Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Some people...

are a little more than ready ....

for our cruise to begin....

Saturday, August 15, 2009

"Hey, did you hear about the Zucchini?"

Overheard hangin' around the vinegar cooler..

Just over two weeks ago I made a comment to a friend about how I hadn't seen any fruit flies yet this summer. Silly, silly me. Of course that meant they were on their way. In with the tomatoes. Do you have a problem with fruit flies?

Last year I learned a trick for keeping them away.

Fill a glass with apple cider vinegar and a squirt of liquid dish soap. The flies are attracted to the vinegar and the soap pulls them to the bottom of the glass. I promise it works.

Apparently a lot of people around here heard about that little trick last year, because the generic brand of cider vinegar was completely sold out after about 3 days in our local grocery store! So run out and get yours now while the gettin' is good. 'Cause if you don't have the fruit flies yet, I can tell you - they're a'comin'!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

One More Week

Back on July 15th on my 100th post, I mentioned that I now had to lose 8 pounds by August 21st. Did anyone catch that? I never did say why...

Did you know that August 21st is in one week? Since last we discussed my weight, I have managed to lose almost 4 pounds, however...

I had purchased THIS at the beginning of the summer -

you know, back when I was losing weight and working out. You see, in one week my family is going on a family cruise. My mom, dad, sisters, my bro-in-laws, my husband, my kids, and well, me (hence "family cruise"). And I bought this new suit for the cruise. Didn't want to wear it all summer because it was my new special cruise suit.

And now I'm feeling that this tankini is a little too revealing. And by that I mean that it reveals my arms and legs.

Now Keith has been joking around with everyone that he is going to wear a Speedo on the cruise because he is never going to see any of those people again anyway, and we are family so we can't hate him for his fashion decisions. And if he DID wear a speedo, and people did stare and point and joke, he wouldn't care. How do guys do that? Have you seen some of the men at the beach who just strut their stuff down the sand, while beautiful woman are rushing to put a cover up on before they get up from their chair? Anyway, I'm getting off topic. I do that.

Here is the topic: I'm going to like the way I look in my suit by next Friday. It will either happen by a change in body tone, or a change in brain tone. But however it happens, it is going to happen. Say a prayer for me.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

An Anniversary

On Sunday we celebrated the one year anniversary of saying goodbye to Tamara, by saying goodbye to her again...
But not before some reminiscing of the fun that was had a year ago...

And a few intense games of UNO - THE game of Tamara's visit last year!

After taking Tamara and Simone back to the bus depot, giving lots of hugs and prayers of seeing each other again soon, we high tailed it to our next big event:
The Ten Year Anniversary of CRABFEST...

A yearly event celebrated between my parents and siblings and family and the Izzo family from our neighborhood growing up. It should really just be called EatingFest, in which we also have a bushel of crabs.

Because by the time I get through all of these delicious first course items, like Mrs. Izzo's grilled veggies...

And my dad's famous mussel's marinara....

It becomes a very good thing that these little guys...

take a little while to eat.

Here is our newest Crabfest Member with her Papa.

This is Mike. He doesn't eat crabs, so he is forced to grill himself a steak. Tough break...

Keith and my sister, Annie didn't seem to have any trouble with the crabs.

Nor did my Emmy.

I would just like to point out that the only beer in this picture that Emmy touched was the Mug ROOTbeer. I would also like to point out that my family is now on a NO sodium diet - at least until our fingers return to normal size.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Swiss Miss

I had to take yesterday "off" to recover from a VERY busy weekend. It was kicked off with a "Decade Date" with my sister, Annie. The 30 year old, and the 40 year old, went shopping and then out to dinner. We went to a Cuban place for something different. The ambiance was really nice... we ate out on the wrap-around porch and listened to a live band....

Please note that neither Annie or I brought our cameras!! So these pictures were taken with her phone!

And the food...okay.
We shared some kind of stuffed plantain thingy. That was good.

And I got the Chilian Sea Bass - which I sent back to be cooked....

For dessert we both had the Caramel Flan. It was pretty, and sweet.

And we both had brought our own birthday girl glasses, as any proper decade girl should - (it's true, I read it in Teen Beat Magazine) so we had fun.

Then on Saturday!!!!!!! Well, Saturday was the highlight of our weekend. On Saturday, we picked up our friend, Tamara, at the bus station to spend the weekend with us. She and a friend flew to NYC for a week, and then took a bus to spend their last 2 days with us before flying back to Switzerland on Sunday night. It had been exactly 1 year since we had seen her, and I have to say there were some very happy children in the Turner family on Saturday!

We spent the day on the beach, and the evening on the boardwalk. If you ever want to find us in Ocean City, you should always check here first....

Be still this girl's mother's heart. She is finally tall enough - and brave enough...

For what, you ask?

I can't even see her piggy toes anymore - she's up there like 18 stories and they are going to drop her now! And wait, my boy is on there, too. And I can't even see him because he's on the other side!!

