Sunday, March 28, 2010

WIth a name like Diva Jam, it has to be good

I'm jamming out some jam.

Last week Jessie and I finally discovered our town's weekly farmer's market, and amongst the juicy goodies we picked up was a beautiful flat of strawberries.

Unlike the season's earlier offerings, these were beautifully ripe and cheap. I knew I wanted to do something productive with them, so I decided to make jam.

I've only done this one other time--back in St. Louis about 15 years ago. I had forgotten pretty much everything, so I educated myself on the Google and began the process.

The first mistake I made was doubling the recipe I found online. Apparently, this causes all of the sugar/water/fruit ratios to get all out of whack and instead of ending up with jam, I had strawberry syrup. But I was determined to complete this project, so I started over with the right amounts and a little help from some liquid pectin and began anew.

Much better and the first batch of Diva Jam Strawberry was born.

I'm thinking this might be the first product in my line someday.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Getting our Spring on

Getting our Spring on with Jessie means...

Spring cleaning. Check.

Spring pictures.


A pretty nice season. Glad it finally arrived.

Juicy Deal o' the Day

Free juice!

For only 1 point redemption from your Juicy Rewards account, you can get a coupon for a Buy One Get One Free coupon on a carton of O.J.

Hurry--it's only good for today--you can print the coupon today, but you have until April 7 to redeem.

(And keep checking that site daily for more daily deals.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Countdown to 40--Foresight

In just a few short weeks, I turn 40.

I'm not exactly sure how I feel about that yet because we've had a few more pressing issues of late to deal with, but long before hospitals and doctors, we decided we'd celebrate this momentous occasion with a weekend in Vegas.

I haven't allowed myself to think about this let alone get excited, but as we move farther away from cardiac issues and closer to April, I find an excitement building quietly.

We chose Las Vegas because it's fun. A few friends are joining us there. We are going to lounge around resort pools without having to stay at the shallow end. We are going to watch cheesy shows and cheesier people on the strip. We're going to laugh a lot. And eat. And even gamble.

And even though we planned this birthday getaway months ago, it turned out to be absolutely perfect timing.

Maybe there is something to this age and wisdom thing.

Friday, March 19, 2010

It's the only feast day I can name off the top of my head for obvious and delicious reasons

So when I couldn't find a decent (or a single one for that matter) St. Joseph's pastry in town on his feast day for crying out loud, I made my own.

St. Joseph also happens to be the patron saint of pastry chefs. This makes perfect sense to me now because eating this dessert is a religious experience.

That, and it took me seven days and nights to create it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Carpet is a way more interesting topic anyway

I don't want to talk about it.

I don't want to talk about recurrence rates. Or cardiac tissue that is more like hydras that when you burn one away, two more can grow in its place. I don't want to talk about angst or worry or wondering. Or waiting.

I don't want to talk about any of it.

So let's talk about something else. Something fun and unambiguous.

Like carpet.

We're getting new in all of the bedrooms, and before I start thinking of what a crazy huge project emptying half of the house's various and sundry crap into the the other half will be, I am very excited. It's that home project I've been putting off for a couple of years for the sheer pain in the rear factor, but now that I've actually picked it out and resigned myself to the mess of upheaval, I'm good. It's the first in a series of three major home improvement projects that I hope to complete before the year ends.

So while we may not be walking easily these days, at least there'll be a nice layer of adobe Frieze beneath our feet.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

One week

Well, I can say with expert certainty that that was the longest week of my life.

A week ago Stevie woke up in the PICU after heart surgery, this morning he returned to school.

Obviously, that means he's okay, but I'm still not ready to write out all of the details until I knock on the Karmic wood tomorrow after his post-op visit. The operation was filled with "surprises," and that's a term I can live without our pediatric cardiologist ever saying again in the middle of a 4+ hour surgery.

But Stevie is tough; a strong young man who needs a healthy heart to hold his beautiful soul and so I know things will eventually heal and we can celebrate the miracle of finding the ticking time bomb in his chest.

But for now, I'm just quietly counting my blessings.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I've been trying to keep everyone posted via text, email and the great communicator, Facebook, but in case I've missed you, Stevie is home again healing.

I won't say it wasn't rough--because it was the worst thing ever--but he is home and I'm taking the rest of the week off to get him healed and back.

I'm sure I'll have more to say about this later, but right now I just want to hold him and be thankful.

Sunday, March 07, 2010


I think I've cleaned and laundered everything we're not wearing now.

We've shopped, stocked and packed.

We've cooked. (And will all day.)

We've filled the weekend with as much activity as any 14 year old could hope for, even distracting him with an old friend.

Logistics have been worked out and details confirmed.

Prayers have been whispered, then shouted.

