7QT: Library Finds and Thanksgiving Pics

Linking up with Kelly today to share some randoms, like I do.  🙂

  1. This really needs to be quick because I should be working on Gus’ stocking.  I wish I could say it’s a labor of love…  It’s a doozy!
  2. It’s been really mild here, considering it’s the first week of December!  Ordinarily I would be a little sad about this, wishing for a white Christmas and all.  But no, this year I’m dreaming of a balmy Christmas and a mild winter, just like the one before Sara was born.  I’m totally suffering from ptsd after last winter!
  3. Apart from worries about our roof and gutters surviving another winter like last year’s, I’m worried about the winter because we’ve discovered that outside time is vital for Gus’ happiness. Gus is like a little puppy; his daily needs are cuddles and attention, chow time, and outside time.  He is the best version of himself when he’s outside throwing and kicking and hitting things with sticks.  But when he’s been stuck inside too much, watch out!

    Just going a liiiiitle crazy.

    Just going a liiiiitle crazy.

  4. Does anyone else find Trader Joe’s Holiday Fearless Flyer to be a near occasion of gluttony?  Just me?  I just need to give TJ’s all my money, that’s what this is coming to. My recent favorite purchases have been gingerbread coffee and their sea salt and turbinado sugar dark chocolate almonds.

    Yes, that is me holding the flyer over my garbage can.  It eventually went in after some drool inducing reading.

    Yes, that is me holding the flyer over my garbage can. It eventually went in after some drool inducing reading.

  5. I picked up some great Christmas books at the library yesterday!  One I ordered specially, Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown, with illustrations by Barbara Cooney.  I LOVE Barbara Cooney’s illustrations, and sadly this version of the book with Cooney illustrations is out of print, so I was happy to find it in the library system!  I also picked up a sweet book about St. Nicholas, since St. Nicholas day is coming up.  It’s called The Gift of St. Nicholas by Dorothea Lachner.
  6. I’m planning on doing a little purging this weekend to make room for presents and such. (When am I not planning on purging? Sigh…)  Still, this Verily article hit a nerve.  I always feel a little guilty when I purge, especially my wardrobe.  I know it’s a luxury to be able to part with excess and/or replace something I don’t really like.  I need to be a better steward of the things I already have and think twice before buying frivolously.
  7. Oh! And Thanksgiving! It happened, and it was lovely! We went to my mom’s house as usual and it was lovely as usual.  She’s been hosting Thanksgiving for the extended family every year (with a break for the year Jim was born) since 1987? 88? One of those late 80s.  That’s a long time! She’s a pro! Of course I took almost no pictures, but here are some random pictures that kind of give you a taste of McFamily-ness.
    Carmela and Sara prancing down the road to Gigi's house.

    Carmela and Sara prancing down the road to Gigi’s house.

    Sara convinced a reluctant "Uncle Chim" to dance with her.

    Sara convinced a reluctant “Uncle Chim” to dance with her.

    Baba on tv telling us all why the $15 minimum wage is a terrible idea.

    Baba on tv telling us all why the $15 minimum wage is a terrible idea.

    Happy weekend, everyone!

A Happy Easter & Birthday

Happy Easter, everybody!

We ended up staying home for Easter instead of traveling to New York to see the McFamily to avoid getting a stomach bug from certain cousins. I’m sure their Mommy will tell the harrowing tale of their Easter on the blog soon. 😉 And speaking of this here blog, it got a bit of a facelift over Easter.  Looking good, huh? Rose painted the header and Dave did the computer stuff.  We’re still working on a new About Us page, but otherwise it’s done.  What do you think?

We were so disappointed to miss out on family time, but we used the long weekend at home to get started on the garden.  I can hardly believe that the snow is mostly gone.  I thought the winter would never end!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADave tilled up our plot and we picked 12309234987983458938457 rocks out of it and then Dave added his compost that he’s been working on since last year.  Hopes are high for the harvest this year!

On Easter Sunday we went to the 7 am Mass (!!!!!!) so that Gus could get his morning nap before we joined our friends for brunch.  Nothing beats holidays with family, but this came very close!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd yesterday the fun continued with our Sara Kate’s birthday.  Our sweet girl had a sweet day that started with balloons and pancakes…

IMG_4082 IMG_4087 IMG_4089(Sara loves Minnie Mouse, can you tell?)

The birthday girl requested a rainbow cake.  I briefly toyed with the idea of making one of those multi-layer cakes with each layer being another color of the rainbow, but then I came to my senses and decided to get one of those tie-dye cake mixes and just make a rainbow on the top.  It turned out really cute!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI can’t believe she’s 3.  I really try to avoid over-the-top mommy gushing about my kids, but since it’s her birthday I guess it’s okay, right? I never imagined in a million years that I would have such a sweet heart of a little girl.  She’s such a joy in our lives; we’re so grateful for our girlie!

