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Saturday 9: Easter Parade

As Thousands Cheer

Hey blogosphere friends. I've missed you. I've been really, terribly tired lately. Hopefully that gets better with this new-to-me lupus med I'm on now.

I hope you are all well? I do, really and truly. I'm looking forward to this Easter holiday, the last one where I still have a minor child. Our youngest kiddo has an 18th birthday on April 13th!

If you'd like to join in the shenanigans, be sure to sign up here! And let's go:


Saturday 9: Easter Parade

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This song is best known from the 1948 movie of the same name, but it was originally written for a 1933 Broadway play called As Thousands Cheer. In the play, a young man reads about the parade in a New York newspaper and decides to go and show his lady love off to parade goers. What's the most recent parade you attended?
Parade of Lights celebration Saturday on Square
Ohhh, we'd be going back a few years, probably all the way back to 2018, when the kids were in 4H and Noah's ... group? ... was on a float in the Christmas Lights parade. I got to ride on the float with them, which was super fun, though I don't know what Noah thought of that!
2) On Broadway, the song was performed by Clifton Webb. He'd had a busy stage career, appearing in musicals as well as plays by Oscar Wilde and Noel Coward, but when he was in his mid-50s, he was considered too old to be a leading man. Broadway offers stopped coming. He was unexpectedly cast by Otto Preminger for the film noir Laura and a new career was born. He worked steadily in Hollywood for 20 years and earned three Oscar nominations. Tell us about a time you were grateful your life took an unanticipated turn.

Rob and I eloped two months after we first met online. So it was even less time after we met in person. Because of this, we'd planned to wait at least about two years before starting our family. But life, the universe, and everything had other plans, and about 2½ weeks after said elopement, I was having funny feelings. Lots of funny feelings. I sent Rob to Walmart in the middle of the night, and shortly after that, I was looking at a positive result: I was pregnant with Chloë (seen here with an order of Girl Scout Cookies I had sent to her from my friend's daughter)!
I wandered around dumbly for several days; I was in shock! Now, though, I can't imagine things any other way. I can't imagine my life without our
Chloë Raine.
3) Today he's fondly remembered by the students at UCLA who have benefited from The Clifton Webb Scholarship of the Arts. If you could give an endowment to a school or charity, what would you like it to be used for?
False Bay Sharks Breaching Season 2018 | Shark Zone Tours Blog
Because of my background, I think it would be cool to have a scholarship  for the University of Miami, for a grad student who wishes to study the ecology and evolutionary biology of sharks, skates, and rays.

4) According to Forbes magazine, the average American household will spend upwards of $150 on Easter dinner, candy, and decorations this weekend. Do holidays strain your budget?
No, not Easter nearly so much as Christmas!

5) The biggest chocolate Easter egg was made in Italy, measured 34 feet tall and weighed a staggering 15,000 lbs. Do you think it's possible to have too much chocolate?
Having tried, I can definitely say that yes, you can.. Yes.
6) After chocolate, the top-selling Easter candy is Peeps Marshmallow Chicks. They're so popular that they were once the subject of a Jeopardy clue. Do you often watch Jeopardy?
I haven't watched at all since Alex has been gone.

7) Jelly beans are also popular this time of year. In a 2020 poll, jelly bean fans responded that cinnamon is their favorite flavor. Do you have a favorite?
r/funny - Failed Jelly Bean Flavors.
I do not. I do not like any jelly beans; never have I, ever.

8) We've been talking a lot about sweets this morning. The only holiday that generates more candy sales is Halloween. When do you eat more candy: Easter or Halloween?
Easy Halloween Egg Hunt - Tinged Blue
I try not to overdo it at either time, but probably Halloween. I'm thinking, at Halloween, it's more freely sitting out, ready to be given out on demand, whereas on Easter I've bought it with the intention of being put into someone's specific basket.

9) Easter is considered the season of rebirth. What makes you feel refreshed or rejuvenated?
Are cold showers good for you? - BBC Future
When I take a shower, I like to stand under the water on as cold a setting as I can stand for a few moments, repeating an affirmation to myself. I love the cold water; it really wakes me up after taking the shower tires me out.
All right, you guys, have a happy Easter tomorrow if you're celebrating, and a good weekend if you're not!

Saturday 9: Just Because

Elvis Presley: A First-Time Listener's Guide | Billboard – Billboard

Howdy-ho, neighbors! This weekend's post focuses on this song, Just Because, by Elvis Presley.  This is significant to me because I grew up with a dad who absolutely idolized the man (and, I'm sure, still does) and could do a mean impression of him as well. My dad could sing well, could do the moves, and even had some of the requisite attire to make the whole thing convincing. Of course, I've heard every Elvis song ever, 50,000 times over, backward and forward... right?

I had not ever heard this song before.

So, my friends, link up here if you want to join us this weekend. Read on for my answers. Thank you, Crazy Sam, for dusting this one off for me (okay, us)! Let's hit it:


Saturday 9: Just Because (1956)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) In this week's song, Elvis complains that his girl has confused him with Santa Claus. This time of year, Santa is prominent. Did you more recently hear Santa referred to in a song, see him in a holiday decoration or ad, watch him in a film or TV show, or maybe even met him in person, ringing a bell or asking kids if they have been naughty or nice?

Christmas Carols for Children | Christmas songs for kids, Christmas carols  for kids, Xmas songs

Yes, we've been listening to a lot of Christmas carols lately as we work through the activities in our Advent calendar. Santa features prominently in these, of course.

2) Finally Elvis just can't take it anymore and breaks up with her, just because. Is there anyone in your life who has a way of pressing your buttons and getting on your nerves?

That's probably true for everyone, I'm guessing.

3) "Just Because" is one of the last songs Elvis recorded at Sun Studio in Memphis. TripAdvisor recommends a Sun Studio tour as one of the top things to do in Memphis. Have you ever been to Memphis? If yes, what did you do?

15 TOP Things To Do in Memphis | Attractions & Activities

I've only ever driven through Memphis, and also Nashville, and also half a dozen times Chattanooga. I have stayed in Gatlinburg. Memphis would be an interesting trip, though.

4) Elvis left Sun for RCA, a much bigger record label. As part of the deal, RCA negotiated for the rights to all his unreleased Sun songs. "Just Because" is one of them, and it was included on Elvis' first RCA album. Have you gotten a good deal on anything lately?

Best Buy: SodaStream Fizzi Sparkling Water Maker Kit Icy Blue 1011711017

I get a good deal on just about everything. Like the SodaStream I got for Chloë for Christmas, I paid nowhere near full price, nor did I pay full price for the flavors for it, nor will I ever! And she'll be so thrilled to have it, so win-win!

5) In 1956, when "Just Because" was released, non-stick cookware was first introduced. Do you have any Teflon in your kitchen right now?

Shock Images | Free Vectors, Stock Photos & PSD

No way in hell!

6) Elvis thought peacocks were beautiful and commissioned stained glass peacock panels for his living room. Do you have any stained glass in your home?

The Most Beautiful Stained Glass in the World | Condé Nast Traveler

No, but I certainly do wish! It's so beautiful.

7) He tried to keep peacocks at Graceland. One of the birds saw its reflection in Elvis' gold Cadillac and started pecking, ruining the car's expensive paint job. Elvis donated the peacocks to the Memphis Zoo. Have you ever had a bird as a pet?

Well not exactly pets, but we used to keep chickens when we lived in Idaho for the eggs, and the five of us each had "our" specific chickens that we felt we belonged to and were particularly attached to. I loved those chickens. Here, we're not allowed to have any because of our HOA rules, even though the town would allow three, which makes me want to be a scofflaw and keep ducks. They don't say anything about ducks.

8) Elvis decorated the long Graceland driveway for the holidays with blue lights. His father teased that with the airport nearby, pilots might confuse their driveway with a runway. What airport is nearest your home?

I believe the nearest major airport is Baltimore International, although we have tons of regional ones between there and here.

9) When Elvis was alive, he kept the holiday lights up until January 9, the day after his birthday. That tradition continues at Graceland today. Conventional etiquette tells us Christmas decorations should go up the day after Thanksgiving and come down before January 6 (the 12th day of Christmas). Do you think it's ever too early, or too late, for Christmas decorations?

Holiday Light Displays | VisitMaryland.org

Well, for stores and other commercial enterprises, yeah, I kinda think there is a limit for too-early/too-late. But for private families and people, I think, who gives a rat's behind? Let people do what makes them happy! So what if Joe Schmoe at the end of the block likes to keep his lights up until the end of March and put them up again after Halloween? What's it to me? I don't pay his light bill and it's honestly kind of pretty. I'm of more of a laissez-faire kind of mind about that for private citizens.


Welp, that's all folks! Back to wrapping presents with Chloë, my eldest! Seems like the job will never be done, but that's not a complaint! I'm grateful for the abundance, always grateful.

Have a wonderful week on purpose, everybody!


Saturday 9: Moody Blue

Elvis Biography | Graceland

Hello, weekend friends. I deserted you again, yes, for health reasons. Ugh. Let's jump right in. For 9 interesting questions jumping off from Elvis' "Moody Blue," link up with Saturday 9 HERE.

And here we go:


Saturday 9: Moody Blue (1977)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This song was recorded in the special studio Elvis had built in the Jungle Room of Graceland. During the pandemic, have you made like Elvis and worked from home?

No longer applicable to me. I used to do various things to have multiple streams of income, but my health has depleted my ability to do any of that now.

2) Elvis sings that his girl is completely unpredictable. Which quality to you find more attractive: spontaneity or dependability?

Oddly enough, I find myself choosing "dependability." I suppose that was always what the answer was all along, but with me being Bipolar 1, when mania struck, I've always begged for a bit of spontaneity from everyone else, too. What, it's 4 in the morning? So? And?

3) He only performed the song once in concert. In February 1977, shortly after the record was released, Elvis sang "Moody Blue" live in Charlotte, NC, but had to rely on lyric sheet. Crazy Sam can sympathize because she seems to forget passwords as soon as she sets them. Do you often struggle with your memory?

I do, and it's killing me. I never did struggle, but now I seem to have no memory at all. Even what should be important things are lost in the ether. When I'm able to pull something out of my memory, even just a word, we cheer.

4) "Moody Blue" was the final hit of Elvis' lifetime, only getting to #31 in the US but reaching #3 in the UK. What's your favorite Elvis song?

Oh, man. That's a HARD one for me. I grew up with a dad who absolutely idolized Elvis. I have several and am finding it impossible to narrow down to one. May I please have two? My dad was always singing "Jailhouse Rock," so that must be a finalist.

And I'm sure "Hound Dog" must have been one of the first songs I learned to sing. With inflection and charisma and all that, even. But not with the hips and other dancing, like my dad.

5) We're focusing on Elvis this week because January 8 would be his 87th birthday. He enjoyed celebrating his birthday by renting the Memphis movie theater and watching the latest movie with an invited group of friends. What's your favorite way to celebrate your birthday?

DeBug All Terrain Chair Rolling Beach Stainless Steel Wheelchair

On my birthdays, four months earlier than Elvis', I love at least dipping my toes in the water - even if it has to happen this way.

8) For his 11th birthday, young Elvis asked for a rifle or a bicycle. His mother deemed the gun too dangerous and the bike too expensive and instead gave her son his first guitar. Tell us about a memorable birthday from your youth.

I actually can't.

