January 30, 2013

Fizz Clemetines BLOG
Remember my resolution of giving up sugar?

I am proud to say.....

Half a Clementine Segment BLOG
It's been 30 days and I am still going strong!
Even made it through Nick's 15th Birthday with chocolate peanut-butter cake.

Swimming Clementine BLOG
I will admit that it was tough to slice and serve it up to my family without tasting it, but I didn't cave.
And as I sit now, I am a few pounds lighter and I am feeling so much better.
Sleeping more soundly at night and have more energy during the day.

I have even stopped drinking wine..... not a drop since New Year's Eve!
Just a few more pounds to go and I will probably allow myself a glass or two again on the weekends.
In the meantime, I have been drinking Sprite Zero in a pretty stemless champagne glass with a piece of fruit floating in it.
Nice and bubbly..... refreshing too! I just pretend it is a Bellini :)

Thanks so much to everyone that has encouraged me.
I never realized just how addictive sugar could be to your body but I am so glad it is out of my system.

Next goal..... time to get up and get moving.
Workouts are few and far between.....
and that needs to change, but I am trying to take baby steps here.

L O V E . . .

January 28, 2013

Love Polaroids
Love Polaroids3
"A sister is one who reaches for your hand and touches your heart"
~Author Unknown~
Love Polaroids4
Love Polaroids2
I could sit and watch these two all day long.
There is something so sweet about the love between sisters.
The bond they have is undeniable and Reagan's feet in the air, oh my my, those are some happy feet if I ever saw them:)

Right now the girls have separate bedrooms, but that is going to change this Spring.
We will be moving everyone around upstairs and doing some bedroom reconfigurations.
The girls are going to share a room with bunk beds.
To say they are excited is an understatement.
I can already hear the late night giggles, can't you?

It is a very happy Monday morning here in PA.....Looks like snow is on the way.
School has been cancelled and everyone will be enjoying a 3 day weekend in these parts.

Have a wonderful week friends.
Stay warm and be safe out there!

Sunday Snapshot - "Red"

January 27, 2013

Chopsticks in the window SL BLOG
Yesterday, I had to go over to "2 Hip Chics" to open some canvases that arrived earlier in the week.
On friday night, the town where the store/studio is located is having a Snow Ball to pay tribute to local artists and I am one of the artists featured, so we will be serving wine and cheese for all of our fellow art lovers who will be walking through the store/studio to see some of my work.

Reags Year of the Snake BLOG
While we were there, and the light was beaming into the studio space so beautifully, I decided to do our Chinese New Year photos. Reags looks good in so many colors because of her beautiful dark features, but I think Red is definitely the one color that stands out from the rest.

Chopsticks and Lanterns BLOG
I purchased paper lanterns at Party City for a little something extra to break up all the white in the space.

Going into the box for a treat Chopsticks2 SL BLOG
And gave her a fancy pair of chopsticks with a Chinese take out box(also purchased at Party City) filled with some goodies.
She had a lot of fun.....I did not have time to go through all of the pics yet, but you will see some silly shots later in the week. Just thought I would just post a few today.

It has been three years since I have attempted cooking the food for our Chinese New Year celebration and I think this year we are going to tackle the Asian Dumplings again. I made them in 2010, just a few months before we received Reagan's photo......but have not made them since. I spoke with my Mom and she said she was willing to help out this year if I wanted to cook them. They are A LOT of work, but oh my heavens, they are really good. I went back in the archives to find the photo I took back in 2010 and figured I would post the recipe for anyone that wants to try them out this year. If you do, you have to let me know what you think! My family raved about them when I cooked them the last time.
Dumplings BLOG

Asian Dumplings

3 cups all-purpose flour
up to 1 1/4 cups cold water
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup ground pork or beef
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 TBSP Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, or to taste
3 TBSP sesame oil
1/2 green onion, finely minced
1 1/2 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage
4 tablespoons diced water chestnuts
4 tablespoons diced carrots
2 slices fresh ginger, finely minced
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced

Stir the salt into the flour. Slowly stir in the cold water, adding as much as is necessary to form a smooth dough. Don't add more water than is ncessary. Knead the dough into a smooth ball. Cover the dough and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting, prepare the filling ingredients. Add the soy sauce, salt, rice wine and white pepper to the meat, stirring in only one direction. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring in the same direction, and mix well.

