Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Annie Zone: More on those precious 9 months of expectancy...

The Annie Zone: More on those precious 9 months of expectancy...: "I started writing a bit about one of my favorite things yesterday...pregnancy. I love telling stories about the times I was expectin..."

More on those precious 9 months of expectancy...

I started writing a bit about one of my favorite things yesterday...pregnancy. 

I love telling stories about the times I was expecting a wee one--what fantastic memories! 

My children all seemed to love that time of incubation because most of them came late!  (Maybe that explains why they still tend to be late for everything!)  JohnPaul actually arrived right on my predicted due date!  And JP is the only one who is always ready to go out the door when he is supposed to.  He also had the decency to come at a convenient time...I had an OB/GYN visit in the afternoon that day.  Dr. G said I was slightly dilated (I was the previous week, too), so I didn't really expect much to happen.

On the drive home, the contractions started, and I began to think: hmmm, could this be it?  I had to pick my kids up from school soon after, so I stopped by the grocery store and got ground beef so I could make them hamburgers.  By the time I got the kids and was standing at the stovetop, forming patties, I was almost sure this was the real deal.

I called Mom and told her that I might need then I called John at work.  He got home around 5:00, Mom arrived soon afterwards, and we got all my stuff together.  We got to the hospital around 7:00-7:30, and he made his arrival at 8:30! 

No matter how many babies I had, when I got to the point of labor known as 'transition', I ALWAYS wondered why I had let myself get into this!  If you've been through transition, then you probably know just what I'm talking about.  If you've never had a baby, then let me tell you something about it.

Transition is the point of labor that takes every strand of strength a woman has to endure.  Not that she has a choice!  The contractions intensify in power as well as in frequency.  Just when a mom to be is about to throw in the towel, transition takes labor up a notch...or maybe a dozen notches.  I can remember begging, bargaining with  John, "I just want to take a break.  I need to sleep.  I wish I could just go home!"  My eyes would plead with him...'Mercy, mercy, me!'.  He'd stand there like a tower in a storm, and I knew if I held on, I'd make it to dry land eventually.

This is where it is valuable to have a good husband!  John was my strength when all mine was spent.  He would put his face right in mine, and urge me to persevere.  He would cheer me on: "Annie!  You can do this!" 

Regrettably, with my first labor, poor John's thumb was near my mouth at this point, and my teeth found it.  It wasn't that I meant to bite down!  It was all instinct!  Just a reflex!  Seriously.  In subsequent labors, I kept a washcloth nearby to bite down on!  :)

I carried all my babies the same way: like a basketball under my clothes!  So much for the thing about carrying boys and girls differently.  When I was expecting Maria, nothing was different, so I had no idea I was about to deliver a girl after having three boys.  I'll always treasure the moment I first saw my daughter: she was seashell pink, with the most delicate hands and feet!  Her hair looked like it was spun of fine gold thread. 

I hope you liked these musings...more to come later.


Friday, January 28, 2011

The Annie Zone: She's HERE!

The Annie Zone: She's HERE!: "Well, Therese is going to be one happy camper when she gets home from school today--her American Girl Doll arrived today!!! When we we..."

She's HERE!

Well, Therese is going to be one happy camper when she gets home from school today--her American Girl Doll arrived today!!!  When we were going to school this morning, she said a prayer that her doll would come today.  She asked me to, and I answered, 'You do realize that God might not have any influence over the postal service?!'

I got a lot of miscellaneous stuff done today--bills paid and mailed, banking, filled gas tank (ughh--I passed a place by where it cost $3.09, then when I finally stopped for gas, every place was $3.15!), got stuff to make lasagna for my Mom's birthday next Tuesday.  Also picked up supplies for Maria's school recipe assignment.

Back home and TIRED.  I hardly slept at all last night.  I had the worst post nasal drip that continually tickled my throat, forcing me to cough until tears were streaming down both cheeks.  This happened all through the night.

We're coming up on almost 2 straight months of continuous snow.  I don't remember a snowier winter...ever.  I am surprised to say this, but so far, it hasn't gotten to me.  I still enjoy it (except for when it impacts driving) and think it is awfully pretty.