7) Elvis loved horses and kept them in the stable at Graceland. His favorite was a palomino named Rising Sun. To honor both horse and rider, Elvis' daughter has always kept a palomino in the stable whose name includes "sun." The current resident is Tuscan Sun. Known as "Tucky," he's lived at Graceland for more than 20 years now and is a favorite of Alene Alexander, who maintains the stable and reports he has "attitude and knows he's prettier than everybody else." Tell us about an animal who holds a place in your heart.

Open photo

Shortly after we bought our house in Idaho, we adopted our kitten and named her Periwinkle. She  loved to play and have fun with the other, grown, cats, but she had such a serious expression all the time! We used to say, "Serious kitten is a serious kitten." Well, as it turns out now that Peri has grown up a bit, "Serious kitten is a serious adult!" But she's sooo soft and sleek, with her extra-large frame and tail to match. Her outer shell is velvety gray, but her inner shell is quite white.

8) Throughout his life, Elvis had trouble sleeping. As a preteen, he was a sleepwalker. As an adult, he battled insomnia. Is sleep an issue for you?

Journal: Insomnia Cure Funny Insomniac Will Not Sleep Black Lined Notebook  Writing Diary - 120 Pages 6 x 9: InGENIUS Publications: 9781087318479:  Amazon.com: Books

It absolutely is. Has always been.

9) Random question: Do you wear your shoes inside your house?

Sunday Stealing: Making A List Meme (Smellyann Strikes Again)

Nope! We have a chest by the front door called the "shoe box," which somehow never actually gets used these days, but no one comes further inside the house than that with their shoes on.


Hey, look at that! May be ten minutes 'til four (PM), but I finished! Let's have a party.

Have a good week! Get that shot, y'all!


Sunday Stealing: Questions About COVID-19 on Easter Sunday 2020

First of all, as a Christ-follower on this Easter Sunday morning, I want to start with this:

Easter FB COver 2020

Now then, I don't know what y'all are doing this morning (it's 7:32 AM here in Idaho right now), but honestly, I hope you're not listening to Pr*sident Trump and going to church today. As much as it may feel that the spirit is compelling you to go, STAY HOME. SAVE LIVES.

Moving on.

Sunday Stealing: The OC 25 Meme (Smellyann Strikes Again)

Bev's got us more questions about the novel coronavirus we're all changing our lives for, over on the Sunday Stealing meme blog this week. Link up here to play along this week!

For COVID 19 Questions from SwapBot
What is something you are doing due to the pandemic that you normally don’t do? After the pandemic will you continue to so this?
Easter Eggs: Most Amazing Designs from Around the World | PEOPLE.com
Oh, gosh. So many things. It's Easter, so normally I would have gotten Spring/Eastery dresses and suits for my kids, taken all of us to church, dyed a bunch of easter eggs, had baskets full of goodies for the kids to find, baked sugar cookies in Easter & Spring themes, and so on. But we are not doing one bit of that. Life just seems so different this year. So off. I don't know what to do with myself.

What made you happy, sad, or frustrated today? List, all big and/or small, as there may be some of one or all of these feelings!
A new EOY reality? Ad strategies to survive and thrive ...
To be honest, I don't even know what I feel right now. It's very hard for me to process what's going on in the world right now, while still being able to help my three kids do exactly that. I will say, though, that I am so thankful that one of my dear friends who was infected with COVID-19 and was in the hospital for all kids of treatments over many days, was discharged yesterday. She survived, and I am so happy about it!

What is one of the first things you will do when the pandemic is over?
The Coronavirus Pandemic Will Change the World Forever
I don't know! I have a feeling that, for a while, I will be very distrusting that is actually over and that it is safe to come out again!

Are you an essential employee or do you know someone who is? Is this affecting you in some way?
can someone tell me if i'm an "essential employee" - Dr. Evil Air ...
My friend who I mentioned above was in healthcare, so she was essential. She got sick, was hospitalized, and has now retired early. Hate that it went that way for her! My daughter Chloë was working the still-open drive-thru window at Wendy's in our tiny town. The very day we got news that the first case had been confirmed in our town, we all agreed she needed to take a leave of absence for my sake. I'm extremely immuno-compromised, and she recognized that and the need for her not to work there right now, but I still feel so guilty about it all the time!

What are you doing to destress during this stressful time?
18 Memes That Describe What It's Like to Nap a Lot Due to Illness ...
Well, because of my autoimmune issues before, I was admittedly already taking a lot of naps. Now, I just take double the naps. Or longer ones. Or both.

Have you tried any new recipes during this time? Please share your recipe if you want to.
The 12 Best Sushi Spots in Oakland, Berkeley and the East Bay
Lol, no. I am having way too many food aversion issues right now to really try something new. I will share this, though: One of the things I can eat is what Rob and I have termed "Ghetto Sushi." For me, all that really means is he dices up an avocado, chops up one of those $1 packages of "crab" sticks, and gives it to me with a bowl of low-sodium soy sauce. You can see why it deserves its title, but it's edible for me, so I like it.

Have you always lived where you do now? If not, how did you wind up in the place you currently live?
Road trip map
No, we haven't always lived here in Idaho; it blows my mind that we just passed the three-year mark here already! We came via a mad dash across the country from Miami, Florida. And we were only there four years, but that seems so much longer than our time has been here! Before that, it was ten years in Virginia Beach, and so on. We've been around the world a little, with my husband's career in the Navy, so we wanted to find somewhere that finally felt like "home" to our kids, all of whom were or were about to be teenagers. You know, provide a safe landing for them if they ever need to come back home after leaving the nest, lay down some roots for them. We came up with a list of criteria, and Idaho seemed to fit all of them. And so we came.

Where is the last place you visited on-line?
Leah Remini | Leah remini, Leah, Celebrities female
Lol, well, I know I'm a little behind the curve, but because of research I'm doing for my own book about growing up in a different cult, I've just begun watching Leah Remini's exposé on Scientology for A&E. So crazy!

What is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to you?
Rob and Mel November 2001
Well, one of them is definitely that, in our 20th year together, my husband tells me that if he knew how our life - and I - would turn out, he'd still marry me. It means a lot; I'm "complicated"!

Tell me about the last photo on your camera (phone or real camera or both!)
Well, this one was from last night, which I took on my phone. It's from our dogs' latest BarkBox that came in the mail Saturday. The theme was speakeasy-Great Gatsby-esque type of stuff, and this is what looks to us like a drunk cup with a block of ice in it. We found it hiliarious.
And now that it's taken me a ridiculous two hours to write this (in and amongst doing other things), I feel like it's time for one of those many naps I mentioned earlier. 
Happy Easter!

Saturday 9: The Easter Bunny Bop

Bounce Patrol 💓 The Easter Bunny Bop - Kids Easter Song ...

Hey, everyone! Happy Quarantine!

I don't know how long it's been since I've taken a shower or bath, but I'm not going anywhere, so who cares... Maybe Hubs, but he doesn't count! ;)

Link up here to play along with us this weekend!


Saturday 9: The Easter Bunny Bop (2015)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This song encourages little ones to celebrate Easter by doing a little dance. Do you feel like dancing this morning?
I wish I could, but I really can't. At least not without spinning around holding onto my walker, which for someone my age, is kinda pitiful.

2) Everyone in this video is wearing bunny ears. Target, Amazon and other retailers sell bunny ear headbands sized for adults and priced at about $5. Will you be wearing bunny ears, or perhaps a more conventional chapeau, this weekend? Or, because of the coronavirus, will your Easter attire be the same as any other day?
How Communities Are Celebrating Passover And Easter During The ...
I really don't know yet. I haven't thought much about what I'll wear. We're not doing Easter baskets or anything like that for the first time ever, which I hate. Not sure if I'll get dressed up more... maybe?
3) This week's featured artists, The Bounce Patrol Kids, are a children's entertainment juggernaut: CDs, DVDs, downloads, and t-shirts. Additionally, they often update their YouTube channel because they want children the world over to have access to their upbeat, energetic songs for free. Besides the Bounce Patrol, what's the last YouTube video you watched?
Actually, I watched - and sang along to - the theme song from The Jeffersons because of a conversation Rob and I were having with the kids. They didn't know anything about it! Horrors!!
4) According to Forbes magazine, the average American household spends $20.66 on candy each Easter. Will you be consuming candy this weekend?
Gags & Practical Joke Toys Easter Candy | Eastercandy.org
I probably won't be eating Easter candy. I haven't bought any, and I don't plan to.

5) The biggest chocolate Easter egg was made in Italy, measured 34 feet tall and weighed a staggering 15,000 lbs. Do you thinks it's possible to have too much chocolate?
Egg Side - Picture of Vegreville Pysanka Egg - Tripadvisor
This is not the Italian one; this is the Pysanka egg in Vegreville, Alberta, Canada. (not my foto). I could eat a LOT of chocolate, but if I did, I'd live to regret it very shortly after. So I'll sadly have to make a checkmark in the "yes" column on this one.
6) After chocolate, the top-selling Easter candy is Peeps Marshmallow Chicks. They're so popular that, in 2018, they were the subject of a Jeopardy clue. Do you often watch Jeopardy?
No Chill Jeopardy - Meme Guy
We try to catch it when we can. It's been a lot less than usual lately.

7) Jelly beans are also popular this time of year. In a 2019 poll, jelly bean fans responded that Jelly Belly Buttered Popcorn is their favorite flavor. Sam is crazy about cherry. Do you have a favorite?
Manly jellybean flavors | Jelly bean flavors, Jelly belly flavors ...
No, I do not. I hate all jelly beans equally. Never did like them. Blech!

8) We've been talking a lot about sweets this morning. The only holiday that generates more candy sales is Halloween. When do you eat more candy: Easter or Halloween?
Will Trade Sister For Easter Candy Funny Holiday Spring - Easter ...
Probably Halloween, since it lands on a payday when we can afford more candy! Heh.

9) Easter is considered the season of rebirth. What makes you feel refreshed or rejuvenated?

Easter: A Season of Rebirth | Well Being Magazine

These days, a good, long sleep and a decent bath are all it takes - and even that is rare for me!


However you celebrate this weekend, whatever you do, I hope that you will all be safe and healthy throughout this pandemic. Is everyone okay out there??

Take care.


Sunday Stealing: Curiosity And The Queen

Welcome back! I saw a few of you guys left comments, but I haven't had a chance to read most of them yet because of being suuuuuper tired. I was already dealing with exhaustion, and then I had to go the ER for pain relief last night. We got home as the sun was coming up! Needless to say, I'm hitting the sack early(er) tonight!

Link up here if you're playing along with us this weekend!


Questions from Durward Discussion

Thanks to Kwizgiver for the suggestion.

1. What is the nearest book to you?  Your Kindle does not count.
Kelloggs Books IGd
These are the latest ten books we received for free from Kellogg's "Feeding Reading" program this month. I have the book Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven next to me, atop the printer. I've already ordered Book #11 and can't wait to get all 20!

2. When was the last time you took a "me" vacation?
Image result for napping funny gif
Does naptime count? If so, then I just woke up an hour or two ago...

3. How many telephone numbers do you have?
Me, personally? I just have one. But with five people in the house, each with a separate cell phone number, and then individual phone numbers for each of the kids' tablets... we have eight.

4. If you could fix one thing in the public school system, what is the one thing you would do immediately?
An Infographic About Teachers Infographic
There are so many big things that need fixing with our educational system, but I think the number one thing is money. I would pour it in, to raise the annual teacher salaries and to buy excellent curriculum. There is no reason in the world why the U.S. shouldn't have the best educational system one could find.
5. Are you a big tipper?
Related image
I tip appropriately.

