Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010-- BE GONE!!


all things considered, this past year was not so bad. that is, if ya don't consider the complete meltdown of just about all our appliances (most recently-my printer), that the ants are STILL residing in our home, that i'm still cleaning up cat and dog messes on a regular basis, that i'm still fighting it out between food and my body and that the hellhole is no more organized than it was a year ago.

but....on the other hand, i have five more fingers!

ha! no, really, on the other hand, my life is pretty good. for instance:

1. no more diapers at the hellhole

2. t.willie no longer takes a nap every day but when he does, he no longer strips naked or demolishes his room

3. kaye's health/life is getting straightened out

4. elle has settled in to her new hours and position at work

5. bilbo's job is secure, as opposed to many many folks who have been laid off

6. i will be going on a cruise to the bahamas next month

7. replaced hated bagless vacuum with a bagged vacuum that i love, and if you vacuumed every day, this would be a biggie for you too!

8. i have pets who give me companionship and unconditional love

9. i have gotten reacquainted with old friends via facebook

10. and most importantly, i have the love and support of my family

so, yes, things could be better, but- they could be worse, much worse! i am lucky and i know it.
good bye 2010--hello 2011!!
i hope this new year brings us all amazing things.

happy new year to all of you, my faithful bloggy friends!

Monday, December 27, 2010

all about him


no, i don't mean the baby jesus, although, i know he's
the "reason for the season".

this is what OUR christmas was about...

click on the image to view larger

i hope you have had a wonderful holiday filled with great surprises.
have a happy new year too!!





Wednesday, December 22, 2010

the elf on the shelf---AS IF!!!!


so, in the past few months (and for years and years), there has been much hoo ha over the book "elf on the shelf". if you don't know the story, it's about an elf who is sent down from the north pole every night to watch the children of a household and to report back to santa on their behavior. now, i know, there may be some easily intimidated children out there who will think twice before misbehaving knowing that an elf is on the lookout. but t.willie is not one of them. oh no, he would soon realize that he is bigger than that silly little elf and, he is smart enough to misbehave in a room other than the one said elf is occupying.

no, it would take more than that elf to make t.w. be good. i was pondering on just what creature would be intimidating enough to keep him in line and i think i have it......

introducing: the OGRE at KROGER

yes, the elf may be the spy of toddlers, but the ogre is the informant for unruly preschoolers everywhere! and i'm not talking about a lovable shrek-type ogre. no, i am thinking mean and nasty, an ogre of nightmarish proportions! just imagine, you are busily strolling along the aisles of your grocery store, scanning your list, looking for the best buys, when that kid in the seat of your cart starts whining and carrying on for ________________(insert whatever your kids whine or beg for).

haha! no problem! you just calmly point over to the frozen food section, where, standing there picking his giant, warty nose, is the biggest, ugliest looking ogre you have ever seen. you say, in your sweetest voice, "hmm, i wonder if that ogre has eaten today?" the big gulp coming from your child is music to your ears, as you know the whining will cease at once.

or imagine this scene: you are strolling down the grocery aisle when your little darling wets himself and smugly says "oops", while smiling at you because he did it on purpose. "hey, don't worry", you tell him, "there's mister ogre to take you to the bathroom to get cleaned up." oh, those "accidents" will never happen again!

so, moms everywhere, check out your nearest swamp or bridge (for that is where ogres live), and see if you can find an ogre looking for some seasonal work. set him up at your neighborhood grocery store and i promise, the next time the check-out clerk asks your kid if she wants a sticker, she will sit right up straight and answer "no thank you, mam!"

grateful:
1. that t.w. is really actually quite a good boy when we're shopping
2. that he has never wet himself since being out of diapers
3. that the ogre i know is really very nice and answers to the name of bilbo(hee hee)


Monday, December 20, 2010

the elves strike again!

when i saw this cartoon, i had to laugh, it looks a LOT like our tree!

although our elves were three and five years old, named t.willie and haley. and very cute. and quick. and pushy. and giddy with the power of "tree expression".

yeah, i let them just do what they wanted. unfortunately, i have no pictures of the little elves because i was exhausted at the time. do you see that spot at the middle (about half way up) the tree? where there is some ornament congestion? that's because they dragged a chair over and took turns adding ornaments RIGHT THERE!