To make the dumpling dough: knead the dough until it forms a smooth ball. Divide the dough into 60 pieces. Roll each piece out into a circle about 3-inches in diameter.

Place a small portion (about 1 level tablespoon) of the filling into the middle of each wrapper. Wet the edges of the dumpling with water. Fold the dough over the filling into a half moon shape and pinch the edges to seal. Continue with the remainder of the dumplings.

To cook, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add half the dumplings, giving them a gentle stir so they don't stick together. Bring the water to a boil, and add 1/2 cup of cold water. Cover and repeat. When the dumplings come to a boil for a third time, they are ready. Drain and remove. If desired, they can be pan-fried at this point.

Dipping Sauce:

2 TBSP of Soy Sauce
1 TBSP of Rice Wine Vinegar
1/4 tsp of minced garlic
1/4 tsp of minced ginger root
1/2 tsp of sugar
4-8 drops of Hot Chili Oil

Ni Hao Yall
To see more Sunday Snapshots, head on over to visit my friend Stef!

Shades of "Reags"

January 25, 2013

Shades of Reags
Last weekend I had hoped to do a cute little Valentine's Day shoot for the girls so we could have cards made for their friends and classmates, but when Sarah got sick, I knew we were going to have to postpone it.

A certain someone (not mentioning any names) was disappointed that she was not going to where her pretty pink dress...
so I caved and let her take it for whirl.

After a week of sniffling and coughing, I think Sarah is finally feeling better and knock on wood, the rest of the family is healthy too.
It has been so cold and blustery here in the Northeast and we are expecting some snow today. I know we are only in January, so there is still quite a bit of winter left, but this girl is counting the days until Spring arrives. 53 to be exact :)

TGIF my friends!
~Stay warm~

the long road

Heaven Sent

January 21, 2013

Angels in the Kitchen COLLAGE BLOG
It has been a very quiet weekend around here....
Everyone is feeling under the weather, so we sort of hunkered down and stayed in the last few days.
Reags and Nick were sick earlier in the week, and Sarah, Pat, and I came down with it by Friday night.
Thank heavens it is not the flu, just some upper respiratory thing. Enough to make all of us feel miserable.
Luckily it is a 3 day weekend for the kids, so they get an extra day to rest up.

I am headed back to work today, but before I head out, wanted to share these photos.
If you follow me on Instagram, you have seen and read the story about Reags and her new addiction with doing dishes.
Usually she does them shirtless, but yesterday they had been playing dress up with the "angel wings" that Mimi bought them for Christmas. So I pulled out the camera.

The afternoon light was incredible coming in through the window and when I turned to the side and saw their reflection in the glass cabinet, my heart skipped a beat. These images were begging to be converted to Black and White and once converted, the contrast of light in the frame took my breath away. They truly look like angels sent from above...... now if only their behavior reflected that all the time :)

~Have a wonderful week friends~

Candy Hearts

January 20, 2013

heart shadow BLOG
It believe it was only the day after Christmas and a lot of the stores were already stocking their shelves with Valentine's Day goodies.
They don't waste any time, do they?

Pile o hearts BLOG
Part of my New Year's resolution was to cut out the sugar. I have been overindulging a lot the last few months.
It all started with my 40th bday celebration in October, then we had the girls birthdays in November, followed by Thanksgiving, then Christmas. There was no shortage of holiday sweets around here and once I started, I could not stop.
Cookies, Candies, Cakes, you name it, I ate it.

Missing Heart BLOG
And let me say, once your body gets used the sugar fix, it is hard to break it.
January 1st I started a clean slate and went cold turkey......and while I was at it, I decided to give up my wine as well. I found myself pouring a glass after work while I cooked dinner a little too often and those calories add up quickly, so no more wine either.

