Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Biology Project from....Mrs. Lopez - part 2

Close your eyes (after you read this next part - silly) and picture the following:

A sort of old mini-van with a Mom, Dad, two girlies and a dog....

Headed off to find a place to gather wild flowers to finish Madison's biology project and have a picnic...

Now...the dog begins to whine, ease her way out of the back seat and inch farther into the front of the van.  Not only is she whining she is panting like she just ran a doggy marathon or something.

                                                   This is the troublesome, but lovable pooch

One of the girlies and the Mom start to get a little frustrated, the other girlie is trying to keep control of the dog and the Dad starts to be frustrated that no one seems to be keeping the dog in her proper place...

This is where it all could have gone terribly wrong - but yeah! us - we didn't let it!!!!  A collective breath was taken and a silent vow made by each - let's enjoy this day!!!

So...when we got to the park where we were going to eat lunch and look for those pesky wildflowers and found out that dogs were NOT  allowed...we didn't scream, we didn't yell, we didn't even stamp our eight feet...we just asked the nice park ranger if we could please turn our van around since dogs were NOT allowed.

This is what prompted us to venture on and wind up in Jamestown.  We stopped for gas (and by the way saw a drunken guy buying beer, who needless to say, DID NOT NEED ANY MORE BEER) and a nice person directed us to the little park that had tables for a picnic and guess what?...dogs WERE  allowed.

So we unloaded our lunch and enjoyed a great picnic.

*** A note of interest here...Madison had the sense to be a bit embarrassed the minute our 'cooler' came out of the car...I on the other hand took a few minutes to realize that we looked a fill in the adjective...(shall I say silly?) carrying our lunch around in a styrofoam cooler still in the box!!!!!
Oh well, if you're wearing a silly hat what's the big deal about a cooler in a box?

The park was very cute, next to a cool old building and there were even some pretty flowers.

After we ate we decided to walk around town a bit...

                                            Our pooch was very well behaved!

We always seem to hit Jamestown and Sonora when it is motorcycle day!

                                          We looked for Mrs. Lopez, but didn't see her!

I love the little shops in Jamestown and this is my favorite:

                                       Go in and see Karen, the owner, she is really nice!


This place cracked me up...but no one took me seriously when I said I kneaded to go in there!

                               So many photo ops!

Now -  we have been heard saying that this biology project was a pain in the....uh...tummy, and we might have even said we didn't want to do it.... didn't know how we would ever find ALL those plants...but we have to now eat our words and say thanks Mrs. Lopez because on our quest for ALL those plants we ended up having a really fun family day!

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Biology Project from.....Mrs. Lopez - Part 1

A few weeks ago my 15 year old, Madison, and I ventured out into the world to collect plant samples for her biology project.  We both took our cameras (as we are tying to become photo artists) and set off in the van.  Yes, we know we would appear more artsy fartsy if we said we set off in the vintage, tangerine coloured Chrysler 300 but ... that is still in a heap in the backyard!  (someday....)

We discovered that there is a lot of wild mustard out there, quite a bit of graffiti where it shouldn't be and that you can't get a plant out of the ground with roots intact very easily if you forgot the shovel.

With that in mind we got some pretty pictures, walked quite a bit, solved a few world problems and did about 1/2 of her biology work.

Now for a little confession....I think I may have a tendency towards quirky behavior.  Let me explain...

The other day driving from my dad's house back to ours I realized there is a front yard that has an element that pleases me each time I drive by.

I believe I was inspired by this artistic statement and while we were on our search for the perfect plant specimens this is what I did.....

I felt rather empowered - other people were going to walk along this path and wonder..."just how did these stones get in exactly these spots?"  They might even feel inspired and add another stone or pick up where I left off....... (thankfully about 20 or 30 stones in I couldn't find another and my quirky behavior found a natural ending point).......  I was affecting other people's lives, I was creating something profound in the universe, I was making my mark............right, I know a little over the top, but -

maybe someone will smile like I did when I saw this....

