Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Turner Top 10

of 2008!
In no particular order...

10. We finally got a visit from the tooth fairy! Noah lost his first tooth on April 10th and lost 3 more since, and Emily started losing teeth on November 28th - and has lost 3 since! 8 teeth in 2008!

and these self-portraits are just a little bonus for you. Your welcome.

9. Our garden had a bumper crop!!

8. Noah's baseball team went 14-0 , AND the Phillies won the World Series making for a very exciting baseball season for us!!

7. Annie and Ian got married, and Noah, Emmy and I got to be in the wedding!

6. My Dad had a run in with a table saw - and lost.... 3 fingers. But alive and recovered and in great spirits. Praise God.

5. We vacationed at Atlantis in the Bahamas and rode waterslides to dream about for life.

4. Tamara came to stay with us from Switzerland for almost a month. We took her to D.C., Philly, NYC, Avalon, Ocean City, Hershey Park, a Riversharks game, the aquarium, peach and blueberry picking, ceramics painting, bowling, swimming and the not to be missed... Cowtown Rodeo! Oh my!

3. Keith turned 40, and I didn't. :)

2. We've entered the gaming world with our first video game system - Wii!

Too new - no pictures of this amazing advancement yet.

1. We enjoyed another fantabulous summer in Avalon - even with gas at $4/gallon!

We hope you had a blessed 2008, and enjoy a most wonderful 2009! Here's to the One who holds the future. My hope is in Him alone.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Winter Shells and other late Christmas gifts

I woke up this morning and decided that we needed to visit the beach one last time for 2008. It didn't matter to me the temperature, or the wind chill, or the lack of initial support I received from my troops. My soul needed the smell of salt air, the sound of the waves and the creaminess of fresh fudge. Of course, I also needed postcards for a Girl Scout postcard exchange, and the kids have more energy than I have patience for, so that played into the decision as well. So grooving to the tunes of High School Musical, we made our way to the sandy shores about an hour away.

Emily decided that we needed to collect winter shells. Noah played a football game against - himself. I think he won. They spent about an hour on the playground right next to the beach, and then perfectly tired out and starving we headed to a pizza place for lunch. 'Cause you have to eat pizza when you're at the beach. Then we loaded up on free fudge samples (they were actually standing outside the shop, plate in hand offering vanilla nut or chocolate nut - they must have known we were coming!) and even bought a pound to bring home to Keith.

And then to top it off, on the way home, we saw this...

Yes, that says $1.34 a gallon. We had to stop and get some even though I still had over 1/2 a tank. We certainly couldn't pass up that gift! I should have known that today was going to be such a great day because last night Keith did this:

Washed his first pot in 7 years! Good things come to those who wait. Please note, however, that all those other pots and pans on the counter there... they apparantly had my name on them. Wouldn't want him to over do it his first time at the sink. But I digress...Today was everything I needed it to be and more. Thank you, Lord, for creating such a perfect retreat.

Monday, December 29, 2008

And so it goes...

My desire for a bit of quiet enjoyment of the season, and of each other's company, seemed to be once again thwarted by the overwhelming excitement that comes with the anticipation of Santa's arrival, and the gifts that may be received this Christmas. And I have to say, it was fun.
Noah and Emmy were actually struck speechless several times throughout the day (there is my moment of quiet) because they were so excited by their gifts.

It was a whirlwind of events and food over the course of 5 days, and I think I'll try a liquid diet for awhile now - well, at least until New Year's Eve...

Christmas Eve...

Making the fruit salad and pies, snapping peas and peeling potatoes at Mimi Turner's home at lunch time....

Then, it's off to deliver cookies to the neighbors and prepare for Christmas Eve dinner at our house

This year's menu:
appetizers: bruschetta, assorted cheeses and crackers
entrees: escarole soup, spicy tomato and bean soup
italian bread
wine, iced tea, water
dessert: christmas cookies
(same as last year - why mess with a good thing?)

