Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Day Late A Dollar Short

Photo by EJS

Photo by EJS

It's Monday...no wait, it's Tuesday. I know all week I'll be off by a day. You know what they say, a day late a dollar short. I think this is my first long weekend blog post. Wow, that's cool. So just for the record, if it's a long weekend I will not write during that holiday you'll hear from me the next day. 

I hope you had an exciting long weekend. I did. Our family was in from out of town, so since Friday it's been one big party. In the days to come I'll share some stops that I made along the way but for today I wanted to share some Memorial Day facts just in case, like me, you didn't know:

History of Memorial Day
It began in 1868 (May 5), when members of the Grand Army of the Republic requested that their commander, Civil War General John A. Logan, decorate the graves of their fallen compatriots with flowers.

- On Memorial Day, the flag should be at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff.

- The custom of wearing red poppies started in 1915 and was inspired by the poem "In Flanders Fields" by Moina Michael. She came up with the idea of wearing red poppies and was the first to wear one. She sold them to her friends and co-workers. She used the money to help the servicemen in need.

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heros never dies.

- Memorial Day was first called “Decoration Day” because of the practice of decorating soldier’s graves with flowers.

- New York was the 1st state to officially recognize Memorial Day

- The south refused to honor the dead on Memorial Day until after World War I when the meaning of Memorial Day changed from honoring civil war dead to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war.

- Memorial Day was declared a federal holiday in 1971

Friday, May 27, 2011

Time Is Flying

Time is flying it's true, and no matter how much we want it to stop we can't.   Yesterday I was reminded how time is flying when I received a telephone call from my niece. She was calling to give me the details of her graduation ceremony. Graduation?!! What! When did that happen? It was just yesterday that I was listening to an adorable message that she left me after her 3rd birthday party. In her message she said-  "thank you for my dollie, I love you, bye bye". I saved that message for years until my computer melted and I lost the message in a puff of smoke.  As I think about this new chapter in her life my heart is overflowing with joy. I'm so proud of her accomplishments, I 'm so proud of the women that she has become, and I'm so proud to be her Tia. I'm blessed beyond words. Yes time is flying, but luckily I've flown with time.

Sorry, I just had to get that out. Phew now I feel better....and now for the funny.

Anyhow this whole time is flying thing reminded me of a stop that I made along the way. I discovered Irina Werninga photographer that has made an art of taking old photos and recreating the same exact scene with same people in the same place with the same outfits. Isn't that genius?! Enjoy here work.

I think I may submit this one of me, my hubby, and my brother-in-law to see if she can recreate this scene.

FIONA IN 1978 & 2010, London
MATIAS IN 1977 & 2010, Uruguay 

FLO, MARIA & DOLORES IN 1979 & 201

PANCHO IN 1983 & 2010, Buenos Aires 

TOMMY IN 1977 & 2010, Buenos Aires

Thank you for coming along with me on my journeys this week. 
A lot of fun things prepared for next week so be sure to follow along!
Enjoy your weekend and any "Stops that you find yourself making Along The Way".

Thursday, May 26, 2011

That's Fresh

Do you have a particular room in your house that drives you crazy? You know, the room that always feels unfinished? Are you tired of rearranging your furniture only to find that you didn't achieve the look that you were going for? If anyone knows me and has been to my house they know that I answered YES to all three questions. You see, I love my house, I truly do, it's small, cozy and just right for my family and I. Its open format makes it feel larger than it is, but it can also be a bit challenging too. The room that puzzles my creativity is my  living/dining room. It is open straight through therefore I am constantly moving things around trying to get the right look and feel. This has been going on for years, and everyone that has stepped through the door has been asked how they would redesign the room using the furniture that they see. They seem as puzzled as me, but inevitably we'd move the couch here, and television there, and viola' same result. A few months later same questions, different victim, same result. Apparently my sister had had enough listening to me complain about this room because today she brought in the big guns- Sam Avola, a professional designer. 

