Wednesday, September 23, 2009

when I grow up . . .

Skyscraper Museum, Scott Duncan, SOM
I asked my four-year-old what she wanted to be the other day.  "I want to be a Science Test!" she chirped.  So sweet.  Happy sigh.

My 10 year old?  A child who is intelligent, creative and driven.  She wants to be an architect working in New York City for Uncle Scott's firm.  My "Miss Precise."  Uncle Scott is a Director at SOM.  At 38, the youngest Director by decades.  Travels around the world.  Lives in a glamorous loft.  Works on massive projects.  Makes gigantic decisions.  Has teams of people working for him.

My 8 year old?  A professional chef who owns her own restaurant.  Coming from a child who LOVES Top Chef.  :)  She is my 'chopper".  My 'cooker'.  My 'money sorter'.  My "Miss Enthusiasm."

I wanted to be a veterinarian when I was younger.  Not original, I guess.  But, absolutely adored horses, dogs, guinea pigs, hamsters.  This was replaced during high school with my dream of becoming a reporter in Washington, D.C., followed by a strange vision of becoming a lobbyist during my college years.

I instead became a paralegal and transitioned while pregnant with my firstborn to becoming a full-time stay-at-home mom.

My days are jam-packed, just like everyone else's.  Car lines, music lessons, dance, baton, preschool, church, MOPS, Girl Scouts, neighbors, friends, family, laundry, groceries, dog, vacuuming, cleaning, washing dishes.

This wasn't exactly what I was going to 'be' when I grew up.  But, I am privileged to have this as my job.  It is an honor to be home with my family.  I try to do my "job" to the best of my ability.  I have to, at the end of the day, feel that this is enough.  It is enough simply to be "this" since I am now grown up.

Normally I am comfortable with this concept and satisfied with the impact I make on my family, my home and my community.  But, funny, I feel a little doubt there today.  It is not a feeling I like having.

So, I will return to putting away laundry, emptying the dishwasher and cleaning some baseboards.  All before I get in the car lines, two today, babysit a friend's daughter, run to the store for dinner, make dinner, get everyone to dance, homework, bath, brush teeth and get into bed.  And I will tell myself that this is enough.  What I am doing is making a difference.  'This' is what I should be.

It IS enough, isn't it?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

windshield wipers . . . delicious! ;)

I picked up Ella, my three-year-old, from preschool the other day.  It had been Yellow Day.  Yellow painting, yellow clothes, yellow goody for Show and Tell, yellow snack.  I always love to hear about her day and asked her what she had for yellow snack.  "Windshield wipers, Mommy!"  said Ella.  "Windshield wipers?"  said I.  "Yes, windshield wipers." "You know, windshield wipers with banana pudding," she said appreciatively.

"Ohhhh, do you mean 'va-nil-la wa-fers"?  I said, cracking up.  "Yes, Mommy, wan-il-lad wa-pers.  Yum!"

She cracks me up.  I just love her to pieces . . .

Sunday, September 13, 2009

date night . . . OPPAAAAA! ;)

While Date Night does not come as frequently as it once did, I am delighted to discover that I still know what to do . . . Pretty black dress, dressy shoes, earrings (that I made of course!) Since a trip to Greece was simply not practical this week, we took out the Date Car (not my Mom Mobile ;)) and made the half hour drive to International Drive in Orlando. We went to Taverna OPA, an utterly fabulous Greek restaurant unique to Florida. Belly dancers, flaming appetizers, Fire-eaters, attentive staff, great Greek wine, divine shrimp kebab entree and dessert . . . sigh.  Bumped into friends, danced around the room in a giant "Greek conga" line and completely enjoyed myself . . . every minute. Coming to visit Orlando? Make this wonderful restaurant a must on your list. Date nights? OPPPAAAAA! ;)

(This beautiful picture can be found at free image site

Sunday, September 6, 2009

must . . . go . . . do . . . laundry! :)

