Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My Garden Rocks!

I'm just going to take a little minute here and brag about how AMAZING my garden looks this year.  This year I started my own seeds in the house in the beginning of May.  I got them in the ground on Mother's Day, which is about a month ahead of last years schedule.  And I think it has made a HUGE difference!

Zucchini Blossoms!

Cucumbers, Zucchini and Herbs with a little baby lettuce in the way back

These are the tomatoes in the front with Strawberries, Green Beans and Peas in the background.

Blossoms on the Peas

Baby Green Beans!

These pictures were actually ones from last weekend, I've had a bunch of zucchini flowers and the cucumbers have had blossoms too.  The green beans will be big enough to start eating probably once the sun comes out again, and today I saw some peas on the vine big enough to eat too!  And it's not even July yet!!!

These plants are all doing awesome this year and I definitely learned my lesson about starting seeds very early!  If I'm lucky I might even get to plant a second run of a few things, like Beans and lettuce.  We'll see!

And here's a few shots of Ben and his cousin Summer playing in the lake last weekend:

Yay for warm weather!!!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tomorrow's the Day

So tomorrow is the big day.  I start a good ol' nine-to-five job again.  Granted it's only going to be a couple of days a week, but it's still a pretty big deal.

Overall, I'm pretty excited.  I'm excited for this opportunity to start using my brain for something other than changing diapers and serving beer.  I'm excited that I get to work in Portland again, even though it's a long commute.  I loved working in the city and have missed being there for the last couple of years.  I'm excited that Ben will be spending more time with his Gram this summer and more time with Ms. Holly and his friends at daycare.  The socialization has been wonderful for Ben and I'm seeing him grow and understand things in amazing ways.  Hopefully with a little more constructive learning he will start picking up some of the other skills he's missing, like counting and learning letters.

So like I said, overall, I'm pretty excited about this.  But, of course, I'm a mom going back to work, and I wouldn't be a mom if I didn't worry.  Am I making the right decision?  Is it too soon to be leaving Ben, even if it is only a few days a week?  Will I regret this later on?  Will I wish that I had spent more time with him?  I've been blessed to have two and a half years with him all day, every day.  I was able to be there for his first smile, sitting up for the first time, first time crawling, first steps, first words.  How lucky was I?  But am I ready to start missing things?  First time telling a joke, first time asking to use the potty, first time writing his letters, saying his ABCs?

"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." -Elizabeth Stone

Tomorrow is the beginning of my little heart walking around without me by his side.  And while I'm excited for my new opportunity, I'm a little broken hearted that I have to leave him. 

So wish me luck, and feel free to remind me that this will get easier...

Love my little guy...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Book Club

Hmmmmm, what do you take for food to your new book club when they are reading Fifty Shades of Grey???....hmmmmmmm......

Why BDS'Mores Brownies and Vanilla Brownies!  Of Course!

Just a little something I "whipped" up yesterday afternoon....

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Something New and Exciting!

Well, it has been a really eventful couple of weeks for me.  And since things finally look like they are falling in to place, I thought I'd share!

I'm not sure if I've mentioned on here that I'm planning on going back to school in the fall, but I am.  It's official.  I'm all signed up for classes at York County Community College for their Associates Degree in Accounting.  Why accounting?  Well, I've been doing some basic bookkeeping for several years now for the office I was working at before Ben was born.  I like doing it and I like that I can do it from home.  I don't like that I don't know everything about what I'm doing.  I can't take on anymore clients, because my skills are limited to the type of business I'm familiar with and the day to day work that I do for them.  I'm hoping that with more education I will be able to take on more challenging work, for the company I'm working with, and possibly other small companies.  It's also a handy degree to have when I decide I'm ready to go back to work full time.

Which brings me to my other interesting news, I have a new job! 

A month ago a very sweet lady I know came to me saying how she wished I was a little bit more experienced in accounting so she could hire me at her office.  At this point I had already applied to YCCC for the accounting program and was very frustrated that the timing didn't work out better so I would have some of the experience she was looking for.  Well, a few weeks ago she approached me again saying she had an entry level position available...might I be interested?

