Friday, September 30, 2011

Saber Day!

Earlier this week Maddie told us it was Saber Day on Friday.  Scratch that - she told us last week that last Friday was Saber Day and she wanted to make a special pair of pants.  Then last Friday came and I realized halfway through the day what we forgot to do.  I apologized when she got home and she said it was was actually the following Friday. 


So, we left everything until the night before as we've been known to occasionally do.  Maddie threw out her thoughts on Thursday before leaving and we agreed I'd just put something together based on that.  Neither of us was going to be home at the same time until about 8:30pm.  I could at least use my free time during the day to accomplish something.

After some heat-bonding and letter cutting she came down this morning like this:

I think we make a pretty good team!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Baking FAIL

This past weekend my brother was telling us about his banana bread making efforts.  He left it on the counter the night he made it only to come down the next morning to Kelly laughing – she couldn’t cut it.  She asked if he’d followed the directions and he said yes, and went through the steps and how he had packed the flour three times for three cups.  Therein lied the problem, as you can guess. 

I was chuckling over this story this afternoon as I was filling cups with flour, making sure to not pack anything.  I was making blueberry muffins – the same recipe I’d made before.  But as I mixed, I kept looking at the batter thinking something didn’t seem right.

Then I pulled out the first batch…


They really didn’t look right either.  The shapes were weird and they never really turned a golden color.  But, inserting the toothpick, they were clearly done.

So I took a couple down to Mike and handed some over to taste test.  He said they were fine.  They didn’t look like they rocked his world, but he didn’t die.  Still, something wasn’t right.

I decided I wanted to be done – why waste time on something I knew was going to turn out badly.  So, I made a batch of 9 regular sized muffins.  Still, the pans weren’t filling correctly.  I’d been through the recipe 10 times and couldn’t figure out what I’d done wrong.


When I took the second batch out the pan weighed about 40 pounds.  Still no golden color and things were a mess.


On the 11th time of looking through the recipe I realized I’d skipped the line that told me to add Baking Soda. 

I did this exact same thing in 7th grade Home Ec. class.  There were four of us to share that responsibility then.  Unfortunately I have no one else to blame for this mess, but I bet my brother feels better about his baking skills.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Celebrity Sighting

I have a favorite news channel to watch – KARE11.  If I’m going to have to watch news (and I guess occasionally I should) then I prefer this team of people. 

A couple years ago they got a new weatherman.  He’s a local-yokel and he cracks me up.  I’m a Sven fan.

Mike just sent me this picture.  When we were at the State Fair we didn’t get to their barn for the actual news broadcasts.  In fact, the place was mostly deserted by the time we got there.  But I did get to have my picture taken with Sven…


Well…sort of.  I guess it was the next best thing.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Yesterday morning when Mike and I woke up I laid there and said, “I can’t wait until our kids are old enough to drive to the donut store and get us breakfast.”  He agreed that sounded great and got up.

Not even two minutes later he was back upstairs and said, “Maddie’s made breakfast for everyone…”


I came down to the best smelling kitchen!  Waffles all around!


They might not be able to drive, but there are definite perks of having older kids and if our Saturdays contain waffles instead of donuts, you won’t hear us complain!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

So Many Uses!

Awhile ago Jake bought my iPod.  This left me with getting a new one.  I love it because it holds so much more “stuff”.  But, I was really excited that it had a camera!

I tried it out the first day and got a fairly decent pic…

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I also envisioned using it to take pictures in a store when I come across something to add to my birthday list. 

Dear Family: This is cute.  Find at Target.

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My sister had already gotten the new iPod and had introduced me to this app called “CamWow”.  It’s totally stupid and provides me with tons of giggles.

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I have been known to email these random pictures to her and Mike.  She giggles.  He doesn’t find them the least bit funny.

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People with big brains have no sense of humor.

Lately I’ve noticed that little grubby hands are getting a hold of this iPod thing too.

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And they take pictures of things that frighten me.  Some days it’s all I can take to have one dog, let alone two…

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Scratch that – this is more frightening…

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(Useless Trivia: I use to think having twins would be awesome.  So naive.)

But I have to say, when I roll through the images…still, I giggle!

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Tonight we had a little pre-sleep fun.  This was our favorite shot. 