look very closely here, at the bottom branches of the tree....LOTS of ornaments!!!!

i am usually very picky about my tree but this way was a lot more relaxing for ME! at one point, haley decided to move away from the tree and was hanging things randomly around the room.

oh, but they had fun and it was fun to watch them. kids and christmas- it doesn't get any better than that.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

naughty or nice??

ok, let's talk three year olds. i had a three year old once, who was lucky to survive her third year. she was such a trial to her mother, that, i am not ashamed to admit it, she literally brought me to tears on more than one occasion. yes, she was stubborn and strong-willed and already, in her third year of life, was sure she knew more than me.

now there is another three year old in my life- the first one's son, who makes his mom seem like a meek and mild piece of cake! if she was able to bring me to tears, he will most assuredly cause my undoing by a) leading me to drink excessively b) causing me to repeatedly bang my head against a brick wall until i am senseless c) cause me to run away and join the foreign legion or d) all of the above.

t.willie is stubborn, strong-willed, ABSOLUTELY sure he knows more than me, full of cocky attitude, mean, insolent, determined, and obstinate. he talks back, he is mean to his pets, kicks his teacher and pokes his classmates in their eyes. he daily tells one of us to "shut up" and, just yesterday, told me "i don't want to and i don't care!" he exasperates me on a daily basis and will not listen to me when i am telling him to do (or NOT to do) something.

yes! all of this is true! but the thing is, he can also be the opposite of all those things. at times, he is sweet, loving, funny, helpful, compliant and fun. he will ask to help me wash dishes, will beg his pop to help work in the yard, will listen intently when you explain how something works and will kiss and hug his pets...when he feels like it. he is intelligent, inquisitive, witty, clever and the best hugger around. he is like a celebrity at our local wal-mart because none of the checkers have ever seen him being other than happy and smiling and friendly.

so, how can one small boy be all these things? i'm sure i don't know but santa is going to be hard-pressed to decide between coal or toys. i can just see him, standing in front of the tree on christmas eve, scratching his head in indecision. "hmm", he'll say, "naughty? nice? naughty? nice?" and then he'll just flip a coin and see where it lands. i sure don't envy the guy!

grateful:
1. that three year olds eventually become four year olds
2. that stubbornness and determination can be attributes later on
3. that santa has to make the tough decision and not me!

Monday, December 13, 2010

fisher and price

many moons ago, when i was in 4th grade, i met a little gal named nancy jane. now, nancy jane was nice and sweet but best of all, she was an only child (cue the hallelujah chorus). i was the third child in a family of four children and what i really wanted to be was ALONE! ok, not all the time, but mostly when the others were teasing me or when i wanted mom to myself or when i wanted more than my share of devil dogs or when i was tired of sharing a bedroom.

so, yeah, nancy had the whole shebang to herself- her parents, her room, all the devil dogs, all the toys and even a really cool playhouse in the back yard. oh, and no siblings to tease her. so, needless to say, i thought nancy was SO lucky and pretty much wanted to be her.

but the best thing about nancy jane, besides being nancy jane, were her toys. she seemed to have a LOT of toys, all the toys i wanted anyway. (see this blog post) the best of the best were her fisher-price little people toys. she had 'em all- the camper, the house, the houseboat, the ferris wheel, the farm, the jet, the school, whatever- a whole fisher-price village!!!

and i know, right about now, you are thinking "wait, didn't she say they met in 4th grade? isn't that, like, too old for fisher-price little people?" and, okay, ordinarily i would agree, but in this case, since we are talking about me, i would say "no, no it is not!" because for some reason, nance and i just clicked when it came to the fisher-price thing. it also was kind of fate because my last name was fis(c)her and hers was, okay, not price but she maybe wished it was! so when we played, i was fisher (go figure) and she was price and that's how we addressed each other while we were playing. and this did not seem weird or strange to us, although i do remember getting some teasing about the whole fisher-price thing when my older sis found out.

