Friday, June 26, 2009

The "Slice" Story

Yesterday I promised the slice of pizza story. There is this pizza place called Liquori's that sells large slices of pizza so all you really need is one slice, and you are satisfied. REALLY! In fact, I would be willing to say you and your spouse, or friend could even share a slice and not go hungry. Don't believe me? Tonight I ordered 4 slices of pizza, the maximum any customer can order: 2 combo, and 2 cheese. I also got a 2 liter of soda, and it cost $14 and some change. Not bad, especially since it fed 8 people!!!! Take a look below, this is a picture of 4 slices put together in one box!!!!!

Isn't that the funniest thing ever? Talk about a bargain! I love to take people here, order a slice and watch their face when their "slice" arrives to them. It is priceless!!!! What are some good bargains in your area?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A berry relaxed kind of day!

Today is the first official day of summer, as school was finally out yesterday. My friend, Maryjo, told me about a strawberry festival at the Holyoke Farmers Market today, which opens at 10:30am. So at 10:45 or so there we were in Holyoke, clinking my change into the parking meter, and meandering over to the section of blocked off street where the market is held. I didn't see much! Not only was there no strawberry festival....and I had been picturing strawberry shortcake, strawberry smoothies etc,...LOL but even the Farmers didn't have much for sale yet. I am wondering if I just showed up too close to opening.

Normally we pick strawberries earlier in June, but since it's been so wet and rainy we have put it off awhile. After the dud festival idea, I decided we would head over to Dickinson Farm endeavoring to pick half the farm. It was the first non-rainy day in quite some time. The berries were much smaller than last year, and harder to find good ones. It was a nice experience, keeping of a tradition, until Danny and Aiden wearily asked to go sit on the bench. I was getting tired of admonishing the two of them to stop jumping rows and to stay with me so I said fine, figuring I would finish up and hurry over to them.

As they headed down the row, I am looking in the direction of the bench where I lined the kids up and took their picture last year, and I couldn't find it. Apparently it was gone, but I hadn't noticed. Figuring that wasn't looking good I hurried out of the row and down to where we pay for the berries and I realize my hip-clip was gone and my cash as well as my license and debit card were all in there. The panic was just below the surface and I scanned the aisles telling Ryan to look, as well as Felicia. About two minutes later Felicia found it and I was so grateful and relieved!! Being able then to actually pay for our berries and have the ice cream I planned with the children. I finally make my way over to the check-out area and low and behold there are my boys, not on the bench I told them they could sit on, but on the long bench way across the field from where I had been!!

Daniel went down a little hill to play with two doggies and it was kind of swampy-ish (all the rain?) and he didn't notice it and kind of fell in, getting wet up to his shorts, and a lot scared. I was so glad he was scared because this guy has a problem 1) being observant, 2) staying with me and not wandering a little here and a little there. Frazzled would be an understatement to describe me at that time. I was happy to click them into seat belts and actually RELAX as we drove to find some ice cream.

Eventhough the day did not start out very relaxing with the farm mishap, it was still nice to have some time we could be together, venture out, and not worry about having to be back for dismissal or anything, it was a free feeling.

We came home for 3 hours and are now heading out to pick Grandma up, then some pizza for take out for a slice (hilarious story for another blog post at another time!!) and bringing it with us to my last surviving grandparent, my mom's mom. Very busy day, and my kids HAD BETTER be tired tonight. They just never seem to tire out this week....HA!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Sketchy Morning

Today I went over my friend Kelli's house to learn a thing or two about drawing. I had mentioned that I wish I could draw and/or was more creative and she offered to get together and teach me some basic lines and shapes.

After explaining about how to hold the pencil; lines, shape, values and tones, and the various pencils such as HB, 4b, 5b, 6b, 9b and how they gradually deepen we decided on a subject.

On here table is a pretty dish filled with a potpourri type mix of various textured balls, feathers, seashells, starfish etc,... I set out to capture that on paper without any perfectionism or stress.