First I took Sam for a tour of each room so that he'd get a sense of our style. After the five minute tour we were back to "the room". He looked around , but unlike all of my other victims his eyes didn't glaze over or even look puzzled, they looked anxious to redesign. Was there hope? I guess there is a method to the maddness because he kept spewing out design stats 3" here, eye level there, we need height, negative space, and it started to make sense. About an hour later, without needing to purchase anything new we were able to transform the room. Just by having a fresh pair of eyes on the layout, furniture, rugs, artwork and accessories Sam was able to create a warm and inviting atmosphere that reflects our personality and lifestyle. 

If you have a "room" or a "house" that needs an extra set of design eyes, Sam's your man! Do yourself a favor, save your money, and re-use things that you already have. That's Fresh! 

Here's his contact:
Sam Avola

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cloud 9

There's a big ball of wonderfulness outside and I feel like I'm on Cloud 9. When I went out at lunch I wanted to twirl around like a little girl until I got dizzy and fell to the ground. Since I was in the parking lot I thought that wasn’t a good idea so I went for a brisk stroll. While I was walking I looked up at the clouds. They looked so striking against the beautiful blue sky. Do you ever take the time to look up? I do, I always do. I love to look at the sky, it's one of my favorite stops. 

While my head was in the clouds I was reminded of a gift that I received a few years back from my sister in law. Apparently she knew me pretty well because she got me this print by Brian Andreas / Proper Steps. It was made especially for me and she knew it. The print reads:

I only do this until I get dizzy and then I lay down on my back and watch the clouds she said...It sounds simple but you won't believe how many people forget the second part.  


Today I hope you take a minute to look up at the sky. I promise, regardless if its sunny or cloudy you will find something beautiful in it; a little hidden treasure wrapped perfectly for you. It'll make you spin, it'll make you dizzy, it'll make you happy! Promise! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hey Good Lookin' Whatcha Got Cookin'?

I am the envy of every mom right now, do you want to know why? Because my little lovely got a bee in her bonnet to cook the family a meal tonight. So while I'm clicking around on my computer I can hear a whole lot of chopping going on in the kitchen. Isn't that great?! What brought this on you're asking?, well let me tell you. This past weekend she was invited to a cooking party. At the event the children were taught how to make an appetizer, a main meal, and a dessert. When she got home she couldn't stop raving about this experience. She asked if she could recreate the meal for us. Of course!! 

Appetizer - Homemade Guacamole Dip
Main course - Beef stir fry with vegetables over a bed or rice
Dessert - Ice cream with a homemade chocolate sauce

She won't let me step into the kitchen so both hubby and I will be completely surprised. Isn't that awesome! And did I mention that she is 10. 

Ok...Dinner is being served, I'll be back to let you know how it was.

Ok...I'm back! I'm stuffed, and I'm thoroughly impressed. 
The entire eating experience was beyond fabulous. Everything was cooked to perfection, extremely tasty, and presented with style.....and the best part, the house didn't burn down. Here are some pictures!

If you'd like your little one to cook it up I highly recommend Kate Jamieson of Cook-It-Up-Parties. Although I wasn't present at the party I'm told that Ms. Kate was super nice,an excellent teacher, and not only armed the girls with the tools to cooking a great meal but also the knowledge about healthy foods. Fun was had by all. Thanks to the hostess with the mostess- SV, and teacher extraordinaire Kate.

If you'd like to inspire your little lovely here's Kate's information.

Kate Jamieson
Cook It Up Parties

Monday, May 23, 2011

Meet Bruce, Living - Simply!

Last year when I was building my lovely's tree house, I was really fortunate to find an old barn that was being taken down. The owner was thrilled to let me take as much lumber as I wanted for two reasons; the first was because her father had built the barn for her pony when she was a child. She felt his legacy would live on high up in my trees. Second because the more I took, the less they had to haul away. For me this was a very fortunate stop because I was able to learn so much about the history of the barn, and because it saved me some "cha ching". 

