Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Just one of the wonderful parent approved toys in my house

Look!!! They made a magnetic building set that doesn't have removeable, connectable magnets! These are the coolest things ever! They came in simple brown boxes in 2 shapes. Triangle and Square.

They also came with an instruction booklet for ideas on what and how to build something with them. Here's Dunn who's oh, so proud {if you couldn't tell}.

On a side note...can I just say...Isn't he the cutest you ever saw?! Well, ok, next to your very own cuties...
Here it is close up. The magnets are incased inside the frames. These are some powerful little guys!! If you can't tell from looking they are also dual colored. The purple have red on the other side and the blue are a chartreuse color on the other side.
These definately meet with parent approval and I'm not concerned in the slightest over the swallowing factor. These have no small tiny parts, not even ones that can be removed. WooHoo! Way to go toy makers. It seems you were actually thinking of the safety of the child and consumer.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

My Christmas Ambition

Our Christmas Tradition is we always have some kind of Roasted beef.
This year my ambition was to make some yorkshire pudding to go with it. When I was growing up, that was our favorite part of the meal. We only had it once a year at Christmas dinner, and my brothers and I couldn't wait!! It rose up like magic, and when it was brought to the table it deflated into a crusty on the outside and soft on the inside delectable treat. We loaded it with butter and gobbled it down.

So went to my handy dandy Joy of Cooking and looked it up. It seemed relatively easy enough.

Preheat the oven to 450. Place a glass 9 x 13 baking dish into the oven and heat for 10 mins.

Measure 1 cup {less 1 tbsp.} flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl.

Mix up 2 eggs and 1 cup milk in a seperate bowl.

Combine flour mixture and whisk together.

Melt 1/4 cup butter and pour into hot pan. Pour batter into pan and bake for 15 mins. That's it. Really, that's all there is. Pull it out and look at what you've got.

Traditionally you're supposed to use the drippings from the roast instead of butter, but I didn't have enough drippings. Actually I like the butter version better. It has that buttery taste already, so you don't have to add any more on it. Not that you couldn't mind you. I wouldn't want to take that away from all you butter lovers out there :)
I hope all your Christmas ambitions and traditions were as wonderful as ours!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Did I mention I'm from Maryland?

If you're not familiar with the Maryland State slogan, let me enlighten you.

"Maryland is for crabs"

Now please don't be offended. We are known for our blue crabs. It's what all Marylanders love. If you live in Maryland and don't like crabs, may I please ask you kindly to leave or just lie and say you're from Virginia. (P.S. That's the place we send all our traitors).

I leave you with this. Hopefully I've explained why this song is even around. Here's to all those Marylander's who can't wait for the summer, crab pots, old bay, melted butter and vinegar :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I'm talking the big "D"

The “D” word. Yup. The big “D”. No, not divorce. Depression. I’ve got it. No real shocker you say. After all you lost a baby, of course you’re depressed. Well, according to some they may think it’s all just part of the grief cycle.

I just want to say…Bull. When you know yourself, and how you feel normally everyday (good and bad), you know when something isn’t right. I knew I was sad and grieving the loss of our baby, but the way I had been feeling lately was much, much more than that.

My symptoms: I cried all the time. At least, whenever I could be alone. I tried really hard not to cry too much in front of the kids. I didn’t want to scare them. Also, I completely withdrew. From everyone and everything! This included the people who loved me most, my hubby and my kids. I just didn’t even want to be around them. How horrible is that?!?! I couldn’t enjoy the Christmas season with them. I didn’t decorate the house, make cookies, sing carols…nothing! Luckily hubby is so involved with the kids he picked up all the slack. Have I mentioned I’m married to the best guy in the world?

The clincher symptom for me was when I started wanting to live a completely different life. I mean totally different from where I was at the time. I live near the city…I wanted to live far out in the country, I mean really, really rural! I didn’t want to be married anymore. Well, c’mon that’s just not right. I mean, sure there are days when I say he’s a stinkin’ you know what, but you work that out. Married 15 years, now. I didn’t want my kids to go to the school they were in, I didn’t want to drive the car I had. I had a fantasy life building up in my head.

I knew I needed help when I decided I couldn’t live like this anymore and actually asked my husband to leave. He was smart. He didn’t cave. He knew it wasn’t “me” talking. He talked me through it, and I realized that I was literally out of my mind. That was the final straw for me. The “lightbulb” moment when I knew I would probably need some kind of medication to help me. So, I went to a Psychiatrist, who did a long analysis of what I had been going through, how long I had been feeling this way, and made some suggestions. Medication. Therapy. Both. I asked for medication. We went through the list of drugs, and decided on Wellbutrin SR. This is a slow release drug that did a world of wonders for me.

