Wednesday, July 30, 2008

a sine curve

Trigonomentry. Something I loved and aced. Geometry. Something I hated and barely passed. Physics. Something I loved and aced. Organic Chemistry. Something I hated and failed, and repeated, barely passed. Evolutionary Biology. Something I loved and barely passed. And on and on.

I feel like my life is a sine curve. The solid blue line in the middle up above. Notice that it dips up and down, above and below - zero. Maybe its like this for everyone. There are times in my life that I look around and, I have arrived. And then there are those times that I look around and think...oops, I did it again. But it changes. I won't be there for long, I know that soon again I will be back on the way up (or way down).

I guess, that's balance.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mmmm...Easy Italian Beef you can tell, this week, I'm not feeling the "creative juices"...So, I'm going to fill the space with another recipe. This one is easy and delicious.

CrockPot Italian Beef
(adapted from "Slow Cooker Italian Beef for Sandwiches"at

3 cans Beef Broth (I used low sodium)
1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
1 (3 pound) chuck roast

Place roast in slow cooker, pour salad dressing mixture over the meat, and pour beef broth over the meat.
Cover, and cook on Low for 10 to 12 hours, or on High for 4 to 5 hours. Shred meat with a fork about 1-2 hours before end of cook time. Serve on good, thick rolls w/ shredded Mozzarella cheese. There is lots of au jus left, so don't worry about having enough liquid. You could maybe even use 2 cans of Beef Broth, if you want. Or pour the extra on the dog's food, happy puppy.

P.S. I just realized that several posts ago I talked about becoming a vegetarian...and here I am posting a very Meaty recipe...well, I guess I'm not there yet. No excuses, no deep reasoning, I take it meal by meal. Ideally, I would only purchase meat from local, small farms. That is what I would really like to do, but seeing the prices at the Farmer's Market really blows my mind. So far I haven't really changed my ways. Ever growing, ever changing, we'll see what the future holds.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Another Notch in my lipstick case

This was just on the radio...and I couldn't resist. It has such awesome lyrics and what's not to love about Pat Benatar!

You're a real tough cookie
With a long history,
Of breaking little hearts like the one in me.
That's okay, let's see how you do it
Put up your dukes, let's get down to it.

Hit me with your best shot.
Why don't you hit me with your best shot.
Hit me with your best shot.
Fire Away!

You come on with a come on, you don't fight fair
But that's okay, see if I care.
Knock me down, its all in vain
I'll get right back on my feet again.

Hit me with your best shot.
Why don't you hit me with your best shot.
Hit me with your best shot.
Fire Away!

Well, you're a real tough cookie with a long history
Of breaking little hearts, like the one in me
Before I put another notch in my lipstick case,
You better make sure you put me in my place

Hit me with your best shot.
Why don't you hit me with your best shot.
Hit me with your best shot.
Fire Away!

Friday, July 18, 2008

A dream come true...

So we all have dreams about what our life will be like when we're older. Many of them unfulfilled (thankfully) and many of them unfulfilled (regretfully), but those are all blog posts for another day. Because some of those dreams have been fulfilled and they've been fulfilled beyond my wildest imagination. The one that really hits me today, is my house. I grew up in the country. On seven acres of woodlands with the nearest house, a farm, 1/2 mile down the road. I rode on a school bus for 45 min, every morning and after school, from Kindergarten through Senior year of high school (I got to drive my parent's Omni most days, but occasionally I'd still have to ride the bus.) I grew up literally half an hour from anywhere. And while there were a lot of things I loved about growing up where I did, I got it into my head at that when I grew up, I wanted to live in the city, not downtown anywhere, but in a neighborhood. I wanted sidewalks, paved driveways, garage door openers, "block parties", playgrounds, neighbors I could watch coming/going, neighbors I could visit in my bathrobe for a cup of sugar, neighbors who knew my cat from looking out the window, etc.

And by cracky...I've got it and even better than I ever dreamed.