I'm eating dill pickles.  I crave them every so often...and if you're thinking I'm pregnant...Hahahahaha!  I'm well into my 40's, so I'm pretty sure it is just that I like their taste.  They are a 'free' food, too, they don't have much in the way of calories, and no fat.

Maybe I'll write a series of posts on pregnancy.  I loved being pregnant.  There's nothing quite as special as when a baby moves inside the mommy and she can feel the little knees and feet pushing out against her tummy.  I used to love to 'grab' them, and they would recoil.  So cute!!  Oh, and when they get the hiccups, how sweet!  I could feel them 'hiccuping'!  The two things I didn't really appreciate were the nausea (mostly in the beginning months) and the hard time I had sleeping towards the end.  With Therese, I stayed sick to my stomach throughout the entire 9 months!  Whenever I saw something that was even a tiny bit disgusting or smelled 'off', I would be heaving.  Oh, that is horrible.  The only consolation was that nausea signals a high level of pregnancy hormones, meaning the chances of a miscarriage are much lower.

I remember being so hungry the last 3 months of my pregancy (again, with Therese), but I could only eat a teeny portion of food.  Otherwise I'd end up with the worst hearburn all night long.  When she was born, I weighed less than I did when the pregnancy started.  I actually LOST weight!  (I had been 120 at the start, went down to 115!.)

Oh, and the cravings!  When I was expecting Ian, I ate an entire box of ice cream sandwiches in ONE day!  Jacob was born one week to the day after Valentine's Day, and I baked John a chocolate cake as a Valentine surprise.  If he got one slice, he was lucky because I devoured most of it!

Oh well, look for more pregancy tales in my next bloggie...time to do something productive here!!  (Like, maybe take a nap!)


Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Annie Zone: Black coffee

The Annie Zone: Black coffee: "I like black coffee. When I was about 12 or 13, my cousin introduced me to coffee, explaining that it was only palatable if you added ..."

Black coffee

I like black coffee.  When I was about 12 or 13, my cousin introduced me to coffee, explaining that it was only palatable if you added the correct amount of sugar.  She proceeded to count out 13 teaspoonfuls of sugar and dump it in her cup!!  No wonder I took an immediate dislike for what tasted like a sip of poison.

What I'm saying here is, when you give me a cup of joe, DON'T add sugar!  Now, I can take a little cream or milk if it is from McDonald's...that brings it down to the boiling point.  But, at home, I take it simple.  Nothing added.  Just me and my brew.  It tastes extra good if I eat sugar alongside the coffee, however!  Say, in the form of a brownie, chocolate chip cookie, or some other bakery goodie!!  (Hahahah)

I had one of my typical nightmares last night.  I've been out of high school for decades, but these things leave me feeling off kilter for hours after waking!  I was preparing to start a new school day and I was running really late.  (I hate being late to anything.)  No matter how much I hurried, it didn't seem to matter.  On my way to school, I realized I had 5 min. till the late bell and would not make it.  I rummaged through my purse to look for my schedule because I couldn't remember where homeroom was.  What room number is it?  What floor?  Where's my locker?!  I was really close to panicking.

I finally got there.  I raced through the halls in frantic search of anything that would trigger which locker might be mine.  Which class did I have first period?  Or second?  Or third?  My mind was blank!  I thought about the assignments I had but didn't have done.  What about that test I forgot to study for?!!  AAAAAHHHH!

I woke up, and when I realized it had only been a dream, relief set in...I have other versions of this dream where I am in a play, it is opening night, and...I am aware that I forgot all my lines!!!

It is Thursday.  I like Thursdays almost as much as I like Fridays.  I don't make it to my writer's meetings anymore.  My schedule is different because of the college kids' classes, so it conflicts with the meeting.  I guess I have to admit that I don't really mind that much for now.  As much as I enjoy the meetings and being with my close friend, Jan, I don't really miss that running around.  I've grown weary of running all the time.  I crave being at home, and in charge of my own schedule.  Every day I have to work around everybody else, so it is kinda tough at times.

No one commented on the recipe yet...maybe no one cares?  Let me know!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Annie Zone: It's here! The 'Katy' video! very own "...

The Annie Zone: It's here! The 'Katy' video! very own "...: "I hope you all get a great big smile on your face when you see my doggie! She's so playful and sweet."

