GOTTA BLOG!!! And – HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

REALLY lost track of time – and had a lack of motivation, too.  But, I really want to write – so I am making it a goal to write/blog at least once a week.  For me.  That’s it.  It would be fun to blog and make money, but I don’t think that I am experienced enough.  Or devoted enough, either.  And I like the freedom to choose my own topics.  Or, not have a topic at all.

Meaghan and I would like to begin writing some children’s books.  Our inspiration and ideas come from our pets – Ben and TJ.  We are also inspired when we read the books in the “100 Book Challenge” with Thomas; it’s a program that the elementary school participates in.  The easy readers are indeed that – and easy enough for Meg and I to pen. Now, let’s find a photographer and/or illustrator…there are a few possibilities in our family.  Goal:  begin over the holiday break.  Check.

What have I been up to?  Keeping up with my 2 part-time positions.  Enjoying my role as substitute teacher for the fourth year in a row.  It’s nice to know all the kids in all the classes!  Should be all done till the New Year now…unless an emergency would arise.  (I only cover one school.)  There are some headaches with my other position, but that happens at work, doesn’t it?  It’s a good job with good pay – so that is my motivation…too many people are struggling with no jobs or low paying jobs…I need to be humble.

Feeling a sense of accomplishment: made a beautiful Jesse Tree with my sixth grade PREP (Parish Religious Education Program).  It took some patience and time to work on the Bible passages, but we did it.  Next week will be our pizza party and we’ll work on a Nativity scene and story to hang on the wall in our classroom.

Another accomplishment:  John and I “catered” the local district volunteer fire companies’ Christmas party on Tuesday evening.  (Very uncertain about the correct wording in that sentence.  It’s a total of 6 fire companies.)  It was like planning a family event for us;)  Good news: the total bill was UNDER the budget allotted AND there was plenty of food for everyone!!!  We did not cook everything from scratch, but we did make sure that it was all high quality.  Menu:  cold cuts (real turkey, ham, salami, American cheese, Provolone, and Swiss), rye and white breads, rolls, pickles, mustard, mayo, cole slaw and potato salad…we did run out of the cole slaw and potato salad when it came time for seconds and thirds…oops.  Meatballs in tomato sauce.  Baked ziti – and that was homemade!  Found an easy recipe and made 4 batches for the party, and 1 batch for my children at home.  Chocolate chip cookies and sugar cookies for dessert – thanks to the Pillsbury Dough Boy’s refrigerated tubs of cookie dough at BJs.  Easy and delicious – and economical, too.  (Cookie plates were EMPTY quickly.)  We think we saw EVERYONE come up to the buffet table TWICE – and some made one or two more trips after that.  NICE!

This weekend will mean shopping, wrapping, decorating…Baking will wait till the holiday break and the kids can be my helpers.  Mainly, my eaters.  I think I will send out cards – but for the New Year…maybe include a photo or two from Christmastime.  I like to keep in touch with family and friends.  And I wait everyday to check the mail for Christmas cards.  I hang them up right on the front door for everyone to see.  So, thanks to all who are taking the time to write and send out cards…It is appreciated!

Looking forward to all the simple joys of the holidays: the beautiful Christmas hymns at church, the holiday shows on TV, time with family and friends, our family pollyanna, leaving a try of goodies out for Santa and the reindeer, sleeping in a few mornings, staying up late, making cookies and candies, reading and snuggling with my kids (any and all of them!),  crocheting, cuddling with the hubby, driving around to admire all the Christmas lights/decorations, eggnog, candy canes…the list can go on and on….

Alas, I did have a moment of mourning:  the season of pumpkin spice cappuccino at WAWA is now over:(  It’s a favorite of mine.   Uhhhhhhhhh…move on to hot chocolate now.

Dinner out tonight – a holiday celebration for work.  Happy Holidays!!!  See you next week!!!

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes…or Not

Summer is over.  It’s Autumn now.  Seasons change.  And lots of other things change, too.  Or not.  Again and again.

Slowly but surely we are getting into the school routine.  Still not liking the alarm clock every morning.  Never will.  Kids at all the district schools – elementary, middle, and high school.  As always, they come home starving, absolutely starving.  I think they eat non-stop till they go to bed.  Dinner just falls in between snacks.  Homework and projects have not been too bad – yet – thank the Lord.  Thomas, our first grader, is really the only one who needs guidance with homework…once he has the directions, he is a whiz and gets it all done.  And he’s reading like a real champ!  I love to listen as he reads a book or two to me before bed…that’s my baby!!!  The others really just need the “nagging” from their parents to get their work done.  They moan and groan and they get it done.  Really isn’t too bad!

