Monday, April 21, 2014

9 days ~

We are in the single digits!! 9 days!

Once I knew this trip was actually going to take place, I knew I wanted to learn a few words of Italian. I know I won't be fluent of course but it will be so much fun to try to carry on a short conversation with people in their native language!! I've downloaded a few apps to my phone and I've also invested in a cd collection of Italian language as well. I 'listen and repeat' as often as possible. The Italian language sounds so...luxurious doesn't it? Right now I'm thinking the Italian language sounds so.... hard to  learn! After 6 months of practicing every chance I get, I can now say "I want some wine" which I understand is an absolute must have phrase in Italy. 


                    . 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easter Egg Hunt



I’m all in favor of Easter egg hunts where robins are shaking off the last bit of winter and little ones eagerly await the gathering of those colorful plastic eggs with a miniature surprise inside. But let’s be very clear on something; just because the calendar says its spring time, does not mean one can show up at the local Easter egg hunt in a sun dress and flip flops. Have you any idea what the weather is like in Nebraska in April? But no-sir-eee, a mere 30 mile an hour wind and runny noses aren’t keeping us from trekking out in the cold.


We’d decided to just stay in the car for a few minutes before subjecting ourselves to the cold temperatures. After all, we could SEE the starting line so we easily jump out and sprint if need be. But a 5 year old who knows that the egg hunt starts at 1:00 and sees that the clock now says 12:51 was having no part of staying in the car one second more! So…we don our winter parkas, our Nebraska stocking caps and brave the outdoors. After sitting in the cold wind for nearly two minutes the 3 year old says, “This is taking forever!” 

Of course I’d left the house this morning without a coat (what’s new?) so I was extremely glad when I remembered my ‘survival bag’ in my trunk which contains a double layer winter coat! Note to self: add a stocking cap to survival bag. 

Dear daughter hadn’t brought a coat either so she ran back to the car to get a blanket to wrap around herself. Initially she was concerned about looking silly but that thought lasted a mere second once the cold set in. Upon seeing a blanket, the three year old became his mommy’s best buddy as he cuddled up close for extra warmth.

Standing next to us was a grandpa who went to wipe his dear granddaughter’s nose at which point the kleenex blew out of his pocket. Darling little granddaughter tries chasing it down, grandpa chases after granddaughter and he runs her over trying to get said kleenex, which results in little girl crashing on the sidewalk. All the while the grandpa is rushing her back to the starting line so she doesn’t miss out on a precious piece of chocolate candy. The tears in her eyes were a sure sign she was not having too much fun right about then.

Meanwhile my own grown daughter is laughing at the entire situation! I swear, I do not know where they get that! Both my girls think it’s hilarious when people fall down and crash! (In all fairness, I think they get it from their father.)

It’s almost start time. “When you hear that whistle, you GO GO GO we tell two preschool boys.  “Oh, and don’t take candy from the really little kids,” my daughter adds.  The whistle sounds…. The hunt is on! The 5 year old is on a mad run across the grass shoveling in as many eggs as his little pink fingers will allow. The 3 year old picks up about ten eggs and proceeds to say that he is done; he doesn’t want any more eggs. It’s classic to say the least. 
On your mark...Get set.... GO!
 

In a blink it was over. This is one event you definitely want to be on time for. My daughter looked at her watch and laughed. It took two minutes. The things we’ll do for chocolate! 



Monday, April 14, 2014

National Library Week - April 13-19 2014

Librarians have a  powerful and  positive impact on parents, writers, students and readers every single day
National Library Week is the perfect time to visit your community's library and be a part of the wonderful environment of books. 


Take a group of FRIENDS  to the library to check out the newest mystery authors.

Take your Grandchildren to the picture book section and check out the book "Tuesday". Every child's imagination tells the story differently.

Celebrate by curling up on the floor with your favorite book. 

Attend  children's story hour and interact with the puppets as you listen to Peter Rabbit scurry through Mr. McGregor's garden.

 Surprise someone with a wonderful book of poetry. Shel Silverstein will definitely make you smile.




