{phfr} Apple Picking

Today is a perfect crisp fall day and we had absolutely nothing planned so I decided apple picking was the plan.  But I’ll be honest, my main goal wasn’t to pick apples.  In order of importance, my goals were to:
1. Inhale a cider donut.

2. Repeat 1.  Maybe share with the kids… maybe save some to bring home for Dave.  Maybe.

3. Use the real camera for the first time in months!

4. Enjoy the fall day with the kiddos.

5. Pick apples.

Herein lies my {real (disappointing)}.  There were no cider donuts!!!  They promised me cider donuts and there were no cider donuts!  Harumph!


See? I told you it is the perfect fall day!

See? I told you it is the perfect fall day!

I can't get over this perfect fashion blogger pose. Ha!

I can’t get over this perfect fashion blogger pose. Ha!

{happy}IMG_5032 IMG_5034

This place had a fun train ride out to the apples and to a play place for the kids.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sara picked apples off the trees and Gus picked apples off the ground and threw them, because that’s what he does.



Sara in the car cracks me up.

Sara in the car cracks me up.

Linking up with Like Mother Like Daughter for {phfr}. Go check them out and have a wonderful fall day, wherever you are!

{PFHR} Spring has sprung!

Anyone who used to watch Sesame Street in the 80’s might remember this one:

(That’s about the screen quality I saw it in at the time, too.) Anyway, that song has been in my head all week as we finally have been doing some earth-turning, week pulling, worm-finding, and seed-planting!


Not garden-related, but spring-themed: Look at my pretty door! I’ve been scowling at my ugly storm door all winter and now it’s off and I can see my nice shiny black door and forsythia wreath. And my hubby got me that hanging basket of petunias.



Petey is fun to watch outside in his very element, with so many new things to poke around in. He NEVER wants to come back inside these days.



I’m very happy to be out in the garden again and getting onions, peas, broccoli, and lettuce into the ground!

This also makes me happy — how adorable is my Paul’s hand-drawn garden plan, composed back in January? We’ll have to compare and contrast his efforts to Dave’s spreadsheets I’ve heard about!




For real, people, those are tiny strawberries. Already! Hooray!

Other not-so-hot “real” things: Allergies  hitting big time for me and the kids, ugh; deer eating my tulips; and bunnies eating my parsley and squirrels attacking the bird feeder. Oh well, it’s all part of spring, and I welcome it!

Head over to Like Mother Like Daughter to check out some more captured contentment!

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.~

{phfr} Spring on the Farm

On Tuesday morning, I woke up from a deep sleep in which I dreamt vividly about giving birth.  Thank the good Lord, it wasn’t a bad dream.  Basically, I sneezed and the kid popped out!  It was such a vivid dream, I was kind of excited when I woke up thinking “maybe it’s a sign!”  Believe it or not, it was a slightly prophetic dream!

{pretty & happy}

I decided since it was a beautiful early spring-ish day, that SK and I would take a trip to Drumlin Farm. Many of my friends have Mass Audubon memberships and they take their littles to Drumlin Farm frequently but we still had not checked it out. At mothers group last week, my friends were saying there were new lambs at the farm and soon there would be baby pigs! So that decided it; over the river and through the woods we went!

We saw some chickens…


And we went into the big hen house where I was reminded that chickens produce a lot of creepy, gross dust! It brought back memories of our chickens on the mountain.  Remember, McFamily?


And we found a pig, but no baby piggies yet.  I don’t know if this is Mama or Papa, but it was a big pig!  It made a lot of satisfying pig snorts for SK.


photo (17)

Galoshes were very necessary!  There were epic Diana Barry and Anne Shirley faceplant puddles to navigate, as well as slush and snow. Ugh, I hate my galoshes.  Vain Ellen really wants a pair of fashionable and classic Hunter boots, but practical Ellen (yes, she DOES exist) thinks they’re $120 too much for a pair of rubber boots.  Vanity of vanities…

Enough of this vapid talk about boots, we found the lambies!

And this little lambie was inside with his mommy because he was pretty new.  He would go from peacefully suckling one minute to jumping around his pen like a crazy lamb the next minute.  I was lucky to get this picture!



