Every fourth of July a group of us get together to celebrate. This year was no different, except that we added more fireworks. Before the arrival of our guest, the boys divided the fireworks into three different groups: the younger kids, the older kids and the dads. About 10 minutes in, the dads were having as much fun with the younger and older kids fireworks then the younger and older kiddos!
The party stared in the pool...there were 12 kiddos at the party and they all get along...seriously we never have an issue of fighting and everyone is included!
After eating, it was fireworks time! I don't have pictures of that night because I have yet to master the skill of taking photos in the dark! So, I will share with you...
The morning after!
(No worries, everyone comes back the next morning to help clean up!)
A rolling smoke bomb!
This year we had a fireworks that actually had little parachutes shoot out of it! The yard was littered with these!
The big hit of the night were the Roman Candles!
I liked them because they gave me the opportunity for a very colorful picture!
And Snaps. We had hundreds of Snaps! So many that the clean up crew each got a package of Snaps to take home!
Clean up crew of 2016!
What's so ironic and wonderful is that many of Sam's friends have a younger sibling Jack's age!! We were meant to be together (that was a little cheesy!)
I am having TERRIBLE issues with this blog site!! So, I am in the process of changing my blog provider. I am actually creating a new page in order to avoid further conflicts (and frustrations) that I encounter here again and again.
(Me holding back all my frustrations!!)
So, what does this mean? Check back here and I will soon be putting up the new address for the new blog. I am doing this on my own, so it is slow work and the blog site is very simple...nothing fancy, just a post and that is it!
I would like to put the page up and have you check it out, then I will take it down for adjustments and continue in this manner until I have all the kinks worked out.
Please be patient and make sure to check back often for updates!! And remember, it is very basic at this time as I get it all figured out!
This is one of my favorite things to do at the pool: float and read!
Yesterday, while floating, I finished the book,
The Girl with all the the Gifts. by M.R. Carey
I give it 4 stars!
This is all I knew going into reading this book:
morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When
they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of
his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like
her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh. (this totally caught my attention!)
From another reviewer:
I really don’t want to give away much about the plot of The Girl With All The Gifts
— it’s such a clever, surprising ride, you’re better off discovering it
for yourself. But here’s the basic set-up: a group of kids are being
taught in a very special school, where they learn about Greek myths and
literature from a group of teachers, including the kind and beautiful
Miss Justineau. But when they’re not being given a classical education,
these children are herded into cells by a group of soldiers, who treat
them like wild animals. And occasionally, one of the kids is taken away
to a laboratory to be dissected by the cruel scientist Caroline
The smartest of these kids is Melanie, whose imagination fixates on
the myths she reads about and whose mind is constantly going in romantic
directions. She has a doomed hopeless crush on her wonderful teacher
Miss Justineau, who in turn is trying very hard to keep Melanie from
being the next child marked for dissection in Dr. Caldwell’s lab. But
the things that Melanie doesn’t know about the world outside her little
school will soon shatter her romantic notions forever.That’s really just scratching the surface — Carey does a fantastic
job of building up the mystery of exactly what Melanie is, and why she’s
treated like a vicious creature as well as a gifted child.
Much to my surprise, I found this trailer for "The Girl with all the Gifts." Warning: spoilers to what is going on with Melanie!!
I could just leave it at that, but nope...there's a little more.
Sam had played guitar for about 4 years. Due to his schedule, he wasn't able to continue lessons at this time, so Jack thought it would be the perfect time for him to start the drums...which he has always wanted to play. That was 2 months ago. Jack actually uses our old Guitar Hero drum set to practice. Jack's teacher told me basically, if we wanted Jack to "proceed" we would need to think about getting a drum set. Well, he finally got a set.
Last night Jack and Sam were down stair "jamming." Sam came up and said, "Either Jack is going to have to turn it down a little, or I am going to have to stop playing Stairway to Heaven." When Jack plays, which is in the basement, it sounds as if he is right in the room with me.
Have you ever driven another persons car or had to drive a rental and have no idea which side the gas tank is on? Well, I just discovered there is a helpful hint right on the gas gauge!
See the little gas tank, which is located on the gag gauge? Check out the arrow...it points to the side which contains the gas tank! How easy it that?
The second hint deals with one of my biggest fears, driving my car into a large body of water and not being able to get out. I actually bought a tool that will break the window in case that might happen! Please remember, we do not live near any large body of water, so I consider myself fairly safe, but you just never know!!
The pointed piece will break the glass and the tool at the end of the handle will cut through your seat belt if needed. BUT, you don't have the fancy tool, you can use your headrest!
