Okay. So I updated this here blog thinger a while back and tried to revamp everything in the hopes of writing more frequently. It was a good thought in theory. Perhaps if I started the endeavor in one of the slower seasons at work without the usual chaos that summer brings. Maybe if I stopped taking on so much I’d have more time. Perhaps if I upped my caffeine intake (shotty kidneys be damned!) I would have enough pep to finally nab that “perfect mom” title and still have energy to write about it.

I mean, I have done a lot this summer. I’ve fit in a lot of things that I previously categorized as celebrations or shindigs and had lots of great times with the girls. But that’s not what I want to talk about today. I want to tackle the “perfect mom” thing. I’ve seen the perfectly put together woman in the line of Wegmans with three angels in tow and privately marvelled at and envied her perfection. I have been pushed by moms like her to up my own game in the hopes that I would be viewed in such an aura of ideal momdom. I have gotten that beautiful praise… “Wow, you’re like a perfect mom”.


And boy am I not. I want to dispel this title here and now because I feel that in the end it’s dangerous. Aiming for perfection in such a crazy and erratic role of a parent, is impossible, no matter how many Klonopin you take to keep from throwing things at the back of your whining kid’s head. And the more I strive for perfection, the more I lose it when things don’t go as planned.

I yell.

I have caught myself saying some horrible things to my children when I get home from work and sit down to eat for the first time just in time for them to need me for something idiotic.

I disappoint.

There is a project sitting in my little one’s room that she wanted to start at Christmas. It’s this little blank doll that in theory is supposed to become a ballerina with random fabric and yarn sewn on. I’m not sure. The directions disappeared in February along with most of the fabric and fixings.

I self doubt.

People ask how I’m this thin with two children. Because I have problems. Maintaining this weight is terrifying. I am a dancer and actor and not exactly extraordinary at either of these endeavors. My thin frame is basically what has always sold me. Sure I’m skinny but that means if I eat a donut, you can tell. Like, literally, a strange round shape appears in my abdomen. (Apparenly I don’t chew.) Disney and Florida is in 29 days and I’m agonizing over bikinis for a week… and also the thought of short shorts and roller coasters? I picture the ride attendants strapping me in and getting hit in the face with my thighs.

I forget.

I lose shit. Often. I spent five minutes trying to find a tray at work the other day. It was in my hand. I miss meetings and dates with friends. I promise my kids park and shopping trips and they list all of my shortcomings and memory lapses at bedtime as I kiss them goodnight.

Nobody is perfect. I sure as hell am not. But I’m working on being present and…. well… adequate. I take the girls on little outings and we do summer lessons. We watch the Disney movies while eating themed food. We cook together and have dance breaks. And we hug and kiss and love each other as often as we can.

And that’s what I think they’ll remember. They’ll look back on campfires, sing-alongs and picnics. The missed bathtime or the ice cream cone protruding from my belly button will (hopefully) be long forgotten. And I will continue being a perfectly imperfect version of me.


In my next entry I will list some of our summer shindigs. For real. On Saturday I will be blogging. I’ll go back to writing about the little victories and successes of the season. It’s not perfection by any means, but I am perfectly okay with that.

Brynn cutting the ribbon this year to officially kick off Relay for Life 2016

Relay for Life 2016, 40,000+ Steps Later…

Since my grandmother died in 2002 from a short battle with cancer, I have struggled to cope with her disappearance from my life. My Grammy was such an amazing person with the one of the biggest personalities I’ve even seen. She was sweet and caring, and a bit on the quirky side. Many of my family members have compared me to her, which makes my heart extremely happy. Anyway, every year around her birthday I tend to fall to pieces, especially on Leap Year, her actual birthday. Her loss has always hit me in ways I can’t really explain.

Our first Relay with baby Brynn

In 2011, I found Relay. Honestly, I didn’t exactly know anything about Relay for Life. My best friend’s mother was going through yet another round of cancer and her family walked every year in her name, so I decided to support her. All I knew was that people showed up and walked over a 24 hour period and that the funds went to cancer research. It didn’t mean much to me, I just wanted to be there for my friend during her struggle. We borrowed a tent and I threw together a tiny team and two weeks later, we got to walking.


