Saturday, December 29, 2012

Do You See What I See?

Me: "What do you guys see in the flames?"
Tuck: "I see a dragon!"
Me: "Good one! I see that, too."
Mags: "I see fire." 

What do you see? 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Take a Breath

Tuck: "Mama, whatcha doin'?"
Me: "I'm cleaning up and taking down some Christmas decorations."
Tuck: "Oh. Is that so you can breathe again?"
Me: "Pretty much. Yep."

Tuck and I had a conversation prior to the one above. I explained to him that although I liked the Christmas-y feel in the house, the clutter of the decorations made me feel squished, like I couldn't breathe. He referred back in his elephant-like memory to a time when the seat belt in his booster was too tight and he felt like he couldn't take in a deep breath.  

I appreciated that he understood where I was coming from. And he appreciated it when I told him we planned to leave the tree up for a few more days. I mean, really, who doesn't find a beautifully lit Christmas tree peaceful? Especially when you have someone to share it with. So, tonight, and for a few more nights in our house...all is calm, all is bright.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland

Mags: "Every time I step on the snow, I feel like I'm steppin' on
 little parts of Frosty."

Merry Christmas from our house to yours! 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Precious Moments

A blustery night outside, stockings hung by the chimney with care, a toasty warm fire to sit by, and two sweet children taking it all in. I thought to myself, 

"This will make a fantastic picture for my Christmas Eve post." 

And then, just like it always does, the post wrote itself. 
Read on to see what I mean.

"Oh my goodness, what a sweet moment.
Chris, come down here and get a load of this."
"Wow. Nice faces, guys.
Mags, no, no, no! Let Tuck go!
Hands to yourselves!
STOP!...WAIT!...Just SMILE for the camera."
"Tuck, quit tickling her! Just look up at me.
Mags, you can count his fingers later.
Look up at me and....
"Perfect timing, Honey.
That better be 'grownup' hot chocolate!"


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Trifextra: The Reason

This post is in response to Trifecta's Weekend Challenge. This is the prompt that inspired my entry:

"This weekend we want you to give us a pithy summary of your feelings about the holidays.  Your response does not need to be cynical or sarcastic. We welcome all thoughts and feelings about this time of year--so long as you express those thoughts and feelings in 33 words."

The Reason

Daunting lists crush your joyous spirit. Piles of mounting debt stare you in the face. Desperate for the immense weight to lift, you look up to
find salvation; the season through ingenuous eyes.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Me: "Holy guacamole. I've been blogging for one year. I've written over 300 posts and currently, I have four ideas for my next four posts rattling around in my head.  I should get to those, but first, I'd love to hear what YOU have to say. I've been quoting Mags, Tuck, Chris and myself for a year. But YOU fit in here, too! You're a big part of why I keep up with my writing."

If you were going to be quoted on According 
to Mags at the top of one of my posts, 
what would you say? Share it 
below in the comments.

 What a difference a year makes! 


Tuck: "Mama,  I'm always gonna love my sockies. And when I get married, I'll share 'em with my wife."
Me: "Awesome plan, Tuck."

Since Tuck was weeks old, he has had his 'sockies'. As a newborn he would often scratch his face at night after he 'Houdini-ed' his way out of the swaddled up blanket. We decided to try to put those baby mitts on his hands to keep the scratches to a minimum. We did this each night for a few weeks and those little mitts worked really well. Too well, in fact. 

Tuck had grown attached to them and when he had grown out of them, all heck broke loose. My husband, always one to see outside the box, solved the problem quickly. He grabbed some socks (the kind with the rubber on the bottom of the sole) and put them on Tuck's baby hands. It was an instant success and 'sockies' were born. We had pairs and pairs of these socks that went everywhere with us. They were the greatest "comfort item" ever because there were so many of them. But then, I just HAD to get creative. 

Santa decided to bring "special" sockies each year that went in Tuck's stocking. These became the most protected and loved of all the sockies. It didn't matter if there were 50 of every color all around him, the ones Santa had brought him were the ones he wanted. The ones he NEEDED! 

He was diligent about keeping them safe and sound. He'd tuck them in his pillow case each morning before he climbed out of bed. As the years have passed, his special collection has grown. 

Today, on my way home from work,  I joined many other parents with panicked looks on their faces in Target. I had one mission and one mission only. I was in search of something just as magical as Christmas itself. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Me: "Hi, Dad! How are you?"
Dad: "Better now that you called."

For my birthday, when I was 25, I asked my dad to write down seven of his favorite memories about me. Just like every part of his life, he poured his heart and soul into this project. I expected a list, maybe some stories written out. But instead, he presented to me a book, covered in dragonflies, full of his favorite moments with me as his daughter.  I often read through it. It makes me laugh, cry, and laugh until I cry. 