Meaghan has needed some parental aid – she is taking a course on parenting.  Ummmm…I wonder if that class has the answers that parents need?  Nope.  Not possible.  Oh, but we did get to be grandparents for a few days!  “Eggbert” joined the family temporarily.  A hardboiled egg dyed blue – so his days were limited.  Meg had to make him a bed; I lovingly gave the little darling a hand-crocheted blanket (a Granny square was the perfect size).  We drew a baby face on that egg and I added a curl on his bald little head,  Such a cutie!  Please note that Mother Meaghan had no say in the little guy’s name – John and I chose Eggbert, and Meg’s friend also recommended the name.  Done!   Now, I could go on and on with all of our egg jokes and play on words with “egg.”  Boy, did we have fun!  Let’s say we had an eggsellent time!  What else would you eggspect?  It was all very eggciting!!!

Just wait until Meg brings home the mechanical baby doll!  It really cries!  There’s Jen and Ben.   Ummm…like our household is not used to a baby!!!

Changes…good changes.  For awhile, all of our kids are right in this area.  And, although life still is busy, it’s nice to be close – within 10 minutes close by.  Or right in the same house close by!  Kyle moved back in…I am not sure who is happier – Thomas or the ugly pug Ben!  (I know that I am happy.)  So, in the near future, we will be rearranging the rooms in the house – again.  For the fourth or fifth time since we moved in eight years ago.  That’s family – always there for you, no matter what.  The space may be limited, but there is always room:)

OK…I am distracted and my thoughts are all over the place.  Put on “Antenna TV” (ch. 252 in our area) and the original “Dragnet” was on at 1pm, followed by “Adam-12” at 1:30pm…WOW!  Both good episodes – and both dealing with the elderly.  What a coincidence!

I am working part-time out of the house….as any mother and wife knows, you work full-time in the house once you say “I Do.”  Never ends.  I am on the sub list at St. Gabe’s for the fourth year in a row, as well as teaching a sixth grade PREP class for the same length of time.  That parish is like my second home.  And I continue on at the college – eight years and counting.  Tried for a full-time position but did not get it.  Totally unfair – in my opinion.  And my husband’s and my children’s.  And many people at the college.  But, it is what it is.

Not rushing into anything else right now.  Not even the dentist’s chair…but I will make an appointment to get things started…I really need my smile back – need that boost in my self-esteem and presentation.

John and I are both adjusting to no little children at home…no babies, no toddlers, no preschoolers…and I am not pregnant!  Imagine that!  Quite a change in our 26 years of marriage…I would consider babysitting or becoming a foster parent, but there’s no room to spare at this house, and we have the dog and cat – not good for allergies…Maybe another time.  I would return to a preschool classroom in a heartbeat – as long as it is not a daycare.  Too many rules and stress there…If I had the money, I would open my own preschool – I have several friends to enlist and join me in the endeavor…dreams…

I am crocheting more…a good change.  It relaxes me.  And I am a contributor to “Share A Square” – check it out and become a member on Faceook…there’s also a blog – but I don’t have all the info to post here…Basically, everyone makes six inch squares to be joined together in a large afghan…the afghans are then handed out to children (and their siblings) who have cancer at their summer camp.  (Makes my heart feel so good even as I type this!)  So, if you have any yarn just laying around, drop it off and I’ll use it for this worthy project;)

I would like to say that I am reading more…but not really…just keeping up with magazines.

I would really like to say that I have been writing more…but I have not!  I hope to.  And Meaghan and I would like to begin writing a series of children’s books about Ben and our cat, TJ.  Just need motivation?  We have plenty of ideas!

So, some things change, some things do not.  C’est la vie.

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It’s October!

Pretty obvious, uh?  Well, just had to write something…have not added a blog since August…that’s sad.

It’s not New Year’s, but I need to make a resolution: to WRITE MORE!  I do enjoy it…it just takes time.  A WRITER WRITES.

So, here’s to a more active blog in the days to come…

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B-I-N-G-O!!!

