Saturday, July 26, 2008

Help Battle Cancer

Animals play a very important role in my life. When i talk about being a mom i am not just referring to my children with two legs and no fur. My four legged, fur lined housemates are just as close to my heart. They are my furbabies.
Back in May i lost a soul mate. My shepherd mix, Petey, lost his battle with lymphoma. He was diagnosed in February and the disease worked fast. He is one of those reasons i had mentioned for being away from blogland for so long. My heart is broken and i am still in mourning. The whole situation was a traumatic one for me and i was lucky to have one of very best friends, Kimmy, with me when Petey's time came to an end.
Out of this came a desire to help other people who are in the same situation i was. There were treatments, chemotherapy, that could've put the cancer into remission and given my boy several more happy, quality years. Those treatments, however, cost upwards around $5000 and we could not afford that. i was devastated and turned my sadness and desperation into action, researching online and calling different vets and clinics to get as much information as possible to help combat the disease in other ways and maybe find an organization to help with the costs of treatment. My vet was awesome and worked hand in hand with me to fill out applications and get info together. i heard back from every single organization with the same message 'Your dog is the perfect candidate to receive financial aid for treatment, however, we regret to inform you that we have no funds to give at this time.'
It was one of the most helpless feelings in the world. Knowing there were ways to help him but money stood in the way. i was blessed to be part of a very tight-knit online community who got together and raised $300 for Petey. It certainly wouldn't pay for the chemo, but it helped with purchased a better quality, grain-free, dog food, as well as supplements to support his immune system.
Having gone through the frustration and agony that i did i am trying to come up with ways to help other people in my situation. One of the organizations that i turned to was Canine Cancer They allowed me to post Petey's story on their website in hopes of getting financial sponsors. They are also doing lots of wonderful work educating people about canine cancer and raising funds to help families in need. Below is a button that links to the Canine Cancer Awareness website. Won't you please post it on your own blogs? Spread the word and help prevent others from experiencing the heartbreak i did.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

The New 'Do

Well, i just HAD to post a pic of WiseGuy's latest hairdo.
i didn't know until he sat in the stylists chair that he wanted a mohawk. We used to style his hair into one with his regular ol cut, but this time he wanted it SHAVED that way. Those who know me know that i'm not the most conventional person anyway, so i was happy to oblige. i figure it's only hair, it will grow back!
One of the little boys at the babysitter's house decided that he TOO wanted a mohawk...and a dye job! His hair is now a black and red mohawk. Of course, Gabriel wanted a new color now, too. Fortunately i have a few different colored hair glues that i used to use on occasion. It keeps the mohawk standing up and colors it until the next shampoo! He was tickled. Today his hair matched his shirt!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Potentially Dangerous Revelation

The following information may prove dangerous in some households. You have been warned.

Not sure what the conversation was initially about but it eventually lead to baking. Particularly cookies. My boss reveals at some point that you can make cookies out of cake batter! Maybe this is common knowledge to all of you, but this is a new one to me! She said that if you add 1/2 cup of veggie oil and 2 eggs then bake they turn out like cookies. It can't be just that easy. Imagine using lemon cake batter....or strawberry cake batter....or party color chip cake batter. Then imagine mixing things into it! The possibilities are virtually limitless!

i tried out this little tidbit of culinary knowledge just this afternoon. A few weeks ago Giant had a 10/$10 on cake mixes....both Giant brand AND Duncan Hines! i used Duncan Hines Triple Chocolate Fudge cake mix and made some of the most delicious cookies i've had in a long time! i had some icing in the cabinet and spread some on the bottom of two cookies and pressed them together to make a large oreo cookie/whoopie pie sort of treat. YUM!

Now i can give you a little bit of good news about this. They do make Low Sugar cake mixes and frostings. This means you can feel a little bit better about giving them to the kids.

As for the baking directions, i put them in a 350 degree oven for 9-12 minutes. Just drop them on the tray with a spoon and pop them in the oven!

Now see how this could be dangerous?


