Friday, May 30, 2008

A trip back in time . . . . .

Last night I had the wonderful opportunity to visit a local venue with my Husband in our town. Grace Manor is a restaurant and community center located in Live Oak that has been a decade in the making. The house was erected in the late 1890's and was the primary residence of prominent citizen Thomas Dowling. In 1996, the house was given to the current owners under promise that it would be restored. Ten years later in March of 2006, Grace Manor restaurant and community center was opened. I can only say our evening at Grace Manor was wonderful. The food was excellent, service was stupendous, and just the ambiance of sitting in a century old dining room was the best. I would highly recommend the experience to anyone. For a link for more information. . . .

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Just when I thought it was safe to go back in the kitchen. . . .

Just when I thought it was safe to go back in the kitchen my teenage son Jacob left me what he thought was a hilarious practical joke. I can only say when I saw this joke, thoughts of laughter were the last thing going through my mind. Especially since it was at 2 o'clock in the morning. On a previous post Jake's girlfriend's mother commented how she and her sister leave large glasses of water on the kitchen counter every night leaving them for her in the morning. Well, I guess Jake thought it would be fun to take every and I mean EVERY clean cup, glass, gravy boat, measuring cup, etc. in the kitchen and fill them up with water and leave them on the counter for me to find. Hmmm, I can only say I wonder if he will have the same sense of humor when he finds out I volunteered him to pluck the hairs off of his grandmother's chins. And who said paybacks aren't fun?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Household Helpers

Ok we all have them. You know those lovely cans and bottles of those wonderful chemical concoctions that we all say we just can't live without. The items that put a spit-shine on our kitchens, bathrooms, clothes, you name it. Well, I figured that I would highlight one of my "can't live withouts" once a week. So, this week I'm going to start out with a lovely little can of what I think is probably one of the best cleaners ever invented. It's no surprise that it has been around since 1882. I'm talking about Bar Keepers Friend. For those of you that have this little jewel sitting under your kitchen sink waiting to sprout on the next stubborn stain you truly are blessed. For those of you that don't, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! I'm telling you I have yet to find something that this cleaner won't attack with a vengeance. From stainless steel to porcelain, ceramic tile to showers and hey, even my hubby's boat! Who said that you need to buy the newest most exciting cleaner on the market? You just need the most experienced. Here's a link for a free sample. Bar Keepers Friend sample.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I may be disowned. . . .

Today our family got together at Jake and Meghan's Grandparents' house for a day of swimming. We decided to make one of our favorite dinners, homemade pizza. It's always a fun time. From trying to figure out how to get that dad gum dough to stretch out to fit the pan, to racing each other to get the last piece of pizza before it's gone. Well today was no different. I got some good pics of the "chefs" in action. Although one of them may never speak to me again. You see, their Grandmother spends at least an hour every day getting "ready" to face the world. What that means is she will not go out of the house short of an emergency without her hair done and her eyebrows on(don't ask). But you know what? I've decided to take my life into my own hands and post this phenomenal portrait. I truly don't think she's ever looked any better. . . .

The big event . . . .

In a previous post I mentioned the fact that Jacob has his first girlfriend and that the other weekend he pulled the wool over his Grandmothers' eyes when it came to meeting her. Well, today we had a get-together at his Grandparents' house and yes believe it or not he invited Raechel! The minute his Grandmothers' found out they couldn't hide their excitement. What added to the comedy was the fact that his Auntie was visiting for the weekend and was falling right in behind them about ready to explode with anticipation. I told them that they all looked like they were getting ready to hit the all you can eat buffet after fasting for a week! I truly was picturing all three of them trying to be first out the door and actually ending up getting stuck in it. It was hilarious, they were all betting to see which one would get there first. Poor Raechel. Well the moment arrived, believe me it was like they had radar or something. They saw that truck coming it seemed from a mile away. The minute the truck hit the driveway they were sprouting out the door like three dragsters coming off of the starting line. But, I'll have to admit not a single one of them made any embarrassing comments. And, they kept their cool so they didn't "embarass" Jake. Plus, Jake actually introduced Raechel to the crowd. Believe me I was proud but probably more shocked that he actually acknowledged the three water-mouthed women standing there with the biggest grins this side of Texas. . . . .

Fav food of the week shoutout. . . . .

This week I figured I would like to nominate a fav food of our family especially for get-togethers. Homemade pizza. Yes I know, we could go and order the latest and newest pizza from the local chains(there aren't any mom and pop pizza places by us) and convince ourselves that it is actually worth the money they want(wrong!). But, I'll clue you in on something that our family started a couple of years ago. First, we are blessed that our local Publix offers freshly made pizza dough in the bakery. Of course add your favorite sauce and then of course your imagination to create what I truly believe could be considered a work of art or at least make you want to slap your mother (ok maybe not especially since I AM somebody's mother!). Bake at 400 degrees until the cheese is just bubbling all over that beautiful pie. Now here's the problem, when making one of these you had better be in close proximity of the pie as it is coming out of the oven or forget even being able to get a whiff of it before it's gone!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Welcome to my world . . . .

