Loss and Recovery

by Lorri on April 15, 2014 · 0 comments

in All About Me

Seven years later and I think I can talk about this.

One of my very first blog posts was about my favorite bookmark.  I’d had it since I was a little girl.  It was always in my favorite book of the moment.  It had aged over time and gotten wrinkled.  At some point I had gotten an ink mark on it and I tried to cover it with some White-Out.  Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that the paper wasn’t actually white, so my repair probably made it worse. I covered it with Contact Paper to protect it from further assaults.

My bookmark had no real value, other than I loved it.  I actually I have a whole collection of bookmarks from my childhood…somewhere around here.  But this one was special.  Over the years it would sort of float around, get lost and get found again.  But I always found it.

When I was young and would check out 15 or so books from the library at a time, I learned to check each book quickly for bookmarks before returning them.  I have done this faithfully my entire life.  Without fail.  Never.

And then it happened.  My favorite bookmark was being used in a book I was reading to the children.  A highly illustrated, glossy page edition of “Alice in Wonderland”, if I remember correctly. The children went to library with their dad and that particular book needed to be renewed.

It was not checked for bookmarks.

My bookmark did not return.

It seems silly, doesn’t it, to grieve over something like that.  I could delve deeply into my mind and explain it all to you, but I won’t.  I will sum it up, though.  It has to do not only with the memories of a lifetime of wonderful books but with the way I take care of the people and things that I love. Or fail to take care of them, through no fault of my own.

Pumpkin Girl says I have a wonderfully tragic back-story.  She’s right. Losing the bookmark symbolized so many other things, which is why it has taken me this long to talk about it.

My bookmark is gone.  There, I’ve said it.

The one saving grace was that I had scanned it for this blog which meant that I still have the little illustration.  I tried printing it off, but it came out fuzzy so I gave up and put it out of my mind.

A few years later I tried again but it was still fuzzy, even with my mad Photoshop skillz.

And now I’ve figured it out.  I recreated it.  It’s not the same, but it is close. I can put that particular loss behind me.  And I can make Pumpkin Girl her own copy.



Getting Ready

by Lorri on April 11, 2014 · 0 comments

in Family Life

Boo Awards1

We’re in the final days before Boo’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor and it’s taking up all my spare time.  I’ll catch up with you all on the other side…


Faux Disney Day

by Lorri on April 1, 2014 · 0 comments

in Adventures

Warning:  This post contains some highly skilled iphone photography.  Brace yourself.

I had to get up early last weekend and take Pumpkin Girl to dance at the mall.  Usually, this is not that noteworthy, nor does it require any special effort on my part. However, that day was not just window shopping with her dancing along instead of walking.  She was actually in a show, with costumes and makeup and music.

When we arrived, the mall was unlocked but not really open.  All of the stores were closed and the only people around were those associated with the day’s festivities.  I had Pipsqueak in tow because Boo was hiking up Pikes Peak, as he does, and Bip and Phil were having fun at Pinewood Derby.

The mall is actually a very cool place first thing in the morning, but really, there is no call for being up that early unless you’re going to Disneyland.

I thought maybe I could make the best of it and pretend that Pumpkin’s performance was the rope drop show and later we could ride the kiddie train around the mall to complete the effect.

And then this happened…
MickeyAtMallWe spotted Mickey!  Really and truly, there was Mickey Mouse (or a somewhat close facsimile).  In this picture, he’s chatting it up with Tchaikovsky.  I don’t know why, I didn’t ask.

So Pipsqueak and I watched Pumpkin’s show and I got this high quality picture.

Her dance is hip hop and she’s quite cute in it, though it amuses me muchly to see my graceful ballerina of a daughter hip-hopping. But when you’re in a dance company, you dance what you’re cast.  And you work it.

Later, we tracked down Mickey for a little character meet and greet.


Then Pumpkin got ears.


I decided against the train ride because it would have set us back $12 and I was saving up for a Dole Whip, which we never did find. If only we could have found one, or at least a churro, our fake Disney day would have been complete.

When there is no planned Disney vacation in sight, you have to do what you can.


All is Calm: March

by Lorri on March 29, 2014 · 0 comments

in Home Sweet Home

Whew!  I’m a little late with this month’s pages because I was without my computer for about a week while we disassembled our entire office to make room for a new desk.  Pictures for that, later!


