Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Random kid stuff

You've heard the saying, "out of the mouths of babes"....well, here are some random things that have come out of the mouths of my babes lately:

Zachary (age 8): "Connor, let's see how long we can balance our backpacks on our heads"

Connor (age 10): "No way, I don't want to mess my hair up"


Zachary - "Mom, are you a diva?" (and he pronounced it "DIVE-a")


Zachary - "Mom, are you too old to bend your back over?"


Shelby (12) - "Kite flying is over-rated"


Zachary - "Emma smells better than Connor" (Emma is our dog. Connor is our son)


Last month, we had a family reunion for my mom's side of the family. Many of my aunts, uncles, and cousins would be attending, most of which, my children do not know all that well. Zachary asked "where are we going?" several times. Each time I replied, "to a family reunion at my Uncle Jimmy's". Finally, he said "who is Uncle Jimmy? Do you mean Jimmy Buffet?"

HA! Apparently Zachary thinks his mama is an old diva who is related to Jimmy Buffett.

Book Review - Ghosts of Old Louisville

I am participating in the 'Fall Into Reading 2008' challenge hosted by Katrina. It's been great visiting all the other participating bloggers and seeing their reading goals. After checking out their lists, I've found several books that sound very interesting and will have to be added to my ever-growing "to be read" pile. This morning, I finished one of the books on my own list, and thought I would share a quick review.

Ghosts of Old Louisville by David Domine - It revolves around one of the oldest Victorian neighborhoods in America, Old Louisville. This particular neighborhood is not far from the area of Louisville in which I grew up (about a 15 minute drive), so, of course, these local stories were of particular interest to me. I don't know if I believe in ghosts or spirits, but, I do like to think anything is possible. "Ghost stories" have always fascinated me, even as a child. The author tells stories pertaining to hauntings in Old Louisville. Some are told to him firsthand, others are legends that have been passed along through the generations. Still yet, he even tells of his own personal experience, moving into a "haunted" house. I was entertained by the ghost stories, but, even more, I learned a lot about this local area that I didn't know. For instance, the great Southern Exposition was held in Louisville back in the 1880's. This was the first time that electricity was used in a nighttime event of this nature. Thomas Edison himself flipped the switch, showing off the use of 4600 lamps. The Southern Exposition was kind of like the "world's fair" of that time. People from all over traveled to see the famous exhibitions. You can go here or here to read more about The Southern Exposition. Also, another location mentioned in the book, is the infamous Waverly Hills Sanitorium. Waverly Hills was a tuberculosis hospital that is reputed to be one of the most haunted sites in the country. During the TB epidemic, thousands died in this building. It is located just a few minutes away from the house I lived in as a child and teen. Many, many years ago, way before I was born, my grandfather actually worked there, for a short time, as an orderly. I really enjoyed the book, and even hope to take a drive around town and actually get a peek at some of the locations mentioned. If you like stories about ghosts, spirits, or the supernatural, or you are a history buff, I think you would enjoy this quick and easy read. The author has such a flair with words and descriptions of scenes, that you can almost feel like you are back in time, standing in one of the beautiful Victorian mansions.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Out Exploring

Yesterday was such a nice day. We decided to go out and do a little exploring. Less than a mile from our neighborhood, there's about 100 acres that used to be nothing but wooded land. It's now being cleared out and developed into another new neighborhood. While it is sad to see that beautiful wooded land changing, it looks like it's going to be a really great area for homes to be built. Here are a few photos from our outing.

This past spring, my oldest son was out walking with friends in this area, and they came across two big waterfalls. They snapped a picture on their cell phone camera, and we couldn't believe how beautiful and big the waterfalls were. We finally decided to go check it out for ourselves. This is the place, just ahead of the boys, where the waterfalls were located. However, much to our disappointment, they are now dried up, because of our lack of rainfall. The boys actually trekked down into the shallow stream, but, my daughter and I weren't that adventurous.

These are some of the huge rocks that have been excavated. Wow! Wouldn't we love to have them to use in our own backyard to make a pond.

Our area is known for having a lot of rock. Here, you can see the layers of rock still in the earth, where they have worked on excavating.