It's here! The 'Katy' video! very own "secret" chicken noodle soup recipe

I hope you all get a great big smile on your face when you see my doggie!  She's so playful and sweet.

Soooo, here is my long awaited recipe, btw, if my friends like it, I'll gladly share more of my own recipes on here, drop me a comment, okay?  I started cooking as a teenager, wasn't very good at that time, but now that I've been married for more than 2 decades, I've honed my culinary skills considerably!

Annie's Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup

leftover bones from whole chicken
3 or 4 whole celery stalks
1 medium onion
chicken bouillion
3 or 4 peeled carrots
onion powder
garlic powder
4 medium potatoes, cubed
16 oz. fine noodles

Trim remaining meat from bones and save for later.  Place bones into large stock pot, fill with water to about the 3/4 mark.  Add chicken bouillion accordingly (1 tsp. per cup of water).    Cut the onion into quarters and add.  Add carrots and celery.  Add 1/8 tsp. pepper, 1 tsp. parsley, 1 tsp. onion powder, and 1/2 tsp. garlic powder.

Bring to boil, then simmer covered for 4 hours.  (Can be cooked in less time, but the longer simmers, the more flavorful it will be.)

Strain the liquid into another pot.  (Add water if a large amount has boiled away.) Discard bones and onions. When carrots and celery cool, chop finely and add to broth.  Add the reserved chicken (cut into bite sized pieces) and add potatoes and noodles. Simmer for 20 minutes.

The best part: BURNING YOUR TONGUE!!!!!

Hahahahahah!!!  Sometimes I make dumplings.  I don't make them from scratch because Bisquick dumplings are so light and tasty and easy that I can save time!  Just follow the simple recipe on the box!

Hope you like it, try this out and write back.  I'd like to know how many of you enjoyed it. 


The Annie Zone: New Katy video Coming Soon to a blog near you!

The Annie Zone: New Katy video Coming Soon to a blog near you!: "I took my camera with me when Katy and I were out this morning...caught a little candid video of her sniffing tracks in the snow. I'll..."

New Katy video Coming Soon to a blog near you!

I took my camera with me when Katy and I were out this morning...caught a little candid video of her sniffing tracks in the snow.  I'll post it later today--be on the lookout for it.

My schedule is a leetle beet irritating.  I took Therese to school at 9:00, came home, walked with Katy, said my rosary, washed dishes, and did some laundry.  In a few minutes I have to take Ian and Jake to school, then I have about 90 min. till I have to pick them up again.  I could drive back  home, but it would be almost pointless.  But, I don't like having to find something to do with that time....I feel like it is a complete waste.  I can't even do errands or pick up groceries because I'm broke till payday. 

After I pick them up, I have time to start cooking my dinner (roast), and a few minutes to vacuum and straighten up the house.  Then I have to take Ian to work.  After that, I have to be back in town to get Therese from school.  SOOOO frustrating.  It is very hard to get anything done.  I really need to clean the bathroom, but I think it will have to be a quick spray down and wipe off kind of thing today. 

NO WONDER I'm tired.
Our yard is a bird's paradise.  I saw a woodpecker today!  We have a male cardinal and a bluejay living back there, too.  I've seen them a lot lately.  The little sparrows seem to hang out in a cluster of small trees next door, so I took them some bread today.  Yesterday they were treated to peanut butter toast because Therese didn't finish her breakfast.  They really devoured that (although Katy kept trying to sneak some for herself!).

When I post the video, I'll put a delicious and easy recipe for chicken noodle soup on here for you all to try!  My kids scarf it up!  (That's what I made yesterday.)


Monday, January 24, 2011

The Annie Zone: Mem--or--eeeeeeees

The Annie Zone: Mem--or--eeeeeeees: "Conversations with my kids today about my childhood have prompted me to start 'jotting' down some of my memories--oh, what good times!! The..."


Metal Jacks & Ball SetConversations with my kids today about my childhood have prompted me to start 'jotting' down some of my memories--oh, what good times!!

They're on a 2 hr. delay because of bitter January temps...

Back when I was a kid...

Unless the weather was unbearably cold, I was almost always OUTSIDE!  I remember on summer mornings, as soon as I rolled out of bed, I'd wolf down a slice of toast, banana,  and gulp of Tang, throw on some play clothes and be out the door!  I didn't have to call my friends and invite them over.  There were a dozen other kids from various neighborhood families that were available.