As you all know, our house consists of a blended family of seven. That being said, our house consists of the complete and utter mess and chaos of a blended family of seven. For those of you out there that have teenagers or have raised teenagers you know what I am about to talk about. I truly believe there has to be a gene which is still currently undiscovered that kicks in right about the age of eleven. Now, this gene has nothing to do with congenital diseases, birth deformities, or personality traits. No, this gene has to do with the ability to live with complete and utter disregard for cleanliness. You know, if you can't see the floor in their room that's ok they know where EVERYTHING is! And let's not talk about the bathroom. You know the place that when I get to the door I cringe at what it's latest state is going to be. Let me just say this, what is the problem with kids and brushing their teeth. I mean, how hard is it to clean out the sink when they're done? Let's not even go to the towels, I can hang a hand towel up and within 30 seconds it's waded up in a ball on the floor behind the toilet. My biggest pet peeve is the kitchen. This is the girls domain. I mean I grew up having to do dishes. What is the big deal? You would think that I had asked them to commit hari kari or something. And to make it even more frustrating, WE HAVE A DISHWASHER! This is the usual sequence of events. Dinner is cooked, everyone feeds their face (another post), and the dishes get piled high enough into the sink that it could compete for a spot on the list for wonders of the world. I can't stand to have my kitchen in disarray. But, I will try and give the girls the benefit of the doubt that they will do their chore before bedtime. I know, I should be committed for thinking like this right? Come on! I am an optimist for crying out loud. Well, eventually reality sets in when I have a hard time seeing out the window for the mountain of dishes that are sitting in the sink. Hey, you may think I'm exagerrating but have you ever seen how many dishes 4 teenagers can go through in a day? I mean do you think they could use the same cup more than once? Nooooooooo, even if it's just a sip of water we have to go through every glass in the house. I mean if I kept buying plastic cups I could own most of the SOLO company by now. Oops sorry, I'm getting off topic. Getting back to the dishes, it usually ends up this way. Me saying, "Girls, why haven't these dishes been done yet! I am sick and tired of having to tell you two EVERY day to do the dishwasher! How difficult is it to do! Would YOU like to have to hand wash these things? I NEVER had the luxury of a dishwasher when I was your age! I had to hand wash and dry EVERY dish in my house myself!" etc., etc., etc.,. I thought you all would be proud with that. Anyway the usual response is, "Why do we have to do them? The boys don't EVER (pathetic huh) have to do anything! It's not fair!(blah blah blah)". I have to admit, it is pretty fun to get them riled up this way. I usually succeed in ticking them off for at least 30 minutes or so. My goal is to knock it up to at least an hour. Well, the other day I about fell off the chair when I read the following cartoon in the paper. I immediately suspected that someone had been spying on me through the kitchen window but then realized that there was no way they would have been able to see over the pile of dirty dishes.

How come this never happened when I was a kid?

As I mentioned before, our youngest son Adam has been ailing from a stomach bug. In the past week he has managed to "unload" about three times. Once on me, second all over the interior of the car, and third all over the hallway and bathroom. Just when it looked like he was perking up yesterday he started declining yesterday afternoon so I decided to take him to the Doctor. Well after the usual exam I could not believe what she was "prescribing". Her exact words were, "Give him whatever he wants, if he wants to eat ice cream, let him eat ice cream I don't care.". She then proceeded to get him a popsicle for the road. She even gave him his choice of flavors. I think she was more worried about making sure he was still her "friend" rather than thinking what consequences I would be dealing with later! Well, I just kind of stood there with a polite smile on my face all the while thinking what kind of bubble gum machine did this person get her license from! How come when I was a kid never and I mean NEVER did I ever hear the Doctor give that same advice to my Mom? So far so good, after 1 popsicle, 6 cookies, 2 lollipops, 3 ice cream cones, numerous pepsi's, french fries(McDonalds, of course), and a lot of other junk food I'm sure I don't know about his stomach is as iron-clad as a warship. On the other hand he's bouncing around the house like he's the son of the "Mask" or something. And who said all that stuff wasn't good for you?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Looks like summer already . . . .

Our youngest son Adam enjoying some pool time . . . . .

Question of the month. . . . .

For a little added fun to the blog, I decided to add a "Question of the Month" poll to the sidebar(see right). Every month I'll add a new question to the right for everyone to answer and to see what the tally is. Since the stimulus package has been a hot topic in the news lately I decided to start off with "What are you going to do with your stimulus check?". Our family personally is going to be saving it for vacation this summer. So, let us all know what you are planning for yours. . . . .

