Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Fun Things to do in the Month of August

August is the last full month of summer (Autumn begins September 22nd), so it's time to kick it in full gear and ENJOY!  Here is a list of fun things to do this month.
1.  Go to a drive-in movie: fill a cooler with drinks and snacks, throw a couple of folding chairs and blankets in the trunk, and watch a movie under the stars;
2.  Get up a little earlier and enjoy coffee, tea or orange juice on the front porch;  
3.  Go on a picnic in the park: choose a new park you've never been to before, explore;
4.  Visit your local Zoo;
5.  Go white water rafting;
6.  Make a meal using veggies from your garden;
7.  Make S'mores and root beer floats;
8.  Go miniature golfing;
9.  Go to an amusement park;
10. Take a ride on a boat; and (every child's favorite NOT);
11. Get ready to go back to school.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Why Document Your Day, Your Week, Your Life? – A REMINDER

"but the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three on them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4, and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in a hurry to get on to the next things: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less."
— Anna Quindlen 
I was not a very good document keeper this past July.  I was truly enjoying each day, spending each evening sitting on our front porch, Elliot riding his bike or playing in his sandbox, Amelia in her ball pit or playpen, adults playing Trips & Runs, Yahtzee, Scrabble or Clue.  Or time spent in the backyard, Elliot in his little pool, me cutting the grass or pulling weeds.  Just outside – enjoying
But I, as keeper of our memories, I published no photos, I have no words written down to coincide with each day.  How will the children know? 
So here I am – back.  Back to my blog to record our days.  Our precious moments.  Our every days.

Welcome August!  How will we enjoy you?

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Childrens' Bucket Lists

We are planning on my daughter and her two sons spending many summer days with us this year.  In anticipation of sharing summer with the boys, I downloaded this Summer Bucket List template from Activities for Kids website.  Along with the templates, I wrote a short note about how I wanted the boys to write down what most they would like to do this summer, i.e., places to go, crafts to make, games to play, foods to eat, just anything that would “make” their summer.  I wrote that they were to sign and date their lists, doodle in the margins, color it, just have fun.

I also let them know that while we might not be able to do everything on their bucket lists, we would most certainly try to do most of them.  I also included a self-addressed, stamped envelope.  

I received their lists in the mail over the weekend.  Here are the results: 

Elliot gave his bucket list verbally - he wants to go to the beach.

We have are looking forward to the boys and Amanda staying and have lined up a trip to Kennywood and to the Zoo for their June stay.  Along with a hike, a movie and plenty of science experiments, puzzles and games.  Bring on Summer!

What's on YOUR children's bucket lists??  

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

School's Out! Bring on the Summer Reading Challenge!

Today is the boys' (BB & JJ) last day of school for the season. I've been on a mission to find the neatest ideas to keep them busy (while making fabulous memories) while they are off.  
I absolutely loved this idea found at Wife Mommy Me – A Summer Reading Bingo Board, and while a lovely free printable is offered, I wanted a more personalized board to fit each boys’ interests.  We have one hooked on dinosaurs, one on wrestling and one on trains.  
As the boys’ ages range from 9 to 4 I also googled “summer reading challenges” for more ideas and ended up on this Pinterest board. Oh! the creativity and inspiration! A super special thank you to all of you who share your inspiration and creativity. I appreciate you.
After spending an obscene amount of time (I can browse all day) looking through all these fabulous ideas, this is the Bingo Board I made for the boys (they will each have their own).  Note: the finished board is much larger.

2017 Summer Reading


browse through a kid’s cookbook
then è
make a snack from the book

read a book about plants, then è
plant a flower in a pot, watch it grow


trucks and cars,
then è
draw a town on poster board, drive toy cars over the roads

then è

the library,
then è
get a


read a scary story,
then è
make a scary mask

and illustrate a mini book,
then è
have a book party and read your book
out loud

then è

make a
use it in your book

then è
buy a new book, to add to your collection

read under a starry sky

watch a
movie based on a book,
then è
Instructions: read a book, complete an activity.  Put a X through the square as you complete each challenge.
NOTE: Supplies for all activities will be provided by Grammy.

My bet is Brendan will try to fill his in the first week, so I made sure to add things that would need to be done in a group, and places we would need to travel to.  I also want this challenge to last over the three vacation months.  

For the “write and illustrate a mini book,” I used the Mini Book Template found at Teacher Idea Factory.  

I am loving this idea!!  I am so looking forward to this summer with the boys.

I would love to hear YOUR ideas for summer fun for the kiddies! Please share.

Enjoying every day,


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Welcome June!