Sunday, July 06, 2008

Independence Day At Independence Hall

SmartyPants has a birthday coming up. It falls towards the middle of the week and the following weekend she will be leaving for camp, so this year we decided to celebrate as a family the weekend before. The Fourth of July happens to occur that weekend, as well, which means most of her friends and some of our family members were out of town or had other previous engagements. Things were not looking good for a party for SmartyPants. After some brainstorming, though we came up with a few idea and presented the best, most affordable to her and let her choose our destination. She chose to spend the Fourth of July in Philadelphia.
i figured she would, you see, her class went on a trip to Philadelphia earlier this year and she came home VERY disappointed. They took the walking tour....which meant walking BY the landmarks, not through them. So she saw the BUILDING where the Liberty Bell is housed, but not the bell itself. The same with Independence Hall. She was upset, to be sure. So what better day to visit this historic city?
It was raining steadily when we got up, but we still had every intention of going. This was a rain or shine trip. We got out of the house only two minutes past our estimated time of departure, which is EXCELLENT for our family. The drive was uneventful (YESSSSS!!!) and we easily found the parking garage directly beneath the Independence Visitors Center, which was our first stop. Ok, actually the BATHROOMS in the visitors center was our first stop. Then over to the Liberty Bell.
One of the neat things about this trip was that not only had the kids never seen any of this stuff, but neither had Wayne. i had seen it all at least once over the course of growing up here. Now i got to watch my family have the same experiences for the first time. It was very cool :)
We visited Benjamin Franklin's grave(the first and only time i intend on paying to walk through the gates of a church graveyard), walked Market St, went inside Independence Hall and attended an ALL YOU CAN EAT ICE CREAM FESTIVAL. You gave them $5 and they gave you a spoon and access to a large tent filled with vendors trying to keep up with the demand of the attendees. Vendors like Ben & Jerry's, Haagen Das, Jack & Jill, Turkey Hill, Rita's and so many others. They had small cups with one good sized scoop in each and you could take as many as you liked as often as you liked. It. Was. Awesome. The proceeds all went to Lukemia research, so it was for a great cause! It was the first and probably only time that we had ice cream for lunch. The problem was that it didn't take us very long for all the sugar to burn up and we became quite hungry for dinner early.
We trekked around a LOT that day and NONE of us are really accustomed to that much walking. Ok, so maybe SOME of us aren't accustomed to that much physical activity altogether, but i digress. Our dogs were BARKING! Our feet were killing us and all we wanted to do was sit down and eat. So we walked the streets trying to find something nice, something sit down and something affordable. We got two out of three. It was quite a nice place called 'The Plough & The Stars' in Old City Philadelphia. We checked out everyone's type of dress and some were in jeans and shorts and tees like us so, as we were all tired of walking we stepped inside and got shown to our loft table. i could tell immediately by the place settings that we had stepped into *cue scary music* a NICE restaurant!!! i had a little bit of experience in the fine dining department while i was growing up so i wasn't so concerned for was the rest of my gang of hoodlums. My children have table manners, mind you, i promise you i have taught them both the basics. WiseGuy has some difficulty remembering some of those manners, as does SmartyPants. Come to think of it, Wayne doesn't always seem to remember HIS, either. i just sort of looked at the table setting, looked at Wayne and he said 'If we ever want to learn how to eat at a nice place we'll all have to GO to a nice place.' With that we sat and picked up our menus. So, two out of the three criteria had been met...nice place and sit down. The third flew out the window when i opened the menu and saw that the cheapest entree in the place at $18.50. Oh don't you believe the menu they have on their website...the prices have changed. i looked up at Wayne and he looked at me. 'We can always leave, honey.' he said to me. Yeah, right...that's just what i'm going to do now that i've been seated, had my napkin put in my lap and my drink order already taken. Let's just leave. No, we could do this, to be honest. The rest of the day was so inexpensive that i figured we could splurge. i looked over at WiseGuy to see him happily using his two forks as airplanes flying side by side and knew it could prove to be a long meal. Aside from a few silverwear faux pas here and there it went relatively smoothly and the bill wasn't as bad as i had anticipated, all things considered. YAY TEAM!!
We trekked back to the Visitor's Center only to find that most people had abandonded the area, heading down to the Ben Franklin Parkway for the parade, festival, concert and fireworks. Not to mention it had started to rain again. Gabe had been done for the day several hours ago, Wayne was ready to call it a day, Ivy and i wanted to go to the rest of the festivities. We stood discussing it when the rain started coming down harder and we watched one another get soaked. With tears in her eyes SmartyPants agreed that going home was the smart thing to do. When she saw the chaos happening down by the Ben Franklin she realized she made the right decision. Besides, there were still some fireworks happening locally the next night.
It had quit raining by the time we got home and both kids had fallen asleep in the car. We had to stop at my mom's to pick up the dog and home we went, everyone exhausted from the day.
We used disposable cameras to take pics so i don't have those yet, but will post some when i do.

