Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The two year old imagination

The two year old imagination can be so fun.  We get to play pirates or pretend we are at the beach.  All sorts of creatures visit our house during the day: dragons, an octopus, bears, Buzz Lightyear and so many more.  The problem is they also visit Gregory's room at night.  We've been having problems getting him to go to sleep in his room.  Just last week I found him sound asleep on the stairs.

In addition to the creatures that visit, I get  to hear all sorts of stories.

Me: Gregory look at the bunny outside.  What do you suppose he is doing? 
Gregory: He's the Easter Bunny's helper.  He is looking for green worms and places to hide Easter eggs.

And then you get stories like this.

Gregory:  Joey, you are a donkey butt
Me: Where did you learn that?
Gregory: Grandma Sunshine taught it to me
Me: Why did she teach you that?
Gregory But it makes Grandpa Buzzy so happy

Gregory: Joey, you are a poopy spoon
Me: Where did you learn that?
Gregory: Grandma Sunshine said it makes Grandpa Buzzy feel better

Greogory: Joey, you are a maniac
Me: Where did you learn that?
Gregory: Grandma Sunshine says it to Grandpa Buzzy when he's driving
(Ok, this one might not have been in his imagination)

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Once upon a time, a boy and a girl met and fell in love.  Aaw aren't they so cute?

Maybe the first picture taken of the two of us. 
Our first Halloween.  It was in Rome.  Costumes were scarce. 
Seven years ago, on March 27, 2004, Greg and I became engaged to be married.  He asked.  I said "yes".  The rest is history.  No?  Story time. 

Let's start earlier in the week.  Greg calls up my dad (He probably called him "Sir" at the time.  He didn't feel like he could call him Buzz.) and asks if he can come and talk to him.  Buzz  Sir agrees and Greg comes over to meet with him.  My nosy sister, who was home at the time knows something is going on.  So she calls up my mom.  I'm sure she said something to the extent of "Mom, Greg is over and he and dad are talking downstairs"  To which my mom replied.  "I'm on my way home"  Greg and Dad were having a nice conversation.  Dad asked all the important questions.  "How do you plan on supporting my daughter?"   "Where will you live?" but really he was thinking.  "Thank God!  Get her outta here."  They were having a good discussion when in busts Mom.  Now, Greg carefully planned this meeting.  He had somewhere to be so if he ran into an obstacle (i.e. Mom came home), he could politely excuse himself and be on his way.  I'm pretty sure he excused himself at this time.

Now fast forward to Saturday.  Greg had a nice evening planned for the two of us.  We were going to Mass at the Cathedral followed by dinner at Forepaugh's.  I was getting ready when Greg showed up (early...not something normal).  I gave him a hug.  He hung his coat up and we sat down on the couch and started chatting.  All of a sudden, Greg jumps up and runs down to the door babbling something like "oh would you hate me so much" gets back in my sight and gets down one one knee and finishes by saying "...if I just can't wait until later tonight to ask you to marry me." (At this point he is desperately trying to hide behind the ring box.)  I said "yes".  Greg had planned on proposing at the Cathedral but when I gave him a hug he thought that I had felt the ring in his coat pocket.  He just became too nervous and decided to propose right then and there.  And that is that.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Feast of St. Joseph

The feast of St. Joseph is near and dear to me for two reasons.  One, I am Sicilian.  The other is that St. Joseph is for whom my little Goober is named.  

In many parts of Sicily there are banquets to celebrate the feast of Saint Joseph.  In some communities especially in small villages large altars and tables are built and filled with large quantities of local cuisine: fish dishes, cooked vegetables, breads, and sweets.  In many places, this feast is also shared with the poor.  
One of the desserts cooked on this day are the Sfinci di San Giuseppe.  You may know them better as creme puffs.  While I did not make them this year, I plan to in the future when my little Joseph is old enough to enjoy them.  My grandmother made them for her son Joseph every March 19th ( a sore spot with my mother since no one else got anything on their feast.  Joey was obviously the favorite).  I hope to carry on this tradition (no, not of Joey being the favorite....well maybe) of making creme puffs every year on March 19.  I had the honor of visiting the town in Sicily where my great grandparents were from and want my children to know where they came from.   I hope to do so by keeping alive this Sicilian tradition. 
With Guiseppina (my grandmother's second cousin) in Sicily
Grazia and Pasqualina (grandma's first cousins) in their home in Sicily
Santa Caterina, Sicily
St. Joseph is also the patron of those selling houses.  Last spring we were in the midst of relocating and selling our house.  I was pregnant at the time.  It was a tough market but we finally sold our house.  I diligently prayed to St. Joseph each day for our house to sell.  As moving day rolled around, everything seemed to be working out until the day we were to close on our new house.  Since we were moving a few hours away we did not attend the closing on our house and instead opted to have the money for our new house wired to the seller.  I guess the lawyers at the firm took the day off (not kidding) and left one secretary in charge of the office duties (which included wiring the money from closing to our seller).  We called our realtor to make sure the money had come in and she informed us that it had not.  Moment of panic.  We called the realtor who sold our house and he got on top of it right away.  (This whole time I was praying to St. Joseph).  He called us back and informed us that they had forgotten to wire the money and it was now too late to get it to us in time for the closing.  Extreme panic.  It was Friday afternoon.  If we didn't close that day we would have to wait until Monday.  I was due any minute and we had two kids.  We were in a brand new town.  I know St. Joseph was interceding for us on that day because things worked out in the end.  We were able to get a fax of the check and do a dry close on the house.  As we were leaving the closing, I turned to my husband and said "We're naming this baby Joseph". (We knew he was a boy).  We hadn't talked about Joseph as a name but he said "Yes, I think that's appropriate".  Three days later, on June 23rd, I gave birth to Joseph Michael. 
Thank you St. Joseph for watching over us then and please continue to watch over and pray for your namesake.  