Some of the roadway for the new neighborhood - aren't all the trees beautiful.

It's hard to tell from this picture, but, this was a huge sinkhole that we came across. If you peer down into the hole, you can see a rock wall. It was really cool (except for the trash that someone had thrown into it, ugh!) And, it was not very safe, it looked quite deep.

All these tall trees were so pretty with the sunlight shining through.

More pretty trees. The leaves are just starting to change colors.

Another roadway of the future neighborhood. This steep hill was quite the hike (can I count that as exercise;o)

This tree had the most unusual branches (or it could've been a vine). It was all twisted and outstretched - it reminded me of an octopus.

My daughter decided to collect some of nature's bounty. She ended up with acorns, pine cones, and some type of large nut. We brought them home and made a little bowl arrangement. I love acorns! The tops come off so perfectly, they look like little heads wearing hats.

Thanks for coming along with us on our outing. As this development continues, I will share more pictures in the future. I love to watch the progression of these things.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Apple-Spice Dump Cake

You've probably heard of a dump cake -- you put pie-filling or fruit (of your choice) in the bottom of a pan, then sprinkle dry cake mix (of your choice) over the pie-filling, then pour melted butter over the cake mix, and top with any topping/s of your choice. So many different combinations you can come up with. Here's one that I made last night. It's the perfect autumn dessert. It's quick, easy, and very yummy! I didn't have any ice cream, but, boy oh boy, a scoop of vanilla would've been perfect to plop on top of it.

*recipe found on www.About.com*

Apple-Spice Dump Cake:

  • 1 can apple pie filling (21 oz.)

  • 1 box spice cake mix (18 oz.)

  • 1 cup melted butter

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350. Pour pie filling into greased 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix over filling. Pour melted butter evenly over cake mix and top with nuts. Bake for 30-40 minutes.


Hoover Giveaway

Go visit Mama Kat's blog and enter her fabulous contest. She's giving away a pretty, brand-spankin' new Hoover vacuum. Read her blog while you're there, she looks like a lot of fun!


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How observant are you?

This is pretty good. Apparently I'm not very observant at all.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fall Into Reading 2008 - Challenge

I love to read. Sometimes, though, I just can't find the time to read as much as I would like. I've been reading steadily throughout this year. My New Years goal was to try and read about three books per month. Well, I'm a little behind on my goal and my "to be read" pile is piling up. So, to help motivate me, I'm participating in the "Fall Into Reading 2008" challenge hosted by Katrina at Callipiddar Days. It's simply a way to share my reading goals for the rest of the year, and meet other bloggers who are doing the same. Below is the list of books that I hope to read in the next few months.

Fall Into Reading 2008 - Reading Goals


1. Creepers by David Morrell - Not my typical read, but I kept seeing good reviews about this on Paperbackswap.com. With Halloween coming up, I thought it would be the perfect time to give it a try.

2. Wicked by Gregory Maguire - this has been sitting on my bedside table forever. I'm hoping to go see Wicked, the broadway show, when it comes to town early next year. So, I really want to read the book before I go.

3. Ghosts of Old Louisville by David Domine - This should be a quick and easy read. My friend and I are actually going on a walking ghost tour in Louisville, so I'm very interested in this local book. FINISHED


4. Losing It: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time by Valerie Bertinelli - A friend loaned this book to me and gave it a pretty good review.

5. Blue Christmas by Mary Kay Andrews - Sounds like a quick, light holiday read. Finished

6. Where Angels Go by Debbie Macomber - Reviewers have said this is a great inspirational holiday story. I love a good tear-jerker. Finished

7. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson - I'll be reading this with the kiddos.

That's it. My list is fairly short. But, I'm trying to be realistic in how much I will actually be able to read during this busy time of year. I think it's a nice assortment of genres - horror, fantasy, local interest, non-fiction, inspirational....What about you? What are you reading these days? If you would like to participate in the "Fall Into Reading" challenge yourself, be sure to go HERE for all the details. While you're there, you can meet other bloggers and see what kind of goals they have set. And, a thanks to Katrina for hosting!