And just like that, we’re back to normal around here.  Except that it’s still Easter!  We certainly have enough sugar around this house to keep up the celebrating. Happy Easter week to all of you, friends!


12 in 2014

Here we are on the cusp of a new year, and according to my “Last 12 Months” folder in iphoto, I took well over 1400 photos last year! Yikes.  Most of them are junk and not very good, but I am attached to all of them.  It’s been a great year filled with undeserved blessings.  And lousy photos. I’m linking up with Dwija to share 12 of them. 🙂


We visited my family in January when Dave was in the UK for work.  This was back when Sara called Carmela “Lalela.” After that it morphed into “Calela” and finally to what it is now, “Camela.” On the blog, I pledged my fidelity to full-panel pregnancy pants.


I forced a bunch of bulbs last winter.  Sounds like a euphemism right?  I guess it is euphemistic for the winter we had.  It was cold, snowy and dark and SK and I didn’t leave the house much.  I was also in the dumps hormonally with Gus’ pregnancy.  But!  I forced it.  I really worked hard to get through that winter and brighten my mood.  It helped when we found out Gus was Gus!  Also, we (meaning, not just me!) blogged every day for a week at the end of February.  Rose shared her controversial opinion of Downton Abbey; worth a re-read especially before we all fall back under its’ spell soon!


It finally started to thaw in March!  We saw a lamb birthing!


SK turned 2 in April and Dave made her this awesome kitchen!


Also in the category of things Dave did: the kitchen, in May (no kitchen post yet, because I’m the worst blogger ever).  I helped a little, but I was also growing a person! I did a little whining on Mother’s Day.


June 27th: Happy Birthday to our Gus! July was a blur.


All the cousins came for Gus’ baptism!


Standards were shockingly low, even for me.  On a related note, I got me some mom jeans.  Update: they are now way too big for me. Woot!


By September, Gus was the happiest baby on the planet and finally sleeping a little more at night. So I tried, but didn’t really succeed in getting back on the housekeeping ball.


In October, I completely fell off the blogging ball.  But behold! Sibling interaction!


We had a white Thanksgiving with my folks in New York.


And a mild Christmas at home!  Happy New Year, everyone!

Almost Christmas Combo (7QT) {phfr}

Is it blasphemy to combine these two great link-ups?  I guess I’ll find out!



1. We got our tree last Saturday so we’ve been enjoying our Christmas tree honeymoon.  We made the switch from colored to white light lights, and I have to admit I’ve been loving every minute of it!


2. We always go to the same little farm to get our tree, Pakeen Farm. It’s a sweet, family run place, and they have the most delicious hot mini cider donuts and hot cocoa! Sara had fun running around all the trees, saying hi to the light up Santa and (not pictured) partaking in her most recent favorite pastime (and my least favorite of all time) of checking out the bathroom!


We bought this on Sara Kate's first Christmas and now she finally gets it!

3. We bought this on Sara Kate’s first Christmas and now she finally gets it!

Every day they grow to be better buddies!

4. Every day they grow to be better buddies!


5. Poor SK.  She dropped an unopened Costco jar of peanut butter on her toe yesterday.  We ended up at the doctor’s office because they wanted to check and see if it was broken.  So it was a day of some firsts for SK: first real bloody incident (she didn’t know it was called blood so she kept on saying “It’s red Mommy! There’s more red!”) and first x-ray (calling it a silly robot taking pictures of her foot seemed to make it less scary).  But in the end, it was not broken and she got a special viewing of Frosty the Snowman when she got home, so not too shabby!


Can’t…stop…eating…muddy buddies…

6.  I’ve started the Christmas baking and treat making over here. It’s great, and I’m excited to deliver plates and tins of goodies to my neighbors and friends, and I love sneaking bites here and there and freezing some for us for later… but I’m really trying personally not to overdo it this year because I’ve made a New Year resolution.  Well, a first 20ish days of January resolution.  I’m going to do a sugar detox before my 30th birthday at the end of January.  Sugar and I, we’re tight.  Too tight.  Its time for me to grow up a put a little space between me and this toxic friend.  We’ll reunite for my birthday, but I want to have a healthy reunion.  I want to be able to have my slice of birthday cake and enjoy it and not feel controlled by it. Anyhoo, that’s the plan.  We’ll see how it works out in real life!

7.  I’m sure everyone has plans for a busy weekend, huh? I think we’re doing the customary running hither and thither pulling together all the lose ends.  We’ll be staying here for Christmas and we have a wedding to attend on New Years Eve, where we’ll see some of my family members as well.  I hope you all have a blessed 4th week of Advent and joyous Christmas feast!

~Linking up with Kelly of This Ain’t the Lyceum for 7 Quick Takes and Like Mother Like Daughter for Pretty Happy Funny Real.~

Happy Easter!


