Friday, April 29, 2022

Friday Faves: Watching ~ Wearing ~ Reading ~ Eating

~ Watching ~

While we were on vacation, Phil and I started watching a new show called Murderville (on Netflix).  Have you heard of it?  

It stars Will Arnett, whom we loved in Arrested Development, and is a comedy/mystery/improv show.  Each episode stars a different celebrity (like Annie Murphy! Ew David!) who plays the detective trainee to Will Arnett as the detective.  The cast of the show knows what's going on, but the celebrity does not.  They have to improvise their way through the show and also solve the crime at the end.  It's hysterical.  Some celebrities can not hold a straight face at all. Phil and I were watching it on a phone, sharing airpods, in a hotel room with sleeping little kids trying to stifle our laughs so as not to wake them, which may have escalated the comedy for us.  Now we want to go watch the original British version called Murder in Successville if we can figure out how to stream it.

We have also been watching this lovely PBS show, All Creatures Great and Small.

It's based on the true stories of veterinarian Alf Wight, who wrote the books of the same name.  It's has beautiful landscapes, wonderful characters, and makes me wonder if there's anything James Herriot can't do.  Of course the love stories are right up my alley, as are the costumes and manners of the time, with the accents like a cherry on top.  Apparently the only/best/easiest way to figure out what was wrong with farm animals back then was putting one's arm where it doesn't belong, which makes me a bit squeamish every time.  I just feel for the poor cows!  Other than that, it's a delightfully clean story.  Maggie (14) has been watching along too, and now wants to read the series.

~ Wearing ~

Guys, I've been finding clothes on Amazon lately, and if I don't like them, I just return them at Kohl's and get a coupon to shop there so it's practically no bother.  I tend to order a few things at a time, in multiple sizes, knowing I'll have to return something.  Truly, I detest trying clothes on in a store, so I typically shop and return this way when I shop for myself.  My husband and kids are all pretty easily sized and not too picky, thank goodness.  Anyway, here are my top three finds lately (click on the image to shop if you want...or not...I'm not the boss of you!)  And they all come in LOTS of colors!!

A flattering, fully lined (not see-through) white blouse
A tummy-hiding beautiful dress for a wedding we are attending in June

A fun and comfy romper to wear this summer (I wore it at Busch Gardens already!)

~ Reading ~

I am actually listening to this trilogy, not reading it, but details shmetails.  Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset is about the life of a young maiden set in Norway in Medieval times.  Her name is Kristin, and she's the daughter of Lavrans (hence the title).  It is slow to start, but then full of characters with surprising stories, and themes of love, sin, and forgiveness.  The heroine is annoying at times, but so very relatable in her struggles, and I keep finding myself needing to hear more.   There is no perfect character in the saga, everybody has flaws and temptations and achievements and longings.  It's a great read into human nature and how much it does not change through the years or across countries.  No wonder this historical trilogy received a Nobel Prize.

~ Eating ~

Too much eating actually, but it's still the Easter season!  Ha!  A new recipe we tried that is full of veggies and protein, and low carb is Cauliflower Fried Rice.  We either eat it as is (meatless with cashews) or add whatever leftover meat we have in the fridge (leftover beef bulgogi was delish) and it's a one bowl healthy meal.

Happy Friday y'all!!

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Spring Break Part Three: From Virginia to Maryland to Massachusetts

On Thursday morning we woke up and had a relaxed start to the day, as the plan was Busch Gardens and it didn't open until 11 am.  Phil cooked us a big breakfast of eggs and bacon and biscuits, then we left the condo at 10 am and swung by Duck Donuts to pick up our designer donuts we had ordered the night before.  They were warm and gooey and delicious and my waist is glad we don't have a location near us!!

My youngest sister and her family were vacationing in the Outer Banks for the week, so they drove to Williamsburg for the day to hang with us at Busch Gardens, which was so fun!

I will once again let the photos do the talking, with some notes to remember at the end...

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Spring Break Part 2: From Ohio to Pennsylvania to Maryland to Virginia

Let's start with a weather rant.