My dad has an incredible sense of humor, a quick wit and a heart of gold.  When I get HIM laughing, I feel victorious. Not to mention that it's infectious.  

I can recall as a young girl listening to him laugh so hard while we were on the Tea Cup ride (now called Mad Tea Party) at Disney World. He spun that oversized cup until I swore it was going to fly off the saucer. I can remember screaming, "FASTER!" even though I was plastered to the back of it. When we finally stopped, he had a huge smile on his face and was catching his breath after pulling on that metal wheel thing in the middle to keep us going at warp speed. 

He included that exact story in my book. I wasn't surprised because he used to tell it to everyone. Melissa on the teacups...her pigtails were sticking straight out...we were spinning so fast. I always just thought he really enjoyed that ride. And he did, but not because it twirled and whirled us all around.  He shared the reason with me in his writing. 

"It was one of those once in a lifetime experiences. The moment of 
joy that a parent feels when their child is experiencing 
pure happiness and they're part of it."

It wasn't until Chris and I had our own children that I could fully grasp exactly what he meant by this. But, as a daughter, the reason I looked forward to that ride was because it was "our ride". 

So, when we met up with my parents in Disney World a few summers ago, it was no surprise when my dad and I wasted no time hightailing it to the best ride in the park. 

Well, at least to us. 
Happy Birthday, Dad! 

Ketchup With Us - Prompt #8

Today Michele and I are talking about family traditions during the holidays. Some of them have been passed down from generation to generation, like my grandmother's handmade ornaments. Others warm the cockles of our heart, like snuggling under the blankets with our own children watching the same Christmas specials we did as a kid. Others make us giddy with anticipation like opening the mailbox to find it chock full of holiday cards from family and friends. In any case, we all have them. And today we want to share ours with you ... and invite you to do the same with us.


Day after Thanksgiving, still stuffed full of turkey, we waste no time creating a magical atmosphere. Chipmunks squeak Christmas carols as we dance around the kitchen waiting for the hot chocolate to cool.  The tree goes up, the lights get strung and the ornaments tell the story of our family. 
Then the finale, an honor each year... 

* * * * * * * * * *

For a quick explanation of this link-up, click here. In short, Michele and I will post a picture or video with a writing prompt on the 1st and 15th of every month. You can write your entry in any form. We love creativity. And, with each prompt, we'll feature a writer from the previous link-up. Which reminds me...

Our esteemed Ketchup With Us Featured Writer for today is ...

K Bar3 - MMR

* * * * * * * * * *

The Rules of Play

  1. Submit your entry using the linky at the bottom of one of our KWU posts.
  2. Follow us on Facebook (Michele /Mel).
  3. Follow us on Twitter (Michele/Mel) & tweet us your entry with the hashtag #KetchupWithUs.

Grab our Button!

ketchup with us
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'KETCHUP WITH US' - Prompt #8

In 57 words or less, tell about one of your family's holiday traditions.
 (NOTE: I didn't say you had to LIKE the tradition.)


I'm pretty sure this was the BEST part of Santa's day. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Da Tooth

Tonight, we were dining at a delicious hamburger joint when the following conversation occurred with our son: 

Me: "Buddy, we need to get that tooth out tonight."
Tuck: "NO.WAY! Don't touch it. It will hurt."
Chris: "It's okay. We won't touch it."
Me: "Right. Whenever you're ready. But seriously, that tooth is hanging on by a thread."
Chris: "Let's change the subject. Who wants to go to the toy room and play dodgeball when we get home?"
Mags and Tuck: (in unison) "I do! I do!"
Chris: "Perfect. It'll be fun. You guys remember how to play, right? We try to get the other person out by hitting each other with the balls?"
Mags: "Oh, yeah, baby!"

(Quiet interlude of chewing, french fry dipping, sipping of drinks)

Tuck: "Hey! Wait a minute. I see what you're doing. You just wanna knock my tooth out with the ball! You can't trick me."
Chris: "Well, there goes that plan."
Mags: "BUSTED!"

But honestly, anytime now would be great!  

Monday, December 10, 2012

Just Another Day In Paradise

Mags: "Mama! That is the craziest thing Daddy ever did!"
Me: "To be fair, you've only been with us for five years. You haven't seen anything yet."

Here is a quick summary of our weekend. 
I don't want to bore you, so I'll just hit the highlights.