That first year our family was very young. Zoe was three, Brynn was four months, and Bart and I had finally tied the knot the previous summer (he still had no idea what he was in for). My mother and one of my old school friends were the only people who joined us and I thought the rule that stated your team had to be represented on the track  at all times was strict so I walked 16 hours to be safe. My feet were raw, my legs ached, my arms throbbed from pushing a stroller and carrying a toddler. I sat down to drive Brynn to my mom’s house around 1:00 am when she refused to sleep in the tent. The only other time I wasn’t on my feet was during the ceremonies.

A blurry but beautiful Luminaria

I had heard that the Luminaria ceremony was touching and something about candles representing lives that were lost to cancer or those still fighting or survivors. I bought a bag and hastily scrawled Grammy’s name across the front before returning to the track to walk some more. Come sun-down, the ceremony started and I was changed forever. The stadium lights were shut off and the ceremony was done by the light of a few candles. At the end of the heart-breaking and powerful speeches and gestures, we all went to our luminary bags and lit up the flames representing our loved ones. For an hour, the track was lit solely by those bags and with the words of the speakers and survivors still ringing in our ears, we walked. We were predominantly silent as we circled, reading the bags to ourselves… So many names of people I would never know… “In loving memory of Grandpa”, “Stay strong!”, “Keep fighting!”, “I love and miss you, Daddy” written by a child’s careful hand. Other than the birth of my children, it was the most powerful moment of my life and I knew I wanted to a part of it again and again.

Bart and I, the year it was so cold I slept with my face under his shirt to keep warm

In the end, we raised somewhere around $40,000-$50,000. I don’t recall the exact number from my first Relay. I just remember being amazing by that sum, especially from a region as small as ours, The Greater Lake Region. I know I had a bit of money donated in the beginning, sort of a “What a good cause you’ve taken up… here’s some cash.” I maybe contributed $140 to the total amount. I wanted to help out more.

Last year, the ceremony was pulled inside due to weather. This is a picture of the survivors and caregivers before they took a lap together. A survivor asked Brynn to walk with her, as her caregiver.

The next year, I began my team as soon as registration for the 2012 event was available. We added a few more team members, and several more joined us the following year. After that, we moved closer to where the event takes place and I started regularly going to the meetings to be more informed of the process of planning and preparing for Relay for Life each year. By 2014, I officially became a committee member and actively started fundraising. I gathered sponsors from local businesses and helped at the parades and events leading up to Relay. This past year, I added to my sponsorships, I painted kids faces for hours, I made a huge cake for the survivor dinner, my team and I sold ornaments and ribbons and I added even more faces to Jean’s Team, in memory of my grandmother Eugenia Gumble.

Brynn cutting the ribbon this year to officially kick off Relay for Life 2016

In the end, I know this isn’t exactly a party post but for me, Relay is the biggest celebration of life and something I plan and prepare for more than almost anything every year. It is something that is so near and dear to my heart and something I have brought into my family with my passion for it. This year, during the Luminaria ceremony, Zoe got it for the first time. She asked questions over the candle for my Grammy, and we hugged and cried together as a projector displayed images from previous Relays, including a picture of my girls walking the track together. It was amazing and I feel she will keep this legacy going strong, long after I’m gone. And that is something that I think is worth partying for.

The husband and I around 1:30 am. For some reason, we don’t ever get to walk together until around midnight.
The girls out for a final lap before they head to the tent for bed
The first light of Luminaria 2016
Zoe and I posing in front of the sponsorship track sign I bought for my stepfather’s new business

Our Little May Day and a Baby Shower

We have had a ridiculously busy week in the Mahon household… Although “low-key” and “chill” aren’t exactly words I’d ever use to describe time in our house. Historically, the first two weeks of May are  hectic and crazy for us. We celebrate two holidays, often have multiple play practices and then it’s Relay for Life. Along with all of that and our usual work and school schedules, this year we threw in a baby shower and Brynn’s registration for kindergarten. Chaos.

So let’s start at the very beginning (I know what I just did to you musical theatre types out there– You’re welcome)….


May Day

May Day, or Beltane to some, is a day that celebrates life coming back after the colder and less fertile season. Often it’s celebrated with maypole dances which signify joining and intertwining to create something new, bonfires, feasts, and nature crafts. Typically the festivities of Beltane culminate in the “joining” of a couple to boost fertility and life in nature and our own families. The majority of my May Day was spent with the girls so I kept it on the G-rated side. Get those mental images of naked bonfire dances out of your heads!