Sunday, May 18, 2008

For those of you curious minds. . . . . . .

On a previous post I made mention that my son Jacob has his first girlfriend, Raechel. Of course I realize as a Mom that this is a milestone in any teen's life. But, it only re-enforces the fact that we Mother's don't ever want to have to admit that our babies are growing up. That being said his poor Grandmothers' have been waiting forever to be able to meet the lucky young lady. They both thought that they had their chance last weekend when I had arranged to have Raechel's mother drop Jake off at one of his Grandmother's houses. Well, the minute Grandma found out about the arrangement, she was off to open the lines of communication between every relative within a 20 mile radius. I'm still amazed that Jake's other Grandma didn't get a speeding ticket on her way over rushing to try and beat Raechel and her Mother! Well, they were all there waiting to sprout like white on rice. I think they had lookouts in every window to watch for them. Much to their chagrin Jacob sensed long before his arrival that his Grandma was cooking something up and it wasn't her chocolate chip cookies. I can only picture what took place when he arrived. Probably before the truck even turned into the driveway the door was already open and Jake's foot was dragging the driveway. Apparently Jacob hopped out and sent the unsuspecting Raechel on her way. My Husband and I passed them on their way out of the neighborhood. I started giggling telling my Husband what Jacob had probably pulled. And you guessed it, when we pulled in his Grandmother about fell out of the front door shocked that Jacob had pulled one over on her. I can only tell you that all the teen boys within 100 miles were feeling for the 'ol boy as two peeved Grandmothers proceeded to give him the what-for for the next 30 minutes all the while why he sat there looking like a little wet dog with his tail between his legs but secretly laughing all the way to the bank. . . . . . . . .

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Latest Garage Sale Finds. . . . .

Now we all know that hidden in every woman is that being that comes out on Saturdays (occasionally Fridays) usually starting around 8:00am. You know the one, it starts usually on Thursday scouring the classifieds and plotting it's attack course. It also scans the city sidewalks and electrical poles for it's feeding places. I am no different. We're all infected with garagesaleitis. And if you deny it, you're either under the influence of heavy medication or your Husband locks you up starting on Thursday morning. Well, my Husband made the mistake of letting me loose this morning. It started right at 8:00am, breakfast eaten, appropriate clothes being worn, comfortable shoes and socks on, cash in the wallet, and a tank full of gas. Off we went. We zigged and zagged around town like a car-full of clowns running around the main ring of a circus. I think I even appropriately raised the ire of one man when I turned instead of going straight like he thought I should(he apparently didn't understand the art of garage sale vehicle placement in traffic). I can say we really had a good productive outing. Let's see, various vrooms vrooms (as Adam calls them) for $.50, a tv for $20, dresser for $8, closet organizer for $5, but I think the absolute best prize of the day has to be the Cranium Super Fort playset for $2. I have been watching not only Adam but his Sister's play with this thing since we brought it home. I'm still having a hard time deciding who loves it more. The two year old that it was made to please or the 13 and 11 year olds who are reliving their 2 year old years! Overall what a great day. Log on and comment letting everyone know about your garage sale experiences.

Teenage senility. . . . .

As we were sitting around today chatting after a sewing lesson, we started remembering all of the crazy, brainless, and no offense completely blonde statements our teens have said over the years. I decided to share just a few with you. Please post any that you may have to share!

  • Upon walking up on our sewing session (we were making a purse), my daughter proceeds to ask if it was a Vera Bradley purse we were making.
  • When my niece was walking in the mall while shopping, she happened to glance in a window while walking by and yes saw her reflection. Needless to say I was completely stupefied when she proceeded with the following statement, "Look! That girl looks just like me, and she has on the same outfit!" If only there had been a rock for me to hide under.
  • When we brought our youngest son Adam home, my youngest daughter made the following statement upon seeing his umbilical cord, "Oh, is that where his electrical cord is?". I couldn't help myself. I replied, "Yes, we have to recharge him every evening."!
  • Just today the girl's walked into the kitchen and saw us shucking corn, their next statement was "Are we having corn tonight?", I said "No, I just like shucking corn for the absolute fun of it."!
Those were just a few of the many things that can come out of their mouths. Please share any that you may have!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Fav food of the week shoutout . . . . .