I really can’t believe it is the end of March already.  And yes, I do say that every month.  First off, go back and add some notes to your Year in Review page for March. Did you go anywhere interesting during Spring Break?  My boys started taekwondo in March, so I’ll make a note of it – and future ranks will be noted throughout the year.  So when it comes time to write our annual newsletter, I can be sure to mention it.

Today I have 3 new pages for your Christmas Planner.  These are prettied-up pages of what I’ve used for years to prepare for Christmas cooking and baking. The first page in the file is a notes page, which I always throw in, just in case you need it and so you don’t have to go looking for it in an earlier download.

Christmas Meal Planning Pages

Holiday Recipes Index

I love to make lists, obviously.  This page is for you to write down the names of all the holiday recipes you’ll be using.  There is a line under the title for you to write a category, like cookies, breads, candy, Christmas dinner – whatever will make it easier for you.  Then write in the recipe name and the source.  The source can be your recipe box, the name of a cookbook, a Pinterest board or other online recipe site.  You can also do a page of recipes you want to try, and if they are a success, add them to your index.

Gather up all  those family favorites and start writing them down on the Holiday Recipes index.  And while you’re at it…

Holiday Grocery List

Add the ingredients for each recipe to the Holiday Grocery List.  Sometimes Christmas goodies require ingredients that you don’t use any other time, so you need to make sure you write it down on this list.  You don’t need to write down basic staples unless you use a lot of something.  For example, I go through a lot of butter, powdered sugar and flour over the holidays.  Keep a running total of how much of those kinds of things you need and add the total to the grocery list.

When you have finished, you will have a master shopping list that you can refer to year after year.  I keep my master list in my binder and copy it to our weekly shopping list as we get closer to the holidays.  Also, when these things start going on sale, you can plan your shopping accordingly to get all that sweetened condensed milk for the best price.

Holiday Meal Planner

This page is to help you plan out your big meals.  We actually have a traditional Christmas Eve meal as well as a big Christmas Day dinner.  Hmm, we have some Christmas breakfast traditions, too. Make sure that all your big meals have their recipes and ingredients included on the recipe index and grocery list.  Then use the meal planner to make sure you’ve got everything covered.  There is enough room to write the recipe name, along with the person making it. You can start filling this page out now, especially if you menu stays the same every year.

And since we’re thinking baking and cooking, now is a good time to assemble a Christmas Cookbook.  You can copy or print out all your recipes and put them in their own little binder.  Or you can put them in different section of your holiday binder.  If you make a cookbook, you can use the recipe index as a table of contents.

This can be a time-consuming project, so that’s all I have for you this month.  You can download the Holiday Meal Planning Pages here: Christmas Planner March

So tell me, how are you liking these pages?  Do you think they will be helpful when we get closer to Christmas?  Is there a particular planner page you’re hoping to see?


Stir Crazy

by Lorri on March 20, 2014 · 1 comment

in Home Sweet Home

We have lived here for 4 1/2 years, which is an eternity in Army years.  This is the longest we’ve ever lived anywhere.  I’m getting a little stir crazy.  It’s time to shake things up a little.

I never dreamed this would happen to me.  When I was growing up, we moved 3 times.  Once, we relocated to a new city.  Then we bought a new house, moved into a rental for a few months while the new house closed, then moved into it.  I was the only person I knew who moved.  It wasn’t traumatic but it made me feel different.  All I wanted to do when I grew up was to live in one house for the rest of my life.

So I married an Army guy.  An Army guy who was supposed to finish his commitment, then go to law school and set me up in a lifestyle to which  I was looking forward to becoming accustomed.

Yeah, so 4 years turned into 5 and if you’re going to do five, you might as well do 10.  And if you’re going to do 10, you might as well stick it out til 20 and get retirement benefits.  Which is exactly what we did, and moved 9 times.  Nine times!!!! An average of 2 years per assignment.

And now it’s been 4 1/2 years in the same house and I need a change.  I’ve been on Pinterest and somehow I’ve convinced my long suffering husband (sorry dear, payback for all those moves) that we need to rip the carpet up in the living room and replace it with hardwood.  And rip up the carpet on the staircase.  And if we’re going to do that, while we’ve got the banister down,  we might as well replace the balusters with wrought iron.  All 89 of them.  And paint the laundry room, dining room and the whole interior, actually.  New front doors would be super nice, since our front porch looks so grand.