As I was nearing the end of the construction I needed to address the topic of windows. Since so much of the tree house was made out of recycled materials I knew that new windows wouldn't do. I immediately remembered a property that I pass on occasion that appeared to be a recycled/junk yard, so I made a stop along my way to inquire about some windows. 

Bruce & his homemade pickup truck
Bruce, the owner came out to greet me, well actually to see what the heck I was doing on his property. We talked for quite some time, and I was fascinated by our conversation. Apparently this was not a recycled/junk yard at all, this was Bruce's home. Sitting on three acres of land, tucked in the woods, and hardly visible off the main road, his property is laden with bike wheels, bricks, wood, metals, doors, windows,and so much more. His collection is neatly organized and available at any given moment for a project of his choice. 
One of the many sheds

Some of his collectables
As I looked around I could see that everything he collected was for the purpose of reuse. His home, various outdoor sheds, and his car were all built by these harvested goods. Amazing. You see, when he bought the property years ago for a song and a dance he decided that he would live a simple, practical life. When homes were being taken down, he was there to pick up the pieces. When businesses were throwing away old machinery he was there to give them new life. It didn't take me long to know that Bruce was not only a very ingenious fellow, but a very knowledgeable one too. I must admit, although I was reluctant to ask I had this burning curiosity to know what his days consisted of, what type of technology he uses, and what he thought people thought about his living style. I didn't want to offend him with my curiosity but I just had to ask. After all, let's be honest, if you walked onto this property wouldn't you want to ask the same questions?  
The Home
Luckily Bruce took no offense to the questioning. His days are spent repairing the old, and making the old new again. In the evening he lives at his handmade abode with only the necessities. He prides himself on being up to date with World War 2 technology (i.e.: a rotary phone). I can assure you that American Idol is not his Wednesday pass time. On the contrary, he incessantly reads current and historical publications which adds to the wealth of information that he has on both subjects. I'm not sure what people think about his lifestyle, for me it is clear that he is an extremely practical person that is clearly living simply. 

As for the windows that I needed; he was able to part with two, in exchange for a frosted yellow/chocolate cake. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Rain Rain Go Away

It's raining, it's pouring
The old man is snoring
He went to bed and he bumped his head
And couldn't get up in the morning

It's raining you know. It has for two weeks now. What's so funny about that you ask? Well I'm not really sure. I haven't been laughing at all during this wet season; in fact I haven't been able to sleep very well either because at times the rain is so heavy that it wakes me out of a dead sleep. That's scary not funny. Did you know that too much rain can make people cranky? If you didn't perhaps our paths haven't crossed in a couple of weeks because I'm super cranky. It can also make people unmotivated - couch potato - turtleneck wearing - humans.   

Today I thought the rain was kind of funny because as you know today is funny Friday and I actually thought today was Thursday. If you read my post yesterday I know you were patiently waiting to find out who the mystery person is that I spoke about, but guess what? On Friday I post funny things not serious things so I'm sorry to tell you, but you'll have to check back on Monday for the conclusion to that story. 

But for today let's have a laugh, build an arc, gather some animals, and talk about the end of the world as we know it. Oh, I'm sorry you didn't hear about that? Well apparently there are some people that think the world will end on Saturday. I'm not really sure what it's based on, but I think it's pretty funny because it reminds me of Y2K. I remember that year really well because IT companies around the world spent billions of dollars marketing their "fix it" technology, while others revised their entire application source code to look for the Y2K bug and to fix it. When the clock ticked Jan 1, 2000, no major problems were reported. The world went on with its normal life. My mother on the other hand was convinced that something big would happen so she ran out and got lanterns, batteries, food, and who knows what else. The funny thing is that I saw the lanterns yesterday when I was at her house. They made me really laugh. 

I'm not sure if Saturday will be the end or if today will be the end, but I hope that the rain would end!