Saturday morning, I walked in the kitchen to find this:

Saturday afternoon, I walked in the kitchen to find this:

Also known as, just another Saturday in our house.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Cadbury Christmas

Me: "Mags! Guess what I found at the store today?"
Mags: "A unicorn?"
Me: "No. Better than a unicorn. Cadbury Mini Eggs in Christmas colors!!"
Me: "Nope! I'm serious."
Mags: "I can't wait to have some."
Me: (inner turmoil between sharing with your child or acting like this conversation never happened) Of course...I'll...share (insert pain)

I adore that Mags shares my enthusiasm for our favorite candy, Cadbury Mini Eggs. They come out in March and I eat bags upon bags upon bags of them throughout the spring. Oh, how I love the smell, the crunch, the way the chocolate melts in your mouth....sorry, where was I? But then I started to hear rumors of these delectable treats coming out in Christmas colors! Could it be? 

The holidays just got a little merrier and brighter!
As I was stuffing handfuls in my mouth on my way back to the car, I noticed three things:

1. They tasted JUST like the pastel colored Mini Eggs.

2. Cadbury did not have a name for them. They simply called them "Cadbury   Solid Milk Chocolates". 

3. They were not egg-shaped. They were round. See? (I said look, not touch.)

So, I thought we should help Cadbury out by naming their holiday, solid milk chocolates. They are known as Mini Eggs in their pastel, egg-shaped form.

What could we call these red and green, round, tasty morsels? 

If you help me come up with some catchy names (remember this is a PG blog) I will compile a list and send them to Cadbury in a chocolate covered letter. Not really covered, but it might have some chocolate fingerprints on it. 

I may need an intervention.

It's Almost Friday Foolishness

Me: "Want to ask Guap to meet up for dinner while we are in NYC?"
Michele: "Sure. Not sure where. He'll have a good idea of where to eat. Or maybe we could go over to his house and have Pot Roast while he does Sunday Night Cook Off!"
Me: "Perfect. Now, let's think of how to invite ourselves."


In this corner of Twitter is El Guapo
He's the cooker, the cleaner, and the beer drinker.

And in the other corner of Twitter is According To Mags. 
She's the commenter, the cheerleader and the drooler.

What are we cooking tonight? Well, there have to be mushrooms, shallots and beer. (It's an inside joke.) So, my dear Guapo, for your birthday, I would like to share with you a recipe for your #SundayNightCookOff that I have tried and very much enjoyed. Since it is something I am able to make (besides a bowl of cereal, Quinoa, and ODNT's Squash Soup) you can be sure that you will be able to make it lickety split. 

Here we go...drumroll please! It is called:

by the Pioneer Woman. 

She uses Budweiser in hers (it being the King of Beer and all) but I prefer to throw in a Sam Adams Holiday Porter (one for the stew, two for me). A cook must stay hydrated and relaxed! And, of course, throw in those mushrooms and shallots. They know how to make a good thing even better. 

So, for everyone reading out there, please give El Guapo a big wave with your oven mitts. Not only is he one of the most upstanding gentlemen I know, but he is also adventurous. I swear that is why he connects with my Mags' posts so well. He bungee jumps off bridges and Mags zip lines in our living room. Is it any wonder I chose this song for Today's Music? 

You jump in to help, you jump in for support, you jump in for a laugh, and you jump into a harness to jump OFF a bridge.  THANK YOU for your genuine friendship. You are a person Chris and I feel it is an honor to know. 

Happy Birthday, Guap. 
Here's to many, many more (birthdays and beers).

And I am just one of MANY people wishing you a happy day 
across the Bloggerverse. 

Visit M3's post to view them all! 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Lego Girls Have All the Luck

Mags: "Don't you wish you were a Lego girl?"
Me: "Yes. Yes, I do!"

Have you seen the new Lego Friends sets for girls? Mags got one of the sets from my parents as an early Christmas present. As Mags and I played with her new Lego house, I was a little jealous. 

I know, I know. Silly of me, right? But wait, let me explain by giving you a tour.