6. Do you watch reality shows?
Related image
Nowhere near as much as I used to be, but I did watch the entire latest season of The Voice, and I picked Maelyn Jarmon (shown with the legendary Sara McLachlan) out as the one who had to win during her first appearance, in the Blinds. If you don't watch, treat yourself to a screening of her singing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" in the finale, or Fields of Gold in her blind audition. I could watch and listen all day long. And, she's deaf!

7. Who is your favorite sports team player?
Image result for who's the guy who took a knee in the NFL?
Maybe Steph Curry or, here, Colin Kaepernick, who wasn't afraid to take a stand (sorry) on a desperately important issue when he took a knee. #BlackLivesMatter

8. If you could travel in a spaceship to any planet, which planet would you like to visit and why?
Related image
After I quick detour to Jupiter to reassure him that he's still my favorite, I'd head to Pluto. Gotta show the little guy some big love.

9. When was the last time you sat in a church?
Related image
Probably Easter, if not the candlelight service on Christmas Eve. Can't miss that! I hate that we've turned into "holiday Christians," but if we can't find an LGBTQIA-accepting church here in Mountain Home, then that's the way it's going to have to be right now. Hurts.
10. Are there any aspects of blogging that annoy you?
Image result for funny blogging
Two things, mostly: one, when I write up something really meaningful to me, and there are crickets. Two, my own ability to make/find/have time to comment back on an your lovely pages with any kind of frequency.

11. When someone follows you on their blog or subscribes to your Facebook page, do you automatically follow and subscribe back?
Related image
Hee. This actually applies to me more on Instagram and Twitter. I try to be descriminate and not follow back anyone whose stuff I really don't want to see, but most of the time that doesn't happen, and I do. One thing that drives me away: the inane "ItWorks" products and their proponents. Just a waste of time, space, and energy for me!
All right. And now back to working on our August 2019 budget. Whoopty-do!! (Thanks, Bev & Kwizzy!)

Scenes From Easter Sunday

Eggs Collage

🥚 Happy Easter 2019! 🥚

This year, our egg situation was a process. I got about 5 dozen eggs, many of which were eaten ahead of time, so things got mathy. By the time the Paas kits I ordered were delivered, it was Saturday night. We all got involved: I did all the planning. Rob did all the hard-boiling (all but the nine pink eggs on top). And the kids did the timing and the dyeing, according to my oft-yelled instructions. 😏 And then Chloë arranged the eggs. I think they look loverly!

Easter Basket Collage

After church, and some rest, and some food... we eventually got around to doing the Easter baskets. Lately, now that the kids are pretty grown up, Chloë has been helping me assemble them. And I've been making one for Rob, albeit a much smaller one. P.S. I had him lose the tie, unbutton a shirt button, and roll up his sleeves. I think he looks much better like that! 😍

Easter Basket Collage (1)

Regardless, these goofballs dug into their bowls - er, baskets - with vigor. I made a list of things I might include and had each kid check off (in different color ink, natch) what interested them. I got most of it!


  • A small piece of jewelry
  • swim goggles
  • lip balms
  • nail polish
  • candy, of course
  • lots and lots of kid-friendly coupons redeemable by Mom & Dad
  • hair accessories
  • socks

Etc. Sophia chose a similar list, except no jewelry but add a PopSocket. No nail polish, but she got a Koosh. Similarly for Jack, except obviously no jewelry or nail polish, and neither did he want a PopSocket nor Koosh. He did get sunglasses, a Yo-yo (oh, as did Soph), and plain black socks instead of rainbow ones like the girls'!


I printed dozens and dozens of coupons I selected - and accidentally printed in triplicate. Eventually, all three kids had to get involved in the cutting thereof! Took forever.


As Rob munched on Peanut M&Ms, Paco snuggled in tightly behind him, as a Chihuahua is wont to do...


Soon, he was fast asleep. ♥

Sophie Goggles Collage

Sophia was pretty goofy today, quite "on." I had an awful lot more photos of her at the end of this session, since Chloë took to opening her goodies behind her bowl, and Jack generally shuns the camera anyway.

KInderEggs Collage

All three kiddos received a couple of KinderEggs each; here are a few of the toys from them. Sophia got an ostrich in hers, which was adorable, but I had put the camera away by then.

Sophias Hair Collage

Apropos of nothing, Sophia is always tossing her hair around. When we're listening to the radio in the car and a jammin' song comes on, she gets all punk rock with it. I love that.

Rob Eating Candy Collage

Rob cracked me up: He was opening egg after egg, dumping the confectionary contents into his mouth before moving on to the next. Like a four-year-old. I loved it.


These are not the lip balms Sophia really wanted, but I couldn't find them where I was shopping. So she'll get these for now and those will just pop into her life at some mysterious, magical point in time.

Tulips 04132019

Oh, by the way: We get dozens of beautiful tulips in our yard - and all around Boise - this time of year. It's my favorite time. This year, I couldn't resist asking Sophie to make me a small bouquet of some of the blooms to bring some of the beauty inside.

Sophie's Basket Collage

Sophie showing off some of the goods in her basket o' joy.

April Tulips a

Back to those tulips: Look how much they've enjoyed being in here! They've really just shown off their stellar color and silky petals this year!

Candy Tulip Collage

I'll leave you with this imagery of Sophie devouring a chocolate tulip. And no, they were not solid. Bah!

Happy Easter, everyone. I hope you were able to enjoy the weekend, whatever it is you chose to do.


Sunday Stealing: Ask Anything

Howdy! Welcome, welcome. I'm watching the weather news right now, and it's frightening. Time for a little levity: Sunday Stealing! Link up here if you'd like to play along with Bev and the rest of us this holiday weekend!


What Did You Have For Lunch?

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Fruit Punch-flavored G2 Gatorade... laced with Miralax 😉

Do You Dance In The Car?

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Hell yeah... and it goes a lot like that, Jackie Chan and all.

Favourite Animal?

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Always a tough one for me as I like all - no, most - animals. I'm partial to sharks (particularly mako) and elephants (particularly African).

Do You Watch The Olympics?

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Ohh yessssss!

What Time Do You Usually Go To Bed?

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What's this bed you speak of?

Are You Wearing Makeup Right Now?

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Only if you count what's leftover from yesterday... 

Do You Prefer To Swim In A Pool Or The Ocean?

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Definitely the ocean... I want to go to there!

What Was The Last Thing You Ate?

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Well, there is no GIF for chewable vitamins... ;)

Bottled Water Or Tap Water?

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I don't even like the idea of bottled water... I'll drink tap if I have to, but I usually need to put some lemon or something in it to keep it down.

What Makes You Happy?


Seeing my family happy makes me happy.

Did You Like Swinging As A Child? Do You Still Get Excited When You See A Swing Set?

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Heck yes - to both! If I'm at a park, and there are swings available, I'm getting on one.

Do You Work Better With Or Without Music?

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Definitely WITH

Do You Make Your Bed In The Morning?

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Rarely anymore. We have a low low low platform bed, and my body just hates it down there!

Do You Like Your Music Loud?

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Usually, yes!

Do You Fear Thunder & Lightning?

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Nah, not as an adult. I enjoy it.


Oh! I thought I had lots more to go, but I copied/pasted the quiz twice. Silly.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a happy holiday if you're celebrating!

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Saturday 9: Mighty Clouds of Joy

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Welcome, welcome. Grab a cup of tea or whatever is your pleasure, and have a seat. I'm a verbose one; I don't know the meaning of 'succinct,' other than to know I am not it!

Make sure you link up here if you want to join in the S9 fun this weekend!

Grab your seatbelts; here we goooooo!


Saturday 9: Mighty Clouds of Joy (1974)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
(for the record, myself am unfamiliar, but I usually am with the songs chosen.)

1) This song celebrates serenity. Are you feeling peaceful this morning?

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No. (It's 8:44 PM on Friday night here, btw.) I'm feeling heartbroken at present.

2) The lyrics include allusions to sun and clouds. How does the world look where you are? Is it sunny or cloudy?

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It was 81ºF out during the day, albeit quite a cloudy one. It was sweltering in our house, which still gets cold at night. I had my daughter check the thermostat: it was reading 78ºF in here!

3) This week's featured artist, BJ Thomas, is in the Grammy Hall of Fame for another hit record that uses weather as a metaphor, "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head." Make up a Hall of Fame that you believe you should be inducted into. (For example, Crazy Sam has inducted herself into The Meme Mistress Hall of Fame for her service to Saturday 9.)

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In recognition of "Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head," which was the song my childhood jewelry box played, similar to the one above, given to me as a very young Melanie by my sweet mother; which I played repeatedly throughout my childhood; which I played over and over and over again the days after she died on April 9, 1984; which I gave to one of my daughters several years back; which said daughter quickly destroyed shortly afterward... LOL! #Classic ...I would like to create a Mother Hall of Fame and suggest my mama as the first inductee.

4) When Crazy Sam hears this song, she always sings along ... loud. Is there a song you simply cannot resist singing along with?

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Just Kidding!!!

I know almost every word to Salt 'n Pepa's "None of Your Business!" LOL. ahhh... #CollegeDaze

5) BJ Thomas has performed this song at The Grand Ole Opry. The Opry has been broadcast on the radio every week since 1925, nearly 95 years ago! Of course, back in the 1920s, radio was the only broadcast media. Today we have other choices. Is listening to the radio part of your daily routine? 

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 Usually in the car only - but I've gotta have noise, so if the tv is down and no one is home, I crank up the tunes on my computer speakers, y'all. ;) Yesterday (Thursday, that is) was the first warm enough day to drive around town in the car with the radio up, the windows down, our hair blowing all around, and Sophia and I singing along at the top of our lungs. That's, like, one of my favorite things on the planet to do. I swear.

6) Though their dress code is lenient, country music fans who attend the Opry for a live show are warned: "Just remember, there's one rule we take very seriously here at the Grand Ole Opry -- you must wear something." Easter Sunday is a day many of us dress up. What will you be wearing today?

Today, or Sunday...?

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I'll just say what I'm wearing now, at 1:37 AM on Saturday now (I took a break to do some errand-running): besides skivvies, I've got on black capris, a pale pink tank top, and a red and black shawl.

7) Easter is recognized as the start of the Spring season. What are you looking forward to this spring?

I know it's late in the season, but technically it will still be Spring: We're closing on this gorgeous house on June 3rd! (The other one failed inspection, in case I didn't mention it here already.)

8) Lilies are popular at Easter. Do you have a favorite flower?

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Well, my absolute favorites are the tiger lilies, but I love it when our tulip bloom in the yard!

9) Which would rather find in your Easter basket: yellow marshmallow chicks (aka Peeps) or a plastic egg filled with pennies?

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Ewwww, not Peeps! I have never liked those. Since I budget our income down to the penny, I'd rather have the latter!


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Another fun one, Sam! Thanks for that. Happy Easter to all who celebrate!



Sunday Stealing: Fill In The Blanks

Hey guys! I almost forgot about Sunday Stealing. Sophie's birthday yesterday messed me up! Whoops. Link up here if you'd like to play along. So here we go:


It's always nice when I have enough money to pay ALL the bills!


Oh, that
husband of mine. He's soooo naughty, and I cannot tell you why this time!


It's a sure sign of
either a full or new moon when my Lyme Disease kicks into high gear and knocks me flat on my back.


Are we having
pizza again??! (This is what I hear from my kids sometimes. Who gets sick of pizza?! I'm from New York. There is no getting sick of pizza.)


My heart
is full when my family is happy.


Do you believe in
ghosts? I don't think I do!


I'm a


I was
pregnant forever. And ever.


hate it when the moon is full.


When we
got married, I knew he was God's gift to me.


