{trick or} TREAT!!!

     Halloween Love is.....
     Thinking of my Lucky dog before throwing out the part of the peanut butter jar that only he (or a spatula) can get!!!
Have a safe, fun, and Happy Halloween!!!!!!


Outta My Mind

      Between keeping up with care for my mom and three busy kids, I often feel like I'm going a little cuckoo over here!!  (Shocker, right!?)  Thought I would share some things straight outta my mind:
  • Ummm, Halloween is tomorrow and for the first time ever I have nothing to pass out (think of all the calories I've saved myself) and my kids have only sketchy plans of what they are going to dress up as or even if they are going trick or treating -- so different from years gone by (#gettingold).  (Literally just realized we haven't carved our pumpkins either!)

  •  I know I am supposed to be a good sport and congratulate the Giants on beating our Tigers in the World Series, but the truth is I am still a little shocked at how badly they beat us...and sleep deprived from watching all the playoffs.

  • There are things I have seen on Honey Boo Boo that have literally made me "gag"...I haven't watched since.

  • It is super cold and windy outside even here in Michigan (courtesy of "Sandy") so I'm doing this instead of the errands I should be doing.

  • I saw a commercial for a Word with Friends game...I thought the point of that game was playing on your iPhone or iPad.  Isn't the board game just called Scrabble (or is someone making money by renaming it??)

  • I DVRd "Watch What Happens Live" from last night...only to realize that even the great Bethenny Frankel didn't make it due to the storm.  (That is/was some storm!)

  • I kinda tricked my husband into painting our family room.  Here's what you do....you get the sample paint of your color choice, paint a square foot of it on the wall, then show him the list of painters you are going to call.  (A few weeks later..."I'll just paint the family room!")

  • I'm a little panicked because two of my three kids just wrapped up their fall activities last night...so people may actually be home at dinner time now.  (I think next week I will do a Pinterest recipes for dinner series...)
    Yikes, I better go!! 



Monday Memories With My Mom

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
     My mom had an appointment with her primary care doctor last week.  It is about a 40 minute drive. 
     I start our little days out with a positive attitude.  A day with mom.  Make the most of it.  If the doctor doesn't take too long, maybe we can go to lunch, too.  Afterall, it's only one day. 
This particular day "our" topics of conversation were: 
      Did you know the Tigers are in the World Series?
Are the Tigers in the World Series?
      Are you a Republican or a Democrat?
Who are you voting for?
      Do I get a slurpee? 
     I brought magazines for the car ride for my mom.  I recently subscribed her to Martha Stewart Living (it was a free subscription) thinking she would get "mail" and could add the magazine to her collection.  In the car, she held the magazine in her lap, upside down, and read the mailing label several times during our car ride.  It has her current address on it.  She does not know her current address and asked me several times if the magazine came to her address.  I told her it did and that she must have received it in her mailbox.  Even while "reading' the label, she would sometimes insert her previous address instead of the label address.  It was a sad and exhausting ride.  I try to change the subject and distract her.  It doesn't really work.   She likes to ask questions.