Christmas Day..
Be woken up at 6:30am...
Take 30 minutes to undo all of my shopping and wrapping over the past month /year...
Go to Nana and Grandad's for afternoon gift-giving and feasting with aunts and uncles...
Go to Mimi and Poppy's for evening gift -giving and feasting with aunts, uncles, cousins and dogs...
Arrive home earlier (9:30pm) than usual this year because Noah has a fever of 101.5 :(

Keith didn't have towork on Friday!! and we enjoyed having a dinner party for dear friends on Saturday night, and we capped off the celebrations with a surprise 50th Anniversary Dinner for Mimi and Poppy at City Tavern on Sunday evening, followed by a late night birthday party for my sis-in-law, Cheryl!

And so now the quiet comes. Only for a few days, but it is here. I get to enjoy watching Noah and Emmy enjoy their new toys, show them their mom can still win a video game or two, and cherish each moment before I send them back to school next week.

I think I need a cookie...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A "Netter" Christmas Tea

An afternoon spent with friends before our kids are home from school for 2 weeks...

The calm before the storm...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ready or Not!

Christmas is only a few more days away! Are you ready? I hate that at this point in December instead of winding down to enjoy the peace that the season is supposed to represent, the stress kicks in because the to-do list seems to be getting longer instead of shorter. And so much falls on us moms. We want so much to make Christmas a memorable, magical, special time for our families. So.....

One of my dear long distance friends emailed me this youtube video and I thought it would be a good time to share it.

For all my dear friends in the thick of it, this is for you...

I have to find out more about these guys!! Somebody give their mamas a huge pat on the back for a job well done! Ummm.. do you think their wives actually wrote it, though?

Nutcracker "Sweet"

On Sunday we stepped back from the preparations of Christmas and spent the day just... enjoying this time of year. In the afternoon, we ladies (that would be Emmy and I) went to see The Nutcracker Ballet, and the boys watched a hockey game.

When we returned home, everyone bundled up in the car and went to a nearby town that has an adorable light display every year. We met up with Mimi, 3 nephews, 2 nieces and a friend. Poppy waited in the car with a nice hot cup of coffee.

Hot chocolate all around when we finally returned home to thaw out. A very sweet Sunday.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Time to Bake the Cookies!

No matter how hard I try each year, the cookie baking always seems to fall behind. Time to get back on track, and since it's Saturday - I'm sure to have helpers...
This year's Cookie Menu includes:

Orange Almond Biscotti (dipped in chocolate, of course)
Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
Simple Fudge Tarts
Almond Sweets
Cherry Coconut Drops
Pastry Pillows
Chocolate Dipped Meringues
Giant Ginger Cookies
Triple Chocolate Truffles
Cracker Candy
already made these with my sister-in-laws the other night
(a yearly tradition...)
Russian Tea Cookies
Peanut Blossoms
M&M Chocolate Chips
Lemon Krinkles
Now, we don't actually get to eat ALL of the cookies. Most will be hand delivered to my neighbors on Christmas Eve - which adds a bit to the self-induced stress! Off to the oven...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Circuits, and Cards and Candy Canes, oh my!

Last night we enjoyed a quiet evening, which was unusual with all that still needs to be done before the 25th. But Keith got home at a normal hour and N & E weren't sock skating all over the kitchen for the first time in days. Noah broke out one of last year's Christmas gifts which
I haven't seen since about hmm... February and Emily set out to making her own Christmas cards - again. She's been making them since November and continues to "misplace" them.

So predictably like their right-brained/left-brained mom and dad, it's scary.

Today I got to go into Noah's class and read this book, do a craft (it's sitting on top of the book) and play a game (they did a candy cane relay). I love that the public school allowed for me to tell this story. The kids loved it, some adding wonderful comments like "and when you suck on the candy cane, and the red comes off, it's just like how Jesus washed away our sins." And they showered me with thank you cards that Noah brought home at the end of the day. I'm so glad he's not embarrassed by me -yet. I'm still a "cool mom". I just wonder who the mom was that let this kid out of the house this morning :
What's up with that hair, little man? Oh, who am I trying to kid, I could eat him up.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Winter Summer Birthday