It's bustling and noisy like every other day in this house but it is eerily quiet as well.

We're ready, and yet.

Friday, March 05, 2010

So, here it is

Okay, so I suppose the jig is up.

If you know me at all--or even not really--you’ve probably noticed I’ve been phoning it in a bit to this blog lately. That’s pretty accurate.

Oh, I’ve been busy writing, mind you--I’ve got Whoa Momma keeping me busy as well as various freelance projects that I haven’t failed on yet, but truthfully, at the end of a long day I haven’t been much for writing the personal stuff.

We’ve been consumed lately with our son’s upcoming surgery. While this isn’t a secret by any means, it also isn’t something I am going to write about here yet--if ever--but if you want an update, please send me an email and I’ll make sure to include you. We are certainly blessed with many friends who are sending their prayers and healing thoughts our way and we are eternally grateful for that--I just don’t have the energy for a public forum on this subject.

Once we get on the other side of this I’ll share more, but right now I’m too busy worrying.


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Music to whose ears?

I readily admit to buying a lot of stupid and worthless crap over my tenure as a parent. Fad toys that were popular for -8 seconds, expensive video game systems….Moon Sand. But there is one item that has never crossed my Target cart, and that’s a KidzBop album.

You’re familiar with this little gem--it’s the CD that features a bunch of unknown children “singing” pop songs, because there’s nothing quite like six year-olds reminding you that if you liked it you should have put a ring on it. Off key.

Now I’m not judging, but who exactly does this music appeal to? As an adult, I get kid karaoke every day from the back seat of my car from children I have given birth to without paying $14.99 +shipping and handling. My kids have no use for this--they really want Miley Cyrus singing a Miley Cyrus song, not Mrs. Frankenberger’s fourth grade remedial music class.

And yet, we are on KidzBop 17! That means this has been successful enough to warrant seventeen different versions of this Top 40 kindergarten chorus.

I just don’t get it. Some lyrics to these popular songs are pretty catchy when sung by Beyonce on the radio, but don’t translate all that well to an elementary school sing-along. When I hear a pre-pubescent voice croon out that they want to party like a rockstar, it’s awkward. Not to mention creepy.

So this all begs two very important questions: besides the parents of Mrs. Frankenberger’s fourth graders and people who want all of their favorite songs destroyed in a school Christmas pageant gone horribly, horribly wrong; who exactly is buying this?

(Question number two is more rhetorical: when five year-olds are singing about “trippin’ wit da Osbournes,” is this before or after their naps?)

Ok, maybe I am judging just a little.

(Cross-Posted on Whoa Momma of the St. Pete Times)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The juice and nothing but the juice

I’ve always thought the job of ambassador would be a pretty sweet one.

After a long distinguished career in politics, I would someday be rewarded for my stellar civil service with a posh post like Ambassador to Fiji or something. No where that I would have to be responsible for actual diplomacy, but a nice peaceful place with warm weather and ample tropical treasures.

Little did I know that despite not ever having served in public office before, I would someday obtain that coveted post of ambassador in a nice peaceful place with warm weather and ample tropical treasures of sorts. Right here in Florida.

Well, sort of.

I have become an ambassador for Tropicana’s Juicy Rewards program, and in addition to never having to worry about scurvy again, I think this makes me some sort of official diplomat in Florida.

Quite simply, the program awards you points for every carton of orange juice you buy when you enter the codes under the cap online. But this isn’t some crazy green stamp program where you and the Brady kids are collecting stamps for seven years and have to save four gajillion for a sewing machine that you will then have to defend in an intense house of cards battle with your brothers--no, this is a pretty easy, straight forward way to get fun prizes, offers and discounts with something you already buy. My first carton of O.J. was worth 3 points, and I can already redeem points for free admission to baseball games, theater tickets and bowling among other options.

And because I am a natural ambassador and really excited to share this, I’m going to give you some more inside juice if you sign up online for free right now.

Use the code MOTHE-RHOOD within 6 hours of registering for Juicy Rewards and you'll get one extra bonus point worth $5 in savings immediately!
To get your bonus point:
1. Go to
2. Set-up your Tropicana Juicy Rewards account (just takes a minute!)
3. Visit the "Enter Codes" page within the site and get started with MOTHE-RHOOD*
*This one-time use code is valid for new accounts ONLY. Must be entered within 6 hours of creating your account.

I just went through the refrigerator here in my embassy and put 20 reward points in the bank. I’ve got my eye on some TaylorMade golf clubs perfect for afternoons on Fiji...

(Disclosure: While I don’t get diplomatic immunity in Florida or anywhere else for being an ambassador [I think we should revisit this technicality later] I did get 12 free points from Tropicana and O.J. money to try out the program.)