This was totally me! Because I am someone who will get aggrivated if I have to be perfect. As a testimony to that, this Spring I had decided to try quilting. I had always wanted to get the basic idea of it, see how it's done, and try it out. Well if it wasn't 100% perfect it was torn out and we could NEVER get it perfect. I am just not a perfect kind of gal. I could tell by the way my teacher was acting/speaking that this one was not going to make it to the NICU where these quilts were supposed to be going. I didn't even think it was bad at all. Well, that did it for me. I stopped having fun, became weary and have never been back.

So this was a neat little exercise, and I did learn some things. It was nice, quiet and peaceful, and we were able to chat and look at Aiden's drawings as well. He is funny, such a vocal artist. He tells you every little thing. My boys even draw out video games being played. Quite amusing!

I was very thankful for this bit of adult time, and opportunity to get to know this sweet friend a little bit more. Here is a photo of my very non-perfect first sketch. It is nowhere near completed, but an hour and a half of work is on this page. ;-) I will be going out to get my very own pencils and eraser so I can finish this up. I already have my next project in mind, it dawned on me on my drive home: Our church! That will be so neat to have. Churches nowadays are being torn down left and right, and someday we may have to move to a new building since our church is ever-growing it seems. I really love that place though, so it will be neat to have.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

!!!Happy Father's Day!!!

What a wonderful day today. Mike was given his presents early in the morning. First up was a canvas with all the childrens' hand prints done in acrylic paint, as well as a couple hand impressions of the two youngest boys done at co-op, along with a larger hardcover photo book which is now a yearly tradition. I always had a hard time shopping for him, and last year I made him a much smaller soft-cover photo book. He actually welled up when he got it and looked at it which surprised me in 2008. Now that I know how special they are, they are an annual tradition, looking at the prior year with the family.

Our family headed out to Sunday school followed by the mid-day service in which our pastor really spoke boldly about the responsibilities of parents to their children. Next we gathered at home, my dad joining us for steak dinner off the grill, of course. We sat outside and just relaxed together until it started to sprinkle.

My dad received a hard cover photo book from Snapfish which he loved.

The rain drove everyone indoors where Mike played with all the boys for a couple hours, while I shot a photo here and there of the memory. Ryan got a circuit set for his birthday last month, and you can do 100 activities with it, great fun!

We watched Mr. Holland's Opus for awhile before indulging in some french vanilla coffee along with dessert, a wonderful strawberry European layer cake and/or pistachio ice cream which my dad brought over.

My dad and I

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A birthday to remember

Today was Michael's 11th birthday. We celebrated with a small cookout with just our family, grandpa Rouillard, aunt Joan, grandma Marcil with Monica and Ray, and uncle Justin with cousin Tyler. We had a cookout, of course with hamburgs, hotdogs, ziti and chicken broccoli garlic ziti, along with a multitude of sodas and lemonade.

The cake was homemade per Michael's request and a complete disaster...haha. I made the cake, looked great, was fully cooled yet would not fall out of the pan. Normally I don't have this problem with baking cakes so I am not sure what the issue was. I do know it was humid. I do know I dusted the pan with flour as the directions stated to do. Next time I will use wax paper on the bottom!! I removed the cake best I could and pieced it together, frosting it which covers a multitude of sins (haha, and covering with sprinkles to hide the flaws. AS IF! Well it didn't look very masculine when all was said and done, but it was GREAT tasting and fresh as could be, baked that very morning. Birthday cake and peanut butter fudge were the accompanying ice cream flavors.

Michael received the spark scooter he wanted, yes it actually makes small sparks when riding down pavement. It's pretty neat but the metal piece wears down so fast that now it is just a regular ol scooter. He was so happy though, it was nice to see! He also got some Pokemon cards and old fashioned cash to spend.
See the sparks from behind?

Later on, at the prompting of Ryan, Dad and the boys took some pallets apart which came from Dad's work (Berkshire) and nailed some wood pieces to one of our trees, making a built-in ladder. They boys all had fun taking turns climbing the tree, even Tyler gave it a try!

Uncle Justin and Daddy then built me, mom, a second her box along the walkway so I can plant the comfry and chocolate mint my good friend Jenn is going to be sharing with me. Can't wait to get that in the ground. =) It was a fun, memorable and sweet day with family!