Carvel ice cream cake is the best!


Underneath it all
I think there is plenty of good left in the world.


Oh! And thanks for
coming to visit me even though I suck and planning my time well enough to return the favor. I love you guys.


And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to
gathering my coupons to shop for dealz [lol], tomorrow my plans include um, finishing up our taxes in the nick of time [oops] and Sunday, I want to welp, today is Sunday, but next Sunday is Easter, and there will be church, and eggs, and baskets o' fun!


That was fun. Sorry no pictures. I hadda get it done in time! 😉


Saturday 9: Easter Parade #DoubleHeader

Hi, everyone! I'm going to do this week's and last week's Sat9s together, so bear with me. I wasn't able to participate last week because I was again in the hospital with pneumonia, and I missed you guys! But I'll do the current week's edition first. Link up here if you want to play along this week!


Saturday 9: Easter Parade ("In Your Easter Bonnet") (1948)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This song is about a special Easter hat to be worn with your "Sunday best." Will you be getting dressed up this weekend?
Throwback to Easter 2015 or 2016 in Miami, Florida - when I could still get away with dressing the kids like that! ;)
We'll probably dress up, but not too fancily. Our church is pretty casual, but I still want to look nice for this major holiday in our religion. No more matchy-matchy for the kids, though. Fifteen-year-old Jack would never wear a bowtie for me again, and forget about dresses on Sophia! I might see if we can cook up some fun duds from our awesome local thrift shop, ReStyle, on Friday or Saturday.

2) Judy Garland's partner in this movie was supposed to be Gene Kelly, but he was unavailable because he broke his ankle playing volleyball. Have you ever lost a big opportunity because of a medical issue?
A lot, actually. Most recently, while I was stuck in the hospital desperately wanting to be at Sophia's first Idaho showjumping entry, her dad was there taking care of everything for her. It broke my heart not being there for my kid. That's my job!! I cried a lot that day in the hospital, and I cried again tonight editing the pictures Rob took from it. 
3) Garland later confessed that, at first, she would have preferred Kelly because she knew him well and was intimidated by Fred Astaire. By the end of filming, she found she enjoyed Astaire a great deal. Can you think of a friend with whom you had a rocky relationship at the beginning?
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Several! When my son Jack turned a year old, I joined a community of moms online at what we now affectionately call "p.com." I hit it off with a bunch of the moms right away, but with many others, of course, we rubbed each other the wrong way. Fast-forward 14 years, and I'm still friends with quite a number of moms in both camps on Facebook. And I've met a few in real life, too.
4) This song was inspired by New York City's Easter Parade. Does your community host a similar event?
I wish, just so I could have a good excuse to rock a kick-ass bonnet like this one! ;) But there are a number of Easter egg hunts to attend, and one is a night-time flashlight egg hunt geared just for the teenagers. Oh yeah, you know I'm dragging my three teens there!

5) The biggest chocolate Easter egg was made in Italy, measured 34 feet tall and weighed a staggering 15,000 lbs. Do you thinks it's possible to have too much chocolate?
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Pre-gastric bypass nine years ago, I would have said "no way" to the idea of too much chocolate. Now, however, I have just gotten sick off eating a Nestlé and, well, also a Nestlé 100 Grand bar in quick succession. Was it worth it? Hard to say. Maybe not. But if it were one of the now-extinct Lindt Peanut Butter Lindor Truffles, I'd eat them by the fistful. Damn shame they discontinued those delicious confections. Yesterday, I discovered the Dove® Peanut Butter Eggs are a satisfying substitute. I ate the whole bag. Sorry, kids. At least I saved one more bag for their Easter baskets. And yes, I do still make Easter baskets for my teenagers. So? :p
6) Jelly beans are also popular this time of year. A 2013 poll tells us that red is by far the favorite jelly bean color, with yellow a distant second. Do you have a preference?
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I have never, ever in my entire life been a fan of jelly beans. I do, however, enjoy the various flavor names of Jelly Belly® jelly beans!
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And have you ever heard of the game BeanBoozled by Jelly Belly®? It's so funny: you divvy up a box of mystery jelly beans and then, long story short, when it's your turn to eat one, you don't know if it'll be yummy or a gross flavor! We've played it as a family twice. I think I actually sat it out both times to play shutterbug, but I remember one of the yucky flavors was "Dead Fish," and another was "Stinky Socks"!!! How nasty is that?! Ha. So funny. Would probably be a good drinking game, too... ;)

7) We've been talking a lot about sweets this morning. The only holiday that generates more candy sales is Halloween. When do you eat more candy: Easter or Halloween?

8) Easter is considered the season of rebirth. What makes you feel refreshed or rejuvenated?
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A good nap. And nowadays, I take one nearly every day. Sometimes two. Occasionally three. Eating generally makes me tired. It's supremely annoying.

9)  This year, April Fool's Day happens to coincide with Easter Sunday. Do you expect to fall victim to any pranks this weekend?
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Probably. I have three naughty kiddos and an even naughtier husband, so I don't expect to get away from Sunday unscathed by pranks. I have, however, cooked up what I hope is a humorous scheme to be carried out by my two daughters. More on that after Sunday...!
And now, since I missed last week's fun due to being stuck in the f*****g hospital once again, I'm gonna do it now. And you will read it, and ye shall enjoy. The link is here if you're wanting to make a late entrance to that party with me, too.
Sweet Disaster (2016)

Unfamiliar with this week's song. Hear it here.

1) This video begins outside a convenience store with a sign advertising beer, produce, lotto and an ATM. Will you buy beer, produce or a lotto ticket this weekend? Will you visit an ATM?
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I will be visiting an ATM this morning, or Saturday morning at the latest, for sure. I might buy some beer for Hubs' Easter basket (I'm making him one for the first time this year, because I'm fun, weird, and random like that). I'll definitely buy a ton of produce, since it's time for my monthly grocery shopping haul time, and being semi-vegetarian, produce is kinda required! Hubs likes lotto scratch-off tickets, so there may be some of that going on, too. Haven't decided yet.

2) As the video progresses, fountain drinks and donuts are consumed. When you stop for a snack during a road trip, what do you usually grab?
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For me, there will definitely be a Diet Coke® involved. (If you're into these, have you tried the new special flavors yet? I've obviously had the regular kind, and I've also tried Twisted Mango and Zesty Blood Orange. They were yummy, and I don't normally like mango anything! I'm still getting around to the Ginger Lime and Feisty Cherry varieties. Anyway...) It may actually involve either a ginormous fountain Diet Coke, or if that's not available, about four 20-oz bottles of Diet Coke®. I sip constantly and don't like stopping every 20 minutes, y'know? As far as snacks go, that can vary widely for me but now that Sabra has those hummus and pretzel cups, I might get one of those and or a couple of mozzarella cheese sticks. That was a pretty involved answer, so I'll spare you what the other four members of Team Odette might get! (Except to say that for Jack, Pepperidge Farm® Cheddar Goldfish® crackers are a given.)

3) The lyrics reference "a river of champagne." When did you last enjoy a spot of the bubbly?
Well, I bought two bottles of champagne for Christmas, but I was in the hospital for that day. So then I decided we should have it on New Year's Eve instead, right? But I was back in the hospital for that day, too. Finally, on Take Three, we had our champagne on our 17th anniversary: January 2nd, 2018. Must have been in the cards! I think that was the last time I have imbibed in any way.

4) The end of the video features sci-fi/horror images. Is that a genre you enjoy? If not, what kind of books do you read most often?
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That's a flat-out "no." I don't like either sci-fi very much or, especially horror. I loathe it. Jodi Picoult is my favorite author, but I'm behind on reading her books. Maybe I'll hit up the library this weekend and rent one I haven't read before. My mother-in-law turned me on to Jodi years ago (first-name basis because we're cool like that), and I'm so glad she did!

5) The trio that makes up The Dreamers are dyed-in-the-wool New Yorkers. If you could live in any city or village in the world, would you move or stay right where you are?
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When I was in my late teens and early 20s, before I got married and became a mom, it was absolutely on my Bucket List to live in a chic Manhattan apartment for at least a year. That'll probably never happen now.  I don't know if I'd move from Boise without very good reason right now, but there are still plenty of cities I would want to visit for a lengthy run. Tokyo, Paris, Sydney, Prague... just a few names that come to mind. I love frequent changes of scenery!

6) The Dreamers describe themselves as "impractical."  What about you? Do you consider yourself practical or impractical?
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I'm maybe an even mixture of both. And I'm a proud idealist, much more so than a realist. I'm an optimist by nature, rarely a pessimist except when my Bipolar Disorder leads me to a more depressed side (specifically, lately, when it comes to my health). But rose-colored glasses? I'll take all the pairs.

7) They also won't "listen to those who doubt" them. Sometimes we find the ones who doubt us most are ourselves. What about you? Are you confident, or do you suffer from self-doubt?
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I've been very self-conscious my whole life. It's irritating. I've been in therapy for a number of years and still haven't found the key to building up my own confidence. Not that I'll give up; I'm just not there yet, frustratingly enough...

8) Do you often remember your dreams?
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I remember certain dreams more than others; usually the recurrent ones stick with me. I often dream about flying; I have my whole life. Those are usually my favorite, except for the ones where I'm flying away from something to escape a scary situation. Often, though, I'll forget the dream but remember the impact on my mindset for the entire day.
9) Random question: Would you rather get $100 today, or $250 on this date a year from now?
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Circumstances exist that lead me to go for the instant-gratification answer. Gimme the $100 bucks, por favor!
So, that was fun, and now I'm done. More later; I have so many posts I'm behind on and never get to for one reason or another. Tonight, though, I am determined!

Praise The Lord; He Is Risen!!

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I wanted to take some Easter portraits of the kids at church this morning (Vineyard Boise), but Jack completely forgot to wear his Easter clothes, and I didn't notice until we were walking into the sanctuary. Oops! So, here are a few shots from in front of our house after I requested he made him go in and change. Hee:

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LOL! That girl! She cracks me up. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you all had a lovely holiday with your loved ones.


Sunday Stealing: The Pumpkins On Easter Meme

Hey, you there: Happy Easter & thanks for joining us in this fun weekly meme. Link up here if you'd like to join us today!

Cheers to all of us thieves!


Sunday Stealing: The Place for Pumpkin Questions

1. If "happiness" was the global currency, what kind of work would make you a gazillionaire? 

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Huh. Would you look at that? If I had taken time to think about it, I might have said one answer or another, but instead my fingers had me googling for "Happy Little Kids." I had such a great time with the youngest schoolchildren when I subbed the K-2 grades. So maybe after my own are grown, I'll go back and get a degree in Early Childhood Education and become a kindergarten teacher. Not my plan at all!

2. Would you break the law to save someone you loved?  And, if so, how far would you be willing to take it?

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I'm not sure... When one of my three cubs gets hurt, Mama Bear comes out raging. I'd probably take it as far as I needed to go to ensure his/her/their safety.
3. Is it possible to really know the truth without questioning it first?

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I have to say "no," because so many times, I have been so sure right off the bat of the truth and then the evidence showed itself to me and proved me wrong. So nope! I don't think you can!
4. Do you remember that one time . . . oh, about 5 years ago or so . . . when you were really, really upset?  Does it really matter now? If not now, then when?

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No, it doesn't. Things happen to me, and I have to step back and think, "in five years, in five days, in five minutes, is this really going to matter?" And if the answer is no, then I try, try, try to let it go. I'm not good at this, but I practice it and teach my kids to practice the same.

5. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?

