Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mama’s Holiday Wish List Meme

Mama’s Holiday Wish List Meme

TodaysMama (link to: and GameStop (link to: are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I’m sharing this meme with you.

1. What is your holiday wish for your family?

My family holiday wish is for us all to be together and happy and just enjoy the holidays all together this year.

2. What is your Christmas morning / Hanukkah Nightly tradition?

We get up Christmas morning and find all of the presents that Santa left under the tree and open our stockings and I whip up some cinnamon rolls and start cooking the rest of the food for the Christmas dinner later in the day.

3. If you could ask Santa for one, completely decadent wish for yourself, what would it be?

A Cricut Imagine with 12 cartridges. :)

4. How do you make the holidays special without spending any money?

Attend church service and go out to look at all of the holiday lighting displays.

5. What games did you play with your family growing up?

Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly, Life

6. What holiday tradition have you carried on from your own childhood?

We let the kids open one gift on Christmas Eve.

7. Where would you go for a Christmas/Hanukkah-away-from-home trip?

Either a ski trip to Tahoe or somewhere on a beach. :)

8. Check out GameStop (link to: and tell us, what are the three top items on your GameStop Wish List this year?

The new Rock Band controllers and game with keyboard, etc, 3 DSI's (I have 3 boys) and Black Ops for the PS3 for the hubs.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

I'm snitching a photo I got from Annie over at because I'm a dolt and forgot to bring my camera last weekend when I got to go out to lunch with her and Katie We met out at Johnny's Tavern in Overland Park, Kansas, which was yummy, and then went out to Town Center Plaza to do a little window shopping. Great time and great conversation! Thanks girls!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summer Gardening Update

Gardening is something that's in my blood. My grandparents gardened, my dad gardened so it would stand to reason that I would garden also. Of course I'm gardening on a much smaller scale than those who came before me, but considering that it's my first attempt and I have a serious lack of space here, I don't think it's going too badly.

I'm already making note of changes that I want to make next year (item #1, buy enough dirt). I didn't get enough this year so one of my square foot gardens didn't get planted and now I'm regretting it because there are other veggies and plants I would have liked to have had.

Another note to self: Find a stronger trellis for the tomato plants next year! Even though my dad and grandparents gardened, I guess I never really paid attention as a kid, so I grossly underestimated the weight of tomato vines, dang those things are heavy! I bought this little wire trellis thing at Lowes and as soon as the plants started growing the poor little thing just couldn't withstand the weight and snapped and is now leaning precariously. The good news is, we have 20 tomatoes!

Here is my sage...I love the smell of sage. It reminds me of my Grandma Kathryn and fall and Thanksgiving. It's not gotten very big but I'm hoping to have enough to cut and dry for seasoning things.

Another note to self: Next year get more pepper plants and in a few different varieties. If you look very closely, you can see down at the bottom the lone little jalapeno on the plant. I sure hope we get more than just the one...there are still several blooms so I'm hopeful.

Excuse me waiter, there's a fly on my dill plant...
I'm happy to report that the marigolds have done well as far as keeping the bugs off of the plants...well except for Mr. Fly on the dill...and the rest of the herbs are doing wonderfully too. I totally messed up the lettuce this year and didn't thin it in time and it choked itself out, so no lettuce crop to speak of. I also have a mystery plant that I don't remember what it was growing so I guess that will be a surprise if and when it produces anything. I'll keep you posted!

Is anyone else growing anything this year? How's it going?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

First Ripe Tomatoes of the Season
Well the one on the right isn't "quite" ripe
but the little neighbor girl picked
it too soon, so we'll put it out to ripen.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Reading List Update, Halfway through the Year

At the beginning of the year I posted a reading list of books I was going to try to finish during 2010...I'm happy to report I've made some progress and added a few here and there also but I've still got a ways to go....