Ah, blog world, you are enticing and exciting, but I simply must depart and do some chores. I thought I would share a beautiful visual with you from one of my favorite spots in the world. Not only is she a fabulous friend, she is a gifted artiste! I can't wait to post pictures of the two signs she dropped off for me this weekend -- two signs for Morgan's Parisienne room. Tres magnifique! (Yes, you are right. I know no French. ;))

Please check out Heather's site at The Polkadot Fieldmouse. She is simply a precious person!

to Zicam or not to Zicam? ;)

Good afternoon and happy Sunday to all! While I am normally quite careful about strongly presenting one side or another of a subject, there are certain things that work for me and that I simply feel confident getting behind. :) I am a firm believer that each person is entitled to their own opinion. I love creatively-opinionated people, even if I disagree with them . . .

But, Zicam? I stand behind it. This is not an official endorsement in any way. This is one mom of three busy, busy girls (who are saturated in other kids) that wants to help her fellow mom from getting sick. I used to pick up colds regularly. Throw in schools, church, dance classes, girls scouts, grocery shopping -- ugh, when I THINK of the germs I must touch on a regular basis. (Love hand sanitizer, love Lysol wipes.) But, I still would get sick.

My mom kept pushing Zicam on me -- the orange 'dissolvable on your tongue' tablets. Last year I decided to give it a shot. I have no time to be sick. :) On about five occasions during the past year I have felt a serious cold coming on. Headache. Bodyaches. Sinuses. Drippy nose. Each time, right away, literally that day, I took Zicam and took it every couple of hours for the whole day. After food, after drink. Not on an empty stomach. And you know what? Every single time I have felt 95 percent better the next day. I now know to keep some in the house. I won't even let a couple of hours of feeling badly get past me. I'll take a single Benadryl right before I go to bed and it really works.

For me.

Of course, we are all different, but maybe this might be the year you decide to give it a try. It is sort of pricey -- like $10 for a bottle. But you don't need to use a whole bottle -- just enough for a couple of days. Anyway, for what it is worth, that is my 'almost forty-year-old mom of three' opinion. ;) (Just ask me how I feel about Tide -- :) -- that's a whole other post. lol) Pardon me while I jump down off of my soapbox and go get into super-comfortable 'not seeing anyone else today besides family' clothes. :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

flu mist friday . . .

Okay, my friends, it's flu mist Friday here at the Benson house. We haven't ever had the flu mist vaccine before -- what have your experiences been? Any thoughts?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

3 words thursday . . .

I love to stop by 'And they lived happily ever after . . . ' It is always a sweet place to visit. Her family is just precious! Please head on over and say 'hello!'

She has a darling idea. 3 Words Thursday. Check out her football post. Too cute. I'm inspired. I can handle three words. ;)


My three words?

Caffeine. Grace. Prayer.


square peg in a round hole . . . the 'whack-a-mole" approach to blog buttons. ;)

Many of you are extremely blog-savvy. I definitely am not. Tend to be more of the square peg in a round hole kind of approach girl if you know what I mean! In the past few months that I have had my blog I have struggled through figuring out the Etsy shop, changing backgrounds, three-column formats, scrolling marquis, etc. Each time I tried something new was a challenge, but a challenge I liked. I found that I enjoyed figuring out formatting and exploring the html world. One hurdle taunted me. I couldn't figure it out to save myself. The blog button. The grab button that shares a little bit of you with anyone nice enough to take you with them. (Thanks, sweet friends . . .)

Sigh. The elusive blog button. While I love my blue and brown professionally-prepared button, (oh my gluestick is a gifted artist), I struggle with a compulsive need to frequently change my backgrounds to reflect my moods. Probably annoying to others but satisfying to me. Kind of like putting on a new shirt or changing nailpolish colors. But, free. ;) Free is always nice in this economy.

