Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Niko had his doctor appointment today for his Kindergarten physical. He got to skip all of the blood draws and finger pricks because he had those done less than two years ago before he started preschool.

He did get his very first immunization shot though, and he was not happy about that. I had promised him, "Niko, if you don't cry, we'll go get ice cream after!" Well, I was talking to him and we were making silly faces, and the nurse snuck up behind him and and got him in the arm. His face instantly changed from happy and playful to a very mad scream. He clung to me, sobbed for just a few seconds, then dried off his eyes, and solemnly asked... "Mommy, do I still get ice cream?" ::::heart melting::::


He also got to skip the eye exam portion of the physical since he just went to the optometrist in January. He did do the hearing test though, and he looked so adorable with those big head phones on as he told the nurse whether he heard the tones.


My healthy little boy got an ice cream sundae treat at McDonald's. I usually take the kids to Baskin Robbins after an appointment, but he was pretty definitive about exactly what he wanted. Hey, I got off a lot cheaper this way!


He finished his ice cream off to the very last drop, then we cleaned him up and headed back to the doctor's office to pick up his paperwork. Since he just had all of the labs done last year, they needed to get those records faxed over from the old office that our family doctor was with before he moved into his own office. The fax machines were being slow, so they ended up just verbally checking the results before filling out his school form.


I just need to finish off the rest of his paperwork, and then turn it all in to the school office and he will be officially registered for Kindergarten. I can hardly believe that my BABY boy is going to be starting school!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 3/30/2009

~Steak with fried potatoes and corn

~Shrimp Scampi over angel hair pasta (based on this Rachael Ray recipe... I up it to a pound of pasta, a pound of shrimp, and a pint of tomatoes)

~Wild Salmon Steaks (oven baked in foil with butter, soy sauce, and lemon juice) with baked potatoes and broccoli, cheddar garlic biscuits

~Cornish Game Hens with Rice and Brussel sprouts (Dino chicken nuggets and peas for the kids!)

~Beef Stew with corn bread muffins

~Chile Relleno Casserole with Bean Burritos and Rice, Sliced Tomatoes (My mom used to make this casserole when I was little and I get a craving for it every now and then!)

~Chicken Casserole with broccoli


An afternoon trip to the thrift store with my mom, Dad, and the kids netted a few finds. A "cycling outfit" for Abigail (with genuine Pearl Izumi kids cycling shorts), a cute tank top for Abbi, a replacement Vermont Teddy Bear for Niko (his needs a trip to the Bear Hospital to have a seam repaired), a white eyelet bed skirt for the girls' room ... I think that's it.

Here is Abbi modeling her new cycling get-up:


Our strawberry plants are growing teeny tiny green strawberries!

Sunday, March 29, 2009


The elusive teenager was caught on camera... doing a chore! He mowed the front and back lawns, and edged. Now granted, it wasn't without a bit of teeth gnashing ("What's the point, it's just going to grow again!?"), but it got done!

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Sabrina found my keys!! They had been missing for about a month now, and I had looked everywhere that I thought they could possibly be... the kitchen counters, the top of the fish tank, the coffee table, UNDER the coffee table, the desk, etc. I had been using DH's set of keys to my van and the house, but it was frustrating not knowing where mine were. She found them in a box of books that is sitting in the hallway until I get the bookcase repainted and in their room. I was correct in assuming that the children had something to do with the Case of the Missing Keys since I know that I certainly did not put them there!


Friday, March 27, 2009


Oh, how I love the weekend! I am ready for a couple of days "off"... sure, there will still be cooking and cleaning to do, but it feels so much more laid back!

We're proud of our little Jack-Jack tonight. He defended our yard against a possum that was bigger than he is. He had the ugly creature cornered in the yard at 3 a.m. when my Dad came over to find out why all of the dogs (my neighbor's, our 2 dogs, and his 2 dogs) were all raising such a ruckus. Now my Dad finally has a little bit of respect and realizes that Jack-Jack isn't just all bark... he has the nerve to back it up too!

Don't worry... we gave Sandy some loving too!

Then the kids decided to go "pit hunting" and had a contest to see who could find the most nectarine stones hidden in the grass.

To my amazement, they counted every single pit they found before throwing them all away. They found 753!

And they ended the day with a Snoopy nap.

snoopy and woodstock Pictures, Images and Photos

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I feel like I am drowning in work this week. Hubby and I were up until 2am last night finishing homework for our Accounting class, then up at 6am to get the kids off to school and him off to work. I have an English paper due in the morning. I've managed to squeak out 3 pages but it has to be at least 4 pages, so it will be another late night tonight after the kids go to bed. I have tried all week to finish it, and it's just so hard with little ones about. I will get a paragraph thought out in my head, start to write a sentence, and halfway through the sentence my train of thought has been hijacked and is running off to Cairo.

It looks something like this...
"If we continue to look at the window in Louise’s room as a window of opportunity, then everything outside of her window is Grandma asked me if I wanted a cookie before my lunch or after my lunch, and guess what I said?"

I still have no clue how I planned to finish that sentence.


Mama's going to need some caffeine tonight.