Well this week I guess my fav food would have to be a dish my Husband asked me to make the other night. Monterey Chicken. I hadn't made it in quite a while so I figured I would oblige him. It's actually a great healthy recipe that is quite tasty. I start out with boneless chicken breasts and I marinate them usually in teriyaki or soy sauce whichever your preference. I cook mine on my Black and Decker Healthy Grill. It's similar to a George Foreman or equivalent. While the chicken is cooking, take 1 green pepper along with 1 good sized onion and slice them up. Next, place the veggies in a saute pan with just a little bit of olive oil and cook. Now with mine I add some teriyaki or soy sauce to the pan along with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Make sure the veggies are all coated well and cook them till they are tender. Once your chicken and veggies are both done, place your chicken alongside the veggies in the saute pan and place one slice of mozzarella cheese on top. Once the cheese has melted, go ahead and plate your chicken and place a good helping of the veggies on top of the chicken breast. This happens to be one of my hubby's favorite meals and it's really easy to make, not to mention really healthy. You could serve this with whatever side dish you like, rice goes well or a nice array of steamed veggies too. Yummy!!!!!

It's starting. . . . . .

You know I have always heard that when a girl gets into their teenage years you can completely forget about being able to use your telephone. Having five kids four of which are either in their teenage years or just about to be with two being girls I have been waiting for it to happen. Well, it finally has but not with who you think. I figured since our oldest girl is only 13 I had at least 1 maybe 2 years of telephone use left. But I was completely wrong. Never did I think I was going to have to chase down the cordless from my 14 year old son. As previously posted our oldest Jacob has his first girlfriend. Let me just say that I think the phone has become permanently affixed to his ear. I have never and I mean NEVER seen a boy that can talk on the phone for as long as he can! I mean we're talking two hours! From a girl yes, but a boy? I didn't think they could actually think of that many things to talk about on the phone. I guess I'm going to have to bite the bullet and order call waiting. I can see it now. In about 6 months our household will have probably gone through 20 phones because they'll have all blown up from over-use of using the flash button switching between calls! Gee, I wonder if the phone company would give me a group rate on phone lines?

A gift only a Mother could love (maybe). . . . .

You know it really is true what they say about gifts, that the homemade ones are more special than anything that could have been store bought. Having 5 kids I always say that this is true. Well, the other night my 2 year old proved this statement to be quite wrong. It was quite late, around 10:00pm or so and my 2 year old was still running around on a sugar high that his siblings had created with too many popsicles. He finally started to wind down and he came over to me as I was at the computer and climbed up on my lap. I knew that he was probably wanting to cuddle and go to sleep but no matter what position he ended up in he just could not get comfortable. Up and down, up and down, sitting this way then that way, finally after about 5 minutes he slid down off of my lap and turned around to face me. I sat there thinking this couldn't get any better. There he was just standing there with that glazed kind of look they get when they're on the verge of falling off to dreamland with what I thought was a cute little look on his face. Well at least that's what I thought until I heard the gurgling that could only be described as a pump that is drawing water and air together. You guessed it, before I could duck and cover my blessed beautiful little boy proceeded to give me a facial that I will NEVER forget. I just sat there in shock as I was completely drenched in what seemed like 4 different meals all in one. My daughter happened to be in the room at the time and jumped up off the couch with a look of absolute horror. But I have to give her credit. She ran over and grabbed Adam from behind and proceeded to run him to the bathroom as he proceeded to redecorate my newly painted walls. The fun was just starting. You know Husbands can be very loving and supportive but they can also ask the most unbelievable questions. As I was dealing with Adam's third or fourth episode (I lost count), my Husband finally came out of his man cave and asked the question of the evening, "What is he doing that for?". You all will have to be proud of me , I admit that my first response wanted to be, "Oh he thought that spaghetti, peanut butter, and popsicles would just complete the living room makeover!" but I just turned around and gave him the "what kind of question was that" look. Needless to say, he turned around and went back to bed. I'm not sure if it was my look or the fact that there was no way he was getting knee deep in his son's excrements. But, we're on the downside of this lovely stomach bug. After going through Adam and both his sister's I think it's finally out the door. Can I say my shout out for household item of the week is a toss-up between my mop and my super-size can of lysol!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Here's a poem for all Mother's.


"M" is for the million things she gave me.
"O" means only that she's growing old.
"T" is for the tears she shed to save me.
"H" is for her heart of purest gold.
"E" is for her eyes with love-light shining.
"R" means right, and right she'll always be.

Put them all together, they spell.

A word that means the world to me.

by: Howard Johnson (c.1915)

Mommyfest 2008!! Check it out!!

MommyFest 2008 is here! Join the online party with others moms blogging and chatting about motherhood and life in general. You might even seen me there!

To introduce myself I am married to wonderful Husband John and Mother to five great kids. We live in Northern Florida close to the Suwannee river and about an hour from the Gulf of Mexico. I enjoy blogging, home improvement(just as my hubby), and my newfound favorite hobby saltwater fishing!

Don't forget, MommyFest May 12th-16th. Go to MommyFest to check out the party!