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Year today

Today is the one year anniversary of my Pepere's death. I will never forget this day last year, when I drove by with all the children on the way to Falls Driving School for Autumn, that I saw a multitude of cars outside my Pepere's house, including ambulance and cruiser. I was alarmed and decided to pull up and find out what hospital he was taken to, and what exactly had happened. Never did I expect to hear that he had died sometime in the night, exactly 4 months to the day that my beloved granny, his wife of 62 years minus 4 days had died.

This morning a few of the family gathered at St Patrick's church here in town. I am not Catholic, I am Baptist, though more correctly a follower of Christ. Period. I went to be with the little bit of family that is left that gathers together. I hadn't sat in this place since the funeral, and it was a bit different to be there again. It was good to see relatives though, and we got together at Friendly's afterward for breakfast. My aunt informed us that this breakfast was on Pepere and she was handling it. That was a nice thought, that is just the way he always was.

We then went to the cemetery while my aunt placed new roses in the vases, red on my pepere's side, and white on my granny's side. It's hard to believe it's been a full year. He will surely continue to be missed. I feel like He is always with me though. They both had made such an impression on my life growing up that I think of them often as I carry on traditions for my children that I had shared with them. It's a comforting feeling....

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Seashell Pasta Salad

This is my favorite pasta salad! It looks a bit funny because I had JUST made it, it hadn't set yet at all, but boy is it GOOD. Here's the recipe:

1 tomato, diced
6 green onions, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 C. Mayo
1/4 C. French dressing
16 oz. pkg of small seashell pasta, cooked
1/2 C. bacon, chopped small
salt and pepper to taste (I didn't use any)

Combine veggies in large bowl. Set aside.

Whisk mayo and dressing, pour over veggies

Add remaining ingredients; mix well.

Cover and chill~

Let me know if you try it

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Rose by any other name...

would still smell as sweet. It would still be an amazing, beautiful, intricate design that is a delight to watch progress from day to day! It is mind-blowing to me to see an explosive vibrant bud, open up to reveal striking sherbet colored petals, slowly unfolding day to day, transforming and lightening as it is exposed to the rays of sun. Changing drastically, the rose loses nothing, it's beauty fully intact, speaking to me of God and His amazing, incomprehensible ways! Join me in observing this one rose bud, from my all-time favorite rose bush, over the course of 11 days:

June 5, 2009
June 7, 2009
June 8, 2009
June 9, 2009
June 12, 2009
June 16, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

~What we've been up to lately~

On Saturday we hosted one of our cookouts, a regular happening each summer since moving into this house with this great yard. I am not sure how long we will be blessed with such a great place, but as long as we have it I want to make full use of it, and share it with friends, new and old ones alike.

We invited 6 families, and 3 of them were able to come. Our yard was FULL with all the children just from 3 families and our own. It was great. Even Felicia had someone to play with which is a rarity. Normally it is just little kids or all boys, it was great to see her playing basketball with another girl let me tell you!!

We tried two more diet coke experiments with the mentos. This time we used the rocket or whatever it's called...LOL; a cylinder tube with string basically and boy did it shoot high!! It was quite impressive and humorous as you can see in the photos.

We grilled up some hamburg steaks and Patriots beef franks from Arnold's. They are the actual hot dogs served up at Patriot's games. They are so good! All the fixin's and 3 great salads; potato salad, my favorite seashell pasta salad, and Stacy brought a salad, too, which was also made with the seashell pasta and I was surprised because I don't usually see that type of salad. Hers was very good, too, and they were a similar but there were a couple differences. I totally forgot about the watermelon, which remained in the back of the van...haha

Isn't this little guy sweet? I just met him, my nephew for the first time at this cookout!

Even Spotacus had a friend to chase and play with! Sheila brought her 10 week old Australian Shepherd to play, so it was a great day for even the dogs!

The boys bounced till dark and then it was time to part, for baths and bedtime.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Huge Blessing In a Small Package

Yesterday afternoon, Mike called me and asked if Aiden and I wanted to go to lunch since he received a small spiff check. Since he was working, but taking a break, we had to meet him out near his work, and wanted it to be a semi-fast place. We ended up at Pizza Hut for their lunch buffet. That is not the good part, though.