Yes, B-I-N-G-O!!!  Two nights a week at our local firehouse…and all over the place, I am sure!  It’s a very popular game – and probably will be for years to come!  ME?  I don’t play…well, not in public.  To be honest, I don’t think I am quick enough and coordinated enough to set up all the bingo cards, keep up with the special games, or even be brave enough to try the computer that you can get to play the game now!  I would be so confused, I would probably miss it if I won!  I’ll play bingo with my family & friends.  My sister used to save up change and we’d play with the kids while we were all at the campground.  The kids quickly spent their winnings at the camp store.

And there’s always the kid-versions of bingo: alphabet bingo, color bingo, animal bingo…The first grade had fun with me & bingo when I was subbing; they won a lot of stickers!

Anyway, my hubby and I are at bingo every Friday night at the firehouse.  We staff the small but busy kitchen.  C’mon now!  Bingo players get hungry!!!

My husband and sons have been involved with bingo longer than I have…Hubby began working the kitchen without me – but then I would come in to help close up and wash the dishes…something about men and dirty dishes: don’t seem to go together.  So, due to insurance matters, I had to become a member of the firehouse – filed under “social.”  (I kid that I am the social butterfly of the firehouse.)  And then, with a lot of help from our daughter (our official babysitter), I joined my hubby in the kitchen…we set up around 3pm (to be ready & open at 4pm) and leave by 9pm (kitchen closes at 8:30pm…occasionally, we’ll end a little earlier or stay a little later).  John  is the cook – I don’t like to cook, but I do;)  I take the orders, serve the drinks (non-alcoholic) & snacks, restock items as needed, etc.  To be official (and not so messy), we bought aprons: his is black and mine is garnet.  (My high school colors are garnet & gray – so I don’t use “maroon”  very often.)  We also bought a small fryer & it’s “Fries on Friday.”  Plain & cheese fries.  A big hit!!!  Regular menu:  hamburgers & hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwich, tuna sandwich – all served w/ a bag of chips.  Snacks: crackers, cookies, candy bars.  All condiments are available, w/ an option of sauerkraut w/ your hot dog.  Soda: cola (reg/diet), orange, ginger ale.  Hot coffee & hot tea.  Cups of ice & ice water.  Very basic, but very appreciated.  Hubby & I began “Specials” on Fridays – in addition to the french fries.  Nothing fancy…we either cook ahead at home or cook once we get to the hall.  We make “Meal Deals” too – sandwich/special + fries + beverage for one low price.  It’s a hit!  (Have to try a bit of competition with all the local take-out joints!)  What has been popular?  Homemade egg salad (simple: hardboiled eggs, mayo & mustard, salt, pepper, paprika), homemade chili (got the recipe from a firefighters cookbook!), cheesesteaks (but the meat is espensive, so we have to watch for good sales), meatballs, sausage sandwiches,  grilled ham & cheese sandwiches…we tried chicken nuggets, but seems like our bingo crowd gets tired of chicken…They also enjoy sweets: cupcakes/cakes, doughnuts, danish & other coffee cakes…Ice cream & popsicles have not been big sellers, even during this hot summer…Of course, the hall is air-conditioned – but we don’t feel it very much in the kitchen.  New popular beverages: I make lemonade using the bottled lemon juice, sugar, water, & ice  – we go through several pitchers each evening.  Fresh brewed unsweetened tea is also a hit (although I had one lady tell me that you cannot sweeten cold tea – only hot tea!  News to me!): the hot water & tea bags are available in the kitchen – it’s a done deal!  Thinking that I may try iced coffee tonight – just need some milk or half & half.  Used to make & enjoy iced coffee with my sister-in-law the summer that I lived with her & my brother & my niece -back in my college days – found employment in their neck of the woods.

Sometimes, we will do the Monday night bingo, too.  All depends.  During the school year, I opt to be at home: gotta keep the kids in a routine!

We have a TIP jar at the kitchen window, so I will go home with a small but appreciated chunk of change…which usually goes into the kids’ lunch accounts at school during the school year.  If bingo goes well, all the “staff” will receive a “pay.”  But, there are nights when the firehouse is in the red – and workers survive on their tips.  (UGH!!!) 

Our sons “work the floor” – selling the specials (which can mean big winners) and checking the winning bingo cards – and they also take turns serving as the “caller” or taking care of the register as the bingo players come in to pay & play.  There’s Kyle, Danny, and Cory (and they all look alike!)…so, there are nights when it’s a real family affair at BINGO!  On a positive note, we have had quite a few of the players compliment us on our polite,  courteous, helpful sons:)  (OK – we won’t argue with them – but where in the heck are these boys when we are at home?  HaHa!!!)  Without sounding too boastful, may I also say that my hubby & I get compliments, too, for our friendliness & the good job that we do in the kitchen.  (One lady even suggested that we do another local bingo – because the kitchen there is not open & we would do very well there!  Yes, it inflated our ego…which is sweet – every now & then!  Thanks!)