It's amazing what "formal attire" means today.

It's completely normal for a man to hate to dress up. My Husband is no different. The other night my son Jacob had his end of the year band banquet at the local High School. When we got the invitation, it stated "formal attire". Ok to me that means for a man shirt and tie at least. For the two weeks preceeding the dinner, I kept telling Jake and John that they were going to have to dress up. You women out there should know my pain. Believe it or not, Jacob wasn't the bad one. He is actually at that point in his teenage life when he's back to not minding dressing up again. My Husband however hates to even think of putting on a tie. Don't get me wrong, he wears casual long-sleeve shirts to Church all the time but a dress shirt and tie well that happens few and far between. When we were getting ready the other night I again had to stress to him that he had to wear a tie only to hear him reply "I'm probably going to be the only one there with a tie on.". Well we got dressed and had to stop at the local Beall's on the way to get a tie that matched his shirt. We arrived at the dinner and all you women out there can start feeling my pain. After we walked in and sat down that's when it started, first was the guy in the work jeans, denim shirt and to top off his formal attire, a Gators cap. But that wasn't the worst, the next one to come walking by had on a tropical print fishing shirt along with cargo shorts! You can only imagine the look that was on my Husband's face. You know the one that looks like he has been completely set up? Only to intermittingly flashing the big look of "I TOLD YOU SO!". The only thing that topped off the evening was the fact that we had argued most of the afternoon about the color of his shirt, he insisted that it was green, I insisted that it was blue. Well, I guess I'll have to give him the win on this one. So, if any of you out there are planning a formal get together, don't invite me or if you do full expect us to probably come in a tank top with cut-offs because I will NEVER be able to get my husband in a tie again!

Brownie points for the Hubby!

If you have a teenager then you know of the abyss otherwise called their "bedroom". I don't care, unless either you or your teen is completely suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder then you have one. My house is no different. I have two of those zones. A female version, and a male version. You know what I'm talking about, the room that when you open the door you think you remember what color the carpet is or the fact that you slightly remember that the room had any carpet in it at all. In fact you haven't seen the floor in so long you just aren't sure. In the girl's room , it most of the time looks like a washing machine has exploded and left the remnants of 100 loads all over the place. In the boys room it's a whole other issue. Not only are you unsure of the floor color, I think they bring their gym locker home with them. Well, at least the smell anyways. Whew! Talk about you garbage gut aroma! Not even the daily dousing of axe can help. Have you ever smelled the fragrance of gym sweat trying to be covered up by axe? Oh not a pleasant experience at all!
Well, the other day my Hubby showed me just how to get the attention of our resident slobs. Through their wallet! Our family is taking our yearly vacation to the mountains of NC this summer so my Hubby made the kids a deal. If they cleaned their rooms by the weekend and they kept them clean until vacation he would give them $50 each for spending money. Boy, it was like a class 5 hurricane hit the house. I have never seen so many clothes come out of two bedrooms before. I know exactly how much because they decided to sort them all over my living room. Boy it's a good thing we just got the new dryer! In about 2 hours they not only had their rooms clean, but they were starting to put away their freshly washed clothes. That's right they were actually putting the clothes away in the dressers and hanging them up in the closets! The most hilarious thing though was the fact that Jacob and Meg's grandmother came over to supervise. I can only say that my dear Jacob with his 14 yearolditis hates it when that happens. I walked in to the boys room to overhear him call her "Eva". Well being confused since her real name is Elaine I asked what the nickname was for. She informed me that he had given her the nickname of Eva after Eva Braun. That's right, Hitler's girlfriend! Well, I just about peed my pants over that one. So far so good, the rooms are still clean, the boy's room actually smells normal, and they have been picking up after themselves. Gee, who'd of thunk that bribery still works these days?

Boys can be so entertaining. . . . .

Last Thursday the Youth group at our Church had an outing to go roller skating. It's always a fun time. The boys in our group out rank the girls and it's always fun to watch them when they get together. It's funny how they can change so much in just 6 months. During the evening I was watching from a table since my Husband had forbade me to skate saying I had 5 children to take care of and he couldn't take time off work to take care of me and my broken hip. :0) It was funny to see the boys as they skated around the floor. They had to make sure they looked "cool" even though I don't think they realized they had actually NO rhythm when it came to skating. At times it looked like they were the sons of Frankenstein skating instead. But the funniest point came when they all got together off of the rink and were sitting in a group watching the girls. Every time the girls would come around by their table you should have seen it. I mean sitting upright, shoulders back, chests out, it was a hilarious sight! I think that point was the best entertainment of the night! I only wish I had it on film! All in all it was a great evening and I can't wait till the next time. At least next time I'll remember to get a pic of the "boys club"!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Just when you thought you had heard it all . . . . .