When I got home from work , I put some Celtic instrumental music on and the girls and I donned our springiest, flowery dresses (boosting the heat a bit as it was uncommonly chilly).  I started preparing our feast and had Brynn and Zoe head outside to gather edible flowers and herbs. They then helped me toss their bounty: mint, violets, and dandelion greens, with lettuce and some strawberries for a spring salad. I chopped up some zucchini and asparagus and tossed it with olive oil and garlic and set the veggies aside to roast when everything else was just about done. The main dish was a chicken and barley dish which I left simmering while the girls and I  sat down do make our headbands.


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I planned on making floral wreaths for our hair but Brynn had zero patience for weaving the stems together. Zoe and I ended up wiring the blossoms to plain headbands while Brynn made some floral arrangements for the dinner table.

Now looking like a wood nymph, I put the finishing touches on our meal,  whipped up a strawberry and wine punch for myself, and we sat for dinner. Zoe invited her recycled robot she made for school (I’m sorry, I made for her for school….) and I let him join us after decorating him with a flower lei. The girls- and Jermie the robot- loved our feast. They specifically loved the novelty of eating flowers in the salad, picking out each tiny violet and giggling as they popped them into their mouths.

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I mixed up some honey and Riesling fritters as the girls finished up at the table, and fried off a small batch. We took these first little cakes out to the yard and the surrounding woods and the girls hid them in strategic places… Gifts for any mischievous fairies that may have been flitting about. The next batch, we sucked down ourselves, licking the dripping honey from our fingers, and hiding the little honey dribbles that splattered onto the tablecloth. My husband would be home soon and we wanted to make sure his feast was as beautiful as ours.

–Keep the party going!


*Later this week I’ll post about our Cinco de Mayo party (or Cinco de Cuatro as I called it before Bart corrected me to Cuatro de Mayo…. Doy!!). In the meantime, I attended a baby shower a few days ago. While I did not have to cook or decorate for this one, I was told I was making the cake. The theme was baby carriages so hand-piped some carriages and hot air balloons out of white chocolate and stuck them onto a simple lemon and blueberry cake iced with cream cheese frosting. It turned out pretty cute, if I do say so myself.

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FullSizeRender (5)Mommy-to-be Melanie, and some of the other awesome women I work with.


A Grand Rebranding

So here’s the thing… I love writing in this blog but it’s clearly been awhile. The last entry I wrote was in July, I believe, and it was during my countdown to our first family Disney vacay (Sorry readers of the past. I never actually wrote about our trip. No worries, though. We’re 140 days away from the next one!). I blogged a lot that summer because I had one cohesive idea I was working on. My summer bucket list that culminated in our vacation was an ongoing theme, something I seriously lacked in my blog’s early days. In my desire to write again I got to thinking. What I wrote about last summer was what I’m good at in the parenting department. I am great at creating everyday magic.

Since my girls were younger, I’ve tried to bring magic to the otherwise mundane. I suffer from this awful anxiety that comes out whenever I stop and ponder how delicate and short our lives are… something that has plagued me all my life that has really amplified since the girls have come along. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to function without becoming horribly depressed when I think about how fast my daughters are growing and changing. It had spurred me to get off of my ass when I’m sleepy or sad and to find things to celebrate in the short time we have.

So I throw parties. I’m not talking huge blow outs and keggers… For the most part it’s just the four of us doing the actually partying, with guest appearances by my parents or the occasional friend. And it’s not always about a birthday or a holiday, either. We throw Superbowl parties, even though none of us actually like football. We celebrate holidays from other countries or religions– Cinco de Mayo is coming up and I make a mean guacamole. We watch Disney movies in our countdown to Disney World vacations and either eat a food that represents that movie or do special crafts for it. We choose countries to study then prepare elaborate dinners to sample the cuisines from around the world (sometimes decorating the dining room or ourselves to match the country of choice). When a favorite television show premiers a new season or ends the series, we each dress up like the characters, make our living room look like a scene from the show, and eat foods that have been mentioned in the series. Often, even on non-party days, we’ll sit down to eat dinner and say “Happy fajita night, family”, or “Happy dinner time!”