me(on the left with freckles) and nancy jane
fast forward many years to our 20 year high school reunion. when joanne fischer and nancy jane (not price) met up again, what did they talk about? their fond memories of that long ago time of innocence and the hours spent playing fisher and price. and it still did not seem weird or strange.

here's to ya, nance!!

merry christmas from the jensens
bilbo, joanne, kaye, elle, t.willie and buster


grateful today for:
1. snow!
2. fond memories
3. once again having a chance to play with those fisher-price friends

Friday, December 10, 2010

visions of sugar plum



no, not that kind!

i'm talking about this kinda sugar plum-funny, sweet, clever food blogger emily hobbs. i have been following em's blog for some time now and she is a hoot! still in her early twenties, she creates her own recipes and some have even gotten her recognition. she competed on food network's ultimate recipe showdown, as well as many other contests. she wins some, she does not win others, but she is a real winner when it comes to personality. she shares more than just her recipes, she shares her life- which includes boyfriend, eric.

recently, emily was chosen as a finalist in midwest living's "best of the midwest" recipe contest. emily will be representing her home state of missouri. she is a wonderful baker and she has a real chance of winning the $10,000 grand prize. the competition is tonight and i just want you all to send her some positive vibes.

please, if you like cooking and especially baking, (and even if ya don't) check out emily's blog, you will thank me for it!




grateful:
1. for humor
2. for internet friends
3. for the aroma of warm baked goods

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

my childhood christmas list




my childhood christmas list was a mile long. no kidding. i wanted it all. i waited around in early november for the sears catalog wish book to arrive. i'd quickly sneak it away to my room like an addict with his next hit. oh, i'd be drooling before i even turned back the cover, just anticipating all the wonders inside. i'd pore over the slick pages with a pen at the ready, circling all the treasures i wanted santa to bring.

when mom finally got around to asking for our lists to santa, somewhere in early december, i was READY!! my list was the picture of organization. each item was written down with item number, page number and full description. i didn't want santa to mess up and bring me the wrong toys.

my younger sister, on the other hand, would ask for a stuffed animal or two. that's it! two silly stuffed animals! what a fool, i thought, she's missing her chance at the riches from santa's wishbook...i mean workshop! what's wrong with her???

my older sister and brother had lists too, i suppose, but i don't remember much about them. because, let's face it, it was all about ME!

but when christmas morning FINALLY came, santa brought all kinds of presents for them and most of what i asked for too. the christmases of my childhood were always magical, always filled with family and toys and fun. just as a child's christmas should be.

when our two girls were young, i tried to bring that special magic to their christmas holidays. they were good girls and i loved playing santa. and now, with t.willie, i'd like that element of enchantment to be his too. but maybe with less of a focus on the material gains and more on the spirit of giving and goodwill.

nah, who am i kidding? it's still all about the toys.
and maybe i'll even let him play with some!

here are some of my faves from way back when:

barbies and all their stuff

coloring books and crayons

play doh

paper dolls
colorforms

dolls

school supplies for playing school

pretty dresses

art supplies

feel free to send this list to santa...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

sometimes he drives me crazy



this guy!

and sometimes he just drives crazy! bilbo that is.

i was thinking about his driving skills this morning as i kissed him good bye. rain was pouring down like crazy and i told him to drive carefully. he answered "i will, i'm not a maniac! well, sex maniac, maybe!" ha! true 'nuff! (wink wink)

but when he said the word maniac, it reminded me of a trip we took to the airport one time. because maniac applied to his driving on this wild ride!! my aunt was going to new jersey and we had volunteered to take her. but for some reason, we were running late. i don't remember why... anyway, bilbo drove like a bat outta hell down the interstate, swerving in and around other cars. speeding up, slowing down suddenly, speeding up again. my aunt and i were hanging on with white knuckles and faces tight with anxiety. it didn't help that there was some sort of detour and we had to drive through a town bilbo was not familiar with. as he was doing his evil knievel driving, he was also on his cell phone with a friend getting alternate directions to the airport.

it was inevitable that, given my peanut-sized bladder and the hour and a half long trip, i would need a rest stop. inevitable. anyone that knows anything about me knows i can be counted on to need the use of the facilities on any and all car trips. but the challenge of getting to the airport in time for auntie's flight and taking an unfamiliar route took it's toll. bilbo zoomed into a seedy gas station. i raced in, did my thing and raced back to the car looking sheepish for my unstable bladder, knowing i had held us back a few minutes.