What could we possibly do all day until the late summer sunset?  We actually used our imaginations!  Some of my memories:

  • My eldest brother was kind of the neighborhood leader.  He created a club called 'INK'.  I forget what the letters stood for, but we were investigators/detectives.  We held meetings on our front porch, and would investigate crimes.   I actually don't remember any specific crimes being committed...LOL
  • We held circuses and charged 10 cents admittance.  Our audience consisted of the other kids in the neighborhood.  We would spend a few hours setting up trapezes, animal acts, etc, practice, then round up other kids to watch.  Hardly ever did we follow thru with charging a fee because they couldn't come up with a measly dime!  I don't know that we actually ever made a cent off those circuses.
  • We played a game my brother made up called 'Boot Camp'.  He was the D.I. and the rest of us were his poor victims.  I always wound up with grass stains and bruises...:)
  • When we had the good fortune of a visit from my Uncle Jim, we almost always got a shiny quarter!  That meant a walk to Lawson's, a little convenience store that was about a half mile from my home.  A candy bar at the time was 20 cents, but I usually didn't want most of my money to go to one item.  I'd buy a handful of the non-chocolates so I could get more bang for my buck.
  • The candy I remember buying were Dum Dum lollipops, Bottle Caps, Bazooka bubble gum, Smarties, Fruit Stripe Gum, Milk Duds, Now And Later, Sugar Daddy, and Chicklets.  These things cost anywhere from 2 cents to 10 cents.
  • We played the usual kid  things, too--kickball, catch, jump rope, Jacks, hide and seek, follow the leader, Simon says, and tag.
  • We had a small seesaw that we'd play on for hours, as well as rocking horses, and a small wading pool.  (The pool was my favorite thing.)
  • If we walked around the corner and over one block, there was a playground near the Jewish synagogue.  We spent a great deal of time there, swinging, sliding, and playing on the merry go round.  When I was a little older, I got my first skateboard and the city put in a paved skating trail.  I used to love to take my skateboard there and zoom around.
  • We lived fairly close to the big, beautiful Buhl Park.  I remember walking to the park and laying on the dock by the casino, looking for toads with my little brother.  It had tons of swing sets to play on (heavy wooden swings at the time), and lots of woodsy areas to explore.
  • In the fall, we would spend hours making the most humongous leafpiles imaginable! 
  • Rain didn't put a damper on the fun: almost everyone had roomy porches to sit on!  We would tell ghost stories or have drawing contests.
  • Other random fun was 'staring contests', arm wrestling, and Barbies (girls only).
  • My mom didn't tolerate us bringing kids inside.  I only recall one time that the kids came in the house: it was storming outside, so she called us in and made us all bologna sandwiches!  Yummy.
  • We used to set traps to catch birds.  We never caught one. 
  • We put on homemade plays.  Our audience was usually my mom or some of the other kids.
So, who needed computers or smartphones?  We had things to keep us busy and happy all day long!  I remember being called by Mom for lunch or dinner, and feeling put out that our fun was interrupted.  I didn't even like to take bathroom breaks!  When bedtime came, I would protest, 'AW, MOM!!  We just started playing!'  (Even though we'd been outside for 12 hours.)


  • Wonka Bottle Caps, 1.77-Ounce Tubes (Pack of 48)
  • Sunday, January 23, 2011

    The Annie Zone: Beauty tips and money savers

    The Annie Zone: Beauty tips and money savers: "Did you know that hair conditioner can be used to shave your legs? To keep legs silky soft, apply about a quarter sized dollop of cond..."

    Beauty tips and money savers

    Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick Pearl, Peach Me 628, 0.15 Ounce (Pack of 2)
    • Did you know that hair conditioner can be used to shave your legs?  To keep legs silky soft, apply about a quarter sized dollop of conditioner to each leg, then shave as you normally would.  This is especially helpful in the winter months in keeping your skin moisturized.  For the past decade, my skin gets unbearably itchy in the winter, and this (along with constant moisturizing) helps keep it comfortable.
    • Another hair conditioner tip--to save time, apply conditioner along with shampoo, working both products into the hair at the same time.  It works just as well, and takes half as much time!
    • Wanna smell yummy?  Spritz yourself with vanilla or sugar cookie scented body spray.  I wear Vanilla/ brownsugar spray and get lots of compliments.  It is fresh and not overpowering like heavy perfumes.  (I love Body Fantasies Vanilla!)