Happy Autumn!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Proud Parents

School is finally back in session today, after being cancelled for the past three days due to all the power outages in our area. We had a nice little break (especially since our power was on), but, we're all ready to get back in the school routine. Our third-born child, Connor, is in the 5th grade. I just have to brag on him a little. Yesterday we received a postcard from his teacher. Here's what it said:

"Connor is such a fun kid to have in class! He is the perfect combination of traits in a boy; he's kind, funny, charming, hard-working, and just rowdy-enough to keep things interesting. Truly, I do think that he is an amazing kid, and I would be very proud if my own boys were to be like Connor when they're in 5th grade. I hope they are."

How nice is that? To hear someone be so complimentary of your child. We are so proud of Connor (we've always known he can be a little charmer when he wants to be). I even choked up a bit when I read the note. Definitely a proud parent moment!


P.S. If you are a frequent visitor of my blog, please consider adding your name to to "followers" list on my sidebar. I'd love to see your little pic over there! Thanks!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My "Top 10 Tear-Jerker Movies"

This is my post for the monthly Movie Madness carnival hosted by Daily Mish Mash. Be sure to check out her site for all the fun details.

I've decided to list my Top 10 Tear-Jerker movies. Don't know about you, but, I love a movie that let's me have a good cry. Maybe that's weird or morbid, but, that's just the way I am. In every day life, I don't cry too easily. But, give me a sad movie (or even a sappy commercial) and I can boo-hoo with the best of them. So, here they are, in no particular order:

WARNING: If you haven't seen any of these movies, you may encounter a spoiler or two...proceed at your own risk;o)

1. Stepmom - This stars Ed Harris, Julia Roberts, and Susan Sarandon. Julia plays the young new girlfriend to Susan's ex-husband, Ed. The relationship between the two women is difficult, but, when a terminal illness comes in to play, they form a bond. I'm not actually a fan of Susan Sarandon, but, I love her character in this movie. She is an awesome, strong mother and the scenes between her and her children make me bawl every time I watch.

2. I Dreamed of Africa - Kim Basinger is amazing in this film, which is based on a true story. She experiences so much love and loss. If you haven't seen it, you've got to watch.

3. Man on Fire - This may seem like an unusual choice for my list because it is such a violent film. But, the relationship between Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning's characters are what make this a tear-jerker movie. I just lose it every time I watch the ending scene.

4. Armageddon - I'm almost embarrassed to admit this one, but, it's a definate tear-jerker for me. Who can't help but cry when the crew members are saying their goodbyes to their loved ones. And, when Bruce Willis makes the ultimate sacrifice, telling Ben Affleck to take care of his daughter. Even the famous Aerosmith song (Don't Wanna Close My Eyes....) makes me cry. Gosh, I'm almost crying just writing about it.

5. Deep Impact - Another corny choice, but, again, "saying-goodbye-end-of-the-world" stuff makes me cry. When the parents, knowing that they are about to die, but praying that their children will somehow be able to survive, thrust their infant child into the arms of Leelee Sobieski as she and her boyfriend rush off on a motorbike to try to outrun the coming doom, and Tea Leoni gives up the last seat on the helicopter to a mother and child, knowing she will have no other way to escape....ack! It's too much. It makes me cry.

6. The Patriot - This is one of my all-time favorite movies - I love historical movies, especially early American history. I love Mel Gibson. I love Jason Isaacs. I love the scenery. The scene where Mel's little girl finally speaks is so sad (in a happy-sad kind of way). It's hard to imagine living during those times.

7. The Claim - Another of my all-time favorite movies ever! This stars Natassja Kinski, Sarah Polley, Wes Bentley, Milla Jovovich, and Peter Mullan. Set in the late 1800's California gold-rush era, it's a re-telling of The Mayor of Casterbridge. There's greed, love, loss, redemption - it's a beautiful film.

8. The Cider House Rules - I loved both Michael Caine and Tobey Maguire in this movie.

9. Life as a House - Trying to build a house, while facing a terminal illness and reconnect with a troubled teenage son are just some of what makes this a real tear-jerker. Kevin Kline and Hayden Christensen are wonderful together as father and son.