But the coolest thing we saw was a mama sheep give birth to her little black lamb.  It was incredible!  When we got there, her water had just broken.  The vet (or farmer? helper? sheep midwife? I really wish I had her appropriate job title because she was good at it.) said it could take a few minutes to a half hour, and sometimes it takes a couple of hours tops.  “Wow! Lucky sheep!” I thought.  Well, this mama got the job done in 10 minutes!

[Good thing sheep don’t read blogs, because mama sheep might not like these pictures on the internet.]

Ina May Sheep Lady helping Mama.

Ina May Sheep Lady helping Mama.

Look! It's little feets are sticking out!

Look! Her little feets are sticking out!

Eventually, Mama Sheet followed her instincts and decided sitting was just not doing it for her.  So she walked towards the door and then out came lambie! Then Mama lambie nonchalantly walked away from her newborn.  Eh, she needed some space.

Eventually, Mama Sheep followed her instincts and decided sitting was just not doing it for her. So she walked towards the door and then out came lambie! Then Mama Sheep nonchalantly walked away from her newborn. Eh, she needed some space.

Ina May brought the gooey little lambie back to Mama so she could clean her off.

Ina May brought the gooey little lambie back to Mama so she could clean her off.


Ina May Sheep Midwife told us that this was a big lamb and that’s why Mama Sheep was having problems.

Problems?  She grunted maybe 2 times! The whole thing took 10 minutes!

Mama Sheep, lemme tell you about problems with birthing big babies!


For more pretty, happy, funny, real posts, head on back to Like Mother Like Daughter. 🙂

{phfr} A Visit & Some Happenings

SK and I took a trip to my parents home (and Claire and Rose’s neck of the woods) last week and while we were there, someone obligingly decided to join us!

{pretty & happy}


Meet Master Peter Karol McAvoy, the newest McBaby in the family, and the first boy in 5 years!  We’re all smitten with this little guy.

rose & peterWe other McSisters continue to be amazed by Rose’s exceptional baby birthings, as well as her amazing ability to grow featherweight babies with wudgie-pudgie cheeks.  She has skillz!



{not funny but real}

The reason why I don’t have more pictures and more to say about Peter is because right after he was born, I came down with a wicked cold and was very much out of commission for the last couple of days of our trip.  So I wasn’t able to hold or even see the little guy.  And now we’re back home.

It reminded me of the part at the end of the movie A Christmas Story when the Bumpus’ dogs break into the house and eat the Christmas turkey…

“Oh, life is like that. Sometimes, at the height of our revelries, when our joy is at its zenith, when all is most right with the world, the most unthinkable disasters descend upon us.”

Not to be dramatic or anything.

I guess we’ll just have to take another trip to New York soon!

Linking up with Like Mother Like Daughter

{phfr} Ellen Can Be Thrifty!

SK recently (finally!) dropped her morning nap, so we’ve been exploring new and exciting ways to spend our mornings together.  Today, I decided to check out Savers (that I recently discovered was one town over) and then head to my favorite kid’s consignment store which is aptly named Fancy Pants.

We’ll start there.  Fancy Pants is in Chestnut Hill.  I don’t think you need to be a local to pick up on the fact that Chestnut Hill is a prissy place indeed! And Fancy Pants is that magical establishment where all the rich Mommies (or more likely, the nannies or housekeepers) bring all of their lightly used or never used(!) clothes, shoes, toys and gear.  You can imagine the pretties that can be found there!


Isn’t this the most precious Christmas dress? OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The smocking, the corduroy, the sweet embroidery, I can’t even handle it!  And the tags are still on!  This dress wasn’t even worn! I looked up the brand when I got home and found that these dresses retail for $75-$100! I got it brand new for $15!

I also picked up this cute corduroy Gap dress.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The shoes I got at Savers.  They soles are a bit… orthopedic for my taste.  But heck! They’ll do the trick.


Those little crotched flowers are hair clips!

Sigh… it’s a weakness of mine, this endless pursuit of pretty clothes for me and my kiddo.  I’m really trying to cut back on it for myself, but I just don’t like a lot of the clothes (mostly cheaper options) out there for little girls.  They’re downright garish with the neon colors and stupid writing on the chest.  I like classic looks like these, and I’m glad I was able to find some gems that didn’t cost an arm and a leg.


SK the little girl is emerging more and more these days.  IMG_1766

She ran from mirror to mirror at Savers.  And then I encouraged her narcissism. Doh!