Forget eating healthy - get this mother a funnel cake - now!
Whatever happened to the nice, simple rides? The ones with epileptic horses?

Hey! That's my funnel cake!

Okay, that's enough excitement for one post. I'll tell you all about Sunday later. I'm off to find a funnel cake...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Catch and Release

Way, way, way back when we were in Avalon, a month ago, we went fishing. We caught a seahorse. Not much of a dinner, so we threw 'im back. Personally, I didn't know 'til then that you could catch a sea horse with a fishing pole, and I didn't know that sea horses were lurking in the Atlantic waters of NJ. However, this is not a post on marine biology or physics.

It is a post on friendship.

Remember that book I told you was required reading? Same Kind of Different As Me? You ran out and got it and read it in one night, right? You don't have to answer.

Do you remember the part of the book where Ron Hall (the art dealer) proded on by his dear wife, Deborah (the heroine) tells Denver Moore (the homeless dude) he'd like to be his friend? Do you remember Denver's answer? I know, who could forget, right?!!! Well, for those of you rebels who didn't heed my command to go out and get the book, I'll share it with you. Well, my synopsis anyway. (Yeah, you may want to just read the book)

Denver doesn't answer Ron right away (like it wouldn't be hard enough for one guy to ask another guy to be his friend!) But when he does, he starts by asking Ron about how white people fish. He can't understand how a white person can catch a fish for fun only to throw it back in the water. According to him, a black person is only going to catch a fish if he plans on eating it. He then told Ron that he didn't want to be his friend if it was only for fun and that sooner or later he was going to be thrown back. But if Ron really wanted to be his friend, then Denver said he would be his friend. Forever.

I love that. In a world full of "Facebook friends", and the busyness of our day to day lives, it is so important to remember how necessary real friends are. When I think back on all the friends that God has put in my life, it makes me sad to think that there are some that I threw back, and on some occasions, have been the one thrown. I also appreciate that God has put certain people in our lives for only a short time for a specific purpose and sometimes that is hard. But sometimes, God gives us the gift of reconnecting with a friend. What a treasure.

I was in the grocery store a while back and ran into a friend that I hadn't seen or spoken with in over 10 years. 10 years! And I love this friend dearly. We were coworkers and traveling buddies. We traveled to London 3 times together just for "weekend getaways" (yeah, I had money to do that at one point in my life) I rode my first horse ever on the beautiful rocks of Sedona with her by my side (well, okay, she was there, but being a seasoned horse rider, was way ahead of me on the trail. My horse and I were takin' it slow, in case of rattle snakes...) we explored Northern California together, she came to my wedding. We were tight. And then I switched careers, she moved, I moved, we lived far from each other and we lost touch.

She now lives 5 minutes from my house. Is married and hangs out at a horse farm down the road. Can you imagine the scene the two of us made in the store when we saw each other and then learned that we are practically NEIGHBORS!!! And she has been there for almost 7 years!! I'm sure it was worthy of America's Funniest Home Videos. The screams, the laughter, the tears...

I don't want to take my friendships lightly. And I hope my friends know that, not just through my words, but through my actions. I'm not throwing anyone back.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hot In The City

Sounds like a perfect time to go to the Zoo...

A fun, albeit hot, day at the Philadelphia Zoo with friends. Just what summer should be.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Garden Update

This was the garden at the end of May...

And this is the garden at the end of July...

Every year the bounty takes me by surprise. I'm so thankful for it, because really I have no idea what I'm doing in the garden. But apparently it works! Those two little potted beauties in the foreground by the way, are more fig trees from my Bro-in-law, Sam. So we now have 5 fig trees! It's almost an orchard!!

This...well, this is a cantaloupe. It had sisters but I accidently ended their lives prematurely.

Here they are. Not ready. Taken from the garden far too soon. I'm so sorry little ones. I told you I don't know what I'm doing.

Thankfully, most everything else has been picked at the right time. These were
picked last week.

And I made this with some of it...

Grilled vegie sandwiches with basil pesto for dinner. Yum. My friend, Anne Marie, has given me a specific recipe for a sandwich like this which I hope to try this week and share with you. But today I'll be making zucchini breads to eat and to freeze, ratatouille for dinner and I'm going to try to make sundried tomatoes with these golden delicacies that I just picked this morning:

These are Sungold cherry tomatoes. They are soooo sweet and they have never let me down. Once they start growing, they don't want to stop! That's my kind of vegie. What's your favorite - to grow or to eat?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Scratching the Surface

We interupt this often less than serious blog, for a moment of introspection...