*********************************************

A library is like an island in the middle of a vast sea of ignorance, particularly if the library is very tall and the surrounding area has been flooded.”
Lemony Snicket, Horseradish





Saturday, April 12, 2014

Count down

18 days

Having never traveled internationally, I'm doing a fair share of research on-line about the dos and don't of travel in Italy. Some of the things I'm finding are interesting to say the least. I'm anxious to see how many things I've read turn out to be true in our own travel experience.

 Tip #1 ~ Don't sit down in an Italian cafe. No, really don't. Why? Because as soon as you sit down rather than stand at the bar, the price of whatever you eat or drink will double.

Tip #2 ~ Touching the produce, such as fruits and vegetables, is considered very rude in Italy. The shopper must never handle the produce unless given permission by the shop owner. Most people visiting Italy find this out the hard way. 

I'm looking forward to shopping at the outdoor street markets for lunch time picnics or creating meals for ourselves while we're there.
I just hope we remember to ask for help before picking up a piece of produce to test it's freshness. If not, I may have a story to tell later. :)
And after walking around all day long, I will gladly pay whatever it takes to sit at a table to eat my meal. :)


** I didn't know ..... Italy is only slightly larger than the state of Arizona**

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Count Down

The count down has officially begun!!!

I've always been fascinated by other cultures - the history, the foods, the people, every aspect of it.
In 24 days our two daughters, my sister and I will be on our way to Italy. Yes Italy!! I can barely believe it. I'm incredibly excited to absorb the sounds and smells and visuals of our first city, Venice. I've researched the city, I've read blogs, I've followed forums, I've asked questions and I've seen pictures of the scenery but when I find myself standing along the canals of a city built on the water..... it will be difficult to find the words to describe it. 


Throughout the 'planning' process there have been many laughs from the messages sent back and forth between the four of us. My youngest daughter, J, is nervous. Actually, there for a while I didn't think she was going to go with us on this trip. She is very anxious about leaving the United States and initially she said she just couldn't bring herself to do it. But she's going and I'm so glad she is. One this is for sure, she won't be wandering off on her own, she'll be clinging tightly to one of us at all times. 
 
We've rented apartments in each city which is also a topic of discussion for daughters, J and K. "Haven't you seen the movie Taken?" they asked??????!!!!???  Oh goodness, it's going to be interesting. :)


*****Things to know about Italy*****
In public restrooms, toilet paper is a rarity, so always keep a travel pack of Kleenex in your purse! 


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Fair Warning - This Will Be A RANT

I wrote this post a few weeks ago and didn't get it posted to my blog until now. After this evening I thought it was the perfect time. 
 

As we visited the children’s museum the other day I could not help but notice all the people on their cell phones! The vast majority of them were texting.There were SO many parents who had young children there playing and yet the parents were on their phones! There was very little interaction with the children. Yes, I realize it's a museum designed for children but there are so many great opportunities for fun and teaching and imagination moments in this museum. How sad that so many of the parents missed out on those special moments with their kids. 


During that same weekend we attended several basketball games. At half time of one game I went to the bathroom and upon returning I looked down on the crowd as I was walking back to my seat and again couldn’t help but notice all the people hunched over their phones! Heads down, fingers texting an obviously extrememly important message. **insert sarcasm here**


Today, after church, we went out for lunch and sat across from a table consisting of mom, teenage daughter and young son, maybe twelve years old. There was no interaction. I mean NO interaction. Each person at that table had their own phone and each was enthralled with the phone and not the people at the table. At one point I heard talking and thought they had finally begun a conversation but when I looked, the mom was talking to someone on her phone! So there they were – mom talking to someone on her phone, sitting across from her daughter and next to her son and yet no one was talking to each other! Literally. What in the world is happening to the ability to just talk to people? We're losing the basic art of conversation. Not to mention the basic art of family time.


