Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Twas the night before Christmas...

...and all thru the house,
the presents need wrapping
because I'm a louse!

Two little girls are upstairs pretending to be in bed, but I can hear their little feet thumping across their bedroom floor. They are way too excited to sleep.

We drove them thru the Christmas light display at Petit Creek Farms and let them unbuckle their seat belts and sit up front with us. I wish I'd had my camera. Drat.

I should go wrap the last of the presents! Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rocket Man

My husband tells me the Piano Man is actually Billy Joel. Oops! So much for thinking I'd be great on Jeopardy. :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Before and After

This is the "after" shot. I will get to why I felt the need to crop it in a minute.

In the meantime, my Mom sent a box of Halloween costumes and puzzles. The girls disappeared into their rooms and emerged a little while later, looking cute as buttons in these adorable little get ups. The picture is for you Mom, with a thank-you for all the cute little puzzles as well.

And in case you are curious, I have posted the "before" shot below. I just think that, perhaps, there are some things you would rather not have to look at.
Big Ben, however, disagrees, and wouldn't get out of the picture. PhotoShop to the rescue. You're welcome.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Build-A-Bear Birthday Party

Natalie went to Kaytlyn's 6th birthday party at the Build A Bear workshop at the mall. We had never been there so this was a new experience for both girls and they had a ball.
Here they are waiting in line with their as-yet-unstuffed teddy bear bodies.

Miss Madeline watching as the Party Leader stuffs her bear. Look at that hand on hip. I can't imagine who she learned that from. (My mom and dad are rolling their eyes big time.) :)

Natalie told the Party Leader her life story while she stuffed her bear. That girl loves a captive audience.

And here is everybody with their brand new teddy bear buddies, and the birthday girl.

Natalie named her bear Glimmer, and Maddy named her bear Tinkerbell.

Kaytlyn blowing out her candles. She is such a sweet little girl and I love that she and Natalie are buddies. The girls and I spent the rest of the day shopping at the mall. Not a very cheerful experience when you've just had surgery, but once I gave up trying on pants shopping was much more enjoyable. The girls were ready to die of boredom by the second store. The next time I brave the mall it will be after the holidays, and I will leave Thing 1 and Thing 2 with their Dad! :)

Friday, December 05, 2008

My new favorite website...

...brought to you by my new favorite vegetable. Celery.My eating habits are largely vegetarian. Not because I believe meat is murder, or any other silly, irrelevant nonsense like that (although I do take issue with things like high saturated fat, low digestibility, parasites, chemical and hormone additives, and meat processing cleanliness.) I just don't think meat is a very healthy food and not a smart choice if one desires to keep the number on the scale from creeping north, or is generally squeamish with regard to, oh, say... worms in your brain.

Ahem. But I digress. I am a fruit and veges kind of girl, although I will occasionally make an exception for chicken (one of the less risky meats in all the areas of concern I mention above) and love seafood. Hypocritically, I also love sushi and have been know to consume large amounts of it. Comparatively speaking, it is a billion times safer than pork. If you don't believe me, see the article above.

Last night I came home from WalMart with a Jeep full of veges, my favorite Italian mineral water, a bottle of wine, and the intention to make one of my favorite dinners - a huge vegetable platter. As I shopped, I had been trying to choose at least one vege that I don't customarily consume. (Usually it is broccoli, red bell peppers, baby carrots, and ranch dip.) Variety in one's diet is important - so I chose a big bag of celery.I've always thought of celery as being essentially devoid of flavor, and basically consisting of water and cellulose. As I washed and chopped the stalks and laid them out on the platter, I was aiming for bulk more than nutritional density. Big Ben, who loves carrots and broccoli as much as I do, stood close by eyeing the platter and me, hoping for a handout. I obliged him first with a leafy stalk of celery - which he mouthed once, placed on the kitchen floor, sniffed with apathy, and returned to looking at me, buttressing my basic belief that celery is better used for science projects and dressing up Bloody Marys. I handed him a carrot instead, and he pranced off to the office area rug with his booty, where I heard him chomping with glee.

Once the platter was prepared, I joined my husband on the sofa and dug in. There were only carrots and celery on the platter, and after a few bites, I found myself going for the celery nearly every time - and noticed Jesse wasn't doing much by comparison to diminish the pile of carrots either. "I may have to eat my words," I thought. "This celery is *amazing.*"

This new revelation led me to wonder about the nutritional value of this tasty new occupant of my crisper. Was I really consuming only water and cellulose, or might there be phytonutrients to boot that I was unaware of? I made a quick trip to my laptop (knowing Ben wasn't interested in stealing the celery) and Googled "nutrients in celery." And that is how I discovered

Eating right is a challenge, to say the least, in our culture of fast food, microwaves, and ignorance. Please don't take offense - you are excused from that designation if you can tell me what ingredient makes up 40 - 50% (by weight) of many popular breakfast cereals. I'll give you a hint - it ain't whole blew my mind. It offers data far more rich than the usual black and white Nutrition Facts table that we have all grown accustomed to seeing on the reverse of our food packages (if you don't know what I'm talking about, see the ignorance comment above.)