I started it right away. A small dose, and started to feel better within just a few days. WOW!! I couldn’t believe the difference. All those negative thoughts that had been rushing around in my head, had completely disappeared. It was almost too good to be true. But, it wasn’t. It was real, and for the first time I felt like my “real” self.

I’m not embarrassed that I need this. I don’t feel ashamed. I’m proud to tell anyone my experience in hopes of it helping someone else. So riddle me this? Why is there still such a stigma associated with mental health? No one whispers in hushed tones if they have diabetes, or low cholesterol. For crying out loud…how many erectile dysfunction commercials do I have to see on TV and no one’s snickering at them?

So my point is don’t be worried about taking a medication for your health problems. Even if health insurance and all those people out there have got it all wrong!!! Eventually I think this sector of health will become as widely covered as fertility (which may not be saying much, but at least it would be a start).

Crazy in the head,

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A usable picture...

This is the one we used for our Christmas card this year. Printed it actually looks better. The red is more vibrant and the kids really don't look so ummm, uhhh, sick. It's a nice contrast and worked wonderfully with our black background and gold lettering on the card.
Now, how many pictures did I go through to get just one photo of 4 children, with smiles, all looking at the camera, not looking at each other, not making funny hand gestures above someones head, no tongues sticking out, everyones eyes are open? Hmm...this year it went relatively well. I only shot about 183 pictures before I felt that I got something I could use.

This was the original before a little photoshop magic.

Must say I love this gang of Hooligans! They're pretty darn cute.

xoxo ~ Onegirliegirl

Friday, December 19, 2008

Just one junk drawer

My junk drawers bother me!!! It's all the clutter. I think I'm hiding it until you see this.
How do I let it get to this point? Oh, it's easy...a little something to pick up off the floor...throw it in the drawer.
This is only one of the many "junk" drawers in my house. I'm just too embarrased to say how many I have.
My junk is always in the kitchen. How about you? Where is your junk drawer, and don't pretend you don't have one. You have to. At least just to make me feel better.

I feel imensely better about myself. I feel organized and complete as a person. Why does this little drawer make me so happy?
xoxo ~Onegirliegirl

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

House Tour for Christmas

The DINing room

Just keeping I t real...Clutter
The Nutcrackers
ONE OF MY FAVORITE DECORATIONS...A SIMPLE WINE BOTTLE hand painted and then a colorful string of lights stuffed inside.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Our new angel

Really needed something quick and easy for the top of our smaller tree this year. We have 2 trees. A big 14 footer in the foyer and then our regular size 8 footer in the family room. I was perusing the aisle's at Michaels the other day and saw this unfinished wooden scroll cut out angel and thought it would work for the top of our tree.

So we painted it white, spread some glue and sprinkled liberally with glitter. TaDa...new angel. Not my most preferred, but it will do for this year.
xoxo ~ Onegirliegirl

Monday, December 15, 2008

Angels we have heard on high...

There's just something about having a little girl that's shifted my craft drive into overdrive. I have been scouring the family craft sites to find fun ornaments to do with Kelly. She has collected a ton of old Christmas cards over the years. That girl is such a hoarder :) So I went in search of something to do with them. I found this great craft that helped me recycle all the cards with such beautiful pictures. It was easy and they turned out beautifully.

I did have to improvise with some of the items. You may notice that the halo's aren't actually the gold chenille stems (pipe cleaners), but are a tan color with glue and glitter. Hey, it works! Also we couldn't quite figure out what we wanted to do with faces and hair. So we tried a few different looks. We have the shag cut angel, the long paper hair angel and my personal (and easiest) favorite the no hair/no face angel. I think the mystery of what angels look like is totally embodied by this. I am soooo deep.

Stay tuned for even more crafts. Seriously, I can't stop. Somebody, Anybody...Help me please!

xoxo ~Onegirliegirl

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Why is there a dead fish in my backyard?

Not long ago, well a few months back, I was outside chatting with a neighbor when we saw a couple of birds flying around. Not too unusual until I noticed one was carrying something in it's claws. When I was able to shield the sun out of my face and focus in a little better, I realized it was a carrying a fish, and the 2 birds were BALD EAGLES!!