      Vanilla Fantasy 8 oz Body Spray
    • Scour your dollar stores and other bargain outlets for outrageous buys.  We have a 'Big Lots' where I've found some great deals.  You can often find Revlon or L'Oreal lipsticks in these places, for $1.00!  The colors will be limited, but I've found some really nice shades.  If it turns out that you don't like it once you get home, you only spent one dollar!  Now, if you do not care for it, don't throw it out!!  Here's why--say the shade is a dark red or plum.  You can take a lipstick brush and apply it very lightly, then take a paler shade and blend it.  You can create your own shades this way.  Blending more than one color often looks nicer and more natural than a solid shade anyway!  ;)  You can also mix a little with a light moisturizer and use it as a creamy blush.
    • Oatmeal makes a great facial mask.  Apply a layer of cooked oatmeal to your face (instant is fine), and leave it on for 15 min.  Afterwards, rinse and pat dry.  Your face will feel revitalized!!
    • Sometimes (Shocker!!)the cheaper, no frills cosmetics work pretty well.  The packaging isn't as fancy, and maybe the quality isn't as good as the name brands, but try them out, you  might be surprised!  I like to use facial bronzing powder (especially in summer), and the cheap brands work just as well as the pricey ones.  For the most part, in comparing cheapie lip or eye liners (sometimes as cheap as $1.00), I really see no difference in performance.  They seem very comparable to the more pricey brands.
    To save money on all kinds of things:

    1. Buy fruit and veggies in season.  As much as I love strawberries (they are my favorite fruit), buying them now is an extravagance.  (Saw them today at$5.99 a qt.)  Wait a few more months, and they'll be 3 qts. for $5!!  Apples and citrus fruits are good choices in January.
    2. Limit your convenience food purchases.  They are a huge rip off.  If you like single serving packages, buy a large bag and divide it up into zip-lock sandwich bags. 
    3. Pay attention to the price per serving!  When I buy a product, I always read the little label on the shelf that says how many cents per serving it is.  Sometimes I'll see a box of cereal on sale for $2.50, and I'll grab it.  After I check the cents per serving, I often return it to the shelf or exchange it for the store brand.  If the box only holds 9 oz. of cereal, it could very well be much pricier than the store brand box that hold 15 oz. and is $3.00.  (Sometimes the boxes look the same in dimension, but they don't hold she same amount of cereal.)
    4. When buying meat, ground turkey (the leanest possible) is a healthier choice than beef and tastes just as good in sloppy joes and spaghetti sauce.  If purchasing beef, buy only  ultra lean (90% lean or better).  When frying as hamburgers, add a small amount of water and olive oil to the pan to help keep meat moist.  These lean meats are more expensive, but this is one place a person shouldn't skimp.
    5. In buying clothing, don't be timid about walking into your neighborhood Goodwill.  I have found some great buys in my local GW!  I've found blue jeans, designer purses, casual suits, and kids' clothes at 'next to nothing' prices.  My GW has half price weekend once a month, and I can make out like a bandit!  A plus for moms is that in buying jeans at $1.99 a pair, if the kids grow out of them quickly, you didn't spend an arm and a leg!

    And now, about those eyebrows!!!!

    Here's what you'll need:

    eyebrow brush
    small scissor (cuticle work fine)
    eyebrow pencil near the natural shade of your brows

    Here's how to shape them:

    Spray your eyebrow brush with hairspray, then brush your eyebrows upward.  After they dry (a few seconds), take the pencil and hold next to your nose.  It should be vertical and touching the side of your nose.
    This is where your eyebrow should begin.  Take the pencil and draw a small dot at that point.
    Now, hold the pencil next to your nose again, and move the top slowly to the side until it is at an angle and is at the outer corner of your iris (the colored part of your eye).  This is where your arch should be.  Draw a dot at this point.
    Last part: Hold the pencil vertically next to your nose.  Again, slowly move the top of the pencil to the side until the tip is lined up with the outermost part of your eye.  (Where crows feet would be.)  This is where your brows will end.  Draw a dot at this point.  You will now have three dots.