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There is some neutral ground, but yes, I believe you can truly judge what is really good, and what is really evil. If you can't tell, are you lying to yourself about that?
6. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

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Pretty much that. ;-P
7. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?

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Oh, I'm lazy as hell. I don't mind the work I have to do, I'd just rather have less work to do, and more time to play! (I think?)

8. Would you rather be an anxious genius, or a tranquil fool?

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I'm already the former, if test results and medications prove right. Why not try the other for a change?

9. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?

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I'm equally worried about both. I'm an equal opportunity worrier, honeybuns. (Those are my hilarious pups, Tapioca and Paco, at the dog park today... their faces just crack me up.)
10. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

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You know, I have been in constant, chronic pain for about three years straight as of this month. I told my dad just last night that, at only 40 years old, I feel completely robbed of my life. But then I had a moment today at church, or several long moments, where I felt connected directly with God. And the pastor (of a huge church, mind you) and a man named Robert prayed over me, and while they prayed, I felt the pain I've felt constantly for 36 months just dissipate completely from my body. And I have been in no pain ever since. So... 20 years old is my answer, instead of 80. I forget all the time how old I am (despite the pain) and think I'm still back in my college years sometimes. Those were good years. Good years.



Saturday 9: This Is The Way The Bunny Hops

Howdy, folks! It's Good Friday, and Easter is this Sunday. Won't you join us in this fun weekly meme by linking up here?


Saturday 9: This Is the Way the Bunny Hops
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) Why do you suppose there are so many songs about Santa Claus, yet very few about the Easter Bunny?
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I have several theories, but I guess I'll go with the more optimistic viewpoint that people, both secular and religious, get into the spirit - the mood, if you will - of  Christmas in a way that for the secular, Easter just does not equate.

2) This song was written by The Kiboomers, two early education teachers who are passionate about the power of music to help kids learn. Tell us about a teacher who had an impact on your life.
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My high school Spanish teacher, Señora O'Toole, was instrumental in both making me understand the fundamentals of this beautiful language as well as making me feel understood as an abused kid, and later now that we are still friends both in real life and in Facebookland, an adult who has grown out of that abuse. She really cared about me, and she still does. That really meant a lot to me. I'm so proud that Señora is now Doctora, having gone one to finish her Ph.D. helping other people learn about how others learn languages. She's an amazing lady!
3) Legend has it that the Easter Bunny was introduced to America in the 1700s by German immigrants. These children waited for a magic creature who left colored eggs. Today's kids dye Easter eggs themselves. When did you most recently color eggs?
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Last Easter. Now that my kids are 12, 14, and 15 years old, they have decided that they do not need to continue the tradition this year. To be perfectly honest, I'm not totally heartbroken about it... I think!
4) The Easter Bunny is usually shown carrying a wicker basket filled with eggs, toys and candy. Is there any wicker in the room you're in right now?
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Shit, there's hardly anything in the room I'm in! But do I want this wicker patio furniture set from Wilton & Fisher? Why yes, yes I do.

5) While marshmallow Peeps are manufactured all year around, they are most popular at Easter. Do you prefer the chicks or the bunnies?
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My kids all love Peeps, but neither Hubs nor I am a fan. Ew. My oldest, Chloë, adores them, and she found a 24" tall yellow stuffed Peep bunny at Walgreens the other night. She covets this thing, though I could not afford it. I'd love to be able to get it for her, but alas... nyet.

6) A little time in the microwave can do ugly things to a Peep. Have you ever nuked a Peep?
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Hee! No, I haven't. I think I will. ;) Actually, now that you mention it, we made microwave Peep S'mores one year... so YES, I have nuked a Peep.
7. Would you prefer a hollow or a solid chocolate bunny?
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Is that a trick question? SOLID, duh, because I get more! :D And if it's not a Lindt or a Dove chocolate, well... we'll have issues. ;) 
(Psych. Chocolate is freakin' chocolate. Just gimme.)

8) A traditional American Easter dinner usually includes glazed ham or roast lamb. Which would you rather have as your main course?
Pea falafel
Ugh. I would neither eat ham nor lamb. No, I'd much rather have this dish of pea falafel, roasted carrots and fennel, beet hummus, and salad with toasted pita chips; I made it the other night and it was SO good, I have already made the pea falafel twice since then!

9) Easter is considered the season of rebirth. What makes you feel refreshed or rejuvenated?
A good sleep, followed by a good, cleansing shower is what I need. Ahhh...
Thanks for stopping by, and HAPPY EASTER!!

Easter 2016

Happy [belated] Easter!

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I had an upset tummy all weekend, so we didn't make it to church or to a friend's house for lunch as planned. Boo! But of course, we still had to get the kiddos all gussied up for pictures and a basket hunt.

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Jack's clothes came from Gymboree, while the girls' dresses came from Burlington Coat Factory. I just love all of them. And the kids, too! ;)

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I didn't want a lot of candy this year, so I filled their baskets [okay, buckets] with fun stuff like Silly Putty, tricky puzzles, and other such novelties.

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Oh, and they each got silly face masks with goofy teeth.

Hope you all had a wonderful day with your loved ones!


Sunday Stealing: Easter Meme

Happy Easter!! Link up here if you're playing along today!

Easter Meme

Stolen from: The Archives

1. Five Things I have A Passion For (not necessarily in any order): 


a. My children


b. My husband and our marriage (you're welcome for the gratuitous additions of Chloë & Otto)


c. Food: cooking, baking, eating...

Knit & Crochet

d. Fiber arts: all things yarny, knitty, and as I did here, crochet-y ;)

e. Environmentalism

2. Five Things I'd like to Learn Before I Die: 

a. Another language, aside from English and Spanish

b. How to spin my own yarn from raw fibers

c. Patience in all things

d. Giving up being a control freak

e. The secret to successfully growing plants - I have the blackest thumbs ever!

3. Five Things I say A Lot: 

a. "WTF?!" or "I don't know WTF you're talking about," often to Hubs, who speaks in esoteric military terms after serving 20 years in the US Navy! ;)

b. "LOL." As in, I actually say it like, "lollll." It amuses me to see my teen and tween kids roll their eyes when I do that.

c. Be "nice, kind, sweet, and loving!" is the mantra I preach to my kids, having tried over the years to instill the practice of the Golden Rule in them.

d. "Whatever." Just, whatever, dude.

e. "I love you." I say it all the time, to my kids and Hubs. ALL. The. Time.

4. Five Books and/or magazines I have Read Lately (we'll go with magazines, since books are a far reach for me lately): 

a. Martha Stewart Living magazine is my favorite!!!

b. Family Fun, which I used to devour as readily as Martha Stewart's mag; I do it a little less so now that the kids are older...

c. I really like Prevention; it's easy to read, with lots of short little blurbs that I find helpful in my daily life.

d. Reader's Digest has been my old standby favorite since I found dozens of issues in my grandparents' condo as a wee lassie.

e. People is my semi-guilty pleasure, though I haven't made as much time for it lately.

5. Five Favorite Movies: 

a. Grease, tied for first with:

b. Dirty Dancing

c. Finding Nemo, because I am sooo Dory; I cannot wait until Finding Dory comes out! I am SO there.

d. Ferris Bueller's Day Off is always a fun one.

e. I loooove Steel Magnolias.

6. Five Places I would like to Travel To:

a. Australia

b. Japan

c. Venezuela... and really, all over South America

d. Hawaii, since all I've seen of it is the Honolulu airport

e. The Galapagos Islands


Well, that was fun. I hope you enjoyed the visuals!


Saturday 9: I Don't Know How To Love Him

I missed last week's entry; did you miss me? Link up here if you're playing along this weekend!

Saturday 9: I Don't Know How to Love Him (1971)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.


1) This song is from Jesus Christ, Superstar. Though now a beloved classic, the play was controversial when it first premiered. Can you think of something else that originally made people uncomfortable, but went on to be accepted?

Yeah, half the shit I say in a conversation. ;)

2) Jesus Christ, Superstar was originally developed as a "concept album," a collection of songs written to sequentially tell the story of The Crucifixion and Resurrection. Do you remember the first album you bought? Did you download it, listen to it on a CD player, your cassette deck, or record player?

I'm pretty sure the first cassette album I bought was Milli Vanilli's All or Nothing tape. I have no shame; I still love "Blame it on the Rain."

3) When the album's songs were performed live in concert at the Pennsylvania Civic Arena, producers decided to stage it as a play and the rest, as they say, is history. Tell us about a really good idea you've had recently.

This Spring, I have decided to breathe new life into our apartment by using the Japanese Konmari approach to organization and decluttering. We moved here exactly three years ago from two larger houses in Virginia, both with a larger footprint than this teensy space, so we still have a LOT of extra stuff. Anyway, when I got to the "bags and purses" category on the Konmari checklist, I cleaned out all my unused purses and found a gift card that still had $20 on it. Woohoo!

4) Jesus Christ, Superstar is a truly international phenomenon. During a revival tour that began in 2011, it's been a hit with audiences in the United States, Canada, Britain, Ireland, Brazil, Hungary, India, New Zealand, Italy, France, Mexico, Chile, Bulgaria, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Iceland, Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Greece, Australia, The Philippines, South Africa, Panama, Colombia, Croatia, Bolivia, The Netherlands and Portugal. Besides the United States, which of those countries have you visited?

Of those countries, I have been to: Canada, Italy, France, Mexico, Greece, Panama, and Croatia. You don't normally think of Croatia as a beautiful Mediterranean destination, but I can tell you that Dubrovnik is absolutely beautiful.

5) Peeps are big sellers every Easter. Would you rather have yellow chicks or pink bunnies?

And that is my vote. Ditch the Peeps, and hand me some Cadbury Mini Eggs, please!

6) Jelly beans are also popular this time of year. One theory says they were introduced in Boston during the 19th century. What else comes to mind when you think of Boston?

Oh gosh. I think of the Boston Marathon attacks, baked beans, the Mother Church of Christian Science (which is the religious sect in which I grew up), the Tea Party, visiting there with my mother when I was very small...

7) We've been talking a lot about sweets this morning. The only holiday that generates more candy sales is Halloween. When do you eat more candy: Easter or Halloween?

I try not to eat too much candy on either occasion, but I still do. I bet I eat more on Easter, because of the afore-mentioned Mini Eggs. YUM!

8) Easter lilies will adorn many churches this Sunday. What's your favorite flower?

Another lily: the Tiger Lily is my favorite flower. So much so, that Rob and I named our first purebred German Shepherd Dog after them. She was a good pup.

9) Easter is considered the season of rebirth. What makes you feel refreshed or rejuvenated?

A good shower, followed by diffusing my Young Living Peppermint essential oil throughout the house. Sometimes, I massage some into my forehead, neck, and wrists, too - it really wakes me up!


Thanks for visiting!


Wordless Wednesday: Pinto's Farm Visit

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This week, I'm going to be posting pictures from our trip to Pinto's Farm, here in Homestead, Florida, in the agricultural area known as the Redlands. We went for an Easter weekend about 10 days ago, and I've been sadly behind in blogging about it (and in general). There are a TON of photos, so feel free to skim as I plan on letting them (mostly) speak for themselves!

Feeling Wordless today, too? Link up HERE with 5 Minutes For Mom!

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Needless to say, we had quite a bit of fun! Thanks for stopping by!


On The Subject Of Dyeing... Easter Eggs!

Dyeing Eggs

I know, I know. Easter isn't for 2½ more weeks. But all the memes on Facebook and Pinterest get my craft bug itchin' to do something new, and after all, eggs were on sale!