Sometimes I stop and wonder…why am I doing this?  Or, I am tired…how about skipping?  Well, the positives come into play: time w/ my hubby (but he does snap at me every now & then…I can snap back!), time w/ my sons (and all my adopted kids at the firehouse…and it seems like they all STARVE until they come to bingo – we cook a free meal for them when they work), being a part of our community firehouse, meeting new friends (we have our “regulars” – every week, some come both Mondays & Fridays)…our son (the Marine) stopped by one bingo evening & the ladies will still ask about him:)…Jeremy sometimes runs in to ask us something or to get money (we live a matter of blocks from the firehouse) – and everyone knows he’s our son – looks like his big brothers!  One regular likes to bake & crochet – 2 of my interests, so we chat; we have even brought in our crochet projects to show each other…NAMES!!!  I am getting better about REMEMBERING names!  The guys are in a minority, so I can usually catch on quickly to their names…If the ladies sit in the same seats, it’s a little easier to know the names…like the teacher that I am (once a teacher, always a teacher – just like the Marines!!!): put the kids in assigned seats till you have their names down pat!  The easiest one for me: AGGIE!!!  She’s a real sweetie – and I am MAGGIE.  On the other side, the players often confuse our sons – hey, so does their dad!  (Do I?  Never will I admit to that!!!)

Trying new specials…sometimes we do the shopping for the kitchen, too.  Try to coupon, too, when possible…saved $2.00 last night on hot dogs – thanks to an in-store coupon.  Also bought spicy mustard – we only had one request (so far) for it – but it was $3.99 for 4 bottles, so we’ll give it a go…We have a “Special” named for one of our regulars – Ethel.  Ethel’s Special is a hamburger – with fried onions on the bottom & top of the hamburger on the roll.  She likes her fried onions!  (So do a lot of the players – we simmer at least 2 skillets full each night, sometimes 3!  And pickles go like…like…hot cakes?  Went through 2 1/2 jars of “sweet” -bread & butter – pickles on Monday night…We had QUITE a night in the kitchen!!!  Sold out: hot dogs, chips, crackers, candy, made about 30 burgers – plain & cheese…it was a BUSY night!)

And my dear daughter Meaghan does not have it rough on Fridays…her charges are Jeremy (9) and Thomas (6)…More often than not, they are out with friends for part of her duty time!  We leave something quick & easy for dinner, too.  Tonight, it will be time at the pool and dinner from the snack bar: pretty sweet deal – if you ask me:)

So, here we go…It’s Friday…B-I-N-G-O!!!

Oh, and if that phone sounds or the siren sounds, I am left to staff the kitchen on my own – off goes my hubby & several other members to answer the calls, both ambulance and fire…God be with them:)

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My Summer Essay Continues…

WOW!!!  It’s August!!!  Somehow, the hot days of July have rolled into August already, and all the “Back To School” ads and sales have begun, while the summer merchandise finds a place on the clearance racks.  Really?  Please, can’t we enjoy the summer for a little while longer?  I am not one of those parents counting the days till the kids are back in school.  I love my kids.  Heck, I even like them!  We like the “non-schedule, non-routine” of the summer. Staying up late and getting up late feels good.  Even our dog, the ugly pug Ben, has joined us in the laziness…but he really does not need much persuading.  He is a lazy dog.  Very lazy.

     Coffee at 10 or 11am is nice:)  Cuddling in bed watching cartoons in the morning with Thomas is fun.  The laundry, dishes, vacuuming, and all that can wait…it will get done…eventually.  The teens will surface around lunch time or later.  The kitchen is open 24/7…always…that’s also why meal planning does not always work out.  And why I sometimes need a good hiding place for certain treats;)  Sometimes, it’s the obvious that works; I put cookies in the cookie jar one day, and they were in there for several days before the kids caught on…they caught me with cookies and milk, and asked where the cookies were…I told them to go look!  You just never know!

     Pool time is high up on our list…if we cannot get to the beach…it is the pool!  We favor late afternoons and evenings…less sunscreen needed, more tables & seats available…very relaxing.  So, late dinners are more common in the summer months.  Every now and then, an early dinner, pool time, then snacks before bed.  The snack bar at the pool is pretty reasonable with its menu and pricing, and it’s always a favorite spot for the kids…just ask Thomas.