We'll start in the living room. First off, there is not a toy to be seen (ignoring the fact the whole thing is a toy).  There are flowers on the table (still upright and looking lively), a huge screen TV (without fingerprints all over it) and a couch (free of random stains on the seat cushions). There's also a MATCHING oversized chair. And they are purple. My favorite. Oh! A cute, little bunny to sit with you on the couch, but since it's Lego, there's no poop cleanup. Perfect.
Moving on to the bathroom. The white flooring and the toilet are SPARKLING white. There's not a pee stain to be seen or to smell. The sink doesn't have toothpaste art all around and in it. The mirror on the wall is free of toothbrush spray and fingerprints. Do you see that counter space next to the sink? It's clean and not flooded (by an accident). And the shower? No scrubbing bubbles for those glass doors! They are crystal clear. 
The kitchen is full of delicious treats. Fresh fruit, warm muffins and a smoothie in the making. Scrumptious. Best of all, there's no need for a broom. You won't find a crumb to be gathered on the bottom of your bare feet. Best of all, Lego food, like the bunny, never makes a mess, so kiss your dirty dishes good-bye.
The bedroom is delightful. There's a well lit vanity for you to sit and apply makeup properly (no more feeling your way through makeup application as you make the kids' lunch and load the dishwasher). And there's a place to store the makeup so your five-year-old won't decorate all her dolls and herself with it. What's that on the neatly made bed? A book? Oh my goodness! Let's read! Even though there's a cat in the room, allergies won't be a factor, since it's Lego. And, you guessed it, no need for a litter box. 
Well, well, well. Lookie here! There's a little deck on the roof of the house. A chair, some flowers, a butterfly and a cool beverage with an umbrella in it (although I think the drink goes to one of the Monster High dolls and that might be brains in the cup, but beggars can't be choosers). 
Walking out the door, you see a freshly-painted, white picket fence. The pathway leads you into your garden, which actually GROWS things! Actual fruits of your labor!
On the other side of the yard there are more vividly colored, BLOOMING flowers (a rarity at my house). The grass is more of lawn and less of a meadow (with tall, waving grasses). A tasty dinner is sizzling on the impeccably clean grill. This is meant to be.
The only setback is that it's located smack dab in the middle of the railroad tracks. But, no worries!  The trains are courteous, thoughtful, talkative and only run during the hours of 6am-7pm.

So, there you have it. Now, do you see why I'm so envious?
(This is where you appease me.) 

Monday, December 3, 2012


Tuck: "We'll just drive home with Meme and Papa. Have fun. But don't go to the movies without me. Or eat anything good. Or buy any Legos."

Well, we did everything he asked us NOT to do, except the movies. That was only because we didn't have time to go.  

My parents came to visit this weekend. We drove out to the "real" mall, which was about an hour away. Since there were six of us, we had to take two cars. After we finished our shopping together, my parents graciously took one of the cars and the kids home so that Chris and I could do some secret jolly old man shopping (you know what I mean). 

After an hour of sprinting from store to store, I raised my white flag and begged my husband to sit down with me at the nearest restaurant for a beer and some food. That was when we really stopped, took a breath and realized we were alone. So, you know, when given time to ourselves...what happens? 

We end up in the dressing room of Abercrombie & Fitch 
trying on their matching reindeer sweaters. 


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Ketchup With Us - Prompt #7

I am no Betty Crocker, that’s for sure. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to eat, but I just don’t love the process of making the food to eat it. There is one exception, however. Holiday cooking. I have some treasured recipes that I grew up with that keep my heart close to home when I make them. And since it is the season of giving, Michele and I thought we’d share some of our favorite holiday recipes with you! Won’t you join us? We are excellent taste testers.

The one I chose if from my dad. He learned to make from his mom. It's my favorite side dish on the table during the holidays.

Carrots and Onions
1lb carrots
2 cups chicken broth
¼ cup butter
1 tbsp flour
½ tsp salt and pepper
¾ cup water
pinch of sugar

1. Cut carrots julienne style. cook them in the broth for 10 minutes. Then set aside.
2. In a separate pan melt the butter, add onions and saute for 15 minutes.
3. Stir in last 4 ingredients with onions and bring to boil.
4. Add the carrots and broth to onion mixture.
5. Simmer for 10 minutes and serve.

* * * * * * * * * *

For a quick explanation of this link-up, click here. In short, Michele and I will post a picture or video with a writing prompt on the 1st and 15th of every month. You can write it in any form. We love creativity. And, with each prompt, we'll feature a writer from the previous link-up. Which reminds me ...


Our esteemed Ketchup With Us Featured Writer for today is ...


Wyman Ragg


* * * * * * * * * * * * 

The Rules of Play

  1. Submit your entry using the linky at the bottom of one of our KWU posts.
  2. Follow us on Facebook (Michele /Mel).
  3. Follow us on Twitter (Michele/Mel) & tweet us your entry with the hashtag #KetchupWithUs.

ketchup with us
<a href="" target="_self"><img src=&#34" alt="Ketchup With Us" width="125" height="125" /></a>

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'KETCHUP WITH US' - Prompt #7

Share a favorite holiday recipe. There is no word limit. 

(Well, let’s not get crazy. How about nothing over 1000 words?)


My partner-in-crime, Michele, has something to celebrate today. Today makes ONE YEAR since she kicked a lung tumor's buttocks. That's right. Last year, on this day, Michele was in surgery to remove a tumor that had settled in her lung.

If you are new to her blog, or have joined in the past year and missed it, below is a post of hers that's a must read. It's written from her heart about the unexpected journey that was sprung upon her and her family. Make sure to bring some tissues.

So, here's to you, Michele and crew. May your holiday season be merry, bright, and include no hallucinations about your ceiling fan.