What I try to instill in these beautiful creatures we have created is that every single day is worth celebrating, whether it’s New Year’s Day or just a Tuesday. It’s what I’m good at doing and what brings me out of my funks and it’s what I want to try to showcase here. I will capture the little Mahon family shindigs through description and photos and post them here to maybe show others that even the tiny things are worth a party and a few much needed smiles. If our week is slow and devoid of special days, I’ll post about celebrations that have come and gone in our household. After all, even past events are worth a rehash to brighten the day.

So here goes nothing… welcome to Mommy’s Little Shindig. Keep the party going!

Zoe and I, Mardi Gras 2016

Recent Hits and Misses

My apologies beautiful readers. I have been neglecting my blogging and bucket list updates lately with all of life’s most recent hurdles. I have managed to cross some items off, which I will be getting to shortly, but first a personal note…

Between work, medical stuff, taking the girls to cheerleading, vacation planning, and regular stress, our family suffered the loss of our dear kitty, Willow. She was only about three and a tiny little thing but she was by far the best cat I’ve ever had. She cuddled when I was down, chirped out little chats, climbed trees and went on dog walks around the neighborhood. We lost her very unexpectedly and it still affects all of us. We buried her in the backyard and planted a weeping willow over her as a permanent memorial. Miss Willow, I will always miss and love you.

Now for some happy, lighter shit…

Earlier this month we went to the county fair. It was a spur of the moment decision we made to get out of the house for awhile as our house was a bit of a downer after Willow’s passing. So we went at dinnertime to take advantage of the yummy fair food and sampled the hot dogs, taco salad, pizza, mozzarella sticks, snow cones, chocolate-covered cheesecake and cotton candy, just to name a few things. Then the rides came and the girls made sure we hit them all. The husband rode the kiddy rides with Brynn while Zoe forced me to ride every flippy, spinny, pukey deal she could get on. It was a great time but honestly the best part was some family time spent in a sort of happy solace. A night where we felt sadness but a need for cheerful, goofy love in the sudden awareness of the shortness of life.


We continued our adventures in the culinary BL as well. I think I mentioned earlier that we were doing culture lessons on the different countries we’ll be visiting in Epcot in 21 days (EEEP!!). So, since I last wrote we’ve hit Mexico, Germany and Morocco. The really fun country for us was Morocco. While the flavor profiles of the meal were slightly unusual for the girls, they completely dug the novelty of relocating for dinnertime. We moved it to the living room where we all sat on big, floofy pillows around the coffee table. I poured steaming cups of sweetened mint tea and we ate without utensils, using flatbread to pick up our food. We followed dinner with some Moroccan cinnamon cookies, fresh fruit and lots of smiles.



Our last BL item we hit was a visit to the fabulous Bushkill Falls. Just a heads up, I took a lot of pictures as Bushkill is basically one giant photo-op, so Gramma get yours glasses. (No for real, Gramma… I know you read this and some of the pictures were keepers!)

Looking out over the top of the Main Falls.
Looking out over the top of the Main  Falls.
Brynn's face upon seeing the scale of the Main Falls.
Brynn’s face upon seeing the scale of the Main Falls.

A brief history… The falls are considered the Niagara of Pennsylvania. Opened to the public in 1904 by Charles E. Peter’s, the attraction originally featured one trail and a swinging bridge over the main waterfall. Now the site contains several trails of varying difficulty that wind their ways through the five different waterfalls. We opted for the red trail, the most strenuous hike that is mapped out. It allows you to tour every waterfall while hopping over rocks, climbing about a gazillion wooden steps (I counted. That number is accurate.), hopping over several streams and giant puddles, and rounding it off with some flatter, paths.

Down the steps to the Lower Gorge Falls.
Down the steps to the Lower Gorge Falls.

The idea behind the hardest hike was this: We are less than a month to Disney. We will be walking from morning until well after dusk. We’re talking some serious cardio as we book it through the parks. I’ve created daily plans on the amazing website Touring Plans, and they’ve basically guaranteed lots of trumping around as we weave our way through Disney to avoid the lines. This was unfortunately our first hike of the year so we really needed to start our Disney training and fast. So made them walk. For real.