   Sleep-overs…I think a few kids could start paying us rent and join in for the chore list!  As long as there is no trouble, my husband and I are usually OK with sleep-overs.  Noise does have to be kept down – it’s an early morning start for my hubby.  I roll over once he leaves:)

     So, what’s new?  Well, to conclude the dead cat story…UGH!!!  The landlord left messages for the neighbor, which, quite obviously, were ignored.  The smell did not get better, and I certainly did not like not opening the windows…The landlord e-mailed me and said that he would put on a pair of gloves and dispose of the cat if he lived at the house…”C’mon over!” was my reaction!  I really did not want to touch it (even with gloves on), nor did I want the hubby or kids doing it…But, I got to my breaking point – and when I get there, ACTION follows…and I did ask one of my sons to help, and he said he would…and he did.  Bless him!  It literally made him, my hubby, and me sick to do it – yes, the smell was HORRENDOUS!!!  But, the corpse (which broke into pieces) in its litter box was bagged up and put into a large trash can and put into an undisclosed dumpster…RIP!!!  The end.

     This weekend is our work weekend…so the husband and I take turns between the home front and work.

     Last weekend was a very nice one:)  We worked the kitchen for the firehouse bingo and then went out to the “corner bar.”  (Yes, it’s really on a corner…about 6 or 7 blocks up from our house.)  We’ll go every now and then…a drink or two, some sports on TV or music on the player (no old-fashioned juke boxes anymore), chatting and laughs with family and friends.  Saturday was a slow-motion morning, then we got the chores and errands done…Meaghan and I had time to ourselves to shop!!!  Goodwill had one of its 50% off ALL clothing sales…Nice!!!  So, we dropped a group off at the pool and went to Goodwill – we  were just checking out when they texted that they wanted a ride home: good timing!  We spent $75.75 (seems like a lucky number to me) and had 3 large bags FULL!!!  I looked for uniform shirts – found 6 in different sizes for Cory, Jeremy, & Thomas.  (OK, so I did think “school” for a little while…sorry.)  I also found 2 pair of Capri pants, 1 pair of pants, a nightgown, a housecoat, & a 2-piece warm pajama set for my mom.  I worked on cleaing out her bureau and closet not too long ago, so I knew what she could use.  I even treated myself to a few items: 3 tee-shirts (1 for my bingo nights), a beige short-sleeved sweater (dressy), a dress, & 3 skirts.  Meaghan went from having NO shorts to a bunch!  (7 or 9?)  She got a bunch of shirts, too; a few are collared, so she can use them for school.  All in pretty colors.  I washed, dried, and folded everything…oh, also purchased a Ridley Pride tee-shirt for John and Cory…and an Eagles tee for Cory…and a Flyers sweatshirt & 2 pairs of shorts for Jeremy.  See!  We really did well!!!  (Looking forward to the next sale!!!  Will have to check out the jeans…and uniform shorts & pants for the boys.)

     Saturday night was the Adult Splash Party at our pool.  (Ages 21 & over)  We had 12 in our group – rowdy – YES!!!  With everyone pitching in, we filled a table with food and drinks!!!  Everyone LOVED the hoagie dip – thanks to Debbie & Chris!  The weather cooperated – a beautiful evening!  From volleyball in the pool to all the games – it was FUN!!!  We all relaxed and enjoyed.  Our group left a bit at a time…the last of us got home by 2:15am.  Sweet Dreams!!!

        So, Sunday was pretty lazy…then more pool time with the kids…and a “find your own-make your own dinner.”  Thomas stayed at the pool till close with his friend Nicholas.

       Monday: HELLO AUGUST!!!   Decided to do the kitchen for bingo again…don’t ask me why!  Severe storm watch for the late afternoon & evening – and it ended up that our area got hit! Hit hard!!!  Ended up that the firehouse lost power – yes, all power.  So, we waited, then the decision was made to cancel the bingo for the night.  After all, PECO could take hours to finish all its calls due to the storm…We had it easy in the kitchen: put everything away and clean up.  Done. 

     Just a few blocks up from the firehouse: no problems with the power at our house.  Thank goodness! The humidity broke, and the sun actually came out after the storms passed…a lovely evening!