10. Tully - Here's the Netflix description (I'm afraid I'll give too much away if I start talking about it) Through the eyes of eldest son Tully Coates Jr. (Anson Mount), this drama explores a legacy of love and deception among a family of men and the fateful events of one summer that change their world forever. When Tully discovers a long-buried secret that now threatens his family and their farm, he decides to confront his father about the ghosts of a past that have pushed them apart.

11. Dear Frankie - Okay, I know I said "Top 10" but I couldn't leave this one out. A mother has a sailor pretend to be the father that her son has never met (because his real father is a scum-bucket loser). It's a very touching story. And, it stars the gorgeous Gerard Butler.

There you have it, my list of "Top 10 Tear-Jerker Movies". What about you? Do you like movies that make you cry? What are some of your favorites? Be sure to visit Daily Mish Mash for all the other Movie Madness bloggers.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Remnants of Ike

This morning I woke up to hear the wind howling outside my window. I assumed we were getting ready to have a thundershower, and went back to sleep. When I finally got out of bed, it was still very windy and the skies were a bit grey, but, there was no rain. Normally, the first things I do upon waking, are turn on Fox News Channel and make a pot of coffee. For some strange reason, I did not turn on my television this morning. I sat down to drink a cup of coffee and decided that my daughter and I would run to the mall; she needs some new jeans. Since my husband was on duty at the firehouse, I asked my oldest son to stay home and babysit my two youngest sons. We headed out the door and it was still very windy. Extremely windy, as a matter of fact. About halfway to the mall, I turned on the radio to try and hear the weather report. I hear that we are under a 'high wind warning' - which is a result of the remnants of hurricane Ike. We arrive at the mall and pop in to Aeropostle for my daughter's jeans. We have lunch. Several times, the lights flicker. So, I decide we need to cut this shopping trip short and head home. When we go outside the mall, it is almost unbelievable how windy it is. Leaves and branches are EVERYWHERE on the ground. Leaves, dust, and other debris are swirling around. Police and fire sirens are screaming in the distance. I gotta tell you, I was scared. On our way home, this is what we encounter: all the traffic lights are out, huge limbs are strewn everywhere and we see several trees that are down, two roads are blocked due to downed power lines and we have to detour -- it's almost like a movie scene. My son calls me on my cell to tell me that our power is out at home and that roof shingles have come off of many of our neighbors' homes. Our glass-top patio table has blown off our back porch and shattered. The radio is saying there are wind gusts in excess of 70 mph and that you should avoid leaving your home. It takes a bit of extra time to get home, but, we make it without any problems. The electricity is still out (and I'm really worried because our local grocery store just had a huge meat sale last week and I filled up my freezer with over $200 of pork chops, ribeyes, ground chuck, chicken breasts, etc.) I certainly don't want to lose that. Cell phone service was difficult at times. Thankfully, our power was restored in about three hours. I mentioned that my husband was working at the firehouse - he finally called me late in the afternoon and said things were really bad in Louisville (he works in Louisville, a not-so-very-safe part of Louisville, and we live about 15-20 minutes south of Louisville). They were making runs non-stop for not only fires, but also downed power lines, trees in the roads, and even an overturned semi). He said he doesn't remember when he's seen it so bad. They've called in all off-duty firefighters. Tonight, power is still out in many places. The homeless shelters have had to close and he said there's an unusually high number of people out walking the streets. What few restaurants had power, were crowded with lines of people trying to find a place to grab some food. They have closed the schools for tomorrow. I know things could be a lot worse and, indeed, are a lot worse in Texas and other areas where the actual hurricane struck. My prayers are certainly with them. The really bad thing for me personally, is that I was totally unprepared. We had no batteries. No working flashlights or radios. And, not even much in the way of non-perishable food (I had planned on going to the grocery today so the cupboards are pretty bare). Moral of the story: Be prepared. It's easy enough to stock up on batteries, flashlights, and other necessities. You can bet that's the first thing I'll be doing ASAP. I talked to my husband again tonight. They hadn't had a chance to eat. They finally found a McDonald's that was open, but, while standing in the long line, they got a call for another run and had to leave. When he called, they were back at the firehouse, with no power, but trying to hurry up and cook something on the gas stove. He will probably have an extremely busy night and I will be saying some extra prayers for his safety.