The husband cuddling with our minions on a rock.
The husband cuddling with our minions on a rock.

At one point Brynn asked to be held and we bribed the girls with money they could spend on Disney souvenirs if they kept going on their own. Lemme tell you how much Brynn refused to be carried, even after we exited Bushkill. I am not ashamed. I’ll have those monsters running laps for a stress free trip. Just kidding, my kids run laps without prompt because they’re nuts already. And they aren’t complaining about the extra piggy bank money they’re rocking right now, either.


One more heads up. Zoe starts school in about a week and a half. This will probably slow down the  BL but have no fear! Once we leave for Charleston and Disney we’ll be crossing off items faster than I can keep track!

The Sweeter Side of the Bucket List

In our household, nothing says summer and warm weather like making s’mores over a roaring fire in our big ol’ firepit. When we bought our house two years ago, the big thing that drew us to it was the beautiful two-acre yard. Several small garden areas that needed/still need tons of TLC, the acre long field with so much potential, the scattered wild blueberry bushes producing tiny tart berries Zoe adores, the fountain that we still can’t figure out how to work (which is currently acting as my “shrine”), and that enormous gorgeous firepit, just begging to be surrounded by benches for some classic family s’moring.

The fire perking up while my family runs in the background.
The fire perking up while my family runs in the background.

We do the s’more thing probably four or five times a year. We wait for those fantastic clear nights, the kind that miraculously put each of us in great moods. Near dusk, the husband builds a fire and I herd the girls out, usually pajama-clad, straight out of the bath, cuz really, if your going to get your kids ridiculously sticky and messy, you need a clean canvas first. While the fire is coaxed to life, we let the girls run through the yard barefoot, practicing cartwheels, screaming and riling up the dog.

The first marshmallow before it burst into flames.
The first marshmallow before it burst into flames.

I bring the s’more fix-ins out when the flames get high enough and start roasting marshmallows and assembling. Graham crackers, Hershey’s milk chocolate and those new marshmallows, the big fat ones specifically made for s’mores equal pure bliss. I go until we’re in sugar shock and our fingers stick together. After a good hosing down, I send Zoe and Brynn to bed to sleep off the sugar binge and the husband and I often stay up to watch the fire burn.

Sticky children.
Sticky children.

My other summer bucket-lister of the week was done with visions of a different rich dessert dancing in my head. I’m not really huge on desserts, so this post is strangely sweet-centric. I mean, I bake a lot and I’ve enjoyed it so much I even sell baked goods….

Shameless advertising here of recent wedding cake I made... disregard the strange buttons on the lace layer and the icing between layers. Sadly the assembler flubbed.
Shameless advertising here of recent wedding cake I made… disregard the strange buttons on the lace layer and the icing between layers. Sadly the assembler flubbed.

…but in the end, I’m more prone to grab seconds at the dinner table rather than go for some cake or something. But my one big dessert-time weakness is a cream pie. Blackberry, gooseberry, blueberry… Oh boy, blueberry.

Brynn, Zoe and Tabitha. I love this... it's like a picture of life stages.
Brynn, Zoe and Tabitha. I love this… it’s like a picture of life stages.

So the girls and I met some dear friends of mine for lunch followed by a trip to the blueberry farm. Cuz if I’m going to make a blueberry cream pie (or make the husband make one for me, as it may turn out), I’ll be damned if I use store-bought blueberries. No, instead I’m going to force my friends and children out into the sun on a 93 degree day to join me in a u-pick adventure until we’re all red in the face.

Edie and her son, Ronnie and Tabitha. This was about the moment where we decided it was ridiculously hot.
Edie and her son, Ronnie and Tabitha. This was about the moment where we decided it was ridiculously hot.

Which as it turns out is about 28 minutes when you’re talking about standing in a field in 93 degrees. We trekked to the farthest blueberry field in search of the sweetest and plumpest berries and within seconds were all drenched in sweat. The berry picking lasted less than half an hour. We returned to the weighing counter with barely any fruits of our labor (see what I did there?), using the fantastic excuse that the kids got too hot. P.S, remind me to thank my children for having bright red cheeks and being able to take the blame for that one when I was drowning in my own cleavage perspiration.