In other news, I've been posting for about 3 weeks on Craigslist, trying to find some free wood to use for building my garden beds. I got sticker shock from the price tags at the hardware store and calculating it would cost over $50 per raised bed! No responses. Except for one person selling seeds and plants, and an elder lady offering me free seeds if I would build a raised bed for HER.

So, today, down the street... renters are moving out. And what is piled up on the curb? Fencing material and boards. I've got 3 of the ready made fence sections, and a whole mess of 2x4's and one 2x6. I love when He works things out like that for us! Just as I was starting to lose hope and think I would not get my garden this year, He provided for me! Hopefully the weather will stay nice this weekend and I will get my garden started!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Niko got something today that will open so many doors for him... take him around the world... introduce new ideas... expand his horizons... He got his very own library card!


Monday, March 23, 2009


Another manic Monday... rushing from here to there and back again. Cleaning up the house from all of the weekend destruction, grocery shopping, paying mom's bills, cooking, laundry.

Niko was amused when I told him that this bag of rice shares his name:

It's kind of funny, because to me, "Niko" was always Greek. We named Niko after my hubby's uncle Niko, and his cousin Nicholas - Big Nick and Little Nick. Our Niko is Baby Niko to everyone in the family and boy is his uncle tickled at having another little namesake running around. So I was surprised when I first came across a Japanese restaurant called Niko Niko and now I see it everywhere... lots of sushi restaurants, bags of rice, etc. I've tried googling it to see what the translation is and I seem to come up with 3 different answers: cat, smile, or daylight. I think I like the smile definition the best... Smile Smile!

Menu Planning Monday, 3/23/2009

Three-Cheese Baked Spaghetti with peas
Hamburger Soup
Beef Barley Soup
Kickin' Creamy Chicken Crockpot Stew (using 6 chicken thighs instead of breasts, cut down the green salsa to one 7oz can, may add a can of chicken broth if needed, cooking on low for 10 hours)
Baked Whiting with rice and corn (substituting whiting for cod, omitting white wine vinegar, may use rice vinegar instead)
Tuna Casserole with peas

Sunday, March 22, 2009


It got really windy here today. We went out for a while so that hubby could do two mystery shops, and got a call from my Dad that our back patio was half-way torn down by the wind. This is what it looked like when we got home:


Now, I'll admit, I had been wanting to take down the old patio for a while. The supports were bent and rusted, and it wasn't exactly a pleasant thing to look at... but I wasn't expecting to have to deal with it today. We easily knocked it the rest of the way down, and then I posted it on Craigslist.

We went off to have some ice cream at Baskin Robbins. Niko enjoyed his to the very last drop, as he licked the whole cup clean.

When we got home, I had an email from someone interested in coming and picking up the patio. He was here within 15 minutes with his saw-thingie, and chopped it up into more manageable pieces, loaded it in the back of his truck, and happily went on his merry way. Now I'll have to replace the fascia boards that got messed up, and start planning a replacement. I'm thinking maybe a nice wooden pergola!

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Tonight was my long awaited Mother-Daughter date with Sabrina. We went to see "Little Women", a musical, at the Lyric Theater in Los Angeles. My conditions for taking her to see this play were that she read the entire book and pass a quiz on it, which she did with gusto!



We had a choice between the 8pm or the 2pm showings, and I thought the 8pm one would be more fun for her... a bit more grown-up. She behaved very well, and I was so proud of her! It was a very small audience, about 25 people, and she was the only child there. In fact, most of the audience were senior citizens, and during intermission and after the play everyone was fawning over her, delighting in her excitement.

The musical was lovely. The actresses who were chosen for the March sisters portrayed them very well, and we enjoyed all of the songs. I am going to buy the Broadway soundtrack so we can listen to them some more. Sabrina's only complaint was that some of the vignettes weren't in the same order as they happened in the book, but I had warned her to not expect a literal translation of the book!

If you're in the Southern CA area, be sure to sign up for the LA Stage Alliance mailing list. They send out weekly emails with half-price specials for plays at theaters all over LA and Orange county. General admission tickets for Little Women are regular $30 each, so it's a huge savings to get the tickets on sale!

Friday, March 20, 2009


Sabrina got three awards yesterday at school. She's on the Honor Roll, and got a Bronze medal for her state-testing reading score, and a Silver medal for her math score. All of the girls got their report cards, and we headed off to the Dollar Tree for "rewards" with my Mom.
After the Dollar Tree, we went to Home Depot. They have a sale this weekend that I heard about on the radio... 4-inch potted annuals, 3 for $1! I bought lots of pretty flowers and potted them with Abigail's help on the front porch. We also got a 6-pack of strawberry plants for the garden since the girls have been dying to grow those for years! Oh, and a tomato cage so I can finally plant the cherry tomatoes!


Messy girl!
Now, I just need to buy fence posts, 2x6's, and soil to get the garden really started! And maybe some gravel to make paths around the beds would be nice...And the stuff to make the trellis for the cucumbers to grow up! Oh, and I want to make a teepee out of bean vines! So many ideas, so little time!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I'm going to keep this brief tonight. I still have to write a rough draft for an essay which is due in the morning. I did three mystery shops today, went to the library, went to Barnes & Noble, and the campus library. I also had to stop in at Dollar Tree and pick up poster board for Sabrina. I am beat, exhausted, and have no idea where to even start with this essay. I am very rusty when it comes to stuff like that.