To make a long story short, I applied, was interviewed, and hopefully will be starting next week.  It's a part time position right now, but with opportunities for more if I am interested.

So, Ben will be adding a few extra days of daycare to his schedule, which I'm sure he's going to be thrilled about.  He loves playing with other kids and is always upset when he has to leave Ms. Holly's house.  I'll still be waitressing a few nights a week, since that doesn't interfere much with my time with Ben and I like working where I am right now.  (Also, if you've ever waited tables you know how hard it is to give up that cash flow...ugh!)  School will start in the fall and my current schedule consists of a night class, an online class, and two classes on Saturday mornings.  Manageable from a scheduling perspective...hopefully doable from the homework perspective...I guess we'll see!

It amazed me how things just kind of lined up once I made the decision to go back to school.  It was definitely a good sign that I'm making the right decision.  Here's to a new chapter in my "Real Life"!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Oh Fifty....

So I admit it...I caved to Pop Culture.  I read Fifty Shades of Grey.  I hemmed and hawed...hemmed and hawed...and then, when I was invited to join a book club that was currently reading Fifty Shades, I decided to just go for it. was interesting.  If you aren't familiar with Fifty Shades (in other words if you live under a rock) it's a current best seller that was originally written as a fan fiction piece based on the characters from Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series.  (And if you haven't heard of Twilight you probably are living under a rock, and therefore not reading my blog because you don't have internet access.)  The controversy/appeal/subject of the book is a BDSM relationship between the innocent Anna Steele and the dashingly handsome, zillionaire sadist, Christian Grey.  And yes, I had to look up what BDSM stands for.  (Bondage & Discipline Sadomasochism)  *Please feel free to stop reading here if that weirds you out.  And you're welcome for the heads up in case you were thinking about picking up a copy and that weirds you out.  Everyone on...

So here's the thing.  It's pretty graphic.  And pretty weird (Kinky Fuckery anyone?).  But it wasn't as bad as I had expected.  Before I read the book I watched a discussion about it on the Today show and they were talking about the positive effects it has on women and empowering them to take control of their sex lives.  And I can see that, it certainly  But all I could think, the entire time I was reading it, was "Wow.  This is JUST like Twilight."  By which I mean that the storyline is "eh," the characters are "eh," and the writing itself is "eh."  (Funny fact, the author is British and the characters are all American, but they often speak in "British" so it seems like they are coming from a 19th century British Romance.)  What strikes me though, is the relationship between the characters.  It is EXACTLY like the relationship in Twilight.  Completely Unrealistic.  It bothered me when I read Twilight, and it bothered me when I read Fifty Shades.  The all consuming, you are my universe, only you can provide my happiness, I am nothing without you, relationship isn't realistic.  Call me pessimistic, but I'm pretty sure real love, real relationships, real marriages are a balance of love, compromise, hard work, passion, cooperation and independence.  It bothered me more with Twilight, since it was written for a young female audience, but I hate to think that people reading these books think that all relationships are like that and that they are a failure if they haven't found someone like Christian Grey of Edward Cullen.

At the end of the day, I'll say this:  If you are looking for a quick, steamy (ok, it's more than steamy) read to spice up your love life, grab a copy, and prepare for some really late nights.  If you're looking for something well written, realistic and filled with meaningful messages and insight...pass.  Pass right by. 

(Confession...I didn't just read Fifty Shades of Grey over the last few days.  (sigh)  I read the whole trilogy.  So don't get the impression that I didn't enjoy them....hehehehe)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Ice Cream Cake for Marcus!

Yesterday Marcus turned seventeen.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Seventeen.  UGH!  I think we need to put a moratorium on birthdays for a bit....

Fortunately, Marcus likes to have fun with birthday cakes and usually chooses something different each year.  Some years it's cake, some years it's brownie ice cream pizza, and some years, like this year, it's ice cream cake.

