piles and piles of artwork

Our little apartment is being overrun by artwork and papers sent home from school/daycare. I want to preserve the artwork without having to save bins full of papers that nobody will ever look at again.

I try to keep to a bit of a routine…

  • Anything that is ripped out of a coloring book is tossed. Sorry girls. So far, nobody has even noticed. I would rather have a blank refrigerator than Hello Kitty or Lollaloopsy staring at me while I cook.
  • Artwork that the girls are proud of is either put on display on the fridge/bulletin board or put in a drawer for photo documentation when I have time or when the drawer gets so full that I can’t shut it anymore.
  • I take a photo of every piece of art before it goes into the trash/recycling/gift pile (he he!) with the intention of someday making a poster like this…childrenartwork

I do get rid of a lot of their stuff but I do also have a big bin that is almost full. Here is a current sampling of the girls’ artwork from the last camera download…DSCN2636

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I asked Squirmy who’s in this picture. “It’s Aiden and me, marrying.” Well, SHE looks happy! :)

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What do you do with your kids’ artwork?

xxx,

Mariah

 

 

4

greg and mariah simpson

The Simpsons was one of Greg’s favorite tv shows. He thought the writing was brilliant and even tried to convince me that Squirmy should watch it with him when she was about three. He did not convince me and also ended up agreeing with me that she should NOT be watching it. :) I really wish Greg was here to tell you all WHY he liked it so much because he would go deep into his explanation. He had the habit of going into great detail when someone asked him a question. I’ve realized lately how much he was genuinely interested in understanding other people’s opinions/way of life/careers/hobbies, etc. He expected the exchange to be reciprocal. He had the time to talk and to listen. He wasn’t in a hurry.

We went to one of The Simpsons movies in the theater and this was the time that Greg yelled out (the theater was PACKED) after 4 or 5 commercials, while it was quiet, “Enough with the commercials!” Some teenager yelled out, “Stop being obnoxious” (p.s. what a moron teenager), a few people clapped, a few chuckled and I slunk down into my seat, happy that we were in a DARK movie theater. Greg once told me he yelled something out at a Joe Jackson concert when it was quiet and I was happy that I wasn’t at that concert with him. Hee hee!

In 2007, there was a website called SimpsonizeMe (it doesn’t exist anymore) where you could create your personal Simpsons avatar. Greg immediately logged in and I remember it taking an entire evening (it was a really popular website) to create these beauties…

Greg and Mariah SimpsonI love that Greg’s avatar is talking with his hands. He is probably explaining something. Something that people are shocked and entertained to hear him say out loud. Something that he is not backtracking on or apologizing for. Something he may be going on and on about because that’s what he did. And if you had the time for an exchange with him, you most likely didn’t regret it.

xxx,

Mariah

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last words

I recently clicked on some silly article about things men do that women love. One of the things was the way their eyes soften when they look at us. I remember the way Greg’s face relaxed and his eyes would ‘smile’ when he looked at me. The article made me think of the last thing he said to me.

We had a lot of people around us for the last month of Greg’s life. At times, our entire bedroom was full of people but we could always catch each other’s eye to share a little smile, send a little love without saying anything. On Greg’s last day, he was starting to get confused and was quickly getting worse. He had moments between clarity and confusion that reminded me of my Grandpa during the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s.

Later that afternoon, Greg caught my eye from across our bedroom filled with family. His eyes softened and he smiled. It was like those beautiful blue eyes were trying to tell me, once again, everything I already knew, before the thoughts slipped away. He said to me, “Hi Baby. Hi Red. We made it. And look at the results.”

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Nothing else made much sense the rest of the night and a few hours later I couldn’t even understand the words he was trying to say.

But that statement. That little statement means so much, I can’t even express how much. Maybe it’s because these are his words for me. His LAST words for me. When I think about them or whisper them to myself, I feel like I might hyperventilate. Without being this obvious proclamation of how much he loved me and would miss me, I consider the sentiment behind it to be the ultimate statement of love. My Greg, on his death bed at 46, his eyes smiling at me, his Red, told me that we made it. We did it. We succeeded. We succeeded with flying colors because you just look at those babies we made and the love we shared. That love and those babies. That is ALL that life is.

Yeah Baby, we made it.

xxx,

Mariah

4

valentines

Greg and I never really got into Valentines Day (we were just TOO in love EVERY day!) so I’m not expecting it to be especially tough for me this year. We did, however, really like making valentines for Squirmy’s classmates. Squeaky will be able to participate this year too since she goes to preschool/daycare a bit now.

The girls have two places to give away valentines (4K and daycare) so I’ve been working hard, staring at pinterest, trying to figure out what we could easily make. And then I let the girls pick one of my pre-selected ideas. It works for now! :)

Last year, we made a little bag/fishbowl of swedish fish found in Family Fun magazine.

swedish fish valentine

In 2012, Squirmy gave away suckers stuck in a photo so it looked like she was handing the suckers to her friends. Credit for this idea HERE even though she found it somewhere else. :)

2012 Valentine

Here are the two we’re working on for this year…

Arrow Valentines tutorial found HERE.

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And these lipstick and mustache lollipop valentines – tutorial found HERE.

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Happy Valentines Day!

xxx,

Mariah

2

distracted

I’m having a hard time concentrating on anything lately. When I do get time alone, I seem to start something and then get distracted and want to sit and look at old pictures or find other memories.