Believing in the Tigers
     We got to the doctor's office 15 minutes early.  Then, he was running 30 minutes late.  In the waiting room, she asked many times if I was a Republican or a Democrat.  There were others in the waiting room.  I would rather not share my politics with the waiting room at the doctor's office.  I had my iPad with me.  Thank you for having wi-fi, doctor's office.  Finally, I pulled up an email from my mom's cousin -- it contained a newsletter on all of their travels.  My mom loves reading those.  It is from the same cousins who visited her recently (as posted here).     Finally, it was our turn.  My mom got a flu shot, a pneumonia booster, and blood drawn.  She asked the nurse and doctor if they knew the Tigers were in the World Series.  She also asked the doctor if he was a Republican or a Democrat.  My mom has known her doctor for years and years.  We just laugh.  He commented to me, "boy, she is very perseverative  isn't she"?  Truer words were never spoken.  Then, the doctor said "can you name one of the Tiger players".  She paused.  He said, "past or present".  She said, "Verlander"!  I was surprised.  Thought for sure she would name a past player.  Rest assured, then we were back to the Tigers/World Series/Republican/Democrat. 
     I asked the doctor if he could prescribe another round of physical therapy for my mom.  Her walking has slowed down again, her balance is a little questionable, and with her recent mystery "falls" that seem to be occurring, I thought it would be good for her.  So, she should soon be having some more physical therapy.  They come to her at the American House and she can only benefit from it. 
      A couple of hours later, we finally headed back.  My thoughts of stopping for lunch were almost gone.  My bestest friend works right near my mom's doctor.  Visions of me and my mom stopping for a visit were not to be.  I wanted to get her home.  Most of the ride home, my mom asked for a slurpee.  Even when I asked about lunch, it was clear the slurpee was all she was after.  Ultimately, I took her to Burger King (again) and got her lunch and her Icee drink.  Lunch and a doctor's appointment is just too much for one day.  At least it is for me, and it may be for her, too. 
     On the way home, I took a different approach to the same questions.  If she said, "are the Tigers going to the World Series"? I would say,"what do you think"?  She would say, "yes".  In fact, when pressed, she did indeed know the answers to her questions.  As for me, I need to stop trying to make sense of a disease that makes no sense!!
     Over four hours later, I had again reached my limit of directing mom, answering questions and driving around.  I try to be grateful that she can still walk...and talk.  I am told the time will come when she will not be able to. 
      So yes mom, the Tigers were in the World Series, but now, sadly,it is time for you and the Tigers to focus on something else!!!


Studied and Read That Newsletter for a Long Time

Lots of Waiting



7th Grade Volleyball and #10

     Some of you may remember in early September when I posted here that Kristin had made the middle school volleyball team.  We literally had almost no idea what their schedule would be.  They ended up having practices five days a week after school and games two days a week.  It was a bit challenging balancing that with soccer...and homework.  More from a logistics standpoint of me driving around and keeping up with Jacob and Megan, too.
     Early on, I declared volleyball as my "new favorite sport to watch".  After years of outdoor soccer in all kinds of weather (even snow) and baseball (hot hot hot), the appeal of an indoor sport where games last about 20 minutes each, sitting in the warm stands was great!  Oh, and you get a good view of your kid the whole time.  Basketball, also good.  Swimming, very humid!  Indoor soccer, not bad.  (Sorry if I sound like a princess, probably because I am in the midst of all of this and today it's 50 and raining for our high school football game, while yesterday it was like 80 degrees.  I'm getting old worn out from all these games...)

Waiting and Watching
     What I didn't anticipate were the intensely close games and the pressure Kristin would be under in serving and playing in those nail biting close games, which most of them were.  The games are played so that you have to win two out of three sets (I don't know if they call them sets, but I just did).  Well, since she was the third team to play, there was the added pressure on her team if we had not won our first two games.  Not since Jacob's travel baseball days when he was pitching or batting have I felt those butterflies!!  Did not like that part at all and me and some of the other mom's were practically pinching each other in the stands at times.  It's hard to stay calm.  With soccer, the most pressure is probably with the goalie.  Thankfully, my kids do not normally play goalie (although Kristin did last Sunday - ha!)
     For the most part, Kristin enjoyed the season and so did I.  The team played fairly well and the 7th grade girls definitely improved from the beginning to end of the season.  I have no idea what our record was, but I am sure I would know if they were in first place!  I ended up with lots of blurry pictures of Kristin serving or setting the ball, but below are the clearer ones. 
     The season was wrapped up with a district tournament.  The tournament somehow ended in a three-way tie for second place.  So, they had to count points to determine placement and I believe we ended up in third.  That was a bit disappointing after three hours of volleyball to have a tournament end that way, but what are ya gonna do?? 
     The girls had an end of season pizza party after school.  I will be anxious to see if Kristin decides to pursue her volleyball career in the future!!  I hope she does -- I can see some potential there!!