     Tuesday:Renewed my 4 books…am reading 2 of them…and I am determined to finish all 4 this time!  Meg and Jeremy also renewed books.  I chose new books for Thomas; we did read all of his selections.  (He was at the pool with Nicholas.)  Cory has to get in gear – and chose a book for his summer reading.  I’ll nudge him – then go to full nagging…this week…

     Meg & I have also promised to get our lazy butts (and minds) together and write BOOKS…We are reading “Walter the Farting Dog” books with Thomas (currently there are 3 in the series)…so we figure that if a story with a farting dog can be published, we can definitely succeed in the field of children’s lit!!!  (What do you think?)

     No heatwave this week…have had 6 so far!  Felt extremely nice to open all the windows in the house and feel comfortable.  Had a mix of sun and clouds on Wednesday and Thursday, and even temps in the 70s!  So, we did not make a trip to the pool.  Sitting out on the front porch was pleasant – even with some drizzles, it was pleasant.

      Bingo went well last night – a good crowd, kitchen was busy, and no storms or power outage!  Came home for a yummy inside-out for dinner and a Wawa smoothie for dessert.  Rented “Arthur” on pay-per-view…the remake with Russell Brand (love him!)…have to catch the end tonight.  Went up to the bar for about an hour: to see a friend & we watched part of the Phillies game.  (WHAT A GAME!!!)

      I have been preoccupied and occupied with my crocheting!  My friend referred me to a group – Share A Square.  The group collects crocheted squares and assembles them inot afghans for kids with cancer; a different camp is chosen each time.  So, I have a good supply of left-over yarn…and I have been busy crocheting the classic granny square.  Over 50 squares completed.  Once I finish, I will work on the tags…one for each square…so the kids get an afghan full of love: warmth and warm messages!  Isn’t it terrific?  After that, I have a PILE of patterns to choose from, and a good supply of yarn, too.  Busy hands are happy hands:)

      So, I am at work, and John is car shopping with Shaun.  Meg is holding down the home front.  Weather seems to be good – pool looks like a good idea for later.

      Still more summer to enjoy…

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What We Did on Summer Vacation…

Definitely not all that we had planned or had hoped to do.  Two weeks sounds like a lot of time, then POOF! – it is not!  Seems like life and money got in the way – typical for us.

But, it was still a pretty good vacation for us – in my humble opinion.  I like to be positive and thankful.  And pass that along to my hubby and kids.

John & I still took care of the kitchen at bingo on Friday nights (Woodlyn Fire Co.) and worked our weekend at Swarthmore College.  (And a couple other shifts along the way.)  We enjoyed time together at a wedding (a really nice affair, too) and celebrated our own wedding anniversary belatedly with a dinner at Outback.

We did not need the alarm clocks set for the early morning; sleeping in feels so marvelous!    We could get errands done and went shopping, too.  We enjoyed time with our kids, especially going to the pool:)  We liked the movie night, too.  “Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Part 2” was cute!

Fit in a picnic and fishing on a sunny day.  We went to 2 local parks: FDR and Heinz Wildlife Refuge.  I finally saw the education center at the Heinz Refuge with Jeremy and Thomas.  Took pictures, too.  Worth the trip!  No big catches to brag about, but the guys had fun. 

We have had some good meals and snacks along the way, and a very Happy 4th of July!!!  The boys put on a spectacular fireworks display at our corner; we had just finished cleaning up when the police car rode by.  (Which made the police officer satisfied.)

Our Harry Potter fan, Meaghan, reread the novels and watched all the movies over again to be ready for the end – Deathly Hallows, Part 2.  It was a Dad/Daughter Night: over 12 hours of togetherness!  They both raved about the movie, and said that it was so cool in 3D!  (I will not give any info away.  I do not like to spoil movies for others.)

Something very ordinary was enjoyed by all of us almost every day – freshly dried clothes from OUR dryer!  We just bought a slightly used GE washer and dryer, and it’s being used constantly!  I know that I truly love the fluffy dry towels!!!

Oh, things did happen…have some issues to continue to deal with in regards to a son of ours (no other details needed – privacy requested;)) and good news on the home front: our electrical system is going to be upgraded!  It has been temporarily fixed – and we can literally run EVERYTHING in the entire house AT THE SAME TIME – and NO POWER OUTAGE!!!  Meg & I keep singing “Plug it in, plug it in” from a TV commercial:)  Ever since we moved into the house, we always had to play a balancing game when it came to the electricity, and we just had had it the other day when the main breaker kept quitting on us!  (Please know that I am not a happy camper without my ACs on in the hot summer!  We just had HeatWave #4, and #5 is predicted to begin on Monday.)