    Ok, tweeze stray hairs that are outside the two outer dots.  For areas within the dots, brush eyebrow upward again, and while holding it up with brush, trim any long hairs that stick out at the top with your scissors.
    *I'm not big on using pencils to fill in brows.  I use them, but I prefer to use eyeshadow or a eyebrow shadow.  These items can be applied with a very stiff eyeliner brush.  Follow the shape and arch of the brow, and using 'feathering' strokes, fill in the brow.  It looks much nicer than 'drawing' in with a pencil.

    VOILA!  You have your 'PIN-UP' eyebrows now!!


    Feeling it

    Troy Polamalu Jersey: Reebok Black Replica #43 Pittsburgh Steelers Jersey - LargeNow that it is post church/dinner I'm feeling that 4:00 wake up call.  My head is a little achey and I'm so sleepy.  Yawwwwwn.

    We sang two of my favorite hymns at Mass, which was nice, but I had to blink back tears.  A lady that lived not far from here shot her child and mother before she killed herself.  I didn't know them, but my friend did.  The boy was in 7th grade (different school), the same age as my JohnPaul. 

    I looked at my beautiful and beloved son(at church), and felt this awful heaviness inside over this.  I don't know why she did this.  It seems impossible to understand.  The boy was asleep one moment, then...well......

    Changing the subject...before I get too emotional...

    I ate too much.  I had rotisserie chicken with salad for dinner.  It was really tasty.  I'll save the remains and make a large pot of homemade soup tomorrow.  I wish I had remembered to buy celery!!  Darn.  I have celery seed in a spice shaker, but it isn't nearly as good as the real deal. 

    On the bright side, now that my head aches, I no longer feel like my side hurts.  :)

    At least half the population of my town is dressed in Steelers attire.  We saw plenty of black and gold in church, then when we stopped at D'Onofrio's for a few items, it was everywhere.  Even the cashiers were wearing Steelers jerseys.  I'm wearing a burgundy oxford shirt.  Tell me what that says about me...

    I want so desperately to nap, but I can't.  We haven't been to my parents house to visit for a long time, so we need to do that.  I hate that our weekends get so busy.  I don't want that to interfere with that most important thing: family time.  So, shortly, we will be on our way to pay them a visit.

    Time to get out the toothpicks and prop open my eyes!! 


    The Annie Zone: 4:00 a.m.

    The Annie Zone: 4:00 a.m.: "So, I've been awake since 4:00 a.m. For some reason, my side hurts, and I could not get comfortable. I finally gave up, got out ..."

    4:00 a.m.

    So, I've been awake since 4:00 a.m.  For some reason, my side hurts, and I could not get comfortable.  I finally gave up, got out of bed, and fed Tuesday and Simba.

    Speaking of Simba, a few days ago, his face was horribly swollen.  He looked like he had a major case of the mumps.  (Do cats get the mumps?)  I figured he must have had an injury because he is a little scrapper.  He always comes home with little scrapes and scratches, and even bald patches from time to time.

    Yesterday I noticed his cheek area was rather infected looking/bloody, so I took some blessed salt, warm water, and a cotton ball, and cleansed it.  Today it looks less swollen, but is rather a mess.  Poor little boy.

    He only has one hind leg.  This cat is a seller for the '9 lives' thing.  When his mom (our other cat, Tuesday) gave birth to her one and only litter, she had six kittens.  Simba was the last one born.  The other ones were all shades of gray or black, but he was orange.  By the time he emerged, Tuesday completely ignored him.  I think she was plain worn out.  I always wanted to be a midwife, so I knew what to do!

    I noticed (after giving Tuesday about 10 min. to take care of this--she didn't) that Simba was trying to take his first breath.  He could not because he was still encased in the membranes.  I cleared the membrane from his face, and swabbed his nose and mouth.  He was struggling with all his might to breathe, but with all the effort, he was failing.  He was not doing well at all.  I gently picked up the mouse-- sized kitten and placed him right in front of Tuesday's face, and worked with her to help her notice him.  She was still so worn out.