so after more crazy driving, we arrived at the airport, pulled up front and aunt fran ran in to check on her flight. bilbo ran after her with her luggage and i waited in the car. a few minutes later, here they both come walking slowly and calmly out of the airport doors. bilbo still carrying the luggage. they get back in the car and fran says, "i missed the flight by eight minutes." yes, you guessed it, the exact time my pee stop had taken. it was ALL my fault!

so, driving much more leisurely, we left the airport to go eat somewhere. the next flight was an hour or so later. we felt a little disappointed but fran and i started talking about the "ride from hell" we had just been on. we were laughing and teasing bilbo, and at one point, aunt fran said "i'm not even catholic but i was chanting a rosary!!" and i said "yeah, i was praying to any and all gods that would listen to just let us survive the trip!" bilbo was just shaking his head and reminded us that if it weren't for my bladder, he would have gotten us there on time.

and he was right. he is actually a very skilled and quick-thinking driver, having honed his driving skills growing up at the jersey shore. that, and having to travel long distances at times, for his job. there have been many times while we were traveling on the interstates, that other drivers would have caused an accident if not for bilbo's quick reflexes and road knowledge. i remember one time, a big tractor trailer truck ran us off the road. he had cut right in front of us, obviously not checking his mirrors. bilbo had to swerve sharply onto the tight shoulder and swerve back onto the road after the truck had passed. it was a very terrifying moment and afterwards, it took us some time to get our breath back and for our hearts to beat normally.

it is at times like that, that i thank my lucky stars for the "crazy" driver next to me. he can take me to the airport anytime!

grateful:
1. obviously, for my crazy-driving hubby
2. for the great thanksgiving holiday our family had
3. for friends old and new

Friday, November 26, 2010

good food was had by all


thanksgiving. what can ya say that hasn't already been said? it is a great american holiday (although i know canada has a thanksgiving). our holiday consisted of LOTS of food and family camaraderie. it was mom, dad, me, bilbo, elle, kaye and her friend misty and her two kids and t.willie.

we have this vintage set of turkey dishes from my mom's aunt and uncle. they had always hosted thanksgiving when we were growing up, and those dishes were something special to me. it would simply not be the same holiday without them! well, as big as those plates are, they were not big enough yesterday!!

here is a shot of my plate before i dug in!

i, myself, had made corn casserole, green beans with mushrooms, crock pot sweet potatoes, pineapple casserole (a family tradition), two pumpkin pies, pecan cranberry pie and a flourless chocolate cake. mom made turkey with stuffing, gravy, ham, a ginormous bowl of mashed potatoes, creamed onions, and cranberry relish. there was also cole slaw, olives, crescent rolls and rye bread. and misty brought an awesome broccoli casserole. oh yeah, we ate BIG TIME!

the three kids had their own table in the living room (in front of the tv). it's safe to say that they were the reason behind the dog having a full bowl after dinner. kids just never seem to eat much at big meals like this. i think all t.w. ate was his roll, the boy loves his bread!

bilbo about to chow down

oh, we were so stuffed! i hope you all had a great day too.

grateful for:
1. family
2. friends
3. dessert

Monday, November 22, 2010

the cheese stands alone.


you folks that have been following along for at least the last couple months may recall that my daughter, kaye, and i had embarked on a gluten free/dairy free adventure in october. this experiment was to see if maybe some or all of our stomach issues could be helped by avoiding these two food groups.

well, it has been a difficult six weeks, with ups and downs, good times and bad. i have bought grocery items i had never even heard about until i researched alternative grains and gluten free baking options- such as sorghum flour and egg replacer. i have bought the most disgusting ready-made GF bread and $5 GF bread mixes to avoid the aforementioned loaf. kaye and i have sat idly by while the rest of the family has partaken in ice cream, pizza and bagels with cream cheese. sigh...