1. "The Bolter" by Frances Osborne
2. "Say You’re One of Them" by Uwem Akpan - I got about halfway through this one and I just couldn't read any more...I hated it. Nothing particular about it, I just hated it. Ugh.
3. "The Looming Tower" by Frances Wright
4. "Prisoner of the State" by Zhao Ziyang
5. "The Bear" by William Faulkner - Actually reading this one right now.
6. "God: A Biography" by Jack Miles
7. "The Unsettling of America" by Wendell Berry
8. "Underground" by Haruki Murakami
9. "Leaves of Grass" by Walt Whitman
10. "Gilead" by Marilynne Robinson - Done, pretty writing, pointless plot
11. "The Regeneration Trilogy" by Pat Barker - This one is in progress...I read book #1 and I have #3 but don't have #2 yet...
12. "The Handmaid’s Tale" by Margaret Atwood - Done, this one I really liked
13. "A Lesson Before Dying" by Ernest Gaines - Done, can't go wrong with the classics
14. "No Excuses" by Kyle Maynard - Done, bad writing but interesting story

15. "Echo in the Bone" by Diane Gabaldon- Done, if you haven't read any of her "Outlander" series, check them out, I love them all
16. "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
17. "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" by Seth Grahme-Smith and Jane Austen
18. "Have a Little Faith" by Mitch Albom - Done, very sweet
19. "Her Fearful Symmetry" by Audrey Niffenegger
20. "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy - Done, amazingly written, sad sad sad story
21. "Julie & Julia" by Julie Powell - Done, a little kitschy but good

22. "The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane" by Katherine Howe
23. "The Magicians" by Lev Grossman
24. "The Lace Reader" by Brunonia Barry - Done, I loved this one
25. "Sharp Objects" by Gillian Flynn - Done, loved this one also, keep me hanging till the last pages
26. "Making a Family Home" by Shannon Honeybloom - Done, wonderful tips and beautiful photography

So as you can see, I've gotten at least a little over halfway through the list. I've also added in a few others:

1. Once an Arafat Man by Tass Saada - Fantastic book written by the father of a guy I went to school with, very interesting
2. How to Photograph Absolutely Everything by Tom King - Hey I got a new camera...enough said.
3. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert - Very good
4. Essential Buddhism by Jacky Sach - Interesting, never hurts to learn about something new

There may be more I'm forgetting but that's off the top of my head for the moment. Considering I wanted to finish 26 books within the year, I don't think 18-1/2 is bad now that we're in July.

What all are you reading this summer that I'm missing out on? Any recommendations?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Random Update...

It's summertime and I suck at keeping up with blogging and computer time and all of that in the summer...ok, well maybe I keep up well with Facebook and Frontierville, but as far as blogging and such, I stink.

I've actually had some time to READ this summer, which has been wonderful. I've finished "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy - has anyone seen that movie? I want a recommendation yay or nay...Excellent writing but the book itself made me so sad.

I also read "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood. Wow, bizarre. It makes you really stop and think with all of the conspiracy theories out there if something like that could really happen...although I don't personally buy into any of that stuff, it's crazy to ponder in a hypothetical sense. Great book though, I'd give it a thumbs up.

I am currently reading "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. I'm about halfway through it and I'm totally jealous of her ability to just pick up and leave for a year. It would be nice to take that kind of sabbatical. Of course she didn't have five kids, two dogs and a husband to worry the way, I wouldn't trade any of them for the world.

I've also been reading some books on photography and Photoshop Elements 8, trying to do a little self-education so that I get the most out of my new camera, etc.

I won a book over at called "The Tale of Halcyon Crane" and I'm looking to jump into it next. Thanks to Courtney over there for sending it!!

I also won an Amy Butler book "In Stitches" from @sheyb on Twitter and there are so many cute projects in there I'd like to try, but finding time to sew this summer has really been slim to none.

I've been watching baseball and the FIFA World Cup...I'm sad that USA isn't in it anymore but I really enjoy watching worldwide sporting events like the World Cup, Olympics, etc. It's interesting to me. I'm also convinced that I need to order a vuvuzela to blow at the children when they aren't listening.