    Finally, he took a good breath, and began to cry.  As he grew stronger, he had to fight the other kittens for his mom's milk, they all pushed him away and he was not as powerful as they were.  Over the course of the next weeks, I can't tell you how many times I had to move the other kitties and position him right onto one of her teats.  That was the only way Simba could get nourishment.  The other kits would protest, but they were being little hogs.  :)

    One kitten died, and we found homes for the remaining four.  We kept Simba...

    When he was five months old, he was struck by a car right in front of our house.  We saw the whole thing because we were outside and he ran right out in front of the vehicle.  We rushed him over the Ohio border to an animal hospital, where they recommended pain meds and a visit to his own vet in the morning.

    It turned out that he had such a badly shattered leg that we had to have it amputated.  The vet told me (as I stood sobbing for the poor little guy) that I shouldn't feel bad.  He guaranteed that Simba 'couldn't count' and he'd be just fine.

    The day after his surgery, he came home, looking a bit like the Frankenstein monster.  His flank was shaved, and he had this enormous stitched up slice all the way across his tiny body.  But, guess what?!  He adapted so fast, I couldn't believe it!  That very day, he was already running around and trying to jump.  Amazing.

    And, the little guy has only one testicle.  Funny, huh?  The other one is there probably there somewhere, but it is not where it is supposed to be!  The vet could do surgery on that, too, but I think we'll let him be just the way he is.  He's had enough trauma to take way several of those 9 lives.

    I'm so glad we have our little Sim.  He has the loudest purring motor you have ever heard, I guarantee it.  You can hear him across the room!  Ever since the leg was taken, he doesn't realize it is gone.  He tries to scratch with the phantom leg, and he gets into that classic 'cat' scratching position.  The little stump twitches as he strains to reach his head.  He still has not learned that 'it ain't gonna work'!!!

    Eventually, he'll find a willing hand nearby to scratch his itch.  If not, he isn't too proud to scratch it on the nearest piece of furniture.

    Well, my side still hurts.  Hugsxxx Annie

    Saturday, January 22, 2011


    We're about to start our evening rosary.  Maria is watching movies at Nate's, Ian is at work, and Jacob is playing D&D at Michael's apartment.  So, it looks like it will just be me, John, and the three remaining members of the Good Ship Elliott.

    We try to pray the rosary on the weekends as a family.  Sometimes it turns out like this, but we're doing the best we can.

    I got some Amish bread today on our way back from New Castle.  It is available at The Apple Castle, and I just had 2 slices of raisin bread with Jif on it.  Sometimes the simplest foods are the most satisfying.

    We went to Ollie's and Therese didn't see any decent toys.  That store is odd, has a lot of junky stuff, but a few hidden treaures.  I got Goldfish Crackers at $1.50 a pkg., and Valentine cards for Therese for $.49!  She got 2 boxes, one for the girls and one for the boys.

    She and I went to the American Girl Website.  She has decided that she truly should use her savings to get herself an American Girl doll.  She picked one out that was customized to look like her!  We ordered it and it is supposed to arrive in 6 to 9 days.  She is flitting all around like a little firefly, lighting up the whole house!

    Okay, I broke down and let the vagabond cat inside.  She is not one of our pets (Katy, Simba, and Tuesday); but rather, a street urchin that begs food and water from us on a daily basis.  I felt sorry for her because it was bitter outside, so she gladly took me up on the offer for a warm room for a night.  :)  She has glossy black fur with white highlights.  She sneaks in her periodically because the kids aren't paying attention when they open the door.  One time I found her sleeping in the hamper on top of the dirty clothes.  LOL.


    Back in my toasty home

    Here we are, back home again!  The kids are all finished with their SAT's, we are filled to the gills (went to Wendy's), the furnace is 'fired up', so we're toasty warm, and I don't have to go anywhere right now, so I'm happy. 

    MORE beauty tips, continued...

    1.) Lemon juice is wonderful for the skin.  Put a little water on a cotton ball, squeeze some lemon juice (fresh or from the little plastic lemon from the grocery store), and apply it to your skin.  It clarifies and is like a mini chemical peel.  If you want, you can make a facial scrub by adding the lemon juice/water to a 1/2 tsp. of sugar.  Gently scrub your face/neck with this, and rinse well.  It is invigorating!