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I’ll probably have it framed and give it to Mike for Christmas.  I can’t imagine what else he’d rather have.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Yesterday I had the pleasure of having Riley over while her sister and Tracy went to Ellie’s preschool open house.

I was quite excited because Riley had agreed to watch, “Tangled” – a movie I have yet to see.  I still have yet to see all of it, but Ellie has promised to come and finish watching it with me sometime.

So, after Riley became tired of the movie and after we exhausted time on the computer, we started wandering around.  She came to a table about her size that has a little statue on it.


Riley: Who’s that?
Me: I don’t know.  Who do you think it is?
Riley: Jesus.
Me:  Oh.  [speechless] Does Jesus like to play peek-a-boo?
Riley: [shrugged] Yeah.

So there you have it…proof that Jesus really does love all the children of the world and enjoys the occasional children’s game to boot.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Golf–British Style

At the end of August we took part in our neighborhood’s annual golf game.  There’s usually four holes in which neighbors group together to come up with different themes.  Each year it’s fun to see the detail everyone goes into, and I think this year was one of the best yet!

The teams this year were random drawing.  I did the drawing and honestly, it was completely random out of a hat.  However, a lot of the groups were paired with the same people they’d been with in past years.  I’m thinking “random drawing” doesn’t need to happen anymore!

We worked with our neighbors across the street and some neighbors we’d never met.  We all agreed on a theme surrounding the Royal Wedding and all things British.  Wow!  Did everyone start to throw out ideas!

Here’s our crew.  I think we were all a little jealous of the middle couples get-up.  I own nothing British except a couple winter hats.  Mike tried with a “Murphy’s Pub” t-shirt.  Except it’s Irish…I think Ireland/England are back to not getting along.


We figured in London there are definitely pubs so we had our own: Harry and Pippa’s Pub.  It served Tea (Long Island style), as well as plain tea, Newcastle beer, and water.  There were some pretzels to munch on.


But, as our neighbor, Kristy, has made clear, these themes are not complete unless you can pair up some good food.  I think we did okay.


After some research, Kristy discovered that cupcakes are called “Fairy Cakes” in Britain.


We all tried baking/cooking something new.  Crumpets, scones, and tea sandwiches.  All good stuff!


How could you not have “Fish & Chips” while at a local British eatery?


One of my favorite parts of these games is the decorating.  Our neighbors had a ton of leftover bridal decorations from her own weddings and showers she’s thrown.  She had BOXES of stuff!  Everywhere I turned she had put up more decorations…our yard has never looked so pretty!


Kristy scored some wedding invitations that you print yourself and had created a duplicate wedding invite (she researched and used the actual font on Will & Kate’s invites!)  She also created the rules for the croquet game everyone was playing and the food descriptions.


Of course, the royal couple welcomed everyone to our backyard…


After setting up we met up with the other neighbors to hand out schedules.  Remember our neighbor from the other day’s post?  The speedo-clad neighbor?  He was decked out and ready to hit the links.

Does anyone else appreciate the tan line as much as I do?


The rest of the pictures I’ve borrowed from Kristy.  Thanks!

One hole was themed after the game “Candyland”.  I would never have thought to use a game, but after this Mike and I were coming up with tons that we thought would be fun!

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They also included a “dial” that we were supposed to chip our balls into to see which square we landed on.  Those giant balls on the ground?  Those are our playing pieces wrapped up to look like giant pieces of candy!

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Throughout the path there were obstacles which required a shot of something or a missed turn.  I gratefully accepted a missed turn. 

And again: the hole is not complete without a great round of decorations and food.  This couple actually owns a slushy machine and every year they come up with some type of drink to work it in.  No complaints!

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There was also a candy table.  Everything at this hole dealt with candy or chocolate.  You got loaded from the alcohol and walked away with a sugar high. 

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Their whole team even had customized t-shirts with everyone having a different name on back…

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On to the next hole…remember our speedo-garbed neighbor?  His outfit (and those on his team) was inspired by the movie “Christmas Vacation”.  The entire hole was based off all things Christmas and tacky.

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The actual game was beer pong.  The glasses contained green food coloring; some fingers remained green after fetching out the balls.