FYI:  Ice cream cakes are expensive.  A couple of years ago I decided to try to make my own, and I'm happy to say it came out quite tasty, and was a heck of a lot cheaper!  In case you're curious as to how I make it (as I know a few people out there are) here are my seriously easy directions:

You Will Need:

2 Containers of ice cream (1/2 gallons of any flavors you want)
1 chocolate Oreo pie crust
1 large tub of Cool Whip
Chocolate Sauce
Candies for Garnish

First I lined a 9-inch spring form pan with plastic wrap.  You can use any type or shape of pan, but spring form is easiest since the sides pop right off.  Soften 1 container of ice cream.  It doesn't need to be melted, just a little squishy so you can spread it.  Smoosh ice cream in an even layer to fill half the pan.  Freeze for 15-20 minutes until ice cream is set.  Remove from freezer and add broken up chocolate pie crust.  Drizzle some chocolate sauce in there (or caramel or whatever you like) and add some crushed up candies if you want.  Seriously, whatever you want.  Freeze again for 15- 20 minutes until firm.  Soften second container of ice cream then smoosh that on top of the layer of crumbs until the pan is full.  Put a piece of plastic wrap over the top and freeze again until solid.  This takes a little longer, maybe an hour or two or overnight.  Thaw Cool Whip when ready to frost.  Remove cake from pan and put on your plate.  Make sure you take off all the plastic wrap too.  It should slide out without any problems, but if it stick just run the pan under a little warm water.  (I suggest chilling the plate as the ice cream melts really fast when it hits the warm plate.)  Frost quickly with Cool Whip (I read you can make chocolate Cool Whip by folding in some chocolate sauce, but I haven't tried it) and decorate with chocolate sauce and crushed candies or whatever you want to do.  (One year I wrote Happy Birthday and covered it with sprinkles!)  Freeze again until Cool Whip is set.  Maybe another hour or so.  And that's it.  It takes some time to freeze the layers, but really it takes maybe 15 minutes of actual working time.  And it looks and tastes pretty amazing.  I'm not going to say it's AS good as one you might buy, but it's good....and I don't think there's anything wrong with that!

Mmmmm, ice cream...

This one was mint chocolate chip ice cream with a layer of chocolate crumbles and chocolate sauce and a bottom layer of chocolate ice cream.  The top has more chocolate sauce and crushed Andes Chocolates.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Really Wonderful Book

I don't know if you know this about me...but I like to read.  A lot.  I read a lot of good books.  Only occasionally do I read a book that's just "eh."  I can appreciate a lot of different types and styles of writing, even if they're not really amazing pieces of writing.  Usually I just appreciate the diversion from my life that a book can create.

So, when I read something amazing, I find myself in awe.

Last night I finished reading The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.  Amazing.  I've been meaning to read it for a while now and was finally able to borrow a digital copy from the library.  What a beautifully written story.  Everything from the setting to the characters to the plot to the use of historical events was so beautifully done that it leaves me feeling overwhelmed and just a teeny bit jealous.

If you haven't read the book, it's sort of a coming of age story of four girls that starts when their minister father moves the family to the Congo on a Missions trip for what was supposed to be a year.  Their lives are impacted permanently by the things they learn and experience in Africa, whether it was directly affecting them, like drought, starvation and malaria, or merely taking place around them, like the Congo's fight for independence and then the uprising of a powerful and greedy dictator.  It's a very beautiful and powerful story. 

It happens occasionally that I find books that deserve to sit upon pedestals above the other books I read.  There's a difference between people that write and people that write.  It's perhaps why I have such a hard time writing.  I've read so many books that I can see the difference between writing and writing.  And I don't want to write something.  I want to write something.  Something beautiful.  That's why books like The Poisonwood Bible leave me feeling awestruck and a little jealous.  And maybe just a bit inspired....

But the last one: the baby who trails her scent like a flag of surrender through your life when there will be no more coming after-oh, that's love by a different name.  She is the babe you hold in your arms for an hour after she's gone to sleep.  If you put her down in the crib, she might wake up changed and fly away.  So instead you rock by the window, drinking in the light from her skin, breathing her exhaled dreams.  Your heart bays to the double crescent moons of closed lashes on her cheeks.  She's the one you can't put down.
My baby, my blood, my honest truth; entreat me not to leave thee, for whither thou goest I will go.  Where I lodge, we lodge together.  Where I die, you'll be buried at last.
-Kingsolver, Book Five Ch. One