Hope everyone had a wonderful and safe Fourth of July!
i know we did!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Can I Be 'It?'

i wasn't necessarily tagged for this meme but i'm gonna be 'it' anyway...just cuz :D

A. Attached or single? Attached

B. Best friend? That's the guy i'm attached to!

C. Cake or pie? i must say that i prefer pie. While i like a good moist cake i prefer the fruit in the pie, as well as cream pies....mmmm and chocolate pie....and peanut butter pie....and custard pie....

D. Day of choice? All in all, Saturday is the only day when all four of us are home at the same time for the entire that would be it

E. Essential item? Computer, i recently learned. Our desktop died and i realized that i couldn't pay my bills or check on things in my bank account without it. There are certain things that i keep track of that i just can't do anywhere else but online or on the computer.

F. Favorite color? Violet....bright deep blue violet

G. Gummy bears or worms? Worms are the choice around this fish tank

H. Home town? Reading, PA

I. Favorite indulgence? i dunno....when i indulge myself it usually involves something very rich or fried.

J. January or July? i suppose i SHOULD say July as that is SmartyPants' birth month, but if i'm being honest i'll have to go with January. i've had my fill of summer weather...

K. Kids? Two of 'em! SmartyPants will be 11 years old next week and WiseGuy will be 7 in August.

L. Life isn’t complete without? Animal life wouldn't be whole without an animal to share it with.

M. Marriage date? January 25

N. Number of brothers and sisters? One blood brother and a bunch of stepsiblings

O. Oranges or Apples? Apples make some wonderful dishes...pie, apple sauce, fried apples, apple dumplings...mmmm...however (what did i just say? HOWEVER!) When it comes to which i would prefer to eat straight up, i'd choose orange

P. Phobias? Any kind of free fall - the kids getting taken from me by a stranger (sounds stupid, i know, but i'm a FREAK when it comes to my children being out of my sight.)

Q. Quotes? Ghosts were people too.

R. Reasons to smile? my family

S. Season of choice? Autumn, hands down! Halloween in my fave holiday, i love the apple cider, the hay rides, the beautiful colors.

T. Tag 5 people: No :)

U. Unknown fact about me? i currently own the very first cat i've ever owned in my life and i've only had her for a few weeks.

V. Vegetable? peas

W. Worst habit? smoking...yep, i admit it...i'm a smoker...and it's by far my worst habit. i've quit 4 or 5 times already and i'm sure i could again...when i'm ready.

X. Xray or ultrasound? whichever one will give them the answer they need

Y. Your favorite food? cheese

Z. Zodiac sign? Leo :)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Morning Coffee

Here i sit in front of the laptop at 7:11am drinking my coffee and eating my Activia Yogurt, pondering the prospects of the day wondering what awe inspiring task i'll be given at work today. Posting payments, maybe? Moving files, possibly? Maybe i'll continue my momentous task from yesterday....paper shredding!


If i had my druthers i'druther be drinking my mocha, eating my bons-bons while awaiting the arrival of the cleaning lady and the pool boy. Suppose one would need a pool in order to have a pool boy. Lord knows i've got plenty for the hypothetical cleaning lady to do!

SmartyPants is still sleeping (i'm jealous) and WiseGuy insisted on an early morning shot of the Xbox. It's like his coffee.

Wayne is flipping through the morning news shows and drinking his coffee, no doubt contemplating what Comcast will throw at him later this morning. It ain't easy being The Cable Guy!

When life goes by so fast it's easy to overlook these seemingly mundane times. Taking a step back to look at the big 'quiet' the house is despite the beeps from the xbox and the news anchor rattling on. There's no yelling, no fighting, no barking, no meowing. Odd how the definition of 'quiet' changes after you have kids in the house for a while. But it's quiet...and peaceful....and i wish i didn't have to work today so i could stay home and enjoy this peace and quiet...until, that is, SmartyPants wakes up and begins picking on WiseGuy then Wayne chimes in telling her to leave him alone and she begins arguing that he started it even though we all know that SHE did and WiseGuy argues HIS battle with SmartyPants that SHE started it....

yeah....i gotta go to work now...