So I have given the blog button a whirl using a lovely new discovery. Photoshop. Wow. Have you all known about Photoshop already? Beautiful free layouts for scrapbooks. So pretty! Love this place. Anyway, without much ado, I am placing my 'square peg in the round hole" button, pink and black, over on the right side of my blog. I think it works. I think the code works. So on that rainy boring day when you do not have a single thing to do, perhaps someone would consider trying this out and seeing if the 'whack-a-mole' approach to blog buttons actually works. (lol ;) ) Off to dance class with the girls -- simply have to load the dishwasher before I leave. Hope you are all having a great day!

seventeen bracelets, thirty-three pairs of earrings (and a partridge in a pear tree ;) ) . . .

Friends, I have just made a count of my inventory. Seventeen bracelets and thirty-three pairs of earrings. I have to double this amount in six weeks and still keep things 'oh so pretty!' Sigh. When will I have the time? Aargh.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

she's crafty! (tell me you are not now channeling your inner Beastie Boy! ;)

I have a bit of a dilemma. Each year, twice a year, as coordinator, I am responsible for making homemade gifts for the women of my moms' group steering team. There are 32 women on my team this year. I took over from the super-crafty and wasn't at all myself. As such my beading passion was born! I have made earrings, bracelets and necklaces -- all very simple, all group theme-related (meaning colors, flowers, etc.).

Here's the rub. I am not sure what to make this year. I have a budget of $4.00 per mom. That's it. The ladies are pretty sophisticated crafters -- they, while very pleasant and kind, well, let's just say I would like them to be pleased by my efforts. Past coordinators have made an ornament, cell phone charm and soap.

I keep coming back to simple, elegant pendants. I can give them to the ladies on a simple organza ribbon to cut down on costs. They can then transfer them to a chain they already have.

This year's theme is about Travel. Planet Mom. Our table names are things like Ships, Trains, Planes, etc. Our donation basket is the Sky Miles basket. Our doorprize basket is a travel trunk.

I have no experience making homemade pendants. I have no experience making polymer clay pendants.

I keep thinking oval or rectangle. Smooth and polished. Clean lines and elegant or utterly charming. Sterling Silver. Maybe with blues, greens, grays and whites.

What can I possibly make, my bloggy friends? Any thoughts? Something will come to mind, I am sure. :)

a few elite members of the 'truffle-making entourage' . . . still dripping from the pool ;)!

If a soaking wet crew of third-graders can make beautiful truffles, you can too! The perfect teacher/neighbor/family Christmas presents . . . you can substitute adult beverages in for grown-up truffles. A splash of rum in the truffles you roll in coconut, a splash of Amaretto in the truffles you roll in almonds -- no worries, we stuck with vanilla for this crew!

the 10th birthday party . . . we'll always have Paris! ;)

It's Friday night around 5:15 p.m. and all is quiet. The house is immaculate. Pink, white and black balloons, everywhere. Pink tablecloths. The cake arrived at 3:30 and has been placed on a puff of pink netting. Furniture has been pushed back. I made platter after platter of baguettes, meats and cheeses. I bought pounds and pounds of fruits, bananas, apples, watermelon, three kinds of grapes. The crafts were ready -- ribbon barettes, boxes for their truffles. The simplest truffle recipe in the world was printed out and ready to go. Within moments, we had 21 little girls, from third grade through fifth grade, arrive at the house, ready for the birthday party. Three were mine. Four did not sleep over. 17 little girls, all in sleeping bags, on tons of extra quilts, comforters, blankets and more. Asleep by midnight, seven minutes before the shuttle launch. This was a treasure! I loved every exhausting moment of this opportunity to be a mom. Such a gift. What a wonderful job I have!

The truffle recipe:

3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 cups of confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese

Melt chocolate and pour into blended ingredients. Whip with hand-held mixer. Pull mixer out of tall bowl slowly to get mixture off of blades. Chill for one hour. Roll into balls. Roll in toppings. My toppings were lined up in different containers: coconut, minced nuts, cocoa powder, sprinkles -- chocolate and rainbow, sugar crystals, and crushed peppermint. These are easy, beautiful and super-fabulous as gifts. The girls loved them! We placed them in mini-muffin wrappers and fit three in each little box. Completely darling . . .