I may have overbought? That's five dozen eggs, folks - minus the three I broke while hard-boiling them. Oh, don't worry. Those were still boiled and eaten, too!

Now you may say, and rightly so, that hard-boiling isn't necessary because the raw eggs will take dye better than boiled ones. While that may be true, I'm glad I did decide to boil every last egg. Sophia alone must have dropped a half-dozen eggs in the Egg-Dyeing Skirmish of 2016!

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The first undertaking involved about a dozen eggs and a dozen bottles of nail polish. Rob and I ran to CVS, where the cheapest bottles of polish were 99¢ Wet 'n' Wild bottles, also on sale this week for Buy One, Get One Half-Off. Yes, I bought an odd number, which ruined my bottom line, but no signs were on the WNW stuff. Oh well. There were $1.49 bottles of another brand, Eternal, so I snagged up five of those to bring our total to an even twelve and have more color variation for the kids.

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One thing I did not remember to buy was nailpolish remover. Make sure you get it, kids, because this project is messy.

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Jack did not want to participate, as he doesn't like arts and crafts, and he doesn't like being messy. That left the girls and me. I let the lady-babies divvy up the bottles into three groups of four or four groups of three; they chose the latter. For instructional material, I recommend this post on the blog Hello Glow. Or this post, 'cause I'm gonna tell you how we did it. First up: neon green, glittery silver, and tangerine.

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I didn't want to sully any of our good Fiesta dishes, or ruin our towels, so I had to go the dreaded disposable route for this project: paper towels and plastic Solo cups, along with Dixie plates and bowls. We ended up using six different cups for this project, as the girls ended up wanting to change their color combinations after the first go-round. You'll want to fill the cups pretty full with room temperature water. Too cold or too warm, and the nail polish drops right to the bottom and ruins a good time.

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I drizzled the three different colors chosen in the top of the water, and Sophia decided to have the first crack at it. She held the egg at the poles and tried rolling it around in the water. That... semi worked, but it only covered half the egg. I needed to add more paint to the cup and let her dunk the other half.

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Also, unlike us, maybe use breathing masks and do this outside or in a well-ventilated area, because the fumes were noxious. All three of us were complaining, but all three of us were too stubborn to have done anything about it. So take my advice with a grain of salt.

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Chloë chose the next color combination of glittery violet, raspberry, and shimmery gold.

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I also bought toothpicks for spider-webbing the colors together, but as you'll see later, that proved to be an unnecessary purchase. Also, the paint clings to the wooden stick, so it was doubly wasteful. And y'all know how much I truly hate waste!

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Oh yeah, also wear aprons or art shirts if you do this, because drips and dribbles will inevitably happen. And don't do it on your good dinner table unless, like ours, it already needs refinishing. Newspaper is your friend.

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See why the toothpicks are not necessary? For the third try of black, turquoise and purple, I just drizzled the nail colors in different swirly patterns. They pretty much stay put on the water's surface, so there is no worry that they will seep in and blend together.

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However, Chloë liked using the toothpicks, so whatever. Maybe get some if you have multiple kids and want to let them each try doing things her own way.

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Eggs starting to dry on the paper will stick. You could try spraying the paper plates, if you use them, with a little Pam or other cooking spray.

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The fourth color combo of yellow, baby pink and baby blue seemed to go on the eggs the best. It also poured out of the bottles more easily. For 50¢ more per bottle, it might be worth it to spring for a slightly better product.

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On the other hand, glitter did not go on the eggs well. And we emptied several of the twelve bottles of color I bought just for this product, so don't use your good manicure colors. Paws off my Jafra Nail Lacquers, ladies!

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I found our eggs didn't quite have the beautiful marbling off the ones on Hello Glow, but they still looked cool nonetheless. And I liked trying a new technique with the kiddos.

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This egg looked almost floral to me. Do you see it, too?

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One positive attribute of our interestingly-colored eggs: major SHINE factor!

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Sophia complained that her fingers were covered in polish, but she had a lot of fun just the same. Both girls agreed that this was definitely a repeatable process for future generations of eggs.

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Even Chloë, who also does not appreciate getting dirty and who is my perfectionist child, enjoyed this activity. I was mostly there to guide and take pictures, so I liked not having to get dirty myself! In other words, parents of toddlers may want to hold off on this one for a few years.

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After we had a little trouble with getting polish to stick to the eggs nicely, I reread the original Hello Glow blog post. I came back and told the girls to DUNK the eggs straight down and back up again, rather than roll the eggs in the top of the water/paint combination.

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That was the trick; it worked beautifully.

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It also led to even messier fingers!

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Yet another color combo

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Sophie lent a hand to her big sister in smoothing the polish around to the uncovered parts of her egg. Judging by the latter girls' expression, maybe this wasn't entirely appreciated help...!!

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Sophia's finished nailpolish eggs

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Chloë's decorated eggs


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Next up, we tried the shaving cream method of dyeing eggs. You can read more about it here on Crafty Morning.

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For this project, I bought the cheapest can of shaving cream - not gel - at CVS for a couple of bucks, and the old-fashioned McCormick food coloring dropper thingies at Publix. I originally thought we'd use my good Wilton gel food colorings, because I have a ton of those sitting unused, but Crafty Morning specified not to use the gel kind. So I had to sent Rob out for the drops.

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Sophia used an old high-edged cookie sheet for this project, which was fine because I rarely use this one anymore anyway. I let her put drops of food coloring in however much and wherever she wanted it on the shaving cream.

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Chloë used our glass casserole dish, which was also fine since it wasn't permeable and any dyes would just wash off. (The spoons we used to rescue eggs from the first experiment with nailpolish didn't fare so well. I think we had to throw them away?)

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The girls didn't complain as much about their fingers getting dirty swirling around the dye in the shaving cream as they might have if the fingers weren't already covered in nail polish! You could use the toothpicks, or even straws, for this swirling, but it's not as fun!

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Okay, so Chloë wasn't as thrilled with the "fun" of this mess, but she got into it later on, I promise! ;)

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Don't swirl up your colors too much, or the color gets a little muddy, like greenish-brown. Which is not so pretty.

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Also, instead of shaving cream, you could use Cool Whip. You might want to do this anyway if you're prone to licking your fingers mid-project! But since egg shells are permeable, I read that the eggs do pick up the taste of the shaving cream and render them inedible. I don't know, though; Chloë ate several of them today with zero complaints. I haven't tried, because I am allergic to all but the Vegetarian 4 Grain eggs. :\

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So for this project, you just roll the egg around in the dyed shaving cream and then plop the eggs on a dish to dry for ten minutes. Easy-peasy.

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Of course, the eggs are covered with fluffy cream while they're drying, but this will come off later in the process. I let the ladies color as many eggs this way as they desired, and there were still plenty of cream and dye left in their pans for more eggs after that.

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The drying eggs set for ten minutes. I let the girls play Minecraft on their tablets to take a break, while I set the timer on the microwave. I had hope that the eggs would be this vibrant in the end, but...

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Ten minutes later, I had the girls dry off their shaving-cream caked eggs to see the final results.

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Sophia was a bit shocked at how pastel-y pale her egg turned out to be!

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True, some eggs turned out more colorized than others. I'm not sure why this is.

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I liked the cloudy nature of the eggs. Definitely an interesting method of egg-coloring.

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We went through a lot of paper towels for this project, I will say. Maybe 2/3 of a roll?!

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Sophia's finished shaving-cream eggs. Oops, looks like another cracked, dropped egg there on the bottom right. She had the dropsies!

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Chloë's shaving cream eggs, with that purty blue-green one in the center.


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We still had two dozen undyed eggs left over, and the girls wanted to try another method, so I decided to just go the McCormick food coloring route. We used the box and our own minds to make dusty pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. Creative thinkin' there, I know...

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Chloë's beautiful eggs - after only five minutes in the dye baths! White wine vinegar was what we used, instead of regular white vinegar. Maybe that's why they're so bright?

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Sophia had a lot of fun with this project, as did her big sis. In the end, we all had a great time, and I'm glad we decided to forego the PAAS kits this year. Much more fun and creative this way! Have you ever done any of these methods? What's your favorite way to color eggs?

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Easter Odette-Style, 2015


Saturday was all about egg-dyeing. 'Scuse the mess and the jacked-up kitchen table (it needs resurfacing), but life is crazy now.


Chloë declared the annual egg-dyeing day her favorite family activity of the year!


Even Jack got into the fun. We dyed three dozen eggs - one per kid.


The kids decided they wanted to do some hard-boiled and some raw eggs. I agreed, so we did half-and-half. Jack and Sophie each decimated a raw egg, and Chloë managed to demolish a hard-boiled egg. Not really a bad loss ratio, all things considered.


The finished products, which they insisted on keeping separate


On Sunday, before church, we dressed the kids in their Easter outfits and had them hunt for baskets outside. This was a new switch, but we didn't want Paco getting into any chocolate if we hid them inside!



Chloë was first to find her basket.


True to age order, Jack was second.


And shortly after that, Sophia found her basket last of all.


Happy Easter, Mom & Dad!


Each kiddo received one unique thing in his/her basket. Chloë's was a small Grumpy Cat stuffy. She's been having fun holding it up and saying, "NO" to every question asked of her, making me rethink that purchase! ;)


The kids each received an egg that was supposed to soak for a while in water, revealing a hidden treasure inside... Sophia couldn't wait, though, and smashed hers to reveal a bunny right off the bat. Par for the course!


Jack may or may not have been delighted to have LEGO City as his unique gift... I can't really tell, can you?


Discovering treasures


It always cracks me up when the kids get their Easter baskets and have a smörgåsbord of candy at their fingertips, and they have to sample each and every type right off the bat. No patience where sugar is involved!


I asked Sophia to show me her special item from her basket, which was really a bucket of sidewalk chalk, but she showed me her Extra Gum instead! Hahaha! GUM!!!


They each got a packet of finger lights, and these were found to be fun by all. It's been a day and a half, and I'm sure they're all lost by now! :/


Jack followed Sophie's lead and smashed his egg to reveal a chick. Kind of an ugly chick, if I do say so myself!


Daddy and Paco watched the festivities from the couch, their favorite spot to hang out together.




Silly fun with Easter grass "wigs"



Paco was content on this, his first Easter Sunday. Awww...

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you all had a great weekend with your loved ones!


Sunday Stealing: More Or Less Meme

Happy Easter! Link up here if you're playing along today.

The More Or Less Meme

Stolen from: The Archives
3 (or more, or less!) things... 

1. ...you cannot live without. 

Because I'm excluding people from the description of "things," I'm going to say:

(a) My Samsung Galaxy S5, to which I am joined at the hip,

(b) The Interwebs, without which I'd have to actually do stuff. I mean, though! And,

(c) Travel and adventure. I do love change, and that includes a frequent change of scenery. I have Le Wanderlust.

2. ...you CAN live without, but cannot seem to part with. 


(a) Diet Coke, I must reluctantly admit again;

(b) Chocolate (in very small quantities nowadays); and,

(c) More yarn than I'll ever be able to knit into a very useful thing.

3. ...you wish to accomplish this COMING week. 

(a) Get all the laundry put away. Y'all, we have SO MUCH CLOTHES, I have stuff not put away that doesn't even fit my kids anymore. And two of them barely even grow. I must tame this beast!

(b) Get Sophia and Chloë's bedroom clean, because Sophie's turning 10 next week, and her birthday surprise depends on their room being clean! And,

(c) Do the taxes, because that refund has been spent eleventeen different ways in my head, and I really oughtta, you know, ensure we get it.

4. ...you have accomplished this PAST week. 