Having been born and raised in South Florida, Fort Lauderdale to be exact I saw first hand on a daily basis the absolute waste and complete ineptness of not only county but of various elected city officials. But the latest story tops them all. In a story posted on the Sun-Sentinel website(see article), the city commission of North Lauderdale wants to separate the state of Florida into two states. That's right you guessed it the North and the South! They propose cutting the state in half just north of Jupiter, Florida. Their argument for this is their feeling that the "North" gets more tax dollars than the "South". Ok now let's just get out our atlas and have a look at this situation. Apparently none of these people have ever heard of the term per capita? I assume they realize that tax dollars are spread throughout the ENTIRE population of the state. So, let's do a little math lesson. In 2006 there were roughly 18 million people residing in the entire state. Roughly 3 million of those resided in South Florida. Hmmmm, so logic would tell you that in a hypothetical situation if $5.00 were spent on every resident in the State, common sense would say that roughly $15 million would go to the "South" as they want to be called and the rest of the ENTIRE state would get $45 million. I finally figured out the problem, apparently someone didn't do the math! When will these guys ever learn?

Now I Understand !

Everyday my sister-in-law Joyce and I share a few moments before our children get out of school (middle-school aged). This time is usually spent chatting about the daily happenings and events going on in our lives. Quite a bit of time is spent discussing our teenagers and their lovely attitudes towards their parents. I was surfing this morning and almost fell off the chair when I came across this story! I only wish I knew the author's name so I could personally thank them for explaining the general concept of a teenager to me!

Kids are Dogs, Teens are Cats
Author Unknown

I just realized that while children are dogs ... loyal and affectionate ...
teenagers are cats.

It's so easy to be a dog owner. You feed it, train it, boss it around. It
puts its head on your knee and gazes at you as if you were a Rembrandt
painting. It bounds indoors with enthusiasm when you call it.

Then around age 13, your adoring little puppy turns into a big old cat.
When you tell it to come inside, it looks amazed, as if wondering who
died and made you emperor. Instead of dogging your doorstep, it
disappears. You won't see it again until it gets hungry ... then it pauses
on its sprint through the kitchen long enough to turn its nose up at
whatever you're serving. When you reach out to ruffle its head, in that
old affectionate gesture, it twists away from you then gives you a blank
stare, as if trying to remember where it has seen you before.

You, not realizing that the dog is now a cat, think something must be
desperately wrong with it. It seems so antisocial, so distant, sort of
depressed. It won't go on family outings. Since you're the one who
raised it, taught it to fetch and stay and sit on command, you assume
that you did something wrong. Flooded with guilt and fear, you redouble
your efforts to make your pet behave.

Only now you're dealing with a cat, so everything that worked before
now produces the opposite of the desired result. Call it and it runs
away. Tell it to sit and it jumps on the counter. The more you go toward
it, wringing your hands, the more it moves away.

Instead of continuing to act like a dog owner, you can learn to behave
like a cat owner. Put a dish of food near the door and let it come to
you. But remember that a cat needs your help and your affection too.
Sit still and it will come, seeking that warm, comforting lap it has not
entirely forgotten. Be there to open the door for it.

One day your grown-up child will walk into the kitchen, give you a big
kiss and say, "You've been on your feet all day. Let me get those dishes
for you."
Then you'll realize your cat is a dog again.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Blast from the past . . . .

As I was surfing blogs today I ran across a post from someone talking about a drink they had had during a vacation to Florida almost 20 years ago. Anybody remember Polar Cup? The post brought an immediate smile to my face. For those of you that did not have the great pleasure of growing up near a Polar Cup, I offer my sincere condolences. I can only say that on a classic hot Florida summer day there was only ever one thing that could immediately take you away from the heat. A large lemonade polar cup!! It was a cold refreshing lemonade slush drink that not only offered an immediate cool down but almost always had a lemon wedge hidden somewhere amongst the ice. When I read that post this morning I immediately googled trying to find anywhere that I could order polar cup items. I found nothing much to my dismay. But, I did find a recipe that is probably the closest to the original:


  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 1 cup cracked ice
  • 6 maraschino cherry, with stems
  • Directions

    1. In a blender or smoothie machine, process the lemon juice and sugar for approximately 30 seconds to blend well. Add 2 cups of water and half the ice and blend, crushing the ice. Add the remaining ice and water. Blend on high speed until the mixture resembles a frozen delight!
    2. Divide among 6 glasses and top each glass with a cherry.
    If you find yourself completely an utterly at your wits end in the heat, give the above recipe a try. And for any of you out there that remember Polar Cup, post a comment and share your memory!