but, when all is said and done, i have to admit that avoiding gluten was much easier than avoiding dairy. at least, here, in our rural area of middle tennessee, where we don't have a large choice of grocery stores stocking specialty items- gluten free choices win out. i have had far more luck replacing our usual bread/grain items for GF ones than i have replacing dairy for non-dairy/casein free foods.

you may not know this about me, but i LIVE for cheese. melted cheese-even better. any pasta dish covered in melted mozzarella, pizza, cheese sticks, yummy whole grain crackers with little slices of gouda, cheesy broccoli or potato soups, a steaming bowl of french onion soup with melted swiss draped over the edge and a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato and oregano can absolutely make me moan. ask my mom, she'll confirm.

so, i must now confess- i have failed the dairy free portion of this experiment. i kissed a pizza last night and i liked it.

the cheese stands alone.

grateful:
1. for the full moon because it has brought forth some good changes
2. for people who love your children even if they don't have to
3. for crises that bring positive outcomes
the cheese stands alone.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

and now, time for your favorite soap opera-


"how the nose runs"

t.willie has been sick since last thursday night. he has a cold-complete with running nose, watery eyes and a loose gravelly cough. he has had a fever on and off and he is very sad and pitiful. his nose is getting red from wiping and his voice is hoarse and gruff. and did i mention he is very sad and pitiful?

won't you please wish him a speedy recovery?
thanks, i knew you would! :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

indian summer in tennessee

it has been unseasonably warm here, temps in the high 70's to 80's during the day. the sky has been clear and blue, gorgeous weather. the trees have lost a lot of their leaves and the ground is covered. this afternoon, bilbo went out with the leaf blower to pile them up. and, of course, any time bilbo goes out, he is followed by his little shadow.

after a short while, a BIG pile had been created and it was time for our favorite autumn tradition- throwing t.w. into the leaf pile! ...okay, well, this is only the second year, but it WILL be a tradition!

so, i'll LEAVE you with this:

video

grateful for:
1. indian summer
2. simple fun
3. meatloaf and mashed potatoes

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

wordless wednesday

photo by me
burgess falls state park, tn

click on image for larger view

Monday, November 8, 2010

yes, ANOTHER video!!


today is my dear hubby's birthday and in honor of this festive occasion- enjoy!



happy birthday, dear bilbo baggins, happy birthday to you!

grateful today:
1. for a husband who has stood by me no matter what craziness i have subjected him to
2. for a husband who has been a wonderful father no matter what craziness we have subjected him to
3. for a husband who is a superior grandfather no matter what craziness he is subjected to

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

UP-side-down-DATES

1. i have lost two pounds since kaye and i embarked on our gluten free/dairy free diet. unfortunately, kaye doesn't seem to be feeling any better, but i have had fewer stomach issues.
2. t.willie no longer poops in his diaper in the morning, nor does he even wear a diaper at night.
3. we are STILL getting tomatoes from our amazing plants.
4. i have already gotten bored with facebook.
5. i still haven't eaten fast food since my september 1st resolution.
6. t.w. is doing great at preschool. although he seems to be the "mean kid" of his class!

i am grateful for:
1. no more diapers and no more morning poopage!
2. colder weather and soups and hot chocolate and snow flurries
3. a warm dog at my feet

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

the appliance reliance defiance alliance


okay, i know that man has come a long way since the discovery of fire and the cooking of food over a flame. and, yes, i do think we are in a better place than our ancestors, those brave souls who traveled by covered wagon over treacherous terrain, to begin a new life.

like an episode of little house on the prairie, those pioneers had to endure long, tedious days. days on end of cutting wood, making a fire and tending it, growing food, preparing food, cleaning up with water brought from a water source a long distance away, that had to be heated over that same fire. okay, i know all that, i appreciate all the improvements and comforts of modern life. i do.

but ya know, sometimes those modern conveniences can just turn around and kick us in the ass, so to speak. yeah, you KNOW what i mean! like, for instance, since april, we at the ole hellhole have had to replace:

a) our washer
b) our dryer
c) our hot water heater
d) our vacuum
and now
e) our freezer

WTF??!! i feel there is a time we just have to stand up and say "holy mother of elvis, i've had enough and i'm not gonna take it anymore!!!" yeah, yeah, that's right, i'm mad as hell and i'm not gonna take it anymore! can i get a HELL YEAH?? who's with me??