*I just watched the 11:00 news and they reported these numbers for Louisville: over 200,000 residents are without power and it may take up to a week to restore; 1,100 power lines down, 133 roads blocked, 400 fire calls came in - 25 of which were actual structure fires, 8 of them considered significant fires, 2,200 EMS runs, and 3 hospitals using backup generators. The Ryder Cup golf tournament is being held in Louisville and starts in a few days. The course sustained some damage, but, they hope to have everything ready for the start of the tournament. What a bad time for our city to be hosting so many visitors. I have no idea how they will handle it, if the major hotels and restaurants are without power. What a crazy, windy day!

In case you're interested in checking it out, this site looks like a great source of information regarding emergency preparedness.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Spiders creep me out! Just the mere thought of them, almost sends me into a state of hysteria. Back when I was working as an RN, I took care of an elderly woman who had been bitten by a brown recluse spider. She almost died and ended up losing a huge section of her colon. Although, hers was an extreme case, it still freaked me out. I'm not ashamed to say, that if I see a spider in my house, I will stand guard over it, while yelling for one of my kids to come and squash it. I just cannot kill them myself, because of some irrational fear that I may "miss" and then the spider will come after me. So, imagine me, last night...all the kiddos were in bed sleeping, my husband was on duty at the firehouse (he will be there until Saturday), I take the dog out one last time before going to bed. I flip on the back porch light. I step out the back door with the dog leash in hand. And, I glance to the left of the back door, and on the brick wall is a big spider web. And a spider. This spider (well, not this exact spider, but this kind of spider - no way was I going to actually stick around to take a photograph). A black widow!

~photo from wikipedia~

I knew that these spiders could be found in our little part of the world. But, I have never actually seen one. I did not like it. Not a bit. I high-tailed it out to the yard to let Emma take care of her business. Then we high-tailed it back in the house so that I could figure out a plan of action. Do I wake up my 15 year old son and make him kill the spider. Do I try to be brave and kill it myself. Who am I kidding, no way was I going to go near that thing. Not only was it big and scary, but, it was tucked in it's web, in a corner of a brick wall. That would be a very tricky kill, indeed. I would undoubtedly not be successful, instead angering the spider, thus, making her come after me. So, I told myself I would let her be. Maybe she was sleeping. I would wait for daybreak, and call upon one of my neighbor menfolk to come and kill the beast. I tried to get ready for bed, as if nothing was wrong. But, I couldn't get the spider out of my mind. What if, during the night, she came in my house through some crack or crevice? What if she found her way to my bed? Or worse, what if she found her way to one of my children? Then I felt guilty. By not squashing her myself, I was not protecting my children. OY! Bad mom! Finally, I managed to fall asleep. And, surprisingly, I didn't have any spider nightmares. This morning, I peeked my head out the back door and...she was nowhere to be found! Why did I think she would still be in the same spot? Now what am I going to do? I tell you what I'm NOT going to do. I'm NOT going out the back door. I'm NOT going anywhere near the back porch or back yard. When my son gets home from school, I will send him out to hunt her down. Wish him luck!

FYI (some educational info. from widipedia):
"Although their venom is extremely potent (it is also reported to be much more potent than the venom of cobras and coral snakes), these spiders are not especially large. Compared to many other species of spiders, their chelicerae are not very large or powerful. In the case of a mature female, the hollow, needle shaped part of each chelicera, the part that penetrates the skin, is approximately 1.0 millimeters (about .04 in) long, long enough to inject the venom to a point where it can be harmful. The males, being much smaller, inject far less venom with smaller chelicerae. The actual amount injected, even by a mature female, is very small in physical volume. When this small amount of venom is diffused throughout the body of a healthy, mature human, it usually does not amount to a fatal dose (though it can produce the very unpleasant symptoms of latrodectism). Deaths in healthy adults from Latrodectus bites are relatively rare in terms of the number of bites per thousand people. Sixty-three deaths were reported in the United States between 1950 and 1990. On the other hand, the geographical range of the widow spiders is very great. As a result, far more people are exposed, world-wide, to widow bites than to bites of more dangerous spiders, so the highest number of deaths world-wide are caused by members of their genus. Widow spiders have more potent venom than most spiders, and prior to the development of antivenin, 5%[8] of reported bites resulted in fatalities. The venom can cause a swelling up to 15 cm. Improvements in plumbing have greatly reduced the incidence of bites and fatalities in areas where outdoor privies have been replaced by flush toilets."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