    Latest fishing excursion

    Saturday was our latest fishing excursion to Steinhatchee. This was the first time that the girls came along with us. I can honestly say it's the most excited I have seen them. They day started off early(around 5:15am) and we got there about 7:30am. Well the first stop was at the marina to get bait. I can honestly say that I don't think the gentleman at the bait tank was quite ready for the girls' reaction to the shrimp. Three minutes of shrills and shrieks thoroughly made his morning as he proceeded to "gross" the girls out asking them who was going to put the hook through. We finally got to the boat ramp, launched, and proceeded out to our fishing hole. The first one to land a fish was Brenna but to everyone's surprise it wasn't a fish but a shark!! She had landed about a 12 inch bonnet head and much to her father's shock proceeded to land it almost right in his lap. I can honestly say our day at sea was eventful. Between the girl's providing enough volume in their screams when trying to catch the shrimp in the live well that I think every boat within a 2 mile radius could hear them to even bigger screams when they saw the teeth of the fish they were catching. Everyone landed at least one keeper. Brenna a mackerel, Meghan a pompano and a mack, me a trout and then there's John. No he couldn't let the girl's win out he had to finish the day with a 3 foot bonnet head shark. His first! I can honestly say that it was an exciting fight between man and fish. Hopefully the eating will be even better! But Meghan actually had the biggest catch of the day. While John and I were fishing off the stern, I heard a loud splash behind me. I spun around thinking that one of the girls had managed to fall in only to find out that somehow Meg had actually hooked the boat and then managed to throw her rod/reel overboard! Luckily we were in the flats and I was able to retrieve her Grandfather's reel with the gaf. Only Meghan could accomplish that one! At least their first flats fishing trip will be very memorable for them!

    Fav food of the week shout-out!

    I can only say that very few times in life you come across that one thing that is so good and tasty that it makes you want to trade your first born for a lifetime supply of it. This past weekend, I found one of those things. My Husband, two girls, and I went fishing in Steinhatchee, Fl. We decided to come in to get something to eat and chose to try the local Hungry Howie's. One thing we liked is that they had a boat dock we could drive right up to. Never having eaten there before we all decided on subs. I personally had the meatball, my Husband and daughter had the club, and my step-daughter tried the ham & cheese. I can only say........ OH MY!! They absolutely had to be the best subs we have ever eaten. And to top it off, they had this fabulous sub sauce. They're not your normal subs, picture mini calzones with not your normal cheese, but a sub in the middle instead. I'm telling you even last night we were wishing there was a Hungry Howie's around the corner because I think we all would have been fighting to get in line first! So this is my fav food of the week shout-out. Way to go Hungry Howies!!!!

    Friday, May 2, 2008

    When did it happen. . . .

    I need your help. I'm having a hard time figuring this one out. It just snuck up behind me. One day I was holding this little cute bundle who I can honestly say looked like an old man with shriveled up skin around the knees. Next I was chasing and playing with an adorable toddler who loved nothing more than to yell, "Come on sing with me!" to try and entice you to join along in the chorus of his favorite Christmas carol. Then walking him into his first day of Kindergarten trying to reassure him the entire time that he was going to have fun and make lots of friends and then realizing it was myself I was trying to reassure. To watching him play flag and tackle football and thinking he look so cute in his uniform. To being another proud parent during Middle School awards programs and functions. Then this year being a hopefully supportive parent of a High School freshman. You would think with all of those memories I could easily find the answer to my question. You see, I have just walked you through only a very tiny speck of the memory lane regarding my oldest son Jacob, 14. Yesterday when I picked him up from school the first words out of his mouth were, "Mom, can you wash this outfit for me?". He had worn his band outfit (black dress pants and white dress shirt) to school for an activity they were having. I asked him why he need it. He said the he had a "friend" that was performing in a pageant at school and that he has promised to go and he had to dress up. That's right, A GIRL! Well, you will have to applaud me. I showed the utmost in restraint. I didn't grill him with a lot of questions, I held my cool. That's right, I waited what I thought was an appropriate 30 seconds. What!?! I thought that was acceptable! I'm kidding. You would be proud, I calmly just asked a few tidbits all the while threatening his sister to keep her mouth shut. So ladies, when did it happen........ when did my baby boy grow up?

    Life will never be the same . . . . .