Summer has Arrived!
Welcome June!  Home to Flag Day, Father’s Day, Summer Solstice, Picnics, Pool Parties, Grilling and BBQ, Weddings, Graduations and Traveling.
The last day of school for BB and JJ is June 9th and then the party begins!  In May, I sent the boys “bucket lists” to fill out with activities and trips they’d be interested in this summer.  I received them back over the weekend and will share them here later this week.  Looks like we are going to be super busy this summer!!
I am so excited for this month.  Although I work away from home, I want to make so many good memories with the Kiddies before they go back to school. 
In other news that has absolutely nothing to do with the first day of June, I watched the last three episodes of Big Little Lies.  WOWSA!  That’s all I’m saying.  I also watched The Wizard of Lies starring Robert DeNiro and Michelle Pfieffer, which was very good.  I am just finishing up reading Asylum by Jeannette De Beauvoir and eager to begin Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson.  I also need to crochet about three dozen stars. 

What plans do you have for this summer?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

This Past Weekend. . .

This past weekend – Memorial Day weekend – was fantabulous!  Yes, it rained a lot.  BUT, the weather was GOOD and the sun did eventually shine.  Starting Friday (we were permitted to leave the office at 3:00!), I couldn’t wait to get home and begin the weekend.  Kayla and Amelia set off to Doug’s house and Elliot and I played trains, cleaned the living room and went to bed early. 
Ms. Amelia

Saturday morning, Mom joined us and we had breakfast at our favorite: Eat N Park – what else?? Elliot was good as gold again this weekend.  We took him to Barnes & Noble (Waterworks). They finally replaced their Thomas the Train table, which had an all NEW track and playsets.  E had a wonderful time.  After picking up a few things at the grocery store, we headed home to get started on cleaning out the room that is now Elliot’s.  It still needs painted because it is currently Barbie pink and purple (Kayla’s childhood bedroom).  Elliot wants blue with green stripes.  Oh my.

Sunday was busier than Saturday, with Mom and I cleaning out all the leaves that accumulated under the back porch.  Then we cleaned the front porch and yard and even though it was so overcast I cut the grass in back.  And then the sun came out.  We ate dinner on the porch.  Mom left for home and Elliot went into the tub. 

Monday, Elliot’s Dad and Gramma came and took them to their home for a cookout.  I did laundry and Mom came in for lunch.  Later, the Mister brought dinner.  Elliot came home. The Pens won (we didn’t see this as we turned in early). 

Elliot and his masterpiece

There is something to be said for three day weekends.  They’re heavenly!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Spring Cleaning and Treasure Hunting, The Entry Way

Spring cleaning has been underway.  If you read Friday's post, you will know we are viewing spring cleaning as a treasure hunt.  You can read that post here.  We began with the entryway and although mostly pennies were found (under $1.00), I love how it turned out.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day to All!

Here’s wishing you a Mother’s Day 
That’s filled with every pleasure, 
And a future that’s as happy 
As the memories you treasure!
~ Anon

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!!!
and to all you other dear Mommies.

Enjoy YOUR day!!!!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Spring Cleaning and Treasure Hunting: The Car

Grimy change found in the car
Our car broke down on December 23, 2017.  Well, not quite “broke down” as much as the catalytic converter fell off while we were driving to the Waterfront to do some last minute Christmas shopping.  Luckily we were only a few blocks from home and although it was a VERY LOUD ride back, we made it without getting a “You Are Being a Public Nuisance” ticket. 
Wait, I have to stop here to tell you that it was most likely a Godsend that the converter had chosen to fall out of the car because unbeknownst to me, my license had expired 13 days earlier AND the registration ticket on the plate was from 2014.  Jeez!  
A quick history – our beloved Toyota Corolla was a 1997, and had only one other owner, my sister.  And a few dents from the teenagers (Niece? Nephew?) that learned to drive in this car.  And was Bright Ivy Green (actual name of the paint color).  Two things – you could never misplace this car in a crowded parking lot and 2) you could never shout obscenities from it, nor make crude hand gestures, as no one would forget this car.
Anyway, our little car sat in front of our house until the end of February (beginning March 1, tickets would be given because street cleaning was to commence).  We decided to donate the car, and in the interim, use public transportation or call my mom for a ride, and pay off our credit union loan before buying a new car.
Before we could have the car picked up, we needed to clean it out.  Ew.  It’s unbelievable the stuff that can be found under the seats!  And the pocket change -quarters, dimes, nickles and pennies.  Yuck.  These needed a good soaking.   The final sum was $5.00 and change.
I recently read somewhere something about being able to find at least 1,000 pennies lying around the house.  1,000? Or was it 100?  Can’t remember.  But it got me thinking about how much we might find lying around our house.  That and how we needed to commence with the Spring Cleaning.  If we combined Spring Cleaning with a treasure hunt, well, heck, it would be like getting paid for cleaning that room.  And that’s what we are gonna do.  Tonight – the entry hall!  Stay tuned…

Let the spring cleaning and treasure hunting commence!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Looking Forward To...