Happy Easter! He is Risen!

We had a really great weekend in New York, visiting family, hunting for eggs, dyeing eggs, going to Mass, eating tons of sugar and ham (in that order), enjoying the lovely weather and hunting for eggs again.  It’s hard to tell what SK loves more about these visits: playing with all of her cousins or playing with all of their toys.

Or terrorizing my parent's pets.

Or terrorizing my parents’ pets.

I hope you all had a lovely sugar, incense, and family filled Easter weekend as well.  My thoughts and prayers have been with Beth and her family as they said goodbye to their precious Rebecca last week.  I can’t even fathom what their family is going through.  Our own little family experienced a loss last week as well with the unexpected passing of Dave’s Grandpa.  If you have a spare sec, would you please keep his soul and Dave’s family in your prayers?  Thanks, guys. 🙂

Linking up with Fine Linen and Purple for WIWS


St Paddy’s Day/Weekend recap


Top o’ the morning and all the cheesy Irish sayings to you! I know, I know, St. Patrick’s Day isn’t even that big a deal in Ireland, but I enjoy my true heritage and a little bright green shmaltz this time of year. March is so loooooong otherwise!


We did a little leprechaun mischief — they dyed the milk green and put all the cereals in the wrong boxes, and tossed up a few decorations while they were at it. Usually Daddy gets balloons to tie to the girls’ chairs, but unfortunately he was smacked down by another stomach bug on Sunday. So far the rest of us are ok (please please please!) and most importantly, I made it through both of my dancers’ performances this weekend without getting sick.


Here is a link to a little video from my Irish dancers’ performance on Saturday, at a local nursing home (you can see Joanie, our youngest McSister, who is the tallest and most graceful dancer of the bunch!). They also performed yesterday at our local library. I’m supposed to go to Margot’s preschool on Thursday and teach them some dancing as well. That should give me a taste of what it’s like to teach that age — I constantly have requests to open up the class to younger kids, and I feel myself caving as Jackie and Margot are both really ready to start dancing. Plus Claire said she’d do it 🙂


Paul must have had a little premonition of his impending illness, because he decided to make his St. Paddy’s meal on Saturday instead of Monday, which meant we got to enjoy a savory lamb stew (and Guinness, for him). Yum!




Hope you all enjoyed your green weekend! I’m looking forward to seeing some real green outside soon. Enough of this winter and all its germs!

Snapshots from Easter {WIWS}

Happy Easter, everyone!  I hope everyone had a lovely Easter Sunday filled with candy and family and crowded, long liturgies.  I know the McSisters did!

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to link-up with the FLAP ladies and Grace because I managed to get my hands on pictures of all the McSisters from yesterday.  I wish it was because I saw all of them in the flesh and in their Easter finery but alas, this is not so.  We Johnsons were in NY for Easter, but Rose’s clan came out to Providence to be with his people and Jane was with her brood out in STL.  Oh well, everyone looked beautiful, and that’s all that matters, right?


Jane, the Divine Miss T and Lucy Lou.


The other McFamily in Providence.

A Hazardous group indeed.

A Hazardous group indeed.

The Johnsons enjoying the spring weather.

The Johnsons enjoying the spring weather.

And here’s a few more shots from the weekend.  We love our NY visits!


Eyelet twins 🙂 Joanie is so beautiful and stylish!


Jim is a loving brother.


Jude and SK, almost-birthday twins!


The Easter/birthday cake.


I can’t resist Carmelacutiepie.

I hope everyone is relishing the new life of Easter.  He is Risen! Alleluia!


Unoriginal as ever.

I really and truly had plans for more inspired and inspiring blogging this week, but I’ve been in a physical and mental funk lately, made worse by the fact that I have not been able to leave the house (apart from walking to Mass on Sunday) in more than 4 days.

So!  I decided to jump on Ana’s bandwagon and share my very unoriginal craft/alteration project.  Now Ana, I know you made it quite clear that it did not have to be Valentine’s Day related, but you see, I’m a bit of a holiday fanatic, and I miss using my preschool class and classroom as an outlet for my outrageous holiday fervor.  You’re welcome, blog.

So here it is:

Felt Heart Applique Elbow Patch Cardigan.  Whew!

Felt Heart Applique Elbow Patch Cardigan. Whew!

Several MILLION versions of this project can be found on pinterest.  I specifically remember Misty doing this on her old blog last year… Anywho, being the sucker I am for all things holiday themed,  and since I already had an old gray Target cardigan and red felt lying around (I would!),I felt called to give it a whirl.


Whoa there. Is that blanket stitch with contrasting pink embroidery floss?? Yes it is.


SK, after distracting herself for 2 minutes by utterly destroying the living room, came up to let me know what she thought of this silly project.