    2.) When bathing, why use expensive bath salts, when you can add baking soda?  It is great for your skin, and salt has healing properties.  You can also use a small amount with bath gel on a sponge to exfoliate skin.

    3.) I like to sprinkle sparkly 'dust' in my hair.  Walmart used to carry something called 'Shimmerpot' that was 88 cents!  I haven't been able to find it lately, but Bonne Bell has something similar in a compact for a couple of dollars.  I take a big powder brush and sweep the sprinkles all over the surface of my hair.  When the light catches it, it sparkles.  I also use it to highlight my cheekbones (which need some serious highlighting) and my nose.

    4.) Never underestimate the power of a well shaped eyebrow.  Ever since I was a child, I've always loved the makeup look of the pinup era.  Notice the gals from the 40's and 50's--they all have beautiful eyebrows.  I'll post a 'how-to' soon on how to shape your eyebrows.  Eyebrows can make a huge impact!

    5.) Last hint for now:  Smile!  The prettiest women I know are not the ones with perfect features.  They are the ones who love life and like to smile.  The glow of joy is radiant!  I LOVE to smile.  I get complimented quite often on my smile! 



    A large portion of my time these past few years has been spent--waiting.  We plan on doing some shopping in New Castle, but Maria is still going thru her teenaged beauty routine.  She's perfectly lovely without all that fuss, but I can't come down too hard on her.  Afterall, I'm female, too, and I have my own little routine.

    So, with that, here are a few of my favorite beauty tips:

    1.) You don't have to use high end cosmetics all the time.  A few items will suffice.  I have a teeny tiny budget, so I'm a bargain hunter!

    2.)Let your hair do what it does naturally.  My hair is baby fine, so it doesn't like to cooperate with certain styles.  It also has a natural wave to it, so sometimes it's good to scrunch it while it dries and let it take its natural state.  A few flips of a curling iron at the roots gives it some lift. 

    3.) I never use those little spongy applicators that come with eye shadow.  In fact, I don't care a lot for eye shadow.  In my family tree, we have Swedish eyes (thanks to my great grandmother) and that means we have very prominent eyelids.  Eyeshadow tends to exacerbate this trait!  I use an eyeshadow brush (E.L.F.) sells them for $1.00!  They're natural bristles, too, and a wooden handle.  Shake well after dipping generously in the light, earthy shades before applying.  Sweep over entire lid from inner corner to outer, up to brow.

    She's ready!  More tips and favorites later...xxxAnnie

    First Post! :)

    There's a DS game called 'Cooking Mama' that JohnPaul owns...this morning, I am playing the 'Kicking' Mama game.  Every couple of minutes, Maria stretches out and kicks me in the kidneys...yes, folks, my kids do own beds!  And yet, most mornings, I find my full size sofa and my loveseat inhabited by slumbering children of all sizes. 

    I am trying to sit on the end of my couch and sip coffee, but 'somebody's' feet think I am a football.  I bruise easily, boo hoo.

    For 22 years I have kept a journal.  I have dozens of notebooks and various other types of diaries in my bedroom, but now I have finally (!) realized that I can do all this online without having to clutter things up!!!!!!!

    Yes, I'm behind the times. 

    Tony and Miranda are at Neshannock High School today, taking the SAT's.  Tony has been conditionally accepted at Edinboro U; he got the letter this week.  I would prefer that he get a couple of years of study in at Penn State Shenango.  He'd save a heckuvalot of money by commuting.  And you can't beat the quality of education there.  It is superb.

    It is 3 degrees outside.  BUT, on the postitive side--the sun is actually visible!  Yes, folks, the sun is still there.  Amazing.  Winter in PA teaches one to be patient--I estimate that one out of every 14 days, the sun makes an appearance.  I think perhaps, that might be why we embrace Spring with such overflowing exuberance!!

    Okay, this blog will serve multiple purposes...

    I plan on writing thoughts and meditations on my Catholic faith and God.
    I will write a LOT about my family...cuz they are my life!
    I will post some poetry, song lyrics, short stories, etc., cuz I am a writer.
    I might throw in some other crazy stuff...who knows?!

    I hope my friends 'follow' me.  Maybe I'll inspire somebody.

    I'll eventually start posting videos and photos, too.

    Gotta get the hang of this thing first....Hugs xxx Annie