... a wet and cool weekend
... at least five loads of laundry
... quality time with Elliot and Mom
... making progress in cleaning out the "office"
... eggs, and bacon and pancakes for Mom's Day breakfast
... reading, crocheting and playing lots of "trains"

What are YOU looking forward to this weekend?


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Monday, May 1, 2017

Welcome May!

I can hardly believe it's May, already. Elliot just turned 4 and today marks Amelia’s 1st day of her fifth month.  May is the time we begin getting the house and yard ready for summer.  It’s time to hose down the porch and porch furniture.  Lay down a piece of indoor/outdoor carpet for bare feet to walk across.  Time to plant the outdoor gardens, throw out a few flower seeds, pull out the water table, fill the sand box and line the yard with Elliot’s collection of bikes, cars and big wheels.

This year we will need to purchase new chair and glider pads and I’d like to string outdoor lights across our porch.  I crocheted a few lightweight lap blankets for cuddling during thunderstorms (a favorite pastime for us, besides running in the rain).  We will carry-on our tradition of porch picnics, eating watermelon and multiple games of pounce. 

How will you prepare for summer??

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

... and life threw a lemon

My second son, Jayme, is crazy in love with his wife, Tina.  They just had their 5th anniversary on April 7 - a day for celebrating.  However, April 7 is the day Tina was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.  Life has been moving so fast lately, the days are filled with doctor appointments and medical treatments. They have a combined family of five children, the youngest being just 9.  The 15 year old measuring low on the autism spectrum, but still how to tell them?  While there has been overwhelming love and support from family and friends, the journey to being cancer free has just begun.  Please keep Tina and Jayme and their children in your thoughts and lift them up in your prayers.  

You can read their story here and if you would like to donate to their cancer fight, your gift will be truly appreciated. Thank you.

Friday, April 21, 2017

It's a Party Month

Today could not be a prettier day (it can and it will), but for now, after bitter cold, lots of rain and an odd mix of cold/warm weather this past winter, it appears Spring has settled here in the ‘burgh.  It's our favorite kind of day. A warm sun, a cool breeze upon your face, the fresh green scent of just mowed lawns, colorful tulips in full bloom, it’s a wonderful day for being outside!
April is a month of many celebrations for us.  There’s my Dad’s birthday (also known as Pap), Cammi’s (15), Mick’s (1), Elliot’s (4) and Dylan’s (4).  And there is Easter.  One long month of partying!
We celebrated Easter with Amanda and boys spending the weekend with us.  It was a fun and wonderful time.  Lots of activity, visitors, good food, good conversation, good fun! 
Coloring Eggs
Coloring Eggs

Easter Bunny bring gift
The Easter Bunny brought Elliot a new train
Amelia, our little snuggly bunny
On Monday, we celebrated Elliot’s 4th birthday with a blow-out bash at Chuck E Cheese.  Elliot enjoyed his birthday sooooo much, that last night when he was getting ready for bed, he said he should have two birthdays.  So cute.  
Elliot's Fourth BD
Celebrating his fourth birthday with Chuck E Cheese
This weekend is Dylan’s big day.  We will be celebrating his 4th birthday at a Jump N Bounce.  Hopefully we will that is.  Elliot came down with one heck of a cold/fever/runny nose sort of thing that’s taking its time going away. 
So, besides another party (maybe), I will be doing lots of laundry, mowing the lawn and decluttering. 

What’s on your “laundry” list of things to do????

Thursday, April 6, 2017


Hey, Amelia! What should we do this month?
Although there is a 90% chance of snow tonight/tomorrow being forecast, my mind is on Spring!  Here are eight fun ideas to celebrate Spring.  Enjoy!

1. Plant a container garden  
2. Celebrate Easter! Dye eggs naturally.
3. Invite guests for Easter dinner.
4. Make Easter baskets with your kiddies.
5. Host an Easter Egg Hunt.
6. Take a walk.  Get reacquainted with your neighbors.
7. Prepare the porch and yard for summer. Scrub down the porch and porch furniture, and all yard toys.  Clean out the sand box and fill with new sand.  Cut the grass.
8. Make a windchime

What do YOU do to celebrate Spring?? 

O’ Hoppy Day!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Spring has Sprung!

Spring bunny
Amelia, our Spring Bunny
Our spring has come at last with the soft laughter of April suns and shadow of April showers.
~ Bryon Caldwell Smith, letter to Kate Stephens

Saturday, April 1, 2017


Spring has sprung here in the ‘burgh.

The neighbors have come out of hibernation and can be seen sweeping their porches, washing their cars, planting flowers and decorating for Easter.

