Empty Nester – Extraordinaire

creating, living, loving – all in a long black skirt

Posts Tagged ‘children’

Foodie Pen Pal Reveal – June 2012

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July 2nd, 2012 Posted 7:06 am

I want to begin with a disclaimer that I am not on my home computer and unfortunately don’t have the name of the person who sent this amazing FPP box to me this month.


Foodie Pen Pal – June 2012


 What an amazing selection arrived in the mail.  She hit on every key aspect that I value in food 😉  And even included “something disgusting” for the kids.  I took the picture right away, so the girls and I could enjoy the DARK chocolate while we mixed up the honey bran muffins and made plans for everything else.  The muffins were lovely, but didn’t last long [I love having kids who like healthy muffins just as much as non-healthy cupcakes].  What looks like a box of stacked tomatoes is actually a tube [think toothpaste-style] of tomato paste.  Perfect for those Indian recipes that don’t use a whole can.  Bear Naked granola was nabbed by someone else as it sat with the rest of our cereal and I understand it was really good.  And the pilaf and Italian spices in a grinder have been used and enjoyed.  The “something disgusting” sent for the kids was LOVED by all the kids [and the husband].  They let me try a bite of one of them and I will admit… that’s enough to last me through eternity 🙂

But wow!  How awesome was it to get this in the mail ??

The Lean Green Bean

Here’s a detailed explanation of the program:

  • On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
  • You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
  • The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
  • You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
  • Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
  • Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK residents. Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!
  • If you’re in the UK, please contact Carol Anne from This Is Rock Salt at rocksalt@thisisrocksalt.com to get involved!

Sign up at The Lean Green Bean


My Path Less Traveled

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June 7th, 2012 Posted 7:55 am

don’t ever change
That advice is easier to give than it is to receive.
Ask any kid – being different is not an awesome experience. 
Ask any enlightented adult – it should be. 
It often takes the distance created by age and maturity to honestly appreciate it.  Every person has at least one distinct feature [physical or otherwise] that makes them different and until they learn to embrase these features, they’re often the things that embarass us.
As a child, I was a shortie.  Who am I kidding?  I’m still a munchkin, barely reaching 4’11”.  Inside my family, this is not odd; out in the world, it is.  I’ve never been athletic – prefering to sit inside and read than to head out on a bike or even playing in the yard. My mother used to have to force me outside. 🙂  I also didn’t blend with my schoolmates.  I went to a small private school [on scholarship, I will note] and we didn’t have the available extra cash for ski trips or the ‘right’ clothes and shoes.  I didn’t have the newest electronics.
Lucky for me, I developed an “I don’t care what anyone else thinks about me;  What I think about me is the important thing” attitude. This did not impress my parents or my teacher or many other adults, really.  If they could see ahead to the current issues with bullying, their tune may have been different.
My own kids, despite Eric’s and my strong encouragement to be their own people and not cater to the boundaries imposed by society [you can’t do that, you’re … a boy… a girl… too young … too old… too short… etc.], have all felt the pressure of being different.  Jordan danced until he was 13.  Alek, at 14, is still in classes and intends to make a career of it.  Both boys, though, felt the sting of unkind comments from other boys in school.  At a couple points it required teacher intervention [and we’re thankful for adults who educate about both the art and the athleticism of dance].  They did make it through.  Ravynn has been picked on for being small and short – but she’s a full year younger than many kids in her class, so of course she’s small and short.  Whisper wore glasses.  Jordan wore glasses.  Ravynn had a medical condition and has a scar on her face…  So many opportunities to be “different.”
I’m pleased with how the kids deal with being their own person.  We’ve tried to help.  Of course, some issues are more difficult than others and we do shelter through the tears.
I encourage you to shelter and guide anyone who resists being different.  Any road is easier to travel with a friend at your side.

Nice Day for a Picnic


April 2nd, 2010 Posted 12:48 am

Yesterday was a difficult day for the kids.  We had unexpected guests who will likely bring Bats! meow… additional traffic, but brought up some unhappy memories that affected our youngest. Newspaper reporters = good.  Certain topics of convo = bad.  It’s not that they even talked to her, but the experience of them being in the house was too similar.