I've also got a ton more of that court stuff I can't blog about yet, sighhhh. When I can finally blog this crazy story, you guys are going to crap at all of the nonsense we've had to go through over the past few a side note though, I'm happy to report that all is going well and continues to be positive and encouraging news.

Tonight we're off to the zoo for the Friends of the Zoo membership night. I'll take the camera along and get some good pictures to post this week. I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. I think in a couple more weeks I'm going to start asking "When is school going to start again??" :) I love being home with the kids but I also enjoy the "routine" of the school year. Summer kind of feels "all over the place" for me.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

One EskimO, Great Guys, Great Show

Recently I was offered the opportunity to review a band called "One EskimO" at a local venue in Kansas City called Crossroads.

I'm going to be totally honest for a minute here. I had no idea who this band was. I sent my littlest sister-in-law a message on Facebook to see if she knew of them and I got the response back, "Oooh I LOVE them" so I immediately agreed to do the review.

Here's the band on the stage at the Crossroads. They are an indie rock group from London (except for Pete Rinaldi, the guitarist, he's originally from Australia) and according to Pete, he's known Kristian Leontiou (the lead singer) for about nine years and the band has been together for about four years. They have a bluesy, acoustic blend and sound fantastic.

Let me give you some advice, if you get the opportunity to see these guys live, definitely go! They are extremely talented and they write really great music.

Here is my littlest sister-in-law (she's 14) anxiously waiting for the concert to start. I was pretty excited about this too because they were nice enough to give me a photography press pass for a "no cameras" show, which I thought was really nice of them. I called ahead to confirm with the tour manager that it was okay to bring my DSLR and received a text from him minutes later saying, "I'm getting you a photo press pass, bring the camera, no problem." What a nice guy!
I love this picture I got of Kristian Leontiou. He has a really unique voice and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to him.
This is Jamie Sefton, bass player and horn player. This guy is extremely talented.

I also can't say enough nice things about Adam Falkner, drummer. He rocked it on the drums throughout the show and it was great to meet him. He even offered to make us a cup of tea on the tour bus, how sweet is that?
This particular tour they are opening for Michael Franti and Spearhead, who apparently have a running joke to run onto the stage during One eskimO's performance and do something crazy.
Here's Pete Rinaldi, the guitarist. He is so talented and such a nice guy. We got to interview him on the tour bus after the set and he answered all of our questions and even got me a copy of the setlist for the evening. I also purchased a CD for my sister-in-law at the show and he was nice enough to walk it around to the guys and get it autographed for her.
Michael Franti on the stage with One eskimO in a chicken mask...hilarious!
Pete told us that they originally came to tour in the United States a year ago opening for Tori Amos. He said the most memorable place for him that they have played was Radio City Music Hall in New York City, for two reasons; he said that seeing the band name on the marquee at Radio City Music Hall was surreal and also his sister from Australia happened to be in New York City at the time so she got to see him perform as well.

We asked if the band has anything new in the works and he said that having the tour bus is a nice opportunity for them to be able to work on new music, and one of the songs they played during the show, "Hurricanes", was something new that's not on the current album but will probably be included on the next album.

Setlist for One eskimO at the Crossroads, Kansas City, MO 06/13/2010:

"Giving Up"
"Simple Day"
"All Balloons"

I can't stress enough if you get a chance to give these guys a listen, you won't be sorry, and if you ever get the opportunity to meet them, DEFINITELY do it - they are some of the nicest guys in the music scene and they were so gracious to me and my sister-in-law, answering all of our questions and letting us hang out with them in the bus after the show. Thanks again, guys!

P.S. You can also find them at

I was given the opportunity to review this show by the One2One Network. I got 2 free passes to the show but I was not compensated in any other way to do this review. My opinions are 100% my own...and my sister-in-law's. :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

How I Know it's Summer...