#1. My old (as in: known forever) and very dear friend, Crystal is presently making her way across this great country on route to a Navajo Reservation in New Mexico, along with her 5 children-in a van. She will be chaperoning a youth group missions trip there, loving on many Navajo children, and being an amazing example of God's love to all the of the teens in her care, for sure. I am thrilled that she has been given this opportunity not only to serve, but to serve with her children. And it is awesome to me that she is experiencing what God has been putting on her heart for some time now. It is the kind of trip that in our own youth group days together, I imagined the two of us taking. Of course, I also imagined that we would be on tour - singing, like Amy Grant or Farrell & Farrell, but I still haven't learned to play guitar... and we don't sing in public anymore, so there's that ... but anyway, that isn't the point. And I'm not getting to the point yet, cause I have more to share.... You can follow Crystal's adventure here: Destination Reservation

#2 Same Kind of Different As Me - That is the title of a book I read earlier this summer that should be required reading for Everyone. Have you heard of it? It is a true story told in two voices: the voice of a man who was a slave in Lousiana, who became a homeless man in Texas and the voice of a man who was at one time poor, but made himself a fortune as an art dealer. The first half of the book is each chapter going back and forth between each of the men telling the story of their lives up until they met, and then the rest of the book is each of their stories after they meet. The two men are brought together under "unusual circumstances" and the story demonstrates how God's hand seems to be very much at work in people's lives even when they least expect it. The heroine of the story - the art dealer's wife - is determined to fulfill her God given destiny, and is concerned about missing it. She doesn't miss it. She is courageous, and dedicated and inspiring. Read it. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll feel inspired. It is a very moving story that you must read despite my inability to write an interesting summary. I don't want to give too much of it away, but I will say that like #1 above it moves me to my point. You can read more about the book here.

#3 I'm doing a study on the book of Esther with Beth Moore's Esther: It's Tough Being A Woman. Like all of her studies that I've done. I am really enjoying it. And I'm finding it is leaving me with the same thoughts that #'s 1&2 have left me with. There are many different aspects of the study, but one of the themes is based on the verse Esther 4:14 where her cousin Mordecai asks the question " Who knows if you have not been brought to this royal position for such a time as this?" The position being Queen of Persia, the time being that the King had just signed a decree that all Jews would be annihilated - and unbenounced to the King, Esther was Jewish. Mordecai wanted her to use her position to help save the Jews. Destiny. Would she remain silent and perhaps miss hers?

#4 I was introduced to a blog via a recipe that I really liked. In addition to having great photography and sharing great recipes, and touching family stories, the guy who writes it shares what is going on at the church where he is a tatoo-ladened pastor. His church, operating out of the westside of the Cincinnati, is doing some really great stuff. They really seem to be getting out there and reaching people that wouldn't be looking for a church or thinking that God would want anything to do with them. And they are just loving those people, and sharing life with them. It just seems very REAL, and I wish there was a church around here like that. One of the amazing things about this guy, Ryan, is that there always seems to be some trial that he is personally going through. A few months ago, he was on a missions trip, and got poison ivy - really bad, last week they had an outdoor baptism for a bunch of people and the next post he tells about how he just found out he has MRSA. He doesn't let any of it slow him down from doing what he feels he was created to do. You can check it out for yourself here: http://www.thisisreverb.com/

My point, or part of it anyway: I've unintentionally been doing all this reading and seeing and hearing about people doing great things on a small and/or large scale so it has really had me thinking about Destiny. And what we are put here to do. I feel like I'm being bombarded with it. But lately, I've been personally feeling like I'm in a holding pattern. And I've been feeling like I am supposed to be doing something, but I don't know what that is yet. So, I'm wondering what's going on. And then I think "what if God is preparing me for something I don't want to do?" A destiny I don't want. Or perhaps I'm already living it: being a wife and mom, raising up two beautiful children. And that's it. Not that there would be anything wrong with that. And before anyone goes all platitude or theological on me, please know that I will graciously accept whatever God has planned (well, okay, maybe not graciously, depending on what is asked of me, I may kick and scream and lay on the floor and cover my head and say no first)

So I'm waiting. And I don't want to miss anything that God may want me to do. And I hope silly fears aren't preventing me from seeing it. And I don't like waiting, I like planning. And I don't want to add 'being afraid of my fears so I'm missing out on what I'm supposed to be doing' to my list of phobias. I'll stop there. I don't want to sound whiny. I really should be content with the quiet right now.

So, in summary, pray for Crystal, read Same Kind of Different As Me, do the Esther study, and try one of Pastor Ryan's recipes. I'm sure you will come out much more adjusted then I am - and then we'll do lunch and talk about it.

Have you heard any amazing stories of courage lately?

First Thing Monday Morning

Pancakes for breakfast....
But not just any pancakes. No. These have something special...where is it, where is it?
Ah haa! Found it...
Every good pancake must have chocolate, right?

Sure hope these are big enough.

Uh, oh. Time to flip...

Oh yeah. This should feed two kids nicely.

I've come a long way since my first blog post in December... It is important to keep growing. And I probably did after eating one of these...