So, as she sat on my lap last night crying and trying to curl up into as tiny a ball as possible, I asked what would make her happiest.  The kids are on spring break through the weekend, so today could be used to spoil them just a bit.  Her request was simple enough – a picnic at the cemetery and a trip to the park.  Yes, the cemetery.  It’s quiet with big trees for shade and no noise or fear of someones child stepping on your food. Truth be told, mama needed a little pick me up too 🙂

When I got up, I feared I heard rain.  But no, they promised a bright and sunny day – with record-breaking temps.  I’m no big fan of the high temperature, but a promise is a promise.  So, right after breakfast we started packing.  “Peanut butter &” sandwiches: two requests for plain PB, two for PB&J, and one for PB & Miracle Whip.  We packed blankets, “fancy” cups, plates, and then headed to the store for the extras – oatmeal date cookies, strawberries, whipped cream, and a couple kinds of chips – oh! and flowers. Then straight to Maplewood West and our favorite picnic spot under the big tree and a bit away from the headstones.  Of course, we’re still surrounded by them, but we’re not ‘on’ anyone.

Ravynn and Whisper perked right up after we got settled.  It was so good to see Whisper smile 🙂  The fact that she got to pick her own chips and strawberries was a key factor, I’m sure.

The boys had a good time too.  Doritos with Cool Whip [eww!] and good sandwiches kept them happy and in a chatty mood.  It’s nice when the teen-aged sons still like to hang out with the family.

Ravynn and I shared a special moment toasting “weirdos and freaks.”  We caught the first one on camera, but there were many many similar moments – trust me 🙂

We all enjoyed the fresh strawberries, although some of us [ahem… Jordan] made a much bigger mess than the rest.

And the picnic ended with delivering flowers to a very special girl.

After that we ran over to Shadyside Park where I sat and read Practical Magic while the kids played. Together.

It was a lovely day and a nice part of our spring break.

~ sheila


Whine, Whine, Wine


March 7th, 2010 Posted 11:35 am

Eric ran out to a long-overdue poker game Friday night.  Not only was it time for a game, but it was also a needed break with some old friends.  Truth be told, I also enjoy having a night home alone every now and again.  To read, write, or work on business stuff after the kids are in bed and the house is quiet.  Yes, I can do all of that with Eric here, but I hate to feel like I’m ignoring him. And I get so caught up in what I’m doing that sometimes I actually am.

Friday night I took full advantage of the situation.  Kids and I ordered in pizza and sat around watching TV favorites until the girls went to bed.  At 10:00, we switched to a movie, but the boys were tired and asked if we could finish it Saturdya when they got up.  Sure thing 🙂  Throughout the evening I was busy plugging away at the data entry on the new shopping cart.  So much of it could be copied and pasted from the existing site, but the setup is changed enough that the current product descriptions look lost on the page.  I was struggling to beef them up.  And letting my frustration get the better of me.  Although I love writing and don’t normally have a problem with getting text on the page, I did find it really difficult to write promotional copy.  Pimping, if you will.

There was a lot of whining; my children mocked me.  I am sure that every five minutes, there was a wee cry of ‘I hate this job,” and a response of, “maybe whining will help.”  Brats.  But there were right.  Whining didn’t help.  So I took a deep breath, poured a glass of the only wine Eric and I have ever both liked and settled down  under a blanket on the sofa.

I love red wine, but Eric doesn’t.  It’s the spices that do it for him 🙂  I have to admit, I love them too.

Before long, I wanted to be a little more comfortable and moved into the bedroom with the laptop, all my notes, and my new copy of  ‘Practical Magic”.  I love that movie!  And it’s a good one to watch while I’m working – I’ve seen it so often that I don’t even have to look at the screen to know what’s going on.   But the plan worked – all of the items are into the database and today will be spent beefing up those product descriptions – as well as grocery shopping and doing laundry.

Exciting life, I lead.  No?


Doodle 4 Google

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February 4th, 2010 Posted 12:08 pm

If I could do anything, I would.

  • …Figure out a cure for cancer
  • …Build a movie theater on the moon
  • …Be an underwater explorer

Welcome to Doodle 4 Google, a competition where we invite K-12 students to work their artistic will upon our homepage logo. At Google we believe in thinking big and dreaming big, so this year we’re inviting U.S. kids to exercise their creative imaginations around the theme, “If I Could Do Anything, I Would …”

We’re looking forward to the kids’ answers too. Gather those art supplies and some 8.5″ x 11″paper and encourage your students to enrich us all with their creative visions for what they would do in the world, if they could do anything.

This year, a group of “Expert Jurors“, well-known illustrators, cartoonists and animators from organizations like The Sesame Street Workshop, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, The Charles Shultz/Peanuts Museum and Pixar Animation Studios, will be helping us select the 40 finalist doodles as well as attending our awards ceremony to personally meet our winners.

Registration closes at 11:59:59 p.m. Pacific Time (PT) on March 17, 2010, and entries are due by March 31, 2010 no later than 11:59:59 P.M. Pacific Time (PT). The winning doodle will be featured on our Google.com homepage on May 27, 2010.

Reposted from Doodle 4 Google.