How we will end John’s two week vacation this weekend?  Partying with friends on Saturday at their annual pool party (just have to decide what goodies we will bring along…I have a few ideas, so I may be busy in the kitchen later tonight…working 3/10pm) and then celebrating my Mom’s 88th birthday on Sunday: no plans made yet.  A visit with a strawberry shortcake (her fave) is likely.  Taking my Mom out to lunch on Tuesday with my cousin and aunt (and some of my dear children) – will be a nice surprise for her!

Missed BEACH TIME…my toes are longing for the feeling of the warm sand and cool ocean water!  Hoping that we may get a weekend away in September or October to spend at a seashore…Anyone have the winning lottery numbers?  Or just cheap lodgings?

So, the staycation is not all bad…did not get in any “Game Nights” – so we can plan some for the rest of the summer…I need to challenge Meaghan to Rummy 500 once again!  Thomas always enjoys challenging us to Memory – and his is usually better than ours:)  We need a good crowd for Cranium – who is interested?  Let me know!  (Especially since I don’t know the directions on how to play – and will rely on someone else to keep track!  Thanks!  And who doesn’t want to practice their skills of drawing with their eyes closed?)

I have read a few magazines and plenty of children’s lit with Thomas…picked out 4 novels at the library.  4 novels in 3 weeks?  Meg’s already doubting me…we shall see.

Ending on the crazier side of life…well, death, actually…our neighbor’s cat died.  (He lives right behind us – same address – same property; an apt.)  He put the thing in a trash bag in the empty litter box – and that’s it.  Did not bury it.  Flies are having a feast.  Not going to describe the smell.  Have not seen the neighbor for a few days now.  Notified the landlord & he left a message.  Really do not want any of us touching the thing.  UGH!

Question now is: what do you think a teacher would say about my summer essay?

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Finally Feeling Like Summer

June 30…where did June go?  Funny thing is, today finally felt like summer to me.  Guess I needed a dose of family and friends.  And noise – lots of conversations, jokes, and laughter.

I had a headache this afternoon, took some Motrin & it worked.  (It usually does for me.)  When John got in, I headed over to ShopRite…emergency at home: no toilet paper!  Good sale & a coupon: problem solved.  Dinner: BLTS, appleasauce, & chips.   4 pounds of bacon!

We had a good dinner crowd:  6 of our 8 kids plus 2 friends.  No bacon left!

POOL TIME!!!  Jeremy & Thomas had swim lessons 6:30-7:30pm.  A swim meet was also on the schedule.  Pool would be busy & crowded!

John stayed home to go to bed early.  He wasn’t feeling well and needed to catch up on some sleep.  He gets up at 4am for work Mon-Fri.  That’s one of the reasons that it has not felt like summer: we have not had much time together.  I have also put in some extra hours/ shifts at my p/t job.  Time is precious…hate to lose time together.

Kids and I get to sleep in every morning…that is nice!  But, I must also be the one to stay up & make sure curfews are obeyed….long day!

Kyle and Amanda joined me, Cory, Jeremy, and Thomas at the pool.  Water was chilly at first, but felt fine once you moved around.  We had to park across the street at the shopping center…pool parking lot was filled to capacity.  Met friends & chatted, watched the boys during swim lessons…snacked a bit.  (Brought chips & tea cooler with us.)

Stayed till the pool closed at 9pm.  Made it a movie night when we got home – “Horton Hears a Who.”  Thomas was fast asleep in the recliner before it ended…so much for a double feature!

Happy 4th of July Weekend!!!  John begins a 2 week vacation from work after his shift tomorrow.  YES!  BBQ on Saturday at a friend’s house, then a cousin’s wedding on Sunday evening (still have to go shopping!), and we’ll probably have a BBQ for the 4th.  Will see when Ridley Park has the fireworks at the lake.  Thomas has a birthday party to attend on July 5th.  Nothing else planned…will check the calendar for the Rose Tree Park Summer Festival (BLACKTHORN: AUG.14th) & Penn’s Landing (Philly)…maybe a couple day trips…the guys may have some fishing days…pool time…maybe sneak some beach time in there somewhere…just cannot break the budget – stretch it just a bit;)

Feels good to feel the season now!

SWEET SUMMERTIME!!!

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