I ran into a friend last week - well, I don't know that she'd consider us "friends" and I guess I don't either, but there isn't really a word for it...more of an acquiantence who feels like a soul sister - does that make sense? Our paths cross every once in a while and I could talk with her for hours (which is saying alot for me - or her, I guess I should say!) but we don't really KNOW each other. I attend the church she belongs to, but it's large, and my attendance has been a bit scattered of late so we don't really see each other there. But occasionally we'll see each other at the store...this time it was Kohl's. I was pleased to see her (I don't know if the feeling was mutual, but I approached anyway). To get back on track here, we got around to discussing our birthdays - which both happen to fall within a week or two of Christmas. We laughed about getting the short end of the stick, gift-wise, etc. and how we wished to have a summer birthday once in a while... and so since her birthday is this week I decided to make her a very summery card. I looked in the stores for inexpensive sunglasses, a beach towel, and such, but haven't been able to find any. Just the card is probably best anyway, I wouldn't want her to be running the other way the next time she sees me in a store! On second thought, I should at least bring chocolate. It is her Birthday after all!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Have you ever heard the story called A Grain of Rice? About 6 months ago I came upon a site which is like a game, but also a charity. For every answer you get correct, rice is donated to feed the hungry. So, you can brush up on your vocabulary or geometry, your Spanish or your history, and be donating food at the same time. It doesn't cost you anything but your time. Noah loves going on this site with me (usually at 9:00 at night when he is supposed to be in bed, but hey! if it helps him on his SATs in 8 years...)

Of course there are many other ways we can help the hungry, but if we all visit this site once and a while, too, just imagine how many people could be fed!

Check it out:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Next order of business: Gift Tags

What started out as an excuse to get together with 2 friends over 15 years ago, has become a yearly tradition of receiving for my family. Unfortunately, Crystal, Dawn and I only got together to make gift tags that first year, but I've continued to make them every year since. I even have a precious sister-in-law and mom of moms who saves them to hang on their trees each year. How can I stop now? I do think Crys, Dawn and I should get together again to make...something! More memories, perhaps? :)

Scrapbook paper packages tied up with string...

An order from CTMH just arrived, and I couldn't wait to dig in! I decided to start by making the box which will hold Christmas gifts for one of my dear friends. Here is what I started with:

I slipped off the packaging and unfolded the sides:

Peeled off the tape to adhere the corners:

And decorated the whole thing with some papers, stickers, stamps and ribbon...

Then I filled it with all gardening themed items... hope she likes!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Happy Home

In the past, I have had trouble allowing my young charges to make any of the holiday decorating decisions. It mostly had to do with the organization of it all, the mess that is usually created, and the ambience I was trying to create. But this Christmas season, I decided that it is time to let go of some of my former decorative control issues and give my precious cherubs the opportunity to make some design decisions of their own. After all, they are 8 and 6 now...

The first step in correcting my compulsive Christmas ways was in allowing them to work together, independent of mom and dad, to decorate their own tree. They put on Christmas music and worked harmoniously together for OVER AN HOUR. No ornaments broken, no bodily injuries and no feelings hurt. Best of all, they were very proud of themselves. What a great idea I had!...And so.. they wanted more. (Have you ever read the book If You Give A Mouse A Cookie?) No problem, I let them decorate their bedrooms. I'm such a great mom.... "Mom, Mom, we have to put up the cling -ons that cousin Diana gave us - on the sliding glass door in the kitchen." "Sure, whatever you want..."

Next, they wanted to build and decorate the annual Gingerbread house --umm, what? The gingerbread house that sits proudly in the middle of the island of our kitchen? It will be such a messy project... It might fall over and then think of how disappointed you'd be...there will be royal icing bits on my tables, chairs and kitchen floors for might not look like the way I would do it (horrors!)... "Ooookayy... have at it..." And they did.

Well shame on me. How could I have had any doubts. I think this is a gingerbread house that would make any gingerbread family very happy. Don't you?

It doesn't matter that it took me several hours to clean up after their two day construction project or that I'm still finding royal icing on the undersides of stools. This year's gingerbread house deserves center stage on my kitchen island more than any other year. It makes me smile every time I walk by it. Not because it is slightly lopsided like my compulsive decorating habits have been, but because Noah and Emily took ownership in it, worked together as a very silly team, and created a masterpiece. And because I wasn't really involved, there was no stress about it - for any of us. (If you've made gingerbread houses with young children before, you may understand what I mean.)

It has made for a very happy home.

I wonder what they are going to ask to do next...