More to come on our plant collecting adventures....

xoxo    Elizabeth

Monday, May 24, 2010

Got Bananas?

I have been wanting to create a breakfast treat that didn't break the bank if we happened to be doing our Weight Watcher points that particular my book doing some Weight Watcher points is better than none!  But that's why my sis looks like she does - and I look like I do...another story for another day!

So I found a traditional banana muffin recipe on line and switched it up a bit.

Here goes:

*The original recipe is from

You will need:

1 C white flour
1 C whole wheat flour
1 C quick-cooking oats
1 C brown sugar
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t nutmeg
2 t cinnamon (because if one is good two is better!)
2 or 3 mashed over-ripe bananas
2 eggs
1 vanilla yogurt OR 1 C applesauce
2 t vanilla (again if one is good......)

These beeeutiful eggs are from my friend Stacy - Thanks!!

You'll want to cook this at 375 degrees -

In one bowl mix your dry ingredients - both flours ,oatmeal, sugar, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

In another bowl mix the other stuff - mashed bananas, eggs, vanilla, and yogurt or applesauce.  Stir these until combined and then pour into the dry mix and stir til just mixed.

Spoon your batter into greased muffin tins - I like to make them kinda full - and then it makes a dozen.

Now put them in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes...test with a toothpick - when it comes out clean they are ready!  Let them cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 or 10 minutes and then remove from the pan and let them finish cooling.

In closing I want to say that I got up early to cook these muffins - those of you that know me may not believe this BUT it is true...and I was rewarded with the most beautiful sunshine streaming in through my kitchen windows!  Something that I usually am not aware of as I don't hit the kitchen before 10 or so on a normal day.  So whether you rise early and see the sunshine or rise later and have someone tell you about it.... make some muffins and enjoy your day!

xoxo   Elizabeth

PS    FYI  this muffin is about 4 WW points!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mother's meaning

I have been reading a beautiful blog lately:

The author of this blog - Kelle Hampton just recently had a baby - in fact - she had her little one 4 days after I lost my mom...there's that circle of life we hear about (which reminds me of a story about my grandfather's death that I will share another time).  A few weeks ago Kelle mentioned that her little Nella was 10 weeks old.  I have been counting the time since my mom passed away, of course, but in my head it was in months.  Two months since that difficult day.  I told myself - 2 months - you should be handling things a bit better by two months...then reading 10 weeks and seeing how tiny little Nella still was I realized 10 weeks or 2 months either way you look at it is a relatively short period of time.  It had only been 10 weeks that I had been trying to live in this world without my mom, only 10 weeks of missing her, only 10 weeks of feeling so sad that my special and sweet father has been all alone in their house.

No wonder that Mother's Day had left me with a pit in my stomach...what to do this Mother's Day?  How to feel, how to celebrate...

I kept seeing things that I might purchase or make for Mom for Mother's Day...a tiny little house made out of paper with cherries on it (Mom had cherryish things in her kitchen), a cherry cookie cutter, a special many wonderful things for a wonderful Mom.

Maybe the message is that there will always be things to remind me of Mom AND that is a good thing.  She will always be my mom and that will always be something to celebrate...and I have two sweet girlies who want to celebrate their mom.   So... we will remember, we will be present, and we will look forward - with love in our hearts.

I love you Mom

I wrote this post a little while before Mother's Day...then during the week of Mother's Day I didn't post it...not sure why...just too hard maybe.  But...we did celebrate Mother's Day - for my girlies - and after seeing all they did to make the day special for me - I am so glad that we did.

With the help of their Dad, my handsome hubby Brian, a beautiful brunch was prepared.

In the afternoon we were off to my Dad's house where Brian and my girlies again prepared a beautiful meal.  Salmon, artichokes, Caesar salad, fresh fruit.  And, my girlies made (from scratch mind you) my new favorite cake that I first tasted for my birthday.  Orange Layer Cake.  It is the most divine cake...a soft peachy colour, hints of orange as you bite into it and a delicious butter cream frosting (which they learned how to make from their Auntie Jenny).  Such a treat.