Thank you for coming along with me on my journeys this week. 
Enjoy your weekend and any "Stops that you find yourself making Along The Way". 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Simply Living Deliberately

Walden Pond

After yesterday's post about living a simple life it got me thinking of people that have deliberately simplified their life. I immediately thought of two people. The first Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau said, "Our lives are frittered away in details...simplify, simplify. He wrote "As you simplify your life the laws of the universe will be simpler, solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness." 

Thoreau decided to move from Concord, MA to Walden Pond by himself where he would not be bothered by "civilization". His cabin in the woods was very simple and there were no extra material goods. He lived off as little money as he could, whenever he needed money he would work an odd job. He bathed in Walden Pond and spent most of his time writing in his journal and watching nature. He was not burdened with debt or so many material possessions that needed care. He dressed simply and ate food that could be prepared rather easily. He truly lived a simple life.
Henry David Thoreau's Cabin

So if Thoreau was the first person I thought about; who was the second? The second is someone that I met on one of my stops last summer while I was picking up items for my tree house project.....but you'll have to wait until tomorrow when I'll share who I met along my way. I guarantee it'll be worth the wait.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Are You Living Simply?

The other day I was driving to one of my various stops when I noticed the bumper sticker on the car in front of me. It said Live Simply. It made me wonder about my own life, was I living simply? I've always thought of myself as a rather simple gal. I don't keep many piles laying around the house, and only buy things that I need; well actually I take that back I have been known to indulge in an extra pair of shoes or a rare antique object, but overall I think I'm pretty simple. This weekend when I helped my little lovely clean her room I wasn't convinced that we were living the simple life. Piles of books, gently loved stuffed animals, clothes just a tad too tight, and knick knacks galore, the cleanup took hours. There was nothing simple about it. It was simply exhausting, and frustrating too! 

It got me thinking about how I can change the way that we live. What do we really NEED? Simply put all we need is Food,shelter,clothes, and transportation (debatable) am I missing anything? It sounds so easy so why do we choose to clutter our lives and not live with less? Is it unrealistic to think that it can be done? Don't worry, I'm not going off the deep end and moving into the tree house, but I must admit, a small space makes you very selective about what you bring into it. 

In the above video Marta lives with her family in a 47 sq. meter apartment and Kirsten has a really cool Lego style 24 sq. meter space. 

What about you? How are you living? Simply? 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"Five Star" (well actually a zillion stars) Hotel

Last summer my brother in law and I built a tree house for my little lovely and her pals to enjoy. Since we only worked on it one day a week, it took the better part of the summer to complete it, and we were only able to get one sleep over in it. Ever since the snow melted we've been eager to book a second nights stay at the "Four Seasons" Hotel. 
This past weekend it was chilly, but not unbearable so we decided to brave the elements, and have a "no sleep" over in the tree fort. It was a really fun night, and a really early morning. When we came out I stopped dead in my tracks. I could hardly believe the amazing sight that was waiting for us, a Pileated Woodpecker. I know it sounds really impressive that I actually know the name of this bird, but don't be impressed. I had to Google several basic words i.e.: big, black, crow, red, long beak to finally narrow it down to the actual bird name. 
Pileated Woodpeckers are nearly the size of a crow, in fact when I first saw them sitting on my lawn I thought they were crows. They are the largest of the common woodpeckers found in most of North America. They have zebra-striped heads and necks, long bills, and dynamic  red crests. They love to eat carpenter ants and beetle larvae by digging large, rectangular holes in trees. These holes can be so large that they weaken smaller trees or even cause them to break in half. 

It's a good thing that we found them in the grass and not pecking away at the tree that supports our "Five Star" (well actually a zillion stars) Hotel.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A "LOVEly" Note

I'm typically not the kind of person that believes in superstitions, but this past Friday the "13th" when Blogger was down I wondered if there was anything to this unlucky 13th sort of thing. I hope you didn't miss my post too much, I can't promise that it won't happen again, but some things are just our of my control.