While we were sitting at the table eating, Aiden (4) began singing 'Awesome God'. I was surprised, it was totally spur of the moment, and my heart burst at the seams with happiness. His sweet little voice singing Praise to God with no concern for who was around was pure bliss. Others could hear, yet I would not interrupt him. He wasn't yelling it, yet he wasn't whispering either. I was so happy for him, the first song my little boy knows by heart, and can sing from beginning to end with no help, and though we have no video camera, we still have it documented. Moms tend to think they will remember all these special little things, but take it from me a lot is forgotten over the years. Document those special things now in some way. Even if it's a simple notebook for each child.

Thank you Father,
For drawing my little ones close to you through your precious son, Jesus.

~Summer Plans~

Every summer brings sweet leisure time, free of the schedules we must keep with school as well as the homework that drains family time. The best part is that our friends schedules open up as well, enabling us to get together for backyard playdates, cookouts, catching up over name it. We will be absorbing sunshine, tending our veggie garden, picking strawberries, making shortcake; then blueberries, being present, really present in the moment, keeping with traditions, and taking lots of photos!

Other activities I am sticking in my back pocket to remember to do are:

Kids bowl free

Barnes and Noble summer reading program, and earn a new free book!

We don't have a Regal theater near us any longer, but thought I'd post this for any of you who might: 9 weeks of movies free for families!

AMC $1 morning movies this summer

tag sales, and the big flea market of course

picnics at local parks, followed by a hunt for frogs, salamanders or other fun critters!

I am thinking we will begin a portion of school, gliding in gracefully and slowly beginning in August when it is normally too hot to play outdoors too much anyway, so we can find our pace and get accustomed to paying attention at home, without mama feeling stressed that we are somehow behind. There will still be plenty of time for all the fun things of summer for as long as it may hang on.

What are your plans this summer? I can always add more to my list!

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook , Monday June 8th, 2009

For Today...

Outside my window... bird song and fleeting sunshine

From the learning rooms....I am reading up on the Charlotte Mason method for next year, writing book lists, and the whole mommy education experience. HA!

I am thankful for... family, happy memories, photos in which we can always travel back in time for a moment or two.

From the kitchen... sandwich night as we have swim lessons for all 4 boys tonight!

I am wearing... jean "trouser" pants and a scoop neck tee.

I am reading... Charlotte Mason education, Finding a mentor being a mentor, preparing yourself to mentor, knowledge of the Holy

I am hoping... to make many happy, carefree memories this year and bond closer as a family unit, and prepare to slowly move into homeschooling.

I am creating... a garden that I hope will be productive this year!

I am praying... for family members, especially my aunt and my father as we are coming close to the one year anniversary of my beloved grandfather's death. Today, June 8th, is the one year anniversary of the last day I ever saw him.

Around the house... expedition over Mount Washmore and that is about it, taking it easy today. Sad day.

One of my favorite things... cuddles.

A few plans for the rest of the week... homeschool co-op, Contagious Christianity class on Wednesday night, a weekly date with my friend Maryjo on Wed.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

an image of my book lists and recent book finds. LOVE the colored edging on these old old books! Click picture to enlarge and see more detail.

For more entries, check out The Simple Woman's blog:

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Friendly kind of day!

I made bread again on Thursday, it had been a couple months since I had made any. I used to make it weekly, but have been giving in to convenience as our schedules had been so busy. I am thinking I should consider getting a bread machine, since I typically quit making any bread in the warm months, as the heat of the oven is unbearable. That's a shame though, to have to settle for less-than bread just for that reason.

Friendly's was giving away free one scoop ice cream cones/dishes on Saturday from 12pm-5pm in our area, and we actually took advantage of it. I was expecting a huge line, and while there WERE a lot of people there, it was very well organized, and outdoors so it was actually a pleasant trip. I found a place for the younger kiddos to sit on a curb to eat while we waited for papa and big brother. LOL