Place one of the metal rods between the window and the door and push down. then close your eyes and pull out the headrest. In doing so, the window will shatter. Or, you can use the metal poles and hit the window and it will shatter your window.
Just a couple of helpful tricks for your day, one that I hope you never need! Drive safely!!
I love scrapbooking an memory keeping, but at this time in my life, I unfortunately do not have the time to do "traditional" scrapbooking. I have tried many different "techniques" such as project life to get caught up, but I would soon fall behind or become frustrated that is wasn't "easy" enough for me. AKA: having to have the just right size of pictures to go into the page protectors! So, I decided to give memory keeping a try in my MAMBI planner! And I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!
What I do is highlight the main events of the week. I don't have a "set time" to do my pages. Many times, I print off the pictures and then put a few notes on a post-it note for the week. Some weeks I have a few pictures and other weeks I need to add an extra page insert. What is nice, is that I control the size of my photos, the page protectors no longer do that.
Here are my pages for the week of May 16th.
The highlights for the week were Sam turning 14 and being recognized at
the School Board meeting for his participation in the Knowledge Bowl!
I added a page insert due to having many pool highlights this week.
As you can see, MORE pool pictures. My mom sent a selfie of her and my dad while they were on vacation which makes me smile!
Once I have the pictures placed, it's time to add washi, stickers, stamps and die cuts!! I love the freedom to add whatever I wish! the added bonus is that it doesn't take any time at all to complete a page or two! I get several questions on how I print my pictures. I print the majority of my pictures at home. I usually print them off in 3x4 size. I also use my Instax printer which prints 2x3 photos that look like mini Polaroids. What I really love is that I can print pictures on my Instax right from my phone!
Not only do I include pictures, but big news stories, newspaper clippings (laminated) weather and temperatures, things the boys say and other memorabilia. Do I think I will use this for ALL my scrapbooking, no, but at this time it does make daily record keeping pretty easy!
What happened? A man went into a night club and open fire on the people that were there.
(Jack: What's a night club? A bar.)
Did they die?Yes. 103 people were shot, 49 people died from being shot.
Did the guy who was shooting die?Yes.
How?The police did it to save more people from being killed.
Why did he do he want to kill all those people?
And that is where it gets so hard to explain to your kids about why someone would do that to so many innocent people...again (and again and again.)
My answer to Sam: "Well, supposedly he didn't like gay people and so he shot them. There are rumors that he was with ISIS."
Sam thought about it a bit and then said, "You know, how did those gay people ever effect that guys life?"
And I must say, my heart glowed a bit. Jason and I have really tried to raise the boys to accept everyone...no matter what class, age, size, race, religion, handicap or who you love. We tell them to be kind...you don't have to be everyone's friend, but you do need to be kind. You aren't going to mesh with everyone, you don't have to, but you do need to be kind and tolerant of others. So when Sam said that, I knew he got it and it warmed my heart. It makes me happy to see there is hope, that in Sam and Jack's generation it really won't matter your class, age, size, race, religion, handicap or who you love.
The other day Jack got in the car and said, "Look what I found!" Jack had found a small varmint skull. Lovely.
He did a little quick research on google and discovered that he had a small rodent skull, about the size of a penny. We figured d it was probably a mouse head. He wondered what could have left it in the driveway. (Maybe a large squirrel that was looking for love in the morning?)
So now I have a mouse skull in my car, right next to my previously used chapstick.
Here's a super quick review of the books I have recently finished!
by Helen Ellis
Meet the women of American Housewife:
they wear lipstick, pearls, and sunscreen, even when it's cloudy. A sharp, funny, delightfully unhinged collection of stories set in the dark world of domesticity, American Housewife features murderous ladies who lunch, celebrity treasure hunters, and the best bra fitter south of the Mason Dixon line.
I think it was the first story that I absolutely loved...two neighbors who share a common hallway in a condo type house and the extent each will go to create the perfect area for people coming into their shared area! I also loved "The Bra Fitter." To be honest, some of the stories I did not understand at all. (eek) I give this book 3 stars.
by Alafair Burke
Jack Harris has resisted the dating scene ever since the shooting of
his wife Molly by a fifteen-year-old boy three years ago. An early
morning run along the Hudson River changes that when he spots a woman in
last night’s party dress, barefoot, enjoying a champagne picnic alone,
reading his favorite novel. Everything about her reminds him of what he
used to have with Molly. Eager to help Jack find love again, his best
friend posts a message on a popular website after he mentions the
encounter. Days later, that same beautiful stranger responds and invites
Jack to meet her in person at the waterfront. That’s when Jack’s world
Olivia Randall is one of New York City’s best
criminal defense lawyers. When she hears that her former fiancé, Jack
Harris, has been arrested for a triple homicide—and that one of the
victims was connected to his wife’s murder—there is no doubt in her mind
as to his innocence. The only question is who would go to such great
lengths to frame him—and why?