    I wanted to let all of you know about the newest recreational activity our family has started partaking in. Saltwater fishing! A few years ago my Husband lept onto the "Men and their toys" train and bought a 19 foot Carolina skiff. Having at that time 4 kids and living so near the Suwannee River in North Florida, we both decided that having a boat would be a great way to spend time as a family on weekends either fishing or just running down the river. I must say it has been a great addition to our family. We have taken it numerous times just on the river for the day but also rented a house along the Gulf Coast for our yearly family vacation and took the boat with us. This year my Husband decided (I admit with some prodding from me) to take the boat out for some saltwater fishing out of Steinhatchee, Florida. We have gone about 3 times now and I can honestly say it is the most exciting thing I have done. The greatest thing about it is you never know what is on the other end of the line!! And sometimes you literally never know since the buggers like to chew through the line (especially mine it seems). On our last excursion, my Husband finally achieved his ultimate saltwater fishing goal. You know, the one that this time of year hogs all of the chat time on the fishing forums. The one that the fisherman say is a great flat fishing experience. He caught a redfish!! I can only say he looked like a kid opening that first present on Christmas morning. It was great. And then of course I had to hear about it all the way home. I'm talking an hour's worth of redfish!! But I can't complain, I probably would have done the same!!

    We're over the hump. . . .

    I just wanted to give a shout out about progress reports. . . . . . . . . all you Mother's out there know you can usually tell right away what the status of your child's progress report is. If it's good they offer it up to you the minute they get in the car. If it's bad well that's when either the stalling or the excuses start. You know the ones, "I didn't get it.", "The teacher didn't figure in all of my grades.", etc.. Well, the other day I started my afternoon bus schedule at my 11 year-old step-daughter's school. The minute I saw her she was shoving her progress report in my face. Let me give you a little background. Of the four school-age kids, Brenna really has to work the hardest. It just hasn't clicked yet with math. She usually has a couple of below average grades that we have to have the regular "talk" about. After she was so energetic about giving me her progress report I have to say my interest was peeked. Much to my great pride when I opened her progress report she only had 1 C, and it wasn't even in Math! The rest were A's and B's. So I just wanted to brag on her and say Great job!! Way to go Brenna!!

    Dryer continued . . . .

    Well, from my last post you all know the ongoing saga that has been happening with our dryer. Almost 4 months of drying/heating issues have now been resolved with the newest addition to our family . . . . . . . that's right, when my poor husband arrived home from a hard day at work (I'm laying it on thick) I hesitantly had to inform him of the newest chapter in the soap opera life I call laundry. Well, he took it very well to say the least. His exact comment was, "I'm tired of fooling with the stupid thing so let's just go buy a new one." Music to my ears!!!! Well, I had to just about control my desire to move around the living room floor as if Tony from Dancing With The Stars were leading me in a high energy quick-step. Mind you all of this excitement was VERY calmly hidden behind my loving wife's look of sympathy and understanding. So, without hesitation (I truly had to keep myself from bolting out the door like a kid on her way to Chuck E Cheese) off to Lowe's we went. All you women out there have to give me a gold star. I could have lobbied my case for one of the cadillac dryers on the appliance showroom floor but alas, I told my husband, "As long as it drys, I'll take it!". So here I am writing about this newest chapter this morning while happily listening to that little darling dryer of mine just tumbling away in the laundry room. Oops, what's that? Hallelujah!! After only 30mins my clothes are dry!!!! Thank the Lord!!

    Thursday, May 1, 2008

    The dryer saga continues . . . .

    Let me give a little synopsis of what has transpired with our dryer. A couple of months ago I started noticing that the dryer was taking longer than usual to dry a load of clothes. After mentioning this to my husband for several weeks with the usual response, "I'll have to look at it." and of course as you all know things come up and the "I'll have to look at it." doesn't happen. So, I decided to hit it where I would get the quickest reaction. In his wallet. Once I mentioned that the dryer could be the cause of the rising electric bill, the dryer was taken apart and the heating element was replaced. Well, that and cleaning the build up of lint fixed the problem. You have never seen a happier wife than I. Going from 2 hours to 40 minutes a load was miraculous!! We have been fine with the dryer since. I was bragging to everyone about the dryer. Well, I should have knocked on some wood. This morning I thought I was doing great. Got up at 5:30a with the hubby since I knew the kids needed some specific clothes for school. Finally got them in the dryer and decided to check the email. I asked one of the kids to check on the clothes around 6:20a. Well the report was, "They're still really wet". Not good. So, I went to check myself and found that the dryer wasn't even heating up at all. AARGGHH! Imagine this, me and 5 kids running around like chickens with our heads cut off so we could rush off to Grandma's to dry the clothes before school. Oh what a morning!! This is where I need all of your prayers. My hubby has yet to find out about this morning's adventure. Pray for me as I try to convince him to send the dryer off to the appliance graveyard and go shopping for a replacement. Wish me luck!! I'll keep you posted. . . . . . .


    Hi, and welcome to the Live Oak Brady Bunch. This blog deals with the everyday life of our blended family which consists of my Husband and I, two boys both 14, two girls ages 13 and 11, and the final piece of the puzzle, Adam who is 2. Enjoy reading about the everyday events, antics, and escapades that make being a member of this family a blessed thing!