This "LOVE"ly note that I received on Friday the 13th put my fears of superstitions to rest. When I came home there was a box on the table with this sticky note taped to it. Oooohh I could hardly wait to open it. I was so happy when I did because it was an Apple  iPad.  I had been wanting one for quite some time now; not because I need one, because seriously who really needs one? For me I really wanted one because I knew it would help me share "me" in a much simpler and funner way. Yipee! I like it when it's someone else making the "Stops Along The Way"- A BIG thanks to my Lovely!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sitting Is Killing You!

Yesterday when I wrote about my  Keister I was really half kidding about how I felt that it was taking on the shape of my chair, but come to find out,sitting is a growing problem. Today my husband shared with me an article that he found on one of his stops. When I finished reading it I told him that I had to share this with you all. Click on any of the images below and it will take you to an enlarged version so that you can read the details.   
Sitting is Killing You
Via: Medical Billing And Coding

This article makes me want to invest in a Gaiam Balance Ball chair for my office. Although I'll still be sitting I think I'll feel better about what I'm sitting on.
It will definitely make me sit up straight because I tend to slouch. So unattractive!!If that doesn't work I may have to bring in my cruiser and pedal my way to better health. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How's Your Keister?

Do you sit on your keister all day? Or does your work allow you to be a bit more mobile? Unfortunately my job requires me to sit for the good part of the day. At times I feel as if my keister is taking on the shape of my chair. It’s a very uncomfortable feeling. For mother’s day my husband and my little lovely gifted me with a Huffy Cruiser, well a picture of one. When I saw the 26” on the card I wasn’t quite sure if they were giving me subliminal messages about the size of my bottom, or if that was the height of the bike. Phew, it was the height of the bike! At lunch my husband and I went to Walmart to look at the Cruisers. He thought it would be a good idea if I chose the one I wanted before he ordered it and had to set it up. Here is the one that he had in mind for me, nice right?!

Unfortunately they were out of stock. Wahhhh! Luckily it's been rainy and cold so I don't intend to hop on and cruise any time soon. I can’t wait to order my very own though, I think I’ll  look super fabulous riding down the road, making my stops, and getting some exercise on my new Huffy Cruiser.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It's Really Simple

Ok, so I'm still full from my gluttonous eating frenzy, but the rest of my household is not, so you know what that means. It's time to get in gear and get some groceries in the house. I find that if I neglect to go food shopping during the weekend when Monday rolls around the cupboards are bare and the refrigerator is only keeping a leaf of lettuce cool. 

I don't know about you, but growing up my mother just seemed to throw things together. One minute I'd see a bag of potatoes, the next a meal fit for a king. I don't seem to have the same knack, but I do notice that if I take the time to go grocery shopping before the week begins I have a better chance of putting a good home cooked meal on the table. 

A few months ago in Real Simple Magazine they had a section devoted to weekly dinner recipes that spanned for the entire month. Complete with grocery lists. I thought this was a fabulous idea for so many reasons. 1- A no brainer dinner menu. 2- It got us to try new recipes, many of which we continue to make. 3- Because they gave you the perishable items in the beginning of the week there was less waste. 4- One visit to the grocery store. 

Courtesy of Eat At Home Website

Courtesy of Eat At Home Website
Today I found myself wondering what I should make for dinner tonight, and for the week. I searched the web to try to get some ideas. I stopped along the way at a website that I thought you'd all enjoy. Eat At Home. Everyday Food For Busy People. It's packed with quick and easy recipes, weekly planners, creative uses of things that you have in your fridge, and so much more.  I browsed the website and really liked its layout. It was really simple to navigate through, and shows pictures of what you are attempting to make. Real Simple! By tomorrow I will be ready to eat again, this time in a much smaller quantity than I did on Saturday. Tomorrow night it's Italian Chicken & Rice Casserole. Sounds good right?!