Warming Up

Coach's Huddle

Kristin, #10


Three Teams Ended 4-5 at Tournament End



a birthday, outlet shopping and food

     "Recently", (that's my blog talk for...."I'm three a few weeks behind"), my girlfriend, Alyce (pronounced a-lease), was celebrating her birthday.  As luck would have it, her husband was going to be "hunting" (she calls it sleeping) with the guys and her parents were out of town.  I told her I could hang out with her on her birthday and was thrilled when she said she wanted to spend her day at Birch Run shopping!! 
     She also decided she wanted to have breakfast at "Tony's".  Hilarious!!  I had only been to Tony's once more than ten years ago, but if you have been there, you don't forget it!  Their "gimmick" is overly generous portions, a/k/a way too much food.  It seems particularly noticeable if you order something with bacon -- which we did!  Ultimately, it was a waste of food since we did not want to deal with any carryouts since we would be shopping all day.  However, check out my omelet and Alyce's bacon and eggs!!
     This was probably the best Birch Run outlet shopping trip I have had in awhile.  Here's why...  Normally, Birch Run tends to be a place we stop on our way home from any particular trip "up north" as we say in Michigan.  As you can imagine, this usually means people are tired, crabby, and anxious to get home.  It also often means the car is loaded with "stuff".  This, however, was different.  No begging the husband to let you "run in" to Pottery Barn while he honks the horn because you are taking too long!  (OK, that may be a slight exaggeration, but only slight.)  We only went to the stores we wanted to go to. No time constraints.  If we went our separate ways, it was only temporary and completely understandable.  No kids were begging for "things".  No husband "heavy sighing".  It was all in all very pleasant and, as a bonus, I got a good start on my Christmas shopping -- a rare occurrence in the month of October (early October at that!).  Some of my favorites were:  Adidas, American Eagle, The North Face, Under Armour, Nike, Pottery Barn, Pepperidge Farm, Lenox, and Bath & Body Works.

    I can't tell you all of my deals, as some of my readers may be recipients of my purchases.  However, there were deals to be had, and I would expect plenty more as we get closer to the holidays!  Alyce is fun to shop with as she works in "fashion and design" and she just "knows things"!!   We ended up shopping through lunch and only stopped for a quick drink (no, not the cocktail kind).
     It was getting late, so instead of driving home during rush hour traffic, I suggested we head into Frankenmuth and take advantage of the quick cafe style restaurant at Zehnders where you can just get a small taste of their "World Famous" chicken dinners. 
     It was sooooo funny, we had just sat down and Alyce was talking about how her parents were probably on their way down from "up north".  In the same breath she shouts out "Dad! Dad!" -- her parents were in the gift shop and ended up joining us for dinner!! (I told you people stop there on their way home from "up north".)   A happy ending -- they got to see their daughter on her birthday afterall!!! 
     We had so much fun, we think we are going to do it again before Christmas!  You may recall we took my dad to Frankenmuth for his birthday last year.  It's a tradition for many families around here!! 
     Have you ever been to Frankenmuth or do you have a family tradition of going there??


Bacon, Eggs and Toast at Tony's

My omlette and toast (which was even bigger than it looks)!
Ahhhh, outlet shopping.  A fun pastime!!



The Apple Orchard - Express

     Fall in Michigan is such a beautiful time of year.  The fall colors, the crisp cool weather, those Indian summer days...  I do love it, and in spite of my kids being admittedly "overscheduled" this season, I have tried to take a deep breath now and then and just appreciate the pretty area we live in.  We have several lakes near our house, lots of trees and wooded areas, and a nice mix of city and more urban areas nearby!  Even when I am waiting in the high school parking lot for yet another pickup...I appreciate that the school is nestled behind some beautiful wooded areas and realize how lucky we are!! 
     Meanwhile, we have not yet managed to get to a cider mill and/or apple orchard as a family yet this fall.  While my mother-in-law was here, it did occur to me that at least we might be able to stop at our local apple orchard (it may look familiar to you from my previous post here).  