In addition to being fed and having to do no dishes my girlies made me the most special presents.  Truly from the heart and I am so touched and thankful.
                                 From Lane... a sign to put in my garden!
                       From Madison...some amazing words

And, from the handsome hubby one of those crazy expensive cards - that I always look at but will never spend the money on!
                                                 It was full of beautiful sentiment

..... as I sat surrounded by love and special things I cried and thought of my precious Mom who (along with my precious Dad) is the one who taught me how to be the Mom that I am.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Monkey Business

One of the many things that I love about home schooling is the fact that the girlies and I can share breakfast any day we choose.

Some days that means we take a break in between studies and eat together, some days it means we work while we eat...which ever it is - I feel lucky to have this time with my girlies.

A while back we made our version of Monkey Bread.  There are many versions out there I'm sure, but this one is easy and does the trick.

    And...make a sock monkey while you're at it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    ***I had to make this small to fit it on - if you want a copy leave me a comment or email me!
You will need:

At least 4 cans of pop-open biscuits

First melt your butter and prepare a cinnamon sugar mixture.  Then pop open those biscuits and tear them into smaller pieces (a size that will be bite-sized once cooked). Get out a bundt pan (I can never use a bundt pan without cracking up after seeing My Big Fat Greek Wedding - if you haven't seen this movie drop what ever you are doing and go rent it right now!) and spray it with cooking spray.   Now dunk those torn-up pieces in the melted butter and roll them in the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Toss them into the bundt pan along with some raisins til you have used all of your bread pieces.  Now bake this at 350 degrees til golden brown and biscuits seem cooked through - to be honest I don't remember just how long it is.....longer than it says on the package for the biscuits because they are all piled up on each other!

Now make a fruit salad or some other healthy thing to balance the 'badness' of the bread and enjoy!

                              See that pretty spoon?  It was my Nonnie and Honey's

Got any fun easy recipes for me?

xoxo Elizabeth

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dancing...even in the rain



          "Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...
                it's about learning to dance in the rain."                                    

This is a quote that my older daughter, Madison, showed to me.  These past months we have truly learned to live this.

I recently lost my mother - I did not comment on it on Facebook, in fact for several weeks afterward I didn't comment at all on Facebook.  I just couldn't find any words that seemed right.  So, in a way it seems odd to me that I am going to talk about it here.  One reason for my commenting here being that I have read a lot of blogs and the ones that appeal the most to me are the ones where people are real and let you get to know them.  Another reason being that I am not me without my mom.  I don't mean that now that she is gone I am not me...I mean that my mom (with some help, of course, from my wonderful dad) made me into me.  She has always been a huge part of my life and she is in me and always will be.  So, for anyone to really know me they need to know of my relationship with my mom.

My mother was sick for some time, during that time I had to learn to go on with other parts of my life even though my thoughts were with her.  She, in fact, encouraged me to do this.  I would go to visit her and many times she would say - I know that you need to go and work on the ballet costumes for the girlies' performances, or I know that you need to go and do school with your girlies, or maybe, I know that you need to take the girlies to do something fun.  So, even though my mom could no longer come with us to do these things, and even though it was hard to leave her while we did these things I learned to find joy in the midst of the rain...I learned how to watch my girlies enjoy the wonderful things life offered them and be happy in those moments even in the midst of our own personal storm.

When my mother passed I told myself that I would try to do one regular thing each day.  Two days after the service for my mother my younger daughter, Lane, was to get her pointe shoes with the other students in her ballet class.  The timing was so difficult, but this was one of the regular things that I had said that I would do.  This event in Lane's life was huge...she had worked so hard and waited so long and yet we were all so sad.  The nature of life, though, is that the saddest things and the happiest things often happen side by side.  Lane literally danced in the midst of the rain and I know that my mom was proud of us.

I hope to share more of the special woman that my mom was with you in the future.  Tell me something special about your mom.

xoxo  Elizabeth