Thursday, March 17, 2011


We received a large envelope in the mail today and now my Darlin' is so excited.  She was accepted into the Spanish Immersion Charter School for Kindergarten.  (Writing this, I  feel like one of those parents from Nursery University).  Now it's time for me to learn Spanish so I can help her with her homework. 

Let's play a game!

Last night at dinner, Gregory sat down and said, "Let's play a game!  Ummmmmmm I know!  Who has the biggest butt?"  That's my Bubba.  (And just for the record, he thinks that his daddy has the biggest rear end.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Naturally dyed Easter eggs: An experiment

For the past couple years, my kids and I dyed Easter eggs the "normal" way.  We dropped a little pellet of dye into a cup of vinegar and used  the metal egg holder shaped like an old person's eyeglasses.  Rather than use the store bought kit this year, we decided to venture into the realm of natural egg dyes.  I researched a few ways to do it but also let the kids come up with their own ideas of what to use.  Maggie was set on grape juice.  She wanted a purple egg.  Gregory wanted to use blueberries.  We started the process just as you would with the dying kits: hard boil the eggs.

I prepared the "dyes" ahead of time so the munchkins wouldn't get impatient.  We tried six different concoctions; red wine, grape juice, turmeric, turmeric/grape juice, blueberries and coffee.  
Red Wine:  Add 3/4 cup red wine, 1/4 cup water and 2Tbsp vinegar
Grape Juice: 1/2 cup juice concentrate, 1/2 cup water, 2tbsp vinegar
Turmeric: 1 cup water, 3Tbsp turmeric, 2Tbsp vinegar.  Boil until turmeric dissolves.
Turmeric/Grape Juice: 1/4 cup juice concentrate, 3/4 cup water, 1Tbsp turmeric, 2Tbsp vinegar.  Boil until turmeric dissolves
Blueberries: 3/4 cup crushed blueberries, 1/2 cup water, 2Tbsp vinegar  Boil for 5 minutes. (I chose not to strain which resulted in darker spots on the egg)
Coffee: 1 cup strong coffee and 2Tbsp vinegar
Maggie and Gregory each took a white crayon and made some scribbles on two of the eggs.  Maggie chose to put her egg in the grape juice and Gregory chose the wine for his egg. 


We put one egg in each of the other colors and then waited.  Since the kids really wanted to see the progress, we checked them after five minutes.  The dyes with turmeric were the only ones that had turned even a little bit of color.  So, we set the timer for ten minutes and went and did some puzzles. 

  After fifteen minutes we had eggs with very muted colors.  The kids wanted darker eggs so we decided to keep them in there for even longer.  This time we set the timer for 45 minutes and at the end we couldn't believe just how nicely our eggs looked.

Clockwise from top left: Coffee, wine, turmeric, grape juice, blueberries, turmeric/grape juice.   

We had three eggs left so we mixed the blueberries with the turmeric.  We also added the wine to the turmeric/grape juice.  I drew a big "M" with white crayon on one of the eggs and plopped it in that concoction.  Maggie wanted another pink egg so we wrapped a rubber band around the last egg and put it back in the grape juice.  We left them alone for 45 minutes and once again had beautiful eggs.

Top eggs: Turmeric/blueberries, grape juice with rubber band, turmeric/grape juice/wine with crayon "M"

This experiment was extremely fun (I almost put EGGstrmely but thought better of it).  We have a bunch of very pretty eggs and with the way my kids eat hard boiled eggs, I think we just might have another try at it before Easter. (I hear red cabbage makes really cool eggs).  

And Joseph attacks. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Joseph 8 months
Gregory 13 months

Maggie 12 months
Joseph 8 1/2 months

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Religious Ponderings by Maggie

My lovely five-year-old has been contemplating the mysteries of her religion lately.  Here are her latest spiritual questions and comments. 

"Mom, Lent can't be a season. There are only four seasons; winter, spring, summer and fall. So, Lent must be a guy. Who is Saint Lent?"

"Do we die on the cross too or does just Jesus?"

"Jesus is also Jesus' father.  But how can that be? Woah! (giggles)  I've never heard of anyone who could be their own father before."

Now how is it that my five-year-old can't stop throwing tantrums but CAN sit and contemplate the incarnation and the trinity? 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sick babies

All three munchkins are down with the croup.  Two months ago when Joseph had croup we took a late night trip to the ER because his chest was contracting.  Let's hope this one doesn't turn into anything like that.  Poor Gregory has it the worst; runny nose, fever, cough.  We put the humidifier in his room last night and he woke up in a feverish haze and started screaming.  I went to see what was wrong.  He thought the humidifier was an evil genie.  Aah, the two and a half year old imagination.  He insisted the genie was now in his pillow.  I gave him a fresh pillow and he went back to sleep.  A few hours later, Maggie took a tumble out of her bed and knocked her cheek on her night stand.  She cried but didn't remember a thing the next morning.  When I asked her if she fell she said "No, but my teddy bear did.  Poor Teddy."  I'm hoping this passes quickly and that this is the end of the sicknesses this winter.