IMG_1763This is my real happy!  I found this hand embroidered Sacred Heart at Savers for $3!  The fabric is a little stained, and I initially thought I’d just get a new frame with a matte, but this frame is really old and has a yellowed old stamp from “RH White Company Artistic Picture Framing”.  And it has that brown paper seal on the whole back.  Anyway, I wonder whether I should leave the frame alone.  What do you think?


Remember when I told you of my blue blazer search?  I think I found a winner!IMG_1764


I got SK’s first pair of galoshes at Fancy Pants and she started using them right away…IMG_1773IMG_1770

for her crayons.

Thank you to Like Mother Like Daughter for hosting the Prettiest Happiest Funniest Realist link-up every week! 

{PFHR} Third trimester effort


Since I was supposed to do Five Faves yesterday and forgot, I’ll make this a combo post by using a “Fave” as my “Pretty.”

I’ve been lazily looking about for nursery ideas to introduce some bolder color into this baby boy’s room, and I liked this one I found on Pinterest that looks really easy to boot.

Seems like you could take this idea any direction you wanted for just a few bucks and not a lot of effort. Works for me right now! I have way too many craft projects sitting around in semi-completed stages at this point, since I lack the energy and enthusiasm to finish them.



This was one happy four-year-old last week, with two different family parties full of cake and presents to enjoy. I am sad about my lame-o cake efforts: for her actual birthday I sent Paul out to get a grocery store bakery sheet cake, which I then did a very bad job decorating with Hello Kitty. Then on Saturday I rallied and baked Funfetti cupcakes, but when I tried to decorate those with number 4’s Paul said they looked like swastikas. Oops!



After a hard week of partying, Margot got very tired on the way to Mimi and Baba’s on Sunday afternoon, and was exasperated by our efforts to keep her awake. It also occurred to me that she looks about how I feel by noon every day lately.




This child loves to get dirty. I’ve found it’s best to just strip her down and go with it, and then when she’s done she and Margot will happily spend 45 minutes in the bathtub together. It’s a good way to get through an afternoon!

Check out more PFHR with Like Mother, Like Daughter (and congratulations on Baby Evangeline!)

Family Reunion {phfr}

….or why we have all fallen of the face of the internet! No time to write and categorize, needless to say, it’s all

{pretty, happy, funny, real}


Thanks for hosting, LMLD! We hope everyone else is having a wonderful week too!

{phfr} Flowers of the Fairest



I thought it was funny that Auntie Leila wrote about lilacs too. 🙂 Lilacs make me think of my Mom.  They always bloom around Mother’s day (in the Northeast) and purple is Mom’s favorite color, so there were always bouquets of lilac around the house at this time of year.  I remember on one of our first trips to the Martyrs Shrine in Auriesville, we passed a thicket full of lilacs and Mom made Dad pull over so she could pick a bunch.  I can’t remember if they were for our house or for a May Crowning that we were on our way to… Do you remember Mom?

Of course, lilac season usually falls in the month of the Blessed Mother, which makes them the perfect flower to bring to Our Lady.  I can remember when I went to St. Pauls Elementary, and later when I taught at MTA, more often than not the kids would bring lilacs in when it was their day to bring flowers to Mary.  If I just close my eyes and breath in the scent, I think of Mom, The Blessed Mother, rosary processions, Marian hymns and maybe, just a little, (don’t kill me Mom) too long trips in the big blue van!

And speaking of pretty and Moms…


Carmela and Claire

{happy & funny}



Chair is stripped.  Next we have to sand and stain the wood.  And then, CUT!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For more pretty happy funny real posts, clickety-click back to Like Mother Like Daughter!

{phfr} Hazzard Edition

Linking up with Like Mother Like Daughter for some pretty happy funny real Hazzard moments.


prettyMy baby looking sweet.


happyNothing is making me happier right now than the new washer/dryer duo in their new home on the first floor of the house. No more trips to the icky basement! I did eight loads of laundry yesterday.


funnyJude and Jackie enjoying their am snack in my room. They’re eating kosher peanut butter puffs. (Editorial note: in case you haven’t figured this out yet, Claire has a life long, deeply held belief that she should have been born British, and a Jew.)


realI am happy to have the new laundry closet, but the family room changes means this is what my living room really looks like right now. Oh, and it’s gotta be cleaned up before McPrince’s graduation party this Saturday.