The covered bridge on the walk back to weigh blueberries.
The covered bridge on the walk back to weigh blueberries.

We opted for the gift shop/cafe and their homemade ice cream and orgasm-inducing blueberry juice. For real, I was two seconds away from reenacting that scene from When Harry Met Sally. The money I saved on my sad bucket of blueberries I spent on blueberry-themed drinks and baked goods. It was happiness.

Two hot and sweaty chicks and a baby. Sorry, I look gross, and the humidity made all of cameras blurry.
Two hot and sweaty chicks and a baby. Sorry, I look gross, and the humidity made all of cameras blurry.

But don’t worry. I picked just enough berries for a pie.


The Fourth and Such

And now the version with pictures and edited! Whoops, my drunk.

Mommy's Little Shindig

Summer has hit the restaurant I work at hard. We’ve been slammed constantly and I’ve for to be honest with you guys, I’m wicked tired. But summer busyness in the food industry is expected and my theme for the season seems to be “suck it up and have some fun”, or something to that effect, so we push on…

Watch Fireworks/Lesson on England

Custard Sponge Sandwich or something else really really British in nature. Custard Sponge Sandwich or something else really really British in nature.

Last weekend was the Fourth of July. Our town held its fireworks on the third which just so happened to be the day the girls and I had our next geography lesson. I’ve brainwashed the kids to only pick countries featured at the World Showcase at Epcot Center (Disney vacay, baby!!) without them knowing it has anything to do with Disney World or I guess more accurately, without them knowing we have anything to do with…

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The Fourth and Such

Summer has hit the restaurant I work at hard. We’ve been slammed constantly and I’ve for to be honest with you guys, I’m wicked tired. But summer busyness in the food industry is expected and my theme for the season seems to be “suck it up and have some fun”, or something to that effect, so we push on…

Watch Fireworks/Lesson on England

Custard Sponge Sandwich or something else really really British in nature.
Custard Sponge Sandwich or something else really really British in nature.

Last weekend was the Fourth of July. Our town held its fireworks on the third which just so happened to be the day the girls and I had our next geography lesson. I’ve brainwashed the kids to only pick countries featured at the World Showcase at Epcot Center (Disney vacay, baby!!) without them knowing it has anything to do with Disney World or I guess more accurately, without them knowing we have anything to do with Disney World. Anyway, Brynn “chose” England on the third and we did our online lesson. For our meal I prepared bangers and mash and buttered peas with a custard sponge sandwich cake for dessert. We ate until combustion then went to watch the fireworks and celebrate our independence from England and the share in the happiness that we didn’t have to eat such British delights on a daily basis (sorry to any readers from across the pond but one can only eat so much gravy soaked food items and bowls of Weetabix without going into a culinary stupor). The fireworks were a bit late so we rolled down the grassy hill we were perched on and laughed and cuddled. The fireworks, though tardy, were awesome and we couldn’t have had better seats for them. But even better was the picture of our family, sitting on the blanket in a big cuddly heap just enjoying the night.

Thing 2 waiting for the fireworks.
Thing 2 waiting for the fireworks.
Yours truly, on fireworks look out.
Yours truly, on fireworks look out.

Go to the Movies

The Fourth fell on Saturday, aka Girls Night. I got out of hell work and went home for a quick clothing change/kid picking up. We went to a German restaurant with the intentions of learning about Germany to cross it off our list. Turns out they each got chicken fingers and applesauce which didn’t scream Germany to me and the wi-fi was crappy so we sat and enjoyed ourselves instead of being educational. We hit the gift shop on the way out for a bunch of authentic German candies, definitely not to take to sneak into the movie theatre cuz that would be wrong and bad. On the way out of The Alpine, the girls posed in front of a big cow. I’m not completely sure why the restaurant features das cow but it made a good photo-op nonetheless.

The girls and Das Cow.
The girls and Das Cow.

Next we went and bought our movie tickets for Inside Out (and certainly DIDN’T smuggle previously purchased German candy into the theatre. Uh-uh. Didn’t do that). The husband surprised us by showing up before show time, let out of work early. As one unit we hit the seats and adored every second of Inside Out. I’ve got to admit it made me cry. Like, hold-back-the-audible-sob-so-as-not-to-humiliate-your-family kind of cry. The girls sat in the seats in front of Husband and I until they got sleepy and came back to cuddle. I’m not going to lie, kid snuggling makes every movie better. When we got home they mustered up some extra energy to catch some fireflies which was awesome because the fireflies disappeared for the summer by the next night. They kept them in their rooms over night as their personal night lights and released them in the morning.

