Sunday, October 9, 2016

Everyday Happenings

We made it through September with the usual amount of crazy.  Here are some happenings that kept us on our feet.

*Back to school:

  High School

Billy and Mary (11th and 10th grade)
  Middle School
Tommy-7th grade

Ann-6th grade
Matthew-3rd grade
*Football and parade season for high school band

*Cross Country Season for Billy and Mary
Cute runner and handsome spectator

*Soccer for the little one

*Dorney Park (Thanks Mom and Dad for our day passes!)

*CCD has started.  I'm teaching 1st grade again.

*Pizza making - our new family activity.

Masterpiece central

*Big brother giving haircuts.

*Oh, and this happened.

 I'm very proud of this guy of mine.

Happy Fall Everyone!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


On this 17th anniversary of my dear Mother's death, I wanted to share this.

I remember back in my teens when this framed poem made it's way onto the dining room wall.  My Mom talked about how much she liked it.   I remember thinking it was "too wordy" and "over my head."

Time has matured me and now I do understand it's meaning.  It really is beautiful.  I'm going to print a copy and hang it on my dining room wall.  It will not only remind me of how she lived her own life, but I think it will also serve as the silent guidance from her that I've been missing all these years.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence. 

As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy. 

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.


Monday, September 26, 2016

My First Photo Shoot And Stitchfix Review

Oh my word.  Have you heard of Stitchfix?  My friend Marianne was telling me about this amazing website recently.  I wish she hadn't because I can see an addiction headed my way. 

Stitchfix is an online personal shopping experience.  You go to the website, enter information about yourself such as your height and weight.  You answer questions about your clothing style and what your likes and dislikes are.  You can be very specific too and tell them you don't like to show your arms or that you like to wear stripes, etc.  They even ask you for an amount you'd like to spend. 

When I started my own profile, I told my "stylist" that I love wearing jeans, but I can't wear them to work.  I said I wanted to look polished but also wanted to be comfortable since I work in a school and spend a lot of time in the school yard and cafeteria. I also chose the "As little as possible" option for how much I'd like to spend.  They take your credit card information and keep it on file.

Now, the fun part.  Stitchfix sends you a pretty little box with 5 items in it.

I was gitty with excitement when I got this. ( I don't get out much. )

Inside were three tops, one pair of pants, and one necklace.  You take a look at everything, keep what you like and Stitchfix charges your account.  Whatever you don't want to keep, you send back, free of charge, in an envelope they have supplied for you.  So easy.  You just have to make sure you do this within 3 days, otherwise everything will get charged to your account.

If you keep all 5 items, you get a 25% discount on your box. 

Ann and Mary totally indulged me and were my photographers for my photo shoot.  Want to see my new clothes?

Item #1 Renee C Lyzbeth Crew Neck Top ($48)

The print is so pretty and I love the detail around the arms with the little pop of color.  Below is the back view with Item #2 Liverpool Anita Skinny Pant ($78)
These black pants are super soft and comfortable and they fit perfectly.  Very pricey, but it will be such a well-used item in my wardrobe that I may be able to justify it. (?) 

Item #3 41 Hawthorn Abrianna Longsleeve Knit Cardigan. ($48)
I was glad to see a cardigan in the box since two of the tops that were sent were sleeveless and here we are headed into the Fall.  I may have overlooked this color in a store, but now that it appeared in my box and goes so well with the other items, I was all over it.  Cute, right?

Item #4 41 Hawthorn Montgomery Cross Front Knit Top ($48)

This top is so comfortable.  I did have to pin it so it wouldn't fly open but then it stayed put.  And along with that is Item #5 Zad Lily Hammered Double Bar Collar Necklace. ($28)

I never would have picked this out on my own, but it's "edgy" for me so I embraced the change.

And there you have it. I'm keeping everything. A splurge for sure, but in adding everything up and then subtracting the 25% off for keeping all five items, and less the $20 styling fee (you need to pay that if you send back everything. But it will be taken off of what you do keep), my grand total for five items is $167.

It has been such a fun experience.  The only thing more fun was my photo shoot with the girls.  


 And that's a wrap.

{For those of you who would like to try Stitchfix, we can both receive a discount if you use the following link with your order.}


Monday, September 5, 2016

Avalon Vacation Video 2016

Avalon, New Jersey is my happy place.  (so is Home Goods, but this is my vacation post, so we're not talking about that right now.)