Let me just state for the record, I love living where we do. We're just outside of Washington, D.C. (only 15 miles) and yet my house backs to a huge state park. Wildlife sighting on a regular basis. But a Bald Eagle. Uh, hello weren't they endangered?

So I started yelling at everyone in the house "Get outside, there's a couple of Bald Eagle's out here, hurry!!!" I managed to get my camera and just as I was bringing it to my eye one Eagle knocked the fish out of the other Eagle's talons. As I watched this amazing sight the fish fell behind my house. Now, I don't really have a backyard to speak of. It's pretty much all woods, yup, right up to the house. So I'm thingking there's no way we're going to be able to find this fish. But my oldest (Jack) and I were so excited, we just had to look.

Just as we reached the back of the house we saw the fish. I couldn't believe our luck! He had managed to drop it right between what little green space we call the backyard and where the woods were. So that's what I got a picture of.

We all wondered if the Eagle(s) would come back for the fish. Now, I didn't know this but evidently their not really picky about their food. They could care less if it's no longer fresh from the river and all covered with leaves. Mmmmmm, says the Eagle. They are scavengers.

He did come back and to make this long story a little shorter we missed the descension and retrieval of the fish. Jack had to go to Lacrosse practice, Kelly and Dunn were napping and Finn and I got distracted after waiting and looking out the window for 1 1/2 hrs. (Very patiently, I might add) and didn't even get to see the swoop in! Darn!

BTW, I'm wondering where the heck thisfish came from, and why the Eagle was flying near my house. I don't live that close to a big body of water. The Potomac River is at least 10 miles away, and the huge park that we live near had a lake, but that's over 5 miles away.....hmmmmm.

But I have my photo of the fish. It's obvious that it was carried in and dropped by a Bald Eagle. I think that says enough.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thrift shopping at it's best!

Ever since I made this wool sweater for Kelly, I have been obsessed on finding more wool sweaters. So I went to my local thrift store on the weekly day when ALL clothing is 1/2 price and scoured every rack for good deals on wool sweaters.

At first I thought there wouldn't be too many because it's winter and everyone would be looking for warm clothing, but nooooo. I had plenty to choose from! Take a look at all the sweaters I got. 9 sweaters in all, and I only paid $31. That's right $31. So if things are a little tight with your purse strings, like they are with mine don't be afraid to thrift. You can find lots of great deals.

As it turns out a number of these are actually being worn (unaltered) by Jack. He's gotten so big at 12 1/2 he can wear mens size clothing. I don't know how many of these will get a new look, but I can't wait to do at least one more for Kelly.

xoxo ~L

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mini Reese Brownie Bites

MMMMMM! Reese's Brownie Bites! These are the most delicious and easy item I've done so far for all my Christmas Baking. The best Christmas cookie ever!!!(if you want to call it that, I'm ok with it)
It's 2 ingredient "baking" at it's best. I just love seeing a recipe with 2 ingredients, don't you! Well, you add egg, oil and water and I'll just pretend you have those on hand, OK?!

You mix up your brownie mix and spoon in one really big Tablespoon. It's a thick batter, so you can easily spoon it into your mini paper liners. You definately want to use paper liners. I tried baking these with and without liners, and they stuck like my thighs to vinyl in the summer. Trust me you don't want to see either of these scenarios! So use the paper liners!! Spoon in some chocolate goodness.

Now some may tell you to cook the brownie mix a little while before you add in the mini reese's cup. Let me just tell ya...DON'T!! Load that reese cup right on into your uncooked brownie batter.

Have your oven set to 350 and bake for about 15 - 18 mins. Watch them closely or the chocolate on the reese's will start to burn. You'll know it's burning when it's no longer smooth on the top. I had 2 batches turn out that way. They don't taste bad, in fact they taste the same. They just don't look as pretty!

I forgot to take the picture right after they came out of the oven so these are straight out of the fridge, where I keep all my baked goods to keep them from becoming dry and stale.

These Reese's brownie bites are delicious and sooooo easy!! MMMMMMMMM!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Santa is coming, Santa is coming!!!

One of my favorite scenes from the movie ELF with Will Farrell is when he is working in the Department Store as what else, an elf, and they announce that Santa is coming tomorrow and
Will Farrell goes wild. He starts jumping up and down screaming so joyously and with such enthusiasm "Santa, I know him!!! Santa!!" In typical overblown style he makes me laugh outloud every time I see it!

So here's my little Dunn holding his letter for Santa! I think he's even more excited than Will Farrell.

