters
Dinner Rolls
Pies
Other Assorted Desserts

Nothing funky. Nothing over the top. Perfect.

I personally could eat carrot and turnip everyday. And mashed potatoes stuffing and LOTS of gravy. LOTS. In fact gravy should be its own food group. (I know...FAT!)

So no need to change a thing. You can't outdo perfection. Thanksgiving is comfort food at its ultimate. Can't wait.

11.06.2011

Nice Set of Wheels...A Girl Can Dream

photo courtesy thisisluster.com
photo retrotogo.com
cardomain.com
samplecar.com
I think I can blame Audrey Hepburn for my love of vintage cars. After seeing her in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" with this sleek number, I have always had a dream that someday when I retire...or maybe before...I'll have a sleek little vintage coupe...preferably convertible...turquoise would do. But then I may need to move south...because I would want the (warm) wind whipping through my hair...a sandy beach in the background....a perfect sunset...ok and maybe a martini or 2 if i have someone chauffering me:)

11.02.2011

Pamela's Mix Makes Gluten-Free Easy!

Since my daughter was diagnosed with Celiac in May, it has been a struggle to make things for her that taste like they used to. Thanks to Lissa from Keep It Simple, Keep It Fresh for turning me on to Pamela's brand products.

The Baking and Pancake Mix is our favorite. We started out just using it for pancakes...then I slowly started using it cup for cup in my regular recipes, and it worked great.

I just ordered 3 big 4 pound bags for holiday baking, as I do not use wheat flour in our house any longer.

It's so nice to have something that works for us in so many different ways.

11.01.2011

This Is Even a Bit Much for New England...and a Few Winners!




What? Snow? In October? Come on now. Did we not pay our dues last winter? Really now? A Nor'easter came sweeping through our neck of the woods this past weekend. We actually just got a dusting...unlike our friends in western Massachusetts or further north who received MANY inches...and high winds. There were widespread power outages due to the heavy limbs on trees that still were covered with leaves.

Really Mother Nature? If this is a sign of what is to come this winter...count me out. Or south.

Topic 2: Dark Mornings...anyone else tired of driving to work in the dark? I leave the house at 6:30 every morning...but I have been procrastinating lately...hate to drive in the dark...have terrible "night" vision. Hasn't helped that I have had to scrape the ice off of my windshield a few mornings as well.

Topic 3: Shutterfly Winners: Congrats to Mary, Steph, and Kacky...the 3 winners of my Shutterfly give-a-way. I have emailed you the codes. Please let me know if you don't get them.

Almost Wednesday!!
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