I live in a house, in a neighborhood, in a city (not a village, not a unincorporated area). Its just what I dreamed it would be and more... I love the park behind my house with a playground and tennis courts, and the sidewalk where my kids ride their tricycles and the BIG, fancy-pants park with mileage marked on paved walkways, a hardware store and grocery store within walking distance, and the mail is delivered to a little black box attached to my house. And I have neighbors, neighbors who bring me onions from their organic garden, and lend us their folding tables for our garage sale and their shrub cutters, and milk and lawn chairs and coolers and toys and feed our cats and pick up our forgotten toys in the sidewalk and wave to us in the yard. And even better than I kids have kids their own age to play with. Honestly, that was never really part of my dream, my vision of living in the city...I guess I always imagined it more from my own perspective, not the children I would have someday. But my kids have kids their own age, that they get to play with, cry with, laugh with, hang out with, right at their fingertips. Whether or not they will all be best buddies forever remains to be seen, one might be sporty, one might be book-ish, one might be creative and one might be musical. But the bonds that my kids are forming with the neighborhood kids are something that will always be there. Those childhood bonds could last a lifetime. The kids who grow up around you, know your family, your struggles, your joys. When I look at the pictures of half naked little kids eating ice cream all together at a tiny picnic table...I thank the universe for bringing me to this special little neighborhood where my kids can grow up with sidewalks and mailboxes and friends for life.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Photo Mosaic Meme

Misc. is so cool. She had this on her blog and I love the idea (and, so I'm doing this Meme, too. Thanks, Missy!

My Answers:
1. Lavender, 2. cheese 3. North Boone 4. purple 5. Aston Kucher 6. dreamsicle 7. resort 8. chocolate 9. la femme nikita 10. variety 11. inconsistant 12. lavender lemonade

Here’s what you do:

1. type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr search.
2. using only the first page, choose an image.
3. copy and paste each of the URL’s into the mosaic maker over at Big Huge Labs Mosaic Maker

the questions:
what is your first name?
what is your favorite food?
what high school did you attend?
what is your favorite color?
who is your celebrity crush?
favorite drink?
dream vacation?
favorite dessert?
what do you want to be when you grow up?
what do you love most in life?
one word to describe you.
your flickr, blog, website name or a nickname

Now, if you read this and have a blog...go do it! Now!

P.S. I work with copyright, so I can't let this go...Here are the links for all of the images above:
1. Lavender hill mob, 2. "I, PiĆ³rko, like Cheese!", 3. wendy, 4. eccentric beauty, 5. dudewheresmyjob, 6. Dreamsicle, 7. The Coco Walk, 8. 14th August 2007 / Day 226, 9. WHEN TO STOP, 10. 1-2-3, JUMP!!!, 11. Day 73: Self-Esteem, 12. picnic: lavender lemonade

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A week's vacation...for T-Dad

So T-Dad (go visit his blog and leave comments, he feels left out.) has vacation he needs to waste. You know, he gets so many days a year and doesn't use them, so he's got to waste 'em or lose 'em. Rough life, honey. So T-Dad isn't shaving this week, is in his favorite shirt and shorts, eats hot dogs for lunch, watching baseball until midnight, etc. But never fear, he's not totally leading a life of leisure. Because hey, that just wouldn't be fair. He's got a "Honey Do" list a mile long and all the drop off/pick up duties for the kids. First and foremost on the list is getting rid of half of our crap. So far he's actually been working really hard on organizing the garage. We have a ton of stuff that we've never unpacked since we moved last year. Just boxes on top of boxes (all of which we've dug through looking for one thing or another over the last year). So needless to say we need to just get rid of it, since we've managed to live without it for an entire year. How do we end up with all this crap? Aargh! I am so looking forward to next week, after we decrease our stuff by at least 1/4. Honestly, I'm so jealous that he gets to stay home all week and work on this. I really wish I could be there. I mean he's good at preparing the piles to be looked through and getting rid of the "easy" stuff. But I'm the one who ultimately knows/cares whether or not this kitchen corning ware dish is useful and needs to be kept or junk. I've been kind of hard on him this week. Second guessing how he's spending his time and such. I'm trying to lay-off and just be happy with anything he gets done. And I've even said he's free to go golfing a couple of times if he wants. He should really nominate me for Wife of The Year, I know. So the really good news is....we are taking the kids to T-Dad parents and spending the weekend our house. I am so excited! (He is too as you might guess, HA! Its not like he's just spent a week working in our junk filled, dirty garage.) But we are also going to go on a date on Saturday to 88 Broadway. He's hoping I have a few too many, I'm sure.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Preschool Graduation 2008

My Little Graduates

At home, Pre-Graduation Giggles

MealyWorm is up first. The hat apparently annoyed her.

Look Mom, I got my diploma! (And isn't this boy next to me cute!?)

I think if I attend Bug's high school graduation practice, this is the exact same shot I will get. Don't these "little" kids look so grown up!