Glass Bowl of Hearts BLOG
The first week was rough and I was a complete bear, but now I seem to be cruising along and to be honest, I don't miss it.
(Okay, the wine I do and will probably start to allow myself a glass or two over the weekend here pretty soon. I just wanted to shave off a few of the holiday pounds that snuck up on me.)

It is a good thing the sweets don't bother me because they are still found here in the house. My husband LOVES these gummy hearts and there has been a big bowl of them staring at me all week. I am happy to report, that I have walked past that bowl countless times and have not put a single piece in my mouth.

2 hearts 2 hands BLOG
But it sure looks like Pat will have help getting to the bottom of the bowl. It seems we have another sweet eater on our hands :)

heart to hand BLOG
That would be Reags, the child that LOVES food as much as her Momma!


January 18, 2013

Alleyway Red Repeating Doors BLOG
Tomorrow we will be celebrating the big "15"
Red Sneaks No Parking Zone BLOG
I can hardly believe that many years have passed since Nick entered the world and gave me the best job I could ever have... MOM.
Nick through the trees bottom of staircase BLOG
It has been a long time since I have posted and updated about him and what is going on in his life, so today, you are going to hear a proud Mom brag a little bit.
Nick from the corner BLOG
About this time last year he was faced with the decision of which high school to attend. We helped him lay out the pros and cons to both our public high school and the catholic school, but we left the final decision up to him.
Fifteen and Walking BLOG
He had been very decisive in saying that he wanted to attend the public high school, so that is where we enrolled him, but when it came time for 8th grade graduation, the reality of leaving his lifelong friends sort of set in.
We talked a lot this summer and made sure he understood that changing schools would always be an option and if he felt he made a mistake, we would stand by him and do what we had to do to get him where he wanted to be.
Nick Red Shoes Red Sign BLOG
Throughout all of those conversations, he always stood strong and clung to his belief that even though it would be difficult in the beginning, he felt the public high school was the best choice for him.
Nick in Phone3 BLOG
As the first week of school approached I think I was more nervous than he was....
He was going from an 8th grad class of 67 to a Freshman class of 832.
Nick ITouch5 Red BLOG
There are more students in his freshman class than there were in his entire school.
Nick Close Crop HS BLOG
Well here we are, just about halfway through his Freshman year and I am happy to report that not only is he doing extremely well adjusting socially to the new environment, but he is having one of the best academic years ever.
Some of you many remember back when I started this blog, he had been diagnosed with dyslexia. Because of that, he has struggled with a lot of subjects. The catholic school tried to help and made some special arrangements when it came to testing, but it was still a struggle to keep up at the pace they expected. Nick worked very hard to do the best he could and we knew it. When his report card would come, we knew he would not be a straight A student, it was just not going to happen.
SteelStacks Nick Red BLOG
Imagine our surprise when he brings home his first High School Report card and he has all A's and 1 B......and that was a B+.
He is taking all College Prep classes and a some fun electives. We could not be more proud of him!!! He actually loves school and looks forward to going every day. He seems to enjoy most of his classes, but he was lucky enough to get his first choice in electives for the firs semester....Drafting. He is very good at it and I think he is starting to think about career path and where he will want to focus the next few years to set himself up for a good college education. They are selecting classes already for the next school year and he is looking into Engineering and Architecture.

Nick is an all around great kid.... I know I am his Mom, but we hear this from a lot of his teachers and other people who have the opportunity to spend time with him. He is very kind and considerate, has become extremely outgoing, and almost always has a smile on his face. He is the best son a Mom could ever ask for.....and an incredible big brother....I think you all have seen that with your own eyes! The love and adoration he has for his little sisters seems to come shining through in every photo.

The last 15 years have been quite a journey for Nick and it has been really something to watch him become the young man that he is today. Although we want to cherish the here and now with him, I will be anxious to see how the next few years of his life unfold.