I came across this photo the other day. It’s the last one taken from Greg’s phone. Squeaky’s little hand on top of his, about 12 hours before he died.

last picture on Greg's phone

xxx,

Mariah

 

2

trains

When I was little I always thought that someday I’d hop on an empty train car like a hobo. I heard a news story about people who did this as a hobby – a vacation – and I thought that was awesome. Do you remember the movie, The Journey of Natty Gann? I loved it and thought it looked like a great adventure. Plus, I’ve always wanted to befriend a wolf. I forgot that John Cusack was in it too.

The Canadian National railroad line goes right through our new town. I have never lived in a place where I saw trains so often. I think they are beautiful and watching this huge metal beast just glide right by is mesmerizing. I love to see the train coming through town.

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Because there are no railroad crossings, the train doesn’t need to blow it’s whistle here so all you hear is the low rumble as it passes through. At first it bothered me to hear it at home but it’s already a comforting sound.

DSCN2340Squeaky’s daycare is just one house away from the railroad tracks so we always stop to watch if it comes through at drop-off or pick-up.

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xxx,

Mariah

 

0

the gift of music

When I was a kid, we had a piano in our living room and my brother and I took lessons from a neighbor until we got busy with other things and didn’t want to do it anymore. Years later, we still had a piano in our living room so my parents put a PIANO FOR SALE sign on it. This was before craigslist so I guess having a big sign in your home was the best way to sell something. :) Next to the sign, was a framed embroidery that read, “Long after the toys of childhood are gone, the gift of music remains.” We still laugh about that quote right next to the PIANO FOR SALE sign.

Squirmy and Squeaky love music and singing. They both wanted to learn to play an instrument so we started ukelele and piano lessons.

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The ukelele was originally for Squeaky and the piano for Squirmy but since we all go to the lessons, it seems as though we are all learning, including me. Time to brainstorm band names!

xxx,

Mariah

1

spaghetti squash with turkey balls

Yes, this recipe is for turkey MEATballs. Greg liked using the word balls. Whenever he referred to his eyes, he just called them his balls. “That light is bright on my balls”, “I can see the cancer in my left ball”, “I’m rubbing my balls”…you get the picture. :)

Last night, I was telling a friend that I’m running out of things to write about on my blog. I think the intense posts recently have wiped me out a bit. Anyway, she told me that she misses my recipes so I immediately started searching for one.

This is a recipe that I used to love to make (still not really cooking much for myself and my two birds who peck, peck, peck away at things). I got this from another magazine that has since gone under. It seems like all my favorite magazines are no more. There was Domino, Wondertime, Whole Living, Parenting and Everyday Food. All of them gone. This recipe is from Whole Living and you can still find it online HERE.

I buy the 20 oz pkg of Jennie-O ground turkey so I had to adapt the recipe a bit. If you want to make their recipe using 8 oz turkey, click to the link. Here is mine, adjusted:

Spaghetti Squash with Turkey (Meat)balls

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  • 1 large or 2 medium spaghetti squash (about 4-5 pounds), halved lengthwise
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano (I usually only have dried on hand)
  • 6 Tbsps grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoon dried breadcrumbs (I’ve used herb stuffing or panko breadcrumbs)
  •  20 ounces lean ground turkey
  • 16 ounces mixed mushrooms, I usually use baby bellas
  • 2 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
  • 6-8 ounces baby spinach (about 8 cups), washed well
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Season cut sides of squash with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bake, cut sides down, on a baking sheet until tender, about 45 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Scrape flesh into strands using a fork. Let drain, covered to keep warm, in a colander set over a bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic, stirring, until soft but not brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add oregano; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Divide mixture between 2 bowls.
  3. Stir 3 tablespoons cheese into 1 bowl of onion-garlic mixture. Mix in breadcrumbs, turkey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper using your hands. Form mixture into 16-20 balls.
  4. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. You might need to do half at a time since you now have lots of balls. :) Brown meatballs, turning, 4 to 6 minutes; transfer to a plate. Add remaining teaspoon oil to skillet. Cook mushrooms, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, adding a few tablespoons water if skillet browns too quickly, until soft and beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add remaining bowl of onion-garlic mixture, meatballs, and stock; bring to gentle simmer. Cook, partially covered, until meatballs are cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Add spinach; cook until just wilted, about 1 minute.
  5. Divide squash and meatball mixture into 4 servings. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

It’s worth every step – very yummy. Enjoy your turkey balls!

xxx,

Mariah

 

2

an elevator to heaven

We have this menorah gel cling on our window that I haven’t had the heart to take down for the season.

The reason I can’t take it down is because it isn’t a menorah anymore. It’s an elevator panel and when you push the buttons, it will take you up to heaven to see Daddy.

How could I take THAT down?

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So there it clings.

xxx,

Mariah

0

squeaky’s party and skiing

Tonight (Sunday), I’m recovering from a busy weekend consisting of Squeaky’s party, an impromptu sleepover (thanks again A and T!) and x-country skiing.

Did you know that you can order fondant cake toppers on Etsy? So all I had to do was make and frost the cake and Squeaky helped put the owl and flowers on top. We found them HERE.

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Our good friend, Tom Pease, came to sing and made it a proper party! Thanks again, Tom!

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We planned on going to the ski hill on Sunday for a leisurely day of skiing but we got there and the place was packed for some ski races! Squirmy has only been skiing once before (and loves it!) but she clicked on those skis and participated in the kid’s race. She came in last but there were a few people that waited at the finish line to cheer her on. She had such a great time, she insisted on going out again. Squeaky fell asleep on my back during the race but after she woke up, she wanted to go out too.

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We went out together but had to turn around after awhile since BOTH (err…ALL) of them (us) were worn out and cranky.

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Squirmy was just a little angry with me for taking this picture. It was such a cool shot, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. :)20140112_150804

Have a great week everyone!

xxx,

Mariah

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