For the full recipe visit their website: Eat At Home 

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Gluttonous Afternoon

(Gluttony over-indulgence and over-consumption of fooddrink, or intoxicants to the point of waste.) 

Everybody deserves a day of overindulgence. This past Saturday that is exactly what I did, and I'm paying for it.

After my nephew's confirmation we went into the city to celebrate. My sister did a fantastic job orchestrating this event; she did it right, and we all payed for the gluttonous afternoon we enjoyed. The feast started at The Florentine in Boston's North End. The array of appetizers that graced the table was "magnifico" . I should have stopped after the Antipasti, the Pizzette, the Calamari, the Potato Crochets, and the Fresh Mozzarella with Tomato, but do you think I stopped there? Of course not, when in Rome or Boston's North End...For the meal I had every sea creature that ever swam the ocean blue. Half of a lobster tail, calamari, mussels, clams & scallops, served in a tomato sauce over a bed of pasta. Excellent. At this point I was busting at the seams, but wait there's more...cake & coffee of course. The cake was truly decadent. If you haven't had a cake from Konditormeister I highly recommend it. Master decorators and bakers, their cakes are delicious and beautiful. You nearly had to roll me out the door after the 6" squared piece that I consumed. 

Do you think that was all? Of course not! After we left the restaurant my lovely hubbie looks across the road and suggests that we all go to the Cafe Vittoria. As I said before, when in Rome, or in the North End...so we went over for an espresso. That's it! The meter was reading "FULL" but now it was on "COMBUST". When we finally got home I couldn't wait to get my fancy fancy off and get my mama jammas on. I sat on the couch for half hour and then had to go to bed. I was sick to my stomach; gluttony had set in. 

Fast forward to today, I am "no kidding" still full and swear that the only thing I'll eat all week is oatmeal. I swear!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Muthahood & The Winner!


Thanks you all for participating in I Stopped Along The Way's very first contest. I really enjoyed receiving your emails, Facebook, and Twitter posts on the advice that your mom/grandmother had passed on to you. 

My mother has given me several good nuggets, I will share one with you. Originally this got passed down to her from her mother. She always gives me her advice in Portuguese so hopefully it'll translate properly.

"Don't spit up, it'll always hit you in the face"
In other words don't talk badly or judge someone. It will always come back to get you. I found myself testing this advice one day when I was at the market. I saw a little child rolling around and screaming. I spit up alright..."OMG If that were my child..."  Well, as I'm sure you can imagine the spit hit me in the face about a week later when my little lovely decided to pull a fit in the middle of the Verizon. Embarrased and ashamed, I learned my lesson.


Here is some motherly advice submitted by YOU!!:

My mom told me that you can't do everything - you can try but something is gonna give. So, you can do everything, but just not well. - Stacey

Always wear comfortable shoes - Don
The last thing my mother always said when we left the house and how she signed notes to us was: "RWYA" Remember who you are. It was always in the back of my head when facing choices and helped guide me to make good choices (usually!)-PstLyDiva 

"The best advice that my grandmother gave me was to respect myself, act in a respectful manner, expect others to show you respect, do not accept disrespect and others will treat you respectfully! -Linda

The best advice my mom gave me was to put things away when I was done with them because if not I would just have to put them away later!  No one else was going to do it for me!!!" - Linda

The best advice I recieved was actually from my mother in law... when people are making your crazy in your life and there is no reasoning with these people (I think we all have a few of these people in our lives!) she tells me this old Sicilian saying that translates in English to "nod your head like a donkey!". basically you just nod and smile at these people and dont let them bother you, life is too short! - Amanda

When my parents dropped me off at college, as they left, my mother looked me straight in the eye and said, "Tommy, don't do anything stupid."- Tom
"Don't share the details of a fight you have with your husband with your mother.  She will remember how hurt and upset you are long after the fight is over and may think differently of the many you love and long since forgiven." - Lori