Happy 15 Nick!
~We Love you~

You don't raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they'll turn out to be heroes, even if it's just in your own eyes.
~Walter M. Schirra, Sr.~
the long road

Everyday Moments That Make Me Smile

January 16, 2013

Cutie Peeking out of the tub BLOG
"A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit, a golden thread to the meaning of life."
~Isadora James~
Fun with Suds Collage
xoxo sisters collage

These were taken last week spur of the moment.... they were having so much fun with the bubbles.
Most of the time, they are like two peas in a pod and watching them together always makes me smile! It is the little moments like these that I will always want to remember and cherish. Time is passing us by way to quickly.... We will be celebrating Nick's 15th birthday this weekend and it feels like yesterday he was the same age as the girls. Every once in a while reality sets in and reminds me to slow down, don't sweat the small stuff, and try to enjoy the moment.
Guess it has been one of those weeks:)

~Happy Wednesday~

Favorite Photo Friday- "A Winter Walk on the Beach" (Instagram Style)

January 11, 2013

Iphone Beach CC Stormy Beach
I am sort of rewinding the clock here and still catching up with the backlog of photos that I wanted to post.
These were taken on our recent trip to Cape Cod over the Christmas break. It was a relatively quick trip for us and I made a rash decision in the 11th hour to leave the big camera at home....

Stealing a line from one of my all time favorite movies... "Big mistake..BIG, HUGE"
and still kicking myself for not throwing the camera bag in the car because the day after we arrived, I was headed to the grocery store and decided to stop at the beach and take a little stroll.
Iphone Beach CC Steps DOWN
The minute I stepped into the sand and heard the waves crashing, it was like instant serenity.

Iphone Beach CC Steps Up
I walked down the coastline and found a few things that caught my eye along the way.
This staircase that was one of them. I named this photo "stairway to heaven" because from the bottom it looked like the stairs were going to take you right up to the sky!

Iphone Beach CC Lobster Trap
Just beyond the stairs, there was a washed up and abandoned lobster trap that was so cool looking. The texture and details were so intriguing and thanks to the Olloclip on my iPhone, I was able to capture them up close.

Iphone Beach CC Fence
I have been to the Cape so many times I have lost count....and special memories are made each time we visit, but this was certainly a walk to remember. I can't recall a time where I was able to walk the beach and essentially have it to myself with not another soul there..... just me, the sand, and the sound of the water. With each wave that came in and went out, I could feel the stress washing away. It was such a peaceful feeling and had a very calming effect. I only wish it wasn't so far away. Oh how I would love to be able to take a walk like that every day or at least once a week to clear my mind.

I know a lot of you follow me on Instagram and/or Facebook and have already seen this series, but I love them so much, I wanted to post them here so they are documented. All of the photos were taken with my Iphone and Olloclip attached, then processed using instagram filters. Looking at them up close here on the computer, they are a tad grainy, but I think it adds to the mood.
They day after I took these, it snowed. The storm was moving in.

It has been a week where I have put in a lot of windshield time, so I have not had the opportunity to take many photos.
I do have a few, just have not had time to get them downloaded from my camera.
Hope to get them up this weekend!

Happy Friday Friends!!!

the long road

The Beauty in Black and White

January 7, 2013

Sarah Dark Window BLOG
Her raw and natural beauty literally take my breath away....

BW Shadows Collage
I know every detail of her face, yet every time I look at her I feel completely mesmerized by her features.

Up Close Arms around knees2 BLOG
Even in the shadows of a dark room, her beauty radiates.

BW Window Light Sarah Knees In Chest2 BLOG

Stepping out a little bit and changing up my normal bright and colorful photos with this series.
I have always loved Black and White photography and as of late (especially after I stopped hosting black and white wednesdays) I don't seem to convert very many of my photos into black and white anymore. These photos really speak to me and I am in love with the contrast of light and dark within the frame....and with the shadowing. I know this sort of photography is not everyone's cup of tea but I really love the mood it evokes. You might see more photos popping up like this from time to time. After viewing these, I think I might need to give it a try with Reagan and Nick too.

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!
Monday's are not my favorite day, but guess what.... by 5pm we will be one day closer to Friday:)