if you would like to join me in the appliance reliance defiance alliance, leave a comment and i will forward it to your congressman. thank you and good day.

i'm aurorafedora and i approve this message.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

about face!


ok, i give up!
today is a sad, sad day. today, i joined facebook. well, actually, i joined a few months ago, only so i could enter a contest on a blog. but i didn't DO facebook until today. oh, yeah, i'm in deep! i searched old friends, i added friends, i posted on my wall, i added photos, i even chatted with my best friend from high school. oh, i am hooked!

but it's cool. it's like a walk down memory lane (no pun intended, lisa!). i saw pictures of friends i grew up with, pictures of high school classmates and pictures of their siblings and family members i also knew.

so, yeah, i resisted- i scoffed at the facebook groupies. but now...well, now...i am one!

hey, look for me on facebook. maybe i'll even "friend" ya!

grateful for:
1. old friends
2. new friends
3. new obsessions

Thursday, October 28, 2010

the wreck of the hellhole fitzgerald

ok, so that is not our last name. and ok, so the hellhole is not all that wrecked. but we did have a pretty powerful storm two days ago and our yard is a mess.

tuesday, there were severe storm and tornado warnings all day. late afternoon, the wind had started to pick up and the rain came down hard. well, down does not aptly describe the direction of the rain- it was actually horizontal, as was the wind. when the hail stones joined in, it was pretty intense. i was home alone, so i ran around frantically closing windows, since the temps had been 80 degrees.

i usually love a good storm, but this had me a bit worried. it was coming straight at the front of the house and it did run through my mind that it could break the picture window glass. the trees whipped wildly about and the patio umbrella above t.w's sandbox was trashed and my butterfly bush was laying flat on the ground. as i looked out to check on buster, he was sitting in his doghouse with nothing but his nose poking out, as if to say "what's all this?

i was worried about kaye and t.willie because, last i knew, they had been on their way home. i was afraid they were in the car in the midst of it. (later found out, they hadn't left town yet and were safe) i knew my mom had been to town and called dad to check on her. when i called bilbo to check on him, he said he had been stuck on the interstate for 45 minutes because there had been a bad wreck. i knew elle was okay because she had been busy moving her stuff to a new apartment and was checking in with me every few minutes!

it is always at times like these, when we worry and get concerned for our loved ones. then, it's always a relief to have everyone back home safely, where you can see them and hug 'em and say "don't scare me like that!". so, just wishing you all the security of knowing where your loved ones are and hoping you're all okay. now, call your mother, she's worried about you!
**********************************************

a very tuckered out t.w. after he finally made it home.

grateful:
1. that storms pass
2. that my loved ones are close...sometimes a little too close!
3. that my trees have been thoroughly pruned

Monday, October 25, 2010

amazin' acres of fun, ya'll!

right down the road from us is a family-run farm. years ago, this family started having a corn maze, hay rides and such every fall. they call their farm "amazin' acres of fun", cuz it is.

and each year, it has been getting bigger and better. schools and church groups take trips to the farm and it is pretty popular 'round these parts.
so, saturday me, mom, elle, family friend jared and t.willie spent about two and a half hours there. we went on the hay ride to the pumpkin patch, petted and aw'd at all the cute animals, and watched as t.w. had lotsa farm kid fun.

there were a couple slides, one in a barn:

there was a "corn crib", this was t.w.'s favorite thing:

there were some nice animals:

and t.w. even got to milk a cow!

he really enjoyed the hay ride, although he wasn't so sure about it at the beginning. after the tractor started up and the ride got moving, he said re-assuredly "it's fun, it's not scary!" although, i'm not sure who exactly he was reassuring!

the kid's pumpkin patch was not so much a growing patch, but more of a let's-throw-the-small-pumpkins-out-here-so-kids-can-pick-them-up patch. t.w. had a difficult time narrowing down his choices.

it was a long and exhaustive search.

but finally, a winner was chosen.

and i can't tell you how hard it was for me to resist taking this little punkin home!

much fun was had by all. it was a beautiful day for some outdoor fall-ish fun.

jared and elle

me, t.w. and g.g (mom)