My query was answered with colorful charts rating the nutritional value, fullness factor, caloric ratio, nutrient balance, and protein quality of the item in question (raw celery.) I also found tables outlining vitamin and mineral content, fat and protein content, as well as an overall rating (in the opinion of Nutrition Data) as to the weight loss and optimum health value of the food I was investigating. Turns out, celery is full of Vitamins A and K, and is a good source of folate, potassium, dietary fiber, and manganese. It is even useful for lowering blood pressure. Who knew?

I will be taking frequent advantage of the wealth of information available at Nutrition Data, especially the Nutrition Target Map. If you are one of those who has been unhappy with the reading on the bathroom scale of late, write down everything you eat during an average 3 days - then type those choices into and examine the Nutrition Target Map, along with the accompanying assessment of that particular food's value for optimum health. Enlightening, practical, and significantly more reliable than the Great Dane test.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Catching Up!

I found some cute pictures of Natalie's actual birthday that I never posted!
Opening the "Clothespin Cuties." We had a blast with these.

A Barbie computer! A huge hit because they love Barbie and they see me sit at my laptop everyday - they have almost worn this one out playing with it.

I just love this picture of Natalie. Isn't she gorgeous? Where did she get that strawberry hair? I love it.

And then they opened their new Ballerina outfits. You know your gift is a hit when...

...the recipient strips naked on the spot to try it on! :)


They still wear these nearly everyday, especially Miss Madeline, who *LOVES* to dress up.

Crowded around the Barbie laptop. This thing really was fun to play with and very much like a real laptop.

And I found the cutest little Tinkerbell birthday cake, which was the perfect size since I knew there was going to be a sheet cake a couple of days later at her party, and I didn't want cake in the house for two weeks straight, because I would have eaten it for two weeks straight! :)

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and no one got trampled by crowds during the Black Friday sales!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Man Caught A(nother) Monster

Yup. That, folks, is one HUGE striper. 34" long. We have decided that that is Jesse's lucky fishing shirt. I am married to one very versatile outdoorsman - he has brought home deer this season as well (but I deemed the pics a bit too graphic for our family-friendly blog), as well as a large black tip shark last year. I think Jesse would tell you that on almost any given day, his body might be in Georgia but his heart is fishing 50 miles from shore in the ocean.

All this and he cooks too. We have had fresh fish and 20 lbs. of deer jerky in the last month. I heart my hunky hubby. :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Pumpkin Patch

We went on a field trip with Natalie's class to the Pumpkin Patch in Adairsville. This was Oct. 20th, but I am SO behind on posting all the cute little things the girls have been up to. I took about 100 pictures, and I tried to whittle it down to just the best for you guys, but it was hard!

On the way into the petting zoo. Kids were instructed to only pet with "these two fingers" and then not to put those fingers in their mouths until their hands were washed.
Billy goats!! These little guys were too cute. I wished Ben were with us, he would have loved playing with these critters, and they would have loved jumping all over him.
The fattest bunny I have ever seen. Poor picture, but they said he weighed 16lbs!
When I saw these guys, all I could think was, "Gee, Ben really is like having a pony in the house."Ducks with mohawks. The kids thought these were hi-larious. Our guide told them they were still wearing their Halloween costumes.

This pen was full of baby duckies....
....and chubby bunnies....
Look at the walk-way they have built for the billy goats to play on! We had a hard time explaining to the kids that they couldn't go in and climb on it too. It did look like fun!
The picture just doesn't capture how enormous this steer was.
A hand washing station - thank heaven!
Next it was Hayrides. I was impressed by all the activities they had planned for us and how they kept us moving from one to the next. The kids were having a blast.

The hayride was basically a tour through the back half of the farm, where they grow all the crops. They had almost a HUNDRED scare crows dressed up in every out fit you can imagine.

Playing hot potato (with a cold pumpkin) to kill time while we waited our turn for the hay maze.

Sweet sisters. They are growing up so fast.

I love the look on Madeline's face. "Is this thing safe?"
She never took her eyes off that dummy. I think she expected him to get up.

They ran thru the maze over and over, laughing their butts off the whole time. They loved it.
This is Natalie and her best buddy, Kaytlyn.
Blinded by the light! Natalie's class, and her teacher, Mrs. Lena.

Natalie and Kaytlyn. These two are inseparable.
Chasing a cricket!

They probably spent 20 minutes inspecting all the pumpkins, until they found the perfect ones.

We stopped at Home Depot on the way home and I got two huge pots of mums. We now have a beautiful Fall display of flowers and pumpkins of all different sizes on our porch, which the girls love because they remind them of their big day at the Pumpkin Patch, and they love to tell visitors that they chose them all by themselves. I'm so proud of my little sweetie pies.