Slip and Slide

I’m not going into details on this bucket-lister as it’s pretty self-explanatory (and also I’m exhausted and slightly intoxicated from the drink the Husband made me to relax when I arrived home from work). We planned to hit Shuman’s Point and cross it off on the BL for some hiking at our favorite local spot but lo and behold the parking lot was being replaced and we couldn’t get it. So we picnicked in our backyard and the Husband set up the Slip and Slide racer we own. The girls took turns then we had to show them how to really do it, as my on-your-knees example is definitely how you’re supposed to rock a Slip and Slide.




By the way, my apologies to anyone who clicked on the link to read my unedited/unpictured version of this post. See the comment above about me being slightly intoxicated.

Culinary Bucketing

So I haven’t posted recently on our family’s bucket list adventures. Northeastern Pennsylvania weather has been on the rainy/gross/shitty spectrum for the last two weeks which is cool for my gardens but not so much for our outdoor activities. We have tiny spurts of sunshine which just aren’t enough time for the epic adventures I have planned. The sun comes out, I herd the kids outside for some quality vitamin D and badminton practice (or flailing wildly with two foot arm extensions in Brynn’s case), then it starts raining again and we all trudge back inside.

I don’t have a huge list of indoor summer activities other than things related to my tiny kitchen. The girls and I like to cook. Last year’s bucket list included studying about different topics and places to keep Zoe’s brain from turning to mush while out of school. I figured this year we would up the ante and add culinary tours to our geography lessons. Basically, the girls take turns choosing a country or region, then we study the area online and at the library, then we design a menu, and cook and sample some of the popular cuisines we learned about. It’s really fun and the girls get pumped about preparing and tasting the ethnic foods we learned about.

On the first day we learned about India. We went online to kid-friendly geography sites and studied the facts and statistics about the country. We watched some travel Youtube videos as well as some clips about Indian cooking. After our computer lesson we got practical and hit the kitchen. I made garlic naan, chicken tikka masala and samosas (which I need to send a big thank you out to my friend Arpita who taught me how to make samosas a couple of years ago. They are difficult and her previous assistance came in handy when I was trying to fold the little buggers!). We ate and Zoe said it was her favorite meal she’s ever had. (I should take this moment to apologize for the lack of pictures. It turns out that when my BL is culinary, I forget to snap a few photos as I’m so anxious to chow down.)

Today we’ll be learning about England and I’ve already designed a menu straight out of my Harry Potter cookbook. No, for real. For those of you who don’t know me in person, I’m an enormous geek. I whipped out my amazing Harry Potter cookbook and scoured it for the perfect meal plan…. Possibly while wearing my Harry Potter t-shirt. Just saying. If any of you are an enormous nerd like me and have this cookbook, the pumpkin pasties and the Victorian sponge cake are our house favorites thus far.

My next series of BL check marks are part of a new set of additions to the list. This comes with some huge news for us… I’ve figured out how to take the girls to Disney World for the first time!! This is monumental for us because we are a big Disney family. And also my nerdy fan girl issue extends hardcore into the realm of anything Disney. I am so excited I’ve been counting down the days to spring this surprise on the angels!! Okay, let me regain my composure to explain this new venture into the BL.

With all of the rain lately, we’ve been stuck in front of the TV a lot. Much more than I’d like my kids to be vegging out. And I don’t know about you guys, but my love for Teen Titans has faded since I’ve watched three different Teen Titans marathons lately. I love you Starfire and Beast Boy but a girl can only take so much. So I decided to build the Disney excitement and tour our way into the magical land by watching all of our Disney movies in chronological order. But that plan held too much sanity for me and I needed a challenge. So, with every movie, we eat something that can be linked to it. I try to time the movies to meals so we’re not 1200 pounds by the time we hit the theme parks and unable to fit into The Tower of Terror. Here’s what we’ve done thus far:

Snow White- Poison Apple Pancakes (no child was harmed during the devouring of this breakfast)

Pinocchio- When You Wish Upon a Star-Shaped Chex square (yes, I was reaching, but you try planning that one!)