And now some Funny Friday Humor

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fostering Happiness

A couple of months ago I stopped by the mall to pick up a birthday gift for my nephew.  Since he was traveling to visit a mouse with big ears and a princess with a flouncy gown I decided to stop in at the Disney store. As I approached the store I was thrilled to see my sister, nieces and a friend of theirs selling Girl Scout cookies. I had no idea that they were going to be at this mall so this was quite a delightful discovery. My sister's friend Linda, and her daughter were also there selling cookies. When I saw Linda I nearly gasped, she was holding the tiniest bundle of love that I ever saw. A precious little baby girl. I've known Linda for several years and she has had numerous children during that time; you see Linda is a foster mom. When I was holding the little baby I wondered how she could give the children away when it was time for them to go back; after all it had just been about five minutes and I was already in love with this little angel. 

I asked Linda how she got involved in being a foster mom,what some of the challenges and rewards were. Here are her thoughts:

What made you get involved in being a foster parent?

"I always wanted to become a foster parent but was never able to afford or fit it in my life.  I needed to work full time to make ends meet.  Then years down the road the software company I worked for moved and I didn't want to move with them.   I still had two small children in daycare and needed to be closer to home.  My husband could support me so I became a stay at home mom and that was when I started Foster Care.  I saw an ad in the paper for Dare Family Services and called them. I asked many questions.  I didn't know if I was a good match or if I could do it but I wanted to find out. "

What kind of background is done on the foster parent?

"I had to have a home study done where they come to your home 4 or 5 times to look at everything.  I had to do MAPP training that lasted a few weeks and be CORI'ed.  This CORI is not like coaches CORI's.  It's in depth and can open unsealed records, etc.  No skeletons."

How long have you been a foster parent & How many children have you taken care of?

"Well, I've been doing foster care about 9 years.  I've lost count of the number of kids I've had.  Maybe 50?  Some are adolescents and some teens but mostly babies.  Some I have for as long as two years, so as short as a night. "

What are some rewards? What are some challenges?

"Working with children is the best job in the world.  It's "therapeutic" foster care.  Kids have more issues to tend to than just not having parents. They give you a new perspective on what's important in life.  They look at the world through innocent eyes and can see things more clearly than we can.  They constantly remind you to "not sweat the small stuff".  For example, I remember when my own daughter was little and she saw a black and white movie for the first time.  She asked me "Mom, when did the world turn color?"  She thought it was just a different "Age" of life.  Like the Ice Age.  Silly little things like that make it worth the experience of working with kids.  They make you laugh alot.  They are very smart at a young age.  Many people underestimate them. 
That's why my work is important.  They absorb everything right from birth.  How they are treated and loved is critical from birth.  I specialize in babies.  I have had many preemies and newborns.  I lay the foundation for a normal, healthy, loving start in life.  This is critical if they are to have a fighting chance in life...all children, foster kids or not.  That's what I do."

"My most difficult challenge is that they leave me, I have to give them back.   This tears my heart out but I don't focus on the negative.  I have people say to me all the time that "I could never do that because I  couldn't give them back".  The way they say it to me is like I'm cold hearted.  I guess that is their way of convincing themselves that it's ok for me to do it but not for them.  I don't know.  I love every second of it.  The screaming, spitting up, sleepless nights and dirty diapers.  Because the other side of that is the way the newborns turn their head when they hear your voice across the room, the way they look at you when they are infants with pure trust and love.  The way they run to you when they are toddlers and are scared or hurt knowing that you will protect them or heal them and there is no doubt in their little minds about it.  These are the joys for me.  You have to earn that....nobody just gets those pleasures unless you earn it.   And I appreciate those things in every child because I end up loving them all.  Even though they will go on with their life and never know of me and how I loved them.  I know and wouldn't trade a second of it."


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2- Tell me what the best piece of advice is that your mom/ grandmother has handed down to you.

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Contest runs from April 26 thru May 5th
One winner will be randomly chosen to receive a Six Pack of Yummy Mummy Brownies(flavor of your choice $17.50 value)