For Olivia, representing Jack is a
way to make up for past regrets, to absolve herself of guilt from a
tragic decision, a secret she has held for twenty years. But as the
evidence against him mounts, she is forced to confront her doubts. The
man she knew could not have done this. But what if she never really knew
This is a good mystery, but after reading Alex, I think I might be damaged for mysteries for a bit. I actually had somewhat of an idea of who did it by the second chapter. It has a good twist, but you can somewhat see it coming. I give this book 2 1/2 stars.
Britt-Marie Was Here
by Fredrick Backman
From the bestselling author of A Man Called Ove,
a heartwarming and hilarious story of a reluctant outsider who
transforms a tiny village and a woman who finds love and second chances
in the unlikeliest of places.
Britt-Marie can’t stand mess. She
eats dinner at precisely the right time and starts her day at six in the
morning because only lunatics wake up later than that. And she is not
passive-aggressive. Not in the least. It's just that sometimes people
interpret her helpful suggestions as criticisms, which is certainly not
But at sixty-three, Britt-Marie has had enough.
She finally walks out on her loveless forty-year marriage and finds a
job in the only place she can: Borg, a small, derelict town devastated
by the financial crisis. For the fastidious Britt-Marie, this new world
of noisy children, muddy floors, and a roommate who is a rat
(literally), is a hard adjustment.
As for the citizens of Borg,
with everything that they know crumbling around them, the only thing
that they have left to hold onto is something Britt-Marie absolutely
loathes: their love of soccer. When the village’s youth team becomes
desperate for a coach, they set their sights on her. She’s the least
likely candidate, but their need is obvious and there is no one else to
Thus begins a beautiful and unlikely partnership. In her
new role as reluctant mentor to these lost young boys and girls,
Britt-Marie soon finds herself becoming increasingly vital to the
community. And even more surprisingly, she is the object of romantic
desire for a friendly and handsome local policeman named Sven. In this
world of oddballs and misfits, can Britt-Marie finally find a place
where she belongs?
Zany and full-of-heart, Britt-Marie Was Here
is a novel about love and second chances, and about the unexpected
friendships we make that teach us who we really are and the things we
are capable of doing.
I so loved A Man Called Ove, that I had pretty high expectations for this book. It was good and I really enjoyed Britt Marie, who made me laugh out loud. There are some parts that are predictable, but the story is sweet. I give this book 3 stars.
My goal this season was to keep up on my flower beds this year: water regularly, pull weeds, trim when needed, feed every two weeks. Unfortunately, this is the same area where last year we spotted some poison ivy, but we have worked hard in killing it off and thought we had been successful.
(Here is a fresh little grower in a DIFFERENT area!!)
We had sprayed the poison ivy in the flower bed and had taken care of it all...or so I thought. Until a week and three days later...
Yep, while weeding, I must have come into contact with that little nasty weed. And oh lordy does it itch! It is so icky to look at! If you haven't had it, at some point, it starts to ooze out. (gag) So, you would want to put a band-aid on the oozing area. Well, I have terrible reactions to band-aids, so this has been a never ending battle.
And to top it off, I got it on my face too! It doesn't stand out so much as my arm, because I can cover it up with make up. I also have it on my forehead and eyebrow on the left side of my face.
So much for my vow to keep up on weeding in my flower garden!
We have been "putting" our feet in the pool for so long and just waiting for the official OK when we could jump in!
The pool "opened" on Wednesday (jas and I had pool school that night) and the boys have been in the pool sine: all Wednesday evening, all Friday evening, (had graduations all day on Saturday) all day Sunday (8 hours straight with out a "pool break!") and all afternoon on Monday! They are wiped out, but oh so happy!!
We decided to have a last minute pool party with our "football" friends. So we decided to "set up" with full knowledge that we would have to put all the furniture back on Monday evening.
Jack set up the floating devices.
I set up the relaxation area! My favorite place!! I may or may not have dozed off there Monday afternoon.
The boys made big plans for when their friends arrived!
Friends arrived and they were in the pool all evening and night. The four older boys met in preschool. The three younger siblings have always been around each other because of the older boys. The group is pretty tight! Hannah, the only girl, is always welcome to bring a friend, but is pretty protective of her boys and has yet to let another "girl" into the group.
Monday afternoon we had to put everything back due to the tile guys coming on Tuesday.
And that is a wrap of the first official pool weekend and we would call it a success!
Jack has lost 6 pounds since starting to play in the pool!