Anyone with kids (or a husband) can totes relate to that ^^^, amIright? Anyway...

(a) I did all the dishes. More than once. It wasn't as big a job as the laundry, but nearly so;

(b) I brought Hubs and the other patients on his ward treats every single day I visited, including: TONS of magazines of all different genres to read, four dozen Krispy Kreme donuts (I checked; no diabetics there), and a whole batch of chocolate chip cookies. They LOVED me. I was asked multiple times to please bring more cookies, and someone even asked me to mend his pants! That cracks me up; and,

(c) I sucked it up, buttercup, and admitted I needed help. Hey, this is a huge feat for me.

5. ...on your holiday (or non-holiday) 'wish list.' 


(a) Yarn, yarn, yarn... but not the cheapy acrylic stuff. I'm allergic to that, and I don't just mean that because I hate the squeaky, scratchy, plasticky nature of it. I want the good stuff, man;

(b) A new bed. The whole kit 'n' kaboodle. Our mattress is crap, our frame is crappier, and we have no box springs. I would LOVE a nice, new beddy-bye;

(c) A new couch. I don't care if this is secondhand, but because Hubs does, I haven't gotten a used one on the cheap yet. The kids like to flop down HARD on the cushions when they're fixin' to chill, and the frame just completely gave up the ghost recently. The whole thing slants forward badly. What a mess!

6. ...you would like to change about yourself. 


(a) I would like to improve my bottom-of-the-barrel-scraping self-esteem. I'm no longer in a place where every little thing that goes wrong has me wanting to kill myself, which is aMAZing for me, but it would only take a day or two of missing my meds to feel that way again. And yes, this is closely related to my self-image;

(b) In conjunction with that, being manic-depressive. Officially, I am diagnosed as Bipolar I with Psychosis, which is as non-awesome an affliction as it sounds like if you were to actually Google that. And no, that does not mean I'm going to chop you (or anyone else) up with an axe; and,

(c) I'd like to be less selfish. I try and try and try to do things for the good of my husband, my kids, society in general, the planet, etc., but I so frequently fail to take my own self out of the equation. I'm very self-absorbed, I must say. :\

7. ...you like about yourself. 

(a) I'm freakin' hilarious (but you have to get to know me for that to come out);

(b) I'm smarter than it sounds like when I speak (because I talk a lot like Yoda on Speed); and,

(c) I give a shit. About everything. I mean, I really, really do.

8. ...you should be doing right now instead of what you ARE doing. 

(a) Did someone mention the laundry?!!!

(b) It's 6:11 AM currently on Sunday morning. I woke up at 2:30 AM or so and knew I would never get back to sleep, but Easter or no, that's what I should be doing.

(c) *Ahem* TAXES *ahem*

9. ...in your life that could use a little more organization.


(a) My schedule;

(b) My desk; and,

(c) My MIND. Oh, hell yes to that lastie!

Thanks for stopping by! Happy Easter!


Saturday 9: Easter Parade

So, I'm a day late and a dollar short. What of it? I was busy doing family stuff, but here I am now, so let's go! Link up here.

Saturday 9: Easter Parade ("In Your Easter Bonnet") (1933)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This song is about a special Easter hat to be worn with your "Sunday best." Will you be getting dressed up this weekend?


This is what the kids will be wearing today. We're going Miami-casual. I haven't decided on my attire yet. Yes, I'm one of those annoying moms who likes to coordinate the kids' holiday outfits.

2) Sam is not crazy about hats because she cannot stand "hat hair." Do you have a lot of hats or caps?

No, I don't feel I look good in them. I have one, maybe two, hats. I do have a lot of bandannas from I shaved my head a few years back, though!

3) This song was inspired by New York City's Easter Parade. Does your community host a similar event?

Not that I know of here in Homestead, but y'know, I should probably investigate that...?

4) On April 6, President Obama and Michelle will host lucky children for the 137th White House Easter Egg Roll. Which are your favorite eggs: colored hard-boiled eggs, chocolate marshmallow eggs, or plastic eggs with coins inside?

Hard-boiled, particularly deviled, of which I will be making tons this year. We dyed three dozen eggs yesterday! (Truth be told, though, I could make myself sick on Cadbury Mini Eggs!)

5) How about Peeps? Would you rather have yellow chicks or pink bunnies?

Negative. I'm not a marshmallow fan. My kids love Peeps, though, so they'll each be getting some in their baskets!

6) The biggest chocolate Easter egg was made in Italy,  measured 34 feet tall and weighed a staggering 15,000 lbs. Do you thinks it's possible to have too much chocolate?

Pre-gastric bypass surgery, I would've laughed at the notion. Now, though, I have to be very careful. Too much sugar (or fat), and I'm completely miserable. I don't mind this; it keeps me honest!

7) Jelly beans are also popular this time of year. A 2013 poll tells us that red is by far the favorite jelly bean color, with yellow a distant second. Do you have a preference?

My entire life, I have absolutely hated jelly beans. Too much sweetness. I also hate fudge and frosting, for pretty much the same reason. Blech!

8) We've been talking a lot about sweets this morning. The only holiday that generates more candy sales is Halloween. When do you eat more candy: Easter or Halloween?

It's probably equal. I was just lamenting to a Walgreens manager yesterday about all the holidays focusing on candy anymore. Hopefully, we are personally finding a proper balance, but it's a process!

9) Easter is considered the season of rebirth. What makes you feel refreshed or rejuvenated?

Nothing does me better than sleep and a good bath or shower. I do not feel like I can really have a day without it; even if I don't get in there until 10 PM, I simply MUST shower every day!

Now for Sunday Stealing! Happy Easter, y'all!


Sunday Stealing: The Easter Meme

Link up here if you're in the mood for thievery this weekend! ;)

The Easter Meme

{From the now-defunct blog of Tense Teacher}

What are your Easter traditions? 


Well, most importantly, we go to church and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Yup, we're one of those families. 

We also do the fun stuff, but it takes a distant backseat to what is, to us, the central reason for celebration.

Do you hard-boil and decorate eggs? 

I love dying eggs!

 I aspire to try and do something new and different (for Team Odette, that is) every year. I haven't decided on this year's method yet. The ones above were from five years ago; I found them on Google Images. I'm famous, y'all.

How do you decorate your home for Easter? 


I'm supposed to do what, now?


Do you make/buy special outfits for yourself and your kids on Easter? 


That was two years ago, so yeah, we normally do. However, we had just moved here before Easter 2013, and the occasion just kinda snuck up on me this year too,... so not always, I guess?

What is your favorite Easter dish?


Well, I was going to put up a picture of an earless chocolate bunny, because DUH! but then I scrolled down and found this gem of a ... oh, good hell, what is it?!!! I have completely lost my appetite now, and I already haven't eaten since sometime on Thursday!

When did you learn the truth about the Easter Bunny? 

It must have been pretty early on, because I don't even remember. I clearly remember when I found out about Santa, though. My kids learned early, too. I didn't want to foster that kind of fictionalization of some really important concepts, ya know? Call me a mean mom...

Do you spend Easter at home, on vacation, or with family? 


It's pretty much always just the five of us at home.

First one up on Easter morning? 

Come on, you knew that was coming, amiright? 

Go to mass or church? 


I'm not Catholic, but yeah. We'll be there.

What are your favorite Easter hymns and/or choir arrangements? 


I don't really have a favorite Easter verse.

How many Easter egg hunts does your family usually participate in? 


Maybe one, if that.

Do you make deviled eggs out of leftover Easter eggs? 


I'm looking forward to it!

Are you tired of eggs by the end of the Easter Season? 


Yah, you betcha!

Are Peeps good or gross? 


I'm really not a fan of the Marshmallow Peep, and furthermore, I have always hated jellybeans. Just blargh.

What company makes the best chocolate for Easter time? 


Lindt - no contest!

Lots of candy or not? 


For about the dozenth year in a row, I think I went a wee bit overboard... :-\

What is your favorite Easter candy? 


These things are the bomb-diggity. I could eat - and then hurl - my weight in them. I abstained completely this year, 'cause my 20th reunion is coming up!

Do you find plastic Easter grass hidden in places for months after Easter is over? 


Still finding it by the time the next Easter rolls around!

What’s your favorite color for fake grass?


Green! Everything else is just... weird.

Thanks for hopping by!



And Chaos Reigns Again.


So finally, on Tuesday - three weeks after our much-anticipated arrival back in the state of Florida - our household goods were scheduled to be delivered from the movers. Not only had we not seen everything from the Portsmouth house in almost a month, but some of that stuff hadn't been seen by us in almost a year, having left it behind at our Virginia Beach house! To say we were all excited would be an extreme understatement.


 They were scheduled to arrive between 0800 and 0900. By 0730, all the kids were up and dressed, and three cats were in each bathroom for the day. By 0800, everyone was outside, listening for the truck. By 0900, when the truck still hadn't appeared, this was Rob, reading and anticipating. I went and, having barely slept the previous night, flung myself down on the floor to catch a little shut-eye. The kids ... I don't know. Remember, I was trying to nap?


At 0906, Rob flung open the bedroom door and shouted, "THEY'RE HERE!!!" and it was everybody up an' at 'em all at once, in 57 different directions. WOOHOO!!! As much as I've enjoyed my aching joints from sleeping on the hard tile floor in sleeping bags for the prior to weeks, I was not sad to see our belongings again!


The truck was pretty cool, all opening on the side and being filled with pods like that, but Ricky, Brian, and Emilio were even better. They earned every penny; they were the best team we've encountered in this relay race to get our household from one state to another.


As they took things out of the truck, Rob parked himself outside with a pen and clipboard, checking everything off the packing list, while I directed traffic to the proper rooms. By 1030 or 1100, Team Ricky were ready for a lunch break, so this was the halfway point. I thought, this much stuff I could handle. I knew we had another truckful, but I didn't realize that it was two FULL trucks' worth of stuff. Uh muh guh, we have a lot of crap!


We started unpacking while they were on their break, so that they could hall away some of the boxes and packing material. When I uncovered our box full of spicy goodness, Chloë exclaimed, "Yeah! Now we can cook with some flavor again!" Dude. I know. Buh-bye, bland.


For Round Two, Rob and I switched places. Good for him, because he needed a break from the sun, and good for me, because (a) I didn't know where to put our rapidly accumulating junk and (b) I needed a break from our ecstatic children. And this was the result. It may not look like waaaay too much stuff (or maybe it does?), but trust The Me, it is. We will be paring down our belongings considerably in the coming days and weeks. Freecycle, Craigslist, and eBay, here we come.


I immediately set to work getting the rest of (or most of) our kitchen sitchyated, while I sic'ed Rob on getting us a table and chairs. We had left our kitchen table behind in Virginia Beach, so it has made a very welcome reappearance in our lives. Here's our first meal at a real table in almost a year! Sophia was missing because she crashed, worn out, on the couch until right after dinner.


On Wednesday, Rob and the kids busied themselves with their respective rooms, whilst I went in search of a doctor to prescribe my meds. I'd run out Tuesday night, and long story short, I still don't have my freakin' drugs. It's going to be an interesting remainder of the week if I don't get some side-Effexor in my system - and soon.

So after I got home, tears and all, from the Emergency Department, I started dinner. The kids had been promised some muffins for breakfast, but I didn't get up in time to make them, so that was dessert. Sophie's extra pudge is already coming off thanks to all the walking and swimming an' sech we've been doing lately. Rob and I have a few extra pounds from eating moving crap on us, too, so we're pleased to be in a healthier eating groove now.