    I knew they closed at 6 pm on weekdays, and Jacob does not get out of football until about 6 pm.  However, Megan reminded me of our "window" of opportunity last Thursday.  After we picked Kristin up from volleyball at 5 pm, we hustled over to Long's (luckily we happen to have an apple orchard 5 minutes from my kids' school).  Megan assured me that Jacob would not be "mad" at us for going without him...as long as he got his cider and donuts!! 
    Kristin was embarrassed to be kidnapped from school in her volleyball practice clothes, but we assured her that fashion would just have to wait! 
     It ended up being quick, but fun!!  Seemed like there were only 20 or so people milling around.  Remember, it was a weekday at 5 pm.  We got an awesome parking place, just steps from the barn.  We got measured to see "How Tall This Fall"?  There was noooooo line for donuts and cider and they were warm and fresh!!
     We sat ourselves outside, savored our donut (which I limited to one each since we hadn't had dinner yet), and enjoyed our chilled cider!!!!  It was all under 20 minutes -- but we enjoyed it and the donuts and cider disappeared in no time after we were home with the boys!!
     Still hoping we might make an apple orchard trip as a family like we did last year last year, but if we don't
 -- Cheers to Fall !!!



Kristin and Megan
(don't Kristin's feet look like clown feet from this angle?)

Kristin, Nannie, Megan

The Girls and Pumpkins

Where the Donut Magic Happens...

Warm and Delicious....


Homecoming 2012

     Well, my next blog posts are not likely to be in chronological order, but I am doing the best I can.  It's been all about the kids lately still!  This past Friday was our homecoming football game and then Saturday "the dance"!
     Just like last year, the weather did not cooperate.  There is a small parade around the school prior to the game.  We headed to the school to see that and that's when it started raining...and never stopped that night.  There were a few tailgating parents with the RVs in the parking lot, so at least we were there early enough to get a spot!  This year's homecoming theme was "80s Nickelodeon".  Unfortunately, I may not have fully captured that in my pics, so you will just have to take my word for it! 
     During the game, of course, there was the homecoming court and the band was a big hit, as always.  This week the band added a song to their show...Gangnam Style!!  It was a big hit with the student section, and the band performed it complete with some dance moves! 
     Thankfully, we dressed for the weather.  It was definitely chilly, but the rain was the main problem.  We took our seats early since my mother-in-law was with us.  As I mentioned before, she was in town for three days to see the kids in all of their activities. 
     Megan was super busy and does not get home on "game days" until 11pm because of marching band.  Saturday morning she took the PSAT back at school by 7 am, then we had a family bridal shower, then off to a homecoming pre party and dinner, the dance, and post party!  I was pretty exhausted myself!! 

Megan and our
Hurried Pictures at Home
     Megan did not want her makeup or hair done and, frankly, barely had time to get dressed.  That's the reason for the quick photos at home.  Apparently, she was invited to a couple of parties before the dance and chose to go to her girlfriend, Kelly's.  So nice of the parents to have all the kids over for pictures and dinner before the dance!  We got some quick shots before it started raining again.  The ground was soggy, but we made the most of it -- I think there's still a little mud on those sparkly heels!  Of course, she had a great time and further details I am probably not privy to at this time!!    
     Oh, we won our football game and ended with a regular season record of 7-2.  This was scheduled to be the week where football games and marching bands started winding down.  But, au contraire!!  Our school is lucky enough to be in the playoffs starting this Friday...
(for the first time in our school's less than ten year history)!!!
More to Come -- Go Knights!!



Our Awesome Marching Band!

Homecoming Court

Goofy Golfcarts With Spirit!

The Band in the Rain...

The Crowning of the Homecoming Queen

The Girls
(Megan Far Left)

Megan, Alexis and Kelly

My Son Thinks this is Hilarious
Boy/Girl/Boy/Girl....Girl/Girl/Girl !!!