Hey, Mom. I did it. I actually graduated! I'm so happy!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


To think, that if we hadn't taken both of these two homeless critters from their little cage at PetSmart (on behalf of CatsNap) they would never have seen each other again. That would have been a tragedy.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Rainbow Chili

It was rainy this evening and I am tired of scrounging for food every night. So I decided to make chili (lots of leftovers). I found several recipes online that sounded great except of course I didn't have all the ingredients. So I decided to just make it up as I went along, who says Rachel Ray has cornered the market? There was a point about 2 hours ago when I thought I was all done - masterpiece, for sure! Then I tasted it...bland, blah, ugh. So I continued to add some more "stuff", like I said 2 hours later...Mmmm...delicious.

Here's what I made-

Rainbow Chili
3/4 of a large yellow pepper (chopped)
3 slices of a huge Vandelia Onion (chopped)
1 splash of Olive Oil
4-6 cloves garlic (minced)
1 lb 96/4 Lean Ground Beef
1 can Black Beans (rinsed, drained)
1 can Large Red Kidney Beans (rinsed, drained)
1 can Fat Free Chicken Stock
1 can Diced Tomatoes (not drained)
1T Cumin
1 1/2 T Chili Powder - medium
Several twists of course sea salt
1 small can Tomato Paste
2 handfulls chopped fresh Cilantro
1 handfull chopped fresh Basil

In a big skillet (or pot), on medium heat, saute the pepper and onion for several minutes (to give them a head start). Then add ground beef and garlic. Brown the meat. Still on medium heat, add the tomatoes and the beans and the chicken stock. And the cumin and chili powder and salt. Add the tomato paste, fresh cilantro and fresh basil. All in all, I bet you could put it together in 45 min. But the thing with chili is that its better if the ingredients cook together for a while, so just play with the time you have available.

I wish...

Here's my current wish...
I wish someone would drive a big moving truck to my house. Back the truck up to the front of my garage and roll up the door and then walk way. Then I wish I had an entire day 8am - 8pm - by myself - to fill that truck with all the crap I don't need or want. And then at 8pm, the truck would drive away and I would never see it again.

Thursday, July 03, 2008


Area Firework Displays -

Champaign: Fireworks, Dodds Park/Parkland College-near Mattis & Bradley, approximately 9:15 pm.
Fisher: Fireworks, in the town park, about 9 pm.
Homer: Fireworks, grassy field behind Village Hall, dusk.
Mahomet: Fireworks, Lake of the Woods, dusk.
Paxton: Fireworks, Pells Park, dusk.
Rantoul: Fireworks, former Chanute Air Force Base, approximately 9 pm.
Villa Grove: Fireworks, Richman Sports Complex, dusk.

For more information about all kinds of local Fourth of July Holiday fun and festivities, visit this News-Gazette article.

See what type of Firework you are!

The Fireworks Test

Lavender, Here's What These Fireworks Say About You

You are the type of person who lives a big, bold, and unique life.

You love to stand out and be noticed. And people definitely notice you.

You are easily excited, and you're quick to move to action.

You like to be in motion doing something. Keeping busy makes you feel good.

Thanks, Missy for introducing me to!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Go Team!

We had a softball game last night. T-Dad and I play on our church's Men's League team. It is a lot of fun and something we both really enjoy. Normally, we bring our kids to the games and only play half a game each so we can take turns watching the kids. It usually works out fine, but I'm always slightly distracted when the kids are present. I'm squinting at them from the outfield wondering if they are getting into trouble. So last night, we hired a babysitter. To many people this is standard practice. But to us, its kind of a big deal. It means we have to track down someone responsible and available, clean the house (at least to a reasonable level of cleanliness), and shell out big bucks. All of those are a lot of work in our minds. But I think by doing it a few times, it will get easier...well, at least the tracking down someone part. The cleaning and spending money, not so much. But I digress, back to the softball game...we lost. Not by a landslide, but we started out behind and stayed that way the whole game. We have at least half women on our team and the other teams have almost all men, so that does make a difference. Though on a Men's League team its actually fun to play outfield because there's a lot of action out there! And T-Dad and I both love to bat. Before the game, T-Dad and I went to the batting cages and hit a few and even had time to toss the ball around. Having a babysitter is great! And we both played the WHOLE game instead of just a couple of innings each, which also meant we were in the game at the same time! In fact, I was right behind him in the batting order, so I caused him to get out several times. Sorry about that T-Dad. It was a beautiful night and lots of fun. I can't wait until next week (we hired the same sitter). :)