After my grandson's soccer game tonight we stopped by the playground for a few minutes before heading to the car. There was a little girl, approximately 5 years old, going down the slide head first and on her back. At the bottom of the slide she couldn't get herself turned around so she was 'holding up traffic' as the other kids came down. The adult that was with her (I later found out it was her mother), was hollering at her to get off because there were kids coming down. The little girl was doing her best but needed some help. The adult said she couldn't help her much because she only had one arm to help with. Her arm that was "unable" to help her CHILD was holding a Cell Phone! Yep!  When the adult said she only had one arm to help the little girl hollered, "Then put down your stupid phone!" Mom answered, "No. You get to play so I'm playing. You're at the playground and this is my playground.", as she proceeded to continue to text. Myself, my daughter, grandsons along with a few other people at the playground were very close by, obviously close enough to hear this entire conversation. Sadly, this didn't concern this mother one bit. Grrrrr. Now seriously, who in the world could she have been texting that was more important than spending a few minutes of playtime with her own daughter???

I realize that people use their phones to communicate with family/work/friends but it has become much more than that. People have their cell phones attached to their ears or have their eyes glued to the screen afraid they may miss a text. Is it really worth it? If it’s not a true emergency do you really need to answer your phone? Let them leave a message. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to enjoy the moment you’re in when your eyes are on the phone, waiting for someone to call or text you.  

I remember the day I dropped my phone in the toilet. True story. I panicked. I had no way to communicate with the outside world! Oh gosh, was the phone store open today? Surely it was! I would call to see what their hours are but wait....I have no phone! I’m completely shut off from civilization! I jump in my car and drive the 30 miles to get a new phone. Please let the store be open… please let the store by open. As I pull up to the store I see an “Open” sign and a weight is lifted off my chest. I can breathe easier now. I’ll have a new phone soon. This new phone will clearly make my life better. I can post directly to facebook now right? I can tell the world that I’m eating ice cream at the Life Is Good cafe as I’m sitting on the red chair facing the window. I can answer any question that comes to mind by googling it instantly. Need the definition of a word? Just a minute, I'll google it. I will become infinitely smarter. I will now be a true member of the elite smart phone family.


When did I realize there was a problem?


Maybe it was when I began taking my phone to the bathroom with me because I might miss a call while I was pottying. 

Maybe it was when I found my husband had fallen asleep while checking emails; the phone clenched tightly in his hand, him snoring.

Perhaps it was when I find myself thinking I heard the sound of a text coming through and I rush to the kitchen to see who sent it. 

Or maybe it was when I went to town and actually forgot to take my phone and I felt a bit of a panic come over me. I even thought about turning around and getting my phone just in case I needed it. 

Or when I wake up in the morning and immediately check my phone to see who posted what on facebook; in the middle of the night.

Or when I was stopped at a red light and checked to see if I’d gotten a text since I left the store five minutes ago. 

Or when I’m reading the news on my computer and have my phone right beside me in case it rings.

And then -- when I realized I was checking my phone before reading my Bible.

This imaginary fallacy that this little box will change my life. How is it helping me be a better person? A better wife? A better mom? A better grandma?  To create a deeper love for Christ?

 As handy as it is to text my kids, I want to actually hear their voices. I love their voices. I enjoy talking to them.

Communication, verbal eye to eye human communication is becoming a lost art. One which I hope we can all try to practice more; especially with our families. 


*******Thought for the day ********

The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.
Joseph Priestley

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Spring time in Nebraska - gotta love it!

























24 degrees and snowing = soup!  At our house soup is welcomed anytime but especially today. And my favorite kind of soup is when I rummage through the fridge and freezer to see what I can find and throw it all in a pot.

I started with some chicken stock, chopped up half an onion, two carrots, a potato, a bit of broccoli left over in the fridge, and a garlic clove. Behind the ice cream I found a little bit of frozen chicken (which I had completely forgotten about), corn, peas and a few herbs from last year's garden (parsley, rosemary, thyme, and basil). ** If you're old, you might be thinking of Simon and Garfunkel right now**

 Within 15 minutes I had a hearty pot of soup on the stove. As I'm stirring up this colorful pot of deliciousness there seemed to be something missing..... tomatoes!!! Thankfully we still have plenty of our canned tomatoes so I dumped a jar in. "Dumped" is a very technical culinary term you know. :)