Monday Memories With My Mom

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
    Well, it's been another busy week.  My mother-in-law was visiting us for a few days from Maine.  She has always been very nice to my mom and wanted to pay her a visit so we went last Thursday.  I was thinking of taking her to lunch, but it was raining and she seemed a bit off so we didn't. 
     I was surprised to see my mom sitting on the couch with a black and blue nose and some scratches on her face.  I asked her what happened and she said she fell out of bed with her glasses on...?  The main reason I was surprised is because I have always been notified when my mom takes a fall.
     I ended up asking the Medical Team about it and they noticed it, but said she did not push her medical alert bracelet.  Then, I wanted to confirm that her bracelet was actually working since she had used it for her previous falls.  
     After a loooong wait and discussion, they looked at their printout which did not show my mom using her medical alert between Monday (when I last saw her) and Thursday.  Then, they tested the bracelet twice while I was there and it worked.  It was frustrating, though, as the staff kept referring me to other people.  I then reminded my mom to use her bracelet and to keep pushing the button until somebody comes...for what it's worth.  Otherwise, she seemed okay.
     While I was gone, my mom showed pictures to my mother-in-law and chatted with her for a bit.  I wish I would have taken their picture together, but I got distracted.  I am still trying to figure out where my mom got the Detroit Tiger hat.  It is not that she never had one, it's just that I don't remember her having one in her current apartment.  She loves those World Series bound Detroit Tigers and so do we!  I have also noticed there is something about the seniors and baseball.  They all seem to be big fans!!  I asked one of the staff if they could try to make sure my mom watched the game Thursday night when they won their series.  I am never sure if this actually happens, but I try.
     The next morning I called her around 10:30 am to see if she knew the Tigers were in the World Series.  She did know, and then she told me she was just getting ready to go to bed!!!  I told her it was morning time, but again I can only do so much....ugh! Sometimes I think I would be better off not knowing.



Lately, my mom has been describing herself as a "short fat man"...you be the judge!
(She wants her hair longer I guess)


Look for Less...and Fall Mantel!!!!

     On a couple of recent trips to the Pottery Barn, my eyes were drawn to their Antique Mercury Glass pumpkins.  What can I say?  I like a little shine (and bling!)!!  However, a quick check on the price snapped me back to reality.  Sure, I could splurge and pay their price -- but in this case I really could not justify it.  Later, I found on Pinterest a pin that said to just spray dollar store pumpkins silver, but there was no tutorial.  But those things got me thinkin'...

Antique Mercury Glass Pumpkins
Pottery Barn
$39.50 and $24.50
Photo www.potterybarn.com
     I bought some Silver metallic spray paint and saw these foam pumpkins at the dollar store.  So, here are the supplies I used:
-- 1 can Krylon Silver metallic spray paint* (approx. $6)
-- 1 (or more) foam pumpkins from Dollar Tree $1 each

 -- a paper grocery bag, newspaper or cardboard box
to protect your work surface (free!)

*optional leftover Rustoleum Metallic Oil Rubbed Copper Spray Paint
 (free from another project)

     I think y'all know, I am not an expert on any of this, but this is what I improvised.  I figured I would use up my leftover bronze spray paint and maybe it would serve as a  base/primer to the silver.  I don't think it was necessary, but that's what I did.  First I sprayed the top halves of the pumpkins.  Once dry, I flipped them over and sprayed the bottom halves.
     Once those were dry, I used the silver spray making small quick whisps of spray paint and leaving a tad of the brownish color showing.  I felt it might give it more depth. (I personally like the look with less silver paint, but choose the look you like).  Once dry, I did a few quick touch ups as needed and that was it!!  They dried within minutes on the foam.
Pottery Barn Look for (a lot) Less

      Although I will not fool myself into thinking they are exactly the same as the Pottery Barn version, I am happy with the look knowing they are waaaay more affordable and they are not made of glass so no worries about breakage!!
     The possibilities are endless on this.  Obviously, you may choose to find a much nicer ceramic version of a pumpkin or a foam version with more character than mine.  I have also heard there is a "Mirror" Krylon spray paint out there that you may want to check out or even use silver leafing.  There are lots of techniques you can try to achieve the look that you want.
     If you try it, let me know how yours turn out!! 
Happy Fall!!


Styrofoam Pumpkins $1 each at Dollar Tree

Three Little Pumpkins

First Coat Sprayed With Metallic Oil Rubbed Bronze

Krylon Brilliant Silver Metallic

Up Close

The Paint I Used

Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint
(Used as My Base Coat)
Pottery Barn Look for (a lot) Less

Fall Mantel
(so far)