He actually got to hand his letter to Santa the other day. He and Kelly both got to visit with Santa. It was the highlight of their year! (And Mine)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Cookies

Today Kelly's note from her Advent Calendar said "Make Christmas Cookies". So that's what we did! We donned our aprons and got to work!

Here's what the kitchen looked like after making the cookies and icing.

Here's my bestest helper saying TaaaDaaa

After reading all about cookie decorating I tried to do my best. Using the "flooding" method (see the Christmas trees smooth appearance?) and the "piping" all over the cookie method (well, front and center is the bell and the candy cane. All I can say is it's a lot of work mixing all those different colors, loading them into bags, piping them, and in some cases spreading the icing.

I think they're pretty. Too bad they'll all be gone by tomorrow. Cookies don't last long at my house!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Miscarriage: Part 3, The emotional damage

I promise this one won't be as gory as the last one, but it will have a few details in it. I had foolishly been thinking just a few days before all the bleeding, how my losing the baby never felt "real" because there didn't seem to be any discomfort, pain, or real bleeding. HaHaHaHa!

What I didn't realize after the bleeding had stopped was the emotions that I would be facing. I had already come to understand that I was no longer growing this tiny being inside my body. Before the dispeling incident of "chicken parts" out of my body, it didn't seem like the baby was gone. But during my time in the shower with huge clots passing thru me, to the point of feeling like afterbirth over and over, I understood that there was no more baby.

This was when my depression really set in. I had trouble getting these visions out of my head. The emotional pain of it all was more than I could bear. I completely withdrew. From. Everyone.

Try to imagine a Christmas with 4 young children and you could care less what's going on around you. I couldn't focus on anything. I cried all the time (or at least whenever I was alone...the shower, the car, in bed). I didn't want to be in my house. I didn't want to talk to anyone, see anyone, really even be anyone. Not that I was suicidal, I wasn't. I just didn't want my life. Plain and simple. I wanted to be Alice, working at Mel's diner with friends who totally understood me, and a son who always did the right thing. I didn't want the stress of real life, so I left it behind. I started to live in a fantasy world where everything was the complete opposite of where I was at that moment.

I didn't want to be married, I didn't want to live where I lived, didn't want the car I drove, didn't even want my kids. Man, that's hard to admit. I hadn't stopped loving them, I just didn't want what I had. I couldn't appreciate anything.

I don't remember Christmas last year. Not at all, really. I couldn't tell you what big items the kids got, or even who I saw. Actually I'm pretty sure I didn't see anyone, because I couldn't face people. I knew if they saw me, they'd want to acknowledge the loss of the baby and I just didn't want to talk about it. I couldn't even talk to my girlfriends whom I've known forever. They were no longer the light at the end of my tunnel. I couldn't see thru my tunnel, it had become so dark. After weeks of these feelings I realized that this was not the normal grieving process. I was prepared to give myself "some time", but this definately wasn't right. I knew I needed help and quickly. I just couldn't go on like this.

So I did. I got help. I am on medication and it has made a world of difference. I hope this testament will help someone who is suffering and may not know if they need help. Read this story and open yourself up to the option that you are not just grieving (as my OBGYN thought). I knew myself and listened to my inner self. Go with your gut and know you are not alone. Your suffering does not need to go on indefinately. Don't be embarrased as so many are today.

Next: Why is there such a stigmatism with mental health and medication?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Advent Calendar

As I mentioned before I really wanted to make an Advent Calendar similar to this beautiful one from Allsorts. Me...I like color. So I gathered up all my felt (yes, I still have a lot left, just planning ahead), and quickly got to work. When I say quickly, I mean quickly for me. I finished all my felt envelopes just in time for December 1st.

I didn't have a good idea of how to string them, much less a good place to put it. Very limited wall space around here, plus I knew little hands would just be pulling it down.

So here was my solution:

I took a plain basket that had just been gathering dust in my basement. Yes, yes I wiped it down first. I hung an adorable big wooden snowflake ornament on the handle, stuck all the envelopes in (in no particular order since Kelly doesn't know her numbers anyway) and Voila! My new handmade advent calendar.

The hardest part was finding little things to put in the envelopes. I made some notes with crafts to do, but wanted Kelly to find little things to play with. Well, now she doesn't understand why she can't open them all at once so she can play with her toys. Yesterday was a little pocket puppy, and today was a note for a craft and a little horsie. Today she showed a little more patience. Ahhhhh!!!

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