It snowed on April 18th in OH and PA.

The middle of April.

I mean, come on.

And the GPS took us the "fastest" route through the most mountainous highway I've ever been on.  We could smell the brakes on our big Ford Transit burning up.  It was actually quite scary for an hour.  We must remember that the fastest route isn't always the best route.  Life lesson.

On Easter Monday, we drove from Ohio to Pennsylvania to visit with Phil's brother Bob and his family.  My sister-in-law, Larisa, is my hero, having naturally birthed eight children and she homeschools them all from preschool through high school.  Me?  I'm over here getting epidurals and cursing my kids' Catholic schools for every homework assignment and project I need to assist with.  Saint Colleen I am not.  But we do have a lot of fun hanging out, despite our differences in child bearing and rearing.  We dream of living near each other one day, but for now it's family vacations and events that bring us together.  We stayed cozy inside with lots of food and games.  Look at all those kin created by two brothers...

The two college kids were missing, so we *only* had 13 children between us.

We took the kids bowling and out for ice cream and had such a nice time staying with them for a night.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Spring Break Part One: From Massachusetts to Maryland to Ohio

Here in Massachusetts we get a Winter Break and a Spring Break, otherwise known as February Vacation and April Vacation.  This year's time off started with Good Friday,  included Easter and then the week after was April vacation.... so an extra long Spring Break it was!  Yay!  We took advantage of the extra days and planned a road trip to spend Easter with our college boy at Franciscan University, see Phil's side of the family in Maryland/Pennsylvania, and also have some family fun in Virginia.  On Good Friday, we left Massachusetts at 4 am and arrived at Phil's parents' beautiful 9 acre homestead by noon.  Phil's sister Diana and husband Ryan and three kiddos (one in utero) hung out with us for a bit and Maggie got some much needed girl-cousin/babysitting time.  Oh to be fourteen again :)

We also met our newest niece, Petra, and I have no photo evidence of it!  Mea culpa!  She's as adorable as you can imagine and her parents (Phil's sister Erin and husband Sean) seem to be enjoying becoming a mom and dad for the first time.  So special!  On Holy Saturday, Nana and Gramps woke up to color eggs with the youngest crew:

And then we drove off to Steubenville, OH to see John-Paul at Franciscan University!!  Can you tell this mom of a first-year college kid was verrrrrry excited to smoosh her son's face (and meet his nice girlfriend)??

Say it with me..."Awwwwww!"

Friday, April 15, 2022

The Living Stations of the Cross

 Last Friday my kids participated in a living stations of the cross, where they act out each station in shadows. Eamon was Jesus, Maggie was Mary, and Xander was Jesus as a child and a weeping woman. He was not too pleasantly cast in that latter role, but there are no small parts only small actors. Since it is Good Friday I thought you might want to pray your way through these stations, or not! I’m certainly not the judge of you, like Pontius Pilate, I’ll wash my hands of the whole thing and let you be on your way. 

I hope your Lent was fruitful and I can’t wait to celebrate Easter with you all soon!!

Monday, April 11, 2022

Weekend Wrapup: Fifth Children Talents

 Fifth children are extra special, don't ya think? 

*types a fifth child herself*  

Alexander Blaise (age 10) is our fifth, and he is so funny and talented and very unique from the other kids.  He just marches to the beat of his own drum and has a ball doing it.  It sometimes makes it ahem, challenging, to be his parent, but everybody else seems to really enjoy him ;)

He came home from school with a collage that his teacher had put together for each student, based on what the classmates wrote about each other:

Me: Everybody seems to think you're funny.

Xander: Yeah. *dramatic sigh*  I just wish people thought I was amazing and brilliant and destined for greatness.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Easter Basket Treats That Aren't Candy

Anybody looking for some Easter Basket gift ideas?  

Well, here's what my kids are getting in the Easter Basket this year.  Yes, you read that right, one singular family (laundry) basket makes it much easier for the Easter Bunny and games/books can be shared rather than assigned to a child.  And don't worry, my kids will be getting plenty of candy too, especially after giving up sweets for Lent :)