Today's picture is Cecilia, reading one of the books on ants that she checked out of the library. She read both of the books to me as we drove around, all 64 pages. I have never heard her read so much, outside of reading Arthur to Niko... repeatedly.


She now knows mandibles are jaws.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

77/365 ~ Nigel.

Nigel started acting sick again. His breathing was very labored, so my hubby took him to another vet for a second opinion. The diagnosis was a hernia in his diaphragm, and he was considered to be in critical condition. The vet didn't think that he would even survive surgery to repair it, as all of his internal organs were invading his chest cavity and crushing his lungs. We made the very difficult decision to let him be put to sleep, to end his suffering. We will miss our sweet engine kitty, that mischievous little fur ball.

Last May, after I drove the girls to school one morning, I kept hearing this weird whistling sound that I thought was coming from the backseat... I thought Niko was getting a cold and doing the strange whistling sound that kids do when they have a stuffy nose. I got home, and a few minutes later my Dad knocks on the door and says, it sounds like you have a cat in your van. We opened up the hood, and there, sitting on the engine, was this terrified, pissed off little wild kitty, about 10 weeks old, covered in fleas, who promptly bit me on the chin and spent the next month cowering behind the toilet seat and hissing. Lots of love and smushing later, he was our sweet little tabby, that my hubby named Nigel.

He loved to chase laser pointers. He allowed the kids to carry him around the house like a baby and even dress him up in doll clothes. He loved to sit on our headboard and watch the birds in the trees and on the front lawn, curling his lip up like a bad Elvis impersonator and chittering. He was best buddies with Henry, and it was so sweet to watch them groom each other and sleep curled up on our bed together. He also liked to wake me up in the middle of the night by pouncing on my head or biting my toes.










Saying "Goodbye"...



Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

~Author unknown

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Doesn't every girl need to wear a pink cape to Walmart?


Monday, March 16, 2009

Menu Plan Monday (3/16/09)

This week's dinners will include:

Three-Cheese Baked Spaghetti with salad
Corned beef, boiled cabbage & red potatoes
Sloppy joes* on buns with seasoned fries and peas
Salmon Croquettes with mashed potatoes and corn
Chicken soup with buttery bread machine rolls

*I have never, ever, ever had a sloppy joe. My Dad insisted that I had to try one, or that I am just not American. When he was a kid in Catholic school, he used to save up his lunch money all week, skipping lunches, just to have enough to buy Sloppy Joes on Fridays. He didn't believe me when I said that Mom never made them for me when I was a kid, so he gave me a can of the sauce and insisted I make them this week. Wish me luck! My backup plan is the last two Omaha Steaks hamburgers I have left in the freezer.

I spotted the 3-cheese baked spaghetti on MoneySavingMom's site earlier today and it sounded like a tasty alternative to my hubby's usual request for spaghetti. It was a hit with him and all of the kids except for Abigail, and he asked me to add it to our binder of family favorites. It kind of tasted like a cheater lasagna... in fact, it pretty much tasted exactly like some of the frozen lasagnas that I have had. Definitely worth a try!


It seems like I start so many of my posts by saying that it was a long day. Maybe a better word would be busy?
I got a late start on my day after having to pick Abigail up from school "sick". No fever, a slight cough, a lot of drama. After making the three of us some chicken soup, I finally got to work and completed three mystery shops and then headed out to do the weekly grocery shopping. It was after 7 by the time I finally started cooking dinner, and after 8 before we actually sat down to eat. I think a few more hours in the day would have been helpful today, because it certainly wasn't long enough to get done everything that I wanted.

This is a picture I took this morning while the kids ate their soup. It is the nectarine tree in our backyard, bursting with blossoms. The tree gets so heavy with fruit that branches break, and my godmother takes big bags of them to the church... they're always gone out of the vestibule by the time mass is over.

nectarine blossoms

Sunday, March 15, 2009


It was a gray and cold weekend. It never quite rained, but was overcast and dreary. We honestly just didn't do much this weekend... our plan for a ride got put off because of the icky weather, and we ended up not going to Chuck E Cheese for Niko's birthday because of how much the kids whined and dragged their feet through their chores. Following through on threats of cancelling fun outings is hard! We had pizza at home and played video games here instead... and Niko zonked out on the couch.


I think I am going to go zonk out in the bed. Hope you had a good weekend!

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Happy 5th Birthday, Nicholas!!

Nicholas Wilmot K. was born 3/14/2004, at home in the water. Weighing 8lbz 0.25oz, and 20.25" long, he was our little linebacker. He has been a joy to watch grow, and will always and forever be our sweet baby boy.

This picture was taken 5 days before he was born, at 41 weeks 3 days (yes, he was a 42-weeker!):

Sweetly sleeping:

So adorable:

The birthday banner his sisters made to surprise him with this morning:

Listening to everyone sing Happy Birthday:

Big bubba Nathan "cheesing":

Enjoying their sundaes: