No Longer Mother to High Schoolers. . .

Feeling a little old this week, not because of a birthday or anything, just because my youngest is graduating high school. I am now the mother of two college students and that makes me feel old. When the boys were both in school and i was no longer the mother of preschoolers (MOPS) I was sad. Today I am thrilled!! Big T will be joining his brother in Massachusetts this Fall.

Very Excited for Big T

Big T received an academic scholarship and will be going to Massachusetts to complete his Bachelor of Science in business management and minor in music and playing lacrosse with his brother. I am so excited for Big T, I must toot his horn just a bit. He will be receiving his high school diploma in a few weeks as well as an Associates degree in business management from the community college. He was also inducted into Phi Theta Kappa honor society at the community college. This boy has it going on!!

Travel Mama. . .

I can not begin to explain how very happy I am that I will get to see my boys playing lacrosse together again. The hubby and I have plans to go see them play in person this next year if we can get around this whole COVID mess. We had a major weekend planned right when this all hit in April of last year. The plan was to go to Massachusetts to see Sprat play at his home field and then drive to Maine to watch him play. I was so excited, I have never been to Maine before and I was looking forward to watching my son play college lacrosse. Knew I would enjoy the scenery on the drive from Boston to Maine and I could not wait to try the food, the food, can I say that again the food! Have yet to try a lobster roll and I want one! My fingers are crossed that we will be able to make the trip next year for a couple of games.

Lots of work ahead of Big T. . .

Big T has his work cut out for him. He wants to major in business and minor in music. I have shared how he taught himself how to play the Ukulele during the shut down. He has also taught himself how to play the bass and the piano. I know I am the mama but he really is quite good to be self taught. He does love his heavy metal but he has learned at least one hymn on the piano that is beautiful.

Graduation Ahead. . .

The hubby and I were just talking about all the things we have to get for Big T for his dorm room this year. I posted after Sprat’s second year all the stuff we bought and did not need so I feel like I have a good grasp on what we have to pick up but it is still a lot. The school has provided him with a lap top the last four years so that is something he will have to purchase. I learned from Sprat that we will not be purchasing a printer since the college gives the kids access to printers all over campus. We will have to purchase another fridge for Big T’s dorm. He will also need a new book bag, sheets, pillows, laundry bag, shower caddy, towels, and anything else I can think of.

Quarantine and Garden Beds

Quarantine update first. . .

The oldest has been in quarantine two times since he went back to school in MA. The first time he had contact with someone that tested positive and this second time he had tested positive to COVID 19. It was killing this mama being more than fourteen hours away from my baby and him sick with this nasty virus. The only saving grace was his symptoms were very, very mild. I am even skeptical if he actually had the virus. He never ran a fever and his only symptom was a stuffy nose and a little head congestion and he did mention he could not taste his chocolate milk they gave him. A lack of taste is the only symptom that differs from North Carolina allergy symptoms and that lack of taste lasted only a day or two.

Garden Beds and dirt. . .

The hubby decided to build raised beds for our garden this year. He loved what he did with my cutting bed last year and how it turned out. The garden beds look similar but are a little deeper. Quarantine has really made my poor hubby nuts, he has not been able to actually go out and work, they have been working remote since March last year. To pass the time he has been building these beds and researching how to garden in raised beds. I should be happy, he could be surfing porn sites, instead he is surfing garden and planting sites. Oh, and he is not just surfing garden sites, he is an avid fisherman so he has been honing those skills too via the internet.

This is one of the long beds and there are 4 square beds and another long narrow bed.
These are asparagus roots that are going in one of the square beds
This is what the beds looked like before dirt.

What is he planting. . .

Asparagus are a tricky veggie to plant. You plant those ugly roots and you have to let them grow for two years before you can harvest them. That two years may be difficult, I really like asparagus but I promised I would not cut any until the right time. We have onions, sweet peas, cabbage, and broccoli already in the ground. I have planted some dill, spinach, and some chives by seed on our back porch. The hubby is trying his hand at starting celery by using old celery and he has started some tomatillo’s by seed in the window sill.

The Cut Flower Bed. . .

The cut bed wintered over very well. We planted some bulbs that are already breaking ground. I cannot wait to see and smell my beautiful and fragrant flowers. Just need to keep the bunnies out of it. I have spread dryer lint and hair from my hair brush around the bed to deter those voracious little guys. Keeping my fingers crossed because the bulbs are breaking ground and prove very promising.

These are some of my little sprouts from the cutting bed.

Stay Tuned. . .

Stay tuned for more garden updates and Mom advice. . .

No Cell Phones for the Kiddos

I took a lot of crap on this one. . .

A little back story; most if not all of Sprat’s friends got phones by the time they were in middle school, some even had them in elementary school. The hubby and I were of the mindset that phones are a need for adults not a toy for children. During this time I was a stay at home mom and the boys were either at school or with me. No reason for either of my boys to have a phone. There are some cases where I understand a child would need a phone to reach a parent if both parents worked and there could be transportation issues. Let us not forget how many kids went through the school system before there were phones and survived just fine. Even parents can fall in to the trap of peer pressure.

One of the main reasons my boys did not get a phone until it was a need. . .

Cell phones give people access to the internet and all sorts of communication. For adults cell phones are a necessary evil to be productive in their jobs. Children do not need that kind of unlimited access to the internet or their friends. Giving a child a cell phone is like inviting their bully from school into your home, the pedophile that was just released from prison or has not been caught yet into your home. Yes, I am being very serious there is so much out there that children should not have access and you cannot be there all the time to watch over that interaction. Kids are bullied every day in school, both of my boys were and you would not believe by who. If they had phones during that time those bullies would have had access to my boys at home where they should feel safe and secure.

Yes, adults/parents can fall victim to peer pressure. . .

Determined I would not fall victim to peer pressure with my boys. Sprat in fifth grade and Big T in third grade, Big T jumps in the car and reports Sally has an iPhone. I have changed the names to protect the overindulgent parents. LOL!! I simply replied Ok, and how was everyone’s day? I tried to gloss over that because I knew that would set Sprat off because all he could talk about was how he needed a phone. I always laughed and told them both a phone was not a need for a child. I have to ask why a third grader needs a phone and an iPhone to boot? It has to be peer pressure, no normal parent would say; hey, let’s spend $800 on a new phone for our special little third grader.

You would think my children were the most deprived. . .

To hear my oldest tell about his phoneless sophomore year of high school you would think we shoved bamboo shoots under his finger nails every night after dinner (liver and onions). By Sprat’s freshman year in high school all of his friends really did have phones, but many of them bought them with their own money. I have no problem with a kid that has a job buying a phone and paying for his service and phone himself . In fact, I thank that is awesome and kudos to the parents that have kids that are that industrious. Mine were not that industrious, Sprat thought his dad and I printed money in the basement.

The straw that broke the camels back . . .

When Big T was finishing up sixth grade my very sweet hubby was re-organized out of a job. Yep, two weeks shy of twenty-five years with the same company my sweet hubby was laid off. He looked for work and after six months with no luck I decided to look for something part time to help with insurance once his severance ran out. I found a great job that I could work part-time with insurance benefits. This was very exciting, but this meant that days I worked Big T would be riding the bus. The boys did not mind riding the bus, they had ridden it a couple of times before. The problem was that being part-time I could get called in at the drop of a hat. This meant that Big T’s transportation could change with very little notice.

Need to back track here just a bit, at this point Sprat has his license and yes a phone too (not an iPhone). Sprat got a flip phone not a smart phone for his first phone when he started driving. I do believe kids that are driving do need a phone for just in case. Now Big T a seventh grader is going to get a phone (not an iPhone). When Big T got a phone I broke down and Sprat did finally get a smart phone. Let all the horrible mama talk begin. . .

In Conclusion. . .

I have laid it all out here, you must in the end make the decision that best fits you and your child. Just remember once you open Pandora’s Box you cannot close it.

A Little More Advice for Mom’s

These are few things I wish I had done sooner. . .

I found this on Pinterest many years ago. You can find neat things to do with and for your kids on Pinterest. You write your child letters and enclose money in each letter, not a lot of money a five, a twenty, whatever you have extra. According to Pinterest you are supposed to write one letter each year and give them to your child at their high school graduation.

Did not find this one until the boys were older, so I wrote to the boys more frequently throughout the years. Sprat got his letters when we left him at school his freshman year in college. I did give him direction on opening them, he was told he could only open one a month. When he realized there was money in them I was afraid he would tear through them and not really read what I had written. My goal here was to give my child something that I had written in my own hand that told him how much he was loved when he was growing up and how I felt when we argued and that no matter what his Dad and I were very proud of him. Let’s face it, teens do test their parents to the very end.

The picture is a little dark but those are Sprat’s letters in his hand as we get ready to leave him in Boston.

School teachers and your kids. . .

I saw this one on Pinterest too. I did not do this one personally but I thought it was neat and had I found it when the boys were younger I would have done it. Take one of your child’s favorite books and each year have their favorite teachers write a note to them in the book. Pinterest suggested books like Dr Seuss or the Berenstain Bears. When your kids graduate high school they have a book full of positive notes from their favorite teachers throughout their school years.

A little garden stone. . .

Throughout your child’s school career they will make hand print turkeys, footprint I love you notes, and cut out hearts with their pictures for mom. Hobby Lobby and other shops of that nature sell make your own stepping or garden stones. We purchased two when we moved to our new house in 2006 and the boys created their very own stones to put in our flower bed. These stones still adorn our front flower bed today. They have their hand prints and some shards of glass and the date they were joyfully created. I wish I had done a few more at different times I could have my own garden path made with their little hands and feet.

Big T’s stone, you just barely see his little hand print.

Pinterest is a neat little library of ideas. . .

Pinterest holds a wealth of information from everything to job searches to recipe ideas. I found many little things to do with my kids to enhance their education and expand their horizons. Check out my Pinterest boards for yourself. https://www.pinterest.com/pamperedpage

How Did You Get Through 2020?

We began a new fitness routine. . .

Mid year last year I invested in this little gadget called a Bellaleaf. It is one of those fitness/wellness trackers(no I am not being paid for any of this post nor do I get kick backs for my posts). I detest Apple products, I always have and always will. Looked at those fit bit things many times but did not care for them. Fell is love with this Bellabeat Leaf. http://bellabeat.com you can check it out at this link. I always encourage folks to do their own research.

Started waking last year to help me cope with my stress and anxiety. I wanted a way to track my steps, that is when I found the Bellaleaf. This little device pairs with an app on your phone, it tracks: sleep cycles, steps/activity time, you can add your hydration, and it even has a meditation portion that helps you do focused meditation. Have never been one to do meditation but I will admit I tried it out and it does help with stress. Found such a release with my walking and the meditation that I was walking three miles a day at least three days a week sometimes four.

Something always seems to get in the way. . .

I suffer from plantar faciitis, which is quite painful when walking. Mine had not flared in many years. All of a sudden I had hit a grove with my walks and it flared up again. The hubbs and I decided I needed an alternative for my walks especially if it was raining so we bought a stationary bike, nothing fancy, not a Peloton. It does have a digital screen and you can choose different workout options. Have not been able to go walk in several months but I have been riding, I ride about six miles in thirty minutes, it is not as soothing as my walks were but it does help burn off stress. The hubbs has also been riding the bike and he loves riding. The bike was the one thing he could do after his knee surgery almost five years ago.

The Boys are even getting in on the fitness kick. . .

Sprat has jumped in to the weight lifting and healthy eating routine. I am so proud of him, he works out for two hours a day with weights and is in an eating routine that would rival Schwarzenegger in his Mr Universe days. My sister dated a body builder in college so we watched all of the bodybuilding movies and my Dad always had Muscle and Fitness magazines laying around. I am glad he is watching what he eats and I hope he stay with the good eating habits. Big T is even getting in on the fun, he is starting to go and lift weights with Sprat. The eating well, Big T is a lot like his Mama, he likes the sweets. I have decided if I am going to eat sweets I will just have to walk or ride a little longer. My motto, I exercise so I can eat my sweets when I want. I think I need that on a T shirt. Anybody out there do T shirts??

What is your means of survival for this year?

What are you going to do to keep your sanity this year? Will you choose something to get you healthy or will you choose something destructive? A little tidbit, not doing anything can be destructive. My husband and I laughed when all of this started, we said people will either come out of this super healthy and fit or fat as mud and miserable. Just telling it like it is. I am opting for being fit. I am working from home so that has cut out most of my fast food eating that I was guilty of. Please comment and let me know how you are coping with the stress. I am open for suggestions.

Year in Review . . .

Review of our year 2020, what a doozie it was. Mom recovered, they got a new house and the boys have survived being on lock down for the pandemic.

2020, Let Us Look Back. . .

2020 was a whirl wind of ups and downs for our family. My mom recovering from hip replacement and she and Dad staying in an apartment while the basement of their home was being renovated for one level living. I say renovated I should say gutted and re-built because that is what really happened. My sister, her husband, and my brother worked tirelessly to get everything up to date and code. We moved them back home in November and we celebrated Thanksgiving in the newly renovated basement. Mom and Dad could not be happier in their house and familiar surroundings.

Sprat Came Home. . .

Sprat came home from College in Massachusetts early and his lacrosse season was cut short. A strong finish for the Sophomore year with Academic All Conference award. He continued his College courses from home remotely. He is heading back to Massachusetts in a week to start his Spring semester and fingers are crossed for a lacrosse season.

Family pictures over the Christmas break, this will be Sprat’s Jr year of College picture. Such a handsome devil.

Big T had a Banner Year . . .

Big T had his Junior year lacrosse cut short by the pandemic and he completed his Junior year of school from home. This Senior year has also been a remote year for Big T. We found out that if he completes his course work that he is on track to complete that he will not only have his high school diploma in May but he will also have an Associates degree in business administration from our Community College. We are very proud of him for this huge accomplishment. This is not only big for him but big for us, this will be a savings on his Bachelor’s degree and if he chooses to go for a Masters it will not take as long.

Big T, this will be his Senior portrait since I hated the ones that the school took. How hard is it really to get a decent picture of a kid???

Apparently it is harder than I thought to get that good picture I was hoping for.

The Hubby and I Survived. . .

Finally, the hubbs and I survived being shelter in place for the better part of 2020, with two boys teen and twenty, due to the fact the hubbs company sent him home and my office sent me home and we kept the kids home. Sprat was more angry about being at home than Big T, Big T is of course the hypochondriac of our group and was thrilled to learn he could complete school at home. Sprat was not so happy, he wanted to visit with his friends once he had returned home. We kept them on lock down to start with and then we gradually let them start going out with masks and only to certain places.

Love these goofy boys to the moon and back!!

Would not Have Survived without this Guy. .

Love this guy too! Do not know what I would do without this one.

This guy has been our rock through all of this mess. He has done the shopping, the cooking and even some of the cleaning. He cooks for me when I am working and cannot go up stairs to grab a bite and he brings it to me sometimes with a little special treat. (chocolate) Always making sure I have plenty of caffeine cold in the fridge and will even go out in the worst of weather if I need some.

Stay Focused, Stay Positive

Trying to stay positive. . .

Trying to stay positive in all the drama. We planted the cut flower bed a few weeks ago and now it is so hot and dry that my flowers just look pitiful. My hope is that later everything will be established and be able to weather the Sahara of Arcadia. It could be pouring rain all over the County and in our neighborhood it will dry as the desert. Hence my comment on the Sahara.

The Mandevilla bed…
The hubbs beautiful tomato plants
Zucchini plants are all a bloom.
The celery was really good

Updates on everything. . .

Updates on everything: the hubbs and I are still working from home, the garden is feeding us very well, and the boys are doing their thing too. I am so proud of myself, I have made and frozen three pots of cabbage enchilada soup and two loaves of chocolate chip zucchini bread and a pot of potato soup and I do not want to forget the mountain stew. Last night I made a lemon zucchini pasta that was to die for. I will share that recipe later in the post. If it were just the hubbs and I we could live out of our garden, sadly the boys want meat and I cannot grow that in our garden. I am not a vegetarian or a vegan or anything like that I just do not have to eat meat. In fact, I prefer not to eat meat just because I do not like the texture.

I am dazzled. . .

I am dazzled by my hubby’s green thumb. Our garden is going like gangbusters this year and I know it is because we are blessed. Our peas did not do as well as we expected but I did enjoy those fresh little pearls of sweetness. I have high hopes for cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon this season. Our cucumbers and zucchini are just starting to mature. My goal, is a full freezer by Winter.

Recipe for lemon Zucchini pasta:

  • 2 medium Zucchini thinly sliced
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic pressed
  • 2 peppers sliced (jalapeno, banana, green, red what ever you like)
  • fresh basil leaves
  • fresh oregano leaves
  • fresh lemon thyme
  • olive oil
  • white wine
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • Parmesan cheese
  • whole wheat pasta

Saute onion, peppers and garlic in olive oil then add Zucchini and a splash of white wine. While that is cooking, cook your pasta. I like the whole wheat angel hair pasta personally. After your Zucchini is soft add your fresh herb leaves and your lemon juice and cover and let simmer, if it seems dry add a little more white wine. Once your pasta is done top with your Zucchini mixture and a little fresh Parmesan.

Stay tuned I will share my enchilada cabbage soup recipe next time.

Enchilada Soup

Random Thoughts. . .

Uncertainty . . .

Some many things are uncertain right now, this pandemic has reeked havoc on everything. We do not know one day to the next what new limits will be imposed on us. We have imposed some limits on ourselves. The hubbs and I have weekly calls with our managers and co-workers to stay up to date on this ever changing environment. The boys have meetings with their teachers and coaches weekly too. We still do not know if schools will be back on campus in August. This is the end of Big T’s junior year of high school and we normally would be planning college visits. Not sure how all of this is going to play out but we will attack it as a family.

Thankful Tuesday. . .

I am very thankful for my husband, there is not anyone any better than him to have to endure this “thing” with. He is my rock, my love, and my best friend. The other day I was working and we had been very busy so I had not had a break for food. My very sweet husband had fixed dinner for the boys and brought me a plate downstairs to the office so I could eat. When I am working the boys will come down and visit with me, if I am not on the phone. Big T has entertained me with his Ukulele on numerous occasions. Did I mention that he is teaching himself how to play the Ukulele?

Awww the Ukulele. . .

The Ukulele is an interesting little instrument, it is small and has a twang to it’s sound. I am not sure where Big T got the idea to learn to play the Ukulele but he is actually pretty good at it. He has been teaching himself via YouTube and other online tutorials. He is also learning to play the electric guitar. My hubby played the guitar many moons ago and so we still have ALL of the equipment. I love listening to Big T play his Ukulele he is quite talented, he gets that from the hubbs. I could not carry a tune if you strapped it to my back.

Big T and the Ukulele

The Garden Grows. . .

The garden is growing and we are so thankful the frost we got in this early May did not kill anything. Our peas did not come up as well as we had hopped, luckily though I still have some in the freezer. We had some volunteer Tomatillos come up and those will be a blessing since the ones we bought have not done well.

Recipe Flops and Recipe Wins. . .

Trying New Recipes. . .

I love trying new recipes, they do not always work out they way they should but I always learn a lesson. The other day I learned coconut oil does not always fry up the way you want. I love falafel but I have never made it and wanted to try my hand at making it. I found a good recipe on Pinterest https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/the-best-falafel/

My Mistake. . .

My mistakes usually start with leaving parts of the recipe out. This was no different, I used can chick peas instead of dry and I did not add near enough fresh herbs(I used dry herbs) or flour. The flour was really my biggest problem. I had everything mixed up, my balls formed and oil heated to 350. I dropped 3 balls in the oil and with in seconds they disintegrated. The oil bubbled up and almost out of my pan and I almost set the house on fire. I tried to bake my falafel in the oven and they also flattened out and some fell completely apart.

Looking Back. . .

Looking back, I should have added all of the flour but I thought it had enough. The flour was the real problem and the coconut oil. The ones that did well baked were very tasty. You bake at 375 for 30 minutes and flip them half way through. The recipe itself was very good, they had a great taste, I need to work on my baking. I will try these again, I do love falafel!

My Recipe Win. . .

My recipe win was deviled eggs, I decided to try a new recipe with horseradish. https://bevcooks.com/2012/08/horseradish-deviled-eggs-for-jennys-baby-shower/ These little devils are very good, the horseradish adds that extra kick. The hubbs and Sprat liked them and I got to use my fresh dill.

We Have Timbers. . .

The hubbs found cedar timbers. . .

The hubbs found the cedar timbers for the flower bed. Big T and the hubbs built my new cut flower bed. I am so excited, we have to wait for my peony to bloom before we can move forward with the dirt, this is going to be very cool. I have said many times how much I love fresh cut flowers and now I am going to have my very own bed to cut from.

What a very talented hubby I have. He did such a good job on this bed.
this is the celery that the hubbs planted. the brown paper bag is wrapped around it to protect the stalks from sunlight so that they do not get “woody” and tough.

Now to figure out what to plant in the bed. . .

Both peony plants will be in there and I was thinking maybe some tulips too. I have never tired to grow tulips in a bed, we planted some in the edge of our woods one year but the soil was so bad they did not grow. Some Gladiolus, Dahlias, Queen of Sweden English Rose, Clemantis, Zinnias, Dutch Iris, and some Ranunculus. That sounds like a lot right?

One day last year our neighbors were moving and they had put on the curb some things they were getting rid of, they had a wooden head board out there. My hubby comes home and tells me he is going to get the head board to put in my cut flower bed when he builds it. I told you I have wanted a cut flower bed for a long time. Funny thing about that head board, I had seen it too on my way home from work and thought the same thing. He went down and picked it up and brought it home. We are going to stain it and it will go at the top of the flower bed, I figure some Clemantis or even some type of rose would run well on that.

Stay tuned. . .

Stay tuned for more interesting things happening in the yard. The hubbs has a bug now about building and fixing things. He may put another bed around our Crepe Myrtle tree in the back yard. Tell me what you would put in your cut flower bed if you had one or if you already have one what is your favorite flower.