We’ve been walking to the park in the evenings and Elliot has taken to riding his (little) big wheel down the “big mountain” (schoolyard driveway slope).  Ahhhhh, Spring!

Elliot tackles the "Big Mountain"
April plans to be a very fun-filled and egg-citing month for us.  We will be celebrating six birthdays, with the oldest turning 81 and the youngest, 1.

At our house, we will be hosting an Easter egg hunt and a lovely feast thereafter.  Most of my children and their children will be in attendance. The house will be filled with love and laughter and lots of candy.

Cute story:  Kayla hung an Easter Bunny Welcome sign on the front door.  Elliot did not see it until we were coming back from riding down that “big mountain.”  When he did he was so excited that the Easter Bunny was at our house.  He burst through the door and began looking for his “Easter Bunny candy.”

How is YOUR April shaping up??

Oh Happy Day!


Monday, March 20, 2017

Welcome Spring!

Today marks the first day of Spring!  Ahhhh, Spring.  Famous for Spring Cleaning - our annual celebration of welcoming spring.  It’s time to open the windows (wash them first), bring in the fresh air, expel the stale, enjoy a soft breeze, the scent of fresh cut grass, the sound of birds singing.  It’s time to sweep out the cobwebs, pack away the heavy blankets, the snowboots, the winter coats, and let the sun shine! 

This Spring season we will:
Wash the windows, launder the curtains, hose down the porches, scrub the porch furniture and create comfortable outside rooms.  We will make up the beds in cotton sheets and flowered bedspreads (I have to thank my Mom for this spring ritual; she changes her bed coverings with each season/holiday), and there is nothing more luxurious than climbing into a made up bed (at least in my opinion).  We will scrub carpets, paint a room or two, and my favorite: visit local rummage and yard sales and thrift stores for the perfect wicker basket (think catchalls for the porches), candleholders (think porches, again), and vases (for those spring blossoms).

We will visit and catch up with the neighbors.

And last but not least, we will make a list of things to do in Spring.

How will you celebrate Spring??

Friday, March 10, 2017

How to Prepare the Perfect Bubble Bath

First, run the hot water to warm up the bottom of the tub.  Then turn on the cold and when you have reached the desired temperature, put in the plug.

Second, inquire of the bather as to what color he/she would like their water to be.  We use Sesame Street Fizzy Tub Colors.  Add the requested color(s) to the running water.

Third, pour in a capful (or two) of your favorite scented bubble bath. The current favorite among the 3 and under set in this here household is banana.  We use Despicable Me Minion Made Banana Scented Bubble Bath.

Four, place child and a boatload of bath toys in tub.  Elliot’s all-time favorites are his Thomas the Train Bath Buddies.  He is also a fan of his Matchbox MarineRescue

Do not leave the child unsupervised.  Instead, if your child is able to sit by themselves take advantage of the first few moments to clean the bathroom.  I wipe out the sink, polish the mirrors, scrub the toilet, empty the trashcan and straighten the shelves.  Then I sit alongside the tub and play Thomas the Trains with Elliot.  He likes to cover the trains with bubbles and call them “ghost trains,” or hide them under all the bubbles for me to find. Or sometimes I read a storybook, or we sing songs.  Tub-time is a wonderful way to spend quality time with your child.

Love & Luck,

Please note: We are not affiliated with Sesame Street, MZB Accessories, Fisher-Price or Matchbox, we just like their stuff.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Looking forward to . . .

... I can tell you what I am not looking forward to this weekend - the 27/13 degree weather being forecast for Saturday.  WHY the weekend? Why not today, when I have to be in an office all day?! Wow! What a W-H-I-N-E-R! Ah, well, Spring really is right around the corner and we here in Pittsburgh really cannot complain about the weather, not after the mild winter we've experienced this 2016-2017 season. 

... and I can tell you that my previous plan of taking the kiddies into the City to watch the St. Paddy's Day parade has been frozen over.  Sorry, but I am not one to stand with half-naked men painted green in below freezing temps to watch a parade.  I'm not?  Wait, I might have done that once before. . .ahem.

... Okay, so what am I looking forward to this upcoming weekend?  Getting a jump on spring cleaning.  Sick, huh?  No, really.  I've downloaded The LWSL Spring Cleaning Journal (hurry, it's only free for 22 more days), printed off Smead Organomics' Spring Cleaning Checklist (check out their other printables, too, these are among my favorites), checked the cleaning supplies on hand, there's plenty (what does that maid do?!), bought plastic gloves and a new mop and am rearing to go. Even if I can't open the windows and let a summer breeze blow through.  Wait a minute, I think I have a Yankee Candle for that. 

    What are YOU looking forward to this coming weekend?

Love & Luck,

Please note that  I am not affiliated with LWSL, Smead Organomics or Yankee Candle, I just like their stuff.