Food?  Yeah…they too got into the theme.  Christmas ham, green bean casserole, ginger cookies, Christmas cookies, candy canes (I’m afraid to ask how old these were…)

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They also wrote a Christmas letter to everyone as well as took a Christmas card photo!  The letter was hysterical and completely white-trash.  Awesome.

The other hole had us playing ladder ball.  The details were minimal, but they had some good food on the deck and no one had a problem eating and drinking!

This is one of our favorite events with the neighborhood!  I walk away wondering how we can possibly top it all next year.  The answer is: I don’t know.  But I can’t wait to find out!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Day 1–Check!

This morning the kids were up and ready early.  Maddie’s bus came almost 20 minutes later than last year, yet she got up at the same time.  Then had about 25 minutes to sit around and twiddle her thumbs.  I think she realized how great “sleeping in” is going to be!



Jake was up at 6:30am and back to practicing piano before leaving for school.  I think that’s when we all realized we were really into a new school year and schedule!  Nothing like a little “Canon in D” at 6:30am.



Jake’s been home for an hour now.  Homework and snack are completed.  A couple chores and he’s free.  Maddie had volleyball and we’ll find out how her day went at 5pm!  Here’s to a great year!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Scarred for Life

A couple weeks ago Jake took on mowing the front yard by himself for the first time.


He called me out to help him empty the bag.  When I got outside my neighbor yelled down to me:

“Hey…MURPHY!”…followed by a little wave…


What?  You don’t see my neighbor?  Let me help you.


I yelled, “My eyes!  My eyes!” and helped Jake empty the lawn bag.

Jake was not deterred.  We don’t have a self-propelled lawnmower.  He needed all his concentration.


Our neighbor – concentrating on his yard:


Jake: pure effort…


Our neighbor…not so pure:


Just so you know, I covered his eyes to protect the innocent.  That would be his wife.

(There was a reason…stay tuned for that in the next post!)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Never Goodbye…

Late last week we spent time in Iowa with Mike’s mom.  She was nearing the end of her battle with ovarian cancer and had been taken to Hospice.  We arrived in the wee hours of the morning with other family members.


I’ve sat here for awhile trying to figure out how to write this post.  Then I remembered the letter Kay had written to us.  I don’t know how she did that, knowing these would be her last words to us.  We read it together as a family the night she died.  It was beautiful and perfect and I hear her voice in every word. 


A Little Note to My Family when I am gone…

I don’t want you to be sad.  Just remember I am watching over you all.  And think of what I might say, when you have problems.  You know, I am very opinionated and might be a little bossy.  Always stay close.  It’s ‘family’ that counts and you can always count on them.

To my grandchildren, follow your dreams, pray and work hard.  Be your own person.  Don’t let others influence you.  You all know right from wrong.  I might not be here for all those special days in your life, such as graduations, getting married, new babies, etc. but I will be there in spirit.  I will be watching (a very proud grandma).

Remember to ask for God’s help when you are in need.  He is always there.  I have been very blessed with great parents, sisters, a great husband and wonderful children and grandchildren.  Also, lots of friends.  I may not have lived to be 100 years, but my life has been full of lots of blessings, so don’t be sad, remember ‘I am always with you’.

Love & Prayers,

Mom (Grandma)

P.S: Patrick & Michael stay close.  My biggest accomplishment in life was being, I hope, a great wife, mom & grandma.


Mike spoke at the memorial service.  Again, I can’t express things better than him, so I’m including part of them here…

…Although she had struggles in her life with cancer and losing my dad 18 years ago; she would tell you she lived a perfect life.

At times over the last days, as mom struggled for life, I prayed and wished I could pick her up and take her to Heaven’s gate myself, but now I realize that it was up to my mom and God.  Mom so loved life and her family that she wanted every second she could get with us, even if it was just to listen to us talk about our memories with her.

I love you, mom, and am thankful for every minute we shared; but I am even more thankful that today you are standing with Dad holding hands…


Growing up, my grandpa always told us as we left, “It’s never ‘goodbye’…always ‘see you later’.”  I’ve said it to our kids, and Jake was adamant that we not say our “goodbyes” to Grandma, only “See you laters”.


So…see you later, Kay.