Here are the inspiration photos  for all my upcoming projects.  And don’t worry, I’ll be sharing this whole journey right here on the blog!


That ought to keep us busy for a while, don’t you think?

Original source photos found here:

Staircase Remodel
Laundry Room Makeover
New Front Doors
Wrought Iron Balusters
Books Painted on Stairs
Interior Paint Colors
Brass to Bronze
Gallery Wall

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Frozen Giveaway!

by Lorri on March 17, 2014 · 0 comments

in Blogging Away

Have you seen the movie “Frozen”?  I haven’t.  I know, I know!  But I’ve got it on pre-order and the DVD will arrive tomorrow.  My little boys and I are planning our own personal viewing night, complete with popcorn and hot chocolate.

Speaking of which…

If you haven’t seen “Frozen”, but most especially if you have and you LOVE it and you’re planning on getting the DVD – hold on just one second.  The Mac and Cheese Chronicles is a proud sponsor of this amazing giveaway.

1173842_10152273792659378_2046764294_nCheck it out! The “Frozen” DVD and the soundtrack,  a Movie Enhancement Package of Yum (I made that up) that includes hot chocolate, marshmallows, popcorn AND an Olaf mug, a Mickey and Minnie Poster and a $100 Disney Gift Card.

I’m dying here because I can’t enter.  But you can, and it’s really simple.  Behold – here’s a Rafflecopter Contest Whatchamahoozit.

And, for those of you who are entirely sick of being Frozen (I’m looking at you, Maryland, with your 8 1/2 feet of snow) – how about a vacation in sunny Florida or California?  Go over there on my sidebar and scroll down until you see my affiliate link.  My friend Jennifer will hook you up with some sweet Disney vacation deals.  She can help you with either FL or CA. She’s the one who put this whole giveaway together.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day coming up, this is my recipe for Corned Beef and Cabbage in the crock pot.  Need I say that it is quick and easy?  And yum! I didn’t make anything special for St. Patrick’s Day for years until I found this recipe because I never knew just how easy corned beef is.

Crock Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage

Crock Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage


  • 4-5 medium red potatoes, quartered
  • 2 c fresh baby carrots, halved lengthwise
  • 3 c chopped cabbage
  • 1 corned beef brisket (3 1/2 lbs), with spice packet
  • 3 c water


  1. Place potatoes, carrots and cabbage in slow cooker.
  2. Cut brisket in half, place over vegetables.
  3. Add water and contents of spice packet.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 9-10 hours or until the meat and vegetables are tender.
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Ash Wednesday

by Lorri on March 5, 2014 · 0 comments

in Faith

How is it March already?  I think January and February speed by the fastest of all the months, which is sad for me because I love winter. I’m just glad that this year, Lent and Easter have held off until February was over.

Last year, Bip and I started a Lent Lapbook.  If you’re a homeschooler, you are probably at least vaguely family with lapbooks as a good hands-on way to teach material on one central topic.  Even though Lent has begun, it isn’t too late to start a lapbook.  I do not possess the organizational skills to actually create one from scratch, so I purchased mine as a download from this site: Lapbooks for Catholics -Lent.   The printable file is $10, which isn’t a bad deal, considering how many pages and activities it comes with.  Most of the activities have multiple options to meet the abilities of a range of children.

Lent Lap BookLent Lap Book 2There is so many activities included that we didn’t even get close to finishing last year.  I chose the things that were most important that Bip learn as a 2nd grader. Now we’re going to add more to it this year and build on what he knows.  This could turn into a multi-year study of Lent for us!

Another good resource for Lent is by my friend Jen over at The Polka Dot Posie.  She has created a free printable worksheet to go along with the popular 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge.  She also has some good ideas for making the challenge more about serving others.  Tell her I sent you! The Polka Dot Posie 40 Bags Printable

40Days Printable


When my friend Tami moved away (going on 5 years now!), she left me with a bottle of wrinkle release.  Movers can get funny about what they’ll pack and what they won’t and I guess her movers wouldn’t pack it.  However, mine did and it came with us to Colorado.

I’d never used wrinkle release before, but I loved it!  Too many of my clothes don’t get taken out of the dryer soon enough and they end up a mess.  But then I ran out of wrinkle release and I couldn’t find it anywhere! Seriously, there was a run on it or something.

I found a simple recipe via Pinterest, tried it and it was a winner!  Here’s the link to the recipe:  Homemade Wrinkle Releaser.