New Blog Design

A big thanks to Courtney at Judith Shakes Designs for redesigning my blog. She was fantastic to work with - creative, knowledgeable, and very patient with all my questions. I'm thrilled with the way it turned out and highly recommend her services.

Friday, September 5, 2008

It's Friday

*Looking Fine by 2009 update*
I know I should've posted sooner about my progress, or should I say "lack of progress". I'm afraid I haven't been off to a very good start. About the only positive thing I can say is that I have really been trying to eat less. Overall, my food choices are still not as good as they could be, but, I have been eating less. I have not walked/exercised once this week (my goal is to hit the treadmill at least three times a week). UGH! I'm pretty disappointed. Next week will be better, or so I keep telling myself.

On a different note, I've been....

Watching -- It's been a good tv week. (In case you didnt' know, I'm a tv junkie). The season premiers of both Prison Break and Gossip Girl came on this week, Big Brother is getting down to the final few contestants, and then, of course, there was the RNC....GO SARAH! And, I'm not ashamed to admit I watched the premier of the new show 90210, I just couldn't pass up a show about the young, beautiful, and privileged kids from that famous zip code, LOL! What about you? What have you been watching?

Reading -- currently a chick-lit type of book called Scot on the Rocks. Next up on my TBR pile is this book by Valerie Bertinelli.

Listening to -- For my birthday, my husband and kiddos gave me a new ipod. Here's the top three songs from my most played list:

I'm Yours - Jason Mraz
Something About You - Level 42
Grease - Frankie Valli

Doing - Today I'm going to help out in my youngest son's class for a little bit. I've also volunteered to babysit my neighbor's 4 month old baby girl for a few days (while they are waiting for a spot to open up in their daycare). When I watched her on Wednesday, I pretty much held her the entire time. She's is a total cutie-patootie, but, man I forgot how much work it is with a little one. My husband is in Baltimore for a few days for a softball tournament (he plays on a Firefighter softball team). He will also be doing some work while he's there (his brother's company installs shopping cart handles with advertising space on them). Many of the Baltimore area Walgreens stores have these handles, and my husband has to go check them all while he's there.

Glad it's Friday. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Homework help - Flat Stanley

Have you heard of the children's book Flat Stanley? If you have school age children, perhaps you have read the book or maybe your child has had to do a fun assignment with Flat Stanley . In the story, the main character, Stanley, was flattened by a bulletin board that fell on top of him while he was sleeping. Luckily, he wasn't hurt, just flattened. Later in the story, Flat Stanley wanted to visit some friends in California, so his parents folded him up, put him in an envelope and mailed him to California. After a nice visit, his friends sent him back to his family. My youngest son (Zachary, 2nd grade) just read the book with his class. They have also been studying letter writing. Now, they are going to do a project that combines the two. They will be creating their own 'Flat Stanleys' and then writing letters. Stanley and their letter will then be sent to a friend who volunteers to be a host to Flat Stanley. A good host would be someone who could show Flat Stanley around their town/city and take him to local areas of interest. The teacher has requested that, if possible, the kids send their letter to someone in another state. We really do not have anyone who lives out of state. I was hoping I could find one of my wonderful blogging buddies to help us out. You don't actually have to take Flat Stanley on any special outings. But, if you would let us mail him to you, keep him for a few days, then mail him back with your own letter, describing a few places around your town that he might have visited, that would be great. And, if you happen to be out, you could even take a picture or two of yourself and Flat Stanley to send back with him, showing him as he visits his friends. If you have kids, this might be a fun little project for them to take part in, and it would be a big help to Zachary. I can provide postage for you to return Flat Stanley and your letter. If you would be willing to help, just email me. Zachary would really appreciate it. Thank you!