Be done already!!!!!


Mom bought herself another 2 minutes with the graham cracker…


But then she had to kick it up a notch with dried fruit and the jumping contraption.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADone!  Aren’t they cute??

Mom of the year.

Mom of the year.


WIWS & The Epic Saga of the New Boots



It’s Sunday again and I just can’t help myself when it comes to this fun linky party. 🙂

Here’s the top half:

Gap Outlet sweater, Anthropologie earrings, Ariel hair swoop.

Gap Outlet sweater, Anthropologie earrings, Ariel hair swoop.

And the bottom half:

H&M skirt, Gap tights, Nordstrom boots.

H&M skirt, Gap tights, Nordstrom boots.

All together now!

I can't bring myself to try any different poses.  Dave will make fun of me more than he already does.

I can’t bring myself to try any different poses. Dave will make fun of me more than he already does.

Ok, story time kidlets.  I love my new boots which were a birthday & Christmas present from my Mom.  She sent me two gift certificates and I headed out to Nordstrom the morning after Christmas to get me some nice discounted boots!  Now, I’ve never ever shopped at Nordstrom because I’m clearly a member of the unwashed masses who is so not worthy… but when it came down to it, what I really wanted for Christmas and my birthday was help towards buying a pair of boots that I would never ordinarily buy for myself.  Truth be told, the other reason why I wanted to go to Nordstrom to get boots was because I knew their selection of good quality boots was more vast than at a lesser store, so hopefully I would find a pair that would fit well.

Because my friends, I have what I like to self-consolingly describe as athletic legs.  In other words, normal boots don’t fit me.

{As an aside, my new frienemy Jillian Michaels is not helping matters, as my leg muscles have swelled (have swollen? Grammar help, Rose!) alarmingly in the past 5 days since I’ve started the 30 Day Shred!}

Anyway, off I went to Nordstrom, thinking it would be easy and even pleasurable to find me some amazing boots.  Well, I got there right when the store opened and headed up to the shoe department.  In the discount boot rack (heaven?) was a mom and her sullen teenage daughter.  The mom was dominating the attention of the only sales associate there, hemming and hawing and complaining asking “Don’t they make any boots for girls with slim legs?”

Meanwhile, I tried on several pairs of boots, which would. not. zip.

I finally found THE pair.  They were the perfect color and height and they zipped very comfortably over my jeans with room the spare!  I wanted to make sure, though, so I finally got the attention of the associate and explained my dilemma (it being the opposite of the long-suffering mother’s dilemma).  The associate asked my shoe size and then explained that what they had out was what they had and a lot of their stock was depleted from Christmas and would I like to have those boots (the ones I had found that actually fit) in my size?  I was confused, weren’t they already my size?  No they are actually a size bigger.  A whole size bigger than my already very big feet.  And they fit perfectly.

So, in conclusion, I came home happy, but a little humbled by my Amazon-woman proportions.  I told my sad tale to Dave and he rolled his eyes and used it as an opportunity to use his favorite phrase “a load of white nonsense.”

Check out all the other lovely outfits and fabulous (but undoubtedly smaller) shoes at Fine Linen and Purple.
Happy Feast of the Epiphany!




Christmas Staycation

Happy New Year, everyone!!! Jillian Michaels gave me a nice little New Year’s wake up call this morning when I became the (seemingly) last SAHM ever to become her punching bag, I mean, start the 30 Day Shred.  She is NOT of the race that knows Joseph (Anne of Green Gables reference? Anyone?).  I am also giving Cari’s recipe for torture success a try.  Because I’m crazy and I’m tired of feeling dumpy.

Anywho! To try to keep my mind off my achy body and viciously growling tummy, I will share some pictures from our Christmas Staycation.  Dave took off Christmas week and New Years Eve and day, so we had a nice long chunk of time together as a family at home.  We are really boring homebodies and we like it.


First baby’s first Christmas = Picture of a princess. Oh brother!


SK rocking her hand-me-down tartan dress.

It snowed and our backyard is a hill! Win-win!!!


Dave and Pat eventually broke their $6 sleds.



Pretty pathetic.

 Speaking of pretty pathetic, that’s what SK is being today… She’s very whiney and needy.  You know, in other words, just utterly charming.  I think she misses her way-fun other parent who had to go back to work today.


I did miss celebrating Christmas with family, but I realize the other day that I have some fun trip involving family planned for every month for the next 6 months!  In a couple weeks, SK and I are going to NY and staying with Aunt Rose and Margot and Ruthie while Dave globe trots for work.  In February and March, there’s Carmela’s baptism and Easter/Jude’s/SK’s birthday (respectively).  And in April, SK and I are going to be adventurous and fly out to St. Louis to see Jane and her crew!  And summer brings even more fun and travels 🙂

Happy 2013!