Our family of seven and my brother and nephew celebrated our 5th year vacationing together.  The house we rented for the first four years was sold last year and the new owner decided not to rent. (However, I did spy on the house just to make sure.)

The house we rented this year was around the corner and it worked out just fine for our crew.

This year Bill's brother Mike and his family were there the same week as we were.  Bill's other brother Joe and his two daughter's came down one of the days as well.  We had quite a nice little compound going on at the beach that day, that's for sure.

Here's my little recap of the week.  Enjoy!

Until next time, Avalon....

Summer Highlights-Continued

Last month I posted summer highlights from around here.  Our August was just as full as July with lots of fun to be had.

But don't get me wrong, most of our days looked like this.

In fact, I did so much couch-potato-ing this summer that I saw numbers on my scale that I have never seen before.  And for some reason, they're still there!
Now, onto the more pleasant stuff.

Highlight #1
Bill and I attended the wedding of the son of our dear friends John and Mary.  This was the first wedding of it's kind for us.  What a special feeling to watch the next generation---the offspring of your close friends---get married.

Andy and Ashley
Of course, the night was even more special as we shared it with more good friends and enjoyed a fabulous party.

John-Father of the groom-next to me

Mary-mother of the groom--next to me.
Highlight #2

Oooooh yeah....the 19th Annual Sexy Six Sleepover!!

This year's host was Tricia.   We had a great night, as usual.  Food, drink, games, and lots of catching up.

I think we turned the lights off around 3:30 a.m. and were up again by 9 a.m.   I don't know about the rest of the girls, but I sure do have a hard time recuperating from this behavior in my old age.

Thanks for hosing Trish!  You're the best.

(for the history of the "Six" click here)

Highlight #3

Band Camp!
I know, I'm a geek for counting this as a highlight.

Mary's high school has camp for three weeks, and Tommy and Ann (who is new to middle school band camp) had two weeks.  I had the privilege to help out at the middle school again this year.  Mary helped me the first half hour sell snacks before she had to head over to her camp next door.

40's decade theme day....isn't she sweet?

Ann-cutest clarinetist

Ann with her BFF
 Let's Go Band!

Highlight #4


How do I love thee?  Let me count the waves.

We had our annual beach trip to Avalon, NJ and it was wonderful, beautiful, sunny, and relaxing.

I can sum it up best with a video,  which is coming soon.

Happy Labor Day!!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Summer Highlights (So Far)

Highlight #1
The kids have all agreed that the best day so far this summer has been at our friends Tricia and John's house.  Over the 4th of July weekend we gathered in their backyard for 10 hours of fun.  Yes, you read that right.  10 hours.

Tricia is one of the Six, and this party was for all 6 of our families.  It's rare for us to get together, but even more rare when it includes the husbands and kids. We enjoyed a plethora of games, food, drinks, and great company.

Pizza making in their pizza oven. So fun!

Backyard games

ping pong

Our hosts Tricia and John are standing next to me and Bill (second from left)
The day was a total blast. Thanks Tricia and John for spoiling us!!

Friends from our parish retreat team hosted their annual pool party/bbq.  It was a great afternoon. Not sure how the kids didn't shrivel up from swimming for 4 hours straight.  Here is a picture with some of the team, with an added late-comer edited in for fun.  Can you see it?

A friend of Bill's from college, who lives in California, was vacationing with her family on the East Coast.  Our families met up while they were in Philadelphia. They hadn't seen each other in 18 years.  It was so nice to meet all of them and we really hope we get to see them again soon.  Maybe a trip to California in the near future is in order??

Highlight #4
Not too far from our house is the #9 Coal Mine and Museum.

While there we rode a little train car 1600 feet into the mine and had a guided tour.  We saw a 900 foot deep elevator shaft, an underground mule-way, and heard about the working conditions there.  

After that we had lunch at a local pizzeria....

.....then found a Country Junction to peruse and have fun in.....

And as luck would have it, on our way home we came across a store that had just what I had been looking for....a new hex sign for our garage.

Highlight #5
We enjoyed a day at our township community center with some of my sisters in law, nieces, and nephews.  They were kind enough to drive 90 minutes to our neck of the woods and spend the afternoon with us. 

All that in July! Wow.  Counting my blessings, for sure.

Thanks for visiting today!   Hope your summer has been a fun one as well.