Cinderella- Cindy’s Magical Carriage Breakfast Plate

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Alice in Wonderland- The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Dinner (so many finger foods and too much caffeine!)

These are their "Mad-Hatter" Faces
These are their “Mad-Hatter” Faces

Peter Pan- Codfish dinner then Magical Pixie Dust Cookies

Sleeping Beauty- a dinner that included the Three Fairies’ Wands (sweet potato fries) and Aurora’s Pineapple Crowns

The weather looks better for this week so hopefully we can hit more exciting BL checks, but in the meantime I’ll keep you updated on the culinary adventures of my crazy family.

The girls got the dog in on all the princess fun...
The girls got the dog in on all the princess fun…

The New and Improved Girls’ Night

As my husband and I are both in the restaurant business, weekends are not relaxing for us. In fact, they can be downright painful. For me, Saturdays and Sundays means two double-shifts waitressing, breakfast and brunch then breakfast and brunch again. These are the two busiest days of the week so I usually get quite the workout. The husband bartends every Saturday, brunch (with me!) and dinner. Unless he picks up other shifts, it is the only night I have alone with the girls.

I adore girls’ night. It is our time to cuddle, and do super girly stuff like manicures, eat foods that daddy typically dislikes, and watch princess/Barbie/mommy’s vampire or teen wizard movies he hates. Saturday night with the girls gets me through the hell of work weekends and gives me something to smile about all week. Alas, because girls’ night falls on a Saturday it often means mommy is incredibly irritable and cranky tired due to a shotty day at work and in anticipation of another shotty day to follow. More often than not, I spend my beloved girls’ night snapping at my little monsters and drifting in and out of sleep on the couch while they run around me and play. I got to thinking about this sad cycle and what the summer would bring as work got even more hectic and chaotic on weekends…

And my solution seemed obvious. I need to put on some big-girl pants and leave work at work and take the time to look at those beautiful girls and understand how little time I really have with them as kids. Life is short and I want my itty-bitties to remember happy times with their mother instead of getting yelled at for acting like kids just because I’ve had a rough day. I need to continue bucket-listing and life-living, even on Saturdays.

This past Saturday, I put it to the test. I survived the two shifts of work and barreled home, ready for a fun night. Fueled by only a bit more coffee than usual, I did a quick change out of my awful uniform and the girls and I were off.


I took them to the park in downtown Hawley, a newly remodeled kiddy wonderland that happens to be right across the street from the restaurant I work at. It was fixed up almost a year ago and we’ve only visited it one other time, due to its proximity to my job. Zoe and Brynn were thrilled when I made the right hand turn instead of the left they were expecting. They were immediately off and clamouring up the three-story play set the sits in the middle of the park. That was usually when I’d settle my tired ass onto a bench for some quality time with AlphaBetty, but I vowed then and there to be present with the girls.

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To their delight, I climbed up the rock wall right after them. We chased each other through tunnels. We raced down the tube slides (even with the terrifying visions of accidentally lodging myself into the tot-sized tunnel and being crashed into by every kid on the way down to create a massive tiny human pileup). We swang until I thought I’d tip the swing set over. I tried to teeter-totter with the girls even if I was baffled by the weight differences logistically. I flipped upside-down on the monkey bars with them. We played and raced and chased and laughed in the ninety degree sun until we were all beet-red and absolutely filthy. Then we happily said good-bye to the park (which has never happened before as Brynn always flips out when it’s time to go) and walked across the street hand-in hand-in hand.

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At my work, we sat at a table at the bar, sweaty and dirty, and demanded to be served by the very handsome bartender. We all sat on one side of the table and cuddled and laughed while we shared our food with each other. The husband couldn’t come over and visit often since it was so busy, but that was okay because it was girls’ night and I was enjoying every minute of it with Zoe and Brynn.

On the way home we stopped to get some ice cream at a stand and brought it home (with extra for grandma, of course). We pushed aside the table in the living room and lay blankets and pillows in a big heap on the floor. Then we curled up in a pile in our cocoon and watched a Tinkerbell movie while eating our frozen treats.

And that was the kind of girls’ night that makes me love Saturdays.