Meanwhile, Jack's almost finished with his room! Poopyhead. (There's a mommy word for ya!) That child has always had a determined, one-track mind, so when he gets an idea for doing something in his head (in this case, rebuilding his LEGO sets), nothing deters him from doing it. Nothing.


Unearthing cherished items - like all my JAFRA pampering goodness, above - has been delightful. We've already filled three boxes full of things to get rid of, too, which is also delightful. I want to live as minimalistic a lifestyle as our packratting selves can endure. I do not want to end up on an episode of "Hoarders," you guys. Not now, not ever!


The kids were so excited to find the Jell-O Easter egg molds, and I just so happened to unpack some boxes of Jell-O just before that, so this'll be their snack for tomorrow. They've been bugging me since the first batch about when they'll be finished... patience is not the strong suit of any of that lot! They kinda get that from me. Heh.

So anyway, that's what's new on our end. And yourselves??


P.S. Happy <<ahem>> belated birthday to my Twin-Laws, Mike & Gail, and happy 38th birthday to my sister, Stacey Jean! Love you guys!! ♥

This Week In Pictures


April 2013 009

When last we left off here, it was Easter Sunday, so that's where I'll pick up. The kitty pictures in the last post were from then, too.  In the top of the pool picture, here, is Sophia swimming.  Whenever she has gotten in the pool here in Florida, she starts doing what we've termed the "Sophie Paddle" right away. She can do strokes that are more akin to real swimming, too, but she much prefers the Sophie Paddle. I was the same way, doggie paddlin' to and fro until I was forced into doing real strokes.

April 2013 011

In the top pic, I was on our 4th floor balcony looking down, on my way to visit the kiddos and Rob at the pool. He'd been doing that, whilst I pounded the internetty pavements looking for a place for us to live. Jacky was freezing when I arrived, so I collected him and headed back to our hotel room. We stopped at the fountain near the elevator for him to take a closer look; all three of my kids are suckers for fountains, like their mama!


April 2013 013

On Monday, sick of eating whatever we could get nearby in the way of fast food, we decided to go get groceries and do some more looking around. We headed up north to Coral Gables and South Miami, where I did a restaurant mystery shop and then to Publix in the 'Gables, where I used to work in my college days. Anyway, before we left, I gave Sophia her birthday present: a pair of "Chameleon" Crocs (they change color when wet) and a bunch of Hello Kitty Jibbitz. They had Hello Kitty Crocs, too, but none small enough for her feet. It's just as well; the Jibbitz are more visible on these!

The edges of the Chameleons are what change color, so when we encountered a post-rainshower puddle later at the hotel, she walked on the outside edges of her feet to get them to change colors! It was so funny, and terribly Sophia-y of her. I had a photo of it, but it seems to have disappeared, and I'm too lazy to go copy it from Facebook at the moment. (I'm Instagramming all my photos like crazy now, since I have no camera and just the iPhone 5. Woohoo for iPhone 5's awesome camera focus!)

April 2013 019

Before we headed into Publix, we ventured into the park to play while there was still sunlight. It's directly across from the store. New since I worked there are these exercise equipment pieces like bikes, bars, and more. Awesome additions, IMO! Chloë tried the bike first.

April 2013 021

This picture makes me giggle. After Chloë dismounted, Jack climbed up, but lo and behold, he's too short for the pedals. Heehee! Nothing stops my boy from doing what he wants!

April 2013 023

I wish I could've gotten a picture of Sophia climbing up on this thing in her usual gymnastic way, but no, she was too fast. She swung upside down, hooked her legs around, and only then pulled up the rest of her body. Typical.

April 2013 017

Just as the sun was going down, sans flash, I snapped this shot of Sophia squatting on a nearby machine. She's not wearing the Crocs, though. Weird. I know it was the same day...? She must have had them in the car and switched. Goof.

April 2013 025

My kids always gravitate toward the lobster tank in whatever grocery store they visit. Each time is like the first time; they're always so amazed. Future marine biologists??

What amazed me: I looked around to see if any of my old coworkers were there. Lo and behold, Richy Rich was still there, working in the Produce department. And he remembered me! He remembered my old traits, too, as he laughed with Rob about how fast I jibber-jabber away... he helped me pick out some fresh produce and even some cheese, when I couldn't decide what to pair with our loaf of Cuban bread. He wanted me to take a round of Brie, but I went for a cheaper ball of fresh mozz, in case you're interested. And it was delish!

April 2013 027

In the end, we feasted on fresh fruits, including apples, oranges, mango, and more, and veggies, including the teensiest "baby" carrots I've ever seen. We had shrimp with spicy cocktail sauce, Babybel and mozzarella cheeses with our Cuban bread, and strawberries and watermelon. The kids drank milk, while we sipped Asti Spumante. There's still some in the refrigerator; I wonder if it's any good... And we garnished it all with this giant aloe, uh, sprig. What do you call a piece of aloe, anyway?


April 2013 034

Having discovered sometime on Monday that there was no way we could afford to pay both for a hotel room and a security deposit on a place to live, and having just forked over a week's worth of hotel rent for a second place closer to where I was sure we'd end up, I really started scouring the 'net in earnest for a place. I posted an ad myself on Craigslist, and then started being very selective in the ads to which I responded with a message stating that we were a military family - guaranteed income! and the terms we needed. Only a couple people responded, and I made an appointment for 5:00 PM that evening for the one I liked best. The realtor met us there at 5 on the dot, and let us in. Rob liked it okay, and for me it was love at first sight. She strung us along as she filled out the application for us, and then she turned around, with the keys in her hand, and said she was going to trust us with "her" house and just had a good feeling about us. Then she handed me the keys, and I paid her the first month's rent. WE WERE IN LIKE FLYNN! WOOHOO!!!! A place to live, at last. It's in Homestead, Florida, in a beautiful neighborhood, close to US 1 and the Florida Turnpike and a host of great shops and stores. Awesome!

April 2013 036

Here are the kids celebrating in our gorgeous black-and-white kitchen!

♪ ♫ Celebrate good times, come on! ♫ ♪

April 2013 038

Our new master bedroom, ...

April 2013 040

...and the master bath.

April 2013 042

When Rob came back from the hotel room where he was recollecting our paid monies, he celebrated first with Chloë whilst I snapped this picture. I LOVE this photo! I look at it all the time. Even though my current laptop screen distorts the picture, it looks beautiful to me. ♥

April 2013 044

The kiddos standing in front of our new home

April 2013 046

And the view of the neighbors' building across the parking lot from ours, which looks just the same except more yellow.


No pictures from this day. I woke up at 0200 and started working on a grocery list, as we had very little left to eat and I did not want to spend our dollars on junk. I was able to get SOOOO much food at the Publix down the road, for not terribly much moolah, using deals and coupons. I love that store. And that one store in particular. It was clean and spacious, and every single person there that I encountered smiled, greeted at me, and generally passed my 'mystery shopper extraordinaire' tests. They all really seemed to enjoy their jobs. I think I'll put an application in there, having realized we're both going to have to work if we're going to be able to afford to live here!

After groceries, I took a nap. It was noon by then, and I was tired. Afterward, we went to Wags and CVS to get some more deals, since I'd worked on coupons for there, too. And we went waaaaay the hell out to the realtor's office to finish our HOA application. They required so much, and since we had already moved in the night before, the only reason I can think of was to get an extra $100 application fee out of us. Ah, well. Everywhere around here requires it, so there's no use trying to get out of that.



I had taken three or four mystery shops for this day, so we set off in the afternoon to take care of those. We aren't allowed to use the pool or playground until the HOA approves us, so when home, we've just been hanging out and putting what little we have away. And cleaning. We have been cleaning pretty much nonstop, since it rains every day and we have tile floors. After I finished two of the mystery shops, it looked like rain, so we headed to an indoor-outdoor mall just to walk around. It ended up only raining three small droplets, but on the plus side, we discovered we were in exactly the right place for my last shop of the day! The first shop we came across was It's Sugar, a mega-huge candy store.


Rob picked up this huge 5-lb jawbreaker. Can you imagine? How would you eat that?!


Sophia found this mondo wall of Peeps and stuffed Peeps toys. This picture only shows a small fraction of what was there. It was cray-cray!


We found so many humongo things in this store. It was ridick! This picture made an impression on my Facebook friends, too. It got tons of 'likes' and comments throughout the evening. Can you see why? Look at that stuff! It was a real-life Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs in there!


After we finished up at the sugar shack, we headed across the way to the Disney Store. I asked the guy about pricing for military families, since we plan to head up there and do that thang sometime during our existence here, but he had no clue. Then he gave the girls some coloring pages and crayons to color with, while I watched and the boys browsed. We had no intentions of buying things, and we didn't, since I'd barely brought enough money to do my shops.


Jack was so cute with these Wreck-It Ralph gloves. We'd just gotten the DVD in the mail before we left Virginia, from Amazon or something, so the kids watched it several times on the way down here and are now in love with the flick. He was all over the WIR display there. I love this face on him!


After the Disney Store, we meandered into Barnes & Noble to poke around. I remembered we needed to get Rob a study guide for the SAT, which he needs to get into his planned nursing course of study here at Florida International University. I found one and hoped they would give me my teacher's discount, but of course I didn't have any kind of ID they would use, and my ID in their system had expired several years ago. So... they refused. Bummer! But I was still able to get Rob the book, and now mah boy is gittin' ready for college!


I had a few quarters in my satchel, so we walked over to this carousel to let the kiddos take a spin. Only, when I put the quarters in and pressed "Start," the music started but the ride did not. I pressed "Start" a million times to no avail. Finally, I gave the ride a push in the right direction, and it went. Boom! Ta-da!


One fish for each kid - how convenient!


It's hard to see in this picture, but underneath the fish, behind that wall, was a sheer wall of water that the kids wanted to plunge into right away. Sophia would have if we'd blinked, too, I bet.


Daddy spinning Chloë, after spinning her younger brother and sister... we were all pretty wound up by that point!


I simply adore this photo of Sophia dipping her hand in yet another fountain, after the sun had gone down for the night.


Posing with my mini-me


I have absolutely nothing to say about this picture, other than we liked the structure behind them and we found another Johnny Rockets right next to it. Our new favorite restaurant... well, for that night. One of many, really.


Finally, Rob and the Bigs sat in the van in the parking garage watching another DVD - this time Frankenweenie, which we had also just gotten delivered from Amazon to the hotel room before we left it - while Sophia and I did the last mystery shop of the night. After buying Rob's SAT study guide, I didn't have enough money for all of us to do the shop, so I took Sophie since (a) she wanted it most, and (b) this is her birthday month. Made her happy!

After that, we headed home - home!! - and I got wicked dizzy, not for the first time. I realized it stopped when we were at a light, and at the gas station filling up - and started up again when I drove. It worsened when I accelerated. So now we need to figure that out and take care of yet another Melanie issue.


No pictures again from this day. I spent Thursday night through Saturday morning in "bed," such as it is (which consists of sleeping bags on the hard tile floor, yech), suffering from caffeine-withdrawal headaches and over-tiredness. So was Friday. Rob and the kids didn't do much other than finally go get the electric and water turned on in our name, now that we had the lease in our hands. We prayed and prayed, since we didn't have the money until payday, and God answered our prayers: they waived the security deposit since he was in the military, and put the $40-some connection fee toward the first bill. Hallelujah! Now if we could just find a ladder to borrow to put the new batteries we bought in the forever-chirping smoke detectors!

Well, I'm going to cut off here, 'cause I'm getting kinda tired and that means you're probably getting tired of reading! I'll post more later or tomorrow. Cheers to all!