I went to the dollar store and bought cheap fabric softener.  Double win!

Here’s one of my tops before:

Wrinkles2Same top, after:

No Wrinkles1No Wrinkles2It really is the same top, just in different lighting as the sun moved.  And it shifted slightly on the hanger when I turned it around to spray the back.

My only warning is this: Spray those wrinkles when you first hang up your clothes.  Don’t wait until you want to wear them or they won’t be dry enough and you’ll end up even more wrinkled.  And maybe cold.

PinWin WrinkleRelease




All Is Calm: February

by Lorri on February 24, 2014 · 0 comments

in Home Sweet Home


Here we are at the end of February already! Did you remember to make some notes on your Year in Review page for January?  If you write a year-end newsletter, you’ll be glad you did!  Don’t worry if you forgot, when you print out this month’s pages and add them to your planner, you can write some things down at the same time.

Speaking of this month’s pages – I’ve got 7 for you!

Christmas Planner Feb2

Cover and Spine

I’ve made you two covers for your planner, one says Christmas Planner and one says Holiday Planner.  You can slip it into the cover of your binder or use it as a cover page, or even as a divider if your Christmas pages are in with the rest of your planner or in your household binder. There’s also a page with spine inserts to match.  Just trim them down to fit your binder.  As always, there is a notes page for all your random thoughts and to-do lists.

Decorations Planner

Next up is the Decorations Planner.  You’ve got to get up and walk around your house for this one, but you can probably count that as exercise, so it’s all good.  What you’re going to do is start at the front of your house and write down the room you are in, then under “decorating plans”, write down the things you put in that room.  You can use the red lines to help delineate your list by room, if that helps, or ignore them if it doesn’t.  Don’t forget to go outside, too!

My Decorations Planner starts off with our entryway.  I have garlands (2) on the stairs, with lights (need to be replaced), and a candy garland entwined.  I tied our Santa’s Marching Band to the small banister.  Nativity scene on the buffet table with random angels and the Jesse Tree.  The Advent calendar hangs on the wall.  I have some Santas in the same area, but I’m not too happy with their placement, so I made a note of that on the page.

So just cruise around your house, looking at each room or area and write it down.  If you remember that you didn’t like something, things need replacing, or there is an idea you’d like to try, write that down, too.  You might need to print this page back-to-back a couple of times.

Ok, enough exercise.

Do you have Christmas Pinterest board?  Now is a good time to start one. Later in the year when the Christmas decorations start appearing in the stores, you can reference your Decorations Planner page along with your Pinterest board and decide what new things you want to try.  Don’t worry, I’ll remind you about this again later. If you need some ideas, you can follow Christmas Pinterest board here: Lorri’s Christmas Board.

Crafts Planner

The Crafts Planner is another brainstorming page.  If you handcraft any gifts, it is time to get planning!! There’s only 10 months left, but we’re not going to panic.  Write down the name of the craft or project, the recipient and the supplies that are needed.  Make a note if you need to buy supplies or you have them in your stash.  Again, you can use the red lines to help separate projects.  And now that all our great craft our ideas are out of our heads and onto paper, we can better plan.  Watch those sale ads for the supplies you need and start crafting as soon as you can!  If you’ve got lots of crafts to make, you’re going to need to grab your calendar and start deciding start-by and finish-by dates for each one.  This worksheet has the potential to get really messy, so don’t worry about needing to transfer the information to a new sheet.

Another thing to do while you’re planning crafts is to locate the instructions.  Are they on the internet?  Go find them and print them out and add them to your Christmas planner.  If the instructions are in a book, write the name under “supplies”.

Family Gift Planner

Yes, there was a gift planning page last month.  Last month was about brainstorming all the people you could possibly need gifts for and some basic gift ideas. This one is specifically for family members who may get multiple gifts. Write the name, the gift you are buying or making, and where to purchase each gift. The last column has a W for wrapped and an M for mailed.  When those tasks have been accomplished, cross off the appropriate letter.  If you buy gifts all year, this list will help you keep track. You might want to come up with your own code for where you’ve hidden the presents and write it in one of the spaces in the w/m column.  MC could be master bedroom closet, G could be garage, B for basement, etc. Don’t forget to write down the code on a different sheet, maybe a notes page.

Here’s the link for February’s pages: ChristmasPlanner February

Go forth and print and plan!