I can tell it's summertime at our house because my house looks like a tornado hit it with the little cyclones I have running in and out around here. :)
I also know that it's summertime because of the amount of towels that we're going through...
Another clue that it's summertime in our house is that it seems like the grocery bill DOUBLES!!
But I'm really loving every second of it...
Summer is my favorite season of the year!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

My birthday always falls on Memorial Day weekend, which is kind of depressing I guess but I went up to north Missouri and put flowers on all of the graves last week and so this weekend was for food, family and fun. :)

When you have five kids (plus 2 additional friends of the oldest) the best things in life ARE free, so we headed down to Union Station in Kansas City yesterday for "Celebration at the Station".

The Kansas City Symphony plays a variety of patriotic music at Union Station with Liberty Memorial in the background with an awesome fireworks show when it gets dark.

We packed the kids all up in a couple of cars and headed downtown...Here's my friend Sherri with my daughter on her shoulders, my friend Bryan and his girls came down and met us too.
The littlest in shades...hilarious...
Bryan and his girls, aren't they pretty?? My middle child has a big crush on the one on the left and he would love it even more if he knew I put that on here. :)
Here is what a pile of boys looks like sprawled out on a picnic blanket.
Miss Priss was loving the music and the crowd and all the excitement.

Brotherly love...
I played around a little with my camera once it got dark and we got the kids all those glow in the dark necklace things....I thought this one turned out kind of cool with the flash off.
Liberty Memorial, the only WW-I memorial in the can see the eternal flame lit at the top.
Union Station with stars and red white and neat!
The fireworks show with the pretty.
I had a great time with my entire family together and we really enjoyed the evening. When they played "Taps" towards the end of the concert, it made me a little teary remembering my dad, uncle and all of the other veterans in my family who have passed on; however, this was a celebration of their lives and we enjoyed it to the fullest.

We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them. ~Francis A. Walker

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Kansas City Dinosaurs Unearthed!

We were looking around last Sunday afternoon for something to do inside that was out of the rain. We got together with my friend Sonya and her boys and headed down to Union Station in Kansas City for their current exhibit "Dinosaurs Unearthed".
These things were awesome and they moved and growled and had placards with information on them. It was a great learning experience as well as fun!
Here are the kids in front of the t-rex outside.
We got our tickets, had some lunch, checked out some other parts of Union Station (coming to a later blog) and headed downstairs for the exhibit starting at 3:00 pm. Here is "the talk" from Dad a/k/a the hubs. "No running, no acting like fools, stay together, keep your hands to yourselves..." all that good stuff.
This is one of the five fully articulated skeletons in the display. Sooo cool!! The kids thought they were awesome!
Here they had a panel of all sizes of dinosaurs. Here are my two middles with the Stegosaurus.
And my littlest testing out his "dinosaur stomp and roar".
Here are my friend Sonya's boys, all smiles over the dinosaurs.
Here's Sonya's oldest next to a leg bone. Yikes! This thing made me feel tiny!
They had a stand set up where you could use paintbrushes (or your hands) and sift out the dinosaur bones underneath.
The littlest hard at work with his brush and the daughterling checking it out too...
She was not so much a fan of the 24 animatronic dinosaurs and spent most of the exhibit roaring back at them from the safety of Daddy's arms. :)
This triceratops looks like it's about to chomp the 7-year-old's head off. He doesn't seem to mind...strange, isn't it?
I will admit I'm not much of a dinosaur guru but dinosaurs with fur? Bizarre...
I had to practically bend over backwards to get the shot of this tall guy.
The exhibits were very kid-friendly and interactive and the boys all loved them.
This is the face we got...
...when this bad boy growled at him! PRICELESS!
Another one of the cool skeletons.
Union Station is a gorgeous old building and holds much history in Kansas City. I got some more cool pictures and info that I'll post in a later blog. I think I'm on picture overload as it is.

The kids all definitely gave "Dinosaurs Unearthed" at Union Station in Kansas City 12 thumbs up (we took six kids)!